An Annual Update from William Higginson
Founder and Co-Admin of the Boise Christmas Lights Project
For the 2019 Christmas season, we really put the new Blogger platform to the test. We basically created a new "blog" for each home we added to our listings. It was a lot of work but it got the job done, barely. Here are the Pros and Cons I discovered when using Blogger for my project:
Price - Blogger itself is free, and after a bit of leg work, I was able to link it to a Google Domain I registered for a measly $12.99 per year, which is perfect for a project on a budget
Themes - there is a treasure trove of custom themes out there, and I found a couple that I really liked, but the themes can also be buggy - keep reading
Google rankings - since it's a Google owned service, our site shot up to the top of the search rankings very quickly
Tags/categories - this was probably my favorite feature, since we tagged each home "blog post" with the city name and static vs light display, so users could filter down easily without much effort from me
Glitchy Themes - like I said earlier, the themes weren't exactly without sin. I used two or three different themes and they each had their own quirks that made things difficult. For example, one stopped playing nicely with the tags/categories after I had a lot of homes entered. I will admit these are third-party themes I found online that were not included in Blogger itself, so this isn't really a Google problem. That being said...
Google - it seemed like Google was all but abandoning Blogger over the last few years. The admin/editor interface was not very intuitive for desktop, and frankly, the Blogger mobile app was hot garbage. It wasn't even worth trying to use the mobile app unless you wanted to type a short, plain text blog entry.
Unfortunately, those two cons were pretty heavy cons, so I decided 2019 would be the last year for Blogger. But enough of that, let's talk lights! Gather round, Christmas light junkies and stats nerds:
We had about 122 total pins on our 2019 Christmas Lights Map...
32 Light Shows Synced to Music
80 Static Light Displays
About 10 Community Events/Trees
Here are some Milestones from the 2019 Season:
Increased our Halloween listings by nearly triple from the previous year - we had 22 this year!
Hit 3,000 Likes on Facebook
Hit 3,500 Likes on Facebook
Hit 4,000 Likes on Facebook
Hit 4,500 Likes on Facebook
Another really cool highlight of the 2019 season was being invited to the taping of the DeBolt family's Christmas in Boise light show for The Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC! We were invited in addition to probably another 100 or so people. This is where I learned a little more about the show - how they film it, how many takes they do, and how fun it is to be part of something so cool... and secret. That's right... we all had to take a vow of silence, and promise not to mention the taping before it goes on the air. And what's crazy is The Great Christmas Light Fight tapes episodes a year in advance. So the 2019 taping we attended didn't even make it to air until 2020... so yeah, we had to sit on that exciting news for about a year 🤣 but we are very appreciative of the DeBolt family and love their show. They definitely deserved the opportunity to make it on GCLF. Check out some behind the scenes photos from the taping below.