Thursday, August 24, 2006

just putting you through now...

My wife and I use the phone a lot. But she gets more calls than me. So it was very frustrating to keep answering her calls and either taking a message (I'm no secretary!) or searching through the house to find her.

The solution was remarkably easy... we each have our own phone line. But rather than having two separate phones, I decided to go to for Panasonic's PBX system, the Panasonic Digital Super Hybrid System. We've had it for nearly 2 years now, and it has given us a huge increase in efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, since we each give out our own dedicated line phone numbers, this immediately stops any message taking. If we are not in, then the message goes to our separate voicemail boxes. I don't answer her calls, nor she mine. Easy.

But there are other benefits as well... I put an extension in all our main rooms: the guest bedroom, kitchen, my wife's office, the main bedroom, my office (photo above), the garage (right) and a doorphone (below) which can be answered by any extension.

So whenever we get a call that needs to be answered by the other partner, we can transfer it through. We can also have our calls transferred to our cell phones.

In short, the system acts like the switchboard system of any small office. I couldn't do without it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

my paperless office

One of my goals over the years has been to have a paperless office to match my concept of a truly digital life - ebook sales, automatic payment, and no paper ever... a fully digital business, all completely online.

But I haven't done it until last year for 2 reasons:

1. The equipment around wasn't easy or simple enough to use. Till the last year or so, paper automation was marginally effective. Scanners were primitive and slow, and they required several lengthy steps to get paper into a digital format.

2. Most people and organizations I researched in the past gave very good reasons for not doing it. These negative reasons included difficult access to files, poor reliability of backups, and lack of tactileness... something about wanting to "feel" the paper information source. Stupidly I took notice of them. (Note: If you want to do something badly enough, don't take notice of anyone. I found none of these reasons applied to me when I finally made the move).

Well, over the years I reviewed all these options regularly, but my latest reviews brought up some interesting case studies. A number of law firms who had taken the paperless route for a year or two and gained great benefits from it. Here's a bunch of people whose livelihood depends on the integrity of paper, and yet they were all moving towards full digital storage. Courts of law in many countries accept PDF files without any question. That had to be a big factor in my decision to go paperless.

And since I'm a strong advocate of paperless books, it seemed a bit silly not to extend that concept to the rest of my business life.

So I took the plunge early last year, and I'm happy to report my paperless office has been an overwhelming success from day 1.

It was easy, painless, quick and fun. Here's my equipment, and as you'll see - you really only need the scanner:

SCANNER: Fujitsu ScanSnap (see photo above):
This tiny desktop 600 dpi machine scans up to 15 sheets a minute, does both sides of the document automatically if I need it, and places the image directly to PDF, email or file. The automated PDF conversion is the secret to a truly paperless approach. Without it, any paperless approach would be seriously hobbled.

SHREDDER: Fellowes Home Office unit. This is an optional choice since you can get rid of paper in other ways. But it makes a very satisfying sound as it gobbles up your paperwork. It's a very permanent move too, making my transition a no-going-back move. Sometimes you need to burn your bridges to move forward!

BACKUP: iBackup A fully automated online backup service through dialup or broadband. I've never seen anything as simple to operate as this.

Here's what I do each day to win the paper war:

When paper of any kind...a magazine article I clip, an invoice, notice or bill... gets to my desk, I run it through the ScanSnap which is permanently on.

The item shows up on Windows Explorer in the supplied Adobe Acrobat 6.0 program as an untitled PDF file. I name it immediately in a COMPANY NAME - DOCUMENT NAME - ITEM - DATE format and drag it to the appropriate folder.

I have only 2 folders for all my files, marked BUSINESS and PERSONAL. The Business folder has sub-folders, each labeled as a financial year... 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 etc. There is one other sub folder which I've labeled PROJECTS.

Since my scanned files are shown in alphabetical order in Explorer - and that's the way I retrieve them too - there's no need to get any more complicated than that.

The next important stage is backup. It's no good having everything on disk, on another hard drive or in a separate computer. That is too time-consuming and temperamental to retrieve. Disks die, PC's fail, you get burgled or your house goes up in smoke. And all at a time time that you least expect it.

So I have everything backed up to the online backup service. For a paltry $9.95 a month for a 5Gb storage, iBackup automatically backs up everything when I want it. I have set the backup options to daily at 2am.

For the first few days I used to keep the day's scanned paper copies in a tray and only shredded them the following day when I was sure the backup had been done. But it didn't take me long to ignore that step and go direct to the rubbish bin via the shredder! Since most filed documents can be retrieved one way of another (using the wind-back part of Windows XP), there's little chance of anything permanent occurring in the 12 hours prior to backup.

