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5 Must See San Francisco Tours

July 25, 2017 - By 
San Francisco Cable Car in California Street

Planning a trip to San Francisco?

The City by the Bay, as San Francisco is nicknamed, has tons of history to share.

For example, did you know the first electric TV was built in San Francisco in 1927?

As you plan your trip, here are 5 must see San Francisco tours that you need to put on your to do list!

1. Chinatown

San Francisco walking tours give you the opportunity to enjoy the city’s beautiful weather and Chinatown is a great place to start.

Chinatown in San Francisco is one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods.

In fact, it is the oldest Chinatown in North America and also the largest Chinatown outside of Asia.

Filled with culture, Chinatown features amazing restaurants and architecture on its busy streets.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge

Considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world.

You can certainly go over the bridge by car or bus tour, but if you’re feeling especially adventurous, there are two other views you can explore.

You can go under the bridge and view its massive structuring by visiting Fort Point.

If you’re not afraid of heights, helicopter tours offer views of the Golden Gate Bridge from above!

3. Alcatraz – Our #1 Pick For San Francisco Tours

Alcatraz Island is a national landmark in the San Francisco Bay.

On the island is a now-closed historic prison that housed some of the United States’ most infamous criminals, such as Al Capone.

In its 29 years as a federal prison, there was only one supposedly successful escape that took place in 1962.

The island is a haunting place to tour and an absolute must see for visitors of all ages!

4. Embarcadero Center

Embarcadero Center is a complex in the financial district of San Francisco. that houses offices, hotels, and an immense underground shopping center.

As a staple of San Francisco tours, it houses offices, hotels, and an immense underground shopping center.

The shopping center is perfect for walking and some retail therapy.

Embarcadero Center features over 120 retail stores, restaurants with local favorites, and bars that offer a home for the thriving San Francisco music scene.

It’s a great place to pick up a few souvenirs before you finish your trip!

5. Silicon Valley

Although it’s technically out of city limits, Silicon Valley rests in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area and has sights you don’t want to miss!

Silicon Valley is considered one of the top tech regions in the United States.

Tech tourism is growing rapidly.

While touring the area, you can visit Facebook, Apple, and Google’s campuses to get the inside scoop on what it’s like to work at one of the tech giants.

You also can get a tour of the Computer History Museum to trace the nostalgic timeline of global technology throughout the century!

Have you gone on San Francisco tours before? Recommend these or other tours to a friend and be sure to pencil them into your schedule for your next visit!

 


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How Can Web Development and Design Impact SEO?

July 25, 2017 - By 

If you’re in business, creating a new website or overhauling the one you have is essential, right? It is, if you understand how it can also have a negative effect on your SEO.

That might sound crazy, but it’s true. The problem is many business owners don’t get that, and then wonder why their ranking has dropped. The fact is, solid web development and design play a crucial role in business success.

It’s a fact that web design elements affect customers’ perception of your business. 94% said they even caused them to mistrust a website.

Web Development and Design: How’s Your UX?

Major changes have taken place in web development and design over the last decade. And whilst your website still needs to look good, there are far more important issues to consider.

The two most important are User Experience and Search Engine Optimization. Of course, you want to drive people to your shop front or online store, but this is how you do it.

User Experience or UX is critical to your ranking success. Google uses UX as a ranking signal, so you have to get it right. UX encompasses everything from usability and content to payment gateways.

Responsive Web Design

Topping the list of UX essentials is RWD or Responsive Web Design. That’s what you need for your new website to rank higher.

A responsive website must be fast to load and easy to navigate. It must also be adaptable to whatever device users view it on. In other words, it needs to be mobile friendly.

Websites that are not mobile friendly will see a drop in their ranking. This is especially true since Google boosted its mobile friendly algorithm last year.

Google Loves Backlinking

Another way to boost your search engine ranking is backlinking. This is where another site links to yours. In other words, others sites are ‘recommending’ yours. Google loves this and will use it to rank your site.

Effective internal linking will also impact your SEO strategy. This is likely to need professional input – something you can get from PC Repair CT.

It’s All About Speed

A common mistake made when overhauling a website is using oversized images and files. Huge pictures may look amazing, but they could be damaging your SEO ranking.

The reason being, your pages will take longer to load, diminishing the UX. As Google says, faster sites create happy users! And around half of your visitors will leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

A good web development and design team have plenty of tricks to entertain your users AND boost your ranking. A video is a great online tool and will help promote your brand.

Give Popups The Flick

While we’re on the subject of happy users, avoid using too many pop-ups on your site. It’s a common mistake to add pop-ups when designing a site. You may think it adds visual interest.

What it actually does is annoy most of your users! They start reading a great article on your site and boom, here comes a pop-up! Avoid the temptation.

Effective Keyword Use

Ensure your new website incorporates product pages. To achieve a clean, modern feel, many designers drop product pages from the site or list all products on one page.

The most effective SEO strategy uses one product and keyword per page. Proper keyword placement will improve your rankings. And better rankings means more business.

The smallest design or development change can have a major effect on your ranking. For this reason, it’s usually a job for a professional web development and design team.

 

 


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The Top Business Technology Solutions of the Present and Future

July 25, 2017 - By 

The world of technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, transforming the way we do business.

Technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are shaping today’s business technology landscape.

Which of these business technology solutions are worth paying attention to? Here are some of our top picks for 2017.

The Growth of Virtual Reality

Both augmented reality (such as 2016’s insanely popular mobile game Pokemon Go) and virtual reality have taken off this year. At theme parks, thrill-seekers can strap on VR devices to enhance their ride. Gamers can also explore fictional worlds thanks to VR.

In business, VR has its place as well. VR devices can be used as a training tool, giving new hires realistic on-the-job experience.

You can also use VR to introduce new products, creating a type of digital demo. Customers could strap on a headset and try out a digital version of your product before it hits stores.

Drone Devices Become More Prevalent

“Drone” is already a common word in the average consumer’s vernacular. Many consumers may have bought the commercialized version of these flying robots, which can connect to a smartphone and fly.

While that’s fun, drones are handy in business technology, too. These can be used to deliver products right to a customer’s door, ala Amazon and even pizza chain Domino’s.

Working from Home Expands to More Job Sectors

It used to be that mostly freelancers had the luxury of working from home. Today, more and more employees in all sorts of fields can now do their job when away from the office.

With the breadth of tech tools that exist, such as video chat, live document editing, and project documentation, it’s no wonder more employers now trust their employees to get the job done from anywhere.

AI Expands Communication Options

When you think of artificial intelligence, your mind likely first goes to robots. That’s fair, but AI is about more than just that.

In business, AI can save time on jobs that busy employees don’t always have time for.

For instance: the chatbot. These bots are a lot smarter than they were in years past.

A customer that has a few questions may go on your website and use your chat function. With today’s AI, they can speak to a bot and never know it.

These bots are a win-win. The customer gets the information they need quickly and efficiently. Employees have time to take care of other work.

If you need yet more communications options for your office, try a voicemail service like American Voice Mail Inc.

And Our Favorite Business Technology Solutions Trend…Live Streaming Provides Inclusion

It used to be that if you wanted to do live streaming, you had to sign up for a service dedicated solely to streams.

These days, you can use many platforms, even social media like Facebook, for live streaming. You just hit the button and you’re rolling.

How can live streaming benefit your company?

The main benefit is inclusion. Say you’re hosting a product launch and all your customers can’t make it there physically. You can live stream the launch so everyone can see what your company is up to.

Need more programs and apps to follow some of the above-mentioned business technology solutions? Check out Pligg, the digital download marketplace. From code to software and music to eBooks, find what you need here.


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6 Blogging Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier

July 24, 2017 - By 
Blogging tools

So, you love to write and you think it is time to capitalize on those skills. But you don’t feel fully confident with your blogging ability and don’t really know where to start to fix that.

You’ve come to the right place! There are plenty of blogging tools out there to enhance your experience as a first-time or rookie blogger.

Keep reading for six of our favorite blogging tools.

Portent’s Title Maker

Let’s start at the very beginning: your title.

What is it that you are writing about? What’s your subject?

Portent Title Maker is an awesome blogging tool which takes your subject and uses it to generate catchy titles that make the reader want to click.

The tool even gives a breakdown of why it generated the response that it did.

Aren’t pleased with the turnout? Keep refreshing until you find a title that you feel is the perfect fit for your piece.

