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Depositphotos Review

Getting that “just-right” photo to illustrate a blog article or magazine  cover can make the difference between ho-hum and really eye-catching. Recently a colleague put me on to a new place to get stock photos called Depositphotos.

When I started my subscription, I was looking for high-quality kitten photos. I expected Depositphotos might have a couple of hundred, but to my delight, there were literally thousands of kitten photos to choose from. Most of them were against a white background, which is what I was looking for.

Depositphotos has over 10 million royalty-free stock files (photos, illustrations and videos). A simple to use lightbox feature allows you to categorize files for your various projects, buy them or send them to your friends or colleagues.

Here’s my Depositphotos video tour.

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How to Make a WordPress Website

There are five steps to make a WordPress website:

Step 1: Get a domain name and website hosting

  1. Decide on your deisred domain name (the www.yourdomainname.com).
  2. Go here to sign up for hosting.
  3. Click “Sign up now”.
  4. If you already have a domain name registered, enter it.
  5. If you don’t already have a domain name registered, enter your desired domain name (no www.) where it says “I need a domain name”.
  6. Follow the prompts to pay.
  7. Write down all the various logins and passwords; you will need them later.

Step 2: Activate your domain name

  1. If you registered your domain name at the same time as you signed up for hosting, you are good to go. Skip to next section.
  2. If your domain name is registered somewhere else, you need to point the DNS nameservers to the hosting company. Ask support how to do this. I use the real-time instant messaging chat support and find it very efficient.

Step 3: Install WordPress

  1. login to your hosting account (Bluehost – which you signed up for in Step 1)
  2. click the navigation tab labelled “cpanel” and login to your cpanel
  3. scroll down to the area labelled “Software/Services” and click “Simple Scripts”
  4. look for “WordPress” and click it.
  5. follow the prompts to install WordPress

After you have installed WordPress your site will be active on the Internet. You can go over and look at it!

Step 4: Make your WordPress site look nice

  1. WordPress works on “themes”
  2. the default theme (it is there automatically) is very nice, and you can customize it to your heart’s content.
  3. it’s easiest to stick with the default theme.
  4. another option is to choose one of the hundreds of free or paid WordPress themes that are out there. Just Google “WordPress themes”
  5. something to be aware of is that even though a theme may look very attractive, there’s a chance that it is poorly coded. As a result, it may operate slowly, inconsistently, or be difficult to update. That’s why I usually recommend that people stick with the default theme, at least at the beginning.

Step 5: Put your content on your site

  1. There are lots of tutorials online that teach you how to put your content (words and pictures) on your website. Look on YouTube or better yet, get a one month subscription to www.lynda.com and then look for “WordPress-beginner-essentials.”
  2. In fact, you may want to get your subscription as a first step to the entire process, and then you can watch the video tutorials about how to do it all. Lynda.com is a fantastic learning centre for EVERYTHING computer-related. I think there is a Lynda.com app for iPad and mobile devices, as well.
  3. If you run into problems, a good place to get freelance help is www.fiverr.com – where skilled people do specific small tasks for five dollars.
  4. For example, if you didn’t want to learn how to change the DNS nameservers, just do a search on fiverr for “WordPress – DNS” and you will certainly come up with someone who does exactly that for $5. You give them your site details and voila! it’s done, usually within 24 hours. Afterwards, you can go back and change your password.

Have fun!

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It’s amazing how quickly things change in the business and career arenas. For ages all you needed was a resume when applying for a job. Now it seems that not only do you need a resume, you also need a professional bio and maybe even a LinkedIn page.

Holy cow! It’s getting more complicated every day.

Well, one thing that I can help you with is understanding the difference between a resume and a professional biography.

First thing to know is that a bio tells a story about you, whereas a resume gives a summary of your complete work history. Both describe your background but the level of detail and presentation are different. Between the two, the bio is easier to read than the resume. Some employers want just one or the other, but most seem to ask for both a resume and a bio these days.

 A bio is:

  •  basically used as promotional material or as an introduction to the person
  • often found in the “about me” or “profile” section of a website. Examples are found on printed and web materials for motivational speakers, company CEOs, business owners, and book or article authors
  • an overview of the person written in a narrative form (sentences and paragraphs)
  • normally written in the third person
  • usually includes includes years of experience, some well-known companies, recognized commercial awards
  • may optionally include marital status, number of children, place of dwelling, and other personal  details.
  • basically a short story and more interesting to read than a resume
  • normally not sufficient to submit for a job application

A resume is:

  • normally required when applying for a job
  • a summary of past work history
  • provides in detail, the work experience, job positions and responsibilities, education with colleges attended, skill certificates achieved and trainings completed
  • normally formatted in bullet form and chronological order
  • more formal than a bio
  • usually longer than a bio

Help is here! A bio template simplifies the process of writing a professional bio

If you are looking for a bio template for a specific profession, please visit How to Write a Bio where I provide downloadable fill-in-the-blank bio templates for over 150 different types of jobs. You’ll have it done in the correct style and format within the next 20 minutes.

