Iowa Slam began about a year and a half ago, and we have published about seventy blogs and twenty five videos in that time. Recently I have had some friends talk about making websites or blogs for their fishing or dirt biking hobbies. I thought I would share a few general things about the first year of running a hunting website to keep in mind when planning a page. I’ll write a second blog that is more specific about which applications to use to create a website that looks good.
It doesn’t happen overnight
When I started Iowaslam on blogger, I thought we would really focus on a youtube channel. I wanted to make weekly video blogs and self film shooting whitetail. But as time went on I realized I liked writing blogs more than videos and in many ways videos are a long term goal. Videos take more capital and more time to edit and download. Currently our strengths lend themselves to blogging and short videos.
Also, in the first season we were largely focused on fulfilling the slam. The next year we brought in antelope, elk, red deer, tahr, and goat hunting stories. I believe that allowing our website to reflect our hunting and talents rather than making a hard-set plan and hunting to match our website was a good approach. I have a rough idea of where Iowa Slam is headed but for the most part I try to focus enjoying the process and the website ends up in a better direction than I could plan.
Be honest about your goals
If your goal is to get on the outdoor channel or to make money that is great, but don’t spend spend all your time blogging if you would rather be making videos. If you want to make videos, don’t suffer through writing blogs each week, just create a youtube channel and get as much footage as you can.
Don’t get distracted by other people’s goals. Sometimes people want me to start selling things on IowaSlam or get into the promotion on social media. I would like to get more followers but my two main goals are to get better at hunting and to become a better writer. Time that I spend on social media promotions or designing gear is time I could have spent on hunting. It shouldn’t feel like a job that you are just getting through. In the first year focus on the things you enjoy and allow your website to develop based on that.
Get some friends to work on it with you
No hunting season is the same. Some seasons you can hunt every day and others you may only get out a few weekends. This year I was more focused on academics, but Stuart was home for harvest, so he picked up the slack during hunting season by writing more blogs and shooting more videos. If you have friends working with you on your website, when you are distracted or less motivated they can keep the website running. Also, some of your friends may enjoy doing the things that you would rather not be doing, like the social media aspects. This creates a sight that is more balanced.
Recognize the unexpected rewards
Creating quality video or getting a large viewing audience may seem daunting and far away but there are a lot of rewards in the first season of running a website. First of all, I believe it makes me a better hunter. When I have to write why I believe I will shoot a buck that weekend it makes me organize the pros and cons of the stand I am headed to. And if I have to write a late season post I must reflect on many late season hunts. I also enjoy becoming a better writer, this may not be an aspiration for many of you, but it is a reward I didn’t see coming. I also enjoy having a catalog of memories to go back and look through. Without Iowa Slam I would not have documented the hunts with Max in New Zealand as closely as I did. The last thing I really enjoy is when another hunter says he enjoyed a strategy I wrote about. It doesn’t happen every day, but every now and then I hear that I contributed something that made someone a better hunter, it is all worth it.