Saturday, December 27, 2014

Business Coach Melbourne site demonstrates three approaches I've created for clients.

The site www.MelbourneCoach.Business has been created for three reasons in addition to promoting Gary Hipworth when people search for Business Coach Melbourne in Google.

  1. An example of taking a PDF brochure and rewriting the brochure as a website to demonstrate a low cost way to quickly achieve an online presence.
  2. Incorporating Virtual Profit Sharing techniques where those provided a code can refer people to Gary Hipworth and generate a passive income stream.
  3. Using the new top level domains and taking advantage of website addresses that would not otherwise be available.

A low cost way to quickly have an online presence

I often find many smaller businesses reluctant to approach a web developer to create an online presence for them and for very good reason. I've seen one business have their domain only registered for them at a cost of $500. I've seen one business pay over $5,000 for what was a couple of pages as a front end for their online shop where the online shop was provided by a supplier for the business and needed no work by the web developer. When the business wanted to move and use the logo they had created for them as part of the cost they were held to ransom for $11,000 for the rights to use their logo. Web developers often register domains and hosting services so that clients are tied to them and if there's a problem, it can be very expensive to move on. Certainly the need to use a web developer can be enough to put any business off once you hear of horror stories like this or worse.

For my clients I'm happy to quickly create a web presence to get them going on the internet. However my approach does require the client to have existing material I can use. It is amazing how much time can be spent when a client says they want a website but have no material on which to base their site. Time is money and the more you can be prepared the quicker the task can be completed. I ask for a Word document, or in this case a PDF, the client would be happy to represent their business on the internet. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it does need to be close to complete with no additional editing of the text of the document and the required graphics need to be present.

I asked Gary Hipworth who is a senior business adviser if he could assist me by providing an example I could use to create a site to promote his business. Gary provided a PDF and I used the PDF to create the website www.MelbourneCoach.Business. It took around 1-1.5 hours to create the content for the site so the cost for the website content in this case would be $120-$180. The domain was $17.95 per year and I used my hosting. Hosting for this site would be around $10 per month. I own this site but normally the client would own the site and the content since the content was theirs. No tie in back to me so they could move their site to whichever developer they wanted in the future.

Virtual Profit Sharing to provide those referring with a passive income stream

Designed into the site are a couple of features which enables Gary to determine the referral source of a new customer that comes via the website, or someone referring a person to the website. Opening up your business to referrals in this way increases the potential for new business which helps you and the person referring. For some businesses referrals come very easy, but for others I've often found no one refers. For example tradies seem to get referrals easily, whereas as an IT consultant/support person people simply don't seem to refer. People are exceptionally happy with the service but the opportunity to refer doesn't present itself as often. It is a good idea to make referring easier so referrals are more likely to happen.

It should be kept in mind the referral mechanism isn't watertight but that is because people tend to make contact in a number of ways and when they do make contact, often they forget where they got the contact details from. The Virtual Profit Sharing approach however increases the chances of the contact being traced back to the referrer in a number of ways.

Now Top Level Domains may be an opportunity or not

New Top Level Domains (TLDs) are now being released in their hundreds. We're all used to the early TLDs such as .com and, but these new TLDs may be an opportunity or waste of money. The website www.MelbourneCoach.Business is a test of using one such TLD.

I'm in the process of testing whether the use of the new TLDs offer an advantage in Google organic search results or not. However ideally you should pick a domain which matches your business requirements. Google may or may not generate you business and even if it does, at any point Google can just as easily take that stream of new business away. That's not a good long term strategy. But sometimes with the right SEO techniques you can have an advantage that is financially worthwhile. So sometimes it is worth seeing if you can find that advantage.

If you're a client of Online Connections and need a low cost website, or would like to explore the world of new TLDs, feel free to contact me.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Skype real-time translator English-Spanish is available for public preview from Microsoft.

Over the years Skype has been a very useful product/service, particularly when I've been travelling. When travelling I call home, family and friends using Skype to landlines. It works well and is cost effective. No bill shock involved when using Skype.

This latest feature isn't something I feel I have a need for, but who knows when a real-time translator could come in handy. I currently have one client who uses a translation service and I've shown a number of clients Google translate. At one time I used Google translate to convert text in another language to English, so even though we may not expect to use a translator, having such a tool in your bag of tricks can come in handy.

