Official Bootstrapper Announcement: Resource Guides for A Financially Better You

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 2:32am by Site Administrator

 

Hello Bootstrapper Followers!

Check out the newest addition to our site – a section devoted to educational resources that will help you lead a more financially secure life.  We’re proud to present the most recent addition, Money Matters: A Guide to Teaching Finances to Children.  It’s a five part resource that we recommend you start reading from the beginning, but feel free to jump to the section that speaks most to you. 

Part I: An Introduction to Teaching Financial Independence

Part II: Government-Sponsored Investment Programs

Part III: Actionable Ways to Teach Children Finances 

Part IV: Understanding Credit & Credit Cards for Young Adults

Part V: Trusted Financial Resources for Parents, Teachers and Young People

As always, let us know what you think in the comments or what kinds of resource guides you want to see!

A Guide To Building Your Business Through Social Networks

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 6:21pm by Site Administrator

According to recent data in The Economist, nearly 80% of businesses in the U.S. are staffed by fewer than 10 people. Small business owners make up the bulk of entrepreneurship in America, and are tasked with finding cost-effective ways to grow their businesses. Social media outlets may formerly have been thought of as toys that twenty-somethings use to stay connected. But now applications like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are proving they give small business owners the unique opportunity to develop a sense of community within their customer base.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a fairly simple concept that is often misunderstood. The use of certain keywords on your website and in your social media interactions drives your Google search ranking higher. Devoting the time to research and use these keywords pays off in brand awareness and sales. Like any marketing campaign, capitalizing on SEO and social media networks requires clear strategy; without it, your competitors may leave you in the dust.

Benefits to Small Businesses

Companies who have success with social media redefine the traditional approach to promotion. Paid media (advertising) and owned media (your website) should seamlessly converge with what is known as earned media: Facebook likes, tweets and retweets, customer commentary and SEO. To put it simply: today’s best small businesses maximize their advertising dollar by building a community of faithful customers – social media successes are a business’s best friend. Things that once seemed intangible, such as Facebook likes, Yelp reviews, and tweets, are now proof that customers respond to your brand. In turn, these same customers reward your business with public approval and open ended discussions of your business. Not only can you put this direct input into practice, your potential customers can turn to the resources and quickly get what your business is all about.

This doesn’t mean you just “flick on the social media light” and wait for results. You need to spend time developing a lasting online presence. This can mean directly responding to negative feedback, offering online-only perks, or just playfully updating your fans, keeping your business on their minds. Whatever your tailored approach is, you need to make sure it is consistent and engaging. Social media success will always depends upon your level of involvement.

Show Me the Metrics

Any marketer worth their salt knows that measurable results define a successful campaign. With these emerging technologies, it is sometimes difficult to establish useful metrics to justify your marketing budget. The use of social media challenges marketers to expand their definition of return on investment (ROI) to include the positive effects of brand awareness.

While they may find it confusing when Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and FourSquare continually tweak platforms and user interfaces, 72% of small business owners are aware of the need to grasp technologies. Now not all small businesses can directly benefit from the four major social media tools. Before you get really involved in media metrics, make sure you understand how your business operates, what makes it successful, etc. Only then can you understand which tools to approach and the best ways to benefit from them.

But for most models, the ability to establish community within a customer group helps refine customer service response and brand promotion, which ultimately converts to hard sales data. Low-cost social media efforts create an avenue to drive traffic to your website and allow you to offer incentives and promotions without direct marketing costs.

Getting Started

Boosting your social presence starts with simply using the right technology.  A thorough company will want to consider a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, Pinterest pages, a Google+ group, or even a blog. The best way to decide if a tool works for you is to look at the sorts of businesses using a given tool. Is their online presence successful? What is it about a particular tool that makes their business standout?

Consider the following scenario: a client approaches a social media consultant simply hoping to increase likes on their Facebook page. Further discussion reveals that, in fact, what the client really wants is to build out their mailing list in an effort to solidify public understanding of their product. While an admirable goal, the client’s fuzzy grasp of what Facebook likes actually do for their business shows that they have no clear vision of how to best accomplish goals through social media. Instead, the business should not have simply limited themselves to Facebook. Specific goals require specific social media solutions that can only be articulated after properly researching a number of distinct options.

Social Media Musts
 

  • Here are some invaluable lessons you need to know in order to truly capitalize on social media:

    • Add plug-ins to your website that encourage social media sharing. Facebook and Twitter share buttons not only allow your readers to communicate their responses to you, they also let you share your messages with potential customers.

    • When building business pages on Facebook or Google+, ask your family and friends to help with promotion. While this can further your social presence, make sure your business page always comes off as completely professional. Never treat it like your own personal profile!

    • Don’t forget that the vast majority of social media sites have specific rules you need to know and adhere to – if you don’t, you risk being suspended or banned from a given site. This could mean months of your time and expense down the drain!

    • Take notice of customers who faithfully interact and reward them. Consider a “Fan of the Week” promotion with a coupon for services.

    • Tweet regularly. Try posting blog announcements, special incentives to purchase, and useful information, such as a link to a relevant article published elsewhere. Strive to provide consistent content and respond directly to customers who address you on Twitter.

    • When your social media sources are activated, send out a newsletter to your customer base announcing the new contact channels. Include buttons to ensure one-click access to these sources.

    • Mention your social media sites in traditional advertising.

    • Attract new followers with incentives that make them feel special. A discount or free service can drive traffic to your product, and the feeling of inclusiveness can make a first-time customer a regular customer.

    • Directly address your public. Get patrons and potential patrons interested with polls or direct questions on the social media platform of your choosing. Such options work like free, highly specific market studies. No business can afford to pass up on such data opportunities.

    • Seriously consider investing in paid ad options on social media, such as Facebook Ads. Low-cost advertising can produce high traffic and provide excellent demographic metrics.

When it comes down to it, a small business in today’s climate needs to embrace  information-centric customers and the social media they love. Any business that can’t get with the program will end up in technology’s dustbin.

 

Calculate This! 100 Financial Calculators Every Entrepreneur Needs

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 1:27pm by Site Administrator

By Eliza Morgan

Many entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a separate accounting department, instead doing their own number crunching. It’s not always easy, but you can make it less difficult by making use of the huge number of free financial tools for businesses that are available on the Internet. Here are 100 calculators that can help you get and keep your finances in order.

Business Operations

Don’t get caught off guard by the unexpected financial pitfalls of owning a business. Keep one step ahead with these useful business calculators.

  1. Break Even Analysis: Figure out how much you’re going to need to sell with your business just to break even. This can be helpful in creating a starting point for your sales goals.
  2. Business Valuation: Whether you are just curious, or want to sell your business, this calculator can help you determine the value. Just enter your cash flow and your expenses to get an estimate.
  3. Working Capital Needs: Find out what your business will need to keep going with this helpful calculator. It will take into account your short-term monetary obligations and figure out how much capital you’ll need so you won’t fall short.
  4. Financial Ratio: Sometimes there are areas of your business that will need special attention relative to others. Figure out what those are with this financial ratio calculator.
  5. Cash Flow: No matter what type of business you are in, keeping your cash flow in check is essential to a healthy business. See how much your business is generating with this calculator.
  6. Buying vs. Leasing: Sometimes it can be tough to figure out whether simply buying equipment you need will leave you better off in the long run than leasing. Put your costs into this calculator to find out which would suit your business’ needs best.
  7. Profit Margin: This calculator can help you determine how much you should be selling your products or services for to achieve a desired profit margin.
  8. Inventory Analysis: Keeping a not-too-little, but not-too-much balance of inventory can be tricky business. This calculator will help you figure out how to time your orders and how much to keep on hand.
  9. Sales Per Employee: Figure out what your salespeople are averaging with this simple calculator.
  10. Operating Profit Percentage: This calculator will help you compare your sales with what is left after the cost of your goods and operating costs.
  11. Return on Assets: See how well you’re managing your company with this calculator that compares net income to total assets. You’ll be able to find out how much you’re getting for every dollar.
  12. Debt to Assets: This calculator can help you determine to what extent your company is financed by loans and other sources of debt. The lower the number, the better your chances are of staying afloat financially.
  13. Starting Costs: Figure out the starting costs for your business idea before you start so there won’t be any surprises and you’ll know how much you’ll need to get things off the ground.
  14. Conversion Rate: Unsure how updating or changing your website will or did impact your business? Use this calculator to see how improving your online sales can affect your business.
  15. Pay Per Click ROI: Are your pay per click ad campaigns really paying off? See if your advertising is worth the investment with this calculator.
  16. Email ROI: The same goes for your email ad campaigns. This calculator will let you know if you’re generating enough sales or if you need to find another marketing strategy.
  17. Business Location, to Rent or Buy: Use this calculator to find out if your business would profit more from renting a location or buying one outright.
  18. SAP Value Calculator: The SAP Value Calculator for midsize business reveals how strong your business is today and how much additional value you can gain by improving your infrastructure.
  19. Double Your Money: Determine how long it will take you to double your money with this simple calculator.

Loans

Unless you’re bootstrapping it, or you’ve come into quite a financial windfall, it’s likely that your business will need a few loans to get up and running. Here are some calculators that can help you figure out how much you can borrow and what your payments will be.

  1. Commercial Loan: This calculator can help you determine your debt service coverage with a new loan, which can in turn help you determine if you’ll be approved.
  2. Alternative Payment Frequencies: If you’re not sure what payment method will work out best for your loan, try out different combinations with this calculator.
  3. Amortizing Loan: Use this calculator to determine how much money you can borrow based on the monthly payment you can afford.
  4. Balloon Loan: This calculator can help you determine if a balloon loan (short term but payments are based over 15 year period) might be better for you than a standard loan.
  5. Credit Line: Not sure how much money you can qualify for? Your line of credit is based on the value or your business or home and this calculator can do the math for you.
  6. Enhanced Loan Calculator: This calculator makes it easy to change all the elements involved with getting a loan (monthly payment, amount of loan, interest rate) to find the best combination for your business.
  7. Existing Loan: If your business already has an outstanding loan, you can use this calculator to determine how much longer you’ll be paying on them based on your balance and the amount of your monthly payments.
  8. Loan Comparison: Don’t let loans confuse you with different rates and terms. Compare loans directly with this calculator.
  9. Loan Prequalification: Use this calculator as an initial step in determining what kind of loans you can qualify for.
  10. Small Business Loan: Determine the best monthly payments on your small business loan with this useful calculator designed especially for businesses.
  11. Loan or Line of Credit: Use this calculator from Bank of America to find out if you should get a loan or a line of credit for your business start up or expansion.
  12. Term of Loan: Determine what length of loan you should apply for using this simple calculator.
  13. Blended Rate Calculator: Calculate the effective interest rate on multiple loans.
  14. Loan and Line Payment: Use this calculator to determine the amount of money you’ll be making as payments on your loan or line of credit.

Debt Management

Don’t let your loans get out of hand. Use these calculators to figure out the best way to pay back your loans and other debts.

  1. Business Debt Consolidation: Have multiple business credit cards or loans holding debt for your company? Use this calculator to find out if you’d be better off consolidating your debts into one monthly payment.
  2. Credit Assessment: Get a quick credit assessment with this easy-to-use calculator.
  3. Accelerated Debt Payoff: Get rid of your debt even faster using this calculator which will help you create a debt payment plan that can potentially save you money in interest fees.
  4. Credit Card Minimum Payment Calculator: While it might seem easier to just pay the minimum on your credit card balance, it can end up potentially costing your business thousands more. This calculator can help you determine the true cost of minimum payments.
  5. Credit Card Optimizer: This calculator helps you create the best distribution of your credit card debt to minimize how much you’ll pay out.
  6. Credit Card Payoff: Want to eliminate your credit card debt? This calculator will show you what it will take to pay off those cards.
  7. How much do you owe?: Not sure how much debt you actually have? Use this calculator to figure out where to begin paying off your debts by finding out where you stand.
  8. Credit Card Debt Roll-Down: You can get your debt under control and keep your business afloat. Here you’ll find a calculator that will help you determine what debts to pay off first to get you on the road to financial freedom.
  9. Credit Card Calculator: Choosing the right business credit card can make a big difference in the financial future of your business. Use this calculator to make the decision a little easier.

Investment

Make your business and personal investment tracking easy with these investment calculators.

  1. Asset Allocator: Whether you’re investing for your business or handling your personal finances, this calculator can help you determine the best way to spread out your money.
  2. Compare Investment Fees: Investing can pay off in the long run, but it often comse with some fees that can add up over time. Use this calculator to see what you’ll be paying over the lifetime of your investments.
  3. Investment Loan: Thinking of making a substantial business investment? Use this calculator to help you figure out if it’s a smart move.
  4. Investment Returns: See the big picture with this calculator that shows the impact of inflation, taxes and time horizon on your investments.
  5. Taxable vs. Tax Advantaged Investments: If you’re not sure what kind of investment is best for you, use this calculator to see the different between taxed, tax deferred and tax-free investments.
  6. Investment Savings and Distributions: Whether you’re designing retirement plans for yourself, clients or employees, use this calculator to determine how long your investment will last once you start cashing in.
  7. Interest Rate Converter: Compare the dividends from several interest rates at once with this calculator.
  8. Investment Offering: Use this tool to see both sides of the investment coin. You can calculate what investors in your company will get and what your company will have to give up to accommodate them.
  9. Landlord Calculator: Real estate can be a good investment, but is it the right one for you? Use this calculator to find out if being a landlord could be a moneymaker for you.
  10. Self Employed Retirement Calculator: This calculator will let you determine the maximum contribution you can make to your self employed 401(k).
  11. Risk Tolerance: Determine what kind of investments will be best for you based on how much of a risk you’re willing to take with this online calculator.
  12. Investment Goal Calculator: Make sure your investments are on track with this calculator.
  13. IRA Stretch Calculator: Stretch your retirement savings as far as they will go with this calculator.

Taxes

Unfortunately, taxes are an inevitable part of any business’ day to day life. These online tools will help make paying them just a little more painless.

  1. 1040 Tax Calculator: Keep up with your personal taxes using this calculator.
  2. 457 Payroll Deductions: Not sure how much of a difference changing your withholding will make? Use this calculator to figure out the difference before you make the change.
  3. Estate Tax Planning: Don’t let your children or grandchildren get burned by the estate tax. Determine what you’ll be liable for long before it becomes an issue.
  4. Net to Gross Paycheck Calculator: This calculator will help you learn what you need to earn each paycheck to meet a net amount.
  5. Self-Employment Taxes: Self-employed individuals are subject to different taxes, so use this calculator to figure out what you can expect to pay.
  6. Home Office Deduction: For those running a business from home, this calculator can help you determine if you can use your home or business costs as deductions on your taxes.
  7. Marginal and Effective Tax Rate Calculator: Estimating what percentage of your income old Uncle Sam is going to demand at the end of the year is essential to avoiding that end of the year tax surprise. Instead, this calculator will allow you to estimate the amount which will give you time to sock the necessary amount away.
  8. Gross Up Calculator: Use this calculator to determine the payroll taxes that should be deducted from bonuses and taxable benefits given to employees.

Personnel

Make the business of doing your payroll easier with these free calculators.

  1. Paycheck Calculator: Help calculate your or your employees’ take home pay after taxes and other deductions.
  2. Wage Conversion: Save yourself the mental acrobatics when converting wages from one periodic term into another (weeks, days, months, etc), making comparison and rates easy to calculate.
  3. Aggregate Bonus Calculator: Figure out an employee’s annual bonus with this calculator.
  4. Flat Percentage Bonus Calculator: Another bonus calculator, this one is based on a flat percentage instead.
  5. 401(k) Planner: Get your financial future on track with this 401k planning calculator.
  6. Salary Wizard: Find out if you’re earning what you’re worth as a freelancer or if you’re paying your employees enough with this salary calculator.
  7. Office Space Calculator: Not sure how much space you’ll need? This calculator will let you know how many square feet you’ll need for your business based on the number of employees you have.
  8. Annual Stock Option Grants: Use this calculator to see how your and your employees stock options might improve over time.

Personal Finance

Don’t lose track of your personal finances because you’re too busy with your business finances. Make use of these simple tools to manage your finances at home.

  1. Checkbook Balancer: Keep your personal budget balanced with this quick and easy calculator.
  2. Home Budget Analysis: Keeping track of where your money goes can be hard as it often goes out as fast as it comes in. Use this budget analysis tool to get a handle on your spending.
  3. Life Expectancy: Get an idea of how much you’ll need to plan for with this life expectancy calculator. Based on your health and lifestyle it will give you an estimate of your life expectancy.
  4. Net Worth: Determine your net value and how it can change with this calculator.
  5. Should my spouse work?: For many couples, especially those with children, the decision for one spouse to stay at home can be a hard one. See if your spouse can afford to stay home or should go to work with this calculator.
  6. Social Security Benefits: Get an estimate of your potential social security benefits with this calculator.
  7. Roth IRA Calculator: See how investing in an Roth IRA compares with taxable investments.
  8. Retirement Planner: Keep your retirement plan on track with this easy-to-use calculator.
  9. Retirement Income: How much will you have to live on when you retire? Use this calculator to figure out what your retirement savings will provide you with.
  10. 457 Savings Calculator: Use this calculator to figure out if a 457 savings plan can help you create a better retirement.
  11. Cost of Living Calculator: Compare the cost of living between different cities in the United States.
  12. Earning Potential: This calculator can help you estimate how much you can expect to earn over the course of your lifetime and what you can do to make the most of that money.
  13. Human Life Calculator: Use this calculator to determine how much life insurance you should be carrying.

Miscellaneous

It seems like there’s a calculator out there for everything, and here are a few more that can help you with your business.

  1. Basic Calculator: Meet your most basic calculator needs anywhere you have internet access with this online calculator.
  2. Basic Financial Calculator: This financial calculator can do all kinds of simple financial calculations.
  3. Compound Interest: Determine the compound interest on your holdings in a savings or investment account.
  4. Future Value: This calculator is used to determine what a sum of money deposited today will be worth at some point in the future based on a specific discount interest rate.
  5. Present Value: This calculator is used to determine what a sum of money to be received in a future year is worth in today’s dollars based on a specific discount interest rate.
  6. Music Business Profit/Loss Calculator: For those trying to make a music business or band the sole source of income, here’s a calculator that will help you determine which gigs are worth it and which you should pass up.
  7. Postage Calculator: Figure out how much you’ll need to spend on postage for bulk mailings or to send products to customers with this calculator from the US Postal Service.
  8. Carbon Dioxide Calculator: Environmentally conscious businesses can use this calculator to figure out the amount of carbon dioxide released by business operations and take measures to offset it.
  9. Best Workplace for Commuters Calculator: Also for the green business, this calculator will give you an estimate of the financial, environment, and traffic benefits of joining the Best Workplace for Commuters program.
  10. Small Business Safety Calculator: Workplace related injuries can be costly. This calculator can help you understand just how much you’ll owe even with accident insurance in place.
  11. Calculator.com: Find all kinds of calculators on this one convenient site, everything from lease calculators to feet into inches.
  12. Currency Converter: Doing business overseas is easy with this currency conversion calculator.
  13. How long til you become a millionaire? Use this calculator to find out how long it will take you to make the millions you’ve been working so hard for.
  14. Time Value Calculator: Figure out what your time is worth with this calculator that takes into account your spending habits and taxes.
  15. Gas Guzzling Calculator: Commuting to the office or to meet with clients? Find out how much the price of gas is hurting your bottom line with this calculator.
  16. Movie Star Comparison Calculator: See how your business revenues compare to the salaries of the biggest celebs with this just for fun calculator.
  17. Coffee Habit: See how much that morning Starbucks is really costing you with this calculator; money you could be putting in your business or your savings account.

52 Creative Ideas for Finding New Clients

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 2:13am by Site Administrator

As a bootstrapper, you know that clients equal business. Without them, you’d just be another one-man (or woman) shop with an office trying not to go into debt. Fighting for and retaining clients against your competition can be a struggle, just like recruiting new employees or searching for a job yourself is a frustrating battle. With this list, we want to help you take a step back from the front lines and get a little creative. Read below for more than 50 ideas on how to find new clients the smart way.

Online Tools and Resources

Utilize the Internet to connect you to clever tools and resources that will help you find new clients.

  1. Make sure your website is in working order: If you hand someone a business card, they probably won’t call you right away, but they will check out your website. If you have an amateur online set up, you won’t come across as cutting edge or professional enough, even if your physical office space is in great shape.
  2. Start blogging: In addition to setting up a professional looking website, start a blog on which you regularly post articles about your field. You can dispense free advice or discuss industry news in a more casual setting than if you met face to face with a new client. You’ll increase your online profile by reaching out to readers all over the world.
  3. Maintain a strong presence online: Regularly visit other blogs and websites in your field and comment on different posts and message boards. Most sites will allow you to link back to your own blog or website. Becoming a known fixture online is free advertising, and others will come to recognize your level of expertise.
  4. Hot Gigs: This online staffing exchange can help you find new clients looking for qualified vendors and project managers.
  5. Word of Mouth Marketing Association: This online community supports entrepreneurs by allowing them access to a job board where they can find new clients. Business owners can also read articles, share tips and meet up at events through the organization.
  6. Web Designers: 5 Steps to Dozens of New Clients: This detailed article from Interspire.com reveals 5 Internet-based tricks and tools that Web designers can use to win over new clients.
  7. Free Tips from the Marketing Mentor: The Marketing Mentor Ilise Benun sends out free tips to subscribers who want advice on attracting new clients.
  8. YouTube: Direct a YouTube video that showcases your company’s services in a creative way. You can embed the video in your website or blog, e-mail it to friends, family and clients, or just wait and see how popular it becomes on its own.

For Freelancers

Freelancers in search of new clients should check out these job boards, which post resumes, offer tips for finding new gigs and encourage networking throughout the freelancing community.

  1. 37signals Gig Board: Clients can search this job board for freelancing help with copywriting, Web design, programming and other techie tasks.
  2. Writerlance: This site is "connecting writers with buyers." Sign up to start placing your bid on quality projects.
  3. Guru.com: Guru.com boasts that it is "the world’s largest online service marketplace." Register your skills here to meet new clients.
  4. sologig: Sologig posts "superior projects" for "independent talent." Browse through the job listings and place your bid on top projects which could lead to long lasting client relationships.
  5. Freelancers Network: This UK-based network is worth checking out if you live in the area or feel like you can compete with British professionals from home.
  6. iFreelance: Use this site to find new gigs and start an ongoing business relationship with new clients.
  7. eLance: Web programming, design, writing, sales and other jobs are available here. Register online for a clever way to meet new clients.

Marketing Strategies

Without a solid marketing strategy, you’ll never be able to reach out to quality clients. This list documents clever ways to modify your marketing plan so that your business achieves maximum exposure.

  1. Create an e-mail campaign: Web-based tools like Breeze can help you design and create attractive e-mail campaigns that you can use to announce your business deals, special events and other news-worthy items that will attract new business.
  2. Find New Clients: Check out this article by Bernadette Doyle to learn how to successfully market yourself and your company so that you become attractive to your specific audience.
  3. New Client Marketing Institute: Turn to this website for free how-to articles that will help improve your marketing strategies and attract clients.
  4. MarketingProfs.com: This online networking community of marketing professionals hosts a job board, blog, information about upcoming special events, and features lots of valuable marketing resources and forums that promote communication among business owners.
  5. CPA Marketing Challenge: Clients Quick and Easy: This guide offers fail-proof advice on how to attract clients you’ll work with forever.
  6. shoutlet: This social media marketing tool allows entrepreneurs to manage contacts, newsletters, mailing lists, tracking tools, and digital content storage capabilities.
  7. New Clients Now! Marketing Strategies for Freelance Success: Freelancers have unique marketing needs, and this article reveals simple but effective secrets for success.
  8. Entrepreneur.com: Utilize this valuable resource for all kinds of articles and advice on marketing, attracting new clients and other topics related to owning a growing business.
  9. As your business grows, advertise to existing clients: Just because you’ve had the same client for 5 years doesn’t mean they remain aware of your company’s most recent progress. Continue to market to existing clients by notifying them of new services, special deals and more.
  10. Become an industry expert: Check out this article from Write2Market.com for tips on how to gain publicity and a new client base by becoming a go-to expert in your field.
  11. The Freelancer’s New Client Primer: Great tips supplied in this article include perfecting the art of selling, building rapport among industry professionals and developing a relationship strategy.
  12. CafePress.com: Design and order your own promotional items to hand out at trade shows or to give as gifts for existing clients.

Networking Ideas

Let these tools and guides inspire you to tap into all of your contact resources to network, network, network.

  1. Reconnect With Your Alma Mater: Ework.com writer Rob Einaudi urges professionals to go back to school in the search for new clients. He notes that "many alumni associations have large databases containing a wealth of useful information and contacts."
  2. Keep your portfolio in the trunk of your car: You never know when a new opportunity might strike. While it’s best not to show up to a wedding with a bulging binder under your arm, make sure you have a few examples of some of your best work, and keep the phone numbers of references handy in case a new business relationship materializes.
  3. LinkedIn: This popular online social network connects professionals, students and alumni. Become a member and set up your own profile to strengthen existing business relationships or start new ones.
  4. Capazoo: This online social networking community supports blogs, videos and music files so that you can reach your customers more creatively.
  5. Doostang: This career hub doubles as a networking site for those looking to expand their audience and professional contacts. Doostang is currently invite-only, so ask around to see if you can score an invitation.
  6. Gather: Members of this social network can post photos, engage in group chats, upload videos and make new contacts.
  7. Attending Trade Fairs/Exhibitions to Meet New Clients: Discover what other professionals have to say about networking with potential clients at trade shows.
  8. 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking: Nervous about getting out in the real world to meet new people? Use this guide to arm yourself with solid networking strategies.
  9. Networking Tips: How to Work a Room: Check out this article from the University of California – Berkeley’s career center. Great tips include: "check your attitude", "practice and perfect your self-introduction" and "risk rejection".
  10. Meetup: Meetup connects people who share the same interests, business-related or otherwise, and encourages them to organize real world events to network, communicate and foster new relationships.
  11. Business Networking for Entrepreneurs: This resource from About.com has lots of clever ideas for giving your networking skills a boost. Learn about "the importance of being memorable" and "how to cultivate a network of endless referrals."
  12. Ryze: This popular business networking site connects users to new clients and business partners through its professional online community.
  13. How to Network: For Introverts: This article from BusinessPundits.com coaxes shy business professionals into the profitable world of business marketing.
  14. 8 Networking Tips: Ideas like "brainstorm for contacts" and making sure to follow up are simple but extremely effective strategies that will help you find new clients.

Guides

Read these articles and guides for quality information on seeking out and retaining profitable clients.

  1. How to Attract New Clients to Your Work at Home Business: Work-at-home professionals sometimes don’t get as much respect as entrepreneurs who operate out of a traditional office. Use this guide to develop a marketing plan that will bring clients to your home office.
  2. How to Land New Clients Fast: This step-by-step article urges business owners to "be bold, be creative" and "give up your fears, doubts and insecurities" before actively pursuing new clients.
  3. 101 Ideas to Get More Freelance Work and Generate New Client Leads: Save this resource from FreelanceSwitch to get lots of clever ideas for bulking up your business and fostering relationships with newly acquired clients.
  4. Five Ways to Cross-Promote to Attract More Customers While Spending Less: Start a partnership with another company in your field or active in a different industry to sponsor an event, engage in product sharing or refer customers back and forth.
  5. CareerJournal.com: This "executive career site" from the Wall Street Journal includes a job board, a collection of business-related tools and many other resources to help your business grow.
  6. Small Business Resource Center: Nielsen’s Professional Network publishes this online collection of articles, tools, job classifieds and other resources to increase your presence among potential clients.
  7. Target Ideal Buyers to Get More Customers: This post from the StreetSmart Marketer blog dispenses critical advice for recognizing "ideal buyers," who are "easier to sell…more profitable" and "likely to become the best clients."
  8. Business Planning: Pitching successful campaigns to clients all starts with a solid business plan. Use this guide to develop an effective, workable strategy that will attract the clients you want.
  9. 21 Strategies to Attract New Clients: This article is full of ideas for bringing new clients into your office.

Get Involved

The following ideas will help you get out of the office and get involved with the community.

  1. Leverage Your Hobbies: MsMoney.com suggests that entrepreneurs take a look at what interests them outside of work, and then take steps to pursue it professionally. Rob Einaudi writes, "if you are an avid skier, perhaps a ski resort, tour company, or retailer you frequent could use your services. The fact that you already "speak their language" will make you a top candidate."
  2. Volunteering: Use a site like Volunteer Match to find volunteering opportunities that match your interest and are located in your area. Volunteering is a great way to meet individuals from all walks of life and develop with them a special bond.
  3. Donate your services: If you don’t have time to give up your weekends or evenings to helping with a volunteering project, consider donating your services, whether it’s printing services, marketing assistance or legal help to a charity in your area. You’ll enter into a whole new world of valuable networking and new business opportunities.
  4. Join a professional organization: Join up with the local chapter of your field’s professional organization. You’ll meet other professionals at all levels at special events, lectures and more.

50+ Google Reader Productivity Hacks

Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 6:33pm by Site Administrator

Google Reader is already a tool that can be used to boost your productivity throughout the day by letting you view your favorite blog’s feeds and posts in one spot: through your Google account. But for those of us who tend to get bogged down in a lot of useless subscriptions and really need to cut down on the minutes (or hours) we spend procrastinating each day, there are a lot of little hacks to make Google Reader more productive. We’ve compiled a list of over 50 of our favorites here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Use these basic but necessary keyboard shortcuts to make searching, organizing, sharing and reading your feeds more efficient.

  1. /: Use the forward slash to move your cursor to the search box and start looking for new stuff or saved items.
  2. g then u: Type g then u to go to your subscriptions.
  3. g then d: This shortcut will take you to the recommended page. If there are no recommendations, typing g then d will take you to the browse page.
  4. 2: Press 2 to see your subscriptions in a list view or headline view.
  5. ?: Find more keyboard shortcuts just for Google Reader by pressing the question mark.
  6. Shift-s: Pressing Shift-S will share or un-share the selected item.
  7. s: Star and un-star your highlighted items simply by pressing s.
  8. Shift-o: Open up the highlighted subscription or folder with this shortcut.
  9. g then h: Press g then h to go back to the Google Reader homepage.
  10. g then shift-s: This shortcut will take you to the "Your Shared Items" page.
  11. shift-n/p: n/p stands for Next/Previous, and using this combination will select the Next/Previous selection or folder.
  12. v: Open up the original page of the selected item in Google Reader.
  13. e: Quickly e-mail a page or other selection by pressing e when you’re in Google Reader.
  14. r: Check to see if anymore unread updates have been added when you hit the r button in the navigation.

