Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Become a Patron

Make a donation to add a restaurant, store or other small local business to The Lakeside Guide

Your contribution will be responsible for getting the business seen by 1000s of people living at and visiting Lake Chapala

vendors and stores in Ajijic, Mexico
Vendors & Stores in Ajijic, Mexico

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Hola,
In 2010, I quit my job as an editorial assistant at The Denver Post in Colorado and moved to Ajijic, Mexico, a place I’ve come to love and call my home.

Today, I’m a professional web designer and developer with more than 150 sites under my belt.

The Lakeside Guide is a side project that I started as a way to help promote the town of Ajijic, its businesses and its festivals to the local foreign community.

This Website Is a One-Person Show

As this site’s sole web developer, designer, photographer, writer, marketer, search engine optimization expert, video editor, and other stuff, I spend at least ten hours a week working to advance and improve this website.

Dane Strom

Me, Dane Strom, during Carnaval with one of Ajijic’s masked sayacas. I’m the one on the right.

This includes photographing new businesses and spinning up new articles on them; improving the existing content that’s already on the site; increasing the user experience so everyone has a good time surfing the site (i.e. squashing bugs, increasing the site speed and making design improvements); adding new features; and driving traffic to the site by promoting the businesses/articles on social media.


1,007
Dollars/Year

650+
Hours/Year

146
Articles Created

3,400+
Photos

110
Businesses Helped

I have a list of 100 additional businesses, things to do, artists, health/mind, and more that I would like to add to the site over the next 12 months. However, I’ll need to start paying for a new hosting plan to host The Lakeside Guide on its own separate server. I’ll need to make this website profitable in order to accomplish this.

So if you’ve found The Lakeside Guide has helped increase the quality of your time spent at Lake Chapala, I’d like to ask you to consider becoming a patron and give a small one-time or monthly donation to help keep The Lakeside Guide going.

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

This website will soon cost $1,007 USD per year to run

This annual cost to run this website and newsletter is set to increase from $240 year to $1,007 by the end of 2019. One of the reasons is that with 3,400 photos on the site (and hundreds more added every month) I’ll need to start paying for a new storage storage plan.

New Hosting Package With More Storage

Inside El Árbol Mágico, a folk art store in Ajijic, Mexico.

Inside El Árbol Mágico, a folk art store in Ajijic.

I’ve been paying $20/month since I launched the site in March 2018, hosting The Lakeside Guide as an “add-on” site for a hosting package that I use to host my other website, danestrom.com.

Thanks to reader donations, I’ve been able to move The Lakeside Guide site to its own separate hosting package, which costs $35/mo. This is less than the $110/mo that it would cost to host the two websites together on one package/server.

At one point, I’ll likely need to upgrade the hosting to the next $110/mo tier, once the site starts receiving more than 25,000 visits per month, surpasses 50 GB bandwidth per month, or requires more than 10 GB of storage space.

Cost of Mailchimp Mailing List Service

The end of 2019 is also when my mailing list is predicted to reach more than 2,000 subscribers, so I’ll need to start paying $49.99 per month to continue sending the monthly newsletter.

Sandra Hinojosa and her husband, Max Arceo, in front of their restaurant, Fonda Los Jarritos, in Ajijic.

Sandra Hinojosa and her husband, Max Arceo, in front of their restaurant, Fonda Los Jarritos, in Ajijic.

Because of the recently implemented pricing tier introduced by Mailchimp this year, the cost to send the newsletter will increase to $74.99/month by about summer 2020 when 2,500 subscribers are reached. Luckily, the next tier won’t be reached until 5,000 subscribers are on the list, which would be an additional one to two years down the road.

The monthly newsletter is an important part of driving traffic to the website and providing additional exposure for the businesses to readers who don’t use social media and otherwise wouldn’t find The Lakeside Guide through Google.

The Total Cost Per Year

So all told, things are going to start adding up here pretty soon.

  • $350 – Website hosting with WP Engine, paid annually
  • $599 – Mailing list service with Mailchimp, paid monthly
  • $58 – Yearly domain renewal and custom DNS fee

This adds up to $1,007 per year before 2020.

It’s vital that I “monetize” this site in order to cover the increasing costs of keeping it online.

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Why I Still Don’t Charge Local Businesses to be Added to This Site

I’d prefer to do monetize the site without selling advertising space on the site to other businesses. I don’t want to have to implement a pay wall, either.

And I also want to keep true to my mission of not charging the locals to photograph their business, create an article about them, and publicize it to hundreds, sometimes thousands of Mexicans and foreigners in the area.

Flavio Aniceto, whose family ice cream has been sold on the streets of Ajijic for 30 years.

Flavio Aniceto, whose family ice cream has been sold on the streets of Ajijic for 30 years.

Many businesses wouldn’t be able to afford even a modest fee. For a lot of people, $250 or $500 pesos ($12 or $25 USD) is just too much money for an expense like this. And since that $25 means much more to them than to me, I would prefer that they just keep it.

Adding a new business to the site usually takes around 3-4 hours, but it can end up being longer depending on the business. Just transcribing a restaurant menu might take an hour if it’s a long one.

It’s also important not to charge local businesses because this way you know that I’m not being paid to just say nice things about someone’s business.

If being granted entry is free and at my discretion, it also has the additional benefit of making the site more valuable and all businesses have a chance of getting exposure and rubbing shoulders with each other. From the fancy restaurants to the street vendor selling coffee beans.

Lastly, I don’t want to take anything without first giving back. Which is why I’ve spent the last year and a half working on The Lakeside Guide, helping over 100 businesses out, without expecting anything in return.

Why this Website Exists in the First Place

Now, however, the traffic numbers and the time spent working on this site are getting serious, and that has financial repercussions in the form of additional monthly bills.

This website has a few goals:

  • To support the businesses, artists, artisans, people and town of Ajijic, without charging businesses when adding them to this website.
  • To connect the large foreign community living at Lake Chapala with the local Mexican community, especially its culture.
  • To promote my own photographic work.

Helping Local Businesses and Individuals Get New Customers

Francisco García grinding coffee along the highway in Ajijic.

Francisco García grinding coffee along the highway in Ajijic.

For some of the businesses on this website, especially the artisans and small vendors, The Lakeside Guide is the only promotion or advertising that they’ll ever receive. Most of the businesses featured on the site will receive some new customers after the initial publication of their article, and continue to receive new customers during the life of the article on the website.

How many new customers depends mostly on the business itself (if people like it), which is reflected in how well the article is received on social media (how many people it reaches and how many people share it), and how highly it ranks in Google for certain keywords (if it ranks for terms which people are searching for).

I am an SEO (search engine optimization) expert. So many businesses end up being ranked number one in Google for search terms that are relevant to their business (for example, “shoes ajijic” or “CBD chapala”).

For the businesses on The Lakeside Guide, it gives them a chance to rank highly on Google and compete for new customers in a way that they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Many business owners tell me that they regularly get new customers because they were seen on this website.

I share all the articles and many of the photos on the site’s Facebook page, which exposes the businesses to more people and drives further traffic to the site. I do these several times a year for each business.

This post for Lilifher was seen by 1,840 people:

Lilifher Facebook post

Connecting the Foreign and Local Communities

The foreign population overall remains largely disconnected from the local Mexican community. For newcomers and old-timers who want to know more about the culture, traditions and fiestas in Mexico, and Ajijic in particular, The Lakeside Guide has become the most thorough site on the internet dedicated to this purpose.

Foreign resident Janie McKeithan during a Carnaval parade in Ajijic.

Resident Janie McKeithan during a Carnaval parade in Ajijic.

There are currently 22 annual holiday and events featured on this site representing Ajijic’s most important traditions and days. Each event is promoted to both the local Mexican and gringo communities in Spanish and English on social media. Both gringos and ajijitecos (people from Ajijic) find the information I post on Facebook to be useful to keep tabs on upcoming holidays.

The articles on this site about the restaurants, food, shops, artists, artisans and vendors help expose these businesses to foreign residents and visitors, giving them opportunities that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Some tapatíos (people from Guadalajara) who visit Ajijic also use the site to plan their weekends.

The Lakeside Guide was an important part in helping to coordinate the volunteer response of the comunidad extranjero (foreign community) to the May 2019 fires in the mountains north of Ajijic.

Promoting My Own Work

Part of the reason I started The Lakeside Guide was to promote my own photographic work, so you’ll find ads spread throughout the site for my fine art prints. It’s possible that these ads help with the few print sales I make every few months on a third-party site, but those few sales aren’t enough to cover the 426% increase in how much it will soon cost to run this site.

If you donate $75 USD, I will make a 14″ print for you of one of the photographs on my photography website. Read more about this.

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Three Ways to Contribute to The Lakeside Guide and Your Local Community

Make a One-Time Donation or a Monthly Recurring Donation

You can make a one-time donation using PayPal by filling out the form above.

