website http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6490/all en-US How to Distinguish Yourself Online From People With the Same Name as You http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-distinguish-yourself-online-from-people-with-the-same-name-as-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-distinguish-yourself-online-from-people-with-the-same-name-as-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2948618763_65c83467f0_z_0.jpg" alt="woman in a crowd" title="woman in a crowd" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a common name or share a name with a famous person, you know how hard it is to set yourself apart on the Internet from your &quot;doppelnamers&quot; &mdash; that is, your online evil twins who come up in search results when people are looking for you. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">Stupid Things to Put in&nbsp;Your Cover Letter</a>)</p> <p>If you are looking for a job or you have your own business, you must take action to make sure that people searching for you actually find you &mdash; not the person with the DUI mug shot or the blog about dumpster diving.</p> <p>Just ask Tara Murphy, a recent law school graduate and blogger at <a href="http://www.glossyesquire.com/">Glossy Esquire</a> and <a href="http://www.neonesquire.com/">Neon Esquire</a> who has even had to be fingerprinted to prove she's not one of the Tara Murphys with criminal records. She's also been denied a library card due to hundreds of dollars in fines run up by someone who had the same first, last, and middle names and lived in the same city. In online searches, she has to compete against not only the ex-cons but also famous Tara Murphys like the one who appeared on the reality show &quot;Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We're a nefarious bunch,&quot; she told me when I interviewed her for a <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Doppelnamers-cause-confusion-3804493.php">recent San Francisco Chronicle story</a>.</p> <p>Like many job seekers, Murphy is reluctant to shell out the cash required to hire experts such as Reputation.com to help her rise in the search results for her own name. So she's learning about the at-home steps that anyone with doppelnamers can and should take. They're all about bringing your online presence toward the top of the Google search results &mdash; which also has the effect of pushing your doppelnamers down.</p> <h3>Set Up a Name Alert</h3> <p>Set up a Google alert for your name so you know who is searching for you and what they're finding. If you find out anyone is confusing you with someone else of the same name, contact that person and ask them to correct it immediately.</p> <h3>Find Out What You're Dealing With</h3> <p>Check <a href="http://www.howmanyofme.com">HowManyofMe.com</a> for a rough estimate of how many people share your name. Search <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/search?trk=advsrch">LinkedIn</a> to find out who they are &mdash; if there is someone in your own field with the same name, you'll need to make extra effort to distinguish yourself.</p> <h3>Promote Yourself</h3> <p>Create Web properties that showcase the real you. A LinkedIn profile is a must, and a Twitter profile, website, and blog don't hurt. For service people or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">small business owners</a>, encourage clients to review you on Yelp.</p> <h3>Use Your Facebook</h3> <p>Consider using your Facebook page as an additional online property for networking purposes. But <a href="http://jobsearch.about.com/od/networking/a/facebook.htm">tread carefully</a> so you don't end up making yourself look bad!</p> <h3>Actually Use Your Social Media</h3> <p>Participate actively in all the social networks you've signed up for. This seems to improve Google search ranking. And if you Tweet or post links to content on your website, others may decide to link to it. The more links you get from well-ranked sites, the higher your results will appear in Google searches.</p> <h3>Shoot for Consistency</h3> <p>Make sure that your name appears in the same way on all your Web properties, and that they link to one another. For instance, if you use your middle initial &mdash; a very good idea &mdash; use it on all your sites and profiles.</p> <p>Use your preferred name consistently offline too &mdash; on business cards, resume, or movie marquees as the case may be.</p> <h3>Put a Face With the Name</h3> <p>Post a photo of yourself on your website so people know immediately that they've found the right John Smith.</p> <h3>Consider Including Personal Details</h3> <p>Don't be afraid to have search results that highlight your personal interests, as long as you like what they say about you. For instance, if <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-last-name-affects-your-spending-habits">your name</a> is published in an article about a marathon you ran in, link to that article! The more positive links that lead people to you, the better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-distinguish-yourself-online-from-people-with-the-same-name-as-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-brag-book-for-job-hunters-e-book-review-and-tips">The Brag Book for Job Hunters: E-Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-times-new-roman-on-your-r-sum-is-like-wearing-sweatpants-to-an-interview">Using Times New Roman on Your Résumé Is Like Wearing Sweatpants to an Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">Help! I Lost My Job!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-hate-my-job">I Hate My Job! Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting name personal brand social networking website Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:36:44 +0000 Carrie Kirby 954326 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Exceedingly Simple Ways to Get More Traffic to Your Website http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-exceedingly-simple-ways-to-get-more-traffic-to-your-website <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-exceedingly-simple-ways-to-get-more-traffic-to-your-website" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-exceedingly-simple-ways-to-get-more-traffic-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-exceedingly-simple-ways-to-get-more-traffic-to-your-website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015288443Small.jpg" alt="Excited businessman with laptop" title="Excited businessman with laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On January 1st, 2011 my brand new business&mdash;<a href="http://passivepanda.com/" target="_blank">PassivePanda.com</a>&mdash;had received exactly zero visitors.</p> <p>Eleven months later, the website has received over 350,000 unique visitors and almost 750,000 page views. Even better, we have built an email list of over 10,000 people and gained hundreds of customers. I still have a lot to learn, but it's safe to say that things are going well.</p> <p>What's the primary difference between my business on January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012?</p> <p>Traffic.</p> <p>You can't do anything without people &quot;coming in the door.&quot; Here are five stupidly simple ways to attract visitors to your site and keep them coming back.</p> <p><b>1. Start a Newsletter List</b></p> <p>Without a doubt, the number one thing you can do to increase traffic is to start a newsletter list.</p> <p>Here's why...</p> <p>An email list is the best way to build recurring traffic. By sending out emails to your newsletter list about upcoming events, new products and promotions, or even new articles on your blog, you can guarantee that visitors will continue to return to your site instead of hoping that people will show up when you have something important to say.</p> <p><b>2. Get the Word Out With Guest Posts</b></p> <p>Guest posting is a simple strategy where you create content such as an article, an audio session, or a video lesson for another website. Why would you do this? Because it can drive traffic back to your site.</p> <p>It doesn't matter what you're trying to sell with your business, there are websites and blogs that cater to those people already. Your future customers are hanging out somewhere online. It's your job to get in front of them and share what you know.</p> <p>Typically, at the end of your guest post, there will be a spot where you can link to your website. If you guest post for high-profile sites, then you should have no problem driving traffic back to your website.</p> <p><b>3. Brand Yourself as an Expert Through Interviews</b></p> <p>In addition to sharing your knowledge through guest posts, you can also share your brand or story through interviews.</p> <p>There are many sites looking to do product reviews, talk with entrepreneurs, or interview people on recent events in the industry. Reach out to these people. Tell them your story and mention that you're available for an interview if they are looking.</p> <p>Free promotion like this can help drive all sorts of people to your site&mdash;and save you money on marketing and advertising.</p> <p><b>4. Use Social Media Strategically</b></p> <p>Social media can be a decent traffic driver&mdash;if you do the opposite of what most people do.</p> <p>If you have a decent social media presence for your company, then you can try to drive traffic through your audience. In most cases, however, you'll be better served by connecting with a social media influencer and sharing your information with them.</p> <p>There are many news sites, media outlets, and individuals that have access to hundreds of thousands of people through their social media pages. Reach out to them, say hello, and share your content in a friendly way. If you build a solid relationship, these people can become large drivers of traffic to your business.</p> <p><b>5. Use the Power of Search</b></p> <p>Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a powerful tool.</p> <p>If you can rank #1 in Google for a popular phrase, then the big G will send all sorts of visitors your way. SEO is far too broad of a topic to cover here, but you can learn a lot about <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-common-seo-mistakes-on-small-business-websites" target="_blank">SEO on OPENForum</a>. And for an in depth look at the fundamentals, be sure to read <a href="http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/" target="_blank">the tutorial</a> created by the SEO experts at Yoast.</p> <p>At the least, I recommend doing some minimal keyword research and using the proper tags and headings. If you do only those three things, then you'll see some benefit without too much effort.</p> <p><b>And the #1 Thing You Need To Do...</b></p> <p>Actually try all the suggestions above.</p> <p>The only thing that separated my site from many others was that I actually implemented the five steps I mentioned here. Everyone else talks about this stuff, but few people actually do it. Don't make the mistake of knowing what to, but failing to execute on it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/james-clear">James Clear</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-exceedingly-simple-ways-to-get-more-traffic-to-your-website">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center email marketing online marketing small business website website traffic Tue, 03 Jan 2012 19:10:08 +0000 James Clear 844417 at http://www.wisebread.com Building A Business Website Is Cheaper And Easier Than Ever http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-eas...