Archive for Blogs

Good Advice from SM Business Solutions

SM Business Solutions LLC is an Inbound Marketing company based in Freeport, NY — not far from the Skylarking offices. It is owned and operated by Sandra McCarty. Among other tools and outlets, Sandra recommends blogging as a means to “grow your business”.

She puts her money where her mouth is, as she is an avid blogger and ghost blogger, and she blogs every week on her own site.

Not only does she blog on methods for growing your business using websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, but she also provides some advice on protecting your online identity and your computer. One particular useful post from a computer security standpoint is:

Beware of Computer Hackers: Discusses how to avoid online pitfalls that could infect your computer with viruses, spyware, and adware. I also liked Sandra’s comment on this post where she discusses using secure passwords for your online services.

Vote for Skylarking on the Long Island Blog Network (Updated)

I recently entered Skylarking in the Long Island Blog Network developed by Bruce Chamoff of Hot Web Ideas. You’ll find Skylarking in the technology blogs area with several other great Long Island Technology Blogs I’ve recently started following. Cruise or click on over and take a look. Specially if you are a Long Islander. (We have ways of tracking this.)

The Long Island Blog Network is currently taking votes to elect the best Long Island blogs. There are three categories you can vote on:

  • Most Unique and Exciting Blog
  • Most Quality Blog Articles
  • Most Practical Blog for Long Islanders

Take a look around and cast your vote. You can vote for each blog once a day, and they will tally the results at the end of June. (Correction: July)

And while you’re there, I hope you will cast a vote for Skylarking. I kind of like the “Most Quality Blog Articles” area.

Skylarking Readers in Scotland

I don’t know how many of you check out the ClustrMap at the bottom of the site, but if you scroll down you’ll see it shows geographic locations of this blog’s readership. You can click on the map image to get a closeup, down to a national or state level, but NOT to a city or town level.

Once and a while I like to click on the map myself, and see what parts of the world are and are not reading my blog. (It’s nice to see the People’s Republic of China hasn’t blocked me out.)

But, anyhow, I’m Scottish. I was born in New York, baptised in Ayr, and my grandfather supposedly hailed from Dunragit.

So I was looking to see where they’re reading me in Scotland.

Looks like I’ve got some readers around Edinburgh, Glasgow, Paisley, Aberdeen, maybe Kilmarnock and Dundee, too. It’s really hard to tell because doesn’t track it down to the city level. It just shows a rough, and distorted, geographic location.

Where are you reading Skylarking? No matter where in the world you are, post your city or town in the comments below.

Make Money Online with the Shoemoney System

One of the motivator’s behind my starting this blog is Jeremy Schoemaker, who more commonly goes by the name Shoemoney. Along with John Chow, Jeremy is considered one of the top earning bloggers on the Internet today. Since late January Jeremy has been offering a course — called the Shoemoney System — on the methods he uses to earn money on the Internet promoting other people’s products and services along with his own.

I’ve signed on to a few of his programs over the past year and a half, and I’ve found his methods and expectations to be quite realistic and very, very useful. While other courses and programs of this sort try to tell you it takes “no effort at all” or that you can “make millions in your underwear”, Jeremy is honest enough to say that it does take work, and it does take effort. While others ‘promise’ you can make thousands a month, Shoemoney realistically points out you can expect to earn a few hundred dollars a month using his system. While other programs take a “cookiecutter” approach, Shoemoney shows you ways to tailor his system to fit your own style and interests.

Shoemoney (r), John Chow (l), and I (c)

Follow this link to check out Shoemoney’s introductory video for the Shoemoney System.

Or check out his daily blog, Shoemoney: Skills to Pay the Bills, which also offers insights into his techniques.

Another very useful blog you can read is The Miscellaneous Ramblings of a dot com Mogul.

You may remember reading in one of my posts last August how I had the pleasure of meeting both Jeremy and John in person at the Affiliate Summit East in New York City.

Free Internet Marketing Course from Jeremy “Shoemoney” Schoemaker

v4_300x2501Over the last few months there is one question I get asked at least once a week: “Rob, do you have any thoughts on these ‘making money online’ programs?”

