Every now and then, I take an in-depth look at our online statistical data. Since we have other – far more intelligent – people keeping a closer eye on the website traffic, I'm not being lax in my general duties, whatever they are.

Being one who in 2020 (by the way, "2020" sounds more like an old TV show or good vision than a calendar year) will mark 40 consecutive years of putting ink on paper, I tend to limit my involvement with the online edition of The Highland County Press.

After looking at our December 2019 statistical information, maybe I need to re-examine my daily routine. December is never a great month for news readership. I'm not saying December isn't a great month for news. It's probably as good – or bad – as any other month.

Based on experience, however, it's safe to say that many people are otherwise occupied during the traditional holiday season from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day to New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Thus, December readership may have a slight hiccup when compared with other months not ending in 28 (29 this year) days. Happy Leap Year.

Longtime newspaper publishers are well aware of the trends as they apply to print readership. But I'm not so sure that the same general rules apply to online readership, especially when considering the mobile application devices.

Our highlandcountypress.com mobile app is still relatively new. I think Angie Matticks implemented this a few years ago. Last month, we recorded 95,000 mobile application visitors to our site. That is in addition to the almost 200,000 monthly visits and 80,000 unique visitors per month.

After taking a look at this, the business side of me said to myself: "We ought increase our advertising rates."

Then, the practical side of me responded: "The Highland County Press hasn't had a rate increase in a dozen years. We are a part of the community. If we can help other small businesses to market their goods and services with competitive rates, that's what we'll continue to do."

In short, we are not raising anyone's rates in 2020. (Writing "2020" is going to take some getting used to just as "2000" did.)

We are, however, going to let current and future advertisers know that our newspaper has a readership of more than 30,000 and our online edition reaches many more potential customers for their respective businesses.

Now, as to the "Ann Arbor, Michigan, thank you for being No. 3" headline, let me explain.

In our website's Google Analytics data for December 2019, I was very surprised to see that there were 28,259 visits from Ann Arbor.


Why did we get 28,259 visits from Ann Arbor? More importantly from a business perspective, why don't we have any online advertising from Ann Arbor?

My best guess to answer both questions may be a previous column when I quoted the late, great Woody Hayes. The legendary Ohio State football coach once said he'd push the team bus back to Ohio before buying gasoline in that state up north.

But that column was a long time ago. Why do we have so many readers from Ann Arbor? Maybe one of them will let us know.

For the record, the most visitors to our website are from:

No. 1 – Wilmington. (Thank you, Mel Nicholas!)

No. 2 – Cincinnati.

No. 3 – Ann Arbor, Mich.

No. 4 – Greenfield.

No. 5 – Hillsboro. (C'mon, Hillsboro!! OK. I do realize than many Hillsboro Spectrum customers show up as being from Wilmington.)

No. 6 – Columbus.

No. 7 – Xenia.

No. 8 – Logan. (Logan? Did Meriah move back?)

No. 9 – Chicago, Ill. (Chicago?)

No. 10 – Washington Court House.

No. 12 – New York, N.Y. (Start spreading the news!)

No. 13 – Chillicothe. (Go Cavs!)

No. 14 – West Union. (Go Dragons!)

No. 15 – Bainbridge. (Go Bearcats!)

No. 16 – Athens.

No. 17 – Cleveland.

No. 18 – Irvine, Calif. (Thank you, Brad Adams and/or David Mayer or my Ruhl cousins.)

No. 19 – Detroit, Mich. (God bless Al Kaline!)

No. 20 – Leesburg.

No. 21 – Amelia.

No. 22 – Nashville, Tenn. (I'll bring my guitar next time.)

No. 23 – Middletown. (Hey, Seg Dennison!)

No. 24 – Jackson. (I'm going to Jackson. Gonna mess around.)

And No. 25 – Lisbon, as in Lisbon, Portugal. (WTF?)

After the Top 25, we had a number of visitors from various cities in Florida. That makes sense, as many folks from southern Ohio spend winters in the Sunshine State.

But what about our unique visitors from the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada? Who in the Sam Hill from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada visits The Highland County Press? I doesn't know.

But I do know this: We have a tremendous online presence. In fact, it's even stronger than I realized.

The people most responsible for this include Angie Matticks, Caitlin and Stephen Forsha and Mickey Parrott. I'd also say that Becky Stafford and Rosemary Ryan deserve credit as well for making it all come together, from building, scheduling, delivering and billing. (The billing part is important if we are to continue to provide a free newspaper and a free website.)

That said, please follow the Highland County Chamber of Commerce mantra of "shop local." Frequent the businesses of our advertisers – in print and online. They are well-respected local business owners, and they deserve our support. Without them, you wouldn't be reading this.

And thank you, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I've been there. It's a beautiful city. Too bad about your football team this week. Roll Tide!

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County, Ohio's only locally owned and operated newspaper.