Hi, I'm Dave!
Hi! My name is Dave Child, and I've been building and marketing websites for over 20 years.
By day, I run Added Bytes, a web development agency in Brighton, UK, specialising in Magento e-commerce websites.
A Potted History
In the beginning I was a hobbyist. I would make sites for all sorts of things that interested me. I wasn't aiming to do anything other than experience the rush that came when other people from entirely different continents were able to access my work, and even comment on it and email me back.
In the 1990s, that was quite something. Up until then, if I wanted to exchange pleasantries with someone over the other side of an ocean, I'd be waiting days, maybe even weeks, for a letter to make its way to them and a reply to wing its way back. With the internet, I could talk to them in nearly real time.
I was hooked. Publishing content on this amazing new medium became my hobby, and before long became my work as well. I started building websites for money, for friends at first and then for local companies. Over the following twenty years, I've built, managed and marketed websites for record labels, restaurants, national retailers, educators and lawyers. I've even spent some time consulting on online marketing for a few FTSE 100 companies.
And in all that time, and through all those projects, my enthusiasm for the web hasn't diminished in the slightest. I still think the web will be recognised in time as one of the most important and influential inventions of man. And I'm still so glad that something I would continue to do as a hobby has provided me an interesting and challenging career.
Web Development as a Hobby
I've always built websites as a hobby alongside my work, from a simple crossword solver to my own sudoku variant, from online novel-writing software to a calculator of your age in Jupiter years.
Those sites have, until recently, been built as a fun project first. Any income was always a nice-to-have afterthought, almost an inconvenience. I'd typically throw some AdSense ads up on a project and call it a day. They were rarely the focus of my work, and even if they were it was not for long before the next project called me.
And that brings me to now. I've built a portfolio of sites earning a small amount each, with a few more not doing very much of anything. I want to make more of those sites, to turn them from beer-money to salary-money, and to grow them from the saplings they are now into mighty oaks of the internet.
My problem is the same a lot of enthusiastic developers have - I've always been more interested in building something and making it work than in marketing it and concentrating on the income side of things. But I've slowly come to realise that the challenge isn't just in building something that you like yourself - that's just the idea taking shape. From there, it needs crafting, improving, incrementally adjusting, so that it's useful to a wider audience, and that work can be just as satisfying as seeing the initial build come together.
This blog serves a few purposes, but chief among them is to keep me focused. Each month, I will be writing up an income report from the previous month, and working out how to use my limited resources the next month. Each experiment I run on a site, each change I make, and each and every success and failure, will be shared. The monthly reporting and planning will force me to spend time evaluating my options and planning properly, rather than just working on whatever takes my fancy. Publishing it, hopefully, will keep me to a schedule.
I'm also hoping that writing publicly will give other people a chance to offer their own ideas and suggestions, to help me to see opportunities I'm missing, or better understand why thinks work - or don't work.
Finally, I want my efforts to be useful to others in the same position. If others can learn from my ideas, or my journey can help them develop their ideas, then regardless of how my projects go, it will have been a success.
But Enough About Me ...
I'd like to know more about you? Who are you? What are you working on? Where are you heading?