State of the site address: NJArts.net in 2017, and beyond

With 2017— the third full year for NJArts.net, which launched in September 2014— almost in the books, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the state of the site.

It was a good year, in many ways. By every possible measure— number of posts, overall page views, advertising revenue, amount of money contributed by users, clicks on advertisers’ ads, size of the newsletter’s mailing list— the site continues to grow at a healthy rate. Maybe more significantly, perhaps, we’ve seen a notable increase in the number of writers whose posts we publish, and photographers whose shots we run.

More and more people are wanting to get involved, all the time. And that’s fantastic.

We also presented our second benefit concert in October, at Crossroads in Garwood, and it looks like more will be on the way in 2018. Also, the 100th Monkey Foundation went way above and beyond the call of duty by organizing a benefit concert for us by their band, Dead Dog’s Eye, in June at Tierney’s Tavern in Montclair.

Now the bad stuff.

Frankly, though it’s gotten better each year, I’m still not making a reasonable amount of money from this. I’m not considering abandoning it any time soon, I can’t go on like this forever.

There’s more troubling stuff, too. The repeal of net neutrality could cause problems in the near or distant future. So could the new tax laws. The precarious state of arts funding under current presidential administration could hurt venues, which in turn would hurt me (as they could be less able to advertise).

So, anyway … as I’ve done before, I’m asking anyone reading this, who likes what we’re doing with NJArts.net, to consider supporting it monetarily. The page where you can do so is here.

I’ve made one important change to that page, though. I no longer use the words “donate,” or “donation.” Instead, I’m asking people to voluntarily subscribe.

I think it’s an important distinction: Journalists should be paid for their work. They shouldn’t have to beg for donations. I don’t think it would possible for me to institute a paywall, for various reasons. But if I— and other startup websites— can get people to think in terms of subscribing, instead of donating, I think that’s a small victory.

I don’t want to be too negative. Overall, it’s been a very encouraging year, in many ways, for the site. But I don’t want to sugarcoat things, either. It’s still an uphill battle to make NJArts.net work. But if it does, I think it would be a great thing, not just for me, but for the state’s art scene, in general. If you don’t agree with that wholeheartedly … you probably haven’t read this far.

So let’s all have a great 2018 together. I also want to thank all those, though, who have contributed to NJArts.net through their writing and/or photography, or in other ways. I’m not sure if I did a list like this last year, but if I did, it would have been much shorter:

Cindy Stagoff
Tom Skevin
Bob Makin
Danny Coleman
Robert Ferraro
Jim Testa
Robert Johnson
David Gerald Palladino-Sinclair
100th Monkey Foundation
Jenifer D. Braun
Wes Orshoski
Ben Horowitz
Ed Silverman
Robert O’Donnell
Mike Lustig
Jennifer Pricci
Eldonie S. Mason Esq.
Matteo Palermo
Helen O’Shea
Ray Andersen

Thanks also, of course, to all of our current and past advertisers, who are listed here.

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