Record Month of use
By Dave Saltman
In October we had a record month of people using the Pitchcare site, the total number of unique users was 15,214.
In November this was surpassed with an amazing 16,100 people logging on to read articles, chat, check the weather, view the shop or simply ask or answer questions on the message boards.
As we move towards the end of the year and turn our thoughts to Christmas, I thought I might share with you some of the statistics that we at Pitchcare can see, using the latest IT technology.
Last month, members read a massive 148,586 pages, spending nearly 5 minutes per visit. Over the last 12 months, just over one and a quarter million pages have been looked at, that's equivalent to a monthly trade magazine being read cover to cover by 2628 people.
Since we launched in September 2001, our average number of users per day has reached 329 reading 3198 pages between them.
It all makes interesting reading and we feel that in a short space of time (15 months) we are getting to a position of consolidation. We recently ran a survey to find out what our members liked and disliked about the site, used or didn't use on the site. We had a generous response, partly because of the Christmas hamper on offer, but more so because I feel there is genuine interest in the interaction that the platform provides. At the bottom of this article I have included some of the comments that our members sent in as part of the survey.
30% of the respondents were willing to pay a subscription to Pitchcare. It is not our intention for members to pay for the service because we hope that the Industry will support us in terms of advertising. All of our advertisers to date have been extremely supportive, but we ensure that their money is well spent.
On average we are sending 26 leads through to advertisers own websites each month, let alone the page views where members can see the brand names. One thing that I have found since leaving the 24/7 world of being a Head Groundsman is that there is so much to learn about the Industry, the choices (good and bad) available are amazing, and workings of some of the companies that I had dealt with for many years make interesting reading. If you have time, click on a few of the links and see what I mean. We plan to launch a new section shortly, it will be called Company Review, offering a unique insight into how they started, present and former contracts, staffing levels, turnover, offices and awards won etc.
We have, of course, recently launched a few new sections, the Calendar, which members can use to put details on privately for own purposes and publicly for the benefit of others. The Who's Who continues to grow, and you can upload your details and photo for others to see who and where you are, and contact you if you so wish. The National News offers snippets of information from local and regional newspapers about Groundsmen and Greenkeepers and then there is the Legal section, where the first article offers advice on how to get rid of travellers when they decide to set up camp at your venue.
On a slightly different note, Alastair, our web monkey continues to make improvements to the site, and is able to respond quickly to members. He has now combined our article databases and provided an improved search facility. Just type in a keyword, and the search will bring all the articles that are relevant for you to read.
We want to continue going from strength to strength and thank you all for your support. Enjoy the site, let us know if you have problems and we will remedy them, and please tell others about us. Have a great Christmas and New Year, and spare a thought for those who are giving up time over this period to provide playing surfaces for others, and for those of you that are, don't work too hard!
Below are a few responses to the questionnaire. For a full summary of the survey, please look in our Industry section for Pitchcare survey results.
Question 7) what do you like best about the site?
A site for Groundsman - I like everything about the site!
Best, most informed advice without vested interest.
General feeling that there are colleagues out there willing to help anyone on an informal basis and have a laugh while they're at it.
Good interactivity between different people from all over the country and in different sports.
It does not just cover my interest golf so it is interesting to see how others are doing in their field.
It's a good place to speak to other people and learn what they have done and have been up to. Like some of the Football Clubs. It has a wide range of subjects and its easy and free to use so that's a big thing, which made me come to Pitchcare.
Really informative. A lot going on. Easy to navigate and information and advice - from experts - which you can trust.
The fact it is up to date and has its finger on the pulse. You don't have to wait a month for the magazine; new stuff is going on every day. I feel like I now know more grounds related people from it.
The forum that it provides. It doesn't lecture, it informs.
Question 8) What aspect of the site could be improved or changed?
At the risk of sounding like a crawler it is pretty good now and doesn't need changing.
Contributors using names and not code names.
Crumbs.... not sure about this. Opinions are so varied so I suppose the site needs no improvement unless the hits are decreasing.
I wouldn't make any changes for now!
Keep up the good work!!
More people using the chat rooms and msg boards this could be sorted by setting times. More jobs, (not P C Fault).
None really that I can think of but if a few more people were willing to voice there opinion it would make it more interesting.
Personally, I would like to see a few more bowls related articles - especially aimed at the weekend amateur and clubs with literally £500 - £1000 per year to spend on their green.
This is a wonderful job, give a call to young people and provide an online brief course acquainting them with basic tools, machines, machinery... But for secrets of the job, let them learn a bit:-)
Would like more downloads, the pitch markings are a great help. More content in the useful info section. More stories in the bowling section. More cricket stories from smaller clubs and how they overcome budget problems.
Question 10) Any Other Comments?
I like the fact that the site is free and available to anybody who wants to join.
I think you are doing a splendid job at Pitch care.
I would be happy to pay more but I use P.C. at work as well as at home so feel subs need to be adapted to different people. More jobs (if there were some) Last point very impressed to what this site has done already I would like to help it get bigger and better so you have my vote!!! Keep up the good and hard work!
Just to say that I am very impressed by the site. If I can't find what I want on it, then I can ask another member for help.
Keep up the brilliant work. Pitchcare is a truly innovative site and seems to be achieving the success it deserves.
Keep up the good work Dave and staff. This site must continue to adapt improve and expand. It is essential to the industry and Groundsman/Greenkeepers alike.
Take (pitch) care!
The site is a breath of fresh air, where I work I find I can become cocooned in the work environment but the web site gives me a chance to see what other people do and have to cope with. It is amazing to see that I am not the only one having to deal with 2 inches rain on a match day! (Ok, slightly tongue in cheek that bit!)