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5 Trendy Shoes Celebs Are Wearing This Fall 2017

November 20, 2017 - By 
Trendy Shoes

Looking to step up your shoe game this fall? Embrace your inner celebrity and invest in a pair of trendy shoes this fall. From stylish slouchy boots to bold block heels, the shoe upgrade options are endless.

Want to step up your shoe game this fall but not sure how? We’ve studied what the celebs are wearing this season to provide you with a list of must-have trendy shoes.

So, embrace your inner celebrity, add some versatility to your wardrobe, and invest in one of these 5 trendy shoes this fall.

1. Mismatched Shoes

What’s the biggest trend in footwear this fall? It’s mismatched shoes. Fashion houses like Moschino and Calvin Klein have embraced this trendy shoe style, and this look has appeared on many runways. If you want to feel like Selena Gomes strutting down the red carpet, buy a pair of mismatched chunky wooden heels, or go with shoes that have juxtaposing buckles.

2. Slouch Boots

Slouch boots have been all the rage this year. From Michael Kors to Marc Jacobs, slouch boots have appeared on pretty much every designer runway. So, if you want to strut down the street like Kristen Cavallari or another glamorous celeb, make sure you add a pair of slouch boots to your wardrobe

3. Block Heels

Retro style is back in with the ever-stylish block heel. Block heels come in a variety of styles, from sandals and classic pumps to ankle boots and winter boots. They’re a comfortable and functional modern take on retro style. Block heels are an easy go-to trendy shoe for many celebs like Lauren Conrad.

4. Statement Heels

There’s no better way to make a style statement than statement heels. These trendy shoes can elevate any look, whether it’s very feminine or sportier. They also come in a variety of prints and designs, which means it’s easy to find a pair that fits your personal style.

Here are just a few kinds of statement heels:

  • Mirrored gunmetal pumps
  • Multi-colored boot-sandal hybrids
  • Zebra-print pumps
  • Crystal-embellished pumps
  • Partially-transparent toe pumps

Pretty Small Shoes offers great pump options for women with size 4 shoes.

5. Sparkle & Shine Shoes

One of the biggest shoe trends of fall 2017 is sparkle and shine shoes. From boots and sandals to stilettos and chunky heels, many celebs are wearing shoes that feature a stylish silver and glitter combination. Iconic fashion houses like Miu Miu and Oscar de la Renta have embraced this new trend.

Other Trendy Shoes

Don’t love any of the options above? Here are some chic shoe options that celebs have been spotted in.

  • Combat boots
  • Cowboy boots
  • White shoes
  • Red boots
  • Velvet
  • Snakeskin

Final Thoughts

Shoes are more than just footwear, they’re an essential style element for any outfit. If you follow these shoe trends, you’re sure to look like a celeb strutting down the street. So pick a pair, embrace celeb and pop culture perfection, and hit the streets!

Have you bought any of these stylish shoes? Are there any trends we’re missing?Let us know in the comments!


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Best Employee Health Insurance Options for Small Businesses

November 17, 2017 - By 

These days, every business is struggling to provide for its hard-working employees. Businesses hit particularly hard are small businesses. That’s because they’re usually are new and aren’t as established as bigger businesses

In fact, 80% of businesses fail within their first year. Given this statistic, you may want to avoid providing employee health insurance.

It’s no exaggeration to say that health insurance prices have reached a ridiculous level. Economists project that in some states, health insurance will more than double next year.

Employees Are Worth The Extra Cost

It’s true providing employee health insurance will hit your business hard in the wallet. But before you dismiss the idea, consider how much you value your employees.

Without them, you’d be working every shift every day that your business is open. Plus, you’d be doing all the work–from customer service to accounting to clean-up–by yourself.

Now consider your outstanding employees, the ones who stay late to help out and come in when someone calls out sick. You want to keep employees like them because they go above and beyond to make sure the business operates smoothly.

High-quality workers will always be in-demand at every business. Those employees have the option between a job that provides a necessity such as health insurance and a job that does not. And they will almost always choose the job that provides health insurance.

Employee Health Insurance Options

Thankfully, you have numerous choices when it comes to providing employee health insurance. Insurance companies and brokers can provide you with more information on these and other choices. An example of a broker is Proactive Broker Network.

Individual Health Insurance

One option is to simply encourage your employees to buy their own plans. Almost every insurance company offers individual health insurance plans, including widely accepted names such as Anthem and United Health One.

The main problem with these plans is cost. Plans are organized by value tiers (bronze, silver, and gold), and the more valuable the plan, the higher the cost.

Age also plays a significant factor in individual healthcare insurance plan costs. Someone in their early twenties will pay a lot less than someone who is in their sixties. Insurance companies simply view older individuals as a higher risk for insurance.

If your employees are struggling to pay individual healthcare insurance costs, you can set up a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). HRAs are convenient for small businesses because the group, not the policy, chooses how much will be reimbursed. As an employer, you can set up an HRA through your business’s healthcare provider’s online software.

Another individual healthcare insurance option is obtaining a plan through the Marketplace. Per the ACA, the Marketplace partially bases your premium on your income rather than your age. To qualify for lower premiums, though, your employees will need to submit paperwork proving their annual income.

The SHOP Marketplace

This employee health insurance option operates specifically with small businesses in mind.

Much like the individual Marketplace, the SHOP (Small Business Health Options) Marketplace offers group plans for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Each plan requires the business to cover a certain percentage of its employees’ premiums.

To qualify for certain plans through the SHOP Marketplace, businesses may also need to meet specific requirements. One popular requirement is having a certain number of employees enrolled. Very small businesses may need to have all employees enrolled in order to be eligible.

For example, Massachusetts’s SHOP Marketplace requires employers to cover 50% or more of their employees’ premiums. Businesses with five or fewer employees must have all employees enrolled while businesses with six to 50 employees must have 75% of their employees enrolled.

Private Health Exchanges

Private health exchanges are a useful option for employers who have employees with very different needs.

Through a private health exchange, employers buy a set of plan options for their employees to choose from. These options are all group- or individual-based.

It might seem like a pain to have your employees choose their own plan without consulting you. But again, consider your valuable employees.

While many of your employees are likely healthy enough to consider a basic health plan, some may not be. What’s more, some may have immediate family members who rely on the employee health insurance you provide. Even though those employees may cost you more, they also earn you more, so it’s worth allowing them to pick a plan that suits their needs.

Additionally, if you let your employees pick their own health insurance plans, you can actually save money. You may have a few employees who choose more expensive plans, yes, but most will likely go with cheaper options. In this fashion, you can cover all your employees, even your more expensive ones.

Co-op Groups

With the cost of employee health insurance on the rise, co-op (Consumer-Operated and -Oriented Plan) insurance groups are becoming a popular option.

Co-op groups operate much like a traditional insurance company in that members pay a fee for access to cheaper healthcare. Some co-op groups have been known to charge members as little as $90 a month.

At the same time, you should be aware that that isn’t a standard cost for all co-op groups. The members of each co-op group decide what price they will charge every month.

Something else to be aware of when it comes to co-op groups is many don’t include hospital care access.

Private Small Group Insurance Plans

Perhaps the most expensive of all small business insurance options is private small group insurance.

Private small group insurance is the traditional method for providing health insurance to small business employees. Due to rising healthcare costs, though, it’s become a less attractive option.

One reason it remains on the table, though, is its simplicity. The other options all require a good deal of planning, discussion, and paperwork.

With private small group insurance plans, you simply choose a plan and offer it to all your employees. From there, you only need to keep track of who has enrolled and who hasn’t.

Learn What You Need to Know Today!

Pligg provides you with all you need to know about a variety of topics, including travel, technology, and employee health insurance options. If there’s a topic you’d like to see us cover, feel free to reach out to us today!


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4 Things You Need to Know About Remarketing Strategies

November 17, 2017 - By 
Remarketing

Remarketing is a crucial component of a company’s sales strategy. It involves renewing contact with potential or current customers.

They do this by reintroducing products or services or using retargeting tools.

Companies must find a way to respond to decreased sales and shifts in demand.

Demand shifts have several causes:

  • buyer income and employment
  • consumer trends and tastes
  • expectations of future price or supply
  • the price of related goods
  • population shifts
  • market size

To address this issue, you’ll need a robust strategy to guarantee the success of your business.

While digital marketing tactics might bring customers in, you need to do more to convert them.

Keep reading to learn what to do.

Tips on Remarketing Strategies

Following the right strategies is a cost-effective targeting method. It boosts your customer retention and improves your conversion rates.

Here are the four things you need to know:

1. Sending Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails Works

Seventy percent of shoppers say they want a personalized experience from brands. One of the top personalized methods is sending a shopping cart abandonment email.

Customers receive this email when they fail to buy the items in their shopping cart.

Visitors abandon their carts for various reasons. It could be due to distractions, lost internet connections, or high costs. Or, it could be due to uncertainty or a complicated checkout process.

A follow-up email tries to convert these shoppers. This personalized email offers to solve the shopper’s problem with the sales process.

It shows the business cares about the buyer.

2. Using Retargeting Ads Will Convert Customers

Retargeting ads work well on website visitors.

It involves signing up to the Google Display Network and creating intuitive ads. These ads show up on sites your visitors go to. They display products visitors were curious about when they were browsing your website.

Using retargeting ads is cost-effective because they don’t target random potential customers. Instead, they focus on people who want your products or services.

Specific browser cookies tell websites to show related ads to the potential customer.

The targeting is either pixel-based or list-based. Pixel-based targeting uses cookies, while list-based targeting sends ads to listed customers.

These targeted ads help create awareness and convert website visitors.

3. Reinforce Your Message Through Video Remarketing

Video remarketing is about showing personalized ads to those on YouTube. If anyone watches your videos or visits your channel, they’ll get targeted ads.

Link your channel to Google AdWords. Then, target your campaign to users.

This strategy reaches many potential customers and improves your return on investment (ROI).

