The ManagementThose who have been around Our Word for awhile might note that this is not the blog’s anniversary, which does not fall until November. Why, you might ask, would this be the time for the State of the Blog?
Well, June represents one year since the institution of a fundamental change in the format of Our Word. Therefore, this seems a good time to take stock of the past and future.
You may recall that around this time last year, we introduced you to two new blog partners, Bobby and Steve. We have since welcomed Drew, which makes five of us in all.
Additionally, we made an editorial decision to return to the original roots of Our Word, those being a catholic (small c) view of the world, as seen through a Catholic (big C) perspective. While religious topics, specifically Catholic ones, are still a part of that world, it also includes arts, culture, politics, sports and humor. In fact, it would be disingenuous not to point out that we have consciously taken a step (or several) away from the insular world of the Catholic blogosphere. We feel that this has resulted in a site that is more varied and more entertaining, as well as being more enjoyable for the writers.
The diversification of our subject matter has, in our opinion, made a positive impact on our readership. The month of May represented the fifth consecutive month of readership growth, and the sixth out of the last seven months (the exception being December, traditionally a down month for both readership and posting). At the end of May, total number of page loads was up 124% over the last seven months, number of unique visitors was up 106%, and the number of returning visitors was up 239%.
Looking at a rolling 12-month period, readership is down from June 2006, but it should be noted that the June figures were distorted by speculation regarding the appointment of a coadjudor bishop for the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, our home diocese. Excluding that time period (March-June 2006), the May 2007 figures represent the fourth highest monthly total, as well as being the fifth consecutive month of growth.
So readership is up – that’s the good news. However, it still is not at the level we think it should be at.
To help reach a larger audience, we encourage you to share this site with others you think might enjoy it. In the blogosphere, as well as the world in general, most business comes from referrals. So if, for example, you think “This Just In” is the funniest thing you’ve read all week, forward it to your friends. (Conversely, if you don’t think it’s funny at all, send it to your enemies.)
In addition, if you’ve got something to add to what we’ve written, by all means feel free to share your opinion with us. Don’t worry, if we think you’ve overstepped your bounds, we’ll let you know.
And speaking of writing, there’s no secret that the increased success of the blog is the direct result of adding three strong and insightful writers to the stable. Having five of us now on board proves the old adage, “Many hands make for less work.”
There are many people out there with interesting ideas and opinions to offer, as well as a real gift with words, but they’re intimidated by the prospect of starting their own blog and having to come up with several posts each week. If that’s the case with you, what better way to get involved than to join an established group blog, where you might only want to post once or twice a month. So if you’d like to be a part of the Our Word team, please let us know. If you’ve read the blog often enough to have gotten this far, chances are you know whether or not your opinions would be a good fit. If you’re intrigued, email us and let us know what you think.
So at the conclusion of what might be thought of as the first year of the New and Improved Our Word, the outlook is positive. The numbers are trending toward increased growth, we’re reaching new and better markets, and welcoming new readers into the fold. The quality of the writing is, we think, at the highest level it’s ever been. Although there's still much to accomplish, and despite the intrusions of things such as real life, we look with cautious optimism to the future.