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You’ve heard that you can make money blogging, but you have difficulty writing or don’t have a clue what to write about. I’m about to reveal some free content sources that will blow you away…

This is probably the most compelling, dynamic and incredible resource I have ever used as a source of content… as in “free” content.

I should probably charge you for this info… it’s that good. But, in the spirit of ‘free’, here goes:

According to the site:

“The …books on this site are all released under an open content license that means that they are free forever. No one can keep you from using these materials, modifying them or distributing them. Also, the license guarantees that any works that are derived from these materials will be similarly free to modify and distribute, forever.”

Wow… huh?

Now, if you need an endless supply of content for your website (put a few highly targeted articles from this site on your web site and use AdSense for revenue) then this is perfect for anyone, any site.

Let’s explore further what exactly they mean by “free”?

According to the License agreement on the site:

“The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document “free” in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially.”

Wow… again.

Now there are several websites in this network of free content sites:

Here’s a direct link to the book site.

There is also a news service you can freely use here… a ’source documents’ website and much more found here and a free source of images, music, videos and more found here at the “commons”.

There’s also a collection of quotations, here.

If I had one complaint about this resource it’s this: Some areas are much more developed than others so you may have to do some digging to find enough content for your project. But keep an eye on this resource. It will only get better over time.

And, much more.

For all the resources this free content network has to offer click here:

Wikimedia.org

I’m amazed by this.

There are so many ways to create profitable ideas I could not even begin to explain them all.

There are basically 3 criteria I use that determine if an idea will be profitable.

1. Does your idea contain a HUGE benefit for your potential customers?

2. Is there enough MONEY in the deal for you?

3. Is the idea EXCITING? Will it keep you motivated and hungry for as long as you decide to pursue it?

Ideas are a dime a dozen… and that’s true. There are literally thousands of businesses you could start and another thousand ideas on how to make that business profitable.

But the opposite of that is also true: You CANNOT succeed WITHOUT ideas… it’s IMPOSSIBLE!

I evaluate potentially “good” ideas using the factors above. Will it benefit someone? Is there enough money in the running of the business? Can I get excited about it?

If the answer to ANY of these questions is “no” then I don’t pursue it… the idea stops right there.

On a typical day I will run 3 or 4 new ideas through this process… asking each question as I investigate a new business opp. If I’m lucky I get one great idea a year – yes, ONE a year! The rest of the time I basically exploit opportunities for myself based on a ‘variation’ of the “good” idea a came up with last year!

Let me give you an example:

I told my Personal Coaching clients about something I had read that had a profound impact on my business. It was a section from a report by Forrester Research.

The idea basically launched my Internet business into super-profitability. This one idea was about not “locking-up content”… anyway I have used that one idea in several of my businesses and variations of that idea with great success.

Ideas are a dime a dozen… but evaluating them according to some external criteria will help you determine if the idea is worth pursuing or a dead-end. You can use the criteria I use or make up your own… but once you have criteria to judge an idea by, you can relax.

Seriously, relax. Find time to take a walk or cook or do whatever you do that has nothing to do with business … suddenly ideas will begin to surface, and when they do write them down. Then, evaluate them using your criteria.

Which leads me to a very, very important topic: The most important factor of your success.

I have studied the biographies of hundreds of successful men and women. There is one STRIKING resemblance to each and every one of them…

Can you guess what it might be?

EVERY person who was successful in business has this one characteristic…

You know just about everyone says the same thing: You have to take “action” if you’re going to succeed.

Well that’s true… but it’s not the WHOLE truth.

Here’s what I’ve found: People who were really successful NEVER became successful in the very first business they started…

Hmmm… makes you think huh? So what does this really mean?

I mean, to what practical USE can we apply this info?

What it means is this: In order for you to FIND the success you’re after you have to START someplace… in fact ANYPLACE. Yes, that’s right – just do ANYTHING.

Now, burn this paragraph into your brain:

Eventually what will happen is you will TRY this and TRY that – you’ll see what succeeds and what doesn’t succeed, and then by some kind of internal guidance system you’ll find the perfect business for you to be in and really succeed…

…. but guess what?

Since you will never succeed in the first business you start you can R-E-L-A-X about it… don’t be so worried if you’re “doing the right thing” because you’re not going to really succeed in it anyway! It’s a STEPPING STONE to something great… but you’ll NEVER get to that “Something Great” until you GET STARTED!!

Ok… there may be one or two people out of a MILLION who got rich in their VERY FIRST business- they are the exceptions, not the rule… for the rest of us, we have to keep succeeding and keep failing until our “internal guidance system” steers us onto the right path.

If you own public domain collector’s editions that you would love to sell, if you’ve ever tried scanning them yourself to create a digital eBook, you know what a time-consuming drag that is. While there are services that will scan your book for you, most of them will tear out the pages in order to scan them. If you have a very valuable book, this is not what you want. Here is a service that will scan your book without doing damage and give you an editable Word document in return.

Check it out below:

http://www.bookscanning.com

By Donna Knight

Google Video is a new feature still in beta testing that allows you to upload a video to Google so that web searchers may view your video for free or buy it. Google charges a fee for items you are selling and forgoes their commission for items you wish to offer for free. In fact their site states that if your free item becomes too popular and uses too many of their resources, they will charge the user, so you have absolutely nothing to lose by using this free service. You can find it at http://video.google.com.

This is a great solution if you create your own videos but it is not a solution for video resellers because Google specifies you must full rights to the video, including copyrights to the audio and video. Most reseller licenses only give you reseller rights. They do not give you copyrights.

Google Video’s preferred formats are MPEG4 with MP3 audio and MPEG2 with MP3 audio. Their terms say that you can upload Windows Media, Quicktime and RealVideo but it will delay the approval process and they may not be able to approve your videos.

Given the prevalence of Windows Media and Quicktime Video, this is a rather curious limitation in video formats. Since this site is still in beta, hopefully they will see the light and accept additional video formats without a problem.

Google Video is beneficial to internet marketers who create their own training videos, because uploading your videos to Google Video is way to get more traffic to your site. Your video can have a link to your site.

A second way you can benefit from Google Video if you are not a video creator is to sell pubic domain videos, because these videos are not copyrighted.

What I love about Google is the fact that they are not satisfied with being the most widely used search engine. Their owners are not satisfied with being the 16th richest Americans and continue to find more revenue channels. As Google finds more way to make more money, they are literally handing you more ways to be profitable. While this is not stated anywhere on Google’s site, posting to Google Video may even help your ranking in the Main Google search engine. Because this service is entirely free and still new, if you want to sell or give away free videos for promotional purposes, don’t hesitate to upload your videos to Google Video.
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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 240 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For tips that will help you save money and save time when marketing online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com.
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact.

By Donna Knight

It all started with the Mark Joyner Farewell Package which is affectionately (or disaffectionately in some cases) known as the MJFP. This was the first time I know of where someone sold source code worth many thousands of dollars that had been successfully used to run million-dollar websites. Since then, I have seen a couple dozen similar sales of source code, and you can be sure you will see more of these in the future.

WHY DO THEY DO IT?
First of all, there are multiple reasons why someone would want to sell their source code, including:
- They need funding for a project.
- They’re going out of business and won’t be using it anymore.
- They spent $100,000 to get it programmed and would like to save someone else money and time.
- They are using a new version of the source code but the old source code is fully functional, especially for smaller sites.
- For a few people, such as Jeremy Burns, selling private label source code has become a business in and of itself.

WHAT TYPES OF SOURCE CODE
The types of source code you can buy include website scripts and software programs. Some people will refer to eBooks as source code but I don’t consider them to be. By source code, I’m referring to desktop or website programming or code.

