Learn everything you need to know about where we have been and where we are headed here at Raymmar.com.
An in depth article that explains how a single blog post changed my life, and why you should start building your own personal online brand.
Learn more about where we’re headed here at Raymmar.com
It’s almost time…
For a long time I have been teasing my audience about the big things that were coming. But it’s been a while and we’ve been pretty tight lipped about allo if everything we are working on… until now.
I apologize for the long pause in communication, but the truth is that I’ve been under gag order. The technology we are working on is as time sensitive as it is innovative, and the last thing we wanted/needed, was to blast our game plan online and lose our competitive advantage.
However, we are now close to a public release of our early prototype, and over the next few weeks, we’ll begin sending out more information about my Circles of Online Influence and the ray.do platform itself.
The Vision is to create an open source media company and content discovery network that empowers creative while challenging the rules of online advertising. It’s the culmination of everything we’ve been working on for the last 3 years, and we’re hoping to have quite a disruptive effect on the world of sales and marketing as a whole.
How you can get involved
- If you own a business: or would like to know more about how we are helping creative companies stand out online, please reach out and let me know how you would like to connect.
- If you are a creative entrepreneur: Click here to request early access to the ray.do network.
- If you live in Sarasota: Please check us out at the Sarasota Underground and then join us at our next meeting. We are organizing for action across a number of local initiatives, and we will begin proving our larger media model on a small scale right here in Sarasota. This will provide you with unique exposure opportunities and a chance to get in on the ground floor of something much bigger.
- If you are just a fan of my work: Be sure to subscribe, and then connect on social media with the links below. We’re planning on ramping up videos, podcast and other multimedia content as we move forward.
Feel free to reach out with any other questions or concerns.
P.s. You may notice some changes to the website over the next few weeks. These are all in preparation for the new launch, so please do not be surprised if you find a glitch or two along the way. We are trying to work them all out before we open this up to the public.
Raymmar.com is all new, and I want to share the vision with you.
The history of Raymmar.com and why I am uniquely qualified to help you grow your online presence.
Let me save you some time here.
There is no secret to building a brand online.
- It takes time and a lot of great content.
- It takes a good story and a willingness to open up and make yourself and yes, your product vulnerable to the world.
- It means sharing the story of why you do the things you do as opposed to trying to trick people into helping you do them.
Once you break that barrier, you can begin to build trust with your audience and turn your online presence into a revenue generating machine that can help you spread your message across the world.
If you are interested in learning more about how to do just that, click here and let’s talk about how I can help you optimize and grow your online business.
Raymmar.com started out as just a simple online portfolio…
I was just starting out as a marketing consultant and trying to build a name for myself online. I bought a cheap hosting plan on GoDaddy, installed WordPress and bought my first theme. I had no development skills, and zero dollars to spend on any of it, but I was going to take over the world.
The site was pretty gross. At the time I thought it looked good, but a few friends told me they wouldn’t come back until I changed how it looked.
I was bombing my Facebook feed with requests for people to “Like” my page and to “check out my new website”. That is, until a friend sent me an article from The Oatmeal about how to get more Facebook likes.
To make a long story short, the article said to quit begging friends for Facebook likes and start creating content that they would actually like.
I had been so focused on trying to get people to my website, that I forgot to give them a reason to come in the first place. There was no reason for them to stay when they got there or come back if they did decide to visit. And even the few people who came had little to see, and even less that was worth sharing.
I set out to find a better theme, and then learn as much about blogging, search engine optimization and inbound marketing as I could. I wanted to learn everything I could about how the internet worked and I still had quite a few things to learn about writing words that people would actually want to read.
Starting to tell a story
I started trying to express more of my personality online. I started playing around with online memes and Infographics. I began writing more in depth articles (like this one about email marketing) and tried to understand the best marketing practices by actually practicing them.
I started writing articles about the town I lived in and wrote a couple stories about the incubator I was working in at the time. I was testing my writing abilities and trying to find ways to use local events to boost views and engagement.
