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Sticking to a budget is no easy feat in a world where anything can happen at any given moment. Especially if you don’t set aside money for savings, a monthly budget disrupted by unexpected expenses can send you flailing into debt overnight.
But it’s important to keep a budget written down where it’s easily accessible for review and updates. Knowing it in your head alone can get you into financial trouble because it’s near impossible to remember everything you spend. You need a way to actually manage your money so that you may be able to foresee a way to handle those expenses that you aren’t planning for.
If you’re serious about finding a better way to manage your finances and the old-fashioned methods are wearing you out, there is a better way. Introducing spending tracker apps that can be downloaded right to your trusted mobile device. And, there’s plenty to choose from so that you can find the best one to suit your needs.
Best Spending Tracker Apps to Keep You Organized
There are a lot of reasons to organize your finances. Maybe you’re preparing for a big purchase, like a home or a new car and you want to make sure your finances are in tip-top shape. If you’re house hunting, especially, it’s important to know where you stand financially so that you can budget for additional expenses.
You can always take out a loan like those offered at StockLoan Solutions to balance your budget. And, then use the spending tracker app of your choice to keep everything in check. Even if you don’t have any loans or credit card debt to manage, these apps can help you budget your finances more confidently.
The HomeBudget app design is simple to use and easy to read. It separates your finances into five categories: Expenses, Bills, Income, Budget, and Accounts. You’ll also see a chart that displays your total income and total balance with three functions at the bottom of the page: Payees, Reports, and Search.
This app is ideal for people who like a quick overview right away.
Expensify is a free app for your smartphone or you can use the web-based tool. It’s easy to use and navigate your spending with features like SmartScan, which allows you take photos of receipts and file them electronically. You can also manually enter the information.
This app also allows you to add your credit or debit card which can help you track your daily expenses, earnings, and balances more accurately.
Unsplurge is only available on iOS but it offers some unique features that can not only help you track your spending but also help you create more and better financial goals. You’ll benefit from savings tips from the app. And, see what others’ savings goals are in the app’s community.
HelloWallet is another app that is reserved for iOS but it’s worth a mention because it not only provides a way for you track your spending but also increase your net worth. All you have to do is spend a few minutes updating your details and everything lines up for you on the homepage.
This app is designed to help you plan for your financial future.
5. Pocket Expense
The Pocket Expense app allows you to visualize your spending and create a budget at the same time. Simply enter your spending and account balances and Pocket Expense will color code everything according to money that you have and what you need to pay.
This app is also good for people that keep multiple accounts with additional tools that allow you to see all of your spending and balances at once.
Digit is more of a savings app but it’s also worth a spot on the list because it helps you save around your spending.
The primary focus of the app is to create a savings account that draws from your checking a few dollars at a time. It does this by monitoring your spending so that it will only draw funds when it thinks you don’t need it anyway.
This app offers a great alternative way to save for people that don’t regularly do so.
7. Clarity Money
The Clarity Money app is available for both Android and iOS and boasts several unique designs.
First, the app is organized into four tabs: Home feed, Accounts, Search, and Profile. You’ll find charts, spending trackers, and illustrations on the homepage so that you can quickly and easily see your finances at a glance.
This app will organize your spending by week, month, or year and allow to perform other important financial functions, like checking your credit score.
With BillGuard, you can sync your accounts right to the app to save time and hassle of entering the information manually. Then, the app will show your balance and total spending for the month.
One of the most important features that this app has is protecting your cards from fraudulent charges. Because it monitors your spending, it will ask you about suspicious charges.
Mint started as a website and was later acquired by Intuit and became available across the board: online, Android, and iOS. This app will help you create a solid overview of your finances including bills, recent transactions, and monthly spending. It’s a trusted app that continually brings new and important features to the table.
10. Credit Karma
Credit Karma isn’t a spending tracker app but it deserves a mention because it’s an amazing tool for those that want to be on top of their financial game. Once you have your spending in control, you’ll want to be sure you have your credit in order, too. Credit Karma can help provide a clear picture of your debts and could come in handy during tax season with a built-in tax preparation service.
Managing your finances doesn’t have to be overwhelming and stressful all the time. Just keep these spending tracker apps in mind and give one or two of them a try to ensure that your spending stays in line with your budget.
And, remember, the key is to be diligent with your favorite spending tracker app. Don’t just download the app and forget about it. You must use it every time you make, spend, or move money to get the most accurate results. Set up reminders for yourself or set aside a special time of day to spend some time with your app and utilize all of its features and functions.
The more effort you put into monitoring your budget, the more and quicker results you’ll see. You’ll also learn more about yourself and your spending habits which translates to a better and more enhanced awareness of your overall financial picture.
No matter which spending tracker app you choose, you’re making a sound and responsible financial decision for your future.
Many of us dream of picking up a camera and taking glorious snapshots of the world around us. Some of us may even have entire Pinterest boards of photos that inspire us.
There’s something so wonderful about the creativity and integrity of photography.
Austrian photographer Ernst Hass summed it up best when he said, “There is only you and the camera. The limitations of your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”
Yet so many amateur photographers have a hard time beginning their journey. Here are a few beginner photography tips to help you become a better photographer and shake your nerves.
1. Perfect Doesn’t Exist With Beginner Photography
Right off the bat, here’s a beginner photography tip that even seasoned veterans could learn from. There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’.
No matter how much we plan, tinker, or try, there will always be something about the photos that you won’t like. You may even feel like you’re not a ‘real’ photographer, something many creative types experience.
If you have perfectionist tendencies, it’s time to shed them. Photography is about art and creativity, after all, there’s something manufactured in overly altered images.
Stay humble, but also be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you take a bad photo. Even the best photographers had to start somewhere.
2. Experiment Often
One of the most common complaints that beginner photography hobbyists have is that there’s a shortage of things to photograph. Yet it seems like they’re missing the forest for the trees, here.
The world is a wide, vast place. There’s always something brand new to experience. Don’t be afraid to grab your camera and explore.
Grabbing your camera, heading into nature or downtown, and snapping photos is invaluable. Even if a subject doesn’t seem interesting to you, there’s always a creative angle one can take.
Experiment with your equipment at every chance you get. Mess around with different types of effects software, camera lenses, and exposures.
The more you experience, the more you learn. And the more you learn, the stronger your skills as a photographer.
3. Capture Your Passions
Speaking of interesting subjects, don’t discount your own interests. The world’s most popular photographers, from Ansel Adams to Annie Leibovitz focus on subjects close to their hearts.
It doesn’t matter if it’s interesting enough for anyone else. What truly matters is that you’re passionate about the subjects you capture.
Think of the things you’re most passionate about in life. It may be sports, nature, pets, family…it can be anything. For example, click here for some creative examples of marketing photography.
People tend to put out a stronger body of work when they’re working on things that interest them.
So what motivates you as a photographer?
What are some things that you’d like to see and capture, and how can you incorporate those into your photography?
4. Equipment Doesn’t Make the Photographer
If you’re just getting into photography, it’s going to be tempting to head to your nearest store and buy the most expensive equipment you can find. And, truthfully, this is what a lot of companies are banking on.
But even if you’re a gearhead, it’s important to realize that a photographer’s skill isn’t equal to that of their equipment.
There are plenty of talented photographers that take photos with nothing more than their camera phone. Apple even created an entire marketing strategy around that very idea!
Don’t get sucked into the hype of buying the biggest and best stuff right out of the gate. Start small and modest, then work your way up to the more expensive gear.
5. Keep Your Camera With You at All Times
How many times have you gone about your day, only to be struck by a sudden notion of inspiration?
You quickly shuffle through your belongings only to realize that you don’t have your camera with you. Suddenly, that perfect moment is gone forever.
Life, like photography, is all about spontaneity.
That’s exactly why, when it comes to beginner photography, newbies should keep their cameras with them at all times. Even if there’s nothing to shoot, just having your camera with you can make you feel like a more ‘official’ photographer.
6. Appreciate Your Mistakes
Here’s the thing about beginner photography: it tends to entail mistakes. A lot of mistakes.
Now, there are plenty of perfectly talented photographers out there that will look at every photo they take and think that it isn’t good enough.
Play devil’s advocate for a moment and assume that’s true. That still doesn’t mean that the photo, botched as it may be, is useless. There are just as many things one can learn from mistakes than successes.
Next time you make a mistake, don’t get upset and hit the delete button immediately. Take the time to really evaluate the photo.
So it went wrong. That’s perfectly fine.
But what about it went wrong and how can you improve on those mistakes in the future?
A surprisingly large part of photography revolves around introspection.
7. Learn as Much as You Can
It doesn’t matter if you’re enrolling in photography school or just want to take up photography as a hobby. There’s so much to learn about the art form, especially in today’s day and age where gear and software are more accessible than ever.
Take it upon yourself to learn anything and everything you can about photography. Become a student of the art form and study up on the past.
Your greater understanding of photography will not only help you improve your skills but give you a deeper appreciation of it to boot.
Beginner Photography is Easier Than Ever
Take these tips to heart and incorporate them into your day-to-day photography practice. You may be a beginner now, but with enough time and practice, you’re sure to become one of the greats.
Don’t forget to check out Pligg’s download section for great photo editing software, as well as books and articles to help you learn.
Even though the average American home is now 1,000 square feet larger than homes in 1973 were, there’s a new movement that’s making waves.
The tiny house movement has prompted people from all walks of lives to give up living in over 2,500 square feet so they can live in a space that’s often under 250 square feet.
While moving into such small quarters might have people scratching their heads in confusion, there are actually plenty of reasons to make the switch. Here are the top 10 reasons to go tiny.
1. You’ll Save Money
The average home costs much less than the average house. That’s because it requires far fewer materials to build.
Even if you hire an engineer to design and build your home, you’ll still end up saving money. If you don’t want to hire anyone, you can actually find free tiny house plans online. These will run you anywhere from $20-$50,000.
The average home costs around $107-$125 per square foot with an average size of 2,400 square feet. A regular home usually requires you to take out a mortgage but a tiny home can be yours without needing a loan.
Even if you do need to take out a loan, it’s far easier when there’s less money involved.
2. You Can Take It With You
In most cases, when you build your own home, where you built it is where it will always stay. You’re invested in both the land and the home itself.
That type of permanence is no longer as attractive as it may have been in the 1950s. Back then, having one job was completely normal. We’re now a much more mobile society.
One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that if you need to move, you can take your home.Which means if you got a new job or just hate your neighbors, you’re not stuck.
You may need to look for a new plot of land, but you’ll never have to find the perfect home again. Best of all, communities like the tiny house community North Carolina are starting to spring up.
3. Your Tiny Place Can be For Anything
One of my favorite top 10 reasons to go tiny is that these little homes are so versatile. It can be your primary home, but it doesn’t have to be.
It can also be the perfect space for you to use when visitors come. You can also use it as a home office. It’s perfect because you’ll be able to remove yourself from the usual distractions that working from home often have.
Another great reason to go tiny is when a family member comes back to the roost. This way, you’ll both have your space, but you’ll also enjoy the ability to live close to one another.
4. They Are 100% Eco-Friendly
Imagine owning a home that is 100% eco-friendly yet complete with modern conveniences. That’s why eco-friendliness is one of the top 10 reasons to go tiny.
You can actually set up your home to be completely off the grid. There are solar and wind sources that you can use for power. You can install a rainwater catch, add in a filtration system, and install a compost toilet.
These additions would make your home functional anywhere while limiting your environmental impact. Even better, it’s possible to re-purpose pretty much everything that goes in your home.
The materials used to build your home can all be made from recycled materials.
5. There’s Less Clutter
There’s no space for clutter in a tiny home. Clutter causes frustration, overwhelm, and even anxiety and depression. One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is to increase your levels of happiness while decreasing your stress levels.
Less clutter makes it easier to make smarter, healthier decisions. You won’t find yourself becoming emotionally attached to items. You also might find you start to cherish the items you do own and use.
6. It’s Easier to Decorate
One of the most fun things to do with a new home is to decorate it. One of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that it’s so easy to decorate your tiny home.
You’ll save a ton of money on decoration costs because of the size alone. Which means, even if you get bored easily and keep deciding to redecorate, you’ll still save a ton of money.
