2010-08-05

Auto-Redirecting

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Auto-redirecting is a simple technique of automatically sending visitors of a website to another website or web page that has a different URL address without the need to click a link. There may be some delay of a few seconds or it can be instantaneous, depending on the codes you are going to use.

Auto-redirecting is very useful for SEO purposes. You can use multiple, highly optimised URL addresses with names that are easy to recall and then point them all to your actual website. Auto-redirecting is also very useful if you have transferred the contents of your original website to a new URL address but you intend to keep the former address.

It would be impractical to delete a former URL address if it already has a good SEO ranking and has multiple back links. For instance, if you have a blogsite that already has back links from your various friends in the blogosphere it would be a waste of time and effort to again contact all the bloggers or website owners who have previously linked with your original site. Without auto-redirecting, you would again be starting from scratch.

Here is an example: Reasonable Doubt. If you click on this link it will open my old blogsite but after a few seconds, it will automatically redirect you to the new blogsite to which I have transferred the contents of the old blogsite.

To integrate an auto-redirecting feature in your old blogsite or website, there are three codes that you can use, namely, the “meta” codes, the “javascript” codes and the “form” codes. You can only use one set of codes at a time. Just copy-paste the highlighted codes in the specific section of your HTML template as indicated below. Simply replace the "pagename.html" with the new URL address.


The Meta Codes

<head>
...head section stuff (Title, Description,etc.)...
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;url=pagename.html">
</head>


The Javascript Codes

<head>
<script language="javascript"><!--
location.replace("pagename.html")
//-->
</script>
...other head section stuff (Title, Description,etc.)...
</head>


The Form Codes

<head>
<script language="javascript"><!--
document.myform.submit()
//-->
</script>
...other head section stuff (Title, Description,etc.)...
</head>
<body>
<form name="myform" action="pagename.html" method="get"></form>
...rest of the page...

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2010-07-02

Adsense Vs. Affiliate Marketing

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You are probably already familiar with Google Adsense if you are a blogger. Although some "purist" bloggers prefer to make their blogs free from the distraction of ads, some bloggers want to earn through their blogs. If you have a high-traffic or popular blog, you have better chance of earning from the ads that you put on your blog. Integrating Google Adsense in your blog, especially if you are using the free Google Blogger.com platform, is the most convenient way to monetize your blog. You can earn some money by simply luring visitors to view or read your blog. Visitors do not even need to click on an Adsense ad for you to earn. Although, you may only earn a few pennies or less for every one thousand visitors, these can accumulate over time.

Aside from the relatively small earning potential, another main disadvantage of Google Adsense is the required threshold of earnings that you must earn before you get paid. Presently, you need to earn at least $100 before you can be paid.

If you want a better way to monetize you blog or website, you can try affiliate marketing. In principle, it is similar to Adsense but the big difference is the earning potential. Unlike Adsense that mainly offers effective cost per miller (eCPM) commissions, many affiliate marketing programs offer more than 50% commissions per transaction. Some affiliate programs also do not have (or at least have lower) minimum earning threshold required and they pay immediately through PayPal.

Unlike Adsense, which is typically radom, generalized or content dependent, affiliate marketing can be highly focused on product niches. A product niche is a specific category of product that target specific group of customers, such as weight loss products. The more specific or targeted your product niche, the more chance you have to succeed because you can minimize competition by narrowing down the product category and attract the customers that are really looking for the products you are selling. For instance, instead of simply promoting "generic" weight loss products, you can focus on organic, ingestible weight loss products that accelerate metabolism.

Basically, affiliate marketing is promoting or selling the products of other people or business entities. In return, affiliate marketers are paid commissions. There are several ways you can promote affiliate products.

  • You can post the links in your blog, either on the sidebars or as part of the blog posts. 
  • You can create a dedicated "niche" website for specific affiliate products. 
  • You can write a feature article about a particular product and submit it to article directories and community websites, such as Squidoo.com and Hubpages.com. 
  • You can use the affiliate links in your email signature.
  • You can join forums and several social networking media, such as Facebook.com, to promote the affiliate products.
Here are some online businesses that offer excellent affiliate marketing programs:

ClickBank.com -- This site offers various digital products, such as e-books and software application programs.

AmazonAssociates program-- This is part of Amazon.com that allows members to promote Amazon.com-listed products. You can choose from a wide range of consumer good products (e.g., gadgets), books and digital or software products that you can directly promote in your blog or website.

