The fact that I’m using images a lot on this blog is not accidental. It’s also not because I have some particular feelings towards photography and its different forms. Well okay, I do like to take a nice picture every now and then, but that’s not the point here.

The main reason why I’m using images along with my posts is because they add additional impact to them, making the posts more memorable and distinctive.

I’m sorry to use the cliché, but a picture is really worth a thousand words. Especially if it’s presented next to a post of 1000 words or more…

A couple of weeks ago we were discussing various places where you can get images for your blog. Today it’s time to answer the “how” part of the issue. So check out my guest post at ProBlogger to find out what I’m on about:

How to Use Images in Your Blog Posts

And I know, okay, I didn’t use any images in that particular post. But I do it a lot in my other posts so please bear with me :)

Also, what do you think about the whole idea of using images as an important part of every blog post?

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Add a Little Life to Your Content – Use Images | newInternetOrder.com

You are an agent of change. Has anyone ever told you that? Well, I just did, and I meant it.

Normally we stay away from from politics here at the official WordPress project — having users from all over the globe that span the political spectrum is evidence that we are doing our job and democratizing publishing, and we don’t want to alienate any of our users no matter how much some of us may disagree with some of them personally. Today, I’m breaking our no-politics rule, because there’s something going on in U.S. politics right now that we need to make sure you know about and understand, because it affects us all.

Using WordPress to blog, to publish, to communicate things online that once upon a time would have been relegated to an unread private journal (or simply remained unspoken, uncreated, unshared) makes you a part of one of the biggest changes in modern history: the democratization of publishing and the independent web. Every time you click Publish, you are a part of that change, whether you are posting canny political insight or a cat that makes you LOL. How would you feel if the web stopped being so free and independent? I’m concerned freaked right the heck out about the bills that threaten to do this, and as a participant in one of the biggest changes in modern history, you should be, too.

You may have heard people talking/blogging/twittering about SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act. The recent SOPA-related boycott of GoDaddy was all over the news, with many people expressing their outrage over the possibilities of SOPA, but when I ask people about SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate, PIPA (Protect IP Act), many don’t really know what the bills propose, or what we stand to lose. If you are not freaked out by SOPA/PIPA, please: for the next four minutes, instead of checking Facebook statuses, seeing who mentioned you on Twitter, or watching the latest episode of Sherlock*, watch this video (by Fight for the Future).

Some thoughts:

  • In the U.S. our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, and that people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
  • Laws are not like lines of PHP; they are not easily reverted if someone wakes up and realizes there is a better way to do things. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
  • The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves.

Blogging is a form of activism. You can be an agent of change. Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. To those people, I repeat the words of Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change. Go to Stop American Censorship for more information and a bunch of ways you can take action quickly, easily, and painlessly. The Senate votes in two weeks, and we need to help at least 41 more senators see reason before then. Please. Make your voice heard.

*Yes, the latest episode of Sherlock is good. Stephen Moffatt + Russell Tovey = always good

Online BackupToday it’s time for another edition of this small series of mine. I know that WordPress plugins are a topic widely discussed around the internet, and that there are myriads of posts on “top 10 plugins for this” and “top 10 themes for that.”

However, this series is not about showing you the next fancy thing … it’s about showing you something truly worth installing. The fact is, you can’t install every plugin out there, and hope that your blog will still be working just fine. Unfortunately, plugins slow things down. The more you have the slower your site gets. That’s why I always advise to use ONLY the essential ones.

What does it all have to do with online business? – Asks you. Well, if your site is running on WordPress, like I’ve been advising since forever, then this series is surely something you should keep an eye on. The plugins I’m presenting might come handy to all kinds of blogs, but they are especially handy to online business designers.

To be honest, today we’re going to discuss a very important matter for ANYONE who has a website. Yes, it’s that important.

The topic is backing up your site.

There’s nothing more angering than sitting in front of your computer knowing that you have just lost all of your data due to a hard disk malfunction. Trust me, I know.

Same thing goes for our websites. If, for whatever reason, we lose the data (posts, pages, all information) published on our sites then in some extreme cases it can even mean the end of our business. Think about it like if you were a bakery owner and the building you were renting would burn down…

Of course, we can’t truly protect ourselves against those kinds of things. But we can get some insurance. Such an insurance – in the online world – is a good backup policy.

