Search Like A Geek

Friday, November 27, 2009

Some people search the Web like a Neanderthal standing before the Library of Congress steps grunting, “Me want food!” While other, more sophisticated searchers, act more like a person actually entering the Library of Congress, approaching the librarian, and saying, “Pardon me, please lead me to your books on agriculture and growing food, and while you’re at it, please show me your books on fine dining in the Washington D.C. area.”. Who would you rather be?

Back in high school there was the ‘in-crowd’, often populated by the jocks, and then there were the geeks, among other social clicks. Today, many of those ‘geeks’ are wildly successful; while some of those unfortunate others are asking us if we’d like fries with our burgers.

So it’s not so bad being a geek today, especially since so much of our lives and economy are dominated by computers, software and the Internet. It is wise to learn how to use the Internet as best you can. By understanding how search engines and directories work, like many geeks already do, you will find the information you’re looking for more easily, quickly and with a lot less frustration. Knowing how to pinpoint specific bits of information quickly will give you an advantage over most other people who do not have these skills. And this advantage can turn into big money by saving you time in your day to day business. And learning about how to search will help in your search engine optimization efforts if you run your own website too.

So, I invite you to pull up your pants to make high-waters, apply some masking tape to the bridge of your eye glasses, and insert a pocket protector in your front shirt pocket, and join me in learning how to search like a geek.

The more appropriate words you use the better.
Let’s say I want to find tickets to a new Broadway musical show called Wicked next weekend in New York City. If you just type the word ‘tickets’ into Google’s search box, you’ll get 99.6 million results, which is very unwieldy. The first result is It took 4 clicks for me to get to their listing of Wicked tickets, but they were out of inventory up to 6 weeks from now, so it was a dead end since I want to go next weekend.

The next result was, and when I searched for Wicked on their site I found tickets available to Wicked in Toronto only. Another dead end, I need tickets to the NYC production.

The third result only sold airline and cruise tickets, not what I’m looking for either. After clicking on another 4 websites, I still hadn’t found what I was looking for. I was getting frustrated, impatient and was just about ready to toss my PC out my window and give up totally.

If instead, I used a few more appropriate words in my search, my results would have been much better. I tried typing the words ‘new york city broadway wicked musical tickets’ in the Google search box and came up with 230,000 results instead of 99 million, which is slightly more manageable.

The first result was which offered ‘Ticket Tips - Wicked on Broadway, Seating info’. So I clicked on that and learned a number of things about purchasing Broadway tickets, NYC travel tips and other information on Wicked the musical.

The next two Google results were and , and they both offered tickets for the Broadway musical Wicked in New York City on the weekend I wanted. So by carefully choosing appropriate words to search with and using more than one or two words, I found what I was looking for much more easily and quickly than just searching using the word ‘tickets’.

I am not suggesting you use lots and lots of words willy nilly. The best method is to think of very specific words related to what you’re looking for, be a little creative, and watch what order you put the words in. Searching for ‘broadway wicked musical tickets’ and ‘tickets broadway wicked musical’ will give you different results.

Never search using one word. Avoid only using two words. Try to use 3-7 words. This search rule follows the law of diminishing returns however. So searching using 25 words will probably get you little or no results. So there is a “sweet spot” you’ll have to discover for any given search, but it is almost always using more than 1-2 words.

Use more than one search engine.
When I search on the Web, I use more than one browser and more than one search engine or directory. The difference between the two is that search engines are run automatically while directories are run by humans. Google is a search engine and show search results of websites that no one has actually looked at in advance. Directories on the other hand contain websites that have actually been reviewed by a person. Therefore, the results you get will differ. A good list of directories can be found at

Open up your browser and click on ‘File’ in the top left of your browser and select ‘New’ > ‘Window’. Do this a couple of times until you have three or more browsers open on your desktop at the same time. Choose your search words carefully, use more than two words and try the same exact phrase in Yahoo, MSN, Google, and a favorite directory using a different browser for each. That way you can compare results to find the best ones. You can also try a new site I found called which lets you perform a simultaneous search on both Google and Yahoo.

