This report describes the origins of the website and how it has developed since then.
In 2009 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
The objectives of the website were:
- 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 existing means of communication, such as the Parish Magazine or the village email network (both of which have been invaluable sources of information), but simply to add another means of disseminating information and making the village more visible to the outside world.
Since then, the addition of the Family History pages have added a new objective:
- To assist people in their family history research.
Statistics (1 April 2010 – 31 March 2012)
Thirty-four new pages have been added to the website, the most notable being the Family History pages. Also, 182 new images have been added.
Although the number of visits has increased by over 60%, the number of page views has hardly increased – suggesting that visitors are viewing fewer pages per visit.
|Posts (during year):||161||176|
|Comments (during year):||52||35|
|Visits (during year):||6,123||9,919|
Visits (hits) by month
The number of visits to the site has risen steadily – up by over 60% on last year, and averaging 827 per month for the year. The peak month was August 2011 with 1,284 visits, almost certainly as a result of the Hoppings.
Returning vs. new visitors
Of the 9,919 visits, over 40% are new visitors:
Visits by country
In the last year, the site has been visited from 86 different countries including such far away places as Trinidad and Tobago, Côte d’Ivoire and Kasakhstan! (Only top 20 shown.)
|19||Cote d’Ivoire||6||19||Cayman Islands||10|
|Rest of World||77||Rest of World||176|
Sources of visits
As expected, the vast majority of people have found the site via Google, so the work we did on Search Engine Optimisation has been very worthwhile. (Only top 10 shown.)
|Source 2010-2011||Source 2011-2012|
Search Engine position
The site’s position on Google has improved from 4th to 2nd for the keyword Hamsterley and the site is first on Google for the keyword Hamsterley Village. This is excellent news since this is the most used search engine. The low rating on Yahoo in 2010-11 is much improved.
|Keyword||Search Engine||Position 1 Apr 2011||Position 1 Apr 2012||Notes (2012)|
|Hamsterley village||1st, 2nd, 3rd||1st|
|Hamsterley village||Yahoo||2nd, 3rd||1st, 2nd|
|Hamsterley village||Bing||1st, 3rd||1st, 2nd|
Unsurprisingly, the keyword most often used to find the site is Hamsterley, but note how highly the keywords Hoppings and Social Club figure. The Houses for sale in Hamsterley keyword is a surprise entry.
|6||Hamsterley hoppings 2010||56|
|7||Hamsterley social club||48|
|9||Hamsterley parish council||25|
|10||Hamsterley film club||24|
|3||Houses for sale in Hamsterley||151|
|5||Hamsterley hoppings 2011||98|
|8||Hamsterley social club||74|
|9||Hamsterley village hall||62|
|10||Hamsterley hoppings UK||50|
Accommodation, Organisations and Businesses
The number of organisations and businesses has continued to grow – necessitating a split of the list into three separate pages. Seventeen businesses and organisations now have their own page on the website.
|Number||Number with own page|
Most popular pages
The History pages continue to be the popular, Jonathan Peacock’s A History of Hamsterley rising to second place.
The Family History pages, however, top the list, having moved from 18th on the list last year to first this year.
The Accommodation page is 8th on the list, showing that people are using it to find somewhere to stay in the village.
The Hoppings pages continue to be popular.
The Houses For Sale, For Sale and Wanted pages had received little or no use and were, therefore, removed from the site. However, Houses for Sale enquiries had a revival in 2011-12 – see Keywords. Houses for sale, items for sale and items wanted are now advertised on the Home page as posts.
(Unfortunately, the statistics do not allow us to identify the least popular pages.)
|5||/history/a history of Hamsterley||798|
The Family History pages have proved very popular. There is now regular correspondence on 23 families and organisations. Seventeen families now have their own pages. The vast majority of comments are about family history.
We continue to receive regular input from a number of organisations in the village – the village email network, St James Church, the Methodist Church, Hamsterley Cinema 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.
Costs to date are:
|Domain purchase: hamsterleyvillage.com, hamsterleyvillage.net, hamsterley.net||£21.53||£21.53||£24.39|
The only other income is from the Google ads:
|Income from Google ads – to March 31 2011||£6.00||£17.07|
Hosting and domain purchase for the year 2011-2012 were kindly sponsored by the Hamsterley Hoppings Committee.
A page of panoramas will be added shortly (done).
A 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 the Hoppings Committee for their sponsorship and everyone who has contributed to the website.
Hamsterley Website Team