Blog : Freelancer / Entrepreneur

Fix & Protect Your Hacked WordPress Site

– Original article by Hristian, via TSOHOST – Edited


Websites get “hacked” all the time, and the symptoms a site experiences as a result differs from case to case. Your website might redirect to a website you have never seen before, it might get flagged as malicious by Google, or it might have even developed a keen interest in improving your visitors’ sexual life through medicaments and dating websites.

No matter what your site’s symptoms, there’s almost always a cure. Let’s explore how to identify and remove malicious content, and the steps you can take to make sure your site does not surrender to hackers again.

A ‘403 Forbidden’ Error

If a ‘403 Forbidden’ error displays when you visit your website, it’s safe to assume that your hosting provider has identified malicious activity and has gone ahead and disabled your site. Hosting providers usually disable your site to help protect other sites on the server, your brand, and to reduce the likelihood of the malicious content affecting your Google ranking.

To rid your site of malicious content, firstly, you will need to grant your computer access to your website. In order to do this, you will need your computer’s IP (the unique number that your computer identifies with on the internet). You can find out your device’s IP simply by visiting www.whatismyip.com

The underlined number is your IP. Take note of it as you will need to reference it later on.

tsohost-blog-whatismyip

Allowing Your IP Access:

To allow your IP to access your site you need to make a small change to your site’s ‘.htaccess’ file. Locate your ‘File Manager’ in your hosting account’s control panel; open your ‘public_html’ folder and then open your ‘.htaccess’ file. Once open, you should see a text file just like the one below:

tsohost-blog-allowingip

The ‘deny from all’ line, is what is blocking users from visiting your site. To grant yourself access, add ‘allow from *enter your IP*’, below ‘deny from all’:

tsohost-blog-denyfromall

Once saved, you and only you will be able to access your WordPress admin panel from this single device.

Identifying Malicious Content

Now you have access to your admin panel, you can take steps to identifying and removing the malicious content from your site. To do this, it’s recommended that you install the Wordfence plugin, an excellent anti-malware solution that scans your site for issues.

tsohost-blog-identifyingmaliciouscontent

Once installation is complete, Wordfence will appear in the left-hand side bar of your WordPress admin panel. Click ‘Wordfence’ then ‘Scan.’ All your websites files will now be scanned for any content that could be malicious. All identified issues will be highlighted with ‘next step’ suggestions.

Additional Measures

If Wordfence doesn’t locate the malicious content, you can run your site through a second scan using Sucuri, an excellent third-party company that specialises in malware detection.

Also, you can always contact your hosting provider to check for you, too, or to restore the website from a backup generated when it was clean (if that is a service your hosting package includes).

How to Prevent Future Exploits

Keep WordPress and all your plugins updated

More often than not, one outdated plugin is all it takes for someone to exploit your website. Every single plugin and WordPress update introduces security fixes which, if not applied, leave your site open to known vulnerabilities. It’s strongly advised that you only use plugins from established developers, and, when an update becomes available, do run it as soon as possible.

Make sure that your devices are clean

Sometimes a sneaky file might go through with a regular application that you are installing leaving access to your computer open. Common viruses include keyloggers, which send all your usernames and passwords to someone as you type, and Trojans, which leave your password file visible to hackers. Run antivirus scans on all the devices you have used to access your website and as an extra precaution reset all related passwords.

Avoid plugins with known exploits

If you are about to install a new plugin, hold back for just 5 minutes. Before you go ahead and install it, carry out a simple Google search to uncover any known exploits – it could save you a lot of hassle. Take extra care to ensure that you do not download anything ‘nullified’ or from an unofficial source.

Reactivating Your Website

If you are sure your site is free from malicious content, you can now reactivate global access to your website.

This involves returning to the ‘.htacess’ file in your’ public_html’ folder and removing the ‘deny from all’ line. A default WordPress .htaccess looks like the following (please note that some of your plugins might have added some content to the .htaccess file which is legitimate. This applies mostly for caching plugins):

tsohost-blog-reactivateyoursite

Once the ‘deny from all’ rule is removed, your website will be visible to everyone.

If you have taken the preventive measures above, the likelihood of these or any other issues reoccurring is fairly slim, so reward yourself with a cup of tea or a pint. It’s not every day you fix a hacked website!


(Via www.tsohost.com– Edited from source: tsohost.com/blog/fix-and-protect-you-hacked-wordpress-site)

The 15 DO’s and DON’Ts of Freelancing

Whether you are starting your career as a freelancer, or are a seasoned freelance expert, it pays to know how to best ride the challenges you will encounter in today’s freelancing landscape due to a never-ending financial crisis, low-cost international competition and the misconceptions that still exist in the mind of employers and clients looking to outsource work. Take note and keep your notes handy, brave one, because this is not a race… it’s a marathon.

