What A Way To Run A Stamp Collectors Website!
Obviously stamp collecting is a niche topic for an entire website to focus on. Therefore, particularly as we only focus on the postal history and stamps of Great Britain, we accept we will never attract anywhere near the kind of viewer traffic a Facebook, Twitter or the BBC does and we don't expect the site to make us in to dot com millionaires any time soon! However, our readership is focused, informed and passionate about the subject we all love and this makes for a perfectly viable website.
So how did we plan to operate the GB Stamp website and what was our reasoning?
As we didn't want to use this website to actively sell our own stock of stamps and covers, we knew we had to find a different way to pay the bills if the website was to survive and grow. After much thought we opted to use the vast stocks of philatelic items being traded in online auctions to act as both examples of the items we discuss and to help collectors find items for their collections. Our thinking was that many of the dealers, collectors and philatelists that visit here will already be using sites like eBay to trade stamps and build their collections. That being so, we are actually helping promote the trading activity already undertaken by many of our readers and we're not competing with them. The financial reward for working this way is proving only modest because we receive just a few pennies for the clicks we direct to stamp auctions but, nevertheless, it's enough to cover the basic costs associated with a content driven rather than sales motivated website like ours.
As we dont compete with anyone for customers we aren't afraid to promote and support the online work and efforts of others - dealers and collectors alike. This means we don't prohibit stamp dealers or other philatelic webmasters from adding links in our ever growing directory. Hopefully this will help build the directory to become a great resource for anyone looking to find dealers, information or ideas about the hobby. It's hopefully a win-win situation. As the web needs links between websites to operate at its best, we are always keen to add reciprocal links to help philatelists and collectors find the websites that will interest them.
So that's how we planned and developed the website but what now for the future?
We know we could have done better to date and we've learned some big lessons since we launched GB Stamp. Unfortunately a brush with heart failure about a year ago curtailed my ability to work on the site for quite some time and because our income is only modest we rely heavily on my time and the voluntary efforts of others for the news and articles we publish. So it's proved a much slower process building the site compared to our original dreams and we now know we have to be realistic about new plans . However, despite the drawbacks, we aren't feeling at all negative and, with my health considerably better, the enthusiasm for the future is as strong as ever.
Our immediate plans include continuing to build the news and article content, begin running regular free to enter competitions to win GB stamps and covers and, at long last, begin the painstaking process of building the British postmark database although a thorough rework of its technical structure will be required first.
We also want to add a forum to the site where anyone with an interest in British stamps can discuss issues, promote their interests and correspond with the wider philatelic community. While this is easily said, to be managed properly, we need to recruit volunteers to act as forum moderators to remove spam and stop inappropriate postings or bahaviour. So, until we have the resources in place, this is a plan that will take some time to realise.
We've fortunately received many suggestions from readers and, while many are certainly worthy of consideration like the forthcoming competitions, we're still not planning to run our own stamp auctions or sales pages, we wont be trying to compete with.Stanley Gibbons by producing a detailed online catalogue of British Stamps and we wont be broadening the site to feature stamps from other countries. These decisions are based on our rationale already explained or, like the catalogue idea, simply on time constraints! However we do very much appreciate the suggestions and feedback we receive and hope to receive many more.
If there's an idea you would like to see incorporated in to the website please get in touch via the email link on the home page. We also welcome philatelic trade advertising enquiries and original articles and news releases to consider for publication via the email link too.
Thank you for your support so far and we hope we will continue to interest you in the future.
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