Why It’s So Damn Hard to Put Internet in the Subway

February 24th, 2017 | Posted in Technology, Uncategorized

Over the last few decades the internet has moved from dial-up to high-speed, cables to wireless, and now it’s moving into the sky and underground. Today most major cities with subway systems—Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, London, and many more—are adding Wi-Fi to underground stations.

It’s easy to pass over the technical difficulty of this modern-day miracle but thanks to temperature fluctuations and exposure to water, getting the internet under all those layers of concrete is even harder than you’d think. It’s a far cry from setting up an AirPort router in the living room.

To learn more, we turned to New York City. Its subway system is huge and runs 24/7, with no downtime for maintenance much less Wi-Fi installation. As such, the rollout of its underground internet is still very much a work in progress. The hope is that all 279 underground stations will be connected.

Transit Wireless is overseeing the Wi-Fi rollout in NYC, and according to its director of engineering Nathan Cornish, there are a few major differences between above- and below-ground service. “We treat [underground environments] like a bit of a coffin,” Cornish says. There’s no existing coverage or infrastructure to speak of down there, so Transit Wireless has to build everything from scratch. Each station needs antennas, access points, backup power, and a remote unit that distributes cellular service throughout the platforms. To hook all that up to the actual internet, Transit Wireless also installs fiber optic cables connect each individual station to a central hub referred to as the “base station hotel” where the internet is piped in from the outside. New York’s subway system is so large that there will eventually be five of these throughout the city.

“We have guys working down there while there are live trains going through the system and people on the platform.”

The hardest part of that installation? Finding a good time to do it. Transit Wireless employees don’t have the luxury of just shutting down subway stations for installation, Cornish explains. “We have guys working down there while there are live trains going through the system and people on the platform.”

And while getting the internet underground is hard enough, making Wi-Fi work on a subway platform in particular is even harder. Despite being enclosed and technically indoors, the subway is actually considered an “outdoor environment.” According to Cornish, subway temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to over 100 degrees. That’s a huge difference from putting an electronic system into an office building, which may never change more than ten degrees year-round, depending on who’s got control of the thermostat.

Subway temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to over 100 degrees

The other problem is water. And not just puddles or errant drips from street-level. “The entire stations are pressure hosed,” Cornish says, not that you would necessarily think that when you go down there. But electrical components don’t get special treatment in the subway station; they need to be able to handle the hose. Add to that a persistent sprinkling of brake dust—particles of metal sprayed into the air all day as trains pull into the station—and you can see why you’d need some seriously rugged equipment.

NYC’s Wi-Fi project is coming along, but other cities already have it beat. In 2007, Hong Kong and Buenos Aires became the first cities to install Wi-Fi in their subway systems. Today, Hong Kong’s subway is fully connected, while Buenos Aires has only 13 of 84 stations connected, despite early plans to the contrary. Complications are unfortunate but inevitable. There are plenty of places for rollout to get hung up. Every subway station in unique in terms of depth and layout. Unfortunately that requires creating an individual design for each, and in New York, Cornish notes, that means each and every station has to be approved separately. “There’s a significant amount of engineering and project management behind each station’s design and approval.” It’s a long and arduous process that has to be completed long before the actual wiring begins.

While being disconnected underground may cut into your Facebook time, subterranean internet has its upsides as well. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that the average American with a full time job worked between 44-49 hours a week. The workday bleeds into the rest of our lives thanks in large part to round-the-clock email, texts, and other forms of communication. It’s a well-covered issue. From Monday through Friday, your average 50-minute daily commute might be your only true respite. Sure, internet will certainly make it easier to stomach getting stuck at the station, but it’ll hurt when you get that email from work just as you’re descending the steps. So try to enjoy the freedom of zero bars while you still have the chance. It won’t last long.


Convert FAT32 to NTFS Without Formatting or Losing Data

February 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Computer, Uncategorized

You have a flash drive or probably an external hard drive that currently has FAT32 file system and you want to change it to NTFS, because FAT32 does not support handling large files (over 4GB) or it is just simply old for your taste but there is just one problem, you don’t want to lose your saved data. This article is for you then as it explains exactly how you can achieve seamless transition from FAT to NTFS without involving any data loss.

