Month: July 2008

Videos Vs Written Docs

I know videos are all the rage now, but do we have to have videos for everything?

Yes, I’m having a bit of a moan.

Personally I much prefer written docs over videos as I can skim them, look up bits I don’t understand, and generally jump about the way my mind works rather than the slow linear fashion that video forces on you.

With a video, you either watch it all at for me what is always a mind-numbingly slow pace, or try to skim past all the dull bits where the speaker says “now in this box, enter your password.” D’uh.

Then you find the video hangs and will only play if you go back to the beginning…

So I’m in a hurry, I’m trying to get a site up and running for a friend, and he wants a bit of software installing and configuring, (and I’m not even sure that this script is a good idea anyway). And I find the docs are all videos. Aggh!

Don’t get me wrong, videos are good when accompanying written docs, because sometimes it’s far quicker to show people what to do than have them read a book. But not all the time for everything.

Okay moan over. Back to work on one of the hottest days we’ve had this year.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Support Desk Reminder

I just thought I’d post a little reminder that I have a support desk at:-

which uses TicketDesk Pro my help desk software.

The reason I’ve posted this reminder is because when I checked my email yesterday, I’ve had 3 people who are clearly frustrated because it seems I’m not answering their emails.

In fact, I’ve answered all of them, including all 4 of Catherine’s (if you’re reading this), so don’t think I’m ignoring you. Email gets checked twice a week now, with my goal for it to be once a week, but the support desk gets checked several times a day.

The problem is, as I’ve said before, even though I have both domain keys and SPF records in place to authenticate my email (and I also use AuthSMTP on some accounts), ISPs insist on filtering a lot of what they consider to be business email. From their point of view, they supply internet services to home users and therefore will only allow “home usage” email to be delivered.

If you’re running an internet business, then create a business email account off your main domain, and use that instead. No more ISP filters and you can communicate fully with the world again.

But if you really want to get my attention, then use my support desk. And if you want to ease the load on yourself, get a copy of TicketDesk Pro, it’s extremely easy to use. Before TDP, I was spending 2 hours a day on support by email. Since installing TDP, it takes me no more than 30 minutes to do all my support, and that’s with checking at regular intervals.

The reason it’s all become a lot faster is because I’ve fully loaded it with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Standard Responses (SRs).

The FAQs catch most problems, and the SRs catch the bulk of the rest. In practice, many of the SRs are repeats of the FAQs as some people like to be told rather than look it up. That’s okay, it takes me a few seconds to read, select an SR and add it to my reply.

I’ve come to rely on the Standard Responses so much that I’ve created often used URLs in there. So now I can select an SR, add it, then select a URL and add that too. Or I can combine several SRs to create a fuller answer.

If you’re struggling with email yourself, then TicketDesk Pro is definitely the way to go to reduce your workload. It’s easy to use and it has some great benefits.

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Survey – Pseudonyms – What Do YOU Think?

I was having a chat with someone the other day on the subject of using a different name to market with other than your own.  I know lots of people do it, and we were wondering how far the practice goes.

So it’s survey time.

Hey, if you have the tool to do the job, then why not go for it? 😉

If you have 2 minutes, take the short survey.  You’ll get the results immediately after completion – just make sure to bookmark the results page to see the updates as more people complete it.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Have Your Own Software Developed

Before I get into the meat of this post, I first want to say this isn’t an affiliate promotion. I’m not earning anything for this. Okay?

A friend of mine called Jason Anderson is running a special deal where you can kick start your internet business and have your own software developed by a team of people he’s assembled. Why? Because they’re looking to make their name known in the industry. They’re a new start up and need a bit of publicity.

I won’t go into the details here, you can read all about it at:-

(They can develop in PHP – ASP – ASP.NET – C# – C++ – JS – AJAX – JQUERY – DBASE – MySQL – SQL – Access – Oracle – Flash.)

I promised I’d do a promotion for Jason when he launched (developed by the same team that will be developing your product), but I forgot because I was “busy” and I’m a pillock sometimes… and he was too polite to keep reminding me, which is all I really needed.

Jason doesn’t know I’m doing this, and it would be nice if you at least took a look at his offer.

Now I know I might be creating my own competition here, but the way I see it is it’s a big world, and there’s plenty of room for us all. I’ve just had an email from him as I’m on his mailing list, and 4 of the 10 slots have already gone. You can read why there’s only 10 slots on the site.

So if you’ve got this great idea but you’ve been having problems finding a developer (it took me months to find the two guys I have working with me), go take a look at his site.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

Email Consumption Update

A few weeks ago, I said I’d cut down on my email, and that I was going on a low information diet. In reality I was already on the low information diet, and I was just reducing my intake even more to improve my internet business.

I know this is going to sound a little shocking to some, but for several years now I haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news. My reason for that is I just find it too damn depressing, and it distracts me from living my life. So I cut it out.

If the news is really important, then I’ve always figured that someone would tell me, or as happens more often nowadays, they ask my opinion.

When I had a job, that stance served me well as the office would be chattering about whatever the newsworthy item was about, and I’d ask a couple of questions, get some stares and a few dropped jaws because I didn’t know anything about it, and that would be it. I was updated.

Watching people walk away shaking their heads made me smile.

And before you say “yes but you could never hold an informed opinion about anything”, I say so what? The news as it is reported is made up. It’s someone else’s opinion of a second or third hand recollection of something that might or might not have happened the way they think it did.

History is the same. The ultimate winners always become the good guys and get to write history the way they want to.

Anyway, I always accept “news” with more than a pinch of salt because we’ll never know what really happened, just what was reported. Why hold an opinion when you don’t know all the facts, and why bother in the first place? Most (99.99% +) “news” doesn’t affect the day to day running of my life.

It’s just an idle entertainment.

So back to email…

As you might know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, I’ve cut down on email checking, and at one point got it down to three times a week, and even twice for a couple of weeks. The call was strong, but I resisted.

But because I’ve been doing a lot of communication with one of my developers (David) over a project or two we’re in various stages with, I found myself checking my email more and more, and soon I found myself checking one email account two or three times a day again. Grrr.

I don’t have to check my email for any support issues as I now use TicketDesk Pro for everything.

As an aside, I now find I can answer all my support questions once a day and it takes me 30 minutes. That’s because I have my own copy of TicketDesk Pro help desk fully loaded with Standard Responses, including pre-defined URLs. The answers to most questions are just a quick select and “add” away. (That’s a killer benefit of TicketDesk Pro.)

So the email problem has reared its head again, albeit on a smaller scale, and I stopped to have a think about it. I need that communication with business partners and staff, but I don’t want to be distracted by other things while I’m checking my email from those people I *want* to hear from.

Thirty seconds later I had my solution. A private forum. Perfect.

We can hold all discussions about various projects and issues in different threads. Everything is held together, no more searching through emails, and more importantly, no distractions. It should actually improve all our productivity. All I have to do is leave it open in my browser.

So at some time in the next couple of days I’ll set that up, probably on an existing SMF forum I have as I really like the way SMF works.

My email consumption should go back down to checking twice a week. Remember my goal is ONE hour per week to handle all email.

Yeah I know that sounds severe, but if you don’t have goals, you don’t have directions.

So what do you think? Could you achieve an hour a week to check email? What do you think of my forum idea? Do you know of a better solution?

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business