Computer Tips that Help Small Businesses Operate P

Computer Tips that Help Small Businesses Operate Profitably

by: Sharron Senter

When working properly, computers enable small businesses to make big business profits; however, get booted off your computer and you’re suddenly starving. In most instances, computers usually act up due to lack of care by its owners. Here are four computer tips that’ll keep you up and running smoothly.

Tip #1 Back up your computer’s data no less than once a month.

Too often a small business is thrust back to infancy because it didn’t take time to back up precious data; information that took hours upon hours to create. Information that’s irreplaceable, such as customer databases or employment contracts. Keep in mind you’ll want to back up your written data as well as check books such as Quicken and email address books. If your computer has a CD writer, it’s simple and quick to back up your data. Simply select the files and folders you want to back up and copy them to the writer.

Or if you have an older computer, copy your most important files to a floppy disk. Either way, don’t stop there; now take the CD or disk and store it in a firesafe box! To expedite the process, organize your files within folders so you can quickly grab and copy one or two folders.

Tip #2 – Don’t turn off your computer every evening.

Too frequently computer users turn their computers off every evening. This is unnecessary and not recommended. A computer’s components are at their most vulnerable when turned on and off. When a computer has to heat up [turn on] or cool down [turn off] it’s at this precise moment components fail. It’s recommended you turn your computer off once or twice a week or only when necessary, such as from a power outage. However, don’t do the opposite and never turn your computer off, since many antivirus programs require a computer reboot be performed before new virus patches take effect.

Tip #3 Automate antivirus software so it updates automatically no less than once a week.

Depending on your software, you may need to prompt it to update. Unfortunately, there are people with too much time on their hands who desire to attack and make your computer unusable. A computer user is not ultimately protected from viruses and spyware [popups, cookies, etc.] unless you’re using a combination of antivirus and antispyware software and a firewall, a piece of hardware that protects computers from being hacked. You must have all three pieces in order to ward off viruses, lurkers and attacks. What’s more, most of the attacks are very quiet. You don’t know someone is on your computer. Instead, they secretly store information, such as child pornography or music MP3s on your computer, since itกs illegal, and redirect childporno or MP3 seekers to your computer instead of theirs.

Tip #4 Install a firewall if you keep your computer constantly on.

Using a broadband or DSL connection dramatically increases your exposure to being hacked. It only takes an average of 15 minutes being online before a homebased computer is attacked. The only true way to protect a computer from a hacker is to install a hardware firewall. It’s a misconception that softwarebased firewalls ultimately defend computers. This is simply not true. Computers must have a hardware firewall for ultimate protection, such as a SonicWall or Netscreen firewall, a component installed between a home user’s cable or DSL connection and their computer.

About The Author

Sharron Senter is cofounder of an on site computer repair, security and networking company that helps families, home power users and small businesses north of Boston, Southern NH and Maine. Visiting Geeks’ technicians are crackerjacks at squashing viruses, popups and securing and making computers perform faster. To reach Visiting Geeks call (978) 3464087 or visit Sharron’s also the author of, ขMake Money While Sleeping.ข Learn more at

This article was posted on October 05, 2004

by Sharron Senter

Why You Need an ArticleMarketing Strategy before

Why You Need an ArticleMarketing Strategy before Posting a Single Article Online I

by: Dr. Lynella Grant

Part 1 of a 2part series

To read Part 2

First, Define your Bulls Eye

If you’re going to write and post articles on the Internet, be unambiguous about what you expect them to accomplish. Don’t start writing just yet. Think beyond the mechanics of writing an article or deciding where to post it.

It’s one thing to spin out an article or two. It’s quite another to incorporate them into a strategy that builds your website traffic, reputation, and business. All your marketing methods should work together online and off.

Your Strategy Clarifies:

Who you’re trying to reach

How to find them

What you want them to do next (does your website support that aim?)

Your primary goal and message

How articles (with particular titles and keywords) mesh with your other marketing

Article marketing is nothing more than a way to get information (not advertising) broadly distributed on the Internet. It can’t compensate for a muddled or dull message. And it won’t build your site traffic unless it connects to readers in an interesting way.

Write Articles that Trumpet a Unique Business Message

A frequent business error is treating each customer attracting activity as though it stands alone. Yet each method works better when echoing a common message that links to the others.

To quote Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, กIt’s hard to tell a powerful story badly. But it’s easy to tell a weak story well. I’ve never seen a business fail because they were ‘reaching the wrong people.ก But I’ve seen thousands fail because they were saying the wrong thing… It’s amazing how many people become the กright peopleก when you’re saying the right thing. Believe it or not, it’s advertising third, customer delight second, strategy always first.ก

Maximize your CustomerAttracting Methods

Last year I wrote an ebook showing how to make the business website and Yellow Page ad work together to bring new customers. It made the point that each promotional method has its own strengths, and reaches different groups By them working together, each approach does a more persuasive job.

As an example, the directory ad should display a website address. A recent study found that over 60% of people surveyed only call Yellow Page ads that show a website (even if they don’t intend to visit it). Besides, the website lets the business provide information that won’t fit within the dimensions of an ad.

A single approach can’t cover all your bases. The same applies to article marketing.

Article Marketing Strengths

Ability to deliver an interesting กsampleก of your expertise

Long enough to be informative (600800 words)

Reaches and speaks to tightly focused interest groups

Quickly delivers the message throughout the Internet

Long shelf life some websites keep articles posted for years

Builds on the keywords that your website uses

Incominglinks from websites that post your articles

Plan More than One Article at a Time

You can’t develop much momentum with one article. That’s like shooting a gun with a single bullet, or a PPC (payper click) campaign for just one term. The odds of hitting your mark aren’t too good. Several articles written to reinforce each other generate more mileage. As you get more articles out there, people start paying attention, and you can target more keywords. Repeated publications develop a personality that readers recognize.

