Like this precocious six month-old, CC is up and walking quicker than average. Thanks to you, we’re growing steadily, with over a half-million views so far, and over 55k Unique Visitors. The trend line has picked up in the past few weeks, undoubtedly in response to increased and more diverse content in response to our growing list of Contributors. I put out a call for help a few months ago, and although it was a bit slow at first, new writers are popping up almost daily, it seems. But walking creates its own set of challenges and questions: like which direction do we head off to? Supervised, or not?
And how to manage it all, and maintain certain standards and expectations? I’m actually spending more time now, editing and coordinating. How important is that anyway? Should CC be more like an open forum where anyone can post, or is maintaining quality important? How high should the bar be?
And what is the right amount of content per day? Is there such a thing as too many Curbside Classics daily? How about more short pieces in addition to CCs, for those that want more variety and quantity?
And what constitutes a CC? It seems pretty clear that almost any car qualifies, if something interesting can be said about it. There’s never been an age limit to it. As the subtitle up top says: “Every Car Has A Story”. So I’m quite happy to see pieces on newer cars, but others will have to write them, mostly.
CC is a place to share our stories, experiences and perspectives on any car, but it has to be interesting. Speaking of, here’s what readers have found most compelling, our ten most widely read posts so far:
1. The Legendary Buick Nailhead V8
4. 1984 Chrysler Executive Limousine
6. Honda N600
9. CoronoroC – The Bi-Directional Coronet Police Pursuit
10. 1979 VW Scirocco
A pretty eclectic bunch. Keep in mind, that these stats may reflect posts having been linked to by other sites and forums.
Now back to those questions above, or any other site related comments:
Quality is important – your own writing style, that you either learned or taught over at TTAC, is a large part of success – there and here. Your writing flows; many contributors likewise have that talent for conversational, witty prose.
I can fully see the problem: the more you delegate, the more gets done and the more you have to direct and coordinate. Since CC is not a profit-oriented site, maybe the thing to do is…
…THROTTLE BACK! You’ve got the staff now. About three-quarters of the contributed articles are high-quality material. A few others, not so much…those need to be judged on other parameters, such is whether they tell a unique story about a unique car.
And a few of them, as they come up, will not. Good writing, like good speaking, is a talent – one not everyone shares. If Curbside Classics starts reading like your typical MySpace blog, its traffic is going to come screeching to a halt.
My suggestion: Take, of your superb contributers, a few Deputy Editors to weed out submissions. Some will have to be tactfully, regretfully declined…you no longer are so desperate for copy that anything with a word count will do.
And with those editors, start three stacks: The stuff that needs to run ASAP. The rainy-day or seasonal stuff; and the no-thanks stuff.
It’s hard to say no to someone who’s volunteered his work…his naked self, as it were. But that’s the hard part of management.
From my little seat on the curb, I wish you the best of luck in finding that Happy Medium, that Sweet Spot. But time, for all of us, is limited.
Keep the quality, Paul. There are some really talented writers posting here now. The really important thing is we are all having clean, good fun. So what if our wives will never understand.
And yes, I actually did get some work done today…
Your doing alright so far Paul and I’m honored to have contributed. I’ll only write articles when I’ve got something that I think is worth hearing so that likely won’t be often. I’ve got to get fired up about the subject to write, but hopefully I’ll be able to contribute something (fingers crossed) worthwhile a few times a year.
I have enjoyed reading everyone’s contributions, the odd or special cars we’ve all owned or enjoyed and the things that made us enthusiasts in whatever way each of us defines the word. There’s some “mania” that has brought us all here and has stuck us together in a way that we’ve all become (in a fashion of speaking) friends. Nothing against TTAC but as the traffic has increased some of that tollerance of each others ideas has drained away.
I agree with JustPassinThru about how you need to approach managing the site (not an open forum, but accepting submissions). Some of the new writers are fantastic and others are just okay, but I feel like the site needs maintain a relatively high quality to it’s content, that’s what really seperates it from the rest. It’s well written, enjoyable to read, and interesting (for those of us who love cars). Paul, you still hold down the top position for most enjoyable writing style, but most of the other contributers have been good as well.
Also, the first piece I read was the ’65 LTD because I had recently aquired one and felt like googling it, and I’ve been checking CC way too often since then.
