Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The McDonalds approach to blogging

Thanks to the free wifi service offered in McDonalds it seems to be attracting an increasing number of itinerant bloggers.

Almost every time we’ve been in lately (and, yes, we’re one of that band of McD bloggers whilst we wait for our ADSL connection) we’ve seen someone whipping out the laptop in a relatively quiet part of the restaurant. Thus far, our record is four separate surfers but I’m sure that’s a record that’ll soon be broken.

It’s not really surprising that they’re attracting these folk: after all that word “free” is quite a pull. What is more surprising though is that the majority of these people are lugging around full size laptops rather than running with the likes of my trusty Aspire One. After all, at under £200 for quite a usable machine it’s not out of the question to buy one pretty much just for the holidays and these days you can even get them “free” with some broadband packages.

Is it a worthwhile marketing strategy for McD though? Well, in that the restaurants obviously need a connection of some sort for their credit card machines it’s largely a no-cost service for them so there’d appear to be no downside in offering it. Moreover, few of the itinerant surfers leave without buying something so it would appear to be all upside for McD at the moment. Whether that would continue to be the case were significant numbers of surfers to start using the stores is another matter. It certainly works fine if there are a handful of people using the service but if there were, say, 10 or more then a) the seats are going to be taken up and b) the service is going to slow down. Still, at the moment, it seems like a great idea.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Is your blog a Rolls or a Trabant?

Much as we might laugh at the Trabants that East Germany used to turn out as being unreliable and prone to break down, sadly that’s what many blogs seem to look like these days.

Oh, they don’t break down, but the quality of the workmanship that you see in some of the posts is really deplorable. What’s perhaps worse is that a lot of those low quality blogs are taking sponsored posts and if anything the quality of the posts that they get paid for is even worse than the norm for them.

Why do the advertisers put up with it? OK, they might just want the link from the blog but do they really want their product to be associated with shoddy workmanship? After all, the authors of these posts are numbered amongst their suppliers ultimately. Surely they can’t be so uncritical to accept what are often very shoddy posts indeed?

How bad are they? How about “you must visit this site. i think there products are really great. visit this site they have great products.”? I’ve paraphrased the real example so you can’t search for the actual blog entry that was based on (which was worse than that).

Good quality writing doesn’t mean that it can’t be about trashy subjects. Whilst many would call The Sun a trashy paper, every one of their articles is well written. Sure the writing style is laid back but it suits the content just as the relatively dense writing style of The Times suits it’s content and readership.

Just as there’s a range of writing styles in newspapers, so too one would expect there to be a range of writing styles in blogs. That doesn’t mean that the spelling, grammar and repetitiveness of my example is acceptable though because it isn’t and especially so since the advertiser paid $50 for it (quite why they approved payment is beyond me).

I’m not saying that you need perfection from day one but you should at least aim for that.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

What about the tile issue?

Tiles are a bit of an oddball topic in our house at the moment as we’re looking at redoing both the bathroom (probably) and the kitchen (definitely) which are both more ancient than I’d care to say here. Like really ancient.

Now one common theme in relatively old bathrooms and kitchens was the tiling which, in our case, is just about everywhere and also looking particularly dated in some respects too. So dated that the OH has provisionally ruled “no tiles at all” as a starting point and that’s even including some of the really modern styles like the glass tile which is used really imaginatively in some designs we’ve seen lately.

Of course the problem is that tiles are definitely required in some areas if you’re wanting a new look that will actually stick up the the wear and tear that both rooms get on a regular basis so we’ll have something of a compromise I expect.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Another upgrade to the bathroom in prospect?

Much as we would like to have been able to leave the bathroom well alone after our last experience with a plumber, it’s starting to look like we’ll have to undertake a more major upgrade to the bathroom and possibly something really major will be needing done to the kitchen as well.

That being the case we’ve started revisiting the bathroom faucet issue once more. Although we had all of these replaced earlier in the year if we’re needing to redo the whole bathroom this time then we’d be wanting to take a little more time over the issue rather than going for the quick fix option that we did the last time around.

Regardless of the work needing done in the bathroom, the kitchen is definitely going to need some quite major work done on it over the next few months courtesy of the leak (or, probably, leaks) that we’ve developed. Quite where we’d start on that though is an issue for another day!

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

In the eye of the beholder: it is a listing service or a free website service?

I run a series of interlinked holiday accommodation listings sites which started as something of a sideline for me but which is slowly becoming a significant income generator for me.

Now, in the early days it was quite clearly a straight listing service. I typed up the entries as they came in and they were displayed on the site as a great big list. Nice and simple if somewhat time-consuming.

As it grew, I figured that a database was the way to go and in the second year that went live. By then the original 20 properties had grown to over 100. Mark 1 of that simply replicated the original hand-produced site and a version of that is still around to this day because the hand-produced format is much more effective in SEO terms than a written for database site is for various reasons.

With the dramatic reduction in the work required from me to actually add the information, I broadened the amount and variety of information that the property owners could add. That increased so much that I figured after a while that I should write a new-generation version of the original site to run alongside the original version but targeted at a different market. The increase in information meant that properties now had a little website each with several pages on it.

Interestingly though, I’ve recently come across a free accommodation property site that has come at the problem from the opposite direction. What they do is get the property owners to add a whole lot of information and they produce a little website for them which gets listed by them.

What’s clear is that we’ll both likely meet in the middle several years down the line as I’m in the process of souping up the mini website that my listing service generates and already some people are quoting that address as “their” website address which presumably will become more common as time goes on. In fact, it’ll become more and more of a website generation facility over the months to come as that’s my main area for development this year.

The question next year though will be: how do I promote it to the owners? The listing service aspect will clearly remain but there’ll also be the aspect of building almost custom websites for the owners (surprisingly easy to do). In fact, thanks to the recent change of hosting service I’ll even be able to let each owner use their own domain to point to their “mini” website (which will potentially be larger than many “proper” websites).

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.