By 1812Blockhouse Owner/Publisher Thomas Palmer
I remember well the day that the switch was flipped and 1812Blockhouse was suddenly live.
As I look back on it, I realize that I was not really ready for that to take place. On an early September evening, however, I received word that my great nephew had been born, a truly important moment for the Palmer family. What better time, I thought, to bring something else to life?
My great nephew, by the way, turns 4 on Tuesday and starts preschool this week. As this is the closest weekend to the 8th, this is when we are choosing to celebrate that milestone. Welcome to our 4,836th post.
1812Blockhouse bears a strong resemblance to the site that went live that day. Above and to the right is an early screenshot of the site dating from November 2017. We used to go with a single feature story each day, as this demonstrates, until we found out that that format does not render as well in mobile.
Mobile, by the way, is where it’s at these days, at least around here. A quick look at site statistics for 1812Blockhouse reveals that over the last month, 19.95% of our traffic has come from desktop devices, 4.1% from tablets, and the rest from mobile.
Like any startup, we have tried things that have resonated with readers, and other things which just plain didn’t work. Our hoped-for membership initiative hit a speedbump, for instance, but we are far from giving up hope on that front. On the other hand, our series have been great fun to create and write for while attracting strong viewer numbers — Landmarks of Mansfield and Landmarks of Richland, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About, When Mansfield Welcomed, and more.
We have maintained our signature features, including links to other local publications, for instance, because we believe that that is the best way to treat readers. We have run stories about the Mansfield News Journal, Richland Source, etc. because they themselves create news. There is a good-natured joke around here that “that team up north” will win an OSU-Michigan football game before 1812Blockhouse is mentioned in a post on any other local news site.
Some time ago we added another site to the lineup, 1808Delaware. Over the past several months, readership on both sites has grown in size and scope. We love our readers. One of my favorite parts of this business is hearing from and responding to those who visit our sites.
In 2020, we also joined the country’s largest group of local, independent, and online news outlets — LION Publishers.
What’s next? As we head toward our five year mark next year — an achievement that many startups do not see — we know that the best is yet to come. One thing is certain, however. Mansfield and Richland County is an extraordinary place. It’s a place about which you should be most proud. It is that pride of place that fuels what we do, and we are humbled to think that we might contribute to the local quality of life in even a small way.
Thank you, friends, as always, for being a reader of 1812Blockhouse.