Downsizing: Low-Key is Practicality

Downsizing: Low-Key is Practicality

low maintenance homesThe best home isn’t always the biggest one. At one point, homeowners realise that a large property can be too big to maintain, especially when you’re in the retiring boomer demographic. Today, the older generation favours low maintenance homes over large estates.

Sometimes, it pays to consider the knock down rebuild Melbourne contractors offer. There’s a lot of practicality in it, after all. For one, you get to enjoy the same neighbourhood you grew to love whilst living in a property that fits your preferences. Moreover, you earn some extra space in which you could perhaps build a rental property or at least a granny flat.

Crunching the numbers

You can even crunch the numbers to see how much you can save when you live in a smaller space.

The first aspect where you would earn savings is the overall home cost. When you have a smaller space, you tend to have fewer items. In most cases, you would stick only to what is necessary and to what is truly valuable to you. The best part about this is that you save some money on a regular basis.

Your air conditioning system will also thank you for downsizing. With less space to heat or cool depending on the season, you put less stress on the machine, lower the energy it consumes, and prolong its service life. This alone presents significant savings. Add the other light fixtures and appliances that would be gone come the time of downsizing and you would see how much you can save.

Last, you can make some money off the items you would have to let go. With the popularity of online e-commerce sites, you can easily get rid of your furniture and appliances whilst earning a few dollars for such items.

Finding the right time

So, when’s the right time to downsize?

You have to look at three things: your expenses, your physical condition, and your readiness. Especially when you’re approaching retirement age, you have to control your expenses. If some health problems prevent you from maintaining your current home in its best condition, it’s time to downsize (otherwise your property value can suffer). Finally, make sure you’re ready to embrace the changes this will bring.

Whilst it’s perfectly fine to manage a vast lot with expensive assets, there are just instances when you prefer to go low-key. Under the right circumstances, downsizing is your practical option.

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Beyond Backlinks: Other Data Points Your SEO Campaign Should Focus On

Beyond Backlinks: Other Data Points Your SEO Campaign Should Focus On

backlinksThe SEO landscape has changed drastically in the past few years. Today, there is much more to your online presence than just the number of backlinks in your link profile.

To stay competitive in this dynamic environment, Nu Studio says that you have to cover all your bases. This means going beyond the number of your backlinks and exploring other data points that have an effect on your site’s web presence, such as these:

Domain authority

Domain Authority, or DA to marketers, is a metric made by Moz that is one of the most effective gauges to check how powerful your website is. The DA is a collection of scores from different factors that help your website rank. When you have a high DA rating, it just means you’re driving more traffic to your website and you’re ranking well in the search results.

Indexed pages

The number of pages on your site that Google has indexed matters greatly in your campaign, as it functions like a library of your content that can rank in the SERPs.

Now, a lot of indexed pages don’t automatically equate to better rankings, but it does open many opportunities to improve the quality of the content and make your site more visible online. A couple of things you can do here is to interlink pages together to strengthen your internal link profile and hit more keywords with your site content.

Site visit statistics

Check how well your audience interacts with your website. Some figures you have to look at are site sessions, organic visits, and bounce rates. When you keep a close eye on these things, you can check where you go wrong and tweak it to make it more appealing or effective in engaging your audience base.

Site speed

How fast your site loads in a browser influences both the user experience and your SEO campaign. Google puts a lot of weight on the importance of user experience. In its announcement of UX-related updates on PageSpeed Insights, the search engine emphasised how poor usability and slow site speed ruins the overall site interaction.

Apart from this obvious consequence on your audience base, Google also devalues websites that have long load times. After all, when you’re faced with a blank white screen that takes forever to load, chances are you would close the window or switch to another tab.

Social media

Everyone’s on social media. People interact with your site’s profile through likes, shares, and comments. The way your online audience engages your brand has a very significant effect on your overall web presence. If you’re not considering this as part of your SEO campaign, you’re doing things wrong.

Your link profile isn’t the only important factor in your SEO campaign. To maintain top spot on the SERPs, observe these data points and leverage them to boost your online presence.

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Trailer Talk: Maximising Your Caravan’s Fuel and Energy Efficiency

Trailer Talk: Maximising Your Caravan’s Fuel and Energy Efficiency

caravanCaravan owners love to travel and explore new cities. The increasing price of fuel, however, makes them think twice sometimes. They feel they should rather spend their money on other things than on a weekend camping trip. Fortunately, there are ways to cut down fuel costs and other expenses.

A1trailerparts.com, a trusted online supplier of trailer parts, shares some tips on making the caravan and tow vehicle more fuel and energy-efficient.

