The end of the calendar year always generates a time for reflection for most of us.
The small group of folks at FedSmith.com appreciates the attention our readers have given to our site this past year. The site has continued to expand and the number of readers and articles on the site continues to grow. In early 2003, we were receiving just over 100,000 hits each month. This year, we averaged over 3.5 million hits per month.
FedSmith.com does not advertise its service. The growth has been entirely as a result of readers telling others about the site and forwarding our daily newsletter on to their friends and colleagues.
As a result, the number of articles on our site has grown as well. Our first year we provided readers with less than 50 original articles. We now write and distribute hundreds throughout the year.
Some readers ask why, having left the “daily grind” of the working world, did people who had spent a career in and around the federal government community want to start the work involved in publishing a daily internet news service? There is no single answer to the question. But, while sending out the daily e-mail on a small Macintosh laptop from locations as diverse as Santa Fe, New Mexico, Washington, DC, or St. Petersburg, Florida, we sometimes wonder the same thing.
The best answer is that we enjoy the work and were not ready to give up the connections to the federal community built up over several decades of working in and for that community. With that background, and the opportunity to take advantage of the considerable programming skills of our webmaster who consistently rises to the challenge of running a fast-growing website for a sophisticated audience (through floods, hurricanes, and tropical storms of the Gulf Coast), it has been our pleasure to continue to provide the free services you see each day on the FedSmith.com website.
The employees of the federal government are generally well-educated and impact events in our country and throughout the world. What do these readers find to be the most compelling? Scandal, corruption, power grabs, new directions in executive branch policy, budget changes in government, cultural shifts, convictions of federal employees for crimes? All of these topics that often grip and excite readers pale in comparison to one topic: pay and retirement.
This is not a new trend. In looking back over the past two years, regardless of the political action in Washington, the events impacting federal government or the world, pay and retirement are always the issues that attract the largest audience.
For comparison, here are the most popular articles for 2004. And, while the specifics are different, one of the biggest issues of interest for readers in 2003 was the announcement that federal employees would get another paid holiday in 2003 on December 26th.
But, while the topic of pay and benefits is always popular, the specifics are different each year.
While it was not the most popular article, my personal favorite and the most compelling in the past year was much different than the usual articles on our site. It was simply: It’s a Dog’s Life.
Here is the listing of the most popular articles among readers of the FedSmith.com site in 2005:
President Bush approves the 2006 pay raise when issuing an executive order
Congress approves a 3.1% raise for federal employees
Some in the federal community get a COLA. Others get a pay raise.
Why are some in the federal community assured of a pay raise while others are not?
What pay raise will private sector workers be getting and how will your pay raise compare?
Events likely to impact the decision on the federal pay increase
Will Congress change the method for computing retirement pensions?
Will the proposal to do without a Congressional pay increase impact the 2006 raise for federal employees?
How can a federal employee maximize retirement benefits by choosing the right retirement date?
What do you need to know about retirement?
Federal retirees get a 4.1% cost of living increase for 2006
We wish all of our readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year!