Thursday, December 31, 2009

Free Wordpress Theme & A Happy New Year!

Just a quick post to wish you all the best for 2010! I hope you've been enjoying the holiday festivities and not working too hard ;0)

To celebrate the New Year, we'd like to give you a brand new Wordpress Theme to help enhance your blogging efforts...

The Theme 'Fabulus.001', courtesy of Fabulus Software, is a two column, fixed width, left sidebar template.

The theme comes in orange and white...

All that's left to say is Happy New Year!



Monday, December 07, 2009

Secrets of Effective Internet Marketing?

What are the secrets of effective internet marketing?

Since the dawn of the internet, entrepreneurs have been seeking the answer.

Truth is, there are no secrets – there; I’ve said it – There Are NO Secrets. Internet ‘gurus’ rely on hungry, would-be internet rock stars to keep searching – and spending.

How often have you responded to a promotion, desperate to get your hands on some new eBook, eCourse, dvd or software? But your credit card’s maxed out and you have to pass up the purchase. Now think about it, honestly, a few hours later (if not sooner), you’ve forgotten about this ‘missed opportunity’ to become richer than your wildest dreams and your business rolls on regardless.

Conversely, how many times have you jumped at a promotion, only to find your new acquisition isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and you really could have done without it – and you could have spent the cash more wisely?

There is however, an art to effective internet marketing - testing, tweaking, tracking, multi-platform promotion… None of which has anything to do with the traditional hype that surrounds internet marketing.

In order to closely monitor and re-evaluate your marketing efforts, a certain amount of technology must be introduced, in the form of tools and resources - auto responders, link tracking, blogs, training & support, affiliate tracking, web page authoring, statistics tracking...

Let’s take a look at the whys and wherefores of some of these tools…

  • Auto responder – Capture emails, build a subscriber list, broadcast messages, follow-up messages. You’re not going to survive without a list of subscribers to build a relationship with, give massive value to and market to.
  • Link Tracking – Track your ads to establish which ones produce the best results, weed out those ads that cost you money without producing any results.
  • Blogs – Google loves blogs. Reach out to your target audience, encourage comments and interaction. Again providing valuable content your readers will love you for.
  • Training – Could you fly a plane without being taught what all the instruments mean? Internet Marketing is just the same, you have to learn before you can do, but you don’t need the confusion caused by learning snippets from multiple sources, simultaneously.
  • Support – Who’s your ‘go to guy’ when you get stuck? If you’re answer is nobody, you’re making things so much more difficult for yourself. Any problem you come across has been experienced by someone before you; prosper from other’s knowledge – don’t spend hours or days over something that could be solved with a quick question.
  • Stats tracking – Do you know where your website visitors come from? Well, you should! Don’t waste your money or your efforts on anything that’s not working for you.
There’s a lot to learn and even more to do. Fast-track it whenever and wherever possible, but learn when Not to cut corners. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do track everything you do. Do keep notes of strategies that work; and those that don’t. In short – don’t bang your head against a brick wall :0)

Being a Smart Marketer, you’ll realize that tools and resources don’t come cheap. The answer to the problem is to find all these tools under a single roof, with one low monthly cost.

If you want to know the resources I use to build all my businesses, you can check it out here. Your first 30 days is completely free – no credit card required and monthly fees start at just $9.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Accept PayPal Payments Without Creating a Button

With the explosion of Websites like Twitter and FaceBook, opportunities to sell products and services have also increased. You may be able to add a link, but you can't stick a paypal button in your Twitter feed,. So you link to a salespage where you've created, copied and pasted a paypal button. Is there an easier way? Funny you should ask...

PayItLink requires you to enter a minimum of information; your paypal email address, the product or service name/id and a price, with sixteen different currencies to choose from.

There's other times when a link could be more appropriate. Maybe you're selling access to an exclusive coaching club and you only want your payment details to go to certain qualified leads or you're making a special subscriber only offer, you outline the details in an email and insert a link that is directed straight to paypal.

Having entered your details, as above, just press Create a Pay It Link and you're presented with a link...

Go ahead and test it out, here's what ours looked like:

The only downside we can see, is you can't (at least not at the moment), insert re-direct instructions for a download, but as we've seen, this method is probably most useful for using on a small scale, which often requires a personal touch anyway.

