FCFreePress.com Usage Report for Mar 2019

Exponential Growth during the Month of March.

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Our monthly usage reports are designed for both users and advertisers. We publish these reports in the spirit of transparency.

As of March 31st we have 656 active subscribers to our newspaper. Our goal for April is 1000 subscribers.

We wrote 53 News Articles, 26 Local Events and 6 Recipes this month for a total of 85 total stories in March. That is an average of 2.75 new postings a day. Our goal for April is 3 stories per day. That is about the maximum we can produce without another reporter.

We out performed all of our goals for March. Our traffic went from 557 users in February to over 3040 users in March. That is a growth rate of 600%.

Our User Demographics

We combined Google, Facebook, WordPress and US Census sticital data to discover who our readers are and what they want to read about.

Newspaper Subscriber Demographics

Our most common reader is a 50 year old white female, married with 2 children & 2 grandchildren, she is a Republican and has an annual income of $50,000. We of course have readers of all ages, genders, income level, and political affiliation.

Public Reach Demographics

We measure reach by how many people were shown a Headline, Featured Image and Teaser Paragraph on their viewing device. 9% of our reach clicked through to our website.

Our reach is slightly different from our subscribers. This demographic tends to be about 10 years younger with a slightly higher male to female ratio.

March 2019 Traffic Report

Our total reach between all of our platforms was over 50,000 people in the month of March. We had a total of 3221 people read a 5924 stories in March. Again an exponential growth rate of 600%.

Disclaimer: We do not require our readers to have a subscription to use our website. Because our news is free to the public, we can capture a much larger audience. We always encourage our readers to join our free subscription service but it is never required. Email Subscribers have the news delivered directly to their email when a story is published. It’s basically a delivery service.

Readership by Geographical Location

Top 3 States in MarchNumber of Readers
Pennsylvania1,945 Readers (61.94%)
District of Columbia461 Readers (14.68%)
Maryland135 Readers (4.30%)
Top 5 Cities in MarchNumber of Readers
Chambersburg554 Readers (27.91%)
Greencastle252 Readers (12.70%)
Mercersburg214 Readers (10.78%)
Shippensburg154 Readers (7.76%)
Waynesboro125 Readers (6.30%)

Search Engines

Organic search engine placement is the most difficult and the slowest process. We continue to climb the search engines with our average page position of 21. When you search for Franklin County Free Press we are on page 1 of every major search engine.

Google – Organic Placement

Google is the most used and the most difficult of all the search engines to place on. We are currently at position #7 for the keywords “Franklin County Free Press”. We are competing with two well established newspapers who have a variation on the name.

Our average PageRank in Google is 21, with #1 being the first listing. So we are at the top of the second page for most of our website listings. It is important to remember that we have only been online for 2 1/2 months.

Google drove 152 readers to our website in March. We still have work to do on our search engine optimization program for Google.

Bing – Organic Placement

We are #2 on Bing for the keywords “Franklin County Free Press”. We fully expect to become #1 on Bing within the first year.

Yahoo – Organic Placement

We are # 2 on Yahoo for the keywords “Franklin County Free Press”. We fully expect to become #1 on Yahoo within the first year.

Social Media

At this time social media platforms are our best driver of traffic. They are ideal for newspapers because unlike search engines readers are presented with a headline, large feature image and a small intro to the story. Search engines just give you a headline and 156 characters for a short description.

Facebook – Organic Placement

Facebook is our biggest traffic driver at this time. We had a reach of 32,581 people on Facebook and we received 3383 readers from Facebook to our website in March. This is a exceptional click through rate of 10%.

Our best story which went viral was about a new warehouse in Greencastle PA. That boost gave birth to hundreds of new viewers and dramatically increased our reach. We have capitalized on that boost and expect to maintain a strong momentum moving forward.

Facebook – Paid Placement

We spent $15 in Facebook ads to get 162 new subscribers. That is 9 cents per subscriber. Again not a bad investment.

Twitter – Organic Placement

Our reach on Twitter was 14,300 people and sent 30 people to our website. The click through rate is not that high but we have started to work the platform and expect it to climb as time goes by.

Twitter has a larger male population than Facebook and the interests seem to be more political on that platform. Twitter is not as easy to engage readers as Facebook is but it has proven to be a useful platform.

Funding Programs

This is our bread and butter. It pays the bills and the bills are large.

