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SOFThinking Private Label Rights

January 2012


Why Good Quality Content Is Critical For Website Success

Cynthia typaldos online reputation


Cynthia Typaldos

Darren Chow



plus Gadgets interviews products

Chris Guillebeau

Q and A

Chris Guillebeau

Elijah James

Making Good Website Templates With WordPress


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wmm contents


Regular Columns 6




Editor’s Letter Welcome to the December edition.

SOFThinking Newsletter Inbox Got something to say? Tell us what you think.

SOFThinking Newsletter Success Story A Small Business Marketing Success Story: Pink Cake Box




Ask the Expert Internet Marketing Interview With Super Affiliate Lynn Terry


SOFThinking Gadgets and Toys You know you want them.





Amber Mac is the author of Power Friending

SOFThinking News Stuff you should know about.




What’s On Seminars, Expos and Summits, oh my!

Advertise in SOFThinking Be seen by 150,000+ potential customers. WMM Tools Books, Courses, Software etc.

WMM Videos Watch useful videos on internet marketing etc Q&A Your burning questions answered.

WMM Useful Links All the links in one handy place.





The Cynthia Typaldos Interview

WMM Marketplace Buy & Sell domains and websites.

Featured Products & Contributors The people and products that helped make this edition.

Back Story Group-Forming Networks and Online Reputation

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SOFThinking contents

[ DECEMBER 2011 ]






Why Good Quality Content Is Critical For Website Success By: Darren Chow

Importance of Traffic Generation for A New Online Business By: Allan See

Building Online Business Connections By: Colette Summers

Latest Google Gadgets By: Matt Bacak






Web Page information By: D Mondal

Creation and about

Some it

Step by Step Guide to start an Online Business By: Emil Wong Promote you Blog Site For Free with tribe Pro By: S Koenig Contributors

Latest Google Gadgets




Step by Step Guide to start an Online Business

Can You make money on Youtube? By: Hazli Khalim

Making Good website Templates with Wordpress By: Elijah James


SOFThinking editor Welcome to the December edition of SOFThinking Newsletter. I'd like to welcome our new contributors this month. We have some great contributions from Darren Chow, Cynthia Typaldos and Elijah James and other innovators contributing some great articles that you should get a lot out of. Your strategy for the upcoming Christmas shopping period should be firmly in place by now. Don’t panic. We'll provide some useful tips and solutions. You should definitely be starting to see the fruits of your labour with the Christmas shopping frenzy firmly upon us. Check out this month's articles for advice and tools to help you maximise your returns this season. If you haven't had a chance to download out iPhone App, check it out now, as we have recently updated it. Get access to the latest issue of the magazine right from your iPhone or iPad. It's available in the app store; see our website for further details. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of the magazine, and as always please email me if you have any comments, contributions or feedback.

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.

Abdou Karim and SOFThinking -Laurence L. Peter


Talk to me

Keep your valuable feedbacks coming to us. I try to reply to every email, I appreciate Your input as it helps to make SOFThinking Newsletter the Best magazine possible. Drop me an email, and the best email… Write to me at: softhinkingnewsletter@followup.adlandpro

Advertising Maimouna GUEYE Contributors Various worldwide experts in their fields

SOFThinking Inbox

The instructions and advice in the magazine are for entertainment purposes only. The creators, producers, contributors and distributors or SOFThinking Newsletter disclaim any liability for loss or lack of results from following the advice expressed herein.

How can I take advantage of the influx of Christmas shoppers online?

If you tell us what you Like and don’t like about SOFThinking Newsletter What worked for you Or what you think sucks, Then we can make it an Even better magazine. So come on, Flick us an email And let us know.


I want to make sure I maximise the sales to my online store during the busy holiday season. Do you have any tips for me? - Lindsay.

Although high volumes of sales are experienced online during the holiday season, your strategy and planning to take advantage of the rush should have been firmly in place months earlier to fully take advantage of the rush. Having said that, some blog posts, article marketing and press releases with Christmas related content and keywords for the items you are selling will help drive some traffic to your offers.

I'm just starting our and just want to make some money. I haven't been online long, but I really just want to make some money - I don't really care how. What's the best way? - Hellen.

You should have a look at providing services like article writing or blog posting. Companies are always on the lookout for great unique content to help advertise their products, so this is a good place to start. -Ed. Follow me on Facebook: http:///

How do I revive an old product to get more sales? I've got an old product and the sales have really dropped off. Is there something I can do to revamp the product and relaunch it to start getting sales rolling in again? I don't really have a whole lot of money or time to spend on updating the product, but would love to start selling copies again. - Alan.

Often all that is required to update an old product is an extra few chapters, some new videos or bonuses. Then look at revamping the product graphics and adding a "Version 2" or "Newly updated" banner to all your sales materials. People love to get the latest versions and updated content, so that should get things rolling again for you. -Ed.

Both the paper and our printer meet the international standard ISO 14001 for environmental management. The paper comes from sources certified under the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification scheme (PEFC). Please recycle this magazine – or give it to a mate.


8 >>Email us:

Did you know:

Only 16.6% of world population surf the internet.

DEC We Highlight Your 06 Events Here

Ready to launch or grow your small business? Date: December 07, 2011


Digital Christmas Party

Clerkenwell House, London, United Kingdom, Dakar, Paris, Berlin, and so on… It's Christmas time. It's been a long year. What we all need is to enjoy, hope and chance for 2012. Wish You Merry Christmas…

Innovation Ceremony





23rd December 2012 (6:30pm – 11:59pm) Econsultancy’s fourth annual Innovation Awards have now been expanded to encompass more entries, enhanced categories as well as a glittering awards ceremony.

What’s on? DEC


2011 Boston Pipeline Fellowship Conference

Friday, December 2, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (ET) Boston, MA http://2011bostonpipelinefellowshipconference

For the first time ever, the Massachusetts Conference for Women has partnered with Tory Johnson, workplace contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of Women For Hire and Spark & Hustle, to provide a full day of programming designed exclusively for current and aspiring small business owners. The Massachusetts Conference for Women Spark & Hustle Small Business Boot Camp will feature solo presenters, panel discussions, interactive exercises and structured networking. In this fast-paced, advice-driven day

Get more customers, Leverage the internet, Monetize Social Media, and Growth Your Business


The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom. ~Jon Stewart

SOFThinking News Does Google Hate Affiliate Marketers? Does Google hate affiliate marketers? ‘Hate’ may be a little extreme but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Google doesn’t want websites and web pages in its search engine index that it believes add no value to – or junk up – its search results. Unfortunately for many affiliate marketers, Google interprets many affiliate sites as doing exactly that. Affiliate marketers have long suspected Google’s ire towards them, whether as a result of seeing their sites removed from Google’s index or of having to pay exorbitant pay-per-click costs to advertise in Google Adwords. Recently, a proprietary Google document surfaced on the Internet and in affiliate marketing circles that put all such doubts to rest. The document – which Google has subsequently sought to remove from those who have published it – indicates that Google distrusts, devalues and may even de-index websites that do little more than promote affiliate products or services.


