When you produce news seven days a week—365 days a year—not all of the stories will be homeruns in terms of reader interest. Speedonthewater.com story No. 4,994 about Mercury Marine Canada’s impeccable employee safety record, for example, was read just 1,067 times. Speedonthewater.com story No. 4,996 about marine industry pioneer Fred Kiekhaefer’s new variable propeller pitch surface drive, on the other hand, got 33,377 reads. So far.
Without loyal readers, speedonthewater.com is nothing. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix (click image to enlarge).
Forget that the Mercury Marine Canada story went live last Sunday—a typically slow traffic day for content sites—or that the Kiekhaefer drive story went live the following weekday. One story had greater news value to our readers than the other. The numbers don’t lie.
But the numbers also don’t paint a complete picture.
With yesterday’s admittedly self-promotional article on Grant Bruggemann joining the Speedonthewater.com test team, we reached story No. 5,000. With the article that followed that evening about DCB’s new M33R catamaran, we published story No. 5,001.
That’s a long way to travel in just eight years, especially since Jason Johnson, my longtime friend and dedicated partner in speedonthewater.com, and I didn’t start publishing seven days a week until early 2015.
A few people told us we were wasting our time when we started publishing on weekends—that it wasn’t worth the effort. They were wrong. By producing content, albeit typically light with the exception of event coverage, on weekends, our average Saturday and Sunday traffic numbers quadrupled. But the bigger reward was better reader service.
Why should you have to wait for until Monday or Tuesday, for example, for a story on a Super Boat International race that happened on Sunday? Why indeed. We don't think you should. So with speedonthewater.com, you don't.
Speedonthewater.com is—like most professional media outlets—a for-profit business. We make no secret of that. With the exception of our annual Year In Review print magazine, online traffic is the coin of our realm. From our bi-monthly digital magazine to our weekly newsletter to the daily news on the site itself, traffic is what we “sell.” Without traffic, meaning readers actually reading our stories, we have nothing of value to offer our advertisers.
So it all comes down to you. Homeruns or singles, if we don't produce stories that interest you—if they aren’t competently reported and written and of some value to you—we have nothing. Publishing every day is meaningless if the stories are junk. And in this business, you’re only as good as your last story.
The good news? There’s always another one coming. Thank you for your support.
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