Gwulo in 2014

Before we look ahead to the new year, let me thank everyone who has contributed to Gwulo over the last twelve months - every day when I visit the website there is something new and interesting to read.

Then for 2014, my goal is to upgrade the website software. It's getting embarrassing, as I said the same thing in 2013, ... and in 2012! More details on last year, and my plans for this year, below.

I hope you'll keep reading Gwulo in the year ahead, and please keep sharing your stories and knowledge of old Hong Kong with us.

Best regards, David


How did last year's plans turn out?

  • Upgrade the website software. Despite spending a good chunk of time on this, there hasn't been any upgrade - we're still running the same version of the website software. One glimmer of hope is that I've decided how we'll handle photos after the upgrade. This has been the barrier to upgrading, as I've swung back and for between two possible approaches.
  • Wartime diaries. I'm very pleased with the way they're growing - see the Diary pages and Wartime Diaries subscribers figures below.
  • Old photo + Who/What/Where/When. I'm still enjoying posting up the old photos and researching their stories. There are over a hundred online now, you can see the full list at
  • Talks. I gave five talks through the year. The biggest audience had 99 guests, and no-one has fallen asleep in a talk yet!
There also were a couple of lovely surprises in 2013:
  • R E Jones daughter, Rae, got in touch. All the facts and figures on Gwulo are fun to discover, but it's the personal stories that I find most interesting, and helping people learn about their family history is most satisfying. Hearing Rae's story, and helping her read her father's 'lost' wartime diary for the first time is a highlight of my year. (Read more about it here and here.)
  • The American Institute of Architects awarded Gwulo a Citation for "raising public awareness and appreciation for the physical and cultural heritage of Hong Kong".

And throughout the year we've kept on adding more photos, facts, and stories about old Hong Kong:

Pages on website2013201220112010
Diary pages2,3261,589  
Forum topics761639525350
Total pages15,13111,8658,1146,160
Total comments20,88317,47714,91011,370
Jurors Lists (years)29271911

We've ended 2013 with over 7,800 photos, 15,000 pages, and 20,000 comments!

Of course there's no point writing all this if no-one is going to read it, but there's good news there too:

Newsletter Subscribers    
Email subscriptions833 603353180
Facebook 'likes'705 463273 
Twitter58 4333 
RSS subscriptions31 8253 
Total1,627 1,191712180
Wartime Diaries subscribers    
72 years ago109   
71 years ago8881  
70 years ago4437  

We've had a steady increase in the number of people subscribing to the weekly email newsletters and the daily wartime diary updates. (The wartime diary figures are a bit exaggerated, as some people have subscribed to multiple years.)

Apart from the newsletters, we also have more visitors reading content via the website:

Website traffic (thousands)    
Visits263 250200157
Unique visitors155 15011388
Pageviews1,351 1,149919872

I note there hasn't been much growth in the number of 'Unique Visitors' to the website this year. On the other hand, each visitor is reading more pages, which is fine by me.


Looking ahead, there is just one goal for the year:

  • Upgrade the website software.

This is becoming more urgent as the current software starts falling behind in its support for new versions of browsers, mapping software etc. And finishing the upgrade will allow me to add some new features to the website that will make it easier to use and more effective.

So that will be my focus from now until it is done. I don't know how long it will take. I'm hoping that in three to six months time we'll be using the new version of the website, but we'll see.

I plan to keep sending out the weekly newsletter, and I shall also continue working on the paid research I mentioned last year. But otherwise I'll be posting less comments and new information to the site for a while as I get on with preparation for the upgrade. I'll keep you updated on progress, and hope you can help keep the site busy by posting up your photos and stories for us to enjoy.

Thanks again, David


Gwulo Website

Thanks, David, for yet another year of sterling effort.

Btw - amongst your statistics (if necessary please pardon my ignorance ! )how do you classify a 'unique visitor ?

All the very best.


Unique Visitors

Thanks Harry,

'Visits' and 'Unique visitors' are terms used by Google Analytics, the software I use to track activity on the website.

'Visits' just counts someone opening the site in their web browser. So if I visited the website once a day in 2013, 365 of the recorded Visits are mine.

'Unique visitors' tries to identify individuals, I guess by the browser they use. So if I always used the same PC and web browser to view Gwulo, I'd count as one Unique visitor.

You can quickly imagine ways that these figures aren't 100% accurate (eg sometimes I use my PC, sometimes I use my mobile phone), so the trends are more important than the exact numbers.

Regards, David