Are there any other drawbacks you can see with PayItLink, or other useful applications for the service? Do you use PayItLink? Let us know about your experiences and comments below.

Check out PayItLink


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crop Pictures with a Free Online Tool

Cut My Pic is a very simple online tool that does what it says on the tin... 

Simple interface, simple instructions, simple operation.

To start, upload your pic...

We're going to cut my portrait, ready for christmas, lol.


 As you can see once uploaded, just drag the outline to cover the part of the picture you want to 'cut out' or keep.

There's only a couple of options to add effects to your pic - round the corners and add a drop shadow.

Now preview your cropped image.

Ok? Click Done. 
Download or use the provided form to send by email.

Okay, so CutMyPic has very limited application, but if you're short on processing power, it beats firing up photoshop just for a quick fix.

Check Out CutMyPic


Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's The Quickest Way to Create Rss Feed Icons for your Website or Blog?

Encouraging readers to subscribe to your Rss Feed with an attractive icon is an established and successful practice.

Feed Icon 2.0, owned by couldn't be simpler to use in three quick steps, summed up as "No Knowledge, No Skill, No Hassle".

Step One: Insert the URL of your Website

Step Two: Hit 'Generate Icon'

Steph Three: Copy and paste the resulting html code to your website or blog.

As you can see Feed Icon 2.0 gives you a choice of three buttons and automatically generates code for all three, just pick the one that suits your site best.

Hitting 'about feed' takes your subscribers to a clean-looking page, where they can choose which feed reader they prefer, with one-click subscription, or  select a drag-and-drop button for desktop readers. Note: if auto-discovery detects two or more supported feeds, all options will be displayed.

The generated page displays your website title at the top, followed by your tagline/ description.

FeedIcon 2.0 is free for both personal and commercial use, so no danger of getting into hot water there. Your website will be checked for updates at least once a day and the content of your personalized page updated accordingly.

There's an option to download and further personalize your generated subscription page. However, the website's terms state '...please do not modify the footer part to show the page was originally generated by FeedIcon 2.0' Well that's fair enough, no problems there...

The terms go on to state... 'please be advised that the feed items included in the downloaded page may not be updated. Basically, we do not support for the off-line use of the generated page'. - So not much point then?
But it's a free service, easy for almost anyone to use and the generated personalized page will be perfectly fine for most people.

Check Out FeedIcon 2.0


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Learn Free - Webinar Resources

WebinarHero is a new startup that aims to 'provide you with the tools to find, create and promote world class webinars',

With the advancement of online video coupled with faster broadband speeds, webinars are increasingly  the tool of choice for internet marketing campaigns. I mean, what other boxes are there to tick when you have audio, visual, interactivity..?  It's so much quicker to put together an audio visual presentation than to maybe, write a report, send emails, answer emails, and so on.

So what can WebinarHero do for you?

WebinarHero lists upcoming webinars and online events, many of which are free to attend, although we noticed some didn't have a cost listed.

Search the site using a traditional search box, through a tag cloud, by category or by date. When we searched, we found two events listed for today. 'Introduction to Computer Forensic Investigation' and 'Vector Illustration Trickery'. Click on an event you're interested in and a full page of details are shown, including a link to the webinar, the cost (if any), whether registration is required and some, but not all, give further details of content.

If you're a marketer who creates webcasts, you can list your webinar for no cost and reap the rewards of some extra promotion.

Although the site isn't hugely busy just yet, we think WebinarHero could be built into a valuable resource, for both webcasters and students alike - but it should be noted here, we haven't actually attended any of the listed webinars, if you do let us know about it in comments below.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Speed Up Firefox in One Click

There's no doubt Mozilla's FireFox provides a fast browsing experience. However, over time firefox can become slugish. Database fragmentation is partly to blame, although firefox's infamous 'memory leaks' don't help matters.

Enter... SpeedyFox. A simple utility (not an addon), that safely compacts profile databases, without any loss of data..

SpeedyFox is a tiny download (0.3Mb) and it's free. Currently only available for Windows Pcs, but a Mac version is soon to be added to the website.

Promising to increase start-up by three times, SpeedyFox can transform a cranky old installation of firefox into 'feeling like a new-installation',  assuring to handle browsing history and cookie operations with greater acceleration too.

