Thanks Everyone

As many of you know I recently got married, I just wanted to give a big shout out and thanks to everyone that came along, for all the kind words and gifts.

I also wanted to just thank a few of the people who helped make it special.

  • Discerning Images, the photographer from York – Rob did a spectacular job and was very easy to get on with.
  • Also if you are looking for a wedding venue, I highly recommend The Old Deanery in Ripon as a wedding venue – I hardly had to worry about anything the whole day! Their wedding organiser, Simone, did a great job!
  • Also thanks to Rob Hutchinson from BGN events, who provided the disco – sadly it was good weather and a lot of people spent the time outside!

Cheers to everyone for making it the perfect day for Montarat and I.

Update: Wedding Photos
If you would like to see the wedding photos and order any prints, then please check out the photo album here, username is david, pw is david.

My Father, Peter Whitehouse

I don’t often mention my father, but I happen to be very proud of him, he’s probably the reason why I am so obsessed with owning my own business one day! He (and my mum and their business partners) built up a large business with offices across Europe, the company renamed from Express Terminals to Express Group in 2006, I happened to be working there during the re-brand. He’s retired now (kinda), but I found this the other day, and I just thought it was worth sharing. It really is a reminder of how fast technology changes and how quickly you can get things moving if you put your mind to something.

Hi Tech Team Is a Success - The partnership of Express Terminals: Front, John Heath-Smith. From left: Rachel Hackett, Linda and Peter Whitehouse.

In case you can’t read it, it says:

Making that break…

Computer engineer Peter Whitehouse has swapped his daily car drive across the Pennines for a morning jog and a brisk walk to work.

Peter, 42, grew tired of commuting daily between his home in Ripon and his work place in Salford – a 160 mile round trip.

He’d also had a burning ambition to run his own business. So with a little help from his friends – and his wife Linda – he launched Express Terminals in the North Yorkshire town a year ago with £5,000 and a second hand Volvo.

Now he’s at work within minutes – to a business of his own which has netter a first year turnover of £300,000 with a £1m target for next year.

The computer printer repair company now employs five engineers an administrative clerk and intends to take on more staff this year.

Is the SEO industry becoming more competitive?

Like any market, there comes a point where saturation is reached, this is the peak of the product life cycle:

Product Life Cycle

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Now we can compare this to a graph of people looking for SEO services in the UK, and it would seem to me that we are most likely in the maturity area.

I’ve also noticed things get more and more competitive in the SERPS recently, with local search being increasingly targeted by SEO’s. For instance I’ve seen 3 new domains this year that have been created purely to target local SEO search volumes: seospecialistbirmingham.co.uk (damn him he knocked me down to #5 for SEO specialist, fair play though), seoyorkshire.org.uk (which I believe was started earlier this year and knocked Dave Naylor down to #2 for “SEO Yorkshire”) and finally the new kid on the block, seoleeds.org (which was created by Branded3 and appears to have been registered in the past week and is obviously targeting SEO Leeds).

So things are really hotting up! Everything is becoming much more competitive, and it’s going to become increasingly time consuming and expensive to rank for SEO terms whilst also trying to work on current clients.

Combine this with the fact that doing freelance SEO (i.e. not for an agency) is becoming increasingly time consuming and competitive, (Patrick Altoft has recently commented on this also with his post on SEO Freelancers) and I think we are going to see a lot of freelancers die off. Instead the SEO agencies that perform are going to grow and as a result the reputation of the industry will improve, a lot – which is certainly what we need right now!

Facebook Campaign Followup

Last week I started my first real Facebook campaign for The Old Deanery, the campaign was only meant to run for a week, sadly it didn’t quite have the effect I had hoped for, but still it gave us some useful data to work with, here come the stats!

220,352 impressions
60 clicks (0.027% CTR)
$26.20 spent ($0.44 CPC)
11 Fans signed up (18.33% Signup rate)
$2.38 CPA (£1.54 CPA)

So the real weakness in this campaign was the click through rate, it was shockingly bad – I’m not sure about what the averages are for Facebook, but I still think this is below average. The reason behind this bad CTR is the photo I used, it is just the photo of the building, I should have used a photo of a nice plate of food instead – I think this would have got a much higher CTR.

I am very pleased with the conversion rate as 18.33% is quite high, unfortunately I don’t know if all those new fans were as a direct result of the campaign, but since I didn’t see any other communication about the Old Deanery I think the increase was due to an indirect result of the campaign (people see someone else become a fan of the Deanery, so they do too).

