Just somewhere I waffle
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I've been an Amazon associate since about 2004 - 2005 but never really bothered setting up a store.
This has now changed as I have just added an Office Supplies Amazon Store to UK Small Business Directory.
It's using an iframe to pull in selected content from the Amazon associate program which means people shop without even leaving my site.
This gave me a better idea, so I set up a facebook app so people could shop on my Amazon store on facebook
Unfortunately the Amazon store is about 20px to wide to fit directly in the facebook canvas, It's not too bad, but I might see if I can adjust it a bit later.
I added the new Google +1 button to all the listings in my directory on Friday, example here - http://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/id.asp?CompanyID=121006
The Google +1 button is ideal for directories as it gives anyone with a listing the option to +1 their own listing and also encourage others to +1 it too.
I just hope that the Google Plus 1 button isn't as bad as the old Google Buzz buttons which used to have a bad effect on page loading.
I've moved all the social networking button scripts to the bottom of the code, next thing I have to do is adjust my CSS so that the code for the buttons is the last to load too.
If anyone who reads this has a listing in my directory, please check out your listing to see if the +1 button is working.
Most of the small business owners I talk to online know what SEO and Search Engine Optimisation means, but just how reflective is this of small business owners in general?
As part of an experiment I have bought a personalised number plate and put it on a new flash red car.
I have also attached a windscreen sticker on the back which displays the full http://www.v1seo.co.uk URL and will be parking the car in local business estates, industrial estates, taking it to networking events, etc.
I will then add a section on the V1 SEO site offering a prize to anyone who is visiting the site because of seeing the car locally.
It will be interesting to see if the personalised number plate does attract any visitors, and more intersting if it attracts visitors who enquire about SEO services.
I missed one of my favourite films over the weekend Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner.
I got a bit of a reminder about the tag line today though "If you build it they will come"
A couple of weeks ago I came up with the idea of creating what I call mini sites
They are basically very simple, self editable, search engine friendly, 10 page mini sites using Wordpress as the CMS.
Anyway, I built 4 or 5 but then other things took over so I just left them on the back burner.
I forgot all about them until Sunday morning I had an email from someone interested, then today, not 1 but 2 more enquiries.
The people had obviously just stumbled accross my page, saw the mini sites and decided they liked them.
As Kevin Costner was told "If you build it they will come"
Following on from last weeks post about a new Twitter page I set up on my business directory I have now set it up so people can now include Twitter Widget Profiles with their business listings.
All I am asking in exchange is that people follow me on Twitter and just keep me in the loop.
Following on from this, I had another idea, to keep a note of anyone who adds their Twitter Profile to their business directory listing I have now created a Twitter Profiles Directory.
It is currently just an alpabetical list, but as the listings grow I will organise it better.
I set up a UKSBD Twitter page today offering free directory upgrades to anyone who is following UKSBD on Twitter.
It is more of an experiment than anything else to see just how many people notice the offer, and if they do whether they respond or not.
The upgraded listing I give them will make their business listing more prominant and also provide a link in their listing back to their own website.
Never one to stay with the same colour scheme too long I updated my business directory again this week.
Influenced by my return to using Opera as my browser I have gone for a red and black look.
I also noticed my monitors resolutions were both set at 1152 and after setting them to a more standard 1024 didn't think the margins were big enough.
I set both my monitors to 1024 and decided to change my style sheets to narrow the pages slightly.
Fortunately, I keep my sites very simple and clutter free so making the pages that little bit narrower doesn't appear to have messed anything up.
What I did find whilst checking though, was lots of old pages, duplicate pages, broken liks etc.
This resulted in me spending a lot of todat spring cleaning, deleting pages and setting up redirects.
Hopefully, this won't have any negative effects on rankings, but time will tell.
To compliment my Top 10 SEO Tips page I have created a Random SEO Tips section on my Directory site.
It isn't just a list of the usual SEO Tips that can be found all over the web, but is a mixture of the more common tips, personal experience from lots of SEO testing and just general waffle.
Not ordered in any particular way, I aim to just post 1 or 2 tips a week based on whatever is on my mind at the time.
I am also offering anyone who provides a SEO tip the opportunity to have it published along with a link back to their own site.
My daughter came home from school today and made me laugh by asking me who Gerald Duck was
A quick follow up to my post from back in September - When SEO isn't working
I did a bit more work on the Wine Coolers site and removed more junk, over optimising ans semi-hidden text and low and behold the site turned the corner and started ranking.
It's now on the 1st page of Google for virtually all the target keywords, but still down in 5th to 7th position for the main targets.
There is the slight problem that the homepage tends to rank better than the internal pages targeting the phrases, but for some reason he prefers that to happen.
