Whether you are a small business, a mommy blogger, or a large corporation, chances are you will experience at least one website crash over your years of operation. Though there are many steps you should take to prevent such an occurrence, it is always good to prepare for the worst. Luckily, even if your site does go down, there are plenty of things you can to do stay productive and minimize the damaging effects.

1. Contact Your Website Host Provider

The first thing to do when you site crashes is contact your web host provider. Most small business website hosting services offer 24/7 tech support, so no matter when trouble comes your way, you can begin solving the problem immediately. Always keep the contact information, IDs and passwords for your webhost account on hand. That way you won’t have to hunt down old emails, receipts, or people to verify account information and security checks.

2. Queue Up Fresh Content

Waiting for your blog or website to reboot can be frustrating and stressful—especially if you have built up regular traffic and a consistent publication schedule. However, just because your site is down, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be productive offline.

Use this time as an opportunity to focus on your content. If you have articles, infographics, photos, or contests to add to your blog, prepare them now. Write a week’s worth of blog posts; get ahead on your graphics designs; prepare the details for your contest or giveaway. The more you can accomplish offline, the more prepared you will be when you get back online.

3. Update Social Media Accounts

Ideally, you want to send your content primarily through your website. However, when this isn’t an option, social media networks are a good alternative. Use your downtime to update your various accounts. Depending on your website’s purpose, you can use accounts like Facebook and Twitter to publish content and news updates, communicate with your clients, and build your brand connections.

Additionally, sites like Pinterest use visual content to push traffic and sales, so you can always build up your pin history and network of followers. And finally, if necessary, Tumblr is a simple, free blogging platform that you can use to post content until your site comes back online. Don’t underestimate the power of social media and other online platforms to get your word across and stay connected during a site failure.

4. Rely on a Backup Site

Establishing a backup site is another effective way to stay productive and present online when your primary website crashes. Some website hosts provide this service option. If yours doesn’t, however, you can establish your own backup system independently or create a second, minimalist version of your current website that is hosted with a separate provider.

That way, if and when your site goes down, you can still redirect traffic to your emergency backup page. Just ask your hosting provider to set up a temporary domain name redirect to send your traffic to your backup site until you can get your main page back online.

Site downtime can be a real drag. But don’t let it get you down! Keep up with your competitors and stay on top of your game during a website crash by following the aforementioned tips and remaining calm. With some savvy legwork and a little foresight and preparation, you can stay productive and effective online and offline.

Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. For more information on small business website hosting, check out Midphase.

Deciding to start an online business is one of the most exciting adventures many entrepreneurs embark upon; it can also be one of the most challenging. Finding a way to make a product or service a success online is possible; however, it takes the right efforts from the start to make it work.

If you’re interested in starting an online business, take a look at the following pieces of advice.

Think About What You Have to Offer

Consider the product or service you’d like to sell online. What need does it fill? Is it unique? If you’re selling something that thousands of other companies already sell, you’re starting off with too much competition, which could be a hindrance.

Instead, look for an angle, an edge that will make your product or service stand out. Perhaps that means marketing to a specific local audience, or finding a new way to market a service that is already popular. Your offering should be memorable, useful and worth your customers’ time.

Pick a Domain

Just as important as selecting a business location for brick and mortar stores is picking a domain for an online business. To start, think of around five key words that describe your business’ main product or service in simple terms. From there, select a domain that is memorable and visibly different from other similar websites. Keep it short, and run a quick search to be sure you’re not infringing on any existing copyrights.

Make sure the domain you settle on is easy to remember and to say out loud without clarification. Avoid punctuation or strange spellings — if saying your domain out loud requires spelling it out one letter at a time, it’s probably not your best option.

Create the Perfect Site

Once you have a business plan and a domain, it’s time to design the site. This is the exciting part. You can start your site with an existing template from a popular host site — think Weebly or WordPress — or work with a reliable designer experienced in creating websites appropriate for your field.

