I’ve had some exciting times at SiliconHillsNews.com these past few months.
Traffic to the site has doubled from September to October and then doubled again in November and the month isn’t over yet.
So far, it’s all been word-of-mouth advertising and marketing. The Facebook fan site launched last month and has 111 fans to date. If you get a chance, please go and “like” it.
This month, SiliconHillsNews.com started a Flickr account to post event photos. That generates traffic along with its YouTube channel.
Unfortunately along with the highs, there have been some lows. My computer got hacked and infected with malware in October. I had to replace it. Then my beloved Flip camera broke – the USB connected to the computer just snapped off. And my website got hacked and was off line for several days in October. After two days and lots of troubleshooting, I figured out how to fix it. That was empowering.
Despite all that, the site continues to grow in popularity. And the first contributions from two freelancers in Austin appeared on the website in November. I just hired another freelancer in San Antonio and assigned her to do some profiles on San Antonio area entrepreneurs and companies.
I’ve also received two more unsolicited resumes from people who would like to work for the site in Austin. It looks like by the end of the year, I could have a staff of half a dozen freelancers working for the site. That would allow me to focus more fully on the business side. When I land some permanent funding I would like to hire a couple of them to work full time.
On that note, I’ve been accepted into Austin-based TechRanch’s next Venture Forth program, which starts Nov. 29. The start-up accelerator program lasts eight weeks and helps entrepreneurs do everything from raising money to building a team. Not only will the program help develop business skills and contacts, but it will also provide access to entrepreneurs that I can interview for the site.
I’ve also applied for membership at Geekdom, a new technology collaborative space in downtown San Antonio. I’ve attended and reported on a lot of events there since it launched a month ago. And it’s going to be home to TechStar’s Cloud companies so it should provide many more stories to come.
To generate more money for the site, I’ve begun to sell ads and sponsorships. I also recently listed SiliconHillsNews.com on AngelList to look for some angel investment. I’ve got some meetings set up in coming weeks and I hope to have more to post on that soon.
I’m also following advice in Eric Ries’ book “The Lean Startup” and I recently bought Mark Briggs’ “Entrepreneurial Journalism: How to Build What’s Next For News” to learn from others.