Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twitter 10K

My yintercept account on twitter is just 99 followers shy of the elusive 10K barrier.

When I started twitter, social media afficiandos called those with 10K plus followers a "whale."

Twitter Counter says my site ranks #39,413. That number is low because they don't update every account every day.  My guess is that there's 50,000 or more twitter users who've broken 10K.

My guess is that 100K is the new whale and I am years away from that.

BTW: I probably would have a higher count, but I am a free market radical and have a tendency to say things that are politically incorrect things ... like freedom is a good thing. Insurance is a bad thing.

Anyway, I think it would be fun to break the 10K barrier on New Years Day. Hopefully 2012 will be the year that America wakes up and restores the freedom that our nation's founder fought to establish.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Thousand New Links

Arizona Color just passed its first milestone ... a thousand links. My goal is to get that number up to 5000 by the Centennial.

Speaking of the Centennial, I have a business opportunity for a person or group who is interested in living an active lifestyle in Arizona.  Here is my contact form.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Thousand Failed Dreams

Maintaining a links page is a pain ... which is why most links lists have so many broken links.

My goal was to check each link every other year. I hope this will keep the broken links below 5%.

To do this, I placed a "check date" and have a report that lists sites by check date. If the site is still there when I check it, I bump the date. The hard part is that I have to check an eighth of the sites each quarter.

The Link Report shows how many links I add and delete each quarter. I fell a bit behind. To catch up, I checked some four thousand links this month and deleted 1000 of them. I fixed a few hundred others.

The grand total says I've deleted 8,326 links. There are 22,625 links in the directory with a grand total of 30,951. So, about 27% of the links I've added to the directory have gone dark through the years. 37% of the links added before 2007 have gone blank.

I've noticed that when I go to web sites, I usually find that from 20 to 40 percent of their links have gone bad.

In the Community Color project, i am linking to web sites for towns in the Mountain West. In my link deleting fury I discovered that government owned web sites rarely go blank. There have been a few that moved to a different URL. Big brand names and big corporations rarely go blank.

Almost all of the attrition was small businesses, family owned stores, family farms, artists, bands, nature photographers and privately owned creative efforts.

All of the little small mom-and-pop web sites that I was rooting for are failing.

The web is all about linking. If no-one links to small mom-and-pop web sites, then they will go away. The reason I built community color was of a hope that I could encourage people to link their sites together so more small web businesses could succeed.

Pulling 1000 web sites from the directory means that 1000 dreams failed and it is sad.

Arizona Centennial

Arizona will celebrate it's centennial on February 14, 2012.

I don't suppose there is any active "free marketeer" in the state who wants to do something fun for the event?

I said "free marketeer" because the activity is designed to discuss the difference between a free society and socialized one. The event costs very little and has the potential to make some money.

If there is such a person or group, they could contact me. I have a fun, fair-style activity that I've been wanting to try out ... but it takes more than one person to pull of.

If you contact me, please tell me your location in Arizona and the type of recreation activities that you like. For example, you might say: "I am from Tombstone. I like slingin' guns, rustlin' up cattle, mountain bikin', photography, etc."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Link Clean Up

The link clean up project is moving along slowly. The Community Color Link Report says that I've added 1381 links this quarter and deleted 766. On Dec 2, I was at 1200 additions and 600 deletions. So, I've added 181 links and deleted 166 in the last 9 days.

The process takes a long time. After finding a broken link, I check the whois info then do a google search to see if they moved to a different domain. I've fixed about 30 such domains.

While deleting links, I also add new links and events.

I was hoping that this clean up effort might help revive my affiliate income for the holiday season.

Sadly, I was wrong. Commission Junction says I only made $6.00 on 534 hits this month. Last month I made $7.08 on 1,542 hits. I was counting on making $200 or more in this period.

In my other accounts, someone purchased a sample of EvoraPlus. EvoraPlus makes a probiotic tooth care product that replaces the bacteria that eat enamel with teeth friendly bacteria. In contrast most tooth care products try to kill everything in one's mouth, but fail because bacteria grows quickly, eating the enamel as it grows.

My other big sale came from Vann's in Missoula.

Anyway, the online shopping season is wrapping up this week. It looks like I am on track to making $800 for the quarter. Because of the web site crash, I made only $600 in Q3. I was counting on $1000.

For a community site to work, I need to have interactive features. But, I can't think of any that wouldn't be full of spam and require constant monitoring for hate speech.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Removed Last Interactive Feature

The Community Color sites used to have several interactive features such as a forum interactive maps, ratings buttons, etc.

Every interactive feature became a target of spammers or by really nasty people who swore a lot and said terrible things about others.

So, I systematically turned off each interactive feature of the sites.

I had left the rating button on the site to test different ways of filtering out the spam. In truth, I really didn't want to have a 100% capitulation to spammers.

Keeping the rate button also reminded me that it is impossible to have an interative feature on a site without getting overloaded by disinformation and spam.

Anyway, I finally decided that it is not worth it, and am sad to announce that I turned off the last interactive feature on the sites.

Often I wish I could have a forum or an interactive feature. I can't think of any that would not automatically be abused.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Colorado Giving Day

Readers of my blog have probably figured out that I am not keen on big government, or big business. I prefer small limited government and small business where people matter to big biz.

Likewise, I am not all that  keen on big religion that seeks power and prefer to small charity to big charity.

If you've been anywhere near a Colorado based web site or media, you know that today is Colorado Giving Day. This is a day when secular charities in Colorado aggressively market their products.

I've been going through to make sure the charities are listed in the Colorado Color collection of web sites. GivingFirst does not make link harvesting easy. I have to go to the individual charity pages and click on the link.

What is really cool, is that they list the financials for the charities. The financials of these charities are better than most of the "for-profit" businesses I've worked for.

Most of the sites are excessively slick and slap the visitor silly with "Colorado Giving Day" ads.

