Reboot 5.0

A sustained period of healthy living earlier this year saw a new me emerge. I liked him. He looked good, and because he didn’t drink or smoke he was happier and more even-tempered than the old one. My wife and children liked him too.

To mark turning 50 I had completed Ellesmere Triathlon in May this year. My time of 2:47:57 was just over 12 minutes faster than 42-year old me in 2008. The holistic combination of swimming, cycling and running saw my weight fall below 190lbs. Continued running and healthy eating lead me to me reach my target weight of under 185 lbs in July.  This meant that I had a “healthy” BMI  for the first time since records began – I’ve been monitoring my weight for the past decade.

On holiday in Spain this summer I managed to get below the 180 lb mark, albeit for a solitary week.

However, on returning home I took up the challenge of drinking the vast quantity of wine we had brought back from Spain with vigour. At the same time I fell  out of the habit of running regularly due to work pressures, and abandoned my diet to counter the black dog of depression brought about by yet another British winter by comfort eating. This has resulted in my weight ballooning back to a peak of 199.1 lbs last week. I no longer feel a mixture of pride and smugness when I look in the mirror.

Time to reboot. Here is my manifesto of change:

I will resume using the MyFitnessPal app to religiously count my calorie intake, good or bad.

I will begin to follow the GI diet again, which worked so well for me last time.

I will resume the 5BX exercise plan, starting once again from Chart 1.

I will run or do some form of exercise every day until I once again reach my target weight – in this case to weigh under 180lbs again.

My only cheat days will be Christmas day and my birthday on New Year’s Eve.

Viva la revolution!

Domain Junkie, revisited

Back in 2008 I wrote a blog post cataloguing my domain portfolio. 8 years have passed and it is time to revisit the subject, as I enter a new phase of business planning and development.

I’ll run through the list as it was then, update it and then look at the new additions to my addiction. I’ll also list my aims and ambitions for each property.

DesignCheshire.co.uk
All other variants available

DesignMidlands.co.uk
.com, .net registered
.net is a Nottingham, UK based design and marketing company

DesignShropshire.co.uk
.com registered with holding page for a Shropshire-based web design and graphic design company

Ellesmere.me.uk
.co.uk , .com and others registered.

GenealogyBookshop.co.uk
.com registered to Genealogy.com

Generationx.digital

Generationx.it

Generationxcomputers.co.uk

Generationxcomputers.com

Generationxdigital.com

Generationxhosting.co.uk

Generationxinternet.com

Headingforthecoast.co.uk

Headingforthecoast.com

Hibbott.com

InventiveInnovations.com

Languagetolife.com

Mummycool.co.uk

Mummycool.com

Mummywear.co.uk
.com registered to a holding page

Mummywearmaternity.co.uk

Mycaravanforsale.co.uk

Mycaravanforsale.com

Myonlineguide.co.uk
.com, .net registered, .uk available

Shropshireholidaycottage.co.uk
.org.uk, .com registered

Specialistbookshop.co.uk

SpecialistBookshop.com

Thestartupbusiness.co.uk
.uk available, other variants registered

Walkeatsleep.com
.co.uk registered

WordPressconsulting.co.uk
.com registered

 

 

 

Bucket List #27 – Run Snowdonia Marathon

Awe-inspiringly beautiful and epically hard, Snowdonia Marathon has been on my bucket list ever since running my first marathon in 2008.

I am delighted to say that I completed it on Saturday 24th October 2015, finishing with a chip time of 4:23:31.

More to follow when I have time.

I suspect that the next item on my Bucket List will prove to be an even harder challenge: #26 Run a sub-40 10k.

My Resolutions for 2015

It seems particularly typical of my current state of being that I am only writing my resolutions for the coming year on the 6th April.

Particularly so as 2015 is an auspicious year. I turned 49 on New Year’s Eve last year, so this year marks the start of a new 7 year plan, and the lead into my 50s – the decade when I hope to see a fundamental shift from work to life. I will write more about my aims with regard to this later.

In the meantime:

  1. Give up smoking
    As I write this I last smoked on September 24th last year, so I’m almost 6 months into this resolution. This time I hope it will last.
  2. Achieve and maintain my target weight of 185 lbs.
    Starting point is a shocking 213lbs, so I have exactly two stone to lose. Target date is October 24th, when I run Snowdonia marathon.

    As for the rest I’ll simply repeat the ones I made in 2013
  3. I will not shout at my children. No exceptions.
  4. I will have more fun.
  5. I will set and achieve one business objective each day.
  6. I will somehow work 35 hours a week, 42 weeks of the year. On average.
  7. I will go to church at least once a month.
    I have been very lapse with this – but I went yesterday and will stick to this one. Religiously.
  8. I will run every week.
  9. I will spend 15 minutes each day learning Spanish.
  10. I will do the Royal Canadian 5BX programme, every day. Starting today.
    Started today.
  11. I will start one side-project and work on it for two hours a week. I hope to earn more than £1 per hour.

