Mar
5

BusTales.com Update

If you’re not into web nerdery or lengthy posts than stop reading here. With BusTales.com I’ve been learning as I go along. First learning: adsense does not pay very well. Obviously this is just my take and I’m sure for some it’s quite profitable, but to date I’ve made $34.71 (in a little over a month). Now if things continue in the same way the rest of the year it will cover hosting costs plus a little extra. That’s great, and I should probably be really happy about that, but for some reason I think I was expecting a pleasant surprise. Instead I feel like they’re not worth their visual weight. So as you’ll see under my future plans list below, I’m going to be looking into the possibility of paid advertisements.

Other Updates and Learnings

  • Once you have more than one page of posts (and in my case with only displaying 4 posts per page) it gets very difficult to navigate using only “next” and “previous” page links. You have no idea where you are in the scheme of things. So I installed the WP-PageNavi plugin that displays the number of pages along with next and previous links. It’s amazing the difference it makes.
  • For a while I had been trying to wrap my brain around how to use WordPress categories for both the route numbers and to tag stories with things like “funny,” “smelly,” “weird,” etc. I finally figured out a solution, which was a bit of a hack, where as long as the route number came first (ie it was created before the other tag) then I could display it, and only it, in the circle to the left and list out all of the categories beneath the post. The problem was that this would require me to create categories for every possible bus number (which is in the hundreds) before creating any of the other tags. Finally after getting no response in the WordPress support forums I realized that I was overthinking this one and that the solution was as simple as a plugin. So a few minutes after installing Simple Tagging I was in business. It’s actually way better than what I was expecting because it generates similar post lists as well as tag clouds and it integrates seamlessly into the wordpress “write post” page.
  • Having an article published in the Pioneer Press definitely helps. I would have thought before all of this that getting linked up on the internet was much more valuable than a printed article. But considering I saw a huge spike in traffic and received close to 30 submissions over the next 2 days, I’m going to have to disagree. The article was also published online, but after looking through my server stats I can’t find a single hit coming from that url and I can only assume it’s because nowhere do they actually link to my site. By comparison, the article that was printed in the Star Tribune (which is also online) seems to have given me barely any traffic. So what does this say about Pioneer Press versus Star Tribune readers? Obviously there are other factors such as the Pioneer Press article ran on the front page of the Local News and the Star Tribune article was on the first inside page of the Source Health section. I should also mention that I do get quite a bit of traffic from the Star Tribune Road Guy’s blog which probably is partly because it spent an entire day on the front page of startribune.com. But still, nothing compares to the submissions I got surrounding the Pioneer Press article.
  • In other link-related learnings I can say that while getting linked on web design showcases like Web Creme is really cool, most people visit the site only to evaluate it’s design and I think very few end up sticking around for the content. I’m basing this off of February statistics that show about 1400 hits from Web Creme, about 200 from Star Tribune, and none from Pioneer Press.

Future Plans

  • Stickers – I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to it.
  • Paid Advertisements – I have no idea how to do this, but I have a feeling that if possible it would be a better alternative to google adsense.
  • Adopt a Shelter – If I wasn’t moving I would seriously consider adopting the bus shelter by my house as a way to give back to Metro Transit. After all, without them there would be no bus tales.
  • More improvements to the web site – I want to add in a few other ways to navigate and begin calling out some of the tags and possibly creating a list of the top tales (according to me of course)

2 Comments


  1. Sticker? Not sure what you’re talking about.

    Congratulations on the success of Bus Tales; it certainly sounds like it is succeeding in spite of the disappointing AdSense rev.

    I found this post interesting , which I suppose makes me into web nerdery. Sigh.

    And btw, your comment area is not designed for old guys who need new eyeglass rx’s. Dang.

    - Hulles (Mar 6, 2007)


  2. Stickers as in peel and stick onto something, it would be of the BusTales logo and include a url, thinking about sending them out to people that submit tales.

    And I totally agree with you, this comment box and type size is way too small, I threw it together in a hurry and have never looked back.

    - Rett (Mar 6, 2007)

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