Pandemic Time

WORKING OUR PANDEMIC PLAN

Early in 2020, you could see that the world was locking down.  Anybody could see that nothing was going to change with Corona Virus for a long time.  At first we didn’t know what to do.

We decided to try to make this whole thing a positive and just to focus on work.  We will update this page when the pandemic is over, but for now we are just working on our “pandemic plan”.

The plan is to try to use this time to be productive and explore new ideas.  We wrote down all of our ideas and we are working on all of them at once, because you really don’t know how things will work out until you try.  When the pandemic is over we will see what worked and didn’t.  Certain ideas may pan out, and others may end up on the junk pile.

We formed our pandemic plan after Easter 2020.  All of it will get accomplished before the pandemic is over.

We researched and listed out all the current ways to build a website.  Each has its own pros and cons.  We figured that building websites out of each of the technologies would give us an excuse to keep up with the improvements over time.  In the future we will be updating these websites, and that is how we are going to remain current.  We built websites with:

    1. Squarespace
    2. Wix
    3. Weebly
    4. Duda
    5. Mobirise
    6. WordPress

WORDPRESS DEVELOPMENT

WordPress is how half of the websites are built now.  Most websites are built with WordPress because it is SUPER POWERFUL.  However, WordPress has some cons.  It is not very user friendly, and it poses security risks.  We have taken the time to dive in and master WordPress. 

We revisited all of the websites we own and decided to either redo them in WordPress, form a future plan for them, or delete them. 

WordPress is a lot like your smartphone.  You can load a million different apps (known as “plugins”) onto a WordPress website.  Our goal is to formulate the “perfect” set of plugins to build a modern WordPress website for our target markets.

We revisited Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and implemented full reporting and monitoring.  We are currently setting this up using both of the top paid SEO tools, and eventually we will settle on the best solution to copy on all future websites.

We own quite a few domain names and we are trying to figure out how best to build these domain names into websites over the next decade.

Hopefully during this pandemic we can figure it out.

DIRECTORY WEBSITES

We are building a website called DirectoryThemeUniverse.com. This website is being built as a mechanism for us to become world class experts in everything related to WordPress Directory Themes.  With the knowledge we gain we will be able to pick the best directory theme for future ideas we want to pursue.  We will keep learning about directory themes, stay current with the new stuff, and then feed that information back into the website.  We plan on building a lot of directory websites in the future such as:

    • Area tourism guides like Tripadvisor
    • Real estate websites like Zillow
    • Campground guides for a state
    • RV rental guides for a state

TOURISM MARKETING WEBSITES

As you may notice, our core competencies are everything you need to market a tourism business.  We have a lot of documents already created to work with our customers.  We are taking everything we know and building a series of niche Internet marketing websites, because the information is easier to absorb if it is focused on your particular industry.  So we will attempt to figure out how to distill this information into focused websites.  We may miss the mark and have to redo it, but during this pandemic we will get it all started.  We will build websites to serve these customers:

    1. Tour guides
    2. Restaurants
    3. Vacation rentals / cabin rentals

Possible future niche websites include those for:

    1. Fishing and Hunting Lodges
    2. RV Rentals
    3. Campgrounds

PERSONAL WEBSITES

This is purely experimental.  If you think about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc., they ask you to tell them about yourself so that you can network with like-minded people.  However, these social networks have some limitations:

  • They are an awful place to have a real meaningful debate. 
  • They are a terrible place to house information.  Just look at any Facebook group and you will see the same questions asked over and over again.  And good luck finding that insightful post you saw last week.
  • Many people create wonderful content on social media and even take the time to back it up with reference links.  However, all that is a waste of time because the information is not organized.
  • You really do not own a social media account.  If you say something they do not like then you will be hushed.

Social media has its good points, but having a personal website is the optimal solution for many reasons:

    1. You control your own info and how it is displayed.  When you meet new people you never go through your life story and tell them what your favorite movies are and all of that.  You just sort of slowly get to know that about people.  Now you can find common points of interest faster with new people.  That is why you put that stuff on the socials.
    2. If you could add content to your own website just as easily as posting to a social media, then your own website would make a perfect spot to organize what you want to keep track of online.  For instance:
      1. You may see a viral video that is the funniest you have seen.
      2. You may have a podcast or YouTuber you really like.
      3. You can have a list of all of the great musical performances you can find on YouTube.

With your own website the options are limitless:

    1. You may feel like you want to vent on Facebook about politics or whatever, but that is a total waste of time because that is not a place where you can easily articulate anything or have a real debate.  Instead, lay out your views on your own website and then edit those as your views change. 
    2. When you look for a job you really stand out if you have your own website and an email tied to your own domain name.  You can have some pages that pertain to your fields of interest and then you can add YouTube videos, case studies, etc. about what you are learning in these areas.  It will really give you that edge.
    3. When you go through life sometimes fate intervenes and opportunities present themselves. Why not maximize your chance of good things happening?

So, we will build a few of these personal websites:

    1. The first one is for for our friend Zac Wilcher, who will find out that he is building a personal site when he reads it on this site.
    2. The second one is for our cousin Nathan, who will also find out when he reads this section of the website.
    3. The third one is for Eric.  We will link it here when it is finished.

MEMORIAL WEBSITES

There are many reasons for this to make the list of ideas to pursue.

    1. In the past a cemetery plot and a nice gravestone were important to people. Eric’s grandmother went to the cemetery every single week.  Nowadays, though, people don’t go to the cemetery.  Plus, compared to a website a headstone contains no real information.
    2. When you think about it, people live in the memories of the people that knew them. Once those who knew them are gone, then the memories of the deceased just dissolve away and they are reduced to a headstone with a born and died date. A memorial website offers to actually let people get to know (or get to know better) the deceased.
    3. DanStallsmith.com was built as the first prototype. Unfortunately, you have to view that website on a computer because it was made using the free version of Wix, and they have handicapped the mobile version.
    4. Two more websites are planned to be made during the pandemic:
      1. Dan Stallsmith website #2 – using WordPress instead of Wix
      2. DeedraRunyan.com – for Cara’s mother, who died in November 2020

INDIANA AREA TOURISM WEBSITES

Last, but certainly not least, we are working on ways to expand our affiliate income by helping people plan their lodging needs when visiting popular destinations in Indiana.  We are updating our existing websites and we are building a few more.  Based on how these do, we will be able to chart the future course.

  • www.BrownCountyCabinRental.com
  • www.French-Lick.com
  • www.SpringMillStatePark.com
  • www.IndianaStateParkInns.com

The only way we could see to deal with the pandemic is to just hole up and try to work as much as we can.  Hopefully when this pandemic is behind us we will view it as something beneficial to us in the long run.

If we can accomplish all of these goals during the pandemic then we will be in a good position when things are over.  Since we cannot do much in the way of traveling right now, then hopefully we can make some extra money so we can do more fun stuff in the future.