Welcome mat?

If I owned a real, live, brick and mortar business, I would not be demanding my customers handed over their details before they had a chance to look around … I’d at least let them get in the door first, maybe see what was on the shelves.

Selling your stuff is all about providing value. And you’re not providing value by shoving a great big opt-in form in someone’s face the minute they land on your site. Yeah, they convert. Yeah, they build your list. But they don’t say … “Hey! I value your time, and I appreciate your presence on my site, and your interest in my work, let me show you around and see how I can help you.”

Not that a big old opt-in form doesn’t have its place – sometimes, its the most appropriate thing. Like if I click on a link that says “Sign up for my cool ebook” … That’s the perfect time for a bloody great opt-in form to fill my screen. But when I click through to read an article … your demand that I give you my email address really just doesn’t appeal.

I have been doing some binge reading on Customer experience/Customer service over the last few months … and increasingly online businesses piss me off with the focus on achieving their own goals (especially list building) at the expense of the Customer’s experience on their website. I hate obnoxious pop-ups and ‘welcome-mats’ that get between me and what I’m actually on the website to see. I’m pretty sure its not just me!

I really feel that if you treat clients/potential clients/website visitors like they are your favourite people, focus on building a tribe (and not a list), and work on giving amazing value (in both your paid and free content/services/products) – you can’t help but grow your business … and you will grow a list of people who love you and what you do and who buy your stuff.

3 Favourite Things

I’ve just finished reading Linchpin by Seth Godin. I’ve taken so many notes and marked so many pages to re-read. It talks about being more human – making connections, giving gifts, creating your art – and getting it out into the world.

The Five-Minute Journal has revolutionised my day. My sister tells me that I am so much lovelier (and our mornings so much more fun) since I have started using it – and I was pretty lovely to start with (of course!). I heard about it on The Accidental Creative podcast … you should totally be listening in to that too. Its always full of good stuff.

I invested in the WPElevation Blueprint course to help me build a better WordPress web development business. It has possibly been the best investment in my business so far this year.

We don’t have to be friends

I came across an article today about how technology has changed the sexual landscape for our kids. Its scary reading. Easy access to internet porn skews the ideas of what sex really is for both our boys and girls. Social media opens up whole new avenues for ‘flirting’ online. Kids are having sex earlier. Reported STDs are on the rise. Boys get their sex education from porn. Parents can’t do anything about it …

But you know what? We can do something about it. We don’t have to be the good guys all the time. We are not our kids friends – we are their parents. We can say NO. We don’t have to monitor the conversation – we can just not allow it.

Kids don’t need smartphones, they don’t need free & unfettered access to the internet. They are not entitled to any of this, its not a necessity. They can live without Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter/Instagram/Whatever-the-next-big-thing-is, they can live without computers in their bedrooms, they will survive ok if they can’t text their friends 24/7.

What they do need is boundaries, honest & open conversation about sex/sexuality (even if it makes you all squirm a little), guidance about how to navigate the online (and offline) world safely …

We can’t make all the shitty stuff on the internet go away, and maybe our kids will come across it somewhere else. But we don’t have to let it become a part of their all day, every day reality, we can choose to switch it off.

My favourite productivity apps

I aspire to being an organised, productive human-being. Its been my focus for this year. I’ve been reading books, trying new tools, and experimenting with new ways of doing things that work for myself, my business and my household.

Here are a few of my favourite things (I may or may not add to this list as I evolve):


Getting things done by Dave Allen
I resisted this book for a long time. It sounded too hard, and there are so many scary, elaborate posts out there in the interwebs about setting up a GTD system. In reality, its not so bad. The book is both an explanation of why and a good step by step of how … I haven’t implemented the whole system … yet. I am easing myself into new habits, one at a time. An idea I borrowed from …

Zen to Done by Leo Babauta
Like GTD only a little less frantic and easier to read through.

