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Beginner’s Guide to Selling Your Unused Domain Names

Many individuals have the habit of collecting attractive domain names but never using them. If so, why not get rid of unused domain names and in the process, make some cash? It is important to understand the whole process of selling domain names. On the outside, the process may look very easy, but unless a trader is well aware of how the whole process works, it is not easy to find a buyer.

In today’s post, we are going to show you how to sell a domain name you can’t wait to let go off, and take you through the steps needed to find a buyer, negotiate for the best price, find a secure payment system and seal your transactions. If you have questions, just let us know in the comments section.

How to Sell a Domain Name

To sell a domain name, one should learn to price it. Many sellers fail to sell names in the marketplace, simply because they overpriced the domain, and thereby lost the chance to sell it. A lack of knowledge leads to erratic pricing. Experienced buyers will not try to bargain, unless you have a very rare name. A seller should therefore, understand how good the domain name is. What price will he get from a buyer? What suffix does it carry? For instance, .com names are likely to sell fast and will bring greater profits than, say .info names. Similarly, .net, .org and .in domain names are the best to make decent profit.

It is much harder to sell names no one has heard of. Short names have the highest value — they are rare, easy to sell and bring substantial profit. Basic and common domain names, which can be relatable, or arouse interest in the market are the best. General names sell thick and fast and also bring considerably higher profit.  Names that are easy to spell will attract buyers, and provide good opportunity to make a decent profit. If you know you have a good domain in your hands, then you are likely to make good profit by selling it.

Sellers should also learn to identify premium domain names. Dictionary names are premium domain names. Domain names with dictionary-singular names are the hottest on the Web, and buyers are willing to pay a lot to purchase them. Names, such as search.com or askme.com, will get buyers more easily than long domain names. It is also important to note that unhyphenated domain names have more value. Even product-related domain names also can enable sellers to earn substantial profit. Once a seller has a certain degree of knowledge about the domain, he can start searching for buyers.

Where to find domain name buyers

Once you decide to sell a domain name, it is important to find the best market to sell it. The best way to sell a domain name is to approach buyers secretly. If you know someone who deals with domain names, it is recommended to contact him without going through the middleman. Chances are that the seller will make more profit, as he will not have to pay the middleman.

Selling on auction sites is another great way to find buyers. Ebay.com is perhaps, the most popular place to sell domain names. Afternic.com is another site that allows sellers to find good buyers. If you have premium domain names, become a member at GreatDomains.com and list your domain name there. The site is a reputed marketplace and brokers deal with thousands of dollars trading domain names. You can also sell domain names through Sedo.com, a site which has its own selling program. Sedo.com has the largest marketplace in the world, and boasts of having a list of the most expensive domain names in the market. It also has a safe and secure escrow service for domain name buyers and sellers.

Engaging and negotiating with a buyer

Once you have settled which marketplace you wish to sell your domain name in, you should try to grab the buyer’s attention. Engaging a buyer is an important aspect of selling a domain name. Buyers are only interested in sellers who have a professional approach.

Hence, sellers should have clear cut knowledge of the domain name they are selling. A seller should also keep track of the traffic the domain name receives as well as the domain’s expiry date. He should also clarify if the domain name earns any money at all, and how much. This will help indicate the domain’s value in the market.

Some buyers are a tough nut to crack and they may quote a ridiculously low offer. Explain to these buyers and convince them why the domain is worth more than the quote. If the potential buyer doesn’t agree, fret not, just move on to the next one until you find a willing buyer. Once you finalize the deal, then it’s time to find the best payment mode for the transaction.

Secure Domain Escrow Service and its Benefits

When you are selling a domain name, you don’t want to suffer because of failed transactions or being tricked by defaulters. Safeguard your monetary dealings; the best way to do this is to take the help of a secure domain transfer and escrow service. The escrow system is highly beneficial because a buyer has to deposit money at the trusted source prior to purchase, and the dealing between a buyer and a seller takes place through a secure domain transfer and escrow service. This makes the transaction safer for both parties with the involvement of a neutral third party.

Domain name sellers are advised to use Sedo.com to list their domain name. The real advantage with Sedo.com is the mandatory escrow service that comes with every transaction. The site charges the seller a commission of 15% per transaction or USD 50, whichever is higher, for domain names featured on the site. Sellers who do not list with Sedo.com but would like to use their escrow service will have to pay the minimum transaction fee of USD 50, or 3% of the transaction, whichever is higher.

Escrow service is useful, and cost effective, but only if the domain names have a high enough value. For names that are priced lower, using escrow service may lead to losses.

Close Transaction and Get Payment

Now it’s time to transfer the domain name. Every site has its own process. Generally, the domain-selling sites require sellers to submit the authorisation code, which will initiate the transfer process. Once the transfer is completed, the seller can transfer funds from the escrow account to his personal account. Do check for the minimum number of days the amount must stay in the escrow account before the transaction can be completed.

Once the amount is due for release from the escrow account, you can transfer the money via wire transfer or even through PayPal to your own personal account. The use of PayPal comes with its own limitations in some countries, and it is better to check the PayPal country regulations.

Copyright Protection and Infringement of Web Content

Copyright is a kind of protection that authors have for their original work. This includes works in the domain of literature, drama, music and other artistic and intellectual creations that are published or unpublished.

It should be noted that copyright is only a protection of an expressed idea and not the idea itself. It gives the owner of the right the sole rights for reproducing his work and distributes or displays it in public. Copyright is automatic and does not need any registration, but you can assert your copyright by marking your original work with the copyright symbol.

 

Web content theft has been a hot topic of discussion in recent years. It is unethical behavior on the website, where your treasured content catches the fancy of other writers who feel it is their birthright to use it and pass it off as their own. Of course, they could always defend themselves by saying imitation is the best form of flattery. But this kind of flattery doesn’t go well for most, if not all, who find their website content appear on some other site. You have worked hard to create your content and would surely not like it plagiarized.

With respect to copyright on the web, there are basic rights that allow creators to have control over their creations and they can be compensated when others use and enjoy their creations.

Copyright laws – What it Protects

  • Short fiction and short stories
  • Novels
  • Newspaper articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Computer software
  • Advertisements with text
  • Brochures
  • Databases
  • Sound recordings
  • Audio visual works
  • Catalogs

Copyright Laws – What it does not protect

  • Facts and ideas
  • Words and names
  • Symbols, ideas and inventions
  • Processes
  • Systems of operations
  • Proprietary information

However, it may protect the way in which the above are expressed. Words, names and symbols are protected under the trademark laws and proprietary information gets protection from the trade secret law.

Copyright Infringement

Theft of website content can be considered as an infringement of copyright. You can easily find whether someone has been infringing on your copyright by word of mouth. Apart from this, if you suspect copyright infringement of your web content, you can just type out some new material from your web content into the Google search. Use a few words at a time and use them within quotes. You can even r unique find out whether someone is using the unique graphics from your website by entering the file name in Google images and searching for them.

Such copyright infringement can damage your website rankings with search engines, as content used in several websites are not viewed favorably by search engines and will be considered as spamming. This could lead to your website being dropped from the search engine listings or at least dropped in the rankings. It could also damage your reputation, as people might consider your site as the duplicate one.

When the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are carried out by a third party without the permission of the owner, it is infringement. The infringement can be on the complete work or on a part of the artistic work.

Myths Regarding Infringement

There are many myths regarding infringement in the internet. For example, many claim that copying a free advertisement is not infringement. False – The copyright holder has the sole rights for advertising his products. There are many sites where members discuss their favorite television shows and movies online and the big studios send the infringing owner websites warning letters ordering them to shut down their site.

Another myth regarding infringement is that people consider that if a website is free and the owner does not make any money from it, the material on the site can be copied and does not constitute infringement. False – Just because you don’t make a profit from the infringement does not mean that it is not an infringement.

