Surf the Dream A discourse of links and articles from Justin Avery

Responsive Design Weekly goes crazy!

Screen shot of CSS Tricks with Responsive Design Weekly mentioned

As I arrived to work on Tuesday morning my phone lit up with a twitter mention. It was Chris Coyier mentioning the Responsive Web Design newletter that I prepare and send out every Friday.

At that point I fired up Google Analytics and began to watch the show.

Chris’s tweet caused the concurrent visitors to go from the usual 1 or 2 up to 150 concurrent users. The comparison between the visitors on that day and any other day makes it look like the analytics were not running at all.

Lets take a look at the numbers

If I take the last three days since the tweet and plot it against the same period the week before you see the remarkable increase.

Google Analytics 3 day comparison

It wasn’t just the visits to the website that went crazy either. The newsletter has been running for 6 months as of tomorrow and in that time I’ve been very lucky to get the subscription rate from 11 for the first week up to 1170 subscribers as of Issue #25. With a single tweet and a link on the CSS Tricks home page that number increased to 2448 subscribers at the time I write this post.

How lucky was that!

Now I don’t want to make it seem as though Chris stumbled across the site and listed the himself. I approached Chris directly as part of the Kick Starter rewards to check out the site. I asked that if he liked what I was doing and liked the newsletter content to then feel free to “big it up” (my exact words… big it up).

So all I need is one tweet?

Sure, one tweet from someone with 52,000 followers is going to help out…. a LOT. Having said that they really need a reason to post about you in the first place. You shouldn’t expect someone to promote what you’re doing unless they can see some worth for their followers or really dig what you’re doing.

In the lead up to asking for the “big up” the following had already been done…

  1. The newsletter had been running every week for 25 weeks.
  2. The readership had steadily grown over 25 weeks
  3. Other well known web people in the industry were subscribed and retweeting

To get the newsletter to that point I have spent 93hs 56m between the hours of 17:30 Thursday afternoon and 03:00 Friday mornings preparing the newsletters. If I were to bill that for a client that equates to $11,340. Within those hours I haven’t taken into consideration the reading and capturing of articles that occur during the week, work on the templates/code, maintaining the server and all the other bits that go into running things on the web.

Is it worth it?

The first thing that anyone asks after explaining that is “So how much do you make out of it” shortly followed by “Nothing? Then why do you do it?”.

There are two reasons behind doing this newsletter. First and foremost is that I love to do it. I’m eager to spend my time reading and researching about responsive design because it is hands down the default way you should be building most websites these days. The more I learn about it the better resource I am for existing clients. The second reason is how I justify the time I spend to my partner. My theory is that if I have two people pitching for a job and one of them has done something like this they’re more likely to get the job.

So again another…

… big thank you to Chris for the tweet that pushed things along in an aweful hurry, thanks to the 1250ish people that subscribed to the newsletter in the past 3 days, but most of all thank you to the 1100ish people that continued to join and become a part of the weekly newsletter over the past 26 weeks.

  • Soren

    I’m one of those who signed up after reading Chris Coyier’s mention.

    I just wanted to say with the help of Chris’s CSS-Tricks and you’re emails I’m becoming a better designer and developer, and for that I thank you both.

    I wish I’d found you sooner but better late than never.

    • Thanks for signing up! I’m super glad that the newsletters are helping you out, I know that I get lots of tips from CSS-Tricks as well.

      If you haven’t already make sure you sign up for http://codepen.io and dabble with any new features you want to try out. The community there is great and the tool itself is pretty BADA55.

  • Pari man

    A genuine congrats to you. Really, it is amazing when industry bigwigs notice your efforts. Keep going my friend!

    • Thanks for the support! It really has made all the work worth it.

  • Blair Mitchell

    I have been on the list for a while and I commend you for all this effort into the newsletter weekly. I have gained many new ideas and techniques and can always go back to the emails as a reference guide. Thanks again!

Surf the Dream is a blog that has been running since the mid 2000's when it started on BlogSpot. Over the years it's been rebranded as justinavery.me (now my resume) and JaveryDesign.com (which now redirects back to this site).

I offer consultation services through Simple Things, produce a range of educational pocket notebooks, write about the Universe and run a responsive design and a RWD Weekly Newsletter