1. DO: Calculate your expenses and adjust your rates.

This is your job now, not a hobby, and, as a job, you need to make a living from it. Calculate all your expenses for the month (rent/mortgage payments, utility bills, phone/internet, travel/transport expenses –if your type of freelancing requires it-, food, etc.) and adjust your rates in a way that, though still competitive, are also enough for you to make a living without risking going broke within the periods of time when you are not going to get any work. Oh yes, you will go through those, no matter how good and hardworking you are.

2. DO: Sign into as many freelance jobs portals* as possible

And set automatic email alerts for new projects with different keywords, as not all clients know the jargon of particular specialties or the specific name for certain skills. Apply often, it’s a numbers game.

*Wonderlance.com has a section that pulls daily fresh jobs from different partner agencies, as well as from direct clients, and many times they are offers for freelance/contract gigs. If you’ve got what it takes in any of the areas we cover, go ahead, check it out, sign up as a candidate and fill in your resume for our consideration. If approved, you can set up your email alerts and apply to as many jobs as you wish, as well as form part of our team of experts. It’s all free. Visit Jobs & Experts >

3. DON’T: Do not lower your rates if they are already reasonable.

Refer to point 1: Again, this is still your passion but no longer a hobby; it’s your means to a living. And, in this world, you get what you pay for. Sooner or later clients realise how far more costly is to go for the cheapest option than for the most professional one. Respect yourself and your craft.

4. DO: Network, network, network.

Use your social media accounts to share about your work from time to time and make sure you update your About/Info section with your website and professional pages links. Join online groups and communities of your interest and interact with their members. Go to seminars, conferences and festivals where you know there will be people interested in your services and have business cards with you at all times. In other words, put yourself out there, nobody is going to knock your door if they don’t know that you exist and do what you do so well.

5. DON’T but DO: Don’t do free work, unless…

Beware of clients and companies that request custom samples for specific projects before signing a contract and paying a deposit for the work. That’s how a lot of individuals and organisations get work done for free. Do consider, however, approaching and doing some –affordable- free work for professionals you admire and trust about subjects that interest you, and/or charities you believe in, either at the beginning, when you need to create a portfolio of jobs, or, if you are already established, when you wish to have more work to show from a determined type of clients or subjects that interest you. Remember those periods of time when, no matter what you do, you may still not get work? That’s when you can do free stuff, as well as undertake any courses that may enhance your skillset or expand it.

6. DON’T: Do not accept any work.

This is a difficult one, especially if you are going through the aforementioned rough patch and are starting to get anxious about running out of money to cover your living expenses. But, if you suspect that the work you are being offered is for illegal or dubious purposes, or it compromises your dignity as a professional, or your personal values, the only way is to stay away. Far, far away from it.

7. DO: Have templates ready.

Create several project-application email templates and freelancing contract templates as it will save you a lot of time as well as last minute mistakes.

8. DO: Always communicate via email.

Even if you have already had a chat with the client over the phone or Skype. Having everything in writing is very important: it prevents misunderstandings, it offers legal security, and it definitely helps to keep organised and on top of all tasks.

9. DO: Be organised and meet all deadlines.

Keep a work diary, create email folders to archive different types of communications, and be very specific when creating/naming computer folders so you can access documents and materials in a rapid and painless manner. Save your work frequently and back it up daily. Always add at least a couple of days to your estimated time of project completion so you can review it with fresh eyes, as well as rest days. This will allow you to not only keep your promises –and therefore, your reputation and clients- but also your health.

10. DO: Ask for an advanced deposit and further payments upon completed milestones.

Depending on the project, you may want to ask for 25% deposit in advance, if its completion entails no more than two weeks, or 50% if its completion will take longer than that. For particularly lengthy projects, it’ll be necessary for you to create milestones for completed tasks/levels of completion upon correspondent payment installments.

11. DO: Establish a revision limit in your contracts.

Both in terms of number of changes and type of changes as well as timeframes to process them. Anything outside those perimeters needs to be in written, signed and with a deposit in place.

12. DO but DON’T: Always be flexible, but also firm.

Clients often change their minds, whether because they were indecisive about a preliminary vision or because they have received information during the process that has altered said vision, that’s why point 11 came to exist. If the modifications involved mean you may have to put an extra couple of hours into the project it’s worth to abstain from charging them. But, if they mean putting an extra day or few days, let alone weeks, make sure your client signs an additional contract for the additional work, or an amended one if necessary, and ask for an extended deposit or new deposit before doing anything.

13. DON’T: Never ever hand over a completed project without having been paid in full first.

Especially when it’s for a client you have not worked for before. If it’s artistic work, apply a watermark.

14. DO: Ask for feedback/testimonials

Request feedback/testimonials from your clients to include in your website/professional profile, though ask them if you can also include their name/company name before doing so.

15. DO: Eat healthy, sleep sufficiently, exercise, and spend time outside with family and friends.

Believe it or not, when you are trying to make a living via freelancing, or your start-up, these are the very things that will allow you to keep your health –without which we are nothing- and your sanity, yet, they are the ones that you will be tempted to neglect the most. Try your best not to 🙂

And may the force be with you, champion.

Procrastination: What, Why and How to Beat It

– Infographic by ESSAY.EXPERT – Source: essay.expert >


Procrastination is an acquired habit, not a trait with which we are born, but what we all know is that it can have devastating effects in terms of our health, career opportunities and even our personal relationships.

According to Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at De Paul University in Chicago, procrastination is a mix of rebelliousness in response to an authoritarian and controlling parenting style and a form of self-sabotage due to fear of failure, fear of success and the burden of responsibility.

Thus, he distinguishes three types of procrastination:

– Thrill-seeking: Waiting to the last minute for the euphoric rush.

– Avoidant: Due to fear of failure or fear of success.

– Decisional: Not making a decision absolves us of responsibility for the outcome of events.

From these valuable insights we can all determine that the very first and most important step to breaking our own procrastination tendencies would be to seek their roots within, by focusing on the particular feelings that triggered them. Once we have identified the roots, we attack them without mercy with what I find works like kryptonite against the above procrastination types:

– I am the master of my life and this is what I choose for myself.

– I am as capable as anybody else and as deserving as everybody else.

– With power comes responsibility. When I renounce responsibility, I renounce my own inner power, too; I will NOT give it up. Everybody makes mistakes. I will learn and I will grow.

Armed with your own brand of kryptonite, here’s an infographic with 15 practical ways to use it on a daily basis, Batman / WonderWoman:

1417534655-15-ways-overcome-procrastination-get-stuff-done-infographic


– Infographic by ESSAY.EXPERT – Source: essay.expert >

101 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

– Original article by Tom Ewer, via graphpaperpress.com >


 

Most online businesses dream of having a highly popular blog. It’s good for your brand and ultimately serves to drive wave after wave of potential customers your way.

However, dreaming about it won’t get you there — taking action is the key.

Contrary to seemingly popular belief, there is no huge secret to building up your blog traffic. It all comes down to hard work, consistent effort over a long term period, and understanding basic marketing fundamentals.

There are an almost unlimited number of ways to increase traffic to your blog, but if you’re stuck for ideas, here are 101 simple tips to get you started. Enjoy!

Content Is King

1. Optimize your website for viewing on mobile devices.

2. Write excellent content — make a name for blog as a source of informative, useful, funny, entertaining, or inspiring articles.

3. Write longer posts — expand on your content, fill out your blog posts and create truly epic content.

4. Alternate with shorter posts — follow Seth Godin’s example with short but sweet posts.

5. Write more often — the more content you can produce, the better.

6. Blog on a consistent schedule so your readers know when to expect new content.

7. Write list blog posts — they get more traffic than any other kind of post.

8. Write about current news stories.

9. Write about topics trending on Twitter and in Google trends.

10. Search forums in your niche to see what people are talking about and write an article about it.

11. Ask your readers what they’d like you to write about.

12. Write about something controversial and start a debate.

13. Use proven techniques to write content that promotes massive sharing.

14. Explore your analytics, find out which is your most popular content and create more of the same.

15. Interview influential people in your niche/industry.

16. Create a “best blogs” list post and let the bloggers know you’ve included them — a bit of flattery can go a long way.

Enhance With Multimedia

17. Use eye-catching photos and graphics to draw attention to your posts.

18. Create Pinterest-friendly graphics with text on top of images to encourage people to pin your posts.

19. Create an interesting infographic and share it with everyone you can think of.

20. Upload videos to YouTube and Vimeo — make sure a link to your site is in the description and the video.

21. Produce a podcast and distribute it through iTunes.

22. Convert some of your content into a presentation and upload it to SlideShare.

23. Host or take part in a webinar.

24. Transcribe your videos and webinars for extra content.

Be Social

25. Create a Facebook page for your blog. Use it to communicate with your readers and post a notification every time you publish a new blog article.

