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No one appreciates a safe online backup system any more that I do.

Years ago, when I purchased a Mac lap top with 50 gig, it was a dream come true.  But, the dream didn’t last long.  The demand for more space on my hard drive became evident very quickly when I began to design for the craft and gift industries.

I was encouraged to pick up an external hard drive because I could transfer my large files and save my gigabytes.  After my purchase, I promptly transferred 4 years of art work from my lap top on to my new external hard drive.

I was set.  That was until one of my grands knock my external hard drive off my desk onto the floor. (Of course no one has ever admitted to the mishap.  Would you?)  My heart went sick when I reconnected the hard drive and discovered that everything was lost.

All my hard work was toast.

When I began to blog… I was delighted to find that codexWordPress.org  had a database backup plug in.  It’s called WordPress Database Backup.  However, I was disappointed to discover that it only saves the core WordPress files.  Plug-ins and such are not protected.

Automatic WordPress BackUp is also a plugin developed by a another group.  The data is automatically stored on an server such as Amazon S3.    However, AWPB it’s not compatible with all servers out there.

Even though I had WordPress Database Backup on my blog sites, I didn’t feel very secure so I went investigating and found Mozy.  What I like about this online back up system is that it not only saves my WordPress files… it saves everything digital.

Better still… It backs ups files continuously and saves them on servers away from my home.

For only a small fee.. I have peace of mind that my digital files are safe with Mozy.  I’m sure there are several off site database backup systems available to you… but I recommend Mozy online backup system.  You don’t want your online business to end up toast for the lack of a secure Internet backup system.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  What Online backup service do you use and why do you prefer it?

Ideas anyone?

Technorati Tags: backup, Database Backup Mozy, online backup system, WordPress Backup

Categories : Internet Basics
Comments (5)

What is a browser.  Well… it’s probably one of the most important pieces of software on your computer.  Every site on the internet must run through a browser in order for an image to show up on your computer screen.

The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox.

Even though I have a Mac… which is compatible with Safari… I prefer Firefox.  Besides the fact that it’s fast, and dependable,  it has many additional features I enjoy… like add-ons.

One of the add-ons that I particularly like is called. “Search Preview.”

When you enter keywords into the search engine search box… a page listing all of the sites that support those keywords appear in a form of a list.  You can then scan the page and click on the site you are interested in.

What if you could get a peek at a site, before you clicked on the link,  in order to view the site and read the content?  Well… you can!

This is how “Search Preview” works.

At the beginning of each listing, the Firefox add-on “Search Preview,” adds a “Thumbnail” image of the site.  This new visual image now becomes as important as the title and the description in helping you determine what sites will give you the information you are seeking.

At a glance you can immediately determine if the site is inviting enough to click on.  You can quickly discern whether it’s a blog page, static site, sales page or an opt-in page.  Article sites, such as Ezine, really stand out.

If you’re competing for keywords, you can get a peek at what your rivals look like without having to click on every site.  When you’re involved with niche marketing, studying your competition is important.

I’m not sure who takes the initial thumbnail photo… but they are taken early on… and in some cases… it appears as soon as your site or blog is first indexed with the search engines.

If you use Firefox for your browser… I recommend this add-on.  It makes search engine listings a little more exciting than just plain text. All you have to do is go to add-ons for Firefox and enter “Search Preview” in the search box to find this fun addition to your Google searches.

Happy Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Look up your blog and see how you visually measure up against others on the same page.

Your Turn: Do you have any advice you would like to share? What tips would you like to add? Please comment below.

Technorati Tags: add on for Firefox, firefox

Categories : Blogging
Comments (4)

In your quest to make your site SEO friendly, you may be forgetting about an important element that will give a boost to your search engine ranking.  Photos… yes… photos.  You can give your blog SEO power with photos and images.

Photos and images enhance your posts and web sites.  However, the search engine spiders cannot read a photo, whether it’s in your header or in the body of your post.  Spiders can only read text.  So, how can you make a photo search engine friendly?


Before you place a photo into your site that you’ve taken with your own camera, give the image a keyword rich name.  It helps if the name goes along with the other keywords in your post… (although that may not always be possible.)  The same rule applies to any graphic you’ve designed.

