The Teddy Bear Syndrome

Have you ever struggled to solve a problem and then sought help from someone else. In explaining the problem to that person the solution becomes obvious to you.

You might as well have explained the problem to a teddy bear as the other person.

That’s the teddy bear syndrome!

I’m being stalked by a black wheelie bin

It all started when the refuse collectors trashed my wheelie bin and it got swallowed by their compactor. They don’t tell you they’ve done it. They just slope off and leave you to find out. So I rang the council and they said they would deliver another bin in four weeks time (four weeks! – don’t they have any in stock?). They said I could put my rubbish in black bags and they would still collect it. Except they didn’t. They just stuck a label on the bags saying because they weren’t in a bin it was excess rubbish and they weren’t going to take it away. Yah boo sucks!

If you ring them up to complain, one of two things happens. Either you choose the wrong option and you’re led up a call-centre blind alley where they ask you lots of automated questions but you never actually speak to a human and the call ends abruptly. Or you get through to a human being who has been trained to be sympathetic and non-confrontational but won’t actually do anything, suggesting you wait until the next collection date a fortnight away for it to sort itself out. They say that they don’t have any authority to do anything else but won’t connect you to someone who has.

The answer is to go straight for the jugular and ring the complaints department. Eventually you reach someone who actually promises action but it still doesn’t happen because he goes on holiday and nobody else follows up to check if the action has been taken. But you should persist and eventually, about a week or more after your original complaint a very genial chap called Greg takes the rubbish away and provides you with a replacement bin that has suddenly materialised.

But what has that got to do with being stalked by a wheelie bin you say (unless you’ve lost interest and gone back to Google to find something more interesting to read.

Bear with me!

Part way through this process my resolve began to falter and I considered buying my own wheelie bin. So I visited various websites and found that the going rate was about £38 for a 240 litre bin. Ever since then every website I’ve visited that subcribes to Google Adsense features a black wheelie bin staring out at me like a Dalek in a black plastic burkha. It’s becoming a bit unnerving though. We know it happens and if we are philosophical about it, it’s the price we have to pay for relatively inexpensive Internet access.

I just wish there was a feedback option where you could tell Google that the council has finally delivered a new bin or that you have ordered one or you’ve decided that you want a green/yellow/brown bin and you can stop following me now – please.

In the meantime I feel that I am being stalked by a black wheelie bin that stares out at me from every website I visit

Inline CSS

I am amazed at the number of websites that place their CSS inline in each page rather than have a separate css file accessed by each file. Separating style from content results in faster page loads and a better Google ranking.

It’s a standard feature of a #Wordpress website or blog. Ask for more information….

What you get for your money

A wetherbyweb ‘WordPress’ website will provide you with a combined website and blog which will be integrated with your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts.

Posts on your website will automatically be tweeted, posted and posted respectively. Advice will be given on your content to improve SEO. The design will be selected from an existing theme, modified if you wish or a bespoke theme will be designed. One of the two main SEO plugins will be installed to improve your search engine ranking. Over time your operating system files and plugins will be kept up to date on a weekly basis, ensuring the maximum security level for your site.

All for an affordable monthly fee

Improve your site’s security

When you installed your WordPress website did you accept the default administrator name ‘admin’? If you did you have compromised your security by 50%. All a hacker has to do now is guess your password.

However, all is not lost. Here are a few simple steps that will regain that lost initiative:-

  1. Create a new user with a name that will be more difficult to guess.
  2. Give that user administration rights
  3. Change your ‘admin’ to a subscriber only

Jetpack widget

If you have cut your teeth on a wordpress.com website before moving to a self-hosted website you will be familiar with Jetpack which is installed by default on their websites.

You can now install Jetpack, the most complete WordPress widget on your own website and have the following features at your disposal from ONE widget:-

  1. Visitor stats  – via wordpress.com
  2.  Publicize – Use social media to publicise your site’s posts
  3. Notifications – Monitor and manage your site’s activity
  4. Subscriptions – Allow your users to subscribe to posts and comments
  5. Post by email – Publish posts to your blog directly by email, perhaps from your smartphone
  6. After the deadline – spelling, style and grammar check
  7. Gravatar Hovercards – pop up business cards of your users’ profiles
  8. Contact form – Insert one anywhere on your site
  9. Widget usability – Control what pages your widget appears on
  10. wp.me – shortlinks for easier sharing of your posts and pages
  11. Shortcut embeds – videpos and more from Youtube, Vimeo and Slideshare
  12. Custom CSS – without modifying your theme
  13. Extra sidebar widgets
  14. JSON API
  15. Mobile push notifications – on your mobile device

Write a post once – broadcast it three times

Do you write your blog article, then switch to Facebook and write it again and then log into Twitter to publicise either of them concluding with the addition of a link?

Want to do it only once?

Add the Social plugin by Mail Chimp to your WordPress website and broadcast an article at the push of  a button.

You can publish to more than one Facebook or Twitter account if you wish. Just add them to the admin page.

Enough time saved for another cup of coffee

2013 Top Ten website features

Here are the Top Ten website features that I have added to my customers’ websites in 2013. Many of them are WordPress plugins. Other CMSs are available (but not as good):-

  1. WordPress Multi User – You can add as many sub-domains as you want to your main website in a matter of seconds and manage them all from one Admin panel. There is a choice of format; subdomain.website.com or website.com/subdomain.
  2. ManageWP – Update the software and plugins on any self-hosted WordPress site on any server, check and maintain security and add articles to more than one site at once.
  3. Social – A WordPress plugin by Mail Chimp that enables you to publish a website article to your Facebook page(s) and Twitter account(s) just by pressing a button on your article’s Edit page. A real timesaver!
  4. Yoast SEO – Improve the innate SEO of your WordPress website with this plugin by Joost de Valk, reputedly the best SEO plugin there is. Simple to drive with advice, instructions and an innovative traffic light system.
  5. Statcounter – A simple alternative to Google Analytics that will tell you anything you want to know about the people who have visited your website.
  6. Twitter cards – Add another 200 characters to your 140 character Tweet and display logos, photo or video.
  7. FS Secure Contact Form – Reduce spam and avoid disclosing your email address to malicious site visitors. Uses Captcha codes.
  8. Add This – Enable your visitors to share your content via any Social media channel they wish, including some you may never have heard of.
  9. Slideshow – A simple plugin to show photos, text or videos with numerous slide and fade options.
  10. Snow Storm – Show snow falling gently (despite the name) on your site. Well, it is Christmas, isn’t it

 

Google+

This is a test message to see if the Hootsuite stream sends this post to my Google+ account

Not just a website – my experience too

I was recently able to advise a website customer about agency and distributor law prior to his discussions with a German supplier. This was based on more than thirty years experience of dealing with the German market as a sales and marketing manager for a variety of B2B principals.

You don’t just get a website when you deal with wetherbyweb. All this experience is freely shared with website customers – an added bonus to the bespoke website design that you pay for.

Go to the ‘About the webmaster’ post for more information about my experience of products, markets and languages.

Hosting options on wetherby.biz

If you choose to host a website on wetherby.biz by having a sub-domain with the format [dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”perspective-left” width=”175px” height=”” background_color=”#c4c0c0″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#181815″ inside_shadow=”false” ]yourname.wetherby.biz[/dropshadowbox] there are a number of options from which you can choose:-

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