Courtesy of Curtis Pharmacy

Site Stuff: How can we grow together?

Here are two questions I hope you can answer, one or both, down in comments.

TAYLOR HAASE / DKPS

In the past month, thousands of readers committed to our site for three years or more, and there are now almost 500 with us for life. So suffice it to say we feel some added pressure to build up our awesome community for many, many years to come.

We are taking various initiatives to do this: iTunes store ads, a variety of Google programs, social media and much more. But we are hoping you will partner with us in our efforts. And while we are tossing around a bunch of ideas on how to do this — some feasible, some not at all — we would love to hear from you before we implement anything.

Here are two questions I hope you can answer, one or both, down in comments:

1. What do you think we can do, from a sales perspective, to accelerate the rate at which we get new subscribers?

2. What type of referral program could we try?

Our goal is to add 2,500 new subscribers by the end of 2018. That is ambitious, but we feel it is totally doable with your help, especially considering anyone can try our site for just 99 cents in the first month. Can’t wait to see your ideas!

STEPOUTSIDE.ORG STEPS UP

Our very first business partner remains one of our most valued. StepOutside.org, which has been with us in various forms since one month after our launch, is now supporting our Pirates coverage, as you can see on Lance Lysowski’s articles. Thanks to our great friend Chris Dolnack for his passionate support of what we do. — Dali

STEELERS SCHEDULE A RELIEF

We’ve all known since the end of the regular season in 2017 who the Steelers’ opponents would be this season. But until the schedule came out Thursday night, we didn’t know exactly when those games would be played.

Now, we do.

And I can tell you, after the past two seasons, there was a sense of relief when I saw this schedule. No holidays.

While you all might love a Steelers game on Christmas, New Years or Thanksgiving, they’re not a lot of fun for those of us who cover the team. Most sensible people try to avoid airports during the holidays.

It’s not a perfect schedule by any means. The Steelers are stuck playing a Sunday night game in lovely Oakland, which not only has the worst stadium in the league, but the worst fans, as well.

But we’ll survive. And we’ll bring you all the action.

Meanwhile, enjoy the holidays. — Dale Lolley

Matt Sunday and Chris Bradford doing a Facebook Live on the Turnpike. – DEJAN KOVACEVIC / DKPS

COVERAGE THAT CONNECTS

The credo/slogan for our site is ‘Coverage that Connects.’ Our friends at Phenomenon Post on Mount Washington thought of it a couple years ago, and longtime supporter Jeffrey Zink in Colorado was the one who’d originally encouraged us to come up with a pure, simple concept that summarizes our goal.

We have the phrase across our office wall at Highmark Stadium, and we have it right here on the site above our What’s Brewing, Morning Java and Live Qs at 5 features.

Ultimately, no matter all the daily fuss and back and forth of being part of a business like this, it all swings back to that. We cover, and then we try to connect with you, wherever you might be from Downtown Pittsburgh to Beijing to Moscow to our two overnight self-proclaimed editors in Germany. The connection could be through a writing style, it could be through trying to be the best version of ourselves in multimedia, or it could be a more direct connection through Live Qs, Facebook Live videos or subscriber meetups. Whatever works.

Just thought I’d share that. — Dejan Kovacevic

HEADLINE STREAM

One tech/site/app thing we’ve implemented in the past week was creating a more prominent team-by-team display on our home page, and you can see that out there now. There’s a big box to go with the three little boxes for each of the three major-league teams. There will be situations when the rest will have them, too.

More and more, our numbers show, readers are taking advantage of our team pages. But the overwhelming majority still enter through the home page, so we always have to treat it as a primary portal.

The top priority: Anchor the live coverage, the Coverage That Connects row and the Grind column at the top. We’ve seen clearly that those are all popular, particularly early in the mornings. — Dejan

APP CHECKUP

We updated the Apple and Android apps in the past week to allow for smoother-loading videos and GIFs, and the response so far has been really positive. It’s nice to hear, as GIFs are a big part of our coverage and presentation.

Both our apps are free and updated regularly. Get your app or update your existing app by tapping the appropriate button below:

itunes

If you’ve got issues with either app, please help us out by emailing specifics to Help@DKPittsburghSports.com, including your device, platform and operating system. — Dejan

BACK TO BUSINESS

• Subscriptions are at 38,505. That’s minus-57 over the past week.

• We’re at 469 in the Lifetime Lunatic category, with 11 sold in the past week. Remember, once we hit 500, that’s the end of the program forever. Only 31 remain. If you’re interested in upgrading to any level at any time for any reason, click or tap My Account in the menu, then click or tap Upgrade Subscription.

• We had 631,431 page views, according to Google Analytics. Our most-hit article — exempting live files — was DK’s Game 4 column from Philadelphia at 14,780.

• We’re at 28,387 (+253) followers on Facebook, we’re at 28,263 (+105) on Twitter, and we’re at 8,684 (+54) on Instagram. These figures are just for our official company account on each platform, not for us as individuals.

• Get our free newsletter with a simple signup! We send out a new one Monday-Friday at 6:30 a.m.

• We make mistakes. If you see one, email Typos@DKPittsburghSports.com.

• Anything you need, including lost/forgotten passwords, email us: Help@DKPittsburghSports.com.