While it is generally recommended to use the NTFS file system because of its stability, security and lesser defragmentation time, most of us end up using FAT32 because that is what most disks are preformatted with. Unless, we notice the “Not enough disk space error” despite disk space being available, we don’t bother to change the file system. Moreover, most of us don’t change it because of the risk of losing important data and lack of time (read laziness). As Microsoft was aware of this scenario, they added a capability in the command prompt to overcome this by executing a simple command. There are many software that support this too but the Convert command is one of the easiest ways to do so. Follow the steps below to know how:-

Important: While this method works perfectly, I would still advise you to backup your data in case anything goes wrong.

FAT 32 to NTFS Conversion Steps

1) Go to Computer, and note the name of the drive whose file system you wish to convert.
2) Click on Start.
3) Type cmd in the search bar if you use Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows Vista. If you use Windows XP, click on Run and then execute cmd.
4) Execute “chkdsk h: /f ” (without quotes) where H is the letter of the drive to undergo conversion. This checks the drive for errors and fixes them automatically.
5) Execute “Convert H: /FS:NTFS” (without quotes). H is again the letter of the drive to be converted.
6) The command prompt will start the conversion process and after a few minutes, CMD will say that conversion was successful.
7) You can check it in the properties of the drive through right click<Properties.

This command can also be used to convert FAT16 disks and works on Windows 8, Windows 8.1,Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista. I converted my flash drive’s file system using these steps and it worked flawlessly. It is interesting to note that this method cannot be used to reconvert NTFS file system back to FAT32. To reconvert back to FAT32, you will need to format the entire drive which will definitely cause data loss.


Convert PDF to Word and Word to PDF with Free Software

February 20th, 2017 | Posted in Software, Uncategorized

PDF and Word (.doc and .docx) are two document formats most computer users encounter on a frequent basis. PDF files have advantages of being platform independent, hard to edit and smaller in size. Word documents on the other hand are easy to edit, format and read on devices that support them. While both of these formats have their advantages, many users have felt the need to convert one to the other to take advantage of the other’s features.

There are many paid software and tools that support this conversion, but most of them are too expensive. There are many free online conversion tools as well but either they result in low quality conversion with lots of missing resources or take too much time due to server limitations. Most of these online tools limit the size of files you can convert. Also, many people are not comfortable with uploading their personal files on a third party server.

In this situation, the only solution to obtain high quality conversion from one format to the other and that too quickly is using a program installed on your PC. There are many free software that support this but the problem with most of them is that they do not offer high quality conversion and result in lots of missing resources. However, there are certain free products that offer quick and high quality conversion from PDF to Word and vice versa. This article contains some such software.

In this article:
1. Convert PDF to Word
2. Convert Word to PDF

Convert PDF to Word

Open Office
The basic version of Open Office that you download from OpenOffice.org lacks PDF operability. To add PDF functionality to Open Office, you will need to install the PDF Import extension. If you have older versions of Open Office, you can use the older version of this extension. LibreOffice, an office suite descended from Open Office has this extension included by default.
While Open Office does not support direct conversion of PDF files to Word documents, you can use an indirect method to achieve this conversion. To do this, open any PDF document in Open Office Draw and copy all its elements with Ctrl+A followed by Ctrl+C. Now open Open Office Writer and press Ctrl+V and then save the file as a Word document. In this way, you can get a Word document of your PDF file with remarkable accuracy.

You can also directly edit the PDF file with Open Office Draw just as easily as a Word document.

UniPDF
UniPDF is a small free utility that lets you convert PDF files to Word documents with speed and accuracy. It also offers conversion of PDF files to RTF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, HTML and plain text. While it lacks a plethora of features, it is good at what it promises to do; convert PDF files.

Both of these programs run on Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. It is interesting to note that PDF to word conversion is possible only if the PDF file is not a scanned image and was created as a text document.

Online Tools
While the above mentioned offline tools will be enough for most conversion needs, it is always good to have a few options. These online tools provide accurate and fast conversion from PDF to Word.

ConvertFiles: Limits the file size to 250 MB. Offers high quality conversion with OCR support.
ConvertOnlineFree: Limits the file size to 30 MB. Is a good option but lacks OCR support.

Convert Word to PDF

Open Office can be effectively used for this purpose. Just open a Word Document in Open Office Writer and use its Export as PDF option to immediately get a PDF version. Similarly, you can use Open Office to convert XLS and PPT files to PDF as well.