Plan a number of titles in advance, with a theme building from one to the next. Keep each one tightly focused, but related to the others. In that way, you develop the indepth กvoiceก of an expert. And your information won’t lapse into hohum generalities. Write firstrate articles when you rely on the extensive free resources at Article Marketing Academy.

Try writing some in a series (like, Part 1 of 3 parts) to build anticipation for future segments. Also, your message won’t be confined to the 600 to 800 word article limit. Since each article in the series resides on your website, readers needn’t wait to read them all (giving them an incentive to visit your site). Later, the whole series can be offered as a special report or ebook (once related material is added).

Write with your keywords in mind. Maintain your primary message, with a different twist for parallel niches. Go to the extra effort to say something new. That’s easy when you provide stories, examples, case studies from your own experience. As you dish out practical assistance in your articles, readers will be eagerly watching for your next ones.

© Lynella Grant

Part 2 includes posting articles, writing to please the search engines, and ways to reuse articles. Part 2 of 2,

About The Author

Dr. Lynella Grant Article Marketing Academy Promote yourself, business, website, or book with articles posted online.

Author, Yellow Page Smarts, (719) 3959450

This article was posted on January 23

by Dr. Lynella Grant

Do You Have The Courage To Ignore The Experts?

Do You Have The Courage To Ignore The Experts?

by: Graham and Julie

Do you have the courage to ignore the experts? Do you have the willingness and ability to understand and use the power that is within you? Courage is that state of mind when you do something that you know is right for you and your loved ones and the rest of the world thinks you’re mad. The ability to make the decision and then make it happen. Courage is not progressing through life with gay abandon, ignoring all the fears. Quite the contrary. Courage is an understanding of fear. An understanding of what to fear and what not to fear. Courage is the ability to challenge what is deemed to be common sense.

The world will constantly knock the courageous because they want mediocrity. They want mediocre players and people. People who don’t rock the boat. People who do what they are told. People who willingly stay within the rules even though they know they are causing harm to others.

Pause for a moment. Just think . Does it take courage to make the latest technology go faster, make it bigger, more complex than the last edition? Does it take courage to add to what already exists? For us, courage is shown by those who fight for something new. Follow their dream and see the benefit of going in the opposite direction.

The question is do you have the courage to do what you want? To touch your potential. Do you have the courage to speak out for what you believe in? Do you have the courage to go for it? Remember when you were a child. Were you curious? Were you a risk taker then? No doubt you had lots of courage when you were a child. You did many things based on a focus and no evidence. As a child no doubt you trusted the processes of life. So what’s different now?

If you are now feeling a huge resistance to going forward to naming your aim and objective, to realising your potential. Don’t worry it’s normal. The resistance is a normal way of moving forward. It’s your natural brake that is saying hang on a minute lets have another look at this. Every time you meet resistance within yourself or others it means you are growing because only as you start to think and state something outside your box do you encounter opposition. So don’t be discouraged and write yourself off. Stay with it.

You see, the feeling of fear and not following your beliefs was no doubt planted in your childhood. The time when you were told that you ought to value money. That you ought to save. You need to be careful, you need to have heroes and follow others. Perhaps instead we should have been taught to respect money but to be generous with it rather than be thrifty. Perhaps we should have been taught to go for our dreams rather than settle for security. As Andrea Dworkin, the feminist and civil rights activist, stated in one of her speeches:

By the time we are women, fear is as familiar to us as air. It is our element. We live in it, we inhale it, we exhale it, and most of the time we do not even notice it.

We think it applies to men as well as women. Well at least Graham says it applies to him. Every time he thinks of stepping out of his box, fear is present.

So there isn’t a fearless state. We just have to accept it and carry on. What is that phrase? ขFeel the fear and do it anywayข. Start by looking at your aim and objective. What is your aim? Do you have one? Is it a general I want to earn $50,000 a year or is it more focussed on an activity. For example, I want to tap into, understand and use the power that is within me. I want to assist others to do the same. All you need is an aim and the willingness, the courage to make effort to implement it.

Once you have your aim the hard work really starts. Now it’s time to practice, practice, practice. To read all you can around your subject. To buy all the books that will help you. Go on courses that will help. Meet successful people in the sphere of your chosen aim. Pick everyone’s brain. Whatever needs to be done to reach your aim.

Don’t worry about your capabilities they will come. If you have chosen the aim from your heart, from your subconscious then the capabilities will follow. How do you know your aim is chosen from your subconscious? Because you have no doubts about it. It feels comfortable. More than that it makes you get up in the morning.

As they say, the journey begins with a first step. Now; do you have the courage to take it? Do you have the courage to ignore the experts and do what you really want to do in the world?

It’s up to you.

Courage charms us, because it indicates that a man loves an idea better than all things in the world,

that he is thinking neither of his bed,

nor his dinner, nor his money, but will venture all to

put in action the invisible thought of his mind.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 1882)

Good Luck

Graham and Julie

About The Author

Graham and Julie

To see more of our work please go to:

This article was posted on December 21, 2004

by Graham and Julie

Become a Wedding Planner

Become a Wedding Planner

by: Patrick Ryan

Creating your own business in this day and age is more important than ever. The trick is to find a niche market and tap into it on the way up. It is no secret that the wedding industry is huge. There are somewhere around 2.5 million weddings every year in the United States Alone! So…. About $40 billion is spent on weddings every year in the U.S. Some believe that number is low! The # then rises to be around 80 billion! Today’s average couple will spend roughly $18 – 30 thousand dollars on their wedding!

