When there’s some down time it’s nice to get a post out and then not worry about keeping up with the latest goings-on throughout the week so much here. I’ve pretty much gone the Twitter route for a lot of stuff I may have tried to turn into a post before. You can follow me there if you’re so inclined.
Had a couple days to myself last week and was able to wrap up a number of loose ends with Local Signal. First, I implemented session tracking, so items are bold if they are new since the last time you visited the page. Second, I fixed some bugs with the click tracking. I was using an AJAX call in the link’s onclick event, making it completely unobtrusive and not having to resort to those ugly redirect URLs. You can actually see the link when hovering over. Problem was that the AJAX handler was not getting the call in time, before the the browser followed the link. It only worked when opening a link in a new tab or window. Moving the AJAX call to the onmousedown event of the link fixed that. So, that enabled the “popular” pages to be completed. Only, nothing is really popular enough yet to be of very much use, so they’re hiding out at the moment. You can tack on “popular” as the page (in lieu of news, biz or the others) if you’re really curious.
The home page is the only outstanding item at this point before I start pimping it out to a larger audience. Content will continue to evolve as well, but it looks like there are a number of people checking the Portland news page daily, as that page along accounts for half the traffic to the site. I’m contemplating some type of local editor program to have a local representative in each city to provide the best sources and help publicize it.
Despite being on auto-pilot as I worked on Local Signal, we had our 2nd biggest traffic event ever this week, adding several hundred new users. The Australian news portal news.com.au ran a great article on why and how people are using NetworthIQ to help improve their finances. The community is still growing strong and has really taken hold without me really doing anything, which is cool to see. I still have a todo list a mile long, but at least it will still be there when I come back around to building it out. In the coming weeks I really need to focus in on the revenue model beyond low paying ad networks, adsense, and link ads. That may actually involve doing some real market research and talking to people *gasp*. While I still got a kick out of seeing the traffic come, and the exposure is great, the rush was nowhere near when the NY Times article ran a couple years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long). A big reason for that is that it really only means literally a few dollars more in my pocket and I know it’s not really going to do a whole lot to put me in a place where I can work on it full-time. It needs to be where when one of those hits, it will mean significant revenue.
The site also got hit by the big Google crack-down on paid links, with our PageRank going from 5 to 3. Organic google traffic accounts for 20% of overally referrers so it’s not something to take lightly, but the drop so far has not revealed a corresponding drop in our SERP rankings.
Unless you were living under a rock, or not in Portland, it was hard to miss this week’s big event. Todd and I headed down there and I really enjoyed it. I knew 4 of the presenters, so it was cool to see them do well and I thought pretty much all of the speakers did great. It was also nice to see many familiar faces from PDXWI there. Looking forward to the next one.
The only thing I can remember disagreeing the whole night was the Les Schwab bit. I think they had good service a couple years ago, but the last few times I’ve been there, I’ve been tremendously disappointed at the service and the workmanship (I waited an hour to get a new battery, only for them to tell me it was fine, when I knew for a fact it wasn’t and had to get it replaced soon after elsewhere). I think they’re losing their way, but they have tremendous goodwill still, so it may let them thrive anyway. Despite this, I’m not disagreeing with Scott’s premise, I’d love to see more services from a gas station, but gas and tires are different animals (gas being more cost-sensitive since we buy it more frequently).