About David Curtis

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IT Engineer, Working Search Engine Optimizer, Webmaster

Native Manhattanite, I had four years of corporate IT experience before moving to Florida in 2004 to help my mom after my father died. I founded Brooksville Computer and since network engineering was and still is a bit slow in this rural area I began building websites, and gradually become a professional.

Based on the tourism attracting results I accomplished for The Brooksville Business Alliance (50 businesses) website which I designed and managed for four or five years, I was contracted by the County’s tourism bureau to evaluate seven proposals from tourism site web development firms. Prior to that time Tourism in Hernando had no website of their own and everything was being handled by the overworked staff of the city of Brooksville, mostly being uploaded as PDFs.

For the new website (naturallyhernando.org) part of the county government’s requirements for these company proposals to be accepted and qualify was for them to submit in great details exactly how they were going to accomplish each of the county’s goals for the site. Each proposal contained snippets of advanced and somewhat proprietary tourism attraction related techniques, with each one leaving out some critical pieces of information. However each proposal provided clues and bits of missing information to fill in the gaps the others were missing. I further researched all topics using my own SEO knowledge and applied the techniques directly to my sites achieving positive results, which in turn advanced my skills a few years in the process.

My focus since then has been solely on search engine optimization, and finding the right clients who can afford to properly implement all of what I have learned, both then and since.


THE AUTHORS OF THE EVENTS SCHEDULE

The author (or authors) of most of the scheduled events on the first page is of course the Hernando County Tourism Bureau staff, either as originally written by them, as modified based on events sent to them, or as is written by various groups, individuals and entities in Hernando. However, I do enhance the entries in various ways with videos, additional links to maps, a Google Calendar and so forth to make this site serve the needs of the public more fully, and I also add additional events as soon as I find them – including the creation of graphics wherever it’ll help and I have the time. The Naturally Hernando site, as good as it was, wasn’t quite “great”, which was no reflection on either the developers or the Tourism Bureau, both of which did a fine job with what they had to work with.

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Along came s of 2015 there’s finally a really good tourism site for Hernando County, and it’s called Florida’s Adventure Coast.  Now as I write this I did a little search in Google and came up with a link to a nasty comment on a page someone created in Facebook (which was liked by 4 or 5 of my friends). It concerned the costs of both the site and the branding. Here was my reply:

The Hernando County Tourism Bureau works to promote visitation and positively impact the local economy. All of the Tourism Bureau’s efforts including these branding initiatives were funded exclusively by the five percent Tourist Development Tax, also known as the bed tax, on local lodging accommodations. This is standard and this isn’t tax money we pay, its a tax on tourists – and it’s money that can’t be used for schools, for roads, for anything at all except for paying the salaries of the tourism development staff and for things like their website. Tourism is an *industry* just like manufacturing cars is an industry, mining lime-rock is an industry, and any other major undertaking is an industry requiring substantial capitalization in order to produce real results. I think Gold & Associates did fantastic work at a bargain price for all of the elements that went into the site – from the maps, the social media, the ease with which the tourism development staff itself can now update the site themselves, the great photography and lots more. Tom Barnette, responsible for the branding also did a fine job. The sample testing done to determine which of dozens of branding options proved most appealing required paid staff creatives, multiple rounds of A/B/C testing using large samples of people in various demographic areas around the country in order to appeal to *them* so that they would become excited, enticed, and interested in coming down here for the first time, and not go somewhere else they’ve already gone before. That’s what the industry of Tourism in Hernando is all about – using the bed tax to re-invest into the industry to build it up and bring in more people to spend more time and money here in Hernando: a win/win/win situation – good for the tourists, good for Hernando’s economy, good for the Tourism Bureau’s coffers so they can build the industry even stronger.
That said, I may have done my job here. I may just shut this site down and redirect all of my links to them. I don’t know. My ad banners are cheap or free, and they don’t represent income. If I make $100 or so a year from them I’m doing well. I built this site to help Hernando tourism grow, but also to make it very easy for the local residents to find things to do on weekends, and to help local businesses with attractions.