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Archive for the ‘Free Tools’

Gaming the System: How to Have Fun Buying the Latest Top-Quality Tech Gadgets—Cheap! 0

Posted on October 27, 2012 by Blog Design Journal

If you are in the blog design business, you have to keep up with the latest technologies for blog design and for viewing blogs–such as tablet computers (like iPad), laptops, and smart phones (like iPhone). That can get expensive.

And shopping can eat up valuable work time. Trying to save money can be a pain–and sometimes risky.

What if you could get the latest Internet and computer items for pennies on the dollar—and have fun doing it? You can at DealDash, the fair, honest, risk-free alternative to penny auction sites.

You sign up for free. Then whenever you’re ready, you can buy a package of bids. (Bids are usually about 60 cents a bid in packs of 60 or 100 but are often on sale as low as 15 cents a bid.) Shipping is free, too!

Here is how you are protected:

If you use up all of your first package of bids without winning anything, DealDash will replace all of them for free so that you can start over and bid on something(s) else.

If you do not win the auction for something you need to have right away, you can Buy it Now anyway at the regular price.

Your first purchase is covered by a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee. You get a full refund if you don’t like it for any reason–or no reason,

The rules make it fair and fun to bid on what you want. And it all happens fast. Auctions are fairly short, and the rules prevent last-inute sniping. So you just make your bid and go about your business till you find out whether you won. That makes if fun.

The site is set up so that you can quickly and easily see what the item you want has sold for recently. The average sales prices are very low, like $267 for an $829 iPad. If you look carefully and choose the right time to bid (holidays for some items, certain times of the day or week for others), you can get a much lower price.

One thing I especially like is that unlike the so-called penny auctions sites, Deal Dash offers the top-of-the-line models, not just the entry level products. So, for example, you can get the 4G iPad with maximum storage. And it is available all the time, not just occasionally.

That makes it quick and easy to keep up with the latest tech for a song—and have fun doing it. It’s the thrill of the chase and the excitement winning, all in one.  In other words, gaming the system.

Girly Games for Girls? Yes, They Can Be Valuable. 0

Posted on October 04, 2012 by Blog Design Journal

I have to admit that lots of the games for little boys would not be appealing to most little girls. But I was really skeptical about online offers like Nail Games and Hello Kitty Games. So I decided to take a look anyway.

The truth is that in these days, we must get girls to play computer games so that they are comfortable enough with computers to compete in the modern world of work. Any kind of game that makes girls like computers is a good thing.

Of course, that is a generalization. Some girls do like boys’ games (though why should they have to?) and some girls simply love computers. For some girls, though, boys’ games are a turnoff that can make them reject computers until they get older, and that can be a mistake that can cost them dearly in later life.

So I tried out some free online games for girls, And I was pleasantly surprised.

It is not that I think there is a lot of real long-term value in choosing makeup and hair coloring for Avril Lavigne—though I have to admit it was sort of entertaining. It could also be a good lesson in how simply changing a few colors can change a person’s whole persona.

But what makes many of the games good for girls is the amount of creativity they encourage. Getting lured in by nail polish games (better to play on line than to breathe—and maybe spill—the real stuff), allows for free, safe fun that encourages creativity in choice of colors and patterns.

Playing coloring games, for example, can lead to a desire to do graphics. And that is a good thing.

There is nothing really profound about these games. They are not about math, science, history, or programming, for example. But there are quite a few games about time management, and that is a truly useful skill. Simply learning to make choices and deal with the results in running a pretend business is a good preparation for life.

From makeover games and Hello Kitty Rescue, girls may go on to graffiti games, for example, which are very close to logo design. Here is where creativity really takes hold, and any screen capture program can allow you to save the logos you create and use them in signs, stationery, and other programs as graphics.

I found this group, the graffiti games, the most appealing of all. Even adults can enjoy playing with these. (I bookmarked it to go back myself, in fact.)

It could be fun to get girls to compete with their friends for favorite graffiti name treatments and other graffiti art. Of all the games on the site, the graffiti games were the least girly. Boys would surely enjoy them, too.