Travel Light and Travel Wisely

Your tow vehicle’s fuel consumption greatly depends on the way you drive and the items you carry. The heavier the load is, the higher the cost. The engine will need to burn more fuel to maintain the preferred speed while carrying the entire load. It’s ideal to carry only the items that are useful and important. If you can make your trip comfortable and enjoyable without that particular item, then leave it. You can save more gas and space by doing so.

Keeping your tow vehicle in tip top condition is also a good way to improve its efficiency. Reduce engine idle time and avoid pumping your pedal pressure to save more fuel. Accelerate gradually and maintain a fuel-efficient speed. You can use your cruise control whenever possible. Choose the fastest routes to reduce travel time and fuel consumption.

Go Solar

Installing solar panels on the roof of your caravan is a good way to increase energy efficiency. You don’t have to rely on electric hook ups and gas powered generators anymore; the sun will provide the energy you need to run the AC and other appliances.

Traveling is a way to expand your horizons. It gives you time to see new places, meet people, and experience new things. Every journey is more exciting and enjoyable if you’re riding a caravan with your family. Don’t let fuel costs ruin your trip. Follow these tips to enjoy more of those memorable moments inside and outside your caravan.

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Stunted Growth: A Closer Look at Why Many Startups Fail

startupsStartups have taken over as the prime movers in the world of business today. Such companies are constantly redefining the commerce landscape by advancing small yet innovative business ideas. Coupled with the wide reach made possible by various online platforms, small business owners now have the capacity to match the influence of bigger enterprises and still focus on maintaining close relationships with consumers.

Despite these facts, though, many startups still fail to live up to their potential. Statistics show that about 25% of startups fall short of their business goals in their first year alone, while about 36% fail to break through the initial slump of their second year. This paints a grim picture of an otherwise robust commercial industry.

It pays to invest in knowledge-building activities. Digital marketing experts ZooSEO recommends learning more about Internet marketing so you can make the most of your brand’s online presence. Such activities can help prime your business for growth and avoid being part of the statistics. Here are a couple of other things to take note of when starting an online business:

Underlying Issues

There are several underlying issues that can be attributed to eventual startup failure; one of which is poor grasp of market behavior. Business conditions do not stay the same, and it will be a huge mistake not to anticipate these changes. As consumer trends change, you need to be a step ahead. Successful startups thrive and grow because they are able to adapt to the changing demands of their market, even if it means branching away from their initial goals.

Another challenge many startups encounter is insufficient financial capacity. This is particular true for those in niche markets; it is hard to find interested investors who would gladly finance operations. Many owners, without sound financial advice, are easily discouraged by this and close their businesses without looking for a good solution.

Keeping Up with the Times

The future for startups still looks bright. You just have to embrace new ways to make your small business grow. According to startup experts, starting a small business is not just about chasing ideas, but more about finding solutions to the problem. For example, if you find yourself restricted by financial matters, make your business investment worth it by addressing relevant industry issues and crafting unique solutions for them.

Ultimately, for your startup to be successful, it takes careful deliberation and taking on calculated risks. Look for specific concepts that you use to advance your business even further.

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Hats Off to Good SEO: How to Avoid Getting Burned by Black Hat Techniques

Avoid BlackHat SEOMany self-proclaimed search engine optimisation (SEO) “experts” simply resort to black hat techniques, or strategies that exploit the loopholes in search engine ranking systems. While this can boost rankings quicker than most, it won’t really help your business in the long run. In fact, Google can even remove you from the search engine results pages (SERPs) because of these underhanded and unnatural means.

The best defence is to get yourself educated on the subject. Here are some of the most common SEO claims you should watch out for:

Prioritising Quantity, Not Quality

According to Internet Marketing Advantage, good SEO methods use only quality content-based marketing techniques to promote brands. If the SEO Company you hire floods the internet with content, bringing so many submissions to thousands of search engines, they are probably on the dark side of SEO marketing. They should just focus on the ones that matter, because this is a useless strategy that does not affect your ranking results.

Secret SEO Strategies

Any genuine SEO company should be able to disclose the strategies they will employ. When they tell you about the use of trade secrets, chances are they are using black hat SEO techniques. If anything is unclear, just ask. Some self-proclaimed “SEO gurus” create deceptive content, stuffing websites with so many keywords that don’t provide real value to consumers, so be careful.

You are responsible for the actions of the SEO firm that you hire, so be sure to know exactly what their strategies are.

Guaranteed Top Rankings Right Away

White hat SEO can get you to the top, but not within 48 hours or so. If the SEO company you hire guarantees first page rankings almost instantly, they will most probably do it through duplicate copies, fake social bookmarks, and spam content. They will attach a lot of useless and irrelevant garbage to your brand.

Some companies even claim that they collaborate with Google, promising that they can secure a special priority ranking for you. Here’s the truth: No one can advertise a “priority submit” to Google, because there isn’t one.

