This is a sponsored post on behalf of American Security Company. Incentive was provided to me, and opinions are my own.
The idea of complete home automation these days is gaining in both popularity and importance. One of the latest innovations in this field has been the ability to control your home from your car. Whether you want to turn on the television (or turn it off if you forgot about it before leaving the house) or simply open the gate to your driveway, you can now do that and so much more with HomeLink products from AmericanSecurityCo.com.
There are so many unique and innovative uses for these products; everyone is sure to find a new and effective way that these products can be used in their home, and who knows, you may grow to refuse to live in a world that doesn’t include them. For example, in the dead cold of winter how great would it be to walk into a home that has already begun to be warmed by the heat of your electronic fireplace? Well, with a HomeLink product you could turn on your electronic fireplace from the car before even walking up to your door. Simple things like this are why these products from American Security Company are completely changing the way people live their lives day-to-day.
If you usually have your hands full when you walk through your front door, whether you’re carrying groceries or a baby’s car seat, HomeLink products from AmericanSecurityCo.com can turn the lights on in your home from the car; no more fumbling for the lamp or light switch only to drop what you’re holding, knock something over, or have to haphazardly find your way into a dark house to put down whatever you’re carrying.
The possibilities of unique home automation with HomeLink are virtually endless. What would you like to be able to turn on (or off) in your house from your car?
Technology has advanced quickly and drastically, and with it, so has the way we teach our children. Check out the infographic below that details how technology in schools has changed, from the one-room schoolhouse of the early 1900s, all the way to students having access to iPads and mobile technology in the classroom in 2013.
Let’s face it, there just isn’t much that your smartphone isn’t capable of helping with; and if you are anything like me, which you probably are, that smartphone goes everywhere with you. It helps with work details, personal obligations, and everything in-between. If you are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, or just beginning to really pay attention to what you eat and keep track of your exercise progress, there are endless apps out there strictly dedicated to helping you succeed.
Whether you have an Android, iPhone, or any one of the new BlackBerry phones, here are some of my favorite health apps that can help you stay healthy and on-track with everything from diabetes to workouts to calorie counting. I hope you find them useful too!
Fooducate: This app helps users to better understand food labels and important information without incorporating too much information. In fact, it can scan items right in the store and then highlights the pros and cons of the product and grades them based on their “healthiness,” while offering alternatives.
Epicurious: Eating smarter doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. This app houses more than 30,000 recipes and also includes helpful functions such as creating shopping lists and step-by-step instructions for more complicated recipes.
Foodily: This app is a recipe database with a social twist. It allows users to collect recipes, share them with friends, as well as store favorites.
Fig: This app is basic and easy. Create a plan from common wellness goals, such as increasing water intake, walking more, and the like, and share them with the Fig community to gain the extra motivation you need to keep going on those tough days.
Couch to 5k: I’ve always been resistant to running. I just don’t understand how people love it. That changed when I started using this app. It is aimed at beginner runners who need the motivation to get started. Before you know it, the app will have you comfortably running a 5k that you never dreamed possible!
RunKeeper: Skiing, walking, running, or jogging — it doesn’t matter — this app can help you keep count of the calories you burned, the duration you’ve been working out, and more. It also lets users share their workouts on social media and with other people who use the app.
Charity Miles: This is by far one of my favorite app finds! Recently launched in 2012, this app keeps tracks of all the miles you walk, bike, and run and donates the results to charity on your behalf. Users don’t have to open their wallets, they just need to move, thanks to corporate sponsors. Simply pick a cause that is near and dear to you and get moving; it’s that simple.
Lose It!: Most people are constantly making an effort to lose weight in some way or another. Lose It! users gets custom weight loss plans that also tracks food intake, activity levels, and allows for connecting with other users. It also has a large food database. Most useful is that the app can sync up with popular fitness tracking devices for further tracking.
There are just a few of my favorite health apps; there are countless more available. There are also apps that can help you monitor health news such as food and drug recalls and more.
If you have a favorite health or fitness app that I didn’t list here, please share in the comments!
I finally got an iPhone about a year ago (I’m always late to the party) but I still haven’t been able to break up with my BlackBerry. So that means that I essentially carry around two phones because I love different things about each device.
I was considering switching solely to the iPhone, but I started getting cold feet and the BlackBerry 10 pricing and updated features grabbed my attention. So guess who now owns a new BlackBerry 10 and an iPhone?