4. Segment Your Campaigns to Meet Customers’ Needs

Don’t make the mistake of retargeting customers in a block format. Customers are different.

Consider demographic information, visitors’ website behavior, and geographic location.

Tailor your campaign messages to each segmented group. This ensures customers get messages that make sense to them individually.

It also makes your call-to-action have a better impact.

Learn More About Digital Downloads

Remarketing works if you combine it with other marketing strategies. As such, you will have the tools for attracting, retaining, and converting customers.

Be careful not to stalk customers online with constant ads. This will create a negative impression of your brand.

Moreover, it will chase customers away.

Contact us to learn more about digital sales and downloads.


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5 Signs A Loved One Should Contact An Addiction Recovery Center

November 16, 2017 - By 

Addiction is a difficult enemy to face.

It turns even the most successful, responsible people into complete opposites of themselves.

Even worse, true addiction is not something that someone can simply “get over” on their own.

It’s also more common than you think. Studies show that over 40 million people in the United States suffer from drug or alcohol addiction to some degree.

People who suffer from addiction may not always talk about it. But it can be fairly difficult to hide as it gets worse.

Friends and loved ones may not say it, but they need you to help through intervention and put a stop to their habits.

Read on to learn about the five warning signs someone may need to visit an addiction recovery center.

1. They’ve Had to Leave Their Job or School

This is one of the most common signs of addiction.

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. It’s not uncommon for an employee to occasionally run late to work.

Similarly, students are likely to miss classes and assignments any number of times while they’re in school.

But problems arise when these occurrences become normal behavior.

Consistently poor grades can lead to expulsion from school.

Poor job performance can result in termination, resulting in a downward spiral that comes from not having a paycheck.

Losing a job or being kicked out of school isn’t normal. They often indicate an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

If someone you know has been kicked out of school or fired from work, look into the matter and find the cause.

2. They’ve Legitimately Tried to Quit and Couldn’t

Quitting can be hard, even when you’re not addicted to something.

By definition, an addiction is an overwhelming dependence on something else. It involves almost anything, such as video games or stealing. But addiction most commonly involves drugs and alcohol.

Quitting doesn’t come easy. The average smoker makes approximately 30 attempts before quitting cigarettes for good.

When someone attempts to discontinue their bad habit and fails, it’s a clear sign that they suffer from addiction.

At this point, the next logical step is an addiction recovery center.

Places like the Recovery Village offer a 24/7 hotline you can call whenever you need to.

Your conversation is entirely confidential. The main goal is getting your loved one into a facility putting their lives back on track.

3. They Lie About Their Drinking or Substance Use

Those who lie about their substance abuse are often ashamed about how much they consume. They may talk about how last night they had “one or two beers.”

In reality, it was likely more than that, and something stronger than beer.

Alcohol consumption generally gets downplayed. Substances, however, are slightly different.

Those who suffer from an opiate addiction or use other drugs often don’t even mention it. When confronted, they may deny it entirely.

If you happen to know a friend or family member’s consumption habits are unsafe, approach them about it.

One of two things will happen:

They will acknowledge that they need help and work toward finding a solution right for them.

Or they will deny they have an issue. At this point, rehab is their best option.

Before moving toward treatment, though, consider every available option.

4. They’ve Been in Legal Trouble

Drugs and alcohol always lead to trouble with the law. Possession of illicit substances carries a prison sentence and drinking and driving will take away driving privileges.

If someone you know has frequent trouble with the police, you may want to look into it.

If a friend or loved one gets arrested at 11 AM for being aggressively drunk in public, there is definitely an issue that you need to help them take care of.

Similarly, if they end up in cuffs as a direct result of their substance abuse, get them to rehab. They need to get help, but you have to make it happen.

In some states, family members of the addict can legally force them to enter a drug and alcohol recovery program.

For situations that involve friends, it isn’t so easy.

But you can help them by showing them the damage they cause to themselves and the people around them.

5. They Show Visible Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone attempts to end an addiction, the body displays certain symptoms as it detoxes.

For alcohol, the symptoms commonly include fatigue, nausea, excessive shaking, and sweating.

For other substances, the symptoms range from vomiting to severe anxiety.

Withdrawal symptoms are debilitating. It can prevent someone from going to school, work, or fulfilling their responsibilities.

In severe cases, it can even result in depression and self-harm. You must take all measures possible to avoid this scenario.

Many people who attempt to end their alcohol or substance dependency go through withdrawal. If this is affecting someone you know, an addiction recovery center is the best place for them to detox safely.

If the addict attempts to handle the symptoms alone, they may relapse. Rehabilitation programs will help keep them on the wagon.

An Addiction Recovery Center Can Help

There’s no shame in getting help. Don’t feel guilty making sure someone who needs assistance receives it. And an addiction recovery center is the place to go.

Rehabilitation may seem intimidating at first, but it is a necessary step toward recovery.

To learn more about the experience during rehab, as well as local addiction recovery centers, check out this guide and find your answer today.


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5 Online Tools That Every Social Media Strategist Needs to Use

November 16, 2017 - By 

A business owner is only as great as their tools. And the same goes for marketers. If you’re trying to enhance your digital marketing, then you can’t overlook the power of social media.

There are millions of people using Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube. Millions of hours are spent daily watching online video, reading content and engaging.

With the right mix, you can create a social media presence that drives more likes, shares, comments, and clicks. One way to improve your social media marketing is to enhance your writing, editing, and automation.

So let’s get into the tools you should use to become a better social media strategist.

1.Dashboard & Management Tools

Once you get your hand on one of these management tools, you’ll never go back to tweeting your own tweets. And what’s great about these tools is you can use them on various platforms.

For instance, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and a host of others are compatible. You’re able to see all activity on one dashboard, including messages, feeds, comments, likes, shares and so on.

Then the scheduling of your future posts is a piece of cake. Some of the tools you should add to your arsenal include SocialBro and Hootsuite.

2. Twitter Social Tools

Now, there are some tools that specialize in specific social networks. In this case, it’s Twitter.

There are various software and services you can use, such as Followerwonk, Tweetcaster (for iOS and Android devices) and Tweetdeck.

Social Rank is also worthy of checking out, which helps you find the top 10 followers. This is based on key criteria, like most engaged, best followers and most valuable.

3. Facebook Social Tools

On the other hand, if you’re a Facebook pro, then there are tools for you as well. You can use these to capture insights and stats for your pages. And some even offer reports with a list of recommendations., like LikeAlyzer.

Some of the other Facebook tools out there include Fanpage Karma, Facebook Custom Audiences, and Wolfram Alpha Facebook Report.

4. Writing and Editing Tools for the Avid Poster

Your posts represent your brand. If they’re low-quality and have typos, then you’re making a bad impression. You can fix this by using writing and editing tools.

For instance, you can use the free online proofreading tools or those that help generate ideas, such as Portent.

Another is Easy Word Count, which is handy for ensuring you stick within the specific word counts of various social media platforms.

5. Analytics Tools for the Social Media Strategist

Knowing what your competitors are up to is key to gaining a competitive edge. With Rival IQ, you can keep track of their activity across all platforms, such as Twitter, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.

Buzz Sumo is another clever tool for tracking content and rankings on social networks. So if you’re at a loss for topic ideas, this is a tool to gauge ideas based on what’s trending.

Download Software Needed to Enhance Your Marketing

If you’re committed to making your marketing tasks as simple as possible, then you need the necessary tools. At Pligg, you can find various software to download for content and online marketing.

There’s also a host of guides you can find to help improve skills as a social media strategist. Stop by today to find tips and tools to enhance your digital marketing strategy.


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5 Downloadable Financial Tools You Need to Have

November 16, 2017 - By 

Do you struggle with setting and sticking to a budget?

If so, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent Gallup poll found that only about 30% of people regularly set a budget.

Further, 10% of Americans have no credit history whatsoever. This means that an astounding 45 million people don’t currently have a credit score.

If you’re not exactly up-to-date with your current finances, don’t panic. Now is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf.

You can start by using these five downloadable financial tools to help you to better manage your money and track your spending.

1. If You Struggle to Stay on Top of Your Bills

No one wants to fall behind on their bills or forget to pay them. But with so many other things going on, it’s easy to make a mistake.

Missing payments can cause your credit score to take a serious hit, and you might end up having to pay astronomical late fees.

Enter the downloadable Prism app, which helps you to remember to pay all your bills on time.

All you need to do is download the app on your cell phone, enter your different bill amounts and the companies you’re paying top, and then link to the account you use to pay them.

When a bill is due or becomes available, you get a notification reminder from Prism.

Best of all? It’s totally free!

2. If You Have Trouble Budgeting

Are you guilty of splurging a little too often?

Are you unsure of where all your money is going?

Do you need a better understanding of what your lifestyle is really costing you?

If so, you’re a great candidate for You Need A Budget, a downloadable financial solutions app and software that helps you to better track your finances. The app allows you to create various categories for your spending. These include things like rent, your water/gas bill, grocery money, and going out/entertainment.

This will also help you to identify the areas in which you’re overspending.

You can then get a much better handle on your spending, and allocate the money you have coming into your specific expenses.

The app also helps you to save by allowing you to set saving goals and reminded you to allocate a portion of your income to that goal.

3. If You Want To Save

Though the last downloadable app we mentioned has a component related to saving, if you want to get serious about setting some cash aside, you need an app solely dedicated to that.

Enter the aptly-named Acorns App, which helps you to stash away your funds. The app has lots of different capabilities but is perhaps most famous for rounding up every purchase you make on your credit/debit card to the next dollar.

It creates a diverse investment portfolio without high management fees and commissions, as your “spare change” is automatically invested for you.

You can choose from five pre-made portfolios, or just have the money directly placed into your savings account.

You can also make larger, one-time investments if you come into some extra money, earn money off of referrals, and create a recurring investment. This app is simple, low-risk, and incredibly easy to use.

4. If You Need To Monitor Your Investments

If you have major or minor investments, you clearly already know a little bit about managing and growing your money.