AffiliateScouts.com -- This is a directory of various online businesses offering affiliate programs.

AffiliatePrograms.com -- This is a more comprehensive directory of online businesses offering affiliate programs. Categories range from adult affiliate programs to web development affiliate programs.

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2010-06-26

Beware of Online Scams

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You may think that you are already too sophisticated to become a victim of scams. Well, if there are suckers born every minute, you may find it difficult to keep your guard. No matter how intelligent or educated you may be, there might be one equally intelligent and educated scammer who can make a fool of you and run with your money, or worst, your identity! There are many forms of con or confidence tricks out there and it may take several volumes of books or dissertations to document and classify them all. This blog post will only focus on a few common online scams.

Here are some common online scams that you should be wary about. This list is far from being detailed or comprehensive but it can help you avoid becoming a victim.

1.) Phishing scam -- This scam relies on imitating legitimate websites, complete with logos, forms, graphics and functional applications. You may accidentally stumble-upon this sites as you surf the web or you may receive an email luring you to these sites. Some phishing sites are masking as e-commerce sites, selling some bogus products. However, most phishing sites are clones of popular websites, such as Yahoo.com and Facebook.com. The main purpose of phishing sites is to "fish" or collect information, which may include user names, passwords, credit card numbers, and PIN numbers. You may end up being a victim of identity theft.

2.) Auction fraud -- Unlike phishing scams, most auctions frauds are perpetrated using legitimate auction sites, such as eBay.com, Sulit.com and Bidz.com. You may end up paying for a product that will never be delivered. One way to avoid this type of scam is to use a secured means of payment, such as PayPal.com. The actual transfer of payment can be temporarily held or cancelled if the item that you ordered does not arrive on time. Another way to avoid this scam is to ask for the tracking number of the courier service that is supposed to deliver the package. Most courier companies have online facilities that allow you to track shipments. A reversed scenario can happen if you happen to be the legitimate seller asked to send the item you are selling.

3.) Nigerian 419 Letter -- The name of this scam is derived from the section of the Nigerian Penal Code that this scam violates. Basically, this scam is a bogus money laundering scheme that asks you to be an accomplish. Emails of this scam are sent to prospect random victims. The letters typically start in this manner:

"DEAR SIR/MADAM: I REPRESENT THE RECENTLY DEPOSED MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE FOR NODAMBIZIA, WHO HAS EMBEZZLED 30 MILLION DOLLARS FROM HIS STARVING COUNTRYMEN AND NOW NEEDS TO GET IT OUT OF THE COUNTRY..."

4.) Lottery/Raffle Scam -- This is a type of email scam that is too good to be true. You may have already received an email congratulating you because you have won millions from an online lottery that you never joined. In some versions, the prizes are in the forms of goods, such as computers, Xbox, cameras, iPods, Plasma TV, etc. Would-be victims are asked to pay for the processing fee or shipping cost. Prospective victims will be lured to phishing sites and required to submit their credit card or debit card details.

5.) Freelance Work Scam -- This type of scam commonly victimized those who are desperate and gullible enough to find easy money online. Prospective victims are given freelance tasks that need to be finished within specified period of time. Job offers may include writing, programming, graphic designing, and marketing. Victims are not paid after submitting their works. Some scammers may require "test" works that are unpaid. Another version of this scam is the "data entry" scam that promises lucrative income by simply typing data. Most of these so-called "data entry" opportunities require fees in order for a job-seeker to be given the job.

NOTE: There are actually many legitimate opportunities online. However, you must need to weed-out the bogus ones to avoid becoming a victim.

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Cellular Phones Vs. Wireless Landline Phones

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The development and popularity of the mobile cellular phones has made the landline phone almost obsolete. Fewer homes and individuals here in the Philippines can afford a landline phone subscription but many Filipinos can afford and desire to have the latest model of cellular phones. Some Filipinos even save or borrow money from loan sharks just to buy the latest mobile phone model. Some opt for original brands while others prefer cheaper cloned brands, such as the China-made touchscreen phones.

The popularity of cellular phones units is not only because of their affordability and high-tech features. More importantly, mobile phones are widespread because of the convenient and affordable prepaid subscription options. For as low as two pesos, "pasa-load", a mobile phone can already be used to send SMS. For a time, the landline phone companies simply could not compete with the mobile phone service providers.