Download SpeedyFox, and click to execute.

Choose your profile, shut down firefox and click 'Speed Up My Firefox!' The whole process takes only seconds.

Now restart firefox and enjoy the increased pace.

We've noticed a healthy difference to our browser.

Let us know what you think, by leaving a comment below.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Create eBook Covers, Software Boxes & CD/DVD Covers without Photoshop

You've carefully crafted your latest ebook, software program, cd or dvd. It's given you sleepless nights, long bone-aching days and you're proud of your latest acomplishment.

The content's fantastic, but the presentation sucks!

You've worked hard on the graphics, but it looks kind of shabby in two dimensions. Of course it'd look if you'd got hundreds of dollars to splash out on photoshop, but it's just not in your budget.

You turn to Google and search for a free alternative - try it, you won't have much luck.

However, there is a free, online alternative that'll turn your flat graphics into nice three dimensional covers with those all important reflecting effects.

It's not the prettiest website in the world, but it's clean and clear interface makes up it's lack of charisma.

Choose the type of graphic cover you're after, upload your 2d images as indicated and Create.

Here's a quick mock up of covers for one of my recent projects...

Once you're happy with your cover, use your mouse to drag and rotate the image into any position you want.

....And Download as a .png, .jpg or .gif.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

The First Step in Every Project: A MindMap

You've a new project in your mind, but you don't know where to begin.

To me it's a bit like writers' block, except the ideas are there - but so are a thousand questions.

Identifying your first step is half the battle and having a step-by-step plan is a good deal towards organizing you mind.

But that still begs the question - Where do I start?!

Mind Mapping Tools are an invaluable resource for any project and if, like most of us, you use more than one computer you need an online solution - there's nothing more frustrating than sitting down to work on a project, only to realize all your work is saved on another computer!

SlickPlan ticks all the boxes - it's online, so you can access it from any computer with an internet connection; it has a clean and simple, user friendly interface; results can be saved to html, pdf or sent in  html  to any email address.

Let's take a look inside SlickPlan...

Sign up for a free account and confirm your email address.  We had to wait a few hours for the email confirmation to come through, but so far, that's our only critisism.

Once inside you'll find your personal dashboard.

Click 'Create a New Sitemap'

This is a sample project to show you the basics of mindmapping with SlickPlan.

 First off you'll want to name your project, make it something memorable that relates to the project you're working on - the name of the website or product is usually good enough.

To the left of the page, you'll see a sort of control panel, like this one:

The labels correspond with the nodes you name. In this case, each node represents a page on our new website.

You'll notice three symbols for each node; green arrows to move; pencil to edit and red circle to delete a node.

To edit, click the pencil and change a node's name of it's parent, using the drop-down menu.

When you've finished editing, export your results in html or as a pdf - and don't forget to hit 'save changes' whenever you make any alterations.

 So now you're projects all mapped out, your mind's free of clutter and you can work smarter and more efficiently.


Don't Search General Stock Photography for Royalty Free Textures...

Texture Vault was launched in May 2009 and is run by the peeps from established sites like StockVault, a stock photo sharing site which has been around since 2001.

The difference between  the 100's of available stock photography sites and texture vault is, well the clues in the name - yep, they only deal in textures and backgrounds.

There are hundreds to choose from, in categories ranging from Architecture to feathers to plants & foliage -  and the best news is you can download their medium quality images free.

Premium high quality and maximum quality images are also on offer for $2 and $4 respectively. In addition, extended licences can be purchased for projects intended for resale.

If you're a photographer, there's always the opportunity to upload your images and reap 50% of the sale price.

Not a whizz with a camera? Sign up for the affiliate program and earn 10% on referrals.

Registering for an account is free and once inside members can vote for favorite textures, add to lightbox and make comments.

If you're looking for a texture, Texture Vault should be your first port of call.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Solution to Unknown File Extensions

There are numerous file extensions, many of which we come across every day - htm, html, zip, rar, php, - well there's too many to list here, but what do you do if you come across a file with an extension unknown to you?

Hmm, a file extension library would be handy!

Go there and you'll find a hyperlinked list of common and not so common file extensions.

Have a look for the extension you're trying to identify, click on it and you'll find information about the extension, what to do if windows can't open your file and, when you scroll down the page, more detailed information about the extension.