How To Set Up a Small Home Office

March 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Business & Finance

small home officeHaving a dedicated home office is a huge benefit come tax time and just for the practicality of having some where to tackle work projects you take home or even just to organize bills or start a new hobby online. The trouble for most individuals is a lack of space for a home office rather than the lack of desire. Fortunately, a home office can fit just about anywhere.

Designate a Work Space

For tax purposes and for your own sanity you should have a work space entirely dedicated to your new home office. This can be a room, but doesn’t have to be. You can use a closet with the doors removed or a corner of another room. Just be sure that the space is dedicated if you’re using it for work and plan to take a tax deduction.


Set up a Desk and Shelves

Add a desk and some shelves for storage to your home office. Your desk can be a folding table with a file cabinet underneath or a desk purchased from a big box store. Add shelves above or to the side of the desk to give you more working space and a place to store the books and other items that accumulate in an office.


Buy a Computer and Accessories

Research the best computer for you and then make a purchase. From an Acer laptop to a Sony Vaio PCG, you’ll find a huge selection of computers that might be more than what you need or just right. Be sure to buy the computer that makes sense for your business and plan ahead for a few years to be sure you have the right power and memory that you need moving forward in the business.

Buy Other Office Supplies

A home office doesn’t just need a computer and a desk. Be sure to buy stamps, pens, pencils, a ruler, a stapler, file folders, labels and all of the other items you’ll need to keep your office functioning well without making a run to the store every time you need printer paper or a large envelope. The shelves you added to your office and some folding boxes can keep these items organized and attractive.

Buy Your Office Chair

One of the last items you’ll add to your office, your chair should be a comfortable place for you to sit for hours at a time. The office chair should fit in the space you have and be comfortable enough to sit in for hours at time.

Easy Step By Step Instructions for Setting Up a Small Home Office
  • Designate a space for the home office
  • Buy or build a desk to use in your home office
  • Buy a computer and accessories such as a printer for the new office
  • Buy other supplies and store them on shelves or in drawers
  • Buy an office chair for the office
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Setting Up a Home Office

Include enough space in your home office to move easily. If you’re wedged into a small corner and can’t push your chair back or stretch over your head, you’ll be hard-pressed to work comfortably. Find an area where you have adequate space for the office.

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How to Speed Up Your Computer

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Technology

speed2If your computer is dragging while booting up or loading new webpages, your problem is likely the huge amount of small programs that website like to distribute in your hard drive to track your habits. While some are illegal and can be seriously damaging should the malware get into your financial records, others are simply annoying (and illegal as well.) To speed up your computer you’ll need to clean out any spyware or errors in your machine.

Clear Temporary Files

Your first step is to clear your history and all the cookies and temporary files stored on your computer. This will get a few of the programs, but certainly not all. To prevent more spyware from moving into your machine, you’ll want to first be sure there is nowhere for the software to hide.


Cleaning Your Computer

A registry cleaner will clear out all the errors and malware that’s currently sitting in your hard drive slowing everything down while it reports back on your actions to others. A vicious cleansing will clear the spyware out. But just as important as clearing out the old problem is preventing new ones from moving in. Registry fixes usually work to keep your hard drive free of errors caused by these downloads on a reoccurring basis.

Uninstall Programs

If your machine is still slow after cleaning out your cache of spyware and temporary files, consider uninstalling programs you’ve never used or don’t use any longer. Be sure to remove only program you’ve loaded onto the computer yourself. Deleting a file necessary for running your machine will lead you to a complete wipe-out through reformatting. Reformatting will also speed up your machine by taking it back to its original status and deleting everything extra – including your personal files.


Easy Step By Step Instructions For Fixing a Slow Computer
  • Clean out your temporary files
  • Buy registry cleaners or fixes to clean and scrub your computer free of programs and errors you can’t see
  • Uninstall programs to free up more memory and increase speed
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Facing a Slow Computer

An external hard drive can be a lifesaver. Store large media files and your important documents on the external drive. This way, your photos and videos aren’t dragging down your computer’s hard drive by taking up precious memory.

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How to Find Trustworthy Software Online

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Technology

onlinesoftware2When you buy software online or in the store, you want to be sure that the company that will be protecting you and your files is up to the job. With the sheer amount of personal information available through computers, finding a quality product to reduce spyware and block illegal downloads is critical.