Evernote

Time to get your thoughts organized.

So you have a topic and you’ve generated a title. It is time to dump all those ideas swirling around in your head into one place.

You can put anything and everything you may need to create your content into this blogging tool: websites, photos, notes, snippets, the list goes on and on.

Keyword Planner

Now it’s time to talk about your reach.

You want your content to reach as many people as possible, right? The Keyword Planner blogging tool is going to help you do just that.

Powered by Google, Keyword Planner lets you enter a variety of keywords and will return results summarizing the search volume of your keyword and the popularity of the topic.

This is an essential blogging tool for you to use prior to writing. Where SEO is concerned, you want to be using a keyword that is highly searched already (but easy to rank for) so you know that your content will be seen.

Toggl

Let’s get writing, shall we?

We all have days where we can’t seem to stay focused on a single task. When you have loads of brainstorming, writing, and editing to get done on a given day Toggl will be your best friend of the blogging tool world.

Toggl is a time tracking tool that allows you add different tasks you are working on and start the timer. It is helpful when you are looking to compare how much time you spend on specific tasks like brainstorming, writing, or editing so that you can better plan your work time.

Hemingway

Once you have completed your piece it is time to use the Hemingway App. This app will scan your content for readability and highlights sentences that are confusing or don’t read well.

This blogging tool can cut your editing time in half!

Canva

Now that you’ve written your blog, you will want to add some visuals to catch the eye of your reader.

Canva can help you take your photos to the next level. It is user-friendly and perfect for those who don’t have a ton of design experience.

Put These Blogging Tools to the Test

Now that you have our tips, get out there and get creative! These are our favorites tips but there are tons more out there. Don’t forget to check out our blog!


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7 Social Media Management Tools You Should Be Using

July 20, 2017 - By 
social media marketing

Social media is a world in and of itself.

So if you’re still trying to master this world without the help of social media management tools, you’re wasting precious time.

And time is money.

Which Social Media Management Tools Do I Need?

They help you gain control of the huge social media world so you can get back to the work at hand, like meeting with clients or studying SEO trends.

While there are more tools showing up in the market every day, we think the following seven are worth considering for your tool box.

Quora

Wait, isn’t Quora a question and answer website?

Yep. And it’s a great place to start gathering ideas when you’re looking for inspiration for your social media posts.

Think about all of the time you’ll save by checking this site and seeing what the buzz is in your particular niche.

And it’s free!

Hootsuite

In terms of software management tools in the form of software, Hootsuite is the most well known and has millions of users.

From the Hootsuite dashboard, you can manage over 25 social networks including the big ones like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, as well as other networks.

You can further customize your dashboard to display only the streams you need, and then utilize it to schedule your content across multiple platforms.

Hootsuite’s free plan includes up to 3 social media profiles. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month, and increase in price based on additional features.

MavSocial

If you’re looking for visual content management, MavSocial is it. This company brands itself as software for visual content management and social publishing.

Like Hootsuite, it comes with the standard tools for managing your social media accounts, but there’s the added visual side.

MavSocial has partnered with Getty Images and BigStock, so along with your owned content, it’s also really easy to find and purchase multimedia content.

MavSocial has a free plan that has basic features and supports Twitter and Facebook. Additional features are available with paid plans.

Sendible

If you’re in the marketing sector and want access to social media monitoring and reporting, then Sendible is one of the best social media management tools for you.

Sendible is a browser-based platform on which you can compose and schedule content for your social media accounts and blog. Then Sendible suggests the best times to post for optimal engagement.

Along with being able to plan a content calendar, you can also assign tasks to team members and use the Social CRM tool to manage your customer records.

Sendible starts at $59 per month, but they have several levels of service up from there.

TweetDeck

If a lot of your efforts are focused on Twitter, then consider using TweetDeck as one of your social media management tools. It’s a free feature on your account.

You can:

  • log into and manage multiple accounts simultaneously
  • customize your dashboard to monitor timelines and alerts,
  • add team members to better manage your accounts
  • schedule updates

Grammarly

Last but not least, add this browser extension to check the grammar and spelling of your posts.

Nothing says unprofessional like poor grammar and misspelled words.

If you have other social media management tools that save you time and money, we’d love to hear your story. Please feel free to share!


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10 Unique Vinyl Siding Ideas for Your Home

July 20, 2017 - By 

Most people take time to consider the interior of their home and what it will look like.  But when was the last time you thought about the exterior of your home?

Vinyl siding can make your look clean and new.  Bonus points because it has low maintenance.  But if you’re thinking about the exterior of your home, you want to differentiate your house from the other homes with colorful paint and lawn jockies.

How do you do that?

Picking out vinyl doesn’t happen overnight.  There’s a lot to consider.

Here Are 10 Unique Siding Ideas for Your Home

1) Split Level Vinyl

Vinyl can be the perfect material for a split level home.  This type of home offers lots of opportunities for attractive vinyl in a mix of textures, orientations, and colors.

One level of vinyl on a split level home offers a modern twist on a vintage style. With many stylistic options to choose from, vinyl siding can offset colors and styles in a split level home.

Luckily split level floor plans are pretty common in the United States.  So if you have a split level home don’t forget to call the vinyl professionals for a unique twist on an old style.

2) Gray Vinyl Siding

Gray Vinyl is the new black.  Gray is the perfect neutral color for either white or black shutters and trim.  Offering bright clean lines on a canvas that’s easy on the eyes.

Really every color goes with gray.  So let your imagination shine with some cray gray vinyl siding and other colorful accents.  Accents can include the front door, shutters, and trim.

A siding contractor can give you an evaluation and help you identify the best colors to make your home stick out in a crowd.

3) Mixing Textures, Vinyl Siding with Stone Entryway

Mixing textures is one of the coolest things you can do with vinyl siding.  This material is enhanced when paired with a stone entry way or garage.  For a modern twist on same old, same old.  T

For a modern twist on same old, same old.  Try mixing textures in your home.  If your home is more like a cabin or bungalow, mix vinyl with a wooden entryway for a different take on a typical look.

4) Colorful Vinyl Makes Your Home Pop

Some companies offer a variety of colors for their siding options.  With dozens of colors to choose from, there are a ton of mix and match options to introduce curb appeal to your home.  If you want to do vinyl, don’t hesitate to go with some color.

5) Not All Vinyl is Horizontal

Introducing some vertical vinyl in an otherwise horizontal home is a creative way to make your home stick out.  If you have a loft or section of the house that would be accented by vertical vinyl.  Go there.

6) Bright White Vinyl with a Colorful Door

Bright white vinyl can be a real asset if you have color accents. One way to do this is a bright red or blue door.  Using neutral vinyl with colorful trim is a creative way to breathe some life into your home.

Have you seen those homes with colorful doors?  Make them pop even more with vinyl.  We see this a lot with wooden homes but vinyl is way easier to clean. Keeping colors sharp for years with low maintenance.

7) Vinyl Siding with a Metal Shed Roof

A lot of people don’t associate a metal shed roof with high fashion.  But when paired with vinyl siding, a metal shed roof can give your home a cool pinstripe effect.

If you want a roof and siding that is both practical and fashionable try this look for your country cottage.

8) Tiny Home with Vinyl Siding

If you are into tiny homes, vinyl siding can make yours the hottest one in the commune!  Don’t wait to discover vinyl for your tiny home.  If you’re trying to learn the hottest trends for tiny homes find a consultant in your area.

9) Laying Vinyl Siding

Vinyl for your home is 0.44 – 0.55 inches thick. The width makes it resistent to sagging.  Unlike wooden panels, vinyl panels are only nailed in at the top of each panel.  So they hang a little.

This is because the vinyl needs to be able to breath. It expands and contracts with moisture.

It’s reasonable to lay vinyl a quarter inch apart for best performance.  It will fade over time, but not substantially.

10) Cleaning Vinyl on Your Home

Homeowners love vinyl because it’s low maintenance.  But you should really clean it to keep it looking its best.  Here are some tips for cleaning vinyl.

Wash with a soft bristle brush to remove mold, mildew and other sediment.  If a brush and water isn’t enough.  Use a gallon of water with 1/3 cup laundry detergent and 2/3 cup powdered household cleaner to clean the exterior of your home.

Because vinyl is only snapped at one end.  It’s easy to replace damaged panels.  Just use a zip tool to unhinge the product and replace it with a new one.  Simple as that.

