The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts on More than Three Years of American OO Today

In early April of 2008 I had an idea. There was very little online about American OO scale model trains. I had written some things about OO gauge already (including a two part TCA series written with the late Ed Morlok, published in the October, 1986 and April, 1987 issues of the Quarterly) and had been interested in the scale and gauge for years. Why not start a website? I was familiar with Blogger and set up a site called American OO Today. This photo was the first photo put up in the site, found in the second post made to the new site.


At first I worked on the site mostly just because it interested me and really, today, that is still my main motivation. The website is a hobby within a hobby and the writing and posting actually goes pretty quickly. As it was largely something I just did for fun I did not monitor statistics the first year, they did not matter to me that much. But in 2009 I got curious and was able to add stats, and since then have been following them periodically. Also an upgrade allowed me to add a custom top ten list, which may be seen on the right side of the site and features at present the top ten this week. How it varies from week to week is interesting to me and hopefully to readers as well.

The Stats in General

As the stats I have start a year into the life of the site I can say that things have been reasonably steady since then, always a good bit more than 2,000 page views a month, with the peak month coming in at almost 3,000 page views. The average day in other words has toward 100 page views, mostly from viewers in the United States. [UPDATE 2012--more like 150 a day at present]. Not bad for a website on a defunct model railroad gauge!

What are Readers Interested In Anyway?

Some are for sure interested in American OO. The number one article by far is the Lionel OO Gauge 101 article, which has led me to re-write it and edit it quite a number of times this past year as it gets so much traffic and is the main introductory article to American OO for collectors. If you have never read it but are a fan of American OO, you are in a minority.

Beyond that visitors clearly divide into two categories. A number of people are certainly looking for more information on American OO gauge model trains. Those would include people that read these articles from the all-time top ten as of the writing of this article:
That last one above, which is currently #10 all time, gives me some hope that really are some people out there interested to read about the history of American OO, and I will be continuing the history series soon with more from 1938.

However, half of the top ten articles posted to date are at least in part in the top ten due to Google searches for other things pointing them to pages in American OO Today. And at least that visit did introduce those people to OO; you always hope that seeds are being planted.
The Future

A few random thoughts come to mind.
  • The OO history series is just coming up to Lionel OO, so I will be beefing up that side of things as the next year progresses; the expanded Lionel info should please site visitors.
  • My bigger picture goal of highlighting OO that was out before Lionel has been fulfilled!
  • People other than me are buying stuff on eBay so someone is out there, and those people are buying more than just Lionel OO.
  • The Facebook fan page feed was spotty and then finally stopped working. It has been upgraded! If you use Facebook do become a fan, as every new article from American OO Today will show up on you FB wall within minutes of posting.
  • Is some manufacturer ever going to notice how expensive vintage Lionel track is? It seems like a no-brainer that money is to be made here selling NEW American OO track but maybe I am biased.
To Close…

First I can't close without a big thank you to all regular readers and to all who have contacted me with photos and articles and questions. Keep them coming, it keeps me going.

Some of my personal favorite articles are ones over these three years I have tagged with the “Deep Thoughts” tag. As I will be taking a break from posting for the rest of this month, if you want a bit more reading to tide you over check out any of the below that seem of interest. And thank you again for visiting American OO Today!

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