Some want to know about affiliate marketing (product promotions), others want to know about Google Adwords and Adsense (pay per click or PPC), and some want to know about both.

More often than not I tell them it’s not as easy as it sounds, and if anyone says they can make it easy for you, chances are they are going to make more money off of you than you will. I also end off by telling them if they want to read more about Internet marketing they should check out Jeremy Schoemaker’s Shoemoney web site. The Shoemoney blog is a great resource for learning the ins and outs of Internet and affiliate marketing.

Now I can do that one better.

Jeremy Schoemaker recently started a 12 week email based course on Internet marketing. He’s offering the course for FREE with no strings attached. Here’s a rundown of the week by week course topics:

Week 1 – The Beginner’s Guide To Internet Marketing
Week 2 – Affiliate Marketing 101: Everything You Need To Know To Start Promoting Products
Week 3 – Market Research: How To Crush Your Competitors And Discover Hot Niches
Week 4 – Pay Per Click: How To Earn Cash With Each Click
Week 5 – SEO: How To Rank Higher And Increase Traffic
Week 6 – Site Creation: How To Build A Site With Zero Programming Knowledge
Week 7 – Content Creation: How To Create Articles That Attract Users And Increase Sales
Week 8 – Marketing: How To Use Social Media To Spread Your Brand
Week 9 – Make That Cash: 10 Ways To Monetize Your Site And Increase Profitability
Week 10 – Testing & Tracking: How To Optimize Your Site & Make Sense Of The Figures
Week 11 – Building Your Team: How To Network With Others And Find Long Term Partners
Week 12 – Launch Day: How To Kick Start Your Business And Manage Your Projects

Here’s your opportunity to learn from a master. Jeremy’s writes in a layman’s style which is very easy to read and understand. If this is enough to pique your interest then sign up for Jeremy Schoemaker’s Free 12 Week Internet Marketing Course. I just signed up for it myself just this past weekend, and I’ve started the first week.

Need more information?

Well, each week you’ll receive a message from Jeremy in your Inbox. Each message contains a synopsis of the week’s topic with a link to a multi-page PDF filled with in-depth knowledge from Jeremy’s own 13 years of experience. As I said earlier, the PDFs are easy to read, and they include an “Action Plan” of tasks for you to perform to start your own Internet marketing business.

So sign up for the course, and if you have any questions, please post them with the comments links below, or send me an email. I’ll be happy to help you out as much as I can.

Got a story to share? Have a question? Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with Skylarking’s email form.

Postcards from Miss Igorota

Postcards from Miss Igorota


Miss Igorota

One of my favorite sites on the web is the blog Postcards from Miss Igorota. This site plays upon the roaming gnome photo concept seen in television commercials, but in particular to this site, the 2001 French film “Amelie”.

Postcards from Miss Igorota was started by two bloggers: Conniechiwa / Fortuitous Faery, “a Filipina turned Jersey girl”; and Gingmaganda, whom I assume is from and lives in the Phillipines. Ginmgmaganda gave Conniechiwa an Igorota doll. (The Igorot people are from the Cordillera region of the Phillipines island of Luzon.) Conniechiwa decided to make the doll her “travel mascot” and took her wherever she went, and thus the photo blog of Miss Igorota’s travels was born. The current Miss Igorota is the second doll to bear the name after the first became a bit smeared from a water bottle in Conniechiwa’s purse.

Mr. Iggy

Mr. Iggy

If you check out the site you may wonder how the girl’s manage to move around so fast, but the site actually features photos of yet another igorota doll named “Mr Iggy”. Mr. Iggy appears primarily in the Philippines and Asia, while Miss Igorota appears in photos from North America. Miss Igorota (pictured above has painted lips, while Mr. Iggy does not.

Started around May 2008, Miss Igorota is entering into her second year of travels. Take a look and browse around. You might be interested in reading her story/origin and the 7 random facts about Miss Igorota, or you can also read up on the bloggers in charge.




