Welcome to a bonus Knowledge•Day issue. Why? Today marks the half-year anniversary of this newsletter.
This newsletter began as an escape from my entire tech-centric lifestyle and a means to spread the unimportant information that I come across, while I lurk on the internet.
It’s been 6 months - 30 posts in, I’ve learned a lot, I’ve served a lot. This has been an awesome journey and I’d like to start this issue by thanking you. Doesn’t matter if you signed up at the start or did last week, just gotta say you’re awesome! and I’m glad to have you <3
before I begin with the data, I have a request from you. Please respond now or after the end of this issue by replying on What one thing would you prefer to change about this newsletter?
Just like the first quarter issue I’m going to bring up some numbers first and then I’ll proceed with the journey since the last update. It’s no small I tell you.
As was the last analytics status. I still do not track email opens. This means I have no clue how many of my readers open my email. All I have is sign up counts.
- I’ve seen 37% new subscribers in this quarter. Pretty low in real numbers, but I’m still happy.
- I’ve also had to see 2 people unsubscribe in this quarter. That’s two more than the first one. 😢
- Responses have slowed down. 13 responses in total for the last 12 issues. Versus 45 in the first quarter.
While it all sounds low, I’m hopeful this quarter is gonna change graph direction as I’ve changed some priorities for the road ahead (The next section covers that).
The story so far
KD started on a newsletter platform Revue, but that platform was sort of buggy and two of my issues got crumbled randomly. So I built a small email newsletter program (in C#) and started sending issues with that, with an online version for each issue being posted on telegraph. Soon I felt the lack of visitors and shifted the online version to medium, which helped me with some visitors. Emails were still being triggered through my small program, there was a lot of manual intervention involved in each issue. I had to edit the content HTML for each post. Lots of extra work.
Even though one of my medium posts got publication eyes and was requested to be published under their publication (that’s amazing), yet I still kinda felt something lacking and wanted control over the online view too. So I set up a Jekyll based blog using this theme by Artem Sheludko.
That was a lot of transitions in the first quarter. I’m not sure if it was called for. I’m sure just switching the newsletter platform was gonna fix the issues I was facing with Revue. But being a programmer, I wanted to do it myself. Because why not, and I have had huge learnings running this newsletter. Both in tech and non-tech.
First the website. For almost 5 months I was capturing subscribers’ email addresses using a google form. Simple to use stuff does its job and has no free-tier-limits type thing. Which is great. But it’s not configurable and I noticed a couple of people who opened the google form but never filled it. The natural course of action - have a better form.
This would ideally be easy if I had a website deployed with a database. But you see Jekyll is backend-less. So what do?
Enter form spree, a service I found which I can integrate into any webpage or web app and it’ll take care of the user inputs. Awesome, I added that into the left bar of my website.
There were additional changes I made, like content alignment and couple aesthetics, not biggies.
Website transitions over time
There’s still a lot that I could optimize for more sign-ups. But that would add annoyance for my existing visitors, I don’t want that. The website is on hold for now. Only content will be added as I write.
One more thing I added for authenticity and acknowledging my dedication towards this newsletter. I purchased a domain. It’s hosted on knowledgeday.in.
P.S. That’s the only penny I’ve spent on the website. The hosting is free for a lifetime. I just have to spend on domain renewals each year. (Ask away if you wanna know how)
Alright, that was the website. But didn’t I say I had to write and edit HTML for each newsletter I send?
Well, no sane man can keep doing that forever. The newsletter app was built in a hurry and was hardly modifiable by design.
I sat another weekend with comparatively saner plans, recreated the entire thing. Again in C#, because I’m familiar with it.
Now I write content in Markdown, both for my website and for the newsletter. The app processes the essential conversions and presents to me a webpage which would be the email. I say a “Yes” and boom! You’re reading it.
I along with the app rewrite, I rewrote the template. Because the previous one was clumsy, and well, was integrated with the previous email app. I kinda like the newer top header, it matches with the website design a little.
Email template redesign
Everything changes everything. I have killed the Knowledge•Day shots branding (Which, if you don’t know, was sent every alternate weekend). Why? It was losing the uniqueness, and hardly differentiable at the time. (I tried to make shots less talkative but more picturized. And I couldn’t. Can’t help but talk with the keyboard 🤷).
Awesome! Is that all?
Heck no! Without anyone’s consent, I decided to start speaking.
I started a podcast! In the same name. Does exactly what this newsletter does, but with voice. No pictures, no text. It’s posted on a brand new blockchain-based Podcast app, Aureal.
Podcast on SpaceX’s history
You can still check my podcast out directly, here.
I’d love if you check it out and tell me how’d I do :)
All these changes, so many things. One person.
Or maybe not. A lot of my tech work has settled. Now, looking at the downfalling graph of signups. It’s time I start focusing on spreading the newsletter. For that, I have got Shoumya to help with the Instagram presence. She’s got experience. Meanwhile, yours truly is active on Twitter!
So, in short, the aim right now is to get more people to read the newsletter. And I need your help with that. Please share the newsletter with your friends if you like it.
That’s it. As said, no knowledge this week. I like to talk through the experience as I progress and that means the next story update is going to be in 3 months. Expect more changes.
And a friendly reminder, I would love to hear your mind on this What one thing would you prefer to change about this newsletter?. Simply reply to this email to let me know.
Could be anything, related to the content, the template, the timing, or even the mode of communication.
What would you change?