www.hamsterleyvillage.com – Annual Report


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)

Pages: 56
Posts: 161
Images: 404
Categories: 7
Tags: 38
Comments: 52
Visits: 6,123
Page views: 37,439
Countries: 58

Visits by month

The number of visits to the site has risen steadily, averaging 578 per month for the last six months.

April 256
May 338
June 272
July 412
August 723
September 658
October 479
November 537
December 527
January 722
February 560
March 639
Total 6123
Average: Oct-Mar 577

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!

(Top 20)

1 UK 5470
2 US 188
3 Australia 131
4 Canada 87
5 Germany 17
6 Russia 17
7 France 16
8 New Zealand 13
9 Saudi Arabia 13
10 Belgium 10
11 India 10
12 Netherlands 10
13 South Africa 9
14 Norway 8
15 Spain 8
16 Philippines 7
17 Italy 6
18 Ireland 6
19 Cote d’Ivoire 6
20 Sweden 6
Rest of World 77
Total: 6123

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.

1 Google 3,838
2 Direct 948
3 RSS 129
4 AOL 114
5 Moonfieldds.com 111
6 Wikipedia 109
7 Yahoo 107
8 Bing 101
9 Theblacketts.com 85
10 Google.co.uk 82

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.

Keyword Search Engine Position Notes
Hamsterley Google 4th After www.forestry.co.uk/hamsterleyforest *2,
& www.hamsterley-trailblazers.co.uk
Hamsterley village Google 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Hamsterley Yahoo 16th
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.

1 Hamsterley 975
2 Hamsterley village 624
3 Hamsterley hoppings 136
4 www.hamsterleyvillage.com 114
5 Hamsterleyvillage.com 63
6 Hamsterley hoppings 2010 56
7 Hamsterley social club 48
8 Hamsterley history 37
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.)

1 /gallery/history-people 1,129
2 /history 884
3 /organisations/hoppings 840
4 /organisations 801
5 /history/a history of Hamsterley 798
6 /location 762
7 /accommodation 645
8 /gallery/history-place 587
9 /gallery/hoppings-2010 576
10 /gallery 463


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
Total: £170.35

The only income is from the Google ads.

Income from Google ads – to March 31 2011 £6.00

Future developments

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.

Derek Toon

Hamsterley Website Team

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