Trust your gut and do some research. If the promises seem too good to be true, think twice about the SEO “experts” you’re about to hire—and make sure to check the colour of the hat they’re wearing.

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Parsons Signs 3-Year Deal With The Mavs

Parsons Signs 3-Year Deal With The Mavs
Chandler

Image courtesy of Norma Gonzalez, The Pan American / Wikimedia

The Dallas Mavericks just ended the sign-and-trade talks with the Houston Rockets after Chandler Parsons signed to a three-year, $46 million contract on Thursday, according to league sources.

The Rockets, who were unable to come to an agreement with Parsons after negotiation last Tuesday and Wednesday, have three days to match the offer, which includes a player option for the 2016-17 season.

Failed Talks

Recent reports say that Houston general manager Daryl Morey is working for a sign-and-trade deal that will send guard Jeremy Lin and Parsons to the Mavs to clear up cap space. The Rockets has been making moves to offer Chris Bosh a max contract. That plan, though, has already come to an end.

If the Rockets would match the offer, they wouldn’t be able to give Bosh the $88 million contract they offered in prior talks in case he leaves South Beach.

Vital Forward

Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season for the Rockets, who drafted him in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft. He will be a part of the Dallas frontcourt that will feature all-star Dirk Nowitzki and recently re-acquired center Tyson Chandler.

Dallas first pursued for Carmelo Anthony but was unable to offer him a max contract.

The Rockets, meanwhile, are getting in talks with the three best unrestricted free agent forwards: Luol Deng, Trevor Ariza and Paul Pierce, sources said.

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Home and Safety: 3 Inexpensive Improvements that Boost Home Security

Home and Safety: 3 Inexpensive Improvements that Boost Home Security

home fenceThe home is supposed to be a place where you feel safe. It’s supposed to be a place where you’re protected, connected, understood, and loved. It’s easy, though, for homeowners to forget about home safety and protection.

Luckily, you can make your home a lot safer without having to break the bank. That’s because many of the best protection strategies involves common sense, street smarts, and good habits. Here are some of them:

Get Smart

Not using all the basic security features of your home, such as the locks and alarm systems, is a big mistake. Even if you live in one of the supposedly safest communities in your area, you still need to lock your doors, as visitors to the community with bad intentions may just be targeting your neighbourhood.

Making a habit of checking all the locks before going to bed, not opening the door for strangers, hiding the spare key in uncommon places, and having the neighbours check your house from time to time when you’re away all help make your home more secure.

Take it Outside

Secure your perimeter by adding a few low cost enhancements. A simple 3-foot fence, for example, can do a lot to discourage intruders from breaking into your property.

Paling fence providers such as AmazingFencing.com.au recommend getting a fence that provides both protection benefits and design enhancement to your residence. Make sure to abide by local laws and requirements when putting up this property barrier.

Light it Up

Lights are a great way to deter intruders. With a small budget, you can replace your porch and outdoor lights with motion-sensor lights, which are better options for home security. When going out of town, set a few lights and appliances to go on and off at set schedules. Also, you can put up lights on the fence to eliminate any areas where burglars might hide.

Home intruders are all about taking the path with least resistance. Seeing the lights switched on keeps them guessing if you’re home or if it’s just motion sensors.

Safety and security should always be a priority in any home. Small, inexpensive improvements like those discussed can help fortify your home against trouble, as well as improve its overall beauty and value.

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Shutter Cleaning & Maintenance Tips to Remember

Shutter Cleaning & Maintenance Tips to Remember

shutter cleaningThe use of shutters was more for the purpose of window protection. Over time, shutters have been regarded as decorative accessories rather than protective upgrades. This is especially true because the glasses have become stronger.

Window shutters offer a unique combination of style and protection for homes. They provide homes with lasting aesthetic appeal, protection from heat and glare, insulation during cold, hot, or rainy days, and even ensure privacy.

Like most aspects of the house, shutters need proper maintenance to avoid deterioration and to remain visually appealing. Homeowners can always hire a company to provide professional service and maintenance for window shutter upkeep. Should you choose to undertake the maintenance tasks yourself, always remember the following pointers:

Exterior shutters

Perth’s shutter specialists Half Price Shutters explains that these are generally made of tougher material as they are constantly exposed. It is fairly easy to imagine how dirty they can get, being that they are outside of the house. While most shutters are found outside the house, some are installed inside. These shutters require little routine dusting.

Wooden shutters

Wooden shutters are known as plantation shutters. As with any other wood material, the number one enemy of this type of shutter is rot and decay. This is why it is best to avoid wetting them. They are generally quite resistant to the ravages of general wear and tear. Simple dusting, brushing, and wood polish application would do well for upkeep.

