Our monthly usage reports are designed for both users and advertisers. We publish these reports in the spirit of transparency. February is our first full month of analytics.
The month of February was spent refining the website structure, navigation and optimizing the content for search engine placement. We are primarily using 3 tracking programs to analyze website traffic and visitor usage; Google, WordPress and Facebook to track our social footprint.
Our User Demographics
- 65% are female
- 60% are between 35 and 65 years of age
- 45% have one or more college degrees
- 50% have an annual income of $50,000 per year or more
We do not sell any information we collect about our visitors to anyone for any reason. We only publish group behaviour to help everyone understand how our website is being used. The information about our users is only collected to improve the website for our readers. We do not collect or maintain any credit card info and our website is protected by a firewall, antivirus and malware protection software.
Search Engine Marketing
These programs are designed to promote the Franklin County Free Press website through the search engines. Much work remains to bring the entire website into SEO standards. We expect to in in full SEO compliance within the next two weeks.
Google – Organic Placement
The most important of all search engines, Google is our primary traffic reporting system. The feature image is a screenshot of our Google Overview for February 2019.
All the numbers across the board have increased this month and our bounce rate has dropped to a respectable 33%. We would obviously like to see it drop even more but we are within the normal operating range.
Visitor numbers has more than doubled to over 500 unique users per month. Early indications point to over 1000 unique users next month. Our objective is to try and double each month for the next 3 months.
Visitor retention is also up. Users are reading an average of 3 stories per visit and time on site naturally follows at about 5 minutes per visit.
Overall we had 575 users read 2,852 pages in the month of February.
Google Ads – Paid Placement
We plan to start buying Google Network Ad Placement in April 2019. Before starting that program we want to maximize our website optimization and create landing pages for the program.
We do not expect a long term Google Ad Placement program but it will help get the newspaper in front of targeted audience in Franklin County PA. When we achieve our objective of 50,000 returning visitors from Franklin County we will suspend the program until needed again.
Bing – Organic Placement
As with Google we have linked the website to Bing. This insurses we are well indexed on Bing, the second largest search engine. March will be our first month of data collection from Bing so expect more info next month.
Bing – Paid Placement
We plan to start buying Bing Network Ad Placement in April 2019. The same goal posts set for Google will apply to Bing.
Social Media Marketing
These programs are designed to promote the Franklin County Free Press website through the Social Networks. For the moment most of our traffic is coming from Facebook. This will change as we bring the website fully online and the search engines have properly indexed our website. Facebook and Twitter are the only social networks that are actively being managed. All others are online and working but nothing is being posted at this time because of a lack of manpower. This issue will be resolved as we bring more workers online.
Facebook – Organic Network
Facebook is our primary source of traffic at this time. We launched the Franklin County Free Press in January 2019 and have built our following to 197 followers by February 28th, 2019. Currently we are gaining about 6 new followers per day.
Facebook – Paid Placement
We spent $70 and reached 7,000 people resulting in a cost of 1 view per penny. Not a bad return.
Twitter is running primarily on automatic mode. When we publish a post or event on our website, it is automatically pushed to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. When we get a Social Media Manager this issue will be resolved.
Instagram is online and working but nothing is being posted at this time because of a lack of manpower. When we get a Social Media Manager this issue will be resolved.
Pinterest is online and working but nothing is being posted at this time because of a lack of manpower. When we get a Social Media Manager this issue will be resolved.
YouTube is online and working but nothing is being posted at this time because of a lack of manpower. When we get a Video Editor this issue will be resolved.
Linkedin is running primarily on automatic mode. When we publish a post or event on our website, it is automatically pushed to Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. When we get a Social Media Manager this issue will be resolved.
These programs are designed to raise money for operational costs of Franklin County Free Press. We will not accept funding of any kind that will compromise our editorial guidelines.
Public Funding Program
We are still looking for public funding through our online donation program. We hope that as our daily readership grows we will begin to see more donations. This is the prefered method of revenue generation as it removes advertisements from our website and keeps our content free to users.
Website Design Program
Because we have our own website design team inhouse, we can offer website design services to local businesses. Also we have an advantage that other web design services in the area don’t have. When we launch your new website, we will write a feature story about your business and give you 2 weeks of free banner advertising on the Franklin County Free Press to jumpstart your website.
Although a very labor intensive program, an average of 48 hours per website, it has highest ROI (Return on Investment) of all our programs. When we reach our maximum monthly visitor rate, our target is 150,000 visitors per month, Banner Advertising may have the highest ROI. Time will tell.
Banner Advertising Program
This month we are recruiting local businesses to advertise on our website without cost. This will give us the data to evaluate how well this program will work. Early test show a 1% click through rate.
We are also looking into an internal couponing system that will allow local merchants to make coupons for the upcoming week for publication on Wednesdays. This idea is still in the concept phase and has no launch date set.
Video Advertising Program
We plan to sell video ad space at the bottom of the home page in the video box. Early ideas is to sell the box to one client at a time. So for example; a car dealership could put up to 5 videos at any given time and rotate them out with new videos as needed.
Digital Yard Sale Program
With a shopping cart system we can sell donated products on our website to supplement to our operating revenue. To avoid shipping costs we will have a local pickup only and restrict sales to within the Franklin County, PA geographic area.
The details for the administration of this system is still in development. We haven’t set a launch date for this program.
Amazon Affiliate Program
This program will raise income through an affiliate linking system. We will review Amazon products and offer the affiliate link to our readers. If our reader buys the product we receive a small commision on the sale. Launch date for this program is scheduled for March 15th 2019.
Coupons.com Affiliate Program
This affiliate program provides coupons to readers. The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) market is focused on merchandise that customers use up and replace on a frequent basis. Details for the administration of this system is still in development. We haven’t set a launch date for this program.
Patreon Subscription Program
Patreon is a membership platform that will collect recurring subscriptions. The Patreon account has been set up but we are not currently recruiting any supporters on this system. Details for the administration of this system is still in development. We haven’t set a launch date for this program.
The Next Step
We have started to produce a minimum of 1 story per day this month. Our next goal post is 2 stories a day starting in April.
We are sticking with our original goal post of 10,000 visitors per month by the end of July 2019. This goal might be a bit ambitious with such a small operation, but you know what they say, no guts no glory.
We are in the design phase to add Crossword and Sudoku puzzles to the website. No launch date has been set for that project but we hope to have it ready by the end of the month.
Labor is by far the most expensive cost we have. In February we burned through $8,000 of labor to produce the newspaper. Below is what we will need to reach full production capabilities. The green checkbox ✅ is what we have and the yellow frown face ? is what we need.
- 1 Editor ✅
- 4 Reporters ?
- 1 Photographer / Videographer ?
- 1 Social Media Manager ?
✅ = Position filled
? = Position Open
- 3 Ad Sales Manager ?
- 1 IT / Website Designer ✅
- 1 Accountant / Receptionist ?
The bottom line is, we need more workers. We have several promising prospects but we really need anyone who is interested in journalism to step up.