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Are You Using Dropbox For Storing and Sharing Files?

It is cumbersome to try to both store and share files via your hosting service.

 You’ve got to know how to:

  • upload the file into your file manager using an FTP client
  • then get into your hosted files
  • navigate to the folder in question
  • and lastly, figure out how to get the URL that you’ll use to share the file with.

As part of my WordPress course, for example, I offered lots of bonus ebooks, and for each one I had to follow the steps above.

dropbox

But then I was introduced to Dropbox

Hallelujah was all I could say! Simple and intuitive were the first words that came to mind after a cursory look at the product.

Why Dropbox?

Dropbox allows you to:

  • Store your documents, including photos and videos
  • Share your documents, photos and videos with others
  • Protect your documents, photos, and videos 

Once you’ve uploaded your documents to your Dropbox account, you can access them from anywhere (computer, laptop, iPad, Smart Phone) and at anytime, without the worry of your files being lost. How’s that for peace of mind?  

Sharing your documents is a breeze. Just send them an invitation to access the folder in your Dropbox and they’ll have immediate access to view and download the contents. It takes all the guess work out of sharing content with others.

Your documents are safe in Dropbox because a version of each document is stored online, at the Dropbox site. If your computer crashes or your lose your iPad, your stuff is safe because Dropbox can be restored really fast.

Anyone who works with computer files and documents knows how important it is to have secure storage. You only have to lose a file once to know how frustrating this can be. The only thing worse is when you’ve lost a file that you’ve been working on for forever.

It doesn’t matter how great your computer is, it’s still a smart decision to back up your files. You can do that with Dropbox. 

If you should accidentally delete a file or folder, you can go right to your trash and dig the files out, essentially reversing your mistake.

And the cost for Dropbox is?

Dropbox is free for up to 2 G of space (there are lots of incentives where you can get free space too). 

If you need more, you have the option of purchasing an additional 100 G of  storage for $9.99 per month (or $99 anually).

It’s so great to have the convenience of being able to access your files from anywhere, share your files with others and recover those files if you need to. What are you waiting for?

Get Dropbox apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry. Click HERE

If you are already a Dropbox user, how are you using it? 

 

 

 

 

The Number One Secret to Building a Big, Responsive List

Building an Email ListIt has everything to do with the service provider you choose to manage your lists for you.

Choosing an email service provider is an important decision. It is the backbone of your online business and you’ll want to choose wisely.

I had been on an email marketing service provider learning curve while making changes to my business. I had been using 1ShoppingCart for several years.
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I cancelled my account after they introduced paid support only  and took away the ability to see any statistics about about my list and my campaigns.
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Of course there was no reduction in price for the reduction in services.
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I checked out both MailChimp and Constant Contact and was well on my way to setting up my accounts and messages when I realized that I had no way of creating a series of messages. Since I like to offer free mini-courses via autoresponder, I quickly realized that neither of these services met my needs.  I got my money back (for the Constant Contact; MailChimp is free) and moved on.

Which Autoresponder service have I finally chosen?

Aweber — and this is why:

1.  Create Not Just One List, but Multiple Lists Based on Your Subscribers

What a novel idea!  This little secret is one of the best inventions out there! Now you can stop annoying your subscribers (and risk having them unsubscribe) by sending out content they are not interested in. With multiple lists, you can send only the content your subscribers signed up to receive.

How? Aweber allows you to send out email to your lists separately by segmenting your subscribers based on what they opted in to receive from you.

AND you can create optin forms that automatically places each subscriber on a particular list. You will then have the choice to communicate with the lists individually, or all at once.

2.  Automatically Broadcast Your Latest Blog Posts?

This is my favorite!  It’s an INCREDIBLE BUSINESS AND LIST BUILDING FEATURE that other companies do not offer.  With Aweber you can send your latest posts directly, and automatically, to your subscribers.

.I’m sure you can imagine how this would help you stay in touch with, add value to, and build a relationship with your list.   

3.  But Do They Deliver?

It’s very important to know whether your subscribers are receiving your email or if they are just activating the spam function.  After all, what is the point of all your list and relationship building if your subscribers don’t receive your email?

Aweber has one of the highest deliverability rates in the industry. And they are constantly working with the internet service providers ISP) so that your messages from Aweber are delivered and not routed to your subscriber’s junk or spam folder.

4.  Direct to Your Social Media Accounts

Aweber is on top of the latest Social Media trends and because of that, you can automatically and instantly post your messages to Twitter and Facebook.

5. Create Great “Curb Appeal” With Their Already-Designed-For-You Templates

If you’re not a programmer (and who is?) you’re in for a treat because you can still have great-looking opt-in forms and newsletters. Aweber offers a great selection of both templates for newsletters and optin forms that you can either use as-is OR easily customize to suit your business.

