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Well Done! Met Our Fifth Goal, and on to a New One: Expanding Our Reach

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Via Naked Capitalism

If you don’t need to be persuaded to give but simply have not gotten around to it, please proceed straight to our fundraiser page to chip in!

Thanks to your generous and speedy responses, we’ve achieved our first five targets: tech investments to improve your experience and our defenses, bonuses to our loyal guest writers (who given their expertise and caliber of their work, deserve better than underwhelming standard writer pay levels), travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; funding to improve the comments section; and providing the staffing to provide our 24/7 coverage without burning out of yours truly. Let me stress again: your donations have and continue to make all these critical items possible. And at 1305 donors, we’re within striking distance of our new goal of 1350 contributors for this fundraiser. So we are raising our donor target to 1600!

Because this fundraiser is going so well, we are introducing a new goal this year: that of funding for expanding our reach. We’ve mentioned that our traffic is holding solid despite being downgraded in Google, like many independent websites like The Intercept, Truthdig, and Counterpunch. While the good news is we are holding our own, the bad news is that despite the fact that our content has only gotten better (and we think more relevant) over time, we are working harder than ever just to stay in place. And this is despite the fact that many readers tell us that they promote our work to friends, family, and colleagues, as well as on Facebook and social media.

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So whether you are able to contribute financially to this fundraiser or not, spreading the word about Naked Capitalism is also absolutely essential for us to continue to thrive. Churn is a fact of life in any field; once-loyal readers drift away because their priorities or tastes change. So encouraging people who might like our work to check out Naked Capitalism is critically important (as is chipping in via our fundraiser page if you haven’t had the time to do so already)

We’ve considered and even spent hard dollars to go the path of SEO optimization with the supposed industry leader Yoast. The advice we got was not only largely canned, but implementing it would not also have been destructive to reader experience but it would even have broken our plumbing (see here and here for details; it’s quite the case study of poor vendor conduct). We do take some bare minimum steps with every post, but we’ve concluded that SEO may work for product sites (but see even here why not) but is generally a poor fit for financial and smaller news sites (although we might bother at some point to clean up that our categories and tags don’t work the way Google wants them to work, but even that is probably more cost and brain damage to fix that it is worth).

And please do not use this mention of SEO to spam us! We already get spammed all the time by SEO providers (and virtually all of them do a terrible job with their pitch missives, to add insult to injury). Any e-mails about SEO go straight to trash.

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So what might work? We wish we had the time for podcasts, but doing anything in addition to what we do now introduces a lot more complexity (for instance, podcasts require not just specialized equipment but sound editing, and so more people which means more people and tasks to supervise, which lands on Yves’ desk and takes time away from producing content).

The best short-term move would be to find the time to write for New York Magazine regularly. Not only would this introduce Naked Capitalism to new readers, but as important, every article at New York Magazine links back to the site. Links from “authoritative” sites elevate our standing in Google and over time should somewhat offset the downrankings we’ve suffered.

We think this is an important defensive move given the increasing hostility of search engines and social media towards independent news sites.

In addition, those of you who encourage people you know to read the site might encounter some raised eyebrows when you recommend *horrors* a blog, while an introduction first to a New York Magazine piece and then to the site can counter knee-jerk skepticism.

Our New York Magazine editor has confirmed they are still keen to have us as often as twice a month. The problem is I found it difficult to carve out the time because New York Magazine is a different audience (more liberal than left wing) and thus the articles require different framing and a different voice than I use here. They also often require more backup, since I can’t just refer to things we’ve run or linked to here. So they take more time to produce than a similar-length post at Naked Capitalism.

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Even though New York Magazine does pay for each piece, it’s not enough to make up for the time I’d need for coverage by Lambert and Jerri-Lynn to make up for that. So we are setting a target of $7,500 for this goal and we are already $535 towards it. Notice we have kept this goal modest compared to the others.

The “extra coverage” would consist largely of having Lambert and Jerri-Lynn do Links more often (Lambert is also very fast at putting Links together; I am jealous of his speed). So rest assured, this plan will not lead to fewer original posts by me, just a rearranging of other work duties at the site. It is also possible we could hire a researcher to help with posts and New York Magazine pieces, but finding someone with the right skills and schedule flexibility is a tall order.

If we wind up not using all the funds in the goal to help produce New York Magazine pieces, they will go to support more original reporting. So please, help use be even bigger and badder by going to the Tip Jar and giving as generously as you can! Whether $5 or $5,000, they all help us make this site hum.

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