For Firefox

Firefox users like their browser’s speed and ability to add on new scripts or buttons. Check out several Google Reader-specific hacks for Firefox here.

  1. Enhance Google Reader Preview: This script adds a Preview button so that you don’t have to open up an article or post all the way to read it.
  2. BlogThis2Me: The BlogThis2Me script lets you "blog Google Reader’s "BlogThis!" to your own blog system, not to blogger.com," as long as you have Firefox and Greasemonkey.
  3. Smart Google Reader Subscribe Button: this script "adds an overlayed check icon when you’re subscribed to at least one of the feeds that the site advertises via auto-discovery."
  4. Gbutts 1.5.1: Gbutts is short for Google buttons, and you can add your Google Reader button, as well as any other Google buttons, to your Firefox address bar.
  5. Better GReader: Better GReader works with Firefox adds a menu with extra options and features like Smart Subscribe, Preview Inline, Optimized Skin and others.
  6. Google Reader Watcher: Google Reader Watcher is an add-on that makes Firefox check your Google Reader for unread fees. This download does not require Greasemonkey.
  7. Quick Hide Message: Shave off milliseconds with this script, which "quickly hides the message displayed in Google Reader after performing renames, folder changes," and other actions.
  8. Auto Add Feed: The Auto Add Feed script only adds feeds to Google Reader, instead of asking you where you want it to be saved.
  9. Title Unread Count: This hack moves the unread count in Google Reader to the front.
  10. Greasereader: Add even more hot keys to your Google Reader systems by reading this guide.
  11. Google Reader All Starred: Extract all of your starred items as links from Google Reader so that you don’t have to download each one.
  12. Google Reader Read by Mouse: Set up this script so that you can use a mouse-only system to read your feeds. It uses mouse buttons for the following actions: next item, previous item, and more.

Real Time Savers

If you’re serious about making your Google Reader visits more efficient, learn how to categorize by priority, use the "next" bookmarklet, and implement scripts that let you autoscroll, review your subscriptions and more.

  1. Categorize by priority: Stepcase Lifehack recommends categorizing your feeds by priority so that you don’t get bogged down in irrelevant articles.
  2. Google Reader Autoscroll: The autoscroll script lets you "view and mark items as read by means of a mouse wheel and keyboard shortcuts."
  3. Mark All as Read: If you only want to read one article from a feed, you can mark everything else as read to weed out your extra entries.
  4. Google Reader Scroll Reducer: With this script, you’re able to comment on and view the original site without having to scroll to the top of page to get to the URL.
  5. The "Next" Bookmarklet: The Google Reader Blog discusses this hack, which "allows you to use Google Reader through just one link — clicking on it takes your browser to the next unread item in your reading list."
  6. Review your subscriptions: Are you still getting subscriptions for some obscure hobby you were only interested in a year ago? Go through your subscriptions and delete any that you don’t really want emptied into your account regularly.
  7. Print Button v2.0: The Google Reader Print Button v2.0 allows users to print either the selected content or everything that’s displayed on the page in Google Reader.
  8. Gmail + Google Reader: Add Google Reader into your Gmail account so you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth.
  9. Google Reader Filter: Get rid of duplicate and unwanted content with this script.
  10. Tag your items: Take advantage of the tagging feature on Google Reader. It’s there to help you stay organized and more productive.

Social Media Hacks

How much time do you waste each day checking all of your social media accounts? These hacks let you sync up Google Reader with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Chat and more.

  1. Google Reader + ma.gnolia: This basic script lets you add a Google Reader post to ma.gnolia.
  2. Google Reader Digg News: Add a Digg button to your Google Reader posts with this script.
  3. Tumblr: Sync up your Google Reader and Tumblr with this script. You can attach your reblog button or Share-on-Tumblr at the bottom of articles on Google Reader.
  4. Managing Your Shared Items: This post from the Google Reader Blog shows you how to add and remove friends from your Gmail or GChat account.
  5. Google Reader and Flickr: Now you embed Flickr videos into your Google Reader, so you don’t have to switch back and forth to share with extra friends or read their comments.
  6. Facebook Sharer + Google Reader: Share your favorite posts and articles with Google Reader friends and Facebook friends.
  7. Google Reader + del.icio.us: Use this script to define tags and links for a faster way of posting to del.icio.us.
  8. Google Reader + Twitter: Use this script to add reader posts to Twitter.

Add-Ons and Solutions

Try out these add-ons to customize your Google Reader experience and streamline your Google accounts.

  1. Google Reader Notifier: This extension keeps you updated by showing you how many unread items you have in your account.
  2. Add a Search: Add a search engine to your Google Reader account to make searching for items faster.
  3. Google Reader Optimized: Use this script to view Google Reader in a larger space. The last official update was in 2006, but Google Reader users have submitted updates.
  4. Google Reader Romeo Script: Check out this script to access Google Reader from your cell phone — if you don’t have an iPhone.
  5. Google Reader Button for Internet Explorer: IE users can add on a Google Reader to their browser using this tutorial.
  6. iPhone Skin: iPhone users can easily view Google Reader on their phones with this special skin from developer David Cann.
  7. Iris: View your Google Reader subscriptions in a Firefox sidebar.
  8. Go behind the scenes: If you want to know how many people have subscribed to a certain feed, you can use this tutorial to speed up your search times.

50 Awesome Tools for Researching Your Family’s History

Saturday, April 30, 2011 at 5:56pm by Site Administrator

By Eliza Morgan

Researching family history used to mean spending hours pouring through archives in libraries and public records. With the growing power of the Internet, however, now you may not even have to leave your home to find the information you need about your family. There are loads of sites dedicated to helping people build their family histories, find records and even learn the origins of their family names. Here are a few sites where you can start your search to build a bigger, better family tree.

Websites

These major sites can be a great starting points for your genealogical research.

  1. Ancestry.com: Ancestry.com is one of the largest genealogy sites on the Web, with billions of names that you can search through to find your relatives as well as gain access to historical records, genealogy communities, family tree makers and much more.
  2. RootsWeb: Unlike many of the online genealogy sites, RootsWeb is free to use, and you do not need to pay a monthly or yearly fee for access. Users can browse through searchable databases of historical and genealogical information as well as create online family trees to display their findings.
  3. Geneaology.com: This membership-based site will allow you to search through information, build online family trees, subscribe to certain types of information, and even look at celebrity family trees.
  4. SurnameWeb: This online genealogy project is based solely on the history of your surname. Simply enter in your last name and you’ll get access to loads of resources that can help you trace your name’s history and find others with the same name.
  5. Family Tree Maker Online: Get access to more features online with the website for this popular software choice. Owners of Family Tree Maker can meet and talk to others with the program, read a blog about new features and learn more about genealogy.
  6. US GenWeb Project: This project is dedicated to keeping genealogy research free of charge. It compiles loads of free resources and archives by state as well as providing access to special projects the group works on.
  7. Cyndi’s List: Don’t waste your time scouring the Web looking for genealogy resources. This site organizes just about anything you could need into one large comprehensive guide to the best of genealogy on the Web.
  8. Lost Cousins: Find your long lost cousins with this site. Enter in your family history and the program will put you in touch with anyone else out there who shares the same ancestors.
  9. WeRelate: This wiki project is sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy and has grown to become the largest genealogy wiki out there. You can add your own family history to the site and look at the information provided by millions of others.
  10. FamilySearch: This site is home to one of the largest collections of genealogical research tools available. Even better, it’s free, so you don’t have to pay to look through their records.
  11. GeneaNet: Go international with this multi-lingual genealogy site. You’ll be able to search through information, chat with others and build your own family tree online.
  12. Genealogy Today: Here, researchers will find both pay and free databases for their use as well as access to loads of informative articles, guides and helpful information.

Archives and Records

Get access to all kinds of historical records through these online archives.

  1. Library of Congress Local History and Genealogy Reading Room: Take advantage of one of the largest libraries in the United States through this website. You’ll gain access to any genealogical resources the library has and learn a little more about researching family histories.
  2. National Archives and Records Administration: While not always the easiest information to peruse, the National Archives are full of records that can be a big help in your quest for information about relatives.
  3. Social Security Death Index: If you’re looking for more recent relatives, the Social Security Death Index can be a great way to find them. Records go back to 1937 and cover any relatives who were given a Social Security number.
  4. Internment.net: Search through thousands of cemeteries nationwide for the graves of your relatives. You can find out birth and death information as well as additional information about family connections through this site.
  5. Access Genealogy: This free online resource is full of archives you can use. It covers everything from Census records to genealogical records for African Americans.
  6. Footnote: Footnote is an original and innovative site that lets users from all over the world upload original documents and photographs. You may even be able to find some that belonged to your relatives. It’s a great way to learn about your own history as well as that of others.
  7. Genealogy Bank: You’ll be able to search through the archives on this site to find information on your family history. Perhaps one of the best features, however, is the timeline creator which lets you build a timeline of important events in a family member’s life.
  8. Find a Grave: Learn where even your most distant relatives were laid to rest with this tool. If you have photographs you can upload them to the site as well as obituaries and other death information.
  9. DocumentsOnline: Those doing research on relatives from the UK can take advantage of this large archive of records that has been digitized and is available through the website for researchers.
  10. JewishGen: If you are of Jewish heritage you may be able to find information about your ancestors through this site. You can search through records from a number of countries and get in touch with others keeping records of their family history.
  11. Global Gazetteer: Find the homes and resting places of your family members using this site. It has satellite images of locations all over the world to give you an idea of where you’re from.
  12. Census Links: Census records can be tedious to go through, but this site combines many links to sites all over the world to make it just a little less painful to research.
  13. The Records Room: This site combines links to records like birth certificates, census reports, marriage and divorce papers, and much more to make finding the information you need easier.
  14. Vital Rec: Here you’ll find vital records on births, deaths and marriages across the US as well as information on how you can request copies of this information.

