My, time does fly quickly. It’s already been over one month since the launch of the Palm Pre, and with the Palm’s Mojo Software Development Kit out in select hands, we’re starting to see the mobile apps population grow slowly but surely. If you're kicking around a few ideas as you’re waiting for the public release of the SDK, have a look at what’s surfacing in Palm’s app store right now – it can be a good place to get inspiration, look for improvements, and conjure up new ideas, and more importantly, they’ll give you a preview of what you’re up against. (You should be able to find all of these applications in the Palm Pre App Catalog.)
Here are some of the more interesting Pre apps I’ve come across while trekking through the Palm app universe:
Pandora: If you haven’t heard about Pandora by now, your ears are in for a treat. Pandora is a web-based radio station that can take an artist you like and serve you similar artists and sounds in a streaming fashion. Trust me, the word “neat” is by far an understatement. If you’re always out and about and away from the computer, set your sights on the mobile version of Pandora, now on the Palm Pre. Give it a go on your web browser, and if you’re intrigued, set your mobile to download immediately.
mCraig: I’m a self-admitted Craigslist fiend – after all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. mCraig, which is still in beta, is a mobile app that will allow you to quickly search Craigslist and auto updates by what location you are in via GPS. Of course, if you feel like doing it the old fashioned way, you can still search by zip code. Since the software is still in beta, users are reporting that there are quite a few bugs to be kinked out, but expect the software to be continually updated until it’s fully stable.
Flightview: This is one of those apps that I don’t myself or many others using very often, but the few times a year when travel season comes around or bad weather strikes, something like this might prove to be worth having downloaded on your phone. Flightview allows you to check the status of flights that are in the air, the status of airports and their congestion, and notifications and alerts in a simple, small software application.
Search Engine Optimization nowadays is far more than "title tags", "meta tags", and URL formatting. In this day and age, newer techniques have been discovered to give your search ranking a little bit of a boost. One of these new techniques, called social media bookmarking, is a blazingly-hot topic in the SEO world today. We've asked SEO expert Jason Gorham, CEO of SharkStrike.com, to give us a quick tour on why social media bookmarking needs to be a part of your search engine optimization strategy right now. And if Search Engine Optimization is a completely foreign string of words for you, check out our SEO blog post by Alex McArthur, VP of OrangeSoda for a little bit of an introduction.
Way back in what seemed like the stone age when I began my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) career, I remember having to create as many links and back-links I could in order to increase my position in all of the major search engines. The process of linking and back-linking is a long, drawn-out process – daunting is the first word that comes to mind. In order to create back-links, you have to complete this unsightly laundry list of chores. Don't believe me? See for yourself:
You have to understand who you want a back-link from. This is considered audience/website research.
In order to gain a back-link to that site you have to find out who the site owner is.
After the owner is recognized, you must contact the owner via email.
Propose your link trade/exchange.
Create a link to their site on yours.
Have them create a back-link to you.
Manage links and back-links to make sure your links are still active on their site.
Scorching weather, the smell of charcoal burning on BBQ grills, and the booming explosions of fireworks can only mean one thing: Summer is officially in full swing, and with that comes the Fourth of July, a day where Americans nationwide will be celebrating our nation’s 233rd birthday and independence as a sovereign nation.
But our nation’s birthday isn’t the only cause for celebration on the fourth – it’s the idea behind independence that has professionals worldwide celebrating.
Providers, here’s some food for thought: In the U.S. job market today, roughly 42 million workers are independent contractors, part-time or temporary staffers, and/or are self employed, and with over 300 million people alive in the states, that means almost one out of every eight Americans holds one of the aforementioned titles. If you’re a freelancer, contractor, consultant, or anything in between, this meansyou!
The shift to online work as a professional job becomes more apparent with each day that passes. As communication and internet technologies continue to become faster, more stable, and more ubiquitous in society (and as the economy continues to prove that it’s not the most stable of entities), one can only expect the 42 million to grow at a brisk pace. And when you consider the advancements in online work tools, maybe the word “brisk” will be too much of an understatement.
Whether you’re a seasoned employer here on Elance or a fresh face posting a job for the first time, one of the most crucial parts (possibly the most crucial) of conducting online work is selecting the expert provider that fits your job best. Everyone has their different methods when perusing through the tens of thousands of providers on Elance, but if you’re feeling a little lost, this guide will help you find and invite the provider you need for your next project.
Before We Proceed…
If you’re relatively new to Elance and haven’t gotten much hiring under your belt, be sure to familiarize yourself with our post, “How To Review A Provider Profile”. This guide covers the most important factors you should consider when reviewing and selecting a provider, including skills information, feedback, portfolio, keywords, and summary. Properly vetting your providers during the selection process will ensure you get the highest quality work and help you immensely when you’re conducting work online. Now, on with the show!
Job Posted And Ready To Rock
Once you’ve posted your job, you’ll probably see an influx of proposals from providers surfing through listings that include yours along with the thousands of other job posts on Elance. That's all fine and dandy, but it isn’t a bad idea to do a little surfing yourself – search is your friend, and it’s the first step in finding THE provider that fits your needs. Let’s say I have a killer idea for a new iPhone application, and I need an expert right now that will take the utmost care with my top-secret project. Simply type in “iPhone Application” in the search engine, and you’ll get a ton of providers delivered to you instantly:
As of right now, the term “iPhone Application” yields a whopping 914 professionals. You and I both know that you don’t have time to look through each and every one of the 914 profiles, so we need to cut this list down to size. By using a variety of filtering tools available on Elance, you can easily whittle down a big number of providers to a more manageable size.
