susan livingstone

squeezing a living from the internet


I'm Susan. I live in Silicon Valley, and you don't need me to tell you what the economy is like. So here I am, blogging my way to an Internet income.

Always wondered if this Dream of making a living online could really be done? I meet people every day who are doing it!

Stick with me and I'll help you learn how to get traffic or die trying.

Archive for January, 2009


Safe Passwords In A Dangerous World

Well, I seem to be in a “protect yourself” state of mind these days – from avoiding plagiarism to testing your site in multiple web browsers. But hey, there’s no question it’s dangerous online. If you’re anything like me, most of your life is probably embedded in the web. Gift buying, food ordering, bill paying. You might not care if someone discovers you prefer dark chocolate over milk, but imagine how you’d react if they found your bank routing number and helped themselves to a handful of your hard earned savings? Face it – you need a safety net while surfing the ‘net.

So yeah, this post is all about defending those passwords. Lemme give you some tips on just how to do that.

Safe passwords start with a safe PC. Don’t store all of your login and password information in just one place on your computer. You need to make sure your precious info is protected behind a good firewall. If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you can use the Windows Firewall, or you can go check out Symantec (Norton), Kaspersky or McAfee. There are other, less expensive programs available too – do a cost comparison and see what suits your needs. There are even some free services out there, like Zone Alarm or Online Armor. If cost is a real issue, they’re an option. But how important to you is your medical and financial information? Just be sure of what you’re getting.

Spend any time at the library? If you ever use computers in public places, you need to be aware that when you log in to certain sites using a password, that information can be stored on a temporary file on that computer’s hard drive. The next person to sit down at that computer can easily retrieve this information and do you some damage, if they’re so inclined.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but if you receive an email asking you for personal information, don’t respond to it! A reputable company will almost certainly identify you by name if they are asking you for this kind of information. And they will never, ever ask you for your PIN code. If you are suspicious about an email, better you should go to the site itself – not by clicking on any links in the email, but via a fresh browser window – and check it out for yourself.

Change your passwords often.  I know, I know…I don’t do this either. But it’s worth keeping in mind, at least on your most important sites, as it will minimize how much damage can be done should someone unscrupulous guess or hack into your passwords.

You’ve probably encountered sites that require you to answer a security question – which you yourself set up initially – in the event that you’ve forgotten your password. You may be limited as to the nature of the security questions, but do your best to pick one that isn’t going to be easily researchable. Mother’s maiden name, city of birth are two common questions that are probably not the best ones to choose, as they are matters of public record. Stick with ones like the make of your first car, where you went on your first date – things only you know that can’t be readily discovered by others.

Websites that request your password should be encrypted with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), the state-of-the-art for providing security and data integrity in online communications. You can ensure that the page you’re on is so encrypted by looking at the bottom of your browser screen. If you see a padlock symbol, you’re ok.

Finally, one of the most important and least regarded methods for keeping your passwords safe is simply choosing strong passwords. Determined hackers just point and laugh at people who use stuff like their birthday, their name, or basically any English word. If you know Polish, maybe that would help – but I’m betting there are Polish hackers out there somewhere. So make it hard for them. Use at least 8+ characters, and mix it up a little. Include upper and lower case letters, toss in a few numbers and special characters. Basically make it look like a big long comic book swear word.

And must I point out that it’s never a good idea to write your passwords on a sticky note and post it on the side of your monitor?

Happy blogging!

Share This Post

Plagiarism – And How To Prevent It

You’ve spent more time than you know you should have on getting a good, useful, meaningful bit of content on your blog or website.  After much thought, several drafts, and a tech glitch or two later, you’ve gotten a nice article written and posted, joining all the other articulate and thoughtful pieces of your heart, soul and experience that you’re sharing with the world.

Then someone comes along, steals it, and passes it off as their own. Ouch!

But it’s not just your time, expertise and hard work that’s taken a hit – it can affect your bottom line as well. Good content brings in traffic, and you want to be sure your own handcrafted words are bringing the traffic exactly where you want it - to your site. After all, people get paid to write articles, and you don’t want to give your time and talent away for free on anybody else’s terms but your own.

So I have some tips to help you keep on top of what’s happening to your content.

