A Day in the Life of JonnyQ888

A Day in the Life of JonnyQ888

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Semi-Day Off

Yeah, I took a semi-day off today. Did a few link exchanges and that was essentially it. I'm trying not to get burned out but it can be tough. So far, I have not been able to maintain my goal that I talked about in an earlier post. With only a few hours left in the month, I only need a little bit to push me over the edge but I don't see it happening. So close.

I have the idea for #4. It will be a seasonal site so if I work on it right after #3, it will be semi-mature (today is the day of the "semi" prefix) by Spring time.

#2 is indexed in Yahoo, but I am losing faith in them. Not only did they index my site but they indexed pages in folders that have no links on the site. Basically folders with preliminary pages that are worthless now. Sigh. The home page is indexed in Google but only that page.

I am preparing for hiring my content writers. It will be great to have the sites updated without me having to sit down and write an article to do it. Can't wait. I have decided that for at least one year, every penny The Business makes gets reinvested. Every cent. It will build on itself, making itself stronger until it is ready to do what it is really meant to do........buy real estate.




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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Link Exchanging for #2

I was able to do 5 exchange requests today. Four of them are already up; 1 PR0, 2 PR3s and 1 PR4. Pretty good I think. The PR4 has a bunch of inbound links of course and I will be harvesting some of those to help boost #2.

Project A
I was able to add probably 25-30 new adgroups today. I'm about to get back at it after I finish this post. More keywords is the name of the game. I am also considering some of the more contested words instead of just the "sidesteppers" most people don't consider. We will see.

That's all for now. This coming week will be devoted to a home theater article and major link exchanging for both sites before I shift over to #3. At this rate, I may be able to get my 5 sites this year. $1k/month for the home theater site will be a major stretch but we will see how the Business as a whole does.




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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Project: A

The RSS for #2 is finished. I have found a couple people to link to me so things are starting to roll in that direction. Something about #2 looks funny and I suspect it is the Adsense. I will have to change things up a bit so that the site doesn't feel so cluttered.

Wrote my first article for the home theater site in a long time. I get 2-3 home theater questions a week at the site and this article on using HDMI as a Digital Video-Only cable was inspired by one of my first questions. I have emailed the guy and asked if he would mind me putting his name on the page saying thanks for inspiring the article. We will see what he says. Tried Value Exchange for the home theater site but it was completely worthless today. Only one potential link partner out of probably 50 listed.

Project: A
That is the name I have given to the Adwords revamp I am going through right now. It is named after the Adwords Team member who has been helping me for a couple weeks with various issues I have been having. With her help, over 100 keywords have been generated and new ads have been created that are leaps and bounds ahead of my poor attempts. I plan to continue the work and get my campaign where it should have been a month ago.




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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

First Breaths of #2

For all intents and purposes #2 is live. It's been a long road and there's still a lot that I need to tweak but it is ready for people. There are no affiliate links yet, part of a new strategy I am testing. The RSS is not up. I may do it tomorrow, I may wait until the weekend. The Adsense looks kind of funny in some places and there is something special that I want to do with the Adlinks.

I am tired and there's that emptiness after the storm. I sat here for an hour or two and didn't know what to do. The site was up. Now that I think about it, I could have put up the home theater article I wrote today but at the time I was lost in the void. It will pass soon enough.

I am going to give myself a few days to recoup before working hard on #3. With the lessons from #2, #3 should be up faster. The main concern is with getting the content. Isn't it always?




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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Wanting #3

Working hard on #2. I was able to get some decent work on the email form today. It took a while but I was able to reverse engineer the php code I found and make it work for #2. I am now focused on getting the Adsense SSIed. This will help me change the ad layout on the entire site instantly. This way, I can test and see what works best.

While at work, I started to write down the stages of my monetary goals. I like the idea of basing it off of daily averages. It makes things hit home a little harder. "My site makes $suchandsuch/day whether I'm at my desk or taking a nap!" I can't wait for the day that I am gone for a weekend and come home to find that The Business has made as much per day as I would during my 8 1/2 hours on a workday. I will be sure to let all of you know when that happens. It is still a ways off.

