Wednesday, 7 November 2007
I have to say in my own opinion since taking on Woolfson Communications over the last 6 months we've had an OK response, but the money spent on Rosalind's service was definitely not as good as investment as money spent on SEO.
When I asked for the contract to be cancelled I was told by Woolfson Communications I would have to pay about 3k to get out of it. This seems to be absolutely crazy!!!
Is traditional PR really worth the money? Where SEO can bring in so much more for your buck. Woolfson Communications are now threatening to take us court for the money we are supposed to owe to get out of the contract. So they want money for nothing by the sounds of it.
So my advice, do real research, get positive feedback from other customers and make sure you read the small print.
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
Thursday, 13 September 2007
There is nothing better than seeing your site move above competitions after months if not years of blood, sweat and tears. SEO guys are a bit like plumbers no one really appreciates, what they have had to do to get websites up the search engines, this normally because you cannot see a lot of the work being done. Also like plumbers the client knows its working or not.
SEO is a funny old business, rather like sport. As Liverpool Manager Bill Shankly once said -'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' Well sometimes it feels as thou SEO is the same as you watch google frantically for signs of change. SEO is like being the manager. You can tell everybody what to do, you can shout from the touchline but you never tell whether they are going to perform. Is your goalie (aka webmaster) going to let a sitter in ie change the way the server works without telling you. Is your striker (marketing director) going to get into his head some strange new strategy that he doesn't tell you about. Every so often it just happens you wake up one morning and you have shot to the top of the rankings... just like last night when McFadden turned and shot it straight over the goalie. Perfect. It only happens once or twice.
So my advice if you want to feel like a champion and walk down the street with your head held high when you have reached the number one slot then remember these simple rules.
- Right good unique content
- Try and add new pages to your site daily / weekly
- Use bloggers on your own site
- Make sure your site is well designed and easy to navigate for surfers and search engines
- Get inbound links from good quality sites
- Don't link to any old site be careful
- Don't try sneaky tactics like hiding text, buying link etc Google knows all the tricks
Thursday, 6 September 2007
One of my pet hates is people who use the excuse they hate computers or won't take the time to understand the internet. The internet is crucial to so many SME's these days, for example getting your website on the first page of Google for a certain search term could be like advertising your business on Television around the world, which of course you would not be able to afford.
My other big pet hate is when business owners allow their cousins or nephew to build their site in a bedroom. Now I am not saying there aren't talented nephews or cousins out there but 9 times out of 10 these are the same SME owners who get a poor response from the Internet and wonder why...
My advice to any business owners is take time out and learn as much as you can about the internet and what it can do for your business. Just because you ignore does not mean your competition does. I never thought I would be selling half the stuff I do today through the net.
The net in simple terms can let a business tell the world instantly about any special offers or services you may want to offer. You can use it to update information, play around with prices and also the best thing about the net is you can go to bed knowing that your business is still available and interactive with the rest of the world. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning a couple of grand richer!!!
Here is an example : I have been working hard on one of my businesses Self Catering Cottages in Scotland to get it up the search engines for keywords like self catering Scotland. Now that I have achieved high rankings I have saved myself about £7k in commissions and more importantly increased my revenue. See my self catering cottage in the North West of Scotland I have only got 2 weeks left to sell, this is a massive improvement on last year when i relied on agents to sell my cottages.
So please all business owners learn as much as you can about the net, it could change your business over night...
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
Airport parking doesn’t have to be stressful or of poor standard as we could expect. People have to be prepared before checking into the one of the world’s busiest airport like Heathrow airport. This busiest airport is always crowded with passengers both immigrants and emigrants, obviously you can guess the huge number of vehicles which will have to be parked before the passengers board planes to their destination. Not only the space but also the security of the vehicle also remains the main matter of concern.
Parking facility is available on and off the airport. The on-site parking available in the airport itself is considered a little expensive, if you are running out of time on-site parking is the best choice, you will get enough time to board the plane, without any unnecessary delay.