I started sharing part of my personal struggle but not in an attempt to gain sympathy or pity from my audience. I did it in an attempt to inspire them. To show that determination, hard work and the willingness to fail fast are things anyone can learn and use to accomplish their goals in life.
I was able to convert my story into something people cared about. Something someone looking to find a place online would do well to learn quickly. My audience finally had a reason to come back. Now they were rooting for me.
But how to get to that next level? How would I shake things up or separate myself from the millions of other online bloggers?
“I know, I’ll start making videos!”
Said the guy who had never shot, or edited a video in his life.
My first video did pretty well online and I was happy with the couple thousand views it got but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I released my next video.
I published the rant on a Friday afternoon. By midnight it had 5,000 views.
Friends immediately started messaging me, telling me that I was crazy. Even some of my fellow content creators told me I had just ruined my career. They said I was stupid to put something like that out to the world. That even though I made good points, I had also made a big mistake.
The next day that video did more than 80,000 views. That Sunday it did 221,505 page views and another 77,007 the day after that. Then Facebook shut down the link. This was the first, but not the last time, that Facebook throttled my content.
Not only did they block the post, but since my commenting system was connected to Facebook at the time, I lost the ability for people to comment on the post as well as losing the 900+ comments that had already been made.
Although the video got blocked from Facebook, I still got a big viral bump from it and it helped me build an early subscriber base. I now had a small group of people to update with new posts, and I had an article that was giving me some credibility with Google.
Over the next few months I kept writing and made a few more videos. Nothing took off like that first video, but I wasn’t worried. I now understood that the path to building a strong online presence would be slow and steady. It would be about testing and trying, tweaking and breaking, constantly evolving until the site gets to the point where people can’t help but spend time interacting with it.
In my mind, the goal was to build a library of evergreen content. I was telling beautiful stories and stocking the digital shelves of my website with arrangements of words that people liked to read. Available to anyone, at any time. This is the real key. Sticking with it. Sure the viral posts help but those will come eventually if you just focus on telling great stories and putting your best work out to the world.
Over the next few months, I set out to refine the website and prepare it for the next traffic explosion. In the process I connected with a group of people that asked me to come out to CPAC with them and be their on-air personality on Radio Row
Keep in mind, I have no formal training as a journalist, reporter or anything that even resembles either of those things. What about my radio experience? That hadn’t happened yet so I was a total rookie! But what kind of blogger would turn down an opportunity for that kind of exposure on a national level?
While preparing to head out for CPAC, I wrote and published an article titled 7 Reasons You’ll Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life. It was not until a couple of weeks later when I looked at my web stats and saw that I was getting a thousand views a day, two thousand, three thousand and then one day 26,000 page views. Turns out that the article was going viral on Medium.
That month (February 2014) we did 1 million views on Medium alone and another 1.5 million in the following four months. We still do 20-50K views a month on Medium and while that traffic might not be directly tracked on my site, the hundreds of thousands of people who did come to my site from Medium were already highly engaged with my work. This means they subscribe at a much higher rate which is definitely one of the perks of being a top publisher on Medium.
There have been other articles that performed well online. Namely this one, and this one. The exposure I got from these articles lead to being asked to become a contributor at the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and a number of other notable online publications. All of which have gone a long way towards helping me gain credibility as a writer, but for me, the focus has always been on turning my website into the center of operations. The rest of these things are just part of the distribution mechanism but any aspiring web mogul would do well to make sure their website is the hub for all of their online interactions.
All of this exposure was giving the site a boost in search rankings which is one of the things that young blogs can struggle with. This past July, the website was showing up in Google search results hundreds of thousands of times per day. It seemed that we were not only gaining credibility with readers but with the search engines as well. And remember, this is all organic. There is no paid advertising behind any of this growth at all.
