The Hamsterley Village website is one year old. The first post was made on April 8th 2010 – it was about the Cross Keys offering a retail facility.
This report describes the origins of the website and how it has developed since then.
Early last year I noticed a reference to the Millennium Yew Community Garden website in the Parish Magazine. This led me to search for a Hamsterley website, only to find there wasn’t one. Further research led to an old and defunct village website. Chats with people in the village suggested a new website would be very welcome.
Coincidently, I had been investigating how to generate websites – although I have had a long career in IT, this was still a bit of a black art to me. In March 2010, my daughter Kathryn, who is a ‘web guru’, was visiting from Australia and offered to give me some training. So, to me, the obvious thing to do was to generate a new website for the village.
Objectives of website
We defined the objectives of the website to be:
- To cover news, events and businesses in the parishes of Hamsterley and South Bedburn.
- To provide a useful new means of communicating information in the village.
- To help to raise the visibility of the village.
It was never the intention to replace any current means of communication, such as the Parish Magazine or the village email network (both of which have been invaluable sources of information), simply to add another means of disseminating information and making the village more visible to the outside world.
Statistics (1 April 2010 – 31 March 2011)
Visits by month
The number of visits to the site has risen steadily, averaging 578 per month for the last six months.
Visits by country
The site has been visited from 58 different countries including such far away places as South Korea, Burkina Faso and French Polynesia!
|Rest of World||77|
Sources of visits
As expected, most people have found the site via Google, so the work we did on Search Engine Optimisation has been very worthwhile.
The Wikipedia visits are the result of adding the site to the Wiki listing for Hamsterley, Bishop Auckland
It is interesting to note how many referrals came from the Blacketts family history website.
Search Engine position (1 April 2011)
The high rating on Google is excellent news since this is the most used search engine. The low rating on Yahoo needs investigation.
|Hamsterley||4th||After www.forestry.co.uk/hamsterleyforest *2,
|Hamsterley village||1st, 2nd, 3rd|
|Hamsterley village||Yahoo||2nd, 3rd||After www.travelrepublic.co.uk/hamsterley|
|Hamsterley||Bing||4th||After www.forestry.co.uk/hamsterleyforest & www.hamsterley-trailblazers.co.uk * 2|
|Hamsterley village||Bing||1st, 3rd|
Unsurprisingly, the keyword most often used to find the site is ‘Hamsterley’, but note how highly the keywords ‘Hoppings’ and ‘Social Club’ figure.
|6||Hamsterley hoppings 2010||56|
|7||Hamsterley social club||48|
|9||Hamsterley parish council||25|
|10||Hamsterley film club||24|
Most popular pages
The history pages are the most popular. The recently introduced Community/Family History page is already 18th on the list (395 visits), and from recent experience, it will soon be in the top ten.
The Accommodation page is 7th on the list (645 visits), showing that people are using it to find somewhere to stay in the village.
Interestingly, the Community/People page is 20th on the list (375 visits), even though there is only one entry. Also the Community/Recipes and Community/Poems pages are 27th (238 visits) and 61st (102 visits).
(Unfortunately, the statistics do not allow us to identify the least popular pages.)
|5||/history/a history of Hamsterley||798|
We now receive regular input from a number of organisations in the village – the village email network, St James Church, the Methodist Church, the Film Club and the WI are among those deserving honorable mentions – but more input would be very welcome. We usually populate the site with events gleaned from the Parish Magazine when it arrives.
We have received a lot of feedback on the website – fortunately, all positive. We will not list it all here, but the following extract from an email from Jonathan Peacock concerning queries on family history cannot be bettered:
“The response in general is going very well, and Clare (Baylis) in Cornwall said it is the best village web-site she has ever seen.”
The site is funded by the Website Team. Costs to date are:
|Hosting: www.hamsterleyvillage.com – 2010||£57.62|
|Domain purchase: hamsterleyvillage.com, hamsterleyvillage.net, hamsterley.net – 2010||£21.53|
|Hosting: www.hamsterleyvillage.com – 2011||£69.67|
|Domain purchase: hamsterleyvillage.com, hamsterleyvillage.net, hamsterley.net – 2011||£21.53|
The only income is from the Google ads.
|Income from Google ads – to March 31 2011||£6.00|
The popularity of the Family History pages has taken us by surprise. Some thought needs to be given as to how best organize the information.
We had planned to remove the Community / People, Recipes and Poems pages, but the high number of visits to them suggests that they should perhaps be developed.
We plan to delete the Community / For Sale, Wanted and Houses for Sale pages and simply post any such items on the Home page – these items are transient and currently need to be entered twice.
Another possible addition would be an Expats page – for expats to the village to make contact and share information.
We welcome any suggestions for changes and improvements.
Finally, we wish to thank everyone who has contributed to the website.
Hamsterley Website Team