Use modifiers in your searches.
Going back to the tickets example, let’s say I wanted to find airline tickets, but each time I performed a search on tickets, most of the results had to do with sports and theater tickets. I could weed out all those irrelevant results by using the minus (-) sign next to the word ‘theater’.
Bad search: tickets
Better search: tickets to New York
Even better search: airline tickets to New York –theater

So if you are getting a lot of extraneous results in your searches, try adding a minus sign to words you don’t want showing up in your results.

Another good tip is using quotes around your phrases. By doing this you are telling the search engine to find the exact phrase and in the order you are specifying. By adding quotes, you are being much more specific. You’ll get very different results using quotes. If you searched for ‘2005 NBA playoff tickets’ (without quotes) you are asking the search engine to look for sites that have the words 2005, NBA, playoff, and tickets associated with them. So you will probably come up with airline tickets, football playoff information, NBA history and so forth. If you put quotes around your phrase you’ll get much closer to what you want.

Use the ‘Find’ function.
Trust me; this one suggestion is worth the price of admission alone. You will save lots of valuable time if you do this. Ever get to a Web page that has a lot of text on it, and quickly scanning the page doesn’t immediately produce what you’re looking for? In fact, the scanning just makes you dizzy.

Try this: while holding down your ‘Ctrl’ key hit your ‘F’ key (this works on PCs only). A ‘Find’ dialog box should pop up. Simply type the word or phrase you’re looking for in the box and hit ‘Enter’ and it will immediately find each and every instance of it on the Web page you’re on. This will truly save you time if you remember to use it.

One can get lost on the Net. There is so much information, and almost all of it is not applicable to what you want at any given time. If you use the Net for your business, pinpointing appropriate and relevant information quickly will put you ahead of the pack every time. By following these simple suggestions, you will find more accurate results which will reduce your frustration, save you time, and give you an edge over others who are still searching for information like a caveman at the steps of a library.

Paid Surveys – Why You Shouldn’t Pay Anything To Do Surveys For Money?

You have probably discovered by now some sites that offer you the opportunity to earn money by doing paid surveys online. These sites claim you can make significant monthly income and can provide you with a list of market research sites you must join in order to receive surveys and get paid. The only catch is that you must pay some fee (usually 20$ to 30$) in order to lay your hands on their list of “proven” market research companies.

Creating a database of survey sites does take a lot of work, effort and time and it may sound reasonable to set up a price for it and many people agree with this. If you do appreciate this work and wish to buy this list, feel free to do so but at least read this article to know what you should seek on such sites and how to determine if you are on a legitimate site, or not. Use your own judgement. I, for myself, prefer free opportunities.

According to some online resources relating paid surveys, no respectful company would ever ask for any sign-up fee for granting you the opportunity to work for them. Such a company would have no need to conceal their address and telephone number on their website.

As you can see, legitimate membership survey sites should be free and should not conceal their street address and telephone number on their websites. Since most of these sites are not free, they should have a correct contact information and state on their websites or in their terms the requirements for participation and the real possibilities of making money. They should also have a refund policy in case you don’t earn anything and honor it. You’d be surprised as how many refunds are not honored.

That is why you should do a research on your own about a site you wish to purchase a list from. Try to find everything you can about positive and negative experiences and then decide what will be the best thing to do. Especially check if they honor their refund policies. There are a lot of scams out there.

In my opinion I don’t believe you should pay anything to access these lists and here is why. Although it is possible to earn a lot of money and cover your investment “fee”, it is also possible never to earn any money. Why is that?

Paid surveys are not for anyone. They are conducted by a market research companies on behalf of some large company seeking to improve sales and willing to invest certain sum of money in the market research. Since they are spending quite large amounts of money, they can’t afford to waste it, so they will target their research to population which brings them most profit. So if you do not live in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, or some other developed country, you’ll probably never make any money from surveys. Even survey companies that claim to be available worldwide are very often restricted to some countries.

