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LEXINGTON – The online visits of seven franchise-focused trade journals are compared and ranked, from Franchise Times to the online daily newspaper for franchise owners, Blue MauMau, from QSR magazine to Nation’s Restaurant News.
These were ranked by the number of online visits in the past 30 days as tracked by TrafficEstimate.com, a well-known site for website estimation and analytics. The website does not give the methodology of its estimates. However, a number of other tools come up with similar results, such as WebsiteGrader and Alexa.com.
Nation’s Restaurant News and QSR Magazine have very similar numbers when it comes to online traffic. Both are widely considered leaders among trade journals that heavily cover franchise issues. Don Sniegowski, editor of Blue MauMau, is particularly appreciative of these two journals. "I read their contents every day to stay informed," he says. In my opinion, both of these publications offer some of the best journalism in the trade. I particularly enjoy it when on occasion they ask a tough question of a franchisor CEO or chairman that franchise owner-operators are dying to learn the answer to but have not been able to get a straight reply on their own. Those moments are golden."
Blue MauMau receives a grade of 99 out of 100 from WebsiteGrader.com. New Zealand-based Franchise-chat is rated a whopping high score of 97, an A+ grade in any book. Websitegrader.com writes, “A website grade of 99/100 for www.bluemaumau.org means that of the millions of websites that have previously been evaluated, our algorithm has calculated that this site scores higher than 99% of them in terms of its marketing effectiveness.” According to WebsiteGrader, there are 12,325 hyperlinks from outside sites that think Blue MauMau’s news stories and information are important enough to connect to.
On the other hand, the readability level of Blue MauMau is at a “graduate school” level. “That concerns me because some franchise owner-operators have told me that our articles can be difficult to understand,” says Sniegowski. "Our daily newspaper has a penchant for including charts, graphs and court documents to support our articles. Adequately explaining the complexities of business on some occasions may take a post-graduate college level of discourse. But I am also suspicious of unnecessary complexity. A good editor would say that the simplest prose can hit the truth square on. I remind myself, reporters, columnists and public forum participants to edit more of their own writings. The more complex a topic, the more that shorter sentences are needed. Long posts and comments are also often unnecessary.”
The monthly Franchise Times receives a score of 82 out of 100. It is written at a “secondary or high school” level, which makes its prose and business coverage easier to understand. One of the publication’s online strengths is that it has nearly 10,000 links to its articles, which helps give it clout as a franchise authority.
Unfortunately, Franchise Update, a trade journal that describes itself as "the only industry publication 100% dedicated to franchisors,” gets a dismal 62. It also covers news for multi-unit franchises. One of its greatest weaknesses is that it uses few of the tools available to modern web publishers.
Although Blue MauMau is an online newspaper, a few weeks ago the International Association of Franchisees and Dealers included it for a traffic comparison of various franchise associations. Here are the results.
Alexa.com, a company that measures web performance, adds additional insight into the industry's trade journals. This chart tells us that .0002% of all Internet users visit Blue MauMau. That's a far cry from the most popular site on the Internet, Google, which can claim over 40% of all Internet users. They read more unique pages per user per day than QSR magazine, Franchise Times or the International Franchise Association’s readers. This shows that Blue MauMau readers both visit more frequently and are more engaged by the site. There is also less first-page bounce, or noise, from readers who don’t want to be there but were accidentally, or even intentionally, misdirected by search manipulation to the site.
Michael Webster, webmaster for Franchise-Info.ca and strategic committee chair of the International Association of Franchisees and Dealers, wraps up what all that techno-babble means. “Blue MauMau remains the online journal for franchise news,” he declares. “No other trade journal comes close in terms of its demonstrated engagement with its online readers."