On the whole the CPA was £1.54, which I think was about three times what I wanted to pay, but in the grand scheme of things, if the Facebook Fans perform as well as the email subscribers do, then I think over the period of a year, if we do one offer per week, then these fans are likely to be worth around £36 each.

Overall an interesting and useful experience, next we will be testing the % of fans that actually respond to an offer.

Getting my knee sorted

I’ve been having problems with my knee for almost 4 years now, I spent 1 year trying to continue karate on it, but in the end I had to stop because the pain was too bad and it really felt like I was doing my knee some damage – plus all the stories of people at karate getting hip or knee replacements kind of worried me!

Anyways, during that time I have been to the doctors twice, the first time was just after I injured it, they told me they’d book me a physio appointment and I waited quite a few months before realising that they hadn’t bothered at all. So I decided to go private, I was given a load of exercises, none of which appeared to help, by this time it had been a year. Then I saw another physiotherapist about it around 2 years ago, again more exercises, again no change. Then I saw another physio late in 2009, more exercises and again no change.

So not wanting to give up I saw the doctors again, he suggested I tried strengthening my quads – yeah cheers doc, like I hadn’t tried that one before!

So again, not wanting to give up, I contacted Andy Wray, a local physiotherapist in Ripon who has only recently gone private full time. So I saw Andy, and he went through the usual tests and checks – and nothing really seemed apparent, until I let out a big girly scream and he suggested I might have a “lunge lesion” – as the pain sounded like it was bone on bone.

So Andy wrote a letter and I took it to the doctors and now I am finally seeing an orthopaedic surgeon, so hopefully they’ll get it all sorted and I can get back to a martial art, WOOHOO!!!

Cheers Andy.

My First “Proper” Facebook Ad Campaign

Recently I’ve been helping out my mum with email marketing for her restaurant, we’ve had a lot of success and she has around 600 opt-in emails now, which is great.

Typically it works out that if she sends out an offer to these 600 emails she gets 200 opens and 20 bookings of at least 2 people, each person averaging around 7 or 8 pounds profit. All in all it works out at around £400 profit per email shot – which is ace.

So I started talking about what would happen if we had that on Facebook – where the disadvantage is decreased attention, but the advantage being that people are more likely to “like it” or comment on the special offer, making it go viral.

So using the stats, we worked out that each email was worth £0.70 per email shot, and that we thought we could send at least 10 emails per unsubscribe, meaning that each email was worth around £7. We used this same figure to work out how much we would be willing to pay per Facebook fan.

So I decided to create a campaign targeting the local area, it happens to target quarter of a million people in the Ripon, Harrogate, Northallerton area – and it only costs me $0.44 per click! About 1 in 13 seem to be subscribing so far, so it could be a little bit on the expensive side, only time will tell. I’ve got around $95 budget left, and our initial aim was to get 300 more subscribers, this seems a little optimistic now, but hopefully it should still be a profitable campaign.

I will let you all know how it goes 🙂

How to transfer your blog from blogger or blogspot to WordPress

Sometime in 2008 I started a blog called Inventive Millionaire had over 120 posts on this blog and it was very similar to make money online kind of blog.  Anyway I have decided to resurrect it because I now wish to make money from blogging and in order to do so I am going to need a lot of content and a lot of blogs.

So in order to resurrect the content I had to remove a redirect from Inventive Millionaire to David Whitehouse and then I had to export the content from Blogspot and run it through a conversion process to get it ready for WordPress, then I simply imported it into WordPress.

There is a simpler way but it didn’t work for me simply go to tools imports and select blogger from there and its pretty straightforward from then on.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

What 2009 Meant for Me

Well the year is almost up and I was just wondering what I did with all that time… Then I realised, quite a lot actually!

  • I got my arm so that working at a computer in my job is bearable.
  • I beat depression.
  • I became a true expert in SEO – I really have learned a hell of a lot working at Bronco.
  • I published a book and sold just over 60 80 copies.
  • I got engaged to a woman with a heart of gold and looks to match.
  • I read nearly all of Seth Godin’s books and learned a hell of a lot more!
  • I had my first well performing website with over 30,000 uniques in 30 days and built a subscriber base of over 500.
  • I helped my m8 Themba start a new online shop HID Origin which I am sure will do well

Plans for 2010

  • Get married
  • Get something fixed: either my knee, neck, jaw or arms!
  • Quit playing computer games online
  • Save up for a deposit on a house