The beauty of this kind of business is that it’s not a huge investment. It can easily be done from your home. All you need is to be professional and very very organized to gain people’s trust. But once you have planned a few weddings you’ll find so long as everything went smoothly that people will drop your name to others and more business will come your way.

Things that you’ll need to consider for your new planning business includes:


When creating a Wedding a Consulting Business one of the most important aspects is your image! You need to create a look that shows both professionalism and beauty. You can hire an expert for this but I suggest just doing it yourself! I create many logos using royaltyfree stock photo that I purchase from This logo needs to go everywhere, your letterhead, business card, brochures and most importantly ขinvoicesข. Remember image is one of the most important aspects of a business!

Business Supplies

Much of the investment when first starting out will be getting the proper supplies. However in today’s day and age most things can be done relatively quickly and cheap even from the comforts of your own home. Although this may be the case, you need to remember that you must look professional! Brides wont be letting Jo Schmo with a cheap brochure plan their Wedding! You want to wow your potential clients and turn them into potential paying customers.

You need some Planning Software. For this thee are professional options and free options. I prefer the free options since many can do just about everything the paid ones can. I suggest checking out and doing a search for Wedding. You will be amazed at the software you can get. One of the best pieces of shareware I have found was located here. Imagine how pleased my recent couple who were having an outdoor tent Wedding was when I gave them a complete professionally drafted paper which included each person, table, chair! The drawing looked as if a large construction firm using AutoCAD did it! Don’t just go out and purchase this software! Take a look around! Thousands of programs exist out there to make you more of a professional Wedding Consultant! Most people can accomplish many of these tasks with Microsoft Word or Exel!

So I have outlined just a few things to consider before starting up your Wedding Planning Business. Take the jump and try your hand. This is a great niche business to set yourself up in. It’s a time consuming process but it’s better to set yourself up now rather than later. I have no doubts you will be a success.

About The Author

Patrick Ryan has been in the wedding industry business for years now but has noticed quite a few dramatic changes in recent times. Check out his wedding ebooks at and

This article was posted on September 08

by Patrick Ryan

Grow Sales Using Image Tactics

Grow Sales Using Image Tactics

by: Sharron Senter

In my dreams, I envision being the marketing consultant equivalent of Oprah or Tiger Woods. Oprah, for her premise, ขYou’re a woman and only you are responsible for yourself.ข Tiger Woods, for his ultimate dedication to the game. Respectively, this is what they’re known for or what their personal value can be identified as; put another way, this is what their brand identities are.

Once you’re known for something and people perceive value in ขthis something [your brand],ข it’s at this moment that you start to make money. Once you have perceived value, other entrepreneurs and businesses will pay money to be associated with the perception for which you’re known.

To be an entrepreneur, the first decision you must make is, ขWho do you want to be?ข Or, put another way, ขHow do you want to be perceived by others?ข The answers to these two questions are equivalent to the foundation that’ll drive all of your future marketing decisions, from what advertising vehicles you’ll use, to the type of customers and clients you’ll target.

For example, would you like to be known as the world’s most prestigious dietician? People all over the world seek you out and pay money for your advice on how to integrate more color into their diets. To build a foundation and reach such prestige, your image marketing plan might involve the following actions.

Complete appropriate credentials such as certifications and higher education.

Obtain and make visible reputable references including popular media personalities quoting you as an expert, current and past clients quoting specific things you did to help them, and a variety of print articles and electronic news bulletins in which you’re quoted.

Build credibility by hosting, writing or producing a weekly healthyeating column called, ขGot Colors, Get Healthy.ข

Socialize and be seen with other healthrelated wellknown experts or people who exhibit healthy behavior such as: other dietitians, diet book authors, athletes, personal trainers, physiology professors and food scientists. Why? Because a person can create an implied credibility about themselves simply by hanging out with other experts. Generally speaking, people assume that because the other experts let you hang with them, then you must be worthy of your ขexpertข status.

Pick a unique clothing and makeup style and stick with it. A simple example, perhaps every time you leave your house, you always wear something purple, a scarf, pin, shirt, tie or nail polish. The repetitive purple creates a subliminal image, that, after awhile, causes people, when they see you in the news, at an event or in a magazine, to say, ขI’ve seen her somewhere.ข And from this statement they extract that you’re sought after, and therefore, you must know what you’re talking about.

Always evolve your image based on current trends. However, remember to make small changes, so as not to walk away from the image you’ve been working hard to build.

Every entrepreneur’s imagebuilding plan will be unique. In fact, it must be. It’s the subtle differences about you as an entrepreneur that distinguish you from your competition. More importantly, it’s also these differences that help your customers find you, since you’ll be more able to effectively and affordably reach customers by selecting an image niche.

About The Author

Sharron Senter is a New Englandbased marketing consultant, speaker, writer and founder of Senter & Associates. She helps small and homebased businesses deploy affordable marketing strategies. She’s well known for her free weekly emailed marketing tips and her ข14 Imagebuilding Dos & Don’ts,ข small biz survival report. Receive Senter’s free marketing tips at

This article was posted on March 20, 2003

by Sharron Senter

Create Your Own Digital Library

Create Your Own Digital Library

by: Jelaine Macaraeg

The moment you got your first digital camera, your view of the world has totally changed. You always seem to see something beautiful or artistic in your surroundings, worthy of being captured in pixels. You experiment quite a lot and keep on loading your pictures in your computer. Until one day, you thought of working on a project. You’re sure you have the kind of picture you need – you knew you have it somewhere in your hard disk… in one of those folders… You can’t run a search for it though because you pretty much use generic filenames like Flower1, Flower2, Flower 3 and so on. Uhoh! Looks like it’s high time for you to organize your digital photos!