My complicated mobile device relationship isn’t going to be resolved anytime soon and I’ve come to terms with that. Below is what I like about the new BB and what apps I’m using.
BlackBerry Apps for the Busy Businesswoman
My goal in business has always been to be more productive. Gone are the days of being chained to my desk or smacking myself in the head for forgetting to grab a file I needed to print or have on-hand. If you set your smartphone up with the right apps, working on the go is easy; and most importantly, efficient. In a world that has gone mobile, it seems to be that the standard, regular things are what often go overlooked. Here are some apps that help with that.
A Day in Life: As a writer and blogger, I’m always reading other blogs and news sites. I find this app particularly useful because I can store new blog ideas, memories, notes, and more. But more importantly, I like that I can easily store this information on my phone so that my ideas aren’t lost because I didn’t take the time to jot them down while I was busy running errands or working on something else.
Business Cards for BlackBerry 10: Let me be honest–I’m disorganized and I’m known to misplace papers and folders quite frequently. Naturally, that also means misplacing business cards. This app lets you take a photo of a business card and keeps a virtual copy so you never lose or misplace it.
Hide Files: This app hides any confidential files or directories on your phone that you don’t want in plain sight so you don’t have the fear of losing privacy but always have your personal and/or business documents with you. I’ve found this especially helpful while I’m going through the process of selling my home. The bank requests new documents almost daily and I don’t like keeping them where anyone can view them.
Print My Files: You can easily print single or multiple files from your BlackBerry 10 by using the device Wi-Fi that sends the files to your PC to initiate printing.
One of the reasons I started veering from the BlackBerry was the lack of apps available in comparison to the iPhone. There are now several more apps than there were before. Gizmodo recently wrote a post about some companies that have no planned intention to be available for the BlackBerry, which includes Kindle, Instagram, and Netflix–three of the companies on the list that most notably are missed, but not enough to dissuade me from sticking with BlackBerry for now.
What apps do you use for your business that I missed? Share them in the comments! Remember, being in business isn’t about reinventing the wheel as much as it is about making it work for you.
Okay, so here’s the thing: if you work from home in any medium, you are most likely nagged by everyone you know how to start a blog or how to get in with the company you telecommute for. Compound that with everyone sending you every email (aka spam) about a blog or job opportunity to ask you if it’s “legit.” Surely this doesn’t just happen to me?
Working From Home — Blogging and Websites
It’s not rocket science to build a blog, but it does take hard work. No one can simply tell you what to do without you applying your own time and research. There are hundreds of ways to make money online, but you have to find which ways will work for you. Nothing is more frustrating than someone expecting you to just show them how to do something so they don’t have to put in any effort. How successful will that venture be in the long run? Not very.
Starting a blog (WordPress is free) has low overhead costs — a domain name, hosting, and possibly a virtual terminal are needed (if you’re selling your own items.) The rest is going to cost you in the forms of blood, sweat, and possibly tears. There are millions of websites on any given topic, but you can stand out above the rest if you take the time to do so. “Build it and they will come” is a good starting point, but not nearly enough.
Working From Home — Telecommuting
There are legitimate companies that hire remote workers, but as you might imagine, they are in high demand. But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Most importantly, be diligent in your research. If it reads something like, “Work 4 hours a week and make $4000 doing nothing,” no questions asked, it’s spam; keep looking. Logically, there will be times that you are required to have specific software or equipment, such as a headset, but that is a different scenario. A real job should be FREE.
The best advice I can give you is simply this: if you are unsure, seek out information about the job opportunity online (the name of the company followed by the word “scam” in an internet search can most often bring up any red flags you should be aware of before moving forward.) You can also join a forum for people who work from home and read through the threads; sites such as WAHM.com have been around a long time and can serve as a learning opportunity for you. Then, when you have your own experiences, pay it forward and share your own stories with the group. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your decisions; don’t be duped due to lack of diligent research.
So here is the ugly truth in a nutshell: it’s going to be frustrating. You are going to want to pull your hair out because the server goes down or someone curses you out for no reason. You can bet the code will break a few times. You will want to give up and you will find yourself with a complete block on what to do or say.
But, the other side to that is, you can’t give up. Treat it like you would your own children; always love it but don’t always like it. If you are frustrated, walk away. If it breaks, again, walk away. If you have no idea what you are doing, don’t touch it, ask for help. If you don’t think you can afford help, barter with other bloggers, moms, or small businesses. Be creative, but most importantly, stick it through–it is simply the only option.
The best part of working from home is just that–you are in the comfort of your own home and making money while doing so. Websites aren’t great overnight. They take time, patience, and persistence. But it is proof positive that it works with hard work.
This is a guest post by Laura, a book nerd who is obsessed with her Kindle and Amazon. You can visit her at BookAddictReviews.
Everyday I hear someone say they want to make a website or a blog, yet they fail to do so. I know the process can be overwhelming at best, but if it’s broken down into small tasks, it doesn’t have to be.
Typically, there are two types of websites/bloggers. In one scenario, there lacks focus and covers too much information with impossible navigation, while the other scenario is the site lacks enough information to keep visitors engaged.
Creating a website is a practice in temperance — just enough information to be informative, but not too much that you overwhelm your visitor and they wind up leaving. The trick becomes determining what you want to cover on your site. To start, take some time to keyword research as well as visit other websites relevant to your topic.
Website Outline Examples
If your website was about handbags, it would make sense to include some of the most popular handbags out there, such as Michael Korrs or Coach. But along with providing the handbags themselves, what other relevant information can you include? If it was my site — shoes, earrings, belts, and other accessories would be relevant and worth adding.
Conversely, I wouldn’t turn around around and add makeup to the same website because that, in my opinion, is an entirely different topic, although I have seen it being done. Some might argue that they work together, but if you have to argue to make a point, maybe you need to take another look. However, it is safe to say that it is a matter of perspective.
Another example, if you have a website about cats that includes health articles and cat supplies, adding information about monkeys really wouldn’t go together, no matter what your perspective is. Yet, I would have a website that includes information on both dogs and cats.
Creating a Website Plan
The Site’s Purpose: Start by clarifying the reasons you are building the site. Is it a passion or yours, or perhaps a hobby? Next create a list of the site’s goals in order of importance. Be as specific as you can, as this outline will grow with the site, as well as your experience and expectations.
Audience: You need to clearly identify your audience and understand what they will be looking for, how you will reach them, and what information you will provide for them. Will you use PPC, Adsense, or social media? There’s many ways to monetize a site, research which one works for you.
Marketing Tactics: How will you attract visitors to your site? Will you utilize word of mouth, pay-per-click advertising, article marketing, or a mixture of them all?
Site Content: This ties into what we discussed above–what content will you provide your visitors? List the topics you will include, along with any images you will need. Sites such as iStock Photo can be a huge help. Or, you can take the photos yourself, also an important decision. If your site involves a blog, make sure it is updated regularly and engage with the people that take the time to comment.
Look and Feel: What do you want the feel of the site to convey to your visitors? It should look and feel welcoming, encouraging the visitors to stay a while. Most importantly, keep the navigation simple, easy to use, and inviting. Keep mobile marketing in mind when having your site designed, meaning simply, ensure that it also renders well on smartphones.
Twitter, Facebook, and More: This one is important–contact, contact, and more contact will keep people coming back to your site. It will keep them engaged and they will remember you. A Facebook page and a Twitter account that are updated frequently can go a long way to creating long-lasting visitors and fans. As important as Facebook and Twitter are, the rising popularity of Pinterest and the staple for business that LinkedIn is make them just as important.
Getting Started: If you are new to websites and blogs, a domain name, host, and the right business software is all you need to get started! Sites like Clicknewz, and of course our own Woman Tribune are full of information to make the process of starting a website or blog less confusing and stressful.
This is a guest post by Chrissie, a freelance writer for various blogs, including Speedy Incorporation Service, which helps new small business owners incorporate online.
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be overly difficult, but it can be challenging keeping it up-to-date with new, trendy information, which is vitally important, especially in the beginning. There are going to be days that you just might not have time to write. Or perhaps you simply feel blocked and don’t know what to write. In these cases, I’ve found turning to PLR content can be very effective, but only when done right.
What is PLR Content?
In the simplest of terms, PLR content means “Private Label Rights,” which is defined as content that was written by someone else, but you purchase it and have permission to claim it as your own. However, it is important to note that there are varying types of PLR content and before choosing this as a viable approach, ensure that you understand what you can and cannot do with said content.
What is the Benefit of PLR Content for My Site?
First and foremost, you didn’t write the content so you’ve just given yourself back some extra time — and everyone needs more time. It is often easier to edit a post than to create it, with the most beneficial part being that you upload it as your own. So while there is work to be done, it’s less work.
