“…and so it came to pass that Dennis would build a cricket website.
More than a blog. Not quite as credible……”
This site went live for the first time on February 8th 2014.
It is now one year old.
Before we go any further, yes, that’s me in the picture above. I couldn’t think of what else to use for this piece, so me in an Akubra it is.
Like with the Can’t Bowl Can’t Throw podcast, I thought I’d share some insight into what we have managed to achieve in that time.
When I went back a looked at the trail of destruction behind me, I reckon we’ve actually achieved a bit. Most of it was experimental as you never know if it will work or not.
For example, Dennis Does Q&A didn’t work initially. However, when I installed the voice recording app to allow you to leave me a question, I was able to do stuff like this. Interacting this way is so much more fun.
In the beginning, the only reason I started Dennis Does Cricket (DDC) was so that I had a place to keep all of the random things I was doing in one place. Like many starting out, I was writing for whoever would have me. All of it was unpaid and I was learning the craft. I also had the podcast and wanted everything in one spot.
Initially, the website was DennisFreedman.com. However, producer of The Sledge TV, Nick Hancock, told me on a phone call that it was a crap name. No one would remember it. My name was elevator music. Boring and unmemorable.
So I came up with Dennis Does Cricket. It was my take on Debbie Does Dallas. It was meant to be catchy, tongue in cheek, fun and slighty risque. I think it has met those goals. You should watch the movie. It’s great.
I knew nothing about website design or hosting when I started. Nothing. Zero. I had to learn it all on the fly using YouTube and Google. The only friend of mine who had a website is Titus O’Reily. Follow his blog. It is brilliantly funny. He gave me plenty of tips and places to start. It was his idea to do the ‘This Cricket Week in Pictures’ series.
By April, I had commissioned a Ukrainian graphic designer to come up with my logos. I found them via Freelancer.com.
The look and feel of the site hasn’t changed too much since then.
There are some costs involved. Hosting, domain names, plugins, themes, recording equipment, time spent from the family, etc. On that, a big shout out to my wife Vicki for supporting me to do this. Well, she doesn’t really. She just tolerates it. Better than me being an alcoholic I guess.
Actually, there here has been an inordinate amount of time spent creating the content, fiddling with the site, driving the social media channels and creating the podcasts.
Most of the article writing I do on the train to and from work each day. It’s an hour journey each way.
Anyhow, you are a cricket person so I know you love stats.
Here are some of the headline numbers from the first year. I have no idea if they are good or not. Most publishers keep this information secret. I reckon you are the guys consuming the content, so you should know how many others out there are doing the same.
232 articles were published in the first year of DDC.
Of those, 60 have been Can’t Bowl Can’t Throw podcast show notes pages. By the way, the podcast has nearly cracked 45,000 listens. It was only at 25,000 when it had it’s first birthday in November. That thing is growing like crazy!
Essentially, I am releasing something new on DDC every every 1.5 days.
There have been 225,000 page views.
There have been over 167,000 sessions. This means that every time someone visits DDC, they visit 1.33 pages at a time.
There have been 120,000 unique people look at the site.
Now, the traffic obviously hasn’t been flat. February 2014 was only 7k views. January 2015 had built to 68k views. I would love to have a 100k month during the world Cup.
Most Viewed Articles
7) 63 Not Out
Where Are You?
1) Australia (26.4%)
2) UK (16.4%)
3) India (15.6%)
4) Sri Lanka (12.3%)
5) United States (5.6%)
6) South Africa (4.4%)
7) Spain (3.1%)
8) New Zealand (2.0%)
9) UAE (1.6%)
10) Pakistan (1.5%)
Google reckons that people from 182 countries have hit the site.
Other Random Stuff
55.6% of you visit using a mobile. 35.9% use a desktop (probably while slacking off at work) and 8.4% a tablet.
46.67% of you are aged between 25 and 34.
Only 6.8% of you are female. That is so disappointing. I’ll need to work on that.
You spend an average of 1:04 minutes on the site
74.3% of visitors were referred via a social networking site (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Google +)
17.3% came via a direct link (usually via the email newsletter)
6.1% came via a Google search
Since this post went up, I have been getting 10 hits a day from people searching “Indian Sex” and derivatives. You sick bastards.
Here are some things I would like to achieve in the next 12 months:
1) Grow my relationships with First Post, Sportskeeda and Fox Sports. For some reason, these guys have allowed me to publish on their sites and reach out to new audiences. I am extremely grateful for this.
2) Make the podcast as good as it can be. To do that, I need to convince Cat to hang around. Let’s be honest. Most of you only tune in to listen to her. You know it. I know it.
We also need to keep the great guests coming and ensure the topics are interesting. In the last month or so, I’ve invested maybe $500 in audio equipment to lift the sound quality. I’m still earning how to use it properly, but we are getting there.
3) Create some targeted sponsorship deals to try and recoup on the dollars and time invested. I’ve started chats with a few and hope to be able to offer some value back to you guys via prizes, discounts and giveaways through these partnerships soon. I’m trying to avoid smothering DDC with ads, but to keep this running I will need them at some stage.
4) Grow Bay 13. This one is very important to me. There are so many talented writers out there from around the world that produce brilliant content. I want DDC to be a place where the ones that work the hardest and are truly committed can come, build a profile, get exposure and hopefully move on to bigger and better things.
5) I want to release a cricket iPhone / Android game. Stay tuned for this one. It shouldn’t be far away.
6) I am determined to complete my first book in conjunction with a cricket legend who has graciously offered to work with me. We have started and I would love to see it out before Xmas if we can.
7) I want to share more of what happens behind the scenes via my new Instagram account. Actually, I would love to see all of my social media channels continue to grow. Please give me a follow on them, or even better, subscribe to my newsletter. Please?
Most of these goals could magically disappear if someone like Cricinfo would just hire me full time. Are you guys listening? I work hard 🙂
So, there you go.
To those that subscribe to my newsletter, any of my social media accounts, listen to the podcast or just pop in now and then, thank you so much for making the first year of Dennis Does Cricket so rewarding.
I hope to make it slightly more palatable for you in its second year.
Could you do me a favour?
Please leave a comment below telling me what you like/don’t like/would like to see moving forward. If you ask, I’ll do my best to deliver.