Category Archives: Trading Depot

Eastbourne, TD Record Month and ACHC Quiz Night

As promised in last week’s blog, this week has been rather quieter. I’ve done no exercise as my foot was giving me too much grief (my arthritis I think) and sciatica grumbling, so no runs across the downs, still no golf and only one dog walk. Not even a cross trainer session in the garage.

Snow in Eastbourne

Web Design Work

I spent the early part of the week in Eastbourne again helping out with hospital trips. It was also an opportunity to do a huge amount of work which I duly did. The bulk of the work was getting to grips with the new Fastbreak Sports web site project. I had I thought successfully migrated the data out of their SellerDeck V10 site and next was the large project of cleaning up the images (making them square) and picking out the larger ones. I was then in the process of importing into my local staging WordPress. I was trying a couple of plugs ins, the Woocommerce csv import and also a WP All Import plug in. I think i’m going to have to do a mixture of both to import all of the data. Something I do need to get my head around is the importing of data into custom fields for their Google Shopping feed. This will also then help me out for another couple of web sites – The Stapling Company and J & J Air Systems. I also did a lot of updating on both of those web sites this week.

British Battles

John Mackenzie of Britishbattles.com preparing another map

On Thursday, I popped in to see the very talented John Mackenzie who runs the British Battles web site which I helped to set up for him in early 2002. Until recently this was by far and away my busiest web site (now possibly Trading Depot) sometimes having 10,000 visitors a day. Since the rise of Wikipedia and other niche history sites, traffic has dropped off a little. I recently migrated their web site to new hosts Nimbus where the speed has improved and costs reduced. It is also hosted via Cloudflare to minimise the bandwidth through their caching service.

John spends a huge amount of time researching each individual battle / war and documenting accordingly. He also draws all the site maps under the John Fawkes name and which are some of the first source maps on the Internet. His Twitter site has over 13,000 followers and he is also preparing for a lecture tour, starting with a U3A talk on Braddock soon. A very interesting person and I always love catching up with him.

Fasthosts migration to 20i

This is still carrying on with a few sites a week. I’m now down to just over 50 packages to migrate – obviously the harder ones. I’ve also cleaned up the number of active customers I have – think it’ll be whittled down to around 75 actives sites that I host by the end of the project. I’ve extended the project timescale to September now due to a particular client who was frustratingly non-understanding of what I was trying to do.

Snow Arrived

We had another dumping of snow on Thursday, R & J were delighted as it meant no school on the Friday. I’m feeling particularly guilty though as I was going to go to Wycombe on Friday and means I’ve not managed to get into the Cater For You office for the last couple of weeks now. It was end of month though so handy to concentrate on that. I don’t particularly need to go in as the fabulous team can manage perfectly well without seeing me.

Rebecca spent the snow day baking and making snowmen and Jamie went out with his friends and came back soaking – just what he should be doing 🙂 We also dug out the long forgotten snooker table – I used to love playing it when I was a child and practised for hours. Molly loves it too unfortunately.

Trading Depot Record Night Out – Crazy Bear Beaconsfield

I did manage to join up with the Trading Depot team on Friday night out for a meal at the Crazy Bear in Beaconsfield, to celebrate a significant milestone in their monthly sales targets. The team are a very good bunch and all work tremendously hard, so fully deserved their pat on the back. I carried on with my dry January which I successfully completed so was not quite as much in the spirit as others, but I always enjoy their banter and laughter. I’m hoping when my Eastbourne trips finish that I can spend a day or two more a month working there (if they’ll have me of course).

Screaming Frog Insights

Screaming Frog

I carried on running a few reports on Screaming Frog to help reduce errors on my web sites. This was partly re-ignited by my chats with Darren on Friday evening. I ran it on this site, also linking to Google Analytics and Search Console. There was a huge amount of images from 10+ years ago that were missing, so after trawling through a few old backup hard drives, I managed to track them down.

Trying to find missing images to cut the 404 errors

More oddly, I also noticed that Google is waiting to index over a thousand pages from the site – they’ve been crawled but wondering if it thinks they are spam. The site hasn’t got many good inbound links, though does have an ok (nothing special) page and domain authority. I was wondering if duplicate content is hampering it, so installed a plug in to just show excerpts from my blog posts rather than the whole post. I shall keep an eye on that over the coming weeks.

