I’m very proud that I’ve managed to blog each day, while on holiday in Casares.
Why am I bothering you may ask? Because one of the elements of the deal I’ve struck with my friends Rona & Adrian, who lent us their lovely house for three weeks, is that I’ve made them a WordPress driven website to help them promote the rental of their property in Casares, short-term and long-term over the winter.
We all know by now that blogging is one of the sure-fire ways to get traffic to a website, if it’s set up right, and also to get the blog site well indexed by the search engines.
In addition, there is only ONE video found by Google when you google Casares, and I want to add to that, also helping the SEO of the site. I’m taking video but I can’t upload it till I get home, as it will take ages from here, although the high speed wireless broadband is very good indeed.
By blogging our daily activities around the Casares area, we are seeding the site with relevent keywords quite naturally, and tagging the blog postings and pictures, will help even more.
Results? This screen shot shows that the website was getting one visitor a day on average from being set up in July, then when we arrived, and started blogging, and twittering from the dedicated twitter account, the traffic has risen to an average of 20 visitors a day. As more of the site gets indexed that will only continue. I’ve also set a Google alert for the local area so I can carry on adding stuff at least once a week, when we get home.
And you can see that 28% of the traffic is coming from search engines, that only 37% are new visits, so we are getting returning traffic already, and we know from our Analytics report which search terms they are using to find the site.
It’s also showing a 44% bounce rate which is very low, even lower than the Money Gym’s site. So they like what they see and spend an average of 3 minutes on the site.
If you have a holiday home to rent, you need to be watching what we are doing here, as Rona and Adrian have had an enquiry for a long term winter let already, from our activities.
But enough about business, back to our holiday! You know how you sometimes end up eating things when you are abroad that you would never eat at home? Well, here is one of them… the top breakfast in this house right now is hard tosts, with philadelphia cheese and marmite – yum! yum!
And here’s some more extracts from our daily blogging:
…the kids have met a bunch of local kids, including some “hot boys” and despite the fact none of them speak Spanish, and only one of the locals, Clara, speaks English, they are all getting on like a house on fire.
The kids all hang out at one of the top squares till the wee small hours, known here as Casares answer to BP (Buckingham Park in Shoreham). The doorbell rings persistently if they are not dolled up and out on time.
Even Nelson has taken to straightening his fringe – and Spud got his curled by the girls – which he was not sure about!
This evening I attempted deep fried squidlings (olive oil didnt’ get hot enough) and octopus on the grill, which ended up a bit rubbery but not bad. We’ve put the leftovers in vinegar and lemon juice, to steep in the fridge, hoping it’s going to get anywhere near Elias’ wife Stella’s “octopus in vinegar” as served at Pefko taverna.
I’m starting to forget what day it is, and have given up wearing my watch entirely. Today is…..Saturday, I think!
Working till lunchtime, that is, when the brats wake up, turn on Big Brother and generally kill the peace and quiet, and then, once they have “brunched” we all head down to the municipal pool around 2pm when the lifeguard arrives to open up. He’s cute actually – one for the ladies, though, not the girls!
The plan tonight was to cook the kids something (chicken fajitas) and then head up to the Castillo Restaurant to eat ourselves and book us in for Chloe’s birthday. But as soon as dinner was over, my energy levels dropped and I headed up to bed! Only about 10.30pm….this being on holiday stuff is exhausting!
The kids WERE going to stay in and watch a movie (they are all sharing a Harry Potter book currently) but then the doorbell rang, local kids wanting them to come out, so that was the last we saw of them for hours!
Sarah and I went out, having cooked for the kids, and explored the Castille, taking loads of photos of the castle, the view, various doorways, and anything else we could see.
Sarah and I ate out tonight for the first time, at the Terrace Restaurant at La Bodeguita De Enmedio and the food was very good. We promptly booked for eight for Chloe’s 15th birthday tomorrow, as they do a nice breaded chicken and chips that we thought they will enjoy. A whole english family were up there tucking in, and this is the first time we have really heard english accents at all.
Excellent gazpacho (cold tomato soup) and tortilla, with a charcuterie platter and a tomato salad, a bottle and a half of rose, a couple of bruchetta type things (which we didn’t order but which might have been part of the platter) came to around 65 euros, quite expensive for the town apparently, but a great location overlooking the square.
