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Shelfster – The Ultimate Data Collection and Document Creation Tool for Writers

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Shelfster for iPhone and iPad.

If you’re a blogger, journalist, student, teacher, or other kind of writer that does a lot of research on the Web, you’ll love Shelfster. In a nutshell, Shelfster is “the easiest way to gather information and write a paper, article or book, with the stuff you’ve collected at your fingertips”. Shelfster is free and extremely useful because it allows you to have all of your researched and clipped content in a single location.

Shelfster is easy to use and includes a project-based search so that you can search through your projects for specific items and data that you collect. New items need 15 minutes to be indexed before appearing in search results, so keep this in mind.

Getting Started

You can get started with Shelfster by trying out the demo or creating a free account. Sign up is quick and easy; you only need an email, username, and password to get started. There are some limitations to the demo, so you won’t be able to try out the tool in detail, but it is still a great way to see what Shelfster has to offer.

Create Projects to Organize Your Data

Once you create your account, the next step is to create projects so that you have folders to store your data in whenever you grab it from the Web, your computer, or mobile device. Since the left column of Shelfster will be empty when you first start, all you’ll see is the “+ New Project ” link below the search bar. Clicking on this is much like creating a collection in Google Docs: all that is needed is a name for your project/folder and you’re done.

Create Projects to Organize Your Data

After creating projects, the next step is to grab content to be used for your projects and with your online account.

Choose Your Preferred Capture Method

Shelfster has quite a few methods that you can use for capturing content to send to your online account. Let’s take a look at them.

Mobile Tools

Currently, Shelfster only has free mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad. With the apps you can gather and organize information that you capture on your device, such as images (capture new or use existing), voice notes (record within app), and articles (written within app). You can add a title, tags, and annotations to your items and then save them into projects to be synced to your Shelfster account. You can also choose to only uploaded images and audio on WiFi only.

Shelfster iPhone app.

The mobile app is great for because you can gather data while on-the-go. You can use your camera to capture a moment, record a voice note if you come up with an idea that you don’t want to forget, or write-up a quick article if you happen to get some inspiration while in a waiting room or long store line.

Desktop Tools

Whether you’re on Windows (direct download) or a Mac (direct download), there is a desktop tool available for capturing content. With both tools you can capture snippets from the Web (much like Evernote) or documents on your computer.

Shelfstert for Windows

Just like the mobile apps, you can add titles, tags, and annotations to your clips and save items to specific projects (created online).

Browser Tools

If you prefer to clip content from your browser, you can install the Chrome Extension (direct download), Firefox Add-on (direct download), or use the bookmarklet. The browser tools allow you to clip text, images, and Web pages as well as jot down text notes.

Shelfster bookmarklet.

If you don’t like having too many plugins installed on your browser, the bookmarklet works just as well and does the same exact thing as the plugins — it’s also my preferred method.

Putting It All Together

Data previews in Shelfster.

Now that you’ve got your projects set up and chosen your desired tool for capturing content, it’s time to get to work in the editor. The editor has 2 columns: all of your projects and content will appear on the left side. You can hide the left column using the small arrow if you’d like to focus more on the writing and less on the data you’ve collected.

Shelfster online is much like Google Docs; it’s your basic rich text editor with options to format and align your text, insert bulleted and number lists, indent text, etc.

You’ll need to create a new document before you can start doing anything. When you create a document, you’ll also have the option of selecting a specific project to add it to.

Once you have some data and notes added, you can click on the title of your items in the left hand column to open a full preview. From there you can drag-and-drop images into the editor and also select text to copy it to the editor. So it’s very easy to work with your collected data, plus it’s convenient to have everything in one place — no need for multiple tabs or windows.

Exporting and Downloading

Shelfster also lets you download and/or export your documents. You can download as HTML (in a zipped file) or as a PDF file. Alternately, you can also export to Google Docs. While this is a great feature to have, there are some drawbacks.