Firstly, there’s some debate on where the line between protecting your content and annoying the hell out of your visitors should really be drawn. There’s a plethora of free javascript code available to make sure a potential thief doesn’t have an easy time of stealing your text and images, but the fact remains that most of the people visiting your site are people you want to remain on good terms with! So making it impossible to right-click and save an image, for example, should only be used if you have proprietary images of your own that could potentially cost you income if copied. People rely on right-clicking to do a lot of things, and finding this handy tool has been disabled on your site is a guarantee that you’ve seen them for the last time. As for disabling the back button, well…you can just kiss goodbye to any potential customers there and then.

It’s even possible to make viewing the source code hard to do. But notice I didn’t say impossible. If someone is determined to steal your content, they will always find a way to do it – even someone with a modicum of tech savvy probably knows a way to get something they really want off your site.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

I recommend you visit Copyscape, a free service that lets you type in your URL and find out where else on the web your material might be showing up. You can get banners for your site, warning that you are paying attention to what happens to your content. They also provide lots of good information on what constitutes plagiarism, what the laws are regarding it, and what recourse you have if you find yourself a victim of it. They also have a premium (paid) service that will allow you a more powerful and unlimited search of the web for your content – not just your URL, but cut-and-pasted text from your site you’d like researched.

Personally, I do like to use a code that at least prevents people from highlighting and copying text from some of my sites. If you’d like to get a copy of that code for your own site, comment and I’ll be happy to send it along! Just beware, it could impede the ability of people to fill out any opt-in forms you may have, so just use this on sites or pages where you don’t have such a thing.

Share This Post

Planning For Your Online Success

Well, it’s a bit late to be bringing up New Year’s resolutions, here on January 15th (wow – 1/24th of the year gone already!). But if you’ve been busy tossing dried up Christmas trees, choking down the last of the leftover turkey shakes, debating just how lazy and trashy you’ll look to the neighbors if you keep the colored lights strung up around your porch, it’s only about now that you have a quiet moment to consider what you really want this new year to hold for you.

This post is to help you think about this very important subject. You know that without a plan, your efforts are doomed to failure. Having a vague idea of what you want will only get you vague results that don’t look at all like you imagined.

Below I have a video of my coach, Alex Jeffreys, reminding his students that planning for success is the only way to get it. While it is specifically targeted to those of us who signed up for his coaching program, and some of his calls to action won’t apply to the casual viewer, I’d like you to watch it anyway. He makes it clear that the progress he has made in earning an online income – from $0 to $500,000 in just 2 short years – could only happen by setting a goal, making a plan, and sticking to it. After you’re done, scroll down and read my take on what we all need to be doing to emulate his success.

Sounds Great! Um…So How Do I Do This?
Traditional goal-setting wisdom has taught us that a good goal must be a) written, b) challenging, c) believable, d) specific, e) measurable, and f) have a specific deadline. The problem is, it’s easy to come up with an infinite number of examples of perfectly earnest goals to which some of the above can’t be applied. “My goal is to become a wealthy Internet Marketer!” is just one utterly random example that just now came to me, who knows from where…(cough). How specific or measurable is that? And why would you even want to place a deadline on it?

The real question is: What Is A Good Goalplan? To my view, a good Goalplan is one that when followed, offers a reasonably high probability of success, given sufficient time.

Let’s take each of the traditional points one by one and see how they fit into the making of a workable Goalplan.

Writing Down Your Goal
It’s important to record your goals, whether you write them down with a paper and pencil or keep them on your computer. I recommend keeping them at least in an electronic format – either a word-processing program or a spreadsheet – as that makes for easier updating. Writing down your goal forces you to think about it, and gives you something tangible to look at when you get off-track and need reminding.

Believing In Your Goal
You’ve gotta believe that your goal is at least achievable, or you won’t be motivated to try. And remember, it’s you who need to believe it – it doesn’t matter if no one else you know gives your goals any respect. Ignore them. Remember too that believing you can achieve your goal doesn’t mean you have to believe that it’s easy, or even terribly likely. There are unrealistic goals – like reaching a 6-figure income inside of a week – that shady IM marketers would like you to believe is do-able so they can sell you their latest get-rich-quick product. But you know your own strengths, and if you do your research, you’ll find that anything you want to achieve you can – given the commitment, patience, and a realistic budget and timeframe.

Setting Challenging Goals
Don’t reach for the moon right off the bat. Set yourself some easy-to-reach goals to give yourself the feeling that you actually can get something done. When you feel ready, tackle the more challenging ones, when you can handle the frustration. Creating a habit of follow-through with the easier, shorter term goals will give you the chops to take on the biggies.

