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Spring is a great time of year. The snow is mostly gone, the weather warms up, and all over Philadelphia, people are more willing to step outside of their homes.

Of course, it’s also an opportunity to take a fresh look at those homes and dust off your home improvement chops. Whether you are looking to build an addition to your home or simply trying to maintain it, there is a lot of work for homeowners to do once spring rolls around.

Landscaping

3 Spring Renovations for Philadelphia Homeowners

After months of being buried under snow and ice, odds are good that your lawn could use a little bit of work after the snow melts. If you want to change things up in your yard, though, spring is also a good time to update the landscaping around your home. Spring gives you a blank slate to work with. 

Whether you are looking to put in new flowers, add a hedge, or even install a water feature, spring is the time to do it. New greenery will have the opportunity to grow and develop its root system so that it can survive harsh weather once winter rolls around again. Meanwhile, if you’re installing new features and areas, it’s best to get them in while there’s very little to damage. Make sure to do your research to find out which plants will do best in Philadelphia’s climate.

Inground Pools

Spring is here, which means that summer is just around the corner. Unfortunately, summer also brings sweltering heat. In order to beat that heat, many homeowners will have a pool installed. Since it usually takes several weeks to finish installing a pool, springtime is the time to get the project started.

When you’re deciding on a construction company to build your pool, be sure to do your research beforehand. A simple web search for “pool builders near me” should bring up a wide array of local builders to start with. Sometimes cost is the most important thing, but in many cases, quality is worth investing a little bit more. Don’t just look at prices, though. Pay attention to the company’s  online reviews across several different sites before you decide on a contractor.

Roof Repairs

Unfortunately, some renovations are more about keeping the house from falling down around you than they are about a fun, new addition.Philadelphia winters are notoriously harsh, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the status of your roof before and after winter hits. Depending on the materials it’s made of, as well as the weather it’s endured, a roof can last anywhere from twenty years to more than fifty. Because of that, it’s important to be proactive and visually check your roof on a regular basis. If you don’t keep an eye on it you could end up needing a very premature roof replacement.

You should inspect your roof about twice a year—once in fall, before the cold weather hits, and once in spring, when it’s over. Keep an eye out for curling or buckling shingles, particularly in the areas that get the most direct sunlight. If shingles are missing, that’s an even stronger warning sign.

Pay special attention to the roof valleys, where roof segments come together, as well as the flashing around the chimney. Check for small pieces of shingle in the gutters, as well, as they can begin to lose granules as they reach the end of their lifespans. Speaking of lifespans, make sure you’re very careful when you’re up inspecting your roof. If you don’t have great balance or your roof’s pitch is really steep, you may want to hire a professional.

Spring is a time of change and opportunities to make things fresh and new. As you come out of the harsh winter, look around your home and pick a few projects that you can adopt to make it just a bit nicer. Whether it’s simple home maintenance or a big installation, simply take at it as an opportunity to improve your home

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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While Philadelphia’s not particularly known for having a temperate winter climate, spring is just around the corner. That being the case, our minds are starting to wander to the outdoors, figuring out how to capitalize on the warmer weather. Many homeowners are investing in turning the exteriors of their homes into welcoming places where they can relax and enjoy the outdoors. Current Outdoor Trends to Keep an Eye On

Meanwhile, those who are planning to sell their homes in the upcoming busy real estate season are looking for outdoor improvements they can make to boost their curb appeal and attract buyers. Here are just a few that we have seen growing in popularity recently:

Fire Pits

Sitting around a warm fire is an appealing thought even this early in the season, because it grants a chance to enjoy the outdoors while still staving off the extreme cold. Installing a permanent fire pit provides an excellent place for friends and family to gather and enjoy each other’s company, whether staving off the last chills of winter or breathing in the cool air of a summer night. Some may prefer to run a gas line out to fuel the fire, while others will prefer the old fashioned method and build a simple, walled-off area to build a wood fire.

Unique Front Doors

While curb appeal is always important, front doors are trending lately. When someone drives up to a home, a boldly colored door with a unique design can make a big impact. Strong jewel tones are particularly popular. Painting the door a different color than the shutters and siding can set it apart and give a burst of color to your entryway.