Export and Download Your Documents

The main issue is “formatting is partially lost when exporting a document into Google Docs”. However, this is easily remedied by going into the line spacing options in Google Docs and selecting ‘add space before paragraph’ or ‘ad space after paragraph’ option.

Shelfster is definitely a great companion or alternative to Google Docs. All it really needs is the ability to share documents and collaborate with others to be the total package. With all of the above-mentioned features and more coming soon, Shelfster is sure to become a popular tool every type of writer.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts on Shelfster?

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Charnita is a full-time freelance writer and blogger with 3+ years of experience, and also the owner of SocialWebTools.info. She's also an early adopter who loves trying out new social media tools along with Web and iOS (iPad) apps. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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3 Clever Tips for Finding the Best Internet Provider in Your Area

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More than 3 billion people use the Internet all around the world today. You’re definitely among that number (aren’t you reading this right now?), but how does that amount of volume affect your internet speed?

As a blogger or online business owner, it’s tough to find the best internet provider. Outside of the contract terms being too confusing, bandwidth speeds that have your head spinning, there are just too many providers and plans to make sense of.

At the end of the day, we all just want reliable internet, with fast delivery speeds. Good thing most of us aren’t hosting our sites and businesses from our home internet providers!

In any event, we’ve got you. Read on to learn more about your internet options and for three top tips on finding the best internet providers.

Do Your Research

There are four different types of internet services: satellite, DSL, cable, and fiber optic.

Satellite is often the only option in rural areas, so if you’re not near a city, it might be for you. The cons? It tends to be more expensive, and rather slow compared to cable and fiber optic.

DSL works over your phone line, like the old dial-up systems used to. It’s typically a lot less expensive than the others since its relatively outdated. If cost is a big factor for you, DSL might be your ticket.

Cable is a popular option in suburban areas since it’s a good medium between price and speed. The main downside is that everyone else in your neighborhood is on the same cable service, which can slow it down during peak times.

Fios is the newest, most cutting-edge option out there. It almost delivers your internet at the speed of light. The main drawback is that it’s not very widely available yet.

Now that you have a better idea of your broadband needs, you can refine your “internet service providers in my area” Google search to include your specific service type!

Figure Out Your Need for Speed

Bandwidth is measured in megabits per second, also referred to as Mbps.

Streaming HD video requires around 5 Mbps, streaming music only uses 2 Mbps, and downloading large files can use as much as 50 Mbps.

How much speed you need is entirely dependent upon what you use your internet for. If you mostly use it to browse the web and stream Netflix and Hulu, you won’t need as much speed as a professional gamer. If you’re a professional photographer who’s always sending large files to clients, for example, you’ll want more Mbps for your buck.

Most internet service providers have a wide variety of options for Mbps needs. The best ISPs, like Pac-Wave, for instance, won’t even offer speeds below 25 Mbps. In today’s digital world, you’ll find that’s pretty much the bare minimum you’ll need.

Check the Contract

Be sure to find out contract details during your search for the best internet service provider in your area. Some require you to pay monthly to use the modem or buy it outright.

Some will offer you a promotional rate and only write it in the fine print that it’ll go up in a year. Some have great add-on options for phone lines and cable that you might want to partake in.

Some won’t require you to sign a contract at all. The point is, read the fine print before you sign anything!

Entrepreneurs Need the Best Internet Provider

If you’re an entrepreneur, like 57 million others in the U.S. working the gig economy, there’s no doubt you need the best internet provider on the block. You also need a whole host of other resources to help you slay your business goals in 2019.

Check out our latest entrepreneurship article for all the best tips, tricks, and advice every entrepreneur needs to know!

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3 Reasons Why Bloggers Love Google Chromecast in their Home Office

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As bloggers and entrepreneurs, we are are usually working 80 to 100+ hours per week, so we don’t have to work 9-to-5 for someone else. While the concept of all of this is great and fine, we are living most of our lives in our own home offices. With so much time being spent in a specific location, it’s important to make sure our environment isn’t just a fun place to be, but also one that’s productive and efficient as well.

