Im always on the lookout for useful Web sites, tools, software and products that can benefit you. My friends have come to rely upon me as their trusted secret source for the latest and greatest productivity tools. Without further ado, heres my latest batch of recommendations
One of the challenges with having an online business is the number of Web sites that you visit and subsequently bookmark. If youre anything like me, you have hundreds of sites stored in your favorites folder.
One of the things that really annoyed me about my favorites was that often a link would cease to be active, but I would only find that out when I went to visit the site.
AM-Deadlink is a small software program that works with all the major browsers to automatically weed out dead links from your favorites folder or bookmarks folder. And its freeware, so theres no cost.
(Click for larger image).
I know, I know. Youve heard of Skype, you dont need me to tell you about it. Right, I thought that would be the case. But let me ask you this: Are you actually using it?
Chances are, youre not, which means you should be.
Dont be put off by unenthusiastic comments youve heard in the past, negative reviews, and so on. Theres just as many positive ones, and the point is, although Skype may have had a rocky road, its now got the full backing and support of one of the most successful companies in the world eBay, and it should be taken seriously.
If you need the quick overview of what Skype is, Ill give you that right now. Skype is an Internet communication system. In practical terms that means a piece of software that you can download onto your computer, which then uses your Internet connection to link up with other people who use Skype, or any other regular phone number. If youre familiar with Windows Messenger or those types of chat services, its similar, but more advanced.
Skype can also be similar to your regular home phone, but its also much more besides. Have you heard of Vonage? Skype is in the same category.
Skype, which was previously an independent company, was bought by eBay, and like I said, they want every eBay user to benefit from it. There are numerous benefits to Skype that you may not be aware of.
- Free voice calls between Skype users, anywhere in the world, anytime
- Ability for both Skype users to see each other if they both have a Web cam attached to their computer.
- Basic Skype functions work on Windows, Mac and Linux
- You can use a regular style Skype-compatible phone as a replacement for your home or office phone
- The cost to dial regular phone numbers is very cheap, ridiculously cheap compared to most phone companies.
- You can setup a regular phone number for your Skype account, so that anyone can dial and reach you from a regular phone or their Skype service.
- As long as you have a decent broadband Internet connection, the quality of the voice youll hear is excellent, far superior to regular phone lines.
Dont wait any longer, download and install Skype today, youll be glad you did. Sure, theres a learning curve, but its not difficult and youll soon see the benefits.
(Click for larger image).
I absolutely love this one. Its a service that for $9.99 a month intercepts your cellphone voicemail, converts it to text, and then instantly sends the message to you as an email or a text message.
Think about what this means. If youre the sort of person who doesnt like checking your messages, or is in a lot of meetings, you never need to check voicemail again all the messages come to your e-mail or as a text message. Have you ever had a message where the caller leaves a number or directions, but youre not able to write it down? With this service, that problem isnt a problem anymore.
Ive been using the service for a few weeks and the quality of the transcription is amazing. I had one message where it lost a few words, but even that wasnt a problem because the original voicemail is always attached to the email as an mp3 file so I could listen to it.
There is even online account access, so you can check your messages anywhere you can get online. I highly recommend this service. Take advantage of their seven-day free trial, and Im sure youll love it too.
Theres no question that buyers like to see lots of images in an auction listing, but many sellers shy away from doing that because of the cost to add those images within the eBay system.
(Click for larger image).
Theres a host of solutions out there that let you store images for this purpose, but the one I like the most is Photobucket.com. Its very easy to use, its quick, and its free.
Once youve setup an account and logged in, its one button to select the photo from your local hard drive and upload it, and since all your images are displayed on the same page of the Web site, youre instantly able to copy some html code to paste into your eBay listings.
It really couldnt be any simpler to use, which is why I recommend it highly.
Figure one shows what youll see on the home page once youve logged in. At the top you simply click on Browse to select the image you want to upload. Bear in mind that your images should be less than 100kb in size for eBay.
Once you upload the image or images, copy the text from the HTML Tag box below the image to the clipboard (right-click your mouse in Windows and select Copy), and then paste them into the HTML area of an auction listing.
Once youve pasted the code, eBay knows how to suck the image in from Photobucket and displays it in your listing. Clever stuff, eh?
Photobucket can even host videos, although Ive not tried that service. They also have a paid service, their Pro version for $25 a year, which is a bargain, but I cant really see any benefit in upgrading for eBay use because the standard service is so good.
The only exception might be if you are an extremely heavy user of the service. If you still need some more help with the techie stuff, you can visit the Tutorials section where the friendly folks at PhotoBucket.com walk you through the entire process.
Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks,a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."
Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!