Crests and Coats of Arms

Find out what coat of arms represents your family name with these helpful resources.

  1. House of Names: Memorialize your family crest with merchandise from this site. You can get high quality print outs or even mouse pads with your family logo.
  2. All Family Crests: Here you’ll find a simple search tool to help you find a crest, if there is one, that matches up with your family name and you can print it out for free.
  3. Coats of Arms and Family Crests: Find simple renditions of your coat of arms with this easy-to-use site.

Charts and Forms

Keep your family tree information organized and accessible with these tools for charting relationships online and off.

  1. OurTimeLines.com: Here you’ll be able to generate interesting webpages that can give you some insight to the lives of your ancestors. It shows how your life or the lives of anyone in your family fits into major events in history.
  2. Online Family Tree Maker: This free software allows you to connect with others who may already have parts of your family tree online or to start your own. People can then search through your tree for information and you can do the same with theirs.
  3. Geni.com: This sleek and easy-to-use site gives you access to an online family tree maker. It’s private, so only people in your family will have access to the information.
  4. Genealogy Forms and Charts: Get all the charts and forms that professional genealogists use through this site. They’re free to download, print and use at your discretion.
  5. My Family Health Portrait: Chart your family’s medical history with this site. You’ll be able to see where certain risks for illnesses may have come from and create a more comprehensive family health history.
  6. SharedTree: This open source site allows users to create free online family trees and to share their information with other researchers.

Networking

Meet others looking to find out more about their family histories on these sites. Who knows, you might even find a distant relative!

  1. CousinConnect: On this site you’ll be able to submit questions about family members you’re looking for or search through other peoples’ queries to see if you can answer any of their questions.
  2. GenCircles: Here you’ll be able to upload your family tree and share it over the Web. You’ll also be able to talk with others using the program and exchange information and ask questions.
  3. Past Connect: Looking for long lost family heirlooms, photos and documents? You may be able to find them on this site, which collects and lists loads of information floating around out there and can put you in touch with the current owners.
  4. National Genealogical Society: Meet and greet thousands of people nationwide who are into researching family histories with this site.
  5. GenSwap: This feature of Family Reunion.com allows users to exchange their information for help or information from other users out there.
  6. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness: This organization is dedicated to helping members get the information they need through exchange. One member will do work in their neck of the woods in exchange for help doing research for another member.

Web Tools

These tools can help inform you and make your research a little easier.

  1. Diigo: This Web highlighter and sticky notes app can help you keep track of all the information you’re finding on different websites all over and keep it organized and easier to reference.
  2. Roots Television: This site is entirely dedicated to genealogy and features a number of informative videos that can help educate you on how to improve your search techniques.
  3. One Step Webpages: Steve Morse has taken the work out of accessing loads of online records. Here you’ll find records like those from Ellis Island broken down and ordered so that they’re much easier to look through.
  4. WorldCat: This resource will make it easy to find books, movies, articles and more at a library near you, or let you know where the nearest location of these items is. There is a Firefox plug-in for this site as well.
  5. Family Tree DNA: Take genealogy to the next level by tracking not only records but the actual DNA of your family as well. This site provides the largest resource of DNA records to date.
  6. PAF 5.2: The Church of Latter Day Saints has put together this great research tool. It’s free to download and use, and can help you organize and find loads of information.
  7. Pedigree Soft: Organize your family history with this free software. You can also share it with the world by uploading it to the web.
  8. Clooz: This database program makes it much easier to keep track of all your genealogical information with loads of templates for storing records as well as convenient reports you can print out.
  9. Bygones: Take advantage of this freeware program which is designed to help researchers take and keep together their notes from genealogical research.

The 100 Most Useful WordPress Add-ons Available

Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 5:34pm by Site Administrator

Shuffling through the thousands of WordPress add-ons and widgets takes up way more time than most bloggers have. To give you a jump start on improving your blog on everything from understanding how to market to your readers to learning new formatting tricks, we’ve generated this list of the 100 most useful WordPress add-ons available so that you can stop searching and start blogging. Publishing and Formatting Make your blog easy to read and manage with these super smart formatting hacks.

  1. Post Thumb Revisited: Turn your posts into thumbnails for easy display and organization.
  2. Exec-PHP: This plugin adds the php code into your posts and widgets.
  3. WP Post Icon: To make designing your blog less complicated, use this add-on to pick certain topic icons and images which will be automatically inserted when you write a post.
  4. DJ E-mail Publish: This app sends your new post to all of your other blogs via e-mail.
  5. Mowser WordPress Mobile: Accommodate your iPhone and BlackBerry readers by installing this plugin, which redirects them to Mowser.com, a site that displays blogs in a mobile friendly format.
  6. WP Widget Changer: Set up different widgets for each page without having to change the anchor widget’s code.
  7. Collapsible Elements: Use Collapsible Elements to add a button to create a code for multiple collapsible elements.
  8. WP CSS Text Stroke: Make your pages easy to read even when text appears " on a non-uniform coloured background." Text will show up as black letters on a white background.
  9. Raw HTML: Bloggers wanting more control over formatting can use this plugin to any coding method, including raw HTML when writing posts.
  10. Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator: If you want a sitemap that works with Google and your WordPress blog, as well as Yahoo! and MSN Search.
  11. Advanced Excerpt: Publish excerpts without ruining HTML markup or messing up your formatting.
  12. WP-Table: Create functional tables for your WordPress blog with this app without having to manually write in plain text mode or risk messing up your formatting.

Comments and Reader Communication From feeds to comments, keep in touch with your readers by taking advantage of these applications.

  1. Get Recent Comments: Easily view your most recent comments with this app.
  2. Add to Any Subscribe Button: Readers using any feed reader will be able to subscribe to your blog easily with this plugin.
  3. DeCat: If you want to leave out a post or category from your RSS feeds, hide it with this app.
  4. DMS Guestbook: This customizable guest book lets bloggers set hidden text like IP addresses, design their own language templates, set up mandatory fields in the guest book and more.
  5. SimplePie 2.1: Manage your feeds by setting up multiple templates, accessing support for several different feeds, automatic set up of cache folders and more.
  6. RSS Image Widget: Display images from your posts in RSS feeds with this widget. The SimplePie plugin is required.
  7. Top Commentators Widget: Originally designed as the Show Top Commentators plugin at the Personal Financial Advice site, this app has been adapted for all WordPress blogs. You’ll be able to display your blog’s top commentators, which advertises archived posts, encourages readers to comment and more.
  8. Comment Sorter: More effectively manage and organize your comments with this add-on.
  9. Contact Form 7: This contact form works with AJAX and features spam security from Akismet. Bloggers can also set up multiple contact forms with this app.
  10. Vote It Up: Let users vote for or against your posts with this simple add-on.
  11. Ajax Comment Posting: This user-friendly Ajax comment app lets readers post comments without having to refresh the page. It also double checks reader’s comments to make sure they filled out the form correctly.
  12. Easy Gravatars: Give your readers the opportunity to leave a more personal impression when they comment on your blog. This app allows gravatars to be displayed when readers comment on your posts.
  13. Quick SMS: Readers can now get in touch with you via your cell phone when you install this app. Messages are sent directly to your registered mobile device via supported networks all over the world, including the UK, India, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, the U.S. and more.

Understanding Statistics Get to know your readers and revamp your marketing techniques when you use these apps that collect information about visitor demographics.

  1. Official StatCounter Plugin: Features that come with this plugin include an invisible counter option, a configurable counter, search engine wars, keyword analysis and statistical information found on popular entry and exit pages.
  2. Feed Master: Feed Master is another app that lets you understand your reader demographics.
  3. StatPress: Designed just for WordPress, this app displays information about your readers, so you know which kinds of Web surfers you’re attracting.
  4. FeedStats: Find out exactly who your readers are by researching their stats with this button.
  5. Googmonify: This marketing tool allows bloggers to add Google AdSense units into your posts as well as give you "accurate" information about your readers’ statistics.
  6. WassUp: This real-time plugin features a current visitors online display system and a visitor details view that lets you analyze reader data and stats.
  7. Counterize II: This statistics counting add-on has no external libraries, "and can display total hits, unique hits and other statistics in WordPress webpages."
  8. GeneralStats: This plugin "counts the number of users, categories, posts, comments, pages, links, tags, link-categories, words in posts, words in comments and words in pages," giving bloggers an inclusive look at their reader demographics and an analysis of the blog itself.

Connecting with the Outside Online Community From photo sites to Facebook, use these add-ons to connect with the outside online community via your WordPress blog.

  1. Fu4ny’s Blogroll Widget: Organize your blogroll in XHTML with this widget.
  2. Your WordPress Is In My FaceBook: Start blogging through Facebook with this app.
  3. WordPress Fotolog Widget: Fotolog users can use this unique widget to display thumbnails of recently added Fotolog photos.
  4. Amazon Showcase: Whether you’re selling items on Amazon.com or just want to highlight a particular product, use this widget to display items clearly.
  5. MyTwitter: Twitter users can show readers their recent "tweets" on their WordPress blogs with this app.
  6. Link Harvest: This smart tool "will go through all of your posts and pages and compile a list of all external links. Then it will create a live updating linkroll for you, based on your actual linking activity."
  7. Blogroll Autolinker: Turn names from your blogroll into links that appear when you write about or refer to the selected author.
  8. Sociable: This very simple tool adds links to your posts which connect readers to sites like Facebook, Digg and StumbleUpon.
  9. Slashdigglicious: Make it easy for your readers to submit their favorite posts to social bookmarking sites when you install this app.
  10. FlickrFaves: Recruit new readers by publishing your favorite Flickr photos on your WordPress blog.
  11. jPic WordPress Widget: Use this widget to link to photos you find on the Web.
  12. Facebook Comments: Sync up your Facebook comments with your WordPress blog using this plugin.
  13. Wordbook: Update your Facebook friends with your most recent WordPress posts. Bloggers can also add posts via Facebook Mini-Feed.

Marketing Add-ons Use these tools to spread the word about your blog in general or about each of your posts.

