Salinas.com Launch – Behind the Scenes
I went live with Salinas.com yesterday, and I wanted to share some information about the development process for those of you who have good names but fear developing them. First off, I would like to thank a few people who helped me develop the name and/or who gave me some fantastic advice on development. Without the help of Brad, Mike, Anna, Kim, Janis, Perry, David, and Michael, I wouldn’t have been able to build the site. I sincerely appreciate their help and advice. I have little to no technical expertise, so development is new to me.
In my opinion, Salinas.com is more of a mini-website than a fully developed site. Eventually I hope to develop Salinas.com into a directory site, but I am planning to test this development model first with Lowell.com – which should launch in the next 3 weeks. Although revenue is important, my current goal for Salinas.com is to increase traffic and provide a value for visitors. Revenue generation will be more important to me with the fully developed website.
Content is king for Salinas.com. I hired a great writer for the site, and I think she did a good job writing about the beauty of the city of Salinas, California. I want visitors to the website to have a desire to visit Salinas because of the pictures and content. I didn’t want too much information, so I dedicated the homepage to an overview of the city and a Facts page to discuss the history and other relevant information.
I think the smartest thing I might have done was to contact a local photographer. In exchange for the use of her photos throughout the Salinas.com website (except for the restaurant page), I gave a full page to the photographer. Not only should this be good for her business, but it will also give an added value to visitors to the site. I am sure there are people looking for a photographer in Salinas, and hopefully they will find Salinas.com in Google (currently #3 for the term) and give her business. I think this will be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
I believe there are two types of people visiting the site arriving via search engine or direct navigation. 1) Tourists who are looking to visit the area or 2) people who live in Salinas. Because of this, I created two affiliate relationships (with major help from Brad). I am working with ian.com (Hotels.com affiliate) and Jobamatic (Simply Hired affiliate). If a visitor is looking to make travel arrangements to Salinas, it can easily be done, and if a visitor is looking for a job, the job board can help the visitor find the job. The job board is much more customizable, allowing it to have much of the look and feel of the Salinas.com website. The travel affiliate was more difficult to customize, and I am still working on the customization and URL presentation.
Currently, the restaurant review page is up to give value to visitors and attract them to the website. I would like to get out to these restaurants to try them, but since I haven’t yet, the content is based on web reviews, information from the restaurants and a couple of other sources. There is no charge for these restaurant listings at the moment, since the purpose is to drive traffic to the site and add value rather than sell ad space right now.
The site is hosted at Godaddy, a company I chose because of their fantastic tech support (thanks Brad L. and Tess). Godaddy may get some grief in the domain investment industry, but their staff has been more than helpful to me. It was easy to upload the site, and it’s been relatively easy to make changes on the fly.
Ultimately, I wanted to quickly build a nice looking website that is going to be easy to manage. I don’t have much technical experience, so I have been relying on my partners for help. I was given a couple of basic Dreamweaver lessons, and I am now able to edit and revise the site on my own, with simple re-uploading to the site. While this is temporary, I am proud of my first website and very appreciative of the support I’ve received from my friends and colleagues.
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