Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas from Personalised Gift Ideas

Hello Wilderness,
Before we reflect on the year let us first of all wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and a great 2009 to come. Our thanks as always for your custom and many kind comments you have given us over the year.

So what was 2008 like for ourselves? Well if I ignore the "too many hours and no break" routine and reflect on the positives then we have continued to expand both our product options, website portfolio and Personalisation Machinary.

On the website front we have added a "Trade" website as well as a Personalised Fantasy Gifts website - The gaming type of fantasy ... not the other type! Neither of the websites are fully up to speed and the Fantasy Site isn't even live yet but both will progress next year.

On the new machinery front we have added another engraving machine as well as purchasing Sublimation Equipment which will allow us to add mousemats, mugs and a whole lot of other less predictable gifts.

Our flagship website "Personalised Gift Ideas" has seen the introduction of not only a new logo but several modifications aimed at improving both the look and making the site easier to optimise for search engine rankings.

Well that's a far from complete summary of the year but it's Christmas Eve and I'm not convinced I should even be at work today as there isn't even any postal service and I can see the tumbleweeds floating past my desk!

Again our thanks for your continued custom and we look forward to seeing what the new year brings!

Until Next Year!


Saturday, 1 November 2008

So what's the latest from "Personalised Gift Ideas"?

Hello Wilderness,

So here we are on the 1st day of November writing a Blog on a freezing cold Saturday morning. So what's been happening since the last update on 21st October 2008?

Things started off well with some whirlwind website photography on our Photo Studio followed by some photoshop resizing and web uploads of amongst others a bit of "Bling" in one of our "Gifts for Her" sub categories: Presentation Gift Boxed Engraved Hip Flask Sets. Diamonte and More.

Due to our High Google Rankings for "Personalised Money Boxes" we thought we would add a Silver Plated Camper Van Money Box to our range Childrens Personalised Money Boxes

There have been several other updates with more than 200 more still planned and we will point out a few from time to time just to keep you updated.

Since we resized the website a month or so ago we have been able to add a bit more text to some of our main category descriptions. Why bother? Because the average website visitor doesn't always hang around long enough to appreciate that our prices include free UK delivery and full engraving and other personalisation as standard. Many if not most sites are happy to display attractive purchase prices but hide the additional costs until the customer is at the advanced stage of the checkout.

In the space of a few days we have have had the sad demise of two "much loved" laptops. Engraving Station 1 is currently out of action pending repair. Engraving Station 2 has a new laptop but the loss of saved engraving jobs and other software is a setback. All other stations are working fine.

Did you know .... ? that many laptop suppliers realized a niche in the business market and it's all down to just how bad windows vista is? It's true, My engraving machines just don't work reliably on windows vista and I have totally given up trying. Initially I bought some old xp laptops but they were sooo sooo slow. My latest laptop is a Toshiba that comes with windows vista fully installed but also with a special windows xp professional disc that totally wipes the hard drive and reformats for xp! This is a Toshiba disc as well .. not some 3rd party workaround!

Anyways, time to sign off and go do some work in this cold cold business unit. We have some exciting new products in development so hopefully we will update you all in due course.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

A Fly On The Wall look at Personalised Gift Ideas 21/10/08

Hello Wilderness. I've decided to change the focus of this blog into a "Fly on the Wall" account to the running of my business. So to the occasional tumbleweed floating past my way ... here is an update.

Today Tuesday 21st October is the day Celtic Fc face Manchester United in the champions league and if I'm being honest then I fear the worst for Celtic - If we somehow win then I'll amend this blog.

On the business side of things, I worked quite late last night on engraving software to design a 4" x 2" Brass Plaque for a frame maker which incorporated some fancy text and a logo with nice borders - Looked a treat even if I do say so myself. This has got me thinking that I could add a category to my Trade Website for designing large scale A4 Brass Plaques for businesses, after all our Engraving machines are top of the range. Here is a category from the Trade Website (click homepage to see a fancy plaque being engraved). Baby and Christening Gifts

In terms of Personalised Gift Ideas updates, I have finally added a description to another of my Presentation Gift Products (The Cocktail Shaker) Personalised Boxed Drinks Presentation Gift Sets

Another late night product update was adding the Personalised Newspaper Football Books to our Personalised Birthday Category. I really really like this product as the stories go back over 100 years in most cases and have reports from reporters of the day - not some tampered with "wise after the event" account. Here is the product ... The Essential Personalised History of your Favourite Football Team in Print

Today we will be working on our main website we will be going into the E Commerce software and looking at the Browser and Meta Description Tags, no small job with dozens of categories and around 1000 products.

For those who are interested, the Browser and Meta Descriptions on a websites are the descriptions a website owner supplies to the search engines about page content. If these are not completed then google will have to try and work it out for you .. usually with drastic results. Remember this if you ever build a website - you have to do a lot of things well to get rankings they don't just happen.

Todays author has been Robert (The Boss) It's like throwing a "message in a bottle" and waiting to see if it's found. (yes we do sell Personalised Messages in bottles as I recall!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Personalised Gift Ideas: Engraving Tips.

Anyone familiar with our Online Personalised Gift Ideas website will be aware that we have a large variety of Engraved Gifts so our first Blog post is an attempt to give some advice about what you should accept as standard from an engraver and when you should look for something better.

Let's start with set up costs:

Even the best engraving machine will require adjustments before your gift item can be engraved. This is why most High Street engravers will quote you a "Set Up" fee as part of the overall price - after all they are engraving on an item to item basis.
Online Engravers, such as ourselves, also need to adjust our engraving machines but unlike many High Street Engravers we not only have state of the art machines but we also have the benefit of being able to set our machines up for engraving a run of the same gifts - the end result to the customer is that we waive all set up charges.

Cost per letter charges:

In this day of modern computerised engraving machines "cost per letter engraving" should be avoided at all costs. Only outdated engraving machines require manual engraving. You should be able to agree a price based on the complexity of the engraving job alone. A longer engraved message will obviously tie up an engraving machine for a longer time but that doesn't justify a "cost per letter" charge.

Buy your Gift with Engraving included:

If possible avoid purchasing a gift from one supplier and then taking it into an engraver to be engraved. It will almost always be more cost effective to have the gift engraved at source. Another factor to consider is whether it will be engraved on location - many jewellers for example will send your item elsewhere to be engraved and we can all guess who pays for that! More and more Online Gift Sites are offering engraving with a set amount of text included as part of the service.

Don't pay more for laser engraving:

The biggest myth at the moment is that laser engraving is better than rotary engraving. Sure a rotary engraving machine can't engrave a cocktail stick but then the majority of laser engravers can't engrave pewter!

I have been looking for a good reason to buy a laser engraving machine for some time but the simple fact of the matter is that my rotary engraving machines are top of the range and cost as much as a laser engraver and do most of the jobs better!

The cost of the machines should effectively mean you pay less for your engraving rather than more. If I engrave a business card holder then I can use a laser guidance system to measure the borders to ensure top quality engraving - this also saves me time on setting up the machine so why should I charge more? The same applies to laser engraving machines - Don't pay more for laser engraving because you mistakenly believe the end result will be so much better because it wont be any better than a top of the range rotary machine.

I hope this short insight has been helpful in some way.

See some of our Christening Gifts Online for some Engraving Ideas.

Robert O'Rourke