As I looked back at 2011 on the blog, One of the things I thought may interest some of you (especially those of you who have yet to subscribe to the blog) is what sets this blog apart from others. One way to quickly show that is doing a top ten list. So what rose to the top in 2011?
- Mississippi River Flood Water Keeps Rising in Memphis, Tennessee Makes a Word-Filled Wednesday — When I first posted about the flooding in Memphis, I didn’t have a plan to do it frequently, but friends and family out of town were really interested so I posted several things. Before celebrity weathermen were talking about floodwaters rising in Memphis, I was going downtown every day or two and posting photos on my blog. Next thing I knew, traffic was coming from search engines in fairly big numbers. I was a bit surprised to see that this one post had more than 5,000 hits. (Because the flooding in Memphis was such a draw, I’ll posts dates of publication. This was written May 1)
- Missing the Enthusiasm of Chris Raines aka @ITweetMeat #agchat — This is a much more recent tragedy in that the online agricultural community lost a truly great person and voice. We continue to see holes that Chris left and doubt they will be filled. The comments on this post made me realize that quickly trying to organize my thoughts and put something together about this great friend was the right way for me to go… it was exactly what so many in our community needed.
- Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple” — This one should make Mike Haley of Haley Farms smile big time as it was a post I put together almost two years ago when Mike shared stories about the kind of person his grandpa was. His grandpa’s passing was a time to reflect on how great the contributions of farmers plain & simple are. What a great legacy!
- Memphis Weather Has Us Bracing for Historic Flooding of the Mississippi River — A simple post a couple of days after the first showing how things had changed in a couple of days of rising water. (Written May 4)
- What do cows eat and why? — This is a post by my AgChat friend and large animal vet Kathy Swift who probably thought I was a bit crazy when I asked her to tell me what cows eat and why, but she did such a great post in the fall of 2010 that I still get blog hits on it! I’ve gone back to it myself several times to remind myself why certain foods are part of a cow’s diet.
- Mississippi Flood Waters Enter Downtown Memphis — It seems amazing to me but the blog hits on Memphis’ flooding kept going. This one showed the photos taken as the water came into downtown. It was truly historic and impacted Memphis in May events. (Written May 7)
- Cotton 101: What does a cotton plant or field look like? — This is the sort of thing that comes so naturally to me after decades in the cotton business but lots of people don’t know…. what does a cotton plant look like before it blooms, or while its heavily loaded with flowers, and of course at harvest. Love that I can help people learn a bit about my favorite fiber crop!
- New Warnings in Memphis Regarding Flooding and Evacuations — The situation in Memphis was escalating and there was new information on evacuations, efforts to help in the community, etc. (Written May 6)
- New Years Isn’t Always Happy on the Farm — Another tragedy but this one is far more personal. Its the story of a small Pennsylvania dairy farmer who I got to know on Twitter. As she and her husband struggled with choices about their farm, she shared that and touched my heart. Obviously the struggle touched the hearts of many more people too.
- Dealing with the Aftermath of Alabama Tornadoes – Pray for Tuscaloosa & Alabama — My dear friend Jan of Slow Money Farm faced a tough time when tornadoes wrecked her region. She couldn’t get information so she called me to see what I could tell her. The first hand account she offered moved many of our friends who were worried about her and others in the area.
Looking at that list, it is clear to me that even on my blog (which I tend to think of as a casual conversation about the things I see and learn) tragedy and heartache are big drivers of readership. I could probably find tragic stories to tell every week. And I know I could find ways to sensationalize things which would probably drive even more readership. HOWEVER, I can say clearly I won’t have a content bucket for that though I will write and share photos if I happen to be in the midst of it. What’s interesting to me is that when you remove the flooding posts which are an absolute anomaly due to large amounts of search engine traffic, we have the following top 10:
- Missing the Enthusiasm of Chris Raines aka @ITweetMeat #agchat
- Paying Tribute to “Just a Farmer, Plain & Simple”
- What do cows eat and why?
- Cotton 101: What does a cotton plant or field look like?
- New Years Isn’t Always Happy on the Farm
- Dealing with the Aftermath of Alabama Tornadoes – Pray for Tuscaloosa & Alabama
- Cotton 101 — This is a page I put together about the Cotton 101 series I have. Love seeing it getting so much traffic!
- Cotton 101: How a Cotton Gin Works — Learning about Eli Whitney in school is obviously not enough for people these days! This post seemed to grab attention.
- Food Poll: Cupcakes and Other Fun Farm-Themed Foods — The fact that cupcakes continued to be a big thing seems to keep this post on the horizon for people. I love that they are likely to include the cooking expertise of farmer friends!
- Drought Leads to Desperation on a Small Texas Farm — Another sad time…. One that is still being watched. Here’s hoping Texas and Oklahoma have a very wet winter!
With this information and the input from friends, family and readers, I hope to see additional growth on the blog in 2012! Don’t forget to offer your suggestions to help me make that growth happen!
Did you have a favorite post that didn’t make the list?