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I use a Paypal business account for all my online invoicing and payments. If you’re looking for a secure, reliable and user-friendly way to take payments online, Paypal is an excellent option. This article provides a tutorial on setting up Paypal for business, covering:

  1. step-by-step instructions for setting up a Paypal business account
  2. advice on what type of Paypal account to choose
  3. the difference between shopping cart and merchant account, and why you need to know this
  4. information on what it costs to use Paypal for business

How to set up a Paypal account for your business:

1. Click here to open Paypal in a new window.

2. Select the tab that says “Business”.

3. In the box for “Standard – $0 a month”, click “Get Started” .

4. Fill in your country and language, and click “Create new account”.

5. Fill in all the blanks with your information.

6. If you are asked whether you want a Premier or a Business account, here is what you need to know:

The only difference between Premier and Business is that the Business Paypal account allows you to set up the account under your company name. Both types of accounts will allow you to accept credit card payments from your customers. In order to get a Paypal Business account you need to have a company bank account and wait for your Paypal account to be approved. If you don’t yet have a company bank account, you can set your account to “Premier” to get started and then upgrade it to “Business” later.

7. Congratulations! You’ve completed the main part of the set up procedure. You will now have to wait a couple of days to have your account verified, and then you will be good to go!

After your account is verified you can pay someone by Paypal, or request payment (send an invoice) just by going to www.paypal.com and logging in to your account. You login to your account using the email address and password that you signed up with. It’s very obvious how to do it. If you have questions, Paypal’s customer service phone number is 1-402-935-2017for existing customers, and 1-402-935-2050for new customers (U.S. telephone numbers).

What type of account should you choose: Paypal Standard or Paypal Pro?

If you choose “Business Account” you then had to decide (in step 5)  which type of Business Account you wanted: Paypal Standard or Paypal Pro. Here’s the difference:

  1. Paypal Standard is the basic type of PayPal. Your customer clicks the buy button and then is taken to Paypal’s website to complete the payment. They have the choice of either logging in to their PayPal account or using a credit/debit card without having an account. You can’t take phone and fax orders. There is no monthly fee (you only pay your Paypal transaction fees).
  2. Paypal Pro is a more advanced type of Paypal. The main advantage is that the payment is integrated into your own shopping cart on your website. This way customers stay on your website for the entire shopping process, instead of being taken to Paypal’s website to complete the payment. Another advantage is that you can take phone and fax orders. There is a $35 monthly fee in addition to your Paypal transaction fees.

“Standard” is the simplest and least expensive. It’s also your only option if you don’t have a separate shopping cart. Separate shopping cart – what does that mean? I know, it can be confusing. Let me explain a very important ecommerce concept that took me years to understand.

The difference between shopping cart and merchant account

In order to take payments online there are two separate processes required: 1) a way to process the order (shopping cart), and 2) a way to process the money (merchant account). It’s hard for beginners to understand the distinction between the order and the money, because it  seems like the same thing when we are doing it.  But it’s important to realize that these are two separate processes that each require their own software or service to make happen. To understand which type of Paypal Business Account is best for your circumstances, you need to decide how you want customers to check out and complete payments. There are basically three ways this can happen:

1. Paypal only (Standard)

If you want to keep it really simple, just use Paypal (the order and the moneyare both processed by Paypal).  How this works is that Paypal gives you little “buy now” buttons that you can put right on your website. With this method, customers simply:

  • click your “buy” button (the order)
  • get taken to Paypal to complete the payment using a credit card, bank account or Paypal account (the money)

2. Paypal combined with a third party shopping cart system (Standard or Pro)

If you use a third party shopping cart such as 1ShoppingCart, CoreCommerce or e-Junkie then you can use either Website Payments Standard or Website Payments Pro. This is the process that customers will go through:

  • click your “buy” button
  • get taken to your shopping cart (the order)
  • fill out the info that your shopping cart requires
  • get taken to  Paypal to complete the payment using a credit card, bank account or Paypal account  (the money)

3. Paypal combined with a self-hosted shopping cart (Pro)

If you have your own shopping cart hosted on your server, then you want Website Payments Pro. With the Pro version customers can shop  (the order) and pay (the money) directly on your website, without going over to Paypal (even though Paypal is running in the background processing the money).