Besides your demographic location on most survey sites you have to fill in your profile based on your age, interests, education, income, etc. The number of surveys you will get will mostly depend on your profile. If your profile fits the required target population you’ll get more surveys and more chances to earn money. It is also possible that your profile will not fit in and you’ll rarely have an opportunity to complete paid surveys.

There are also other reasons why you shouldn’t pay anything to access market research companies:

You will be paying for something you can easily have for FREE! These membership sites are only selling information anyone can get. Sites that conduct market research are not hidden. They need as many possible members as they can find, so they will not ask for any fee. You can join all of them and never pay a dime.

Many market research companies have affiliate programs to help them recruit new members. Therefore if someone introduces you to a survey site, he/she will get paid for it and there is no real justification in asking for any more money from you.

These sites usually don’t have a refund policy, so if you don’t earn anything with surveys, you won’t be able to ask for a refund. It is more likely that they have a refund policy, but do not honor it. This is typical for scam sites and that is why it’s very important to do some researching first.

There are a lot of free lists of survey sites you can join and earn money if you qualify. You can test them out and see if they work for you or not and you won’t have to pay anything. Check below for a free list of paid surveys.

You probably won’t earn enough to quit your daily job with paid surveys, but they can help you get some extra money. And remember - you don't have to pay anything to access these sites.

Paid Internet Surveys – What are they?

Paid internet surveys are very much like any other survey you might fill out. The only difference is that you do it online, while you are getting paid for it, as the name suggests. Just like any normal offline survey, paid internet surveys can be on many different topics and cover a wide range of different questions.

When you are completing paid internet surveys, just answer honestly as this is the whole idea of completing a survey which purpose is to get a true representation of what the consumer actually wants.

What types of paid internet surveys are available? There are many different types of surveys you can choose from, and each one will have its own benefit. For example, some of them are very short; they may take only 15 minutes of your time. You can earn around $20 for just completing that survey. Some paid internet surveys that are over an hour long and pay a lot more, around $60.

Paid internet surveys are not just limited to the standard question and answer format either. Some of them may actually be a focus group, or participating in an online discussion or product feedback discussion. These types can go for between one and two hours but also pay between $100 and $200 for completion.

In addition, there are many types of payments and variations that can be accepted by companies that offer paid internet surveys. The most popular type of payment is PayPal (an online electronic payment facility) which is widely recognized and very stable. It is usually the preferred payment method for people working online and especially for getting money from paid internet survey companies.

Another form of payment is a check. This is the least preferred method as it consumes a lot of resources and costs a bit more to process. E-Gold is also another online electronic payment currency that is very popular but PayPal is more widely recognized.

If you were dedicated to doing a lot of paid internet surveys then my recommendation would be to open a PayPal account as they are very easy to deal with and allow you to have payments instantly.

One thing to remember when looking for paid internet survey companies is to always go with the bigger companies and make sure you do your research before you join any sites.

If you pick the wrong site or go with the wrong company then you may not receive the money you deserve for completing the surveys. So make sure you do your homework and when you find a good company, stick with it. They will usually provide you with many paid internet surveys. Then, hopefully, you can make a nice little income on the side for a long time.

Feel free to visit all of my sites or book mark one Paid Surveys and Surveys

How To Find Cheap Internet Access

Have you ever wondered if what you know about Access Cheap Internet is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on Access Cheap Internet.

After the first free month, it is $21.95 per month, which is not cheap internet access. If you went to broadband for £29.99 per month its hardly cheap internet access. We are cheap web hosting, domain hosting, budget hosting, reseller hosting, linux hosting, internet Access provider. mission is to combine the cheap high speed internet access provider of choice with ... Whether you want a free isp provider, cheap internet access, or to compare discount internet service providers, All Free ISP can help you out. SurfBest provides quality, cheap dial up internet access and a fast dial up internet that enables you to start surfing the web quickly. Sign up with UKO2 now for a free ISP account and start to get the benefits of cheap internet access. We simply provide you with a reliable, cheap internet access account. This is because dial up internet access tends to be the cheaper than broadband services such as DSL or cable Internet. In the end, he finds cheap, reliable Internet-access backup for the next time his broadband cable connection goes down. a purpose to provide an easy way to find and review free or cheap Internet access. There is no reason to pay this much for internet access when there are fast, reliable and cheap internet service providers.