Consider the capabilities you’d like your site to have. It should be easy to navigate, have the ability to process payments, use a color scheme that matches your theme and promote your brand in a clutter-free, customer-friendly environment.

Secure Funding

Most businesses need start-up money to get off the ground; online businesses are no different. Ensuring you have the capital behind your business gives you room to focus on operations and growing the brand. Take the time to think about the costs associated with your business, from web design and hosting to office supplies. Don’t go overboard — you’ll need to pay it back — but don’t cut yourself short, either. To get started, look online for small business grants, or research tips to get a business loan.

Listen to Customers From the Start

One of the top mistakes entrepreneurs make is failing to take customer feedback to heart or listening to what customers are looking for. If your product is not meeting the needs or expectations of your customers, you’ll fail before you start.

To avoid customer service pitfalls, ask for feedback regularly, and respond in a timely manner if a problem arises. Invite customers to share their opinions, and reward them for doing so. By building a customer base that understands you’re looking to connect with them, you’ll go a long way.

Starting an online business should be a fulfilling, exciting adventure. Following the advice above will eliminate common frustrations and roadblocks and ensure that you and your business reach the best possible outcome.

eBay is great place to build your online store.  In 2013, 40% of home based businesses that sold products online did not have their own websites, but instead chose to use sites like eBay to sell their products.  eBay is the perfect tool for businesses and individuals alike.

Learning the tricks of the trade when using eBay can ensure that your products sell and your buyers keep coming back for more.  While there are many different things that can be done with eBay, there are some basics that every buyer should know.

Create an Amazing Listing

The only real thing that eBay users are going to see of your product is your listing.  eBay gives you a chance to make your item stand out from everyone else’s items.  Use proper names and spelling as users are generally looking for a specific product.  Be sure to be specific in your descriptions. If you’re selling car parts, for example, instead of saying ‘Mustang Parts’, say ‘2009 ford mustang parts’.  The more specific you are, the more likely you are to be searched. Also, post pictures that are clear so users can see the items firsthand.  Be honest when describing the condition of your products as being honest is important to users who buy on eBay.

Figure Out what Is In Demand

eBay has market information that helps sellers know which items are selling and which are not.  Take advantage of this research to help you determine prices, bid limits, and posting dates.  Some of the most consistently popular items include vehicles, electronics gear, and fashion apparel.

Determine Your Product’s Delivery

Every item sold on eBay will have to be delivered to a buyer some way and it is good for a seller to figure out all the possible means of delivery that they may have to use for their products.  Small items such as CDs or Books can be shipped easily, but larger items such as cars will need special shipping.  Also depending if the shipping is to a different state or country, there are certain laws and regulations that need to be followed.  You can find out shipping prices on the USPS website or simply Google what you need to know.

Set the Price Right

Price is always a factor especially when selling on eBay.  There are millions of sellers and buyers know this and are willing to search long and hard for the best deal.  eBay makes it easy for them however because of their extensive search result options that range from lowest shipping items to buy it now products.  Sellers can also use the search results and do some research before listing their item so they know what current marketing price is.

Provide Multiple Payment Methods

Make it easy for your buyers to purchase your item by providing different forms of payment.  eBay offers PayPal, credit cards, or electronic payments; PayPal accounts for almost half, 43%, of all sales that are made on eBay.  Checks and money orders are generally not used on eBay due to the fact of liability.  However it is important to protect yourself no matter what method you use so be sure to make sure to verify the method of payment before shipping your item.

Protect Your Products

One of the worse things that can happen is that you finally sell your item only to have it delivered in pieces.  Make sure to package your item well as it could be traveling to another country and will be man-handled a lot.  Include the proper packaging for fragile items and make sure there is room in the package for foam peanuts or newspaper to cushion your item for its trip.

Create a Good Reputation

Being online means that building your reputation is critical and eBay provides buyers and sellers alike a chance to help build their reputations.  Users look at reviews to get a feel for how the seller of their item satisfies their customers.  If they see a lot of positive reviews they will feel more secure in purchasing an item from you.  However if they see a lot of negative reviews they may hesitate from buying from you even if your prices are the best.  Another way to build a reputation is to include a business card or postcard with your items when you ship the so people know you and will be more likely to go back the next time they need something.

