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How often should you follow-up a proposal?

‘How many times do you follow up?’ A great question from Dan Barker on LinkedIn. It’s a good thread to read and a great example of how to get engagement on social.

For those who want to know, here’s my proposal follow-up process:

  • Follow-up 1 (+2 days) – Make sure they have the proposal, offer to answer questions and link to an article on our site that relates to their need.
  • Follow-up 2 (+7-14 days) – When I follow-up depends on the known timescale. Invite to an event or webinar I’m running or another link to a relevant article.
  • Follow-up 3 (+30 days) – If I’ve not heard back from FU 1 or 2 then I send https://themagicemail.com this gets 100% response although not always a sale. If I have had follow-up but no commitment. I’ll ask what help they need to move the project along.

In the LinkedIn thread I also learnt the term AHSTIPTO (Always Have Something to Invite People to Offer), apparently I’ve been doing that already.

Infectious Marketing: Blogging and Keyword Strategy, 23rd July 2020 – Free Webinar

In this webinar, Heidi and I will discuss how to capitalise on your blog or start one if you are new to blogging.

  • The benefits of a blog, why you’d do one and how often to blog
  • Blog content inspiration for the different tourism sectors
  • How to capitalise on your blog and give it reach
  • Tips on getting your blog found with SEO and Yoast
  • Advice when researching topics

This event has finished but you can watch the webinar video recording.

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Privacy report coming to Safari

Lily Hay Newman at Wired

‘In macOS Big Sur, Safari will include a specific “Privacy Report” to break down what specifically Safari is blocking and give you more insight into which trackers are cropping up in your daily browsing.’

This means that any tracking pixels and code, including Google Analytics, will be clearly listed for all Safari users when they upgrade to macOS Big Sur later this year.

Shaming websites into reducing or removing all trackers on their site is the best way to improve the tracking and data leeching situation. Cookie policies and popups do nothing but confuse the situation and, like many agreements and terms of service online, people quickly click through to get to the information they want.

Using Ghostery in Chrome to test on our site for trackers, it shows we have two trackers. Google Analytics and DoubleClick. The Double click tracker is used by YouTube when we have embedded videos and can be removed by making sure you embed the videos with ‘Privacy-enhanced mode‘, I must admit I thought all our videos were set to use this, it appears a few weren’t. I’ve added a script to fix all videos on our site

Google Analytics will stay for now but I am looking at a way of compiling basic tracking reports locally on the server and not sending this data to Google.

Abuse of Google Analytics to skim credit card data

Dan Goodin at Ars Technica

‘Researchers from Kaspersky Lab on Monday said that they have recently observed about two dozen infected sites that found a novel way to achieve this. Instead of sending it to attacker-controlled servers, the attackers send it to Google Analytics accounts they control. Since the Google service is so widely used, ecommerce site security policies generally fully trust it to receive data.’

Clever but very creepy. Check you don’t have an extra Google Analytics profile in your sites source.

Here’s another (deep dive) article on card skimming via embedded image data.

IMC Podcast #2 Building on your SEO strategy

Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Apple Podcasts app Listen on Sticher Listen on TuneIn

Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.


This episode is taken from an interview with my colleague Chris Richards on how he ranked his own website utilitysavingexpert.com to compete against the big comparison sites in the pursuit of Google search traffic Chris shares some of the strategies and tools he uses for local SEO, on-page optimisation, keyword research and his in-depth SEO site audit.

I really enjoy talking with Chris about SEO and I know you’ll take away a lot from this conversation.

PS Longtime listeners will hear an appearance from Al Osmond my co-host in the original run of the Something Inventive Podcast.

Episode Notes

WordCamp Europe 2020 presentation notes (in progress)

322 social profile photos of attendees at WCEU 2020

My notes from the online version of WordCamp Europe back on the 5th June 2020. As I watch the videos and add my notes I’ll update the content on this page.

Friday – Track One

Sustainable freelancing – Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld (2:15:23)

  • Take care of yourself – Look after yourself like you would look after a child
  • Set healthy boundaries – One example Wendie gave was asking for all website content to be provided upfront before she begins a project, this helps her build websites on time.
  • Make things easy on yourself – Remove or delegate jobs you don’t like, automate what you can, systemise what you have to do
  • Give yourself permission to make mistakes – Write permissions down, it’s a helpful reminder
  • Get support with other people – Have people you can talk to and that will hold you accountable
  • Make time to have fun
  • Make changes in small steps

WordPress performance – Hristo Panjarov (2:58:58)

  • Keep your plugins and WP core undated. Many updates include speed enhancements
  • Make sure using Opcache
  • Preloading in PHP 7.4 brings further speed improvements
  • PHP 8 due for release later this year which brings further speed improvements
  • Use WebP formatted images, can be 2-3 times smaller than JPEG
  • Load only critical CSS at the start of the page. Everything else should load as needed. Can be difficult to implement manually
  • You should minify JS, CSS and HTML files if possible
  • User server-side full page caching such as Varnish or NGINX

The art of building better websites with science – Ruth Raventós (3:44:03)

