Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A Technological Demon

One hell of a learning curve for such a novice!

Not too long ago back in the days of Windows '95/'98, the UK retail store Dixon's announced the arrival of it's flagship product "Freeserve" with dial-up connections at just 0.01 pence per minute, I somehow still managed to run up bills in excess of £80.00 per month!

It would seem an impossible thing to do what I did back then some 10 years ago, running up those sorts of phone bills, but this just proves how hungry I was for the knowledge of the technological marvel of what we now know as the internet (aka) the world-wide-web. Obviously other ISP's existed but "Freeserve" became the mainstream internet gateway for many Europeans.

In my hunger for such knowledge I quickly found myself spending more and more time online, not that I was misspending that time for inappropriate downloads (not all the time anyway), but it seemed that any little piece of knowledge just fueled my urge and led me to investigate and learn even more. I was preoccupied "hooked" into the technologies and faced with learning all that I could just for the sake of it. Unfortunately in those first couple of years I realized I was still left with more questions than answers. But as time went on I progressively became more "expert" however; and technological advances appeared to slow down compared with what I had learned and my ability to learn existing stuff from new. I soon caught up to speed in what was available in terms of computers and existing internet technologies. I even enrolled with the OU (Open University) and studied towards a degree: "Information Technology & Computing".

My problem was and always has been to involve myself fanatically and become entirely engrossed into what ever it is I do. This is still true of myself today, and in the last decade I have turned somewhat into the proverbial geek!

The old fashioned way
Building my first "hobby" generic computer with it's then massive 6.4GB HDD and, website: (long winded url) was an enjoyable but very steep learning curve for me. Not only did I learn basic html initially through newsgroups such as alt.html and using Microsoft Frontpage (Yuk), and then Dreamweaver wysiwyg editor. I also needed to learn FTP, CGi, Perl, javascript etc. this was on top of having to learn the intricacies of the FreeBSD (Unix operating system derivative), '95/'98 operating systems (more Yuk), and build my own PC to boot!
I was also promoting my website and learning SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization) which took up most of my remaining time.
Actually my website did quite well and although competition was quite thin those first few years, I did hold No.1 position worldwide on Google for most of my keywords for 10 years straight. BTW Freeserve was sold out to a french company Wanadoo in 2000 for £1.65bn ($2.37bn) and that was that. Following a rebranding exercise in June 2006, Freeserve and Wanadoo UK now form part of the UK operation of Orange, and are known as Orange Home UK plc.

SEO was understood implicitly but the tedious link exchanges between webmasters were a real nightmare!
Then came the guest books and FFA link farms. These were seen as an easy option to "link back to yourself" (back-links) without fear of rejection provided you furbished them with "I think your site was great", and "I really enjoyed my visit" kind of bullshit to the respective site owners!
Unfortunately for many however; Search engines took a poor view of such spamming techniques and many sites simply disappeared into the murky depths of search results.

Happier times ahead - The modern way...
These days things have changed for the better I'm happy to say, and although spamming is still frowned on by the search engines, a new kind of link building is revolutionary to the SEO arsenal. Far be it for me to sell you on the idea of social bookmarking but with carefully timed posting to these sites, exposure can work their magic for the website owner and those concerned with SEO and back-links.

Read more about Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking Tool:
Automated "Spam- free" Search Engine Optimization tool through Social bookmarks"

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