Archive for the ‘Web publishing’ Category

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Sticker Mule Review

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Have you ever wanted to get some custom stickers made for your website, business, band, or any other reason for which you might make a sticker? There are plenty of sticker companies on the internet to choose from, but a lot of these sticker companies require huge bulk orders of a thousand stickers or more. However, there is one company that lets you buy just the right amount of custom stickers, at a reasonable price, with great service. This company is Sticker Mule.

Sticker Mule, first of all, has a very good looking and easy to use website. Second, they are now the official sticker provider of Reddit. They offer free shipping on all orders, and have many different types of stickers to choose from. Your stickers can be different shapes, die cut, kiss cut, bumper stickers, sticker sheets, and even custom iPhone, iPad, iPod, Kindle, and Macbook laptop skins. For this review, I ordered some Reddit stickers, as well as a 50 pack of custom die cut stickers.

Choosing the type of sticker that I wanted was easy, due to the awesome website layout. For the custom stickers, I uploaded a PSD file, wrote a comment to let them know how I wanted it cut, and the next day I got a proof in my email showing exactly how the sticker would look if it was cut that way. I accepted the proof, and got a shipping time estimate for 13 days. After 7 days, I got an email with a UPS tracking number saying my order had shipped. It arrived on the 14th (and I had received my proof on the 1st) in a very sturdy envelope. Considering these were custom die cut stickers, in addition to the popular Reddit stickers, I think that this is a very reasonable time for order fulfillment and shipping.

I could tell right away that the stickers were printed on very high quality paper. They are not glossy, and have a very smooth matte surface. The sticker itself as well as the backing is relatively very thick, meaning you won’t accidentally bend the stickers or rip off a piece, such as the Reddit alien’s antenna. The resolution is superb, with no imperfections visible. There is no color bleed, and the colors were reproduced perfectly from the PSD I had uploaded. The cut was very clean and precise, and followed my outline exactly. I was very surprised at how heavy the stickers were due to the heavy duty paper used. According to the website, the stickers are fade and water resistant. This would take too long to test, but I have no doubts about this claim. In fact, I am going to put one of the Reddit stickers on my motorcycle helmet, which will be wet from rain periodically.

The photos of all the stickers can be seen below. I tried my best to reproduce the colors, and I think the photos come close, but they are not exact. The imperfections visible in the photos are not visible when actually looking at the stickers, even if looking closely. The camera shows things that you won’t be able to see with your eyes, so try to ignore that. Apart from that, as you can see in the photos, the ink quality is amazing. I am very satisfied with my order, and if I need some more stickers I will definitely order from Sticker Mule. The prices are reasonable due to the high quality, and if you are trying to spread your brand with stickers, these will definitely do the job very well. I highly recommend Sticker Mule for all your custom sticker needs, as well as for Reddit stickers. These are awesome stickers with superb quality. Check out the photos below.

Disclaimer: I was paid for my time spent on writing this review, and was given store credit to buy the stickers with. However, I can guarantee that this did not influence the review in any way. I have reported all facts as accurately as possible and left out no negative thoughts.


Posted in Graphics / Design, Reviews, Web publishing | No Comments »

Here is a standard size Reddit button for your website

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

If you have social media buttons on your website, and have ever tried adding a reddit button, you may have noticed that reddit doesn’t provide a standard sized button. Most other websites, such as Digg, Facebook, and Twitter, have 20px tall buttons as an option. Reddit didn’t have one 20px tall, so I made one by modifying an existing button, and here it is:

To use it, save this button to your own server and replace the image URL in the button code with your own URL (wherever you uploaded the button). Also, note that I say button, not widget. This won’t work with the interactive widgets because they are a javascript code. Use the “reddit this!” button under “commonly used buttons” to get the right code.


Posted in Graphics / Design, Internet, Web publishing | No Comments »

Google Caffeine Update

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Google is rolling out a new update that involves injecting some caffeine into its system. The “Caffeine Update” is rumored to contain a few interesting items.

Speed is now a factor in your rankings. Google will measure how long it takes for your website to load and compare it against the average loading time of other websites. If your site loads faster than the average, you get a tiny boost in your rankings, if it loads slower, then you get a tiny penalty. So this if course raises the immediate question – how do I know if my site is loading at the right speed?

