It is important to me that my website, jonmarthaler.com, contains no cookies or tracking code or other added junk on the top of what I’m writing. This is for two reasons:
First, I believe that it’s extremely important that the web still retain something of its original character: a method for sharing information, rather than monetizing attention. And so I try to make sure that everything about this site, including the design (intentionally stripped-down and spare, so that the page size stays very small) and the underlying technology (a static site generator, not a database) and the methods of displaying (desktop web, but looks okay-ish on mobile too; a full RSS feed) are completely focused on sharing.
Second, knowing what people like and dislike has an editing effect; it’s way too easy to get caught up in chasing page views and clicks and likes and shares. It’s natural. Here is a number; let’s make that number go up!
But if I’m going to write this site solely to share it with people, then I need to know as little as possible, especially on a day-to-day basis, about whether are people are reading it. This is hard enough, just from posting links on social media, but social media is fragmented enough nowadays that I can convince myself that the numbers are meaningless.
Because of all this, I can’t tell you who reads the site itself; I have no way of tracking it. It’s possible nobody has visited the actual website in many years. It’s possible that no one but me subscribes to the RSS feed (which I do just so I can make sure it’s still working).
That said: you may well be reading this, right now, on Substack. I started publishing my writing on Substack because I couldn’t find a decent automated way to make my website email new posts to people (specifically my family) who wanted to read them, and Substack seemed like an easy way to make that happen.
And so, because of this, I actually have some numbers now. I try not to look at them, especially on a per-post basis, for the reasons mentioned above. But as we begin 2024, I will mention a couple of things.
First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone that has subscribed on Substack - more than 100 people now. Thank you all, for reading. It means a lot to me.
Second, this means that I can write a post like this: here are the top three posts I wrote this year, according to those new stats, since launching the newsletter in mid-June.
November 17: The end of Gopher football
October 6: Heath Out
Thank you again for reading. I hope you’ll stick around for 2024, no matter how you read this site.