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Self Employment Secrets: This One Key Element Is Crucial To Your Success

Thanks to the massive growth of the internet and an improvement in technology, many of us are now able to escape the rat race and working for big corporations and instead work for themselves instead. Whether you’re a blogger, freelancer or run a business from home– you get the benefit of having no commute, working on something you’re passionate about and being your own boss.

And of course, there’s all of the flexibility that brings. But there’s one key thing that can be the difference between success and failure when you work for yourself, and surprisingly it’s a simple home office. Here are some of the reasons why having a good home office is so important.

It Separates Work From Home

Working for yourself can be incredibly freeing, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself, and you can work your business around other commitments. However, when you and you alone are responsible for success or failure, it’s easy for your work day to turn into every minute you’re not asleep. This of course isn’t healthy, and can quickly lead to burnout. It’s far better to set your working day and stick to it.

Having an office helps to separate ‘work’ and ‘home’ which can be tricky to do otherwise. At the end of each working day, close the door to your office and be done with it until the next. Experiencelife.com suggest that people who set their own working hours report better job satisfaction, so while this can be tricky to get right in the beginning it’s a definite benefit to self employment. You’ll find that when you give yourself chance to rest and recuperate you go back to work feeling far more productive.

It Allows You To Stay Organised

Staying organised is crucial when you work for yourself. You need to keep good records for tax purposes, you need to ensure paperwork is filed correctly so you can access it when needed and you need your equipment to be tidy, so your working day runs as smoothly as possible. Having your own separate office helps to keep all of your work related documents and equipment separate from your personal life.

Nothing gets damaged or lost as it’s kept away from everyone else in the family and it prevents you from making costly mistakes due to misplaced information. Organizing expert Peter Walsh on oprah.com states the best file systems are color-coded as we recognize visual clues faster than labels, so something to bear in mind when you’re setting up your storage.

It Means You Have a Professional Place For Meetings

Does your work involve collaborating with others? In the case of tutoring, you might have customers come directly to your home. Either way, having your own office space looks more professional and means you can invite people in without any distractions. Maintaining a professional image is crucial when you run your own business, even a small home business.

If you don’t have people coming directly to your home for your work, one way you can look more credible is to set up a mailing address; companies like physicaladdress.com can provide you with a real office address as well as a mail forwarding service. Since all of your mail can be scanned, uploaded and sent to you, it means you’re not being bogged down with excessive paperwork too.

It Gives You a Quiet Space to Work

Finally, a quiet space to work is always going to be necessary when you work for yourself. Without distractions, you can power through and get through all of your tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

How to Properly Maintain Macs for a Business

How to Properly Maintain Macs for a Business

Nowadays Macs are becoming more and more popular in business environments – even outside of areas where they’ve conventionally been strong such as video and photo editing. The reason for that is simple: Macs are viewed as reliable and secure machines that will deliver strong performance levels over the long term.

While all that is certainly true, if you want your Macs to deliver on their promise then it is important that you properly maintain them. Don’t worry that isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and there are just a few easy tasks that you should perform:

Run Disk Utility

Within every Mac is a helpful tool called Disk Utility that can help you to check your hard drive for fragmentation as well as repair it. All you need to do is select your hard drive and use the ‘First Aid’ tab to check and repair it.

Check the Activity Monitor

If your Mac seems to be slower than you’re used to the first thing you should do is check the Activity Monitor to see if anything is using up its memory (i.e. RAM). In the Activity Monitor you can force any unnecessary apps to close, or just track down which apps are taking up memory and close them the normal way.

Remove unneeded login items

Did you know that your Mac automatically launches some apps whenever it is booted, and these apps tend to run in the background? Head over to your System Preferences then to Accounts and Login Items to see a list of what is being launched and remove anything you don’t need.

Update OS X regularly

Every OS X update contains numerous fixes for various bugs as well as vulnerabilities. If you are using your Mac for business purposes, it is important that you update it regularly so that you aren’t exposed.

Reboot the Mac periodically

Although Macs can run for weeks on end without rebooting – that isn’t necessarily good for it. If you’re one of the many people who rarely ever reboot their Mac, try to get in the habit of doing so at least once a week – if not more frequently.

Free up space on your hard drive

It is never a good idea to let your Mac’s hard drive get too full – as that will impact its performance. Try to clean out any unnecessary junk files from your Mac regularly, and also uninstall apps that aren’t being used.