When I'm happy that the file has been scanned and filed correctly, I pop the paper into the shredder under my desk and it's gone for good.

Here's what happened in my very first day of using the paperless system. I had scanned and filed about 50 documents, and later that afternoon I had the need for one bill that I remembered I had already done.

In the past I would have done this to find a filed document:
- Gone to my file cabinet.
- Selected the year folder if I knew it.
- Found a space on my desk (usually not much free space there!), opened to the alphabetical section and searched through the paperwork until I found the right one.
- Unclipped it from the file folder, did the action - faxing, whatever - and reversed the steps to put it away again

Simple enough, it seems. But don't forget I had to file it in the first place, and that's no walk in the park. Like most other entrepreneurial types who seem to share a dislike for paperwork, I used to leave my paper filing for a week or two. Then the pile seemed too big to do all at once so I'd only do a part of it. So it grew incrementally, and I was never really up to date.

Contrast that with my situation now, where every item of paper gets filed immediately it hits the desk... mainly because it is so quick to do - but also, I have to admit - because there is a fun factor involved. It's easy, and meets my futuristic plan. With every paper I file, I get closer to my nirvana of a fully featured and accessible paperless office!

OK, now to find the same file in the paperless setting today, under the new system, I do only this:

- Go to Windows Explorer,
- Open the Folder required,
- Click the document to open it, and read it onscreen.

All this sitting in one place, moving only the mouse and small parts of my brain! :)

In practice the process is far simpler. I can quickly do a search for the document since my file naming system will identify most of what I need to find it in the name.

How have I benefited from the move away from paper?

- Space! My paper mountain is dwindling rapidly, and so are the boxes and files I use to keep them in. That means more free office space and clutter. That can't be underestimated.

- Order. Ever wondered where in your office a document is filed? Even the best paper file system won't get it quicker than a keyword search on your PC. Takes just seconds.

- Time. That's not much of a saving right now, but as more of my paper gets digitized there will be huge savings in locating and tracking paperwork.

- Convenience. In the past if I had a query with an account, I would phone and fax the information with a letter. It took 10 minutes including the search and faxing. Today I did the same thing, except I sent a 2-line email with the file as a PDF attachment. Took barely a minute all up.

- Security. Anyone can enter a paper office and take files in an instant. All files are stored identically the world over. But a digital file is different. It is near impossible to get without knowing passwords and location.

- Backup. This hasn't been tested yet for me, online or off. My house hasn't burnt down, nor my computers stolen or crashed. But it may happen yet, and I'll be whistling Dixie when it does because getting it all back again from its distant server will be a breeze. And changing computers won't be the onerous task it has been in the past. I still have files on my laptop that I haven't transferred to my year-old PC because of numerous problems with cables, disks and internet connections. Now I can simply select files from the backup server and make a coffee while it swaps them over for me.

Of course there are a few paper items I haven't chosen to digitize. Equipment manuals, books and some magazines are still better in old-fashioned paper and ink. However, if I buy an ebook, I tend to read it online without printing it out. Most people prefer to have a paper copy. I'm different in that respect I guess, taking the paperless option to its extreme.

Overall I have taken a long time to join the completely digital age - longer than a closet futurist like myself should have taken. But the wait has been worth it, the rewards are numerous, and the whole enterprise is just so much fun than before!

December 2007 update here

Monday, August 07, 2006

how to prioritize for profit

A few years ago I made some big alterations in my daily working life - and found these simple changes rewarded me with some huge benefits.

I used to start my to-do list with "essential" items that turn out to be maintenance issues only. I found there is only one thing in life that should get priority... because without it you won't have a business, a place to sleep, a car to drive, a happy and contented family and no debt.

And that is: PROFIT. So I changed my daily to-do list priorities in this way:

1. Items that make me money immediately.
2. Things that need to be fixed straight away in order to continue my moneymaking.
3. Everything else.

So everything I do now is directed towards getting PROFIT. first. Then the rest of my business life is tackled at a lesser pace as it's needed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

how often should you send out a newsletter?

How often should you send out a newsletter? Most people get this wrong. The question should instead be: What should you achieve by sending out a newsletter, no matter how frequent?

Why should you send out a newsletter at all?:

1. To impart interesting information that will help your prospects and buyers make money, and,
2. To sell your main product or back ends, to make you money.

You can achieve this either by sending one newsletter a month, or one a day like me.