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004591261Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20111018/FREE/111019886/google-goes-searching-for-michigan-small-businesses">recent study</a>, 63 percent of small businesses don&rsquo;t have a website. If yours is one of them, you&rsquo;re missing out on one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to expand your business and increase your income.</p> <p>I built my first business <a target="_blank" href="http://web.archive.org/web/19980710071601/http:/www.barnstorming.com/">website in 1997</a>. Over the next 10 years, it went from generating a few hundred dollars a month to hundreds of thousands a year. I also built a website to sell a database of venture capital sources&mdash;a companion site to a book I co-authored on the topic. That site produced $40,000 a year in sales with no action required on my part except to answer an occasional email.</p> <p><strong>It&rsquo;s Not As Difficult or As Expensive As You May Think</strong></p> <p>You may be more familiar with traditional Yellow Pages or newspaper marketing, and consider an online presence a huge unknown. Or perhaps you recognize the value of a website but worry it will be too expensive or too hard to maintain?</p> <p>Twenty years after the Internet opened for business, what works and what doesn&rsquo;t is no longer a mystery. And the skills and technology required to develop a site are widely available and cost less than you might think.</p> <p><strong>What Does it Take to Get Online?</strong></p> <p>One-stop shops, such as <a target="_blank" href="http://bordesdesign.com/index.html">Bordes Design</a>, can quickly set you up to do business online. Or you can do it yourself if you have the time and skill. Either way, you need a few basics.</p> <p><b>1. A Web Address or URL</b></p> <p>Just as every company has a name, every website has a domain name&mdash;a web address or URL. Usually your URL will be the same as your company name, or a variation, but you might decide to use something descriptive for your online presence. Or you might discover your name is already in use by someone else and have to find another.</p> <p>Wile E. Coyote&rsquo;s favorite mail order supplier, Acme Corporation, might want to use something more descriptive such as jetpoweredrollerskates.com. On the other hand, Acme is so famous anyone looking for dehydrated boulders or earthquake pills would think first of acme.com so they might do best to stick with that. Or they could have both and make one forward to the other.</p> <p>Whatever you do, use a name that ends with .com. If you use something like wizbang.<i>biz</i>, people will assume you&rsquo;re wizbang.<i>com</i> and end up at your competitor&rsquo;s site most of the time. You can check on the availability of a URL at places like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp">Network Solutions</a>.</p> <p><b>2. A Web Host or ISP</b></p> <p>The collection of programs, files, and pictures that are used to create your website have to &ldquo;live&rdquo; in a computer someplace. That means once you have a URL you need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Such companies have rooms full of computers, called server farms, where they host websites.</p> <p>These days ISPs are eager to find anything that will differentiate themselves from their competition. So most offer a web address registration service along with web hosting, and a surprising array of free software to help you make your site a success.</p> <p>While all that&rsquo;s convenient, what you want in a web host is reliability and good customer support. It can be hugely in expensive If your server goes down, say, right in the middle of holiday buying rush and you can&rsquo;t reach anyone to fix it.</p> <p><b>3. A Website</b></p> <p>If you know something about computers and enjoy tinkering, you can build a website on your own. <a target="_blank" href="http://wordpress.org/">Wordpress</a>, for example, can be installed by your ISP for free and then you simply configure the site using the built in templates. Or you could develop a site from scratch with a program such as <a target="_blank" href="http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html">DreamWeaver</a> from Adobe.</p> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have the computer knowledge, the inclination, or the time to build a site yourself, you can hire a developer to do it for you. We did this when we recently renovated our web sites. But buyer beware. Website development is a combination of art and science. There are good artists and there are bad ones. There are good computer scientists and there are bad ones. And there are outright scammers who are neither artists or scientists, just thieves.</p> <p>One way to find someone to develop a site for you is to use a freelancer from <a target="_blank" href="http://elance.com/">elance.com</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://odesk.com/">odesk.com</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://vworker.com/">vworker.com</a> or similar sites. You describe what you want, people bid on the job, and you <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-tips-for-landing-the-right-freelancer-1">select the provider you feel will do the best job</a> for you at the right price.</p> <p>The best part of using one of the freelance job boards is you can see how other people have graded the work of the providers, so you aren&rsquo;t hiring the proverbial pig in a poke. Plus the job boards help you properly document the contractor relationship and ensure that you get what you pay for.</p> <p><b>4. Content</b></p> <p>A website can be made up of static pages with fixed content that you rarely change. It can be blog that continually offers new content. Or it can be both.</p> <p>If you have a good website structure to begin with, keeping your website fresh and making minor changes is easy. So, unlike Yellow Pages ads or brochures, you can change product offerings, phone numbers, special offers, and other content as frequently as you like.</p> <p>Obviously, a website developer won&rsquo;t know anything about your business, your brand, your message, or your personal preferences, so you&rsquo;ll have to provide that. However, you can use print ads, brochures, speeches, and even personal photographs to give them what they need.</p> <p><strong>OK Already, How Much and How Long?</strong></p> <p>We recently had two sites built for us by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.elance.com/s/hivista/">HivistaSoft</a> through Elance.com: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en">Undress4Success.com</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/">TeleworkResearchNetwork.com</a>. The work cost us $600 for each site, they were up and running in a couple of weeks, and we can easily maintain them ourselves. To host them, we pay $7.95 a month to <a target="_blank" href="http://dreamhost.com/">DreamHost</a> (for as many sites as we care to put online), plus $9.95 a year for each web address.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re computer savvy and decide to got it on your own, sign up for a web address and hosting, install Wordpress, pick a template, and start adding pages, pictures, and blog posts. You can probably be online in a couple hours and fully functioning in a week of spare time. Another of our websites, <a target="_blank" href="http://findingmoneyadvice.com/">FindingMoneyAdvice.com</a>, is an example of a home-built Wordpress site. It doesn&rsquo;t have the glitz of our new sites, but it does have solid content and a built in shopping cart. It took me two days to do it, mostly editing all the text.</p> <p>But keep in mind that having a website is just the first step in creating an online business. If you build it, they won&rsquo;t necessarily come&mdash;there are millions of websites. So marketing your site is important. Here are some tips on how to do that:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/7-deadly-assumptions-of-online-marketing-success-1">7 Deadly Assumptions of Online Marketing Success</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/10-free-tools-that-can-help-your-site-rank-above-the-rest-1">10 Free Tools that Can Help Your Site Rank Above the Rest</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-step-process-for-dominating-your-local-search-landscape--1-2">5 Step Process for Dominating Your Local Search Landscape</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-search-engine-marketing-trends-that-impact-your-business-1">5 Search Engine Marketing Trends That Impact Your Business</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/3-not-so-obvious-things-your-blog-needs-1">3 Not-So-Obvious Things Your Blog Needs</a></li> </ul> <p>So are you going to build a site? If you aren&rsquo;t, why not? Let us know in comments!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/building-a-business-website-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business website frugal websites marketing online advertising small business web designers website Sun, 13 Nov 2011 01:11:48 +0000 Tom Harnish 781130 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Your Customers Aren't Using Your Website http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-reasons-your-customers-arent-using-your-website <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-reasons-your-customers-arent-using-your-website" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-reasons-your-customers-arent-using-your-webs...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-reasons-your-customers-arent-using-your-website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016599527Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;ve <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/6-ways-to-differentiate-your-ecommerce-website-1" target="_blank">invested in your website</a> and it&rsquo;s looking good. The design is attractive, the navigation is intuitive, the site is well organized, the content is rich, and site visitors can easily request help if needed.</p> <p>Why, then, don&rsquo;t your customers use your website as much as you thought they would?</p> <p>One of the best and simplest ways to find out what&rsquo;s wrong is to listen to your customers. If they are not telling you explicitly through phone calls, emails, and survey responses, then arrange to observe customers interact with your website. Here are a few of the problems that you may uncover:</p> <p><strong>1. Customers Cannot Complete Transactions</strong></p> <p>Customers expect an end-to-end experience on your website. They want to initiate and complete an entire transaction from initial thought (e.g., &ldquo;hey, I need to &hellip; pay a bill, make a reservation, schedule an appointment, place an order&rdquo;) through final confirmation (&ldquo;Success! You have&hellip; paid a bill, completed an order&hellip;&rdquo;).