It seems that every few years Bear-ytales.net goes through a major change. “Way back” in the late 1990s, it started out as The Knott’s Berry Farm Information Center. It was the very first fan site dedicated to Knott’s, and one of the first theme park fan sites period. Sometime in 2000 or 2001 it became Bear-ytales.com. A few years later, life took its turns and I gave the site to Jim and company at Westcoaster. Unfortunately those plans didn’t turn out the way either of us had hoped, and by the time I wanted to revive Bear-ytales some no-name internet marketing company had bought up the domain name. The solution was “Bear-ytales.net”, which is what it’s been since September 2004.
Fast forward almost six years and a lot has changed. I have an awesome wife and a beautiful child, so my time online is severely limited. The internet has changed so much that the old ways of Web 1.0 are no longer good enough. Web 2.0 is full of user-created content and feedback opportunities. I didn’t have the ability to easily do either with an HTML-based website, nor did I have the time to invest in learning how to update the site to a database-driven experience.
Recently, blogs have shaken up the internet publishing world like an earthquake. Content is much easier to update, and many of the interactive elements I was looking for are built-in. Additionally, blogs seem to be more “search engine friendly” than a standard website. Hopefully this will allow new readers to discover Bear-ytales for the very first time.
So the question was, “Could I do this?” Could I covert a website into a blog, while keeping the navigation structure that makes a website so unique? After a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve stumbled onto a layout that works. Most of the core content has been transferred over and there is more to come. For many of you the updates will consist of content you may not have seen in a while. For others, it will be entirely new material. Some updates won’t be about Knott’s at all, but will tie into the theme park/themed entertainment industries.
Bear-ytales.com/.net/.blogspot.com has been an experiment from the beginning and will continue to grow and change as time goes by. I’ve never had any intentions of this being more than a hobby. I love my offline family life and Knott’s just doesn’t change all that often. Without the pressure of trying to make a business out of this I can sit back and enjoy without the constant pressure of increasing readership, ad revenue, etc. Best of all, I can do this without concern of competition of other Knott’s sites. Bear-ytales.blogspot.com is not the end-all-be-all of Knott’s information, not for a second. Other fine websites and blogs fill in the gaps nicely. My readership consists of families, former Knott’s employees from the recent past and from long ago, coaster enthusiasts, and historical gatekeepers of the classic Knott’s. It’s a great mix and there are enough of you to make this worthwhile. And for that I’m thankful.
So with that, I invite you to join me in the next chapter of this online adventure. I have no idea where it will take us, but I think we’ll have fun getting there!