It's time for the annual look at plans for the year ahead, and to see how we did in the year just gone.
Plans for 2022
1. My plans
1.1 Gwulo.com - upgrade
I've been working on this for several months now, so it's no surprise that my top priority in 2022 is to see it finished.
I've completed a test migration from the current website software to the new version of the website's software, and found ways to keep all the main functionality from the current site. Currently I'm working on adding some new features, and expect to have that finished in the next couple of weeks. Then I'll turn to the appearance of the new website, which needs a lot of tidying up.
I expect to have a live copy of the new website online by Easter, then I'll ask for your help finding bugs and suggesting improvements. That'll be a few more months work, which will hopefully be all done by the summer.
I'm looking forward to being able to write about old photos again, instead of writing computer code!
1.2 Gwulo's books
Once the upgrade is out of the way I'll get to work on publishing the next book, Volume 5. It'll be great if it is ready by the end of the year, but that will depend on when the upgrade work is finished.
Sometime before then I'll also have to reprint Volume 1, as we're down to the last three boxes, or 150 copies. That'll be the third reprint, which together with its initial print run means there will be 4,000 copies of Volume 1 in print!
2. Your plans
2.1 Newsletter subscribers
If you're enjoying the newsletters, and can think of any Hong Kong friends who might enjoy them, please can you forward them a copy (probably not this one!), along with the link they can use to subscribe: https://gwulo.com/subscribe
If you started contributing content to Gwulo in 2021, welcome to the site! To get the most from Gwulo, please take a moment to read through the FAQs. They'll help make sure your photos and content reach the right audience, and don't get lost among Gwulo's 40,000+ pages.
1. Readers, contributors, and patrons
I'll put all the detailed figures at the bottom of the page, but here are some of the key points.
1.1 Newsletter subscribers, and other readers
We ended the year with almost 4,700 subscribers to the weekly newsletter, or over 700 more than in 2020. The number of subscribers isn't a completely reliable measure, as it includes people who receive the email but never open it. Still, if I look at the "Total opens" figure, I see that the last newsletter of 2021 has been opened 5,500 times, which is 500 times more than for 2021's first newsletter. So even if the numbers aren't exact, they are growing.
The Wartime Diaries also continue to reach new readers each year, with the latest "80 years ago" daily email delivered to over 130 inboxes each morning.
As well as the email subscribers, we also get a lot of visitors to the website via Google and other referrals. In total, Gwulo's pages were viewed 2.5 million times in 2021. That's around 4% less than 2020, so it'll be interesting to look at this again in 12 months time, and see if it grows again, or if 2020 was the peak for pageviews.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the website during the year.
I've not been posting as much to the website as usual, while I'm focused on the upgrade. A few years ago, that would have caused activity on the website to dry up to almost nothing - it used to happen every summer when I went on vacation with the family. The fact it hasn't happened this year is due to all the contributors' good work, adding a steady flow of interesting new photos and stories:
And keeping the Q&A going in the website's comments:
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