If you decide to make a monthly donation, you can cancel it at any time by visiting the Pre-Approved Payments page in your PayPal account. Select the payment from “The Lakeside Guide” and then click or tap on the “Cancel” button.

Make a One-Time or Recurring Donation and Get this eBook About Holidays and Festivals in Ajijic and Lake Chapala

This guide to 22 holidays, fiestas and festivals is a concise way to keep track of Ajijic’s busy event schedule.

It gives you an overview of each holiday or event and shows you when and where to see it. It has 50 pages and 66 photos I’ve taken of these holidays over the past decade.

Holidays include the Day of the Dead, Carnaval, Semana Santa (Easter week), Christmas, Independence Day, Revolution Day and 16 more traditional fiestas, local and national holidays, and other events.

Holiday Guide 2019 to Fiestas in Ajijic, Mexico

After you make your payment with PayPal, please click the RETURN TO MERCHANT button, which will redirect you to a thank you page where you can download the ebook:

PayPal checkout confirmation page screenshot

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark


Get Publicity for an Existing Business That’s Already on The Lakeside Guide

Do you want to help a business that’s already on the website with getting additional exposure? Or run an ad for your own business if your business is already on the site?

For $50 USD, you can purchase an advertisement that will run on The Lakeside Guide website for 30 days, plus I will share two posts about the business on the site’s Facebook page.

This will amount to approximately several thousand impressions of the ad on the website and exposure to 1,000-2,000 people on Facebook.

Business owners may purchase their own ad and Facebook posts if they already have a page on The Lakeside Guide.

This is the list of all of the existing businesses on The Lakeside Guide which you can promote:

See Businesses You Can Publicize

A 30-Day Advertisement

The ad that your purchase for a business will run on the site for 30 days. They currently are designed to look like this:

It will link to the business’s page on The Lakeside Guide so people can click/tap on it and see all the info and photos about the business.

The ad will be randomly displayed on 150 pages of the website at two locations on each page: once in the main content area of the page and the other in the sidebar. (The sidebar appears at the bottom of the main content area on mobile phones.)

The exact number of impressions your ad will get depends on factors how much traffic the site receives during any given 30 days. Traffic numbers fluctuate due to the season (there is more traffic during winter months when more foreigners are living at Lake Chapala) and other factors such as how many times I share content on social media each month.

The number of impressions that your ad gets and the chances that your ad is shown on any given page view also depends on how many other ads are running. For example, if there are five ads showing, then there is a one-in-five chance that the ad will appear. This is why your ad won’t always display on each and every page view as there are only two ad spots per page.

During the off-season, the site can receive more than 10,000 page views per month.

If an ad is already running for the business you’d like to sponsor, that’s OK. I’ll just add another 30 days to the lifespan of the ad that’s already running.

Facebook Posts

I will create two Facebook posts, both in English and Spanish, to promote the business and post them to The Lakeside Guide’s Facebook page, which has 2,700 followers.

The first post will be a “link post” to the business’s page on the website and it looks like this:

El Chile Verde Facebook Post

It has a big image for people to click/tap on, which takes them to the business’s page on The Lakeside Guide.

This post reached almost 1,400 people and had 366 “engagements” — meaning clicks on the link, clicks on the photos, shares, comments, likes/reactions, etc.

About two weeks later, I’ll create a second post with some of the photos that I took of the business:

Lilifher Facebook post

It has a link in the post and in each photo for people to click on so they can visit the business’s listing on The Lakeside Guide to get more info.

This Facebook post reached 1,840 people and had 554 engagements.

These Facebook posts will also have a sentence at the end that says something like, “This post was sponsored by Jane Doe.”

After sharing each post to The Lakeside Guide’s Facebook page, I will share the posts on my personal Facebook account, which has 2,400 “friends.” Facebook doesn’t provide statistics for post reach for personal accounts, but the same kind of reach or results can be expected. Almost all of the friends on my personal account are people, Mexicans and foreign residents, who live in Ajijic.

After you make your donation, I’ll send you an email asking you which business you would like to sponsor.

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Sponsor the Addition of One of The Following Businesses to The Lakeside Guide

The most important part of any website is the content that it contains. The best websites have the best content.

For every $50 USD you donate, I will take photos and write an article for one of the following businesses to the website. I’ll send you an email after you make your donation to ask about your choice. If you select the option to donate a recurring $50 or more dollars a month, I’ll add a new business of your choice each month.

Unless you request otherwise, I’ll add a notice to the article stating that you have sponsored it.

