I started this blog 1 year ago as of July 20!
A few posts have been like this one: blog updates/questions/summaries as well as a handful or so of historical posts with accompanying images. The much greater majority, however, have been tattoo photos with about 30 people submitting their art, sometimes in multiples, but well over 200 being found by yours truly in my many hours of internet surfing.
Roughly 60% of all my visitors are from the United States, with the United Kingdom and Canada surprisingly making up only about 6% each. Germany, Ireland and Saudi Arabia (!) stay pretty much within the 2 or 3% range. Mexico, Norway, Australia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, Poland and Italy all stay within the 1 to 2% range. Another two dozen or so countries each send me two or three visitors a quarter with European countries factoring more heavily than others. All told, NeoPagan Ink has had about 43,000 hits since I started counting, which I didn't do for the first few months.
What bothers me about that nice round figure is that the majority of my visitors are first time visitors who only stay for a few minutes and then never return. But, as I keep telling my ego, that's to be expected with a blog populated mostly by pictures and nothing else. It also stands to reason that folks visiting a tattoo blog are usually only looking for tattoo ideas for themselves and are not necessarily interested in looking at other tattoos once they find what they're looking for. But it still irks me that so many visitors to NeoPagan Ink stay no longer than five minutes. Which leads me to the changes I've made in content and vision...
I've read before that it takes a good 6 months to a year for a blogger to really find their voice as far as the format, style and content of their blog is concerned. And, in the case of this blog, it's been absolutely true. Up until just a couple months ago I was ripping tattoo images from wherever I found them and only occasionally providing some context for said images. That's all past now as I've become a strictly Creative Commons girl who tries to provide at least some background information about nearly every image. This change reflects the greater shift in my view of this blog from a journal of tattoo photos to an illustrated myth, magic and folklore blog with tattoos serving as the visual interpretation. There are several reasons for this.
One reason is the aforementioned disparity in my visitors who visit once for just a few minutes as opposed to my much smaller group of returning readers. By including more of the background information about the tattoos I hope to give all of my readers a reason to spend some time learning about the important history of deities, symbols, etc., and perhaps keep them coming back for more. The larger reason for this change is that I'm a writer at heart with a long love affair with mythology and folklore who wants to spread some magic through the blogosphere. To that end I've recently begun slowly going back and revisiting older posts and adding more myth and folklore to them. I'm also in the process up updating my labels as I've created categories since I began that I didn't take into account when I started. Basically, I'm revisiting every single post to perhaps add some mythological information and update the labels if necessary. It's kind of a pain and is an ass-backwards way of doing things but it will go a long way toward making my blog more cohesive.
I've also tinkered a lot with the look of NeoPagan Ink over the last year going from all black with skulls and crossbones to this much simpler, cleaner and more universally appealing template. I think I'll probably stick with this template for a good long time, perhaps permanently. I also added a post by post rating system some time ago which I've since removed as so very, very few people ever used it. I try to average about 20 posts per month which I think is reasonable considering that I now include at least a paragraph or two of text with each post and only use free to use images.
So, there you have it. A year of tattoo images and a slowly growing collection of mythological references and many links to tattoo photo sources, tattoo artist sites and galleries as well more than a few links to tattoo shops. I've said it before and I think I'll keep saying it until I can't say it anymore: this blog is a resource for all interested in tattoos of a pagan or mythological bent. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to all of my loyal returning readers and commenters. There's not many of you, especially compared to the one-timers, but all of your visits and comments are GREATLY appreciated. I hope to continue providing this service for many years to come.
So, that's the year one summary. There's been a lot of changes but this blog has finally grown up and is really starting to flourish. Here's to the future!