Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Dear Morgan,

I’ve spent the last few days researching how to increase traffic to my two blogs, my general one and my photography one.  Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a slow and laborious way to use up lots of time you don’t have in the hope that someone may click on an advertisement, or buy one of your images, or buy one of your books in the hope of making a small amount of money.

The surefire way of doing this is to increase traffic.  You need to write interesting or informative or hilarious copy.  In doing so you hope to connect with a reader who feels the same way, and with any luck will share your blog-post with their million facebook readers or twitterers.  Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

The first thing you need to do is get traffic.  Fortunately my blogs are already getting that for a couple of reasons. The first is because I started them back in 2008, and I’ve kept them up to date.  The second is because I’ve registered them to a couple of blogrolls.  That is, when I post something in the blog, they go automatically into a blog-reader for several thousand people to read if they wish.  The problem with my blog readers is that they are ‘deaf’ orientated, and I’ve really stopped writing about deafness and am now concentrating on photography.

The other important thing about blogs is to have the right tags for the search engines to find you.  A good example of this is my blog about the Sculptor Ron Mueck and the accompanying photography.  I have a photo of his sculpture called Naked Pregnant Woman with it labeled as such inside the blog.  This is attracting a huge amount of pageviews from Google.  I’m getting between five and eight thousand pageviews a month from this.  Unfortunately, they’re not staying around to click on ads or buying any photography because they’re not getting what they’re really after!!   The only good thing about this is that the advertisers think I’m good and therefore I am getting good advertisements on the blog for people to view.

In the last two days to help increase readership and then revenue, I have…

  • Added the privacy policy for Adsense which apparently will increase revenue somehow.
  • Added share buttons from ShareThis on each of my posts in both my blogs.
  • Joined Chime.In, a place where you can add a link to your blog each time you update to gain more readers.
  • Joined Blogcatalog with my general blog to gain more readers.  It’s quite the social network as bloggers love reading other blogs too.
  • Downloaded Hootsuite to manage social media.  I have yet to learn how to use it, but the whole idea is to do regular postings to drive readers to your blogs.

I have yet to research..

  • Other advertisement (Adclick) programmes
  • An affiliateship with perhaps Amazon or other advertiser
  • Become a Guest Blogger or ask a Guest blogger to submit an article to my blog.
  • Join a Blogcarnival

Several things i have learnt in the past month when researching all these processes…

  • You can make a six figure income from blogging
  • I know of a woman writing about homelife making $40k USD a year
  • You need to diversify .. eg. Have more than one blog, offer different income streams from say books, photography, writing, but have links to theses in your blogs.
  • You do need to spend time researching, commenting on other blogs, reading, and developing and planning what you are going to write yourself.
  • Everything I’ve learnt here doesn’t just apply to blogs, but to any website you might want to increase traffic to.

I’ve enjoyed doing the research.  Even if this doesn’t work, the exercise has been entertaining, I’ve gained more knowledge, and I’ve met new online people within the blogosphere.  So all is not lost.

If I see any success with what I have done, then I’ll do the same on this blog as well.  If anything, it might buy us a cup of coffee from time to time!

Cheers

Robyn

Dear Morgan,

I was reading our blog today and realised that nothing really funny has happened to me lately.  I must be getting all old and sensible all of a sudden.  Makes a change.  Even my cat has got old and sensible too.  No mice, rabbits, or any other creepy crawlies.

However, today I found myself setting up a new printer that I had bought a couple of months ago.  After unpacking it from the box and doing a quick set up, I grabbed hold of the user guide/manual that clearly read ‘READ THIS BEFORE YOU SET IT UP’.  Fortunately, I’m of slightly above average intelligence and had done it correctly, but I did spend five minutes reading it to make sure I hadn’t done anything stupid.  I have to say the guide was pretty boring reading after the 50 shades of grey trilogy.  It was so… well… clean!

Anyway, I set it all up, plugged the printer into the power supply.  Popped the CD into my player and went to install the software.  The instruction said ‘Please connect your computer to the printer by the USB cable’.    What USB cable?  I searched the box.  Nothing.  Nada.  I checked where I had opened it in case it had fallen out.  Nothing.   Maybe it’s kinky after all?  50 shades of printers!

The printer was not going to work without it, so into the car to drive the 15km back into town (grr) to talk to the store owners.  They opened the same printer box on the shelf to find…. No USB cable.   ‘Oh – this printer doesn’t come with the cable, you have to buy it separately’, they told me.

