Monthly Archives April 2007

It’s a PR Fest!

A site of mine that lost ranking and PR in Google nearly 3 years ago has finally been granted a PR again! It’s only a PR1 but it’s ever-so slightly better than PR0!

This site (UKMoneyPot) has also now been attributed a PR1 and the site has been online for a little over 3 months.

Another of my new sites has also recently gained PR1 but that particular site has only been live for 6 weeks!

I’m not a PR junkie and I couldn’t really care less about it to be honest. Some people consider it the Holy Grail of SEO but I don’t see the point in focusing much attention on it at all.

I’d like to see the stats that show how many home internet users actually have the Google Toolbar and how many of those clicked the box to ‘allow the toolbar to send information to Google’?

How important is PR to the average internet user? What about the large number of new users joining the internet everyday? Have they even heard of the toolbar?

OK, so a recognised way of gaining ranking in the search engines is to have a plethora of other sites linking to yours. If these sites happen to have a good PR, your site should ultimately be awarded a PR of it’s own.

Ranking well is definitely a way of getting visitors to your site but by no means the only way of generating custom by having sites linking to yours.

If you can find a site that can actually send you real visitors to your site from a link it must be worth more than a link from a site with a PR3 that doesn’t refer you any business?

APR – Annual Percentage Rate

Several definitions of APR can be found online but without digging deep the results can be a little vague.

The APR or Annual Percentage Rate is, according to Wikipedia:

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is an expression of the effective interest rate that will be paid on a loan, taking into account one-time fees and standardizing the way the rate is expressed. In other words the APR is the total cost of credit to the consumer expressed as an annual percentage of the amount of credit granted. APR is intended to make it easier to compare lenders and loan options.”

That is just a snippet from Wikipedia where you can find a much more in depth explanation of what it ‘is’ but what does it represent?

A lenders APR is the rate at which two thirds or more of their loans are sold at.

Lenders often offer a range of rates to suit a variety of circumstances. Some people will qualify for their lowest rates while people in less stable situations or with bad credit will only qualify for higher rates.

A lender can reduce their ‘typical apr’ by only accepting applicants that meet strict criteria. This makes their average lending rate lower.

Because some companies help people in a variety of circumstances, including bad credit the average rate at which they lend money will be higher.

This does not mean they are unable to offer low rates and can actually mean they are a more flexible lender.

Man Chops Off Bits in London Restaurant.

I remember as a child walking with my brother and mother through the streets of Amsterdam, on a meander from my fathers office, seeing a man erupt from a restaurant door, only to expose himself and wave his tackle about in disgust at the owner. I only imagine this was some form of protest and needless to say it’s one of those sights that unfortunately sticks.

In recent news, things have got worse.

A man recently went into a London restaurant and actually chopped his bits off.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/afp/20070424/tuk-britain-gastronomy-offbeat-a7ad41d.html

Apparently he’s doing ok…??

Rain? What’s That?

After over 2 weeks without a drop of rain in the south of England it’s finally arrived. Heavy rainfall several weeks ago provided sufficient reserves to allow the plant-life to ‘spring’ into action and spew forth a myriad of colours and scents but after the unprecedented heat-wave of the last two weeks, former quagmires began to develop surface cracks!

If the last two weeks are a sign of things to come and the forecast ‘long hot summer’ is to become a reality, it’s time to buy those water butts and start collecting as much as possible.

Hosepipe/sprinkler bans may be inevitable again in parts of the south if this summer is hotter and longer than last year.

Southern Water have been monitoring reservoir levels on a regular basis and in mid March this year all of the reservoir levels in the Southern Water region were at 100%.

From the Southern Water Resource Update:

“The wet weather, the fantastic response from customers in reducing their water use, together with a series of drought-busting measures we have fast-tracked has helped us reach the situation where resources have moved into normal levels for this time of year.

Although the restriction has now been lifted, we appeal to our customers to continue to be aware of how much water a hosepipe and sprinkler can use.

A family of four uses in a day the same amount of water as a hosepipe in an hour, and although our resources are better this winter compared with last year, they are still at a low level.”

The last seven words are interesting because despite levels being ‘normal’ and reservoirs being at 100%, ‘resources are still at a low level’?

What does this mean?

Mobile Phones in Hospitals

Watching a report this morning a UK hospital has decided to relax the ban of mobile phone use within the hospital.

Research now shows that mobile phones don’t actually cause interference with sensitive equipment.

This is great news for patients and visitors alike wanting to share news or communicate more freely with friends and relatives.

