Is there any money left?

The internet, and my part in its downfall

Beach Web Design Home

Latest things I've been doing.

Building websites, testing out scripts,
trying out some of the 'monetising' things,
and generally following the internet news...
Note how non-SEO'd these titles are - hooray! :)

Promotional T-shirts have to be the right size and not muddy!

This is the latest installment in the gripping serialization of promoting my Devon directory. You know, when I started putting this journal online I was worried it might catch up with me – no chance, it seems to be getting further behind all the time!

In any case, this entry sees more of the earliest listings going in, and the arrival of my free promotional T-shirts from .

Not bad for a Free Promotional T-shirt! I got the T-shirts from , and I actually think they look quite nice – very appropriate for the country-ish / green theme!
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Breaking an International News Story was fun!

Filed under: Uncategorized — annabelt @ 6:01 pm

What an insane couple of weeks I’ve had – sometimes everything happens at once!
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Do I really miss my Second Life character?

Filed under: Affiliate Marketing,Second Life,Uncategorized — annabelt @ 7:43 pm

For a while I was testing out the virtual world / MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) that is Second Life, just exploring and trying to figure out what it was about. I had a window in the background all the time, where my character was dancing around, camping and earning Linden Dollars at an almost Adsense-like rate.

Then work and other things took over for a while, but I had this strange lonely feeling. There was no pretend other person dancing around on my computer. I was wondering what kind of game Second Life is – if it even is a game in the truest sense. It has no predefined goal, so is it a game in itself, or some kind of virtual-world toy? Does it become another game when people bring their own goals into it? Perhaps.

I found many people who were beginners, like me. Some wanted to talk about life around the world. Many seemed to be playing with dolls, while some were playing with building blocks and Lego. Others still were playing Monopoly. I personally liked the Vulcan city, complete with Vulcan language and culture. But I think I was still playing Neko.

Click below to read more: I’ve put Web Neko onto his own page since he hasn’t been loading today (fingers crossed – hope he comes back!)
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Still fixing and tuning the website, but also collected my car stickers

Filed under: Uncategorized — annabelt @ 7:11 pm

Summary: I kept a diary while launching a Devon business directory / community website. This is part of it.

Diary from 4th Oct 2007: Collected my car window stickers from Devon Signs. They actually look really good, very clear. But I do feel a little nervous still about advertising to the people around me, as if they’ll say ‘Who do you think you are?’!

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I find some advice on directories from Webmaster World

Filed under: Directories,Launching a Local Directory,Uncategorized — annabelt @ 8:34 am

Diary from Thurs 4th Oct 2007: Read some directory related threads on Webmaster world – looks like many people have a hard time with these, but it was comforting to read these posts from people further down the road…

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Pizza (.com) sells for $2.6 million

Filed under: Uncategorized — annabelt @ 8:56 pm

14 years ago, Chris Clark, who now runs an American software company, bought the ‘pizza.com’ domain for just $20. He thought it would help him get a contract with a pizza company…

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Experiments with social bookmarking: the beginning

Filed under: Technical,Uncategorized,Website promotion — annabelt @ 9:02 pm

Is Web 2.0 just a load of hype? I have my suspicions that it doesn’t make money, but some aspects do have potential for website owners. Both RSS Feeds and social bookmarking seem promising to me (at least, if it’s Facebook, now that so many people are on Facebook). So I thought I’d give it a go.

I can’t see much potential for it on my Devon businesses directory, as the articles are mostly duplicated RSS stories and press releases. (There’s a bit of off-site anchor text keyword targetting for it though ;) ). My chocolate website has original content, with more potential for social bookmarking, but probably a less nerdy readership (hence the emphasis on Facebook, which seems the most widespread and least nerdy option available).

So I found a selection of plugins from extensions.joomla.org to test out social bookmarking on my Joomla sites. The first plugin didn’t like my PHP version so that went nowhere. The next one seemed great: a ‘Digg’ button appeared at the top and a row of little buttons appeared at the end of my content items, but it didn’t have Facebook. The final one did have Facebook but didn’t appear everywhere I wanted it to. So I’ve still got them both at the moment.

I found a great RSS module from one of the same authors, which offers not only the feeds, but the buttons to add them to aggregators like iGoogle (which I actually use, therefore I think it’s handy and useful!) It did annoy me a bit by causing some code validation errors. So far I have fixed them all, apart from a stray ‘r’ which appears after the embedded CSS, but only when the module is on the right hand side. Huh.