Bit cloudy today after a sunny start and the maid service isn’t coming till Wednesday so we let the kids lie in again while we got on with some work – largely editing, tagging and uploading photos to http://www.flickr.com/photos/stoupaproperty and http://www.flickr.com/photos/casaresspain
We are going with Flickr being the best place to upload photos to, as they feed directly into the lovely little widget Sarah found. All we need now is a photo gallery widget for the photo gallery page but every one we have found requires onerous form filling if your site is for commercial gain. Forms? Nah!
We nearly went to Puerto Banus to see Ice Age 3, but decided time was too short as we had a social engagement last night. And it’s Chloe’s birthday tomorrow so perhaps a trip would be better tomorrow. One of her admirers from the village boys, Habi, brought her a big fluffy bunny as a birthday present and delivered it to the door this afternoon – much to everyone’s merriment. Here’s Nelson holding said rabbit!
We attempted to get the kids up early, as it was Chloe’s birthday and we wanted to go to the beach at Puerto Banus.
As usual it was a bit of an adventure, as I wasn’t 100% sure how to get there, but I remember managing it before so how hard can it be? Roger said to avoid San Pedro turnoff, so we went as far as Marbella, before we turned off the E15 Autopista, then followed the coast roads till I saw signs for Istan, then Puerto Banus. We came down the main avenue, parked in a convenient multi-story, then headed for the beach where we found some lovely beach bars with parasols and sardines on the grill, plus the most FANTASTIC waves! Like surfing waves, so the boys started asking for boogie boards.
After a reviving drink for all, Sarah and I headed off to look for some, plus a sun umbrella which we urgently need too. Second shop in, found exactly what we wanted, plus a lilo for the girls but neither my Visa or Mastercard worked. I suspected it was his machine, as I know both cards are fine, so a short trip to the cashpoint later and we are sorted with both cash and boogie boards.
Hours of fun, jumping waves, being knocked over by waves, being submerged by waves, being nearly drowned by waves……….fabulous. Quite a workout too, as when you came out of the water, your heart was pounding and your legs trembling.
We drove down to have breakfast at Puerto De La Duquesa and sat and looked at the boats while eating bacon, scramblers, toast and chocolate milkshakes (not me and Sarah obviously, we had fresh orange juice!)
Then we went to the local Supersol supermarket in Sabanillas – which still had great fish, meat and veg counters – for a top up of various essentials.
A leisurely afternoon at the local pool, reading, floating, snoozing before the aerobic workout of the walk back up the village! I’m not kidding, some of the gradients must be 1:1 if not, they are 1:2 at least! Get’s the old heart racing I can tell you.
I cooked a HUGE lasagne for dinner and then Sarah and I went to sit outside in the square, by the bar under “La Bodeguita de en medio” where, if you sit long enough, you see all of Casares life pass by. A very flash red car pulled up and disgorged four little girls, all done up to the nines, with Big Mac Happy Meal bags, so they had obviously been to a birthday party in Marbella or Puerto Banus, where the nearest MacDonald’s is located. They ran to their mums, who were also very glamorous, and who could only be the local hairdressers / beauticians – you can always tell!
We went back to Puerto Banus beach today – it’s really fab and we got waves again! “The Ladies” took whatever money they could scrounge and went shopping although Phoebe was disgusted to find that she couldn’t access her allowance using her cashpoint card. There is a branch of HSBC in Gibraltar apparently for those wanting off-shore banking facilities but she doesn’t qualify yet!
We are planning a trip to the Casares Playa soon too, we haven’t found it yet but its right down the MA-546 past Finca Cortesin, the new golf club resort, apparently. On Saturday and Sunday there is an x-treme bike race through the village and on Sunday night there is a dance/hip hop party in aid of charity, on the beach, so we might try that out too, although we do have a very early start on Monday to get the girls/Spud off and pick Susanne Jorgensen from @ThesinglesGym up from Malaga Airport, who is coming to join us for the last week, adding her twitters and pictures to ours, helping promote the website further.
We stayed there till late, the kids had their first and ONLY MacDonalds of the holiday and I cooked marinaded roast chicken quarters and mushroom risotto, with sliced local tomato salad for dinner, washed down with our favourite Penescal rose wine….
You can follow our adventures on this blog, or find out how to rent this beautiful house on a long or short term basis here >>
Have Fun, We Always Do!