 

Improving Page Load Time for WordPress

I have recently been spending some time looking at ways of improving page load time for WordPress websites. This has the twin benefits of improving user experience whilst at the same time improving Google ranking.

In this article I will look at some practical ways in which I am seeking to improve the page load time on this website.

Benchmarking is critical when seeking to bring about measurable, quantifiable improvements in page speed. One possible test model would involve measuring page load speed on a clean default installation of WordPress and then again after adding individual plugins, or replacing templates. However, some results would be more relevant when performed on a site containing a representative sample of content.

This blog, started in 2008 and subject to repeated and prolonged periods of neglect since then, is as good a place to start as any. Continue reading Improving Page Load Time for WordPress

Improving site speed with W3 Total Cache on a Shared Server

I am currently developing a WordPress website for a Equine Breakdown company. The site features an eCommerce shop powered by WooCommerce.  This enables customers to purchase breakdown cover online, and pay using payPal or by Direct Debit.

When launched the site will run on a Virtual Private Server, but in the meantime I am developing it in a test server environment on a Shared Server.

Continue reading Improving site speed with W3 Total Cache on a Shared Server

Day 1316 – The Rebirth of Mummy Cool

Back in September 2009 I conceived an idea for a side project and Mummywear Maternity was born.

We were having dinner with friends and discussing possible ideas for a web project. Perhaps because they had 5 children, and at the time we had 2, the conversation shifted to child-centric websites and I mooted the idea of a comparison site for new parents. The concept was simple – to offer a showcase of the best maternity products available on the internet, allowing parents and parents-to-be the opportunity to compare a variety of maternity clothes and nursery products in one place, side by side. Monetisation was to be through affiliate links to the sites retailing the featured products. At the time, the idea was a novel one.

When we got home I further researched the idea. There seemed to be no sites that provided a similar offering and in my excitement I purchased a number of relevant domain names suitable for the project.

I also began to blog about the project. For all of 5 days. Read about days 1 to 5 here. (Spoiler – nothing much happens.)

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve done precisely nothing with the idea. My two children have been joined by a third, India, born in 2010. School fees and the demands of running a business while looking after a 3-year old mean that my finances desperately require a cash injection.  So here goes.

Follow my progress as I launch a new business in troubled times in an effort to achieve financial freedom, fire my clients and achieve that all-important work-life balance. Day 1316 is ground zero, second time around.

I intend to devote just one hour each day to the project, with the aim of building a business that generates £6k per year. By blogging about the steps I am taking, the strategies I intend to implement, and my success (or failure) I realise I am leaving myself completely open to someone else hijacking my concept. If you do succeed where I fail please get in touch and I’ll offer you my congratulations, while kicking myself soundly for being so stupid. Then I’ll take comfort in the fact that you’ve proved the concept and start over using one of the other 3 ideas I’ve sidelined to pursue this one.

I hope that I start from a position of relative strength:

As a web developer of 10 years standing I bring to the table experience in developing eCommerce websites and a strong knowledge of  design, internet marketing and SEO. Lets start by looking at the assets I have in place to date.

1. Domains

I already own a number of keyword rich relevant (ish) established domains.

These are www.mummycool.co.uk, www.mummycool.com, www.mummywear.co.uk, www.mummywearmaternity.co.uk and www.mummywearmaternity.com

2. Hosting

I have a reseller account with Heart Internet which means I can host the site/sites at no marginal cost.

3. Social Media

I have a Twitter account dating back to September 2009 – http://twitter.com/mummywear – with 114 followers. Oh, and a Pinterest account that I have just rediscovered at http://pinterest.com/coolmummies/ with 0 boards, 0 pins and that all-important metric – 0 followers.

4. Development Experience

I have a number of years experience developing Joomla!/Virtuemart and WordPress/WooCommerce websites. Specifically, I have developed a concept-proving affiliate site in partnership with a client which generates tiny, but consistent affiliate income.

It is my intention to be completely transparent in what I do – partly to document my progress and partly because I hope that this website will become an authority site for others attempting to do the same thing. With this in mind I undertake to share quite openly the steps I take in setting up and running the project. I will also publish full and open details of any profits and expenses incurred, starting on June 1st, 2013.

The time has come to test whether I can utilise these assets and apply these principles to enriching myself rather than my clients.

 

My resolutions for 2013

My resolutions for 2013 are:

  1. Smoking. Best to tackle this one first. I resolve only to smoke Camel cigarettes. Where I live in rural Shropshire this is tantamount to giving up anyway, while leaving the door open to smoke in more exotic climes.
  2. I will not shout at my children. No exceptions.
  3. I will have more fun.
  4. I will set and achieve one business objective each day.
  5. I will somehow work 35 hours a week, 42 weeks of the year. On average.
  6. I will go to church at least once a month.
  7. I will run every week.
  8. I will spend 15 minutes each day learning Spanish.
  9. I will do the Royal Canadian 5BX programme, every day. Starting today.
  10. I will start one side-project and work on it for two hours a week. I hope to earn more than £1 per hour.

 

Generation X: New Media Strategies for Digital Revolutionaries