  1. Digg This: Many bloggers already have this button at the end or beginning of each of their posts. The code for adding it to your blog can be found here.
  2. Reddit for WordPress Plugin: Don’t limit your readers to just Digg-ing you; add this Reddit button to improve your ranking on other sites too.
  3. Gregarious: Gregarious lets bloggers easily add buttons for different social bookmarking sites like Digg and Reddit. Bloggers can choose to customize the buttons’ designs and play around with the Share This plugin.
  4. Del.icio.us Bookmark This!: Encourage your readers to vote for your posts on Del.icio.us by adding this app.
  5. Live Space Sync: WordPress bloggers and Live Spaces users can connect their accounts to update posts on both sites.
  6. Bookmarkify: This app is able to connect readers to over 50 social bookmarking sites where they can add your posts and improve your ranking.
  7. Email+ from Grouptivity: Get the word out about your blog by adding an "Email this" button after each post.
  8. LiveJournal Crossposter: This app automatically updates users’ LiveJournal profiles with their newest WordPress blog posts.
  9. Last.FM Events: If you’ve got a gig coming up on Last.FM, advertise to your readers with this widget.
  10. WP Tags to Technorati: If you’re tired of coming up with new tags for every bookmarking site and blog directory, use this add-on to automatically create Technorati tags from your posts.

Moneymaking Apps Monetize your blog by making the most of programs like AdSense and Kontera. These widgets and add-ons will make it easier to manage your funds.

  1. AdSense Manager: Add a flexible AdSense widget to your WordPress blog with this plugin. You can easily manage ads and show all your readers that you’re open to displaying their logos and messages…for a price.
  2. Kontera Ad Wrap: Manage which pages and parts of your blog display your Kontera ContentLink ads with this app.
  3. All in One Adsense and YPN: This open source plugin "is able to automatically insert Google AdSense ads or Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads into your posts on the fly."
  4. AdSense Revenue Sharing 1.1: If your blog is run by or written by several different people, use this app to divide up revenue from AdSense profits.
  5. Are PayPal: Use PayPal to monetize your blog with this app.
  6. Who Sees Ads?: Control which readers can see your ads by using this add-on.
  7. AdServe: As WordPress’ official advertising server, AdServe lets users set up banner campaigns and easily track statistics.

Adding Style and Customizable Plugins Personalize your blog with these simple plugins and widgets that give your pages a fun but sleek look.

  1. Countdown Timer: This feature is especially attractive for bloggers tracking weight loss progress or budgeting goals. You can add several different dates to which you’re counting down.
  2. bSuite: This set of apps gives bloggers more control over designing their pages "and leverage[s] WP as an application platform."
  3. Image Caption: Titled images will be displayed as a caption when you install this application. Image Caption also supports MyCSS, custom CSS, and automatically formats captions so that they are displayed in the appropriate width and height on your blog.
  4. Add Your Own Headers: Design your own headers by background, text, image, and other options. Bloggers can also add tags to the headers with this plugin.
  5. Feed Styler: Create a different design for your feeds with this app.
  6. File Icons: This add-on displays icons by CSS before links that appear on your blog.
  7. WP Vivitiger Image Resizer: Cut and crop images so that they fit into your blog more cohesively.
  8. WP Vault: Use this tool to "upload and store any type of files" you want. The Vault also lets bloggers browse files with Ajax, resize images to make them load faster, organize files with tags and more.
  9. p2p Converter: Convert posts to pages with this simple add-on.
  10. Extension Manager: Manage your blog’s themes and add-ons with this valuable tool. Admins can also easily search their account for different plugins.

Organization Make the most of WordPress features like categories and archives by supplementing them with the following tools.

  1. Extended Live Archive: Organize your past posts with this in-the-works plugin.
  2. AddThis Sidebar Widget: Clean up your pages by adding this widget, which "adds the feed subscription and/or social bookmarking buttons from AddThis to your sidebar."
  3. Advanced Category Excluder: Implement CMS-like functionality into your WordPress blog and regain full control over your page organization and category listings.
  4. Flexi Pages Widget: This "highly configurable WordPress sidebar widget" lists pages and sub-pages, allowing for easy navigation and organization.
  5. Admin Links Widget: Add links to certain administrative functions on your sidebar.
  6. No Widget Category Cloud: Organize your categories in a cloud-like format without installing a widget.
  7. Cleaner Dashboard: Tidy up your dashboard with this tool, which removes WordPress Nws and gives your sidebar four columns.
  8. Smarter Archives: Use a template tag to organize your archives page. Bloggers will see a row for each year and then a link to each month in the above year.
  9. Flexo Archives Widget: This expandable archive display lets bloggers display the number of posts written each month and saves room on the page.

Multimedia Have fun sharing videos, songs and other multimedia favorites with your readers by implementing these add-ons.

  1. WordPress Video Plugin: This add-on makes it easy to add videos from sites like YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo! Video, SlideShare, Metacafe and more.
  2. IM Online: This add-on shows readers when you’re online so that they can reach you via instant messaging on AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, Jabber, Skype and more.
  3. 1 Bit Audio Player: 1 Bit Audio Player is touted as a "very simple and lightweight Adobe Flash MP3 player with automatic JavaScript insertion." Readers can listen to previews of music files that you link to in posts.
  4. Inline mp3 Player: Connect links to mp3 files to media players that let your readers listen to music easily.
  5. XHTML Video Embed: Add Flash content to your blog with this plugin.
  6. EasyTube: This add-on "allows WordPress users to easily embed YouTube and Google Videos using one simple tag."
  7. Viper’s Video Quicktags: This popular add-on makes adding videos from YouTube, Google Video, IFILM, Metacafe, MySpace and Vimeo extremely easy. Users just have to paste the video’s URL into a prompt box.

Security and Spam Protect your blog from copyright infringement and spammers by installing these WordPress add-ons.

  1. ©Feed: Add this plugin to your blog to protect yourself from copyright infringement. You can also search online for writers ripping off your content.
  2. Feed Footer: This app lets you add copyright to your feed, HTML to your footer and display ads under blog posts in your RSS feed.
  3. Tinfoil Hat: More effectively control how much of your information is sent over the Internet by WordPress.
  4. Math Comment Spam Protection: Require your readers to answer a simple math problem in order to ward off comment spammers.
  5. Simple Trackback Validation: This security add-on "performs a simple but very effective test on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam."
  6. WP-Spam Free: This popular add-on is advertised as "one of the most effective anti-spam plugins for WordPress." It protects bloggers against automated spam bots without prompting readers to solve math problems or enter in keywords.
  7. Chap Secure Login: This privacy application encrypts your admin password when you work over an insecure network.

Miscellaneous From automatic updates to creative navigation systems, here are more WordPress plugins that will make managing your blog simple and improve reader usability.

  1. Plugin Updater: This plugin adds an "update now" button so that you can instantly update all of your WordPress add-ons easily.
  2. Redirection: Keep track of 404 errors and maintain "full logs for all redirected URLs."
  3. WordPress Automatic Upgrade: Automatically upgrade your WordPress installation by adding on this tool, which also backs up your database and files.
  4. Random Posts Widget: The Random Posts Widget "displays a list of random posts on your widgetized sidebar," giving your readers a fun way to "channel surf" your blog.

50 Fun Ways to Use the Wayback Machine

Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 7:55pm by Site Administrator

Even in its short history, the Internet has gone through serious growth, often shedding old content for new developments. The Wayback Machine offers an archive of what used to be, and the results of searches on the machine are often quite fun. Here are our suggestions for amusing and useful ways to use the machine for yourself.

  1. Find old friends: Reconnect with old chat buddies from your early days online.
  2. Find a manual for your obsolete product: Have you bought a discontinued item on eBay? Get the manual from the manufacturer’s old website.
  3. Take a look at your own site’s growth: Enjoy a trip down memory lane as you track how your site has grown over time.
  4. Create a scavenger hunt: Design a fun hunting game that uses the Wayback Machine to find quirky bits from yesterday’s Internet.
  5. Track the commercialization of the Internet: Marvel at how the Internet has become a great tool for marketing and sales.
  6. Check out your site’s history: If you bought your domain name from someone, see what it looked like before you got your hands on it.
  7. Research a website you’d like to buy: The Wayback Machine is an excellent domainer research tool. Find out if a seller is yanking your chain about any statistics and history by plugging it into the archive.
  8. Find old school photos: Check out your old school’s online newsletter to find dorky photos of yourself.
  9. Save a lost site: If your hosting company dropped off the face of the earth, use the Wayback Machine to recover some of your work.
  10. Reminisce about your old resume: Find your old online resume and enjoy a look back at old jobs.
  11. Create an Internet timeline: Track the Internet’s history, or your own, complete with screenshots.
  12. Review the history of Internet porn: Take a look at how online porn has evolved over the years.
  13. Research conspiracy theories: Sites may be taken down, but with the archive, you can still see what others may not have wanted you to find.
  14. Clear your name: If someone accuses you of stealing information, prove to them you had it online first.
  15. Find old crappy GIFs: Remember when the Internet was full of stupid smiley animations? Check out the Wayback Machine to snag a few and harass people with them.
  16. View a suspended site: Did you go to check out a cool site, only to find out the owner didn’t pay their bill, or overloaded the server? Use the Wayback Machine to pull it up.
  17. Show punk kids how cool you used to be: Know a kid who thinks MySpace is about the coolest thing the Internet has ever done? Let them take a look at some of your old favorite sites.
  18. Settle a bet about who’s been online longer: Show your buddy that you found the Internet 4 months before he did by finding old forum posts.
  19. Create a PDF copy of an old ezine: Retrieve old issues, and preserve them for later reading.
  20. Learn from bad design: Take a look at sites from the early Internet to learn about what not to do.
  21. Reminisce about your old dotcom job: Visit your dot-com’s defunct site and think about the way things used to be.
  22. Compare historical prices: Find out how much a seller paid for the item you’re buying today.
  23. Compare page versions: Analyze how a page has changed by comparing two versions side by side.
  24. Retrive lost content: Find your old resume, papers, and more.
  25. Check out stock prices: See how stock prices have risen and fallen in the past decade or so.
  26. Nail a content thief: Prove that you published content before a thief did, and you’ve got a rock solid case against them.
  27. Make fun of old predictions that never came true: Find sites that predicted the sky would fall on a certain day, and laugh when you realize that day was 5 years ago.
  28. Enjoy pre-coverage of Y2K: Read press releases and worried postings about how Y2K was supposed to screw everything up.
  29. Figure out why you dropped in search engine rankings: Take a look at old stuff that used to work to your advantage, and figure out what you need to bring back.
  30. Take a look at past elections: Revisit the hype of now-forgotten candidates of elections past.
  31. Marvel at the early years of the Internet: In the Web Pioneers collection, you can see some of the sites that shaped the Internet.
  32. Blackmail: This one’s easy. Just find something embarassing on your friend, and screenshot it for future blackmailing.
  33. Check out old promotional sites: See how sites like McDonald’s and Pepsi jumped on the Internet in the early years.
  34. See how generic domain names have evolved: Take a look at the way sites like Porn.com and Milk.com have changed over the years.
  35. Find embarassing old photos: Get photos that have been long taken down, and use them to torture friends and family.
  36. See ads for old cars: Remember what your car looked like when it was brand new.
  37. Research historical prices: See how the cost of software and more has gone up through the years.
  38. Research potential employees: Before you hire someone, see if you can dig up any dirt on them with the machine.
  39. Find deleted LiveJournal entries: Did someone delete a particularly juicy entry? Find it with the Wayback Machine.
  40. Check out pre-"404" pages: Satisfy your curiosity and find out what existed before a page went bad.
  41. Laugh at failed business plans: Check out past business plans of corporations that failed.
  42. Find the goofy website your boss built: Discover your boss’ old crappy website devoted to cats.
  43. Research the past of political candidates: See what political candidates were saying a few years ago.
  44. Check out wedding websites of divorced couples: See the calm before the storm, and look for signs of impending doom.
  45. Research religious wackos: Find out what crazy ideas cults and other strange religious groups have published in the past.
  46. Find out how long your competitor has been established: Figure out whether or not your "first on the web" claim stands up.
  47. Preserve old sites for nostalgia’s sake: If you miss old communities, save your own copy of them with the machine.
  48. Find old news stories: Check out breaking news coverage now that it’s not so "breaking" anymore.
  49. See how big name web sites used to look amateur: Check out sites that have become large, but started out very small.
  50. Check out dot-com casualties in their heyday: See what failed sites like Pets.com used to look like.