Having seen what happens when girls are not encouraged to use computers for fun at a young age, even when they have computers available, I’m all in favor of getting girls to play any kind of games on line. Creative and time management games, though, seem the most valuable.

How about you? What have you observed about girls and their use of computers?  Is there a little girl that you could introduce to free online games for girls? If so, it might change her life. Please leave a comment and share your insights.

This post was brought to you by Dressica, free online games for girls.

Free PageRank Checker Tool on Blog Design Journal 0

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Blog Design Journal

Google’s PageRank scores are not as important to Google as they once were. Nowadays they are only a tiny factor in how Google ranks your page in search results.

But PageRank (PR) is still used by many advertisers to select blogs to advertise on. That makes PR important for monetizing your blog.

A free service called PRChecker lets you quickly check PageRank for a web site and then generate code that you can paste into a widget (or any html code) to display a button that shows the current (updated) PR of each page of your site, on your site.

The PageRank button comes in three sizes. Here is the size I normally use:

There is also a free PageRank Checker Tool that you can add to your site. I’ve put one in the right-hand sidebar of this page for you to use to check PR of your sites right here at BlogDesignJournal.

So you can come back here anytime to check PR of a blog and read about what’s going on in the blog design world.

Graffiti Graphics and Your Blog 0

Posted on August 16, 2010 by Blog Design Journal
An example of the highly decorative graffiti t...
Image via Wikipedia

Graffiti art has tremendous vitality and a feeling of authenticity. Sometimes ugly, it can also be beautiful and outrageously creative. It can lend freshness and creativity to a building, a neighborhood, or your blog.

I had created a page, where I intended to add a widget that allows you to easily make your own graffiti graphic signature. It’s free. It’s fun. And you just might find a use for the graphics you make.

However, WordPress will not execute the flash code required to implement the widget on a page. Instead you will need to go to the NY Graffiti Creator site and use the widget there.

They do offer the widget code to embed in your own site. (Presumably it works on HTML sites?) It does work if you paste the code in a WordPress Text widget and put that in a sidebar. I have done that, and it worked.

So for now you can see (and use) the widget in the lower right corner of this site. But I will not leave it there for long, so play with it now and remember to go to NYGraffitiCreator.com if you want it later.

By the way, the text entry box is that gray bar right above the control sliders under the Preview area.


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Choosing Between Blogspot and WordPress for Your Money-Making Blog 0

Posted on May 10, 2010 by GuestBlogger

No matter whether you are going to build a blog dedicated to affiliate marketing, drop shipping, or your own product, it is very important to choose  a platform that will enable you to add content easily.

Today, WordPress and Blogspot are the industry leaders when it comes to the blogging arena. When you answer the following questions, it will help ensure that you are using the best platform for your new blog. Read the rest of this entry →

WordPress Versatility: New Ways to Use WordPress 0

Posted on December 23, 2009 by Kathleen

Image via Wikipedia

by Kathleen Gresham

When you say WordPress, people automatically think of blogging. WordPress is the blog engine supreme. It is free, easy to install and easy to customize.

Thinking of WordPress as just a blog engine, though, seriously limits your options. That would be a shame, because WordPress offers so many options.

WordPress is a full-featured content management system (CMS). It can keep track of multiple authors and their privileges, provide a place to store documents and allow users to download them, keep track of document revisions and allow you to compare them and reinstate earlier versions—and so much more.

Here are just a few of the things you can do with WordPress. And most options are freely downloadable somewhere on line at no charge.

1. Web Sites

WordPress allows you to build a static web site much faster than any website builder software. Especially if you are not a wizard with that particular sitebuilder. That is, unless you are a super whiz with, say, DreamWeaver, you probably cannot match the speed—and certainly not the ease—with which you can set up a web site with WordPress.

Nowadays there are some great themes with dropdown menus that look like high-quality web site templates and can be easily customized.

Not only that, the search engine optimization benefits of a WordPress site versus a conventional HTML web site are tremendous. There are so many blog networks and SEO plugins and other tools that you can use to promote a WordPress site that are simply not available for HTML web sites.