However, how often are you really tracking those investments? And how can you be sure that your current financial advisor really has your best interests at heart?

That’s where the downloadable Personal Capital app comes in.

It offers the perfect combination of advice from real-life financial advisors along with information from tested financial algorithms.

It can help you to analyze the effectiveness of your 401(k) and your other retirement accounts, alongside other investments you may have. It will also help you to assess how your current investment strategy is helping you to achieve your financial goals.

5. If You Need To Get A Loan

Of course, we understand that many might feel a bit unsafe about downloading a tool that has access to their bank account numbers and other sensitive financial information.

Instead of going with a downloadable option when it comes to applying for a loan, it’s best to work through the website of an online lender.

One of our favorites?

Bonsai Finance.

Their services cover a wide range of financial issues, from acquiring a credit card if your credit history is less-than-perfect to applying for a variety of personal loans.

They also don’t require a credit check, which makes it much easier for those that need help the most to be able to get it.

Their system is also incredibly intuitive and easy to use. All you need to do is select the type of loan you’d like, use the sliding scale tool to determine how much you need, and then submit your request.

If it’s your first time applying for a loan, you’ll also find their FAQ section to be incredibly helpful.

What Other Downloadable Options Can Help You To Live Better?

Now that you know how downloadable financial tools and apps can help you to manage your money better, it’s time to think bigger.

What other tools can help you to evaluate and improve all the areas of your life?

Our enormous library and blog about digital downloads can help you to figure it out.

You can download eBooks and documents, find the perfect graphics for your website, and even connect with some of the best software on the market.

Then, you can rely on our blog to teach you how to get the most out of these tools, as well as to learn about a wide variety of industries and subjects. No matter what you like to do, we have the information you need to do it even better.

What are you waiting for?

Start browsing our site today!


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Muscle Building Gear and Accessories to Boost Your Workout

November 13, 2017 - By 
bodybuilding gear

Starting a new workout routine can leave you sore and tired. That might be why three out of four people who set fitness goals give them up soon after. Bodybuilding gear that feels comfortable and looks cool can help you get motivated on those tough days off.

Here are 5 essential accessories to motivate your bodybuilding routine and keep you focused in the gym

Workout Towel

If you’re new to a gym or trying a workout routine for the first time, you want to let other gym members know you were raised right. Show your etiquette by bringing a towel with you to every machine you use.

Wipe down machines and weights after you use them to be a good member of the gym community.

It’s also important that you stay dry and have something to wipe yourself down. Slip-and-falls are common at gyms and the last thing you want to do is drop a 40-pound weight because your hands were sweaty.

Add some sweat-wicking clothing and you’ll be good to go. Check out Monsta Clothing to learn more about quality workout materials.

Heavy Duty Gym Bag

It’s good to keep all of your clothes, supplements, and gear in one place. Having a quality gym bag is key to getting you out the door and to the gym every day.

Keep a second, smaller mesh drawstring bag inside to hold your dirty gym clothes. A breathable bag will make sure everything doesn’t get musty and mildewy.

A high-quality bag will last for years and allow for regular cleaning.

BPA-Free Reusable Water Bottle

It’s important for your muscle growth to stay hydrated during a workout. Muscles need water when they contract during a workout. Having a reusable water bottle on hand is a way to be good to the environment while keeping yourself in shape.

Lightweight BPA-Free bottles won’t have you drinking toxic chemicals that cheaper plastic bottles do. Most gyms have them on hand or for sale in their shop.

Weightlifting Gloves

Aside from muscle strain, one of the most painful side effects from weightlifting is the blisters that you can get on your hands. A high-quality pair of weightlifting gloves can protect you from that.

They also improve your grip and prevent you to dropping a dumbbell or barbell, hurting yourself or other people.

The wrist supports that are built into higher quality weightlifting gloves are a must for bodybuilding gear. They can protect you from injuring your forearms when you lift and keep your arms from giving out.

Bluetooth Headphones

Music is a great motivator during a workout. The rhythm of the right song can make those last few reps a little easier and make the slower parts of your workout more bearable.

Sports headphones with clips that go over your ears will prevent you from losing momentum. Bluetooth headphones will allow you to go cordless and open up your movement as you work out.

Find a pair you feel comfortable with and that help you to go all the way, rather than a pair that you find popping out every two steps. And of course, make sure you’ve downloaded all the hottest tracks before you get to the gym.

Now That You’ve Got The Right Bodybuilding Gear

Get yourself to the gym! Find yourself a spotter and stay safe. Ask trainers for tips on your form to avoid injury.

Then keep focused, keep hydrated, and keep lifting!


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What are the Benefits of Using CBD Oil?

November 13, 2017 - By 
cdc oil

It’s been well-established that medical marijuana can help people lead healthier and better lives. This is why a whopping 94 percent of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis.

That being said, a lot of people don’t understand how medicinal marijuana works. In particular, a lot of people are missing out on the amazing, and non-psychoactive, effects of CBD oil.

There are a large number of amazing benefits to CBD. If you’re not sure if medicinal oil is right for you, read about these amazing effects.

Benefit From Antipsychotic Effects

A lot of people worry about the link between cannabis and mental illness. While the data on this issue is inconclusive, the fact remains that THC is the point of concern.

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Comparatively, CBD counteracts these effects.

It’s important to note that while we don’t know if THC has psychotic effects, we know that CBD can act as a known antipsychotic.

Please be aware that this form of treatment should only come from a doctor. Still, the data seems to say that it works.

Reduce Pain With CBD Oil

Chronic pain is a growing problem for people. Between car accidents and inactive lifestyles, it’s not uncommon to feel the pain from an injury years after recovery.

Luckily, you can reduce pain with CBD.

There are a number of blends that can help you with this specific problem. Using Quantum 9 cannabis oil for pain, for instance, is a great way to feel healthy and relaxed.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider this revolutionary, natural pain treatment.

Cut Anxiety

Anxiety is a growing problem. This makes sense.

No matter what you do, you have a lot to be nervous about. This applies to janitors and new business owners alike.

A little nervousness is good. Being aware of the risks of your decision is a good way to make the right choices. That being said, there is such a thing as being too anxious.

You don’t want to be paralyzed by fear. If this applies to you, CBD oil can help you cut your anxiety.

Sleep Easier

You should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. But most of us are not.

This can be bad news. If you struggle with insomnia, it can be hard to recover from illnesses and have the physical health you need. It can also damage your mental functioning.

Luckily, CBD oil has been proven to reduce insomnia symptoms in patients. So make this a part of your health regimen.

Stop Seizures

Epilepsy can be an absolutely brutal condition. While it can be nearly impossible to live with, it’s good to know that CBD oil can provide reliable treatment for sufferers.

This isn’t just a pitch. It’s been confirmed by authoritative sources such as the Epilepsy Foundation. So if you or a loved one suffers from seizures, there is hope.

A high-quality oil can be just what you need to make life more manageable.

Boost Your Appetite

If you have a low appetite, life can be difficult. You need the nutrients from your food.

This problem can be made worse by the fact that whole foods can be very difficult for a constantly nauseous person to eat.

Luckily, CBD oil has been shown to increase appetite in those who suffer from illness.

This could be the solution your body needs to a problem with a far-reaching impact. Consider taking oils to keep yourself healthy and hungry.

Quit Smoking

If you haven’t quit smoking, there’s a simple suggestion that you need to follow.

Quit.

We all know the many risks of cigarette smoking, ranging from diabetes and cancer to heart disease and emphysema.

Quitting is easier said than done. Tobacco is designed to addict the user, making it nearly impossible to fully stop smoking. Luckily, there is a material that can help you kick your addiction to tobacco.

CBD oil is an effective mechanism for smoking cessation. While you should consult with a doctor before making it the core of your strategy, it’s known to be incredibly useful for gradually getting yourself to stop using cigarettes.

You shouldn’t smoke anymore. Make sure you use oil to gain control of your life.

Possibly Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are awful. While making these conditions a thing of the past is still a mystery to the science world, CBD oil may be effective.

Unfortunately, it cannot be the be-all-end-all of your strategy.

Combine it with a commitment to doctors visits, a healthy lifestyle, and regular genetic testing.

Fighting disease is a constant battle.

One day, these conditions will be fully preventable. Unfortunately, that isn’t where we are right now.

In spite of this, there’s a lot you can do to keep your mind and body healthy and safe.

Fight Cancer

Cancer is an awful disease. During treatment, people need all the help they can get. Knowing what we now know about CBD oil, it’s safe to say that it will become an important tool in the fight against this awful human condition.

The oil has been shown to help at various stages of treatment. It can make pain and nausea fade during chemotherapy, for instance. It can also provide healing by shrinking the size of tumors.

This shouldn’t be your only method of treatment. However, when you combine cannabis oil with other cancer therapies, it goes a long way.

Learn More

We want to help you learn more about helpful facts that can enrich your life. Whether you’re looking for tips on business or medicine, we have the content and downloads to make things better and easier.

If you want to get started on making things better, check out our document library.


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3 Qualities to Look for in a Great Access Door

November 13, 2017 - By 

Having a great access door means more than just providing entry for plumbing or electrical units. It can offer safety and security when used as a safe.

There are many purposes you can use an access door for but it ultimately ends up being an easy way to conduct necessary maintenance repairs. Whether that’s what you intend to use it for or want to convert it into something else, we have advice on the qualities a good access door should have.

Ready to find out what they are? Here we go!

Hidden Hinges

Concealed hinges are great if you’re wanting the door to be flush with the wall. That way, it doesn’t stick out awkwardly.

They also come in handy if you’re using your door as a safe. When the hinges are located within the door itself, it’s impossible to be tampered with. Crooks looking to gain access won’t find a way because they can’t locate the hinges.

Not only do they offer security when used that way but they’re easy to install. Whether you do it yourself or have a professional do the install, most concealed hinges work like a puzzle. All that needs to be done is to click one piece inside the other.

