Month: September 2007

Website Copywriting – pay peanuts, get monkeys?

By Dave Haygarth   September 27, 2007  
Interesting discussion regarding copywriting for the web here on Dave Naylor's site.We know from experience that getting content from clients can be like getting blood from the proverbial stone. Sometimes swathes of pages that were once thought essential get culled at the last moment as no one knows what to write on them. News pages get stagnant, with the only post being "Welcome to our new website - December 2003."I think some of the lessons that can be learned are as follows:1) Don't see it as something for you to do "when you get a moment". Don't rush it. If you are busy running your business, then get expert help to write your copy.2) Think about the keywords you are targeting. Are they covered by your content? If not then how do you expect Google to find you for those keywords?3) Keep it up to date! Build web publishing into the fabric of your business and reap the rewards.

Solar Chargers for laptops on the up…

By Dave Haygarth   September 27, 2007  
Okay - we know that summer's been generally devoid of sunshine, but there's still enough energy coming through those clouds to help us IT consumers keep out electricity bills down and a carbon footprints a bit smaller.Solar laptop, PDA and Phone chargers are starting to get a small hold on the market, and this is surely (we hope) the thin end of the wedge. Some of the products available have grown so quickly during the last 12 months that it's hard to keep track. Here's some links to places where they can be bought: http://www.nclsolar.com/acatalog/Charge_Systems.html http://www.energyenv.co.uk/FoldableChargers.aspOf course, where price is an issue, the free market will always lend a hand and drive down the cost to the consumer - and the kings of the free market are ebay - who (at the time of writing) seem to be able to offer you a charger 'briefcase' for less than £60, including postage.The general availability of powerful, dedicated solar laptop chargers is pretty poor still in this country, and the best ones come at a premium (see here), but you can guarantee that the movement has got some momentum. Once the price starts to come down, the market will start to blossom.

Comprehensive US report shows how ICT has a role in cutting carbon emissions

By Dave Haygarth   September 26, 2007  
There are some fantastic and interesting statistics in this comprehensive report into the role home working (or 'telecommuting' as people in the US refer to it) can play in cutting down or carbon emissions.One point that really sticks with me (as a recently converted 'telecommuter') is that "Annually, a worker with a one-way commute of 22 miles can save up to 81,000 MJ of energy per week. 81000 MJ is equivalent to about 50% of the annual electricity consumption of an average (US) household."... and I don't start work full of road (or, train, bus, tube) rage!Full report here (268kb PDF, 91 pages).Context of the report on the CEA website here.

Broadband UK – the big Ofcom debate starts

By Dave Haygarth   September 26, 2007  
So it's here at last - about 20 years after Margaret Thatcher declined to let BT start replacing its wire infrastructure with Fibre Optic cable to (in those days) 'enable TV to be piped into people's homes', Ofcom has today started a debate and review into the future of Broadband in the UKThe watchdog wants to prepare for the growing demand for higher-speed services such as video streaming that will potentially stretch the current telecoms infrastructure to its limits.In my view, we should think about the model that Japan has used. They deregulated the market and maximized competition in residential broadband services by freeing up "the last mile" for use by multiple service providers.The result was that most Japanese broadband users can download at 40 MBPS for half the price that we pay to download at 4 MBPS10% of Japanese consumers can download at 100 MBPS for around £22 per month.Free things up and let the market do the planning!Fibre mooted for next generation broadband www.BroadbandChoices.co.uk Ofcom consults future of broadband regulation thinkbroadband.com Ofcom looks to future of fast net BBC News

Rich Internet Apps to Replace Desktop Software?

By Dave Haygarth   September 25, 2007  
It's amazing what some companies are managing to do with the web browser. These applications exhibit some of the latest techniques in what is being termed "rich internet application" development (or RIA for short). AKA "Web 2.0", RIA is a combination of technologies that improve the user experience, making web applications behave more like Windows/Mac ones. Microsoft are getting worried. Their own offering is Office Live, which has been suspiciously quiet for a while now. I am sure they are not yet panicking as these are still somewhat embryonic, and with the prevalence of powerful PCs, I'm not sure people will be ready to switch just yet. They do, of course, also rely on a permanent Internet connection: not something that can always be guaranteed.Here's a quick round-up of what we've found available or in beta right now:Office ToolsGoogle Docs Web browser-based set of basic office tools - word processor, spreadsheet, presentation. Also Google Calendar for time planning. Free or paid versions.Zoho Office In my view, a lot more advanced than Google's offering. Also has a lot more components One that Microsoft should keep an eye on (or buy?!)ThinkFree Looking very similar to Microsoft Office, and popular with reviewers, this is well worth a look.Zimbra Yahoo entered the "online office apps" race last week (sept 07) when it acquired them for $350 Million. Initially an alternative to Microsoft Exchange, it has grown into a full suite of office tools.A review of some of the above office tools can be seen here.Operating SystemsThese are all similar in mimicking Windows or Mac all within a browser window. Right now they are fun, but whether they could really take on real operating systems remains to be seen...however we know how fast the computing world moves, so don't rule it out!Ajax Windows Ajax13 also have a suite of office tools. Their OS looks like Windows but unfortunately is not as smooth to use. Its very clunky and slow right now.YouOS Nowhere near as slick as Ajaxwindows. Similar concept.EyeOS This looks the slickest so far, and seems a lot more complete than the others. More of a Mac-like interface.

Email Marketing Tips from Online Marketing Blog

By Dave Haygarth   September 25, 2007  
Online Marketing Blog is a site I visit quite a lot. The guys behind it, Toprank, have a great combo of publishing and business. They give away valuable information for free and in return they are respected as industry experts. This in turn leads to clients.They recently published this great guide to email marketing which is well worth a read.

Northern Rock crisis causes a surge in web search

By Dave Haygarth   September 20, 2007  
The crisis at Northern Rock has sparked a surge in online inquiries about savings accounts, loans and mortgages. The web makes it so much easier now for people to compare features and prices, but when crises like this occur, it reminds us how easy it is to transfer out business on the web.Price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com says traffic picked up in early September with savers seeking higher rates, peaking on 18th September with more than double the average number of visitors to the site's savings section. For mortgages visitor numbers were 50% higher and visits were up a third for loans.Never before have we had such a free market - it's interesting times for people competing for your online business.Read more here: Moneysupermarket rises on credit crunch Independent Northern Rock crisis boosts traffic at Moneysupermarket CityWire.co.uk Moneysupermarket wins on Rock exodus This is Money

The Impact of Socialised Media

By Dave Haygarth   September 14, 2007  
I was invited to a seminar aimed mainly at PR and branding agencies the other day, themed "The Impact of Socialised Media*", and was perhaps slightly too sceptical in advance - it was compelling and thrilling from start to finish. Continue reading "The Impact of Socialised Media"

More Mobile Web News: The new iPod Touch with Wifi and Web Browser

By Dave Haygarth   September 6, 2007  
The new range of iPods includes the iPod Touch - basically an iPhone without the phone. As with the iPhone, it features the Safari browser, and a Wifi connection to get you on the net.We do like our gadgets here at RDHQ, but the relevance to us once again is the spread of the mobile web. With web browsers on most phones and now on the most popular music player on the planet, the mobile web is booming.Those who take advantage stand to reap the rewards.ITV have recently launched their "ITV Mobile Portal" - a "one-stop shop for news, updates and video clips around your favourite ITV shows".The trend continues...