All in all, over the last year (not including the Medium traffic) we did just under a million views on my personal website and gained more than 10,000 email subscribers. Sure the web traffic is still erratic and I am sure it will continue to be that way as it grows, but I drive regular engagement, have a steady base of repeat visitors and am regularly getting leads from all around the internet. All of which has allowed me to work from home and be my own boss.
Making a confession
I do not have magical marketing powers or any secret tricks to teach you about how to be a better blogger. I can only tell you that the moment I started sharing bits of my personal story with the world is the moment that the world started actually listening.
There is so much noise online and so many people are always trying to sell you something, that most people enjoy it when someone is honest and open with them. They appreciate it when you share your goals and struggles with them, and I think that businesses can learn a lesson from all of this as well.
I think that businesses can learn a little something about lowering their shields, and letting their customers see the people that actually make them a great company.
Tell me the story of the immigrant CEO or the mom who created the product to help her kids. Tell me why you make the product, not why you think I should buy it. Let’s start making better products so that we can restore some level of faith in a sales process that has become completely perverted over time.
These last few years have been an interesting journey. They have taught me how to be a one man media mogul and showed me how to broadcast my message to the world. My web presence is now bigger than most of the media companies in my local market and I will continue to hone these skills until I pass each of them up alltogether. I will continue to publish high quality content and keep helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same thing along the way.
So if you have a business, product, or website that you are looking to build an online presence for, then I’d love to hear from you. Whether we do business or not, I love to connect with other people who are doing cool things online.
Anyway. Hopefully you have enjoyed this story and maybe you’ll even come back for another one sometime soon.
A statistical traffic analysis of the top 12 new-media websites in Sarasota Florida. How do they all stack up? Read on to find out.
Understanding The List
People have recently been asking me how popular my website is in comparison to some other websites here in town. I usually just give them my traffic stats, but I wanted a better way to show how our traffic stacks up against some of the top new-media websites in Sarasota Florida (my home market).
I used Alexa rankings for each of the 12 websites and ordered them based on their traffic volumes and user engagement levels.
I understand that this is not an apples-to-apples comparison and Alexa does estimate some of these traffic stats, but it does show the impact of our overall reach and growing popularity compared to other influential websites in the Sarasota market.
I also understand that Raymmar.com is not a traditional media or “news” organization. We are however, a place where people come to think and ask questions about life in general. If you ask anyone in the media game, they will tell you that it all comes down to attracting eyeballs, so with that in mind, I figured it was fair to use a measurement of online eyeballs as a relatively easy way for people to understand our online reach.
Below you will find a screen shot of each sites Alexa rank and stats, along with a brief description of my thoughts on each of these Sarasota-centered media companies.
What is New Media?
New media refers to on-demand access to content anytime, anywhere, on any digital device, as well as interactive user feedback, and creative participation.
Another aspect of new media is the real-time generation of new and unregulated content.
What is Alexa traffic rank?
An excerpt from the About Alexa page
Our global traffic rank is a measure of how a website is doing relative to all other sites on the web over the past 3 months.
The rank is calculated using a proprietary methodology that combines a site’s estimated average of daily unique visitors and its estimated number of pageviews over the past 3 months.
We provide a similar country-specific ranking, which is a measurement of how a website ranks in a particular country relative to other sites over the past month.
You can find a more thorough explanation of the logic behind the list at the end of this article.
#1 – HeraldTribune.com
It is probably not a surprise that these guys are at the top of the list considering the size of their national parent network. They have a daily newspaper and the largest online presence of any Sarasota based media company.
The Herald Tribune is also a subscription based website so they limit the number of articles you can read on their site before forcing you to sign up for a subscription.
Apparently you can get around it with some browser extensions or masking services but, with so many other places on line to get the news, I’m really not sure it is worth the hassle.
#2 – MySuncoast.com – ABC 7
MySuncoast.com is the website for ABC 7, which is another top performer in the Sarasota media game.
