The 50 Best Tips for Small Businesses on Facebook

Posted on May 3rd, 2011

As a small business, you may have heard what a great tool social media, and Facebook in particular, is for a business like yours. Of course, you can't just plunge headfirst and expect incredible outcomes. Learn from these seasoned pros to find out how you can master your small business presence on Facebook.

General

Here you'll find great tips for all areas of Facebook.

  1. Show personality: People want to interact with a real person, not a robot.
  2. Commit to the idea: Know that connecting with customers can sometimes be hard work and take time, but it will pay off.
  3. Manage your expectations: Set realistic goals for your social media work.
  4. Be persistent: You won't see a great reward from Facebook right away, but by sticking with it, you'll be able to build an active customer base.
  5. Import contacts: Import contacts from your email accounts to collect friends and fans.
  6. Choose your target: Plan who you want to reach with your Facebook presence.
  7. Create a vanity URL: Make your Facebook Page easy to find with a vanity URL.
  8. Promote your Facebook identity off of Facebook: Put a "Like" button on Facebook, share it on your website, blog, and Twitter.
  9. Get feedback: Ask fans for feedback on Facebook.
  10. Give people a reason to engage with you: Post information that calls for interaction.
  11. Make time: Set aside 30 minutes to an hour a day that you'll use to work on your business page.
  12. Be careful not to violate Facebook terms: Learn about the Facebook platform and avoid violating terms by not running contests or tagging people without permission.
  13. Don't get moody: Keep a cool head when posting and responding on Facebook.
  14. Designate a social media updater: Find a specific person in your organization that will be responsible for updating Facebook.
  15. Connect with existing customers: Instead of trying to use Facebook to find leads, build better relationships with your existing customers.
  16. Don't just broadcast: Remember that you need to interact and follow up with fans who comment on your posts.
  17. Don't sell: Be careful not to push sales on Facebook-use it as more of an interactive tool.
  18. Don't overdo it: Don't spend hours upon hours a day maintaining and interacting on Facebook, just stop in once a day at most.

Pages

Use these tips to better develop your Page on Facebook.

  1. Create a Page, not a profile: Separate your business page from your personal page and make a more interactive storefront with Pages.
  2. Fully develop your page: Add images, your website, company info, and other items to make sure you've filled in all the blanks.
  3. Post photos of customers and tag them: Make sure your business shows up on the pages of the best customers by sharing photos of them with personal tags.
  4. Don't just post during business hours: Post to Facebook outside of business hours to get more feedback and impressions.
  5. Do cross promotions: Ask clients to post tagged photos of themselves with your product and share them on your page.
  6. Subscribe to other Pages first: Check out other pages to see how businesses add content and interact with fans.
  7. Appeal to core clients: Identify the people that interact on your page the most, and work to share information and content with them directly.
  8. Use participatory promotions: Target Facebook fans with participatory promotions.
  9. Offer a forum: Turn your fan page into a place where customers can express themselves.
  10. Share success stories: Ask your customers to discuss how you've helped them on your page.
  11. Share exclusive content on Facebook: Give Facebook fans something they might not find on your blog or website.
  12. End with questions: Generate engagement by ending your posts with questions.
  13. Don't be boring: Mix up what you're sharing so it's not all status updates, or all photos, or all videos.
  14. Build a Facebook landing page: Create your own mini website within Facebook by using FBML.
  15. Send suggestions to friends: Facebook pages allow you to send suggestions to friends, so remind them periodically and when you connect with new friends.
  16. Offer loyalty rewards: Reward customers for checking in, adding a "Like" to your page, or mentioning Facebook.
  17. Add content before you broadcast: Before you add friends or advertise your page, be sure to add photos, videos, events, and other content to get new fans interested.

Apps

These apps and app ideas will help you make better use of Facebook's capabilities.