Microsoft has something that can help you do that. It’s called the Microsoft Digital Image Suite 9, which actually consists of two imaging applications – MS Digital Image Library 9, which serves as your database of digital images and MS Digital Image Pro 9, which is a photo manipulation program.

A lot of people may like it’s familiar Explorerlike interface – the left pane being the folder pane, while the right side of the window is the image browser, showing thumbnails of your images.

The good thing about Digital Image Library 9 is that you wouldn’t have to transfer your photos from their current location. Instead, it scans your hard disk and locates folders it considers photo folders, afterwhich you may deselect folders that are not appropriate. The images may then be sorted according to date or keywords. From here, you may doubleclick on a photo to bring it up in a fullscreen view and use the basic controls for zoom, fit to screen, rotate and print. You may also select multiple photos for slideshow, the speed of which range from 1 second to 1 minute.

Oftentimes, pictures taken with a digital camera contains metadata. These are information about the photo, such as shutter speed and the date and time the photo was taken. Digital Image Library 9 allows you to add these metadata with captions and keywords to easily categorize and later on identify images. Another nifty feature of this application is that it even allows you to rate your photos! From the preview pane, simply click on how many stars, the highest being five, you wish to assign each photo.

If you wish to do some retouches on an image, simply click the edit button and Digital Image Pro 9 launches and opens the selected image. This application has a lot of quickfix features such as the Red Eye tool and the Smart Erase, which caters to novice retouchers and home users who don’t want anything complicated.

Being the allinone application that it is, Microsoft Digital Image Suite 9 comes with tons of mats, frames and templates for creating professional photo projects such as scrapbooks, photo albums, calendars and postcards. You may also get Microsoft Photo Story, an addon to the suite that lets you turn your photos into video. Simply choose which photos to include then add some narration if you have a microphone and add music and zooming effects.

About The Author

Jelaine Macaraeg

I like to read anything that contains words in the old English form, though I can’t understand it. You know, the King James Version of the Bible with words like thou, thy, thine, wilst, etc. The words used are different. The construction of the sentence is different, too, which makes sentences sound artistic. I also like gothic metal, a music genre, because most of the lyrics contain such words. It is not only the words that fascinate me; it’s the hidden meaning it contains. It’s like an abstract painting; you don’t get the real picture until you see through it.

For comments and inquiries about the article visit

This article was posted on March 11

by Jelaine Macaraeg

How to start a home business.

How to start a home business.

by: Patric Chan

Do you know that it’s possible for a housewife or a ‘onemanshow’ around the world to start a home business for full time income?

It’s possible. And Iกm going to tell you what you need and how to do it.

First you need to get an extra phone line, fax and a computer in your home. This should be different from your existing home phone line or computer. That was easy to get started, wasn’t it?

The secret to start a home business quick and profitable is to be a ‘middle man’ between the prospects and the products or services they are looking for. It’s that simple! Of course you can create your own products or services to sell, but why go through the hassle in the early stages of getting started? By being the ‘middle man’, you can get started immediately.

Then, you have to determine whether you want to be a ‘middle man’ for a product or service oriented business. Both will give you the same benefits. Even if it’s product oriented, you are not be producing it. You are just merely getting it from someone and passing it to the customer. Therefore, you should not have any inventory. However, I’ll prefer to be involved in service oriented home business because it’s less ‘sticky’. Products may have more issues such as delivery, order fulfillment, product return and so on.

Here are 3 ways you can immediately start a home business by being a ‘middle man’ for a service oriented home business:

1. Human Resource ‘Department’

Do you know that many companies are hiring and many people are looking for a job? This is one of the best opportunities that you can get started immediately. It’s low cost, almost zero in cost. Go to all the offices and factories in your city and tell the human resource manager/department that you want to help them find reliable staff. They will have a list of vacancies. Get all the details. Compile it and start announcing to the public what vacancies you have to offer! You can make money from either the company or anyone who gets a job from your help. You decide how much commission you want. If the company already has their own commission scheme, you can just earn from there.

2. Real Estate

Youกd be surprised that many people are actually buying houses each day. And many people are selling houses as well! Don’t believe me? Go to your local real estate dealer’s office and youกll see there are plenty of requests from people wanting to buy or sell houses. You can just be a ‘middle man’ to get the deal. In fact, all real estate agents are ‘middle men’ in reality. You can just tie up with a few real estate agents and negotiate for a commission from them if you help them to get the houses their customers are looking for, or to help their customers to sell off their house.

A few deals a month will land you in big commission checks because houses price can vary from $50,000.00 to $5,000,000.00! However, you do want to set a certain criteria of amount that you will not participate. Example, you might not do any deals below $25,000.00 (or whatever figure you choose) because youกll need to put in the same effort and yet the return is too minimal.

3. Seminar business

Do you see seminars conducted in your city or state? It can be any type of seminars. Doesn’t matter what seminar it is. Pick up your phone and call the seminar organizers. Tell them youกll find participants to fit in their room and ask them how much commission they are willing to pay you per head. If the company is smart, theyกll pay you good commission because they no longer need to invest their money in advertising. And secondly, they cannot lose because they are paying you for results only.

Once you have experience of it, you may even consider engaging your own speaker one day and organize it. This can be your quarter year project for quick, instant cash.

There are so many other ways to start a successful home business. Iกve not even covered on how to start a home business by using the internet (If you want to learn that, go get a copy of ‘5Step System To Make Money Online VCD Package at ).

