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talkin' shop Archives - Christian Senior
Hey there! Want to talk about my book or maybe you need me for something?...
Christian Senior - Author, Illustrator
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Choc Chip EU Cookie WordPress Plugin

I AM THE LAW!! OK, so contrary to Judge Dredd’s self belief, I am not the law. In fact, I know bugger all about the law, other than –

  • you shouldn’t nick stuff.
  • If you run through an old peoples home wearing nothing but a papier mache vikings helmet, there are certain figures of authority who will ‘want a word’.

The other tiny thing I know is,  a law was passed last year (though it didnt really come into effect until this year) stating that websites must warn visitors if there are cookies lurking. Known as the ‘EU Cookie Directive’, its a ridiculous law but don’t get me started because we’ll be here all day and it will inevitably end up with me upsetting someone and heading towards the nearest octogenarian’s residence in an unconvincing, home-made hat.

What’s it all about?

The EU cookie directive may not be the most welcome law but, as Voltaire said ‘in order to be free we must all be slaves to the law’. I’m not sure how true that is either, but in any case it has caused me to sit down and write this WordPress plugin to make abiding by the rules that bit easier.

What does this Choc Chip thing do?

It gives your visitors the option to opt in to any third party applications such as Google Analytics or Ad Sense and doesnt show it until. The Choc Chip Cookie Plugin then leaves a cookie of its own to remember them next time. The cookie willl expire after one year. There are a few options with this little badger to help you comply with the EU cookie directive and also pimp it up to suit your website.

Choc Chip Cookie EU Cookie Plugin Widget

This plugin comes with an opt-in widget for your sidebar. Anything added to the Choc Chip EU Cookie Plugin widget is opt in. So if you insert your Adsense code here it will only show if the visitor has accepted cookies. Cool uh?!

Options

Button Bar Text

Edit the warning text as shown on the button bar. Try something like ‘Hey you, you are browsing my website so you are having cookies’. OK maybe not qute that but something similar.

Cookie Information Page

Create a page that contains your cookie information such as what cookies are and what you use them for. Select your cookie information page from the list and this will link to the ‘More info’ button on the button bar.

Opt in header code

Third party applications such as Google Analytics leave a cookie in order to be able to track your visitors. The EU Cookie Directive wants you to warn people of this and even have them ‘opt in’ so you shouldnt track them unless they agree to it. Any text/code that you enter in the ‘opt in header code’ field will only be activated once the ‘allow’ button has been clicked. Any text/code in this field will be placed just above the </head> tag.

Comment Form Warning

WordPress leaves a cookie when a comment is left (to save the form information so it doesnt have to be filled in next time) so give your visitors a warning and let them whats going down. Try something like ‘By leaving a comment you are agreeing to have a new friend in the same shape as a cookie popped onto your hard drive’.

Appearance

Bar Position

Select the position for your button bar

Background Colour

Change the background of your button bar by entering the name of the colour or if youre a smarty pants you can enter a hex value.

Text Colour

Change the main text colour on the button bar by entering the name of the colour, now try to be sensible as ‘off white’ aint gonna cut the mustard sonny Jim.

Accept Button Text Colour

Have a guess what this does? Thats right it changes the accept button text colour. Pop your favourite colour in the box.

Accept Button Background Colour

Make that button stand out with a smashing background colour.

Accept Button Border Colour

Thats right you can even change the colour of the border of the button. Your visitors will be sad to see it disappear when they click the button.

More Info Button Text Colour

We’ve moved on to the next button so make this one just as important as the last one as it points to important information

More Info Button Background Colour

Make it shine man, make it shine

More Info Button Border Colour

Come on this is the last colour change so make it count

Now dont forget to press save after you make any changes.

Disclaimer

I am not a lawyer nor am I, nor have I ever been a policeman so my knowledge of the law is pretty limited. And to top it all off I once got into trouble for stealing sweets from my local shop, my mum was not happy and I got grounded for quite some time. But I’ve grown both mentally and physically since then. Anyway I digress, if you get into trouble for not abiding by the EU cookie law even after using this plugin, I accept no responsibility. You are welcome to use this plugin but it comes with no guarantees as to its compliance of the law. If you are in any doubt you should seek real legal advice.

Download the WordPress Plugin

If you are happy with all the above nonsense then give this little gem a try – DOWNLOAD

Download the Super Duper Choc Chip EU Cookie Plugin from the WordPress Repository

If you have something to say about this plugin then please do leave me a comment, hey who knows we could be friends. Right?!

Other than that just fill your timeline with my jibber jabber on Twitter. Follow @senoir

 

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Its a .NET magazine Makeover

There’s an old saying that comes to mind, something about being thrown in at the deep end and coming out smelling of roses? The exact phrase escapes me but when I joined Obi Media recently as Creative Director, one of my first projects was to pimp up the company website; reclaim a bit of that pizazz that had been lost to changing trends and technologies, and increase those elusive conversions. This was me ‘in at the deep end’.

