January 2007  
All of your business needs. One easy solution.
1/10/2007           Volume 4 Issue 1   www.offassist.com
That love/hate relationship.

I have a love/hate relationship with January.

The hate part is all those pesky W-2s and 1099s that have to be prepared and sent out by the end of the month. So much printing makes me and my printer tired!

The love part is when I can take a few minutes (frequently very late at night when the ink cartridge has run out) to sit back and reflect on the past year. I like to review my accomplishments for the year and look at how far I've come. Equally importantly, I make time to mull over any mistakes that were made and use them as a learning experience, a guide to how to do things even better in the coming year.

January when I look to the future, re-work my business plan, making changes where necessary, and take the time to really enjoy what I have created. Not many people can say that they are doing exactly what they want to do, but I can, and I love it!

Take some time this month to reflect and look to your future and the future of your business! See you in February!

In this issue...
Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization: Any difference?

- by Mikhail Tuknov

For many casual internet users, the terms SEM and SEO rarely enter their minds when they are busy jumping from one website to another. However, it is these terms that determine much of what comes out on the results page whenever we type in a word in the search tab of any accessible search engine. These terms are also responsible for all those advertisements and pop-ups that link us to even more websites, whether they may be connected to our original search or not. So just what are SEM and SEO?

In the simplest way possible, SEM and SEO are tools which website creators, especially those who are promoting and selling a certain service or product, use in order to gain a lot of exposure and better ranking for their website. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, the simplicity ends there.

To make it a tad bit complex, SEM and SEO are not the same. As suggested by the names, SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, deals more with how a website is marketed to gain exposure in the different search engines available on the internet, while SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, deals with how the web creators develop and re-develop the content, quality and structure of their entire websites so that whenever an internet user types in a particular word in the search tab, their websites have a better chance of appearing on the first few search engine results pages (SERPS).

Now, to make it even more complex, although the functions of SEM and SEO seem different, they are more effective when used together. Since the main function of SEM is to gain more exposure for a website, the more common means for attraction are online advertisements, blogs, internet articles, partner and sponsored websites, and anything that can catch the eye of the internet user. SEM also makes use of PPC (pay-per-click) and paid inclusion to further push a website's visibility. Lastly, it is also an important process in SEM to submit the name and URL of a website to different search engines and web directories if only to inform them of the website's existence. All this is carried out to ensure the popularity of a website.

So how does SEO come together with SEM? Well, despite having all the advertisements provided by SEM, it is truly the SEO that allows the internet user to easily and conveniently find what she is looking for. Since the function of SEO is to gain a better ranking in the SERPS, the web creator has to constantly optimize her website in order to cater to the needs of the internet user and to make it easier for spiders or web crawlers to judge whether the website's content is relevant to the word/s being searched. Optimization is not a simple and easy task. It involves having to restructure the website regularly (by editing the html code and meta tags, changing content, reorganizing the site map, developing an easier navigational structure, etc.) so as to adapt to the rapidly changing demands of the internet user. Still, when done properly, not only does SEO help a website become more useful and therefore, more often visited by the internet user, it also helps gain more exposure since it increases the website's chances of gaining a better rank in the SERPS.

Both SEM and SEO success rely heavily on the words or context which Internet users type in whenever they search for something on the internet. Take PPC under SEM, for example. PPC is an ad that is triggered by a particular word or context used by an internet user. Once a particular word or context is searched, a corresponding PPC ad for a website comes out. SEO works in the same way. The web creator inputs a particular Meta tag (or keyword) in her html that she believes many internet users will use when searching for information, information which the web creator's website may contain. Although all of these processes involving SEM and SEO are tedious and time-consuming, it all boils down to knowing and serving the target audience. A web creator must be discerning enough to know what the internet users need and want, and at the same time she must have the real passion to inform and provide the internet users with the right service and product.

Mikhail Tuknov is a search engine optimization specialist and a founder of Infatex (Search Engine Marketing Company). With an extensive background in Internet marketing, Mikhail Tuknov offers SEO, PPC, SEM services.
Quickie QuickBooks Q & A
SP from CT asks:

Q: How can I print 1099 Forms for the payees that are included in my "other names" list?

A: QuickBooks will recognize a 1099 vendor only if it is included in the vendor list. You may change your payee type from "other names" to "vendor" by going to the payee file and selecting "edit other name". Once you are in the set up for the payee, there is a box to the right "change type". Click on that box and you will be prompted with the option to "Select name type" and then select the vendor type.
Important Tax Deadlines
January 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for December issued payroll

January 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly, quarterly and annual filers

January 31 -
  • Employer's Quarterly Payroll Tax Report(s) Form 941
  • Employer's Quarterly TWC (Texas Workforce   Commission)
  • Employer's Annual Federal Unemployment Tax, Form 94
  • Forms W-2 and Forms 1099 must be mailed/postmarked to recipient
February 15 - IRS Monthly payroll tax deposits due for January issued payroll

February 20 - Texas Sales & Use Tax Return due for monthly filers

February 28 -
  • Original/Copy A of the Forms W-2 and W-3 must be mailed/postmarked to the Social Security Administration
  • Original/Copy A of the Forms 1099 and Form 1096 must be mailed/postmarked to the Internal Revenue Service
Spotlight On...

Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?

Let us help you fulfill that dream! OffAssist is currently seeking businesses who would like to be featured in our monthly spotlight column. A number of our past spotlight subjects have told us their business increased after the newsletter came out and their web rankings got a boost from the increased traffic.

If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Candy@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight in 2007.

Accountant Humor

Old bookkeepers never die. They just lose their balance.

A businessman hires a private detective to find a missing accountant.

The detective tells him that he needs a description, "Was he tall or was he short?"

The businessman replies, "Both!"

Tech Talk With Tom...
Mastering the 3 Most Important Programs for Windows

Ever since Windows entered our personal and business lives back in the 90's, 3 pieces of software have driven us particularly insane. We've spent hours pointing and clicking. We've wasted days attempting to master their nuances. Of course, mastery would have been much easier to achieve if we didn't have to shield our monitors from our bosses and co-workers.

What software? Microsoft's very own built in time-wasters: Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Free Cell. Below are a few "tips" that will let you amaze your family, friends, and co-workers with your out-of-this-world High Scores!

  • Start Minesweeper.
  • Type "xyzzy" without the quotes.
  • Hit Shift and Enter at the same time.
  • Minimize all application windows that hide the desktop.
  • The uppermost pixel in the top left corner of your desktop will now turn black when you mouse over a mine, and white when it's safe to click.
  • Open Solitaire.
  • Go to "Game" and then "Options," and choose to draw three cards.
  • Anytime during gameplay, if you hold down Ctrl+Alt+Shift while you click the deck you will draw one card, rather than three.
  • High scores will be yours every time!
  • When you get stuck in Freecell, hold down Ctrl+Shift+F10.
  • When the User-Friendly Interface appears, choose Abort.
  • Make any move and you’ll automatically win the game!
Tom Beauchamp is the marketing and tech expert behind OffAssist. He can be reached at tom@offassist.com.

Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?

Email candy@offassist.com.