Buzz impact

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 23, 2008, 10:59 PM | comments: 8

You know, I'm starting to realize that there's some real potential again in my Web sites. I admit, I've been pretty down on them over the last year or so. That was partly waning interest, partly burn out and partly an ad market that has sucked.

I've mentioned before how the thing I used to love about CoasterBuzz is all of the park-specific sites used to do their thing and submit news. They'd all get nice little traffic bumps from it. I see that this is still the case with a substantial spike on PointBuzz after posting a news item on CoasterBuzz. That's kind of neat. Unfortunately, the only other sites who do anything anymore are the Kings Island kids and Richard's from time to time.

So there's clearly a lot of mileage left in CoasterBuzz. I think perhaps it's time to think a little harder though about what its real purpose in life is. News and community yes, particularly as the foundation for a club, but beyond that I've gotta figure it out.


Neuski, April 24, 2008, 4:10 AM #

I think CoasterBuzz could grow away from only an news aggregate and take a more proactive role by allowing users to contribute park information for the site, and not just a forum. I imagine updated park information with useful information from CB users, links to recent trip reports, and more photos than just a few of the coasters.

I'm thinking out loud.

tigellinus, April 24, 2008, 1:20 PM #

^^So in other words, a Wikipedia atmostphere, so to speak?? But maybe this info could be more reliable and factual....

Jeff, April 24, 2008, 2:07 PM #

What are you talking about? Everything on Wikipedia is 100% true.

draegs, April 24, 2008, 4:23 PM #

Coasterbuzz mobile maybe?

That way, all of the user-submitted content that relates to what shows to see, when to hit what rides, foods not to miss, etc. could be accessed while in the park.

Just thinking out loud also.

Gonch, April 24, 2008, 5:45 PM #

I actually agree with Neuski.

I'd say give more interaction - give users the feeling that they're a part of the site, not just an end user. Web 2.0 - that sort of crap.

My brutally honest opinion? You had the right idea back in the day with a 'portal' where users essentially supply the content, but never ran with it. It's still mostly what it was back then.

Jeff, April 24, 2008, 6:01 PM #

No, they stopped contributing stuff. It was always a portal and hasn't changed.

Gonch, April 24, 2008, 6:26 PM #

"It was always a portal and hasn't changed."

Yeah. I think that's the problem. It's been that since the start, but the web has changed a lot since then. The community has changed a lot since then. CB hasn't.

Problem probably isn't the right word. It's only a problem if you want growth. I know you've made it clear that you have no problem with a smaller, more focused, quality over quantity approach. I think that's what CB has done over the past few years - shrunk and focused.

"I think perhaps it's time to think a little harder though about what its real purpose in life is. News and community yes, particularly as the foundation for a club, but beyond that I've gotta figure it out."

Indeed. News is cool and all, but it really can be found anywhere these days. Granted, you take a more business minded angle on what you post, but still. The podcast is a minor extention of this end of things, I suppose.

The community is basically what CB is to me. I dig the people. It has become a nice little niche community within a limited interest niche community (enthusiasts in general).

The club is cool and I like the events as a way to get face-time with some of the community. It's a partial extention of the community I guess, but for those who aren't necessarily after a community, it doesn't offer much.

And that's it right now, I think. CB really doesn't do anything else. (for me, at least)

Figuring out what you want it to be seems like exactly what needs to be done. Continue and focus on a being a streamlined niche community with a business-minded slant offering a few opportunites a year for members to hang? Try to go a new direction or even keep the current focus and build on it?

Just thinking out loud like everyone else. :)

Jeff, April 24, 2008, 6:37 PM #

The site is just old, no doubt about that. It's fragile and not far from broken if you ask me.

Traffic has been almost flat, with some minor growth, although the summers are higher while winters have dropped off quite a bit. Strange bell curve there, more defined than back in the day.

The primary focus of a relaunch won't be new features as much as getting to a place where it's agile enough to change quickly. PointBuzz is like that now, and we've done some enhancements and changes on the fly (if mostly under the hood). That's where I wanna be.

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