In 1996 at 43 years of age, Bill Coleman embarked on his second childhood as Stretch, the nine foot CcKlown. Bill set out entertaining at parades, festivals, fairs and special events within 1000 miles of Denver, CO, from Little Rock to Phoenix! He says he has put 100’s of miles on his stilts, including the 1999 and 2001 Dublin, Ireland marathon on stilts and dozens of 5 and 10K charity walks and parades.
Mike: Stiltwalker.com is an interesting site. How did you get your start stilt walking?
Bill: I did a little drywall work when I was in my young 20’s. But it was with the purchase of professional parade stilts that my career as a stilt performer developed. I joined the Colorado Clown alley and my first event with the Clowns was the Denver ST Patrick’s Parade. After that I was hooked. To get in shape/stay in shape for the parades, I started stilt walking charity 5 and 10Ks, including the Bolder Boulder.
Mike: Has has owning the domain impacted your business? Do you feel it has brought more viewers than perhaps some general company name might?
Bill: I simply could not have grown the business, or had so much fun, without the website. Early on I learned that “content is king”, so made every effort to fill the site with informative and entertaining content. Stilt walking world records, contemporary and historical photos of stilt performers from around the world, photos of special stunts, such as high wire walking while wearing stilts and other information on stilt walking fill the site.
As a result, I get correspondence from around the world. I encourage visitors to send me their stilt walking photos for inclusion on the guest gallery. An example is the photo of two year old Fidel Ernesto, in costume and stilts, on parade in Caracas, Venezuela sent in by Oscar Acosta La Casa del Arcoiris (“The Rainbow House” a street theatre group). And of course, when I am corresponding with a parade or festival director, or corporate marketing person, I can direct them to specific photos of my various costumes, such as Uncle Sam, or the Giant Candy Cane costume. Or photos of my comedy routines, such as my signature “FREE Ear Cleaning” with a four foot long cotton swab! Or Free Haircuts!! with a foam rubber weed wacker!
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?
Bill: I have no idea.
Mike: Do you have any other online marketing strategies that you follow?
Bill: Not really. I’m listed on a couple of paid entertainment directories, a number of free sites and am a member of organizations such as the International Festivals and Events Association, and International Association of Fairs and Expos and they have my link, and I send the members a post card from time to time. And while I am a member of LinkedIn, I don’t use Google ads or banners on other sites. Because of the unique content, and the age of the site, for years StiltWalker.com has been on the first page of most search engines.
So the site attracts interest from casual visitors, as well as entertainment buyers. Two – three times a year we add some more content: World record information, photos, etc. I have recent correspondence from two world record holders for example: Doug Hunt from Canada and Samat Imin from China. Stilt walkers, professional and amateurs find the site and send me correspondence and photos. Roy Lambeth an enthusiast from Scotland is very helpful in sending me information, such as the report of Michelle Frost completing the 2008 London Marathon on four foot tall peg stilts.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
Bill: I wanted something easy to remember. StiltWalker.com fit the bill. As our entertainment offerings have expanded to include Giant Parade Puppets, Dancing Christmas Trees and the solar powered Bubble Tower, it raises the questions of suitability. In response I have taken additional domains such as BigBubbleParty.com and BubbleTower.com. But StiltWalker.com is the main site and all the other domains link back to it.
Mike: Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point?
Bill: Never say never, but not for several years if then. Currently, the site is pretty crude in its set up. When I have more time, I may upgrade it, and my skills.
Mike: Any other information you’d like to share?
Bill: Do what you love, love what you do.