My Personal Review of Dukeo.com

dukeo logo

Here is my review of Dukeo.com.

Blog and content

Dukeo.com offers some pretty interesting and very informative posts on a lot of things.  Blogging, SEO, making money online and other topics.

These are real-life tips that everyone would appreciate, from beginners to advanced users. I found almost all content very informative and practical. Most of the blog posts were very detailed. Visitor engagement is also top-notch.

But, as with the overall navigation of the site, it is easy to get lost in all these information.

There is no easy way to see all these topics or categories that the blog covers.  You would be able to see a sampling of these topics by looking at the meta data after each blog post’s title.  But what if the site owner writes 20 different posts about blogging, this would effectively make you think that all blog posts only talk about blogging.  Also, what if you are not interested in blogging topics and are looking for SEO-related how-tos?

Oh wait, there is.  But you would have to find that link.  Guess where?  By clicking on the archives link found on the footer.

Further, looking at the Web page and other first level pages, it would be difficult to understand what the site is actually offering.  On the home page, you are asked to enter your details to get three guides, but you are not told what these guides are and how it will help you generate traffic, convert leads, and make money online as the headline boldly claims.  This very important explanation is found in the About page, which is one click away from the home page.

And oh by the way, the home page offers you the three guides (How to Make Money Online, SEO for Blogs and How to Generate Traffic from Pinterest), but on the succeeding pages, the offer is cut to two (How to Make Money Online and How to Make Money Online). This setup, again, is really confusing to many.

Because of the way the site is laid out, you will probably scroll down trying to look for that explanation and see the blog posts instead.  So by the time you get to the About page, you would have forgotten all about those guides mentioned in the home page (which by the way are not mentioned in the About page.)

Navigation

Probably, the biggest problem users would have with Dukeo.com is finding their way around the site.  The site does not have a sensible navigation system and you would find that you would be using the back button often.  That is if you do not have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find navigational links.

When you create landing pages, it makes sense that you do not confuse your potential customers by putting up a lot of links that would take them away from your offer.  The only clickable link on a landing page should be the call to action.  But this does not hold true for Dukeo.  Not everybody will be entering the site via its home page.  Some will enter the site through its newsletter sign up page, and those who do will not know that this site has a blog, for instance.

The site does not offer an easy way to see what it has to offer except for scattered links here and there and the aforementioned navigational bar at the bottom of the pages that would take a few Page Downs to see.  On some pages, the header and the footer are not even found.

But what aggravates things further is the lack of a search function.  If you have read something on this site before and you would want to look for that particular blog you have read, you will still need to go through the archives because there is no way for you to search for it.

The Low Down

Judging from the quality of the blog posts and the information we got from the blogs, it is very apparent that this site was set up to help people make money online.  But because of the poor navigation, lack of planning and lack of focus, people would find it difficult to understand just how this site works, what the products are and how you could benefit from it.  What’s more, reusing landing pages as part of the website makes you feel that you are visiting two different sites: one with header and footer and the other with a slightly different look.

Dukeo.com would benefit by taking a look at similar sites to see what they are doing right.  For example, ZZZProfits.com has a clear navigational bar that you could readily see without scrolling down.  This bar gives users an idea of the different sections of the site.  They also offer a free guide in exchange for your name and e-mail address, but they made it clear what you are going to learn from this guide.  A little planning would go a long way into making Dukeo.com a lot less painful and confusing.

How to Protect Your Privacy Online

How to Protect Your Privacy Online

A lot has been said about your privacy online. More and more people are getting victims of phishers, scammers, and identity thieves in a range of privacy violations  – from getting embarrassing status updates put up on their social networking sites, to downright criminal acts like unauthorized use of credit cards and money stolen from the victims’ Paypal or online bank accounts.

Here are the top 5 ways to protect your privacy online.

1. It is not limited to social media networks.
When talking about online privacy, social media sites like Facebook and MySpace immediately come to mind. While they are the most prevalent sites that identity thefts and other cyber criminals use to carry out their crimes, they are not the ONLY sites. You could get in trouble using e-mail, backing up your files online, or even through searching.

This is not to say that you should go lax with your privacy on social media sites, it is just the opposite: you should safeguard the personal information you have on your social media sites because they could be used for other sites as well.

To do this, you should use the site’s privacy option, which effectively makes your profiles invisible to people who are outside your contacts list. You be careful on adding people to your contacts list as well. If a stranger asks you to add him or her to your contacts list, think very carefully before you click that approve button.

Further, you should not post private information online, or information that would tell people where you would be at a particular day and time. Nor should you post pictures, blogs, and other content that may be deemed offensive, racist or reveals too much about you or your life that it could be used against you at some later time.

Lastly, do not share personal information online. This includes that of your friends. There may be sites that ask you to refer a page to a friend, and if you like their page, chances are you will input not only your name and contact details, but your friends’ as well. When asked to sign up with your e-mail address, you might want to create a new one for use on these sites, protecting your primary e-mail address.

