Some Sunday Updates

10

Hope you’re having a nice Sunday. I am off for a long bike ride today… just a couple weeks until my 5 Boro Bike Tour, and my wife and I are just a few hundred dollars away from our goal for the Ronald McDonald House.

Lowell.com was finally relaunched a few days ago, and a number of bugs have been fixed and/or are being fixed. One thing I did to find errors was put out a request on Twitter and Facebook. I got quite a lot of feedback from people who are interested in the site (including the information that my current logo was liked and another logo wasn’t favored). In addition, a number of people have signed up to post articles.

Here is some information about the new Lowell.com website so you can be inspired or be helped with your own development projects:

  • People can sign up and post articles, events, and/or comments. This will add content to the site and hopefully increase traffic and pageviews. It’s also helpful to people in the community who are now more easily able to promote their news and events to an audience of over 10,000 visitors per month.
  • My developer used a plugin called “The Events Calendar” which is fantastic! The only issue I am having now is that events seem to fall off the home page before they start. I’ve checked the server clock and WordPress clock on site, and all are working fine. This is something I need to fix.
  • I also need to fix the Yet Another Related Post Plugin, as it’s not showing up on Pages.
  • Advertisers will be able to sign up for business listings in the same way dog walkers can on DogWalker.com. Listings will automatically renew in a year, and their Paypal account will auto-pay in a year. This is so I don’t need a representative in the area.
  • Banners, hotel listings, and restaurant listings will all be manually managed by me. The Lowell Courtyard by Marriott. has agreed to continue with a monthly banner, and the Radisson Hotel signed up last week, so things are off to a pretty good start (no, I didn’t offer them a discount rate or freebie to get them on site).
  • I am using Adsense in the top banner spot and one of the side banners, although these can easily be replaced by local advertisers if/when they are interested. The Adsense banners are earning somewhere around $5/day right now despite the fact that traffic has gone done in the last few weeks.
  • This is obvious, but make sure you test your newly developed websites with all commonly used Internet browsers. Make sure you test all parts of the site, especially if you use different plugins.
  • One of the nicest thing about this site is that I can now basically replicate the platform on Newburyport.com for relatively little expense since I paid for the foundation with Lowell.com’s development. Since Newburyport is about 45 minutes from Lowell and is a tourist locale in the summer, I think these two sites will work well together. The only issue is the time commitment required to run another site like this… I might finally have to relent and hire someone full time to work with me.
  • I ran into some major issues with hosting, the htaccess file, and assorted other related bugs. Ultimately, things worked out after quite a bit of time troubleshooting with Liquid Web and my developer, but it was still a challenge none the less. I think this is probably the biggest hurdle I faced since I am not really knowledgeable about these technical issues.
  • As with most of my other development projects, I used Six One Five Design for the development work. Mike is still working on a few things, but I think it’s nearly finished.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I think the relaunch looks great, but the top left hotel button is redirecting to homepage.
    I use non-www to www redirect in .htaccess like this
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^lowell\.com [NC]
    RewriteRule (.*) http://www.lowell.com/$1 [R=301,L,NC]

  2. weird, works on my sites..I think you need “RewriteEngine On” before those redirect lines, I’m not sure what else it could be. Nonetheless, nice job with updating 🙂 Looks cleaner

  3. Elliot

    Congratulations on hotel. Very cool.

    Agree with Richard site looks cleaner and not as busy as before.

    Fun watching you past 2 years and progress. Big sales, developments.

    Can’t wait read a reflection post by you and what you did what one sale got you rolling and now cash flow on sites. Flipping was a huge part.

  4. Hi Elliot,
    Great looking site. Can I ask how you got so many fans on Facebook?! That page is a real asset to the website.

  5. Great site Elliot!

    Since some time, I am using “The Events Calendar” as well and hadn’t figured out how to style its text yet. Your site gave a great live example how to write in in the style.css. Thanks!

    @ Richard, I’m not sure if that’s what you mean but with WP, you do not need a .htaccess to redirect www to non www. This can be done from the admin panel.

    Cheers

  6. Great site! I am in the process of building a Business Directory for a small Town and always like to take a look at sites that are build around a small Town\City.

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