Hummingbird Update. First Quarter 2018 Review.
First Quarter 2018 Hummingbird Update.
To say that the first quarter of 2018 was a whirlwind full of surprises would be a vast understatement. Astounding, crazy, fun, creative, exciting are words that come first to mind. We promised that we would keep you abreast of all our “goings on,” and so this time, along with an update on where we stand according to the data and our anecdotal observations, we will also answer some of our most frequently asked questions. Like, How are we doing? What do we have planned? When will we launch on Twitter? Do we want to take on advertisers? Are we taking on new writers? How do we grow our base without advertising Hummingbird?
Let’s start with the FAQs first.
How are we doing? In a word, GREAT. We are steadily growing our reader base, most importantly the readers that come back often, with some checking in at least once per day. We added a new contributor in March, Meryl Spiegel, who has not only brought exciting new work to Hummingbird, but also a group of dedicated followers. Through Meryl’s series, An Evolving Life, she integrates her artistic path with her quest to free and nurture her inner creative person. The result is a visually beautiful and authentically written series that is extremely relatable.
Our contributors continue to produce extraordinary content including recipes that span easy to difficult, but all are delicious; spot on book reviews of new literature, both fiction and non fiction; movie reviews; restaurant reviews and updates; original prose from our group of emerging writers; stories and essays about life, social commentary, business; and art and conversation. There is always a surprise or two thrown in—like our tributes to our favorite holidays, such as National Pi Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter—to name a few. Our hands-down, favorite during the first quarter--and apparently yours too!-- was our marathon of Hummingbird posts on Valentine’s Day, where we had original art from Tina Folks, essays, love quotes, lots about chocolate, and ended the day with a beautiful e.e. cummings poem. That was really something.
What do you have planned? More of what we see our readers gravitating to, plus some new ideas we are percolating. One thing we are thinking about is a “contest” New Yorker style—so stay tuned for that. We will continue covering and expanding our current topics, with at least one new post per day. We will also repost content periodically, as we have had two comments about that: the first is to continue posting new content every day, and the second is, concern that new content could be missed! One thing we’d like to recommend, now that we have hundreds of posts under our collective belts, is for readers to also use the navigation in addition to scrolling. The navigation makes it easy to pull up all the posts in a category or by a specific author.
When will we launch on Twitter? Not yet, but soon! We know it will expand our audience substantially and we’ve had some experience with doing just that this quarter already—more about that in a moment when we provide the data update below.
Do you want to take on advertisers? So far, we are still thinking no. We have had many comments regarding Hummingbird being a welcome “respite” from the barrage of advertisements readers get on other platforms. We agree, and we feel that we would rather stay focused on getting the content right. We are not planning to monetize through advertisers in the near future.
Will we be taking on new contributors? Yes, as reported at the end of the year, we planned to add two new contributors, so we will be bringing on one more writer within the next couple of months….stay tuned!
How do we grow our base without advertising Hummingbird? We are truly growing organically. For example each of our contributors have their own audiences. We are working towards cross-pollinating. It’s a challenge, but it’s happening in steady incremental steps. We also have generated exposure in other ways such as our recent “reach out” to a local restaurant. East End Restaurant Week began yesterday, and the prior week, Stone Creek Inn promoted their participation. Well, it just so happened that Hummingbird did a great review of Stone Creek Inn in February, so we shared Stone Creek Inn’s promotion of East End Restaurant Week, along with the Hummingbird review. The owners were very pleased and flattered, and shared the Hummingbird review with their several thousand followers! Needless to say, Hummingbird was rocking it for the next several days, with hundreds of new readers checking out our blog. Also, several of our contributors have been sharing their posts as well as favorites of others in their social media and asking their followers to share too. It is ALL working!
Which leads us to what the data is telling us. Cold, hard numbers tell the story.
Since year end 2017 through March 31, 2018,
(Hummingbird was launched in mid-October 2017)
- Our number of “unique visitors,” that is the number of individual IP addresses that access the site counted just one time regardless of number of visits, is up 90%.
- Total number of visits, that is the number of actual times the unique visitors have accessed Hummingbird, is up 95% for the period since year-end.
- Being the data geek that I admittedly am, my favorite statistics are the rolling day 30-day numbers. Sometimes daily numbers ride a roller coaster, based on anecdotal events such as those mentioned. I am interested in the 30-day numbers because I feel that they capture our loyal base, those that are coming into the blog regularly, as well as reflect some of the new “transactional” readers, those that come in to see just one thing, one time. A 30-day period gives it time for those numbers to “settle out.” I am excited to report that our core base is up on average 58%. And also very excited to let you know that at the end of the first quarter of 2018, we have reached or exceeded our midyear goals, across the board!
Always there is more to the story, and that is our readers. We cannot even talk about our Hummingbird readers and followers without big smiles popping up everywhere. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives. Thank you for reading us as many times and as closely as you do. Thank you for coming back often. Hummingbird readers are our raison d’etre. In reality, most of the Hummingbird Team would be writing anyway, but having this “home” that is so supportive, smart, kind and fun is so special, and our collective feeling of pride and gratitude is just incomparable.
And last, we would surely be remiss if we didn't mention with huge admiration that the first novel of one of our emerging writers is in the works, having already been completed. How cool is that? Congratulations Angela Rieck!