I guess since around 10 years ago, I’ve enjoyed looking at stuff on the internet. In the old days it was annoying on a dial-up server, it took forever to download a music file from the web, it often took ages to load a normal page. But around 5 years ago, I really got into all things webby when home broadband came into play. I spent a year in evening school and learned the fairly raw basics of HTML. My original interest in building websites left me sitting at home making a website about my time spent in Australia, the places I’d visited and some images, all was manually coded using Notepad. In my mind it was fun, but also slow and annoying when I cocked something up and couldn’t find my error. The website was never finished and I’ve long lost my files. I wish I’d finished it. I’m not even sure I knew how to buy a domain name or hosting at the time, but I’d learnt HTML and I enjoyed it.
Fast forward a few years and I decided I was going to give it another crack, this time I built a website using Notepad and completed it, and even published it online. It was www.davidandmaxine.co.uk – a website about our wedding plans. I was secretly very proud of it, it looked ok, it worked, and it had information, photos and a contact form on it. The site even had an embedded map to find our wedding venue. In a geeky way, I was excited, my wife to be however wasn’t so interested and in all honesty, neither were the wedding guests really. When the domain name renewal came up a year or so after our wedding I couldn’t be bothered to renew it.
Anyway, that kicked off my interest even more, and one thing lead to another, I built a website for a friend of mine who is a professional golf coach, using Dreamweaver that another friend of mine gave me. Dreamweaver was the nuts as far as I was concerned, so much better than using Notepad.
I built a website to promote my services and called it Mad Web Designs and started to learn more about CSS and SEO. I then built another website for a friend of mine who runs a mobile disco – so now that was 3 websites I’d built since DavidandMaxine.co.uk and I’d still not earnt a penny.
Whilst planning our wedding we visited a wedding fayre, and something struck me about it. The fact was that we were paying an entrance fee, to be shown what services we could purchase. How does that happen ? You don’t pay an entrance fee to Tesco to see what you could buy. Then I realised what a massive market the wedding industry is, and how everyone seemed to charge double at the mention of weddings. If you want a birthday cake made – it’s £50. If you want the same cake made for a wedding, it’s then £250. So I set up Essex Wedding Services – an online directory of wedding services in Essex, imaginative title innit !?!
For those of you still awake at this stage, the wedding website opened my eyes to a world of SEO and the interesting things people can do (and do do) to make their website No1. in Google for their chosen keywords. Google is the world’s best website, it is the internet, and without it, the web would be a fair bit crapper.
I loved the idea of making some money from the internet, and I guess my dream was (still is) to design a website that was popular, and could be run with minimal work, making a tidy profit. Ebay is a classic example, the owners don’t actually do anything. The website visitors advertise their toot, and other website visitors pay for that toot. Ebay takes a slice of the money, and sits there doing nothing. Everyone’s a winner.
So the previous 680 words I’ve typed so far leads me to a new website I found a month or so ago, Fiverr.com. Fiverr (yes, two r’s) is a great example of a website where the owners just sit back rubbing their hands together. Put simply, members advertise something they will do for a fiver ($5 USD) and other members pay that fiver for whatever it is they’re willing to do for it. The snag is, that the seller only gets a fourerr ($4 USD) and fiverr.com bags the other onerr ($1 USD) for every single gig that is sold, utter, utter genius. On top of that the website owners sit on your $4’s for a couple of weeks, earning a little interest in their bank account, utter, utter genius.
How these guys marketed and promoted their simple little website, I don’t know. But the fact is, it took off and has no doubt made them a fortune. I’ve been using it for a month, and have now spent $55 on there, bagging the owners $11 from just little old me, for doing nothing.
Am I jealous ? Too bloody right I am. Instead of golf, disco or wedding websites, I really wish I’d thought of Fiverr.com