Search Results for: web - Page 2

Dropbox Makes Sharing Files Easy

Transferring files from home to work and back can be a huge pain.  In the past you may have used floppy disks for transferring files back and forth. Then there were ZIP disks. Most recently flash memory USB thumb drives are the thing to move your files from computer to computer. Now there’s something easier.

Dropbox is a service that gives you a 2GB online storage site. Each computer you install the Dropbox utility on syncs with the online repository. The Dropbox utility also keeps all computers that use the same account synced with the latest version of your files. Anytime you turn on your computer, those files are there and ready for you to use.

Wait! It gets better. You are also able to share your files with others. Just input an email address and Dropbox will make those files available to that person. They don’t have to be Dropbox users themselves. The files are available to them on the website. They will have to join Dropbox to access the files, but then they get the benefit of the service if they choose to install it on their system.

Wait! Again! There’s more. You now have a personal web server with Dropbox. There is a public folder that you can share files from. Simply copy the files to the Public folder and then copy the public link and share it with the world. The Public folder will not execute server code, though you could use JavaScript along with HTML and CSS to create a nice little site.

There’s even more to the service. And the best part of all this is the price. It’s free for the 2GB service. If you’d like to have more storage then you can upgrade to one of their pay tiers for 50GB or 100GB.

Kettlebell Challenges

Kettlebell Challenges is a new website currently in development. It was launched in September 2011.  I participated in a 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge. Normally those participating in such a challenge would keep track of their progress on their own. Now with Kettlebell Challenges, those interested in completing this, or other kettlebell challenges, can log and earn a badge for their website, Facebook profile, or blog.

Kettlebell Challenges is constantly being updated with new features.  Check it out today and do something hard.

VUDU: The Other Streaming Movie Rental Service

I was reminded of the VUDU service today.  VUDU is a streaming service that lets you rent or buy movies and TV shows and streams them to you.  They started out life as a dedicated box you would purchase that had a portion of the movies on their service cached on the internal hard drive.  The movie would start right away and then stream from there.  Nowadays they are strictly a software company.  On your computer you can rent movies for $2 and have access to them for 2 days.  Good deal.

And here’s the best part.  According to their website, you can get movies the same day that they are released on DVD.  No more 28 day Netflix penalty.

And here’s the worst part.  Television shows.  The catalog of available television shows, especially children and family programming is anemic at best.

VUDU is built into numerous web connected devices , Blu-ray players, HDTVs, and the PS3.

So, this seems like a killer combo for streaming content:  Netflix Streaming – $7.99/Mo. and VUDU for new DVD release access, a-la-carte pricing.  I just need a way to get VUDU content on my TV.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see a VUDU channel on my Roku.


Fat 2 Fit Radio

Fat 2 Fit Radio is a podcast, featuring Russ Turley and Jeff Ainslie. Each episode we share web sites, insights, information, recipes, weekly weigh-ins and more to help you go from fat to fit.

The show is not about fad diets, or get skinny quick schemes. We advocate weight loss through lifestyle change, not quick fixes – they simply don’t exist. Stop eating and acting like a fat person and start emulating the diet and habits of a fit person. During each episode we tackle one or more exercise, fitness or diet topics. Week after week if you incorporate the ideas and tips we’re sharing, you will lose weight and start looking and feeling better.

Podcast Seminar: Spreading the Word Through Social Networks

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we cover the topic of Spreading the word through Social Networks.

First off, what is a social network? Here’s a good definition from Wikipedia, “communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others.”  (You might get this term confused with social media; I know that I do.  The great part is that the two are connected.  According to Wikipedia as well, “Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio.”  So, because you have a podcast AND you are thinking about using a social network, the buzz term social media is now yours to throw around how you see fit.  Now back to social networks.)

Secondly, what are some social networks that you can use to share interests and activities? There are a lot of them to choose from and depending on your location in the world, some might be more popular than others.  Here’s a short linked list of ones that might fit you:

  • Facebook – originally for college students, it’s now open to all
  • MySpace – The grand daddy of social networks, great for musicians
  • Twitter – The original Web 2.0 social network
  • Pownce – Share files and music with your followers
  • Plurk – Very recent entry into the social network race
  • Jaiku – Purchased by Google, what are they planning?

New social networks pop up every day, and thanks to Ning, you can even own your own social network that is just for you and your listeners/viewers.

Facebook LogoNow the third, and most important topic on Social Networks, how do I use them? Too many times I see posts on the social networks that I frequent that are just promoting their blog posts or latest episodes of their podcasts.  Social networks are about more than just sending out a note that you have a new blog post.  It’s about engaging an audience and sharing, as the definition above implies.  If you do a podcast about a certain subject, like marketing, ask questions about marketing.  Share what ways you’re using the topics in your podcast in your business.  Give examples of how those in your network could use your latest podcast to make them money.  Again, the word is engage.

