I think most people here know me as a graphic designer, but in fact my real interest is and always has been publishing since I was 22 years old. I`ve been working on various plans the past few months to figure out a way to publish something I care about and still make money. Well, tomorrow (Monday) is the big day -- our first attempt at publishing goes live!
The Sustainable • Local Centre County Shopper`s Guide is a business directory for green and independent businesses here where I live in central PA. But I modified the usual directory/advertising models a bit. Where most directories make users comb through listings, and most advertising is dependent on content to draw eyeballs, I`m bypassing both of those things by giving advertisers a full page that is meticulously optimized to rank in local searches. Visiting the site means looking through the listings, but the big goal is to eliminate the extra layer of either having to comb through the directory, or of depending on content, to give advertisers a real shot at having people find their Shopper`s Guide page directly through the search engines.
The title`s huge, but it`s already ranking #1, #2, and #4 in Google for the keywords it contains (at least it is here locally), and the domain`s only been active for a couple weeks.
The site launch is being supported by a 4-page, tab-sized advertising insert that will distribute 10,000 copies next week via an independent paper here in town. We sold the advertisers a combination print/web advertising package to get started, but from here on out its all web. We`re also going to be buying paid links in the 3 big SE`s to promote our advertisers even further. I anticipate this won`t be necessary after the site`s been indexed for a few months.
This is all really exciting to me... but the cherry on top is that the whole thing looks like it`s going to profit slightly even though it`s our first shot at anything like this. Gotta do the books for real still, but so far the math looks awesome.
I could not be happier! And it would not have happened without SuN — when I came here last fall I was totally beat down from a project gone bad, but you all helped me come to my senses and keep moving forward. Hugs all around!
Oh PS... I`m still tying up some loose ends that will be obvious to the other designers in the group. Please feel free to point out any problems you see, especially if you`re on a Linux box.