Category Archives: Blotter

How to start an online teaching business

How to start an online teaching business

To start an online teaching business a website manager should plan the five basic components used to administer academic seminars via the Internet. Most website managers are familiar with content management systems (CMS) such as Joomla and WordPress to manage their websites, so it should be refreshing to know there are online teaching tools modeled after the same plug and play simplicity we already know.

Here are the five ingredients for starting an online teaching business:

  • 1. Online Course Management Software
  • 2. Naming Conventions for Marketing your Business
  • 3. Social Media Aggregation
  • 4. Website
  • 5. Generated Marketing Content

Online Course Management Software is unique for most website managers not accustomed to starting their own teaching business. Online education is something that has been around for at least 10 years and has matured beyond the original Blackboard model for delivering online education. For instance, Pathwright software provides online courses with all the mobile and social media features today’s students and teachers want. But more importantly, the interfaces doesn’t feel cumbersome or foreign to those already accustomed to managing WordPress sites.


With Pathwright you can create learning paths that guide students, employees, or anyone in the world to a new level of skill.

For a less polished but more business-oriented solution, EduTone software also provides reseller and white label partner programs so clients can access web-enabled educational software in one place. There are others offering similar services, and the point here is that you should do your homework and find a turn-key solution that’s right for you.

Naming Conventions for Marketing Your Business should start with searches using services such as They offer domain registration for around $10.00/year. Choose a domain name based on the key phrase one might use to find an online course like the one you’ll be administering. For instance, “Photography for Homeschoolers” ( is affective because it literally leads someone from a search on Google to the online teaching tools they’re selling. Simple is better when it comes to good SEO.

how to start an online teaching businessSocial Media Aggregation starts on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These accounts are the windows to your customers, so try to register the literal names exactly as the domain name reads for each one. Social media is often more important than a website itself, so don’t underestimate its potential to drive traffic to your services.

Create your website by starting with an education-themed template. (Be sure you are using a content management system (CMS) back-end such as WordPress.) Most companies – present company not excluded – will customize templates to your liking for a little money.

Generate marketing copy regularly means writing fresh content and publishing relevant images to demonstrate your online teaching courses are leaders in the field. Generate a marketing video so to build followers and explain your mission. A viral video can boom a business overnight.

StudentsThese are very brief overviews for how to start an online teaching business. Once plugged in, these components can be leveraged to differentiate your teaching business from the others. So, you’re logging in every day to flesh out your website with information and a daily blog post that is also being pushed to all social media outlets. Disseminating information in parallel is good for Search Engine Optimization, too. Remember that you will likely get more interest, more reads and more action on your Facebook page than on your website.

Providing free webinars can also be a good way to hook potential customers into your teaching services. In some cases it might make more sense to utilize a YouTube channel where the lectures are given away for free. Such an offering can provide a stage for teaching but does not include the features of an online classroom education. The option will be much cheaper and more familiar to those who stumble on it for the first time, funneling them to your business in the long run.

Because there are so many “White Label” platforms providing solutions for an online teaching business, it may behoove the beginner to call and get involved with these companies’ own educational programs for using their software.

The fact of the matter is that online courses are now so standardized and readily available that the software companies providing these solutions are “cookie cutting” the sites and will practically hold your hand through each of these steps. Knowing these five steps for how to start an online teaching business is a good start, but getting involved with the software providers who know the business will take you further – and keep you going.

How to get an Internet phone for free

How to get an Internet phone for free

While we’ve got little to gain by revealing how easy it is to get a free Internet phone, here’s hoping the monopolistic phone carriers find an early grave.

Obihai Free Service

The Obihai phone adapter

There’s little doubt that Google is on target to innovate how we communicate. Rather than forsaking the consumer market who makes phone calls, Google is innovating the way we connect and pay for these phone services. Google Voice calls are free anywhere within North America and costing just a few cents more internationally. But while Google has accommodated the phone lines for these calls, they’ve been remiss in providing hardware to plug into our computers to take advantage of existing hand sets. Speakers and microphones be damned!

Google Voice

Nonetheless, there is new plug-and-play hardware for legacy handsets, hardware that provides the traditional ease and smart ergonomics that (most of us) grew up with. Devices such as MajicJack charge $59.95 up front and yearly fees, but other hardware does better. The Obihai phone adapter, available for $29.99 from (Use Promo Code: EMCPAWW99) allows direct access to Google Voice and functions the same way AT&T or Verizon land lines work in homes and offices. The only exception – and perhaps one that should be considered – is that 911 calls won’t work. But these devices will offer dedicated E911 VoIP service (for a fee, of course).

