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Sunday, April 30, 2006

This Weeks Helpful Reads...Week 3


This is an ongoing series of interesting and helpful reads that I have come across on the Internet.

I try to include the most helpful articles and links each week to provide the widest range of information for the home business entrepreneur.


The Cost of Comment Spam by Darren Rowse... He explains the actual cost of allowing comment spam on your blog.

Best Use of Your Time by Andrew Mclellan... Short commentary on use of time prospecting in MLM.

A web for all or just the elite? by DavidC... Not really work related, but an interesting read nonetheless.

What do Buyers think of Sellers? by Mike Sigers... Mike's thought on sales and the customer.


The Two Most Important Words in Blogging by Brian Clark... Read this and see if you agree with Brian.

I hope you find some of these articles informational and helpful. I think they will be enjoyable reading nonetheless.


Previous Links:
Week 2... 4/23/06
Week 1... 4/16/06
Today's Good Reads... 3/22/06

(...more)

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

2 Part Series: Blog vs Website... Websites


Websites are better suited to Commercial ventures than Blogs. If you have products and/or services for public consumption a website may be your better alternative.


Advantages:

~~ Static... No need to change everyday, only update as necessary.

~~ Products... You can advertise, sell and promote your own products and services.

~~ Navigation... Set up navigation by product types and various categories.

~~ Expandable... As you add additional products, add pages to cover descriptions and features.

~~ Links... By category to various products and related wares.

~~ Customers... Sales are only a few steps away, customers are looking for something to buy.

~~ Files... Easy Upload and Download of new files and backups.

Disadvantages:

~~ Static... Also a disadvantage because SEO likes updates.

~~ Visitors... Must continually get new visitors, rarely get returns.

~~ Community... Webpages are all onesided, no interaction with customers.

~~ SEO... People have to be able to find you, updating for SEO more difficult than Blogs.

As I said about Blogs, these are not the only possibilities, so feel free to add your thoughts.


Additional Information:
Domain Names and Hosting
Vishal P. Rao on SEO
(More information on this subject under Websites in the Category list in the sidebar)

Posts in the Series:
Blog vs Website (Overview)
Blogs

(...more)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

2 Part Series: Blog vs Website... Blogs


Since I have both Blogs and Websites, I thought I would share what I have found to be some of the advantages and disadvantages of both. I will provide some links at the end for further reference.


Advantages:

~~ Dynamic... You can keep all your information up to date on a daily basis.

~~ Newest First... All new information is shown at the top of the page.

~~ Archives... All your previous pages are listed here for easy access.

~~ Links... Linking to other Blogs in the same genre helps drive traffic to your site.

~~ Blog Services... Using various types of feed services will give exposure to your Blog.

~~ Community... You can have conversations and feedback from your readers using comments.

~~ Sidebar... Add any link, service you provide or advertisements.

~~ RSS... It is easy for your readers to keep current with your headlines through RSS feeds.

~~ SEO... Search engines thrive on current information, the more often you publish the better.


Disadvantages:

~~ Selling Products... It is difficult to sell your own products without being labeled a Splog (spam blog).

~~ Outside Advertising... More often than not you need to depend on other advertisers for revenue.

~~ Old Posts... Readers rarely go past the first page or the newest post, they must be enticed to go further.

~~ New Visitors... You need a constant influx of new visitors to be profitable with any advertising you use.

~~ Familiarity... Some people only stop by once a week or longer once they know how you present your information.

~~ Templates... Although there are a lot of templates to choose from, changing after you are established may be difficult.


These are by no means the only possibilities, so feel free to add your thoughts.


Additional information:
Blogging Platforms
Blog Submission Sites
Posting Frequency
(More information on this subject under Blogging in the Category list in the sidebar)

Posts in the Series:
Blog vs Website (overview)
Websites

(...more)

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Share Your Work at Home Story


I write each post to be as informative as possible. Unfortunately, they are pretty much one sided. You get only my point of view, from my personal experiences.

There are many other ways of Working at Home with which I have either limited or no experience.

Some examples:

I am a guy, so I have no idea what it is like to be a Work at Home Mom.

I have tried the survey circuit, and it just didn't fit my personality.

Neither did Auto-surfing, MSM, Pay to read E-mail or selling affiliate programs.

I settled on trying to find the best and most cost effective ways to Work at Home for myself, and share them with you.

So, if you would like to share your experiences Working at Home, good, bad, funny, just click on the "Share Your Work at Home Story" link in the sidebar to send an E-mail with your idea.

This could be a good way for you to bring exposure to your own site and to help someone else trying to start a Work at Home Business.

(...more)

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2 Part Series: Blog vs Website... Starting Friday


As I mentioned back on April 5, I am going to start Writing in Series Form* at different points to better explain various subjects.

I had written a limited comparison of Blogs vs Websites** in December, and did get some response on the subject. Tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday I will present a more detailed comparison to give you a better idea of which may be better for your purposes.

