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Why We Finally Started a Mailing List
Family Garden Trains started out in the late 1990s as a collection of answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" about garden railroading. As more people e-mailed us with questions and our resources grew, people began asking us to be put on a mailing list so they could be notified when new articles were posted or of other hobby-related news. But we had so many other projects in the works, that we never felt we had the time to do it right. We still don't, really, but now that we're caught up on our core construction articles (see the "Primer" page) we feel its time to start trying, anyway. Also, our ISP has upgraded their software so we feel better about keeping your information safe.
I have to confess that there is another side to this - I would like to quantify just how many people are actually accessing the site on a regular basis. My ISP tells me that I get thousands of hits a day spread across dozens of pages. But since I've yet to start using cookies or similar tracking mechanisms, I don't know whether 500 people are each reading my pages ten times a day, or 100 people are each scanning 50 pages a day or whatever. If the folks who find our resources useful will sign up, that will give us some idea of how many people are actually part of our little "community."
How will this help me? For one thing, it helps to have readership figures in hand when I go to vendor officials and "industry experts" and ask them to review articles, etc. For another, it should help me determine how viable certain project ideas are. All of the articles we have on the drawing board now are going to take time and money to complete and do right. If we discover that some of those articles will benefit 60% of our readers and others will benefit 20%, that will help us prioritize.
Now I know that responses will "trickle in," because even people who use these articles won't sign up the first chance they get. So for the first year or two, my "mailing list" will still be the "tip of the iceberg." When we really get our act together we'll probably come up with something more compelling to get people to sign up, like product coupons or something. But for now I'd rather just collect information from folks who want to hear from us.
That said, we do want to hear from you. Thanks for tuning in.
Have a great summer, all -
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