5 Steps for How to get an Internet phone for free:

  • 1. Purchase Hardware Phone Adapter
  • 2. Sign-Up for Google Voice Account
  • 3. If calling internationally, add credit to Google Voice
  • 4. Plug Hardware Phone Adapter into existing Internet Router
  • 5. Use handset to receive and make calls using the Google-assigned phone number

Voicemail, call waiting, caller ID and two-way calls are included in your Google Voice Account. And don’t forget the Visual Voicemail function Google voice is innovating. Now, you don’t have to wade through long pauses while the person on the other end decides what to say on the message. Just read the text:


Google Voice Transcript


The OBi device is similar to other adapters which connect to Google Voice.

Obihai is making a marketing push with relentless scorn against phone companies: “With a Google Voice account configured on an OBi device, users will not only get all the great collaboration tools and app integration with Google Voice, they will also be able to enjoy many premium calling features, free calling within the U.S. and Canada and super-low cost international calling – all from the comfort of their home phone,” said Jan Fandrianto, President and CEO of Obihai.

How to get an Internet phone for freeCalling from a mobile phone doesn’t need to be the default anymore. Sure, an additional piece of hardware has to be purchased and added to your router – but free calls forever on Google Voice is something that we can all celebrate for years to come.

How to choose a website builder

How to choose a website builder

The evolving responsibilities for website managers often require them to go out and seek new resources for help with building a website or social media integration. Because the days of the solitary webmaster are over, it’s important to be thorough and exacting when choosing new team members.

How to choose a website builderContractors and companies bring a charming sales pitch when they promise fast and professional digital media building services, but don’t ignore the vetting process. Choosing a good website builder requires due diligence that ensures they have both technical and marketing prowess. The builder must also have a great support system backing up what they do.

All digital projects aim to grow and nurture an audience while fulfilling the mission of the operation or business, but not all website builders have the aptitude or resources for understanding a website manager’s vision. With this in mind, here are a few rules for how to choose a website builder.

10 Rules for how to choose a website builder:

  • 1. Choose a website builder who can be reached by phone – They should speak English and be in your timezone. Seriously, this fact might sound obvious, but because much of today’s website development goes to Southeast Asia, be sure that the company you’re using is available to talk on the phone when you need to.
  • 2. Choose a website builder who uses an Issue Tracking System – Submitting a ticket and tracking an issue holds everyone accountable. Sending emails back and forth is a sure way to lose control and accountability. Ask what Issue Tracking System they use. Hesk is a light and free software solution that should do the job. Jira is a more expensive, but extremely professional.
  • 3. Choose a website builder who will respond in the middle of the night – 24/7 customer support requires more than email and a ticketing system – it requires a phone that will be answered. Phones are not necessarily something today’s website builders leave on during the night – the last thing anybody wants is to spend money on a website only to have it neglected when your customers need it most.
  • 4. Choose a website builder who can produce references and sample URLs – Finding someone who has done similar work in the past will help you know they are experienced. But don’t take their word for it – make sure to view source code for credits and contact that company for a reference.
  • 5. Choose a website builder who has a contingency plan – There’s no such thing as 100% up time. Websites crash in the same manner as any other technology. Ensure there are regular backups for websites, specifically for any database. By using automated software such as Word Press Backup Buddy, they won’t even have to think about it. Finally, pay the extra money for a mirrored site in the event your main website crashes.
  • 6. Choose a website builder who specializes in Content Management Systems (CMS) -There’s no good reason not to build websites based on existing content management systems such as Joomla or WordPress.
  • 7. Choose a website builder who understands SEO – The fundamental necessity for Search Engine Optimization requires basic strategy and back-end optimization that is friendly to Google. Ask the website manager if he or she uses Yoast, a simple plug-in that helps optimize posts and pages.
  • 8. Choose a website builder who integrates social media – Social media means Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. But those are only the most popular platforms today. Tomorrow may bring Reddit to the forefront and some other hot tool next.
  • 9. Choose a website builder who optimizes for mobile devices – With the market moving toward portability and away from desktop computers, ask for samples of work that are “responsive,” and test their websites on your own tablets and phones.
  • 10. Choose a website builder who can provide a project plan – Website managers should be responding to your Request for Proposals (RFPs). A good RFP allows the website manager to ensure all requirements are covered while specifying expectations. RFPs also help to prevent cost overruns. But simple “yes” or “no” answers back means the website builder is not to be bothered with details. The more details and logistics they provide in response to an RFP, the better.