  1. List events: With the Events app, you can invite clients and gather awareness for your event.
  2. Integrate your Twitter feed: Install applications that will let you push your Twitter feed onto your Facebook Page.
  3. Use Facebook Connect: Add social networking features to your website using Facebook Connect.
  4. Add a store: Use Facebook's Marketplace capability to sell your product on Facebook.
  5. Claim your business on Facebook: Make sure to claim (or create) a Place check in for your business.
  6. Use the Questions feature: With Questions, you can engage your fans and get answers on your page.
  7. Join Groups: Join network, industry, and alumni groups related to your business.
  8. Encourage check-ins: Offer a special to customers who check in to your Place on Facebook, and you'll be in your fans' news feeds.
  9. Syndicate your blog: Use apps that will allow you to auto-post to your Page any time you write on your blog.

Ads

With these tips, you can get the most out of Facebook's ad platform.

  1. Tell people what's in it for them: Explain what you have to offer when people click your links.
  2. Pay attention to targeting: Run campaigns with a very specific audience for a better price and relevance.
  3. Check out the graphs: Facebook does a pretty good job of reporting impressions, so pay attention to how well your campaigns are doing.
  4. Do lots of testing: Run tests and find out what really works for you with Facebook ads.
  5. Time it carefully: Plan your campaign for a specific period of time, and one that you know will be well targeted.
  6. Make your ads pop: Be irreverent and avoid traditional copy-speak to connect better.

50 Best Blogs for Following Asian Business

Posted on April 25th, 2011

It's impossible to be involved in international business today without paying attention to the economies of Asian nations like China, India and Japan. These countries are major players in technology, manufacturing, research and development and many other facets of business. Whether you're a business student or already working in the field, it never hurts to know a little more about these booming markets. Take a look at these blogs to follow the latest business and economic news that include everything from breaking stories to tips on managing overseas.

Asian Business

These blogs cover a wide range of countries and topics when it comes to business.

  1. AsiaBizBlog: Follow along with the latest news related to business in China and other Asian nations on this blog.
  2. Eye on Asia: This Bloomberg Businessweek blog is a great, authoritative source for commentary on everything Asian business.
  3. Asia Business Media: Mark Cochrane of Business Strategies Group in Hong Kong reports on Asian business to business news here.
  4. Asianbiz: Keep up with sports, technology, business and culture news out of Asia with this blog.
  5. Asia Unbound: The Council on Foreign Relations maintains this great blog, full of the economic and political news you need to know about Asia.
  6. CNN Asia News Stream: CNN correspondent Kristie Lu Stout provides a steady stream of Asian business news on this blog.
  7. Blog of Asia: From business news to how to get around as a visitor in Thailand, you'll find a bevy of great articles here.
  8. BBC Asia Business: Get your Asian business news from an authoritative source, the BBC, through this blog.

China

Learn more about the business and economic spheres in China through these blogs.

  1. China Business Blog and Podcast: Whether you like to read your news or listen to it, you'll find some great information on doing business in China here.
  2. Asia Business Intelligence: This Chinese business blog focuses on the technology markets, from green energy to mobile phone developers.
  3. China Business Services: Through this consulting firm's blog, you can read some interesting posts about what it's really like doing business in China.
  4. China Law Blog: Curious about Chinese law that might affect your business? This blog is the place to find answers.
  5. China Business Blog: Visit this blog to find news and information about Chinese business.
  6. Larry Salibra: Learning another language can invaluable to a businessperson, something this entrepreneur in the language learning and tech industries knows very well. On his blog, you'll find updates about Chinese language, entrepreneurship and much more.
  7. China Hearsay: You'll find great commentary on Chinese law, business and economics from lawyer Stan Abrams here.
  8. ChinaSolved: Learn more about effective management strategies for working overseas in China through this blog.
  9. China Dialogue: With articles in both Chinese and English, this blog can be a great resource for learning about not only the business world of China but its culture and politics as well.
  10. Managing the Dragon: Check out this blog to read some great articles about being a manager in China as well as commentary on the business world in general.
  11. The China Observer: If it's related to Chinese business, economy and consumerism, you'll find it on this blog, a great resource to anyone working or planning to work in or with the country.
  12. China Economics Blog: Written by an academic economist, this blog is a trusted place to get insights into the Chinese economy and its impact on the world.

