Here's many of the earlier newsletters.
July 2004 Newsletter at andreas.com
It's been a busy June. Several speaking events and lots of work on web projects. The SEO book is out and we've been shipping those. I'll be on a panel discussion on search engines in late July in Berkeley and another one in September. Here's a few items for the July newsletter.
100,000 Radio Stations
If you have DSL (or any fast Internet connection), you can listen to thousands of radio stations. Most of these are free. Try www.shoutcast.com. Select your favorite genre and then click on a station. Use www.radio-locator.com to find some 10,000 radio stations. There's also live365.com.
Hibernation for Your Windows XP Computer
Instead of turning off your computer, you can use Hibernate mode. This lets you shut down the computer with all of the open programs. When you restart, the computer remembers what was open, and it restores back to the way you left it, including documents you left open. Very cool. To use Hibernate, click Start and then click Turn Off Computer. When the Turn Off box appears, press the h key. To restart, just press the Power On button.
The SEO Book
Our SEO book is shipping now. SEO is how you tweak a website so it will rank higher on Google. We're even getting book orders from France and the UK. Here's early feedback from readers:
June 2004 Newsletter at andreas.com
Two short items for this month's newsletter.
May 2004 Newsletter at andreas.com
It's finally Spring again in Palo Alto. The cat shows up every once in a while. She is mostly in the neighbor's overgrown jungle backyard, hunting for mice. The April newsletter turned into a May newsletter: This month: Paris, web marketing stuff, e-newsletter tools, hibernation, books, spyware, routers, and so on.
2004 Europe Tour
Stephanie Cota and I will be speaking in Vienna in mid-May on issues that affect writers in America. As national co-chairs of the NWU, the union for writers, we will talk about media consolidation, the loss of contract rights, and so on. Of course, we will also be in Paris, Berlin, and several other cities for a mix of visiting and business. I'll put up some photos at the website. What about the cat? She stays home. I'm travelling ultra-light: literally just a small knapsack. Passport, toothbrush, and an extra pair of socks.
See Paris from Your Desk...
While preparing for the trip, I found that the French Yellow Pages let you look up an address, click on a street, and you can see a photo of the buildings on the street. Go to photos.pagesjaunes.fr , click Paris, click in the map, and zoom down to the street level. Try the little navigation tool below the photo: you can look around in all directions. Very cool. There's also other cities in France.
In late June, I'll be speaking at a workshop on web marketing. How to get your website to the top of search engines, how to integrate the website with customer management tools (CRM), how to automate the database, and so on.
Newsletter Manager Tools
In the last few months, we've been testing and installing tools to manage e-newsletters. The best solution is a $35 program from DesignerFreeSolutions.com. This is an ASP program, so you need to host a website on ASP (not Unix). We installed the professional version, which gives us unlimited newsletters, so we're setting those up for our clients. This includes a complete HTML editor, so we can send out HTML-based newsletters. Users can subscribe/unsubscribe and manage their accounts. If you're managing websites, you can set up an ASP website, install the tool, and use it for your other UNIX-based websites.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a book on search engines and Google. It explains the technology and theory behind Google, and how to take advantage of that. Google is the hot topic these days. The book was immediately accepted by a publisher, a few major people wrote blurbs for it, and the book will come out at the end of June. It'll be available at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Nobles, and so on.
Spyware on your computer?
You thought computer virus were a problem? There's spyware now. Spyware are programs that are installed on your computer without your permission. You don't realize these programs are running in the background. Spyware clogs your computer's memory, slows down your connection, steals passwords or credit card numbers, changes your computer's settings, or (worse of all) turns your computer into a spam broadcaster that sends tens of thousands of spam to other users. There are anti-spyware programs detect and remove spyware from your computer. The one I use is AdAware, which is free to install, scan, and use. The first time I ran this, it found 52 spyware programs. Select the Home version. When you install it, click Settings and set it to start up and scan automatically. LavaSoftUSA.com.
Firewalls and Routers
If you have DSL, your computer's connection to the Internet is open all the time. This gives hackers plenty of time to enter your computer. DSL and Windows offer software versions of firewalls, but these are not enough. The best solution is to use a router. This hides your computer from the Internet. Routers are cheap and easy to install. The LinkSys router is only $49 and it installs itself. Just connect this between the wall and the DSL modem.
How Fast Is Your DSL?
A free website tool lets you check your DSL speed. Go to toast.net/performance/ and select both image+text and then select one of the free hosts (such as Canada).
Asides from all that... busy these days with web development projects. We're building a website that will be a cluster of sites with copies of the websites in five langauges, so there'll be some 20 websites all together. I gotta brush up on my Japanese.
February 2004 Newsletter at andreas.com
All kinds of Junk Mail
I was curious about the types of junk email, so in late November, I turned off my spam filters for 24 hours and collected all that came to my email account. I then sorted these out by category, to see what there was. The results are interesting. One type (yes, it starts with a V) accounts for 52% of all spam. 249 ads for that in one day. But there were many other categories. See the numbers and pie chart at andreas.com/faq-spam.html
Defogging the Car Windows
It's become popular to turn on both the air conditioner and the heater in cars. This clears the fog off the windows very fast. Some people wonder if it's okay to use both of these at once. Click-N-Clack, the two guys from NPR Radio, say it works and it's safe for the car's air conditioner.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought an action against a company that was selling software to stop popup ads. The company was also bombarding people with popup ads, in order to get them to buy the software to stop the popup ads. Apparently the FTC has no sense of humor.
