Monthly Archive: April 2012

Apr 16

Tools You Can Use To Build Your Business

Free Tools You Can Use To Build Your Business

Project Management

Google Apps- Surprised? Don’t be. This is exactly what I use to track my projects – well sort of I also use it conjunction with Google Calendar and Docs.
Just to be clear though, I use Google Apps for my day to day business management and not the normal Gmail.

Web Based Productivity Suites

These are systems that provide your business with fully hosted web mail, team chat or collaboration, online office suites like spreadsheets, word processor and presentation tools. You can also build internal wikis and web sites with them.
GoogleApps
Email Marketing
Email marketing is the corner stone of every online business regardless whether your product is physical,
electronic or content based. There are tons of free scripts out there that claim to be able to do the work for you.
Stay away from them! Seriously. I’ve been burned badly by those you can read all about it if you wish.
The following are services we found that are fully hosted meaning the software and deliverability is all on the
service providers. This is important because the last thing you want is to have your Internet or web hosting
account shut down because of your mass mailing activities.

MailChimp – 100 subscribers, can only mail out 6 times a month and a MailChimp logo is added to all your
emails.They have great tutorials and support forum. They also have a paid version. I find the free version is robust enough for all my business needs.

Aweber  they have been in this business for a long time. They have good deliverability rates to make sure your emails get through. It’s not free but they are one of the longest staying and reputable ones around. They do have a trial version you can use out to see if this is the product your business needs.

Shopping Cart or Checkout Systems
That’s why we’re in business right? To sell something? These shopping carts offer free basic accounts.  A WordPress plugin is a lot easier to handle than installing a stand alone shopping cart system when you’re new to this stuff.
MarketPress is an easy to use, best designed and most powerful ecommerce / shopping cart plugin available for WordPress today.

Blogs

Some things need to be hosted yourself for maximum benefit and growth of your business.
WordPress is what I recommend and pretty much the only thing I use on all my sites. I do not recommend
WordPress.com because they have strict rules about advertising and more. I also don’t recommend Blogger
anymore because of the lack of control. Blogger has also been known to delete blogs ‘by mistake’. You definitely
don’t need that kind of agitation. You can get free themes but I recommend getting a paid theme as these will give on going support and forums to help with editing and setting up the blog.

Appointment Scheduling
GenBook – You have to pay for this but can get a trial version

Google Apps  Appointy – Appointment Scheduling Software | Online Scheduler (FREE)

Invoicing

Billing Boss - is a totally free invoicing application with pretty features. The user can easily keep track of billings and payments. Account at Billing Boss can be integrated with  PayPal. In result, customers can pay your invoice online immediately.  Further, the mobile version of web interface is also available to interact with application on iPhone or G1.

Apr 16

Business Systems Are the thing

According to the Small Business Association, 63% of all small businesses fail in the first 5 years…the top 5 reasons are:

1. Lack of vision and SYSTEMATIC strategy

2. No marketing SYSTEM

3. No client follow-up SYSTEM

4. No Multi-team SYSTEM -Trying to do too many things at once

5. Doing everything from scratch and without SYSTEMS

Notice the trend above (see  red capitalized words)?

Definition of Business Systems: A methodical procedure or process that is used as a delivery mechanism for providing specific goods or services to customers.

Business systems help eliminate many of the daily frustrations and obstacles that prevent things running smoothly. Gradually, you should incorporate all the Businesses business systems, policies and procedures into a handbook which will become your Operations Manual, so everyone knows what to do, who does it and when it should be done.

The problem with most small business owners is not simply that they are doing too much work, but that they are doing the wrong kind of work. They should be looking at where their input adds the most strategic value to the business. Put a value on your time. What is it worth to the business?

Do you have systems in your business?

Such as autoresponders,

Client Manual

Client collaboration software

Lead Generation

Website

Business Plan

In this post I have a list of free business systems tools

Share your systems for a more efficient work day….

Apr 15

How to Remove Your USB Flash Drive

How do you remove your flash drive?

It is a really bad idea to just yank a USB flash drive or external hard drive out of the USB port. You should safely remove it to make sure none of your important data becomes corrupted.

There are several ways to do this. The most common one is to squint at the notification area by the clock in the lower right corner of the screen and look for a tiny green icon, click on it, and click on the drive.

Another way to do this — without squinting — is to click on Computer, find the drive, right-click on it and click on “Eject” in Windows 7 or “Safely remove” in Vista. Still a lot of clicking but it’s easier to see.

If you already know you’re not going to remember that way either, try a utility called USB Disk Ejector. It will work on anything from XP to Windows 7. It’s super easy to use. It can eject things that Windows (Vista in particular) fusses about and won’t let you eject without swearing at it.

