The proliferation of the Internet and its ability to connect people from every country has been evident in the political unrest in the middle east in recent news, but it is also causing a massive shift in employment for work that can be completed at home. In Australia we have very strict wage rates and conditions that unions have fought to improve and maintain but tasks like graphic design, building websites, creating apps and programming can be performed from home. That means it can be performed in anyone’s home, in any country and it has greatly empowered the concept of crowd-sourcing for these tasks.
The downside for Australian workers is that they are now competing for certain tasks with workers who would be thrilled to earn several hundred dollars per month, let alone per week (or per day for some workers).
I had the pleasure of hearing DesignCrowd pitch for funding at a SydStart event in Sydney in early 2011 and since then I’ve also come to use a similar site, 99Designs. After using these services you start to realise the game changing potential. Rather than spend a lot of time and money getting YOUR designer to give you a couple examples, you can have hundreds of designers presenting their ideas. Best of all, they all want your feedback and suggestions so that they can create something even more to your liking.
After using both these services with various clients I pondered the future for this type of service for the investors in the businesses, the designers and the customers and here are my observations:
- The investors receive a commission for each competition and will need to find different models to earn more revenue to satisfy their investment desires. These companies may become print or website brokers.
- Each competition provides a connection between a company and a designer and once the connection is established the customers wants good artwork and must pay their new designer to do it. How much do they pay. Many designers then try to charge a “developed country” rate.
- How often will a designer “tender” for work by submitting designs if they don’t win any “competitions”.
- Some customers will get put off by bad design submissions and the need to spell out exactly what they are looking for and may stop using this type of service.
One of the projects I worked with last year gave us 133 design submissions for a total of only $295 which is less than $2.22 per entry so needless to say we were thrilled with the outcome.
We did find that DesignCrowd appeared to have more people you could contact if you had a question or an issue, the only way we could successfully contact 99Designs was via Twitter. Here are a couple other reviews about these sites that may interest you.
Needless to say, with 100% money-back guarantees, there’s no reason not to give it a go yourself:Read More
Whether or not a professional looking resume defines an employee, it is the first impression that any business owner has of the pool of available talent applying for work. It is the document that most employers use to see if job seekers have the rudimentary skills and personality traits to fulfill the job and fit into their current working environment.
Through my involvement with EzyLearn, I have had the opportunity to witness statistics about resumes of EzyLearn students and I’ve noticed that the most confident students already have a resume and usually have the skills to modify it as needed for each role they apply for over time. It led us to the important discovery that the ability to create and modify their own CV revealed which students have the skills to both write about their skills, experience and achievements as well as use Microsoft Word.
Another interesting fact that we are discovering every month is that writing a resume to display your skills and “sell” yourself into a job uses very similar skills to creating a website that sells a businesses services to it’s customers and increasingly more of this is happening online.
EzyLearn provides training courses in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook), MYOB Accounting and WordPress and has a close relationship with recruitment companies, employment agencies and other organisations which provide employment services to those seeking work and as part of this relationship, they have created a resume writing service which not only provides students with a resume, but an online training course in Microsoft Word, which gives students the ability to make changes as and when they need to their resume.
In a similar way, the Online WordPress training course is giving virtual assistants and small business owners the ability to create their own websites, make modifications as and when they are needed and most importantly create blogs and participate in the new online world of social media.
Good resume writing skills will definitely help you find and get the job you are looking for, but it is also the fundamental skills employed to talk about and promote the features of every small business in Australia and around the world.Read More
I’ve recently had the thrill of communicating with lots of WordPress designers and developers from Australia and all over the world and it’s fascinating to see how different people approach the concept of website design. From the conversations I have with clients the usual goal is to get a website up and running with some basic content and make it look good. That usually involves some great graphics work, a nice logo and a small amount of “guiding” text which can be fleshed out by a professional copy writer later.
The most fascinating aspect of website design are all the people who want to build you a custom template. Just for you. Why do some web designers offer that? It seems they offer it to get the most hours out of you, quoting between 30-50 hour to complete the work. What work is that exactly? It’s creating a lovely piece of artwork with the look and feel of your website and then ripping that design into potentially hundreds of fragments of graphic (including rounded corners) that are used in different sections of the site. Phew… what a load of work that is! Much better to get an existing premium template from $30-$120 and customise it to be your own.
I’m a lover of theme clubs (WordPress templates are called Themes) that provide great looking themes that you can use over and over for different customers. They make the task easier for web designers and faster for customer to get their professional online presence. The best price/feature one that I have come across is Elegant themes.
My most recent experience however involves working with affiliate program and currently it’s WP affiliate manager which looks like it’s had a recent overhaul using a snazzy theme from WooThemes. It’s a little tricky to get setup and this is my first test to see how it works. This image below is my own affiliate link to EzyLearn’s online MYOB Training Course and if you click this link and enrol into the course as a result I will earn $30. Click away and help me build some stats.Read More
What is SEO? It stands for Search Engine Optimisation but that doesn’t really give you a good description of what it involves. Some people think it also includes buying clicks with something like Google Adwords or Microsoft’s Bing ad networks but that’s called SEM (Search Engine Marketing). So what is SEO?
