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Drew Dowdell

State of the Site 3-2-2013

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Drew Dowdell    4,993

March 2, 2013 - State of the Site

As promised, on the first Saturday of each month, I present the State of the Site. Last month's can be viewed here: February 2013 State of the Site.

Operations

  1. Server - The new server is proving to be dead reliable with no involuntary reboots since it was installed. I still plan on having it performance tuned at some point, but it is not a priority right now. We did get pinged that we've used up 89% of our free disk space, so I will need to buy some additional room there.
  2. Software - IP Board has released a small maintenance update that I will install tomorrow or Monday evening. Nothing drastic, but a number of small fixes for annoying little things going in.
  3. Look and Feel - The new look is still on the drawing board, but I may hold off on a re-image of the site and just update the logo and header. IP Board has already announced version 4.0. When they do major version changes, the skins are notoriously difficult to migrate.
  4. MudMonster has been promoted into the Admin team. This is mostly for Spam fighting purposes.

Site Ranking

We've fallen back from some of the ranking gains we made in January. Part of that has come from me not being able to be so aggressive promoting the site while I was sick, traveling, and having some personal challenges. Some of the change has also come from growth from our competition. I am not disappointed with the change as a take a much longer view of the direction of CheersandGears.com and realize there will be ups and downs in our rankings. Importantly, we are still inside of one of the insides ;-)

In the prior update I mentioned that I found that Google was reporting over 200k broken links to C&G. I installed a fix to address this issue and Google is now down to 120k broken links. At that rate, we should be down to a "real" number by the end of may. There will always be some broken links, but not that many.

Visitor Engagement Metrics

In spite of our rankings fall, we continue to do excellently with visitor engagement. Put simply, this is a measurement of how much a visitor likes the site once they get here... and by the stats, they really like us. We sport one of the lowest bounce rates among our targeted competitors and visitors spend anywhere from from 6 to 10 times as long on C&G as they do on other sites and visit up to 9 times as many pages.

Social Media Engagement

We've had a little progress here with some of you sharing our stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. There will be a large push here ahead of the NYC Auto Show.

News/Review/Show coverage

Being rather disengaged myself lately, I haven't finished the review and show templates, but still expect them to be completed before New York.

Sales and Advertising

We've gained a couple of advertisers in the mix along with our standard advertising networks. I expect to have a formal process for advertisers to buy advertising in the next two weeks.

Also starting in March, we will begin aggressive advertising of ourselves.

The Biggest News

I am starting the legal process to make Cheers and Gears its own company by June 1st. I will continue to be the owner and managing editor. I am making this change for a number of reasons. First, there has been a substantial change in my own personal financial situation that could eventually lead to me leaving my current employment with the energy company. Some of you are aware that I also own some apartment buildings and do private I.T. consulting.

I feel that the time for me to make C&G my primary venture with the other ventures providing a stable base and somewhat passive income is rapidly approaching. My ability to do this does not at all depend on rapid growth at C&G, the main change will be my ability to attend more news related events.

Making C&G my primary venture has been a dream of mine for a while, but some recent events and meeting certain people over the last 4 months has convinced me that I can do it.

That said, while I insist on maintaining the family and community feel we have, I do need to start to run the place like a business rather than just a hobby.

Summary

CheersandGears.com is one of the oldest continuously running automotive forums out there, but watch us grow now!

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daves87rs    329

Goods news....I like that....

I have to second the "like family"....also thinking that we should try some "mini meets", or have some members meet at major events.(Sucks that I missed detroit's) like the shows...

I'm liking the blog idea too...I think some more of us should try out hands at it......

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Drew Dowdell    4,993

Goods news....I like that....

I have to second the "like family"....also thinking that we should try some "mini meets", or have some members meet at major events.(Sucks that I missed detroit's) like the shows...

I'm liking the blog idea too...I think some more of us should try out hands at it......

There will be more news around that soon. :AH-HA: William and I are just getting our feet wet.

I'm all for mini-meets if you guys want to do them. I can help organize.

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William Maley    393

Goods news....I like that....

I have to second the "like family"....also thinking that we should try some "mini meets", or have some members meet at major events.(Sucks that I missed detroit's) like the shows...

I'm liking the blog idea too...I think some more of us should try out hands at it......

There will be more news around that soon. :AH-HA: William and I are just getting our feet wet.

I'm all for mini-meets if you guys want to do them. I can help organize.

Yeah, I have some interesting ideas for the blog portion of the site. I really like to see some of the members take advantage of it.

I like the mini-meets idea.. would be cool to possibly meet some of the members.

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ocnblu    733

Congratulations on your promotion, mudmonster. You deserve it, you work hard here. :thumbsup:

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GMTruckGuy74    228

Congratulations on your promotion, mudmonster. You deserve it, you work hard here. :thumbsup:

I second that!! Congrats ;)

Mini-meets would be a great idea. There's the upcoming All-GM Nationals in Carlisle that if enough "club" members register, they provide a free tent.

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Drew Dowdell    4,993

Congratulations on your promotion, mudmonster. You deserve it, you work hard here. :thumbsup:

I second that!! Congrats ;)

Mini-meets would be a great idea. There's the upcoming All-GM Nationals in Carlisle that if enough "club" members register, they provide a free tent.

Dates?

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