Transparency report – Rock and/or roll
It turned out to be another outstanding month for Decaturish, both in terms of web traffic and donations.
Our online traffic is about where I expected it to be after February’s snow storms. In February we had 138,993 page views and 65,691 unique views. In March, we had 103,383 page views and 35,690 unique visitors. That’s a solid foundation for a local news product, and I fully expect to see those numbers inch back up. I’d expect a big surge in May due to the May 20 primaries. Special news events like elections and snow storms are going to bring you more traffic than you normally would see. But special news events don’t always happen every month, and for that I’m thankful. I’m fine without the snow. Really.
All the other numbers that matter are moving in the right direction. Our mailing list is up to 188 subscribers. Our Facebook page has 922 “likes.” We have more than 430 Twitter followers. We haven’t really done any marketing push on our end to get more followers. All of that is organic growth spurred by interest from our readers.
Donations were spectacular. We received $580, and put most of that back into content for this website. This month saw more freelancers enter the mix and I like the diversity of the content we’re generating now. We’ll see more of it going forward, provided we can keep donations and advertising dollars coming in to help pay for it.
Many of our donations came after we published a story about the lawsuit involving the Scottish Rite property. People were appreciative of the legwork that went into it and the hard hitting coverage that came out of it. That will continue as well. This website will shine a light on dark corners of this community when it’s needed. Count on it.
A few people who read the Scottish Rite piece took issue with me reminding readers that the production of journalism costs money. I didn’t really do the NPR thing where I politely pleaded for the money to keep this thing going. I sort of laid it out there. Journalism is, in fact, a pain in the ass to do. There’s just no getting around it. Maybe if I’m lucky, when I die I’ll come back crazy and rich so I can pursue journalism at my leisure. But I’m reasonably sane and middle class. In order to provide enough content to keep page views up and devote extra resources to reporting tough stories, it’s going to take money to pay for freelancers. I’m lucky that I’ve found so many talented ones who have been willing to jump in and be a part of what I’m trying to accomplish.
You can be a part of it too. With your help, we can continue our work. Here’s how you can help us:
– Support businesses that advertise with us. I’m not going to lie to you. Without business support of our product, this thing isn’t going anywhere. Decaturish wants to cultivate a strong local economy. When you see a company advertise with us, and if you like what we do, please pay them a visit and tell them you saw their ad on Decaturish. Companies want to know that their ad dollars are providing a return on their investment. They are also showing their support for quality local journalism. Please show them your support.
– Share our articles on social media. Post them on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Google + and wherever else you think they might find a receptive audience. This will build our social media following and will increase our core group of daily readers. That’s important for giving us a strong average number of unique views month-to-month.
– Donate to Decaturish. The money gets put to good use. I’d like to thank all of our donors this month. You are awesome and your donations have helped us go far in a short amount of time. Having additional writers is such a rare luxury for a website of our size.
But we’re doing it. Somehow, some way this thing is happening. I find it hard to believe at times. Our goal has been to continue to improve and increase coverage of our communities every month. I’m glad to say we’ve had little trouble achieving it.
April is well underway and our numbers look good. We’ve got some interesting stories coming out this month, too.
Stay tuned ….