However, some folk don't like getting daily newsletters. But if you persist you'll find there are a lot of hidden advantages...

Let's say you manage to write one newsletter each day for years. One of the advantages is that the sheer frequency of your ongoing messages implies that you know what you're talking about... specially when you can come up with something new and interesting each newsletter.

To emphasize that, you should number your newsletters. For a long time I didn't used to number my own newsletters, but since I did - and now that we're up to almost #250 - that size alone tells my readers that I have had something to say for quite some time.

And if they don't like it, they can delete it or leave it unread. I consider it's just like watching TV... you always have the "off" button option.

But let's say that 50% of your target audience tune you out because of your daily frequency, regardless of the message. It's not the end of the world. They won't go around criticizing you on every blog and forum on the globe. They will just unsubscribe. (Or, not so good - they'll filter your message out, which makes your leaving a lot more permanent. There's not much you can do).

The other reason to increase frequency is to increase sales. So let's say each day you are contacting 50% of your list. The number of selling opportunities grows each time you do that.

And I can prove that relationship:

I sometimes miss my daily quota, and sometimes three days goes between newsletters... but one thing I've noticed - sales ALWAYS double, triple and quadruple when the newsletter goes out. Part of this is because I make a selling offer in every newsletter. But even when I don't, sales still increase.

I believe this is solely due to frequency. Try it and see.

Monday, July 31, 2006

7 advantages of dual screens

Dual screens have a huge advantage over a single monitor. Here's some examples from my own use:

1. Speed: Even with broadband, it takes 2-10 seconds for many web pages to appear. Some websites are very slow and will take up to a minute... Forbes is one example. While that's happening I can be working on the other screen - it's amazing how much you can do in as little as five seconds. There's no way I will wait a minute for any page to load - except when I really need the information on it, and this is the productive answer.

2. Speed 2: I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking for all my typing, but some programs accept my dictation more easily and faster than others. For example, this reply is dictated faster in a blank Outlook email window than the forum post window in Opera. I can keep the original post open on one monitor to remind me of the subject, while dictating on the other.

3. Pop-ups: For some reason with UltraMon - the dual monitor software I use - a web page will load first on one screen, but any pop-ups associated with it will appear on the other. This makes it easy to scan the pop-up page, and view or delete it quickly if need be. Works with both pop-ups and pop-unders.

4. Daily chores: The first thing I do every morning is to open about 40 regular websites in one hit and check them out. (I do this by having them added all under one "Daily" bookmark). These include my own websites to make sure they are loading correctly, news sites, forums, my banking websites and so on. It takes about 30-60 seconds for all these to load, so I can be working on the other screen, say, checking my mail, while I wait.

5. Work patterns: I can work on my newsletter and keep it open on one monitor while I look for related information on the other. It means I can keep referring back to various items on the newsletter far more easily, rather than opening it from another browser tab each time and losing track of my thoughts.

6. Work patterns 2: When I do a search on Google, for example, I can leave the search list on one monitor while I check out the websites on the other. So while the websites are loading, I can be scanning the Google list for the next item.

7. Visual effectiveness: Being a visual sort of person, I find it much easier to have everything showing rather than in hidden windows. This alone makes the whole setup a boon for me.

These are just a few of the many advantages I've found, but it's fair to say that my work effectiveness has been much more than doubled for almost everything I do. And now that there's a triple head video card out, I'm looking forward to adding another monitor and getting the further advantages of a triple screen setup.

UPDATE: Sunday 27 May 2007 - I've had a triple screen setup now for the past 3 months. I'll write a review at some stage here, but the quick overview is this: Even better workability than dual monitors! I could never go back to a dual setup. I have even tried a 4-monitor setup a few weeks back, but strangely, found that not as convenient.
UPDATE: 5 January 2008 - After linking the 4th monitor to my triple setup instead of from a separate PC, it works far better. Now I'll never go back to a 3-screen setup!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

my office desk revealed

This is my workplace and home office where I'm happy to spend a lot of my day. It looks out over the harbor where the view is ever-changing. The items on my desk (glass topped Frezza, made in Italy), going from left to right are:

- Pen holder. No surprise there... I sometimes use a pen but not that often since I'm almost completely paperless now.
- Digital thermometer. Gives both inside and outside temperatures through a remote sensor. Also a bunch of other weather related stuff which doesn't help me at all since I can see it out the window.
- Dual monitors. Absolutely essential items for productivity. These are two identical HP 19 inch Pavilion flat screens. I use UltraMon ( to control the picture and mouse across both screens.
- Beamer videophone. I bought this about five years ago when it first came out, and used it with moderate success. Now I leave it unplugged on my desk as a reminder that one day videophones will be easy to use and become commonplace.
- Panasonic Digital super hybrid PBX telephone system. I have eight telephone extensions in our main rooms and garage, controlled by a central master switchboard in a cupboard at the middle of the house. Great for transferring calls between rooms, answering the front door speakerphone. We can intercom through the phones in each room. There are more features than we'll ever need.
- Plantronics headset system. This is connected to my computer through Microsoft Outlook, so I dial out through my contacts folder. I very rarely dial a telephone number manually any longer, and can't even remember my family's phone numbers.
- Headset for Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I rarely type any longer. With the 98% accuracy of Dragon, there's no need.
- Remote. This controls another screen by the side of my desk connected to several remote-controlled security cameras throughout the house, as well as showing satellite TV. I wanted to put this on my desk, but it looked a bit messy. One day I'll figure out where to put it!
- Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse.
- Herman Miller Aeron (chrome) office chair. The Rolls Royce of office seating. My back would be a wreck without it.

My PC sits in a cabinet behind me. I keep the doors closed and it is almost silent.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the start of my digital diary

A few weeks ago I thought it might be a good idea to compile my daily life in a digital photo diary. It would reside only on my computer, and not be available publicly.

The main advantages for this diary, for me, were:

1. A digital album as a permanent and interesting archive for our family.
2. I wouldn't have to keep a text diary, because each picture would act as a memory jogger by association. (Since sometimes I can barely remember what I did last week, any form of visual kicker would be a real advantage. That's proven to be true enough so far).

According to Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell, 72, of MyLifeBits, his own life diary project increased his recall of almost everything in his life. And his family noted that his memory improved. That's good enough for me.

My first step was to download Picasa, Google's free photo album. Once it was installed, it went out and found over 2500 photos on my hard drive which it then compiled into folders and arranged by date. It found many hundreds of Jpeg's that I had completely forgotten about... and my hard drive is barely 2 years old.

I decided that by cataloging chronologically by day and month, then labeling each photo with a number of keywords, I would have a fairly good way of finding anything fast. It also aided memory retention by grouping the photos in a daily view.

After a few false starts and a bit of experimenting, my captioning system ended up being in this order:
- the date... Fri 23 Jun 06,
- followed by listing the people or items in the shot, from left to right,
- followed by the location.

For example: Fri 23 Jun 06, Judy, Rachel, Michael, lounge, Drivet Court.jpg

This way I could find all photos which contained, say, Judy, then allow Picasa to sort them all by date. It's remarkably efficient so far.

Each day has its own folder which appears on Picasa's index in the lefthand window - so finding a date is very fast.

Then I started taking photos of what I considered were important events each day. Since my Canon Powershot A40 camera was a bit large and heavy for convenience snapping, I bought a Sony DSC-T7. This 5 megapixel ultra-compact camera is about the size of a credit card and a third of an inch in thickness. It's perfect for the job... I can slip it in my shirt pocket, and because it has the fastest take-up time of any digital camera, I can be shooting in less than a couple of seconds.

The visual diary is only one part of my "Digital Diary" project. The other part was becoming paperless. I started this about a year ago, and now have all my bills, accounts, receipts and most paper items in PDF form. Again, I captioned these PDF's in a similar manner to my photos, and find that I can locate any item within a few seconds.

I'll talk more about my progress in detail in future posts, after I get back from overseas in about three week's time. In the meantime, here's a current screenshot of my diary. It not only contains photos, but also:
- web pages
- Outlook contacts and notes
- newspaper clippings (photographed with the Sony--much quicker than scanning)
- location maps (our Yellow Pages has a mapping facility)
- tv screenshots of programs I watched.

More about all this in detail later when I get back (and probably after I catalog several hundred holiday shots!)

UPDATE: Sunday 27 May 2007 - For several months I have not been able to access Picasa on my computer (Windows XP Home), despite many reboots and downloads. I have effectively lost all the tags and organisational ability of Picasa, and it is very dispiriting. I'm looking into using Flickr and leaving all my photos online to avoid this happening again.

shock writing

I wrote today for the first time in many weeks.

When I say I WROTE... let me explain. I hand-wrote.

I had to fill out a form by hand, and yes...the experience came as a shock. My handwriting has deteriorated - just as my typing has because I use Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software almost exclusively now.

'Use it or lose it' came to mind.

