Building a site is, in many ways, the easy part. If you’re not aware of SEO or online marketing, you’re not gonna get traffic. At the end of the day, without traffic, 99% of sites will die as their owners will lose interest.
You’ve seen me piece together a site bit by bit. It’s no great secret. There is no magic software i use or buttons i press to do it for me. It just involves some basic knowledge, a bit of skill and above all else, patience and committment to the cause.
The fun part for me is seeing whether a site works or doesn’t. Some sites and ideas, no matter how great you think they are, just won’t work. Maybe they require massive investment, maybe they just need promotion, maybe you’re the only person on the planet that likes the site…. you’ll never know. So if you’re not confident in your ideas, they’re all going to die on you – one by one. They key is to stick with your gut and get those ideas up and running – let the people and stats judge your ideas – don’t let yourself judge them as you’ll most likely be your own harshest critic.
It’s tough, but the best way to build a site or finish a project, i find, is to just do it. At all costs. If it means working 24/7 – so be it…. if it means spending weeks learning about html or SEO or wordpress – so be it. If you have that attitude, your projects will get finished and once they’re live and up online, you’re much more likely to carry out a little work on them every now and then.
Classic example is hotelsrevealed.com – i buried it and forgot about it for a week or more after i’d completed it. Today, i log in to google analytics and see it’s received 140 unique visits in just over a week. 62% from google – people searching for things the site contains.
Because i know a thing or two about SEO, i’m pretty confident i can own this niche online. Having done some quick calculations… theoretically, i can increase that traffic at least 100 fold by adding 100 more articles.
So i could be looking at 30k+ unique visits per month which would dwarf any of my existing sites in terms of traffic so i reckon this is a site worth working on and getting more involved in… and i’ll adjust my work accordingly and do some more testing to see if it will be worth my while long term.
But it’s looking good and i’m delighted it’s already getting organic traffic as it proves you can pick a niche, build an average site and start pulling in traffic. No magic formula. Just common sense and a bit of confidence in your idea.
p.s. If you want some feedback on your ideas, why not submit them to iwantideas.com – i love it when i can start self-referencing like this
I don’t fly often. Maybe twice a year on average. Anyway, on my recent trip to London, i discovered a few new and old hates.
1. Queue’s at gate to board plane
You’ll always get some eejit who decides to start queuing at the departure gate for a flight that is due to depart in about an hours time. Even if their plane hasn’t even arrived in yet! Most airlines these days operate an open seat policy, so it’s first come first served when it comes to choosing seats. If you’re with a group, you want to sit together so it’s important you’re not last in the queue. Other passengers then see this guy standing in the queue and start to get nervous and keep an eye on the queue – if it starts to get bigger, they’ve not choice but to join, otherwise they face not sitting together and point no.2… it all just snowballs from that first person who starts to queue.
2. Isle Hoggers
The first people on the plane are the one’s that cause the delays. These are the guys who’ll sit in the front or back rows and stand in the middle of the isle, putting their luggage and jumpers and whatever they can find in to the overhead lockers. You’re allowed to put bags and stuff underneath the seat in front of you. It’s quicker, it stops you getting up during the flight and allows everyone to get on the plane faster when boarding as there are no isle hoggers.
3. Race to exit
As soon as a plane lands, you can hear people unbuckling, fidgeting around and eager to get off the plane first. Some will stand up before the plane stops, only to be told to sit back down by staff who see this on every flight. There will be an influx of ‘beep beeps’ – the sound of phones which are switched on, on loud, and using default message alert tones… most likely nokia phones (if you’re in Ireland or UK) – these do not mean people are popular, it means they’re getting ‘welcome’ messages to new/partner networks. I never understand why, if a plane arrives on time, why people are in such a huge rush to get off. It’s not as if they’re gonna go anywhere as they’ll grind to a halt at security / passport control.
4. Over the top security
Remove shoes, remove laptops from their cases, all liquids in tiny plastic bags, no belts, no metal watches, remove children from buggies, fold buggies up… it’s all overkill and could easily be done away with with proper technology in place. Biometrics, X ray, human tracking devices which scan for unusual behavior (a.k.a emotion detectors), advance passenger information…
All used to some extent already but not properly and widely. Flying should not be a chore and at the minute it is. For short haul flights, it’s a real pain. Flying should be easy and just like grabbing a taxi. The threat of terrorism will always be there and it will always happen no matter how tight security is or no matter how smart we think we are. Individual screening and human to human contact / judgement should always take place, but it shouldn’t be intimidating or hassle for the passenger. That’s not going to put a terrorist off.
Security doesn’t mean having more security staff on site (unless intelligence suggests there’s an army of terrorists coming through the airport)… it means getting smarter and thinking like terrorists… why not allow average joes to submit terrorism ideas or loopholes they find in security – obviously not publicly but privately.
5. Where is the free wi-fi?
Although both of my hotels were first class, i’m not going to let hilton away with my seal of approval when they’re charging for wi-fi. Â£15 per 24 hours if you wouldn’t mind. It’s a complete rip off and they should be following radisson’s model of free internet access / wi-fi for all paying hotel guests. All airplanes should also have free wi-fi on board and it should be available FREE OF CHARGE in airports too.
Ultimately, it will put more money in their pockets. I’d probably travel more myself if it was less hassle and i knew i’d have internet access everywhere i go.
I arrived back in Dublin this evening about 5pm. I had parked at the airport and planned on driving home (guts of 2 hours).