Fire-Rated Access Door

Since most doors are used to conceal electrical units, it’s best to invest in a door that’s fire-rated. Why?

If a fire were to happen, one that’s fire-rated limits the amount of smoke that’s produced. Also, it has properties that prevent the fire from spreading past the doors.

These types of doors prove themselves useful because when installed, it creates a tight seal against the wall. When used in the kitchen, for example, the material it’s made out of won’t become hot to the touch. All that’s heated inside the door won’t transfer onto the door itself.

Companies like Best Access Doors understand consumers want to keep their home protected. Therefore, they offer a wide variety of fire-rated access doors.

Can Withstand the Elements

Most doors can be used indoors and outdoors. While it’s great to have one that can do both, it’s best to consider the type of weather in the area you live in if the door will be on the exterior of your home.

If it’s strictly indoor, sticking it outside won’t put it to good use. It’ll slowly deteriorate from the outside elements.

Harsh winters or even blazing sunlight can cause damage. When shopping, be sure to pick up one that’s specifically for the outdoors.

It can also withstand mildew and warping caused by weather. It’s worth the investment so you don’t have to replace the door three years from now.

Wrapping Up

When picking out an access door, it’s best to remember these three qualities. Your door should be able to withstand the outside elements and keep your valuables safe.

Whatever you decide to use it for, make sure it fits your needs. There’s plenty of options to choose from so you won’t be stuck with one that’s useless.

For more information on a plethora of topics, check out our recent blog posts!


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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

If there’s a better option for a deck than hardwood decking, we couldn’t tell you what it is. The strength and beauty of hardwood is without match, and its durability seals the deal for anyone considering hardwood as a deck building option.

Hardwood decking provides the best long-lasting alternative to synthetic materials or softwoods. It boasts a natural beauty that gets better with age, much like a fine wine.

Nobody can deny the durability of hardwood. As an example, the hardwood Ipe Decking used on the Coney Island Boardwalk lasted 70 years. When torn down, the wood was re-used on other products.

If you’re looking to create an unforgettable outdoor oasis for your house then hardwood is where you should start.

Here’s everything you need to know about DIY hardwood decking.

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

The first step is choosing the right hardwood for your project. Here, we’ll break down 5 of the most popular options so you can choose the right one for your project.

If you’d like to know what other types of hardwoods are available, then give this a click!

1. Ipe Wood

This is the most popular decking option for builders using hardwood. Color options range from olive-brown to dark brown. Some even have a blackish tone.

The wood grains vary widely.

Ipe wood will provide a gorgeous, long-lasting deck. It’s incredibly hard and will last over 40 years with the right installation and care.

If you live in a harsh environment with extreme weather, you can’t go wrong with Ipe wood.

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

Grarapa decking features a beautiful golden brown to light yellow color. As it begins to weather, it turns a silvery gray.

The best part about Garapa is that there’s no need to apply an annual sealer. It’s naturally resistant to decay, rot, scratches, splinters and even fire.

Also known as Brazilian Ash, its moderate cost makes it a great alternative to Ipe or Teak hardwoods.

3. Massaranduba

This type of hardwood is one of the most durable timbers on earth. It’s a very cost-effective sub for Ipe decking in many applications.

It has a straight grain and reddish-brown hue. Some people refer to it as Brazilian Redwood.

If you’re looking for a Mahogany appearance, Massaranduba is a great way to go.

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

Cumaru provides a long-lasting, cost-effective alternative for hardwood decking.

It glows in a warm and attractive golden-brown color that’s unmatched by most hardwoods. It also ages gracefully and is long-lasting.

Cumaru has a similar density as Ipe but at a much more moderate cost.

5. Teak

Teak surpasses most all other woods for outdoor use. True teak decking, known as Tectona Grandis, has natural oils which completely eliminate the need for sealants or preservatives.

It’s the most expensive hardwood option but is also the highest quality. It’s so high quality that it’s used on many luxury yachts.

If you’re looking to build a one-of-a-kind deck, Teak is the best material.

Choose the Right Profile

The decking profile you’ll use will depend on the fasteners you’re using and the location you’re installing the deck.

Standard Decking

Use this profile for face screwed decking. Then, plug it to give your deck a completely seamless look.

Pre-Grooved Decking

Use pre-grooved decking when you want to allow hidden fasteners to be installed so that the decking boards don’t show any of the fasteners.

Tongue and Grooved Decking

Use this profile for porch flooring or when your deck will be covered. It should only be used when you aren’t concerned about water drainage.

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

First, note that all hardwood decking requires stainless steel screws. You’ll also need to pre-drill each hole due to the hardness and density of the wood.

Stainless Steel Screws

No matter what type of hardwood you’re using, employ stainless steel screws. The wood is going to last 40 or more years, so you’ll want your screws to last just as long.

In addition, other fasteners cause discoloration and staining in hardwoods.

Use stainless steel screws for hidden fasteners, face screwing and if using wood plugs.

Wood Plugs

When face screwing, wood plugs can be used. You’ll need to counter-sink each screw to allow you to cover the head of each screw with a wood plug.

Typically the wood plugs will then be planed or sanded to be smooth with the deck surface.

Hidden Deck Fasteners

When you’re using pre-grooved decking, you’ll want to use hidden deck fasteners. They’re used to clip the decking boards to the span and are almost completely hidden by the deck grooves.

Sanding and Finishing

Once your deck is installed, you’ll want to consider treating it will an oil-based finish. That’ll depend on the hardwood you’ve chosen and the look you’re going for.

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

First, you’ll want to seal all of your fresh cuts with AnchorSeal. Then, spot-sand as needed. It’s not recommended that you do orbital sanding because it will leave unsightly circular scratches in the wood grain.

Finishing

If you’re OK with your deck developing a natural “silvering” color, you don’t need to worry about finishing. Your deck will still last many, many years.

However, if you’re looking to keep the wood coloring of the original hardwood you should look for a penetrating oil-based finish that’s transparent. It should also have UV protection.

Before you apply, clean and brush your deck’s surface to remove all dust and dirt. Then apply several transparent coats and you’re good to go.

Maintenance and Care

One of the best features of hardwood decking is that it’s very low maintenance. However, you can still help improve its appearance and make it last longer.

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

A couple times per year put together a simple water and soap solution and take a stiff brush to your deck. This will keep is shining like new.

Pressure washers are rarely recommended for a hardwood deck. When it’s time to rinse, a garden hose and spray nozzle will work just fine.

Refinishing

When you need to remove stains or age from finishes, look for a commercial cleaner that’s made specifically for hardwoods.

When refinishing, make sure to clean the deck thoroughly before you start. Some finishing products may not need to be stripped off the deck prior to applying a new coat. If you have questions about this, contact the product manufacturer.

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

With all the options, durability and beautify of hardwood, it’s difficult to see a better option for your new deck.

If you learned from this article, take a look at some of our ebook downloads that can further expand your knowledge base.

Good luck with your deck project!


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5 Downloadable Travel Tools You Need to Know About

November 9, 2017 - By 

Planning a trip soon?

Be sure not to leave your cell phone behind.

Some of the best and most helpful traveling tools can be found at the palm of your hand in the form of downloadable apps.

Read on to discover 5 downloadable tools that will make your traveling easier.

1) Yelp

Stop what you’re doing and download the Yelp app on your cell phone stat.

When you’re traveling to a new place, you have no idea what restaurants are good or even available. You certainly don’t want to waste your few precious days of vacation eating subpar food.

Yelp is an app that will tell you the best places to eat near you.

In the mood for tacos? Simply type “tacos” into your Yelp app and it will give you a list of restaurants, what’s on their menu, and how far away it is.

2) City Mapper

City Mapper is an app that covers big city transit.

When you’re trying to find the most efficient way to get from point A to point B on your vacation, simply pull up your City Mapper app.

This app will give you the route you should take and give you the time it will take you to get there. It will recommend a bus stop or a metro stop and even give you walking directions.

3) Airbnb

There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars a night for a hotel room when you can use the Airbnb app at your new location.

Airbnb shows you a list of people in the area who are renting out their homes and apartments for a short amount of time.

Feeling unsafe? Don’t worry, every single Airbnb posting has reviews available. Only stay at the places that were reviewed well.

You want to make sure the place was clean and well kept before you decide to stay there. Airbnb rentals are great for single people, married couples, and LGBT vacations.

4) Uber

Once you get to your destination it would be best if you had a convenient way to get around.

Ubers are generally less expensive and more easily accessible than many city’s taxis.

Be sure to download the Uber app before you go and put your credit card information into it. From there all you have to do is request a ride and wait a few minutes for your driver to carry you off into your holiday fun.

5) Google Translate

If you’re going to a country that doesn’t speak your language, it’s best to learn a few terms beforehand.

Practice saying basic phrases like “thank you”, “hello”, and “where is the nearest bathroom?”

Since you can’t be expected to learn an entirely new language before you travel everywhere, Google Translate is your next best option.

Google Translate will convert messages from your language into the language you need to speak in a manner of seconds.

Try These Downloadable Tools for Your Dream Vacation

Whenever you go on vacation it’s essential you are prepared.

Luckily with modern technology, a lot of the preparation comes down to having the right downloadable tools on your cell phone.

Like this article and need to budget for your vacation? Check out our blog on the best expense tracker app.


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How a Home Design App Can Turn You Into an Interior Designer

November 8, 2017 - By 

Whether you are a new or seasoned homeowner, redecorating is something that usually happens more than once.

But paying a professional interior designer can become very expensive. Do you still want that professional look without the high price tag? Enter design apps.

Read below for some fabulous ways a home design app will help you achieve your goals all by yourself!

Choosing Colors

Paint is often the first step in any redecorating plan. It can also be a scary choice to make. Fear of a color being overwhelming once on a wall prevents many people from beginning at all.

Luckily there are apps that can help you see what a color will look like. Many paint brands have their own apps that once you upload a picture of a room, you can apply any paint color to one or more walls.

This process will help you have an idea of how a color will actually look before you take the plunge.