2. E-mail is not secure.
A lot of people think that they can pour out their most private thoughts on an e-mail to their friends, but remember, e-mails are not secure. Aside from the rare mishaps of sending your e-mail to the wrong person, or –horrors!– to the general office address that carbon copies every single person you work with, there are also other people who can eavesdrop on the contents of your e-mails and even have the access to change its contents.

Remember that an e-mail message goes through several servers before getting delivered to your recipient. At each stop, there are people who could view your e-mails and read what you wrote.

To ensure that your sensitive e-mails are protected, encode it with an e-mail privacy program like Pretty Good Privacy or PGP. There are other similar software for you to use.

3. Everything you do on the Internet is being recorded… and USED.
If you have ever made a search online, you would notice that suggestions are made when you start typing out your search keywords. Upon closer inspection, you would see that some of these suggestions are for sites that you have visited recently.

The same goes for searches using the search engine’s own Web site. If you have noticed the ads coming out on the search results, they are likely to be related to what you have searched for.

Remember that everything you do online is recorded. A desktop search tool like Google Desktop, for example, will record all your searches while a Web-based e-mail provider like Google Mail will chronicle every e-mail you have sent or received. The information they gather would be used for marketing products and services to you.

4. Beware of browser cookies.
Browser cookies are like the bread crumbs that Hanzel and Gretel used to find their way back home. These cookies form the body of evidence of your activities online right down to where on the site you visited and how much time you spent on each page. You might want to turn off your browser’s option to accept all cookies and manually approve or deny cookies as necessary and always delete browser cookies after every session.

You can also use third-party cookie management applications and software like Internet Junkbuster Proxy or interMute.

5. Your IP is visible.
Remember that a numeric footprint would identify you everywhere online. By using your IP address, people could track where you are and what ISP you are using. If you use Internet broadband at home, your ISP could also associate your address with your IP.

If you do not want to be located, for some reason, then go use a different computer in a different location, where you have a different IP or you could use an anonymizer that hides your IP.

4 Ways to Enjoy a Risk-free Online Social Networking Experience

4 Ways to enjoy a risk-free online social networking experience

4 Ways to enjoy a risk-free online social networking experience

Perpetrators of phishing, scamming and identity theft have found a veritable gold mine in social networking sites. All too often, users of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter inadvertently make themselves easy targets for these kinds of activities.

Here are four ways to protect yourself and your information online.

1. Always check your privacy settings.
While Facebook sets your privacy setting to your contacts by default, other social networking sites do not. In fact, some display your profile to the general public. Make sure that you make use of a site’s privacy settings to allow only your friends, family, loved ones and contacts to view your profile.

In line with this, do not add just anybody as your contact. If you are keeping a personal profile, then make sure that you only have people you personally know in your contact list. If you are on social networking sites to play online games, or to market your brand, it might help to create a separate account for this purpose. You can limit the amount of personal information you have on these accounts.

2. Think twice before you post something.
For one, do not post your hometown if this has been set as your secret password question. Make sure that your post does not have personal information in it, or other identifiers like a landmark near where you work.

In no circumstances should you announce where you would be at a particular time. This way, lurkers would not be able to pinpoint where you are at any time.

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Privacy Risks with Social Networking Sites

Privacy Risks with Social Networking Sites

Privacy Risks with Social Networking Sites

Most of us are under the impression that social networking sites are safe havens for our thoughts, feelings and just about anything that we want to share with our friends, family and contacts. However, one must not forget that whatever you put online is up for the whole world to see, not just your close friends, family or coworker.

As such, we have seen “scandal” photos taken off people’s MySpace, Facebook and other social networking accounts circulating in the Internet.

Your best bet, of course, would be to be prudent about what information you make available online. Before you post photographs or blog posts, make sure that it is something that you are comfortable having your mother, spiritual adviser or boss read through your blog post or seeing these photos. If you do not think they will approve, better not post them.

This goes for relatively tame personal information. If you are planning a party, you might think that posting the details on MySpace is the easiest way to get the word out. You might indicate the time of the party and your home address in the invites.

On the day of your party, people you do not know show up at your doorstep or someone might obtain that address for other reasons. Make sure that you do not post personal information, such as your home address, mobile number, where you work, where you are going to be, online. This would only help strangers find you.

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Top 5 Websites Every Writer Should Know

Wordpress

Wordpress

Writing, they say, is an art. But whether you are just starting to learn how to write, or is making a living out of it, there are some sites that you should not do without. Here are the top 5 Web sites that every writer should know.

5. Blogspot.com or WordPress.com
If you are a new writer looking for work, your best advertisement is your own words. This is where Blogspot.com and WordPress.com come in handy. There are other blogging platforms available on the Web, but these two are by far the easiest to use, promote and maintain. Both are one-click publishing solutions: so whether you just want to rant about the latest issues, or adding the next installment to a series you have started, all you need to do is to compose and submit.