It is frightening how aggressive charities are when it comes to begging for cash.

Any, half way through the link harvest, I am starting to have a severe allergic reaction to big charity.

I hate the name "giving first." The idea is that is that you should give to charity bedore you consider yourself or your family. If we had smaller business, smaller government and smaller charity, there would be less need in our society.

The fact that Giving First only lists secular charities also irks me. Secular charity is only a tiny segment of the giving community.

I like my Community Color directories. The goal of this project is to list the web sites from all segments of the society. It has the secular charities, churches, local blogs, merchants, affiliate sites. I think I am doing a better job showing the diversity of American communities.

Perhaps I am guilty of putting business first ... but, without businesses that actually produce for society, there wouldn't be any wealth in our society for secular charities to covet.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Fixing Links Consumes Time

I spent the better part of the day manually fixing links. i just ran the link report. The link added went up 29 to 1200 and the link delete figure went up 62 to 500. The event count went up 30 links to 2214.

Even with a fast connection, fixing links is a long, dull activity.

Web Site Failure Statistics

Did I mention that I have temporary access to a fast internet connection?

One thing I want to do with this opportunity is to clean up all of the broken links in the directory. Cleaning links is a real hassle on a slow connection.  While cleaning links, I got to wondering what percent of web sites fail.

Since I include an add and delete time stamp on listings, I can piece together some idea of the fail rate of sites. So, I made a link report which shows how many sites I add each quarter and how many of them have eventually gone black. So far, it looks like about 37% of the sites added before 2005 have gone black already.

My report shows other tidbits of information:

The bottom line of the report shows that I have added 30369 web sites to the directories, and deleted 7806 bad links as of noon on 12/2/2011.

The top line of the report shows that I've added 1171 links so far this quater and have deleted 448 links.

I added a second report about events. It shows that I've added 16801 events to the directories. I automatically delete events three months after the event. I've added 2184 events to the calendar this quarter.

I will not launch into a delete-a-thon. Hopefully, I will pull out a hundred or so dead links, making the directory more useful to the two or three people who use it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Church Videos

I have temporary access to high speed internet and can stream YouTube and Vimeo videos; So, I am taking advantage of the opportunity to explore the creations of the local community.

Local church groups and ministries have started streaming video. Some are highly polished works. For example, The River Church of Durango has hired two of the leading intellectuals of Southern Colorado to come out of the mountains and explain up the weekly events at the church, accompanied by banjo and guitar.

Not all churches have access to such gifted prowess, and are doing simple things like posting videos of sermons and church activities.
For the Christmas Season, I will concentrate on carols and church videos for the communities in community color.

I am listing videos at random. I hope no-one feels put off because I missed their church group or video stream.

hmmmm, It would be nice to make my temporary access to high speed internet permanent. On that note. Vann's is the best place to get consumer electronics ... like video equipment.

Yesterday, I was fortunate to be accepted in the affiliate program. I really like this site. They have a good price point and free shipping on three basic styles of earphones: earbuds, behind the ear and full headphones. It is a product that I am likely buy. Here is the link.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Back Up for Black Friday

The Community Color sites came back online at 2:00 AM. I've been checking things out and the sites appear stable.

I loaded coupons into the directory. The site lists all of the Black Friday coupons.

My webhost claimed there was a hard drive failure yesterday. So far, the cloud server has proven less stable than their standard discount hosting server.

I wish everyone a happy Black Friday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Open Technical Support?

Dang. My web sites are down again.

Could you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a webhost tried to give technical support online?

The clients would be YELLING at the webhost while the marketers at the webhost would be doing all that they can to misdirect and spin the support calls to fit current marketing plans.

Opening a technical support call to public scrutiny would do nothing but destroy the ability of the people needing technical support to communicate with the support provider.

A technical support call is best performed in private. A frustrated client calls some poor stiff being forced to work Thanksgiving Night to complain about a web outage.

An open technical support call simply could not work.

I need to let people know that the cloud server hosting the Community Color sites crashed again today. They've been offline for the last six hours. The ETA is 3:00AM ... but is likely to be later.

An outage on Black Friday will be terrible for me. Because of all the previous outages, the income of the sites fell off the cliff. I made only $6 from Nov 1-Nov 24. I was really hoping to make something on Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

I had actually spent several hours loading the site with coupons and sale notices in a desparate attempt to save the sites.

When the sites went down, I thought about logging into a hosting forum and venting against my webhost.

But nothing good could possibly come from such a public train wreck.

My petty little complaint is that people won't see my listing of coupons on Black Friday. So What?

So instead of venting against the people forced to work Thanksgiving Day, I started to think about the absurd expectations we have about the word "open."

From the "open society" to "open source." "Open" is the buzzword of the day. Yet, excessive openess simply destroys the ability to communicate.

It my tech support call, I simply wished the workers a Happy Thanksgiving and asked for information on the outage.

There is no point in venting at a person who is working a really lousy shift.

I tried imagining the same communication on a public forum like Twitter .... it simply could not have worked.

An attempt to have "open" technical support would be absurd ... perhaps most of the ideas surrounding the buzzword "open" are absurd as well.

Anyway, Community Color is down again. I don't know when it will be back up.

The silly little coupons are also on the site  (which is hosted by a different company). I wish the world a Happy Thanksgiving. Let's hope I am back online tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Note on Affiliate Marketing

For the last several weeks, I've been working on my affiliate links while fretting about whether or not the web site will make ends meet this holiday season.

I've spent a great deal of time on affiliate marketing because I think it is an honorable form of income.

Affiliate marketing is a simple game played between web sites. In affiliate marketing, web sites with a product to sell pay a portion of the sale to an affiliate web site that refers traffic.

It is a simple structure that holds the promise of distributing money through our social networks and web development efforts.

The major affiliate networks list over 10,000 merchants actively engaged in mass affiliation. There are thousands more engaged in private deals.

