At the end of another busy year at Afloat.ie in 2018, we want to express our thanks for your continued support.
Because of the generous backing from you and our other supporters, Afloat.ie is looking at another record year for visitors, with a significant increase on 2017 figures.
Our website dedicated to Irish sailing, boating and maritime issues reached a high water mark a year ago, informing and entertaining a larger boating audience than ever before, and is now set to repeat that as we head into 2019.
The latest statistics show unique visitors to the site are heading for 1.3 million — a phenomenal number in what remains a challenging climate for online media.
Afloat’s popular online format has a strong returning readership, with half of daily visits being repeat readers, and with strong social media engagement.
Based on site analytics, 70% of our traffic is from Ireland, with a good geographic spread across the Irish Sea and into the west coast of Britain.
Most encouragingly, nearly two-thirds (65+%) of Afloat.ie traffic now comes from mobile devices — an important return on investment in the mobile site by our journalist and developer team.
What’s more, our website’s bounce rate (the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page) of 21% is well below the industry average of 40% to 60%, according to HubSpot.
Together, those numbers make a strong argument for Afloat.ie growing as a go-to resource for an engaged audience with sailing, boating and marine interests.
Our high authority in the boating market is reflected, too, in Google and other search engines’ quick indexing of our stories, giving them valuable reach beyond our core readership.
All of this is a testament not only to our tight-knit and active community of readers, but also Afloat.ie’s combination of opinion, hard news and features which puts it at the very heart of the national — and increasingly international — conversation on sailing, boating and maritime affairs.
The site’s readership has climbed consistently year on year since 2008. Last year marked the first time reader numbers broke the one million barrier, and now that figure is climbing even higher.
It’s proof positive that our mission — to provide Irish sailing and boating clubs, classes and the wider maritime community with a comprehensive, reliable and independent platform promoting our great sport to the wide and connected audience only the internet provides — is truly working.
This success, as we’ve said before, would not be possible without our full–time marine journalists and web developers, and indeed our advertisers and supporters who are dedicated to promoting Irish sailing and boating. Progress, like we have achieved to date, would not have been achievable without it.
As previously acknowledged, it remains a challenging climate for online media, particularly when it comes to monetisation.
Thanks to your support, however, we have not resorted to putting our content behind a paywall like other news websites — because we want to keep our marine journalism open to the widest possible audience, which we believe is one of the keys to our growth. The figures bear this out.
Your contribution directly influences our quality marine journalism, and the time, money and effort it requires, both in print and online, and for that we cannot thank you enough.
All of us at Afloat wish you the best for Christmas and 2019, and hope you will continue your valued support in the new year to come.