Fortunately, Google Webmaster Tools can answer that question. If you login to Google Webmaster tools, under the “Labs” section they’ve added a new “Site Performance” tool that tells you how fast your website loads compared to everybody else:

Website Speed by Google

As you can see – the site in the above image loads faster than 83% of other websites. I think that’s safe to say this particular website will get a nice boost once Caffeine hits the live results pages. The other nice feature of this new tool is that it identifies ways to speed up your page, a really common suggestion it made to my own websites was to enable GZIP compression, which I am in the process of doing right now.

Another factor that is being speculated about is whether social bookmarking will be used in the ranking of your website. It’s possible that Google will rank your website higher for ranking on sites like Digg.com. Now this does raise the question of social bookmark spamming, and in fact there are services out there that will guarantee your story to appear on the front page of Digg.com for a price (expect these types of services to gain massive popularity when this update goes live).

While we are on the topic of ways to enhance your website, here’s a few optimization tips you can use to give you a small edge in organic rankings with Google:

  • Check for any crawl errors in Google Webmaster Tools. If Googlebot is having issues with your site, it will tell you so you can fix them and stop being penalized.
  • Check for any HTML suggestions from Google Webmaster tools. This is another great feature that gives you some basic tips for optimizing your website in various ways. It will alert you if there are any meta tag problems, duplicate content issues, and such. It can be a real life saver if checked frequently.
  • Another great tool is Web Page Analyzer (by WebsiteOptimization.com). It will crawl a single page on your website and run various tests to measure how fast it responds and how long it will take an average user on various connection speeds to load your page. It also identifies other great features such as really large images or external files that are slowing your site down, and makes recommendations on what to fix so you can enhance your site to it’s fullest.

If you would like more information on the Google Caffeine update, here’s a few useful places to check:

Initial Announcement of Caffeine by Google
Google Caffeine Hits After the Holidays
Interview with Matt Cutts re: Caffeine Update


Posted in Internet, Technology, Web publishing | No Comments »

Should you buy an ebook to learn how to make money online?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

There are thousands of ebooks for sale online that promise to teach you how to make money online. People post ebooks for sale on popular online money making forums. Some claim that they now earn a living from once reading an ebook and putting its tactics to use. Lies, they’re all lies. 99.9% of ebooks are scams. Not exactly scams, but just a compilation of information that you can easily find online for free. You might think it’s worth paying $50 for organized, step-by-step information, but the truth is that there are websites where you can get all of this information for free, also in an organized manner.

What most ebooks contain is re-written basic information. They don’t contain any “secrets” like they all promise. It’s just organized information, with affiliate links plastered all over. That means more money to the author of the ebook. When you click on the links to sign up with advertising companies, the author of the ebook gets commission. This is just one reason why you can get the same quality of information, or even better, online for free. People write guides on making money online and just use these affiliate links as a way to get paid for the work of putting together the information.

Take ProBlogger for instance. Now he sells ebooks, but unlike everyone else, his ebooks are high quality. Why? I’m guessing because all the content in the book started out as a post on the website. And the fantastic posts on making money online still remain on the website. So you can still get all the information for free, without wasting money on an ebook.

The thing about ebooks is that it’s a relatively quick way for someone to make some cash. You can write an ebook by rewriting several articles, and put it up for sale somewhere. But when people make this information available online for free, they create long-term income from advertising and affiliate links. Usually if someone is in it for the long term, they have higher quality content to begin with.

The point here is that while a very, very small percentage of ebooks about making money online are good and filled with a great compilation of information, most ebooks are trash and a waste of your hard earned money. You can find this information in forums, websites, blogs, and anywhere online. All ebooks are in effect identical because again, they are just compilations of general ideas and money-making methods. Invest the money you would have otherwise spent on an ebook, and find the information you need online. Google makes the best ebook.


Posted in Internet, Web publishing | 2 Comments »

How would you invest $60 to start making money online?

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I saw this interesting post today on a popular internet marketing forum. The question was: how would you invest $60? Many people replied they wouldn’t. $60 is simply too low of an amount to invest and notice any meaningful result. Others said to buy content and a web hosting package, and monetize it with Adsense. I say don’t listen to these people. Instead, start a good website. Hosting and a domain will cost you under $60 for a year. The software, WordPress, is free, and you can write the content yourself.