Twitter LogoSo let’s look at an example someone who engages his audience, and in my opinion does social networks correctly.  That person is Jason Calacanis.  Jason uses Twitter to blast out information about his latest venture, Mahalo.  But he also talks about his dogs, interesting articles, holds giveaways and he engages the community in a conversation. He’s there to market his company for sure, but he’s also there to comment and respond to those he is following and are following him.  He’s even termed a name for the group, Jason Nation.

And finally, for Heaven’s sake, do not employ a bot to constantly make post on your behalf.  There are tools that can help you more productive when interacting on social networks, but a bot is not engaging anyone in conversation.

MySpace LogoSo are social networks important for your podcast?  Sure, but make sure the social networks that you choose are not just used as a cheap press release medium.  If you’re excited about using social networks to promote your podcast and build a community, there are others out there that can help you in the best ways to leverage social networks.  One person you definitely have to check out is Chris Brogran and definitely sign up for his newsletter.

And while you’re looking into these social networks, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Pownce, Facebook, Plurk and Jaiku.

That’s it for the topics that I had planned for the Podcast Seminar series.  Next time I’ll wrap it up and give a sweeping over view of everything covered.

Podcast Seminar: Monetizing Your Podcast

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss a popular topic, monetizing your podcast.

If you talk to 10 different podcasters and ask them how to monetize your podcast, you’ll get 10 different answers. A few of the popular models that I’ll discuss in this post are donations, “premium” subscription, promoting products, pay per episode, advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate links.

First off, let’s get this ugly fact out of the way; unless your podcast is a standout in the thousands of podcasts in iTunes, there’s a good chance you’re not going to make a dime on your podcast. If you’re getting into podcasting to make money, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. At least for right now. There are opportunities to make a few bucks, but basically the monetization model for podcasting is far from fleshed out. Even though that’s the case, let’s take a look at the models listed above.

Donations – The donation model of monetizing is very much like a PBS television station or NPR radio station. The hosts solicit money from listeners or viewers. There is usually a button on their website that says donation or tip jar. The donations can be one time or setup as monthly. Paypal is the usual suspect here in setting up a donation scheme. For an example of this model, check out any of the TWiT podcasts. Leo Laporte has a donation button on the site where you can sign up to give a one time amount, or give monthly. You could also call this a benefactor model.

Premium Subscription – When you subscribe to a podcast, it’s not like subscribing to cable. No money changes hands. You simply add the podcaster’s RSS feed to your aggregator of choice. In the premium subscription model, you still subscribe to the podcaster’s feed, however this time you have a username and password and you pay the podcster to subscribe to the feed. This model is much like the premium channels like HBO. You pay an agreed upon amount each month. There are a few services that can provide this type of service, but the one that’s getting a lot of use is Premium Cast. Check out The Bitterest Pill for an example of this type of podcast monetization.

Product Promotion – If you sell a product as part of your business, then this is the monetization model for you. I made a reference to Gary Vaynerchuk of WinelibraryTV in a previous Podcast Seminar post. The Winelibrary is Gary V’s business. Each episode of the show he uses some of the product available in his store. He doesn’t push the product, but instead gives an honest review of the wines. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I don’t doubt the the number of bottles flying out the Winelibrary has gone up by a large amount due to the show. Take a look at the show and see how to sell products without making each episode of your podcast an infomercial.

Read more »

Podcast Seminar: Podcast Metrics

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we cover the topic of Podcast Metrics.

A metric is a standard unit of measure or a way of quantitatively measuring or assessing a process, event or institution.  That’s the definition at least.  When it comes to your podcast and the website/blog that is supporting your podcast, it means a couple things in particular:

  • How many downloads am I getting?
  • How many people are coming to my site?
  • Where are people finding my podcast?
  • How are people finding my podcast?
  • What keywords are getting sent to my site?

I recommend a couple of services for podcasters to get information about what kind of traffic their podcast is receiving.  The three services are Feedburner, Statcounter, and Google Analytics.

Feedburner is a recent Google acquisition.  They provide a few services but the one I’m recommending here is the feed stats.  By using Feedburner you can see how many downloads of your podcast have occured, what podcast aggreagators your listeners are using, and how your podcasts are being used.   The service will also let you know how many subscribers you have to your feed.  If you are a WordPress user, the FeedSmith plugin will be of great use to you.  It works wonderfully integrating the Feedburner service into your WordPress blog.  Feedburner is free and is one of the easiest ways to get stats on your feed.

Statcounter was the first metrics site that I used.  It is incredibly easy to setup and use.  Sign up on the site and get the bit of Javascript and HTML code that they provide and insert that into the page you’d like to keep track of.  Statcounter provides information on popular pages, entry pages, exit pages, keywords, came from, search engines, visitors, pageload activity and more.  Statcounter also has a plugin for WordPress that will insert that bit of code they give you into every page on your blog.  Statcounter is free for up to 500 log entries, paid packages start at $9/month.