As you can see there’s nothing too hard about any of that – though you may need a little bit of help from Mac cleaning software. On that front Movavi Mac Cleaner will be all that you need really as it will automatically scan and find any junk files then let you delete them in just a single click.

On top of that Movavi Mac Cleaner will let you free up even more space with its ‘Uninstaller’ by tracking down leftovers from apps and deleting them as well as removing any apps you no longer need. It also includes a ‘Shredder’ to delete confidential files, as well as its own antivirus and firewall to protect your Mac.

All in all if you want to keep your Mac in tip top condition, Movavi Mac Cleaner should help you to do that quite conveniently. Give it a try and you’ll see how easy it makes it to clean your Mac, free up space, and keep it well-maintained for your business.

The Online Marketing Techniques You Can’t Function Without

If you’ve got an online store, then it goes without saying you’d like it to do as well as possible. This means that certain online marketing techniques and strategies are essential – otherwise, you wouldn’t get very far at all! Here are my favorite online marketing techniques…I doubt my business would function properly without the help of them:

Relevant Daily Content

One of the best ways to grow your audience and gain more brand exposure is to consistently post relevant, quality content. You should be posting at least once per day on Facebook, and about 6 times a day on Twitter. The timing of these posts is important too, otherwise your target audience may not get the chance to see them. Starting a blog is a good idea too, as it’ll allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Share your knowledge and you’ll go far!

Pretty Pictures

Including images in any post amplifies them by 10 and helps to put emphasis on what you’re trying to say. Photos on Facebook get 50% more likes than your usual posts and generate more of a click through rate. Include high quality, good looking pictures where you can!

Social Buttons

The best way to get more likes and follows on the various social media sites is to include social buttons where you can in your marketing communications. This way, people can follow you, like you, and share your interesting content with their followers/friends, thus improving your exposure and brand recognition. Consider placing them in your newsletter, in your email signature, and in the header/footer of your site or blog.

Question and Answer Sessions

To keep an online community alive, engagement is so important. You can quickly grow your Twitter community and increase engagement by hosting a weekly question and answer session! Allow your followers to post questions about your product, business, industry, or anything else they’re interested in. You can then answer as many questions as possible, and create a blog post with your favorites.

Running Competitions

There are loads of ways you can run competitions online, but social media is one of the best ways. You can simply ask people to share and like a certain post for a chance to win one of your products, or you could do something a little more complex, like a Pinterest ‘treasure hunt’.

Infographics

Infographics are becoming more and more popular. By spending money on a professional infographic, you can get a massive spike in traffic to your website providing you do it on something interesting and relevant! For example, a sweet shop could do an infographic on ‘The history of Sweets.’

These techniques are fresh and fairly new, making them an essential part of any online marketing strategy. This agency, who specialize in digital marketing in Perth can help you with all of the above, and more! I hope you enjoyed this post and that it’s helped you make the most of your online marketing strategy. Thanks for reading!

How To Fix Wrong Thumbnail Issue For FaceBook Comments

Recently i realized that if you have multiple images on your page and use Facebook comments or Facebook like then facebook creates wrong thumbnail in your wall. This happens because Facebook checks for first image or featured image in your page and if you have lots of images (even some thumbs) it considers them and creates thumbnail randomly unless you specifically mention which image to pic for thumbnail purposes.

I have also noticed that many sharing plugins also failing to fix the issue so i dug deeper and figure the solution out. Basically if you have multiple images on your page then it becomes vital to specifically mention which image should be used for thumbnail purposes in your header.

you should use this on your page header or anywhere in your page to and then finally use Facebook Linter tool to test if the image and other related information is getting parsed correctly or not.

This is just a simple solution to solve the Facebook wrong thumbnail issue and i am damn sure that someone will come up even simpler option in sometime. This fix will also work for most of the sites which requires share preview features.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if you face any problems.

Keywords that ruin resume

Top 50 Keywords That Can Ruin Your Resume

If you are looking for a job change and are aiming to write an eye-catching resume, this may surprise you. Some keywords or buzzwords you use in your CV could actually ruin your chances of getting that dream job. Why?

According to Karen Burns, the author of the illustrated career advice book The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, these words are simply “vague”. It makes your resume look like everyone elses.

