Using E-Cards Safely

If you send or receive e-cards (electronic greeting cards), you may not think too much about whether they are safe for your computer or not. They are free and fast, making them a popular and convenient alternative to traditional greeting cards.

To send an e-card, you simply go to an e-card site, choose a card from a number of different categories, and then send it off to your recipient with a personalized greeting. Some of the more well-known companies are Hallmark, 123Greetings, American Greetings or Blue Mountain, but it’s worth doing a search as you’ll find many great e-card sites specialising in topics such as sports and nature & also charity e-cards.

Receiving an e-card is fun too. Often, these cards come equipped with short video or music clips. Millions of people receive e-cards for special days like Christmas, Easter and personal birthdays every year.

E-cards are created the same way Web sites are; they’re built on the Internet just like this page. So when you send someone an e-card, you’re actually giving them a link to click, which takes them to the online greeting card you created for them.

Not all e-cards are harmless cards, though; some may contain viruses, spyware, adware, phishing attacks or spam. At best, this is annoying and can involve pop-ups, lots of unwanted junk mail, or other minor disturbances. At worst, these viruses can crash your system or hack into your email contacts.

There are a number of ways you can protect your computer from unwanted surprises that come in the form of e-cards. The following are some tips for online safety for e-cards.

Know what to look for:

The best way to be safe from online viruses is to keep your eyes out for anything suspicious. A good indication an e-card is not legitimate includes:

  • There are misspelled words or names. The inclusion of non-letter characters such as * @ # $ % , if your name is misspelled, words are spelled with letters in the wrong order such as “Best Wsihes” or are misspelled in other ways, there is a possibility that it is spam or a virus.
  • Make sure you recognize the sender’s name before clicking on any links. The sender should always be recognizable, either in the subject line or the e-mail itself. People don’t normally send e-cards to strangers, so you should probably avoid opening e-cards from anyone you don’t know.
  • The e-card has an attachment. Most e-card companies that are legitimate don’t put their e-cards as attachments. Rather, they have a link you follow to the company’s website that takes you directly to the card. By downloading attachments, you can unknowingly be downloading a virus or other type of unwanted intrusion onto your computer.
  • Be cautious. If you have any suspicion that the e-Card you have received is fraudulent do not open, and do not click on any links within the e-mail if you do. Legitimate e-mails will always give you the option to pick up the e-Card by typing in the address of the Web site, rather than clicking on the link.
  • Preview a link’s Web address before you click it. If the link doesn’t show an address, move your mouse pointer over a link without clicking it to see where the link goes. (The address should appear on the bottom bar of your Web browser.)

Keep your anti-virus & firewall etc software up to date.

You should also have anti virus software, a firewall, anti-spyware and anti-adware installed on your computer to help to detect threats and protect your. In most cases you can get all these programs free, but they do need to be updated and run regularly to give you the best protection. Spyware and adware not only compromise your computer’s security, they will often slow your system down.

Read fine print and terms of service.

If you receive an e-card that has a check box saying you agree to their terms of service, be sure to read the fine print. If you are like most people, you simply check the I Agree box without even looking at the print. This can be a big mistake, because with spam e-cards, you might be agreeing to have them download spyware or adware or even to have access to your computer’s address books.

When in doubt, delete.

If something doesn’t look right, such as the name of the sender or vague subject lines, just delete the card. It’s better to safe than sorry.

E-cards are fun to receive and send, as long as you’re careful when doing so. The above tips will help you be safe online with e-cards.

Home Based Business Ideas

A work from home business is now seen as an alternative to the 9-5 job, five days a week. Making money online is becoming increasingly popular as people begin to think differently. With the cost of everything increasing, more people are taking charge of their financial situation. They are setting up businesses at home so that they can earn an income and get a better work-life balance.

The internet is full of various opportunities. There are many genuine ways of making money. However, you need to be aware of scams that don’t deliver the goods. You need to be wary and check out credentials before parting with your cash.

The internet has so many opportunities it might be hard to choose which one is best for you. How to get started and the business opportunity to choose is the biggest challenge. Here are some questions to think about.

Is this the right work from home business idea for me? Do I need a lot of experience to succeed in this business? How much money do I need to get started? Is it a proven work from home business?

Here are some of the best and quickest ways to earn an income with your own home business.

  • Affiliate Programs & Other People’s Products

Affiliate programs are a very easy and quick way to start with your home business. Affiliate programs are a way of making money by promoting other people’s products or services. You receive a commission which will vary greatly. Check out the commission paid for products you feel comfortable with promoting.

