Sunday, April 26, 2009

A look4trains.com Birthday Celebration


A few weeks ago I had a feeling that I had been doing this blog thing for quite some time and checked back to see when I had made my first post. Turns out it was April 26, 2008, when I rolled this blog out and decided to share some railfan observations on an irregular basis.

About the time I started the blog, I also set up a sitemeter account to track the traffic I was getting. After a few months a sitemeter problem led me to switch over to Google Analytics, which is what I have been using since August 1, 2008. I thought I would share some of the stats with my few faithful readers.

How do people find this site? Well, just over 50% of the 3238 visits (since August 1) have been from referring sites-the most common of which is groups.yahoo.com, which makes sense given how closely linked this site has been with the Outstate Minnesota Rail group. The next most common referrer is railroadradio.net, followed by google and a couple of qstation sites. Also in the top ten are Trains magazine message board, trainorders.com, and trainspotter-usa.com (thanks Ian!). johnfladung.net is just behind, in 12th place, so thanks for your link as well, John.

As of this morning there have been 8965 page views since the blog was established. I don't have detailed info from the sitemeter days, but since last August 1st, the most viewed pages have been: the home page first, obviously, followed in order by a post about DEEX coal cars, my Valentine's Day post from this year, a post on an SD70 confab in Staples, and my first coal car post, about BN and BNSF cars.

Has this been worth doing? For me, the answer is a definite yes. For one thing, Mrs. L4T likes to read about her part in the look4trains fact-finding outings. It also has helped me to share information with other people who have similar interests. Railfanning in a small Minnesota town can be a solitary pursuit, but the internet has helped people with similar interests to make contact with each other, share information, and develop friendships. Hopefully this blog has contributed in some small way to that goal.

So, after 72 posts, thousands of photos sorted through to try and find something interesting enough to post, and a lot of good memories, what does the future hold? More of the same. I plan to keep shooting train photos, sharing them occasionally, and trying to tell semi-entertaining stories about railfanning along the Staples Sub and sometimes other places. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog, and especially to those of you that take the time to comment, either on the blog, on a mailing list or message board, or by email. I would probably do this if no one ever responded, for my own enjoyment, but hearing from people who read this junk makes it a lot more fun. And that's what a hobby should be, in the end. Fun.

Jim, out.

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