Keeping your vinyl clean is the key to making it last and to making your house look clean and new.  So don’t skimp on the upkeep just because vinyl is durable.

To Vinyl or Not to Vinyl?

Picking vinyl siding for your home can be tough.  But remember when you choose a home there’s a lot to consider.

Location. Neighborhood.  Type of construction can all be considered when buying a home.

That doesn’t include the preferences like private pool, community pool or no pool.  Acreage and other considerations of a homeowner.

There’s so many things to consider when buying or renovating your home.  Don’t get lost in a sea of vinyl.  Call a professional to help you with your vinyl needs.


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Important Questions to Ask Your Injury Attorney

July 18, 2017 - By 

Hopefully, you will never need an injury attorney. But in the event of an accident, you’ll be glad to have a good attorney on your side.

So how can you determine a good injury attorney from one that’s just well-marketed?

It starts by asking your injury attorney questions that demonstrate their ability to win your case. Before you sign a contract, make sure you’re satisfied with how he or she answers these six questions:

6 Injury Attorney Questions You Need Answered Before You Hand Over Your Case

#1 – How much is the contingency fee?

It can prove reassuring when you won’t have to pay legal fees unless you gain something from the lawsuit. But you still need to know how much that will be. Most contingency fees range from 25%-40% of your winnings, but you should try to negotiate.

#2 – What’s your experience in similar cases?

Never assume a lawyer has handled a case like yours before, even if their career is well established. For instance, lawyers who specialize in L&I claims might have zero experience in automobile accidents.

It’s okay to ask what their success rate is and how many cases similar to yours they’ve personally experienced. Remember, you hold the upper hand when it comes to hiring, so never feel intimidated by a lawyer who isn’t willing to be open with you.

#3 – Do you have enough time to devote to my case?

This is a question that most people are too reluctant to ask, perhaps because they assume the answer is yes. Lawyers who are hungry for the business will accept your case, then sit it on it for months before filing or working to resolve it.

Put another way, you could ask how many cases they are currently working on, or when they would file your case.

#4 – How often will I hear from you regarding my case, and how?

It could take weeks before your lawyer has any real news to report on your case. But if you’re the type of person who likes to know there’s no news, make sure your lawyer is willing to communicate that.

Some lawyers will send letters in the mail without notice or won’t respond to your emails for days. It’s important you understand how they communicate (and how frequently) to make sure it fits your requirements and expectations.

#5 – Will you be the one handling my case?

Firms with multiple lawyers may have several people working on your case. Others may assign you to one specific lawyer. Either way, you should speak to whoever will represent you in court to build trust and rapport with that person.

#6 – Do you have any references I could check?

Hiring a lawyer is much like hiring for any job. You need to ask questions, talk to multiple candidates, and check references. Most likely, their law firm will have Google reviews you can read online. But you should try to reach out to real clients to gauge their honest opinions.

Wrap Up

If you don’t feel certain after interviewing a lawyer, move on to another one. It’s worth the extra time to find the right lawyer the first time.


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Credit Protection: Don’t Get Caught With Your Wallet Open

July 18, 2017 - By 

Identity theft is a crisis that can throw your entire life off balance — and it’s no longer okay to fool ourselves into thinking it won’t happen to us, or that it’s just about account protection and not credit protection.

One in every 16 adult Americans suffered some form of identity theft in 2016. A large number of those incidents were due to data breaches by companies, which released the information of over a billion consumers in 2014.

Credit Protection Fights Identity Theft

Worse still is the effect it can have on your credit, not just your bank account.

Identity thieves have gotten very good at opening multiple charge card accounts and not paying them… which leads to a reduction of your credit score that you may not even find out about until it’s too late.

This also applies to medical identity theft, tax fraud and credit fraud such as chargebacks (chargebacks.ie has a good description of this practice).

It’s best to be prepared, and here are five tips to stay that way.

Protect Your Social

Your Social Security Number is the main tool in an identity thief’s arsenal, and it’s imperative that you keep it under wraps.

if anyone asks you for your social security number, don’t be afraid to ask them why they need it. Don’t bring your any ID with your SSN number on it on the road.

Don’t keep your number out where anyone can see it… a full third of identity theft cases have been traced to someone the victim knows.

Don’t enter it online anywhere; you shouldn’t have to. Never give it to someone over the phone when another form of ID will suffice.

Destroy Everything

It sounds extreme, but mailboxes and trash cans are prime targets for identity thieves.

Get a shredder and destroy old bills and receipts as well as medical info.

Check bills religiously and scrutinize them completely. Make sure there’s not a single purchase, debit, or fee on there that you didn’t authorize.

Secure Your (e)mail(s)

Because your mailbox is a prime target, you should check it every day, especially if you’re still getting paper bills or credit card offers. Don’t mail bills from home.

You may also want to use a secure email server. Don’t respond to anyone you don’t know.

Get a Credit Report

Make sure you don’t get any nasty surprises in your credit score by getting a credit report.

Just go to Annual Credit Report or call them at 1-877-322-8228. You can get one free report a year from all three of the major credit agencies.

Beware of Scams

The big scam threats these days come through unsolicited phone calls and on social media.

You can get a free app that will block out all unwanted cell phone calls, but also be careful never to answer the phone when it’s a number you don’t know.

Beware of social media “charity” scams and also the occasional email that looks like it came from a government agency or a company you do business with.

Credit Protection Begins With Identity Protection

Now that computers are in control of all of our information, we can no longer trust companies or even the government to protect it.

It’s up to you to do the due diligence in making sure that your identity remains yours alone.

Start taking steps to protect it right away… your future credit absolutely depends on it!


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3 Things to Absolutely Avoid Doing When Selling a House

July 17, 2017 - By 

If being a first time home buyer is an exciting first step to building a life, being a first time home seller is a new and stressful event you might have never expected.

Selling a house involves a lot of stress and considerations. Because of that, it’s easy to make small mistakes.

But even small mistakes can add up. And some of them can stop you from ever selling your house for what it’s worth.

The sooner your house is sold, the sooner you can focus on moving into your new house and starting your new life.

That means you absolutely cannot afford to delay. Every decision needs to be the right one.

So if you’re putting your house on the market, you need to remember these tips.

Don’t Mess Up Your Presentation

If your focus is selling a house fast, that means you should do everything you can to entice future buyers of your home.

Presentation is absolutely essential to making a sale. People don’t want to buy a house if during the tour they see it as beat up, filled with old furniture, and foul smelling.

And though you may think some of the clutter in your kitchen shows that your house is lived in, the human mind is more simple.

When you’re trying to sell your house, remember to make it look and smell perfect.

That means moving old furniture into the garage, showing your house’s storage potential to buyers, and using scents like vanilla and citrus to make people happy the moment they set foot in your house.

Don’t Get Killed on Commission

If you’re selling your house for $200,000, you probably want the full $200,000 for it.

But the average real estate broker will make that difficult with the high commission rates that have become standard in the industry.

With the average 6 percent rate given to brokers, the sale of a house for $200,000 will net you a less-than-impressive $188,000.

Look for companies that will buy your house or help you sell without demanding high commission or fees.

Organizations like Global Citizens HQ provide a platform that connects home sellers and investment property buyers without demanding a commission fee.

Don’t Celebrate Selling a House Until It’s Over

When your house is under contract, it’s easy to celebrate having made a sale right away.

Unfortunately, being under contract doesn’t mean you’re going to close.

Although 75% of homes under contract make it to closing, that still means a quarter of all houses under contract are not closed upon in that deal.

There are a number of reasons for this. Bank issues, problems with your timeline, or property issues that are out of your hands can all torpedo your deal.

This doesn’t mean you’re going back to square one. Often times these disputes can be resolved over time. But celebrating prematurely can leave you unprepared for the coming weeks or months in your home.

So keep your head on straight and remember: it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

 


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Professional Drones: A Complete Buying Guide

July 17, 2017 - By 

For some people, drones have a reputation for killing time and having fun. But for others, the right unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can provide a lucrative primary income or side gig.

Professional drones need a little more than the basic features of casual use drones. This guide tells you everything you need to know about professional drones so you can buy with confidence.

Answered: The Three Most Common Questions about Buying Professional Drones

How Will You Use Your Professional Drone?

Depending on why you’re buying a professional drone will dictate what kind of drone you need and which features will prove beneficial.