Keep an Eye on Trends

Stay ahead of your competition by looking at trends and predicting what will happen in the future.  If you sell things such as fashion or electronics, stay up to date with the current events and new products that will be coming out.  Paying attention can help you prepare for what your customers will want as well as know which out of date products will be flooding eBay in the upcoming months.

Selling on eBay is not necessarily brain surgery, but it does need a little attention in order to be successful.  With millions of buyers and sellers, it is an online marketplace that has a large pool of demand. Looking at the details and taking your time when dealing with buyers can mean repeat customers and continuous income.

We live in an internet-driven world—an era in which many of our business contacts and prospective employers hire us based on our social media image. That is why it is so important to nurture and maintain a positive online reputation.

The following tips will help you foster this spotless image and enjoy the success that you know you deserve.

Laptop1. Beware of What You Share

Once the photo of you draped across the ladies’ room floor, hugging the porcelain wishing well while praying for God to end your head-spinning misery is in your future employer’s hands, it’s too late. The image cannot be unseen—and the damage to your online reputation cannot be undone. Never share anything that you wouldn’t want your dear old granny, your priest, or the CEO of your dream employer to see or you will likely live to regret it.

2. Don’t Be a Downer

The only person who wants to hear about your problems is your therapist and she gets paid to listen. No one wants to do business with an Oscar the Grouch, which likely explains his long-time tenure in a trash can. Aim to display a positive attitude and your reputation will improve substantially. 

3. Mind Your P’s and Q’s

Your mother didn’t drill this mantra into your mind for the good of her health. She knew it was a valuable lesson that would serve you well later in life, and she was right. If someone takes the time to share or respond to something you have written, thank them. Not only is it the polite thing to do, it fosters positive relationships with important contacts—elevating your online reputation.

Hand-Touchpad

4. Be Newsworthy

You may love the sound of your own voice, but odds are that others will not—unless you have something riveting to tell them. Create content that is relevant, interesting, and, most important, likely to inspire others to share it. Soon you will be known as the person to go to for great material—a huge boost to your online reputation.

5. Select Friends Carefully

“Patti the Party Girl” may have been fun in high school, but as a professional adult, you do not want to be linked to her grown-up, alcohol-induced rants. As the old “birds of a feather” adage warns, you do not want to be found guilty by association. Weed out “friends” who conduct their online selves in an unseemly fashion because failing to do so will instantly annihilate your online persona.

6. Google Yourself

The odds are that prospective clients and employers are going to Google you, so it would be wise for you to know exactly what they will find. Your Facebook friend has tagged you on his bachelor party stripper shots? Get rid of those A.S.A.P. Keeping one step ahead and deleting any questionable material that you uncover will greatly help to ensure that your pristine online image remains intact.

7. Talk to the Right People

Seek out the people that are being talked about—the household names that everyone knows. These people have huge fan bases, and that equates to potential followers for you. Create clever replies to their posts. Share their content. And, most importantly, try to build a lasting connection with them. The more well-connected you become, the higher your online image will soar.

8. Integrate Your Efforts

Utilizing social media is a complete waste of time and effort if people don’t know where to find you. Ensure that print media contains your email, blog, and website addresses. And don’t forget to proofread for mistakes. Link your social media tools to one another. The easier you make it for people to follow you, the more followers you will have.

9. Relish Negative Feedback

You are probably thinking “only an idiot would relish negative feedback,” but negative feedback is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite valuable. Instead of letting your critics get your haunches up, use these comments as a springboard from which to make improvements. If “George from Tennessee” thinks your design idea for toilet paper rolls is stupid, don’t respond by calling him a “giant asshat.” Swallow your pride and thank him for his input. Fight the urge to delete his comment.

