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.