Thoughts on Sir-Toby.Com

General discussion about anything on Sir-Toby.Com that isn't covered by another forum.

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Sir Toby
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Thoughts on Sir-Toby.Com

Post by Sir Toby » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:44 pm

Everyone,

I've recently been inspired to put more effort into the Sir-Toby.Com web site. I've been paying attention to the forum a bit more lately and have been responding to posts. I've also started to play catch up with some long overdue tasks (such as deleting 231 spammer accounts from the forums).

To make a long story short, I have been having a conversation with a friend who runs a very large and active web site community. Years ago, he quit his day job to focus entirely on his web site community and is living off of the advertising revenue generated from it. I'm working with him to build up a web site community for playing pinball. As part of our discussions, I showed him Sir-Toby.Com and he indicated that there may be some possibility for generating advertising revenue from it.

If you are anything like me, the idea of putting advertising on Sir-Toby.Com at a minimum leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I have never before considered placing advertising on Sir-Toby.Com. For me it has been a labor of love that I have been happy to provide to anyone wanting to enjoy it. Of course, jobs and other activities have always kept me from really focusing on Sir-Toby.Com and my activity level with the site has been sporadic, at best.

There are a great deal of things I would like to do with Sir-Toby.Com. Updating the site design to something that doesn't look like it was created in the 90's. Updating horribly out of date web pages. Growing the community. Adding features to Extend-A-Story. Adding completely new features to the site. Upgrading the server hardware and operating system.

All of these things take time, and in the case of some of them, will take money. Frankly, I suck at web site design, so I would want to pay someone to do that for me. Growing the community will likely entail paying for some form of advertising. Server hardware doesn't grow on trees. It is difficult for me to justify spending time and money on Sir-Toby.Com when it has been primarily a time and money sink and my focus is elsewhere.

This brings me back to considering adding advertising to Sir-Toby.Com. If Sir-Toby.Com becomes a source of revenue, it becomes much easier to justify spending time and money on the site, as it directly corresponds to increased revenue. If it generates enough revenue, I can focus on Sir-Toby.Com entirely.

I have briefly discussed these thoughts with JH over email and we both felt it was appropriate to start a discussion on the forums to get the input of the larger community. While I will start additional topics concerning specific areas I want to discuss, I think this will provide a good place to start a more general discussion.

One of the first questions that came up with my email discussion with JH is whether there is even enough traffic to the site to generate advertising revenue in the first place. That is the question I am going to look at first. I've had two people now recommend that I use Google Analytics to analyze the traffic to the site. I have done some research into it and it looks like a good place to start. I will start by adding Google Analytics to the Beta Test Story as a test to see how it works out. If it works well, I will add it to the more heavily used parts of the site. You should see very little impact on your experience with the site as a result of this, but if you see anything amiss, don't hesitate to say something.

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Post by Sir Toby » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:25 am

I have installed Google Analytics to the Sir-Toby.Com home page (required for Google Analytics to work) and the Beta Test Story. I have done some brief testing and everything appears to be working fine. Poke around and let me know if anything is amiss. If everything goes smoothly, I will add Google Analytics to additional portions of the site.

Hi! My name is Ib!
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Post by Hi! My name is Ib! » Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:00 am

I poked around on the Beta story and everything seemed to be running smoothly. I have a pretty fast broadband connection, however. Not sure how it might affect dial-up users (those poor, deprived sods :) or even DSL).

I have mixed feelings in terms of giving the site a "face lift" as it were.

In a way I like the uncomplicated and yes, antiquated nature of the site. However, the more I think about it, it would be nice to have an updated version. I can hardly imagine ANYONE would blame you for adding some advertising revenue. It's pretty much the norm now. I don't think ANYONE would accuse you of being 'greedy' or having dubious or guilty motives. It's the 21st century, right? :lol:

I think everyone here respects you and really appreciates the work you HAVE put into this site. And for keeping it running for nearly 10 years now.

Thank you.

I've been writing on this site for close to nine years and it's always been a reliable place to write and collaborate with other writers.

EDIT: I also don't think it would be uncalled for you to establish a PAYPAL account, and accept donations. Especially, if you're going to be keeping a more active presence. Time is money. It's that simple. Time is precious, and YOUR time is no different. Really, my friend, of all the webhosts I 'know', YOU would be the one I trust most to use the funds wisely.

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Post by Sir Toby » Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:28 am

Hi! My name is Ib! wrote:I have mixed feelings in terms of giving the site a "face lift" as it were.

In a way I like the uncomplicated and yes, antiquated nature of the site. However, the more I think about it, it would be nice to have an updated version. I can hardly imagine ANYONE would blame you for adding some advertising revenue. It's pretty much the norm now. I don't think ANYONE would accuse you of being 'greedy' or having dubious or guilty motives. It's the 21st century, right? :lol:
One of my goals is to make sure that something is gained for costs incurred. I can continue to run the site as I've been doing for years now with little to no time or money investment on my part. Right now the site just sits on my home DSL connection (which I would pay for regardless of whether I was running Sir-Toby.Com or not) and JH runs the show with very little involvement from myself. If I were to impose a cost (in the form of advertising) for using the site, I would want to make sure you got something back for it. At a minimum that would mean more personal involvement from myself to improve the site, but if the money was there I would spend it to try to grow the community and add more features to the site.
Hi! My name is Ib! wrote:I think everyone here respects you and really appreciates the work you HAVE put into this site. And for keeping it running for nearly 10 years now.

Thank you.

I've been writing on this site for close to nine years and it's always been a reliable place to write and collaborate with other writers.
You are welcome. It has been a pleasure to run this site all this time.
Hi! My name is Ib! wrote:EDIT: I also don't think it would be uncalled for you to establish a PAYPAL account, and accept donations. Especially, if you're going to be keeping a more active presence. Time is money. It's that simple. Time is precious, and YOUR time is no different. Really, my friend, of all the webhosts I 'know', YOU would be the one I trust most to use the funds wisely.
Thank you for the kind words. Setting up a PayPal account for accepting donations was one of the suggestions JH had when I was discussing this with him over email. It is certainly an idea I am considering. If the advertising revenue just isn't going to be there due to low traffic, donations could be an alternative method of paying for some of the things I am considering. If the advertising revenue does manage to take off, another possibility would be to use a small payment as a means to see an ad-free version of the site similar to what I've seen other sites like Slashdot do.

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Post by Sir Toby » Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:58 pm

Well, I was hoping to see more discussion by this point, but if memory serves, Sir-Toby.Com sees most of its traffic on weekends, so hopefully we'll have more discussion over the weekend. Unfortunately, I will be out of town this weekend (going to PAX), so I won't be able to respond to anything until early next week. Please dicuss your thoughts while I am away. I will respond when I get back.

In the meantime, in order to encourage discussion about advertising specifically, I will post a poll about it in a separate topic.

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Post by JH » Thu Aug 28, 2008 5:53 pm

It's a quiet period for the site at present, which probably accounts for the lack of discussion. I think it's due to the time of year. Hard though it is to believe, I suspect that some of our patrons find other things to do in the summer and spend less time at their computers. :) The site will start to become busier as the evenings start to draw in, I expect.
JH

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Post by TCO » Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:18 pm

That might be true for some, but not for me... :oops: Every time I come home after work, I'm straight on my computer. I just don't come here. Might be something to do with a lack of inspiration.
...the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering. - Dr. Who

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Post by lordreaibn » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:41 pm

I am behind you 100%. No matter what. I stand with Ib and what he said.

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