As some of you may know, I run Horsham Pub Guide as a bit of a 'hobby' site and it was one of the first sites I created (in my spare time) after I discovered the web in the late 1990s. Over several years, I've developed the site further, partly as a way of learning new stuff myself, and also because, well it was one of my first sites and I feel a bit of affection towards it. However, it struck me recently that I really ought to review the site in order to take it forward.
So, I've been asking myself some questions:
- Do I have the time to maintain and develop the site further?
- Does the site still have a purpose? How many visitors does it have?
- Is the technology behind the site OK for my requirements.
- How does Horsham Pub Guide on Twitter fit into this?
I don't have all the answers to these yet but the questions have helped me think through a few things:
If I continue with the site, I need to actively maintain it, whether it is through managing comments, or updating the pub descriptions on the site, or developing the site code.
I'm aware that sites like Trip Advisor and Google Places reviews have taken over the pub reviews arena and I get less comments/reviews on the site than I used to. And managing reviews, and especially negative reviews, about pubs can be difficult. So, perhaps I should remove comments/reviews? However, that would make the site a bit inactive.
I've had some feedback that the name of the site is a bit misleading because most of the pubs are in the Horsham district rather than the town centre. The site does clearly state that it is about country pubs but the name isn't quite accurate enough for some. I'm not really sure how to react to that, I don't want to change the name though.
I make a few pennies out of advertising but I don't really earn any money from running the site.
The site gets over 5000 visitors/month though so, whilst this is only one statistic, it's good that quite a few people visit it.
I haven't made a final decision and this post is a bit of a brain dump for me.
- I probably won't scrap the site because it's getting a few thousand visitors/month. However, I need to do something. One option is to make the site more of a personal blog - magazine style site about Horsham pubs and beer, rather than the current country pub focus.
- Another option is to widen the scope to include all pubs in Horsham including town centre. That's a lot more work for me.
- A third option is to stick with the current focus of the site, country pubs, and improve it around that.
I'd welcome any feedback on the site from Horsham folks. Leave a comment below or tweet Horsham Pub Guide on Twitter. Many thanks for your input.