Why I Recommend Paypal Standard for Most Small Businesses

I have “Standard” and it meets all my needs for accepting online payments quickly and easily. It has worked reliably for me for over eight years now, and my bookkeeper really likes how it keeps all the “money in and money out” straight. I don’t need to pay an extra $35 a month for what Paypal Pro offers.

What Does it Cost for a Business to Use Paypal?

Recently I was asked by a reader, “Does Paypal get profit from my income?” I took that to mean “what does it cost to use a Paypal business account?”

Paypal does takes a small transaction fee each time you get paid through them. The exact amount varies depending on a couple of different factors, but generally it’s about 3%. So if your client paid you $100 you would get about $97. The transaction fee is the only cost, as there are no setup or monthly fees to have a basic Paypal Business account.

Yes, it’s a drag to have to pay a transaction fee, but there are fees with any bank you use and I find it’s worth it for the convenience. For my business, I like being able to send a Paypal invoice to someone and all they have to do is click a link to pay. They can pay either with the funds in their own Paypal account or using any major credit card.

I find that I get paid faster using Paypal than if I have to wait for a client to send a cheque in the mail. Not only is mail slower, but clients have to find the time to write out the cheque, address the envelope, find a stamp, and mail the envelope. Paypal is so much faster and easier for clients, and it also gives them the option of using a credit card.

There are ways to reduce the cost of having a Paypal account, and I detail these in my free report.   For instance, not many people know that once you have more than $3000 a month coming in to your Paypal account you can apply to have a lower fee.

Ready to take the plunge?

Go here if you want to set up a Paypal business account. Don’t worry, it’s easy! You can do it in just a few minutes, and start accepting customer payments quickly and easily.

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How to Write a Good Twitter Bio

how to write-twitter-bioThe biggest challenge in writing a good Twitter bio is that Twitter allows you only 160 characters. That means your bio must capture the attention of a potential follower in about 20 words.

Writing 20 words shouldn’t be tough, but it’s actually harder to write succinctly than it is to write at length. Here are five important tips to help you write your Twitter bio, along with some good Twitter bio examples.

Tip #1 – Include Your Area of Expertise

Your expertise should be included in your Twitter bio, showing off what you are good at. This is an opportunity to highlight what’s unique about you so people can decide if they want to follow you. Here’s a good example from a personal trainer and fitness coach that clearly states her area of expertise (helping clients overcome their mental blocks):

@coachkate1 Kate is a Health & Fitness Coach who helps clients overcome their mental blocks to living a healthy lifestyle.

Tip #2 – Use Your Keywords

Don’t neglect your keywords on Twitter. Using relevant keywords in your bio helps people who  have the same interests to find you, and will also help you show up in search results.  In addition, using keywords in your bio will help you pop up in Twitter apps that group users together by interest.

For example, can you guess what keywords the @mashsocialmedia bio is targeting?

The latest happenings in social media, plus tips on using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare and more.

If you guessed “social media” plus the four major social media sites mentioned, you’d be correct.

Here’s another example of someone who does a good job of using keywords in her Twitter bio:

@MyMelange #Italy & #France travel planning, #travel consulting, #food tours Writer. Queen of the carry-on bag. How can I help with your next trip?

I don’t need to tell you that @MyMelange (Robin Locker Lacey) specializes in Italy and France travel planning: it’s clear from her bio.

Notice Robin’s use of hashtags, which makes it even more likely that she will be found in the top results when someone searches Twitter for those words.

Robin finishes her bio with the question “How can I help with your next trip?”  which addresses the advice in the next tip – “mention what you offer”. Robin’s clever question makes it clear that she offers Italy and France trip planning services.

Tip #3 – Mention What You Offer

Mention what you offer within your Twitter profile. Show potential followers who you are and how you can be useful to them.

My friend and colleague Natalie Tucker Miller has a company called “Ageless-Sages”, which provides picture books for elders.  Here’s how she  mentions in her Twitter bio what her company offers, while at the same time including her other main activity as a coach certifier and educator:

@NatalieTM Helping families reconnect through Picture Books for Elders™ Teaching the magic of loving all phases. IAC Lead Certifier, coach educator.

Here’s another good example that shows how to mention what you offer in an engaging way:

@danielgoh Beer hawker, entrepreneur and owner of The Good Beer Company. Food fanatic. Avid geek. Blogger and social media enthusiast.

When you read Daniel’s bio, you instantly know that he’s interested in beer, food, business, blogging and social media. Pretty efficient use of 19 words!

Tip #4 – Write with Personality

Last, give a sense of your personality in your Twitter bio. Are you funny, sincere, sarcastic? Don’t be afraid to be real – that’s what people enjoy. Letting your personality shine through takes a profile from ho-hum to intriguing – which will make people want to follow.