Copyright laws of Online Work

Copyright protection can differ from country to country depending on the nation’s laws. According to the US laws, the copyright exists right from the time of any expression of your work in a form from which it can be reproduced or communicated, either directly or through a device. It is not mandatory to register the copyright with the US Copyright Office. However, registration could have some significant benefits. The work gets automatically protected when it is fixed in a copy, even if the author has not used the copyright symbol with the ‘c’ in it. You can register with the US Copyright Office with an online registration process that is quite fast and cheap by paying a flat fee for submitting your work.

Copyright laws protect written words that appear on your website along with digital formats, digital artwork and so on. Copyright laws are applicable to any content in digital form which is published on the Internet. Many people disregard copyright laws in the digital world and suffer losses in their attempt at copyright infringement. When publishing any content online, it is important to have the permission of the owner in case they wish to publish someone else’s work.

Copyright laws last for a lifetime of the author plus seventy years after the death of the author. There are also some provisions for older works that are unpublished. The author is generally the copyright owner, but in some cases there are also joint owners. In case of employers and work commissioned to an employee, the employer is the first copyright owner, depending on the contract. The date on which the work was created is very important. Copyright can also be transferred to another party or just licensed for use by other parties.

All works that have been published after January 1st 1978 need not get renewal of copyright registration. The duration of the protection depends on the several factors:

  • The time when the work was created
  • The person creating the work
  • The first commercial distribution of the work
  • Works that are created after January 1st 1978 have protection for the full life of the author plus another 50 years.

Copyright Owner’s Rights

The owner of the copyright has some exclusive rights:

  • He can reproduce the work or copy it, imitate or duplicate or transcribe it.
  • He has the right to distribute the work or issue copies to the public either by sale, rental, and lease or by lending.
  • He can communicate the copyrighted work by electronic means or by broadcasting. He has the public display right and can show it in a website, a slide, a film and so on.
  • He can decide whether others have the right to do any of the above.
  • There are several legal aspects that a web writer must be aware of with regard to the US copyright law. There are many misconceptions in this regard, especially to do with web content. If you find a copyright violation, you must write a letter to the offending party and ask them to withdraw the material from the website. If such a request is refused, you can inform the ISP or Internet Service Provider of the owner regarding the infringement situation. In many countries, the ISP is held responsible for such violations and generally, ISPs will respond to such infringement activities on websites.

What is Copyright Registration?

Though copyright protection is automatic, you need to register it in case you want to bring a lawsuit against copyright infringement. There are several reasons for this:

  • In order to sue someone for infringing on your copyright, you need to first register the work with the US copyright office. The registration can also be done after the infringement, but it can only be applicable for future infringements.
  • Those authors who register their copyright within ninety days of the publication of their works can avail all statutory damages provisions for infringements taking place both before and after the registration date.
  • If you register your copyright, you can be eligible for up to $100,000 in the form of statutory damages and also claim attorney fees in case the case is successful.
  • Those authors making a registration within five years of their published work can get it submitted as prima facie evidence in court.
  • Registration is simple and also cheap, as you just have to fill out the application and mail it to the US copyright office along with a copy of the work to be protected.

How to Protect your Copyright?

  1. Protection for Authors: If you have posted any material on a website, it is automatically protected by copyright. However, it would be a good idea to add a copyright statement.
  2. Protection to Host: Those hosting a forum or a web page where there are postings from other members must warn them of the copyright violation or plagiarized material. You will need to post a warning in the site notifying members that any such material will be removed. Any violations should be immediately followed up, so that you can protect yourself from liability that others impose on you. Such liabilities can accrue from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  3. If you find that someone has infringed your copyright, you can bring proceedings against them. Civil remedies can involve an award of damages or some penalties imposed on the infringer.
  4. You can also resolve the matter with infringing party by means of a settlement, without bringing it to court, as the latter could be expensive and time consuming.
  5. Seek specialist advice before you start pursuing a claim for copyright infringement.
  6. Though there is no need to go to any legal process for establishing copyright, it is a good practice to keep a record of your artistic works.
  7. You can put the symbol of copyright along with the name and the publication year in the work, as it can be useful while trying to bring about an action against infringement in the future.
  8. You can deposit copies of your work, stamped and unopened, to your solicitor.
  9. All works that were published before March 1, 1989 needed a formal notice for getting copyright protection. However, works published after March 1st 1989 there is no need of any copyright notice.
  10. However, it is important for authors to place a notice saying: Copyright with the symbol, the year and his name followed by ‘All Rights Reserved’, as a practical measure of warning others that the author takes copyright issues seriously and will not entertain infringement, thereby deterring them.
  11. By doing the above, no infringer can claim ‘innocent infringement’ in case of a lawsuit.

When does Copyright Protection NOT Apply? Fair Use

There are several cases where copying of artistic work is allowed without seeking the prior permission of the copyright owner. These are called ‘Fair Use’, as without such a use, it would not be possible to review any book or to study any works of famous people. However, this can be a rather slippery issue. Entire passages can be quoted and can still be considered as fair use, whereas a small amount quoted could be crucial to the work, if it leads to a decline in the commercial value of the original book or content. This is just a general guide and cannot be considered as an exhaustive guide. Using an artistic work is allowed if:

  • You need it for private research purposes.
  • For reviewing and criticism.
  • Reporting of current events
  • Artistic work for the purpose of advertising and for the sale of the work.
  • Educational uses, such as instructions by teachers to pupils.
  • Using it in libraries to help students in research or private study
  • In cases where the copyright has expired or the author or copyright owner has died more than seventy years ago.
  • When the work is done in the public domain and is not copyrightable.
  • Facts that are common knowledge can be copied and reproduced.

However, a compilation of facts that are created in a specific order and with a lot of original content and unique formatting styles have full right to copyright protection laws.

Duties of a Web Writer

Many people intentionally steal another writer’s work, while some do it on account of laziness or ignorance. You are only allowed to copy a work for fair use or in the public interest, such as quoting a passage from a book while reviewing it. This is done in order to prove that you have reasons for giving it a low rating. Critics are, therefore, allowed to include clippings and quotes from books and movies. You cannot, however, copy a full text from any article and send it to all members in the mailing list without adding any commentary or giving any credit. You cannot also just copy and post it in a public forum or a blog. You cannot share or distribute the full work without getting prior permission.

The best policy for writers would be not to copy from other sites. You can, of course, refer to the site for ideas. You can even share the content through your email or a link provided you give a comment or a brief excerpt showing why you need to share it. You can always ask for permission, as it is the author’s right to choose and not yours.

Conclusion

The issue of copyright protection and infringement is a confounded one in case of web content. It is important that authors protect their work with the US copyright office in order to protect their work from infringement. However, when you post your work, it is seen by all people from all over the world and even if it is infringed upon, it becomes difficult for the person to become aware of it. It is also quite expensive to pursue such infringement cases.

Writing an article can be painstaking work and copyright laws make sure that the credit goes to the proper person. No one can plagiarize another’s work by copying it exactly. The protection is given automatically as soon as the work is created even if you have not registered it officially. You have to be vigilant to those stealing your work online, as it is a simple matter to copy and paste content from one site to another. It can pose quite a struggle and you need to be aware of one’s rights as a writer as well as know more about copyright issues and how to tackle them.

Copyright is not just an iron clad lock that prevents you from publishing anything. The main purpose of copyright protection is to protect the author to his right of obtaining commercial benefit from the valuable work that he has created. It also allows him protection so that he can control the way in which his work is used.

Web Design Trends for 2013

At the verge of 2013 there have been talks of what will be pertinent in terms of web design. Some things are disputable while others are undeniable – take web design that used to focus on media options a few years ago, now it’s the era of great usability and classy layout – no one would argue about that. Now if only we survive this year’s end of the world, there is a lot of promising features to appreciate web design wise in 2013

A few points, however, should be highlighted and covered by at least a few words. For that matter you are welcome to read on and share your thoughts in comments.