This illustration shows a Laser DigPAD which turns handwriting into text, and archives your doodles and charts. Guess I won't be needing one.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

small things that make a big difference

A few posts back I talked about the browsers I use. My main browser of choice is Opera... I've been using that for a couple of years for its main advantage - speed.

Opera is 2 to 3 times faster than Internet Explorer. But it's not perfect. Sometimes it doesn't format some web pages correctly, often leaving essential buttons invisible. This blog is a good example... the button that allows me to insert graphics on a new post is not there.

So sometimes I use Firefox for the Alexa and Page Rank data it provides, and on very few occasions, Internet Explorer.

What is keeping me using Opera when it exhibits these flaws? The answer is gestures... this is the only browser which allows you to control it using the mouse gesture.

For example, if I want to close a page, I simply scribe the letter "L" with the mouse while holding a left click, and the page vanishes. If I want to create a new page, I simply left-click and hold, while drawing the mouse down vertically.

There are many other gestures, but believe me - these small actions simplify and speed up my browser work dramatically. Take Opera for a test ride... you may be converted.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

the wave of the future

If you want to get more out of your words, you need to make the written word interesting to read...brighten up the way it is presented. For example:

  • put your text into bullet points.
  • shorten your paragraphs down to 2 or 3 sentences.
  • use ellipses, color, bolding, italics, underlines and capitals in your text.
  • increase the number of subheadlines you use.

  • But most importantly - in this visual age - you've got to use graphics. Photographs, illustrations, line drawings, graphs, screenshots, video. They all help to make the web page more interesting and powerful.

    In this blog - and more particularly my lotto blog - I've started using graphics in a big way. Take a look at my Honest Lotto System blog.

    If you don’t have material from your own resources, you can get plenty of royalty-free photos and illustrations here:

    I use Photoshop to scale down full-size graphics, but you can also use a free service called JPEG Wizard

    If you use Google's Blog to produce your blog, you can pull graphics files straight off your hard drive and have them automatically sized by this system.

    Marketer Mark Joyner uses a daily cartoon and a small accompanying message in his blog. He relies on a link to his forum to generate discussion.
    I believe this is the wave of the future... video and graphic illustration will become more powerful now that broadband is relatively cheap.

    Don't underestimate the power of a picture!

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    how to develop a gut feeling for profit

    We often hear about a businessman having a gut feeling about a particular enterprise. This explains how some people can make money from an opportunity, and the rest of us don't.

    A gut feeling is easily developed. All you need to do is read a lot, mix a lot, and constantly experiment with different opportunities. After a while you get a feel for what works and what doesn't. So here's the point of this post...

    I figure there are two types of people who make money on the internet... or for that matter in any media. The first is proactive, action related, a fast mover. They tend to jump on opportunities as they first develop, and make big money until the trend quickly drops away.

    The second--which is more my type... waits to see how a new trend develops, and if it looks profitable then climbs (cautiously) on the bandwagon. There can be much profit in both setups... just depends how quickly you want to accumulate the experience and financial benefits.

    Which works best? Here's an example...

    Over the years I've bought a lot of products, and looked at a lot of opportunities. In my business - e-book publishing - the current trend is to write articles with a byline and link, and post them on article directories. As the articles are taken and published by other entrepreneurs who need them, the link acts as a powerful search engine benefit... pushing your web site higher and gaining more traffic.

    I've always thought that duplicate content produced this way would ultimately act negatively against the writer. So in the six months to a year that the article trend has been active, I haven't done anything about it.

    While I might have lost the short-term opportunity, I'm actually better off.

    What I figure will happen is this... the search engines will act to reduce the ranking position of web sites which have duplicate content pointing to them.

    This means if you happen to get to number 10 rank in Google because of all the articles you have written and the promotional back links you gained, you will see your position drop as Google downrates your importance.

    Multiple articles will actually act as a negative influence.

    So now we wait to see whether this will happen. Call it gut feeling, or experience?

    If so, it means that the long-term strategies I've been doing for many years are still the best. In the meantime I have a bunch of largely useless short-term products sitting on my hard drive!

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    success the Gary Halbert way

    Why do some people make a lot of money in business, and others don't?

    What distinguishes the successful from the not?

    And why can 100 people read the same book, or take the same course... and only one succeed?

    I believe it has nothing to do with talent. It has a lot to do with persistence, but that's not the reason either.

    The answer - for our marketing business - is: PERSONALITY.

    This is the distinguishing attribute between the winners and losers.

