Orange Grove Market

And now for something completely different

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So now I'm selling candles at markets at weekends. Why? I needed a change from spending all day sitting at a desk, behind a computer, dealing with coding and clients. In short, I needed an income stream which provides less stress. I am not taking on any new clients at the moment, but will continue to provide maintenance to existing ones. My website and graphic design business is now a part-time enterprise. A little bit more about the candles. They are made by HIVE Australia, and are 100% Australian beeswax blended with pure essential oils, and they have Australian cotton wicks. They are as natural as the HIVE team can make them, with no nasty toxins. As I've loved burning candles since I was a teen, I'm delighted to be spending my Saturdays or Sundays introducing this incredible brand to others, and enjoying the scented bliss of my market stall. You'll find me most Saturdays at the fantastic Orange Grove Organic Market in Lilyfield, Sydney. Keep an eye on my candles Facebook page to find out where I'll be each weekend.
I know, right?

Why I can’t stand people saying ‘I know, right?’

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It’s the verbal equivalent of The Teenage Eyeroll, a nasty little phrase which makes me grit my teeth every time I hear it: ‘I know, right?’ There’s a vast difference between ‘I know’, and ‘I know, right?’. ‘I know’ tells me that the person I’m chatting to understands what I’m saying or agrees with me. That ‘right?’ tagged on the end instead conveys this to me: I’m superior to you, I know more about the subject we’re talking about than you do, and I’m not interested in your point of view, so you can shut up right now. It’s rude. It’s condescending. Earlier this week I was watching Anh Do’s Brush With Fame on the ABC, and Anh’s guest was Kate Ceberano. I’ve always admired Kate; she’s talented, funny and gorgeous. However, I was shocked to hear her say, “I know, right?” when she and Anh were discussing their respective appearances on Dancing With The Stars and the hectic and arduous rehearsals they both undertook. Anh didn’t even blink. I would have been putting my palette knife down and ending the conversation right there. Sorry, Kate, I’ve lost a wee bit of respect for you. That ‘I know, right?’ made you sound like you didn’t want to hear Anh’s anecdote, that you weren’t interested in it. Rude? You betcha. Should we ever meet, dear reader, and in the course of our conversation you say, ‘I know, right?’ to me, please don’t be offended if I slap you. I just may not be able to resist it.

My Face My Body My Soul has had a facelift

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My Face My Body My SoulOne of my favourite clients, the owner of My Face My Body My Soul in Glebe, doesn't believe in facelifts. Unless, of course, they are related to websites. I gave her site a mobile-friendly makeover last week so it can rank highly in Google, and wow, is it ranking! My client specialises in Oxygen Facials - the kind that Madonna raves about and as I have tested these facials with my client I can tell you they give instant visible and delightful results - and she is ranking on page 1 on searches for Oxygen Facials Glebe (which isn't surprising) and Oxygen Facials Sydney (which is very gratifying). I have spent a fair bit of time on SEO for this client and on other specific searches she wanted tailored she is also ranking on page 1 of Google. I do LIKE my clients; several have become friends, including the owner of My Face My Body My Soul. To be honest, I won't built a website for a client whose products and services I don't believe in. It's been a real pleasure to update this site; I am still tweaking a few design elements for her but ultimately it's the ranking on Google in a highly competitive market which counts towards her website success, her happiness with the site and my satisfaction at having done a great job for a client.

Our latest build – DSK Painting and Decorating

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DSK Painting and DecoratingDSK Painting and Decorating is based in Sydney's inner west and works across Sydney. Owner Daniel wanted a bright but professional site into which he could upload photos from his recent jobs and post testimonials from happy clients. We chose a clean theme that's optimised for mobile use and allows users to access all the important things from a very graphical home page. We can also recommend Daniel's painting services as we have used them… which is what led to us building a website for Daniel! Visit the site at dskpainting.com.au - and ask Daniel for a quote if you need painting done around your home or office. He will give you a great price; mention you read about his site here.

She read one too many sensationalist teaser headlines. You’ll never guess what happened next!

