Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This Little Train Keeps Chugging Ahead

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher

and Tim Hadac
Managing Editor

Southwest Chicago Post

The last time we mentioned the steadily increasing number of hits we receive on the Southwest Chicago Post website was back on July 28---when, in a Facebook post we mentioned we had just hit 30,000:

"Shortly after 2:00 PM today (July 28), we glanced and saw this---a new milestone for the Southwest Chicago Post, Chicago's newest online neighborhood news service. Over 30,000 hits in just a few short months---with no advertising, publicity or ballyhoo. Just a step-by-step, steady commitment to neighborhood news, reported plainly and honestly by people who live here. Our thanks to you, the men and women of the Southwest Side, for reading and offering common-sense feedback that continues to guide our efforts."

Well, SWCP readers kept reading, new readers jumped on board, and the "hit" counter kept moving faster---so much so that by the time we were going to say "thanks" for 40,000 hits in August, we were already speeding toward a new sign post of success.

And sure enough, a few days ago we looked at the hit counter and saw this:

...and as we write this editorial on a Tuesday afternoon, we're well past 52,000.

We continue to grow quickly; more quickly than we had anticipated. And what we said about the Southwest Chicago Post---and about you---in our "Readers Who Count" editorial of May 1st:


...still holds true.

One more thing we see in the analysis of our "hit" numbers that we like. For the most part, once people start reading the Southwest Chicago Post, they tend to remain readers. We take that as a compliment, that we are essentially on the right track when we report neighborhood news plainly---with no bells, no whistles, no gossip or political glad-handing.

And so we'll keep doing exactly that.

One thing we will never do at the Southwest Chicago Post---fudge our numbers, even though we have been urged to do so by others. Really.

We have been given tips on how to boost our hit count, and tips on how to boost our Facebook "like" count. Trouble is, these tips involve using gimmicks---some ethical, some not---like actually purchasing thousands of "real" FB "likes" in bundles.

Buying hits or likes? Not us. Not ever. Let the others do that.

...or like segmenting our SWCP news stories so you (for example) have to click three times or more to read a single story, rather than once as you do now.

But rest assured, we won't play games like that. We respect you and know your time is valuable. So while we are pleased and flattered that you choose us as a news source, we don't want you on the SWCP website even a minute longer than you want to be. We want to be simple and straightforward---and we think you prefer that, too.

The main reason we won't play games with our hit count or "like" number is that it's dishonest. And that's not us. Not ever.

So thanks again for reading. Please continue to offer us constructive criticism along the way. Your common sense helps guide us and keep this little train on track.

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