I'm starting to get antsy about working on #3. I want to have 3 fully functioning sites by the end of August. I really want to make it by mid-August but I'm going to leave some room to be realistic. I just have to take it one day at a time.




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Monday, July 25, 2005

Impatience is a Virtue

It drives you to do crazy things. When this weekend was all said and done, I had 15 written and posted articles on site #2. All because I want this site up now. But impatience must be tempered, kept on the leash. When it gets out of control things get sloppy. I can feel my impatience slipping away from me. After this month's Adsense, I can't wait to get more sites up and running. The last thing I need to do is go live with a site before it is ready. I learned that the hard way already.

I was able to get the site map finished, setup the email account for the site, and start the work with Linkmachine. Running into problems with it, which I knew would happen. I can't seem to get the permissions on my home directory to change. They keep switching back every time I make the attempt. It's just something that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Real Estate:
I FINALLY contacted a loan officer on Friday. Just got an email from him. Looks like I qualify for $160k loan. Time to start looking at duplexes.




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Sunday, July 24, 2005

So Tired...

I just finished a workout so I am drained and starving. This will be quick. Wrote and published 4 more articles today and still had time for my Sunday nap. #2 is coming along nicely. I honestly can't say for sure how many pages I've put up since Friday but it's been a lot. After I get everything set and ready for traffic, then I will put in the Adsense. That will be the final step before it is ready for traffic.

Speaking of Adsense, I hit my first goal today with it. I can't say what this is because it relates to my averages and revealing that is against the TOS. Just be happy for me even if you don't know what the goal was=)




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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Site #2 Continues to Grow

I lost count of the number of pages I added to #2 today. It was between 2 and 6 including an entirely new category. I will probably take a little break and try to pull off two more articles tonight. I really want to get the site up and traffic flowing to it. I'm starting to have my doubts about how well it will do. I need to be prepared for it to take longer for this site to start showing signs of progress like the home theater site. The area it is in is incredibly competitive. We will see. For a young site, the home theater one is doing incredibly well. At this rate of growth, it should not be too long before I get my first Adsense check. I'm a fan of that.

This brings me to #3. Starting out, I think #3 could do better than #2 simply because there is far less competition in it's niche. #3 will be able to achieve higher search engine rankings faster than #2. This is another reason for my desire to get #2 up and running. The sooner I do, the sooner #3 can get out there and start claiming it's piece of the e-commerce pie. That's all for today.




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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Adsense is a BEAST

Today has been crazy. Adsense just exploded and has broken records in every category. It even beat the day after I was placed on the 1st page of Google. StatCounter, which I no longer trust, claims that I had 57 visitors today. ...I don't believe it. I will have to wait until tomorrow to download the logs and see what really happened. Needless to say, I am happy though.

#2
I was able to get 2 more articles up today. I didn't realize that I had written so many beforehand. I need a minimum of 6 more before the site is ready for traffic. I will probably hold out for a total of 20 articles, bring it live, and switch to #3. I am excited about #3. It's in an area that I don't know much about and I think the graphics are my best to date. #3 also has a different approach than the home theater site. It will sell small, cheaper items that I am hoping to get volume on. This is in contrast to the high ticket stuff of the home theater site. #2 is a whole different breed of cat. There will be things that are sold on it but that will not be it's main source of revenue. ...#2 can become a beast if I do things right. That thought tickles me.




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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here Comes the Content

I was able to get 3 article pages up today. They are still pretty rough and do not have the necessary links up but they are there. I'm shooting for 10-20 articles before I shift focus to getting #3 up and running. After I have 2 and 3 up, I will be able to alternate writing articles for each of the three sites. It'll keep things from becoming monotonous since each is in completely different markets. If I can get 30-50 articles on the new sites by the next PR update, I think things will go well for them. The home theater site is sitting at around 45-48 right now.

At this rate, I'm starting to think that 5-6 sites this year would be a more realistic goal than my original goal of 8. I have to say that there are a couple mini-sites that I'm considering but those are not counted in amongst the 5-6. They are sites but they are not nearly as time intensive so I do not count them in the goal.