But I am straying from the point again, which is trying out the social bookmarking plugins, not tinkering with the code behind the scenes. So I added a couple of stories to Facebook. I was pleased with one of them, but the other site seemed to provide the home page as well as the story, and more confusingly, it gave the home page meta description instead of the story’s, even after I deleted it. I tried various options with Joomla caching, but didn’t see any difference: strange. Perhaps I’ll try Facebook again later. Meanwhile, I registered with del.icio.us and bookmarked a couple of stories, but can’t really see the point to it yet.

So I’ll be keeping them all for now, and seeing if any of them work out well. I can’t see my sites getting Slashdotted (thank goodness!) but you never know, it might bring in some readers and friends of my visitors :) And I’ll be trying out each of these social bookmarking services myself, so I know what each one is about.

Next step: WordPress social bookmarking plugins for the blog :)

The end of an online community?

Filed under: Spam,Uncategorized — annabelt @ 4:07 pm

A sad thing has happened: an online community website I have visited on and off for the last couple of years appears to have finally given up the ghost. Personally I blame Digg (where some of the members turned up instead) and Facebook, which had a massive rise in popularity last summer (when I found it :) ).

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More adventures with Google Adsense: WordPress and Joomla!

Having previously written about the Google Adsense Heatmap, I was keen to try out adsense blocks in more successful locations.

Google Adsense Heatmap
Google Adsense Heatmap: darker colours are ‘hotter’ areas

My first opportunity came with a project of my own to develop a custom Joomla template for a new website about chocolate, ‘I Dream in Chocolate‘.

Website Screenshot showing Adsense positioning
Website Screenshot showing Adsense positioning

I planned the main Adsense location to take advantage of the areas highlighted in the Google heatmap, and created the Adsense blocks in Joomla using mod_html modules.

I didn’t go for the ‘hottest’ area, which I think is between the main title and content, as I thought this location might be over complicated to manage separately for different content items, and also less nice to look at. The current design adds a kind of white chocolate stripe to the page layout, though it does push the main content down a bit far, especially as I also added a link unit right above the top menu.

By keeping them near the interactive options and menu items, I hoped to take advantage of the visitor’s attention (and mouse) being in that area. At the same time, by using a different style, I have avoided them being actually mistaken for menu items and on site links (which goea against Google’s guidelines).

It does seem to be paying off so far: the following screenshot shows clicks for this new site have already overtaken my more well established site Stairway to Devon, which has the Adsense more out of the way. Bear in mind, many of the page views for the new site will have been caused by me working on it, so it’s actually been more effective than the figures suggest:

Screenshot showing Adsense results for different websites is gone: can’t show the actual numbers – it’s against Google’s rules unfortunately!

Inspired by these more encouraging results, I decided to add some better AdSense locations to this blog while upgrading WordPress at the weekend, following the excellent instructions in this link: ‘Upgrading WordPress‘ and this one: ‘How to add Adsense to your blog

Adding AdSense to a WordPress blog involves editing the WordPress PHP template files. I had some odd experiences, with AdSense blocks sometimes not appearing in some locations, or only appearing after several minutes (which I think is a delay on the Google setup end). It also required a lot of fiddling about with the CSS. But eventually I was able to get the following units set up:

  1. Link unit at the top of the screen
  2. Adsense Referral link between the page header and content
  3. Google Search box in the sidebar
  4. 2 Adsense content units in the sidebar: first a small one, then a tall one
  5. Adsense content unit in the top ‘hot spot’, between the content title and paragraph text on the single post pages (which don’t have the sidebar)

While upgrading, I also tried setting up the options to ping WordPress’s list of practically everything, which should promote the blog a bit more widely, so I will be interested to see how these changes all work out.

Business card and Postcard Advertising to promote my Web Directory

Background: I’ve been launching and promoting a Devon directory, which promotes arts and environmental concerns alongside general clubs, blogs and business listings.

Click this link to view all posts about launching the directory

23/9, continued: Postcard advertising
Having ordered a load of free postcards and business cards from , I was ready to start some more intensive offline advertising.

Decided to start with Totnes, as I feel more nervous in Exmouth with it being my current home town, and also more importantly, it’s nice going there: Totnes is Devon’s most new age and hippyish town, chock full of artists and environmentalists (surely!). Even a newsagent’s in Totnes is probably well-targeted advertising for me.

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