Points have been made about the noise issue and possible annoyance of mobile phones in hospitals but radios and TV’s are not banned? However the hospital does ask that people with mobile phones turn the ringtone to ‘silent’ and do not use their cameras.

This is not likely to become widespread however because of contracts in place with Patient-Line the company responsible for providing the ‘media centre’ type telephone systems already in place through most UK hospitals.

The contract does not allow the hospital to allow people to use mobile phones in conjunction with their system.

Patient-Line has already recently been criticised for increasing the rate of their phone systems and is likely to come under scrutiny again for not allowing people to use their own phones if the hospital does not have a problem with it.

One concern over the possible widespread use of mobile phones by patients and visitors is the cost of charging the phones. If a patient is allowed to plug their phone in overnight, all will want to do the same and can the NHS afford to pay for charging potentially thousands of mobile phones per day?

Sitemaps for Google, Yahoo and MSN Live Search

Anyone that has owned a website for some time or is involved in promoting their website will probably know all about submitting sitemaps to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN.

A sitemap is essentially a list of URL’s or web pages of a particular site laid out in a format that tells search engines what pages there are in the site.

This saves the search engines the time required to look through all the links of a site before it finds all the pages. This can help speed up the indexing of new pages and pages that change on a regular basis.

It has recently become much simpler to make search engines aware of your sitemap due to an agreement between the major players in the industry.

http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000437.html

All webmasters need to do now is reference the location of their sitemap in the robots.txt file.

http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/robots-generator/  is a good place to look if you are not familiar with robots.txt files.

If your sitemap location is http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml,  in your robots.txt file you simply need to add:

Sitemap: http://www.yoursite.com/sitemap.xml

That’s it.

According to the Yahoo Search Blog as referenced above, the major search engines will now all recognise this as a valid instruction.

So far it looks like the following Search Engines are onboard: Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, IBM

One of the best free xml sitemap generators I have used can be found here:

http://www.auditmypc.com/free-sitemap-generator.asp

It uses java so you may need to update the Java on your PC but you will be prompted if you do.

Planning a Shopping Holiday in the US?

Following recent news a big announcement is the current exchange rate between the pound (GBP) and the dollar (USD).

The pound rose to its highest against the dollar since 1992 and now stands at 1 GBP = 2.00493 USD (according to www.xe.com the currency converter).

This is great news for people planning a holiday to the states because it effectively means equivalent products in the USA are about half the price.

If you are thinking of buying cheap goods in the USA things to consider are state taxes, different electricity supplies and chancers. Do your research before you buy and buy from reputable stores. Overpriced goods are available the world over.

Of course this shift in the value of the dollar isn’t all good. Companies selling to the US in dollars are now making less when they convert their profits back into their own currency and the US is one of the UK’s biggest export markets.

Summer Spending Starting Early

With the week ahead forecast to be fine and dry for most of the south and the recent record temperatures you might be forgiven for thinking summer has already arrived.

With the sun comes a shift in UK spending trends and people generally spend less on their household bills. Heating can be reduced or turned off, water temperature for baths and showers can be lowered without noticing a difference and lighting isn’t turned on until much later in the day.

This does not necessarily mean people will save money during the summer months because alternative spending habits emerge.

I conducted a brief survey of friends and family to find out what they thought people in the UK spend more money on in the summer and it’s quite obvious the sun brings out the child in many of us (an association with long summer holidays as a child?) because almost everyone’s first response was ice cream!

10 Things People Spend More on in Summer:

1/ Ice Cream

2/ Beer/Wine/Cider (alcohol)

3/ Holidays

4/ BBQ’s

5/ Summer Clothes

6/ Gardens (furniture/plants/tools)

7/ Sun Cream (factor 40!)

8/ Home Improvements

9/ Bottled/Canned Drinks

10/ Motorbikes

The Truth

The Truth A quote I will always remember is one by Carlos Castaneda:

“If the truth can be told so as to be understood, it will be believed.”

From this I understand that a lie that is told in a way that makes sense can also be believed.

As a child my parents were always telling me ‘believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see’. (A brave thing to teach a child if not followed by ‘except what we tell you’ – and possible the reason I am now a salespersons worst nightmare!)

It is fair to say there are untrustworthy people in this world and the finance industry is full of people. Statistically therefore there are people in the finance industry that may not be giving you what you think you are getting.

The Financial Services Authority (http://www.fsa.gov.uk) is an independent body which regulates the financial services industry in the U.K.

“The FSA is an open and transparent organisation and provides full information for firms, consumers and others about its objectives, plans, policies and rules”

With a vast consumer information section (http://www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk/) their website offers impartial explanations about most of the financial products availablein todays market.