The reason i’ve been blogging on / off recently is because i’m finding it difficult to focus 100% on serious work whilst simultaneously blogging on a regular basis. The net result is that i find it more difficult to write and lack sharpness. Go days without writing and time moves quickly, converting itself in to weeks before you know it…
This week, i’ll be working on theleavingcert.com, it takes priority over all else, for the week at least. I’m excited about it’s latest revamp because we’ll be doing something we haven’t done before – creating a proper community. We’ll also be automating it smarter / better so that the site can maintain itself – no input needed from us in the form of content or hand holding users.
Last year, i probably helped people out more than i should have done, particularly those in the media. This year they’ll be met with silence. The community is where the value is at and it’s important that’s our primary focus.
Up until now we’ve managed to increase traffic year after year on theleavingcert.com. Not just increase it, but double or triple it. This year (2011) is no different, the site already eclipsed 2010’s traffic stats back in June. From now on we’ll have another stat to focus on – members… we’ll slowly be introducing membership-only features which will still be free, they’ll just require users to signup / login. These days that’s all done (largely) through Facebook so it’s a quick and painful process.
It’s a smarter way of doing things as it speeds up the commenting process plus it allows users to share information with each other.. be it publicly or privately. That’s all fairly non specific stuff, but once everything has been tried & tested, i’ll talk more in-depth about it here and might even do a screencast to show you how and why we’ve made certain changes. That stats & community will ultimately decide whether these changes will be smart or not but i always approach any changes from a “what do i want as a leaving cert student?” perspective… that’s getting more difficult for me now of course that i’m 5 years out of the loop, but i still feel education in general is such an untapped area online… there’s so much more that can be done to make life easier for students or even parents and teachers. It’s the same at third level and i’m only just out of that loop so i still feel i’ve much more to offer current / future students (in terms of websites / web apps).
It doesn’t make money, so shoot it.
theleavingcert.com is a drain on my time and just about pays to keep itself online. Why bother keeping it online / reinventing it all the time? Because people use it. It’s that simple. So long as people keep using the site, we’ll keep reinventing it. It would be much more difficult to keep reinventing a site nobody wants. Logic, reason, business go out the window a lot of the time online. Some stuff works, some doesn’t…. the planned stuff never goes according to plan and unplanned stuff usually ends up proving to be more successful. It all boils down to ‘doing’ though… nothing can work if it hasn’t been tried so i’ll continue to ‘trial and error’ in pretty much everything i do online… when i stop, i get worried.