tenpastmidnight blog

Making hay while the sun shines

Remains of an early business

I visited my parents house yesterday to help finish fitting a new worktop in the kitchen and do some lugging around of rubbish. A cardboard box appeared which turned out to have folders and paper from the first time I tried freelancing back in 1996.

The box had been in the shed, after an odd decision by my Dad not to leave it in the house where it was buried and safe and in to the garden with the local wildlife. Away from the direct protection of my parent's cats a mouse had got in and had a good gnaw around, but a great deal of it was recoverable.

The first website I ever created was for the Better Accommodation Guide, converting their review guide of small hotels and B&Bs across Britain in to a website. Well, first it was helping them sort it out in to an FTP version as the web wasn't popular (this was late 1995) and then converting it in to HTML in very late 1995 and 1996. I also found files relating to the website I'd made for a department of Leeds university, which I'd forgotten doing.

In with the files and invoices I found the old NCSA Beginner's Guide to HTML, which I'd learnt HTML from. The version I've linked to has changed quite a bit, my old version didn't know about these newfangled 'table' things.

I remembered my first business foray failing because of a lack of marketing, partly through having too little experience, and partly because of lack of funds. Finding some of the leaflets I'd sent out, they weren't as bad as I'd remembered, although rather amateur by today's standards. Part of the problem I'd had before was that very few people knew what the internet was, let alone saw that it could be great for their business.

Fast-forward eight years, and everyone and their dog have a website. Now the problem is convincing them that they could put it together better, and make it more appealing to the search engines. Still, at least they don't think you're mad for saying that people might want to look at their business on a computer screen.
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