A Simple Hobby Start...
The original site started in 1999 about and for recreational small boat owners. It was called The All Volunteer Yacht Club (AVYC)
It was a hobby site about boating and boat safety.
We had a lot of boating jokes too! Member submitted pictures and stories of their boats and jokes. I provided researched boating safety best practices and Jokes! Each member had their own page. This was many years before Facebook!
In 2001 several members asked me to add a calendar so that they, their family and friends could plan trips on the water.
Oh, That's A Good Idea... !??
I searched the Web for a simple calendar site with the idea of linking to that site. After hours of looking it was clear that my idea of a simple usable calendar did not exist. So, out of frustration and with a lot of trial and error, I built what I was looking for on the site.
Soon Yahoo, Google and several other search engines indexed the calendar and it started showing up when people searched for a "printable calendar".
Over the years, with the expansion of the Internet and despite the arrival of hundreds of other calendar sites, people kept coming to my site year after year.
So now what? How to Create a business model that would be self sustaining and be around for a while?
Set up the Web's first and only calendar on the Honor System. You're right if you are thinking that I'll never get rich doing it that way! But getting rich was never the plan in the first place. (I've had a successful career and am happily retired with my wonderful, understanding and supportive wife!)
As the traffic and the calendar type requests grew so did the cost of running and maintaining the site.
In early January 2013 , due to a large traffic boost of visitors looking for a calendar for the new year, the server we were on had become unstable. Over 8000 people visited the site in one day! That threatened the other sites on the server. We were shut down.
The only option available was to be placed on a VPS. A larger space on a private server which added hundreds of dollars to our expenses and stagnated our bank balance.
Something had to be done!
So I announced the problem and options on the site. What happened after that just amazed me. The support flooded in.
The site has gone through several changes to try and stay relevant to new visitors. Some helped some hurt. That combined with hundreds of other calendar sites that have arrived over the years made the calendar pool rather diluted. Some of the new calendar sites are very good. and they are more sophisticated in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) than your humble old calendar builder.
My direct traffic is almost as high as those coming from Google and Bing. I love my loyal users. And the revenue that has been built, thanks to them, kept the site solvent for the last couple of years. as of this year the site has gone completely free.
So this has been a wonderful 16 year journey and learning experience. We are adding calendars on a regular basis and I hope to see our reinvigorated growth continue.
P.O. Box 108
Conover, NC 28613