Read Unbiased Reviews

There are hundreds of websites offering reviews, but only so many that are unbiased. It’s a safe bet that almost any link online will make someone money when you click on it. Finding companies that don’t review the products they are selling more favorably than others can be a trick. Start with the best known companies, such as Consumer Reports, and branch outward. Read multiple reviews from all angles and don’t be swayed by news reports. In many cases, it is the reviews of customers that are most authentic.


Compare Like Software Products

Compare products within the same product family a well as just outside competition. The differences in usage and price might be subtle, but learning about these small differences can be extremely important for finding not only the correct product but the proper usage. Consider the difference in a Registry Easy review and a Registry Fix review. The two products are similar, but choosing the right one can be a matter of your exact needs.

Talk to the Computer Experts

If you’re buying a product in the store, seek out a knowledgeable associate to make a recommendation. If you’re buying online, find a relevant forum to discuss the software or search around for other recent conversations about the software to see if there are any points you haven’t yet considered.


Evaluate Your Software Purchase

Finally, when it’s all said and done, make a purchase and continue to evaluate your purchase for the months that follow. If you’re pleased, report back for others to learn about the product through review websites or forums. If you’re not pleased, absolutely report back to warn others about the purchase or get advice about how to make the new software more suitable for your needs.

Easy Step By Step Instructions for Finding Trustworthy Software
  • Read unbiased reviews to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the product. Read as many reviews as you can and surely some of them will be unbiased
  • Compare like products within the same brand to see which one of the product family is best suited for you
  • Take to experts or other users to discuss your needs and obtain a recommendation
  • Evaluate your purchase after buying it looking for problems or concerns
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Getting New Software

A reputable company has every reason to make sure you’re satisfied with the purchase. Always give the company a chance to make it right should there be a problem before reporting your issues online.

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How To Make Money With a Website

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to make money with a websiteIt seems that almost everyone has, at one time, had a fantasy about starting their own business, most of which involve using the internet and a website. In fact, due to the ever increasing ease of use, internet businesses are growing at a phenomenal rate. Unfortunately, 99% of web sites never make more than a few dollars each month.

So, how do you make sure that your website or home business is one of the 1% that actually makes some money?

  • Take the time to do it right. – The internet is full of cheesy, cookie-cutter, web sites that offer no value to the reader. When you are building your website, take the time to make it look nice and ensure that is stands out fro the billions of other website’s on the net. If you do not have the skills to build a nice site yourself, spend the money to hire someone to do it for you.
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  • Provide the reader with something that is worth reading. – Most people use the internet for research or hobby reading on topics that interest them. Your website or home business MUST give free information that a reader will want to know. You don’t have to give away all your information or trade secrets but, you do have to offer an incentive that will keep a potential customer on your site long enough for you to get some money out of them.
  • Use every method possible to make money on each visitor. – Let’s face it, even the most profitable business will not convert 100% of their visitors. However, you can increase your conversions by diversifying your revenue streams. If you sell a product for example, be sure that your product is not the only way you have to get money. Including ads, affiliate programs, and free trials are just a few ways that you can diversify your income streams.
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  • Build a community – A website is a great way to build an online community interested in your home business. Offering forums for people to correspond in and providing free answers to people’s questions can be a great way to "trap" a reader and keep them coming back to your site.
  • Optimize your website for the Search Engines. – SEO or search engine optimization is the process of making your website easy to find and read by search engines. In fact, most web sites fail because nobody knows they exist. Look for a free e-book or hire someone to optimize your site. A SEO consultant can help you determine the best ways to have your site optimized and profitable. Zero traffic will always equal zero sales.

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How to Get Indexed in MSN

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to get indexed in msnThere are 3 ways to get indexed on MSN:

1. Direct Submit: To get indexed by MSN you can try a direct submission. With this you just enter a code from the picture and drop your URL and wait….and wait.

The problem with direct submission is that you end up on a list and eventually the spiders crawl your site but that crawl doesn’t come with any authority.

2. Work with My MSN: The logic here is that MSN pays attention to its own sites. Create an RSS feed of your navigation and add it to your account at MSN. You may need to create an account to do this but that just takes a few minutes. Then go to http://my.msn.com/ and click "Add content". Enter the URL of your feed where it says "Search for content". A message should appear stating that it is syndicated content from the web. Check the box next to the feed and click "OK". You will be returned to your main page with your feed added.