U.S. Mobile Social Media Audience Up 37 Percent in 2011

Accessing social networking sites or blogs via mobile device in August 2011, according to research by comScore, Inc. Almost 40 million U.S. mobile users – over half of the estimated U.S. mobile social media audience – visit social media sites via mobile each day, reports the research firm. comScore’s research also shows that, right now, more mobile users access social media sites via their mobile web browser than via a social networking app (42.3 million compared with 38.5 million). This is likely to change, however. The growth in users accessing social media sites via social networking app is much higher than the growth in access via mobile browser. In the last year those accessing social media sites via mobile browser rose by 24 percent, compared with the huge 126 percent growth in the audience for social networking apps.

Feature Article .



Quotable :

The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. ~Bill Gates

Why Good Quality Content Is Critical For Website Success By Darren Chow You want your website to be as successful as possible, right? Everyone does. Nobody can devote the amount of time that it takes to make their site successful without caring about its success. So why do so many neglect content when it comes to getting the word out there and seeing results? Search engine optimization and link exchanges may help move you into prominence, but you will never be able to attain them without first giving an eye to your content. Content is the cornerstone of every successful website, and when you think about why this is so, it's really quite easy to explain. Users look for content first above all else. They do so for the following reasons: 1) Content informs People mostly use the Internet for information that can help them improve their lives in some way. That's why information is so popular online. But if your site is going to be set apart from the rest, you need a unique spin that no one else has considered. Too often, websites all sound the same. They bring nothing new to the topic of conversation. For your content to stand out, you need a new perspective that no one has ever considered when approaching the topic. This sounds more difficult than it really is. Just think about your own personal experiences, questions, and concerns, and use that to develop content that will keep the audience coming back for more.

2) Content entertains More often than not, people are starting to look for entertainment online. With the advent of online streaming and other incredibly convenient features, the Internet has started to supplant television and theater. If you have a funny or suspenseful way of presenting material, then you stand a much better chance of connecting with an audience that will want to support you through thick and thin. There is any number of ways that you can entertain, but the important thing to remember is that entertainment requires the use of an audience and feedback. Keep experimenting with what you're trying to do, don't be afraid of failure, and forge ahead with the intention of improving with each new piece of content.

3) Content problem



Another reason why good quality content is critical for website success is that users are looking for content that solves a problem. Whether that problem is how to fix a kitchen faucet, how to pass a math test, or how to find funny parody videos on all of today's pop music, there is a better chance of your content connecting when it addresses and fills a need in the audience's life. Good quality content will always reign supreme online because of the above benefits that it gives to your audience. A Good reference: Web Design Business Startup Kitâ&#x20AC;Ś

SOFThinking Success story A Small Business Marketing Success Story: Pink Cake Box Name: Jesse Heap Success Story

Ready for something different? Typically in this space each month, I write a “How To” or “Why To” article with ideas and tips for helping small businesses succeed online. I’d like to go in a different direction: profiles of small businesses that are succeeding online. I’m a big believer that learning from the successful examples of others is often the best way to grow a small business, and hopefully you’ll agree. Today, I’ll introduce you to a small business that’s baking up a storm via its web site, a blog, public relations, and social media. Pink Cake Box is a specialty cake shop in northern New Jersey with 10 employees. They opened for business in 2005, built their own web site, and started a blog all in that same year. They’ve been featured in People, Modern Bride, and several other publications. They are, by any definition I can think of, a successful small business. And as Jesse Heap—whose wife, Anne, is the pastry chef and cake designer— says, they owe much of their success to solid online marketing. “I don’t think we realized how critical the web would become to our business,” Jesse told me recently via e-mail. (Note: I have never met the Heaps in person, and have no business relationship with them.) Here’s our interview. Matt McGee: How important has your web site been to growing the business? Jesse Heap: It’s been crucial to helping build the business and driving customer growth. The majority of our customers originate through the web. Our site has also opened up doors with media contacts and helped us score a spot on CNN along with several prominent magazines and newspapers. A lot of small businesses have trouble finding the right people to develop their web site. How did you go about it? From a technical perspective, we took the DIY approach but decided to rely heavily on open source software like WordPress to build and manage the site. Our goal was to create a content management system that would allow our non-technical employees to contribute to our content. Not everyone has the in-house expertise to build a strong web presence, so my advice would be to find a provider who has experience implementing open source CMS systems like Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress. The marketing piece requires much more dedication. I think it’s harder to find outside expertise in Internet marketing that is dedicated and truly understands your industry.


Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks. ~Author Unknown


But as with any new business in startup mode, if you devote extra effort upfront, whether that be by investing your own time or investing money to hire someone else, you’ll see the dividends pay off in the future.

You guys also have a blog. What convinced you to start blogging? When launching the business in 2005, we looked at our competitors and realized that, for the most part, they had built attractive web destinations. However, almost all our competitors had static sites that lacked the ability to connect with customers like a blog can. We realized that, in order to differentiate ourselves, we had to use our blog to promote our cakes and offer customers and cake enthusiasts a constant stream of new cake, contests, & videos. Our goal was to stay connected to our customers and help foster stronger brand recognition. Our approach helped attract links from hobbyists that lead to increased search engine visibility and ultimately more customers. The other positive aspect of blogging on the WordPress platform is its native and extended SEO capabilities. Out of the box, WordPress has some strong SEO capabilities and with the right combinations of plugins and tweaks, it is an SEO powerhouse. Blogging is a real commitment. If you want to create a valuable blog, you have to invest time to keep it updated. How do you guys handle the time commitment issue? I couldn’t agree more. This is especially an issue with small businesses—there always seems to be a more businesscritical task that needs to be completed. Fortunately, our content is more visual in nature and doesn’t require the level of commitment that a more copy-centric blog requires. Realizing this, we’ve tailored our WordPress platform to focus more on photos. Instead of copy, our blog categories and tags display photos. Instead of displaying our most recent posts by blog title, we insert a thumbnail of the cake, cupcake, or cookie highlighted in the post. To save time, we’ve integrated the WordPress platform throughout our site. The goal is to drive as many pages as possible directly off of our blog content. This minimizes maintenance and allows us to concentrate on our core competency: sharing our cake artwork with the world. Has the blog been a successful marketing tool for you? Without a doubt, our blog is the centerpiece of our web presence and has been an extremely successful marketing tool. The blog receives upwards of 120,000 unique visitors a month and drives a large percentage of our orders. How do you measure its success? Measuring success is an interesting question. When we first started out, I placed a strong emphasis on building traffic. I was of the mindset, “the more traffic, and the better.” And initially this worked well and helped drive orders. But we reached a saturation point where our high traffic started contributing to a deluge of e-mails and calls from “information seekers”—in other words, people not interested in placing an order, but more interested in finding out information about how to make our cakes.

