Find highlighted text in a Word document

We’re all bombarded with documents and emails and other reading material every day, and some of it contains information we’d actually like to remember and make use of. I often download the free Microsoft books, especially the free downloadable SharePoint books, and each book may be hundreds of pages. I’m grateful for all the good free training, but I have struggled a bit on what’s the best way to keep up with it all – especially to remember those essential nuggets of information I want to refer to again.

I’ve tried writing notes by hand into a paper notebook, but that takes much too long – and then there’s the issue of being able to find what I need. As they say, you can’t grep a dead tree! I have tried creating separate documents or Evernote notes with lists or my own summaries, and that works for smaller topics such as lists of database permissions needed or installation checklists, but sometimes the fact or table is best left in place so that the context can also be seen later – just as it would in a paper book. Lately I have started highlighting these books and whitepapers directly in Microsoft Word, and it is a lot faster than trying to re-type or put things into my own words to keep separate notes.  It also alleviates the problem of trying to find those separate notes I took!

If you highlight a downloaded book, be sure to save your changes often to be sure you get to keep the highlights you have made. Then, in Word 2010, if you want to go back and read all your highlighted text (or save it to a new document) you can just go to FindAdvanced Find –  then click More to expose the Format section. Under Format select Highlight.

From here you can use Find Next to move from one highlighted section to the next highlighted section, if you just want to read all the highlighted sections of the book for a refresher. Or instead of Find Next you can use Find InMain Document to select all of the highlighted text. Then if you want to you can copy and paste that highlighted text to a new document to have a nice little summary document.

Of course in the Review tab, Word also includes Comments you can insert into the document, sort of like you’d put a Post-It note along the margins of a paper book, and those have their own built-in Previous and Next functions.

How to Take a Niche Website from Idea to Execution

Creating niche sites is a great way to make money online or to quit your day job and work for yourself full-time. There are a number of ways you can make money with niche sites, including affiliate products, advertising, and selling your own products and services. Depending on the niche and the monetization method you choose, you can even use these sites to create passive income — meaning that after you set the site up, you don’t have to keep working on it actively to continue generating revenue.

If you are thinking of getting into creating niche websites, here are the basic steps you need to know to take a niche website from idea to execution:

Find Your Niche

The first step, of course, is to determine your niche. You can start by brainstorming all the topics that are interested in or that you have some experience with. For example, maybe you enjoy playing guitar, or perhaps you have training as an HVAC technician. Your sites could discuss how to select the best guitars, the most effective methods for teaching yourself to play the guitar, or how to get your HVAC training or start your own HVAC business.

Having some knowledge or interest in the subject matter will help you create an authentic site and one that really provides value for your readers.

Do Keyword Research

Once you have a few ideas for your niche site, it’s time to test the potential profitability of these ideas. Do keyword research using the Google keyword tool or another keyword tool to find out how many searches are being conducted for keywords in that niche and how much competition there is for those keywords. Then check the cost per click on advertising that you could get on the site.

Typically, you should look for keywords that have at least 1,000 searches per month and have low competition. You can target keywords that get millions of searches each month, but you’re likely to face some stiff competition, and it will be very difficult to set yourself apart and get traffic to your site.

Set Up Your Site

After you have found a potentially profitable niche, go ahead and register a domain name that reflects your keyword. Make sure your domain name is easy to remember and isn’t too similar to one of your competitors. (You don’t want your visitors to accidentally go to your competitor’s site instead.)

Install your site using a free site builder or an easy-to-use platform such as WordPress. You don’t have to have a fancy design with all the bells and whistles. A solid framework with good content will be all you need to set up a quality site. Just be sure that whatever host you use allows you to sell advertising or to use the site for commercial purposes.

Choose Your Affiliate Products

Selling affiliate products is one of the best ways to make money with your niche website. They often pay a higher commission than the revenue you would earn from advertising, greatly increasing your income potential.

You should choose your affiliate products before you place the content on your site since your products should inform your content. Knowing what you are going to sell will help you know what kind of content you will need. Browse the affiliate products available and pick one (or a select handful) that fits within your niche and that has a good reputation. Selecting a quality product that your readers will actually need or enjoy is one of the most important factors in the success of your site.

Get Content

After you have determined what products you will sell, you can start populating your site with content that compliments the product offerings. This can include reviews of your product or informational articles that back up the need for your product. For example, if you are selling a diet e-book or supplement system, you might include articles about foods to help burn fat or exercises that get fast results.

There are several ways you can get content: Write it yourself, pay a freelancer to write it, or get free articles from content sites like ezine articles. Your goals for the site should determine what you choose. If you want to rank your site high in search results, then getting free articles (which will be duplicated on other sites) is not a good idea. However, if you know you will buy advertising to promote your site instead of trying to use SEO, then you can use duplicate content.