I took this image and named it:  HotAirBalloons.jpg. (Simple)  Not something like… Balloons At 4th Of July Celebration 2010.  This last description may help me locate my photo in my personal files… but it does nothing for my SEO.

If you purchase a photo from a photo site, the downloaded photo title will often look something like this. 183k01.jpg.  Often the reference number or title that is attached to a purchased photo are linked to many different photos… depending upon the company you purchase them from.  So, using that number or description will not help your SEO.   Change it to a keyword rich name.   I named this photo PieApples.jpg (Remember to always read the agreement your image provider furnishes.)

If you name your photos properly…. your photo may end up in Google Images.  This Halloween Image came from Google Images.  (Read the user information that Googles provides for their Images.)  Check to see if an image from Google Images is copyright free before you use it for your own site.  Look for the absence of copyright strike or other copyright information on the photo image before you use it.

—————————————-

Google Images Information

Website for this image
web.utah.edu
•    Full-size image – Same size
Size:
560 × 427
Type:
39KB JPG

This image may be subject to copyright.

——————————————

This image was named Halloween1.jpg  If you notice… the website where this image came from is listed.  When you click the link, it will take you to the web page where this image is used.   You can take advantage of this also.  If your photos are properly labeled, folks can find your site through your images.

I did some research and found that most photos in Google Images are not under copyright restriction.  Most folks are happy when you use their photos for non-commercial use.  I have used a lot of Google Images before and have had no problem.  I have seen some of my personal images on Google Images and I’m thrilled to have others use them.  However, I have seen photos in Google Images that have a copyright strike on them… therefore, I don’t even consider downloading them.

I found this quote on a site called: Answers By IchtheosaurusRex:  “As a last word – there are millions upon millions of pictures on the Internet, and the odds are pretty good that no one will care if you use one for non-commercial purposes (like a personal blog).  If someone does care, they will most likely ask you nicely to take it down before taking any kind of legal action.”

Search engines love photos on blogs.  It tells them you give your readers extra special content.  So… take advantage of the photo images you use in your posts by giving them a name the spiders will love.

Success To Your Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

P.S.  There was a time when I didn’t label my photos correctly.  I’m doing so now… and finding photo search engine ranking benefits.

Technorati Tags: photos, photos and SEO, SEO

Categories : SEO
Comments (10)

There is so much Twitter advice out there and there’s so much contradiction that I’ve decided to follow my own Twitter rules.  I figure… my rules are as good as the next guy’s and I’m basing my rules on experience…my experience.

However,  I must say, there are some rules I follow without question.   You know… the Twitter big guys’ rules.  No sense in putting myself in an “You’re out of here” position.

So… if you’re interested in “My Twitter Rules” of conduct and etiquette… read on.

2000 Rule

A.  There’s no sense in bucking the “2000 Rule” because Twitter is not going to budge.  They put the rule into place as a type of spam filter.  The original 2008 rule was:  I could have as many “Followers” as I wanted… but I was limited to “Following” only 2000 Tweeters.  Period.

Since then… I can “Follow” more than 2000 folks if my “Followers” exceed 2000.  I’ve found it wise to keep my “Follow” list in unison with my list of “Followers” to allow me to override the general 2000 rule when I get there.  Therefore, I have adopted the 2000 rule.

Re-Tweets

A.  When someone I don’t recognize retweets me… I immediately check out their profile, stats and read a few posts.  If there are no glaring reasons why I should not follow them back… I promptly click the “Follow” button.   I figure, if they were kind enough to RT me, they should be on my “Follow” list.

There have been times when I have retweeted individuals frequently, only to find out that they are not “Following” me.  In that case… I have no problem clicking on the “Unfollow” button for that individual.

B.  I love to retweet good content.  I want my followers to have the best.  However, after I’ve retweeted someone’s various tweets ten times or so… and don’t get the same consideration… I stop.  Oh…it’s lovely to get a “Thanks For The RT”… but along with that… it would be nice they reciprocated now and again.

Following Others

At one time… I followed every Tom, Dick and Harriet.  Anyone who followed me got an automatic “Follow” click.  In addition to that… I was adding to my “Follow” list on #FF and finding followers by other means.  I soon found out that my “Follow” list was growing much faster than my “Following.”  I wanted to keep my list numbers a little closer together.

When I took a closer look at the folks I was following… I was surprise at the number of folks I was following that I had nothing in common with.  So, I put in place a few rules for myself.

