Archive for the ‘starting out’ Category
I won a ticket to London Startup Weekend. Squee! :) It’s a weekend-long event where people gather to pitch ideas, then break off into groups and build them over the weekend. I’m still not a coder, and I’m still crap and graphic design, so I’ve dug out an old notebook and will be carrying it around with me for the next two weeks, writing down business ideas. I might even pitch one or two of them. Depends on the vibe in the room. Failing that, I might focus on UI design and marketing the hell out of whatever it is we build. Having been bored out of my skull on every one of the social marketing seminars I attended at Internet World, I reckon I know quite a lot about this social media stuff.
It’s the same weekend as Launch48, which is rather unfortunate for somebody. However, Startup Weekend is in Southbank, where Launch48 is in Richmond. OTOH, the Richmond office is where GameCamp was held, and I know for a fact that they have FatBoy beanbags there. Startup Weekend makes no mention of creature comforts. I shall ask them if I need to bring a pillow.
As for me, I’m getting much more comfortable with this meatspace networking malarky over the past couple of years. Not only has my day job forced me to talk to lots of people all the time, I ran a session at GameCamp 2 (London), I chatted to random strangers this year at The Stylist Network and Internet World. I can totally do this.
This graph makes me happy :)
None of those Friday visitors are me and one person is responsible for 27 of the pageloads. It’s nice to know that some one finds the site useful.
(Or, y’know, they’re showing it to their friends going “OMG, I can’t believe someone would make such an ugly site. Look at this. Look at this!” )
I’m choosing to believe the former ;)
I have lost my way. Again.
So far there are 8 items of food published on OneServing. I have about 5 decent photos sitting on my laptop, which makes 13 when I post them. My launch target is 50, so there’s quite a way to go.
I have set myself some milestones. I can’t be bothered with full-on project planning at this stage, so they’re on Ta-Da Lists. One Serving: Getting the First 50 Items
Why I am so far behind
- Laziness – It’s easier to just hang out at my boyfriend’s or play games than do work.
- Inexperience – I’m not an experience graphics manipulator by means, so taking and processing the photos is incredibly hard work for me.
- Lack of info – I buy whatever fruit, vegetables or seeds I see in the supermarket that appeal to me. Then I find out that there doesn’t seem to be an official Glycaemic Index for them. Not too sure what to do about that. Will probably use substitutes (disclosed, of course) and wait for someone to correct me.
I was bad. I missed my weekly update for the past couple of weeks. Here’s what’s been happening:
- Took a bunch of food photos
- Posted 6 fruit and veg posts
- Added Glycaemic Load
- Added Calories
- Dropped foodquote
- Changed the style of the food info box based on feedback – apparently it was “threatening”
- Talked to a graphic designer mate about getting a proper logo
- Added a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England and Wales licence
- Worried needlessly about a replacement for Gravatar
So lots of little things. Add them up and I now have a fully operational almost-stylish food info site! :) Pity Google seems to indexing everything BUT the individual food info pages. Must look into that.
I was originally going for a very simple approach to nutrition – eat the right portion sizes from the right food groups and you should be reasonably healthy. My sister convinced me to add calories and glycaemic index. I think she’s probably right that people are used to calories – may as well give them all the info at once. Glycaemic index is another matter. It seemed a bit faddish but is supposed to be very sound advice. I’m keeping it for now. Must do more background reading to make sure it’s ethically okay. It certainly seems to be.
Foodquote – whe I first designed everything, the food info boxes looked a little empty. I had planned to find interesting, amusing or informative quotes for every food. Turns out it’s a lot harder than you’d think to find short literary passages on the subject of cherry tomatoes. Not only that, the information section is now rather full with the addition of calories and GL. For the moment, I have deemed the foodquote unneccessary.
Looks like I won’t need to search for some other solution after all. Freaking sweet! :)
Seems that Automattic are aligning the planets for my startup these past 6 months. I needed tags for One Serving – hey presto, tags were available in the next version of WordPress. I needed simple, reliable, hosted avatars – ta-daa! Here they are. I need millions of pounds to be waiting for me when I get home tonight…
I am switching hosts for OneServing. Best to get this out of the way earlier than later. The site is down at the moment until I verify that everything is working on the new host. I’ll do that tonight and then switch the DNS servers over. Everything should be peachy tomorrow.