However, all of these changed with the introduction of the wireless landline phone services. At present, there are two major telephone companies providing wireless landline phone subscriptions. PLDT is the dominant provider of wireless landline services in Metro Manila while Bayantel dominates the provinces with its Bayantel Span phones.

For as low as 499 pesos subscription fee per month, a subscriber can already have a landline with unlimited local calling time. Pre-paid subscriptions are also offered by both PLDT and Bayantel. Both also now have SIM cards for their phone units. The phone units are available in two main designs, namely, the desktop types and the mobile or "cellphone" types. The desktop types can be connected to a computer and used to access the internet but additional fees are required. Typically, additional 12 pesos is charged per "online" hour, prorated down to minutes.


The main advantage of the PLDT wireless landline service is that buying a phone unit is not necessary. You can simply buy a PLDT landline SIM card for 100 pesos and you can use it in any open-line GSM cellular phone. You can also use the SMS features even if you are already outside the coverage area for the "call" services. Just like regular wired landline phones the wireless landline phones are limited to certain areas, usually within a province.

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2010-06-25

Why Do I hate Windows 7?

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Last year when my computer became infected with multiple viruses and worms, I decided to have it reformatted because it was already too slow and some programs were not anymore working properly. My former operating system was Windows XP. The computer technician convinced me that I should try Windows 7 Ultimate. Here in the Philippines, there are five versions of Windows 7, namely, Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate. At first I was satisfied with its performance because there were fewer crashes and glitches. My computer also performed faster and somewhat became less vulnerable to viruses.

I know that these operating system is really meant to be simple, focused and incremental in upgrade to make it more compatible with a wide range of software and hardware. This made sense but as the months passed-by, I have discovered some limitations and goofs of Windows 7 that can be considered as unforgivable (at least in my experience).

I have listed a few of the reasons why I hate Windows 7:

1.) The Audacity Cross-Platform Sound Editor does not work well with Windows 7. When I had Window XP running in my computer, I can record, edit and convert any audio or music playing in my computer into MP3 format. This was very useful when I was searching for music that I want to convert to MP3 format from YouTube flash videos.

2.) My Avira Anti Virus program cannot anymore perform complete system scan. Although I am not absolutely sure if the Windows 7 is at fault, I suspect that the operating system cannot handle some of the commands from the anti-virus program.

3.) The Windows Media Player included in the Windows 7 package lack many features of other versions of Windows Media Player. For example, there are no "Visualization" options in Windows 7 Media Player.

4.) Upgrading some features (formerly present in XP and Vista) will mean additional expense.

5.) There is a problem with the Windows Live Photo Gallery. When you click a hyperlink that leads to an audio or video file, Windows Media Player sometimes does not start and the browser may return an error message.

6.) If you use the Windows Backup configuration wizard and either complete or cancel the wizard without viewing the advanced backup configuration page at least once, the wizard may stop responding.

7.) Some websites are not correctly displayed if you use the Internet Explorer.

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2010-06-24

Email Forwarding

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Perhaps you want to be anonymous or you want to have backup email. Whatever your reason might be, an email forwarding option can be very helpful. It will allow you to receive emails in another email address. For instance, you can set up a decoy or anonymous email address and let the emails sent to this address be forwarded to your personal email address. You may think that it is somewhat redundant and in-efficient. Well, the main advantage is that you can effectively manage emails in this manner. You can create multiple decoy email addresses and read emails by opening your personal or regular email address. You do not anymore need to log-in to multiple accounts.


Gmail and Yahoo Mail offer email forwarding options. However, Gmail email forwarding option is better because it is free, whereas Yahoo Mail email forwarding option requires a fee. You need to signup to Yahoo Mail Plus to activate this option in your Yahoo email account.

Here are simple step-by-step instructions on how you can configure an email forwarding option in Gmail.

STEP 1: Signup for a Gmail account. You can use an anonymous email address if you like.

STEP 2: Sign-in to your newly created Gmail account and click "Settings."



STEP 3: Choose the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab.



STEP 4: Type the alternate email or personal address where you want to forward the emails sent to your Gmail account. Save your settings and you are done. You can use the Gmail email address either as business email or anonymous "decoy" email address.