She advises:

You want your resume to stand out. The best way to sell yourself is to show, don’t tell. Explain your accomplishments rather than spouting them off in trite ways. So check your resume for these boilerplate words and phrases. If you find them, replace them–or at the very least, elaborate upon them — with real-life, specific examples.

So when making your resume, keep the following words out of the scene.

1. Team player

2. Detailed-oriented

3. Proven track record of success

4. Experienced

5. Excellent communication skills

6. Leadership skills

7. Go-to person

8. Managed cross-functional teams

9. Exceptional organizational skills

10. Self-starter

11. Results-oriented professional

12. Bottom-line orientated

13. Works well with customers

14. Strong negotiation skills

15. Goal-oriented

16. People-person

17. Dynamic

18. Innovative

19. Proven ability

20. Top-flight

21. Motivated

22. Bottom-line focused

23. Responsible for

24. Assisted with

25. Skilled problem solver

26. Accustomed to fast-paced environments

27. Strong work ethic

28. Works well with all levels of staff

29. Met (or exceeded) expectations

30. Savvy business professional

31. Strong presentation skills

32. Looking for a challenging opportunity

33. Cutting-edge

34. Multi-tasker

35. Proactive

36. Seasoned professional

37. Perfectionist

38. Highly skilled

39. Functioned as

40. Duties included

41. Actions encompassed

42. Best-in-class

43. Strategic thinker

44. Trustworthy

45. Flexible

46. Works well under pressure

47. Quick learner

48. Partnered with others

49. Results-focused

50. Out-of-the-box thinker

How to check site regularly and avoid problems

You must have seen annoying error pages when you click on a website. It may have indicated that the link is invalid or doesn’t exist anymore. Usually site owners don’t delete any pages from their website because those pages are indexed in Google or other search engines but due to some technical fault those pages are showing invalid errors. This is where regular site maintenance is very important to ensure that links are valid and working properly irrespective of internal or external links.

Link types

Normally, web applications contain a vast number of links. These links may go to a resource within the site (internal links) or outside of the current application (external links). In addition, other sites may link to a site. First, I concentrate on links within a site and how these may be located and resolved.

Finding broken links

Its virtually impossible to test each of the site links manually because the number of pages in your site keeps growing making it very difficult to browse through all the pages. Its possible in case of very small websites though. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools available to automate this process, allowing you to concentrate on fixing the problem links. Basically, these tools crawl a site and verify all links found. Options are often included to define: what should be checked, links to ignore, and more. The following list provides a selection of these tools:

  • Xenu Link Sleuth: This is a preferred tool. It is fast and free. It provides great output via a detailed report of problems encountered. In addition to checking links, it verifies a variety of linked resources including images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts, and Java applets.
  • LinkAlarm : This commercial service allows you to check the validity of all links within a site or page. It provides a very detailed report that is color-coded to highlight problems, as well as graphs (and everybody loves a good graph).
  • W3C Link Checker: This online web application allows you to validate links within a web application. It dives into a web resource and provides information on invalid links or error messages.

Once a link is identified as a problem, you must decide how to address it.

Fixing broken links

The error message returned when trying to access a web resource can reveal a lot about what may be wrong. The following list provides information about error codes that may be returned when attempting to access it via a link:

  • 301: This error says the target resource was permanently moved.
  • 302: This error says the target resource was temporarily moved.
  • 401: This signals an authorization error while trying to access a resource — meaning the resource may require a log-on for access.
  • 404: The resource no longer exists, as this error signals the target resource was not found.
  • 408: The request to access the resource timed out.
  • 500: The most common error that is a generic catch-all. It signals there was a problem with the target resource. The platform for the target resource may provide more information.
  • 904: This error signals a bad host name in the link.

A tool like Xenu Link Sleuth provides the error code returned for a broken link. A time-out error may mean the link is valid but busy when tested — you can retest manually, but the rest of the errors signal the link should be removed or replaced.

When dealing with internal links in an application, you may examine the target resource to identify what problems may exist within the page source code. An error code of 500 with an internal page usually signals a code error, so the error may be resolved with a code fix. The link will be fixed if the target page is fixed, but you will want to disable or remove the link until the problems with the target resource are addressed.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do when dealing with external links on sites with which you have no control. In these instances, you will need to remove or replace the link to avoid user problems.

