Free Online Excel Training

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I have just been pointed to an excellent free  resource for those of you who use spreadsheets or even those who don’t yet but would like to learn how to use them – a brand new website about Microsoft Excel!..

SpreadsheetO Video

 

Now I’ve been using spreadsheets for many years, I love them, I even use excel as my calculator because my arthritic fingers often hit the wrong button on a calculator but I don’t realize so get an incorrect total, but with a spreadsheet, I can see the figures I enter and I just have a formula at the bottom that works out the total for me..

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In my work with bookkeeping clients, I’ve created a spreadsheet to work out the split for  invoices with a mixture of tax and no tax items that have to be split into several cost centers – this was a real pain to do each time, but now it’s a breeze, all I need to do is enter invoice total, tax amount and % breakups and presto, the figures to enter are sitting there for me!

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spreadsheetOSpreadsheeto is all about depth. That means each topic get thoroughly explained, in an easy-to-understand manner. All of their content is free and up to date. So even though you’re not an “Excel-nerd” (like they are), you can learn to do some pretty amazing things.

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Even if this is not for you, if you know someone who has to use a spreadsheet, maybe for a club or organisation they belong to, pass on this link to this excellent  Excel training resource..

Here's the link to check it out yourself?
http:// spreadsheeto.com/free-excel-training/

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Five Key Factors for Compelling Web Content

Readers-searching1-618wAlthough content has always been considered the be the “king” when it comes to writing compelling web material, with the rapidly increasing numbers of websites “out there”, never has it been so vitally important to make your content better that of your competition, so it pays to take the time to create high quality articles that visitors truly want to read.

Forget about taking shortcuts; no matter what niche or business you are in, the quality of your articles, posts & sales material will always be the key to a successful online venture.

To write content that really conveys the message you want to get across, take note of these 5 key factors:

Make It Easy To Read
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Keep that in mind many people skim-read webpages. Your target readers are probably subscribed to several news feeds or  blogs, so if you want to hold their interest, you need to make your content easy to read.

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Remember readers like white space, so use short paragraphs and bullet points or numbered lists with subheadings. Use web recommended fonts because research has shown them to be the most easily read by the majority of readers. A particular font might appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean it will have universal appeal or be easily read by others, especially those with poorer eyesight.

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Add graphics to your articles where that is appropriate as this makes the structure of your post more visually appealing and helps to keep your article focused on the point you want to get across.

Good Quality Material

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While it is true that you can get articles written very cheaply when you don’t want (or don’t have time) to write them yourself and also true that some so-called “gurus” claim to still make money using poorly written articles, these guru’s may well have a very large list of people who will buy whatever they recommend, regardless of quality.

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Therefore, it isn’t a good idea for you to do what they do because you want to build a good reputation for yourself, build your business so that your readers and customers see you as a quality provider and will be more interested in your next offer. Remember, it is easier to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one.

Be Natural

Cute_Vector_Robot_Character_176x189Don’t try to fill your article with keywords; make your sentences flow in a clear, informative and entertaining manner.  Search engines have evolved to the point where you will be penalised for overuse of keywords, rather than rewarded in the rankings.

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The best advice is to stop worrying about keywords. If you are answering the questions your searchers are asking then the keywords will come into the content naturally.

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Of course you can add some in on purpose after the article is finished, but in a way that does not upset the flow. Keywords should be secondary to creating an article that’s interesting and informative.

A comfortable Length

Funny_Robot_Vector_Character_25_2There may be accepted “rules” as to how long your online articles should be, but every article and every subject is different, so use your common sense about it.

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Imagine that you are the person searching for your content; ask yourself if you could find the answer to what you want to know in just 100 – 150 words? If the answer to this is “yes”, then 100 -150 words is long enough! The key is to use as many words as are required to address the subject without getting off track or including unnecessary detail and very often, that will require a lot more than 100 words.

Current

Most online content becomes out of date and needs updating from time to time. Yes, some things don’t change much over time, like how to grow vegetables or recipes, so articles about these subjects are considered “evergreen” because they are still relevant long after being written. Robot_Vector_Character_with_Thumbs_Up_175x215 However, just because they are still relevant doesn’t mean you can re-hash them without penalty from the search engines.

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Remember that Google, Bing and the like are businesses too, trying to please their customers (searchers) so they will reward those who upload content that is fresh, up to date and original. It pays to take advantage of this fact by keeping on top of your industry and keeping your readers informed. 

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It is a mistake to take shortcuts when it comes to high quality content. In the long term, it is well worth the time and effort it takes to write material that will convince your reader to take action and join your list or buy whatever you are offering.

CMS Commander Web Managment Plugin

CMS Commander remote website management

Do you have a lot of WordPress sites, either for your clients or your own? If you do,  you will certainly know how much time that can take on a daily basis to keep everything up to date and to add new content regularly.

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How would you like to use the time spent on mundane administrative tasks on more important business tasks? CMS Commander is an online service that aims to solve this problem and make managing multiple WordPress weblogs as fast and easy as controlling a single site.