The off site car parking will cost you lesser than on site parking. If you have ample time and a desire to travel in a bus before you board a plane then you can opt for park & ride bus service. You can park your car in the spacious parking area located away from the airport and can travel in a bus which is available from the parking area and travel to airport to catch you plane.
There is another option which is Meet & Greet parking, also known as Chauffeur or Valet parking was once only for the rich travellers. But now it became affordable to all the passengers. You can leave your car in this parking area and the service boys out there will park the car for you. No need to queue up for parking your car. Heathrow Parking has all the facility to make you fell comfort and relaxed.
Friday, 29 June 2007
Obviously my client was shocked by this unexpected demand from Getty images. To cut a long story short, the webmaster had done everything right, he got permission from a hotel to use their images. Unknowingly the people who design the hotel's website took an image off Getty, how on earth then was my client meant to know. Of course the image was taken down immediately and I contacted Getty Images. They were not in the slightest bit sympathetic to my clients situation, and demanded payment even though the image was only on the site for a few weeks on an internal page.
I have been reading around and found some useful information, I am by no means a lawyer or have any legal training, but by the looks of it there are 1000's of people in the same boat.
Also from the same forum:
Found this on www.sitepoint.com/forums/
The UK Copyright, Patents and Designs Act 1988 states the following
Section 98.—(1) If in proceedings for infringement of copyright in respect of which a licence is available as of right under section 144 (powers exercisable in consequence of report of Monopolies and Mergers Commission) the defendant undertakes to take a licence on such terms as may be agreed or, in default of agreement, settled by the Copyright Tribunal under that section—
(a) no injunction shall be granted against him,
(b) no order for delivery up shall be made under section 99, and
(c) the amount recoverable against him by way of damages or on an account of profits shall not exceed double the amount which would have been payable by him as licensee if such a licence on those terms had been granted before the earliest infringement.
Advice to all...
If you live in the UK and have received a letter/email/telephone call from Getty asking for payment for copyright infringement:
1. Complain to Trading Standards immediately stating that you have received a very threatening demand for money and believe it to be an illegal scam. If you are any doubt that this is a scam, then take my word, IT IS!
2. If the invoice is charging VAT and has a) A US address and/or b) No VAT number, then report them to UK Customs and Excise. This is highly illegal.
3. Remove your site from the Waybackmachine. Both Getty and Picsout use this to get information. Inform the Waybackmachine that you have removed your site and tell them why - they frown on companies like Getty abusing their free resource.
4. Ignore all posts from photographers on this forum. They have no advice to offer you.
1. Contact Getty in any way. Ignore all correspondence. If you have already spoken to them, and have not done so already, dispute the invoice and deny all responsibility.
2. Under no circumstances pay them any money. If you have already paid them, report them to the trading standards and write to them stating that if they don't refund your money you will report them to the police.
3. Speak to a solicitor. In my experience (like most others on this forum) is that advice is bad, conflicting and generally designed to maximise their own income rather than resolve your issue.
In the [very] unlikely event that Getty do take you to court - fight them! Legally, they do not have a leg to stand on!
I am not sure what is true and what is not but one thing is for sure it sounds like Getty's business model is not to make money from selling images but instead to make money from Sueing unsuspecting business owners. Ah the American way you gotta love it!!!
If I was a photographer I would be careful about using such a company. I can totally understand why such a law exists to protect your work, but I think Getty have gone a step to far. It's the small guys like me who used to buy of a company like Getty.
One last bit of advice if you have have been in contact with Getty then ask the for the copyright number for the image, the rates on their website for the period of time in connection and the full contact details for the photographer.
If you want this advice to be found by other people then either bookmark this page or link to it.
I now only use www.photospin.com and www.sxc.hu now for all my images.
Friday, 1 June 2007
One of the top favourites is the Honda Pilot, suitable only for the more adventurous - those looking for more thrills than what karting and quad bikes can offer.
