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Laptop Computer Buyers Guide »

For the first time ever, computer buyers are more likely to buy a laptop than a desktop or tower PC.

In the past, laptop computers generally came with higher price tags than their desktop counterparts, while offering comparatively less performance. Today, entry-level laptops often cost the same as desktops - if not less - and most computer users are unable to distinguish a performance difference between the two. If you are in the market for your first laptop computer, consider the following:

Screen Size

The single most important detail to consider when purchasing a laptop is the screen size, because the size of the screen is closely linked with a laptop’s price and capabilities. If you don’t know what screen size you need, think about how you will use your computer. If you write professionally or edit graphics, a larger screen will ease eyestrain and improve your work efficiency. You might also want a laptop with a large screen if you are a gamer - partially because a large screen makes games easier to see, and partially because a larger laptop is more likely than a smaller one to have a powerful video adapter. A small laptop is a better choice for someone who travels frequently, as smaller laptops are easy to carry and tend to offer superior battery life. Because small laptops usually contain less powerful components than larger ones, they are best suited for those whose primary uses for computers include email, social networking and light office work.

Laptop Categories

You are likely to hear several buzzwords when examining the different laptop product categories. Because of the vast number of products available, these terms help to segment the market into smaller parts that are easier for consumers to understand. The primary categories of laptop computers are netbooks, subnotebooks, notebooks and desktop replacements. Netbooks and subnotebooks tend to have screens measuring 12 inches and under. Netbooks are some of the least expensive laptops because they are optimized for size rather than power. A netbook is likely to have a budget processor such as an Intel Atom, with little RAM or storage. Subnotebooks, on the other hand, are often among the most expensive laptops. A subnotebook generally has capabilities and speeds similar to a standard notebook. The increased cost of subnotebooks is attributed to the engineering feats required to cram powerful components into a small space. Standard notebook computers generally have screens measuring between 13 and 15 inches, and desktop replacements have screens measuring 16 inches or larger. Desktop replacements often feature some of the most elaborate designs of all laptop computers, including luxuries such as multiple hard drives and upgradeable video cards. Some desktop replacement computers are so large and heavy that the term “portable” barely applies.

Laptop Brands

The laptop brands that you are most likely to see in stores include Apple, Dell, HP, Compaq (owned by HP), Acer, Gateway (owned by Acer), Sony, ASUS and Lenovo. All of these manufacturers produce quality computers, and you should neither purchase nor avoid a laptop based on its brand name alone. However, Apple laptops have one significant difference from all other computer brands; while computers made by other manufacturers run Windows (or rarely, some form of Linux), Apple computers run Mac OS. If you prefer the interface of Mac OS to Windows or want to have the ability to run Mac OS applications, an Apple laptop is the most logical choice. If you have no operating system preference, then consider the support policies of each company. If you research the locations of each company’s support call centers, you might find that one has a support center in your country while the others do not. If you are likely to call technical support, knowing you will be able to communicate effectively with support representatives may be a strong selling point.

Laptop Specifications

If terms such as Core 2 Duo, Phenom, i7 and Athlon are confusing to you, take heart; for the average user, the exact specifications of a laptop are less important than you might think. Two laptops released around the same time and in the same price range are likely to offer the same perceived performance for anyone not performing CPU- and graphics-intensive tasks. Be aware, however, that netbooks offer perceivably less performance than other laptops, even for average users - hence the low cost. The typical processors used in netbooks are the Intel Atom and the AMD Neo. These processors are not intended for high-performance laptops. When examining hard drive and RAM specifications, the “more is better” rule always applies. However, there is an exception to this rule - solid-state disks (SSD). While conventional hard drives store information on rotating metal platters, an SSD uses flash memory, like the memory in a storage card for a digital camera. An SSD cannot match a conventional hard drive in terms of storage capacity. However, an SSD is typically many times faster than a conventional hard drive - and more expensive. Choosing between the two is a matter of prioritizing between capacity, performance and price.

Design and Ergonomics

Beautiful industrial design is in the eye of the beholder, and design elements that look attractive to one person might appear overly ostentatious to another. However, thin is definitely in for most laptop buyers. Expect to pay a significant premium for a laptop that squeezes high-end power into a package that fits in a manila envelope. While a svelte frame can bring a high price tag, solid ergonomics can be affordable for everyone. If the laptop you are interested in is available in stores, test it before buying it - even if you have read several positive reviews. Reviewers often overlook little details such as the sensitivity of the touchpad or the stiffness of the keys, and these little details can turn a laptop from a simple computer into a tool that makes work more enjoyable.

