When you're searching for something on the Web, it really helps to have quick, go-to Web tools that save you time and money. Andrew Lock, our small business marketing expert and the creator of the NiftyClicks members-only resource website, offers up these three handy resource sites you might want to bookmark.
I love reading, I really do. I try to read around one new book each week. Doesn't always happen, but that's my goal. Of course, that can be a costly hobby, and BookMooch.com aims to make it easier for bookworms to feed their habit.
Essentially, it's a service that helps you to exchange books with others. It's a "give and take" system that works as follows:
- You list books you have to give away
- You receive requests from people for your books
- You mail your books and receive points
- You use those points to acquire books from others
I did a quick search for books on marketing and found plenty to choose from. I'd like to see images of the covers by default, but if you know what you want BookMooch.com can be a useful service.
Nobody would argue with you that video has taken over the Web. It’s everywhere. Now of course you can go over to YouTube, and guess whose videos you get to watch? You get to watch YouTube videos. But what if there are other places you could go? Quite frankly there are dozens of sites that have video, and ClipBlast gives you the opportunity to search everybody’s video sites.
Some of the things you can search for are a little bit obscure, so you can find almost anything you want. I love to look at the advertisements these folks have running on their site. They’re advertising for the Wall St. Journal, Swell, NetFlix, and Barnes and Noble — these are name-brand companies, so you know that these folks are getting the traffic.
I put in my brand new (actually, it’s used) movie camera, a Sony HD FX1, to see if I could find any videos about it. I actually looked on YouTube, and found some. ClipBlast had bunch of them, but the very first one was not on YouTube, it was on CNet. It listed others on TeacherTube, VMEO and YouTube. I definitely found some that I wouldn’t even have seen if I’d stuck to YouTube.
I also searched for one of my favorite guitars — a Rickenbacker 360 12 string; not the most popular guitar out there, but it’s out there. ClipBlast found 17 different clips, which is pretty amazing and a great way to search. The other areas you might look at are hot topics, hot searches and hot platforms; lots of good information here. It’s a great placed to go to search the entire Web for all the video clips that might be out there, so go have a look at Clipblast.
One of the most frustrating tasks for inexperienced website designers is to create an online form that allows visitors to submit a request or provide feedback. It’s usually a difficult, time-consuming process to setup and test that kind of form. Fortunately, there’s a nifty resource that overcomes the usual challenges, and it’s called FormAssembly.com
Here’s how to get started with FormAssembly.
1: Visit www.formassembly.com and try it for free by clicking on the "sign up now" button on the home page.
2: You’ll be prompted to enter a username, password and your email address as part of the registration process.
3: You’ll be asked to select a plan. At this point go for the starter option by clicking the button at the bottom of the starter column. You can upgrade later to a more suitable plan once you’ve tested the system and made sure it suits your needs. Bear in mind that the free option is supported by ads, but these only appear after the form is submitted, and are relatively unobtrusive. If you’re just starting out and money is tight, the starter plan is a great option.
4: Click on the on-screen message to login to your new account.
5: To create your first form, use one of the templates provided: contact form, registration form or lead acquisition. If you’re not sure what those forms do, choose the contact form as a way to practice using the system.
6: The next screen looks a little daunting, but it's simply a template to guide you. You can edit he look and feel and text of each form just by clicking on each option. When you’re done, click save at the top of the screen, click the publish tab, and you can use either the HTML code or the direct URL.
Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."
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