There are millions of web sites engaged in the market. So, it is a big thing.

Sadly, the market has a dark side with slimy operators pulling every trick in the book to steal commissions and engage in anti-market activity.

For example, parasiteware is a class of computer programs designed to steal commissions. Most of the browser helper objects and toolbars you find in cyberspace were designed to get commissions on sales. There are hosts of adware programs that infect computers like viruses in order to grab commissions.

WARNING: Many of the "anti-adware" products on the market are, themselves, adware.

There is good and bad in every industry. The way to improve things is to openly promote the good things we find and to steer clear of the bad things.

This is what I've been trying to do with the Community Color project. I want to make a living by emphasizing the good side of things.

In the early days of the Internet, I feared that big national sites would dominate and effectively crowd out local web development.

So, I decided to combine affiliate marketing with tools to promote local web development.

I put a quarterly summary my affiliate stats on the page:

The Community Color sites have had tens of millions of page views. From 2002 to Q3 2011, I sent 587,000 hits to affiliated merchants and have a reported income of $53,000.

The report shows I make an average of $1500 a quarter. A full time job at minimum wage is over $3700 per quarter.

This year I made the foolish mistake of upgrading to a cloud hosting account. I also invested in a smartphone hoping to learn about the mobile market. I increased my expenses to $500 a quarter.

The cloud account crashed in August. I had 6 weeks of down time during which I lost most of my inbound links. My income fell to under a $100 a month. (gulp). From November 1 to November 21, I've sent 1856 hits to affiliated merchants, but only made $2.32 in commissions. (I made $3.84 today bringing my monthly income to $6.32. (gulp)

Because of the crash, I've been working furiously on trying to fix the income structure of the project. I've increase the number of affiliate links. The page shows the percent of affiliate to standard links. Yes, I call the page slime because my progressive friends consider any action that makes money to be slime.

The slime report shows that community directories tend to have a low ratio of affiliate to regular links. 4.2% of the links in Salt Lake Sites go to affiliated merchants.

Newer sites like have a higher percent of links because I decided to add the affiliate links first.

The bottom line of the report says the directory has 22525 links with 2747 going to merchant web sites. That's about 12% of the links.

This directory structure sends a ton of traffic to community services and small web sites. Close to 90% of the traffic goes to free stuff.

Community stuff is good, but I happen to believe that making money is a good as well.

Look at the chaos that ensued after the financial collapse. In many ways, I believe that the web sites that have viable business models and make money do more for the community than those that are simply excercises in free expression.

Because of the web site crash that took place in August, I've been burning the midnight oil working on affiliate links.
I believe that affiliate marketing is a good thing that could help provide additional income to people in the middle class.

I think that affiliate marketing is something that we should promote, and not shun.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Four Thousand Reviews

I temporarily have access to high speed internet; so I am taking full advantage of every megabyte per second and am rapidly expanding my sites. It used to take 20 minutes to download a 5 minute YouTube video. I can now stream most of the videos.

The goal of Community Color is to promote local web development in the Mountain West. A large number of people are creating and uploading videos.

So, i am scouring YouTube, WelcomeMatt and Vimeo for local videos and posting them in the Site Review section of my site. These reviews serve as the base for the site's RSS feeds.

I just looked at my stats which say that I currently have 3999 site reviews up. These reviews have received 2,533,845 page views. That's an average of 633 views per review.

For the most part the reviews are randomly selected web sites. Some of the reviews are for ecommerce sites with a local connection.

I tend to favor custom coded sites and those that have produced videos or social media content. I am concentrating on Utah, Colorado and Arizona. The mobi optimized page shows just the You Tube videos by community.

Youtube is overloaded with new videos about the Occupy movement. I've embedded a few dozen occupy videos on the site, but politics is not the primary focus of the community color project, and I apologize to those who think there should be more.

Anyway, the goal of this project is to create RSS feeds filled with a diversity of interesting local links. Currently, the project looks at 40 different communities. Each RSS feed shows a new link about once a week.

I am attempting to fund the project with the Store of the Day program on LinksAlive. This page shows a link to an ecommerce store. My hope is to create a financially viable structure that can help promote community centric web development. My long term hope is to some day make enough to hire a minimum wage clerk to write the reviews.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Site Reviews by Month

I added state level web sites to Community Color to help group the town sites, and things are working out well.

I wanted each site to have an RSS feed. RSS feeds are for periodical posts like newspaper articles and blog posts. So, I created a "Site of the Day" review program that would highlight one site a day. A site a day is too much work.

You can add the RSS feed for your town's directory and you will occasionally see a link to a local web (or local store). I just made calendars that show the reviews for an entire state. Here are the three pages:
I am essentially creating a system of nested and interconnected calendars. The site reviews connect with the primary event calendars for each town.

My hope is to fund the project with the Store of the Day which presents an affiliate site each day.

The reviews are pretty much random. Basically, if I feel like writing a review when I first find the site, I write a review.

I like to review sites that have YouTube or Vimeo videos because then I can embed the content in the reviews to make them more interesting. If I had time, I would end up making all sites a site of the day. But time is limited.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

User Experience v. SEO

I read a fun article on SEO Experts to Avoid.

The article criticizes conversion experts turned SEO.

Search Engine Optimization SEO is all about trying to get free traffic from search engines. We all love to play the system and get something for nothing, however, it is a market that can easily go away.

Search engines are still king, but are only one source of traffic. This is especially true with local marketing where local printed ads still bring more traffic than international search engines.

Everytime Google changes its algorithm, there is teeth nashing on WeberMaster World as the SEO experts find their page ranks change.

The web designer who concentrates on user experience first will create a design that is valuable to the user regardless of the source of the traffic.

IMHO, the best web designer is the person who designs for the web site users but who is attentative enough to SEO to avoid big SEO mistakes.