  • Responsive Web Design aka RWD (it is an approach to web design in which a site is crafted to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones), © Wikipedia). It is currently on top of the list of trends for the next year, thanks to the ability of this technology to eliminate problems related to the size of the layout. A single design that RWD offers will be enough for multiple desktop and mobile gadgets. It looks promising in terms of working really well on all of the devices and should make things better for all of the web designers. Some call responsive web design not just a trend, but the next web design generation.
  • Vertical scrolling as part of websites optimization will be serving a significant role. These days many websites have both vertical and horizontal scrolling for their mobile versions, which is not always very user-friendly because of too much actual scrolling that a user has to make in order to see the whole picture. Therefore vertical scrolling will be leading in the coming year as an easy and convenient way to navigate the website. It allows scrolling a page down with a header menu at the same time without having to go back to see the menu, which is basically a vertical scrolling of buttons and menus with the same kind of navigation for social buttons and shopping carts. Vertical scrolling will most certainly be in demand due to its user-friendly approach in optimization websites.
  • Oversized objects such as large buttons, headings, full-width images and full-sized sliders are definitely to be expected as the next trend in the year to come. Thanks to touch screens getting more and more popular each day, oversizing of the objects becomes inevitable. And even though this may lead to certain deceleration of the websites, because bigger items need more graphics, there is hope that web designers will come up with a perfect solution in the end, otherwise this trend may set out pretty soon.
  • Simplicity is something to expect from web design in 2013. The motto of the year will be ‘the simpler the trendier’. Front-end frameworks will be seen around as well. Among them are such front-end frameworks as Twitter Bootstrap and WordPress, and many others.
  • Parallax scrolling is all about 2D objects being placed on different layers and being scrolled in the same direction at different speeds with the closest layers moving the fastest. That gives the impression of 3D space. The coming year should see a lot of parallax effects in the use of web design. Even though it has been in the industry for quite a while, it was mostly related to video games. Nowadays it is being used as a refreshing addition to highlight a special event such as  product or website launch, or integrated into general webpages like ‘Home’ or ‘About Us’ to optimize the look and feel of something standard and make it exceptional. In 2013 we can expect to see a lot of parallax scrolling effects on regular websites.
  • Typography will most likely become an essential part of every website before we know it. There is a great deal of fonts to choose from due to widely available typography variations. And designers tend to prefer stylish typography designs to nice images instead of the text when optimizing the look and feel of the websites. After all typography is the foundation of any website so it is only going to win back its positions in 2013.

All of the above is an educated guess based on subject matter experts of web design and development company, which always remains on top of the game through permanent improvement of customer services.

Importance of an Attractive Portfolio for Graphic Designers

Like any other field, a portfolio holds great importance for a website/graphics designer. An eye catching design has great benefits. It reflects your designing skills and attract your clients.

Being a website/graphics designer myself, I have met a lot of designers that don’t even have a portfolio. When they get clients, they just send over some of their recent designs. In this way, there clients are unable to review most of their work and there are more chances that they will back off and find some other designer.

 

Why Make a Portfolio?

There are a great number of designers all over the globe and it’s one of the most rapidly growing information technology fields with the growing demand of website and graphics designing. This is a vast field and it constitutes of many sub fields. Graphic Designing includes logos, banners, brochures, flyers, business cards and a lot more. Today, there are a lot of individuals or companies that regularly need some kind of graphic design. Whether it be for online uses or printing purposes.

A portfolio for a designer is the basis of clients whether to hire you for their designing needs or not. Your portfolio demonstrates your skills, expertise and talent.

A design portfolio is compulsory for freelance designers as well as those running a designing company.

Designing a portfolio is not something that you just start doing without any preparation. There are a number of things to consider but before you start designing your portfolio, study the reasons why is it important and in what ways will it help you. This will help you in coming up with more creative ideas for your design showcase.

Following are a few points explaining why a portfolio holds so much importance.

  1. Presents Your Skills

    I have seen many designers’ websites without any graphics. They are just full of text and stories. Mentioning what services you offer and what can you do is not enough. You should show a proof of what your are doing. Your client will not be interested to choose you as their designer unless you don’t showcase your work in that specific designing they want from you. Suppose you get a client visit your site wanting to get a brochure designed for their business but don’t find even a single sample of your work.

    Clients need satisfaction as they are spending something to get the job done!

  2. Makes Clients Trust You

    When you display your work; you make new clients trust in you. Get the testimonials from your old clients along with your portfolio so that the new clients get more satisfied from you. This will in turn bring more customers to you.

  3. Represents a Genuine Business

    There a lot of designer emerging nowadays. Many are talented and possess great skills but still there are some designers that don’t have a proper experience in this field. They have learnt a bit of basics and promise their clients to provide quality work. As there work is not worth showcasing, they don’t show a proper portfolio. This simply results in wastage of their clients’ time when they don’t like the unprofessional work.

    In comparison to this, a buyer will prefer some designer showing his/her work.

  4. Prevents Rejection from Clients

    Everybody has their own choice for designs. Similarly all people don’t like some specific kind of graphics. Some will prefer really professional, clean graphics, some prefer 3D, while others want shiny, colorful designs. Suppose you make specific type of designs and you don’t have a portfolio. You get a client and start working on their order. Soon you will come up with a final design and when you submit a preview of it to them, you get bad remarks. This will not only waste your precious time and effort but you will also get a bit frustrated and end up saying bye to your client.

    Showing a portfolio to your clients before taking their order will prevent these situations. Your client will confirm before if they need some variation in their design from the past work you have done.

After getting to know the reasons to make a portfolio and how much importance it holds you must be thinking ways to make a beautiful portfolio. Yes! It should be highly attractive, and force the people looking at your portfolio to choose you as their designer!

Design an Attractive Portfolio

I am going to give some useful tips and tricks that will lead you to come up with a beautiful design and finally some examples for inspiration!

I am not just focusing on Graphics Designer in this article. But this is also to address the website designers! Most of the graphics designers know how to make a graphics template of website. So if you got skills and can come up with a design on graphics software, it will be way too easy for you. And if you have the coding skills it would be a plus.

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code an image to working website! You can get it done from any coder for as low as $20 for single page!

Most of the designers have their websites setup already where they offer their packages or services. But I have seen a lot of designers that don’t even have their websites. They advertise their services on different forums or websites. They think that they are getting enough customers but they are not aware of the fact that they are also missing a lot of clients due to some flaws.

Firstly they don’t have a website which is a turn down for clients who look for legitimacy.

Moreover they are not providing a proper compilation of their past work to their buyers. Anybody going to pay for something needs a proof, and a design portfolio is similar to a proof for buyers!

So following are the essential tips that you should keep in mind before designing your own portfolio website! These are the things that really matter and will make your portfolio stand out!

  1. Make a Decent Collection

    Before making a portfolio, do enough work and increase your collection till some extent. Your portfolio should be not be empty. This is a great turn down for clients and they will probably think that you are an amateur and you don’t have much experience in designing field. Just to give an idea I would suggest you to have atleast 15-20 items in your portfolio. But still you can have more. But remember don’t overfill it. Just keep a balance.

    You can tell your clients later that you have a lot more designs and you can show them if they want something more.

  2. Filter Your Design for Portfolio

    Take a hard look at your past work. Which of your designs are catchy? Separate the work you thing is best. Don’t include the designs you think are not much attractive as compared to your other work. This may cause your client to loose interest in getting their job done from you.

  3. Categorize Your Portfolio

    Your goal is to convert your portfolio visitors to your customers. To do so, you have to try your best to make your portfolio easy on eyes. It should not become a difficulty for your visitors. Don’t just make it jungle of images. This will just annoy your visitors and they will most probably end up closing the window.