26. Tweet all your posts when you publish them.

27. Link to your posts on your Google+ page when you publish them.

28. Use social media scheduling software like Buffer to post automatically on social media at the best times of the day.

29. Link to your old posts periodically from your social media accounts.

30. Join a collaborative Pinterest board and tap into the audiences of all the other bloggers pinning to that board.

31. Regularly pin images from other sites. The more you pin, the more followers you’ll attract on Pinterest. Make sure your blog address is in your profile!

32. Create a Tumblr blog and add content related to your niche as well as re-blogging content from your own site.

33. Set up an Instagram account and tell your followers when you publish a new post.

34. Comment on other blogs with insightful, useful comments.

35. Link out to other bloggers generously.

36. Share others’ posts on Facebook and retweet useful information to your readers.

37. Reach out to other bloggers through their blog, by email or on social media — build relationships.

38. Follow all the followers of other influential bloggers in your niche on Twitter.

39. Include social sharing buttons on all your posts.

40. Swap sidebar links and buttons with other sites.

41. Include quotable phrases in your content and use Clicktotweet to encourage sharing on Twitter.

42. Encourage engagement on your blog by ending your posts with a question.

43. Link to all your posts with StumbleUpon.

44. Add some of the users Twitter recommends you to follow every day — a percentage will follow you back.

45. Reply to your comments and emails — show your readership that you’re interested in what they have to say

46. Join blogger Facebook groups and communities to share knowledge and help to promote each other’s content.

47. Create a LinkedIn profile with a link to your blog and contribute to groups and discussions in your field.

48. Submit your best posts to Digg and Reddit.

49. Add your favorite blogs to your blogroll — they’ll notice and may return the favor.

50. Ask your blogger friends to include you in their blogroll.

51. Collaborate with other bloggers to produce and share content.

Guest Posting And Link Building

52. Guest post on other blogs — try pitching to one new blog every week.

53. Include a link to your blog in every single online profile you have.

54. Set up a free blog related to your niche with supplementary content on Blogger, Livejournal, Typepad etc. and reference back to your main blog.

55. Invite others to guest post on your blog — they’ll send traffic your way when they link to the post.

56. List your blog in as many free blog directories as you can find.

57. Do interviews for other blogs.

58. Take part in link parties and blog carnivals.

59. Include your blog’s URL in your email signature.

60. Post helpful information in forums related to your niche and include your blog’s URL in your signature.

61. Post helpful articles on sites like Hubpages and Squidoo with links back to your blog.

62. Submit articles to syndicated article directories like Ezine Articles. If your article is re-published on another blog you’ll benefit from extra links.

63. Write and syndicate a press release linking back to your blog.

64. Use a link inspection tool like Open Site Explorer to find where your competitors are getting links from and copy them.

65. Add your blog to Technorati.

66. Syndicate your blog on Amazon Kindle.

SEO

67. Interlink your blog posts — link to old posts from new ones and edit old posts to link to more recent ones.

68. Install a related content plugin to link each post to several other related posts if your blog theme does not include it.

69. Use keyword research tools to write about the things that many people are searching for.

70. Install an SEO plugin like All in One SEO Pack or the Yoast SEO plugin and optimize your site for search engines.

71. Use relevant keywords in your image file names and alt tags.

72. Use keywords in your post title and subheadings.

73. Link out to authority sites in your niche.

74. Set up Google authorship on your blog.

E-books And Freebies

75. Run a blog giveaway or competition.

76. Put an opt-in form on your website and send out a free newsletter.

77. Publish an e-book and sell it or offer it for free on Amazon Kindle. Make sure your web address is in the first 10% of the book so it shows up in the sample.

78. Write an e-book and offer a generous affiliate commission to encourage others to distribute it and link to your site.

79. Create a free report and get site visitors to tweet or post about your site on Facebook to access it

80. Offer a free e-course or digital product and encourage your readers to tell people about it.

Offline Ideas

81. Include your blog’s URL on your printed business cards and give them out to everyone you meet.

82. Attend blogging conferences and networking events — distribute your business cards!

83. Speak at conferences and special events.

84. Tell your friends and family about your blog.

Other Miscellaneous Ideas

85. Enter blogging competitions — your blog will usually be promoted on the website hosting the competition and social media for free.