</p> <p>Unconvinced of the business case for such functionality and concerned about site security, you may be hesitant to spend money on site features that seem unnecessary. You might rationalize that certain needs could prompt customers to make phone calls or visit your office, resulting in meaningful interactions. Then, these warm connections will help you and your staff members to nurture relationships, uncover additional needs, and generate even more sales, online and offline.</p> <p>In reality, customers abandon the website, grudgingly complete transactions offline (or not at all), and look for more user-friendly companies and websites.</p> <p><i>Solution:</i> Discover what transactions are standard in your industry and reasonably expected by customers. Listen to your sales team and customer service representatives who may have called your attention to functionalities necessary to compete for your customer&rsquo;s attention. Allocate resources to upgrading and expanding the experience on your website.</p> <p><strong>2. Your Site Search Function Does Not Routinely Return Relevant Results</strong></p> <p>If your website is content-rich and contains diverse elements (products, e-books, whitepapers, case studies, blog posts, etc.), then your customers may have difficulty finding what they need through a simple query. That is, a product search might generate results for case studies, whitepapers, and products all mixed together.</p> <p>Even e-commerce sites that deliver product results only don&rsquo;t always give customers what they want, especially if features desired by customers are not tagged properly.</p> <p><i>Solution: </i>Don&rsquo;t expect customers to be experts in Boolean search methods. Create user-friendly search pages that make advanced searches easy and intuitive. These typically provide a combination of fill-in-the-blank spaces, drop-down boxes, and check-boxes using terms that customers understand. (See examples at <a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/market/all_books.php" target="_blank">Paperback Swap</a>, <a href="http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx" target="_blank">Allrecipes</a>, and <a href="http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/?" target="_blank">Flickr</a>.)</p> <p>Evaluate search queries and adapt your site&rsquo;s methods to customer preferences. Place identifying tags on products, articles, etc. so that results displayed will be relevant to customer needs.</p> <p><strong>3. Specialized Skills are Required to Create Custom Products</strong></p> <p>Customers are eager to create customized items, such as photo books of special events, t-shirts for recreational sports team, and party invitations. But they become frustrated with myriad choices and complex design processes. You may have pushed too many design decisions to the customer, whereas the customer is expecting design expertise from your business.</p> <p>Sure, your website is super-functional and allows customers to make intricate designs with out-the-ordinary specifications for colors, placement, etc. But the plethora of possibilities for uniqueness is not as highly valued as speed and simplicity.</p> <p><i>Solution: </i>Create a design process that allows quick uploading of artwork along with simple selection of templates for a custom look. Give options for customizing the final product but make choices obvious. Keep selections to a minimum. List the number of design steps and show customers where they are in the process to encourage completion rather than abandonment in the middle of a project or close to its finish.</p> <p><strong>4. Your Username and Password Conventions are Complicated</strong></p> <p>If your username and password requirements are stringent (e.g., &ldquo;must contain at least one capital letter, one symbol, one lowercase letter, and one number&rdquo;), then customers can&rsquo;t use their default names (the ones they use for most websites) and tend to forget their login information. And if they can&rsquo;t recall these details without effort and a lengthy password-recovery process, then they won&rsquo;t be able to use your website. And if they can&rsquo;t get the information they need, then they will most likely move along to another, easier-to-access source very quickly.</p> <p><i>Solution: </i>Unless your business deals with highly confidential information (such as financial or healthcare data), forgo quirky requirements that are more likely to block customers than encourage exploration. Match the strengths of username and password barriers to the sensitivity of stored information and the premium nature of content.</p> <p><strong>5. You are not Listening&hellip;Enough</strong></p> <p>As always, offline and online, pay attention to your customers. No matter how much upfront effort you have dedicated to the design of your website, understand that you may need to make adjustments after its launch. Listen, observe, and notice patterns. Pinpoint obstacles to successful interaction. Fix what doesn&rsquo;t work for customers</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-reasons-your-customers-arent-using-your-website">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-sites-to-shop-for-affordable-cool-jewelry">10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable, Cool Jewelry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center ecommerce online retail online sales small business user focused design website website usability Sat, 15 Oct 2011 18:14:22 +0000 Julie Rains 747235 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Steps to a Landing Page That Converts Like Crazy http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-steps-to-a-landing-page-that-converts-like-crazy <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-steps-to-a-landing-page-that-converts-like-crazy-heather-allard" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/5-steps-to-a-landing-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-steps-to-a-landing-page-that-converts-like-crazy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014814825Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're an online seller, your landing page is &quot;where it all begins.&quot;</p> <p>Just so we're all on the same&hellip;page, a landing page is &ldquo;any page on a website where traffic is sent specifically to prompt a certain action or result.&rdquo;For our purposes, we&rsquo;ll say that action or result is the <i>sale</i> of a product.</p> <p>Now let's make sure it converts like crazy.</p> <h3>1. Define your sales goal.</h3> <p>Step number one is easy. Decide what you want your visitors to buy once they've reached your landing page and then follow the next four steps to support that goal.</p> <h3>2. Keep it simple.</h3> <p>According to marketing experts, &quot;A confused mind always says no.&quot;</p> <p>What they mean is that confused customers won't buy. So save your customers from confusion by eliminating clutter and &quot;off ramps&quot; that will distract them from buying.</p> <ul> <li>Remove external links and &ldquo;Links&rdquo; pages. The last thing you want to do is send your visitors to someone else&rsquo;s site;</li> <li>Say sayonara to social media links that act as an &quot;off ramp.&quot; You want visitors to buy from you, not follow you on Twitter. Social media should be used to drive customers <i>to</i> your site, not away from it;</li> <li>Ditch any polls, CPC ads, images and text that do not channel visitors to your sales goal. The fewer distractions, the better.</li> </ul> <h3>3. Put the blinders on.</h3> <p>Once visitors have &quot;landed&quot; on your site, start moving them towards a purchase by using compelling copy, graphics and video. That means:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Copy, images and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/03/use-video-to-sell-more/">video</a> that <b>clearly show the features and benefits</b> of your product and entice visitors to your buy page;</li> <li>Sales copy, images and video should be placed <i>above the fold</i> &mdash; this is the upper part of your site, before a visitor has to &ldquo;mouse,&rdquo; or scroll down;</li> <li>Use your sidebars to link to pages that will help a visitor move quickly and confidently to a purchase. For example, a &ldquo;Testimonials&rdquo; page eases buyer anxiety, a &ldquo;Press&rdquo; page proves that your product is adored by the public, an &ldquo;About&rdquo; page shows that you, the product creator, identify with your visitor, and a &ldquo;Buy Now&rdquo; page drives them to, well&hellip;BUY NOW.</li> </ul> <h3>4. Help visitors buy easily.</h3> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve convinced visitors that they absolutely cannot live without your product, don&rsquo;t lose the sale because of a clumsy, risky or hard to find buying page.</p> <ul> <li>Display your &quot;Purchase&quot; page prominently in the sales copy, in your navigation menu and even on the sidebar;</li> <li>Help your buyers feel safe buying by using a secure shopping cart or payment processing service like Paypal;</li> <li>Make your purchase information input form fast and easy, not frustrating. Ask for only the minimum information required to complete the sale, enable tabbing from field to field, and allow buyers to save their information for future purchases.</li> </ul> <h3>5. Put it under the Googlescope.</h3> <p>Now that you&rsquo;ve created a killer landing page, measure its&rsquo; effectiveness with Google Analytics.</p> <p>Here's what you should be looking at:</p> <ul> <li>Monthly visitors &ndash; how many potential customers visit your site each month?</li> <li>Traffic sources &ndash; where are your visitors coming from? What sites are sending them to yours? What keywords are they searching on to get to your landing page? What ads have you placed on other sites that are driving visitors effectively?</li> <li>Bounce rate, or the percentage of single-page visits. Are your visitors clicking around and making their way to your Buy page or are they leaving immediately?</li> <li>Exits &ndash; where are your visitors leaving from? Your landing page? Your Buy page? This will help you see potential cracks in your landing page;</li> <li>Conversions &ndash; you can <a target="_blank" href="http://www.themogulmom.com/2011/03/goals-google-analytics/">set up &ldquo;goals&rdquo; on Google Analytics</a>, which is a chain of actions that leads to a conversion, otherwise known as a sale. Then, you can find out what percentage of your monthly visitors are buying.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heather-allard">Heather Allard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-steps-to-a-landing-page-that-converts-like-crazy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology convert page hits ecommerce google analytics home page hits internet sales landing page small business website Tue, 12 Apr 2011 21:05:15 +0000 Heather Allard 515909 at http://www.wisebread.com Smart Web Design Will Boost Your Brand Building http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/smart-web-design-will-boost-your-brand-building <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/smart-web-design-will-boost-your-brand-building-chris-birk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/smart-web-design-wil...