Take a look at the layout of this website. If you use some kind of adblocker, try turning it off and compare One Universe at a Time to other popular science sites. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Here you won’t find any ads. No “sponsored links.” No articles that are actually ads. Just articles written by me on various topics in astronomy and physics. I like it that way. I intend to keep it that way.
Rather than ads, this site is supported through donations from readers. Funding a site through donations means that I can focus on writing clearly and honestly instead of striving for hits and page views. If I consistently produce quality work, readers will see value in supporting it. And many of you have. Readers have been quite generous in their support.
You’ve also been generous in sharing my work with others on social media and the like. Over the past several months readership has started to grow. But with more attention, there is the occasional post that goes viral. When that happens the server load spikes sharply, as you can see in the image above. As a result, I’ve had to upgrade the hosting service again.
The vast majority of visitors from such a spike hit the site for less than a minute, and then move on looking for the next clickbait. They aren’t long-term readers, and they certainly aren’t interested in donating to the site. They do, however, add to the overall cost of hosting this site. What this means is that you generous long-term readers are supporting those who visit and run. The solution isn’t to keep asking long-term readers for more and more donations. The solution is to gain more long-term readers.
So I’m asking you dear readers for help. I’m asking you to work together with me to build a larger pool of long-term readers. Part of this will involve sharing posts on social media, which many of you already do. But part of this involves finding ways to break through the noise of hype and clickbait to grow a larger and stronger community. I don’t know much about marketing, but I’m sure some of you do. The larger the readership, the broader the support and the less server spikes will matter.
To everyone, thanks for your support in all its forms. We now return to our regularly scheduled program.