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By placing all your wordpress  sites into one powerful dashboard, CMS Commander makes it possible to update, backup and manage them all in bulk at the same time.

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Features of the CMS Commander plugin include:

  1. 1-click Updates of plugins, themes and WordPress on all sites
  2. Automatic scheduled WordPress backups
  3. Website cloning and restoring
  4. Uptime monitoring and Analytics integration
  5. Bulk posting and automatic content

While CMS Commander can be used for free a premium account will give you access to several special features and allows you to manage more websites.

Sign up for a free account on cmscommander.com now to start controlling all your weblogs from one dashboard and enjoy the best way to manage multiple WordPress sites!

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Affiliate Marketing – some thoughts and ideas

Affiliate Marketing – what exactly is it?

Put simply, it is process where you as the affiliate sell or promote someone else’s product or service and you receive a commission for your efforts. Affiliate Marketing is usually considered to be the lowest cost business model when starting an Online Business, and as such is the most popular method with many newcomers to Internet Marketing. The owners or licence holders of the product you promote can be called authors, publishers, merchants or other different terms, depending on whether it is a physical or an information product that you are promoting and how the commission payments are organised.

This business model can take many different forms but are commonly called Affiliate Programs. You join the affiliate program a merchant is using to sell a particular product you are interested in promoting. The most common types of programs are as follows:

  1. Pay per click – each visitor you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  2. Pay per lead – each lead you send to the merchant’s site will earn you a commission.
  3. Pay per sale – commission will be paid by publishers for each sale made at his website or on sites such as clickbank or paydotcom.

Each one of the above methods returns a certain payment for delivering the click, lead, or sale. By far the largest number of businesses utilizing this model work on a Pay per Sale system. There are hundreds of affiliate networks that you can join where the owners of the site have numerous publishers registered so you can choose products & promote them without have to join up to all the separate affiliate programs. Examples of such sites are Commission Junction, Clix Galore, Clickbank, PayDotCom and Click2sell.

Many Internet Marketers will guide the beginner into Affiliate Marketing because it is considered to be the cheapest and simplest business model to get started and develop, especially when all the marketing tools such as a web sales page, promotional emails, articles, press releases etc are provided by the publisher.

Your main costs will be in the promotion of the product or service. All costs associated with the product, sales page, delivery, after sales services, as well as merchant services set up and costs, will be paid by the merchant providing the product.

When starting your Internet Business through affiliate marketing there are five steps to follow:

  1. Find your niche market which shows enough demand as well as a reasonable supply, as well as one that would support future business growth.
  2. Find out what the market is searching for in terms of solutions to problems, or a product/service for which there is a shortage of supply or even a deficiency.
  3. Research the available affiliate products and services for something that will fill the deficiency or fix the problem.
  4. Promote the product by every means available to you.
  5. Although this is not necessarily essential, owning your own website can increase your methods of promotion, but more importantly it allows you to pre-sell the product before redirecting them to the merchant’s sales page.

The final item regarding your own website needs serious consideration as it will be the best way towards developing and growing your business and to start creating an opt-in list of targeted potential customers.

Creating a trust between yourself and your customers, as well as your partners, is of prime importance to your business. This trust will serve you well as your customers will gradually consider you to be their expert in this niche and they will take your recommendations and buy.

To help build this relationship of trust, give value to potential customers by offering something useful to them for free. The more value you give them, the more they will be inclined to make purchases from you at a later date. Do not think for one minute that without it you will be able to succeed in affiliate marketing or any other type of business if you do not build a relationship of trust with a list of potential customers.

A New Year – a New Start

Did you make any New Year resolutions last year? If you did, how did you go with them? Did you achieve them all, some of them, partly some of them or did they mostly fall by the wayside?

The start of a new year is often the time when we are fired up with enthusiasm to make changes in our lives, but after a few weeks of getting back into our usual routine, we maybe just slip back into the same old ways.

Why is this? Perhaps we had too many resolutions (goals) and it was overwhelming. Or perhaps the goals were unrealistic or too complicated to achieve in a year’s time.

It’s so easy to come up with reasons (excuses) why we let our enthusiasm slip; I’m sure these will sound familiar:

I don’t have time / I’m too busy
I don’t have enough money
It’s not my fault – (someone else) stopped me from doing it
It was too hard / harder than I expected
I’ll do it later
I don’t know how
It’s just not “the right time”

BUT – it doesn’t have to be like that. If we really want to make change, there are some proven ways to go about it.

Instead of having a lot of new year’s resolutions, pick just one, or perhaps two, but it is better to work on one at a time. Think about what you want to achieve; see it in your mind, imagine that you have already reached this goal.

SMART is an acronym for goal-setting to make it easy to remember.

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

For example, if you want to earn more money so you can give up your day job, start with “earn $50 more every week by 31st March 2009″ or if you want to lose weight, have a goal to “lose 5kg or pounds by the end of January”.

