Monthly Archives July 2008

Optimize your WordPress Blog Title

Stepping away slightly from the recent vein of posts back into the ‘SEO’ aspect of the blog, I had an epiphany regarding the title setup of my wordpress blog.

It’s probably an important piece of information to anyone that hasn’t done it but way well also be something other people have been doing for years.

If you write a post it’s probably because you want people to read it therefore it makes sense to try and optimise it slightly while composing the content.

Use the ‘key phrase’ a few times without making the content read as though it’s obviously crammed with the phrase.

Google the almighty, also tends to favour the title of the page (If people tell you Google doesn’t, they are wrong. It definitely makes all the difference http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/019774.html).

If you look in the blue ‘title bar’ right at the top of this web page it reads ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title – UKMoneyPot – Personal Finance Blog’.

Before my epiphany, it would have read ‘UKMoneyPot Personal Finance Blog – Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’.

If Google favours page titles then the order used to be all wrong. The first thing Google would have seen is ‘UKMoneyPot….’ instead of the important bit ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’.

In the ‘header.php’ file you’ll see the following code within the <title> tag:

<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?><?php wp_title(); ?>

The ‘name’ part is the blog name (in this case ‘UKMoneyPot – Personal Finance Blog’)

The ‘wp_title’ part is the title of the post (in this case ‘Optimize your WordPress Blog Title’)

This is the default order of the 2 php tags.

To put the post title first you simply need to switch them around like this:

<?php wp_title(); ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

However, you may notice if you do this that the ‘separator’ ‘>>’ is at the beginning and not in between.

To resolve this simply add ‘ – ‘ or ‘ >> ‘ into the ‘wp_title’ brackets like this:

<?php wp_title(‘ – ‘); ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?>

This should give you: ‘Blog Title – Post Title’

But, if you are using a version of WordPress older than 2.5 you will need to replace the whole lot with the following:

<title><?php wp_title(‘ ‘); ?><?php if(wp_title(‘ ‘, false)) { echo ‘–‘; } ?><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></title>

If this is all a bit confusing you might find WordPress’s explanation of this easier to follow:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/wp_title

 

Mortgage Overpayment Calculator – Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

A mortgage is a debt. There is no disputing the fact but it is a debt many people look at differently to credit cards, car loans and unsecured loans.

The reason for this is because of the size and timescale. 25 years is a long time to be paying off the debt and because of the size of the loan it wouldn’t be affordable for many people if it was over a shorter period.

Use this simple: > Mortgage Overpayment Calculator

An unsecured personal loan paid off over 3 years has the end in sight at the time of taking it out but who knows what life may bring over a 25 year period!

Homeowners will be paying off their mortgage for about 1/3 of their life and over half their working lives.

People who borrower over longer periods of time such as 30 or 35 years may even find themselves putting off retirement in the final years of their mortgage just to get it paid off.

But did you know, MOST mortgage lenders will let you pay off more each month than the repayment amount. Some have a fixed limit of £500 per month whereas many allow 10% of the outstanding balance each year (Flexible Mortgages and Offset Mortgages often have no restrictions on the amount you can overpay).

Example:

£200,000 Mortgage over 25 years @ 6% = £1289 per month (repayment basis)

Total interest paid = £186,581

Overpay by £100 per month and:

Monthly payment = £1289 + £100 = £1389

Mortgage is paid off in 21 years 4 months (3 years 8 months early).

Interest Saved by overpaying = £30,997

Overpay by £200 per month and:

Monthly payment = £1289 + £200 = £1489

Mortgage paid off in 18 years 8 months (6 years 4 months early).

Interest Saved by overpaying = £53,405

Surely if you can afford to overpay even a small amount the savings in interest make it well worthwhile.

Using this simple: > Mortgage Overpayment Calculator

Put in a few figures and just see the results.

A simple graph makes it easy to visualise.

Barclays Bank Addresses Unlawful Charges

As a customer of Barclays I can only comment on what I know although it may be the case that other banks have already put measures in place to placate the masses regarding bank charges.

Barclays have introduced a ‘reserve amount’ in addition to the pre-agreed overdraft limit to act as a buffer. Mine’s £250 in addition to a £1000 overdraft. This means I can go overdrawn by £1250.

Instead of being charged a fee of £30 (if I go over my overdraft limit and don’t clear it the same day), I will only get charged £22 per 5 day period for being ‘in the reserve’.

However, although this fee is for a 5 day consecutive period, I have been told (by calling Barclays) that the £22 is actually charged in the same way as the old fee. If I don’t clear the reserve the same day I use it I will be charged.

If I don’t clear the reserve in 5 days I’ll be charged another £22.

2 problems I see with this:

1/ The previous £30 fee was a ‘one off’. If I went over my agreed overdraft limit and didn’t clear it the charge would be £30 and if I left the excess uncleared for any length of time no more fees would be charged (Unless more money came out of the account).

2/ The fee is charged after day 1 but it is for a 5 day period. I think the fee should only be charged if the ‘reserve’ is not cleared in 5 days.

All this really does is reduce the charge slightly and then act as an incentive to get funds into the bank or risk another fee in 5 days time.

My next question is: How long will it take Barclays to notify someone who has stepped into the reserve? 5 days? More? Less?

Part of the reason people were charged in the past was due to Barclays allowing people to take out more than they had available. E.g. If you had £20 left in the bank and went to a cash machine it would probably let you take out £30+.

Barclays assumed you would know this would take you over the limit but you’d clear it by the end of the day.

The reality is many people only think they know how much is in the bank.

I have been told by Barclays that they will no longer allow people to take more than they have in order to prevent badly managed accounts from being repeatedly charged.