Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Classifieds

If you want extra traffic to your website, online classifieds are the way to go. Online classifieds are similar to newspaper classifieds. The only difference is that newspaper classifieds are only viewed by the people in the area that the newspaper was written for. Online classifieds can reach a global audience. So the amount of traffic one can receive is unlimited. There are several advantages and disadvantages to using online classifieds for business.

One advantage is the amount of time it takes to write and post an ad. It should take no longer than twenty minutes to write a good ad and post it to a classified directory. They are a quick method for advertising for internet marketers who don’t have a lot of spare time and want to increase their results.

Another advantage is that online classifieds produce quick results and require very little physical effort. Placing an ad can bring traffic to a website almost instantly. If done correctly, one can generate a boat load of traffic from classifieds.

A third advantage is that this strategy is very low cost. You can post to many classified sites for free. It is great for anyone who doesn’t have any money to advertise with or anyone who has a small budget.

One disadvantage of this type of advertising is that an ad will expire quickly. The ad will drop lower and lower in the rankings until it is not generating any traffic at all. The ads must constantly be replaced. Consistency is the name of the game. Keep posting ads daily and the results will speak for themselves.

Another disadvantage of this type of advertising is that one must post to many classified sites to see big results. Advertising on one site is not enough to produce great results. Take it to the next level and send ads to about 5-10 classified sites.

Overall, online classifieds are a great way to generate extra traffic to a website. It is quick and easy and does not cost a lot of money.

Nature Photography – Five Tips For Great Rainforest Photos

Rainforest photography, like all good nature photography, is more about your sensitivity to nature than about expensive equipment. Of course you need a decent camera, and you must know how to use it. But the quality of your photos does not depend on the price tag on your camera. As long as you have a tripod, and a camera that allows you to adjust the aperture and shutter speed, you are set to go.

I make my living from nature photography, including a lot of rainforest photos, and I have never relied on the latest equipment for my work. Great rainforest photography is simply about finding an eye-catching subject, in good light, and having a creative eye for composition.

Note: The following tips are for photos of rainforest scenes, not for close-up photos of leaves, fungus etc.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 1: Choose a subject. As they say in the classics, "It's a jungle out there." In the rainforest, you are confronted with foliage, branches, roots, rocks, vines … in your face and all around you. A really good rainforest photo requires structure, to make some visual sense of all that clutter. Look for something that is immediately eye-catching – a big tree that dominates the trees around it; A root system that leads the eye; A waterfall or stream; In short, something that you can build a composition around.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 2: Use the best natural light. The mistake almost everyone makes at first is to take their rainforest photos on a bright sunny day when they are in the mood for a walk. Wrong! In full sunlight, the rainforest becomes a patchwork of light and shade that is impossible to expose properly. What you need is a cloudy day, when the light is much more even. Misty weather adds even more atmosphere to the rainforest, and can add a mysterious character to your rainforest photo.

Do not use a flash. The flash illuminated the scene with flat, white light, eliminating the gentle play of natural light and shade that gives the rainforest its character. Always use the natural light.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 3: Carry a tripod. Taking your rainforest photo under a heavy tree canopy, on a cloudy day (see rainforest photography tip # 2), means the level of light will be very low. You may be shooting at shutter speeds as slow as one or two seconds. You will always need your tripod, and it is best to avoid windy days so that the scene is as still as possible.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 4: Use a wide-angle lens (or a zoom lens, zoomed back to its widest angle). The wide angle lens has several advantages for rainforest photography. Firstly, it exaggerates the sense of perspective in a photo, creating a sense of three dimensional depth. Viewers of your photo will feel like they are looking not just at a rainforest, but into it. Secondly, the wide-angle lens has a naturally wide depth of field. With so much detail all around you, it is important that you can keep both the foreground and the background in focus.

Rainforest Photography Tip # 5: Stay on the path. There are some practical reasons for staying on the path when bushwalking. You minimize the possibility of getting lost, injured, or fined by some over-officious park ranger. The people who run the national parks are not stupid. They know what you want to see, and design their trails accordingly. Sticking to the path will not rob you of any great photo opportunities.

