Over the years we have focused more and more on our own websites and less and less on new customer websites. We have built a bunch of different websites that focus on the things we like to do and things we want to know about. We make money on these websites mainly through affiliate programs, and this money gets direct deposited into the bank each month.
Each of our websites has its own reasons for being built. A lot of the websites are just experiments to try to figure things out.
THE WEBSITE THAT STARTED IT ALL
In 1999 we built www.IndianaOutfitters.com and we have been updating the website ever since. This website was designed to help people plan outdoor trips in Indiana, and it was designed to overcome some problems that exist in trip planning.
There are a lot of governmental agencies that control public lands and each has their own separate website.
- Indiana State Parks
- Indiana State Recreation Areas
- Indiana State Fish and Wildlife Areas
- Indiana State Forests
- Indiana Nature Preserves
- City Parks
- County Parks
- US National Parks
- US National Forests
This makes it hard for people to figure out where to go for what they want to do. More importantly, the government websites do not link to the private businesses that rent the additional things that complete a trip. Our website was built to bring information about all these places into one spot and make it easier for people to find outdoor recreation destinations and plan trips in Indiana.
This site needs an overhaul but it is so big that it is a lot of effort to do that. We are considering options. Plus, as the Internet evolved, we learned that you really want a very targeted and informative website instead of a big broad one. So, we have spent our efforts on those.
INDIANA STATE PARK SERIES
The Indiana State Parks are very popular – they offer camping and 7 of them have an Inn as well. The state park lodging options are very popular and book up in advance. You can book a campsite up to 6 months in advance and an Inn up to 12 months in advance. We built our websites to overcome some basic shortcomings:
- The government State Park website does not link to the private businesses (campgrounds, vacation rentals, boat rentals, etc.) in the area.
- There is a ton of great private content like YouTube Videos and Blogs that help people plan trips to these parks, but this also cannot be linked on the government’s State Park website.
- Indiana State Parks are powerful economic engines for local Indiana Economies. Instead of showing “campground full” when somebody tries to go to a State Park, we try to give them easy alternatives.
www.TurkeyRunStatePark.com – This website was redesigned in January 2021.
We obtained our “Google Trusted Streetview Contributor” status which allowed us to upload our 360 degree photography of the Campground and Park into the official Google Streetview layer. Now people can see the campground with Google Streetview. We can also integrate those Streetviews into our website.
We are attempting to add a lot more user-generated content to the website in the future: pics from Instagram, YouTube videos, and stuff like that.
www.WhiteRiverStatePark.com – This is an unusual state park, and our website about it came about by chance. We like to go to White River State Park, which is a weird urban park that is composed of nice outdoor spaces plus several separate businesses. The Indianapolis Zoo, Botanical Gardens, NCAA Museum, Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum, and a big outdoor concert venue comprise this park. Plus, it connects with the Indianapolis bike trail system and has other smaller businesses offering fun things to do there. Nobody really understood this, and we had the time, so we built the website.
We like to canoe and kayak, and we have built several websites about Indiana rivers. In addition, we update our river guide on www.IndianaOutfitters.com. Each of these river guides represents the best we could do with the technology of the age.
www.FallCreekIndiana.com – Fall Creek runs through Indianapolis. It is a beautiful urban paddle that is very accessible and flows through parks and greenways.
While there are no rentals available on Fall Creek, it is easy to set your own shuttles and do this trip after work in the summer.
www.WildcatCreek.net – This website details an awesome river that runs for over 100 miles and is designated as one of Indiana’s Natural Scenic Rivers. We visited each access point and photographed the parking situation, the path to the river, and the river access point itself.
www.WabashRiver.us – This is a long river of over 400 free flowing miles. We visited all of the access points along the Wabash River and integrated this with Google Maps. We built the website because if it is easier to experience a river then more people will do it. When somebody experiences a river, they appreciate it a lot more.
www.IndianaRVRentals.com – Renting an RV is easier and more affordable than owning one, so we created and launched this website in July 2023 to make it easy for people to rent an RV in Indiana and go exploring.
www.IndianaWineries.com – We like to go to the wineries, and they make a good added stop to any outdoor trip. So, we decided to build this website to help us keep track of all the wineries. We update this website quarterly to add new wineries. Seldom do any wineries go out of business.
www.VisitIndiana.net – We purchased this website in 2010. We bought it because we had worked with the creator since 2000 and she didn’t want to do the website anymore. The website is an extensive link list. We would like to redo this website into a more lodging oriented website, but currently haven’t found the time to do this.
www.CabinRentalsIndiana.com – Seeing the success of our older Indiana Cabin Rentals website, this new mobile friendly website was launched in 2022 to experiment with a different way to highlight cabin rentals in Indiana.
www.PatokaLakeCabinRentals.com – Patoka Lake is Indiana’s 2nd largest reservoir and a very popular outdoor recreation destination. Patoka Lake was voted #1 for wildlife viewing in the Midwest by USA Today. Built in 2003, this website helps people find cabin rentals in the area.
www.French-Lick.com – With the unique offerings of the historic town of French Lick (and it’s neighbor West Baden Springs), plus its close proximity to the ever-popular Patoka Lake, it seemed like a no-brainer to make a website to help people to plan a trip there. So, this mobile friendly website was completed and launched in 2021 to do just that.
www.FrenchLickGetaway.com – This is our second French Lick guide type of website, launched in 2023. French Lick is a small town, but it gets a large search engine volume, and many people visit the area. We go there often and have visited all the businesses, gathering a lot of content for the area and improving both websites. We are using French Lick as an area to try new ideas for building area guide websites, and we are competing the two websites in the search engines.
www.BrownCountyCabinRental.com – There are loads of cabin rentals in Brown County, Indiana, where the fall colors, outdoor recreation opportunities, and arts communities are a huge draw. Knowing that very targeted websites are more successful, we built this mobile friendly website in 2022 to focus on cabin rentals in just this one county.
www.AroundHopkinsBelize.com – This website details the outdoor adventures to be had around Hopkins, Belize. Hopkins is a small village in the country of Belize, which is located in the Caribbean/Central America.
www.HopkinsLodging.com – This website uses new software that enables us to create a website that is as good as Airbnb or VRBO. Launched in 2023, this website helps people find lodging in Hopkins, Belize. It is an experiment to see if it is possible to use local knowledge to be able to build a better lodging finder website than is currently available anywhere online.