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Monthly Archives: December 2016

December 28, 2016

Some thoughts on the Age of Jihad in Europe

The Hunkpapa Lakota holy man Sitting Bull once said, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”   Today we could paraphrase that and say, “Let us put our minds together and see how we can prevent our children being slaughtered by jihadis.”

My parents generation had to fight the Nazis. It fell to them to fight fascism and to endure a horrendous war which threatened to crush everything; all hope, all joy, and all freedoms.

It falls upon the current and it would seem the next generation to live in the Age of Jihad and deal with all the threats and events it imposes upon them.

The assumption is that the vast majority of people want to prevent further acts of violence, to protect the vulnerable, and to live in an atmosphere of peace, cooperation, and mutual respect.

Here’s a little brainstorm about the current situation in Europe.  I’ve tried to keep it factual but some opinions have crept in there too.  It’s not just about jihadis and islamism, it’s about mass migration too because the two things are intertwined.  You can’t discuss one without soon including the other.

  1. Lack of border control means that inadequate checks are carried out on people arriving into Europe. The terrorists and criminals mingle freely with the innocent.
  2. Lack of checks and intelligence combined with the criminality of those who play the system means that the difference between a war refugee, asylum seeker, and migrant is often blurred.
  3. Germany appears to have become so sensitive to its recent past that many precautions and security practices that might help track terrorists or provide evidence of their actions are not implemented for fear of intruding on the privacy of its citizens. (It seems that may be about to change).
  4. Homegrown terrorists are radicalised by clerics and other mentors who live freely and unchallenged among us. Some are even invited to speak at our universities.
  5. Any non native person convicted of a violent act is rarely deported after serving his sentence, leaving them free to continue to exploit the system and commit further acts of terror or criminality.
  6. Convicted criminals and terrorists are free to move about in Europe at will thanks to open border agreements within the Schengen Area.
  7. Freedom of movement allows UK and European citizens to travel to Syria to join the jihad and return into the ranks of those also trained and radicalised.
  8. The security services do not have the resources to monitor all of them and have to prioritise their efforts based on whatever intelligence they can gather.
  9. Sometimes, as in the case of the Berlin attack, they stop watching someone who then goes on to carry out an atrocity.
  10. Sectarianism and factionalism within Islam fuels violence. Peaceful Muslim sects like the Ahmadiyya are persecuted by others who regard them as heretics*.
  11. When Ahmadiyya Muslims show sympathy and support after islamist atrocities the mainstream media reports on them as if they represent all Muslims.
  12. Rival factions within the religion have been engaged in a vicious cycle of violence for millennia.
  13. There is widespread ignorance of this same sectarianism and factionalism within the press, media, and public.
  14. With continued mass migrations into Europe this violent factionalism is imported along with other cultural practices that are at odds with liberal western democracies.
  15. Antisemitism has increased greatly in Europe in recent years. For many Jews life has become intolerable in some European cities and they have emigrated.
  16. Segregation rather than integration is on the increase in many European cities, with large areas devoid of any sign of multiculturalism.
  17. The mainstream media and left wing pressure groups are more concerned with the reaction to acts of terrorism than the atrocities themselves.
  18. Worries about a rise in islamophobia are stronger than their concerns about the spread of islamism and violent jihad. There is almost a ‘we had it coming‘ attitude.
  19. Voters are turning to right wing politicians for answers since the excessive liberalism of the centre and left seems to be not only ineffectual but the actual cause of the current problems.
  20. Requests for stronger immigration controls are dismissed as racism and xenophobia and are quickly followed by another lecture on the benefits of immigration.
  21. Requests for stronger immigration controls are seen as a condemnation of immigration itself rather than limiting it to sustainable levels.
  22. Anyone, particularly politicians, who dares to point at the connection between mass immigration and the rise of islamism in Europe is dismissed as islamophobic.
  23. Warnings from reformed radicals who know the islamist mindset only too well are often ignored.
  24. Muslim reformers, converts to Christianity, and apostates are subjected to harassment and campaigns of violence on the grounds that they are blasphemers and heretics.
  25. The Police are quick to respond to reports of alleged hate crime but not so keen when the alleged perpetrators are themselves from an ethnic minority due to fears about cultural sensitivities and of being regarded as racist.
  26. Political Correctness has caused real and significant damage, pain, and distress by preventing the Police, Social Services, and other authorities from investigating numerous crimes recurring over many years.
  27. Neither left nor right can claim to occupy the moral high ground.  Extremism and intolerance exist at either end of the political spectrum.
  28. Lack of opportunity and socio-economic factors don’t radicalise people.  Some terrorists are educated and employed.