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/smart-web-design-will-boost-your-brand-building" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012961401XSmall.jpg" alt="website design" title="website design" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="212" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The web isn't the only avenue for developing and building a successful brand, but it's increasingly becoming the most important for an array of businesses big and small.</p> <p>Consumers considering a purchase now turn to the Internet like they would to a trusted confidante. Separate surveys this spring suggest that anywhere from 75 percent (Deloitte) to 97 percent (BIA/Kelsey Group) of consumers go online for product or company information before pulling the trigger. More than ever, cultivating a powerful, credible and authoritative brand online is a critical element of long-term competition, no matter the field &mdash; and that's why the look, the feel and the focus of your website is so important.</p> <p>How couldn't it be? Scores of prospective consumers are streaming online in search of information, of reassurance, about your products and services. A shoddy, ill-conceived or simply unappealing website is one of the quickest ways to scare off potential customers.</p> <p>Consumers and the search engines alike reward strong branding. Entrepreneurs and business leaders who fail to reconcile the critical role website design plays in establishing and then reinforcing a business brand flout common sense at their own peril.&nbsp;Here are four considerations in the pursuit of better branding.</p> <h3>Win the First Impression War</h3> <p>Content may be king but appearance is still everything. Perception is reality when it comes to credibility online, and a site that looks unprofessional or still stuck in 1998 broadcasts all the wrong things to prospective consumers.</p> <p>A site visitor who couldn't tell a U/I from a UFO can spot a stale, cluttered or otherwise problematic website in fractions of a second. Compounding the peril, usability studies have showed that those snap judgments can affect all future perceptions of your site. Science folks refer to the concept as <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/c/confirmation_bias.htm">confirmation bias</a> and it basically means this: If you think a site is bad, you'll look for evidence that confirms your first impression and ignore the good stuff that contradicts it.</p> <p>Here's the bottom line for business owners: Don't lose the first impression battle, because it's really a one-battle war. Hire a web designer. At the very least, shell out some cash for a more specialized template like the <a href="http://diythemes.com/">Thesis Theme framework</a>.</p> <h3>Develop and Strategically Display a Logo</h3> <p>&quot;A first-time visitor to your site should be able to make an immediate connection to your logo, understand what your company is about and remember it,&quot; says Adam Strong, co-founder of Logo.com, an online service that provides <a href="http://logo.com/">custom logo design</a>. &quot;Color, fonts, placement, scale &mdash; all of these play a role in conveying that message.&quot;</p> <p>So, first, invest in a quality logo, whether it's done in-house or beyond. Second, recognize the reality that where and how you place that logo on your site is almost as important as its appearance and potency.</p> <p>Consumers don't read web pages; they scan them, like a highway driver reading billboards at 60 mph. Multiple eye-tracking studies have borne out a general pattern of eye movement, known as the <a href="http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html">F-pattern</a>. Keep your logo in that field of view. Make it <a href="http://www.mint.com/023b/">large enough to clearly identify</a> but not overpowering to viewers. Use it to draw viewers to your pertinent content or calls to action.</p> <h3>Color and the Call to Action</h3> <p>In short, color matters, from the dominant ones that enliven your site to the shade of your &quot;Buy Now&quot; button. Colors affect emotion. Does the <a href="http://www.fuelyourcreativity.com/files/Facebook.jpg">Facebook logo swathed in red</a> connote a different feeling than its standard blue? How about a <a href="http://www.fuelyourcreativity.com/files/Target.jpg">green Target logo</a> instead of the ubiquitous red?</p> <p>Consider the meaning and potential effects behind your color choices. At the same time, color can also prove a key tool in the fight to maximize conversions. Test different colors on buttons and calls to action (bright colors often work best). Use color strategically, consistently and with an eye toward provoking a specific response.</p> <h3>Consistency Across Media</h3> <p>Strive for uniformity, from your color scheme and fonts to page organization and image sizes. Visitors find comfort in the familiar and can quickly orient themselves if moving among multiple pages. Repetition also aids memory, and that consistency exudes a sense of order and authority.</p> <p>Make sure those core design elements make the leap from the web to traditional print materials like brochures and business cards. The last thing you need is a logo or color discrepancy between business cards and your website.</p> <p>&quot;A lot of businesses begin as web-only and designing a logo with that in mind gives them a greater amount of freedom,&quot; Strong says. &quot;They may soon discover that logo doesn't work too well offline.&quot;</p> <h3>Landing Pages</h3> <p>Your home page doesn't have to be all things to all people. In fact, it shouldn't be. Create uniquely tailored landing pages that retain the core design and branding elements running throughout your site. Test and tweak these like crazy, playing with the size and types of images, fonts and colors (as well as their absence). Keep a similar sense of continuity between your advertisements and your landing pages.</p> <p>These targeted destinations are crucial in terms of both branding and the bottom line.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/smart-web-design-will-boost-your-brand-building">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-improve-your-online-reputation">6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology branding marketing small business web design website Thu, 18 Nov 2010 00:01:17 +0000 Chris Birk 281106 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons a Website Can Suck and How To Fix It http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it-tom-harnish" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/6-reasons-a-website-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002510177XSmall.jpg" alt="people gathered" title="people gathered" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Never, ever, tell someone their baby is ugly &mdash; or worse, their website.</p> <p>Granted, there are a lot of <em>really</em> bad websites out there. As a writer and poster-child for ADD, I spend a lot of time online and have seen them myself.</p> <p>I'd be rich if I had ten bucks for every writer's website that had spelling and grammar errors. I'd be even richer if I had ten bucks for every SEO website that wasn't even on Google's radar, but brags how it'll get you at the top of search results.&nbsp;</p> <p>For some reason, people just don't want to know their website sucks, but what <em>were</em> they thinking? Here are six red flags that <em>your</em>&nbsp;website isn't doing so well and what you can do to fix it.</p> <h3>No Contact Information</h3> <p>Put contact information on every page. There are a lot of sites that, apparently, just don't want people to contact them. &quot;ADD TO CART and don't bother&quot; me seems to be the message, but sales are based on product knowledge and trust. (OK, and price.) When your customer can't see you or a real, live representative, how are they going to learn to trust you?</p> <p>It shouldn't have to be pointed out, but for crying out loud, put your area code on your phone number! Are we supposed to guess where you're located, especially if you don't give us an address?</p> <h3>No Place for Feedback</h3> <p>One of the reasons Amazon became so successful selling books was readers were able to see what other book buyers thought before they bought a book. That's been an important component of Netflix's success, too.</p> <p>Social media sites include &quot;I Like&quot; buttons. Wordpress makes it easy for web developers to allow site visitors to leave comments. Shopping cart software usually has a &quot;star rating&quot; feature so buyers can leave feedback. Use these tools.</p> <p>Make sure there's a way you can quickly fix unhappy customers. It's true no one can hear you scream in space, but everyone <em>can</em> hear people scream in cyberspace. If you don't have a way to communicate with dissatisfied customers and make sure whatever their problem is is solved, they <em>will</em> let the world know about it. See <a href="http://untied.com/">Untied.com</a>, for example. Not United Airlines &mdash; Un-tied Airlines.</p> <h3>Out-of-date Information</h3> <p>The world's a rapidly changing place, and the web is accelerating the process. A yellow pages ad might have been OK for six months or a year because all it really was designed to do was say, &quot;We're here!&quot; People could also visit your store, read your newspaper ads, and maybe see your trucks drive past.</p> <p>However, your website may be the only store, advertising, and signs you have. So your site <em>must</em> tell your customers everything they need to know to buy from you today. If you've added a new product or service, how will they know if it's not on the site? If you've discontinued a line, it's perhaps even more important that your website makes that clear and offers an alternative. If you don't, you may end up having to handle refunds <em>and</em> lose a sale.</p> <h3>Unprofessional</h3> <p>Business owners will eagerly find a professional to design a business card, brochure, or ad for them; but apparently, they are perfectly willing to try to design and build their website themselves. The result is not pretty.</p> <p>They use flashing logos, marching ants, blaring music, and IM-style writing such as ROFLMAO and OMG. It's jarring at best and obnoxious at worst.&nbsp;You shouldn't even use acronyms such as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or DIY (Do It Yourself), or IM (Instant Messaging), for that matter. Some people won't know what they mean. Research shows that people spend less than 10 seconds scanning a page. If they don't find what they want or they don't understand, you've lost them.</p> <p>You're supposed to be running a business, not building websites. Go to <a href="http://vworker.com/">vWorker.com</a>, <a href="http://elance.com/">Elance.com</a>, or <a href="http://odesk.com/">oDesk.com</a> and find someone who can design a good website and someone who can build a good website. They may be two different people, but they know a lot of things you don't &mdash; and don't need to.