It seems like new information is discovered about something every day. And the topic of Access Cheap Internet is no exception. Keep reading to get more fresh news about Access Cheap Internet.

State telecom regulator Anatel has proposed several alternatives for cheaper Internet access, and has opened the subject up to a national debate. If one or two people on your network use the Internet just to read e-mail and text-oriented Web pages, cheap access works. To us, that has to be the basis of cheap internet access. While not free, dial up Internet access is generally cheap by comparison to broadband. It is extremely cheap for Europe, where Internet access tends to be a bit of a highway robbery. Go to your favorite search engine and type in Ccheap internet access and see what comes up. These internet access providers have hundreds of internet access numbers to enable easy and cheap local access to almost everyone. Getting cheap internet access is possible. Finding internet access, and maybe even cheap internet access, is almost a necessity today. Step up to cheap isp internet access information you can count on from a company you can trust. He charts the availability of cheap Internet access in different geographic areas, not its adoption by users. In my experienced opinion, and that of many of my colleagues, no greater danger to universal cheap Internet access could easily be imagined. web hosting, cheap colocation, t1 and dialup internet access accounts in the boston, massachusetts area.

Sometimes it's tough to sort out all the details related to this subject, but I'm positive you'll have no trouble making sense of the information presented above.

Blog And Ping - The Basics

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blogs and ping are the most frequently used words in the IT sector today. These two words are on everyone's lips today. So why are blogs and pinging getting so much importance today? Blogs and pinging can get you very good profits in the wrong run. So what exactly are blogs and pinging?

A blog is a website where members can discuss online their views on a particular topic. There are some blogs that are general in nature where people can discuss anything and there are blogs on which you can discuss only on a particular topic. However it is advisable that when you start a blog it should not be generalized but it should be opened on a particular topic. For example instead of starting a blog on the Information Technology you can start a blog only on Microsoft Technologies. There are a lot of blog softwares that you can use on your server and then run it independently.

Blogs are increasingly used for SEO marketing. Through blogs you can advertise your internet site on the blogs. Blog and ping is a process through which you can post a snippet of information from your site to a blog to increase your SEO. When you post snippets of your website information on the blog, search engine sites like Google and Yahoo will find it more easily. The search engine will be able to track your site more easily due to spidering and indexing. You can blog and ping only very important information from your site and not all information. You can also rent links to your site which makes the work of spidering easier for search engines. There were many aggressive marketers before who used to blog and ping all their web pages and that also repeatedly. As a result the search sites termed the individuals spammers and then banned their websites from ranking.

So how is blog and ping done successfully? The tasks can be easily done with the help of softwares like Wordpress and RSS to Blog. Using these softwares you can submit your links to over 50 blog directories at a click of a button. You can download Wordpress and RSS to Blog and then install them on your computer. Once you have installed the programs on your computer you should them customize them according to your needs. Then you should create a list of links from your site that will use in the blog sites. You can do this automatically using RSS to Blog. You can save these links for future use also so that you don’t have to enter the list of links all over again. You also have the ability to add more data to RSS to Blog from external sources. The list of blog entries are automatically modified when you make more entries.

Hence we see that blog and ping are one of the best methods to make your website more famous in the search engines. You can use them and also modify their configuration according to your needs.

5 Big Mistakes That Bloggers Make...

If you've just entered the world of blogging or if you've been blogginh for a short time and find that things are not working out as you expected, it will be worth your while to spend some time understanding the common mistakes that bloggers make, mistakes that make it hard to enjoy what should be an enjoyable, satisfying experience: Blogging!

