Happy Fifth Birthday to my blog

A rare sight - Charles Bridge with hardly any tourists! © Ricky Yates

A rare sight – Charles Bridge with hardly any tourists! © Ricky Yates

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4th February 2014, this blog will be five years old. My first ever blog post, entitled ‘Episcopal Taxi Service‘, was published here on 4th February 2009. Five years later, this is post number two hundred & fifty eight.

In some respects, I’m a little disappointed with myself. Two years ago, I set myself the target of publishing fifty-two blog posts in the year – an average of one a week. As I explained twelve months later, I eventually only managed fifty. This year, having set myself the same target, I have again fallen short as, with this post, I have only managed to publish forty-six.

On the positive side as I look back over the past five years, I am quite pleased with what I have achieved. For example, if you scroll down and click on ‘Select Month’, under ‘Archives’ in the right-hand side bar, you will discover there isn’t a single one of the past sixty months, when I haven’t published a blog post. And in fifty-nine of those sixty months, it has always been more than one!

Without blowing my own trumpet too loudly, I do contrast this with several other blogs I’ve followed over the time that I’ve been blogging, which have gone well for a while and then have quietly died. Or those that start out very well-intentioned, and then have failed to manage more than two or three posts. If you are going to first build and then maintain interest in your blog, it is essential to add a new post at reasonably regular intervals which is what I have always tried to do, even though I haven’t done so quite as frequently as I would have liked to have done.

In some respects, my blog has become far more widely read and appreciated, than I ever could have imagined when I started writing it five years ago. As I’ve previously explained, the original aim was to update family, friends and former parishioners in the UK, about my new life in Prague and my role as the Anglican Chaplain. But I now seem to have gained a following amongst English-speaking Czechs, both those living in their country of origin and others currently residing elsewhere. Additionally, I appear to be read by other English-speaking expats living in the Czech Republic and by both current and former members of my Prague and Brno congregations.

One very satisfying result of my five years of blogging is that it has brought people to Church. Just a few weeks ago, I was standing at the door of the Church, shaking hands with members of the congregation following our Sunday Eucharist. A British couple who were visiting Prague, introduced themselves and told me that they had decided to come and worship at St. Clement’s simply because they had read my blog!

Another reason why my blog attracts as many visitors as it does, is that a small number of posts, rank highly in Google and other search engines, for the topic they cover. An enquiry as how to register a British or Irish right-hand drive car in the Czech Republic, will promptly highlight my two posts from 2009 – ‘Driving on the ‘right’ side of the road‘ and ‘Check this Czech car out!‘. Consequently, I’ve several times generated business for my friend Adrian Blank, who was so helpful to me in getting the ‘Carly’ through all the necessary hoops nearly five years ago.

I also really ought to be on commission from the Czech Tourist Board as my post from January 2011, entitled ‘Why I like living in Prague‘, remains as one of the most popular landing pages for new arrivals to my blog.

A major change in my blogging practice came at the end of May 2012 when I started using a brand new laptop computer, one on which I still work. This, together with the ever-increasing availability of wifi internet connection in restaurants and hotels, has allowed me to both write and published blog posts, without being located in the Chaplaincy Flat in Prague. Thus in June 2013, when flooding caused us to lose our internet connection for seventeen days, I was able to publish a post using the wifi provided by Bar-Restaurace U Topolu. Later that month, I both wrote and published a blog post, whilst on holiday in the Orlické hory.

This fifth birthday for my blog, has come immediately following the events I described in my previous post – the publication of an abbreviated and very poorly translated version of one of my blog posts, by the the online Czech tabloid Prásk!, both without any link to my original or seeking my consent. I have written to the Director of PR and communications of the offending media company, seeking a published apology, but have yet to receive any reply. However, without condoning the behaviour of the Nova media group, I’m increasingly taking what has happened to me as a back-handed compliment.

It has resulted in a massive increase in visitor numbers to my blog, with numerous English-speaking Czechs leaving interesting and appreciative comments. And the number of Facebook ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ for ‘How to be Czech in ten easy steps‘, yesterday went past 8,000! Twelve days after the offending article was published online, my blog which normally has around fifty or sixty visitors each day, still had well over four hundred. Clearly I had better take full advantage of my new-found fame 🙂

So as ‘Ricky Yates – an Anglican in Prague’, enters the sixth year of publication, I shall seek to continue to write and reflect upon my experience of ministering to English-speakers from around the world and living as an expat myself in this fascinating city and the wider Czech Republic. Hopefully, those who have recently discovered the blog for the first time, will continue to visit.

Whilst I have a number of plans for future blog posts, if there are any particular topics my regular readers would like me to tackle, please let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, join with me in raising your glass to celebrate the fifth birthday of ‘Ricky Yates – an Anglican in Prague’.

10 comments to Happy Fifth Birthday to my blog

  • Keep up the great works – 5 years and more to come! I enjoy your works with in-depth look into Czech culture.

  • Sean Mccann

    Hello Ricky,
    Congratulations on the 5th anniversary, you have every right to feel proud of your achievements and of the excellence of your posts over the year. I first found your blog while researching online for our family’s first trip to Prague in 2010. I came across your post about the boat trip to Slapy Dam and we decided straightaway that this was a ‘must do’ as part of our trip. We’ve been back to Prague a couple of times and each time we love it more. It was great to have your blog posts to read as an independent viewpoint when planning that first visit. Every success to you and your 5 year old in the future. Go n-eirí an bothair libh.
    p.s. I’m looking forward to your book and would love to buy a copy when it is available.

    • Ricky

      Hello Sean – Thank you for your congratulations & kind words. I’m very glad to know that my blog has helped with your enjoyment when visiting Prague. When the book is complete & published, you can be sure you’ll hear about here!

  • A very Happy Birthday to you and your blog, Ricky! I don`t think you need to be beating yourself up over not publishing quite once a week, though. Your posts are all of high quality, and have clearly achieved a loyal following, which is the proof of the blog pudding, when all is said and done! I wish I could say I manage a blog a week! I am also agog to read the book!
    Enjoy your blogging birthday,

    Best wishes,


    • Ricky

      Thank you for your kind words Meira, and for your blog birthday best wishes! I love your ‘proof of the blog pudding’ expression 🙂

      I’m not beating myself up, but I do get a little frustrated with myself, for not quite reaching a goal that I set for myself. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, writing an interesting, accurate blog post, minus spelling mistakes & with correct punctuation, does take time – as does writing the book! But it will be done & details will be announced here on my blog.

  • Heartiest congratulations on reaching your fifth blog birthday, Ricky, something only a minority of blogs will ever achieve. I’m heading up to my third blog birthday, but have never set myself any publishing schedule over that time, with the result that my monthly post total has varied between 2 and 10. 🙂 I really enjoy reading your blog, not least because it helps to keep fresh some very happy memories of my two visits to Prague to act as your locum.

    • Ricky

      Thank you Perpetua! I am pleased with reaching my fifth blog birthday. As you rightly say, only a minority of blogs last that long, a point I make in my post. However, you are an example of someone who does keep going, regularly publishing new, interesting posts & I’m surprised when you say that ‘Perpetually in Transit’ isn’t yet three years old.

      I’m a great believer in the saying, ‘If you aim at nothing, you’re certain to hit it’, hence I do set myself a target for the year, even though I’ve fallen short both times. The target does help to keep me writing & publishing pretty regularly & thus maintain interest amongst those who kindly follow me. Saying that, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but, on your recommendation, I’m now using Bloglovin’ to follow yours & several other blogs. I even managed to put the link in the side bar without the assistance of my technical guru 🙂

      I’m very pleased to know that my blog brings back fond memories of your two Prague visits. I’ll try to give you some more nostalgic memories in the coming year 🙂

  • Congrats on the 5 year mark! I think that your goal to write the blog for your family probably contributed to the quality of your posts, differentiating you from the average blogger. Its pretty awesome that your intentions were so humble and yet now your blog is popular enough to be attracting newcomers to your church, that’s an accomplishment!