India

These blogs are a great place to learn about Indian economics, technology and business.

  1. India Business Blog: Stay in the loop when it comes to all the latest news in Indian business with a little help from this blog.
  2. MoneyMint.in: You'll get some great access to articles about the Indian economy here.
  3. Squamble: From management strategies to investing in India, you'll get a wide range of business blogs posts here that can help you become more knowledgeable.
  4. Indianomics: Sriram Vadlamani, an IT professional working in India, shares his insights into the tech market in India.
  5. The Big Picture: Professor of Finance and Accounting, TT Ram Mohan, shares his thoughts on everything India here.
  6. Ajay Shah's Blog: Find updates about a wide range of Indian economic and finance issues here.
  7. Capital Mind: Follow the markets, trading and finance world in India through this blog.
  8. One Million by One Million: Follow Sramana Mitra, a leading Indian entrepreneur, through this blog.
  9. The Startup Guy: Find out more about startups in India with a little help from Vijay Anand.
  10. Atanu Dey on India's Development: From politics to business investments, you can learn more about the growing and changing face of India's economy here.
  11. Blogworks: If you're more interested in the role Indian businesspeople are playing on the web, check out this blog to learn more about social media, marketing and public relations.

Japan

Japan's economy is one of the biggest in the world. Check out these blogs to learn more about Japanese business and more.

  1. Japan Economy News & Blog: Make sure you always know what's going on in Japanese business by following this great blog.
  2. Japan Inc: From diversity in the workplace to investing in Japanese real estate, this blog covers all the basics of Japanese business.
  3. Japan Trends: Planning on marketing and selling a product in Japan? Keep up with the latest trends here.
  4. Japan Intercultural Consulting: If you're an American businessperson working in Japan, this blog is a must-read to better understand how business works there and examine cultural faux pas you don't want to make.
  5. Japan Economy Blog: Follow the ups and downs of the Japanese economy with commentary from Edward Hugh on this blog.

Other Countries

If you're interested in exploring some other Asian countries' business, these blogs can help, with posts about everywhere from South Korea to Malaysia.

  1. The Korean Law Blog: This blog will help you learn about the legal issues that may affect doing business in South Korea.
  2. Bridging Culture Worldwide Blog: You'll find some great posts on Korean global business through this blog.
  3. Malaysia Finance Blogspot: If you're planning to do some business with Malaysia, learn more about the finance and economics of the country through this blog.
  4. Guide Me Singapore: Here you'll find a wide variety of posts on business in Singapore, including articles on everything from branding to entrepreneurship.
  5. Picture Thailand: Find business, cultural economic and travel news related to Thailand here.
  6. Thai Business: The Business Exchange has a great archive of articles all about Thai business on this site.
  7. PinoyDeal Business: From e-business to regulations to tech news, you'll find some good information on this blog about Philippine business.

International Business

These blogs aren't focused exclusively on Asia, but you're bound to get some coverage in through their posts on international business.

  1. Global Edge: Find all the international business news you need through this blog.
  2. The Global Small Business Blog: Just because you're a small business doesn't mean you can't go global. Read this blog for inspiration, news and advice.
  3. ibt Blogs: This site is home to a great number of international business blogs, perfect for finding news on topics like energy, finance and technology.
  4. International BS Blog: Help build a better business strategy in Asia and beyond with advice found on this blog.
  5. Business 360: CNN's Business 360 is a great source of information for those working in international business.
  6. HBR Blog Network: The Harvard Business Review posts some interesting articles that can help you expand, manage and build your business at home and abroad.
  7. Customs and International Trade Law Blog: Through this blog, you'll learn more about the laws and regulations that will dictate your business overseas.

