Sunday, January 27, 2008

What is LinkedIn REALLY about?

Disclaimer: Other than being a user of LinkedIn's free services, I have no connection to LinkedIn. Update: The New York Times has a good article on the benefits of using networking sites.

Short answer: It's an online contact management address book, people finder and expert advice site designed to help you network to find work, clients or assistance. It's the biggest of its kind—over 18 million people use it. It’s very useful in the free version (which I use), but a large percentage of users also pay to extend the features from time to time.

Common Uses

LinkedIn is sometimes perceived as insurance against future job changes. It’s an aid to getting a new job quickly, or finding a new one while still at your present job. Stats show getting connected on LinkedIn (at least 21 connections) makes you over thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity (than people with four or less LinkedIn connections). So a list of uses might include:

  • Asking questions of experts (one of the best sites anywhere for this);
  • Find old friends;
  • Find jobs/give yourself insurance against future job changes;
  • Get recommendations about you and your work;
  • Get new clients;
  • Check references, find people to hire or help out your contacts by recommending them.
There are many fun “small world” things that happen. For example, I forgot about a guy who highly recommended my work years ago. I found him again because his wife was one of my wife's dance students!

More places to learn about how to use LinkedIn:

Protecting Your Privacy

LinkedIn gives you a lot of control. You can hide information about yourself, or only publish information you want friends of your friends to see. People who don’t know you through either a past job or a friend are prohibited from seeing your details unless they have searched for you specifically, and you have made your details publicly available. You can also choose whether to let Google show your LinkedIn page or not. And even if you make your profile more visible, you can always hide parts of it.

Even if someone wants to contact you, they would have to find you, request permission (from me or anyone you connect to), and in some cases pay a substantial fee (too high in the past to make sense for spammers) if they were outside your immediate network. You can let LinkedIn contact you with occasional reminders, or you can opt-out.

Even if you leave yourself logged into LinkedIn on a public computer somewhere, no one can access features that involve private information, because you have to login each time you access those features. (I wish other sites where that way!) Of course, on my home computer I let the browser automatically fill in my info to speed things up.

Ways to Take LinkedIn Further
Sample Advice for a NonProfit Seeking Funding

Someone asked how to use LinkedIn if you are a not-for-profit seeking funding.
There were tons of people who had contributed to topics in the Charity and Non-Profit section of LinkedIn answers. I learned, for example: has with a good track record providing information and resources on promoting your non-profit on the web. A great boost to a giving campaign.

Givestream provides free online fundraising and community-building tools that help nonprofits create their own branded easy giving center. Calculate how much they can help you raise.

Doing some brief research on LinkedIn answers turned up some of the following tips:
  • View the list of helpful LinkedIn Experts in this category;
  • List people you are working with currently, and all email addresses you have for them. Search LinkedIn for them, and ask them to join your LinkedIn network using the links provided on their LinkedIn profile page.
  • List people you would like to reach, search LinkedIn for them, and ask your connections to introduce you to them.
  • Write up a question for your project and post it to LinkedIn
  • Search for people who's current job description includes the word "Fundraising" and ask them for advice on using LinkedIn in your effort
  • Create a membership dues program;
  • Contact corporations about a matching donations program before seeking donations from individuals;
  • Create teams of people to go out and visit your major donors and ask for multiple-year pledges;
  • For whatever someone gives by mail, multiply by ten and that's the gift they're capable of, as a rough estimate, if you visit them. A $500 donor can give $5,000, $1,000 can give $10,000. You'll have to teach yourselves how to ask for larger gifts: I recommend a video from Board Source called, "Speaking of Money" as a way to start your training.
While this advice might not be specific to what you wish to use LinkedIn for, this should give you some idea. There were literally hundreds of answers that I didn't even look at relevant to this topic. LinkedIn is a terrific resource!

Read more!

Monday, January 14, 2008

I found a fantastic after-Christmas Laptop deal

This deal seems to be all over the web at the moment: don't miss it!

$1,049.99 (after $50 rebate) from many of the biggest vendors out there on the HP Pavilion DV9730US 17.0" Entertainment Laptop. I think HP must have overbuilt these for Christmas, because other vendors offering specs like these come in as much as $500 higher! I'm setting one of these up with some additional software for my brother this week. The overview:

  • 3 GB RAM
  • 2.2 GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-64 dual-core processor,
  • 17-inch WXGA+ high-definition widescreen format (1440 x 900 resolution)
  • 250 GB hard drive,
  • Windows Vista Home Premium (full Media Center capabilities)
  • Everything else you'd expect and a number of nice bells and whistles too.
(Read a full description of this great deal.)

And one of the easiest places to shop has matched the lowest price---you can get this great laptop at! I spent a couple hours looking for the best deals out there, and when I found this I spent more time reading reviews and comparing prices. It's a fantastic notebook at about $200-$500 off comparable laptops that are already at low after-Christmas prices.

Yes, Vista being a resource hog makes this more comparable in performance to a laptop with XP and 2 GB of RAM, but the 3 GB is there to make up for it---and it's a bargain. (Plus, this is Vista Premium, so at least it's not Vista Basic.)

Take a serious look at this if you're in the market for a laptop!

Available at this low price from many big vendors like (which has the best description), Wal-Mart, Newegg, MacMall, BuyDig, TheNerds and so forth. Of course, as always, wait a half year and there will be a better deal somewhere! (Also, if you're ready to get new or better virus protection, read this first.)