The advantage of affiliate programs is that you only need to lay out a small amount of cash to get started to pay for your website and paying for ongoing promotions.

Your sole aim is to advertise your website and promote products and services. Create as many sales as possible and gradually increase your commission checks.

  • Private Label Resell Rights Products

These are products that are already created. You claim ownership and market them as your own. Key advantage of this is that you don’t have to create your own product and can be in your own home business very quickly.

  • Resell Rights Products

These are products that are already created and available to anyone who can pay for the resell rights to market them. You get to market a product which is already created. Sometimes they come with their own website so you can be up and running in your own home business pretty quickly.

  • Create Your Own Product!

Sounds scary? Needn’t be. All of us know a bit about something. Just think of things that you enjoy, what you know, what you do. Put it in to an e-book or product. Use what you know and start making money from your own business.

These are just some of the ways in which you can easily start to earn money from your own online home business. Working from home can generate extra income and potentially, a great deal of money. These are proven methods. They just need you to apply them.

Why not give it a try?

How to Make A Great Flyer

Flyers are a great way to advertise something for yourself, for an organisation you belong to or for marketing both online and off. There’s no need to be a genius to create a great one, either; if you have some basic tools and follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to design your own flyers in no time.

1. MICROSOFT WORD – Begin with a basic software program like Microsoft Word or Publisher. Open up the program, then look under “File” then “New” to see if there are already existing flyer wizards for documents or templates. If so, start there and adjust one to suit your needs.

2. COLOR – First take a look at your project budget. Is there room for full-color printing of hard copies to distribute? If not, don’t worry. Regular black ink on colored paper produces nice looking, professional flyers. Coordinate the paper color with a theme for the month, like green paper for St. Patrick’s Day or red or blue for the 4th of July.

3. TEXT / FONT – Don’t have too many different fonts, text sizes and styles in one document. Just choose a couple of complimentary fonts and sizes. For ideas on which to use, start a collection of flyers that are stuck on your door, around your mailbox and placed on your car’s windshield. Search your favorite industry web sites for ideas, too, by looking at their online documents for downloading. Print them out and check to see what you link and don’t like about them.

4. PULL TABS – Add pull tabs to the bottom, so that if the flyer is placed on a bulletin board, passersby can pull off a tab and take the info home with them. Check the Help menu for directions. Basically you add a wide text box along the bottom portion of the flyer. Then you insert one row of columns. Click on the first column and write what you want to say – not much fits here so take care! Maybe use your URL or website address and phone number. The text will run horizontally like normal, reading from left to right. So what you do is highlight it and click on “Format” from the top menu, then “Text Direction” do make it run vertical and fit in your tabs. Do the same for each tab.

When you’re finished, print flyers for local distribution or email to others to print as needed.

For business building, you can also turn the document into an Adobe .pdf file to distribute online. Upload it and include links to it in your emails and forum posts. Attach the pdf to emails when you know recipients accept attachments and can take a look, too. Reach out online and off with great looking flyers and grow your business one step further!

Do you have balance in your life?

Do you have some days when you just don’t seem to get very much done? Days when you’ve been busy doing things, but at the end of it all, you wonder whether you’ve achieved anything worthwhile?

Perhaps we all need to take a step back when this is how we feel, to reassess our lives and see if it is all work, work, work! We need to keep balance in our lives; balance between work, family, education, recreation, health and whatever other area that is important to each of us, but when we find ourselves pushed for time, when days just don’t seem long enough, these other areas of our lives are often pushed down our priority list.

Is it any wonder we feel frazzled sometimes? The constant pressure can lead us to feel dissatisfied with our lives and who we are. The old saying about “take time to smell the roses” is very good advice. Of course it doesn’t have to be roses; for you it might be a walk along the beach or through a rainforest, chatting with a friend, playing with children, watching a funny movie, reading a book, spending time in your garden or making something with wood, but whatever it is that revitalises you, helps you to focus on the pleasures of life rather than the problems, than that is what you need to find a few moments to do on a regular basis to keep your life in balance. Take some time out from worries to have fun & experience pure enjoyment instead.

Balance helps us to be at peace with ourselves and those around us, helps us to see things from a wider perspective and allows us to like ourselves much better. When you are happy with the person that you are, it is a whole lot easier to accept others, too; to accept their differences, to value new experiences, to learn new things and rediscover the joy of living that young children intuitively have.

Start now; make some time for fun in your day.