Having a presence at the Seattle Boat Show this year for the first time was a terrific experience.
It was exhausting, cranking out stories and trying to be at our kiosk as much as possible each day, but it was invigorating in a way I hadn’t expected. Marty and I walked out of the show each night tired and happy, newly inspired and excited about what we’re doing.
Not only did we have an opportunity to introduce the site to a sizable number of new readers, we also got to meet some people we’ve previously known only in cyberspace. We met readers who have contributed stories or photos, others we’ve regularly emailed with, people we’ve interviewed for stories.
Throughout the show, readers came up and told us they like what we’re doing. Some said they’d recently discovered the website; others said they read it every day.
Those comments mean more to us than I can say. They’re what keep us going — through the long hours, the wondering if Three Sheets will get where we want it to go, the myriad challenges of starting a small business on a shoestring. They make what we’re doing worthwhile.
Spending my time writing for a website is an oddly detached and isolating experience. Thanks to Google Analytics, I can tell exactly how many readers Three Sheets Northwest gets, how many pages of our site they read on average, what search terms they use to get to our site and which stories they click on most.
The numbers are completely abstract to me. The only way they seem real is if I try to visualize that many hundreds or thousands of people in one place, and then they become something tangible and exciting. But most of the time, I’m working alone in my home office with Lily, our cat, sleeping somewhere nearby. I don’t have contact with the vast majority of our readers, with the exception of the ones who comment on stories or email us. I can only hope that what I’m putting out there into the ether is useful and interesting for readers, and I look to the numbers as a barometer of whether that’s the case.
To us, Three Sheets Northwest is not just a business venture, but a way to share our love of boating in the Northwest. Our readers are our community.
Meeting some of you over the past couple of weeks was a real highlight. Thanks for stopping by.