It's time to start looking to outsource article writing. Every month, I put away $150 for the business. It has bought Stomp the Search Engines (which went back yesterday), domains, hosting, Adwords advertising, and soon a new monitor. Sounds like a lot but it really isn't. I have not been putting that money to work like I should. By outsourcing some of the grunt work, I will be able to build bigger sites faster. This equals more money. I need to shift my thinking into being more concerned with ROI (return on investment) and start using this money to make more money...




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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bring Out the Content!

All of the initial category pages are complete. I may add one more depending on how many articles I can get for that section. The only thing remaining for the skeleton of the site are the site map, links page, and add url page. The last two will be taken care of by linkmachine. I won't do the site map until I have articles up and in place.

I have to say something about PageRank. It matters. While Google may not put as much weight into it as they once did, it matters for another reason. It matters because people believe it matters. It drives them to blow off those without any PR while placating those who do have it. PR is a commodity and those who have it have power.

Perfect example. Over a month ago, I was on Value Exchange looking for people to exchange links with. There was one site in particular that I wanted to do an exchange with. I never received a response. Last night I get a link exchange request and guess who it is, the same guy who didn't even respond to me a month ago. What changed? My link page is now a PR 3. He was the second one in 3 days. With the PR 3, people are now coming to me asking to exchange links. All this because people have placed value on the little green meter. PR is a commodity and I, for one, am glad that it's there.




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Monday, July 18, 2005

Two for Two

Two more category pages up for #2. I also did some tweaking of the CSS to make things a little easier to read on the site. I love CSS. Site wide changes with the press of ctrl+s.

I'm glad that I have been setting aside money for the business every month. It is still an infant and isn't ready yet to fend for itself. I need a new monitor and the money that I've set aside is going to get it for me. I had been considering a flat screen but everything I've read has said that they still aren't up to par with CRTs if you do a lot of graphic design or movie watching. I'll go take a look sometime soon but if they are right, that counts me doubly out.

I also need a PHP book. It is time to expand my knowledge and PHP is where its going next. PHP will let me do things with databases, which will come in handy in the future. This is especially true with pay-per-lead programs. PHP will also allow me to track the exact page a person jumped from before they made a purchase. This will take the blinders off in that area. Every other aspect of this business I can track right now except which pages are getting the affiliate clicks. If I can find out which ones get the clicks, I can replicate the format throughout the site. Enter the PHP. I'm thinking about going with the same publisher as the HTML book. It has served me very well and I continually reference it. Hopefully, their PHP book is just as good.




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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Two More Pages Up for #2

I was able to get a makeshift home page and one category page up today. I say makeshift because it's very short and it needs bulk. I will come up with more to say later and add it. I won't make it forever long like the home theater site home page but it's more than a little emaciated as it is. I like to have the category pages like short articles about the articles in that category. I have had more than a few visitors land on the category pages by doing it in this manner on the home theater site. Doing it this way also takes longer so I was only able to get one up today.

StatCounter is all screwed up these days. Not only are my stats off, but just logging in is a hassle now. I hope they fix it soon.




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Saturday, July 16, 2005

And the Insanity Continues...

My stats have been crazy for the last few days. Adwords says that I have people clicking on my ads, but they do not show up on my site stats. Places that were sending me regular traffic like this blog and my articles weren't sending me any traffic. I am still trying to find the source of all of the craziness. I just redid all of the StatCounter codes on the entire site. We will see if that does anything. Some good news, the site has beaten the highest record for clicks in a month and there is still half a month to go. Hopefully this traffic thing can be sorted out and Adsense will continue to do well.

This craziness has distracted me from my new sites. The host says that new domains will have their own directory so that is good. Unfortunately, I have to use the .shtml extention for the SSI to work on this host. I am trying to write the home page as we speak. This is a VERY competitive area; makes home theater look like child's play. I did a little bit of free Wordtracker to find a keyword phrase to focus the home page on. I have a few articles that I wrote this week at work that I need to turn into actual pages. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better for work.