Looking again at Daniel Goh’s bio above, you get a sense of his personality from the use of words such as “hawker”, “fanatic” and “geek”. Someone who uses those types of descriptors is probably witty, unpretentious and enthusiastic about his interests. I follow Daniel, and I can tell you that he’s definitely all three of those things!

Tip #5 – Remember, It’s All Public

In the previous tip I advised “Don’t be afraid to be real”.  I’m now going to put a caveat on that. Remember that everything you write on Twitter is public and shows up in the search engines, even if you’ve deleted it.

That bitingly funny Twitter bio you wrote and then deleted after realizing that it could offend some of your customers? It’s not really deleted. It’s indexed in the search engines for anyone to see…forever.

Even if you just use Twitter for friends (and not for business purposes), keep in mind that business contacts can and will read your Twitter page. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a completely open platform; people do not need permission to follow you. Sure you can block someone; but they can still do a Google search for site:twitter.com/yourtwittername and see every tweet you’ve ever published. Try it :)

Socializing on Twitter is not the same as socializing in the privacy of your own home, or even your local coffee shop. As my mother used to tell me about gossip, don’t say anything you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the newspaper. Twitter is the digital age equivalent of the front page of the newspaper. So yes, be real and be professional as well.

 

 

 

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What is Affiliate Marketing?

home-business-affiliate-marketingYou’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing, but maybe you’re not quite sure what it is or how it works.

Affiliate marketing is when a business pays a commission to other people for referring customers. There are thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of different affiliate programs online. You’ve probably clicked on affiliate links without even realizing it.

For example, suppose you’re reading an article that mentions a particular book and the book title is linked to an Amazon sales page. Chances are the owner of the website is signed up for the Amazon affiliate program and has inserted their “affiliate code” in that link. If you end up buying something from Amazon within a day or so of clicking their affiliate link, they will get a commission from Amazon.

Here’s another example: if you happen to be reading my article How to Use AudioAcrobat to Record Conference Calls and Teleclasses, you might decide to click on one of the links that bring you to the AudioAcrobat website. If you subsequently decide to sign up for the AudioAcrobat service, I get a 33% commission every month for as long as you remain an AudioAcrobat customer. I currently have about 40 people who signed up for AudioAcrobat under my affiliate link, which translates to about $300 a month in commissions. Not bad for one article!

I also get commissions each month from Amazon, but the amounts tend to be small. In contrast to AudioAcrobat’s 33% recurring commission, Amazon’s typical commission rate is 5% – 7%.

Besides Amazon, another big player in online affiliate marketing is Clickbank, which provides a marketplace for information products. Here’s how Clickbank works: say you write an ebook or course. You can list your product at Clickbank, and then other people can get a commission (often 50% or more) by referring buyers to your product. Conversely, even if you don’t have a product, you can promote other people’s products and get the commission.

In order for affiliate marketing to work there are really only three things needed: 1) someone with something to sell (the seller or merchant); 2) someone else who promotes that product and collects a commission (the affiliate), and 3) a way for person #1 and person #2 to connect.

There are a couple of ways that person #1 and person #2 can connect. Sometimes it’s done directly: the seller has a form on their website that says “sign up for my affiliate program” (see an example here on my how to write a bio website). Another way for sellers and affiliates to get together is through what’s called an “affiliate network”.

An affiliate network is sort of a broker or middleman between sellers and affiliates. Clickbank is one well-known affiliate network; another is Commission Junction.

Normally an affiliate network will list hundreds or even thousands of products for sale, from many different sellers. The affiliate signs up for the affiliate network (normally this is free, but there can be some conditions such as having your own website or proving that you have a track record in affiliate sales) and then can choose from the different products offered by all the sellers. One advantage to both sellers and affiliates of using an affiliate network is that the affiliate network looks after all the administration and payments to affiliates.

Affiliate marketing is not a new phenomenon (think of door-to-door sales companies such as Avon or Regal), but it has really exploded since the Internet has been around. Prior to the Internet, it was much more difficult for sellers and affiliates to connect with one another. And customers were far less likely to to access products that were being sold through an affiliate arrangement. The Internet changed the game because it makes it easier for all three parties.

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If you look at the box below you’ll see an example of what you can do with the new video delivery platform called RivusTV that makes it easy to sell video on a “pay for view” basis. This promises to be an effective marketing tool for any with quality video content.