10 Best Study Abroad Destinations for Business Majors

Posted on April 18th, 2011

Any student, no matter her or his major, should snap up any affordable opportunities to study abroad that present themselves. Such experiences infuse lessons with far more diverse perspectives than the ones touched upon in the classroom. Business classes especially benefit from a generous shot of multiculturalism — and one need not focus on international trade to get something out of it! When the urge to hop a plane and head overseas for some valuable lessons hits, look into programs at some of the following locations first.

  1. Hong Kong, China: This Special Administrative Region is touted as one of the top financial centers in the world, and business students harboring a love of economics come here to see laissez-faire capitalism in action. It's ranked 2nd on the Ease of Doing Business Index as well. Combined with its status as one of the world's foremost centers for banking, finance and international commerce and trade, Hong Kong should be one of the top destinations for business students hoping to study abroad.

  2. Singapore: Considered one of the four economic juggernauts of Asia, Singapore ranks first on the Ease of Doing Business Index. A largely trade-based economy, the city-state thrives mainly on exporting goods and retooling imports. Suffice to say, it boasts one of the world's most active ports on top of being considered the fourth most prosperous financial centers anywhere. Business students hoping to enter into the chemical, petroleum, electronics, biomedical or mechanical engineering industries have plenty to explore here as well.

  3. Taipei, Taiwan: Taiwan is considered another one of the "Asian Tigers" of business and commerce, with capital Taipei as its flourishing center. Even though the global economy is experiencing a downturn, the city boasts the 2nd -highest per-capita GDP in all of Asia and still expands at a rate of roughly 5% per year. Inflation and unemployment are both kept to a staggering minimum, too. Despite the popularity of textiles and electronics, business students with different goals can still easily walk away from a stint in Taipei with some great experiences and lessons under their belts.

  4. Seoul, South Korea: LG, Hyundai, Samsung and Kia (among others) make their headquarters in South Korea's capital, one of the most economically prosperous cities in all of Asia. International banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and others park international headquarters here as well. In fact, a staggering 21% of the nation's overall GDP hails from here. On a global scale, South Korea enjoys the 15th highest market economy and is the 6th biggest exporter and 10th biggest importer. However, recent political tensions with North Korea should be factored in when considering Seoul as a possible study abroad destination.

  5. London, England, Great Britain: Londoners enjoy the world's 5th largest economy and the ability to brag about their home as one of the planet's three most influential cities for business (along with New York and Tokyo). Its volatile, ancient, multicultural history and strategic location make it an ideal hub for international and domestic transactions. Various industries spread themselves across five distinct business districts, with similar ones bunching together for maximum efficiency. No matter their area of interest, business students wanting to study abroad will inevitably find something relevant to their studies in London. Those particularly interested in finance or marketing creative pursuits like publishing and fashion should especially consider this kinetic, frenetic city.

  6. Milan, Italy: While not the capital city of Italy, Milan serves as its central financial and business hub, sitting as the 4th biggest economy in the European Union. Students and professionals alike flock here to bask in (and hopefully learn from) its myriad successes in the design, fashion, banking, commerce and trade industries. Fashion in particular thrives here, and such illustrious names as Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Versace, Armani, Gucci and more make Milan their headquarters along. Publishing enjoys far more prominence here than anywhere else in Italy as well, in keeping with the city's international creative and cultural influence.

  7. Tokyo, Japan: Along with London and New York, this massive metropolis sports the world's largest urban economy and the 2nd largest stock exchange by market capitalization. It serves as Japan's central business, economic, political and cultural hub, with every industry imaginable represented in its 23 "special wards. Fishing and hatcheries, electronics and robotics, banking, finance, insurance, manufacturing, transportation, media, publishing and fashion businesses with international scopes either headquarter themselves or set up major centers right here. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not essential to academic or financial success, as the city is set up to accommodate English-speaking visitors.

