Three Months Later… How Are We Doing?

DigitalBookWorld.com on January 27, 2010

DBW Homepage on 1/27/10

By Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, Chief Executive Optimist, Digital Book World

Three months ago, during the mid-afternoon of January 25th, we flipped the switch on DigitalBookWorld.com and shifted from the event-focused site promoting our inaugural Conference (that would kick off the next morning), to the community-focused site you’re reading now.

To help accomplish our goal of becoming “The Publishing Community for the 21st Century”, we wanted to do three very specific things, with this web site representing the hub for each of them:

  1. Offer a range of programming, year-round, focused on implementing the strategies that were put forward at the Conference.
  2. Promote a sense of optimism about the future of publishing, and the opportunities hidden in the challenges the industry is facing.
  3. Publish content that syncs with our mission of focusing “on publishing strategies, not tools; solutions, not theories; practicality, not punditry.”

Since January 25th, we’ve produced 6 WEBcasts and 11 episodes of The Roundtable, as well as a second 7x20x21 event that was the epitome of publishing optimism (the videos from which are available on-demand here on the site), and our first Digitize Your Career Forum. We’ve also published 105 articles on a number of topics, including eBooks, marketing, and the evolving business model; insightful takes on Amazon and the iPad; and inspiring profiles of a variety of optimistic publishing professionals.

Our editorial plan has been to focus on quality over quantity, optimism over gloom and doom and empty hype, publishing 4-6 substantial articles each week, and leaving the link-blogging on Twitter where it belongs. Poking around Google Analytics is always an interesting exercise (something all editors and marketers should do on a periodic basis), and it’s fascinating to see where our traffic is coming from, and what you’re all reading the most.

Traffic Mix

Referring Sites – 47 %
Direct Traffic – 37%
Search Engines – 16%

Google provided 93% of our search traffic, and that total number has grown each month as we publish more content and have more sites linking backing to it, resulting in our showing up more frequently, and higher, in relevant keyword searches. We keep our sitemap updated regularly and expect search to eventually represent ~25% of our traffic mix.

Top Referring Sites

twitter.com – 24.45%
booktrade.info – 6.97%
news.ycombinator.com – 4.89%
networkedblogs.com – 4.69%
facebook.com – 2.88%
linkedin.com – 2.52%
blog.writersdigest.com – 1.90%
mediabistro.com – 1.87%

Not surprisingly, Twitter is a major traffic generator, and actually represents closer to 30% as HootSuite, ow.ly, and iconfactory.com are all tracked separately, and combine for another 4.5% of total referred traffic. Facebook is actually 7.5% as Networked Blogs traffic is primarily coming via our feed into Writer’s Digest‘s Facebook page; it will be interesting to see if that picks up with this weekend’s addition of the “Like” button to the site. (Scroll down and test it out!)

The Hacker News (ycombinator.com) traffic is a bit of an aberration as it all went to one article, The $75 eBook: A True Story, about 6 weeks after it was originally published, and while it likely wasn’t our core audience, it’s always nice to see when an article of ours has relevance beyond the publishing industry. (Thanks to Mike Cane for submitting it.)

Top Articles

That eBooks and marketing are the subjects of our most popular articles isn’t surprising, but seeing Tim Brandhorst’s article, “Closing the Gap…”, already in the top 10 after being published just last Friday is. Chalk that one up to a combination of our Friday enewsletter getting out before the end of the day, and the fabled Tim O’Reilly Bump via Twitter over the weekend.

That’s what some of the numbers tell us, and there are other insightful numbers like registrants to our WEBcasts, our growing list of DBW Members, and the 850+ comments and trackbacks our articles have received, but there’s nothing like direct feedback to let us know how we’re doing.

With that in mind, the comments section on this post are an open forum to discuss anything and everything related to Digital Book World. Tell us what you like and don’t like. Who would you like to hear more from, and what stories are we missing out on?

Remember, this is YOUR community; we’re just facilitating the conversation.

How are we doing?

10 thoughts on “Three Months Later… How Are We Doing?

  1. Ernesto Martínez

    I enjoy all the articles published here. I do not recall how I came accross the site, but I now that is has been on my bookmarks, buzz and my feedy home page since the very moment I finished reading the first post.