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2010-06-21

Google Forms

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Before the development of Web 2.0 technology that allowed user-based modifications, people need to know HTML coding, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, CGI programming and other web-based programming languages to effectively design and maintain a website. It is either you learn these languages or you hire a website designer. You will also need a dedicated server to store and manage the data on your website.


One way of making a website more interactive is to include forms on your website. You can collect information from visitors or customers through these forms. Forms can now easily be created within just few minutes even if you do not have any knowledge of programming and markup languages. You do not even need to pay for a dedicated server to store the data that you will collect in your website. Here is an example of a form that I created with the help of Google Docs: YPEC sign-up form.

Google forms can easily be created by following these steps:


STEP 1: Create a Google account. Sign-in to your account and click Google Docs.

STEP 2: Create new form by choosing "form" from the drop-down menu as shown in the illustration below.

STEP 3: Customize your form by typing the appropriate titles or questions in the text boxes.

STEP 4: Choose a theme from the available background options. Choose the most appropriate for your site. For example, you can choose the "garden" theme if you have a gardening or landscape design website.
STEP 5: Save the settings and generate the codes. Copy and paste the codes on the appropriate page of your website or blogsite.

Note: Every time a visitor fill-up the form on your website, the information will be automatically stored in your Google Docs account in Excel format, such as the Excel file shown in the illustration below.


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2010-06-20

Freelance Online Jobs

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More than a year and half passed since I last wrote an entry for this blog. I have been quite busy with work. Well, I actually had to juggle several works, from HTML encoding to website managing, from copy writing to copy-editing, from search engine optimization to email marketing. Although many were only part time and short-term contracts, I sometimes had to work more than twelve hours a day when projects and deadlines piled up. I also had (and still have) one full time work. Since I was retrenched from my regular job two years ago, most of the opportunities that followed were online freelance jobs. With the separation pay that I received from being retrenched, I was able to buy a laptop computer and was also able to have an internet connection. The first freelance job that I did was article writing for only two dollars per 550-word article. Although the pay was very low, I had to do it because I could not afford to lose income and let my family go hungry.


Some significant improvements happened since my first freelance work. I can now afford to rent a house and I am currently applying for a rent-to-own house. I was able to buy several brand new appliances and gadgets. I can now afford the subscription fees for a land line telephone and cable TV. I am now able to pay for my wife's college education. On top of all these, there are still some money left for savings. Although my current income is still not big enough to be considered lucrative, I now have some degree of financial freedom and time freedom. I do not anymore need to commute to work or worry about what to wear at work. I can now spend more quality time with my family.

If you are currently unemployed and desire a better-paying but less stressful job, there are several online freelance jobs that you can try. Even if you simply want to augment your income, you can rely on some online freelance opportunities. Although at first you might find it difficult to find the right home-based job that you want, you can always find a job opportunity that is appropriate for your skills. Many of the online opportunities do not require specific working hours and formal qualifications. As long as you can do specific works, you have a chance of being contracted. On the other hand, you must be careful in choosing clients because there are many online scammers.

I have listed here some some websites that can help you find online freelance opportunities. I am recommending these sites because I use them all when searching for freelance projects.

Odesk.com -- This is an excellent and reliable site for freelancers. You can find a wide range of work opportunities here, from writing to computer programming, from transcribing to marketing. You need to create an account and take several qualifying tests to qualify. You will also need to download a software that will monitor your work. Most of the clients have verified payment method and you can also take several projects at a time.

Craigslist.com -- Opportunities listed in this site are grouped by locations and categories. There are categories for buy-and-sell opportunities but there are also categories for job opportunities. You do not need to create an account or take qualifying exams to apply to the job opportunities listed in here. However, you must be careful when applying because there are many bogus opportunities listed in here.

Writers.ph -- This site offers academic writing projects. The pay is usually per page and higher than other types of writing projects but you need to bid on a project. You also need to first take a qualifying exam and create an account.

Essays.ph -- This site mainly hires Filipino writers. The pay rate is based on Philippine standards. You first need to submit an online application to be considered part of the pool of writers.

AcademiaResearch.com -- This is another site that offers academic writing opportunities, from simple reports to thesis writing. You first need to apply online and submit a sample academic writing to become part of the writers' pool. The pay is relatively high, especially for projects that have shorter deadlines.

Elance.com -- Programmers, web designers, writers, marketers and consultants will be able to find good freelance opportunities in this site at negotiable fees. You must need to create an account and submit bids to be considered.

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