Oh, jonnyq888.blogspot.com rose to PR 4 while www.jonnyq8....blahblah is still a 3. The home theater site pulled a 2 on the home page but 3's on almost every other page. The PR 3 on the links page should make it easier to get more links. Always a good thing.




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Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Week Needs to End

Rough week. Anyway, I wrote an article today at work. I should be able to fit in at least one more tomorrow. I was also able to upload some files to the host today. There are 3 pages up for #2. They are SSIed and everything. More to come soon.

Can't say that I am too impressed with the host yet. While I am extraordinarily cantankerous this week, I find the interface to be a bit cumbersome. I'm also starting to see that hosting multiple sites is going to present a challenge, in the very least. From what I can tell, they only give you one directory. All the files and pages for multiple sites will be lumped into this one location. While that won't be a problem for most of the pages since they will be in specific folders, the top level pages like the home page and contact will all be in one spot. I can see bad things coming from that. Hopefully I am wrong and there is a way to have separate directories for each domain.

I realized today that there is no way that I would be able to get 8 quality sites up by the end of the year. (At least not content sites and with Google's crackdown on affiliates, content seems to be the way to go.) Even with the Universal Template, I don't think I will get to 8. I am still going to make the attempt, though.




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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

=(

This will be short. I'm not really in the mood to write or do much work today. The leak that turned my living room into a carpet swamp has been taken care of and you'd never know if you walked in today. However, my DVD case got wet and is starting to warp. I love that DVD case (those who know me know that DVDs are one of only 2 addictions I have). They don't make this style case anymore. This one is full and I've been looking for months trying to find another one to match it. Now the one that I do have is damaged...

I was able to write an article for #2 today. I realized that writing for #3 will be hard because I know nothing on the subject. I chose it because it's interesting and there's little competition in the area. I guess I'll be learning something new.

Sorry this was so short.




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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Template #3 is Complete

Three posts in one day. I've made great strides so who cares how many times I post. The latest, the template for site #3 is finished. All that needs to be done is a quick change in colors for the header tags in the CSS and it is ready for content. Being objective and overlooking my love for home theater and my very first site, this design is probably the best yet. It captures the clean look I've been trying to achieve this whole time and the graphics, while serendipitous in their design, are far better than either the home theater site or #2.

I also changed template #2. I removed a column to make it 2 rather than 3. The 3 column design was way too cramped for the text to have adequate space. It looks much better now, this change was also incorporated into #3.

That's all for today...I think.




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Banner #3 is Complete!

Yes, after who knows how long of trying to get it right I finally did it. And by accident no less. Now I can make the changes in the CSS file and #3 will be ready to create pages for.

And a shout out goes to Nikki. She posted a comment yesterday that was just what I was looking for with Wordtracker. Thanks, Nikki.




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There has been a shift in the Para Dig 'Em

That's "paradigm" for you educated individuals out there. Don't ask why I'm home from work. It's a trageic tale of leaking pipes and waterlogged carpets. The point is I used my time away from work to do the image overhaul to the site. With the help of CuteFTP, it took no time at all. No time being about 2 hours but it was far better than that 5 I was predicting. The site is slim and trim now. In fact, I'd say it looks better now. Clean shaven if you will.

Originally, the site was loading in 22+ seconds for a 56k modem. This weekend's overhaul got that down to just over 19 I believe. Today's overhaul has the home page loading in 3.76 seconds for the same 56k modem! Blazin' fast! We will see what, if any effect this will have on how long people stay on site. I may update later today, I may not. Only time will tell.




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Monday, July 11, 2005

Of Lessons and Epiphanies

This morning, I was getting ready for work and thinking about the home theater site. On any given day, between 40 and 65% of the people who come to the site leave within 5 seconds. Before this weekend, I just thought that was the way things were. People come, they see that it's not what they were looking for and they leave. Now I realize that they are probably leaving before the home page even loads. I was trying to think of how I could optimize the site without making the graphics look completely terrible. On Sunday, I went through each and every one of the images that are part of the template and reduced their quality. They were as low as I could get them, what can I do now?

