Date archives "August 2007"

Summer Holidays

Just returned from a fantastic week long break in Crete – home of the first advanced civilisation in Europe, the Minoans. Greek Myth also says it’s the place where Zeus was born and where the Labyrinth is located.

It wasn’t all culture though…infact it was mostly not culture and consisted of relaxing in the sun by the pool, chilling by the pool bar and enjoying the nights out in places like Piskopiano, Hersonissos and of course Malia.

On one of the days we hired out a quad bike and let me tell you now, hiring a quad bike is like hiring some instant death. The things are lethal – with no differential on the axels, when you take a corner on the road the bike kicks out or wants to roll over – if you ever drive one just be careful!

Malia was the place to go for a good night out though with all the drink offers you can’t help but wonder just how watered down the alcohol is. As I found with Ibiza, hangovers simply do not happen in Crete and most days after a heavy night out I could wake up with a clear head.

I will be uploading some photos soon, so stay tuned!

Interesting Niche Content Site Case Study

One of the online marketers that I respect and admire is Jonathan Leger. He is a software engineer turned internet marketing pro. The reason I keep tabs on what he is doing is because he comes out with some really great products such as the Article Wizard and he writes fantastic informative posts over on his blog.

A recent post that caught my eye is his one about creating a niche content site case study – a real life example of how one would go about researching, creating and promoting a website within a tightly defined niche for adsense and affiliate income.

What impresses me most about this is not the concept in itself but that he’s willing to put his reputation on the line in a real live example where hundreds, probably thousands of people will be able to see if he’s the real deal or just another wannabe. If he pulls it off, there will be hundreds of impressed people who will pay more attention to what he has to say in the future. If he fails then it’s possible the damage could be irreversible.

From what I’ve seen so far, I think he’s gone about everything the right way. Article marketing is such a fantastic way of generating traffic and the important inbound links and is just one of the many methods I use to promote my clients sites.

To find out more about the Niche Content Site Case Study head over to the original post here:

http://www.jonathanleger.com/niche-site-case-study/

Another New Design!

OK, so I got a bit bored of the old design – it was a bit too dark for my liking and the right hand navigation didn’t work so well, so I took the main menu element from it (because I liked that part) and created a new design around it. I’m quite pleased how it has turned out.

I made the new design to be lighter and have more white space that gives it less of a cluttered feel. I also wanted to make sure each blog post was in it’s own container so it was obvious where one ended and the other one started. I increased the font size too because I think it will make the text easier to read.

It’s still got a few more bits and pieces to be sorted out before it is done but I think the bulk of it is completed now. Even the search form works! Check it out above! I was happy when I saw that working for the first time.

Unfortunately the website isn’t XHTML valid – I’m just not that good yet. I still like to use Frontpage to do all my editing (and sod anyone that slates Frontpage…it does a bloody good job and is no different to Dreamweaver) though I do a lot of the design integration using Wordpad. Maybe when I can get my hands on Microsoft’s new Expression software I can start coding sites in XHTML and tableless CSS but to do that I need to get a new computer.

I found that working with WordPress can be infuriating at times, particularly when it comes to the menu options down the right hand side. More than once I found that I had to delve into the bowels of the software to edit/remove/add some code to make the menus display right.

I am actually developing the easyCMS software because it was born out of the frustration of trying to integrate designs into WordPress and finding I didn’t have complete and utter control over absolutely everything design related. Can you say control freak?! :p

Well, I’d really like to get your feedback on what you think of this new design. So far the response has been 50 / 50, some saying that they like it, others are hating it.

The CD Was Nearly Called The Compact Rack

The Compact Disc is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary today. The BBC has run an article looking at the history of the CD from development to the present day decline as new media takes over. Some interesting facts about the CD…

  • The original disc was going to be 11.5cm in diameter but Sony insisted that the disc should be able to hold the full 74 minute recording of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony so it was increased to 12cm to accomodate it
  • Abba released the first commercial CD with their song The Visitor
  • Research on using lasers to read the data on the CD began as far back as 1969
  • Proof of concept using lasers was completed 12 years earlier
  • Record sales of CD’s peaked in 2000 with 2.455 billion. In 2006 that figure was down to 1.755 billion.

Now that new digital mediums are taking over, the CD could become as obsolete as the 3.5″ diskette. With software companies turning to digital delivery of their products over the internet there could be a time when there is no need for CD’s. Even now, with music being downloaded by more and more people, could buying albums on a CD become a niche market like buying albums on vinyl?

The full BBC article can be found here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6950933.stm

Live Blues World is… Live

A website called LiveBluesWorld.com that I worked on nearly a year ago when i was in India has finally gone ‘live’ today. After around 10 months of development I’m pleased to see that it has finally been launched.

The website is a mega-portal for all things in the Blues music genre. My input was to create the original mockups, offer advice and recommendations on the features and to create the programming requirements document. I completed my work on the project around February of this year and let the programmers get on with it.

My first impressions when I saw the site for the first time since I left the project was: “oh dear”.

Unfortunately they have not followed my original mockup layouts and the whole site looks scruffy and confused (although maybe that’s the idea – who knows?). The design is just…wrong.

There is no definition, no borders, nothing to define that one bit of content starts –here– and another bit starts –here–. There is no focus on what the main content is and what is ‘extra’ stuff around it. There is nothing that particularly draws your eye to any part of the website.

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Weight Loss Tips!

Ha! I wonder if my blog will get flagged as spam if I talk about weight loss – not the normal topic of conversation on this blog that’s for sure.

Anyway, I’m sure there are some guys out there reading this that will look down at their gut now and maybe spend a moment or two pondering life without the belly (or maybe it’s worse than that…not the man boobs!).

Well I have a little tip for anyone looking to shed a few pounds and it’s so simple even a child could do it!

What is the secret? How did I lose over half a stone (7lbs / 3.17kg) in a month?

Quite simply, I virtually cut out all beer from my diet.

That’s it.

No exercise, no dieting, no eating miniscule portions.

I just cut right back on the amount of beer that I drank and the fat virtually melted away. It was incredible.

So if you have a bit of a gut, try cutting out the beer for a week and watch what happens – you’ll probably be pleasently surprised! The only downside is that next time you drink a beer you’ll feel the effects a lot sooner – though that might not be a bad thing – cheaper on the wallet 😉

Top 5 Paid Directories

Link directories are becoming (if not become) the number one way for webmasters on a budget to get hundreds, sometimes thousands of one way links. The vast majority of these directories are free to list your site but many offer a paid upgrade with premium options like deep linking to some of your pages.

With so many directories to choose from, how can you know which directories are the best ones to part with your hard earned dollars?

Well, here’s run down of what I consider to be the top 5 paid directories…

#5 Alive Directory
Cost: $49.95 (per year) or $74.95 (per year)
PageRank: 6
Page Strength: 7.5
Alexa Traffic Rank: 16799
Alive Directory has just had a facelift (about time) and is run by dedicated owners who ensure timely approval of submitted links. However, as with most paid directories their standards are high so don’t go submitting knock off adsense sites! Expect to be approved within 24-48 hours.

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