2. Forums

There are several free plugins that allow you to easily set up a discussion forum, using WordPress. You can use that forum to make money from advertising, offer support for the products or services sold by your company (on line or off line), meet like-minded people, and so much more.

3. Membership Sites

Membership sites are a great way to make residual income. You can charge a fee for joining, for example for a niche membership site, and/or charge a monthly membership fee. Internet marketers often use a membership site to post their products for purchasers to download, to offer affiliate marketing tools and status reports to their affiliates, and to offer support for their products.

Others simply charge a membership fee for members to get access to a host of free downloadable ebooks, software, or other original content in a particular niche.

4. Article Directories and Link Directories

Article marketing is a staple of online marketing, and articles sites have many purposes. If your article site becomes popular, you can make good advertising revenue. If not, you still have a good place to post original or PLR articles with links to your main blog or web site.

You can download free themes and plugins to build an article directory with WordPress. Or  you can build yourself a link directory with other free WordPress themes and/or plugins. You could, for example, add a links page from your main blog to all your other sites.

5. Blogs

Yes, of course, WordPress is still the easiest and most flexible blog engine for self-hosted blogs. The very popularity of WordPress means there are thousands of theme designers and plugin makers constantly providing excellent new free or paid products to add value to WordPress blogs.

6. Combination Sites

Lately I have been making combination website-blogs for offline and online businesses. That is easy to do with WordPress.

For example, see the site designed for Temples Gate, a charming metaphysical gift shop in Houston, Texas. The old site was unfindable on Google for any related keyword or phrase.

The new WordPress-based site rose to Google PR2 in just a few months. It gets traffic via Google searches from all over world.

The site continues to grow as we add more pages, posts, and photos. Google loves sites that steadily grow. And site visitors like to see new and different photos and text whenever they visit the site.

The embedded blog fits seamlessly into the web site, and the site is linked to a Google Calendar so that the store owner can easily add and update the classes, workshops, and other events held at the store.

We will soon add a shopping cart to encourage online purchases. WordPress makes it easy to do that, and several of shopping cart plugins are free. We are still comparing features and usability on a separate test site.

Flexibility and Free Tutorials

Some of the same features can be found on Joomla and Drupal, but nothing beats WordPress for design flexibility and the huge array of plugins, widgets and other accessories available to easily customize it. Also, there is so much free training available for WordPress. WordPress video courses abound, and many of them are free.

So think outside the box when deciding how to build your next site, whether for personal use, to enhance your offline business or for ecommerce. Consider using WordPress even if you are not building a blog. Your imagination is just about the only limit to what you can do with it.

Adding Extra Value to Your Blog

And consider all the options that the WordPress community offers for adding value to your blog. Even if a blog is your main goal, WordPress allows you to add a forum for your reader community or a paid membership area.

If you want to do business on line, WordPress is a great tool for that, too. The sky is just about the limit when it comes to WordPress.

Select Your Hosting Service Carefully

If you intend to build a business in online retail sales, however, make sure you have a good ecommerce web hosting service. Make sure  you use a service that fully supports whatever it is that you are trying to do.

My first hosting was horrible. We could not even get a simple WordPress blog to work properly on their service, and it was a nightmare. So look for quality, not just price, in selecting a hosting service, even if you are not currently planning to get into ecommerce.

What cool things do you do with WordPress? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Make Neon Text on Your Blog or Web Site—Free Tool 0

Posted on February 27, 2009 by Kathleen

With the neon-text-generation widget, you can generate neon text for your blog or web site, if the style is appropriate for your design and contents.

And you can get this widget and put it on a blog about, say, graphics, for the use of site visitors. Putting a text generator on your site may bring visitors back for repeat visits.

At WidgetBox.com you can generate the widget for a wide variety of platforms (including WordPress, Blogger, HTML, and lots more). And you have the choice of javascript or flash.

To get the neon-text-generation widget, just click on the tab at the bottom of the widget in the sidebar on the right on this page. (You may need to scroll down or up to find the widget.)

I love neon! I hope you do, too.

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