Will you offer video marketing services or commercial photography? Or will you tap an unexplored field, such as using drones in artificial intelligence?

Once you determine how you will use your UAV, consider the following features:

Flight Time

The size and battery of your UAV will determine how long your drone can stay airborne. On average, you can expect around 5-10 minutes of flight time for most beginner drones. More expensive drones may offer up to 30 minutes of in-air action.

You should also consider getting a few backup batteries to maximize your flight session. Beginner drones’ batteries are typically cheaper and easier to change. Make sure you factor this cost into your decision before you buy.

Controller

Some controllers are simply that: controllers. Others offer a built-in video screen that live streams from the drone’s camera. And others provide a downloadable app that sends video to your phone.

In addition, some controllers may relay diagnostics in real time, such as speed, altitude, and battery life. Make sure these features are crucial to you before investing any major money.

Piloting Skills

Whether you’ve been piloting drones for years or want to earn your wings for the first time, there’s a drone to suit your skills.

If you’re just starting, don’t spend too much money on your first drone. It’s better to buy a cheap drone to learn on then upgrade to a nicer one than to crash an expensive drone while you hone your skills.

Camera

Just like regular digital cameras, drone cameras are not all the same. If image quality is essential to your drone needs, keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

GPS Capabilities

Most of the higher end drones will offer GPS capabilities, such as a Return Home function or programmable coordinates. This can help you reach tricky places more accurately and make sure your drone comes back to you.

Do Size and Shape Matter?

In a word, yes.

Typically, quadcopters come in two frame patterns, X and H. Both are known for their maneuverability and stability in the air, even in winds of 10-15 mph. These drones consist of four blades and motors and a gyroscope to determine the drone’s orientation during flight.

Quadcopters typically make the best choice for beginners, regardless of purpose, because they’re easy to master the basics.

For more advanced UAV pilots, you can consider other drone options, such as helicopters, tricopters, hexacopters, and octocopters.

Who are the Most Reputable Manufacturers of Professional Drones?

Investing in a professional drone isn’t a decision to take lightly. Just like with other electronic devices, you want to ensure your drone manufacturer is trusted and reputable to give you the most for your money.

The Cheerwing Syma x5sw v3 is one the most top-rated professional drones on the market. It’s also one of the most economical, which makes it an attractive choice for beginners.

The Wrap Up

There are lots of solid options for professional drones, which can complicate the buying process. If you’re ever in doubt, read user reviews and forums to see which one will best suit your needs.

Just like with any other niche, drones have a dedicated community of users who will be more than happy to help.


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Everything You Need to Know About Advertising on Snapchat

July 16, 2017 - By 
Advertising on Snapchat

As a tech-savvy advertiser, you already know about marketing on Facebook and Twitter. But what about Snapchat?

Snapchat may be a newer social media channel, but it has some impressive numbers behind it. The platform boasts 200 million active users each month, with 41% of Americans aged 18 to 34 using it daily.

It’s a phenomenal place to advertise, too. Snapchat ads have higher swipe up rates versus click-through rates on other platforms.

With figures like these, it’s easy to see why companies are rushing to start advertising on Snapchat.

How can you get started advertising on Snapchat? Read on for our ultimate guide!

What Makes Snapchat Different?

One advantage of Snapchat is that it offers unprecedented access to millennials. Until now, this group has been notoriously immune to traditional advertising techniques.

The platform appeals to teens and young adults because it gives them the privacy they crave. Ask any teen why they use Snapchat, and their response will likely be, “Because my parents aren’t on it.”

Anything posted to Snapchat disappears after 24 hours. Users claim that this creates a more authentic-feeling connection with their friends. They enjoy knowing what’s happening right now.

Other favorite features of Snapchat are the photo filters and drawing tools. These are there not to improve the quality, but simply to have fun. The pic you saw on Facebook of your friend with weird antlers and googly eyes? Likely a Snapchat filter pic.

Advertising on Snapchat

Now that you’re familiar with Snapchat, let’s discuss talk about how to advertise on it.

Because users share Snaps with specific people (instead of groups), Snapchat has a different “feel” than other channels.

When developing a marketing strategy, keep in mind that your goal isn’t to get lots of shares and go viral. Your goal is to get your ad in front of individuals who will engage with it.

There are currently three types of Snap Ads available:

  • Between Stories. Similar to TV commercials, these vertical, full-screen video ads play for up to 10 seconds. Viewers also have the option to skip them.
  • Live. These offer real-time views into current events and often receive tens of millions of views.
  • Discover. This virtual newsstand combines magazines and news from some of the world’s top publishers.

Marketing Strategies to Try

It can be tricky to know how to approach a new social media channel. Here are some tried-and-true methods that have worked for other advertisers:

  • Coupon codes. Offer a coupon code in exchange for snaps of users in your store or with your product. An added bonus: Coupons are trackable, so you’ll know exactly how many people are responding.
  • Connect with influencers. Teaming up with established influencers can open up new advertising platforms for you and give you access to a new audience.
  • Build anticipation. If you have an event coming up, create as much hype as possible. Keep the momentum going by posting pictures and videos of preparation and new developments.
  • Target your audience. Your audience on Snapchat might not be the same as your general target audience. That’s okay. As long as they’re interested in your content and relevant to your brand, they’re your new target audience.

Final Thoughts on Snapchat

Advertising on Snapchat may require more creativity or a different approach than you’re used to. The results, though, will be more than worth it!

Be sure to check out our collection of social media blogs for more fresh inspiration.


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How Do Bail Bonds Work? (Find Out Before You Need It)

July 13, 2017 - By 

Many people don’t plan on going to jail, nor do they expect those closest to them to end up behind bars. However, sometimes bad things happen to good people.

And when stuff happens, people should know how to deal with it.

Especially since, just some 25 years, ago, about 9.8 million Americans were admitted to jail each year. Even if those numbers somehow haven’t increased, that’s still a lot of people.

Because anyone could up in the slammer, let’s take a closer look at how this process works. Keep reading to get the 411 on bail bonds.

Bail Agents

When someone lands in jail, he or she is often up for bail. Because most people get rich quick enough to bail themselves or their acquaintances out of jail, some people reach out to bail agents.

Bail agents work for bail agencies, and they work with people to get their loved ones out on bail. Before they get anyone out on bail, though, they must be provided with some basic information. This information includes the whereabouts of the jailed person, the person’s name and booking number, and how much the bail is.

Where the agency is located is somewhat important. If you live, for example, in Michigan, you might have to rely on Bovo Bonding whereas those who live in North Carolina might choose Amistad Bail Bonds instead. All agencies are different, so both agencies’ clients are going to get different service.

After the agent has found out how much the bail is, he or she can then determine how much it will cost to post the bond. This means that some amount of the bail will still be paid out of pocket, but the amount paid might be a drop in the bucket compared to how much bail actually is.

Bail agencies are also responsible for making sure that the defendants they’ve bailed out show up in court. If those defendants don’t make their court dates, these agencies reserve the right to hunt them down and see to it that they have their day in court.

Money-Back Guarantee?

Some people might think that they can get their money back if it turns out that the defendant was not guilty in the end. Perhaps some people also think that they’re entitled to refunds if the defendant ends up back in jail shortly after bail is posted.

Sadly, however, neither or those circumstances calls for a refund. Technically speaking, the bail agency’s job is done once the defendant gets out of jail on bond. If the defendant goes back for any reason, the agency has still done its one-time job of getting the defendant out of jail.

Needless to say, if there is some breach of contract on an agent’s end, those who put money towards the bail bond might be owed some money.

Look To Trust Businesses For Bail Bonds

Bail bonds are such an important part of the legal system. Unfortunately, some bondsmen are not as trustworthy as clients expect them to be.

Having said this, there is no reason to distrust a bond agency which has a nice reputation. There are several trusted agencies that provide low rates for those who need to get their loved ones out of jail.

So before anyone goes selling or refinancing any property he or she worked so hard to vet and maintain, how about working to find an agency which will provide professional and affordable services?

 


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5 Social Media Trends to Look out for in 2017

July 12, 2017 - By 

Social media and social networks are the way of the world. Social media marketing has become the go-to marketing method.

Companies of all shapes and sizes use this marketing method to grow their client base! In fact, an eMarketer study found that 88% of all polled companies use social media marketing.

