We are kicking off the third year of TheBlaze with a quick look at how we finished year two.

With a 9-million visitor bang.

Before we explain that news…a brief reminder of how we got here.

And it starts with a bad prediction.  We launched TheBlaze on a Monday night — August 30, 2010.

We had a staff of four people.

I had predicted that we would see 2-4 million page views in the first month.

It wasn’t a random guess.  I knew from my involvement in other popular news sites what kind of traffic we might expect.  I knew the impact of, say, Glenn Beck mentioning a story on radio or TV (or linking to it in his email newsletter).

I believed if we worked hard me might be averaging 8-10 million pages views after a year.

But I was wildly wrong.

Instead of two million page views in the first month — we did closer to two million page views on the first day.  And the traffic just never stopped.  By the end of September we were getting close to 40 million page views.  Most readers won’t care too much about “absolute unique” visitors.  But it’s an important figure in the web world.  We topped 2.2 million unique visitors (Google Analytics) that first month.  About what the Daily Beast was doing after their first year — only we had a fraction of their staff and budget.  Probably a single digit fraction.

We’ve chugged along pretty quickly since then.  We ended year two with 17 people on our editorial staff.

Hitting nine million “absolute unique visitors” (Omniture) this past month was a great milestone.  To us it’s not just matter of numbers, it’s a sign that you are finding value in each visit to TheBlaze. The Google metrics show that you are reading lots of stories and spending tons of time on the site (an average visit duration of over 11 minutes).

Having more than quadrupled our audience in just two years (comScore shows us to be far larger than long established news sites like RealClearPolitics or The Hill), gives us terrific momentum to expand the range and energy of our coverage.

I should note that these numbers do not yet include the enormous traffic to TheBlaze TV (the former GBTV). The brand merger will only turbocharge our acceleration. The coming launch of TheBlaze Radio Network will also be a force multiplier for us.

The growth of TheBlaze Magazine and our e-book initiatives will continue to expand our publishing impact.

We saw tremendous traffic surges during our in-depth coverage of both conventions — we take that as a sign of your trust that more and more TheBlaze is where you turn for the important and breaking news each day. We’re humbled by the enormous support we have seen for TheBlaze since day one.

And we’re just getting started.