Running a small business has so many things to consider to be profitable. Keeping expenses down is just one of them. By using The Cloud rather than expensive hardware, you can save money by keeping your data in The Cloud which also allows you and your team to work together seamlessly on projects. These are just a couple things utilizing The Cloud can help you with, to learn more read How the Cloud is Reshaping Small Business Productivity.
Earlier this year, Google announced that it will give websites with ssl certificates extra brownie points. Though it is only a small ranking factor, it is one nonetheless.
Overall, this news has been well received. However, many small sites have worried about the cost of the certificates and the cost of implementation. The good news is, the cost of these certificates aren’t exactly prohibitive, they start from $10 but they can go up to thousands of dollars. $0 is of course much better.
This week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced a new initiative to transfer the web from HTTP to HTTPS. Together with a few partners, they are forming a new certificate authority who will be offering SSL certificates beginning the summer of 2015. They’ve named it Let’s Encrypt.
Read their full announcement.
It may have been mentioned before, but my husband always comments on how quickly I can fly through small tasks on my computer and be done before he even starts typing. Overall the two key areas that let me do that are:
Getting better at touch typing. I began learning to type on a typewriter (yeah – those) since I was oh maybe 12 or 13. My mother had a book on typewriting dating from the 50’s. Every year during school vacation, I’d learn bit by bit. I’m still not as good as mom though, sometimes I stumble over my finger placement badly but it has helped tremendously. Especially when blogging.
Mastering keyboard shortcuts. Yes, it sounds like a ton of work and in the beginning it could be. But here’s the trick. Don’t learn all of them at one time. Learn the basics first. On every operating system, there are basic keyboard commands that work on every single program you have. Things like Ctrl/Cmd+C for copy, Ctrl/Cmd+V for paste, Ctrl/Cmd+X for cut, and Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+Right/Left for highlight should be something you already know if you’ve been computing for anytime. If you don’t, learn it now. You’ll be amazed how much quicker this is.
There are tons of little hacks like these that could shave off seconds here and there. But don’t despise those seconds because they add up quickly when you do them over and over all day long. This video by David Pogue nicely and quickly points out 10 tech tips – many of them, like the tab to move from field to field that I’ve personally mastered and highly recommend you do it too. Some are on the phone. Love the space bar twice thing. Watch it and save yourself some time today.
‘Podcasting Renaissance’ – the fever that has caught the business owners badly. All are after having their own podcasts…rather their own Internet Radio Show.
Well, the reason might be the huge benefits that Podcasting have:
- Big or small, all business can use Podcast as a branding platform. Since podcast is simple and inexpensive
- Business has the chance to acquire a captivated audience with podcasts. Audiences can listen to the podcasts while keeping themselves busy in some other works.
- Podcasts literally echoes your business mantra inside audiences head
- Subscription to the podcast will automatically deliver it to your audience compared to emails or newsletters
The business owners should steer their venture with the current market trends. Podcasting is a million dollar business since an increased number of professionals have started to enter the game. To set the massive difference in the growth of your brand, business and audience, be the next big Podcaster.
- Chalk Out a Plan for Podcasting
Podcasting is an excellent platform to share the content and is showing sign of resurgence with the thought leaders entering the Podcasting arenas in recent. (An excellent opportunity to have real good business profits)
If you want to enable a podcast for your business, have a plan and system for success. Podcasting is little difficult in the initial stage, but if you have a consistent approach then you can grow your business with an impact.
Take your podcasts as projects and ensure that they have a defined beginning and an end. Set up a workflow checklist for each episode. Have templates to show emails, follow-ups, pre-recorded intro’s video Screenflow templates, this checklist will help you to stay focused.
- Focus On the Date You Launch Your Podcast
Do you want your podcast to strike the chord of market with a loud bang? Then consider the launch date. iTunes the latest podcast traffic driver has enabled a feature called: New & Noteworthy. The two top rows forecast the trendy podcasts in session. So from the launch date you have 8 weeks to be the top 100 in New & Noteworthy section in iTunes.
Utilize this 8 weeks, how will you use it? – Release at least three podcasts on the launch day. The first weeks you must reach out to your audience asking them to download all three podcasts, then ask to leave a rating and review.
Simple math works out here: 100 subscribers will have 300 download in the first week and this help you to reach the top 100 in New & Noteworthy section. Once you reach the summit sit and watch your podcasts outperform.
- Voice Talent Makes Your Podcast Stand Out
Add a flare of professionalism by hiring a professional voice for your podcasts. Record the intro and outro in his or her to set the huge difference in your production value. Key ingredient of a podcast is its host. A talented voice will keep your audience engaged for a longer time. A talented voice can make a crappy content exciting to hear.
