I read a lot of email newsletters and I love the simplicity of them.
Receive, read, forward, maybe reply, delete.
If I was starting AVC all over again, I’d head over to TinyLetter, which my daughter uses, and start writing.
But I’ve got legacy issues to consider. I’ve got an archive, a three letter URL with a lot of Google Juice, an RSS feed, a community, and a number of other things that I’ve built up over the years.
Many AVC readers don’t bother with any of that and simply subscribe and read via email. For them, AVC is an email newsletter. The number of readers who engage that way has been growing a lot in recent years and it is now the majority of readers. That speaks volumes to me and suggests that is how most people want to get this content every day.
So I’ve got an email newsletter with a lot more overhead. The community requires moderation and maintenance. We have to actively manage spam. I need to keep up with WordPress, which introduced a new UI that most people dislike (I’m mostly fine with it). I have a hosting service to deal with. And the email and RSS feeds are powered by third parties who do a great job for me but need some level of staying on top of.
That is a fair bit of technical debt that I’ve built up over the years and would go away if I was using a modern newsletter service like TinyLetter.
So I am going to experiment with simplifying AVC a bit in the coming months. One thing I am going to do for sure is cut back on the comments. I have seriously thought about shutting down comments and I have done that for a few posts.
I am either going to shut them down for a week and see how that feels. Or shut them down except for a few posts a week (like Sunday and Tuesday).
The truth is comments are used by a very small portion of the AVC readership. But the people who use the comments are very active and engaged. So removing comments won’t impact a lot of readers, but it will impact the most loyal readers.
So I want to tread lightly here. But I also want to lower the overhead of writing and managing AVC and comments are the highest overhead feature on AVC.
I’m interested to hear what people think of the overall goal and objective of simplification and how I’m thinking about it. And I’m specifically interested in feedback on cutting back on comments.
How I go about doing this is still a bit of a work in progress in my mind and I appreciate the feedback as I think this through.