7. Less Time Spent Cleaning
Small homes are also easier to clean. You’ll spend only a fraction of the time trying to clear out dust and dirt from your tiny home.
You’ll also find that with less space, there are fewer opportunities to cause a mess in the first place.
8. No Debt
The average American has over $15,000 of credit card debt. To many, owning a home now seems like an impossible dream.
However, if you invest in a tiny home, you actually have the opportunity to get out of debt and become a homeowner. It’s really a win-win situation because the costs are so much lower than owning a traditional home.
9. You’ll Lower Your Energy Bills
Unless you’re Amish, most of us enjoy living with the benefits of electricity. However, one of the top 10 reasons to go tiny is that you have options when it comes to choosing which energy source to use to power your home.
The energy needs of a tiny home are much lower than those of a more traditional home. Your smaller appliances will work more efficiently.
You’ll also find it easier and far less expensive to heat and cool your space because it’s so much smaller. You can choose to use a solar source or hook up to a power line.
10. Top 10 Reasons to Go Tiny Ends By Enjoying a Simpler Life
Life can get complicated extremely quickly. There are a lot more options now than there were in the past.
In some ways, having more choices is extremely beneficial. Other times, it just makes decision-making more difficult and stressful.
Having a tiny home means you are forced to choose what really matters to you in life. You can’t just keep everything. Your options are much smaller and simpler.
Be in Charge of Your Life
Learning isn’t something that stops when school ends. It’s a lifelong process.
We love helping people learn how to make the most out of life. Keep coming back to our blog to learn how to make life better and easier for yourself.
Did you know there were nearly 20 major recalls on pet food in 2017?
Like much of the processed food on supermarket shelves, you never really know what’s in your dog’s food. Even if it’s not contaminated, the truth is that there are many harmful ingredients lurking dog food and snacks.
How can you make sure your four-legged family member stays happy and healthy?
The best dog snacks are the ones you make at home, using safe and natural ingredients.
Not sure where to start? Read on for 10 fun (and healthy) recipes your pup is sure to love!
1. Yogurt Berry “Pupsicles”
What exactly is a “pupsicle?” It’s a popsicle for pups–and it’s one of the best dog snacks out there.
To make them, spoon 16 ounces of plain yogurt into a mixing bowl. Mix in a handful blueberries or chopped strawberries, then scoop the mixture into a dog treat mold or ice cube tray.
Freeze them for four hours or until frozen through. On a hot summer day, pop a few out for your dog. She’s guaranteed to beg for more!
2. Crispy Apple Chips
This one-ingredient recipe is as simple as it gets.
After you remove the seed and stems from fresh apples, slice them very thinly. Arrange the apple slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them on low heat (150 degrees) for five to six hours, or until totally dehydrated.
Once cool, you’ll love sharing these crunchy treats with your dog.
3. Sweet Potato Chewies
This recipe is similar to the apple crisps, except this sweet treat is chewy.
Slice a sweet potato into 1/3-inch chunks (lengthwise if you have a large dog, crosswise for smaller dogs). Bake them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for two to three hours at 250 degrees.
Once they’re chewy in the middle and slightly crispy on the edges, they’re ready to go. Be sure to flip them over once during baking to ensure even baking.
4. Canned Food Crunchies
What if you’re out of fresh produce but still want to make a fun treat for your dog? One of our best dog snacks is made out of canned dog food!
Grab a can of high-quality, loaf-style dog food. Slice it into bite-sized pieces and bake it on an ungreased tray for half an hour at 350 degrees.
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container for up to five days.
5. Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cookies
Want to try a gourmet treat for your canine companion? You’ll love making these cookies as much as your dog loves eating them.
Combine 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup of plain peanut butter, and 1 cup of flour. Roll the dough until it’s about 1/3-inch thick, then cut it with a pizza slicer or cookie cutter.
Bake the “cookies” for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees. Be sure to let them cool completely before you feed them to your dog!
6. Carrot Applesauce Oat-Bars
Want to combine fruits, veggies, and fiber into one healthy treat? Whip up a batch of these yummy oat-bars for your pup.
Combine 1/2 cup each of quick oats, grated carrot, applesauce, and flour. Use a spoon to drop them in bite-sized pieces on a baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the treats are set. Bonus tip: This also makes a terrific snack for horses!
7. Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
We’ve covered a lot of sweet and fruity treats so far. But don’t worry–some of the best dog snacks are savory.
Here’s one of our favorites.
Fry 4 strips of bacon until they’re nice and crispy, then let them cool. Combine crumbled bacon with 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1-1/2 cups of milled oatmeal. Stir in 2 eggs until the mixture is thick and sticky.
Roll the dough until it’s 1/4-inch thick and cut it into the desired shapes. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. When the treats turn a pale-ish brown, you’ll know they’re ready.
The dog begging at your feet will be a good indication, too!
8. DIY Jerky
Why buy prepackaged jerky at the store when you can make your own version at home? Since your pup needs lots of protein to stay healthy, this snack is as nutritious as it is delicious.
Start with high-quality beef, chicken, or salmon cut into thin strips or bite-sized chunks. If you have a food dehydrator, this is the perfect chance to use it.
If you don’t have your own dehydrator, you can use an oven-safe baking rack, a drip tray, and a fan-forced oven.
Dehydration time varies depending on the method, meat, and thickness. You’ll know the meat is done when it turns color, firms up, and becomes dry with some chewy flex.
9. Leftovers Trail Mix
Not sure what to do with all those leftovers? Turn them into a healthy snack for your dog!
You can combine whatever you have lying around in your fridge, including meat, potatoes, vegetables (except onions), and fruit (except grapes). Cut everything into 1/2-pieces and dry in a food dehydrator or in a 200-degree oven.
This makes a terrific high-energy snack for your next hike or trip to the dog park.
10. Banana Peanut Butter Frozen Treats
Our list of the best dog snacks wouldn’t be complete without a little dessert. This treat is sure to be appreciated on those dog days of summer!
Combine 32 ounces of plain yogurt with a sliced banana and 3 tablespoons of plain peanut butter. Blend until creamy and pour into an ice cube tray or dog snack tray.
Freeze for at least two hours. The great thing is you can make a big batch and store it in the freezer as long as you like.
Ready to Make the Best Dog Snacks?
Your pup loves snacking as much as you do.
Make sure you feed her only the best dog snacks by trying some of the tasty recipes listed above!
Can’t get enough of all things canine?
Peruse our site for dog-related downloads, including more on the best dog snacks and treats!
Do you want to spend lots of money on your site so everyone can ignore it?
But 94% of users base their first impressions on a site’s design. Mess it up and potential customers won’t stick around, no matter how great your company is.
If you don’t want to drop the ball on your law firm web design, read on to discover our top tips.
Crisp and Clear
The first major tenet of law firm web design – or any web design – is clarity.
Potential clients need to find the information they want as quickly as possible. The average website only holds a reader’s attention for 7 seconds. Fail to make a good impression in that time, and you’ve lost that customer.
The easiest way to lose a visitor is a sloppy layout and bad design. Think carefully about what goes where, and what your customers want to see.
It’s vital that your visitors aren’t digging through sub-menus or stuck with broken tables. Frustration will drive them away quickly.
This goes double for law sites. Potential clients aren’t going to trust a law firm with a messy presentation.
Law by its nature requires attention to detail and organizational skills. If your website is a mess, you’re telling clients you’re terrible at what you do.
Put your area(s) of expertise front and center. That way, potential clients know whether they’re in the right place immediately. Check out how this auto accident lawyer makes their specialist area clear.
Enter the Blog
An active blog presence is a great way to drive engagement on your site. Blogs serve a few brilliant functions for a site:
First, they’re a fantastic promotional tool. Blogs can be posted to your social networks, shared by others, and linked to from elsewhere. They spread your brand in a way that audiences can connect with.
Second, they’re great tools for showing off. Use blogs to share your expertise and give solid advice. Along with testimonials, they’ll prove your firm has genuine experience.
Third, providing valuable content builds engagement with your site. Potential clients will find themselves referred to your site, and they may keep coming back to see your updates.
Use blogs to share tips, give advice, and promote news from your firm. It’ll add dynamic, evergreen content to your site. You can also use it to work with other websites for cross-promoting, which can result in huge gains for both of you.
SEOing is Believing
Great site design is worthless if no one sees it.
In layman’s terms, SEO is the stuff that gets your site noticed by search engines. It’s the reason things pop up when someone Googles a relevant term.
We could fill a separate article with law firm web design SEO, but the important parts are the same for every industry.
Use an online tool to give yourself an SEO checkup. Then pay attention to some of these key features of SEO:
- External links
- Smart URLs
- Use of tags
SEO will determine whether your site sinks or swims, almost literally. You’ll either bob near the top of the Google search results, or drown in the abyss past page 3.
SEO can be tricky. If you’re not confident in your SEO, there are plenty of companies out there who can give you an SEO makeover, so don’t be afraid to look for help.
It won’t do much good to tell customers all about you if they can’t figure out how to reach you.
Some sites can get away with hidden contact details, so long as their call to action is clear. But for law sites, a contact page and a call to action are often the same thing – you need people to engage directly with you.
That’s why a key element of law firm web design is making your contact methods clearly visible.
It’s common to see a site tuck its contact page away. But for a law firm, you should look at placing it in prime position on the front page. Make your contact form one of the first things a potential customer sees.
Offering multiple contact methods is a great way to increase conversions. Make sure you’re available by phone, email, post – even live chat. Anything that will remove a barrier to communication increases the chance of securing a customer.
Make It Work – For Everyone
Whatever you do with your law firm web design, your site should never gate users off from using it.
Compatibility and accessibility are two tentpoles of inclusive web design. Let’s break them down individually:
Compatibility refers to how well your site runs on different browsers and different devices. Many people now access the web primarily through mobile devices. When designing your site, you need to know that it works on phones and tablets as well as a desktop.
Many web builders include preview options to make sure everything works. But to be certain, it’s always best to check your site personally using your cell phone or a tablet.
Good compatibility isn’t just about whether your site loads. It’s a matter of checking if the user experience is the same across devices. Look for unusable menus, overlapping design elements, or unclickable links.
Accessibility refers to features that make your site inclusive to people with disabilities. This ranges from closed captions on video content to a colorblind mode.
The point of accessibility is to make your site experience equal for people with disabilities. Not only is it a good thing to do, but it shows you’re a conscientious firm – and it also helps you reach the largest audience possible.
Law Firm Web Design – Make or Break
Hard truth: if your website is a failure, you can expect the same from your business. More customers than ever look for services online. If you’re not able to reel them in, you’ll lose them to your competitors. Get your site design right if you want to succeed.
Looking for more web design tips? Make sure to browse our catalog.
The camping experience used to be simple but uncomfortable, with only a tent, a fire, and sleeping bags. However, camping today has become high tech.
Owning high tech gear for camping makes the experience much easier and can even extend the trip significantly. It can make camping feel like home and has made the camping experience available to many new groups of people.
There are various types of tech gear that is available to campers today. From portable stoves to better lighting, everyone uses different pieces of tech based on their needs. Here are some of the best pieces of tech gear for camping on the market today.
1. Solar Chargers
Unless you’re looking for a completely tech-free adventure (in which case, you may want to hop on to another article), you will probably need to recharge items like your phone, GPS, and even your iPad. That is where solar chargers will come into play.
By using solar power to charge up and energize your devices, you will both be promoting environmentally friendly device use and keeping yourself safe by giving you access to your communication devices. Obviously, solar chargers won’t work when it is night time or a particularly cloudy day, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
2. Ultralight Sleeping Bag
Sleeping bags used to be a hassle to carry around when camping. Luckily, new technology has made it so that you can stay warm at night without having to break your back carrying a heavy sleeping bag.
By using “goose-down” material instead of the typical synthetic material, you can be assured that you will be shedding some pounds from your camping bag without sacrificing your warmth at night.
Many goose-down sleeping bags come with a 10-degree temperature rating, meaning that most campers will be comfortable sleeping in 10-degree weather. This makes your goose-down sleeping bag perfect for camping any time of the year!
3. High Tech Cooking Gear
Cooking has always been one of the coziest, most memorable experiences of camping. The joy of cooking by a warm fire and making food naturally has a great vibe that goes along with it. Unfortunately, cooking while camping can be a struggle.