The Honda Pilot, a 400cc off road dune buggy, is synonymous with the top end of 'Off Road Karting', and is capable of driving over the most demanding terrain. These small single seaters have the off road ability of a quad bike and are much more robust than outdoor karts. They are equipped with bigger wheels to travel over uneven terrain, a roll bar and cage over the kart itself and a safety harness to keep the driver in the seat. Originally designed for sand dune racing in the US, all controls including brakes, steering and acceleration are controlled via the steering wheel.
Before starting off the drivers are given a full safety briefing; race suits and crash helmets are provided at the course. The event begins with a practice heat which is followed by qualifying heats. Then it’s the real thing – the exciting race against the clock and other drivers to set the fastest time around the custom made track. The drivers must try to remain on the track and keep heading in the right direction which is rather difficult considering the tricky nature of the course.
With Honda Pilots you get an alternative to outdoor karting - off road karting –in a very different vehicle and on more rugged terrain. Honda pilots are the ultimate in challenge for the more daring players
In Glasgow the most popular elements combine to give you the perfect boy’s weekend. Glyndevalley with its undulating hills and the beautiful East Dunbartonshire area are very popular for stag parties.
Go to Glasgow and you are spoiled for choice. Do you want to have a thrilling adventure? Hit the rapids. You can sit in a one man mini inflated raft and let the daredevil in you take over. Paint ball is a stag weekend favourite that never fails to provide top value entertainment for all the crew.
Try clay pigeon shooting with the help of a qualified instructor. Or why not try your hand at go karting .The fast paced fun of greyhound racing is worth spending an evening on. Other daytime activities include paint ball, health spa, white water rafting, power boating, golf, bowling, rock climbing and Highland Games such as Tossing the Caber.
Glasgow is now seriously cool. There's a bewildering array of superb bars and clubs divided between the West End and City Center districts and all the competition means that prices are cheap as chips. If you're looking for a cracking night out without splashing the moolah, Glasgow is definitely the place.
The numerous bars, clubs and restaurants ensure that there's something for everyone. Enjoy the table dancing from the bonny Scottish lasses, VIP entrance and your first complimentary dance. Or go for a comedy evening where you laugh, get fed and there’s after show music for a dance.
If you go to Glasgow for your stag weekend you can be sure it will be a memorable one.
Any one coming to Edinburgh for their stag weekend can choose from an exhaustive list of fun activities including driving, country sports and outdoor pursuits to keep themselves busy during the day. Rather than sticking to any or two activities the day becomes more enjoyable by the correct choice and combination of various activities. Competitive activities along with classical team building games will make for an eventful day and you get the most from your weekend. Some popular choices are Honda Pilots, karting, clay shooting, and white water rafting.
When booking certain group activities a minimum number of ten or eight in a group is required in most centers. Of course you will have to pay more if you choose more activities, but the larger the group, the lesser the cost. Most centers offer combination packages, but groups can also go for combinations of their own.
When planning a multi activity day the distance between venues must also be taken into consideration, otherwise more time and money might be spend on travel. A group can choose its favourite activities from a vast portfolio of options to meet its specific interests. This selective approach will result in the perfect activities package to suit individual needs.
You can book railway tickets in Edinburgh, Scotland using online train ticket reservation service. You can make bookings on all Scottish rail services. You also book GNER services between London and Scotland as well as Virgin Rail services.
If you book early enough you will get cheap train tickets to Scotland. A study of the timetable of possible trains as well as ticket tariff will help you to choose your tickets.
Edinburgh's main ticket station is Waverley Station (or Edinburgh Waverley) and the London departure station is London Kings Cross. GNER Is stated to be the best service.
The BritRail Pass gives foreign visitors the freedom to travel England, Scotland, and Wales at their own pace by train. You may choose from a variety of rail options, to find the pass that best fit your needs. If you book in advance you make a saving..
