Don’t always feel sorry for the little guy

War!Sometimes we like to side with the underdog, it’s human nature. Quite recently I learnt to my cost that it is not always in my own best interest to side with the little guy, we have had quite a bit of press lately in the local papers as small shops complain about the new supermarkets forever opening squeezing out their margins and ruining small businesses that have been established for years.

Another campaign complains about local pedestrianisation where the shop owners complain about lack of traffic going past affecting their revenue and they also mention the internet as a further reason for their demise. Now this type of talk of large corporations and changing times seem to make many feel nostalgic for the olden days and come out in sympathy.

I had to buy a ring within the last 3 weeks to be ready for the 31st July and was going to do it online, you can print a PDF ring size guide. “No, your not buying a ring from the internet!” my wife declared and convinced bullied me to go down the road and spend the money locally, so I did and it went like this.

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Turkish Haggling

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My two week holiday in Turkey is coming to a close and whilst sitting by the bar (for a change) waiting for the bus transfer to the airport I thought I’d reflect on how the shopping experience over here compares to that on the web, a somewhat unusual comparison.

I found in Turkey , you can’t walk past a shop without somebody coming out, smiling at you and cajoling you to come inside “To browse with no hassle, lovelee jubilee”. I like to think of myself as a social chap so if somebody greets me I’ll reply. However by the end of two weeks I had become “Smiling shop keeper” blind.

Sam, my girlfriend, is a professional shopper and can spend days looking at clothes, trying on shoes and marching around department stores and even when she doesn’t buy anything she’ll still class it as a successful days shopping (there must be some female logic in there somewhere).

However in Turkey, Sam could not enjoy her favourite pastime. As the second you set in a shop you are badgered by assistants and have jackets, clothes and general tourist crap thrust upon you.

One of the things I sometimes enjoyed was the fact that nothing had a price and you had to haggle for everything you wanted to buy. This suits me down to the ground as I haggle whenever possible in the UK but over there it was something of a double edged sword.

On the one hand I got a few good deals on shirts and trinkets, where I’d say one price, the shop keeper would say another and we’d generally meet somewhere in the middle and if it was nearer my starting price I’d class it as a good deal (and I’m sure when I left the shop the assistant would be rubbing their hands together). Various shops had signs up saying no haggling, which were absolute BS as when you tried to leave without buying something they’d come over saying “How about this piece of crap (they may not of said crap) normally costs 10 Lira, but for you only 5, lovelee jublee!!” So even in the no haggling shops they haggle.

In the first shop we went into we haggled the price of a leather jacket right down from 400 all the way to 40 which was pretty sweet but as it was the first shop we’d been into I thought I’d need to try a few others first, hey we might have been able to get it for 35.
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That’s a wrap! Friday 27th

Rand FishkinSo what’s been going on the the world of marketing this week that may be of interest to webmasters, bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Curiously Rand has chosen to use a dog to illustrate what he can do to your search rankings 😉 either that or that dog is very pleased to see him. Seriously Rand seems like a genuinely nice and very knowledgeable guy and was invited to do a presentation to the search quality team at Google, how cool is that! It is great to see communication between search marketers & the engines, remember the thousands of comments and threads @ WMW we used to flock to in times of change and flux in days of old?

Matt had asked me to prepare a presentation for the Google search quality team. I’ve signed an NDA with Google, so I can’t go into specifics

Let’s hope he resorted to the old tried & tested whiteboard approach and left the animals at home.

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What would happen if you die? A million dollars turn to dust

ReaperI am generally not a morbid person, I tend to look forward and keep a cheery disposition, optimistic and all. My mother in law is completely the opposite, she dwells on death like the grim reaper and enjoys visiting the odd cemetery (ah.. you have a mother in law like that too?). So it takes me out of my normal comfort zone to consider the prospect of what would happen if I died.

I, like most, have a mortgage and it is insured against my death, I also have life insurance that would bring a bit of cash to my surviving family in a lump sum and I have a will, so I’m set right?

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Website plagiarism the myths and facts.

I am sure the red tape, rules and regulations will increase and modernise in the years to come, so I was glad to see that some sites still have a bit of fun with their terms and conditions.

One such site is Ctrl+Alt+Del as mentioned in the New Scientist magazine. If you care to notice the footer text it reads

By reading this fine print your soul is now the exclusive property of Ctrl+Alt+Del and subsidiaries. Unauthorized use of Ctrl+Alt+Del characters, images, materials, souls, odors, and oxygen is strongly discouraged. We know where you sleep.

Nice to see a break from the norm, not just a recent stunt either as that one has been there since Nov 2005 (Archive.org) with an even better one before that.

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Too Busy to Make Money?

busy.jpgHow many times have heard people say they’re too busy to do something or other and how many times have you said the same. I know I’ve used that line a fair few times but in reality it’s simply not true.

I’m meeting up with a group of my ex work colleagues next week and I know the conversation will get round to work and business. I’ll be told that I’m “lucky” :rollseyes: that I can choose my own hours and don’t have a boss to report to and a few will ask for advice on leaving the 9 to 5. I’ll explain what I did and how in the early days I’d go home from the day job and then spend another 6 or so hours working on my own business.
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Delegation is Cool but Automation is Better

script.jpgThere are a fair few monotonous tasks being a webmaster, they need to be done but nobody particularly enjoys doing them. You can either bite the bullet and get on with them, procrastinate a bit and then get on, out source (my second favourite option) but when possible the best solution is to automate.

Automation offers many benefits, including:

  • One off investment (time/money) for residual gains
  • Prevents mistakes that us humans make
  • Automation works when you’re on holiday
  • Lets you dedicate more time to making money

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Bounce Rates

bounce.jpgSometimes as a webmaster I feel we can over complicate things, with so many things to do , juggle, test and remember it is easy to feel you get too much information. Thankfully I’d say with Google Analytics recent upgrade the interface for website traffic stats analysis is simpler and easier to use than ever.

You can quickly glean important information and drill down any area or url quickly and easily keeping it clear and simple, one of the stats I have mostly glossed over to my peril in the past is the bounce rate. Bounce rates are available in most of the better stat programs and although I had often ignored it, out of curiosity I decided to delve deeper quite recently.

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Side Benefits and Networking

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Choosing a niche that you have a passion for has many benefits. In the early days it’s much easier to concentrate on a topic that interests you and ideally it will be like being paid to do a hobby you enjoy. The best job in the world is finding what you enjoy doing most and then finding somebody to pay you to do it.

Once established in your niche you can often get “freebies” and review items from companies interested in your audience. Over the last year I’ve had about 3K worth or free gadgets, most of which I’ve used as competition prizes. Last week I got my coolest freebie yet an all expenses paid trip to Solvenia courtesy of Renault.

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Everyclick show 150% increase and more…

I have made a few posts that need a follow up that can be bunched together rather than warrant new posts by themselves so without further ado:

everyclick2.jpgEveryclick
I reported that I noticed almost 1000 visitors per day coming in from Everyclick which is powered by ASK. (Everyclick.com is a search engine with a difference – it gives 50% of its revenue to charities)The trend is rising sharply and I hope those of you that took notice have made moves to make sure you are in ASK’s index because they are buying traffic and promoting themselves so worth trying to get some of that action.

I had good rankings in ASK and therefore in Everyclick so the increase in my traffic could probably be closely associated with the moves that Everyclick have made and should correlate to their own growth since early April.

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