Thursday, December 21, 2006

My mate's GIGANTIC Xmas tree!

A web designer mate of mine, Sharon Li of Bubble and Squeak let her partner get a Xmas tree. He came home with a 20 foot monster... made me chuckle as she said it took 2 days to decorate and was "an absolute nightmare!"

Worth the effort though Sharon - it looks fantastic!

I'm off now and won't be blogging till the New Year so I expect to be back around the 3rd January - in the meantime you all have an excellent Xmas and a FANTASTIC New Year!

Wishing you all the best for 2007!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One UK SEO blog to watch.... apart from mine...

I like SEO Blog UK by Lisa Ditlefsen, she has a decent style of writing and concentrates on SEO in the main, probably more than I do, I'm kind of missing SEO posts for a while now but its only cause its the end of the year....

Heres the link to Lisa's blog - hope you it enjoy it as much as I do!

SEO Blog UK by Lisa Ditlefsen

I've added Lisa to my blogroll too so you can find it again in the future if you don't subscribe.


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Second Life crime levels

I've "ummed and ahhed" over registering with Second Life for quite some time but I can see why some say there is powerful marketing to be had there.

My only concern is joining Second Life and then not doing enough in the "real world" to pay the bills!

I'm also kinda wondering how long it will take for the first criminals in Second Life to be publicly prosecuted in real life for offences commited in the virtual world... sounds an interesting concept... frightening but interesting....


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Monday, December 18, 2006

Here's a shot of the new motor

I grabbed this shot of my new pride and joy - a VW Passat Sport - the photo was taken in very poor light as it was pi**in' down but I think it looks great (the car not the photo!)...'ll go great too but I am still taking it gently to run the engine in as I picked it up with just 2.5 miles on the clock!

I'll give a performance run down in due course... :)


5 things you didn't know about Darren Moloney

Lisa Ditlefsen "tagged" me to do this so here it is...

1. I don't like tailgaters when driving and usually (very gently) apply the brake pedal with my left foot whilst accelerating away with my right... works most times... in getting the driver to then maintain distance - I've been rear ended twice in car accidents by dozey tailgaters... doesn't do the neck any good

2. I am an identical twin - I am 15 minutes "younger" than him (which used to make all the difference when we were kids)

3. At eight years old my mother discovered I had pinched some sweets from the candy shelves at Safeway whilst she was doing the weekly shop. She scared the crap out of me by threatening to take me back to the Store Manager who'd then "call the police and throw me in prison FORVER". As an 8 year old I was totally terrified and I never did it again...

4. I really want a dog as I work on my own a lot but the wife won't let me...

5. As a child I fell out of a moving car on a roundabout in Filton, Bristol. I escaped with cuts and bruises (though later the same day I was mown down by a cyclist and got a few more bruises!)

I don't have 5 others to tag unfortunately - the people I want to tag are still thinking about setting up blogs... I shall see......


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Friday, December 15, 2006

Isn't it just great when you get fantastic service?

I got hold of my new car today and I'm very pleased with it. It looks fantastic.

I'm even more pleased with the VW dealer I bought it from - professional throughout the day today (I was there a little while) and made the day that much more enjoyable.

I'm a hard to please type of guy and as a customer I can be even fussier so to get the EXCELLENT treatment today from Olivia Evans was great (if her boss is reading this, she totally deserves a pay rise!). Sourcing a new car and going to dealerships can always be a daunting task but I can't thank VW Wolverhampton enough for their help, I left with a whole lot more faith in car dealers!

So if you're UK based and looking for a new car I'd highly recommend VW Wolverhampton - even the boss of the company takes a personal interest in customers and him introducing himself to me to thank me for my business was much appreciated. Its also a first in any car dealers where I have met the boss, but its helped cement a loyalty from me to them when I want another new car for my wife next year.

Goes to show looking after the customer, sorting out any problems immediately without fuss, and making them feel wanted goes a long, long way. I've already referred them onto 8 friends and clients without hesitation.

So thanks to VW Wolverhampton for making my new car day a top day out!


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Adding a link to your blogroll in a blaze of fanfare?

Or is it going off like a damp squib?

I tend to add links to my blogroll on the quiet and not make a great deal out of them... if I find a blog I like then I'll normally consider it. Blogs that just comment on others blogs are not ideal for me to link to - the occasional one is ok if you are suffering from writers block is fine but pleeeease not on a daily basis... the same goes for namedropping all the damn time...

