Buy your shares with Bitcoin

Here’s an interesting player in the Bitcoin market. It’s an investment platform called DriveWealth which lets you do all your investment transactions in one place. Looks like a decent platform with low charges and the ability to run an account with dummy funds to learn how to trade. But these weren’t the reasons it attracted my attention. They allow you to fund your account in a number of ways, in particular using Bitcoin to drive your investment activity.

Think about the options, you can fund your investment account with Bitcoin, invest in companies, then withdraw your earning in any currency you like.

You can use it online, or download their app and use it on your phone or tablet. Check it out. You might make a killing 🙂

Quidco – Best Maintenance Page of the Year

Don’t you love it when something surprises you and puts a smile on your face? It’s especially cool when you’re faced with something that normally evokes a negative response. That’s just what happened when I tried to visit Quidco and found their “We’re undergoing maintenance” page. You’d expect to see someone being upset when faced with a site that’s temporarily unavailable but here I am, grinning like an idiot.

Here’s the page:

quidco-maintenanceI thought this was pure genius. Nothing like a cute monkey to cheer you up!

Bring Instagram to life with Instajunction

Most of us have been using Instagram for ages now. I don’t know if you guys are power users, but some of us have hundreds of images locked into that platform. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if we could use those images for something cool? Well, now you can, thanks to Instajunction.

Instajunction takes your Instagram images and lets you do amazing things with them. You can turn them into calendars, fridge magnets, wrapping paper and even cufflinks! I got a chance to give the site a whirl some time ago and was pretty pleased with the whole thing. Here’s a step-by-step photo account:

The process was pretty easy; in fact, the hardest bit was deciding what I wanted to do with my images. As you can see from above, I went for a framed print with 4 pictures of the kids and you can see the great print that we received just a couple of days after I placed my order. The integration with Instagram is seamless; once you authenticate against your account you have access to all your photos and can choose which you want to use in your masterpiece.

If you’re looking to bring any of your Instagram photos to life why don’t you give them a try? Just head down to Instajunction and check out their amazing range of products. Oh, and here’s another goody for you. If you do decide to purchase something from the site, go ahead and use code FRIEND25EM for a 25% discount on your order. Code is valid till the 8th December, and can be used as many times as you like. Go ahead, bring your Instagram to life!

Why is SEO like lipstick?

I must have still been a bit sleepy this morning while driving to work. You know how it is, the mind wanders, your creative juices start flowing and you start making connections that weren’t so obvious before. My train of thought this morning was how SEO (Search Engine Optimisation for the uninitiated) is a bit like make-up. It can enhance the way a website looks to a search engine, to make it that little bit more attractive. Just like lipstick can make someone’s lips stand out and get that second glance, SEO can help a website stand out that little bit more than its competition.

But you wouldn’t apply lipstick to a pig, would you? No amount of makeup will ever make it attractive (well, except maybe to another pig I guess). I was drawn further into the analogy with the thought that SEO is really just a thin veil that helps get that second look. When constructing your website you shouldn’t be making compromises for SEO, you should be focusing on your message, focusing on your clients, focusing on your services. Sure, you have to keep an eye on the SEO aspects (resisting the lure of the Dark Side – the Flash-only site), but this should never be your primary focus. After all, the secret is in the name. SEO is all about OPTIMISATION .. which is all about achieving maximum advantage, building up on what is already available.

I’m not saying SEO isn’t important. We all know we can get benefit from SEO, in the same way we can get benefit from any adwords campaign google lets us put together. But the effects of SEO fade as other websites jostle for position, as ranking factors evolve over time, as search engine technologies change. Think of SEO as the make up you put on before you go out somewhere special. It gives you that extra boost, inspires confidence .. but is a fading memory the next day.

So, if SEO is the lipstick that makes you look twice at someone, what’s the secret sauce that keeps people coming back for more? You know the answer, of course, my friends! Content! Fresh, unique content is the life blood of every site, it’s the alluring personality that makes everyone want to befriend your website. In the same way that someone’s sparkling personality makes you want to get close to them, makes you want to spend time with them; in exactly that same way, a website’s content is what will make you want to bookmark a website, it’s what makes Search Engines come around to index your content more often, it’s what makes people link to your website.

And this, my friends, is what you need to be focusing on. Regardless of whether you’re a print management website, selling custom diamond rings by Motek Diamonds or just have a small personal website, the advice is the same. Focus on your site structure and layout when you build your site. These are your good looks. Focus on SEO occasionally. This is the makeup you wear when you’re out to party. But above all, focus on your content. This is the personality that will make others love you, remember you and drive your success.

Brand New Build – Brand New Theme

Well, after I woke up a few days ago to find that this site had been compromised, I wiped the whole thing and started afresh (well, almost the whole thing, I kept a backup of all the content of course). It’s a brand new WordPress installation and I decided to clear out all my old themes and plugins and only install what I needed. It’s quite refreshing sometimes actually to start from scratch.

Anyway, I’ve got a brand new theme in place, the awesome BlogIT! WordPress theme by my mate Hyder. You’ll have to bear with me while I find my feet, these theme makes excellent use of any graphical resources you have on your blog, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never really devoted much attention to styling. So I’m resting on the theme for that, but hopefully, I’ll be learning as I go along and the site will look prettier and prettier 😉

Have a poke around and let me know what you think!

Trying to grow a Magic Fish

Arthur and I started out a new project today, trying to grow a Magic Fish. Well, it’s nothing out of a Harry Potter novel, more of a Christmas Gift that needs to be grown in time for Christmas.

The Magic Fish is really a type of Killifish which hatches right out a sachet of eggs. The pack also comes with some brine shrimp which you also get to grow yourself. So today we got everything set up and we’ll see if we manage to get a baby fish and some brine shrimp tomorrow. You have to let the water settle for 24 hours, just to get the chlorine out of the water. We also prepared some salted water with the brine shrimp eggs in it, which should hatch just in time to feed to the baby fish. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they hatch as planned. I’ll keep you updated.

There’s a great range of things at Prezzy Box, which is where the Magic Fish came from. I’ve got a Secret Santa gift to get over the next few days and there’s a whole selection of things there. Check out their website. You’re bound to find something you like.

The ABCs of Power Conditioning

The beauty of the Web is that there’s always something new to learn at every turn. Take today for example, I learnt all there is to learn about Power Conditioning thanks to the PowerVar website. They have a great page that describes in lots of detail the various stages a UPS, including this diagram:

The different stages are:

  • The Surge Diverter
  • The Low Impedance Isolation Transformer
  • The Power Line Filter
  • The Voltage Regulator
  • The Battery Backup
  • The Frequency Regulator
  • Ground Guard

You can read all about them in their concept document titled The ABCs of Power Conditioning. It describes every stage in a bit more detail and once you’ve read through it you’ll understand a bit more too.

Here’s the interesting thing about the PowerVar website. By sharing the information above, they are making their site more memorable to its visitors. They are providing value that people can share with one another and in this way creating conversational value that turns into thought leadership. This is the sort of value that people need to focus on when building a website. If the site just focused on the company and their products I probably would have never mentioned it here, and linked to it in the process. They actually have a whole section of their site dedicated to technical articles which make some really good reading.

So next time you’re looking for a UPM solution, Uninterruptable Power Supplies or Power Conditioners, check out the PowerVar website. There’s lots to learn there.