The problem with today’s internet marketing and make-money-online tactics is this – everyone outsources their work to India. This is the cheapest option for people who don’t want to or can’t write content themselves. Most people who can’t create content themselves don’t speak English. This creates a situation where the people buying content have no clue what they’re buying. The articles they are buying are written in atrocious English, with the type of grammar you get in Nigerian scam emails.

And this is polluting the internet. Someone hears about making money online. They go to a forum, read a lot of nonsense (and a bit of very useful advise), then go out and buy a domain, web hosting package, and hire a person through the forum to write articles for their new website. Then they plaster advertisements over their site, and expect money to roll in. And sadly it does. But it’s a small amount of money. Advertisers don’t want to pay much to have their ads displayed in India, which for some reason is where most of this is coming from.

I guess my point here is that if you are making a website, do not outsource to someone who can’t write in fluent English. Not only does it devalue your website and turn away potential advertisers – and private deals make you much more money than pay-per-click advertising – but it adds absolutely nothing to the internet. These people copy other people’s work, rewrite it in horrible English, and republish it. This cycle continues until the article makes absolutely no sense.

A lot of people promote this outsourcing as a cheap way of getting yourself started in the blogging or general web publishing, internet marketing business. But I say leave it alone and stay far, far away from it. It will only bring in short-term visitors to your new website. You will get no returning visitors, no feed subscribers, nothing but short term search result clicks. Once people start reading your cheap content, they will immediately leave the page, or accidentally click on an advertisement.

If you really want to invest $60 to make money online, you sure can. It is definitely not too small an amount. WordPlop was started with around $6. Yes, this website had an initial investment of $6, and that was for the domain.  The hosting was free, without ads, from 000webhost. Original articles were written, and here we are today making a 10,000% profit (almost).

So how would you invest $60 to start making money online? Start a quality website. Do not outsource. Write with perfect English. Spend less time reading forums and more time writing articles. Write only what you are interested about. Don’t copy content. Read some tips on ProBlogger.

Whatever you do, please, do not contribute to the internet trash can that is the world of re-written content with bad grammar.


Posted in Internet, Web publishing | 1 Comment »

Market Leverage is Having a Contest

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Market Leverage is having a contest through John Chow. You have a chance to win over $500 worth of great prizes. The prize bag will include a Flip video camera, a $200 Market Leverage Amex Rewards card, a USB drive which doubles as a pen, an iPod Nano, as well as other various smaller prizes.

To enter all you have to do is comment on the contest post. If you blog about this contest, you will receive 5 entries. Good luck to everyone who enters.


Posted in Web publishing | No Comments »

Monitor your website’s uptime and downtime

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

I have been using siteuptime.com to monitor my websites for downtime. I find this service to be very useful because lately my site has been experiencing some downtime, so I might be switching hosts. With Site Uptime I can see exactly when my site goes down and comes back online. I can also configure it to send me an email when my site goes down or comes back up.

You can get a free account from Site Uptime that will test your site every 30 or 60 minutes and send you an email when it goes down and back up. For only a couple dollars a month, you can also receive detailed graphs and statistics on your site, as well as have your site checked up to every 5 minutes. With a free account you can track only one site, but with one of the paid accounts you can track more. You also get a lot of other features. I highly recommend getting a paid account because it’s cheap and has so many features.

This tool can save you a lot of money because if your website is down, you can’t make any money from it. Site Uptime will show you if this happens, and if it happens frequently you should maybe get a different host. So sign up with Site Uptime now!


Posted in Internet, Reviews, Web publishing | 1 Comment »

42topics.com – what do you want to read today?

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

42Topics.com is not just your average social media website. Usually, social media websites just allow you to vote on which story is interesting for you. But 42 Topics does a lot more than that. At 42 Topics, the stories you like and dislike are tracked and recorded. Then when new stories are submitted, the system compares them to the ones you have liked or disliked before. That way you get to see the stories which you will surely like. 42 Topics is a very sophisticated social media network. It has more features than most popular social news sites, such as creating your own topics and tagging stories you find.

An interesting fact about 42 Topics is that currently there aren’t 42 topics. However there are topics about humor, pictures, programming, sports, startups, SEO, environment, Django, India, and a topic called 42ndtopic. Since there is such a wide range of topics about different subjects, 42 Topics is a place where everyone could go to get their daily dose of news or just interesting stories.