Place Products and Ads

Placing links and banner ads for your affiliate products and your AdSense or other advertising is an art. There are many articles and books written about best practices. In general, you should try to place them in a way that is organic to the content. This can be in the form of text links in the articles, or it can be a link at the end of the article when readers are ready to take action.

Be sure your banners are visible — in your sidebar, your header, or above the fold on your page — but don’t allow them to clutter your page or take over your content. You want your ads to get noticed — not to annoy or alienate your readers.

Get Traffic to Your Site

The last step in getting a niche site up and running is to get traffic to your site so you can get readers and start making sales. There are two ways to do this: SEO or PPC.

SEO — or search engine optimization — will help your site to rank higher in search results, so that your site is one of the first that people see when they search for your keywords. SEO takes a lot of work, and it requires use of keyword phrases in your content and page elements, the use of meta tags and descriptions, increasing the load time of your site, and more. SEO is an ongoing effort that also takes much practice and experimentation.

PPC — or pay-per-click advertising — just requires that you pay money for advertising for your site. This is also a skill. PPC requires that you set a bid price for what you will pay each time someone clicks on your ad. The higher your bid, the more likely your ad will be seen when someone searches for your keyword. If you are in a crowded market, you could easily spend hundreds of dollars a day on PPC advertising. The key is to find a good bid that balances your budget with your need to remain competitive.

Starting a niche site is a relatively easy process and a great way to make money online if you are successful. However, like most business ventures, it requires a lot of research, a lot of trial and error, and a little bit of luck. These steps will help you take your site from idea to execution, but you’ll have to go the extra mile with your own research and savvy to make the site a success.

Have you started a niche site? Share your tips for success in the comments!

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go college, where recently she’s been researching grants and how to get college grants. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.

The Pros and Cons of Study Groups

Study groups can be a great way for many students to learn class material better and to prepare for an upcoming test. They also allow classmates a chance to get to know each other better and to bond. However, there are also some drawbacks to study groups, and they do not work for every learning style.

If you are considering joining or forming a study group, consider these pros and cons of study groups to determine if they are right for you:

Pros

Learn More, Faster

Study groups help you split up the material so that you can learn more in a shorter amount of time. Each group member can be responsible for learning and presenting key concepts in a section or chapter, saving other group members a significant amount of time and effort. Being able to talk through the concepts with a variety of people and getting answers for your individual questions can also make it easier for you to process the information, saving you time.

Pull from Other’s Strengths

In a study group, you are exposed to a variety of learning styles. You can learn from other’s strengths, either learning how to see the material in a new way or learning how to approach academic study in a new way. At the same time, you can learn new tools to help you address your own academic weaknesses. Not only are you learning the material better, but you are also learning how to become a better student by learning new strategies and techniques for learning.

Break Up the Monotony

Studying can be a long and grueling process. The more unpleasant it is, the harder it becomes to push through or to actually process the concepts you are studying. Working in a group can help break up that monotony, making study a little easier, if not a little more fun.

Cons

Opportunity for Distraction

While study groups can make the work more fun, they can also become a little too much fun — leading to social time instead of study time. If you don’t stay focused, study groups can just become time for chatting and hanging out with friends instead of time to get actual work done. Chit chat and other distractions can also just make the group less efficient, leading to you getting much less work done.

Unequal Contributions

Not everyone who joins a study group will contribute to it equally. Some members may just passively take notes and not add anything to the discussion. Others will fail to deliver on assigned work, such as providing notes or outlines for the group. If you have members who don’t contribute their share of the work — including their participation — then your study group will likely fail, or at least won’t live up to the potential it had to offer you.

Inconsistency

Study groups often suffer from inconsistency among members. Some will show up late, disrupting the group, and some won’t show up at all. This can make the group less efficient or even dysfunctional. Over time, if enough people show up late or miss meetings, the study group could deteriorate completely.

Study groups can be incredibly helpful by bringing together students with diverse learning styles to help each other learn material better and more quickly. However, depending on the individual members, study groups also have the potential to derail your study plans and to waste your time. Consider these pros and cons carefully — and choose your members wisely — when deciding if a study group is right for you.

Do you study with groups? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go college, where recently she’s been researching free grants for school and veteran scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.

How to Publish an E-Book on iTunes (iBookstore)

iTunes is a media powerhouse, selling millions of songs, movies, television shows, apps, programs, and books. Publishing your books on iTunes (the iBookstore) is a great way to increase your exposure and sales. It’s also a great way to reach customers, who are embracing e-reader technology like tablets (of which the iPad is arguably the most popular).

