Friday, January 24, 2014

Beware of this when choosing a website or blog name

One of the first things a work at home business owner will deliberate is their domain name or blog url. There is a lot of advice online and even in books about what to consider, what to avoid, whether you choose your own name or a keyword rich one. The list goes on when it comes to rules of picking of a domain name. Ultimately, people will go with what they like and feels works for their niche and site.

I have several blogs, and thus I've had to play the domain name game several times. But for one blog, I made a grave mistake that hurt my business badly.

Despite all the advice, no one mentioned this one particular one: research to find out if your new domain name is similar to a banned site or once belonged to one.

I did what most people do--I chose a name, checked to see if it was available, and then set up my blog with it. At first it seemed fine. My blog was getting good traffic, my ad revenue was up and things were well with my work at home business. At one point, to do some market research, I checked to see if there were urls similar to mine and there was. It belonged to a porn site. I was a little worried, but my site seemed to be doing ok. When I did more research, I learned the site was banned from google and felt relieved. I had no idea that my site was going to punished as well.

It didn't happen right away. At first, I noticed my site's new visitor demographic had changed. My blog catered to fashionable christian girls between 18-30. So when I noticed older men were now coming to my site I was a little puzzled. Next, I noticed that my bounce increased. Finally, I saw that the referral links were coming from spammy sites and sites completely unrelated to mine.

Worried, I then did some investigation. In doing this, I found out that google had dropped my site's pages from it's search engine. I was shocked! I knew my page rank had gone down but to learn I wasn't even on the search engine after all the work I put into creating a good blog.

I found my way to a blogging forum and saw other people complaining about similar issues of having their site dropped. I connected to one woman whose story seemed similar to mine, her site url was similar to one that was shaddy.

Shouldn't the content matter? Google does take into consideration the content of a site so why were we being punished simply for our domain name. Mine wasn't even shaddy by any means.

One man explained that people set up similar sites with tweaked urls if their site is shut down. Thus, my girly sweet site's url was a little too similar to the site that was promoting underage pornography.

Google may not have deleted my blog, but they kept it from being accessed and that really hurt my online business.

When deciding on a domain, try to find out if there are similar urls that google has either banned or have low ranking. You don't want to be grouped among them as it could hurt your business significantly.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bonobo Exteme Laptop from System76 Review

Bought: September 2013

I meant to review this product when it first arrived, but I'm glad I waited. Tech reviews about products that have only been used for a week are never accurate. It's better to know how the product lives up to months of use.

It's been over 3 months of my having and using the Bonobo Extreme from system76 and I have some very mixed feelings about the device and company.

My main reason for choosing system76 is I wanted a company that was dedicated to linux. When my windows laptop broke I promised myself not to opt for another windows machine. But I knew that coming from windows to linux would not be easy and thus wanted a laptop from a company that could offer good customer service and answer all my questions.

I also wanted a laptop that had unbuntu or another linux distro pre-installed. One can download linux onto almost any computer but I had never used the operating system before, and I know next to nothing about computers. I felt it would be less of a hassle to simply get a laptop that was pre-installed. My original laptop had died, and I'm a student that does courses via correspondence. I'm also a writer that had clients waiting on their work so I needed a new laptop asap. If I had more time to browse, I would have looked into things more carefully.

The ordering process from system76 was easy enough. I chose my specs and they 'built' it. One of the things I wished I had known was that System76 outsources some of the work. Most people don't care if their laptops are outsourced. But I do, especially after seeing how under paid and under valued outsourced workers are. Long before my laptop broke, I was researching for a company that built the parts and devices themselves. There aren't many, but system76 claimed to be one such company. Turns out this claim is false and had I known, I would have just bought a macbook.

The reason I was miffed about the false claim is that “home sourced” products are always more expensive. I could have bought an “out sourced” laptop for $800 that had the features I like instead of the nearly $2000 I spent on my bonobo extreme!

But sourcing aside, here are some pros and cons I have with this product.


1. Sturdy. I never buy consumer laptops because most of them are built too cheap to last more than a couple years. I prefer business or even gaming laptops since they often have great features and durability. The bonobo extreme is a very sturdy, very heavy laptop. It's 8.60lbs and is rightly dubbed “a beast of a machine.” It's a gaming laptop and has the weight and durability that I like in my laptops. It makes me somewhat confident that the body will hold up to daily use.