For all you Bloglines users out there, you can find Skylarking among the feeds there. I’m spreading my wings and broadening the horizons as it were. I setup a blog there called “Skylarking’s Notes” where I’ll track some items’ I find on the web, much as I do here. the URL/web address is

For those of you unfamiliar with Bloglines, here is a description, slihtly revised, from the site:

What is Bloglines?

Bloglines is a FREE online service that helps you subscribe to and manage web information, such as news feeds, blogs and audio. Bloglines tracks the information you’re interested in, retrieves new stuff as it happens, and organizes everything for you on your own personal web news page.

How Does Bloglines Work?

Bloglines is a “news aggregator.” Many online information sources, including web sites, blogs and news services, now broadcast their content to the web in so-called “syndicated feeds” or “news feeds” with new technologies like Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and ATOM. News aggregator software and services collect those syndicated feeds and present them to end users in a variety of ways.

Bloglines is a server-based aggregation system. This means that we run and manage all of the software and technologies necessary to collect the syndicated feeds from tens of millions of online information sources on our own computer servers and databases, and deliver that amazing content to you as a free, easy-to use online service.

After you join Bloglines you simply search for the content you are interested in and identify the feeds you want to track. Once you “subscribe” to those feeds (a single-click maneuver in most cases), Bloglines will constantly check those feeds for changes or additions and direct new information onto your Bloglines personal page.

How is Bloglines different from other news readers and aggregators?

  1. We’re free. Others charge a one time or monthly fee.
  2. We’re a web-based service you can use from any computer or appliance with a web browser. Others are desktop-bound software applications.
  3. Nobody offers all the features we do.
  4. We were the first, we are the largest and fastest growing.

How Much Does Bloglines Cost?

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Bloglines is completely free.

I hope you’ll look me up when you get there.  Again, the URL over there is

Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009

Publishing business advice may seema  bit of a departure for a tech blog like Skylarking, but Guy Kawasaki’s “Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009” includes a several tips that include the use of technology for improving and checking on your business. I found this list on the Open Forum for Savvy Business Owners.

The following is quoted in full:

“On this, the last day of 2008, I provide a list of ten tiny things that every small business owner should do in 2009-hopefully in early 2009. Don’t consider it a New Year’s resolution because there’s a whole psychology behind such things. Just do it.

  1. Act like a prospective customer and call your company to see how the phone system and receptionist treat you.
  2. See if your website has a “Contact Us” section. If it doesn’t, add one. Ensure that it has a street address.
  3. Send your company an email asking for customer support and see if someone responds to it.
  4. Answer customer support calls or emails (not the one you sent in) for a day.
  5. Go out on a sales call with your salespeople and a service call with your service people.
  6. Read the documentation or manual that your company provides. Extra credit: See if you can do this without reading glasses.
  7. Pretend that you lost the documentation or manual that came with your product or service and try to find it on your website.
  8. Register your product or service including finding and reading the serial number of your product. Extra credit: See if you can read your serial number without reading glasses. Extra extra credit: If you use a Captcha system for registration, see how many times it takes to get the word right.
  9. Add a signature to your email. A “signature” is a block of text at the end of your emails that contain all your contact information. It saves your recipients the hassle of asking for your address and phone number or searching for them on your website.
  10. Join Twitter and then search for your company name, your product, your competition’s name or product name, or market sector terms from your business. For example, let’s say you’re in the web design business. Extra credit: Use Twitter as a twool.

If these tasks are helpful, you would probably enjoy “The Top Ten Stupid Ways to Hinder Market Adoption” and CustomerService.alltop. Kick butt in 2009!”

In my opinion, I have seen many small companies overlook their information email address, and allow many repeat messages to go unanswered. Or they have spam filters set to high on their email accounts and lose message from (potential) customers.

Another mistake made by many small business owners that Guy points out is the Contact page on their web site. Countless times I have seen web sites that don’t provide a way for people to find them in the real world. I’ve seen site’s with no mailing address, no store location listings, and no phone number.

