A WEBSITE IS A WONDERFUL THING

THE LITTLE WEBSITE THAT GREW!

On April 10 this website clicked over  to 100,000 visits.  Maybe not a  great deal by some standards, but amazing to me. When I began in late 2012 I had no idea about  SEO (search engine optimization), effective tags or stop words. It must have taken me twelve months to reach 5,000 views. By contrast,  the last 10,000 have come very quickly. There are now 233 published articles on the site. I usually post weekly, but with my biography  of Dr Victor Ratten well behind schedule this will have to change.

I love checking the search engine terms that lead people to my articles. I often think I must be the only person in the world with a recipe for laurel berry jam.  People who google ‘nude women bathing ‘ must feel a bit let down when they reach my innocuous story of a sojourn in the German  spa town of   Baden Baden. And a variety of  dubious search terms relating to bottoms end up  on Editor Des’ humorous  piece, ‘Bottoms Up’.

 READERS’ FEEDBACK

One of my most regularly visited articles is,   SS Waratah, Australia’s Titanic  The  comments left  have been as interesting as the story itself, especially from relatives of those who were lost in the ship’s  mysterious disappearance .

Messages left on the story, Church Strauss Syndrome; A Rare and Baffling Condition have  sometimes reduced me to tears.  I was diagnosed with this incurable disease in 2012, but am in  full remission.  Sadly, most of my fellow sufferers are not. All I can do is offer some  hope, direct them to support groups, and   increase  public awareness  of the syndrome.

It takes longer to   leave a comment  on a website than on facebook or twitter. Those who consistently take the trouble to do so are hugely  appreciated. You know who you are and I thank you.

UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITIES

For an author, a website can lead to  all sorts of opportunities, such as  invitations to speak at conferences or on radio. Public speaking always alarms me, but it does get (slightly)  less nerve wracking with experience.    A site also provides a platform for backstories relating to  published or future work  and it is a great research tool.

MY ASSOCIATES

Editor Des, has contributed quite a few  articles. They are invariably  cheeky, (usually at my expense) and  whimsical  (although he probably doesn’t know what that means). Thanks though, Des.  Like me, he  often writes  about our Blue Mountains village of Blackheath and on the subject of gardening.  It grieves me to admit that his most visited piece is, Pauline Conolly’s Garden; the Shocking Truth. OMG Des, how could you?

My partner Rob (aka Dr Bob) is our final proof reader and unintentional critic. He is notoriously hard to impress, so if he laughs Des and I know it must be pretty funny. If he says, ‘Oh, that’s interesting’, we know it must be! Rob is also my  go-to Mr Fixit when I get into a muddle.   What a star!

Rob, the harshest critic in the world.

GUEST POSTS

I have been privileged to host guest posts on a wide range of topics, from working in the Antarctic to  book reviews, busking, baking, and being robbed in Barcelona. Many thanks to every one of you.

I have always had a strong connection to the UK, which this website has increased.  In extraordinary circumstances, a story led to me meeting my lovely first cousin Annabelle for the first time….. in England! And how special to have lunch in London with  Sabrina, a descendant of my convict ancestor Solomon Shadbolt’s wife.  I  have  connected  with so many of my Larcombe, Shadbolt and Singleton relatives all over the world.

A couple of years ago  the site was selected for inclusion in PANDORA, the National Library’s archive of websites. It was judged to be of permanent research value, and a significant  contribution to Australian social history. Oh dear, I’m not sure what they make of Editor Des’s stories, but I feel very honoured.  This validation of my work led to the creation of the Facebook group Australian Social History, which is approaching 1,000 members.  Please feel free to join.

 

What do my readers seem to love the most?   In no particular order; humour, food, mystery,  and nature.

The articles that have created the biggest spikes in my visitor numbers, are the piece on  Church Strauss Syndrome and Enough to make a Mother Weep, the tragic story of my ancestor Catherine Bryant and her daughter Eliza.

Links to a website  from other sites are pure gold.   I particularly appreciate a link from Worcestershire Walks to my literary pilgrimage around Great Malvern. It is a self-guided walk around the sites of interest in my first  book, The Water Doctor’s Daughters.

Social media experts suggest that  it’s  best to  have a particular theme for a website, but I’m afraid mine reflects my curiosity  and interest in  all manner of things. To me it’s a bit like running  a little newspaper.

I have rarely ventured into the areas of politics and contemporary  social issues; there are far more knowledgeable commentators than me.  However, sometimes  staying  silent is impossible.  Bullying and the tragedy of dementia  are topics I  felt I could not avoid. The triple whammy  of  Brexit, Trumpism  and  Australia’s Pauline Hanson led me  write;  And I Thought I Was Only Left-handed.

It is a great privilege to host a website; one  I hope I have never  abused.

AS ALWAYS, YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE WELCOME.  HOWEVER, DON’T FORGET TO COMPLETE THE LITTLE ANTI-SPAM SUM, OR YOUR WORDS WILL VANISH INTO THE ETHER.

6 Comments
  1. Tremendous news, Pauline – and many congratulations!
    Yours is a lovely website, the posts always interesting, and I’m delighted it’s now included in the Australian National Library of websites – well deserved!

    • Pauline

      Thanks for your generous comments, Ann. I do love my website, even though it distracts me from book writing!!

  2. Hello Pauline,as you may have realized my life has become even more complicated. Larry’s Mothers passing has had a greater effect on me than I ever felt possible. It is no secret that Lorna never accepted me and wanted someone better for her only son. It’s ironic that I am the one left to pack up her home. Add to this Larry’s trip to hospital recently to have his lungs washed out and you will no doubt realize that having the luxury of time to read posts has become a distant memory. I am pleased that your website is going well. I cant for the life of me remember the title of your story… The one were you pile into the car and head off to the beach. I loved reading it. I hope things will settle down soon and I will be able to catch up with your posts. Kind Regards Pat.

    • Pauline

      Hi Pat, yes…you seem to be having such a challenging time. Hope your Larry is feeling a lot better. The story you mention was about going to the beach in Tasmania on Boxing Day.

  3. Wonderful milestone to reach, and further to go too…

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