Using a Wide Range of Greenery

While a perfectly-cut lawn with every blade of grass cut to a uniform height may have been popular in the past, the current trend is to use a variety of greenery in your lawn. Different textures make your lawn and garden more interesting. Bounding shrubberies can divide your garden into distinct sections, and border plants like lilyturf make your growing areas feel more alive. Choosing the proper landscaping for your home can boost its value, too. According to lawn care experts at Lawn Doctor, a well-maintained landscape can give your home value a bonus of as much as 15 percent.

Landscape Lighting

Of course, once you’ve built that landscape, you want to be able to show it off as much as possible. By installing landscape lighting, you can highlight particular areas of your yard. Experts are calling this popular trend “nightscaping.” Look for specific areas you want to focus on, then put the lights at just the right angle to show off your yard’s best features.

That “Hygge” Feeling

The word “hygge” refers to a concept from Denmark. Hygge emphasizes a cozy and simple environment. Place seating close together to encourage intimate conversation. Plant sweet-smelling flowers nearby. The concept of mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with hygge, promoting meditation, deep thought, and relaxation. Create a cozy, distinct space for reflection or close-knit socialization. Water features are popular additions for these spaces, as they add to a more natural atmosphere. These outdoor havens are inviting places where people can set aside the cares of the world and take a few moments to breathe and recover.

Quality Over Flash

Back before the recession, the popular trend was over-the-top displays of excess. Flashy displays that showed you could afford to overspend were in vogue. These days, a bit more discretion is appreciated. Rather than focusing on quantity and bling, homeowners are leaning towards quality. Durable, natural materials show a more refined taste and an ability to look beyond just a shiny exterior. It is more desirable these days to appreciate the natural beauty that already exists in the materials used. Rough-cut cedar posts and natural stone are more appealing than over-processed, synthetic-looking versions of the same materials.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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Many people are curious about how to make it rich. They do not know how, for it is clear that most of us are not billionaires. To learn how, we must turn to the wisdom of the wise few who made it to the top. There are many points to keep in mind on the road to success. They should not be hard for the careful financial practitioner to remember. Photo: capify.com


Buffett's Law

Warren Buffett summarized his investing career quite well with an interesting philosophy. Loving what others avoid, avoiding what others love. This practically means that most people are wrong. Why? They pursue what their friends pursue in every matter, including investing. When the flock runs to Apple stock, the goose follows with them. Buffett indicates that the billionaire is the ugly duckling that stays by the pond munching seaweed when the others run straight into the fox's mouth. Or the goose that runs from the pond when the fox decides to stay and munch ugly ducklings.

 

How can you discern when to buy out another company? Buy at the opposite times to when everyone else is buying. Small business bookkeeping should teach you that if you buy something that is universally popular, it will also have a higher expense than something unpopular will. You will mortgage yourself up to the hilt trying to pay for it.

 

Humility is Better Than Debt

If you really want to hit it big, you have to start small. Go sniffing for something that your peers are afraid to look at. The Harvard Business Review notes how many business students totally avoid looking to buy a small business because they do not like the risk and uncertainty. This is why most of the Harvard graduates never become billionaires. They become highly indebted millionaires who send our nation into more debt.

 

The best deals will be found in risky, bankrupt, auction, old, minority, foreign, strange, hard, stupid, long term, painful, dangerous, and smelly businesses. You can usually snatch these up for pennies on the dollar during a recession. Wise hedge fund managers do this kind of thing for their breakfast. It will be hardest to buy businesses that are safe, capitalized, trading, new, white, Western, normal, easy, smart, short-term, pleasurable, safe, and sweet.

 

Buffett's law can be memorized simpler. Think in terms of buy low and sell high. You should buy when others are selling crazily out of emotion. You should sell when others are buying crazily out of emotion. The market gurus have mastered this strange art.

 

Now, some might have objections. "This is all well and good for you, but I have found success doing my own thing." What their own thing usually is? It is buying high and selling high. This method, though often preached at home and school, is the high road to a life of slavery and debt. Your income will be high, for you are selling well. Your expenses, however, will also be high, for you are buying poorly. You are getting the luxury car when the import beater would do. You are demanding the cracker box mansion when the apartment would be fine.