The biggest problems with "Conversion Experts" is that they often fail to give any due consideration to SEO. For example, a flash site might have no keywords and the search engines never index them. Having an HTML navigation structure that navigates to the flash pages solves this.

IMHO: Small sites going for competitive keywords are better off concentrating on usability, then using traditional advertising or buying online traffic than competing for an overcrowded keyword.

In conclusion, I would say the best approach for web design is to consider the Free Search Engine traffic to be just one element of advertising and to avoid any SEO expert that wants to make free search engine treffic the primary focus of a web site.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Politics - A Scary Subject

This All-Souls Eve I am working on the most frightening of all subjects ... politics.

The goal of Community Color was to promote locally centric web development. All of the directories had a politics section because that is a part of life.

In the last two years, I've been consumed with the health care debate (to no avail). Anyway, I want to focus on the community sites again.

In the first effort, I started with the local community and worked outward. In this new effort, I want to start with the state and work inward.

I am currently concentrating on three states: Arizona, Colorado and Utah and have three web sites with the URLS ArizonaColor.US, and

I am working on the politics pages which have the path /dir/politics. They are Arizona Politics, Colorado Politics and Utah Politics.

The state level political directories will have links to state level political parties and statewide political races. The local directories will have links to local political web sites and local political campaigns.

To help tie the local and state directories together, I created a master index. Here is the master index for Utah politics. This page simply has a link to the politics directories in each of the sites.

Prior to this change I was doing silly things for state wide races. If a race had a candidate from Tooele and one from Heber, I would list the Tooele candidate in Tooele and Heber candidate in Heber. This provided no value to people who wanted to compare candidates and it looked like a tacit endorsement.

I confess, a major reason for this change is that I never found a way to monetize local web directories. People are interested in targetting local customers, but they aren't interested in supporting local web sites. The only revenue source I have is affiliate marketing. Most towns don't have enough ecommerce web sites to pay the bill.

When I bump up to the state level, I find that there are enough advertisers. For example, I've found about 100 Colorado shops doing affiliate marketing. The Colorado Shopping directory will have enough affiliate stores to be interesting.

Anyway, I working on political web sites ... it is much scarier than any of the Halloween attractions in town.

Saturday, October 29, 2011



It's been awhile since I've uploaded any images.

I've been fretting about the mess that our government and big insurance has made of health care that I just didn't feel like taking pictures.

Anyway, I've been thinking about throwing down my own money and hosting an event on free market health care and started looking for a venue for the event.

While looking for event space, it dawned on me how most of the prime venues for public events are directly owned by the government, or operated by private firms in direct connection with the government.

All of the events I've attended of late have been at government owned facilities including The Salt Palce, South Towne, The U, SLCC, the library, Gallivan Center, the Capitol Grounds, public parks, public schools, or the Fairground.

LPAC was the only public event I've attended in the last several years that took place at a privately owned facility.

That was in Reno.

Noah's is a privately owned event facility. They have locations in Lindon, Utah; South Jordan, Utah; Chandler, Az; and Westminster, Colorado.

So, I decided to drive out to the South Jordan facility and take some pictures.

The facilities appear to be geared toward receptions and corporate parties. The manager indicated that most of the events are private celebrations.

They would not be suited for the educational events I wanted to host.

However, I decided to include them in the venue section of the Community Color calendars: Salt Lake, Lindon, Chandler, Az and Westminster, Co.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Utah Color

I am officially opening the site

I have a collection of community web sites in Utah. While adding links, I kept coming across the problem that some web sites are state wide. For example, everyone who drives must visit the Utah DMV at some point.

People are also interested in statewide elections. If one candidate for the Senate was in Saint George and the other from Logan, I would add a link to one candidate in SaintGeorgeUtah.US and the other in LoganUt.US when they really should be side by side.

So, I bought the domain Utah Color to hold state wide resources.

To monetize, I added a Shopping category that lists all of the affiliate programs I've found which are headquartered in Utah. An affiliate program is a program that shares a portion of a sale with a refering web site.

As my focus is still the local community, the front page of Utah Color has links to all of the community sites.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Web Sites and Social Networking

Social networks are growing bigger by the day.

Unfortunately, the social network is outside of your control.

I believe that social networking is the heart of the web. I love the fact that people are actively linking to eachother on twitter and facebook.

However, I think that one's web site or blog should be the center of their social networking effort.

Practicing what I preach: My twitter account has some 9,300 followers (mostly robots). I've put hit counters on tweets. In most cases I only get about 40 hits (from mostly robots).

My personal networking site is Community Color. This site has over 20,000 active links and has listed over 20,000 community events in the calendar. (NOTE, I've removed 7,700 dead links from the directory). I've placed hit counters on entries in the directories and generally get several hundred hits per listing.

More importantly, direct links from home pages build Google Page Rank. Google uses PR to sort search requests.

Twitter blocks Google from crawling its pages. The links are marked rel="nofollow". Tweets do not help web sites build pr. A tweet or follow might send a few tweets in the direction of a site you support ... but it doesn't really help others build sustainable traffic.

If there is a cause you support, you do better to write a blog post about the cause; then tweet about the blog post.

BTW community color makes directories for towns in the mountain west (Utah, Colorado, etc). For example, is for Grand Junction. I just started making a directory for Arizona. The Stats page shows the number of links broken down by directory. Provo has some 1600 links, Salt Lake City has some 5700 links.

In conclusion, your personal web site or blog should be the center of your social networking effort. Linking to local organizations can help sustain a vibrant local community in the internet age. I am proud of the fact that my local link list is still magnitudes larger than my twitter follow list.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Provo Crosses the Million Hit Mark

There is a reason I spent a day working on the stats.

The Community Color directory ProvoUtah.US just officially crossed the million hit mark. I can now link to a statistics page.

The site has been up since 2002. So, it only gets 100,000 views a year. These are failure statistics, not success statistics. It simply proves that all things get large with age.