Painted/vinyl shutters

This type can be cleaned with water coupled with mild soap. Regular vacuuming and scrubbing is advisable, as well. Doing this on a regular basis helps keep them in good shape.

Overall advice

Keep in mind the type of material of your window shutters when cleaning. Abrasive cleaning materials are best avoided for proper window shutter care. Strong cleaning detergents are known to cause discolouration; simple dusting and even lightly soaped water will do.

Remember that periodic cleaning is the best solution for maintenance issues. You run the risk of having a large amount of build-up if you get lazy with routine cleaning. It is therefore better to always keep up with your maintenance duties.

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The Healthy But Damaging Truth: 4 Fruits and Vegetables That Can Damage Your Teeth

The Healthy But Damaging Truth: 4 Fruits and Vegetables That Can Damage Your Teeth

dental treatmentMost people know that soda, candy, and other sugary foods can wreak havoc on their pearly whites—but what about fruits and vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are healthy for the body—yes, it’s a known fact. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that keep you in the pink of health. Some of them, unfortunately, can cause enough damage to your teeth. BlueSkyDentist.com says dental treatment in Northern Ireland can be the result of having too much of the following:

Apples

Surprised? An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it can keep your dentist on speed dial. Apples contain high levels of acid, and it can damage the enamel. Other crunchy fruits like pears can also further crack your teeth if you try to bite too hard; but don’t leave them out of your plate. Instead, cut them into tiny bite-sized pieces before eating.

Corn on the Cob

It’s sad to know that a favourite can damage your teeth. Much like eating apples, pears, and other crunchy fruits, biting into corn on the cob can crack and loosen sealants and fillings, as well as orthodontic wires for people with braces. Instead of skipping it all together, simply use a sharp knife to strip kernels off the cob.

Raisins

Raisins and other dried fruits, such as figs and dried apricots are bursting with vitamins and minerals. However, while these are good sources of energy, they also contain high levels of sugar and non-soluble cellulose fibre. The fibre traps the sugars around the tooth and may cause tooth decay. A good tip is to just stick with the fresh version of the fruit.

Oranges

Oranges and other citruses are full of vitamin C and other nutrients. However, they are also full of enamel-damaging acids. These fruits are also fibrous—the strings can get stuck in between teeth, attract bacteria, and cause tooth decay. Remember to drink plenty of water and do not brush your teeth right after you enjoy a citrus snack.

These foods can damage your teeth, but they are healthy for other reasons. Just make sure to take care of your pearly whites by brushing at least twice a day and going on regular trips to the dentist.

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Worm Farming: A Fun, Profitable and Easy Hobby for Everyone

outdoor compostingWe know what you’re thinking, who in the world would ever want a worm farm? Well, quite a lot of people, actually. For gardeners, a small worm farm is a fantastic source of free organic fertiliser, while people who love fishing will appreciate the virtually unlimited bait. It’s also a surprisingly fun and relaxing hobby, and many have actually made successful businesses out of worm farming.

Starting a worm farm as a hobby or an outdoor composting project is very easy and cheap. If you take care of your worms and keep them safe from predators, your first batch will reproduce enough that you will probably never have to buy additional worms. Here’s what you need to do.

Where they live

Worms don’t like light or heat, so their home should be placed in a shaded area. Other than that, worms aren’t fussy tenants and will be perfectly happy with just about any opaque container made out of wood, plastic, metal or bricks. Some people even use abandoned refrigerators!

Drill holes into the bottom of the container to ensure proper drainage; even if worms like moisture, they can still drown. The lid should also have a few smaller holes for air circulation. Make sure to place a tray underneath the container to catch the “worm juice”, which is extremely beneficial for your plants.

After that, prepare a bedding of things like shredded newspaper, egg shells, rotted compost and soil. Make it as moist as a wet sponge, and don’t go overboard. Add some table scraps, and let your worms loose.

What they eat

Worms usually eat around half of their body weight in food, but don’t be surprised if they don’t eat much in the first few weeks. They are still adjusting to their new home. Worms can eat just about anything that was once alive, so your household waste is perfect. Soggy bread, apple cores, vegetable scraps, dog poop and rotten fruit are just some examples.

What you need to avoid feeding them are meat, poultry and dairy products, and too much citrus or onions. Lawn clippings are fine in moderation. Many people feed their worms once a week, but just make sure to replace food that is disappearing.

Possible problems

Does your worm farm smell? You might be feeding them too much, the food might be concentrated on one area, or the farm is too wet. Try burying food scraps beneath some bedding, and in different places throughout the container.
Are other insects like ants or cockroaches infesting your worm farm? This usually happens because your worm farm is too dry, but they won’t harm the worms. A good lid and enough moisture will prevent this. If your farm is on legs, place a saucer filled with water beneath each leg to prevent ants from climbing into the box.

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