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Everything You Need to Know About Hardwood Decking

November 13, 2017 - By 
hardwood decking

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

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

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

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

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

What Type of Hardwood to Choose

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

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

1. Ipe Wood

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

The wood grains vary widely.

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

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

2. Garapa Wood

This is the second most popular hardwood solution.

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

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

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

3. Massaranduba

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

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

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

4. Cumaru (Brazilian Teak)

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

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

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

5. Teak

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

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

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

Choose the Right Profile

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

Standard Decking

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

Pre-Grooved Decking

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

Tongue and Grooved Decking

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

How to Choose the Right Fasteners

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

Stainless Steel Screws

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

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

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

Wood Plugs

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

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

Hidden Deck Fasteners

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

Sanding and Finishing

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

How to Sand and Seal Your Decking

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

Finishing

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

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

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

Maintenance and Care

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

The Best Way to Clean Your Deck

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

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

Refinishing

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

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

Hardwood Decking is the Way To Go

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

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

Good luck with your deck project!


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Use These Plug-Ins to Add Yelp, Facebook, and Google Reviews to Your Website

November 10, 2017 - By 

When you are considering going to see a movie, if you are like most people, the first thing you do is check the reviews. It has become commonplace for Google reviews to be written about everything from the Chinese restaurant down the street, to what new books you should read.

This level of feedback allows your potential customers to get what they perceive to be a more accurate image of your business than what the flattering copy on your website paints. This is one of the most important parts of digital marketing.

These reviews are impacting almost every decision we make. Reviews and ratings are what sways the masses these days.

That’s why it’s so important for you to feature Google reviews on your website. You don’t have to rely on websites like Yelp! to display what your customers have to say about you.

Keep reading to find out what plug-ins you can use to display reviews right on your website.

Tips for Marketing Using Customer Reviews

There is no one more equipped to tell your success story than your satisfied customers. That’s why it’s a great idea to include Google reviews or comments on your website that are written in your customer’s own words.

Sharing real-time reviews from your buyers on your website will show your potential customers how well you deliver on your brand promise.

A positive customer review could bring a flood of new buyers to your website, while a negative one could drive everyone away.

This is particularly true for local businesses. People in your area will be more willing to believe the Google reviews of others within their community than random strangers found across the internet.

Many potential customers will use reviews to decide whether or not to trust your business. The personal recommendations featured in Google reviews can feel like they come from a trusted friend.

The most important traits that your customers will be looking for is a business that’s reliable, has an expertise, and maintains a professional image.

By creating this polished image for your business, your customers will be more likely to spend time on your website.

That makes them more likely to buy your product.

The Benefits of Displaying Reviews

Many people believe that displaying Google reviews is a job for sites like Yelp! and Amazon, but that’s a mistake.

It’s not necessary to have a review specific website to benefit from having a rating system and displaying customer reviews on your website.

Blogging

If you run a blog, chances are you have written a review or two on a product or service that’s relevant to your website content. Although your website may not be based solely on these reviews, there can be a benefit in creating a rating system for the reviews that you do write.

Many of the plug-ins that will be discussed will allow you to create summaries of all the reviews that you write. Then the concentrated version of your review will show somewhere in the vicinity of your original post.

One of the reasons that this is beneficial is that people on the internet have notoriously short attention spans. They have developed habits like skimming a webpage for what information they think is the most relevant.

If nothing catches their eye, then they will leave your website as quickly as they came.

By giving them a taste of your Google reviews with a plug-in preview, you can create a tasty morsel to tempt your readers to dive in further and read the rest of your post.

Small Business Owners

Beyond the needs of bloggers, small business owners can benefit greatly from the addition of Google reviews to their website.

With large websites like Google Plus growing every day, many small businesses have begun to see the upside to having great reviews written about them.

Since reviews play such a large role in the decision-making process, small business owners can take advantage of these big name review sites to drive more traffic to their website. This can be a key piece in your sales or conversion funnel.

Many of the plug-ins available will allow you to moderate your reviews and approve those that show up on your blog. You can’t do this with reviews featured on Google or Yelp!.

One great example of a small business making the most of their Google reviews is Go-Forth Pest Control in Wilmington, NC. They have featured posts by their customers on their homepage to show potential clients the quality of work they’re capable of.

Featuring Google Reviews

Unlike featuring a Facebook or Yelp! review, adding Google reviews to your website won’t require you to pay for anything unless you choose to.

There is a variety of WordPress plug-ins that can make featuring Google reviews slightly easier, but there are so many free options that for the majority of applications, purchasing a plug-in will be unnecessary.

Google Places Reviews

The most basic plug-in to use is called, “Google Places Reviews”. It’s offered through Google and will display a maximum of three reviews simultaneously. There are also a number of design options and configurations that you can edit to customize the look of your review panel.

Featuring Yelp! Reviews

For many industries, Yelp! is the go-to place for reviews. This is especially true of restaurants and professional services.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options when it comes to featuring a Yelp! review on your website. That’s because Yelp! is a niche platform that focuses on specific industries.

If you operate in one of the industries that Yelp! is known for, you know the amount of clout they have.

One of the reasons their reviews are so well-respected is that they have a fake review filter that has been designed to only display actual customer reviews.

This lends credibility to the reviews featured on the website.

Yelp Widget Pro

Yelp Widget Pro is a free feature included with your WordPress subscription. It enables you to embed features of your business’s Yelp page on your WordPress website.

The cost of this subscription is about forty-five dollars a year.

When you purchase and enable this plugin, the process is relatively straightforward. You will be emailed a file that contains the plugin and you will need to download it and “unzip” it.

Then you will navigate to your WordPress site and select the large blue button that says “Upload Plugin” under the tab, “Plugins”.

Once uploaded, all that will be necessary is for you to implement some code wherever you want your reviews to appear.

In all, this process should take about five minutes to fully complete. You will have a wide variety of styling options for the display box for your reviews. You can even tweak details manually by altering the code that you add to your pages.

In addition, you can choose what reviews you want to be featured. One option is to only display five-star reviews on your website. Other options include selecting whether or not you want to display your company’s contact information and several other formatting options.

Embedding Facebook Reviews

There are a ton of different options when it comes to embedding Facebook reviews into your website. The differences between the options are mainly the ease of implementation and the format that you desire.

Feed Them Social Plugin

The most simple Facebook review plugin is called Feed Them Social.

It can be uploaded and configured directly through the WordPress Plugin Dashboard. There is no manual upload required.

By using the dashboard, you eliminate the potential for any errors to occur. For those who don’t have a lot of experience with plugins, this can be a very important feature.

Facebook Reviews Pro Plugin

A secondary option is to pay forty-five dollars for a one-year license of Facebook Reviews Pro.

This plugin was developed by the same people who created the Yelp! plugin, so its installation is nearly identical. You will need to manually insert the code where you want your reviews featured and upload the plugin into the plugin tab.

The major difference between Facebook Reviews Pro and Feed Them Social is the formatting options that are available to each.

Wrapping it Up

There is nothing more important to your potential customers than being sure that the business they’re purchasing from is trustworthy and reliable.

By featuring reviews on your website, you are giving them the ability to see what others who have used your products or services have thought about your business.

There are multiple types of reviews out there with the three most common being Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Yelp! reviews.

Each of these has plugins available that allow you to easily add their review content to your website.

They’re all highly customizable and allow you to select fonts, colors, text size, and the size of the content box.

If you are looking for the right place to download your plug-ins, visit Pligg, a digital download marketplace that has products to drive traffic to your website today.


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10 Ways a Messenger App Can Transform Your Business

November 9, 2017 - By 

The way we communicate online has drastically changed the way a business engages their client base. In fact, a recent survey found that 50% of chatbot users claimed that using a messenger had a positive impact on their perception of a business.

A messenger app started as an easy way to chat with colleagues and friends. It has since turned into a tool for businesses to provide better customer support. But they can do so much more for a business.

We’re now seeing that companies can use these apps to help market products and services. Organizations are using this to transform customer experience and reach people in new ways.

Let’s break down the benefits these apps can bring to business operations.

1. Establish a Conversation with Your Customers

Engaging with your customers strengthens the relationship you have with them. The immediacy that a messenger app brings to this engagement is invaluable.

Two-way dialogue is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Online messaging makes this dialogue scalable. Media-rich connectivity and personal interaction give you an edge over your competitors.

Opening the channels of communication forms a sense of familiarity and trust. Companies that provide chat services have a better chance of repeat customers and upsell revenue.

2. Customer Convenience

People can and do shop online around the clock. Thus, the service you provide shouldn’t stop at 5 pm.

If a customer has a problem or question, a messenger app allows them a line of communication at all times. In this world of urgency, they don’t want to wait until the next day for answers.

Chat services allow for instant access to your service reps 24/7. This real-time interaction keeps business operations moving. It also provides a customer experience that’s much more enjoyable than listening to hold music.

3. Personalized Customer Interaction

Personalized communication is a huge advantage in marketing. A messenger app gives a business the ability to customize their communication for each customer.

Social media allows marketers to track customer engagement. This gives a business a cross-channel view of consumers to segment. Knowing your customer’s interests lets you personalize your message to fit their needs.

Observing the dialogue between you and your customer also keys you into their preferences. This is a perfect chance for personalized offers on products and services.

4. Reach Customers on Their Terms

A key strength of a messenger app is that it allows a dialogue with a customer when and where they want it. They also have the option of conversing in their preferred messaging channel. Not only is the communication more direct, it’s done in a way that makes the customer comfortable.

An advantage to chat apps is they provide an easy way to test different audience segments. They can also be scaled depending on the region.

Because the customer can communicate when and where they want, frequency and reuse are much higher than on mobile apps.

5. Chatbots Make a Messenger App Scalable

Establishing a messenger program for your business may seem intimidating. Luckily, chatbots have made the process less stressful and more functional.

Chatbots work as autoresponders for a messaging system. They enable quick responses and allow for a large volume of chat activity. This means you can leave the more important interaction to a live service rep.

Chatbots help scale engagement and reduce the cost of live teams needed to handle calls 24/7. A system can be set up so that a live agent takes over when needed. Global App crowdsourcing testing provides web and mobile app testing for agile teams.

6. Free, Unrestricted Communication

A big problem with SMS is that there is often a cost associated. Messaging systems provide customers full access to your brand without having to worry about being charged.

Customers can also reach you anywhere in the world. Unrestricted access to product information and service will help boost customer satisfaction. It also keeps businesses running around the clock.

7. Provide a Private Outlet for Customers

If you own a business, you know you will sometimes have unsatisfied customers. A messenger app decreases the chances of a customer expressing any frustration publicly. With so many looking at reviews and feedback online, this is a great advantage.

Messengers also provide an environment for communicating sensitive data. Things like delivery information remain between the customer and service rep.

By providing a private setting you encourage direct interaction. This helps keep an unsatisfied customer out of the public eye.

8. Enhance Team Communication

We’ve been talking about how a messenger app can help your customers. But it also serves an important function internally.

These apps can be a great way to keep everyone on the same page. This is very important if you have team members working off-site. Group chats allow you to meet virtually and keep everyone up to date on important information.

You will also have the ability to store conversations that include important data. Keeping a record of conversations is a great way to stay organized and track accountability.

9. Time and Money Savers

With messenger services, you can forget about making long distance phone calls. They allow you to communicate with anyone in real time and save money on the cost of calls.

They also help cut down on travel by providing a way to meet with colleagues all over the world. You also avoid long and confusing email correspondence. Have the conversation you need to have right then and there.

10. Increase Conversion

Most people want to speak to an actual human when they call a customer service line. Unfortunately, they end up becoming frustrated by an automated system.

Carry this line of thinking into the digital world. A customer is going to want a quick interaction with someone who can help them. If you provide this service you’re going to see higher customer satisfaction.

Messaging allows for immediate service, which means high conversion.

Promote Your Business with Direct Communication

The online marketing landscape provides endless ways to reach your client base. Adding a messenger app to your brand is a great marketing tool and so much more. The service it provides your clients and internal operation is well worth the expense.

Visit our site today for digital downloads along with informative articles.


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What’s the Best Interior Design Software for Beginners?

November 9, 2017 - By 

Using the best interior design software is a great way to get a deeper understanding of the multi-billion dollar world of interior design.

There are a number of software options for beginners – and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Here’s a rundown of the best interior design software to start you off.

Planner 5D

Planner 5D is a free 2D and 3D modeler where you can create very detailed plans for modern interior design. You can download it to a computer or mobile device, or simply use its online features – no installation necessary.

So you can set out everything from your flooring to your window dressing. Speaking of which, check out these sweet minimalist window dressing ideas from S:CRAFT!

It offers inspiration for home design ideas and lets you map out the finest details of your interior design plans. You can then create photorealistic renders of the plan, to show your ideas to other people in all their glory.

SketchUp

Previously owned by Google, SketchUp is an easy-to-use 3D drawing program.

From its website, you can download many staff- and user-generated models for your own use. Some of these are quite specialist – for example, eco-friendly building models. Once you get some practice, you can upload your own models to share with the community.

You can use SketchUp for free, but there’s a Pro version too. You’ll need a license for that — and it’s a little pricey if you’re buying for yourself rather than a business.

Home Designer Interiors

Home Designer Interiors comes stacked with a library of over 6,500 objects for you to lay out in your home. But it’s a little more difficult to get to grips with that Planner 5D.

However, once you’ve got the knack for it, anyone with an interest in interior design will find its range of features very helpful.

Its customizable room templates give you a good point to start. But once you’ve delved deeper into the program, you’ll find that you can change a huge array of fine details like window molding and more.

Home Designer Interiors is not free, but it’s very affordable.

Ikea Planners

If you’re a fan of budget Swedish furniture behemoth Ikea, you’ll find its planning tools extremely helpful.

You can design kitchens, wardrobes, offices, and storage units. Plus much more!

Ikea won’t let you use a CD or USB stick in its stores because of security. So make sure you’ve sent an email to yourself or printed it off before you leave the house.

Programs to Complement the Best Interior Design Software

A great interior designer will need more tools than just interior design software.

You’ll want project planning tools. These can, for example, help you to track time, maintain task lists and help to generate project reports.

It’s also important to track expenses to keep your projects on the straight and narrow. And, on another note, to stay safe on site if you’re using power tools to create your interior design vision.

But mostly – a healthy dose of creativity is your friend. Good luck with your interior design endeavors!


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5 Ways to Improve Local SEO for Insurance Agents

November 9, 2017 - By 

The insurance field is a multi-billion dollar market, and thanks to the web, it’s easier than ever to find a great agency. In fact, 2 million Google searches occur in just one minute.

That’s a lot of potential opportunity for discovery. However, it also means that, if a proper SEO strategy isn’t in place, people will simply never see most sites.

But focusing on a more localized area is one of the smartest things a business can do. Don’t miss out on new traffic! Here are 5 way to improve local SEO for insurance agents.

Getting SEO For Insurance Agents

1. Make Sure The Agency Is Accessible

An SEO strategy is useless if an agency doesn’t have its contact information listed on the net. Agencies looking to drum up some business should be sure their info is readily available.

And that goes for more than just an agency’s phone number. Make sure that the full business name, hours of operation, phone number, and address are all listed.