For my stats, I simply update a hit counter for each page view. I end up losing
stats when I delete or move a page. There are other pages on the site.

The first table on the stats page shows hits by category. There is a lot of interest in provo apartments.

The second table shows statistics from other pages on the site. For example, the site includes some 474 web site reviews. These review pages have had some 348,704 page views. Again the hit counts disappear when I delete old reviews. So it is probably over a half million.

Speaking about deleting things. The site has 1668 active links. I've deleted 781 old broken links. So 31.89% of the links in the directory have gone black so far.

My guess is that a good tenth of the current links are broken. BTW, I only remove the link after the web site goes blank. A large number of businesses have gone under, but still have a web site.

I don't delete the calendar data. The calendar has had 74411 hits. It currently lists 84 events. I've archived 1511 old events.

I buffer the stats twice a month so that I can get a feel of daily traffic. The Traffic page shows that the directory gets about 400 hits a day.

Moneywise. I pull in a little under a dollar for every 1000 hits. So, the directory brings in about 40 cents a day. The other pages bring in another dime a day.

My best Provo-based advertiser is Costume Craze which just happens to sell Halloween costume.

The global traffic pages shows the total hit count for all of the directories. The total traffic is about 4,000 hits a day. My hope was to make enough to hire a minimum wage clerk to maintain the site. I would need about 120,000 page views a day to pay one salary.

I keep the sites up because I believe it benefits the community and it was a good way to judge the economical viability of web development.

BTW, since I revived the stats page, Googlebot has been actively reading the site which might increase traffic. My total bandwidth seems to have increased 20% and CPU usage doubled.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Calendar Cat Stats

I am in a programming mood.

I put a little table at the bottom of the Calendar/Category page that shows the average number of hits per event along with historical data. For example the Salt Lake Shopping category page shows 26 archived events which received 4175 page views ... an average of 160 page views per event.

Most of the page views are the GoogleBot or other web crawlers. My advertising revenue is a little under $1 for thousand page views. This section of the site has probably generated about $4 in revenue over the last three years.

It is not a lucrative business.

Reworked Stats Pages

Back when I was on a shared hosting account, the Community Color sites would suffer slow downs when traffic started building up. So, I disabled the links report on the statistics page.

I am now on a cloud account where I pay for a block of CPU usage. So, I decided to try turning the stats page back on.

Each directory in Community Color has a stats page. Here's the page for (which displays odds and ends). The first table shows hits by category. Clicking on the category shows the history of the page.

The summary section at the bottom provides information on the internal pages. It includes information on deleted links. There are 2551 active links in the directory. I've deleted some 1270 broken links.

The traffic report shows hits per day. seems to get about 300 hits a day. The Global Traffic reports shows the whole directory tree gets about 3,800 hits a day. It fell about 400 hits a day during the server outages last month.

To be economically viable, I would need to get the site up to about 50,000 page views a day. I don't see that happening soon.

The Global Stats page shows total stats by community. is the third most visited directory in the collection.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Events by Category

I wanted to post a tweet saying that Salt Lake Sites had the most complete Halloween page for the Salt Lake Valley.

Unfortunately, the design listed Halloween web sites in the directory and Halloween events in the calendar. I did not have a page with complete information.

So, I jerry-rigged the directory to show events. The problem is that many events repeat. Odyssey Dance will perform Thriller a dozen times in October. To avoid repetition, I only show the first occurence of an event and created the page Category Events that shows all events for a category (even the completed events).

The directory page Denver Color - Football shows only the next Broncos home game. The catEvents page shows the full home season schedule. The events will disappear in a few months.

After this change, the first line in Salt Lake Sites - Halloween looks like:
Upcoming Events: Thriller (2011-10-12), Undead Race (2011-10-15), Spooka Palooza (2011-10-21), Spooky Symphonies (2011-10-25), Witch's Tea (2011-10-29) ... more

Here is the Halloween page for Denver. (Ahem, you can buy customes online at A Fountain of Bargains - Halloween).

I hope this change will make both the directory and calendar more compelling. Above all I now have more info on my Halloween Page than Scary Salt Lake.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Third Quarter Follies

I finished tallying up the third quarter 2011.

The six weeks of web site down time really took its toll. The quarterly income fell to $632. Ouch.

The big question is if the down time cost me back links and customers.

My traffic report page shows the total hits in the directory structure per day in two week intrevals. My goal has been to get that figure up to 10K per day.

I wish I had a way to match this chart to technical difficulties.

Historically, the site has always suffered a techinical breakdown or slow downs when it crossed 4K users a day mark. Discount web hosts often have a throttle on the site that kicks in when traffic picks up.

I had hoped that the extra $40 a month would help me increase traffic to the point the project was economically viable. Moving from a shared hosting account to a cloud account raised my hosting costs from $30 per quarter to $150 per quarter. My ISP costs are $120 per quarter. The whole thing really is a bust.

If the site was economically viable, I could add features!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Traffic from Halloween Past

My page Salt Lake Sites- Halloween used to have the top listing in Google and Yahoo. Multiple weeks of downtime at my web host pretty much wiped me out of the search engines.

This top spot gives insight into seasonal web traffic flows.

I admit, the data is disappointing. The top position on Google and Yahoo only delivered 1800 hits in October. I got just under 70 hits per day in the week before Halloween.

There is nothing really that compelling about my list of Halloween attractions (other than it's more complete than competitors). I thought the position in Google would have delivered more traffic. Let's see, I usually get a $1.50 in ad revenue for every thousand hits. The keyword position itself is only worth about two dollars. I just liked that I was getting a predictable spike.

I do have a costume affiliate -- Costume Craze. My affiliate stats says I've sent them 1266 hits since 2006. I've sold 11 costumes and made $50.33. Targetted local traffic is slightly more lucrative than random traffic.

