Hey Vocal, just 3 Quick Suggestions.
We can always keep improving.
I am a VOCAL creator and have been a creator on this site for over three years now. I really started getting more serious about it, finding my audience, and knowing what kind of page I wanted to run sometime last year. At the end of the day, I realized that what my readers gravitated towards was my entertainment news stories and my listicles. I enjoy writing them. I am an encyclopedia on pop culture especially about Nigerian pop culture and so I thought, okay, I could do that and I started doing it. And it has been fun.
Writing on VOCAL has been seamless. I’m someone who has done it all – I’ve done Blogger, I’ve done Wordpress, I’ve done custom sites, I’ve done MEDIUM. To put it simply – I’ve been around these internet streets and I know for a certainty that Vocal has been the most perfect fit for me since I really started devoting a lot of time and energy into it.
But like everything, as much as there is the good, there is the bad and VOCAL has some improvements to make. These are simply a few of my suggestions and I’m only going to be adding to what all the other fabulous, wonderful, crazy talented Vocal Creators have already said cuz I read basically everything posted on this site and I know a few suggestions have already been given.
Here go mine!
1. The Editing
A lot has been said about editing already by other creators and I align myself whole-heartedly with all those suggestions. One specific part that I want to shine a light on though as far as editing – something that I simply do not get – is why we cannot edit a story while it’s in the “submitted” phase.
Even more frustrating – not only can you not edit it when it’s in the “submitted” phase, you cannot even revert it back to draft to edit it when it’s in that phase. The only way to make an edit to a post in “submitted” is to create a new story, copy everything from the old story, DELETE the old story, re-edit and re-organize the new story, and then submit the new one.
Why I find this so so soooooo frustrating is that for someone like me who writes the kinds of stories I write, timing for me is everything. So I know that for the most part, if I write a story in the afternoon my time (WAT), it should be hopefully fingers crossed ready by night-time. And sometimes if I write it at night, it should be available by evening the next day.
Knowing that, I try to write in such a way that my stories are approved on time, but then if I think “shoot! I made a mistake here,” – I have to go to what I already submitted, completely delete it, make a new story and that new story now becomes the last story on the seemingly LONG queue of Vocal story submissions.
This is not a problem to many people on here who write stories that are independent of when they are posted, but for someone like me who regularly gives my thoughts on and reports on breaking news and current affairs, if a story isn’t approved on time, it is basically discarded because by the time it's ready to be shared, it is already stale news in this incredibly fast-paced news cycle ecosystem we find ourselves.
Which brings me to my second point…
2. The Approval Times
The most frustrating thing about VOCAL for me is the long wait-time for story approvals. I know it’s because each story is vetted by real human people behind the scenes – who can I say, thank you so much. I can’t even imagine the amount of work. New stories appear on this site literally every other 5-7 minutes during approval times, you must have a crazy amount of work. Please let me preface this by saying this is not an attack on you hardworking folk, rather just a vent from a frustrated writer.
The wait time is FRU-STRA-TING! Let me tell you why I find it very frustrating.
Around six months ago, I figured that if I wrote a story by 6-8pm (WAT) for example, it would be approved before 2am – that’s within 5/6 hours. I had the math down, everything was good until…it changed.
I’d write stories around that time and they wouldn’t be approved till around 3/4pm (more than 15 hours later). So I switched it up and started writing stories earlier by 12pm/1pm-ish (WAT) and that started working again…until it changed.
It’s all very up and down with this thing and I know of course that the waiting time is dependent on the amount of stories in the pile but my goodness, it’s infuriating!
Can I make a suggestion – and if you don’t want to take it, it’s perfectly fine but I think it could be a good incentive for people to get Vocal+, would it be possible for Vocal+ members to have the option to ‘expedite’ a story on the submission queue. Like maybe when a person is ready to submit, after adding tags, and checking the option to either submit to a challenge or not, can there also be an option like “Expedite my story’s wait time?” or something so that for people who don’t feel an urgency or rush on their stories, they don’t have to. But for someone like me for whom time is of the essence, I can have the option to expedite the wait time on my stories and have them ready and approved good and on time? Would this possible? Cuz it would really help me out.
3. The Stats Page
Finally, I post a story on Vocal every. single. day. Like clockwork. At this point I have over 360 stories posted on this site and my Stats page is at 37 and counting. It is getting harder and harder, longer and longer, to find out how every new story I did performed each new day because I have to sort through 37 pages ...which is still tedious but manageable right now. What happens by the end of this year or next year when everyday, I’ll have to sort through 60, 90, over a 100 pages every single day. It’s really stressful.
Can I suggest that in the “stories” page, under the published section, can there just be like a view count beside every story. That way, every new day, I can simply click on the published tab and see right at the top of the page how my latest story performed. This would be of such great help.
Listen, I love you guys at VOCAL. You’ve literally changed my life for the better and I am able to now finally make a steady income from doing this thing which I really love doing which is writing and content creation so I owe you guys the world for that.
However, if there’s one thing I miss about my blogger and Wordpress days, it’s the not having to wait for as long as I have to wait here on Vocal for stories to be ready to send out to my readers, and the ability to see how my stories performed really quickly.
In the meantime, if you could help me out and just maybe help approve my stories a little bit quicker, that would be such such SUCH a massive help and you don’t know how much that would mean to me. Anything you can do to cut my wait-time would seriously help me out.
Thank you guys so much and please, keep up the good work!