So don’t give excuses for yourself that it’s too much work, you need a lot of money to get started, and so on. Those are all excuses you create for yourself because of unconscious fear of failure. Or your own limiting beliefs.

It’s your life. It’s your decision. Sit on it, and there is no way you can expect to start a home business. Start it today, and maybe youกll start making money in a few months and generate a full time income in a year or 6 months.

All the best.

Patric Chan

Copyright 2004 Patric Chan

About The Author

Patric Chan is an internet infopreneur, and author. He had jointventured with many famous internet marketing experts in product creations and selling online.

Get the latest internet marketing tips at

This article was posted on November 06, 2004

by Patric Chan

3 Ways to Gain and Keep Customers Using Postcards

3 Ways to Gain and Keep Customers Using Postcards

by: Brett Curry

In today’s competitive (sometimes cutthroat) marketplace, savvy business owners need to constantly look for ways to get and, more importantly, keep their customers. When used properly postcards offer a great opportunity to do both.

1. Mail systematically to a targeted database of prospects. Most people who use postcard mailings as a way to acquire new customers mail to a list once and then stop. It’s far more effective (provided that your postcards have an enticing offer, and provided that you are mailing to a group of ขripeข prospects) to mail regularly to the same group of potential customers. Think about it this way. How many times have you received something in the mail or seen an ad on TV and thought, ขthat’s a good idea, I need to look into that.ข Only to forget about it the next day and never take action. That’s just human nature. And that’s why it’s better to mail systematically and regularly to a group of prospects than it is to just mail once or twice. It may take 3 or 4 contacts with a customer before they are willing to do business with you.

2. Systematically contact your customers. Once a business gains a new customer the tendency is to do nothing but hope that the customer will come back. Bad idea. It’s far better to be proactive and mail monthly, weekly, quarterly, etc. to your current customers offering them special incentives, additional products, or just to simply thank them for their business. It’s amazing what kind of growth you can achieve if you get even a small percentage of your customers to make an additional purchase or two throughout the year.

3. Allow your customer to be a hero. One great way to build a relationship with your current customers and potentially gain new customers is to send them a postcard with a special offer that is only good for previous customers or friends and family of previous customers. When you send a postcard with a coupon or special offer on it, state very clearly that your valued customer is free to use the coupon for themselves or they can pass it on to someone else. This will make them feel good, and will potentially build a repeat purchase, or develop a new client. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.

Postcards can quickly and inexpensively communicate your message to prospects and consumers. When used as part of an integrated system, post cards can be a very powerful tool to generate new customers and then ensure that those customers keep coming back to you over and over again. In business, what could be

About The Author

Brett Curry is a professional Marketing Consultant and the Marketing Director for is the home of top quality, full color brochures, business cards, post cards and more at up to 70% off of retail.

This article may be reproduced provided that the above bio is listed with the article.

