At the end of each year I look back at how this blog performed: raw stats and popular posts. It’s a chance to revisit the best of what I published this year.
Pageviews are down in 2019, largely due to search driving way less traffic, as I wrote about here. Search started driving big traffic here in 2015 (about 138,000 views) and continued through 2016 (127,000) and 2017 (also 127,000). It started to fall off in 2018 (96,000), and dropped sharply this year (60,000).
If you subtract search-driven views from the last five years’ total visits, you get 132,000 in 2015, 124,000 in 2016, 160,000 in 2017, 149,000 in 2018, and 152,000 in 2019. 2017 remains this blog’s best year in terms of pageviews, but overall I think Down the Road is still growing, slowly.
Here’s a far better measure of this blog’s success: comments are way up. (About half the comments represented in this count are mine, as it’s my policy to respond to nearly every comment.) I blog because I want to engage with people like you, so thank you for every comment!
And now, the traditional Top Five lists. First, my five favorite posts. If you click no other links on this page, click these. I put my whole heart into these posts.
- We can learn what love is even from the imperfect people in our lives — Remembering my grandmother. She was a racist and an alcoholic, but she loved me and taught me how to have fun.
- How to build lasting happiness — As I pushed through a bad depression early this year, wayfinding signs along the Michigan Road reminded me I’d done something that mattered. It helped me find happiness again.
- Channel 16, Father Hesburgh, and the Prayer for Peace — The simple prayer of St. Francis of Assisi helped me recognize good Christian faith when I finally found it.
- Magic family moments — I saw my uncle Dennis for the first time in 32 years at my uncle Richard’s funeral. We had been estranged.
- The feelings are the path — A reflection on how I have not coped well with a great number of life difficulties that have come my family’s way.
These are 2019’s five most-viewed posts, thanks largely to being shared widely on Facebook. I don’t much like Facebook anymore, but it’s hard to ignore how powerful of a platform it is for promoting little blogs like mine.
- Welcome to New Carlisle — A small town on the Michigan Road in northern Indiana, New Carlisle retains considerable charm.
- The giants at Bernheim Forest — You can still go see these remarkable wood sculptures at Bernheim Forest in Kentucky.
- A 1989 photo ride — I took my camera out on my bicycle in the Terre Haute neighborhood where I lived after graduating from college.
- Kodak No. 2 Brownie, Model F — This 90-year-old box camera still has the touch. It’s a decent camera even today.
- Recommended film labs — Do you have film you’d like to have developed? These are the labs I recommend.
This year I decided to teach myself to develop my own black-and-white film, and scan it. You all taught me a lot in your comments — thank you! Three of the top five most-commented posts relate to that project.
- Another try at home film developing — This was the second roll of film I developed at home.
- Experimenting with ScanGear on the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II — I tried my hand at scanning negatives with my new scanner.
- I probably shouldn’t be so discontent on this blog’s twelfth anniversary — I reflected hard about why I blog and what I want out of it.
- The home processing adventure will soon begin — My choice of Rodinal as my first black-and-white developer was controversial.
- Tell me a little about you! — Shameless pandering for comments on my blog’s 12th anniversary.
I appreciate it when you click Like on one of my posts when you don’t have a comment to offer, because then I know you’re still out there. Here are the five posts that got the most likes this year.
- Sunset over the Toyota dealer — We get some spectacular sunsets here, and I documented some of them.
- Cold days, suburban neighborhood, expired Agfa APX 100 — I walked through my neighborhood on some winter days with this outstanding film in my Nikon F2.
- Thursday doors: Bardstown, Kentucky — Just what the title says: doors in Bardstown.
- How to blog every day — Everything I’ve learned that lets me publish this blog six days a week without it being a full-time job.
- If I could own only one camera it would be the Nikon F3 — You were surprised by my choice, and let me know in full force.
Thanks for reading Down the Road this year! Now on to 2020.
If you’d like to see my Greatest Hits posts from past years, they’re all here.