Auspicious Day for the FF Blog…..

Today is an interesting day for the Flying Fifteen Blog, the FF chat and advice website from Datchet Water Sailing Club.  It looks like we shall come up to a quarter of a million views of our website during today.

You can see the counter at the bottom of the right hand column of the blog page.

Thanks to everyone who contributes and well done to the Datchet fleet members who do so much with ideas and input.

FF Blog Gets a Makeover….!!

You may have seen a couple of days ago that Flying Fifteen International (FFI), have given their new website a makeover. It has a distinctive and modern style to it – see the link on the black menu bar above.

We thought it would be good to set up the FF Blog so it has the same kind of branding and style.

What do you think of it??

Is the “FF Blog” Here to Stay….??

If you have been reading the FF Blog for a while, you may recall that this is the third attempt to get it going – and the current editor is the second duty “datchetman”….

It started purely within the Club Fleet at Datchet, written by Fleet members for Fleet members and aimed at getting people interested in sailing FF’s at our Club.  Now it still seems to be a voice of the ordinary Flying Fifteen sailor, just on a slightly wider scale. You can still see traces of the Datchet heritage, if you look carefully, but Burton is also part of the Club model now.

I think we’ve always believed it would have a short life and fizzle out (and the ‘duty’ would end!).  Indeed around about June of 2011, we really thought was about to be the case. We get lots of statistics about who reads what and where the readers are, and what they type into google… and what they download from the blog etc.  If you double click on the chart above you will see the monthly stats at a summary level.  The going rate reading seems to have gone up to 8000 views a month and in the month of August (Garda) readership rose to 11,000 views. During Garda week itself there were 3,000.  Additionally there is quite a social media following (Facebook, twitter, linked in). This week we seem to be on 400 views a day, presumably all FFers…. but there may well be some potential FF sailors of the future too.

So perhaps it’s not going to fizzle out after all and we ought think about whether online advertisng is a more realistic opportunity for our Association. We already take adverts on the Class website, but income is quite nominal. If we can combine the traffic of the Association website and the blog might we get some increased income for our Association??

Is anybody reading this a subject matter expert in this area? We could do with some advice….Please email

FF Blog Traffic…Busiest Ever…..!!

We just had a look at the statistics for the Flying Fifteen Blog for the month of July.  It has previously been trotting along at a pretty regular 8,000 views per months, but in July  the traffic climbed to 9,750 views in the month…. 314 views per day on average.

Interesting – we thought it might be all down to the Nationals at Largs, but looking at the daily stats would suggest the month was just a bit busier than previously.  We shall see……!!

The FF Blog at 90 …..!!

No – not ninety years – ninety thousand !!

Yes, amazingly by the time you read this, the FF Blog will have been viewed about 90,000 times – this in 500 days. You’ll be able to see exactly how many if you scroll down to the bottom right hand corner of the webpage. Remember that our Mk 1 blog had 10,000 hits before we started this one – so we are on about 100,000 viewings now. Humbled, we are….

In addition to the website “hits” we have Social Media followers numbering 157 in total. They prefer to get their FF news that way – 113 are on Facebook (more than 50% female by the way), 6 are on twitter, but 39 people choose to follow us via automatic email distribution. So on top of around 8000 hits per month on the website, we must add 4,700 hits in Social Media.  Social Media Users sometimes ‘click’ to read the blog itself, so there is a bit of an overlap – we get around 450 clicks from Facebook per month.

We have been “blogging” for about 500 days and issued 840 blogs and Flying Fifteeners have left 272 comments in that time (19 per month).  We’d say the Class is quite getting into this blogging lark…. we notice the rate of comments increasing, which is super obviously. We must admit finding things to write about is getting increasingly challenging, but we don’t think we’ve skipped a day yet. We may need to soon. If we can reach a thousand, that’s one blog posting per 3mm of boat length !

So what else can we tell?  Well, the FF Blog is being read by (i) FF sailors and (ii) non-FF sailors who are interested in us. You can see two distinct audiences in the statistics, as we’ll tell you in a moment.  The other thing is that the FF Blog is not just being read in UK. We think around half the active FF worldwide fleet might be in UK, but of the FF Blog viewings, we reckon 73% are from UK, 14% from Australia, and 4% from Ireland – leaving around 9% for everywhere else.

So what else can we tell about what FFers are looking at, and what potential FFers are looking at on our blog??  Well you need to know a small amount about the way a blog is structured….

First you have news entries (aka posts, ‘blogs’, blog entries) which appear on the home page – in our case every day. They are called “Posts” in the stats.  Posts obviously pass into history quite quickly at this rate.  The other type of material is static website pages (of FF Class information) and they are simply know as “pages” or “website pages”.  Needless to say we get statistics about what people are looking at.

