Andy Green's Blog

A web-workers world…

Build an Audience With Podcasting

Millions of people around the world are connected to the Internet. What better way to send out a message than by recording a podcast. If there are some skeptics out there, there’s always Quantcast to reassure your doubts.

Podcasts are one of the most popular and growing Internet devices that allows website owners to directly talk with their website visitors. There is no topic too crazy or different when it comes to producing a podcast. However, a podcast is not only a radio show converted to either streaming audio or an MP3 that can be downloaded to the end-user’s computer or iPod, but a conglomeration of technology that’s been put together to provide the ultimate marketing tool for anybody who dares to venture into speaking about issues important to them.

Podcasting has made it easy for even the novice computer user to get their message out. Information found on Apple’s own website along with other technology websites, make it easy to understand how to customize your own show with pictures, animations, and even how to make instructional audios. Even large corporations have jumped on the bandwagon to promote ideas, products, and services in order to increase sales.

Quantcast is a website designed to produce statistical data concerning the Internet websites that occupy the virtual world. Any individual at any time can access the site to search by date data for any website and even browse sites that are similar. This can be a useful tool for businesses and companies to track their appeal and popularity on the web.

Additionally, this website gives out statistics such as; how old is the average user; what is their annual income; or if they are a male or a female. This type of data helps businesses understand how to reach their target groups with their podcasting efforts and tailor their podcasting marketing campaigns.

Podcasts has become one of the best methods for building an audience for your website. Not only is a podcast available to PC and MAC users, the podcast can be downloaded on a phone, iPod, or even burnt on to a CD/DVD to use in the car. The adaptability of podcasts gives it an edge in building an audience.

Satellite shows are convenient but don’t run 24/7 without commercials, and you can only listen to it at home or in the car. Podcasts, on the other hand, are easy to upload and broadcast, are available for download from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day or night.

With the help of sites such as Quantcast, building an audience becomes easy; however, keeping an audience is the hard part. Millions of web surfers subscribe to podcasts, for free, each day. Users, also rate the shows, leave comments, and even interact with the producers in real time. Taking phone calls, sending out emails, and answering questions live is a great way for producers to connect to users in real time.

Podcasts put the human element back into the equation. They can be used to answer questions, teach how-to’s and comment on the world scene. And, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to podcasting. Since the future lies on the Internet, podcasting will continue to be a force in the global marketing, advertising, and online communication arena. It increases businesses popularity, company sales, generates interest in other nations, and gets good ratings on websites like Quantcast.

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December 27, 2008 Posted by | Podcasting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Grow Your Business With Social Networking

Presently, the Internet is saturated with everyone trying to make money with their particular online business, and there is a lot of competition. Even the savviest of online business owners have to use every resource that is available to generate target leads to their websites.

There really is no shortage of methods and techniques that Internet businesses can use to market their services or products. A few of the methods that are effective and cheap to use are PPC advertising, article marketing, forum marketing, and social network marketing.

“What’s that?” you might ask, “Social network marketing?”

Social network marketing is very powerful stuff. Not enough Internet marketers use this method either. Loosely defined, this method of marketing has everything to do with Web 2.0, which encapsulates a lot of the newer forms of marketing.

Social sites and networks are communities of people, like “Facebook”, “Twitter” or MySpace”. These are very large communities that have communities within communities. These satellite communities within the larger one are made up of likeminded people who share the same interests or activities. There are many different social type groups that people can join and become a part of, within these expansive social networks.

The main point to pay attention to with concern to marketing is the traffic to these social sites is staggering! Millions of people visit these social sites every single day. Joining even one of these social sites and working it to generate traffic, could grow anyone’s online business immensely.

Social network marketing is free. Your only investment is your time, making friends and contacts. Another monumental consideration is all of the major search engines are in love with the social network sites. Because of this, search engines such as Google, will index these social sites several times a day. Depending on your content that you post within one of these social sites, links to your business site will help you gain broader exposure and possibly, a higher ranking in the search engines.

