Posted on July 23, 2008 - Filed Under Other IT Stuff
Y Combinator is a US company that funds the early days of startup companies. In the past they have invested in startups such as Reddit, YouOS and Anywhere.FM. They have a innovative approach, prefering to judge startups based on personal interviews and demos, rather than business plans.
In another somewhat innovative step, their founder, Paul Graham, has tried to get your grey matter working by posting a list of his startup ideas Y Combinator would like to fund.
Reading through his ideas is interesting, rather than inspiring, although I did find myself drawgin parallels between that I was reading and applications I am currently working on/have worked on in the past.
There are 30 ideas, many of them suggesting people examine the weaknesses of current success stories such as eBay, Craigslist and Wikipedia and building on them.
As a taster I have extracted the first and the last suggestion, but I highly recommend you browse them all.
A cure for the disease of which the RIAA is a symptom. Something is broken when Sony and Universal are suing children. Actually, at least two things are broken: the software that file sharers use, and the record labels’ business model. The current situation can’t be the final answer. And what happened with music is now happening with movies. When the dust settles in 20 years, what will this world look like? What components of it could you start building now?
The answer may be far afield. The answer for the music industry, for example, is probably to give up insisting on payment for recorded music and focus on licensing and live shows. But what happens to movies? Do they morph into games?
Startups for startups. The increasing number of startups is itself an opportunity for startups. We’re one; TechCrunch is another. What other new things can you do?
Consider this list to end with a giant ellipsis. It’s not even a complete list of the types of ideas we’re looking for, let alone of all types of startup ideas. So if you have a great idea that’s not on this list, don’t be deterred. Some of the best ideas are outliers everyone ignores because they seem crazy.
It was an interesting exercise to write out this list. I noticed a lot of similarities between ideas that I never realized were there. In fact, when you read the list, you get a pretty accurate composite portrait of a startup: a combination of relentless predator upon the obsolete and benevolent solver of the world’s problems. As ways of making money go, that’s pretty good. Startups are often ruthless competitors, but they’re competing in a game won by making what people want.
Posted on December 3, 2007 - Filed Under Other IT Stuff
Posted on August 5, 2007 - Filed Under Other IT Stuff
An excellent article for anyone who does call calling or telesales.
Posted on July 29, 2007 - Filed Under Link Building
If you regularly add new content or articles to your site or blog you will definitely want to let the world know about it. Whilst article submission was once an effective way of doing this, it has now been diluted to the point of uselessness. However, social bookmarking sites, such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Netscape.com have filled the void and allow you to promote your interesting content and get other people to recommend your site. Here are a list of 20 of the top social bookmarking sites:
Posted on June 6, 2007 - Filed Under Affiliate Programmes
Now, this is only a slight affiliate review, as it’s more of a referral system. I am reviewing it for two reasons, firstly it has worked well for me and secondly it pays in British Pounds. Pounds is good for me, as I’m based in the UK and the current exchange rate means affiliates that pay in Dollars are current worth alot less than I’d like.
YouGov basically carry our surveys. They are a well respected market research company and their polls are often quoted by major news sources such as the BBC, Telegraph and Independent. By conducting surveys over the Web they claim to save cash compared to telephone or face-to-face market research and in turn pass on the savings, in the form of cash incentives to those who volunteer.
Payment for completing a survey varies from ££0.50 up to ££2 and links are delivered via email on a regular basis. You earn by completing the surveys, referring people (££1 bonus) and for every survey your referrals complete. Payment is made when you reach ££50, which is high, but not unachievable.
YouGov is definitely worth a look, especially if you have a high traffic site or a good network of friends that you can refer. The site is well laid out and easy to use and you might even find some of the surveys quite interesting!
Posted on June 5, 2007 - Filed Under Other IT Stuff
Practical Tips & Techniques for Cold Calling
- Need to Improve Your Cold Calling Skills?
- Considering a new career in Telemarketing?
- Could you or your staff do with a refresh on their Cold Calling Skills?