Sponsor a business notice

(Please note that neither you, your family nor your employees can sponsor a business or it would be considered an advertisement/sponsored post for your own business.)

For each business that I add to the site I have to:

  • Take photos of their products or service. For restaurants, this usually means multiple visits.
  • Interview the owner or employees.
  • Write, edit and proofread a short article.
  • Select the best 30 or so photos out of 100+ photos.
  • Edit/develop the photos in Lightroom.
  • Upload the photos, order them and add captions to each.
  • Add the hours, location, street view, phone, email, social media profiles, delivery info, etc.
  • Create a header photo.
  • Create a montage-type graphic that gets shown when the article is shared on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Write a short description of the article which gets shown when the article is shared.
  • Write a compelling meta description and page title for Google.
  • Choose related posts.
  • If it’s a restaurant, transcribe the menu.
  • Create social media posts in English and Spanish to promote the article. The business will get promoted several times a year on Facebook to thousands of people in the the local English-speaking and Spanish-speaking community.
Mary de los Ángeles Castillo at her restaurant, Lonchería Mary, in Ajijic.

Mary de los Ángeles Castillo at her restaurant, Lonchería Mary, in Ajijic.

The following list represents a portion of some of the businesses I would like to add to the website whether they are sponsored or not. However, there are more than 100 businesses I’d like to add to The Lakeside Guide, so it might be more than a year before I can get around to getting them all added. By sponsoring one of these businesses you bump them up to the top of the list and guarantee them entry into the website much sooner than it would take otherwise.

You’ll also get to see your name on the page so everyone knows you’ve sponsored the business.

Here Are the New Businesses That You Can Sponsor

The businesses below are in Ajijic except as noted.

  • Adelita Bar & Grill (San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Alex’s Pasta Bar
  • Ana Romo Gallery
  • Antonio López Vega (painter)
  • Auditorio de la Ribera (performance auditorium)
  • Aztec Art Studios (decorative woven carpets – Francisco Urzua/Janice Kimball)
  • Berry man who sells berries in Ajijic
  • Birriería El Saucito (on the highway in Ajijic near Colón)
  • Birriería El Tartamudo (in Jocotepec)
  • Bruno’s (restaurant)
  • Café Grano Café (coffee shop)
  • Casa Domenech (restaurant)
  • Chap’s (ice cream/aguas frescas)
  • Construrama (hardware store)
  • Coxala Gráfica (engraving & graphic art workshop/collective/classes)
  • Cubetazo Zamora (beer/michelada store)
  • Dental Express
  • Dr. León
  • Drishti Yoga (San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • D’Shanti (restaurant)
  • Dulce Mordisko (bakery)
  • El Barco (bar)
  • El Camaleon (bar)
  • El Fogón de Charlotte (restaurant, San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • El Jardín (restaurant at the Ajijic plaza)
  • El Jardín de Ninette
  • El Rinconcito De Chimi Y Chayo (restaurant)
  • El Zapote (restaurant in Chapala)
  • Elegante (restaurant)
  • Emma’s Deli (Ajijic)
  • Expression Musical (music store, San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Farmacia Cristina
  • Federico Encisco (mosaic artist)
  • Fonda Doña Lola (restaurant)
  • Go Bistro
  • Gorditas stand on the Ajijic plaza on Sundays
  • Gosha’s
  • Gossip’s (restaurant)
  • Hospital Ajijic
  • Indian Curry (at Centro de la Laguna)
  • Janelle’s Garden (formerly called Roberto’s)
  • Javier Ramos (painter)
  • Javier Zaragoza (painter)
  • Jesús López Vega (painter)
  • Joe’s Barbershop
  • Johanna’s (German restaurant)
Bruno Mariscal in his silkscreen t-shirt shop with one of his well-known designs, the Ajijic fish.

Bruno Mariscal in his silkscreen t-shirt shop with one of his well-known designs, the Ajijic fish.