There is usually a downside to everything and the downside for marketers is a lot of these social sites do not like blatant marketing. When you think about this for a moment, it makes a lot of sense. No one really wants to live in an online community that is plastered with nothing but advertising links screaming at everyone to “buy me!”

If you join a social site, like “Facebook”, move right in and begin hitting people up to generate traffic for your business; it could get you banned. Also, you will not really generate any traffic from anyone. Subtlety will go very far, within the social networks. The real irony is that there are more than a few Internet marketers that use these social networks as their main platforms to generate traffic and sales.

Here are a few tips to market the social networks.

1. After joining a social site, immediately set up your complete profile. Personalize your profile as much as you can. Include a recent picture of yourself and don’t be afraid to share information in your bio. People who will resource you want to know about your likes and dislikes along with your interests, such as hobbies, etc. The more personalized your info, the more people will trust you.

2. Join as many of the different groups that will help your business grow. These social network sites have more groups than you can shake a stick at! Join some of these groups and become active within them. Leave helpful posts, videos, and links. Add members to your friend’s list. In time, you will grow within these communities.

3. Adding new useful content on a regular basis is a lot like growing a blog. People will begin to take notice of you. In time, you will become viral and this is a good thing. Keeping your profile and pages fresh and alive, sparks others to visit you and want to be on your active friend’s list.

4. Start your own group. Become that meaningful, social animal. Be that expert in the field your business is in. It is more than important for you to be that person that others come to, for information that surrounds what you market. This will be how you become “viral” and explode your business.

As an expert, you really are only marketing yourself. When others seek you out for information about what you do, then trust has been established. People love to buy from those they trust!

A few things to consider:

Be open and honest with everyone about who you are and what you do. Your whole thrust is to establish trust.

Don’t spam or get involved with any “flaming”. Spamming is blatant hype and will turn everyone off. Getting involved in a “flame” war is to personally attack someone’s character. Don’t even think about this. If anyone flames you, remember that “Silence is golden”. Don’t respond to flaming by flaming back at anyone.

Honestly, if you follow even half of this advice, you will grow your business using social networking. It’s a natural winner. Just be yourself and market your business, by marketing yourself in your social groups, etc.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Reduce Fraudulent Transactions

Electronic commerce, or e-commerce, is one of the largest and fastest growing types of business today. Millions of people buy and sell products and services over the Internet. As with any type of system involving transactions of money, there are pitfalls and scammers that are just waiting for a chance to get away with theft. In order to have a productive and workable business over the Internet, you are going to have to make sure that the right steps are being taken to protect yourself.

The first step to helping reduce the chance of fraudulent transactions is to verify the customer. This means getting enough information so that you know you are going to receive payment. Some of the things that you need to be sure of is what the potential customer’s real name is, a home address to where the product is being shipped, the IP address of their computer, and a valid email address.

Though some customers may find it invasive, these types of questions need to be answered in order to protect yourself. One special part to be aware of is the email address. Free email addresses can be set up with almost no credible information needed, so being able to use it to trace a customer can be pointless. It is a better idea to deal with customers who have specified domains for their emails.

Another reason to get into so much detail is that you will be able to compare the country that the IP address is found in to where the customer says they are located at. This will be able to lend credibility to the customer if this information matches. Also, there are some countries that are actually known to have more problems with scammers and frauds. By getting a list of these countries, you will know when to require more information.

One more point to remember when looking at the customer’s address is whether it is a PO, or Post Office box or a publicly rented mailbox. Both of these can make it virtually untraceable when trying to run down customers who have committed a fraudulent transaction. Do keep in mind that when shipping a product to a company or business that they may indeed work with a PO box, but that it is verifiable that it is actually theirs used for company business.

The basic rule of thumb is if you are just not sure about the transaction, then cancel it. If there is any question about false credit card information, then do not mail the product. When a person sends a check, be sure that it clears for payment before sending the product. Another reason why it would be important to have payment in hand first is to make sure that the cost for shipping and handling is paid. Since the person who is ordering is responsible for the charges, it makes sense that you would need that payment before sending the merchandise.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | Online Security | , , | 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