Last week, The Daily Cartoonist turned eight years old. This last year was difficult. You may have noticed a drop in the number of stories and the frequency I posted. Fortunately, many of the things that were pressing during 2013 have been resolved and I’ve been increasing my attention on The Daily Cartoonist. I’m committing myself not to just another year publishing the blog, but to markedly improve the content and delivery of the news you come here for. Below are a few of the goals for this next year:
- Redesign – The site is due for a visual overhaul. How and where people read the blog has changed considerably since 2006 when I designed the site. Aside from visual aesthetics of the site that are starting to look dated, the number of people reading the blog from a mobile or tablet device are steadily increasing. The site needs to be reworked to give readers a better experience regardless of the screen size.
- Refocus of content – related to the redesign, I’m going to simplify the content structure. I currently file news under 48 different categories. I’m going reduce it to at least four: Creators, Publishers, Issues, and Technology. I might add a couple more, but you get the idea. I won’t be cutting the current “beats” I report on. The Daily Cartoonist will still be the go to place for newspaper based cartooning, syndicates, but the circle of creators and publishers will get a bit larger.
- Reorganize my sources – I think, at least in the early days of the blog, one of the things that helped establish TDC as a go-to source was my ability to leverage Google Alerts and RSS feeds to keep abreast of the goings on in the industry. I frequently was able to published news ahead of more established sites such as Editor and Publisher and Poynter who relied on tips and contacts. A lot of the blogs/sites I follow have grown stale or migrated and I haven’t had the time to do a thorough review to determine which sites/blogs/people I still need to pay attention to in light of TDC’s re-focus of content (see goal #2). Additionally, news is traveling at the speed of Facebook and Twitter and I need to find a better way to separate signal vs noise. For every genuine news tip I see on Twitter/Facebook, I have to wade through hundreds (thousands?) of memes, conversations, and “check out this video”s.
- Mobile apps – Related to the redesign, I’m looking into building a native mobile app for iOS and Android devices. I’ve been bullish on mobile as the next big platform, so it’s time I eat my own dog food as they say. More details on this as I more clearly identify the scope of this project.
- Rebuild my audience – In the last year, my readership numbers have dropped quite a bit – a casualty of not posting frequently or consistently. The only way to get more readers is to consistently provide news of interest in a timely fashion. That’s always been a challenge as I do have a family and a day-job. In the early days, I was easily dedicating 15-20 hours per week to the blog. While I I can’t promise that level of effort right now, I am dedicating more time each day to the blog. You probably have already seen an uptick in the number of posts each day. You can expect that to continue.
Last year, I didn’t do my annual fund-raiser as I didn’t feel appropriate to ask for donations if I wasn’t positive I’d be able to keep the blog going. But this year I’m not only committed, but I’m increasing my investment to The Daily Cartoonist. I provide a valuable service for those who are interested in comics and the industry. Next week I will be launching a campaign to fund The Daily Cartoonist for 2014. The campaign will be ambitious as are the goals I’m setting out to accomplish.
I hope you’ll support the blog with a generous contribution when the campaign launches. If you’d like to help in the campaign (provide incentives (books, originals, sketches, etc.), please contact me. It would be a much appreciated assistance.