I’d like to add my own personal pet peeve. Look at your site and see if you have a page similar to the “Upcoming Events” page where you list conferences and events your company will attend. How old are the listings there? Have they been updated recently? Have you moved old items off the site, or onto a list of “Past Events”? I have seen too many web sites that list upcoming events that are two or more years old! How’d you like a new customer to think you haven’t done anything in two years? Get in touch with your web site manager, pronto.  Don’t have one? Get one.

Using email signatures is a must for anyone in the bsuiness world. It is particularly useful into day’s economy if you find yourself in the market for a new job.  If you’re fresh out of college or new to the job search, don’t put your favorite (funny) quote in your signature line. not everyone is going to get it, nor is everyone going to want to read it.

Got some pet peeves or business advice of your own?  Share it here! Add a comment below.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

News Stories I Passed On This Week

How’s that for a headline?  There were a few stories that popped up the past few days that I could have written about, but, ultimately, I decided not to write about them …. until now.

Two stories were Apple related:

Mac Sales Slow (Tuesday, Dec. 16)

macThe Wall Street Journal and various other news sources reported a drop in sales of Mac computers in November 2008.  According to the NPD Group, computer sales overall increased by 2 to 7% over the previous year, but Mac sales dropped by 1%. Though they did note that it desktop Mac sales dropped by 35% its sales of laptops compensated for it.
Other companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard saw a growth in sales due to the rising popularity of the ultra-portable, ultra-mobile netbooks. Mac, on the other hand, did not have a comparable product on the market.

Apple Announces Its Last Year at Macworld (Tuesday, Dec. 16)

Steve Jobs, "not to be", at MacWorld

Steve Jobs, "not to be", at MacWorld

macworld-logoApple announced that 2009 is the last year the company will exhibit at the Macworld Expo, and it will be Apple’s last keynote at the show. In the past the big speaker has been Steve Jobs, but he has cancelled his appearance at the Jan. 5-9, 2009 event. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening keynote instead.
Apple is scaling back appearances at trade shows overall, but they plan on hosting their own events instead. This isn’t so surprising as other Apple products have greater popularity these days than their computers. Most notable are the iPhone and the iPod.

One was about a favorite monkey…

Monkey Tales Plagiarism Exposed

Monkey Fables and Tales

Monkey Fables and Tales

Charlie Hatton

Charlie Hatton

Well, this isn’t really news, but you may recall I reviewed a blog entitled Monkey Fables and Tales back in Sept. 2008. I hadn’t looked at this blog in a few weeks recently, and when I went to read it earlier this week, I found it was gone without a trace. It turns out that the blog had been copied almost word for word from Bosten stand-up comic Charlie Hatton’s web site “Where the Hell Was I?” Charlie’s little known site had been idle for some time as he was involved in other projects. Meanwhile, Monkey Tales had become a favorite of the Entrecard link circuit which was the site of a conversation on just what became of the monkey.  Charlie Hatton was a participant in the conversation.
I often wondered about Monkey Tales silence amidst so much commentary from fans. The charade may explain it all.  Bloggers are now wondering if Charlie Hatton will write again. For now, you can read Charlie’s retelling of how he found out about Monkey Tales. Other stories can be found at My Dear Hard Drive, and at Lainy’s Musings and there are others. Bad, monkey, bad!

Internet Explorer Emergency Patch Released (Wed., Dec. 17)

Okay, I did write about this one. If you didn’t read it, here’s your chance to read about the Internet explorer patch and why you should get it now. And check up on your antivirus software while you’re at it.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.

Blog Review: Blooms and Blossoms

Have you ever admired the beauty of the autumn leaves? Whether you have or not, I recommend checking out “Blooms and Blossoms”, the blog of artist and photographer Petra Voegtle.

Very early this morning I was surfing the web, just going from link to link, when I came across Petra’s blog. Her most recent post, “Vines in their Festival Costumes…”, featured photos of glorious red vines climbing the side of a home. The stunning red color leapt out from the black background of the page.  Scrolling down revealed brown and ochre photos of oak trees. Further down, slender red leaves of sumac. Very beautiful. Take a look, maybe it will make your day.

Post Comments or Questions with the link below. Keep up-to-date with Skylarking: By Email or RSS Newsfeed or on Twitter. You can also send questions with my email form.