Encrypt Anything: 50 Ways to Secure ALL Your Data, Regardless of Medium

Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 4:15pm by Site Administrator

New communication and data storage technologies like VoIP and USB drives allow us to easily manage, share and transport large amounts of information without being tied down to a single location or clunky desktop. The ability to connect with friends, family, and business associates has made remote access a necessity in today’s world, but with that demand comes increased vulnerability to hackers, theft and privacy breaches. To make sure all of your data remains safe and secure, from private (and possibly incriminating) photos, e-mails and conversations to standard files on your computer’s hardware, we encourage you to research the following software programs, downloads and articles to better understand how data encryption can benefit your lifestyle. Open Source Computer Software Feel free to tool around with the encryption software in this list: if the version you download doesn’t work just right for your computer, add some new features and then post your version online for others to share.

  1. TrueCrypt: This open source disk encryption software works with Windows Vista and XP, as well as Mac OS X and Linux operating systems. The software can encrypt USB drives as well as files and features a hidden volume security solution, which "cannot be distinguished from random data."
  2. AxCrypt: AxCrypt is a file encryption program for Windows operating systems that can be modified and redistributed by any developer.
  3. GnuPG: This software is currently undergoing some revisions, but advanced developers may want to contribute to the updating process. Visit this site to learn about the latest news, controversy and installation guides surrounding GnuPG.
  4. SWF Encrypt 4.0: Amayeta’s encryption tool SWF Encrypt 4.0 gives open source developers the protection they need to for Adobe Flash SWF files. The program works on PCs, Macs and C++ systems.
  5. FreeOTFE: FreOTFE works on PCs by creating virtual disks that encrypt your files before copying them to the hard drive.
  6. CrossCrypt 0.4.3: This "on the fly and offline encryption" solution works with Linux systems, Windows 2000, and Windows XP.
  7. Cypherix: Cypherix uses the open source program Blowfish to carry out its commitment to "strong encryption." The program works on all Windows operating systems.

Portable Storage Encryption Portable storage devices like USB drives make it easy to move information from one computer to another; however, these little tools are also way too easy to lose. Make sure your data is protected even if your portable storage device is lost or stolen.

  1. Thumbdrive Encryption: Watch this video from CNET TV to set up a thumbdrive encryption system.
  2. CMG External Media Shield: This program, issued by CREDANT Technologies, aims to secure the data stored on devices like USB drives, iPods and external hard drives. Features include user-transparent encryption, policy-based intelligent encryption and more.
  3. Pointsec Device Protector: Designed by Pointsec Mobile Technologies, the Pointsec Device Protector "can separately control the two-way flow of data between a PC or laptop and" portable devices like USB drives. The tool is highly customizable, allowing owners to list which storage devices and programs can be opened and which cannot.
  4. Portable Storage Device Security: This article from ITtoolbox Blogs lists different ways to amp up security on portable storage devices.
  5. ID Vault: GuardID’s ID Vault "provides multi factor authentication in the form of a USB security token with an embedded smart card chip," according to About.com reporter Ryan Groom. This means that users can securely store password and sign-on information on the device and protect themselves from identity theft.
  6. The Pros and Cons of Portable Storage: Before loading up your USB drive with confidential information read this article from SearchStorage.com to evaluate the risks associated with portable storage. The article also reviews different encryption software programs.
  7. CruzerLock 2: This application can encrypt and decrypt folders and files on PCs and flash drives. Users can also share files via e-mail, copy-to-hard-drive-capabilities, on CDs and DVDs, and through network drives.
  8. Thumb Drives are Too Often the Victims of Convenience: Read this article to find reviews of encryption software and to learn about the different ways USB encryption operates.
  9. GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption: By supporting USB, FireWire, Floppy, CD and DVDs, the GuardianEdge Removable Storage Encryption features either 256- or 128-bit AES encryption of stored data and helps businesses avoid property loss and theft and other security threats.
  10. SecurFlash: Issued by Encrypt, a BeCompliant Company, SecurFlash encrypts all types of files being stored on USB flash drives and removable hard drives.
  11. KanguruMicro Drive AES: This device "is the only USB flash drive that meets federal requirements for insuring the confidentiality of sensitive dta and information accessed by portable flash drives." The tool comes with an encrypted virtual disk that is password protected.
  12. DeviceWall: This tool provides USB encryption, "simple and secure administration," and access to a free data leakage prevention guide. The website also has information about portable storage security, USB lockdown and more.

Phone/VoIP Encryption Whether you’re on your cell phone, landline or VoIP connection, your phone line probably isn’t as secure as you think it is. Try out these encryption devices and applications to tie up the loose ends and give eavesdroppers the boot.

  1. Zfone: This popular product lets users encrypt their VoIP phone calls for private discussions.
  2. Fast Guide: VoIP Encryption: New VoIP users can check out this beginner’s guide to understanding VoIP security issues.
  3. How to Encrypt Your VoIP: Lifehacker provides this tutorial for VoIP users who want to make their calls more secure.
  4. CryptoPhone 200/G10: Individuals and companies requiring ultimate wiretapping protection can benefit from this phone from Navastream. The phone features AES256 protection, an encryption key that is destroyed after each call and secure talk time for up to 3 1/2 hours.
  5. Videoconference Encryption Service: Also a Navastream product, this service ensures secure, private videoconferencing communications.
  6. PhoneCrypt: This product claims to provide "military grade encryption" capabilities. The product works on Windows-based Smartphones and encrypts conversations in real time.
  7. Nokia E61 Encrypted Cell Phone: This phone comes with a hefty price tag, but individuals wanting serious security will want the 256 bits random key feature and BlackBerry Connect compatibility.
  8. Babylon nG: Babylon nG is an application that "runs on a switch network which allows private communication to take place between users." It also features a 256-bit algorithm for solid encryption.

Images Whether you want to use an image to hide certain information or just keep others from accessing personal photos, check out this list to see how images can be used for encryption purposes.

  1. FreeCrypt: This software program encrypts all kinds of files, including personal photos and digital archives.
  2. EyeMage IIE: This free software encrypts files in bitmap images. Users can even "hide photos in photos" and share secure files.
  3. HIP Hide in Picture 2.1: Hide files in bitmaps and GIF formats to keep them safe.
  4. Androsa File Protector: Androsa File Protector is a free-to-use program that encrypts all kinds of files, including images and file videos.

Computer Encryption Keep your personal and professional files safe by implementing these security solutions into your computer. You still be able to share files with clients and friends, but outside parties won’t be able to spy on your documents.

  1. Advanced File Lock 5: Encrypt all of your files, including images and movie files, with the Advanced File Lock.
  2. Kryptos 2: This user-friendly system encrypts and decrypts files on PCs and portable storage devices. It also comes with a file shredding feature for ultimate security.
  3. RoboForm 6.9: Secure your password information with this program, which automatically remembers and fills in password forms for you on Web sites.
  4. AutoKrypt: Use AutoKrypt to perform encryption and decryption tasks on all of your files. The system also features a key store to help you manage keys, as well as zipping, unzipping, synchronizing and file monitoring capabilities.
  5. Folder Lock 5.8.2: Quickly "password-protect, lock, hide and encrypt any number of files, folders, drives, pictures and documents" with this version of Folder Lock. You can use the program on USB drives, CD-RWs, disks, hard disks and more.
  6. WinXAR 1.1: This encryption software also lets users share folders and files. The program works on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and 2003.
  7. Crypt4Free 4.6.16: This download relies on Blowfish, DESX and "Quick Wipe" to protect all kinds of files and medium, including zip drives.
  8. Cryptmage: Download Cryptmage here to access simple file encryption capabilities and a "proprietary algorithm to secure your files from preying eyes."
  9. HandyBits EasyCrypto Deluxe: This software’s Version 5.5 is free to download, and users will be able to encrypt files and folders, as well as self-extracting zip archives.
  10. Kryptel: Version 5.45 of Kryptel is compatible with Windows 95,98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP and Vista. Users can encrypt files and entire folders, including their Documents folder.
  11. Omziff: Encrypt textual data using Omziff by splitting files, creating random passwords, and utilizing algorithms like Blowfish and Twofish.
  12. NOYBcription (1): Mac OS X users will benefit from this software program, which stands for None Of Your Business. The program encrypts individual files as well as entire folders, which can be sent securely over e-mail or saved on a flash drive.

