By Randy Arrington, publisher
In 17 months, we’ve experienced a variety of highs and lows, along with our community. From the fear of the first reported case of COVID-19 to the Panther’s heart-warming story of No. 9’s remarkable comeback…from a controversial survey about statues and coverage of protests, to heart-wrenching stories of true tragedy — first in Stanley, then soon after in Luray…and from the agony of chasing a state title all the way to Richmond and Giles County, to the thrill of bringing one home from Gate City.
Through it all, we’ve been there with you — and you have been there with us, from our problems with various features to downright shutdowns at crucial times.
Many of our readers likely experienced problems with our site in late June. On at least two different occasions (maybe three or four), PageValleyNews.com was offline, as hundreds — and then thousands — flooded our site in an effort to find information about the tragedy along West Main. The situation threw our shared server into overload and it simply shut down. We went offline again when we upgraded our site’s capacity from about 5,000 users a day up to 50,000 users a day (room to grow).
In all humility and humbleness, we simply want to thank each of our readers for creating our capacity issues. It was a good problem to have, and it shows that a growing number of folks in our region — and those who care about this region — see us as a growing source of information about life in the Page Valley.
This in no way takes lightly, the news that we publish. We do not relish in the fact that our community’s darkest days have seen our highest numbers. It’s simply the nature of the beast. You couldn’t buy a newspaper anywhere in America after 9 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2001.
We make every attempt to report the good with the bad, but the latter is often what lingers in our memories more often. Again, nature of the beast.
We simply take this moment to offer our appreciation as we mark a milestone. As July 4th came to a close on Sunday, Page Valley News reached 1 million pageviews since our launch on Feb. 3, 2020. More than 200,000 unique visitors have logged on to the site from all over the world for nearly 500,000 sessions or visits. We’ve had at least one hit from nearly every nation on the globe — don’t ask me why — except for Greenland, Antarctica and parts of Africa covered by the Sahara Desert.
It blows my mind. We’ve gone from being ideas in a yellow spiral notebook, to a conversation and a business plan, to a local news source for Page County that has been cited and referenced by D.C. media and major print outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times, to major broadcast networks like Fox and CNN. Many of our articles have been shared statewide by the Virginia Public Access Project and the Virginia School Board Association. It may have just been a mention in some instances, or maybe even a link — but I’m counting it. And it blows my mind.
It took 17 months for Page Valley News to reach 1 million pageviews, and I, for one, am shocked — I thought it would take much longer. But it didn’t — and that’s because of you. And we won’t forget that.
We will continue to strive to offer new things, from more livestream broadcasts of high school sports with the NFHS network (look for a broadcast schedule for football coming soon) to the potential of developing a podcast for the site (maybe more than one). You’ll have to keep logging on to see where we go from here.