Know if your PC is infected with Viruses, Trojans or other Malware

February 18th, 2017 | Posted in Computers, Malware, Uncategorized

The reason why most computer malware are so deadly is because many users fail to recognize whether they have been infected or not. Had they detected the infection at an earlier stage, the damage caused could have been greatly reduced. As each virus is programmed differently, it becomes difficult to identify a virus outbreak. However, there are some general symptoms that make it easy to detect an infected computer. Here are some of them:-

1) Programs won’t start or crash suddenly: If some system programs like the task manager or registry editor have suddenly stopped working or crash randomly without any visible reason, it is more than likely that your computer has got some form of worm that is attaching itself to various programs and thus, corrupting their code. A virus modifying registry entries to prevent these programs from running could also cause this.

2) Unusual Network Traffic: If even after closing your browser and other applications that may use the internet, you see that your computer is still downloading or uploading anything, then your computer is possibly infected with some form of spyware that is either downloading other viruses to your computer or is uploading your private information to a remote computer. In case you use a wifi connection, it is also possible that your neighbors are using your network. If that indeed is the case, you need to make sure that wireless network is properly secured.

3) Internet Connection not available or is slow: If suddenly, your internet connection has stopped working or has become extermely slow, it is possible that a malware is the cause. However, problems with your internet service provider could also be the cause of such issues.

4) Annoying Popups or Redirection to Strange Websites: If there has been an increase in the number of annoying popups while browsing the internet or your web browser redirects you to a different website from the one you wanted to visit, a virus or adware might be the cause.

5) Computer won’t boot: If your computer has suddenly stopped booting, it is possible that some malware has modified your computer’s system files. In such a situation, re-installing or repairing your operating system might be the only solution.

6) Slow Computer: Some viruses are designed specifically for this purpose. Malware programmers achieve this by designing viruses that increase your CPU’s usage level to 100%. If on running the Task Manager, you find that your CPU’s usage is constantly at 100% level, a malware might be the cause.

7) Programs start automatically: Some viruses and adware automatically start strange programs on your computer in order to show unwanted advertisements or simply to frustrate users.

8) Unusual File Associations: Some viruses change .exe or other file associations which prevents these files from opening. Some viruses also do this to automatically start themselves when a file of a particular type is started.

9) Security Software Disabled: Most malware disable antiviruses and firewalls to prevent themselves from being detected. If only a single software stops working, it might be a specific software failure issue. If it is a general trend and almost every security software is facing this issue, a virus infection is most likely.

10) Weird Behaviour: If your computer automatically starts sending emails or opens strange applications randomly or does things different from its “normal” behaviour, your computer is most likely compromised by malware.

Most malware infections can however be avoided by using a powerful antivirus software and following some best security practices.


Effective Tips To Choose An Effective Website Development Professional

February 16th, 2017 | Posted in Uncategorized, Web Design, Web Development, Webmasters

The experienced web development company is going to have a really important role in making the brand name of a company more visible and increasing online reputation. Brand success on the internet does rely a lot on the experience of the web developer. Business managers from all around realize the importance of website development and try to find those companies that can actually bring in the best results for clients.

If you look on the internet, you will quickly realize the fact that there are dozens of web design firms that look great and that you can choose from. Locating one that you can trust is not easy. You will always need to consider the following in order to find an experienced website development Sydney professional.

Receptiveness

Contrary to what you may think right now, the most important fact when choosing the company is how receptive it is. Most of the web developers these days are capable of delivering the work that you need but just those that are highly receptive are going to be able to actually understand what you need.

As an extra tip that is connected to this topic, try to avoid those firms that delay replies, especially before a contract is signed. This is just a sign that long term responsiveness is not going to be what you actually need.

Is There An Advisor On Staff?

Those companies that do offer the best possible web development service will always have an advisor that is capable of understanding requirements and that will advise clients about changes that may be necessary for a site to be more effective. A web developer that does take the time to analyze the wishes of the client and that does recommend some modifications based on past experience is always going to be preferred and should be considered.

Previous Projects

You have to be sure that you analyze the previous projects that were done by the considered development company. That will show you exactly what quality can be offered. If possible, get in touch with past clients. See how work went and see if there were problems you need to know about.

Talking With The Actual Developer

In most situations the person that you talk with from a considered company is not actually the web developer that will get the job done for you. That is definitely not great. You do want to be able to get in touch with the web development team so that you can actually end up faced with a clear understanding of who the work is done by.

Consider Legal Aspects

This is the last thing that should be considered as it is really important. Ask who will own the website code. That counts because it will highlight dependence on the considered firm. If you do not own the website code, you will be forced to keep coming back to the firm whenever a change is needed. If you do own the site code, you can make changes and work with other professionals whenever you want to switch firms.


