Archive for November, 2007

Organic search

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Organic search is one of the major ways you can get traffic to your site. When we started talking about TripTouch we thought that we need to find other ways of attracting potential users. Organic search is very hard to do in Travel - there is so much competition!

However we’re now getting more optimistic about getting traffic from search engines. It seems that for some long-tail searches we are getting good results in Google. So for example if you’re looking for hostel les amis frankfurt in Google we are in the second place, and in some more esoteric searches we are even #1.  Cool. We are already getting a few hundred of visitors monthly from search engines, and that’s just the beginning.

Obviously we need a lot of work here - get more content, preferably original content, and also get more links pointing at TripTouch to boost our ‘page-rank’. We also need to make sure all our pages are correctly read by the search engines. That’s one of the reasons we added the ‘destination-map‘, for example.

10 days after

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

So now it’s 10 days after our initial launch (or is that 11 now?). Although we said it’s gonna be a soft-launch (without any promotion) we are starting to see people coming into our site. It’s pretty cool - these guys are registering, starting to use the trip-management feature, and looking around the site content.

Actually what we want most now is feedback. And we got some from friends checking the site. We also heard from just ‘regular’ users who take the time to drop a note and say what they think. So I spent the last 10 days fixing some bugs, moving small things around and making the site just a wee bit better. Tomorrow those fixes will go live. Obviously we’re also working on new features and ‘bigger’ thing - stay tuned.

As befits a travel sites, we have users from all over the world, mostly from Israel, US, UK, Spain, Nepal, NZ and Australia. A couple of days ago we had a visit from Syria. Make travel , not war!

The day after

Monday, November 19th, 2007

A day after our launch, we have updated the site again, with some minor fixes. It’s always like this - we did quite a bit of internal testing, but we still had some bugs that we found on the real production server. Oh well!

We also made a page with a list of all our destinations. You can see we have around 2,500 locations, and we’re adding new ones all the time.

New version launched

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Today we launched our new version. It’s pretty exciting, as we worked for a long time on this. 

We have added our first community features (or travel-network as we like to call it). You can now manage your trip plan (your current location, and future plans), and connect to friends on the site. The idea is that you can stay updated on your friend’s wheareabouts, and easily meet up with them. You can also use this tool to stay in touch with people back home - so they’d know where you are and what you’re up to at all times.

We have also changed the site graphic design. Oh, and we added Maps as well.

We’d be happy to get any feedback and updates!

Australia

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

We have added content for another country - Australia. As you can see we’re starting with Southeast-Asia and the pacific - so far we have New Zealand, Australia and Thailand. Oh, and Israel, but that’s just because it’s home.

We believe that our site will be especially useful for people who are on a long trip, and who want to find information during their trip. So that’s why we chose that part of the world. We hope to cover more of it soon!

Architecture

Monday, November 5th, 2007

A few people have asked me about TripTouch - what tools do we use to write the web site? So here’s a short list, I hope I didn’t forget anything -

  • Our server is running Apache, on Linux.
  • For server-side scripting we use PHP. We use Eclipse to do most of the code editing. Client-Side is obviously done with Javascript. We use several 3rd party libraries (both for PHP and JS). We also use scriptaculous for JS effects and such.
  • The database is MySQL. We use both phpMyAdmin and MySQL tools to admin the DB, on the production site and on the test servers and local DBs for development.
  • When we installed everything on our desktop computers we used WAMP which is a great timeserver if you want to install Apache, MySQL and PHP.
  • For version (source) control we use SVN.
  • For bug tracking we use Mantis - although to be honest we don’t use it too much. Most of the bugs are written on the white-board in the R&D room…

I think that pretty much sums it all up. Obviously there are many applications we use as well (GIMP, FileZilla, Thunderbird, FireFox with Firebug, IE + IE Developer toolbar, opera, safari, PuTTy and more).