Denne artikel skrev jeg for at promovere mit carlsencards.com website. Den blev publiceret på adskillige artikel-websites. Meget har dog ændret sig siden, så informationerne er ikke helt up to date!
Before you read this article: I'm not an expert - this is just a short (and hopefully amusing) account of my own experiences with starting up a website! I WILL however give you some very useful links to the real experts at the end of this article BUT DON'T SKIP TO THE END JUST YET! I still have a lot of funny, insightful and useful information to give you : D
About 8 months ago I got a great idea! I'M GONNA MAKE A WEBSITE WITH FLASH GREETING CARDS THAT PEOPLE CAN SEND TO ALL THEIR FRIENDS!!! No, I did not think that I was the first person to get this idea. I'm not THAT naïve. However I was naïve in a lot of other ways about what it takes to build a website – but I will get to that later.
Anywho, I thought this was a great idea for ME; I love making little animations in Flash, I love thinking up little stories, I love working for myself (as opposed to working for a boss - but you can read about that on my website!), and I thought it would be really cool to have a website that people from all over the world would visit and use. WOW! Sort of my 15 minutes of fame, I guess. AND if somewhere down the line I could make just a liiiiiiiittle money on it; GREAT! And I'm not talking millionaire money, just enough to cover my expenses. Okay okay, and maybe a liiiiiiittle bit more than that : ) Being able to afford red wine in bottles instead of cartons would be nice.
I started working on ideas (had lots of those) for ecards and then I started making the very first card (that I intended to send to my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary as a "test" to see if other people would think my cards were as funny as I did). Then a funny thing happened (no, not on the way to the Forum); my mother (who has absolutely no knowledge of the Internet or ecard websites or anything of an electronic nature and who knew NOTHING of my idea of starting my own ecard website) had cut out an article from their newspaper for me. It was the (success) story of a British artist, Jacquie Lawson, who at the tender age of 57 created an interactive flash Christmas ecard and emailed it to her friends and yada yada yada now has a VERY profitable subscription-based ecard website. And we're talking MILLIONS OF DOLLARS here, folks!
I thought: "MY GOD! THIS IS A SIGN! This must be what I'm put on this planet to do! It's my CALLING!" You see, my mom has NEVER EVER given me any newspaper clippings about ANYTHING before, so why now, why about this? MUST be a sign. I'm not a religious or superstitious person, but this was just a little too much to be coincidental, I decided! So I kept working my lower-part-of-my-body (no, not my legs!) off. I finished the first card JUST in time for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary and emailed it to them on the morning of their big day. It was a big success : ) It was a card with two bored, cats picking their noses (I know! It doesn't really sound like the kind of card you would send to your parents on their 50th wedding anniversary, but - what can I say? It worked great!). I have later changed the message to Happy Birthday.
So wanting to be serious about the whole thing, I needed a domain and I decided on the name carlsencards(.com) and purchased the domain. All the great keyword stuffed URLs were of course taken (always good to have your most important keywords in your URL!). So I thought I might as well promote my name a little. If that was a wise decision I still don't know - jury's still out on that one. Then again, who would have ever thought that "yahoo" or "google" were great names for websites?! I rest my case. But here is the first lesson to be learned; CHOOSE A LESS COMPETITIVE MARKET IF YOU CAN! Not something like... say; ECARDS! Search for "ecards" and you'll get 34,500,000 results in google! Good luck getting to the top of THAT list! I don't want to state the obvious, but... I do anyway; it's also a good idea to choose a product, a service or a theme you are interested in yourself and LIKE working with.
For the next 6 months I worked on my site. Every weekend, holiday and vacation I got up around 6am so that I could get to work on my BIG IMPORTANT PROJECT! I had decided that 20 cards would be enough to launch the site. This ecards site is all about QUALITY not quantity, you see. I put a lot of work into each card; first the story, then drawing and animating, then composing and recording the music and sound effects, and finally putting the card on my site. A card takes 2-4 days to make, so it took me about 6 months to complete the 20 cards I thought would be enough for starters.
