Picture: We found our audience!
The end of April marked three months since we went live with this site. For those following along, please indulge us in a little navel-gazing.
80 places tried for the first time in 2018. It started with a running list in a Word document; a resource for friends of a few dozen recommended restaurants. Once the list started, it created an incentive to keep trying new places. About thirty new places got crossed off every year for the first three years. In 2016, a couple friends suggested that the list would be great as a website. At that point, in anticipation of launch, a new (to me) place was crossed off the “to try” list nearly every week in 2017.
245 places checked out over last five years. This was in addition to places tried before starting the list. Out of those, just over 30 did not make the cut to be recommended. That is a small number, but reflected prioritizing places most likely to be good. A couple times this happened on the fly by walking into a place and deciding not to stick around to try the food.
230 recommended restaurants currently listed (There are 256 entries, but there are about 30 places with multiple locations). Every place that is rated has been visited at least once (that is why minibar is not rated, but we list it because of its importance – it is the only place listed that has not been tried).
62 recommended restaurants closed before we went live. These would have been on the list but weren’t around long enough to make it. There were a handful that closed before they could even be tried. Helpfully, the Isabella empire collapsed so there was not a need to decide if any of them should not be recommended due to the objectionable nature of the owners.
7 recommended restaurants closed. Since we went live at the end of January, seven places closed including some devastating ones like Honeysuckle and Proof.
16 reviews posted (Honeysuckle archived). The late, great Los Angeles critic Jonathan Gold said:
“Well, it seems easy and fun to do what I do, to go out and write restaurant reviews and have pleasant things to eat and share information with your friends. But in fact, it’s actually a lot of work and the amount of people who actually have it within them to do more than a dozen or so restaurant posts is really small.”
There have been 75 blog posts since launch. We added 16 places to the recommended restaurant list, and we posted over a dozen reviews since launch. So we got over Gold’s threshold!
71 places to try (32 tried so far this year). There are a handful of places that have yet to be tried that might be surprising: Toki Underground (rumors that it fell off deterred making the trip to date), Gourmet Panda (a friend who says she will go with me, but keeps postponing), Timber Pizza, Call Your Mother (although the bagels at a farmers market have been sampled).
556 views from Twitter referrals. Traffic has slowly expanded beyond friends and family. Interestingly, the most consistent driver of traffic from social media is Facebook. Twitter is less reliable, but can occasionally make something go viral. We have the most followers on Instagram, but it is the least helpful in driving traffic.
3500 page views and 1300 visitors to the site (unique visitors are reset in the tally – so it may only be the same 13 over and over). One of the most gratifying things has been that visitors are more frequently viewing multiple pages and poking around.
465 views of the Washingtonian Top 100 analysis. This was the most viewed post, mostly because DCist helped us out with a plug. The second was our suggestions for affordable date nights, with 288 views.
15 Months to build. Most of that spent by our site designer/engineer Paul trying to match free – or nearly free – platforms with the overall structure. The map remains a work in progress, but the whole thing is much closer to what was envisioned than thought possible – and that is almost all because of Paul.
The traffic metrics system for the site displays the search engine queries that led a visitor to the site. The one that indicated we may have found our audience is the one in the picture above.
Thank you to all who have helped with edits and corrections (lots of help needed on that front). Thanks especially to those who have helped knock so many places off the list to try. Spread the word and thanks for your support.