Inbound links

The beauty of the web is the ability to link to other sites. These inbound links from other sites may generate errors as well. This poses a greater threat to potential users or customers that will be quickly turned away when confronted with a broken link on another site. These broken links may be caused by a deleted or renamed page, an old entry in a search index, a bad bookmark, or an incorrect URL.

One way to approach these errors is to set up your web application to gracefully handle the errors outlined earlier. For example, a custom error page may be created for each error, so the custom page is displayed when/if the error occurs. This custom page can contain a user friendly message, as well as valid links within the application. A good example is creating a custom 404 page to circumvent situations where a linked resource no longer exists. The set-up for such pages will depend on the web application platform.

Another way to address errors is by implementing redirects that automatically send a user to another site resource when an error comes up. Again, the set-up and usage of redirects depends upon your platform.

Lastly, you may try to keep an eye on external sites with broken links through tools like the Google Webmaster Tools, which include the ability to crawl error sources and view sites with invalid links.

Don’t Relax

Pushing a site to production does not give you any time to relax, as regular maintenance must be performed to keep the site up and available. One part of regular maintenance should be link validation to make sure users don’t experience problems while using the application.

Do you or someone within your organisation regularly perform such maintenance on your web applications? If so, what tools or methods do you prefer? Leave me a comment and let me hear your opinion. If you’ve got any thoughts, comments or suggestions for things we could add, leave a comment! Also please Subscribe to our RSS for latest tips, tricks and examples on cutting edge stuff.

How to survive heavy traffic? A practical approach

Have you every wondered what if your website or blog page reaches to front page of big sites like Digg, Yahoo or StumbleUpon? You will recieve enormous traffic and this will surely kill your server if you haven’t optimized it to survive heavy traffic. There are various ways you can speed up your website but i am mentioning the practical optimization which doesn’t need any additional hardware or commercial software.

If you are familiar with the hosting, setup and system administration you can do it yourself otherwise you will need help of a person who knows how to handle server. Beware, if you don’t know what you’re doing you could seriously mess up your system.

Cache PHP Output

Every time a request hits your server, PHP has to do a lot of processing, all of your code has to be compiled & executed for every single visit. Even though the outcome of all this processing is identical for both visitor 21600 and 21601. So why not save the flat HTML generated for visitor 21600, and serve that to 21601 as well? This will relieve resources of your web server and database server because less PHP often means less database queries.

Now you could write such a system yourself but there’s a neat package in PEAR called Cache_Lite that can do this for us, benefits:

  • it saves us the time of inventing the wheel
  • it’s been thoroughly tested
  • it’s easy to implement
  • it’s got some cool features like lifetime, read/write control, etc.

Installing is like taking candy from a baby. On Ubuntu I would:

Create Turbo Charged Storage

With the PHP caching mechanism in place, we take away a lot of stress from your CPU & RAM, but not from your disk. This can be solved by creating a storage device with your system’s RAM, like this:

Now the directory /var/www/www.mysite.com/ramdrive is not located on your disk, but in your system’s memory. And that’s about 30 times faster 🙂 So why not store your PHP cache files in this directory? You could even copy all static files (images, css, js) to this device to minimize disk IO. Two things to remember:

  • All files in your ramdrive are lost on reboot, so create a script to restore files from disk to RAM
  • The ramdrive itself is lost on reboot, but you can add an entry to /etc/fstab to prevent that

CronJobs for heavy processings

Sometimes, you might be processing data which consumes lots of queries, calls to db, processing or maintaining counts etc. All those tasks should be left for CronJobs and the demon will run automatically and perform the required action per interval you set.

For example. if you are counting hits per article you are you are updating counter every time locking the record with WHERE statement. To avoid that you can simple use relativity performance-cheap SQL INSERTS into a separate table.  Now, the CronJob will process the gathered data in every 5 minutes which will be automatically run by the server. It counts the hits per article, then deletes the gathered data and updates the grand totals in a separate field the my article table. So finally accessing the hit count of an article takes no extra processing time or heavy queries.

Optimize your Database

Use the InnoDB storage engine

If you use MySQL, the default storage engine for tables is MyISAM. That not ideal for a high traffic website because MyISAM uses table level locking, which means during an UPDATE, nobody can access any other record of the same table. It puts everyone on hold!

