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MindMyHouse News 9 May 2005

by Susan Holtham, 23rd July 2005

The first three months of MindMyHouse from your editor and webmaster. This very readable first issue of MindMyHouse News (9 May 2005) touches on all of the following: What are we doing to get our site a viable page ranking with the search engines? Who are our members? Why are some of our members unable to save their adverts? And finally, introducing our new Stories section in our Community area.

A recommended read for all members no matter when you joined!

Posted in: MindMyHouse News2005

Welcome
Hello from your friendly and hardworking editor at MindMyHouse. It’s been an eventful three months since we first smashed the champagne bottle over the laptop computer (OK so we didn’t really do that) to celebrate the launch of MindMyHouse on 22 February 2005. New members are joining our little online community everyday. As of today (Monday 9 May 2005) 400 people from all over the world have said ‘I do’ and have joined MindMyHouse. We hope you’ve all been made to feel welcome because believe us, without you we’re just another lonely collection of dusty pixels in cyberspace.

What have we been up to?
Like a couple of ducks on water, the team at MindMyHouse have been paddling furiously to help get the site up and running in what is the cruel world of e-commerce with its twin obsessions of page ranking and search engine optomisation (SEO). We’re both putting many hours of unpaid work into MindMyHouse, working in shifts around our other jobs and caring for our little girl. You won’t have noticed but the webmaster is constantly tweaking the design, adding features, bug fixing and providing technical advice and support. As for your hardworking editor, I am flat out writing original content for the site, doing public relations stuff, and giving you my good loving in the form of 24-hour customer support.

What are we doing to get the site noticed?
We are doing everything we can to get MindMyHouse a viable presence on the Internet. We’ve submitted our URL to all the free search engines and directories for inclusion. Unfortunately our Google adwords campaign had to be suspended as it was costing us £2 each time a single house sitter found our site through Google and joined for free. Ouch. I am lurking around different forums and posting comments to house sitting related threads. I’ve submitted a press release to the local expatriate newspapers and a factsheet on house sitting to whoever I think may be interested in publishing it on their site. Heck, I’ve even pinned an advert on the community notice board of our local Aussie snackshop, here in London’s Shepherds Bush. Our webmaster is doing his best to optomise the site so that the search engines’ spiders will visit often and ‘crawl’ the site as they go about indexing the latest content. And in an effort to prove to the search engines that we’re embedded in our local community I’ve embarked on a massive reciprocal linking campaign with related websites. Phew, what a job!

Ooops!
We had a little technical glitch a while back where a small proportion of our members couldn’t create or save their adverts or save changes to their details. We think it’s fixed now but PLEASE get in touch if you’ve experienced any difficulties with your account.

I’m always on hand for support! Email Susan at support@mindmyhouse.com. Otherwise things seem to be going well on the technical front (we hope).

If you’re having trouble saving changes to your advert or your details please see this FAQ. If after reading our FAQs you’re still unable to create or save changes to your advert or your details don’t despair! You can send us your advert or your changes by email and we’ll put them into the template for you. Please see this FAQ for how to do this.

Who are our members?
You are an amazing bunch who have found MindMyHouse and signed up from all over the planet. I’ve been having some fun with a calculator and a spreadsheet and have come up with a rough demographic breakdown of who you are. Here’s the statistics on our current membership base in case anyone’s interested in just who it is that is driving the fast-growing phenomena that is house sitting worldwide. Total membership at time of publishing = 400.

Country of residence
Australia 15%
Canada 6%
Europe 3%
New Zealand 4%
United Kingdom 29%
United States 43%
Age
18-25 16%
26-35 33%
36-45 20%
46-55 19%
56-70 11%
70+ 1%

Introducing our new Stories section
In an effort to become the world’s number one resource on everything house sitting we’ve developed a new Stories section on MindMyHouse. It has two parts: one is a collection of media articles, stories, blog excerpts and poems loosely based around what happens when people get together to meet each other’s house sitting needs. These are for your reading pleasure.

You’re welcome to submit your own writing on anything house sitting if you’d like your work to be considered for publication here. There are no style guidelines to follow. Just write in your best English and spell check your work before submitting it as a Rich Text File attached to an email or just paste your writing into the body of your email (addressed to Susan at support@mindmyhouse.com), or you can use our feedback form if you have no email address. Advanced bloggers can post a draft version of their writing directly into the WordPress blogging software.

The other part of Stories is a forum for your hardworking editor to make regular posts about everything house sitting that she thinks you may be interested in. If you have subscribed to our newsletter we’ll be sending you an email telling you broadly what I’m raving about and giving you the URL so you can find it in one click. Your comments are welcome and can be posted directly after my words of wisdom. Don’t be shy – we want to hear what you think! Perhaps you have a neat idea for a title for this part of the Stories section. We’re a bit stuck on ‘MindMyBlog’ and ‘Housebloggers’ (too bloggy?).

Delivering results to our members
We’re working very hard behind the scenes to improve our page ranking, thus allowing home owners and house sitters alike to find us easily and register with our site in larger and larger numbers. Don’t worry – as Rachel Hunter (Rod Stewart’s ex-wife) once famously said (while shampooing her hair) ‘It won’t happen overnight but it will happen’. We’re confident that we will have a viable presence on the three main search engines by the end of 2005 (We’re already doing well on MSN and well-ish on Yahoo. Don’t get me started on Google.) So don’t give up on your MindMyHouse membership! It may be quiet now, but 2006 will bring many more house sitting opportunities for our members. (And don’t worry about your free annual membership expiring, it will be automatically extended for another year.)

Cheers everyone and happy house sitting! (or good luck with your sitters)

Susan Holtham
aka the team at MindMyHouse

About the author: Susan Holtham

Susan Holtham

The editor at MindMyHouse is a fun gal, intrepid traveller (in a former life), holder of three passports and enthusiastic house sitter. A book editor by trade, she did a three-year stint with Lonely Planet Publications at the start of her career. During her time at LP she shepherded many titles through the production process. Baaaa-aaaa-aaaaaa! Now that two gorgeous little girls call her mummy she's a very busy woman tending to their needs and to the occasional cries for help from among our 5000+ membership. No really, she's always keen to help!