Scot rail too gives different options for a rail traveler to choose from. Bookings can be made online and both Brit Rail and Scot Rail information regarding tickets and their availability can be accessed on line. You can go for any of the various options such as full price tickets, multi-journey tickets, season tickets for commuters railcards, flexipass, group travel one ticket rail and bus, integrated travel or sleeper.
A stag party in Edinburgh will be hassle free if ticket bookings are done in advance.
Coming from a sales background where results in many cases was instant to SEO where much of your efforts become unnoticed for months sometimes years. Well the key I think is to be patient and methodical.
Like any type of success whether its body building, painting pictures or creating a wonderful garden, it all takes time and a strict routine.
SEO can be very intimidating and misleading with so many forums and guesswork going on, not know which argument is correct. Well here are some basic principles I have picked up over time.
1. KISS - Keep It Short and Simple. The truth still stand that less is more, sites that do well have a clear and concise message and aren't cluttered with extra stuff. I know I leave a site straight away if I see an affiliate banner on a home page.
2. All services and products should be easily accessible, the 3 click theory. It should take 3 clicks to get where you want on a site.
3. Make sure your menu is easy for search engines to follow. Text based links are always best.
4. Go after good quality links. Passed experience has shown the harder it is to get a link from a site generally means the site is better. Try and get relevant sites to link to you, difficult if they are competition.
5. Definitely have a site map, this helps spiders and surfers navigate your site.
6. Write good articles about the industry you are in and submit them to article sites.
7. Bookmark your site on social bookmark sites using widgets
8. Keep adding good content to your site.
This is just basic stuff that I do, the main thing is just to be patient and religious in your routine. Happy SEOing
With pension funds being swallowed up, or not preforming like that should, with Gordon Brown still charging crazy taxes on inheritance and capital gains on 2nd properties. What should our generation do...
I see properties as the only way I can control my money, I certainly don't trust any 3rd party company to manage my future, they have only one goal and that is to make money for themselves. With properties in Scotland still rising at a incredible rate, they still seem the best option for a UK investment in my opinion. Of course properties will go up and down, you only have to look at the 80's and 90's but at least they go up over long periods of time say 25 years. I think my parents first house cost them £2000.
Another reason I like to invest in property is if I get a tenant in, they are actually paying for my pension. Of course when you don't have a tenant you have to cover the mortgage, but that's ok cos I would have been paying into a pension fund if I didn't invest in property.
The only thing that worries me is for example the amount of flats for sale in Edinburgh is massive. I don't understand why someone would want to buy one of these new tiny flats... after about 5 years they look awful from outside as the paint starts to fall off. Some of the blocks of flats have been bought by one person which is very scary, if they have a problem covering the mortgages and have to sell quickly, will that drive the prices down on properties?
Banks seem to be keen to lend money, offering cheap mortgages and at sometimes 6 times the amount of someone's gross income. I believe for me property is the best pension fund, if done correctly you can use the banks money to create a great portfolio / pension.
Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Are you planning a stag in Edinburgh? If you are, by doing a little homework you can get yourself the best deals when booking a flight into the city.
Once you have planned the date and venue, and the numbers of invitees, remember to book your tickets well in advance. Early booking will get you the best fares. Be on the alert to know when seats are released for the season and book before the fares go up. You will also get better rates if you book directly from the airlines. All the airlines have very easy-to-use booking forms on their websites. Check out the best deals offered by the different airlines especially the low cost ones. Very often a group booking will cost less than an individual booking.
Avoid direct flights these are more expensive. Or you could fly into one of the bigger cities and travel to your destination by train or coach which might save you some money. Flying on a lesser known carrier will work out cheaper than flying on the bigger ones.
Some days are busier than others which means the fares will be higher. On Mondays, Fridays and weekends the domestic routes are busy .So Tuesday to Saturday will work out cheaper. The fares also go up during the time of major events.