As a business owner, it’s likely that your company has a social media presence. From social networking to blogging to podcasting, the world of social media marketing is endless.

While these methods work, don’t you want to ensure that your company is keeping up with the latest trends?

Social media trends come and go, so it’s important to keep your company’s marketing plan up to date!

Being in the know is a huge part of successful marketing. Here are 5 social media trends that are ruling 2017.

Top 5 social media trends

Let’s get to it!

1. Video is the new text.

A growing number of users create videos to communicate. Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram all offer video capability. While text-based content isn’t gone for good, your business will want to find ways to use video for marketing.

2. Messaging via social media.

Social messaging is the go-to method for communicating, especially in the social media realm. Social messaging allows for quick and convenient communications with others.

This social media trend is so popular that sixty-two percent of millennials are more loyal to brands that use social messaging.

3. The use of chatbots.

Consumers like the idea of quick customer service. Even with a dedicated customer service staff, chatbots can still be useful.

Many social media users send or post messages that need a quick response. A chatbot can communicate with customers and provide information almost immediately.

Facebook uses more than 11,000 active chatbots! Using chatbots to answer FAQs for customers can be money and time-saving.

4. Instant purchases.

We live in a world were instant actions are not only preferred but common.

As social commerce continues to grow, customers seek the ability for instantaneous purchases. Instant purchasing allows consumers to buy a product or service with one click.

It’s not good enough to market your products via social networks! Take it one step forward by offering simplistic purchasing abilities for your clients.

5. Augmented reality.

The idea of changing reality came to life with the creation of selfie lenses and filters. We can thank Snapchat for this one!

Augmented reality allows users to post personalized pictures and videos. This growing social media trend can be used to better target and market to customers using more personal methods.

As the social media world continues to evolve, trends will come and go. If your company is focusing on social media marketing in 2017, don’t pass up these trends.

Be in the know!

Looking for more marketing tips? Want to educate yourself about useful topics, from business and finance to health?

If so, be sure to check out Pligg! Our blogs are sure to teach you a little bit about everything.


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5 Tips For Growing Marijuana Indoors

July 12, 2017 - By 
growing marijuana

With marijuana becoming legal in more states each year, many people are choosing to start growing their own plants.

Growing your own marijuana is a fun way to watch the process from start to finish. It allows you to know the quality of your marijuana. It’s also relatively simple and inexpensive to get started!

If you’re thinking about starting your own operation, check out these five tips for how to grow marijuana indoors!

1. Set the space

Before you can start growing marijuana in your home, you need to set up your growing space.

Whether you plan to grow one plant or one dozen, you’ll need to create a dedicated space that helps to control the environment around the plant.

There are several ways to create a space in your home. If you’re growing several plants, you may want to dedicate an entire room to them. It would need to be a room with doors that close, as well as ventilation or a way to add it, and electricity for heat lamps.

If you aren’t dedicating an entire room, you might choose to purchase or build a grow tent.

A grow tent features reflective interior walls that help to reflect light and keep your plants warm.

2. Think ahead

While buying seeds and setting up your space, it’s important to carefully consider how many plants you’ll have.

Even if you think that you’ll have many plants in the future, it’s a good idea to start small.

This will give you a chance to set up a space that functions well, and lets you learn the in’s and out’s of growing before you have several plants on the line.

Keeping your numbers small doesn’t necessarily meaning that the space that you grow in should be. When planting, think ahead, and remember that marijuana plants will flower and double or even triple in size.

3. Order the right seeds

Choosing and buying seeds for the first time can be a challenge. There are many different quality seeds and options out there.

If you are learning how to grow marijuana for the first time, you may want to start with feminized seeds. These are guaranteed to grow into female plants.

If you don’t buy these, you’ll have to go through the process of sexing your plants once they begin to grow, and may end up throwing out several male plants.

4. Give your plants some air

Ventilation is key when growing marijuana indoors.

If your growing space isn’t properly ventilated, it could lead to several health problems for your plant, including developing insects like spidermites. While you can treat these with insecticides, it’s easier to stop them before they start.

A window or duct in your growing room, along with a fan, will help keep air circulating and keep your plants healthy.

5. Be conscious of the smell

Marijuana plants have a strong smell. While this may not bother you, if you live in a neighborhood, this could be a problem.

To help reduce the smell and keep from bothering your neighbors, you’ll want to add an air filter. The filter should be installed in front of your fan to cut down much of the scent.

Start growing today!

With a small investment of time and money, along with these five tips, anyone can learn how to grow marijuana indoors!


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Gorgeous Greenery: 5 Unique Plants for Your Garden

July 11, 2017 - By 
unique plants

If you have a garden blooming in your backyard, why not consider growing a few unusual plants?

Roses and butterfly plants are so common nowadays. With the evolution of plant life, there are a few new ones that you should be aware of. Something else you need to be aware of is the potential for bugs to invade your garden.

However, don’t let them stop you from finding awesome new plants.

Our list of 5 unique plants that you need to plant in your garden will impress all of your neighbors.

1. Succulents

Have you seen these plants on the Internet yet?

It seems like succulents have taken over the country!

What makes succulents so easy to take care of is the fact that they require very little work. You don’t need to constantly water them. This is because they are similar to cacti, and store water in their leaves.

Succulents also don’t like a lot of sun. So, installing a cool retractable awning will help protect them. These plants can also come in a variety of colors and shapes. When placed together in your garden, succulents will transform your space into a beautiful habitat.

2. Paintbrush Lily

Another gorgeous and unique plant is the paintbrush lily.

The leaves on this plant are bursting with vibrant red color. Paintbrush lily leaves will also grow in size to become very noticeable once they fully bloom in the warm summer climate.

The cacti family includes a variety of plant types. Succulents and marijuana plants, for example, that are made from marijuana seeds UK  both contain resins that keep them from drying out.

The waxy coating on their leaves is important in the growing process of both plant types. Choosing this option as one of your unique plants in your garden will entice visitors.

3. Devil’s Tongue

What a name for a plant!

This plant enjoys the subtropical weather. It is great for gardening beginners, because it’s so easy to grow. At the base of this plant is a calla lily flower. Surrounding the center flower are fleshy spadix leaves. One leaf can grow to be up to 4 feet tall!

The tubers on the devil’s tongue plant are also said to be edible since the Japanese use it as a starch. This gives it an added bonus!

4. Hoya

The hoya plant is also called the “wax plant” because it has waxy leaves.

Hoyas like bright lights and a lot of humidity. The hoyas are known for their long vines that stretch out and resemble ropes. Once they bloom, they create beautiful axillary umbellate clusters of star-shaped petals. These petals come in colors that range from white to purple.

5. Sensitive Unique Plants

Watch out for these plants, as they may move right in front of you!

The sensitive plant is known for making seismonastic movements (more commonly referred to as the response of a plant.) They use this sense to trigger a defense mechanism that the leaves perform to shy away herbivores.

Whenever these plants feel threatened, they simply droop their leaves and close up. The name sensitive plant truly describes how this plant has a mind of its own.

In Conclusion

If you want to spice up your garden, consider planting one of these five unique plants. Having a lush green garden will be easy to create once you add some colorful plants, such as the hoya or paintbrush lily.


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The Top 4 Weight Loss Solutions (No Starving!)

July 10, 2017 - By 
weight loss solutions

Are you ready to lose weight? Forget diets that leave you hungry.

Instead, check out these weight loss solutions that keep you feeling full while you reach your weight loss goal — and stay there!

Proper Rest

It might sound like a dream but getting enough sleep each night can help you lose unwanted pounds.

Research shows that people who routinely get fewer than 5 or more than 9 hours of sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. There are a few reasons for this.

When we’re tired, we tend to eat more. And if we’re tired yet don’t sleep, the brain interprets fatigue as weakness and seeks out quick energy: carbohydrates.

Being tired from lack of proper sleep — even for one day — triggers increased production of cortisol, the hormone that is keen on storing fat. It’s especially good at storing fat around the waistline.

Hydration

One of the simplest weight loss solutions is to drink enough water.

The rule of thumb is that adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or less need at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. That requirement increases with a higher BMI or significant perspiration from heat or exercise.

Your body uses water in many ways. Water helps regulate body temperature and lubricate joints. It also aids digestion and the transport of nutrient to cells.

Water can make you feel full. And proper hydration helps keep the brain sharp, reducing the chances of poor decision-making about food.