Color apps can also help you figure out what a color is. Did you damage a wall and need to do some touch ups? Unsure what the paint color is? Snap a photo and most apps will be able to find you the exact color or a close match.

Get Inspiration from a Home Design App

If you have the urge to redecorate but lack inspiration, a design app may become your best friend.

These apps can provide you with different types of rooms all decorated in different styles. There is something for everyone regardless if you like modern furniture or country styled pieces.

Try Out Layouts and Furniture

Rearranging the furniture in your home is an easy way to bring new life and a new look to any room.

But sometimes the thought of moving heavy couches and tables sucks.

If you want to only rearrange once, consider using apps that let you create a 3D image of your room. These let you pick room shapes and put windows and doors where you have them.

Once you have a shell that matches your room, you can place images of furniture pieces in the space. When you move furniture, you can be sure it will look how you want!

Some apps even let you customize floor materials or window treatments.

For example, with a home design app, you can sometimes test out some blinds and designs to find something that works perfectly for your space.

Stay Organized

Staying organized during home renovations or redecorating is important. Managing your time well will ensure your project will help increase your home’s value.

Find an app that can act as a virtual assistant. Create all your tasks that need to be done and create reminders for cleaning tasks that will help you maintain

Start Creating Your Dream Home

As you can see, a home design app can really help make your dreams come true with your home.

Have some friends who want to do some redecorating? Be sure to share this article with them.

Also be sure to check out some other home decorating resources!


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Top 5 Downloadable Home Design Softwares

November 8, 2017 - By 

One of the main benefits of designing your own home is that it allows you to get exactly what you want. You can customize it to incorporate the latest home design trends and create an aesthetic that’s just right for you.

Industry-leading, downloadable home design software is the best way for you to bring your ideas to life. When you have the right tools at your disposal, it’s easy to try out options until you find what’s perfect for you.

Read on for more information on the top 5 downloadable home design software programs. Once you find the one that’s right for you, you can start creating your dream home.

1. Chief Architect’s Home Designer Suite

The Home Designer Suite by Chief Architect is downloadable for a Mac or PC and provides a sophisticated design experience.

Once purchased, this software provides you with all the tools you need to design individual rooms or a complete home. You can easily visualize different colors and styles with just a few clicks.

You’ll also get a sense of what materials you need. Once you know that you’ll be ready to reach out to a supplier like Source 4 Industries so you can get a sense of material costs and plan a realistic budget.

2. Google SketchUp

Google’s SketchUp software is free, so there’s no upfront investment for designing your dream home.

With the program, you can create a 3D rendering of even the most complex building designs. Once you’re done, you can print what you’ve created or share it with other SketchUp users for feedback.

3. Punch Interiors Pro

This software includes a comprehensive library of products, including ones from some of the most popular brands in home design.

Using the Punch Interiors Pro software will enable you to get a real sense of what your custom design will look like in real life.

The software is currently only available to Mac users. While it’s not as user-friendly as other home design products, the massive catalog of products makes it a smart choice for anyone who wants to see every detail of their home design rendered.

4. Live Home 3D

If you’re new to home design or looking for user-friendly software, the Live Home 3D product is a good choice. You learn the tools by using them, so you’re developing skills while working on an actual home design.

And though it’s simple to use, it still provides all the functionality you would need to create complex designs.

It is worth noting that this tool is focused on interior design, so if you want software that will give you landscaping design options as well, you should explore alternative products.

5. HGTV Home & Landscape

For the most devoted fans of the HGTV brand, this software is an easy choice for home design.

The drag & drop interface allows you to easily design in 2D or 3D, and there are exterior design options as well.

Throughout the process, you have the option of getting advice whenever you need it from some of HGTV’s design experts.

Ready to Choose Downloadable Home Design Software?

When you’re choosing home design software, you should consider how advanced your computer skills are, as well as how complex your design will be. Finding software that balances those two factors will give you the best overall user experience.

For more information on the best downloadable software available, please visit our customer support page.


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5 Websites with Downloadable Coupons to Help You Save this Halloween

October 30, 2017 - By 

It’s the spookiest time of year again!

Between getting costumes ready and carving pumpkins, you’ve probably compiled quite the to-do list!

Of course, you can’t forget to buy candy for the trick-or-treaters. But if you wait until the day before Halloween, you can wind up paying up to 40% more!

If you’re looking for deals on candy, then downloadable coupons are your little helpers this Halloween!

We’ve compiled a list of the 5 best websites offering the best coupons on Halloween candy right now. Let’s take a look!

1. Passion for Savings

For years, people have bought their Halloween candy at drugstores. But did you know that you can save even more money on candy at your drugstore with downloadable coupons?

Right now, Passion for Savings has dozens of coupons on bags of Trolli, Hershey’s candies, and tons more!

They’re not only offering candy coupons at Walgreens and CVS. They’re also offering coupons for Walmart and Target, as well.

2. The Krazy Coupon Lady

Looking for candy coupons at grocery store chains, like Kroger, Publix, and Safeway?

The Krazy Coupon Lady has got you covered!

They have deals on Airheads and 11 oz. bags of SweeTARTS available as mobile and print downloadable coupons.

There’s even a 15% off coupon on Hershey’s Pumpkin Bowl available for purchase at Target!

3. Slickdeals

Do you get trick-or-treaters by the hundreds? Need to buy candy in serious bulk?

Right now, Slickdeals has some of the best online deals on bagged candy that you need to check out.

They’ve got a $12 coupon on a 305-piece bag of Brach’s assorted candies for Amazon! They have another Amazon coupon for a 200-piece assortment bag of Nestle candies for only $7!

Want to stop by Walmart with a printable coupon? Slickdeals has a $1 coupon for 2 packs of Milky Way mini bars!

4. A Frugal Chick

If giving out chocolate this year on Halloween is your excuse to eat some, then pay attention.

A Frugal Chick currently has new coupons on Hershey’s and MARS chocolates, exclusively for Halloween!

You can save $1.10-$1.60 on two snack size bags of Hershey’s chocolates. You can even get a free bag of Snickers when you buy two assortment bags of MARS.

Looking for a special treat to keep in your candy bowls this Halloween?

A Frugal Chick is also offering a $5.00 off coupon on two bags of M&M’s!

5. For the Mommas (FTM)

Worried you won’t have enough candy when the late-comers show up at your doorstep?

FTM has sweet deals on Target coupons for all types of Halloween candy. You can buy bags of Snickers, Twix, and more for as little as $.50!

How to Enjoy Trick-Or-Treating This Year

Saving money on Halloween candy will eliminate stress and help you to relax come October 31st.

Here are other ways you can make the most of your Halloween while passing out candy:

  • Play and go along with the kids’ costumes
  • Find a costume at Oya Costumes and dress up
  • Watch scary movies or Halloween specials in between trick-or-treats
  • Do art and crafts, or pumpkin carving
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to buy your Halloween candy!

Save a Spooky Amount with Downloadable Coupons

Trick-or-treating is a beloved activity that people of all ages enjoy. But trick-or-treating can add unwanted financial stress.

With downloadable coupons, you can save money without worrying about turning children away.

Make the most of your Halloween this year – and buy fast! These deals won’t last much longer.

Interested in more ways to celebrate the season? Check out Pligg for more ideas and activities!


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5 Reasons to Go On a Machu Picchu Trek

October 27, 2017 - By 

Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World – and it’s certainly not hard to see why.

The Inca citadel is one of the most popular hot spots on the planet. Many travelers and tourists flock to the landmark ruins in the Andes Mountains every year. This year make sure you’re among them.

So what’s all the hype about?

There are so many reasons to go Machu Picchu, but we’re going to stick to 5 reasons to go on a Machu Picchu trek. Let’s take a look.

1. The Secret History of the Machu Picchu Trek

It’s common knowledge that Machu Picchu was constructed by the Incas many hundreds of years ago.

However, it’s less well-known that the famous landmark was only discovered in 1911. The American historian, Hiram Bingham was searching for the Inca capital when he was led to the site by a local farmer.

UNESCO established Machu Picchu as a World Heritage Site, describing it as:

“an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.

Was it a pilgrimage site or an estate for the Inca ruler Pachacuti?

Historians can’t decide. We don’t know for certain how the site was used by the Incas or why they left.

So enjoy the mystery of one of the most incredible ruins in the world.

2. The Other Landmarks

Another surprising fact about Machu Picchu is tahat there are many other ruins along the Inca trail.

In the excitement of approaching the Machu Picchu ruins, you can wet your appetite on the way by visiting some of the other landmarks.

These include the large archaeological sites of Patallacta and Llactapata.

Historians believe the sites were settlements used by travelers on their way to Machu Picchu. And you can follow in the footsteps of these pilgrims in the modern day.

3. The Spectacular view

As anyone who has been to Machu Picchu can tell you, at 2,430 meters above sea-level, the view is out of this world.

You may have seen pictures on the internet before. However, nothing compares to being there in person. For the best views, find the viewing point of the Sun Gate.

3. The Inca Trail

The Machu Picchu experience is not complete without the Inca Trail. Not only is it much more satisfying when you arrive, you get to enjoy the wonderful views along the way.

The popular hike over the Peruvian Andes Mountains is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on. While the entire hike normally takes 4 days, you can also break the journey up by camping on the trail.

For a more expensive stay, there are even some luxury hotels popping up along the route. Make sure you don’t get lost on the route to Machu Picchu by getting some Inca trail maps.

5. Experience Adventure

Exploring the enchanted forests, indulging your historical curiosities and experiencing breathtaking views; is there anything more adventurous than this?

There is perhaps no better sense of adventure than hiking the Machu Picchu Trek.

Book your flights today to visit the Machu Picchu trek and have the experience of a lifetime in one of the magical places on earth.


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What Are the 10 Best Websites to Legally Download Music

September 28, 2017 - By 
download music

Nowadays, more people listen to music than ever before. But does that mean music is more accessible to anyone who wants it?