3 Cloud Storage Services that are Perfect for Any Virtual Business

February 14th, 2017 | Posted in Computers and Technology, Uncategorized

Get the best cloud storage technology for your virtual business

Are you a start-up that’s generating documents and files at a rapid rate? Here, we explore some of the best cloud storage services for virtual business owners.

One of the main benefits of operating a virtual business is that you can keep your overhead costs incredibly low when compared to an office-based business. However, to ensure your employees can work productively, benefit from the best technology and access data efficiently, you need to invest in the right cloud storage package.

Below are 3 cloud storage services you should consider:

Box

 Box enables you to store all your data online and access it from any device in any location. Currently, you can also store up to 5GB, which is ideal for virtual businesses that use mostly Word and Excel documents. However, businesses that regularly use files that take up much more memory like PDF docs or photo files like TIFFs may find this limit too small. Fortunately, it is possible to upgrade to a higher memory limit and larger file-size upload limit for a fee.

A faster way to check all your tasks

The Box’s Virtual Data Room allows workers to keep up-to-date with new document uploads and edits, which enables them to check who is doing what without having to waste time sending e-mails and waiting for responses. This is even faster – and more efficient – than asking someone how a project is progressing and then having to listen to a long-winded answer!

Carbonite

The Carbonite Server Backup facility allows a virtual business to back up all of their data. If they suffer any data loss or downtime, they can restore their data without any fuss. Carbonite’s mission is to ensure that virtual businesses can benefit from simple, hassle-free restore processes by allowing them to back up their data and access it as easily as possible.

Consider the Pro version for the most secure encryption technology

The Carbonite Pro version automatically sends files to a cloud network and encrypts them with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology. This version also continues to restore files after you stop working, while still enabling you to access them at any time.

OpenDrive

OpenDrive is another popular cloud storage system that allows virtual business owners to use an innovative cloud management system. OpenDrive provides virtual private networks and backs up computer files that have been linked to an account. Businesses can sync files effortlessly and access their data whenever they need to.

With effective online backup in sophisticated art data-centres, businesses can keep their data secure with state-of-the-art technology. Share all your files with an online office suite and user management system so that all of your workers can instantly access and share new data and information.

Cloud storage can take a lot of weight off your shoulders

Performing your own back up and data restore can take up a great deal of time and resources, which is why it pays to use a professional cloud storage provider that provides the best facilities and latest technology.


5 Innovative Cloud Applications for Busy Entrepreneurs

February 12th, 2017 | Posted in Computers and Technology, Uncategorized

The working world is a very different place to what it was ten or even five years ago. Over four million people choose to work from home, making cloud applications a must-have item for the small business owner.

Cloud-based apps ensure you’re fully connected when you’re on the road or grabbing a coffee with a client. Gone are the days of carrying around a hefty Filofax and stack of business cards. All you need nowadays is a smartphone and wifi connection. An estimated ninety per cent of internet users worldwide are already using the cloud for a variety of business uses.

We’ve curated the best five cloud applications for busy entrepreneurs who are looking to streamline their processes. Read on to find out which ones could suit your business.

CRM

Salesforce: Salesforce offers eight different customer management applications. The simple, easy to user interface streamlines customer details, making it easy to access history and other information. The data can be accessed from a variety of devices and on a choice of operating systems including Linux, Android, OSX and Windows.

You don’t need to download any hardware or software and video training is offered, so you can start working with Salesforce straight away.

Salesboom: You really have nothing to lose with Salesboom, as it offers a no obligation seven day free trial. Salesboom works with small, medium and large enterprises managing online lead management, customer service, support service and sales force automation. It works on a wide range of operating systems including Windows, Android, Apple iOS and OSX.

Finance

Sage One: Choose from three different Sage One cloudware services, including Cashbook, Accounts and Payroll. Sage One Cashbook is the ideal solution for entrepreneurs, helping you manage your accounts and taxes efficiently. Sage One Accounts is perfect for smaller businesses that may not have a dedicated accounts team, but still need a trusted solution for account management. Sage One Payroll is great for small and medium businesses to gain greater ownership of their pay roll system, but who may not have the resources to employ a pay roll department.

All Sage One systems are HMRC compliant, so you can have peace of mind that you’re doing everything by the book.