The parts also seem of good quality. My previous dell felt and looked cheap right out of the box, but this one looked rather luxe.

2. Great sound/video quality. I'm not a gammer so I wasn't too concerned about video and sound at first but when I played a video on the bonobo extreme I was impressed with the sound quality! It makes watching video a far more enjoyable experience than on my previous laptops. The videos are crisp and smooth and even normal pics look nice. Things just look better on the bonobo extreme, which really pleased me.

3. Practically worked out of the box. Now, before I rave about how this was a simple set it and go process I want to mention that not everything worked out of the box with this device and I talk more about that in the cons sections. That said, I was able to turn on the laptop and have it do basic laptop things. I surfed the net, wrote up some assignments and projects, watched a video, listened to music, and checked my email all out of the box. Coming from windows, I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to type a simple document without first programming and tinkering with it but I was able to do some serious work the very first day.

4. Good forum and service. I had some issues with the laptop when it first came and was able to talk to some one online who was patient with me as they tried to help me. I haven't had too many gripes with System76's customer service. Most people are very friendly and helpful.


Some of the below cons may be linux related, so keep that in mind as you read on.

1. Some parts did not work. When I got my laptop, I was really excited to try out the webcam. None of my past built in webcams worked so I was beginning to think I was cursed. It seems the curse lives on because the webcam was dead when my laptop arrived! DEAD! I spent $2000 and my webcam was dead! I was mad. I tried everything the forums and customer service suggested until he figured out that it was dead. He told me to send it back at the cost of $100 to have it fixed. What?! I get a laptop that doesn't work like it should and I have to pay to ship it back and have it fixed, plus another $100 in customs fees to receive it again. No thanks. I'll get an external one with that money.

The webcam was not the only thing that refused to work, I couldn't get the usd card drive to work no matter what, I learned there was some bug preventing it, and the fingerprint reader was also unusable. I feel like despite it's “sturdy” exterior, my laptop was thrown together without concern. If it had been less expensive I wouldn't have minded having to buy external hardware but it was very expensive and at that price, I expect things to work without me having to spend more money on it.

2. Not as fast. This was totted as a fast laptop but even out of the box it loaded slow. In fact it's only been 3 months and it loads as slow as my old one that I had for years. I don't even have anything on it expcept school assignments so it shouldn't be this slow, this early in the game.

3. Short battery life. The bonobo extreme had decent battery life for about a month, now I can't use it for more than 45min before I get a warning that my battery is low. For the record, this is a working laptop and when it's not plugged in all I use it for is typing. Therefore, it should not deplete quite so soon when there aren't any other programs running.

4. I absolutely detest the touch pad. When I don't have my external mouse using the bonobo extreme is a pain. The touch pad is very jumpy and just difficult.  

5. Linux is fun but...I like linux don't get me wrong. I like that I can customize it, I like that I have more choice with it; I like that I can get many quality programs for free. I'm not sure I could go back to windows, but there are some things windows and mac does better. One is video. The editing programs for linux are either outdated, over complicated, or boring. As someone who does video reviews, I've yet to find a linux compatible program that can compete with some of the programs made for windows or mac.

Another issue I have is that there are a number of hardware and software that aren't linux compatible. With windows, one doesn't have to be too concerned if there digital camera, printer, or even cell phone will work with their laptop. But for every computer related device I buy, I have to check if it is compatible. This can mean spending more or buying an item I don't really like simply because it works with linux out of the box.

I like my bonobo extreme linux installed laptop. It does the basic things I need it to do, but there are some things I still haven't got it do well yet. System76 is not a bad company but they are overpriced. I may choose them for customer service, but I'm not sure I love their products. I didn't need a fancy laptop, I needed one that worked without too much hassle and the bonobo extreme has caused me my fair share of it and it hasn't even been a year. If I was going to buy from them again, I would opt for a much cheaper laptop.