In terms of rainforest photography, you are able to create some distance between you and the foliage around you. It is much easier to photograph a tree when you do not have the branch of another tree in your face. By staying on the path, you can get a clear view of your subject, without interference. You can even use the path as part of the composition in your rainforest photo. It is an excellent way of inviting the viewer to join you on your walk in the rainforest.

So there you have my five rainforest photography tips. Notice they concentrate on light and creativity, not on fancy techniques or equipment. You can make great improvements in all your nature photography this way, regardless of what type of camera you have.

What Font Should You Use For Your Book?

One of the most common questions asked by would-be self-publishers who are intent on designing and typesetting their book themselves is, “What font should I use?”

I’m always relieved when somebody asks the question. At least, it means they’re not just blindly going to use the ubiquitous default fonts found in most word processing programs.

However, there is almost no way to answer the question. It’s like asking, “What’s the best car model for commuting to work everyday?”

You’ll get a different answer from almost everyone you ask. And they might all be correct.

I am willing to offer one hard-and-fast rule, however: don’t use Times New Roman or Times Roman. That will brand your book as the work of an amateur at first glance. And there are other, very practical, reasons for not using it. Times Roman and Times New Roman were designed for the narrow columns of newspapers, originally for the London Times back in the 1930s. Today, almost no newspapers still use it. How, or why, it became a word processing standard, I have no idea. The font tends to set very tight, making the text block on the page dense and dark.

Here are two caveats before proceeding to few recommendations:

  1. The typeface you choose may depend on how your book will be printed. If you look closely at most serif fonts (like Times), you will notice that there are thick and thin portions of each letter. If your book will be printed digitally, you should steer away from fonts with segments that are very thin. They tend to become too faint and affect readability.
  2. Don’t get carried away with the thousands of font choices available. Most are specialty fonts suitable for titles, headlines, advertising, emotional impact, etc. And never use more than a very few fonts in a single book — we usually choose one serif font for the main text body, a sans serif for chapter titles and headings within the chapters. Depending on the book, we may select a third font for captions on photos, graphics, tables, etc. (or maybe just a different size, weight, or style of one of the other two). We may select a specialty font for use on the front cover for the title and subtitle.

For 90% of books, any of the following fonts are excellent choices:

  • Palatino Linotype
  • Book Antiqua (tends to set tight, so you may have to loosen it up a bit)
  • Georgia
  • Goudy Old Style
  • Adobe Garamond Pro (tends to have a short x-height, so it might seem too small in typical sizes)
  • Bookman (the name sort of gives it away, doesn’t it?)
  • Century Schoolbook (tends to be a bit wide, creating extra pages)

You need to look at several paragraphs of each font to see what, if any, adjustments you may find necessary in things like character spacing and kerning. You want to avoid little confusions, like:

  • “vv” (double v) that looks like the letter “w”
  • “cl” (c l) that looks like the letter “d”

Such things can make the reading experience annoying.

If you ask other designers, you will likely get other suggestions, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least some of the above included in their recommendations.

You may run across some books with more unusual font choices, but there are often good reasons for it. Maybe the book is a humor book for which the designer chose a lighthearted font, for example. Such decisions should be made with care and thoughtful consideration for the effects on readability.

Never decide on your font or font size based only on viewing how it looks on your monitor. Most trade paperback books are printed in 10 or 11 point size, but some fonts require larger – or even smaller – sizes. If 12 points looks too big and 11 too small, you can try 11.5 – no need to stick with integer sizes. You might be surprised how much difference a half-point (or even a quarter-point) can make on the overall “feel” of the page.

You also have to decide on appropriate leading (pronounced like the metal), which is the distance from the baseline of one line of text to the baseline for the next line, measured in points. The result is usually expressed as a ratio of the font size in points to the selected leading in points. So, you might say you have set the body text in Georgia 11/14 or Bookman 10/12.5 (11-point size with 14 points leading and 10-point size with 12.5 points leading, respectively).