InnoDB however, uses Row level locking. Row level locking ensures that during an UPDATE, nobody can access that particular row, until the locking transaction issues a COMMIT.

phpmyadmin allows you to easily change the table type in the Operations tab. Though it never caused me any problems, it’s wise to first create a backup of the table you’re going to ALTER.

Use optimal field types

Wherever you can, make integer fields as small as possible (not by changing the length but by changing it’s actual integer type). Here’s an overview:

What different integer field types can contain
range signed range unsigned
fieldtype min max min max
TINYINT -128 127 0 255
SMALLINT -32,768 32,767 0 65,535
MEDIUMINT -8,388,608 8,388,607 0 16,777,215
INT -2,147,483,648 2,147,483,647 0 4,294,967,295
BIGINT -9,223,372,036,

854,775,808
9,223,372,036,

854,775,807
0 18,446,744,073,

709,551,615

So if you don’t need negative numbers in a column, always make a field unsigned. That way you can store maximum values with minimum space (bytes). Also make sure foreign keys have matching field types, and place indexes on them. This will greatly speedup queries.

In phpmyadmin there’s a link Propose Table Structure. Take a look sometime, it will try to tell you what fields can be optimized for your specific db layout.

Queries

Never select more fields than strictly necessary. Sometimes when you’re lazy you might do a:

even though a

would suffice. Normally that’s OK, but not when performance is your no.1 priority.

Tweak the MySQL config

Furthermore there are quite some things you can do to the my.cnf file, but I’ll save that for another article as it’s a bit out of this article’s scope.

Save some bandwidth

Save some sockets first

Small optimizations make for big bandwidth savings when volumes are high. If traffic is a big issue, or you really need that extra server capacity, you could throw all CSS code into one big .css file. Do this with the JS code as well. This will save you some Apache sockets that other visitors can use for their requests. It will also give you better compression rations, should you choose to mod_deflate or compress your JavaScript with Dean Edwards Packer.

I know what your thinking. No, don’t throw all the CSS and JS in the main page. You still really want this separation to:

  1. make use of the visitor’s browser cache. Once they’ve got your CSS, it won’t be downloaded again
  2. not pollute your HTML with that stuff

And now some bandwidth 😉

  • Limit the number of images on your site
  • Compress your images
  • Eliminate unnecessary whitespace or even compress JS with tools available everywhere.
  • Apache can compress the output before it’s sent back to the client through mod_deflate. This results in a smaller page being sent over the Internet at the expense of CPU cycles on the Web server. For those servers that can afford the CPU overhead, this is an excellent way of saving bandwidth. But I would turn all compression off to save some extra CPU cycles.

Store PHP sessions in your database

I you use PHP sessions to keep track of your logged in users, then you may want to have a look at PHP’s function: session_set_save_handler. With this function you can overrule PHP’s session handling system with you own class, and store sessions in a database table.

Now a key attribute to success, is to make this table’s storage engine: MEMORY (also known as HEAP). This stores all session information (should be tiny variables) in the database server’s RAM. Taking away disk IO stress from your web server, plus allowing to share the sessions with multiple web servers in the future, so that if you’re logged in on server A, you’re also logged in on server B, making it possible to load balance.

Sessions on tmpfs

If it’s too much of a hassle to store sessions in a MEMORY database, storing session files on a ramdisk is also a good options to gain some performance. Just make the /var/lib/php5 live in RAM.

More tips

Some other things to google on if you want even more:

  • eAccelerator
  • memcached
  • tweak the apache config
  • squid
  • turn off apache logging
  • Add ‘noatime’ in /etc/fstab on your web and data drives to prevent disk writes on every read

If you’ve got any thoughts, comments or suggestions for things we could add, leave a comment! Also please Subscribe to our RSS for latest tips, tricks and examples on cutting edge stuff.

Are you tweaking your Google Analytics for success?

Ever wondered how your competitors are doing well than you ? One reason of this could be their way to measure their traffic and tweaking performance, usability stuff. Google Analytics provides you with the best insight of your web site and using the following tweaks you can analyze, measure and improve your traffic and so Success.

When Google released Google Analytics, they allowed webmasters to use near-enterprise level analytics for free. However, there are a lot of things you need to tinker with in order to get some of the data you need from it. So, here’s my list of 10 things you really should be doing to get the most out of GA.

