If someone says to you work placements are pointless, tell them they’re wrong.
Essentially, three days work experience has shaped my life.
I was an ambitious 17-year-old A-level student when I first came across 4thegame.com, and spent a thoroughly enjoyable few days working for them. Besides a fortnights placement at my dad’s place of work when I was 14, and my Saturday job at the local library, it was the first time I’d experienced the “real world”. And I loved it. Football all day long. It was heaven.
It was of course 4thegame that inspired me to start Last Tackle. I combined the knowledge and innovation I had picked up from that placement and combined it with my own skill sets, enthusiasm and drive to develop Last Tackle. It was my dad that encouraged me to do it – on the drive home from my final day (which, coincidentally, was during England’s Ashes success of 2005), I identified the fact there wasn’t a rugby league version of that type of site, and my dad said well, why don’t you make one.
Why not indeed.
What started off as something of an experiment has turned in to perhaps the love of my life. Last Tackle is thriving after four years of development. It’s popular in website terms and sure, it’s not a success in terms of business, but it pleases me the way things have turned out.
But why bring this up now?
Well, Last Tackle has enjoyed probably its best week ever in terms of visitor numbers and stats.
Thursday saw a total of 1,137 visits to the site and 2,327 pageviews. It might not seem a lot to you, but it’s a sign that we are pushing on and improving. Make that the average and tag a few more hits on, and it’s nearing 500,000 visits a year. Not bad for a website that’s being run out of my mum and dads house!
The site has of course taken on many different guises over the years, each bringing improvements to the site. The current site is by far the most superior and is the basis for what will hopefully make the site a success. I won’t bore you with the details of the improvements it has brought, you can see a bit more about that here.
The big draw this week has been unique content and big stories. The top five:
- Transfer gossip
- Myler set to stay at Salford
- Super League clubs chase Whitehaven prop
- SL special feature in Mirror newspaper
- Celtic face visa investigation
There has also been some new ticket competitions on the site, with more to come.
The past week has provided some great news angles and stories, and I’ve tried to take advantage of that with interesting stories and inviting headlines. We are listed on Google News and NewsNow, and we had a place in the “Top Stories (last 24 hours)” on NewsNow every day last week.
But while the website itself continues to take great leaps, I remain frustrated.
At present, I’m putting in almost £100 a month to the site – £60 a month on the image deal with rlphotos.com, which has been crucial in taking the site to the next level, as it means all stories are an assigned a professional, topical and relevant images; and £35 a month for email marketing software, which gives me the facility to send out a weekly newsletter to a managed list of subscribers.
The opportunities are there for people and businesses to support the site through advertising.
The problem is, I’m not a salesman. Liaising with companies and persuading them to come on board is not something I’d be strong at. There are sides of Last Tackle of which I am not an expert, but I have a strong team behind the scenes that help out, particularly with the technical side. But as for sales/advertising, there is one hole in the project.
As much as it’s hard work sometimes, and frustrating, I remain as dedicated and committed as ever to improving Last Tackle.
Maybe one day, it’ll make me a living. Maybe one day, someone will see its potential and help me fulfil it.
But the message remains, you make your own opportunities in this world. Last Tackle is mine.