 

The same thinking applies for buying another business. Ignore the so-called experts of the financial industry. Take the narrow road that the elite have taken for thousands of years. You will not be disappointed. You will suffer more, like the football team owner who still uses a flip phone. Your wallet will not.

 

Conclusion

If someone is trying to buy your business from you, you should decide what to think about it. If you do not want them to, make it look trashy. Most people are emotional. They will only buy something that looks beautiful, no matter what the cost. When the investors are done ignoring your business, it will still be yours. If you want to sell the business, make it beautiful. Sell high. Make the storefront shine. Sell the marketing universals to the masses until every big name in finance is slobbering to put cash in your corporation. Make sure you do not refuse to be brave.

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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Restaurant chains seem like a uniquely American idea, even though they've spread all over the world. Once upon a time, though, the very idea of a restaurant chain was laughable.


As times changed, though, these chains became dominant - and each of the three chains below helped shape that industry.

 

Pizza HutPhoto: http://visitoxfordms.com

 

Why Pizza Hut? It's certainly not the only pizza chain in the US, and it's arguably not even among the best. It is, however, the first - and that means quite a bit. Not only did Pizza Hut lead to a chain or other imitators and competitors, but it importantly brought pizza to most of the US. The way Americans eat was forever changed by this chain.

 

Pizza Hut can be thanked for doing a number of other things to change how chains work. It is responsible for improving, if not outright inventing, concepts like the assembly line pizza kitchen. Pizza Hut made delivery a major factor outside of major cities, and it arguably even helped to popularize the buffalo wing outside of the Northeast. The company may not provide gourmet pizza, but it certainly popularized America's love affair with the food.

 

McDonald'sPhoto: Twitter

 

If you live in a city in the United States, there's a very good chance that you're within driving distance of a McDonald's. These ubiquitous restaurants are fixtures of the American landscape, and they've moved across the world.

 

While the country's relationship with the chain has certainly changed over the last fifty years, there's absolutely no doubt that it's the single most influential American dining establishment. It's not the food that makes it special, but rather the consistency - when it comes to McDonald's, you always know what you are going to get. Whether you eat in New York or California, McDonald's is the go-to example for how a fast-food chain works.

 

What's special about McDonald's, perhaps, is that it is always evolving. While it has weathered many fads over the years, something about the chain has always been dependably of the moment. If you see something succeed in another chain, there's a good chance that McDonald's has already tried it out. It's a special bit of Americana, something that might throw on a new identity in the same way a homeowner might try a bit of kitchen cabinet refacing, but nothing fundamentally changes with the concept. For good or ill, McDonald's is here to stay.

 

Olive GardenPhoto: Yelp

 

Olive Garden is, at least at its heart, nothing particularly special. It is neither the first Italian chain in the United States, nor was it the first casual dining chain the country. You can get almost anything on the menu somewhere else and most fans of Italian food will tell you that it barely qualifies as ethnic cuisine. Despite all that, though, Olive Garden was truly one of the first casual dining locations in the United States to become a dining destination, forever changing the way that restaurant chains in the US would advertise themselves.

 

Olive Garden's focus on family and a fine-dining atmosphere made it stand out among its competitors. While the inside of the restaurant is about as fancy as a good couch cleaning, its unified theme and quasi-Tuscan architecture make it stand out regardless of where in the country it is located. Olive Garden took ethnic dining and made it a special experience, not confined to strip malls or ethnic enclaves. It is the predecessor not just of the popularity of fast Italian food in the US, but arguably helped pave the way for other casual-dining ethnic restaurants across the country.

 

The three restaurant defining chains helped to popularize certain types of food, change the way that chains work, and even define the cuisine of an entire nation. Without these restaurants, it's hard to say what dining would look like in the United States - or even around the world. While the impact of each chain might be waning today, they are all still very historically important.

 

Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales.  He's had the opportunity to manage his own startup businesses and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.

 

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Pizza Hut photo: visitoxfordms.com 

McDonald's: Twitter 

Olive Garden photo: Yelp.com



Removing debt involves removing the causes of going into debt. We go into debt because we demand immediate gratification of our human desires. Debt empowers us to get something we want now, rather than later. Finance: How To Steer Clear of Debt

 

However, it puts us in slavery to the person or organization we are indebted to. Many Americans go through life enslaved to debt. They accept it as a fact of life, and do not have the financial freedom they could.