Monday, November 4, 2013

3 surprising groups of people that can teach you how to make more online

1. People under the age of 25. Teens and young adults can do better in their online business because they're better at bringing in the social interaction required to draw people onto the blog, channel, or webstore. When it comes to social media and blogging, many teens do it better than even professional content creators, because they know how to engage their audience.

I took some insight from popular blogs and channels run by people under 21 and learned that their communication style is often better at driving sales.

Teens and young adults also tend to focus on building one blog or channel, unlike some adults who have far too many sites and accounts. Their focussed mentality of building up one business your passionate about is what allows many youths to create businesses with longevity.

2. Shy people. If you think you have to be naturally out going to successfully network, think again. Shy people often create personas online that help to drive sales.

There's a misconception that you have to be your absolute true self online. Sometimes having an alter ego can come in handy. I noticed that many work at home gurus were quite shy and introverted, but had the ability to engage their customers via a persona that seemed opposite.

Most people don't know how to interact with their audience purely as themselves and this makes it difficult to establish a connection that can  increases response. But having a persona often makes people more confident and more successful.

3. Artists. Most people think you have to have a business background to be successful working from home. But people who have no interest in business can often excel in their online business.

Artists often delegate responsibilities. They'd rather focus on doing the things they are good at and leave the other tasks to a professional. This gives them the opportunity to build a business that is successful without over working themselves. They know where their talents lie and can often spot the talents of others, which lets them make use of other people's skills.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One reason work at home gurus feel undervalued

When I tell people I work from home, I get a response similar to a group of gals gossiping..."Oooo tell me more." The conversation is often more on how lucky I am (which I am),  how fun it would be to work from home and all the other benefits of working from home.

Now, I'm glad there is a lot of enthusiasm for my work, but the issue is...working from home is not my work. That is it's not what I do it's just where I do it. Like my office counter parts, I have to complete set tasks in order to get any kind of income. I also have to do these tasks to the best of my ability the same way I would if I was working anywhere.

It also concerns me when I notice people down play my work with the automatic assumption that they can do it too. As if reading blogs, or even having a personal blog that you update once a month qualifies you to earn an income to become a high paid blogger.

The statement anyone can work from home is a myth. But this myth lives on because people put more emphasis on where they are working rather than what they're doing. Would you say "I work in a brown building on 4th street" when someone asked what you do for a living? Probably not. Even mentioning "I work in an office" or saying "I work at (name of company) is silly in my opinion, because it says nothing about what you actually do.

When people ask me what I do for a living I'll give them some job title. They might then ask what that entails and then if the topic comes around to it I say, "I work from home." It's the last thing on the list, not the first because it's the least important feature.

Your talents and skills are what make your job, not where you employ them. I'm glad I get to work from home. It suits me. It wouldn't suit everyone, but for me, it's become essential. I get to do certain tasks from home. But the point is I have to do something. I don't sit on the couch all day watching T.V. expecting money to pour in.

You may also have a similar problem of people forgetting that working from home entails working and this neglect can make one feel less appreciated in the work force. But keep in mind that in order to be successful you have to dedicate a heap of hours, especially at the beginning to your business/career. Simply shrug of the condescending remarks and play up your job and what you do rather than where you do it from.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Official Google Statment: how to optimize your pages

In an online Q&A session, Google's Matt Cutts answered the questions of webmasters who want to get higher rankings on Google for their websites. This article summarizes the most important SEO relevant statements of this session.

The effect of +1 clicks on your organic rankings and ads

Google is still testing the effect of +1 clicks on the search results. It seems that only clicks from trustworthy people will influence the position of a web page. In other words, it won't help to buy +1 clicks.

In addition, the +1 clicks on ads will show others who have +1′d it but that is all at this time.

You cannot exclude keywords from your website

It's not possible to ensure that your website does not appear in the search results for a particular keyword. The reason for that is because that could be a way you could silence critics or not show up for negative reviews.

The age of a website is important but only one of many factors

The age of link anchors and domains can influence the position of a website in the search results. However, Matt Cutts says that you still need fresh information because old information can get stale.

Google decides per keyword if the search results show websites with newer or older content. Old websites often tend to have more links and that the links are often the reason why older domains have higher rankings.

