Thursday, March 30, 2006

The start of the site

I have recently created a new website (http://www.allyearfootball.com), and thought people might be interested in learning some of the lessons I learned over the life of this site.

There are a few reasons for writing this blog:
  • First of all, almost all sites about creating and marketing a web site are trying to sell something, this is just a blog on things I have tried, some successfully, some miserable failures. Hopefully people can learn some things from what I have done
  • Secondly, I am hoping this might be a place where others can share their experiences on what has worked and what hasn't.
  • Thirdly, purely selfishly, if you are reading this, hopefully you will check out the site.

I guess the best place is to describe the website. I really have fun playing fantasy football, and when the season is over, I find myself with a lot more free time. I thought it might be fun to create a web site that simulated games, so fantasy leagues could be run all year long.

This started out as a little bit of my time here and there, and has taken the better part of a year to complete. I was surprised at how long it took to write, but doing it part time, I wasnt able to spend as much time as I would like on it.

Having written the site, the next step was to get the site on the net, trying to spend as little money as possible. I considered using the broadband connection at my house, but I decided trying to keep the server up 24/7, as well as the difficulty in setting it up (DNS, etc), so I bit the bullet and decided to go with a hosting service. I checked out a bunch of sites to help me decide who to use as my hosting, but after all the research I did, I went with godaddy.com. This was due to 2 things - their rates and the fact that I had heard of them from their commercials. I registered the domain name http://www.allyearfantasyfootball.com, and put my site up.

The first problem I ran into was a purely technical one - The system is written in JAVA, and their shared Java hosting had enough security restrictions to prevent my application from running, and they were unable to change these settings since there were multiple users on the same server. The only affordable solution was to get a VPS account. If you don't know what this is, it is a virtual private server. This is a server (usually linux) that is split up in such a way that it appears that it is a dedicated server, even though the CPU, network, etc, are shared among multiple users.

VPS Servers are more expensive that shared accounts, but I didnt have too much of a choice. I found another host, http://www.eapps.com that had reasonable prices - $20/month. I thought godaddy.com would match the price, since it was that or lose the business, but they didn't go for it, so I switched over to eapps. So far I have been very happy with them. The only downside is that you need to keep a domain name with a provider for 60 days before switching, so I had to drop the name allyearfantasyfootball.com until the 60 days expire. I am not sure if I am going to move the name over or not, I need to look into the implications.

While I love football, I also love money, so the next step was to sign up for google adsense. It was amazingly easy, and I can see the possibility of making some decent money out of it, assuming I get enough traffic.

Well, this is enough typing for tonite, I will try to put more up tomorrow talking about the issues I have run into, and how I have tried to solve them.