Thursday, February 1, 2007

Step 1 - Putting down the foundation - customizing the Joomla! CMS

Like I mentioned in previous posts, I'll be using Joomla! as my CMS. I've done a fresh installation of Joomla! and started customizing the site to fit what I want the site to look like.

First I'm going to enter all the features that my site uses then I'll work on the aesthetics. Earlier, my thought was to use Ajax to speed up the load time of the site, but now I'm thinking having all the deals preloaded might be better idea since there will be more keywords matched for Google.

Is it worth a faster page load time for less keywords indexed by Google?

The size of the homepage is constantly in flux. As of right now, the size of the HTML only is 99.76KB. That's very big and the images (which also varies widely) adds another 165.39KB. In total, the homepage is 276.7KB (including CSS and JS files). That would be nearly a minute of load time for 56K dial-up users and 17.49 seconds for ISDN (128K).

Clearly, my site needs to get lean! Though I want to have more keywords in my page, I'm going to have to do with just the keywords in the titles. My best estimate to the ideal web page size is 100KB for a site like mine. Mother of all Deals is an informational site that people come and want to see many deals at once so I can't have a homepage at just 30KB which would probably be closer to the ideal for a normal site.

I'm going to be using Ajax to load the deals on request.

You can track my progress on my development site at

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Minor upgrades to existing site

I was able to add 3 new deals sites to be ripped today. This weekend I'll work on doing the Ajax proof of concept pages in Joomla!. I'm still stoked about MOAD getting a page rank of 4. It's not really a high score yet but it's a measure of progress that is going to give me that boost of motivation.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baby Steps

I'm still in the planning stages of this new site revamp. There are a ton of things I need to consider before setting out of this project.

My theory is that success requires 4 ingredients:

  1. Ability to conceive the idea
  2. Ability to achieve the idea
  3. The drive to work on the idea (requires steady focus and interest)
  4. The time to work on the idea
All parts are necessary for success. And in a one-person project, this singular person must possess these qualities. I believe the most difficult piece to attain is the drive and time.

In an earlier post, I've spoke of revamping the look and feel of the site and updating the logo. Before I work on the aesthetics, I'm going to break up the functional parts of the new site and make sure I have the code ready to make each piece work in a clean installation of Joomla!.

The pieces (ordered by importance):
  • Ajax loader to display deal on request
  • Customized RSS.
  • Group deals by deal site, merchant and categories. Joomla! has "categories" and "sections". Joomla! only allows one category per story/deal.
  • Show latest deals on homepage grouped by deal site.
  • Have a page to show all deals collected in the past 24 hours.
  • Automated periodic caching of the pages. Since I plan for the traffic to spike, I'll need to consider load and bandwidth. Caching PHP pages into HTML will certainly help.
  • Scraper scripts can post deals to the Joomla! system.
  • Newsletter (new idea to help drive traffic) - not as important
There will be more but these are the absolutely the most important. First thing to tackle will be to do a fresh install of Joomla! and either find an Ajax module or build one myself!

On a side note: My pagerank has went up today! Mother of all deals is now page ranked 4! Congrats to me! :-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Planning for the MOAD revamp

site's current look
The Plan

Before I set about looking to generate traffic, I need to have a solid product that I'm proud to promote. For me, the hallmark of a successful product is something that I myself would use. I'm proud to say that I do use my MotherOfAllDeals site to search for deals when I need to buy things, particularly electronics.

Though I do use my own site, I believe my interface is understating my site's utility. I need to revamp and redo the look and feel of the site.

Things I'd like to keep:
  1. The functionality that when you click a deal's title, it pops up the deal without reloading the whole page. A few year's ago, the only way I knew to do this was to hide parts of the page with CSS. Today, we can use Ajax.
  2. Showing the most recent deals from each deal's site. This way large deals sites with tons of daily deals won't overwhelm the homepage.
  3. The customized RSS - users can currently search and then save that search as an RSS feed. Awesome useful feature. Everyone that uses RSS loves it.

Things I'd like to add:
  1. Categories - browse and search by category
  2. Smarter sponsored links - detect keywords in each deal and show uninvasive relevant links
  3. Faster page loads - currently ALL deals on the page are loaded even though only the deal's titles are shown. Ajax should fix this by loading the deal on request.
  4. New logo - Needs to not suck like my current logo.
  5. Community moderation - using comments and ratings. Interactivity with the users is the definition of Web 2.0.

Ok, so I've answered what I want. Now I need to know how.

current logo
Currently, the site is running of a system that I wrote myself from scratch. I don't believe this is viable anymore. While it's cool and customizable to do it myself, there are simply too much functionality that I want to do it myself. MOAD's need far surpass the time I can invest. I need a CMS.

Taking from my own experiences, from experiences of friends and readings of other bloggers, I'm planning to use Joomla!. Joomla! is an award winning CMS splintered from Mambo. It has a really active community and from looking at a lot of their code and their forums, I can see security has been a priority.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mother of all Deals history

Introduction was started about 2 years ago. Basically, my site was the first deals aggregate site on the Internet! Google News just launched and I figured why not for deals too!? So, I went ahead and built it. It has been largely unchanged since the first day it was launched.

I'm looking to concentrate and make some big changes to make the site a big success.

What's success?

I will not be satisfied until the site is able to make a large audience (Alexa rating of at least 200,00 and Google Page Rank of 5-6). That would mean my site is largely accepted.

I would also like to generate enough money to pay for the server, hosting, and my time. A little more on the side would be nice too.

It seems to me the rule of thumb is that if I generate the traffic, the money will follow.

First post!


I'll be keeping track of my progress in building into a successful site.

I'll be chronicaling my plans and problems that will happen along the way. I'll be reading up on many blogs and summarizing the best finds and writing my own articles on my own findings.

Stay tuned..