January 11, 2010

I need to vent some frustration...

Of course the world loves Google. But getting a new site indexed on Google is a major pain. On December 28th I registered my dad's site with Google's Webmaster tools and created and submitted a sitemap xml feed. Two weeks later and tomjonesbuckeyephotos.com still isn't being indexed.

Webmaster tools sees 74 URLs in the sitemap which it regularly pulls from my feed but shows 0 Indexed URLs. I see the google bot traverses the site, I've registered it with Google Analytics, I set up a correct robots.txt file, I've even created a feed to Google Shopping - which works but doesn't seem to share links with the main Google search engine.

And although there are a tremendous number of help FAQs, Forums, etc, it's not clear just how long you should wait to be indexed. In the forums you see people saying you should expect anything between a couple days and up to 7 months. What a way to run a railroad.

I suspect the biggest problem is that there are very few links pointing to the new site. A classic chicken/egg problem.

Frustrating... I just want my dad to get his first real order.

Home Page | Posted by bjones at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2010

Building a Small E-Commerce Website

My dad is a photographer in Ohio and specializes in nature photography in the Cuyahoga Valley and northeastern Ohio. For several years he's been bugging his son ("you used to work at Amazon!") to help him set up a website to sell his notecards and fine art prints. Well over Christmas I did it.

I did a bit of research looking at the different options. I really wanted a few things:

I settled on using Shopify and I'm pretty happy with the results. There are a few quirks to the solution (using their Liquid macro facility for one), but overall Shopify satisfied our needs.

You can see the website at Tom Jones Buckeye Photos. It's still a bit of a work in progress, but take a look. I'd love to hear about other people's experiences setting up small business websites.

Home Page | Posted by bjones at 1:49 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2009

Floating the Lewis River

10 years or so ago I saw an episode of Trout Unlimited TV where Tim Linehan and a few locals floated down the Lewis River near Mount St. Helens in Washington state. It looked like a pleasant beautiful float with some fishing for resident cutthroat and bull trout. I've wanted to try that float ever since first seeing it.

Jump to June of this year. I met up with Tim Linehan at his business (Linehan Outfitting) and we talked about that float. Unfortunately after all these years he was a bit sketchy about the details, just that they put in below a bridge. After studying maps it was clear then that they must have floated one of two sections.

Last weekend my buddy Glenn and I went down to the Lewis to finally float it. We tried to find where they must have put the boat in and it wasn't at all clear. The easier put-in seemed to be on the section right below the bridge at the Lower Lewis River Falls campground so that's what we did. Mistake!

We floated in small 1-man catarafts. It took us 9 hours to run the 9 miles or so of water. There were 3 portages, one of which was grueling. It was mostly class III white water, though the water level was pretty low so it was scratchy - there was plenty of exposed sharp lava. One section in the middle I think is pretty much unrunable in anything except a kayak because it's a choked cascade of house-sized boulders. That's was the hideous portage.

After running about a mile we'd done a long portage and broken a rod so we decided not to fish and just concentrate on getting through. It was obvious we were not on the section they'd run on television. A lost oar (luckily found downstream), a broken oar and a ripped (but thankfully not punctured) pontoon later we got to the takeout in the dark. There was a while that I thought we'd be spending the night on the river in our wet gear. I love running rapids in the dark. Not.

Torn Cataraft

In case anyone is thinking about running this, I highly recommend the section from the Curly Creek Falls bridge downstream, I think that's what they must have done on the TV show. I could not run the section we did with a driftboat and it might be physically impossible due to the boulder garden choke in the middle. And there is no way you could portage a driftboat like we did our little catarafts.

Here's what I'd do differently:

Glenn and I will probably run it again this fall, but doing it a bit differently.
Here's a link to a short video of Glenn about to have some problems: Glenn on Lewis
Fly Fishing | Posted by bjones at 6:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2009

Help Me Support My Habits

I just added associate links to this home page for Amazon and Expedia. If you click on these links to access those websites I'll get a few pennies for everything you spend there. Thanks for helping to keep me on the road and out of trouble.

Home Page | Posted by bjones at 2:48 PM | Comments (0)

September 19, 2008

Back in Australia

I'm back for a quick trip around Australia. It's still winter here and I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to visit this time, but you can always watch my travels at "Where's Bruce." I'll try to keep it updated while I'm down here.

Home Page | Posted by bjones at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)