 

Your decision to be set free from debt requires identifying your underlying desires that are contributing to it. An example might be a car loan. You borrow $30,000 because you have to look good and be comfortable in your daily commute. Is this really necessary? All that you really need is to go from point A to point B. Is it really worth borrowing year's worth of money to brush up your ego a little for 1 hour a day?

 

In the car example above, how could you get a ride that you enjoy without borrowing immensely for it? The key word is prioritization. What do you actually have to have in a car? Something that gets you from point A to point B reasonably safe. Try not to add much more than that besides cup-holders. You then have your pick of cheap and used vehicles that are fairly efficient to choose from. Your friends might laugh, but they are still in debt, and you are not.

 

Avoid Scarcity Prejudices

Eliminating debt requires eliminating scarcity prejudices that are guiding your actions. Prejudices like, "I have to do what my friends are doing." Another might be, "I have to get exactly what I want exactly when I want it." These prejudices are irrational, and they are hurting you in the long run. The toddler that screams for 10 cookies immediately becomes fat and sickly. The toddler that spreads their 10 cookies out over a month is healthy and happy. You have to learn patience and discipline if you want to be free of debt.

 

A lot of people do not like to hear direct warnings about their personal issues. They find it insulting. Refusing to learn, however, has drastic consequences. The fat man who keeps borrowing money on his credit card to buy potato chips is dooming himself to a lifestyle of a bloated waistline and a bloated credit line. It is easy to see the problems that other people have, but examining our own issues is very important.

 

Small business bookkeeping methods can help you and your organization or your family. Set up a piece of paper. Have a column for debts, or income. Have a column for credits, or expenses. You should be balancing both columns.

 

Be Honest With Yourself

Use the SWOT method. Examine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This tool used by strategy specialists can help you uncover your blind spots that are putting you in unnecessary financial dilemmas. Using the SWOT method requires honesty. Some people are afraid to see what scares them. Be brave, and figure out what is going wrong. It can transform your life.

 

Enlisting professionals can help you as well. There are many competent people out there who have gone through this journey before you. Many are willing to guide you in areas where you feel concerned.

 

Another thing to do is to budget your expenses. What will you absolutely need to be buying? Have some extra money for fun activities. Do not twist your budget to make it do what you want. Abide by your budget. Budget planning can make you a more focused person who is more careful.

 

Another great tip for eliminating debt is getting accountable. Compete with your spouse or friends to eliminate debt. Set targets for your group to meet. You will find that being on a team encourages debt elimination. You can all buy pizza with cash when you are done, grinning at the credit card fanatics next in line.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

 

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All life on earth depends on water and most of the water sits in our oceans. They’re big. They’re vital. And, we’re killing them. It’s not just ocean fishing taking most of the good stuff like fish out. We dump tons of toxic stuff into them every year, too.

Some of that comes in the form of point-source pollution, things like waste oil, that we know how to regulate. Unfortunately, a lot of crud enters the oceans as non-source-point pollution, hard-to-regulate things like greenhouse gases, plastic bottles, and even minor-seeming things like cigarette butts kill the fish, too. Short of successfully enforcing some sort of global climate change treaty, which our politicians frankly seem too gutless to do, some individual activism might still be in order.

Threats to the Marine Environment Because of Humans

Why Care?

Well, other than that pesky all-life-on-earth thingy, maybe you actually like eating shrimp and other fish and you’d like to keep on eating them for the rest of your life. Trouble is the greenhouse gases we release every day don’t just pollute the air. Basic chemistry says that those gases dissolve in the water and make it acidic.

No, not like Aliens. It’s just acidic enough that most of the fish we like to eat can’t tolerate it. Scientists are already warning of unusual blooms in one thing that can, jellyfish. The Chinese will happily tell you that jellyfish have medicinal value, but even they don’t much like eating them. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a bit like fishy, gummy bear, spaghetti. It’s gross, but if you like seafood, you may be getting used to it.

As Jelle Bijma of the EuroCLIMATE programme said, you’d have to go back 35 million years to find the equivalent partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the oceans that we have already. For perspective, in the 1950s, the effects of greenhouse gas emissions were noticeable, but weren’t yet significant. We’ve done almost all of this damage in a few decades. That’s 300 times as far back as the Stone Age. Thirty-five million years is 12,000 times that. The reefs are already struggling to cope with the acid and the fish aren’t far behind.

