Pro or Not Pro?

This is the second part of my slow personal progress.

All the time while I was writing the Perl Maven site I had the question of income.

Building the Perl Maven site took me a lot of time. Probably way more than it would have taken for a better author, but at the time I write this, the Perl Maven site is by far the most visited Perl-related blog. So there are some results even if not everyone likes it. (TIMTOWTDI). Unfortunately this does not provide me with enough income to cover the time and energy I put in it. In other words, I could have earned a lot more if I went to do contract work instead of building the Perl Maven site.

One of the experimental solution was the creation of the Perl Maven Pro providing people with addition advanced articles and screencasts in exchange of a modest monthly fee. Apparently the same thing worked quite well for Avdi Grimm who runs Ruby Tapas. Unfortunately the Perl Maven Pro has not managed to attract even a 100 subscribers at any given time. That's not enough to put food on the table.

During that time I got a suggestion to try Google Adsense. Even though I've already tried it earlier with very little income, I thought I'll give it a try again. To my surprise the income from it wasn't as bad a I expected. It is still far from a reasonable salary, but much more than I expected.

This gave me a new direction. I could publish all the content freely and earn money from ads. Not the best business model, there are many companies out there (newspapers) that struggle making money from content, but I don't have an editorial staff I need to finance.

This would also help me overcome the tension I feel by publishing content to a few tens of readers in the Pro subscription service.

You see, I was creating some of the best articles for the paying customers, but as there were only a few of them. This felt bad. If I could publish articles to the open then thousands of people could read it. (Some of the pages on the Perl Maven site get more than 5,000 visits a month. Every month.)

While this sounded like a good idea, I did not know what to do with the Pro subscribers. Clearly they value the content enough to pay me a monthly fee. I'd like to keep that service too. After all it might even grow further.

Republish old Perl Maven Pro articles

My solution was that I started to re-publish the articles that were earlier only available to Pro subscribers, to the general public. At the same time I started to increase the number of new articles for the Pro subscribers. This means Pro subscribers will keep having an edge of articles over everyone else.

I have been doing this in the first few months of 2015 and it seemed to be working. In January-February the Perl Maven site experienced very nice growth, but unfortunately in March-April it became quite flat. Even shrinking here and there.

Perl Maven or Code Maven

The stagnation of the Perl Maven site and looking at the relative popularity of the Perl Maven site might indicate that it has reached its top potential. Maybe without growing the Market for Perl content the site won't be able to grow much any more.

That means, if I really want to stick to my plans to reach 1,000,000 monthly pageview by the end of 2015, I'll need to look elsewhere. Probably writing more for the Code Maven site. That has the advantage of targeting a much bigger market, but there are a lot more people actively writing about all those technologies.

And I still like Perl more.

Perl Maven Pro and the Code Maven

Here is where my latest idea came. I can take all of my non-Perl articles that are supposed to be published on the Code-Maven site and first publish them exclusively for the Perl Maven Pro subscribers. That will allow me to provide them with lots of value for their money and with some delay those articles can be re-published on the Code Maven site.

I could even go further and move the Pro accounts to a separate site, but I'll have to think about this more.

Why have I not thought about this earlier?

This is what I mean when I talk about slow personal progress.