Sunday, November 22, 2009

Top Five Qualities of Good Webhosting Company

What do you look for in a Good Webhost provider? A question was asked in a popular webhosting forum sometime back. As a small business owner, you may already own your business website or may be looking out for setting up first internet website. Here's a free 7-page report (10 minutes reading time) that concisely describes 5 essential qualities you must look into good webhost company.

Read- 5 Essential Qualities of Good Webhosting Company. (e-Library.net)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Finding Contacts of Almost Anything

Recently I wanted to find phone number of someone who has given his phone number before, but has since switched to another mobile number. I only knew his name and designation, but never seen him. Fortunately, the person worked in the same company as mine. But the problem was there were quite a few number of people with the same name! and I didn't know any other details, designation unfortunately wasn't revealed in the company telephone directory. That's were I realised it can be so difficult to get someone's phone number despite hearing umpteen times Internet has brought the world closer. Frustrated, I just searched for LinkedIn.com and wow, I found that exact person's public profile with his designation and picture!

Similarly you must be desperately trying to find contact address of some company or person, may be you want to apply for job position that's not advertised, or you are business owner wanting to contact prospects, or whatever reason it is to find addresses. Here's a list of tools and techniques which you can consider to find addresses, telephone number or email address:

Social Media Sites

Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, MySpace- these are just examples of few social networking websites that I bet most of professionals and individuals alike have started using. Often, you can find at least some basic details like picture, name of the person if you know their name. Just search for " Facebook" and you will find link to profiles. 

LinkedIn attracts many professionals interested in networking. So if you are recruiter trying to do a background check on person, Linked In can reveal host of past job details, network, qualifications in Interviewee own words.

Search Engines

If you know just the name of the person, you can start with it, put that in search box and see what it throws up to you. Depending on a name's popularity you may get multiple people and may have to spend some time checking each person.

Trying to reach someone within a company XYZ?
- Search for "Joined XYZ"
- Search by their designation "CEO XYZ"
- Search like (Firstname OR Lastname) AND "gmail.com". Search engines also index email ids, so this little trick can get you personal email ids.


Forums

There are hundreds of forums on any conceivable topic. You can become a member of those forums and find quite many things you need. Suppose you want to contact someone within a company. Join some popular forum that has discussion on the industry the target company works in. Then you can post message asking for reviews about the company or directly, if someone works in that company.

Just a slight spin on above, if you know or have an idea of where normally a company's people hangout, you can also be at same place and strike conversation.

Ask Friends/ Colleagues

Sometimes, we under estimate what our friends or colleagues can reveal about a company or get you some contacts. Why not start with just asking them whether they know anything about Company XYZ or any contacts within that company?

Softwares

Reverse Phone Detective: Find out the owner of any phone number or unlisted number.
Search Public Records: just enter name, and get access to many public records- Marriage, Death, Birth, Criminal records, etc

Do you have better way to find phone number, email or address of a person? I will be glad to read your comments.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own. This blog is intended to be a wide base of good quality articles about Internet/ Affiliate Marketing for Small Business Owners intending to make an online presence. I moderate comments to ensure that this happy place status remains in-tact. You are welcome to ask tough questions, challenge and disagree with me and others here. However, I won't tolerate foul language (as judged by me), discriminatory language (as judged by me), hostility (as judged by me), advertisements and personal attacks. This list is not all inclusive and because you have entered a comment does not imply that I will publish it. I rarely have to remove comments but will do it when I feel that I need to. It's at my discretion because this is my blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ingredients of Every Successfull Online Business

It's said that 95% of every Business (Internet or Offline) fail within 5 years of their operation. While it may sound tough and I don't mean to discourage you from fulfilling your dream or need to start a new business, but I just want to make you aware of challenges you will face and certain qualities that you must imbibe in order to succeed in this online world.

Creating a successfull business can be incredibly satisfying in itself even though lots of hard work goes into it, but it also involves:
1. Patience
2. Passion
3. Focus
4. Guidance in right direction
5. Smart work.