Public Funding Program

This program so far has not been very successful. To be fair about it we have not put that much effort into marketing this program. During our server resource issue a reader tried to donate using our online donation form but was unable to donate. I reviewed the software settings and performed a diagnostics test of the software but I was unable to find an issue. My belief is that the server resource issues timed the operation out and that caused the issue.

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Donation Total: $5.00

Website Design Program

We have started our website design program in March. We presented our 1st website proposal at the end of March and it was accepted.

If you would like for Franklin County Free Press to design your new website or have a WordPress website that can use some work, we can help you. You should contact either Vicky Taylor @ (717) 372-0079 or David Taylor @ (786) 760-6159 or fill out the form below.

Banner Advertising Program

We started our Banner Advertising program in March. Right now we are not charging for advertising because we are collecting performance data.

To date our banner ads all have about 1% click through rate. Not a stellar rate but it will improve as we refine our website.

Now on the other hand if we measure the click through rate to the NFI Industries Job Search from our warehouse story, we had 1,986 people read the story and that sent 171 people to the NFI Industries Job Application website to apply for jobs. That is an 11% click through rate. So a high click through can be achieved but it is very dependent on the right message being shown to the user.

AD SPECIFICATIONS

Landscape Ad Dimensions
728 by 90 pixels
1000 by 250 pixels

Landing Page Promotions
Full page ad any size images

Skyscraper Ad Dimensions
300 by 500 pixels
300 by 600 pixels

Box Ad Dimensions
300 by 300 pixels

We offer ad space inside the header, sidebar, news articles, and footer of the website.

Free Advertising Program

Anyone who would like to advertise during this data collection period should contact either Vicky Taylor @ (717) 372-0079 or David Taylor @ (786) 760-6159 or fill out the form below.

Video Advertising Program

We began our Video Advertising program in March. We are still in the data collection phase so like the Banner Advertising we are promoting videos from Dr. Ken Rictor to assess the click through and video view rates.

Amazon Affiliate Program

This program doesn’t require data collection and we have started this program already. This will be used primarily in our Consumer Product Review Program. When we review a product that we believe is worthy will add a display image with affiliate link to the product we are reviewing.

Server Issues in March

Because of our unexpected growth in March we maxed out our server resources and the server began to stall out. We upgraded our server to a dedicated server with more resources to enable growth. We do not expect to have this issue again as we are constantly monitoring our resource levels now. As we grow we will have to add more resources but now we have alarms in place to warn us before resources become an issue again.

Lessons Learned in March

  • Keep a close eye on the server resource levels. We grew so fast we outstriped our resource allocation for our server. Increasing our resource allotment is fast and easy but after a problem arises is not the time to worry about that. From now on we will monitor our resource usage more closely.
  • Twitter works, and we need to pay as much attention to it as we do Facebook. Twitter is a different crowd and they are more interested in political events than Facebook users. However for our political stories it can be quite useful.
  • Our most popular news stories were investigative stories. This type of story takes considerably more time than a simple press release. Those stories are unique and provide often vital information that the public wants to know about.

The Next Step

Our goals for April are:

  • Increase subscribers to 1,000
  • Increase reach to 75,000
  • Increase news stories to 3 per day.
  • Increase our website traffic to 6,000 users in April.
  • Build our grassroots network for news tips, local events and other information that will help fill our content requirements.
  • Build our business community network for ad sales.
  • Build our political and governmental administration network to help fill our content requirements.
  • Easter egg contest from 4-10-2019 to 4-21-2019. Find the Easter egg in a news article, click on it to save to your Easter egg basket. When the reader collects all 12 eggs they are entered into a drawing for a prize.

Labor Needs

Labor is by far the most expensive cost we have. In March we burned through another $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.

Editorial Staff

  • 1 Editor ✅
  • 4 Reporters 😕
  • 1 Photographer / Videographer 😕
  • 1 Social Media Manager 😕

✅ = Position filled
😕 = Position Open

Support Staff

  • 3 Ad Sales Manager 😕
  • 1 IT / Website Designer ✅
  • 1 Accountant / Receptionist 😕
Frank Maira | Penn State Mont Alto Assistant Director of Athletics
Frank Maira | Penn State Mont Alto Assistant Director of Athletics

We would like to extend word of thanks to Frank Maira our primary Sports Writer. He is not employed by Franklin County Free Press but his stories are always well written and help fulfill our content needs.

We are pleased to start receiving sports stories from Wilson College. Chris Brunner will be providing that service. Thanks a million to Wilson College’s Athletic Department.

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We are excited and have so much planned for our youth this year

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