by Liz Burnham
At the Island Community Board meeting on October 10, 2015 ICB president Tom O’Neil took the podium to thank FishersIsland.net and the Fog Horn, and Jane Ahrens as their editor, for providing a place for our islanders, island businesses, non-profits, and tax districts to celebrate their successes and share their messages.
Tom noted that “a centralized information source has been repeatedly identified as a vital piece for the sustainability of the island by islanders and outside groups, including the Yale Study and the 2007-2017 Fishers Island Strategic Plan.” For a community that is administratively part of New York but closely connected to coastal Connecticut, a hyper-local news source needs to cover the gap between the Suffolk County papers and the New London Day.
Harry Parker, an ICB board member, commended Jane’s presentation to ICB’s Communications Committee and suggested that she provide some statistics to the community at large.
FishersIsland.net Report - ICB 2015 Annual Meeting
FishersIsland.net Report - ICB 2015 Annual Meeting
by Jane Ahrens
FishersIsland.net, officially re-launched in January 2014, is the community’s communication tool. It includes the website, which feeds into the Fog Horn newsletter, the Fishers Facebook page, and has various bells and whistles like Instagram. The content, including the news and stories – community calendar – non-profit, districts and business’s website links – the island directory – and photo galleries – creates an image of the island and serves as the resource for all Fishers Island related information.
I think it is safe to say that this project has positively impacted most every Island organization by helping to spread their message and information. Island non-profits and Districts particularly rely on FishersIsland.net to ‘push’ their messages out, be it meetings, news, legal notices, requests and reminders.
Since January 2014 our ‘viewers’ have accessed:
1562 Posts: (stories, obits, births, weddings, classifieds, photo gallery, videos)
75 published Pages: (Community Center, ICB, Island Hours, etc.)
157 Listings in the Directory (Island businesses, organizations and advertisers)
5,769 edited photos and pdfs Media Library
6,625 Events on the Community Calendar: (all community calendar posts)
Inquiries coming via the Contact Us links include over 95 by email, plus those that just call… Our Favorite questions: “Is there a bridge?”, “What is the cab company’s name?”, “Do you have Uber?”, and, “Can you send me a list of the hotels?”.
Brief synopsis of activity
Traffic to FishersIsland.net obviously varies with the season and the date. And, you may wonder who is visiting FishersIsland.net? The answer is Lots of people – and more than just our community members. I am often told visitors, job applicants (and golfers) check out the website before their trips across the Sound.
It is hard to state the “actual” number of people who visit our site without enabling the data tracking of our users on Google (which I am not suggesting we do). But, by taking a careful look at the Google Analytics we can make certain assumptions and do a bit of math – which shows about 28,000 “regular Users” or “people” have visited the site in the last 7 months (March 8-October 8) – since we turned the analytics on. (We took the # Users ÷ 2 (assuming 1 person accesses via 2 different devices/IP addresses).
To bring this down to manageable numbers – in August we had approximately 6200 Users and last month (September) we had 4100. Users visit an average of 2.5 pages per visit – (or during the Sessions). A session is the period of time a user is actively engaged with a website.
More interesting is where they come from and where they go. People from all 50 states check in most months. In June-September the top 10 (and consistently at this rank) are NY, CT, MA, CA, FL, NJ, TX, RI, PA, and VA and those in every country except Cuba, New Guinea and several African nations have visited numerous times. The United States, the UK, Canada, China, Germany, Brazil and France receive the highest ranks – then India and Japan…and so on. Most enter via the Home page – they usually go to About Fishers Island, Events, Directory Listings, and the Photo Gallery. With the top unique pages visited since March:
|1 /Home page||47,597||Other in the top 20|
|2 /about Fishers Island||9,690||Weddings, births 2015|
|3 /wedding-post Grace Potter Matt Burr||6,186||Specific obituaries|
|4 /photo gallery||5,915||Island directory/food-beverage|
|5 /listing/Pequot Inn||4,857||Community center|
|6 /events||4,553||Fishers island advertisers|
|7 /news||3,371||Theater’s summer movies 2015|
|8 /fog horn||2,661||About/ICB|
|9 /island directory||2,456||Classifieds|
|10 /listing/island directory||1,847||Munnatawket NL movie set|
In addition, over 2,115 subscribers currently receive the Fog Horn newsletters that push the news collected on the website out to subscribers free of charge. Since January 2014 only 55 have ‘unsubscribed’ and many of these re-upped with new emails. We have sent 31 eNewsletters from the website: including 28 Fog Horn issues. The Fog Horn is also published on the website as an on-line version and printable pdf (a reduced size that does not contain all monthly posts due to printing costs).
FishersIsland.NY has almost 1300 (actual 1,290) Friends on Facebook (as of October 8, 2015) with the page reaching 3,250 people this week via additional ‘Shares’ and ‘Likes’. Launched October 5, 2013 this page pushes out updates, event reminders, and important information in sync with the website. It also shares information posted to FI School, Community Center, Chef Busse/Island Café, FI Ferry District, Union Chapel and other FI centered FaceBook pages.
Conclusion: I believe most will agree that FishersIsland.net is the communications tool for our island and our community members (whether they are on and off island), and for those who want to learn more about this special place. I just wanted to close by saying “thank you” to all our readers, and to those who give us suggestions, feedback and support. It is very much appreciated!
Island and island-connected businesses are advertising at growing rates, however, like many local papers, advertising revenue does not cover expenses. The Sanger Fund’s start-up funding has run low. Tom expressed ICB’s concern that without a communications node, many organization’s initiatives to stabilize the year-round population and the future character of the island will fail.
“As with any town website, the goal is to make the information available to everyone, free of charge, but it needs funding. Our immediate goal is a permanent solution to the funding of this effort. It wouldn’t take much – if each of the Fog Horn’s subscribers contributed $30, it would be self-sustaining,” Tom explained. “FishersIsland.net is the communications tool Fishers Islanders, whether on or off island, use to build and sustain this community.”