*Examples:

  • Ahmadiyya Muslim shopkeeper from Glasgow Asad Shah murdered by Sunni Muslim from Bradford Tanveer Ahmed (stabbed in the head multiple times in ferocious and prolonged attack because he ‘disrespected’ Islam)
  • Mohammed Hussain Syeedy from Rochdale murdered Imam from Rochdale called Jalal Uddin (head smashed in with multiple blows) because he disagreed with his theological ideas.

Suggestions

  1. The media needs to make a strong effort to distinguish between Sunni/Shia/Salafi/Wahabi and other forms of Islam like Ahmadiyya or Sufi.
  2. This pandering to political correctness must end as soon as possible.  We need to have frank and open discussions without resorting to labeling people and dismissing their concerns and viewpoints simply because we don’t agree with them.
  3. Everyone is responsible for their own reactions.  If you’re offended then it’s your choice to be so.  It doesn’t make you right and your human rights have not been violated.
  4. Security is everyone’s responsibility and we should all be vigilant to potential threats.  We have a duty to report suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.
  5. Governments should pay more heed to those who understand the islamist mindset and give less attention to associations to those who are thinly disguised fronts for extremist viewpoints.

That’s it for the moment.  What are your suggestions?  What’s your analysis and how do you think we can prevent more people from being bombed, stabbed, shot, run over, assaulted, and otherwise hurt?

December 21, 2016

11 Ways To Audit and Refresh Websites For 2017

Time to audit and refresh websitesThe web is continually evolving and changing fast.  Websites that seemed to be state of the art a few years ago now look dated.  It is good practice to put some effort into a continuous cycle of improvement so with that in mind here are 11 ways to audit and refresh your websites for 2017 and beyond.

Websites are like plants, trees, and animals.  They need to be nurtured, fed, and given regular health checks. It’s not a difficult task but it does need to be part of your routine.   Happily, there are some easy and free ways in which you can increase traffic to your websites.

Website Audit and Review

The first task is to take a detailed look at your website and audit it.  Before you can make any improvements you need to baseline it to establish the current status so that you can measure any progress.

Things to consider in this review:

  • Keywords.  Is your site designed to attract traffic from particular search terms?  Are these terms still relevant?  Should they be updated based on changes in the way people search and the terms they use?
  • Content.  How much new text and media has been added in the past 12 months?  Was this too much or too little?  What would you change about the schedule in the coming year?
  • Quality. How satisfied are you with the quality of the content added so far.  Have you ever hired a proofreader to have the site checked for spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors?
  • Appearance.  How about the site design?  Does the current them look dated?

Next, audit the site for technical errors that could effect its performance:

  • Broken links. Are there any broken links, missing images, and videos that don’t run?
  • Code errors.  Is the HTML, CSS and other code error free?  How could it be improved?
  • Mobile friendly.  How does your site load and display on smart phones and tablets?  Put your URL into this free mobile friendly Google tool and test it.
  • Forms and functions.  Are all the contact, mailing list and other forms working correctly?
  • Reporting.  Is your Google Analytics code reporting correctly and accurately?

Finally, don’t forget security and backups:

  • When did you last backup your website?  Is the process automated?  Where is the backup stored?
  • How secure is your website?  Are you plagued by spammers, spam comments, and spammy registrations?

Website Improvements

If you’ve checked all of this and found the site to be over 80% error free then well done!  It’s in very good shape and only needs a few other tweaks to optimise it.  However, if there are obvious areas for improvement then it’s time to work out a plan and implement it.

You can make these improvements in any order but you might prefer to start with the design first and then rearrange the content.  Once you’ve decided on a new theme you rearrange and amend the existing content.  You’ve then got a fresh looking site that might inspire you write more articles and blog posts.

You’ll need to address all and any of the items listed above.  If this is beyond your expertise or if you’re in any doubt about how to do it then hire someone to do it for you.  I would be happy to give you a no-obligation quote too.

Strengthen your site’s SEO

Audit and improve your website SEOIt’s easy to become obsessive about SEO and forget that the priority is simply to create interesting and informative websites that answer your target audience’s need, and which inspire visitors to return and to share your content.

Take care of that task and your site’s ranking will improve naturally.

  • Creating a site that is error free, loads quickly, is mobile friendly will help.
  • If you’ve audited, refreshed, and renewed it then you’ve already improved the SEO to some extent.
  • Adding fresh and original content that people like and share will attract backlinks.
  • Writing articles and blog post, or creating videos, that are shared on social media will also help.

However, you an dive much deeper into this subject and use tools that will analyse the site, suggest improvements, and give you the means to implement those changes.  Again, you can learn to do it yourself or hire someone to do this for you.

Conclusion

As with houses, businesses, life habits and more, websites need annual audits, reviews, and refreshment.  You can make some or all of these changes yourself and the SEO Powersuite is an excellent collection of tools which, properly and regularly used will pay for itself many times over.

Alternatively, outsource the task and look forward to seeing a gleaming new website for the year ahead.