</p> <h3>Doesn't Meet Variety of Needs</h3> <p>Some people will visit looking for products, some for price, some for location, some for a phone number or email address &mdash; but how about reporters? Wouldn't you be delighted to be in a spot on the evening news about innovative new companies or the best service in town? Make it easy for reporters, too, when they visit your site. Include a media page with an electronic press kit, and offer some story ideas.</p> <p>My wife and I used to run an aviation sightseeing business, and we dreamed up funny names for our flights such as the Dapper Duffer Aerial Golf Tour and The Red Baron Thrill Ride. We wrote descriptions of them in press release format and put them on our website along with about 20 story ideas. In a matter days magazines, newspapers, TV shows across the country (all over the world, actually), and even the <a href="http://www.sandiego.org/article/Visitors/385">local tourist bureau</a> were running stories based on them. All at no cost to us.</p> <h3>Sends the Wrong Brand Message</h3> <p>No, by brand we don't mean the hot iron poker you use to mark your cattle, cowboy. We don't mean the logo or graphics you use, either. We're talking about the whole experience: What people picture when they think about your company.</p> <p>Our flying business was flying but our brand was fun. So when someone called, on the rare occasion we had to make them wait on hold, we told them, &quot;We're busier than a one armed wing walker with a wedgie, but hang on, and we'll be right with you.&quot;</p> <p>Our website reflected the same sense of fun with a disclaimer at the bottom that said, &quot;We're not responsible for kids who fidget, fuzzy directions, blatant localism, ants, crabby spouses, slow traffic, bad hair days, or earthquakes greater than 2.0 magnitude.&quot; The website added to the flavor of our business, and it produced 40% of our revenue.</p> <p>There are lots of reasons a website can suck, but yours doesn't have to. Find a professional to help make sure your site communicates, is easy to use, and reflects the spirit &mdash; the brand &mdash; of your company. Button-down professional, silly fun, or interesting science, your website is who you are. You don't suck, or you wouldn't be here reading this. Don't let your website make folks think you do.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-reasons-a-website-can-suck-and-how-to-fix-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-improve-your-online-reputation">6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Online Reputation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Technology branding marketing small business web design website Sun, 14 Nov 2010 19:14:11 +0000 Tom Harnish 283249 at http://www.wisebread.com Website 101: How to Build a Site and Get It Online http://www.wisebread.com/website-101-how-to-build-a-site-and-get-it-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/website-101-how-to-build-a-site-and-get-it-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004384999XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the technology-challenged person, the idea of creating your own website may seem overwhelming, perhaps even impossible. This is why a lot of people hire web designers. Unfortunately, not only do web designers cost a lot of money, but they often keep your website's files and maintain the site themselves, meaning that you have to wait for their availability and pay them more money every time you want to make another change to your website.</p> <p>Building and putting a website online doesn't have to be difficult or complicated, though. If you are willing to do a little mental gymnastics and learn a few tricks, you can build a simple website on your own and publish it to your server yourself. Here are a few simple tips for do-it-yourselfers.</p> <h3>Get Your Domain Name and Hosting</h3> <p>While you may choose to wait to purchase hosting for your website until you are ready to publish it to the Internet, you should get your domain name as soon as possible. The reason for this is that anyone could take your idea for a domain name in the meantime. It doesn't cost very much to register a domain name for a year, usually about $10 or less depending on whether it ends in .com or something else, and it will keep someone else from taking your idea for a name while you are working on your website.</p> <p>As for hosting, there are a lot of web hosts to choose from. While this article won't go into detail on the criteria for making that decision, you do need to be sure the service you choose allows you to upload files via FTP. Some web hosts also offer website-building software, but you will pay more for these, and as you will see in the next section, they are not really necessary.</p> <h3>Build Your Website</h3> <p>There are a number of ways to build your website. You could use the website builder or templates your web host offers, but you will probably need to pay more for that. You could also purchase a program that will help you to build your own website, such as Microsoft FrontPage. Or, with a little time and work on your part, you can do it for free.</p> <p>If you search online for free website templates, you will actually find that there are many to choose from. (You can also buy templates at a minimal cost, but with all the free ones available, why bother?) A template sets up the website's design for you so that all you have to do is fill in the text on each page. To do this you will need to:</p> <ul> <li>Copy the file for every page you need (e.g., Index/Home, About, Services, etc.) and name each file accordingly (one-word file names with no spaces work best).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open each page in Notebook or another text editor so that you can see the code.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Locate the header information and change it to reflect your website's name and URL.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find the location of the page's text and replace the placeholder text with your own.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Name all of the buttons in the sidebar or top nav bar, and replace each placeholder link with the link to the correct Web address (e.g., http:&frasl;&frasl;www.yourwebsite.com&frasl;about.html).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Search each page (control + F) for &quot;meta title&quot; and name the page &mdash; you can also provide a description and keywords in this section that will be picked up by search engines.</li> </ul> <p>To do all of this, you will need to have a basic understanding of HTML, such as the code for text formatting (paragraphs, bold, italics, etc.) and the code for links and images. All of this is relatively easy, and you should be able to learn what you need by reading a few tutorials online. If you get stuck while working on your website, just do a quick Google search to find the code or explanation you need. You can check your page by saving your edits in your text editor, then opening the file in your web browser to see what the page will look like when someone views it on the Internet.</p> <p>Some website templates have a separate file that acts as a style guide for every page on your website. In this file you'll find the code that controls the colors, images, and other details that are the same on every page, and you might find the sidebar or top nav bar menus in this file as well. If your knowledge of HTML is pretty good, or if you are an ambitious do-it-yourselfer, you might want to tinker with this file to customize your template a little.</p> <h3>Upload the Files</h3> <p>Once you have finished writing the text on your website and fixing all the links in the template, you are ready to upload. This is when FTP comes in handy. If your web host has a good user interface, you can sign into your account and upload the files from your dashboard.&nbsp;If you use Windows, you can also create a network connection (You can find this in My Network Places in XP or by clicking Map Network Drive in Windows 7 and Vista), which will allow you to drag and drop your files from your computer onto your website's server. Fancy programs to help you publish your website to your server are completely unnecessary!</p> <h3>Are You a Do-It-Yourselfer?</h3> <p>If you are reading this article, most likely you are the kind of person who takes an interest in doing things yourself, even if it means rolling up your sleeves and learning to do something new. Building your own website can seem like a big project, and you are likely to feel overwhelmed occasionally while working on it, but there is no reason you can't do it yourself! All you need is the time and dedication to learn what you need to know.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Jason Kay. Jason has created dozens of websites in the last few years by using website builder software. He started <a href="http://easywebsitebuilders.net/">EasyWebsiteBuilders.net</a> to provide a single online resource for finding and comparing website builder services. For more resources:</p> <ul> <li>Create your own website with no programming by using an online <a href="http://www.easywebsitebuilders.net/">website builder</a>.</li> <li>Find and compare <a href="http://www.cheaphostingsites.org/">cheap web hosting</a> plans.</li> <li>Learn more about starting and running a <a href="http://www.easyhomeinternetbusiness.com/">home internet business</a>.</li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-kay">Jason Kay</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/website-101-how-to-build-a-site-and-get-it-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-cable-to-control-your-android-phone-while-you-drive">Build a Cable to Control Your Android Phone While You Drive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-refill-an-ink-cartridge-with-a-small-piece-of-tape">How to refill an ink cartridge with a small piece of tape</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-computer-faster">Make Your Computer Faster Instead of Buying a New One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Technology how to tech advice website Sat, 06 Nov 2010 17:36:36 +0000 Jason Kay 280436 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Own a Domain Name That’s Worth a Fortune? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/344255312_d77659f6dd.jpg" alt="domain name speculation" title="domain name speculation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="236" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Chances are, many of you reading this already own a few domain names. At around $8 a year these days, they're cheap enough. I own several, usually because I have a &quot;bright&quot; idea that I think would make an awesome product or website and snag the domain name before someone else does. Then it sits there gathering internet dust.</p> <p>Many people do the same as I do, and then forget about those websites. The option to auto-renew makes it very easy to sit on a website name for years and not even remember that you own it. And some of those domains can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even millions.</p> <p>A highly publicized example of this was the sale of the domain name sex.com a few years ago. That particular domain name sold for $14 million dollars! That was clearly going to be a very popular web address considering the amount of money the online pornography industry is worth. I am by no means suggesting you go out and buy smutty web addresses, by the way. No, there is money to be made from any web address if the right person is in the market for it.