The five most common new blogger mistakes are:

Diving in (rather than wading in)

Having unrealistic expectations

Losing focus


Ignoring the reader

Diving in! Many bloggers are so anxious to get started that they dive in rather than wading in slowly -- its a mistake in an unfamiliar swimming pool or pond and its a mistake when entering a new arena such as the 'blogosphere.' Consider these things before you start your Blog:

Find a focus for your blog . . . a focus that reflects what you know, what interests you and what you enjoy talking and writing about. No topics are out of bounds: politics, religion, science, sexual orientations, comedy, exercise, diet, diseases, etc., etc..

Take the time to read dozens of different blogs: note the colors, graphics and layouts to get an idea of what appeals to you. Also note that some bloggers are long-winded and others are brief and to the point . . . others are just chatty and entertaining and have no particular point to make . . . this too is a personal style you get to choose.

You need a host for your blog, some are free, some charge a small amount per month for their service, some are simple to use and some require more technical knowledge, some have more features than others; choose carefully, once you've established your blog and have a few regular readers you may not want to change your address (your URL).

You may or may not want to use your real name on your blog, this depends on many factors, not the least of which is your stance on controversial issues and how publicly you want to be identified with your opinions.

Unrealistic expectations! If you come to blogging expecting instant results: a large readership and many complimentary comments, you may be disappointed. There are tens of thousands of blogs online vying for the same audience. Patience and tenacity are essential on your part. If you write well, find a unique niche to fill, have appealing titles for your posts and tirelessly promote your blog the readership and comments (some of which will be complimentary) will come.

Losing focus! When you started your blog you had a particular reason for doing so; it might have been to express your views on a topic or it might have been to just communicate with a close circle of friends about your daily activities. Readers will come to your blog for the first time and either be interested in your subject matter or not, will either like your style or not and, if they like your subject and style they may comment and then come back later. Once you've established a topic and tone for your blog you're free to change it but to do so you're basically starting all over.

Be aware that you can have more than one blog, each one devoted to a particular topic and each one, if you choose, under a different identity.

Plagiarizing! There are some great bloggers out there and as you surf through blogs you might find one who said something really well, something that resonated with you and something you want to put in your blog. DON'T just copy and paste someone's words in your blog without giving them credit, making it look to the world like the words are yours. If you write it, write it in your own words and write it better, adding your own thoughts and feelings and then be gracious, mention where you got the idea and provide a link.

Ignoring the reader! Some of the people who read your blog will leave comments; some readers will agree with you and some readers may even praise your insights but most will pick a point you've made and criticize it. People leave comments on others blogs for the same reason they themselves blog, to exchange ideas and express their points of view. Always respond to your readers comments; thank them for reading and taking the time to comment (even the severe critics) and then respond, as appropriate, to their comment. If you ignore your comments your readers may end up ignoring your blog.

10 Essential Blogging Tools

you finally decided to take the blog leap. You’ve heard all about the marketing and search benefits so you stepped up to the plate and signed up for a TypePad, MovableType or WordPress blog software package and now you’re a blogger.

Okay, now what? Add the ten essential blogging tools listed below and you will also be well on your way to creating and promoting a blog that is a powerful marketing tool. I’ll explain the use of the tool and offer some suggestions, including the tools I use on my own blogs including the DuctTapeMarketing blog.

Feed reader

The best way to learn about blogs and blogging is to read, or at least scan, lots of blogs. One of the wonders of blogs is that you can have every new post from every blog you want to read delivered to your desktop or to online location via RSS, so you can easily read and scan the posts of many blogs in a very short time. Newsgator is a good online choice for feed reading and also has a version that integrates with Outlook. I use a free online service know as Bloglines.

Subscriber center

You need to make it easy for your blog visitors to subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed – so they can read your blog in their favorite feed reader. The best way to do this is to go to FeedBurner and burn your own RSS feed their and use the tools they provide to set up automatic subscriber links so people who want to use Bloglines, Google Reader, MyYahoo or Pluck, for instance, can click on one button to subscribe. Tech types can figure this out without the buttons but why not make it easy for anyone to figure out.