I've added a new link to my blog roll today, I'm wondering how long she takes before she notices...

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Switching to the new Blogger ain't all cracked up as it should be

I switched! I made the change!

And now it seems I cannot access comments on my Blog.... so I have been unable to respond to a users previous comment (sorry Sophie!)

I'll see if it sorts itself out in due course.



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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Since when did I NEED permission to link to YOU?

I want to link to YOUR website. Do I need your permission to do so?

I am being asked this more and more by clients and having seen the following on Kim's blog:

Must you ask permission to link to another blog from your own?

I thought of blogging here to see what others feel about seeing links from others... I think that my clients have now begun to understand or feel that its about one way links rather than reciprocal (though some understand that links out from their site that benefit their site users are powerful stuff).

I have to advise them that as far as I am concerned that if someone links to their site in a positive manner then I guess thats gonna be hard to press that other person to remove the link... what I do advise is not to be pressurised into linking back JUST because someone says that they are linking to theirs so it should be reciprocated...

Anyone else get asked the same by clients about linking out?


Monday, December 11, 2006

Not all clients are upfront..

I hate to say this but a minority of my clients are not particularly honest in the results they achieve from my efforts and I'll tell you why....

I measure results for my clients in terms of traffic they generate from the website based on my efforts to target keyword phrases I believe convert best for them into new business and sales.

If the site is an ecommerce site I am capable of tracking what is ordered through the website by checking the backend system however if the order is phoned through then I have no way of knowing.

I was at a clients recently who advised it had been quiet online and he was concerned about a "lack of sales". When he left the building momentarily a member of staff approached me and she said that yes it had been quiet online but they were fielding a large number of calls on the phone from people finding the website and wishing to phone their order through.

My client returned to the building and I did ask how his orders were getting on via the phone and his reply "... same as the web, very little..."

That kind of forces me into a predicament, do I drop the girl in it who told me the phone lines were busy? Or accuse my client of not being truthful?

He must have thought I was gullible as the phone rang almost non stop with orders whilst I was there but when I asked if they were coming from the Internet he went a little coy, especially as I had heard delivery addresses from all over the UK... and I am aware he is not doing any other website or brochure for that matter...

I left advising the client my prices will remain firm and will not be reduced because he says its quiet (especially when its Xmas!).

I can't reduce them anymore anyway as I do not charge agency style fees for my work (well not just yet!)


Thursday, December 07, 2006

John's got a new motor....

Well its not John actually.

Its me. :)

Deal I believe is good and done. The dealer has accepted my car as p/x and I get into contract hire.

For the curious amongst you I am getting a pearlescent black VW Passat Saloon (sedan) Turbo Diesel Sport on a 2 year hire agreement. Its diesel so will likely do over 45 miles per gallon, which makes me feel good as I don't generally agree with cars or 4X4's that offer poor mpg rates...

I had a Ford Mondeo for the last 3 years which has been great but its not great for my company's image (sorry Ford!).

I suppose I could have gone for the Beemer or Audi but it seems EVERYONES got one and I wanted something that doesn't just blend in with everything else. Plus I like VW's, always have, though this is my first as practicality and prices in the past forced me to purchase Fords nearly every time...

If you're unsure what a VW Passat looks like here's a selection here:

Should be picking up the car next week... I'll let you know how I get on with it...

Spanking blogs - take the pain, take the pain, TAKE IT!

Blogs are spanking that is if you want to reach out to old and new clients then spanking new blogs are the way to go!

What is a blog? What is blogging?

Well a blog is a website in essence but one that lets you update as often as you like and very much along the lines of a personal diary or journal. The term itself, "blog" comes from just 2 words "web log".

Blogs can be enabled to allow your readers to leave comments and in time and managed correctly your spanking new blog can become an authority blog and have an online community centred around it.

"Blogging" is a verb and means to update your blog, by way of maintain or updating it.

How to create a spanking new blog

There are many types of blogging software for you to choose from that can help you start. The most popular blogs (especially in the IT or SEO sector) are usually home grown though the following blog software may be used (feel free to let me know of other POPULAR blogging tools I may have missed):





Movable Type

How to generate increased traffic to your blog

When you first start to blog it feels like a very lonely place and with no comments and with little traffic blogging can be hard to do and to persevere with. Take it from the author blogging (especially on a daily basis) can be a pain in the ass if you do not pay it the full attention and detail to planning it deserves.

