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Why Should You Pay More for a Static IP Address?

March 31, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on the benefits of a static IP address:

As a business owner you are always faced with financial considerations. That question, “How can I save money?” Or, “Do I really need this?” They are common questions. When it comes to your Internet connection, we have recently described how saving money on your Internet connection is often times, not the best choice.

Then there is the matter of the static IP address. Why is this also costing you more money? Those Internet providers are always trying to find a way to take more of my money! Or, are they?

What is the Difference Between a Static IP Address and a Dynamic IP Address?

In order to understand its importance and the reason for additional costs, we must first understand the difference between a static IP address (always assigned) and a non-static IP address (called dynamic because it changes at timed intervals).

IP addresses are 32 bit numbers identifying a computer/networked device on the Internet. They are currently represented in 4 parts with dots between them, such as 10.0.0.1 or 192.168.0.1 as some of you may recognize from setting up a residential router. Those numbers represent the calling card of that computer, similar to that of your cell phone number, a unique address that lets other systems know how to find you.

Computers inside your home are most typically using dynamic IPs assigned by your home router, known as private IP addresses, because they are only known to other machines in your own network. Your router also has an dynamic IP address assigned from your Internet provider from its pool of IPs, called public IP addresses, because these addresses can talk to one another all over the world.

So your router is connected to your Internet provider which can talk to other public computers/routers. It’s also connected to you personal computer so it can make connections to those public computers. Got it?

Why Do We Have Dynamic IP Addresses?

The need for dynamic IP addresses is due to the limited number of public IP addresses available in Internet Protocol version 4, also know as IPV4.

With dynamic IP addresses, there is a pool of IPs your Internet provider can assign. When you connect to the Internet, your router is leased one IP address from that pool for a timed interval. When the interval is completed, usually at disconnection of the IP address, it is sourced back into the pool of available IPs. This allows Internet providers to have more customers than IPs.

With broadband connections, it’s easy to just lease IP addresses when needed. That’s why dynamic IP addressing is widely used today. The downside is, your IP address can change any time you get disconnected.

The fact that you get disconnected does not necessarily mean the IP address is going to change, just as the fact that you get the same IP address does not mean it is assigned statically.

Losing that IP address may result in other computers/routers inability to locate you.
The Need for a Static IP Address!

Most businesses use high speed Internet to run private or public servers. These people want their Internet address to stay fixed with the same numbers all the time, so people know how to access their server.
People with a static IP address may have a domain name or corresponding email accounts, such as [InsertYourBizNameHere].com, linked to their IP address. So if the IP address changed whenever they had to turn their modem or router off, their server and thus the email could become unreachable.

A static IP address can also help when VPNs are being set up for remote access to your business office resources. Without the ability to also know your offices “calling card,” work would be cumbersome.

The Additional Cost…

So the additional cost of a static IP address is a result of multiple things:

There are a limited source of public IPv4 IP addresses. While they are working on IPv6 to expand the IP pool, the tech and implementation still has a ways to go.

– ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is responsible for the allocation of all public IP addresses to providers. Providers must prove the necessity of the need for all IP addresses they are provided. There is a cost associated to the provider for each pool of addresses. In other words, the providers don’t get IPV4 addresses for free either.

– There are more resources, both technically and in man hours, to managing static IP addresses because of their “always on” nature. It limits maintenance and provides more accountability for the provider.

So if you are a business, looking at the costs at the end of the day – know that your static IP address is worth the small price you pay for it for all it gives you in return.

Click here to view the original article.

 

How to Get a Great ROI from Your Content

March 28, 2014

Check out this recent article from Startup Nation on the importance of quality copywriting:

It’s Spring.

Is your copy ready to boost sales?

It’s the first day of spring, and that means it’s time for new beginnings and fresh starts. With this in mind, when was the last time you reviewed your marketing content?

Are you getting a great return-on-your-investment from the messaging you are presenting?

Are potential customers actually reading your content?

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3 Strategies for Improving Your Facebook Ads

March 27, 2014

Check out this recent article from Business News Daily on how to make the most from a Facebook Ad platform:

Facebook plays a large role in many businesses’ marketing strategies. Although business pages on the social networking site may have once been just a simple brand extension and a place where companies could connect with customers, it has become a dynamic advertising platform that can produce the same types of results as search engine optimization.

“Before last year, Facebook was all about what happened on Facebook,” said Bob Buch, CEO of social advertising firm SocialWire. “Ad campaigns were about buying likes. In 2013, there was a major shift, and Facebook began tapping into direct-response advertisers [and marketing] products to custom audiences. This transformed their ability to drive traffic off-site.”

Paid Facebook ads can be a huge source of traffic that ultimately leads to sales, but only when they’re properly planned and executed. Buch advised social marketers to keep these three things in mind when planning Facebook ad campaigns:

Think of Facebook campaigns as search campaigns

Buch said companies should plan a Facebook campaign the same way they do SEO keyword campaigns. For example, a shoe company might purchase the keywords “riding boots” to have their ads appear to individuals searching for that term, rather than wasting money on untargeted ads that are unlikely to convert to sales. The same concept should apply to Facebook ads. When creating campaigns, you can work with a third-party partner to create a custom audience of people who have made purchases that are similar to your product or service.

