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Google ordered... and complies

It's a truly wonderful thing to see giant, Google, lose one (or 2 in this case). From a designer's and SEO's point of view, Google is like living in olden days when one felt the need to "please the gods". With over 60-70% of search traffic, getting it wrong with Google is bad for business. Because of their economic situation, they have huge power to do pretty much whatever they feel like - even if it's wrong, who can afford to sue them?

However, 2 recent court cases have brought at least the glimmer of a smile to the "Google haters". First in Europe, and now Japan. Courts from both areas have ordered Google to "forget" individuals pasts - including debts, convictions and other "embarrassing" data under Europe's and Japan's tough anti-defamation legislation.

This all seems wondeful, and, for the individuals concerned, it probably is. However, when we view the stats on link removal, Google proudly claims it's removed more than 200,000 from it's search results. This after reviewing some 145,000 requests covering nearly half a million links. Do a search on almost any topic and you'll see page results of millions... is 200k really something to trumpet about? Especially when it's less than half the removals requested...

The requests for "online polishing" have been coming in at the rate of about 1000 a day since May when the Eurpoean court handed down its ruling. However, experts say we in the US are unlikely to benefit despite the double precedent. It's a logisitcal nightmare for one thing, and, secondly, already some groups are condemning the rulings as anti-freedom of speech.

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2 for the week

We're pleased to launch 2 new sites this last week, both sporting the new slider module we've recently gotten hold of. In the past we've avoided these types of sliders as they've been, in the main, Flash based and Flash doesn't display on Apple devices. As we try very hard to make sure your site displays correctly across all devices, then Flash was out IMHO.

However, with the advent of CSS3 and HTML5, the options have opened up, allowing sliders like these to be within the reach of everyone. To all my existing clients, we can now offer you this free of charge if you want it - that's the power of having 12 hours free maintenance every year - you never have to worry about how much it'll cost. A slider like the ones on these pages will use about -35 hours to set up depending on its complexity. So if you want one, please ask.

So here are the new sites - both local vendors: Phoenix greenhouse equipment and supplies, and West Phoenix Painting Contractors. Thanks for the business guys!

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1 sentence email grabs cold clients' attention

If you've been in business more than 6 months, and especially if you've tried some sort of internet marketing, then you'll undoubtedly have a bunch of names and addresses of people who looked, but never bought. Here's a 1 liner email that will really grab their attention and garner a pretty good response rate.

Firstly, I have to admit that this isn't my idea, but I loved it and unashamedly nabbed it to send to all my customers, because I thought it was brilliant. An Aussie firm is using and is, reportedly, doing great things with it. And, let's face it, if they contacted you, then did nothing, what have you got to lose?

What emails get opened?

I get lots of "buy this" emails every day. Most I delete without opening, some I open, scan, and delete. All that effort is just wasted on me. "Make $xxxx in 5 days" is a total yawn - it's all scams trying to make $xxx out of ME in 5 days!

So what DOES get opened? Personal emails - even if they only sound personal. Emails that aren't full of flashy graphics, multiple calls to action, and other obvious "marketing" garbage. They don't have bolded subject lines, with ridiculous claims in them.

How can I reactivate my cold list then?

Glad you asked! Send your cold list an email like this:

Subject: Hi <name>, it's been a while since we spoke

Body: Hi <name>

Do you still need help with your <insert their need/problem>?

Regards

<your name>

And you're done! Not convinced it'll work? Feel like adding a "once-in-a-lifetime" offer? DON'T!! Just stick to the text. Think about what the email is doing. It's to THEM, it's not full of BS and hype, and it begs a response. Simple, and you will be amazed how many will answer. Will they all say, "Yes, please help me!". Of course not. But if 1 or 2 do, then you're 1 or 2 customers better off than before with minimal effort.

You have nothing to lose, but a small bottom line....

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Lessons from a Lovebird

"Out of the mouths of babes, oft time come gems." This well-known saying, probably derived from Psalms in the Bible, should remind us to always be on the lookout to learn a life lesson in the most obscure of places. Today, I have 2 posts, as I felt compelled to write this second one, not about how to exponentially multiply your traffic, guarantee 100% click through, or how to have the best website in the world, but rather to share a few "gems".

Kenya the LovebirdWhen you're down, sing louder!

Life is full of ups and downs, good and bad, want and plenty. How we react during these times determines who we are. When Kenya, our Lovebird, was getting low on water or food he'd sing and chat to us even more than normal. Without being a whinger, when life is tough, gather your friends around you and ask for support. A trouble (or problem) shared is a trouble halved.

Make the most of every situation

When he was out of his cage, he'd fly, and fly, and fly. In fact, he was a little naughty, and getting him back into his cage was sometimes quite a mission! But he was taking full advantage of the moment. If you were at the sink washing your hands of some dishes, that was always his cue (in his mind anyway) to come and have a bath. We'd cup our hands to make a pool with the faucet running, and he'd flap and wriggle in it. Or if we were making sandwiches, he'd be there to "help" - that is help himself to some of the bread!