13 We didn’t have the capacity to handle this deluge and realized that our “more traffic the better” mantra needed to be refined. We began focusing our content on products that lead to better order conversions. And rather then measuring aggregate traffic numbers, we focused our measurement on traffic from our strategic focus areas. PCB has had a lot of press attention— magazines, newspapers, etc. Did you actively seek that, or did they find you? Initially we had to seek out press contacts. Our initial strategy involved reaching out to media outlets via e-mail. Each e-mail included a portfolio of our products along with links back to our web site. We also found success through customer contacts that have recommended us to their media contacts. We have also worked hard to maintain relationships we’ve built with the media. This includes small things like sending holiday cards to larger partnerships to help promote complementary content on our blog. At the end of the day, though, having a unique and strong product is the key to getting press attention. You guys make some amazing cakes and cookies, so there’s an obvious visual element to your business. Have you done any marketing on Flickr or even YouTube? Thanks, my wife is amazingly talented. :)

14 We’ve heavily leveraged Flickr as an outlet for our cakes. In fact, our Most Popular Cakes galleryis driven off the Flickr API. It displays all of our “Most Interesting” photos based on Flickr’s data. Flickr has also helped us from a media perspective. Our initial contact with CNN occurred through Flickr and we’ve developed various relationships with other bloggers through Flickr. We’ve also created a YouTube channel but have not fully leveraged it because of the time commitment required to create videos. We have future plans to expand this. Between the web site and the blog, and taking photos and posting them on Flickr, and all the other stuff you have going on—it sounds like a ton of work! I can imagine another small business owner thinking, “We’d never have the time to do all this.” How do you guys manage these online efforts? I currently handle all the online efforts, but in the long run as we look to expand our online efforts, we’ll have to look to hire additional help. I agree that a sole proprietor would find it difficult from a time commitment perspective to manage an online effort themselves at the level that we do.

But as with any new business in startup mode, if you devote extra effort up-front, whether that be by investing your own time or investing money to hire someone else, you’ll see the dividends pay off in the future. It takes time to build a strong web presence, but once you gain momentum and develop a streamlined process, the site’s popularity will help sustain your business. The key assumption here is you have a strong product or service to sell. Do you guys have time to pay much attention to the search marketing industry? Do you read Search Engine Land and other sites like that? I read industry sites like SEL religiously. I make time to do it because I strongly believe our success is highly correlated with our reach and visibility throughout the Internet. My favorites include the typical characters: Matt Cutts, Blogstorm, SEO Book, Small Business SEM, andSphinn. I also pay close attention to blogs in our industry. I’ve been particularly impressed with a relatively new blog called, created by Jessie Olsen. Jessie has done a fantastic job of creating compelling content while simultaneously (and subtly) pushing her cake artwork. What about PPC? Do you do any paid search advertising? We haven’t explored this option yet and don’t have any plans at this time.

What’s next for PCB? Any new marketing ideas you’re excited to try? Some of the things we are working on: •

We are working on opening an online store to sell complementary cake products • Creating international versions of our blog to further drive international traffic • We are also exploring opening a retail shop For the future, we realize we need to take our blog to the next level in order to continue our successes. We’ll look to introduce more social media aspects to our blog to encourage greater user engagement. Specifically, some of the things we are thinking about include the ability for users to create their own profiles, vote for their favorite cakes, and engage in more polls and contests. Thanks, Jesse. Keep up the great work. As you can see, Pink Cake Box is a small business that understands the power of search and online marketing. If you are (or know of) a small business owner with a great story to tell about how you’re using the Internet to grow your business, please contact me at my blog, Small Business SEM. ATTENTION SUBSCRIBERS: GUARANTEED to build your list 9x faster than ANY OTHER method. Save time, save energy, promote to multiple lists today.

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Softhinking newsletter asks the


Internet Marketing Interview With Super Affiliate Lynn Terry Interview by: Bob The Teacher

As part of my quest to help you see what it really takes to succeed online, I’ve asked Super Affiliate Marketer Lynn Terry to share her thoughts on 4 key areas of her profitable online business: • • • •

Time management Focus Commitment, and How to go from start to profit

Enjoy the interview, and be sure to hang out with Lynn and I in her internet marketing forum. Time Management

Bob The Teacher: ClickNew z is one of the m ost popular affiliate m arketing blogs out there, and I’m im pressed by how m uch of a com m unity feel you’ve developed there. I’d love to know how m uch tim e (as a ratio because I’m a m ath guy) do you spend on the follow ing blog activities: • • • •

writing your posts, responding to comments, tweeting about your blog posts, linking back to your blog by commenting on other people’s blogs.

Lynn Terry: You actually outlined them in the exact order of time I spend, and priority I put on each of those tasks. I spend the majority of time writing blog posts, and then responding to the comments on those posts. Quality content and keeping a sense of community are my top priorities at my internet marketing blog. I notice that a lot of bloggers use automated tweeting systems to tweet their new blog posts, but I tweet mine manually – as a means of also opening the topic for discussion on Twitter. It only takes a matter of seconds to copy the URL and paste it into a tweet, and I like keeping it personal.

You want to create multiple streams of income within your one niche for sure. There’s no point leaving money on the table! You should absolutely consider every possible way to monetize your niche.

Did you know: More videos were uploaded in youtube in the last 2 months than if ABC, NBC had been airing new content 24/7/365 since 1948.


SOFThinking newsletter asks the Expert As for blog commenting, it’s not one of my favorite linkbuilding methods. I find that it takes more time and energy than other ways to gain high quality inbound links, so I usually get involved in blog comments simply because I have something to add to the discussion. The link is just a perk… :) BTT: Which area should you do more? Less? LT: I would like to blog more frequently. I currently post about one post per day on average. I did a little test with post frequency last year and found that it increases traffic exponentially. The more you post, the more appearances you make in Google’s results and the more traffic you get to your blog. One of my goals is to up my posting frequency to 3 posts per day. That won’t necessarily be 3 pillar articles or lengthy tutorials, but perhaps one great post and then a couple of resourceful or fun posts.

BTT: Do you have any time management tricks or tools that you rely on?

LT: The one thing that you have to do is figure out

what is going to work best for you, in your environment and your unique circumstances. Some people have children or spouse’s schedules to work around, and we all have times of the day when we are most productive. You have to really take a look at your day, and your energy levels, and choose to work when you’re at your best. And if that time is limited… focus on priority tasks. I use a dry-erase wall calendar because I am “out of sight, out of mind”, and I also use the calendar in Outlook (my email program) which will give me audio alerts. Those alerts are helpful as I often get so engrossed in researching, writing or link-building that I easily lose track of time. Focus

BTT: You get up at the crack of dawn most days to enjoy your coffee and the sunrise. Do you give yourself a schedule for how you complete each day’s tasks? Or do you just kind a wing it?

BTT: When it comes to affiliate marketing, a lot of people have trouble getting focused on a specific niche. What advice would you give them?