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I typically change the details to display the maximum headlines (30) that are the maximum days old (356). This ensures that if MSN sees the content they can crawl and index it.

While you are there, go ahead and add your site to the "My favorite links" box.

3. Get Links: Just like all major search engines MSN loves back links. Links pointing to your site act as votes for its value. You can get free links through directories or press releases or sometimes just by asking for them. The more links you get the more likely the spiders are to stumble across your site and the more “authority” it gets.

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Be sure to follow up once you have done the work to get indexed follow through to make sure it worked. You can check your server logs or analytics program for "msnbot/1.0 (+http://search.msn.com/msnbot.htm)". This means the MSN bot has hit your site!

Finally, to see which pages MSN has indexed do a site: check at http://search.msn.com. You can enter [site:www.your domain.com] or click “search Builder then select Site/Domain. You want “Find only web pages from this site or domain” selected then enter your domain and click “Add to search”. The command will appear in the search bar and you can then select “Search”. This will list the pages MSN has in its index for your site.

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How to Find Your IP Address

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to find your ip addressThere are many ways to determine your IP address. IP stands for Internet Protocol address, and this address allows your computer to “talk” to other computers online. Programs such as certain scripts require you to know your IP address to ensure only you are using the program. A VPN or a virtual private network can be established using your IP address to link your home and office computer. This allows you to work at home with ease. There are countless other tasks which require your IP address or use it in some way.

Regardless of why you might need your IP address, here’s how to find it.

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Use a Specialized Website

A "What is My IP" site pings your computer and immediately offer up your IP address along with plenty of other details. The site can tell you about proxies, languages, cookies, screen resolution and more. Of course you can also find that information on your own or you might already have it committed to memory.

Find a Local IP Address

This is your internet IP address. You also have a local IP address that is very basic and has little purpose other than to be a placeholder. Your Internet IP address has many functions, your local (or LAN) one does not. But to find your LAN IP address, you can:

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  • Go to the Start Menu.
  • Select Run.
  • Type in CMD and press Enter.
  • Then in the DOS box that appears type in “ipconfig” and press Enter.
  • Your local IP address should appear.

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How To Download And Set Up an FTP Program

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to ftp to a website There are a number of things about designing and building your own website which cause confusion and uncertainty to those who are new to this activity. FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol, is one of those things that always seems to confuse and intimidate people who are new to website design. Part of this confusion is probably because the full name ‘File Transfer Protocol’ seems to shed no light on understanding what it is, what it does, or what it is used for. In this article I shall attempt to shine a light on this mysterious creature and take the reader through the process of downloading and installing a free and popular program to make FTP available to them.

First, to shed some light on the name ‘FTP’, or File Transfer Protocol’: the word ‘Protocol’ is used in it’s usual everyday sense that it is a set of rules or guidelines by which something is done. So, simply put, a File Transfer Protocol is a set of rules or guidelines by which files can be transferred from one computer to another over the internet or a network. This sometimes doesn’t make any sense to people who don’t understand computers because they don’t realize that many different computers use many different codes. If you have a file on one kind of computer and you want to use it on another kind of computer then without a set of guidelines, or a ‘protocol’, to ‘translate’ the file from one computer to another it would not be possible. FTP is a form of code which helps you when you move a file from one computer to another. Think of FTP as a ‘translator’ or ‘interpreter’ working in the United Nations so that all the different countries can talk to each other and settle their differences.

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And that’s it: simple isn’t it? Often people don’t believe it is quite as simple as that but it is. There is nothing else to understand about FTP unless you are about to start programming, which you’re not.

The other thing that helps to make FTP appear confusing and complex is the fact that you often use a program to do it: These are called ‘FTP Clients’. FTP Clients manage the ‘translation’ from one computer to another and will allow you to upload files, which is to send files to the server; or download files, which is to get files from the server. They will also allow you to make changes to files on the server. FTP and the FTP Client are essential ingredients of a web designer, or website owner’s toolkit. There are very many different designs of FTP Clients, many are free and many will cost money to buy. Many operating systems have an FTP client integrated within them and browsers such as Firefox have an FTP client which can be installed and used as part of the browser. You will need to have an account with a web host before using an FTP Client, but so long as you do have a web hosting account then you can use an FTP Client to transfer your site and all your files to the web host, and back again.

