BoiseDev turns one: where we've been and what's next

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One year ago today, BoiseDev.com formally launched - an extension of a few years of quick tweets on local business openings, closings and other development news.

A friend had mentioned that she often opened Twitter solely to find my #BoiseDev tweets, but found it hard to find everything.  That inspired me to see if I could put something a little more complete together.  I also had been itching to do more long-form pieces; 140 characters are often not close to enough.

Since launch day, this site has featured more than 420 stories on everything from Starbucks to St. Luke's to stadiums to Streetcars. The work here has been cited by the Idaho Statesman, KBOI, KIVI, Magic Valley Times News, Meridian Press, Coeur d'Alene Press and others (for which I'm quite grateful). I've also cited the work of nearly all of these outlets in the past year as well.

You may have heard that I have been selected as a 2017-2018 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University - a program which coincidentally begins today.  For the next ten months I will be living in California (with some trips back to Boise) to focus on ideas to sustain local journalism in a consolidating (and shrinking) traditional media world.

BoiseDev will continue. I will be reporting from California - guided by public filings, sources, visits to town and of course your tips. You may also see the bylines of some other writers pop up in coming months.This site has been powered by so many great tips from readers - dozens of them.  So thank you! You can send me an email or ask in our lively BoiseDev Facebook group.  

We have signed our first sponsors - SERVPRO of Boise as well as Chase Erkins at Lee & Associates.  These great folks will appear throughout the site and the funds they provide will be reinvested back into the site to help us grow.

Fun with metrics

I love a good metric - studying audience behavior helps to make a better site more attuned to the wants of the audience.

Since May, BoiseDev.com has topped the traditional business newspaper in town in terms of traffic according to SimilarWeb. That's mostly attributable, I think, to a thirst for quick, newsy nuggets on the shops and stores folks see each day - and a thirst for deeper, independent stories on issues that are important.

Here are the most-read stories of the past year. 

  1. WinCo coming to Chinden and Linder, Costco possible - while Costco seems to be now focusing on another nearby site, the warehouse giant still hasn't made a formal application
  2. Today Show eclipses Idaho, skips our day out of the sun - the fun thing about trying to make a site that is lively and fun is you can go a bit off course on occasion. This story did great traffic numbers
  3. Bogus Basin master plan includes new lifts, coaster, more - this story came through public records and a tip. Each of the traditional media outlets published their own version of this story later that day.
  4. The Flicks has special sign with hidden secret - the Boise icon came up with a way cool sign with a unique twist.
  5. St. Luke's agrees to sell land for downtown stadium - while the deal still isn't final and a baseball stadium is still far from a done deal, this was a big step in making it happen.
  6. I wonder: Why are there so many mattress stores? - this story was actually written and published before BoiseDev formally launched. It continues to do great search engine traffic.
  7. Bown Tavern sued for eviction - the two sides ultimately worked it out, but for a moment things spilled over into court
  8. Albertsons to build new store in Boise's Barber Valley
  9. Boise to spend $3.5 million to steam ahead with streetcar plan - the latest in our series of watchdog reporting on the effort to move a trolley plan forward in Boise after more than a decade of attempts
  10. "T" for transit: Decision made on Boise streetcar; inside the push to make it a reality - this story won an Idaho Press Club award for best business reporting, and is one of the most in-depth pieces on the site to date