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Silvia Morales on how to make a destination portal tick

Silvia Morales is one of those entrepreneurs who end-up creating something great and viable for the community, while trying to make the most of the opportunities provided by the internet. In 2001, Morales launched an exclusive web portal for Down Town Miami, which has since become a leading source of local information on Miami and logs nearly 30 thousand visits a month. Morales’ web portal DowntownMiami.com has been endorsed as ‘the official site for the city of Miami’, and it has emerged into a leading advertising media for local businesses.

“As a city, Miami has different attributes and the key was to package this particular area and highlight all that this area has to offer,” says Morales, who had been director of marketing at some of the major centers in Miami prior to starting DownTownMiami.com.

Morales was able to combine her passion for the city of Miami and her professional experience in the areas of marketing and PR into a sustainable business model, which eventually manifested into a successful destination portal. “We started-out by making the site viable to people, and this paved way for revenue opportunities through banner advertising, sponsored business listings, e-blast marketing and event promotion.”

Gaining popularity is always an important concern when one is starting-out with a brand new web portal, and it takes a while for the portal to become popular. However, DownTownMiami.com managed to gain rapid popularity and became an instant hit due to Morales’ active involvement in the Down Town area. “I think it is very important that whoever undertakes this kind of initiative is very involved with the area, so you are able to be present at major events and be an active participant in everything that’s going on in the area. Just by spreading the word you are able to make strong grass root efforts, and this way your website gains recognition.”

Since its launch over a decade ago, DownTownMiami.com has emerged a key player in the local media space. And, it has set the standard for high profile collaboration by partnering in events such as the official birthday of the city of Miami.

Technology forms an essential component of marketing and operational strategy where web portals are concerned. And, Morales selected a technology platform on basis of design, backend workflow and monetization capabilities. DownTownMiami.com has been running on BlackMonk web portal CMS since 2010, and Morales is all praises for her technology providers. “BlackMonk makes my website sharp looking and easy to populate. I would say that it has beauty as well as brains, where it’s a beautiful product from the front-end and brainy at the backend.”

DownTownMiami.com is a shining example of an innovative business model, which gave something of immense value to four million plus inhabitants of Miami. For those intending to duplicate the success of DownTownMiami.com, Morales’ suggestions are pretty straight forward and call for a great deal of passion and dedication. “The two things needed to make your venture successful are passion and dedication. Passion helps you in being knowledgeable about your subject and dedication drives you to consistently provide fresh information. So, if you are able to put all this together then you are going to have a fantastic experience with your venture,” concludes Morales.


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