Both of these goals would pass the SMART test.

The more specific you are about anything you want to achieve, the easier it will be to keep on track and be able to measure how you’re going with it.

Naturally a goal must be something it is possible for you to achieve, but you also need to be realistic about how long it will take to achieve. If you want something that doesn’t seem realistic, break the goal down into smaller manageable chunks and work on one at a time. When that is completed, start on the next chunk.

Small steps + consistency  =  success

If you don’t achieve your objective in the set time, don’t just slip back to the excuses, just take a realistic look at what happened, and set a new milestone date.

Demonstrated ways to help you as you go along:

  • Write your goals down and look at them every day, several times is better
  • Use a notebook, a small card to carry round or tape them to a wall or mirror
  • Read out aloud – this helps to fix them in your subconscious mind
  • Tell someone else – having someone ask you how it’s going will keep you trying
  • Believe that you deserve to achieve this goal
  • Respect yourself enough to keep your commitments
  • Act as if you have already achieved your goal, imagine it in your mind, feel how it will feel. Put as much emotion into your visualisations as you can – you might be surprised how much this can help.

So as you start the new year, set SMART goals and use the hints above to help you achieve them. Make 2009 will be the best year ever!

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.

Let Them Know When You Change Any Details

Today I received a very important message about keeping up to date and how not doing so could be very costly to you in the long term.

I was reading John Thornhill’s blog tonight and he mentioned that many of the emails he was sending out promoting other people’s products were dead links!

Maybe you can relate to how stupid this is if you imagine you have a bricks and mortar shop selling socks and the guy in the shop just along the road sells shoes. Now, you’ve got this arrangement where every time someone buys a pair of shoes at his shop, he tells them that you sell great socks and recommends you go and have a look. Wouldn’t this help you make some sales? Sure it would!

But what if they came along to you and you didn’t have any socks – you decided it wasn’t worth while anymore, or you couldn’t be bothered, you decided to sell handbags instead – whatever reason – wouldn’t you let the guy selling shoes know? Explain that socks weren’t very profitable these days & ask to do a deal about handbags? I’m sure you would – apart from being good business sense, it’s plain good manners.

But, you don’t bother telling him – how do you think he’d feel when he found out? A bit peeved? Probably. Likely to send any more business your way? I don’t think so. Have you helped your business? NO.

Having affiliates who send you referrals is just the same as the arrangement between the shoe seller and the sock seller. It’s a business arrangement and you need to communicate any changes that occur.

So check your sites and your links and make sure they’re up to date. You work hard to win traffic, especially targeted traffic; it’s a crime to let such referrals go to waste. I’ll be checking mine, too. Thank you John.

Computer Use by Seniors May Help Their Mental Health

Seniors who become adept at and use a computer appear to have fewer depressive symptoms than those older adults who aren’t so technologically connected.

That’s the finding of a research study, Depression and Social Support Among Older Adult Computer Users, presented August 18 at the 113th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.
The data regarding computer use and depressive symptoms was collected as part of the latest wave of an ongoing longitudinal study that is designed to determine the changes over time in physical health, mental health and social activity of older adults living in lower Manhattan.

Called VOICES (Villagers Over 65 Independent Living Challenges and Expectations), the research is being sponsored by Village Care of New York, a not-for-profit long-term care provider. “Villagers” refers to persons living in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and environs, representing the core group of individuals being followed over the course of the study, which began in 1998.

The computer use study was conducted by Edward Cisek, PhD, and Kathleen Triche, DSW, CSW.

Triche, who presented the study’s findings at the conference in Washington, D.C., said that the researchers decided to look into the impact of the growing use of computers by seniors on the hypothesis that those using computers would report fewer depressive symptoms than non-users.

Through observations at one of Village Care’s senior information centers in New York City, which Triche directs, computer use there seemed to give older adults a greater connection with the world around them.

“Given the social and informational nature of older adults’ computer practices – e-mail, chat rooms and health information gathering, for example, it seemed likely that this would be beneficial to an individual’s overall mental health,” Triche said.

In the computer study, it was determined, after controlling for a number of background characteristics, that seniors who were computer users reported significantly fewer depressive symptoms than their counterparts who do not use the computer.

Researchers also found that computer users tended to be among the younger members of the study group and have higher annual household incomes, while also reporting higher functioning in activities of daily living than the rest of the seniors in the study group.

“Clearly, those older adults in this study who use computers report fewer depressive symptoms, regardless of how many hours per week they use the computers,” Triche said, cautioning, however that these findings are among a generally highly educated group residing in a limited geographic area.

Future research in this area should include more diverse populations and use other measures of social connectiveness.

Participants in the survey included an urban community sample of 206 adults over the age of 65 (with a mean age of 80) that was randomly selected from three zip codes in lower Manhattan.

Reprinted from “Medical News Today” Article Date: 22 Aug 2005
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29466.php
VILLAGE CARE OF NEW YORK