Crash and burn

Well, my entire site has crashed. Or something. All I get now is a message that the server is down for maintenance and the hosting company isn’t saying anything. I’ve got a shared hosting account and have a dozen or so sites all using it. They’re really just blogs that I wanted to do something with or just a site for fun stuff, but every single one of them is offline right now. Two of the sites are ones for classes I’m taking right now, so this is a big deal for my grades and moving forward with getting my degree.

This has taught me an important lesson about server availability. If/when this becomes a real going business I think load balancing between two identical sites on servers hosted by different companies (or just going with some sort of cloud based hosting) is really important. Just having the “five 9’s” isn’t really good enough.

Crash and burn

Frustrating week

This has been a particularly frustrating week for school. Work took over my life quite a bit, so I struggled to get things done in time. On top of that, Google terminated my ad campaigns because they said my site didn’t meet their requirements. While dealing with that, I discovered that my site isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Now I have just today to try to get it all put where it belongs and make sure that it has all the right pages and features and in the right places. I doubt that’s going to be possible, especially since I’ve got a good 10-12 hours of word to do for my job this weekend.

Sometimes you just can’t make enough time for church, work, school, and family. Now I have to figure out how much of what gets dropped.

Wish me luck.

Frustrating week

Almost did it again

In a perfect example of how important it is to be consistent, I started out creating another page this week instead of a blog post. After making that mistake last week and doing a post about it, you’d think that I would have done it right this week.

Maybe it’s just another case of doing something out of habit instead of thinking about it before doing it. We can fall into that trap in our businesses as well. Unless we stay on top of how well our advertising is working and whether or not our site is current and fully functional, we can end up falling behind. At the least, we will be missing out on lost income.

It’s been a hectic week, what with Thanksgiving (which includes traveling a few hundred miles each way to be with our son’s family) and some major projects going on at work. Times like this can provide ample excuses for letting things slip.

I’ll have to keep an eye out for that sort of thing.

Almost did it again

Oops. Lesson 9 reflections

It would appear that I managed to switch from adding blog posts to adding blog pages each week. Sorry if you got confused looking around here.

This week was a real struggle for me. I had much greater than usual home, family, and work commitments and demands and it was impossible to put the time into this class (and my other two) that I needed to do.

This was going to be a really exciting week, since I was looking forward to getting into the nitty gritty of optimizing ad performance. Instead, I was forced to give it less attention than it deserves. What with Thanksgiving this coming week, and the visit with our son and his family, I’m just not sure how much time I’ll be able to put into making it up.

Such is life.

Oops. Lesson 9 reflections

Lesson Five Weekly Reflection

So, what is there to reflect upon when the lesson is on legal structures and licenses and taxes?

One thing that comes to mind is the difference in how much has to be done in order to create a business depending on where you live. I’ve been involved in starting businesses in multiple places in California and in South Carolina. In California, the process was much more difficult, took considerably longer, and cost significantly more. Where I live now in SC, I mail in a single sheet form to request a variance in the zoning laws to allow me to use my home for my business and fill out an online form to request a sales tax license. Once those have been given, I’m ready to go.

I once spent two weeks going back and forth between two different government agencies in California because they each said I needed to get something from the other agency before they would give me the license they provided. It was a Catch-22 situation and it was only after I begged one person to please just give me their license with a promise that I would come right back just as soon as I got the license from the other agency so they could put it in their records before I was able to move forward.

There’s an old saying that you’ll get less of the things you discourage and more of those things you encourage. We need to make it easy for people to start their own businesses if we want to have more growth.

Lesson Five Weekly Reflection

Lesson 4 Weekly Reflections

I was getting frustrated at all the up-front work we’re having to do with comparing all the various options and methods and such, and then I remembered an experience I had about 20 years ago.

Some friends got me involved in a project they were working on for writing some software related to their business. Because of some arrangements they had already made with some wholesalers, we were fairly well insured of making at least several hundred thousand dollars each when we got it done.

Unfortunately, even though I kept insisting that we needed to take the time up front to do some design work and compare some options, they could not be convinced that it would save time in the long run and they had already gotten behind schedule so I had to just move forward with things the way the had planned them.

It was a situation of one screeching halt after another as we found that this or that wouldn’t work with the way they “designed” it. After starting from scratch multiple times the whole thing eventually fell apart and was never completed.

It gave a new appreciation for doing the work before doing the work.

Lesson 4 Weekly Reflections

Choosing a product, site builder and hosting provider

Before this class started, I knew what I wanted to do for my web business. Suddenly, I have to brainstorm up 20 different possibilities and then do analysis to determine how well each of them would do with a Google AdWords campaign. That’s okay, I already had a few other options tucked away. Coming up with all the rest was a little difficult, and then figuring out what keywords to use for each added to it.

I was shocked at how many times my choices for keywords resulted in almost no results. Surely there were people using my keywords in searches, but apparently not. Lots of clicking later and I was rather surprised at which options did well. I guess that’s one of the reasons we had to go through that. It’s surprising at how well some ideas and keywords will do, both because they did so well and also because some did so poorly.

Choosing a product, site builder and hosting provider