Courtesy of Curtis Pharmacy

Site Stuff: We’re gaining steam ☕


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Train rolls by our offices at Highmark Stadium. - DEJAN KOVACEVIC / DKPS

On any rare semi-free day near the beginning of any month, I like to look at some of our broader metrics to see where we are as a venture. And that basically boils down to two basics:

• Readership
• Revenue

Both are up, both are trending well. And it's been a good feeling, to be honest, one I felt compelled to share in this Site Stuff.

A bit of background: When this place was born July 22, 2014, it pretty much exploded. Which still seems nuts to me, given that it was completely spontaneous, zero buildup, zero advertising, but it did. The growth kept right on going through 2015, as well, to the point I was motivated to start hiring staff toward a full media operation. And then, in 2016, then 2017, the local hockey franchise sent this into orbit. People buy irrationally when their team wins a championship, and we benefited from two years of that.

It happened way too fast, as I've written before. We couldn't handle it. Not from a tech standpoint. Not from an organizational standpoint.

Now, through 2018 and 2019, we've found our water's level, if you will. Things are normal. The explosion's way in the past, and maybe the championships are, too. (Sorry!) But the good part is that we now have five-plus years from which to cull extensive experience, at least by startup standards, and we'd like to think we've learned a lot.

So, in that context, what's interested me the most is year-over-year data, because that illustrates the difference between one normal year and another:

• In the past four months, per Google Analytics, we've had 8.61 million page views, compared to 5.49 million in the same span in 2018. That's a stirring increase of 57 percent. And in that time, I'll remind, none of our local teams or their related events exactly helped out. That leads me to believe -- or at least hope -- that our readers are simply happier with our content.

• New users, meaning people visiting or trying us for the first time, are also way up: It's 985,137 the past four months vs. 269,266 over the same span in 2018. That's nearly quadruple. This one's a little easier to explain, as we've made inroads on multiple other platforms with our general news content through publishing partnerships with WPXI, Bleacher Report, Chat Sports and other outlets. But still, it's huge.

• Revenue ... isn't anywhere near that exponential, but up is up. We've seen increased subscription revenue in six of the nine months so far. In two of the ones where we fell short, we didn't have a prayer, as April and May of 2018 saw us sell 500 Lifetime Lunatic subs. So the only normal month in which we were down this year was March. And in particular, this September we just completed was the biggest subscription revenue month we've had since that hallowed April 2018.

• The only real down element has been in the area of completely new subscribers. It's an OK pace, but it's down 10 percent from a year ago. Now, we did have a couple more gimmicky sales last year, so that's part of it. But we definitely want and need to get that figure higher. If you know of anyone who might be interested, by all means, let them know they can try us for 99 measly cents for a full month.

Yeah, it's good. Can still get better.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who's helped make it happen.

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