So it’s goodbye to 2013, then. We’ve already posted a review of what happened in law & religion over the last twelve months but we also felt that New Year’s Day was a suitable time to reflect on a year of blogging – prompted by an automatically-generated end of year report from WordPress.
Somewhat fortuitously, we ended the year with our five hundredth post, which means that since we started we’ve been churning them out at an average rate of six every week. The site had just over 100,000 page-views – though how many of those were by earnest seekers after learning on law and religion and how many were automatically generated by websites selling counterfeit Rolexes or whatever is impossible to tell. Since we installed Akismet it has deflected 6,244 spam comments, so that presumably reduces the total of meaningful views to below 100k.
Over the year, the blogs from which we got most referrals were Thinking Anglicans, UKHRB and Anglican Mainstream – for which our thanks to all three. The other two major sources were Twitter and Facebook: we currently have 392 followers on Twitter; but neither of us is on Facebook, so exactly how it picks up the blog we cannot begin to understand. Readers came from 179 countries, with the United States coming second after the UK and Australia third – but only one reader from Greenland (UKHRB had three).
The top posts in terms of readership were:
- Sharia and the English legal system: the Government’s view;
- Chaplin, Eweida, Ladele and McFarlane: the judgment;
- Redefinition of Marriage – New Clause 9 – on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill;
- Will Adams’s guest post, Women bishops – what you see and what you don’t; and
- The re-burial of Richard III.
None of this was unexpected, though the disparity between the first two was something of a surprise. The post on Eweida & Ors received over 1,600 hits while the post on sharia had over 10,000. Which suggests two things: that sharia is currently the hot topic in law and religion and that there is a serious need for an authoritative Web article on the relationship between sharia and secular law – something we are not really competent to provide.
Another aspect of our readership comes from the monthly ebuzzing statistics which from December this year has included L&RUK in the “legal” category in addition to that for “religion and belief” which was the only metric until then. This put us in the top ten of each category, which appears to reflect our joint focus on “law” and “religion” – though a single data point is not a good basis upon which to draw firm conclusions and when the next set of stats is published we might possibly find ourselves outside the top twenty.
Also not included in the statistics are the excellent guest posts we have published throughout the year: from Dr Bob Morris of the UCL Constitution Unit on the succession to the Crown; Will Adam, editor of the Ecclesiastical Law Journal and Vicar of St Paul’s, Winchmore Hill, on women in the episcopacy; Professor Mark Hill QC, of Francis Taylor Building, Temple, and the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University, on the Anglican Church in New Zealand’s refusal to consider gay man for ordination being upheld by Human Rights Review Tribunal; and Russell Sandberg, Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Law & Religion at Cardiff Law School, on religious tribunals. Nor should we forget the growing number of in-depth “Comments” we are receiving, the majority opting for our preference for not using pseudonyms.
We look forward to 2014 for which there already seem to be a number of interesting issues on the horizon.
Thanks to all our readers and commenters and a very happy New Year from
Frank Cranmer & David Pocklington