A. I’m sent an e-mail every time someone follows me.  I now look at each profile, read a few posts and make my call.  One thing I do is… look to see how close the “Follow” and “Following” list are.

Generally, I don’t follow those who have tons of “Followers” and “Follow” very few people.  (Example:  300 to 20,000) Unless you’re Seth Godin (who doesn’t follow anyone,) or someone of that caliber… I just don’t click on the “Follow” button.  I prefer a more “rounded” sort of folk.

B. I look for people who’s content is helpful to me personally or to my business goals.  I follow people in my niche.  I follow folks who are clever and entertaining.  I follow folks in all categories who offer good content.

I enjoy a little “chitter chatter”…  after all… Twitter is a social site.  But, 20 posts in a row on how cute your dog or boyfriend is, or what you are eating for dinner,  or what movie you’re watching, or where you are shopping at the moment etc. etc. etc. doesn’t motivate me to want to follow you.  Neither does 100 quotes in a row from the “great” and the “un-great.”

C.  I love to look at the #FF recommendations from folks I trust.  I click on many of their suggestions… look at profiles and add to my “Follow” list.  I find high quality content this way.

UnFollow

A.  Since my “Follow” list was growing so fast… I looked at the list of folks that I was following but were not following me and eliminated a few.  In fact… I eliminated a lot… in order to leave room for folks I have something in common with… like you!

I use a great unfollow Twitter tool. It gives me a list of those folks who I am following but are not following me back.  (That’s how I found those folks that I had retweeted a thousands times that weren’t following me.   Perhaps.. I’m not their type… and that’s okay… “click” they’re gone… no more retweets from me.)

B.  I unfollow those who are crude or are demeaning to others.  (Actually, I had to unfollowed very few of this sort.  Most folks are wonderful and don’t fall in this category.)

Follow Me

Now… I hope my Twitter rules haven’t scared you off.   If you believe I’m a good fit for you by all mean… follow me.  I try and pass on the very best content to help you personally or your business.

If you’re one of my followers… just give me a little “shout out” and let me know you’re there.  I love meeting folks from all over the world… and would love to support you in your personal or business endeavors.   After all… isn’t that what “Twitter” is all about?

Marketing and Promotion

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  So those are my Twitter rules… and they work for me.

Technorati Tags: twitter, twitter etiquette, twitter rules

Categories : Internet Basics
Comments (13)

Offering an online thank you is as important as thanking someone in person.  You should take every opportunity to thank folks who opt-in to your list, purchase a product from you, attended an event or, has retweeted your post on twitter.

When you create a new opt-in form in your Autoresponder, you generally have a chance to add a custom “Thank You Page” rather than allowing your Autoreponder company to send their standard thank you.  As your first step in building a relationship with your new friend, take advantage of this excellent opportunity.  (I use Aweber… which has a custom “Thank You” option.)

Now, I’m sure there are many ways to skin this cat, but I’m sharing a few tips I’ve found to be successful in creating a “Thank You Page”

Who Are You?

Providing your name is important.  However, putting a photo on your “Thank You Page” is just as important.  It allows your party to see who you are immediately.  When they receive your first e-mail, they are more apt to open the e-mail if they have a visual picture of who you are.  (At least you have a better chance.)

Thank Them

Now’s the time to thank them for their opt-in.  Remember, they just gave you their name and e-mail address.  First thing… let them know you appreciate it.

What Is The Offer

Remind them what they are receiving from you.  We all have so much going on… a little reminder helps.

Confirmation E-Mail

Whether to have a “double” or a “single opt-in” is constantly being debated.  (It’s a subject for another day.)  I have chosen the “double opt-in” option.

Let your new friend know they will be receiving a confirmation e-mail from you… and how it may appear in their in-box.

Your first e-mail will appear in one of two ways.  Your name or your e-mail address will appear first in the title bar.  You have no control over this the first time around.  It depends upon your customers system of receiving their first e-mail and their “spam” arrangements.  Therefore, it’s wise to have them watch for either your name or e-mail address.

How Will They Receive Your Product?

Let them know exactly how they will be receiving the product or information you have offered them.