The source code sometimes is for private use only. Sometimes it comes with resale rights, master resale rights, private label resale rights and even master private label resale rights. Private label resale rights means you have the right to do whatever you want with it, including resell it under your own name. But you CANNOT sell it with private label rights. Master private label resale rights means you CAN offer the source code with private label resale rights.

Incidently, the MJFP was the most expensive private label source code sale I’ve seen and it only came with private label rights. You could not resell the source code itself. However, it was also the most valuable in terms of how much was paid for the programming behind it and the value of the non-source- code products.

SKILLS YOU NEED
HTML – If you don’t know anything about HTML, you probably should NOT buy private label source code. Not only will you be lost in terms of what to do with it, but you won’t be able to give useful instructions to a programmer or webmaster about what to do with it. Most of the source code buyers I’ve read complaints from knew nothing about HTML and didn’t even know where to start when it came to putting the code to use.

One exception to this is that I have seen a few sales where you only need to know how to edit a sales page, and you don’t have to have experience installing scripts. This is a deal that practically anyone can benefit from.

SCRIPT INSTALLATION – The people who benefit most from these deals are people who know some HTML and who have some experience installing scripts. It is really not that hard to learn how to edit HTML and to install scripts. There are low cost books out there that can help you. If you know HTML but you don’t know how to install scripts, it is usually not very expensive to hire someone to do this.

PROGRAMMING – You do NOT need to know programming to profit from private label source code. While I am an experienced website builder and script installer, I am NOT a programmer.

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Always read the entire sales letter. In fact, read it a couple of times. I’ve bought quite a few source code packages, and I haven’t seen any cases whatsoever where people were lied to about what was required to get the source code working. The fact that bugs or missing data situations were rectified in many cases indicates to me that the seller was not trying to scam anyone. As a moderator of the MJFP forum, I saw all the complaints (and praise) about the package, so I got quite a bit of insight as to what people need to ask themselves before they buy source code. In many cases, people didn’t pay attention to the part of the sales letter where it said you needed to hire someone to configure and install the source code.

Whether you should take advantage of a particular deal depends on your level of experience and the answers to the following questions:

- Does the code require additional work by a programmer to get it working? If yes, do you have money to hire a programmer? If not, are there additional non-source code products in the package that are worth the price of the package alone? If the answer to both is NO, then you should NOT buy this source code. It will be a waste of your money.

- If the source code works as is, does it come with installation instructions that a newbie can follow? Or do you need to be an experienced script installer to follow the instructions? If the source code doesn’t include instructions, even an experienced script installer is taking a risk in buying it.

- Do they give information on programmers and/or script installers you can hire, if necessary?

- If the source code is expensive, is there a payment plan?

- Is there a refund policy? In most cases there are no refunds, so you should not buy unless you can honestly afford to.

- Are you spending your last dime hopeing this will finally be the product that will make you rich?
If so, DON’T BUY! If you are that desperate, the last thing you need to do is spend money. You probably already have products you can sell to make money. Your problem is most likely that you haven’t used what you already have. Well, now is the time.

WILL YOU NEED TO HIRE A PROGRAMMER?
If you want to add additional features to the source code, you will need to hire a programmer to do that. You can’t do it on your own and, frankly, it is not practical to learn programming just so you can use a source code package you bought. One of the best programmers I’ve ever met said it took him 5 years to feel like he had a handle on programming. Do you think it’s wise to buy something that takes you 5 years to put to use?

In cases where you will need to hire a programmer to get the source code working, you can hire one cheaply at places like Scriptlance.com and Rentacoder.com. Before you hire one, pay attention to the feedback they have. You should also ask to see work they’ve done.

CONCLUSION
There is no question most of the private label source code deals I’ve seen can be very profitable. They can save you hundreds and even thousands of dollars you would have to pay a programmer to custom program it for you. Plus there’s no guarantee the programmer you hire won’t hand you unusable garbage. These private label source code sales are usually fully working code that in some cases was used to run successful websites. However, you must go into these purchases with your eyes wide open.