Die Empty by Todd Henry
This book is full of useful ideas to help you overcome mediocrity and do whatever amazing thing it is that makes your soul sing. You can read a quick summary here.

fall in love with the process, not just the end product of your work
~ Todd Henry

Online Tools

I use this to keep track of my time when I am working. Before I started using it, I kind of guesstimated how long things took me to do. Tracking my time was an eyeopener. And having a timer ticking away really helps keep me on task (and it doesn’t actually tick, that would drive any normal person insane – which is really bad for productivity!!).

For all those digital things that I want to keep. And checklists. Its great for checklists.

Its a meditation app. It works on android, iOS and on your computer. Its quite lovely.

3 tips for learning to code (that also apply to learning other stuff).

  1. Write code every day. The more you make, the better you get.
  2. Share what you are learning – if you’re wrong someone will probably tell you. That doesn’t always feel so fabulous – but it gives you the opportunity to get better. Yay!
  3. Teach your kids to code. They’ll probably learn faster than you. That also doesn’t feel fabulous. But teaching consolidates your own learning. And you can always ask them for help later on.

Ten things about me

I don’t (often) read fiction

Right now in my reading pile:

  • The entrepreneur’s blueprint to massive success by Peter Voogd
  • Getting things done by Dave Allen
  • Teaching Will by Mel Ryan
  • To sell is human by Daniel Pink
  • The bed of Procrustes by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The motivation manifesto by Brendan Burchard
  • Your money: Starting out and starting over by Anita Bell

But if I have to …

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books are my favourite. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books are my guilty pleasure. And my favourite ever book (so far) to read aloud to my kids was The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else.

I like notebooks … alot

I have quite a collection – and I always carry one with me. Its always a momentous decision choosing the right notebook for the right thing … and putting the first mark on the first page is the cause of much anxiety.

I don’t have a smart phone

I gave it up for a fairly unintelligent phone … all it does is texts and calls … sometimes I miss the convenience of the internet everywhere. Mostly, its nice to disconnect every now and then.

I have memorised one poem …

‘There was a baboon’ by Spike Milligan.

I doodle when I am thinking

But only in black and white. I like the idea of colour, but the reality is too many decisions to make.

I don’t own a TV

Last time I did, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was still a thing … its been a while.

I write lists …

To remind me why I left the house, to organise my day, to plan my projects, to record my ideas … its reassuring to reduce the chaos in my head to an orderly list. Even better if there is a checkbox next to each item. Ticking things off a list is one of life’s great pleasures.

My favourite movie …

Oh Brother Where Art Thou? Close runner up … Napoleon Dynamite.

I’m a night owl

My brain kicks in at about 9pm … I get excited about doing stuff, I have **IDEAS**, I get creative, I solve problems. Normally until about 2am. I am not so enthused by mornings. Not even when there is coffee. I’ve always felt quite guilty about my complete inability to be an effective morning person, so I was thrilled to read Mike Vardy, of Productivityist fame, admit to being a night owl too. I feel validated!

WooCommerce: Swapping the Short Product Description with the Long Product Description

I am currently working on a site using WooCommerce where my client wants the Long Product Description to show on the Single Product Page, no Product Description Tab, and the Short Description (excerpt) to be used on the Product Category pages.

Here’s what I did …

1. Swap the Short Description with the long description on the Single Product page
In the short-description.php file I changed the two instances of $post->post_excerpt to $post->post_content
(here’s how to modify WooCommerce files and make sure you don’t lose your changes when WooCommerce updates)

2. Remove the Product Description Tab
In my functions.php file I added the following:
add_filter( 'woocommerce_product_tabs', 'woo_remove_product_tabs', 98 );
function woo_remove_product_tabs( $tabs ) {
unset( $tabs['description'] ); // Remove the description tab
return $tabs;

3. Show the Short Description on the Product Category pages
Again in my functions.php file I added:
add_action( 'woocommerce_after_shop_loop_item_title', 'spr_woocommerce_product_excerpt', 3);
if (!function_exists('spr_woocommerce_product_excerpt')) {
function spr_woocommerce_product_excerpt() {
echo '';
echo '