Alastair McDermott is an online business and technology consultant specialising in helping small businesses and professional services providers to increase online sales by improving website conversion rates and bringing more visitor traffic.

He has been building websites and software since 1996 and has co-founded several software, web and information based startup companies and has provided solutions for businesses and organisations of all sizes.

Alastair is the author of Running a Website with WordPress: A Quick Guide for Business Owners, available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions. He blogs, and makes media of all kinds at WebsiteDoctor.

Really smart characters require a really smart author

I’ve read several books recently where the author claims that the protagonist is highly intelligent, but this claim isn’t substantiated through their actions or revealed thoughts. The character misses obvious alternative solutions to their problem, and quite often the book wraps up in a contrived fashion. Here’s a hypothesis: The most intelligent character in the […]

Best Science Fiction Books

Here’s a mixed bag of the top scifi authors that I’ve read, some of the classics and some from the modern era. I’ve only listed one book per author so it’s my favourite* book from each. H. G. Wells: The War of the Worlds Aldous Huxley: Brave New World George Orwell: 1984 Isaac Asimov: The […]

Are you using FreeAgent with Bank of Ireland?

Are you using FreeAgent with Bank of Ireland (BOI Banking 365 or Business Online)? I want to talk to other folks who are integrating their BOI bank feed with FreeAgent – if you’re up for it, can you send me an email at AMD (at) ?

Interesting post about the dangers of freelancing on Upwork. They eventually sorted this situation out, but I suspect only because of the huge social media coverage.

Review: The Ocean At The End of The Lane

I recently had the opportunity to get an ARC copy of Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at The End of The Lane” which has just released in mass-market paperback. I’ve read a huge amount of praise for Gaiman, he is frequently touted as one of the top fantasy authors in the world. I read a lot […]

Updated WP-CLI backup script

Here’s a new version of the wp-cli backup script mentioned previously. This adds a check that it’s running as a user, and backs up the upload directory too. You need to have wp-cli installed and run this in your WordPress root, as a regular (non-root) user. If you use this I’d love to hear from […]

Fix for WordPress unable to create uploads directory or not writable by server

Fix for WordPress unable to create uploads directory or not writable by server

This is a note to future self as much as anything, but hopefully useful for someone out there. Situation: uploads are failing with “Unable to create directory uploads. Is its parent directory writable by the server?” Check the following: wp-content/uploads is chmod -R 777 (for testing, switch to something more secure after you get this […]