Offbeat Home, Google ads, and world-dominating organizational tips

August 19 2010 | arielmstallings
pea patch house
The home of Seattle writer Cienna Madrid. This is the kind of space I'll eventually feature on Offbeat Home. Photo by Ben Haley.

I was wondering if there is anything we your loyal followers can do to help with Offbeat Home. (I know you said the launch is next year.) I'm no longer an Offbeat Bride and will not be an Offbeat Mama for some time. I want to help and have a community! -Jax

Aww, thanks so much for the offer, Jax. So, is there anything you can do to help with Offbeat Home? Not at this point, unless you're a highly skilled WordPress/PHP developer willing to work for free (HA!), or an experienced content manager with ad sales proclivities also willing to work for free (DOUBLE HA!). It's a question of business resources … hopefully I'll have some brainpower and money to focus on Offbeat Home later this fall. Until then … patience!

I noticed a random google ad at the top of a post — was that intentional? It included a Zales ad that didnt seem to fit the offbeat vibe. -Sarah

That was indeed intentional. We show Google ads to non-regular visitors, so if you've viewed less than 10 pages on Offbeat Bride, you'll see an ad. Once you view 10 pages, the ads go away. Offbeat Bride is a business, and ads are how I pay my hosting bills and wages for my editors and web developers. The vast majority of our ads are catered to offbeat interests, but Google ads are a part of the business model, too.

The logic with the ads is this… 40% of Offbeat Bride visitors are search engine "drive bys," folks looking for something online who find Offbeat Bride in their results. These search engine visitors aren't really interested in Offbeat Bride's vibe (they're interested in finding whatever they were looking for!), and statistically speaking they're more likely to click ads. That said, you're right: most of the Google ads are not offbeat at all, and so that's why once someone's viewed a few pages on the site (showing that they're more than just a drive-by), I hide the ads.

To do what you do, you need to be extremely organized. What are your top five tips for world domination without making yourself insane? -Katy

  1. Make lots of lists: I live and die by my lists. Lists of lists. I have to get my ideas out of my brain and down onto a piece of paper or digital checklist where I can see them. I love my lists.
  2. Be realistic about time: I have a friend who's always ALWAYS late. Like, hours late. His partner explained it kindly, by saying: "He's optimistic about time." As for me? I'm cynical about time. I budget my time as a strict zero-sum game, and when I'm organizing my projects, I avoid over-committing myself. I like checking things off my list, and I'd rather be pleasantly surprised by having a totally completed list than depressed by a list with things left to do.
  3. Get off on tools: I loooove online tools that help me stay organized. The short list of ones I use: Gmail and gtalk for all communications (I make heavy use of email filters, and try keep my inbox limited to less than 20 messages), Google Calendar for my schedule, Basecamp for my project management, Outright to manage my bookkeeping and taxes, and of course my beloved WordPress for everything content related (favorite plugin: Editorial Calendar!). It probably helps me that I get a genuine thrill out of finding a really good online tool that perfectly solves a problem I've been having. There are SO many great tools available … I just love it when I find the perrrrrrfect one.
  4. Get help: I could not do what I do without some SERIOUS help, including an editorial staff of 3 (thanks, Megan, Stephanie, and Coco!), a dedicated web developer (J.M. Dodd in the house!), and several contract developers and consultants. I'm a control freak, but learning to delegate is the smartest skill I've learned in the last couple years.
  5. When the shit hits the fan, scale back: If you just can't stay organized, scale back on your projects. It's better to really rock the fuck out of one than stumble along half-screwing three. I got feedback recently from an Offbeat Mama reader that she felt the quality of posts on the site was declining. She wasn't wrong, so I made the decision to cut back the number of posts by a third so that we could focus on quality a bit more.

who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite art movement? -Beck

I'm not very high falutin' when it comes to art, and I'm a big fan of modern pop styles … street-art influences and a bit of kawaii go a long way for me. My house has paintings by Seattle artists John Osgood and Kinoko. That said, the family budget for original artwork has all but dried up now that both Andreas and I are self-employed. Send me paintings! Aargh, this is one more reason to get Offbeat Home up 'n' running…

      • my first reaction was THERE'S AN OFFBEATHOME!!!!???? i read this blog several times a week! and offbeatmomma! how did i miss that!? *I* have an offbeat home! i'm neither a bride nor a momma and i may never be but i can TOTALLY get behind offbeat home! and submit things and actually use the tips and and and….the url doesn't work. it isn't there yet. and i was sad. so very much looking forward to seeing that! i'd be happy to donate occasional articles and pics of my urban farming, creative cooking, cheese and wine making, jungle themed, always messy with the newest art project home. in short, WANT!

        • I can see how you missed Offbeat Home, because it's only been brought up in three posts over the last 6 months. But Offbeat Mama is linked from the top of every single page…so I'm not sure HOW you missed that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. Haha you used my question! I love it! I can't wait to help you in anyway I actually can Ariel. I love your OB Empire and look forward to every new bit of porn, information, and creativity.

  2. another tip for sanity: if your to-do list is a never ending monstrosity, like mine, it helps to content yourself with a much smaller to-do-today list or make your peace with the list never being finished. goes with my mantra for combating perfectionism: "the best i can do today *IS* good enough"

    • Yeah, that's a new feature that got added to aWP Ajax Edit Comments. We've been using the plugin for a while to allow readers to edit their comments, but the plugin's addition of a spellcheck is a great bonus! I wish the spellcheck icon wasn't quite so ugly, but whatever: it works. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. These tips are so so true. I love it. I eat this stuff up, I am super organized and I think that planning a wedding is the time when you need to utilize every organizer bone in your body. Thanks for the tips! It helps to look at the big picture and use these tips to keep from stressing the little stuff.

  4. I am sooooo looking forward to offbeat home. I feel like my home is more on the norm side, but there will be something for me! (I have crazy pets & a crazy partner, does that count?!)

  5. Thanks for using my comment! I used to get on this site probably every day for about 6 months. I love the content and the philosiphizing and the advice and of course the droolworthy pictures. But then I kinda freaked about about getting married and my bf gave me some good advice— maybe I should stop looking at wedding porn for a while! Just recently did I start looking at the site again and that is when the google ad popped up. I guess I was technicallly a drive-by that day. But in reality Im not one, just a wedding porn addict in recovery. And ps. I am insanely excited for Offbeat home!

  6. How I wish there was something I could help with! But not being a native English speaker and living in a pretty standard rental apartment in Spain as a translator – as opposed to being a web developer or something like that – doesn't let me much to do, I guess. But hey, that means I'll have more to learn! And if there's ever anything I can do, sign me up! I'm constantly doing little jobs for small/starting business in my free time for free until they can pay me something.

  7. That's really weird. I've been reading this website for over two years on the same computer and I still see google ads. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I just thought it was weird.

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