Yesterday, I got an e-mail from someone who said, "Hey, did you see you had a mention on Urbanspoon's blog last month?" Actually, I didn't know Urbanspoon HAD a blog! I followed the link and it was an entry from Ken Goldstein, one of the administrators of the Urbanspoon web site, on the occasion of the 10,000th blogger to join Urbanspoon. I scrolled down through the entry and saw the familiar Road Tips heading with this beside it -
Urbanspoon's Most Traveled Blogger
The hometown of Road Tips is listed as Davenport, Iowa. But how meaningful is a hometown for the blog of a traveling sales guy who has managed to post reviews in 65 different metro areas from Seattle to Savannah (including our only post to date in Minot, North Dakota)? We'll also give a nod to Suits in Strange Places, a group blog which has posted reviews in 69 different metro areas, but falls a bit short of the lone-wolf achievement of Road Tips.
(Click here to see the whole blog entry.)
That was a nice thing for the people at Urbanspoon to do for Road Tips. This blog joined Urbanspoon in February of last year after getting a request from a restaurant to link a review that we did on the place directly to Urbanspoon. I began to link other blog reviews to other restaurants and after awhile I got a communication from Ken at Urbanspoon who wrote, "You know, you're becoming one of the more prolific bloggers on our site. Instead of us adding the information, here's how you can publish your own entries on Urbanspoon." So, now I'm my own editor on Urbanspoon.
In just a little less than 15 months on Urbanspoon, Road Tips has had over 100,000 hits from Urbanspoon users and is hovering around the Top 100 of worldwide Urbanspoon blogs in terms of total hits. It's a rather confusing situation - Road Tips has been as high as 69th worldwide, and just last week we were in the upper 80's. For some reason I'm sitting at 110th on the Urbanspoon list of blog hits as of right now. I don't understand how I can go from 115,000 total hits down to 110,000 hits. I just let Urbanspoon worry about that. But, hey! 110th out of 10,000 blogs still isn't too shabby!
Road Tips has also gotten recognition from Urbanspoon for being a popular blog with people looking for places to eat in the metro and statewide areas that the web site serves. Right now, Road Tips is a Top Ten blog destination for Urbanspoon in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Omaha, and we're hovering just outside the Top Ten for Chicago. And as of today, Road Tips is the most popular Urbanspoon blog in the Quad Cties, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, the state of Illinois and the state of Minnesota, and lately we've been trading the top spot in the state of Iowa on Urbanspoon with the fun Des Loines blog that searches out the best pork tenderloin sandwiches across the state. I'm just thrilled that someone takes the time to click on the links to Road Tips.
There are a number of travel and restaurant sites out there - most notably Yelp and Trip Advisor. I have colleagues that contribute to Yelp, but it's not a "blog friendly" web site. And that's OK with me. For a blog that has taken on a life of its own over the past few years, I have limited hours during the week to devote to working on Road Tips.
Right now, I've attached 679 blog entries to restaurants listed on Urbanspoon. While it may seem that I'm one of the most prolific bloggers they have, I'm not even in the top 10. There are some bloggers who have done well over twice the amount of blog entries I've contributed to the site. I don't know how long Road Tips can last, but it will end when I cannot keep up with my work - which helps contribute to entries on the blog - and balancing home life. Until then, I'll keep adding more unique and interesting places to eat that I've come across in my travels.
Thanks for looking in!