Yes and no.

While Spotify and Apple Music compete with each other for customers, they both can cost over 100 dollars a year (around ten dollars a month). Those costs are big enough to deter some people.

If you’ve been blocked out by high costs, we have you covered.

There are plenty of ways to listen to your favorite music without dolling up big money. That’s right–you can still download music and enjoy songs at your leisure, legally. Here are ten websites where you can do it.

Here are ten websites where you can do so.

1. Amazon MP3

Amazon does everything nowadays. Now you can add music to the list. The website plays host to millions of songs- a collection on par with Apple Music and Spotify.

Jeff Bezos’ company offers a wide selection of choices for its music-oriented customers to have access to the collection. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can receive a discount on a full-paying membership.

Or, if you’re looking to keep the cash in your wallet intact, you can check out the free options they offer. You don’t get the same diverse options of a paying customer, but hey, free music is free music.

Check out their offers to see if any float your boat.

2. Soundcloud

Since its founding a decade ago, Soundcloud has undergone many changes. Still, the platform is a great place for young artists and accomplished ones alike to upload their new music.

Still, the platform is a great place for young artists and accomplished ones alike to upload their new music.

So, Soundcloud is a great place to find new tracks from your favorite artists, both present, and future. It’s free to join as a member and download music there without limits.

3. NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade is similar to Soundcloud in its purpose: connect listeners with free, new music. But NoiseTrade offers a more personal angle to its clients.

The company incentivizes its artists to interact with its fans on the site.

Their music options are less expansive than other services, but that can be made up for by getting to know your favorite musicians and bands better.

4. YouTube to MP3 Conversion Sites

There are a million YouTube to MP3 converter websites out there. They all do a good service: you plug in a YouTube link and the video is converted to an MP3 file.

You can download music for free in that way. But there are some hitches.

Some of these sites deal in fishy advertisements; some videos on YouTube aren’t available for conversion.

Still, these services are convenient in certain instances. With some tips on how to find safe downloads online, you’ll be well on your way.

5. DatPiff

Are you inclined to the world of hip-hop and rap? Then DatPiff is a must for you.

DatPiff is in some ways the minor leagues of the international rap scene. For the past decade, its played host to some of the biggest stars first, initial mixtapes.

That includes Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, two of the biggest music stars in the world today.

If you’re a regular on DatPiff, you’ll be able to download music for free while also coming into contact with some of the rising stars in the industry.

6. Free Music Archive

In this case, it’s all in a name. The Free Music Archive does exactly what it promises: provide free music that can be downloaded by its users.

They even go one extra step: most of the music on the site comes with a built-in legal right to use for people doing creative projects. That means if you’re doing any kind of visual or auditory creative project, this site is a must.

Or, you might just want to listen to some good music. They’ve got you covered in that respect, too.

7. Jamendo

Jamendo bills itself as the largest platform in the world for free digital music downloads. Whether they deserve that title is up to you, ultimately, but it’s easy to see where they’re coming from.

Originally from Luxembourg, the community offers thousands of new artists a platform to get their start by connecting them with new listeners.

That means their platform is perfect for an aspiring audience or casual listener alike.

8. Last.fm

Last.fm is similar to the other massive communities of streaming services in some ways. Like the others, it allows customers to stream thousands of tracks from new artists looking to crack into larger audiences.

But they differentiate themselves with the diversity of genre they provide.

Last.fm is making an effort to give its users a more fulfilling music experience. Videos and images are available alongside the tracks you can listen to on their site.

That means you can download music or choose to engage in the wide array of platforms provided on the website. It’s a good site for the music fan looking to expand their horizons.

9. Vimeo/SmartSound

Vimeo? Vimeo, the video site? That’s right–Vimeo does music now.

Vimeo Music existed for a few years until the end of 2016, when it decided to switch its focus to SmartSound. SmartSound is a service that is perfect for creative types who need to use royalty-free music in their projects.

All these add up to a lot of places to download music. But what if you want to create yours at a reasonable price?

10. Musopen

Musopen offers free and discounted products to musicians. Whether you need to find the sheet music of a specific composer from two hundred years ago or are just looking to learn to play piano, this site is the place for you.

Its made a name for itself by providing a unique service. Is it one you can take advantage of?

Download Music Stress-Free

This isn’t a Limewire situation. There’s nothing illegal about these websites, and they’re cheap, if not free–you get the best of both worlds.

If you bounce around these ten websites, you’ll be able to listen to a diverse array of music. You can download music to listen to anytime–with or without service–worry-free.

Looking for more information on the wild world of digital downloads? Check out our expert advice on the subject.

Now go download some music. What are you waiting for?


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The Top 7 Software Trends to Keep an Eye On

September 27, 2017 - By 
Software Trends

Things are always changing in the world of software development. New tools, frameworks, and software are constantly being released and changing the landscape of business and technology.

If you want your business to stay ahead, you need to keep track of the latest and greatest software trends. By taking advantage of these software trends, your company can achieve greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency.

Want to know the 7 top software trends your company should be keeping an eye on? Read on to learn more.

Trend 1: Increase in Security Measures

Due to the huge increase in mobile device usage, people are relying on their smartphones for everyday needs like communicating, shopping, and storing service sensitive information. The more they use e-banking, e-wallets, and things like social media payment methods, the more vulnerable they become to mobile malware, identity theft, and cyber attacks.

Breach of mobile payment systems, hacktivism, and the cracking of cloud storage are things both users and companies should be worried about. Companies need to invest in the latest security software trends to assure users that their private information is being protected.

Here are a few computer safekeeping features to keep you protected:

IM Protection

IM Protection will protect you from any instant messages with hidden malware.

Firewall

A Firewall will prevent you from unintentionally downloading malware. A Firewall also protects you from shady websites trying to steal data from your computer.

Anti-Spam

Anti-Spam will filter email and block annoying and unwelcomed messages.

Privacy Filter

A privacy filter will warn you whenever you’re about to accidentally reveal personal information. It’s also a panel or filter you can place over your display to make it difficult for someone to see your screen without directly being in front of it.

File Shredder

A file shredder lets you erase files so that they can’t be recovered from your hard drive at a later time.

Trend 2: Cloud Technology

As people continue to use more and more devices, the need to access data from multiple devices becomes greater. Today, companies are using cloud computing as a way of storing and access data over the Internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive.

Today, electronic manufacturers are investing in cloud computing and cloud security. Industries like banking, manufacturing, and gaming are even migrating to the cloud.

In fact, it’s reported that by 2018, at least 30% of service companies will move their enterprise resource planning applications to the cloud.

Knowing how cloud technology works and any relevant software trends will then be incredibly important in the next few years.

Trend 3: Increase in Chat Applications

With the increase of applications like Slack, more and more companies are using team chat applications not just as a form of communication, but as a way of conducting business operations.

Here’s a list of just a few things chat applications can do:

  • Perform daily data look-up
  • Run builds and deployments
  • Automate tasks
  • Analyze legal contracts
  • Create financial reports

Using chat applications and bot technology can help teams ship software faster, increase the effectiveness of your product, and improve the overall user experience.

Trend 4: Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are two of the most important new software trends out there. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that lets systems automatically learn and improve from experience without being programmed.

They include technologies like deep learning, natural language processing, and include even more advanced systems that can learn, adapt, predict and operate on their own.

Why are these two things important?

AI and machine learning can lead to the development of more intelligent devices and programs. They can help companies more intelligently target users, more easily detect security threats, and even help things like cars learn how to operate more efficiently.

Trend 5: Intelligent Applications

One of the newer software trends is intelligent applications that help make people more efficient and everyday tasks easier. For example, some will help you prioritize emails, and even highlight the most important pieces of text so you won’t have to read the whole thing.

How can intelligent applications help you?

Intelligent apps like virtual customer assistants can help do specialized tasks for sales and customer service teams like keeping track of bookings. Virtual customer assistants can help improve the customer experience by reducing the workload for human customer service agents and speeding up the overall customer service process.

Software intelligence apps also give you the ability to detect when a user makes an error, or when there’s a performance issue so you can quickly solve any issues.

Trend 6: Internet of Things

To put it simply, the Internet of Things is the concept of connecting devices such as cell phones, headphones, lamps, etc. with automated systems.

Here are a few ways the Internet of Things will change how you do business:

Greater Access to Data

The Internet of Things will help mobile devices use data to track and record customer behavior and make intelligent product recommendations for them.

Easier Inventory Tracking and Management

Tthe Internet of Things will help businesses keep track of inventory automatically.

Faster & More Efficient Work

The Internet of Things will help you and your workers accomplish tasks faster and do things like data analysis and management with greater precision.

By 2020, more than half of new businesses will use the Internet of Things to some extent, so jump on this software trend now!

Trend 7: Mobile First

Mobile devices are being used more today than ever before. So it’s important to optimize your mobile experience and make sure it has the most up to date features and security measures.

Take advantage of VR and AR technology, and make sure your security is up to date to prevent malware from accessing or stealing user information.

How to Keep Up With Software Trends

Keeping up with the latest software trends isn’t easy. Here are some tips for staying in the know:

1. Check out Twitter and social media feeds for conversations surrounding new technology.

2. Visit news aggregation sites like Reddit and Techmeme for recent tech developments.

3. Read blogs, connect with software industry experts, and search YouTube for videos on new and exciting software.

Was this post helpful? Are there any software trends were missing? Let us know in the comments below!


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The Vending Machine Hack That Makes You Snack Healthier

September 14, 2017 - By 

Do you often feel guilty after chowing down a bag of sour cream and onion chips?

Whether your cravings for salty or sweet snacks inside the vending machine becomes more apparent mid-morning or late afternoon, you know it’s not helping your body.

And it’s no wonder. 85% of what’s offered in vending machines is unhealthy.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for healthier choices so you’re bound to reach for a chocolate bar or a soda. But what if there’s a vending machine hack out there that’ll settle your unhealthy appetite once and for all?