Remember, however, that you should present your best work on your blog. Think of it as a writing portfolio that you can show to potential customers.

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What’s the deal with micro-blogging and lifestreaming?

microblogging and lifestreaming 

Internet-savvy individuals are undoubtedly familiar with the terms ‘micro-blogging’ and ‘lifestreaming’, but there are still a number of people who do not know what they’re all about.

First, let’s define them. Micro-blogging, as the term implies, is blogging in small quantities. If blogging is eating a whole cake at one time, micro-blogging is doing it slice by slice. Posts in a micro-blog are usually limited to a certain number of characters—otherwise it won’t be micro anymore.

Lifestreaming, on the other hand, is broadcasting bits & pieces of your life and activities through digital media like the Internet and mobile phones.

Micro-blogging can be used to broadcast anything from what you ate for breakfast to the latest news in Iraq. The difference between micro-blogging and lifestreaming is that the latter is more of a collection of personal news. A person’s lifestream often contains updates about their thoughts, feelings, and activities, often in real-time. Someone who just finished watching a movie, for example, can stream, “I just saw Watchmen and it was intense!” One can also set certain lifestreams to reach only specific people, like friends and family.

How has micro-blogging changed the virtual world?
In this ultra-modern era where most people are constantly on the go, micro-blogging lets us read and share information in small, easily digestible chunks. Micro-blogs are short and to the point. They offer a convenient way of staying up-to-date, especially for those who do not have the time to stop by for a long read.

Today, micro-blogging is adopted not just by individuals sharing purely personal thoughts, but also by business companies, news and information agencies, and even personalities in entertainment and politics.

Twitter: the Most Popular Micro-blogging Service
The most popular micro-blogging service is, of course, Twitter. Twitter was developed in 2006 and became popular the year after, spreading the micro-blogging fever in the Internet world. It has become so well-liked that big media giants like BBC have begun to use it to post short summaries and links to news. Even Qatar’s Al Jazeera network uses Twitter. Famous celebrities – Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, Martha Stewart, Mariah, Nicole Richie, to name a few – maintain Twitter profiles and keep their many fans worldwide posted on their current activities.

Twitter has a 140-character limit, so posts (called ‘tweets’) will have to be really short and specific. This is because Twitter has a text messaging feature – users can update their profiles by sending tweets using their mobile phones. President Barack Obama has a Twitter profile, which was actively updated during his campaign using the Twitterberry application on a Blackberry. Another way to send tweets is through Twitterfox, a Mozilla Firefox plugin that lets you update without logging in to the Twitter website.

The Others
Other popular micro-blogging and lifestreaming services include Jaiku, which features a comment system, and Plurk, a timeline-based lifestreaming site. Social networking websites have also integrated lifestreaming features into user profiles. One prominent example is Facebook’s status updates. After the site’s latest home page redesign, the input box now asks, “What’s on your mind?”

If you have been reading up to this part, you would have probably realized you have been doing all these micro-blogging and lifestreaming all along. You may not have known that they were called that. Trust me, you’re not alone.

What Is a Backlink?

backlinks

Most ordinary Internet users have encountered a link. That blue thing that they see on blogs, Web sites, Facebook accounts, even on YouTube. Just about every page of the Web has it. And when these links point to your Web site, they are called your site’s backlinks.

Backlinks, or inbound links, are incoming links to a certain Web site or page that does not originate on that particular site. Put simply, it is a link from another site that points back to your own site. If you have a Web site, pray hard that you get a lot of backlinks, as they are the only way people will get to visit your site without you telling them personally that your site exists.

An even more important thing to consider when talking about backlinks is search engine optimization or SEO. Backlinks are one way to get a higher ranking on most search engines, provided that they occur naturally. Search engine spiders are now capable of counting the number of sites pointing to your own. And most search engines consider these backlinks in ranking your site according to a particular keyword.

If you are interested to see just how many Web sites or pages have backlinks pointing to your site, you can go to Google Search at Google.com and input link:www.yoursite.com. In just seconds, the search results would list the different Web sites or pages that do link to your site, and in the upper right hand portion of the screen, you’d see the total number of sites and pages that have backlinks to your site.

How Are Backlinks Used in SEO?

Search engines do not publish the algorithms they use, so there is no sure way of determining how exactly they rank pages. It is, however, common knowledge that backlinks play a vital role in ranking high in your targeted search results.

Backlinks or inbound links are incoming links from other Web sites that point to your Web site. More than telling other people that your site exists, backlinks have been proven valuable in the area of search engine optimization as they are known indicators of your site’s popularity, which is a determining factor of your site’s PageRank. The PageRank, in turn, is one of the more important considerations that search engine algorithms take into consideration when ranking your site.

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