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Goodbye to MDBSecure

After much discussion  over the last year or two, I finally took the difficult decision to pull the plug on MDBSecure. I’ve just been removing the last of the web pages and email addresses etc.

I first started development on the product back in 2005. The code to create an MS Access database which had security turned on is / was part of another product of mine. It made sense to put the functionality into a separate product.

Since then, I’ve improved the program and added extra functionality and a new website. However, as Microsoft drastically changed MS Access with version 2007 and added security, it was impossible to upgrade MDBSecure to cater for this new version.

Since, MDBSecure has become less popular as people are using the newer version of MS Access.

So it wasn’t worth the effort any more.


Making an SEO difference with a lot of pages?

We have a lot of product pages on one of our online stores, which has no meta keywords or description tags. Well, it uses the main page keywords and 35 chars of the start of the product description.

I’ve found and modified some code which will scan a string and produce some keywords by order of density.  However, it would include words you would want include, like these them etc.  Although there is a feature to remove words added to a list, which I have added more words.  This would be a big task to go through and cherry pick words to add the list.

So my dilemma is, I could make a difference and add more words to the black list, use more of the product description in the meta description, but this would be a lot of work. Which could be better spent, hand crafting the meta tags and product description.

As there so many pages it will take forever to do anything which will make a difference from an SEO point of view.


by JM

Am I having a keyword problem?

I have two very similar online stores, one is slightly older.

The older site has a lot less product pages than the newer site. When I setup the older site, I added keywords and titles for each product. by default the code for the store uses the main site keywords if theres no keywords specified for the product.

With the newer site, we haven’t ever added keywords as the general feeling at the time, was that keywords weren’t as important anymore. However, our product pages has the main site keywords on them.

The older site does much better than the newer site and I’ve always thought this was due to the products being more popular.

I’m just wondering if the fact that we do have keywords, which are the same, is worse than having no keywords at all?

by JM

Are Shareware Sites useful for Software Promotion?

I’ve read a couple of articles in the past year saying shareware sites are no good for software promotion. My recent experience though indicates the opposite.

One of my products I don’t bother to promote too much. There isn’t a great profit in each sale and I don’t currently have the time to develop or support a higher sales turnover for the product line. It’s nice and simple, it’s easy to use and works well but I could develop it a lot more if I had the time. I rarely, if ever, do any SEO on the site selling the software and it gets few visitors from Google – only a handful a day. The only promotion I do is that every month or so I submit a new PAD file to shareware sites. Every time I do, sales go up by a factor of 3 for the following week! This can’t be a concidence since it’s happened the last 5 times I did a submission. If you have a program that can help automate submissions to software download sites, it shows how regular tweaks and updates can help boost sales, sometimes for very little effort.


Keep on Making Money Selling Software

One thing I always end up coming back to is thinking how to keep on making money writing and selling software. First off, you need a good product and – perhaps even more difficult – you need a way of letting people know the software exists. There are easy ways to do this like Google Adwords but once you’ve paid for advertising you might be left with little or no profit.

The point I never seem to find a solution to is ongoing support. On the one hand you want to provide good service to your customers, on the other hand you don’t want to keep working away for years after an initial sale that had only a limited profit in it anyway. Each day I usually get requests from people wanting to transfer data to a new PC – sometimes from people who are using the same copy they purchased nearly 3 years ago. It doesn’t take many 10 minute slots answering people to eat into the few dollars/ pounds profit made those 3 years ago.

A simple answer might be to make people pay for support after a certain period – say one year – unless they buy an upgrade to the latest version. We have tried encouraging people to upgrade but most people seem to want to stick with what they originally bought and prove somewhat reluctant to pay anything again. In some ways this is a compliment since they still like what they bought. From my point of view though it still sometimes takes several emails to sort people out which is more time spent for no future gain.

Another answer might be to switch to a subscription model – the customer pays £X per year. This might keep things simple – they can always download the latest version and there’s no need to encourage people to upgrade. However, I suspect that the problem might be encouraging people to sign up for a subscription in the first place.

Any thoughts?

Motivation in an uncertain financial period?

At the moment I’m not certain about the financial health of my business or whether I’ll actually have the same business in the near future. I’m a pessimist and I like to know what could be around the corner. So its possible that things will be OK, but I just don’t know.

Because of these worries, I’m finding it difficult to keep myself motivated about any of my projects. Even if I was motivated, I’m not sure what project would be the best to work on. I mean I’m not sure what projects would exist in a new business.

Something that creates profit might not be the best as I don’t know if it will bare fruit in the possible time I have left.

I guess training and investing in myself would be a good and I have an existing project, which would fit in with this. However, without my current business I’m unsure this training would be of any use.

I can hear blue saying, don’t worry, it might never happen.

But I’d feel happier working on something with a future.

by JM

Ideas on how keep writing a news blog

I’ve created several blogs and only one, this blog, is still alive and healthy. However, this blog is more like a discussion area than a news / update information area.

Its easy to add content to this blog as were talking to other people and that gives us things to talk about.

The first couple of blogs I created failed as I was just writing anything I could think of which was relevant to the site. There wasn’t anything to keep me motivated.

It just occurred to me that, if I was to have a strategy, like if I were to envisage that I was writing to someone and the next post would be a kind of reply or alternative viewpoint, that may work. But thats just an idea off the top of my head. That wouldn’t really be news.

I don’t think a discussion-al blog would work for my other sites.

by JM

Multi site blog integration

I used to have a blog for my K program, but I found it difficult to write new blog posts and in the end I deleted it. However, I do need to add more content and show that my K web site is alive and that things are happening.

I’ve made some early steps towards adding a summary of recent blog posts for our jewellery site to the front page. I’ve now began thinking that this could help a lot of my sites, but obviously only where the content is relevant.

So I’m thinking that if I could create a combined blog for my K site and my maths site, which has kids as the common theme, this might give me enough topics to keep a blog alive, parenting would also be relevant to both. As a bonus it would act as a cross selling mechanism too.

My problem is how would I integrate a blog into both sites, I don’t really want to setup a new domain, but having a blog on one site and shown on the other looks a bit odd.

Also, I did think I could have K specific stuff in one category and maths in another and only some stuff in those on the relevant site, but this would greatly reduce the content shown in the summary on the front pages.

Any ideas?

by JM

Manageable multi tasking

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time on one project, which isn’t going to instantly reap profit, although I guess I could say that about most of my projects. However, it has been something that I needed to work on, as overall its my best income earner.

However, I’ve still been able to work on my learning project although at much less time that previous weeks, but I’m just happy I’m still keeping the ball rolling, learning and not going backwards or having to re-read stuff.

Although I probably haven’t finished the main work I was doing this week, I’m starting to consider other work.

Then it occurred to me, that its been quite good working on a project which had been gathering dust, its made me think about the future of the project.

So what if I make up small tasks from all my projects, which have a priority and work on them in rotation, this breathes new life into a project I haven’t worked on in a while, but still gets me thinking and ultimately making progress.

by JM

Keeping a note of your daily / weekly progress

I’m progressing through a teach yourself book, I was just thinking, it would be nice to know how much I’ve read today and this week in comparison to yesterday and last week. Then it would probably push me to beat yesterdays and last weeks progress.

A couple of years ago I wrote a little time keeping program which would sit in the systray, I had to enter what I’d been doing for the last 15 minutes. Even if I’d done nothing, I would still enter that. I also had a status, actual work, break, doing nothing work related. So I was able to total up how much time I’d actually worked. I was really shocked after the first week.

There is a downside I was mentally exhuasted after the second week.

by JM