  8. Mexico City, Mexico: Given the current sociopolitical climate in Mexico as a result of the drug wars, any visitors are encouraged to thoroughly research and weigh the risks before making any commitments to study in its capital. As the 8th richest city in the world, it leads Latin America in finance and industry and serves as an ideal place for Canadian and American students hoping to attend classes comparatively closer to home. Considering Mexico's involvement with NAFTA, international business majors wanting to learn more about trade and economics should definitely think about snatching up any study abroad opportunities here. Many go because of the excellent Spanish lessons as well.

  9. Dublin, Ireland: Ireland's capital and economic hub may be declining since its Celtic Tiger days, dropping from the 2nd highest wages in the EU to the 10th. But that doesn't mean this cosmopolitan city has little to offer the globetrotting business student. Like all other central business districts the world over, cultural, political and economic factors converge for a well-rounded, satisfying experience. This is an especially popular study abroad destination for those interested in the IT sector. Amazon, Yahoo!, Microsoft, PayPal, eBay, Facebook, Google and Symantec all set up major offices in Dublin. Hewlett-Packard and Intel both own major plants in and near the city as well.

  10. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Though more internationally renowned for its ambitious architecture experiments, business students know Dubai as a valuable education destination. Oil and natural gas were both responsible for launching it to economic prosperity, though lately the industries have stepped aside to make room for more tourist revenue. It also plays host to a very active port, perfect for anyone hoping to study international trade and commerce. One of Dubai's most interesting features, however, is its established, industry-specific economic free zones. These areas encourage businesses to congregate in certain areas in exchange for financial incentives, such as tax breaks and minimal regulation. TECOM, for example, sees IT staples such as Microsoft and IBM innovating side-by-side.

20 Essential Six Sigma Blogs

Posted on March 10th, 2011

Developed in the mid-80s by Motorola, the Six Sigma management strategy is still popular among business professionals today, perhaps because it is so effective at streamlining and eliminating defects in a manufacturing or business process. Whether you're in business school now or hoping to just hone your management skills, there's no better way to learn about just what Six Sigma means and how you can apply it in the workplace than from bloggers who know and practice the strategy. Here you'll find some of the biggest and best Six Sigma blogs that should help answer many of your questions and inspire you to be the best leader, manager and employee you can be.

  1. Six Sigma: This blog declares itself to be the best resource about everything Six Sigma. While you'll have to decide whether or not that's really the case, there certainly is no shortage of information on it here, with just about everything you need to get started on hand.
  2. Six Sigma Blogs: Visit this blog to read the latest news stories related to Six Sigma and other great management strategies.
  3. iSix Sigma: Here you'll find a variety of bloggers who can provide humor, insights, information and guidance on all aspects of the Six Sigma philosophy.
  4. PEX Blogs: The Process Excellence Network's blogs can help you learn not only about Six Sigma, but also how it's been combined with Lean management strategies to make it more effective than ever.
  5. Six Sigma Basic: Those who'd like to learn some of the basics of Six Sigma will be well-served by making this blog a regular read.
  6. Discover 6 Sigma: From the basic tools required to use Six Sigma to the science behind the latest advancements in manufacturing improvements, this blog covers a wide range of helpful issues.
  7. Lean Six Sigma Blog: Combining aspects of Six Sigma and Lean, this blog offers up a host of amazing resources and inspiring articles to help you in your management journey.
  8. LSS Academy: Another Lean Six Sigma blog, this blog may be just what you need to get motivated to become a better leader and manager.
  9. Improvement and Innovation: Learn new ways that you can change how your company does business that can improve outputs and lower costs with the amazing stories featured here.
  10. Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog: If becoming a better manager is one of your goals, give this blog a read. You'll learn about a variety of strategies, including Six Sigma, that can help you be better at what you do.
  11. LearnSigma: Focusing on the key aspects of Six Sigma, like minimizing waste and creating value, this blog will show you what to read, do and work on to be a better Six Sigma manager.
  12. Got Boondoggle?: While this blog covers a range of management and manufacturing strategies, from Lean to Six Sigma, it's still an indispensable resource for anyone who wants to simply improve their work and business operations.
  13. Welcome To My Lean Six Sigma Forum: If you've got a question about Lean or Six Sigma, head to this blog where you can ask questions and learn from others.
  14. 3Point4: This blog is a great place to learn about several different management strategies, or how to combine them all to become a super productive manager.
  15. shmula: Visit this blog to get some help and to read business news, perfect for any manager looking to improve.
  16. Evolving Excellence: Here, Kevin Meyer and Bill Waddell share their expertise on all things management, Lean and leadership.
  17. 6SixSigma: Meet others who are interested in Six Sigma and even start your own blog on this site.
  18. The Sixth Sigma: Make sure you stay on the cutting edge of what others are doing with Six Sigma and Lean by reading the news posted to this blog.
  19. Learn Lean Manufacturing: This blog will give you a chance to learn more about what Lean manufacturing and management is, and how you can best combine it with some of the ideas from Six Sigma.
  20. Lean Blog: These days, it's common to see Lean manufacturing combined with Six Sigma. This blog will give you a chance to see what Lean is really all about.

