Last year at this time, we published our first State of Eleven Warriors. We were fresh off a year of monster growth and as an indie site, I felt it was important to share some of the accomplishments with our largest bloc of stakeholders, the community here at 11W.
2013 was another big year for us. Traffic to the site continued its rapid growth, up nearly 80% over 2012. We bolstered our staff, adding great writers and expanding our coverage of non-revenue sports at Ohio State. We published a magazine (and ebooks), we made it rain – to the tune of nearly $20,000 – for charity, and we broke quite a few major stories, as well.
But the work you haven't seen might be our best yet.
We were already fortunate to have an incredibly talented stable of writers covering Ohio State athletics and 2013 saw the addition of several new writers, giving the site's voice greater depth, and allowing us to venture into new realms like the coverage of hockey and basketball recruiting.
Pair that with a passionate and well-informed community and you get explosive growth.
Eleven Warriors received 57,142,251 pageviews for the year, up 79% from the 31 million pageviews the site received in 2012. On four occasions, we smashed one-month pageview records, finishing with an all-time high of 7,182,342 in the month of December.
Our biggest day was the Sunday following the win against Michigan, when we recorded 437,881 pageviews. For perspective, that total is more pageviews than Eleven Warriors received in all of 2010.
Here's a look at that growth over the past seven years.
Ditto for visits – 17,112,631 for the year (up 70% over 2012) and comments – 371,580 in 2013 (up a staggering 107% over 2012). In the month of November, 47,714 comments were posted to the site, an average of 1,590 per day.
The forums continue to be a large part of the site, accounting for 25% of all pageviews. In January, we created a recruiting forum to discuss four and five-stars ad infinitum, and you quickly made this forum the most popular of the seven on the site (although threads discussing icon changes had a strong year, too).
Not bad for an independent site lacking the support and resources of a large network or a Twitter echo chamber to promote our work. So, thank you for being a part of the best Ohio State sports bar on the internet.
2013 was the first full year of Helmet Stickers, which you earned (or lost) depending on how valuable your contributions were to the site in the form of comments, forum topics and blog posts.
Although not every member of the site followed the spirt of the rules when it came time to vote, the voting worked. Trolls or people with terrible #hot #sprot takes were marginalized, while the better and more prolific members were rewarded with an exclusive washroom and mad internet fame.
In July, the staff of Eleven Warriors published Lindy’s Sports Ohio State Buckeyes in the Huddle again, a 110-page, full-color preview magazine for football season. Our mothers and grandmothers alike were thrilled seeing our names in a magazine sold at newsstands all over the state.
On September 27, we gathered at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with Buckeye greats to help raise money for the Gold Pants Club. In all, the Gold Pants Social raised more than $7,000 for the club, with that money going directly towards the purchase of the charms players receive for beating Michigan.
Some even wore their own gold pants to the event (though, sir, you're kind of creeping Jim Lachey and Simon Fraser out).
The next day, Eat Too, Brutus IV, Eleven Warriors' annual charity tailgate, was held prior to the Wisconsin night game. We collected more than $13,000 for DSAchieves, helping to fund important Down syndrome research initiatives. Oh yeah, the Buckeyes clobbered the Badgers later that night, improving the event's record to 4-0 in games against ranked foes.
It was a season of giving and we enjoyed every minute of it.
While growth and offline successes are certainly fun, most of our efforts went into something you might just now be hearing about.
In February, we kicked off Project Tatum, a complete redesign and technology upgrade for Eleven Warriors. It hasn't been easy – far from it, in fact – but we're now on the verge of launching the new site and couldn't be more excited to take advantage of what it will offer.
First, the new site is responsive, meaning it will look great on your desktop, tablet or smart phone.
It's been six years since we last touched the design and this update will give us the freedom to do things we've long wanted to do, like getting more stories on the front page, giving readers centralized locations to find all of the best stuff, like our acclaimed game posters, expand our coverage into other sports, tweak things like Helmet Sticker voting, and improve site navigation.
Most importantly, the new site will continue to be free.
Some of you have seen the new site as beta testers and the feedback has been amazing. This is our dream system, built to do what we need it to do and it will make creating content – stories, blog posts, forum topics and comments – an order of magnitude easier than it currently is.
Granted, this effort has taken longer than we may have liked, but it's nearly complete and as some of our friends at other sites and networks know, this is no easy business. I don't want to promise a launch date quite yet, but just know that it's #SOON. As in days soon, not weeks soon.
2013 was a lot of fun, but we have bigger things in store in 2014. As always, we're open to your suggestions on how to improve things around here. This site is just as much yours as it is ours.
Thank you, once again, for reading, following and sharing.