Word processing programs tend to work in decimal inches, forcing you to convert leading from points into inches. A standard point is equal to 0.0138 inches. Professional typesetting/layout programs (like Adobe InDesign) allow you to use points and picas to define all type measurements and settings. although you can also specify those settings in various other units (including inches).

Typically, book designers will develop more than one design for each book’s interior, using different fonts, sizes, and leadings. They should typeset a few pages of the actual manuscript and print them out with the same page settings they plan to use in the final book (e.g., 6″ x 9″ pages). This allows the client to compare them side-by-side and evaluate them for readability and overall look.

And don’t forget your target audience. Very young readers and very old readers do better with larger type. Books that are very textually dense with long paragraphs frequently need more leading and a wider font.

Ultimately, you have to choose based on what your gut reaction is to the typeset samples. It never hurts to ask other people to read it and tell you if one option is easier to read than another.

If you want to gain an appreciation for typography and how to make appropriate design decisions, I recommend the following excellent books:

The Complete Manual of Typography by James Felici

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Book Design and Production by Pete Masterson

For those who insist on using Microsoft Word to typeset books, you really should buy and study Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard. He is the reigning guru of how to do it.

It is far better to buy professional layout software and then learn all you can about typography and how to apply those principles to book design…or to hire a professional to do for you. The latter course will leave you more time to develop a dynamic marketing plan for your latest book and start writing your next one!

How Affiliate Marketing Works – A Step By Step Guide For Beginners

Looking to make an income online? Got a computer / laptop and an Internet connection? Then Affiliate Marketing could be the simplest and quickest path to fulfilling your dream.

Here, you’ll discover the 6 simple steps that will take you from complete beginner to Affiliate Marketer in as little as 48 hours.

WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing system where a product vendor pays an “affiliate” a commission when someone buys their product. That “someone” having been referred to the vendor by the “affiliate.”

And it all happens online: You have a web presence, usually a website, that you attract like-minded visitors to, where you “warm them up” to the idea that the product you’re promoting (as an affiliate) is the perfect answer to their pressing problem or need.

That “product” could be physical (books, CDs, DVDs, clothing, jewelry, natural medicines, etc.) or digital (e-books, e-reports, software, online courses / trainings, etc.).

When your visitor clicks on your affiliate link (on your site) they are redirected to the vendor’s site, where the vendor will close the sale; a lot easier after you’ve warmed them up! When your site visitor buys the vendor’s product you get paid a commission.

For example, if the product cost $100 and you get, say, 50% commission, you’ll get paid $50! And all for, basically, introducing someone with a pressing problem or need to someone who can fix that problem.

Affiliate marketing is ideal for beginners starting out online as it has a very low barrier to entry: it’s a very simple process that doesn’t need any particular technical skills, you don’t have to have your own product, and it doesn’t cost the earth to get started. In fact, you can get going for less than $20!

And, you don’t have to do selling, or fulfillment, or keep stock, or deal with payment systems, and you don’t have to deal with customers; the vendor does that.

All YOU need is an Internet connection and a computer / laptop and you’re good to go.

AFFILIATE NETWORKS

Because affiliate marketing is so profitable for both affiliate and vendor, over the years many “affiliate networks” have sprung up to help both affiliates and vendors manage their affairs much more efficiently and easily.

Vendors can attract affiliates by advertising their products on these networks and affiliates can easily find products to promote. Once an affiliate decides to promote a certain product the network assigns an affiliate link / ID so that sales of that product can be linked back to the affiliate.

The affiliate network also takes on responsibility for managing the flow of money between vendor and affiliate either by electronic transfer or check. It also charges a small fee to both vendor and affiliate for the service.

There are many affiliate networks to choose from, but a beginner to affiliate marketing can easily get started with “ClickBank” and / or “Amazon.”

GETTING STARTED WITH AFFILIATE MARKETING

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

The first step is to decide which niche you wish to operate in. A “niche” is a group of people with very similar interests, e.g. gout sufferers, broken relationships, looking for car insurance, how to make money online, etc. But, of course, it also has to have proven “buyers” in it in order to make money.