About half an hour from home, i noticed the brake pedal acting wierd… the brakes were still working, but i noticed the sensitivity had changed. I pulled in to a sideroad to see what was up but couldn’t see anything wrong… after testing the brakes further i decided to carry on – after all, they were still working and the car was driving as normal, plus i was in familiar territory as i drive the same road up and down to college every day during the year.
A few minutes later, the car started to slide and one of my rear wheels locked. Luckily i was just on a 100km/hr wide stretch which was fairly quiet (after spending most of the trip on a 120km/hr motorway)… i had anticipated something going wrong though so i managed to crawl in to a nearby factory entrance where the AA eventually came to my rescue (first time i’ve needed them).
Apparently, the rear left brake pad had somehow broken off, become lodged and as a result completely locked the rear left wheel. The car literally couldn’t go anywhere and barely made it up and down on the tow truck – it was as if the handbrake was on on the left rear wheel.
Anyway, my weekend in london flew by. Check out my flickr account for pics. We could have done with an extra day or two. London is such a huge city that there’s ALWAYS something on or something new to see. We stayed in two hilton hotels. Canary Wharf for two nights and Tower Bridge for one night.
Although tripadvisor ratings disagree, i think the hilton canary wharf has the edge, even though it’s cheaper. On Friday night, we went to see ‘Grease’ – the musical. It always amazes me that these shows sell out every night. They go on for months and months…. sometimes years, yet there’s always more people wanting to go. It is a really polished production though and it’s hard to top live performances, with a live band and audience.
Saturday was spent chilling out at Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square and the o2.
We were supposed to be seeing Michael Jackson in concert and outside the o2, there was a memorial wall with messages from fans. It was quite literally covered from top to bottom.
On Sunday, we just chilled out around the London Bridge area (where our hotel was). I also met up with Ciaran of weeno.ie & skimbit which was cool. On Sunday evening then we headed to big ben, london eye and london bridge, just to see them all lit up at night.
I’m wrecked tonight, but forced myself in to blogging… after all i don’t want to break this record i’m on As usual when i go away for any amount of time, there’s a backlog of work and emails waiting for me which is one of the reasons why i don’t go away often. It will take me a full day or two just to catch up and get back in to the swing of things.
It’s been a while since i’ve spoken about BeerChief. These days i seem to be working on everything BUT BeerChief so no doubt people will be wondering what ever happened to it.
I have said this summer is make or break time – either it’s done now or it’s never done. So behind the scenes i’ve been gearing up for a massive BeerChief redevelopment.
My initial target was to have it ready for this September – by the time i head back to college. College destroyed my work ethic last year and i’m determined not to let the same thing happen again this year. If i can get BeerChief ‘launch ready’, it will be a huge weight off my shoulders and it will also allow me to focus on promotion.
I can promote the site if i have 10 minutes free. I can’t develop or create anything if i’ve 10 minutes free and that’s what killed my work rate last year during college. I needed to create, but i didn’t have the time or equipment to do so.
This summer just gets busier and busier for me. I’ve been working harder than ever before online. I’m involved in so many different projects at times i literally lose count of how many i have on so i need an excel spreadsheet detailing them all to keep me on track.
BeerChief has been under construction since February 2007 on and off. We’ve launched it twice in that period but both were low key affairs – really two BETA launches and we weren’t confident enough to go full stream ahead and go crazy promoting it.
Despite being busy with other projects, BeerChief is slowly getting more of my time these days. I’m not necessarily physically doing anything with it… i’m just spending more time thinking and planning.
Right now, i’m 100% confident it will be ready for September and as Michael Jackson would say ‘this is it’. It will be the latest and greatest BeerChief thus far and it will finally have reached a stage where we can promote it, safe in the knowledge we have a strong, quality social network to back us up.
Expect big things this time around. BeerChief will be launching for the 3rd time in the not too distant future and this time officially, this time publicly… no holding back.
These last 2 weeks in July will be my summer ‘holidays’. It’s a very dangerous time for me and i’ll be doing my best to shield my work rate from disintegrating into laziness.
It happened when i started back to college after christmas. Back then, i’d spent my christmas holidays working very hard on BeerChief but my online work started to suffer as my rhythm had been broken up by college and when i did have free time, i couldn’t get online enough to get things done.
Although i’m confident that won’t happen at any stage this summer, it’s still a threat and if i get too cozy or lazy offline, it’ll be very difficult to resurrect my current work rate.
So for my trip to London and the following couple of weeks, i’ll be taking plenty of photos and probably getting out a lot more and going places. I’ll probably be writing more too because i don’t intend to take on much design or development work and i’ll not be killing myself with existing projects either, although i will still be working on them when i get the chance – just not with the same intensity.
If i didn’t have a blog or a flickr account, i’ve no doubt that i’d slip in to bad habits mentally and i’d suffer in the long run – certainly until i start back to college in september. This blog, my flickr, even sites like iwantideas.com, wifimapper.com and facearse.com give me the opportunity to ‘work’ whilst passing the time, entertaining myself and organising my life better.
I’m writing this post at 2am, in bed, listening to music… if i didn’t blog, or a didn’t have a blog, i’d be in bed, listening to music and browsing the web. So that would be ‘entertainment’ time and not ‘work’ time. To me, this is ‘free time’, it’s my time… so i don’t mind using it to blog as i’d otherwise be using it to watch stupid videos or read forums – neither of which benefits me much in any way.
By blogging and posting pictures and doing all the things i do online, i regard it all as work as it’s helping me to network, gain trust and form partnerships. Directly, this blog earns very little in terms of cash. Indirectly however, it’s really starting to pay for itself… even if it has taken almost 3 years