You will need Roboform to keep your growing collection of user ID’s and Passwords under control.
And to keep your growing collection of invaluable internet marketing information, sources, ebooks etc you will need the Internet Marketing Index by Alex Goodall.
You are probably going to be participating in teleconferences and webinars to help your education along. That means phonebills. Reduce them to a minimum by using Skype.
Many new starters in internet marketing come to it with little knowledge of computers and the internet. I know I did. I came from a corporate environment where when something went wrong I picked up the phone and called the IT guy. Then I went for a coffee while he fixed the problem I had created.
Now you are aiming to make a business using the same tools but without the IT guy. Rather than worry about learning lots of fancy tricks your priority should be just in protecting yourself and/or your business – and that means your computer.
Firstly, don’t get scared. If you start researching this subject on the internet then you will rapidly find sites that offer your free scans and fixes. Ignore them as they probably come in the category of ‘scareware’, i.e. they will inevitably tell you that there is something seriously wrong with your computer setup and you must install their product immediately to fix it. Just don’t! Once it is there you will probably find it rather difficult if not impossible to get rid of.
There are well know, commercial antivirus programmes available with probably the best known being Norton and McAfee. What is less well known is that there are very capable AV systems available for free that are just as good and often don’t cause some of the problems of conflcts with other systems that the big players do.
AVG is available from www.grisoft.com and Avast! is probably equally as good.
Spyware is a growing menace and can be devastating. Read more about Spyware.
Staying up to date
The other thing to do is to ensure that your Windows and other software products stay up to date with the latest version. Microsoft usually issues updates on the first Tuesday of each month and you can set your system to update automatically by clicking on the shield icon, usually in the bottom right of your screen next to the clock.
If you have a broadband connection then a firewall is essential. Although Windows Firewall does a reasonable job, again there is free software available. Try ZoneAlarm(15 days free trial), Commodo and R-Firewall.
Keep you Software up to date, your anti-virus package regularly updated and a robust firewall in place and you should be reasonably secure. But remember that the weakest link is always the human being – that means you. Resist the urge to click on unknown links, open email attachments that you are not expecting and respond to strange questions.
Remember that your curiosity is the hackers greatest friend.
As you work with several applications open at the same time you will find that an old friend called Windows Notepad that you have probably been neglecting since fancy applications like Word were made available becomes increasingly useful.
Modern applications like Microsoft Word and FrontPage are very powerful software applications that try to make the users life as easy as possible. To do this they contain and produce a lot of code which tries to trap and prevent the obvious mistakes that the user is likely to make. Transferring data between applications often means Cut and Paste, either using the Edit choice from the Menu if you like using the mouse or Ctrl C (for Copy) and Ctrl V (for Paste) if you are happier using the keyboard – which is usually faster when you get used to it. Unfortunately, copying out of one application often means picking up that coding which is probably not required or positively damaging in the second application you are trying to add the content to.
The way to prevent this is to paste it into Notepad first. This cleans up the code as Notepad is a very basic word processor without many of the extra bells and whistles and simply dumps the superflous code. Then you can copy and paste out of Notepad and into the other application.
This is where we come to keeping notes. Things will always go wrong. Sometime, somewhere you may need that piece of information again. Either during that same work session or shortly afterwards as you make sure by testing that what you have created is working properly. Then you can go back to that Notepad file to recover the data without having to open up the source application to find the data all over again. And to avoid creating a myriad of Notepad files I create one each day and give it a filename for the date in the format YYMMDD (year,month,date), e.g. 071026 is 26 October 2007.
Why that date format? Firstly, because I never have to think about what to call it. Secondly, because the system stores files in alphanumeric order. Or in this case as it contains only numbers and no letters entirely by numeric order. So it will automatically save your note files in the correct date order. I suggest you create a folder called Daily Notes immediately under your \My Documents folder, i.e. \MyDocuments\Daily Notes. When you first open Notepad on any day just immediately save the file (Save As…) with the date name – even before you have put anything into it. Don’t trust any automatic backup. Get into the habit that whenever you add information to any file, never mind just this one, automatically hit Ctrl S to save your latest data. Then the power can go off, your computer crashes, hell freezes over – none of it matters because as long as you can restart somehow and get back to your application then your latest data is saved and you have lost nothing.