Enter the Epiphany. Get rid of them. While I'll keep the banner and the navigation button in the right sidebar, all of the buttons along the top can be eliminated. The navigation on the right is all people need to get around the site. As it stands, the basic graphics (banner, buttons, etc.) are 73.01 kb. If I were to get rid of the menu bar entirely, it would drop to 26.3 kb. That's just over 1/3 of what it is now. That would make a massive difference in load time. You're either an asset or you're a liability, and I can't abide liabilities. The menu bar has to go.

Enter the Lesson. Those of you who have read the blog for awhile will remember the Odyssey that was the SSI overhaul. You may also remember that I gave up on trying to get the header graphics into an SSI file after hours of trying. If I had stuck with it, removing the menu bar would take less than 5 minutes for the entire site. The site has grown considerably since then. Now, I have to go through each and every page to remove the graphics... You either pay now or you pay later, people. Just remember that later, you'll get charged interest.




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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Shut Up & Do It

Sometimes it's just that simple. After I finally stopped complaining about my keywords not being organized, it actually got done. That's for both sites. While manually inputting each of the 800+ cells sucked, it was necessary. Besides, I don't have to like it; I just have to do it.

I spent the next few hours trying to optimize the images on the home theater site. I am certain that the big images were the biggest contribution to people "bailing out" before any time could be logged in StatCounter. Prior to the optimization, the load time for the home page according to SiteReportCard for a 56k modem would be 20+ seconds. I was able to shave it down to just over 14 seconds. Still too long but the only way I could get it any shorter would require changing all of the jpgs for the banner and buttons to gifs. Not only would this require changing it on every page of the site, the drop in quality is significant. This is especially noticable with text. The gifs are 1/3 the size of the jpgs. Sigh....

The problem lies in my need for everything to be perfect. The images on the site have less quality than I would like them to have since this first optimization sweep. I guess it's a trade-off between looking good and being accessible to the masses. Well, at least until more people abandon dial-up. Maybe StatCounter has a portion that tells the speed of the visitor's connection. This will give me a better idea of whether I should do the overhaul or not. I need to make sure that the images for the new sites are slim and trim from the get-go.

I bought the hosting for sites #2 and 3 yesterday. Not sure if I mentioned that before or not. The host allows UNLIMITED domains. This means I can make many sites without inflating my expenses by much. Always good.




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Saturday, July 09, 2005

I Hate Research

It's been months since I've gone through the process of developing a list of keywords for my articles. I had forgotten just how tedious it is. Wordtracker is much faster than the way I did it the first time but I was unable to get my lists to export into Excel in the manner I wanted. All of the information pertaining to a keyword such as competing sites, searches, etc is lumped into a single cell. This makes it impossible to arrange the list by a specific category on the fly. The only way I could find to get this to work properly is to enter the data into each cell manually. If someone knows how to get Wordtracker to do this for me, please let me know. I can't wait until the day that I'm making enough money to pay someone to do this grunt work for me.

The home theater site is doing well for one so young. I recently added more adsense to the homepage. Initially, I didn't put any in the body of the text because I wanted people to venture further into the site. Foolish. You make money where you can and sense I haven't made any sales yet, adsense is the focus at the moment. That said, the most popular page on the site should have ads, don't you think?




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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Keeping it Short

A storm is rolling in so I'll have to keep this short. The header of #3 is putting up a vicious fight. It absolutely refuses to be created. I looked around for inspiration. Nothing. The other sites in this category are so amateurish looking it's sad. I was surprised none of them had the scrolling marquee. Earlier posts will clue you in on how I feel about those. Anyway, lightning is flashing and thunder is yelling at me so I better go.




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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Out of the Slump!

I'm getting work accomplished like a mad man. Finally.