Keep your ads fresh

Running the same campaigns for your products and services over and over again will quickly get old to your Facebook audience, and that could make them hide your ads from their newsfeed. Keep customers interested by updating pictures and copy for your ads.

Remember that customers don’t come to Facebook to buy

When people Google a specific product or service, it’s generally because they intend to purchase that item. But when people log on to Facebook, they’re not there for the ads; they want to connect with their friends. The goal of any successful Facebook ad campaign is to grab potential customers’ attention enough that they will either go back and Google your product later or, better yet, click through to your website right from Facebook.

Click here to view the original article.

The Home Office Deduction: What You Need To Know

March 26, 2014

Check out this recent article from Forbes on home office tax deductions:

Taking a home-office deduction might flag you for an Internal Revenue Service audit. But don’t let that stop you. If you play by the rules you can stand up to the IRS and save a bundle, especially if you use your home office for many years.

For starters Section 280A(c) of the tax code says you must devote the space exclusively to business on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean you need an entire room set aside for the purpose – just that you can’t use the area for other activities. For instance, if your home office doubles as a TV room, it’s usually not deductible. Two exceptions: if you run a daycare facility from your home or store inventory or product samples there, you don’t have to meet the “exclusive use” test.

Next , the IRS looks at the type of space and the role it plays in your business. Easiest to qualify are separate structures, such as studios, unattached garages or barns. You can deduct the expense of these areas if you use them in your trade or business.

For other parts of your home, the rules get more stringent. The office must either be your “principal place of business” or a space where you meet clients or customers. Your home qualifies as your principal place of business if you conduct administrative or management activities there, instead of running your company entirely from another place. The office doesn’t even have to be the only one, as long as you don’t conduct “substantial administrative or management activities” someplace else. (For more about working from home, see “How To Make Money Without A Job.”)

Employees who want to take the home office deduction have another hurdle. They must either use the space for the company’s convenience (rather than their own) or rent to their employer the area used for work. And since they claim the deduction as an unreimbursed job expense on Line 21 of Schedule A, it’s subject to what’s called the 2% rule: you tally up the expenses and subtract them from 2% of your adjusted-gross-income; you’re only allowed to deduct the excess – if any.

Assuming you satisfy the various tests, you can deduct both direct and indirect expenses of running a home office. Direct expenses, which are fully deductible, benefit only the business part of your home – painting the room that you use as an office, for example. Indirect expenses affect both the business and principal parts of the house or apartment. They include: utilities; insurance; general repairs; burglar alarms; and rent (if you don’t own your own home).

With indirect expenses, you’ll need to determine how much of your home is used exclusively for business or to store inventory or product samples. The easiest way to do this is to measure the total floor space and figure out, as a percentage of that area, how much of it your office occupies.

If you are a sole proprietor and do your own taxes using the TurboTax Home & Business software, it will step you through this process, as well as the choice you have starting for the 2013 tax year: whether to deduct a percentage of your actual expenses (which requires you to have receipts), or take a simplified deduction based only on the square footage of your home.

Don’t have good records or receipts to back up your expenses? You might prefer the latter, but unless you have a very small home office it is likely to result in a lower deduction; The new optional deduction is capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet. Employees who opt for the simplified deduction must then apply the 2% rule (just as they would otherwise), which further whittles away (or completely eliminates) the deduction. (For more about unreimbursed employee expenses, see IRS Publication 529.)

Small business owners, who aren’t subject to the 2% rule, might like the idea that the simplified approach involves less tax-preparation paperwork. They can dispense with filing Form 8829, “Expenses for Business Use of Your Home,” and instead claim the home office deduction on Line 30 of Schedule C. But as a practical matter filing the extra form won’t make a difference if you use TurboTax, since based on the information you provide it will automatically generate Form 8829.

With either method, you cannot take a home office deduction if it would cause your business to operate at a loss. You can deduct home office expenses up to your net income (revenues minus other expenses) and carry over the rest to the following year.

Another thing you lose by taking the simplified deduction, whether you are an employee or self-employed, is the right to depreciate the portion of your home used in a trade or business. If you own your own home, this is another reason you might not want to take the simplified deduction.

Depreciation – a gradual reduction in the value of the house (but not the land) is also based on what portion of your home is used for business. Your total depreciation is that percentage times either the adjusted basis (the cost of the house plus capital improvements) when you install your home office or the fair market value at that time – whichever is less. Typically you would spread those deductions out over 39 years.

Whether you use the new option or the old method, you can still claim a deduction for mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casually losses on your home. The difference is that you would report the entire amount on Schedule A, instead of allocating it between personal and business use, as you would under the regular method of taking the home office deduction.

Click here to view the original article.

Honesty Is The Best Policy, But Not for the Reasons You Think

March 25, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on the importance of character in business leadership:

We all know the damage done when being less than honest with our clients, customers and partners. But the cost of lying in business can be much more than we think.

In a conversation with an investor she calls “Peter,” Tech Entrepreneur Rebekah Campbell says she learned the damage lying does to businesses in general.

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