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Affiliate Marketing Explained

Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity for a website or blog owner to generate additional income. It is a revenue sharing agreement between a merchant and a website publisher where the publisher agrees to promote the merchant’s products and services for a fee. The fee is in the form of profit sharing and is paid out as a percentage of each sale that is made through the merchant’s advertisements on the publisher’s website.

Many online merchants offer website publishers the opportunity to sign up for their affiliate program. When a publisher applies for the affiliate program the merchant will review the publisher’s application as well as their website. If the application is approved the merchant will send the publisher a log in I.D. and a password. This will allow the publisher to log into the merchant’s site and choose from a variety of promotional links. It is also where the sales and earnings are tracked. When a merchant accepts the application the website owner or publisher is considered to be the merchant’s “affiliate”.

The main benefit of an affiliate agreement is the freedom the publisher has to choose from a variety of merchants. With careful review and consideration a publisher can find a product or service that is complementary to their website’s genre. There are also a wide variety of ad styles to choose from including banner ads, skyscraper ads, square ads or text only ads. Once a publisher has been approved by a merchant they can strategically choose their advertising links for placement on their site.

When a sale is made through an advertising link on the publisher’s website the merchant pays the publisher a percentage of the sale. The percentage paid to the publisher depends on the merchant. Some merchants will offer five percent of every sale to the publisher while other merchants will offer twenty-five percent. The amount of money an affiliate will make from a merchant depends on the traffic that the website generates as well as the product the affiliate is promoting. It is critical that the product is related to the website. For example if you are running a parenting website you will want to enter into an affiliate agreement with a merchant that is selling parenting or child related products and services.

There are also third party companies that connect website publishers with online merchants. This is another great opportunity for website publishers looking for a variety of merchants to connect with. It allows the publisher to enter into an affiliate agreement with numerous merchants at one time rather than seeking out each merchant individually.

Affiliate marketing is a revenue generating opportunity that can be extremely profitable for both the publisher and the merchant. The income generated will depend entirely on the publisher’s site, the traffic, the advertising placements and the product being promoted.

Get your Comments and Anchor-text Backlinks accepted on High PR Authoritative Blogs »

How to Get Your Comments Accepted On Authoritative Blogs

With an increase in spam comments, blog owners are on guard. They are more vigilant than ever before, and rightly so. If you have spent great effort setting up a blog, provided quality content, and carefully guided it up the search engine listings, you have the right to be choosy about the comments the blog allows.

For this very reason, it is not as easy getting a comment accepted on a blog as it once was, especially a well-respected site. But with a little extra effort and advice it is by no means impossible and the advantages of targeting popular, authoritative blogs are well worth any additional commitment.

Here are some tips to consider before posting comments to respected blogs:

Time and Effort Equals Success

It is not always easy to have comments accepted by authoritative blogs, but one backlink from a respected blog is worth ten low-quality links from ten low-ranked sites.

You will need to be prepared to spend some time on research and submit comments that are well written, contain valuable information, and show insight and intelligence. Read the whole blog, including its archived posts, not just the post you are looking to comment on.

Get a feel for the style and tempo of the blog. Do some research on the demographics of its readership (use Alexa or Quancast) and be ready to adapt your writing style and content to that of the site and the many comments already accepted. Look at these comments and try to figure out what they brought to the blog.

Knowing a lot about a subject is one thing, but learning to express that knowledge so that the blog owner and its readers will accept it is a different matter entirely. If you can work out what the blog and its readers want, you stand a greater chance of submitting comments that successfully pass even the toughest of blog moderation processes.

Think About the Bigger Picture

Blog commenting is not all about backlinks. It is about connecting with a new audience and making new contacts. The people reading your comments will be interested in the market you operate in and this makes them an exceptionally targeted crowd.

That initial backlink is great, but the potential interest you could receive from other blog readers is even better. By ensuring you submit quality, relevant comments, not only do you improve the chances of your comments being accepted, you increase the likelihood of reader interaction.

Read previous comments and understand the blogs audience. Are there any common questions they ask?  See if you can research the answers and improve on the blogs original post or response. Refer to another commenter in your post if relevant and use quotes from previous comments to encourage a healthy respect from other posters.
This interaction could result in new targeted visitors to your site, potentially locating likeminded people interested in joint ventures, and having other readers regard you as an expert thus enhancing your own reputation.

Challenge the Post Authors

This is not an invitation to challenge the author to a duel, or fist fight. What this means is that successful comments are often those that promote a response from the original post author. Many authors will post a piece and happily ignore all the sycophantic backslaps attempting to get cheap backlinks. 

The author will probably be busy writing the next post and only those comments that catch their interest, or offer a new concept to the original post, stand a chance of acceptance. Many blog posters do not have the compulsion to bother with replying to tedious comments and consider it easier to just delete them.

But even the laziest of authors cannot resist replying to a comment that challenges something they have written, or encourages them to explain something in more detail thereby further promoting their bottomless knowledge (and ego).
Submit a comment that offers constructive criticism, a new angle, or persuades the author that you would really appreciate further insight into the subject, and it is almost guaranteed that your comment will be accepted.

The Reward Is Worth the Effort

It may seem like an easy option to look for low-quality blogs that automatically accept comments. Or ones that state they moderate comments, but in reality are so desperate for attention they will accept anything that resembles a comment. But scraping the bottom of the blog barrel is a waste of time and will not help your own website’s search engine performance one little bit.

There is a good reason the top ranking blogs hold that position. They offer quality content and expect quality submissions in return. Yes, it will require more effort to have a comment accepted on these blogs. But the reward for performing that extra research and providing a top notch submission is a very powerful backlink and the chance to promote yourself to a massive targeted audience. And who wouldn’t want that?

More to Google than Search »

How To Use Google As More Than Just a Search Engine

Everybody is googling, but few explore Googles’ full range of services and applications. Some are even wary of all things Google. Despite the founders’ stated aim of making information sharing easier and more efficient, the giant has been criticised for enterprises that some perceive as threats to privacy. Whether or not you care about Google potentially gathering anonymous information about your computer usage or having custody of your files, it would be dumb to write it off.

Google Searching

We all know how to google, though perhaps not the most efficient ways. Quick tips are: include character operators when you enter your query. One of the most useful is the minus sign.  If you want to learn about tomatoes but don’t want your search results cluttered with tomato recipes, type in ‘tomato – recipe’. Also useful is the synonym operator (~). If you’re looking up wool carpets, type ‘wool ~carpet’ and it will also search for rug, mat and other equivalent words. To speed up simple searches, personalise your searches by specifying your requirements – for example, English only. And did you know you can do calculations by typing the sum into the query box? There’s a lot more to searching than meets the eye.

A useful feature for scholars and researchers is searching news, books and academic papers, rather than websites, at Google News, Google Books and Google Scholar. On a more frivolous note, Google Checkout allows you to centralise your online shopping, collating all your purchasing information from multiple sellers and letting you buy using only one account and password. The specialized search options and added services could fill a book. The point is that its worth digging a little deeper to see how you can optimize searching for your purposes.

Google Maps

You can do more than just look up places with Google maps. You can plan routes with Google Transit or even make your own personalized map. Google Earth allows you to travel from your armchair – prior to travel, or just for fun. You can even leave Earth and take a tour of Mars!

Google Communications

Google’s email programme (googlemail or Gmail) is a well-known application. You can also start your own discussion group with Google Groups and you can use Google to send text messages (SMS) to get search results sent to your phone. Gmail can be linked to a calendar-cum-organiser, amongst other features. A handy gadget for your email is a downloadable ‘notifier’ that sits on your desktop and lets you know when a new message arrives. A well-established Google feature for online diaries and business promotion alike is the self-explanatory Blogger service.

Google Documents and storage

Cloud computing is a new development: instead of buying software you access it online and store your documents on the provider’s servers. Great  backup for when your hard drive dies. Applications available include word-processing and spreadsheets, a picture/graphics editor (Picasa) and tools for creating webpages (Page Creator). The plus of creating online documents is that you can share them online instead of producing them, emailing and then awaiting feedback.