    Separate your designs according to the categories. Like if there are logos, banners, business cards, flyers, brochures, just separate them up under different partitions with a prominent title to distinguish it from other designs. It helps the buyers in a way that they will look for samples in that specific design category they want to get a design from.

  4. Variety in Samples

    As I discussed earlier in this article, that all the clients do not have same choice. Your design may have a preference of one client and it may be rejected by the other so don’t ever do the mistake of adding same kind of designs in your portfolio.

    Have a variety of samples, so your client may have an idea that you will come up with something unique, different and something new for them. On the other hand if you have all same kind of designs with similar effects used in all of them, your client will not be much interested and you may loose them. Also add any photo of your print work. I myself request a photo of printed graphics I design for my clients.

  5. Include Testimonials

    Include testimonials from your past clients somewhere in your portfolio. Don’t just throw it somewhere. Instead be clever and place them in an efficient way so they are as prominent as your portfolio items are. Testimonials help a lot in motivating your visitors to become your client. It is a quick way to build trust with visitors. Many designers ignore this factor but testimonials help a lot. Let your client write a little about how was their experience to work with you.

  6. Show Your Work Properly

    Many designers add small thumbnails of their design work or show a little part of it due to the fear that someone will copy their work. Don’t do that, instead host the full-sized images on your own server and link the thumbnail or small image to the full size image, or make some functionality so that the image may zoom up on clicking. Avoid linking your samples to the clients’ website for which you made that design.

    People do not always keep same designs, they might change it and it will be a problem for your further clients later.

    Same thing applies to the web design projects you have worked on. Host them on your own server instead of linking to external websites, you may give a link though but keep a check if your client has not updated their site.

  7. Make Your Layout Simple

    People in search of a designer are looking for a website with an easy navigation. The layout should not be over done. It should not be filled up with a lot of colors and too much fancy techniques. The layout as a whole should look simple, attractive and everything on the website should be easy to understand. Don’t confuse your clients in any way. Make your contact details easily accessible. Remember contrast is your friend and you have to play with it in a creative manner.

  8. A Little About Yourself

    Having an ‘About Me’ page is also a plus point. Do not take it as granted. You have to deal with your visitors in a friendly way. For individuals, it’s a place to show off who you are as a person. Tell about your qualifications, experiences and expertise in your field. To make it more attractive, add any kind of picture of yours, a portrait, sketch, caricature or anything representing you.

    Moreover giving links to your social networks profiles from here is better. It builds more familiarity and makes you more approachable if the client is in need of a designer ever again.

  9. Keep Your Portfolio Up to Date

    Design your portfolio in such a way that it is easier for you in future to update the pieces.

    It’s a common fact that as you make more deigns and gain more experience, you start to like your new design more than the designs you had made a couple of months or some time ago. So if you think that there is something in your portfolio which seems to be odd to you then there is no need to keep it anymore in there. Just replace it with your new designs. Keep on revolving items. It gives a good impression on returning customers.

I have added some really attractive portfolio designs for inspiration. It will give you a better picture of how you have to get creative and design your own unique portfolio.

In this portfolio, the design has given a very easy way to navigate around. The animation gives access to contents of website with keyboard shortcuts.

The designer has beautifully embed the images in a frame. The frame effect makes this portfolio unique!

This design is full of creative ideas. The designer has wrapped all the necessary components of a portfolio website in a single book shelf. There are no unnecessary items in the shelf. Every item gives the information about that designer.

Simple yet attractive design. This website would have been so dull without the lightning or glow effects used. They have given life to the design. See how little sprinkles and toppings can make your site delicious!

The design is an example of use of many colors in a proper and beautiful manner. The abstract not only contain colors but also represents the name of designer along with easy navigation beside.

Here is another creative artwork. The designer is welcoming his visitors and requesting them to have a seat. This builds a friendly environment and look at the way how designer has introduced himself to visitors. Such techniques leave impressions in the mind of your visitors.

If you have a look at the complete website, you will see how in only a single page, the designer has added all the information a client is seeking for. Starting from his introduction to a few recent designs followed by his service offerings and then finally an easy contact form at the bottom.

And at last, simple yet effective about us page. It consists of a paper background effect, little sketch of the designer, and some introduction to him.

Becoming an Expert Proofreader

Very first thought – “What is Proofreading?” The word ‘proof’ is used to mean the final trial print that is used for making corrections before printing. Hence, a proofreader goes through the entire text with a fine toothcomb, trying to look for errors and glitches in the document.

Proofreading involves detection of errors, such as punctuation, grammar, and choice of words, spellings as well as other details of font, style and alignment. It involves surface reading.

 

Grammar and style form the primary focus of proof reading. The hard and fast rules of grammar need to be adhered to, such as dangling participles, typos, tenses, voices and so on. This is important to create the best image of the company or the person. Style is a little more ambiguous and has to do with the tone of the language, such as sarcasm, serious, ironical, and humorous and so on. These are brought about by the choice of words and each piece of writing needs to have a specific tone. Proofreading, in a nutshell, is not just looking out for grammar and punctuation errors ,but rather looking at the document as a whole and see whether all the words fit in together, supplying better options wherever necessary.

Qualifications of Proofreaders

A proofreader needs to do a check on the quality of a publication before it goes into print. There is nothing like a qualification that is officially recognized for proofreading, nor is there any specific course for proofreading. This does not mean that certificates are of no use for a proofreader or that they can be entirely dismissed as qualifications. However, such certificates do not surely form part of the criteria for recruitment as a proofreader.

The experience of the person is far more important in a proofreading job. You need to get maximum opportunities in order to get this experience and then establish a formidable reputation in your niche to get the maximum possible testimonials. A freelancer with a good command over the language can become a proofreader for different types of documents and articles and even novels. Some of the important qualifications a proofreader needs to have are:

  1. A good eye for detecting details and errors.
  2. Excellent knowledge of the English language, along with intricacies of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
  3. A dedicated and systematic approach to the task.
  4. Good concentration skills.
  5. Relevant experience would be an advantage in order to prove aptitude in the niche.
  6. A native speaker of English would also be an advantage, but not essential.
  7. A graduate or an undergraduate working towards graduation.
  8. A good grade in English Literature would be desirable but not compulsory.

A proofreader needs to prove his worth. A freelance job of proofreading done from home can be convenient but you need good communication and writing skills. One needs to go along with the flow and the tone of the piece along with understanding the layout. Freelancers who wish to break into this career need to provide work that people would like to come back for.

Types of Proofreading Jobs

Several websites offer proofreading jobs of various types. There are many writers who want their stories or articles to be proofread. These writers then refer them to others. These jobs can belong to several niches.

For instance, there is technical writing where proofreading is required in engineering and medicine. Several documents are published in these fields and need proofreading. Writers of blogs also require proofreading for their articles. They would like their posts to be perfect in order to draw in more readers and viewers to their blog and attract advertisements. The content and readability of the article can be improved by proofreaders. Many companies also require copyeditors for proofreading their content before it is uploaded to the web. Websites that regularly publish web content are also in continuous need of proofreaders. There are also jobs related to correction of academic papers, such as thesis and other educational papers.

There are sites that allow proofreaders to set prices for their project and only do the proofreading work of those who meet their price criteria. There are several student assignments and advertisements of businesses, such as brochures and newsletters that require proofreading.

There is general proofreading that just requires an overall correction of grammatical mistakes and language errors along with spelling and typos. Journal proofreading needs a little higher skill set according to the requirements of the publishing firm. Apart from this, manuscript proofreading and scientific journals contain more complex studies and need to be properly checked out.