  1. Tracking clicks on links. Every time you put a link to anything external or a download on a page, make sure you add onClick=”javascript: pageTracker._trackPageview(’/link/linkname’); “. Always know where your visitors went.
  2. Tracking user groups. If you’re sending people to a landing page, and you want to know where they go from there, segment them by using onLoad=”javascript:pageTracker._setVar(’Segment/Subgroup’);”. This will help you know what different groups are doing, and split-test user behaviour.
  3. Tracking full referred URLs. You’ll often get visits from forums or blogs that append their URLs. That’s not much use to you, so to make sure you know where people actually came from, set up a filter with the following settings:
    • Name: Full Referrers
    • Type: Custom filter – Advanced
    • Field A -> Extract A: Referral > (.*)
    • Field B -> Extract B:
    • Output To -> Constructor: User-defined > $A$1
  4. Exclude internal visits. Add a new filter, with the “Exclude all traffic from an IP address” setting. Then add your own IP address, and repeat for any other IPs you don’t want to be included. Make sure you escape any full stops, with a backslash, like this: 63\.212\.171\.
  5. Tracking across multiple domains/subdomains. If you’re running a very large site, or a site that spans multiple domains, you’ll need to be able to track visits across those sites. Fortunately, we have a way of doing that. Firstly, we set up the following filter:
    • Name: Full URI
    • Type: Custom filter – Advanced
    • Field A -> Extract A: Hostname > (.*)
    • Field B -> Extract B: Request URI > (.*)
    • Output To -> Constructor: Request URI > /$A1$B1

    Now you’ll see URLs in your content reports that look like this: www.example.com/index.html, help.example.com/more.html and so on. Next, we tweak the analytics code slightly, so it looks like this:

    That will make the code work across all our (sub)domains. Finally, whenever you link from one domain to the other, make sure that you stick this piece of code into the link: onclick=”pageTracker._link(this.href); return false;”. Alternatively, if you’re using forms to jump between domains, use this code instead: onSubmit=”javascript:pageTracker._linkByPost(this)”.

  6. Tracking ecommerce transactions. Yes, Google Analytics has a full ecommerce module built in too. To turn it on, go to the account settings, and change the Ecommerce Website button from No to Yes. Now, on your receipt page, add the following code, with the fields below being filled from the order.

    The last part (pageTracker._addItem( to the closing ); is repeated for each extra product or order in the transaction. And now you’ve got ecommerce tracking!

  7. Tracking exact keywords for AdWords. The problem with the keyword reports for your paid search campaigns, is that they only show the keyword that was triggered, not the exact keyword the person actually typed in. If you want to get that, you’re going to have to create the following two filters…
    • Name: PPC Keywords 1
    • Type: Custom filter – Advanced
    • Field A -> Extract A: Referral > (\?|&)(q|p)=([^&]*)
    • Field B -> Extract B: Campaign Medium > cpc|ppc
    • Output To -> Constructor: Custom Field 1 > $A3

    Field A Required, Field B Required and Override Output Field need to be set to Yes.

    • Name: PPC Keywords 2
    • Type: Custom filter – Advanced
    • Field A -> Extract A: Custom Field 1 > (.*)
    • Field B -> Extract B: Campaign Term > (.*)
    • Output To -> Constructor: Campaign Term > $B1,($A1)

    Again, Field A Required, Field B Required and Override Output Field need to be set to Yes.
    Now when you look in your reports, you’ll see the actual keyword the searchter typed in, in brackets next to the keyword that was triggered. Cool, huh?

  8. Making the site overlay tool useful. There’s a basic flaw in the way the site overlay works. Unfortunately, it groups all clicks on a URL togeter, so if you’ve got two links to the same URL, it’ll report the total data for both, rather than for each link individually. To get around this, leave the first link to the URL in question as it is, but add &location=x to the end of each additional link (where x isthe number of that link, so the first extra link would be 1, a second would be 2 and so on). Fixed!

If you’ve got any thoughts, comments or suggestions for things we could add, leave a comment! Also please Subscribe to our RSS for latest tips, tricks and examples on cutting edge stuff.

10 Things to Kick-Start Your Blog’s Growth

It can often seem as if our blog’s growth is out of our control. We post regularly and try to write the best content we can, but sometimes this doesn’t seem like enough. Our growth might plateau, or even start going backwards.

Thankfully, there are some things that are in your control. In this post, I want to explore ten actions you can do straight away that will grow your blog and send you traffic. Perform one of these tasks each day, or one a week. You’ll breathe new life into your blog.