Podcast Metrics ExampleGoogle Analytics is the service that I currently use for most of my blogs/podcasts.  It provides information on your visitors, new vs. recurring, and trends, traffic sources, keywords, adwords, top content, top landing pages, and exit pages, etc.  It is very comprehensive.  One additional feature is Goals.  Goals are basically funnels that a visitor may follow.  I use this in the most basic way to see how many site visitors are heading to the subscribe and about page from the home page.  Google Analytics is also shareable among partners/co-hosts so everyone can see what’s going on at the site.  All users must have a Google account.  Google Analytics is free.

Now that you have an idea how and where to get your podcast metrics, how do you use them?

Beyond answering the basic questions above, I use the information on these services to decide on what to post about.  If I see a whole bunch of people finding my site when I talk about or write about a particular topic, I might write about it more.  I will take a look at the number of downloads and decide if I need to upgrade my hosting account to accomodate more podcast downloads.  I may also decide that based on the metrics that I need to focus more advertising on one site or another.  The uses are almost endless.

If you’re unsure about how to read the statistics after you get them, this page will give you primer on reading the statistics.

Next time, the host bed topic of monetizing your podcast.

Podcast Seminar: Marketing your podcast.

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week we discuss, Marketing your podcast.

Getting your podcast out into the ears of your listeners is the next necessary step. There are a couple of initial steps you must take. After you have produced your first show and posted it, submit your podcast to iTunes. If you aren’t in the iTunes Podcast Directory, you don’t have a podcast. Add your podcast to as many podcast directories as you like. You will get listeners from them, but the lion’s share of your listeners will come from iTunes. It’s sad but true.

iTunes Subscribers

After getting your podcast into iTunes, go ahead and submit your podcast to all the other directories. As you can see from the graph above, it won’t make too much of a difference, but it includes all listeners that might want to listen to your show.

How about promoting your podcast? One easy way to promote your podcast is to send an announcement to your contacts that would be interested in your podcast. Invite them to check out your latest show on your blog or website. Another way to promote your podcast is by publishing a related article and sending it off to article banks, e-zine publishers, etc. A popular way that a lot of people promote their podcasts is by commenting on another podcast or blog. If you use this method, please remember to add some value to the blog you’re commenting on and don’t just add a link to your podcast. That’s a good way to get your comment deleted. Lastly, there are many podcast related forums that allow you to promote your latest show. Podcast Pickle and Podcast Alley come to mind.

Remember, your podcast is a product. Any method that you might use in promoting a physical product or web site can be used to promote your podcast.

Next time, Show notes and SEO, why they are important?

Podcast Seminar: What equipment/software do you need?

This post continues the Podcast Seminar series. This week, What equipment/software do you need?

I’m not going to go into all the different types of microphones, mixers, software programs, etc. Search for each of those items here on the blog and you’ll find a bunch of links to great podcasting gear and software.

So…my first question is, what do you have?

Do you have an MP3 player with a microphone? You can have a podcast.

Do you have an iMac with a built-in microphone in iSight? You can have a podcast.

It doesn’t take a huge studio full of equipment to record a podcast. Hundreds of people recordDSP-400 podcasts every day and record them with just about every piece of audio and video equipment under the sun. If you’re comfortable doing research and shopping online for audio hardware, check out Musician’s Friend or Music123 and search for podcast. You’ll find some really easy to setup podcasting kits that will get you started right away. Start from there and if you really enjoy it and you’re building an audience, then think about upgrading. Seriously, you might think you would like to podcast and then get into it and realize it’s not for you. Then you have a trunk-load of audio equipment gathering dust in your closet.

Here’s a no-brainer for hardware to use on an audio podcast. The Plantronics DSP-400 USB headset is an excellent place to start and can be used for Skype if you decide if podcasting isn’t right for you.

On the video side, there are so many inexpensive flash, mini-dv, and hard drive based camcorders available on the market today that you could close your eyes and choose a camera that will work for your video podcast. As I mentioned above, you could also start with a web cam. The quality will undoubtedly be inferior to even the least expensive camcorder.

Audacity LogoSoftware wise, if you are doing an audio podcast with Windows, download Audacity and learn how to use it. It’s free and will get you started with no money. When you’re ready to step up to a more full featured editor, consider Soundforge. For video, Windows includes an adequate video editing program called Windows Movie Maker. Start with this and move up to Adobe Premiere, or Sony Vegas if you really get into video podcasting and want to add more effects. If you are using a Mac, you can also download and use Audacity for creating an audio podcast. But if your Macintosh includes Garageband, and most do, that’s the tool for you. For a video podcast on a Mac, if you have iMoveHD, you’re golden. If you don’t have it, you can purchase the iLife suite and get both Garageband and iMovieHD. When you want to take the next step up, look at Final Cut/Express and Adobe Premiere.

Maybe this isn’t the answer you were looking for on this topic. Were you looking for a shopping list? I could tell you to go out and buy brand X mixer and brand Y microphone, and don’t forget brand Z headphones. Any “consultant” who tells you to go out and buy some piece of equipment without first finding out your needs is doing you a dis-service.

What hardware and software you use to produce your podcast depends on:

  • your level of commitment
  • your budget
  • your audience
  • your skill level
  • your experience.

Next time, Should your podcast be daily, weekly, monthly?