Tips to help Proofreaders to Succeed

  1. Concentration. Concentration is the key factor for successful proof reading. You need to get rid of all distractions and do the work without interruptions. Try to remain away from other noises as well, such as the radio, the television, your email and so on. Even a split second of inattention could cause an oversight and you might overlook an important error.
  2. Be alert to Homonym. There are words that sound similar or those that have the same spelling but different meanings. A proofreader needs to be aware of differences between words, such as ‘complement’ and compliment’ or ‘later’ and ‘latter’, ‘council’ and ‘counsel’, ‘imminent’ and ‘eminent’ and several others.
  3. Errors in Apostrophes. Several errors in apostrophes need to be watched out. For instance, words, such as, ‘your’ and you’re’; its and it’s; there and they’re and so on. These are silly errors, but if they are not taken care of the credibility of the passage is put under great strain leading to a poor opinion of the writer. You need to remember that the apostrophe is only used to show possession and it should not be used in plurals.
  4. Possessive pronouns, such as my, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs and its do not have apostrophe, whereas possessive nouns, such as Jack’s, dog’s, cat’s and other proper and common nouns can take the apostrophe for possession.
  5. Check out numbers/dates. Numbers can play a crucial role in the essay or text. Look out for the number of zeros in a value, such as $10,000 or $100,000; million or billion; 1972 or 1982; 5% or 50% and several other numerical related errors. Wrong statistics could lead to a complete misrepresentation of facts.
  6. Cultivate a sense of doubt. Try to double check your work and keep doubting, so that you will be able to identify all the errors. You need to doubt every word in order to identify each and every mistake. It is important not to take anything for granted while proofreading.
  7. Reading aloud. Read through the text rather slowly and, if possible, try to read out aloud. Read only what is presented on the page and not what is in your mind or what you think is there. Reading aloud helps as it slows you down and you are able to hear the words as well as see them, thereby making use of two sense organs.
  8. Look at the words without just allowing your eyes to slide over the words. Don’t just look at the outer shell of the words, that is the first and last letters of the word, but take in the entire word.
  9. Look out for words having double letters. These usually lead to confusion and spelling errors. For instance, accommodation, embarrassment, omission, occurrence, possession, apparent and so on.
  10. Using a dictionary. Use a dictionary in case of words that you are not very sure about. Select a link where you can quickly check out errors in spelling, punctuation, pronouns, subject verb agreement, periods, sentence fragments, dangling modifiers and tenses.
  11. Choice of words. Instead of using common verbs, such as ‘give’, use ‘offer’ proffer’. Instead of using ‘tell’, make use of a more apt word, such as ‘suggest’ ‘inform’ and so on.
  12. Using Spell check. Spelling errors are the most common ones and are also the most easy to tackle and correct. You can, of course, use spell check and a dictionary for the wrongly spelt word. However, spell check is no use with homonyms, such as ‘accept and except’, ‘who’s and whose’ and so on.
  13. Create a checklist of your own for proofreading. Make a list of the common errors and mistakes that you usually find in a document and refer to this list while doing the job.
  14. Try analyzing one kind of problem at a time or during a reading. First, try to spot grammatical errors, and then look out for punctuation errors, then word choice and then the sentence structure. If you look for one type of problem at a time, you are more likely to do a more thorough job of it. When you look for trouble, you are sure to find it, so the saying goes.
  15. Build a good professional reputation. You need to provide a good quality service of proofreading.
  16. Always complete any project within the given deadline and be professional with the client. You must also do the job accurately and in a committed and conscientious manner, so that you can be set apart from the competition in the particular field.
  17. You could also register with several online proofreading services and submit your resume, but be careful of scams.
  18. To attain success in your niche, you can print your business card and even place them with printers or in the local college boards and other potential clients.
  19. Try to develop your experience by first doing some voluntary proofreading jobs in local schools and colleges. You can also take some online classes or tutorials to develop and increase your skills.
  20. Create a strong resume by clearly listing out your experience, your educational background and any style of writing that you are particularly familiar with. You can also add some samples of your work.

Ten Common Errors to Avoid as a Proofreader

Some common errors to look out for during proofreading are:

  1. Subject verb agreement – For instance – The balls of slime is eaten by ants. Here, the subject of the verb eaten is ‘balls’ and not ‘slime’. Hence, the subject is plural and should be followed by a plural verb – The balls of slime are eaten by ants. Another example – This box of ornaments belong/belongs to me. Here again, the subject is ‘box’ and not ‘ornaments’. Hence – This box of ornaments belongs to me. ‘One of my sister’s friends is/are a doctor. The answer is – One of my sister’s friends is a doctor (because only one of them is a doctor).
  2. Commonly confused words – We often get confused between words, such as advise and advice; farther and further; affect and effect; adopt and adapt; confident and confidante; envelop and envelope; altogether and all together; amount and number; and several others. You can keep a handy list of such commonly confused words and go through the examples in order to get these words straight.
  3. Verb tenses – Verb tenses are very often confused by writers. The passage begins with a tense and then it continues into another tense. These are very often overlooked by proofreaders. You need to identify the situation and check out whether it belongs to the past, present or the future and then use the correct tense. Facts and Universal truths always need to be in the present and wishes need to be conveyed in the past. Shifting and changing the tense in paragraphs continuously confuses the reader.
  4. That and Which – This is another common error that (not which) many authors and proofreaders overlook. There is a simple method of understanding when to use the right connective. ‘That’ is used as a defining clause and ‘which’ as a non defining clause. When you need information that is essential to the subject, the correct word to use will be ‘that’. When the information following is only supplemental and not essential to the subject, we use ‘which’. For instance – XXX is a company that offers proofreading service. Here, the information following is defining and very essential to know about the company. Look at this – XXX is a proofreading company, which delivers all work in time. The second part of the sentence that follows ‘which’, offers supplemental information.
  5. Active and Passive voice – When the subject of the sentence is more important than the action done, the active voice should be used. When the action done is more important and in cases where the subject is unknown, the passive voice is used. For instance, ‘A well is being dug’ and not ‘Some people are digging a well’.
  6. Use of Ellipsis – This is a common error. An ellipsis is a punctuation used to indicate that some text has been deleted or omitted, or it can be used as a pause. It should consist of three dots that are evenly spaced with space between them.
  7. Use of commas – You have to know when to use a comma and when it is redundant. They are used for indicating a pause, when providing additional information, when joining a main clause with a subordinate clause, to separate items in a list and so on.
  8. Article use – a/an/the – When you refer to something specific, use the article ‘the’. When referring to any noun, use ‘a’. I need a (meaning any) pen. Please give me the (particular) pen. However, a general statement in the plural does not need an article. For instance, Pens are useful for writing. Yet, the pens that I bought yesterday were very cheap.
  9. Singular and plurals of nouns – Some nouns in English form plurals by adding an ‘s’; others by adding ‘ies’ ( babies). Some others remain the same for both singular and plural – deer/deer; sheep/sheep; aircraft/aircraft. Some nouns convert ‘a’ into ‘ae’ (formula/formulae); some others convert ‘I’ into ‘e’ (crisis/crises; thesis/theses) and so on.
  10. EI or IE – The rule here is that ‘I’ before ‘e’ except in case of ‘c’. Thus, ceiling and not cieling; believe not beleive; field not feild; siege not seige.

Conclusion

A proofreading job requires an eye for detail along with accuracy, concentration and excellent language skills. There are no other specific formal training required to become a proofreader. However, one should be careful of the common pitfalls and errors that you need to look out for while doing a proofreading job. You need to establish a good name in professional circles to become a successful proofreader. A proofreader needs to be constantly on the lookout for a whole range of mistakes and errors to do with punctuation, grammar, spellings and also the fundamental structure of the sentence and other word usages. You need to know common spelling errors, homophones, apostrophes and other details of grammar to do a thorough and professional job.