In conclusion. Local web sites do not pay off, but data is fun regardless, and, yes, this post was just a pathetic attempt to recapture a decent spot on Google for 2011 so that I will have another Halloween Spike in my chart.

Friday, September 16, 2011

DNS Problems Resolved

The Community Color sites suffered some DNS problems this last week. I apologize if this change caused any inconvenience.

I had my account moved to a new server last month. Apparently, the old server felt lonely. Two days ago, the old server started sending DNS update requests.

So, I had several days where the account was pointing to different accounts at different times.

For the last several days, I suffered the problme that any new information added to the account was going into the wrong database.

So, if you registered in the last two days, added events or made other changes, you information would have gone into the wrong database.

I apologize for this inconvenience.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Sites Are Coming Back Online

The Community Color web sites are slowly coming back on line.

I had moved to cloud server hoping that cloud technology would be more robust.

Instead, I experienced a cloud burst.

The cloud server had problems that would cause the site go into read only mode and not deliver any of the PHP content. Instead it sent people to an error page.

The host moved the site to a new server. Hopefully this will solve the problem.

I had 80 hours of down time during this fiasco. I apologize for any inconvenience the outage caused.


The Management

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sites Are Still Down

I actually believe in shared hosting. Shared hosting shares computer resources and has a lower impact on the environment than dedicated servers.

Unfortunately, hosting companies have a tendency to oversell their servers. So share hosting is often a nightmare when web sites on the host grow.

I had had long periods of down time on my shared hosting account. So, I moved Community Color to a new cloud server.

A cloud server is theoretically more robust. The servers have a dedicated amount of resources. The web hosts add resources to the accounts as they grow.

Well, this last week the cloud turned into a nightmare. Something on my web hosts cloud keeps causing the sites to go down. Even worse, tier one technical support has been unable to reboot the sites. That means I have to sumbit tickets to a mysterious tier-two technical support ... which may or may not respond to a support ticket on a shift.

Anyway, I've suffered over 50 hours of down time this week.

The sites are currently down. They were down all night.

I was told by the technical support that the engineers would move my site to a new server today.

I am probably low on the priority list and really don't know if this will happen, or if moving to new hardware will actually solve the problem.

Moving to the cloud has proven a negative experience.

I apologize for all of the down time. This is out of my control. I do not make enough money on the site to afford my own hardware ... which means that the down time I experience is pretty much out of my control.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

MillCreek is the Worst Name ... EVER!

Currently there is an effort to create a new city in the Salt Lake Valley called "MillCreek."

Yes, the proponents of the plan are using the irregular punctuation for the town MillCreek. The county site uses the regular punctuation.

Mill Creek is an uninspired name for a pretty canyon in the Salt Lake Valley. Historians say that there were some mills on the creek for a very short period of time. The mills failed, were boarded up then torn down as eyesores a century ago.

Mill Creek is not an imaginative name. There are thousands of creeks called Mill Creek in the US and abroad. Wikipedia lists a dozen towns named Mill Creek. None of them are doing that well. None of them are remarkable. Look on any map, and you will find a multitude of creeks named Mill Creek.

My favorite Mill Creek Canyon is a the slit canyon south of Moab.

Unfortunately, one needs to pay a toll to access the canyon.

There is no public access to the creek through MillCreek. You can see the creek behind a chainlink fence in Evergreen Park and you can cross culverts containing the creek. But the creek does not play a prominent role in the town.

For that matter, only about a tenth of the people in the proposed town of MillCreek live near Mill Creek.

This new city will include the land running from South Salt Lake to the base of Mount Olympus. Just about every house in town has a spectacular view of Mount Olympus. For that matter, my parents live in this area. Like many of the houses in MillCreek, my parent's house was built with windows framing Mount Olympus.

Mount Olympus is the most prominent landmark in the Salt Lake Valley. While it is not the tallest peak in the Wasatch Mountains, the mountain has a rather large and imposing face directed at Salt Lake City.

When marketers select pictures to show Salt Lake City, they invariably choose pictures with Mount Olympus in the background.

Lets face it, Mount Olympus is one of the most recognizable natural landmarks in the United States.

As for beauty and scale, Mount Olympus knocks the socks off the Flat Irons near Boulder. The Flat Irons serve as the name sake of many areas in Boulder and Broomfield County.

If I were given a chance to name a city that sits on the slopes of Mount Olympus, I would be inclined to name the town after the spectacular landmark.

The last thing I would do is name the town for mills that failed and were boarded up a century ago.

Mount Olympus is a great name. The mountain played an important role in Greek Mythology as the home of the Gods. Naming a town after the mythological home of the gods creates wonderful naming opportunities for small businesses in the town.

Naming the city for Mount Olympus would make the new city the premium address for corporations seeking to move to the Wasatch Front.

NOTE, the town of Olympia, Wa became a cultural center of Washington and eventually the state capital simply because the founders of the town gave it a cool name.

The ancient name of Olympus is so reputable that the name was used for the International Olympic Games held once every Olympiad.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Salt Lake City was host of the 2002 Winter Games and many Utahans hope the Olympics will return the area.

Naming the new city after the landmark Mount Olympus would associate the town with youth, vitality and recreation. Retailers and businesses associated with sports and recreation would benefit by an address named after Mount Olympus.

Naming the town for mills that failed simply associates the town with failure. Who wants to live in a town named for its failures?

If you were locating a business in Utah, would you want to locate it in a town named for failed businesses, or would you want to locate it in a town named after Mount Olympus?

The mills on Mill Creek all failed. Mill Creek has no public access in town. Less than a tenth of the people in the proposed town of MillCreek live near the creek.

MillCreek is the stupidest name. EVER!

Just about every corner of the proposed city has a great view of Mount Olympus. The mountain is the definitive landmark in Salt Lake City. The name is associated with youth and vitality.

One can come up with a hundred derivations of the name Olympus such as Olympia (home of the first Olympics and capital of Washington), Olympo, Delphi, etc..