Making Measurable, Specific Goals
Don’t make your goals so vague that you have no way of knowing if you’ve even reached them or not. When you write down a goal, break it down into specific, individual tasks. Include the details. Add notes to it as you think of them. You won’t know if you’ve reached your goal of online success if you didn’t specify how much income you wanted to make, and by what time. Did your first sale of $4.97 constitute success? Were you happy that it took 6 months to get it? No? Then what did you expect?

Setting Goal Deadlines
You may be surprised to learn that not all goals need deadlines. Sure, you need to measure your progress by some defined timeline, but think about this: do you want to stop eating healthy and exercising just because you reached the goal of 40 pounds lost? Do you want to stop being a good parent because your kid just celebrated his 18th birthday? Of course not. The difference lies in goals that are short term, and those that are long term. You need to have both. The short term goals give you a sense of accomplishment and forward movement, and the long term goals serve to give your life greater purpose and meaning. It’s ok to readjust your goals as your circumstances and priorities change. Just remember to always be honest with yourself – don’t be changing direction so often you end up simply going in circles.

So get cracking and start seeing some of those changes in your life that you’ve been promising yourself! Make 2009 the year that it all turned around for you.

If you’d like a copy of fellow Alex Jeffreys student Gary Simpson’s FREE ebook on getting yourself organized, managing and keep track of your budding (or existing!) online business, just put in your name and email (no spam ever – I’m a vegetarian, you see) and download it for your use and profit.


Share This Post

Test Your Blog Or Website In Different Browsers

I submit this information specifically for those Alex Jeffreys students whose blogs I’ve visited while using IE 6.0.2. Lots of people haven’t yet upgraded to IE 7 – I personally hated IE 7 and deliberately chose to go back to my previous version. And it broke my heart to see how many of your otherwise lovely blogs weren’t rendering properly. The potential sales you’re losing because people visit your blog, see an incoherent mess on the screen, and scramble to hit the back button is just mindboggling.

You know having an online presence is a must for your business. So you spend hours of time and fistfuls of dollars on your blog or your website – maybe you hired a web designer, a graphic designer, a WordPress expert, made sure the meta tags were in order, created landing pages, plugged in your plugins and Aweber forms, aaaaand so forth. After untold hours and days of agony, tired eyes, hair-pulling, and out-of-pocket expense, you see the final draft. How thrilled are you!

You fire up Internet Explorer (or whatever you’re using) and look at the results. They look great, don’t they? Fix this, tweak that, whoops! minor typo there…and then you’re ready to send your labor of love out onto the ‘net, for all the world to see. You can just hear their collective jaws dropping. But I’m betting you didn’t think to do one vital thing before you went live. Did you test your lovely site on different browsers?

Different Browsers?
Ok, I can hear your heads being scratched all the way from here. But this isn’t the first time you’ve cranked up a computer and hit the web – you know that Internet Explorer (or even Firefox) is not the only web browser in use out there. There are over 15 browsers with respective versions for a number of operating systems. How do you know if your website is going to render properly in all of them? You don’t know what browsers your visitors and potential cash paying customers might be using to visit your page – so you have got to test your website against all of them.

How do you test the browsers?
Relax! You don’t have to research every browser and download them all, one by weary one. Browsershots will test your web design in different browsers for you. It is a free website service that will take a snapshot of your website on a number of different browsers. After it uploads the results, you get to see on one page how your site looks in each of them.

Like I said, it’s free. So don’t waste another minute spitting and polishing a site that might still be unviewable to a significant number of potential customers. Why drive anybody away? Make ‘em feel welcome with a well designed, working site for them to want to hang around in.

Share This Post

Why Video Marketing Is Hot For Your Online Business

Well, Alex Jeffreys’ students have just recently been treated to yet another great tip: Video Marketing. Maria Andros, “The Video Marketing Queen“, was a guest speaker on one of Alex’s webinars, and I think she’s made a whole new set of eager IM wannabes fall in love with her. Click on the video below to find out more about her and the terrific success she and her lucky students have had using videos to promote their online businesses!

And just what can adding video to your blogs and websites do for you? Read on.

Why Video Marketing Is Hot For Your Online Business
by David Ledoux

Video marketing is hot for your online business and for good reason. When compared to traditional sales messages, video is the hands-down winner for grabbing the reader’s attention. If your return on investment (ROI) is not converting enough cash, you need a stronger call-to-action. Adding video to your website may just be the shot in the arm your sagging sales need.