 

There are various types of proofreading jobs available these days and you can easily carve a niche for yourself in the field. However, the competition is fierce and one needs to do a competent and thorough job to thrive in the field. It can be a pleasant rewarding work that you can do from the comfort of your home and is a great career option for the dedicated freelancer.

Why Twitter is a Terrific Way to Market Your Business and Services

It’s not surprising that The New York Times called twitter “the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” Twitter has quickly become a part of our everyday media and social culture. So how did we get to this point? Twitter began in August 2006 as a micro-blogging site with the sole purpose of answering (in 140 characters or less) this question: What are you doing right now?

In 2006 and 2007, many people were posting items, called “tweets” such as “going to Starbucks” watching television right now” or “looking forward to buying the new Mac laptop tomorrow”. But initially, many users were turned off because there wasn’t a clear explanation on the site about how to actually use it.

 

Since 2007, though, Twitter has become a valuable tool for entrepreneurs, artists, media personalities, reporters, and marketers. In this article, you’ll learn why Twitter is a terrific way to market your business and services. You’ll also learn about building strategic alliances, attracting raving and dedicated fans, the finer points of Twitter culture and much more.

The Twitter Culture

What used to be a place where you shared what you are doing right now in 140 characters (or less) has turned into a place of sharing tips, tricks, information, motivation, inspiration and a whole lot of communication. It is a content-rich platform where power Twitterers are wonderful about sharing your name, following you while you promote your business, and potentially, strategically partnering with you.

What do I mean by power Twitterers? They are a very motivated, enthusiastic group who are eager to share, learn, and network. However, they also want to add income to their bottom lines.

You’ll find many different types of people using Twitter – coaches, consultants, celebrities, corporate CEOs, artists, nutritionists, speakers, Realtors, recruiters, and entrepreneurs. You’ll also find airline companies, restaurant chains, hotels, tourism destinations, and media outlets such as radio, TV, and print.

To be successful and keep a loyal following, you must abide by the “unwritten rules” of Twitter culture. Keep these Twitter tips in mind to get loyal followers network, and grow your business:

  • Share information.
  • Care about other users.
  • Provide value.
  • Share your expertise.
  • Be welcoming and generous.
  • Be authentic.
  • Be likeable.
  • Do not plagiarize or “Twagiarize”.
  • Do not spam.
  • Have fun with it.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to becoming a valuable member of the Twitter community.

Blocking People on Twitter

Unfortunately, there are spammers on Twitter who have a very disingenuous way of following and attracting folks. What’s a spammer? Twitter recently released this list that describes who and what is considered spam:

  • Following others to gain attention to your account or links.
  • Creating several accounts to promote the same product or links.
  • Sending large numbers of @reply messages that aren’t really genuine replies, (@reply messages are personal replies to Twitter users).
  • Creating updates just so they show up in search results.
  • Disguising links (similar to bait and switch; writing about one thing but linking to another).
  • Developing a large number of users (relative to those following you) who have blocked you.

If you block someone, you’re saying that you don’t want them following or contacting you.

How do you block users? You’ll find this by clicking on their photo, or avatar, in the Followers section on your own profile. On the left side of the page, you’ll see an Actions heading. You can click Block to keep that person from following you.

You also have an option to block a user when you receive an e-mail notification that you have a new follower. You’ll see a link – block Jane Doe – in the e-mail. If you already know this is a spammer, click the Block link and you’re free of this pesky follower.

Why You Should Join Twitter

Although Twitter is a social networking site, it has also been called an information site There is so much great content on Twitter that’s being passed around from tweeter to tweeter. Think of it as a giant cocktail party where people share tips, resources, links, videos, and inspirational quotes. If every true “cocktail party” was like that, everyone would want to attend, right? And no one would want to leave. That is the appeal of Twitter.

More often than not, it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Twitter is an amazing resource for all-around networking and getting to know people from all over the world. In one day, you could have a conversation on Twitter with someone from Scotland, California, and Australia. The more people that you know and who know you, the more empowered you become with information, new ways of looking at things, and new ideas. You’ll eventually find new champions for your business and even new customers!

Imagine that your competitors are on Twitter and they’re experiencing amazing conversations, sharing their expertise, and making a lot of new connections. Wouldn’t that make you feel a bit behind? Well, even if they aren’t on Twitter today, chances are they will be soon. Here’s your chance to be a leader in your industry!

As of this writing, Twitter has already merged into the mainstream television media where reporters on CNN are saying, “Follow me on Twitter.” Larry King has a live Twitter feed going across the bottom of the screen during the middle of his show. You almost can’t go to a conference without finding someone twittering away from their seat.

In fact, at a technology conference, you’re more likely to have conversations on Twitter than you are in person – even if you’re both attending the same conference. Does it now seem like the whole world is “a’tweeting”? If it isn’t, it may soon be.

Okay, so let’s get down to the details. How can Twitter help your business?

Twitter is an amazing tool for the following:

  • Using PR strategies for your business
  • Marketing your business
  • Networking for your business
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Getting others to talk about your business
  • Attracting and keeping loyal customers
  • Asking your followers/customers questions
  • Staying informed by reading what people are thinking

Twitter Terms You Need to Know

Twitter has an entirely new language, which has emerged as the short “sound-byte chatter” within the Twitter culture. If you’re new to twitter, you might feel like you’ve entered The Land of the Lost when reading tweets like this: “Thanks for the RT on #followfriday see u at the Tweetup.”

Here’s the translation: Thank you for the retweet (sharing my tweet to your network and referencing me) on Follow Friday (the day that tweeters recommend people to follow). See you at the tweetup (also called a meetup – a location that was decided we were to meet through tweets on Twitter).

As Twitter folks merge their tweets into other social media sites such as Facebook, the Facebook “language” is also shifting as people update their Facebook status via Twitter.

Don’t worry; you’ll be a savvy Twitterer in no time. To get you on your way, here are some terms that every Twitterer simply must know:

Tweet: Commonly referred to as a status update or what’s on your mind. People use this to post links, share thoughts, and give information, all in 140 characters or less.

Retweet (RT): An RT is the same as quoting someone on Twitter. Simply use RT@(person’s username). Example: RT@SalesLounge (then repeat the tweet). An RT is the forwarding of a message out to your followers, which helps it become more viral. The fun part is when people start RT-ing what you write.

Hashtags: This is simply a way to group or “tag” tweets together to be searched for later or followed by others interested in that topic or event. A Hashtag is preceded by the # symbol and is usually made up of an acronym of letters for an event or cause.

Trending Topics: This describes what the Twitter users are talking about most often. The Trending Topics are always changing depending on what is happening in the news, entertainment, or online worlds.

Followers: These are the people who are “following” your tweets. These can be your potential friends, advocates, champions, business referrers, strategic partners, customers, and fans.

Peeps: Another term in Twitter culture for your followers.

Updates: Twitter keeps track of how many times you post a tweet. They are referred to as updates.

Direct Message (DM): This is your inbox on Twitter. Someone might send you a Direct Message via Twitter, which is only seen by you and that person, if that person chooses to send it to you privately. A Direct Message can be automated or genuinely typed and sent to you by someone on Twitter. It is good to know, however, that if both parties are not following each other, you cannot DM that person privately. Any messaging would be public until both parties are following each other.

#FollowFriday: Each Friday, power Twitterers recommend people to follow by putting the #FollowFriday in front of usernames of folks they want to recommend. #FF is also commonly used.

Example: “Great Peeps for #FollowFriday,@efame,@eddierents @ RuthSherman,@MeredithLiepelt, ©BarbaraWayman.”

By recommending people to follow, you’ll quickly become likeable in the Twitter culture. When someone from another network, city, or even country recommends you on Follow Friday, you know you’re doing something right on Twitter. One of your goals should be to eventually be on the #FollowFriday list.

Tweetup: A term a Twitterer uses when she wants to meet in person.

