The Old West Takes Center Stage

It was a shock to me when I first started working in the Medicine Bow website, to discover that this little town here was known world-wide. Oh, not by everyone, but by people who felt drawn to the old west. Medicine Bow is right up there with Deadwood in evoking images of cowboys, ranchers, pioneers, and hardy survivors.

We are perhaps on the verge of some major changes here, and they could bring new life to a town that has been slowly stagnating and regressing for the last 20 years. Some of my contracts are deep in the effort to bring change whether the planned power facility goes in near here or not, but lately we’ve been talking more in town about promoting the town more aggressively as well.

So my latest website is It is ready for launch after three days of hard work on it (it is a small site, so it took half the time it usually takes me to build a new site with original content). And this one is an effort in a new direction, because it is not ad-supported, nor is it specifically there to promote my own services or products. But it still has to support itself.

People here won’t pay for advertising, so sellling ad spots on it is not an option, at least not yet. Google’s are out, because I don’t want them competing with the focus on our town. So I have to hope that it will bring in enough peripheral traffic for my other sites, that it will pay for itself long term.

The website for the town of medicine Bow brings in increasing traffic each month, about 3500 visitors. Not bad for an obscure little town in the middle of nowhere. That is more than ten times the population of the town.

It has been a constant amazement to me the things that people find themselves drawn to about our town. They see it as a warm, nostalgic place where they can be somebody just a little different than they always thought of themselves as being. There is something very marketable in that, if you can echo their expectations in the kind of presentation you make.

We really have just a few things here that people want: The old west, dinosaurs, and, to our surprise, the wind. The old west is pretty obvious – Owen Wister and the Virginian, and all that. Dinosaurs are less obvious unless you happen to be interested in them, in which case you’ll know about Como Bluff – which is visible from our diningroom window.
Everybody here knows about the wind. But it’s attraction is a fairly new one. Rows of wind turbines are taking up residence across our hills though, and for good reason. We are one of the most consistently windy areas in the US. It not only blows all the time, it blows hard. We have jokes about the wind here. People who first move here find it very irritating, and have a hard time coping with it. Later they ignore it, and sort of take pride in surviving with it. You don’t expect your hair to stay neat though, and you drive with both hands hanging on tight to the wheel (just to keep the car on the road), and you take sealing up drafts in your house very seriously. We take the wind for granted, and often wish it were not so persistent, so the concept that it is actually a marketable commodity takes some getting used to!

I happen to believe that many other things we take for granted here also have scope for being highly marketable. And I intend to promote that idea. Because I have web design skills, I always start things with a website – if I can plan out a website, the concepts for the whole idea is pretty well mapped out by the time I’m done.

This time there is international interest in what our town is doing. That, again, takes some getting used to. But we’ve lived here a long time. We’ve paid our dues in commuting 60 miles or more to work, and living through hardships because we had a house that had such a low value nobody wanted it. We want a piece of what is coming. And we want to make sure that other people here benefit in a way that makes our town better too.
The new website is part of positioning my business to make sure that if growth comes, I’ll be in a position to benefit our family. And so that if it does not come,  I’ll be well positioned to encourage slower growth here.

And that is partly why I am doing business on Christmas afternoon. Because time is short, and there is a lot to do this winter if we intend to see things happen this spring, and through the next few years.

I think we are on the verge of exciting change.

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