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variety42 – Text Interface and SEO Experiment

Written by alurosu · 2 min read >

My first website, somewhere around 2008, was an interface where users could post jokes in English and Romanian. I closed it a long time ago, but I kept a backup of the database. It was just sitting there and I thought I should put it to good use. That’s how variety42.com came to be.

I created an easy to use, super fast and mobile friendly website that focuses on readability when shared.

variety42 - Text Interface and SEO Experiment
variety42.com – Text Interface and SEO Experiment

To take it to the next level, I found some databases on the internet and added another 9737 Chuck Norris jokes and 75966 Famous Quotes. I plan on adding more, if I find more. Anything text related is good to go. The sky’s the limit.

To make things friendlier I coded a “go to random post” button, tags, like/dislike buttons, a share tool and a search page.

My main focus is to gather as much information as possible and put a nice interface on it.

What’s different?

This is a SEO (search engine optimization) experiment. I want to see if I can get people to find me based on what they search.

So I have this huge database of text. The plan is to show as much of it as possible. I need to split it up in many posts and create the meta tags accordingly.

Meta tags are a summary of any link from your website: title, description, url, image and so on. This information appears in the search results or in social media shares.

For each post I get the beginning of the content, I split it up and put it as the meta title and description. After that, with the same text, I generate a custom image that contains it and set it as thumbnail. It looks something like this:

My goal is to tell the user exactly what he’s getting into. When he reads the first part of the content, he’ll be enticed to click on the post to read more.

Technical details

I wanted to focus on speed so I didn’t use any known CMS (content management system). A ready made website is a jack of all trade, but master of none. I don’t need all the extra functionalities, the goal here is to deliver the content as fast as possible.

Everything is written in basic HTML and CSS. The dynamic text and image is loaded with simple PHP from a MySQL database. The popups and like/dislike buttons use JavaScript. Nothing too fancy.

Oh and of course I coded with a mobile first design in mind. 100% of the website is easily usable on phones or tablets.

What’s next?

Originally I planned to create a Facebook app that gives random jokes to users or maybe a joke of the day. At the time I’m writing this, a worldwide Covid 19 pandemic started and the developers at Facebook don’t accept individual app submissions due to lack of staff.

For now I wait until the crisis passes.

Another option is to create Android apps with specific sections of the website. For example a jokes app, a quotes app or both. This doesn’t really make use of the initial project idea and the meta design, but maybe I’ll make use of my existing play store developer account.

This feels like a different project, I’ll think about it.

Final thoughts

I submitted everything to Google, Bing and Yandex. It might need some back links from reputable websites before my site will appear on top of the search results. We’ll see how it goes.

Overall I like that I coded everything from scratch and the website feels very fast and clean. You can check it out at variety42.com

If you have any questions or feedback, let me know in the comments section below.

Thanks for checking out my project.

Written by alurosu
I write these articles to spark conversation. If I get to motivate, help or connect with anyone, that's a win in my book. Everything here is free, but you can always buy me a beer: alurosu.com/donate

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