Supersticious or not?

Well, today’s Friday the 13th and I’ve decided to start my personal blog, so it’s a good job I’m not too supersticious.

Now that actually got me thinking about supersticions. So a quick look in the dictionary and I see that the meaning of supersticion is ‘a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge’. Well, that sounds simple enough, basically it’s all in our minds…

Like I said before, I’m not too supersticious but I don’t really like walking under ladders, staying in room 13 or breaking a mirror. I also wouldn’t like to stay on the 13th floor but thats a combination of this and my other ‘irrational’ fear, heights.

My mechanic is not actually at work today, simply because it is Friday 13th. I have pulled his leg about this a few times and even told him that I have an urgent job that needs doing and the only day that I can make it is Friday (13th), but he still won’t budge!

Recently I actually got round to asking him why he was so insistent that he wouldn’t work on Friday 13th and he told me about all the bad things that had happened to him on that day, including the hydraulic ramp malfuntioning and trapping a customer’s car, damaging it’s door in the process. This car required a good deal of straightening out, a new door and respraying, not to mention a very understanding customer…

So, I guess he has a point, it’s simply safer to stay at home with your feet up, but whatever you do, don’t put those new shoes on the table!

Let me know if you’re very supersticious and if you are, where do you think that particular belief came from? Has anything bad actually happened to you on Friday 13th?

Perfect Squeeze Pages

Writing perfect squeeze pages is clearly more of an art than a science.

I say this as I have just looked at a squeeze page that I was directed to from an email and quite frankly, it was appalling.

As a sales and marketing professional, I find some of these squeeze pages and sales tactics to be rather last century… Well, more like the double glazing and timeshare ads of the 80′s to be precise.

I’m not going to direct you to the actual squeeze page that has finally prompted me to write about them but I will tell you that it was written by a long standing, extremely successful, UK marketer who has made literally multi millions from online and, before that, offline marketing. He charges thousands to attend his seminars and to top it all, he actually started off by writing adverts…

Well, I’ve actually taken the time to reply to his email and I wonder if he will even get to read it personally, let alone reply. It’s not simply a case of me ‘having a go’ – I really hope that he will appreciate the points I have made in a constructive manner and that they will help him improve, after all the day we believe there is nothing else to learn , it’s time to give up!

So, what was so wrong with the squeeze page…

Firstly, it was the longest sales page I have EVER seen and I’ve seen a few! In order to get through it all, a screen at a time, it would have taken me 22 screens! Yes, that’s not a typo, TWENTY TWO pages of… STUFF.

On top of that, there were numerous differing font sizes, some bold, some not, in black, blue and grey with ridiculous amounts of red text all over the place – it reminded me of websites from 1999 and if you still had one of those today, you wouldn’t be making many sales, believe me – it’s a complete turn off.

What’s the point of having a great product and promoting it like this? Nobody will even care about the product and that’s if they get anywhere near the ‘BUY NOW’ button at the bottom of the page. I’ve asked him what his conversion rate is from this page and I’d be genuinely interested to know. One thing’s for sure, I bet I can improve on it.

Anyway, none of this was even the main problem. It was also totally out of date. The latest figures on the page were from around 2 years ago and there were a number of references to getting the offer by a date that was over two months ago! For a professional marketer at the very top of his game, I find this truly unbelievable and HE wants to TEACH ME how to sell…

So when you’re writing the perfect squeeze page bear all this in mind and do none of it :-)



Adding A Favicon To A WordPress Site

As I’ve just added one of these to this very site, I thought it would make a good topic of the day.

Just in case you don’t know what a ‘Favicon’ is. It’s the tiny little logo or picture that you see in the tab above when you open a website and it’s always to the left of the site title. It’s also the same little image you see when you look in your favorites or bookmarks folder. I find them extremely useful especially when I’ve got 20 or more different tabs open.

I’ve done this before but never with a WordPress site. I’ve always used just one or two letters of text as the image. It’s very easy to do and you can definitely still read it when it’s so small. Think of Facebook, WordPress and Internet Explorer and they all use just one letter, for a very good reason. I’m a strong believer in not reinventing the wheel :-)

To make the small image is also probably a lot easier than you might think, especially if you follow my suggestion and just use text like my ET one above – yes, the kids at school had fun with that!

