With the close of 2011, we see on the Civil War Daily Gazette, the close of 1861. On the blog, as in life, I tend not to focus on arbitrary things like the end of the year. In the Civil War, New Year’s Day was just another day for the soldiers, and just another White House levee for the politicians. In modern life, I’ll be watching the Steelers beat the Browns and hoping Cincinnati can beat the Ravens.1
But still, it’s a lovely time to look back on the last year. A year that saw the CWDG move from 150ish hits per day to an average nearing 500. It would be nice to carry on this trend (at this point, we’re closing in on 150,000 hits). In 2011, over 32,000 people visited the blog, with nearly 60% being “return visitors.” In the past year, over 10,000 people have visited CWDG 100 or more times.2
I cannot get over how unexpected this is. I started the blog with the intention of learning about the Civil War day by day. I figured that a few friends or family would pick it up and read it, but had no idea that it would attract so much attention. All of this came without a dime spent on advertising.
Also, thanks to the Amazon Wish List and the PayPal donation button, the expenses of running the blog haven’t driven me out of business. In truth, web hosting is ridiculously cheap, and it’s barely even considered an expense. But with research comes books and books, even used ones, are pricey. Many readers have perused the Amazon Wish List and purchased books to help out. Some have even donated, allowing me to do the same.
The Christmas season has been a great benediction with tons of books arriving from mostly anonymous readers. Again, I’m humbled by this. I never dreamed that people would actually care enough to do this. Thank you.
And for the coming year, I hope to continue on. Being so far ahead, I’m currently writing about the slow march to Corinth, the slow march up the Peninsula and a few odds/ends here and there.3 I’m already overloaded and loving it. I look forward each day to the several hours I sit pouring over books and online (primary) sources, digging in, and discovering everything I was never taught in school.4
2012 will hopefully bring even more readers. I know that I need to pick up the slack when it comes to social networking. I have a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, but do nothing much, aside from link the posts, on either. I am wretchedly horrible at self promotion.
So what would you, the readers, like to see on CWDG? What changes would you make if you had your druthers? Are the posts too long? Too short? Do I use too many secondary resources? Too many photos? Do I ramble too much? Should there be more pictures of cupcakes? Do you find that I’m politically slanted against the North? Against the South?56
I’d love some feedback over the next year to help me bring the CWDG up to the standards of other, respected Civil War blogs.
So in closing, thank you for making 2011, the first year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, one deal of a great year.
- It could happen, right? [↩]
- Stats from Google Analytics. [↩]
- I just finished up the May 10 Battle of Plum Run Bend. [↩]
- I was never taught anything about the Civil War in school. I was supposed to have it in 8th and 10th grade, but the 8th grade teacher stopped in the 1850s, and the 10th grade teacher (also the football coach, because “anyone can teach history, right?”) picked up with reconstruction. [↩]
- I’ve been accused of both, which is kind of hilarious. [↩]
- Do I have too many footnotes? [↩]