I would appreciate your input/feedback on the subject in order to give the best information possible to those who need it.


Related Posts:
* Writing in Series Form
** Blog vs Website

(...more)

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Overwhelming Work Load


Keeping up with what needs to be done can sometimes overwhelm us. When I started the new Category list for the sidebar, it seemed simple enough.

It was difficult in the beginning, but has gotten easier as I go along. Once the main list was compiled, it became a matter of remembering to update within each link. The most difficult is actually remembering to do it.

The same is true of starting new pages, such as my Webpage, PolBlog and Freeware Blog. It seemed easy. Start a new page, update it regularly and continue to find new things to write about.

It seems some days are easier than others. I didn't update the Webpage for over a week. The PolBlog had to wait until something important had to be said. The Freeware Finds Blog, has just been put aside until I can find new products that are free to the consumer.

I have been spending some time updating some of my sites, and will update the others when I can. Up until now, I would just update when I thought of something for each site. Sometimes forgetting to update or running out of time altogether.

This does not even include taking care of some of the other computers for which I am responsible. They have to take priority, so I need to adjust to emergencies as they arise.

At this point I think it is time for a new game plan. I need to reset priorities, list what has to be done, how often, and in what order. That has to become my priority, and everything should fall into place.

How do you handle your work load when you seem to get overwhelmed?


Related Posts:
The Best Laid Plans
Working Off-line is Important Too
Help Me Get Organized

(...more)

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Help Save Internet Neutrality


I read more than one post today regarding Net Neutrality. I actually wrote a post my self on my PolBlog. This could be a Big Problem if you Work at Home on the Internet, or do anything else there at a reasonable price.

I know I said, that I would keep the Political Rantings on the other Blog, but this could be more important than any of us realize. I will include quotes and links to these other Blogs so that you can find out more on the subject.

My entry into the fray:

Back on March 28th I wrote an article for the PolBlog, SuperHighway or Toll Road*. In it I mentioned that the Broadband, Cable and DSL providers wanted to charge extra for additional speed and preferred access.

There is a fledgling movement underfoot. Some of the more important ( in my eyes ) Bloggers and internet users are starting to bring the problem to light.

ME "Liz" Strauss of Successful Blog** writes of Blogging and Country Stores:

So hear me whisper this. Some folks don't care about country stores and communities. They care about pipelines that carry bits and bytes and how much they can charge for that service. . .

Would you read what I read today by a man named Jeff Pulver? He's running a contest for ideas to help make people aware. Here are the rules.

I really like our country stores a lot. My life would be less without all of you. What if WE Go the Way of the Old Country Store?

Brian Clark of CopyBlogger*** writes of the Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse:

The US Congress is pushing a law that would abandon Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Network neutrality currently prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner from deciding which Web sites work best for you based on what site pays them the most. Without Network Neutrality, the scenarios outlined above are just the beginning. And it will affect people all over the world, not just in the States.

Jeff Pulver has started Viral Marketing to Save the Internet+ inviting anyone who can write or put a video together (in a professional manner), to enter his contest++ to Help Save the Internet.

If you care that you are probably going to be wedged off the internet by Big Business, with Congress' help, then try to do something that will keep the Internet Neutral and open to everyone.

I personally plan on writing more that one E-mail to various portions of the MSM (Main Stream Media) in order to get the word out to stop Congress and the Phone and Cable companies from infringing on the Neutrality of the Internet.

Update: There is a petition at MoveOn.org to send to Congress. If this is important to you, you may want to stop by and sign it... and be sure to send an E-mail to your friends.


Referrals:
* SuperHighway or Toll Road
** Successful-Blog
*** CopyBlogger
+ Jeff Pulver's Virial Marketing to Save the Internet
++ Rules of contest

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

This Weeks Helpful Reads...Week 2


Second in an ongoing series of interesting and helpful reads that I have come across on the Internet.

I try to include the most helpful articles and links in this weekly series to provide the widest range of information for the home business entrepreneur.

Deleting temporary internet files from Internet Explorer by DavidC... A simple step by step explaination of an often overlooked process.

Working from Home, Creating your first website by Jill Hart... Explains how to go about creating your own website.

FeedBurner Ad Network by Darren Rowse... Darren's preliminary look at the new ad network being tested by FeedBurner.

Editing: Just Some of My Very Different Thoughts by Liz Strauss... Liz's take as an editor on the over use of words in writing.

I hope you find some of these articles informational and helpful. I think they will be enjoyable reading nonetheless.


Previous Links:
Week 1... 4/16/06
Today's Good Reads... 3/22/06

(...more)

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Jesse Skinner, Special Guest Writer


Jesse Skinner is a Canadian web developer who moved to Berlin, Germany in April 2005. His strongest skills and interests lay in the gap between web design and server-side programming. He is experienced in working with XHTML, JavaScript, CSS and Flash in the browser, and Java, PHP, and ColdFusion on the server.

He has also done database programming and design with Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle. He a Certified Java Programmer, Certified Flash MX Developer, and Advanced Certified ColdFusion MX Developer.

