The Whale Cottage Portfolio has increased the traffic to its website six-fold in one year, since embodying social media marketing, and has exceeded the 30 000 visitorship for the first time this month. In 2009 a total of just fewer than 200000 unique visitors was recorded.
In January 2009 4850 unique visitors (i.e. unduplicated visitorship) had accessed the website, four months after Whale Cottage had started this blog www.whalecottage.com/blog. At the end of December this had grown to 27 928 unique visitors.
The major impact on the growth in web traffic has been persistent blogging, with the target of one blog post published per day having been met with one or two exceptions. Performance improved once the blog posts were posted during mid-morning, instead of just after midnight, when they had just been written. This post is the 500th written on this WhaleTales blog.
Twitter has made a significant contribution too, with it serving as an “announcement” of what one has blogged about, providing a link to the website which can be accessed for more information, given its 140 character space restriction. Whale Cottage has close to 700 followers, and has written more than 2 000 tweets to date. Facebook has played only a small role in contributing to web traffic.
Cross-referencing has also assisted in the growth in Whale Cottage’s visibility, in that the social media links are part of the Whale Cottage e-mail signature; in that the WhaleTales newsletter invites its readers to follow Whale Cottage on Twitter and Facebook; and the blog has an RSS feed link, to enable regular readers to receive the latest WhaleTales blog post, and it has links to the Whale Cottage Twitter and Facebook pages.
New traffic to the website has come from restaurant reviews in particular, especially for new restaurants. Few restaurants have websites, and do not understand about search engine optimisation. Some Whale Cottage restaurant reviews have outperformed the restaurant websites in terms of the Google ranking on page one of a search on a specific restaurant. Where other websites provided a link to the Whale Cottage blog in cases of restaurant controversy (e.g. Portofino, Carne), traffic to the website has been enhanced.
In 2009 the top 10 blog posts that were read most often were the following:
1. Spar Sweet and Limelight Sour Service Awards (8 838)
2. Petrol price drop best Christmas present for tourists (5119)
3. Franschhoek goes Italian (Allora review) (4394)
4. Rebel restaurateur a hit at Portofino (3 360)
5. SA presence on top 50 restaurant list grows (2 468)
6. Prince Albert celebrates in Fresnaye (2 276)
7. Whales beach on Kommetjie beach (1 984)
8. Minstrels do it for Cape Town (1 698)
9. Table Mountain only SA New7wonders nominee (1 570)
10. Sun Princess to visit Cape Town (1 510)
The most popular restaurants in Cape Town at the moment, based on restaurant reviews accessed on the Whale Cottage Portfolio website via Google this month, are Duchess of Wisbeach, Vaudeville and Kuzina.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com