Category Archives: Resources

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How to Get a Free Website

I didn’t expect to be inspired to write today’s post by seeing an advertisement, but when I saw this ad for a free business website, I was pretty intrigued, so I decided to investigate.

Google Ad

The ads leads to a page where you get options to get your business on the Map (time estimate 10 minutes) or get your business website up and running (time estimate 60 minutes).

Getting on the map looks like a walk-through of how to get your business listed on Google+Local, which I definitely recommend for all businesses, particularly  brick & mortar local businesses. You can get a lot of free visibility for your business that way since the local results generally show up just below the Google Ads and above the other natural search results.

The getting your business website appears to be a joint venture between Google and Intuit. They are offering a 3 page website, with a custom domain name and free hosting for the first year.

According to the FAQ after the first year the hosting and domain registration fees are:

After your first year of free service, you’ll automatically be billed $6.99 per month if you registered a domain with Intuit, or $4.99 per month if you did not sign up for a domain. You can cancel these services at any time by logging into your account, navigating to your Account Summary and then clicking the link, “Cancel all services.”

If you don’t yet have a business website, this really does look like a quick and painless way to get online. The only thing I would caution about is taking the time to think about what your future website needs will be. Will you need to add more pages or eCommerce to your site? Will you want a blog? Can this package grow with you?

According to Intuit (again from the FAQ):

This free offer includes a free domain name and hosting for your Intuit website for one year. The free site includes 3 free pages, 25MG of disk space and 5GB of bandwidth (monthly transfer). Email and ecommerce are not included. However, you can purchase additional pages, disk space, email addresses, ecommerce solutions and many other add-ons from Intuit. If you wish to learn more about pricing, please call 1-800-710-1998, dial 5 when prompted and you’ll be connected with a web sales consultant.

If you know you’ll want to expand beyond the 3 page freebie website, ask some questions now about the cost of potential site expansions. Also consider that the template that you use to create the site is probably owned by Intuit, so if you decide you want to change your domain registrar (where your domain name is registered) or change your hosting account will you be able to keep the same look & feel of your site or will you be starting from scratch?

As I said, overall, it looks like a quick and painless way for a small business to get a website up and running in about an hour. Just keep an eye toward the future and make sure to keep your expansion options open.

Where to Find Images for Blogs, Websites and Social Posts

I have written other articles about where to find Royalty Free images and music for your website or blog:

What I didn’t realize, though I should have, is that there is a huge number of images on Flickr that are registered with a variety of different Creative Commons Licenses. Here’s a page with the different types and links to searches:

The different types of Licenses that allow you to use images in your website, blog or social media post are Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike. These do not restrict the use of the image for commercial purposes. You are required to make proper attribution to the creator of the image.

This is where the question arose for me… how exactly to give the proper attribution on my site (quickly and easily!). I did a little searching around and found this great article: http://librarianbyday.net/2009/09/28/how-to-attribute-a-creative-commons-photo-from-flickr/ that included this tip:

Example 4. You can use imagecodr.org to create it.  You put in the URL of the photo it automatically does the rest!  The alt text contains the author title and credits Flickr. The image links to Flickr. It adds the CC license image and author adds appropriate links.”

So, I gave http://www.imagecodr.org/ a try. All you have to do is copy in the image url that you found on Flickr. This one is a picture with Attribution only license, which means it can be copied, distributed, displayed but only if credit is given:

Pansy 20090307a 01 by cygnus921, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  cygnus921 
This one is Attribution-ShareAlike which includes the rights for Attribution, but also means that derivative works can only be distributed under an identical license that governs the original work.

I think this is going to be an incredibly rich source of fantastic images. I have also begun uploading some more of my images under the Attribution-ShareAlike license for others to be able to use.

Questions? Comments?

3 Great Tools for Bloggers

Ask Joanne Blogs

I made a goal to blog daily (on at least one of my blogs) on April 5 2013 and (so far) have been able to keep that up. So, now that I am spending more time blogging I find that there are tools that I use regularly to help me keep going and feed the “relevant content” beast. I use WordPress for all my blogs, so this is not about platforms, but instead tools and services for bloggers.

