Mike's blog

Road Test - Toyota GT86

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the GT86, although I knew it would be interesting. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a lover of big saloon cars, preferring to be cosseted in the air conditioned seats of a Lexus, wafting along at 70 with the cruise control set and Radio 4 playing soothingly through the Mark Levinson audio. My preconception was that the GT86 would be difficult to get into and out of, the ride would be pretty hard, and that it might be a handful in the wet.

Toyota GT86 Side  Toyota GT86 Front       

In all of those assumptions, I was correct!  read more »

Are You A Pirate?

As far as I know, all of my friends are law abiding citizens. They wouldn’t dream of going into a shop and “lifting” so much as a bag of sweets.

But many of them think nothing of downloading music and films illegally, buying ripped and copied DVD’s from the market, or picking up a fake Rolex or two on a visit to the middle east.


I’ve done all of these things in the past, to my shame, but I took a decision a few years ago that I wouldn’t do so any more. Since then I’ve paid for everything from computer software to films and music tracks.  read more »

What Kind Of Blogger Are You?

Interaction is the buzzword of Web 2.0. Any blog or social media platform is only as good as the interaction it has with its readers.


And questions or quizzes are a fantastic way to get things going, so I was delighted when I came across Interact. They are a company who provide a very simple platform which allows you to create and embed a quiz onto any website. You can write your own, or choose from a range of standard quizzes.

But here’s the really clever part: You can set up your quiz to ask people to subscribe to your email newsletter list in order to get the results.  read more »

Why Do So Many Big Organisations Lose The plot?

Facebook is a great place to read other people’s rants, and I do enjoy them. Mostly, those rants are against big corporations – I even posted one myself today after an intensely frustrating experience with Orange. I took a quick coffee break and, armed with my order number, I tried to find out where my new mobile phone is. I won’t bore you with the details, but what should have been a 5 minute job took me 25 minutes and I still didn’t get the answer.


It’s the same with other mobile phone companies, insurance companies, banks and seemingly any big institution.  read more »

Don't Forget To Link From Your Website To Great Content!

You’ll often hear the phrase that “links are the currency of the internet.” And they still are.


But social media, rather perversely, has dramatically reduced the number of useful links around the web. The problem is that it’s so quick and easy to share content via social media, that doing so has become the default, where once the only way to do so was with our own websites.

That’s a problem, because links on Twitter and Facebook have almost no SEO value – all they are good for is the initial hit of traffic that they send to your content.

But a link on a blog with a decent readership has on-going long term value to any website.  read more »

Book Review - Burn Wild, A writer's guide to creative breakthrough

They say that everyone has a novel in them. I’m not sure I subscribe to that theory, but I do believe there are many, many potentially great writers out there, who never actually publish anything in their lives, perhaps because:

  • They never find the time
  • They are scared to fail
  • They don’t know how to start
  • They’ve tried and not been satisfied with the results
  • They don’t understand how to “tap into” what’s in their heads

I’ve recently read a book that could help people in that situation. As you’d expect, it’s extremely well written, and I think it could become a “meeting point” for the would-be writers of the world.


Burn Wild – A writer’s guide to creative breakthrough is by Christie Krug, who is an accomplished writer and who is also a writing coach.

I think part of the foreword best sums up the book:  read more »

A Blueprint For Paid Content On A Blog

Bloggers have been wrestling with how to get paid for their work since the term was first coined. Most “professional” bloggers earn their money from a mixture of selling their own products, selling advertising on their sites and through offering affiliate products for a commission.

But there’s another way, and one which we’ve been shown by our predecessors in peddling information – the magazines and newspapers.


Creating “Paywalls”

Broadly speaking, people reading your blog fall into three categories:  read more »

Earning An Income From Your Blog - Back To Basics

I avoided using the term “Monetizing” because it’s not one I like, but that’s what we’re talking about here.

Let’s dispel a myth – you can’t actually earn money from a blog! Nobody, apart from your mother, will pay you to read what you write online.


But you can earn an income by using your blog as a marketing platform to sell:

  • Your own stuff
  • Other people’s stuff
  • Advertising

It’s all about audience, and that’s where good writing comes in and with it the skill to build and nurture a large audience.  read more »

On "Friends"

This is a guest post from Sue Almond. Her connection with me is explained in the post, and when I read it, I felt I wanted to add my own viewpoint. Social media has been an extraordinary revolution in the way we all communicate, and it has enabled so many of us to dramatically increase the number of friends we have around the world. Many people think these are superficial friendships, and of course the vast majority of them are just that. But over the last five years using Facebook and Twitter, amongst all the acquaintances, I can honestly say I have established genuine and lasting friendships with people all over the globe. These are people who I can call on for advice, help and a chat – I “know” their families, what’s going on in their work and love lives, and they know as much about me.

We live in a fabulous time.

Over to Sue:

They say you are lucky if you have six real friends, people you could count on, who are there for you no matter what. Have we devalued the word 'friend' by using it so freely to mean 'contacts' on social networking sites like Facebook? Not necessarily I don't think as sometimes, in a variety of ways, those contacts are invaluable.

Old Friends  read more »

Selling Advertising On Your Blog - Understanding Your Job & Your Customer's Job

Selling advertising on your blog is a good way to generate a regular, and in some cases, substantial income.


I’ve talked before about how to sell advertising but today I want to talk about retention – getting an advertiser on board is hard work, and you don’t want to be constantly looking for new advertisers in order to replace the ones you are losing!

Unfortunately most bloggers see their responsibility as putting a banner up and forgetting about it! In these days of sophisticated digital marketing, banners alone simply don’t do the job they once did.

Your Responsibility

At the end of the day, your job is to drive traffic to your customer’s website – it’s as simple as that!

Most advertisers understand how to use Google Analytics (and if they don’t then show them!) and they can easily measure how much traffic you are sending them.

There are so many things beyond placing a banner on your site that you can do to send high levels of traffic to them:  read more »

  • Write regular posts about their business, using text links – ask them for updates and news you can share

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"Mike's Life is where you can stay current with the life, thoughts, successes and failures of Mike Cliffe-Jones. Never knowingly ordinary, Mike shares as much as possible about his work as a marketer and in business, as well as his enviable lifestyle on and in the oceans around The Canary Islands."

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