A Couple of things to help get spanking levels of traffic to your blog is:

Tell people OFFLINE you have a blog, explain its early days but you offer blog posts that are of significant interest to your blog readers.

Find a niche and positively exploit it - people blog for all sorts of reasons from spanking on an adult theme to blogging about where to go in Timbuctoo, theres a blog for someone out there. And if you think you can blog better than someone elses efforts then do it as it won't take long to make a name for yourself if your blog shows authority (not arrogance), relevancy and expertise. Humour helps too and so does positive criticism.

After you've posted for a while - say you have 15 to 25 blog posts then think about finding other blogs you can promote on your blog and ask those blog owners to do the same for you.

If that technique fails then offer to guest blog your expertise - you'd be surprised how many bloggers would love that - the kudos of having someone else (even someone little known) can really big a blog up.

Well thats it for spanking new blogs, I'm guessing by now you SEO'ers out there may realise there's a common theme, LOL, careful now they are usually ADULT BLOGS... you have been warned...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Advertise, advertise, advertise, in all the noise will we switch off?

I love a good advert - ones that make me laugh, are highly original or to some degree ones I do not agree with or plain wind me up (not hard I know) allow me to remember them.

But having read on Peter de Vanzo's blog that Google see the possibility to give away Free mobile phones paid for by the user accepting a certain amount of advertising, won't we just run the risk of being turned off by even more advertising?

More and more we are bombarded by ads - whether on the TV, the Internet and now on the side of lorry trailers on the side of motorways (all too distracting at 100 mph and I never remember them!)

Whats the point in overdoing it, if we keep increasing the level of advertising we see/hear won't we just turn away from it more?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bad morning, GREAT afternoon!

I hate losing and my wife hates being around me when I have perceived that I have lost as I'm not so nice to be around... my competitive nature I guess.

This morning started badly having to chase clients for overdue payments and having one client appear to hang up on me after phoning... this resulted in me decided to pass the debt over to a bailiff/debt recovery - something I hate having to do as I see it as a threatening way to ensure I am paid... and I for one do not like being threatened.

Thankfully I kept my patience and the client rang through later and arranged to pay - I'm not so sure he was aware of how close I got to passing the debt on...

So that got sorted and I calmed down.

Then lo' and behold the new car dealer I've been negotiating with calls me back after I backed out of the deal yesterday when he tried to change the payment details and re-offered me the deal - which is great as after I had spoken with him yesterday I had gone to the nearest dealer of the same brand in Swindon and found they were charging almost £400 plus VAT per month for the same type of car but with a lower mileage allowance and longer contract hire term.

I'd swallowed my pride yesterday and refused to ring the original dealer back begging for the offer thinking he'd say no and up the price so I was pleased as punch today when the dealer came back to me with the offer on the table. It's slightly altered to suit them (no car dealer ever comes out of a deal out of pocket even if they claim they are!) but one thats saving me in real terms over £110 a month on current car payments (and I get a better brand of car!)

I do like days that start bad and get better and yes I do like having things go my way (who doesn't???)


Monday, December 04, 2006

Is the Disability Discrimination Act going to bite your website in the ass?

Many, many websites I see do discriminate against the disabled in some form or another.... a few out of choice, possibly, but most out of ignorance or even budget restraints.

I also feel some web designers are keeping the DDA accessibility guidelines up their sleeve as an added service for when their clients ask or to use fear to get them to buy in and spend more money down the line. Something which quite frankly I do not agree with.

I have advised several clients they need to be more aware of the accessibility issues their websites have to contend with and usually advise if they wish the site to be upgraded to allow for the DDA, then it might be an idea to consider a new web design too (using CSS layout) - that way then they can upgrade and save money at the same time.

I've spent some time looking over the accessibility issues and I have to admit its easy to get confused over something which is supposed to be quite simple.

For your information I found the few following sites to be of use to me - have a look and let me know your thoughts.

Web Credible - accessibility specialists

How people with Disabilities use the web - have to admit this one gave some scenarios that I had not thought about and was of most interest to me

Checklist of checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
I would have preferred simpler language here but its written for designers and developers and I was just being a lazy reader...

If you have a website or you have a page on your website dedicated to accessibility then please post it here for others to check out! I'd be delighted to list it.