Mail Bag: "Please Update Your Website Daily.. Or Else!"

Mail Bag: “Please Update Your Website Daily.. Or Else!”

flogging

Today’s piece of reader mail doesn’t include a story about mysterious sky noises or digital photos of a monster, but the sentiment expressed by John from Indiana echoes something I’ve heard a few times before, and I thought this might be a good opportunity to address a few things about Who Forted and how it’s run, what we get out of it, and why we keep at it.

John writes:

Please update your website daily. I am routinely disappointed to find the same stories left up for what seems like forever. What is an exciting story on the first day is boring by the second and annoying by the third. If a week goes by & all of your stories are the same, I probably won’t be back for at least a month or more…. Please be active on your site… It’s a great concept, but if its just a part-time hobby it’ll likely fail…

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Alright, so we miss a day or two here and there. Sorry, John.

First off, Who Forted is, unfortunately, a part-time hobby operated by Dana and I, for what amounts to zero profit. We get a little of cash here and there from selling some advertising, but that money goes right into hosting bills, necessary upgrades that make the website a better experience for readers (like the rather massive update a few weeks ago), and towards paying for t-shirts and other swag we randomly send out for contests or promotions. If we’re measuring success in terms of cash flow, any accountant would tell us we’ve been failing for five years solid.

Fortunately for us, we don’t measure success that way. WF is very much something we do because we’re in love with the anomalous, not because we think it’s going to pay the bills. We measure success based on the amount of fun we’re having, and how much interesting, unique content we can provide, which brings me to the point of your email: why don’t we update a whole lot more?

Well, for the last six months or so, we’ve actually been pretty good about getting daily updates out, especially if you consider our record. There’s a few days that go by here and there, but please keep in mind that I’m the sole editor of a website that is being updated and maintained while, at the same time, I’m working on producing an upcoming web series, writing a book, and doing various other commercial work for which I’ve been hired. To top it off, I also contribute about 80% of the material you read here, particularly when it comes to the Daily Weird. Considering the work load, WF ain’t doing too bad.

If you still aren’t convinced that we’re actually performing better than ever, consider this: it took us close to four and a half years to hit a million unique page views. We hit that milestone around Christmas last year. Since then, in the span of just six months, we’ve already long surpassed the two million mark. That kind of growth is crazy, and has only happened because we’ve made a conscious effort to pour as much of our hearts and souls into Who Forted as we could muster this year. We’re still committed to that.

We also have to thank so many of our wonderful writers, old and new, regular or occasional,  for contributing to that kind of growth by writing all kinds of kick ass articles you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. Whether they’re exclusive stories about a relative’s alien abduction, peeks into eerie phenomena like the Black Eyed Children, or detailed looks at some classic and under-appreciated tales of the strange, these kinds of stories are what helps set WF apart from the echo chamber that tends to form around paranormal media.

I could always do what plenty of other fringe news outlets do and cut and paste other people’s content, add a snarky paragraph and a stock graphic, and call it good, but I try to spend a little more time putting together something that doesn’t just look nice, but is a unique, fun, and informative take on the topic at hand. It might make for less “content”, but I feel like it’s worth the extra time, especially if it means our content actually contains something.

So, are we failing? Are we succeeding? I’d certainly say the latter, but it really depends on who you ask. We do our best to update every day and keep the front page looking fresh, but as I said, this is labor of love that’s run by two people. If you want to see more content, by all means, let me remind you that we maintain an open submissions policy. Write something and send it our way. Have your friends do the same. You might not get rich, but we can guarantee you’ll get read.

Now, I better get back to updating.


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14 Comments

  1. Lee D Munro

    07/12/2013 at 5:56 AM

    You’re not providing a service. You’re providing a platform. I’ll add one of the best platforms out there. The depth of your response is disproportionate to banality of the complaint, although I can appreciate why you felt the need to make it.

