Lawrence Shankland's goal-scoring exploits and ending the long wait for a win at Celtic Park. A 12-game unbeaten run and yet another victory at Easter Road. Fan protests and fan favourites emerging. Hampden disappointment and European group-stage hope. All that and more in the space of six months. The first six months of Hearts Standard.

Looking back to the 'mission statement' that accompanied the launch of the website in September, between a win over Aberdeen and defeat at St Mirren, I made sure to mention that Heart of Midlothian Football Club are a lot of things but boring is not in their modus operandi, thankfully.

With the six-month mark having passed last week, I wanted to use it as a chance to reflect. I am reluctant to shout too much about the website, hoping to allow the content we produce to do the speaking for both myself and my colleague James Cairney (and contributors like Tom Irving and Scott McIntosh). But, every now and then, it is worthwhile to shout.

READ MORE: Why Hearts agreed Blair Spittal deal: Versatility, technique, intelligence

The best way place to start is by saying a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to subscribe, support, read or listen to the content we've produced. I very much fall into the 'fear the worst' category so there was always a wariness of how the website would be received, even if I knew the passion Hearts fans had for their club and the desire to consume mature and in-depth coverage of their team. The reaction and feedback have been both overwhelming and hugely encouraging.

Understandably there has still been the question of 'why should I pay to read an article', as there was on social media a few weeks ago. It is a fair question and one I'd have probably asked a few years ago despite working in the industry. 

Firstly, at Hearts Standard, we have been aiming to provide a variety of content that suits all manner of tastes and preferences. We are well aware that expected goals, deep progressions and other such jargon aren't for everyone, and so we try to balance our analysis pieces with exclusive interviews with former players and deep dives on all things Heart of Midlothian. 

Five of our favourite articles:

In addition, we attempt to produce a fresh article you won't find anywhere else every single day of the week (something that won't always be doable). We believe we add value with the time and depth we put into the articles. Whether it be an exclusive interview with key figures at the club such as Craig Gordon, Joe Savage or Steven Naismith, deep-dive features on everything from the 150th-anniversary shirt to the Tynecastle Park Hotel to Eduard Malofeev's time at the club, or analysis on potential new signings like Blair Spittal as well as every game Hearts play.  In James Cairney, I don't think there is anyone out there doing a better job than him with the latter.

When you compare the price of buying a paper every day of the month to the [full price] £2.99 monthly subscription fee, we truly believe we provide value for money. Even more so with current offers of £18 for 12 months or £4 for four months.

Since launching, the company have invested in an app that is free to download and, in my opinion, a game changer and the best place to consume everything that is produced. Everything is in one place and is easy to find. The pictures on the app are a lot sharper than they are when viewed via a browser. The stills we use from matches and graphics from our partner StatsBomb really stand out on the app and the resolution is much higher. You can adjust the text size with a swipe of the finger and the bookmark feature allows you to keep tabs on content that you want to read in the future. There is also an audio option that reads aloud entire articles for those who struggle to read, and additional features are being worked on in the background.

It is an important investment during a time when unfortunately the industry has been hit by cuts. But we firmly believe that our model allows us to produce top-quality Hearts coverage that you can't get elsewhere.

As well as the written content, at least three videos go out live each week on YouTube and Facebook, usually between 4.30-5.30pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They are subsequently available as podcasts. I also send out an 'Always Hearts' newsletter every evening Monday to Friday looking at a particular story involving Hearts or promoting something myself or James have worked on. There is also a morning newsletter where you can get all the latest Hearts stories in your inbox. 

A lot of bases are covered both in terms of the way fans consume content with different generations preferring different mediums, and the range of content that is produced. Importantly, and excitingly, we feel as if we are just getting started. Over the coming weeks and months we have plenty of content ideas we hope come to fruition as well as a possible Scottish Cup final and a return to the European group stages. Hearts Standard will be there every step of the way, whether it is domestic games, any pre-season tour and every European fixture the club play.

As ever, we are always keen to hear from those who subscribe and read. Whether it is feedback, criticism or content you would like to read.

Thanks once again to those who continue to support and enjoy the content - and if you've ever considered subscribing you can do so for just £4 for four months to get a taste of it.

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