</p> <p>A friend of a co-worker of mine recently sold a domain name he bought back in 1994. He received over $100,000 for it. Not bad for an $8/year investment. Do a little searching on the internet and you can find many examples of this. But how do you know if you have one of these domain name goldmines?</p> <p>Well, first, use a little common sense. If you look into your archive and see a domain name that is a short, popular word, it's going to be valuable. Three-, four-, five-, and six-letter word domains are generally very difficult to come by these days. If you have one, consider putting it up for sale. An auction site like <a href="http://sedo.com/us/home/getting-started/?tracked=&amp;partnerid=&amp;language=us">sedo.com </a>is a great way to sell off your domains, minus a small percentage for the service.</p> <p>Next, remember that .com addresses are still the most sought after. The .info, .tv, .net and .org addresses can still be worth a ton of money though, so don't rule them out. But generally speaking, .com is where the money is.</p> <p>If the domain name you own isn't obviously popular, it still doesn't mean it's not valuable. You could have a made-up word like &quot;plunty&quot; or &quot;gigazig,&quot; and although it's meaningless, it could be the next Napster or Starbucks. If you put it up for sale, you may be surprised to find that a startup business wants it.</p> <p>There is also a growing business in domain name speculation. This is NOT cybersquatting, which is buying a domain name with the bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else. For instance, buying nikeshoes.com and waiting for a big fat check from Nike.</p> <p>This is speculation, pure and simple. You buy a domain name that's free and hope that someday you can sell it for a profit. For instance, I could see if &quot;gigazig.com&quot; is free, and if it is, I could snap it up. It will probably be worth nothing for many years, but hey, you never know. For a while I owned &quot;goalfrenzy.com,&quot; which was going to be a website dedicated to the best goals from soccer matches around the world. Of course, I never got around to creating the site and the domain name expired. Who knows, though. If I held on to it and a magazine or TV show appeared called Goal Frenzy, then that domain would now be worth cash.</p> <p>So, if you have a few domains sitting around doing nothing, go and check them out. Maybe you're sitting on something that could be worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Good luck to you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-vs-ebay-where-to-sell-10-common-items">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-vista-hack-to-get-you-browsing-at-high-speed-again">Quick Vista Hack to Get You Browsing at High-Speed Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-easy-money-and-learn-a-thing-or-two-about-website-design">Make Easy Money and Learn a Thing or Two About Website Design</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Technology domain name get rich Internet money making speculation website Mon, 30 Aug 2010 12:00:09 +0000 Paul Michael 221747 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways that Your Small Business Site Might Be Failing http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-that-your-small-business-site-might-be-failing <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/5-ways-that-your-small-business-site-might-be-failing-glen-stansberry" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/5-ways-that-your-sma...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-that-your-small-business-site-might-be-failing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/yoursite.jpg" alt="website" title="website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="173" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Small business websites, as a whole, have some major room for improvement. Maybe it's because many companies don't know what to put on their site, or maybe it's because people still think of small biz websites as &quot;digital business cards.&quot; A company's website should be a priority, not an afterthought. More and more people are using the web to research companies and products, and if your site doesn't appeal to online searchers, you might lose a sale. There are plenty of ways that small business sites can improve. Here are five of the most common mistakes that small business owners make.</p> <p><strong>1. You don't fill out your about page</strong></p> <p>The about page for most small businesses is, at best, a contact page. However, the customer might want to know more about your company if they're thinking about spending money on your products or services. Aside from all the contact info and addresses, you could also include these elements:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Company values.</strong> If a customer is on the fence about choosing your services, knowing more about what your company believes and does could be the thing that convinces them.</li> <li><strong>The company's story.</strong> Each company has a different story, right? Tell it! How were you founded? Is there anything interesting about the history of the company? All of these things might be valuable to the customer. After all, <a href="http://www.copyblogger.com/how-to-write-a-story/">nothing sells like a good story</a>.</li> <li><strong>What your company <em>actually does</em>.</strong> Sounds crazy, but many small biz sites don't really give clues as to the services they provide. (More on this below.)</li> <li><strong>Pictures.</strong> Pictures are a great way to add a personal touch to a business. Pictures of team members, founders, buildings, offices, etc. Heck, even pictures of happy customers can help spruce up the about page.</li> </ul> <p>There are plenty of other things that a small business could add to their about page, but the idea is to show that the company is more than a site or a building. About pages are excellent places to show the human element of the company. For more ideas, check out Smashing Magazine's excellent article on <a href="http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/01/best-practices-for-effective-design-of-about-us-pages/">effective about pages</a>.</p> <p><strong>2. You don't actually say what your business does</strong></p> <p>It's crazy, I know. But many small business websites don't explicitly explain what services they provide. And if they actually do, it's buried on the about page, or some other secondary page. What your company does should be above the fold, and where the customer doesn't have to look for it. Web visitors are becoming increasingly fickle, spending less than a few seconds before they've decided to click away from your site.</p> <p>Your company's description should also be on nearly every page, not just the homepage. A good portion of the search traffic to sites bypasses the homepage and lands on a secondary page. So it's important that all of your visitors have the opportunity to see what your company does. Also, when you're describing your company, lose the jargon. Like we mentioned earlier, you only have seconds to &quot;hook&quot; the visitor. If they're confused, or something doesn't make sense in your company's description, they're back to Google faster than you can say &quot;L-L-C.&quot;</p> <p><strong>3. You don't strut your stuff</strong></p> <p>Who have you worked with? What have you done for your clients? What have they said about you? Have you won any awards? These are things that your site visitors should be seeing. They need to know that your company has experience, and you're good at what you do. Aside from showcasing your accomplishments, it's also vital to <em>let others praise you</em>. After all, there's no better recommendation than from a <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">satisfied customer</a>. Testimonials can make all the difference. Testimonials allow your business to showcase accomplishments <em>without saying a single word</em>. Powerful and effective.</p> <p><strong>4. You don't capitalize on social media</strong></p> <p>Sorry folks, but social media is here and it's powerful. If your business doesn't have an <em>active</em> Twitter account and <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/how-to-build-a-facebook-landing-page-for-your-business-matt-silverman">Facebook page</a>, then you're already behind the competition. There are plenty of <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/75-top-twitter-tips-from-todays-small-business-moms-linsey-knerl">success stories</a> of companies capitalizing on Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. They aid in customer support, and they give yet another element to your site. Social media can be powerful for small businesses and <a title="ecommerce social media tips" href="http://www.toprankblog.com/2010/05/10-essential-social-media-tips-for-ecommerce-sites/">ecommerce sites</a>, and it's becoming more and more vital for companies to embrace it.</p> <p><strong>5. You aren't blogging</strong></p> <p>Unless you've got an ad budget the size of Utah and can buy Super Bowl ads, you need more <em>online</em> exposure. One of the best ways to acquire it is with a blog. A general rule is that the more pages your site has in Google's index, the more traffic you'll receive. Blogs are an excellent way to add more volume to your site that search engines can consume. Each page you create gives Google another reason to visit your site, and adds more keywords that potential searchers can find your site with. Aside from the SEO benefits, regular posting on a company blog means that you can <strong>showcase your expertise</strong>. Show the world that you're an expert, and they'll buy from you. They'll trust you, and they'll trust your products and services. For example, the online personal finance tool <a href="http://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> drives tons of targeted traffic to their <a href="http://www.mint.com/blog/">blog</a>.</p> <p>Or you could use your blog to highlight company and product news. These types of company news articles are great ways to keep people coming back to your site and excited about what you're working on. Google does this with different <a href="http://www.google.com/press/blogs/directory.html">company blogs</a> for most of their products. This allows Google to keep users of each of these products on top of recent changes and other product news. Small businesses are at a major disadvantage at competing with major companies when it comes to PR, time and manpower. Blogging helps even the playing field. Anyone can blog. They're easy to set up, easy to use, and can either be professionally written or informal. Remember, your small business site isn't a business card, it's a <strong>resource for your potential customers</strong>. Your company will never go wrong investing more resources into a better website.