It is sad to live in such an unimaginative place that would choose the name MillCreek over a derivation of Mt Olympus.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Second Quarter a Bust

April started out okay, but sales fell to recession lows in May and June making second quarter a bust. I made a theoretic $1241 in commissions for the quarter. Of course I never manage to collect the full commission amount.

Moving to a new server and getting a cellphone to test the mobile sites increased my costs by $100 a month. My total expenses are just about $600 a quarter. So my real income in about $641.

There is an outside change that, if I traveled to Las Vegas, I could find a small group interested in discussing the Medical Savings and Loan. I believe that, if people started discussing alternatives to insurance, we could overturn the ObamaCare, RomneyCare, The Utah Policy Project and other manifestations of socialized medicine.

The problem is that the lack of income means I can't afford a hotel room. I don't know of any good camping near Las Vegas.

Because I really want the opportunity to discuss the Medical Savings and Loan, I am going to end this blog post with an ad. By ad, I mean I would make money if I had any sales.

EvoraPlus is a new pro-biotic dental care product. Most dental care products have the futile aim of killing all the germs in one's mouth to protect the teeth. This is a futile goal because our mouths are part of a living biological system designed to digest food. The pro-biotic approach replaces the bacteria that cause tooth decay with beneficial bacteria.

The EvoraPet product is designed for dogs and cats who simply don't brush their teeth on a regular basis.

Here are two coupons that expire 8/5/2011: Save $2.00 on Evora Plus, or EvoraPet

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Adding Mobi URLS

I added a slot in the community color add link program for a Mobi URL. A mobi site is version of a web page optimized for mobile phones. Mobile phones have really small screens ... usually about 300 pixels in width.

Mobi sites tend to show summarized information from the main site. Each community directory has a Mobi version with the subdomain m.. For example the Mobi version of ProvoUtah.US is m.ProvoUtah.US.

Anyway, after you define the primary URL for your site, you can add a Mobi URL. The field for the Mobi URL is the second to last line on the form. You have to be logged in to add a link.

NOTE: If your site is already listed in the web directory, just add the link to your mobi site as if it was the primary URL.

PS: I appreciate the few people who pay the listing fee as it is costly to maintain a directory. If you paid the listing fee for your primary site, just add the link and ignore the plea for payment on the last page.

Mobile Blog

Blogger just added a mobile view for blogs. As I've been promoting the development of mobile sites, I am happy to see this feature and turn it on.

In the community color program, I am actually making a separate directory for Mobi sites. If there is both a regular and mobi version of a site, I will link to both versions.

You can access the mobi version of this blog with the URL

NOTE: I am also turning the feature on for my other blogs: Utah Gold and y-intercept blog

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Master Index

I made a Master Index for the community color site.

I made this page primarily for my own use. As noted earlier, I changed the directory structure from using category numbers to using keywords. The Grand Junction Accounting page used to be It is now

The master index shows me all of the page names. Clicking on the page names shows the community sites with a page by a given name.

The only interesting part of the page is the summary. It currently reads: "There are 1944 pages in the this directory structure with 537 distinct names with a total of 8,850,656 page views."

My little directory tree has almost 2000 pages and is approaching 9 million hits.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Utah Color

I added a new directory called Utah Color. This new directory will list state wide resources for Utah. The calendar items in this directory will appear in all of the local directories.

Local web development is still the primary focus of the Community Color project. The state wide directories makes it easier to list important sites like state wide political campaigns and state health resources.

My primary concern is the local directories. If you add a link to Utah Color, I will check your address and add it in the relevant local directory.

If someone pays the listing fee, I will list the site in both the state wide and local directory.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Link Friendly Directory

Opening the Arizona sites is taking longer than I anticipated.

A primary reason for moving my web sites last month is that the new service will allow me greater freedom with subdomains and mod_rewrites. Using mod-rewrites allows me to create a link friendly directory structure.

In the original design, the link to the Salt Lake Art category had a category_id in it. AKA

The new structure uses a mod rewrite. The shopping directory on Arizona Color will have the URL:

For the Phoenix directory, I am using both both a subdomain and mod rewrite. The link for shopping in Phoenix is Search engines prefer strings to numbers. So, although the URL is super long, it re-inforces the key words "Phoenix", "Arizona" and "shopping."

Changing the link structure should make the directory more valuable to people who list in the directory.

The problem is that I don't want to change the existing directories to the new structure until it has proved through; So, I have to go about the conversion to the new structure in a systematic fashion.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Arizona Directories

I am expanding the Community Color family of directories to Arizona. Arizona has only 15 counties. So, I decided to break the directories out by county. I was organining the Utah and Colorado directories by city name. Colorado has 64 counties and Utah 29.

Since Phoenix is the capital of Arizona, I called the directory Phoenix Color. The other directories are by county name.

I like the county structure as it allows me to include all links from the state.

In this project, I am using long names for the directories. For example, the directory for Apache County is This should maximize the SEO benefits of the project.

If you are from Arizona, please feel free to add links. I ask for profit efforts with a marketing budget to pay a $10 listing fee. You can register using the secure form on You can also the secure login form to login into any of the directories.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Secure Login Page

I get a free Authenticated SSL certificate with my fancy new WestHost Cloud Server.

I only get to use the account on one domain. After a great deal of thinking, I used the certificate for the empty domain

The two pieces of information I want to keep secure are email addresses and passwords.

So, I created a registration form.

I am now working on a secure Login Form. The secure login form.

The secure login is interesting. First, the page checks to see that the user accessed it through a secure port. The user then selects a destination web site and enters their user name and password. If the user name and password match the account on the server the system will create a secure single use token.

The login program redirects the user to the destination site with the token. The destination site queries with the token. If the token is valid, the destination site responds back with a packet containing user and session information.

This design allows me to use the same user base for any web site I create in the future.