Outright: There are two different Outright solutions: Plus and Standard. Already over 100,000 people are using Outright to manage their accounts. Outright supports more than 4,000 credit cards and banks as well as eBay, PayPal, Freshbooks, Shoeboxed and Harvest. Both versions of Outright offer a free trial.

Conferencing

GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is part of the GoTo series of packages that also offers GoToWebinar and GoToTraining.

GoToMeeting offers high definition video conferencing, enabling your employees to collaborate on projects from around the world or hold client meetings all without leaving the office.

You have the flexibility of recording any meetings and the innovative ‘Show My Screen’ feature allows users to pass control of keyboard and mouse over to correspondents, for speedy collaboration.

The flat fee pricing structure means GoToMeeting is easy to budget for, making it an integral part of your business.

Communications

Skype: There are seven different Skype packages available, including the free service, Unlimited Single Country, Unlimited Europe and Unlimited World. Choose the package to suit you based on your client needs and where you see your business growing.

Skype can be used on a smart TV, mobile phone, tablet or computer and lets you see the body language and facial expressions of the person you are talking to. Sometimes that can be more telling than the words they speak!

Storage

Box: Box offers four different options: Starter, Personal, Enterprise and Business. You can access your files, photos and any other data from your choice of device, including smartphone or laptop. Over ten million people trust Box to keep their files safe.

The Business and Enterprise solutions allow you to create and share folders across devices, so you can work on documents with colleagues and not have to worry about whose device you are saving your files too.

There’s no denying that life as an entrepreneur is hard. However, we are fortunate to live in an era where there are apps and programmes at our disposal to help us grow our businesses.

New apps and technology to make our lives easier are released daily, many of them with free trials. Make sure you give your business the best chance of success by taking advantage of these trial periods so you can find the best apps for your business.


Hands-On with Push Button SEO for WordPress

February 10th, 2017 | Posted in SEO, Uncategorized

One of the coolest thing about the WordPress platform is the huge number of plugins available to make your job easier. From spam protection through to SEO (and everything inbetween) there is bound to be either a free or paid plugin available. In fact, SEO plugins are some of the most popular WordPress plugins out there. If you’ve been using WordPress for a while then you will probably have tried a few different SEO plugins – some are bad, some are good, and some are even better.

In today’s Affilorama blog post I’m going to be giving you a hands on look at one of the newest SEO plugins available. It’s called ‘Push Button SEO‘, and has been developed by a guy called Brian Johnson. What I’ll be doing in this blog post is showing you some of the different features of Push Button SEO. I’ve installed the plugin on one of my personal WordPress blogs, and deactivated any other SEO plugins I had setup previously.

At-a-glance SEO analysis

My favorite feature of Push Button SEO is it’s very simple graphical representation of how well your posts are optimized for on page SEO. You can enter the main keyword you are targeting for your post or page, and then see how well your content has been optimized for that particular keyword. This is very handy, as it means you don’t have to crunch any numbers

Let’s see an example of this in action. I’ve got a post on my blog that is targeting the keyword “gold investment guidelines”. So what I do is enter this keyword into the “Primary Keyword” field of Push Button SEO, and then I press “analyze”:

As you can see, Push Button SEO then returns a graphical representation of my on-page SEO for this post. I’ve got an orange bar that is half full; this tells me that there’s quite a bit of room for improvement here. But what if I want to get more in-depth information? To get Push Button SEO’s full page report I simply click the “Report” tab.

Even more graphical representations here in the in-depth report, which is once again useful for quickly informing you as to what needs work. I can easily see that my URL is matched properly (this is because my post is /gold-investment-guidelines – an exact match for the keyword “gold investment guidelines”)

My META Title, page headings (h1, h2, h3 tags) and internal linking are all good. My META description and outbound links are letting the page down, according to Push Button SEO. A good META description will encourage visitors to click through to my website from the search engine results, and having outbound links optimized for anchor text gives your page more credibility and weight with Google.

This kind of graphical analysis really does make proper on-page SEO much more simple and accessible. In my humble opinion, a lot of people are put off doing proper SEO because they find it confusing. With this plugin, there really is no excuse.

Suggestions, suggestions, suggestions

Take another look at that screenshot above. Beneath the fancy colored bars are a list of suggestions for simple SEO improvements. This is usually pretty simple stuff, but done correctly will have a good impact on your rankings and site optimization.

