Use your domain for email too!

It never fails to amaze me how, when small businesses go to all the effort of registering a domain name and creating a web site, that they don’t use that domain for their email.

I seem to see it all the time – mostly on the side of vans, and sometimes on invoices and other documentation – whereby the email address looks so amateurish because they’re using a gmail address or similar.

It’s probably not the fault of the small businesses themselves, as they’re not internet specialists. But the people that sell them a web site are really letting the side down by not encouraging them to use their domain for an email address – even if it just forwards straight on to their gmail account!

After all the email address of john@amazingdecorators.ie is much more professional looking that johnsmithpainter@gmail.com.

UPC mess up house move disconnection

I’m moving house next weekend, into somewhere that already has UPC service. As such I needed to cancel my UPC at my current address.

To cancel you are required to give 30 days written notice (email to resolutionteam@upc.ie), which I duly did, noting the exact day I wanted to the services to cease.

Unfortunately today they’ve cut me off 9 days early! I have no TV or broadband, and because its Good Friday, there’s almost nobody working in UPC today.

I did speak to someone, and asked for my account to be re-enabled for 9 days. But they say the only way I can get TV and broadband connected is if I sign up to a new 12 month contract, which is ridiculous!

So I’m sat here in complete silence. Can’t watch TV, can’t use broadband. I can’t even download a new book for my Kindle.

They claim to have tried to call me 3 times in the last couple of weeks, to confirm the disconnection, but I never received the calls, or any voice mails asking for me to call back – so they decided to go ahead anyway.

Your 10 tips for how to write the best blog post

  1. Everyone loves a list. Don’t bother writing in paragraphs – nobody will read it! On the modern interweb people crave bite-sized chunks.
  2. Pick a number – any number. Tell people how many things will be in your list, so that their expectations are set. Some classic examples include: 3 steps to heaven, 50 ways to leave your lover, 12 days of Christmas
  3. Make it personal. People are more likely to click on links that begin with the word “You” or “Your”, as they will think it’s about them.
  4. Make it a question. People want content to address a specific question they need to solve, so always include one of the following words in your title: how, when, where, who, what, why
  5. Positive Adjectives. People don’t want to read a good list – they want to read a great list! Use overly-positive adjectives to heighten the importance of what you’re saying.
  6. Stick to the point. Don’t deviate off-topic in the middle of the list and start talking about something else.
  7. Always back up your laptop. See point 6.
  8. Try not to run out of content. It can be tempting to pad out the latter items in the list with waffle, if you’ve run out of things to say.
  9. Save the best for last. You want to end your list with your strongest point, so that it ends on a high.
  10. Recap and recycle. If you run out of things to say, repeat some of your former points, such as creating a numbered list, beginning with you or yours, with a question and a positive adjective.
  11. Never write too many steps!

Help couriers and delivery drivers find your location with PinLogic

PinLogic are an Irish company based in Co Mayo that are trying to help couriers and delivery drivers locate their customers easily and efficiently.

pinlogic-205638-h900The service makes use of the GPS location tracking available in smartphones to pinpoint exactly where a customer is located, so that delivery drivers don’t waste time and fuel driving around trying to find an address.

The delivery driver uses a smartphone app to send an SMS to the customer.  The customer then clicks on a URL in the SMS, which opens a web page. The web page then uses the GPS in the phone to find the location, and sends it to the delivery driver.  The exact location is then plotted on a map in the driver’s app.

It’s quite a simple idea, but an effective one – and it could be especially useful for rural deliveries, or where a driver isn’t familiar with an area.  And with Ireland’s supposed new postcode system not showing any signs of appearing soon, this is a great solution.

However, I would like to see the service expanded to include more customer information. At present the service is focused on providing an accurate location to a delivery driver.  But as anyone who’s ever waited in at home for a delivery knows well, it would also be great if the customer could track where the delivery driver is located.

Hailo seem to do this two-way information quite well.  The taxi driver gets an accurate pickup location when the cab is booked, and the passenger can also track the approaching taxi and keep an eye out for it.

Bypass Delivery Restrictions and Save on Postage with Parcel Motel

One of the annoying things about living in Ireland is not being able to get things delivered easily and cheaply.

parcel-motel-logoOnline shopping from the likes of eBay or Amazon can bag you some great bargains, until you realise that the seller won’t ship to Ireland, or will charge you a fortune in international postage.

Parcel Motel is a great way to get around these problems. They give you a legitimate UK address to use (in Newtownabbey just north of Belfast in Northern Ireland) from which they will forward parcels for a reasonable fee to any of their pick-up points in Ireland.

How it works

When you register with the service you are allocated a Parcel Motel ID (format PM99999) that forms the first line of your address. Then, whenever you order anything, simply use the following delivery address:

<Your Name>
<Your Parcel Motel ID>
Parcel Motel
1A McKinney Road
Newtownabbey
Antrim
BT36 4PE

The staff at Parcel Motel will accept and sign for the parcel on your behalf. They then scan it into their own system, and you can track where it is by logging into your My Parcel Motel online account.

You need to make sure your Name and your Parcel Model ID are correct in the delivery address of the parcel, because if they don’t match, the package may be rejected.

Collecting your parcel

Within 24 hours of delivery Parcel Motel will then forward the item from their Antrim depot to your pre-defined pick-up location. There are around 100 different locations of Parcel Motel lockers around the Republic, and you can choose whichever one suits you the most.

The parcels are delivered to the secure lockers, and you get notified by text message and email as soon as it’s ready for collection. The lockers are accessible 24 hours a day, and when you turn up it’s just a question of typing in your mobile number and the PIN supplied, and your locker opens.

Restricted delivery

I’ve used Parcel Motel a number of times to buy products that just aren’t available in Ireland, such as the Nexus 4 phone. In the past I’ve used family and friends based in the UK to accept parcels and forward them on – but it seems that Parcel Motel are cheaper and quicker.

Returns

The Parcel Motel service can also be used to return items to certain retailers free of charge. The process works in reverse, in that you drop off the package you want to return to a Parcel Motel locker, and they will forward on direct to retailer.

It’s a much easier and cheaper process than going to the Post Office or calling up a courier to arrange the return of items.