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We’re doing our 18mth upgrade… in just 6!




Thanks for liking us so much, users!

SAJR is having to upgrade its website after achieving much more than its first-year’s expectation – of 150,000 hits and 30,000 unique users – in just six months.

The website has yet to earn anything as it was decided to wait to achieve these targets before taking it to market. “We have surpassed these milestones so quickly that things got a little bit ahead of us,” said SAJR Online’s editor and designer Ant Katz on Friday.

“Without immense user support on the one hand, and a committed partner in Alon Berman who has donated all of the development and hosting expenses for the community on the other, none of this would have been possible,” said an elated Katz.

In fact,,za has provided some staggering numbers during its first full six months (see below) including 178,832 hits from 35,531. This is according to Google Analytics life-of-site (POS) statistics.

SAJR is notifying all of the loyal users of its website that the upgrade will be undertaken on Monday and Tuesday 27 and 28 May. Users will be able to see and use the website, visit any of the 4010 content items posted (plus user-comments) while the upgrade proceeds.

Do not post comments, entries on 26/7 May

“The only thing users have to take note of,” says Katz, “is that any user posted content during the upgrade on Monday and Tuesday, 26 and 27 May, will disappear into the ether on Wednesday never to be seen again.” This is an important point, says Ant Katz, because the site receives as many as twenty comments a day and users may think theirs is awaiting moderation.

Who visits? How often? What do they like?

The beauty of website news users, says Katz, is that “Google Analytics reports exactly how many people read what and for how long.”

Ant new tall bwThis, he says, enables him to use this information to give the users more of what they want and less of what they don’t. “It’s as if the users decide what we post by showing us what they are mostly interested in,” he says.

RIGHT: Ant Katz

The website had its busiest week between 27 April and 3 May when it saw a staggering 10,647 hits. This was only the second time it passed 10,000 in a Sunday to Saturday week, pushing long-time record-holder of 5 to 11 January – with 10,503 hits – into second place.

GOGRAPHICALLY: Visitors from 149 countries have now visited the six-month-old website. Of these, the vast majority, 63.67 percent, are from South Africa; 9.07 percent from Israel; 8.96 percent from the US; 6.63 percent from Australia; 3.44 percent from the UK; and 2.83 percent from Canada.

Israel and the US jockey for second position from day-to-day depending on content.

These “Top-Six” are followed by a second-tier of regular users in Netherlands, Kenya, Germany, Zimbabwe, France, India, Nigeria, Belgium, Brazil, New Zealand and Switzerland. Although these are life-of-site statistics, once again the day-to-day positions depend on content.

SAJR Soaring TallThereafter, it becomes a matza pudding of countries from where the website receives occasional visits.


The average returning SA user spends five minutes and four seconds (5:04) on the website. South Africans logging in on their SA domain but from overseas, however, stay for an average 6:33 minutes and are most likely to be accessing the website on a tablet. Makes sense if you think about it…

Among the second, or “Big Five” tier, the UK comes up tops with an average time-on-site of 3:36; flowed by Canada at 3:21; Australia with 2:58; Israel on 2:45; and the US at 2:37.

The average time-on-site statistics for all (new and returning) users is 3:34 while returning users average almost a minute longer at 4:24. “This is a particularly high number in website terms,” says Katz. “Just think how often you use the web and go on sites for just a few seconds. All of those figures pull down the average.”

Similarly, the average number of page visits for all users is 2.4 while returning users visit an average of 2.68 pages per visit.

Browser wars

Originally, the most used browser on SAJR Online was IE. Google Chrome has overtaken Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, however, as the browser of choice.

Chrome is now used by 32 percent of users and IE by 26 percent. Safari comes in third at 20 percent followed by Firefox at 10 percent.

FREQUENCY OF VISITS: a whopping 1,985 visits have emanated from users who have been on the site 201+ times – Google Analytics’ highest range group.

This excludes developers and back-end personnel whose visits are not counted. 5,099 visits came from users who had been on the site 9-14 times; 4,097 from those who had visited 15-25 times; 2,454 from the 26-50 times visited group; 1,057 from 51-100s; and 799 from users who had visited 101-200 times according to Google Analytics.

DURATION OF VISITS OVER ONE MINUTE: 1-3 minutes, 7,340; 3-10 minutes, 9.555; 10-30 mins – 6,804; and over 30 minutes (the highest range Google Analytics’ gives) 1,587.

Become third most active website

Alon Berman’s team at developers “firewater interactive” – and especially Ian Schwikkard – have been key to the success of the website. This, despite having too much work and too few staff “They have been right behind us every step of the way,” said Katz.

Little could they have known when they started this project that SAJR Online would in six months become the third highest traffic generating website among all those they administer.

Are they sorry that they started with this: “Oh no. Not at all” says Alon enthusiastically, “We have learned so much as an organisation from the experience of building such a complex website,” he says.

Life-of-site user statistics

DEVICES: “The statistics show an interesting trend of new users visiting on their phones but returning on their PCs,” says Ant Katz. 
SAJR Soaring WOW!Google shows that 25.4 percent of new visits come onto the website from their cell phones, whereas just 11.99 percent of returning visits are. In contrast, while 61.61 percent of new users came onto the website from a computer, 74.23 percent of returning visitors used their computers.

MOBILE DEVICES: 18.4 percent of overall traffic is from smartphones and 13.4 percent from tablets. This represents almost one third – 31.8 percent are ‘mobile’ users. Tablet users tend to visit longer than PC users, while phone users tend to stay for shorter periods.

HITS: To date the site has logged a total of 178,260 hits. The highest single-day number being a staggering 3,938!

MOST VISITED SECTIONS: The home page, obviously, is the most visited of all. This is followed by the “Latest” page, SA news, World news, the Opinion pages, Religious news, and Israeli stories.

LONGEST VISITS: 6:32 average time-on-site statistics on a single day.

MOST READ STORY: Rhodes not a home for all 7,577 average read time of 7:39. Other stories related to this subject took the total to over 20,000 reads to date.

MOST READ ISSUE: Rabbi Berland and the Shubu Breslov community – the only issue to pass the 25,000 hits-to-date and still growing fast.

DEMOGRAPHICS: Google Analytics uses a series of complex algorithms to calculate the demographics of a use on a website. READ MORE ABOUT THIS. This is a one-shoe-fits-all  algorithm and may not compare well with the SAJR audience model, Based on these, however, Google suggests SAJR Online’s users are 54.15 percent male, 61 percent are under 35-years-old and that 8.5 percent are interested in sport. Four percent have a strong interest in electronics, three percent in eating and drinking and 2.5 percent in travel and tourism.

What’s next?

Editorially, the upgrade will enhance our ability to serve users more news, more quickly. The next step is to do so more interactively – by offering enhanced discussion forums and a lot more social media activity and Apps.

Furthermore, now that SAJR Online has the attention of its target audience, we are in the process of developing the advertising modules – the first of which are expected to go live this week.

Advertisers will have the advantage of being able to see the Analytics information and select the segments of the market they are interested in talking to, and they will be able to get feedback on how many users saw their adverts and how many clicked through to their on-site microsites or their own websites on a weekly or monthly basis.

SAJR UPgradeUsers please don’t post until Wednesday

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