ACHC Quiz Night

achc-quiz-night-140-people-feb-2019
ACHC Quiz Night at Amersham Free Church Hall – 140 People

The quiz night is one of the biggest social events of the Amersham and Chalfont Hockey Club year and significant fund raiser. Possibly only the end of year dinner dance is bigger, though that isn’t a fund raiser, more a celebration of the playing season. It was therefore a huge disappointment that Challoners Boys School cancelled the hire of the hall on the Friday due to health and safety concerns with the snow. The committee (well done to them) managed to re-arrange it to the Amersham Church Hall, but they couldn’t change the temporary bar license from Chiltern District Council as they need five working days (bureaucracy at its finest). So it was bring your own booze and ask everyone to donate generously to the raffle instead. We were the ‘No Animals, Just Vets’ team, the Over 40’s table and we came fifth, though I think drink was the winner.

Next week sees another couple of days in Eastbourne, hockey coaching after a two week layoff (depending on snow I guess) and hopefully back to running. Also expect to finally make an appearance at Cater For You again. There is also a big birthday to be celebrated, so my dry January will finally be (temporarily?) broken.

Christmas Parties and Work

PET Cake BoxesIt has been another very busy week since the last blog post and the upgrades to our data networking around the house,  On the work front I have been continuing to do some preparation for the new Cater For You web site.  With the help of SellerDeck, I finally managed to extract all of the data out in spreadsheet format to see what needs to be updated.  I thought I / we’d been thorough when adding new products – something that I think differentiates us from our competitors who just put the basics supplied by manufacturers and why we are near the top of the Google rankings… but I was wrong.  So that means I’ve a huge amount of measuring, weighing and photographing to do before February.  Unfortunately OGL who supply our finance system ProfitItplus have been incredibly unhelpful in finishing their API for data exchange, but fortunately we have a fall back option and everything is still on track for February.

We have a number of new products that I’ve been very slowly adding to the site – there is a great range of new PET cake boxes (photo above) ready to go up as soon as I’ve finished preparing the photographs I took last week. It is currently one of our peak times at C4U so I also spent a few hours in the warehouse putting stock away whilst the rest of the team were coping with the landslide of orders.  The seasonality of the business has always struck me as slightly bonkers and impossible to have the right resources available for all areas, but there is not a lot we can do about it.  Only a few more weeks and then it is low season until Easter next year (hence why we do our major projects between now and then!) and all our mince pie boxes are tucked away for another year.

I’ve also been doing a fair amount of work on the new J & J Air Systems web site where we’ve doubled the traffic since its relaunch, along with the enquires. In addition to the CodePath tool I bought for the SellerDeck extraction above, I also renewed my subscription to Screaming Frog SEO tool, I did a blog post on my Chalfont Web Design to cover that. Some good news on this front was that I had a successful ballot application for a ticket to BrightonSEO in April 2019.  Love going there and absorbing the best techniques and what is coming up in the future, it really is insightful.  We still also use the services of a dedicated SEO company for Cater For You for the really technical areas, but there is so much that most web sites can do easily to improve their rankings relatively easily.

Amersham Hospital ParkingI popped into Amersham hospital this week to have a blood test to check up on my Psoriatic Arthritis numbers and was staggered how busy it was and how much it cost.  For the first 30 minutes it is free, but after that it was £3.50 for the next 2 1/2 hours.  I would have preferred to use Chalfont St Peter hospital as it is local and free parking, but unfortunately, a few years ago they scrapped the queuing system and they outsourced the booking of appointments, where the telephone line is open for 3 hours and it is normally engaged.  Surely that outsourcing cost would have been better employed paying the phlebotomist for another hour a day rather than a third party telephone service – it is almost like the local health authority are trying to make it difficult to be used and maybe close it due to under use.  Saying all that, I was lucky to get a space at Amersham, the queue as I left (two 1/2 hours later) was almost back to the main road.

CSE Bowling and Curry night out

So after a busy week, it was a busy weekend.  I was very lucky to be invited by a couple of my customers to Christmas do’s on Friday and Saturday.  The Friday was a pleasant evening out with the CSE Distributors team in High Wycombe bowling and then a great curry in the Chutney.  It has been ages since I went bowling and enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed spending some time with the CSE team too as I’ve not seen them for a while since they employed an excellent full time marketing person.

Saturday evening I was out with the fabulous Trading Depot team who have worked tremendously hard this year to keep up with the growth in the business.  It was a great night out at Windsor Race Course and parties organised by Best Parties Ever with acrobats, good food and decent disco afterwards.  The facilities were top notch, though not sure my Dad dancing was…

Trading Depot Finally Launched

The web site i’ve been working on for over a year now has finally been launched – Trading Depot. Featuring over 6,000 electrical, plumbing and similar products each with its own unique photo taken by the team – it is fully integrated in to the back end erp software for seamless web trading. Here I am with Mat – the project lead minutes after launch:

Trading Depot Launched