  2. Gwen

    07/12/2013 at 8:19 AM

    For what it’s worth, I think you and Dana are doing a great job with Who Forted! It’s nice to find an online source for news of the weird that’s irreverent, funny, and occasionally skeptical (with a small s) about the stories being reported. I’ll take quality updates over quantity any day. Keep up the good work you guys!

  3. Maureen Elsberry

    07/12/2013 at 10:20 AM

    I don’t know Greg…I don’t know why you feel its necessary to have a job, pay the bills, or have any sort of life outside WF. I think you need to glue your ass to your computer chair and acquire a trucker speed addiction and pump out at least 10 stories a day. DO IT! 😉

    • Greg Newkirk

      07/12/2013 at 10:37 AM

      On a hot day, ass does tend to glue to my chair. Swap a speed addiction for gummy bears and I’m almost there already!

  4. Red Pill Junkie

    07/12/2013 at 10:30 AM

    If we’re measuring success in terms of cash flow, any accountant would tell us we’ve been failing for five years solid.

    HA! You punks call that failure? Have a talk with my skipper Greg Taylor, who’s been seeing red numbers with The Daily Grail since 1999!!

    The Fortean world is a merciless bitch, folks. And we wouldn’t have it any other way 😛

    • Greg Newkirk

      07/12/2013 at 10:35 AM

      It’s a sickness, really. Once it infects you, you don’t really have much choice in the matter. Like that parasite you get from cat turds.

  5. John Dockum

    07/12/2013 at 11:44 AM

    Busiest I have ever seen it. No doubt about it and it is much more fun now too.

  6. Steve Parkes

    07/12/2013 at 1:04 PM

    I’ve had hundreds of comments like this for various projects over the years and invariably it eventually kills the desire to continue. 🙁

    I don’t do much web based these days and I’ll certainly never be a regular blogger or podcaster again because of it.

    Don’t let it get you down and carry on as you are. You’re doing great.

  7. Ken Summers

    07/12/2013 at 2:40 PM

    There’s one thing we can all be sure of: you can’t rush a good thing. Sure, there might be slow times with articles, but if you just post articles daily for the sake of constantly updating articles, the quality will go down the shitter. And that’s my excuse for not contributing as much in recent times!

    A high school English teacher of mine used to stress quality over quantity when it came to writing, and that holds true for WF? as well. We could punch out a ton of Examiner-quality pieces all the time that would be better used as digital toilet paper, or strike when those bits of gold pop up and write good, interesting, and silly things.

    I think the vast majority of readers would rather have the latter.

  8. Jason Delane Malcom

    07/13/2013 at 1:19 PM

    For My’ part WF is *************13 star paranormal(not My term to the Me this sort of thing is just life as it is) entertainment. Has any one to speak of claimed to be the reincarnated Charles Fort? If not You might be. As to the question of Who Forted; mayhap whoever smelt it dealt it, does ending a sentence with a preposition make Me a journalist?

  9. Fooky

    07/14/2013 at 12:13 PM

    It’s actually a compliment, even if it’s a whiny one. You guys are awesome at what you do and people just want more of it, even if it’s not really possible.

  10. Annie

    07/14/2013 at 7:58 PM

    I’ll parrot the majority opinion here and say you provide quality rather than quantity. Yes it’s true when I visit my favorite website daily it can be disappointing to see nothing new, but it doesn’t really matter I was already aware that you do this as a hobby, and as someone who has run a service for free in the past I know how hard it can be sometimes. I gave up after 6 years because my heart wasn’t in it anymore and my time had become too valuable. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen any time soon to you and Dana! Keep up the good work.

  11. Jokkefanten

    07/15/2013 at 2:31 PM

    Came here thanks to listening to Jim Harold’s Interview with yours truly. Got to say i was positively surprised in regards to the variety of articles here and, of course, the quality. It’s also good to remember Quality over Quantity.

  12. Stephen Wagner

    07/21/2013 at 8:24 AM

    I also am a fan of this website! Nice job.

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