Whether it’s a fire that just won’t start or a site that won’t allow you to do much outside of boiling water, there are always ways to make cooking easier for the average camper. Luckily, new technology has made cooking easier and has helped the average camper diversify their cooking options.
Items range from a device that provides a consistent stream of air to help light a fire, to a high-tech heat pack that can react to water and reach up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes cooking food much more accessible.
What’s most important is that high-tech cooking gear allows for campers to cook wherever they may want to. Whether they are in windy or rainy conditions, the gear available now can heat up and prepare your food no matter where you choose to set up.
4. Personal Water Filter
Thanks to the technology we have today, water filtering can be done in only seconds, so any water that we find can become drinking water.
If your campsite is by a stream or river, or even if there’s some rain overnight that you want to be able to drink come morning, you will be best off buying a personal water filter. Many personal water filters can filter out up to 99.9% of all bacteria and particles in the water that you find around your campsite.
These filters will ensure that you have a steady supply of clean water, meaning one less worry for your camping trip. These filters are great to have on hand for emergencies too, as you know you can have clean drinking water as soon as you find a source to fill up.
One perfect example of where to use this personal water filter is by the many riverside camping sites offered by Campsited France campsites. Once you are set up next to any of the many rivers or streams that these sites offer, you’ll be good to go for some long-term camping fun!
Even campers need to start their morning off the right way, and the Handspresso is the tool to help you do just that.
Basically a portable coffee maker, the Handspresso will allow you to make your favorite brew every morning which will have you ready to go on any adventure. There is no reason why camping should stop you from enjoying a great tasting coffee in the morning!
6. BioLite Camp Stove
One of the most difficult parts of camping is starting a solid fire for cooking. Luckily, the BioLite Camp Stove solves exactly that problem. It is an easy-to-use, portable device that will burn all of your fire-starting concerns away.
By gathering some small sticks around you and placing them inside this device, you can start a smokeless fire perfect for cooking, boiling water, and even as a light source.
The BioLite also doubles as a battery that uses the heat from the fire to power up a portable charger – perfect for your wireless devices! All of these features in one small device shows just how advanced tech gear for camping has become.
7. LifeProof Phone Case
Even when camping, our phones are among the most precious items we own. When going on a camping expedition, you may encounter many chances where your phone may be damaged, whether it be rain, dangerous terrain, or even animals.
The LifeProof Phone Case seems to solve all of your phone worries when camping. This phone case can survive 2-meter drops, seals off your phone from dirt and ice, and is waterproof up to 2 meters for an entire hour.
The LifeProof phone case is the perfect line of defense for your cell phone and will be a worthwhile investment the second your phone slips out of your hands and into that stream.
Are You Ready To Use All the High Tech Gear for Camping?
The most important benefit that each piece of high tech gear for camping offers is the chance to stay at your favorite campsite even longer. Whether that means more stories by the fire, more memories made, or even more time to explore, any camping enthusiast can appreciate more camp time!
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead, buy any gear you may need, and pack up, because your next camping adventure awaits you!
Tactical morale patches are a long-standing tradition in the military. They offer a bit of humor amongst a difficult job. These patches can help take the edge off a difficult situation.
Because of this, coming up with a good patch design can take some time. You’ll want to brainstorm and figure out the best way to show off the message you want to convey. Sometimes even a good idea needs a little help to make a great patch.
If you’re not sure where to begin, continue reading for some design tips that will help make your patch stand out.
1. Stick to a Simplistic Design
The saying of “less is more” is a good rule to stick to for tactical patches. When it comes to a good patch design, don’t try to do too much in one space. The general tactical patch size isn’t large enough to allow for too many details.
A good way to ensure that you don’t add too much in one go is to pick one or two features that will make up the bulk of the design.
Too many details cramped together within the small space of the patch will only leave it looking messy and confusing. Stick to simplistic elements in order to let those elements shine on their own.
2. Use Legible Font
Most morale patches include some kind of text. It can be anything such as a humorous message, a rallying statement, or simply a commemorative logo.
If you choose to have any kind of text on your patch design, make certain that you pick a font that can be easily read. The patch will have an overall sloppy feel if no one can read what the patch actually says.
Don’t forget to test the patch’s text readability from both close up and far away. Being able to be read from many different distances will give it a stronger presence. Besides, if you spend so much time designing the perfect tactical patch, its message shouldn’t be lost just because of an illegible font.
3. Have a Strong Border
Adding in a strong border around the entire patch can give the patch design a very polished look. It brings the entire design together and gives the eye something to rest on while taking in the rest of the patch.
You could choose the border to be in a complementary color, something that lets the border meld together seamlessly with the rest of the design.
Picking a contrasting color for the border can bring more attention to the patch, drawing a viewer’s eye towards the patch.
Alternatively, going with a black border is always a classic choice. It goes well with any kind of design or subject matter and will match any color scheme. Test out a few different choices to see which one works the best with your own patch.
4. Select Clear Graphics
When it comes to picking the kind of graphic elements you want to include in your design, make sure those graphics are clear. This goes back to the idea of sticking to more simplistic designs. If there are too many details within the graphic, it can look a little messy and hard to read.
Remember that these graphics will have to be stitched out onto the patch. The machines that create these designs for you will be able to include some details, but if there’s too many, it may be difficult to replicate.
Plus, you’ll want viewers to know exactly what they’re looking at when they inspect your newly designed patch for the first time.
5. Pick Bold Colors
Selecting colors that really pop out and demand attention are great choices for a tactical morale patch. For something integral to military life, these patches shouldn’t be missed simply because the colors don’t grab anyone’s attention.
It’s a good idea to think of the kind of emotion you want your patch to convey. Colors can give viewers different emotions depending on the colors you’ve chosen, so keep that in mind when working on your patch design.
You may also want to get into contact with the company that will be manufacturing your patch. It could be that they may not carry a specific color of thread that you want to include in your patch. In this case, you may want to find a different provider or you could alter your design to match the list of colors the manufacturer has on hand.
6. Come Up With a Name
Some of the best tactical patches have a name to go along with them. And yours should be no exception.
Names are great for morale patches. It gives the patch an identity of its own and lets people recognize it instantly just by word-of-mouth.
The name doesn’t have to be long and elaborate. It could be something that just describes the design of the patch, or might call back to the message written on it. Otherwise, you could always choose the name to be something that holds weight within your military group.
7. Bring in the Fun
Don’t forget to have some fun with the designing process. Sometimes it can be a little troublesome. You’ll have a lot of different things to keep in mind and nothing is ever hassle-free when it comes to a creative endeavor.
Bring in some friends to help you with the process. Hold a brainstorming party. Let some inside jokes shine within the patch design itself.
These patches are meant to bring a bit of brightness into a job that is often difficult. Let that kind of lightheartedness shine throughout your design and your patch will be more memorable because of it.
Every Patch Design Begins With an Idea
The best place to start with any patch design is a strong idea. Spend some time coming up with something funny or something meaningful. Maybe you prefer a mix of both.
Make your design something excites you. Then, use these design tips to polish that idea. In the end, you’ll have a great patch that you’ll be proud to share with everyone.
Check out our support page if you have any questions or concerns.
Are you looking to take care of some plumbing projects on your own? You’ll need to find downloadable plumbing tutorials to learn how to do them.
The average cost of a plumber is $303, so it makes perfect financial sense to try to take on a few plumbing jobs at home.
Would you like to learn where you can find the best tutorials on DIY plumbing projects? Keep reading to learn which projects you can do at home and find downloadable resources to learn how to do them.
What Projects Are Best for DIY?
There are many plumbing projects that you can DIY. Then there are others that are best left to the professionals.
The best projects to work on are simple leaks or clogs. If you’re looking to install a new faucet or shower head, those are other easy DIY projects that you can do in a short amount of time.
Other projects should be handled with care and caution. If you’re intimidated by any of these projects, it’s okay to call a professional. Otherwise, if you have the technical know-how and confidence, you can do them yourself.
These projects include installing a new dishwasher, garbage disposal or a toilet. The concerns with doing this project yourself would be leaks and flooding due to improper installation.
When Should You Call a Professional?
There are some projects that should be left to professional plumbers.
For any plumbing project on a new property, call a plumber to take a look at your plumbing lines first. They can make sure your lines are within code and they can guide you on how your lines run so you can complete your project without any issues.
For frozen pipes, it is best to contact a plumber to make sure your pipes thaw properly and don’t burst.
If you’re in a dire situation, you can always Google a plumber and call from your phone. For example, if a mishap is in Toronto, a quick search for plumber Toronto will bring up plumbers you can call right away.
Home renovations and anything to do with moving pipes will require permits and professional help. By doing these projects yourself, you run the risk of having to replace work that is deemed illegal. That can cost you more money in the long run.
Broken pipes also require the expertise of a plumber. That’s because if you do this on your own, you’ll replace the broken pipe, but you probably won’t be able to figure out why the pipe broke.
The Best DIY Plumbing Projects with Downloadable Tutorials
The first thing you need to know about any plumbing project is how to shut off the water. Yes, you can shut off the water to your home! You should know where this is located and practice shutting the valve on and off before you have any sort of emergency.
You certainly don’t want to be in a situation where you’re toilet is overflowing and you’re in a panic trying to find where the valve is.
In the majority of homes, you’ll find the water valve where the water enters the home, or by the water meter. The water can be shut off at individual fixtures like a sink or toilet by shutting off the valve behind the toilet or under the sink.
1. Sink Installation
Are you getting ready to replace a drop in sink? You’ll want to have this handy guide from Home Depot. These are for Swanstone Sinks, but it will give you a general idea as to how it’s done. Check with your sink manufacturer for specific instructions related to your sink.
2. Find Hidden Leaks
The City of Gainsville, Georgia has this handy guide to help you find leaks in your home. Over a million gallons of water are wasted every day in this small city due to hidden leaks.
3. Stop a Running Toilet
Did you know that toilets are the number one source of hidden leaks? Not only that, but running toilets are the most costly and wasteful leaks. This guide from New York City will help you stop your running toilet.
4. Fix a Clogged Toilet
This guide from Kissler Plumbing Repair Parts & Specialty Items helps you fix that stubbornly clogged toilet. The great thing about this guide, in particular, is that it shows you how a toilet operates.
You also have a simple step-by-step guide as to how to fix it.
5. Leaking Water Heater
Working on a leaking water heater is possible thanks to this guide from Whirlpool. It is specific for Whirpool models. You will want to check with your water heater’s manufacturer for more specific instructions.
Where to Find Downloadable Tutorials
If you’re just starting to dive into DIY plumbing, there are a wealth of resources to learn how to handle the projects.
There are many DIY home renovation shows where you can watch and learn, but downloadable resources are great to have. That way, you can refer to them while you’re working on the job.
If you’re working on a specific plumbing project, you can check with a plumbing parts store, do a search on Google, or check with the manufacturer.
You’ll also notice that on this list, there were downloadable tutorials from Gainesville, GA and New York City. Many municipalities are struggling to keep up with water demands. They’re looking for new ways to conserve water. A place for them to start is to work with property owners and educate them on fixing leaks and running water.
Government involvement in water conservation isn’t new. In 1940, the US Department of Agriculture published this guide to show you how to fix simple repairs on your own.
If you want something more advanced, you could also get this Plumber Training Course Manual.
DIY Plumbing Doesn’t Have to be Intimidating
Working on plumbing projects on your own can be intimidating at first. But with the right resources and guides, you can take on projects like leaky faucets.
There are many guides and manuals for download, which is the great thing about the internet.
For other great downloads, check out our database of downloadable repair manuals.
From messaging to shopping and sharing, smartphone apps have made our lives a whole lot easier over the past decade. Auto apps for cars can be some of the most convenient.
Smartphone naturally lend themselves to being a helpful tool in the car, as they have built-in GPS technology and there are lots of nifty gadgets to hold them on the dashboard for easy access while driving.
What are the best auto apps out there that you should be taking advantage of? Here are our top 9 to start with.
1. iSeeCar’s Used Car Search Pro
As Pixel Productions Inc. points out, e-commerce is solving many challenges for the automotive industry.