And now, here's Jesse...

Working at home on the Internet

In the 80s, you could certainly start your own business. You'd have to save up some money or get a loan from the bank. Then you'd need to pay for an office or store, fill it with furniture, get business cards and stationary, hire some staff, and of course you'd have to advertise your business. You'd just have to pay to make a TV, Radio, Magazine or Newspaper ad, and then pay to have it shown for a few seconds. And hopefully 1% of the people who saw it would call your phone number.

And then in walked the Internet

Now, everything has changed. To start a business, all you need is a computer, the Internet, and probably a web site (costs starting at $0). Now, you can advertise to a specific group of people spread out from across the world. You can also work to make your web site show up on certain search results without paying a cent. You certainly don't need an office. You don't even need to wear pants. And if you need help from other people, you can search the web for the right specialists (who are also probably working from home).

I realise that everybody reading this already knows all this. The whole world already knows all this. But for some insane reason, hardly anybody seems to be reacting! There are still millions of people working in offices. Companies are still paying big money to advertise in traditional media.

This is the time for us-in-the-know to take advantage of what we know and go kick some ass! While the big companies are wasting millions by paying their employees to surf the web, chat around the water cooler, have long boring meetings and fill out time sheets, we can come along and seriously compete.

We can build up our Microbrands, mastering niches we not only excel in but love to do. We can wake up every morning and decide what to do with our companies. Not just our companies, our lives. The possibilities are endless, and the risks are relatively low.

In the 80s, we had to hope our neighbours would be interested in our services. Now, we can service the whole world. And this doesn't just mean we have 6 billion potential customers. This means that we can run a business by focusing on just 1000 people spread across the world with a very specific need.

This isn't just about telecommuting or entrepreneurship. It's a major change in the opportunities available to everyone. It's a major change in the way we can choose to live our lives. And since we're the first ones to have this opportunity, we're going to have to make up a lot of it on our own. But that's not the hard part, that's the exciting part!


I agree with Jesse, that's the exciting part. I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did, and make sure you visit Jesse, he always has something interesting to read on his site.


Jesse's Blog:
The Future of the Internet

(...more)

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Vishal P. Rao, Special Guest Writer


Vishal P. Rao is the owner of the Work at Home Forum* and the Home Based Business Opportunities** Webpage He is an expert on SEO applications for the novice and seasoned user alike. Vishal has been kind enough to write an article that should help in our Optimization of Search Engines. I have substituted [ ] enclosures for <> functions for demostration purposes only.

So, without further adeau...

SEO for Dummies

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of designing your website in such a way that it is easily found and ranked well by search engines. In other words, make it search engine friendly.

Contrary to popular myth, you don't need a PHD to get create a search engine friendly website. Even a novice with little HTML knowledge can make their site search engine friendly. Here are some basic techniques to create a search engine friendly website.

Remember, you are not aiming to get a doctorate in search engine optimization. Leave that to the professionals. Your goal is only to follow some basic guideines when creating a website or adding new pages. That's it. Any more obsession with it and you are going to ruin your precious time which must be largely devoted to *creating content*. Don't forget the golden saying - Content is the king.

Now the details...

1) Title Text

This is the text that you see in your browser title bar and is embedded inside the [title]...[/title] tags of your HTML page. This is one of the most deciding factors search engines use to rank your web pages. Don't waste precious space of this tag to fill non-relevant words. Use keywords that reflect the theme of your webpage here. So if your particular webpage is about "vegetarian dog foods", you might want to use - "Vegetarian Dog Food Information" as title text.

2) Meta Tags

The two most important tags that search engines use to rank web pages are Description and Keywords Meta tags. Though keywords tags appear to have lost importance, you must not ignore them altogether.

Again, in the description tag, describe your page as briefly as possible, including keywords you used in your title tags. You don't want to run the text in decription more than 20-25 words. The idea is that if you use more non-relevant text, keyword density or concentration decreases. Just make the sentence look normal and not like it's written purely for search engines. Now for the above example, the text in you description tag might be something like - This article covers information and resources on vegetarian dog foods.

Coming to the keyword tag, do not fill them endlessly with keywords like you find in most web pages. Just laser target to 2 or 3 keywords related to the *page* itself and not your entire site. So using above example, your keyword tag might contain words - vegetarian dog food, dog foods


3) Alt (Alternate) Texts

Alt texts are the text used to describe images on your web page. They are displayed in place of the images if the images could not be loaded for some reasons or the visitor has turned off display of images. Search engines also use these texts to determine the theme of the web page.
As a result, it makes sense to include your targeted keywords here too.

Here's an example:

[img src="/images/vegetarian-dog-food.gif" alt="Vegetarian Dog Food"]

4) Sitemaps

Not only sitemaps provide easy accessibility to visitors of your website, they are also a great tool to help search engines find all the pages of your site efficiently. It's like giving a detailed road map of your site to search engines.