Let's look each in some more detail:

Patience- You need to have Patience as you won't get success overnight. Everybody is different and has unique skills and some may have more time to give to their business. If you are like most people, you inspire to start your own business while still trying to meet ends with job. Don't leave that Job just yet, keep patience and put daily consistent effort to business. Remember! Rome was not built in a day!

Passion- this is the single most important reason why businesses fail. You always need to have that fire within you to be part of successful business. Many times, people just ‘lose it’ when they see nothing come their way soon.

Focus- Internet is filled with scum- alluring offers, too easy to fall prey to, popup here & there promising that long dreamed vacation at Hawaii, or 'secret' to earn loads of money just by dreaming about it. Set aside time to pursue this interest; say 1 hour a day of concentrated effort towards making things work. Read less, do more work.

Guidance in right direction, this one is important, but hey I am here to provide you with that. I have been successfully making money online, and I am here to share this knowledge. It's easy to get lost in the sea of knowldege floating everywhere around you. Starting a business, a successful online one, need not be very complex, but it takes some consistent effort to be spend in right direction to make everything work together. You can subscribe to my newsletter and I promise you will keeping receiving only good quality articles.

Smart work- Geez, nobody talks about hard work these days. Because, you can spend months and year trying to make a dime and you may be successful on some level, but only right guidance and smart work can bring you riches in shortest possible time.


Sorry if you have heard these zillion times, but I just need to reinforce 'The Secrets' of any successful business. Frankly you can find million articles on how to do about just anything on internet. But without following above success 'mantra', you will never achieve ever lasting success.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Five Web Analytics Tools To Make a Start

Hi guys, hopefully you would have read a background of this article series on Web Analytics. If not, you can read the first article @ Intro to Web analytics. Let me define Analytics: The Branch of logic dealing with Analysis. source: thefreedictionary.com


Through this series on web analytics, my intention is to write simple easy-to-digest articles on web analytics space, trends and top most tools/ softwares that can help any small business owner to make use of available tools to discover interesting things about their customers (visitors), that they can use to tweak and optimize websites and ultimately increase revenue.

Okay, let's look at some prominent Web analytic softwares available in market today:

Google Analytics (free)



Google has always been forefront of launching easy-to-use, powerful features, industry leading products like  Adwords, Adsense, Webmaster tools, that helped people meet specific needs. Analytics ties all of bits and pieces together to give a full view of your marketing campaign. With a simple piece of tracking code injected in your website, you instantly start getting insights to your website's audience. A simple dashboard presents different statistics- Demographics, Bounce rate, Avg time spent, Referrals, etc which is simply powerful way to monitor your marketing efforts get fructified. Besides, it's free- all you need a google email address!

Talking dis-advantages, the updates are not real time, it could take few hours for google to update latest visitor activity. This delay may not bother startups, but most probably not acceptable to major eCommerce websites.

Yahoo! Web Analytics (free)


In its own words, Yahoo! Web Analytics is a highly customizable, enterprise-level website analytics system designed to help website businesses increase sales and visitor satisfaction, reduce marketing costs and gain new insight on online customers. By storing data in raw, non-aggregated form, Yahoo! Web Analytics is more than simply a reporting tool. It is a powerful, and highly flexible, data analysis tool. Both near real-time AND historical data can be segmented instantly and even visualized with advanced graphs to help marketers and site designers answer specific business questions and find new insights to improve their business.

Omniture Discover (paid)


Omniture Discover® provides Web analysts and online marketers with the deepest insights and most concise segmentation as revealed by unlimited real-time visitor information. Discover delivers a comprehensive, multi-dimensional view of customers that enables marketers with accurate, timely and insightful decisions—improving the performance of their business. Discover is part of the Omniture Online Business Optimization Suite.

This is pretty advanced stuff and I wouldn't recommend this to a budding internet business. I don't have a line beyond which you may want to have a look at, but essentially its more geared towards small to medium and even large corporate businesses. Interested, view product tour (requires free registration)

Woopra (free/paid)


Woopra is a popular desktop based web analytic tools. The main advantage is intuitive interface and real time updates (unlike Google Analytics). Besides, Woopra also claims that its javascript injection (that is primarily used to track visitor activities) doesn't slow down your website.

