Facebook Redux and More PHP

A lot has happened since we last spoke. I was all gung-ho over using Facebook to try and build traffic to www.the-althing.com, but then I hit something of a brick wall. Actually a huge brick wall. My plan was to follow pages on Facebook as my page. As interesting postings from those pages would show up in my feed I would share them on my page. I thought it was a win-win solution. I would get content and the pages I was following would get traffic. Even FB would win with increased ad revenues. But of course FB’s revenue model doesn’t work quite that way. I noticed that I was only seeing postings from a small percentage of the pages I was following on my feed, and it was postings from the same pages. Turns out FB limits how many pages you will see postings from, presumably unless you pay them. I then searched the web high and low for any solution that would workaround those limits. Unfortunately no such workaround exists…except the one I came up with, which relies on simple brute force. In short, I created an Excel spreadsheet, went to each of the pages I was follow (over 200 at present), and copied the URL into the spreadsheet. At that point it becomes a simple matter of going to each URL one at a time on a regular basis, searching for postings of interest to share to my Facebook page for The-Althing. Not the best solution, but one that will work until something better comes along (or the money grubbing Facebook lightens up a bit). In doing all this, I discovered that the links to almost all my t-shirts and other products at Zazzle were broken. They had restructured their link format, so I had to go in and edit almost every link, but that is all back up and running now.

On another front, there have been a variety of changes and updates to the thang. A lot of content was added in various areas, and PHP was more fully utilized in getting that content online for you to see. I went to larger images for the stuff I’m selling through Amazon. I wrote a small script to randomize the content on the front page and other pages, so you don’t see the same old thing every time. I also cleaned up the script the loads the information for the various shops and restaurants, so it automatically eliminates lines that were left when a particular field was empty…say a shop didn’t have a phone number or a website.

Next up will be a rethinking of how I present books and music on the site. I will be going to a dedicated page for each author or musician, along with some biographical information. This will also allow me to integrate links to audiobooks and links to purchase individual songs, something I’ve wanted to add for some time. To accomplish at least some of that I may sell through iTunes rather than Amazon, as it looks like the former has a much better looking interface.

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