Check it out: You’ve got about seven seconds to catch your website visitor’s interest with an attention-grabbing headline. Every word counts. When a visitor scans the page and quickly clicks off the site, this is known as the “seven second death.” Ouch! The way to avoid this from happening is to find a way to hook the reader and pull him into your sales message right away. You can quickly pique your visitor’s curiosity by adding video to your landing page.

Video is powerfully persuasive in the buying process. In fact, some studies reveal that it is as much as 72% more effective than print media alone. Because it adds a face—your face—to the product, it also increases trust with your buyers. This is an absolute “must” in internet marketing if you want staying power over the long run.

To supercharge your sales message, consider taking it one step further. Adding video testimonials from satisfied customers is another way to build trust with your target market. Call these video testimonials “Success Stories,” and let your customers do the talking. By changing the word “Testimonials” to “Success Stories,” most marketers find that their profits increase significantly.

According to the Wharton School of Business, video enhances comprehension 50% in comparison to a live presentation. That’s why videos work. For multi-channel marketing, they’re powerfully effective. The next time you turn on your television, observe the number of advertisements that prompt the viewer to order a free, “no obligation” video to learn more about a product. This tactic is not only effective for list building. It also increases the likelihood that the customer will view the video, and testing reveals that up to 97% of consumers will eventually watch it. Online marketers are now using what offline marketers have known for years: Video marketing works.

There are other ways to integrate video into your online business aside from adding it to your website. You can also offer it as an opt-in incentive to people who sign up for your mailing list. Once you’ve captured your site visitor’s name and e-mail address, send a link to the video in an e-mail. The video should contain information that is timely and valuable to the target market.

When it comes to taking your online business to the next level, break free from the chains of one-dimensional selling. Studies have shown that online video significantly increases conversion rate over sales copy alone. Remember—Use the same sales strategies that you use with sales copy. Sell the sizzle not the steak, and end with a strong call to action that gives your website visitor a strong incentive to buy.

Article Source: Best Written Articles

Share This Post

WebProsperity – Making Internet Marketing History

Well, I finally got enough email telling me what a dadblamed fool I’d be if I didn’t sign up for this.

It’s called Webprosperity, and people who are in the know are beside themselves with excitement about the income possibilities with this phenomenal project. So did I want to be a dadblamed fool? Heck, no…I signed up.

And so should you! Doesn’t cost a thing to sign up, and if you’re serious about making money on the Internet, you will be very happy you checked out this amazing opportunity. It’s the biggest thing to hit the ‘net, and it has grown faster than even the creators imagined it would – frankly, it’s making history.

WebProsperity has generated tremendous interest all over the Internet, with over 7,000 Google results and 100+ YouTube videos. And best is yet to come: they haven’t even launched yet!

We will have 10,000+ visitors in just the next 48 hours! 

Be a part of it by clicking on the picture and find out for yourself what all the fireworks are about!

Share This Post

Featured Posts

Recent Comments

Cheryl Jones

Susan, I agree with you about short sentences and short paragraphs. White space is great. It makes it easy to read content. Hi, my name is Cheryl and I am one of Mark Terrell's students. He asked me to visit blogs and comment, both to build traffic and also to learn from other blogs. I would appreciate it if you would visit my blog and leave a comment and tell me what you think. Thank you. Cheryl Jones

Cheryl Jones

Susan, I read this article with interest and it brings out a lot of good points. I would have liked a few more paragraphs or another article on the things that do work as you covered the theories that look good on the surface, but are not entirely true. Hi, my name is Cheryl and I am one of Mark Terrell's students. He asked me to visit blogs and comment, both to build traffic and also to learn from other blogs. I would appreciate it if you would visit my blog and leave a comment and tell me what you think. Thank you. Cheryl Jones

Sue McDonald

Hi Susan Just read your blog and I can't agree more. There are some very bad PLR's out there. The reason for my visit is simple. As you see my name is Sue McDonald and I live in Australia. I am at present doing the Newbie course with Mark Terrell who originally did the course with Alex a few years ago. It's interesting learning and like everyone that starts these types of courses we all want to make money and have more time to ourselves. I hope you are making a great living and if you have time over the next few weeks and you could take a look at my blog and leave a comment, I would certainly appreciate. Kindest regards Sue

Mick Fallon

Hi Susan like your list, especially , blogging about other peoples posts its a great but simple idea, I bet not many people use it thanks for the tip Mick