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Doing business online?

If you do business online, why not share your thoughts and experiences in a survey? Quick and easy to complete, this survey is finding out how small  business uses the internet in Australia – will the results support the MYOB survey results posted a few months ago?

As well as the survey, we’d love to read your comments here – why did you start an online business (or part of your business)? Do you think it is good or bad, or something in between, that is is so relatively easy to start a business now the Internet is readily available to many of us?

SEO games

SEO (Search engine optimisation) is time consuming but very effective for building the popularity of your website.

We came across a blog post that lists some SEO gamesto play – we haven’t tried them yet, but thought we’d share them anyway. We figure if you’re going to spend some time playing a computer game, why not make it on a topic that is useful and may teach you something? And the whole point of us saving you some time online is so you can choose to play games if that’s what you enjoy doing.

Save time with less spam

Spam actually refers to unsolicited commercial emails – so ads that come to you via email without you having a (direct or indirect) relationship with the advertiser. In general use, it also applies to those emails that include a virus or spyware or try to trick information/money out of you (commonly referred to as phishing.)

It is a huge time waster when you’re online, even with spam filters that stop the majority of it reaching our inboxes. So you can really save yourself some time by reducing the chances of being spammed.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • if you don’t trust a website, don’t give them your email address
  • have a secondary email address to use for subscribing to newsletters and websites you aren’t sure of. That way, if you get spammed by them, you can stop that address without having to change yor main email. It can also save you time by having your newsletters separate to your important emails
  • if you have a website, don’t put your email address on the site as text – spammers have software that can scan the net for email addresses (called harvesting.) Use a contact form or show your email address as a graphic or in a way only humans understand (e.g. myname @ savetimeonline.com.au or myname@NOTTHISBITsavetimeonline.com.au)
  • don’t respond to any spam as that tells them your email address is real – and that even includes not clicking on links in their email
  • choose a complex email address that is not so easy to guess – for example, susan.brown@ and sbrown@ are harder to guess than susan@ or sue@

The Word Constructions blog gave more tips on reduing your spam and tips on keeping your emails away from spam filters.

A Valentines gift with a difference…

We came across a Valentines deal that doesn’t involve chocolates or flowers, so we thought we’d share it with everyone who prefers a gift that gives for longer. Here is what their site says:

Site Build It! (“SBI!”) is the only, all-in-one, site-brainstorming-and-building-and-hosting-and-marketing, step-by-step system of software tools that delivers thriving, profitable business.

The right process, the right tools that remove all the barriers and mysteries, correctly applied at the right time. That is how you grow long-term profits. And that is how SBI! works.

SBI! owners do not just “put up Web sites.” They build genuine, profitable, evergrowing businesses. And that, in turn, delivers life-changing freedom (the “It!” in Site Build It!).

You can do the same, build Web sites that work, with SBI!

Between now and February 14, you can get an extra subscription to give as a gift (for someone else or yourself!) for only $100. Why not check it out?

You can even use it to prepare websites for clients

For other Valentines Day ideas, don’t forget to check our Valentines Day feature

The social network of cybercriminals

With the increasing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, they have become a popular target for cybercriminals who are looking to collect personal information so that it is easier to trick users with phishing scams and to distribute viruses and malware (malicious software).

With the growth of these social networking sites, it is said that by looking at the profiles it’s become the easiest and quickest way to commit ID theft. There is no need to hack or dumpster dive when a profile is so publicly displayed.

Ways to prevent phishing scams and the distribution of malware through social networking sites are:

  • Making your passwords complex – involving numbers and symbols is a good way to do this
  • Making your profile private
  • Reduce the amount of personal information you include
  • Be wary of new applications, especially those that are allowed access to your personal information and the personal information of your friends

Though these sites are great fun and a fantastic way to keep in touch with people, it’s always best to be safe about who you let look at your personal information.