5) Link texts and Interlinking

This is another big factor search engines use to rank pages of your website. Link texts are texts that you use to link to pages of your website. Considering the above example, when linking to that page, don't use texts like "Click here" or "Read more". Instead use "Vegetarian Dog Food" to link to the page. This confirms the search engine's views that the web page is indeed about Vegetarian Dog Food.

6) Keyword density

Keyword density refers to the concentration of keywords on your web page. Generally they should be around 3-4 times spread evenly across your entire page. Once in beginning and the end and 2-3 times in between, assuming your page is of 800 words. If less, then reduce density correspondingly and vice versa. Don't overdo this.

Like I said earlier, you should follow this guidelines when creating a new page but do not make an obsession of it, tweaking your pages every now and then. Just do it and forget it!

I visit Vishal's forum daily, and have learned many things each time I stop by. Be sure to drop in for some interesting conversation and information. I'm sure you will appreciate being there as much as I have.



Vishal's Sites:
Home Based Business Opportunities
The Work at Home Forum

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Special Guest Writers Friday and Saturday


I will be going out of town for a few days starting tomorrow. Luckily, I have two very fine people who have written guest articles which will run Friday and Saturday. The new series of the Weeks Helpful Reads will run as usual on Sunday.

Friday... Vishal P. Rao, Administrator of the Work at Home Forum* and expert on SEO has written an article covering important aspects of SEO for beginners.

Saturday... Jesse Skinner, Owner of The Future Of The Web** and expert on HTML, CSS and Javascript has written a commentary on Working at Home on the Internet.

Sunday... My series of Helpful Links found on the Internet for your reading enjoyment.

I should be back home sometime on Monday, to get back in the swing of things. So, until then, I hope you enjoy the articles that Vishal and Jesse have written. And don't forget to visit their sites.


Guest's Sites:
* Work at Home Forum
** The Future Of The Web

(...more)

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Technorati, AdSense and Me

For the last few weeks I hadn't been getting indexed by Technorati*. I talked to Liz from Successful-Blog** since she has a working relationship with Dave Sifry at T-rati.

She suggested I leave a comment on her Blog in the Technorati Put Your 2 Cents In post. This I did and Dave answered in a timely manner. He told me that my Blog was on hold for review due to the unusual advertising mechanisms and copious SEO.

That day, he made sure everything was indexed properly and I thought my problems were over. Everything is fine with T-rati now, but in subsequent comments HART brought another (related) problem to my attention.

Although I have used AdSense since the beginning, I found out that there could be a bigger problem brewing. I had set up the ads as I have seen on many blogs, and (I thought) according to the TOS of AdSense.

Upon looking at the Source Code for the Blog, it seems there are multiple occurrences of the AdSense code. You are allowed 3 instances of ads on a page. Since I had only 2 Ad codes, a Google search and an affiliate link everything would be OK.

I sent an E-mail to AdSense right away, and found out they counted all of the occurrences, which came to 8. How I got that many, when the most I should have had was 4, I don't know. It most likely is that they don't count a Post or Enrty as a Page as I did.

Needless to say, I am worried I could lose my AdSense account. I have rearranged and deleted some code and sent another E-mail to them to re-review my Blog.

At present, I am awaiting a response from them, and hopefully things will be resolved with an outcome that is in my favor.

Check out my source code, and if you have any suggestions on how to put an Ad at the end of ONLY the First or Second post, Please let me know.


Referenced:
* Technorati
** Successful Blog

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Some Overlooked Home Business Considerations


In 1998 there were around 4 million people who worked from home in the U.S. As of 2002 the number had risen to around 11 million. If the past is any indication the number is dramatically higher now.

Since the vast majority of Home Businesses are run by one or two people. There are some things you should know if you intend to run a Business from Home.

~~ Sole Proprietorship

If you run any business from home as a sole proprietorship, you and the business are one entity. If someone sues the business, they sue you and can put a lien on your personal property. You run the risk of losing your house and everything in it.

You are better off if you incorporate the business in some manner (the most common is an S corporation), or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Either way will put a "Corporate Shield" between you and your company. The business liabilities will be kept separate from the personal.

~~ Zoning

Something else you should consider is Zoning Codes. All municipalities, townships, and small towns have some type of ordinance covering residential and commercial properties.

Most will allow home businesses with certain restrictions. Some you may or may not be allowed to have a sign. Others may allow only a certain number of vehicles to a property, or it may be considered commercial.

Be sure to check with your local zoning authority to find out what is considered commercial in your area.

~~ Insurance

Does your homeowners insurance cover your business if something happens? Some do, some don't, be sure to check with your insurance agent. In most cases it is better to get a separate policy specifically for the business.

~~ Taxes

Since tax time has just ended, it is time to think of deductions for next year. You have to meet at least 3 criteria.

1. The area for your business must be exclusively for that purpose. You can't just set up on the dining room table.

2. You must use the area on a consistent basis, not just once in a while to send bills to customers.

3. You must be able to show that your "office" is your principal place of business, or you meet customers there, or you have a separate structure for business purposes.

