Insane Day for Daily Fuel Economy Tip

Wow. Who knew something so mundane could cause such a stir?!?
Yesterday evening I wrote an article for Daily Fuel Economy Tip which was about the ways people waste gas when they think that they’re actually saving it; nothing super controversial or over the top. In essence, the post was pretty much the same as every other article I have on Daily Fuel Economy Tip.

Except, it wasn’t. Let me explain…

After finishing the article last night I submitted it to, which actually ended up putting the article on its homepage at some point in the middle of the night. On top of that, because of the increased Fark traffic, the same article ended up getting on the homepage of Digg.

Unfortunately, for the first hour the story was on the homepage of Digg, I was having sporadic server problems due to the extremely substantial jump in traffic. Thankfully though, I had just refreshed my bandwidth for the month, so once the initial shock wore off, the site’s server was fully functional.

And if that wasn’t enough, later in the afternoon, I received an email from a radio station in Bloomington, Illinois (which is about two hours southwest of Chicago) asking me to be on their afternoon program. I obliged and actually have a link to share, so if you’d like to listen to the program, click here.

Needless to say, after all of the hoopla, Daily Fuel Economy Tip had about 75,000 hits today, and while I had a dramatic decrease in my click-through ratio, today has certainly been the most profitable day in the brief history of Carr Online Media, LLC!

My First Radio Interview

Apparently my “Stop Sending Those ‘Don’t Buy Gas’ Emails” article on Daily Fuel Economy Tip caused quite a stir; not only did it get nearly 2,500 Diggs, but it also caught the attention of a news radio station in Tulsa, Oklahoma – who has asked me to be on their morning program tomorrow to discuss the May 15 gas boycott.

Needless to say, this is really exciting news for me and is the most publicity that any of my sites have ever received.

When I was first contacted by the morning host, I almost told him no, simply because I figured I would be too nervous to talk on air. I mean, who am I?!? Thankfully I came to my senses and told them that I would be glad to be interviewed on their show.

For the better part of this afternoon I have rehearsed my answers even though I don’t know the questions, and have tried to do my best to figure out ways to make sure that my voice doesn’t crack (I’m 25 and just hitting puberty). Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure everything will be fine, it’s just that I’ve never done anything like this before.

Anyway, if you live in near Tulsa, do me a favor and listen to KRMG around 7:45 tomorrow morning. And in the meantime, wish me luck.

Successful Conversion to Latest WordPress

Looks like it wasn’t WordPress’ or GoDaddy’s fault that I had such a tough time upgrading The New Businesses Blog yesterday.  I don’t know if I should feel good about that or if I should feel like a dunce.

After yesterday’s near miss, I was kind of afraid to update my two bigger blogs, Saving Without A Budget and Daily Fuel Economy Tip– if anything because if I were to have lost either of those two, I would definitely have taken a long walk off a short pier.  Thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask) everything went to plan today and both blogs are up and running just fine.

Now that I’ve had a day to tool around with the latest version of WordPress, I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with the changes.  While I certainly wasn’t displeased with the older version of WP, the newer version is much better.  Here’s why:

  • The admin section of WP was completely streamlined and is much more intuitive and less cluttered.
  • I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking, but the load times and general speed of the sites appear to be much quicker.
  • Almost everything that was compatible with the older versions of WP has carried forward to the latest version.  Granted I haven’t had enough time to find small errors, but I’m pretty confident that there aren’t any major site flaws (aside from my spelling, grammar and content!)
  • It came with a built in spell check.  This is probably the best feature of the upgrade.  In order to check my spelling in the previous release, I had to copy and paste my entry into Word, use that spell check and then manually transfer any changes.  Needless to say it was a pain.

So, long story short, the “ordeal” of upgrading is finally over, and despite my near heart attack, I’m glad I made the change.

The Joys of Upgrading WordPress on GoDaddy

Remember how I talked about how it was kind of a pain to switch from a Blogger based site to a WordPress based site, especially if you were using GoDaddy as your hosting service?

Well, I was about five minutes away from going on a suicide watch thanks to the fact my ENTIRE BLOG DISAPEARED after I tried to upgrade from WordPress 2.0.4 to 2.1.2.  Yeah, that wasn’t exactly my idea of fun.

