I forget sometimes that this little project and the work associated with has a bit more reach than just my desk. I was at last week’s Puck Talks and was floored by how many people were curious about how the site has been going since it launched last month, and my approximate answer was probably a bit underwhelming to all involved.

“Well, it’s hard to know for sure, because it hasn’t really been my focus. We’ll know once I’m really putting my effort into it.”

It’s not an unfair description of the situation, but it also feels like a bit of a cop-out response on my part all the same. So let’s put a bit more of an effort into it.

How’s the site doing?

Launch week was crazy. There’s no other way to describe it. When I put up the initial article and associated tweet, I figured it’d get a couple of “oh, neat” responses over the course of the day. Instead, I got about four blocks out the door of my building on a walk before my phone went into notification earthquake mode, with people pouring out kind words and spreading the word.

Within a week, just about anybody who I would’ve wanted to know about the site’s existence knew, the social accounts had an audience I expected would take months to develop, and people had already given the site substantial legitimacy and credibility in their books. Most impressively, a few dozen people have picked up subscriptions despite the fact that there hasn’t been much premium content just yet. It was incredibly flattering and humbling and I can’t thank everybody enough for that.

As far as readership goes, it’s about what I’ve expected on a post-by-post basis; the articles that really deserved traction have done quite well, they’ve been linked to a bunch, and the actual tangible per-article numbers give me confidence that I’ve got an audience here similar to what I had before.

In totality, the site isn’t drawing traffic that I’d wave in the face of advertisers just yet, but that has more to do with the fact that it’s still building up a search-engine foothold and the fact that I haven’t been writing enough to create a significant amount total, nor to get regular readers into a “check the front page once or twice a day” routine.

In other news: it’s going pretty damn well for a site that’s been used sparingly for a month.

How am I doing?

Most of the reason that the site has been quiet stems from me taking advantage of the offseason to reset a bit. As you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been following my personal social accounts, that’s gone very well. My family and friends all know that I exist again, I’ve kept my walking and eating routines and gotten myself to my lowest weight in about two years, my sleeping schedule is mostly fixed, and I just generally don’t feel as drained as I had in the months prior.

I imagine that’s how most people feel when they take a laid-back approach to their summer. I kinda like it. I should do this more often.

What’s coming up?

Of course, none of this matters unless there’s a plan ahead. Which, thankfully, there is.

  • An influx of content leading into the season. I spent a day last week brainstorming pre-season story ideas and I came up with a significant enough list that I might not even be able to get to them all before opening night. As such, we should see a return to daily or near-daily work this week.
  • A super secret series that I’ve been putting off for a bit. Really, it shouldn’t be hard to guess what this would be, but I think you’ll all be pleased with the scope of it once it’s done.
  • A couple of outside writing opportunities to be announced. Nothing super obvious (like, I wouldn’t bother speculating level of non-obvious), but they should be fun, the venues should lead to interesting stuff, and it’ll keep me out of my own editor echo-chamber to an extent, which I think is important if I want to push forward the standards of my work.
  • Some new shirt designs, I’ve had some ideas in mind for a while but haven’t quite dragged myself into devoting the hours on Photoshop.
  • I’ll probably acknowledge that the Instagram account exists at some point and start posting stuff on there. What that stuff will be, I don’t know, but I’d prefer that it people who are following it get something out of it rather than a show of solidarity to make the site look good at internetting.

I want to write for The Faceoff Circle!

I’ve received a ton of DMs, messages, emails, and everything in between from people looking to contribute to the site, even as volunteers.

I’d like to re-iterate what I stated when the site launched: I don’t want this site to fall down the same model of underpayment under the guise of “building experience” that many other blogs and blogging networks have. I still don’t know what the end game for this site is; whether it’s my canvas until my next step or if it’s a honest-to-goodness attempt to launch a permanent platform. But whatever the case, I won’t be looking to add anybody until it’s feasible to pay fair value for the work of others.

Anything Else?

Not really. There are a few other odds and ends that I could add to the “What’s coming up?” section, but I’d like to get that all solidified first. In short, I’m just as excited as I was a few weeks ago when this all launched, except now I’m just about ready to really get down to business. Thanks as always for reading, and we’ll chat again soon.

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