I have to say I’m rather gobsmacked.  The printer doesn’t effing work without it.   No one told me when I bought it I needed a cable.  It’s the stupidest thing I’ve come across for a long time.  To top it off, the printer is a Canon – a company usually reknowned for good service and products – but I have to say they really have let themselves down on this one. Why on earth are they selling products that are incomplete?   I liken it to selling a car without any ignition installed.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

Robyn

 

Slight deviation from our normal blog posts. This post is for anyone who’s just installed Outlook 2010 and is finding that they are getting duplicate downloads of emails. I installed Outlook 2010 myself a couple of days ago, upgrading from Outlook Express and since then have received duplicate emails. Here is one solution to this problem if you have alias email addresses set up. I’ll use my set up as an example:

I have 2 email addresses set up for my business like this:

  1. morgan@my_business.co.nz
  2. info@my_business.co.nz (this is an alias on the same my_business.co.nz domain. The messages are stored on the same mail server as my other address.)

During the upgrade from Outlook Express, Outlook 2010 recognized these are linked by the same domain and switched “Leave a copy of messages on server” on for both of them. The result of this when receiving emails is:

  1. Outlook checks for mail from morgan@my_business.co.nz, downloads them and then leaves a copy on the mail server
  2. It then checks for mail on info@my_business.co.nz and downloads the emails that have been left on the server again.

This problem is really easy to fix. If you have a similar set up follow the instructions below to eliminate duplicates:

  1. In Outlook 2010 click on the [File] tab and select [Options] –> [Advanced] (note that these both appear in the left hand panel as opposed to the old style drop down menus)
  2. Scroll down to the “Send and receive” section and click on the [Send/Receive…] button.
  3. In the dialogue box that appears click to highlight “All Accounts” in the Group Name field and then [Edit…]
  4. From the left hand side of the dialogue box click on the account to be edited then select [Account Properties]
  5. Select the [Advanced] tab
  6. In the “Delivery” section untick “Leave a copy of messages on the server”
  7. [OK]
  8. Repeat from Step 4 for additional aliases.

Good luck!

Morgan 🙂

Dear Robyn,

Dear god, how do you find these weird things like P-Mate?! I choked on my coffee, barfed up a lung and fell off my chair laughing. I can just imagine you trying that out on one of your photography shoots up some mountain. Worse, I can imagine you are going to make me try that when I come to Blenheim! So, I confess, it’s fun being a logical nerdy girl and sharing an interest in fun stuff with the boys like sound engineering, Turing Machines, robots, electric guitars and fast cars but I draw the line at standing up to pee!

And okay, okay already! I know I have been absent for a week…. Actually I am lying completely. I have no idea how long it’s been. Or where I’ve been. What day is it? As you’ve pointed out to me before “Your brain is miles ahead of your body – in outer space!” So, sorry to disappoint you. You weren’t expecting my body and brain to meet up some time this week and get co-ordinated with each other so I could log into Skype were you? Could be a mission considering neither of them has a sense of direction or a GPS Unit. One thing I am certain of though – I have definitely not been abducted by aliens!

I wondered how long it would take you to wangle “anal probe” into one of our blog posts (I can hear you now “If an alien civilization is sophistocated enough to travel this far to our galaxy to abduct us you would think they’d have a better way of figuring out how we tick than sticking …” ahem yes Robyn!) I guess for anyone who doesn’t know us we should explain what the fascination with alien abductions is. Well, I’m interested from a psychological perspective because it fascinates me why anyone would believe they have been abducted in the first place… and with you, well, you are just warped!

Anyway the real reason I have not been online lately is because I am making a web mess stuff. Hence I don’t really have time to write a whole blog post. So instead I am going to post something I posted last year about aliens the last time we discussed this which still makes me laugh (is it wrong if you crack up at your own blog post?) I seem to remember I wrote this because my friend was moaning he hated his job and we thought abduction would be a cool excuse for him going AWOL. Of course I don’t really think that’s his solution, though if aliens really abducted him that would be a great way for me to get out of listening to the moaning! Gets a bit tiring considering my job is cool. I have to confess to being majorly tempted to changing my business name to “The Alien Abduction Company” after I wrote that. Shame some weirdos who actually believe they have been abducted have already named theirs like this! Anyway, to the post Batman….

If You Hate Your Job Aliens Will Abduct You.
Friday, 13 March 2009

Robyn and I were having a laugh earlier about what kind of silly businesses we could create for fun and one idea that came up was a business that creates excuses for people to be absent from jobs they really, really, really hate. My favourite idea that came up was “The Alien Abduction Company”. Fed up with your tortuously mundane and dull job? Call “The Alien Abduction Company” and they’ll send two “aliens” kitted out in grey Spandex and fencing masks with big vacant eyes glued to the front, to drop by in a spaceship painted Smart Car to “abduct” you to their planet … (actually they’ll just take you to a party at the pub down the road full of beer and girls but no one needs to know that). They’ll have Wi-Fi at the pub so you can email the terrible news from “outer space”:

“Dear Boss,

Kevin here. I am sorry I will not be into the office today as I have been abducted by aliens. Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

PS: The experiments are horrendous, but surprisingly much more bearable than my actual job so I think I’ll opt for staying on the ship a bit longer and endure being tortured here rather than in the office, thanks!