Tweeting: This is the act of posting a tweet.

Tweeps: Another word for the people who follow you; same as peeps. It often refers, more generally, to the people (or tweeple) who participate on Twitter.

Twictionary: An unofficial listing of Twitter terms. Find it at http://www.twictionary.com.

How Twitter Helps Your Business

When initially viewing the Twitter landscape, many entrepreneurs and business owners just cannot imagine how typing in 140 character comments on a site can help their businesses. So if that’s how you feel, you’re not alone. My best advice is to look at this as a free networking and PR avenue for your business.

If your ongoing tweets make use of the Twitter tips that we’ve already talked about, you’ll begin attracting new followers and then some of their followers will start to follow you. There’s a natural progression that occurs after you get those first followers.

Here is what usually happens next: after someone recommends you to his or her network, you will get even more followers. Your new followers simply tell their network how great your services or products are. Next, the tweeps in your new follower’s network decide to check out your website. At that point, there’s a good chance you’ll land a new client or at least develop a solid prospect. All this takes time, of course.

Why don’t you try this goal? Get five new people (tweeps) to follow you during your first week on Twitter. (Hey, that’s five more than you had last week!) In the second week, you shoot for five more; then in the third week, you shoot for 10 more, then 20 more, and so on. All you need to focus on are a few tweeps at a time.

Okay, let’s get into the nitty-gritty about how Twitter can help your business.

Creating a Tech-Savvy Image

In today’s business world, you can’t afford to look like a dinosaur. You want to be seen as an on-trend and in-the-know entrepreneur. In fact, some say if you aren’t using Twitter, your business savvy might appear suspect to others. Conversely, after you’re on Twitter, you’ll look like a savvy techie (even if you aren’t). You will be marketing yourself and your business while networking with the tech-savvy in crowd of tens of millions.

Communicating Information about Your Business

Twitter also helps you quickly send information out to your followers. Let’s say you’re speaking at an event, holding an open house, running a big special, or announcing a new client partnership. Or maybe you’re closing your business early on Tuesday for some reason. Now you can send that message out with a few simple keystrokes and-voila! – You’re done.

Building Your List

Another Twitter benefit is that it can help you build your list. In the past years, the list referred to your mailing list. Today, it refers to your e-mail list, but you can also gather office and home address as well. To the small business owner or entrepreneur, your list is your gold mine. You want to build a list with which you can regularly communicate with folks outside of Twitter and other social media platforms.

Twitter helps you by driving people to your website, where you invite them to sign up for your e-zine or newsletter.

Networking with Colleagues, Clients, and Prospects

Twitter is also a great place to build rapport with folks you’ve been networking with. Let’s say you meet someone at a networking event. Find out if he or she is on Twitter. If so, tell him or her you’ll become a follower. More than likely, people will follow you back and you’ll begin building a rapport. You’ll share your expertise, tips, and information with each other. This approach also builds credibility and, hopefully, likeability, which certainly helps every business owner.

More Ways Twitter Helps Your Business

You’re a busy professional who wants to ensure that your social media choices give you a lot of bang for your buck. To help you decide if Twitter is for you, here are a few more quick tips suggesting ways to use Twitter:

  • Use Twitter as a PR tool to promote your business as a great place to work or to do business with. Tweet something good about your employees or clients. This will give you not only happy employees and clients, but it just makes you look (and feel) good!
  • Share interesting links or information about your industry to position yourself as a subject matter expert. Let’s say you run ABC Catering. Instead of only tweeting about ABC, tweet about an article you’ve read that covers new trends in wedding cakes. This approach also shows you’re willing to be a “sharing resource” which will ultimately expand your business reach.
  • Create a sense of community around your business. Commenting on fellow entrepreneurs, business owners, clients, and followers will make them feel more attached to you and your business, We’ve talked about how networking can bring you new business and help you retain your clients. But if your tweets show genuine interest in others, this engenders a neighborhood feel.
  • Create top-of-mind awareness for your brand. By tweeting each day, you will keep your name and business in front of people. When genuinely used, a daily tweet or two can be an incredible source of PR, marketing, and branding for you and your services. Companies pay a lot of money for advertising. Remember, Twitter if a free way to get some advertising for your brand or company name.
  • Learn what your community, customers, and market are looking for. When you read and have dialogue on Twitter, you’ll know what your followers want and what they have to say. You’ll learn things that will help you make decisions about the direction of your business.
  • Invite your current clients and prospects to follow you on Twitter. They’ll learn from you and you can follow them back, which will ultimately make you, your clients, and your prospects feel more connected.

What’s in a Username?

Before creating your Twitter account, think about your Twitter username. Your user name on Twitter is your handle or your call name. It’s the word that will be placed directly below or next to your photo, or avatar. It can also be an instrumental part of your branding strategy.

In fact, a great Twitter username will be part of all of your marketing. It will go on your business cards, your e-mail signature, your Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and your blog. So think carefully about it. Oh, one more thing – you have only 15 characters for your username.

This requires thinking a little differently from what you’re used to. When we all first got into computing, our usernames were not made public. We wrote them down and filed them away. Well, with Twitter, it’s very different. Your username on Twitter is very public.

So as you begin thinking about your strategy and why you want to use Twitter, carefully plan your Twitter username to attract your target audience. There are also many ways your chosen username can help you reach out to the people you want to follow you.

As you get savvier on Twitter, which will happen faster than you can imagine, you’ll learn that one way to find people is to type in an industry within the Find People tab on Twitter.com.

Here’s an example: Say you want to find someone in sales or a sales expert. Well, if you type in the word “sales” using Find People, anyone with the word “sales” in their username will pop up. Most people who use “sales” in their username have something to do with sales. The same is true with the word “realtor” or “financial. So your username could include the name of your industry.

Another way to find people is to search by their business name or actual name. Many people use their business name for their username. When setting up your account, it’s important to include your actual name so that people can find your Twitter profile.

You might want to brand your own name, such as @JohnDoe. That’s fine, too. Or you may want to use the name of your business as your username. That’s also fine.

The Least You Heed to Know

  • Even if you don’t immediately understand how it will ultimately help your business, get on Twitter and become involved in the conversations.
  • Don’t be in constant sell mode, because the Twitter culture hates spammers.
  • On Twitter you need to relate to others, share information help others, be yourself and reflect a positive image of your business.
  • Participate in #FollowFriday, which involves recommending people (or peeps) to follow.
  • Retweet someone when you can to show that you’re part of a community, that you don’t always have to take credit for everything, and that you’re willing to give the spotlight to someone else.
  • Think about your overall Twitter marketing and branding strategy when you select your username and photo or avatar.

How to Overcome Negative Reviews

No one likes to hear anything bad about their company, but is unavoidable as an entrepreneur or even a as person doing business online. Your reputation online is almost like a form of currency because people will read about what other people have said before they work with you. If you have been around long enough, someone has probably reported some type of problem with your products or services.

How to Overcome Negative Reviews

You do not have to be perfect, but you should be on track to improve as a business in the face of criticism. Here is an outline of some steps you can take when these things happen as well as some additional facts to consider before you take action.

 

Trolls vs. Legitimate Complaints

Many businesses tend to assume that any type of complaint against them is from a troll. Sometimes this is true, but the you have to know how to distinguish a legitimate complaint from that of a troll. A troll is usually someone that completely slams your business, your products, and your services. They may not have a legitimate complaint at all in the midst of their remarks and everything they say about you is negative. Surprisingly, some of them may have never done business with you in the first place because they may be spammers or even competitors in disguise. Some people will have this type of reaction if they have had negative experiences, but the difference is that a troll will be inconsolable. A normal customer will usually accept your offer to rectify the situation, but a troll will not. They will continue to complain until the very end. That is the difference. If you are indeed dealing with a troll, then the most that you can do is apologize, make an offer, and then move on. Continue to be the good guy and allow their own actions to speak volumes about who they are. Also, remember that trolls are out to make you look bad by enticing you into saying or doing something inappropriate. People love to hide behind a screen to spout negativity, but few of them have the gall to say anything in person. This goes without saying, but never stoop to their level to make threats, use profanity or inflammatory language.