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One of the most popular free FTP Clients is ‘FileZilla’; it is easy to download and use and, if you are using Windows XP, then I can take you through the steps – although I doubt they are very different if you are using another operating system. I am using Firefox 2, and so if you are using any other browser there may be some slight differences, but nothing major:

The simplest way to download Filezilla is to go to the Google search page and type ‘download.com filezilla’ into the search field and the very top result will be for Filezilla at the download.com website. Click on the link and you will see the name of Filezilla with a big blue link below it saying ‘download now’. Click that and a small window will appear with a button saying ‘save file’ – click to save the file and you will download the software automatically. It will take a few seconds to download.

Now look for the new icon on your desktop; it will be called ‘Filezilla set up’ or something similar. Double click the icon. The first thing you will see is a small window asking you to select your language, make sure it says English (or whatever your preferred language is) then click the ‘ok’ button. A license agreement window will appear; click ‘next’. The next page will ask you to ‘choose components’ – ion most cases the defaults are perfectly ok for most installations so I suggest you agree with the selection and click ‘next’. You will now be asked where you want to install the software, in most cases the default location is your program folder, which is fine; if you want to install it elsewhere then type the location in here, otherwise just click ‘next’. You will now be asked to choose a start menu folder, again, the default will be fine, click ‘next’. You will now be asked to decide on some general settings, if you are using a shared computer then select ‘use secure mode’ otherwise leave all settings as they are and click ‘Install’. The software will now be installed onto your computer; this will only take a few seconds and then you will be asked to close the window – click ‘close’.

You will now have a new icon on your desktop, coloured maroon and blue with a big ‘FZ’ on it and called ‘Filezilla’. You can put the original download file into your recycle bin and delete. Double click the new icon to start your FTP Client.

To use the FTP Client to transfer files between your computer and your web host you will first have to set it up. After double clicking to start up the FTP Client, click on the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Site Manager’. A new window will appear, find the button which says ‘new site’ and click it. A folder will appear in the main area of the window, type the name of your site into the new folder which appears.

Get your login details for your web host, because you’ll need them now. Under ‘Host’ type in the FTP address of your website; this will be a website address beginning with ‘ftp’ in a format such as: ftp.siteforge.net or else it will be a number series in a format such as: 88.88.888.88 – either will do. If the boxes below are greyed out then your site manager is set to anonymous login. To input your login details deselect ‘anonymous’ and select ‘normal’ for Logon and input your username and password for accessing your web host. You can now click ‘connect’ and your FTP Client will connect to your web host and you can upload or download files for your site.

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How To Build a Website

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to build a websiteThere are many methods you can choose when you decide to build a website. The method you select will depend on your knowledge of coding and/or programming. If you are a total novice to the web designer industry then there are programs that allow you to drag and drop items, place text via text boxes and change the colors with a click of a button. These are known as WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get), they are very helpful in order to get a nice looking website up and running in a short amount of time if you have no html (hyper text markup language, the coding used to build websites) knowledge. The main downside to using a WYSIWYG editor is that the coding will be full of rubbish and useless variables which will give you the disadvantage in the search engines as messy code will confuse the bots and penalize you for it. You could go through each page after it has been made and take out unnecessary bits of code making the page clean and user friendly, but by doing this you will have to have a good knowledge of html so you would be better starting from scratch in the first place.

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If you are fairly comfortable with the way html works, you can make a website by just using notepad and saving the file with the .html extension at the end. This method is not used as often in today’s world as you can get programs such as Microsoft Front Page and Macromedia Dreamweaver. These both allow you to see a WYSIWYG view, a core code view and a split view in which you can make something and then tidy the code up straight after saving you a lot of hassle in the end. My favorite out of these two (and probably the most popular) is Macromedia Dreamweaver as it has inbuilt FTP access so you can manage a whole website from the one interface. By using the remote view, you’re able to see what’s on the server. This allows you to make adjustments and update your revisions directly to your server. Once complete, you can view the changes immediately in through the domain name the site is linked to.