Embedding a video in your main content, for example, is always a good idea (especially if you embed a video from your own YouTube account, as this will increase your view count) as this will keep visitors on your page for longer. If you can keep people on your site for longer then your bounce rate will decrease, and a lower bounce rate will see your site being rewarded in the search engines.

Push Button SEO also offers a keyword suggestion function. This is a quick and easy way of finding additional keywords to target in your post. Having used this function quite a few times, I’ve got a feeling that the keyword suggestion tool is very similar to the free one you find on Ubersuggest.org – of course you do get the added convenience of it being built right into your WordPress editor window.

Mind your links

Internal linking is a very important part of proper on-site SEO. Building strong links throughout your website acts as a kind of glue that holds the whole thing together. You can also use internal linking to boost the ranking of a particular page (for example, if there is one page on your site that you really want to rank highly, build anchor text links from other pages to it) as well as for indexing new pages.

Push Button SEO has a useful internal linking function that allows you to assign certain pages as “SEO Targets” – pages that are the most important – and then quickly insert links when making new posts/pages. Here’s how to do it:

Let’s say that I want my “gold investment guidelines” page to become an SEO Target. From the “Links” tab of Push Button SEO, I just check the box that says “Assign as SEO Target”:

Now whenever I make or edit another post or page, I have a quick option to add an internal link to “gold investment guidelines” from within the post editor:

That’s a useful time saving feature, as you could create a list of a few pages you really want to rank well for and build lots of internal links to them. One little tip – make sure you vary the anchor text for your internal links, as this creates a more natural link profile.

You can also use Push Button SEO to add links to authority content. This is good SEO practice, as the search engines seem to reward websites that actively link to informative and authoritative pages – sometimes helping your competition out can actually be beneficial for yourself.

To do this, click the “Authority” tab and enter a keyword you want to find authority content links for (in this case I’ve searched “gold investment”)

You can preview the content snippets, and then add any authority links you choose with a simple mouse click. Adding authority content is a great way of boosting your website’s credibility, and adding to the overall user experience.

Content Curation 101

The final tab of Push Button SEO we have left to explore is the “Content” tab. From here you can pull in  images, videos, blog links, and news links and add them into your own posts. This kind of thing was made popular with Web 2.0 platforms such as Squidoo and Hubpages, where you could easily pull in other content and incorporate it into your own pages to add more value for readers.

To use the image function of Push Button SEO you will need a Flickr API key. Fortunately, you can apply for one of these for free, and all the details of how to do this are actually present in the plugin settings.


Make Handsome Profits With These 5 Craft Supplies Affiliate Programs

February 8th, 2017 | Posted in Affiliate Marketing Tips, Uncategorized

This is another suggestion from fellow Affilorama staff, Melissa. She is definitely on a roll, and having gone through the research for this niche, spot on in suggesting this niche. The handicrafts niche is timely, trending, and full of money-making potential. Why I hadn’t thought of doing a Niche of the Week on handicraft affiliate programs escapes me.

Meh. Just probably didn’t think anyone would make money off recommending a website to buy quilting patterns and such from.

Well, this should teach me not to underestimate any niche — because you can make money telling people where to buy craft supplies online.

I have a whole slew of statistics and numbers to show you. Let’s start with the State of the Craft Industry report by the Craft & Hobby Association:

  • 72% of crafters are women.
  • Their median age is between 35 and 44.
  • 42% have children.
  • Nearly half of crafters (47%) have 10 years of experience or more.

It makes sense, it really does. Just think of the rise of Etsy — a place for people to sell their handcrafted clothing, home decor, and art. (It’s also a marketplace for craft supplies). There are more than 20 million users on the site and 1.4 million active sellers. And the social media network Pinterest (think of it as a digital corkboard for design inspiration, craft tutorials, infographics, recipes and more) is huge, too, with its membership expected to hit 47 million people this year.

Plus, there has been a steady increase in fabric, craft and sewing supplies stores since 2008. According to Statista, the industry is now worth USD $4 billion.

I could go on and on, but I’ll let MisterArt.com sum it all up as to why the craft supplies niche is worth putting up a site for:

Craft Keywords

You’ll need to be creative to find good keywords to target in the craft supplies niche. There’s a good mixture of high-, mid-, and low-competition keywords in this niche, but you need to be specific to get your target market. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of getting traffic that may be interested in getting craft supplies online, but are not really looking for the specific craft supplies you recommend.

