For our website, SchoolBusFleet.com, the new year has already brought some new records.
Each month, we get Google Analytics reports on our site’s traffic, and the January 2011 report was full of positive statistics.
January marked the first month that the total number of page views on the site broke 200,000. And we brought in the highest totals of unique visitors and overall visits to the site that we’ve ever had in a month: just under 35,000 and over 55,000, respectively.
These growing numbers are encouraging, because they show that more people are coming to our site and finding more information that can help them do their jobs better.
Seeing the record-breaking stats led me to think about how far SchoolBusFleet.com has come.
We launched our online community way back in 1997, when President Bill Clinton was inaugurated for his second term, the price of a gallon of diesel wasn’t much more than a dollar, and the legendary Frank Sinatra was still living.
Back then, Google was just getting started, and social networking juggernauts like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter were a long way off.
By today’s standards, that initial incarnation of SchoolBusFleet.com may be considered a bit rudimentary, but it was groundbreaking in how it gave pupil transportation professionals quick access (well, as quick as their dial-up connections could take them) to a bevy of resources specific to our industry.
The original version of the site had some of the key features that we still have today: breaking industry news, exclusive SBF research, an archive of articles from the print magazine, industry contacts and events, and a forum for discussing a variety of pupil transportation topics.
Some of you may also remember the distinctive design that graced the top of the site for many years: an illustration of a school bus cresting a hill, looking out over a picturesque town by the sea.
As we wrote in an editorial when the site was launched, “This is a work in progress. Like any community, SchoolBusFleet.com will evolve.” And it certainly has evolved in many ways over the past 14 years.
Now, visitors to our website can browse through a variety of “channels,” each of which focuses on a specific, important aspect of pupil transportation — safety, maintenance, special needs, regulations, etc.
We have a videos section, which currently hosts about two dozen clips. The offerings include conference videos shot by our editors, public service announcements on school bus safety, and interesting demonstrations (a dad crafting a school bus-shaped sandwich, for example).
Another feature that shows how far our online technology has come since the early days is the digital magazine. It lets you “flip” through all of the pages of our recent print issues, search for keywords in those issues, and click on links in articles and advertisements. For those who don’t get the print magazine, or for anyone who can’t find their copy of a particular issue, this is a great tool.
SCHOOL BUS FLEET the magazine has been informing the industry for 55 years now, and it’s still going strong. SchoolBusFleet.com, as it continues to grow, serves as a vital supplement to the magazine and a powerful resource in itself.