This is the first of my “Best of Access Niagara“. This series looks back on popular posts, highly commented posts, my favourite places, etc.
The DoubleTree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton – Niagara Falls open in 2004, and it looks like my first post about them was in 2005. I had never heard of Doubletree before they came to Niagara Falls, but now see them all over the place. I’ve had the opportunity to stay there a couple of times, and it has always been a nice stay.
Strangely, one of my most popular posts ever was one I did back in 2008 that was about a Marineland package that they were offering. For the summer of 2008 it was by far the most visited page, and all of the traffic was coming from Google. I guess if you searched for Marineland package back then, my site was right up near the top. The Doubletree themselves told me that the hits to their website about the package “was [their] best result ever!”
Anyway, I’ve been hit hard by changes that Google has made over the years and I don’t get the traffic I got before. I still look back on those days in 2008 and wish that I could get such a high listing again. Maybe then I could actually make some money off this site 🙂
As a side note, the Doubletree does not have a Marineland package anymore. Apparently very few hotels do. However, the Doubletree does have a Summer Family Package that contains meals and Niagara Adventure Passes. You can read more about it here.
Here is the original page that I had about the Doubletree Marineland package
Doubletree Resort Lodge & Spa Fallsview Marineland package
Earlier this week I received the latest email from the Skylon Tower.
Note: I am not asking for anything here. I’m just sharing some information.
Yesterday I received an email that I had received a donation via PayPal. I had totally forgotten I had this setup. A few years ago I setup a page at http://accessniagara.com/donate.php where people could make a donation. I think this is only the second one I’ve ever received.
Some people wonder how I do what I do. My costs are minimal. I pay for a very basic hosting account. In some ways, you do get what you pay for. The site generally works, but other times it seems quite slow. Considering the price I pay, I’m willing to put up with that for now. The main way that the site is supported is with the Google Ads. I would prefer not to have any, as I really don’t make that much from them, but since I need to pay the bills somehow, I have to leave them. It takes a few months worth of clicks for me to earn enough to get paid. Those payments end up being enough to cover my web hosting bills.
I also get “paid” in a way because I get into various attractions for free. Since this saves me money, it is definitely one of the “perks” of having the site.
So, how can you support AccessNiagara and the Niagara Falls Blog? Well, you could donate. If you would prefer not to give money directly, then the best thing is to get the word out about the site. Share links on Facebook, retweet my tweets, post links to relevant pages on forums that you visit, etc. If the site traffic grows, than it will naturally generate more ad clicks, which will earn me a bit more money. Also, as more people visit the site, I have more “leverage” when it comes to contacting the various operators and suggest I come by for a visit.
Just in case you are worried, I have no plans to end the site. I do what I can, and hope that it continues. I enjoy it, and I enjoy my interactions with the community that has developed.
Have you ever looked at Panoramio? It is a site that Google acquired a while ago where users can post pictures of places and tag them with their location. It’s a good site to visit if you are going to travel, as you can see the sights before you go.
Anyway, the other day I came across a site called Sightsmap. It creates a “heat” map of the world based on the number of pictures are taken at a location. So a place that is popular will be so hot it is yellow. This is what the world looks like:
Here is a zoomed in view of Southern Ontario. You can see that Niagara Falls is popular.
This is a little “techy”, but I figured I’d share it anyway. You may have already heard about it on some other sites…
Google has a “labs” section where they try out new products. Recently they released something called Google Image Swirl. They are using some technology to “cluster” the images. Instead of doing a regular image search and finding loads of images that all look the same, on Google Image Swirl, they are grouped together. You have to try it for yourself to fully understand. I’ve included a screen shot below of my search for “niagara falls” (without the quotes).
The sign for the new Dave & Busters was put up yesterday.
I just checked the Dave & Buster’s official site, but there is still no mention of the Niagara Falls location. However, I did a quick Google Search and found that there is a local web site set up at http://www.daveandbustersniagarafalls.com/. There is a testimonial there, but the place isn’t close to being open yet, so I don’t know what they are “testifying” about…