I won’t say “buyer beware” because that implies there are lots of scams, and so far I haven’t seen them. I will say “Buyer be informed — BEFORE you buy.” That is the key to your satisfaction. If you are one of the many people who has bought stuff and never used it, then save your money and work on your motivation. This won’t cost you anything and in the end it will save you lots of money, time and frustration. With the right motivation and the right private label source code, there is no question that you can be very profitable.
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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 240 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For tips that will help you save money and save time when marketing online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact.

By Donna Knight

So you want to sell stuff on eBay, but you have two minor problems: You don’t know how and you don’t have stuff to sell. Not a problem. For tips to get you pointed in the right direction, read on.

Before you begin you’ll need some basic equipment: A computer, Internet access, a digital camera, and some space to put your stuff in. That’s really all you’ll need. You’ll also need shipping and packing supplies but that is addressed later.

Next you’ll need to learn how to list auctions. Go to the eBay sellers’ overview: http://pages.ebay.com/education/sellingtips/index.html. This will be your lifeline. There is a plethora of information there on everything you always wanted to know and more. Don’t get overwhelmed; just take it one step at a time. You’ll see there is information on listings, on bidding, on photos, and on feedback – it’s all there.

Next you’ll need to figure out what to sell. Before you zero in on a particular niche, you need some experience and some feedback. Buyers are generally leery of sellers (and bidders who are brand new who have a feedback rating of less than 10 evaluations. While you are getting your feet wet, look around your own house first. You’d be amazed at what people buy. You could list outgrown clothing, magazines, candle holders, CD, books, flannel sheets, recipes, the ugly old lamp that was Aunt Mildred’s, all those goofy Christmas gifts sitting in your basement, or that old baby gate with a stain on it. Get the idea? On Ebay, one woman’s garbage is another woman’s treasure. You never know what someone will want.

While you want to just get experience with your first posting, you don’t want to list something that isn’t likely to sell. Do your research first before you invest the time in putting together a listing. An easy method to use is do a “search” on eBay, then look up COMPLETED ITEMS, then sort by HIGHEST price. Then you’ll see if your Tommy Bahama shirt is really worth anything. Or you’ll see that your old baseball cards had 23 listings and not one of them sold.

Pricing is another issue to consider. This is another subject you’ll need to research. You’ll do this following the same previously mentioned steps to see what the item is going for. Don’t try to overcharge. You know how you feel when you go to a garage sale and you see a pair of jeans for $15 or books for $4 each. Most people come to eBay looking for a bargain. Consider how much you have invested into the item. If you have an item from around the house, you may consider that something is better than nothing, so you may be inclined to start the bidding quite low. If you bought it with the specific intention to resell, you will, at the very minimum, want to break even, so take the price you paid for it and consider other costs, i.e. listing fees, final value fees (all explained in your lifeline – eBay seller overview above). People are much more apt to bid if the bidding starts LOW. Sometimes though, you will have collectibles that are worth a chunk of money. Don’t give away that vintage postcard that is worth $56! Make sure you do your homework before you price it.

The next big question is how do you get paid? You determine what you would accept. Online payments via PayPal (paypal.com) are very convenient. You can also decide that you’ll accept money orders or personal checks. The more options you leave your buyers, the more likely you’ll get more bids. Your goal is to get as many people as you can competing to bid on your item.

You also need to decide how you want to ship your items to the auction winners. Many sellers use USPS, while others prefer UPS. If you use USPS and ship via Priority Mail, you can get your envelopes and boxes free from USPS. If you ship First Class or Parcel Post or UPS, you’ll have to shop around for deals on boxes or envelopes and bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

I hope this isn’t too overwhelming. Yes there is a lot to learn, but it’s not rocket science. Just take it one step at a time. It’s a learning process. You’ll find that getting support makes it all the easier. Some yahoo groups (or MSN or AOL, or whatever your preference) are great sources for support and camaraderie with others who are doing the same.

