City in The Box vs. My Custom Sites
After posting an article highlighting some news Fred Mercaldo shared with me, there were a number of questions from readers asking about Burbank.com and Lowell.com, two of my websites built on different platforms. I want to address some of those questions, which may be helpful in your geodomain development endeavors.
Burbank.com and Lowell.com were both originally built on the same static html platform by my developer. The original articles were written by copywriters I hired, and I either took the photos or hired a photographer for them, I did all the SEO work on both websites and managed the advertising sales (poorly). Because the sites I had built were static html, I needed to update 5 or 6 pages on each site whenever I needed to add a content page. This was a pain in the ass, and I sought out a different solution.
After learning about the City in The Box platform, I decided to move forward with Burbank.com. The site receives 20,000 +/- unique visits a month, and I wanted to leverage Fred’s development and advertising sales experience. His team put all the content I created on its platform, and they have continued to add articles and events. I am also able to add events as well. Essentially, I can be as involved or uninvolved as I would like. The team has also been responsive to my development requests. In fact, someone posted a comment on my blog about a small error they noticed, and it was fixed within minutes.
On Lowell.com, my developer (Mike McAlister) used a bunch of design elements I wanted and built it on WordPress. People can sign up for an account and post articles and events on the site. This is also great because it makes the site more interactive for visitors and local organizations. It also helps build traffic while engaging local businesses. The downside to this is that I still manage everything, and it’s not easy to get people to add content for some reason. It’s a work in progress.
One downside to City in The Box that I found was that SEO wasn’t as good as I hoped, and Fred and I discussed that aspect of the site. Burbank.com hasn’t suffered in rankings, but I was worried about that aspect. A piece of very good news that was announced is a deal with a SEO company that will make changes and updates across the platform to improve SEO. With Lowell.com, I am able to oversee the basic on-site SEO, and I use the All in One SEO plugin, which has been helpful.
Fred Mercaldo and his team are responsible for bringing on advertisers on Burbank.com. This should have started yesterday, and it’s the most exciting aspect of working with the Scottsdale.com team. Including hotel revenue and ad sales, I made under $1k/month. I think they will ramp this up tremendously. I am responsible for ad sales on Lowell.com, and although I have a number of advertisers now, revenue isn’t strong (under $500/month).
The primary reason I moved forward with City in The Box is because they have experience building a profitable group of websites in Scottsdale.com and other local sites. I wanted to reduce my role in day to day management of Burbank.com due to my time constraints, and I wanted to have access to their advertising sales team.
With the smooth transition I’ve had so far, I am confident that this will be a profitable endeavor. I have never been afraid to significantly invest in domain assets, and I think it’s important to invest in those domain assets in order to create additional revenue streams.
I’ve always been wanting to take initiative and do things myself, but there’s a point where I realized I can’t do everything on my own successfully. I reached out to the best of breed, and I am confident this will be successful. As promised before, I will be happy to provide updates on the sales process in a few months.
As I continue to reiterate, I am not making any money on affiliate deals for sign ups or getting any kick backs for discussing this. I want to be open and transparent with my business.
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