Just somewhere I waffle
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I've been playing with woocommerce again over the past few days
My original test site - https://www.podline.co.uk/ was based on my version of the default twentyfourteen but I thought I would see how it worked using twentyseventeen as the starting point.
Rather than messing up my podline site I set it up on a little site I have set up for glig glis control in a separate area used for glis glis traps
I've just added 2 products for now and haven't really bothered with descriptions yet as the main purpose at this stage is to see how it works with my theme and plugins.
Hopefully I won't get any enquiries for the glis glis traps as I haven't even got a supplier.
It's all a bit of fun though
I have a few systems set up on my directory site https://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/ which monitors when the same IP address is visiting certain pagers too often.
When this happens the visitor is directed to certain pages which look very similar to the pages they are visiting so that they don't notice.
I currently have it set up so that when the same IP hits the individual business listings pages too often they get redirected to honeypot business listing pages instead.
Sometimes they notice after a few visits or after ringing my honeypot listings a few times, sometimes they waste hours or days even visiting fake listings pages without even knowing.
Occasionally I get what are probably scrappers trying to scrape the content of the individual business listings page, and as long as they aren't causing my server any problems I just leave them to scrape the pages that are deliberately set up to be of no use to them.
In the last 3 or 4 days I have had a Bangladesh IP visiting my site 30,000 odd times a day.
I wonder how long it will take them to realise they have just been scrapping the content from the same 50 pages in the last few days
I will probably block them from the whole server soon, but doing it this way makes it easier to keep an eye on them.
The Problem With Running a Business Directory
I updated the search facility on one of my business directory sites this morning - https://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/
Although it is still a 2 step process - Select Category Then Select Location - it still works a lot better than the old system.
The problem with small business directories like this though is that after selecting the business category, if there are not many businesses listed in it, the location search can be almost non existent
As a business owner I would think it was great if someone searched for what I did, selected my location, and mine was the only business listed.
As a general searcher though I want to search for a category, narrow the search down by location and find at least 20 businesses providing the service I am looking for.
That's the problem business directories have, balancing what is best for the business owner with what is best for the person using the directory.
Other Problems in Running a Business Directory
Another problem business directories have is that if they make it too simple for the end user to find what they are looking for, they fly through the site and leave straight away having found what they need.
That may be good for the end user, may be good for the business listed but gives little benefit to the business directory owner.
Where as if it is too hard for the end user to find what they are looking for they leave and never come back.
If the directory gets the balance right where the end user doesn't find what he wants straight away, but is prepared to search more the end user sees more of the directories features, sees ads, still finds what he wants and as the experience isn't too bad he uses the directory again.
The Major Problem with Running a Business Directory
The biggest problem with running a directory though is very few people use them anymore to find a business they just use Google.
What the small business owner needs to realise is everyone is trying to rank high in Google and it's just going to get more and more competitive.
You may think directories are a waste of time if everyone's using Google but does that mean if you don't rank high in Google you don't advertise anywhere else?
Why not, for the sake of 5 minutes adding a listing, advertise in a directory too?
Depending on the service you provide, just 1 enquiry from it in a year will more than make that 5 minutes worthwhile.
Also, if you are a web based business the citations and links provided by the directory may even boost your own online presence.
One thing to be aware of though don't get pressurised in to upgrading if you don't want to and be prepared for numerous marketing cold calls once you start advertising Online.
I created a new system the other month that creates niche directories.
After a bit of playing around I've now got it set up so it runs of less than half a dozen files and I can set a new site up for any category in minutes and either use the data from one central database or quickly create, and fill, a new database for it.
Question I ask myself now is, will it be worth creating niche directories and if so what to create them for?
The 1st one I created was for Bookkeepers https://www.spotthedot.co.uk/ and yesterday afternoon I created one for florists - https://www.countysearch.co.uk/florists/
With over 100 categories in my main directory having over 500 entries I've got to decide what to create niche directories for, whether to have one per website, put a few on each website or just not bother.
What category would you like to see a niche directory for?
It was over 15 years ago that I 1st registered wheelchair-ramps.co.uk which was the catalyst for me forming my company.
The direction of the business has changed a lot since then, but as this was the baby that started everything, I've always kept the ramp sales ticking along almost as a sideline.
Unfortunately, with competition getting a lot tougher over recent years and with manufacturers selling direct, I now find it impossible to even get close to what others are selling ramps for.
Fortunately, there are virtually zero running costs involved which means I could just carry on knowing I'll only sell the occasional ramp, but with the website getting more and more neglected and Google rankings slowly getting worse, I have to decide if it's even worth spending any time trying to improve things.
If not, the alternatives are just leave the site as it is, or completely change direction and look for another way of using it, and the 500+ visitors it generates a day.
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It looks like Old Kent Road - Old Thatch Tavern was a bit of a red herring.
Instead, Holy Trinity Church Gets the Old Kent Road Square on Stratford Monopoly
“It would have been unthinkable for Holy Trinity not to be on either Mayfair or Old Kent Road, our two most talked about and high cachet squares,” says WINNING MOVES UK representative Natasha Rebuck. Winning Moves UK are the developers of the new game under official licence from Monopoly owners Hasbro.
