Five year blog anniversary

I find it hard to believe, but today marks my five year anniversary of blogging. From my first post in 2007, I’ve had the pleasure of blogging on books, worship, sports, music, technology, and the mundane. One miscarriage, two kids, three moves, four jobs, five blog designs, almost six years of marriage, and immeasurable grace later, here we are. I’ve written nearly 650 posts, the vast majority of which which are forgettable. But I’m glad to have written them, and have enjoyed going back and reading some of them. I’ve had posts that I (pridefully) thought were excellent but were barely viewed, and controversial posts that made me hang my head in shame. If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to take a stroll through some interesting facts, figures, and anecdotes in the short life of token lines.

First, the less interesting: stats. In five years, there have been nearly 19,000 page views from at least 10 countries (though many foreign hits are spam sites). Google is by far the best site referrer, though the Shomo blog is the highest direct URL referrer, with my wife’s blog a close second.

If you’ll ask any blogger who keeps stats, they will most likely say that they are surprised which posts garner the most traffic. That holds true for me. My post about Robinson Crusoe back in 2008 has more than triple the views of any other posts, with a whopping 1,650! It helps that in a Google image search, the graphic on my post is the first result. The second most popular post also comes from 2008, on Scattergories Categories. People apparently enjoy searching for creative lists, though the ones searching for “dirty Scattergories lists” are surely disappointed when they click through to my post. Three of the top ten keyword searches people use to find my blog are Scattergories related, with dirty lists ranking 7th overall. We’re still pretty proud of coming up with the category “Something you would do for a Klondike bar.” Rounding out the top five most viewed posts are: A Prayer for the Broken Hearted, Matt Redman Pew Review, and Reading the Bible in a year.

I’ve had my share of foot-in-the-mouth moments, which tend to correspond with the most vigorous discussions by you. I read all comments even if I don’t respond to them, and am grateful for what I’ve learned through them. Here is a list of the top eight most-commented posts. Consider it a display of my foolishness and a lesson to think before you blog.

Up for grabs: college football allegiance (18 comments, 2010) I’m still a Michigan fan.
Preservething thy language – (16, 2011) Very insightful comments.
Mission trip recap – (15, 2007) Yikes. All comments were deleted.
Providence in the ordinary – (10, 2009) Highlight: My mother in law wonders if she is “lusty.”
Predominant Psalm singing – (10, 2009) One of my dad’s few comments, and he lays the smack down!
Nursery to the golden oldies – (9, 2011) Decent discussion.
Here I am to Worship Pew Review – (8, 2009) I never did finish those Pew Reviews, eh?
Christianese buzzwords – (8, 2011) One of my favorite posts to write.

It’s no secret that I’m a bibliophile, and my most-used tag is books, with 130. Hymns (74), family (64), sports (61), and Scripture (60) round out the top five tags. I’ve also reviewed over 20 books, many of which I’ve received for free from publishers’ blog programs. Over the last five years, I’ve read almost 200 books and undergone three year-long reading goals (Institutes, 50 books, and the Bible). More recently, my blogging has relied heavily on the books I read, not least because the authors of good books say things much better than I can.

Overall, I think I have benefited greatly from blogging. I’ve learned a lot about pride and humility and being slow to speak (and write). I have learned more about brevity and clarity in writing, honed my own style more, and figured out which writers I want to emulate. I have gleaned much from my readers, the books I’ve read (alone and with others), and the things I’ve blogged about. I’ve also learned that as much as I have been tempted to switch to WordPress, Blogger just has more customizable options and add-ons. I’ve thought about stopping blogging too many times to count, but have always persisted – even if my output isn’t what it used to be. After all, if I stop, how would I get free books through Westminster, Amazon, or publisher’s programs?

So thanks for sticking with me. Thank you especially for your patience, your insightful contributions, your encouragement, your challenges, and your clicks on links that get me free swag. Will I be blogging in another five years? Will there even be blogs in another five years?

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