What else? Oh, well, how about mercury poisoning? If you don’t already know that there are calculators on the web telling us how much fish of various kinds are safe to eat, you should. Right now they would warn you against eating swordfish (basically never) or tuna more than once per week. And, that assumes that your liver, kidneys, and lungs are still healthy enough to clear mercury from your body.

 

What to Do?

Some things are obvious. For example, you can calculate the safe mercury threshold and rein in the types and amount of seafood you eat. That’s depressing, but at least you know what to do. Also, you can organize to fight against what the EPA says is the main source of mercury pollution, coal fired power plants.

You can also use either organic fertilizers or apply chemical fertilizers sparingly enough to make sure that they end up in the veggies rather than running off into the oceans where they create coastal dead zones. Go ahead. Look those up. NOAA keeps track of the coastal dead zones from our annual agricultural runoff. You can see it from space. Also seen from space … those giant whirlpools of trash floating in the oceans. They kill, too, so reuse and recycle. And, of course, drive less. Walk or ride a bike more. Use Energy Star appliances. Shut off the lights. And so on.

 

You’ve Heard Those Before so, What Else?

One thing you may not have thought about or even heard yet concerns the growing movement to stop cigarette butts from getting to the water. For example, see the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project to see exactly how bad this is for the ocean. Non-biodegradable, cigarette butts are also loaded with poisons including things like arsenic, acetone, ammonia, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, lead, and toluene. 

  • As they say, some things on the legal horizon for dealing with the problem include:
  • Increasing fines and penalties for littering butts
  • Monetary deposits on filters
  • Increasing availability of butt receptacles
  • Expanded public education
  • Outright bans on the sale of filtered cigarettes

 

Of course, they leave out the obvious. Why produce cigarette butts at all when you can use e cig juice? That might be the only remaining choice soon enough anyway. As a study by Elli Slaughter at San Diego State University showed, a single cigarette butt with a bit of leftover tobacco stuck to it per liter of water kills half of the fish swimming in it. Technological solutions are easy, and they’re not all bad.

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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 One of the biggest industries that seems to have the ability to weather any kind of change in the economy is consulting. The market for operations consulting was as big as $71.2 billion in 2016. Human resources consulting was as large as $30.9 billion in the same time frame.

However, despite the fact that consulting has been a constant in the economy, trends can change fast. With this in mind, here are some of the top trends to watch in regards to starting a consulting business.Top Trends to Watch When Starting a Consulting Business

 

Crowdsourced Consulting

One new trend that has appeared in the market is crowdsourced consulting. We typically think of crowdsourcing in terms of funding projects on platforms like KickStarter. However, Wikistrat and other companies that provide a platform for crowdsourcing consulting services are now available as well. Crowdsourcing can refer to any business in which the resources or talent of a large group is pooled. This is certainly possible with consultancy.

 

In the traditional model of consultancy people are generally used to, analysts work in-house to do things like draft reports and make predictions for clients. However, crowd consulting takes this a bit further. A “crowd” of hundreds of analysts may work together to create simulations to provide similar services. Wikistrat employs 850 academics, consultants, journalists and ex-military personnel to act as their consulting crowd. While this is a significant shift from the traditional consulting business model, it is one that is growing and has potential to grow even more in the coming years.

 

Compliance Consulting

Another area that has seen significant growth is compliance consulting. This area of consultancy deals with the regulatory frameworks that dictate how businesses can legally operate in countries. In the United States, there are plenty of regulations in almost every industry conceivable. Factories, for example, must follow regulations regarding environmental impact as well as worker safety. Doctors and hospitals must follow healthcare regulations, including those recently enacted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

While regulations will likely be repealed under the Trump administration, there’s sure to still be hundreds of thousands of regulations that companies both large and small will have to worry about following to maintain their legality. It’s not something likely to go away anytime soon. Compliance consultancy is the perfect career choice for professionals who have had experience working to conform to the regulatory frameworks in different industries. Even carpet cleaner companies must conform to rules and regulations.

