tl;dr - This site does not using tracking of any kind. Not analytics. No pixels following you around the web.
When I decided to move my personal site/blog over to Ghost, I made a couple of decisions. First, I decided to host it all under a new domain that was a little more memorable and matched my Twitter persona. Second, I decided the new site would be membership-based and I wouldn't install tracking code.
What does Google Analytics actually get you, after all? If you're writing for a blog that's driven by ad revenue, Google Analytics does give you some value. It lets you know what articles were most popular, and you can adjust future writing to match the patterns that generated the most interest. But for a personal site and blog, do you actually need to know which article you wrote was most popular? Do you need to know what page on your site was most popular?
So, what does matter when you are writing for yourself and sharing it with the world? People matter. This is why I decided to implement Ghost's membership feature. Every post on this site will require readers to sign up as a member. Some posts will require a paid subscription. This accomplishes a couple things:
- It gives me ownership over my audience (however small or large that ends up being). Rather than relying Twitter followers or page views, which I have no ownership over, membership makes the reader part of the team and gives me something portable. Should I decide to move this site to some other service, or should I decide to build my own service, those members can come with me.
- It motivates me to write more. Membership-based sites are inherently driven by content. A lack of content means a lack of membership. So, for someone who is a writer that hasn't written nearly enough, the motivation is now built in.
The most important part to me is that people who visit my site won't have some third-party service following them all around the web. Google Analytics, while I've used it many times in my past, is not friendly to the visitors of sites its installed on. I don't want to enable a surveillance state within the world of tech.
The content-driven world now has to the tools to change the way we interact online. I've subscribed to numerous sites now while avoiding plenty of others I used to frequent. If you can provide an experience that is clean, fast, and free of ads, I'm more inclined to subscribe. The Athletic is an example of a big name site to which I've subscribed. John O'Nolan's (founder of Ghost) site is an example of a personal site to which I've subscribed. We have entered a new paradigm where content can pay writer. Content can drive a community. Content can be published without the need for invasive privacy violating trackers.
That's why I've decided this new site will put people over pixels.
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