Archive for the ‘realMendocino’ Category

Mini Sites Redux

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The beta testing has begun for the store pages on realMendocino.com. In a great moment of general dopeyness, I put out a note on Facebook saying I was looking for a few good beta testers, and then went camping for a week, far from wi-fi or cell service. But, a couple of folks did set up mini-sites while I was out, and they both look pretty good.

Joshua Grindle Inn, one of our local B&B inns; and Liquid Fusion Kayaking, a kayak business which offers tours, rentals, and classes; both set up very nice pages without any help from me. The slightly odd thing about this is that both of those businesses already have their own substantial sites. The store pages were originally conceived as a quick web presence for businesses who aren’t online at all. But I was also striving for versatility and adaptability, too. It’s fine, and probably wise,  for folks to use them as part of a multi-pronged web marketing strategy. It also gives me ideas for new features to include in the mini-sites.

Somewhere along the way, I resolved the technical problem I blogged about a while back. I was trying to use subdomains to access the main script which generates the store pages, so they have URLs like liquidfusion.realmendocino.com rather than realmendocino.com/stores.php/23 . Better for business cards and such. For some reason, I was  thinking I needed to use a redirect for this, but the redirect wasn’t getting indexed the way I wanted. And then, in a blinding flash of “DUH!”, I realized I didn’t need to use a redirect at all, just put the store script in an include file.

But anyway, if you have a Mendocino Coast business or service and are interested in a mini-site, check  it out. Just go to any of the directory pages on realMendocino, such as this guide to Mendocino lodging, scroll down to the bottom, and click on “add my site”. From there, you can set up an account, add directory listings, and yes, create a store page. If you’re near my office, I’ll even peer over your shoulder if you’d like, and gleen info about any difficulties you might have.

Store pages are free during the beta testing phase. After September 1, they’ll be $100/yr or $30/quarter.

Mini Sites for Everybody?

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

This is part of the ongoing saga of the development of realMendocino.com. Sort of, sort of not.

While I was doing data collecting and data entry for the directory section of realMendocino, I noticed that many of the local businesses and self employed professionals have no website at all. This doesn’t seem wise to me.

On the one hand, most of those folks don’t need a fancy-shmancy site; they’re not doing e-commerce, they don’t need to reach beyond the local community and people who actually visit the area. But, on the other hand, this is the Twenty-first Century. Fewer and fewer people use old-fashioned phone books. Every business needs some kind of web presence of their own, otherwise the only sign of their existence to many of their potential customers may be an inaccurate, rarely updated page on Yelp (or some such global corporate monoculture site). And that Yelp page is likely to have a nasty review by some grumpus who visited the store a year ago.

So, I saw a need to develop an option for mini-sites for these people. One easy-to-set-up, easy-to-edit page with the pertinent information about the business or service. They’d just need to fill out a few forms with info about their business, upload a few photos, pick some colors, define the order in which those elements are displayed, and *voila!* an instant mini-site!

It’ll be inexpensive (maybe $100/yr) for the people setting up the sites, but still a decent source of steady income for me, once I get a decent number of folks interested.

As is often the case with such things, actually developing the gosh-darned thing has turned to be vastly more complicated than it seemed like it would be. I’ve put a lot of time into designing the database, writing the scripts, securing it from malevolent code, trying to anticipate all credible contingencies, etc. But I’ve been persevering, and the monster is almost ready for me to draft a few friends to be beta testers.

Today, as I was working on some of the editing scripts, a new thought ocurred to me: maybe this isn’t just a section of realMendocino. Maybe I should offer the mini-sites to the larger web world. The scripts themselves are portable, I could set them up on a separate site and people in Hoboken and Biloxi could set up their mini-sites and I’d get rich. Or maybe it’d just get lost in a sea of other options which are supported by giant ad campaigns and stuff. Hmmm…

realMendocino and crowdfunding

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

I’ve been contemplating, planning, and dabbling with regards to realMendocino.com, my Mendocino community website project, for a couple of years. I’ve got a lot of the background code written, and some of the data entered for the directory. But there’s a great big heap of work to be done. I’ve been trying to rustle up enough enough loot to focus on the project for a couple of months and get it running properly. Once it’s running and getting traffic, I’ll be able to sell ads and get some ongoing income from it.

But where does the startup loot come from? Borrow it? Tee-hee. No sane person or institution would loan me money. Advances from future adverstisers? I’m open to offers, but the ads ain’t worth nothin’ until the site is up and getting traffic. Friends and family? Uh… maybe. But who, exactly, and how many times would I need to deliver the same basic pitch?

Which brings me to crowdfunding. Theoretically, I should be able to make a quick video, write a little blurb, post ‘em on one of the crowdfunding sites, announce it on Facebook, email a few other friends and family, and let the money flow in. Sounds nice. That’s what I’ve tried. You can visit campaign’s page. So far, the results are rather underwhelming. Maybe I just suck at this whole begging thing. Maybe I should move to North Dakota and get a job driving a truck in the oil fields or something.


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