Of course there are more than just 10 rules to follow when choosing a website builder. One should never underestimate the need for good chemistry and the avoidance of jerks. (These days there’s no need to work with a technologist who’s arrogant and dismissive.)

Choosing a team member is a little bit like adding a new member to your family. Try not to get it wrong.

What to do after getting hacked

What to do after getting hacked

Every few months website managers see the headlines and get questions from clients who ask the same thing: What to do after getting hacked?

After each hacking news story – including the most recent 4Chan iCloud hack where a hacker leaked a stash of nude photos of celebrities – websites such as or start their self-righteous calls on the importance of changing your password frequently and effectively. Out-of-touch gossip blogs forget the reality that is practical security precautions for users (especially website managers), failing to realize, for instance, that an iPhone doesn’t allow two-step authentication by default. Most media outlets also fail to mention what to do after you’re hacked. Which, chances are, you will be at some point.

What to do after getting hackedThe reality for cloud security is very different than what most people think. Of course, the “Big Tech” companies will defend their services by repeating and enforcing password policies, but the odds are stacked in the favor of criminal elements who have the patience, resources and fortitude to steal data.

The bottom line here is that you should be prepared to have your data stolen, and then be prepared to mitigate the fallout following the event.

Here’s what to do after getting hacked:

  • Act quickly when you do get hacked – Resetting your password in the first few minutes will lessen the probability that a hacker continues to mine your account for value.
  • Backup all websites, databases and cloud accounts – There may be something that’s worse to come, so get ready.
  • Shut down your websites – Stop bad stuff from happening while you find someone to help you mitigate the damage. Google Analytics has a tool for detecting malware on a website.
  • Check all your computers for viruses – Assume there is a bigger problem than the one account or device. Run the virus scans on everything.
  • Reset all passwords on all accounts – That means calling your banks, ISPs, credit cards and logging into all those crappy websites on which you’ve registered. Assume the hacker has access to them all.
  • Watch your credit score – You can pay for identity theft protection from companies such as or others, but mostly they are going to do the same thing you can do. React to changes in financial records and credit ratings. Be sure to do plenty of research on so-called Free Credit Report Businesses by visiting the website.

We’ve heard and read common security advice hundreds of times – so, why do we keep getting compromised by hackers? Because commonly accepted password security preparations don’t work. Is the cloud safe from hackers? Absolutely not. But here are practical tips for website managers to remember about password security:

  • Omit your memorized “core phrase” when documenting a password – By now we all know to use special characters (i.e., !@#$%^&*) and combinations of capital letters and numbers, but these are easy to forget. Develop a password system based around a memorized phrase that will NEVER CHANGE. Then, never document the memorized phrase. Ever. For instance, if your memorized core phrase is “Deso!ationRow”, then all future passwords would include this favorite phrase added on the front or the end of it. Your core favorite phrase never needs to change while the front or back portion will change periodically. It’s this front or back portion you document: (the core phrase is in GREEN):
    • $November6autumDeso!ationRow = $November6autum————–
  • Choose obscure usernames – Website and email accounts often force users to use their email addresses as usernames. But where FTP is involved website managers can ensure that they use unrelated usernames for their FTP account logins (the username is in GREEN):
    • = OtherName
  • Add and update backup “password reset” contact information – Google, Yahoo! and AOL require an alternate email address and phone number for the purpose of resending passwords when a reset is requested. When you find it necessary to change your password, perhaps by no fault of your own as was recently demonstrated by Adobe when their servers got hacked, having an updated profile on these accounts allows for quickly resetting the information.
  • Use Facebook logins for Facebook only – Seriously, it is a convenience when signing up for a new service, but there’s a serious conflict of interest presented when Facebook becomes your authenticator for all the websites you visit. The same applies for Google, LinkedIn or other “convenience login” functionality being offered.
  • Visit your accounts frequently – Even if you don’t intend to reset the password on an account, you should visit dormant accounts and ensure software upgrades have been made and there’s no funny business going on in your account. Time is the enemy where hackers are involved, and the earlier you discover a problem, then the more likely you’ll be to cover your ass.
  • Don’t use unknown wireless networks – Next time you’re in a coffee shop and the name of that business comes up on the list of options to connect to the Internet, be sure to check with the business to authenticate the Wi-Fi address is valid. Real Life Scam recently demonstrated how hackers create phoney wireless networks in so-called “Wi-Fi Hustles”.
  • Delete old email – Despite what most people think, the cloud files are not the biggest risk to your security (unless you have nude pictures, of course). The bigger issue with most website managers and Internet users comes down to credit card and social security numbers contained within emails. Somewhere along the line most of us have sent our social security number to a business. Deleting old email will prevent hackers from mining it.
  • Don’t give out passwords – And when you do give out a password to a developer, make sure you change after the work is finished.