I would have to say Paul that you really got my attention in your TTAC days when you purchased and stripped two Toyota gas pedals, to see what all the fuss was about. Consequently I will read anything you write, about cars, houses, whatever. Your contributors, less so. Some have been very interesting, some less so. Have even considered trying to contribute myself, but since TTAC made me aware of Ateupwithmotor I realise how inadequate I would be. I can only visit AUWM if I have a lot of time on my hands, whereas I can dip into CC if I have ten minutes to spare. But surely you can’t do too many different models or you’ll run out ….
from Paul: “And what is the right amount of content per day? Is there such a thing as too many Curbside Classics daily?”
I really thought you were putting too many cc’s up here for a while. However I think your current mix is a good step. Here’s how I see things:
(In order of occurring to me, not importance.)
1. Paul’s single-car related CC’s: Very in-depth and detailed, with lots of personal history/recollections. Lots of pictures. On the “heavy” side of car-nerd-dom. Too many in a row might scare off less anorak-y types like me. Yet vital to the core. (Hell, look at the url.)
2. Single-car CC’s from others: Not usually as in-depth as Paul. Lots of pictures. (Always good.) Interesting cars not always readily available in Eugene. Inconsistent, at least compared to Pauls, but still mostly good. And a fine way to find top-notch contributors. (And weed out others.)
3. Multiple-car pieces: My personal favorite. A rarer type of article, obviously. For those of us with less encyclopediac knowledge of cars who find them just as interesting. I’m probably in the minority here.
4. CC outtakes, caption contests, odd pictures that just need posted: One or two a week. Keep newer viewers hooked with light content from time to time.
About sums it up for me. Hope I can be of service. (Another walking tour is in the bag. Took three and a half HOURS solid walking yesterday. My feet!)
There is no reason to overwhelm the site (or yourself) by posting tons of content. I think you should hold daily content to a CC, Outtake, and Clue at most. Maybe try to have a genuine Paul Niedermeyer CC once a week?
I also wouldn’t mind if you opened things up a little bit more. I would hate to see certain vehicles get passed over just because the most gifted CC authors don’t have any personal experience with them. Even if the CC isn’t golden, the comments might be. However, it looks like I’m in the minority opinion on this point.
+1 I think there’s a flurry of activity that can be regulated to those three daily. It works with most of us reading during breaks and lunch and at home, and I’ve always felt the comments section was “the forum” and the piece is the discussion topic. It’s rather educational, lively and fun (and less ummm, “opinionated” than in other car blogs on the internet).
I feel like I learn multiple dimensions of cars by reading the articles and participating in the comments portion, love to contribute (when I can, I guess I err on the more exhaustive side and could be less long winded) pieces. But I think you could generate a steadier stream of traffic (and quality material) with 1 CC, an Outake and a Clue. I’d say the Clue for primetime the day before the CC runs, an Outake for afternoons (or one of it’s variants like “Cars of a Lifetime). This way when pending holidays and weekends come there’s an even flow of material.
I say just stay the course, for the most part. I don’t think there has been a CC where I haven’t learned something either from the post or the comments. The ship is sound, Captain, let’s keep sailing. 🙂
The content here is great nothing broken at all you have a style all your own and I like it Paul , You find the unusual models that I rarely see but here Morris Minors are traffic and with the Art Deco Architecture here old cars are part of the normal landscape following a model A Ford on the expressway is normal. There are Packard and Buick sedans doing art deco tours in regular traffic. But here we get the stories Paul keep up the great work.
Has it only been 6 months?
Having written only one CC myself I can attest to how hard it is to crank them out. If anything I’ll repeat the comments above and add PACE YOURSELF. One CC or clue per day is fine, two per week in the summer months would be fine.
I’d also like to compliment the regular posters here, the knowledge base here is wide and deep. I don’t think I’ve seen any flame wars here either which is nice.
I hope this keeps going for a long while.
I would like to see the CC Clue go up at the same time every day. And perhaps run the answer the next day at the same time when the next clue is posted.
Sure love the site. I also say quality over quantity but a few simple extras are fine.
I’m thinking about a more consistent daily posting schedule; it’s a bit of a change from the rather organic/impulsive approach taken so far. But the Clue is always revealed when the CC for it goes up, not the next Clue.
I love the site. Keep up the editorial control. I’d prefer quality over quantity. If the first post a new visitor reads is no good, they may not come back.
Also, the site is very slow to load on my iphone. I would visit more often if it worked faster.