Side note – subscribe to each of these yourself and you will force some blog spiders to visit your site.

Email subscription option

A lot of people will never get the whole feed thing, but everyone gets email. Create an option for people to subscribe by giving you their email address – they will simply receive your blog posts like an email message. FeedBurner offers this service for free. FeedBlitz is another option or, if you already have an autoresponder email list service they may offer this service. AWeber offers this and helps me integrate these blog email subscribers into my other mailing lists.

Blog and RSS directories

There are hundreds of blog and RSS directories and getting listed in many can be a good thing. I use a piece of software called RSS Submit, but you can also visit Robin Goode’s frequently updated list and submit your blog and feed by hand.

Hint: subscribe to the RSS feed he offers and you will be notified when new directories are added.

Ping service

Pinging is a term used for letting the various blog and RSS directories know when you have posted new content. Again, FeedBurner offers this as an automatic option called PingShot and you should activate it. PingGoat and Ping O Matic are other options but they require that you visit and update your record each time you post new content.

Bookmark manager

As you surf around the web or hop from blog to blog you may find sites that you want to point out to your readers. Online bookmark managers allow you to bookmark and categorize web and blog pages as you collect them and are a great tool for managing all of the stuff you find on the web. I use but BlinkList does a fine job as well.

Blog stats

I like to track a few key stats in real time because it shows what other blogs might be linking to you or posting about your blog. A lot of people just like to track this kind of thing for fun and frequently visit sites like Technorati. I like to track it for networking opportunities. I use a tool called MyBlogLog because it allows me to see where traffic is coming from but also tracks what links on my blog visitors are clicking on. It’s amazing how this data can help you write more effectively. (MyBlogLog also ranks your links so visitors can see which links on your site are the most popular.)

Desktop posting

With most blog software you must go online and post using a set of tools provided by the blog software. Many bloggers like to use a desktop application to create and submit their posts as it gives them some extra tools and allows them to more easily integrate content and files on their computer.

I use w.blogger but also like Performancing, Qumana and ecto (apple folks) (w.blogger also doubles as a really simple HTML editor.)

Tell a friend script

My blog software (pMachine) has a feature that allows a reader to click a link and send the post to a friend. This tactic brings me lots of readers. You might try looking here for some simple scripts that do that same

Republish your feed headlines

The ability to republish your blog posts on other web pages, sites you own or sites of strategic partners is a great way to expose folks to you blog content. One more time we turn to FeedBurner for a painless way to republish your blog post to any web page you choose with something they call BuzzBoost

7 Tips to Building Your Blog's Readership

Attracting traffic to a blog or a web site is challenging enough. So from the very beginning, when you start to see visitors coming to read your blog, be sure that they feel comfortable to stick around. And there are a number of ways you can help them to do just that.

Here are seven vital ingredients for building a successful blog with a loyal following.

1. Publish Regularly.

As your readers become familiar with the frequency of your posts, it will influence their visiting behavior. If your readers know that you post fresh content every day, they will probably come every day to read it. If they know you post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, that's when they will come.

2. Stay on Topic.

Stick to your niche. If your blog doesn't have a niche, give it one. Readers like blog's that are focused on a particular theme or topic. If you have no theme and just post about anything, then readers are less likely to become passionate about your blog and will probably move on to somewhere else.

3. Use Meaningful Titles in Posts.

This not only announces clearly what the post is about, but it will help people navigate your blog and also influence your ranking with search engines.

4. Interact With Your Readers.

Think of your blog like a conversation. You post. Readers comment. Be active and be positive as you interact and converse with your readers.

5. Highlight Your Best Posts.

Don't let your best posts get lost in your archives. It’s always a good idea to link to your best posts from a ‘best posts’ category on the main page.