Saying you’re a professional provider at such-and-such technology is one thing. Differentiating yourself as an affiliated expert provider in an officially branded group is another — a totally different animal, to be more precise. With the introduction of Elance Groups, the latter is now a reality.
Here’s the rundown: Nearly a dozen companies at launch with many more on their way have worked with us to organize sub-communities on Elance where qualifying providers gain membership to a branded 'group' and enjoy the benefits of recognition. Each group has its own membership requirement, which can vary from passing a specific Elance Skill Test (e.g. Microsoft Office Access) to providing proof of a 3rd party credential (e.g. PayPal Certified Developers).
Here’s an example: Say you’re a graphic designer very well-versed in Photoshop. Your skills are sharp, and you decide you want to join the Adobe Photoshop Experts group, which in this case requires passing Elance's Adobe Photoshop CS4 Skill Test. You pass, join the group, and next thing you know, you have a shiny new badge on your provider profile page for all to see.
Let’s check the flipside of the equation: As an employer, one of the features of groups is that you’ll be able to instantly recognize providers who have made the effort to demonstrate their specific skills, making it easier than ever to find somoene with the skills you are looking for.
Check out the groups directory in the new 'Browse' section, where it's easier than ever to shop for talent that you need. Got an idea for a new group? Drop us a note at groups (at) elance.com.
One of the larger overarching trends we’ve noticed since the inception of the Elance Online Work Index several months ago was the steadily rising increase in the need for written content in a number of forms.
But why the sudden gold rush for high-quality written content? As someone who obviously spends a lot of time stringing a few words together in an online fashion, I can break down the sudden thirst for internet content in three main points:
1. Community Building: Having a noticeable presence online is almost as important as having a noticeable presence in the real world. Publishing online content in the form of blogs, newsletters, and more gives your customers, patrons, and readers a humanizing perspective of your business and also provides a channel for you to build a relationship with current and prospective customers. Online content also offers something for your client base to discuss with each other, creating a buzz that can reach even farthest corners of the web.
Two hundred million dollars. This is one of those 'odometer moments' that remind me of being a kid and eagerly awaiting our 1963 Volkswagon beetle's odometer to flip over to all zeros after reaching 99,999 miles, wondering what would happen — only to look the other way and miss it.
In our excitement, the cubicle dwellers here at Elance HQ have a friendly wager on who can predict when the “Provider Earnings” counter officially flips over the $200,000,000 mark. (The 'smart' money appears to be on Thursday, June 18, but don't take my word for it.)
With this milestone, we're announcing to the world the official arrival of ‘Cloud Commuting.' This is no longer 'the future of work' as online work is happening now. Let’s focus on the underlying importance of this event. Think of it: $200 million, earned for work delivered from one stranger to another.
Three big trends have converged to make this all happen.
Companies are constantly seeking greater flexibility and efficiency
More professionals than ever are choosing to be self-employed
Managing online work has become easier than ever with the evolution of the Elance Work System.
"I don't like my job." "The cube walls are closing in." "I'm walking out of this job right now." "I need to get out of here!" You know you've thought it at one point or another, and suddenly, the life of a free-spirited, self-made freelancer sounds all the more appealing. Before you rush and type your resignation letter, there are a few things that you will have to consider. Pamela Slim, a former corporate manager turned entrepreneur and author of the book Escape From Cubicle Nation, weighs in with 10 important questions you need to ask yourself before you make the jump.
I wish there were a secret formula to ensure that the freelance business you have been madly working on is going to generate enough income to compensate for your current salary as an employee, if not much more. Unfortunately, there are many, many factors that go into determining business success.
To get some insight into your readiness to say goodbye to your day job, read over this checklist and see how prepared you feel.
1. Chest-Bursting Enthusiasm
In order to birth your business idea, you are going to have to have a tremendous amount of energy and stamina. When you are totally enthusiastic about an idea, you don't have to worry about "staying motivated" or "dealing with procrastination," concerns voiced by many prospective entrepreneurs. Here are your enthusiasm checkpoints:
When you think about the work you do on a freelance basis, do you get a big smile on your face?
If you had your daily expenses taken care of, would you work on this business anyway because it is so exciting to you?
Do you see how this business fits into your overall life plan?
Would being successful in this business give you the kind of life you want? Would you be happy while doing it, not just once you were making money?
2. A Solid Business Case
Passion without a business model or viable market is a sure road to perdition. Business case checkpoints:
Have you prototyped and tested your idea with real people in your target market?
Do you have a viable business model? Could it survive if the market shifted?
Can you describe what makes you different, more effective or more appealing than your competitors?
With Palm’s latest move into the mobile phone and application arena, the smartphone plot involving the big five thickens. Although each of these players have their respective Software Development Kits, there are clear pros and cons of each that can effect the application development process for you as both a skilled provider or enterprising employer.
If you’re sitting on a golden idea for a mobile application yet are completely clueless on all of your accessible choices, don’t just jump into fray without preparing yourself. This guide will provide you with a quick and dirty overview of each of the five main mobile platforms available for you develop on today.
Apple iPhone: Today, Apple has pretty much become synonymous with “mobile apps”. With the release of the Apple iPhone SDK in March 2008 combined with the iPhone’s unprecedented popularity, the tech giant has been riding a wave of success to the top of the mobile applications hill. The benefits to developing on the iPhone are obvious: There are literally millions upon millions of phones already out there in the wild, the developer community is already very strong (with over 50,000 applications already in existence with 1 billion apps served), the platform has matured and already proven itself, and with patented multitouch technology and a built in accelerometer, the iPhone impressive iPhone hardware can power very high quality games and applications.