PPS: If you are looking for the rest of Sales and Marketing, I’m sorry but Baz, Dave and Jeff have been abducted as well.

PPPS: The aliens appear to be trying to drug us with some sort of tranquillizer – a strange liquid which is amber coloured and has a white froth on the top and has a consistency and taste something like beer….. funny, makes your head spin and blurs your vision just like beer too……

PPPPS: I think they are also running some sort of breeding program in an attempt to continue their race which, unfortunately has now dwindled to a purely female population and is in danger of becoming extinct. Fortunately the aliens aren’t too bad looking because they have genetically modified themselves for our benefit to look exactly like Hooters Girls!

PPPPPS: Don’t waste tax payer money sending a rescue space shuttle or contacting SETI. I am sure we can all survive this terrible ordeal and convince the aliens to return us to Earth in time for pay cheque collection on Thursday.

PPPPPPS: Understandably I think our nerves are going to be shot by the time we get back to Earth and that could result in some under performance in our jobs. I’m sure you’ll understand though that this might make it hard for us to meet the stiff sales targets Management have set for the latest Quarter. If you could perhaps convince them to go easy on their expectations and also give us some paid leave so we can take time off to recover that would be really helpful.

Thanks for being so understanding.

Kev.

(Incidentally, I am going to be changing my name by deed poll to Richard when I return just in case any of these alien females try it on for child support or marriage).”

Ha! Don’t think this would make a very good business. But sticking with the alien theme I am in the middle of inventing a game with ETs in it that combines elements of chess, Turing Machines, Poker and Conway’s mathematics…. should appeal to an audience of 1 – Sheldon off Big Bang Theory!

Morgan 😛

Image by Spekulator

Dear Morgan,

I’ve recently become involved in lobbying for more captioning on New Zealand Television.  At present, we get captions on TV channels, 1,2, and a few programmes on channel 3.  This is funded by New Zealand on Air and TVNZ are committed to carry on with this service, despite the Teletext service being dropped, as long as NZ on Air carry on funding it.  The Teletext service will be pared back to what it was originally set up for, for the Deaf.

This is great, but I, as a deaf person, would like to have more choice of programmes.  I’d like to be able to choose to watch Prime, or even subscribe to Sky Television, but no captions are available on any other channels than the ones above.

In New Zealand, we have approximately 430,000 Deaf or Hearing Impaired people.  Approximately 10% of the population.  Of those, probably half of those people have hearing loss that depend on the captioning service for their relaxation, and their access to current affairs.

In America, they have a law called the American Disabilities Act, which makes it compulsory for all television to be captioned.  In the UK, Australia and Ireland, they also have a law that makes it compulsory to caption all prime-time viewing.  In New Zealand, we have no such law.

We have gone to the Human Rights Commission to see if we had a case, but unfortunately they do not cover language, and captioning is a form of language.

It seems ludicrous that Sky TV/Prime is fully captioned in Australia, yet they do not make those captions available here for us in New Zealand.  The reason?  Because they don’t have to as they are not required by law outside Australia.

Personally I think Sky Television have their head in the sand about this.  If cost is the factor, they only have to look at their possible new customer base of Deaf People subscribing to Sky for the captions.  Even if only quarter of the deaf population subscribed, that’s 100,000 x $50 a month.   Not bad money.  Heck, if I had a potential to gain that many new customers, I’d go out of my way to give those customers access to what I had to offer.

But right now, Sky Television effectively cuts off Deaf and Hearing Impaired people’s access to their services.

Which brings me to an interesting question.  Should businesses have moral obligations to their customer base, in this case the Deaf and hearing impaired population of New Zealand.  Or should they only have to operate to the letter of the law, and no more?

I’ve used the Deaf or deaf as an example here, but I believe the question should be asked for every business in New Zealand.  In my opinion it’s going the extra mile.  Inclusion.

I’d be very interested to see all opinions voiced.

Cheers

Robyn

Dear Robyn,

Unless you are like me and have the memory of a goldfish (ooh! never been here before, ooh! never been here before…) you’ll remember a short tad ago I wrote a post on The #1 Purpose of a Website in which I bleated on about Narnia and mothballs and inspiration. Afterwards Blair Stevenson (who has his own cool blog on leadership) pasted up this comment:

“While inspiration is good, as is creating something people truly believe in, I’m not sure that they are necessary to make a sale. I’m not sure that manufacturers of toilet tissue or socks, or providers of legal services or petrol ever truly inspired anyone but they seem to make a reasonable living. It seems better to actually fulfill/address a need your target audience actually has.”