In winter when traveling is at the lowest peak, airlines offer the cheapest fares. You can get a real bargain during this time.
Finally don’t forget to take out a travel insurance that will cover the trip starting from when you book the flight.
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Hey here’s the real magic which will drive you and your friends crazy, just enjoy the night sipping the drink and just imagine if a hot and sexy male dancer entertains your group with his sexy moves and athletic body and killing looks, ooh! Too tempting, it would be real fun. These hard-core performances by the stripper will definitely melt the hearts of the entire guest and will entice them to get more.
What else, add some more spice to your hen night and get close to these hunks, wait ladies, you have the real fun left, all those who were dieing to touch the stunning torso of the stripper, its you chance to get your hands on that slippery body and have fun oiling and rubbing cream and strawberry on the chest of these sexy, male stripper.
This would be a great fun experience as by now you too are the part of the show, its all for you ladies its full entertainment and not a nudity show, just relax and have the fun before stepping into a married life. Hope you might not get another chance later so garb the opportunity and get the maximum out of it. Talking about male stripping and not describing about Edinburgh is too kiddish.
The beautiful place has many strip clubs which arrange strip nights especially for Hen Weekends they provide great ambiance with some good music, just have to sit and relax with your friends and make it a enjoyable occasion of your life.
Some companies might arrange for delivery and return service at an extra charge. One way hires are difficult to get from remote locations and cancellations have to be made less than 72 hours prior to car rental.
All cars have seat belts since it is mandatory to have them. Other than the economy range of cars most cars have power steering and airbags. Baby, child and booster seats may be requested from most hirers and are often supplied free of charge.
Some of the firms will allow you to take the vehicle abroad at an extra charge. Based on the type of hire you may get unlimited mileage, but there also companies that allow unlimited mileage irrespective of the type of hire.
The excess on the insurance will be higher for younger drivers and the hirer is liable for damage up to a specified amount. The airport branches of the car hire companies are open on Sundays but for a shorter time. On bank holidays the larger firms are open, but remain closed on Xmas Day and New Years Day.
The company will supply the car with a full tank which the hirer is expected to replace on return. The firm may also charge you a fuel deposit which is adjusted according to usage.
Overseas visitors must have a valid driver’s license or International License and this must be accompanied by a passport. British licenses usually must have been held for at least 1 year.
These are only a few of the basic things to be aware about if you plan to hire a car when you go to Edinburgh.
First of all the stag himself has to be consulted on what his preferences are regarding the date, venue, activities list of invitees etc. You must decide on your budget. How much do you plan to spend? The cost may not matter, but if it does, then plan accordingly.
Fix the dates and the venue. The date has to be convenient for the stag and the invitees. It would be advisable to fix on a date at least 2 weeks ahead of the wedding. Once the dates have been decided on, decide on the venue and plan the guest list. You must decide on whether the party is to be big or a small exclusive one. The stag has to be consulted with regard to this. He may wish to invite certain people or not to invite others. After all it is his stag night. Confirm whether all the invitees will be arriving, and if the dates are convenient with all. Book early so that all the invitees can be provided for.
You must also consider whether you want a theme based party, which might need a little more organizing, but may be more enjoyable. Transport facilities for those who are coming will need to be arranged.
Other points to keep in mind are what to do, what games to play and what to give. A surprise for the stag will have to be planned but not one that is demeaning, even if rather nasty.
It would be preferable to avoid provocative entertainment, but that depends on individual preferences.
Prepare a speech to be delivered at the stag party.
These are just a few tips to help you plan a stag party without too many avoidable hitches.
Scotland’s capital Edinburgh is a magnificent city, rich in history and culture. It is a part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The city oozes character from the stunning castle that proudly overlooks the city to the innumerable streets of bars, clubs and restaurants.
Edinburgh is the ideal city break for a Stag Weekend. The highland games, traditional Haggis served with ‘neeps & tatties’, a tour around Loch Ness, the beer and Edinburgh’s explosive club scene make it the favourite destination for lively stag weekends with an international flavour.
