The Ultimate Case Study – Website Launch
I’ve owned the domain EricHersey.com since 2011. I remember working at a company called TeleTech in Moundsville, West Virginia. I was a supervisor and had plenty of free time towards the end of the month. My main job was to listen in on calls and grade the agents. I would hammer out my quota of three per agent early in the month so I can do whatever I wanted by months end. One of those things I wanted was to launch a website.
I made friends with an old high school classmate while at TeleTech. Dave was in my class and I had limited interactions. It wasn’t until TeleTech we started talking and became instant friends. Later we would create an idea for an ad agency (I’m sure I’ll discuss this in the future), but it all started with a blog.
I remember him showing me/telling me about his blog. He introduced me to WordPress. At this point, I made websites with HTML. I was aware of PHP but didn’t have a clue how to code using it. Dave sent me a step-by-step tutorial blog on how to make a WordPress website. This was the beginning. I was going to launch a website.
Self-Hosted Website and Learning from Scratch
Things have certainly changed since my college days. The Ohio Valley didn’t have many (if any) web design jobs so I took the best I could get. I moved up the ranks and thought I was big time. I stopped keeping up with the latest code and web design principles. When I tried to start a blog, I was surprised by my lack of knowledge.
Luckily, people out there were posting articles. Also, Dave was super helpful. He used 1and1.com for hosting so that’s what I signed up for. Turns out those other Eric Hersey’s didn’t get my domain. I had EricHersey.com. Now what? How do you launch a website?
With a little help from my friends, I downloaded FileZilla (I use this program to this day) and Notepad++. I copied every line of code from the online tutorial and a week later, I had a self-hosted WordPress blog.
The Imaginary World of Eric Hersey
What did I have to blog about in 2011? Turns out I would blog about anything and everything. The only way to find any of these blogs is the trusty Wayback Machine. I would give my opinions on Fantasy Football, post old drawings, and fantasy book pro-wrestling matches. It was as random as my journal entries in Ms. Snodgrass’s High School English class.
I created an entire theme for the website and made custom graphics for each post. My son Hunter was playing LittleBigPlanet on PlayStation. I thought the graphic style was unique and I mirrored that style for my website. I used Easter eggs of some of my favorite things.
It was fun to create content. This was before my knowledge of Google Analytics, so I really had no idea who was reading my posts. My best indication was feedback on social media. I remember figuring out how to have the blogs auto-post on Facebook. I was a wizard!
The Death of the Blog
Facebook was a killer blow to my blog. Before micro-blogging, I was unique. I had a place to voice my thoughts and opinions. I had to ‘learn’ code to make that happen. As the popularity of Facebook grew, my posts were drowned out by anyone that had a computer. This was a bit depressing.
Time went by and I stopped updating content. I switched jobs and lost interest. I continued to make good money and there still weren’t any good web jobs in the Valley. The excitement of my website launch years ago was long gone. Now EricHersey.com collected dust.
I was aware that having the domain was important and I continued to pay. It was smart to look for cheaper options. I moved my hosting and transferred the site. The content didn’t matter and I chose to let it go. Everything was erased.
Back to Work
In a strange turn of events (I will catch everyone up on this soon), I started making websites again. I was thrown right into the mix as a freelance web designer and was making website after website. It would make sense that I would promote myself – via a website.
It’s a bit odd that a web designer (myself) failed to have a website. I was turning out several websites a month and none of them were mine. It’s difficult to tell a paying client to take a backseat so you can make your picture-perfect website. This happened, until now.
After years being on the shelf, I am bringing back EricHersey.com. I might not be posting about The Royal Rumble or Clip em’ Neil, but I will be posting about my experiences and journey. The site has a purpose.
Case Study Starting Point
When a site sits dormant for years, you start from scratch. Besides the domain age, we are working with zero visitors, zero links, and zero content. As of today, the domain authority (a metric used by search engine tools) gives my site a score of 2/100. Yikes. Currently, I don’t rank for single term besides “Eric Hersey”.
The goal is for all of that to change.
When it does, I will be using this website as my greatest case study. If that doesn’t put butts in the seat, nothing will.
Progress Update (04.05.2020)
The website has been up and moving for just under a year. It is not finished (and never will be), but we have made some significant progress. Not only did I get some wonderful help with the logos, graphics, and styles (AbbyHersey.com), I added 100s of new pages since the initial launch.