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How do you support online information?

I've been puzzling about the Internet and how it is affecting community and learning. We hear all the buzz about online communities...and we are beginning to take Google and Yahoo for granted. Information is always on tap!

Being an Internet publisher both for the love of sharing stories and to make my living, I'm also puzzling over how community supports conscientious Internet publishers. Like me, of course :-)

I've tried a variety of ways to encourage visitor interaction and support...and some are more successful than others, so I thought I'd share some of that experience with you...and with other serious online publishers of blogs, websites and email newsletters.

I publish several websites and one blog. They are:


These sites all feature a growing library of free, online articles about nature appreciation, greening our communities, and small business. They have a wide range of visitors that are concentrated in California, but reaching around the world.

My most popular website is more than 35,000 visits a month...and growing. It's interesting to see which articles and topics are most popular, but what's fascinating is that almost all pages on the site receive at least 200 visits a month. We have very eclectic readers!

Income from the site comes mostly from the Google ads on each page. Those ads are certainly my bread and butter...if very modest to cover expenses! A couple dollars a month come from the display ads and I'm considering removing them because they don't seem to be of interest to our readers.

I've produced a video of backyard nature called "Backyard Nature Safari"...and I must say I'm disappointed that it isn't selling to my broad reader base. Hmmm. I was hoping that people would be interested in sharing nature stories to encourage children to get outdoors in their own backyards. I'll have to rethink that strategy. I would certainly be interested in hearing from you about what products you would be interested in purchasing off to help support the production of ongoing quality content.

What's most appealing? Favorite pages varies by month. This month (January) the top three articles on Backyard Nature are:

  • The Artistic Flavor of Japanese Communities
  • FAQ About Squirrels
  • Common Native Birds of Southern California

That leads me to believe that a majority of our readers this month are students who are researching and writing about these topics.

Other months have shown readership about the "California Beaches" was a favorite theme! Yes! Our beaches in Southern California are some of the nicest in the world. Lots of people visit here -- and researching information provided by local writers makes sense. I ponder all these creative, business and advocacy elements that affect my publishing venture, I've put together a survey to learn a little more about how you support the amazing richness of online information. Your participation in surveys seems to work...and is appreciated...and I'm hoping that you'll give some consideration to how you can help support grassroots sharing of knowledge.

Participation and support of your favorite cultural resources are part of community sustainability. You are important, even vital, in the support of quality content by grassroots publishers. I hope you will give some thought to how you can support what you value.

  • Creativity abounds -- spreading the word is as valuable as cash.
  • Giving feedback, particpating in surveys -- your intellectual support is also a vital part of a thriving conversation.
  • And visiting advertisers to learn of potential tools and solutions to nourish your interests is a cost effective way of providing funds without it costing you directly.
  • And then, there's always the jingle of cash! :-) Revenue through advertising helps turn the gears of sustainable community! Think of greenbacks like fertilizer!

Thank you for your support, and I hope we can find new ways to thrive together!

Carolyn Allen
Editor, Publisher, Writer, Field Journalist, Designer, Photographer, Videographer, and junior bottle washer ;-)