Fayetteville being named 3rd best place to live, an April Fool’s Day prank, and lots of news on restaurant openings and closings highlight the most popular stories on the Flyer in 2016.
As the year comes to a close, we usually spend some time looking at analytics to see what Fayetteville found interesting for the previous calendar year. We also like seeing how our site and audience has grown.
This year, we published 1,076 stories, up a bit from the 1,001 we published in 2015. Traffic increased a bit as well, up 3.7 percent to over 2.7 million pageviews for the year.
We picked up over 6,000 Facebook fans for a total of more than 27,000 Likes. We also grew our audience on Twitter by about 5,000 followers for a total of 22,700, and picked up roughly the same amount of Instagram followers for a total of 38,500.
Thanks for reading, and for supporting the awesome local businesses that keep us flying.
Here are our top 25 most popular stories of the year.
Our most popular story of the year came in March, when U.S. News & World Report named Fayetteville the 3rd best place to live in the United States.
“Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville attracts outdoorsy types with its abundance of state parks, acres of community green space, playgrounds, parks and walking trails,” the report said. “The city also boasts a first-class performing arts center, an active local food movement, live music venues and a dynamic festival scene.”
Our second most read post of the year came on April Fool’s Day, when someone placed a sign advertising a future “Six Flags over Jesus” theme park in west Fayetteville.
The sign appeared to be in protest of Cross Church’s plans to build a new Fayetteville campus on the 13-acre site at the southeast corner of Wedington Drive and Interstate 49.
Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer Staff
Photo: Steven Young, CC 2.0
Our annual guide on where to watch fireworks around the Fourth of July is always a top story. This year’s post, just as it did last year, landed in the top 3.
Screen capture, Google maps
Longtime local burger joint Mr. Burger closed down in February, resulting in our fourth most popular post of the year.
We actually got wind of the news before the closure, which resulted in some long lines those last few days of folks trying to get their final taste of the restaurant’s signature burgers and fries. The restaurant ended up closing earlier than expected because they simply ran out of food.
Long time local restaurant Common Grounds called it quits after 18 years in business on Dickson Street back in February as well.
Owner Kari Larson told us at the time she was closing down to focus on her landscaping business.
Our regular roundups of restaurant openings and closings are always a popular feature on the site. This one from January included news on the opening of Mockingbird Kitchen, Kraken Killer Seafood, and several other tidbits. It was the sixth most popular post on the Flyer in 2016.
Fayetteville resident Jessica McClard made national news when she had the idea to take the concept behind the Little Free Library and apply it to helping to address food insecurity in Fayetteville.
We wrote about her Little Free Pantry concept back in July.
Another restaurant roundup comes in at number eight on our most popular stories list. This one included news on Prelude Breakfast Bar, Mr. Taco Loco, The Backyard at Greenhouse Grille, Sabor Guacamole, and several other juicy restaurant tidbits.
Not long after Common Grounds closed, we began hearing rumors that a Taco Bell Cantina – the restaurant chain’s urban concept that serves alcohol and an more “upscale” menu – would be replacing the restaurant.
We finally wrote about the rumors – which turned out to be true – back in April.
Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer Staff
Back in cold January, we wrote about some food and drink festivals coming up in the (mostly) warmer months ahead.
The post included dates and info on upcoming beer festivals, music festivals, and community events like Frost Fest, On the Map Festival, Ales & Tales, Springfest, Block Street Block Party, and others.