The course author is Ed Dale, a well-known internet marketing educator. Ed also happens to be my mentor, so I’m keenly interested in what he’s doing. In this offering, he has created a mini course on the best way to record your iPad and iPhone. You’ll notice that the course is about 30 minutes long, but get this…it’s priced at only $1.99. This makes it affordable and kind of a “no-brainer” purchase for anyone interested in the topic.

Seeing what Ed is doing here has sparked me to think about how I might package some of my longer video courses into small “bite-sized” courses. What about you? Could you see yourself doing something similar?

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Two Free Ebooks for Entrepreneurs

home-business-steve-pavlina

Sources of Insight, a blog dedicated to personal effectiveness, offers two free ebooks of interest to home business entrepreneurs:

1) You 2.0, a free e-book designed to help readers find their purpose and develop the foundation to be at one’s best in any situation

2) The Zen of Results, which addresses the question “How do you do less, but accomplish more? ” With its focus on personal effectiveness and personal development, Sources of Insight is the go-to source for people who value profound knowledge for the mind, the body, emotions, careers, finances, relationships and fun.

J.D. Meier of Sources of Insight explains what readers will learn from the two free ebooks:

You 2.0 cuts to the chase to help readers quickly find their purpose — their why, their how, their values, their strengths and their personal success patterns. Once these are mapped out, an individual has a firm foundation to be his or her best in any situation. By finding and living this process, individuals are able to lead a life by design, not by default. I call it ‘You 2.0′ because it’s about renewal and taking yourself to the next level.

The Zen of Results is about personal productivity. The approach in a nutshell is:

  • Scannable outcomes to guide your activities and tasks.
  • Life frame to organize and balance the important hot spots in your life.
  • Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection to guide your week.
  • Daily Outcomes to guide your day.

The Sources of Insight website is a collection of wisdom of the ages and wisdom from modern sages. The site’s ultimate goal is help people get more from life and be their best by featuring the books, people and quotes that focus on the principles, patterns and practices one must draw from for personal success. Information on Sources of Insight is organized into different subtopics such as emotional intelligence, intellectual horsepower and leadership to make it more actionable and relevant for visitors.

Guest posts by best-selling authors are regularly featured. In these posts, authors share their own lessons and experiences on getting results. Past guests include Jay Heinrichs, author of Thank You for Arguing, Michael Michalko, author of Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques, and Rick Kirschner, co-author of one of my favorite books, Dealing With People You Can’t Stand

In addition to providing this wealth of information, Meier shares his own personal lessons learned while testing results and applying the insights and actions featured on his blog. Meier also shares “book nuggets,” blog postings focused on insights and distinctions he learns from the books he reads. In each nugget, Meier shares key points or quotes from the author, along with the lessons he takes away and how he applies them to work and life. Meier also shares what he terms “people insights,” the inspiration and knowledge he has gathered and learned from both well-known and everyday people.

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4 Step Simple Marketing Plan

business-plan-chalkboardby guest author Rich Gee

Many business clients ask me how they can review their business and develop a simple marketing plan. There are many great books and gurus out there who will help you do this – unfortunately it takes a lot of time and effort.

If things aren’t working or you’re not getting the same penetration you did a few years ago, you probably need to modify something in your business mix. As I’ve always said, “The best businesses are the ones who are nimble and flexible. When it’s time to change, make that change.”

I’ve developed a simple 4-step exercise to help you get a better handle on your business. So here goes:

1. Look at your PRODUCT (or service)

What are your best selling products? What are your most profitable products? Why?
What products are growing? What ones are shrinking? Why?
What new products can you add? What products can you modify?
What products can you kill?
Can you change your product pricing/packaging to reflect market shifts?
Who’s buying what, when, where, and why?

2. Survey the MARKETPLACE

What’s happening out there? Is the market growing? Shrinking? Moving?
Are there new competitors out there? What are they doing? Offering?
Are there new opportunities out there to develop partnerships?
If the marketplace has changed, you need to modify your efforts.

3. Analyze your CUSTOMERS

Who were they and why did they buy your products? Where did they go?
Who are they now? Are they in a different area to access?
Have their lives changed? More money to spend? Less money?
When was the last time your reached out to your current clients?
When have you talked to your past clients?
When have you re-approached the prospects who got away?
You can always plan to retain and extend your clients. And get new ones too.

4. Review your COMMUNICATION

Did your access routes (advertising) to your customers change?
Has your media changed? Newspaper/Magazine/Radio into Web/Groupon/Patch?
Are you varying your messages? Different packages/price points?
How do you talk personally with your customers/prospects?

How would this simple 4-step process work for your business?

About the author: Rich Gee is a certified business and career coach, based locally in Connecticut. His web site is Rich Gee Group, and you can submit your business and career questions to Rich at richgee@richgee.com.

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