One of these hurdles is how to reach customers in a digital age. Apps like iSeeCar’s Used Car Search Pro are allowing people to search for loads of different cars through private sellers and dealerships.
It has 59 filters to help you narrow down your search to a tight corner of the market. And it provides automatic scores for the cars listed in the results, as well as ordering by price to help you get the best deal.
iSeeCar says that users have saved over $90 million using this app. It’s great for customers as well as auto retailers.
2. Auto Guard
Dash cams can help to prove fault after an accident, but they can also be expensive.
Why shell out for an expensive piece of kit when you can download Auto Guard for free? This records the road ahead, and you can immediately upload videos to YouTube for future reference.
It supports resolutions of up to 1080p (which might vary depending on the quality of your cell phone camera) and also tracks speed. You’ll be very glad of these features if you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
If you want to run other apps on your phone at the same time, you can upgrade to the pro version for a very small fee. This also gets rid of ads.
Waze is a community-led traffic monitoring tool.
Drivers exchange knowledge about the traffic in their area. If they’re stuck in a jam up ahead, they let the community know. Other users can then choose to go a different way, saving time, and money spent on gas.
It relies on an active community of drivers to supply this real-time information, so be prepared to pitch in to get the most out of this app. You can’t just rely on others doing all the work or the community will fade out.
So far, it’s working like a charm for commuters.
You’re low on gas. The needle is sinking into the red. You need to stop and fill up – and as luck would have it, here’s a gas station.
You fill up the tank and carry on driving… straight past a gas station selling gas for 10 cents less per gallon.
You can hardly turn around and demand a refund. Next time, check the prices in the area first with GasBuddy. You can use the map tool to see your local area and figure out if there’s a better price just a few streets over – it happens!
5. Repair Pal
If your car breaks down, Repair Pal can help you find a good deal at a local garage.
You feed in some information about your problem, and it’ll help you troubleshoot it yourself if possible.
If it’s not fixable at home, it can help you to estimate what cost to expect from a garage for repairs.
6. Carbuzz News
If you’re a petrolhead looking to keep up to date with the latest auto news, check out the Carbuzz News app.
This specialist magazine will fill up your tank with car news and reviews, as well as great features.
Like the story about a guy fooling Tesla autopilot with… an orange.
OK, Spotify isn’t just for the car. But who can cope with a long drive without any tunes?
Spotify is free, so long as you can put up with the ads, but there’s also a premium version. This is just $9.99 a month, which is pretty good value considering your use isn’t just restricted to when you’re driving.
Make those long highway drives better. Use the app to send your favorite songs to the stereo via Bluetooth.
Plus, these days, Spotify has a good collection of comedy shows and podcasts. Great if it’s a little early in the day to start cranking the volume.
If you’re a sports or live music fan, you’ll know that going to big gigs can be a pain.
Not because you didn’t enjoy the spectacle, but because afterward, you’ve completely forgotten where you’ve parked.
Honk helps you to find your way back to your vehicle with step-by-step instructions. It can also keep time on parking meters so you don’t get slapped with a fine.
You can also leave yourself voice and handwritten memos in the app. It can become an alarm for other things. Such as a dentist appointment, or a reminder to pick up the kids.
If your vehicle doesn’t already have some form of collision detection built in, this handy app calculates how safe the distance is between your car and the car in front.
The screen supplies an indicative ‘collision’ time, which you can glance at and keep reasonably high. This will give you time to react to sudden braking, for example.
Don’t stare at the number and let it distract you from the road. However, a quick glance every now and again can help to keep you safe.
Auto Apps Make Your Life Easier
Why struggle to find a parking spot or pay more for gas?
The technology to help you out is available right now. In many cases, it’s completely free – or very inexpensive.
By simply installing these 9 apps on your smartphone, you’ll make the ride far smoother.
Looking for more ways technology can make your life easier? Check out our Top 10 Health and Wellness Lifestyle Apps or 5 Investment Apps Every Investor Needs to Download.
Sitting in a car outside of an apartment building all night with binoculars and a camera. For some people, when you say private investigator (PI) that’s the image that they conquer up.
Granted, that might be a somewhat romanticized vision of the job, which we know also doesn’t accurately represent the work involved today. Sure, there is a good deal of legwork involved in the investigation, but a great deal of the heavy lifting can be done now using investigation software.
We’re going to take a look here at some of the digital tools available for the amateur PI. Who knows, there just may be the perfect thing to help solve your mystery.
So, like a Google search right?
Not exactly. A Google search can be an effective way to gather some initial information, but you’re really only scratching the surface of your subject.
Well then, you might wonder, if not a straight search, what about checking their usage through things like their search history.While that can be an option, it’s an unreliable one.
It’s easy to make the URLs of sites visited disappear or the cached files and cookies of those sites to be cleaned. You also have to take into consideration browser features such as the “Search Incognito” option found in Chrome. What you need is something more specific and robust.
The job dictates the investigation software needs
If you were building a house you wouldn’t just use a hammer, right? Of course not. You’d want a specific set of tools to handle each individual job involved in the project.
The same rules apply to the investigation world. There is no magic formula or one size fits all tool that you can, or should, use.
That’s why you should decide first on what you need to know and then find the best possible tool for discovering that information. And in this, you want the help of an expert.
Every day there seems to be a new personal device released and updates to operating systems come faster than you can install them. When you utilize professionally developed investigation software you can let the developers worry about compatibility with new technology concerns so that you can focus on the information you seek.
We do this why?
This is a question that has multiple answers. Some turn to these tools because they suspect their significant other might be cheating on them.
Others might use them to keep tabs on their kids. Many investigation software clients are actually corporations.
Companies have a lot to lose if their, or their clients’, intellectual property is lost so the company will go to whatever lengths needed to make sure that information is safe and secure.
One of the most popular investigation software programs is called Email Spy. What it does is right there in the name.
The software needs to be installed on the subject’s computer but when it is, it can “record” all email coming in and going out of that machine. This is a great tool because it is so easy for people to set up email accounts, that many individuals will set up one “straight” account and one to handle their…less savory affairs.
For example, an email account for the wife and a separate one for the mistress. This investigation software can break through that digital wall and help uncover the truth in who’s getting an email from whom.
This is the type of investigation software that those doing bad things fear the most. That’s because it can be easily installed, even remotely, onto a subjects’ computer.
Once in place, it records all the activity happening at that computer. Everything – websites visited, documents drafted, images collected.
This tool provides investigators a pretty comprehensive look at what’s happening with a particular person. Because it captures every click and keystroke you’ll find yourself wading through a lot of material but it can definitely be worth it.
This is a popular tool in the corporate information security world. That’s because it allows you to perform what’s known as a “digital forensic investigation.”
In short, this lets you reconstruct data that’s on a drive and then search through that data. It’s ideal for use when you are looking not as much for a single piece of information, but instead searching for patterns in data across periods of time.
In a similar vein is Volatility. It’s an investigative software that gets deep into the workings of any computer.
With Volatility, you can scan machine processes to find hidden connections, backdoor entryways, unauthorized installed programs, and even malicious processes. It’s a great tool to use when you suspect the machine, not the operator, of having a, let’s say, ulterior motive.
Of course, not everything takes place online. People use their mobile phones for ALL sorts of things.
That’s why MobileSpy is such a good tool to become familiar with. It’s a combination investigation software and monitoring service that kicks its findings out to a secure webpage you can access anywhere.
It’s installed on the actual phone but is not tied into the phone’s internal memory system. This means that even though the phone user may erase the questionable text, picture, or call log from their phone, it’s already been captured and reviewed by you.
Even better, it’s an undetectable tool.
While many people need tools such as these to catch criminals (either material or emotional thieves) in the act, some are doing sleuthing to better understand their community. In particular, they want to see if they should be concerned about anyone living on their street.
Websites like the National Sex Offender Registry are popular with parents who want to feel confident about letting their kids play outside. There have been numerous laws, at all levels, passed that require people convicted of a sex offense to register their whereabouts.
This information can be found in a number of locations, the easiest being national and local law enforcement websites. These sites are generally easy to use and (should be) free.
Unfortunately, many people have suspicions about someone they know. These feelings can be led by strong emotions which can at times cloud their judgment.
While tools such as the ones here can help validate or dispel those suspicions, sometimes that emotional connection can make it difficult to see the discovered information clearly. The best course of action may be to turn to a professional like Stillinger Investigations, Inc.
There was a time when logging onto your computer or smartphone to buy weed online was unimaginable.
However, times have changed. Cannabis is now legal for purchase in many U.S. states and Canada. Ordering marijuana online has become a common practice.
Cannabis users are becoming connoisseurs, and the preference for craft cannabis continues to grow. Buying your weed online gives you the option to try new strains that may not be available locally.
Although ordering cannabis online is pretty easy, there are still some potential pitfalls to watch out for. The following eight tips will help ensure you have a positive online shopping experience.
1. Never Buy Weed Online Illegally
What if you live in a state that doesn’t allow legal cannabis use or you don’t have the necessary prescriptions? You may still be tempted to try ordering weed online.
Do not make this mistake. If you get caught, you’ll face serious legal trouble.
As more people are enjoying the benefits of CBD oil, there is some debate about whether it’s legal to have it shipped to all 50 states. If you live in a state where cannabis isn’t legal, you should proceed with caution–even if you’re only purchasing CBD products.
2. Only Do Business with Certified Dispensaries
If you Google how to buy weed online, you’ll find offers on Craigslist, chat rooms, and other random websites. One of the most important things to understand is that you should never buy weed online from any place other than a certified dispensary.
Although buying medical marijuana online is easy for those with the proper documentation, the black market is also still thriving.
If you’re a registered medical marijuana patient, don’t take the chance of buying weed online from someone who isn’t legally authorized to sell it to you. Doing so can cause you legal issues and also greatly increase the chances that you’ll be scammed.
3. Make Sure You’re Using a Website You Can Trust
Beware of sketchy websites that look like they were slapped together.
A good quality site will likely have detailed information about the types of strains offered and the conditions they’re best for treating. Look for sites that have a blog or other information about medical marijuana use.
Read through the website’s frequently asked questions (FAQ) to get a feel for how the company does business. Check out things like verification requirements, shipping speeds, and other order protections offered.
4. Seek Out Vendors with a Wide Selection
One of the primary advantages of ordering cannabis online is the wide variety of options it opens up for you.
When searching for the best place to buy weed online, look for a single source for all of your cannabis needs. This may include:
- CBD Products
Cheeba’s website, for example, offers a good idea of what’s available at a quality mail-order cannabis store.
5. Know Your Product
There are literally hundreds of marijuana strains available. Different types are better for different ailments.
One of the disadvantages of buying your cannabis online is that you don’t have a “budtender” to guide you towards the right products.
Do you understand the difference between Indica and Sativa? Is your condition best treated with edibles, topicals, concentrates, or something else?
Knowing what products you need before you start shopping online will help you avoid overwhelm. It will also ensure you get the right items for your needs.
6. Inquire About Product Testing
There are few things worse than spending hours choosing the perfect cannabis product to buy online, waiting for it to arrive, and then finding the quality is far less than you expected.
Look for sites that back up their product claims with testing results and user reviews. Don’t rely purely on the site in question. Instead, do an independent internet search of the products themselves to see what the rest of the world is saying about them.
Also, search for reviews of the vendor you’re considering. And don’t forget to check out what people are saying on social media platforms.
7. Trust Your Gut
If an offer to buy weed online seems too good to be true, it probably is. While doing your research is important, trusting your gut is critical.
Remember that when ordering items online you’re providing your name, address, and credit card information. Dealing with the wrong party can result in having your money stolen, receiving bunk products, or something even worse.
If you’re not 100 percent comfortable with the transaction you’re about to enter into, it’s probably better to keep looking.
8. Stay on Top of Changing Laws
As State and Federal regulations continue to evolve, so will the laws pertaining to where and how cannabis can be bought, sold, and consumed.
Stay up to date on the latest changes so you don’t unknowingly get yourself into trouble.
Some Final Thoughts
There are plenty of reasons other than a larger selection to consider buying your weed online.
Those living in a small town may not have access to a local dispensary. Ordering online also offers you the ability to obtain your cannabis products discreetly, thereby avoiding the stigma that still remains in some social circles.
