Bears-Fans.com is an idea that I had talked about doing for years, but just kept putting off. Being a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, I spend every day surfing the same sites, checking for any news on my team, and not just during football season. I figured that there must be tons of other people going through a similar ritual and though about how great it would be if all us Bears fans had a single place to get all the news on our team.
     On January 31, 2004, I finally decided to stop talking about the Bears site I was going to make just did it. There are many good pieces of software that are available to use for creating a blog, but I decided that Movable Type looked like the best option. All the features that I could have thought of needing when I was getting started were all included. Also, Movable Type caters to my Perl background, so writing custom pieces into the software would be more feasible.
     Since then, I have continued to add new features to the site and try and make it more than an aggregated content repository. Within the first six months, Bears-Fans.com has introduced three writers who produce Bears-Fans.com origin articles. I have helped a couple of journalists get new careers started by providing them with a place to write and subject to write about as well as facilitating and archiving those articles so that they may showcase their work. Bears-Fans.com offers some very common services like automatic email updates of new stories as well as the ability for a visitor to email a story to a friend through the site. It has also offered some things that are not as common such as a TV listing of programs related to the Bears for the upcoming week.
     One thing that was somewhat important to me was getting support from other websites. I did not want anyone to think that I was trying to take traffic away from other sites. To ensure that people would not get confused, I decided upfront to never paste another website's article on Bears-Fans.com. Instead I use the articles original title and write a summary or use a summarizing quote from the article and link people directly to the original. My hope was that other websites would recognize that I was providing them with potential viewers that had never visited before. Success was immediate when I received an email from an editor at a small Chicago sports site. He told me that within a couple of weeks, he had seen a great deal of traffic coming from Bears-Fans.com to their site. In a word, Success!
     What I once was not sure would last more than a few weeks has become, what I consider, a popular source for Chicago Bears news and now generates thousands of hits a day in traffic. Not bad for one geek ;).