Publishing to the iTunes interface is a relatively simple process, but you have to understand the specifics of the system. Here’s what you need to know about publishing an e-book on iTunes:

Create in the Proper Format

Books published to iBookstore must be in a very specific format: ePub. There are many services and software providers you can use to convert your book to the ePub format. Storyist, Pages, or Calibre can all be used to make the conversion. Calibre is free, open-source software, and the others charge a fee.

You can also sign up for one of the Apple-approved aggregators, which convert and deliver book titles for a fee. These services will also help market and distribute books.

All books must pass ePubCheck to ensure that they meet formatting guidelines before they can be published.

Get an ISBN Number

All books sold in the iBookstore must have an ISBN (Internatinoal Standard Book Number). Books that are offered for free do not need an IBSN.

To get an ISBN, you must buy one by visiting a site such as www.myidentifiers.com or fromisbn.org. A single ISBN costs $125. However, you can save significantly by purchasing multiple ISBNs at once. For example, 10 ISBNs cost $250 — or $25 each.

Print and digital versions of a book each have to have their own ISBN.

Register for a Taxpayer ID

Apple requires that sellers on iTunes Connect have a taxpayer ID. Sellers must apply for a taxpayer ID through the IRS. This taxpayer ID will be linked to your account, identifying you by your legal name as the seller of the book, and you must always use the same taxpayer ID for your account.

Apply for iTunes Connect

Once you have all your documentation in place, you are ready to apply for an account on iTunes Connect (https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/bookSignup), which will enable you to sell in the iBookstore. You can apply for a paid account or a free account. If you plan to sell books, you must apply for a paid account.

Keep in mind that if you apply for a free account, then decide to sell books later, you cannot upgrade your free account to a paid account.

You can distribute books for free whether you have a paid or a free account.

Once your application is approved, you are ready to start selling books in the iBookstore. While the process is a little cumbersome — if not a little pricey — it gives you access to one of the best-selling marketplaces around the world, greatly increasing your potential for sales.

Have you sold books in iBookstore? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science.  Her current focus for the site involves researching home remedies for bed bugs and how to exterminate bed bugs.

Free SharePoint books downloadable from Technet

Technet is really a goldmine of totally free information about Microsoft products, including SharePoint, but sometimes we find ourselves searching the internet and reading article after article and wishing we had a way to organize SharePoint information so we could put our hands on it when we need it. Well actually Technet has FREE downloadable books which are also currently sold in print on Amazon for up to $66 each, so if you like free books or if you prefer to have a downloaded book and be able to use search to locate what you want (after all, you can’t grep dead trees, right) then the Technet Downloadable content for SharePoint Server 2010 is for you. There are lots of good downloadable books from getting started with SharePoint to planning guides, to all kinds of specific needs such as business continuity management, governance, profile synchronization, and of course the one we really want to see, the deployment guide.

There are also poster-sized technical SharePoint diagrams which can be downloaded in vsd, pdf, or xps format, on a variety of subjects covered by Technet articles. Each poster has links to the articles that go with it, so while you’re looking at a poster of planning services or search architecture, you can read the Technet articles that go with the poster.

If there’s a book or two you find yourself referring to often or wanting to really sit down and read, you may prefer to order SharePoint books from Amazon, but I’m really glad these books are available on demand, too. I like knowing I can just open something on my laptop and search for that pesky problem I know I saw somewhere in there…

You can download the books in a nice variety of formats including epub and mobi, so you should never be lacking for some poolside or beach reading. Pictured is the download form for the deployment guide:

A beautiful magazine style skin for Thesis your niche site needs now!

I recently started a brand new site that I intend to be an online magazine about cats, and I knew I had to get just the right theme for it. I’ve tried free magazine themes and oh they often turn out to be such a PAIN. And every time I’ve done that, I’ve always ended up coming right back to Thesis because of all the wonderful and easy ways it handles everything for me. Not to mention the amazing SEO, which is the whole point, right?

Anyway, I came close to buying a premium magazine theme or even buying a new framework so that I could get a magazine child theme, but then I discovered the Laveo skin for Thesis. I love it! The home page is fully widgetized, so you can have that big slider anywhere on the page you like, and you can also put those news widgets anywhere. There’s also hot news widget which I’m not currently using since my site is so new.

Although I love the colorful look that the designer has shown in the demo and adopted it for my own site, you can put in any colors you want for any and all of the news widgets and the categories in the menu. You can make all of them the same color or use two colors or three – it’s totally up to you. And when you want to do something crazy that’s not in the admin area, there’s prompt and friendly support via forum and email.