Some folks give their new list member the download link in a new e-mail.  Others will have the member join a membership site where the information is located. (I feel irritated when I expect a link in my e-mail and find I have to join a membership site and haven’t been informed.)  Let them know right up front what to expect.  No tricks!

Reassurance

Reassure them that their name and e-mail address is safe with you.  It also let’s them know you are not a “spammer” and they should expect quality information from you.  (They feel they have recourse if you don’t keep your word.)

Where Did That E-mail Go?

As hard as you may try…. for what every reason, your first e-mail may end up in the “Spam Box.”  Warn your friend of this fact so they will be on the look out.  (A lot will depend upon the title of your e-mail… but we’ll discuss that later.)

Details Are Important

Every online marketer has their own method of disseminating products or information.  Be very clear about what your new friend can expect from you.

If you have addition tips to offer… please share them in the comment box.  I’d love to hear from you.

Marketing And Promotion

Til later,

Kathryn Griffiths

P.S.  Each Autoresponder company has their own method of sending a customized
“Thank You Page,”  Find out how it works and use it to your benefit.

Please take a moment to comment below.

Technorati Tags: aweber, online thank you, thank you page

Categories : Marketing
Comments (6)

How important are graphics in your online business?  Are they distracting or are they an asset?

Well that all depends upon how they are used and to what degree.  There seems to be a trend toward less graphics and more simplification.  But… remember… a picture is worth a thousand words if used appropriately.

1.  Web Site Design: Graphics can be used to enhance your web or blog site.  However, be careful not to over do it to the point your visitors are distracted by the design.

The most important graphic on your site is a photo of yourself.  I’m surprised how many blogs are missing this important promotional element.  Don’t deny your readers the opportunity to bond and build a personal relationship with you by not seeing what you look like.

2.  Opt-in pages: This past year, we’ve seen a change in the appearance of opt-in pages. They’ve gone from sporting fancy graphic banner headers to a plain format that just includes text, a “red” arrow and perhaps a photo.  Testing shows that opt-in pages that are simple to convert better.   In other words… get to the point with no fan fare.

Simple or not… I’m a firm believer in placing your photo on your opt-in page.  When a reader can see your face and read your name, it begins the relationship process and starts an element of trust.  When you use a photo, readers will remember you better when your messages hits their e-mail box.

3.  Sales Pages: Sales pages have also become more simplified.  You don’t see heavy graphic banners at the top of the page as much as you did a couple of years ago.  Sales letters have become more text oriented.

However, you must consider your niche.  Do a little homework and testing in your particular niche to determine whether a simple graphic header appeals to your market over the plain text sales page.

The use of a book cover or CD cover facsimile at the bottom of your sales page may be just the final touch you need to entice them to “Click Here.”

4.  Reports and E-books: Here’s where a few graphics may be helpful to spice up your report or ebook.  Using a replica of a book cover, or CD case on the cover page will enhance your report or e-book.   Also… a photo of yourself is important.  The more frequent folks can see your face, the more they will identify with you.  Don’t miss out on this important promotion opportunity.

5.  Graphic Design Services: Inexpensive graphic designers can be found on the Warrior Forum. Sites like Elance, or RentA Coder offer graphic services.

I’m a graphic designer, and do my own design work.  It can be a bit time consuming and I’ve thought about handing it off to someone else.  However, I found a great product that I’m going to be frequently using for my e-book and CD cover facsimiles.   Using the templates that are available, I put together a book cover in 8 minutes.   I am truly amazed.


This first example is original art work I created.  My design was flat and I ran it through Ecover Creator 3D and it formed this magazine looking cover.  Amazing!  It would have taken me an hour or so to create the same magazine look.  I can take my same original art work and make a CD cover design  Slick!


This cover is using an Ecover Creator 3D template from one of the several themes available.  Many design options are accessible within each theme.  Wow… a great book cover in 8 minutes.

I’m so thrilled with Ecover Creator 3D, I had to pass this information along to you.  For the price of just one book graphic design from a designer… I can create hundreds of book covers from now on with out designing it myself, or hiring someone else to do it.

Book cover graphics are a part of an online business.  No sense in avoiding the opportunity to use them when it is as easy as this.

Successful Marketing and Promotion!

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

Click on the book cover images above and see where they take you!

Technorati Tags: ebook covers, graphic designer, graphics, internet graphics

Categories : Promotion
Comments (5)