You can make desktop shortcuts to your drives, and if you put Disk Ejector on a flash drive, it can even eject the flash drive it’s on. Don’t ask me how they do that, but I’ve tried it and it works
You can download here for free

Apr 11

Hello

The new era of publishing: Making it work for you

One of the biggest challenges an author faces is How To Publish your work.

With the development of new platforms such as Kindle and E-pub, it so much easier for an author to publish their own books and reach their readers directly.- bypassing the middle man of Traditional Publishing.
These new platforms demand time learning them and time to implement them.

As an author you want to spend your time writing rather than
promoting and marketing your book.

My name is Susanne, I am a Virtual Assistant and Certified Online Book Marketing Specialist based in the middle of British Columbia, but working globally.  I work with my clients to help them achieve their goals by freeing up their time so they can get on with what they do best… and enjoy the most.

Why work with me?

Like you, I have a great interest in books, and as a Community Librarian I had the opportunity to set up and host visiting authors for their book tours.
Most importantly, I have the time and expertise to promote your book online, so you don’t have to worry about doing it.

How can I help you?
The key to really making your name known is having a successful PLATFORM (more readers = financial success).

Your platform consists of:

Having a great looking Author blog, customized to reflect the look and feel of your book is an essential part of marketing online

These are just two of the services I can offer you.

What about actively promoting your work through a Virtual Book Tour, without even leaving your desk?  I can arrange (virtual) locations, create the itinerary, and put together a campaign to make sure that everyone knows about it!

Regardless of where you are in the publishing process, it is never too early to start working with Sues complete Web Solutions to promote and market your book.  So why not get in touch with me today and together we can bring your book to the world!

Treasure of My Heart Book Blog

Apr 11

SEO Tool

Just wondering around my hosting c-panel and noticed that they offered free SEO Tools.  They even create a site map of your website and submit this to search engines including Google and Ask.com.

Another great tool is Attracta!and they claim they are the   World’s Largest SEO service. They offer One-click Malware and Google Blacklist check
and they  Build  Back Links so that you can get more traffic from Twitter and Facebook. Attracta crawls your website finding all of its pages, including pages that can’t be found by search engines’ crawlers, to create an XML Sitemap and SEO dashboard report also they help you find and fix SEO errors.Attracta provides a step by step check list that is very interactive. and give you a site  score that grades  your site  based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for increasing search traffic from 0-100.

My c-panel also has SEO video tutorials and tips. I didn’t realize there was such great resources right at my fingertips.  I really appreciate Hostgator as a hosting company. They sure give good service. Does your c-panel have free SEO tools? Go check it out.

Apr 10

How to Get Your URL to Say https:

Https

This is a great question.  One that I am frequently asked.  Especially now that Facebook requires a secured  socket Layers – SSL  Also,  a client  who uses an affiliate system hosted on her own domain was a bit concerned about the requirement for affiliates to enter their social security numbers of Employee Identification Number. She wanted to make her potential affiliates feel safe about entering the information. She knew that sites that began with https:// are *usually* secured.  She wanted to know how to  get that.  Entering https:// on her own site gives an error.

When a web page is hosted on a server enabled with the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol via a security certificate, content sent between a user’s browser and the server hosting the secure web page is encrypted, and no one can intercept confidential information such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or any other information you type into your browser.

All web hosting companies offer security certificates in most of their hosting plans, either a shared SLL certificate, where all sites on a single shared server are sharing a certificate, or a private SSL certificate, available to websites with a unique IP (web address). For Facebook page admins, the shared SSL is a low-cost and workable choice.

To get https:// on your server you will need:

  1. A static, dedicated IP address (not the same as dedicated web host although dedicated hosting comes with an IP). You can usually purchase this as an add on from your web host. You’ll probably pay a few dollara more every month to have a special IP number just for you to use.  I use Hostgator for this
  2. A Secure Sockets Layer certificate or better known as SSL certificate. You can purchase this from your web host – many do provide this service. It is a yearly fee and cost anything from $80 a year to thousands a year.

Once you have the two above, your web host can install it for you. I don’t recommend installing it yourself. I’ve done it and it can get confusing. The web host can and should get you set up and running within a day or two. I recommend HostGator who are fabulous in helping you out with this.

To use your brand new secure URL simply point the page you want to ‘secure’ to the https version. For example, if your regular URL is:

http://mydomain.com/order.html

Then just link to:

https://mydomain.com/order.html

If the certificate is installed properly you will see the lock on your browser. If you are using WordPress you might also want to ‘force’ those specific page URLs to https so that people don’t get on the unsecured URL unintentionally.  If you have anything on that page – Images, linked files etc remember to use https so the browser will not complain that some items on the page are not secure.

You have to keep in mind that the https does not mean this information, once on your server, is secure. The https only protects the transfer of the information from the user’s computer to your server. Once on your server it is your responsibility to take steps to keep that data safe.

