CHANGES

Hello Everybody!

I want to start by saying thank you!  I’ve had a few comments here on the website and chatted with a few other readers who’ve commented that they like the blog.  Thank you!  I have a few ideas I’ve been kicking around for quite a while about some changes, and I would like to hear what you think.

I started NorthernBuilt.pro two and a half years ago as just me thinking out loud.  Talking about things I see and ways I think the construction industry can improve.  Now, I would like to grow the site.  To do this, I’m thinking of adding advertisers.  My hope is to approach a few companies I trust and respect.  These are companies who’s products I have, or would use in projects I’m involved with.  I personally do not like pop-up ads so they will not be used, but, as a reader, would it be ok if the article was broken by an ad?  Or should all advertising be placed outside the article?  Should I produce sponsored content as a dedicated post, a way for the readers here to learn more about the companies advertising on the site or should it just be an ad?  Personally I would like to have a dedicated post to an advertiser.  This could become a way we learn something new.

The advertisers are going to want to see the traffic numbers to NorthernBuilt.pro.  I now track visitors, but only as a visit and country from where the visitor was located at the time of the visit.  (US and Canada are #1 and #2, interestingly, Great Britain is #3.)  I have no way of knowing if I have a hacker from Asia or someone wanting to learn cold climate construction information from Mexico, nor do I know how many times you’ve been to the site.  (I’m hoping the 9984 visitors from the United States that have visited NorthernBuilt.pro since I added the statistical data a couple years ago aren’t the same person.)  Would you as a reader be okay with creating an account using a name, password and email address?  I have no intentions of using your email for anything other than a way to contact you if needed.  I don’t want unsolicited email from people I don’t know, so I won’t share.

Okay, lets say in the future there are advertisers.  How is this going to improve the site?  I would like to add video.  There are times when it would be much easier to get a point across in a video rather than trying to write about it.  Just be aware, I’m not Matt Risinger or Jake Bruton.  They, in my opinion, are both very good in front of a camera.  I’m better behind a keyboard.  I’m still willing to try.  I probably won’t have a video for every post.  My thinking is to incorporate both video and writing together, maybe with the occasional video only posting.  Video requires equipment and some expertise in editing that I do not possess.  An investment will need to be made.  I am also thinking the videos will probably be a link to a YouTube account.  We’ll see how that all shakes out.

Number two, website improvement.  So far, with the exception of a little help I got in the initial design of the website, it’s been all me.  One thing I have learned, I am not a webmaster.  I need some professional help, (in more ways than one).  I would like to hire a consultant who can help improve the function and features of the site.

The number three improvement, and the least important, travel.  I would like to travel to other cold climate areas in North America to write about how they are doing things differently than in my market.  Sharing what we know is a great way to grow.   mmm…that sounds like it could be a new slogan.  Nah, a little too campy.

How many of the wants get done will depend on advertiser dollars.  This will always remain a free site to the readers.

What suggestions do you have that would improve NorthernBuilt.pro?  I really want to hear from you.  You can leave a message on the site, or if you prefer, send an email to northernbuiltpro1969@gmail.com.  Yep, now you know how old I am.

Thanks again, Randy Williams

6 Replies to “CHANGES”

  1. Thanks for sharing the thought process with us! I think advertising wise, having a side bar of revolving sponsors is not distracting. I think as long as it’s clear that there are sponsors, you can write about their products. If you’re reviewing products, making it clear to the sponsors that they have no editorial control is important.
    I think aggregating content when you find it is also totally cool. If you find a video from skill builder or protradecraft or build, you should embed it in your post.
    Tracking is a tough one. Having any kind of entry system is not a good idea, so having your analytics set up so you can parse returning v new and unique is useful. Returning user is the most valuable in my opinion.

    1. Thanks Michael. Didn’t think about a sponsor wanting editorial control. Was thinking about you this past weekend, I was in the twin cities, thought about getting over to your open house. Not quite enough time.

  2. I’m probably a better talker than writer so I’m glad to call and hash this out but here’s initial thoughts. It seems to me that the additional income an advertiser would provide would likely allow you a little less time in the field producing income and that means more time to write more frequent posts (a win for your readers). If this is the case, I would absolutely encourage you to take on those advertisers whose products you believe in. I think a post broken by still ads is ok and is easy for readers to scroll past if they choose so no need to make a separate place or dedicate an article to a product. I’d like to see more video from you too, even if the production quality doesn’t rival The Build Show Network. There are some topics that just work better as a ten second video than they would a two page article. Videos from advertisers usually involve a high volume musical intro that I find incredibly irritating so hopefully that isn’t a future issue… As for travel, you have a tremendous base of knowledge to go with that curiosity and it seems like a great choice to broaden it through experience in other markets. I’m learning so much from you already that the offer of more has me like a junkie out here – jonesing. “You got any more of those cold climate / building science posts, man?”

  3. Randy,

    I think advertizements/sponsored posts would be a good way to monetize this blog. After the work you have put into it you deserve to generate some income from it. I think ads braking the text would not be too distracting, but agree that you should stay away from popups. I also don’t think requiring signing up with an email address is a good idea, I would do it for your site, because I know like and trust you, but for most websites I wouldn’t.

    I have google analitics on my site and it tells me how many visitors are new vs. returning including average number of visits per user. It’s free and I figured out how to set it up myself with amatuer skills.

    I would love to see video content from you, and as Joel Salatin says “if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly first”. Your first few videos might not be that great, but look at some of Matt Risingers earliest videos and you’ll see he wasn’t always as good as he is now. I’ve thought of getting into video as well, but haven’t even been consistent with writing and photos so I’m probably not ready for that yet.

    I also like your idea of traveling, but if you find builders elsewhere using different products let us readers know if they’re available around here and where/how we can get them. I have read about products elsewhere that I would like to use, but can’t get without outrageous shipping costs to send it from the east coast or something.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Mark. It’s going to take me some time to get everything set up, but I think it will improve the site. Hopefully BS and Beer will get to start again in the not too distant future. Hope you will be able to make it when you can.

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