Updated: Voting has now ended. Check back on May 19 to see the results. Thanks for your support!
Fellow elancers, big news here!
We’ve just learned that Elance has been selected as a finalist in the Commerce category of the 2009 Webware 100 Awards. This honor should be shared by all of us as it recognizes not only the evolution of Elance in facilitating online work, but more importantly it acknowledges the millions upon milllions of dollars of work that has been delivered by the expert professionals on Elance to the benefit of their business clients around the world.
High fives all around.
We’ve come a long way since opening our doors in ’98, but if you think we’re content with this, think again. As the leading site for online work, our job is to constantly improve Elance by advancing ease-of-use, building trust, delivering timely customer support, and ultimately ensuring that the expert services providers on Elance deliver great results to their clients day in and day out. And we're just getting started.
So, if you're new to Elance or have been around since the old days, or if your feeling inspired, please drop a vote in the ballot box and help us show the rest of the world that Elance is where businesses go when they need to get work done online.
Ready to vote? Click on the big button on the right to head over to CNET to get your vote in. Polls close at noon on April 30, 2009, and winners will be announced on May 19, 2009. Until then, vote your online-working heart out, and we’ll be sure to join you in the winners circle next month.
Elance, the leading site for online work, today releases its April edition of the "Elance Online Work Index", ranking the hottest skills in-demand on the Web today based on data from more than 100,000 jobs posted on Elance over recent months.
The April Online Work Index reveals that IT and marketing skills continue to dominate the online work landscape as the Top 10 graphic clearly demonstrates.
Beyond the general demand for technology and marketing skills, businesses are clearly chasing domain expertise in open source technologies, help with delivering world-class user experiences, and insiders with savvy working with social media.
Open Source on the Rise: The overall trend of businesses migrating to open source technology solutions is stronger than ever with PHP (#1) programming now topping the Index followed closely by MySQL (#2). Demand grows for a variety of other open source skills including Joomla (#18), Drupal (#48 - up 10 spots), osCommerce, (#49 - up 20 spots), Ruby on Rails (#73 - up 27 spots), and Linux (#74 - up 13 spots).
In the dog-eat-dog competitive business jungle where digital-ubiquity transcend time and space, the fundamental ideology underpinning business operational efficiencies are changing so fast it's enough to make your brain's CPU crash.
Translation: If you’re not getting work done online, you better get on it, pronto.
But, even though you have too much to do and not enough time to do it, sometimes it's not easy to know where to start when it comes to lining up experts to help you get it all done. We’ve brewed up a list of 100 jobs that will give any business owner 100 easy places to get started.
Don’t have the time to invest in one of these projects? That's the whole point. Every single item listed can be completed with the help of an expert Elance provider. Easy money.
Some of the movers and shakers on the list include:
Website Design:If you don’t have a website for your business, you need to get with the program. In most cases, customers and prospective clients expect you to have a website even if they don’t actively use it or refer to it. It may sound odd, but recent research shows that most people assume that a company with a website is larger and more stable than a company without one. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to build an effective website. Focus on growing your business while a skilled provider creates the look and feel of your site. Site design is one of the most popular jobs online today. You can have a new site designed or give an existing site a makeover in just weeks or even days. Just make sure your site is an extension of your corporate identity; you’ll spend money creating it, so be sure it works for you.
You're deploying a custom Drupal platform to a major website and the deadline is approaching. You're crafting innovative and effective marketing campaigns for an up-and-coming Web 2.0 startup. You're burning through almost 100 Excel spreadsheets of seven-figure digits for a high-profile accountant. You're a well-oiled machine running at the speed of light.
You're living the fast-paced life of online work.
At some point, everyone needs to recharge — even those with the biggest batteries. What do you do to slow down, unwind, and get away from it all? I've asked the experts (you) to fill us in on what rituals work best to come back feeling fresh.
Frederick Pohl, Web Developer, Pohl Media — "We like to go to the beach and the Springs, go to the park with our daughter, and enjoy cooking on the grill a lot — being in the sun. Music is an essential part of unwinding and helps to regain focus too. I always go back to traditional art, pencil drawing, and printmaking, which were my early beginnings in art."
Julie K. Welch, Writer, Jane Content — "I typically work 70-80 hours per week, so in order to unwind, I take several mini-trips throughout each quarter — 2-3 week long trips. Then I participate in a variety of local charitable and social activities. In the evenings, I also attend yoga classes and run. Overall, I work to balance everything I need to get done within a week while minimizing stress."
The social-networking, micro-blogging, global-instant-messaging service has businesses, individuals, corporations, celebrities, dogs, cats, and more reporting their lives in under 140 characters. Even we’re giving it a go.
Using "tweets" (seriously, that's what they're called) to help drive actual business is still something of a global experiment, so it's hard to say what the rules are, let alone an actual playbook. But here are a few innovative ways businesses are Twittering.