I intended to keep making cards after the big, GRAND opening, so the site would continue to grow and my users ("my users" - Oh, I like saying that: MY USERS! I have USERS!) would have new cards to send every time they visited my site. And - for your information - I still make cards. Every free minute I have is spent working on my ecard website. But I like it.
And here's another lesson to be learned (but I already knew that); people expect websites to change, be updated and grow ALL THE TIME. It's like children! You can't just have a baby and then expect it to grow up all by itself. Or so I've heard. I don't have children myself. Not the human kind, anyway! Only the furry, four legged kind with whiskers. But they need caring and looking after, too!
Then the big day arrived; I WAS READY TO LAUNCH MY SITE. And here's where I was REALLY naïve. I thought that all I had to do was send ecards to all my friends, and they would love the cards and find them utterly cute and funny and they would send cards to all THEIR friends who again would love my cards and send cards to... I think you get the picture.
Lesson to be learned: That happens like once in a blue moon. Or once in 10 blue moons. Okay it happened for Jacquie Lawson. It happens SOMETIMES in real life. But it certainly didn't happen in my real life. Only in my dreams!
Hmmmm, what to do, what to do... I definitely wasn't ready to give up just yet (another useful lesson: DON'T GIVE UP!). So I searched the Internet and found a site that listed free stuff of all kinds. Hey, I have free stuff on my site, maybe I can get them to link to my site. Wow, they were way ahead of me on that one; they actually had a button that said "Submit site". Great! I submitted my site, but - oh - what's that? "Reciprocal link" - what is that? Oh, so I have to link to you, and you'll link to me. Hmmmm, sort of I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. Oh, but that'll ruin my great design. There must be other ways.
Lesson number... I have lost count! Anyway, lesson to be learned; reciprocal linking is hard to avoid. I have later learned that one-way links are better, but to get things started and to get people to visit your wonderful site, it's a good idea to find sites that will link to you and generate some traffic. And so what if you have to put a couple of little buttons and text links on your site. So I exchanged links with a free stuff site, and - WOW - people OTHER than my 20 or so friends visited my site!
We're not talking several thousands a day. Actually not even hundreds. But around 60-80 a day, which is way better than 3-4. Now we're cooking. Yes, but the cooking started to slow down after a week or so. Okay, now what? I guess I just have to find a couple more sites to exchange links with.
So again I searched the Internet. Lo and behold, there are lots of sites that list free stuff out there! And to make a long, boring story a little shorter; I exchanged links with about a dozen free stuff sites and I did get a little traffic. But there must be other ways....
DIRECTORIES! There are (probably) hundreds of thousands of directories where you can get listed and most do not require a reciprocal link. Or a yearly fee to list your site. Again I spent hours researching and googling (I know google don't like us to use that word - to "google", but it's such a GOOD word) the words "free directory submit site". And if there was one thing I learned, it was that I STILL HAD A LOT TO LEARN ABOUT PROMOTING A WEBSITE!
SEO! What the hell is see-oh? Oh, it's S-E-O! Search Engine Optimization - still have no idea what that is. So I researched - isn't the Internet a wonderful invention? Oh my; keywords, href title tags, alt tags, text content, file names, keyword density... I thought I had done everything I needed to do in that department by just placing some nice keywords in the meta tags (you know; title, description and keywords)! But, noooooooooo, search engines don't care about that anymore. Now you have to put your keywords into all those other tags AND the content. And you have to choose your keywords VERY carefully (google has some nice tools that can help you research and find the right keywords - link at the end of the article). Aha! Wish I had known that BEFORE I started building my website. Another very useful lesson! I won't explain exactly how to do all this, but I'll give you some links to great sites, that explain this much better that I ever could. I just want you to know that this is something you have to do.
