Hello again from Home!
I know I left you all in
suspense with the “impromptu family reunion in the car dealership cliff-hanger”
Coconut Chronicle last week but I’m going to interrupt the story as this has
been a week of good news here at ClubFred Headquarters.
First I have to take you
back to the Cook Islands, (which would be nice considering the temperature
You may remember our good
friend Moana, who worked so hard to get the Aitutaki Conservancy Trust up and
running? Well, it turns out that the Operations Manager, at the branch of
Westpac Bank that she works for, nominated her for an environmental award. When
last I heard from Ms Mo, she was jetting off to Sydney, Australia for the
awards ceremony. We don’t know if she won yet but if she does that will mean
$10,000 of much-needed money for the Trust. Yahoo! Our fingers are crossed. Toes too.
But regardless of whether
she gets the prize or not, she is a winner in our books. Nice to see hard work,
passion and dedication recognized. Way to go Mo!!!
OK, enough sunshine and
warmth, Nutters, back to Nelson we go. (Hey, I saw that look!)
Not one to tiptoe into
anything, upon my return to the land of tree hugging, dirt worshippers, I spied
a literary competition advertised in the local paper. The deal was that you had
to sign up and then a theme would be emailed to you at 5pm on Friday. You then
had 48 hours to pen a story/poem(s) around that theme, the final work to be
submitted no later than 12 noon on Monday. We hadn’t yet unpacked and had a
busy schedule, so I figured this would be the time to squeeze in a
short-deadline writing project.
5pm Friday, theme arrives.
“If only…things would have been different!”
Oh yeah, I can work with
11:30am Monday, I finish off
the final edits and submit my entry.
2pm Wednesday I get a phone
call from the Nelson and District Arts Council and…
I won Second place! (Feel
free to do the wave here). I also read my story aloud at the awards ceremony,
at Oxygen Arts Center, which was a heck of a lot of fun. Prez said my story was
the best…I knew I paid him for something.
And speaking of me and the
Prez and gainful employment, it is time to unveil the biggest good news of all.
We are officially open for
business! Silk Stream Web Designs is up and running and already hard at work.
Prez is the brainchild of
this business venture. While I was writing up a storm during our two years on
The Rock, he had time on his hands, time he filled by further educating himself
in web design, usability & functionality, and SEO (Search Engine
Optimization). My hat is firmly off to
him for this, since our Internet there was just a smidge faster than sending
smoke signals and slightly slower than courier pigeons.
Good job Prez!
Anyway, he got a lot of
practice building websites and discovered that he was a natural at it. Sure,
he’ll never claim to be a graphic artist but Prez understands systems. He
understands how to make websites easy to use, he understands how to do all that
“behind the scenes” stuff that helps get them found by Google et al, and he
understands that not everyone who needs a good website has $5000 kicking around
to get one made.
So, during one of our
evening beach strolls he told me he’d come up with an idea. (Insert an image of
me rolling my eyes here and thinking ‘Oh great, another idea. What now?
We’ll raise sled dogs in the arctic?’). He said that too many web designers
built very beautiful websites with little or no, (or bad), usability and/or
SEO. These websites look great but don’t get seen. He said he also couldn’t
believe how much people, even the little Mom n’ Pop businesses on Aitutaki, had
to pay to have a small to medium sized website built. One fellow on Aitutaki
paid $7000 for a very basic site with no SEO.
“I think,” Prez said, “we
could start a web design business that focused on making sure that all the
important stuff – SEO, functionality, usability – was done right, at the
beginning, and also offer people an affordable price. “
I said, “Does this mean I
don’t have to build fences outside, in the winter, in the snow?”
Prez said, “Yes.”
I said, “It’s a brilliant
idea! I love it!!”
But seriously, I do love it.
We also decided that we
should also offer a consultation service for people who already had websites
but whose sites needed some “love”. We could do a deep dive on their websites,
find the problems, make recommendations and then the customer could decide if
they wanted us to make the changes or if they would get their web master to
make the changes.
As usual, it was hard to get
Prez excited about this new project. (Yes, that was a joke, in case you’re
wondering). It was actually hard to keep him settled and I had to lay down some
ground rules for our vacation, including a limit on “business talk” during our
We have one project underway
and now that Prez has lightening fast Internet at his fingertips, he’s been
revisiting some of the old websites he built and is upgrading and tweaking
them. He still chuckles at how fast he can upload changes to these sites – minutes
compared to hours.
My job, so far, is to write
and edit content for the websites. I’m also the “art director”. I look over
Prez’s shoulder and say things like: “That’s too pink. Can you move that box
more to the left? I hate that photo, get rid of it. That page is too busy.”
Turns out I am a natural at criticizing…who knew?
So, since you’ve all been so
patient, listening to me blab on about my new job and since I have some pull
with the company, I’ve managed to score a little deal for all you Nutters. Our
regular rates for a basic website, on the monthly plan, are $499 + $79 per
month. (Yes, that’s Canuck bucks). But if you, or your friend, or your friend’s
friend, or your friend’s friend’s cousin contact us and mention the Coconut
Chronicles, there will be a special rate of $499 + $49 per month.
That’s a savings of, (hold
on while I go get the calculator), $240 per year!
Now, if you already have a
website, I’ve got you covered, too. If your site isn’t bringing in the business
you’d like, we offer an SEO consultation to let you know what needs to be
changed and how. The non-Nutter cost for this service is $350 but, once again,
mention the Coconut Chronicles when you contact us and the special rate will be
Recession, resmession! I
like giving discounts!!
But wait, there’s more. Link
to us on your website and get a year’s free subscription to the Coconut
Chronicles! Yes, you heard that correctly, free Chronicles delivered right to
your Internet, every week, (or thereabouts).
(OK, I know the Chronicles
are kind of free already but I was swept up in the moment.)
Oops, Prez is yelling at me
to quit writing and get back to work; I’d better wrap up. (Yeesh, doesn’t the
man know anything about marketing? Honestly.)
QUESTION: What are your website
pet peeves? (Me, I hate it when they put music on a website and I, unexpectedly
get blasted with “Achy Breaky Heart” or something equally annoying).
Until next time, I hope this
finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!
Co-Owner, Writer, Art Director and