While there are clearly benefits, there are also cons. Most importantly, it is never a good idea to take a PLR article and publish as it is. For one, that can result in a duplicate content penalty in the search engines, and no one wants that as it can mean a lot less traffic to the site you have been working so hard on.
Keep in mind that most PLR content is sold in capped groups. One site might cap that number at 25 while another may distribute it to 100. Think of PLR as a starting point; the content should be altered by at least 50%.
PLR Content Options to Consider
How many of each pack is sold, and what restrictions are there? Don’t assume because it’s PLR content that you can do as you want, rules will still apply in most cases.
If you are joining a PLR membership or just purchasing an article pack, you need to first verify the content quality. Editing is one thing, but if the article by its very nature is filled with grammatical errors and doesn’t make sense, then the whole point is lost as you will end up writing it yourself from start to finish. The standard of quality that you accept will largely depend on your objective — engaging your readers or maybe you just need some fluff.
Launch a website with re-crafted PLR articles while you work on marketing and social media.
Compile an e-book which can serve as a good, free viral marketing tool.
Create an auto responder series. Or perhaps use it in your newsletter.
Use it on your website as fresh, new content.
Before you buy any packs or join any memberships, read the guidelines so you know what you can and can’t do with the content so that it works for you.
Compare buying a pack versus joining a membership site, which will of course depend on how much content you need.
Modify the content and make it yours. Change it by at least 50%. If you want a good idea of where else the articles are posted, or if you want to check that you have changed the article enough, Copyscape is a great tool.
Whether you have the best tablet or best laptop, or perhaps just a cellphone, the point is getting started. Shortcuts such as PLR make the starting process that much easier!
The internet is nothing short of amazing. It is an entire culture in itself and it has completely transformed the way we live our lives.
Personally, the internet has given me the ability to create a career for myself, working from home, and doing something I love and have always wanted to do. But for as awesome as the internet is and as much as we may enjoy using social media, catching up with old friends and making new ones, the internet also has a dark side.
Everyone who has ever read an article or watched a video on any website that allows comments knowing of the internet troll. These are people who, because of the perceived anonymity of the internet, use whatever space they can find to complain, insult, vilify, and frustrate anyone and everyone. There are many layers to the internet troll, and if you’re a blogger, you have likely encountered several different types of internet trolls — I know I have.
Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of an internet troll? Check out the infographic below, which details the different types of internet trolls out there, why people begin trolling and turn into an internet troll, what psychological impairments are at work, and even how to handle an internet troll in your space.
This is easily one of the most entertaining infographics I have ever put up here, and I think it’s because it is such familiar territory. We all have experience with internet trolls, and I want to hear about yours. Have an internet troll story? Share it in the comments!
As a young person, you have the benefit of years of social media use under your belt, but there’s still a lot you can learn when it comes to using those social sites for your business. Branding your business and drawing in customers is a very different task than telling your friends on Facebook that you’re going to the movies. To get some traction for your business and grow it into something huge, use these tips for your social media strategy.
Clean up personal accounts
This is something you would do if you were getting a traditional job, and it’s just as important to do if you’re trying to be self-employed. You are part of your company’s brand, so unless you want to make your personal accounts totally private, it’s time to do some cleaning. Get rid of any drunken party pictures. Delete controversial or immature statuses. Highlight your business experience. Your personal profiles can be as useful to your business as your company accounts, so make sure they speak to the mission of your company.
Copy other businesses
Copying homework: not OK. Copying designs: bad idea. Copying social media strategies: go for it! Find companies that you admire and companies that have proven that their social media works, and look at what they’re doing. Gather some ideas of practices that have worked for them and even those that have failed, and see how you can apply them to your own business.
Dedicate a staff member to social media
If you’re just starting out (working out of your garage in a company where you are president, CEO, COO, and most everything else, for example), you probably can’t have a staff member dedicated to social media. But once you’ve got several people working for you, it’s time to take social media seriously and find an expert who can really use social media to your advantage. Even if they do a combination of social media, communications, and marketing tasks, but it’s important that you have someone trained in the area. It’s an investment that will pay off.
A social media strategy doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how to see if it’s working; and a working, sustainable strategy involves measurable goals. Consider setting goals for your actions, such as five tweets, two Facebook posts, and 20 interactions a day, and also for the reaction you get. The reactions can be measured through tools like Google Analytics and Klout, for starters.