You needn't prove all three, but be able to show proof if you are audited.

When you start a Home Business, be sure to consider this list. They are some of the easiest things to overlook when Working at Home.


Related Posts:
The Dreams and Realities of Working at Home
The Balancing Act...Work and Home
Work at Home Pitfalls

(...more)

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Attracting the Non-Techi to Your Site


There was a post on ProBlogger the other day by guest writer Carolyn Goodwin* in which she asks how to attract non-techi types to her site.

Other than the standard ways of trying to attract customers to a Website or Blog, there are a few that may help attract the computer challenged client. Include your Web and Blog address on all of your hard copies.

~~ Put your Site Name along with the URL on your business cards.

~~ Include them in the Head and/or Foot of all stationary.

~~ Put them in a prominent place on proposals and presentations.

~~ Use them on any fliers and handouts .

~~ Advertisements in newspapers and magazines should have them.

Most people have at least access to a computer these days, so you should try to include the less than computer savvy customer. Invite them along for the ride, and they may just come along. But they will never know unless you tell them where to find you on the internet.

How do you attract the non-techi customer? What would you add to the list?


Reference:
*
How to Attract Readers?

Related Posts:
Working Off-line is Important Too
Building Readership
Maintainence Day

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

This Weeks Helpful Reads...Week 1


Although I have always provided links to articles I have referenced and tried to give credit where credit is due, sometimes there are just too many things for me to write about that are important to the work at home experience.

I will try to include the most helpful articles and links in this weekly series to provide the widest range of information for the home business entrepreneur.

Blogs: Frequently Asked Questions... Wayne Hurlbert guest writing for ProBlogger.

Malcom Gladwell, Mavens, Connectors and Digg... Graywolf's SEO Blog makes some comparisons.

Thinking Inside-Outside the SEO Sandbox... Liz Strauss shows a different way of thinking about SEO.

Referral Program for AdWords Live for All Publishers... News on the AdWords referral program from JenSense.

Bartender, I'll Have an Old-Fashioned or As a Blogger burns out, his fame fades. too... A conversation between Daniel Rubin, blogger and journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Billmon of Whiskey Bar fame.

I hope you find some of these articles informational and helpful. I think they will be enjoyable reading nonetheless.


Previous Links:
Today's Good Reads 3/22/06

(...more)

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

ME "Liz" Strauss, Special Guest Writer


ME "Liz" Strauss has her own consulting company. Liz is a writer, career coach, and strategic planner with a focus on niche-brand marketing. Her business writing is known for its clarity, originality, and a voice that develops a warm relationship with readers.

I read her blog, Successful-Blog* daily and reference her posts quite often. I have just recently been introduced to her personal blog Letting me be...** which is her random wanderings and philosophy.

I asked Liz if she would consider guest writing for me, and this is the result.


"Write about anything," Joe said.

How could I say no? Joe is one decent human being with a sense of humor. He deserves the best. What would it take me to put a few words on paper? What would it mean to him? Heck, I could "do" anything. At least I hoped I could.

I'd tried last summer doing nothing. I wasn't so good at that. What I had tried was to consciously think about nothing. Thinking about thinking about nothing kept getting in the way of actually thinking about nothing.

Then I'd see a cloud or a flower and I'd really be off thinking about something--not clouds and flowers. Oh no! I'd be somewhere in Camelot fighting next to Lancelot saving the world from the Black Night of an unpronounceable French province who was determined to crack the world in two.

By the time he was vanquished I was too tired to master the thought of thinking of nothing for that afternoon. I finally gave up realizing that thinking of nothing was something that teenage boys on dates with teenage girls do.

But anything. . . .

Anything for me this afternoon is dropping everything when a friend asks a favor. Why not? I've been trying to slow down my life so that I could live it. Isn't this a great way to do just that? I move from living in the future--all those things that I must get done--into the now.

I say to the universe. "Excuse me, please. I'd like to breathe. I have friend who's asked a favor I'll be right back." The universe doesn't need me to make it keep going. I know that. So does the universe.

So I find myself here, inside notepad, because I don't want to send Joe any messy characters that might mess up his blog software. That would be very unfriendly of me. I package up my unabridged thoughts with a touch of that uniquely Liz humor. It's in here somewhere.

The words come from my heart down my arms through my fingers, totally bypassing that editor in my head. A friend deserves the real thoughts, not the ones with those grown-up words that they teach you in "show off" school.

But the message is hidden between the words in the white spaces, just like they are in the air when two people are together.
Words and people are a lot alike . . . put them together right and they make sense.

"Write about anything," Joe said.

He thinks that he's the one who got the benefit of this favor.
No good deed only has one beneficiary.

Liz

I hope you enjoyed Liz's article and take time to visit her. I think you will enjoy being part of her conversations.

And yes Liz, I did take the intro from your bio.


