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daily small business blog
:: Federal Contracts
February 28-29, 2004
The federal government purchases billions of
dollars in goods and services each year. U.S.
policy, as stated in the Small Business Act,
is that all small businesses have the maximum
practicable opportunity to participate in providing
goods and services to the government. To ensure
that small businesses get their fair share,
the SBA negotiates annual procurement preference
goals with each Federal agency and reviews each
agency's results. When working with government
agencies be sure to document your small business
status in order to maintain a business advantage.
:: Domain Names & Email Addresses
February 26-27, 2004
A small fact that is often overlooked by webmasters,
involves characters in email addresses and domain
names. Occasionally letters and numbers look
similar with some fonts. Often its difficult
to distinguish the difference between a number
"1" and the letter "l".
Its best to avoid such characters, as it can
often cause confusion, especially if an email
address contains bother letters and numbers.
:: What is SMS
February 25, 2004
SMS is a great new technology that allows you
to send short text messages to pagers or cell
phones. Mobilizing staff allows for additional
productivity. This technology can be extremely
helpful to small businesses as a way to increase
response times while operating from remote locations.
Check out What
:: Small Business Guide
February 24, 2004
I discovered a handy small business legal guide
. The guide contains information regarding legal
issues and details how to protect your small
business. The section contains legal forms,
you may also want to check our sample letter
section for drafts of letters that might relate
to legal issues.
:: Blog & Submissions
February 22-23, 2004
If you have a blog site be sure to submit the
site to the numerous blog directories and blog
search engines. The Top55
lists sites that accept blog and RSS feed submissions.
Blogs are a great way to update your customers
about changes, specials or information on your
products or service. A daily blog doesn't require
a lot of additional effort and it provides fresh
content. A number of businesses have benefited
from daily blogs. A great article we recommend
Blogs, Defined, Explained and Understood.
:: Words Matter
February 21, 2004
I recently read an article that emphasized the
use of words in advertising. Sampling various
ads to increase your click through and enhance
your ads appeal, while still providing information
that relates to your product or service is critical
to success in advertising. Be sure to try different
ads and monitor and chart your results. Measuring
will ensure advertising success.
:: Email Removal
February 20, 2004
A website that claims to reduce unsolicited
ccommercial e-mail to those sign up is actually
acting as an address collection center! The
site www.unsub.us claims to help prevent spam
when in fact it is illegally selling the addresses
submitted to spammers.
February 19, 2004
Yahoo has finally started using Inktomi's results,
officially dumping Google. This has caused quite
a change in the results appearing. It also appears
that the prediction regarding changes at Google
were spot-on. According to sources the "Brandy"
update is similar to results prior to the "Florida"
update, but Google sources insist that it is
not a database roll back.
:: Google Shakeup
February 17-18, 2004
The following excerpt from WebProNews indicates
another major shakeup at Google is on the way:
"We are predicting another massive change to
listings over the next week, based on our analysis
of how Google is looking at incoming links and
its recent behaviour patterns." As proof they
offered that, "Google has, in the past 24-hours,
radically upped the link-count on most of our
clients' sites." Yesterday Google only recognized
105 of the more than 1000 actual links to Stepforth's
site. Today Google shows 220. This enormous
change in the number of Google-recognized links
to theStepforth site indicates a change in what
the Google algorithm perceives as a valid link.
Major Search analysts predict that Google rankings
will undergo another major change next week.
February 16, 2004
Clipboard enhancers can make your life significantly
easier when you are jumping from task to task.
Consider using Clipmate or one of the other
titles we've profiled in our productivity software
section. These programs will insure increased
productivity and more efficient staff.
:: Microsoft & Hosting
February 14-15, 2004
Microsoft Corp. says incomplete portions of
the source code for some versions of its Windows
computer operating system were leaked over the
Internet, but analysts caution it's too early
to say how much damage the leak may cause. Microsoft
spokesman Tom Pilla said Thursday that some
pieces of source code — the tightly guarded
blueprint of its dominant computer operating
system — for its Windows 2000 and Windows NT4.0
operating systems had been "illegally made available
on the Internet."
What does this mean for small businesses? There
is an increased of security breaches. Companies
using web hosts that are on a Microsoft platform
are at more risk than those on Unix. Talk to
your hosting company and discuss the security
February 13, 2004
If you are selling a product or service online,
be sure to submit the product to Google's product
database, Froogle. Froogle allows shoppers to
find specific products and price shop. Submissions
to Froogle are handled through a feed, that
needs to be updated each month. A good article
that provides submission details is available
February 12, 2004
I frequently receive queries regarding "netetiquette"
involving what protocol is when responding or
conducting business online. There is a great
online resource that helps with email etiquette
and newsgroup etiquette online.
