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10 million page views later… Free Movement’s 10th birthday

10 million page views later… Free Movement’s 10th birthday

The Free Movement blog has turned ten; the first blog post was published on 7 March 2007. In the last ten years the blog has received 9,572,432 page views (and counting…). It has been quite a ride, driven by the thirst for up to date, clear and well sourced information on immigration and asylum law.

First the blog was followed by a handful of immigration lawyers and the author was anonymous. I learned more about website development and started to use images as well as text. I learned that more frequent posting attracts a bigger audience. Then came email subscriptions and social media, when I joined Twitter in September 2009. I first put my name on the blog in 2012. The growth in readers has been phenomenal and a huge section of the readership today are members of the public looking for information about how immigration law affects their lives and the lives of their families.

Now the blog has a membership section, online training courses and videos, a very active forum and it hosts online legal services with video link advice available and an application checking service. I try to cater for all types of reader.

The original About page for the blog, when it first began 10 years ago with zero readers, read:

All you need to know about me is that I’m a UK-based immigration lawyer.

This blog is aimed at both lawyers and those with a more personal interest in immigration and asylum. I am aware at the outset that these are two quite different audiences, and it may be that I have to be more focussed in the future.

My intention is that this blog will include a mix of news, immigration law gossip (it’s a small world, appropriately enough), commentary and signposts to events, resources, other websites or developments. I also plan to include some advice and resource pages. The commentary will be written with an agenda: I haven’t got a perfectly formed world view or consistent ideology on the subject of immigration and immigration control, but I do believe in minimum immigration controls and a liberal, progressive approach. One of my hopes for the blog is that it will help me reach a more coherent view.

That purpose continues to drive Free Movement today.

The top ten blog posts of all time are:

EU nationals must apply for permanent residence card for British nationality applications461,516
Massive increase in family immigration fees for 2016-17157,049
Comprehensive Sickness Insurance: what is it, and who needs it?117,004
Can children and parents apply to remain after seven years residence?112,836
An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington111,760
Briefing: the legal status of EU citizens in the UK104,752
Expediting an EU residence document application101,954
How to make a permanent residence application99,406
Spouse visa minimum income case heard last week98,025
Visit visa refusals: appeal or judicial review?97,193

Some of those posts are quite new, some are quite old. To overcome the inherent limits of the blog format (“a website that consists of a series of entries arranged in reverse chronological order, often updated on frequently with new information about particular topics”) I have in the last couple of years started to go back and update, refresh and republish key popular blog posts to try and keep them current and I have also been working at creating useful training courses and ebooks which tie together and enhance information scattered around Free Movement.

And a bonus trip down memory lane for long time readers:

 

This time last year I wrote that the site was due for a major overhaul and developers would be needed. And so it was. I hope you are all enjoying the look and functionality of the new site. Thanks for reading!

Colin Yeo
Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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