Outsourcing with China – Good or Bad?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

It’s been a while but my recent experiences leads me to comment on the success and failures with dealing with companies in China. To be successful online today there is a good chance that you’ll be dealing with companies in China if you are in Retail. Let’s face it, 90%+ products available on Amazon, Ebay and the likes are sourced from China.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a good amount of organic traffic from Google where I’ve been able to make supplemental income via affiliate programs, primarily Google Adsense and Amazon affiliates. I’ve recently tried to dropship the top products to increase my profits (from ~8% to %50+). Part of my efforts have been spent on alibaba.com and aliexpress.com. I was extremely hesistant in sourcing from China because there are definitely more complicated logistics that I could have imagined.

My first experience with companies in China was around a Gold dipped Flower which was selling 4 or 5 a week via my Amazon affiliate account. After speaking with 3 companies in China I thought that I had nailed down the right company for the product I was looking for so I ordered $75 worth of product. When the product arrived I was embarrassed that I didn’t figure out sooner that I was a Golden rose made in plastic! Nothing about it was authentic or real so needless to say I dropped that opportunity!

Be careful, be aware and be conscious when sourcing products from China!

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My site receives alot of hits, how do I make money?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

 

My website gets alot of hits but I haven’t made much money, what’s wrong? Well, this is the key to everything – if there was an answer for everyone then everyone would make alot of money! .. Here are some tips:

If you receive let’s say 100 visitors per day then you should be able to make a couple of dollars per day, depending on your industry you should be able to make $10 per day ($300/month) and if you’re not then perhaps you haven’t hooked up with the best affiliate service or maybe you’re not advertising the best products for your web site.

First, you should explore our SEO Tips article, second you need to make sure that your hosting provider provides the necessary tools for you to be successful, check out shopify, the best storefront shop that we’ve found so far.

Anywho, if you’re making over $275 per month it may make sense to build your own website and focus on SEO. There is no reason to sell you’re ad space for %4 up to %7 when you can earn up to %20 using an affiliate program or earn even more by selling product directly either by dropshipping or wholesaling to your visitors!

I’ve been able to quadruple my profits simply by drop shipping 3 products. If you have a ‘hot seller’ then you need to search amazon.com for someone who sells it cheaper (more sales) with a higher referral fee (profit)!

More experiences coming soon!

How to set facebook image on like link?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Wow.. what can I say, another simple technical request that took weeks to figure out… Let me start by defining exactly what this blog post will help you with…

I have a blog, a website, a pinterest account, a facebook account and several other social networking accounts for my small business (http://anniversariesbyyear.com – an anniversary gift idea site) and all I want to do is link the articles on this site to my social networks (in this example, specifically to facebook).

I consider myself an advanced HTML developer/programmer/designer but a relative newbie when it comes to HTML5 and CSS, although I can hold my ground there as well.How hard could it be to figure out how to set an image for my facebook like link? Easy, I thought.. Wrong! well, Yes simple .. Once you figure it out.

Of all the articles I read I kept seeing a single reference to Facebook’s Open Graph (og:) technology <meta property=”og:image” content=”image_to_display”/>.. Great! Simple! .. Wrong! I tried placing this tag everywhere in my site, in the header, in the <div> tags of the Like button, you name it – lot’s of hair pulling.

After about 2 months (part time, maybe 15 minutes to an hour some weeks) and I finally figure this out tonite.. I don’t know why there are no simple articles on this but here is how to make this work for your site using ordinary anchor tags:

*SIMPLY PUT THESE LINES IN YOUR HEADER TAG, THEY ARE REQUIRED (replace the OBVIOUS values [everything in CAPITAL] with yours):

<meta property=”fb:admins” content=”YOUR-FACEBOOK-ID” />
<meta property=”og:title” content=”TITLE-OF-YOUR-PAGE” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”website” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://URL-OF-YOUR-IMG&#8221; />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”http://URL-OF-LINK-THAT-IMG-WILL-LINK-BACK-TO&#8221; />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”SITE-NAME_HERE” />

If you don’t know what your FACEBOOK-ID is then read (courtesty of) http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/how-to-control-facebook-image-thumbnail-text-popup-dialogs/

If this works for you I’d love to hear back from you on how long it took you to find this article and how hopeful (if at all) it was.. if this article didn’t help (yet) then I’d also love to hear back from you and I’ll try to assist .. KEEP IN MIND, this is for ordinary anchor links and META tags, if you are trying to make this work via CSS or javascript then that is beyond the intent of this posting which I suspect you will figure out by google’ing further.

Creative content sources for individuals and small businesses online.

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

Do you have your own blog or website, or maybe a small to midsize company struggling to stay relevant on the internet? Let me start by defining relevance as it applies to improving your presence on the internet first and then I’ll share some ways that I’ve found to be successful.

Relevance – what is it? Relevance it THE single most important feature of a web site or blog that you need to keep on top of if you want to increase your presence on the Internet, ie. increase new and recurring visitors coming to your site. In simple terms, relevance is what it takes to catch your visitors eyes such as appealing graphic ads. You should use graphics and catch phrases that pique the interest of the visitors you want to come to your site. You should use phrases as ‘Must have’, or ‘Top 10’ or ‘The best’ so that internet users feel they need to click on to learn more about that subject.