One of the best ways to accomplish this, is to maximize the amount of space we have, while also getting the most out of our favorite electronics, items, desk space and more. To help with this process, I recently got my hands on the latest Google Chromecast and started thinking about how great of a tool it is, not just for entertainment, but also for productivity and making my work space better in the process.

With all of this in mind, it also gave me the idea to write this list post on how every blogger can benefit from adding one to their home office or workspace. Here we go!

Stream from your Phone to TV

In addition to working from home, bloggers and entrepreneurs are usually working from their mobile devices when they are on the go. Not only will a Google Chromecast work with your TV through an HDMI port, it will also allow you to watch shows, listen to playlists and more right through your mobile device. This is perfect for when you are working in one room, then have to leave for another, but don’t want to miss what’s playing on TV or any audio or music you might have streaming.

Works with the Streaming Apps you Know and Love

Remember when there were only a couple hundreds apps to choose from? Those days are long gone, and now it seems like there are apps for everything — whether it be for business, productivity, gaming, or even personal use.

Again, Google Chromecast makes it easy for anyone to enjoy TV shows, movies, videos, songs, games, sports and more from over 2000 apps like Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV, and HBO NOW.

When it comes to working out of the home or planning to build out a new home office, this also eliminates the need to worry about cable cords and wiring!

Start Streaming with Just Your Voice

Eliminating cords and additional wiring in the home or office is always great, but there are still times when you need to look around for the controller or have to plug something in. This can waste a lot of time if you are trying to get work done throughout the day.

Another benefit to adding Google Chromecast into your home office, is that you can control all settings and commands right through your voice. For anyone that might already haver Google Home in place, the two work seamlessly together and make the experience even better!

Not sure what channel your favorite show is on? No worries… just say “Google, play Game of Thrones” and you are ready to go!

Improve Productivity and Technology with Google Chromecast

No matter what type of business or brand you might be running, it’s always great to stay at the forefront when it comes to technology. Not only will this make your workspace more exciting, it will also make you more tech-savvy in the process.

As fun as this post was, and it might make you want to start watching TV, just think about the many different ways you can use Google Chromecast to start improving your productivity and getting more done throughout the day.

#ad  @BestBuy @madebygoogle *IMAGE

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Finding the Right Project Management Software for Your Content Marketing Team

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A project management software is a must-have resource for business. There are hundreds of options for your project management software — all promising to do what the others can do, but better. While this may be true, the fact is that some features may not be necessary for your content marketing team. What works for some may not work for others. So, how do you choose the right project management software to suit the specific needs of your content management team, while not paying extra for features your team is never going to use?

The key to a good project management software is in the essentials. You’ll want to make sure that your software has the foundational capabilities to navigate every stage of your content marketing project from beginning to end successfully. Read below for features to look for, as well as some tips for finding the right project management software for your content marketing team.

Features of A Good Project Management Software

Communication

Without a proper way of communication, your team won’t work as a cohesive unit. Especially for groups working remotely, constant communication with coworkers is among the most vital of components when working as a team. It is critical that your software has a way for effective communication and maintaining adaptability when problems arise.

Trying to run a content marketing campaign without talking about the crafting, writing, and publishing of your content will be virtually impossible. Furthermore, how are you supposed to know who is handling what project and how far along they are? In any aspect of business, communication is vital, and emails will only get you so far. In many cases, a second form of communication is necessary for instant messaging for the clarification of instructions and problems in real-time.

Another useful tool is Zoho, which can help with many different levels of communication and management in your business. To learn more about this tool, we recommending taking a look at this Zoho projects review from Time Doctor.

Collaboration

The foundation of a functional content marketing team is the ability to collaborate. Creating and publishing content involves the hands and eyes of everyone on your team. So, it is imperative that your project management software has collaborative functions.

