Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Statistically Speaking: What Was the #1 Keyword on the Hoof Blog in 2011?

The most-used terms on The Hoof Blog; you should be able to double-click on the image to see a larger size  and read the small type. You might recognize a few words and names!

All the statistics in the world won't show what 2011 meant to The Hoof Blog. It was another great year, and I hope you were either along for the ride, or that you'll take the time to look back at some of the year's 172 stories.

The economy may be down but blog
readership is at an all-time high.
October and Decemeber 2011 were two of the highest visitor months ever in the history of the blog.

The Hoof Blog has grown in scope a bit--somewhat unintentionally. While this blog has always been a way for Hoofcare + Lameness to stay in touch with subscribers and supporters, some stories in this year's arsenal just wouldn't stay in the hoofcare world.

They went far and wide, and brought in a lot of new people who were interested in glue-on shoes for US racehorses, 3-D Italian roller motion shoes for dressage horses, historical insights to some of the hoofish customs displayed in the British Royal Wedding, and news about research and technical developments, particularly in the area of hoof function and barefoot trimming.

Gift-horses like assisting The New York Times with an article on glue-on shoes during the Triple Crown should not be looked in the mouth. The traffic that links like that one brought just kept coming--whoever those people were.

One article about Molly the Pony 
brought over 100,000 people 
to the Hoof Blog in 2008
If you're interested in what gets read on the Hoof Blog, this post is for you. If you're not, a new post will come along soon.

Of particular interest, besides the overall growth of the blog's visitor stats, was the list of most-read articles published in 2011.

The all-time leader is still the announcement of Molly the Pony, a book about an amputee pony who survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The post was published in April 2008 and someone (I still don't know whom--was it you?) forwarded the post. The email went viral, and over 100,000 people clicked into the blog.

Chaos ensued. Molly's post still garners a huge number of visitors every month, but taking Molly out of the mix, here are the runners-up.

Maybe Totilas beat Fuego in the World
Equestrian Games, but the Spanish
horse ruled on The Hoof Blog, thanks to
Hans Castilijn's intriguing shoes.
(Erin Ryder photo)
Top Hoof Blog Stories of 2011

1. Dressage, Fuego-Style: It's What's Underneath That...
2. Totilas: Heart Bar Shoes for the Dressage Champion...
3. Foot Photos: Totilas Used His Shoes at German Dres...
4. Why Is That Guy Following Prince William and Kate ...
5. Laminitis in a Moose? Vermont's "Pete the Moose"
6. Shackleford's Preakness is First Triple Crown Win ...
7. Polydactyl People and Ponies: A Gallery of Extra D...
8. British Racehorse's Story Touches a Nerve

These statistics are totals of visits by people who came to the Hoof Blog by following a specific link to a specific story. They did not type in the web address of the Blog or visit from a browser bookmark.

Most of these people were visiting only to read that one story and had little interest in hoofcare, but more in dressage, racing, the Royal Wedding or, in the case of polydactyl people and ponies, kinky anatomy.

Top referring outside web sites
1. Chronicle of the Horse (and its forum)
2. Equisearch and the AIM Equine Network of horse magazines
4. Horse and Hound (Great Britain)
5. Eventing Nation

These web sites linked to specific stories on the Hoof Blog and brought in a lot of the casual one-time visitors who inflated the statistics for specific stories. These horse-related site links were unsolicited and completely voluntary. Links from farrier, veterinary and natural hoofcare sites also resulted in plenty of incoming traffic, but in smaller numbers than the large equestrian-related sites generate with a single mention. Many also came from Google (overall, the biggest source of traffic), Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, although those referrals are calculated separately.

Top search keywords

After every possible spelling of Fran Jurga's name and "Hoof Blog" and "Hoofcare and Lameness"--there were some very creative misspellings of all--came some surprises.

Totilas and Fuego, the two dressage horses whose choice of hoofwear dominated the drop-in visits, were nowhere to be found.

The #1 horse searched for: Zenyatta. Back in January 2011, The Hoof Blog chronicled how the great American champion racehorse Zenyatta had been reunited with the horseshoer of her youth, John Collins, when she returned to Kentucky's Lane's End Farm to begin her life as a broodmare. People searched for anything and everything about Zenyatta and her hooves, and found a big archive of articles here.

Top 10 countries

Where in the world are you reading this?
1 United States
2 United Kingdom
3 Canada
4 Australia
5 Germany
6 Slovenia
7 Netherlands
8 France
9 Russia
10 Spain

This is quite a big change this year. Russia was never on the list before. It worries me that Japan is no longer on the list at all. I can't explain Slovenia but I think a good will tour there is in order. Bring on the Lipizzaners...

Browsers and Operating Systems

Internet Explorer is still the #1 browser used, but then it gets interesting. Explorer's share has dropped precipitously. It is followed by Firefox, Safari and Chrome.

Looking a little closer, iPads account for 4% of visits and 10% of visits to the Hoof Blog are on an iPhone, Android (catching up to iPhone!), Blackberry or Nokia mobile systems. Only 68% of visitors used Windows; 17% were on the Macintosh OS. There's also a loyal clan of Linux, iPod and Ubuntu users.

The Hoof Blog seems to be trending mobile...just like the rest of the world. I hope everyone knows that there is an iPhone app-type version of The Hoof Blog that works on all smart phones and displays the blog in a single narrow column. The icon shows up on your phone's desktop once you favorite it.

Top search people

Most searched for farrier: Rob Renirie
And two farriers' names were in the top ten: The leading search term was for Dutch farrier Rob Renirie, who has been featured many times on The Hoof Blog.

In 2011, however, the blog featured a little video of him shoeing the great dressage star Totilas, before the world champion was sold to Germany. People couldn't get enough of that video; it was part of the #2 most-read story of the year, about the switch to heart-bar shoes on the horse under his new flag--and, as a result, new farrier--in Germany.

Most immortal farier: Jack Miller
There was another farrier searched for in the top 10; perhaps our search box goes to another level in the spiritual realm. The Hoof Blog has published many obituaries but none come close--or show up in the search box--like the one for the late American farrier Jack Miller, who is still being searched for more than a year after his death. Jack Miller will live forever on the Hoof Blog.

Statistics are just statistics, in the end. What matters is that you keep reading and sharing and forwarding and emailing and tweeting and Facebooking the information that you find here.

The hoof world is changing around us, and you'll read about it through Hoofcare Publishing. Maybe The Hoof Blog can't always explain it, but we'll make sure you'll know about it, and you can decide what it means to you and what to do with or about a new development.

And as the statistics show, there's a good chance The Hoof Blog will report on that, too!

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© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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