So if you are a Flying Fifteener you’ll be thinking, “Yes – well it is all going to be existing FFers looking at this…”.  We did.  But look at what is viewed most – here’s the top 10 things people looked at on the FF blog in 500 days :-

  1. – The homepage/newspage with your views and ours – 56,320 views. Naturally the biggest, but thank you for reading and commenting.
  2. – 1,417 views of the general description of the Flying Fifteen. I doubt more than 500 of those will be FFers.
  3. – 912 views of the Datchet Trial Sail Program. (They can’t all be Mike Firth…)
  4. – now how about this in fourth place… 651 views of the FF video collection. It’s not too difficult to see what people search for on the web, but we didn’t expect it to be so high. To this,  you need to add this little gem – our FF photo slideshow, was viewed 545 times.  So about 1,200 hits on visual images in 500 days. We need lots of sensational photos and videos in future, obviously.
  5. – 386 views in 500 days of the “FF Launching and Recovery” Page. So does this tell us that potential FFers of our future are worried about hard or easy they will be to launch and recover?
  6. – 357 views of the Datchet FF Fleet Description (it can’t all be us…)
  7. – now how about this, not including the superb download, 312 views of Phil Tinsley’s article on “Keel Refurbishment”. There must be some fabulous keels out there now.
  8. – Light Air Techniques, written by Andy Clarke is next at 292 views
  9. – very encouragingly, “Buying Secondhand” got 288 views
  10. – and intriguing as ever, Trevor Sparrow’s article on “Voodoo Tuning” got 287 hits

So that’s the top ten. The other large number of note, very encouragingly, was “Ladies Viewpoint” written by Emma Mangan. This was viewed 258 times and is just outside the Top 10. What does that tell you about the future audience??

We’ve tried to make the FF Blog a repository of FF information for the ordinary Club Sailor. There are now huge resources on the blog for us ordinary guys and click on the “Categories” box to see them. We want FF sailors to come to the FF Blog first for information – and then click on things from here. So what did you find most useful in the last 500 days??  Here are the top clicks outward from the FF blog :-

  • – Race Reports 811 clicks
  • – windguru 608 clicks
  • – Pinnell and Bax is a huge supporter of our Class and I’m delighted to say that the FF Blog passed 582 clicks to in 500 days. Not bad….
  • – BIFFA 529 clicks
  • – Y&Y FF Page 210 clicks
  • – Goacher Sails 187 clicks.
  • – Ovington FF Page 74 clicks

Remember that I said there are two kinds of material on the FF Blog – we have Posts (news) and pages.  So these posts or news pages appear in the ‘home page’ statistics of course, but some of them provoke extra ‘clicks’ to look at something (e.g. photos) , or clicks on the header maybe- which ones were clicked on the most?? The most clicked news items  were

  1. “Composite  Craft Flying Fifteen” (289 clicks)
  2. “Pump Cleat” (woohoo!) (274 clicks)
  3. “The Case for the Ovington Mk 9” (50 clicks)

Last thought – people either know our website, or they find us via search engines like Google. We just had traffic in April of 8,123 views and about 1500 (19%) of them came in from Google. Oh yes, and lots of those came from ‘Google Images’ – so people finding a Flying Fifteen photo that they liked and clicking on it. By the way, that month 547 came via the BIFFA website and 450 from our 113 Facebook followers.

Mostly the google searchers key in the things you’d expect like “flying fifteen” or “flying fifteen blog”, but one that caught my eye was that we got 50 visitors from people who had keyed in “Composite Craft”. Interesting….  Justin will want a Waples Wine blog next!

The bad news is that we’ve used up half our free disk space and so we’re starting to think about replatforming the FF Blog for the second time. There may be other advantages, but it’s a daunting thought. We may just have to stay where we are…

Datchetman, Written on 12th May 2012

Would You Make One Click per Day Extra on your PC to Help the Flying Fifteen Class?…

This blog is our third attempt at getting a blog driven website to work. Actually, the problem with our first attempt was that Google would never find it. Since then, we have got a lot smarter – and for the search “flying fifteen” Google generally lists us on page one, which is where you want to be.

However, our target audience is not only the ordinary FF Sailor at our Club and others, but we are also hoping to attract potential FF owners – in our case, to tempt them into our very successful Loan Boat Program. To do this, we are building up a huge databank of articles with all kinds of phrases such as “main halyard” for which google will list us. We can see from the stats that the number of times we get a visitor to our site from a vague search like that is gradually increasing now.  However, to get listed on page one for all these searches Google really needs to see quite a lot of ‘traffic’…

Would you be prepared to help us with that? One extra click a day is all we ask….

Most people I guess open their browser every morning and see something like google as the first page – the tech types call this the ‘browser homepage’ . Would you be happy to make the FF Blog your browser homepage?…  and then put a button on your favourites bar to then go to Google or whatever you would normally have showing first thing??

It’s dead easy to do and only takes a moment… You can read simple instructions on how to do this here

“Flying Fifteen Blog” Website Upgrades…

We’ve made a few changes to this website in the area of the menu bar beneath the header photo.  The changes are:-

1/ Better visual and functional integration with the BIFFA brand and website. The background colour is now the same as BIFFA’s website, and there is a button in the centre of our menu bar to take you direct to the BIFFA website.

2/ The “Ladies Viewpoint” page has been moved beneath “About Ownership”.

3/ “About Ownership” now includes some extra pages which basically list all the blog entries we have ever posted under certain categories – “Trailers” for example.

4/ “About Ownership” now contains a drop down called “Builders” which gives all the information we have posted on P&B, Dingwall, Ovington, Phil Evans and Composite Craft.

Have a click around and let me know what you think on