  • La Mezcalaría
  • La Michoacana (ice cream/aguas frescas)
  • Lake Taco
  • Listen to Mariachi (article about mariachi & the local group Mariachi Real Axixic)
  • Los Telares (restaurant)
  • La 133 (restaurant in San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • La Carreta (restaurant in Jocotepec)
  • La Cochera Cultural (cultural/music/art center)
  • Los Molletes (restaurant)
  • Machi Ma (organic & vegetarian restaurant)
  • Mariscos Lety (restaurant in San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Mariscos Peter (restaurant)
  • Mario’s (San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Miguel Márquez (painter)
  • Noel Chalez (artist)
  • Ol-lin Vegan (San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Pajarete (a drink made on farms or roadside, especially on Sundays, from fresh milk and pure cane-sugar alcohol)
  • Palé (restaurant)
  • Pasta Treinta
  • Peter Panadería (bakery/sandwiches)
  • Pequeña Cocinita del Amor (restaurant)
  • Ramen Ajijic
  • Restaurant Isla Cozumel (Chapala)
  • Sabor del Caribe (restaurant)
  • Studio 18 (art gallery)
  • Tacos de Barbacoa “Francisco” (across the street from El Barco in the mornings)
  • Tamale saleswoman at Farmácia Guadalajara in Ajijic
  • Tacos Arandas (Chapala)
  • Tacos de Canasta (woman who sells tacos near Donas Donuts)
  • Tacos Doña Eva
  • Tacos Frida (San Antonio Tlayacapan)
  • Tacos Norma & Tino (next to Dona’s Donuts at night)
  • Tango (restaurant)
  • Taquería Moya (Ajijic/Chapala)
  • Tequila Bonanza
  • The Peacock Garden (restaurant)
  • Tlachilhual (bakery with Ajijic’s traditional bread)
  • Visit the Ajijic Plaza
  • Watch a Ballet Folclórico Show (article about ballet folclórico & Ajijic’s ballet folclórico group, Xikantzy)
  • White Moon (gift store)
  • Xill Fessenden (photographer)
  • Your Neighborhood Tienda (corner stores)

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Simply select $50 from the donation form option and I’ll send you an email after receiving your donation to ask which business you would like to sponsor. If you select the recurring monthly donation, I’ll be in touch each month after receiving your automatic payment to ask you which business you would like to sponsor.

Donate $75 USD and You’ll Get a Fine Art Photography Print of Lake Chapala

If you donate $75 USD, you’ll get a 14-inch unframed fine art photography print of your choice from my photography website. The photos were all taken at Lake Chapala, except for a few from other areas of Mexico.

You can select a print from this page of fine art prints or choose one from any of the photos that you come across on the site.

Lake Chapala escaramuza framed fine art print

Once I receive the email from PayPal about your donation, I will send you an email to ask you which print you would like to choose.

If you live in the Ajijic area, I will sign the print and we can meet up to hand off the print. If you live in the United States or Canada, the photo will be printed in your respective country by a printer there and shipped to you. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to sign these shipped photos, as the printer will send the print directly to you.

Framed print of Aztec dancers during a procession in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.Escaramuza sombrero fine art photo print

So, just select $100 when donating and I will be in touch after receiving your donation to ask which print you would like.

If you select the monthly recurring donation option, I will make a new print for you each month and I’ll be in touch after each donation asking for your selection of the month.

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

Your Donations Will Also Help Support the Development of this Site

Your small donation can help support the development of new site features and improvements which will improve the user experience of visitors.

Should the number of donations that’s reached exceed the amount it costs to run the site, that money will go towards the development of the following priorities:

  • The addition of an events section on the Things to Do page, highlighting local art openings, concerts, food events, activities and other things to do.
  • Web development and web design: squashing bugs, making improvements to design/user-friendliness, optimizing the site so more people share on Facebook (which drives more traffic to the site).
  • Search engine optimization. Improving the ranking of the site’s pages in Google’s search results by improving the site content, making the site run faster and other on-site optimizations.
  • Updating and upgrading about 25 older articles with written information/article, adding new photos and providing photo captions so that these pages provide a better user experience and also rank higher in Google.
  • Add a pet adoption section to promote dogs and cats at local shelters. Each animal would have its own page that looks like the other pages on the site.
  • Add more links to articles in the welcome email that subscribers receive when they sign up to the mailing list.
  • Add intro/welcome section to the Shop, Holidays, Art and To Do pages.
  • Develop a template to create “schemas” for the site’s articles, which helps tell Google what the page is about and will likely increase the page’s visibility in the search results.
  • Add a section to the Eat/Drink page that lists which restaurants deliver.
  • Updating the annual Holidays & Festivals in Ajijic eBook which is available to donors and newsletter subscribers.
  • Creating new videos about Ajijic and Mexico.
  • Add a videos section and/or page to the site so visitors can see the videos I’ve made about Ajijic.
  • Increase site speed by fine-tuning the “critical” CSS code that needs to load first before a visitor can see the top part of the page.
  • Increase site speed by reducing the file size of some images.
  • Add a question and answer feature where visitors can ask and answer questions about Ajijic, Lake Chapala and Mexico. Similar to a forum (or a subreddit on Reddit), but without the back and forth between comments and focused on answering specific questions which are posed.
  • Fix bug where all the restaurants show up under the “What’s Open” section of the home and Eat/Drink pages when it’s after midnight, even restaurants that should be closed.
  • When someone shares/emails a photo on the site, include the caption of the photo automatically in the body of the email.
  • Don’t hide the main navigation menu on scroll on tablets and desktops, just on phones.
  • Create an email series about photography and culture of Mexico.
  • On Federal holidays, add a note to the hours/schedule section of articles to explaining that a business might be closed today.
  • Add a “read more” button to the round image at the top of category pages and home page so it gives the visitor an obvious place to click.
  • Start promoting the businesses via Instagram.
  • Add an interactive map to the homepage and possibly category pages that shows the location of each business and when you hover over the map pins you can see more information above the place.
  • Create the graphic that appears when you share an article on Facebook, for about 30 articles.
  • Improve the number of people who share the articles on social media (which helps drive traffic to the site) by changing the placement of buttons in articles.