Read on to find out what it is. Let’s get to it!

The Vending Machine Hack You Need to Use

With slim pickings across the board in terms of healthy choices, it can be impossible to keep up with a good-for-your-body diet. They don’t exactly sell salads in a vending machine now do they?

Of course not! That’s why it’s important to be mindful when you’re staring at one. But what if you gazing hard into a vending machine was the key to eating healthy?

According to Rush University Medical Center, they’ve discovered the key to fighting off temptations for salty, fatty foods.

With easy access to vending machines within the office or the mall, the availability of these high-calorie foods is what drives people to consume more of it.

We want our food as soon as we lay eyes on it. With that being said, it often leads to our demise.

We’re impatient and starving, which makes for a bad combination. Our unwillingness to wait pushes our cravings into hyper drive, making us choose those sweet goods because they’re convenient. We could care less about healthy eating until we’ve devoured that unhealthy treat and feel guilty for doing so.

What leads to less guilt is waiting and being patient. And with that, it ultimately ends up with you making a healthier choice.

Sounds crazy yet simple, right? What’s easy doesn’t always mean it’s secretly impossible.

A 25-second wait is all it takes. In the study, they use vending machines with an LED screen that started a countdown if a student chose an unhealthy snack.

Along with that seemingly long waiting time, most often chose to change their minds to a healthier option because they got it faster. Not all machines will have that fancy countdown technology, which leads on to the next topic.

How Can You Apply This Vending Machine Hack in Real Life?

The way to do it is to either countdown from 25 or 30 seconds in your head or set a timer on your phone. While you’re staring at all the sweet, salty and fatty foods, decide if you really want them or not.

Most likely you’ll end up choosing the healthier snack. And if you do, reward yourself later with a good dessert.

Not all vending machines offer a diverse group of healthy snacks. If you’re wanting to change what your office provides, tell your boss to check out HealthyYou Vending reviews. They offer a wide variety of snacks that’ll please everyone in the office.

Wrapping Up

We all know the benefits of eating healthy. In a world where unhealthy snacks are more readily available, it can be hard to avoid them.

It’s good to treat your body as a temple, that’s why it’s important to not be thrown off by sugary snacks. Check out our other blog posts for all things health related and ones that aren’t!


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5 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying Audio Speakers

September 14, 2017 - By 

According to a recent industry report, households spend more than $1,600 annually on electronics, and home audio is a top-three spending choice that’s continuing to grow.

Are you looking to buy a new set of audio speakers for your home, but aren’t really sure what to look for?

By doing a little research, you’ll know what to keep in mind so you can shop with confidence.

Let’s take a look at five things to consider when buying a new audio speaker system.

1. Sound Quality is Subjective

It’s easy to get talked into buying a pair of audio speakers because someone you know claims they offer “the best sound quality imaginable.”

However, keep in mind that sound quality is subjective. What may sound amazing to one person may only sound okay to another.

There is no such thing as a speaker with the “best-ever” sound quality.

Therefore, when you shop for speakers, you need to only worry about your own judgments on sound quality. To do this, bring a few of your favorite albums with you to the store.

Pay attention to whether or not the music sounds natural to your ears, the balance in tone quality, and if you feel like you can listen for long periods without feeling fatigued.

2. Type of Speakers

There are a variety of audio speakers available, and all the options can be a bit overwhelming.

Some of the options are:

  1. Bookshelf, Floor-Standing Speakers: Tend to have the best sound-quality, but take up a lot of floor space.
  2. Satellite Speakers: Small and work best when combined with a subwoofer.
  3. Portable speakers: Fun and easy, but can lack a robust sound.
  4. In-Wall speakers: Can be painted to blend into your walls.

Make sure to choose the type of speakers you need based on your own personal preferences and needs.

3. Location

Not every speaker is going to sound great in every room.

For example, small speakers may sound great in a bedroom, but a bit weak in a large family room.

The audio can also be affected by the content and materials in the room and the dimensions of the room.

When purchasing audio speakers, consider the room you’re going to put them in. In order to get the best quality sound possible, you may need to consider either buying a larger set of speakers or rearranging the room for the best possible acoustics.

4. Other Components

In order to get the most out of your speakers, you’ll want to pair them with a receiver or amplifier that delivers the right amount of power.

Typically, there is a range of amplifier power suggested by the manufacturer. Make sure to look into suggested ranges before purchasing.

Often times, it’s best to select an amplifier that’s the same brand as your speakers.

5. Optimize

Once you’ve purchased your speakers, make sure you take the time to figure out where in your home offers the best performance possible.

For example, some speakers sound great against a wall, while others may need a little more room to breathe.

Be patient and test out several spots before making a decision.

After getting everything set up, you can finally take the time to buy instrumentals, mix your own beats, and play them through your speakers. You might even choose to sell the music you create!

Buying Audio Speakers: Wrap Up

We hope this guide helps you when purchasing your speakers.

If you have any other tips about choosing the right speakers, please don’t hesitate to drop us a comment below!


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5 Downloadable Tutorials for Glass Blowing

September 14, 2017 - By 

Glassblowing is a mysterious art. How can someone dip a pole in molten glass and form a blob into intricate art?

And yet, like most mysteries, the internet is rife with answers. You can find and download tutorials on pretty much any subject. Not all of them are free, though. But by taking an online tutorial you save a bundle on lessons.

Today we’re going to direct you to five of our favorite “downloadable” tutorials on glass blowing. Scroll down to see.

1. Downloadable Tutorials for Glass Blowing: Glasscraft’s Webinars

The idea of downloadable tutorials is a thing of the past. Why? Video streaming.

There once was a time when you had to download every video you wanted to watch. The internet wasn’t fast enough for streaming video.

Now, not only can we watch videos without downloading, we can participate in live video classes called webinars. And Glasscraft’s webinars are probably the best you’ll find on the internet.

2. Bernard Katz Glass Videos

If you’re a world renowned artist do you share your knowledge or horde it? Bernard Katz chose the former and you can learn from him on his website.

Learn about everything from necking (not that thing you did in high school) to blocking and papering hot glass. He even includes a video about dipping a potato in glass.

This man does some pretty amazing stuff.

3. Matt Baker Makes a Pipe

Glass art doesn’t necessarily have to be blown from a metal tube. You can set up a lampworking station at home if you have the space.

Matt Baker shows you how to make a simple glass pipe not unlike what you can find at Brothers with Glass. And he only uses a lampworking setup and a glass tube.

It’s a simple process that requires pulling a glass tube in two directions over a lampworking flame. If you have the materials and the station, you can quickly learn to make your own tobacco pipe.

4. Getting Back to the Basics with the Scientific Glassblowing Learning Center

If you’ve never glass blown before and want to learn a thing or two before heading to your local studio, then check out the Scientific Glassblowing Learning Center. Their goal is to spread basic glass blowing knowledge and teach you how to create scientific glass equipment.

The site includes 17 written tutorials for the aspiring glass guru. You’ll find everything here from terminology to glass silvering.

5. Howcast’s Glassblowing Videos

After you’ve reviewed Scientific Glassblowing Learning Center’s information, jet on over to Howcast’s glass blowing page. You’ll find 35 videos in their beginner’s guide.

You’ll learn about the tools. You’ll learn about finding your first glassblowing classes. And Howcast guides you through some of the more important details including how to safely dress for a glass blowing class.

Conclusion: Soon You’ll Be a Pro

Glassblowing is a beautiful hobby. And not many people know how to work with glass.

If you prepare yourself ahead of attending a physical class with downloadable tutorials, you’ll quickly learn the skills and soon make glass art of your own.

If you need content for your new glass blowing blog (which you’ll soon be writing), check out our content pack.


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Cyber Security Risks Small Businesses Should Prepare For

September 14, 2017 - By 

In 2016, more than 29 million confidential records were exposed by cyber attacks. Studies at the time concluded that the cost per record stolen in the United States came up to $220 and the average cost per breach was found to be $4 million.

If you’re not scared about cyber security threats, maybe you should be.

Surely, your company uploads thousands of personal and confidential data to the web, whether directly or through a cloud service, every single day.

This poses a significant threat not only to your business but also to your employees. Their confidential records could be hacked, identities stolen, and financial records pulled.

If you’re a small business owner, it’s time to prepare for some very real cyber security risks. Being equipped with the knowledge and power to fight them can prevent a terrible catastrophe and an unbearable financial burden.

Cyber Security Risks Facing Small Businesses

Your company’s intellectual property should be protected at all costs. Approximately 29% of cyber attacks to small businesses are planned cyber-crime. An additional 24% come from disloyal employees.

Follow along if you’d like to know the types of threats your business could be exposed to.

Understanding Your Contracts

The first step for cyber security risk preparation is reading the fine print in all the contracts your business has signed. Any third party provider will issue a contract and it’s important to understand the liability that comes with it.

Read everything. Be aware of how your information can be distributed and whether the company has data breach protection or not. Third party providers consisted of one-quarter of the data breach claims submitted in 2015.

Employee Risks

It is also important to understand how your employees can facilitate an attack. One of the most common ways is through lost or stolen documents, phones, or laptops.

Human error is a huge cause for data breaches. Brief your team on how their negligence can negatively affect the company. In this case, education is your best friend.

A mandatory training should be necessary for every new employee. Restrictions should also be placed on which electronic devices can be removed from the building and which ones cannot.

Digital Downloads

This is another classic attack agenda. Hackers will get your employees to download malware and in a matter of seconds or hours, your entire system has been breached.

The financial loss associated with this type of breach can be extremely significant. Resources need to be poured into legal defense and system restoration. Not to mention that the company will not be gaining revenue while the system is down.

On average, companies lose $100,000 during these ransomware attacks just from the downtime. Click for more information on how to get technical issues resolved within your company.

A Great Step Forward

One of the best ways to prevent attacks is to migrate to a cloud service. You will have better surveillance and perimeters, highly controlled access to data, and cyber security expertise by the provider.

