Andy Green's Blog

A web-workers world…

Getting the Best Out of Twitter

In case you haven’t heard of it, Twitter it is a relatively new social networking tool that lets you connect with friends and keep in touch it in real time. People have called it “micro-blogging,” because the messages you send and receive from people you “follow” (and who follow you) is limited to just 140 characters. This is pretty limited, but at these short little “bursts” of messages can also make you pretty creative.

Twitter can also be a time waster, but it’s also become a valuable marketing tool. Why? Because you can basically communicate with people in shorthand without having to plow through lots of words to get your message across. Instead, you can instantly tell someone who’s following you what they want to know.

· Use “micro-blogging” to advertise your business

Most of us know what blogging is by now, but you might not know what “micro-blogging” is. Basically, it’s what Twitter does, with its 140-character limit. Again, being limited to 140 characters with a message requires you to cut to the chase and get your message out. No laboring over perfect sentence structure, no using hyped up text to try to get people to go to your website. Instead, it’s really just a basic, bare-bones communication method that lets those who are interested in you and what you do find out more. And of course, you can use Twitter to help drive people to your blog or website, where they can find out more information about what you sell.

· Network with other like-minded people

In many cases, Twitter can remove some of the heavy-handed formality that comes with so-called “business” meetings. By having a “meeting” in this sort of informal, quick as lightning exchange, people not only get down to business right away, but they also are less constrained by social “niceties,” if you want to put it that way, and can have a little fun, too. In a lot of ways, it’s a good icebreaker that gets business partnerships or a hook up with a potential client off on a really good foot. You might call Twitter the “backyard get-together” version of a business meeting, and it lets people relax and have fun right away, which is really only good for business relationships or for getting your products or services sold.

· Got a niche that you need to keep up on, instantaneously?

Twitter is actually a great way to find out about your particular niche in the marketing or business industry; with Twitter, you can find out from friends of a like mind that something’s happening before any other news sources find out about it. This can give you a leg up on your competition, or at least make you tops with your customers.

· It can save time

Twitter can save you time because keeping up with people this way might mean that you have to use your e-mail, instant messaging, RSS feeds, etc., less often. It’s quicker than any of these methods to send or receive something, and takes less time to use, too.

· It’s just plain fun

Keep up with friends this way, too. It’s as great for casual conversation as it is for business. In fact, it really was meant originally for casual use and has only recently been evolving into a means of actual business communication.

Some caveats:

When you first begin to use Twitter, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed by the plethora of pure chatter you encounter that doesn’t mean anything to you. That’s okay; you can learn to ignore these people and screen it out so that you only get what you want to see.

Finally, Twitter can be addicting in a bad way. Make sure you turn it off and reengage with real-life on a regular basis. It’s fun to use, sure, but only if you use it as an asset, not as an addiction.

With that said, why not try Twitter? It can be a blast (both professionally and personally) if you use it right.

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security on the Internet – KeePass For Your Computer

Hectic schedules and fast-paced lives mean that more and more people are taking advantage of doing their business over the Internet. Everything from paying bills to running online businesses can be done at a person’s leisure, when they are ready to get onto their computer. Along with so many trying to make use of the convenience of doing business online are those who want to take advantage of the system.

Computer hackers have been around just as long as the Internet. As soon as more technological advances in computer security are made, there are people who are trying to break through those measures. The one thing that usually keeps the bad guys from getting into a personal account is a password.

There are a lot of people who may use the same pass word for just about every account they have. Though this makes it easier to remember of course, think about what may happen if one of these hackers gets a hold of the “master pass word.” Everything from work and bank accounts to social sites can be gotten into, and that type of damage can be almost impossible to control. Once your personal information has been tainted on the web, it can be past difficult to repair.

One solution to that type of problem is to use a different, creative password for every single account or login that a person uses. Most folks would think that is a crazy idea to try to remember a different password for every account, but there is a way to organize and protect personal information like this. That is where a password manager program comes in.

Out of the different password programs that are available, the public open source type would be more secure. One of these that come highly recommended is KeePass which is downloadable from their web site. The way that KeePass and other programs like it work is by holding all of the various passwords that a person uses in one database that can be unlocked by one “key” password.

Part of the reason why the KeePass program is a popular choice is because there is no installation required. It is a portable program that can actually be carried on a person via a USB stick. Another major consideration for using this particular program is that it is totally Windows compatible.

Since security is the major draw for using the program, it is good to know that not only the list itself is securely encrypted, but the whole working database is as well. Options of how to access this information is important as well. KeePass gives a couple different options such as burning the “master key” file onto a disc to use for accessing the information. Or, a person can elect to open it with just one main password. For anyone who is interested in very high security, both of these access points can be combined.

Anyone doing serious business over the Internet needs to be able to protect themselves. Being able to manage passwords is a crucial part of this protection. One last bonus of the KeePass program is that it can generate passwords at random. This can be helpful to come up with new passwords for all of a person’s logins.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Online Security | , , , | Leave a comment

Build Your Own Free Website

When it comes to getting your own Internet business set up, you need to know how to build your own free website. This can cut the cost of expenses way down, helping you end up with a much healthier profit margin. Luckily, you do not have to be a web master or a computer engineer to make your own site. With the help of a free web-building site, anyone can put their information on the Internet.

Before setting out to look for a good hosting site, you will want to consider what type of information you are trying to get out to the universe. Are you adding some Internet marketing to your already present business, or is this a brand new online venture? Also, many people want to build a website just to put some information up for personal, not business, reasons. Once you have determined what your needs are, then it is time to choose the hosting service that will fit your needs the best.

There are quite a few different free hosting sites to pick from. It really depends on what services will be the most helpful. The basic steps of setting your own site up are pretty much the same though. When you are signing up for the hosting service, you will want to think on a clever site name. Do take note that it will be much easier to find by using simple spellings.

The next step is to choose a template. Different sites provide their own templates that have been put together with a certain color scheme or other theme type. With the variety that all of the free hosting sites have, it is not difficult to find a layout that will work with the information you are trying to put out. Once you have selected a certain look for your page, there are editing tools that will allow you to move things around, add pictures or other items, and even offer visitors a chance to say hi by “signing in” on the guest book.

After you have set the layout and edited the pages and sites, then it is time to add the information. Content is everything. In order to get a high number of people to visit your site, you will want to be sure to add a lot of quality content. Articles about your products or services, or even just general ones on the subject that provide links for people to check out can be added. When a visitor finds that your page is a great resource of information on a subject that they are interested in, they will come back. This is a crucial step for any kind of Internet marketing as well. By providing quality content to potential customers, you can promote a trusting relationship that will turn into great sales later on.

One aspect of building a web site that is often overlooked is that in order for it to keep working for you, it needs to be kept current and up to date. Just building it will not ensure that it will last. Web site maintenance is a necessary component. Refreshed and current information will let the visitor know that there is activity on the page. That will also make them more apt to make return visits to see what comes up new.

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Web Development | , , , | 2 Comments