The city has a range of entertainments on offer. One can go natural White Water Rafting in Edinburgh, canyoning, off road driving or cliff jumping. In fact the area boasts some of the most diverse range of outdoor activities in the country which makes Edinburgh the perfect weekend destination in every respect.
Edinburgh has the distinction of being steeped in both history and alcohol, and has an astonishing number of pubs. The old town of Edinburgh is famous for its legendary Grass market area of pubs and cobblestones with Guinness galore and whisky chasers. It is a veritable stag weekend drinker’s paradise. The in Edinburgh pubs are famous for their extremely good measures.
The city is the second most popular tourist destination throughout Great Britain, second only to London. There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep a one busy. The many fairs and festivals simply add to the excitement. A stag weekend in Edinburgh is a fantastic stag experience.
Monday, 21 May 2007
Over the last 12 months Google has changed a lot of its algorithms to return better results and continue the fight against spam. However this fight may have gone one step to far...
As a small business every penny counts, I have invested a lot of our revenue into Google adwords over the years. I also look after quite a few of my clients adword campaigns, but over the last 12 month I've seen 3 major factors change, and it may be Goodbye Google as far as spending money on adwords is concerned.
1. Naturally there is more competition now on adwords than what there was 5 years ago, or even just 12 months ago. My cost per click has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and to also add salt to injury my conversion of enquiries has dropped considerably. These two elements compound the fact that costs have gone up and conversion has gone down, which in turn means the cost per sale has risen dramatically.
The content advertising has also seem to get weaker for many of our adword campaigns, we have recently stopped advertising on the content network. I have tracked many clicks coming from bogus sites over the years, and I'm not sure google can track all the bogus sites and clicks.
I know Google rewards sites for good conversion, I'm pretty sure that our conversion rate is one of the best, so I would hate to think how much the other sites with lower conversions are paying. Over the last 12 months I have managed over $200,000 in adword advertising.
2.The second reason we are looking at alternatives is our Adsense revenue is 1/4 of what it was last year. The weak Dollar against the GB Pound really also does not help. What I am unsure about is how Google is charging more for adwords and maybe paying less for adsense? Or is it because of reason 3?
3.Over the last 18 months has been a nightmare for any internet business relying on traffic from natural searches. Since Google's updates, many of our sites which were doing fantastic, have now gone. I can understand link popularity and the reasoning behind it, but the fact is most small business do not have the time or the resources to do the link building that is required of them.
I will give you an example, my number one revenue site for sales www.edinburghstagparty.com
After a long hard effort the site's home page came back for the keywords:
Edinburgh Stag Party
But the many 100's of keyords like Edinburgh Hen Weekend or Edinburgh Stag Weekend we have never returned for. I would expect at least Edinburgh Hen Weekend or Edinburgh Stag Weekend to be just as effective. I know there will be many of you out there saying well this page is not optimised that alt tags is missing etc, but I can give examples of sites higher than mine who mention the keyword once. Google used to rate them for the keywords, so it knows what the page is about, but for whatever reason has decided to supplement most of my pages.
I did a test last week and for the first time in a long time, I got a much better result from advertising in a paper than I did in Google adwords. What I think has happened is Google has taken such a large proportion of companies advertising spend like mine, that it's forced the traditional channels of advertising to me more competitive. So for 2007 I will be spending less with Google and more on other advertising mediums, I will also be advising my clients to also consider looking at similar avenues.
I would love to hear feed back from anyone else, I'm sure I am not the only one in the UK who has noticed it.
I saw this more feed back on other people with issues about google Scobleizer
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
We have begun writing good articles with deep linking and placing them on 3rd parties websites. This has shown to be very effective if done correctly. If you are interested in teaming up with us and have good quality sites and don't do black hat tactics we would love to hear from you.