Internet or online fax services is one form of “cloud computing” which has really caught fire with companies – big and small. Mainly because by using an online fax service provider a company can save on space, hardware, inks, toners, papers… and this new modern way of faxing is much cheaper, especially when you consider there are no start-up costs and you don’t have the monthly bill of an extra fax phone line.When you throw in the fact that online faxing is completely mobile and makes any portable device like a cell phone, PDA, netbook or laptop a virtual fax machine. You can send and receive your faxes from anywhere as long as you have Internet access. This also makes your business available 24/7, 365 days of the year and if your company depends upon faxing to bring in sales or to contact clients; one can easily see why using an online fax service simply makes good business sense.However, a word of caution, since this is usually a long-term business service or arrangement you have to be extremely careful when choosing a fax service. The prosperity of your business could be at stake if your company depends heavily upon faxing.So what factors should you look for in a good fax service?First, reliability is numero uno – you must have a reliable fax service that’s completely functional around the clock. It must deliver all your faxes to you and it must send all your faxes to your clients. Needless to say, missed faxes means you lose business, therefore, reliability of any fax service should be first on your mind when choosing any provider. So thoroughly check out any service, read reviews, ask your colleagues or users of a particular service, visit forums to see what other users are saying, and use the vast resources of the web to help you in your quest. Do a little homework now and you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the service you choose.Second, you must check out all the costs associated with the fax service you pick, make sure there are no hidden fees that will cost you an arm and a leg over the long-haul. Most service are on average around $10 a month and you get 300 free faxes (incoming/outgoing) with your account. You will have to pay for extra faxes, rates go from 3 cents to 10 cents but there are cheaper rates and plans out there so it pays to shop around. Most but not all fax services have no set-up fees and most also let you have a free 30 Day Trial so that you can check out their service before you buy.Third, most of the higher quality services will have many ways or methods which you can use to send/receive your faxes. Ease of use is one of the major factors online faxing has become so popular. You can send them directly through your email system, your faxes are sent as an email attachment – usually as a Tiff or PDF. Almost all have an online account or interface where you can logon and read your faxes, you can also send your faxes from this online account. Most services also let you store your faxes here for a certain length of time. Many services also have a desktop application you can use to send your faxes.Fourth, you must check to see what type of support a service provides. Most quality services have 24 hour support which you can contact if you should have any problems. Some services have regular 9 to 5 business hours support which could be a problem if you have urgent faxes to send and you come into trouble and have to wait to contact support.Fifth, you must also check to see if your fax service is completely scalable for business. Most of the top brand name quality services are scalable for businesses, if you want to scale up or scale down, then you can instantly do this since there is no hardware (fax lines or fax machines) to install since everything is done through your computers and the Internet. Most services also have fax broadcasting, in case you have to send a fax to a large number of people at once, you can do this with one click.To sum up, when choosing an online fax service, you will have to try to find an affordable, high quality reliable service that is available 24/7 and is completely scalable for your company or business. What more could you ask for?
Blogs used to just be a place for people to host online diaries and share their personal misadventures with the world. Now however, blogging has transformed into an online marketing powerhouse for real estate agents and other business professionals.In addition to your conventional real estate web site, starting a blog will help you capitalize on search engine rankings, back links, and lead conversion. A blog can get your name out there, and allow readers to get to know you in a way that isn’t possible through a standard web site. And unlike more traditional advertising methods like bus banners and newsletters, blogs are always evolving, attracting new visitors every day.If you’re totally new to blogging, you’ll want to know some of the jargon associated with the blogosphere (world of blogs). Here are a few key terms to know:Blog – at its most basic level, a blog is an online journal. Entries are reversed chronologically so users always see the most recent post at the top. Some people have personal blogs where they share family photos and neighborhood gossip, while others create blogs that promote their businesses.Blog Host – the provider that hosts your blog space on their server. There are a variety of providers out there, including free and for-cost services.Trackback – this tool tells you when another blogger has referred to a post of yours on their site.Pingback – like Trackback, pings notify bloggers when someone links to or talks about their entries.RSS (Really Simple Syndication) – this allows users to be notified every time you add new content to your blog. This is where you get a lot of your readership from, as users subscribe to your blog postings.Permalink – this is a permanent link that goes to a particular blog entry. A permalink allows other bloggers to link to specific blog posts of yours without worrying about the URL expiring (link rot).With the lingo under your belt, you’re ready to come up with a plan for your blog. For real estate agents, it’s actually quite easy to decide on a theme for your blog. You want to focus on your area of service, and the realty market within it. This gives you some flexibility in terms of content, as you can write about anything from community events and tourist attractions to new condo developments and market stats. Allow yourself to be creative and informative, and have fun posting.Deciding which blog host provider to go with can be a daunting task. There are so many companies and a wide range of plug-ins and special features compatible with each one. The best option is to have a blog built right into your web site so that the design elements and branding are all consistent. It also makes it easy for users to explore the rest of your site, and contact you for an appointment.If you’re not able to have a built-in blog, you can get a blog hosted by a company like Blogger, WordPress, or TypePad. When choosing a provider, you need to decide how much you want to pay for your blog service.Going with a free blog provider is a great way to begin blogging. Blogger for instance has a very user-friendly interface, and makes it simple for anyone to start posting pictures and text. If you’re not tech-savvy, this may be the best way to get your feet wet. Once you get comfortable blogging, you can upgrade to a paid service.Why pay for a blog when you can get one for free? Paid hosting gives you much more control over your blog. If you know some html, you can customize your blog to make it truly representative of you. You can also have your own domain name, which looks more professional than the address you receive through a free provider.Regardless of which option you choose, there are numerous tutorials available online, both in text and video format that will guide through the set-up and customization of your blog. Going through a tutorial can save you a lot of time and frustration when you’re just starting out, and they can also point you in the direction of some of the fun features like changing design elements and color schemes.When you create your blog, make sure you pick the right title. Search engines place a lot of weight on blog titles, so put your most important keywords in there. In your blog posts, you should also add keywords to optimize the content, but do so with restraint. Your blog should first and foremost be readable. If you keyword stuff or put in too much self promotion, your readers (and potential clients) will head for the door.