I f you have any questions about HTTPS please contact me

Apr 08

Submit Your Site to Article Directories..Why?

Have you submitted your site yet to the many web directories online?
Well if you haven’t you should.  TC8266RCDP6E

Here’s why.

Inclusion in a web directory is a necessary step as web directories act as a referral system for businesses on the internet and the more referrals your website gets, the more traffic your site will receive.
This  increases y traffic to your site  which leads to more sales.

Directory submissions give you one-way links

Search engines give importance to the number of inbound links to your
site and from web directories you get one-way inbound links.

Directory submissions allow the anchor text of your choice

When you submit your links to web directories they allow you to enter
a site title (site title is different from the URL) that can contain
your keywords. This generates SEO anchor text for you and this helps
you improve your search engine rankings.

Assures Search Engine Indexing

It’s the search engines that discover your website by following the
backlinks from alternative sites. Once the search engines locates your
link on the directory sites, they’re going to follow these links which
will take them to your website, thereby hiking the probabilities of
your website being indexed in search engine information bases.

So you see there are overwhelming reasons to submit your links to
the various web directories.

TC8266RCDP6E

Apr 08

Polka Dots

Polka dots are back

Polka Dots are back! The question is did they ever really go? Admittedly the words do conjure up specific pictures in the mind and are especially reminiscent of 1950’s fashion, and of course that memorable song ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polk Dot Bikini’ but Polka Dots have been around much longer than that, and although they drift in and out of the forefront of fashion to a greater or lesser extent they are always visible in one form or another.

it was not until the nineteenth century that they first started to be used on clothing and with the rise in popularity of polka music there would appear to be a strong connection between the two. The term “polka dot” first appeared in the New York Times on 21 Sep 1866.

At the peak of the polka craze, between 1840 and 1890, there were numerous manufacturers who were very quick to cash in on the public’s polka-passion by creating a multitude of polka inspired products. Polka hats, polka gauze, polka socks, polka curtain ties, and, of course, polka-dotted fabrics; these products had little or nothing to do with the dance, but still they were extremely popular and remained so for a number of years. The polka dot pattern itself however, had staying power, and over the years has been used in a multitude of ways across a wide range of products.

The 1950’s were without doubt the biggest decade of the twentieth century for the polka dot with everyone from movie stars to housewives dressed from head to foot in brightly colored polka dots. The polka dot really defined the 1950’s as a decade of color, fun and optimism after the austerity of the war years. They made a brief appearance again in the 1970’s when designers took their inspiration from previous decades and put them together to create some of the more wild and wacky fashions we associate with the seventies. The optimistic eighties saw the polka dot return again but this time primarily adorning the accessories that were associated with iconic singers Cyndi Lauper and Madonna.

What do you think,,,,do you have anything Polka Dotted?

Apr 06

Why Business Owners Need to Pay Attention to Pinterest

What is Pinterest? It’s a virtual pinboard and a social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections. It’s also hands down the hottest new social network out there.

Unlike other flash-in-the-pan social networks, Pinterest is definitely worth paying attention to–and not just by visually-oriented business owners like retailers, but B2B and B2C businesses as well.

Before you groan that it’s just another way to waste time on the web, there are a few things you need to know about how this tool can work some incredible marketing magic for YOUR business in 3 main areas: branding, traffic and conversion.

If you’re stumped about how to begin benefiting, here are some ideas for you:

1) Use it to showcase visual elements from your business: info product graphics, striking images from your best blog posts, info-graphics related to your industry and testimonials.

2) Use it to give people a peek behind the scenes of your business: perhaps photos of yourself with clients, snapshots from live events, your workspace or team members.

3) Use it to grab traffic: include your business name in your username, add your URL to your profile, fill out the About section thoroughly, connect your account to Facebook and Twitter and link business-related visuals to your site or a landing page, particular blog posts or product pages. Also, don’t forget to include your business name or URL in your pin and/or board descriptions.

Just as with other social networks, build goodwill and engagement by commenting on, liking and re-pinnining others’ content and encouraging others to follow and connect with you on Pinterest.

Your to-do?  Create your profile and begin strategically creating boards using the tips I’ve just shared. Then, use the feature that allows you to follow your Facebook and Twitter friends automatically and begin having fun!

Share your Pinterest link .

Apr 05

Pinterest tip

Tip for creating links from your Pineterst site

I tell people to find me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/suecollyer/.

I pin a screenshot of the Virtual Assistant’s website who follows me there. (-: I make that work by having a special bulletin board for Virtual Assistant Community.  It does help my fellow VAs create a buzz and gives them a link to their site.. I think it sets an example of how to cross promote and how to be a generous marketer.

What are your thoughts?

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