Shetland News can proudly report that August 2019 was our busiest and most successful month ever.
Not only did we smash through the 1,000,000 page views per month barrier, we are also recording steady growth in the number of people supporting us financially with small monthly contributions.
These record figures come on the back of an intensely fought by-election campaign that kept us all on our toes as we tried to negotiate our way through masses of press releases, pamphlets arriving in the post and politicians begging to be interviewed to give our audience a balanced and comprehensive view of what was going on.
The redeveloped website which launched in the autumn last year has also been vital in attracting more readers than ever before, with mobile optimisation a key feature.
Shetland News editor Hans J Marter said: “One million page views in a single month for a news organisation that serves a relatively small island population, while having only three reporters, is a tremendous achievement.
“It means that on average a Shetland News page is loaded every three seconds, 24 hours a day. Our busiest hour was in the middle of the night when Beatrice Wishart was elected Shetland’s new MSP.
“The growth in readership numbers also confirms that our strategy of providing a full and unrestrictive news service is paying off.
“I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank our reporters Chris Cope and Peter Johnson for doing a sterling job.”
Online paywalls and appeals for donations are now of course a standard feature on most news websites as publishers large and small struggle to survive in an increasingly fast-changing news environment.
As such Shetland News renews its call for more people to sign up as a supporter via this link: https://supporters.shetnews.co.uk.
Small monthly contributions do not cost the world; in fact most people will hardly notice £3 or £5 coming off their bank account once a month. For us, however, it makes a big difference. For once the overused slogan ‘every little helps’ rings true.
But why pay for something that is freely available? It is a good question.
We certainly don’t want to limit access to Shetland News – we want the website to be open, free and accountable. But the harsh reality is that even Shetland News needs to grow its income, pay its staff a decent wage, invest in the technical side of things and, yes, also pay the taxman.
So, contributing financially makes a lot of sense. It’s a vital investment in local journalism and doesn’t cost the world.