Hi. Thanks for accepting our offer to be our Feature Site this month. Perhaps you can begin by telling us a little about yourself?
My name is Fiona. I am of Caribbean heritage, born in England, raised in Jamaica and I live in the Washington, DC area with my two sons.
Where did you get the idea for your site?
I'm passionate about Caribbean music and the culture. When I started Caribbean Vibes Radio, there were few choices where you could turn to hear quality reggae music, so with that I decided to come up with a solution. I started my own! That was my early inspiration.
How is it that youíve ended up in Washington DC? Thatís a lifestyle away from Jamaica.
It certainly is, isnít it! I canít take much credit for the idea. My parents thought it would be a great opportunity to move from Jamaica, to enjoy the additional opportunities here; i.e. education, employment, experience etc.
And your website - Is it broadcasting music 24/7 or just at specific times?
Caribbean Vibes Radio offers continuous music programming 24/7. There are special shows scheduled on specific days, but you can log on at anytime and catch the Ďvibeí.
So is this your first website?
Yes it was.
And how long has your site been live?
Caribbean Vibes Radio launched November 2004.
Is this your primary job or do also work elsewhere?
It's been my primary job since May 2008, however I've worked as an Media Sales rep during the day and worked the station at night for the past several years.
For a first time website it appears youíre using a lot of highly technical applications and features. Did you develop and integrate all this yourself?
Well, Iím using a web hosting company that provides website templates with technical applications and features built in (Masshost.net). After a few training courses, Iíve been able to work my way around quite well.
Do you do all the writing for the site yourself?
I do most of it.
How many people in total does it require to run your site?
I manage the site mainly, but on the audio side I have deejays who host their own shows on a weekly basis.
How long have you used SiteMeter?
I used SiteMeter off and on since the launch of the site. I use it consistently now.
Can you think of a particular instance where SiteMeter has helped you?
SiteMeter has been a neat tool for my Deejays in particular, in that, they can see where their listeners are popping up on the World map which makes it fun to send an immediate radio greeting to that side of the world!
I notice that you use a lot of various marketing tools to attract and keep visitors returning to your site, things like newsletters, surveys, photo galleries, live traffic feeds etc. Do you have a sense or feeling about which are more effective?
All these tool in have their own unique benefits. Our audience is quite diverse, so newsletters may appeal to one demo, versus the fascination of the live traffic feed. Itís important to keep it all interesting I think.
One thing that interests me in particular is the evolution of sites, how it was in the early days compared to how it is now. What it was like during the first few months of launching Caribbean Vibes Radio and what was your level of experience?
I was truly a novice when I got started with Caribbean Vibes Radio. Passion and desire led me to learn different ways around the internet. It was intimidating at first and I leaned heavily on my Web person to do everything for me. I'm still learning, but I've come a long way since I do most everything on the site now.
And now, how much time do you think you spend on your site on average a day?
Wow. That's a tough one. I'd have to say average 5 hours sometimes more. I'm on it now!
So what has been the most rewarding part of owning your own website?
It's great to fulfill a personal dream and goal and have people write to say they appreciate what you do. That's the real reward!
And what are the biggest challenges you face in running a site like yours?
The biggest challenge is keeping the site fresh and exciting for people to want to keep coming back. We tend to do well in this area, thank goodness. It takes work and staying in tune with what people want and appreciate.
From a financial perspective how is the site doing?
We're doing OK. There's certainly room to do better in terms of revenue.
Financially speaking, what methods have you found to be the most effective? I notice you use Google ads, Amazon, direct ad placement, etc., are any working better than others?
Well, I've found that marketing the station to businesses and potential clients directly is the most effective. I cross-promote with other website and clients, but face to face is always most effective.
What are your goals for the site?
I want CaribbeanVibesRadio.com to be the place where people come if they love Caribbean music and its culture. Last year we won "Best Caribbean internet radio" and "Best International Radio" from Blackwebawards.com and this year we were nominated in 2 categories. This is the people's choice, so maybe we do have some great fans out there!
And now our standard final question, for those people just getting started, what piece of advice would you give them?
Be prepared to spend time on your site if in fact you manage it yourself. If you're passionate about what you do, then it won't feel like work, but expect to put some work into it. Market your site, not only online, but offline. Have fun!
You can visit Fiona's site at www.caribbeanvibesradio.com