AgilityNerd's 1st Birthday!

09 Aug 2005Steve Schwarz

I launched this weblog one year ago today. So today is its first birthday.

In this year I’ve posted 140 articles. I had hoped to post two articles a week and I managed almost three a week. I didn’t count on how long it takes to write a thorough article. Unlike many blogs, that are just a few sentences around a link to another’s work, I also wanted to create my own articles.

For example, an exercise for Dearlove takes about 2-3 hours including: designing the course sequences, documenting the different sequences using CRCD, converting the images to GIFs using Fireworks (for smaller download sizes), and writing the text for the article. The few larger articles like my Learning the Front Cross and Handler Line Using the Handler Line/Front Cross LineHandler Line/Front Cross Line took over 8 hours to create; as they had numerous photo and video sequences to setup and take, post process with PhotoShop and Vegas Video, create diagrams using CRCD and then writing the text. That said, these larger articles seem to get the most interest from site visitors, so my effort is apparently appreciated.

From the beginning I’ve had a number of goals for this site:

  • To present the exercise courses I design for use by Dearlove Agility trainers and students.
  • To discuss course handling and analysis.
  • Present introductory "how-to" articles and a glossary for beginning Agility handlers.
  • To remain as a reference site for future use by other Agility enthusiasts.
  • Track our dog's training and trialing exploits in a training record as a way to set my goals and as an example for other trainers.
  • Record "interesting" info about our dogs. But I didn't want this to be a major aspect of the site. There are plenty of weblogs out there created by pet owners describing how wonderful or interesting their dog are. I'm trying to keep the focus relevant to those who don't know us.

What I didn’t count on was Mr. Peabody’s eye problems/near blindness and tumor surgery. Not to be too corny but these terrible set backs have help me learn about dog health issues of which I was previously unaware. They also helped me further understand what I love about our dogs; and that has nothing to do with what games we can play together.

I have to give a special thanks to Dana Pike for always letting me share her weekly training and seminar courses. I wish I had more time to post her great training courses together with her analyses. I have trained with her for a couple years and continue to learn and improve through her insights.

I’ve also been gratified by the emails from agility handlers and instructors from all around the world who’ve taken away something of value from my site. It is also very nice to hear from Dearlove students with their feedback on the course we’ve run.

Along the way I’ve contributed some enhancements to the Open Source Blosxom software that drives the website. So Blosxom users and developers are often readers of my site. I’m glad to be able to “give back” to the Blosxom community. If others before me hadn’t donated their time fine software like Blosxom wouldn’t exist.

Being an Engineer I’m interested in the statistics and usage of this website. It looks like I’m gaining a few more readers each month. On average the site gets ~1100 unique visitors per month, ~2500 individual visits per month, and 30,000-60,000 hits per month (all excluding hits by robots like Google and hits by spammers). Still a tiny site by commercial standards, but it is nice to see that there are others with my interests. The biggest growth is in folks using RSS feed readers to get the content whenever I add new articles.

Some of my favorite non-Agility articles this past year include:

A special thanks to Nancy for helping “channel” Mr. Peabody and Milo’s words.

The top 10 pages most frequently visited

  1. agility/starting/LearningFrontCross
  2. dog/health/SimpleStretches
  3. agility/handling/270JumpHandling
  4. agility/glossary/HandlerLine
  5. agility/glossary/LeadLeg
  6. static/MrPeabody
  7. static/Milo
  8. tech/web/blogging/blosxom/refererblock_0.1
  9. tech/web/blogging/blosxom/UnknownFlavourError

The top 10 categories visited:

  1. /
  2. agility/courses/
  3. agility
  4. agility/handling/
  5. agility/courses/dana/
  6. agility/coursedesign/
  7. agility/courses/dearlove/
  8. agility/seminars/
  9. agility/facilities/
  10. agility/training/

The top 10 search phrases/keywords leading to this site:

  1. agility/agilitynerd/agility nerd
  2. dog/dogs/canine
  3. dana pike
  4. susan salo
  5. cross/front/rear
  6. course/courses
  7. jen pinder
  8. reverse flow pivot
  9. dearlove agility
  10. border/border collie

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this past year’s articles and I’m looking forward to writing more over the next year.

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