Do you have a Web Site?

As I found out early running my business, even the most basic web site can be profitable. It doesn’t take many folks that stop by, interact with the site and then finally contact me to make the money spent worth while. Of course, I don’t have anything to ‘sell’ on the site but myself and that really doesn’t happen ’til I get out and meet folks.

My first domain name and website

At first, I was a ‘go-daddy’ guy before there was a Go-Daddy. What I mean, is once I got my first domain name, I went looking for a place to host it and some way to build it, without a learning curve that would take up all my time. And for me, the internet was a scary place. My first McKean Handyman site was very simple and had minimal interaction possibilities with a potential customer.

I had my phone number on the site, a form to fill out to send me a note and a link to my email address. I quickly realized the ‘power of the web’ when getting your word out. And to this day, I do no advertising except what you see here on the site and the referrals that come around, keep me more than busy. But of course, I wasn’t satisfied with just a ‘little’ knowledge of how things works.

Then came the weather domain and web site

For Christmas in 2010, I purchased a nice Davis Pro2 weather machine that I could setup and keep track of things like rainfall, wind, temperatures and many other things I wasn’t sure if I needed, but it was all data driven.

The remote unit, 200′ into the back yard, sends wireless transmissions every 5 seconds or so, to a receiver in a room in my house. That is then sent to a dedicated computer in the basement that stores and keeps track of all the data sent to it thru the day and night.

Getting that data to the web

That data, I found, could be used by others that do tracking of storms, temperatures and such in a given area and also help to develop forecasts. That’s done by using a network of these types of stations across the country, and around the world for that matter.

Of course, I wasn’t the first enthusiast in the ‘home weather business’ and there were/are forums where these smart and fine folks gather. I found they were real helpful and willing to help the newbs like me and now I feel, in turn, can help them when I can. But my main focus was getting my data, and a new website with that data on line.

Hosting and the Internet

First thing was to get the hosting. That in itself is a daunting proposition in that all I could think of is how bad I could screw things up. After researching for a few weeks in the spare time, I chose one and the curve began. Thankfully, a simple website didn’t have to be expensive, even back then. I paid my money and then the fun began. All this data coming into the house and how to get it online.

So, was born in late January, early February of 2011. Whoopie!!! As mentioned, some might fine folks were giving away the software I chose to get my data to the web. It was written in PHP, which at that time was totally greek to me. What was mentioned to me on the forum was that to learn from the bottom up, I should install a web server on my computer. Ha…Okay I chose wampserver and that allowed me to set up and work on my website, without it being instantly published to the web. I wrote and worked on 1 page at a time, and well, the rest is history.

It can be easier than you think to get your business or hobby online

Nowadays, there are plenty of what is called WYSIWYG(What You See Is What You Get) and they are self explanatory in that you type something into a form on the computer and it shows up on the web. Go-Daddy and numerous other sites use this type of system to get people signed up. But those folks quickly see the limitations of such builders for doing ‘custom’ work. I’m happy I had a little time and the drive to learn a few languages like Perl, PHP, and databases such as MYSQL for storing data on the web. Now, I’m not a professional coder by no means, but have the ability to pass on as much as a new user would want to learn to get a decent site up.

After a while, for speed and the ease of use, programs like WordPress(used on this website) give me all the advanced coding, bells and whistles that I will need going forward. On the other hand, McKean Weather’s layout is all my hand coding to get that look.

Building a facebook presence

If you haven’t tried building a presence on FaceBook for your business, you are missing another opportunity to expand your brand. Here’s the site for McKeanCountyWeather where we have over a thousand folks that have liked and followed our daily musings about the weather in and around McKean County and the region.

What I’m getting at, is if you are interested in getting an online presence, send me a note or give me a jingle. McKean Handyman has evolved into a one stop place for domain name registration, site hosting and getting your site the way you want it. Best of all, there is no charge unless you decide working with me is in your best interest to get things going, or give it a little kick in the hiney, to get it moving…