Get on Facebook, My Business, Yelp, and just about any other site that seems relevant. These things do matter, as people tend to search businesses before visiting.

Having this contact info listed before the competition’s could bring in a ton of new clients. The more information Google has about a business, the higher it tends to rank it.

2. Create A Gorgeous Site

It isn’t enough for an agency to have a website. It needs to be better than the competition.

But it’s possible to design a great looking site without hiring a web designer. Take a look at some other sites to get a feel for current design trends.

www.insuredasap.com is a great place to start, as their website features a sleek design.

Stop just browsing the web and start looking at it through a designer’s eye. Notice how the contact info is one of the first things visitors see upon visiting Insured ASAP’s site. Simple tactics like that can make a difference.

3. Use Local Content

One of the easiest ways to boost one’s visibility is simply by using more localized terms. This is because Google tends to prioritize local businesses. For instance, if someone in San Francisco searches a term — even a general one — they’d get results tailored to that area.

It pays to be niche when it comes to content. Remember how vast the internet is. Filling a site and content with local keywords and region-specific topics is a great way to boost SERPs.

4. Leverage Social Media

When people think of SEO, they likely just think about their website and its relation to Google. The truth is that it’s a bit more complex than that.

Other elements that factor into a site’s SERP, like social media accounts. This is one of the easiest SEO for real estate agents, as most firms already have a page on most social channels.

Be sure to link the website and social channels together. Cross-posting content is a great and free way to get some publicity.

5. Keep Up With Algorithms

Finally, SEO for insurance agents isn’t always going to be easy. Google tends to change its algorithms on a regular basis. In fact, there have been several changes in 2017 alone.

It’s important to keep up with current SEO algorithms, as certain rules may be replaced or altered.

Final Thoughts On SEO For Insurance Agents

SEO for insurance agents is quite a tricky beast to tame. However, if an agency is smart about their web presence, they can easily boost their traffic.

Make sure to follow these steps and never stop learning about Google’s algorithms. The more informed one is, the more manageable SEO will become.

For more great content, be sure to check out the Pligg blog for more great SEO tips and downloads.


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The 5 Best Fitness Apps You Need to Download

November 9, 2017 - By 

Smartphones optimize our lives and make complicated tasks really easy, and fitness is no exception.

Working up that motivation to live healthily and stay active is now as simple as downloading fitness apps. Seriously!

With the advent of devices like FitBit that connect to our phones, fitness tracking and planning became ridiculously easy. But you don’t even need to buy an expensive FitBit to get the ball rolling on a healthier you.

Many fitness apps are free and most are inexpensive, but they all engage users and promote a healthier lifestyle. If you want to join the nearly sixty percent of all smartphone users who have downloaded a fitness app, we’ve got you covered!

Read on to learn about the five fitness apps that can boost your lifestyle and make getting fit a lot easier.

1. Charity Miles

A lot of people run marathons to raise awareness of a charity or raise funds to fight for a specific cause. Organizations like the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure and Run 10 Feed 10 turn participating runners’ miles into good deeds.

The Charity Miles fitness app lets users make a positive difference in the world by their every activity: going for a hike, taking a bike ride around the neighborhood, walking around the mall, running a marathon…

Every step counts! Users only have to sign up and join one of over 40 available charities when they first log in. So far the app has raised more than $2 million for charity!

2. Lose It

One of the biggest headaches when trying to keep up with a healthy lifestyle is watching what you eat. Cardio and fitness help keep you healthy, but true health comes from also monitoring the food your body uses as fuel.

Lose It is a comprehensive and user-friendly fitness app that lets you set goals and mark your progress over time. The app also allows users to scan the barcodes on food packaging to easily track their nutritional intake in a simple program.

3. Couch to 5K

Scared of making the move to a healthier lifestyle? Worried you might not have the stamina to keep up? That’s where the Couch to 5K app comes in to calm your fears.

The app guides users through a 9-week training course, starting them simply before slowly building up to transform their lifestyle. Made for fitness newbies, the program only takes 20-30 minutes a day, three days a week. That’s it!

4. Zombies, Run!

If all the tech features and numbers have your creative mind bored already, this app should shake things up. Ever thought you could exercise while learning about a story — being a part of a story — of the zombie apocalypse?

This audio adventure lets users discover new elements to an exciting story by accomplishing distance feats. Complete fitness missions to uncover the history of the zombie apocalypse.

Not intended for everybody: Some challenges require you to outrun hordes of zombies that you can hear getting closer in your headphones. But that’ll get you moving!

5. Yoga Studio

If you’re not already a yoga fanatic, you might become one soon with the masterful Yoga Studio app. No matter your level of experience or stamina, the Yoga Studio app has meditation and yoga classes for every user.

Listen to step-by-step instruction on hundreds of yoga poses and meditation techniques, just like a personal yoga trainer would give. The app also connects to your calendar for easier fitness planning.

Which of the Fitness Apps is For You?

The best app for you is the one that keeps you motivated over longer periods of time. You might experiment and find that some are only exciting for the first day or two. Choosing one of our top apps can solve that, though.

Seeing real progress in weight loss or fitness increase with an app that you carry around with you on your smartphone. What’s easier than that?

Accompany fitness apps or programs with healthy eating, using other apps to track your intake. Consider cleaner, more organic eating. Increase fitness performance by including more proteins and greens, and consider fitness supplements.

Look to resources like LiveStrong, Sportsfuel sports supplements, and local vitamin stores for the latest fitness supplements and healthy eating options to boost your exercise.

And if you’re eager for more health hacks and beneficial tips, keep an eye on the Pligg blog for more articles, documents, and ebooks!


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Why A Regular Full Health Check Up Is A Must

November 9, 2017 - By 

When you’re looking to avoid sickness and thrive with your health, reach out to doctors that can assist you fully.

Taking advantage of a full health check-up will allow you to improve your health in the most meaningful way.

If you’re really looking to take your health to the next level, read these tips that explain the importance of these checkups.

A Full Health Checkup Is Great For Your Heart Health

We’re at epidemic levels when it comes to heart conditions.

For instance, did you know that approximately 78 million people deal with high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke are serious issues, so getting a full health checkup should always be on your priority list.

A medical professional will provide a physical and can do bloodwork to ensure your heart is in tip-top shape. You’ll then be prepared to switch your diet, get access to medication and follow a weight loss plan.

The sooner you diagnose a heart issue through one of these checkups, the easier it’ll be for you to prevent life-threatening health problems.

It’s Important To Get Checkups If You’re Sexually Active

Any sexually active adult needs to take the guesswork out of their sexual health.

The best way to remain informed and empowered is through regular checkups.

You’ll be able to learn if you’re pregnant, track your menstrual cycle, get testing and treatment for STDs, explore birth control options and more.

Going to a regular physician will give you access to reproductive care, in addition to pointing you toward specialists.

Aside from going to your regular physician for a full health checkup, make sure that you find some free locations that offer STD testing and contraception services.

This way, you’ll always have options outside of regular business hours.

Regular Checkups Help You Build Medical History

The best reason to go in for regular checkups is that you’ll have medical records to build on.

This way, you’ll have detailed information about prior conditions, medicines you’ve taken, allergic reactions and other issues. If you happen to get sick, doctors can reference these records and provide you with more hands-on medical care.

When you’re aware of your medical history, you’re better able to take care of your own health as well.

Checkups Are Often Free And Convenient

Another great reason you need to get regular checkups is that it’s low cost, high reward.

With many medical insurance plans, your checkups are included in the premium, so you pay nothing out of pocket. In other situations, you’ll fork over a small co-pay.

Regardless, these checkups are routine but are incredibly valuable in helping your overall health. You’ll be in and out and can explore your options when finding the right medical professional.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, it’s important that you stay on top of your healthcare through regular checkups.

Using these tips will help you get the most out of your medical care while finding a doctor that can serve you.

To learn more about caring for your health, check out some other health-related posts and don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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7 Tips on How to Start an Escape Room Business

November 9, 2017 - By 

As a lover of puzzles and labyrinths, you’ve likely been thinking about how to build your own. A great escape room business will take the exciting concept of an escape room and make it feel fresh and inventive.

Escape rooms are a great addition to your income, a fun way to meet energetic and adventurous people, and an exciting way to spend your weekends. While there are many different ways to navigate an escape room, the business end of it is less opaque.

Below are 7 tips on how to get your escape room business off the ground and keep people coming back for more.

1. Do Your Research

You can never do too much research when starting any new business venture. There are a lot of ideas that you can draw from in the History of Escape Rooms. You should also see what the most recent trends are.

Zombie-themed rooms were the rage for awhile. Are zombie-themed escape rooms on the rise in your area or is there another emerging trend?

You need to stay ahead of your competition.

Are there other escape rooms within 10-15 miles of yours? Figure out what you can offer that’s different than your competitors. Book a session with your competitors so that you can see where they succeed and where you can improve.

See if other escape room businesses have closed in the last few years. You’ll want to learn from their mistakes. Also, talk to your chamber of commerce to see if any other escape rooms are about to open. Competition is healthy but you don’t want to flood the market.

2. Can You Commit?

Running any kind of business is a huge time commitment. Do you have the free time to devote to running an escape room business?

Write out a budget for both time and money. See what you can afford to outsource and what you will need to handle on your own. Don’t let other aspects of your life suffer for a new business.

Online presence might be the way most of your clients encounter your business for the first time, so make smart design decisions with your site.

3. First Impressions Are Everything

Who is the face of your business? The first person who greets your customers at the door will set the tone for your customers’ experience. You want your greeter to relax your visitors who will likely be nervous about their first time at an escape room.

If you put a face in your promotional materials, you want that familiar face to be on site when your visitors arrive. The greeter needs to be ready to answer questions and give all of the information your visitors need.

Hiring someone else to handle this frees you up to mingle and manage the overall experience.

4. Timing Is Key

Use the time of year to attract your customers. Holidays, local cultural events or seasonal changes can keep your business fresh and give one-time visitors a reason to book again. A zombie or horror-themed escape room around Halloween is a great way to capitalize on the fall season.

If detective stories are on the rise, have a narrative to capitalize on that.

Create different narratives for different events so that potential clients have a variety to choose from. A large company with a good experience with one style of event may want to send another department for an outing more catered to their interests. A changing schedule posted months in advance will work to your advantage.

5. Market It Creatively

Even the best idea won’t sell itself. Be sure that your escape room business is being marketed to the right clientele. If you’re near a tech hub or a business park, tell businesses about how escape rooms promote teamwork. Offer discounts to the businesses nearby.

Talk to another local business or a brewery. By exclusively carrying their products, you can offer cross-promotional deals that are mutually beneficial.

If you’re near a college town or university, offer student discounts. Reach out to student associations and offer discounted packages to them. You’ll be surprised to see a bump in sales after a dozen students put up selfies and social media posts about your escape room business.

See if you can build a flexible business that can host anything from a birthday party, a family reunion, office outing, or any gathering at all.

6. Gifts That Keep On Giving

Your visitors will want a keepsake to remember the experience.

A cleverly printed photo or souvenir will allow visitors to share the story while continuing to promote your business. Taking a group “before” photo will allow your team to print and frame pictures while visitors are in the escape room.

Gather an email list from visitors so that you can stay in touch and offer them discounts throughout the year.

Give out keychains with your name and website on them. Lighters, bottle openers, and keychain flashlights ensure visitors will carry your name around for months or years after their visit.

7. Wrap-Up Event

What do you have waiting for your guests at the end of the puzzle? Other than a souvenir, it might be nice to have an event. Including a food and beverage package at the end, with a “bonus” included for winners, shows teams that you appreciate them.

Leave time at the end of every escape room session for players to hang around, mingle and ask questions. Making yourself available to answer questions can be valuable for building a repeat customer base.

For players, this may be a team-building exercise for their job or their first time getting to know one another outside of work. Helping to foster their relationships can encourage them to spread the word about your escape room business.

Have Fun With Your Escape Room Business

Don’t forget to make it fun!

You should be doing what you love with your escape room business. Connecting with clients should be as exciting for you as it is for them.

If you follow the tips above, you could build long-term connections with clients and offices, becoming part of their annual schedule of outings.


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5 Best Casino Apps for Android and iPhone

November 9, 2017 - By 

Nothing beats the thrill of a Las Vegas casino.

The flashing lights, the rattling of the slot machines, the sweat rolling down your brow as you make your way through a high-stakes game of blackjack…

Plus, the payoff of winning a big score.

But for most of us, flying off to Vegas every time we want to experience that rush isn’t in the cards.

Luckily, there are a number of great casino apps that allow you to get a taste of Vegas without ever stepping into a casino.

Here are our top five.

Big Win Slots

Variety is the spice of life, and that applies to casino apps as well. A lot of games can get monotonous as you swipe through the same game day after day with no change.

Big Win Slots gets it. They offer dozens of virtual machines, with both three- and five-reel games.

There is a number of fun themes, and they change every month!

Zynga Poker

If you love the thrill of the score but would prefer not to lose your life savings when you’re feeling cocky about your two of a kind, Zynga Poker is right for you.

Zynga is already the king of mobile gaming, so it’s no wonder that they’d have one of the most popular casino apps on the market. Their poker app has over six million daily players, so you’ll always find a game.

It doesn’t use real-world currency, so you don’t have to risk your hard earned cash, even if you don’t know when to hold ’em, fold ’em, or walk away.

Bet365

Bet365 is already one of the world’s most popular betting companies. Their network covers over two hundred countries, allowing millions of people to bet on sports and racing.

Unsurprisingly, their mobile app makes it even easier.

You can place your bets like you can on their website, but their app adds virtual table games like poker, blackjack, and roulette.

This app is powered by Playtech and includes a number of great games like Chinese Kitchen, Fantastic Four, and Iron Man.

And it should go without saying, but the cash in here is all real, so you can win big.

All Slots Casino

If roulette isn’t your scene and you can’t bluff to save your life, you probably spend more of your time at the slot machines.

A lot of people love slots because there’s no skill involved. It’s just you, the lever, and Lady Luck.

If you’re a slots junkie, All Slots Casino is the game for you. With beautiful design and welcome bonuses as high as $1,300, it’s one of the top casino apps around.

Click here for more information.

Jackpot City

Ah, the jackpot.

There’s nothing a gambler loves more than that cascade of coins spilling out of the machine.

And if you want a virtual game that rewards real-world prizes, Jackpot City is the way to go.

With eleven different games in different genres, there’s no shortage of ways to win.

Win Big with Casino Apps

Don’t wait till your next trip to Vegas to scratch the gambling itch.

Download one of these great apps, and win big today!


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5 Downloadable Travel Tools You Need to Know About

November 9, 2017 - By 

Planning a trip soon?

Be sure not to leave your cell phone behind.

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

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

1) Yelp

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

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

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

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

2) City Mapper

City Mapper is an app that covers big city transit.

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

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

3) Airbnb

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

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

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

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

4) Uber

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

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

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

5) Google Translate

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

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

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

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

Try These Downloadable Tools for Your Dream Vacation

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

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

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


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5 Useful Pieces of Downloadable Information to Help You Learn Origami

November 8, 2017 - By 

Learning origami can seem difficult at first. But learning such a skill can prove to be useful in everyday life.

Origami, when practiced, activates the use of your whole brain. This enhances your problem-solving skills, creativity, and concentration.

You don’t have to become a master in order to benefit from it. A little practice each day is enough to exercise your brain.

Want to learn origami but don’t know where to start? We’ll take you through the best downloadable information for origami techniques.

That way, you have everything needed from beginning to more challenging difficulties. Ready to begin?

Let’s get into it!

1. Beginner Origami Downloadable Information

You can’t learn something new without knowing the basics, right? Origami is no different.

Before you begin, you’ll need to learn how to read the instructions. Traditional downloadable information doesn’t come with written words but pictures.

Along with those pictures come symbols, signaling what the next step wants you to do. Here’s what some of them mean.

Dotted Line

A dotted line means to fold the paper in half. It should look like a V when viewed from the side.

Solid, Straight Line

A solid line specifies the crease that was made from a previous fold.

Single Arrow

This means to fold the paper in the direction the arrow is pointing.

Double Arrow

This indicates a three-step process. A double arrow means to fold, create a crease then unfold.

Arrow With Loop

A looped arrow means to flip the paper over. Using double-sided origami paper will come in handy for techniques involving this step so you don’t get confused.

2. Cat

An origami cat is great for beginners. It doesn’t involve any complicated folding techniques and can be achieved within eight steps.

If you choose to create the cat’s head and body, you’ll need two equal squares. The body is simply a triangle with a smaller triangle to form its tail.

3. Lucky Star

A lucky star is great because you can create multiples in no time at all. All it takes is a strip of paper tied into a knot and then folded inside itself. Once you created the basic shape of it, you’ll use your fingers to make indentations for a 3D effect.

4. Leaping Frog

This origami technique is actually easy and the end product is interactive! Want to learn more?

While it does involve a lot of folding, your folds don’t have to be perfect. The frog will still jump even with the thickness of the paper once completed.

5. Pyramid

Looking for something a little more challenging? Pyramids involve a lot of folding and if you don’t pay attention, you can quickly get lost reading the downloadable information.

Once mastered, origami pyramids have a lot of uses. They can be used as home decor or turned into decorative gift boxes.

Folding Up Thoughts

Origami isn’t difficult once you start practicing. As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”.

Not only does learning origami give you a sense of accomplishment but it proves itself useful. It’s a great way to exercise your brain and expand your critical thinking skills.

Itching to learn more about a variety of topics? Check out our recent blog posts!


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Are You Breathing Toxic Air? 5 Ways to Monitor Air Quality

November 8, 2017 - By 

In a world where pollution is rampant, you need to get a handle on your breathing air.

There are some tips you need to know to protect your breathing air, whether dealing with indoor or outdoor air quality.

If you’re looking for ways to analyze toxic air and prevent from breathing it, read the tips below.

#1: Get Up-To-Date EPA Toxic Air Reports

Knowing that toxic air is present is the key to preventing breathing it.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues reports that let you know all about the air quality where you live.

You can get this data by researching the reports by city, county or other geographical location.

#2: Stay Tuned To Your Daily Forecasts

Aside from EPA reports, you need to stay tuned to daily forecasts.

Look for weather forecasts that include thorough breakdowns of air quality — to include the presence of toxic air due to wildfires or other issues. You’ll also be able to look into aspects like carbon monoxide, smog, pollen count, and other potential issues.

The more you know about the air quality, the easier it’ll be for you to take the appropriate measures.

#3: Buy An Indoor Air Monitor

Air problems can be as dangerous to your home as asbestos.

You can get measurable data on the air quality when you invest in an indoor air monitor. On top of a carbon monoxide alarm, this monitor will let you know info about humidity and whether any potentially toxic elements are present.

The investment in this monitor is worth your peace of mind.

#4: Take Care Of Your HVAC System

The better you care for your heating and cooling, the better the indoor air quality you’ll experience.

For instance, a poor HVAC system is known to breed mold, so you’ll need to get this under control.

Mold is known to irritate your respiratory passages, making your own home a health liability. Getting professional services from someone like Biological Health Services mould removal after an outbreak will help you protect your breathing air.

You can take care of your HVAC system by changing the air filters and cleaning out any passageways. This keeps your HVAC system in great condition while also protecting your breathing air.

On top of caring for your HVAC equipment, make sure to insulate your attic to get the best service from it.

#5: Get A Home Audit

The best way to know for sure whether you’re dealing with toxic air is to contact a professional that can perform a home audit.

This audit will let you get the best service from your indoor air components while shoring up any problems.

Air issues are sometimes undetectable without the right instruments and data, so bringing in a professional can help.

Browse our site if you’d like to learn more about air quality and ways to improve your household quality of life.


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Blogger Hosting Hacks: How to Choose the Best One for You

November 8, 2017 - By 

Are you thinking about starting a blog, but you don’t know where to start?

If you’re aware of the many options for blogger hosting but can’t decide which to choose, we want to give you some hacks.

This article will explain the process and simplify your choice. Read on and get ready to start your blog!

What is Hosting?

If you’re trying to start a website or blog, you’ve probably come across the term “hosting.”

Website hosts maintain configured computers called servers. When you choose a host, you’re renting the space from the company’s servers.

All your website files are stored on the host server.

What is Your Niche?

What is your blog going to be about? Your blogger hosting needs might vary depending on your answer to this question.

Are you thinking about starting a food blog and need your blog to support video? If you’re a photographer, you’ll need to make sure your host package has enough memory to support the graphics and memory.

It’s okay if you have many ideas and don’t know exactly what your niche is. You can always pick a package that will allow you to upgrade and customize later on.

3 Things You Should Consider

1. Price

The price depends on how many features you want for your blog. Hosting can be more affordable than people might think.

For example, BlueHosting offers three different prices for all memberships.

2. Features

Pick a host that will let you have freedom with features as you change or expand your blog.

Limited features could interfere with your creativity.

3. Free vs Self-Hosted

Free hosting might be affordable, but it comes with several disadvantages.

Most free blogs have limited templates to pick from and they don’t look as professional as self-hosted blogs. You also don’t have as much control over add-on features such as software or plugins.

Free blogs have a limited amount of memory. Unless you buy the domain name, you’ll have a www.blog.wordpress.com instead of www.blog.com.

However, free blogs are usually good for beginners because they require little installation. And there are no costs involved, at least not at first.

With a self-hosted blog, you’re completely in charge of everything that goes into it. You have unlimited options for layouts, plugins, and software. You’re also able to freely monetize your blog using ads and SEO optimization.

The cons of a self-hosted website are the initial costs. A new blogger might have to pay for the hosting service, the domain name, and any software.

If they’re going for a more professional look, then they might also have to pay for a layout or theme. Another con is that new bloggers might find the process of self-hosting overwhelming at first.

Ready to Decide on Blogger Hosting?

Remember to pick a website host based on the features you’ll need for your blog.

There are many benefits to self-hosting a blog. Just do your research and pick the best host for your niche.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more, please visit us for more great life hacks.


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A Simple Guide To Buying A Home With Bad Credit

November 8, 2017 - By 
buying a home with bad credit

Preparing to buy a home should be an exciting time in a person’s life. It’s a big step, and should be one that you take confidently.

If you have a low credit score, however, you may feel like home ownership will be out of your reach or more difficult to achieve. That may have been true once, but it isn’t the case anymore.

Potential home buyers now have lots of financing options that can help them secure their dream home, even if they don’t have the best credit history financial standing.

Buying a home with bad credit is now a real possibility, but you have to know the right steps to take. Read on for our simple guide, so you can eventually be ready to buy the house of your dreams.

1. Determine a Realistic Budget

Buying a home with bad credit is possible, but you have to be honest with yourself about how much home you can afford. If you’re already standing on uneven financial ground, the last thing you want to do is take on more debt than you can handle.

Start by looking at the numbers. How much do you make each month? How much do you have saved for a down payment? How much are you already paying toward other debts?

It’s also important to remember that the listing price is not the only cost associated with buying a home. There could be closing costs, a home inspection cost, and moving costs that you will have to pay. Factor those into your overall budget so you don’t end up spending more than you can realistically afford.

2. Consider a Co-Signer

If you think that your bad credit may stop you from getting approved for a mortgage on your own, consider asking someone with a more secure financial standing to co-sign your mortgage.

Your co-signer should be someone that you have a close, trusting relationship with — such as a spouse, parent, or sibling — and he or she should be willing to take on the financial responsibility of co-owning the property.

A co-signer will likely have to share their credit report, income information and other qualifications with the lender, so be sure you’ve prepared them to do so.

3. Explore Mortgage Lenders

Traditionally, if you wanted a mortgage loan you had to go to a bank. Now, however, mortgage lenders are becoming a popular option because they can make it easier for everyone — even those with bad credit — to buy a home.

Mortgage lenders can offer non-conforming loans that don’t have to meet a bank’s stricter criteria for funding.

They are willing to work with potential home buyers who don’t have a great credit score and can find financing options that enable those people to buy a home like they’ve always dreamed about.

Want to Know More about Buying a Home with Bad Credit?

Our lives are more complicated than they used to be, and between student loans and credit card debt, it’s common for your credit score to take a hit. But that shouldn’t — and doesn’t have to — stop you from being able to buy a home.

For more information about buying a home under any financial circumstance, please explore our blog.


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The Secret to Scoring Position 0 in Google

November 8, 2017 - By 

Society has a tendency to emphasize the concept of “number one.”

Everyone wants to come in first place, and nobody wants to settle for second. Interestingly, when it comes to Google search rankings, first place isn’t the highest standard anymore.

The new title that people are seeking? Position 0.

Also known as a “featured snippet,” position 0 refers to the placement of a search result at the very top of the results page. It sits right above the link to the first ranked website.

In a quite literal sense, zero is better than number one in this case due to having a higher level of visibility.

Position 0 is a simple idea to grasp. However, getting there involves a little more thinking.

Read on to find out how to go straight to the top.

Boost Your Ranking To Position 0

To make it to position 0, you have to make it to the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPS). This involves optimizing your content in terms of relevancy so that Google’s algorithms place it among the top results.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this. The most concrete methods include making your site mobile-friendly.

They also involve researching your keywords thoroughly. There are many blogging tools out there to help make your life easier.

Of course, you also need to make your content relevant and engaging. Your content should also be something your readers want to share, too, so that you can accumulate even more traffic over time.

Google Loves Numbers For Position 0

For most people, money is not something that can be casually thrown away.

So, when people search for a product or service, they often include words about price or cost.

Google frequently uses information that includes relevant price information as a featured snippet. This is due to the high volume of searches about the cost of a product or service.

Users most commonly search for cars, medical procedures, and other high-involvement purchases.

To put it simply, your site should have straightforward content that answers the pricing queries your clients are looking for.

Provide An Answer To A Question

Google is often treated like an intelligent, well-read friend. People tend to type the same questions into the search bar that they would ask someone they trust.

Very similar to how Google tends to use numbers in position 0, the site’s algorithms also favor using answers to questions.

Not just any answers will do, however.

In addition to being informative and relevant, your answers should also be brief. Snippets are often less than 60 words in length, and Google will not hesitate to cut off the rest of your text if it is longer than the permitted amount.

Get Out There

The more quality content you generate for your site, the more likely you will reach the top. Of course, your chances increase drastically if you have more content for Google to choose from.

SEO can seem daunting at first. But, there are valuable resources that can help ensure your site ranks high enough to be a contender for position 0.


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3 Digital Real Estate Marketing Strategies That Work

November 8, 2017 - By 

Marketing is never easy.

From messaging to target markets, picking the right strategy takes time and effort.

Luckily, with digital marketing, you can get a lot done at a low cost. You just need to be willing to put in a little effort.

There are a ton of digital real estate marketing strategies out there. Finding the right options for your business might take some time and a little trial and error.

To get you started off on the right foot, let’s a take a closer look at three digital real estate marketing strategies that work.

1. Social Media – A Digital Real Estate Marketing Strategy

Social media is one of the most powerful tools in a real estate agent’s toolbox.

In fact, studies show that social media actually has a 100% higher conversion rate than outbound marketing.

An effective social media strategy will help you to build better brand recognition and loyalty. In the process, you’ll also forge real relationships with your customers.

If social media feels like a mystery to you, don’t worry. It’s much simpler than you think. While there’s no “secret sauce,” your best bet is to simply share and connect with people in your community.

Don’t make it salesy. Keep building relationships and using the approach that made you an effective agent in the first place.

2. Help Out Your Clients

Some of the most effective digital marketing is what’s referred to as inbound marketing. With inbound marketing, the goal is to draw customers to you through interesting and helpful content.

Many industries – real estate included – are prime candidates for effective inbound marketing.

Purchasing and maintaining a home are processes that many people find intimidating because there’s so much involved.

As a real estate agent, what information could you provide to buyers, sellers, or homeowners?

Use blog posts, video, and social media to dole out tips and tricks on home buying and selling. This is a great way to let people in your area know that you know what you’re talking about.

3. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital real estate marketing techniques out there. With an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, it’s hard to go wrong with the medium.

Email marketing doesn’t need to be complicated. At its core, email marketing is simply a process of capturing email addresses from prospects and slowly converting them into buyers.

Capturing names is vital, even if it’s just a simple request to “stay in the loop.” If you need inspiration, check out how this site is doing it.

If you want to really take advantage of email marketing, try offering a free guide or discount. Then take them through a series of emails that offer useful information and warm them up to your brand.

Putting It All Together

What digital real estate marketing strategies are you using?

We’ve touched on a few of the most effective digital marketing techniques for realtors, but there are many available.

Get started today by putting these suggestions into practice. You can also browse our site and read more helpful tips about digital marketing.


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3 Ways a Warm eCard Download Can Make Happier Holidays

November 8, 2017 - By 

During the holidays, everyone’s looking for a great deal. So it doesn’t matter the industry you’re in – retail, B2B or car sales. Certain times of the year present opportunities for the savvy shopper, such as Black Friday and the After Christmas Sale.

However, simply lowering your rates isn’t going to get more foot traffic into your shop. So the key is to build relationships with them.

And what better way to do that than with warm eCard downloads? Sometimes, it’s the thought that counts. By your business going out of its way to send a customer or prospect an eCard download, you earn brownie points.

So if you’re making plans for your holiday marketing (as you should be), then you’ll find the following helpful.

Now, let’s look into what makes an eCards a great marketing move.

1. Connect with Customers

What’s great about eCards is that they don’t cost a dime. In most cases, they’re free – unless you dish out money to have one customized.

But even if you go that route, the cost is minimal. And what you can potentially get in return makes it all worthwhile. For one, you’re connecting with customers during times of festivities.

And this makes them more willing to spend their money.

The most popular holidays are in the fall, which is all about giving. So by reaching out to say Happy Holidays, you’re winning them over.

This goes for both, holiday eCards for businesses and consumers.

Just make sure you don’t focus solely on Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Remember, not everyone celebrates these. So it’s good to segment your audience and send out Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and general Seasons Greetings cards.

2. Extend Cost Savings in the eCard Download

Now, if you really want to brighten the mood of your customers, then include a discount in your eCard.

The user can print it out and bring it into your store (great way to boost foot traffic). Or they can use the code on your website.

Either way, it’s an excellent way to win points and get more traffic and sales over the holidays. Just make sure your offer is enticing enough to get customers to act.

Research the most popular products or services and provide a coupon for those. And make sure to include a time limit to create a sense of urgency.

3. Show Your Brand’s Personality and Humanity

The one thing you don’t want to come off as a brand is corporate-feeling. Corporations are cold and inhumane, which is why a lot of consumers avoid them.

Instead, they’re drawn to brands that show personality and humanity. And you can display this in your eCard Download.

For example, you can ask subscribers to donate to a cause or charity you’re partaking in. Choose one that connects with your brand and audience.

For instance, if your brand boasts about being a vegan business, then donating to a cause to stop poaching is acceptable.

Get Tips and Ideas for Your eCard

At Pligg, you can find a lot of tips, tricks, and tools you can use to enhance your digital marketing just in time for the holidays.

On the blog, there’s plenty of advice for making your marketing campaigns more creative. Plus, you can download tools to make your life easier.

So whether you’re looking to learn or do, stop by Pligg today!


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

November 8, 2017 - By 

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

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

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

Choosing Colors

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

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

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

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

Get Inspiration from a Home Design App

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

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

Try Out Layouts and Furniture

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay Organized

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

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

Start Creating Your Dream Home

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

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

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


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Top 5 Healthcare SEO Trends for Targeted Marketing

November 8, 2017 - By 

Is your medical practice not drawing any new business from online marketing?

There might be some gaps in your healthcare SEO you have not explored. We researched 5 tips that will help you drive traffic to your site and increase your patients.

1. Focus on Local SEO

Optimize your SEO on a local level. If your practice is located in Texas, you probably don’t want to attract patients in Florida.

59% of consumers rely on Google to find Local businesses. Local SEO is very important to ensure you’re attracting the right people to your business.

You’re required by Google to verify your name, address, and place (NAP). Once you do, make sure the information matches the one provided on your site.

Your site’s optimization should include a local description such as, “Los Angeles Chiropractor.” If you want to get more specific, break it down by zone or neighborhood, “Chiropractor in West Hollywood.”

2. Mobile-Friendly Site

With the use of smartphones, mobile searches surpass those conducted on a computer. According to search engine watch, 50% of potential new patients will find healthcare services using their mobile device.

The first is testing your current website on a mobile device. Is it easy to navigate? Does it take a long time to load fast, etc?

If your website is not mobile friendly, you might be losing on many clients.

3. Make Your Content Interesting

Another way to win at healthcare SEO is by creating interesting and shareable content. You’ll want to create posts your patients will understand.

People don’t want to read all scientific terms, so you need to have material that will speak to them.

Try to keep it simple but informative such as 10 foods you can eat to lower your cholesterol or simple weight loss tips.

Consider delivering a newsletter to your current patients with content they will appreciate.

4. Social Media Platforms

No SEO optimization is complete without social media engagement. Social media provides the right key and information patients want to know about.

They also enjoy the social engagement. What potential new patients enjoy is the real-time response and comments social media provides.

For example, if you ask your social media followers what they think of an oral drug test, it will start conversations and engagement.

5. Pay Attention to Reviews

In the digital era, people are more likely to select a service provider if the majority of the reviews are positive.

There’s a high chance the majority of new patients looked up reviews online. And they might go out of their way to get an appointment if they know the practice has a high review rate.

You might not be able to control all of the review posts, but you can be involved. Pay attention to areas of improvement and discuss them with the staff.

People also want to feel heard, so it’s always a good idea to reply to the review and address their concerns.

Ready to Dominate Healthcare SEO?

Paying attention to SEO will increase your website traffic and bring in new clients. Start by following these 5 simple tips and watch your practice grow. Be patient, put in the work and results will happen.

If you enjoyed this article and want to search for more useful tips, visit us.


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6 Must See Destinations on Your Hiking Vacations

November 8, 2017 - By 

Are you looking for your next getaway? If you haven’t tried them yet, hiking vacations offer a little bit of everything: adventure, sightseeing, exercise, and an escape from the day-to-day.

Hiking and backpacking are growing in popularity across the US, likely because hiking is for nearly everyone. There are trails of all lengths and levels of difficulties, and you can find a place to hike even if you live in a large city.

Whether you’re looking to fly across the world, or you want to stay closer to home, hiking vacations can be exactly what you’re looking for. Read on to discover six must-do hikes.

Six Hikes You Don’t Want to Miss

1. Ausangate, Peru

The Ausangate Rainbow Mountain trek is an absolute must-do hike. Ausangate is the highest trek in Peru, and Rainbow Mountain is full of gorgeous natural scenery.

Just over 36 miles long, this is a five-day hike that’s fairly strenuous. But your effort is well rewarded with glacial lakes and mountain range views.

2. Kungsleden, Sweden

Kungsleden is Sweden’s most popular hiking trail. At 275 miles long, you likely won’t have time to hike the whole thing, but happily, the trail is divided into four smaller sections you can tackle.

The northernmost section heads into the Arctic through birch forests and huge glaciers, while going south takes you toward Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain.

3. Everest Base Camp

If you’ve always wanted to experience Mt. Everest, but you’re not a climber, a hike to Everest Base Camp may be just the thing. You can do this on your own, or as part of a guided group.

While the trail from Lukla is only 45 miles long, it does require hiking to an altitude of about 17,000 feet. You’ll also need to add a few extra days to acclimate to the altitude along the way–most people take 9-12 days to get there and 3-4 to return.

4. Tour du Mont Blanc, France

This 110-mile circular trail is one of the most popular hikes in all of Europe. The beautiful hike circles the Mont Blanc mountain range, and even dips into Switzerland and Italy.

The entire trail takes about 11 days to traverse, during which you’ll enjoy lovely valleys and lakes, charming villages, and spectacular alpine scenery. The trail is well marked and not technically challenging, making it a perfect choice for even beginner hikers.

5. Yosemite Grand Traverse, California

Yosemite Grand Traverse has been named one of the world’s top 15 trails by National Geographic, and with good reason! The trail takes you through some of the nicest parts of Yosemite National Park, which means waterfalls, meadows, and granite basins are just some of the natural wonders you’ll see.

The trail is 60 miles long, and it takes about 6-7 days to complete. Plan on hiking Yosemite Grand Traverse from July to September for the best weather.

6. Kalalau Trail, Kauai, Hawaii

If you like your vacations a little more tropical, Kalalau Trail in Hawaii is just what you’re looking for. This coastal trail takes you through jungle, by waterfalls, and even down a stretch of beach.

It’s also the perfect add-on to a more traditional vacation. The trail is only 22 miles long, and most people take 3-5 days to complete it.

There’s a Whole World of Hiking Vacations Waiting to Be Discovered

If these six trails have piqued your interest in the world of hiking, you may want to read the book Hike to Health, which is a comprehensive guide on some of the best trails in the world. The book also discusses the health benefits of hiking and how to make the most of them.

And if you’re looking to make your next hiking vacation a camping trip, we’ve got you covered there too. Our article “How to Have an Unforgettable Camping Vacation” provides excellent tips and tricks for planning your next big camp. Check it out!


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Gain Advice and Insight From a Marriage Podcast

November 8, 2017 - By 

In the United States, between 40 to 50 percent of people will get a divorce.

With statistics like that, it’s no surprise that after the wedding itself, the task of maintaining a healthy marriage takes some hard work.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of online resources that offer marriage advice.

Check out a marriage podcast from the list below to learn and make improvements to your relationship:

Stronger Marriages: The Anatomy of Marriage Podcast

This podcast currently features one season with 13 episodes. These episodes chronicle the almost-failed marriage of the couple that hosts the show.

The hosts, Melanie and Seth Studley, discuss their own marriage and it’s shortcomings. They also explore stories of other marriages that have found themselves in similar circumstances.

After 12 and a half years of marriage and 3 kids, this couple offers a wealth of knowledge and an honest look at the struggles a marriage can face.

Confessions of a Terrible Husband

If you feel like your marriage is in trouble and you’re looking for honest advice on taking responsibility for your relationship then this marriage podcast is the place to look.

In this podcast, listeners will hear the host Nick Pavlidis discuss every aspect of marriage and life.

When he isn’t discussing his own takes on life and marriage he’s interviewing people like Marcus and Ashley Kusi from the Our Peaceful Family, and Fawn Weaver from The Happy Wives Club to get their insight on the same topics.

Love-Life Connection

Formerly known as “Date Yourself Radio” this podcast hosted by love and life coach Veronica Grant.

The philosophy of this podcast centers around becoming your own best partner while you’re alone and creating a life that another person would want to be a part of.

Whether this means seeking counseling from a source like Sam Nabil Counseling, or working on yourself through her candid advice, this podcast will help you turn your life and your love around.

First Year Marriage Show

From Marcus and Ashley Kusi from the Our Peaceful Family, the First Year Marriage show podcast is here to help newlyweds navigate their first year of life together.

The episodes feature the hosts discussing topics like the struggles and problems they encountered in their first year of marriage and how they resolved them and how to adjust to life together. and a few handy tips on how to thrive through the first little while of being married.

Listen to this podcast for a few handy tips on how to thrive through the first little while of being married.

Anything & Everything

Hear from hosts Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke who have a 7-month-old child and are somewhat new to married life.

The topics covered here are perfect for anyone who needs a little bit of faith sprinkled into their advice.

The couple discusses culture, marriage, and answers questions sent in by listeners.

Make a Marriage Podcast Part of Your Day

Take some time on your morning commute or while you’re at the gym to make a marriage podcast part of your daily listening.

With such a diverse amount of experiences and advice found in the list above, there’s sure to be something that fits anyone’s needs.

Check out our posts on relationships for more resources.


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Top 5 Downloadable Home Design Softwares

November 8, 2017 - By 

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

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

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

1. Chief Architect’s Home Designer Suite

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

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

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

2. Google SketchUp

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

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

3. Punch Interiors Pro

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

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

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

4. Live Home 3D

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

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

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

5. HGTV Home & Landscape

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

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

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

Ready to Choose Downloadable Home Design Software?

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

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


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The 4 Coolest Benefits of 3D Architectural Rendering

November 8, 2017 - By 

Digital design has evolved from flat screens to real-life interactions with the help of AR and virtual reality.

However, not every company can afford to make each pitch a unique experience on this level. Thankfully, there is a happy medium between outdated PowerPoints and over the top simulations.

Using 3D architectural rendering can create the perfect interactions for your business.

Here are four benefits your team and your clients will appreciate with this tool.

1. Bring Concepts to Life

The best thing about 3D architectural rendering is the ability to take an idea and give it a shape and size.

Architects and engineers enjoy the metrics available when they build a blueprint using this kind of system. Interior designers can let their creative juices flow by not just picturing a room in their mind, but rather right in front of them.

The possibilities are truly endless when the right level of imagination is involved.

Instead of trying to communicate your next idea in a meeting, you can come prepared with a fully built, programmed version of what you see in your head.

2. Speed Things Up

Sometimes, your best ideas happen in the middle of a brainstorming session.

Your team may be working on a project in the morning only to have a quick turnaround time before presenting your material.

Thanks to the sophistication of 3D architectural rendering, you can be confident your idea will be ready in time. This advanced technology is made to be easy to use and quick to adapt.

You can even make edits on the fly as you’re presenting and discussing concepts with your team.

3. Compare and Contrast with Ease

Maybe your ideas are so good you can’t decide what direction to move in.

However, you can’t afford to keep clients waiting or hold up production. Why not present your two best options?

Using 3D technology means you don’t have to work double-time to display more than one brilliant idea. You can take advantage of the speed and accessibility to knock out as many strong suggestions as possible.

From there, the decision process becomes much easier when you can put the pros and cons together side by side. This can be as simple as choosing a tile floor or a wood floor. Or, it could be as complex as two different tower designs for a huge building project.

4. Improve Client Communications

Nothing feels better than getting a pitch spot-on.

Presenting your ideas with the help of 3D rendering helps a client see exactly what you can do for them. It takes abstract concepts and gives them a place to be displayed.

This value is seen across roofing business like Aerolite Installers to design geniuses like Modsy.

Plus, both you and your client can be more specific as you discuss project details and possible adjustments. The more everyone is on the same page, the better the process will move along.

It’s more than a wow factor, it’s a win-win everyone can appreciate.

3D Architectural Rendering and More Impressive Technology Advancements

Don’t be intimidated by the power of new digital products.

Take on the age of the internet and make your industry come to life. Whether you work in design, engineering, or business, new innovations are waiting to create bigger successes.

For more on such possibilities, check out what technology can do to build creative marketing campaigns.


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The 5 Best Free App Store Games of 2017

November 7, 2017 - By 

app store gamesStudies have found that 56% of Americans played mobile app games in 2016. This number will continue to grow as the mobile gaming industry evolves. More and more iPhone users enjoy App Store games as a way to pass time and check out what’s new.

What’s better than coming across a game in the App Store that looks awesome and also costs you nothing? Free game downloads are increasing in popularity. And don’t think for a second that because they’re free that these games lack quality.

Many new free games for iPhone users have hit the App Store in 2017. From card games to fantasy to interactive sports games, there’s something for everyone.

To help you choose your next mobile gaming obsession, we’ve put together a list of five top free App Store games of 2017.

1. Asphalt Xtreme

This series is a favorite in the mobile world and offers several thrilling racing games. In the new Asphalt Xtreme, the action is now off-road. As a player, you’ll experience extreme racing through canyons and sand dunes.

The vehicle selection for this latest Asphalt game includes everything from monster trucks to dune buggies. This free download includes hundreds of single-player events and challenges. It also includes a live multiplayer mode where you get to race with up to eight other players.

2. Critical Ops

This is one of the better new generation first-person shooter games. In Critical Ops, you’re placed in a number of urban settings to battle terrorists. You also have the option to mix it up and play as one of the terrorists.

The multiplayer community for this game is strong, so you can play along with friends and other fans of the game. For a great mobile gaming fan network, check out https://mobilegamerhub.com/

3. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

App Store games come in all different genres, and this includes great card games like Hearthstone. This one incorporates a fantasy Warcraft world where you get to play as the hero or villain. In this game, you’ll be summoning allies and minions to help you fight epic battles.

The rules of Hearthstone are easy to learn. Card enthusiasts will enjoy earning gold that can be exchanged for stronger powers. The game also has an arena mode with a sealed draft that rewards smart deck building.

4. Madden NFL Football

A list of gaming apps wouldn’t be complete without a good sports game, and this one is a classic. The new update to this favorite includes both league and season modes along with weekend tournaments. All this includes the stellar graphics and interactive game-play of the old version.

The new version has also added an interesting story mode. In this mode called “Longshot,” you will guide a player to victory in the NFL. What a great new feature to this classic football game!

5. Battle of Polytopia

Strategy and role-playing games are notoriously in-depth. In this scaled-down strategy game, you get to develop your own civilization and negotiate conflicts with neighboring tribes. This all takes place quickly as you try to get the most points possible in only 30 minutes.

Although the mechanics of the game are fast-paced, the strategic options are still varied and numerous.

The Best App Store Games for You

You probably already know what type of mobile game you’ll enjoy the most. But if you’re having trouble finding the perfect one, try out one of the free downloads mentioned above.

We offer digital download services for everything from music to e-books.