Many readers will know that today, 31 July, is Harry Potter’s birthday, a day he shares with his creator JK Rowling. But it is also exactly two years ago I started Blockwarts. And there is one more reason to celebrate, as Blockwarts has now become a Recognised LEGO Fan Media! What is this, you may wonder? Read on to see…
Today, it is exactly two years ago I posted my first post here – so Happy Birthday to me! It has been an amazing journey providing LEGO Harry Potter related content to the fans of LEGO and/or Harry Potter and extremely rewarding to see how the readership has grown.
Blockwarts becoming Recognised LEGO Fan Media
The growth may have been one of the reasons behind the other major announcement for today. Last week, I was advised that LEGO had approved Blockwarts as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media (RLFM). I’m proud to get this recognition for the work, but this also enables some opportunities for more and better engagement with the community.
RLFM is a relatively new program offered by LEGO to support sites that contribute to the LEGO fan community. These come in all sizes (Brickset and Brothers Brick are among the largest, with Blockwarts being in the very small end of the range). Being an RLFM has great benefits including:
- Direct communication with LEGO and other recognised LEGO clubs/sites.
- Occasionally early access to sets for reviews and press release information.
- Participation in LEGO working groups ran by LEGO’s Community Engagement team.
So it opens up for more, better and timelier content, but the style will be the same – keeping a strong tie in with the Harry Potter universe, how sets fit with the books/movies and looking at alternative ways to build things.
Being recognised also mean you cannot share any leaked photos of upcoming sets or figures, though I have never done that anyway. I prefer getting surprised by an awesome looking set myself and won’t spoil it for others either.
How did the year go?
As usual, I’ll take this opportunity to provide a stock take on progress and achievements.
Back in July I set up some “targets” for myself to achieve. I had completely forgot about them till I looked through my old notes a couple of weeks back. I don’t recall setting any particular target dates, but I think the intention was for them to cover the coming year. Most of them, I had achieved around Christmas time – even the stretched goals. The only thing lacking behind was my use of Instagram, where I’m still finding my feet a bit.
- Website blog: The monthly views of pages on the blog has increased a lot, with an increasing share coming from general web-traffic, rather than being linked by Facebook posts. I’ve had a few months with more than 10,000 views and hope I can achieve that consistently over the next year.
- Facebook: The number of followers have gone up slightly more than I had projected, and is now just shy of 2000. The post reach has generally followed that trend too, even though I’ve scaled down the amount of cross-posting I do on other sites.
- Instagram: This has seen growth in followers beyond what I had expected, but I haven’t used it as much as hoped for. One achievement in the last month was to have my first post that reached 1000 likes.
And one of the things I am particular proud of was joining with a number of other Australian based RLFM sites providing prizes for a raffle to support those affected by the severe bushfires over the December/January period.
What has been the most popular posts?
The four posts (published in the last year) that saw the most views were:
- 2020 LEGO Harry Potter sets revealed
- LEGO Harry Potter, what may 2020 bring?
- LEGO Harry Potter 2020 Advent Calendar official
- 4 Privet Drive
The main observation is consistent with what I learned last year, that news and rumours perform best. I’m however pleased to see my model of 4 Privet Drive also made it to the top four list.
Another observation is that my Instructions page keep getting a solid amount of hits, suggesting I should get on to creating more of those. It has been added to my very long to-do list.
Looking at Facebook posts, a honorable mention goes to one of the memes I created this year, which had a reach in excess of 100,000.
…and what was least popular?
The four posts done in the last year that had the fewest views were:
- Build your own Bill Weasley
- REVIEW: Albus Dumbledore and Ron Weasley Brickheadz
- THROWBACK THURSDAY REVIEW: Quidditch Match (2010 version)
- REVIEW: Hermione Granger Brickheadz
I find it equally interesting to see what didn’t catch as much interest. It can be seen that posts about something that is not new or without any rumours about something coming don’t perform so well. My Brickheadz’ reviews were done in 2020 – two years after the sets came out. All three of the Brickheadz reviews got relatively few views, but helped to complete my Reviews section. And should we get new Brickheadz sets coming, these reviews may get a bit more attention.
It should be noted too, that many posts keep getting new views long after they have been posted. Some of the best performing posts in the last year were from 2018 (like the Chocolate Frog Box post) or early 2019 (such as Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes). The four bottom posts are all relatively young with two of them posted in May, one in June and one in July. So over time, I expect in particular the post about the customised Bill Weasley minifigure to perform pretty well.
From this, I can see that timeliness is a critical factor, and I’ll strive to provide fresh news and reviews when possible. But I also like to do other stuff, like revisiting old sets and write about very different things. So there will still be posts like the bottom four here – it is part of the idea behind the site, providing a wide range of posts, not just what is most popular.
What’s coming up?
So, what about next year? I’ll keep what worked well – with focus on news, reviews and modifications of sets. I’ll hopefully also get to stage 2 of my Diagon Alley model, which will introduce a couple of new locations. And to supplement this, I have a couple of ideas for series of posts in addition to revisiting older sets and whatever crazy ideas I might get.
As mentioned above, my instructions have been popular, so I hope to add a few more. They are time consuming to produce though as I generally don’t use programs to design before building, and they therefore need to be done afterwards (where my thoughts are already onto my next ideas).
An improved website layout is also high on the wish list. Apart from the visual experience, it will include improved navigation. Some pages are getting very long, and I’ll over time add linkable subsections as I have already applied to the Memes page.
And not least, I’m thinking of doing a My Own Creation (MOC) competition a couple is times during the year, once I sort out the logistics. Stay tuned!
Anything else you would like to see? Please let me know in a comment how I can make this even better.
Finally, I need to say a big thank you all for following this blog, the occasional likes (encouraging me to keep going), and leaving comments/participating in discussions – the latter making this a lot more interactive than otherwise. With your support behind me, I’m ready for a great year ahead.
Wonder what highlights I can present in a year’s time. Time will tell…
Till then, Build the Magic!