So in short, if you want to just get your feet wet as a seller on Ebay and learn on your own, YOU CAN DO IT. If you do better chatting with others, those resources are available too. Use what is available.
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Donna Knight is a Website Promotion Specialist who has sold everything from digital products, including ebooks and software, to hard goods such as computers and medical transcription equipment on Ebay. For more tips to help you sell your product or service online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact. For product reviews, you may substitute your affiliate referral link for the product URL.

By Donna Knight

Every business owner knows that setting goals is crucial to business success. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’ve arrived? More importantly, how will you know when you’re heading in the wrong direction?

If you’re the owner of a small business, what is your goal? To make it to the end of the month with enough money in the bank to cover the payroll? To take a holiday for the first time in five years? To make X amount in sales this month? To acquire X amount of new customers?

Here’s one goal that every business owner should have right from the start — to become independent of the business. Small businesses turn into big businesses only when they are able to operate smoothly without the owner being present. When you can stay away for a week, or a month, or a year, and return to find the business running better than before you left, you now have the opportunity to follow your dreams – sell the business and start a new one, retire, buy a yacht and sail around the world or even think of more ways to expand the business if strategizing is your idea of fun.

True financial independence is the ability to live your life doing what YOU want to do. Do you really want to show up for work an hour early every day, leave late at night and never take a holiday for the rest of your life? I certainly don’t.

What is the solution that will allow you to build a business you can walk away from?

It’s simple. You need a system in place so that everyone in your business knows exactly what is expected of them.

When you take on a new employee, how do they learn what they’re expected to do? Does an existing employee take around and explaining how things work? How can you be sure that the new employee is learning what you want them to know?

As the owner of the business, it’s your job to ensure that a system is put in place as the business grows. The system will ensure that everyone knows what they need to know to do their job effectively. To start with, this system will include job descriptions and a training plan for each job.

Let me give you an example. How do you think companies like McDonald’s are able to manage thousands of restaurants across the planet? McDonald’s Head Office doesn’t sell hamburgers. They sell franchises, and their customers are the franchisees. The most valuable asset they have is their system. It regulates everything from what employees wear, the words they say to customers, how many seconds a patty is left on the grill, to variables within their business. Every single detail is dictated by the system.

The system makes it possible for new employees to fit in. They are educated on ‘how we do things around here’. They are taught the specifics of their job.

This is not to say that there is no flexibility in this system. In a well-designed system there is still room for individual creativity. Better ways of doing things should always be encouraged, and then and written into the system in the future after a trial run.

The system provides the framework for ensuring that the business is never entirely dependent on any one person, including you. As a business owner, your future satisfaction with your business depends on the quality of that system.

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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 200 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For tips that will help you save money and save time when marketing online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact. For product reviews, you may substitute your affiliate referral link for the product URL.

By Donna Knight

You may not know this but Walt Disney ripped off many of the Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales. He never paid one red cent of royalty fees to the authors. They may be dead, but shouldn’t Disney at least have paid their families, especially considering how many billions of dollars the company has made off this “stolen” material? So why, you may ask, hasn’t Disney gotten sued for intellectual property theft?

The answer is simple. Walt Disney was a marketing genius who knew he could not be sued for using this material. The reason he couldn’t be sued is because this material is in the public domain. What does public domain mean? It means the copyright has expired. The benefit of public domain is that it can be used by anyone in any way without paying royalty fees or even giving credit to the original author. You can make copies of it, give it away or sell it and keep all the profits.

The beauty of public domain is that anyone can take advantage of it if you know how. Public domain information is accessible to anyone with access to the internet and at the library. You don’t even have to be as creative as Walt Disney. You just have to add your own flavor to it.

What is Public domain?