Your followers want to know that you value their opinions and erasing criticism is—for lack of a better word—dumb. It not only makes you look petty and inflexible, but it also brings into question your honesty. Plus, George’s comment might spark great interest. Maybe other followers will jump in to defend your toilet paper roll idea. A person who is willing to respect the opinions of others is much more likely to enjoy a spotless online reputation.

10. Avoid “Image Not Available”

People trust people, not colored-in silhouettes. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts that do not contain a profile image tend to raise suspicions. Take the time to create a profile image that you are proud of—one that you can consistently use across your full social media spectrum. It will substantially increase your perceived trustworthiness—a key ingredient in the creation of a “Triple A” online reputation.

Remember, your online reputation represents you 24 hours a day, seven days a week to countless people the world over. Never take it for granted. Following these ten tips will ensure that cyber-you accurately represents you in the flesh.

Starting a web hosting company from scratch can be a very daunting task, especially if one does not have the necessary technical knowledge. In addition, it is usually very costly to set up the necessary system and framework.

However, reseller web hosting makes it easy for anyone to get into the web hosting field. It involves reselling hosting services from a larger hosting provider. This means that you don’t have to worry about building network infrastructure, configuring servers and maintaining hardware.

For anyone willing to put in some time and hard work, reseller hosting can turn out to be a very lucrative way of making money online. Here are some tips for getting started with reseller web hosting.

1. Select the Right Hosting Company

One of the great things about reseller hosting is that you don’t have to spend time and money on putting up a technological infrastructure. All you need to do is buy a large chunk of bandwidth and server space from a hosting company, which you can then assign to your customers at a specified fee.

However, your reseller hosting experience will be a nightmare if you select a provider which has poor customer support, low server speed or poor uptime. Before making a decision, take time to carry out some research and compare your options. Remember to visit forums to find out what people have to say about different hosting providers.

2. Take Advantage of Offers

Many reseller hosting providers offer great deals on days such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Occasionally, you might find an offer of up to 70% off. Therefore, when getting started, you need to take advantage of such promotions and sales from various hosting sites. This will enable you to lower your start-up costs significantly.

3. Specialize in Something

To enhance your chances of success in reseller hosting, it would be advisable to focus on only one kind of hosting. For instance, if you are very conversant with WordPress, you could offer your customers a unique WordPress hosting package. Specializing in a specific niche will help you offer better support, and thus create customer loyalty.

4. Create a Custom Brand

Brand recognition is very vital for any business. Therefore, you need to take time to come up with a unique logo and name for your business. Don’t make the mistake of settling for something generic.  If your business is generic, it will not stand out from other similar businesses in the industry. Once you have chosen your brand, take time to brand your client dashboards and control panels. Create custom skins, upload your business logo and use every opportunity available to promote your reseller hosting brand. If your customers have a memorable experience with your brand, they will spread the word to everyone else.

5. Back up Frequently

In the initial stages of reseller hosting, mistakes are inevitable. You can lower the risk of losing data due to server failure by backing up regularly. This can either be done manually or through the reseller hosting company. Alternatively, you could opt to use a third party system.

6. Pricing

Deciding on the pricing of your reseller hosting packages might be a difficult task. There are many hosting providers who offer ridiculously low prices for their packages. In most cases, such web hosts also offer poor services. Don’t settle for less. Make sure the prices of your packages are reasonable and fair. This will enable you to win the trust of your customers and prospects.

7. Have a Unique Selling Proposition

Position yourself in a way that will make you stand out from the competition. However, don’t just throw around some numbers and statistics since your customers are not all tech savvy. Explain to them in a clear way why they should sign up with you and not your competitors. For instance, can you offer 99% uptime? Can you offer support 24/7?

You need to mention such points on your site. When you present yourself as a reliable hosting provider, customers are likely to feel safer doing business with you. However, don’t make unrealistic promises. If you fail to deliver, your reputation will be in jeopardy.

About the Author:

Charles is a tech enthusiast and has written reviews about offers such as the westhost coupon and the yahoo web hosting. Click here to read his latest post. He also writes frequently for blogs which offers information concerning topics such as domain names, web hosting, internet marketing and social media. Once in a while, he also writes for Replace Your Salary. Besides writing, his other passion is music. 

