But we’re not going to do a ’roundup of the year’ kind of post. It is all searchably there and anyway, we’ve already linked to one (although it is probably subscribers only by now).
Instead, I just wanted to gaze at our collective navel a little and say a few things about the last year on NL. It has been quite a year…
First and foremost, of course, I must thank my illustrious co-bloggers -, in strictly alphabetical order: Chief, Dave, Francis and J. Not only is there the purely practical – without them, this blog wouldn’t have carried on – I simply have to praise their knowledge, insight, elegant styles and sheer commitment. It must be pointed out that they have done this for no reward whatsoever, not even CPD points. And let us not forget, they are mostly pseudonymous, so there is not even a practice building credibility at stake. Frankly amazing.
We’ve decided – those of us who are pseudonymous – to remain so, at least on the blog. It is one thing people finding out by word of mouth who is involved, as has happened; it is quite another turning this into a blog written by people from particular firms or chambers. It would change things too much.
However, I will take this opportunity to dispel some of the wilder rumours that have reached my ears. Nearly Legal – the individual – is not a barrister, let alone a senior one. I am a now 1 year PQE solicitor. Other writers certainly are barristers, and very good ones, but I am fairly confident that none of them would mind if I described them as not (yet) being QCs – again contrary to flattering rumour.
Readership over the last year has gone from strength to strength. Page views over the course of 2009 went from 17,197 to 24,522 per calendar month. At the high point in late November, we had over 26,000 page views a month, which for a specialist housing law blog is really quite a big deal. In addition, subscriptions by email and RSS to each and every post are now at about 560. Of course, we may well have peaked…
Readers come from every element of housing law practice and study: advisors, academics, law centres, other NFPs, RSLs and local authorities, solicitors (tenant and landlord acting) and many and various barristers. Plus we have been told that certain county court and high court judiciary are readers (big waves to the judiciary, assuming that they are actually reading). This extent and breadth of readership make us very happy and, frankly, astonished. I also must thank our commenters, who have provided much useful information, interesting questions, and good reasons to carry on.
Over the last year, I have received a hell of a lot of requests for adverts, paid for text links, or remunerated links, involving would-be advertisers of greater, lesser or no repute. While I would like to recoup my costs for actually running the site, we haven’t carried advertising of this sort and don’t propose to do so. We are not going to give our imprimatur to claims managers, PI jockeys, conveyancing factories and DUI defenders. No aspersions cast on others who do carry ads, but having started ad-free, we feel it is best if we try to remain so. It is our choice entirely, helped by the fact that relevant advertisers for a specialist housing law blog are few and far between.
That said, I must confess I am considering possible ways to try to recover something of the increasing server and bandwidth charges. These aren’t huge but are getting larger. We have gone beyond our bandwidth and content limits quite often lately and may need to change/upgrade servers. I’m toying with a few ideas, but I assure you that these will not include a) begging, b) charging or c) ads on the main pages.
And for the future? We’re not sure yet. I’m toying with a couple of potential additions and some other small changes, but nothing yet certain or large scale. The main work of the blog will carry on. All in all, it has been a very good year for Nearly Legal and I hope you all have been happy with what we have produced. Although frankly whether you have been or not, we intend to carry on in pretty much the same way regardless, because it makes us happy.