These are just some of the features that you can access nowadays. There’s much more, of which Google’s Adsense deserves quick mention – either for people wanting to advertise or for bloggers and website owners wanting to earn by displaying ads on their pages. Don’t forget the feeds, finance information, weather forecasts and the myriad other options available. Wherever you turn, Google seems to have something cooking. No wonder there are concerns that they’re taking over the world – so proceed with eagerness tempered by careful assessment.

Affiliates Should use Autoresponders to Increase Commissions »

Affiliates Use Autoresponders to Make More Sales Commission

“The ‘affiliates’ fortune is in the followup.”

You’ve probably heard that phrase before. It’s used in all kinds of sales. Thanks to technology, online it’s easy and cheap.

An essential tool of Internet marketing is the autoresponder. This is a software program that sends someone a pre-written email automatically, when that someone sends an email to a certain email address.

People commonly use “Out of Office” type emails when they’re on vacation. For marketing purposes, of course, you want to send messages that are more welcome to your prospects. Back in the mid-1990s when Internet marketing started, people used simple autoresponders to send out basic information such as their products, descriptions and prices.

However, that didn’t last long. Nobody wanted to send emails just to get information they felt they should be readily available on a website. So somebody had a programmer modify the autoresponder software so that it would send a series of messages, at pre-set times. This is a big advantage because most people do not buy a product the first time they visit a website. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re not interested.

You can send the most obvious types of messages to prospects. 1. This product is great. 2. Really, this product is great. 3. Buy now. 4. Really, truly — this product is really really great, so buy it now.

That worked (and still works) to a degree, because sometimes people do respond to reminders in their inboxes.

However, most prospects eventually get tired of such messages — and of you. So most people today will not give you their email address if all you offer them is more sales pitches.

So Internet marketers have found other ways to encourage people to give their email addresses. Instead of just asking people to join your mailing list (how exciting!), you can:

1. Offer a free ebook.

2. Offer a free report.

3. Offer a free teleseminar.

4. Offer a series of free lessons.

5. Offer to give them a price discount on an upcoming product — it’ll be announced only by email, so if they’re not on the list they won’t know about it until it’s over.

Number 4 is in many ways the best “bribe,” because the lessons you send them (seven is a good number) are themselves the followups. You give useful information in each one.

Autoresponder offer #1 is an affiliate product within helpful advice

Here’s an example “thankyou for purchasing our PC Optimization software to fix pc problems and help speed up Windows performance, we would also suggest that you bookmark this new free driver update software search engine that we just finished developing and whenever you need to again update your windows drivers, you can scan, find exact device driver matches and get all your driver updates for free!

Be sure to bookmark this site and check back often for further handy computer optimization and windows tips!” See what I mean this page leads to an offer for a driver update product, which maybe 5% or so of the customers will actually buy, again!

Autoresponder offer #2 is of course another affiliate pitch and further computer tips

Now in about a week you can send another follow-up offer to your customers, convincingly shrouded within helpful advice and additional windows tips of course! Another example offer could be: Almost every PC user will at some time or another be presented with an unwanted popup, unwelcome ad or worse a malicious file that penetrates your pc security and watches your every move.

Here’s a free XoftspySE download to see if you have any of over 1 Million unwanted guests resident in your hard drive.

Not to be smug but I would bet 2-bits that you do! (as long as I can count trojans and adware within the general malware scan). The way XoftspySE works is that the software will scan without the need to register, and only if you have threats you are given the chance to pay/register so this antiapyware tool can fully zap the threats for you. Alternatively if your among th web saavy, you can use the Md5 info provided to sek out and remove the Spyware yourself without the need to pay for the XoftspySE product. Thats what I did :) it cost me zilchio!

The more useful information they receive in the lessons, the more likely you’ll convince them (better than any online sales letter could) that you know what you’re talking about and they should buy your book.

Of course, this also works for affiliate products. You can refer them to someone else’s book. You can refer them to many books and products.

You can set up your autoresponder account to continue sending them product recommendations every few days for months into the future. You never know. They may not buy the first 50 things you want to sell them, but the email about product number 51 arrives in their inbox just when they’re in the mood to buy it.

Do make sure that every email you send complies with the Can-Spam Act. You should identify yourself and your location. 

They’re many companies that will host your autoresponders for a small monthly fee. Most of them will host different autoresponder series for you. That way, you can set up a series of followup emails on many different products. Just do a Google search and check them out.


 

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