Business operations are evolving at lightning speed, and small business owners are faced with having to make equally fast decisions on technology needs. Established businesses might need new tech tools for office staffers, transaction devices for your mobile team or maybe even a go-ahead call on moving your Web servers into the cloud.

The pace of technology affects not only large corporations but almost every established business in operation. Business owners must be efficient and use limited resources to not only improve market positions but also manage critical daily business operations. Besides limited budgets, ample time is also an issue for business owners, as they generally wear many hats in the day-to-day operations. But that’s what business owners do; they put a lot of sweat and grit into building the business. To achieve long-term success, business owners must adapt to marketplace changes.

Keeping Up with the Times

From updating websites to buying new PCs, sea changes in technology are forcing business owners to look at every aspect of operations as it relates to technology and the Web. When do we upgrade our website to HTML5? When does the new online store get added to our online catalog? Do we switch out our server to something like Windows VPS at MyHosting.com for cloud based services? These are the questions faced by every business owner.

Cloud-based Web hosts spread the electronic and digital load of the hosted sites across all servers and can also expand or reduce usage and loads based on the needs of the hosted sites. For instance, if your site gets overloaded with unexpected Web traffic, your cloud-based Web server will be able to increase your site’s ability to load quicker.

You’ll be outsourcing your Web-hosting needs to a company that understands Web architecture, what your site demands will and won’t be and how much bandwidth and data storage you’ll likely need. If you can have that process managed by a professional, why wouldn’t you? Your time as a business owner can be better utilized.

Here are a few considerations to understand as you research the benefits of cloud-based Web hosting.

Domain Name & Reliability

As your business upgrades, make sure these needs of your site are covered: domain name registration and renewals; anti-virus and security protection; data storage space; online supports and Web-hosting guarantees; data-transfer needs and email capabilities.

Web Host Costs

Established businesses should look to a new supply of many cloud-hosting services for costs ranging anywhere from as little as about $4 per month to nearly $10 per month. The technology behind cloud-based hosting is cheaper and costs are coming down for cloud servers. Check costs with your provider choice and get a written guarantee for the estimates for bandwidth and disk space, domain needs and setup requirements.

Energy Efficiency

You can take advantage of green Web-hosting services. More frequently, Web-hosting companies are seeing substantial results by switching to more energy-efficient CPUs, hard drives and power supplies. Even large corporations such as Facebook are reducing data server footprints. These items are market-ready for Web hosts, and if you’re energy focused, spend a bit more to reduce your carbon footprint.

The life of the freelance worker is enviable to many–the freedom of being one’s own boss, the flexibility of setting one’s own hours, and the excitement of taking on new tasks every day are all great reasons to make the move into freelance work.

However, living the freelance life also incurs a great amount of responsibility for professionals in all fields. Maintaining a good reputation is vital to the freelancer’s livelihood, and this is not always easy to do, especially on the internet. Lightening fast communications make it easy for reputations to be made or destroyed in the blink of an eye, and it is important for freelancers to protect their reputations online.

Use Free Tools to Monitor Your Reputation Online

The ease of publishing on the internet makes it a difficult task to keep tabs on what is being said about you, and the near infinite amount of web pages does not make the task any easier. However, protecting your reputation doesn’t have to be a Herculean feat of strength.

Start by using general tools like Google Alerts and Analytics for your website to keep tabs on your website’s traffic and any relevant searches that are being conducted about you. This is a great way to monitor what’s going on with your website on a day-to-day basis without much difficulty.

Of course, there are plenty of discussions going on outside of your website, and you never know when you may be the subject of such discussions. You can use services like Google Blog Search or Technorati to easily see if your name is popping up in the blogging world–one of the internet’s biggest soap boxes.

