Category Archive: Computer Tips

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 04

WordPress–A Plugin to Secure Your Site

Security for your WordPress site is essential for  smooth operation of your business. You have to think about securing your site  from hackers or spammers. Hackers can do lots of things after breaking in, they can attack your site’s viewers with Trojan viruses to steal information from their computers and if it’s going to happen Google will block your site with a message like this “This site may harm your computer”. One of my sites was hacked and it caused me a lot of work to get it back to the way it was. Fortunately I found a plugin that could secure my sites with minimum effort. The plug in is  WebsiteDefender WordPress Security. There are two versions but I found the free version was all I needed.

Easy to use, and now easy to secure

Although the WordPress platform is well known for ease-of-use and speedy configuration, securing your website can still consume lots of precious time when one considers all the possible issues that put your site and data at risk. WebsiteDefender WordPress Security takes care of doing all the rounds by checking your WordPress installation, site files, and database, for a complete assessment and report on how to correct any security issues with the way your site is configured.WebsiteDefender can look at your website configuration and flag any known or potential flaws related to user accounts. This information is invaluable for maintaining a secure website.

Mar 31

An extremely simple day calendar

I get questions asking for the simple calendar I have on my desktop and thought I would share where I got the calendar.
The program is called Xcalday.

It is a great tool to keep track of webinars, appointments and especially efficient in keeping track of virtual tour days. As soon as your computer boots up and shows your desktop…there is the calendar showing you what you have going on for that week,day and month at a glance.

 

Here’s how the author describes it:

Xcalday is a very simple to use calendar that allows you to write one note for each day.
Just click on any day, and enter a note.
No need to save, it’s saved automatically.
Days with notes appear bold in the calendar.
Xcalday takes minimal space in memory and on disk.
All notes are saved in simple text files.

I  find this little calendar so helpful in keeping my day organized. What do you think  about this little calendar…do you find it helpful? Leave a comment and share.

Jan 04

Hosting Plan

Questions: Why do I need in a Hosting Plan

Any product or service that requires storage or access on the internet will use the services of a web hosting company .

If you are planning to have your business online the first thing you will face is: Who  will host your websites?

I find it more practical and time saving to find a Hosting company that will also register my Domain Name.  If you pick a Hosting Company that does not register domain names then you have the added steps of  registering the domain name yourself and then  pointing your domain name to your hosting server.

The four services I look for in a Hosting Company are:

1.  Hosting Company should  provide free Domain registration and automatic yearly renewal of your domain name.

2.  Allow you to host unlimited domains.  If you are serious about your business on the Internet then you must be aware of the fact that you will sooner or later  need to launch more websites to expand your business to high levels. Therefore it is important to take this point into consideration where you will remove the burden of purchasing additional webhosting accounts to host the new websites in the future.

3.  24/7 Customer Support. This is very important as things go wrong at odd times of the day and night and you want to be able to connect with a support person quickly. Having a live support chat feature or support number to call is paramount in keeping your business up and running.

4.  E-commerce capabilites, unlimited email accounts, unlimited MY SQL databases are other features that are essential for your business website. Each blog platform needs its own MY SQL database so if your web hosting company allows only one MY SQL database you are limited to having one blog or content management system on this account.

The hosting Company I found with all these features is a Canadian Hosting Company which also happens to use green technology.

Host Papa

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Nov 02

Window 7.. Problems?

windows7You no doubt have heard that Microsoft has launched a new operating system Windows 7.  I am very leery of upgrading to Windows 7.  I have Windows XP and find this OS just fine. I refused to upgrade or get Vista as I didn’t like the changes and found Vista to be slow loading and the interface frustrating.

XP has its faults, but it works like an operating system should – It allows the user to interact with their hardware. Vista assumes you are a cretin and constantly nags you with endless annoying prompts. I don’t want several dialogues asking permission to do what i just told it to.

I’m not resistant to change, but change should be positive and advance the technology – I don’t see much of that with Vista or Windows 7. Over the past few days I have been told by friends and clients  of undue frustration with Windows 7 and not being able to upgrade Vista to Windows 7. Their computers crash and they can not load Windows 7 and in some cases Vista OS has been wiped off the harddrive rendering their computer useless.

If you have problems with Windows 7 or if you have upgraded successfully, I sure would like to hear from you. Please leave a comment.