6. Provide Good Navigation to Popular Pages

If you help people find the key pages within your blog, their visit will be a much more enjoyable experience.

7. Avoid Not Posting for Extended Periods.

If someone visits your blog and discovers that the last post was three weeks ago, they will probably be disappointed. If you don't post, people may give you the benefit of the doubt and come back on a few days to check, but you better believe they will lose interest quickly if you fall out of your regular schedule and stop posting.

There you have it. Seven little tips that will make a big difference to your blog's readership. It's not rocket science. It's just using some common sense when posting and interacting with your readers.

Watch your mouth!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Internet users are very autonomous and self-directed people. With this in mind, you will have to echo those character traits and use the right tone of voice to fit with them. You should also be very careful and really watch your mouth while talking with them, since they are just one click away to your competitors.

There is no correct tone of voice and approach towards interacting with website visitors. There are millions of them, and each of them is right for a certain type of website and business. What you can have in mind in all the cases is:

• To master the right tone, try to think about what your potential customer really likes, what is he interested in and what can catch his attention;

• Always be clear and direct while talking with your website visitors (your clients have enormous choice);

• Be fast with providing response. It is better to give partial information immediately than the whole information and be late. Remember: Internet is all about immediacy and people are sick of WWWait - language;

• Filter everything to its core, but be sure to keep the tone that fits with your corporate identity;

• Throw away the dictatorial tone and use more pleasurable and persuasive voice;

• Try to avoid incomprehensible and offensive words;

• Write active sentences and engage visitors - do not use passive sentences. E.g. "You will be informed upon this issue" can be "We will inform you about the prices"

• Strive not to use superlatives and claim that your products are incredible or astonishing. People have had enough of the everyday sales hype;

• In any case: try not to be very persistent and try to oversell - they will surely notice it and they hate talking to sales people.

• Give your website visitors their space and they will be grateful. Dante Alighieri once wrote: "Liberty is the prevention of control by others".

Web Business Overview – Have a Plan

So you've decided you'd like to go into business on the web, eh? This article will give an overview of options that are available for your web business and will help to give you an idea of what goals should be set for your project.

After deciding to be a web entrepreneur, the next step is to create a business plan. Business plans are as essential to a web entrepreneur as blueprints are to a construction worker. To build a business most efficiently, you must first be an architect and plan how you would like your business to look, what it will do and how your goals will be accomplished.

There are many ways a person can go about making money with the Internet. Options include selling products as a wholesaler or retailer, selling services, promoting products or services as an affiliate partner, selling advertising, selling email or demographic information, selling subscriptions to sites and any number of other ways and combinations of money making ideas.

A good business plan will include details on the service or products you will be offering, growth goals for your new business, projected expenses and losses, employee projections, and any other information you will need to clearly outline your successful business. Though there are many approaches to the actual construction of a business plan, a month by month or quarter by quarter analysis is common.

For example, if your online business will be selling widgets, you may want to go through, month by month and estimate the total number of widgets you will sell, the cost of selling these widgets, expenditures on marketing, hosting and overhead, and any other foreseeable factors you can think of. If within six months you want to begin selling skyhooks as well as widgets, this should also be accounted for in your business plan.

Before moving on to our next topic, it is important to remember that business plans are constantly changing. Some of your projections will be difficult to make accurately, so do the best you can with the information at hand. As more data becomes available through research and experience you will be able to make revisions to your business plan. I am of the belief that it is generally a good idea to make profit projections on the low end to start with. If you believe you can sell between 10 and 100 widgets your first month, it is better to plan to sell only 10, and be pleasantly surprised when you sell 55, rather than to plan for 100 and fall short of goals that have become unrealistic yet necessary for the survival of your business.

After you have a good plan for your business, the next step will be to research your business. But that’s a subject for the next article.

Website Buying Guide Checklist

Can you really get a website even without knowing anything about code, and without paying a fortune? Find out.