1. Give something away. These days, most bloggers don’t want to give something away unless they get something in return (a link, or maybe a review). This seems intuitive: why give away time or resources without any clear benefits?

The truth is counter-intuitive. Give without expecting to receive and you’ll receive anyway. I’m not speaking about this hypothetically. On my own blog, I offered free simplicity reviews and post ideas for anyone who asked without asking for anything in return. I still get links from grateful participants to this day. Giving away something useful for free leaves a lasting impression. There’s no better way to get traffic and recommendations — without even asking for them.

2. Get connections to vote for you on social media. Call in a favor by asking other bloggers and social media users you know to vote up your best content. You’d be surprised how willing people are to give you a leg up if you’d only ask — especially if you do something for them in return, or have done so in the past.

3. Run a competition. The best competitions have one of three qualities: a fantastic prize, an unusual prize, or an interesting format. Other bloggers shouldn’t have to endure a sacrifice to participate. Make the requirement something that will benefit both you and the blogger, while also putting them in the running to win something. If you don’t have funds, make the prize something valuable that costs nothing to you: advertising space on your site, or a service utilizing one of your talents.

4. Write a free report. A ten page report (usually a ‘how to’ on a topic within your niche) might take a few hours to write but is something that can promote your blog in the long-term. If it’s good, people will share it around. They’ll attach it to emails and offer it as a download on their own blogs. Make sure to link back to your own blog in the report and your incoming traffic will grow exponentially as the report spreads.

5. Start a meme. Think of an idea for a blog post or a set of questions. Write that post or answer the questions, then tag ten other bloggers you’d like to participate in the meme. If you make your first article instructive, you’ll encourage everyone who participates in the meme to link back to you for the original instructions. If five of those ten bloggers you’ve tagged participate, and they each tag five others (and so on), your meme has the potential to generate dozens (or hundreds) of links back to your blog.

6. Guest-post on a popular blog. A guest-post on a popular blog can bring dozens to hundreds of targeted hits into your site. Don’t think you could ever write for a popular blog? Think again. They key things to remember when pitching to a popular blogger is: keep it short. Don’t write the post before your pitch has been accepted. Your email should include your post idea and a headline for the piece if possible. Link to your best article to show them the kind of writing you’re capable of.

7. Buy a StumbleUpon campaign. My blog has been on the front page of Digg twice and StumbleUpon is still my biggest single referrer. For $5 your can buy three-hundred hits from social media influencers. If your content is good, you can guarantee a few of those visitors will vote up your post and send you even more traffic. If your content is really good, your $5 campaign could snowball into a viral episode, bringing you thousands of visitors. Here’s some more information on running a StumbleUpon advertising campaign.

8. Comment on five popular blogs. The posts on your niche’s most popular blogs are often viewed by thousands of people. If you’re one of the first commenters, you could have thousands of eyeballs passing over your comment. Leave an insightful or thought-provoking comment and this may motivate others to investigate you and your blog. Today, try to be one of the first to comment on posts from five different popular blogs — particularly those with active and interesting comment threads. You’re bound to get some quality traffic.

9. Send out links to your best content. We all want links from popular blogs. You know what they say: if you want something, you’ve got to ask. Send a brief email to five other bloggers linking to a great post you’ve written that’s relevant to their audience. Don’t ask for a link directly, just say something like: I thought you or your readership might be interested in this. Not every person will link to you, but keep trying and eventually someone will. I’ve received hundreds of visitors over time from links that I went out and asked for. Learning to be audacious is a necessary step for any successful blogger.

10. Join a forum in your niche. Your forum signature allows you to attach a link to your blog with every post that you write. Write ten posts today and you’ve created ten new links to your site. People do click through these links. When I first launched my blog, I built its initial readership almost exclusively through participating in a niche forum. This method really does work.

10 New Ways to Make Money Online

When you look for new revenue streams, think about what you do well. Whether you’re an expert  in your field, a talented designer, a programmer, or a producer of content, there are ways to leverage your knowledge, skills and abilities, package them and provide them for a fee. And don’t forget that successful web workers are often pursuing more than one income stream at the same time. You may be able to assemble a career out of numerous smaller activities.

Read our latest list of 10 new ways to make money online after the jump.

