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Geocaching Gifts

I added the initial pages to my geocaching site for the Geocaching Gifts section. There is only one t-shirt design posted so far, but plenty more will be added soon. The first hurdle is always getting new pages indexed, so that people searching for the topic will find it. One of the reasons for this post is get one more link to the new page posted. Maybe the Google spider will find this one first and get the page listed in the SERPs.

Our Sites – Fall 2009

Just launched the newest of our sites, art-deco-posters.com, which I started back in August as part of the Thirty Day Challenge. There is a huge amount of work to do to get it to the point I want, but I felt it was time to submit it to the search engines and hopefully get in the SERPs.

Go Caching is getting a small but steady trickle of traffic, and my next step is to add a geocaching gift guide. It may be too late to expect any Christmas sales, but I definitely won’t get any if the guide isn’t there at all.

aURL is pretty quiet. It gets the occasional hit, but with my focus on the other sites I haven’t updated it in a while. The main change planned there is still to convert from WordPress to a custom built site. I think that will be better suited to what I envisage than what WordPress can deliver.

Getting Traffic

I’ve been experimenting with web programming and site building for a few years now, but it has been on an as time permits basis. It is something I hope to be a skill I can add to my I.T. resume. All the sites I worked on before have never generated any traffic worth mentioning. Somehow the spammers always find them, but the intended audience never does. Things are changing a bit and for the better this time.

The two newest sites, Go Caching and aURL, have been getting some search engine traffic. Go Caching in particular has been getting hits several days in a row. I purposely chose the domain name because it has an appropriate name for the site, and because there is a possibility of people typing GoCaching instead of GeoCaching. The content I’m adding to the site seems to be covering some subjects people are googling. Several long tail search phrases (most weren’t that long) that I have seen in my MyBloglog stats have resulted in my site showing in the top five items returned, often ahead of sites that have been around for years. To me that’s pretty exciting considering the site is only about six weeks old. Hopefully it can only get better, and if traffic continues to build I can think about monetizing it.

No More Spam

I finally got around to activating the Akismet plugin that is supposed to automatically flag spam comments. I get lots of those so lets see how well it does.

New Sites from Kenninghall Creations

I recently created two new sites. Both are WordPress based and hosted at BlueFur.

The first is aURL which is a site about URL shortening and redirection services. I still have lots of work to do on this one, but I think it can become a useful resource once it has more content added.

The second is Go Caching which is my personal diary of geocaching experiences. I already have a fair bit of content here, and each new geocaching trip becomes a blog entry. I expect this one to grow quickly with posts and plenty of resources to be added.

The Sandbox

If anyone who creates websites says “The Sandbox”, it is probably all that is necessary to make other web masters nod their heads in a minor display of commiseration. Any new site stands a chance of feeling the effect of the Google’s mythical sandbox where a sites search rankings are likely to be negatively impacted until it builds up some credibility.

The breast cancer site I built last week using devhub initially showed up quite quickly in the Google results. I thought, “Great! I stand a chance of getting this thing noticed.” Well I think I was a bit premature. The last couple of days the site hasn’t shown up at all when I looked for it. Even a new post with some carefully chosen long tail phrases aren’t appearing even though they should for those specific phrases.

It looks like I have my work cut out for me. If I can’t get the site appearing soon, it may be no use at all. With a deadline of early September for fund raising, I can’t afford to have the site completely off the radar.

New Web Site Service – DevHub

I saw DevHub mentioned at SitePoint yesterday, so I thought I would sign up and check it out.

I spent about an hour playing with the tools creating two sites. Both are setup as subdomains of devhub.com which is one option or you can point your own domains to the sites being created.

The first site called VanGogh is for me to see what I can build and how well I can really monetize the site. It is really crude at the moment as I have just scratched the surface of the tools capabilities. There are a lot of things I want to figure out, especially how to add some custom HTML, external links, and better control of the built in modules.

The second site called BreastCancer is an attempt to do something more serious. My wife is doing the Toronto breast cancer walk this year, and I wanted to see what the site builder could do to help promote it. Again the site is quite crude at the moment as I spent about 10 minutes on it. The news feed is picking up related articles, and the video module picked up a topical segment. There will be lots more tweaking to come. What are the odds people will find the site? Who knows, but it is worth a try. After 1 day the site reports are showing $0.01 income which along with anything else it and Van Gogh earns until September will be added to my wife’s slowing growing tally.

Buy Books and Help Australian Bushfire Victims

SitePoint is an Australian based company in the Web Design/Development domain. They publish quite a few books related to this field, and I have a number of them in my library already.

To raise money to help the victims for the bushfires in their country, they are currently offering a deal on PDF versions on a wide selection of their titles. For $29.95, the usual price of one book, they are offering five titles in PDF format. 100% of the purchase price goes to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The offer lasts until this Friday, February 13. Visit the 5 for 1 page at Sitepoint.

I’m going to take advantage of it to pick up a few titles I was undecided about adding to my library, but having the PDF version will give me a good opportunity to review the entire book rather than the 4 chapters normally available from their site. Who knows; I may add the hard copy versions to my library later.

Check Your Smoke Detector Date

Did you know smoke detectors expire? It was news to me.

At 10pm last night two of my smoke detectors started chirping intermittently. Figuring the batteries needed changing since I missed doing it last time we changed the clocks, I went to get my step stool. Normally I would use my step ladder, but I didn’t want to wake the kids lugging it up the stairs and surely bashing into something. The ceiling upstairs is high enough that I could just reach the detector, but I wasn’t able to grip and remove the batteries. I could reach with a screw driver, so I loosened the screws and took it down. When I removed the batteries I saw some text embossed in the plastic of the battery compartment that said: “Detector to be replaced no later than 2003.” Usually I wouldn’t be able to see the text when changing the batteries at arms length, so it was fortunate I did it this way this time.

I haven’t found a definitive explanation of why the detectors expire. I’ve seen references to expiry ranges of 7 to 10 years and possibly less if your detectors are in hasher environments: heat, cold, humidity, dust, etc. The most common explanation that has come up is a concern over the electronics functioning properly after running constantly for so many years. I’m wondering if the radioactive component that many detectors contain has decayed after many years and doesn’t do its job any more, but that’s just speculation I haven’t found any support for yet.

Anyways, no matter why they expire, it looks like I’ll be shopping for some new detectors this weekend.

Finally A New Post

As usual the blog has been neglected for far too long. I was prompted to logon by a stream of spam comments that have been arriving every few minutes to one of the posts for the last couple of days; several hundred in total. So, I have erased all of those and turned off comments to old posts for a while.

Plenty of things are keeping me busy right now. At work we’ve been using SAP since September and for an IT guy like me that means lots of things to learn to become truly productive again. At home the basement partially flooded from melting snow and rain just after Christmas and that has meant plenty of clean up, dealing with insurance, and now looking for plumbers and contractors to see what needs doing to the weeping tile. In my office I’m having fun with the PC I built; getting used to running Ubuntu Linux and configuring all the applications I want to use. At the same time I’ve setup an old PC with Edubuntu that my 3 year old is using to learn some basic computer skills and other things.

I haven’t given up on a t-shirt related site. I’ve been working on some designs and learning GIMP while trying to draw them. I’ll be setting them up in a basic CafePress store.

One of these days I’ll get back to the Thirty Day Challenge and learn a bit more about internet marketing.