As we enter the final month of 2011, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to the franchises that contributed the most pageviews to Franchise Chatter. Since most of my traffic comes from Google search results, this list provides some clues on the franchise brands you were most interested in this past year.
It’s clear that 2011 is the Year of the Frozen Yogurt Franchise, with 3 out of the Top 5 franchises falling under this category (with a couple more landing in the Top 20). Also worth noting is the strong showing of the 24/7 fitness franchise concept, with 2 representatives in the Top 10. The rest come from a mix of industries, with the only common denominator being that they caught your attention — for good or for bad — and you arrived at my site searching for more information about them.
This ranking is based on the total number of pageviews on my blog for each franchise, but I counted only those posts devoted to a single subject.
I covered most of these companies in multiple posts, so you might be wondering if they received an unfair advantage. But if certain franchises received more extensive coverage this year, it’s mainly because these were the companies you wanted to learn more about. The 11 franchises that made the cut are so far ahead of the rest that I’m confident that this list is truly representative of the most popular trends this year.
11. Edible Arrangements
This is the only company in the Top 11 that’s somewhat controversial. Although many of you were looking at Edible Arrangements as a potential investment, the rest were looking for information on the franchisee lawsuit that made headlines this year. These posts received a number of interesting comments from current franchisees of Edible Arrangements, although my invitation for an official statement from their franchisee association has not yet been accepted.
10. Snap-On Tools
Snap-On Tools made this list from just a single blog entry, which is a testament to the high level of interest in this franchise. Curiously enough, my blog post on Matco Tools (their direct competitor with a very similar business model), while also popular, received just half the number of pageviews.
- Top post: What Every Prospective Franchisee Needs to Know Before Investing in a Snap-On Tools Franchise
9. Vanguard Cleaning Systems
This is another franchise that made the list based on a single blog post. A fun fact: Based on my blog statistics, the search term that has referred the most traffic to my blog since inception is “Vanguard Cleaning Systems Franchise Review.”
MyDestination is the one franchise on this list that made the cut primarily because of multiple blog posts. I interviewed their co-founder, James Street, and four franchisees: Fay Jones, Mike Watt, Gerard Lynch, and Kari Butterton. I even devoted a story to their re-branding efforts. This is a very professional group of people, and it was my pleasure to collaborate with them on these stories. They also brought a lot of traffic to my blog via Facebook, Twitter, and their website, in addition to Google search.
- Top post: MyDestinationInfo.com: An Online Franchise Opportunity that Competes with Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor
7. Snap Fitness
In addition to my interviews with founder Peter Taunton and franchisees Joshua Schaubach and Maris Brennan, a lot of readers found this site through my exclusive coverage of their contest this summer (“Partner with Peter”), where the winner received a Snap Fitness franchise.
- Top post: FDD Talk: Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Average Member Numbers, Projected Revenues and Projected Earnings for Snap Fitness Clubs
My review of Kumon was one of my first blog posts (5 days in), and it’s consistently been one of the most popular ever since. Additional pageviews came from my interview with Nicole Smith, President of the International Association of Kumon Franchisees, who reached out to me by leaving a detailed comment on the blog.
5. Jimmy John’s
My first blog post on Jimmy John’s was an immediate hit so I reached out to the company to request for an interview. I heard back from their public relations representative, but after a few email exchanges, I was told (very politely!) that the company declined to be featured. Keep in mind that this happened when Franchise Chatter was just a couple weeks old (and I was still using a free WordPress theme), so I can’t really blame them for being cautious. But if they had granted me just one interview, I know they’d be a lot higher on this list.
4. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt was a more recent discovery of mine. I first wrote about Yogurtland in April, Menchie’s in May, and Orange Leaf in August. But I received a tremendous amount of support from the team at Orange Leaf. They linked to my franchise review and my interview with their CEO Reese Travis on a prominent section of their website, and this has been a consistent source of blog traffic ever since. My interview with Jeremiah Sizemore, one of their multiple unit franchisees, is one of the best interviews I’ve worked on. I wish more people get the chance to read it.
- Top post: Looking for a cheaper alternative to a Menchie’s or Yogurtland franchise? Consider the Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt franchise opportunity
3. Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness will always have a special place in the history of Franchise Chatter, because they were the first franchise that reached out to me and agreed to do an exclusive interview, not just with their CEO Chuck Runyon but with two franchisees, Colleen Braun and Mark Stevens (another one of my favorites). Their social media team promoted these interviews on their Facebook page and this was instrumental in my reaching a wider audience.
The 3 main articles that generated the most pageviews for Yogurtland are my franchise review, my interview with Larry Sidoti (VP of Development and Operations), and my FDD analysis of their Item 19 financial performance representations. Interestingly, among all the FDD talks I’ve done, it’s the one on Yogurtland that’s been the most popular.
I really can’t explain why Menchie’s emerged as the clear #1 franchise on the blog so far this year. But to give you some perspective, my interview with their CEO Amit Kleinberger was the 3rd most popular post, while my franchise review of Menchie’s was the 4th most popular. (The only two posts that topped them were The 10 Franchises with the Best Business Models and The Top Frozen Yogurt Franchises of 2011.)
Whatever the reason, the results clearly show that the frozen yogurt category is the one that captured the hearts and minds of prospective franchisees in 2011.