Anyway, I decided to go ahead and attempt the upgrade because I wanted to take advantage of an Amazon Affiliate plugin that only works with the latest version of WordPress.  Because I was stuck in the stone age and still content using an older version, something was going to have to give.

Because I tend to make impulse decisions, I kind of just haphazardly decided to start deleting files off of my server and replace them with the updated 2.1.2 files.  I pretty much followed the directions and made sure to not delete certain files.  I figured this was going to be a snap.

Well, it would have been if I wouldn’t have deleted the WordPress config file, which allows me access to the databases and is essential for running this site.   Of course, I don’t realize this until I try and run the update module and get the blue screen of death, telling me that it can’t find the necessary config file.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a panicky person.  Stuff like this is enough to throw me over the edge; unfortunately because it was a nice evening, I had my windows open, so I think the neighborhood kids were able to pick up on a deadly combination of four letter words.  Should make for an interesting conversation at their dinner table.

At this point, I’m firing off emails to everyone that I know that might have some developing or programming skills.  Of course, everyone asks, “did you back up your files?”  When I have to tell them know, they figure it’s best to just laugh and not come right out and tell me how dumb I am.

But, I’m obviously writing here on The New Business Blog, and all of my other posts magically reappeared, so who, in fact, had the last laugh?

I wish I could say I did, but that would mean that I had some sort of clue as to how I saved this site.  To be honest, I have no idea.  At this point I’m just willing to be grateful and leave it at that.

So, the moral of the story, if you need or want to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, please make sure you read all of the instructions, and please, for heaven’s sake, BACK UP YOUR FILES!

The Joys of Switching from Blogger to WordPress

As I’m sure you can see, I’ve been messing around with The New Business Blog as well as Daily Fuel Economy Tip and have switched both sites from Blogger based to WordPress based. For the most part, it’s been a pretty good transition, but there have been a few hang ups.

First off, why in the world would I want to switch? For the most part, the Blogger based sites looked reasonably fine, were getting good traffic and were making me a few bucks on AdSense. But, I thought it would be best to go ahead and try and take my sites to the next level (how very cliché of me). Anyway, here’s a list I came up with while trying to figure everything out. I wanted a program that allowed me to….

  1. Host directly on my GoDaddy account.
  2. Have a bunch of different site templates to choose from.
  3. Have the ability to have “add on” features such as polls, a calendar, etc.
  4. Put AdSense directly in my posts as opposed to just in either the header, footer or sidebars.

Here’s the logic behind these four points:

  1. I have heard a rumor that has been known to completely wipe out sites if they have the slightest hint that people are just throwing together a bunch of unrelated sites in order to try and get links for some other sites. That being said, it sort of made me having a bunch of unrelated sites with them look like I was just setting up sites to get links to my two main sites. So, I figured why run the risk? With WordPress, I was going to host each site on my own account, so I never had to worry about getting shut down.
  2. I liked the template I was using on Blogger, but I didn’t like that it was difficult to switch, you lost all of the code you wrote and that you really only had a couple of templates to choose from. With WordPress, there are literally hundreds of free templates to choose from; all you have to do is find one you like.
  3. This is my main reason for switching from Blogger – there were next to zero add-ons. Even simple stuff like archiving by category was near impossible to do. With WordPress, you are able to easily add a bunch of different features to your site, which will make the site more appealing for visitors.
  4. This was probably the second most important reason for switching. From a lot of the AdSense research I have done, you can really increase your click percentage by having links in your posts, not just around them. Unfortunately with Blogger, it was impossible to embed AdSense code in your posts. With WordPress, it’s pretty darn easy.

So, all of those things together lead me to WordPress. 

Unfortunately, the whole process of switching wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. After I downloaded the latest version of WordPress, unzipped the file and uploaded it to my GoDaddy servers, I ran into a bit of a problem: the program wouldn’t install.