Liz's Blogs:
* Successful-Blog
** Letting me be...
LizStrauss.com

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Mystery Writer Visits Tomorrow


Tomorrow I will have a very special guest writer visiting the Working at Home on the Internet Blog.

I use a lot of her posts for inspiration, so be sure to visit tomorrow to see who the mystery writer is...

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Weekly Helpful Links Starts Sunday


This Sunday I will start a Weekly series which will contain links to sites, blogs and articles I found helpful throughout the week.

This will continue every Sunday as long as I find something interesting and/or helpful on the Internet (I always do). These links should be unique, however, some may have been included in posts already, they will be for the benefit of anyone who may have missed them previously.

Each post will be linked to previous weeks entries for referral.

Don't forget, you can always contribute an article of interest for Your Story Sunday*.


Article:
*Your Story Sunday

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

HaloScan on Blogger: My Review


I originally installed HaloScan on February 23, and tested the service since. The following are my findings.

Advantages:

~~ Automatic install for Blogger users. Installation is easy, only a few steps.

~~ User control of the looks, color, various templates.

~~ Monitoring of comments on the HaloScan Website.

~~ Can delete unwanted comments and block bad URL's.

~~ Auto Trackback or Manual Trackback from the HaloScan Website.

~~ Option for backing up your original template.

~~ E-Mail notification of new comments with upgrade to pay service.

Disadvantages:

~~ No Word Verification for comments to help spam moderation.

~~ Can't have comments come up in a conversational mode.

~~ Can't use #comments (for ease of reading previous comments).

~~ Auto Trackback doesn't work.

~~ Manual Trackback from their Website doesn't work.

~~ Only help available is through the forum (which is no help).

~~ No E-mail notification without paying. It's free with Blogger.

Commentary:

Although HaloScan is easy to install, none of the features work as promised. The Trackback feature doesn't seem to be able to find the URL you are trying to ping (Auto or Manual).

The comment feature is useless unless you want to monitor with the option to delete unwanted comments. The better option is to use the Word Verification provided by Blogger.

When you install HaloScan, you lose previous comments made on your posts. If you uninstall HaloScan, you will lose all comments since installation.

Be aware that if you have problems with the initial installation, don't re-backup. You will end up with the problem installation as the new backup of your template. (it happened to me).

The Help is No Help. If you go to the FAQ file, it sends you to the forum in most cases. Once there, if you ask questions you will get snide remarks from the monitors. You won't get an answer. If anything they May refer you to another thread.

Recommendation:

If you have a command of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you may want to try this service. Just make sure to maintain your own back up of your original template, don't depend on theirs. If you are a novice, you may want to think twice before installing HaloScan, or at the very least have someone qualified do it for you.

Have you had similar problems? Did you find the service useful?

Related Post:
Trackbacks

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Respect Your Customers (Readers)


This is one of those posts that can go in different directions. I read a post over at The Future of the Web* where Jesse is questioning the direction of his Blog. Right after that I read a post on Successful Blog**, where Liz talks about treating customers as people.

They are related in at least two ways. Respect and Mutual Respect.

Respect:

Liz... Respect the customer, treat them as you would like to be treated, as a person, not a number or sale, etc. You will be supprised at the response.

Jesse... Write what you think is important, but respect your readers wishes and what they think is important.

Mutual Respect:

Liz... If you treat your customer with respect they will respect your brand, and you personally. They will refer you to others due to the fact that you dealt with them as a person, not a number.

Jesse... He respects his readers enough to re-think his content. At last look in his comments for that post, most of his readers respect what he is trying to present and are offering support for his efforts.

It doesn't matter whether you are dealing with customers directly, eye to eye, or with unknown people through your writing, you must remember that they are PEOPLE. If you treat them with respect, they will be more responsive to your ideas and continue to return.

Don't forget: What goes around, comes around... You get what you give... One good turn deserves another... and a lot of other proverbs.

What is your experience with giving or getting respect? How did it make YOU feel?

Referenced:
*The Future of the Web
**Successful Blog

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To Share Space or Not to Share Space?


I came across an interesting article at the Washington Post Website by Dan Rafter, Working at Home, and Not Alone* He does a case study of some couples who actually Work at Home in the Same House. (Not necessarily the same business).

Some work in the same room, some need to separate the work places. All in all it is a good look at how some couples handle this type of situation.

I Work at Home Alone, my wife is self employed, but has a Hair Salon in a nearby town. I think that if her business was run out of the house, as some in her profession do, I would never get any work done.

Since most of what I do entails researching, concentration and writing, I need a certain amount of privacy to accomplish my work objectives. Whereas her business is more social, women (and men) in a waiting room, getting their hair done, or coming and going. There is always some type of conversation going on.

Personally, I think the separation of our individual businesses works to our mutual advantage.

Since there are so many people that that work at home (4.2 million in the 2000 US Census, and growing), I'm quite sure there are more than a few who are in the same situation of spouses or life partners sharing work spaces in the house.

