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Rant: STIHL (Canada) Is Not up to the Cut

30 Sep , 2015  

My family was heading from the West Coast of Canada to London, Ontario to visit my folks and sister. When I looked up London on Google for road directions and places of interest, it mentioned the head office for STIHL Power Equipment was located just south of the city. The website even had a special web page inviting customers to come for a visit. It’s located under Corporate-> Contact Us -> Your route to STIHL. Great! It would be cool to drop by for a visit. I considered myself a connoisseur of well-made equipment (Even though I only possess a few machines). So, in a nutshell, I was thrilled to go for a tour. The trip was at least 3 weeks away, so why not shoot them an email and see if a visit/day/time could be arranged? An email was sent to 3 Weeks went by and no answer. Flew out to London, had a great visit with family and came home.
A few days later, I sent STIHL Canada a follow-up email and mentioned how I was disappointed there was no response. Guess what, someone responded! I was given a generic reply… “sorry for missing your message and next time when you’re in London, drop by for a visit” Really! Maybe in 4 years. Flights in Canada are really expensive. The distance we flew was equivalent to Seattle, WA to Detroit, MI, at $740/person return. (It cost us more money to fly to Ontario than it would to fly to Hawaii.)
The generic reply really ticked me off. It’s typical, “copy and paste” reply for social media. A quick answer to make the customer go away. When it comes to social media, you have to engage your customer and reply within 24 hours of a question. Always follow-up and offer alternatives. For example, I missed the chance for an in-person visit, but, maybe there was a special event, like a tool tradeshow happening nearby. It would be handy to know for the customer and an opportunity for the retailer to get to know the customer. It’s a simply marketing technic, drill down and gather more data. Maybe even generate a future sale.



Rant: Ad Blocking is Not Good For the Small Blogs

23 Sep , 2015  

google_no-cents With the rise of the Ad Blocking extension to browsers, I have decided to remove all the ads off the Blog.
I know 90% of my viewers and subscribers will be happy with this move. Online advertisements are annoying, the ads block the flow of the story and the reader has to scroll down to see the remainder of the article.
On the flip side, the ads help pay the bills. Hosting the blog cost $10.00/month and the domain name is $16.00/year. I knew there were costs going into the process of having the Blog. The Google Adsense account was more of an opportunity to learn about the process of advertising online. If I could make a few bucks, it would be a plus. When the Cedar Workshop YouTube channel started, in 2013, the supporting Blog generated about $8.00 to $13.00/month. Now, I’m lucky to get 1 cent/month. For that measly amount, it’s not even worth it.

How is this going to affect the Blogs future?
Well, I’ll have to be more resourceful with materials. If a project requires a new part, it will have to be put on the back burner. This will probably tick off a lot of people who want to work on a project and need to know all the steps and material required.

– The weekly videos will be cut back to bi-weekly. It takes a lot of time to edit, design custom thumbnails, descriptions and update the Blog, Facebook, Reddit, etc.

– Add a PayPal donation button. (I really dislike asking for money.)

– Sell a product: A few friends suggested I make some chalkboard sidewalk signs and log rounds on Etsy. I miss building cedar Adirondack chairs and selling them for $80. Costco killed that industry with the folding, pine chairs for $60.00 .

I’m not the only one, I have talked to a number of YouTube creators and they are in the same boat. We will have to see what’s in store.

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