The definition of public domain is any body of creative work or knowledge that is not protected by US copyright laws. Copyright protection should always be verified but basically all works created prior to 1923 in the U.S. are in the public domain in the United States. That’s not all. The law also includes works done prior to 1978, for which life of the author plus 70 years doesn’t exceed the current year. There are additional terms under which works have fallen out of copyright but the rules are more complex.

The term “body of creative works and other knowledge” includes literary works, music, movies, art work, scientific ideas, and inventions, just to name a few. So, quite literally, public domain information is a vast ocean of works available for anyone to dive into. The best part is use of these works is free. Everything you earn from them is 100% profit.

Walt Disney used public domain information by updating old classics and making movies out of them. In order to profit from public domain, it is important to keep in mind you must have an audience for it. That is not a problem since there are public domain works of all categories, including recipes, marketing, business, arts and crafts, children’s books, educational books, and many more. There’s no limit to the subject matters you can find public domain works in.

How much will this cost you?

You can find a huge amount of public domain information on websites for free. One of the largest resources is http://www.gutenberg.org. It is free to access and download any of the material there. Most works there are public domain. The listing information tells you if the work is still copyrighted, the author and the format.

What can you do with public domain works?

Just as there is no limit to the types of public domain works available, there is no limit to the
number of ways you can use this material. Here are some of the ways you can use public domain information to profit:

  1. Republish old literary works as e-books. The classics you see in bookstores are prime examples of making money from public domain information. The publishers did not have to buy the rights for the books they distribute. You can do the same with e-books. You can find old literary works either on public domain web sites or even search your local library for old works, and scan them. Convert the images to text with a text OCR (optical character recognition) program, edit errors, package it nicely in .pdf format, and you’re all set to market a royalty-free product!
  2. Republish old articles as special reports. Granted you’re not going to find any internet marketing or internet-related articles circa 1923, but there are still many interesting pieces from that era. In a recent case study, a man made 43 sales for a special report he made out of a 1914 article on dog grooming.
  3. Make downloadable albums of old songs. Here’s your chance to make MP3 downloads that are completely legal. Keep in mind, however, only the songs are public domain. The performances of certain versions (i.e. the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s version of a Beethoven classic) have their own copyrights. If you are a musician, you can create your own version and sell it as relaxation music, dance music or music for various purposes. It would be best to make your own version from the public domain compositions.
  4. Offer downloadable movies. Just like Walt Disney, Ted Turner has made a killing with public domain movies. One of his channels, Turner Classics, shows pre-1923 movies which he can rebroadcast without paying any royalties. You could do the same by offering old movies for download.
  5. Make posters of timeless masterpieces. You could also search the web for high quality images of classic paintings and sketches. These digitized masterpieces can easily be reproduced as posters which you could sell to the millions of art aficionados worldwide.
  6. Publish it in book format through a self-publishing company. Sell it online or offline. Self-publishing companies such as Lulu.com make it easy to publish a print book without a big budget.
  7. Print it out yourself and sell copies offline or online. You can buy supplies, such as binders, for printing books at office supply stores. For the most professional highest quality print, use a laser printer. At this point in time, color laser printers are now affordable so you could even print in color with a laser printer if you have a bigger budget.
  8. Take an educational work, such as one about playing tennis, and make a video series about it.
  9. Create an mp3 audio class out of a public domain work. Let people download it from your website or put it on CD and sell it offline.
  10. Create a collection of works from multiple sources. For example, make a compilation of children’s stories from various books that are full of stories.

Public domain works can’t be copyrighted, but if you make changes, your changes are copyrightable. This is the smart thing to do to make sure no one steals your hard work and makes money off it.

Millions of dollars have been made by those who took advantage of public domain information. There’s no limit to what you can do. If you have a computer and a printer, you already have the tools you need to make money with public domain. Now that you have some ideas about what to do, there’s nothing stopping you.

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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 200 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For more tips on how to make money at no or low cost, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact.

By Donna Knight

Ask any successful internet marketer how to convert visitors into sales and they’ll all give you the same answer: You must have a follow-up tactic strategy.