GoingUp (free)


With an AJAX-rich interface, GoingUp! combines powerful web analytics with top notch SEO tools.

Which one to use? 
It depends! If you are a business trying to work out from home and just nearly started, I would assume you wouldn't really have much to invest at this point. Good thing is not all professional grade softwares has to have a price tag, sometimes, things are just free (yippie). My recommendation is to start with free tools, when you are starting you don't want to invest heavily now and not when you don't have any traffic :) because without any traffic all above tools doesn't help much. Once your business starts getting visitors, then you can use web analytic softwares to understand visitor profile and behaviour, may be some sequence of actions on your website triggers them to make a buy decision. The real benefit of web analytic softwares is to decode this sequence and tweak your business so that maximum number of visitors experience the same triggering sequence of actions.

I actively use web analytic softwares to understand visitor behaviour for this blog and couple of other websites and I am amazed to see some interesting observations. I will keep updating this post and write some more too actually a video that has step by step on how to use such web analytic softwares. You are welcome to join my newsletters to receive such updates as well as other useful articles dealing with aspects of Internet Marketing. Thanks.

*** Does your company offer a web analytic software? I and my readers will be interested to know about your analytic software. If you want, you can send a brief writeup on your web analytic software to internetmarketinghoopla "At" gmail.com . Please stress more on any unique features in your product.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Virtual Office Solutions Providers List

In addition to big guys offering Virtual Office solution, there are many more companies who have found their niche- they often serve specific market or even a city in a country. You might want to compare local providers as well as opposed to global leaders- these could offer you with some good deals vis a vis big guys. I will be updating this post as and when I come across reliable Virtual Office and related Service providers, so be sure to bookmark this page (simple Ctrl-D will do). You can always let me know your feedback or any experience using any Virtual Office providers listed here by using Comment facility. Thanks.

USA

Offering virtual office solutions in USA, you can view detailed article on features provided.


Regus is another well known name in providing specialised services to small businesses. With 40 years of experience, it has around 1000 best street address around the world. A combination of fully trained staff and latest technology has enabled them to provide flexible solutions which you would see for yourself in their different packages on offer.


This provides service as cheap as it can get, however with some limited options. You don't have much choice in selecting the address, they have only one, but it comes very cheap at $9.99 per month. With that you get mail forwarding and Fax number free, ofcourse additional services comes at discount.


YourOfficeDenver.com offers prestigious South Denver,Colorado address. You may check out various plans for Virtual office.



YourCityOffice.com has a global presence primarily across several places in USA, UK and Worldwide. In US, they have offices at Colorado, California, Illinois, NY and Florida. Based on the address and location you need, the Virtual office package rates will vary between 25$ to over 100$ per month. Besides they don't have any contract, so you can terminate with 1 month's notice.

UK



Executive Offices Group operates 36 business centres across prestigious London locations as well as Leeds, Cambridge and Paris and offers a wide range of high quality serviced offices, virtual offices and meeting rooms.





Virtual-Office UK: British businessman Richard Nissen established superior serviced offices in prestigious Piccadilly in 1980 to provide flexible business accommodation and support services to an expanding SME market.  In 1992, in a similarly challenging economic climate, he pioneered and registered the “Virtual Office” telecommunications solution allowing non-resident city professionals to project a central London address and telephone prefix with a selection of reliable support services.  The same year Nissen co-founded what is known today as the ABCN (Alliance of Business Centres Network) to provide access to over 600 locations in over 42 countries worldwide.  In 1996 the Group became a certified ISO 9001 company by the BVQi – the British arm of the prestigious global standardisation association in order to ensure premium service standards.  It is believed that the VOG is the only serviced office provider internationally to be the holder of this coveted industry benchmark of excellence.  Please visit www.virtual-office.co.uk


This is not a Virtual office solutions provider by any chance, but it's UK's leading supplier match website. You can free quotes from upto 4 Virtual office providers instantly. 