A big mistake many entrepreneurs make when they first step into the world of social media is to have a lot of one-sided conversations about their company. They use social media just to talk about their product and wonder why they aren’t seeing results. The key to social media is interaction. Join conversations about your industry to start building your reputation as an expert or as a reliable company. Respond to customers’ questions and ideas. Thank those who promote your material and respond in kind. A little interaction goes a long way in the social media world.
Don’t go overboard
Using a lot and variety of social media sites is ultimately a good idea, but only if you have the resources and expertise to use each effectively. When starting out and trying to get your feet in the social media business world, only use a few social media sites, maybe Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Figure out how to draw customers in through these mediums first before branching out to other sites. You won’t feel overwhelmed, will be able to keep up with interactions, and won’t spread yourself too thin.
Use social media regularly
Social media is worthless if you don’t use it regularly. Building a presence in the social media world requires being consistent in your updates and interactions. Set goals for daily updates, and don’t neglect them. If you continue to make posts or tweets, modify your strategy, and provide a good product or service, social media can make a big difference in your new business.
This is a guest post by Online Business Degree, a website committed to helping you get the most up-to-date and accurate information about getting an online degree in business.
Just before Christmas, my fiance decided to splurge a bit and get an Xbox 360 with Kinect. Before you think we are painfully out of the loop as far as gaming goes, you must understand that we had been a PlayStation 3-only household for the past several years; that is, until I started playing it not just more than my fiance, but so much that he barely had time to play it himself. Rather than get a second PlayStation 3 (what a colossal waste of money that could turn into!) we decided to bring a second type of video game console into our lives.
After a few months of having both a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360, I can confidently say that I am still a PS3 girl; it’s just the kind of gamer I am. However, the Xbox 360 brought something into our lives that our other console just can’t; and that is the Kinect, and with it, the line of Dance Central games.
On our combined quest to live a little healthier and be more active (a challenge when you work from home in front of a computer), my fiance and I have spent hours at a time–really!–trying to keep up with the very well choreographed cartoons dance their hearts out in Dance Central. The games are a lot of fun, and what I love most about them is that they capture–and keep–the attention of those who know that they should be more active but who cannot seem to gather the motivation to actually exercise. Treadmills, elliptical trainers, and weights? No way. Dancing to songs that quickly become ear worms that you have heard of the radio 500 times? Yes. All the time. Just yes. This surprised me because I really wasn’t anticipating liking them, but I do. I really do.
In an effort to encourage more people to get up on their feet and dance, Lipton has teamed up with Dance Central 3 (only available on Kinect for Xbox 360) for the Game On sweepstakes.
Running from now until April 30th, every time you buy specially marked bottles of ready-to-drink Lipton Iced Tea that feature a unique promotional code, you can visit GameOnPromo.com to see if you have won instant prizes. Additionally, you will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of four ultimate room makeovers, which may include:
Samsung 60-inch Class LED HDTV
Samsung Blu-ray Home Theater System
Xbox 360 250GB Kinect Bundle
Xbox 360 Essentials Pack
Dance Central 3 for Kinect for Xbox 360
Vision Fitness TF20 Classic treadmill with Passport module
Instant prizes are also up for grabs, including, Xbox 360 Gaming Bundles, Xbox 360 Console with Kinect, Xbox 360 Live 1600 points, Dance Central 3 games, and more.
Just in time for this exciting sweepstakes, Lipton has recently released two new flavors of iced tea to join the ranks of their refreshing favorites–and I was able to give them a try!
The new Lipton Diet Green Tea Honey Ginseng tastes sweet, clean, and is totally refreshing and sure to keep you hydrated throughout those long dance parties. Surprisingly, it has 0 calories, which were the magic words for my fiance and I, as we have been seriously counting calories as we continue to try to live a little healthier, as I mentioned before.
The other new flavor to join the Lipton ranks is Half & Half. At 100 calories, Half & Half, made up of half lemonade and half iced tea, is so delicious! I’m happy to see Lipton getting in on the Half & Half craze, as I have been drinking (and loving!) it for quite some time now. Only one other brand has really capitalized on it, as far as I have seen, and it’s great to have another Half & Half option.
Both of these new flavors are sure to please, excite, and hydrate fans of the Lipton brand. I’m pretty impressed with them myself.
Don’t forget, every time you try these new Lipton Iced Tea flavors (or any of your favorite flavors with specially marked packaging) visit GameOnPromo.com to enter to win instant prizes and one of the four grand prizes in the Game On sweepstakes, running now until April 30th!
I received samples of new Lipton Iced Tea flavors for review. No other compensation was received, and opinions are my own.