Nov

12

Participate in The Solopreneur Life 2014 End-of-Year Survey

November 12th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Surveys

You’re invited to participate in the The Solopreneur Life 2014 End-of-Year Survey!

The survey is open through Friday, December 19. Results will be published on January 5. Past survey results have been reported on widely in the media.

No registration is required and it’s completely anonymous.

Click here to take the survey.

The information gathered in the survey will advance our knowledge of the current state of solopreneurship. We all stand to benefit from the survey data.

To have the survey results delivered straight to your inbox on the morning of January 5, sign up for The Solopreneur Life e-newsletter at right. If you already receive the e-newsletter, then you’re all set!


Nov

18

How I Improved My WordPress Website’s Speed by 60 Percent

November 18th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Web Site, WordPress

One of the best things about the WordPress publishing platform is that it gives you endless customization options.

Most of the customization comes via plugins, which are small programs that you install on your site. There are thousands of plugins, serving nearly every purpose you can imagine: drop caps, forms, tables, security, search-engine optimization, blog comments, caching, site backups, and more.

Most plugins are free. But they all come with a cost: they slow down your website’s performance.

In less than 45 minutes, I found and eliminated the slowpoke plugins installed on TheSolopreneurLife.com. In the process, I boosted the site’s speed by 60 percent. This is how I did it.


Nov

06

3 Innocent Subject-Line Words That Harm Open Rates

November 6th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Marketing

A recent best-practices post at the Mailchimp website included information on three innocent, non-spammy words that harm e-newsletter open rates. The post said:

“An unexpected discovery in our analysis was the negative impact of three innocent words. Email marketers are familiar with words such as ‘free’ which are generally to be avoided in emails since they tend to trigger spam filters. We identified innocuous words that won’t trigger a spam filter, but will negatively affect your open rates. They are: Help, Percent off, and Reminder.”

I’m going to take Mailchimp’s word for it and add “Don’t use help, percent off, or reminder” to my e-newsletter checklist.


Nov

06

Business Insider Reveals How Not to Offer a Two-Week Trial

November 6th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Marketing

Today I was at the Business Insider website and they had a piece of research that I wanted to read. The site said:

“For full access to all BI Intelligence reports, briefs, and downloadable charts on the digital media industry, sign up for a two-week trial.”

OK, that’s fine, I thought. I’ll give them my e-mail address and give it a try.

When I clicked through I learned that an annual subscription for one user is $495. Wow, that’s pretty steep. Then I read:


Nov

04

Bee Thinking: a Niche Business That Helps the Planet

November 4th, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Niche Businesses, Starting Out

If you’re like me, you’d love to create a sustainable business that helps the planet.

Matt and Jill Reed of Portland, Oregon, have done it.

Matt caught “bee fever” in 2008 when he came home and found a struggling bee on a windowsill.[1] He gave it heated honey on a plate. The bee devoured the honey and flew away. Four hours later, bees began showing up at the Reeds’ apartment.

Matt was inspired, and one month later he had his first beehive. He built more beehives and began blogging about beekeeping. People contacted him about purchasing hives, so he created Bee Thinking, which sells beekeeping supplies, bee swarm-removal services, beekeeping classes, and hive consultations to beekeeping hobbyists.


Nov

03

How to Look Your Best on Skype

November 3rd, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Office

Nobody tries to look awful on Skype!

It’s a case of not understanding webcam technology and not knowing how to look your best on a webcam.

We’re going to solve that problem right now.

How to Achieve Video Quality

First, let’s deal with video quality.

• Be in a well-lit room. If the level of light in your room is low, the webcam will amplify the light to make the picture brighter. This reduces video quality.

• Whether it’s a lamp or light from a window, arrange your seating so the light source is coming straight at you.


Nov

03

I’ve Completed a Massive Update to the ‘Tools That Work’ Page

November 3rd, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Social Media, Software, Starting Out, Surveys, Time Management, WordPress

After I launched TheSolopreneurLife.com, one of the first pages I created was the Tools That Work page. It’s a resource page for solopreneurs’ online-commerce and website needs.

This is a heads-up — I’ve completed a massive update to the Tools That Work page. Check it out.

A lot of trial and error goes into selecting the Tools That Work resources. The experimentation is ongoing, thus the need to update the page. For every Tools That Work product or service, I reject at least three others. These are the cream-of-the-crop tools for solopreneurs.


Nov

02

Be Smart, Don’t Use Taboola On Your Website

November 2nd, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Web Site

I despise Taboola. It’s the company behind those “Content You May Like” and “Around the Web” click-bait ads that damage so many websites.

Taboola’s widgets include thumbnail photos and headlines that trick readers into believing they’re clicking on editorial content. The content is paid for by Taboola advertisers. (I’m not going to include a link to Taboola, BTW.)

Taboola’s closest competitor, Outbrain, is similar. Outbrain was founded in 2006, and Taboola went into business in 2007. Both companies have attracted millions of dollars in funding from venture-capital firms.

But then both companies chose to take a very low road.


Oct

31

What’s On My Business Bookshelf

October 31st, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Starting Out

This week a client asked me, “What’s on your bookshelf right now?”

I said, “I have a ton of books and bookshelves.”

He said, “What’s in the business section?”

I said, “I’m not sure. I’ll check and I’ll send you a list.”

Below is the list of what’s on my shelf of business books right now. It’s not what should be there or what I wish was there — that’s a post for another day.

I’ve read all of the books listed and I’ve mentioned many of them in past posts. So here are the books, along with links to the books’ Amazon pages.


Oct

31

What To Look For When Hiring a User-Experience Designer

October 31st, 2014 by Larry Keltto | Posted in Branding, Marketing, Web Site

When you’re hiring a user-expertise pro, what should you be looking for? UX expert Whitney Hess wrote an excellent post on the subject, and I encourage you to read it now or save it for future reference. Here are the highlights.

Background. A great user experience designer isn’t going to whip out a collection of completed projects to impress you. A truly accomplished UX designer knows it’s their process that stands out — how they came to the final product is what you’re hiring them for, not the outcomes they came to.