LT: That’s true – I do love catching the sunrise over

LT: First, any new ideas go on that master task list –

coffee ;)

I start my day with a mini-task list. This is “the top 3 things I must get done first today”, and it is pulled from my master task list. Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets to skip line in front of my 3 priority tasks. The key is to keep a master task list, and to keep it prioritized. Any new thing that comes your way goes on that list – it doesn’t get to skip line and distract you the minute you discover it. My own list can become messy with all the strike through and additions, so I end each day by making sure it’s correctly prioritized. According to my objectives, of course. That way I can start the morning off each day by simply plucking the top 3 tasks off the list.

they don’t get to “cut line” and take priority over your current project. That’s my rule. I may register a domain and make note of my idea on the master task list, but then it’s back to work on the current project until it is complete.

Start to Profit – that’s my motto. Once you start a niche affiliate site, you take it all the way to profit and automation so that it’s in “maintenance mode”. You never want to have more than one project in “development phase” at a time – not until you’ve really mastered the process, at least. BTT: People are infatuated with the idea of multiple streams of income. Do you prefer to develop your streams in different niches, or different areas of the same niche?

LT: Great question… Outside of that, which is done fairly early in the day, I Check out Iain Mcdonald’s website: don’t keep a strict work schedule. I have tried this in the past, but found that I prefer a lot of freedom and flexibility – particularly for my creative work, like writing.


You want to create multiple streams of income within your one niche for sure. There’s no point leaving money on the table! You should absolutely consider every possible way to monetize your niche. It’s a lot less work to add another stream of income to an established site than it is to start a new site in a new niche. Once I exhaust the options with a niche site, and have it running as automated as possible (requiring less than 5 hours a week to maintain -tops), then I will often move to another project – creating another website in another niche. Commitment

BTT: You’ve been online for over a decade now . Have you ever lost your sense of com m itm ent to your business? I f so, how did you overcom e that so you could continue to grow ? LT: Oddly, I’ve never fully lost my sense of commitment. There were times that I was frustrated with how things were going or less than enthusiastic about the type of work where I was spending my time. It has never been to the point of that “burn out” feeling I’d had with jobs in the past, but anything less than being 100% happy always gets my attention. The minute I sense that lack of enthusiasm, I sit down and analyze the issues. I look for ways to outsource or automate if possible, or consider changes that may need to be made to my business model. I never let it go on without addressing it immediately. We spend entirely too much of our adult life involved in our career for it to make us even the slightest bit unhappy.

BTT: W hen you’re developing a niche affiliate w ebsite, how long do you w ait for it to turn a profit before you decide it’s not going to pan out? LT: It is so easy to turn a profit considering the low investment involved in starting a new niche affiliate site. To start, I usually have less than $20 invested before I start making sales – and that’s simply the domain name and first month of hosting. Even my very first niche affiliate site made a profit within 3 weeks. I’ve actually never had an affiliate site NOT turn a profit in short time. At least, not a site that I actually finished. ;) A lot of people give up before they complete the site, and market it properly. You can’t assume a niche or a website isn’t going to be profitable if you don’t commit to seeing it all the way through. From Start To Profit

BTT: How did you m ake your first dollar on the internet? LT: You’re really tapping my memory here, Bob – that was way back in the 90’s! lol… I honestly can’t recall how I made that very first dollar, but I do remember my first affiliate check – and it was a turning point in my online business, and the direction I ultimately chose (niche affiliate marketing). I had a web development company, and I had a client with a large mailing list that I was working for. He needed a new newsletter template designed, and offered to barter with me for one ad spot in his next issue. We had worked together for a while so I accepted.

18 I found an affiliate program that was a good match for his readership, wrote up an ad and included my affiliate link. As I watched the sales come in, and then the check arrived in the mail… I knew that affiliate marketing was something I wanted to explore on a bigger level.

BTT: W hy do you think so m any people struggle to m ake their first dollar online? W hat can a new affiliate m arketer do to accelerate their results? LT: Stay focused. Once you pick a project, put everything you have into it. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing – ask! There are plenty of forums, and plenty of sources for solid information, so there’s no reason to go it alone out there and wonder if you’re doing things right or not. The one mistake I see above all others is that people will start a project or a site, and never complete it. Ideas are a dime a dozen, and chasing ideas and doing a little work here and there is going to get you nowhere – and fast. Stick it out with one idea… all the way from start to profit.

BTT: You’ve used a lot of m ethods for m aking m oney as an affiliate: reports, blogging, videos, social m edia, etc. W hich has brought you the m ost success? Has that changed over the last 5 years? LT: I am constantly testing new methods to increase my affiliate income. My favorite marketing method is SEO (search engine optimization) because it is incredibly effective – and results in passive traffic & sales. That said, I never rely on one method. The success is not in the platform (HTML vs WordPress), or in the marketing method even – the success is in the model of serving your market, in whatever ways it takes to reach them and engage them in your offer or your content. BTT: Thanks for sharing your time with us, Lynn! LT: Anytime!

Feature Article .

Importance of Traffic Generation for A New Online Business By: Allan See

Being able to make money online is by no means a simple undertaking, and requires a considerable amount of planning and effort. With the right tools and know-how, it is easy to make money online, and enable an online business to flourish. There are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration before the online business can be successful, the most important being traffic building. Traffic building is essentially directing online traffic towards the website or blog for the online business. It is a top concern among online business owners, as it holds the key to make money online. For any business to be successful there is need for customers, as they bring income to the business. It is therefore important for any online business to target and direct traffic towards the online business. Most of the businesses that have been able to make money online attribute this to the fact that they employ superior traffic building tools. These have for the most part led to the growth of a lot of online businesses, and have enabled many business owners to make fortunes out of their businesses. It is therefore important to look into what tools successful online businesses employ to enable success.

20 There are a number of ways to direct traffic to one's website, and these vary from the free to the expensive. The business owner looking to make money by starting an Internet business needs to find out what traffic building tools suit his particular kind of business, and how he can begin to take advantage of these tools to see the growth of his business. It is important to remember that a traffic building tool that works for one website is not automatically guaranteed to work on yours. It is important to pay attention to the tools that will fit your particular business, and to determine this, you may ask for professional assistance, or simply talk to other online business owners. Traffic building for an Internet business can sometimes turn out to be an expensive option. This is particularly so for an online business that is just starting out or those those operate on a tight budget. It is therefore also important to figure out the amount of money that is at the disposal of the business for the purpose of traffic building. This is important so as to avoid later problems. By conducting research and talking to other Internet business owners, it is easy to get an indication of how much it would cost your business to take advantage of traffic building, as well as find the most effective tool for this purpose. Extensive research is required to ensure that the business owner is able to make the correct decisions and be able to make money. Traffic building is arguably the most important part of web design and Internet business, and so needs to be treated as such. A very small number of Internet businesses are able to survive without the use of traffic building, and so it is necessary to take this factor into serious consideration when starting an Internet business if you want to be successful. If you are reading this article, my guess is you have some frustration, that you are not making an online business income like the Internet Gurus. There are 3 possibilities - product is not a bestseller, website traffic is not enough, website is not converting.