Message boards and forums are possible places where you may find people gossiping, so try tools like BoardTracker to keep an eye on multi-user discussions. You may also want to keep an eye on websites like Yelp, one of the most widely used platforms for people to write and promote reviews of everything from restaurants to real estate agents.

Worst Case Scenario, Use Legal Resources

If you do find yourself being discussed in a negative light, you do of course have the option of defending yourself. However, engaging in arguments on the internet is very often a frivolous game. If you feel you can facilitate a civil discussion and bolster your reputation, by all means do so, but don’t become frustrated if dialogues become unproductive.

Those who find themselves being unfairly slandered on the web do have the option of legal recourse. Online defamation is a serious issue, so if you feel that you have a strong case, preserve your reputation and combat the offenders by enlisting legal assistance.

You can’t please all of the people all the time, but by putting these online reputation management strategies to work, you should be able to at least control the wildfires of internet gossip. As so much freelance work is solicited through the internet, it will be very important to defend your online reputation in order to be successful. Always keep a watchful eye.

Reading negative comments about your business online is many store owners’ worst nightmare. After pouring so much time and energy into a business, it can be very painful when anonymous consumers have bad things to say about your store. Plus, with the increasing popularity of online review sites, more and more consumers are making choices about where to shop based on what other people have to say. Consequently, a negative review can damage your ego and your finances.

But business owners who know how to handle negative online reviews can do quite a bit to regain their reputation online. In fact, a well-handled negative review can give other customers even greater confidence in your store (or on your website) than they previously had. Read on to learn some best practices for monitoring and responding to online reviews.

1. Take A Step Back

When you read a negative review of your business online, it’s natural to want to respond right away to set the record straight. But responding before you’ve thought through your answer can do much more harm than good. Take some time to calm down and think rationally about your response before commenting on the review.

2. Consider Your Customer’s Perspective

Yes, you’ve trained your staff well and know the staff member mentioned in the review never would have said what the reviewer reported. But everyone has bad days, even the best staff, and it’s possible that a comment was misconstrued or poorly phrased. Even if you were there to witness the incident, remember that a customer would not have gone to the trouble of writing a review unless he or she felt severely wronged.

When a customer feels an injustice occurred or that his or her opinion was not taken seriously, that’s when negative reviews occur. Keep in mind how you’d feel if you received the type of service described in the review, and you’ll be in a better position to make the customer feel good about your store again.

3. Do Respond!

One of the worst mistakes business owners can make in the face of a bad online review is not responding to the customer’s criticism or concerns. Often, customers just want to feel that their opinion is heard and taken seriously, so sometimes irate customers will back off right away when a manager or store owner makes the effort to respond in a concerned manner.

4. Don’t Fight Back

When someone writes a vicious review of your store (or site/blog), the worst thing you can do is respond with sarcasm or insult the reviewer. Apologize that the customer was made to feel bad, and then give a diplomatic response calmly explaining your perspective on the situation or promising that the treatment the customer received will not happen again.

Some store owners offer a customer who wrote a negative review a discount if they return to their store so that they can show them how the shopping experience is supposed to go. If you run an online business, offer a discount of your product or service, or a coupon if you’re able.

5. Include a Photo that Shows Your Eyes

It may sound silly, but researchers have discovered that people are much less likely to lash out at strangers online when they can see their eyes, as they would during a face-to-face conversation. Sometimes reducing a customer’s rage is as simple as helping them to understand that you, the store owner or manager, are a real person, too.

6. Know the Rules of the Site

Some review sites will allow store owners to delete or edit reviews they receive. Even if they don’t, reviews that violate the terms of service may be taken down, such as if you have cause to believe the review was written fraudulently — such as by an angry ex-employee or rival business. If this is the case, avoid airing your dirty laundry in a response to the reviewer, and take your complaints straight to the site management.

7. Use the Feedback You Receive

As hard as it may be to hear criticism of your business, it’s possible the reviewer provided some useful information that could improve customer experience for others. During staff meetings, talk about the review to help your employees better handle a similar situation in the future.