This article was posted on February 02

by Brett Curry

All About Links Interview With Link Building Ex

All About Links Interview With Link Building Expert , Bob Gladstein

by: Julia Hyde

Julia: Welcome Bob. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions about link building. Iกm going to jump right in ask you why Web sites need links?
Bob: There are a number of reasons to have links pointing to your site. But let’s start with the reason they were created in the first place. The original purpose of the Internet was to enable the sharing of information. For example, if a scholarly paper existed on a server at the University of California, and a professor at Oxford wanted to read it, the Internet made that instantly possible. Now, if the Oxford professor had a paper that referenced information from the UC paper, they could link directly to that other document rather than just quoting from it. So a hyperlink was intended as a way of connecting data, ideas, and references together. It’s like saying, ขif you’d like further information on this topic, here’s a place to find it.ข
When the Google search engine was created, its developers took this into account. And drew the conclusion that a link was an indication that the page being linked to was relevant to some particular subjectmatter.
So that’s a rather long introduction to a short answer to your question. Web sites need links because they send traffic that’s already targeted to their subject matter to other sites, and because they help the search engines determine both their theme and what the web as a community deems their importance to be. Basically (although not absolutely), the more links that point to a page, the more relevant that page is determined to be. In addition, links are now considered the most reliable way (apart from paying) to get a site into the search engines in the first place.
While both Google and Yahoo allow you to submit a site to their index, it’s clear that the best way to get the search engines to pay attention to your site is to get a page that their spiders already know about to link to yours. The spiders then follow that link to your site, and add it to their index.
Julia: Thanks, Bob. But there are different types of links aren’t there? Can you explain differences?
Bob: As we discussed in the previous question, there are text links from other sites. Some of these are reciprocal (that is, they link to you and you link back to them) and others are oneway (the owner of the other site decides, for whatever reason, to link to your site and doesn’t expect you to link back).There are also image links: banners, buttons, etc. These have the advantage of standing out visually from the rest of the page, but many people have become immune to the standard banner ad and just ignore them, because it’s assumed they’re just advertisements, and as such, not necessarily relevant to the page on which they appear.
Then there are directory listings, where a link to your site appears on a page containing links to numerous other sites in what the directory editor has determined to be your particular niche.
An important thing to consider regarding getting a link is the code behind it. If your primary concern is to send traffic to your site, this isn’t important. In that case, what you need to think about is whether the link is going to send the right people to you. But if you want the link to be recognized by the search engines and to contribute to your ranking in searches, you need the link to be in simple HTML, without JavaScript or other code that will hide the link from search engine spiders.
There are also links that won’t help you at all, or will put you in danger of losing your position on the search engines. Guestbook spam, the practice of going to a site’s guest book area and posting a message like ขNice site. Come visit mine, at…ข will do you no good. The search engines know that such links carry no value, and just ignore them. The same is true for freeforall links pages, on which you can immediately add a link to any site, without any editorial oversight.
Link farms are a far more dangerous subject. These are networks of sites that are heavily crosslinked and offer to link to you as long as you link back into the network, or host a page on your site that serves as a directory of sites that the link farm has linked to. The idea here is to abuse the power search engines give to links by exponentially increasing the number of links to your site, without regard for theme or value. You link into the farm, and you have hundreds, perhaps thousands of links pointing back to you. But the links are only there to increase link popularity. The sites on which the links reside are not intended to actually be viewed by people; they’re just intended to give search engine spiders the mistaken impression that your site is extraordinarily popular.
Julia: So, whatกs the best way to get legitimate and relevant sites to link to yours?
Bob: Before you can get a site to link to yours, you first have to find it. You need to do research on the subjectmatter of your site by searching on the keywords you hope people will use to find it. The results of those searches will give you a list of sites that are already performing well for those keywords. You should then study those sites, so that you can write to the webmaster and request a link in such a way that demonstrates that you understand the purpose of their site. And give reasons as to why you think their audience will find your site of interest.
You can buy links from sites as well, sometimes on a single page, and sometimes all across the site. These are just like any other form of advertising. So before you part with your money you need to determine if they’re worth the purchase price by deciding if they’ll send you enough of the right traffic. That’s why sites that offer the opportunity to buy links will make claims about how much traffic they get and how their audience is made up of ขdecision makers.ข
Finally, there are directories, which normally require you to drill down to find the most relevant category for your listing. You can then (depending on the directory) either contact them with your information, or fill out a form on the directory itself and request a listing.
Julia: What would you say to Web site owners who are reluctant to use links because they think it will take people away from their site?
Bob: For one thing, a Web site without any offsite links is a dead end, and there is some evidence to suggest that search engines view sites that don’t link out as being less valuable.
Unless you’re willing to pay, you may have a hard time convincing people to link to you if you’re not planning on linking back to them. But it’s still possible, especially if you’ve got content that’s so good people will want to link to you anyway, but it’s definitely harder to get oneway links than reciprocal ones. I’m not suggesting that people link directly to their competitors. The idea is to link to sites that complement the content that you’re providing. By doing so, you’re contributing to the impression that your site is an authority on your theme: not only do you have great information, but you have links to other sources of information. That’s another reason for people to come back to your site more often. And if you’re still worried about sending people away from your site and never seeing them again, you can set your offsite links to open in a new window, by adding target=ข_blankข to the code for the link. If you do this, however, it’s a good idea for usability purposes to let people know that the link will open in a new window. Otherwise, people who have their browser windows maximized may not realize what’s happened, and should they try to get back to your site by hitting their back button they’re likely to be confused when it fails to take them anywhere.
Julia: We often hear the term กAnchor textก. Can your explain what this means and why itกs important?
Bob: Anchor text is the part of a text link that’s visible on the page. On a Web page, that would look like this: Search Engine Marketing and Copywriting Services. ขSearch Engine Marketing and Copywriting Servicesข is the anchor text. What’s important about it is that it tells both the user and the search engine spider what the page the link points to is about. In a search engine optimization project, getting links to your site that use your keywords in the anchor text helps to get your page to rank higher for those keywords. That’s why it’s important to have something other than ขclick hereข as anchor text.The power of anchor text can be seen by the example of the practice of ขGooglebombing,ข in which numerous sites will link to a particular page using the same anchor text. If enough sites do it, Google will rank that page at the top of its listings for searches on that text. George W. Bush’ biography page on the site of the White House is still number one in Google for the query ขmiserable failureข about half a year after that particular Googlebomb was created. Whether or not you personally agree that those words do a good job of describing Mr. Bush, Google accepts what it sees as the opinion of the general online community. If enough pages tell Google that miserable failure George W. Bush, then as far as Google is concerned, it must be true.
Julia: Another thing we hear a lot about is Pagerank™—a tool webmasters often use to determine whether a site is worth linking to or not. What does this mean?
Bob: PageRank (not to be confused with ขpage rankข) is a part of Google’s algorithm for ranking pages. There are numerous theories as to how it’s calculated, but only Google knows for certain. In any case, that’s not important to this discussion. What matters is that PageRank is a measure of the value of a page based on the links pointing to it, the value of the pages on which those links reside,and the number of other links that are on those pages. It’s strictly numerical, and has absolutely nothing to do with relevance or value to the reader. In other words, if I have a page about Shakespeare, and I link to two pages, one about Shakespeare, and the other about the care and feeding of parakeets, the same amount of PageRank will be passed to both of those pages. The fact that one of those pages is about the same subject as my page does not enter into the calculation.
You can see an estimation of the PageRank of a given page if you have the Google toolbar installed. But it’s important to keep in mind that PageRank is not everything, nor is it the most important thing. It’s one of many factors Google takes into account when it ranks pages for queries, and it’s not at all uncommon to see that a site that ranks on the top of a SERP (search engine results page) has a lower PageRank than the pages below it on the SERP.
One of the reasons people believe that PageRank is important is that if you do a backlink check in Google by typing ขข in the search box, you’ll generally (but not absolutely) only see pages that link to the URL in question and have a PageRank of 4/10 or higher. People have taken this to mean that a link from a page with a lower PR doesn’t count, and that simply isn’t true. It’s true that, all other things being equal, the higher the PR of a page linking to yours, the more PR it’s going to pass to your page, but as I said, PR is just one aspect of Google’s algorithm, and every link apart from the troublesome ones we spoke of earlier has some value.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that a page that shows a PR of 2/10 in the toolbar today may have a 5/10 or 6/10 a few months from now.When I’m looking for sites from which I may wish to request links, the only time what I see in the toolbar matters to me is when I see that it has no PageRank at all. Assuming the site isn’t new, that can sometimes be an indication that the site has done something which caused Google to demote it. That is, it may be what Google refers to as a ขbad neighborhood,ข and as such, you should be extra careful in checking it out before you agree to link back to it.
Julia: Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, Bob! I hope you all will check out Bobกs site at for more information about his company.