Second, your blog or your web site should be user friendly. You shouldn’t have too many graphics or too much content that overwhelms someone or they will immediately move onto a new URL. Create catchy infographics.

Third, another important piece of Relevance is to keep your content engaging. Hire someone to write articles if you cannot write good quality articles – and do it frequently. Your visitors will only remember your site if they leave feeling that they learned something or found something interesting about what they were originally searching for. It’s important that your SEO be inline with your content or you will have a major disconnect with your visitors and you will most likely reach the point of frustration like many others that don’t have a strategy. Research your competitors and try to offer more than they do.

Here are some resources that I’ve found extremely useful. Since I do everything myself (graphics, html design, layout, programming and more) I was very skeptical about using any service provider but I jumped into these and I wish I had done it sooner.

Canva.com – a great site for free infographics. For a small fee you can use a plethora of graphics in their graphic library. A must try!

eLance.com – a great site for everything professional, from site design, graphic and content providers and more.

fiverr.com – I can’t vouch more for this site, I’ve ordered customized videos, graphics and more for $5. I’ve also combined multiple services for scripted videos with voiceovers for as little as $10. If you’re swift enough you can combine services from multiple providers and earn a lot of money!

everypost.me – an amazing new tool for free that will enable you to manage all of your social media centrally. Check out their site and review their features. Be aware though that they are constantly updating this tool, it has limitations but they’re constantly getting better.

Inkscape – for those of you looking to do your own graphics without paying for Adobe Illustrator, photoshop and the like, this is an amazing free graphic solutions which competes (if not outshines) most commercial solutions – if you are you willing to put the time in to learn it. If you’re used to Illustrator or Photoshop but don’t want to purchase an upgrade then Inkscape may be for you..

Social Media is F%$&*n powerful! If you know how to use it!

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

I’ve been in IT for close to 20 years now and I still hate it when people call me up and ask me to fix their laptop. Quite frankly, it’s embarassing and insulting having to explain to friends and family that even though I ‘do computers’ for a living, I don’t do desktops, laptops or pc’s. You see, my expertise is with Middlware (web servers and application servers) which has everything to do with hosting applications in datacenters, but nothing to do with fixing your damn pc!

Anyway, I’m glad I got that off my chest.. Iv’e always considered myself behind the leading edge technology but way further ahead of anyone not in the computer industry when it comes to technology. Social Media is one area that I’ve always felt that I was years behind, not so much because of the technology but moreso because of the invasiveness of it on my personal life and my unwillingness to comply. Anywho, social media has slowly been growing on me to the point where I’ve realized that ‘I have to be able to use it to my advantage’ .. after all there have been several countries that have revolted and set history!

It has only come to me tonight the power that social media can put in my hands – more importantly in the hands of everyone. So here’s my quick story….

As I’ve been trying to jump into social media more and more I’ve been finding it a bit confusing.. until tonight – I’ve jumped in up to my neck and now that I’ve encountered a real life problem I figured I’d surely put social media to the test to see if I could use it to solve my problem! As of right now I’ve only submitted my complaint but here’s what happened!

I’m trying to expand my social presence, more so to learn about it than actually give a crap in telling my friends what I’m eating at the moment! In doing so I’ve found it impossible to manage more than 1 social network at at time.. I’m not going to post an update or picture showing that I’m in Joes Pizzeria eating Salami 5 times, once for facebook, google+, linkedin, my blog and instagram.. long story made short I came across an app called Eveypost.me (#everypost) which appeared to solve all my issues..

If I was naive enough to believe everypost solved all my issues then I would have been happy as a pig in shite but I can never accept anyone’s word or applications ratings even if it has a million likes and top ratings! It ends up as I’ve used the app for some time now that it doesn’t do exactly what I would expect it to do.. to put things in perspective, when I post to everypost it is supposed to post to all my networks.. fair enough, this app does just as it says.. until you look at the details.. in this particular case, when you post a single message to #everypost it works for some social networks but not for others.. (example, https://blah.com works great for Pinterest but doesn’t work for twitter, and vice versa).  Okay you say, that’s why they offer the ability to customize the message per network .. Great! However, no matter what you do – there is no way to set the ‘source link’ for your Pinterest post..the source link is everything! it’s what brings visitors back to my website.

You might think that this is a non-issue – but the reality is that even if you’re a small to medium level user, if you have to login to a social network and to post a global update, the tool is broken if it doesn’t bring the intended results and you’re wasting you’re time..plain and simple..

So, her’s the point of my story – I tried to report this issue as a bug on everpost.me but there was no such link.. there were only a blog, product info, about us, faq and a few other links… nothing as far as bug tracker or feedback.. after thinking about it for a few minutes a light bulb went off – how can i use social media to get a quick response from everypost.me?