Composing entries for online posting
The other way that Notepad is useful is when composing entries for forums, blogs, blog comments and the like. If you hold an online service open for any length of time then there is a risk that something will go wrong. The server will time out (decide you are no longer connected because there is no activity – and therefore disconnect from the server’s end), power failure, system crash – any of the usual things that can go wrong. Then the great long posting that you have been preparing for the last hour is lost forever.
So don’t compose entries for online services online. Do it offline in Notepad or even Word if you want to use tools like Spellchecker or Word Count that are not available in Notepad. Then you can just open up the online service, clean your entry by Cut and Paste through Notepad if you prepped it in Word and then Paste it into the online service, check your online settings and Save. All done in less than 20 seconds connection time with far less risk of losing your hard work.
From time to time you may find you need to convert files from one format to another. If so, you will find this site very useful: www.zamzar.com./
Broadband and ISP
We all of us have those frustrating occasions from time to time when we are desperately trying to complete a piece of work and your connection slows down for some reason. Then the site you are connected to times out and drops your login.
To keep a running record of the speed of your connection try www.thinkbroadband.com. This is primarily intended for the UK market but I don’t see why it should not work elsewhere. The speedtest is free and once you register you can set up several connnection records. Then every speedtest you carry out you can record against a specific connection and it will chart your speedtest results for you. Invaluable if you end up in an argument with your ISP.
After subscribing to a few pundits lists you will frequently be invited to register to attend a ‘call’ when some hopefully relevant piece of marketing information is being discussed between experts or an expert is being interviewed. Of course, this is a very cheap way for the sponsors to get the information across because they are doing nothing more than talk about what they know. They will often record the call and subsequently turn it into a product for sale.
The common name for the telephone version is a teleseminar or conference call where it is possible for all participants to make themselves heard in Q&A sessions provided it is properly organised. These are made using the telephone system and a telephone ‘bridge’. Don’t ask me what that is but that’s how it’s done. You will be given a number to call and often a PIN number – which will be the same for all participants on the call. When you call the number it is used simply to allocate you into the correct conversation or ‘room’ as the service hosting the call is providing this service to many customers at the same time. You will usually get automatic voice instructions about what to do to enter your PIN when you first dial in.
To connect to a teleseminar you use the telephone and the cost of the call can become a consideration. So you need to investigate and organise a method of cheap telephone access. This may be by signing up for a calling card but possibly the quickest way of getting connected is by using the SkypeOut version of Skype.
This uses the internet to carry the call as close as possible to the destination and then surfaces at the nearest comminications node and makes a local call from there. You have to buy credit with SkypeOut before you can make calls but after that it costs only pennies per hour. I also find it an advantage using a headset to leave my hands free to make notes using Notepad, to access websites being referred to etc.
Note that you cannot use Skype (a computer to computer internet service) because the other end of the call is a telephone connection and not a computer unlike SkypeOut which is computer to telephone. Note also that some teleseminar services do not deal automatically with Skypeout and you have to wait for the service operator to make a connection for you.
Organising Teleconferences for yourself.
If you want to run your own teleseminars and webinars then try www.freeconference.com, www.gotomeeting.com, www.hotconference.com or www.webex.com.
Webinars are carried completely on the internet and have the advantage that they can also carry images. So a webinar will often show the presenters screen so that they can show you exactly how to achieve something or they can lead you to sites that they want to illustrate.
Being computer based a webinar requires you to install software on your computer so you will be given a link and asked to download and install the software. Then at the time of the call you just start the software which will connect to the webinar. Examples of webinar software would include Hot Conference, Webex and GotoMeeting.