Content creation and marketing relies on the sharing of ideas, and this includes file sharing. Email cannot provide the pace in which a content marketing team needs to work on files and pass them back and forth between members. Additionally, email can come with some drawbacks — some people don’t check their email often, files can get lost in inboxes, and other email disasters can happen. In recognition of these drawbacks, your project management software must have the file-sharing capabilities at speeds that can keep up with your team members’ ideas and processes.

No matter what advertising or marketing methods you are exploring, the important thing is that you have a PR and marketing platform that can measure your results. A good example of this would be GoodNoon, which is a PR agency that provides placements into world’s largest publications. This is something that can be approached manually, but without the right connections and moving parts in place, it can end up taking a lot more time than expected.

It is also recommended that you supplement your project management software with a collaborative tool such as Google Docs. Google Docs is an extremely cost-effective app that allows team members to work on the same document, in real-time. With these two tools combined, you can work on a document with a coworker on Google Docs, and send it to another employee through your project management software for them to work on or edit.

Project Management Duties

Other than the functions above, you’ll want to make sure that your project management software performs all of the duties that will keep your content marketing campaign running smoothly. Since there are different project management software, each one puts their flare on the user experience of the functions they provide. However, you’ll want to make sure that your software provides some crucial elements.

First and foremost, your project management software or tool needs to have a working calendar. In the process of content creation and marketing, there are deadlines to meet, and you don’t want projects to be constantly up in the air. The firm tracking of dates to remember is vital in any business operation, and your content marketing campaign is no different.

Marking the priority, and the ability to assign tasks to others is another part of a content marketing team’s processes. Facilitating effective time management, understanding the priority of upcoming tasks can keep your team members in the loop. During the creative process of content creation, it is good to know how much time you have to work on a project while acknowledging projects that you have to get started on shortly.

QuickBooks illustrates the importance and convenience of a project management software, saying that “with a project management tool, you won’t need to ask your employees for that one email or the status of that one project. All ongoing and completed work—along with all relevant information—will be instantly accessible.” So, make sure your software can let a team member work on a task, mark it as urgent, and notify the next team member that the project needs to be at the top of their list. This function will elevate time management and productivity levels while avoiding confusion.

Tips For Finding The Right Project Management Software

Calculating Cost

Deciding how much you want to spend on your project management software is tricky. Of course, you want to provide the best tools for your content management team, but you’d also like to be cost-efficient. Things to consider when calculating the cost of your software are how well it performs necessary duties, alternative software, and your team’s feedback on the software you’re considering to go with.

You don’t want to be paying for extra features that are going to be seldom used or little understood by your teammates. So, make sure you try out and  do your research on other project management software and listen to your team’s feedback.

Trying Alternatives

How else are you going to find out exactly what you need in a project management software than to try out all of your options? You wouldn’t blindly buy a car without doing your research first, would you? While a project management software is not as expensive as a car, it will save you time, money, and frustration to take the time to make sure you are going with the right one.

There are many options for a project management software, and all come with different ways to perform the same tasks or offer different functions entirely. Your object here is to see how well the user experience and services offered corresponds with your content marketing objectives and team member preferences.

Get Feedback From Your Team

Your team’s input on the project management software you are considering could ultimately make your decision for you. If your team doesn’t like or understand the software you are thinking of choosing, it is in everyone’s best interest to go with another software — rather than spending the time and money trying to learn and deal with software that no one likes or understands. User experience is subjective to the people using the software, as well as the tasks you will be performing. If the software you are considering doesn’t fit your content marketing team’s goals or preferences, don’t waste the money on buying it.

Additionally, listening to your team’s opinion will illuminate some function of a project management software that you will lean on heavily and some that you may not use at all. Why pay the extra money for things you won’t use, or waste the money on software that doesn’t carry out the functions you need it to? Your team’s feedback will be valuable during your decision to choose a project management software.  

Finding the right project management software is a decision that can make or break your content marketing campaign. Instead of wasting time and money, your team could be on its way to creating some very compelling content and marketing strategies. The information above will help you get started on your way to finding the perfect project management software for you and your team.

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