It’s the start of a brand new reading year for everyone visiting All About Romance – and the official first year of the “new” AAR.

After more than a decade online, Blythe Barnhill, Rachel Potter, Lynn Spencer, and I officially took over as the new publishers of All About Romance in November.  Since that time, we’ve made some changes to site features, published more new reviews (for the first time in several months, AAR published 50 reviews in December), and added the News and Commentary Blog that you’re reading right now.

The first returns are in and we couldn’t be happier. 

December was AAR’s best month of 2008, with nearly 1.3 million page views, 258,000 visits, 74,000 unique visits, and 4 million overall hits.   And, while we love those numbers, it’s important to note that they don’t tell the whole story since AAR’s popular message boards and the AAR After Hours blog are housed on different servers.  We’re working right now on pulling together message board numbers, but we can tell you that the latter is currently receiving an average of 70,000 visits per month.   As for the new blog, in just one month online we’ve had nearly 32,000 hits.  

And, since running a site as big as AAR isn’t inexpensive, we’re also happy to say that advertising is booming.  (A note to anyone interested in advertising at the site:  Rates will be increasing soon to more accurately reflect traffic, so if you’re considering booking, now is the time.)

There’s something else we’re very happy about:  AAR’s message boards are once again hopping.  We love reading your posts and thank each and every one of you who participate in the discussion.  (And, if you’re reading and not posting, can we encourage you to give it a try?  AAR message board regulars love it when new voices join in.)

So, what can you expect from us in 2009?  More new features and more of what you’ve already told us you enjoy – including more podcasts. We’ll also be responding to the feedback we received in our recent poll, so stay tuned.

But next week we’re returning to a popular site tradition when the Annual Reader Poll launches on January 12th.  The dedicated team comprised of LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS streamlined the poll a bit this year and we’re hoping for a record response.  Start thinking now about your favorites – and your wallbangers – and check back next Monday to let us know what you loved (and what you didn’t) about your 2008 reading year.

Thanks to everyone on AAR’s staff for working so hard and so creatively.  All of us here want to thank everyone who visits and helps make our site vibrant.  We love being a part of the online romance community and plan to be here for years to come.

Here’s to a great 2009!

-Sandy AAR