Asides from spamming people, the company also sold their popup-sending software to other people, allowing them to engage in the same conduct. They promised buyers that they could send popups to 135,000 Internet addresses per hour, along with a database of more than two billion email addresses. Anyway, the FTC gives the following tip on how to disable the Windows "feature" that allows this sort of spam.
Disabling Windows Messenger Service
Pop up spammers are exploiting a feature of the Microsoft Windows operating systems known as Messenger Service. Windows Messenger Service doesn't have anything to do with instant messaging. It is designed to provide users on a local- or wide-area computer network with messages from the network administrator. If your home computer is connected only to the Internet, you may not have any practical uses for Windows Messenger Service. If your computer is on a business or home network, your network should be protected by a firewall.
To turn off Messenger Service:
Pass this on to your friends and other lists.
Search Engine Optimization
Here's a new word for you: SEO. That's "Search Engine Optimization", and that means "how to get your website to be listed higher in Google". Or, "how to get more visitors to your website."
The web, and practically everything that happens on it, is measured by logarithms (log powers, which are number scales that grow in increments of 10x the previous number.) For example, Google assigns a Page Rank (the significance of a website) to every page. This is a number, such as PageRank Five. But a five isn't just one number larger than a four. It's ten times greater than a four. And 100 times greater than three. And one thousand times greater than a three.
This means that every increment that improves a website's ranking doesn't just improve it a bit. It improves the site by ten times. That's one of the reasons why any particular market niche is dominated by only a few websites. Their competitors must expend a great deal of effort to jump a bit higher.
There's quite a few SEO books on the market. I've read most of them and they're not very useful. I don't think it's possible to write a book for a general audience because there are too many technical issues that have to be covered: you have to modify the website, learn how the search engines work, and so on. If you're not technically-minded, then hire someone who knows about SEO.
If you want to use Google Adwords, the best one that I've found so far is Rodney Rumford's ebook on Google Adwords at theinfoguru.com ($40). Don't mind his chaotic writing style. He's very bright at marketing and he tells you more than most books.
Web technology allows a new way to do marketing. With websites, one can measure the response down to each individual click. No more guessing or estimates. This "technical marketing" is a combination of standard marketing and web technologies. Technical marketing companies are offering performance-based services, such as a percentage of sales. Traditional marketing can't do this because they can't measure results.
If you've not discovered it yet, see marketingexperiments.com. If marketing strategies and techniques can be quantified and measured, then why not carry out experiments? If there are three possible strategies, then carefully design all three, try them out, measure the results, and see what really works or doesn't work. That's what Marketing Experiments does. (I'm not affiliated with that site in any way. I read about it in a web newsletter from another webdev person, tried it, and subscribed. I found it very useful.)
Stephanie and I just did a project for a client. They had a corporate website which was done in India for only $1,000. It looks great but... it didn't work! The Indians never installed the database. Clients came to the website, filled out the form, and the information just evaporated. For more than a year, she got no leads from the website.
So we fixed that by rewriting the website and connecting it to a CRM tool (Customer Relation Management, or software that allows you to manage the customer leads for sales, customer relations, and so on.) (In this case, the CRM tool was SalesForce.com, at salesforce.com).
For example, the customer fills out a form, the form is fed to the CRM database, which then sends a thank-you note by email to the customer, a notification email to the sales manager that there is a new customer, and adds the customer to the database, where additional rules can be set up to contact the customer regularly, say, at 30 days and 60 days with followup offers. Totally automated.
The CRM tool is based on XML and an Oracle database, so one can put literally any kind of input into it and use the CRM to contact customers by any criteria: city, income, interests, and so on. For example, if the CEO is going to speak in Chicago, they can invite potential customers in Chicago to a hotel reception.
This places an ecommerce website into a general marketing strategy: use SEO to bring customers to the website, they fill out a form at the website, and the forms are processed by the CRM tool so that the sales team can contact the customers. One can also add ecommerce transaction processing, so customers can pay with credit cards.
Cheap Houses in California
A friend told me she just wrote a book entitled "How to find a California home for under $150,000". I laughed because I thought she was kidding. Then she pulled the book out of her purse.
She found 15 small towns in California where you can buy a house for under $150K. Okay, they're small towns, but it's still in California. The book has lots of history about each town, and what is going on there. More at findacaliforniahome.com
Your Personal Google
Here's how to add a Google search box to your website. Copy and paste into an HTML page. Users can use this to search via Google from your website.
Here is the result:
Ho, hum, you say. So it searches the web. Now try this one.
Here is the result:
The hidden variable (line 3) will limit the search within only one URL, which is specified in the value tag. So... in this example, the user can use Google to search within Andreas.com. You can use this to create a search tool for your website.