\"Niall

Reflections on reaching one million unique readers monthly on IrishCentral

\"Niall

A screen grab from IrishCentral's launch day.

 

Dear Reader

I've started five publications in my life, all of them survived, but none cost me as much anxiety and stress as IrishCentral.

The others were magazines and newspapers, arenas I knew well, and the fundamentals were the same with all.

IrishCentral was the opposite, a complete leap in the dark into an arena I only dimly understood, full of technology terms and new delivery methods that made my head spin.

I was in my mid fifties, stuck in my ways, barely able to turn on my laptop and the new arena looked like a battlefield against unknown and powerful forces to me.

In the early days, back in 2009, I was seriously worried I would ever get the hang of it.

We had picked wisely in one respect however, a staff that were utterly dedicated to ensuring that it would survive.

In those early days I wondered myself.

It is only three years but that is a lifetime in Internet terms.

In those times we kept plugging away convinced our vision of a multi media site for the Irish Diaspora would work out.

Some others had tried but had foundered.

What we had was our other publications, Irish Voice, Irish America Magazine, Home and Away and the collective wisdom about the Irish in America we shared .

We also knew that irrespective of the medium the fundamentals applied. Good stories, well written, well packaged is the lifeblood of any successful media operation no matter what medium.

We started with 4,000 people a day,coming to the site then it rose to 10,000, then 15, then 20, then 30 and now averaging 35,000 a day which is over one million a month now and still growing.

One million uniques is the magic number which says you have arrived the experts say, a place only 5 per cent of sites ever reach, the moment when you go from hopeful to confident.

In a business where nine out of ten start-ups fail it is a gratifying sight.

I learnt so much. I learnt to read the Google analytics chart which is the bible of this business like an old pro. Google lets you know hour by hour who is coming to your site, how many, what they are reading and how long they stay.

Then there's Chartbeat, which lets you know literally, second by second, who is coming to your site, whether they are reading or writing, where in the world they are coming in from.

It is an instant feedback world, one I could never have imagined when I purchased my first typewriter in 1979 in San Francisco and went about putting out my first newspaper with all of $938 dollars.

The world has changed so much since that I feel as if I'm on an unfamiliar ocean on a voyage to God knows where.

But it is wonderful too, to test and challenge yourself every day, to push the envelope of your knowledge and to learn new tricks, even when some days you feel like the oldest dog in the kennel.

With age truly does come wisdom of sorts, especially in a job like this. It the kind of wisdom that allows you to understand that doing your level best is the best you or anyone else can do and to hell with the begrudgers after that.

But it also gives you the gift of gratitude to so many readers for supporting this site, to the investors and advertisers who keep it alive and to a wonderful staff who give it everything every day.

So here's to the next monthly 2 million and the 3 million after that. The internet is an unbroken journey without end ,with new terrain every day and a far distant mountain always waiting to be climbed.

Thanks for being along for the ride .

Slainte.
Niall

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