The unlikely combination of combative Times columnist David Aaronovitch and the tragic pop star Amy Winehouse drove traffic to my blog last year.
I doubt either have met each other but in different ways it reflects the present obsession with controversial names and celebrity culture.
The Amy Winehouse blog is three years old and is a travelogue based on the fact that I found myself and my wife staying at the same tourist complex in St Lucia that acted as a retreat for Amy when she was chilling out from drugs. I suspect the film about her has driven the traffic but the blog got over 1500 hits last year – 50 per cent more than the combined total of the two previous years taking it to nearly 2700 hits.
David Aaronovitch’s critique of my journalism in The Times led to 3537 hits when I decided to respond – though it was eclipsed by my critique of Dominic Lawson’s take on the Leon Brittan alleged child sex abuse scandal which attracted 6447 views.
Interest in the case of child sex abuse survivor Esther Baker was reflected in two high scoring blogs- at 2674 for an analysis of the challenge facing Staffs Police in investigating her case and 2096 when the first arrest was announced.
The scandal over former justice secretary Chris Grayling seeking contracts from the despicable Saudi Arabian justice system – which this blog and Tribune broke- was a big highlight – with 4250 hits when his successor Michael Gove faced court action and 2795 when the story originally broke.
Otherwise the biggest hits were reserved for the attempt to get rid of the Speaker, John Bercow, on the last day of Parliament – with 3933 on a piece criticising William Hague’s botched action in changing the election rules and 2497 on the midnight email to MPs from Julian Lewis MP which alerted everyone to the dodgy deal.
The most controversial blog has been my reporting of a Northern Ireland judge’s decision to compensate a paedophile for a campaign against him by one of his victims -comments were both virulent in their hatred and support for the judge.
Altogether the number of hits recorded by WordPress on my blog – 127,725 were down from 182,000 the previous year. I also wrote fewer blogs as I was away some of the time. But this is not the full story as the blog is getting increasing additional traffic from Linked In, Facebook and is now run on Byline.com so I am not longer sure how many hits I am getting any more.
WordPress also records I have had hits from 155 countries. Over 80 per cent (107,000) is from the UK but there were over 7,700 from the United States and over 1000 each from Australia, Ireland and France. I have had just one hit from Iran, Syria, Armenia and the Turks and Caicos Islands to name but a few.
The blog’s rating on http://averypublicsociologist.blogspot.co.uk/ has gone up from number 62 to number 50 on the top independent bloggers This partly reflects my twitter following increasing to 8085.
For a small one man blog however it is gratifying that so many people are interested – given I do no promotion.