The next step is to integrate this design with Oauth and Open ID ... but I will leave those challenges for another day.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Framing Mobile Sites

While waiting for the DNS to propagate on the Community Color Sites, I decided to write a fun page calling for web masters to unite and create mobile versions of their web sites.

A big advantage of mobile sites is that people can display them in small windows on their desk top, or even embed them in iframes, as I do below.

Using a simple iFrame set at a size of a mobile phone screen, I can test too see what it looks like. This page is set at 320px. Because I want the pages to stay in the frame, I avoid using the target tag.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Moving Community Color

I am moving the Community Color sites to a Westhost Cloud Server. Being on a cloud server means that I will have resources to add new funcationality (and I do have functionality planned.

To avoid the possibility of lost data, I turned the registration and add event programs off. They will be back on when the domains point to the new server.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

YouTube Index

I am only getting scraps of time to work on the Community Color sites.

My new Android Phone will play videos directly. The URL for my test video showing the start of the Salt Lake Marathon is

When I click the URL in a regular browser, the browser displays a web page with the video. When I click it on my phone, the phone starts playing the video. Google is magic!

So, for the mobile version of CommunityColor, I realized I could just grab the video URLs that I've embedded in the main site and quickly create a fun little index of community videos.

To see project: Go to This page shows a summary of videos by town. Click a town name and see locally produced videos on YouTube.

NOTE: I had a number of campaign videos. I decided not to include them because the election is over ... however, I will add future campaign videos to this list.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mobile Pages

Wow, it takes a lot of work to make little pages.

I am busily working away on the mobile version of Community Color.

I decided I needed to add some "content pages" to feed the web bots from the search engines. My idea of content super simply pages that introduced the community.

Here is a sample page for Colorado National Monument ... which will celebrate its centennial this year.

To help the search engines find the mobi sites, I am daisy chaining the content site.

I wrote a half dozen content pages and decided to tweet about them using the URL shortener ... and realized I made a grave mistake.

My new URL shortener has slots for the HTML and MOBI version of a page ... but I had one HTML page and six MOBI pages I wanted to tweet about.

I could have made a short URL for each of the new sites. I would then issue six tweets for each of the pages.

I decides that was too spammy. So, I redesigned to allow for up to 100 URLS.

This short URL for this project is The short URL has links back to this blog post and the seven about pages I created.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tweet Your Link

While on the topic of mobile phones ....

I find filling out forms on my phone too tedious.

Scatching my head, I wanted to find a way for smartphone users to give me the link to their web site. To make the process easy, a "Tweet me your link" page to the Community Color mobile directories.

Here is the Grand Junction Tweet Your Link Page.

The page has the link:

Hey @CommunityColor You should add the site _____ to

The link produces a tweet with my twitter account and a link to my site. It is so fiendish!

If people fell for this gimmick used this process, then I would learn about their site and maybe get some inbound links.


A MOBI page is a page optimized for mobile phones. Since the pages will be displayed on tiny screens, the pages need to present tightly summarized information and they need to emphasize the navigational elements of the page.

It is wise to have links back to the main HTML site just in case a person with a real web browser stumbles onto a mobi page and wants to access the web optimized page.

This combination of summarized content and robust linking structure means that MOBI development offers a great opportunity for Search Engine Optimization.

From the SEO perspective, a mobile page is a small page filled with keywords and links back to the main site. It's a cheap way of building inbound links.

Best of all, building a mobile site is white hat seo marketing. The mobi developer isn't just creating pages for keywords. The mobi developer is creating pages to fit the unique needs of the smart phone market.

I started this MOBI project after using on a smartphone. I found jumping from twitter to my blog was a bad user experience.

The Mobile Link allows me to put a mobile optimized page between twitter and my content. Using as the URL shortener will give smartphone users a chance to go to the mobi optimized page or to the full blown version.

There is one big hassle involved in this project. Because I now need to create two pages for each content page, I am forced to do a little dance where I jump between screens creating content on two web sites.

Here's the Mobi summary of this page. When that is done, I need to create the page. This is a difficult dance as I do not know the URLs until after I save the pages.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

mlnk program

I am happy to announce a new domain in the Community Color family. I bought the domain for use as a URL shortener.

I intend to create a URL shortener with a twist.

As mentioned in previous posts, I bought a smartphone and started working on a mobile version of Community Color. I intend to create mobile versions of other sites.

The mobile versions will mirror the full HTML versions of the sites.

When I add content to a site, it will show up on both an HTML page and a mobile page!

The typical URL shortener redirects a user to a destination web page. The URL shortener will present a MOBI optimized page with links to both the HTML and Mobile page.

This design will make web browsing more pleasant for people twittering away their day on a smartphone (or people twittering in a small window).

Step one was to buy the domain. Step two is to design the site. Speaking of design, I decided to give my mobile pages a different background.

PS, I wrote this post before writing the program, so that I will have something to link to.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moving the Mobile Sites

I am working on creating a mobile version of the community color web sites.

Ideally, the mobile version of a site should be in a different subdomain. My original contract with my webhost did not allow sufficient subdomains; so, I was developing the mobi in the same domain as the rest of the site.

I checked my site. It now is allowing more subdomains; So, I am moving the mobile sites. Google put its mobile version on a site with the URL

A single M to denote mobile is good enough for me; so, I created an m version of each of the sites, eg m.ProvoUtah.US.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mobile Directories

I'll be hitting the road soon; So, I bought a mobile phone with Internet access.

My plan was to use the phone to help me develop a mobi optimized version version of the Community Color directories.

I started this project using an online mobi simulator. The simulator restricted me to only a few page views and did not show errors. So the program did not work.

The Mobi versions of the sites are accessed with the mobi.php. For example, the Denver mobi page is: NOTE, the very first link on the HTML version of the site goes to the mobi optimized page.

Now, that I have a phone, I can add other Mobi optimized features.