Tag Archives: Web Research


As a virtual business assistant, I do research on almost everything I work on. For my own business, I research my competition, rates, offers, services, and many more things. I like doing research, because it’s a learning tool. I always learn new information and ideas, when I’m researching.

I always research with a purpose.

Because researching is fun and interesting, I could spend many hours just looking up and reading, but that doesn’t get me where I need to go. I always research with a purpose – a clear purpose. That keeps me focused on what information I need to find and prevents me from wasting time reading information that I don’t really need to know.

Blog Search Engine

Web research is the most expedient way to find information.

 It’s fast and links to other pertinent information. It’s better than reading a book or magazine to extract information. Web research has all if not most of the information at the push of a button and the copy and paste feature ensures that I’ve captured the source and quote correctly.

Researching for my clients helps me to understand their businesses, products and services, and what makes them unique or stand out from the rest. I put myself in their shoes and look at their business offerings. Then I try to find the differences between the businesses themselves, the products and services, and their target markets. All of this factors into the way I research, the depth of research, and the type of research I perform.

Man posstive negative

For comparison research, the method and time involved is minimal, but for research that compares other businesses with my clients business. It is a long and tedious process. I have to not only find the information, but also verify that it is real and true. Many website today post information about other companies, but is it true? Maybe yes, maybe no.


It falls to me to provide accurate and honest information to my clients. They depend on me to site my sources and to provide multiple accounts of the same information. Businesses that take the easy way of researching or failing to verify the information, run the risk of losing their credibility and over time, the business usually dissolves for lack of trust and honesty.


Researching also provides me with an education. I may not always have an interest in the topic I’m researching for a client, but I will learn about it anyway. Who knows, somewhere down the road, I may need to use this new information for another client. I have to put myself in my client’s shoes, so I immerse myself in the research needed to provide reliable information for marketing and blogging purposes. When it’s an interesting topic, the time flies by, and I’m entertained. When it’s a little more intricate or technical, I have to put my full concentration on it and look up any words or terms I’m not familiar with.

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Contact me at Virtual Colleague, LLC for a free consultation on how I can research for your business and products/services.

 Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com



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What is a blog post?

A blog, a mixed word version of weblog, is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). A blog is also described as a frequently updated online personal journal or diary. It is a place to express yourself to the world. A place to share your thoughts and your passions. Really, it’s anything you want it to be.

Why is blogging important?

According to BlogBasics, “…the answer lies in the fact that every human has a voice and wishes their voice to be heard. The Internet is a medium that is unparalleled in its reach. Never before have average people been able to reach a global audience with so little trouble. Bloggers have the opportunity of reaching hundreds or even thousands of people each and every day.

There are still many people who like to share the details of their days. On the other hand, there are bloggers who give almost no detail about their lives, but write instead about a hobby or interest of theirs. They may dedicate their blog to something they are passionate about.

In fact, today’s blogs can provide hair tips, up-to-date news, technical information, celebrity scandal, political rumor, gets people involved in volunteering, advice on investments as well as there being blogs on cooking, health, gardening, sport, blogging blogs (this blog) and of course many personal blogs and quite a few strange blogs.

What is business blogging?

According to HubSpot:

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

3) It helps establish authority.

4) It drives long-term results.


Did you know that 25% of all blogs are on WordPress?

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Virtual Colleague, LLC handles all blog topics. I discuss the topic with my client and find the uniqueness that my client has to offer. Then I research the web and other materials to compare and contrast my client’s product or service with the competition. At that point, I am able to write a compelling blog post that emphasizes the qualities, strengths and uniqueness of the product or service and my client’s business. I sometimes use graphs, charts, or images within the post to create a visual image of what the post is trying to convey.

Blogging enhances websites and calls attention to whatever the business wants to highlight. Put a certified writer to work for you. Contact Virtual Colleague LLC today to find how I can help you grow your business.

Toll Free #: 401-384-0257

Local #: 401-595-0087

Email: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com




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Web Research: a Thirst Quencher

Several of my relatives have made a lifelong commitment to finding out all they can about their friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, they cannot contain that information to themselves and instead spread the details or stories to anyone that will listen.


I’ve always wondered why some people do that, even though: 1) it’s none of their business and 2) they could have the facts wrong and ruin someone’s reputation. My theory is that they have an unquenchable thirst for information. They feel compelled to find out everything they can about everything and everyone around them.

Unquenchable thirst That is the exact opposite of web research. I offer web research as part of my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, because every business needs to stay current with information about products, services or new innovation.  The most common reason to do web research is to find out what the competition is doing. Businesses need to be upfront about the products and services they offer, any special deals or discounts that’s out on the web. This provides a challenge to them to find ways to stay competitive.