86. Answer questions on Yahoo! Answers and leave a link to your website.

87. Ping your blog posts with a tool like Pingomatic.

88. Create a WordPress theme and include a link to your site in the footer.

89. Use a beautiful design for your blog.

90. Review products that you use and like and share your content with brands. They may link to your site from their social media accounts

91. Ask a bigger blogger to be your mentor and start a case study about improving your blog.

92. Submit photographs to free stock photography sites and Flickr and ask for a credit link back to your site.

93. Include a link to your RSS feed.

94. Include links to read your blog via Bloglovin‘.

95. Link to your best and most popular posts from your sidebar.

96. Go back to old posts and edit them to update and improve them from time to time

97. Write eye-catching headlines. Notice the kind of headlines that grab your attention.

98. Include different ways to access your content such as category and date archives

99. Include a search function on your blog.

100. Create an app for iPhone or Android.

101. Be helpful and be nice —help to solve people’s problems and they will send traffic your way with no encouragement required.


 

(Via graphpaperpress.com – Source: graphpaperpress.com/101-simple-tips-increase-website-traffic/ by Tom Ewer)

5 Great Online Tools to Create Your Infographics

– Original article by Randy Krum, via coolinfographics.com >


Professional infographic designers rely primarily on a core vector graphics software program to create their infographics designs. The main advantage is that all the icons, charts, images, illustrations, and data visualizations are treated as separate objects that can be easily moved, resized, overlapped, and rotated. No matter where you create the individual design elements, the final infographic design is usually put together in a vector graphics program.

However, creating infographics using online tools has never been easier. In the last few years a number of online tools have emerged that allow anyone to create great visual content.  Whether you are working on a project for work, personal use, or social media, each new project starts with a template. With the dimensions laid out for you, you can focus your attention on quickly creating effective designs. Search, drag, and publish – it can be that simple.

These new tools are vector graphics applications that run in your browser as a replacement for using an expensive professional desktop application like Adobe Illustrator to put your infographic design together.  Each one offers different tools, image libraries, charts, fonts and templates as a starting point.  None of these have the full capabilities of a professional desktop application, but you probably don’t need that much power to create a simple infographic.

In this article, we take a quick look at 5 of the best online tools for creating infographics: Visme, Canva, Easel.ly, Piktochart, and Infogr.am. All of these tools are evolving quickly, and this is just a snapshot of their current capabilities.

 

1) Visme

(visme.co)

visme

Visme allows you to create interactive presentations, infographics and other engaging content. With tons of templates, and huge library of free shapes & icons to choose from, Visme has you creating awesome visual content right away.

The templates are set up simply and beautifully. If you wanted, you could just edit the placeholder text, insert your own, and publish your infographic.

One of the greatest aspects of this service is changing percentages within the charts. All you have to do is click on the graphic you would like to change, enter a new number, and the chart changes to reflect the new information automatically. Saving you hours of frustration trying to do it on your own.

Pros:

  • Creates infographics, presentation, animations, ad banners, and custom layouts.
  • Insert and edit chart objects directly by changing the data values.
  • Large library of icons and images.
  • Embed YouTube videos directly into designs.
  • Special pricing for students & teachers.

Cons:

  • The basic free version is limited.
    • Only 3 projects.
    • Must include the Visme logo.
    • Limited access to charts and infograph widgets.
  • JPG download is still in Beta, with a few bugs.

Price: Basic version is free with pricing plans available

 

2) Canva

(canva.com)

canva

Canva has made a big splash in the online design space in no time.  Your experience kicks off with a great “23 Second Guide to Beautiful Design,” where they walk you through a brief introduction to their design program.

After finishing the brief tutorial, you can start a new design. Canva is filled with options, whether you are working on a project for work, personal, or social media. Each new project comes with a template for the project you choose to work on. With the dimensions done for you, you can focus your attention on creating beautiful designs in seconds.

Pros

  • Excellent (and short) intro tutorial to get you started, and many more on advanced concepts.
  • Templates for social media, blogs, presentations, posters, business cards, invitations, and more.
  • Easy and intuitive to use.
  • Large library of images to choose from.

Cons

  • No editable chart objects. You need to import your own data visualizations as images.
  • Have to pay for different image assets individually, instead of a monthly subscription.

Price: Free, but you have to pay for Pro quality design assets individually

 

3) Easel.ly

(www.easel.ly)

easelly

Easel.ly is a great program, but lacks some of the guidance, and features, that come standard in other programs.

Easel.ly lacks a “How-To” introduction section to their program, and just kind of throws you into the design process right away. Their focus seems to be primarily based on infographic design. Whereas other programs offer a plethora of design project options.

If you’re just looking to design an infographic, this program will work well. If you want more variety, you’ll have to utilize one of the other programs in this list.