About The Author

Julia is an independent copywriter specializing in advertising and search engine marketing services. To learn more about how Julia can help boost your companyกs profits visit her site at You may also like to sign up for Marketing Works! Juliaกs monthly ezine. Visit her website or email Julia for details.

This article was posted on June 22, 2004

by Julia Hyde

Almost A Misconception: Corel Draw

Almost A Misconception: Corel Draw

by: Blur Loterina

Corel Draw Version 4.0 is said to be the most ambitious computer software. What makes it ambitious is that it promises to be the ultimate tool for any computer graphics design and that it claims to be a bugfree software. The promotion was impressive but it appeared to have disappointed many CorelDraw users.

Many thought that Corel Draw version 7 will not be of any difference. Surprisingly, it gave them another dose of hope, a new and better software to give them professionalquality logos, special effects and illustrations.

This version focuses on interface, speed and maintenance. It is composed of Corel Photo Paint 7 and Corel Dream 3d7. One of the features included is the Template Wizard script. This allows you to create templates from saved files, reducing the time wasted in making templates. It also enables you to work on templates you created on other Corel draw versions, just add the templates on your template wizard. New template samples as well as templates for Paper Direct papers are included.

There is the Welcoming Screen that explains how vector images differ from bitmap images and how you can export them. Customizing keyboards and tools are also discussed. The purpose of the color manager is to instruct user how to manipulate color producing devices so that it will work well with Corel software. Also, there are shortcut keys and management tools for saving and organizing files.

Corel Draw 7 offers a much better scripting tool. You can use these tools to set styles and dimensions. You can set up your page using the property bar.

A scrapbook feature, which gives access to Draw 7, was included. Draw 7 is a collection of fills, cliparts, photos, designs and outlines. Use the Options Dialog Box for instructions on how to nudge or duplicate drawing options or adjust backups.

A new version was created, an upgrade from PhotoPaint and Corel Draw, the Select version. It contains a full version of the two programs. It’s not just a drawing program; it is also used for desktop publishing and professional photo image editing. It has a built in thesaurus and spell checker as well as 450 readymade professional looking templates. However, this version does not have other features included in the original Corel 7. The graphics library is limited and has fewer fonts as compared to the latter.

With Corel Draw 7, you can create realistic shadows and fix text inside objects or closed path.

About The Author

Blur Loterina

You may wonder why I write articles. Besides from the fact that it’s my job, I used to write short stories when I was younger. I think it would be helpful if I said I’m a big fan of Zach de la Rocha and Rage Against the Machine. This would explain my own views about a lot of things. Their songs were about national issues, politics and human rights. They support the American Indian Movement and Che Guevara, the face you see on tshirts. Not that it concerns me. I only like their music and idealism.

I like to read anything that contains words in the old English form, though I can’t understand it. You know, the King James Version of the Bible with words like thou, thy, thine, wilst, etc. The words used are different. The construction of the sentence is different, too, which makes sentences sound artistic. I also like gothic metal, a music genre, because most of the lyrics contain such words. It is not only the words that fascinate me; it’s the hidden meaning it contains. It’s like an abstract painting; you don’t get the real picture until you see through it.

I’m not an artist, I’m not a poet. I just love writing anything I want. I wasn’t born a genius, I just want to know and understand something I don’t. I like to find the difference between similar things. It’s like counting birthmarks on each identical twin.

Additional Information about the articles can be found at


This article was posted on February 09

by Blur Loterina

A Tale of Might & Magical Teamwork: A Mac OS X Wea

A Tale of Might & Magical Teamwork: A Mac OS X Weather Application Review

by: Cate Defrise

Once upon a time, a clever guy named, Matt came up with this simply brilliant idea for an app called Meteorologist, that allows you to choose several cities and display their current weather conditions on your menu bar or dock or both. He began working on it and it became a very solid and strong program, but he soon realized he could no longer go further with it as his life was getting in the way of its completion and maintenance. Fortunately, the project didn’t die there. He threw it up for grabs in the Open Source community at Source Forge and it landed in the hands of a small group of compassionate developers that came to his rescue and teamed up to continue his legacyin all of its glory as well as its trials and tribulations.

This group called themselves, ขThe M Team.ข You know, sort of like, ‘the A Team. กOkay, I lied. They actually called themselves, ขThe Meteorologist Group.ข

Back to Meteorologist! Meteorologist is a free weather program for OS X. It allows Mac users total control over their weather viewing enjoyment, including simultaneous interlaced weather reports from multiple weather servers worldwide. In other words, this program is cool.

So you say weather is too boring? Think again, my friend. There’s a reason why is among the top 100 sites (out of 4 BILLION sites, give or take a few thousand): inquiring minds wanna know the weather!

