Phyllis wrote about the process of life re-evaluation that we are going through. Obviously the future of this web site is entwined with that process and so we thought it would be a good idea to share our thinking about the site and its future with you, our readers:
We started Attainable Adventure Cruising (AAC) as a simple home page to keep our friends and family up to date with our travels. Talk about the hobby that got out of hand!
Eleven years later:
- Phyllis and I spend an average of about twenty-five hours a week, between us, creating content and maintaining the site. I’m not sure what Colin’s time commitment is, but it’s substantial.
- Two years ago we spent three person-months porting the site over to the WordPress content management platform.
- The three of us (Phyllis, Colin, and John) have created over 550 separate posts of original content. It’s important to emphasise the original content aspect. At many web sites, much, or even most, of the content is commentary on content created by others—they take in each other’s laundry.
- About 25,000 readers visit the site each month and read some 50,000 pages. About 100,000 different people visited the site last year. Comparable readership to many sailing magazines.
- Since we migrated to WordPress, traffic has doubled every year.
- An extremely smart and experienced group of readers have contributed some 4000 comments in the last two years, adding immeasurably to the value of the site.
- The site is now owned and published by our limited liability company, Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd.
- We seem to have a tiger by the tail with the Adventure-40.
- The site has developed real authority and clout in the marine industry.
We believe in transparency, so here is the site’s financial situation:
- The site has no income. The logos in the right side bar are those of companies that have helped us out with discounts or free products over the last 5 years, but the total amount of benefit is less than US$5000 and there is no ongoing revenue. Oh, and we did make just over $100 in Amazon referral fees over the last six months.
- We finance the AAC site out of the modest revenue of The Norwegian Cruising Guide. While the AAC expenses are not huge, they are growing every year as the site expands, both in features and traffic.
- Our expenditures on computers and camera equipment are substantial and most of our usage of that gear is in creating content for this site.
- The AAC site contributes almost no traffic that results in sales of the Norwegian Cruising Guide.
- We have been advised that we and the company should have liability insurance and that will add substantially to the expenses.
- We tried a donation button about two years ago. No donations were made in the two weeks the button was displayed.
- Since we have no interest in actually building boats, there is no clear path to making the Adventure-40 a revenue generator for AAC Limited.
Phyllis and I really enjoy creating content for the site and publishing it. We love the creative process, the focus, and the purpose it gives us. We also treasure the community that has grown up around the site and our connection to you, our readers. (I assume Colin feels the same way, since he has produced thousands of words of great content for AAC without getting paid a penny, but it would be presumptuous of me to include him in the above paragraph.)
We have lots of ideas for great new content and features for the site that we will be rolling out in the next year. And we should have more time to focus on AAC since we are nearing the end of the gargantuan task of publishing a new edition of the Norwegian Cruising Guide. Also, we are not planning any aggressive and time consuming cruises, like last year’s to the Arctic, for at least two years, further freeing us to focus on AAC.
The 800-Pound Gorilla in The Room
I’m sure most of you have figured out where this is going by now. More on that in Part 2.
If you have any thoughts or questions on any of this, please leave a comment.