Archives for Blogging

So much to do, so little time…

This is one of those ‘quick update’ posts. I haven’t written anything for a few weeks and I thought I ought to write something but I haven’t found the time (and perhaps the focus) to write anything meaty about one particular subject.

Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that plenty has been going on in the world.

America’s recovery is slowing down, vehicle recovery firms in the UK are deathly quiet because people just aren’t out on the roads thanks to fuel costs and high inflation (has anyone else noticed it seems much quiter on the roads? – and still the global carbon emissions hit record levels!).

Financial institutions have set aside billions to pay back mis-sold PPI premiums (nice).

Some industries are doing OK. Bet Fred bought The Tote for £265M today. 

Oh, and cucumbers have made Russia ban EU vegetables.

But I still haven’t made time to get my teeth into something for a while.

It all started when I went to Istanbul to see the Grand Prix. While I was their a friend had £3500 worth of dental work done for about £1500 (with a few fillings thrown in).  He had a holiday and a couple of bridges for the less than the cost of the work here. Are we being over-charged?

After just one week away I came back to find a few emails in my inbox and word that about half a dozen new clients had been taken on by the little bookkeeping company I inherited.

It certainly looks like it could well be a recession proof industry. New enquiries keep coming in!

But it’s a bit antiquated and could do with modernisation to improve efficiency.

So my thinking is to introduce a new computer system to replace the old (but very complex) XL spreadsheets and after a bit of searching I came across VT Software and I have to say it’s really easy to get up and running with and what’s even better is they have a free offering (Cash Book) that would suit most self employed people and can produce a Profit & Loss account.

So, a holiday, a new computer system to investigate, a member of staff who’s off for an operation for 2 – 3 months who needs replacing, the hiring of a replacement. It all adds up.

Not to mention the fact that one of my other websites keep generating leads for me in my self employed capacity.

I could be fooled into thinking there’s an economic recovery going on but experience tells me it’s best to err on the side of caution for a bit longer. The base rate is still 0.5% and that wont go up until people are able to afford it.

Thankfully though Northern Rock recently lowered some of their fixed rate mortgages by 0.5%  so let’s hope that’s the shape of things to come and the banks have finally recovered their losses (by putting a big mark-up on the interest rate of money they lend compared to the money they borrow – that might be worth writing about….Hmmmm).

Did I mention the wedding? No?

I’m due to be the best man so I’ve had to arrange a stag do, attend a stag do, recover from a stag do, write a speech, get fitted for a suit, plan ways to sabotage the bridal suite. The list goes on!

Oh, quick tip, if you go to HobbyCraft for wedding bits (confetti, place holders, ribbon etc.) don’t buy their ‘Car Ribbon’ for about £16, go to their ribbon section and buy the normal wide ribbon for £3 (it’s a longer roll too!).

Wedding’s tomorrow.

So much to do, so little time….

I Knew It!

The headline: Burping cows ‘harming environment’

The first line: Cows could be doing more damage to the environment than four-wheel-drive cars, scientists have warned.

The full story:

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/itn/20070710/tuk-burping-cows-harming-environment-dba1618.html

And also, BBC News:

Experts claim cows are responsible for about 3% of Britain’s greenhouse gases!
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/6288012.stm

 

Come on guys! Keep up, I blogged that over a month ago! :)

http://www.ukmoneypot.co.uk/4x4s-and-carnivores.htm

 

 

New Plugins, Extra Functionality

This wordpress just keeps getting better and better…

I started looking for a ’email this post’ plugin and naturally, there was one! Simply entitled WP-Email.

So easy to use like most wordpress plugins. Just upload the files, activate, insert a snippet of php and done!

One thing to remember when downloading zip files: once downloaded, navigate to the file, right click and select ‘unblock’ (if you try this and don’t see ‘unblock’ I’m guessing you don’t need to worry!) otherwise Windows wont let you move the folder around.

On the same page as WP-Email there are a host of other really useful plugins.

I’ve added a couple to this blog and you’ll see on the right hand side ‘Popular Posts’. This is the output of one Plugins which just keeps a running score then lists the top 5 most viewed posts. (Really handy for developing internal anchor links for a topical post!)

Search on MSN Live for ‘bank charges letter‘ and you’ll see what I mean!

My page used to rank then dipped off, I added a sitewide link to the post and it popped up again. Now I’ve installed this plugin it makes it 10 times easier. In fact, it’s totally automated!

The other is the ‘Email this Post’ which is a fantastic tool for generating word of mouth referrals.

Give it a try!

It’s also possible to display the ‘most emailed post’ but there’s no need to fill a site with loads of stats.

Forced to Find New Host – Choose Wisely

For any would be website owner wether it be professional, personal or otherwise, be sure to pick a good solid, reputable host.

I didn’t for a few of my sites.