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She wrote a blog post about it. Have you noticed the increasing trend for sensational, teasing headlines like the title of this post? On my personal Facebook feed it seems a lot of pages are using them, particularly the more tabloid ones (Mamamia, I'm talking to you.) He introduced his ferrets to his baby rabbit. You won't believe what happened next! (What? Bunny carnage? Nope. Best friends forever from day one, totally breaking the first law of modern journalism: If it bleeds, it leads. But you guessed that before even reading the post, didn't you?) I find these teaser headlines curiously irritating. For a high percentage of them, they don't live up to their promise of surprise. But they do catch my eye, and make me hover my clicky finger over the link in an agony of Do I, Don't I; is it really worth me spending my time checking out that link, especially if it's a video more than three seconds long? In that respect they do exactly as they are intended to. What's your view on the sensationalist headline? Does it bug you? Is it beginning to annoy you? Or haven't you really noticed how it's gathering force on the internet?

Meet Jaaxy, the world’s most free keyword search tool

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JaaxyWe all know how hard it is to get Google rankings, especially if you're a small business owner or blogger trying to get noticed in the ever-growing web. I have a secret weapon for you: Jaaxy, which I believe is the world's best free keyword search tool. I've been using Jaaxy for a month now, taking advantage of the 30 free searches you get in the trial version. I was so impressed with it I've upgraded and am now using a paid version and revelling in the extra features. Knowing the competition that a keyword has in the search engines is the single most valuable piece of data that you can have. Without knowing how many websites are ranked for a keyword, you are rolling the dice. It’s why keyword tools in the past have never worked for you. Jaaxy can tell you how many people per month are searching for a specific keyword string, how many webpages actually feature that keyword string and much more - so you can analyse and tweak your keywords to get the edge on your competitors. It's extremely thorough. You can absolutely tailor your SEO on every blog post or page on your site. You may already have a plugin such as All in One SEO, which is great. Jaaxy is different to something such as All in One SEO. It's a research tool. A cloud-based service, it lets you save keyword lists, so if you want to promote your product or service you can save lists for each particular keyword string you want to discuss on your website. Onsite training is excellent; it's video-based and step by step to show you how to maximise your experience with the site. Head over to Jaaxy now to find out more.

Getting spam from your own email address to yourself? Learn how to filter it out on CPanel

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Recently I've been getting spam sent from my own email address to my own email address, with the subject line Contact Form Submission from My  Site, or Contact Form Submission from (insert Michael Kors or any other brand name here). These were robot generated, dropping into my inbox at a rate of one every couple of minutes. Annoying? Immensely. My first instinct was to check the back end of my website using FTP to check that it hadn't been hacked. All was clear. I use a Mac, and did check that my machine hadn't been vulnerable to any little nasties who'd slipped in under the radar. I host my own site and my client sites on platforms which use the excellent CPanel as a means for managing website software, spam fighting, email addresses and much more. Read More

A tale of two cities

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Flinders St Station, Melbourne

Flinders St Station, Melbourne

I'm a Sydneysider, brought up with the parochial belief that Sydney - big, brash, sunny and with beautiful, crashing waves on its beaches - is better than Melbourne with its quiet Yarra river and flat beaches. Rivalry between Australia's two biggest cities has been going at it hammer and tongs since before Federation. Sydney's the place with the wow factor. It has the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It has the Opera House. It has a zoo where giraffes have an unimpeded, stunning view of the city itself. Sydney's the city that people living overseas automatically associate with Australia. But is it better than Melbourne? Melbourne has been ranked the world's most liveable city three years in a row, and as I spend more time there for work and family reasons, I'm beginning to understand why. It's not that the cost of living is appreciably less than Sydney, particularly in terms of housing. Property prices in both places are hefty whether you are buying or renting. The cost of food and petrol is much the same, too. It's to do with the character of the city. Melbourne's city area has a more European feel than Sydney's, which I like. Read More

Using quote marks correctly – grammar dilemmas

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Quote marksI was in year 4 at school when the concept of quotation marks was introduced to our class. Because I was a smartypants I had been writing stories for years using quote marks to contain my characters' speech, and the initial lesson on quotation marks was a validation of what I'd already been doing. I had taught myself by reading novels and noticing how quote marks went outside commas and periods. It all seemed pretty logical. And it is. So here's a quick lowdown on how to use quote marks. Read More