The design of this site is now going to be featured in the amazing .NET magazine in their Makeover section, so we get a double page spread. Awesome!

Read about how and why this was built in .NET magazine.

Obi Media is a creative design agency based in Devon servicing small to medium businesses as well as some high profile clients, including Bil Oddie, Chris Packham, Nick Baker and Classic FM’s John Suchet.

 

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No website?!…you’re doomed (apparently)

Remember the Yellow Pages? Well believe it or not its still going strong and loads of people spend their time flicking through the big luminous book for useless numbers.

Hey! Im trying to sleep down here However, it seems that 80% more people are using the internet to find that same number. No wonder Google are rolling in it! But more astounding than the 80% of people scouring the internet for your business information is that 60% of those people are already holding the cash by the time they get on the blower!

So it seems that those businesses without a website dont stand a chance. Im not telling you anything new here, we all know how the internet has taken hold of everybodys lives in one way or another but I think what we can say here is that, if you have been asking yourself the question,

“Can I afford a website for my business?”

the answer is simply, you cant afford NOT to.
Now Im not saying that getting a website is going to make you as rich as Google (although I suppose thats what worked for them…mmmmm) but its a step forward for your business.

So dont be a fool and miss out on all those people that cant wait to spend their hard earned dosh, give me a call and keep me in business.
And when the winter comes and your feeling chilly, reach for the yellow pages…it burns for hours.

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8 Things to think about

So you are having a new website designed and built eh? It’s going to be fancy and do all the things you wanted it to do isn’t it? The web design guy is going to put together this perfect website for you that sings and dances and does all the things you always dreamed of, right?

Well how does the website guy know what you want?

Here are 8 things you should think about before you have your website built

  1. Company Image – Think about how you want people to see your company? We have all heard the phrase ‘first impressions count’ so you have to make that first impression give the right message. Do you want a ‘corporate’ image to give off the BIG company vibe or a ‘family run’ business image to create a more friendly yet trustworthy appeal? Try to think about, and include, the product you sell. If you specialise in a product with a familiar brand name, thats been around forever, dont try to give off a ‘new and innovative product’ vibe because that’s not going to work. Likewise if your product is a a brand new, state-of-the art widget, a ‘traditional and old-fashioned values’ image is not going to hit the spot.
  2. Logo/Branding – Your website should look like it belongs to your company so try to include company colours and make it recognisable. Tie all your promotional material together, business cards, brochures and your website should look like they are in the same family. If your logo is blue and yellow then a primarily red website wont look the part, and you want to look the part don’t you?
  3. A call to action – What is the purpose of your website? Now this may seem like a ridiculous question, you want a website to sell more stuff, right? But you need ask yourself how your website is going to sell more stuff for you. Is it a brochure site where potential customers can come and see what you have on offer before contacting you for more information? So do you need to try and get some contact details from these people before they get away? Do you want to sell direct from your website whereby customers can buy your widgets online, part with their hard earned cash and receive the product in the post? Whatever your website does for you you need a ‘call to action’, tell people what to do, dont leave it to chance. ‘Fill in the contact form’ or ‘Buy Now’, put the action out there so it is only a click away.
  4. What’s the budget? – How much does a website cost? How long is a piece of string? A website can cost as much or as little as you want it to. The more bells and whistles you have, the more it will cost. Try to balance your budget with what you want the site to do. Dont use up all your website design budget getting the little man to dance across the screen and then not be able to get the shopping cart put in place, remember your websites primary function.
  5. Know your audience – I assume since you are in the business (or starting up in the business) that you know who will buy your product? What age group your customers are or will be? What the background of your customers is or will be? Have your website designed to reflect this. Your stair lift busienss website might not go down so well with your audience when the ‘techno’soundtrack kicks in on the homepage.
  6. Let them know about your website – Okay so lets lay one popular myth to rest straight away. Just because you have a website does not mean people will find you on the internet and start buying things from you. You have to market the website, just like anything else, otherwise how do people know you are there? So how are you going to market the website? Think about your audience and your product. If you sell a digital product you might want to advertise on the internet using Adwords or something similar. A restaurant might be better suited to a local newspaper. Eventually you will build up a brand and people will start to find you on search engines or review sites but this will not happen overnight and will not happen without some marketing.
  7. To CMS or not to CMS – CMS or Content Management Systems are becoming very popular as it allows you to take control of your own website without having to rely on your webmaster or design team. CMS sites allow you to edit the content of your site or add content or take it away. So if you have a website with constantly changing information this maybe the solution for you. The initial website design may cost a little more but if you do update the website information on a regular basis then the long term benefits will outweigh the start up cost. Your web designer will be able to advise you on the right solution for you.
  8. Picture this – I just wanted to finish off with one of my pet hates. You spend time and money getting your website built. It has all the bells and whistles and it looks the business. Everyone looks at your new website and says ‘wow, that looks awesome’. You take control of your new website, you log in and start adding content. And then you commit the ultimate sin, you stick in half rate images of your products. Your product is the most important thing on your site, that’s what people are buying. Your product is the one thing on your site that people are parting with money for, dont’ make it any harder for them. You dont need to spend lots of money getting your product photographed by a professional photographer, just spend a little time on your product images. So many websites have dark or blurred product images which have quickly been taken on a kitchen table with a phone. If you dont have a camera, do you know someone that has who might lend it to you? A picture paints a thousand words, dont let those words be ‘ I cant quite tell what it is’.