Having staff familiar with online business practices
will insure that your online presence is a positive
:: Good Business Sense
February 11, 2004
It always amazes me when I see an owner of a
small business allienating potential customers,
simply by discussing the "wrong" issues.
Human nature celebrates our diversity, it is
unlikely that customers will have the same opinions
on every issue. Stick to safe issues, avoid
controversial issues like abortion, the morality
of war, gun control or politics in general.
As much as you might like someone as an individual,
you might find their personal convictions very
different from your own. Many of the "hot"
issues illicit strong, opnions and in business
situations its simply best to avoid those controversial
topics to ensure no offense is caused.
:: Targeted Advertising
February 10, 2004
The internet has global reach, it is your job
to take advantage of that. If you have a product
that can be used outside of a specific region
it is your job to ensure that you are not limiting
yourself, don't be afraid to think outside of
the box! If on the other hand your product or
service is only available in a specific region
be sure to add qualifiers to any pay-per-click
campaigns so that you do not receive traffic
that is useless. Your title should be an attention-getter
but not to the extent that the traffic you are
receiving is untargeted. Keep in mind sales
matter a whole lot more than web visitors. Make
sure your advertisements convert to sales and
not just visitors.
:: Tax Deadlines
February 9, 2004
If you are a US corporation keep in mind that
your taxes are due March 15, while personal
taxes are due on April 15th. It is also likely
that your corporate articles need to be filed
annually, this will vary by the state that you
are located in but your accountant or lawyer
should be able to provide details.
February 8, 2004
With the level of spam on the rise email is
no longer an optimum method of communication,
while it is still needed by small businesses,
you may wish to consider providing other communication
alternatives to customers. A number of businesses
have effectively added forums to their websites,
as an alternative communication method. The
businesses have found that forums establish
a searchable database of questions and answers
that can be helpful in providing customers ongoing
support. Others have found that customers can
assist each other. Free helpers, does it get
any better for a struggling small business?
Of the forums I've evaluated I really like the
flexibility of PHPbb. Both of the following
use PHPbb and have been quite effective NotePage
:: Database Management
February 7, 2004
Are you in need of an application to manage
has a great free form database that allows you
to create the database structure and allows
you to search on anything stored within the
database. The engine can be easily searched
and is a great tool for managing data.
February 6, 2004
When you are looking for software consider software
that you can try before you buy. Shareware has
long been established as a superior marketing
method. Allowing consumers to try software prior
to purchasing ensures customer satisfaction.
You can determine whether application meets
your business or personal needs prior to spending
any money. A win for the consumer and the developer.
:: Web Logs
February 5, 2004
If your website is up an running, be sure to
examine your web logs on a monthly basis. Pay
close attention to the number of unique visitors
that come to your site each day. Create a spread
sheet and track unique visitors from month to
month, to ensure that any optimization efforts
are working. If you are in need of software
to analyze your weblogs I would suggest 1-2-3
Log Analyzer .
A quick traffic check can be done on Alexa.com
by entering your web address, Alexa will show
if you traffic has increased or decreased over
a specific period of time. Incoming links from
any of the sites in the Alexa top 100 will likely
boost your Google PR and result in better ranking.
:: Web Templates
February 4, 2004
An easy way to create a website is to purchase
a web template.
The templates contain graphical collections,
which means all you need to do is to drop in
your content. Using a web template ensures that
your website looks professional and alleviates
the need for expensive custom graphic work.
:: Content is King
February 3, 2004
Keep in mind that flash is nice but not viewable
by all browsers. The best way to satisfy Internet
browsers is to create a fast loading site that
has relevant content. The old adage "content
is king" rules the web. If you develop
a quality site, with related content that compliments
your product or service you will see your web
:: Search Engines
February 2, 2004
If you are like most small business owners,
you've realized the need for an Internet presence.
Lets face it, just about all businesses need
some sort of website, if only to post your name
and address. Having a website is not enough!
You will need to deal with search engines, to
ensure that when your customers are looking
for you, they find your website not a competitors.
I discovered a great directory
of places that allow you to submit your website.
RSS Feed -
:: Welcome to the Software Blog
February 1, 2004
Welcome to the New Software Blog. This site
is designed as a resource for small business
owners. The issues addressed in the blog, will
be issues that are faced on a daily by small
business owners. Frequently the blog will include
software reviews, detailing how different applications
can assist with managing your daily business.
Please feel free to email the webmaster
July 2004 Blog
June 2004 Blog
March 2004 Blog
February 2004 Blog