JiffJaff re-design locally with MAMP

I’ve decided to move the whole of the JiffJaff site to wordpress which, for those of you who don’t know, is the software this blog runs on. However, it is also a perfectly good way to run an entire site as I hope you’ll see in a few days time when it launches.

There are two ways to do this. The first is to design the site live – which means it’s visible during the design process. Or, as I’m going to do, you install a server environment on your local computer and do the work there. On a Mac the server I’m using is called MAMP (an acronym for Mac Apache MySQL PHP) and on windows it’s WAMP.

So that’s what I’ve done. Fingers crossed it’ll all be wonderful … fingers crossed. 😉


Website, content, and ruling the universe.

Having been the New Media chap at a large London company I should know how to create a decent website. Then, there would have been many meetings involving many people; then, we’d have had a plethora of designers, supposed ‘wordsmiths’ and consultants (with invoices to match). Now ’tis mostly just me.

But then I’m not trying to get clients for websites. What jiffjaff.co.uk is is a vehicle for information about eBook publishing. There are some truly awful eBook conversions I’ve seen from supposed masters at their craft. Jiff Jaff’s are so much better, yet how to get that across to people who visit the site and are likely to click off it within milliseconds?

I’ve just finished reading an epub novel by quite a well known independent fantasy author. The book was great, but made very difficult to read because of poor formatting. Why? You’d think she would have known better… or maybe she didn’t read the epub version? It’s sad when a novel that an author has spent months writing and editing isn’t presented in its best possible light.

Analytics & AdWords

Having just signed up for Google’s Analytics – which gives you incredibly detailed statistics as to who visits your website, which pages they saw and how long they spent on those pages, etc, etc – and Google AdWords, too, I’m in need of a brief lie down.

The concept of analytics isn’t hard, but the reality is a nightmare. Google even have a GA certification you can get by taking a course.

Google provides a free online course at our Conversion University that offers comprehensive training in Google Analytics and data analysis. Passing the test gives you an industry recognized qualification.

I mean, blimey! Though a framed certificate would look nice above the bath.

AdWords is the key, though. To get customers on-line it’s pretty much the only game in town. Of course you can run an AdWords campaign and fine tune it with Analytics, should you so desire. And I do desire! It’s just getting my head around data analysis that seems rather daunting. What Jiff Jaff does is a walk in the park compared to that… or am I just being overly dramatic? 😉

Literals, variables, and brain ache

I’ve always been of the opinion that you can do what you set your mind to. Yes, it might take a little bit longer than an expert would take, but it’s doable… until I decided to write a smidge of javascript.

Now I remember why I gave up sciences in favour of the arts. Now I know why great mathematicians and programming bods are all in their teens. In fact I’m wondering if I really have a brain at all. Sheesh!

I create beautiful eBooks and print titles, daily. HTML I’m fine with… but Javascript, not so much. Blond jokes aside (besides, my hair has darkened as I’ve got older), I feel I should be shouting ‘Hea-ulp, hea-ulp!’ an fanning myself with a, umm, fan. 😉


Several hours later: Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! My smidgeon of javascript works! It works I tell you! 😀

Working Tax Credits

I’ve just had a chat with a very nice Geordie (from HMRC Tyneside) who patiently went through the details of applying for working tax credits. He is sending me a form.

Before today I had no real idea of what working tax credits were – and even now I’m not entirely sure. I think they bridge the gap between those who are working and earning less than the minimum amount needed to survive, and those who drive Porches. Hmm. “Give me a Porche and I’ll do without the working tax credit, mister Cameron, guv.”

“Do they start from today?” I asked.

“No. They start from when we receive the completed form. You have to write a letter to get them backdated.” My getting your idle scrounging bones back to work advisor didn’t tell me that!

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to transition from JSA (job seekers allowance) to self employment without ending up in a cardboard box. Hopeful, but not entirely convinced. This is one hurdle begun. Next I have to deal with council tax, and rent.


Ye gads! I had no idea advertising was so expensive!

I’ve placed two ads – both in the Friday-Ad: the areas local ‘free’ advertising paper that comes out once a week. However,  ‘free’ isn’t a word to use when you place an ad.

Sadly, advertising is unavoidable. The bottom line is that you’re bankrupt if you do, and damned (and probably bankrupt) if you don’t.

Hello world!

All blogs have to have a ‘Hello World’ post. It stands to reason. So this is mine. Hello world, and welcome to my blog.

I started Jiffjaff – or Jiff Jaff, or indeed JiffJaff, on the 29th May 2012… actually, I’m lying, and I don’t want to start off doing that, do I?

I bought the domain earlier than that because I thought it sounded interesting (how sad). Then I decided, as an ‘artist,’ I’d use it to proffer up my work – both written and musical.

Then I had to get a job. See where I’m going? No? Okay.

So, there I was. I needed a job, but there aren’t any: not for people with my distinct lack of paper qualifications (though oodles and shed loads of experience). I could just about have worked at a supermarket. Yep.

Some time later my ‘advisor’ suggests I might do well being self employed.

And here I am. Or rather, here is Jiffjaff.

Jiffjaff – Digital solutions. I should have done it yonks ago….