Some medical marijuana users may need to order their products online because they feel too ill to leave their homes. No matter what your reason, following the guidelines above can help ensure you get what you need without a hassle.
Do you enjoy keeping up with the latest health and wellness news and digital technology trends? Check back with the Pligg.com blog regularly so you don’t miss a thing!
Are you looking for gamification software downloads to boost productivity from your team?
Gamification is the wave of the future for many companies. In the past, organizations have struggled to increase employee engagement and morale.
The lower the company engagement, the higher the turnover. The higher turnover percentage, the more that can cost businesses in the long run.
If you’re trying to change your business, you need gamification. Over 70% of business change fails because of lack of employee engagement.
Keep reading to learn what gamification is and what the top software downloads are on the market.
What is Gamification?
Gamification is the use of technology designed to activate the reward parts of our brains.
With gamification software, employees earn badges, points and other rewards for doing their jobs. Many industries from retail, government, health, and travel, just to name a few, use gamification.
They’re used primarily for sales and call center teams. That is critical to your business since these teams interact with your customers every single day.
You want these teams to love what they do and keep them engaged as they face customers. The happier your employees are, the happier your customers are.
Does it Really Work?
If you have a difficult time seeing if gamification will work in the workplace, think of FitBit. FitBit revolutionized the fitness industry through gamification. Overall, FitBit owners have shown to be more active to keep their streaks going, earning more badges and rewards.
Gamification software works in a similar fashion in the workplace. A study from the Interaction Design and Architecture Journal showed that there is a connection between gamification and employee motivation. It also showed that gamification helps people remember information.
Using basic human motivation psychology, gamification exploits various forms of motivation. Some employees are motivated by competition. Others are motivated by a sense of belonging, competence or achievement.
Gamification hits all of those buttons.
Gamification software downloads work in real-time. You can track productivity and employees can track rewards compared to their co-workers.
Let’s take a look at the top gamification downloads.
Fantasy Sales Team
Get your sales teams ready for some football!
Actually, get them ready to sell. With Fantasy Sales Teams, this gamification software package is built for team competitions.
Instead of tracking yards, catches, sacks, and touchdowns, you get to set the metrics for your fantasy sales teams. You can track outbound calls, time on the phone, contracts turned in, the number of appointments and quota achieved.
Sales reps can see where they rank against the competition and talk trash on discussion boards.
LevelEleven is another sales oriented gamification system that uses sales data to drive results.
Sales managers set the metrics they want teams to focus on, and check the data to make sure they deliver.
The most important aspect to LevelEleven is the feedback loop so sales managers can coach and help their reps change their behavior.
LevelEleven integrates with SalesForce and HR platforms, creating a complete data-driven reward system.
Ambition sets itself apart by focusing solely on sales teams that use SalesForce.
It’s no secret that 20% of your sales teams generate 80% of results. Ambition’s Fantasy Football gamification software download increases results from the other 80% of your sales force.
You get to create sales teams that go head-to-head each week just like fantasy football. This creates an environment that’s fun and competitive.
It also motivates your entire sales force to be better.
With Ambition, you set the metrics, and you have the transparency and accountability that’s required to build a top sales organization.
nGUVU is a gamification company that provides solutions for call centers and education in multiple industries.
They offer a unique platform that not only leverages rewards to improve performance, but you can see behaviors that predict risks. Trends like absenteeism will notify you if you’re at risk of losing an employee.
Employees love it because it’s easy to use, and they can see how they’re performing in real time without taking up a lot of time.
On the plus side, it’s easy to get started, thanks to their training programs. They have great documentation, webinars, online and in-person training available.
Bunchball has gamification services that integrate with Jive, SalesForce, and SAP. It’s used for many applications. It’s used for employee training, sales, safety training and compliance, and to motivate your support teams.
Before signing up for Bunchball, you do need to be clear how you intend to use the software because it is highly customizable.
One drawback to using Bunchball is the implementation. It’s entirely up to your organization to integrate the software because you will need to use web development and infrastructure resources to get it started.
PlayVox stands out from the crowd because this gamification software download goes beyond the standard points reward system.
What PlayVox does is take the gamification aspect and use the information gathered to inform managers how to coach employees. That method is meant to continuously improve performance.
PlayVox is built for mid-size to large businesses. The minimum number of agents for this program is 25. PlayVox has been used by Movistar, which has over 3,000 agents spread across the world.
Another customer service platform, Freshdesk Arcade seeks to put the fun back into customer support.
Managers set the metrics for customer service reps to achieve, and they get rewarded when those metrics are met.
For example, you can set targets for the number of tickets closed, customer satisfaction ratings, and speed in resolving customer issues.
Employees will then earn points for each objective, and they can go up in levels as they earn points. You can also set up quests for your teams. You can also choose to reset points, such as weekly or monthly.
Ready to Boost Engagement with Gamification Software?
Studies have shown that gamification in the office can raise employee engagement, improves performance, increases motivation, and creates open lines of communication.
With so many positive benefits of gamification, what are you waiting for?
If you want to take employee engagement and happiness to the next level, be sure to read other great articles like “Regular Cleaning Leads to Happy Employees” and our guide “10 Steps to Hiring & Keeping the Right Employee.”
Welcome to the modern Digital Age, where pretty much everything is governed by technology and the Internet. Connectivity is key to success in society, and digital marketing is the key to your business’s success.
A reputable online presence is crucial, no matter what industry you’re in. Your brand is your selling point, so you need to stay informed about the best digital marketing practices.
The Internet will continue to grow as a business powerhouse. In fact, when it comes to sales, over 80% of customers research a product or company online before making a big purchase.
Your business deserves to have the best digital marketing available. There are so many ins and outs when it comes to navigating online branding, so it’s probably a good idea for you to outsource. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about hiring the best digital marketing agency.
What Are Your Needs?
Before you even shop around for the best digital marketing agency, you should at least know what exactly you would be hiring them for!
Draft an outline of the expectations you have for your online presence. Make sure you are detailed in your needs so that you know what services to hire for.
It’s important at this stage to be realistic about how your relationship with a digital marketer will look. At the same time, make sure you stay flexible enough to handle any situational curves as they come.
Research the Digital Marketing Agency Beforehand
The good thing about the Internet is that it holds a lot of information, and some of that information will be relevant to hiring a certain digital marketing agency.
If you have a certain agency in mind, you should definitely check up on their reputation before you hire them. You want to make sure they have a history of ethical and compliant work experience.
Check out their website, too. If they don’t seem to have a decent online presence themselves, odds are they don’t really know what they’re doing. If they appear reputable and feature reviews from former customers (see https://loyaldogmarketing.com for an example), you can trust they have more experience in the field.
A quick online search should be able to show you whether or not the agency has been in significant legal trouble before. You should also check the online reviews, to determine whether or not previous customers have been happy with their services.
Ask Plenty of Questions
Make sure the digital marketing agency of your choice has plenty of technical knowledge. Do they truly know everything there is to know about web design and development? Don’t be afraid to test their knowledge and expertise before you hire them.
Also feel free to ask them about cost, length of the project, and any other questions that are pertinent to your business’s needs.
No matter what, you should feel comfortable and secure in your decision to hire a digital marketing agency.
If you are working within a certain budget, stick with it. If there are certain services you require, make sure you find an agency with successful experience in that area.
We know how important it is to stay informed about technology in this Digital Age. Read more about it here, and you’ll be well on your way to having a successful online presence.
Our world is moving faster than ever. Between balancing kids, relationships, work, and dozens of other tasks, it can be hard to find time to take care of ourselves.
As it turns out, the answer to a better you may have been in your pocket the whole time! Here are 10 of the best health and wellness lifestyle apps to help you find a better balance.
Are you one of the 33 percent of people considered obese or overweight? If so, you’re certainly not alone. Tracking your diet and exercise can be tricky.
But MyFitnessPal makes it easy, giving you tons of great options. Enter your height, weight, and goals and it’ll calculate a dietary plan for your needs.
2. Lose It!
Lose It! is a personal favorite. It’s far more accessible and user-friendly than MyFitnessPal and includes a few more helpful features.
Take photos of barcodes on food packaging for a quick calorie count. Or check out the latest dietary advice from their blog.
While neither app is going to replace a natural health practitioner, it makes for a great aid.
3. Zombies, Run!
Let’s face it, cardio isn’t exactly the most exciting exercise out there. But what if there was a way to make your walk or jog into a heart-racing adventure?
That’s where Zombies, Run! comes in. This genius app blends gamification and an engaging narrative with fitness tracking.
Rummage through the forests to find supplies for your outpost. But you’d better be fast, there are zombies on your tail! What’s really cool about Zombies, Run! is the sheer amount of options it gives you.
Whether you’re looking for a gentle walk or want to experience getting chased by the fastest zombies on the planet, there’s an experience for you.
Pact is essentially a crowd-funded app where users set goals, like going to the gym X number of times per week or eating X amount of vegetables.
Here’s the catch: there are monetary consequences and rewards. If you meet those goals, you’ll actively earn cash. Should you fail, well, it’s time to pay up.
5. Sleep Cycle
The average person needs around seven to nine hours of restful sleep per night. However, that isn’t always easy.
Now, thanks to Sleep Cycle, you can track your sleep and get tips for a more restful night.
Mental health is every bit as important as diet or exercise. But few people take the time to really check in with how they’re feeling.
Lifestyle apps like Headspace are a fantastic resource for those looking to improve mindfulness. The basic app consists of 10 10-minute meditation exercises that are sure to improve your mood.
Never worry about drinking enough water again! Waterlogged is the perfect way to track your hydration throughout the day. You can even take photos of your glass or bottle instead of manually logging each glass.
8. Thrive Market
Thrive Market is the perfect answer for those who can’t seem to find the time to make it to the grocery store. This app connects you with great health-friendly foods.
Just find what you’re looking for, order and your food will be delivered to you quickly.
9. Make My Plate
Most of us are guilty of…let’s say overly zealous portion sizes. Should that sound familiar, give Make My Plate a download.
Balance your plate, find recipes, and get the motivation you need to eat healthier and feel better.
Talkspace is a 24/7 on-demand therapy service that connects you with a real therapist. No one deserves to go through a dark time alone, and now with Talkspace, they don’t have to.
Final Thoughts on Health and Wellness Lifestyle Apps
There’s no better time to start living a healthier life! Want more tips and resources to live healthier and happier? Then be sure to check out the Pligg blog for all the latest downloads and info.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could carry around a library of investment knowledge in your pocket? With the investment apps available today, this is a possibility, not a fantasy.
Sure, specialist investment news websites are still a great source of information. But apps are an ideal way to keep up to date while you’re on the go.
Here are 5 investment apps you should install right away!
Robinhood is a commission-free trading platform which allows you to buy shares in listed companies and ETFs.
Rather than pay fees for making trades, users are charged a monthly rate instead. You can budget without taking into account all the different fees that investors usually face.
As it’s in your pocket, you can make money on your commute while saving money on your trades. Real-time market data allows you to make decisions in just an instant.
Seems like a no-brainer – it’s one of the investment apps that any investor, experienced or rookie, can benefit from.
TheStreet is a comprehensive financial news outlet featuring in-depth analyses and actionable news for the stock market.
This makes it an investor’s best friend. There’s nothing quite like an expert view to bring a rationale to your investment approach.
Get up to date, make well-informed stock picks, and beat the market.
The Bloomberg app is another excellent choice for the educated investor.
Whether you’re investing in ETFs or the commodity markets for tangible assets, Bloomberg will give you the knowledge you need.
It also includes portfolio tracking tools so that regular checks of investment performance become a breeze.
The Acorns app is fantastic for people who can’t afford to put hundreds of dollars into an investment at once.
For every purchase you make, the app will round up your spending to the nearest dollar. The difference is paid into investments.
Let’s say you buy a $2.50 coffee. The app rounds it up to $3.00 and puts 50 cents into your investments. That’s not a lot, but the idea is that the small amounts build up over time to create a solid chunk of money.
Invest every day while you’re doing your shopping!
Betterment acts as a financial advisor, seeking better returns on your investment.
It does this through a combination of ‘robo-advising’ – automated portfolio management – and a highly diversified portfolio to minimize risk in moments.
Plus, it has a tax-efficient approach, meaning that you’re not being taxed for trades and investment returns unless absolutely necessary.