Should I Call My Lawyer?

That is a good question. Sometimes you should call your lawyer depending on what was said, but it usually is not that serious. People are entitled to their own opinion, but they are not allowed to spread slander, lies, or intentionally try to say things online or offline to destroy someone’s business. Saying that you had a negative experience is one thing, but trying to ruin someone is taking it too far. If someone has left some extremely inflammatory remarks then you may be able to contact the website hosting the reviews to have that particular comment removed. Unbeknownst to many, you have a lot more control than you think on websites like Yelp, Yahoo, and Google Maps because you can not only respond, but have them removed. However, if that does not work then you may need to consult with your attorney to have them contact the web hosting company or even pursue a case of defamation if necessary. You do not want to give people that impression that you are overly litigious or too sensitive, so this should be looked upon as a last resort for a troll, not a dissatisfied customer.

What To Do When You Have A Negative Review

Step 1: Assess the situation

Read the review carefully for a couple of times to assess the situation. You will likely get sort of angry when you read anything negative about yourself, so give yourself a moment to think and reflect before you respond. Ask yourself why this person decided to write a negative review about your product or service. Yes, there are some trolls out there, but that is usually not the case for most of the negative reviews online. Many of the people that leave negative reviews have done so because they felt like they were not being heard. They felt as if they had no choice other than to complain elsewhere because business would not do anything to help them. It is not a poor reflection of you or your businesses’ products and services because it is still one person’s opinion.

What You Ignore Persists?

Ignoring negative reviews and feedback is not to your advantage. If you ignore what people have written, then it may perpetuate a cycle and encourage others to chime in. There have been a number of complaints that were ignored in the beginning, but actually went viral because so many other people got involved. Ignoring these types of remarks will not remove them nor help you improve your business, so you have to say something to correct the problem or it will continue to haunt you.

Step 2: Write a response to the complaint

Only approach the written response after you have cooled down for at least an hour to a couple of days depending on your emotional state. It is better if you respond sooner rather than later, but it is disadvantageous to say anything if you are not in the right place emotionally. It does hurt and it could feel like a personal assault on you, but it is not. Write a response in a writing program like Word or Open Office Writer first because it will enable you to plan out your response better. You do not want your response to have any type of grammatical or spelling errors whatsoever. After you have proofread your text, read it as the customer and think about how you would react to it if you were in their position. This is really important because saying the wrong thing could hurt you more than if you had ignored the comment altogether. It may be a good idea to even have a few people read it over to see how they would respond to it.

Step 3: Apologize for the inconvenience

You must have an apology in your written response even if it was the customer’s fault. There is no way that you can look good as a business owner if you blame your customers. Since you are the entrepreneur, you automatically have to take the fault for whatever happened. Part of the being your own boss means that you have to take responsibility for everything whether it is good or bad. The customer is always right and it never looks good to criticize customers in any way.

Step 4: Discuss your plan to improve going forward

A lot of companies often forget to take this step, but it can actually go a long way. One of the things people want to hear is that you will implement some type of change to improve in the future so that this will not happen to them or anyone else again. For example, if you made an error, let them know that you will change your policy going forward or mention that you or your employees will receive additional training in the area. Follow through with the changes because it will make you a better company because of it.

Step 5: Make an offer

The best thing you can do to improve the situation is to make the customer an offer. You do not have to give anything away, but you should. You want your customers to walk away from the situation satisfied because they will continue to spread the word about your company long after the ordeal. If you can change their opinion now, you may be able to win them over. Offer to do something over again, give them something for free, give a refund, or at the very least offer them a discount. People love free stuff and something like that will usually be enough to help sway their opinion. What would be really impressive is if you got this same person to come back and write a more accurate assessment after they have taken you up on your offer.

Step 6: Learn from the experience

Once you have apologized and made your offer, take some time to evaluate the your performance and improve. Think about the good that can come out of it and notice how you have changed for the better as a result. Encourage future clients to come to you first before they post a review online.

Step 7: Accentuate the positive

Since they have already written a review online, there is little that you can do to get it removed. Accept it for what it is and then focus on the positive aspects of your business in more than one way. Not only make a mental shift, but literally put a spotlight on your positive achievements online to displace the negative reviews. This can take a while, but start creating more listings that talk about new products, services, news, discounts, and partnerships. You can do this via social media posts, blog posts, or even press releases. The more of this you have, the more likely it is that this information will come up first in the search results before the negative feedback. Also, request that some of your satisfied customers write supportive reviews as well. Adding testimonials to your website will also add more credibility to your business.

Never Fake It!

Although it is quite tempting to pay a company to give you positive reviews, that is not really a good idea. It is one thing you have actual customers that are leaving remarks, but it becomes manufactured when you just start paying people. Truthfully, a lot of companies do pay for reviews, but you do not want to be one of them. People can tell if a review seems to be a little over the top and they will likely overlook most of the positive reviews because they may think that all of them are fake. It could backfire on you because they may just believe the negative reviews just because they seem more honest than some of the overwhelmingly positive reviews. Only solicit reviews from legitimate customers and ask them for completely honest and balanced feedback that will be informative to your future customers.

Step 8: Monitor all feedback

People are not just leaving reviews on places like Google Plus or Yelp because most of them will just tell their friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you do not already monitor social media websites, you should because that is usually one of the first places that they will go when they get angry. You can set up alerts to notify you anytime the name of your business is used like Google Alerts. There are also sites like SocialMention and Hootsuite that let you perform searches on a number of social media websites at once. Actively look for people talking about your company and get involved in their conversations even if it is not overtly negative. Some companies will actually give stuff away to people that are caught giving positive publicity to the company if they send a photo of their new product or just tell their friends what a great experience they had.

What More You can Do

Have A Proactive Customer Service Policy

Customer service is really about stopping these types of issues before they start. Check to see if you even have a way for customers to contact if you they have any problems with their order. It could be an email confirmation, contact form, your website design & navigation or even a physical slip that you send them in the mail. Let them know upfront that they can contact you to correct any problems that may have. Also, allow people to provide tips and suggestions regarding your business. Let people feel welcome to discuss their concerns without fear of retribution.

Build Allies and Partnerships

Having allies and partnerships online will help buffer any damage to your reputation. It helps that you have these things in place before any negative attacks, but it is never too late to start. You want to have people on your side who are loyal readers or followers on social media websites or blogs. Try to find at least a few influential bloggers or social media leaders to support you. Getting these types of people on your side is not always easy, but it is worth it in the long run because they will be at your side if and when something happens. Reach out to people gradually and give them something in exchange for supporting you.

Bolster Your Self-Esteem

On a personal note, it is challenging to deal with any type of negative feedback whether or not it is warranted. Everybody makes mistakes even if they happen to be a multinational corporation, so realize that you are not alone. These types of issues can get to you after a while, so go a step beyond just learning from the experience and actively boost your self-esteem in your personal life. This could mean pursuing some projects just due to your personal interest, taking some time off to relax, meditated, or spend time with your friends and family.

 

Dealing with negative review is not very pleasant, but necessary to your growth as a business. Any time there is a negative review, look at yourself first and think about what you could have done differently. Acknowledge that a mistake has been made and then address the problem with the customer. Just apologize, give them a peace offering, and vow to do better in the future by implementing new policies or procedures. If the situation escalates, then there may be a need to look into legal solutions for the problem, but again it should considered the very last resort to a very serious problem. All businesses make mistakes, but the difference is that the good ones learn from them.