  • Evernote is a fantastic tool for all kinds of web-clipping and note taking. You can download the desktop and/or mobile versions so that you can have access to your data from any device. I use Evernote to make notes on possible blog topics, outlines of posts, and all my references and resources. Evernote also integrates with Penultimate, Skitch and via 3rd party software, with Outlook. It’s a fantastic service and forms the basis of all my notetaking and information gathering.
  • Feedly is a news aggregator (like Google Reader) that allows you to pull into a single “dashboard” all kinds of online content (RSS feeds) sorted by topic, so that you can “watch” what’s being said on certain topics which can either help you with curating great content for your blogs or social media or help spark some ideas and references for your own new blog posts. You can also use Feedly mini to tag/flag/share great content for later use.
  • IFTTT : If This Then That is a wonderfully useful tool that can help you manage information by linking online activities together and automagically create other kinds of actions. For example, I have a “recipe” in IFTTT that when I tag an article in Feedly with a specific tag, IFTTT can create a draft post on HootSuite, so it helps me “fill the queue” with information that I might want to post to my social media channels.

I also watched a fantastic Mozinar “From Nothing to Expert: How to Blog like You Mean It.” I really liked several of the main points that Tanner Christensen presents like “Focusing on Answering Questions,” “Learn to Write Well” and “Interesting Things are Often Widely So.” It’s a great webinar and more than worth the time to watch. It helps to keep me inspired.

Do you blog? What tools to you use?

10 Best WordPress Plugins

10 Best WordPress Plugins

Here’s a list of what I think are the Top 10 Best (and most useful) WordPress plugins.

  1. WordPress SEO by Yoast
    • A fantastic and fully featured plugin to customize the SEO on your WordPress site. You even get advanced options like specific descriptions to use when someone posts your page on Facebook or Twitter.
  2. Akismet
    • For Comment SPAM, the bane of the WordPress existence. Akismet requires you to purchase a key for it to work properly, but the cost is well worth it as it saves the aggravation of wading through mountains of comment spam.
  3. Simple Page Ordering
    • I discovered this plugin early on when I realized that my WordPress theme was only putting pages in alphabetical order in my menu bars (bleh!). Simple Page Ordering allows you to order your pages any way you like in the menu.
  4. Shareaholic Bookmarks
    • This is a new favorite of mine. I have seen it all over, but didn’t know what it was called. They are the cute pop-up social icons at the bottom of posts.
  5. Ultimate Follow Me
    • Another new one for me, this is the nicely formatted social icons on the right sidebar. This plugin is an easy way to connect people to your other online profiles.
  6. AuthorSure
    • As with many plugins, they are an easier way to do something that can be done with programming code (if you know how). This plugin allows you to enter your Google+ Profile page so that every post on your blog that’s “by You” will get the proper Google Authorship Markup.
  7. Google AdSense Plug and Play
    • This plugin makes it SUPER easy to install Google AdWords code to different places on your blog (above and/or below posts), different sized ad-blocks are automatically available to you. All you need to do is add your Google AdSense Publisher code into the plugin settings.
  8. Google Analytics for WordPress
    • Another easy solution for something that would otherwise require editing php files with the Google Analytics code. This plugin only requires you to enter your Google Analytics UA number and it does the rest.
  9. WPTouch
    • There are alot of ways to get a mobile version of your site (and many plugins that can do it) but I found WPTouch to be the easiest to use. As I’ve said before, I am not a programmer, just slightly tech-savvy. So I like to find solutions that don’t require programming.
  10. WordPress Related Posts
    • Another new discovery for me. I had begun following threads of related posts on other blogs while researching and I realized that it’s very handy way to let visitors know what other content on your site relates to the page they’ve landed on. You can even upload your own default image to display with related posts if the post doesn’t have it’s own image.

Do you have others that you love? Please share them here.