Home theater site
Changes I've made for Adwords seem to be working. 27% of the people that reach the landing page actually stay for a measurable amount of time. This is in contrast to the <5% from before this weekend's alterations. This coming weekend, I will see what I can do to drop the loadtimes for the pages. As it stands, the site takes awhile to load and I think that could be part of the reason people leave the landing page so quickly; the page takes too long to load and they bail out.
Site #2
The SSI portions have been cut from the template and are working as they should. I created the privacy policy, contact, and terms of service pages. I will have to wait until I have hosting to do the link and add your url pages. I have the domain already, I just need to pay for hosting.

Site #3
After I finish writing this entry, I will go back and work on the header for #3. Once the header is finished, I can choose the colors and make the necessary alterations to the Universal Template (as it will from now on be called) through CSS. I'd like to have the alterations finished so that I can work side by side with #2 and get both up and running at the same time. Speed and efficiency are what I am about. I have 2 domains for this site already. After some remarks from Tara, I've decided that the original domain was misleading and would have people believe that the products were MINE and not the merchant's. So I will probably auction the domain off. I have found a website that does that kind of thing.




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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

First Pages on Site #2

I was able to put two of the article I wrote for the new site into the template today. It doesn't look half bad once there is text in there. I think I may take the site live once I have 10 articles written. I'm impatient and there are some things that just don't show up until the site is actually on the internet. I'm hoping to have both of the new sites up by the end of the month. Shouldn't be too tough. The home theater site will have to be put on hold for awhile. During this time of building new sites, I will pretty much just do link exchanges for it. I'm not sure how that will effect my rankings since having new content on a regular basis is one of the factors search engines look at. As much as I don't want to, I may start getting articles from directories for the home theater site just to keep things updated. It's my first site and I'm a bit apprehensive about putting other people's articles on it.

I've decided on the colors for #3 (the new sites will now just have numbers). Up until now, the interchangeability of the template was only conceptual. Within the next few days, I will be testing it for real. Interchangeable parts made things faster and more efficient for Eli Whitney, we will see if I can pull off the same magic.




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Monday, July 04, 2005

More Productive Than the Average Ant....

That's right, I was the picture of productivity today. I was able to write a new article for the home theater site as well as do a lot of Wordtracker. Can't say I like Wordtracker but it's a necessary evil. One good thing though, it led me to shift my focus for my 3rd site. While looking for keywords, I stumbled upon a niche that will work far better than my original idea. In fact, the two are related closely enough that I would be able to make a small network of sites, maybe 3-4, that I could create a single newsletter and include topics from each. I'll go into greater detail on this as things start to solidify.

I made a few changes to my Adwords account. Volume is one of the problems that is plaguing the campaign. I'm just not getting enough exposure. I need thousands of keywords, literally. I tried to use Wordtracker to find some but the focus of my article is so tight that I really could not find many new words.




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Sunday, July 03, 2005

New Template is Finished!

That's right, the template is finished! Now I need to cut the SSI parts out. I will wait until I get hosting to do that. Some hosts require that SSI pages have a .shtml extention while others will work with .html.

The CSS is the key to this template. There is so much more in my CSS file this time around than with the home theater site. This will give me the ability to change the header and some parameters in the CSS file and the template will be ready for a different topic site. That's the kind of flexibility and efficiency I've been looking for. More later....




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Saturday, July 02, 2005

On the Cusp

I'm close to completing the template. The basic structure is close to finished, I just need to clean things up. After I have the basics designed, then I can cut and paste the portions that go into the SSI files. The only thing that won't SSIed, for a lack of a better term, will be the actual articles. This will give me far more flexibility in making sweeping changes, something that is incredibly difficult with the home theater site. For those of you making your own sites, use SSI because it will save you a million headaches down the line.

The template needs a header. It looks like I'm going to have to break down and buy a picture for it. I'm hoping that the header will start to really make the template look better. Right now, it's still kind of plain. I need to get someone to take a look at it and see what it needs.

After the template is finished, I will just need to change the header and the colors a bit to make it ready for the 3rd site. I am going to attempt working on both at the same time, as I stated before. I'm not sure how many articles I will have up for each before they go live or even what the articles will be. Tomorrow is the day of the Wordtracker. Actually going to pay for it this time instead of the trial. Ooooooo.




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