To put it in a sentence, information overload is a true plague nowadays.

And I really mean it. I truly think that the amount of information available on the internet these days is a bad thing. There’s a page on any topic imaginable. In fact, I would even risk saying that if you can’t find something on the internet then it most likely doesn’t exist.

OK, but why is it a bad thing? Because it’s simply paralyzing. Whenever you’re searching for something on the internet the problem isn’t that you can’t find it, the problem is that there’s too much information available, so you can’t stop searching … you know that there’s always something else waiting on the next page.

Having the confidence and knowing when to stop searching for something and using the information you already have can be a skill difficult to develop.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to start your information diet. Check out my guest post at to find out what I’m on about:

How to Fight Information Overload

Feel free to share your own ways of fighting information overload and not letting it take over your life.

Related Posts:

How to Defeat Information Overload |

We hereby declare 2012 as the Year of the WordPress Meetup. You’ll want to get in on this action.

meet·up mēt-əp noun
A meeting, especially a regular meeting of people who share a particular interest and have connected with each other through a social-networking Web site: a meetup for new moms in the neighborhood; a meetup to plan the trip; a meetup for WordPress users.1

So what is a WordPress Meetup? Basically, it’s people in a community getting together — meeting up — who share an interest in WordPress, whether they be bloggers, business users, developers, consultants, or any other category of person able to say, “I use WordPress in some way and I like it, and I want to meet other people who can say the same.” Meetups come in different shapes and sizes, but they all carry the benefit of connecting you with potential collaborators and friends, and helping you learn more about what you can do with WordPress. Here are some of the common types of WordPress meetups:

  • Hang out and work on your WordPress sites together
  • Social/happy hour type gatherings
  • Mini-lectures/presentations
  • Developer hacking meetups
  • Show & tell of how group members are using WordPress
  • Formal instruction on how to use WordPress
  • Lecture series (possibly with visiting speakers)
  • Genius bar/help desk

There’s no prescribed format, as each local group can decide for itself what they want to do. Some groups mix it up from month to month, while others have multiple events each month to satisfy the needs of their community.

The tough part? Running a popular group takes time and money. Just as we worked last year to remove the financial burden for WordCamp organizers and provide logistical support so they could focus more on their event content and experience, we want to start extending that kind of support to meetup groups as well. We don’t want it to cost anything for someone to run a WordPress meetup, or to attend one — building local communities should be as free as WordPress itself!

Since there are so many more meetups than there are WordCamps, we’re going to start with the cost that is the same for every group: organizer dues. We’re setting up an official WordPress account on right now, and over the next couple of weeks will be working with existing meetup group organizers, people who want to start a new meetup group, and the helpful folks at to put this program in place. WordPress meetup groups that choose to have their group become part of the WordPress account will no longer pay organizer dues for that group, as the WordPress Foundation will be footing the bill.

This is exciting for several reasons. First, it means local organizers who are giving something back to the project by way of their time won’t also have shell out $12-19/month for the privilege. That alone is a big step. Second, it will open the door to more events and leaders within a community, since leadership and event planning won’t need to be tied to “owning” the meetup group. Third, more active meetup groups means more WordCamps, yay!

In addition to the financial aspects, we’ll be working on ways to improve social recognition of meetup activity by incorporating feeds from the official meetup groups into the site, and including meetup group participation in the activity stream on your profile.2 I’m also hoping we can do something around providing video equipment to meetup groups (like we already do for WordCamps) to record presentations and tutorials that can be posted to, helping meetup groups offer WordPress classes in their community, and getting involved with mentoring WordPress clubs at local schools and universities. Oh, and we’ll send out some WordPress buttons and stickers to the groups that join in, because everyone loves buttons and stickers.

We’re also putting together some cool resources for people who want to start a new meetup group. There will be a field guide to getting started and some supplies to help you get your group going, and a forum for organizers to talk to and learn from each other.

Over time, we’ll be talking to organizers and looking at what other expenses we can absorb and what other support we can provide to local groups. For now, we’re starting with the organizer dues. If you currently run a WordPress meetup group (whether you are using or not) or would like to start a WordPress meetup group in your area, please fill out our WordPress Meetup Groups survey. Filling in the survey doesn’t obligate you to join the official group, it just gives us a starting point to a) find out what groups are around/interested, and b) get some information on existing groups and their expenses and needs. will contact the group organizers who’ve said they’d like to join the new program, and will walk them through the logistics of the change and answer questions before helping them to opt-in officially.

So, if you currently run a WordPress meetup group, or you would like to start one, please  fill out our WordPress Meetup Groups survey. I can’t wait to see more meetups!

