Thursday, 12 January 2012

Hot on the heels of my other websites well 4 years later I gues, but i have been busy. I have also been wall mounting TVs using ym site Wall Mount TVs and also started building a company doing installing TVs and wall mounting them called Andre Victoire. This company will also concnetrate an all home installations from installing TVs, wall mounting TVs, extra aerial feeds, training people to use HDD recorders and the like. As well as installign Home Cinema and Multi Room Audio systems. However TV installations especially wall mounting them is where the main focus will be.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Digging in to PHP automation for flat pack assembly

I've been doing some more interesting stuff with PHP this month.

Basically building lists of the email addresses I received and automating outbound email.

I've wondered for a while about the best way to do this, as I am against sending out 100's maybe 1000's of emails all in one go. Most web hosts don't like this. However I have decided on a much more subtle and continuous approach which once written requires no effort from me!

The different this is making to my Flatpack assembly websites is amazing! So much so that I will incorporate it into my other flat pack related sites, flat pack blog and furniture assembly sites! and so on.

It is really cool!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Using PHP on your website - WOW!

I've been able to program in C and C++ for years and have always been aware of the power and what can be achieved. however it is only in the past few weeks I have started to explore writing my own server side scripts.

(If you don't know what a server side script is, it is basically a program that runs on the web server rather than a browser side script which runs on your browser on your PC. There are two results of this, browser side scripting does not tie up server processing time allowing the server to be more efficient but your code is visible for all to see. The opposite is true for server side scripting, you can hide what you are doing!)

I finally decided to bite the bullet and learn either PHP or Pearl rather than ASP because most web server space you buy supports PHP or Pearl out of the box, and ASP is a pain to sort out in comparison. I looked at a few tutorials and blow me PHP is virtually the same as C, I was delighted and sussed it out almost immediately.

Practical examples are the way forward with programming, i.e. you only learn if you have something you need to achieve!

So my task is I have a website and I can gather basic information on the visitors very easily (I use AwStats which is great as it just drags all the info off the Apache webserver and hey presto you have everything. What is really cool, is if your site has been up a while, because the info is off your servers logs, simply install it and you have all the historic stuff!

So what have I done?

1) Contact Us Form (Geo location from IP Address):

It may not be news to you but using the "mailto:" command is bad practice, you will end up with loads of junk mail, so I have written a server side script to email the details from a form to me, BUT the visitors never see the email address I use as this is hidden on the server side. The server generates the email and sends it. As I say this is nothing new.

What is new for me, is that enquirers often don't tell me where in the UK they are? So I use a PHP command to get their IP Address, which I then check the Geolocation of, and attach it to the email that is generated. This has already proven to be very useful, when planning my reply/response!

2) Postcode Search (and marketing):

I also have a simple form on another page which details the level of service we offer throughout the UK. In order to gauge the service the customer selects the postcode district (i.e. SK for Stockport, or LS for Leeds) from a drop down menu and the results are displayed.

Now unless you use this form, you are not given the phone number to contact and therefore cannot contact your nearest person for assistance.

Now as a quick aside, if I display a phone number on a web page I have no idea how often the people viewing it will call the number. Therefore I cannot gauge the level of business the site generates unless the person receiving the calls diligently and honestly records all calls.

So using PHP I now monitor which phone numbers have been displayed and in which areas, using the Geo location features above and the selection from this form I can generate the following sort of information:

A - 50 people visited the website in the SK postcode area this month.
B - 20 people entered SK as their area to get a contact number this month.
C - 10 people actually called me on my phone to arrange some business.

So I know that for every 5 visitors to my website who are in the SK area, I will get one piece of business.

In practice I cover many more postcode areas than this and can establish stats for each one. This means I can measure with 100% accuracy (using PHP) the ratio of A:B and based on personal experience measure B:C and use this to establish how much business was gained in other areas where I do not receive the actual telephone calls.

Since I also know what the average order is I can therefore do some simple calculations and say for example:

Postcode Area B received 73 hits on the main website.
31 people selected Postcode Area B according to my PHP script matching my A:B ratio.
Based on my B:C ratio I know 50% of these will call for service, i.e. 15 1/2 calls.
I know the average piece of business is worth £100.
I can therefore calculate that the 73 visitors in the B Postcode area (i.e. Birmingham) generated approximately £15,500 worth of business.

This is by no means 100% accurate but it puts me in a powerful position when I need to establish the value of promoting business for someone else on my website, even thoguh I never receive the calls?

It is incredible what you can do if yo apply your mind to your marketing and some of the power programming ans statistics give you. If you are interested in discussing some of the above with me you can contact me via my website

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Although for the last four years I have spent most of my time setting up a business assembling furniture (, most of my careers has been spent in the field of computing. In fact I used my web skills to develop and market the website and my BA skills to develop the business processes.

I am a qualified and experienced project manager and business analsyst and have been involved in many call centre applications and delivering websites. In fact whilst I was at Brother developing fax products and software I got into e-commerce after having first got into HTML and the web when I bought my first 486 back in 1994 connecting with a 14k4 modem! Previously programming a ZX81 as a child had got me hooked.

I am in the process of teaching myself PHP, I know C and C++ so this is not too taxing, but I am intrigued by it and trying out a few new ideas!!!