About the Author

Valerie Cecil is a research coordinator, marketing specialist and writer for Outbounding.com. Her work allows her to investigate many topics, ranging from online consumer relations to effective communication in the workplace. When she is not working, she enjoys kayaking, watercolor, and scouting out the best tissue paper on www.retailpackaging.com/categories/22-tissue.

With the advent of the Internet, it’s hard to maintain your privacy for too long. Unless you completely stay away from the web, it can be difficult to avoid building an online presence. As a result, you may have accumulated a reputation online over time, whether you like it or not.

And, if you’re doing any sort of business online, then this will be inevitable. You won’t be able to avoid having an online presence

If you feel as though anyone could dig up and reveal unwanted information about yourself, you may want to take measures to fix your reputation. A poor reputation can not only harm your online presence; it can also have a dire effect on your privacy and security. This could also adversely affect your business as well, and that, I’m sure, is something you want to avoid at all costs.

The following are several consequences that arise with a poor reputation, and how they can be addressed with online reputation management.

Exposed Private Information

Nowadays, a simple search can reveal a wealth of information on any given individual. Not only is your name out there; there may be the risk that your birth date and phone number is also in the open. In dire cases, sensitive data such as credit card or social security numbers may even be exposed.

If you find any warning signs in your search results, then quickly contact the website owner and ask for the information to be taken down. By removing this data as soon as possible, you can take the precautions necessary to protect your identity.

Social Media Usage

It’s hard to escape the use of social media, as it has become a part of the Internet experience (and doing business online). However, your social media usage can display more than your preferences and activity; it can also have a significant effect on your privacy.

Therefore, you’ll want to engage in online profile reputation management in order to keep prying eyes away from your private life. If your friends and colleagues have posted any embarrassing updates or photos, send them a private message, asking to remove the content.

In addition, many social media sites, such as Facebook, allow you to deal with any incriminating content yourself. Finally, make sure that you make your social media accounts as private as possible, by maximizing the privacy settings.  With such precautions, you can increase the chances that your social media accounts stay as secure and private as possible.

Online to Offline

More so than ever, your online activity can play a role in actions that are decided offline. Whether you’re applying for a job, a home or even a loan, a simple Internet search can tell the individual whether you’re qualified or not.

How many people do you know who were fired because of inappropriate posts on Facebook and Twitter? Or maybe you know someone who didn’t get that job they really wanted due to certain Facebook content that was uncovered by the employer doing a background check?

You’ll want to do all you can to make the first impression as favorable as possible. Luckily, there are a number of steps that can help you take the preliminary steps towards a cleaner online presence. For example, keeping track of your name through Google Alerts and attempting to remove negative content can help you manage your reputation and stay vigilant towards protecting your online presence.

Also, producing consistent, positive content is a great way to push away any embarrassing search results attributed to your name. In short, an active stance towards reputation management can minimize the chances that your online life collides with reality.

What steps do you take to manage your reputation online? Ever find any negative or incriminating evidence of yourself that was publicly available? How did you handle the situation?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Rachel Hyun Kim is a professional blogger who writes on a variety of topics, ranging from SEO, social media and business. She loves to learn all she can about online marketing, and is always looking for the next writing opportunity.

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

“Work from home, earn thousands a week, and never change out of your pajamas – it sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it probably isn’t.”

This type of job advertisement is one of the most common of the scams online. With the current situation in the job market, it’s likely an even more popular and successful scheme. That doesn’t mean that every work-from-home offer isn’t legitimate, but it does mean that you should be wary! Many opportunities sound very enticing, but with a little further investigation you can ferret out the fakes.

Here are 10 of the most convincing home-based online business offers to help you narrow down the field:

1. Assembly Jobs

The offer is simple: you assemble a toy, doll, or other craft using their kits. The company even offers to buy the completed item and sell it for you. So where’s the downside? You have to “meet their specifications” in terms of assembly, and not surprisingly, no matter how well you do, you won’t. In the end, you’ve spent money on the starter kit – and are simply stuck with a bunch of completed crafts.

