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Thread: (site admins) How would you feel if I made my own web site similar to yours?

  1. #1
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Question (site admins) How would you feel if I made my own web site similar to yours?

    I really adore ghosttowns.com. I'm a big-time fan.

    GT.com has inspired me to go out and do my own research and have adventures. I thought about making a blog, but the organization of blogs is so messy it makes me twitch.

    I want to make my own website and model it after gt.com. How would you guys feel about that?

    The reason I am asking is because it would have many similarities to gt.com.
    The look would be very different, no frames and no western theme. I would focus on my neck of the woods in the Pacific NW, and cover mainly the places I have visited personally. I would focus on before-and-after pictures and research things like cemeteries and early pioneers in-depth to help out genealogists.

    I am very impressed with the flash map of the states and counties, and would eventually include a similar thing (but alphabetically listed towns would come first.) I just can't find a way to make navigation of a ghost town site simpler or more interesting. You guys got it nailed, and I want to imitate it!

    I know I could just upload my pictures to gt.com and do write-ups for the towns, but I want to do so much more, including way-marking, geo-tagging, and linking to websites and books so people can do further research. I would include the part at the top of individual ghost-town pages that describes road conditions, county, climate, best time to visit etc but add more such as date founded, type of town (company town, lumber ghost, pioneer fort) and whether or not food and drink is available nearby.

    This is a project I am seriously contemplating, and I have already begun to sketch out rough drafts.
    In short, I am asking for your blessing because I want to imitate you out of respect and not for reasons greed or laziness. I would not want to suddenly unveil my site, putting tons of work into it only to incur resentment because it was an unpleasant surprise.

    (And don't get me wrong, I won't use any pictures or text from gt.com without permission, it's mainly the ghost town template I want to re-create. I would link back to gt.com in many instances.)

    Please let me know what you think and if you have any tips or suggestions for me!
    (I want the input of forum members too!)

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    I would love to see another site like GT.com. Being a "native born Oregonian" I'm interested in any historic information I can find about the PNW, including what and where to go see things. You have my vote!

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    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    I'm always for new projects, and you sound very ambitious. Good on you for posting first, asking "permission". I say "Go ahead", but then I'm not an admin.

    I too wish there was a good way to blog and actually be read, but I've found it difficult to reach the desired audience. I've just about given up on my railroad blog, for various reasons.

    Good luck, keep us posted.

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    Darin is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Tzar - I think it's a good idea...there aren't enough sites to go around right now so I welcome it, especially since I'm located in the P.N.W.

    "(And don't get me wrong, I won't use any pictures or text from gt.com without permission, it's mainly the ghost town template I want to re-create. I would link back to gt.com in many instances.)" Just be careful of Copyright infringements if wanting to use any kind of template.

    Campp - Aside from going on "Blog Spot" like I do at times, the only other thing would be to hit the latest craze of either "Facebook" or "Twitter" and start a GT page there. I'm not a big fan of Twitter, but am on FB alot.

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    But why not edit GT ?

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    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyroler View Post
    But why not edit GT ?
    I can't edit GT. I can submit certain things, such as essays and photos, but I have no control over them.

    GT.com wants pictures reduced to a certain dimension. I understand GT.com wants to be accessible to people on dial-up, so they can't have huge pics. I would do it differently; by using a thumbnail system where users could chose to see high-resolution images by clicking on thumbnails. This is not to imply that my way would be better, it's just what I want. I <3 high res! I also have to wait for images to appear on GT.com, but with my site, I can have it all now-now-now!

    I have submitted pics here, essays there. And not many people have never known about it because GT.com does not have a "what's new" page. I feel a little disappointed that some of my efforts have probably gone un-noticed by many visitors. It's not like I never, ever will write up a summary and post new ghost towns here. I just need to get my site up and running first.

    GT.com also does not allow the kind of in-depth detail that I want to provide. (That is not a flaw it just means GT.com is on a larger, national scale.) They are like TIME magazine, where I want to be the local newspaper.

    I do not want to write a quick summary, I want to write a comprehensive history of not only the towns, but of the regions I cover. If I write about a town in Polk County, I won't just give the history of the town itself, I will have another page that gives the history of the county too.
    I will link to other people's blogs, (like campp's train blog if he wants), historical societies, census data websites, I will scan and upload maps and photos not only from my personal collection, but from non-copyrighted images that I dig for from collections in museums and antique books. I will comb cemeteries and post lists of the names on the graves for genealogists. Some pages will be dedicated to short biographies of major players and pioneers of the region.

    I'm going to create videos set to music, and link to youtube videos. I want to be of aid to travelers and tourists, promote the visitation of business in the region, such as inform people where they can find food and lodging nearby. I will imbed videos in my website, and invite comments from locals and people who grew up there. I want to interact personally with people who used to live and work in the ghost towns, or have pictures of them. I can't do that through gt.com in the same way.

