I left Tesco happy the other day knowing that on my next shop I had a voucher for 4p through their price match promise. Though I wasn't happy, I chuckled to myself thinking about how I would spend it and questioned why Tesco had even gone to the effort?
The annoying part wasn't simply the amount, it was the way the whole process worked. Tesco had done the hard work of calculating the saving, why not simply deduct it from my total spend? If I was to buy a pack of Pringles on offer with 50% off I wouldn’t expect to see the saving on a voucher.
Instead they insist on using the 4p to make me return to Tesco on a future occasion. This you could argue is fine and a perfectly valid way to build customer loyalty however instead of simply deducting the 4p from my shopping balance on my next visit or adding it to my Club Card rewards total, I’m reliant on remembering to show the voucher at checkout.
The Club Card is a complex computer system yet it can’t automatically deduct a voucher from my shopping total when scanning my club card on checkout? You could argue that its down to my own stupidity for forgetting to use the vouchers but the point is that all of the elements to the system are already in place and Tesco is simply making the user jump through unnecessary hoops, most likely knowing that they won’t bother with that 4p voucher.
The user experience problems aren't just down to price match rewards, a range of other offers and money off vouchers have to be printed rather than being automatically deducted.
With all the struggles Tesco is going through recently it seems like such a simple change to improve the Club Card experience with users, lets hope when Morrison’s launches its loyalty scheme in the coming months that it doesn’t make the same mistakes.
2009 has been a tough year for Bloggers to make money compared to 2008 but there have been opportunities and ad networks have matured to become better accepted by marketers. Gone are the large amounts of money for private ad sales in favor of link exchange agreements and PPC amounts have tumbled.
Here is how some of my sites have fared over the past year for monetization.
Sponsored reviews have fared well in 2009 with advertisers keen to show their products in a natural way to consumers and search engines. They are often criticized for degrading the quality of a blogs content but I've found a sponsored review mixed in between a number of good quality posts to perform well. Strict new rules for Bloggers in the US may mean some good opportunities for non-US blogs in 2010.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
It's been a rough year for Pay Per Click marketing, the amount made per click in 2009 has plummeted on a number of my sites, hopefully 2010 will see the PPC market performing much better.
Google Adsense - Has been a reliable income throughout the year though relies heavily on people clicking high value ads. Adsense performed well on my iPodHistory site before I sold it however has failed to do well on 12stix or ImAFish.
Clicksor - Has replaced Adsense on a couple of sites where they are not suitable for Adsense or have been banned. The amount per click is fairly poor even compared to Adsense.
Monthly ads are where you are paid a set amount per month for an advert though these often base prices on Google Page Rank and Alexa ranking. There are a number of key players:
TNX - Has been a consistent payer throughout the year but relies on paying a small amount for a lot of adverts.
LinkLift - Recently out of beta, LinkLift is one of the newer players but has shown good growth throughout the year.
Linkworth - Advertising revenue has dried up significantly from Linkworth over the past year.
Text-Link-Ads - TLA has paid consistently low amounts all year.
Teliad - Has paid consistently for higher Page Ranked pages.
Private Ad Sales
This time last year there was a lot of money for private ad sales however this has declined significantly. Companies are now turning to link exchange programs rather than paying directly for ads. Even the better paying gambling sites have been cutting back on their advertising budget.
Hopefully we are over the worst in 2009 with the slump in the advertising market. There are plenty of opportunities out there for Blog monetization but Bloggers need to work that extra bit harder to attract the advertisers.
The term cloud accounting tools can seem a bit intimidating to some people, however in reality it is a simple concept. Anything that is described as being cloud based means that it can be accessed remotely via a website, as long as you have an internet connection. This makes it much more convenient than software that has to be downloaded onto a specific computer. So, a cloud accounting tool is software designed to help you carry out accounting tasks for your business, from anywhere you want.
Using accounting software helps you to save time, as it manages lots of different responsibilities for you. For example, it will automatically generate invoices at the right times using the right information, send them and chase them up if they are not paid. Having an automatic rather than manual system also helps to cut down on human error; minimising mistakes, complications and therefore improving the reputation of your business.
Furthermore, using cloud accounting software gives you more value for money than hiring a member of staff to look after it, just check out this Xero vs Quickbooks comparison for example. Accountants are notoriously expensive but if you prefer to have a real person looking over your accounts, it is easy to blend your software with their methods on a part time basis as it has also been designed for this.
Cloud accounting software has been designed with the user in mind so don’t be intimidated by the perception of accounting being complex. It’s a way to have more access to your accounts without having to organise them yourself. The remote aspect of cloud-based software makes it highly convenient, and ideal if you’re always out and about looking after various aspects of your business.
Another benefit of using accounting software is that it stores your and your customers’ information securely, with easy access to it. If you use a service like Piesync to sync the various apps you use for your business such as marketing, accounting and email apps you can access useful information from them all and use it for accounting purposes, such as customer contact details.
By using software to help you with your business operations, you benefit from the most up to date industry information as it is updated all the time. Constant improvements are also made to the software itself via automatic updates, and you can communicate with a network of other business owners to discuss and help each other with the various challenges you’re facing.
Using cloud accounting software is a great idea for businesses for a number of reasons. Firstly, it uses time far more efficiently thanks to its automatic processes, in comparison to you attempting to handle your finances manually or hiring an accountant. It also carries out a better-quality service. It is designed to be easy to use and is remote so you can use it anywhere. Furthermore, you can sync your apps to be able to access information like contact details easily, and you benefit from industry updates and a community of like-minded users. Take a look at imafish.co.uk for more business tips such as small business accounting principles.
Just when we thought ImAFish couldn't get any better we get a new blogging system!
WOW... I hear everyone say and where can I get mine - or why would I want one?
Well take a look http://www.imafish.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1402 as a good explanation about the new blogs and what they mean for you. Some of the new features included in the blogs are being able to comment to posts, so if you have something to add to my post or don't quite agree to something you can post below.
Posting is even easier than the forum as you don't need an account infact you should see a comments link just below this post. Blogs are free and all you have to do is contact me, either on the forum or on messenger. :icon_razz:
Some great new blogs coming up on ImAFish now, if you want your own blog then let me (Pete) know and I will create you one!
Check out some of these other blogs that have been posted on, you can even comment to current posts and start discussions.
Hopefully the trackbacks will be working on these blogs - so that you know I have referenced your blog, useful if you want to write a blog commenting on other peoples blogs.
A quick tutorial into how trackbacks work and where to use them is here: