Creating an online presence is more difficult than you would think. When I started making home pages in the 1990's you just filled the page with content and the search engines would index and make it possible to find. Today there are so many pages that it is easy to drown in the flood of information available online. On top of that, a large part of page design is search engine optimization (SEO), where you fill your page with invisible content that makes you pop to the top of results in any search engine.
We have not been employing SEO. Perhaps that is why we see surprisingly few hits on our pages. Doing proper development takes a lot of time, which is not something we have in abundance. When I am writing this it is 01:47 in the morning and GB is sleeping on the couch next to me. This is the time I have available, and in the morning I will suffer for taking the time to work on this useless text. At the same time I am looking for a way to document our beginnings. It may be fun to look back on, perhaps once we reach retirement. It may be of some use to you as our customer.
Our first development of an online presence was to set up a simple home page with a web shop. This was advertised on Google and Facebook. Those advertisements certainly brought hits, but very few actual customers. Since we know that a lot of people are interested to buy what we sell, it must mean that something was not quite right with our approach.
Now I am doing it all over again; setting up a home page with a web shop. But some things are different. Instead of hosting the pages on a cloud server, we are using a Raspberry Pi (or a few) that I set up to host an Apache2 web server, a PostgreSQL database, Odoo ERP, e-mail server, and so on. You would think that this is an easy thing to do, but it is not and it required a lot of reading up from various sources online. This is just infra structure we are talking about now, after that came the actual creation of the web pages (of which this is one). Browsing for images, discovering license free photos that can be used for advertising by a small company such as ours without hefty fees. Selecting our own images. Writing text. Doing the layout and menus. It's a lot of work.
Perhaps I will reach the point where I can also add the SEO stuff so that we get the right people to find their way here. But it is no coincidence that those who work with SEO (and are good at it) are some of the best paid IT-consultants in the industry. At present the approach is to keep this online presence as a lottery ticket; better to have a slight chance of winning than no chance.
There is still a lot to be done on product development. As of now, most of it is just in my head. It needs to be put in print and in a way that is a good communication to customers. The big trend in Thailand right now is to have a person do live shows on Facebook where they show products. To do that, you need a large following of subscribers and viewers, which again requires a lot of time and effort to develop.
Starting out from our hobbies means we have fun doing it. But it also means development is always one or several steps behind what is in our heads. Perhaps, one day, we will finally catch up.