I've told him we could probably get top 3 if he lets me target the internal pages more, but he is still a bit worried about losing all the good rankings again.
Still, it's nice to get the site doing well, it's now up to him if he wants to push for the top.
I was recently contacted by a local guy who sells wine cabinets. He has a reasonably old site that used to rank OK for a lot of his phrases.
The reason he contacted me was because he had an SEO firm doing some work on his site for about 6 months and his rankings had all dissapeared.
I tidied up the site for him, removing lots of scripting and semi-hidden text as I was doing it, made the navigation system better and also set him up a dozen or so good links.
3 weeks later there is still no sign of his site in the SERPs for his favoured keywords, and apart from the fact, he still doesn't have that many links I'm baffled as to why it isn't appearing.
I've just tried removing the xml sitemap and the fake rss feed and will over the next couple of days reduce the keyword density as it looks like OOP could be the problem.
Ir really annoys me when a good site isn't ranking for even very easy phrases which it should do.
The good weather was well and truly over and I was about to experience my first winter on the building.
I had already learned that things didn't stop because of a little bit of rain, was soon to discover it was the same for ice and snow.
First task in the morning now was uncovering the sand and if it was too hard getting a good fire going by it, next task was getting a fire going under the mixer
where the diesel had frozen and getting the bricks or stone by the fire too.
The regs say no laying when temperature drops to 2 or 3 degrees, but I soon learn't
that didn't apply to us, just bung some extra antifreeze in the bosses used to say.
Fortunately, my first winter wasn't too bad and I had soon learned there was no point standing around moaning, best way to keep warm was to keep active.
The biggest pain of that first winter was the fact the ancient dumper we used was hopeless in the winter, not helped by the fact that it was running on domestic heating fuel which was left over from where we had to remove an oil tank to build an extension.
It coughed and spluttered and finally died with 2 ton of mud in it when we were hand digging some footings for a barn conversion, leaving us to move the rest by barrow to the other side of the site where an old drot would load it on to a wagon.
more tomorrow ....
2 days of solid rain and being in and out of the bibby getting soaked was enough to convince me that wearing my old ripped bondage trousers, anarchy t-shirt and harrington wasn't really ideal for being on the building in the start of winter.
A trip to the army and navy store at Leamington over the weekend got me kitted out with some new boots, combats, couple of chuncky jumpers and a donkey jacket.
Got to work on the monday morning all kitted out for the rain and the sun shone all day, was soon down to my t-shirt and shorts again.
Next morning it was looking like rain again, so first task when getting on site was finding where I had left my jacket (always had a terible habbit of taking stuff of and leaving it lying around)
10 minutes of searching, but no joy.
Then the old brickie said "have you checked by the mixer" had a quick look but still couldn't find it.
By now the brickies were moaning about no muck on the spots, so I started the mixer up and wondered why they were all watching me, was just about to thow a bucket of water in the barrel when I saw my new jacket and jumper spinning around in it.
They all started laughing, one of the old ******** had collected my stuff up and hid it in there.
I sain in How times have changed - part 3 that I would be continuing the story the next day, that was back in July 08
I obviously got distracted
Anyway, back to the story.
The good summer was obviously over and I was to experience my first winter on the building (was already begining to wonder why I hadn't gone to college instead)
I initially thought that if it was pouring down in the morning we would either find an indoor job or maybe even just sit in the shanty until it stopped raining, I soon discovered different though as I learnt what a bibby was.
Basically it was a case of propping a couple of 21ft poles up against the wall and making a make do shelter out of tarpaulins.
The old stonemasons then set themselves up some blocks for chopping on and it was my job to barrow the stone in from the pile for them to dress.
At this stage I was still going to work in my old punk rock leather jacket or a mod boy harrington, so got soaked through just getting a few barror fulls in.
The one good thing about it though was we had a 50 gallon oil tin set up, loads of holes knocked in it and a big blazing fire.
My 2 months was up now and I had to make a decision, take my place at college or carry on working.
It wasn't really much of a choice, the weather was lovely, I was enjoying what I was doing and a new labourer had started which meant I was no longer tea boy or barrow boy.
I was spending more time with the old bricklayer and once everything was loaded out and the spots were full he would let me get on the trowel and run the line.
I had also started socialising out of work and had joined the rugby club where my 2 bosses played (Claverdon, Warwickshire).
The site we were working on at the time consisted of 5 barn conversions with 4 of them built out of cotswold stone layed in random courses.
We had to extend one of them, so of we went in the truck again to the reclamation yard and came back with about 4 1/2 ton of random sizes stone on the pack of a 3 ton truck, got back to the site handballed it off and spent the rest of the week dressing it with axes and sorting in to sizes.
More coming tomorrow ....
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