1. Team up with Yahoo! to offer custom search services.
Yahoo! recently launched their BOSS API, which lets anyone build their own custom search engine or mashup using their search results. But you may have missed this teaser on their blog: “In the coming months, we’ll be launching a monetization platform for BOSS that will enable Yahoo! to expand its ad network and enable BOSS partners to jointly participate in the compelling economics of search.” The details of that platform aren’t out yet, but if you think you can come up with a compelling niche search offering, now’s the time to stake out your place in the market.

Screenshot2. Sell freelance support.
Software and solutions like Copilot and Bomgar make it easier than ever to take over someone’s computer remotely, whether they know anything about how to let you connect or not. If you’re a whiz with solving operating systems and applications issues, why not sell your expertise to others who are less sure of themselves? At a reasonable hourly rate, you can still offer personal service that’s infinitely better than putting up with anonymous bored workers in a telecenter somewhere.

3. Create and maintain social networks.
While companies, organizations and individuals do see the value of marketing through social networks, many of them are afraid that they’ll “waste time” setting them up and maintaining them. Step in as their social network “developer” to determine the right places – MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. – to have accounts to help them achieve their goals. Then set up their pages and manage them on a regular basis. You can also submit reports that measure your clients’ online buzz and turn that in along with your monthly invoice.

Writers Group - Wed 12pm SLT4. Plan and host virtual events.

If you’re great at organizing, publicizing and managing events, why not offer your services online? Whether a live text chat on a client’s web site or a 3-dimensional avatar-based voice chat in a virtual world such as Second Life, companies and organizations could use your help developing and coordinating these events. You can even approach conferences and offer to create an online version of their event to reach a whole separate audience of people who cannot attend their offline happenings. Throw in some event hosting and moderating a la Oprah, and you’ve got yourself a global gig without having to jump on a plane.

5. Offer remote software demos and training.
So you’ve got a way with software, particularly newfangled Web-based applications. Offer your services as a Web apps trainer and hold online demos – for a fee. You can use GoToMeeting.com, Yugma, and similar services to broadcast your demos from your computer desktop to the computer screens of your audience members. Or approach the developers of these applications, show them you know their product almost better than they do, and offer to provide desktop demos to the media and to their higher dollar business customers.

6. Hold educational teleseminars.
Are you great at web design or online marketing or any other kind of Web work and have wanted to share your skills on a larger scale while getting paid to do it? If you’ve got the expertise, bottle it and sell it widely in the form of a live teleseminar where you charge a fee for participation and then archive it in your online store to generate recurring revenues. You can do simple web-based conference call coordination through Rondee or get fancier with simultaneous text chat and online documents with Calliflower.

7. Write part of Google’s encyclopedia.
Anyone can contribute to Google’s new Knol project, an encylopedic collection of knowledge in the tradition of Wikipedia. But unlike Wikipedia, Knol shows some prospect for paying its writers – because you can automatically hook up Google Ads to a Knol entry, and you’ll get a share of the take. If you’re an authority on some subject of interest, maintaining a Knol page could at least help pay for your internet usage.

8. Flip Web Sites.
Forget trying to think of a brand new hot web site to launch. The New York Times recently reported on people who are making a good living by “flipping” existing sites. The idea: find a niche site with good potential but poor execution, and buy it. Invest your own sweat equity in a site redesign and search engine optimization, then turn around and sell it to someone else who actually wants to run the site. Repeat as often as you can.

Screenshot9. Sell your video footage.
We’ve covered the microstock photography market several times, but did you know that there’s a budding microstock video market too? If you’re a digital video fanatic, turn your high-quality b-roll into bucks using stock imaging sites that also carry video footage like Pond5, iStockPhoto Video and Pixelflow. Set your price, set your terms, and add this new revenue stream to your income.

10. Sell virtual goods.
From fashion to business tools to décor for virtual homes and offices, people who are avid users of virtual worlds are hungry for well-designed virtual goods. Second Life store, Nyte 'N' DayWhile there is a learning curve for each proprietary virtual environment such as There.com, Kaneva, Lively, and Second Life, if there is a commerce component of the world that converts to real dollars, with a keen eye for design and detail and the right building skills, you can generate income from creating products made of bits and bytes. In Second Life, for example, some of the more successful clothing designers are bringing in thousands of dollars (US) a month selling items of clothing at 75 cents to $1.50 a pop. And if you are truly an artist, your virtual goods could sell for a pretty penny.