I created the site in August 2010 (my name's Jamie Summerfield by the way - hi there). I'd fallen in love with the town after moving here in 2002 and I wanted to create an online platform to bottle and share the wonderful community spirit that exists here.
I’m a journalist by trade and I thought, let’s give this a go! So A Little Bit of Stone was born and, in September, my site partner Jon came on board. Four years later, A Little Bit of Stone is at the heart of the community here.
(Here come the stats…)
Since the site launched we've had 237,721 visitors viewing 996,860 pages and we regularly deliver 40,000 pages each month to 12,000 visitors.
89% of visitors are from the UK but we've had visitors from 190 countries (many of them former Stoneites now living overseas!)
That's not to mention our social followings!
We’ve done really well over the last four years. We keep people updated, deliver trustworthy, professional news and features, connect the Stone community online and much. much more. We’ve won a Talk About Local award and been featured by the BBC.
All that's been achieved with A Little Bit of Stone so far has been done by fitting it around my regular job (and my family), in the evenings and at weekends. So we’ve only really scratched the surface of what we want to do with the site.
That’s why we want to do even more and make A Little Bit of Stone BIGGER and BETTER.
We want to deliver a brand new Little Bit of Stone website with lots of new features
We want to increase the amount of news and information we provide – more coverage of local news and events, local sport, politics, charities, community organisations and independent businesses, and more video content. We want to reach even more people and build and strengthen our connections with the local community
And we want to create more volunteering opportunities for local people.
We’ve come a long way in the last four years and we want to take A Little Bit of Stone to the next level.
To do this, we’re looking to raise £15,000. This will help us to deliver a top quality new website with lots of new features and will enable us to devote two-and-a-half days to A Little Bit of Stone to make sure all the extra stuff we want to do above happens.
A Little Bit of Stone has always been fitted in around our day jobs, in the evenings and weekends. We’ve done so much in four years – so just imagine what we can achieve with some dedicated time to work on it!
This is how we’ll use the funds:
80% – to enable us to devote two-and-a-half days a week to A Little Bit of Stone for at least 12 months15% – to deliver our new website5% - will go in Crowdfunder fees
We’re looking for support for our campaign from both individuals and businesses in Stone.
Here are the rewards we have on offer for your support…
-- Your name will appear in lights on our ‘Community Supporters’ page on our brand new website
-- Your name in lights on our ‘Community Supporters’ page, but a bit brighter, with a photo of you!
-- Your name in lights on our new website AND two tickets to the launch party of our new website (we only have 75 of these rewards)
If you'd like to give more, there's an option to do that when you take out any of the pledges above. If you'd like to give less, please do get in touch and we'll create a new reward level just for you! Just email [email protected]
For businesses, we have a range of 12-month advertising and promotion packages. In exchange for your support, we’ll help you to reach a large, targeted local audience.
We already work with many forward-thinking Stone businesses who are looking for a better way to reach potential customers, build brand awareness or simply find a deeper connection with the local community.
Over 12,000 people visit our website each month, with over 40,000 page views, while our thriving social media profiles reach over 60,000 people.
The 12-month period for all business packages will begin on the day our new website launches. We’re aiming to get the new website ready to launch two months after the end of our campaign.
-- Your business will be listed in our ‘Business Sponsors’ page on our new website for 12 months with logo, description and web/social media links. Companies will be listed in the date order that they took out this package – so the quicker you support, the closer to the top you’ll be!
-- For this amount, your business will be listed in our ‘Business Supporters’ page, but you’ll also get an advert on our new website for 12 months AND social media promotion through our social media profiles (10,000+ on Twitter/Facebook). We’ll do this by spreading the word about your business through our social networks and spreading the word about what you’re up to.
There are EIGHT of these rewards up for grabs.
-- For this package, your business gets everything above AND editorial coverage on the Little Bit of Stone website. We’ll publish six stories about your business on our new site over the 12 months, working with you to identify really good stories. We'll also help your business to really boost its online presence through support and training.
We have FOUR of these rewards to offer
-- You will be our main business partner. You’ll get top billing in our ‘Business Supporters’ page, the main banner advert on our new website PLUS social media promotion and support for 12 months and editorial coverage. We'll work closely with you over the 12 months on some top-notch promotional activity and support.
Just ONE reward here.
In 2013 our main website had just under 350,000 page views. That’s a lot of views of the adverts on our site. And less than a penny per view for our 12-month business sponsors. 45% of our traffic is from repeat visitors, too, who are coming back day after day and seeing your advert.
Richard Stevens, chairman of Stone Food and Drink Festival ----
"It is hard to believe that ALBOS only started four years ago. It has become such a part of everyone’s daily online experience for ‘all things Stone’ that it seems to have been part of our lives for much longer!
A Little Bit of Stone has become THE place to discover local news. If something newsworthy happens in Stone you can be sure it will be on the site within hours. However, the major achievement of ALBOS has been to create a true community website embracing all users and all community groups, clubs, societies and events. Stone is a better place for having ALBOS in our midst. Long may it continue."
Will Perrin from national organisation Talk About Local that's dedicated to helping communities to connect online ----
"A Little Bit of Stone is one of the very best local websites publishing in the UK today. The team produce high quality news, commercially attractive features and wonderful local colour based on an intimate knowledge of Stone life. Jamie and co have produced a textbook example of a 'hyperlocal' site, but also clearly have a business model and a real professional edge. Local websites need all the help we can get competing with a heavily subsidised local press - I'll certainly be backing them on Crowdfunder and hope you will too."
Stone resident Helen Ainsworth --- "A Little Bit of Stone is the hub that really brings everyone together."
Aly Davidson --- "The site allows everyone to feel welcomed and included."
Alison Philips --- "I love A Little Bit Of Stone because it's the only place I need to go to learn about all the amazing things that happen in our town. It's a microcosm of Stone - friendly, lively, innovative and community minded. It's well-informed, well-written and reliable."
Former town mayor June Price --- "It truly is a great asset to Stone."
Community online news expert Damian Radcliffe --- "It has been great to see the site grow and evolve over the last four years. From campaigns to giving communities a voice, A Little Bit of Stone is a great example of how grass-roots reporting from an area is really able to support communities."
You can find A Little Bit of Stone on our:
Website - www.alittlebitofstone.com
Facebook page - www.facebook.com/alittlebitofstone
Twitter account - www.twitter.com/bitofstone
This project offers rewards in return for your donation.