The Spearhead just passed the four-year milestone, and I’d like to see the site make it to it’s fifth birthday. To do so, we’ll need reader support.
For starters, I’ll give the usual summary of how things are going behind the scenes.
Despite seeing highs in monthly unique visitors (around 95,000) in June, page views declined markedly in late summer. The explanation for this is simple: there were not very many posts. The more content The Spearhead posts, the more page views it gets. The relationship is near linear, so whenever productivity declines so does traffic.
However, despite this relationship between page views and posts, unique visitor levels remained above the historic average throughout the summer, which suggests that the depth and maturity of the content has made the site a regularly accessed point on the internet regardless of day-to-day activity.
This is nice to see, but when publishing online, fresh, also known as “evergreen,” content is a necessity. There’s a relentless demand for new content from readers, so keeping people’s interest requires a constant effort. This effort is not always easy. I found it difficult to keep up with my children and family present for much of the summer (try writing with a couple elementary-school age kids and your parents storming around the place). It would have been much easier with an office, but alas, commercial rents are out of my reach here in Seattle.
Because early summer numbers were so encouraging, I think the site still has a good deal of unexploited potential. If it could return to the level of posted content seen at its inception, there’s a decent chance it could reach the half a million page views a month mark (the record so far is just north of 400,000) by early next year, and that would be a nice milestone to reach.
One thing I’d like to make clear to readers is that I have not built this site as a “movement,” which would require me to behave as though I am a political leader of some sort, but rather a publishing outfit that exists to provide ideas and information to readers. I modeled it more on Benjamin Franklin’s publishing ventures than on some feminist or other personality cult. I’d far prefer that the message take precedence over the man here; as a mere mortal, I am just your humble writer and publisher, but ideas and words have life and reach far beyond the limited, earthly powers of human individuals.
In that spirit, I’d like to welcome others to join and add their message as well. Now that summer is over, I have the time to edit more submissions, and to do the work behind the scenes that puts them online and makes them available to thousands of readers.
In order accomplish this, I need help from readers. The situation is sensitive right now. Although the site is healthy, I won’t be able to keep it that way if I don’t have the funds and time to put work into it. Because regular readers number in the thousands, The Spearhead should be viable as a reader-supported site, but because of the nature of the internet it is difficult to capitalize on content. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but unless you focus on sex, sports, celebrities and games it gets a lot harder. Furthermore, politically sensitive and contentious subject matter does not tend to attract advertisers, although it does interest a fair number of people.
Because I’d like to keep the site going strong at least for the rest of the year, I’m going to keep up this fund drive until I have enough to know I can survive for that long. So I’d like to ask everyone who finds some value in the content here to support the site so as to keep it running and providing content.
I’d like to thank all the supporters and contributors who have kept this project alive over the last four years. I’ve enjoyed the work and am deeply grateful for the appreciation and support. Every bit of support humbles me and reminds me that this is a worthwhile effort.
To contribute, use the “donate” information provided on the upper right sidebar. If PayPal gives an error message, don’t worry — one of the variables in the button (my email, I suspect) has changed, but otherwise it makes no difference and works fine.
I’d also like to encourage regular readers to sign up as supporters, which allows unmoderated commenting and access to pages and posts not available to casual visitors.