Two months ago, I asked you how I could improve DW and make visiting the site a more enjoyable experience. Well, I have been a busy little bee behind the scenes, and so far, on the tech front, I have: fixed the size issues some of you were having in Chrome and various browsers; given the forum tabs in the navigation bar drop-down menus; installed some serious spam-fighting plugins (you should be seeing much less on it now in the forums, but if it does pop up, please let me know!); installed better comment-rating thumbs; installed a site search bar at the top of the sidebar (unless you are reading on a tablet, in which case you’ll find it at the bottom of the screen); installed a category tag cloud in the sidebar; and the big one — I created a new mobile-friendly site and app (!), making it much easier and more pleasant to read DW on the go (I realize there’s no comment reply function in the mobile version and I hope eventually that will be an option I can add).
On the content front, I have brought back His Take columns, Google Search questions, the DW book club, and have been sharing more personal stories of my own. I’ve also been including more submissions from guest contributors. And I even got some of the lurkers talkin‘! There will be more good stuff to come, I promise.
In addition to all of this, I have a new social share menu at the bottom of each post, making it easier for you to share content on whatever social media platform you prefer. I have been active on Facebook for a long time (and am present, but not so active on Twitter). To stay up with you young people, I have just started instagramming and you are more than welcome to follow me for a little peek into my day-to-day life as a blogger, mother, wife, Brooklynite, wine-drinker, margarita-maker, chocolate-eater, cat-lover. That might not be your thing, but if it is, come find me; I hope to post once a day. Also! I am finally trying to embrace Pinterest. On a personal level, it’s a little … much for me. But I can no longer deny its power to drive traffic and I know that, without a presence on Pinterest, I have been missing out on many potential new readers. So, here I am, slowly going through my vast archives of content and pinning whatever I think may be relevant and of interest to Pinterest users. Are you on Pinterest? Follow me! And share my stuff. Honestly, one of the best — and I think, easiest — ways you can support this site and help ensure it sticks around is to share content and help attract new readers. New readers = higher pageviews = bigger ad revenue = DW long time. It also means more people will potentially click affiliate links and make purchases and increase my commissions.
Last year, my third year running DW, was the first year I didn’t lose money on the site. After paying overhead costs, babysitter fees, and taxes, I just about broke even. I am hoping this year I actually make a real profit – at least enough to convince me to keep investing the same level of time (about 20-25 hours a week, give or take) and thoughtfulness that I have been investing for the last three years. But I need your help for that. Please share my content. Share it on your own sites or with your friends or family or co-workers. Like it on Facebook or Tweet it on Twitter or Pin it on Pinterest. I cannot emphasize enough how important sharing is to the longevity and success of a website. It’s one of the most crucial things.
Finally, I’ll probably be doing another donation drive again soon. It still feels a little weird for me to run donation drives — I’m uncomfortable asking for money as I think most people probably are — but last year you generous people donated over $3,000, without which DW would have been in the hole — it would have cost more to maintain the site (including paying for 12 hours a week of childcare so I had time to work) than what the site earned. So your donations are greatly appreciated and, at this point, still needed. But I’m looking into different ways to do future donation drives, hopefully making them more fun and rewarding. I am wondering: what could I offer you in exchange for a donation? What are some simple things you would enjoy from me that would make donating feel a little more rewarding? Would you like a phone call from me to get personal one-on-one advice? Or private advice over email? Or the chance to choose a post topic? Or a postcard from me through snail mail? Ad sponsorship? A link to your website/business/project? Exclusive newsletter type emails? Ideas welcome! (And, yes, I realize many of you don’t want anything in return and feel like this site itself is the reward, which is totally sweet and I really appreciate that; I just like the idea of giving special thanks when/if I can to those whose support goes above and beyond).
Anyhoo… this turned into a much longer post than I intended, but I wanted to update you on what I’ve been working on, changes I’ve made, plans I have, etc. The year is off to a kick-ass start. As always, thank you for your continued support!!