    The world is full of people with similar talents. The internet is rapidly showing how very many of us all think alike. Millions of us write the same, spell the same [think how many people can't use 'lose' correctly and spell 'loose' instead], and produce identical web sites... millions of us. Identical.

    To stand out from the crowd, we need to show our true personality, and the weirder it is - the better.

    To see how well an off-center personality can succeed, take a long look at The Gary Halbert Letters. Gary - by his own admission - is the best copywriter in the world... and he often presents a crazy attitude in his writing.

    But his unique personality shines through, and people hire him for millions of dollars. He's worth studying.

    While you're there, take a look at the Rolls-Royce letters. Read and learn from a master.

    UPDATE: Sadly Gary passed away in April 2007 at age 63.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    what's a Single Action website?

    Home Publishing SecretsOne advantage in being around a long time is that you get to see the same things repeating themselves. The current trend is something called a "Single Action" web site.

    I've been doing this for 10 years so it's nothing new to me - except that very few people know how to do it successfully.

    I'm going to reveal the secrets now. But you won't need to write them down... it's all pretty simple.

    Here's the secret:

    1. Devote your web site sales page to one product only.
    2. Never deviate from selling that product only.
    3. Do not put another product on that page.

    So what happens when you get a visitor to this kind of website? Yes... you guessed it...either the prospect wants the product, or they don't.

    The outcome is simple if they do.

    If they don't, you must have a way to attract them at another time. For that you use an opt-in mailing list with an autoresponder sequence of selling messages.

    OK, the structure of such a setup is a bit more complicated. But mainly it's pretty simple. My "Home Publishing Secrets" is a good example of that. Take a look.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    tool of the century

    If there's one tool I absolutely can't do without, it's a tiny application called ShortKeys. You store any kind of text... URLs, signatures, sentences, paragraphs, names, unusually spelled names... under any kind of keyword that you prefer.

    When you enter that keyword, ShortKeys retrieves your full text and pastes it into practically anything... webpages, emails, toolbars.

    Now, that all seems very convenient, but unless you can remember your keywords, it's not much use. So defining the keyword is the secret.

    I have what appears to be a complex set of keywords, but to me they are entirely logical. For example:

    I use W to indicate a URL. then I used the first letters of the web site. So:
    wks typed will give me ""
    wct will type ""

    Using this simple code, you can produce anything. I found my typing workload has decreased by at least half. And of course, I never make a mistake in important text, like my signature files.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    home (self) publishing secrets

    I wrote "How To Make $100,000 A Year Part-Time Creating Profitable How-To Manuals" about 10 years ago, and it was a very popular e-book. It's still available from me here: Home Publishing Secrets

    I found one of the most effective ways to reduce refunds on a physical product - as small as they were for me at the time - was to shrinkwrap the manual. You can apply the same principle to any hardcopy product. Read more about that tip at Home Publishing Secrets

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    what's this browser doing so high in my top 5?

    I got a surprise today when I looked up my browser stats from visitors. Internet Explorer was top dog of course, but in 2nd place was a relative newcomer over the last year - Firefox. Here's the percentages for the top 5 as they figure in my website life:

    Internet Explorer - 86.3 %
    Firefox - 9.5 %
    Netscape - 1.4 %
    Safari - 1.2 %
    Opera - 0.5 %

    They all have their uses. I use each one separately for different purposes:

  • Opera as a daily browser for its speed (it's 2-3 times faster than IE!)
  • Firefox for its built-in Google Page Rank and Alexa toolbar, and keyword density calculator. More about that later.
  • IE for some operations that Opera won't do for some unknown reason. For example, Opera won't allow me to add a new newsletter in my favorite autoresponder, GetResponse

  • I test every new webpage through these 3 browsers before releasing them to the world, and I recommend you run your webpages through the top 3.

    I'll be writing about many more tools in upcoming posts, but it's surprising how few you need to run a profitable internet business.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    how I got to 1st place in Google - in 24 hours

    Ken Silver imageI hadn't done anything search engine related with my Honest Lotto System website for many years. Affiliates have been the prime driving force for my sales most of that time.

    Consequently it was so far down on Google's search engine that I couldn't find it at all.

    So last week I decided to do a couple of things to get it moving along...

    1. Increase the number of keywords.
    2. Redesign the website to make it more search engine friendly.

    And it took just 24 hours to jump straight to 1st position!

    You can get more detail on how I did it at my Copywriting Tool page... it's in the newsletter.

    And welcome... this is the first post of my second blog. My other blog has been running since last year, and is How to Win At Lotto.