WordPress users have it easy. They can download a plugin called Online Backup for WordPress free of charge.

This is a plugin I’ve been using for a while, and it works like a charm.

What it’s for

This plugin allows you to create a full backup of your WordPress site, and then have it sent to an email address or made downloadable.

By full backup I mean both the database and the filesystem.

Where you can get it

First of all, feel free to check out the site of the company that has created this plugin – Backup Technology – here you can find some basic facts about the plugin.

Of course, there’s also the plugin site at WordPress.org – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wponlinebackup/

However, the easiest way of getting the plugin is to simply go to your WP admin panel (log in as the admin), and navigate to Plugins > Add New. Input “Online Backup for WordPress” into the field and the first result that appears is what you want.

Installation

You don’t have to do anything more than simply installing the plugin like you would install every other WordPress plugin, then activate it, and you’re good to go.

How to use it

When you have the plugin installed just go to Tools > Online Backup.

Once you’re there you can simply navigate to the “Backup” tab, and perform an initial backup.

There are 3 backup types available (image below).

The first one sends the backup to the shared storage at Backup Technology which you can sign up for. I didn’t because I’m using the plugin to create a backup, and then download it to my computer.

Choosing the third option might not be the best idea because backups can be rather large. Sending a 60MB file via email takes time. It’s much faster to simply download it.

Sexy features

The “Backup” tab you already know, so let’s start from the first tab on the right – “Online Backup Settings.”

This is where you can input your username and password for the storage space at Backup Technology. Again, you don’t have to register an account if you don’t want to. The plugin is fully functional without an account.

The “General Settings” tab is worth looking into because it enables you to encrypt all your backups. The plugin works with some popular encryption mechanisms. The only thing you have to do is input an encryption key.

Encryption is a safety mechanism. It ensures that only someone who knows the key can access the backups.

There are also other setting in this tab, make sure to read through them, but you don’t need to change anything. The plugin is set up optimally right from the get go.

The “Schedule” tab enables you to create a schedule for your backups (duh!). The backups can be run in the background automatically and then made available for download or sent to an email.

The “Decrypt Backup” tab is where you can decrypt your encrypted backups. All you have to do is select the backup file and input your encryption key.

The “Activity Log” tab shows the summary of your previous activity. It’s where you can access all previous backups if you haven’t deleted them.

What I like about Online Backup for WordPress

The simple fact that it works. It sounds obvious, but hear me out. I’ve been searching for a quality backup plugin in the past, and even though there were many possibilities there was always something not exactly right about them.

Some plugins were creating corrupted archive files, others didn’t include everything, or couldn’t create an exact image of the database. I mean, these are things you don’t even notice until you have to actually use the backups.

That’s why I decided to do all my backups by hand because that way I was sure that I had everything I needed to have. However, this has changed when I stumbled upon Online Backup for WordPress. It. Simply. Works.

What do you think about this plugin? Did you experience any problems with it? Feel free to let me know.

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Sexiest WordPress Plugins: Online Backup for WordPress | newInternetOrder.com

fpm contest badgeOr does it?

Anyway, I’m delighted to say that I’ve made it to the final round of Danny Iny’s marketing competition – “Marketing that Works.”

The competition is all about innovative marketing ideas, and sharing them with others. Every participant had to come up with such an idea, and then turn it into a guest post.

I can’t give you too much details about my post right now, but let me just tell you that it’s about upselling. Not the general idea, of course, but a single specific aspect of it.

If you’re not that familiar with upselling feel free to check out some of my other posts:

How they’ll pick the winner

Basically, they won’t … you decide. Everything counts: tweets, likes, shares, +1’s, comments, and such. So when the time comes I’ll let you know and shoot you a link to the post. :)

By the way, here’s Danny’s blog where everything’s happening: Firepole Marketing.

… And now, something entirely different …

Engagement from Scratch

Quite recently, Danny launched his new book “Engagement from Scratch!” It’s basically a collaborative work of many authors. The likes of: C.C. Chapman, Corbett Barr, Brian Clark, Guy Kawasaki, and others.

What is it about? As the subtitle says: “How super-community builders create a loyal audience and how you can do the same!