Other people tell me that it’s all about how you use keywords around your website; in the page name and description, in the keywords that you target for each page and the words you use in the writing on your actual web pages and if this is true, then it’s up to the person who either writes your articles and or edits your website. Perhaps the best description of SEO comes from Matt Cutts, an engineer at Google who created an educational video about search engine optimisation.
Once you know what SEO is the real question is how do you perform the tasks of an SEO consultant. If you watch Matt’s video you’ll see that one of the SEO aspects he talks about is how well connected your website is, who’s connecting to it and who are you connecting to and you start to get an idea of the bigger picture that SEO is really about marketing your brand, building a network of websites that are relevant to yours and willing to put links on their website to yours. Does this sound familiar? It’s about building relationships and then building links on websites to confirm the relationships.
I recently met with Kristin from Sassy SEO and she re-affirmed my realisation that “white hat” SEO is about building relationships and building communities of interested people who are willing to recommend and interact about topics they are interested in. The larger the community the more relevant it is to the topic and one of the most important tasks in small business marketing is to make contact with the influential bloggers and let them you exist, build a relationship and then build a link bridge.
There’s another whole topic about “grey hat” and “black hat” SEO but we’ll save that for another time. Sometimes it is better to have fewer good quality links rather than lots of temporary spam like links. Stay tuned for more about SEO.
Watch a video about Search Engine Optimisation by Google Employee Matt Cutts and read about the online marketing and SEO services offered by 123ezy websites.Read More
As the proprietor of an online training business it is important to understand and fine tune the design of your website and the way that website visitors interact with it. After studying several models for EzyLearn I opted for the freemium and money back guarantee model and it has worked exceptionally well for our online MYOB course. It is important to note that this model is important in the relatively new area of online education where website visitors are used to seeing lots of information for free so if they are going to pay for something, they want to make sure that it actually has value.
My goal with EzyLearn online computer training courses goes along these lines:
- Encourage website visitors to interact (email us, blogging and blog responses, sample our product etc).
- Act upon what they have experienced with you (upgrade or make the full purchase which is where you monetise)
- Use the site to it’s fullest potential and as a resource (they keep coming back which is good for Google pagerank)
- Recommend it to their friends and colleges (affiliate programs and social media is useful here)
This is an excellent article which reflects some of the best ways of converting your website visitors to customers and here are their main points:
- Have a search box on every page of your site, especially the home page. Ideally, the search box should be in the same location across all of your pages so people know where it is when they need it.
- Consider adding Autocomplete to your search box, which suggests possible terms when visitors start typing the first letters of a keyword.
- Have clear and specific product and content titles in the search results. If titles are not accurate, visitors may not click on a result that is otherwise relevant, or they may click on it only to find that it doesn’t contain what they were looking for, which could lead them to abandon their search.
- Incorporate images into search results. Showing images in results helps visitors find what they’re looking for faster and with fewer clicks.
- Offer “add to cart/buy now” options directly from the site search results page. By allowing visitors to add products to shopping carts or to go to checkout directly from search results, they’re more likely to complete the purchase.
- Show ratings and reviews in search results, and allow visitors to further refine or reorder their search results based on ratings.
- Rely on user behaviour to improve the relevance of search results. Based on the data, you can move more popular products to the top of search results, making the results more relevant.
Affiliate Marketing is where you signup with a company to be able to recommend them and in return receive a commission if the recommendation ends up in a sale. This is done by you having a unique URL that identifies you to the company. Here is an example. Ezylearn is an affiliate for Elegant Themes, who make an excellent range of WordPress themes to quickly enable you to have a professional looking website, all you need to do is write the content. Our special affiliate link for Elegant Themes is http://www.elegantthemes.com/affiliates/idevaffiliate.php?id=4090_0_1_7 and it’s the special “id” at the end of the URL that identifies EzyLearn.
Most affiliate links are not displayed in full but are either compressed (like this: http://bit.ly/aviJFf) using a special URL compressing site like www.bit.ly or simply included as a hyperlink like this. But no matter how they are used they are effective in bringing new visitors to a website.
The example used above (Elegant Themes) uses a self managed affiliate system that is running on their own web server called iDevAffiliate and it’s very powerful. It is ideal for technical people who know how to set this type of system up quite easily but most people prefer to have someone else manage the affiliate program for them. Companies like Commission Junction and Clixgalore are examples of companies who can help you manage your own affiliate program.
I setup an affiliate program for our online MYOB course earlier this year with ClixGalore and we managed to get a reasonable number of affiliates who wanted to promote our website in exchange for $30 commission. This commission figure represents quite a decent return considering the value of the sale. A fantastic aspect of affiliate marketing programs is that it establishes a win-win relationship whereby once a payment for the goods or services is confirmed a commission is paid. I also encourages a committed sales effort because the commission earned is usually only paid out once the total commission reaches a realistic value of say $100.
When you use a company like ClixGalore you pay all of your money to them and they take care of paying the affiliate as well as themselves from the statistics they gather. At EzyLearn we’ve discovered that they are not the easiest people to deal with and I’ll share more of my experiences with them over the next month or so. I’m happy to say that there are lots of alternatives from companies like zferral.com to open source scripts that are run from within a WordPress website like MagicAffiliate.
We’ll soon be relaunching the EzyLearn affiliate program so stay tuned for more info at this blog. Remember you can subscribe to this blog using the email field below or at the right of my website.Read More