 

Big Data Consulting

Third, big data is making a big wave in consulting. Big data may seem like a hard to define buzzword. However, it’s quite simple. A company collects a lot of information regarding its daily operations, sales, customer interactions, vendors, suppliers, machinery and more. That information is then analyzed to help develop competitive advantages and increase efficiency within the organization.

 

However, collecting millions or even billions of bytes of data is one thing. Knowing how to use that data to improve a company and its business prospects is another thing entirely. This is where the services of a consultant may come in. For example, a big data consulting firm can show cabinet painter companies what data to record with software. Then they can use the data to forecast trends. It can show those companies how to expand their business logically based on the data. It can also show them how to paint cabinets in a more efficient manner to improve productivity and cost savings. Overall, big data is a big tool to leverage if you know how to use it. The use of consultants can certainly get the most out of this information.

Consulting is a form of business that has been around for thousands of years. While it’s certain to exist for thousands more, it will probably not remain the same for long. If you wish to start a consultancy business, make sure to follow trends in consulting as they develop.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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 Small businesses need to get help anywhere they can. If you have a website, one tool that can certainly help you keep your small business in the black is Google Analytics. According to estimates, anywhere from 30 to 50 million website owners use Google Analytics. Google Analytics is the most used analytics service on the internet for a reason. It’s easy to use and can provide you with plenty of valuable intelligence that can help you plot the course forward for your company.

 

With that in mind, here are some tips that can really help you harness the power of Google Analytics.Google Analytics: A Straightforward Guide for Small Business

 

1. Session Duration

 

One thing you want to check when using Google Analytics is average session duration. This is the amount of time on average that visitors spend on your company’s website. Obviously, a longer duration is better. It means the user is engaging more with the content on the website. That user would then be more likely to purchase your products or services. If the duration is less than a minute, you may have a problem.

 

2. Bounce Rate

 

The bounce rate is an important data point that tells you how many visitors are leaving your site from the same page that was used to enter it. Having a high bounce rate is certainly an issue. Those people will never be converted into paying customers.

 

There could be a number of reasons why your bounce rate is high. They may have clicked on an ad leading to your website on accident. Alternatively, they may be frustrated with the confusing layout or navigation on the page. According to Rocket Fuel, you should be aiming for a bounce rate of 26 to 40 percent.

 

3. Exit Pages

 

Examining the exit pages in Google Analytics can also give you valuable intel. Exit pages are the pages that a visitor views before leaving the website entirely. Each exit page in Google Analytics has an exit rate that tells you how often users leave from that page. If the exit pages with the highest exit rates are the confirmation pages for making purchases, you’re in good shape. If they are some other page that users should not be leaving from so frequently, you could have an issue.

 

4. Historical Visitor Data

 

One of the things you will first see when loading Google Analytics is the date ranges for activity on your website. This can be valuable information to have. It is especially useful for making comparisons between different time periods. For example, you may find that your business website gets far more traffic in August than it does earlier in the summer.

 

5. Location

 

You should also keep track of the location of visitors. Where they are coming from can tell you a lot about your customers and what demographics are most interested in your products and services. It is information you need to know for marketing purposes.

 

For example, you may discover that many of your visitors have IP addresses originating from Mexico. If that’s the case, you may want to offer Spanish translations on your site as well as spanish captioning for any videos you have. It will help make it easier for those users to navigate through your website and hopefully make a purchase.

 

6. Segments

 

Another useful option in Google Analytics is to view and analyze your visitors as “segments.” Placing users into groups can allow you to contrast and compare to figure out how those groups act differently when using your website. There are a number of different segments you could compare. For example, you could contrast how mobile users use your website versus what desktop users do.

Google Analytics is a very useful tool for small business owners. It can help give you the information you need to make adjustments to insure that you are getting the most out of your company website. With some work, you should be able to use this kind of data to increase sales, user engagement and other important metrics.

 

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Do you have a new or old business that needs online advertising? Do you need to communicate a particular message to your customers? Are you looking to discuss and market a certain product or service? Do you have a promotion that needs a marketing video to support it? Well, all these activities can be accomplished by using online promotional videos. Ensuring Your Promotional Videos Reach Your Target Audience

If you are running a business with a lot of competitors, you need to develop the best marketing strategy to increase your sales. Creating online videos is a simple and cost-effective way to promote your business and increase traffic to your website.