Engagement from Scratch

I had the privilege to get an early excerpt, and write a short review. This review has ended up in the book itself; nice(!) [image above]. Here’s what I had to say:

What’s interesting about this particular publication is that the individual stories of all the contributing authors tie together and create one actionable and inspirational resource. When you see a book by one single author then there’s only one approach that they give to the reader – the “good approach that has worked for me – the author.”

But here, the situation is different. Different people, with different stories, so in the end you can see that each person has a unique approach to success (and all of them good), and in the end it’s for you to decide what path you want to take yourself, or how to combine different advice from different people into your own plan.

If you want to get the book feel free to check this Amazon link: Engagement from Scratch!: How Super-Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same!

That’s it for today. Have a nice Sunday!

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Guess What? My Marketing Works! | newInternetOrder.com

This isn’t just a piece of hype to get you to click through to the post. There really is one truly effective way of improving your writing.

But why would you even bother? Well, writing is one of the most important skills an online business designer can have. No matter what you’re publishing on your website you need quality content. Interesting content is what makes your readers to keep coming back constantly.

Of course, there are many things you can do to grow as a writer. Some of them are free, some require investment, some are boring, and others are fun. This one technique I have for you today is both free and fun.

No joke. Just suspend your disbelief, and hop over to my guest post at hectorjcuevas.com to find out what I’m on about:

1 Quick & Simple Way To Improve Your Writing

Don’t forget to come back and tell me what you think. Does the whole idea sound reasonable?

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Improving Your Writing Significantly in 1 Simple Step | newInternetOrder.com

WordPress 3.3.1 is now available. This maintenance release fixes 15 issues with WordPress 3.3, as well as a fix for a cross-site scripting vulnerability that affected version 3.3. Thanks to Joshua H., Hoang T., Stefan Zimmerman, Chris K., and the Go Daddy security team for responsibly disclosing the bug to our security team.

Download 3.3.1 or visit Dashboard → Updates in your site admin.

Let’s tackle the final two months of 2011 together and publish just one regret post instead of the usual two. I don’t have any good explanation why I’m doing this other than I simply forgot about the series.

In essence, the blogging world or the online business world is mostly focused around WordPress and its various applications. However, WordPress is not the only online platform to choose from.

There are some alternatives, and I talked about some of them in one of my previous posts (Hate WordPress? Here are 13 Alternatives), but there’s at least one more possibility that deserves a separate coverage – Tumblr.

tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform, just like WordPress, only nothing like it.

Tumblr was originally designed to be a simpler environment than WordPress. The platform is a bit easier to use, but you don’t get as many features, so there are both good and bad sides to it.

In essence, blogs hosted at Tumblr usually propose a more condensed experience with shorter and more entertaining posts. Is it a good alternative for you and your online business? I don’t know, so let’s find out.

Here’s a set of 6 great blog posts from the past months (November and December 2011) which I regret I didn’t come up with myself.

Today’s theme: Tumblr

Alicia Keys: Why I Turned to Tumblr by Christina Warren

A little social proof for starters. If Alicia Keys thinks that Tumblr is just the right choice for her then maybe you should take it into account too. Find out what Alicia had to say about Tumblr.

How I Brought My Blog Back to Life with Tumblr by David Edwards

Apparently Tumblr has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. One of them – as described by David – is that it’s a great tool for bringing a blog back to life if you are lazy. Tune in to get David’s story.

Tumblr vs WordPress by Simon Ward

This is a short post by Simon where he describes some advantages and disadvantages of both platforms by using some easy to read bullet points. In the end, deciding whether you want to give Tumblr a try or not is up to you, but it’s always good to get other people’s point of view.

Tumblr Basics by JD Rucker

This is an explanation of some of Tumblr’s characteristics (like being down most of the time – a big downside to Tumblr) and a quick video tutorial explaining the basics of Tumblr’s interface. Worth to have a look at if you’ve never been to Tumblr.

Tumblogging: WordPress vs. Tumblr by Cameron Chapman

So you like Tumblr, but you’re not convinced to the platform itself? No problem, you can still use WordPress, and set it up in a way so it looks just like Tumblr, and operates in a very similar way too. Find out how to do that.