Try for long-tail keywords. If the affiliate program you’ll join will allow you to use brand names as keywords, then look into them. Be as specific as possible. “Craft lace” will get you high monthly search values but high-competition keywords. “black craft strip lace” will get you lower search values, but also lower competition.

You don’t really need to focus much on buyer-intent keywords in this niche. Information keywords will get you plenty of traffic to your site just the same. You can target keywords by writing reviews on specific craft supplies, which works better for some projects than others. Or, you can write about your own creations and show how you did it, then list what materials you used with your affiliate links. This works much like those food blogs where blog owners share their recipes with a link here and there of the things they used. Tutorials for crafting, especially for costume-related projects, will carry you a long way, but it should be something you have some experience with or at least feel passionate about.

The Craft Affiliate Programs

This is yet another niche that does not have any affiliate programs through ClickBank. There are a handful of craft affiliate programs in the ClickBank Marketplace, but they belong to specific crafts, not the craft supplies niche.

So, as always, I went looking for craft supplies affiliate programs online. Now, these 5 options I think best represent the diversity of affiliate programs for this niche. But they are not the only ones, and they are not necessarily the only good options. There are plenty more out there, but the ones I’ve chosen for you are a great way to get your feet wet, so to speak, when starting on this niche.

CreateForLess.com

CreateForLess.com has all the crafting supplies you need for your scrapbooking. sewing, quilting, and beading projects. Ir has a section for kid’s crafts, too. Prices range from a few dollars to about $20 or so.

Affiliates receive a 7% commission for each sale, and bulk orders can get you bigger commissions. Affiliate cookies last for 45 days and you need only apply through Commission Junction to promote CreateForLess.com.


Shopping Cart Affiliate Programs: Not Just for the Shop Owners

February 6th, 2017 | Posted in Affiliate Marketing Tips, Uncategorized

It feels at times like I’ve covered all the niches and sub-niches there are, but something catches my attention, or in this case, someone says it outright, and voilà! Another niche to look into and write about.

Such is the case for this week’s Niche of the Week.

I was staring at a blank Word doc, thinking about what to write for the coming week’s NOTW, when another Affilorama staff member, Melissa, bless her, says to me: Have you done a feature on shopping cart affiliate programs? (Editor’s note: Hi folks! I’m Melissa.)

I hadn’t, but here it is now. Grin.

Shopping carts aren’t just the carts we push around at the store. They also include the electronic setups where the items we want to buy from an online store are placed until we “check out” and pay. Shopping carts are essential if you want to sell anything online, making them a crucial e-commerce tool.

E-commerce covers business-to-business marketing, online shopping and online marketplaces. It is a multimillion-dollar industry that continues to grow year after year. It’s easier than ever for someone to set up an online shop and start selling. You don’t even need a significant amount of startup capital thanks to dropshipping.

This has given rise to various e-commerce platforms that offer shopping carts, buy now buttons, store hosting, and various tracking for inventory and sales — in short, everything you need to set up an online store.

If you already run a successful online shop, or you’ve always wanted to run one, you can use these affiliate programs to boost your income.

Keywords: All About Shopping Carts

There’s a decent amount of competition in this niche, as seen in the Competition column in our keyword research results. The obvious target keywords are “shopping cart,” “shopping cart software,” and the like. All of them have high monthly search values alongside equally high competition.

Keywords in these niche are mostly keywords with buyer intent: “best shopping cart,” “ecommerce packages,” and “get shopping cart.” You’ll also see interest in “free” keywords, like “free shopping cart.” They have good monthly search values, but there’s not so many of them in this niche compared to others. Probably because there aren’t that many free shopping carts available.

You’re going to need to dig a bit deeper to get some viable keywords in this niche. Ubersuggest.org can give you good variations. However, you should really consider related keywords that you can write about in blog posts and articles, like “setting up your online store,” “successful online business.” or “what you need for your online store.” These are keywords that are related to the general e-commerce niche, but you can write an article about them that includes and refers to shopping carts. They will also help establish you as an expert, leading your readers to trust you.

Shopping Cart Affiliate Programs

As always, I checked on ClickBank’s Marketplace first before searching online. There were no shopping cart affiliate programs. However, I did come across an interesting WordPress theme that will turn your site to an e-commerce website. It’s related to what I’m looking for, but not related enough to include here.

So, I went online yet again to look for shopping cart affiliate programs. Some of the good ones re as follows :

Shopping Cart Depot

Shopping Cart Depot offers a whole slew of services that helps online store owners run their businesses. The shopping carts are designed to help you sell not just physical goods but also services and digital products. That means the site has tools for recurring billing and subscriptions, as well as inventory management.

