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I love WhyPark... sometimes

I used my handy little spreadsheet to register a couple of CityName+Insurance.com names today. Sure, they weren't major cities, but Corvallis and Cedar Falls are by no means insignificant. But that's not what this post is about.
One reason why I decided to register them, despite their apparent lack of value according to Estibot is that I wanted to try to improve my end user sales abilities. I freely admit I suck at sales. I'm great at negotiating, I'm unfortunately good at buying... but I suck at sales. And there's only one way to get better - try and try again. Cold calling insurance companies who have varying degrees of internet savvy was interesting and enlightening... but not very successful. But that's not what this post is about either.
So with CPC values in the teens and with thousands of apparent searches a month to capitalize on... I decided against my better judgment to go ahead and build out the sites instead of flipping them. Heck, I could potentially still resell them at some point, but chances are with such small cities that I would be barking up the same trees again in a year. And that's where WhyPark comes in.
WhyPark makes quick work of setting up sites, and with the minimal monthly fee you can really customize the ad serving, layouts and pretty much everything you could need to build out a minisite. This isn't an ad for whypark though (I won't even bother shoving my affiliate link in here). It's more of an ad for custom mass development, but that's not what this post is about either.
This post is about what I see WhyPark could do to improve it's usability and what issues I see it having going forward as an alternative to parking.
  • Stats - while it's great that it allows integration of any stat tracking service - like Google Analytics - the internal stats are really quite untrustworthy. What I mean is, no other parking company shows more vistors than you actually received, but WhyPark consistently shows more visitors than Google Analytics for the same site on the same day. WhyPark is so far off, that about the only conclusion I can come to is that it's tracking bot hits, which is really not accurate at all.

  • The default ad links can be a real pain - if you pay for the option to customize the ad serving, you can do whatever you want. But it would be nice to have a feature like Sedo for setting specific related key words as their random guesses are almost always wrong... either because they are duplicated or because they made them up out of thin air.

  • The content needs to be more geo targeted - Granted, some sites care more about this than others, but it would be incredibly helpful to filter at least by country if not by state where a country or state is actually discussed in the content. It's embarrassing having a site about Oregon Homes for sale talking about Florida foreclosures - or worse - the things to consider when purchasing a home in the UK.

  • The templates are flexible, but pretty meager in the creativity department. Sure, there are templates for a bunch of the major US Cities, but many of the images are stock photos of trees and close ups of buildings. Very few recognizable landmarks to be seen anywhere. And don't get me started on their rather "loose" interpretations of what goes in a category - last time I checked I didn't have any food in my "Family". WhyPark lists 50 pictures in the "Family" category, but only one of them is actually labeled family.. and it's of the back sides of two apparently young kids. I suppose that could make a family, but I'm not sure what site I would be comfortable putting that on... certainly not a family site. See there, you got me started!

  • Building multiple sites using a common "theme" is really a pain in the neck. I can't easily apply a subset of settings like just the css for example across multiple sites. There's not really a way to setup your own tokens either, which means creating up multiple variations of a single "theme" doesn't scale well at all. For example if I have 5 auto sites, I can setup a template, but none of the content/custom pages goes with it. I can copy and paste settings between sites and custom pages, but the interface doesn't make this very easy to do at all and there's really no import/export feature to speak of. If I just want to plug in the SiteName, I can do that without too much trouble, but I can't, for example, have my own token like the name of the city or the name of the product. And so each custom page must be.. well... custom built.

  • Custom Pages aren't very configurable - I'd like to see them be configurable as navigation/menu items instead of just having the option of posting them on the home page. You can set it up yourself that way (as you can see in the examples below), but it's a lot of manual setup to do it. The page title you use for the browser gets displayed as the header and there's nothing you can do about it - separate page and header text would be greatly appreciated. And you can't customize ads, images or links per page, which makes your site look like it was done by a 13 year old.

But really, I do love WhyPark. I setup CorvallisInsurance.com and CedarFallsInsurance.com in a matter of a couple of hours and that was with a lot of custom content writing, google adsense setup, tweaking graphics and beating my head against the WhyPark limitations above. My custom CMS setup based on Drupal will likely be taking WhyPark's place for the majority of my portfolio soon, though between the content that you get for free, then various templates and tracking tools... there will likely always be a place for WhyPark in my book.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, and if you signed up through me, I would be pumping out some great answers like a golden goose!

    Whypark is the best bet for domainers right now, and they are dedicated to growing to your needs. Thanks for placing them out on your blog, you should put your link on their bloglink, http://www.blog.whypark.com