Okay, so that's it! NOW I'm all set to attract millions of visitors. Well, what's your pagerank, Martine? My what? My "pagerank"? Where can I get that? Can I buy it on ebay? Oh no, pagerank is something you EARN so to speak. But how? Get lots and lots of QUALITY inbound links - preferably one-way links (meaning that THEY show you theirs, but YOU don't have to show them yours! Well, actually THEY show everybody YOURS, but you don't have to... You know what I mean). Google likes that! And you do what google likes. Because most people find sites by searching google. And they seldom get past page 1 or 2 in the google results. So how DO you get to the top of google's search results?
Good question. Very good question. Very few people know a lot about that and a lot of people (like me) know very little about it. But people like me (who know just a little) have a good excuse, because IT'S A SECRET! Only the people who work for google - actually only SOME of those people REALLY know what google likes the most and thereby goes to the top of the list. And you know what? Doesn't pay to try to find out, because they CHANGE IT all the time!
Google uses something called algorithms to determine which sites to put on the top of the list (if you're interested you can find tons of information on that on the Internet). And they keep changing these algorithms. Yes, I think that's really sneaky, too. But it does serve a purpose. Otherwise clever - even more sneaky - webmasters would find out and take advantage of this knowledge and get THEIR websites to the top of the lists even though their sites are not the most relevant. See the point? So I guess that's okay. But it certainly doesn't make my life easier. I have to guess and try out different keywords and keyword placements and keyword density until I just give up and say "That'll do little piggy. That'll do!" That was a quote from "Babe", and if you're not familiar with that movie; RENT IT, BUY IT, SEE IT!
Another thing google likes, is a nice, simple sitemap. It makes google's job a lot easier. But that's no biggie, this site will do it for you: http://www.xml-sitemaps.com - and let's all give a big hand to xml-sitemaps.com for helping us out with that one.
So, to sum it all up:
- optimize you site (this is the SEO part) - doing this from the very beginning is a lot easier than after you have created 167 pages! I know from experience. And this includes making a sitemap.
- get lots of inbound (one-way) QUALITY links (that'll give you pagerank and a higher position on google's search results). Directories are good. But don't get them all at once; getting too many links too fast will seem like spam to google, and you don't want that to happen!
- get some links to your site that can generate some traffic (it's okay to reciprocate some links - I think!). And it'll be good for you self esteem to see that your site gets visitors that are NOT closely related to you : )
- and do what I'm doing right now; write funny/informative/useful articles and submit them to sites all over the Internet. And remember to include your name and URL : ) That's sort of the whole purpose of doing this. Not that I didn't write this article to amuse you. I did. Of course I did!
And finally - and this just might be the best and most important advice of all; STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE "Guaranteed 100,000 Visitors $15! Very Cheap Traffic" SITES! 100.000 unique visitors - YEAH, RIGHT! Don't do it! It's a scam, it's a waste of money and google doesn't like it! You may even get your site banned from google by doing that. I know it's tempting, but so is robbing a bank and getting $2 million in 4 minutes. But it doesn't pay in the long run.
So, I guess that's it. I hope you had fun reading about my experiences promoting my website. And I hope you learned a little as well. Good luck with your website!
And here' s the list of REALLY useful sites with REALLY useful information that I used (and still use) promoting MY website:
... so has my website become a great success with thousands of visitors every day? Well, my site is still very new, so it's too early to say. But I hope and I believe and most of all I still work hard on promoting my site and adding new cards every week! So who knows? Beware, Jacquie Lawson, there's a new kid in town!
Skrevet for at promovere min cafepress katteshop.
The facts and figures in this article may not be 100% accurate - I wasn't around to witness the history of the cat from the very beginning about 5000 years ago, so I've had to rely on various sources and my own imagination in equal parts.
Furthermore, it's not supposed to be totally accurate - just a humorous and hopefully entertaining look at the history of our most beloved pet: THE CAT!