Read more!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Make your business site rock in 20 minutes or less

Have a site, not sure what to do next? Here's a quick and easy starting point for any site (read to the end for more advanced stuff):

  1. Get into Yahoo!'s and Google's local directories. This means people searching for businesses like yours in your area WILL find you.
  2. Create an email signature with a link to the site. This is so all your emails will have a link to your site for people to click (kind of like a P.S.).
  3. Whenever you send one of those fun or useful emails to multiple people, also bcc: it to your blog. Whatever stuff you're already sending out, whether it's tips, news, jokes, pics .. whatever. (Get a free blog in just minutes, and if you use blogger, here's how to email your posts.)
Now every time you send an email that gets added to your blog, it will also add a link to your website. And those emails adding onto your blog will start showing up in search engines results. And people who get your emails will click to your site, and forward your emails to other people who click over to your site, and so forth. Get your free blog from Blogger and Google will index it, and find your business site from there.

Interested in the advanced stuff? Here's the beginner's guide, plus a great resource for more articles, and then there's my favorite: a great guide to ranking factors for your site. Worth doing if you are able to edit your HTML is to find the
on the html of your home page. Then paste this just in front of it:

<meta name="description" content="This sentence describes my business.">
Change "This sentence describes my business." to something reader friendly.

Of course, every business should collect whatever customer information it can and market to their existing customer base

Read more!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Do you know something important you'd share if asked?

two people share an ideaSummarize what you know in writing.

In particular, if you've already written an email about something useful, simply edit that email for a general readership and email it to be posted on the internet. All you need to do once you know how is send your useful information in an email, and it appears on the internet for all to see and find and be helped by. It's called posting to your blog.

I'd be glad to set this up for anyone reading this that is intimidated by the prospect of doing so for themselves. (It only takes me a minute or two.)

I believe that whenever you have something important to share, you should write it down and post it. That way more people can benefit from it. So start by going over your emails and simply edit any useful information you may have already written something about. I've been bad about sharing my own knowledge, so I'm trying to put out short posts like this one to at least share a little bit, and hopefully come back later to flesh this out with more useful links and examples. My idea is that at least it's here to help people learn something I think could help them help others.

For example, a retired doctor I know had a serious ongoing condition following a serious injury. It destroyed his quality of life and seemed likely to shorten his life. He knew how to find the best doctors, but they didn't know what to do.

He found a treatment known only to a minority of physicians at the time that completely cured his condition. How did he find the treatment? He searched the web. While his doctors didn't know what to do for him, the internet led him right to a medically-recognized (barely) complete solution.

Another man I know helped his mother tremendously during the final months of her life by providing medical information to her doctors that they weren't yet familiar with.

I haven't yet been successful in getting either of them to write about their experiences and knowledge, which is frustrating. I think everyone should be encouraged to share the most important things they know that could help others.

And we can go beyond sharing our own knowledge to encouraging others to share theirs. It's also my feeling that posts that simply share our personal experience as a way to connect with others should be separated from those things we have to say that can help others. Mixing it all together makes it harder for others to find what they're looking for in our writings.

So that's my take on how and why we should all share what we know so that others can benefit.

Read more!

Protecting your PC from malware such as viruses, rootkits, spyware, etc.

Things have changed in the last year, and change is accelerating. Many PCs with current, up-to-date anti-virus and spyware protection are actually infected. And people are getting more and more confused, causing both under- and over-protective responses.

This is just a brief overview to get you started. Post a comment if you need help and I'll try to respond quickly. I'll dig right in with some recommendations first:

Consider running a free Prevx scan to find any infections that have bypassed your existing security. If Prevx finds an infection, call me and I can help you remove it without having to buy Prevx, although I do recommend their product. Also run a full scan using whatever antivirus product you have installed, and install and run the free SuperAntiSpyware (popular with some anti-root kit tech support professionals)---even if you alread have an anti-spyware product. Realize that SuperAntiSpyware will pick up what are to most people unimportant advertising cookies, more a report rather than a warning.

If you don't use an anti-virus product from either (1) ESET, (2) Panda or (3) AVG/Grisoft, I recommend switching to one of these three. That means download a free trial of their product, disconnect from the internet, uninstall your current product, install the new one, and reconnect to the internet. Then I recommend purchasing the product within the free trial period. (Grisoft has replaced Sophos as one of my top three recommendations.)

If you use ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus, I recommend upgrading to ESET NOD32 Smart Security.

If you want to read news about how things are changing, here is an article about how a bunch of companies were outed this summer as being infected despite having up-to-date anti-malware protection installed. Or read about the rise of rootkits.

I'll add to this article as time permits.

Read more!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Google ad results first for site search?

I extensively use Google's search within site feature---which can be added manually to any search (though I use a Firefox toolbar button) by adding "" to any search, replacing "domain" with the name of the domain to be searched.

In response to a recent comment on Google's nofollow I tried this type of search at Pegeen flower girl dresses. Never seen results like this before: a whole PAGE of ads preceded the organic SERPs! Also showed ads in this format.

Anyone have any idea why this might be? Marg from Pegeen notes some problems with the site showing in the SERPs just recently. I've put a thumb of the problem below. Any thoughts?

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