Wi-Fi and E-mail Close up open Wi-Fi and e-mail connections by downloading one of these software programs. You’ll be able to securely send e-mail attachments and log on to censored sites without anyone spying on you.

  1. Hotspot Shield 1.01: Hotspot Shield "ensures anonymous and censor-free internet usage" by encrypting information that goes in and out of your computer. This version is currently free of charge.
  2. SecureZIP: This product makes your e-mail messages and attachments secure against hackers. SecureZIP is compatible with Microsoft Outlook.
  3. Iron Key: Send encrypted files over the Internet when you use Iron Key. Version 1.3 works with Windows operating systems and can delete files after they’ve been encrypted.
  4. CryptoHeaven: This software program allows Mac users to "send and receive secure and anonymous email," instant messages, information on message boards, document folders and more.
  5. Email Encryption for the Lazy: Follow this guide to safely encrypt your email messages and attachments according to PGP.
  6. MessageGuard: This app works with Outlook, Outlook Express and Network Solutions email accounts. Users only have to click on the "Send Secure" button to have their messages sent as encrypted emails.
  7. PGP: Find different versions of the infamous PGP freeware here.

100 Best DIY Sites on the Web

Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 6:06pm by Site Administrator

DIY offers a great way to take on personal projects and make things your own. Although often DIY focuses primarily on home improvement, the DIY ethic expands out to arts, technology, and so much more. Check out these categories and more in our list of DIY sites that’s sure to get you inspired to get up and make something yourself.

Home Improvement

In these sites, you’ll find fun and useful projects to take on at home.

  1. DoItYourself: Check out this site’s featured projects for detailed DIY instructions.
  2. Mike Holigan’s How-To Library: On this site, you’ll find loads of information for home building and remodeling.
  3. DIY Homes: Learn about home improvement, repair and more from this site.
  4. Acme How to: Learn how to do just about anything in your home, from plumbing to pest control.
  5. HammerZone: Learn the art of handymanlyness on HammerZone.
  6. DIY Fix It: On this site, you’ll get access to loads of guides and answers to your DIY questions.
  7. HGTV: This site offers a great source for home improvement inspiration.
  8. Home Improvement: Learn how to buy materials, save money, and more with this site.
  9. Home Tips: Check out DIY projects for health and safety, plumbing, and so much more on Home Tips.
  10. Home Doctor: Find DIY tips and projects on this home improvement site.
  11. Hometime: Get step-by-step guides and more on this site.
  12. Ask the Builder: On this site, you’ll get tips from home improvement guru Tim Carter.
  13. HomeImprove: Find tips and ideas for home repair, remodeling, and more on this site.
  14. Easy2DIY: Check out this site for animated tutorials that walk you through each project.
  15. Bob Vila: Get DIY help from the master himself.
  16. Curbly: Find cool design ideas in this DIY design community.
  17. DIYnot: This DIY site is complete with a wiki, forum, and books.
  18. Ikea Hacker: Ikea Hacker offers great ideas for getting more out of your Ikea furniture.
  19. DIYonline: This site makes it easy to create your own design online.
  20. DIY Ideas: Get inspiration for your home and garden with this site.

Arts & Crafts

Whether you want to learn how to make your own macro lens, or just find a knitting pattern, these sites will have what you’re looking for.

  1. DIY Photography: Learn how to achieve looks and create your own studio gear with this site.
  2. Love You Deer: Check out DIY clothing, arts, and crafts on this site.
  3. Max is Now: Max is Now offers a great source for arts and DIY.
  4. DIY Design It Yourself: Use this site to design your own books, Tshirts, and more.
  5. Photojojo: Check out Photojojo to find fun photography hacks and DIY projects.
  6. We Make Money Not Art: Check out DIY art projects and much more on this site.
  7. Craftster: Find out what other crafters are up to in these forums.
  8. Craftform: Showcase your work and check out what others have done on Craftform.
  9. I-Craft: On this site, you can find your favorite crafts and save them in your craft box.
  10. wiseNeedle: Get yarn reviews, advice, and more for knitters here.
  11. Crafter’s Community: Find seasonal crafts, resources, and lots more on this site.
  12. Get Crafty: Get Crafty features forums, how-tos, guides, and more cool crafty stuff.
  13. Make Stuff: The crafts and projects on Make Stuff range from seasonal projects to gardening.
  14. Craftown: Visit this crafters resource center for loads of projects and illustrated lessons.
  15. Knitty: Check out Knitty for "little purls of wisdom."
  16. Craftzine: Figure out what to do with leftover Easter Peeps, plastic bags, and more.
  17. Chic Knits: This site offers knitting patterns for clothes that don’t look anything like your Grandma’s wardrobe.
  18. My Craft Book: Find easy and fun crafts on this site.

Tech

Find everything you want to know about hacking gadgets, electronics, and more from these sites.

  1. Makezine: Learn how to make your own fun electronic and tech toys with this site.
  2. Freedom to Tinker: Check out this site to learn how to modify and repair tech devices.
  3. Hack This Site!: Test your hacking skills on the challenges presented in this site.
  4. Popular Mechanics: This online magazine offers information on everything from green living to buying a car.
  5. I-Hacked: Find new and exciting ways to make technology work for you with I-Hacked.
  6. Gadget Hacks: Check out this site to get connected with all sorts of sites that offer hacking projects.
  7. Layada: Visit this site to find all sorts of fun tech hacks.
  8. Console Hacks: This site lists some of the best published hacks for consoles.
  9. Hacked Gadgets: Visit Hacked Gadgets to learn how to get more out of your gadgets.
  10. Inventgeek: This site celebrates reinvention, offering loads of fun and useful DIY projects.
  11. DIY:Happy: Hack gadgets, software and more with DIY:happy’s guides.
  12. Wired How-To Wiki: On this collaborative site, you’ll find tech projects, hacks, tricks, and tips.
  13. Hack a Day: This site features a new hack every day.
  14. MakeUseOf: Check out web apps, tools, and more on this DIY site.
  15. DIY Live: Learn how to create and do things with technology using DIY Live.
  16. Hack N Mod: Take on these awesome hacks, mods, and projects.
  17. Zedomax: Find super-cool DIYs, hacks, and more on Zedomax.

Lifehacking

These sites present great ways to apply the DIY principle to everyday life.

  1. Lifehackery: Check out Lifehackery to turn everyday objects into useful things.
  2. DIY Planner: This community likes to take productivity into their own hands.
  3. Productivity 101: Increase your personal productivity using tips and tools from this site.
  4. Instigator Blog: Make more out of your ideas with the help of this blog.
  5. 43 Folders: This blog, created by Merlin Mann, focuses on organization, productivity, and getting things done.
  6. Life Optimizer: Become more successful and productive with this site.
  7. Lifehacker: The Lifehacker blog offers lots of technology and productivity hacks designed to make your life easier.
  8. Ririan Project: Check out this personal development blog to find out how you can apply DIY principles to your life.
  9. Dumb Little Man: Here you’ll find loads of tips for productivity, projects, frugality, and more.
  10. Aim for Awesome!: Find tips for awesome personal development on this site.
  11. FlyLady: Aimed at housewives, FlyLady aims to help you get control of your home.
  12. Business Hackers: Here you’ll find loads of information on how you can get work done quickly.
  13. LifeDev: Take a DIY approach to life development using this site.
  14. The Next 45 Years: Visit The Next 45 Years to learn about Lifehacking for the future.
  15. HackCollege: HackCollege features all of the hacks a college student might want to know about-from "college drinking games to study skills."
  16. Get Rich Slowly: JD at Get Rich Slowly has lots of great ideas and advice for DIY frugality.
  17. The Optimized Life: Use the tips you’ll find on this site to make your life the best it can be.
  18. Frugal Hacks: This site turns DIY into frugality.
  19. Zen Habits: Hack your life to zen with this site.
  20. LifeClever: This site is always helpful, whether they’re teaching you to organize your workspace or just find cheap gas.
  21. Mind Hacks: Get a look at what’s going on inside your mind, and take it to the next level with this site.
  22. Write to Done: Learn how to hack writing with this incredibly helpful blog.
  23. Wise Bread: Follow this site for great tips on DIY frugality.
  24. Biz Plan Hacks: Use the tips from this site to make life as a business owner easier.
  25. Christian Lifehacking: This blog features lifehack tips and tools focused on Christianity.
  26. Lifehack: Lifehack’s posts focus on organization, inspiration, and productivity.
  27. Study Hacks: This site offers lifehack advice for students.

General

Check out these sites to find anything and everything DIY.

  1. DIY Life: Check out DIY Life for projects ranging from tech to home improvement.
  2. wikiHow: Visit wikiHow to make use of the world’s largest collaborative how-to manual.
  3. Instructables: Find out how to do projects from your peers on Instructables.
  4. Hackszine: On Hackszine, you’ll find everything from Facebook to food.
  5. Hints-n-Tips: Check out this site to find practical information for just about every topic out there.
  6. SoYouWanna: Learn what you want to do on this advice site.
  7. ReadyMade: On ReadyMade, you’ll learn how to make items for your home and more.
  8. Daily DIY: Make and modify everyday items to create something great on this site.
  9. Do It 101: Check out this site to learn about gardening, technology, health, and more.
  10. ElephantStaircase: ElephantStaircase boasts a wiki as well as a number of different project pages.
  11. How To Do Things: Learn how to do things ranging from raising earthworms to how to buy sod.
  12. DIY Chatroom: Although this forum primarily focuses on home improvement, you’ll find great tips for computer repairs and upgrades as well as automotive repairs.
  13. The Do-It-Yourself Channel: Visit Propeller’s DIY channel to find instructional information from around the web.
  14. How2pointoh: Check out this blog for projects ranging from magnetic potholders to time lapsing.
  15. Wikia DIY Culture: Find arts, crafts, games, and lots more in this source.
  16. DIY Network: Find products, advice, and more for DIY projects through this network.
  17. HowStuffWorks: Although it’s not exclusively a how-to site, HowStuffWorks will give you the insight you need to complete your DIY projects.
  18. eHow: On this site, you’ll find out how to do nearly anything you can imagine.
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