Some 5000 years ago (recent studies say about 100.000 years ago, but who's counting) a smart - and hungry - African Wildcat somewhere in (what was then) Upper Egypt made a clever observation. "These strange and mysterious bipeds seem to be very fond of grain", he thought. "Biped collects lots of grain and keeps it in big baskets. Big baskets of grain attract lots of yummy mice! Biped doesn't seem to like mice in his grain! I think I'll adopt one of these strange bipeds and live in his house and EAT HIS MICE FOR HIM!"
And thus a mutually beneficial relationship between smart African cats and strange Egyptian bipeds began! And history was made.
Life in Egypt was good and the African cats enjoyed their newly discovered coexistence with human beings; the Egyptians liked cats, the pharaoh LOVED cats and there was plenty of food around, but still... So after having lived the good life in Egypt for about a thousand years or so, cats - being curious animals! - started wondering: "What is outside this country. Are we missing out on something?!"
One cat thought: "I would like to sit outside a temple with one paw raised, beckoning people to enter that holy place. That would be neat! My skills and talents would totally fit that job description". The cat told this to a Mediterranean merchant, who was in Egypt on a business trip, and the merchant said: "I know of such a place. I'll take you there". And the merchant brought the cat to Japan, where the cat found a nice-looking five stories pagoda temple with a beautiful garden.
The cat positioned himself outside the temple and raised his paw in a friendly manor to beckon passers-by to enter the temple, for that was now his job! The Japanese people had never seen anything like it, but they liked what they saw and they said: "This little animal has an air of holy mystery about him, this animal will bring us luck! We shall call this animal Maneki Neko and we shall make lots of little porcelain Maneki Neko figurines that we shall sell to tourist and make lots of money!...in about 4000 years."
A couple of elderly cats were so tired of the never-ending African heat and drought and told another visiting trader (in town to buy small pyramid replicas for his novelty shop in London), that they would like to go to a cooler and wetter climate. The trader, of course, brought them back to England. The English being... well, ENGLISH, said: "I say! What positively lovely little creatures. We shall take them in, feed them and breed them and have magnificent CAT SHOWS!" The whole cat show thing came much later of course (in 1871 to be precise), but, believe me, the idea was born the second the very first Englishman (or it might... it PROBABLY was an EnglishWOMAN) laid eyes on those cats.
But England wasn't the only European country where the Egyptian cats set paw. Around 2000 B.C. the cats of Egypt started a very successful worldwide marketing campaign, promoting their exceptional mouse and rat hunting skills. And it paid off! Soon cats were being invited to every European country, the Middle East and Asia, where they lived well and in harmony with the human bipeds for many, many years. But then something happened:
ENTER THE DARK AGES!...in the history of cats. Right after the end of the middle ages - beginning around 1550 and lasting about a century - the Christian church decided that cats were the source of all evil. Cats had always been associated with gods; in Egypt it was Bast, goddess of life and family and in the northern part of Europe it was Freya, who was always surrounded by cats. But these were not Christian gods, so cats now became "animala non grata". This was probably when the saying "curiosity killed the cat" entered the English vocabulary; "They wanted to see the world, and look where it got them!" Yes, curiosity did kill a lot of cats during these terrible times. Cats were hunted down, burned, drowned and hanged. And people who had the audacity to so much as look kindly at a cat, were deemed witches. And they were killed as well. This was NOT a good time to be a "crazy cat lady" in Europe!
During this time cats were also being blamed for spreading the plaque, when in fact it was the disease-carrying rats that managed to kill off almost half the European human population by spreading plagues and other epidemics. And as the humans had so efficiently killed off most of their cats, there were practically none left to kill the rats! That'll teach them to treat cats so disrespectfully!!!
But eventually things got better. The Europeans came to their long lost senses and realized that cats were actually good to have around! Less rats, no more plague and soon the former so beautiful and harmonic cat-human relationship made its come-back. And when the first European settlers came to America in 1600-something, they brought cats with them to THE NEW WORLD. Good thinking! Their cats kept their homes, farmhouses, henhouses, outhouses and doghouses rat and mice free. Well, maybe not doghouses!
