September 1, 2012

Blog Birthday: Top Ten Posts and Many Thank-Yous

Today my blog turns one year old. My first post went public on September 1, 2011. Then I was full of fire about "Hemingway Paradigm" stereotypes to debunk, and was in need of a serious distraction from seemingly insurmountable professional hurdles. A year later, and I'm still keen on seeing expats and visitors update or fine-tune their out-of-fashion anachronistic "Hispanomanía", though I confess my passions are increasingly directed away from this not-for-profit hobby to more fiscally-productive, extra-blog-icular pursuits.

Before I share with you what have been my most popular posts for the year, I wanted to say thank-yous to a few bloggers out there who were important over the course of the year in either drawing attention to the blog, or keeping me engaged in it. First thanks should go to Ibex Salad, a savvy Spanish economy blogger whose mention of my blog in its early days pretty much put it on the map so far as search engines and bot trollers were concerned. I had less than a 1,000 hits total before his mention on November 4, 2011, and averaged a 1,000 hits-a-week after. I'm eternally grateful. (So to all you power bloggers out there, don't forget the little guys. We appreciate it!)

My first blog entry was a call to arms... to puncture the Hemingway Paradigm!

Special thanks always go to Chic Soufflé, La Cuchara Curiosa and Hola Valencia / For 91 Days, bloggers who have been my direct inspiration for taking up this medium and whose blog projects continue to impress me with what blogging can contribute to the metaverse... good taste, creative commentary, exciting adventure.

And then there are you many other bloggers who, through your regular comments and constant twitter titter, have kept me tuned in to the project and the Spain expat blogging community, even as my time for blog posts has diminished in the face of an increasingly busy, fulfilling personal and professional life. Here I'll single out for mention, in no particular order... Reg and Nancy at the Spain Scoop, Nieves at Sangria, Sol y Siesta, Hamatha at Pass the Ham, Kaley... y mucho más, Tumbit's Mr. Grumpy (happy 3rd birthday to you!), Gee CassandraMother Theresa at The Rain in SpainMolly in Granada at, Steve at This is Spain, Néstor at Luces eXtrañas, and Sorokin at Diario de un Aburrido. There are many, many more of you out there whose interactions I've appreciated this past year, and I try to give some recognition of it by adding you to the "Not Alone" Blog Roll on the left side of this blogsite... But if you don't see you there, please write or comment to let me know! (Spain blog newbies, feel free to comment here to let yourself be known to all of these "power Spain bloggers".)

I'd also like to thank for flattering me with an interview, and Spain for reposting many of my blog entries (since imitation is the highest form of flattery). And I can't resist an additional four-letter word thank you to Damian Corrigan, my Valentine, whose ludicrous, overly-trafficked GoSpain site still continues to light a flame in my heart in the crusade to counterbalance trite and superficial expat commentaries about my adopted country. (Damian, yes, I still think you're wrong about Valencia.)

These thank-yous aside, here go my (thus far) all-time top ten posts:

It's been a while since I looked at this entry and the part 2 that I wrote on Madrid, but I continue to recommend it to those of you wanting to get a non-touristy view of Spain's capital.

Very few things cooler than Kukuxumusu. I doubt they need my help selling their image, but I'm happy to do so. Or maybe I should be thanking them for drawing traffic my way?

To the extent that blog post popularity reflects passion and local knowledge, I'm happy that this post has ranked up there among the top. It certainly was a hit the week after I posted it. I hope that next year during Fallas it gets more hits, and also encourages any of you Valencia or Fallas doubters to come here and experience the fun for yourself. Fallas, fallas, fallas!

There are no limits to the power of soccermania in this country. No doubt, if any of you bloggers want to increase your page hits and blog traffic, write an entry or two about soccer (a.k.a. football) here. Name drop players' names, and load some pictures of them, too. None of us ever get tired of this image of that magical moment in July 2010. Good times.

"Valencia, es la tierra de las flores... di-dadi-da-di-dadaa... Valencia"... Nothing makes me happier than to see this entry in the top ten. Valencia is easily one of Spain's most beautiful, under-appreciated cities. In March I added a photo link to my blog template (in the left column at top) to a page on all things Valencia and Fallas, hoping it boosts the visibility of my adopted city. Valencia is great! Come visit! You'll love it!

I can't tell whether this post is getting traffic because people are curious about the movie and what a cranky "Not Hemingway" blogger thinks of it, or curious about the sex scene photos with Nicole Kidman. Whichever it is, I'm hoping it has the desired effect of steering audiences away from the film and towards more interesting things like books and articles about Martha Gellhorn. (Fat chance.)