Building Online Business Connections By Colette Summers To build an online business connection is usually much harder than building a business connection in person but it doesn't have to be that way.

So prior to this meeting you have an idea in your mind how the first meeting will go because you feel like you know them.

If you think about the first time you meet someone in person there are a lot of things you find out about them.

But it's not what you expected at all!

Here are just a few examples of those: Do they seem outgoing and enthusiastic? Obviously if they say only a handful of words and you don't sense the energy in their voice then they probably don't have these qualities. Do they present themselves well and have nice clothes on? So if they come to meet you in their sweat pants with holes in them and it looks like they wore a cap to cover up their hair that hasn't been washed or combed in a while you would probably think of them as a slob. When you ask them questions do you feel like they gave you a straight answer and are willing to help you? Or when you ask them a question how they skate around the answer and never get to the answer if this the case you may feel like they are in it for themselves and they don't much care about you. These are just a few examples of how you might view someone after you speak with them face to face so all in all you can get a pretty good feeling of who this person is. Then comes the building of an online business connection where your reading someoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blog posts, articles, emails, finding them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube it can be harder to really figure out who this person is. But wait! Then you have a chance to meet them in person at a live event and after reading about them and studying from them for some time you meet face to face.

After talking with the person for a few minutes you don't feel like this is the person who has been behind the articles, blog post and emails. Right there a sense of trust is lost and possibly any future online business connections. The person online was trying to be someone they were not and it was very evident once the face was put with the name. While it is important to read and study what other are doing if you try to follow their every move it will come back to bite you. The easiest way to build online businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; connections is to be genuine by just being yourself; people will relate to you and in turn you will build that connection quicker. The best thing to do when writing is to write exactly how you speak and don't try to impress people by using big words if that is not how you speak. When creating video make it real for your audience, take the video in your office, home or outdoors. Don't go to a professional studio in your best dressed with makeup on if that's not who you are. With so many people skeptical of online business it will take work to build the connection but don't ever overlook the easiest way for you build that relationship and that is to BE YOURSELF!


SOFThinking Gadgets & Toys Amazon has Star Bluetooth Headsets

So how is the Bluetooth headset? It is really going where most Bluetooth headsets have gone before, with its onebutton controls, USB recharging, 120 hour standby time… I got a chance to try it out, and it didn’t really stand out from other

Time Command Mini from Stem Innovation This is the Time Command Mini by Stem Innovation, makers of the iZON Remote Room Monitor for iDevices. The Time Command Mini is also made for iDevices, and normal docks are just accommodating for the iPod and iPhone. This one will hold the iPad. To me, I think that this is a very important feature.

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Feature Article . By: Matt Bacak

Latest Google Gadgets

All webmasters and bloggers are always on a constant quest to improve the browsing experience for their readers and visitors. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate the latest Google gadgets to the site. This article will show webmasters where to get the latest gadgets and how to implement them into websites. Types of Google gadgets The latest Google gadgets can be divided into two major divisions; productivity and entertainment. 1. Productivity Gadgets Productivity gadgets are those that are used to improve understanding of the content on a webpage. Some of the latest gadgets include: Calendar viewer - This gadget allows users to see the planned future events. For instance, a technology blog can show users when the next meet up is etc. Currency converter - This is one of the latest gadgets with the most usefulness. Users are able to easily convert different currencies using this gadget. They will not need to search for the exchange rates because the gadget regularly updates itself to provide the most accurate results. Stock charts - This is one of the latest Google gadgets that stock market investors find most useful. It allows users to see all the daily changes in any security's stock price without having to visit financial sites. There is a wide variety of the latest Google gadgets that increase productivity in all areas of life.

2. Entertainment Gadgets Entertainment gadgets are those that give a website's users a way to pass time on your site. They make a user enjoy the time spent on the site. The end result of this is usually lower bounce rates and more conversions. Some of the latest gadgets available include: Games like bejeweled, super Mario Bros, super fight etc. A simple fun game on a few pages on your site can do a lot in increasing time spent on the site. These latest Google gadgets work best with entertainment sites and personal blogs. Wallpaper gadgets that allow webmasters to add slideshows to the home pages. These increase a website's aesthetic appeal. These are some of the latest gadgets that most webmasters should add to their sites. How to add the latest Google gadgets to a webpage All a person needs to do is select any one of the latest gadgets that he is interested in. After clicking on it, he is taken to a page where he sets it up as the wants it to appear on the page. The parameters that are adjusted include: • Title - one can add a catchy title to the gadget to lure visitors to use it • Width in pixels • Height in pixels • Language • Border design Article Source:


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Feature Article .

Web Page Creation and Some Information About It By D Mondal

Building a website can be quite easy if you are just looking to set up a blogging site or a small company just getting started. There are many factors to look at when creating your site. How big of an audience do you want? What is it used for? What types of products do you sell? There are many places on the internet that allow you to create a website for whatever you want. Some will make you pay and some wont. It is just a matter of what it is for and how big you want it to be.

The first thing you have to do is find the site you want to be based off of. Some sites require you to pay a monthly or annual fee to use. These sites are typically for the bigger businesses who want more on their websites. The free ones are the ones that most people use to start off with. A lot of times you will have to pay for the extras, such as a domain name. Some websites will give you a domain name for free. When you have a domain name it means that particular site that you created is yours. No one else is able to take your domain name. When you find a website you are happy with and suites you needs and budget, you can start to think about what you would like your site to look like. The site that you are using to create your website from will offer you free templates. You can choose from ones that are already set up with text boxes and pictures or you can choose to build it from scratch, which can sometimes prove to be a lot tougher than it sounds. These templates are usually categorized, which makes it easier to find something that suites what you are using the website for. If you are a florist, you may want a template with flowers on it. Some websites offer the option to pay for their exclusive templates, which are a bit fancier than the free ones. After you choose a template, you can start adding your text and pictures. These will be in separate sections and you can edit them as you like and move them around to your liking. Once the website is up and running, you can choose to advertise it however you want. Making a website can be easy if you find the right place to do it. A lot of sites will build one for you with their templates and all you have to do is put in text and pictures. This can be very beneficial to those who are looking to get their business name out there and in the internet world for all to see. After you created the website, it is important to get the website name out there. You can do this in a number of different ways, but it may take some time and effort. If you do not want to pay for your website and take the risk of having fewer viewers, you can opt for the free versions. If you want your website to be the header on a main search engine, you may want to consider paying for the extras.