- Podcast Length Is Important
Podcasts should be long enough to cover the essential details, but short enough to keep the note interesting to hear. If you are the sole speaker, then keep the length to fifteen minutes, and to extend the time you can add a few interviews. It is better to keep podcast short so that you do not exhaust the topic.
- Get People to Visit Your Website or Blog
A podcast can help you to make people come back to your website or blog. While you run the show, remind your audience that they can always come to your website to get access to all the links mentioned in the episode. The listeners can easily browse through those links without playing the podcasts once more. Thus, you will be driving more traffic where all the actions take place. Make your journey easy with the use of redirect links or hub on your site where all your podcast shows stays listed.
Coming to the end of this blog piece, don’t you think to take up podcasting as your brand driver? In many aspects, podcasting is difficult than blogging, but one who hates to write will take up podcasting to make their brand perfectly.
Give it shot, as you have nothing to lose, create and re-create the new or stale content to boost up the traffic chart.
Jason Smith is a freelance tax consultant, financial writer (website) and a guest speaker is presently residing in NY. He is keenly interested in changing face of global economy, anything related to tech and social media. As a single dad, he often finds it hard to maintain the work-life balance but still manages to make time for his baby boy, his band and golfing buddies!
I’m always on the lookout for new technology. Not in terms of expensive big-time technology, but everyday little solutions that make my life, and job, easier. Somewhere along the line, though, I realized that I couldn’t test out every piece of technology myself. I enjoy finding new technologies and sharing them with my team, but it just wasn’t sustainable.
That’s when I realized that I could lead my team in finding the best and most useful technologies on the market.
Perhaps you feel the same way. Finding a great piece of technology can really improve your efficiency, but going through the work to find that technology can take forever. For example, I use the easel.ly online infographic tool a lot. It allows me to create clean images or infographics in about half an hour. But do you know how many technologies I had to test drive to find the one that I liked the most? Quite a few.
Once you learn to lead your team in finding these technologies, though, you no longer need to test drive multiple technologies. You can simply ask people on your team what works best. Or (even better) they’ll pass along the technology to you before you even get a chance to ask.
Here’s how to do it.
Share New Technology with Your Team
Make it a point to share a new piece of technology once a week. When you do this, explain how to use the technology and what makes it so important. For example, imagine you found a simple program that allows you to take notes on your computer, but that also syncs those notes to your phone. Teach your team how to use it and explain how you’ve found it useful.
Invite Your Team to Share Technology with You
Let your team know that you’re always searching for the most effective technology on the market. Encourage them to bring new technology to you. You could even set up a submission system and share the technology you like the best in your once-a-week meeting.
Create a Public Forum for Team Members to Share Technology
I suggest creating a chat room that all your employees can use during the day (using any IM services already on the market). Encourage employees to share technologies with each other. Not only will you get to hear about new technologies, but those technologies will also pass a “peer review.” Any technology submitted into the chat room will likely be tested by various employees, giving you a well-rounded view of its effectiveness.
Why is This Important?
Innovation displays itself in many forms, including the way you operate within your business and the technologies you use to do that. When you encourage employees to continually search for the best, and to adapt accordingly, that attitude bleeds over into other areas of their work. If you do this long enough it will become part of your brand. You’ll become known as a leading organization in your field.
Second, you never know what you’re missing. There are too many technologies out there for you to know them all yourself. There could be a much more efficient way of accomplishing your task, and you just don’t know it. Enlisting your employees to seek out better technology increases your chances you’ll actually find it.
This approach gives you the chance of discovering something very useful without investing much time it in. Why not try it today? You might be surprised at what you find.
Let me ask you a question. What do you think, is the cornerstone your brand online? Website design, Your voice, Your product quality and all the other things we talk about here? Well yes, they are of course important and play a part in the make up of your brand but the foundation of all online brands is…
The Domain Name
How credible can Amazon be when every aspect of your marketing from web site to emails and communications said “Amazon” but their web site domain name is “Amazonian.com”? The answer is none. Zero. Instead, they’d look like spammers or people out to steal identities.
It’s the same for small businesses with an online presence. Chances are, you took time choosing the right domain. You spent money and time developing the website, then there are business cards printed, ads run, articles or guest blog posts written that all lead back to your domain. Many of these things send you traffic over time and cannot be stopped even if you wanted it to. We all invest a lot in our web sites so imagine how you’d feel if your domain is hijacked from right under your nose.
It happens. In fact, domain theft is on the rise. There are a variety of ways this is done. The common story is, someone gains control of your domain administrator’s email address. This allows the thief to transfer the domain to their own account. When the transfer is complete, it is pretty much a done deal and a big hassle to get back – that’s if you’re lucky.