Bonus: Top 5 Tumblr Themes for Photographers by Catalin Zorzini

I know that it sounds like a niche, but hear me out. Themes for photographers are usually slick and highly focused around presenting short posts properly (often containing just a single picture). This is what Tumblr is essentially about, so the gallery is a good example of Tumblr’s overall feel.

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Regret I Didn’t Come Up with These Myself… November and December 2011 | newInternetOrder.com

online business models

So far in the series we’ve been talking about services and consulting, and products – two most common business models for online entrepreneurs and bloggers. This edition is all about getting some affiliate monies!

OK, not exactly about the “getting” part. But what I want to do is explain some principles by which the model usually works.

If you don’t know what “affiliate” means it’s just a fancy word for earning money as a result of sending a customer towards someone else’s business. Or in other words, when you promote a product that isn’t yours.

The whole idea might not seem that attractive at first, and what you may be thinking is something along the lines of: “If I am the one getting the sale anyway why not simply offer my own product instead?” – this is a common and valid concern.

Yea, why wouldn’t you? Products are great, I agree, but as I was talking in the previous post, there are some downsides to them. Choosing affiliate marketing as a replacement for the product based business model might be a good choice for you if you don’t have the funds to develop your own products.

But let’s take a moment to discuss some advantages and disadvantages first.

Affiliate marketing – pros and cons

There is one main BIG advantage in going for affiliate business model – you don’t have to take care of the product development process.

Most of the time, you don’t have to take care of anything… product development, customer support, product updates, product delivery, payment processing … none of these things are any of your concern.

Your “only” job, as an affiliate, is to get someone to buy the product through your affiliate link. After that you can call it a day.

Another advantage is that your commission is usually a big part of the overall price of the product.

The standard for all kinds of digital products are commissions upwards of 50% of the total price. Many vendors offer 75% commissions, and some even go as far as 90%. So as you can see, in many cases, the product creator earns less money than you – the affiliate.

For physical products there are no standards in terms of commissions. Some vendors offer as little as 2% and some as high as 30%. But still, it’s a lot smaller percentage than for digital products.

That being said, even though the percentage might be smaller, physical products are usually more expensive, so in the end you might earn more promoting an expensive physical product than a cheap digital one.

Continuing with the advantages. There are thousands of products you can promote as an affiliate. Really, the marketplace is very wide, so you can find affiliate products for almost any niche.

See for yourself. If you’re interested in digital products check out sites like: Clickbank, or  PaydotCom. For physical stuff check out Commission Junction, and … Amazon.

Another thing, good affiliate programs also provide their affiliates with various promotional material, like: banners, images, promotional emails, keywords for AdWords, and much more.

Now what everybody has been waiting for … the disadvantages.

First of all, in most cases you don’t get to keep the customer. What I mean is that when you’re selling your own products, for example, you get the customer’s email address, so you can put them on your mailing list and contact them next time you have something interesting to sell. This enables you to make multiple sales from just a single customer acquisition.

There’s rarely such an opportunity with affiliate marketing, at least not at the time of selling. So by default the customer goes to the product owner, and it is the product owner who gets to keep this customer’s contact data.

Technical how-to

Starting with affiliate marketing is rather simple, from a technical standpoint. Every affiliate program provides you with your own unique affiliate links. So all you have to do to earn your money is to get someone to click through your link and buy whatever is on sale.

Of course, the “get someone to buy” part is the most challenging here. In essence, promoting someone else’s product as an affiliate is not much different from promoting your own product.

You still have to convince people to take action and make the purchase, so it won’t necessarily be easier than promoting your own stuff.

You can try implementing all promotional methods you know, there are no rules here. Text links, banners, promotional emails, videos, sales letters, etc.

If you don’t know if affiliate marketing is the right choice for you, consider this one additional idea.

Affiliate marketing is really good at checking the field and making sure that people are interested in a specific type of products. This is the kind of knowledge you can (and should) use when developing your own products.

Here’s what I mean. When you’re planning on creating a product and promoting it in your business you can start by doing a test, and promoting an affiliate product first. Something that is in some way similar to what you have in plan.

After the promotion is done you can look at your results and, to some extent, predict how your own product would perform. If you are satisfied with the results you can go one step forward and start developing that product.