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Chris Guillebeau Interview Chris is a World Traveler and the Creator of the Empire Building Kit Chris Guillebeau is an online business owner and a world traveler. He can be found at or on Twitter@chrisguillebeau. One of his recent Bryan: So to get started, maybe you can explain: Who is Chris Guillebeau? Chris: I'm a writer, entrepreneur, and world traveler. I publish the blog The Art of Non-Conformity, and the new book of the same title (Compare Prices). Bryan: When was the last time you had a job? Or stayed in one place long enough to consider it home? Chris: I've never had a full-time, 9-5 job. The last part-time job I had was more than 10 years ago while working the night shift at FedEx. I learned pretty quickly that I was "unemployable." As for staying in one place, well, I do have a home in Portland, Oregon. I'm there about half the time and around the world elsewhere the other half. Bryan: A while back, you announced your intention to visit every country in the world by your 35th birthday. Howâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that project coming? And, how do you still manage to get any work done? Chris: So far, so good: I've been to 151 countries out of 192 in total. It gets progressively more difficult as I go along, but I think I'm (just barely) on track to conclude on time. As for work, I structure my travel around work and vice versa. Wherever I am, I'm thinking about work and completing various projects every day. -Stephen Colbert

Bryan: How long have you been self-sufficient (aka: making a living) with your online businesses? And what does this mean for your lifestyle? Chris: For my whole life, or at least starting at age 20 when I left FedEx. For me, self-sufficiency means no debt, enough money to do most of what I want to do, and enough to invest in others through my charity work. Bryan: Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve recently launched the Empire Building Kit. Can you explain the idea behind it, and how it works? Chris: The idea of the Empire Building Kit is to help people build a business in one year on a low budget, usually oriented around something the business owner ("emperor") is passionate about. The material is taught through a series of case studies of people who have done exactly that, along with the world's-longest follow-up series of 365 daily emails for an entire year.

WMM 31 Bryan: What type of feedback have you heard from your Empire Building students? Which students have really turned the course into a huge success? Chris: It is my most popular product and I've received only good feedback. You can use Google to find a number of people who have been chronicling their journey through the course. One fun project was, which earned more than $100,000 during a recent launch. Others are Meet Plan Go, which is in the process of turning a national movement into a business. Sean Ogle, whom I wrote about in the AONC book, now earns a full-time living online. Bryan: Obviously, not every online product or offering is going to be a raving success. What is your best flop of a product? What did you learn from it? Chris: Great question. My best flop was called Travel Ninja. I thought everyone would want it... but they didn't. Then, much later, I launched Frequent Flyer Master and it was a huge hit. The difference was that prospects felt intimidated by the material of Travel Ninja; most people didn't want to travel the world as much as I did, or at least didn't care about the technical aspects of how that works. With FFM, I tried much harder to "give them the fish" as opposed to teaching them how to fish. Bryan: What role does social media play in your businesses? Which tools do you primarily use? Chris: In some ways, my business is a product of social media. I don't think I could do what I do without what I call the small army of remarkable people who participate in different ways. As for tools, I'm pretty low-tech by design. I use WordPress, Tweet deck, Aweber, 1ShoppingCart, etc. - all free or low-cost resources.

Bryan: Many people feel that social media is too complex to master. What advice would you give them? Chris: You don't have to "master" it; you just need to consider participating in it. It can take as little as 5-10 minutes a day, and this is the way the world is communicating now. Ignore it at your peril. Bryan: What advice would you give to someone starting an online business? Chris: Always think about your customer or enduser. Why should they care about what you have to offer? It's good to be passionate about things, but in business you have to find convergence between your passions and what people are willing to spend money on. (We go through this concept in the EBK repeatedly because it's so important.) Bryan: What is up next for you? What are you reading now? Chris: Right now I'm in the middle of my 63-city book tour to every state in the U.S. and province in Canada. It's kind of an all-consuming project. But in 2011 I'll be starting a new business, heading out to about 20 countries, writing my second book, etc. As for what I'm reading, here are a few books in my bag for this trip: Built to Sell; Beg, Borrow, Steal; Everything Matters!; and The Financial Lives of Poets. I try to read widely and learn from everywhere I can.


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Feature Article . 34

Step-By-Step Guide to Start an Online Business By Emil Wong Starting an online business is not as easy as many thought it would be. It is something that requires much research and certain amount of capital investment. Firstly, you have to determine what item to sell. It could be a physical product, a digital product, a service or selling other people's products known as affiliate marketing. This product or service should be something that is related to your interest or expertise such as your hobbies, talents or areas of knowledge. Next, identify an existing niche market within your field of interest by checking on the search volume in Google AdWords. It is vital to ensure that there is sufficient demand for the product or service locally and globally. A good gauge will be to have at least 50,000-100,000 Google searches for the identified product or service per month. Once the niche market has been decided, you must then identify a problem which has yet to be solved. One way is to join online groups to observe what people are discussing and to research on the competitors' business strategy to ascertain that the problem is indeed real and that there is commercial value to provide a solution to the problem.

Now, you can then size up the profit potential by doing a simple mathematical calculation: 1) Calculate the number of clicks based on a Click through rate (CTR) assumption (eg. 15%) 2) Calculate number of sales: based on sales conversion rate (eg. 15%) 3) Calculate gross profit = Sales X gross profit per sale 4) Total pay-per-click (PPC) = Number of clicks X average PPC 5) Net profit = Gross profit - Total PPC

After determining the product or service, you can proceed to design your website and blog. It is important to register a distinct URL (an internet address for search engine to find) that easy to remember and related to the product or service. It is also crucial to find a web host that has fast and secure servers with sufficient memory to allow many people to access your website at the same time. There are many ways to build your website. You can design your own website using HTML editor software or to buy a website template and modify yourself. Alternatively, you can engage a free-lance designer or to hire a professional web design company to design your website. In your website, you should have a background description about yourself and a contact page to promote credibility. Your website should also have a clear navigation bar and supplemented with strong sales headlines and powerful graphics. Your sales copy should identify the problems that the potential buyers are facing before highlighting the benefits of your product or service and the solution that it brings. It is best that the solution of your product or service is supported by testimonies from previous satisfied clients to establish further credibility. The next important thing to do is to drive traffic to your website. One method is to boast link popularity by linking to complimentary websites with high traffic. Another way is to advertise on free classified ad sites or to pay for traffic through search engines. Alternatively, you can join an affiliate program to sell your product or service. You may also wish to search for backlinks via Google blog alert. Finally, you need to build a relationship with the prospects by forwarding related and valuable information to them on a regular basis until they become your clients eventually.


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Your Ad here Contact Contact Us >Contact us to list your Domain name or website For sale in this section

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Quotable: I have an almost religious zeal - not for technology per se, but for

the Internet which is for me, the nervous system of mother Earth, which I see as a living creature, linking up. ~Dan Millman

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Thanks to SOFThinking Newsletterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Contributors

Matt McGee

is Search Engine Land's Executive News Editor, responsible for overseeing our daily news coverage. His new career includes time spent in

Darren Chow Darren Chow is the founder of a successful Article Distribution Service and has been marketing online since 2001.