Commonly, the service provider will also do routine auditing to make sure everything is running smoothly. It is likely your small business would not have the manpower or time to undergo these sorts of checks, so a cloud service is a better alternative to physical servers.

Wrapping Up

Now that you are aware of the types of security risks that can affect your company, it’s time to start preparing. The horrific cost of a cyber attack is sometimes unbearable, especially for smaller companies.

Educating your staff and taking the necessary steps to protect your records can prevent an irreversible disaster.

To get you prepared for a possible attack, do some more cyber security research. Learn about data encryption or secure servers to protect your co-workers from suffering from the effects of a cyber attack. The future of your company is not the only thing that’s at stake.


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The Importance of Digital Solutions for Small Businesses

September 14, 2017 - By 

Launching a small business and operating it successfully is no small feat. In fact, half of all small businesses no longer exist after just 5 years.

In order to thrive and survive, small businesses must utilize all of the tools at its disposal. By implementing digital solutions, a small business can book appointments online, deploy effective marketing strategies, track customer purchasing habits, among many other benefits.

Read on to explore different digital strategies and learn how they can improve operations for small businesses.

Why Small Businesses Need Digital Solutions

Failure statistics for small business appear to correlate with a lack of digital strategy.

Digital commerce is a part of life for the vast majority of Americans, yet 50% or more of small businesses have not launched a website. This seems unfathomable in the digital era, but 1 of every 2 small businesses are behind the power curve.

Nearly half of small business owners list identifying new customers as a primary business risk. Another one-third of owners are concerned with losing customers to another business. Luckily, launching a digital strategy can successfully mitigate these risks.

Deploy a Digital Marketing Strategy

As alluded to before, one of the chief concerns of small business owners is attracting new clientele. This is where a digital marketing strategy comes in.

Digital marketing has a broad reach and includes various different platforms. For instance, small businesses should utilize social media for free advertisement and customer communication.

Facebook is a great way to promote new products, share important information with the public, and attract new clients with likes and shares. It’s critically important to collect customer information at any given opportunity. With this information, the business can blast out promotions, sales, and new product launches via an e-mail or text.

Lastly, it’s imperative to launch a website that is mobile-friendly. Because internet browsing is widely done with smart phones today, a website that is not mobile-friendly will be limiting and largely ineffective.

Remember, if this seems overwhelming, there are companies such as Centric Digital that can help test and launch an effective digital strategy for a small or large business.

Retain Employees By Emphasizing Customer Management

A good digital strategy will collect customer data, such as purchase preferences. This will help the business be better suited to meet the supply and demand of its loyal customer base.

In addition, this digital strategy should include a means for customers to provide feedback. This way, the business can improve on weaknesses and demonstrate that the customer’s voice matters.

Wrapping Up

Clearly, a digital strategy for a small business will help target potential new customers, while retaining existing ones. There are a number of advantages to implementing digital solutions.

If there are any questions about how to launch a digital strategy, please do not hesitate to contact us via e-mail for additional assistance.


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How Digital Products Are Changing Shopping Habits

August 30, 2017 - By 
digital products

The Internet has changed the way the world operates. You can submit documents, meet people from other companies, and shop all at the click of a mouse.

The Internet is, quite literally, a boundless plane. There is no limit to the amount of information that it can store. As such, more and more consumers are going digital when shopping for a new product.

Digital shopping and digital products disrupted the traditional shopping model. And it goes beyond just “finding stuff quicker and cheaper.”

The Traditional Shopping Model

Prior to the dawn of digital products and digital shopping, consumers followed the following shopping model:

Recognizing a Need

Consumers realize they need something. Perhaps it’s winter clothes for their children, or maybe it’s the latest phone software. Regardless, they need to address this need.

Performing Research

Now that they acknowledge this need, consumers next research how to satisfy it. This step could be as simple as checking the sales portion of the newspaper.  It could be as difficult as reading up on car or computer mechanics.

Evaluating All Available Possibilities

Consumers compare and contrast potential solutions to their need. They weigh the pros and cons of each product. Typical pros and cons include cost, material, durability, color, size, and convenience.

Making a Purchase

When consumers reach a decision, they purchase the chosen product. They then incorporate the product into their daily lives to fulfill their need.

Evaluating the Product Post-Purchase

Does the product meet the need? If it does not, what aspect of the need doesn’t it meet and why?

Post-purchase, customers will examine whether or not the product truly meets the need. If it does not, they will determine why. They may even end up returning the product in exchange for a new product that suits the need better.

The Advantages of Digital Products

Digital products have affected virtually every step of this model for a variety of reasons. One reason relates to the products themselves and how they compare with their physical counterparts.

Convenience

There is much to be said for the convenience of digital products. You can purchase them at any time instead of waiting for a store to open. You don’t have to drive anywhere, and you receive them instantly no matter when you purchase them.

Additionally, digital products are kept as a file on an electronic device. As such, you can take the file with you wherever you go. You can also back up these products in the event something happens to your electronic device so you don’t lose the files.

Cost

Physical products cost money to make. They require material to be produced as well as labor to assemble and ship them.

Digital products require none of that. They are simply information in digital form. As such, they are typically cheaper than their physical counterparts.

Space

Physical products all take up space. If you’re an avid reader or a movie fan, sooner or later you’ll run out of shelf space for books and Blu Rays.

That isn’t the case with digital products. They take up a small amount of space on your computer, and they can be moved to external hard drives and other computers.

The Impact of Digital Products

Another reason why these products have interrupted the traditional sales model is how consumers now shop.

Digital products are sold via the Internet. As such, practically all information about them is found online. The same holds true for their physical counterparts.

As a result, consumers are now taking their research and evaluation tactics to the Internet.

Finding Information

Consumers are no longer content with simple box and tag descriptions. They prefer performing in-depth research about products before making any decisions.

One way they research is reading articles and product summaries. Amazon and other online sellers typically include detailed descriptions of their products. Articles contain such descriptions and sometimes even act as advertisements for products.

Reading Reviews and Blog Posts

Another way they research is reading reviews and blog posts about products. Reviews provide detailed evaluations of a product’s effectiveness or lack thereof. Amazon is particularly noted for the lengthy reviews section on its’ product listings.

Blog posts are also a go-to tool for today’s consumers. Like reviews, blog posts provide detailed accounts of one’s experience with a product. However, they are also likely to include information about competing products, sometimes even with a chart of the products’ features for easy comparison.

Watching Vlogs

The emergence of high-speed internet has allowed more access to video streaming. Video bloggers (“vloggers”) and YouTube personalities often make videos detailing their experiences with products.

In fact, sometimes companies will seek out these individuals and provide them with free demos in exchange for a video review.

Checking Out Social Media

Blogs, YouTube, and Amazon aren’t the only places where you can find information and reviews about products.

More than ever, consumers are relying on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for product information. Such platforms are associated with friends and family, so product information feels more casual and trustworthy.

In fact, consumers often glean inspiration from social media for future purchases.  Videos of new and exciting products circulate around Facebook like wildfire.  DIY remedies and gift ideas populate nearly every Pinterest search.

What’s more, social media platforms utilize algorithms. What you search on the sites determines the kind of paid advertising that pops up on your news feeds.

These sites will tell you they use algorithms to show you content you care about. Of course, the real motive is to show you content that contributors pay to have shown to you. Those contributors are businesses that want to reach as many potential customers as possible.

Algorithms are constantly changing based on a multitude of things, including the kind of content you click on, and how often you click on it.

Self-Driven Purchases

After all is said and done, the shopping model has evolved into a self-driven one. This model is inspired simply by the amount of time we spent on the Internet.

To keep up, businesses must understand and accept this new model. They also have to anticipate self-driven purchases in order to advertise effectively. If they don’t, they’ll get lost in an endless sea of digital information.

Are you an avid shopper of digital products? Feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section below.


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5 Music Download Sites to Use (And Yes! They’re Legal)

August 23, 2017 - By 
music download

In the age of streaming and paid downloads, it’s difficult to find reputable websites to get free music and movies, whether for personal or professional use.

Even if you hear about or come across a website that allows you to download for free, it’s hard to determine whether or not the site is illegal.

We compiled a list of the best sites to find free music downloads so you don’t have to look anymore:

Legal Music Download Sites

Free Music Archive

This website allows anyone to download music from their database. You don’t even need to set up an account.

The music on Free Music Archive operates under a unique copyright distinction called Creative Commons, meaning it is acceptable for wide use. Some of the music on this website is also in the public domain.

Free Music Archive even maintains blogs and charts about the music they have available, so you will always be in the know about what’s hot.

Last.fm

Last.fm is well-known to many people who primarily listen to music through the internet. Although a lot of the music on this website requires payment, there is a treasure trove of free music that is largely unknown to the wider public.

The website separates their downloadable tracks by genre, and they make it extremely easy for you to find exactly what you are looking to listen to.

NoiseTrade

NoiseTrade utilizes a very unique approach to music downloading. Musicians and artists post their creations on the website, all for free. If you like what you hear, you can share the track on social media or give the artist a tip.

It works because listeners get to hear great music for free, and musicians get to experience a few perks every now and then. If you want to download the album, you get it in a .zip file.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud is one of the most well-known music download sites to find some of the best up-and-coming artists of the moment.

Unlike the sites mentioned before, you are likely to come across the music of some very established artists on Soundcloud, but it is probably only available for streaming.

However, there is plenty of fantastic music from independent artists on the website that is extremely easy to download and fully legal to own.

Amazon

It is a little-known fact that one of the world’s largest online retailers actually allows people to download some music for free.

There is a full archive of free music on the website. Although some of the downloads are reserved for Prime members, there is still plenty of music available for those with a standard account.

Amazon is also a great place to buy accessories and equipment to listen to music with, like Sony extra bass earbuds.

Listen Legal

Getting free music from illegal music download sites is very risky, because not only could you face legal action, you could also get attacked by a virus through your download.

But the sites listed above are safe and secure, so you will be able to download amazing music at your pleasure.