When we first considered publishing an English-language online magazine about Spain we expected that most of our readers would be northern Europeans, people from cold climes who are familiar with Spain and might even have been here on holidays. We thought they would be British, Germans, Scandinavians, French, Belgians and Dutch, along with a few Americans, Russians, Japanese and Chinese. As a lot of these people already know Spain we thought we might be able to lure them gently to take a deeper look at the country and maybe even consider it as a place to set up housekeeping. We know that’s a good idea. We’ve done it ourselves.
So, next month ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living will be a year old. Who reads it? Ironically, the northern Europeans are not in first place, nor second. Those honors go to American and Spanish readers, who consistently head up our statistics. Though we receive visits from dozens of countries around the world, readers from the U.S. and Spain are almost always at the top of the listings.
What subjects do you enjoy reading about most? That was another surprise. The category we thought ¡Alegria! readers would be most interested in would be Spanish Lifestyles, but it turns out that is quite near the bottom of the list. It seems that our discerning readers are more interested in culture than sunbathing by the pool. At the top is Spanish Art and Artists. Fair enough, Spain is traditionally an art intensive country and there is much art here to see and comment on, something we try to do assiduously. A surprising second on the list of our readers’ favorite categories is Spanish History. We are history lovers, though we expected the subject to be well down in the ratings, so seeing it near the top is gratifying. We’ll do our best to maintain the level of our historical articles and videos.
The next heading is also very gratifying. Francisco Goya merits a category all to himself, and that seems to us only fair. We believe that Goya is the most fascinating—and most important—figure in Spanish history, and not just art history. Goya’s later work set the benchmarks worldwide for creativity in subject matter, technique and, by far most importantly, humanity. Goya is more relevant today than at any other time in history, if only for his scathing portrayal of man’s spiraling inhumanity to man—and woman. Goya is the man, and we’ll be seeing more of him on ¡Alegría!
Then, tied for fourth and fifth, come Spanish Lifesyles and Spanish Gastronomy, which we also expected would be more popular. Perhaps we’re not doing a good enough job of conveying the joy of Spanish eating, for joyous it certainly is, as anyone who has approached it seriously will affirm. Admittedly it’s not easy to express in words the nuances of taste, texture and sheer delight inherent in dishes like ajo blanco, the exquisite iced Spanish garlic and almond soup with peeled grapes floating in it. It’s just one of dozens of gourmet Spanish dishes. Have you tried a perfect Spanish potato omelette, for example? Or Andalusian papas a lo pobre con morcilla (potatoes, onions and green peppers simmered in olive oil with grilled spicy–paprika, oregano, cinnamon, cumin–black pudding on the side)? Peasant food from heaven!
This is the information about our readers’ preferences that we can gather from the excellent WordPress statistics service, but it’s pretty generalized. For a more detailed look we must rely on your collaboration/participation. It’s not complicated, nor time consuming, and we would appreciate your help. Every time you read an article or watch a video we need you to rate it from one to five stars. After seeing the article or video, just click on the appropriate star next to the “Rate This” tab that is right below the headline. It’s that easy, and it’s enormously helpful to us in gauging the effectiveness of our communications with you.
Does the article inspire you to comment on it? That’s easy, too. Just click on the “Reply” tab that appears at the end of the headline and register your thoughts there. We appreciate these comments immensely. They make the difference between writing for a vital, loyal, interested audience and launching messages in a bottle. Another helpful gesture on your part—and one which will enable you to receive regularly updated news on our most recent articles—is to Follow us. You’ll find the “Follow” button at the top left of all ¡Alegria! pages.
We appreciate your collaboration immensely. Let’s see if, together, we can make ¡Alegria! They Joy of Spanish Living the world’s finest online magazine about Spain.