Pros:

  • Very basic design layouts and assets.
  • New charts feature allows some basic editable charts in your design.
  • Easy downloads for JPG and PDF versions.

Cons:

  • Not a very large selection of themes, called “Vhemes”.
  • Small library of image assets. You’ll want to upload your own images and icons.

Price: Free

 

4) Piktochart

(piktochart.com)

piktochart

Piktochart is one of the best looking programs on this list. All the information you need to get started is provided in their tour.

Their program is easy to use, and offers tons of freedom in building and editing your infographic using their simple graphic tools. They have categorized icons, resizable canvas, design-driven charts, and interactive maps to utilize.

Their intuitive user interface is where Piktochart truly excels. All the tools you need to create are laid out intelligently, making your new job as a “designer” so much easier.

One of the coolest aspects of this program is that they show how versatile infographics are for different projects. Whether you’re creating for a classroom, office, website, or social media setting – Piktochart gives you the heads up on how to use infographics effectively.

Pros:

  • Themes and templates are of high design quality.
  • Allows you to edit anything and everything with ease.
  • Create infographics, reports, banners and presentations.
  • Embed videos from Youtube and Vimeo in your design.

Cons:

  • Limited selection of free templates. Higher quality templates are available with a Pro account.
  • $29 per month is a high subscription price compared to the others.

Price: Start for free with pricing packages available

 

5) Infogr.am

(infogr.am)

infogr-am

Infogr.am has got the best charts. For illustrating data, there are more than 30 different types of charts to choose from. Anything from bubble charts and tree maps to simple pie charts.

Editing data can be easily done in Infogr.am’s built-in spreadsheet, or you can import your own XLS, XLXS and CSV files.  Once your infographic has been edited and beautifully designed, you can save it to your computer as a PNG or PDF file with a paid subscription.

Pros:

  • Ability to create and edit great charts by changing data
  • Built-in Spreadsheet. Can also import your XLS, XLXS and CSV files
  • Widest variety of available chart types
  • Educational and Non-profit pricing plans available
  • Embed videos from Youtube and Vimeo in your design.

Cons:

  • Only creates infographics and charts
  • Small selection of infographic templates
  • No image library, you must upload your own image assets
  • Download options require paid subscription
  • The White Label subscription service is the most expensive options of the group

Price: Basic version is free with pricing plans available


About the Author: Randy Krum is the president of InfoNewt and a Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics who is always looking for better ways to get the point across.

(Via coolinfographics.com – Source: coolinfographics.com/blog/5-great-online-tools-for-creating-infographics.html)

 

How to Publish Your eBook on Amazon’s Kindle Platform

– Original article by Paul Jun, via copyblogger.com >


Why write and publish an eBook? If you’re an online marketer, entrepreneur, writer, blogger, or maybe a chef, what’s the point? Here’s what I’ve found:

  • It’s time to prove your authority. You have an incredible, life-changing idea? You won’t find a better time for your words to spread like wildfire to inspire and empower, if executed correctly.
  • eReaders nearly doubled from December 2011 to January 2012. 1 in 4 Americans are now using some kind of tablet (iPad, Nook, Kindle) that is capable of reading eBooks (The Kindle reading app is also available on nearly every smartphone, more on this below).
  • If you already have an established platform — or want to build one — this eBook will fortify all your other online marketing efforts.

The opportunities to grow and expand your business or ideas through publishing an eBook are limitless. With a insightful, compelling eBook, your words can instill valuable wisdom, actions, stories and ideas that can build trust and relationships with your audience.

If you follow the seven steps below, you’ll never have to read another article on publishing to Amazon’s Kindle platform ever again.

Let’s get started …

Step 1: Define your target audience

This is business and marketing 101, baby.

Without a target audience, an eBook is useless.

Without a target audience, you will not see an increase in subscribers, traffic, or any building of trust whatsoever.

Ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What do they like? Feel?
  • What will they learn?
  • What am I offering them for their time?
  • How can I make this eBook build a relationship with my readers? Is it a character they fall in love with? A story? Are you motivating or inspiring them with ideas and examples? What is the main purpose?

When Stephen King wrote, he wrote to his wife.

When Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art, he wrote to writers and creatives alike.

When John Locke wrote How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, he wrote to most of the people reading this article right now.

Before you even think about putting a letter on that blank page, stop and ask yourself: Who am I writing to?

Step 2: Do you have a platform?

Writers have an obligation to their audience — to respond and listen to their feedback, to build a relationship, to keep them as readers forever. Why would anyone want to miss that opportunity?

That’s why we have blogs and Twitter.

Let me fix that: That’s why you should be publishing to your own blog and using Twitter.