The humor section is hilarious. I found many funny submissions there, such as this picture called The Best Deal in Vegas. The SEO section has some very interesting news regarding SEO. I found this particular article about How Much a Top Google Ranking is Worth to Your Business interesting and bringing up some very good points.

The programming topics section is one I personally will be checking often since I am a programmer. This section features topics from useful tips about programming, to programming jokes to get you through your work day. Here is an awesome topic I found that shows a CSS animated Homer. This is definitely the coolest CSS drawing I have ever found. To those of you who do not understand this one, simply put it is a drawing made of CSS code. The programming section on 42 Topics also has coding tutorials, tips, and tricks.

Another favorite section of mine on 42 Topics is the SEO section. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which means designing your web pages to rank high in search engines. I have found some great tips about aspects of SEO here that will surely help me out with my own blogs and websites. I also found some interesting topics about Twitter. I have considered marketing with Twitter before, but now thanks to 42 Topics I will probably do something with it now instead of putting it off continuously.

If by now you are wondering what the 42ndtopic section is, it is like a mixup of the other various sections. 42 Topic claims this is the coolest section of them all. I can say this is fairly true, because I just found out thanks to browsing this section that the iPhone is now the most popular camera phone.

42 Topics is a very interesting website. I think it has the potential to be much better than the current top social media websites. All it needs is a bigger community so there can be more topic voting going around. So what are you waiting for? Check out 42Topics.com right now and sign up!


Posted in Internet, Web publishing | No Comments »

ASE Adnet Ready for Applications

Monday, April 28th, 2008

ASE Adnet is a Cost-Per-Click based content network that is specifically targeted towards web publishers. I have been trying out ASE Adnet here on WordPlop while it was still in its beta stage. Today ASE Adnet is finally ready for applications.

The great thing about ASE Adnet is that you can completely customize the advertisement layout. You can make an ad of any size, using any colors, and placing different parts of the ad – like the product price, image, and store – in different places within the ad box. All you need to have full control of your ads is some CSS knowledge, and if you don’t know CSS, there is always the option for a simple ad customization.

Another great feature of Adnet is the ability to pick which product you specifically want showing your ad. You can search the hundreds of thousands of products on the Products page, and put only the ones you want on your ad.

Payouts are through Paypal, with a minimum payout of only $25. It takes about 30 days to get paid, and a lot of the time it takes less than that. Adnet also has a great click and revenue tracking system which allows you to track each ad individually.

ASE Adnet offers the most customization and features I have seen of any ad network. So far I am extremely pleased with their service. Click here to sign up and try them out – it will cost you absolutely nothing.


Posted in Reviews, Web publishing | 2 Comments »

How to resize multiple images in Photoshop

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Digital cameras take pictures in huge resolutions. If you’re going to email your photos, post them in forums, or do things like that, you should resize your images so they’re not huge. This also makes them anywhere from 30% – 80% smaller in file size, so it will be much faster uploading them. It will also be easier for people to download them if they have slower internet connections. This short tutorial will show you how to resize multiple images in Adobe Photoshop with a few clicks. I’m using Photoshop CS3 for this tutorial.

  1. Once you have Photoshop opened, click on File > Scripts > Image Processor… (click here for a screenshot)
  2. In the Image Processor window, select the folder your images are in by clicking Select Folder… (click here for a screenshot)
  3. You can save in the current folder, or choose a different folder. If you save in the current folder, it will create a new folder inside it called JPEG and put the processed images there. It will not overwrite your original images.
  4. File Type – I recommend saving as JPEG with a quality of 10. Your photos will be reduced in file size noticeably and will remain good quality.
  5. If you want to resize your images, which I recommend for posting them online, select Resize to Fit and enter the dimensions you want. Note: you need to keep the aspect ratio of your images. Make sure your original images are the same dimensions (they should be if they’re from the same camera) and divide the height and width separately by the same number to keep the ratio. My photos are originally 2592 x 1944, so I resize them to 1296 x 972. This is half of the original size, keeping the aspect ratio.
  6. Click Run and Photoshop will start processing your images. Wait for it to finish, then you can close it.

And that’s all. Now you can resize thousands of images with a few clicks.


Posted in Graphics / Design, Software, Tutorials, Web publishing | 116 Comments »

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