Giving up the Day Job

This is a follow on from the posts – How I started in SEO, Always Expect The SEO Bubble To Burst, TJ You’re a Genius, Building a Business Directory , V7ndotcom Elursrebmem Competition, The Google Minus 30 Penalty, We had no Google Webmaster Tools and Sim64.co.uk Mothballed – Go back and read those 1st.

Despite the fact that one of my main sites – sim64.co.uk had been penalised by Google I had reached the stage where it was actually costing me money going to work at my day job so I made the decision to quit and concentrate on web work full time.

We were still living in The White Cottage back then which meant rather than having my own office I just had the PC set up in the corner of the dining room – not ideal but as I was still tending to do my work late in the evening I couldn’t really justify renting an office anywhere else.

Being at home and near a phone saw a boost in ramp sales but I still only had a very limited range so when another ramp manufacturer approached me to sell theirs I jumped at the chance.

My initial plan was to primarily concentrate on my initial supplier range for the full width ramps and my new suppliers for wheelchair channel ramps

After seeing the quality of my new suppliers ramps though I was soon selling their main ramps too the Aerolight Range.

Being in the nice situation that I was making enough money from ramp sales so as I didn’t have to go out to work meant I had a lot more time for SEO and web work in general.

I was still tinkering with sim64.co.uk, was having no joy so decided to delete all but about 20 pages and move on.

Souping Up my Business Directory

If you have read the previous posts in my SEO story you will know I had also taken over an Online business directory and despite the fact I new very little about coding in ASP or database development I was slowly building up a very well optimized directory site.

It was about then the problems started 🙁

The person who originally built the directory had it running on an Access Database which may be OK in an offline environment but for an Online website it wasn’t ideal.

Add the fact it was running on access database and was on shared hosting, once the traffic started building up it was frequently going Offline.

My very limited knowledge on coding or databases meant I didn’t really know what I was doing and it wasn’t long before my host effectively gave me 2 weeks to sort things out or bugger off 🙁

I had no other choice than to call in someone to help me so again turned to Usenet and contacted one of the regulars at alt.www.webmaster (William Tasso) who advised me that I should convert it from Access database to MySQL.

Having read lots of his posts on Usenet I felt I could trust Bill so not only got him to convert the site to MySQL but also to host it for me too.

We managed to get it all sorted before my original host booted me and so my new learning curve began – How to work with MySQL and more importantly how to improve my SEO whilst using dynamic sites especially as my WordPress days were not far off (more about that later)

Doing Everything Wrong but It Was Still Working

The directory was now using a MySQL database but with Classic .ASP
I knew the basics but in reality was doing everything wrong

If you have read previous posts you will know I dad category pages, county pages town pages and an individual page for each listing.

I had it set up so a business would appear in their category, their town and their county so in effect the end final listing page always had at least 3 good links pointing to it and numerous ways of navigating to it.

It also had various different admin pages so people could add, edit or delete listings.

Being a bit naïve in those days I didn’t really see any problem in allowing people to do this, so had all the admin pages in public which allowed people to add a listing and have it go live straight away.

As I was only getting less than a handful of new sign ups a day it was fine as if I saw someone add a listing I didn’t like I would just delete it again.

Big boost in new listings leads to big boost in problems

With the individual pages ranking better and better I had a great idea of including on the page a button which said Add Your Listing which linked direct to my registration pages.

Within days I went from having less than a handful of new registrations a day to 10+ and was struggling to monitor the new listings.

To make things easier I made a better recent listings page where I could see them better and also came up with the idea of having a recently updated listings page too.

A bit of tinkering with the database and editing form and I had a way of including the date when a listing was edited and then having a page that ordered by date edited

This in effect meant I could always see what page had been edited and then go and check it out.

It was quite disheartening to see some of the stuff going on and I soon realised people just couldn’t be trusted and having a live unmoderated system just wouldn’t work

Continue Story Here – Business Directory Listings Explode

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