Note: Apparently Aweber is changing their editor to make their already great system even better!  Look for it soon…

6.  Subscriber Stats:

The #1 asset of all business is the list and relationship with it. It follows then that sending out successful email campaigns is vital.  To be successful at this, you must be able to understand your subscribers. It’s especially important to know:

  • How many subscribers you have
  • How they found you (where they came from)
  • Whether they click on links within your email
  • If they unsubscribe, when and why

Aweber does a really good job of subscriber management. You can view detailed reports (even have them mailed to you) that include all the info you need to keep providing relevant and thoughtful information to them.

7.  Customer Support?

Aweber offers telephone, email, and chat support (personally, I find chat support very frustrating) where you can discuss any problem you might be having directly with a customer relations person. They also offer (free) webinars, short videos, an e-course, and tutorials so you can learn everything you need to help you send out successful campaigns.

8. The Price is Right

Aweber’s pricing is very competitive. In fact, you can test drive their service for just $1. Once you’ve had the opportunity to see how it all works, your plan would then increase to the very low price of just $19 per month.

As mentioned earlier, you may be able to find less expensive options, but the lower price is reflected in lower deliverability rates, fewer options, and not so great support.

Do your research, but I think you’ll agree that Aweber is best for small business. But no matter who you choose, just start building your email list as soon as possible.

Have You Been Seriously Thinking That It’s Time to Start Building Your List (and your business)?

If so, you’ll need this step by step guide to setting up and using Aweber. Click on the Buy Now button below and get started with Aweber today.

You’ll learn:

  • How to Set Up Your First Mailing List with Aweber
  • How to Add Your Free Incentive (encourage subscribers)
  • How to Set Up Your Squeeze Page (outlining all the benefits of signing up for your free item)
  • How to Set up Blog Broadcast to Go Out to Your Mailing List
  • And More

40 pages of step by step information in an easy to follow format.

Just $17.00 Click the Buy Now button below and get started building your list today.


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PS: I recommend 1ShoppingCart if you need a full shopping cart and a complicated affiliate
management program. They are the best.

Disclaimer: Links mentioned within this post may lead to affiliate links, and in such a case, I will be compensated for recommending the product(s). However, I will never recommend anything that I don’t personally believe in.

8 Tips for Writing Content That People Actually Read

A Pen and Notebook For Writing a Marketing MessageAs a small business owner it can be very difficult to get found, never-mind be heard, on the internet. The competition is extreme and we are just one of many. Without something to set us apart, we just blend into the background. Is there a way to get an edge?

Our written content can be what saves us from mediocrity, IF we know where to start.

First, what do I mean by ‘content’?

Basically content includes written posts, pictures or images, and video, but it can also include anything that’s particular to your business, such as product descriptions.

Sales copy, or just “copy”, can also be considered, but it is much more finely tuned content than what I am discussing here.  (Sales copy is written advertising).

In general, making your content top notch is the very best marketing tool you have, because nothing attracts potential customers like useful, educational, and shareable content.

But how? How do people get the ideas that cause their posts or videos to go viral? Are they just better marketers than you? Better at business? More creative? Nicer people?

The answer is, no. They aren’t any of those. But I guarantee that they have spent lots of time learning how to write good posts, create interesting video, and use interesting images.

The following tips will help you to think about and see your writing in a different light:

  1. Bring your personality and voice to the paper. Show your audience your enthusiasm and passion for the product or services you offer. When your audience detects that you really are passionate about what you do or have to offer, they will be more interested as well.
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    Ensure that your voice is coming through the written word. Use your tone, your voice and your style. Eventually your audience will become accustomed to “you” and come to expect nothing less. When they return to your site, this is what they will be looking for. Personalize each written piece so that it is your own, and can be easily identified as such.
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  2. Always give. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I am in the cosmetics department and am given a sample of something and told what it is and how it works. I walk away feeling just that much more informed, not to mention impressed at their generosity.
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    It’s even more important online because you can’t be there to hand out the sample. Your writing has to be that sample. Make it educational and informative. Help that person so they can make an informed decision about hiring your or buying your products. If they leave your site not knowing anything more about you and your product/service than they had before they visited, they probably won’t be back.
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  3. Stay relevant. Are visitors going to get the information they came for about your business, or will they find something unrelated?
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    For example, if you are a Virtual Assistant and you are writing posts about your cute little pets, it’s not relevant to your business. People are busy and are looking for answers. Only include interesting, cutting edge, helpful, and/or newsworthy content that is relevant to the type of business you are in. If your content is all that, you can be sure they’ll be back for more.
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  4. Is there an element of surprise? Or something unexpected? I’m not sure what that would be in your business, but I’m sure there is something you could do that would leave your viewers thinking great things about you and your business, products or services. Give them something to talk about.
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  5. This next step is especially important for sales. Whenever possible, show your visitors what you want to say rather than tell them. Your content will be more powerful to your audience when you can show them testimonials or customer feedback rather than just you telling them how much your market loves your stuff. Anyone can say that, but the ones who can back it up will come out on top.
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    The internet can be a scary place for many people. They have no idea who you are or if you are honest. Let them know that others have tried your product or service and that they recommend them (social proof).