While getting visitors to your site is very important, the fact is more than 90% won’t buy from you. Don’t despair. They might not want your product today but they might be interested later. But if you don’t have any way to follow up with those visitors, those potential sales are lost forever. That’s why you need a good autoresponder system.

With an autoresponder, you can capture those leads and follow up with them later with more information or any offers you have. An autoresponder is an opt-in form that you put on your website inviting visitors to sign up for your newsletter, ezine, ecourse, freebies or any information that can be sent to subscribers in a series of emails. Once they sign up, they automatically get added to your mailing list, you can also send them occasional ads or offers since they have now given you their permission to send them email.

If you only had a few subscribers, you could follow up with them manually using your email program such as Outlook, but for the success of your business you want to build a mailing list with 10,000 subscribers or more. Even a million subscribers is possible if your mailing list is very successful.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good autoresponder since there are many successful internet marketers who credit their autoresponder systems with helping to make them rich.

An autoresponder system allows you to prepare a series of messages in advance, program them into the system, and specify the intervals at whih the emails will be sent out. They can be sent out once a week, once every 3 days or even at irregular intervals. For example you could have 3 emails sent out in a series, one after 3 days, the next after 4 days and the final one after 7 days. You can even have multiple autoresponder series, one for each of your websites, one for all customers, one for prospects, and one for customers who have purchased high-priced items. This allows you to mail different offers to different groups.

Another benefit of an autoresponder is that sending emails regularly to prospects helps them warm up to you and learn to trust you. If you make your emails personal, subscribers will feel like they know you personally and will less resistant to buying from you.

You can also use autoresponders to cut down on customer service emails. If a client or prospective buyer asks you a question about a product, you can preset the autoresponder to reply with a general FAQ that will answer most questions. I’ve noticed on websites I manage, the vast majority of email questions I get are the same questions asked over and over again.

With autoresponders, you have two choices. You can buy a service that runs everything or you can buy a website script that you or someone you hire installs on your website. A script is usually the cheapest option but may require technical ability.

Not all autoresponders are equal though. Here are 10 questions to ask before you choose an autoresponder system

:

1. How much does it cost? Is it a one-time fee or a monthly fee? If it is a free service, what are the disadvantages?

2. If it is an autoresponder script, does it come with instructions that anyone can follow to install it themselves or do you have to hire a professional script installer to install it?

3. How many accounts can you create with their system? A different account may be required if you want it to display different information, such as a company name or website, in the FROM field of the autoresponder messages.

4. How many mailing lists can you create?

5. How many follow-up messages can you preset?

6. What’s the maximum number of subscribers you can have on a mailing list?

7. How much personalization can you add to your emails? Can you personalize emails with the name or purchase information? Personalization increases the effectiveness of autoresponder emails, especially when it comes to customer purchases.

8. How does the system let subscribers sign up to the autoresponder? The simpler the process, the better.

9. What formats can you send emails in? Does it allow HTML and text emails? Does it give the subscriber a choice about which format they can sign up for?

10. Will you be able to track your subscribers for targeted marketing?

11. Is the autoresponder system easy to use?

Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. There are expensive autoresponder services that have less features. If the autoresponder system you’re considering meets all these criteria at a good price, the sooner you buy, the sooner you’ll be on your way to continuous profits.

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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 200 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For tips that will help you save money and save time when marketing online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
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Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact. For product reviews, you may substitute your affiliate referral link for the product URL.
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By Donna Knight

With an online business, your website is perceived as a reflection of your business reliability and credibility. A poorly designed website makes your business appear unprofessional. Likewise choosing an unreliable host, makes your website and your business appear unreliable, as well.

For that reason, the success of your business is directly tired to your choice of web host. In case you don’t know, a web host is a computer that stores your website. When an internet user types in your website address or URL into their web browser, their computer connects to the web host which then points them to the pages that make up your website.