If your company also offers credible and reliable Virtual office, Executive or Serviced office solutions in any part of the world, feel free to contact me at internetmarketinghoopla@gmail.com with a link to your website and short writeup in 50 words on best describes your company. I will be happy to post it here as long as you are honest. 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

India Government Links


Hello, I would digress little bit from my usual internet marketing info articles. I just wanted to share with information and useful links to avail various Citizen Services being provided by the Central & State/UT Governments in India . The list, however, is not exhaustive, so keep visiting this section for new updates !!  This just was shared with me from one of my good friends and I hope these links will save some time for small business owners who can concentrate more on their work.. 

Obtain:

Apply for:
Register:
Check/Track:
Book/File/Lodge:
Contribute to:
Others:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Virtual Office Solutions from Regus


Regus is another well known name in providing specialised services to small businesses. With 40 years of experience, it has around 1000 best street address around the world. A combination of fully trained staff and latest technology has enabled them to provide flexible solutions which you would see for yourself in their different packages on offer.

There are over 400,000 customers worldwide and range of businesses from low cost startups to Small & Medium business trust them with professional services.

Plans:

There are primarily 4 packages, but you can ofcourse negotiate with them for specialised version to suit your needs:

Mailbox plus
Most basic plan to get any one of over 1000 prominent landmark as your business address. Your mails will be accepted, processed and forwarded to designated address.

Telephone answering
Get a dedicated local business telephone number. A local personal assistant will take all your calls in your company name, screen them and the pass the message to you via email, phone or sms. Voice mail comes without saying.

Virtual Office
With this you get all the services offered in Mailbox plus and Telephone answering package. In addition, you can access private office for 2 days a week. Also you can display your company name in reception area. This adds more credibility to your image, specially if you need to make contact with client.

Virtual Office  plus
If you need access for over 5 days a week, this is the plan for you. It has all the features offered in Virtual office basic plan.

Value addition:

  • Free access to over 1000 drop-in business lounges and cafes, which is good alternative to busy and often noisy cafes to hold informal meetings with clients.
  • 10% discount on meeting room and day office usage.
  • Regus has tie-up with leading brands like FedEx, Staples, American Express, AVIS, and more through which you can avail upto 50% discount on your daily office purchase.
  • Network with fellow Regus customers: you can form mutually benefitting relationship with other small businesses using Regus's services.

To signup, visit www.regus.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Leading Virtual Office Provider - USA2ME

Okay, now that you know features to watch out in virtual office solution, the first one I have here is USA2ME.






USA2ME specialise with offering US centric services. If you are looking to establish a USA presence, then you can get a US based address. So they are like specialty.

How it works:
  • You signup for new account and get USA address- Street number and Fax number.
  • You can immediately start using Street and Fax number wherever you like- your business or while shopping online, etc
  • Your faxes or shipping items or any kind of correspondence will be received by USA2ME
  • Shortly you will get email notification of the new items
  • You can use your free online account management system to review, cancel and receive desired items at your given address.
Features
Online Account Management : you will get an access to website to
- Review your received items
- Ship your items to anywhere in the world
- Order a scan of your document for urgent review
- Discard any junk mail or unwanted item (this way you don't have to pay for shipping unwanted items)

In addition, there are various optional valuable services:
- Personal USA Shopping assitance
- USA property management
- USA Phone that rings in your country
- Ebay Selling assistance
- USA Magazine subscriptions (limited time offer: open your account and receive free magazine subscription)
- USA Doctor or Attorney referrals
- several customised services

In next article, we will review two other leading Virtual office solutions provider.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Virtual Office Rental Features

Before we jump on to next article, which would be comparing leading Virtual Office providers, let's look at different product packages that is normally offered and ensure what meets your requirement.

Address Services
This package purely consists of mail forwarding service. You choose any address your facebook for customers and all your customer mails will be packaged and sent further to your personal address. So it's more of the mail redirecting service. If you are probably starting as internet based company, then it just makes sense to use this mail forwarding service to keep your costs low. You can always move to higher-end package with many more features as your business grow.

