Website editor Ali Donnelly reflects on one year of coverage from scrumqueens.com. She gives her highlights from the past year as well as some of the success the site has had.
Its hard to believe that weve been around for a year it feels like decades to everyone involved in this site! but I wanted to reflect on whats been a more groundbreaking 12 months in the womens game than we ever expected when we launched this website.
Id like to believe that in 12 months the word scrumqueens has become somewhat synonymous with the international womens game and its coverage and if it hasnt that will certainly be our aim in the year ahead.
I thought it might be worth reminding you of some of the major stories in the womens game over the past 12 months and reflect on how the site has fared in reaching a global audience in promoting the game at the top level.
There have been some momentous moments for the womens game this past year think of the obvious ones like rugby being accepted as an Olympic Sport, 13,000 people showing up for the World Cup Final, the Black Ferns touring and playing England at Twickenham, the growth of the game in Asia as just a few of the key highlights.
There were others too - equally important but less obvious perhaps, which we covered such as the performance of the Caribbean Select XV recently- a potential third force in North America-, Spain's European double (7s and 15s), Italy's performances at the 6 Nations, Scotland's win over France, France's performance against England, Ireland and the Netherland's playing their 100th internationals.. we could go on! Plenty to reflect on there!
A few of us have also reflected on our personal highlights which you can read later today.
However something really special to me has unquestionably been the success of this website in terms of impact and interest.
We knew there was a niche for womens rugby content for the world when we launched and while we can improve and have a lot more in the pipeline, the reach and interest in the site has simply staggered us.
A few stats to give you some context:
- Weve had visitors from 156 countries.
- The top five countries in terms of visitors have been: UK. Ireland, US, Canada, New Zealand.
- Other less likely countries to come and visit us are Liberia, Albania, Cameroon, Greenland and Ecuador.
- Almost 12,000 visitors were on the site during the two hours of the World Cup Final.
- 25% of our traffic comes from Facebook, 25% of it is direct and the remaining 50% is split between search engines and referring sites.
- The England tab under our countries section is the most popular sub-section.
- Users spend an average of three minutes on our website when they visit us.
- We've added almost 500 stories in 365 days!
So I think, with some modesty, we can safely say that we have made an impact!
As our brand name has grown so too as the demand for our content and we were delighted to share some of our pieces with the likes of SkySports.com, the Irish Rugby website, the New Zealand Herald, and The Rugby Times.
And we have a lot more to offer.
Next week we branch out from covering the international game when we start running weekly previews and reviews of the Englands Premiership, and we will continue our support of the 7s game by helping to run our second Scrumqeens.com 7s event next year as part of the Rugby Rocks Festival.
A birthday would never be complete without a round of thank-yous and in my case I have a lot to make as the site could never be as high quality as I believe it is without the efforts of some really special volunteers (which by the way we all are!)
First to Sarah Edwards who makes the site look as sparkly and nice as it does, and who is responsible for all things visual from branding to page design to graphics. I am lucky to be able to call on such an expert and Sarah along with Graham from Make it Digital are a brilliant back-end support all year round.
Our core contributors to the site are Kate Clements and John Birch, who I hope know how invaluable they have been as we established our name. From writing, to idea generating to PR, those two are behind everything good we have done.
We have a wider group of people too who we call on to help with features, ideas and pictures so a massive thank you too to some of those Ilona ODonnell, Kate Llewellyn-Waters, Aoife Hogan, Laura Coates, Sophia Papadopoulos, Emily Ryall, Nic Evans, Laura Mackay and many more. If I have forgotten you forgive me!
Others such as Wendy Young and Meghan Mutrie are brilliant for news from the across the pond, while I dont have enough space to thank all of the excellent team managers, coaches, players and PR names who have facilitated our coverage.
Thanks too to our bloggers, international players Fiona Coglan, Kat Merchant, Steph Bruce, Lucy Millard and Mel Berry as well as referee Clare Daniels among others.
Thank you all - here's to another great year!