In the wake of Facebook's news feed purge and the loss of a huge amount of our traffic here the Banter, we decided to leave SAY Media's Tempest platform for a custom Wordpress site. The idea was to combine our main site, The Daily Banter, with Banter M, our digital magazine for Banter Members.
We would host all content there and integrate our membership platform to provide a user friendly experience for all our readers. It was, to put it mildly, a painful ordeal that took over two months to complete successfully.
After looking at all the data for the past five months, it became clear however that this was not a good long term solution for us, or our readers. Here's what we discovered:
1. Our readers really didn't mind where we publish our more long form members content. We saw no discernible bump in member conversion, only annoyance that they were seeing ads on content they had paid for.
2. We could not effectively monetize on Wordpress with advertising given Google and other vendors we switched kept blocking ads due to so-called "offensive words" (fuck that, as my late friend Chez Pazienza liked to say).
3. It was almost a full time job making sure our custom site was up to date with the rapidly changing media landscape. Wordpress requires almost daily plugin updates, plus any custom features means hours of expensive tech development and the almost certain guarantee that it would break another part of the site.
Dealing with all of this while writing and editing full time was too much for the team, so we decided to move back to Tempest and start afresh with a brand new, beautiful design and a revamped 'Banter M' (with no ads!).
One of the major motivating factors behind the move back was also SAY Media's excitingly announcement that they would be merging with two other companies, Maven and Hub Pages, to create the largest independent media coalition in North America. The move was (at least partly) in response to the death spiral many small publishers like us fell into in the wake of Facebook news feed purge. The new coalition aims to provide their publishers with new channels to promote their work, better ad rates, a professional publishing platform, and world class tech support. Their plan for the future is not only exciting, but extremely timely given the huge shifts in the industry. We still own our site and all our content, but we have a powerful team to help us navigate the huge difficulties independent publishers are facing.
Going forward, we will still be publishing the majority of our content on these pages. Members Only content will be published on Banter M, and we will be introducing new, exciting features in the coming months. We are excited for the next chapter, and again want to sincerely thank our readers for supporting us during this critical time. You have kept us going through an immensely difficult transition and have enabled us to stay completely independent.
The Daily Banter cannot survive without the generous contribution of our readers, so if you appreciate what we do, please consider becoming a member. You will get unrestricted access to our long form reporting and our extensive archive of work.
Please let us know what you think of the new site below!
Ben, and the team at Banter.