1 – Adapted from “meetup” definition at
2 – Didn’t know about profiles? Check out (put in the username you use in the forums) to see yours!

news(Note. This post contains a list of popular social news sites. In some scenarios, social news sites are great to get backlinks to your blog or website.)

In the previous part we were discussing some popular social bookmarking sites. If I were to choose just a single biggest benefit of social bookmarking I would have to say that it’s the sole result of getting a link and all the SEO benefits that follow.

Social news sites, however, even though similar in nature, provide a completely different main benefit.

From a technical standpoint, you use social news sites very similarly to social bookmarking sites. You just choose a site, register, submit a link along with a short description, and you’re done.

But the main benefit isn’t the link itself. It’s the traffic that follows. That is, if your content has a viral enough nature.

Two leaders

Before I tell you anything else let me just show you the two leaders of this market, so you can understand what exactly a social news site is.

These are: Digg and Reddit.



There you go.

Social news sites are basically all about having users submit interesting (at least in theory) information, and then have other users vote which entries deserve more coverage.

So the most viral content ends up being seen by thousands of people, and the least viral content falls into oblivion.

How to make social news sites work for you

No one knows this exactly… Sorry.

Social news sites are a funny thing. Oftentimes, some stupid piece of garbage-information ends up the most seen thing ever, while interesting, exciting, and well-written articles get almost no attention at all.

It all depends on the site you’re submitting your entry to. Some things work better on some sites than others. Depending on what you want to share it’s up to you to select the best sites.

One advice I have for you is: don’t care about failure or criticism. Don’t give up if your content sees no reaction whatsoever. Or even if someone says that your content is crap (it happens). Or even if you get banned for whatever reason (just create another account).

The simple truth is that social news sites are run by their own rights, and there’s no telling what might happen.

Why is it worth it, then?

The main benefit of using social news sites

First of all, you have to do it right. You have to create awesome content, viral, and also be a little lucky while submitting it to the right social news sites.

If you get all of these elements right you might see a massive stream of traffic to your site. This is the kind of traffic your webhost might not be ready for and cause your site to crash. This happens quite often for some really popular stories.

So if the traffic is the biggest benefit, why am I listing social news sites as part of my “Get Backlinks” series? Two reasons:

  1. You still get a link from the social news site.
  2. The sole act of your story being popular may result in more links from other people who have seen it.

I know that this is not a given, but when it happens you get the most valuable links possible – natural links created by other people. Google loves those.

Giving yourself a head-start

Registering on, any social news site and only visiting it to submit your own stuff is the fastest way to get banned. That’s because, essentially, this is spamming.

To have a better chance of succeeding you should pick just a small range of social news sites and be a somewhat active user there. Which means visiting them and voting on various stuff from time to time, and occasionally submitting your own story.

If you get banned anyway, simply create another account or choose a different site.

Also, remember that using social news sites can’t be your only technique of getting links and recognition. Link building is most effective when you’re using a number of different techniques. This makes your backlinking profile look more natural.

That being said, I wouldn’t focus the majority of my link building efforts on social news sites. Try to use it only when you know that you’ve created an outstanding piece of content. For example, something that has a significant number of shares and retweets already (as an indication of its viral nature).

When using social news sites in such a situation you have a big chance of multiplying your traffic and getting even more publicity. When using social news in a situation when you have just a mediocre piece of content you won’t see any results.

What follows is a list of popular social news sites that fall into different categories. Some niches and markets have more social news sites (e.g. web design), and some have none (I haven’t been able to locate any music-related social news site, for example).

21 social news sites worth checking out

Main-stream leaders: Digg and Reddit. We’ve already talked about those.

Other social news sites (PR ordered):

Lastly, don’t hesitate to shoot me a comment if you know more quality social news sites that would be a good fit for this list.

Related Posts:

Where to Get Backlinks to Your Site – Part 6 – Social News Sites |

Some people have been forwarding me this email message that they received from Facebook:

We currently detect that your app is using the old JavaScript SDK (FeatureLoader.js). This library will no longer work for authentication on February 1st, 2012 since it does not support OAuth 2.0. In May, we announced that all apps on Facebook need to support OAuth 2.0 by October 1st, 2011. Please upgrade to the new JavaScript SDK by February 1st, 2012 to avoid any disruption of service to your app.

The Simple Facebook Connect plugin has not used the FeatureLoader.js script since before version 1.0, which was released 5 months ago. Version 1.2 of SFC fully integrated OAuth 2.0 authentication, and it was released 5 weeks ago.

So if you’re getting this email from Facebook, upgrade SFC to the latest version. Problem solved.

Google came out with an experimental specification for websites to provide “hints” on forms, to allow things like autocomplete to work better and be more standardized. Seems useful.

