Documents came through this morning. Now officially a member of the Federation of Small Businesses.
In 2003 (yes 13 years ago) I started building The Norfolk Gig Guide with two things in mind. Firstly it had to be no frills or faff so on arrival to the website the visitor was given a list of the most imminent events in the area. Secondly I wanted bands & venues to have their own accounts and add their own details (at absolutely no cost) so the site would virtually run itself. After all, this was only a hobby website which I stood to make no money out of so I didn’t want it to take up loads of my time once launched.
This would mean the site would always be current and of interest to visitors, quick to load and, with the huge amount of information in the site, the regular updates and density of keywords, the site would perform well in search engines. At the time, 2003, there was no Facebook and on-line applications were far and few between.
The result has been fantastic. There is always 1000+ gigs listed on the site. Hundreds of bands and venues use it. Search engine performance is great. On my travels playing in a band I regularly hear musicians and venues talking about listing their dates on this guide (and they have no idea I had anything to do with it!)
I haven’t messed with the formula much at all over 13 years. It’s still built in ‘old skool’ ASP and looks much the same as it always did. ‘If it ain’t broke….’. That said, recently I have modified the site purely because of mobile technology. More people look at websites on phones and tablets now than on PCs. When this site launched this was unheard of, I don’t think tablet computers even existed! I think a lot of people who would benefit from this site are those already out and about on an evening and wanting to check who is performing and where.
Thanks to Joseph Hood for doing a great job as admin and promoter for the site for many years now. Here’s to the next 13 years!!!
New CD packaging now off to the pressing plant. The second compilation in the 21st Century Psychobillies series from Western Star. Featuring the lovely Rebecca Chip Chipperfield on the cover
I started The North Walsham Guide over 10 years ago with the aim of making it possible for all North Walsham businesses and organisations to have a free single page to promote themselves to the rest of the world which they could edit freely and could be found easily in search engines. On the flipside it would be a ‘no frills’ directory for local people to find what they wanted easily. It’s been massively popular with hundreds of businesses signing up and getting around 1,500 visitors a week.
How “geek” is this! My lucky charm! After 15 years working in printing and a brief stint as a graphic designer for a corporate consultancy agency, I decided to take a change in direction and teach myself web programming. Not as weird as it sounds as I spent many years in my youth learning to program home computers in the 1980s (BBC, Vic-20 and ZX Spectrum) in both BASIC and Machine Code, writing several games in the process. The combination of coding and graphics required for web design just seemed to be a natural progression considering my experience and skills and at the time it was obvious the print trade was suffering and the future of small printing firms was in question. That was 15 years ago and this book was where I began that change. It is no longer of any use but back then I read it 3 or 4 times and built my first web-shop in the process ( Raucous Records first on-line shop ). This still has the two worn down grooves on the spine where I used to secure it on the carrier of my pushbike every day the take to and fro from work to read in break times. This book is the reason I’ve had steady work for the past 15 years despite the fluctuations of the print industry, it will always have a place on the bookshelf in our house.