Kogi BBQ: Half taco truck, half Korean cuisine, and 100 percent down with the Twitter game, this fusion Korean BBQ truck is a prime example of using Twitter to market a great product in a clever and unique way. The diner on-the-go travels all over the greater Los Angeles area, but the only way to find out where it will strike next is by following the truck’s Twitter feed online (@kogibbq). The feed, currently with almost 10,000 followers (myself included), leaks out the location only several hours in advance, creating a fanatical, cult-like following of hungry bulgogi seekers. I’ll be having the Korean Short Ribs, thank you very much.
If you somehow haven’t heard of it by now, then you’re probably living in a cave or something that's equally dark and dingy. The buzz surrounding the Kindle has set the world on fire with a newly-found interest in eBooks, especially here around the Elance offices. I'm personally suffering from "Kindle Fever". Not surprisingly, the effects of the eBook craze are surfacing on Elance — we’ve noticed a growing spark of interest in eBook creation with new job postings.
Now hang on there, partner. Before you post a job to convert your unofficial “Twilight” sequel into a Kindle-compatible format, consider these three important factors.
Choosing a File Format
Let me get a little technical for a second. When choosing a file format, you're first going to have to decide between two main eBook concepts: “reflowable” vs “fixed layout”. A reflowable file (AZW, MOBI, PRC, TXT, and HTML file formats) will essentially “word-wrap” your text to fit your screen, regardless of if it’s a cell phone, PDA, or full-on eReader. A fixed-layout file will be presented exactly the way you set each word or picture, meaning that users will have to manually scan horizontally and vertically to progress through the page (PDF and PostScript). If layout is not a huge issue to you, a reflowable file is probably a better choice, but if you have tables, charts, or other location-sensitive content or need to give readers access to 1:1 printing, then a fixed format will probably suit you better. The Mobipocket Developer Center has a great page that explains this in further detail. Remember to also check your eReader's file compatibility as well as other popular devices' compatibility. For example, the Kindle can read AZW (Amazon's proprietary format), MOBI, PRC, and TXT and also has limited HTML, Word doc, and PDF support through an extra software conversion tool.
There's no questioning the popularity of PHP technologies on the Web. After all, PHP, aka "Personal Home Page" (yeah, we didn't know that, either), is sitting pretty at the number 2 spot on the Elance Online Work Index Top 100 list. But what exactly makes it one of the most sought after programming skills by businesses today? This month, we've brought in Jeffrey McManus, CEO of Platform Associates, to give us some insight.
In the past few years, PHP has emerged as one of the A-list programming languages, taking its place alongside Java and the .NET Framework as one of the most popular languages for developing web sites. In fact, PHP is currently used to create some of the highest volume web sites in the world, including Yahoo!, Facebook, and many others.
A big reason for PHP's popularity is its ease of use, unique suitability to the web development use case, and good performance. Because PHP's core libraries are written in C++, PHP developers can enjoy the productivity associated with a scripting language while taking advantage of the performance benefits of a compiled language.
Whether your business is a small mom-and-pops operation or a giant mega-corporation, a simple blog can add an engaging experience that reels in users, fans, and most importantly, customers. But constructing a blog is something that is easier said than done, especially for those lacking in Internet-savvy. I've lined up six popular blogging options — conduct a little research here and you'll find one that's a perfect fit for you.
Before we start, keep this in mind. There are two basic blogging platforms: blog services and self-hosted blog software. Blog services do it all — host your blog and provide content managment software; blog software packages require you to host and install on your own but are almost always more flexible. For SEO purposes, experts like Chris Bennett recommend using blog software and hosting your blog on your own site. (Check out his article "13 Ways to Make Your Blog Go Viral" for more details.)
Here are some of the most popular platforms used around the web today:
WordPress — WordPress is like the Tiger Woods of the blogosphere — it's currently being used by over 25 percent of Technorati’s top 100 blogs. (Technorati is a search engine that indexes blog popularity and compiles a Top 100 list.) It’s free, easy to install and maintain, and includes a huge list of features. Templates and themes, comments, trackbacks and pingbacks, spam protection, user registration, password protected posts, multiple authors, and tons of additional plug-ins are available for you to add functionality and further customize your blog. If you're feeling lost at sea, hundreds of Elance providers have extensive WordPress skills and can customize your blog to the exact spec and style you are looking for. You can currently get WordPress in two flavors — a complete blog service, located at WordPress.com, and the open-source blog software package, located at WordPress.org.
Calling all self-proclaimed ASP.Net, Amazon Web Services and Twitter experts! We've added 9 brand new tests for you to strut your professional stuff. And, in case you missed last month's announcement, skill tests are now absolutely free. Added this month are:
After working closely with many elancers over the last several months, we're excited to unveil several changes designed to make Elance more intuitive to use, reduce clicks to get key tasks done, freshen up the look and feel, and ensure that the pages load as quickly as possible.
You may have already noticed the new look at the top of every page. Our team collaborated with many elancers to help design, create, categorize and test this new navigation, and based on the input we have received so far, we are optimistic that these changes will make your online work experience better than ever.
As big of an update as the new navigation is itself, we've also built-in a bevy of other changes that aim to make Elance easier to use.