Here’s a quick plugin snippet you can use to make your comments form use this specification. Only Chrome 15 and up is using this at the moment, but in the long run I think most browsers will be implementing something similar to this, since filling out forms is just one of those endless pieces of drudgery that we could all stand to do away with.

Note that your theme will need to be using the comment_form() function call for this to work, otherwise you’ll just have to edit your comment form in the theme manually.

Plugin Name: Add X-Autocomplete Fields to Comment Form
function add_x_autocompletetype($fields) {
	$fields['author'] = str_replace('<input', '<input x-autocompletetype="name-full"', $fields['author']);
	$fields['email'] = str_replace('<input', '<input x-autocompletetype="email"', $fields['email']);
	return $fields;

Simple little bit of code, really. Should work with any theme using the normal comment_form() function call.

Creating a website people will actually use the way you want them to is quite possibly the most important goal of every online business designer. Or at least it should be.

Essentially, the problem is that just because you’ve got yourself an online store, for example, doesn’t mean that it will automatically do a good job at selling. Or that your new blog will do a good job at showcasing your articles.

The world of web design is quite an extensive one, and I’m not here to teach you all ins and outs of it (not that I even know them). What I want to do, though, is show you the most basic minimum you need to be aware of when building your own online business and the website that is meant to run it.

If you want to learn how to recognize a site that guides your visitors towards the desired actions check out my guest post at WebDesignDev:

Why People Are Not Using My Website the Way I Want Them To?!

Is your website on the right path? Do you have any ideas on how you can make it more user-friendly?

Related Posts:

Creating a Website People Will Actually Use the Way You Want Them To |

This site is for the Forestry Emissions Unit Trust.

Its design is by McGovern & Associates. It is coded into a custom WordPress theme by Urban Legend web.

It uses HTML5, features some custom jQuery, and lets its owners update a database by uploading an Excel file in the backend.

More on the portfolio page. is officially joining the protest against Senate Bill 968: the Protect IP Act that is coming before the U.S. Senate next week. As I wrote in my post a week ago, if this bill is passed it will jeopardize internet freedom and shift the power of the independent web into the hands of corporations. We must stop it.

On January 18, 2012 many sites around the web — from small personal blogs to internet institutions like Mozilla, Wikipedia, reddit, and I Can Has Cheezburger? – will be going dark in protest and to drive their visitors to sites like to take action and help fight the passage of the Protect IP Act. So will

If you want to join the protest by blacking out your WordPress site or applying a ribbon, there is now a variety of blackout plugins in the plugins directory. While joining the protest in this manner is laudable, please don’t forget to also make those phone calls to U.S. Senators — they’re the ones with the voting power.

software for small businessStrategies, strategies, you have to have those to know where you’re going with your work and actually accomplish something meaningful. But you also have to have another element of the puzzle, one that’s completely different…

You see the headline of this post so you know what it is – tools and software for small business … no matter if your online business is actually small or not, there’s nothing like a big, nice set of tools, presumably free, or at least so brilliant that you don’t mind paying.

The following list consists of various tools I use every day (i.e. very often). All of them have been tested by me, so I’m not advising you to use anything uncertain. I hope you’ll enjoy the list.

9 tools and software for small business and online entrepreneurs

1. The Captain Obvious Package

First up is a set of tools that I call the Captain Obvious Package. I didn’t want to include them separately on the list because their presence would probably get you to leave the page.

Anyway, these are tools everyone knows and everyone uses, and I’m only including them to make the whole message complete.

The Captain Obvious Package consists of:

  • WordPress – the ultimate solution for your website, free, lots of plugins, massive community.
  • Google Analytics – free and powerful site analytics software.
  • Google Reader – so you can keep up with the world and be up-to-date with what’s going on.
  • Dropbox – a cloud service for keeping your files in an online space that can be accessed from anywhere.

Of course, there are some alternatives to all of these tools, but for me, this is the most basic package of software for small business.

2. MailChimp

This is my favorite email delivery service, or email newsletter service like some people like to call it.

All the essential features are included. You can create a number of campaigns, generate reports, send out both HTML and text emails, set up autoresponders, and lots of other stuff.

As a matter of fact check out this quick video to get some basic understanding of what MailChimp looks like:

Now the best part is that at MailChimp they have a free plan as long as you don’t have more than 2,000 subscribers and don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month.

This makes it possible to get off the ground without spending a dime. I’m sure switching to a paid plan won’t be a problem once you grow your list of subscribers and actually make some money.

