The decision three months ago to "export" the former newsletter to become a separate blog site seems to have worked well. Usage is steadily increasing (none in August, 864 page views in September, 1358 in October and 1684 in November) and I have now opened up the comments so that anyone can make a comment directly to the blog, although I still prefer direct family history questions to go via the Ask Chris facility on the main site. Definitely the blog has made communication between me and my audience far more effective. The instantly available statistics gives me instant feedback on the items which are proving more popular and the easy management interface makes it easy to control the many cross links between the two sites. I was interested to see that the most popular blog is the one on Buying Hertfordshire Wills Online with a running total of 122 separate views - and surprised at the popularity of A Book on Gustard Wood, Wheathampstead, with 70 views.
One feature which many of you appear not to have taken up - perhaps because you have not realised it was there - is that if you are a regular visitor you can enter via the blog at www.hertfordshire-genealogy.blogspot.com and you can follow the blog - meaning that you are automatically notified of new posts.
The main site has undoubtedly benefited from the changes, and during the month many of the updates have been linked to the First World War. I am also speeding up the process of tidying up the pages on the smaller towns and villages as this simplifies the interface between the blog and the main site. Unfortunately this could mean that some links from other web sites to "deep" pages within my web site will not work and I am looking into ways to reduce the resulting errors messages.
The overall usage of the main site is virtually unchanged from last year (up to 20,670 visits from 20436, which is not really significant. While the number of different visitors has slightly fallen this actually means that the number of repeat visits during the month has risen form 5062 to 5877. This could actually be due to the changes in Google which could have had the effect of sending fewer misdirected accesses to the site, while more people who find it useful are finding it more easily. I will look at this trend in more detail in the end of the year report.
If you have any comments on how you find the current blogger interface works for you, it would be helpful if you could make a comment below.