Meteorologist allows you to see the weather of cities of your choice directly on your menu bar or dock, and you can name them whatever you want. I prefer the menu bar because my dock has gotten too cluttered lately. It’s so easy to find Meteorologist and it’s so accessible. For example, I’ve chosen Nice, France because it’s near to where I live, Culver City, California where most of my family is, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey where my sister lives and Lille, France where most of my inlaws live. I just look up at my menu bar and it has the outside temperature with a cute matching icon. (Right now กchez meก it’s 57°F at nearly 8 PM, showing an icon with little gray clouds. I could change it to Celsius if I wanted too.) This is utterly helpful to me because it helps me decide things such as how long of a walk I can take with my dog, or, in case of rain, that I shouldn’t really go out at all.

For some reason, it’s also comforting to know the weather conditions of my loved ones. It’s sort of like your Buddy List on iChat or whatever chat program you use. You see buds and family online and chat sometimes but it’s just reassuring to know that they’re there whether you chat with them or not. You know what I mean? Knowing their climate somehow letกs me take part in their lives (somehow in my crazy way) even though I can’t be there inperson.

You can see a 3day forecast of these places too, great for planning part of your week. All of this information is current and changes accordingly if necessary by accessing the closest weather server. For instance, I can see that it might actually snow in Upper Saddle River on Tuesday! I know now I can plan to tease my sister about it because she hates cold weather. See, how indispensable Meteorologist is?! Don’t even ask why she lives in New Jersey.

Meteorologist doesn’t stop at the temperature; it also gives a current account of wind, humidity, dew point, pressure, clouds, forecast and the last time information was updated. However, the pièce de résistance has yet to be announced in this review!

Yes, the most innovative and clever characteristic about Meteorologist, and my personal favourite feature, is its ability to alert you in cases of severe weather conditions! How does it do this you ask? I’m glad you asked because here is the answer: You can choose how you’d like to be alerted with the following options (and you can select as many as you’d like): 1) via email; 2) a Beep; 3) Play a song that you can select from iTunes; or, 4) have the Meteorologist icon bounce violently in the dock.

Of course, having said that, I’ve yet to receive an alert, which is probably a good thing—because receiving an alert could mean, for example, that there’s an imminent tsunami ready to inundate this area in 30 minutes with millions of tons of the Mediterranean crushing everything in its path.

Despite this gloomy scenario, I still think this app is awesome, and so the story and review shall end happily ever after.

Meteorologist is a freeware and workinprogress by The Meteorologist Team (as well as the Open Source community) at Source Forge Note: You must have internet access to use Meteorologist.

Rated 4.5 out of 5

About The Author

Cate Defrise is a journalist and Mac fan based in the South of France.

This article was posted on March 15, 2004

by Cate Defrise

Is Your Yellow Pages Ad Putting Cash in Your Pocke

Is Your Yellow Pages Ad Putting Cash in Your Pocket… or Sucking Cash Out?

by: Alan Saltz

Any idea? It’s a question that more than a few Yellow Page advertisers ponder. If you are currently spending money every month to run an ad in your local directory, you don’t want to wrestle with that question. You want to know that your investment is generating a consistent flow of new clients to your business. So what can you do to maximize returns and stop worrying?

First of all, know this—Yellow Pages Advertising has incredible potential. As a business owner, you have few other ways to reach prospects who are as targeted, and ready to buy as these. But naturally… your success depends on the quality of your ad. And when it comes to ad content, far too many advertisers are quite simply… lost.

ขThe redhot commodity of the Information Age? Why that would be the Yellow Pages… It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.ข

Fortune July, 2003

There are few places to turn. It makes for an unpleasant situation for the honest businessperson trying to harness the tremendous potential of such a perfectly targeted medium. And so, most advertisers rely on the Yellow Pages design department, who, as it turns out, develop most of the ads in their directory.

It’s hard to differentiate your company if that’s the case, don’t you think?

That situation doesn’t need to be one that you find yourself in. While many advertisers fail to develop an ad that draws a strong response, it’s not especially difficult to do. In fact, the basic mistakes that ขriddleข just about every subject heading provide a fantastic opportunity for the business owner that does his homework. If you’re reading this article, you’re doing your homework.

ขHow come we still have the Yellow Pages? They Work. You don’t go to the Yellow Pages and look up pizza unless you’re planning to order pizza.ข

Fortune July, 2003

What Yellow Page success boils down to is ad content. Not color. Not professional design. Sure, those things matter too; but they are nowhere near as important as the words you use to fill your ad. People turning to the Yellow Pages have already determined that they need you. They just need to know whether they should call company A, B, or C.

Their choice doesn’t depend so much on color or design, as it depends on what you offer that your competitors don’tข the policies you hold yourself to that give consumers faith in you and your business.

Here is a point you need to understand… Listing the brand names you carry and the ขlaundry listข of products or services you offer don’t build credibility. They don’t set you apart from your competitors who offer the same thing!

Plenty of other things do. And chances are you embrace those policies and those hassle, and risk removing, motivators already. You probably do quite a bit for your clients that make their lives easier, more lucrative, more pleasant, and so on. You probably have credibility boosters that you’ve never considered including.

And that is because you may not realize the power they have in motivating an eager prospect to act. Ironclad guarantees… customer testimonials… rocksolid offers for new customers… a headline that goes well beyond your logo and company name; these are things that work wonders in a targeted, readytobuy medium such as the Yellow Pages.

Since so many of your competitors are focusing on their company name and their laundry list of products and services, the copy points above will differentiate you! They give you the credibility that your competition likely lacks, and they make a strong case for many a prospect to choose you with confidence. That’s what the Yellow Pages are all about, right?!

About The Author

Alan Saltz, the author, teaches Yellow Pages Advertisers how to boost their response and return on investment, using simple, but extremely effective techniques. To learn more about how to improve your own Yellow Pages ad, visit:

This article was posted on November 22, 2004

by Alan Saltz