Portion Sizes

Among the most common weight loss solutions is the reduction of portion sizes. It’s versatile because it can be done with any meal.

A few tips to make this solution work for you:

  • Use smaller plates and bowls to make less look like more
  • Fill half the plate with vegetables
  • At a restaurant, ask the server to put half your order in a take-out container

This weight loss solution is good for families trying to lose weight together. The number of meals and the kinds of food eaten doesn’t change. All you’re doing is eating a little less of everything.

Cleanses

Cleanses are not the same as fasting-oriented weight loss solutions. A cleanse uses a range of natural ingredients that remove toxins from the digestive tract and other tissues. After a cleanse, people often prefer food and supplements low in preservatives and other additives.

Well-designed cleansing programs span 21-30 days. They can be an energizing way to begin a weight loss journey. Often, these toxins create cravings for sugar and other carbohydrates. They can also prevent the proper extraction of nutrients from food.

You can design your own cleanse, using ingredients from the health food store. Or, to save time and get more predictable results, try a product like Isagenix 30 Day Cleanse (Weight Loss System).

The Key To Effective Weight Loss Solutions

Choose a weight loss solution that suits your lifestyle and will give you results.

The important thing is to take action. If you struggle with excess body weight, remain mindful. It’s never too late to achieve your weight loss goal.

Think of it as an investment in the future you want.

Choose a weight loss solution today and make tomorrow better.

 


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4 Things to Know About Intellectual Property Protection

July 10, 2017 - By 
intellectual property protection

When it comes to protecting your assets, the first items you probably think of are your material possessions, such as your home and land.

These are the tangible goods that you seek to safeguard against theft and other types of infringement.

Yet, did you know there’s another type of protection designed to keep your non-tangible assets safe?

This is called intellectual property protection. It works to ensure things like your ideas, and the creative and technical products that spawn from them, are rightly attributed to you.

Today, we’re taking a look at four things you need to know about this topic. This way, you can preserve these assets as strongly as you would your real estate or other concrete property.

Ready to get started? Let’s dig in!

There are Four Types of Intellectual Property Protection

Depending on the company and circumstance, there may be up to four types of intellectual property protection. These include:

  • Copyrights: Protect works of by an original author
  • Patents: Protect rights to an invention
  • Trademarks: Protects the characteristics that set a brand apart from its peers (symbol, design, catchphrase)
  • Trade secrets: Protects exclusive processes that contribute to a brand’s success (recipes, software algorithms, business methods)

1. Registration Is Key

You may think that no one out there will steal your confidential secrets to success. Even so, it’s still important to register them in your name.

Even limited companies or those with a domain name already secured and in place can be at risk of having their intellectual property stolen.

To get started, visit the Patent and Trademark Office. Here, you’ll have access to the resources you need to protect such assets. These include patent applications, as well as trademark and logo registrations.

2. You’ll Have to Re-Register Overseas

Even after you go through the regulatory steps in the United States, your property is only protected here in America.

Yet, you may want to ensure that non-tangible assets, such as your inventor patents, are also secured in other countries overseas.

In this case, you’ll need to apply for a patent in those countries as well. Similar steps are also required when you’re applying for a trademark or copyright in foreign lands.

3. You Can Take Your Case to Court

In the event that you believe your intellectual property was compromised, you can hire signal legal experts to support your case.

When cases are taken to court, there are a few rulings that can occur. For one, an injunction can be ordered against the defendant, meaning he or she must stop the malpractice.

Additionally, the court may order repayment for monetary damages. It may also allow the infringer to enter into a license agreement with the plaintiff.

In a nutshell, under this agreement, both parties work together. The infringer continues using the intellectual property, allocating a certain percentage of payments to the original owner.

4. The Digital Age Carries New Implications

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, businesses and consumers are more connected than ever before. In fact, Gartner estimates that this year we will reach about 8.4 billion “connected things.”

Thus, it’s vitally important that in this era of digital sharing, companies safeguard their creative assets.

What does this mean for intellectual property protection?

It means that you’ll now need to take extra steps and precautions to watch over your content, especially once it’s online. From utility patents to design ones, there are myriad ways to protect your digital assets.

The U.S. Trust defines digital assets as falling into four categories. These include personal, social, financial, and business.

To get started, take a sweep of your company. Then, identify items that fall into these sectors and research steps to keep them yours.

Your Digital Download Resource: Info You Can Trust

Are you looking to learn more about intellectual property protection? Would you also like to hear expert tips on everything from lifestyle trends to real estate?

If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Feel free to browse our helpful articles and let us know if there’s something you’d like to see. Together, we can build a more informed future!


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When You Really Need an Attorney, Here’s How to Find A Good One

July 10, 2017 - By 
lawyer

Are you looking for help after being arrested?

Dealing with an arrest is one of the toughest times someone goes through. Some people think an arrest means automatic guilt but it doesn’t.

A lawyer offers expertise in all aspects of a courtroom trial. These professionals will help you prepare your case every step of the way.

Everyone has the right to a fair trial and having an attorney. Not hiring an attorney increases the likelihood of losing a case. Losing a trial could mean paying fines and jail time.

In this article, you will know how to find out if you need an attorney.

Which Type of Attorney Do I Need?

You’ll want to start looking for a criminal defense lawyer if you’ve been arrested. A criminal defense lawyer offers professional representation in the courtroom.

It is best to go with a private attorney instead of public counsel. One study found clients choosing private over public counsel were 9% less likely to face jail time.

A criminal defense attorney has expertise in working similar cases. The main goal of these firms is to help those who have been arrested.

An attorney will help obtain all evidence and documents surrounding your arrest. You’ll feel more at ease with a professional negotiating on your behalf.

Self-representation might be entertaining in the movies but this is real life. You can’t afford to risk losing a case when your future is on the line.

A criminal defense attorney provides the knowledge, skills, and guidance to help you win your case.

Where Can I Find a Trustworthy Attorney?

One way to find an attorney you can trust is through an employer. It is likely a business has fought through their own legal battles. In certain cases, companies offer free or discounted legal representation for employees.

Another option is to ask family and friends for an attorney recommendation. Asking people close to you ensures you get information you can trust.

Taking to the internet to find a lawyer is a great idea. Browsing lawyer websites will help you learn more about local practices. These websites should have relevant contact information.

Local directories are a valuable source for finding local law practices. Once you’ve found a team of criminal defense lawyers, it’s time to ask a few important questions.

What Should I Ask During Evaluations?

You’ll want to know what kind of law an attorney specializes in. For example, having a divorce lawyer fight a DUI case isn’t the best idea.

Knowing the credentials of a law firm is wise. You can ask if the lawyer has received any extra credentials in their field. Many lawyers will have their certifications on display.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends asking lawyers about fee explanations. Certain states require lawyers lists total costs in writing once representation has begun.

Being arrested is a tough time in anyone’s life. It is important to find an attorney to fight in your corner. A lawyer will help fight for your rights ensuring you have a fair trial.


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7 Necessary Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers

July 6, 2017 - By 
growth hacking tools

If you run a small business, especially a new one, there is one statement that sums up your situation:

You’re either growing or you’re dying.

That probably sounds a little dramatic, but it’s true. Growth is what separates good companies from closed ones.

Luckily, there are a plethora of growth hacking tools that can help you experience the rise in business that you need to thrive. Below are 7 necessary growth hacking tools for marketers that will take your company to the next level.

1.) JustReachOut

This is a service that can help get you exposure quickly. The premise is simple: you reach out to journalists that need help writing a story need an expert to quote. They write their story with you in it, and you post the story all over the internet.

This not only will help with name and brand recognition, but it will also lend some credibility to you. Being listed as an expert in a news story builds trust with the public.

2.) Colibri

Speaking of becoming an expert in the eyes of the public, Colibri helps you not only recognize where your voice will be heard but also helps build a social media brand that will be hard to rival.

Colibri basically monitors sites like Twitter and Quora and then tells you when something relevant happens. It will tell you where to comment or answer a question so that you don’t have to spend hours digging through hashtags.

3.) FameBit-YouTube Stars as Growth Hacking Tools

This company helps you find people on YouTube known as influencers. This basically means that they have a huge following and a knack for getting their viewers to go to your page.

From there, they help you connect and hire them so that you can get massive exposure. How massive? This list shows the top YouTubers and the amount of subscribers and views they have.

