One of the coolest things about my job is getting to know everything about this island. Every day I am bombarded with emails from people who want to review cool new places that they have discovered. My job is to read about “Things to do in Okinawa.” Does that mean I have been checking them all out as I go? Sadly… no. Unfortunately the less cool thing about this job is that I’ve been somewhat chained to my desk for the last year, returning emails, editing other people’s articles, resizing their photos, answering questions, creating spreadsheets, etc.
Okinawa Hai! is a resource that receives almost 200,000 visits a month. Most of our readers use the site at least 10x per month and something like 80% of our first time visitors return to the site.
Okinawa Hai! started in 2007 as a group of friends and bloggers who wrote posts geared toward starting conversations. “Hey we saw this cool snow show at the zoo… any one else have good ideas of what to do to get into the Christmas seas0n?” And the comments would flood in. Over the last (almost) decade the site has changed a lot and we are constantly looking for ways to improve it.
Of course we know that some of the information is out of date and maps haven’t yet been successfully implemented on all of our posts… but we are getting there. Ever so slowly- but surely.
Whenever anyone hears what I do out here, they have advice for me. I’ve heard it all, from “You guys need an app,” to “The zoo hours are wrong,” to “Why don’t the coordinates work for me?”
It’s a site everyone uses. And it’s a site everyone has good old fashioned constructive criticism for. We know. And we are working on it. It’s exhausting, frustrating and slow going.
Over the next couple of months the owners of Overseas Yes, the parent company of Okinawa Hai, are undertaking a huge project to reorganize our whole site and hopefully make it significantly more mobile and user-friendly. I’m glad to be on board for this exciting time.
As the Island Manager and Submissions Manager, I stay really busy with the day-to-day workings of the site. Sometimes I get bogged down in just how much there is to accomplish and it’s difficult to find the time to put into the “big picture” goals that are so necessary to keep the site relevant.
We are spoiled by our popularity and our google rankings, but I don’t want that to let me become lazy in my efforts to make this site the best that it can be.
I’ve been working on my own personal bucket list based on a variety of websites, calendars and blogs for a while now. And in honor of our Oki-versary, I’ve finally decided to publish it! I spent the month of September wading through 2,000-something posts on Okinawa Hai, scanning all of my blogging buddies Bucket Lists, and finding pictures and articles to link everything up to, so that my bucket list would be all kinds of ready for it’s debut, and it’s just about there.
The plan is to post it on September 30– our first Okiversary. Rather than a recap of how amazing the last year has been, I’m just going to keep looking forward at how excited I am to keep crossing things off of our list over the next two years. So tomorrow is finally the day! The Okinawa Bucket List goes live!
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.