Your blog can benefit you and your eBook in many ways:

  • Your readers can find you, support you, and give feedback.
  • You can build … and build … and build, to the point where you have thousands of subscribers waiting to read your next eBook.
  • You can continue the conversation. Say your eBook was motivational and inspiring; you could provide blog posts on that topic and have your readers coming back for more. This can get big … it might even get fun.
  • A blog is your portfolio: it has your work, your info, credibility — almost all of you. Coming from someone who used to be on the other side of the fence, it’s really wonderful how reader can now connect with author; it makes the entire experience feel … special.
  • Now that your blog has a face and examples of your work, you can meet like-minded individuals; networking is fruitful and the lifeblood of growth.
  • Guest posting for other blogs allows more visibility to your eBook, or at least, your blog. From there, your newfound readers may be interested in your writing.

Twitter is a great platform for your eBook and yourself:

  • Your readers can follow you; and you can respond to them.
  • Find people with similar passions and interests.
  • Hashtags help brand your eBooks; then, when fans click on the hashtag, they will see other people giving feedback about your eBook and that may spark interest.
  • Promote your eBook amidst sending relevant, valuable tweets.

You’re ultimately shorting yourself by not having either platform. It doesn’t matter what genre you write for, your audience needs a place to find you, get to know you, and stay updated.

Just remember … don’t be a digital sharecropper.

Step 3: Write your eBook

You have your target audience in mind, and you have a blog and/or social media platform of some kind. Good.

Do you want to know how I started my eBook after I delayed it for a few months? I woke up one morning, opened Pages for Mac, typed the title that I had in mind, and wrote.

That’s what you need to do. Just start.

Whatever time you read this, just know that if you don’t start tomorrow morning (or whenever you are comfortable writing), then you will never write an eBook.

The easiest way to do this is either use Microsoft Word or Pages for Mac. (Kindle suggests you write it in Word because if you decide to format this yourself, you must save your file to a filtered .html or .htm format, which translates on the Kindle very well.)

A few things you will have to keep in mind when writing:

  • Create a Table of Contents (TOC).
  • Insert a page break when you’re finished with your chapter to eliminate unnecessary white space so your reader can immediately scroll to the next page. Finished with your TOC? Page break. Finished with your copyright page? Page break. (To insert a page break go to “Insert” at the top menu bar, then find “Page Break”).
  • Do not use headers, footers, or any sexy font because it will not translate on the Kindle; they have standard fonts.
  • Bold, italicize, and headings translate well.
  • Images are allowed and should be inserted as .JPGs (more on formatting your eBook below).

Once you have finished writing the eBook, start the formatting process.

Step 4: Tools to download before formatting

You will need to download a few things to preview and format your eBook.

Kindle Tools & Resources
You will see four options: KindleGen, Kindle Previewer, Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign, and the Kindle PC/MAC application.

If you haven’t downloaded the app already — and you don’t have InDesign — you will need both KindleGen and Previewer.

KindleGen is a program that will convert your saved file into a format used for the Previewer (.mobi); when you have that file in place, just drag it into the Previewer.

With the Previewer, you get to preview your eBook to ensure it’s formatted to your desire. When on the Previewer, you can go up to the top menu, and click the option to view your eBook on the actual Kindle App (make sure it’s downloaded).

Step 5: Formatting your eBook

You have two ways to format:

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Pay someone to do it

In order to format your own eBook, you need a good understanding of HTML.

Most people I spoke to about formatting their own eBook said it was tedious, so here are some eBook conversion services to think over if you wish to save yourself the hassle. (I used 52Novels, paid $100 for both Kindle formatting and an ePub format. The price will vary depending on service and the amount of words.)

The final format of the eBook should be a PRC.

If you wish to format it yourself, use Kindle’s Simplified Guide to Formatting Your eBook or Publishing for Mac Users.

Step 6: Before you upload, think this over

By this step, you should have your eBook finished, formatted, and ready to go.
All you need to do is upload it, but before you do, you have two ways of uploading:

  1. Go the KDP Select route
  2. Or don’t

What is KDP Select? (Kindle Direct Publishing)
When you enroll in this program, your eBook is locked in for 90 days. During these 90 days, you have 5 free promotional days to give your eBook out for free. After those 5 free days, your eBook will be back on the market for a price. During this 90-day period, your eBook will be available in the Kindle Owners’ Library.

What is Kindle Owners’ Library?
This option is exclusive to those who are Amazon Prime Members. Borrowing eBooks is only available on Kindle devices, not Kindle reading apps.