It also features low fund fees, so you get to keep more of your money while trading.
Investment Apps for Success
A good investment can be a great source of passive income. That’s the type of income you simply watch roll in over time. Sounds nice, right?
These apps should see your portfolio race its way to investment success. Your life will become more relaxing when you know you have good investments on hand.
But if you’re brand new, do you know how to invest in the first place? Check out our guide to investing money online to get started.
Now that marijuana is legal in a number of states, the use of CBD oil is becoming more and more commonplace. And with its rising profile, comes the discovery of multiple amazing uses for this unique oil.
What is CBD oil, you ask?
Well, CBD is a type of compound found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids. CBD’s benefits have long been eclipsed by THC, the cannabinoid known for producing the mind-altering effects that marijuana is known for.
CBD is not psychoactive (read: you won’t get high), but has a long list of benefits from fighting inflammation to relieving pain.
Here are five great benefits of CBD oil to get you up to speed.
1. It Relieves Pain and Inflammation
Among the most buzzed-about benefits associated with CBD is its ability to reduce pain. Researchers believe that CBD when ingested, interacts with receptors in your brain. The oil is thought to have a positive effect on those suffering from chronic pain from MS, fibromyalgia, or other debilitating conditions.
2. CBD May Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A 2007 study established that CBD may have a positive impact on those suffering from insomnia.
The oil is thought to have a positive impact on dopamine levels in the bloodstream during sleep, which helps improve the quality of sleep.
That said, you’ll want to find a quality CBD oil to reap the sleep-centric benefits of the oil–Healthworx CBD oil is one of our favorite options.
3. Depression and Anxiety
Cannabis, in its traditional form, has long been used to curb anxiety, depression, and other mood issues. Because both anxiety and depression have been linked to serotonin receptors in the brain, CBD oil may help reduce the physical and mental symptoms associated with these conditions.
What’s more is CBD may help situational anxiety, such as that associated with public speaking.
One of the more interesting discoveries to come out of CBD research is the potential it holds for epileptics. Scientists have long known the cannabinoid carries tremendous anti-seizure properties, but recently, studies have shown the substance to be effective in patients who have a history of resisting other treatments.
5. There Are Minimal Side Effects Associated with CBD Oil
With all these great benefits, you may be thinking–CBD oil sounds too good to be true. What are the side effects?
CBD oil is relatively safe and produces few side effects. However, some users report feeling drowsy, light-headed or have experienced a drop in blood pressure. That said, researchers believe the oil is non-toxic and safe for most people.
To read more of our articles, spend more time on our site. We’ll talk all things new and buzzy–from renewable energy to apps you can use for your business.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has made huge strides over the past few years, interconnecting almost everything you can imagine. The result is a stunning array of smart home devices that allow you to automate and control almost every inch of your living space.
We now live in a world where your appliances can go out to the internet for information, communicate directly with you, and respond to your voice commands.
Whether you want to start small with something like voice-controlled lightbulbs or go for full-house automation, the key lies in choosing the right smart home devices and appliances. Here are ten of our favorites.
1. Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera
Perhaps one of the most valuable things you can do with smart home devices is to increase security. Installing 12-volt LED lighting and a WiFi camera system can help deter criminals and make your home feel safer.
The Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera is weatherproof and sends out 1080p video that you can watch using a mobile app or on a computer. You can also set it up to send you alerts when there’s sound or movement in a specific area.
2. Adobe Home Security Starter Kit
The Adobe Home Security Starter Kit is the perfect way for a beginner to upgrade home security without spending a fortune. It’s easy to install and doesn’t require an expensive ongoing monitoring service.
It covers all of the basics you’d look for in a home security system, and third-party integrations allow for major upgrades. This system pairs with many other smart devices like door locks, switches, lighting, and Nest home devices.
3. Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector
This intelligent home protection system gives verbal warnings and tells you exactly where the danger is detected. It sends notifications directly to your phone and allows you to turn it off remotely. Nest Protect integrates with all of the other Nest smart home devices, offering additional safety measures.
4. Eobee4 Thermostat
Save money and increase comfort by installing the Ecobee4 smart thermostat. It had built-in sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, proximity, and motion. This helps the device know whether you are home and change temperature settings accordingly.
This device is superior to its competitors partially due to the inclusion of a remote sensor that helps regulate temperatures throughout your home. The 4th generation of this device also has built-in Alexa voice capabilities. This means that it can do everything Alexa can do, including controlling other devices, playing music, and providing weather updates.
5. Philips Hue Lightbulbs
Adding Philips Hue WiFi lightbulbs to your home allows you to control not only the light from room to room but also the color scheme. This personal wireless lighting system lets you easily create an ambiance to fit every occasion.
Turn lights on and off remotely to make it look like you’re home when you’re not. Set them to wake you up to a gentle sunrise every morning or create a virtual thunderstorm indoors.
6. June Intelligent Oven
Feel like a whiz in the kitchen with the June Intelligent Oven. This countertop oven uses WiFi and has a built-in camera. What makes it really awesome, though, it the artificial intelligence (AI) that seems to know how to cook everything with almost no input from you.
Simply put your food in the oven and tell it how you’d like it cooked. Once the oven confirms that it’s understood you correctly, all you need to do is sit back and wait. It sounds too good to be true, but this oven actually creates excellent results when cooking an array of dishes like meat, vegetables, fish, and even waffles.
7. iRobot Roomba 690
We all have better things to do than spend hours cleaning our homes each day. The iRobot Roomba 690 zooms around your home picking up dirt and debris from the floor. This model features a navigation camera and it links to a smartphone app so it can deliver detailed cleaning reports.
8. Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller Generation 2
There are few things more frustrating than realizing you’ve left your sprinklers on during a rainstorm. The second generation Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller features both scheduled and weather-controlled watering settings.
You can use the system to manually begin and end watering in eight or 16 different zones, depending on the model you choose. It also integrates with many third-party smart home devices.
9. Robomow RS622
The Robomow automatic lawn mower offers the ultimate in homeowner convenience. The RS622 model is perfect for areas of up to 23,000 square feet. Simply program in the perimeter you want it to follow and let it go.
The dual blades spin at 4,000 RPM and mulch while they mow, eliminating the need for clean-up.
10. Amazon Echo
As you add more smart devices to your home, a quality controller will make your life much easier. Amazon’s Echo products, powered by Alexa, allow you to control almost all smart home devices with simple voice commands.
The Amazon Echo features a high-quality Bluetooth speaker while the newest edition, Amazon’s Echo Show, has a video touch screen. If you’re looking for simplicity, opt for the small and inexpensive Echo Dot.
Plan Ahead When Designing Your Smart Home
When designing a smart home, it’s important to choose quality appliances and plan ahead to ensure everything you purchase will work together. A high-end dealer, like Eurohome Canada, can help you choose the perfect devices for your needs. Find out more by taking a trip to the showroom for a hands-on experience.
Security Precautions When Using These Smart Home Devices
Since many of the devices in your home will be connected to the internet, it’s important to take basic security precautions. Make sure to keep up with software updates to help ensure your devices are able to protect themselves from potential hacking attacks. For your protection, also make sure to change the default password that comes with security systems and other devices.
Once you start experiencing the power and convenience of a smart home, you’ll be hooked. Stay on top of the latest innovations and digital trends with the Gadgets and Gizmos blog on Pligg.com.
Are you harnessing the full potential of online reputation management?
Whether you’re new to the online reputation management game or have been doing it for years, there’s always something new to learn. As the world of tech evolves, so does the best approach to online reputation.
The things that worked well even a year or two ago may no longer be as effective now. And as new apps, algorithms, and devices are developed, the game is constantly changing.
Want to learn the top tools for online reputation management this year? Then you need this guide. We’ll break down everything you need to know about getting your company’s online look under control.
Whether you’re a newbie or an expert, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out the hottest tools in the online reputation game!
What is Online Reputation Management?
If you’ve just started a new company, or just recently brought your business online, you may not fully understand what online reputation management is.
The name may sound self-explanatory – and in a way, it is. Online reputation management simply refers to how you handle your brand’s image online.
However, there’s much more to this than meets the eye. If managing a company’s image online was simple, there would be no need for the many online reputation management services that exist.
Online reputation management means you need to control the conversation about your business online as much as possible. But because there are so many places a business can appear on the internet, this is no small task.
Let’s take a look at the many factors that play into managing an online reputation.
One of the most common places where reputation management is needed is on social media sites.
Different brands will need to focus more on different social apps. For example, a fashion brand will likely spend more time managing its reputation on image-heavy Instagram than on Twitter.
Social media is where customers are talking about your brand. If you don’t join in that conversation, you can’t take control over it. Getting on social media allows you to steer the conversation in a positive way, or to publicly address customer’s concerns in a helpful way.
Another place where your online reputation is crucial is on your company’s website.
It’s important to have a brand site in the first place. Modern customers aren’t likely to trust a business if they can’t find any information about it online.
However, it’s not enough to just have a website. If your site looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1999, customers won’t trust your ability to offer a good product. If the site is too slow, confusing, or otherwise hard to navigate, that will steer customers away.
Consumers also want a site that is helpful, not one that just sells stuff. Having informative content like blog posts and videos keeps them invested longer.
Having informative content on your site doesn’t just help customers stay interested. It also helps them find your business in the first place.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is another important part of online reputation management.
Customers don’t tend to value sites that are on page five of Google as highly as the sites on page one. Your brand appears more reputable and attracts more customers if it is easy to find on a search engine.
Having an online reputation that’s tied to a location is a strong point for businesses with a brick-and-mortar component.
Your reputation should be tied to your community and location if you are a local business. Even when searching online, customers want to see your involvement and presence in the community. They want to be able to easily find companies that are close to them and have what they want.
Optimizing your SEO for local search is becoming an even bigger part of reputation management as the use of mobile devices grows. More people today are searching and shopping on the go from mobile devices than ever before.
The internet is an important place to make your brand story known to customers.
Today’s shoppers don’t just want products. They want to invest in a company that is interesting and important to them. The way to get them to invest is by having a clear, compelling brand story.
Without managing your online reputation, you can never build that story effectively. Using all of the components listed above – from videos on social media to photo albums on your website – allows you to create a compelling narrative.
Your online reputation should clearly show the things that are important to your company.
Maybe it’s community, sustainability, creativity, or some other list of factors. No matter what, the story, history, and philosophy of your brand are among the most important parts of its reputation online.
Why Does Online Reputation Management Matter?
The reason online reputation management matters is simple: it translates into sales.
At the end of the day, every business needs to attract and retain customers, no matter what it sells. As the online world and the real world become more intertwined, using the internet to your advantage becomes crucial for attracting customers.
Without a solid online reputation, you will quickly lose ground to other companies that are working hard on theirs. And since the industry is rapidly changing, you may not be able to catch up.
How can you stay at the cutting edge? Let’s take a look at this year’s best tools for online reputation management.
HootSuite has been around for a while, but it remains one of the top tools used to maintain an online reputation.
This social media management platform makes controlling your reputation on different social media sites a breeze.
The purpose of this service is to allow you to control your company’s different social media profiles on one platform. Instead of having to log in and out of multiple sites, Hootsuite’s dashboard lets you do it all in one place.
The service also helps control spam and block messages from fake accounts, which can save you precious time. This is a great way to monitor and maintain different social media profiles in a minimal amount of time.
2. Google Alerts
This free service from Google lets you find things on the internet that are related to a specific subject. In the case of online reputation management, it lets you find out when and where people are talking online about your brand.
This is important, as it lets you catch and address both positive and negative posts about your brand or products. It also allows you to see what competitors are posting about your niche, so you can stay ahead of the competition.
When you use Google alerts, you just put in keywords or phrases related to your business. You might search for the name of your business, for example, or a common question people have about your products.
When one of those terms gets used in a post online, you’ll get an alert about it. This allows you to specifically target any subject that’s relevant to your industry.
3. If This Then That
If This Then That (ITTT) is another helpful, free service for managing your social media presence.
ITTT allows you to automatically set posts to appear on all your social media accounts at once. For example, if you post something on Twitter, ITTT can automatically post the same thing on Facebook for you, so you don’t have to do the work on two different sites.