There are of course more things to think about than those I have mentioned above and as usual there are exceptions to the rules but before you go and see your web designer just try to be a little prepared as to what you want from them. They are not mind readers so they need infrmation from you. But more importantly you should think about these things so YOU know what you want from your website.

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Approach your approach

Contrary to popular belief there a number of things that I know nothing about. Some of the more notable ones are:

  1. Directions – I’m a man and I should be an expert at this but I have walked away on more than one occassion to avoid the inevitable conversation ending in something like “head over snakes pass onto the b741 and drop onto the ring road, or if the ring road’s busy take the next slip road, behind Tescos and up Gary Baldi Street or….”. I cant talk directions and I certainly cant follow them so finding my own way by stubborness and sheer will power still tends to be quicker than following some garbled directions from an old lady, that only popped out for a stamp, and ended up in a large debate (with herself) about whether one should head over Snakes Pass or drop onto the ring road.
  2. Gardening – You have to take your hat off to the green fingered types. The skill that is actually involved in planting something at the right time, just watering it enough and feeding it when necessary is one which has yet managed to evade me. Everything I have ever planted has ended with a drowning (with the exception of a small pot of cress which I was forced to plant in school. The after care of which, was not done by me and 3 weeks later I enjoyed the only cress sandwich I have ever had). It worries me that one day I might get a bit over zealous and drown myself in a glass of Ribena.
  3. Drawing Horses – It seems strange that at some time in your life you will find yourself saying “Why the hell are horses so hard to draw?”. The horse is such a fine elegant animal with it’s strong muscular body ready to work in the fields or carry you to your destination but the horse should be the ugliest, most deformed creature on earth. When you try to draw one you will realise what I mean. It’s limbs dont follow the pattern of other animals and seem to bend in places they shouldnt. The neck is a width that can’t be put on paper, it’s either too fat or too skinny making it look like a giraffe thats been the victim of some sort of amputation. I know you’re thinking that you will manage to get through your life without having to draw a horse but at some point it will happen. A child will say “please Mr Jones please will you draw me a horse?”, and after a few vain attempts you will sit the child on your lap, look into their innocent eyes and say “Why the hell are horses so hard to draw?”.

Nice horse cowboyI know nothing about these things (and the list could go on for some time), I’m not very good at these things and therefore I dont get involved in these things. You will find that most people are the same. We like to sit in our comfort zone talking about things we like and know about so when average Joe needs a website for his business who does he talk to?
So the conversation goes like this;
Joe – “I need a website please”
Webmaster – “Ok what kind would you like?”
Joe – “What?”
Webmaster – “What kind would you like?”
Joe – “erm…..what kind can I have?”
Webmaster – “Well you can have a CMS based site, or a just a static HTML site, or a Flash site with actionscript functionality. Or you have a fulminator quadrohydranthosyourfatheryourturntogetthedrinksin if you prefer. Or you can have……”
Joe – “I’ve got to go I think I’ve left the oven on”
What may seem simple to you may be a foreign language to other people. I once overheard two truck drivers talking about the best way to get to Gary Baldi Street and I’m convinced they were talking in Chinese. Every business now needs a website, thats a fact, so lets approach the approach. Instead of saying ‘Just go up the 471 and head north‘ lets just say ‘turn left at the end’. Simplicity in design, simplicity in talking about the design.

So if you need a website drop me a line or am I talking Chinese?

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We asked 100 People

It seems that the answer to all our questions is in the statistics. If 85% of people do it, then it must be good. If 15% of people barfed up after eating it, it’s probably not a good buy. But then we have to ask ourselves ‘who carries out these surveys?’ and ‘who benefits from them?’

According to a survey (those famous words), going to Weight Watchers is twice as successful for losing weight as it’s competitors.
This is ground breaking stuff. And the reason they know this is….
Weight watchers did a study. Its difficult to imagine that the results could have been a lot different and Weight Watchers could have been sticking a leaflet through our door saying “Lose half as Much as Weight in Twice the Time”.
Anyway the point is you can use this information to your advantage on your website. Now I’m not saying you should go out and knock on everyones door to ask whether they like their eggs boiled or scrambled but if your product is at the top of one of these ‘surveys’ then tell people.

If your product is as good as one these ‘top’ products for half the price, then tell people.

Be creative with the survey results and increase your sales, after all, 85% of people cant be wrong!

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