Google will rewrite your meta description tag

Google will only use the meta description of a web page if they find it appropriate to the searched keyword. Google will also write its own description to show the searcher why the page was ranked for the query.

What to do if other websites steal your content

You should do a DMCA complain and a spam report, especially if the other website is a spammer who is scraping content completely.

Double 301 redirects are okay

A web page shouldn't redirect to more than 4 URLs. Chained 301 redirects should be only 301 redirects and they should not be mixed with 302 redirects.

Google also detects JavaScript redirects. Matt Cutts says that Russian spammers tried to fool Google with JavaScript redirects but Google could detect it.

Google uses many different factors to determine the position of a web page in the search results. Analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer to find out how to adjust your web pages so that they get listed on Google's first result page for your keywords.

Article courtesy of

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blogger Dymanic Templates

I was so excited for the new blogger dynamic templates, until I realized they can't really be customized. You aren't allowed to add or remove gadgets which means no google adsense (unless you already have an account), you can't change the color, font, nothing. Basically if all you write are personal posts or post pics without too many words then they might work for you, but if you're a commercial blogger and make money from your site these templates are pretty useless.
I hope blogger will fix this because I like the look and feel of the templates (some remind of tumblr) and the ability to let users easily switch between them, but it needs to be customizable.

I'm testing it out on this blog to see what my readers think, and if the interaction with my is affected by the template.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Subscribers vs Followers. Is One Better?

A while ago a friend of mine mentioned that she would rather have subscribers than followers. At the moment, I didn't really take in what she was saying but now it's hit one better than other?

Internet markets and web business owners no longer just have subscribers that they pitch things to. They have followers that they interact with. We don't just want to be subscribed to anymore; we want to be retweeted, reblogged, and Liked. Our lists aren't just a group of people that have decided to "subscribe" they're our "friends." They make up a kind of "follow family" that we can connect with and that we expect will share us with their "friends" so that we can have more "friends."

But is there any psychological difference between followers and subscribers? I mean aren't they both doing the same thing?

We want them to do the same thing. We want our followers to act in much the same way our subscribers do--reading what we offer, buying what we offer, sharing what we offer. But does one type do it better than others?

It's a question very similar to blogs vs websites. And the answer is always--you need both.

Subscribers are followers but they do behave and connect with you differently.

Most likely your subscribers have opted in. The have released an important piece of information (their email address) in order to receive your precious information. Most subscribers don't subscribe willy-nilly. No one wants 100+ newsletters coming into their inbox. Thus subscribers are great for their initial commitment they are willing to make to you.

They also see your information as a single email. In a sense, you're special for that moment that they decide to open you. You have a good portion of their attention and your attention is held longer.Subscribers usually find you through a keyword search, and can generally be targeted

But subscribers don't interact the way followers do. Followers are better known to ask questions, do polls, and even enter contests. They have shorter attention spans. They read a feed of sometimes 1000+ people and companies and can't afford to have their attention be consumed for too long on just one. In most cases you have 140 characters to get your point across.

They're commitment is also decreased. It's easy to "follow" someone. It doesn't take much risk. You don't give anything away. Just a click of a button lets someone into your world. It's also easy to unfollow.

With so many people doing follow for follow, the moment you let one go you can be sure to  unfollowed as well. If you're content changes (even for a day) you're at risk of being unfollowed. And there is more expectation to update regularly. Tumblr followers have been known to unfollow after just one week of inactivity. Twitter is around a month but a subscriber can be with you for months or even a year without a receiving word from you.

Followers can be, and in a way are, targeted. They follow you on the basis that they have something in common with you or an interest in you and your company. They find you through general search terms on the media platform or the recommendation of someone they follow. However unlike someone who subscribes to your fit after 40 forty newsletter, a follower may just want fitness information.

One of the main differences between a subscriber and a follower, is your subscribers can be taken with you even if you sell or close your site. Leave a social network platform and you lose your followers instantly.

Both groups of people are beneficial to an online marketer. Subscribers buy more often than followers. Followers, spread the word about you faster than subscribers and see your updates more regularly. In the net business world you need both shoppers and fan builders. One isn't necessarily better than the other. It's about figuring out how each list can work for you and then making it work for you.