Effective Study Habits for an Online Learner

Posted on February 13th, 2011

When you have a full-time job, a family and all the other responsibilities of life outside of school, using time wisely is crucial. As an online student, time management is one of your foremost concerns. Online education allows you to save countless hours in commuting and provides you the flexibility to set your own schedule. This is a wonderful aspect of attaining your degree online, but can also pose some difficulties with managing time effectively.

The secret to success for an online student is learning how to balance a busy life style. Setting apart the appropriate amounts of time for work, school, family, leisure, etc., can be difficult. The key to doing this effectively is doing it early. Before your online classes begin think about your daily schedule. Find a time that you will set aside each day for your online classes. All too often, people with busy lives who decide to become students online forget to plan ahead. Leaning to balance time between all of the responsibilities you have in your life, will allow you to utilize your time more effectively.

An online student must master the art of focus in order to be completely successful. The truth is that online students have a lot more distractions pushing at them during their class and study time. With the world of the internet merely a click away, it can be difficult to stay on task and complete an assignment in a truly efficient way.

Once you have established a daily routine that works, be sure to avoid the distractions of the internet during your online school time. Keep only the necessary programs open to avoid getting lost in the web. Try to make it a rule that during the time you have designated for school there is no use of Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube. These sites (as I’m sure you know) have the ability to suck up your time and kill your productivity.

Although being an online student is all about focus and concentration, it is also important to take regular study breaks. When working for extended periods of time, it can be easy to slow your pace without really noticing. Regular breaks allow your mind to relax some and encourage better concentration. Short study breaks should only be ten or fifteen minutes. Just be sure to actually get up and do something completely different during this time, so your body and mind can separate work time from leisure time.

Exercise for Online Students

Posted on February 13th, 2011

College students spend immense amounts of effort and time on stationary pursuits of the mind. Research shows, however, that these students may not be using their brains at their fullest potential if they are not getting regular physical exercise. As the saying goes, a healthy body is a healthy mind and college students are no exception.

Exercise has countless benefits for an individual of any age. Performing some form of physical activity daily can significantly boost your metabolism. With a higher metabolism comes a stronger immune system, leading to a healthier you. Furthermore, exercise is known to improve attention span, enhance memory, and aid in learning. Of particular importance for college students, exercise helps relieve stress and maintain mental stability.

We all know that spending hours sitting in front of the television or playing the latest video game is not exactly the healthiest option for our body. But all too often, college students forget that studying for long hours at a desk exercising the brain is not the healthiest option for the body either. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. However, finding the time to work out an hour everyday can be difficult for a student.

Devising a regular exercise routine may be one answer to establishing successful study habits and time management skills. Remaining focused and attentive to the material at hand is one of the most difficult aspects of being an online student. A student who goes to school from home has an unlimited amount of distractions available to them. While studies show that consistent daily exercise promotes alertness and attentiveness, forcing oneself to maintain a daily schedule may also help with time management.