What’s on offer?
Practical Tips & Techniques for Cold Calling
Who should attend?
Companies with their own in-house telemarketers needing to refresh/update their cold calling or telemarketing skills.
Self-Employed telemarketers or persons responsible for new business generation.
Individuals considering telemarketing as a new career.
Check out Telemarketing Training for more info.
Posted on May 25, 2007 - Filed Under Affiliate Programmes
This is the second part of my on going review of affiliate programmes. Today we look at WebCEO, which is a suite of search engine optimisation tools. Now, first off I use this tool alot, which kind of makes me feel a little better about recommending it to people. Secondly, WebCEO offer a totally free version with no time limitations which is an excellent way to get acquainted with the product and find out if it is right for you.
Their affiliate programme is open to anyone, not just WebCEO customers, but would appeal most to site owners in the Webmaster domain. They offer a 1 year cookie and have a minimum payout of just $25, which is alot lower than many affiliates. They offer a reasonable selection of banners, but I found it difficult to find one really eye catching ad, so I have experimented with a selection.
I am impressed with WebCEO’s affiliate programme so far, with a decent click thru and a couple of commissions, and would recommend both the programme and the software itself if you are a Webmaster or run a Webmaster related site.
Posted on April 18, 2007 - Filed Under Other IT Stuff
A few months ago at DevWeek in London, several speakers introduced a platform called Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere. This is Microsoft’s browser plug-in technology, aimed firmed at Adobe Flash and now branded, ready for launch as Silverlight.
Silverlight is downloaded and installed into the browser, much like Flash was back in the day and it allows developers to delivery rich Windows like interfaces via a browser over the Web.
This product is partly political. The desktop is shrinking as more and more applications are delivered over the Web via a browser and Adobe Flash is the de facto product for rich user interfaces and multimedia Web sites. Microsoft recognise this and don’t want to give Adobe much of a head start. Silverlight has a presentation model called XAML which is similar to the Win
Silverlight fits nicely with the new Expression Studio, Microsoft’s answer to Adobe PhotoShop and Visual Studio, Microsoft’s integrated development environment for Microsoft .Net. Expression Studio is priced very keenly when compared to PhotoShop, but there doesn’t appear to be a Mac version and with so many designers preferring their Macs as a design tool it remains to be seen if Microsoft can wrestle these people over to the dark side.
Of the Silverlight examples I’ve seen they look very impressive, with plenty of rich content and interactivity. Microsoft are banking on people downloading the plug-in, just like they used to do with Flash and in time Silverlight will undoubtedly be included in IE at least.
For “official” examples, have a browse to: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/
Posted on March 26, 2007 - Filed Under Directories, Affiliate Programmes, Link Building, Search Engine Optimisation
I like making lists - and I like promoting Web sites. So it was an obvious thing to do to create a list of ways to improve and promote a Web site and online presence. Some are obvious, some are bizarre. Some are old, some are new. Many are well know techniques, some are my own personal rambling. Nothing is a statement of fact, merely my own opinion.
If you enjoy this article and find it useful, please “Digg It”, using the button above.
- If you’re launching a new site, or new content, write an introduction and submit it to social bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit and Netscape. See 23 Top Social Bookmarking sites for more great places to submit your content.
- Create a Yahoo Group in the niche your site sits.
- Create a MySpace account and use it to publisise your site.
- Bookmark your site on Del.icio.us and if you’re really keen, add a Del.icio.us button to your homepage.
- Create a Technorati account and “claim” your blog.
- Submit your site to free, search engine friendly directories. An excellent list can be found at Info Vilesilencer.
- Conduct a survey. This is an excellent way to generate offline publicity.
- Place a free ad for your company on Gumtree.
- Syndicate your site’s content by using an RSS feeds.
- Submit your RSS feeds to aggregator sites like FeedBurner, Squidoo, Feedboy, Jordomedia, FeedBomb, FeedCat, rssmad, feeddirectory and feedfury. Stolen from DigitalPoint
- Write an article related to your site and submit it to article sites.