The affiliate program pays affiliates 10% commission on all referred customers. Just sign up on Shopping Cart Depot’s affiliate page to join.

E-junkie

Some of you may have heard of E-junkie: It’s an affiliate network similar to ClickBank. You can sign up as an affiliate and promote the products on the network.

Like ClickBank, the site offer e-commerce solutions such as shopping carts and buy now buttons. You can promote E-junkie and get 20% recurring commission for up to one year of the referred user’s membership.

X-Cart

X-Cart provides small and large businesses alike with e-commerce solutions ranging from an SEO-friendly catalog, to a newsletter feature for marketing. It’s like a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs looking for a good e-commerce package.

X-Cart manages its own affiliate network and pays affiliates 15% recurring commission for each customer referred that signs up for the program.

Shopify

Shopify is a popular e-commerce provider. On top of shopping carts, the site offers store design templates, online marketing tools (including a Buy on Facebook feature), web hosting, analytics, and a lot more.

Shopify affiliates can earn money two ways: first, you can opt for a 20% recurring commission for each customer you refer who signs up for the service. That’s 20% of the bill — including transactions. That’s more than $35 per month for each customer. The alternative is an upfront payment of 200% of the customer’s subscription fee, or up to $358 per sale.

CS-Cart provides a comprehensive shopping cart package, including an eBay add-on and a cloud storage option. The site also offers multi-vendor software for the daring entrepreneurs who want to create their own marketplaces.

BlueSnap manages CS-Cart’s affiliate program. After signing up with BlueSnap, you can start promoting CS-Cart and earn 15% for each license purchased through your affiliate link.

Shopping for Links

Link building is challenging, but it’s a crucial step in getting traffic to your site. Knowing the various link building methods, and having a link building strategy in place helps a lot in transitioning from site building to traffic generation. Make sure to have at least a rough draft of your plan before you build the site so that when the time comes for building links, you won’t get stuck.

Content Strategy

Long gone are the days when an e-commerce store could just stick up some product descriptions and call it done. If you want your online store to thrive, you need to think about content — even before you start thinking about link building.

Content strategy is about planning and managing the content you publish on your site. You can’t just sit down and write something when the mood strikes you. If you want successful content that turns readers into loyal customers, then you need to do proper research on your topic, be creative on how you present your content , and publish regularly. You can do blog posts, videos, and even infographics related to trends in your niche, shopping guides to help people select products, information about sales promotions, and of course, information about shopping carts and e-commerce software. Then, you can spread your content via email newsletters and social media to help get the word out and encourage people to share links back to your site.

Link Indexing

This is an oft-forgotten link building method, probably because you don’t really have to do it often. You can gather the backlinks you’ve created, and after a certain point, run them through sites link Pingler.com and get them all indexed.

Don’t let any good backlinks you’ve made sit and wait to get indexed. You can help speed up the process, which means you might see changes in your search engine results sooner than later.

Press Releases

Businesses often have special offers to help increase sales. They also have product launches, and other sales events. You can write press releases sharing these information, with a link going back to your site. These backlinks have an advantage in that they’ll bring consumers eager to buy right to your site.

Shopping Cart Affiliate Programs: In the Bag or Back on the Shelf?

Shopping cart affiliate programs go in the bag. Definitely! The commission might not seem a lot, but e-commerce packages usually costs hundreds of dollars a year — and sometimes more than $100 a month! A 10% commission for a $300 package gets you $30. Some of the commission are recurring, too, so you earn as long as the member you referred is subscribed to the service. Give your customers some good resources to help them thrive and you’ll have commissions rolling in for a while.

You have to watch out for the competition though. Be ready with your link building and marketing strategies. Having a solid content strategy in place is a must: High-quality, creative content can get users to your site, and get them to keep coming back.

I would recommend this niche to people new to affiliate marketing, but I would suggest they build a site that focuses on e-commerce as a whole. There’s only a few truly great shopping cart affiliate programs you can promote, and you can only write so much about them. I would include some web hosting affiliate programs too, and maybe some email marketing affiliate programs as well. These are all related to creating an online shop.

But I would start small by focusing on any of these affiliate programs, then add more later on.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Niche of the Week! Please share it using the Share buttons below.

Would you go into the shopping cart or e-commerce niche? Are there any niches you think are better than this? Leave a comment and let us know!

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