All this testing is to make sure that a situation where you create a product and then find out that no one wants to buy it never happens.

This one thing just might be the biggest value of affiliate marketing. I’m not saying that it is … but it might be. :)

OK, I hope we have this business model covered. Feel free to comment and share your insights. Is there something else I should have mentioned here?

Next parts of the series are coming soon so don’t forget to come back to get them. Feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed or email updates to get the posts delivered to you the minute they are created.

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Online Business Models Explained: Affiliate Income | newInternetOrder.com

Still getting emails about this one, so here’s a quick rundown on how to do it.

First, if you were already using a Fan Page, then you are not affected at all and don’t have to do anything. Please stop emailing me and asking for confirmation. Thanks. :)

Now, if you were using your Application’s Wall as your Page (like I was doing and even recommended), then Facebook is killing off the “Wall” of your Application. This is not a big deal, actually, and you can migrate your Fans to a new Page rather easily.

Step One: Create a new Page. Visit this page to do so. Note: You MUST select “Brand or Product”, and in the dropdown you MUST select “App”. This is not optional. You have to do this to migrate your Fans.

Also note that you must make the name of the Page EXACTLY THE SAME as the name of the application. This is important, don’t try to rename your stuff yet.

Step Two: After you’ve created the page, you’ll want to connect it to your site (using SFC, naturally). First, get the ID number of your new Page. You can find this in the URL of the “Edit Page” link on that Facebook Page. Once you have the ID number, put it into the “Facebook Fan Page” field on the SFC Settings screen and save. While you’re on this Edit Page link on Facebook, you can upload your logos, configure it, etc. Note: Do NOT select a new Vanity URL. The migration will migrate your old one if you had one.

Step Three: Configure SFC. If you’re using the Publisher, for example, you may have to click the grant permissions button again to have it get the new access token for the page. You may need to turn on auto-publishing to the page. Stuff like that. For the most part, SFC is pretty good at configuring itself for this, the Fan Box will automagically switch over, etc.

Step Four: Test. Make a new Post and see if it publishes to your Page. Try the Manual Publisher boxes. Verify that it’s working, basically. While you’re at it, you might go and manually publish some of your older posts to the Page, since the migration will not migrate the content on the wall.

Step Five: Migrate. Visit your application’s profile page. If you don’t see the box below, wait a day or two and it will eventually appear:

Use that migrate link and you’ll get a popup box allowing you to select a Page.

WARNING: If you get a popup that says “You don’t have any eligible Facebook Pages to migrate to”, then STOP RIGHT NOW. Do NOT click migrate. You only get one chance at this, if you mess it up then it’s broken forever.

If you have a Page, and it’s a “Brands or Products/App” page, and it has the EXACT same name as your Application, then you will be given a dropdown to select that Page. Otherwise, you’ll get the bad message. Click Cancel in such a case, fix your Page, and then try again. Only when you have the dropdown and have selected your page should you continue.

Step Six: Patience. Once you’ve selected your new Page and clicked Migrate (and remember, you only get one shot at this!), then after a while, a few things will happen:

a) Your Fans of the Application will slowly be migrated to be Fans of the new Page instead.

b) If you had a vanity URL on the Application Page and did not have one on the Fan Page, then the vanity URL will get migrated too.

c) Your Application Wall will disappear forever (this happens instantly) and any links to it will redirect to your Fan Page.

And that’s it. You’re done. Works fine with SFC. The next version of SFC will remove the publishing to Application Pages entirely, as well as the (now misleading) wording.

 

Without what?!

OK, bear with me. We all know the importance of content. If you have a website, no matter if you’re an online business owner or a blogger, or whatever… you need content. Content is king, remember?

The easiest, and often the best way of getting your hands on some fresh content is writing it yourself. Writing, however, can be a difficult task at some times. Especially when you simply run a word processor and try to put some initial words on the screen.

There’s one specific practice that can help you with that – warming up. Check out my guest post at Problogger to find out what I mean:

Don’t Ever Write Without this Writer’s Warm-up

Finally, what do you think about this whole idea? Is warming up worth the effort? For me, it’s one of the most important steps towards crafting a decent post.

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Don’t Ever Write Without Warm-up | newInternetOrder.com