I am curious, how many of you are in similar situations? How do you handle it?

Reference:
*Working at Home, and Not Alone

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Prepare for Disaster


I have been out of town for the past few days to set up DSL for a friend of mine. Unfortunately, the equipment didn't show up as was planned, so I did some repair work and updates on his computer.

How is that a disaster, you may ask. It isn't. But, last night the whole apartment building was awakened by the screech of the smoke detectors. It seems that someone put a bottle of a flammable liquid in the hallway and lit it up.

Luckily, one of the tenants was astute enough to grab a fire extinguisher and put it out. Still, the Fire and Police Departments showed up and we had to evacuate the building until they did an initial investigation and determined that it was save to return to the apartments.

Needless to say, none of us got much sleep as we all discussed the situation. Something that I noticed was WHAT people deemed important enough to grab on the way out.

What this leads to is how prepared are you in case of a disaster to recover your business information?

As I have mentioned many times, make sure you have all of your files backed up. This is something many people do not do on a regular basis, and it should be a priority.

Store copies of your files, and hardcopies OFFSITE. When you back up, make sure you do not keep the important information right where you work.

A Big Portion of your Overall game plan, should be disaster recovery. Plan for the worst that can happen and be prepared for anything.

So, when I get home, the first thing I am going to do is (back-up again) and find a nice secure place to store my Business Files.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Future of Blogging


I received an E-Mail from Noor, an International Journalism Major, in which he asks about the future of Blogging. He alludes to the way information and news was and is broadcast during the War on Iraq through personal web logs.

In actuality, there were quite a few Blogs that have come out of that conflict. There was one in particular that was written on a daily basis through out a jounalists stint in Iraq, he is a former colonel in the US military. I can't remember his name or the name of his Blog. ( I am out of town, and don't have access to my home files).

This journalist wrote of his (and the platoon he was with) experiences every day, he also included pictures of the events as they occurred.

I am really supprised there are not more writers and journalists that take advantage of the Blogging Medium. But, with instant publishing, I am sure that there is more than a little opposition by the Main Stream Media. They have no control of what information gets out to the general public. The military probably isn't too happy with it either.

I think that as Blogging grows, and gains the respect of the MSM, you will see more and more Blogs under the heading of major news distributors. The local newspaper here has a print journalist that writes his own Blog, and they include excerpts of it in their hardcopy.

So, as long as we who use Blogging as a tool, and not just a play thing, the exposure of exceptional writers will emerge. I do not think that Blogging will replace the MSM, but it could be a valued addition once it gains the respect it deserves.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Phishing for Your PayPal Information

I have gotten this exact E-Mail three (3) times in a week (so far). IT IS A FRAUD...
I have contacted PayPal at their fraud prevention site and was informed IT IS NOT A VALID PAYPAL URL.

Copy of the E-Mail:

You have added laptopseller@yahoo.com as a new email address for your PayPal account.

If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance with your account, please contact PayPal customer service at:https://www.paypal.com/row/wf/f=ap_email

Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team
Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.
For assistance, log in to your PayPal account and choose the"Help" link in the header of any page.
----------------------------------------------------------------
PROTECT YOUR PASSWORD NEVER give your password to anyone and ONLY log in athttps://www. paypal. com/ Protect yourself against fraudulent websites by opening a new web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape) and typingin the PayPal URL every time you log in to your account.

If you get this or any similar E-Mail, please DO NOT CLICK THE LINK. Contact PayPal, they Will Respond, probably the same day (they did for me).

If you do get something like this, send a copy to spoof@paypal.com They will look into it right away. And remember, NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION unless you are absolutely sure of the source of the request.

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PayPal to Accept Text Message Payments


There are quite a few of us that use PayPal to get paid by our affiliate and advertising programs. Some use the service to process payments from customers.

Now, PayPal is accepting Text Message payments from cell phones for companies such as MTV, the NBA, and Fox's Home Entertainment.

"With the overwhelming popularity of mobile phones, the time has never been better for the merging of e-commerce and wireless devices" said PayPal President Jeff Jordan.

Users in the United States and Canada can instantly send money by sending text messages using the PayPal mobile service. Customers will have to log into a participating Website (Blog) to register their Cell Phone number and receive an ID # for individual orders.

When PayPal receives the order, the customer is called on the corresponding cell phone for confirmation. Once confirmed, the payment is processed to the seller.

I am not sure if this option is open to everyone yet, but when you sign into your PayPal account, the promotion is all over the place. So, if you are interested, log into your PayPal account to get additional information.

Source:
Associated Press

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Introducing... Joe's Freeware Finds


If you have been working on the internet for any length of time, you have probably looked in vain for certain types of programs to fit your needs.

I am starting another Blog, Joe's Freeware Finds* in order to share programs I have found that serve me well in the area of Running a Home Business. Each will be something I either use or know of people who have experience with.

A review will accompany each link to the home site of the product manufacturer. I will try to give the best information available.

