The Brothers Brick turns six years old today! In my write-up last year, we focused on changes over the previous 5 years across the LEGO fan community. Today, let’s take a look at these past twelve months here on this blog.
TBB gets real
The main theme here on The Brothers Brick this past year for many of our contributors (myself included) has, unfortunately, been that commitments to work and family have sometimes taken priority over blogging. This is fairly self-evident in the frequency with which we’ve updated the blog. Feedback we’ve gotten from readers reveals several assumptions I’d like to clear up, in fairness both to you our readers and to TBB contributors.
I’m often shocked when I talk to TBB readers in person to learn that they assume running TBB is a full-time “day” job for me and the rest of our contributors. I get a warm glow knowing that we do a professional enough job to make people think that, but it’s not, really. I created The Brothers Brick six years ago today because I love sharing my passion for LEGO bricks, and all our contributors do so because they share this vision. We have a diverse group of contributors who all have day jobs — a call center trainer, a research physicist, a lawyer, an oil refinery operator, a probation officer, a medical student, and a technical publications manager. It’s wonderful to know that many of you have come to rely on us for your daily LEGO fix, but we need all our loyal readers to understand that there will be an inevitable ebb and flow to the rhythm of our lives and to the corresponding rhythm reflected here on the blog. Real life always takes priority, so we’ll continue to blog what we like, whenever we can.
It’s also surprising when people assume we rake in so much money from advertising that all seven of us are employed by the blog (or, somehow, by The LEGO Group). The advertising is there to pay the bills, and whatever’s left over we “reinvest” back into the LEGO fan community we love so much. For example, last year, TBB covered travel and hotel expenses for several LEGO fans who might not have been able to attend BrickCon otherwise. This all amounts to a few thousand dollars, not hundreds of thousands — enough to keep The Brothers Brick operating independently while giving back to the community, but neither I nor the other TBB contributors pocket a single penny ourselves.
TBB looks to the future
All of this isn’t to say that The Brothers Brick is going in a direction we all don’t want it to go — certainly not! We want to make sure TBB can continue giving back in a variety of other ways, even if we can’t fly people to conventions every year. We’ve also figured out several ways to maintain a consistent level of new posts for all of you out there without adversely affecting our non-LEGO lives, and we hope you’ve noticed an improvement in the front page’s freshness over the last few weeks.
As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome!
All about you, by the numbers
As always, here are some stats for this past year.
- 1,200 fans on our Facebook page
- 10,000 subscribers to the RSS feed
- 5,636,554 visits
- 10,559,107 page views
- 1,738,669 unique visitors
- 800 new posts
Central Africa, Central Asia, North Korea, and Svalbard continue to hold out.
The top 30 countries from which people visit The Brothers Brick didn’t change at all, though several did change places. Visits from Japan fell over 7%, moving from 11th to 14th place. Visits from Russia rose a whopping 91%, moving from 28th to 21st place. Similarly, Brazil moved from 21st to 17th, up 47%.
Like last year, search engine keywords seem to be mostly about news items, while more and more of our traffic comes from fellow LEGO sites rather than sites outside the LEGO fan community.
* Excluding variations on “The Brothers Brick”.
The LEGO creations we feature here every day took center stage in most of our highest-traffic posts, with the usual news items interspersed — dominated this past year by the release of the Collectible MInifigures.
- LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 3 decoder
- Dragonball Z Kame House and minifigs
- Nannan’s purist LEGO guns
- Massive LEGO Star Wars Sandcrawler
- LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 1 decoder
- Tim helps define NPU
- The TBB LEGO glossary of AFOL terminology
- Nate Nielson’s online eulogy
- Will Page’s Portal turret
- LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 1 decoder (European edition)
Finally, stuff for the historically minded: