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9 Reasons Your Business Should Be Using SMS Marketing

February 13, 2018 - By 
sms marketing

Are you using your phone and SMS technology to its full potential? Did you know that marketing via SMS is a viable strategy to boost your company forward?

The number of cellphone users will increase to more than 270 million. This increasing trend of cellphone usage will only continue as the years go by.

Most people forget that SMS marketing is still one of the most effective forms of marketing because of new mobile marketing technologies. Some of these include:

  • Geotargeting
  • Cloud Computing
  • Social Media

But even with these technologies, 90% of the people who receive text messages read them within three seconds. The read rate of these messages is 98%. It demonstrates the power of SMS Marketing.

If your business isn’t using SMS Marketing yet, here are nine reasons to start exploring its potential:

1. It’s Cheap and Easy to Do

Other means of advertising like direct mail or outdoor advertising isn’t as cost-effective as marketing through text. When you take the actual impressions into consideration, the SMS ROI surpasses other means of advertisement including email.

Sending bulk SMS is easy, especially since there are lots of high-quality SMS apps your customers can use on both Android and Apple platforms. Some of these popular apps include:

  • Google Messenger
  • Chomp SMS
  • TextBetter

Using the SMS in a clever manner makes you conserve your marketing budget. It gives you more funds for areas that matter more in your business.

2. It’s Like E-mail, But Much Better

E-mail marketing shares a lot of characteristics with SMS Marketing. Both are some of the best digital marketing tactics out there today, along with social media strategies and live video broadcasting.

Businesses benefit from it because of its nature of distribution–opt-in, and sent to possible customers. E-mail marketing can’t match SMS in terms of effectiveness.

SMS has a 98% opening rate and it’s opened immediately. On the other hand, the average opening rate for business e-mails doesn’t go beyond 30%, depending on the industry.

Sending text messages are still the most common way people communicate. In 2012, people worldwide sent more than 6 trillion messages. The numbers are still on the rise–marketing with SMS becomes more of a need for businesses.

3. It’s Targeted and Helps Segment Your Audience

Marketing through SMS makes it easy for you to target your audience, especially when you’re using an SMS Service. It helps you achieve the level of targeting and segregation comparable to that of e-mail marketing.

You can send personalized messages and schedule messages for the best delivery date and time. It allows you to manage SMS replies using your e-mail client.

There are some advanced options you can choose to enhance the audience targeting. It can allow your SMS Marketing campaign to target customers according to the things they last bought or the store they last visited.

4. It has Automation Capabilities

You can use a bulk SMS messaging platform to do the grunt work for you. You can do more activities like monitoring the top social media trends as part of your advertising campaign.

Your business can use a combination of applications to manage your customers and prospects through SMS.

5. Its Metrics are Easy to Measure

SMS Marketing, with its high response rate, is easier to set metrics on. You can see which promotions work and which don’t.

It’s different for each company, and it takes a few months of experimentation to optimize your SMS content for your audience. Once you get a good strategy, use it with some variations to keep your audience engaged.

Most service providers give simple delivery reporting to check if your messages got sent. Intelligent tracking from top SMS marketing providers give you insights on various details like who received your messages.

6. It’s Timely Because It’s Instant

You can send text messages around the world without delay. SMS Marketing is the perfect means of achieving timely communication with possible customers.

Sending messages in proper times makes it easier for your business to interact with your customers in real time.

7. It’s More Personal

Customers only opt-in to SMS updates from the companies they like. It’s more efficient for your company since you know the people receiving your messages are less likely to ignore it.

If your business wants to take the extra mile, you can personalize each message. It might take a while, especially if your audience is big, but it makes them feel special.

E-mails and mailboxes get flooded by junk mail and spam most of the time.

8. It’s Simple and Direct

SMS is simple and straight to the point. It gets the message directly across more compared to e-mails and leaflets.

With more than 250 million cellphone users, most of these people have it within their arms’ reach.

Besides meeting customers face-to-face or with calls, SMS Marketing is the most direct way of communicating with them. Your SMS service can deliver your message at the right time to the right people.

9. It’s Easy to Implement

SMS Marketing needs to continuous tweaking, testing, and improving to stay relevant. But compared to other marketing strategies, it’s the easiest to implement on your own.

You don’t need to wait for long or design mock-up campaigns with your marketing campaign. All it takes is to decide the message your business wants to send.

From there, sending bulk SMS to your customers doesn’t take longer than sending a text message from your phone. You’ll receive results within three minutes because of the incredible response rate for SMS.

Rev Up Your SMS Marketing Campaign!

SMS Marketing is not an optional thing anymore. With more people opting to get cellphones, it’s easy to see that mobile marketing isn’t something your business should pass up.

It’s easy to start up because you can do it with an SMS Service. It’s easy to adjust your campaign because you can immediately track the results. Most of all, SMS response rate is high compared to other marketing strategies.

The project is best when you want your business to improve in communicating with your customers but don’t have that much budget and spare time.

If you enjoyed reading this article on SMS Marketing, then we recommend you read more of our blog posts at Pligg! We cover all sorts of topics from marketing and technology to humor and hobbies.


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4 Helpful Dental Apps You Need to Know About

February 13, 2018 - By 
dental apps

Need a little extra assistance brushing your teeth, improving your oral hygiene, or even explaining complex dental procedures to your patients?

Good news: there’s an app for that.

You might be surprised to learn that the world of dental apps is rapidly growing, but the market is only getting bigger every day.

No matter the industry, more apps than ever include tutorials, information about specific issues, and even charts and diagrams to help you better grasp a concept.

No matter the concept you need to explain or the enthusiasm you need to instill in younger brushers, there are tons of dental apps that help to make it easier.

So, which ones should you download?

Read on to find out.

1. If You’re A Dental Professional

Wouldn’t you love to be able to spend less time explaining procedures and basic hygiene to your patients during their appointments?

With the DDS GP app, you’ll be able to do just that.

If your patient is in need of a dental surgery, or is at severe risk for oral hygiene disease and other issues, then you can use the app to help you explain what’s going on.

You can even upload your own photos to the app, to show more real-world examples of the concepts you’re explaining. You can print out charts and treatment options to email to your patients, and even draw and take notes on the screen.

Explain things like dental implants, cracks, cosmetic procedures, tooth decay, restorative procedures, and much more.

You’ll be able to choose from more than 200 different videos and diagrams, all of which you can zoom in on to pinpoint specific areas.

It’s so popular, that it’s currently used by more than 13,000 dental professionals.

2. The Oral-B App

It’s no surprise that one of the top dental apps out there comes from one of the biggest names within the teeth and dental industry: Oral-B.

This app uses incredible technology to actually connect with your toothbrush. Then, it examines and studies your brushing pattern, looking for the teeth and other areas that you’re missing.

It’s even able to monitor whether or not you’re spending enough time brushing the individual “zones” of your mouth. As you can imagine, an app like this will work wonders for your smile and your overall oral health.

No matter which kind of electric Oral-B toothbrush you’re using, the app will work perfectly with it.

If you’re trying to teach your children the importance of oral hygiene, then this is a wonderful app to help you do just that. You can create fun themes, avatars, and even receive special game rewards the more times you brush your teeth.

You can even compete against friends to really take your brushing experience to the next level.

In addition to brushing assistance, the app will also over advice about oral hygiene and health. Finally, you’ll also get product recommendations from Oral-B that will help you to enhance your brushing experience.

Keep in mind that the Oral-B app is not a diagnostic tool. If you suspect you have a cavity or other dental issue, make an appointment with Ideal Dentistry to have a professional exam done.

3. If You Have Lots Of General Dentistry Questions

Considering a career in oral hygiene? Just interested in brushing up — no pun intended — on your general dentistry knowledge?

Has your dentist pointed out a few potential problems in your mouth that you’d like to learn more about?

If so, then enter the Bonebox app, your source for all things teeth and gums.

The app contains tons of helpful videos that break down the basics of oral hygiene. They’re so helpful, that even many dental professionals show them to patients when they need to explain a concept.

Learn about your individual teeth, the overall anatomy of your mouth, and much more. And if you’re in dental school and cramming for an exam? Well then, we know you’ll love using Bonebox as a helpful study tool.

4. If You Need Helping Making It Through Those Two Minutes

Did you know that 30% of Americans aren’t brushing their teeth as much as they need to?

Part of the problem?

Even if you’re brushing them twice a day, chances are, you aren’t actually doing it for long enough. And it doesn’t matter if your technique is perfect. If you aren’t brushing your teeth for a full two minutes every time? Well then, you’re still putting yourself at risk for gum and tooth decay and disease.

One of our favorite dental apps is called Brush DJ, and it’s designed to make the time spent brushing fly by. The concept is the perfect combination of brilliance and fun.

The app collects top hits that are two minutes in length, then creates an awesome toothbrushing playlist. This way, you can be sure that you’re brushing for the required two minutes while jamming out to your favorite songs.

If you’re trying to teach your kids to keep on brushing, Brush DJ also has tons of videos that will distract your children and teach them about the importance of brushing.

Thinking Of Creating Your Own Dental Apps?

Now that you’ve read this post, you have a much better understanding of what goes into making some of the best dental apps on the market today.

Whether you’re a dental professional or a tech guru looking to partner with a dentist, maybe you’re even considering making a dental app of your own.

Remember, the right app will be the perfect balance of education, gamification, and most of all, fun. If your patients don’t even realize that they’re learning about oral hygiene, then you’ve done things right.

Need advice on how to design the best app possible? Looking for more information about all things digital download? Want to read an e-book on dentistry?

Spend some time on our website and blog to learn everything you need to know to create an app that’s as appealing and awesome as a megawatt smile.


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What’s the Best Free CAD Software of 2018?

February 13, 2018 - By 

Are you looking to develop your CAD (computer-aided design) skills, without spending a fortune on fancy software?

You’re in luck – there are tons of free CAD programs that offer plenty of advanced capabilities, perfect for beginners and professionals alike.

Whether you want to play around, take advantage of the popularity of 3D printing, or just need to brush up your CAD skills for school, one of these programs will help.

Keep reading for our guide to the best free CAD software of 2018.

TinkerCAD

Don’t have much room on your PC for new programs?

You’ll love this option.

TinkerCAD is a browser-based application which lets you create 3D models using a variety of predetermined shapes. It’s quick and easy to use, which makes it ideal for beginners.

Although the controls are simple, you still have the power to make pretty complex models by adjusting size, shape, width, and depth, and combining different shapes together.

If you want to get started with simple 3D printing, or just refine your CAD skills, this is a great place to begin.

SketchUp

SketchUp is a powerful piece of 3D printing software that offers tons of handy resources to CAD beginners.

The SketchUp library contains 3D templates created by users, and these can be used for inspiration or kickstart a project of your own.

SketchUp also offers a variety of tutorials, going all the way from beginner to expert.

If you want learning CAD to be a long-term project, SketchUp is a good choice.

Blender

If you’re planning an architectural CAD project and looking to recreate complex features, like Westland London, you’ll need software that’s pretty powerful – and that’s where Blender comes in.

This popular CAD software offers more advanced options than most other programs and can be used to create extremely sophisticated models.

If you want to create locations and characters for video games, animations for movies and films, or detailed architectural models, Blender is the obvious choice. While the learning curve might be a little steeper, you’ll be left with industry-standard skills and the ability to create seriously professional models.

Blender is open-source, and there are numerous tutorials for beginners online. If you’re struggling with a specific problem, the Blender forum is a great place to look for help.

OpenSCAD

Are you a coder looking to get into CAD?

You’ll love OpenSCAD.

This program allows you to create 3D models using code, and focuses on the technical aspects of 3D modeling, rather than the artistic side. For someone who thinks logically and wants a lot of control over the way they model, OpenSCAD is a great choice.

For complete beginners with no coding experience, one of the previous options is probably a better choice.

How to Find the Best Free CAD Software

With so much choice, it can feel tricky to find the best free CAD software possible.

Reading reviews, asking for recommendations, and checking out the tutorials available for your chosen software will help you to make the right choice.

Don’t be afraid to test a few different programs to see which you prefer – they are free, after all!

Want to browse software now? Check out our marketplace.


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How Can a Ceiling Fan Save You Money?

February 12, 2018 - By 

A Ceiling fan is a great way to keep your home cool in the summer months. They also save a lot more money than air conditioning units.

Standard HVAC units cost around 36 cents per hour to run compared to only 4 cents per hour for fans.

If you run them together, the Department of Energy says that consumers can raise their thermostats by 4 degrees and still stay comfortable. That’s a big difference!

This article will show how a fan can be used to save money all year long.

How Your Ceiling Fan Work

Fans don’t work in the same way that air conditioning units do. Air conditioners blow cool air through a room or home and change the temperature of a room.

Fans move air around a room to create a wind-chill factor.

This is why fans should be turned off when a room is not in use. Fans cool people, not rooms.

The size and angles of the fan blades play an important role in efficiency. Another consideration is the application of the fan or where it will be used.

For example, if a fan is to be used in an office environment where there will be a lot of papers blown about, it’s best to have a fan with a larger diameter that can blow more air at a lower speed.

Fan blade angles need to be more than 12 degrees to be somewhat effective. Anything less than 12 degrees and the fan blades are virtually flat and will not move air around a room.

That can help homeowners remain comfortable in a room while listening to their favorite music.

Save Money in the Winter

Most people think a ceiling fan should work only in the summer. They can be utilized to help save money during the winter months, too.

In the same say that the fan blades push air around a room during the summer, if the fan is used to push warm air down when the heat is on.

When a fan is gently rotating clockwise, it pulls cool air up from the bottom part of the room and pushes warm air downward to keep a room warm.

This simple switch can save up to 10% to heat a home or apartment.

Maintained Fans Save Money

A well-maintained fan will also help save money. Cleaning fan blades regularly, check the screws and bolts to ensure safety, and checking the weight of the fan blades for wobbles all go a long way to keeping your fan functioning properly.

Visit https://ceilingfanshq.com/harbor-breeze-ceiling-fan-parts/ for a complete guide to common fan issues and how to fix them.

Yes, There’s an App for That

There is an app for everything. Even a ceiling fan.

Companies like Harbor Breeze and Hunter produce fans that can be controlled by Bluetooth and smart home kits. There are kits available for not-so-smart fans, which makes this technology available for almost any fan.

The great thing about this technology is that if a fan was accidentally left on, it can be turned off from virtually anywhere.

Check out our website to see the best tech around to link your fan to your connected home.


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How to Be Successful with Digital Gambling

February 12, 2018 - By 

You should be taking advantage of the opportunities that online gambling has available. Besides the obvious perks of gambling in the comfort of your own home, there’s a lot more flexibility and variety to choose from these days. Digital gambling replaces most of the traditional forms of gambling at the casino.

In 2015 alone, the online gambling industry was comprised of nearly 38 billion USD, and that number is expected to rise to nearly 60 billion dollars in 2020!

Getting a piece of that lucrative pie is easier said than done, of course. You have practice even more and be very disciplined in order to be successful online. You can’t let the wealth of online materials go to waste.

That’s why we’re here to tell you how you can be successful in online gambling of all kinds. Just follow these simple rules and you won’t find yourself taking out a second mortgage to recover from a bad break.

Work With Reputable Gaming Sites

Before you even decide on what you want to play and focus your time on, research digital gambling sites first. There’s a lot of online establishments, but not all are created equal or held to the same standards. Start with experienced establishments then read the reviews from their customers.

Some gaming establishments specialize online in poker, others in sports bets, and many have multiple types under one roof, like W88, for example.

You’ll want to look at how their payout system works, if they’re compatible with your country of origin, and their certifications and licenses. Lastly, review their software system and make sure it is compatible with your device or phone. There are lots of great gambling apps you can play these days.

Decide on Your Game

The most popular digital gambling games are poker, blackjack, slots, and sports bets. Now, it can be very challenging to become good enough to where you can win consistently at any one of these. That’s why you should start with just one.

Trying your luck at any and every gaming activity is a recipe for disaster online. That’s because it’s just so easy to click a button and lose a bet, a spin, a pull, or a ticket. At least in the real world, you have to physically move yourself to different places and see your cash disappear.

The key is to study your game of choice and prepare yourself for the commitment of becoming not just good, but great at it. The odds are always against the amateur who is just rolling the dice aimlessly.

Choose Your Strategy

After you master the rules, you’ll want to develop a solid and sound strategy. Whether that means following specific teams in sports bets, targeting specific slot games, or playing a certain game of poker.

For games like slots or blackjack, there isn’t a ton of deep strategy, but consistency is always key. When it comes to online poker, you’ll quickly find yourself getting beat by the same players if you don’t play it smart.

For example, a great beginner’s strategy for an online game like Texas No Limit Hold’em is playing tight-aggressive. What this basically calls for is playing only hands that are suited higher than ten or pocket pairs. You will only bet when you ‘make’ something on the board, but you make a large bet to weed out unlucky breaks.

This strategy is just one example of how using the wealth of digital gambling tutorials and educational tools at your disposal. If you invest time into your game, it will make you more money and let you have more fun.

Set Goals and Limits

A good strategy is useless without a controlled environment. How can you tell if you’ve made any progress when you’re playing all day long? You need time to reflect on mistakes and to clear your head if you plan on getting better.

Becoming a professional digital gambler is no easy task, it takes skill, dedication, humility, and discipline. Even when the getting is good, you must set hours for when you’re going to playing, planning, and resting. Most importantly, you have to budget your gambling.

Having no budget means you’re only punishing yourself through sorrow and anger. If you’ve reached our daily, weekly, or monthly limit, then you stop. Next time, you push yourself to never break your limit.

Beat the Streaks

Losing streaks are going to happen in digital gambling. If you expect them and plan for the day it happens, you’re going to be okay. Now, if you just play with emotion and ride the rollercoaster to the bottom, you’ll lose it all in no time.

In gambling, variance is not your enemy, you should always stick to a strategy and play it out long enough so that you can measure your progress. If you just start playing differently whenever you’re going hot or cold, then you will never know if your streak was due to variance or bad play.

Experiment and Have Fun

If you’re not having fun, then you’re playing the wrong game, honestly. Not all online gambling works for everyone. Sometimes grabbing that slot arm just can’t be replaced by the digital button. Poker may not be the same without being able to stare your opponent in the eyes.

Your calling might be sports betting online, despite never trying it before. There are so many games, variations, rules, and online bonuses that could tilt the odds and enjoyment in your favor. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Play Digital Gambling Responsibly

We hope this guide has helped you get an idea of great the potential for success is with online gaming. Don’t listen to the naysayers, gambling is no different from any other hobby, as long as self-control is practiced.

If you need more help and desire some more educational resources, you can find plenty of ebooks and digital downloads right here.

The world is your oyster, which means the internet is that shiny pearl waiting for you to come cash out your winnings after all the hard work!


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10 Must-Know Tips for Buying a Used Car

February 12, 2018 - By 
tips for buying a used car

Used cars sales are on the up – in 2014 they made up 43% of sales at car retailers.

That statistic is indicative of a consumer base that is wising up. Why buy new cars when it is possible to accurately assess and value used?

With so many resources available online, you are able to educate yourself and be certain that you’re getting a good deal. Before, you had to depend on the integrity of your car dealer.

In order to educate potential buyers, we’ve put together this list of tips for buying a used car.

Read on to make sure you make the best decision!

1. Decide on a Budget Beforehand

This advice needn’t be restricted to a list full of tips for buying a used car. Budgeting is a critical part of any large purchase.

The key here is to know how much you want to spend before you start looking. Set a range, too, and then absolutely refuse to go above it no matter what.

Remember that purchasing vehicles, especially used, always entails hidden costs. Flexibility in your budget should be saved for when you realize your wheels need to be aligned, not for the aftermarket sound system.

2. Research Reliable Car Models

Another thing to do before you even go looking is to decide what cars are considered reliable.

A simple Google will give you lots of opinions on car reliability. Make sure you get second opinions on those opinions!

It’s a fact of life that some cars last longer than others. Those are the cars you should target when buying used. You’re not saving any money buying used if you have to replace everything in a couple months.

3. Know the Price Range

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few (reliable) models, go do some research on what a car like that should cost.

Kelly Blue Book is probably the best resource for determining the value of a used car.

When you see a car you like on Craigslist or wherever, plug in the year and model on Kelly Blue Book and see if their asking price is reasonable. This can give you an idea of if there are any major problems.

4. Inspect Interior and Exterior

There are many tips for buying a used car elsewhere online that focus on this aspect alone.

I won’t go into it in great depth, but this is probably the most important part of selecting a car.

Be very meticulous in inspecting the exterior for damage that could indicate past accidents. Check the undercarriage for leaks or scrapes. Does everything on the dashboard look OK?

5. Take it for a (Long) Test Drive

Lots of people find the process of buying a car a bit awkward. That’s understandable – you’re discussing huge sums of money with a total stranger.

So, when the time comes to take it for a test drive, it’s often pretty short.

But those drives around the block don’t give you an accurate view of the car. What happens when you go 70 mph on the highway? Does the handling change when it heats up?

If at all possible, drive it for 30 minutes. Take some city roads, some back roads, and the highway. You will be driving it all those places, so you need to know how it handles there.

Of all these tips for buying a used car, this one is near and dear to me. The first time I test drove a used car, it broke down on me.

I didn’t buy it.

6. Have it Inspected by a Mechanic

All these tips for buying a used car aren’t as important as this single one:

Bring it to a mechanic.

Working on used cars is their life. They know more than you, the seller, and everyone else put together.

And the best part is they have no skin in the game. You can be sure that they’re not hiding anything from you.

It might run you a hundred bucks are so, but it’ll be the most important money you spend during this whole ordeal.

7. Consider Certified Pre-Owned

If the idea of talking to a mechanic sounds unappealing, then consider a CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) vehicle.

These are the used cars sold by dealerships. They have to go undergo a rigorous vetting process, much like an independent mechanic would put a car through.

You can be certain that you are getting a car with no accident history that runs well.

Additionally, getting it from a dealership lets you take advantage of the great deals they frequently offer, like these at Park Mazda.

8. Research Vehicle History with the VIN

Another advantage of buying used in the Internet-era is the ability to do a VIN check online.

Learning the vehicle’s accident history, or history of multiple owners is a good indicator as to whether or not it will be problematic. Why did this car change owners 3 times in one year?

Probably skip that one.

9. Consult State DMV for Transfer Procedures

Buying and selling cars is a big deal, and not just financially.

The government has to get involved, and that makes everything complicated.

Check your state DMV for instructions on transferring car ownership and any fees you might have to pay. Oftentimes the buyer has to pay tax on the purchase of a vehicle.

I hope you budgeted for that!

10. Tips for Buying a Used Car are No Substitute for Experience

Yeah, you heard me right. Take all these tips for buying a used car with a grain of salt.

The truth is, this process can be very complicated and overwhelming.

If you’ve never bought a car before, much less a used one, you should call in some backup.

Friends or relatives that have bought used cars several times before are an invaluable asset. They know pitfalls to avoid and traps to expect.

Bring them along when looking at a car to help catch defects. Ask them to help you negotiate.

Lacking knowledgeable family, get to know a local mechanic. No one is more experienced than they are.

Once you’ve got that car, congratulations! Now go find the repair manual for it. You might need it soon.


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The 10 Best Hookup Apps for 2018

February 12, 2018 - By 
best hookup apps

Tired of hitting up the bars every other night trying to find a hookup? You’re certainly not the only person to feel tired of the grind.

Plenty of people are now skipping the bar or club in favor of staying home and hanging out on their phone. Yes, that’s right, you can actually find a hookup directly from your phone.

But a cursory glance at the term ‘best hookup apps‘ at the app store of your choice will bring up thousands of results. As you can imagine, not all of these apps are worth your time and data.

Read this list of 10 of the best hookup apps you can download right now.

1. Tinder

We’ll start our list of the best hookup apps with the elephant in the room, Tinder. Even if you’ve been out of the dating game for a while, you’ve likely heard about the smashing success of this awesome app.

Tinder uses your GPS location to find dates or hookups within a specified range. Best of all, it prioritizes users who share common friends with you on Facebook.

If you’ve never used Tinder before, you’ll want to be aware of a few things. Namely, you can’t message the other person unless you both like each other.

The only downside to this fantastic app is that it’s filled to the brim with bots. Especially if you’re a guy looking for a girl, expect a little over half of all matches to be bots. Have a strong opening line prepared to test whether you’re talking to another person.

2. Blendr

As of writing, Blendr is a bit of a relative unknown, but it’s by far the closest thing to a social network on this list. It’s not nearly as popular as its counterparts like Tinder or Bumble, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great hookup on it.

When it comes down to it, Blendr is like a more GPS-centric version of Tinder, prioritizing location above other factors.

This means that, ideally, you’d use the app when you’re out for a night on the town with your friends or grabbing some food. Since it’s hyper-focused on location, you’re more likely to meet new people on the app the more you go out.

3. Coffee Meets Bagel

Adorable name aside, Coffee Meets Bagel is intended primarily as a dating site. And that’s okay! Hookups are only going to sustain you for so long.

Still, there’s nothing to stop you from using it as one of the best hookup apps on the market.

Much like Tinder, you can only chat with a user once you two have matched. Those worried about safety no longer have to worry about unsolicited pictures or rude messages.

Setup is easy thanks to the app using your Facebook profile to fill out some basic information. Download the app and within a few minutes, you’ll be ready for a fun date like a WINKS sensual massage.

4. Bumble

It’s no surprise that the best hookup apps don’t exactly offer women the best security. But Bumble is looking to change that, with its self-proclaimed feminist focus.

The mechanics of the app itself work much like the rest of the best hookup apps on this list.

However, it lets women choose whether or not they want to match or talk to a user. Women have a 24-hour time frame to match with the person once they receive a notification of the user’s interest.

After that, it’s all up to the female user to send the first message. Women looking for a safer hookup app should give Bumble a shot.

5. Hinge

Hinge is perhaps the only app on this list to pretty much forego the GPS-centric route. Sure, you can still find users in your area, but Hinge is more focused on helping you connect with those who share mutual friends.

So if you’re tired of awkward first dates and never know what to talk about, Hinge may be for you.

6. Down

Out of the best hookup apps out there, Down is the most versatile. As its name might suggest, it’s an app primarily used to see…well, if others are down.

But you can also use it as a dating site, as users have the option to put what they’re looking for in their profile picture. And yes, that means you can change it on a daily basis if you’re looking for something different two days from now.

7. Tingle

Tingle differentiates itself from the competition by allowing users to connect via voice and video chat. If this sounds like a bad idea to you, you’re not alone. However, it’s worth noting that users are in control over what they share and who they are it with.

With Tingle, you can choose when and what information to share with another user. So while it’s a bit more communication heavy than some of the other apps, you can still exercise common sense.

8. Grindr

For a while, Grindr was the only gay hookup site on the market. And recently, Grindr has expanded its reach to be a bit more inclusive.

It’s still used for gay hookups, but now women, bisexuals, and trans people can enjoy the fun. We’d go as far as to say that Grindr is actually one of the more forward-thinking apps on this list in that sense.

9. Whiplr

Let’s be blunt for a minute, explaining your kinks to your partner isn’t always a fun conversation.

But now you’ll never have to worry about an awkward sexual conversation again thanks to Whiplr, which matches users based on kink.

Create an account and prioritize which kinks excite you the most, then meet those with similar or complementary kinks.

10. OkCupid

Yes, out of all the hookup apps out there, OkCupid is still one of the top choices for those looking to score.

While dating apps are considered a bit old-fashioned at this point, there are still plenty of users out there looking to hook up on the most popular platforms.

Find the Best Hookup Apps

So there you have it, the best hookup apps to help you find someone to spend the night with. There are tons of new apps popping up every day, so don’t forget to check back if you don’t see your favorite listed.

And if you’re looking for more tips, but sure to visit Pligg’s relationships page to find dating handbooks.


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Retirement Savings 101: How to Win the Game

February 12, 2018 - By 
retirement savings

The prospect of building up your retirement savings can be daunting. You may feel like you have your entire life ahead of you. But you’ll be surprised how retirement just sneaks up on you.

The best way is to think of retirement as a game to win. You have to carry out the necessary preparations. If only think about the immediate future, then you may miss the bigger picture farther ahead.

Like every game, you have to know how to win it. That’s why we’ve put together this retirement saving guide so that you can make sure you come out on top.

1. Start Now

You may not have the certainty of the older generations when it comes to saving for your retirement. Nowadays there is greater emphasis placed on the individual to ensure they have a comfortable retirement.

But the sooner you start planning your retirement, the better off you’ll be.

2. Make a Plan

Saving for your retirement can be overwhelming. The key to creating your own nest egg for your later years is to have a retirement plan.

You need to establish what your retirement goal. This should be an annual sum of at least more than 70 percent of your current pre-tax salary.

Now you need to work out how much you need to contribute monthly to reach the retirement goal. Also, figure out how you can make sure this is achievable.

To find out more about making financial plans for retirement, check out Hal Hammond Sarasota.

3. Change Your Mindset

Saving for your retirement is always going to be challenging. You have to manage your finances in a way that allows you to live your life now, with one eye always on the future.

It’s important to reassess your priorities. You need to decide where you’re spending money unnecessarily, or where you can make savings.

However, the good news is that small investments in your retirement now could grow into substantial sums by the time you come to retire.

4. Make Use of Retirement Plans

It may seem obvious to participant in your retirement programme at work. And yet, you may be shocked to find out many employees that have access to a 401(k) plan don’t take up the opportunity.

By not making use of retirement plans at work, you’re turning down free money.

5. Diversify Your Investments

Have you ever heard the saying “don’t put your all your eggs in one basket”?

These are wise words when it comes to retirement savings.

You need to create a diverse portfolio of savings to ensure your finances are resilient against financial problems in the market.

You can do this by investing in different stocks and bonds. While there is no ultimate right and wrong on how to invest your money, diversifying your retirement savings is always the best option.

6. Work Longer

The hardest reality check you’ll hear on any guide to retirement savings is that you have to work. While older generations may have retired in their early 60s, this is unlikely for the current workforce.

However, it’s not all bad news. We are living longer and healthier lives. This means that even though you may have to work for longer, you’ll also get to live for longer.

Start Your Retirement Savings

With this guide to saving for your retirement, you can start saving. But there’s much more to learn about managing your finances.

Check out other blog posts like this on our website.


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10 Best Medical Apps for Doctors, Patients, and Students

February 12, 2018 - By 
medical apps

Have you read about Apple’s new health effort that’s going to be a part of iOS 11.3?

According to reports, Apple’s Health app will have a new Health Records section, which will let users gather and view all of their medical records. At the moment, it’s still in beta testing, but the company’s optimistic it will be available to all iPhone users soon.

Now, if you can’t wait for this update, no problem. There are other awesome medical apps you can download on your device. Here are our top picks.

For Doctors

There’s no lack of health apps on the market today. But most of them cater to patients. In fact, only 15% of mHealth apps are designed for those working in the medical field, in particular, doctors.

But don’t worry. We’ve done the legwork for you. Check out three of the best medical apps for physicians.

1. Epocrates

As far as medical apps go, it’s not hard to see why this is considered the gold standard by a lot of doctors. Epocrates, Inc. boasts that one out of two physicians in the US uses their app. And we can believe it, based on the number of downloads it has on iOS and Android (Hint: It’s over a million).

The app is free to use but it offers in-app purchases for premium content. The free features include drug information and interactions, latest medical news and research information, access to providers for consults and referrals, and so on.

2. UpToDate

This app doesn’t have as many downloads as Epocrates but it’s getting there. Available for both iOS and Android devices, the UpToDate app helps users find answers to clinical questions when they need it the most.

It’s free to download but if you want to get the most out of it, you or your organization should pay the annual subscription fee. This will give you access to the UpToDate database, which has the latest evidence-based clinical information covering medications, treatment protocols, and more.

3. Read by QxMD

Based on reviews, this is another popular app among physicians. Some even describe it as “the Flipboard for medical journals.”

It’s an apt description considering its simple interface, which lets users turn the app into a personalized digital journal. Here, doctors get to read new medical and scientific research, search PubMed, and browse through thousands of topic reviews.

Read also has sharing capabilities so you can post your favorite articles on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. You can download Read on any Apple/Android device.

For Patients

We’ve already featured medical apps for patients in a previous post. But we only listed five.

With so many good health apps for patients though, it’s only fitting we add more of them here.

4. AskMD

On your own, you would probably just go on Google, type your symptoms, and prepare for the worst.

Rather than doing that, AskMD will help you understand your symptoms better by giving you insights as to the possible causes. It will also recommend physicians covered by your insurance based on your location.

AskMD, like other apps we’ve mentioned so far, is available for both Android/iOS users.

5. Simple Contacts

Do you need to renew your contact lens prescription? This FDA-registered app will help you do it even without visiting a doctor’s office.

For first-time users, the app will ask you some questions about your medical history. Based on your answers, the app can check if you’re eligible for remote prescription renewal.

Then, with your lenses on, you’ll take a vision test, which will be done over video. The app will check if your current contact lenses are still accurate. If not, an Ophthalmologist will approve your prescription renewal within 24 hours.

6. Flo

Flo is a sexual wellness app that helps women track their cycles, periods, and PMS. It also features a Pregnancy Calculator, as well as a Lifestyle & Fitness tracker.

We like that it’s easy to use and free to download for both iOS and Android devices. If your concerns about sexual health are more pressing though, we urge you to check out Elna Sexual Wellness. The site offers a multidisciplinary approach to treating urological and sexual health problems.

7. CareZone

Patients who have low compliance are those who frequently forget to take their meds on time. CareZone can help by letting users organize their medical information.

With the app, you can take pictures of your meds and it will automatically detect names, dosages, and other details. It also alerts users to take their meds and provides other tools such as Blood Glucose, Sleep, and Weight trackers.

For Students

Gone are the days when medical students only have heavy medical books as their primary tool for learning. Today, along with books, there are numerous medical apps designed to aid med students in their studies. These include:

8. Prognosis

Want to test your diagnosis, testing, and treatment skills? Prognosis allows you to do that in a risk-free environment.

It works like a game but the patient examples are based on real-life scenarios. All your answers will be compared to ideal protocols.

Prognosis is free to download for iOS and Android.

9. Brainscape

It’s no secret that med students do a lot of studying. If you’re the type who likes making study guides, this app is for you.

Brainscapes lets users make their own decks (flashcard style), which they can then share with classmates. If you’re not a med student yet and just preparing for med school, you can check out the app’s MCAT study subject.

10. 3M Littman Soundbuilder

Students and practicing clinicians who wish to improve their auscultation skills should use this app. It contains 14 lessons focusing on key heart sounds.

Investing in the premium content will give you access to normal and abnormal heart and respiratory sounds, complete with animations and imagery. Soundbuilder is only available for iOS devices.

Looking for More Medical Apps?

One of our goals is to regularly feature the best apps in different categories. If you’re looking for more medical and health-related apps, feel free to browse our blog.


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The 10 Best Spending Tracker Apps to Manage Your Finances

February 12, 2018 - By 
spending tracker

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.

1. HomeBudget

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.

2. Expensify

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.

3. Unsplurge

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.

4. HelloWallet

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.

6. Digit

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.

8. BillGuard

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.

9. Mint.com

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.

Final Thoughts

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.


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7 Beginner Photography Tips

February 12, 2018 - By 
beginner photography

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.


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Top 10 Reasons to Go Tiny

February 11, 2018 - By 
top 10 reasons to go tiny

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.


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How to Make the Best Dog Snacks Yourself

January 29, 2018 - By 
best dog snacks

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!


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Top Tips for the Best Law Firm Web Design

January 26, 2018 - By 

Do you want to spend lots of money on your site so everyone can ignore it?

No?

Thought not.

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:

  • Keywords
  • 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.

Making Contact

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.


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Tech Gear for Camping: Everything You Need to Know

January 26, 2018 - By 

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!

5. Handspresso

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!


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7 Patch Design Tips for Your Tactical Patches

January 26, 2018 - By 

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.


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5 Great Downloadable Plumbing Tutorials

January 26, 2018 - By 

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.

Government Tutorials

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.


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9 Auto Apps Every Car Owner Needs In Their Life

January 26, 2018 - By 

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.

3. Waze

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.

4. GasBuddy

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.

7. Spotify

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.

8. Honk

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.

9. iOnRoad

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.


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The Best Investigation Software Downloads Every Amateur PI Needs

January 26, 2018 - By 

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.

Email Spy

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.

Realtime-Spy

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.

ProDiscover Basic

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.

Volatility

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.

MobileSpy

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.

Who’s Registered?

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.


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8 Tips You Need to Know to Buy Weed Online

January 26, 2018 - By 

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:

  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Hybrid
  • Concentrates
  • Edibles
  • Topicals
  • Vapes
  • 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!


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The 7 Best Gamification Software Downloads For 2018

January 24, 2018 - By 

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Freshdesk

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.”


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How to Find the Right Digital Marketing Agency

January 23, 2018 - By 

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.

Don’t Compromise

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.


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Top 10 Health and Wellness Lifestyle Apps

January 23, 2018 - By 

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.

1. MyFitnessPal

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.

4. Pact

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.

6. Headspace

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.

7. Waterlogged

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.

10. Talkspace

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.


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5 Investment Apps Every Investor Needs To Download

January 23, 2018 - By 

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

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

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.

Bloomberg App

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.

Acorns

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

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.


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