I only needed a small amount of space and not a lot of bandwidth so I hunted around for a reseller account so I could host multiple accounts.

I found a company in the US that offered masses of space and an ulimited number of accounts/email/sql etc…. for $50/year….

Yep, that’s cheap and you get what you pay for!

www.allreseller.com are rubbish.

In the first month their servers were hacked and all my homepages vanished and since then I’ve lost sites for days at a time, had database errors and even had my account switched off 3 MONTHS before it was even due for renewal!

The guys only work office hours regardless of what’s happening to their customers accounts. They don’t work weekends and because they’re in the states, they’re never in the office when I’m in the office!

What’s more, they are rude, arrogant and just don’t care. It’s been a nightmare.

I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt far too long and the final straw was the recent multiple database failures.

I’ve now paid more for less and so far I’m already much happpier with the new set up. It’s smoother, faster and they even have a 24hour support line!! Perfect!

I’m also now quite experienced at creating site backups, reinstalling sites in new locations from backup and reconfiguring databases!

New host is: www.webhosting.uk.com 

In the News!

UKMoneyPot after only a very brief spell online is already in the news!

And not just the news but the Financial Times no less.

In an article about the rise in the number of personal finance blogs in the UK.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/18a7f400-bdb0-11db-bd86-0000779e2340.html

To be fair I was shocked when approached but the reality is there are still only a small number of UK personal finance blogs which made mine easier to come by.

I was also fortunate to be granted a mention of my other site creditmarket.co.uk which ties in nicely with the fact that I’ve just completed updating it (although I realised today I’d forgotten to upload the files that handle my online form processing..!).

Two Years Later the News is Still Annoying

About 2 years ago, my main website (yes, all mine, just me…) was ranking really well on Google and it did consistently for quite a while beforehand too.

Then Google made some changes and my site got booted out of the listing for no apparent reason. I had done nothing different to my competition.

But that’s actually another story. Speaking of competition however, when I was ranking on Google, I was consistently battling for spaces in the top 5 results with the site creditcardexpert.co.uk.

Now when my site got unfairly dismissed from the results, creditcardexpert.co.uk remained.

Just today I stumbled across this…. http://prweb.com/releases/2007/1/prweb498737.htm

This little press release reveals that the people/person behind the creditcardexpert.co.uk, sold the concern for £1.57m. Yes, that’s right. £1,570,000.

OK so there was a business attatched to this that may have other interests I’m not aware of but still, I’m annoyed… Wouldn’t you be?

Google has potentially diddled me out of a very nice lifestyle for the last two years and I’m still waiting for my site to even rank for it’s own name!!

So I implore you, if you have a website, please place a link to creditmarket.co.uk somewhere on it and help me purge the Google demons!!

I thank you..!

Template Order in WordPress Admin

If you look hard enough you can fiind anything online! Even elusive snippets of code to customise your wordpress admin area.

I’m building a site using lots of templates so I’ve got more editing control locally so I wanted to list my templates dropdown list in the wordpress admin area in alphabetical order.

I searched wordpress.org and only found one unanswered post on the subject.

I dug a littel deeper and found this page:

http://trac.wordpress.org/attachment/ticket/2926/2926.diff

It reveals a snippet of code:

ksort($templates);

You have to insert it in the admin_functions.php file in the wp_admin folder near the page_template_dropdown function.

I’ve done it and it works a treat! Sorts those templates!

 

UK Finance Blogs

Having conducted a preliminary search for UK finance blogs I can conclude that the results have not proven very fruitfull.

Yes there are a few UK loan blogs and well, that’s about it! Most of the blogs don’t seem to have adopted the ‘community’ based interaction with other bloggers and I barely noticed a blogroll on any of the ones I found.

Nearly all of them are marketing exercises aimed at gaining further exposure to their core website and to a point, mine is too but I was hoping for more of a ‘communal’ spirit about the whole business.

I’ve listed a small selection of the UK blogs I think are any good for consumers and bloggers alike and I’ll keep looking for more.

In time perhaps the UK will flourish with a plethora of pretty sites to visit and compare notes on but until then, I’ll just keep writing!

Something to remember about WordPress.

One thing that could make any wordpress bloggers life easier is quite simply WordPress.org

Especially if you are new to blogging and web design stuff, it’s got to be your first port of call when trying to customise or modify your blog or template.

It’s full of links to templates and almost every possible variable is broken down and explained.

If you want to display something, change the way a list of links is displayed or anything for that matter there is a search facility that will find almost everything you need to know.

You might have to be really specific when you search which might mean you have to root around in the code of your template and actually search for the variable you are trying to modify.

Thousands of people (if not more) use wordpress and many of them have developed their own add-ons to improve the functionality of WordPress. You can achieve almost anything you want, you just need to decide what that is.