Keystone Politics and Working With Constraints

Last weekend, I upgraded Keystone Politics with new software and put into place a plan for a new direction that I’ve been contemplating for a while.

Why did I do this? After all, I had a profitable little home on the web.

Keystone Politics will turn five this year. In that time, we covered two presidential elections from the ground in a key swing state, plus congressional races and all manner of local political minutiae. But increasingly, a majority of our traffic wasn’t coming from the community, but from random searches on Google.

This could have been semi-profitable inevitably, but we were missing something.

Community.
I founded Keystone Politics on the idea that when citizens are better informed, they’re more likely to want to participate. And when we spend time discussing what’s going on in our government, we’re more likely to make good decisions at the voting booth. So, while KP looked like just another news site, my goal has always been for it to be part of an ongoing democratic discussion.

But We Weren’t Getting There.
Over the past year, I started to get the nagging feeling that we’d stagnated. We weren’t getting many new users, and the conversations sometimes felt like deja vu.

A New Beginning.
So I look at our relaunch as a new beginning, but it’s important to recognize the reality, which is that we’re a very small business with a lot of constraints – namely, time and money. But that’s what makes the whole thing fun. I’m going to work hard on KP to turn it into a place where people want to gather online.

It certainly hasn’t gone out without a hitch. I’m still running into problems while I learn Movable Type, but I’m confident that this is an excellent foundation for a huge leap forward over what we had for the past five years. We won’t get there today, we won’t get there tomorrow, but hopefully most days we’ll look up and realize we’re on the right path.

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