Yes, the human bipeds truly rediscovered the value of cats. They took cats into their homes again and this time into their hearts as well. The cat became more than a useful little mousetrap, it became a PET.
And so cats - being cats - now started to claim their INDOOR territory; the couch, the best arm chair, the dining table, the bed, the lingerie drawer... in short: THE WHOLE HOUSE. And finally things were as they should be between cat and man.
5000 years ago the Egyptians worshipped cats and showed their admiration and respect by mummifying them after death and depicting them on vases, amulets, rings and inside tombs! Today we pay homage to cats by putting pictures of cats on coffee mugs, napkins, sofa pillows, mousepads, clocks, refrigerator magnets and t-shirts! And in a thousand years from now, I'm sure there will be an enormous image of a cat on our first spaceship to Mars.
Endnu en artikel skrevet for at promovere min cafepress katteshop. Den er bl.a. blevet publiceret på cats.about.com.
For us cats there are several sweet advantages in having a human as a pet. However, remember you are taking on a big responsibility when you adopt one or more humans. Humans are demanding pets that need daily care and attention.
With responsibility come both advantages and disadvantages. If you adopt a human, you must get used to spending time at home. Your human does not deal well with being left alone - they will get into all sorts of mischief. For example, if you are gone just two or three days you run the risk of seeing posters put up all over the neighborhood. Your human will put out an APB on you ! Often with an embarrassing text that reveals all sorts of personal details - and usually accompanied by an unflattering photo of you - with morning fur and crumpled whiskers. Exactly the kind of thing that attracts ridicule from all the neighbor cats.
So please consider carefully if you are ready for a life with humans. In addition, remember humans generally grow very old, so there is a big chance that you will spend the rest of your life with your human.
The litter box provides a great opportunity for entertaining your human. Naturally there is all the fun your human can have cleaning and scooping out the box. A lot of human time can also be used getting fresh litter - going to the pet store, transporting it home etc. However many humans like new challenges. Utilize your litter box time in the best possible way. Make interesting and artistic renderings of countries or well-known islands. Your human will have lots of fun guessing which one you made. Humans like game shows - so this should be a popular activity. When your human increases in skill, you can also make portraits of family and friends. Start with profile portraits - this will make it easer for your human.
Make it a priority to shed indoors on appropriate surfaces. Fleece is a particularly suitable material to shred on. All you need to do is pass close by your human when he or she is wearing fleece. All cat hair within a radius of 2 feet from the fabric will immediately be transferred to your human. No brushing necessary for several days ! Another good solution is to get access to a filled clothes hamper. Jump in and give all contents a good work over. An extra bonus with this method is that most cat hairs will survive a trip to the washing machine. Your human will be stylishly accessorized with cat hair on all outfits.
All chances for a bit of extra food must and should be taken advantage of. Whenever your human is in the kitchen, you have a prime opportunity of getting an extra snack. When your human is busy at the kitchen counter place yourself in your humans blind angle (just behind the ankle is usually a good spot). And the second your human moves one or both feet you jump back screaming your most heart-wrenching cry. Your human will automatically assume that he/she stepped on you. When your human looks back scared to see what is happening look up at him/her with a painful expression on your face (practice this before hand in front of a mirror). Your human's bad conscience will often result an edible apology.
Before you eat grass, make sure that you are close to a suitable place to throw up. Delicate furniture fabrics, precious carpets, and shoes are all good places. If you choose furniture: aim for the part that has non-removable fabric. When you are getting down to business, make sure you back up a step or two so that you cover the largest area possible. Another technique is to do several items with pauses in-between. Persian carpets will give a good camouflage effect and your little gift will often not be discovered until somebody steps in it.
One of the most important tasks we cats have is to prevent humans from wasting their time. Humans love to spend their time on things with no relevance for cats. For example watching TV, reading, talking on the phone - and many other things that have no entertainment value for us cats what so ever. Many methods are available to prevent human time waste - use your imagination. Some especially effective techniques will be mentioned here.