Telephone Services
You may also want to get a telephone number to receive your business calls, sometimes it makes sense not to reveal your personal number or just keep it 'personal'. So you can hire Telephone services wherein you are given a dedicated telephone no which your customers can call. Your calls will be answered by a team of customer care professionals which supplies basic info to customers and then redirect to your chosen tel no for additional knowledge. You will also get a Voice mail system which you can retrieve at your will or can be pushed to you via email or SMS.

Workplace solutions
With this service, you can take benefit of Conference room facilities, Video conferencing, your own private room on need basis. Plans can range from as simple as 2 days a week access to private office room or for a full week. It's important to consider proximity of the office address to your home, after all flexibility from working at home is something only business can offer and you don't want to ruin it by spending dead time in traffic chaos. However, I always felt a good change to work at some location away from office a few days a week. It's gives a fresh break from home besides you can concentrate much better away from home.

Support solutions
As a business you could always makes some purchases, may be as simple as stationery or computers. This extra services offer discounts on such purchases, on-demand administrative services, personal assistant to help with your work. You might just get away with free.

You can always work out the cost and pricing as per your requirements. Next article, I will describe on leading virtual office space providers that you can depend for professional services under reasonable prices. All of them are good, you can perhaps just check their plans and then see which suits your need.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Get a Professional Looking Business Address

"T41, Roseland Residency, Pasadena, US" - how does it sound for a business's address. Imagine you are looking to buy some product from a business that has this address. How would you feel? Do you feel safe and confident that this is not a fly-by-night operator? Now imagine, the one mentioned above is your business's address.

Most mom and pop businesses today operate from personal living space, your apartment. Each year there are thousands of new entrepreneur business kick starting from their small garage or may be their bedroom.

Trust is the most important factor that alone, I think, is more important that anything else...assuming you have a competent product and customer service. You don't need to be 'best' in industry, but you certainly must be competitive.

So how do you build trust and instill confidence in your future customers while still operating on minimum cash. Building Trust with customer is long process and lot of factor goes in to the process- providing best in value competitive products, having clear privacy, user agreements, and return policy, being transparent in your transactions with customers (e.g. upfront disclose the shopping cost). One of the ingredient ofcourse is business's physical address.

When a customer thinks your business has a product that fulfills his needs, next thing he would do is try to get your phone no, email or address through 'contact us' page. Most startups are often single man office and can't really afford lavish office spaces. Not that they need too. But having a famous landmark as your office space can certainly increase your credibility.

Every problem has a solution!

Virtual Office


What's a Virtual Office you ask? It's an office and it's virtual :). It doesn't exists...not in literary sense. But instead there are companies that specialise in arranging the infrastructure, logistics to 'stand in' as a face to your business. These are just more that mail forwarding business. They often provide additional facilities and support needed to run a business. For e.g Personal assistant, Call centre to manage your calls, Conference rooms, etc

Why do you need a Virtual Office? There are many benefits using Virtual Office:
  • Pay for only what you use- the disadvantage with traditional renting is you probably are only going to use your office for one-third of time. You still pay for rest of the time. Besides, you don't need other facilities like Conference room for full day, so why pay full rent? 
  • Brand your business with an address that complements your professional image
  • Increase your business's perceived value just by renting out prestigious location
  • Receive all your mails / couriers forwarded to your residential address. 
  • No more need to beat the traffic, do all your business at convenience of your home. What's more you all contribute less to pollution (if you normally drive) and help the green cause
  • Still maintain a professional business address even in cost cutting mode 

Having virtual office needn't cost you fortune, there are different products/ plans available that can be used as per your needs. So it really is pay for what you actually use.

Disadvantages

  • If you have just started and just need to test waters for a new business, and may be you are very tight on your budget, then ofcourse I wouldn't recommend investing for a virtual office just yet. 
  • If a client decides to visit your office, may be to meet you, or do some background checks, then of course they wouldn't find you. Instead they may meet a Mail Forwarding office. But you can make use of cheap conference room facilities at the very same location to meet your clients.
In next article of this series, I will compare some reputed virtual office providers that offer reasonable and flexible plans for Office space. You are always welcome to leave your comment if you want to know certain other aspect of virtual offices on this article.