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  6. Edit your content to ensure it is clear and simple to follow. The easiest way to do this is to write the way you speak (conversational tone). You will come across as more approachable, friendly, and trustworthy if your audience feels like they are having a conversation with you.
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  7. Avoid using technical language or jargon that most people would not understand. If you have to use a word that your audience probably won’t understand, then it is completely OK to define it for them.
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  8. Get your content looking the best it can be. Spell-check and proof-read before publishing. Don’t present your website with a bunch of grammatical errors and misspelled words. Take a little extra time to check it before publishing it. Leave lots of white space so they can take a breather between paragraphs. Highlight words that are especially important (this is also awesome for SEO if that word is one of your business’s keywords). You’ll look more professional and capable of running a successful business. 

What did I miss? What is your writing ritual?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Send Photos From Your Phone Directly to Your Facebook Page

Send pictures directly to your fanpage from your phoneYes you can send pictures directly from your phone to your Facebook page (not your profile).

If you use email on your smart phone, you’ll be happy to learn that you can use your email to upload photos to your Facebook page(s), as well as update your Facebook page status via your phone.  Here are the steps:

First, find the email address for your Facebook page:

  • Click “Edit Page” on your fan page
  • Choose “Update Info” from the drop down menu
  • Down the left side you’ll see a series of links. Choose “Mobile”
  • A new page will open up where you’ll see your email address (example:   xxxxxxxx@m.facebook.com)

Now save that email address to your phone as a contact.

You’ll now be able to send your photo or video as an attachment to this e-mail address

To upload a photo:

  • Email the photo to your page’s email address
  • Include a caption in the email subject line
  • Send

To update your status:

  • Write in the email subject line
  • Leave the email body blank
  • Send

Little extras from Facebook

  • This is a confidential email just for your Page – don’t share it with anyone except other admins of this Page.
  • The email subject will be used as the caption of your photo or video if your email contains photo or video.
  • The email subject will be used as your updated status if your email contains no photo or video.
  • Anytime you want, refresh your upload email.

Happy Facebooking…

Please note that this does not apply to iPhone/iPad users. Apparently you have an App that takes care of this for you. I’m sure you’re all gloating too. LOLiPhone: Install the Facebook application and login. Click the “+” sign on the top left corner and then Click “Pages” on bottom right. Select your page — it is now a favorite on your home dock. Now click your page’s icon. To post a photo, click the “camera” icon. To post a status update, tap the “What’s on your mind?” field.

How to Use Your Gravatar to Your Advantage

Why Struggle to Add An Image to Your Sidebar When You Can Use This Simple Plugin

html tattoo

HTML Code

I am not a coder. I didn’t come from an HTML background before I started to build WordPress sites for my clients.

And of course there has been no reason to learn much of it because I only use WordPress. And with WordPress, it’s all built in. Drag and drop this. Drag and drop that. Add a plugin here and there and you’ve got everything you need.

But what happens when you find you DO need to know a little code? Like when you want to add an image file to a sidebar widget?

First I’ll tell you one of the easiest ways to do this.  Luckily, I’ve already written about it here:

How to Easily Add an Image to Your WordPress Sidebar  

There is another way to do this though which I like a little better.

It requires that you add a plugin called Simple Image Widget.

Once you’ve installed it, drag it over to your sidebar and open the options. The part that I like the best about this plugin is that you can easily add a URL if you want the image clickable and to open at another site.

Why would you do that?  Perhaps you have an affiliate ad that you’d like to send the viewer to. You can even highlight a document of your own to send your viewers to.

Your image re-routes the viewer to a document that you’ve hosted elsewhere such as at Bluehost

But I’m sure you can think of lots of uses for this plugin.

Let me know in the comments area.

 

Need help with your WordPress site? Contact me today.

 

 

 

Updating WordPress to the Latest Version

There’s a WordPress update (version 3.4) available called “Green” to honor guitarist Grant Green.

Maintenance and Tools

For many, it’s a fear-filled process that they’d rather ignore. But ignoring updates to your WordPress site can make things a lot worse in the long run. It’s worth the time and effort to just go ahead and upgrade.

There are a couple of steps you can take to make the process less fear-full:

  1. Be sure to back up your site (preferably in your hosting account) before you update.  Contact your hosting company and ask them to show you how to do a manual backup of your account. Most good hosting companies are happy to train you to manage your hosting account and perform maintenance (like backing up your sites)
    Note: this can take some time depending on the size of your sites.
  2. For extra protection from “bad things” happening, deactivate your plugins so there is less chance of conflicts while you are upgrading.  Once the upgrade is complete, activate your plugins one by one and watch for any messages from WordPress that says there is a fatal error or conflict with the new version of WordPress and your plugins. If you find there is a conflict with a plugin, you will have to remove it (or at the very least, leave it de-activated to see if the developer upgrades her plugin (to reflect the WordPress changes) in the next few days.

If you need help with you WordPress upgrades, I am happy to help and have Support Packages available to assist you with maintenance of your site(s).

Here’s a link to learn more about the update:  http://wordpress.org/news/2012/06/green/