When I took the site back over in November, I mistakenly thought I was going to jump back in and pick up where I left off.
Yeah. I was wrong. It’s a hard thing to admit, but it’s true.
A lot can change in four years. A lot HAS changed in four years.
What I found out was, I am essentially starting over from scratch, only this time with an audience.
When I launched the site in 2011, no one knew it existed. There were no expectations. I made my mistakes in the quiet atmosphere of anonymity. I created connections in the community one story at a time.
Social media was a great way to connect with readers, but traffic to the site wasn’t dependent on it. People searched out the news, instead of passively waiting for it to be delivered to them on their newsfeeds. Which was okay, really, until Facebook pulled the rug out from public pages in January. Over the past month, I’ve seen the effects of this. Somedays it’s clear content is being delivered. Other days it’s clear it’s not. Facebook recently announced they would be delivering local news to local readers. They weren’t very clear on what that meant. So, basically, it’s a wait-and-see game.
Over the past four years, how businesses advertise has also changed drastically. That can be seen all across the news media industry, who used to depend on advertising that isn’t there anymore and subscriptions that no longer exist to operate. Look no further than the Charleston Gazette’s recent bankruptcy announcement for proof.
I knew all of this coming back. I knew it was a risk, but I wanted to finish what I started seven years ago. What “finish” means is still undetermined.
So, after three months back, I’ve realized the main thing I need to do is let go of what once was and start the process of rebuilding, both connections in the community, as well as my own writing ability, which is admittedly much slower than it was four years ago. Which means, there may be days I post a lot of stories. There may be days I post only a few. The way I post stories may change. The tools I use may change.
And, a lot will depend on advertising and paid subscriptions. As much as it would be great to be independently wealthy and be able to operate the site for free, that is not the reality. Though I would love to continue doing the Gallia Herald full-time and my focus be on growing the site and continuing to promote things going on in the community, it may turn out that is not needed anymore. Time will tell.
Until then, however, I will continue plugging away. If you wish to subscribe, whether it be paid or free, you can do so here. I send out an e-newsletter with all the stories posted that day, on days that I upload to the site. Also, with the changes in how Facebook is delivering content, consider bookmarking the site and taking a peek throughout the day.
In the meantime, bear with me as I stumble my way back.