    I will encourage folks to send me their pictures of obscure places and I will painstakingly and lovingly restore their old photos with photoshop before uploading them and giving them credit.


    I'm going to feature a section on the steamboats of the pacific northwest as well. I will extensively report on trains too, for rail-fans.

    All of this detail is going to be a sort of "life's work" for me. It is going to be a narrow focus on my neck of the woods because I don't have the time and resources to cover the entire US.

    With my site I want people who could never, ever feasibly visit the places I know to live my adventure through me. I want people from around the world, who are never going to come here, to learn about the Oregon Country and understand how special it is.
    The only way I can put my personal touch on things is to have my own site.

    -I would have a modern, colorful non-western theme of my own concoction.
    -My own flash-based map of (just a few) states and counties that will look different. (Not the whole US.)
    -Like gt.com I'd have an alphabetical list of towns for each state.
    -When you navigate to an individual town's page, the viewer would see at the top the "county", "roads", "class," "best time to visit", "remains summary". I like that a lot and want to include that, only I'd elaborate on that to include post office dates, city founding dates, and mention whether or not the town is in eminent danger of being destroyed or not.

    Unlike GT.com I'd have:
    -A what's new page
    -A page dedicated to informing viewers about town name changes
    -Embedded slideshows and youtube video
    -A way to sort through the towns using tags ie lumber, fishing, flood, military, fort etc
    -A bibliography and reference section connected to my history essay for the town
    -Movies that I make based on my footage or non-copyrighted "old tyme" footage or pics
    -I have no plans for a forum: I don't want to police a circus!
    -I won't typically accept summary write-ups of ghost towns from visitors to my site, just pics. This is about my writing, and my research, and my adventures. I will accept letters and comments, but I will tell people to submit it to gt.com if they want to summarize something as researchers themselves

    My site will have so much detail that it MUST be organized very, very well or people are going to get lost in it. I don't want to clone GT.com, nor use it's content. Just imitate some of the basic concepts of the layout and design. There are a bunch of ghost town websites out there, but I think gt.com is organized the best.

    I'm not asking for an endorsement of any of my content, I just would like feedback about the concept at this point. Some people are irked by imitation and some are flattered by it. I'm just hoping the latter will be the case.

  7. #7
    campp's Avatar
    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    By the way, in V bulletin, there is a blog feature for the posters to use.

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    Realistically, the only one that has a real say is Todd. It's his baby, the rest of of just play with it.
    That being said, I agree more sites are probably a good thing, especially one dedicated to a certain region. Myself, I have always wanted to do a site dedicated to off road trails for Nevada, especially those involving ghost towns and related history. Unfortunately, life hasn't alloted me enough time to dedicate myself to create and maintain one yet.
    "I have a .44 and a shovel, I'm sure no one's gonna miss you" - Virginia City, NV

    http://community.webshots.com/user/GBodell

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    Last edited by David A. Wright; 07-12-2010 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Because I felt like it.
    David A. Wright
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Wright View Post
    Just a bit of wisdom for you to chew on and consider before jumping both feet into your website:

    DISCLAIMER / WARNING - Being a [former] website owner, I can tell you one thing to watch out for - burn out. If you love your family, your website will alienate you from them. It will take you away from them. If you are a self disciplined person that feels the need to make everything perfect, it will drive you nuts and keep you up late at night. You will eat, sleep and breath your website.

    You will get tons of unsolicited emails from people asking you lengthy questions and expecting instant gratification on things that take years of patient and methodical research. The time it takes to write coherant replies also reduce you free time to spend with family and friends.

    You will spend $$$ on gasoline to visit places you write about. You will spend $$$ on gas to travel to courthouses and libraries to read government and press documents on microfilm and in heavy books. You will spend tons of time getting your photos to your satisfaction. You will spend tons of time writing up documentation and formatting it so that it looks good in 99% of the browsers (better learn HTML - it helps when you find unexplainable glitches in formatting, requiring digging for the code needle in the haystack to undo them).

    You will find that you will develop a following of people who live vicariously through your work, nagging you to create fresh content for their pleasure and don't give a d**n about yours. You will get tons of unsolicited emails by people who try to induce you to "partner" with them; some of them get cranky if you tell them no and they hack your site and screw it up (it happened to me by some English witch who got very pissy when I told her no last year and she tore the snot out of my site and that of my host).

    My children are all adults and on their own. My wife is disabled and needs me more than ever. I've had my 15 minutes of fame (History Channel, published author, website owner for a decade). I've hobnobbed with the big authors. I've dealt with the above issues and more. It's time for me to move on. I cleaned my house, shut and locked the door last month and am moving on. And getting reaquainted with my wife.

    I wish you success if you attempt to follow through with your wishes and plans. Your site potential sounds ambitious. If you're young and have the time and energy, go for it. You will undoubtedly develop a following. And bring joy to many.
    I call BS on that post.

    Go for it, Tsarevna!

    And good luck!

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