Stay in touch

His cage sat beside one of the windows looking out on the backyard. As the wild bieds woke in the mornings, Kenya heard their chatter and would talk back to them all. He couldn't always see them, but he could hear them, and he wasn't going to miss a chance to connect.

Never miss a chance to say, "I love you!"

When he'd see us go past his cage, or hear us moving around, he never missed a chance to call out. Who knows whether he was saying, "I love you!" or "Hello" or just "Give me more food!", but he never missed a chance to involve himself in our lives. Always be ready to say, "I love you!" to those closest to you.

Farewell

So it's with a heavy heart that we bid our beloved Kenya, a most dear and loved companion of 14 years, a final farewell. He died yesterday afternoon. The house seems so quiet without his calls, and the ringing of the bell which hung in his cage. You will be terribly missed, but never forgotten. Thank you for the joy, the fun, and the lessons you brought to us. RIP Kenya.

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21 tips to stay healthy at your desk

With the world becomeing more and more based around computers, here's a list of ideas to keep healthy even if you're stuck at a desk or computer every day.

  1. Take a break at least once an hour. Every hour (set a timer on your computer if you need to), get up & take a quick walk somewhere (workmate’s desk, farthest restroom, photocopier, water cooler). Just get moving.
  2. Stretch and move where you sit. Can't go anywhere? Bend and touch your toes, walk or march on the spot a few minutes, rev it up with jumping jacks (who cares what the office thinks!).
  3. Mobile meetings. If you have a brainstorm session or meeting scheduled, do it on the move! Walk & win! It's not only good for fitness & health, but can help reduce stress & increases creativity!
  4. Elevators, escalators and moving walkways - Public Enemy #1! Maybe you work on the 40th story of a building, then maybe (and I say maybe) not. Otherwise elevators are your body's enemy. Same goes for escalators & walkways. Even if you're on story 40, consider taking the elevator to 35 and walking the rest - you don't need to ride the whole way.
  5. Starve the phone & email. Theis may not always be practical, but, instead of automatically reaching for the phone or the keyboard, get up once in a while and visit in person.
  6. Lunch-break or lunch-walk? Whatever time you have for lunch, use half to eat and half to walk. Try grabbing some colleagues and do it once a week, or more.
  7. Count, count, count. No, not Dracula! Try to clock 10,000 steps per day - get a pedometer and count your way to health!
  8. Carless days. Whenever practical, walk, bike, or run to work. Many of us live too far away to go the whole way. So, be creative, like in #4. Park a little way from your destination & walk the rest of the way. Or hop off the train/metro/bus several stops/stations early.
  9. Do some activity on the way home. Activity reduces stress & helps us unwind. Schedule a trip to the gym, the track, or a local simming complex before you head home.
  10. Rise & shine. Not all of us are morning larks, but the easiest way to get extra fitness into your day is with a DVD. Get energized before everyone else wakes up!
  11. Those whole fail to plan... Schedule what you will eat, & when and how you will exercise for the coming week on Sunday. Studies have shown this is the easiest way to stay on track for your healthy lifestyle. Write it down & refer to it!
  12. Warning, warning! Danger Will Robinson! Just like the robot in "Lost in Space", set warnings (alarms) for yourself on your computer or mobile device. Set for once an hour at work, it will remind you to take a break & stretch, walk or do some of those jumping jacks!
  13. Office organization. When you're filing, stand up & move around. Don’t use your chair to roll over to your filing cabinets.
  14. Walkie-talkie. As most people seem addicted to their mobile phones, practice getting up from your chair & walking about while talking.
  15. Tupperware? Isn't that dead? Cook a healthy meal at home, save some, then take it for a healthy work lunch the next day (that's where the Tupperware comes in!).
  16. Go nutty! Drop candy bars or “health” bars (most of which aren't). Instead, keep dry fruit or nuts handy.
  17. Jasmine, Moroccan Mint, or..... We all have "coffee breaks" which are, usually, coffee (often with unheathy tidbits). Instead of coffee, try sampling herbal teas: try red fruits, verbena, mint - there's a whole new world of taste awaiting.
  18. Glug, glug, glug. Grab a reusable water bottle and keep it close by. Drink at least 1 full bottle before lunch, and 1 more before the day's end. This keeps you fuller & less tempted to eat junk.
  19. Just say no! That's "NO!!" “No thanks.” When those treats get passed round: cakes, doughnuts, bagels, cookies, say "No" for your health's sake. Head for your healthier snacks from #16.
  20. Schedule meals. Schedule your fitness on Sunday night (see #11), decide on meal plans too. Both in and out of the office. And forget to include snacks.
  21. Restaurants - fun, but fattening. Restaurant food is, generally, a sugar & salt overload session. Reserve restaurant outings for special events or weekends. Better a simple homemade lunch. Sometimes, however, you can't avoid that lunch meeting, and you don't always get to choose the location. In that case, choose fresh, healthy salads or other foods when possible. Just watch the dressings on your salads.
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