I originally went with MediaTemple because I wanted to check out their crazy grid server thing. I did this over my better judgement – 9rules runs on MediaTemple and it is, to be blunt, one slow-ass site. I thought it might just be their setup – pulling lots of feeds and a large userbase.
Nope. MediaTemple are just slow. Managing OneServing was a lot slower and more frustrating then The Average Gamer. Maybe it was due to The Average Gamer being hosted in the UK (where I am) and OneServing being in the US. Nope, that’s not it. Check out these stats from Google Webmaster tools:
Googlebot activity in the last 90 days
Time spent downloading a page (in milliseconds):
|The Average Gamer||897||775||638|
As you can see, OneServing is generally slower and also less consistent. I’ve experienced this and it’s annoying. We don’t even have any traffic yet. I’m switching to LiquidWeb for no other reason that Dooce uses them and her site seems pretty fast and reliable.
Sure, there are probably more number-crunchy and informed ways to choose a service provider. But this one seems to work.
Edit: I use United Hosting for The Average Gamer. I’m very happy with them so far. I just don’t want all my sites hosted with the same people right now.
Hooray, WordPress 2.3 came out! And tags are usable, but by no means ideal. No matter, I managed to do what I need to do.
Made a shitload of progress this week.
- Upgraded to WordPress 2.3
- Rolled out my basic design
- Got basic functional categories and tags working
- Fixed a bunch of stuff that wasn’t working in IE7
- Put up a couple of informative posts
- Processed a bunch of images
- Learned a bunch about Glycaemic Load
- Added Gravatars
- Added the sitemap
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Got the secondary loop working with tags
Does anyone use Gravatars? I like the idea, but the reliability seems a bit iffy. I’m supporting them for now but will keep my eyes open if there’s an alternative. One that doesn’t involve hosting the pics myself, I mean. Between moderating the new site, The Average Gamer and my day job, I really don’t have time to vet user images. I like the rating system in place on Gravatars.
As for the site itself, it’s up at OneServing.com. The idea is to show people what one serving of each food looks like, and its nutritional value. That way, when you’re later eating a Big Mac you can look at the amount of lettuce and go “Hey, half a serving of lettuce. Only need to eat 14 more of these today and I’ll be on my way to a healthy diet.”
The bit about the “secondary loop” – the idea is that people can also submit their own food tips on each food page. For example, you’re looking at a serving of cherry tomatoes. You think “Hey, I think cherry tomatoes are fantastic in a grilled cheese sandwich”. You can sign up with the site and let the world know your tip for grilled cheese and cherry tomato sandwiches. Tag it with “cherry tomatoes”. Everyone who then looks up one serving of cherry tomatoes will see your idea displayed below. If you’re signed up with gravatars, they’ll also see your picture.
That functionality isn’t available yet. It probably will be by this time next week. In the meantime, see what’s in one serving of cherry tomatoes.
Not many noticable changes this week. Cleaned up the template code, sorted out the sidebar (adbar) and removed all the development “helpers” – things like ugly orange borders around containers so that I can see why things are appearing in strange places.
Also set up the colour schemes and channels for Google AdSense – I’m using AdSense as a placeholder until the website generates enough traffic to sign up to affiliate programs and sell ads directly.
Didn’t want to do too much as WordPress 2.3 is due out today. I’d be very annoyed if I spend ages hacking something together only to find out that it’s already available out-of-the-box in 2.3. Spent enough time on that with tags, thankyouverymuch.
Hope WP2.3 does come out today. I want to get my layout up and running ASAP.
Not much progress this week – I broke the adserver on The Average Gamer last week and spent most of my free time trying to fix it. All finally done today. Turns out OpenAds 2.4 isn’t an obvious improvement from the 2.0.x I was using previously. Arse.
On the other hand, the experience of reinstalling OpenAds was directly relevant to my new site. I also found some time to research a bit of food info and take some photos. The week wasn’t a total loss.