Happy 3rd Birthday Steel Valley Outdoors!

Jamie's 16th Birthday
Image by lcthulou via Flickr

It’s a little late this year, but I’ve been waiting for a couple things that haven’t been available yet.

I Started this Website three Years ago. It’s purpose was simple: To promote the region by highlighting the Outdoor Recreational opportunities available as a kind of Lifestyle soft-sell.

The Inspiration was a “conversation” on our local AM talk blowtorch. It was a rainy march day, and the afternoon drive time jocks were complaining about the weather.

“No one would relocate here,” said the one.

I had been thinking of doing the site, and that just pushed me over the line. No one ever accused Seattle of having good weather, or Chicago, or even Atlanta, and all those cities seemed to be doing fine.  Pittsburgh has reinvented itself, and it’s right next door: Same weather last I looked.

I got home, signed up with 1and1.com and bought a domain name. the .info was becasue it was free at the time. The first site was a static HTML template that sucked in all manner of ways.

Luckily, a week later, I discovered WordPress, and I’ve been using that and learning more about php and SQL every day.

At the time, Youngstown was just beginning the remarkable turnaround we’re seeing today. There were just a few blogs promoting the valley, all of which I read still: Tyler, Shout, Mike. Some have died out. And some have taken their place: Burgh Diaspora, Rust Wire, Chris Barzak ( Whose New Theme looks VERY Familiar), Youngstown Pride, Livable Cities.

It’s interesting to note many of these have a regional focus, but still cover us. We’re no longer an embarrassment. Youngstown isn’t the shunned stepchild of the rust belt that no one talks about because, well, you know, there’s nothing you can do about THAT condition anyway. The Pride has Returned.

About two years ago, I started to have some health and personal issues. I’ve been using a lot of press releases from ODNR and the PA Game commissions. This has also created a feedback loop: Because these are popular posts with the search engines, there’s been less need for me to do writing. It’s easier and more effective. that changes.

I apologize to all the reader’s who have stuck with me. I hope you continue to follow as I have some exciting changes planned.

First, the upcoming release of WordPress will have support for social networking built in. You might have seen me experimenting with BuddyPress already.  BuddyPress can turn this site into a mini-Facebook, only without the privacy issues. I hope to have that up and running by next month. You’ll be able to start your own groups and post events and build a community of outdoor enthusiasts in your area that like to do what you want to do.

I’ve also been plating with podcasts. I was all set to get the kayaks out last weekend to do the anniversary post as a podcast, but unfortunately didn’t make it. That might show up this weekend, weather permitting.

Finally, you might have seen pages appearing and  disappearing. I’ve taken off the forums as they weren’t being used and I’ll replace them with Buddy Press. I’ve added a Free Business directory for you to promote your website or local business, and I’ve been working on de-adifying the site. Those stupid banners aren’t good for anything.

If you would like to support us, please, sign up for the newsletter: You get a free cookbook and I’ll be promoting specials from Altrec and Bass Pro.  Or visit my amazon store anytime you need to purchase something from AMazon. I get a little commission, you get everything Amazon offers.  Use the social bookmarking buttons I’ve scattered around the site: These bring in a bunch of traffic. Leave a note or comment, and I look forward to seeing you around.

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