"Sensible, solid, practical advice for anybody, marketing anything, to anyone. All delivered with a European twist."

Life In The Cloud With Google Apps

Like many people, I’ve been using various cloud services for a few years. But recently I moved my whole life into the cloud, and I thought it would be worth sharing the experience here.

My previous situation was that my files were spread all over the place – the majority on the hard drive of my PC, many on my laptop, a few on my phone and iPad, and anything I needed to share was split between Google Drive and Dropbox. It was a mess! And as someone who travels a lot, I was often in the situation where I had the wrong piece of equipment for whatever I needed to access.

Google_Drive  read more »

Stop Giving Away Free Advertising!

We’ve been selling advertising on our large websites since 2008. Over those six years, I’ve seen dozens of other websites, a couple of radio stations and a few magazines set up in business. Typically, they’ll trade for a few months and then quietly disappear.

Free

Why? Because they didn’t work out before they started that it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to build a loyal, engaged audience. Basically, they either ran out of money or patience.

The latest example is a new website which has launched with a “Two months free advertising” offer.

From their point of view:  read more »

Helping Businesses Market Themselves Online

For years, those of us in business have focused on advertising our businesses in magazines and newspapers. Let me give you an example. Let’s imagine I run a restaurant here in Lanzarote called “Mike’s Place.” In the old world all my focus would be on getting the name and logo of Mike’s Place “out there.” Flick through any magazine, and almost all the adverts will feature the name and logo prominently and usually at the top of the advert. It’s effective, because the idea is that when people need a great restaurant, the hope is that their mind will conjure up an image of my logo and that they will remember that we’re called Mike’s Place.

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With me so far?

Now let’s  read more »

Accidents Will Happen

The book I’m currently reading is set in the 19th Century and is based around The Royal Navy of that time. In those days ships would carry a dozen or so “Boys” – youngsters of between 10 and 16, who were rated Midshipmen and were essentially gaining sea time and experience before being commissioned as Lieutenants.  On “Make and mend” days, the boys would “Skylark” in the ship’s rigging and masts, racing up and down them and leaping from spar to spar. It was a chance for them to let off steam, and to learn the skill of being able to climb aloft in all weathers. In the passage I’ve just read, one of the leading characters has fallen to his death during a skylarking session, and it came as quite a shock to me. As with any sailor killed at sea, his body was sown into his hammock with a canon ball to weigh it down and he was put over the side.

Ship

Reflecting on this, I realised that it’s the kind of accident that couldn’t happen today. No doubt skylarking was stopped in The RN years ago when someone did a risk assessment and decided it could only take place with a full harness and nearby helicopter support.  read more »

Driving A Classic car

I had the chance to drive a classic car over the weekend – a 1970’s Ford Cortina 2000GT. I’d really been looking forward to it as I haven’t driven anything that could be described as a classic before, and because the Cortina is a car I once owned. It was going to be interesting to see how different it felt after 36 years of getting used to modern motoring. I also wanted to answer a question:

Could I live with one of these now as my every day car, in the same way I had done in 1979?

Cortina 1  Cortina 2

Let’s start with a bit of history. The Mark 3 Cortina was a pretty radical step for Ford, replacing the boxy Mark 2 with a sexy and very curvy design. It was to prove to be a winner,  read more »

You HAVE To Make Your Website Faster

I’ve done it at least a dozen times this week, and I bet you have too: I searched for something on Google, clicked a likely looking link and then sat looking at a white screen for 5 seconds.

Then I hit the back button and found another link.

butler

I just won’t wait for slow websites to load anymore – I can’t afford the time!

If your website is loading slowly, you’re probably losing hundreds, maybe even thousands of visitors.  read more »

Banging The Content Drum Again

I’ve been banging the content drum for years now – if you’re using the internet as a medium to market or promote anything, the secret is to write good content that is useful to people.

Drum

If you’re an estate agent selling houses in Hackney, then write about Hackney – the schools, the shops, the parks and the entertainment available there. People who are interested will find those great articles in search, and sure enough, some of them will want to buy or rent a house from you!  read more »

Media Net Advertising - Better Than Adsense?

Media Net is the name of the company that takes care of contextual advertising for both Yahoo and Bing. In most respects, it works in the same way as Google’s Adsense product – it serves adverts to your website’s readers, based on the content of the page they are viewing. Like Google’s product, you can select adverts in various styles, and you simply paste the appropriate code into your website.

medianet

But which is better?

Read on:

There are two key differences:  read more »

Bmpur - A New And Easy Way To Discover And Share Music

I’m actually old enough to remember when the ONLY way you could buy music was on vinyl. As I grew up, you would either sit down to listen to a record in your bedroom, or, if you wanted background music or to discover something new, your choice was restricted to listening to radio and putting up with announcer’s waffle and adverts.

With the internet, all that has changed – not only is my own digital music collection vast, but I can also see what other people are listening to and discover new music via social media.

That benefit has been greatly enhanced by a new service called Bmpur. It’s basically like Twitter for music. So you follow people (artists, labels, managers and other fans like me) and they populate your feed with music or music related information.

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It’s extremely simple to use:  read more »

I Am An Ironman

The journey began well over a year ago, but really started in earnest 7 months ago, when Bella Bayliss became our coach.

Since then, in training, I have:

  • Swum over 300KM
  • Cycled around 3500KM
  • Run more than 750KM
  • Lost 10 Kilos (but 23 in a year)

For 18 to 20 hours every week, both Julie and I have diligently followed the training Bella has given us, and absorbed the wealth of knowledge and personal experience she has been happy to share with us.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some stage over the last 2 months, my mind had moved on. I had gone from wondering “if” I would finish, to knowing that I would. Any endurance athlete will tell you that’s priceless.

And so we arrived on race morning, with very clear instructions about our warm up – Bella even gave us a timetable to follow to the minute, and concentrating on that, we didn’t have time to feel nervous.  read more »

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