There weren’t many 4×4 guidebooks available back in 1994 when Chuck Wells first started four-wheeling. He had purchased every guide book available on the market and none of them were cutting the mustard. He had just bought his first Jeep Grand Cherokee and was having a ball exploring the Colorado backcountry. As he traveled around using the books, he kept thinking of ways the books could be better. One day, armed with detailed notes and photos from his trips, he sat down and sketched out a few pages of what he thought a guide should be. He had no idea, however, how to turn that idea into a commercial product.
When he was younger he made a living as a graphic designer but had moved away from designing into management. During that time graphic design had completely changed. He had friends who were still working in the design field and they helped guide Chuck to buy and learn new tools.
Working nights and weekends, it took two years to complete the first book. It was during that time that FunTreks was conceived. Chuck took his completed 268-page digital file to a local printer and essentially placed a $6,000 bet that the books would sell. After the books were printed, he loaded up his car and headed for mountain towns like Ouray and Silverton, around which many of the trails were located. He simply walked into stores, introduced himself and showed the book. To his surprise, many store owners placed multiple-case orders on the spot. In most situations, he walked out with a check in his pocket. He quickly found himself returning to Colorado Springs for more books. FunTreks was officially born!
Within a short time, he had a distributor who sold his books to Barnes & Noble and other big stores. His first printing of 4,000 sold out in a couple of months. He was running home on his lunch hour and packing 20 to 30 cases for the UPS driver. His garage was his warehouse. Entrepreneurial spirit at its finest!
It wasn’t long before Chuck’s day job started getting in the way of his FunTreks job. With great trepidation, he cut ties and went on his own. More than 20 years later, FunTreks is still going strong and they are very excited for the future. FunTreks is now a team and they love what they do!
FunTreks, Meet Webolutions
FunTreks came to Webolutions looking to integrate their current product offerings to create a more robust offering and better engagement overall with their community. They also wanted help figuring out a way to gather trail updates from the FunTreks community. Of course, they wanted to sell more products, but their main focus was getting their community more engaged.
We came up with some fun solutions that would help drive engagement of their rugged 4×4 community.
The website design includes elements their particular community would respond well to.
- Big beautiful images of the trails – HUGE shout out to the FunTreks team for taking stunning, unique images of each of the individual trails. This has a huge impact on the look and feel of the entire website!
- Simple main navigation hitting the 4 most important items their community will be looking for (trails, products, resources, blog)
- Simple and clean content blocks driving users right to the trail difficulty level of their choosing and most popular product categories
- Tire track design elements
- Cool hover effects
- Fun animations – small details that make the website stand out from the crowd
One of the most important aspects of this site and the FunTreks community are the trails. We wanted to do something unique to showcase the beautiful trails.
For the trails we did a couple cool things:
- Created an interactive trail search. The user can search by state, by vehicle type or trail difficulty. Results are viewed in a map view and the trail cards are listed below the map.
- On the individual trail pages, we wanted to provide good, useful information (vehicle types with fun animation detail, overview of the trail, rating information, stats, current conditions)
- Each trail also has the opportunity to display a relevant product
- Since we wanted to get user driven feedback on the trails, we created a few ways for folks to submit trail updates.
To increase community engagement we came up with some simple solutions:
- Trail reviews – On each trail users can submit a review. It is also available on every page in the website in the utility navigation.
- Trail updates – Users can submit a trail update so other FunTreks community members can see the latest trail conditions from folks who have actually driven on the trails recently. This is really important as trail conditions can change due to weather, traffic and other circumstances. To date they’ve already had 17 unique trail updates submitted by users of the website!
- Recommend a new trail – Users can submit new trails to the FunTreks team to explore and provide more information on – for the website and / or guidebooks.
- Trail updates newsletter – we suggested regular communication with the community. We created a sign up form and helped them brainstorm some content ideas that their users would be interested in. To date they have over 300 people sign up for this! WOW!
Thank you FunTreks for allowing us to help you create more engagement with your enthusiastic community! Consider us FunTreks community members for life!