College students face huge amounts of stress and anxiety, be it an upcoming exam or a difficult term paper. Exercise may be the answer to overcoming that stress. Regular exercise releases endorphins into the brain which can lift ones mood and fight depression. A subtler benefit exercise can have is greater self-confidence. This may make you feel more comfortable with your schoolwork and make it easier for you to perform well in the academic world.

Although hours of studying burns mental energy, both your body and mind need physical exercise to function at their fullest potential. So, get out and walk, jog, or swim. You wouldn’t want to waste your brains’ potential just because you stared at a book for too long.

Handling Your Curved Courses

Posted on February 11th, 2011

Most students coming to college out of high school may have never taken a course that was graded on a curve before, so it can be hard to figure out just what is necessary to excel and learn from these sorts of courses. Curved grading attempts to normalize the grades of a course so that the average grade in a course is a C, right where it should be according to the standard Bell Curve. This is often necessary in courses with extremely hard exams where few students get passing grades, and rarely if ever in easier courses where it might result in higher grades being curved down. If you've never been in a course with curved grades before, here are some things you'll need to know to help you navigate these kinds of courses.

Sometimes your bad grade isn't as bad as you think. If your pre-curve grade was a 70% you might be a bit bummed but if the class average is only a 50% then you're doing a great job with your studies, much better than that 70% might let on. When the grades are curved, your grade will be near the top in the class, so don't freak out if you get a low pre-curved grade.

You still need to study hard. Curved grades aren't an excuse to put in less time studying or try any less hard in your courses. It shouldn't matter at all, actually. You should still work to get the best grade possible and the curve will just be the icing on the cake of whatever grade you earn through hard work.

Curving may not always be to your benefit. If your class scored abnormally high on an exam that was planned to be curved, then a curve will lower your grade, not help it. Don't make the mistake of thinking curved grades are always good. Most professors will opt not to curve a grade if most students perform well, but always keep in mind that curves aren't always the ticket to a better grade.

Not all professors are willing or feel its necessary to curve grades for a class, but over the course of your studies you're bound to encounter one or two classes where you will have a a curved grade, however slight. Be prepared for what this will mean for your grades and to keep you from freaking out if you see a test covered in red ink.

The Importance of Professional Emailing as an Online Student

Posted on February 11th, 2011

Online learning consists solely of electronic communication. Because of this, professional email etiquette is a must. Your online professor gains an understanding of who you are partially through the way in which you speak in your emails to them. Learning to write clear, concise, and professional emails will help you become a more successful online learner and prepare you for electronic communication in your future career.

The first step to an effective and professional email is writing an appropriate subject line. The subject line of an email is, next to your name, the first thing the recipient sees. It is important to convey a message in this line that is clear and concise. Give the recipient the bottom line of the message they are about to read without summarizing the entire thing. Be precise and include details that allow the recipient to identify what you are talking about quickly and unambiguously. As a student emailing an online professor, be sure not to leave the subject line blank. Professors (particularly online ones) receive dozens of emails a day. Some may not even open emails without subject lines.

Another essential aspect of professional emailing etiquette is a writing a proper greeting. Be sure to include a greeting that is both courteous and official when conversing with a professor. Always address them with the appropriate level of formality and, although it sounds silly, be sure you have spelled their name correctly. Do not address them as you would a friend (i. e. do not simply right “hi” or “hey”). Always address your professor as Dr. (if appropriate), Mr., or Mrs. if you are unsure of what to call them. If your professor replies and has used his or her first name only, then it is safe to assume you can call them by their first name.

It is important to remember to use good grammar and spelling in emails, especially to professors. Slipping into an overly conversational tone can be easy with email. While informal emails are fine when conversing with friends and family, you should always talk with your instructors in a professional manner. Use the spell checker and re-read your emails before pressing send. An email with poor grammar and bad spelling will simply not be taken seriously.