  • What is the goal of your website? Get more visitors or increase conversions
  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation). Either blindly make changes and hope for the best or apply a process and make changes based on results
  • In CRO: Your opinion doesn’t matter, and hacks and best practices don’t always work
  • CRO process – Plan -> Measure -> Prioritise -> A/B test
  • What is your customer funnel? How do they find your site? What do they do on your site? Do they take action? Are you measuring this?
  • Assess your page against five criteria and how you can improve them: Relevancy, Clarity, Friction, Distraction, Value 
  • Use Google Analytics to set up measurement and KPI tracking. Also, identify leaks, where do people who don’t buy go to
  • Use scroll maps, click maps and pointer heat maps, customer surveys and user reviews are also really useful to see exactly how people use your site
  • Look for easy wins and changes that will create the most value
  • Review the issues and propose a hypothesis
  • Decide on a change and split the traffic between the page variations
  • Not all of your ideas will be successful. For example, tried adding banners and video to their pages and these were either ignored or did not increase clicks. So make changes but test the results.
  • Run tests for a full business cycle. This depends on how long it takes people to make a decision so could be a week to a month.

In conversation with Matt Mullenweg (4:29:10)

  • A short demo of some upcoming improvements to the block editor
  • Then a Q&A

I’m really sorry – Our webinar registration form just got spammed!

This afternoon a registration form for an upcoming webinar of mine was spammed with over 4100 email addresses from a spam bot. If you were one of that number then I’m really sorry that you just got an unsolicited email from Demio, the webinar software we use, booking you onto a webinar. Your email and details have been removed and Demio is working on a fix to prevent this in the very near future.

Here’s what I know

The first I knew about this was from an email at 14:11 from an ‘attendee’ asking, quite rightly, why they had been registered for this event and where had I got their details from – I didn’t immediately have an answer for them.

I jumped straight into Demio and confirmed that we did indeed have spam registrations. My first thought was to stop further registrations but there was no obvious way to do this except to reduce the number of attendees down to 1.

I then spoke to Demio to find out what was going on and to make sure that this wasn’t a data breach. They confirmed it was from a social media spam bot NOT a security breach or hacking, and removed all false registrations in 20 minutes. They are also set to release fixes to prevent this soon have also released fixes to stop this happening again*.

I even received our first ever negative feedback through SayHola. Rightly so, this person was pissed off.

Negative feedback on SayHola Spam bot

The GDPR reference is from the signup form enabling me to communicate with the registrant outside of any marketing for the event.

Registration spam GDPR tick box2

To everyone effected, I’m sorry that our event spammed you. I hate spam and I hate that you got this.

*Update from Demio

We were able to put in a fix to prevent any of those bots from registering to any Demio event again, and we’ve also removed any bot registrations from your Event. You’re good to go for this event!

Also, in the next few days we have an update that will create more restrictions for registration (checking emails etc) that will further prevent bots!

The best WordPress Page Builders

Chris Herbert has collated opinions from 85 WordPress Professionals (ahem) on the page builder plugins they use to manage and layout content, and why it’s best for them.

Gutenberg, my new best friend when it comes to editing WordPress content, sadly didn’t make the top three. I’d say that for some, it’s too new and doesn’t have a full feature set, therefore too much work and not enough reward to change their development process.

I contribute the following.

‘Gutenberg – “Despite a few visual quirks that need ironing out, the built-in block editor (launched in December 2018) is by far the best way to layout content without reaching for any HTML or CSS.

It’s faster than other page builders such as WPBakery, my previous go-to for WordPress layout. And it represents more accurately what the final content will look like, especially compared with the layout plugin Divi.

But most importantly, it’s built directly into WordPress, so you know it will be supported for years to come, and with hundreds of contributors, it’s going to get a lot of attention.

On the downside, the built-in editor doesn’t yet include all the features you might want, such as fancy sectional divides or masonry style image galleries but with additional plugins the editor can be extended to do more, much more. My favourites are Stackable which has feature grids and popup videos that look great, and also Coblocks that has a collection of image galleries, layout containers and dividers that I use in most of my web sites.

I highly recommend testing it out for your next website build.”’

How to start an argument on Twitter

Paul D McGarrity step by step observation of a bot on twitter sowing the seeds for social division.

‘4) The trap is set. The tweet gets attention, a few retweets. Most are quote tweets with outraged reactions which do two things- they allow people to say ‘look at what THEY all think’ and it removes the casual viewer from the original account by one click. It ends here, unless…’

Look out for these bot accounts. There aren’t always easy to spot but if they have very strong views, low or no followers, check out their profile and see if makes any sense. If in doubt, don’t just retweet it.

I spent at least 15 minutes reading through Paul’s thread replies and checking out his profile before I was happy sharing this. Gosh, I hope he isn’t a bot!

How to look great on Zoom

Ben demonstrating different lighting conditions on Zoom

A couple of tips from my last webinar with Heidi on how to look good and come across confidently when are presenting on zoom.

‘The most important thing you can do is have good lighting, particularly on your face.’

  1. Use a window or lamp to light up your face
  2. Use headphones to prevent echo
  3. Talk to the camera so people feel you are talking to them
  4. Write your talking points on a sticky note so you don’t have to look down and refer to your notes (thanks to Jonathan Mehan for this tip)
  5. Mute if you are not talking. This prevents echo and allows you to type without disturbing others
  6. Use dedicated Mic and Camera if you can. You will sound and look better.

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