This reminded me of something funny that happened to me recently. I needed to go to the supermarket to buy *bog rolls and a toothbrush. Uninspiring items. Now, this is a bit of a mission for me because I am one of those people who is a disappointment to Market Researchers:

“Are you the main household shopper?”

Nope! Not a chance. I hate supermarket shopping with a vengence. It bores me rigid. The faster I can go into a Foodtown and come out the other side with only the things I planned to buy (ahem!) the better. Preferably at midnight also when there are no mass queues of people or trolley jams to negotiate. There’s something strangely megalomaniacal about having a whole supermarket to yourself too, as if they especially cleared out the whole place just for you.

Anyway, I don’t really like supermarkets and don’t spend much time in them so I also unsurprisingly have no idea what is in them either. The other day I decided I wanted to get a new toothbrush. So I went to what I thought was the appropriate isle and wandered up and down looking for them.

Razors… soap… shampoo… face wash… Christmas decorations (wtf? it’s a bit early for Xmas isn’t it?)… cotton wool…

That’s weird. No toothbrushes. Bit strange in the bathroom isle. So I looked again.

Razors… soap… shampoo… face wash… Christmas decorations… cotton wool…

Definitely not there. Hmmm. So I asked someone to point them out. OK so those aren’t decorations! Clearly I had been looking for the wrong thing. A toothbrush by my definition is a plastic stick with some bristles bunged unceremoniously in one end. It does a pretty good job of keeping your teeth clean despite it’s uninspired mundanity and once it’s retired from duty it does a not bad job of cleaning soap scum off the basin taps.

Well, how uneducated I am! That’s not what a toothbrush is anymore. No. A toothbrush, apparently is a vehicle into the 11th dimension, and it has the flashing spaceship lights to prove it.  No wonder I thought Christmas had come early. Toothbrushes are sparkling things designed by aliens. You get an infinite array to pick from –  ones with 390 degree revolving heads that have handles that bend like a slinky,  battery powered vibrating ones with bristles pointing everywhere at mathematically impossible angles, every possible combination of psychodelic fluorescent colours combined in swirly patterns and embedded with more glitter and bling than Lady Gaga has costume changes. Some come with alarm clocks. Others with backing lights. You can even get toothbrushes for toddlers that come with training wheels or scary talking monster heads. And they don’t appear to be made from plastic anymore but some sort of space age coagulated extraterrestrial ectoplasm. The best thing of all – they come with a write up on the packaging that promises that if you buy one it will solve all your life problems for you. Don’t believe me? Well go stand in front of the toothbrush stand and see for yourself – just don’t forget your sunglasses.

And that is not all. After being blinded by the toothbrushes I had to go get some bog rolls. Now surely these would truly be boring and uninspired. Wrong again. All I wanted was a classic roll of toilet tissue. How hard can that be? But they don’t seem to exist anymore.

First off you have to identify the packaging. You know, on nappy packets they put a picture of a cutesy baby. On bogs rolls they put pictures of cutesy puppies. Eh? You could be well forgiven for thinking they are a product designed especially for dealing with puppy poop! Once you figure out it is actually toilet paper and not a pet product you have the same mind bending variety to decide on. What do you want to do today?  Visit a perfumery in France? Take a trip to the beach with the blue starfishies and dolphins? Teach your kid to count out bits of bog roll with doggy footprints? Play Sudoku? Read your starsign? Admire the new softness of the latest breathable, micro-weave, quilted paper? Your bog roll will deliver. What will come out next? Bog rolls for the old and senile with instructions for use on every single sheet or the days of the week? (“Today is Monday, perforation, Today is Tuesday, perforation, Today is Wed… oh for Pete’s sake just pick one, they’re all the same these days anyway!”)

So getting back to Blair’s original comment, it is true that many manufacturers never inspire anyone and still make a profit. But it’s kind of cool when they do otherwise life would be pretty bland and it’s far to short not to have fun. Inspiration isn’t necessary to make a sale – but someone sure as hell forgot to tell the toothbrush and bog roll people that!

Morgan 🙂

PS: Oh, and am I inspired by my new toothbrush? Well, yes I am actually. It’s pretty superduper and  I like it so much I’m considering buying a whole box of them now before they go out of fashion in a week’s time to make room for the next model – a multi-dimensional space wonder with warp speed hyperdrive, 16GB hard drive and beam me up Scotty functionality.

*bog rolls = rolls of toilet paper

Image by Andrej Troha