Competition Web research is also used to explore new possibilities. It provides current statistics on trends, important issues, and declining interests. Scanning the web for pertinent information can provide direction to a company, so they can decide to diversify by offering new products or services or to phase out products or services that are becoming outdated or obsolete.

I enjoy web researching, because as the researcher, I learn about new items and ideas and get a fresh perspective on things that I just took for granted. As a virtual assistant, I always get a clear picture of what my clients need and why they need it.

As a web researcher, I can pull up all kinds of information, but is it relevant to the needs of my clients?  That’s why having a meeting to discuss what the purpose and focus of the research is all about saves time, money and enables me to quickly discard information that’s not needed.

     Vacation Resort

    Convention Center

New Car

Whether I’m researching a vacation resort or convention sites or just researching to find the best vehicle for the company fleet, it is important to outline what to look for and why the search is so important. I usually create an Excel spreadsheet or maybe even a PowerPoint presentation to display my results in a way that is clear, concise and easy to follow.

The end result is a detailed list (spreadsheet) of each item I have researched and broken down each piece of information into categories, so my client can make an informed decision. I may also take any financial information and make a chart or table that provides a visual of the information I have collected.

In the case of researching a place or product, I may create a PowerPoint presentation with a page for each item or place I have researched. I try to provide pictures or photos and list the Pros and Cons on each page. This may seem unnecessary, but I’ve found that after reading reports for most of the day, my clients prefer visuals, so they can look at the whole picture rather than just concentrate on the numbers.

A web researcher must be vigilant and discerning. Everything on the internet is not true or substantiated and that’s why web research is a lot like trying to find your ancestors. You must find matching information that verifies the original information that you found, so you can count it as true. It’s not enough to just look things up on the internet and take them at face value.

Just as my relatives have earned bad reputations as gossipers and busybodies, so to for any web researcher that wants to keep clients, the information has to be true and correct.


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How to Do What?

Now that we’re into the New Year, I am re-focusing on my virtual assistant business, Virtual Colleague, LLC, and what I have to offer clients. I’ve already covered article writing, blogging, and press releases in my blogs. Now I’m going to write about creating manuals and instructional materials.

I’ve received a few Christmas gifts that needed assembling. To my surprise, the “instructions” were diagrams or illustrations. If there were any written words, they were usually in Chinese or some other language.

Visual Instructions

I find that very troubling, because I’m not a visual learner. I learn and retain by reading. I LOVE to read and that’s how I’ve taught myself to do many things. While “visual instructions” may be acceptable; in the workplace, written instructions are mandatory.

An example of this is a guideline on how to format company documents. This may cover margins, fonts, colors, font size, paper size, photos or logos and many other requirements. This would not be easily accomplished by just giving a visual of a document. It would not explain the font or font size and it would create a lot of guess work.

Instruction manuals are helpful, if the user has to perform a series of actions, in a specific order to get a specific result. Even when you google something, you will get a written definition or a bulleted list of steps to perform. There may be a YouTube video, too, but there are always the written steps to achieve the desired result.

Written Document

Training manuals favor the written form of instruction. Although there may be illustrations with a huge red “X” over them, having something written down is always accessible. Anything written on paper is portable, readily available and doesn’t require a device to access it. Most offices contain binders full of written material about hazardous material and what to do if an accident occurs, company policies and guidelines, and How-to’s or steps to perform certain tasks and projects.

Writing is here to stay, although we have many new options to view that written material. Writing is communication and every time we tweet, email or text, we view something that someone else has written. These writers feel compelled to share their thoughts or feelings with everyone.

I am a certified Freelance Writer in non-fiction. I was torn between fiction and non-fiction and I had to make a choice, when I signed up for this course. I chose non-fiction, because I thought that dealing with the facts would be more interesting and would require research on my part. I was right.

I’ve written several training manuals and I’ve had to learn about the tasks before I could write about them. In some cases, I sat with the employees and watched them work, taking detailed notes about what they did, how they did it and I tried to find an easier way to do it.

Sometimes, I was asked to update existing training manuals. The company may have purchased new software or automated part of the job, so the training manual was outdated. I also worked for an internet software gaming company, where I wrote test scripts, testing the software for “bugs”. I had to write a script that define every icon and click pattern in that game and then, I had to follow that test script and test every aspect of the game. I had to play the game over and over and document inconsistencies or make suggestions about how to improve player satisfaction. That was a hard job – only kidding!

Man Playing Game at Computer

Writing and word order is so important. Ask anyone who’s ever gone to court and had a word misspelled or the meaning reversed by reversing the word order. Slogans, ad copy, blogging, eBooks and documents rely on their creators having excellent grammar, punctuation and writing skills.

Your written words


your thoughts and feelings

immortalized for all eternity.

If you know of anyone, who needs a writing project created or updated, please ask them to contact Virtual Colleague, LLC at 401-384-0257 or email me at: JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com.

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