The Revd. Patrick Taylor, said:
“We are delighted to be Stratford-upon-Avon’s very own Old Kent Road! Whilst Mayfair or Park Lane might sound more prestigious, the brown square ticks all the boxes for us, reflecting both our history – Old Kent Road was once part of a Celtic ancient trackway – and our values in being a Church that strives to be inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all.
We are very pleased to have received so much support and look forward to seeing Holy Trinity’s iconic image on the new MONOPOLY board.”
Stratford-upon-Avon Monopoly Old Thatch Tavern Old Kent Road
I made a blog post a few months ago wondering where would have the Old Kent Road on Stratford-upon-Avon Monopoly and suggested it might not exactly be very welcome having where you live classed as the Old Kent Road area of Stratford - Please don’t make us the Old Kent Road of the Stratford-upon-Avon Monopoly Edition
It's now looking like the producers of the Stratford Monopoly edition - Winning Moves UK have got around the problem by giving the Old Kent Road square to Old Thatch Tavern
Not officially announced yet, but Winning Moves UK's Natasha Rebuck said:
“We don’t comment on speculation. But what we can confirm is that the Old Kent Road equivalent will be going to a very old location in keeping with the spirit of the square.”
With Old Thatch Tavern being the oldest pub in Stratford, this appears to give a nod to the rumour that Old Thatch Tavern is to get Old Kent Road square
Not only that, but The White Swan Hotel being just a stones throw away from Old Thatch Tavern so looks a strong possibility of getting the Whitechapel Road square.
I updated my Google Reviews Creator a couple of hours ago to include more information about How to get more Google reviews
Whist doing this I put something on the results pages to see how often it was being used and to capture the names of the businesses being reviewed.
Just had a quick look to see if anyone had actually used it yet, to find it has been used 9 times in the last 2 hours.
I knew from my stats it was getting a few visits a day, but never expected it to be used as often as it appears to be.
Maybe it's time I set it up a bit better and actually started promoting it.
Tradesmen Gallery - Free Tradesmen Advertising
If there is one bit of advice when talking to local tradesmen about websites it's, get a nice photo of yourself stood next to your van on your home page or about page.
It's always nice to see what a tradesman looks/dresses like and seeing what he/she drives before having them around to your home to provide a quote.
With this in mind I have created a new section on UK Small Business Directory which allows tradesmen to submit a photo of themselves stood next to their van (or their van on its own) and not only do they features in our Tradesmen Gallery, they also receive a free upgraded listing in the main directory.
Further information can be found here - Tradesmen Gallery
I said something similar back at the start of 2015 but I really are coming to the conclusion now that unless you are building website that you are handing over to people who don't have much of a clue, building fancy websites, ecommerce websites or building websites with 20 plus page, you may as well go back to creating little static sites rather than Wordpress sites.
No Wordpress installations, no databases, no plugin updates, no Wordpress updates to worry about.
The only real disadvantage I see is you might have to open up your FTP client every now and then.
Future proof by using directories, use header and footer includes and the editing is no more time consuming than using Wordpress with the added benefit of far more control.
All I need now is a product/service/subject to build a site for
Following on from my post last week about struggling to find any inspiration at the moment - http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/xfa-blog-entry/how-do-you-deal-with-lack-of-inspiration.3307/ I suddenly had the idea to build a little dummy ecommerce website.
With the idea in place I now had to decide on what to putt in it then inspiration struck - Bunnykins
The beauty of using Bunnykins is they are all about the same size and I have about 50 in my display cabinet which makes them easy to photograph.
I didn't want yo arse around too much taking quality photos, so just set the iPad to square mode and took about 30 photos plus a couple of the Bunnykins Oompah Band to use as a header.
I transferred them to my PC, resized them all to 500 square and started building the site.
I didn't particularly want a shop home page so just redirected that to a static page and created one category named Rare Bunnykins
I just added 16 products and gave each one 4 Up-Sells, I couldn't be bothered writing descriptions as it's just a dummy site, but did add a view shopping cart link to the header which only displays when a product is in the basket.
Quite fun to do, just hope nobody buys one of my Bunnykins though
It was after I built it that I started thinking I ought to start building real sites for real products, but ideally as me not as my business. hence this question in the forum - http://www.ukbusinessforums.co.uk/threads/doing-other-business-things-personally.360372/
One of the joys of working from home is setting up bird feeding stations just outside the office window and watching all the birds feeding.
I set up various different feeding stations at the start of the year and it was lovely to see the tits, robins, sparrows, finches and even the occasional woodpecker feeding from the various things I had set up.
It was nice to see the parents feeding the young, teaching them to fly, watching them grow up, etc.
How do they reward me for this? - The bastards have eaten all my cherries
Are fluffy rabbits required?
The last few weeks I've been updating, tidying up and setting up lots of my little sites.
This is all very well but in truth most of the sites are about nothing
The problem is; I don't sell anything, don't really provide a service and lead generation just bugs me at times.
This has effectively meant lots of tinkering, lots of experimenting with themes, lots of 4 - 5 page websites set up, but then zilch.
I just can't decide what to build sites about and have completely lost my inspiration.
It's got to the stage where I am doing stuff for other people for free just because they have nice content I can use.
How do others deal with lack of inspiration and not having content to give you that inspiration?
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