There will also be some shareware programs, and programs that offer free trials of their products. Included will be various plug-ins for use online that may be of interest.

So, if you are looking for free software, visit my new site. (It's still under construction, so watch your step).

My New Blog:
Joe's Freeware Finds

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Writing in Series Form


Something I have been contemplating for a while is writing some posts as a series.

My thoughts... (if I write it down, I have to follow through).

Since I do get a few return visitors, this could keep their interest. It could also entice newer visitors to come back again for the additional installments.

Each series will probably run between 3 to 5 days. I think anything longer could cause some people to lose interest. Each post will be linked to the others in the series, so that if someone happens to come in the middle, they can always find the other entries.

The individual series will have a common theme (really???), so the pictures in each related post will have to serve as a logo of sorts for the series.

The series should be written as a whole. Either all in one day and broken down or individually on a daily basis so as to allow for comments and interaction. This depends on the content type.

I have only written one series until now. That was in response to a poll I had taken a while ago asking people what they wanted more information about. Unfortunately, I didn't include links to each installment and they weren't easily identifiable as a series.

So, instead of taking a poll on what you want, I will ask you to request whatever information is important to you through comments.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How to put a Category List on Blogger Blogs


The other day I asked if anyone knew of an easy way to make a category list of old posts on Blogger. I got no response, so I took the time (12pm yesterday until 1:30am today) to create the list from scratch.

Here is what was involved.

First I listed the various categories. They are shown in a previous post* (I'll explain why later) with a request for suggestions for additions or deletions. This was the easy part.

I had to create 14 new posts which contained the various archived posts within each. The number of links in each new post varied by category. Some only had a few relevant posts and others had quite a few.

The only way I found to create links within links was to do each one individually. In other words, I draft a post named "Advertising". Within that post I list the name of each post with a short description that fits that category. Then, I had to save the "draft".

To get the URL of each post from the Edit Posts List, I would have to scroll through to find the appropriate post and open that page in the view screen. At that point I had to go to Edit for the individual category to Copy and Paste the URL in the name of the post to which it belonged.

That in turn had to be saved as "draft" because it is the only way to keep the information and get back to the Edit Posts List for the next URL. This had to be repeated for each entry within that category.

Once a category was completed, I posted it dating it for 10/4/05 (the first day of the Blog). This is the only way to create a URL for that category without orvercrowding newer entries. Then, once posted, I would have to copy and paste the URL into the original list (hence, the original post containing the URL's).

This was repeated again and again for each category.

After that whole process was complete, I still had to get the list in the sidebar. This entailed copying the HTML from the original post containing the information into the Template. Once the position was determined, I pasted the HTML into the appropriate area.

Once the aesthetics were complete, I did the final save and post.

I hope that the New Category List is useful to New and Current Visitors alike. Take a tour of this feature and give me some feedback. I would really like to know if it is as valuable an addition as I had hoped.

Related Link:
*Category List to Review

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

My Technorati Problems


The other day Liz at Successful Blog* posted a really nice story about Technorati. It was set in the days of olde, and there was a happy ending and all...

The reason for bringing this up is My Blog hasn't been updated by Technorati** for (as of today) 11 days. Now, you all know I post every day. It stands to reason I ping all the services right after I post.

It gets worse. The WAH Archive page hasn't been updated for 53 days. And the PolBlog, which I only update every week, was last updated 4 days ago. I can't explain that.

Although, it is nice that Liz and all who were involved got it resolved, mine still remains lost in the mix. I haven't written E-mails complaining. Not that Liz complained (she's the nice one), but she did know who to write to.

I understand that Technorati tracks 33.1 Million Blogs, but I don't understand the inconsistencies.

I thought the reason they have a pinging service is so that subscribers could notify Technorati when a Blog was updated. This should take some of the burden off them, and a site should be updated at least that day.

Am I the only one still having problems with Technorati updates?

Referenced Sites:
* Successful Blog
** Technorati

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Category List to Review


This is the preliminary list of categories I intend to put in the sidebar. I think it will be a good addition to help navigation of older posts I feel are still important.

I know when I visit anywhere, I like to know how to get around. Especially, if I'm looking for something in particular.

Categories:
Advertising
Attitude
Basics
Blogging
Forums
Google
Guest Writer's Articles
Interviews
Keywords
Linking
Organization
Reviews
Scams and Legitimate
SEO
Stastics
Websites
Weekly Helpful Reads
Work at Home

As I said these are just preliminary, so if you think there should be some additions, please let me know. Use comments or E-mail, I'll respond to either one.

Now I have to put ALL the links in...

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Last 10 Posts...
  • Working at Home on the Internet Returning to Blogg...
  • Just another of the endless tests
  • Referral to the New and Improved Home Page
  • Preliminary Review of Blogger vs WordPress
  • This Weeks Helpful Reads...Week 11
  • Mostly Moved
  • The WP Ordeal
  • HELP!!! Changing to WP and Won't Work
  • Response to a Good Idea
  • What Time Is It?
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