As a professional website builder who has built over 200 websites over the past three years, I could tell you some hosting horror stories, such as mysteriously broken or disappearing websites. But I would rather tell you how to avoid such disaster. Once you read the following tips you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about choosing an affordable web site host, and avoid mistakes myself and my customers made when first starting out.

Here is a list of what to consider in choosing a reliable cheap web host with the best features:

1. Know the bandwidth limits. Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over a network. Bandwidth limits can be measured daily or monthly. If bandwidth limits are too low, you will have to move your website if you get a lot of traffic.

Unlimited bandwidth falls under the category of too good to be true. There is always a limit, whether they tell you what it is or not. When comparing prices, try to get the most bang for your buck, but don’t assume unlimited bandwidth is the best value. Whether it is will depend on other factors listed here.

Bandwidth is usually specified in GB (A GB or gigabyte is 1 million megabytes. A megabyte is 1 million bytes. Get it?).

2. 30-day Money back guarantee. Most web hosts do not give a money-back guarantee, but you should give extra points to a website which does offer this. It gives you a chance to try out the speed and reliability of the service without risking your money.

3. Unix or Windows Hosting. Unix is an operating system just like Windows, which is the operating system on your personal computer (unless you’re using a mac). Which type of host is right for you depends on what type of website you have. If your website is a bunch of HTML pages, either one will work. If your website has complicated functions, or has different types of pages or uses a database, ask your web designer which type of hosting your website requires. If your website is loaded onto the wrong type of host, it will not work.

4. Allowable disk space. Most web hosts offer multiple hosting accounts with increasing amounts of disk space. More disk space is usually more expensive. You want to give more weight to host services that give more disk space for the money when doing comparisons. Most websites don’t use more than 100 MB (MB is megabytes). If it is a static website, such as a sales page, it might even take up less than 1 MB.

If you see a host offering unlimited disk space, you should know this is a marketing ploy. There is always a limit, so keep this in mind when you see this.

5. Compatibility. If your site is simply a few HTML pages, this is not an issue. It will work with any host. If you have a website created by a designer or programmer, you will need to check with them to find out what features your web hosts must have before your buy your hosting account.

6. Technical support availability. If you want to maximize your visitors and sales, your website needs to be available 24/7. Likewise you need a host that offers support around the clock. Most web hosts do not offer phone support. Those who do are usually more expensive. Give extra points to those who do. Most support is web-based and response times can vary.

7. Reliability of the hosting company. Choosing a web host is like choosing a partner. You want to give preference to a host that has been around a while. A new host could disappear just as quickly as it appeared, taking your website along with them. You don’t necessarily need to choose a major company, such as Dell, because their hosting will almost certainly be more expensive. Smaller web hosting companies can be just as reliable as larger ones for the same reason that smaller companies sometimes give better service than larger ones.

8. Reliability of hosting service. Many hosts list their reliability in terms of uptime, such as 99.7% uptime. Some hosts will given give you free hosting time if they fail to meet their uptime. There is no such thing as 100% uptime. Web host servers are more reliable than personal computers but no computer is perfect. Generally, anything over 99% is good.

Remember that the cheapest host is not necessarily the best. Consider all the factors I’ve listed above, then decide. The best choice will give you the most features for your money. Most importantly, reliability is one area you should never ever skimp on just to save a few bucks. If you do, it could end up costing you more money then you saved. It possible to find a good low cost host as long as you keep reliability in mind.

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Donna Knight is a Computer Trainer and Website Promotion Specialist. She has built over 200 websites and helps new site owners promote their site cheaply. For tips that will help you save money and save time when marketing online, visit her Internet Marketing Tools and Reviews blog at http://www.DonnaKnight.com
=============================================
Copyright (C) 2005 Donna Knight. All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to post this article in newsletters, free ebooks or websites as long as the article and resource box remain intact. For product reviews, you may substitute your affiliate referral link for the product URL.
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