I wanted to use today’s post for a bit of review and to celebrate an anniversary of sorts. I first began writing Tales from the American Football League in October 2010. My plan had initially been to create a blog that I could use to connect with fellow AFL fans and share scans of my signed card collections. Simple plans, which resulted in a simple blog. I posted very sporadically for about 18 months, sharing stories but having no general purpose.
In the early months of 2012, I got the idea to completely change how I handled the blog. Work was slow at the time, so I spent my free hours completely rebuilding the Tales. I am not what you would call a technical wizard, but with the help of my good friend, Niko, I moved the blog to a new platform and got to work adding new pages and features. Dedicated pages came along slowly at first; I had to learn about this “WordPress thing” as I went. But I soon had pages for the AFL Record Book, AFL All-Star Rosters, Weekly Standings and of course, my Autographed AFL Trading Card Sets.
My first post under the new format was the 1969 AFL Most Valuable Players – Daryle Lamonica and Joe Namath. The next post came… The next day! That was the biggest change for me. Everything that I read about blogs said that authors needed to post regularly, so that is what I did. I began posting daily, and am proud to say that with the help of a few wonderful guest bloggers, a new Tale from the American Football League has been posted every weekday for the past year. My favorites have been the player interviews and a couple of posts about additions to my collections, but looking at the comment counts, readers seem most engaged by the Hall of Fame Comparisons.
The blog is now growing at a nice, consistent rate. We’ve had more than 130,000 views in the past year, and 233 readers are now subscribers, many of whom are former AFL players. There are another 241 fans of our Facebook page, with new people “liking” us regularly. It really pleases me to see so many people enjoying the site.
As we move forward into our second year of AFL “edutainment” (education + entertainment – love that word!), I have a lot of ideas for new blog features. After posting the first audio interview on the site, An Interview with Smokey Stover, it appears that we have an roughly equal number of people that like both transcriptions and audio files. I will now be posting both, though the transcriptions will be posted later as the take me forever to do! I have plans for an AFL bibliography, interviews with other AFL historians, player photo galleries and more.
Lastly, I want to thank you all, the readers, subscribers and commenters, for sharing this online AFL experience with me. I figured that I might connect with a handful of fans and autograph collectors when I first began this blog, but I have been surprised and thrilled with how many people check in here for a bit of AFL fun. Many of you have emailed with kind messages and stories of your own AFL experiences, and truthfully, they mean more to me than you know.
So here is to a fantastic second year for us all. Thank you for being a part of Tales from the American Football League!