Check out the Laveo skin and see if you can’t think of a project or two you must have it for! And if you like cats, I’d appreciate a friendly comment on the new site, too! :)

Update February 2013:  I asked in the support forum if this skin will be updated to support Thesis 2, and the author said that it should be updated this week!

Help! My Yahoo Mail Search is broken!

It was so annoying, I could hardly believe my eyes when I tried to search my Yahoo mail a couple of weeks ago. The Yahoo Mail Search only got information for that day – and even as the days went by, mid-March was as far back as it went. I’ve had that Yahoo mail account since 1999, and the reason I’ve kept it over the years is that it has become an enormous database of all of the accounts in my blogging activities, domains bought, domains sold, forums joined, you name it. I don’t like having to transfer information to some other app or into a little notebook all the time, so out of sheer laziness I have just relied on searching Yahoo if I wanted to know what I’ve done in a given niche (forum accounts, etc.) or what that elusive Share-A-Sale user name is.

I searched for an answer and at first found a message from Yahoo saying that their engineers were aware of the problem and were working on it. But a couple of days ago I tried that again and found that they thought they HAD fixed it. It was time to get serious. Smile  I filled out the form in Yahoo Mail Customer Care and told them exactly what was happening.

It took about 36 hours, but this morning I got an email saying that they have fixed it (and YEA, they have!!)! So if Yahoo Mail Search is broken for you, don’t hesitate – let Customer Care know. It’s apparently a problem they must fix on a mailbox-by-mailbox basis.

yahoo cust service

SharePoint Backup Failed

Object SharePoint_Config failed in event OnBackup. For more information, see the spbackup.log or sprestore.log file located in the backup directory.
SqlException: Cannot open backup device ….. Operating system error 5(Access is denied.).
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

(Between the word “device” and “Operating” was the path to my backup folder and the actual backup file. I left those out of the message above so that those searching for the error message can find it).

Every time I set up SharePoint backup on a new SharePoint server, I always create a backup folder and share it, then give permissions to the SharePoint account that is used to run the backup from Central Admin, but I always forget one thing. So just in case you forgot it too, or for next time I forget it, here it is: The SQL Server service account must also have read/write control permissions to the backup share.  Remember, it’s also a SQL database backup, so the SQL Server service account is trying to write to this folder.  For more information, check out this Technet article.

Log in as a different Windows account to SQL Server Management Studio

There are times when you’ll need to use Windows authentication to get to SQL Server Management Studio, but the Windows login is not the one you’re currently logged into your computer with.  Perhaps you’re a consultant or IT worker and you have logins in several different domains.  Or if you’re working with an application or enterprise system like SharePoint, you may be using several different service accounts to do the configuration, and one or more of those AD accounts may have SQL permissions that your personal login does not.  It’s crazy to be working “blind,” so you need to get into SQL and see those databases or query them sometimes.

You can try to log into a computer using those accounts, but the quick and easy way is to just use a command line run as that user to open SSMS.  If you use this once, then take the extra ten seconds and make yourself a shortcut, because I guarantee it will come up more than once.  Smile  I have three different shortcuts on my desktop, two for my own account on other domains, and one for the SharePoint install service on my own domain.  Note – the below commands are what I use to get to my own SSMS for SQL Server 2008 R2. Obviously check and adjust to the path of your own SQL installation.

Logging into SQL as an AD account in a different domain:

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /netonly /user:[domain name]\[username] "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\Ssms.exe"

 

Logging into SQL as an AD account in your own domain:

C:\Windows\System32\runas.exe /user:[domain name]\[username] "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\100\Tools\Binn\VSShell\Common7\IDE\Ssms.exe"

(So in other words, remove the /netonly if you’re using a Windows account in your own domain).

 

In either case, you’ll have a cmd.exe window pop up and you’ll be prompted,

Enter the password for [your domain here]\[the username]:

Simply enter the password for the account you’re using and hit Enter.

 

At that point, if you’ve entered the correct password, SQL Server Management Studio should open.  Select the server you want and be sure to select Windows Authentication.  Now you should be logged into SQL using the AD account that has the SQL permissions you need to do your task.

Installing SharePoint Server 2010 – free video!

This video by Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP, MCT, shows how to install and configure SharePoint Server 2010, including creating your first Site Collection.

<a href='http://www.microsoft.com/resources/technet/en-us/office/media/video/video.html?cid=stc&#038;from=mscomSTC&#038;VideoID=6cf453d2-5943-480c-b747-332fa09ed23a&#038;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Installing SharePoint Server 2010' >Video: Installing SharePoint Server 2010</a>