It turns out that I was running on Windows servers and they were having a difficult time getting the WordPress program to run. So, after spending about two hours researching the issue and not really coming up with any satisfactory answers, I just decided to switch one of my hosting accounts to Linux based servers. After waiting for a couple of hours for my request to be processed and executed, I reinstalled the program and was able to get it installed.

So, for those of you who are either thinking of using GoDaddy as your hosting service or who are currently on GoDaddy and want to switch to WordPress, make sure you are using Linux servers before trying to install WordPress.

In the process of trying to figure out my installation problem, I came across a couple of horror stories about people using WordPress with their GoDaddy hosting accounts. While my installation process wasn’t really a breeze, overall I would say I am satisfied with my GoDaddy hosting and would recommend it to anyone trying to start a small site.

Anyway, after I figured out that particular problem, the rest of the process has been pretty pain free. I’ve really only had one other problem with one of my databases, but for some reason, it seems that problem has fixed itself. I wish I were more technical, but I don’t know what happened, nor will I even begin to hypothesize.

So far, I’ve focused most of my attention on Daily Fuel Economy, namely because it gets the most traffic and I didn’t want it to be “under construction” for too long. Now that it’s pretty well taken care of, I’ll go ahead and start to change The New Business Blog a bit.

If you have any questions or comments about switching to WordPress, let me know and I’ll try to answer you as best I can. The moral of the story is, once you get serious about blogging, it’s probably in your best interest to go ahead and make the transition over to WordPress.

Congratulations to Daily Fuel Economy Tip

Today I’m going to “toot my own horn” (which if you read yesterday’s post, The Donald would say that’s perfectly fine).

This morning, I checked the web stats for Daily Fuel Economy Tip and I noticed that at some point yesterday, I reached the 75,000 hit “milestone.”

Now why that certainly may not seem like much, for me it’s quite an accomplishment. Considering I have next to zero web design skills and that I really don’t know a whole heck of a lot about cars, 75,000 hits is a pretty big deal.

So, with that being said, congrats to Daily Fuel Economy Tip and hopefully the next 75,000 hits will come even faster than the first.

Starting A Business From Scratch

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to own my own business. I don’t really know why, but… actually, I know exactly why. When you look at the type of person who has generated the most wealth for themselves and their family, it’s typically someone who has started and grown a business. Of course, I’d like to think that on some level I would be above worrying solely about the bottom line and could create a business that was not only financially viable but one that could really make a profound difference in the lives of my customers.

I think I may have found the way, too (more on that in another posting).

Anyway, for the past year or so, my friend and I have been kicking around ideas for things that we can do to start a business. They range from completely absurd business ideas (starting a gym where the out of shape members could vote out the in shape people) to the somewhat feasible, to something that I would be proud to call my own (again, more on that some other time).

Because his background is web development and my background is in finance, we’ve narrowed down our business ideas to stuff that are web-based so that he can work the technical and operating side of things and I can work the business side. Regardless, I’m sure you don’t care much about the details, but I’m just trying to give some background.

About a month ago, my buddy and I went to a “Start Your Business” seminar put on by our the Loudoun Small Business Development Center and afterwards we sat down and finally decided what we were going to do (yep, tune in later folks). Good for us.

The following week, the Loudoun SBDC put on a “Web Marketing” seminar whose keynote speaker was Brian Chavis, founder of ARGroup, a well respected IT consulting firm in the Washington, DC area. Most of his seminar revolved around business blogs and how blogging is a great way it was to interact with people and to let them know about your business ideas and, ultimately, your products and services.

While I was sitting there, I knew that in order to help start a business and help it grow that I had to start some sort of business blog, I just didn’t know what I should write about; I didn’t want to have an infomercial online. Then it dawned on me, I would start a business blog where I would chronicle the painstaking process of starting a business from the ground up.

So, long story short, that’s what I plan to do with this blog. I plan on detailing the steps (both good and bad) I take to finally get my business idea off the ground, hopefully with the intent of inspiring/helping others who share the same aspirations. Tonight I’m going to start to hammer out my business plan, which I’m sure will be the subject of many tirade filled posts. Hopefully you’ll get just as much a kick of this as I will and, at the very least, I’ll give you someone to point and laugh at.

Wish me luck; I’m going to need it.