At that point, the thief can point the domain to their own web sites and steal everything. Your traffic, your good name, your online presence. It’s devastating.
What can you do about it
Be vigilant. Monitor your own domain names. You can get a free account over at domaintools.com and setup alerts to notify you whenever a change is detected with your domain. Remember, you may not get change notification emails from your own registrar if your email is hijacked so using a third party monitoring tool and having those alerts sent to an alternative address is a good idea.
Watch out for emails that disguise themselves as your registrar. It’s better to log in to your registrar directly instead of clicking links in those emails.
Consider private registration for your bread and butter domains.
Lock your domains. While this alone won’t do the trick when the admin account is compromised but it can help in other types of attempts.
Protect your email accounts. If you use Gmail, turn on two-factor authentication. Make sure you connect to your email accounts securely when using email clients like Outlook, Mail or Thunderbird. Change passwords regularly and it goes without saying, be sure the passwords are different from others and difficult to guess.
When you have a domain online that represents your brand, you have to get serious about this stuff. There’s too much riding on it not to.
Does it seem like everyone and their cat is publishing a Kindle book these days? Little wonder now that eReaders have gone main stream. People like it (I do, it’s the only way I read anymore) and the demand for content is huge. It’s not just because more people own it, I bet people who own and read using a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other readers are reading more than ever before. That’s what I’ve noticed about myself.
The technologies to create eBooks have also improved dramatically. Being a sucker for tools that help entrepreneurs in any which way, I jumped on the chance to review Folium Book Studio when they asked. Mind you, I don’t always review software just because someone asks. 99.9% of requests often go unanswered. Somehow, Folium sounded intriguing so I agreed.
What Is It?
Folium Book Studio labels itself as an eBook conversion and design tool. It will take your book and make it into an eBook format that Kindles, Nooks, iPads, Tablets etc can open.
You start by creating a free account. Once in your account, you can familiarize yourself with the options using a sample book project that is automatically loaded into your account. You can’t export this book though but you can edit, remove, add, tweak, change the cover, design the cover, change styles and do just about anything to the sample book project so you can gain confidence using the tool.
Once you are ready to create your own eBook, you can start by creating a new project. Projects cost you 1 credit ($79) and you will have to pay up front for a credit before you can create a project.
When you have paid for a project, you begin by giving the project a title and some basic information. Next, you can upload your book. Folium accepts books in these formats:
- Microsoft Word (.DOC or .DOCX)
- Rich text format (.RTF)
- Plain text (.TXT)
After the book is uploaded, Folium will attempt to clean up the formatting and detect where all your chapters, page headings and content are. It will present you with a quick snapshot of the headings and content. From there on you can edit the content in a nice, easy to use editor interface. You can also re-arrange your chapters easily by dragging and dropping them. At any time, you can also preview how the book will look like in an eReader.
When you are happy with the book and ready to publish, you simply click the Download button and Folium will generate a copy of your book in the necessary formats for Kindle and B&N. It’ll also automatically generate and assign an ISBN to your book.
You can return to download this book multiple times. Folium will save your book project for 1 year.
What I like most is the built in styles. One of my biggest challenges creating digital books is my lack of creativity when it comes to matching fonts and sizes. It sounds easy but it’s not. I’m not in the printing or publishing business but have worked in an ad agency. I know there are reasons behind certain fonts and sizes. So having pre-built styles that look like a regular book is fantastic. You can even add little glyphs or fleurons to your page for that nice finish.
Free ISBN. This I like. An ISBN is included in your project credit. It’s automatically created and attached to your book when you export. While getting an ISBN is not difficult – you can buy one online and have it immediately – but single ISBN’s cost $125 and a bundle of 10 cost $250. The price to create a project and have it properly formatted with ISBN with Folium is $79. I’d say that’s a deal.
Because I am only reviewing this product for a short time and haven’t actually created the book and put it up over at Amazon, iBooks or B&N, my experience is limited. At this time I can say the tool itself is a pleasure to work with and the price is right. The ability to push the book to these digital marketplaces would be nice.
Another thing, the ability to download the book without ISBN generation would also be welcome. This way, we can test how the book looks like by directly loading it into our own devices. As it is, I couldn’t verify the design and formatting on the Kindle or iPad. I’m sure it will look great but it would be nice to experience the book in a real device.
We received a free credit worth $79 in exchange for an honest, unbiased review of Folium. Views favorable or not are a result of my experience with the product, not from the credit – although it was appreciated because it allowed me to dive deeper into the product.