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-that-your-small-business-site-might-be-failing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-all-successful-freelancers-do">10 Things All Successful Freelancers Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-one-skill-you-need-if-you-want-to-work-for-yourself">This Is the One Skill You Need If You Want to Work for Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center SEO small business website Sat, 05 Jun 2010 15:55:42 +0000 Glen Stansberry 105761 at http://www.wisebread.com Write for money online - Part 5 - Your own blog or website http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/write.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In parts one through four I reviewed various revenue sharing websites.&nbsp; There are actually many more of these sites out there that share a part of their revenue as long as you provide the content. So in this final portion I will write about the pros and cons of earning from your own website or blog.</p> <p><strong>Pros</strong></p> <ul> <li>You do not have to share your revenue with anyone!&nbsp; What you earn on your own website is all yours.&nbsp; This is probably the best thing about writing for your own site.</li> <li>You get to write in any format you want and write anything you want.&nbsp; You are not restricted to the formats of any revenue share site.</li> <li>You own all the rights to your writing and you can resell your writing to other sites or people that accept it.</li> <li>The look and feel of your own website is your choice.&nbsp; You can do anything with it to express yourself.</li> <li>The advertisements on your site can be chosen by yourself. You can promote your favorite products.</li> <li>You get to see where your visitors are coming from.</li> <li>You can use your writing to build a brand for yourself.</li> </ul> <p><strong><br /> Cons</strong></p> <ul> <li>It takes time and patience for you to build traffic to your own blog and monetize it properly.&nbsp; It actually took me about six months of blogging before I saw a single cent.&nbsp; Basically you need to put in considerable initial investment to get exposure.</li> <li>You need to have a little bit of technical knowhow to customize your website and place ads.&nbsp; Revenue share sites take care of the technical side of things.</li> <li>You may need to pay some upfront costs for web hosting or domain name registration.&nbsp; These costs are fairly&nbsp; minimal, but they might not be worthwhile for people who write only a couple articles a month.</li> <li>You will have to find advertising opportunities yourself.&nbsp; This also takes time, and many advertisers do not want to deal with small sites with very little traffic.</li> <li>You need to figure out how to accept payment and deliver advertisements<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>With that said, I think even if you have your own blogs you could still benefit from revenue sharing sites because you can promote your own websites through on the revenue sharing sites.&nbsp; You can use your revenue sharing sites' posts to build backlinks to your own website and gain&nbsp; search engine rankings, and also leverage the community of the revenue sharing sites to drive traffic to your own blog.&nbsp;</p> <p>My suggestion is to try a bit of everything if you want to write for money online.&nbsp; Some programs are easier than others to start writing in, and different people have different amounts of success in each revenue sharing site. &nbsp;&nbsp; Some programs such as Squidoo or Hubpages require you to promote your pages as if its your own blog to be successful, and in those cases I would say you should just&nbsp; promote the same article on your own website&nbsp; and keep all the money.&nbsp; The bottom line is that there are a lot of opportunities for you to showcase your writing and earn a little bit of cash online, and it is up to you to find out what works for you the best.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you missed the first four parts of this series.&nbsp; Here they are:</p> <p><a href="../../../../../../write-for-money-online-series-part-i-bukisa">Part I: Bukisa</a></p> <p><a href="../../../../../../write-for-money-online-series-part-ii-associated-content">Part II: Associated &nbsp;Content</a></p> <p><a href="../../../../../../write-for-money-online-series-part-3-ehowcom">Part III: eHow</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-4-mahalocom">Part IV: Mahalo</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify">Get Paid for your Psychic Skills at Predictify</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-ii-associated-content">Write for money online series - Part II - Associated Content</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youve-got-an-area-of-excellence-rich-can-be-arranged">“If you&#039;ve got an area of excellence…rich can be arranged.”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">Make Your Hobby Pay Its Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Art and Leisure blog blogging Making Extra Cash money website writing for money Fri, 13 Feb 2009 23:12:34 +0000 Xin Lu 2838 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pink-piggy-bank-with-mouse.jpg" alt="Smart piggy" title="Smart piggy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="279" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These ten websites help you save or make money in innovative ways, yet they are relatively unknown.&nbsp; We learned of these guys while doing research for the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/160239704X?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=160239704X">Wise Bread book</a> coming out in May.&nbsp; You've got your copy pre-ordered, right?&nbsp; Enjoy the list, and share with your friends!&nbsp; Don't forget to chime in with more money-saving sites in the comments.</p> <p>1. <strong><a href="http://zilok.com">Zilok</a></strong> - Weird name but incredibly cool concept. Zilok is basically &quot;eBay for rentals&quot;.&nbsp; You can rent your stuff out or rent someone else's stuff for a day. For owners, get more out of your purchases -- just a few rentals could pay for the item! For renters, you can save money by renting, instead of buying, seldomly used items. Stuff like canoes, laptops, cameras, cars, books, baby strollers, and everything in between is available for rent from someone near you.</p> <p>2. <strong><a href="http://shopittome.com/">Shop It To Me</a></strong> - It's like having your own personal shopper constantly on the lookout for sales!&nbsp; Rather than scour through all the deals on the web, create your own wish list of clothes, then wait for a bargain to appear. Select your size, brand, and other preferences, and Shop It To Me will email you when there's a relevant sale.&nbsp; This is perfect for lazy but cheap shoppers like me.</p> <p>3. <strong><a href="http://upromise.com">UPromise</a></strong> - Save money and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/college/saving-for-college" title="How to Save Money for College">build a college fund</a> at the same time. You get 1-25% back from shopping online through UPromise, or by shopping at over 30,000 offline restaurants, drug stores, and supermarkets. Your discounted savings can be automatically deposited into a 529 college savings plan.</p> <p>4. <strong><a href="http://covestor.com">Covestor</a></strong> - Covestor lets you follow the trades of top performing investors. Piggyback off proven winners to grow your wealth. If you're one of those proven winners, Covestor will pay you for every person who follows your stock trades.</p> <p>5. <strong><a href="http://beatthat.com/">BeatThat!</a></strong> - 100% community driven, this site rewards members for finding the lowest price with cold, hard cash. It's the perfect shortcut for deal hunters who don't want to run through multiple sites to verify the best price on a product.&nbsp; Because deal hounds all over the Web are getting bounties for finding better deals&nbsp;(versus a staff who may not be giving it 110%), you'll find some really great bargains here.&nbsp; And if you're one of those deal hounds, you could make some beer money for all that time you spend those deals sites.</p> <p>6. <strong><a href="http://freecycle.org">Freecycle</a></strong> - One man's trash is another man's treasure. Find your location and see if anyone is giving away something you need, and vice versa. What a great way to be green and frugal at the same time.</p> <p>7. <strong><a href="http://smarthippo.com">Smart Hippo</a></strong> - Crowdsource your mortgage rate research. Smart Hippo is a community of people who post their reviews of mortgages, banks, and lenders. You can use this information to find the best rates and loan officers in your area.</p> <p>8. <strong><a href="http://billshrink.com">BillShrink</a></strong> - Get a list of cell phone plans or credit cards that are better than what you have in less than 5 minutes. Answer a few questions about your current credit card or cell phone plan (or have BillShrink do it automatically by uploading your last statement), and BillShrink will recommend better phone plans or credit cards that fit your needs.</p> <p>9. <strong><a href="http://smartypig.com/">SmartyPig</a></strong> - Hands-free savings account for specific goals or purchases. You set a goal and choose the amount you want to contribute each month to reach that goal, and SmartyPig automatically pulls that amount from your checking account each month. You can make your goals public to friends and family, so they can contribute to your goal if they want to. Just like a savings account at your local bank, SmartyPig pays an interest on the money deposited and all deposits are insured by the FDIC. You can withdraw your money at any time via a debit card or electronic transfer.</p> <p>10. <a href="http://crossloop.com"><strong>CrossLoop</strong></a> - For finding PC help and/or getting paid to fix a PC problem.&nbsp; CrossLoop is a remote desktop application <em>and</em> marketplace.&nbsp; The help requester must give the helper a single-use code in order for the helper's computer to see and control the helpee's computer.&nbsp; This is great for fixing your parents computer, getting help fixing that nagging Windows issue, or make a few bucks helping others fix their PC problems.&nbsp; It's free to use CrossLoop.&nbsp; If you're a PC whiz, you can make money at the marketplace by helping those without geeky kids to help them.&nbsp; You can set your own rates and determine your own specific services.&nbsp; Windows only at the moment, but a Mac version is in development.</p> <p><em>Do you know of an obscure site that saves you a ton of cash?&nbsp; Well, don't keep it a secret!