I immediately went to twitter, anxiously telling my wife about the problem I was about to try to solve .. a BIG TEST in my mind.. so I enter a message to @everypost less than 140 characters on twitter describing the issue and asking what they were going to do about it? all good I thought.. I instantaneously realized that the people from everypost would get the message .. but this would be in private.. I immediately deleted it and resent the exact same message to @everypost and then tagged it with #everypost .. therefore the ‘everypost universe’ (#everypost) would see my message and @everypost would reply (showing that they cared) or maybe not reply (showing that they didn’t care)..

My guess is that they will reply at some point because I know this team cares.. there is no way that someone could produce such a quality tool that has basic fundamental issues that make the tool unuseable and the support team unresponsible.. I have nothing but praise for #everypost and tool that they built.. but let’s see where this minor social media example takes us!

I will update the outcome so stay tuned!

SEO Tip of the day

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

So you have a website that you are looking to increase traffic to eh? Try reading up on SEO on Google/+ or pay someone $100’s if not $1000’s for something that you have no idea what they are going to deliver. If you know anything about SEO and or HTML then you know you can do certain things on your own. It’s kind of like changing the spark plugs, a flat tire or air filter in a car.. to some people this things are simple, to some they are foreign languages!

Today’s tip revolves around fiverr.com, I was browsing almost all of their services today and ended up contacting 6 or 7 different service provider for different needs. I did notice some services that looked fabricated (ie. not 100% unique and or legit) but the vast majority of services were well worth it. For example, one provider offered 500 word content/articles .. for this price it doesn’t really matter how well written the content is, search engines will index a portion of the content which far outweighs the cost of $5!

Another example is combining 2 services on fiverr.com. I looked into hiring a still motion video for $5 and another product for voice over work.. if I can combine both services for a total of $10 it could pay off 100x’s over. First, I firmly believe that a stop motion video with voiceover would and should cost no less than $100 (if not $300 and up) for a standard 25 second skit. Second, the value that it can bring to a web site is another x5 if not x100 in some cases valuing the combined services at a minimum of $500..

You do need to be careful though, if it’s too good to be true then it’s probably too good to be true. There are alot of honest people on fiverr.com but just because you’re honest doens’t meant that Google or other search engines are going to give you a positive ranking. Stay away from the unlimited traffic and 100+ unique visitor offers as they typically practice either unethical or black hat practices which can do more harm than good in the long run for your site!

I have a(n) Internet dream! What do I do with it?

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By: Brendan Fitzpatrick

Google

I have been developing web sites for over 15 years now, I’ve been programming over 30 years.. Yes, I’m almost ashamed to admit that but I suffer from the same problems 99% of the population does – I have too many ideas and I cannot focus on one topic.

That’s right, pick up any magazine or talk to any successful entrepreneur and they’re going to tell you that the number one problem to solve to being successful is going to be ‘Focus’. Granted, over the years I have not been able to focus on one idea because “I believe” that all of my ideas are the next million dollar idea and I’m too busy chasing all of them!

You’re in the same boat? Don’t worry.. the second piece of advice you will hear from any successful entrepreneur is going to be “don’t give up!”. There’s no better way to navigate through life than to chasing a dream. For most of us we do it as a side job or part time at best. If you are lucky to have the finances or personal situation to not have to worry about finances (yes, family, children, house etc.) then your very Lucky!

As I’ve mentioned, close to 30 years of experience with ‘minimal success’ I’ve been frustrated more than once, especially when my wife made it “Big” on her first try on the internet before I did but that’s okay, everyone’s idea of “Big” is different, I’m not talking $Millions, success to me is being able to pay the bills while loving what I do. This means that your personal situation, including living location, expenses and person life all play a bigger factor more than the dollar amount that you earn. The most important thing is to be happy at what you’re doing. If you’re going to run a web site but you don’t like technology or understand it then you should at least be interested in what you are offering (ie. financial information, sporting equipment, cars etc).. love it more than your competitor!

For those of you who have 2 dozen ideas, get used to 23 of them being failures, either because you cannot focus on them or because they were just BAD ideas. Most people have at least one decent idea and if you can focus on that idea you will almost certainly have some level success. My first success earned me $0.25 one day but 3 months later I was earning close to $200/month and eventually several thousand dollars/month. Over the year’s I’ve been lucky to try enough different ideas (too many in fact) that 2 or 3 of them brought me a small level of success. Granted, I didn’t make $millions but I tasted success and now it’s my #1 priority to exploit those successes. To make a long story short, I approached Jeff Bezos’s foundation for one of my “greatest” and although they weren’t immediately interested they asked me to write a business plan and build prototype site. For those of you not in the know, Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon.com

My original business plan and prototype didn’t pass round 1 (the first time around) but my idea is something that I believe in so I’m working on round 2. I could care less if my second version is a blockbuster, as an entrepreneur I couldn’t be happier pursuing something that Jeff’s organization might be interested in.. it’s exciting, fast paced and challenging so why not “focus” my time on it?

The last piece of advice is, the simpler the idea the better! You don’t need to have something unique or new, most success stories are modifications of existing solutions or products…! So .. all I can say is.. .Go for it!