The days when websites were primarily distinguished by their code are long gone. Nowadays, the web is a true publishing medium that favors well thought-out ideas. You can get a professional-looking website online in minutes with many website building services and software. But what should you look for? What are the features you really need and which are just clutter?

Content Editing

Some website authoring software packages only allow you to entire plain, unformatted text. Some of them allow you to entire HTML tags. Others provide a WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") interface with options for font, links, and image insertion much like a word processor's. Some will allow you to use more than one, or even all of these options so you have a choice on how you want to format your text.

Template Designs

Every website builder ever invented came with at least one or two templates for creating the graphical look of a website, so you don't have to design the look of the site yourself. But some packages have very large libraries of templates, some have only a few. Some will let you mix and match elements of the design templates, while others will lock you in to one setup.

Ecommerce Functions

Many ready-to-go websites created by website builder software feature built-in shopping carts. Some even come with credit card processing. This is of course necessary if you're going to be selling stuff direct online. But if you're not going to be selling anything, ecommerce functionalities may just complicate the administration of the site and pad the price for the software or service.

Blogging Functions

Blogs are "web logs," but blogging software involves more than just a simple online journal. Blogging technology allows you to send your new posts directly to subscribers via RSS, without them having to visit your site or receive an email from you. Still, unless you plan on updating your site regularly (at least once a month), your website's blog will just gather cobwebs.


Some hosted web authoring systems provide email accounts at no additional charge, while others do charge separately. Some web builder systems even come with modules for creating email newsletters.


It is very likely that you will encounter a technical difficulty at some point while owning your website. Make sure you know in advance of paying whether the company provides only paid support, and if any included support is over email, a web ticketing system, or the telephone.

Photo and Image Management

For many, if not most, people who want personal websites, displaying pictures online is a primary motivation, if not the only motivation. If you want to display pictures on your website, make sure to choose a website builder system that makes it easy to upload and publish images.

Renting vs. Owning

You can buy website authoring software upfront for a flat fee, or you can "rent;" i.e., pay a company every month to use a hosted service. The choice is up to you, but remember that the hosted service will likely charge you much more in the end: averaging around $20/month, hosted the typical hosted website builder will cost you $240/year--far more than most desktop software.

In short, you don't need to know how a website is coded to make one, any more than a book author needs to know about printing ink. Don't burden yourself with learning how to do web design. Having fun with your website starts with choosing a website builder software that will make it fun.

Website Statistics with Cpanel

If you own one or more websites, it is vitally important to know how many people are visiting your site and where these visitors originate from. Analyzing website statistics should become a regular habit for every webmaster who wishes to improve website traffic over time. You'll be able to test and track the popularity of your updated site content and even see how visitors find your site in the search engines.

There are many web statistics programs on the market, each one unique in price and features, but did you know that some of the best website statistic programs already come free with most web hosting plans?

If you have a hosting account for your website that includes cpanel, then you probably have a whole bunch of web statistic programs built in. Cpanel is by far the most popular control panel for web hosting accounts today. It is extremely easy to learn and use for regular website administration.

There are usually 3 different types of statistics you will find inside cpanel. These are known as Analog, Webalizer and Awstats.

Webalizer is a statistic program that shows you in a graph form how many visitors have visited your site month by month. This type of statistics is very basic and only takes a quick glance to receive your web site information. If you want more detailed information you will probably need to check out the other two statistic programs.

Analog and Awstats each offer different presentation styles. All the essential visitor information you probably wish to see is listed on Analog, but most people have difficulty finding it as it is primarily text based and requires close attention.

Awstats on the other hand, is usually the favorite web site statistic program on cpanel. Not only does it give you plenty of visitor information, from number of hits per day and month, it also tells you where they originate from, how long visitors stayed at your site, the country from which they are viewing your site, what browser they are using and much more. Basic colored graphs and simple to read layout make it a quick and easy task to find the information that you are looking for.

So if you have a website and would like to know more about your visitors check out your cpanel statistic programs inside your website hosting account. They can be extremely helpful in analyzing your site and drawing more traffic to it.


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