So, the 2012 season is over for the Colts, and we are getting into "offseason mode." I put that in quotes because, truly, there is no offseason. Maybe from May-late July there is. Maybe. Typically, that's when traffic on this site goes down to the basement. Then, when training camp starts, it shoots right back up. Between now and late April, traffic and reader interest remain about as high as it does during the regular season and playoffs.
2012 was a really fun and unpredictable year not just for the Colts, but for our little ole site.
Before we get into specifics, on behalf of Matt and the other writers, I want to say thank you. Thank you for sticking with us.
No bullshit. Thank you.
This site is a labor of love for us. We don't get paid much (if at all), and we often don't get a lot of "thank yous" for the work we do. We do it because we love writing about this team, and we love interacting with you babbling lunatics who read our grammatically-challenged work.
Last year was an insane period of change. If you recall, in the span of five months, the team we love to cover:
- Fired their top front office executive of the last 14 years
- Fired their head coach
- Cut their franchise quarterback and, arguably, the most beloved athlete in Indiana sports history
- Hired a nobody at general manager
- Hired a head coach who was a coordinator for just one season in Baltimore
- Cut everyone of name that was associated with the team, including Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, and Gary Brackett
- Drafted a new quarterback
That's a lot of chaos for one offseason. Somewhere, Ian Malcolm is smiling.
For us writers and editors, the craziness was a good thing. FINALLY! Something different to talk about! But, not everyone was down with the change, which was why you saw articles from me essentially calling the fanbase's loyalty into question.
Thankfully, the fanbase stuck with the team, and was rewarded with an 11-5 season.
All that change did not effect our site traffic or our ability to get you the best information and opinions possible. We felt that 2012 was our best year in that department. We wrote more than ever before, and the quality was very good (spelling mistakes not withstanding... we are a blog after all).
However, I don't think it's an FBI-type secret that the late-September shift to the 'SB Nation United' format did alter our ability to communicate clearly with you, our readers. After the switch to 'United,' we saw a significant dip in our site traffic and in reader participation. I won't lie about, hide away from, or sugarcoat that because you know it already. I will admit that it scared me. It scared us all.
At first, I thought the drop was my fault, because I'm a conceited prick who likes to throw his opinions around and piss people off. It's how I'm wired. Blame my parents... and my second grade teacher, Mrs. Atkins.
I thought, "Well, I've finally shat on everyone. This might be the end for old BigBlueShoe." However, I quickly learned that it was more than just me. Today, the new re-re-design is much better, and the increase in traffic for us since its deployment is obvious.
Traffic is getting close to normal levels.
Comments are up.
FanPosts and FanShots are up.
Feedback from you folks in open threads like this one was a major reason why the re-re-design happened.
An increase in user participation is the one thing that I personally am happy for. Even if people were just going to use the FanPosts to trash me, I just wanted to see you all use them again. When 'United' got deployed, FanPost usage was in the shitter. Now, I'm seeing posts like this and this. This stuff is THE LIFE BLOOD of blogs at SB Nation. I rely on these posts almost as much as I do on the talents of Josh, Stew, Matt, Nick, and others. Keep them coming, please!
So, once again, thank you. Thank you for not giving up on us during an NFL season of extreme change. Thank you for tolerating my personal rants and raves, my highs and lows, my quick jabs and long diatribes. Thank you for reading all the work our writers dug up from their souls and splattered all over the Interwebs for your consumption.
Our goal going forward is to continue to grow; to provide you with news, opinions, and information that curries no favor. We aren't about access, sucking up, or being chummy with anyone. We're about the team that bares of name of the city we either love, grew up in, or currently live in. We're about our Indianapolis Colts, thick or thin. No matter what.
As always, we appreciate you coming along for the ride. For me personally, I'm approaching year seven as a sports blogger. I'm the longest active football blogger at SB Nation. I was around when there were just four football blogs. Kind of incredible. Even more incredible is that there are still readers here who have remained from that time.
Yet, in those seven years, I haven't done anything to redecorate mom's basement. Oh well. Some things will never change.