If anyone can pull it off it’s Robert Wenzel, editor of Economic Policy Journal, and now of Target Liberty. Robert, to whose illustrious websites I contribute, decided to return EPJ to its economic roots, while at the same time designating and editing a new website for libertarian discussion.
At first, the move had the feel of a self-imposed antitrust bust. What was wrong with EPJ as it was? Had the premier libertarian site on the web become too big or too powerful for its own good? (If only.) Is not human action, or homo economicus in action, an all-encompassing proposition, as EPJ had become?
Then there were our dear editor’s idiosyncrasies: Target Liberty was severed from Economic Policy Journal. The new site’s presence on the established EPJ was initially reduced to a black spot (on the right, above the search window), conjuring the black spot of death handed to a condemned pirate, in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
Columnists at Target Liberty were without archives. Contributors would struggle to promote the site in the absence of clear links to their work. And our readers were overwhelmingly opposed to the move, pressing their case with an impressive array of arguments.
On the other hand, EPJ had become “multidisciplinary,” arguably the intellectual equivalent of multiculturalism.
“Intellectual disciplines,” historian Keith Windschuttle has written, “were founded in ancient Greece and gained considerable impetus from the work of Aristotle who identified and organized a range of subjects into orderly bodies of learning. … The history of Western knowledge shows the decisive importance of the structuring of disciplines. This structuring allowed the West to benefit from two key innovations: the systematization of research methods, which produced an accretion of consistent findings; and the organization of effective teaching, which permitted a large and accumulating body of knowledge to be transmitted from one generation to the next.” (The Killing of History, Keith Windschuttle, Encounter, pp. 247-250.)
The intellectual discipline is one of the signal achievements of Western Civilization. This explains why those working in the postmodern tradition have striven mightily—reflexively, at least—to dismantle disciplines.
Ultimately, nobody beats Robert Wenzel in providing excellent and abundant content. Still, here are some thoughts on increasing our traffic and making it easier for contributors to promote both sites on their respective websites:
• Continue to write guest columns on other sites. What about Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Capital?
• Create a link and archive for each regular contributor on Target Liberty, too.
• Place a link (that is not a black spot) to Target Liberty on Economic Policy Journal. (This has since been accomplished.)
• Put faces to the words: a picture for each of our columnists.
• Encourage columnists to reply to readers.
• Write even catchier headlines.
• Link internally: If a news story is about, say intellectual property, link to an EPJ or TL article on the topic.
• Create an email list and send out a weekly newsletter featuring the best of our contributors (provided I’m in it, of course).
• Promote stories and columns by Tweeting them as well as posting links to Facebook. Contributors can, in turn, share links on their own social media pages. Posts can be made to automatically propagate to social media with automating applications.
• Upgrade the sites so they are mobile- and tablet compatible.
• Explore making an app.