- Sign up to StumbleUpon and get your friends to Stumble your site.
- Create a custom 404 page so that even if someone encounters an error on your site, they are re-directed somewhere nice.
- Set up a 301 redirect to take traffic from your non-www address to your www address. See here for more info.
- Add a link to your site in the signature of any forums you post on.
- Tell your friends about your site. It’s free advertising init.
- Speel cheek ur stie. Nothing appears more amateur than a site with typos or spelling mistakes.
- Test your site and make sure it appears correctly in all major browsers.
- Buy enough hosting. No one likes a slow site.
- Don’t worry about PageRank - worrying about PageRank is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.*
- Offer something for free. Free is good. People tell their friends about free stuff.
- Tell your neighbours, you never know what contacts they might have.
- Offer your users as many ways as possible to contact you. MSN, Skype, Yahoo etc all complement email, phone and a real address.
- Advertise your site on Craigslist. It’s free, relevant and localised.
- Do NOT use frames.
- Submit your site to DMOZ.org. It may take time, but it’s worth it.
- Create an XML sitemap of your site and submit it to Google.
- Get a custom t-shirt made with your website url on it, and wear it often.
- Ask a large breasted lady to wear one too.
- Sign up with an affiliate programme to sell your product, or if you’re a publisher, make some cash!
- On your Contact Page ask people if they mind receiving your newsletter.
- Send out a newsletter!
- Go to a free seminar for Website owners. You might learn something.
- Find quality and relevant blogs and leave a comment (with a link back to your site of course).
- Don’t pay people to submit your site to search engines. It’s a waste of money.
- YouTube and Google Video are excellent portals on which to launch a viral campaign. Read Wired’s excellent How To Make Your Own Viral Hit.
- Giving away an eBook is an excellent way to generate word-of-mouth about your site.
- Sponsor a Wordpress theme or a phpListDirectory template.
- If you sell products that are advertised on television by the manufacturer, add “As Seen on TV” to your site!
- Avoid proprietary technologies like Java and Active X.
- Put downloadable content on your site, but make sure it’s not manufacturer specific - so mp3 rather than wma.
- Learn about CSS. It’s the new HTML.
- Contribute to related subject areas on Wikipedia.
- Ask bloggers and other Web site owners to review your site and/or products.
- Have user friendly page names - most tools comes with some way to avoid www.yourdomain.com/pgInfoPages.cfm?cx=50799399822B393BBF95289295A3A10A4FD4F64E511ACB0E020C9048CFE3AEDAF8DD9D
- If you must have a Flash homepage, make sure you have a “Skip Intro” link.
- Tell your local rag about your site. These newspapers are desperate for stories and you may well even get a picture of your ugly mug published.
- Become a leading authority on your chosen subject.
- Donate money to a charity and most will place a link on their site back to you.
- Abide to W3C standards - it will help your site in the long term.
- Your local community sports teams offer cheap, but highly effective sponsorship opportunities.
- Publisise your site on related forums - but don’t spam!
- Ask bloggers to write about your site or product - in return for a link of course.
- Offer a competition related to something in the news - so football around the time of the World Cup etc.
- Add a “Tell a Friend” function to your site, so people can easily recommend you to their mates.
- Have a Sitemap on your site to allow users to navigate around quickly and to aid the search engines.
- Have a nice keyword rich title at the top of each of your pages. Users and search engines both like descriptive titles.
- Include a Feedburner button on your site so people can easily subscribe to your feed.
- If you use PPC then create a landing page for each of your AdWords - it’ll boost your conversations no end.
- Appear on Dragon’s Den.
- Create a Press section on your site where can you store all your press releases, logos and banners.
- Add a link to your site from within your eBay profile.
- Ask your friends to give you honest feedback on your site.
- The best way to find someone to do any kind of work on your site is through personal recommendation.
- Gain exposure by submitting photos and pictures to Flikr.
- Share your banners on banner exchange sites.
- Make sure it’s easy for your users to subscribe to your RSS feed.