Save time on SEO tasks

Website Audit and Review Tools

  1. Google Analytics (FREE)
  2. Google Webmasters (FREE)
  3. Google Adwords (for the Keyword Planner) (FREE)
  4. Google Mobile-friendly Test (FREE)
  5. W3C CSS Auditer (FREE)
  6. W3C HTML Auditer (FREE)
  7. SEO Powersuite (suite of tools that audits, checks ranking progress etc)
  8. Content Samurai (create videos to draw traffic to your site)
December 15, 2016

How to make internet marketing videos that create leads

internet marketing videosI’ve found out how to make internet marketing videos that look professional and that are ideal for capturing leads or promoting a brand. I can now offer it as a service to my clients.

Internet marketing can be difficult. It saps your time and your money, usually both.

Cyberspace is awash with SEO ‘experts’ who are ready to take your cash in return for promises of quick results.

After several months of paying their invoices you find that your site’s ranking has not improved enough to generate a decent return on your investment.

However, one thing that most experts agree upon is that video marketing is booming.

People search on YouTube for all kinds of solutions, products, and services. Many now go straight to YouTube for a video first and maybe check out websites on Google later.

A good video that’s properly configured for your target audience can help you gain those precious leads much faster than the article it is based upon.

How to make internet marketing videos

So here’s another service I can offer: turning your blog posts or articles into Youtube videos.

Example 1
Here’s a sample I made using a voiceover artist who read the script for me. I can hire UK or US speaking male/female voiceover artists:

Example 2
Here’s one I made by recording my own narration.

How to use my marketing video service

  1. You send me the link to your blog post/article or simply send me a copy
  2. You specify what sort of voiceover you want:
    (A) You record it and send me an mp3 file of the recording
    (B) I record myself
    (C) I arrange to outsource to a voiceover artist (you specify M/F, accent etc)
  3. I turn that into a slideshow/video
  4. I add appropriate stock images or any that you supply
  5. I share a draft copy of the video for you to review and approve
  6. You specify any changes and I make those amendments
  7. The final version is put online:
    (A) I send you the final copy and you upload it to your own account
    (B) I upload it to your YouTube account and do all the SEO tweaks for you

Prices

The price depend on the options, number of words in the article etc, but here are some guide prices:

  • A basic five minute video for which you supply the narration, starting at £45
  • A basic five minute video for the narration is outsourced, starting at £85
  • A basic five minute video for the narration is outsourced and I upload and SEO tweak the video, starting at £99

All prices are excluding VAT. I can offer you discounts for bulk orders. Contact me for further details and a no-obligation chat about your ideas.

Other Options

Alternatively, learn how to do this for yourself and make as many videos as you want each month by clicking the banner below and signing up.  The team behind Content Samurai are excellent.  They produce clear and concise training videos and provide quick support. There’s also and active Facebook user group for subscribers.

How to make internet marketing videosCrank Out Traffic-Pumping Videos On-Demand!

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December 5, 2016

How to stop iCloud Calendar Spam

Do you wonder what goes through the minds of spammers?  No, me neither. All I was interested in earlier this week was how to stop iCloud Calendar spam.

The latest hooks to arrive unwanted on my mobile devices are multiple invites in my calendar for fake RayBan sunglasses.   They contain a mixture of Chinese and English characters and the purpose is obvious – click on these links and buy something.

These arrived a few weeks after my mobile phone had received over 80 spam text messages from China in the space of about 15 minutes one Sunday morning.  A couple of days later I was surprised to receive a call from my mobile provider to assure me that any charges incurred would be refunded.

However, I had to check my next bill and remind them of that fact as the refund didn’t occur automatically, but they didn’t quibble and the refund was immediate.

Anyway, back to the iCloud calendar spam.  Whatever you do, don’t respond to the invite in your calendar in any way.  This is the equivalent of clicking on the links in spam emails and simply acknowledges to the spammer that your account is active.  It will only encourage more spam.

How to delete any spam already in your calendar

  • Tap Calendars in the bottom menu bar
  • In the pop-up that appears, tap Edit, top left
  • Now tap Add Calendar
  • Give your new Calendar a name e.g. Spam
  • Tap Done x 3 to back out of the settings area
  • Now select the spam event in your calendar and move it to the new calendar
  • The events will probably be linked so you won’t have to move each one individually.
  • Move all sequences to the new calendar
  • Now go back into the settings and delete that new calendar

Shut off In-app Notifications in iCloud Calendar

  • Log in to your iCloud.com account
  • Click on the Calendar icon
  • Click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner
  • Click on Preferences in the pop-up
  • Click on the Advance tab
  • By default, in the Invitations section, you should see the In-app Notifications selected
  • Select the email option instead
  • Save and close

Now, any event notifications should arrive by email. Your email spam filter should be able to remove these before they even reach you.

Got any additional tips or comments on the above?  Please share them below.