Allan See When I have time I like to share my experience. Key to success in doing online business is a businessman mindset. Never re-invent the wheel.

Colette Summers Mother, outdoor enthusiast, volunteer, coach and entrepreneur. Her passion is to make a difference in one person's life today. You can do anything if you willing to go that extra mile.

Matt Bacak There are many strategies to making money on the internet, but nothing makes sense unless you have a big list. Email Marketing is the most profitable way to make money on the internet. When you build a list of hot and hungry prospects you control your future


Thanks to SOFThinking Newsletterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Contributors

As private label owner, we are proud to benefit from their contributions: D Mondal Hello, this is Mr.D.Mondal, a SEO content writer for last 5 years.

Allen Anderson I graduate from National Universtiy of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science (Real Estate) with Honours in 2009. I am currently working at one of the local industrial developer doing Business Development and Lease Management.

S Koenig For the last two decades Mrs. Koenig has taken five companies from $0 to earning 6-figures! Her background is diverse within the rhelm of business.

Hazli Khalim Online business has only two functions - marketing and innovation. I embrace the Internet and therefore I commit fully to this course

Elijah James , I love to write about everything and anything, but I really love to write about families as I have a great family of my own with two awesome boys, one aged 3 and one just a new born so they definately keep me on my toes while I am not writing.

Feature Article


Promote Your Blog Site For Free With TribePro By S Koenig

TribePro is GENIUS! Getting your blog site on the first page of Google is no easy feat and you also must be pretty savvy using your online marketing and advertising to make that happen, but I've got a terrific strategy for you. Why not get a community of others to help you BLAST your articles or blog posts all over the net? Yeah that's correct; you can do this with TribePro. What Is TribePro? You already understand that you will need to get backlinks to your blog site. So, you are half way there. My recommendation right now is to make certain that you aren't relying on a single source for your on-line marketing. If a traffic generator dries up then you have to have many approaches of driving traffic to your web site. So, look into TribePro as a complimentary online advertising and marketing tool. There are 3 ways to join TribePro. You can sign up with TribePro for free, the Plus membership or the Pro membership. You will need to start out by writing your profile and joining a tribe to be able to get started making relationships. Next, you will need to add your content and that is the genius of the TribePro as well. Having the power of the tribe makes it possible for your articles or blog posts to be syndicated to NUMEROUS social networking sites all around the web and establishing backlinks to your blog site and giving rise to your Google ranking.

How Will You Benefit From TribePro?

Imagine that your TribePro network has at least 100 other people within the tribe(s) that you chose. Now imagine that each of these people are syndicating your post FOR YOU in their social networks like Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and Digg just to name a few. A number of these other people have MANY more social networks that they syndicate to. It's easy to see the sheer numbers that we could be dealing with here. You could literally post an article and 5 minutes later have it shared in many social networks HUNDREDS of times! That's impressive! It's clear in this example, that not simply are you acquiring backlinks to your web site, but you are no doubt receiving exposure. Play The TribePro Game Right! I have noticed subscribers of TribePro not truly making use of it to it's full advantage. You will maximize your TribePro benefits of having your post syndicated once you learn a few fundamental details. The "auto-syndication" aspect is a "cultural" element of TribePro. The culture of the tribe is summed up like this. "I scratch your back, you scratch mine." It's a relatively simple premise. The "autosyndicate" aspect is available with the Plus and the Pro memberships. Once you network with other people in your tribe(s), you can syndicate ANYONE'S article, BUT when you "auto-syndicate" someone's content and get them to "auto-syndicate" you BACK, then your post is automatically syndicated by this particular person over and over again. Your aim is to get as many individuals to "auto-syndicate" your articles as you can. This is a preferred option as opposed to the free membership in which other people will "manually" share your article to a very limited scale. The free membership will nevertheless get you backlinks but it's frankly a FRACTION of the number of syndication that you may get in the Plus and Pro memberships. The trick is to locate posts with a high share value which shows that it has been shared a LOT. This indicates that the person knows how to get their articles or blog posts shared and this can be a perfect person to network with. You may like to "follow" them and "auto-syndicate" them. Most people return the "auto-syndication" within just a day or so automatically, but every now and then you get a busy person who won't. So, it is possible to head over to their profile and tell them you are "auto-syndicating" them and could they return the favor. This works most of the time, but if for whatever reason they don't, you can "unfollow" and "un-syndicate" them. TribePro is a GREAT group and you'll discover it to be an effective tool in addition to a fantastic networking opportunity. My recommendation is to go straight for the Plus or Pro memberships mainly because you're going to get the most out of TribePro. Here's to letting your TribePro network promote your articles in a BIG way!


Can You Make Money On


Find Out How By Hazli Khalim

It is quite possible that you could have come up with various articles or information from friends and relatives that could answer the question can you make money on YouTube. However, since most of us are not computer wizards, we tend to look at this kind of information with skepticism and a bit of doubt in mind. We keep asking to ourselves, Can you make money on YouTube? If you ask me the answer to this question is "Yes". YouTube is one of the most widely visited websites in the world and it is perhaps the one stop solution for many different types of entertainment and other types of information. Most of us have always thought that YouTube is just good enough to watch movies, sports, entertainment and other such things and hence there is no way the answer to the question can you make money on YouTube can be found. This kind of mindset is wrong and it is based on opinion rather than facts. Let us over the next few lines try and find out the various ways and means by which we can understand that there is money to be made using YouTube.

Though Google still continue to dominate as the number one search engine, YouTube is also fast catching up and today many people have started YouTube very regularly in their quest for seeking and making use of information. YouTube continues to play a very important role in helping people to find the right kind of information regarding any product or service. Hence, it is a place where prospective buyers and sellers often keep coming together. Therefore it would indeed be a great opportunity for marketers and others to be present on YouTube and make money which would be the best answer to the question can you make money on YouTube. Let us try and understand how money can be really made on YouTube. Since YouTube usually is full of videos, you should have the best of videos to catch the attention of the prospective customers. You should market these video links on YouTube extensively using the various SEO techniques and link building strategies. The product or service that you are planning to market through such YouTube link should be unique and something different. You can try and offer some incentives and gifts to viewers who visit your YouTube link which could eventually turn into genuine business relationships. However if you wish to get a positive answer to the question can you make money on YouTube, you should be prepared for the long haul. There are no overnight solutions for making fast bucks. Like all good things life, making money on YouTube takes time, energy, some bit of investment and most importantly lot of hard work and commitment. Now that YouTube has been purchased by Google, advertisement has become an integral part of YouTube. Hence, you can also place advertisements on YouTube and derive mileage from the same. With the best of videos supported by smart and well planned internet marketing, you can leverage the strength of YouTube and make lot of money and could positively answer the question can you make money on YouTube.