Watching TV; make sure that you always position yourself between the TV and your human. On the coffee table for example. You can also lie on the TV and let you tail or paws swing down in front of the screen. This method is most effective with small screens where you can cover a large percentage of the screen. It is a bit trickier with a flat screen - and only recommended for the agile kitty. A variation can be used with a computer screen. Flat screens often leave a lot of empty space on the desk - so just get up in front - remind your human of how wonderful you are.
Cleaning; stalk the vacuum cleaner and attack when it passes by. You can also pretend that you want to attack the vacuum cleaner but "accidentally" catch a foot instead.
Garden work; jump repeatedly up-and-down and scatter any leaves that your human has raked together. Attack gardening tools - especially while they are in use. Immediately dig up any newly planted seeds, plants and flowers.
Under no circumstances accept closed doors that separate you from your human. At all times you have a right to know what your human is doing. If by accident you have been placed on the wrong side of a door you need to make your human aware of this ASAP so he/she can remedy the situation immediately. Loud meows and scratching on the door should be sufficient to get your humans attention. If this is ignored you need to take more drastic measures: Make a sound as if you are going to throw up. All humans in a 50 feet radius can hear this sound. This sound can also be heard through closed doors. The "puke sound" will always result in your human's immediate presence.
It is important for us cats to prioritize our sleeping time. The objective is to get as much sleep done as possible while your human is awake. You will then be especially well rested and bushy-tailed at night when it is your job to keep your human awake. There is the classical "play with toes" approach: attack everything that moves under the duvet. You can also reenact highlights from last year's Grand National Steeplechase by repeatedly galloping across the bed. A couple of loud meows will give it an extra exiting dimension for your human
Houseguests require special attention and handling. The following procedures should be followed:
Houseguests that either do not like us or are allergic to us: As soon as they sit down - jump onto their lap.
Noisy children that run after you and/or pull your tail: It is your duty to punish them - it can be necessary to use both claws and teeth. However, be prepared that this can result in noise that is even more annoying and of an even louder decibel level.
Guests that try to get in contact with you by ingratiating themselves and speaking in a sweet voice: Should just be ignored. If they try to approach you, back away 5-6 feet – but never further away than they feel encouraged to try again. With a bit of practice this game can he kept going for hours.
Even in bad weather, it can be necessary to go outside. The rain and wet ground will result in an unpleasant layer of dirt and mud on your paws. However, this can easily be dried off on certain appropriate indoor spots. Find a light carpet, a duvet cover or nice piece of furniture and walk over it a couple of times. When your paw tracks are almost invisible, your paws are clean and you are ready to go outside again.
Sometimes it can be necessary to discipline even the most well trained human. However, do remember never to hit a human. At the most, mark with a soft paw on the human's arm or hands. Try first to make your human understand what it has done wrong. And most importantly: be patient! The human intellect is relatively limited and it can be difficult for them to understand our wishes and needs.
Even after approximately 5000 years of domestication, the human species still has primitive instincts and it does take time to train your human completely.
One of the first things you need to teach your human is to open the front door, the garden door and backdoor when required. This is done by walking up to a door and making an impatient and very loud meow. Make some tripping steps with your back paws obviously indicating that you need to go to the outdoor litter box. When your human has gotten up from the couch and opened the door you decide that you do not really need to go outside right now. Just for appearances, you can stand in the open door and pretend that you are thinking about the situation for a few seconds before you turn around to go inside again. Repeat this procedure several times a day. This will keep your human in good door opening form.
A house usually has unlimited possibilities for suitable sleeping spots. Every possibility no matter how theoretical should be investigated and tested. Cardboard boxes, cupboards, drawers, couches and beds are obvious localities, but places such as old slippers (size 11 or higher) open gym bags or kitchen cupboards should not be overlooked.
The house should further be investigated for all possible toys. An old sock can represent several hours of entertainment if you get your claw on a loose end and unravel a couple of miles worth of yarn. You human will love to tidy up after your play.