With a headquarters downtown Sarasota and daily televised news broadcasts, they are one of the preeminent sources for local news here in Sarasota, although they could still use some help with their overall web presence.
#3 – Raymmar.com
I was fairly certain that I would be on this list, but I honestly never expected it to be at #3. Considering I am the only one-man-show on this list, it was definitely one heck of a surprise.
Raymmar.com has become virally popular over the last year and I have started to create a name for this website as a creative playground for independent thinkers all around the world. I have the #1 article on Medium.com right now, am regularly featured on the Huffington Post and just got picked up as a contributor to Elite Daily (658 Alexa US ranking).
Because of the websites increasing popularity on a national scale, I automatically gain credibility when talking about issues in Sarasota. You should definitely look for me to start infiltrating more Sarasota based search results in the near future as I start to shift some of my focus to the local market.
I am always open to online collaborative projects. If anyone reading this wants to talk about working on something with me locally, they can contact me here. Together we can continue to build awareness for Sarasota on a national level.
#4 – YourObserver.com
The Observer Group is another local media outlet that is a more niche-based print publication.
They are known for their local newspapers that are targeted to specific sections of the Sarasota market. For instance, they customize publications for Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, Siesta Key and others. They even have a Black Tie section. The first one I noticed that specifically targets the Sarasota socialites. Something that many of the other Sarasota publications have in common.
This is also the first on the list that is not ranked under 100,000 globally, so there is no historical graph data. You can however still see their rank in the United States as well as their basic page engagement.
Just an observation:
You can see that the online competition for media companies in the Sarasota market is not that stiff. Any one of these companies could make a big jump up on this list with a fairly targeted shift in online distribution strategies. In case any of you are reading this…
From here on down the websites get considerably less popular. The next time I do a report like this I will probably open the field up to the broader St Pete and Tampa market.
#5 – SarasotaMagazine.com
Sarasota Magazine comes in at #5 with their popular local magazine.
I have no idea how big their print reach is, but their web presence is weak for an organization of this size.
It makes me wonder what kind of people are running the online marketing divisions at these local companies and how they justify their salaries.
The site is simple but plain and had no real pop. What I find to be truly ironic, is how poorly the present themselves online, considering how beautifully edited their magazines are.You’d think they might consider spending a little more time on building a beautiful web presence to match.
#6 – TicketSarasota.com
I actually liked the initial feeling I got when I landed on their homepage.
This was my first time on the Ticket Sarasota website. but there was a friendly image and the articles are laid out nicely so good on them, but you can tell by their traffic that it is still not that popular a resource.
I see immediately that I can search the Herald-Tribune restaurant listings and then I see the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I realize that this is another facet of the #1 company on this list, The Herald Tribune.
#7 – VisitSarasota.org
Visit Sarasota cuts their teeth by preparing pre-arrival Sarasota Visitor Guides.
They were distributed to about 47,000 people last year and their website is actually colorful and vibrant.
They are so close to getting it right, but they need that final refinement to make the magic happen.
Headings, subheadings and paragraph breaks are all important to how the site content makes a user feel. There were some good articles on this site but the deluge of text on the screen makes the articles seem intimidating. Format the articles, break up the text and give your content some hierarchy and you might get people to stick around a little longer.
I understand that their priority might not be focused online but they did brag about reaching 47,000 people with their mailers. I reach more than 47,000 people in any given month and we have done hundreds of thousands of views per month so you have to think these guys are missing out on some online sales opportunities.
#8 – ThisWeekInSarasota.com – TWIS
This Week In Sarasota’s web traffic is on a steady decline if these web stats are accurate.
TWIS was founded by Matt Orr, and claims to be “The the premier site for what to do, where to go, who to know and what’s going on this week in Sarasota.” Sounds good but their traffic trends say otherwise.
There was some kind of connection between TWIS and a few of the folks over at the HuB, but that is long over and although I do not know the whole story, I do know that this website is nowhere near as popular as it used to be.