    I have registered to the roundtable, but due to schedule issues I wasn’t able to attend the roundtable live. I listen to the recordings afterwards and it has been very enlightning, specially the one on agency model.

    Now I am just looking for funding to become a DBW member.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Post author

      Glad you found us, Ernesto, and I’m especially glad to hear you’re finding the Roundtable’s podcast useful. Thanks for the compliments, and we look forward to your joining us as a member soon!

      Reply
  2. Stephen Bateman

    I think that DBW has done amazingly well – 4 things:
    a) it has focused on its community of enthusiasts and delivered cutting edge relevant content (quality not quantity) to which community members refer to again and again (a trusted brand in 3 months – amazing!)
    b) it has concentrated on being a curator not a publisher (trawling, searching, filtering, aggregating, adding value)
    c) it has showcased effective social community marketing at very low cost
    e) it has earned revenues to reinvest and pay its staff not via product but service including webinars, events, blogs, membership etc..

    so when will the magazine publish? just kidding 😉

    Well done to Guy and the team at F&W Media

    Reply
    1. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Post author

      Thanks, Stephen! I think point B) is perhaps my favorite. I’ve come across some great articles that we were able to give wider exposure to here, and that was one of my primary goals in building our content strategy.

      I’ve actually thought about creating a digital magazine collecting some of our best content, and maybe even making it available in print via MagCloud, but it’s not high on the list just yet.

      PS: Kudos on your efforts launching concentricdots; I’m looking forward to some good ideas coming from you!

      Reply
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  4. Cecilia Tan

    It never fails–every Thursday something conspires to keep me from following the roundtable live. I will eventually overcome Murphy’s Law! No really!

    Overall, I feel DBW is doing a great job of keeping on the pulse. Fast-paced, and continually relevant. You have also done a nice job making multiple pointers at different times to your best articles, which is tricky but very helpful. I know if you do it too often it comes off as spam and people tune out, but you seem to have hit a nice pace of reminders that get me to click on the links that I sometimes miss the first time around or just don’t have time to each pass through my tweetstream, etc. Well done.

    Nitpicky editor coming out: use of the word “epitome.” I realize at this point in common parlance “epitome” has come to mean “pinnacle.” That’s how the advertising agencies of the world seem to always want to use it in car commercials, too. But the original connotation of the word isn’t “best” but “most typical.” The epitome of something is the most common example of something, not the most perfect. The confusion is easily captured in the semantic ambiguity of the way we use the word “ideal.” Usually when something is described as “ideal” we mean “perfect, the best” but when you think about the philosophical concept of an ideal, as in the Platonic Ideal, it actually refers to something that captures not the outlier of excellence, but the image in the middle of the bell curve, the average. This is a losing battle I’m fighting, I know–the descriptive grammarian in me says the meaning of the word has simply outright changed, but the copyeditor in me says I have to try to make the correction. 😉

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    1. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Post author

      Making The Roundtable available as a podcast was a must once we saw the amount of interest in it from people unable to attend live, so I’m glad to hear that people are actually taking advantage of it! That’s one area we don’t get solid data on.

      As for epitome and ideal, I’m definitely guilty of surrender, giving in to their “new” definitions. 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Reply
  5. Robin Seaman

    Guy —

    I think you’ve done a fantastic job of making DBW a rich, multi-faceted, nimble resource for all of us on the ebook front.

    I look forward to the Thursday roundtables which make me, as a West Coaster, feel more connected to the community.

    In a very early Thursday session, we had the ability to see who else was participating but that feature isn’t currently offered.

    Because this is so much about being connected with others in the business, I think it would make the experience more immediate if we knew who else was online and could raise questions that we knew would be relevant to others — or ping others afterwards (as I’ve done) with follow up questions.

    Great job!

    Robin

    Reply
    1. Guy LeCharles Gonzalez Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, Robin! The Roundtable is often my highlight of the week. I wasn’t aware that attendee visibility had changed in the GoToWebinar platform, though. There was an update a while back, and I just noticed today that our non-US call-in numbers had been dropped (now reinstated), so I’ll look into that. 🙂

      Reply
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