Extending a Compliment

Compliments can change someone’s view of the world. By simply telling someone that they are beautiful can brighten their vision and make their day a lot easier to get through.

You can very easily put a smile on someone’s face by simply telling them what it is that makes them so beautiful to you. By doing this you can spread the worth of an easy compliment further, as for each compliment sent Nivea will donate 50 cents to Look Good…Feel Better. This is a charity to help women who are undergoing treatment for cancer.

Just by sending an “I think you’re beautiful” message you can help others as well.

Forwarding emails

One of the features of email is that they are so easy to share with other people – forwarding emails allows us to share ideas and information, simply and without having to rewrite it ourselves. And we can forward to lots of people at once if we want to.

If you are forwarding emails, here are a couple of tips to make the process better for everyone:

  • if sending to a group of people, use the bcc field instead of the to field to protect people’s privacy and make it harder for spammers to get hold of addresses (your friends may not abuse an email address, but  if they forward it to someone who forwards it…)
  • when forwarding a newsletter you are subscribed to, delete the information at the end of the email (this can be login details, unsubscribe links and subscription management details) first so that no one else can access your subscription
  • double check what is in the email – the final part of an email may be great to send to Fred, but check that earlier parts of an email trail are suitable for Fred to read
  • consider who you are forwarding to – don’t send it just because you can. Send emails that are likely (or at least possibly) of value to the recipient. You may not be selling anything or trying to distribute a virus, but your friends still don’t want piles of irrelevant emails

Million blog list

This is an interesting idea – and it will be interesting to see how long this ends up taking, too. This site is trying to get 1 million blogs added to their blog by the other blog owners.

In their words, ” It is said that there are over 70,000,000 blogs in existence. This is an experiment to see how long it will take to get 1,000,000 blogs to list themselves on our site. Will it work? We think so. The experiment is to see how long will it take. What do you think? take our poll. We started April 10th, 2008. “

The Save Time Online blog is listed at number 895 so they still have a few more blogs to go, lol!

Why would you add your blog?

  • it’s fun!
  • it is an extra link to your blog which helps search engine rankings and gives you more exposure
  • it is free and easy to do

Mentioning the list on your blog is optional – however, if you do mention them, you can bold your site in the list and may get selected as their random ‘blog of the week’ for additional exposure.

Yes, mentioning them gives them more traffic, but it may make for an interesting post on your blog. And if their site gets popular, linking to them can’t hurt your page rankings! And then. blogging is about community and joiing in, so being part of this fits tthe blog world anyway.

What do you think about the list? Will you add your blog to it? And will you link to them from your blog?

Why offer RSS feeds on your site/blog?

Did you know that you can use RSS feeds to add your blog content to other sites? You can offer it for others to add to their sites (for example, look in the meta data section the right of this post – clicking on ‘entries RSS’ will set up the RSS feed for you) or add it to another site manually.

But why would you add your blog content to another site?

  • gets your content in front of more people so it spreads your message further
  • it links to your blog so it can increase your traffic and site rankings 
  • it builds your credibility as an expert in your topic
  • it is a form of free promotion to your blog (and business if applicable)
  • may be picked up by different sites which may not have found your actual blog post
  • it helps build the community aspect of blogging and communicating with people

An RSS feed can only occur if you allow it and it is still seen under your name – it isn’t like someone blatnatly copying your content for their own pursposes. And of course, teh copyright remains with you as the creator of teh content.

So keep an eye out for opportunities to share your blog content through an RSS feed…

What is a RSS Feed?

RSS is one of those terms that you may see a lot on the Internet, especially if you spend time reading blogs. RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. This is an easy way to distribute content to a wide audience, and can be used in a number of ways.

If you have a website, you can publish RSS feeds to your site, giving your readers access to headlines and information they may find interesting and/or informative. For example, an accountant may include an RSS form the ATO so that any tax changes are listed on the site immediately.

If you have a favourite blog, you can subscribe to its RSS feed so you can see new entries without having to manually check all the time.