Last year was a busy year for me and this website. Prior to 2020, I was a freelancing copywriter and social media manager. But when the pandemic hit, I lost all my monthly contracts.
I was struggling to find clients and was even applying for all sorts of jobs. Heck, I even applied for work in Australia.
But then through a sequence of events, everything changed for me.
It started after a brief conversation I had on Twitter last March about a recent sale of Crown land in Taber. After following up on some leads I found a bunch of information that I knew had to get out there. I decided to use this website (which I had been using for random blogging since 2004) to compile what I found.
And I ended up with The real story behind the Taber Crown land deal.
After I shared it on social media, it caught quite a bit of attention, bringing in thousands of views, easily my most popular post to that point. It even garnered me a radio interview.
That popularity helped me realize that there was something here, especially since I started getting a few more monthly paid supporters. So I pivoted from finding work and focused all my efforts on researching and writing news.
I launched my daily news service a week later, on 9 April 2020, with my story AMA suing Tyler Shandro for over $255M. That one didn’t get a lot of steam, but another one I wrote a few days later—6 myths the UCP keeps spreading about doctors—brought in 20,000 views that month.
But things really took off with A list of Alberta communities losing doctor care, which saw over 40,000 views that month, and even today sits at over 71,000 views.
From there, the followers and shares kept coming, boosted by my top 10 stories:
- A list of Alberta communities losing doctor care
- The UCP government passed Bill 1; is protest illegal?
- UCP guts Alberta Child Benefit by $100 million a year
- The family connection between Cargill and the UCP
- 6 myths the UCP keeps spreading about doctors
- The real story behind the Taber Crown land deal
- Ethics commissioner’s spouse and his partners donated $78K to UCP and PCs
- What you may not know about the AHS face masks
- Alberta awards 11 coal leases in SW Alberta for $36 a hectare
- Alberta closing treatment centre for homeless men
Those stories led to over 270,00 views in 2020, more than all the other stories I wrote put together.
But those views didn’t just magically appear. People viewed my news stories because other people shared them. A lot.
By far, the biggest source of traffic to this website last year was social media. Facebook alone sent me nearly 300,000 views. Twitter was next with just under 100,000. Reddit sent me 4,400, LinkedIn 900, Instagram 700, and Tumblr 350.
Search engine traffic wasn’t too bad, with about 7,573 views. Unfortunately, most search traffic provides hardly any useful data from visitor browsers, so I honestly don’t know what my most popular searches are.
I also appeared on several podcasts and was interviewed for a couple of radio shows. That, too, brought some people my way. So much so that I had to buy a new domain and host my site elsewhere because my business server couldn’t handle the traffic.
And with all that extra website traffic came more followers.
Plus, the monthly email newsletter I started has already passed 200 subscribers.
With new followers came new monthly paid subscribers. I passed 200 monthly subscribers last year, with subscriptions through PayPal, Patreon, and here on this site. I also received one-time donations from over 100 people last year.
These one-time and monthly (and now even yearly) contributions have meant a lot. They make up the majority of my income. While they haven’t made me rich by any stretch of the imagination—I made less than someone working full-time for minimum wage would have last year—they have allowed me to do all of this full-time.
And I’ve loved it all.
Thank you, everyone.