Writing a professional email in the world of online education is equivalent to speaking politely and professionally during a professor’s office hours. Do not distract your instructor from you legitimate questions and insightful thoughts with careless spelling and inappropriate greetings or subject lines.

The Importance of Sleep for the Online Student

Posted on February 11th, 2011

We all know that sleep is one of the most important elements in a successful academic life. But as students, sleep is often the first thing to fall into the background. Online students have the opportunity to make a living or raise a family while also attending classes and earning a degree. However, this advantage can sometimes come with a cost. As an online student, balancing school, work, family, and other responsibilities can weigh heavily on your ability to get the appropriate amount of sleep.

Sleep deprivation results in decreased immune system function, problems with concentration, problems with memory, irritability, and depression. All of these things deter you from performing your best in the academic world. In order to have a productive day you must have a restful night.

Many online students do not realize the specific difficulties online learning can pose for their sleeping habits. Online learning allows for a greater amount of freedom in the learner’s schedule. This means that a student can attend class online at any time of day or night. Because of this, many students may be inclined to push their school time off so far into the night that it has negative effects on their sleep schedule. An online student must set aside the appropriate amount of time to do schoolwork during the day and then train themselves to stick to this routine. Extra flexibility makes it easy for procrastination and loss of precious nighttime hours.

Many students also overlook the effects the computer screen has on their ability to sleep. The light emitted from a computer screen sends signals to your brain, telling it to stay awake and alert. Moreover, because people sit so close to and stare directly at this source of light for extended periods of time, the awakening effects are amplified. Online learners should be sure to turn off their computers at least a half an hour before they plan to go to sleep.

Your bedroom should be your haven. Online learners have the freedom to choose where they do their learning. As an online student, you should never attend your classes from your bed. Your bed is a place for sleep and you should train your brain to see it that way.

We can all feel it when we don’t get enough sleep at night. You drag throughout the day. It’s harder to concentrate and harder to learn. To be a successful online student put away your computer and develop a sleep pattern that allows you to perform at your best.

Triple Majoring: Is It Possible?

Posted on February 9th, 2011

For some students, the prospect of completing one major is daunting enough without any additional majors being thrown in there, but for other students, one major just isn't enough for them, due to career goals, diverse interests or just plain crazy ambition. Double majors have been a fairly normal part of college life for some time, but these days, some students are taking it to the max by triple majoring. For some career paths, this kind of study just makes sense, and in a highly competitive job market it never hurts to have one more ace up your sleeve, but that doesn't make completing the requirements for not one, not two but three majors at once any less insane. If you've ever considered triple majoring, or didn't even know it was a possibility here are some tips that can turn it from a pipe dream into a reality. Choose related majors. Trying to triple major in fields that are very different probably isn't going to work very well for you unless you want to spend a couple extra years at school. The best triple majors are ones that bring together several related subjects that will make sense when applied in the real world. So choose your majors carefully!

Accept that it might take more than 4 years. Is is possible to finish three majors in only four years? Sure. It is going to work out that way for every student and every major? Not likely. Adding another major means adding another whole set of required coursework which can add another semester or two onto your degree program. For some students, it may be worth it.

Know your limits. If you've got a million things on your plate already, adding another major probably isn't the best thing for you. After all, you have to sleep sometime. Know your limits and how much time you really have to commit to another major before tacking one on.

Always talk to your academic advisor. This is the best way to figure out how to tackle your triple majoring. He or she will know what each major requires and will help you to draw up a plan that will span your time at college.

Choose your courses carefully. Some courses only count for one major while others may count towards the requirements of two or maybe even all three majors. Always do your research before signing up for classes to make sure you're making the best compromise between classes you want to take and those which will help you get your degree.

If you're a highly ambitious college student looking to milk all you can out of your college education then a triple major may just be for you. Before taking the plunge, see your academic advisor, set up careful plans and ensure you have the time and the stamina to see your tripled workload through.