Recently Completed Upgrades to the Website

  • Completed the Food Guide to ten types of local Mexican foods.
  • Added an author section to articles to help build credibility in the eyes of the reader and in Google.
  • The share buttons on the category pages were sharing the wrong URLs and displaying the incorrect number of shares.
  • Copy link button was copying the incorrect link on category pages.
  • Make sure that site name is showing in the header for mobile visitors so they know which website they are on when they land on a page.
  • Remove out-of-business businesses from the “What’s Open” sections.
  • Add search functionality to site.
  • Search popup is appearing behind the popout-menu.
  • Search popup doesn’t close as expected on some occasions.
  • Change the color of header in the sidebar ad.
  • Make the width of the inner content area in the hero sections of pages consistently the same width as the other inner content areas of site.
  • Add article images to sitemap so Google discovers them quicker and they appear in more search results.
  • Add welcome area to homepage with text introduction.
  • Add social profile icons to popout menu.
  • Add Holidays & Festivals eBook promo to the sidebar.
  • Make the sidebar items cycle through the promos depending on how scrolled down the page is.
  • The close button in the popout menu changes position when you hover/click it.
  • Start a mailing list.
  • Add category preferences to mailing list signup form.
  • Create a What’s New page.
  • Implement lazy loading on photos so that pages load up faster and less bandwidth is used (which is also good for mobile users with limited data plans).
  • Make the images lazy loadable in the list of related posts on articles.
  • Add code to set up schema.org Image-type schemas for images in articles.
  • Create a Holiday and Festivals .pdf guide.
  • Make the navigation part of the header disappear after you start to scroll, so there’s more room to read the actual content on the page (particularly on phones).
  • When somebody clicks the copy link button, notify the visitor that they’ve copied the link and display the link in a popup window.
  • Improve the layout of the hero section of articles on tablets and small desktops.
  • Translate the site navigation and basic parts of the site into Spanish.
  • Translate the 150 articles and 3,400 photo captions into Spanish. (Would require hiring a native speaker, which would probably cost at least $1,000 USD.)

Become a Patron

Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
Recurring Monthly Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Prints of Lake Chapala
learn more
Donation Amounts Are in US Dollars
One-Time Donation




Click "Return to Merchant" after you donate to get eBook learn more
Sponsor New Business or Publicize Existing One on Site
learn more
Fine Art Print of Lake Chapala
learn more
If you are donating in Mexico, PayPal will require you to have a PayPal account. Sorry ’bout that.PayPal Acceptance Mark

So There You Have It

Your small one-time or monthly donation will help support the continued existence and improvements to The Lakeside Guide. For a few dollars you’ll be:

  • Contributing to cover the annual expense of $1,007 it takes to host the website and mailing list.
  • Ensuring the delivery of The Lakeside Guide newsletter, which more than 1000+ use to keep track of what’s going on at the Lake Chapala area.
  • Supporting the existing businesses & making possible the addition of new artists, restaurants, shops, artisans and other people from Ajijic, Chapala and other towns.
  • Paying for web development, design, maintenance, improvements, search engine optimization.
  • Helping with the promotion of the businesses on the website to hundreds of potential new customers.
Dane Strom

Dane Strom The Lakeside Guide

I moved to Ajijic in 2010 when I decided to quit my job of seven years as an editorial assistant at The Denver Post in Colorado. I’m the photographer, web designer, programmer, marketer, writer… the everything behind this website, The Lakeside Guide.