In my last post UK Martial Arts Finder – Site Development I focused on the decision making process on certain design elements of the site such as; Domain Hosting, WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugins, Colour Schemes and general presentation
In this post I am going to be showing you the method I have used to populate the Martial Arts Finder. I do not have a great deal of experience when it comes to populating websites with content but I would have to say that this project is quite large in scale and extremely time consuming. (not as time consuming as it could have been as I will show you all in good time! ) Hard work and effort have been a mandatory requirement for this project and that is still the case. So lets get started!
My intention is to create a directory of every known club or class in the UK which delivers some for of Martial Art instruction. I carried out some basic research and estimated that there would be approximately 2000 listings across approximately 80 counties in the United Kingdom. Although the initial drive to prepare the directory will be time consuming, the site will be more than capable of sustaining itself thereafter. One of the cool things about Directorypress is that any created listing can be handed back to the originator for them to administer and maintain. Equally there is a good facility which allows anyone to create a listing for their organisation. (the theme can be configured to require payment for listings but I am not going down that route initially, maybe in the future but not yet) With this in mind, I hope that you can appreciate that after the hard work has been put in, there is definitely scope to take a back seat role in this project, a key feature when striving towards a passive income!
So where to start…I had set myself a target in my head, 2000 listings which I will create myself and then subsequent listings / modifications to existing entries will have to be created / implemented by the owner. I began to develop a research plan. I drew up a list of every major county in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, along with a list of the 10 popular Martial Arts practised in the UK. (Aikido,Boxing,Judo,Jujitsu,Karate,Kickboxing,Kung Fu,MMA ,Muay Thai and Taekwondo)Using search engines and offline information sources I would document each listing and add them to my directory. The first night I sat down to start the research was a bit of a calamity; I fired up Google and typed “Aikido in Aberdeen” I selected the first entry and began recording a few bits of information, Name, Location, URL, Contact details and Services provided etc. By the time I had recorded the information and uploaded the findings into my directory it had taken me about 15 minutes, multiply this across the entire project and you are looking at about 500 hours of work just to populate the directory. I work full time and can only afford 2 hours per night on this project so at this rate it would lake me 250 days to complete. Changes had to be made.
After my initial setback I started to look at other ways I could populate my directory. There is a very nice feature of Directorypress where you can upload listings through use of a csv file. This was all well and good but I still needed the information. After a bit of forum surfing and research I cam across the term “Virtual Assistant” (Check out my post on hiring a virtual assistant) In short a Virtual Assistant is somebody who carries out work for you and relays the results back over the Internet. I instantly took to this idea and proceeded to outsource my data capture task. I found a guy who claimed he would carry out the entire task in 4 days for $33. I was sold. The reality of the situation was that the task took him a bit longer but the fee remained the same and the end product was absolutely spot on!
Armed with all of my data I wanted to just take a step back and think about a few key aspects of my site. 2000 entries, 80+ counties and 10 Martial Arts. The SEO and marketing task was going to be a big task so I wanted to make things as easy as possible from the start. The format of Directorypress requires heavy use of Categories within WordPress, not everyones cup of tea but it is what I had to work with so the decision was made for me. Rightly or Wrongly, and a bit of a “suck it and see ” moment I wanted each listing to be a member of a category for there corresponding Martial Art, County and Combination of the 2
A listing for a Judo Club in Staffordshire would be a member of the following Categories:
- Judo in Staffordshire
After spending a good few hours in Excel making the most out of the Concatenate function and the help of a superb little plugin called bulk category I was able to prepare my environment for what I thought was the best way to proceed. The jury is out on that one and I will update you with any findings.
At the time of writing this post I have uploaded over 400 listings and I plan to have the remainder completed within the week. Significantly better than the initial thought of 200 days.
Very Exciting times for me at the minute and hopefully the work Will pay off. Look out for my next post where I will be starting to provide updates on performance. I am also currently working on an extremely large SEO & Internet Marketing plan which I hope will enhance the visibility of my project.