One year ago, two bloggers put their heads together and came up with what would eventually become the cornerstone of the blogging community in the Marianas.
That blogging cornerstone is called the We Love Saipan Network.
Take a look at one year's worth of blogger statistics, taken from We Love Saipan's eXTReMe Tracking web counter:
The top right corner shows that we have been tracking the website's stats for exactly 365 days. In that time, exactly 14,388 Unique Visitors were recorded. That is 14,388 different unique visitors being introduced to real life in paradise, straight from the bloggers' fingertips.
Another telling statistic of our success is our percentage of overseas readers. While about one quarter of our readers came from the Marianas, just over half came from the United States and about one quarter hailed from the rest of the globe. Those are impressive statistics. One would expect that a website about Saipan would have mostly Saipan readers. This proves that we are telling our stories to the rest of the world, not just to the people that already live here.
We Love Saipan is just a portal. Bloggers write a testimonial about why they love Saipan and submit it along with a photograph. We Love Saipan readers peruse the main site and then use it to visit the various blogs.
Our blogging community has grown tremendously in one year in terms of both bloggers and readers. The Saipan Blog regularly gets 200-300+ readers per day. Also, my two favorite Saipan blogs, Saipan and other random hypercritical thoughts and Middle Road, get dozens, if not hundreds, of blog comments every single day.
Other successful bloggers with a dedicated following are EJ, Harry, Bev, Cinta, Gus, Walt, Brad, the other Brad, Boni, DC, Jane, Marites, Glen, Bree, Melissa, David, Mike, Tamara, Bruce and Louis.
Several community groups also created blogs this year, including Beautify CNMI, Friends of the Marianas, Marianas RC&D, PAWS, ACT, Taotao Tano and SAVE.
All of these bloggers, and other less frequent bloggers, are listed on my Master List. It is the most comprehensive blog listing in the Marianas. If you're not on there yet, let me know and I'll add you.
The goal of all this was to put out true stories of real life in the Marianas. One year ago there was very little online in terms of what one could expect when they visited these islands. Now someone only need to spend a few hours on the Internet to get a peek into the lives of a local teacher, radio manager, environmentalist, politician, dental hygienist, eye doctor, or business owner.
When people want information on anything these days, the first place they go is the Internet.
Someone doing a Google search for Saipan will find We Love Saipan on the first page of results. They will typically find The Saipan Blog on the second page. That type of Internet presence is priceless. Think about, if you own a hotel, wouldn't you like to be first in a Google search for "Saipan Vacation?"
I'm still not sure what this all means and how it all is going to play out, but it sure is cool.
...and, yes, I am the number one result in a Google search for Fotten Gaga.
That's just how I roll.