I posted my first blog in March 2009, it was this Napoleonic Wargaming blog and my aim was to keep a record of my wargaming activities. I had very little interest in blogging before then, and my only contact would be when there was a link on one of the wargame forums I read.
I have always kept a diary and after a family holiday compiled a scrap book with photographs and a summary of the holiday. I suppose I have that sort of tidy mind which likes to organise memories. So it is perhaps a little strange that I had not started a blog sooner.
We retired to Spain in March 2006 and had developed a lot of new interests and hobbies, not least organising our wargaming. By March 2009 we were well into our new routine, and I found I had more time on my hands. Hence starting the blog.
From the start I wanted to be able to index my blog entries, because I wanted them to be a permanent record. I quickly found that this is not particularly easy with blogging, which by its nature tends to be short lived. I asked for advice on TMP and fortunately made contact with Bob Cordery of Wargame Developments and Wargaming Miscellany fame. Bob gave me some very useful suggestions, which helped me to make a good start.
My intention was to run one blog and to post once a week about my current interest or activity. I would use the labels as an index. However it soon became obvious that one blog would not be sufficient.
Most of my early blog entries were about my 1813 solo campaign. But there was too much going on to restrict my entries to one a week. So in April 2009 I started my first campaign diary blog. I posted an entry each day and a battle report when we fought a wargame. At the end of each campaign phase I started a new blog, to make it easier to maintain the index. I am currently on my 14th campaign diary blog. I have no idea how many posts, but I do know that there are 217 battle reports and 48,000 visits.
Also in April 2009 I decided to post a series of blogs on our experience of visiting Napoleonic battlefields. We both enjoy walking holidays, and over the years have spent quite a few holidays exploring battlefields in Portugal, Spain, Germany and Italy. I had a scrap book of each holiday, so producing each blog would not be difficult. There are a total of 9 blogs, one for each holiday. Each blog has an entry for each battlefield visit. There are a total of 90 entries, each one a day spent walking a battlefield. I don’t know how many visits each blog has had, but I do know that the index blog has had 55,000 visits.
In May 2009 I decided that I would start a series of blogs about our second major interest, which is hill walking. We choose to live in a small village in the Jalon Valley because it is well known as an excellent walking centre. The aim of the blog was to let friends and relatives see what it was like to live in Spain. It has turned into a diary of our walking activities. We have friends who run commercial walking holidays in the valley, and they tell us that many of their customers have read our blogs. I start a new blog each year, to make it easier to index the walks. At the start of each year I transfer the total of hits from the previous year to the new blog. So far 8 blogs and 21,000 visits.
In addition I have posted a series of “one off” blogs. For example Wellington’s Battles, which is a series of wargames based on the great man’s battles. Then there is the Napoleonic Wargame rules blog, and the campaign rule blog.
I now find that I spent an hour or so each day typing up one of the three main blogs, which are Napoleonic Wargaming, Jan and Paul in Spain or the Campaign Diary.
I do all of this for my own entertainment and satisfaction. It is pleasing that so many visitors take the trouble to read my rambling. Of the 7 blogs I record visits there has been a total of 312,406 visits. Obviously a lot of those will be repeat visits, and many will check out more than one blog when they visit. But I still find it hard to believe that my efforts could produce so much interest.
My only regret is that more visitors do not leave a message. According to the stats there have been less than 1,000 comments, and half of them would be my reply. I think this is pretty common. I now visit about 20 blogs regularly, and I note that few of them receive many comments. The exception is my good friend (at least online) Bob Cordery. He regularly gets 10 or more comments on his posts. I did ask him why, and he told me that he always answers each comment. But I am sure that there is more to it than that. No doubt his style of writing prompts readers to comment.
Blogging is now as much a part of my life as wargaming and walking, and probably takes up more time than either of them. I would not say that it brings as much enjoyment as either of the other two. But there is a certain satisfaction in posting two or three blogs each day, and even more when there is a response.
Thanks to all of you for following the blogs. I would post them anyway, but perhaps not for long if I did not see the daily log of visits.