Feature Article

Making Good Website Templates With WordPress By Elijah James Anyone who has worked on making detailed sites knows of the trouble that it can be. Creating HTML and CSS pages that are seamless and work on all browsers with no glitches can be tough. Making sure that you have the right content and working with the right style templates is a huge advantage, but for those who want to step it up even one more notch working with a shortcut and aid like WordPress is a wise investment of time. The first time you make a WordPress site it may be a bit tricky for you. If you are not very well versed in PHP and MySQL this site can be all but downright confusing to you. Taking it slow and learning to tap into the functionality of WordPress is ideal however and will immensely benefit you in future sites; therefore you should really consider tapping into it for one site at least to see how it benefits you. What is WordPress? WordPress is a set of PHP files that works with MySQL functions and some knick knacks of JavaScript in order to create a platform that is an easy and user friendly way that you can both create a site and leave it to a client or user who doesn't understand web processes at all. It is a way via which you can create flawless systems and not have to spend hundreds of hours learning PHP and MySQL principles for yourself.

What is the initial process and how do you get your hands on WordPress in order to create your own website templates? You will need to go to and download a version in the language of your choice. You then extract the zip folder into the root of your site, and you will see tons of files pop up. Don't worry about opening those or going into them as what you need to work with will be significantly small. Then go to and you will go through the simple installation process which is basically just WordPress hooking itself up to a database which it creates in your server in order to work. That's all there is then you can start rolling. If you understand the principles behind website templates you will immediately see the huge benefits to WordPress template systems. Basically it is designed to hookup automated template ideas to a system via which a client who knows nothing about anything can access your site (behind password protection obviously) and update and manage the website that you leave him. WordPress really has gotten so big not just because the people who created it were top of the line, but because the international WordPress community has put so much into it. WordPress has such a large set of plugins with any language you'd ever need (JavaScript, PHP, jQuery, you name it...) that you don't have to understand or grasp but simply can hook up so incredibly simply and access. WordPress is like the best and most advanced and versatile program that you've ever seen on a computer (similar to a large OS, though fairly tiny in reality) on the internet with upgradable functions and a completely free community and support group. It really rocks.


SOFThinking back story Group-Forming Networks and Online Reputation THE CYNTHIA TYPALDOS INTERVIEW By: Scott Allen

Cynthia Typaldos has taken two entrepreneurial ventures, RealCommunities and GolfWeb, from start-up to acquisition and has worked as a product marketing executive at Sun Microsystems and Data General. She is widely recognized as an expert on web collaboration and web communities and has been featured in Fast Company Magazine and quoted in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Cynthia talks with us about the role of community for entrepreneurs and job seekers in the wake of the dotcom bust, as well as her own experiences as an entrepreneur. SA: The theme throughout your entrepreneurial activities has been to use the web for collaboration. Why do you find this so compelling? CT: What is surprising to me is that everyone, VC's especially, still don't get the web. The big leverage is thru GFNs (Group Forming Networks). Once you realize that, it's obvious what things will improve exponentially by making them web-based. And it's pretty easy to understand GFN. David Reed, a former MIT Professor, created the term and even has a "mathematical theory" known as Reed's Law. Yet there is very, very little discussion commercially about the implications of this. Academics in sociology, computer science and political science seem to be leading the way in understanding the applicability. There will be a Reputation Systems Symposium at MIT in April -- mostly academics, and just a few businesspeople (I plan to attend). Yet when you look at the most successful web businesses (eBay and Amazon) it's pretty obvious that tapping into bringing people together (e.g. groups) is what drives participation in their sites. Why hasn't Home Depot figured this out? Hard to explain.

44 SA: You mentioned reputation... I believe that reputation is everything for an entrepreneur - your most valuable intangible asset (because knowledge can be bought or hired). When you're participating in these online communities, how do you develop a reputation and protect it? CT: Well, first step is to even have a reputation. I'm amazed at the number of people who claim to be "industry veterans", yet you type their name in on Google and nothing shows up. Now, to be sure, you have to type in the right words. My name appears to be unique to me, so I'm easy to find. But if you are Jane Smith it's more difficult. SA: or Scott Allen... CT: Right! However if Jane Smith claims to be a marketing executive in security software and you put into Google - ["jane smith" marketing security software] and get zip, then something is wrong with Ms. Smith's reputation. That is, it doesn't exist. So, in order to develop any kind of reputation - good, bad or indifferent - you have to do things that are noticed and posted to the web. Most of it is the usual stuff...networking, speaking, press releases, authoring white papers, articles, being interviewed :-) Additionally you can reach out to an enormous number of "acquaintances", what Professor Mark Granovetter at Stanford calls "weak ties", using the web. This was not possible before the web. Keeping in touch with acquaintances, who could help you find that next job, funding for your company, or be your first customer, used to require enormous efforts, as it had to be done via face-to-face, phone, letters, etc. Even email is a lot of work. But now, as a member of an online community, you can not only become visible to others who are also interested in that space, but your visibility extends beyond the time and geographical constraints. As far as worrying about your reputation going bad, it's no different than real life. What's different is the way your reputation can be extended out into this huge group of acquaintances. SA: I'm inclined to think that also makes it more vulnerable. In real life, it would be impractical for someone to sabotage all your business cards and flyers and have any real impact. On the web, one person who's mad at you can do a lot of damage

CT: People often tend to look at the downside of new technologies and not the upside. But you can also counteract very effectively one person's rampage by simply being yourself and visible. Additionally, all of these people that you are worried now have a negative view (and most likely don't if you have a stellar reputation already); you wouldn't even have been able to reach at all before! On the web, anonymous flames are pretty much ignored. So unless someone is willing to put their reputation on the line to damage yours, then you won't have a problem. SA: What about automated reputation and rating systems, like eBay, Amazon, ELance, and so many others are now using? Are they worthwhile? How do you get the most out of them, whether as someone with a reputation, or someone looking at others' reputations? CT: I need more context. As an entrepreneur? As a job seeker? As a book reader? People have complex reputations. It's different for you as a golfer, as a parent, as a driver, as a son/daughter, etc. SA: OK, then... as a freelancer/solopreneur. Do those automated reputations mean much, or should you focus more on intangible reputation, if you will? CT: Again, context is everything. If you are looking to do a deal with someone, and you know they are a seller on eBay, heck yes. If you are trying to determine the intellectual fit with a possible cofounder and he/she has written reviews on Amazon, again, of course this is very valuable information. The reviews wouldn't necessarily be just good reputation/bad reputation, but insight into the person's interests and thus his/her compatibility with you. All reputations have to be taken in context. For instance, if you asked me to recommend the absolute best product marketing manager in the world I couldn't do it, even though I've hired and managed hundreds of these people, because it depends on the state of the company, the type of product, the market, and so on. I have a friend who has a deservedly great reputation as an environmental visionary. But I would never ask him for advice on how to train my dog. SA: Right!

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SOFThinking Newsletter #15  

SOFthinking Monthly Newsletter is a monthly glossy magazine that is available online, and also available in print edition as a hard copy glo...

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