Okay, so I'm actually very proud of this entry. I think it's one of my best written. But can you guys _ever_ get enough about the Spanish Civil War??? I started this series, "Two Spains, Many Spains", with the idea of applying my skills as a historian to broad trends in Spain's dynamic culture. But then I got busy and burned out. But I promise to return to it... On the table: entries on immigration, the Spanish exodus (post-war and contemporary "brain drain"), and European Unification, among others. All trends transforming the country and making Hemingway's image an increasingly obsolete one.

"Paz Vega" appears right below "Ernest Hemingway" on the list of all-time
search terms that lead people to my blog. Who knew?

Speaking of obsolete images... I only wished that the majority of visitors to this page were actually stopping to read the entry. But again, I suspect the source of traffic here is google image searches on Paz Vega and Elsa Pataky, since the volume of traffic fluctuated in sync with the gossip about these actresses' pregnancies and other shenanigans. This post is one of my every-25-entries-or-so revisits of the "Hemingway paradigm". Too bad the subsequent one on "bullfights, bandits, and black eyes" didn't rank here... but that one requires reading a lot of text to appreciate it.

Well one would wonder if a site dedicated to debunking Hemingway stereotypes didn't draw traffic about Don Ernesto. So no real surprise that this entry gets a lot of visitors. If you didn't get a chance to read it, I recommend the twin entry I wrote with this on "Hemingway's Novels in Spain", which features some wordles of his works.

... and the #1 post of all time for my first year blogging is about ...

SHOES! Hah! What a laugh! A subject I know relatively little about. Go figure. I suspect the popularity of this entry is partly owing to a pinterest tag on some of these shoe photos. Or maybe shoe shopping is up there with porn and cute cat photos for massive internet traffic. Who knows? Still, if this post helps to raise the profile of Spanish shoes in the world, then I'll rest happy. A big thanks to my mother-in-law, whose shopping savvy about Spanish footwear made this entry possible. And a thanks to Menorca, whose "menorquinas" sandals inspired the idea for the entry when I was visiting there.

I'll be curious to see what happens to these post rankings and the rankings of future blog entries as a new crop of exchange students, ESL teachers, and travel/adventure bloggers flood appear in Spain this fall and start perusing websites, gleaning information for their exploits.

Check back here next year to find out! And thank you to all for reading!


Tumbit - Mr Grumpy said...

Happy birthday. It get's easier once your baby is potty trained, keep them coming !

Hamatha said...

Happy Birthday to one of the most original Spanish expat blogs out there!

I loved all of your top posts by the way, but I must say that the Valencia/GoSpain battle was all kinds of extremely awesome.


Pa Ul said...

Your post is great to read. I was amazed this blog of mine a year now.

Chic Soufflé said...

Happy birthday!! I always enjoy your very well-written, insightful posts. Look forward to future posts!

Kaley [Y Mucho Más] said...

Thanks for the mention. I too enjoy reading your posts. I often have to save them for when I can devote my full attention, as your posts are very thoughtful and content-rich.

I really enjoyed your battle about Valencia too! Stand up for what you believe in!

An Expat in Spain said...

Thank you all!

Mr. Grumpy, I can see some difficult toddler years ahead for the blog. Certainly it is going to be a challenge potty training it this second year.

Pa Ul, thanks for reading! And happy belated blog birthday to you, too.

Chic Soufflé, thanks! I will do my best to live up to your high standards!

Hamatha and Kaley, thanks for the support on the GoSpain flaming experiment. At times I'm a little embarrassed about it. I suspect I'm only encouraging Damian with that attention. (I think he feeds off it.) But, confessional, writing it was a guilty pleasure, too.

Tumbit - Mr Grumpy said...

Leave Damian alone you relentless Bully. You should be ashamed of yourself.

An Expat in Spain said...

But Mr. Grumpy, how can something that feels so good be bad?

Candide said...

Happy birthday, blog! I've just discovered you.

Cassandra said...

Here's to your first blog-o-versary! Now it's time to celebrate with a hearty serving of "paella negra" while updating your Spain TO-visit list.

Also, thank you for the mention! I'll be following along for all that debunking fun.

An Expat in Spain said...

Thanks Candide. I hope you enjoy what you find. (I'm enjoying your blog... though the heat coming off it is impressive!)

Hi Cassandra! Everyone I mentioned here deserved it, so no thanks are necessary. Mmm... "pie-ela negra", just the way Damian used to make it.

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