This service also includes extras like sending automatic replies or removing hate speech and spam from the comments section.
Comparing your company to your competitors is an important part of keeping your reputation on point.
SimilarWeb lets you rank your site against competitors. This helps you target specific issues with your reputation online. For example, if customers quickly leave your website but tend to linger more on a competitor’s, you can compare your site to theirs and look for ways to improve.
5. Go Fish Digital
Want to target and address any negative online conversation about your brand?
Go Fish Digital helps you find negative reviews about your brand or product online. This lets you catch and address any negativity before it blows out of proportion.
6. The Brand Grader
The Brand Grader offers a quick and easy overview of your company’s online reputation – or of your competitor’s.
Use this service to find relevant online chatter from news articles to the locations around the world where people mention a brand the most.
If you love Google Alerts but want an even closer look at when and where people mention your brand, you’ll adore Mention.
Google Alerts gives you a daily heads-up. Mention, however, provides real-time information on who is saying what about your brand.
Need to harness the power of email marketing, but don’t know how to start?
Email is yet another great place to manage reputation and connect with customers online. SendInBlue helps you create email marketing campaigns easily, by providing templates for attractive, organized marketing emails.
It’s all about reputation, which means you need to know what reviewers are saying about your products – both good and bad.
Reputology lets you monitor reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. You can even separate reviews for different store locations, so if there’s a reputation problem, you’ll get a clear picture of where it’s coming from.
Ready to Build Your Online Reputation?
Are you ready to put these tools to use and grow your customer base now?
With these nine online reputation management tools on your side, you can easily get ahead of your competitors.
For more information on how to use online tools like social media to your advantage, be sure to check out this post on social media solutions.
There are a few common features every woman thinks of when she imagines her wedding.
She thinks of the dress and being walked down the aisle. She thinks of how it will feel to share her vows and say “I do.” She’ll picture the decor, the teary-eyed guests, and the man of her dreams standing right there alongside her.
But, these celebrations continue long after the vows and last dance.
Next comes the honeymoon!
As important as it is to plan for every detail of the wedding, honeymoons need just as much attention. This is particularly important when it comes to budgeting, which is why any honeymoon savings you can get are worth looking into.
Honeyfund has been growing in popularity among soon-to-be newlyweds.
But, this is not a savings method friends and family are always happy about.
Here’s a closer look at how Honeyfund works and why it shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks.
What Is Honeyfund?
Honeyfund is the new alternative to traditional wedding registries.
In years past, a bride and groom would make a list of the things they needed to start their new life together. This was composed of items like kitchen appliances, bed and bathroom sets, and the like.
Now, most couples already live together and share a residence before they get married. This means they don’t need as much for their “new” home.
But, they still have many memories to make.
That’s where Honeyfund comes in.
This is a way for new couples to have the honeymoon of their dreams without having to worry as much about honeymoon savings.
It makes that Mediterranean cruise or week in the Caribbean possible.
Honeyfund works similar to other crowdfunding systems – like GoFundMe or Indiegogo.
Users activate an account asking for money from their friends and family. The account comes with a link that can be shared far and wide – on social media, the wedding’s website, and more.
The money flows in and the honeymoon savings even out.
The following are a few more reasons why Honeyfund is the way to go with your post-wedding planning.
More Financial Freedom to Plan Your Wedding
There wouldn’t be a honeymoon without a wedding in the first place!
But, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the budget of one to enjoy the other.
Honeyfund gives you access to honeymoon savings that can trickle back into your wedding account.
This means you might be able to spend a bit more on things like…
With some dresses coming in at costs of double-digit thousands, it may surprise you to know the average cost for wedding dresses is $1,000!
Still, $1,000 can be one of the honeymoon flight tickets you need to purchase.
Or, it could be the cost of staying at your hotel when you get to your destination.
When someone covers such savings for the newlywed trip, you get to be the soon-to-be-wed bride you want to be.
This means you get the gown that caught your eye before you checked the price tag. You may even have enough for the Rachel Simpson vintage wedding shoes to match, too.
Finding the right dress is just as important as booking your venue. The venue sets the scene for your wedding to unfold into a night of timeless memories.
This means more than just the space itself.
It means the decorations and other details that make everything come together. After considering table settings, flowers and lights, and music options, the venue prices add up.
But, with the right honeymoon savings, you may be able to make all your dreams come true.
Another necessary yet often expensive detail is the food!
Let’s be honest – everyone loves an open bar and a buffet at a wedding.
Not many guests think about how much money goes into that, though.
If you and your soon-to-be hubby (or wifey) are pinching pennies just to feed everyone, your Honeyfund honeymoon savings can help.
This may not mean a champagne fountain and an ice sculpture, but it will help make the night more comfortable for everyone.
Less Worrying for Everyone Involved
Speaking of making guests as cozy as can be, let’s talk about the benefits they get from using Honeyfund.
This tool is not rude, pushy, or extreme.
It actually makes gifting easier and more enjoyable when used correctly.
Luxury wedding planners even say so!
Tell anyone who sticks their nose up to the idea to take that. Or, go the classy route and mention these two simple, yet significant, arguments to use Honeyfund.
The Problem with Traditional Registries
Let’s say you decided not to use Honeyfund and opened a traditional registry instead.
This means you’re sending many people to stores to find the one thing you “need” but probably won’t often use. Not to mention, it’s hard for guests to know if someone already bought a certain item!
A registry could end up resulting in multiple coffee makers or cast iron skillet, but no bed linens or nice picture frames.
It could mean someone gets you what you think you need, but not the right model or color, either. This leads to awkward returns and exchanges that could have easily been avoided.
Objects Versus Experiences
The main argument for most registries is the desire of friends and families to help celebrate your special day.
Many will turn to the registry as a way to make up for not being able to attend the festivities. Others will still want to give you something as a sign of their support long after the wedding is over.
Tell everyone to just give you an experience instead!
This means much more than a home decorating item or a kitchen tool you don’t even know how to use. When someone helps make your honeymoon dreams come true, they are directly investing in the love between you and yours.
Honeymoon savings could be the funding you need to do that fancy candlelit dinner.
Or it could be what gets you all the way to Bali to disappear for a bit.
The funding could even be as simple as staying one extra day wherever you go.
Such moments create lasting, beautiful memories.
They are worth their weight in gold, beyond what any object can provide.
Other Tips on Wedding Planning and Honeymoon Savings
Whether for the day of your wedding or the honeymoon adventures after, you have some serious planning to do.
Stop stressing over the budget and scheduling and enjoy this time.
Think it’s easier said than done?
Click here for more wedding and honeymoon savings advice.
If not used properly, brand identity efforts can harm your business. After a negative experience with brand content, 50% of people say they are unlikely to read that business’s information again.
Looking for some tips and tricks to bring your marketing efforts to a new level? Keep reading for five ideas that will leave you with an unforgettable brand.
1. Get Your Logo Right
It is crucial to get your logo right. It is a visual representation of your brand and business. While you likely are past the point of picking a name, make sure it resonates with your audience.
If you choose a less ideal name, you will end up rebranding later anyways.
Paying attention to color is also important. Color preferences are obviously subjective, but some general themes exist.
Yellow tends to suggest clarity and warmth and blue represents strength. Check out some other tips for creating a successful logo.
2. Use Influencers
Utilizing popular influencers in your area of business is another way to ensure you have an unforgettable brand.
Influencers have huge followings on social media and will make your brand more credible. Consider discussion your goals with them and come up with a strategy. Collectively create content they can share.
3. Pinback Buttons
While pinback buttons have been around since George Washington, they are still helpful marketing tools. Pins are small so they travel well. Giving them out will help your brand awareness travel far.
Pinback buttons are also very affordable to use. The more pins you buy, the cheaper they are. This is why they are popular in the political world. It is easy and cost-effective to hand out hundreds at events like rallies.
Finally, pins are just fun tools to use. No matter your product or business, you can make an eye-catching button for your target audience.
4. Email Tips
While some businesses may overlook email, it can be an effective tool in engaging your target audience. Through email, you can build a relationship with your customers which will maintain integrity and trust.
Building an email list can be difficult. Offering an ebook is used so much today, many potential customers simply tune it out.
Instead, try offering upgrades to content people are already reading.
5. Website Design
A final note to ensure you have an unforgettable brand is working on your website. Similar to logo concerns, it is important to pay attention to images and color.
More important than these factors is usability. If people struggle to navigate your website, they will not spend long on it, thus decrease your sales.
Create Your Unforgettable Brand Today
With these five ideas, you are well on your way to having a brand that will make a lasting impression. Whether you start seeking an influencer to pair with or you decide to reinvent your logo, the efforts will be worth it.
Ready to get started? Looking for some additional resources? Be sure to check out our blog for some other marketing tips you can use.
If you are looking for a career that provides flexibility and room for growth, real estate can be a great option. Experienced and talented real estate agents can often bring in six-figure salaries.
But getting to that point requires hard work and dedication. Real estate agents are often responsible for their own professional development and upward mobility. Rather than working toward promotions, real estate professionals grow their salaries by putting in long hours, making connections, and leveraging their professional network.
Looking to get ahead in your real estate career? Check out these 5 real estate coaching options to get started.
Real Estate Coaching Essentials
This online program starts at about $400 a month and covers essential knowledge that all real estate professionals should know. Topics include how to increase sales, how to attract listings, and how to build a network. They can also address more specialized topics, like handling short sales or working with investor buyers like Florida cash home buyers.
This 12-week online course is unique in that it is offered in group sessions. This means that, in addition to your coach, you will also have a cohort of other new real estate agents. Working with a class like this can give you to the opportunity to meet other professionals in your field who can help you grow.
Another great benefit of this program is that it includes access to a customer management software. This can help you to organize your clients and be more efficient.
This option is a good choice for real estate teams looking to build their productivity. Coaching sessions cover topics like effective management, setting goals, and developing effective business processes. With this service, agencies can learn how to better leverage the team’s skills and build their business in the local community.
This coaching service is offered by the Mike Ferry Organization. The program requires a 12-month commitment and costs $650 per month. During that month, mentees get 40 personalized coaching calls.
While this program is expensive, it is hard to beat the personalization it offers. During your coaching calls, you can focus on the exact issues you are dealing with, and get advice tailored to your specific needs.
Kinder Reese coaching is a real estate consulting business founded by two seasoned real estate agents. Michael Reese, one of the founders, is an expert in online real estate marketing, an essential skill for today’s agents.
With Michael’s help, new professionals can learn how to create an effective real estate blog, or how to grow their agency with social media. These strategies will help you to reach younger buyers and get properties sold faster.
Advancing Your Career With Real Estate Coaching
For new agents, real estate coaching is essential for success. This mentoring can provide the necessary tools for young professionals to advance and grow in their careers. Depending on your needs, you may choose to go with a group program, or an individual program tailored to your goals.
What coaching programs have you used? Let us know in the comments!
It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home.
That doesn’t mean though, that it should get left behind in the design stakes. At the same time remember that a kitchen remodel is a big investment – make sure you get something that you’ll love for years to come.
There are great kitchen trends out there to suit every taste and budget and we’re here to help you choose the best kitchen trend for your home.
We’ve broken them down into key components – countertops, cabinets, gadgets, and flooring.
Here’s our guide to what’s hot for 2018.
There are so many considerations when it comes to countertops – durability, finish, maintenance but above all – style.
There was a time when flecked granite countertops ruled – not anymore. However, before you go for mirror-finish hot pink, try to visualize your kitchen 5 or 10 years down the line…
Last year’s NKBA survey showed that quartz is continuing its upward trend, whereas granite is well and truly in second place, and falling fast.
Quartz countertops can be made from slabs of quarried stone, but the latest kitchen trend is for counters made from a ground down mixture of quartz and resin.
The result? A near-indestructible material that can be tinted to create an array of color choices. This year’s key kitchen trend is for dark countertops, which can be offset against lighter cabinetry to really pop.
Keeping up with the eco-friendly movement, reclaimed wood is not just good for the environment, it’s got some serious design credentials. With it’s worn character, markings and unique nature they scream individuality.
No two are the same, and if you know the backstory, it can make a great conversation piece. For a major statement, check out ‘live edge’ pieces that retain the natural edge, and sometimes bark, of the tree.