It sucks, it hurts and it takes time to recover after you’ve been hacked. But you’re not alone in your horrors, and there are many resources available from other website managers who have been through this before. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to act quickly.

Websites for iPads

Websites for iPads

Soon, websites for iPads will look like websites for desktop computers, so redundant Apple apps will no longer be necessary and website managers will have more time to focus on developing a single Internet user experience rather than multiple ones.

When Steve Jobs publicly refused to support Adobe Flash on the iPhone and iPad beginning in 2010, many website managers scratched their heads in perplexity. It’s a rare case when a company unilaterally renders 25% of all websites unusable. But that’s exactly what Apple did when they ended Flash support on their devices.

At the same time Apple elevated their own alternative to Flash – the Apple app store – by claiming inefficiencies could be alleviated by developing an Apple-only website application. Website managers were forced into promoting the Apple brand every time the question was asked: Do you have an App for your website? Suddenly, website managers were duplicating information and functionality from websites to apps, all for the sake of responding to a new and proprietary platform everybody was talking about.

Today, there have been more than 75 billion downloads of more than one million Apple apps, proving Apple’s business decision was a good one for their bottom line, and never minding a bully’s ability to maximize profits on the backs of the rest of us (the stock holders certainly aren’t complaining).

websites for ipadsWebsite managers had to take stock of the time and expense involved with catering to specific hardware. Compatibility in purveying information to users via the Internet, after all, is a website manager’s biggest responsibility. But that was nearly five years ago that the bullies that were Apple had their way with website managers. Today, many of us have discontinued redundant Apple apps while optimizing our websites to be browser friendly, instead. Users are growing weary of app overload while Apple finds themselves losing market share to hardware providers for the simple reason that their expensive propriety has become too big a burden for consumers and developers.

How Apple killed the solitary website manager
More than any other company, Apple has encouraged the stratification of responsibilities for website management. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in June that nine million registered Apple developers had come on board to learn the proprietary technology around developing applications for Apple’s hardware. That’s likely nine million former website managers who were forced into the propriety of a single company’s vision – and nine million websites with resources diverted to a singular cause that is Apple.

iPad 2 Air Improvements in HardwareBut the geniuses at Apple might be feeling too much heat in their closed kitchen, evidenced by their recent forcing open of windows on their Safari Browsers. Literally, Apple is responding to a loss in market dominance in the mobile device market due to the wide-ranging prevalence of truer open source devices such as those running the Android operating system. These devices allow developers to create applications for their businesses much more quickly than what Apple requires them to do – and the applications work better. It’s no wonder business managers avoided “going Apple” for as long as they did, despite Apple’s obvious advantages in ergonomics.

In response to their historic failure in providing an efficient platform for business applications, Apple has made business alliances with the likes of IBM to promote new hardware to the corporate world. More interesting than that is Apple’s new approach to providing a dynamic user experience within their mobile devices – namely, adding multitasking in their next hardware upgrade.

Why the iPad Air 2 is special
The rumored release this October changes the way users interact with their mobile devices because Apple is evolving their operating system to allow users to run multiple apps and browser windows at the same time. This multitasking functionality will be supported by the iPad Air 2 boost in RAM from 1 Gigabyte to 2 Gigabytes, which means that websites for iPads will soon load as quickly as they do for desktop computers – and keep running in the background!

Other details are considered minor (but for all that buzz around the iWatch!), but do create one heck of a cool device:

  • iPad Air 2 will bypass a typed password by allowing for fingerprint unlocking
  • iPad Air 2 will have an 8 megapixel rear camera
  • iPad Air 2 will have a 1.5 megapixel front camera
  • iPad Air 2 will be 6 millimeters thin (1.5 millimeters less than its predecessor)
  • iPad Air 2 will have the same resolution as the previous model
  • iPad Mini 3 will be 5.25 mm thick (1/3 thinner and lighter)

Full circle for website managers
While the ergonomics of the iPad tablet will not be remarkably different in this next release, it’s new operating system will liberate users who interact with websites and other functional tools on their Apple devices. They’re liberated because they only have to go to one destination – a website URL – to get the information they want, regardless of whether they’re using an iPad or iPhone.

Apple users have long complained about the inability to run multiple applications at the same time, so the play toward multitasking is no small deal. Add to this fact users want to have the same experience on their desktop computer’s website browsers as they have on their mobile devices and it’s a good bet that Apple will relax their ban on Adobe Flash in the year to come, too, all for the sake of providing users accessibility.

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