Has it been one year already?
Yep, I launched this site this week last year and have been consistently writing and posting for the site since. So why did I start this site?
I need a platform if I am going to be a professional writer someday. Right?
That is what the experts say. But this site is more than just a platform for me—it is how I express myself. It provides me the ability to publish my work now through my blog posts. The site allows me to tell stories and share what I think is important and relevant in my world. Plus writing for the site makes me happy.
So let’s take a look at some stats for the year:
First subscriber: Pam Garrity
First commenter: Ginger Moran
Thank you, ladies!
Comments: 2,358(Non Spam)
I really have nothing to compare these numbers with. I believe this is a great start for my website. That is good enough for me. I’ve also watched my average daily visitor count creep from around 100 this spring to 150-200 this summer to 200-250 this fall. I am now reaching over 300 folks daily. That is pretty damn cool!
Page views: 160,735
Countries reached: 169 (To name a few: China, Congo, Peru, Estonia, Australia, Mexico. That makes six continents!) I’m going to be huge in China…..or maybe just in my head!
Hey, my dogs think I’m cool!
Yes, I feed and give them treats everyday.
What are you trying to say?
So what are most people interested in? What are the most popular posts? You might think the dog team stories, right? Well you might be surprised at the results!
Here is a recap of the ten most popular posts of my first year of blogging.
#10: “Memories that Never Fade.” Army Specialist Marc Whittaker’s struggled to carry on after his dog Anax took a bullet that was meant for Marc in Afghanistan. This is a story of terrible tragedy, heartache, and resolve through the eyes of a combat veteran struggling to reclaim his swagger. This is my first original series and as an Army leader taught me so much about struggles our soldiers face.
#9: “A Marine and his Dog.” Written by Lawrence Dabney and shared on my site, this story’s ending will have you reaching for the tissues. I was stunned that this made the list because I just placed it on my site this month. It is a great story. I recently published the second part.
#8: “Seal Team 6 and Cairo.” I was sitting in the Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan chow hall waiting for a flight home when I first heard the news. We got Bin Laden. News of a dog involved in the raid was reported immediately. At the time I wondered what the hell the big deal was—of course a dog was there. Boy, was I wrong! It was a huge deal to lots of people. This story, shared with permission from Texas Monthly, is a fictional depiction of the events. It’s pretty damn cool!
#7: “Gabe the Street Dog.”Before he was Gabe the 2012 AHA Hero Dog and hobnobbing with Miss America and Betty White, he was Gabe the Street Dog. A shelter puppy turned Military Working Dog serving the U.S Army in Iraq, Gabe’s story is an inspiration to all down on their luck.
#6: “Women Shouldn’t be In Combat Units.”I wrote this piece originally because I always found our government’s restrictions on women in combat to be hypocritical. Women are dying on the battlefield, receiving battlefield awards for valor, and performing successfully in every capacity allowed by our government (and many not allowed). Yet we patronize these brave Americans simply because they don’t possess the same hardware as their male counterpart. I was shocked when this piece received over 400 views in the first day. This was a breakout post for me.
#5: “Returning Heroes.”I’ve been to hundreds of ceremonies for returning troops. But I knew since Sergeant John Nolan and Honza deployed as individual augmentees and not with a group that there would be no ceremony or fanfare. There was just John and his faithful partner Honza returning from war late on a nondescript Saturday night. So I was there, with a group of his fellow handlers from the Fort Eustis Working Dog kennel, to greet and welcome them home. It is just something Service Members do for each other. I put my thoughts of this event into my iPhone while driving home from the airport. I wrote this post the next morning.
#4: “What Makes a General Cry.” My buddy Major Steve Caruso wrote and posted this piece on his Facebook page while serving in Afghanistan. I knew immediately I needed to share it. This true story will tug at your heart strings too.
#3: “Picture of the Week: Troops and their Puppies.”Two undeniable forces for good here–puppies and service members. These are some of my favorite pictures of the year.
#2: “Reason Why Women Should be in Combat Units.”With the success of the first post I immediately wrote two more in this series. It was easy because after the first post I immediately began to receive hate emails and nasty tweets. I stood my ground, ignored the BS messages, and addressed every counterargument with merit in these future posts. I really enjoyed writing and debating my position.
#1: “More Reasons Women Should Be in Combat.” This post went viral! Well not really, but I had nearly 17,000 views on this post—that is viral for me! There were over 1,000 views by 9:00 A.M and over 4,000 the first day. I’ll never forget this day because it is the day we took our new son, Brady, home from the hospital. These women in combat posts were meant to make folks think. I’m happy that I reached over 28,000 people with this series.
You might have noticed the update to the website today. I wish the sliders were smart (meaning they updated with the new posts) but they aren’t. But with the help of my web designer I’ve figured out a more useful purpose for them. Click on one and check it out!
I’m always looking for new ideas and suggestion for the site. Please don’t hesitate to mention your thoughts in the comment section.
I just started working with two new dog teams. One currently deployed to Afghanistan and the other preparing to deploy. I’m looking forward to bringing their stories to you!
Thank you for all your support. I am looking forward to what this year brings.
The next chapter in the Marc Whittaker series will be posted on Monday. Marc was the first handler I linked up with to share his dramatic story.
How is Anax the dog that took a bullet for him fairing?
Can Marc finally shake his funk and certify with his new dog?
All this and more is coming up!
Need to get caught up on his dramatic story? Chick here!
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