New Year, New Growth At The City Lane

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This post was sponsored by NBN Co. Click here to read The City Lane’s policy on sponsored content.

The City Lane (“TCL”) that you know about today is very different from what it was when I created it in February 2009. It began as a hobby, a basic blogspot website where I would post all of my photos that I was taking while travelling through Europe. The audience for TCL was my family and close friends and that was it. There wasn’t much in the way of text or thought, just a whole lot of passable holiday snaps (I have no photography training).

The more I travelled, the more I explored London, the city in which I was living, the more stories that I wanted to tell. Over time, my photography became better, and I started being more selective with my photos, choosing to create narrative about my travels and life. I got a dedicated domain name too, but the audience of TCL was still family and friends.

It wasn’t until I visited New York City in October 2011 that the first big change occurred. I had written a “Manhattan Food Guide” and when I posted it onto the website, someone posted a link onto the Tripadvisor forums to help others who were looking for ideas on where to eat. The post got a lot of positive attention from New Yorkers who were impressed that a visitor had come to the city and eaten “like a local”, visiting a lot of spots that tourists don’t usually frequent. It made me realise that there was an entire other audience out there for TCL.

From that day on, the focus of TCL changed. It was still a travel, food and culture website, but content was created with the knowledge that strangers could be reading it and relying on it. It grew, fast and by January 2013 it was time to redesign the site and start using social media. TCL continued to grow, and in March 2015, the first contributors came on board.

Having contributors really took things to the next level, but with this came a lot of extra work for me. Many people say to me “oh, it’s easier for you to do TCL than someone who is doing a website solo because you have contributors to help out” but this is so far from the truth. Contributors means people to manage, people to follow up, people’s photos and words to edit, more things to keep on top of. Having contributors means that more content can be created, but it significantly increases the workload for the person at the top.

Since the original Melbourne contributors came on board, TCL has taken on contributors in Perth, Sydney, London and Chicago, with the London and Chicago bases becoming legitimate TCL offshoots in their own right. I’m currently preparing to launch the new TCL website, and officially launch TCL Chicago in the near future.

As you can imagine, this involves a lot of work and not much sleep (I still work about 30 hours a week doing my day job as a management consultant). I’m sending and receiving large photo and video files all over the world, and am often doing the editing directly to the online versions of the files. At the same time, I might be streaming music while my wife is watching Netflix. Add it all up and one thing that’s really helped me to be able to grow TCL is having a fast internet connection. I was lucky enough to have access to fast internet via the nbn network when I moved into my current apartment/home office and never really appreciated how much it’s been a help to me until I went to places that didn’t have it.

Whenever I return home I’m really glad that I’ve got the nbn as it allows me to do what I need to do to run and grow TCL without really thinking about it. Whether you’ve been following TCL since the early days, or are new to the party, I’m glad you’re here. As I said before, there are a lot of really exciting things happening with TCL in 2017. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here’s clip that I did with NBN Co.

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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