&nbsp; Please share in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/longtime-mac-users-punished-for-loyalty">Longtime Mac Users Punished for Loyalty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify">Get Paid for your Psychic Skills at Predictify</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-really-save-money-when-you-shop">How to Really Save Money When You Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-best-frozen-food-values">The 12 Best Frozen Food Values</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/always-buy-airfare-on-tuesdays-and-7-other-calendar-shopping-secrets">Always Buy Airfare on Tuesdays and 7 Other Calendar Shopping Secrets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping Technology saving money tools website Sun, 01 Feb 2009 23:25:13 +0000 Greg Go 2800 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Paid for your Psychic Skills at Predictify http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/predictify.GIF" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="228" height="68" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My ex-coworker told me that he is interviewing at a startup called <a href="https://www.predictify.com/registration.aspx?BATCHID=28971">Predictify</a> <a href="https://www.predictify.com/registration.aspx?BATCHID=28971"> </a> . He showed me their website and I was intrigued. Basically, the company lets you predict the outcomes of events that happen in the future, and if you are accurate about the outcome you could get paid for it. I decided to try it out.</p> <p>At Predictify you can stake your prediction on a variety of events including the outcomes of elections or the sale price of a house. You can even add questions you want answered for free. Each of the premium questions have a payout pot amount and a limit on how many people could guess. You also have to give a little demographic information such as gender and age, but the data collected is not linked to you personally. It is basically like taking an anonymous survey.</p> <p>For the questions with no payout, you earn community points and also rankings for your predictions. It is also fun to try out your divination skills and interact with people who care about the same issues. With your prediction you can add a comment explaining why you submitted your guess and you can change your prediction as long as the poll is not closed. </p> <p>The payout you receive at Predictify depends on how accurate your are and how early you sent out your prediction. So far two of my predictions closed and I was so off that I earned nothing. The top player right now has won over $200 and has participated in over 2000 predictions. I only participate in the premium questions so I have only done a few. There are new issues added every day and premium issues tend to be fill up quite quickly. This site definitely will not make a lot of money for you, but it is fun and you could get a little bit of pocket change.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-part-5-your-own-blog-or-website">Write for money online - Part 5 - Your own blog or website</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ten-tenets-for-arranging-your-rich-part-1-rich-is-relative">Ten Tenets for &quot;Arranging Your Rich&quot; - Part 1: Rich is Relative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/write-for-money-online-series-part-i-bukisa">Write for money online series - Part I - Bukisa</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology Art and Leisure Making Extra Cash money predictify predictions website Thu, 17 Apr 2008 03:09:52 +0000 Xin Lu 2016 at http://www.wisebread.com Woo-hoo for Wufoo! http://www.wisebread.com/woo-hoo-for-wufoo <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/woo-hoo-for-wufoo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wufoo.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="202" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many guys does it take to make the hassles of technology A LOT easier? Apparently only three really innovative ones.</p> <p>I recently felt the pressure by both peers and professionals to &ldquo;get a website.&rdquo; Well, as I discovered, it&rsquo;s not that easy to just &ldquo;get one.&rdquo; Not to mention that if you are going to have it, it might as well be useful. A simple homepage just sitting around isn&rsquo;t enough these days.</p> <p>Website marketing gurus will all agree that if you&rsquo;re not collecting information from visitors, your website is wasting away in cyberspace. So, after researching what seemed like a dozen options, I built my site in iWeb on my Mac. As a side note: some other options that seemed efficient and stylish were Homestead, Yahoo Site Builder and Website Tonight (by Go Daddy).</p> <p>After much tedious tinkering, I got my website and blog up and running. However, iWeb doesn&rsquo;t have a way to collect information. Enter Wufoo (<a title="www.wufoo.com" href="http://www.wufoo.com">www.wufoo.com</a>)! This program is free for the most basic version, and it&rsquo;s awesome. But if you want to upgrade, it's more than reasonable! Wufoo lets you easily (gotta love the drag and drop interface) create totally attractive and useful forms, surveys, registration forms for workshops or meetings, invitations and more to put on your website, or just use for personal stuff.</p> <p>You can customize them to fit the look and feel of your website. Not only that, but the back-end user panel is like a little worker bee in itself. You can organize the information, e-mail people you wan to fill out your forms, run reports and the list goes on. Stored information can be exported it into an Excel or other file to put all that good stuff to work. If you don&rsquo;t want to bother, it&rsquo;s no problem. Your form-building friends at Wufoo have it covered. They can e-mail you the entries or you can subscribe to them as an RSS feed.</p> <p>A newer feature allows you to take orders if you sell a product or service because they&rsquo;ve integrated with Paypal, Google Checkout and Authorize.net.</p> <p>It didn&rsquo;t occur to me until I was using it for my site, but this form building and organizing program is just as helpful for personal data too. Create a form to track your daily diet log, manage your to do lists, house inventory, etc. The possibilities are pretty much endless. Check out some of their examples at: <a title="http://wufoo.com/examples/" href="http://wufoo.com/examples/">http://wufoo.com/examples/</a>.</p> <p>Ok, by now you can clearly see I&rsquo;m pimping this product. I should state here and now, although it may seem like it, I don&rsquo;t work for them and have no affiliation. But, I would if they wanted to add a chick to their brainy trio.</p> <p>You&rsquo;re gonna have to see this one for yourself to believe it Wise Bread smarties. Go ahead. I dare you. Make one form and see if you can stop.</p> <p>You can check out the examples on my website at: <a title="www.amybscher.com" href="http://www.amybscher.com">www.amybscher.com</a>.<br /> I made a form on the contact page so no one would have my e-mail address. And, on my blog, I linked a form to a button that allows you to subscribe via e-mail to my blog.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-b-scher">Amy B. Scher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/woo-hoo-for-wufoo">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-innovative-but-obscure-sites-that-put-money-in-your-pocket">10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-spring-clean-your-pc">6 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your PC</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-paid-for-your-psychic-skills-at-predictify">Get Paid for your Psychic Skills at Predictify</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune">Do You Own a Domain Name That’s Worth a Fortune?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/website-101-how-to-build-a-site-and-get-it-online">Website 101: How to Build a Site and Get It Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology forms organize website Fri, 19 Oct 2007 15:29:11 +0000 Amy B. Scher 1302 at http://www.wisebread.com They're turning Paris Hilton's trash into cash. http://www.wisebread.com/theyre-turning-paris-hiltons-trash-into-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/theyre-turning-paris-hiltons-trash-into-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Picture_1_2.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="110" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a new website in town folks, and this one is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel. <a href="http://hollywoodstartrash.com/list.html">HollywoodStarTrash.com</a> has hit upon an idea that turns dumpster diving into something quite, well, distasteful. They rummage through the garbage cans of Hollywood biggest stars and sell what they find. And as always, the infamous Paris Hilton tops the list of star junk.</p> <p><strong>What's on sale, I hear you ask? The list is quite disturbing. </strong></p> <p>For $50 (starting price) you can get yourself this used Paris Hilton deodorant. Mmmm.</p> <p><img height="297" width="239" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/item023.jpg" alt="Deo" title="Deo" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For $100 (starting price) you can buy some used Paris Hilton envelopes. Great deal.</p> <p><img height="295" width="238" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/item016.jpg" alt="Envelopes" title="Envelopes" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For the same $100 (starting price) you could treat yourself to some grubby make-up puffs.</p> <p><img height="307" width="247" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/item030.jpg" alt="puffs" title="puffs" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And for a whopping $250 (starting price) how about Paris Hilton's drug prescription? Yes, they're serious.</p> <p><img height="339" width="273" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/item002.jpg" alt="Prescription" title="Prescription" /></p> <p><strong>SO, is all this just harmless profit? </strong><br /> Personally, I don't think so. Believe me, I have no love for Paris Hilton. I think certain celebrities are asking for a little punishment based on the the way they behave, and Hilton is the classic example of the 'media whore.' But to encourage digging through garbage for a soiled make-up puff or old prescription is just a sad indication of the times we live in.</p> <p>Are we so desperate for fame and celebrity that we'll do anything to get close to it? Even if that means buying trash? Well, the website lists many of the items it has already sold, including empty coke cans and used q-tips. If there's an audience, our Internet culture will guarantee a supplier.</p> <p>So I throw this out to you, the Wisebread readers. Would you buy trash from your favorite celebrity, or do you think it's just trash? I know one thing for sure. I wouldn't.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/theyre-turning-paris-hiltons-trash-into-cash">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eco-capitalism-how-to-make-money-from-garbage">Eco-Capitalism - How to make money from garbage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-teenager-started-a-multi-million-dollar-online-business-with-a-parrot">How a Teenager Started A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business with a Parrot. UPDATED</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hoopde-for-sale-starting-price-500-winning-bid-226521">Hoopde for sale. Starting price - $500. Winning bid - $226,521.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-launder-money">How to Launder Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks auction business celebrity garbage money money for nothing trash website Wed, 18 Jul 2007 17:59:26 +0000 Paul Michael 859 at http://www.wisebread.com