So far it looks like the preview is available for English to Spanish and Spanish to English for voice communication and 40 languages for text chats. It will be interesting to watch this technology unfold.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google's Chromium OS and how open source software can be a huge waste of time.

Google builds the Chrome OS (operating system) and makes it available on Chromebooks. Now there's a lot of older computers that could easily run this operating system and Google runs the open source Chromium project where you can find the code. You would it would be an easy matter of downloading Chromium OS and using it to run a PC.

I decided to investigate this option. The first thing you find out is the project doesn't have any compiled version for people to simply install as their operating system on their older PC. Next you go hunting and you find the recommended compilations.

The first highly recommend version I found had a good site but on closer inspection the software hadn't been updated since the start of 2013. Looks like another dead project with no future. The open source ecosystem is littered with dead projects. People start them, make no money so just abandon them. Someone else may then take up the project and in time often the same thing happens again. There's little money to be made so little incentive to continue to maintain. Google's Chrome browser for example still uses the version I created which was somewhere around 2007 before I ditched the open source project for the same reason and decided to start again on a commercial basis.

OK. Try another site. I found one and started the process. First you need to download the file. Then you need to download and install a program to decompress the file because, well, open source projects don't tend to use the common zip format which would make life easier. Then you decompress the file. But now you need to download and install yet another program to create a bootable USB drive so you can run the operating system from a USB drive.

Finally ready to go. Set the computer to boot up from the USB drive and let's go for it. It starts booting up and things look good. Then an error message appears and nothing. The computers locked up. Zero result and the site states they won't look into it not working on your machine.

With open source there's a lot of wasted time hunting through the good from the bad. Project won't admit when they're dead. People take code from all over the place calling it their own. In the end you waste a great deal of time.

If you're consider using open source software stick with the major projects that have been around for some time. These project often use open source project to support their work and it isn't their source of revenue so the project will often continue as long as the business continues. There are a number of open source projects that have been around for a long time and the software can be quite good such as Gimp on Windows. Steer clear of the Mac version which is a waste of time.

Overall I find commercial software does most of what I want and I'm happy to pay for the software. The hours you can waste on open source software can be huge so do take care if you go down that path.

As for Chromium OS on an old PC. I think I'll just skip that option for the time being. However for my clients I'll continue to investigate as many options as I can in case they provide better value or can end up saving some clients money. It really is about working out what works and what doesn't work and providing a cost effective professional solution. Most of the time this is commercial software, but on the odd occasion an open source project can provide a solution that meets a client's need.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Do you have recovery disks for your computer should the hard disk fail?

Recently I repaired a client's computer. The hard disk had failed meaning everything had gone. The computer itself was good and reasonably fast for a computer around 5-6 years old, so the decision was made to replace the hard disk and reinstall everything.

A new hard disk of the same size was $55 and it only takes a couple of minutes to install. Unfortunately there was no recovery disk for the operating system. It was decided to purchase a copy of Windows 8.1 which cost $123. Had the recovery disks been available this cost could have been avoided.

When you purchase a new computer you'll often find you either receive a set of disks which provide the ability to recover the computer, or there is an option where you can burn your own set of recovery disks. It is a good idea to make sure you have a set of recovery disks. If your hard disk fails, your operating system gets corrupted beyond repair, or you get a serious malware infection where it may be quicker to restore your computer than remove the malware, the recovery disks can be the fastest and cheapest ways to recover your computer.

Do you have recovery disks for your computer?

If you don't, then think about creating a set today. Think of the recovery disks as insurance for your computer. You may never need them, but if you do, you'll be glad you took the time to create them.

Once the computer had the new disk installed, and Windows 8.1 operating system installed, it was simply a matter of time to install the software the client had, set up all their applications, printer, internet and email access. The client hadn't performed a backup so their data was lost.

Do you have a current backup of your important data?

The recovery disks should enable you to recover your computer back to when it was new. However your own files you create are often more important than the computer itself. So do make sure you have a copy of your important data such as documents and photos you've created. A regular backup done based on your needs can mean the difference between losing everything, or having a copy of most things. If you don't have a backup program I wrote the MyBackup utility ( which enables me to create backup routines for clients and you're welcome to use the utility for your needs.

Save yourself some heartache and money, and make sure you have or create a set of restore disks and even consider performing a backup today.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support
Also www.Computer-Repairs.Melbourne.