A timeless classic, white Calcutta marble is a key 2018 kitchen trend. As it is quite porous, think twice about using it throughout, as it can be unforgiving on spills.
Great for a statement piece like an island, nothing will add sophistication and class to your kitchen like a well-chosen piece of marble.
For a while now, transitional kitchens – combining elements of both traditional and contemporary styles – have dominated the market.
This shows no signs of abating, so don’t hold your breath for country style kitchens to make a comeback.
It’s All About Color
Classic door styling painted in contemporary colors – particularly whites and grays – will continue to be a key kitchen trend.
Deep blues and greens are also on point, and tone well with deep wood tones. Bold hues such as emerald green and plum are striking and sophisticated.
Either as cabinet or accent colors, they add depth to the room, although use them sparingly, as too much could easily darken it.
This follows another trend for this year – mixing and matching and two-tone. Don’t be afraid to suggest a combination to your kitchen designer, maybe varying upper and lower cabinets, or having an accent island.
High or Low?
The trend for minimal high-level kitchen cabinetry shows no sign of slowing in 2018. Think open shelving and artistically arranged plates and glasses on display for the loft look.
To achieve a high-end finish, without the eye-watering price tag, check out the range at RTA Depot.
Our love affair with hardwood flooring seems set to continue for the considerable future. However, if you want to combine the look of hardwood, with the user-friendliness of tile, there are some great options – and they’re on point this year.
They come in a huge range of styles and can be a more affordable and durable option.
If you’ve got your heart set on wood, engineered wood flooring is the way to go. It gives you natural wood on top, but just a thin layer that is laid on top of a high-density composite wood base.
This means it’s strong and durable, up to the rigors of kitchen traffic, but retains the stylish look of hardwood.
Still think a timer on the coffee maker is pretty high tech? Here are the latest kitchen trends in gadgets.
Where’s the Refrigerator?
Side by side refrigerator? Practical it may be but the trend continues to be for concealing your fridge rather than showing it off.
Think built-ins – under counter, drawers, and uprights. Wherever you conceal them, conceal them you must.
Microwave in a What??
Oh yeah, microwaves don’t have hinged doors anymore and are certainly not freestanding.
Microwave in a drawer might sound an improbable concept, but it’s the latest in kitchen tech and it’s here to stay. Hidden from sight, it helps to retain the sharp, clean lines contemporary kitchens thrive on.
Smart is Coming
With a myriad of different gadgets now available, from auto-sensors for taps to smartphone-controlled lighting systems, if you’re wanting to keep up, smart technology has invaded the kitchen.
Don’t forget to check out smart refrigerators as well. Models are now available that will monitor your groceries, prepare hot water on demand or by timer and alert your smartphone when doors are left open.
While some of this may be securely filed under fad, don’t be surprised to see this becoming a more common kitchen trend in the future.
The Verdict – The Key Kitchen Trend for 2018
It’s clear to see, this is going to be a year to try something bold.
Whether it’s a reclaimed wood countertop, a marble slab, a bold cabinet color or something smart, the farmhouse kitchen has been left in the dust – contemporary styling is in.
Whatever direction you choose to take your kitchen remodel, seriously think about wiring up now for smart innovations in the future.
A kitchen remodel can certainly add value to your home – just check out our blog here for the reasons why. If you’re thinking of selling though, make sure that you remodel to sell, not just to suit your personal tastes.
At Pligg, we’ve got tons of online resources to help you maximise the value of your home and the enjoyment you get from it.
Check out our home improvement blog for more creative ideas.
With Americans now spending 5 hours a day on their smartphones, an increasing majority of personal business is now conducted through apps. Whether checking bank accounts, ordering food, or monitoring their health, just about every part of our lives can be accessed through apps.
This has created a need for lawyer apps.
Apps serve the dual function of allowing you to reach your clients through notifications and allowing them to reach you 24/7. If you have clients who are experiencing legal issues for the first time, your app could ease them into the attorney-client relationship.
If you haven’t figure out whether lawyer apps are would be the right fit for your firm, here are 10 ways they can help improve client services.
1. Get Everyone On The Same Page
It can be frustrating for clients to figure out what has been agreed on during the legal process. Emails can be deleted over time, meaning that agreements, forms, and conversations will be lost.
Having an app with a communication portal could catalog communications and forms. This would give clients easy access to forms, contracts, and anything they need to refer to. Having a common place to see everything makes all communication clearer.
Look at how this real estate lawyer in Houston addresses their contact information. Have a “contact us” button on every single page of your app.
2. Offer Extra Services
Your app can be a marketing platform that takes into account the services your client is already using. You can offer extra services that are catered to the needs of your client.
By knowing your client’s case intimately, lawyer apps can send notifications about extra services that are offered by your firm. Your app can be a great marketing tool while offering lots of practical applications.
3. Better Billing Process
Including billing details in your app allows clients to be in control of their billing details at all times. If they’re curious about a charge or need to change services, they can get ahold of you through your app.
You won’t have to have conversations about billing with your client. They can either direct their questions through the app or to your billing department, allowing lawyers to have better communications with their clients.
4. End Email Attachments
Using a client portal connected to lawyer apps, firms can send big documents and contracts to their clients. Using additional tools, clients can sign and approve forms.
After forms are approved, firms can be notified that they can move to the next step. If there are any corrections, they can be addressed through the app rather than sending one attachment after another.
5. Better Client Loyalty
By creating a collaborative environment through your app, clients will feel more connected and more in control of the legal process. The value will increase as client engagement increases.
You can have a record of all correspondence that will help clients make smarter decisions. They will be loyal because of that increased engagement with your firm and your shared ability to reach out to one another so easily.
Clients expect fast responses from law firms and expect to get answers any hour of the day. A shared app will let your staff have more flexible schedules, catered to address the needs of your clients rather than an arbitrary schedule.
6. Easier Auditing
Your app will make it easier in the case that either you get audited or you need to perform a self-audit. Lawyer apps will keep a record of every client document and report so that you can back up any claims that are made.
Your payment portal will keep a record of every payment made and received to allow auditors to see the details of your transaction history. If there are any discrepancies, they will be illuminated through your app.
7. Address FAQs
Apps allow clients to get quick answers to inquiries. Connect your app to the resources that are kept on your site so that your clients can search through for answers to common questions.
Think about setting up a chatbot so that your clients can communicate with either a live 24/7 agent or an AI program jam-packed with legal data. Look at which services are within your budget and run some tests.
You could even integrate an SMS app with your app to allow for customers to contact their attorney directly.
You might find that hiring an answering service or outsourced chat service will help you to communicate with clients better and retain a higher number.
8. Better Work Flow
Setting up document systems through your app allows everyone to be in the loop at the right time. Once the first person has signed off on their part of a document, the next person in line can receive a notification that they need to add their signature.
You’ll be increasing your interoffice efficiency by only forwarding documents to your office when they’re ready to be finalized. You’ll save legwork for your office staff while also ensuring that every t is crossed and every i is dotted.
When clients get acquainted with lawyer apps, they will feel better about their relationship with a law firm. They’ll feel like they’re always a part of the conversation by being able to watch everything as it happens.
Your lawyers are used to clients who need a lot of time and energy from them. They’re often overworked and stressed out. They will send paralegals around to collect things that you could be collecting through your app.
Once you’ve installed your app and get clients to start using it, you’ll see that work will breeze by.
Lawyer Apps Increase Client Engagement
Setting up a useful lawyer app doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Consult with developers and construct a list of “must-haves” for your app and then see how you could scale over time.
If you’re interested in finding out how lawyer apps can work for your firm, contact us for more info on how to start designing yours today.
Technology is revolutionizing every single aspect of how we conduct business. Restaurants are no exception, but many restaurant owners haven’t yet caught up with the times. Currently, only 22% of restaurant owners are using a restaurant menu app.
Some of the benefits of using a restaurant menu app include:
- Presents your menu in an attractive way
- Regularly updated to reflect your stock
- No printing costs for updated menus
- Reduces pressure on staff with in-app ordering
- Accurate orders
- Avoids billing errors
- Increased brand loyalty
- Offer special rewards to loyal customers
With customer-centric marketing being so important in today’s business world, focusing on delivering a world-class customer experience and an exceptional brand image have never been more important.
To help you make the most of this trend, we’ll teach you how to build a shiny new restaurant menu app of your very own!
How To Build A Restaurant Menu App
Follow these steps to help think through your restaurant app. It’ll make the design process that much easier.
Decide On An Appearance
Customers absolutely CAN and DO judge apps by their appearance. Deciding on a visual identity for your restaurant menu app is the first step in launching your online culinary empire.
Spend some time thinking about your visual branding. This will help you decide on the design elements to amplify those impressions to your customers.
The logo should be the first thing you design for your restaurant app. It’ll help clarify your brand image. It’ll also solidify aesthetic decisions like a color scheme that will be important at every stage of the app design process.
If you’re creating an app for a pre-existing restaurant, your restaurant menu app should remain consistent with the rest of your visual branding. This enhances customer loyalty and lets them know what to expect.
Decide On A Programming Language
Once you’ve settled on a visual identity for your restaurant app, you’ll need to decide on the programming language to implement it.
Some popular programming languages for mobile apps include:
Not all programming languages are created equal. Some of these languages will be better suited for iOS. Others will be better for a web-based app.
Commenting fully on each programming language for mobile development is beyond the scope of this article. Do some due diligence before beginning app development to make sure you settle on the language that will best suit your needs.
Include Your Info
The #1 reason customers look up restaurants on Google is for practical information like store hours, directions, or to check if it’s open. Make sure you include that information on your restaurant menu app, as well.
One of the joys of featuring a custom app is the ability to control how that information is presented. Custom graphic design makes our restaurants seem more original and authentic. Considering that 78% of consumers find companies that create custom content are more trustworthy than those that create generic content, you simply can’t overlook the opportunity to broadcast your restaurant’s unique identity.
Show Off Your Menu
Of course, one of the main reasons to feature a restaurant menu app is the ability to show off your delicious food in all of its glory.
Hosting your menu in a custom restaurant app makes it easy to show off daily specials and seasonal dishes. You can even reach your customers when they’re offline via Push Notifications.
Incorporate Mobile Ordering
Huge restaurant chains like Domino’s handle up to 50% of their online ordering through a restaurant menu app. It increases order accuracy, as well as freeing up your employees to do other things.
Restaurant menu apps are also a great opportunity to upsell products, like offering a deal on a larger size. You can also offer special promotions and pairings that your customer might not otherwise have known about.
Mobile ordering also allows you to put high-quality photos of your food in front of your customers. They’re more likely to purchase an item that they can see.
Increasing brand loyalty is another of the main incentives to feature a custom app is to capture your customer’s loyalty. Many independently-owned restaurants don’t have the resources to match the corporate competition. They’re stuck using archaic technologies like punch card programs. Restaurant apps can level the playing field.
It’s incredibly easy to keep track of loyalty programs using an online app. Keep track of your customer’s purchases and offer reward points for repeat business. These programs are some of the best methods for producing repeat business. They can also offer a goldmine of information for your marketing department.
Offer Coupons And Discounts
Offering coupons and discounts is a great way to encourage your customers to download your app. Offer an exclusive discount for first-time users as a way to get them involved. Continue to roll-out discounts to keep customers engaged and coming back to your app.
Coupons and discounts are also a great way to re-engage occasional customers. Nothing is more enticing than the words ‘50% Off’, no matter who you are.
Combining It All
Many of the benefits of using a custom app are available in other online channels as well. A mobile app brings them all together in one bright, shiny, attractive package.
Many of the most popular online restaurant sites can be integrated into mobile apps using plugins, as well. It’s never been easier for a restaurant to feature a custom app even with limited technical knowledge.
Mobile apps for restaurants combine the best of traditional restauranteering with the best of what technology has to offer. They let you show off your restaurant in the best possible light, with high-quality visual branding. They emphasize outstanding customer service by allowing your employees to focus on what’s important. It’s truly a bright new world for high-tech dining.
Ready To Find Out How A Custom App Can Help Your Business?
Mobile marketing isn’t going anywhere. The number of smartphone users is projected to surpass 5 billion by 2019. Check out the rest of our Mobile App articles and learn how to stay ahead of the curve!
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