Members of Amazon Prime can borrow a eBook for free for a whole month with no due dates. When someone borrows your eBook, you earn money. (Note: Only eBooks enrolled in KDP Select will be available to Kindle Owners’ Library.)

How is it calculated?
For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000, the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 300,000, and if your eBook was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 0.5% (1,500/300,000 = 0.5%), or $2,500 for that month.”

If you don’t enroll to KDP Select
You can still upload your eBook to Kindle, but it will not be in the Kindle Owners’ Library.

If you enroll in KDP Select
First, lets get this out of the way: Your eBook cannot be free on Kindle.

(Note: You may have heard or seen a few titles that were free for a long time. Those publishers may have worked with a company that works with Amazon. For example: Seth Godin’s ‘The Domino Project’).

It will be available for free for 5 days of your choosing when you enroll in their KDP Select program. Even if you do not enroll, you must have a price tag on it for a minimum of 99 cents.

But there’s more.

If you decide to enroll in the KDP Select program, these are the restrictions Amazon places on your eBook:

  • It cannot be on your blog as a subscription or email newsletter opt-in bonus
  • No iBooks
  • No Nook
  • No PDF version with your specific formatting and sexy fonts
  • It cannot be distributed anywhere else for 90 days. Keyword: Exclusive.

You may, however, opt out of the KDP Select program before your 90 days are over. When you do opt out, and the 90 days are over, you can distribute your eBook anywhere you like. Your eBook will still be up on the Kindle market — you just won’t have all the promotional tools.

If you do enroll, and stay opted-in, your 90 days will renew and you will be given 5 more days of free promotion.

So you have a few things to think over …

Not everyone has a Kindle. That’s true. But the Kindle App is free to download and is available on the following systems:

  • Windows PC
  • Mac
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Blackberry
  • Android
  • Windows 7 Phones

And, they have the Kindle Cloud Reader, which acts as an app but enables you to read eBooks on your browser: Safari, Mozilla, and Google Chrome.

So is it possible to mix this pervasive and free app into your strategy for marketing your eBook? Possibly.

Step 7: Upload your eBook

You made your choice. You have your eBook. It’s time to upload.

After hitting Save & Publish, it will take about 24 hours for it to be on the Kindle store. Within 48-72 hours, the remaining details will be visible on the detail page, such as product description and links related to the physical edition.

Your eBook cover
Your cover is everything. If the cover is gross and lacks a clear message, the readers’ eyes will scroll right over it, and your opportunity may be lost forever.

Think of it as a blog design: you go to a blog and have — in my personal opinion — less than 10 seconds to attract the reader. After that 10 seconds and they still don’t know what you’re about — they’ll X out and be gone forever.

As your personal guide through this process, I highly recommend you hire a designer. As an avid reader of Kindle eBooks, I’d say 85% of the covers out there are garbage — this is an opportunity, it’s your time to shine.

Can I un-publish at any time?
Yes, you may withdraw your eBook at any time, but remember this: Once enrolled in KDP Select, that “exclusive” rule still applies for 90 days — so even if you un-publish, you will not be able to publish your eBook on any other platform.

Royalties
As the publisher, you determine the price. KDP offers two royalty options: 70% and 35%.

In order to receive 70% royalties for your eBook, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The price of your eBook must be between $2.99 and $9.99.
  • This list price must be at least 20 percent below the lowest physical list price for the physical book.

You can read more about it on the Pricing Page.

Do I need an ISBN number?
No.

An ISBN number is not required when publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing; what you will receive is a 10-digit AISN (Amazon Standard Identification Number), which is unique to your eBook and found on Kindle Amazon.

If you have an ISBN number, you may enter it in the publishing process.

Congratulations, you’re finished!

You defined your target audience and have an idea of how to market it. You wrote the eBook, formatted, and uploaded. You have a great cover, detailed product description of what your eBook is about, and now it’s on the market.

Congratulations, you self-published your eBook; you should be ecstatic.

Just because your eBook is up doesn’t mean the journey ends now — it’s time to write your next eBook. Don’t stop your momentum. Keep it going. Promote your eBook, keep up with your readers and blog, and begin your next project.

There really hasn’t been a better time for people who want to spread his or her ideas.

 


About the Author: Paul Jun is a writer and recent self-published author. You can pick up his eBook, Building An Empire With Words, today, for free. He also writes on his blog, Motivated Mastery, about simplifying your life to make room for what’s most important, and harnessing the effectiveness of free will. Show him some love on Twitter @PaulJun

(Via copyblogger.com – Source: copyblogger.com/how-to-publish-kindle-ebook/)