Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

What I am doing

With “Hotels in Galcia” now uploaded and running google ads, I am finally getting on with the “GaliciaSpain” site which I initially designed and filled with content under the guise of it being called “Galicia Holiday”. I later decided to change the name and bought a different domain instead.

Having reviewed my previous work I am however far from impressed with what I had done and have decided to do a proper site design from scratch. Task one is to come up wit a logo, or a least a branded image using photoshop – my all time favourite software!

Problems still persist with my hotel partner on galiciaguide.com. The themed and none themed pages still intermingle and despite replacing the previous clone of my site design with another (more simplistic one that I provided) the problems remain.

Stats are also confusing. A couple of weeks ago I registered around 400 page views of the hotel pages in a day, but my partners stats showed only 30! I am rapidly losing confidence (and I am sure money) in them and their service. When I finish this new site and a couple of other things I may well look for an alternative partner.

Friday, May 19, 2006

 

New hotels site

Having risen to a PR3 in the past, this blog appears to have dropped off the google index altogether – at least I could not find it!

The new site is uploaded and although some loading and performance tweaks need to be made, it seems to be working adequately. The design is a simple look and the appearance is dictated by a series of photos at the page head with intermittent letterbox profile pics in the content area. The logo needs modification and I may need to use photoshop to optimise it. The same is also true of some photo strips, used for effect, that need their pixel rating reduced – but all in good time. I have given the site a couple of links, but intend to take the linking element slowly – I have experienced problems with this in the past.

You can see the site by selecting the Hotels link in the left bar.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

 

Hotels in Galicia

I have put a temporary page up for hotelsingalicia.net, but have just about completed the design, code and content for the sites initial “launch”.

My hope is that containing the key words (that I most want to target) in the domain name will help SE performance. Only time will tell and the word hotel is quite “hot”.

As sods law would have it, having emailed google about the de-indexing problem, it appears to have started to right itself by the following day. Perhaps the 6 month rule does not apply strictly for “nofollow”, or perhaps this is just a temporary moment of optimism and the pages will disappear again tomorrow. For the time being at least my daily hits levels are back to where they were 3 weeks ago, but the elusive big searches on google are still seeing me filtered out – except that is for 15 or 20 minutes every day or two when they miraculously appear at the top of google’s serps.

11 years ago today I was in Florida enjoying possibly the best of all my holidays. It was my 4th and last visit there and I really want to go again!

Monday, May 15, 2006

 

A couple of useful sites about Galicia

I decided to email google about my misuse of the “nofollow” code and see if anything can be done to re-instate the lost pages. It would seem unlikely, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In one of those ridiculous and meaningless searches that crop up as a result of disparate words appearing together, I spotted a hit for “spain main”. The term means nothing, but the site was ranked at number one out of 185 million results on google! No consolation since it is filtered out of the “spain galicia” one, also on google. It makes you wonder how their algorithm works – or if it really does, at least in the way they intend it to!

Less than 8 weeks to go until our Galician vacation and my excitement levels have yet to increase. I am sure things will change closer to the time.

2012 - Some of the original content has been removed from this page.

Friday, May 12, 2006

 

Ripped off

I bought, or so I thought, a new domain etc from x9internet  on Tuesday, however despite taking my money they have done nothing else. Attempts to contact them are ignored and it looks as if I will have to use legal means to get my money back. – Yet another company trying to rip people off using the internet.

The by-product of this, is that it sets me back as regards getting the new site uploaded – I have no domain to upload it to!

I would like to offer Holiday Autos car rental through galiciaguide, but am awaiting confirmation, or otherwise, of acceptance into their program. This happened quickly with Opodo, but seems to be a more long winded affair with HA.

8 weeks today we will head off to Galicia for 3 and a half weeks flying Iberia and landing at la Coruna – time passes quickly, it only seems that Christmas finished yesterday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

 

More to come

Having added hotel and flight booking facilities to the site, I am now looking at other services that may be of benefit to anyone wishing to arrange a holiday. Options include insurance and car rental, but I am intent on ensuring that any of these services, whilst being easily accessible, remain in the background.

I have not added any new guides for a week or so, but have purchased a new .net domain and have been working on some “world guide” pages, which I will upload later.

I have also amended some existing pages and adjusted, updated some content including some minor changes to the index page.

To see the guide, follow the link in the left hand column.

Monday, May 08, 2006

 

Hotels and flights re Galicia

On adding commercial content to Galicia Guide I was warned by a friend that problems would probably arise (especially with hotels) and he was right.

Within a few hours of the addition of the hotels booking system I had my first reservation, but since then, despite continual traffic, no further bookings have resulted – or have they.

These affiliate programs use a local ID to identify partners and any business that they push to the hotel’s booking system. The problem in my case is that as soon as someone requests room availability, an error message appears in the url, my ID is lost and all credit and line of contact with my site is permanently lost.