I use Paint Shop Pro but I guess you could use any image editor such as Photoshop, Paint or Gimp:

  • Create a 16 pixel square image @ 72DPI
  • Choose your typestyle – nothing too fancy is best
  • Make sure the text colour will stand out against your background
  • Add the text to the image – you will need to experiment with text size
  • Just use undo and keep playing around until it looks good
  • Save the image as a jpeg or gif file on your computer

Now, you need to change it into an .ico type image and add it to your WordPress site. I’m not going to tell you here how to do that step by step but I will point you to a great website that will – the one that I have just followed perfectly. Click here


Favorites or Favourites?

I was with my nephew the other day and we somehow got onto the subject of spelling.

Initially we differed in our spelling of the word ‘favourite’ (I’ll spell it like that as I’m in the UK). Of course he spells it ‘favorite’ and was 100% convinced that he was correct. In fact he couldn’t quite believe that his uncle (who he thinks is quite bright…) got it wrong.

It very quickly became apparent that he spells it that way because Internet Explorer has always spelt it that way and therefore that’s what he’s grown up with. I can really see his point and to be honest it seems a more natural way to spell it. I mean it’s basically a silent ‘u’ anyway.

We chatted further about this and another good example was colour/color. Again a silent ‘u’ and certainly it seems to make more sense. What about tyre versus tire. This really is an odd one because as far as I’m aware we both spell retire and attire the same way. I guess the UK spelling comes from the Romans/Europeans?

I’m not sure what other words there are that are pronounced exactly the same but are spelt differently from the UK to the USA. I’d love to hear of more examples.

Something sort of related to this is the pronounciation of the word ‘niche’. As I’ve been attending a lot of seminars recently, I’ve gotten used to the American pronounciation ‘nitch’. It’s actually very different to our British pronounciation which sounds like ‘nishe’. Again I suspect it’s down to the Europeans as it seems to have an almost French style about it, but I am by no means an expert and will happily be corrected.

Our conversation led onto how the spelling of words has developed over the years and how it continues to develop. My feeling is that as many younger people use text language in their everyday writing, words will naturally get shorter anyway.

It may be that in 50 years time, especially with the internet making the world a much smaller place, we will all be spelling and pronouncing the words the same…

What do you think?

WordPress site security should be high on the list of priorities for every WordPress site owner. Due to the opensource nature of the platform, it’s well known that they aren’t the most secure sites. This means that every ‘script kiddie’ – a new term I just learnt from my web hosts security guy – can look around in the back end and see what ‘fun’ they can have. When  I told them I wanted to host a WordPress site, they gave me separate hosting on a totally different server, such was the hysteria…

The WordPress Login page

Yes, you know the one situated at Now, I’m a WordPress newbie and even I know that :-) I also know that the default login is ‘admin’ so now I’m 50% of the way towards hacking into your site and I don’t even know any coding stuff! All I have to do now is guess your favorite color, your pets name, your birthday or whatever else you use as your password and I’m in, ready to wreak havoc. Simpe isn’t it?

So, we need to change the user name, except WordPress doesn’t allow you to do that (What??), so here’s what we’re going to do - I suggest printing this page out.

You will need to go to Users and click Add New as we’re going to add a new user:

  1. Choose a different name to your current ‘admin’ user name. Something that people will not guess easily, so not your nickname or display name. Just a word that you can remember easily and add a no. or two as well.
  2. You will need a different email address to the one your blog currently uses. You could just get one from gmail as a temporary measure.
  3. Ok password. Remember what I said earlier, so don’t choose any of the normal stuff. Make it a little different and again add a number or three – this really will help to stop the hackers.
  4. Under ‘Role’ choose Administrator.
  5. Click ‘Add New User’.
  6. Log out of your WordPress site.
  7. Now log back in, you know at and now when the login box comes up, use your new user name and password.
  8. Once you’re in, go to Users, All Users. You will have your new user name and your old user name there.
  9. Delete the old user name ‘admin’.
  10. That’s it, your site is now much more secure than it was 10 minutes ago :-)

Take care



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