4.) InFusion Soft

This is an automation tool for small businesses that allows you to rank your leads and automatically follow up with them.

Not only does this help provide excellent customer service, but it will also ensure that your employees can focus on things other than sending the same email to 50 clients. It helps build your brand and maximizes your labor.

5.) Olark

This tool allows you to do two very important things. First, you can monitor your website’s visitors to see what pages they are on the most.

Second, it allows you to engage them in dialogue so that you can find out what they are looking for and respond. It’s a great way to turn views into converted sales.

6.) YesWare

While we are on the topic of conversions, wouldn’t it be nice to know how effective your email campaign is? With YesWare, you will find out for better or worse.

This tool tells you who opened your email, how many times they opened it, and what kind of device they opened it on. In short, it gives you all the information you need to make adjustments on the fly and maximize your emails.

This is probably the best of the email based growth hacking tools out there.

7.) Outbrain

Have you ever been on a website and see the section called “around the world” or something similar? This tool makes you visible in that section. It doesn’t just make you visible on small websites either. We’re talking CNN/Slate type sites.

In other words, websites with millions of viewers a day will become growth hacking tools for your business.

If you use these tools properly and put in some work, there’s no reason your company won’t experience a high level of growth. If you enjoyed this article, make sure that you check out our other work as well!

While you’re at it, make sure you look at some of the e-books and other downloads we have to offer. There’s sure to be something that you’ll enjoy!


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How to Select the Right Colors for Web Development and Design

July 6, 2017 - By 

Web Development and DesignWeb development and design can be a challenge. There are so many decisions to make, and color is one of the most fundamental.

The right color scheme can make or break a website, playing a huge role in how well it serves its purpose.

A poor color scheme could:

  • Create a bad first impression.
  • Drive customers away.
  • Make your business appear unprofessional.
  • Make your site hard to read or navigate, damaging user experience.
  • Damage your brand image.

Does this sound extreme?

How likely are you to purchase services from a business with a website that has a black background and neon-yellow text?

Or pale yellow text on a white background?

Or every color under the sun on every single page?

You get the idea. In web development and design, color matters a whole lot.

If you’re not sure how to create the right color scheme for your website, you’re in the right place. This post will take you through the color schemes you should never use, then give you clear steps detailing how to pick the right colors for your site.

Ready to create some amazing web color schemes?

Let’s do this.

The color schemes you shouldn’t use in web development and design

Before you learn what you should do when creating color schemes for web development and design, let’s cover what you should avoid at all costs.

If any of these choices feature in your current color scheme, it’s time for a drastic redesign.

Using only one color.

You might think you’ve hit on the solution to all your color scheme woes.

“I know, I’ll just use a single color!”

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

Using a single color makes it hard for visitors to distinguish between the different areas of your site. It means you can’t highlight links, buttons, and other important elements which would usually be shown in a contrasting color.

Having a single color also makes your site look basic and poorly-designed, which is not what you want.

Using rainbow colors.

On the other side of the coin, don’t think you can get away with using every color. Rainbow colors might look great on your toddler’s latest finger painting, but they aren’t right for a professional website.

Too many colors will make your site look cluttered, busy, and hard to navigate.

Too many bright/neon colors.

Your website should be easy on the eyes. If any of the colors used are painful to look at for long, they need to go.

Imagine that someone is reading a long blog post with small text on your site. Would the colors you’ve picked be comfortable to look at for long periods of time?

If not, give them a miss.

Too many dark colors.

For the vast majority of websites, light, bright colors will create the most user-friendly experience.

Sites with very dark backgrounds, lots of dark elements, and dark text don’t appear professional and aren’t pleasant to browse.

Imagine you’re designing a room, and you want it to look as welcoming as possible. You’d pick bright, neutral colors – you wouldn’t paint the walls black and put up dark brown drapes.

Light colors on a light background.

This is one of the biggest issues for many sites, especially those with lots of text.

Light colored text on a light background just isn’t easy for visitors to read, which will put them off spending time on your site.

Choose clear, contrasting colors for your design, and remember that people may be browsing on screens with low brightness, or could have visual impairments. Test your colors on a few different devices to make sure they’re as clear as possible.

The color schemes you should use in web development and design

Want to learn how to create a winning color scheme in a few easy steps?

Read on.

Pick the right starting color.

Take a deep breath.

You’re about to pick the color that your entire color scheme will be based around. This is an important color, and you might feel spoilt for choice.

If that’s the case, here are some ideas to help you pick the perfect shade:

  • Use a color already associated with your brand, like your logo color.
  • Don’t use the same color as your competition. A new cola brand in red? Not a good idea.
  • Pick a color to appeal to your audience. Gardening blog? Green could be perfect.
  • Look at color psychology for ideas. Blue is calming, orange is comforting, and yellow is emotional.

Use color palettes for inspiration.

Once you’ve decided on a base color, like red, yellow or blue, you’ll need to pick the exact shade.

This can feel pretty overwhelming, and looking to existing color palettes for inspiration can be a big help.

Simply search ‘color palettes’ or ‘design trends‘, then copy and paste hex codes, or use the color picker in your design program to grab colors. Compare a few, and avoid copying the exact shade used by a competing brand.

Save your favorite palettes, as they could help with the next step.

For a more organic color selection process, try picking colors out of a photograph – this can feel a lot more inspiring than staring at hex codes.

Choose at least one accent color.

Okay, you’ve got your base color.

Now you need to choose an accent color.

This is the shade that will be used to highlight certain elements of your site, like links, text, and buttons. It should be a color that complements your base color and stands out without looking too jarring.

If you picked your first color using a palette, you might find a suitable accent color there. If not, try looking at a color wheel and picking a color that’s opposite or next to your original shade.

Multiple accent colors can look good, but don’t go overboard – stick to a maximum of three.

If in doubt, stick with one accent color for a simple, sleek look.

Use different shades of gray for text and backgrounds.

We talked about how too many colors can make your website look cluttered.

That’s true, but it doesn’t mean you can’t add different backgrounds to certain areas of your site, or highlight specific pieces of text.

You just need to use a magical color called gray.

Grey matches perfectly with any color scheme and draws attention without looking busy or tacky.

Your color scheme should include a light gray and a dark gray, to be used anywhere you want to create separation. Pick grays that match well with your base color – for example, blue gray to match a blue base color.

Feeling lost when it comes to color schemes for web development and design?

Follow this guide and you’ll soon be creating color schemes that perfectly represent your brand and provide the framework for a beautiful, professional website.

Start creating your new web color scheme today.


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Regular Office Cleaning Leads to Happy Employees

July 6, 2017 - By 
office cleaning

Office cleaning is a great way to boost company morale and help your employees feel valued and respected.

A clean workspace has been proven to increase productivity. Mess leads to stress. Plus, mess makes it harder to stay organized and can lead to lost or damaged documents, equipment, and more.

But that’s not all. Cleanliness is also a requirement for good health. The last thing you want to do is be the cause of more sick days for your employees!

Every Space Needs To Be Cleaned, Especially Shared Spaces Like An Office!

Think of all the germs and bacteria brought into the office by employees, visitors, delivery persons, etc. All the surfaces they’ve touched at home, in the restroom, on their commute to work, not to mention everything on the bottom of their shoes- yuck!

It’s Not Just About Germs

With so many papers and people moving around, dust can be a big problem in offices, too. Not only is dust a nuisance, many people are allergic to it.

Office cleaning helps to keep the workspace smelling fresh, and smells are strongly linked to mood. Think about it: would you rather work in a pleasant smelling space or in a dumpster? We can all agree on the answer there.

Plus, many people eat in offices. Even if it’s just a snack or birthday cake, crumbs can decay, leading to unpleasant smells and insect or vermin issues. If you neglect regular office cleaning, you could wind up with an ant, roach, or rodent problem that can quickly explode into a serious health concern.

It’s Also About Presentation

An office space is part of the face of your company.

Just like you yourself wouldn’t show up to work looking sloppy, you don’t want your office space to look a mess either!

If an employee is required to wear a suit but their superior shows up in sweats, that would be frustrating. The same goes for the space in which they work.

It’s not just about polishing glass doors, quality office cleaning involves attention to detail. Make sure your cleaning service knows how to clean the basics plus all of the technology in your office. You may know that things such as copy machines, keyboards, conference tables, water coolers, etc. are like a playground for bacteria.