They do have a calendar on the site and have apparently partnered with Ringling Underground for their Culture Collective subscription which gives them some potential for a jump in this list if they leverage that relationship properly.
#9 – SarasotaDay.com
Sarasota Day is an online media company based out of the HuB and was founded by local entrepreneur, David Daly.
I contribute to this site once in a while and they have some great writers and story concepts but I really think they hurt themselves when they started requiring people to like their posts (like-gate) before being able to read them.
As of writing this article, they no longer require you to like their articles before you can read them but according to these numbers it definitely left a mark on their overall web presence.
I wouldn’t count these guys out just yet though, with the backing of the HuB and a surplus of creative contributors, they are a viable Sarasota new-media start up.
I think we can probably attribute this temporary dip to growing pains and you can expect to see them climbing this list in the years to come.
#10 – biz941.com
Biz941 has a clean website, but it’s terrible on a mobile phone. They are best known for their magazine and also have a large daily email blast.
I am however, once again left speechless that their web presence would not match the quality of their print publication. The cost to produce and distribute online content versus print media should be appealing enough for these guys to get their web-game in gear.
I have to imagine this trend in online media in Sarasota has to do with the demographics but I also think there are enough under 40’s to warrant a strong online media outlet that really gets it right. Maybe someone should do something about that.
#11 – SceneSarasota.com
Not a whole lot of data here and it is easy to see why when you go to their website.
It looks like it has not been updated in a decade and I don’t think much of their audience spends a lot of time online. I could be wrong but with an Alexa score above 3 million, these guys cant be doing more than a few thousand views a month online.
#12 – SRQMagazine.com
To me, this was probably the biggest surprise on the list.
Their magazine is beautifully laid out and quite popular throughout the community, but their website leaves much to be desired.
It’s hard to even have them on this list of new-media companies with a website like this but they do have a large print audience and clout in the community so here they are.
If someone from this magazine reads this article, lets talk, you need my help online.
I wouldn’t feel right talking about Sarasota media companies and not mention being censored by WSLR – a community radio station in Sarasota. Lets just say they were not a fan of my work.
Their website is barely noticeable in the Alexa rankings and since their signal only covers the major Sarasota metro area, they are not a player when it comes to online new-media websites.
I also felt obligated to acknowledge the largest media outlet in Manatee County, The Bradenton Herald, in this article.
Their traffic would land them at the #2 on this list but I specifically only included websites that are based in Sarasota.
There is also Bay News 9 but that is more of a super regional outlet so again, I left them out. The next time I do one of these reviews I will probably open the search up to the entire Tampa Bay region.
The logic behind these rankings
This list is by no means a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of the different media sites in the Sarasota area. I considered a number of local and regional media sites and then selected the 12 that I thought represented the Sarasota market most accurately based on feedback from the community and extensive online search.
What I did not consider:
I did not take social media engagement into account or email list size while compiling this report. I also did not consider all of the little regional websites in St. Pete, Tampa or even Bradenton.
If you think I missed a popular, local, new-media website, then please let me know in the comments below. I want this article to be an accurate representation of the media websites in and around Sarasota, but I also understand that I may have somehow overlooked someone.
What does any of this mean?
Nothing. Something. Everything? I guess it depends on who you are.
These sites are all locally based and targeted specifically to the Sarasota market. Sarasota has an older demographic so it makes sense that some of media companies have a limited web presence.
The problem is that the times are changing and this should definitely be a wake up call for some – if not all – of the companies on this list.
If you are a retail store or restaurant owner, you might get your value out of spending some advertising dollars with a few of these companies, but based on these results, you might want to ask for some validated stats before renewing your advertising contract.
If you are looking to reach a larger audience, then you might want to consider alternative outlets for your online advertising dollars.
You might even want to consider hiring a consultant to help guide your online content strategy in order to scale your overall web presence.
You may have recently noticed that all of the comments on all of my articles and videos have disappeared. Let me explain. Read more