- Create a “lense” for your site on Squidoo
- Ask friends, colleagues and associates to “Favourite” your blog on Technorati.
- You can add a Bulletin to your MySpace account promoting your site that all your MySpace Friends will see.
- Response to your customer’s emails promptly, even if it is with a simply auto-responder. No one likes to wait 3 or 4 days for an acknowledgement of their contact with you.
- Get a professional Copywriter to give your site a once over. If you are on a tight budget, limit to the just the homepage.
- Make a list, “Top 10″s work well. Update it regularly to give your visitors a reason to return.
- What did you learn today? Tell other people and they might learn something too.
- Do you have really hot content on your site that geeks would love? If so Slashdot will bring you a mass of traffic.
- Deep link directories are an excellent way to promote inner pages of your site.
- Meta tags might carry less weight than previously, but you should still have them on every page.
- Ask your Gran for feedback on your site. Never ignore the silver surfers.
- Include a “Add to your Technorati favourites” button on your site.
- Google Analytics is free and will tell you all you need to know about who’s visiting your site.
- Search engines will find you. Don’t pay money for your site to be “submitted”.
- Don’t be afraid to link to other sites, especially if they are relevant and to highly respected sites.
- Keep It Simple Stupid: use CSS to control layout, style and colours and use HTML text rather than graphics to represent text.
- Validate your HTML and CSS. It’ll help ensure your site displays well in all browsers.
- Small pages sizes and optimised graphics will give your site a snappy feel and won’t require users to wait around for it to load.
- If you plan to submit your site to lots of directory or article sites - create an email especially for this. Delete it when you’re finished to avoid spam.
- “Link baiting” means writing some killer content that people will want to link to. Like a “101 Tips to Improve Your Web Presence” list!
- If your chosen field is technology related then write a “whitepaper”. That’s a posh name for an article.
- Google receives roughly 50% of all search requests, Yahoo 25% and MSN just 10%. That’s a good rule of thumb as to how much emphasis to put on each.
- Make sure you have a robots.txt file in the root of your Web site. You can use this to control search engines, but if nothing else it’ll reduce the number of 404 errors in your Weblogs.
- Free online games, a forum or chatrooms will give your users a reason to come back to your site.
- Ebooks with re-seller rights make an excellent “free gift” for your site.
- Upload your product feed to Froogle. It’s FREE!
- This is an excellent list of Top 25 Social Bookmarking Sites
- Search out unanswered questions on Yahoo! Answers and add your site as the “Source”.
- PageRank is vanity, ranking is sanity.
- Yahoo are catching up with Google with an excellent set of webmaster tools called Site Explorer.
- Don’t buy traffic. It’s un-targeted and won’t convert.
- Pay Per Click advertising gets you fast results - and if it’s handled well can be very profitable.
- Upload a favicon.gif file so that your users have a nice icon when they bookmark your site.
- And that’s it!
Boost your search engine rankings with v7n Directory
I was inspired to write this by superflytrainer who posted an excellent 101 ways to get more traffic thread on DP. Alot of the tips have been posted on various forums and blogs, so I make no claim that they are all my own. I have simply tried to collate them into a list and expand where possible. Feel free to plagirise this list to your own ends, but please link back to (I’m no) Search Engine Optimisation Expert if you do.
I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible with my links, but feel free to point out any glaring ommissions!
Also see: Top 23 Social Bookmarking Sites
Posted on March 5, 2007 - Filed Under ASP.NET 2.0
Catchy title eh? This is the first in a series of “Things I learnt at DevWeek”.
Right, this was mentioned by Jeff in his ASP.NET tips and tricks presentation and I’m writing about it today and I have actually integrated it into the app I’m working on already!
We suffer from terrible network performance, so small page size is a must. ASP.NET 2.0 has improved (reduced) viewstate, but by using this tip I have cut it down by somewhere between 5 and 10 percent more. That’s pretty impressive.
The full article can be seen on MSDN. Good luck!keep looking »