Hyperlocal Forum

Rob Powell, who owns several hyperlocal sites including his popular Greenwich site, has soft-launched a hyperlocal forum for like-minded publishers. I’ve joined myself this morning (these are our own local sites) so hopefully I’ll be able to share thoughts and ideas with fellow local news site publishers.

There seems to be a growing band of hyperlocal publishers so it’d be good to have a central place to:

  • discuss issues
  • exchange tips
  • suggest potential ways to generate revenue and increase readership
  • air content generation ideas
  • etc

Hope to see you there :)

Brimstage Added To Our Local Sites

The latest domain added to our hyperlocal portfolio will cover the small Wirral village of Brimstage. Whilst it may be small (population approx 100) the village houses a popular embroidery / arts and crafts centre and there’s also Wirral’s only brewery that brews a bitter called Trappers Hat !

I’ll be cycling up there to take photos later in the week.

Sefton Park Added To Our Hyperlocal Portfolio

We registered another hyperlocal domain property yesterday after the previous registrant allowed the registration to expire. Sefton Park is one of Liverpool’s best known parks and is home to the stunning Palm House. This is our second domain relating to parks as we also own Birkenhead Park.

We’re looking forward to visiting Sefton Park over the coming summer months to take photos and get ideas for content – sounds like a good excuse for a family picnic!

Whats Nearby?

It appears that  there’s a lot of local UK information out there to explore. For instance, I’ve stumbled upon nearby.org.uk – enter your choice of search and access various links (not all working for me) related to the resultant geo location.

As an obscure example I’ve just been looking at information about a church in West Kirby – it’s my nearest one that has church bells. Whilst local church bells might not be of interest to everyone, sites like nearby demonstrate what rich, hyperlocal content is out there.

Use it as research or even embed it in a mash-up local site if you’re more technically minded.

New Brighton – Coming Soon

We acquired another local domain property earlier today – New Brighton a coastal town by the River Mersey on The Wirral. It’s probably fair to say that this once very popular resort has seen better days but things are looking up with a proposed multi-million pound development now more likely.

Little known fact: as a young joiner, my Dad repaired the (long-gone) wooden roller coaster!

Hyperlocal Resources

Just a quick mention of  a couple of hyperlocal sites that you might want to keep an eye on.

In the USA, Matt McGee is sharing his views and useful resource ideas at hyperlocalblogger.com - whilst some of the resources are obviously USA based, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s out there.

And much closer to home Rob Powell, who is building a local London portfolio that includes his popular Greenwich site, has very recently launched his own hyperlocal site. 

If you’ve got some other resources to share – especially UK related – please do leave a comment!

Setting Your Geo Target In Google

I’ve just noticed a change in google webmasters to do with the geo settings.

You’ll maybe know that with non-country specific, top-level domain extenstions like .com .net and .org you can specify within the tools the country that you’d like to associate the domain with.

For instance as my business site is on a .com domain I have indicated that my content is primarily for the UK. If your domain ends with .uk then you can’t say that you’re actually wanting to target USA or Australia, etc.

It used to display the date when you last set the geographical target but that now appears to have gone. That’s a slight shame because it was handy to know when you set it if you’re checking out ranking issues.

I’d suggest that using a .uk domain (whenever available) for a UK centric site is a sensible approach. If you want the equivalent .com then register that too and forward to your .uk

I’ve not come across a definitive answer to how long it takes google to recognise and act upon your preferred geo setting – if there is one somewhere, let me know.

Hyperlocal Weather Forecast

Us Brits have a reputation for talking about (moaning about) our weather – hot, cold, wet or dry the current weather is always of interest. For that reason I’ve been wanting to add a weather forecast to my local sites – it could be one way of building a returning readership.

I’ve found a great wordpress plugin that does the job pretty well – it’s called wp-forecast and it uses Accuweather for the data. I’ve used the accuweather plugin for firefox for a couple of years now and the forecasts are usually pretty good. The wp-forecast plugin is easy to configure and you can even tinker with the CSS if you feel inclined (I haven’t yet).

You can see the plugin in action on my work-in-progress site about West Kirby, Wirral.

If you know of a better weather plugin for wordpress let me know.