I remember seeing such offers like this in my local newspaper since I was a little kid. It was known way back then that this type of advertisement was a complete fake, but for some reason you always saw it in the paper.

2. Medical Billing

With a small one-time investment of $400 to $1,000 for software, you can start a medical billing service from your own home. They even throw in a list of potential clients near you. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, most medical clients process their own bills, and when they do decide to outsource, they hire companies – not individuals. And if you ever do get a hold of that “client list,” you’ll find that the information is outdated or incorrect.

The best thing to do if you want to get into medical billing is to go to school or get some formal training. From there, get hired by a company where you’ll be coding full-time. After a while, it may be possible that you can start working out of your home and telecommuting.

3. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Offers

There are some MLM opportunities that are legitimate, such as Amway and SFI, but most are simply pyramid schemes that focus more on climbing the ladder than selling the product or service. These offers are even more dangerous than your average scam, because besides being out the money you spent to start up, if the Federal Trade Commission finds that the business is more focused on recruiting than selling, it can be considered fraud. If you participate, you could be charged!

Do your research and focus on companies that offer a tangible product or service. While there is nothing wrong with recruiting new members on your own (which can be profitable), there should also be viable products to sell as well.

4. Envelope Stuffer

This scam is so effective that it’s been around since the Great Depression, and it’s also illegal. The promise is simple: you can stuff up to 1,000 envelopes per week – postage and address already included – at $1 to $2 a pop. How does it work? You’ll be instructed to post a flyer around town advertising a work-at-home opportunity. When someone sees the flyer, they send you $1 to $2 and a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope – and you send back another flyer with information on how they can do the same thing.

Again, I’ve seen this around as well since a little kid. Don’t waste your time!

5. Typist

If you run across these ads on job websites, it’s likely you can type, so you already know you qualify. But unfortunately, it works similarly to the envelope stuffing scheme. You simply receive instruction on how to type up an ad (yep, that’s how your typing skills are involved!) and that suckers someone else into the same scheme.

6. Call 1-900…

The ad promises that if you call this number, you’ll get more details about great, guaranteed work-from-home opportunities. The problem? That’s not a toll-free number. Instead you’ll simply rack up a phone bill as the scammer rakes in the cash.

7. Google Money Tree

This is just one of several scams that promises to turn your computer into a money-making machine, but because they include the word “Google,” it’s particularly effective at luring people in. Like many other scams, they start by asking for a few dollars for a start-up kit – and then they charge you for a much more expensive “membership” – $50 to $70 – without your permission.

You can cancel the membership, but most people are unaware of any recurring costs, so you’re already out the $50 or more before you can call. You’re actually just paying for information you can get for free on the Google Adwords platform and how to use it to make money, or quite possibly, lose even more money.

8. Email Processing

The envelope stuffing scam has grown up and entered the digital realm with this scam. Again, you’re offered a kit to get started, but this job simply doesn’t exist anywhere. Instead, you are given instruction on how to scam others.

9. Secret Shopper

We’ve all heard about this dream job opportunity: just visit stores and get paid. All you need to do is share information on your experience afterwards. But here’s the deal: while these opportunities do actually exist, they are most often scams. They will either ask you to pay for a “start-up kit” upfront or offer you the opportunity to pay for a list of companies that need shoppers – but the information won’t be legit. Some scammers have even taken to offering a money-back guarantee to try to assuage any doubts you (correctly) have, but if you try to actually get a refund, you’ll have no luck.

Do due diligence and proper research first before getting involved in any secret shopper program.

10. Link Poster

All you need to do is post links, and you’ll make a ton of cash! This has been circulating as an email, often falsely associating the deal with Google or Yahoo. Like “Google Money Tree,” you’ll be asked to pay a nominal fee to start-up, but in the fine print of those terms and conditions, you’re actually agreeing to a much higher price for a membership. And good luck trying to get any of your money back since the numbers on the website won’t work.

Same deal again… posting ads via Google Adwords, where you have the potential to make money, or lose a lot of money.

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