The Road Forward

You may have noticed a lot more non-train posts here at Traingeek World Headquarters. This isn’t intentional. I’ve been writing what I feel like writing, and these days I want to write about a lot of different things – life in the USSR, life as a computer geek, train stuff, random fiction.

I’m trying to decide whether I should continue to post the non-train stuff here, or on a different platform like Substack or Patreon or Yet-Another-Blog. I’m torn.

Here’s where you come in. I’d like your opinion. I made a short three question survey to help me decide; this is now closed and you can see the results below. Thank you to those who filled it out. I’ll consider your responses when I decide what to do.

Often when I want to make a decision, I “go with my gut” but my gut is not helpful this time. So I’ll list a few pros and cons and you can weigh in by emailing me at steve@traingeek.ca or by leaving a comment, if you wish.

Hoar frost on a tree branch

Post Everything Here

Pros:

  • Established audience
  • No learning curve for me
  • No additional cost for anyone

Cons:

  • May alienate existing readers
  • Little additional audience for non-train material
  • Very mixed message for new visitors

Post Non-Train Stuff Elsewhere

Pros:

  • Potential for a new audience
  • Traingeek.ca stays train oriented
  • Less constraints on what to write
  • Could earn some $$ without running ads

Cons:

  • Most existing readers won’t follow me there
  • Learning curve for me, and for existing readers
  • May be a cost for me, or for readers, or both
  • Yet another site to maintain, OR
  • Writing on someone else’s platform
Bicycle on a rough path through a field

Survey Results

SurveyMonkey allows you to see the first 10 responses before requiring a paid plan (which is expensive, in my opinion), so I closed the survey after 15 people responded. Here are the results from the first 10 responses:

Q1: Do you come here for my writing or my (train) photography?

  • Train photography: 20%
  • Writing: 0%
  • Both!: 80%

Q2: Do you read my non-train content at all?

  • Always: 30%
  • Sometimes: 60%
  • Rarely: 10%
  • Never: 0%

One comment: “Depends on the subject” which is very fair!

Q3: Does my non-train writing make you more or less likely to come here?

  • Very likely: 10%
  • Likely: 0%
  • Neither likely nor unlikely: 60%
  • Unlikely: 10%
  • Very unlikely: 20%

There were lots of comments here… mostly positive.

Your Turn

What do you think? Please email me at steve@traingeek.ca and/or leave a comment below!

12 thoughts on “The Road Forward”

  1. My vote is to post everything here. I enjoy reading your non train stuff almost as much as the train bits.
    But you’re right about starting a whole other platform, most of your regular readers won’t follow you there.
    Post it all here, and those that don’t want to read the non train stuff can skip over it.
    All the best in 2023 Steve.
    Cheers,
    Glen
    aka Busman
    Along the CEMR right of way.

    Reply
  2. I enjoy any articles you publish on the USSR. You are lucky you still are not living there. But in the same sense, I really appreciate any articles on USSR public transportation, mass transit, and rail passenger service. I have seen very few articles on the latter. As a side note, I am thankful you are not living there any longer.

    Reply
    • Hi Bill, I am thankful I’m not living in the USSR any more too… especially these days! Someday it might be interesting to visit Moscow again but I can’t see that happening in the next several years. I’ll see what I can recall about transportation in the USSR, and consult with my family. I definitely won’t have many photos… very strongly discouraged at the time.

      Reply
  3. Hi! I’m glad you are expanding your coverage to other topics, especially if trains aren’t your only interest. I would suggest a site like James Lileks has, (lileks.com) where each of his growing set of interests is under one umbrella, and he updates them, adds to them, refreshes them, etc. as he goes. You’ll always be the “traingeek”, I’d keep that branding for recognition but creat new subsites under that umbrella/banner. That way all your readers can stay connected and not totally siloed off from one another

    Reply
    • Thanks for that input, AlpacaDave! I’ll have to think about how that can be handled via WordPress and if it makes sense. I’ll check out James’ site for inspiration.

      Reply
  4. I do not mind a mix of subject matter. Your style of photography is often outside the box thinking and I really appreciate that. Keep up the excellent work as long as you enjoy doing it. Have a great day on this beautiful sunny/blue sky day in Southwestern Ontario.
    Gus

    Reply
  5. I think it is a good idea to post everything here. Your regular followers will be interested in at least some of the non-train posts and can always skip over what does not interest them. Myself from southwestern Quebec, not many grain elevators around here so I enjoy the totally different look of what you do compared to the stills I shoot. I have boxes of photos and slides I haven’t looked at in years, just no time !

    Reply
    • Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. I think I will keep everything here. Like you say, people can skip over what they don’t want to read, as long as I occasionally post something they want to read 😉

      Boxes of photos and slides you haven’t looked at! Sacrilege! 😉 Seriously, we all have priorities and I certainly have lots of things on my “to do” pile.

      Reply

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