So how do you find a profitable niche with lots of profitable products you can promote?

A very quick way to do this is to search affiliate networks for niches that have several products that their stats tell you are selling well. If there are lots of products that are selling well, you now know that the niche is a profitable one, and, the buyers in that niche like those products.

In other words, there’s no second guessing; you know for a fact that you can make money in that niche and you know for a fact which products are successful, unlike if you had to develop your own product!

Once you’re happy with a product, you sign-up as an affiliate for it and are given a unique link that you place on your website. When a visitor clicks on that link they go to the vendor’s sales page where, if they buy, you get paid the commission assigned to that product.

2. Get Your Domain Name

Before you setup your website you need to get a domain name based around your niche. For example, fastgoutcure.com, weightlossforseniors.com. Get the idea? This will become your website “address.”

Two of the most popular domain registrars are “GoDaddy” and “NameCheap.”

3. Get Hosting

Next, you need to get hosting for your website. This is where all your website files will be stored and secured. When someone enters your domain name in their browser they will be directed to your website.

There are very many web hosting companies out there, but you can’t go far wrong as a newbie by going with “HostGator.”

4. Set-Up Your Website

You then need to set-up your website. This needs to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your chosen niche and product. For example, having a website about “arthritis” and trying to promote a product that cures “gout” will neither rank well in the search engines nor make sales.

Although gout and arthritis are linked medically, most people don’t know that, so they’ll be searching for “arthritis” solutions or “gout” solutions and Google will present webpages on their search results that reflect that. So always stay laser-focused!

You need a platform or specialist software to build your website. The most popular platform today by far is “WordPress” which is free. Most good hosting companies like HostGator allow you to select WordPress directly from within your hosting control panel in just a couple of clicks.

5. Add Great Content

There’s a saying in marketing that “content is king!” I like to say that “GREAT content is king!” So the content on your website has to be highly relevant to, and laser-focused on, your niche, such that your site visitors get great value (and know they great value) from it.

For example, if your site is about “gout” you write content about what causes it, its symptoms, how it’s diagnosed, how it’s treated, any natural remedies, any specific diets, lifestyle changes, and so on. Give top tips, some recipes, the latest studies, news, etc. That is, keep adding “value.”

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

Now, you can have the best website in the world, the best product(s) to promote that will definitely, absolutely, help your target audience; but, if nobody ever lands on your site, you might as well not have bothered!

So getting visitors (called “traffic” in Internet marketing) to your website is absolutely critical to your success and to helping all those people who are desperately searching for a solution to their problem.

There’s basically two ways to get traffic; “pay for it” or “get it free.”

Paid traffic is things like advertising on other niche websites, Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. You can also pay people who have large email lists in the same niche as you to send out a promotional email of yours to their list.

But paying for traffic may not be the best option when starting out because you really need to know what you are doing because it’s very easy to get “burnt” when you don’t.

Free traffic comes from things like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the art of getting your website on page 1 of Google, Bing, and other search engines.

You can also get tons of free traffic from posting great content (with links back to your site) on Social Media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. When people click on your link they end up on your website.

You can produce simple, short, YouTube videos that can drive traffic to your site via your site link in the video description.

One very popular way to drive free traffic to your site is to post comments on blogs and forums in the same or similar niche to you.

Another very simple way to get free traffic is by publishing short articles in Article Directories such as EzineArticles. The article you’re reading right now is an example of this technique.

This also has the added benefit that other website owners in your niche are allowed to copy and publish your article on their sites, but they must leave your website link intact so that you can get free traffic from THEIR site too!

So, here’s your affiliate marketing checklist:

1. Choose Your Niche and Product

2. Get Your Domain Name

3. Get Hosting

4. Set-Up Your Website

5. Add Great Content

6. Drive Traffic (Visitors)

If you’re a beginner to affiliate marketing don’t be overawed by all this; it really is very easy to get going. Anybody, and I mean anybody, who has an Internet connection and a computer or laptop can be up and running, ready to start taking commissions, in as little as 48 hours. And all without any previous experience.