Investing in regular corporate cleaning services is the way to go.

Cleanliness is not something you want on the mind of your employees or clients. Quality cleanliness should be the norm for a good health and happy, productive workplace.

That’s It!

Thanks for reading about keeping your employees happy and healthy with a clean office space! Don’t skimp on regular office cleaning services. A clean office can boost morale and productivity of you and your staff. Plus, you want to be sure you’re putting your best foot forward for visiting clients!

Want more articles like this? Check out our other great posts like “5 Things You Need To Know Before Buying a New House” and “Natural Pain Relief: 4 Things You Should Try.”


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5 Benefits of an Internal Search Bar for Your Website

July 5, 2017 - By 

Anyone who has a website is always on the lookout for ways to improve its performance. A search function can improve a website by keeping visitors on the site, speeding up the user experience, focusing on the customer, and by providing valuable data to marketers and SEO professionals.

Think about a brick-and-mortar bookstore. Shoppers enter the store but have no way to find the book they need. Most of them will leave the store, possibly never to return. A website is much the same. If users can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.

To learn how every website can benefit from having internal search, keep reading.

5 Benefits of Internal Search

Let’s get down to brass tacks and look at each of the benefits for a search bar on your website.

Keep Visitors on the Website

Like the bookstore example above, it’s bad for business when visitors leave because they can’t find what they’re looking for. If they have to leave to search Google, for example, that’s called a bounce.

The percentage of users who bounce is known as a bounce rate. While a higher bounce rate may not always be cause for concern, it can be. Websites can be ranked lower on search engines sometimes if they have high bounce rates.

Speed Up User Experience

People want results and they want them fast. If a website offers a search bar, that can save visitors precious time navigating through menus and sub-menus. They can find what they came for much faster, which creates a better user experience.

A better user experience can lead to higher rankings on search engines.

Focus on the Customer

A search bar to find information and products internally sends a specific message. It tells visitors that the website is focused on their needs. When visitors feel their needs are important, they can be more likely to convert. That means more customers.

Think of implementing a search bar the same way as creating a customer service department. Tell visitors that the website is for them.

Provide Marketers with Data

Successful marketing relies on all sorts of data. Demographics such as age and gender, product relatability, and even active time of day can play an important role in marketing. Internal search provides first-party data for marketers.

That means the data is direct from the source. It’s not filtered or controlled in any way contrary to what the marketer needs.

Gather SEO Data

SEO, or search engine optimization, makes websites more attractive to search engines, and the users who search them. There are many ways to improve SEO, but one way is to use the right keywords in the right places. Getting those keywords can be tough.

Without reading visitors’ minds, understanding what they want can be a roundabout process. Search bars can make keyword data gathering more straightforward.

A website without a search bar is missing out on these and other benefits. The good news is that any site can be fitted with an internal search feature. We’d love to hear about how a search bar helped your website. Contact us to share your story!


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5 Struggles Only Art Students Understand

July 5, 2017 - By 
art students

As all artists know, art school is a daily struggle. Between deadlines, sleeplessness, and creative blocks, it can be hard to focus on the payoff after graduation—an average salary between $47,000 and $89,000.

But still, art students keep their heads down and soldier on. Read on for the top 5 struggles every art student has dealt with in their scholastic career.

1. It’s not easy

This may be the most common misconception about art school. Students studying other disciplines may think that art is an “easy major,” but they have no idea how many sleepless nights the average art student has spent trying to finish a complicated project. One small mistake can often mean scrapping everything and starting over at the beginning.

Art students face a daily challenge to translate difficult-to-define emotions into something tangible and communicative. When they’re finished, they face lengthy critiques from professors and classmates before beginning the process again for the next project. It is certainly not easy.

2. Art supplies are expensive

Top-of-the-line oil paints, a quality digital drawing tablet, and that new set of colouring pencils Caran DAche style can all easily cost hundreds of dollars. Some stores will offer a student discount, but most art students expect to spend most of their hard-earned money on art supplies.

That hefty price tag can, unfortunately, stop art students from trying new things in their work. It’s difficult to experiment with new techniques if supplies are too expensive to replace.

3. It’s hard not to compare work to other artists’ pieces

Whether it’s the historical subjects of their classes, their talented professors, or an unusually gifted classmate, art students are constantly surrounded by masters in their field. It can be disheartening for a student to see another artist easily excel in areas they haven’t quite grasped yet.

That, combined with comments from viewers who just don’t “get” a particular piece, can block an art student’s motivation and make it tough to continue.

4. Friends and family will request commissions—for free

Maybe they’re looking for a new focal point for their foyer, a mural for their child’s bedroom, or a new logo for their small business. Regardless of their specific need, friends and family tend to look on art students as sources of free, personalized art.

This can be especially frustrating for students. Not only are they strapped for time, the supplies they use to make each project are not free. A well-intentioned favor can wind up costing art students money in the end.

5. It takes time to accumulate the resources needed to finish a project

Every art project is on a deadline. When a student has to spend an inordinate amount of time gathering supplies for a sculpture, going through tutorials on how to achieve a particular finish, or sourcing new brushes for their design software, it leaves very little time to actually work on the project itself.

That’s where Pligg can help. Pligg is home to a trove of downloadable eBooks, graphics, and design software plugins that can offer inspiration, instruction, or instruments—everything an art student needs to finish their project.


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5 Pro Tips to Keep Your Bike Working

July 5, 2017 - By 
bike maintenance

Regular bike maintenance is critical to enjoying hassle-free rides and prolonging the life of the bike. Who wants to go out and buy a new bike every few years? Not many!

When a bike’s squeaks, rattles, clicks, and clangs are ignored, performance suffers and it can become a safety hazard.

You don’t always have to take your bike down to the local bike shop, however, when some work needs to be done. Many maintenance techniques can be done right in your garage with an iced tea in hand.

Here are 5 at-home pro tips to help keep your bike in perfect working order for years to come.

1. Keep an Eye on Those Brake Pads

With regular use, brake pads begin to glaze due to the friction and heat between the pads and rims. Failing brake pads can turn an enjoyable ride into a scary one!

Just like in a car, glazed brake pads fail to stop a bike’s momentum at critical times. Simply put, they are not safe.

A cyclist’s first reaction is to buy new brake pads. This isn’t always needed.

Before spending unnecessary money, use some sandpaper and gently scrub the surface of each smoothed-out pad. Most of the time you’ll end up with like-new pads using this inexpensive, easy procedure.

2. Simple Frame Protection

Keeping the bike frame in good shape is key to a bike’s longevity.

Oftentimes the brake and gear cables that run along the frame begin to rub against it, causing damage. When this happens, find the points of contact and put small pieces of electrical tape between the frame and cables.

This helps protect the frame from long-term damage.

To cover existing nicks and dings, use an appropriate shade of nail polish (find that 50-shades-of-everything basket in the house) — but do so sparingly.

3. Keep Lubrication Levels in Check

More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to lubricating a bike chain.

If too much oil is applied to the chain, it can begin to accumulate dirt, dust, and debris. It can also cause excessive chain slipping and shorten the life of the bike’s drive train.

When too much oil has been applied, you’ll see areas of it beading up and gathering on components. Take a clean cloth and run it over the chain to rid it of the excess lubrication.

4. Properly Fit the Front Wheel

Tire punctures are frustrating, but they happen to the best of us.

Many times, after replacing the front tire, a rider will put the wheel back on the wrong way. This is common after experiencing the frustration of lost ride time.

We’re always in such a hurry, aren’t we?

The problem with attaching it backward is that the tire is now essentially rolling the wrong way. This results in less overall grip and performance.

How can you tell if the front wheel is fitted properly?

Simply match the quick release side with the quick release of the rear wheel.

Then be on your way to a high-performance ride.

5. Maintain the Seat Post

A seat post left in the same position for long periods of time can get permanently stuck in position. This turns the bike into a one-user-only proposition.

To avoid this, every month or so take a few minutes to remove and re-insert the seat post into the slot.

If you have a metal post and frame, use a bit of grease to keep it lubricated. If the bike has a carbon post and frame, dab on some friction paste.

Conclusion

These 5 tips will get you well on your way to keeping up with regular bike maintenance.

If your bike needs more work, a bike repair manual can save you loads of money. Plus, websites like the Inflation Zone can give you the lowdown on the best bikes out there, if you’re in the market for a new one.

Happy riding!