The main benefit of this is being able to see what your website looks like in different browsers as they interpret the code in different ways which can make your site look absolutely fine in Windows Internet Explorer but completely messed up in Mozilla Firefox. While the majority of users use Internet Explorer you still have to make it compatible with Firefox as a small percentage use it and you would be loosing vital traffic if your site is not compatible with it. You are best downloading the main browsers (explorer, firefox, opera and any other you are willing to) and checking your site on a regular basis in each making it look the same in each one. Another way around it is to complete your site and then pick the next browser and adjust the code until it matches and then move onto the next one.

If you are not using a WYSIWYG editor then I always find it best to design each page in a program such as Adobe Photoshop so you can get the feel of the layout and color scheme before you actually start making the site in a code editor. The benefit of this is you may start coding your website and decide you want to change bits around, this is a lot harder once you have integrated the code into your website so by making the final layout in Photoshop and moving bits around with ease, it will make your life easier in the long run. Also it’s always easier to follow a template then thinking from scratch making it up as you go along.

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Once you have mastered the basic html code and getting a website how you want it to look you can then move onto the more advanced coding which will make your website stand out from the rest of the competition in your niche. There are other variations of code such a PHP and JavaScript which you can learn in order to add more advanced features into your website.

Another common method of making websites in today’s world is using a CMS (content management system) which will make it easier to update and maintain your website once you have made a basic template adding ‘PHP includes’ where you want the data to appear. There are many free CMS templates available in which you can download for free and use to give a professional look to your website.

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How to Add a Contact Form to a Website

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to add a contact form to a website If you’re not a coding genius, but want to put a clever contact form on your website, you have few options. Contact forms are almost always a good idea as they allow visitors to communicate with you and send you files and information as you please. A contact form doesn’t require the user to send a separate email or to pick up the phone and call – practically unheard of in this day of online usage.

Pay Someone

If you don’t know how to code a website to add a contact page or the template you’re using doesn’t have one, you can always pay someone to do a site redesign or to create a simple form to use on an existing page. Anytime you require a full-fledged custom service, however, you can expect to pay a pretty penny – especially if you want it done correctly the first time.

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Make One Yourself

You might be able to get by with a standard template and a few modifications. If your original site had some sort of contact form or contact information, modifications might be simple to make. You’ll need to dig into your files and pull out a “Coding for Dummies” book or online tutorial to see what changes you need to make, but you might be surprised at how quickly you can piece something together.

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Download a Contact Form

A third option is to let someone else do the work for you for far less than you’d have to pay for a custom design. A flash contact form is a simple image that pops up on a particular page of your website after you download it and get it set up correctly. You pay the asking price, get the files and get the form set up. Then it’s ready to go.

If you use this option, you can expand upon the basics, but trying out different kinds of contact forms. If you’re not sure what the best options are for your site, you can start with a basic form and then offer users a place to upload multiple attachments if it seems more practical down the road. You can also upgrade your contact form to the latest style time and time again without much of an additional expense.

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How to Choose What Size TV to Get

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology

how to decide what size of a tv to getLooking for a new TV? Sometimes bigger isn’t better, but often times it can be more fun. When you need a TV, choose the size wisely to avoid wasting money on too much television or straining your eyes to try and see your bargain buy.

Consider Your Location

Where is the television going to be used? This can make the most important distinction in television size. A TV for the kitchen is usually small, twenty inches or less, as it sits on the countertop and you don’t want it blocking any cabinets or hanging off. A television for the living room, on the other hand, should be large enough to be enjoyed by everyone. At the minimum, a family television should be twenty seven inches.

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Consider Your Space

If you’re planning on putting your television on top of your dresser in the bedroom, you’ll want something small enough to fit the space easily, but large enough to see while laying in bed. You can opt for a larger television if you plan to use TV shelves to store cable boxes and DVD players as the shelves will put these bulky items above the television rather than beside it. If you have a television niche built in to your living room, find the size of television that fits more comfortably. Be sure to include the dimensions of any stands or carts as well.

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Consider Your Budget

Smaller budgets will most likely be buying a smaller television. Of course, you might be able to buy a larger television with a less quality picture, but you’ll have to decide which is more important to you – size or graininess. Look around for televisions on sale to find a bargain on a high quality television in the exact size you need. If you’re forced to buy a small television now, never fear. There is always a place for a small TV somewhere in your home when you’re able to upgrade to the big screen.

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