Author: Cornish, Rick

All things web site

Good morning from Whiskey Creek! Beautiful, sunny morning and what a relief. I don’t think my psyche could have taken another day of rain. I mean, we definitely needed it but, wow, this past winter and spring have been Biblical. But on to business….Every now and then I report on After all, it’s OUR web site. So here goes.

Traffic on the web site has completely come back after the last big virus attack. For several weeks following the event, we were down in the low 4,000 hits per day as people drifted back and regained confidence in our site. We’re happy to report that daily hits are now back up to the mid 7,000’s to 9,000 per day. Thanks, everyone, for hanging in there.

You learned a week ago that Henry Zuniga has given up his monthly Welcome column. Thanks, Henry, for lots of good stories. And WELCOME BACK TO NORTHERN CALIFORNIA! And speaking of welcomes, welcome Henry’s replacement, Randy Morton. Randy, who is from way up north (Stonyford), will be covering the third Saturday of each month. His writing abilities first became known to us when he posted his Hooked on Bluegrass story….he didn’t know it then, but he was a marked man from that point on. (To read Randy’s story, click here.) Oh, and one more thing about the Welcome feature, if you’re a good writer and would like to give Welcoming a shot, send us an email and let’s talk.

I spoke to our programmer, Rob, a few days ago and he tells me we’re pretty close to the “new look” for the splash page. Actually, just a new mast head and navigation bar. The new design will provide a lot more control for those of us charge with keeping the web page current, and the new design will also allow for regular changes to the mast head art….something that everyone will welcome after nine years of the same sea shore and poppies. Anywho, we hope you’ll like it. And we know if you don’t, you’ll let us know. That’s always been the one thing the web team could count on…..the CBA folks, they got opinions and don’t mind sharin’ ‘em.

A few weeks ago we warned visitors that we’d be trying Google ads again. Since the last time we did this some folks got a little exercised…..’these ads look clunky’; ‘they don’t have anything to do with bluegrass’; ‘I’m offended by thus and so ad’; etc….we figured it wouldn’t hurt to repeat the message here, so here goes: At its meeting last weekend, the board received and approved a proposal from the Web Team to conduct a pilot program to sell Google ads on the CBA web site. (Some of you will recall that we tried this a while back....maybe five years ago....with very limited success.) The Web Team believes our traffic on the CBA site has grown enough that doing the Google ads may now be profitable. At least to the extent that the new revenue can cover the costs of maintaining the site. But here's the deal. We can tell Google what types of ads we DO NOT WANT on the site, (and we've done that), but it's almost certain that some will periodically slip by. We've got a volunteer who will watch for these and we've got a process for immediately pulling them down. Will that be enough? We don't know for certain, hence this new endeavor will be a pilot. Everybody stay tuned. Seriously friends, please be patient and give this a chance. In the last decade many of us have come to count on as a means of staying connected, but anyone who does this sort of thing as a self-sustaining enterprise can tell you that it costs money to keep a social network networking. If we can make a few bucks selling Google ads, and not chase people away in the process, we should do it.

A little technical follow-up to a Message Board post. Candy Sponhaltz, our very capable Online Calendar Manager shared the following: I've been working on keeping the CBA calendar current and somewhat succeeding I think. But, today I had an e-mail about a regular jam listed as occurring in Arnold at the Acoustic Attic. The gentleman who e-mailed said he had tried in vain to contact anyone with the scoop on the jams, so he drove to Arnold, only to find the place closed up and no notice of any kind about relocation. This points up the biggest problem with current correct calendar data... if I'm not told about changes, cancellations or events scheduled it can't make it to the calendar. I hate to think folks are missing out on the great music and fun to be had just because no one said anything. So please, if you have any knowledge of the aforesaid changes please e-mail me and I'll try to keep it current. One last note, if anyone knows of any jams in the Arnold area, this gentleman would like to be informed and I'll be happy to pass along any information. Thanks for the great support so far! To which Bill Rogers made the very logical suggestion: Why not purge listings every quarter unless actively renewed? So here’s the answer, Bill. Really two answers. First, it’s like pulling teeth to get folks to post recurring events. Sometimes it takes years before someone involved in a recurring event will actually get around to posting it on the calendar. Getting these folks to repost every three months would be, I think, a pretty tough sell. But beyond that, and now I have to get a little technical, ‘civilians’ cannot post RECURRING events. The programming required for making an every-other-Monday event fall on the right days, for example, is pretty complicated. Hence, when someone wants to post a recurring jam or band gig, they post it just once and then let us know what days of the month the event repeats and we have to ask our programmer to make the event recurring. And we DEFINITELY don’t want to ask Rob to do this for all our recurring events every three months. Hence, right up at the top of the calendar page we have a message in big, bold font that reads: Click Here to post an event. IMPORTANT NOTE: We do our best to keep the Calendar up-to-date and accurate. However some events posted here may have been cancelled, and re-
ocurring events such as jams may have been terminated. For that reason we
strongly recommend that before driving long distances to an event, you call first.

And speaking of wonderful volunteers like Candy, and now Randy Morton, it’s time to make a little plea: Someone is out there....who knows, maybe several folks....who've just been waiting to find a way to support their Association with a little volunteer work. Well, here's a great opportunity. The web team needs someone to load onto a year or so's worth of CD reviews that have run in the Breakdown. What special equipment do you need? If you're reading this on your computer, you've got it. What special training do you need? Let me put it this way--if our team's mascot, Ed the Dog, had thumbs, he'd have already done it. What special reward will you receive for the work? A very special place in bluegrass heaven. Write to if you're willing and able to do this task.

Okay, I know, this is running a little long. So let me conclude the Welcome edition by letting you know that this year during Fathers Day Festival week we’re going to try something new (if I can talk my partner, Mary Tilden into it)—we’re going to post festival images all week on the splash page. So if you snap some good ones, track us down and lay ‘em on us and we’ll try to get them posted.

Posted:  5/31/2010

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