3. Market Samurai

Market Samurai is a complete, all-purpose platform for an online entrepreneur, and a superb example of software for small business. There are tons of features, and the software is organized around 8 separate modules, each taking care of a different element:

  • Rank tracker.
  • Keyword Research.
  • SEO Competition.
  • Domains.
  • Monetization.
  • Find Content.
  • Publish Content.
  • Promotion.

Check out the review (Market Samurai review) I’ve written just lately. It covers all the most important aspects of Market Samurai and explains why it’s so valuable for every online entrepreneur.

4. Fiverr

Fiverr is a great site to get some serious work done for as little as $5. In fact, every gig you can order there is $5, hence the name.

I have some really good experience with Fiverr, mostly when it comes to link building and writing services. Once I even had my personal signature designed.

The scope of possible gigs is very big, the list of main categories includes things like: graphics, video, social marketing, writing, advertising, business, technology, programming, and more.

Payments are done by PayPal so it’s safe too. Depending on the gig and the person providing it you can expect results within hours or a week.

5. Teambox

This is my software of choice when it comes to project and team management.

This might be particularly important to you if you’re hiring other people or work in a team with other coworkers. In such scenarios, good communication can sometimes be a challenge. Especially if you’re working on many different things, each with a different deadline.

Teambox provides many useful features like:

  • Recent activity lists – something similar to a Facebook Wall.
  • Conversations – something like a simple message board.
  • Task manager – no explanation needed here.
  • Time tracking.
  • Pages – if you have a need to share a bigger piece of information with your team, like a tutorial or some kind of instruction on how to perform a certain task, etc.
  • Files – everything you upload to share it with your team.
  • User and role management – you can invite new team members and assign them different roles (admin, participant, observer, etc.).

Teambox provides 4 basic plans, and there’s a free one too. In which you get to create up to 3 projects and you also get 50MB of storage space for files and attachments.

In my opinion, this free plan is sufficient enough to get a hang of the software and decide whether you want to use it regularly or not.

Check out this video for more info:

6. Remember The Milk

I simply love this tool and I’m using it every day to keep up with my personal to-do lists of tasks. It’s very easy to use and neatly fits within the GTD methodology.

The tool provides some very cool features like: tasks, due dates, multiple task lists, priorities, easy keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys), and more. Feel free to check out their tour and getting started guide.

One more thing worth noticing is that Remember The Milk also provides apps for major mobile platforms. It runs on the iPhone (it’s integrated with Siri, by the way), iPad, and Android.

7. Fotolia

Fotolia is one of my favorite sources of images as of late. The fact that they’ve given me a free membership might have something to do with it, but nonetheless, there are some great pics there.

Basically, Fotolia is a stock photography directory – a place where you can buy some royalty free photos and then use them wherever you like.

Why is it important for an online entrepreneur? Well, there’s no better way of making your content more visually appealing than by including some nice pictures. Every new post on your blog would surely be more memorable and recognizable if it had a nice picture included at the beginning, or somewhere else inside it.

As a matter of fact, check out my other post where I explain why and how to use images on your blog. And while I’m at it, if you want to find out more about Fotolia check out another post of mine where I present a list of possible sources of images for your blog.

8. Buffer

In essence, Buffer is a scheduling tool for Twitter. Which means you can schedule your tweets to be published later.

Why? Well, this gives you the opportunity to set a scheduling calendar for your promotional tweets or/and other special-purposes postings. Also, you get some basic analytics, so you can see how many retweets and clicks your tweets have received.

Here’s a short presentation:

Buffer integrates with all the major browsers and mobile platforms (here’s more). There’s a handful of different plans, and the free one provides good enough indication of what the software is like, so you can make the decision whether it’s worth to upgrade or not.

9. The Best Spinner

The list concludes with this final position – The Best Spinner. And the name says it all. It’s the best article spinner available. Not only my opinion, but hundreds of other marketers’ as well. You can get a 7 day trial for $7, then it’s $77 a year.

Article spinning is a topic for a separate post and a somewhat controversial concept. The opinions about the practice vary across the internet. However, whatever your opinion is I just want to remind you that here I’m talking about tools, not their possible usages. Therefore, if you’re looking for a good article spinner, this is the best one out there.

It is easy to use, and once you get used to it you can create a quality spin within 15 minutes or less.

… There’s one main problem with different lists of tools like the one you’re reading right now. They can go on and on, and it’s very difficult to choose the few items worth including into a “top 5” or a “top 10” list. So I’m not trying to convince you that you absolutely have to use everything from this list.

Remember that these are just tools, they don’t matter. How you use them is what matters.

Feel free to share your own experiences with various tools and software for small business. Did you notice any issues worth sharing with others? Or maybe any tricks that make using these tools a lot easier?

Related Posts:

9 Tools and Software for Small Business – a Must-have Package for Every Online Entrepreneur |