My hotel partner is looking into it, but after initially being impressed with them I am no longer so sure! That said, I only notified them of the problem on Friday, so I guess they are entitled to a couple of days grace – grace that will continue to penalise me.

Other news

My visitors can now book Iberia flights to la Coruna, via the site, as a result of another affiliate deal. I would like to do the same thing with Ryanair, but the company that manages their program seems to feel they have the right to charge 3rd party web sites for giving them business. I already run galiciaguide.com at my own cost and have no intention of paying others for the privilege of making them money.

Elsewhere, I am looking at a change of name for the other site I have designed, it should be up in the next few days.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

 

Indexing problems (google)

Having given google a new xml site map they have indexed all the links from the home page within hours, but sub-pages have not been spidered again. I suppose this is a partial result, but my traffic is more dependant on a few hits from lots of small searches than lots of hits from a few big ones. As a result, I am no better off.

It seems almost certain that my stupid internal miss-use of the rel=”no follow” attribute caused the problem, as a closer look at the Spanish language area of the site (where I never used this code) shows that every page has remained on the index.

What to do next is the challenge. I can go through the time consuming process of trying to communicate with google (who think I have told them to de-index 2/3rds of the site) or hope that the 6 month rule they use is applied loosely. The other option, which I am trying (small scale), is to replace the de-indexed pages with identical content pages, but with alternate urls. The de-index instruction should then not apply as the new pages should be seen independently. It is amazing that all these problems are a result of me trying to save the SE’s time indexing my site.

Friday, May 05, 2006

 

Buying property in Galicia

I have made the occasional entry about property searching and buying in Galicia, but if you are really serious about buying a home, be it a casa or apartment in Galicia, here are a couple of useful links.


www.galiciapropertylawyers.net, this is the site of a friend of mine who can assist you with all your legal requirements in connection with property purchase. His name is Colin Davies and although living in Pontevedra, he is a British lawyer. He works with a Galician solicitor.
For hotels, guides, info on flights, and where to visit, do of course take a look at my site www.galiciaguide.com which will, I hope, give you all the background information you will need to plan and arrange a holiday in the north of Spain.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

 

Expanding our Guide to Galicia

I have decided to expand Galicia Guide to cover other parts of the world. The extended site will not appear for a while as I develop its content off line, but will include guides to the other countries of Europe and beyond.

Galicia Guide will remain a “stand alone” website to all intents and purposes and a single link button will connect it to a separate index page for the extended part of the guide. Countries included will be the UK, Spain, France, Madeira, Portugal, USA etc. In essence anywhere that we, or someone we know well, has been, photographed and has an opinion on. I will also take reports or articles from any independent person who has something they would like to submit.

I will retain the same layout (style sheet) for the new sections, but may change the colour scheme – I have yet to decide.

If you are looking to stay in northern Spain, green Spain, or walk the Camino in Galicia, take a look at our hotels at galiciaguide.com. We have the biggest selection and all hotels are cheaper with us than if you book direct (check it out if you do not believe me).

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Hotel bookings

I have apparently already had a hotel booking from the new hotel section. I am pleased on two counts. Firstly to get the booking, but secondly because the selection of accommodation, the appearance of the pages and the booking process obviously satisfied the visitor to the site. The hotels all look very good, so I am sure they will be pleased with the end result.

The google problem continues. They did spider some pages on the site last week, but it seems that with the odd exception this has simply resulted in more “obsolete” pages being listed in the supplemental index. I am debating contacting them or, going through the laborious process of renaming every affected html file on the site – a massive job.

Finally, we are in to May and only 2 and a bit months to go until our 3 and a half week excursion to Galicia. One new thing on the list is to visit some of the towns for which galiciaguide.com now offer hotels, but which have not explored up to now. We will need to add some mini guides on them in August.

Monday, May 01, 2006

 

Hotels in Galicia

After some initial errors on my part, the hotel pages are now not only up, but also working correctly with a seem-less transition from Galicia Guide to the information and booking pages for the different sections and hotels themselves.

The selection is increasing by the day and in total there are over 70 hotels in Galicia, almost 120 in green Spain and over 140 on the various Camino routes. The quality is also impressive and some of the venues are amazing historic buildings that have been converted “parador style” in to high class hotels. Prices vary, but are competitive and better than anything on offer at turgalicia, idealspain etc for the locations and quality.

I am also impressed with the professionalism of my partner company who are genuinely interested in a complete service and are continually expanding the list of hotels on offer.

I have also got some property companies lined up for later inclusion in Galicia Guide, but I am really struggling to find a descent house, casa, villa partner since most only have one or two properties on offer. Ultimately I will probably opt to negotiate with property owners directly, but this takes up a lot of time and may be difficult to manage.

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