Using video-sharing sites such as YouTube makes it easy to upload your videos and link them to your company’s websites, Facebook page, Twitter page, and your blogs. Online videos allow you to explore various ways to market your product apart from using text on your web page.

The best way to promote your products and services is through creating promotional videos. To effectively use this marketing strategy, you need to understand how it works, how to increase your target audience, and ensure that they reach and view your videos. Read through the article to understand these key aspects.

Understand your target audience

The most efficient approach to make sure that your desired target can access your promotional videos is by understanding who they are and what they love watching. To market your business, you need to understand who are the people watching your videos. By doing these, you can create content that will easily relate to your audience. Understanding your audience helps you evaluate if the demographics you’re reaching match your target audience. If you find out that your demographics are not matching with your target, then you need to change your promotional strategy to appeal to your target.

Video content

Choosing excellent content for your videos is an essential role in the business’s success. Ensure that your promotional video has valuable and updated information to attract more traffic and viewers. Make sure that your video is not too lengthy and covers all the issues intended. It is imperative to use a good camera since good quality videos will attract most potential viewers.

Facebook has changed its algorithm in the sense that videos that don’t contain valuable information will not reach the audience. It is crucial to use proper language to attract more viewers. You can use subtitle services to choose a marketing solution that matches your requirement and budget. If you have planned a small budget, you can use the camera on your phone to shoot your videos.

Consistency

Stay consistent in the manner in which you deliver your videos. Set up a specific time in which you will be posting your videos and stay consistent. If you post videos when your target audience is not online or are sleeping, you won’t get viewers. You, therefore, need to post on specific time slots and schedule your posts. Understand your audience’s interests, social media habits, and their routines to know the right time to post your videos.

Understand what your audience expects from you

One of the challenges that marketers encounter is understanding what your target audience expect from you. It is critical to comprehend what they want to know about your brand so that they can be motivated to view your videos. You will need to place yourself in your audience’s shoes to see the video’s weakness, misunderstanding, and offensive words to the audience. This helps you change your content and work on making the best and interactive video content.

One final aspect you must put into consideration is choosing the best platform to post your videos. You can choose either YouTube or Facebook in relation to what your audience visits most. Follow the above steps to increase your website traffic and sales.

Lee Flynn is from the Wasatch Mountains near Salt Lake City, UT. After Lee spent years preparing himself, his home and his family, he decided he had to do more. In his free time, Lee helps educate those who want to do the same. Through small local workshops and articles, Lee trains and teaches others on home preparation, food storage techniques, wilderness survival and self reliance. After obtaining a bachelors degree from the University of Utah, Lee moved to the Salt Lake Valley where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

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Climate change:

 

As change resistors, we tend to think of major influencers as both negative and external to ourselves (ie: something or somebody else causes our problems). However, both show up as biases. With respect to climate change, this usually plays out in headlines such as these: “Top 3 Industries Hurt by Climate Change.”

 

Ambiguity HurtsClimate Change

First off, note the ambiguity in that above statement. Were three industries hurt? Or are we wondering whether three might be hurt? Next, consider what, if anything, we mean by ‘hurt.’ Sometimes, we try to dodge that by asking which businesses will be affected and with what likelihood. Unfortunately, that doesn’t improve our situation much. As an economist should tell you, we live in a competitive system, so every change affects everyone everywhere.

 

Ask Better Questions

Next, someone usually asks (sometimes with a bit of exasperation) “Well, which ones will be affected most, and will the effects be positive or negative?” As questions go, that’s slightly better, but still not great. After all, what do ‘most,’ ‘positive,’ and ‘negative’ mean in this context?

 

For example, people often give winemaking as an example of the ‘negative’ effects of climate change, but is that true? What is true is that the recent lengthening of the warm season made it hard to find products like ice wine, which depends on frost for its sweetness—at least until growers established vineyards in places that still had frost. Meanwhile, total vineyard acreage has been stable at about 18.6 million acres, according to Forbes. Evidently, warming has had no net effect.

 

Likewise, you could look at a relatively new and small industry like e-cigarettes, note that greenhouse gases degrade the oceans, possibly infer that the eco-conscious will seek to avoid all contributors to ocean destruction—including pollutants like cigarette butts, and conclude that some of them will protect the environment by picking up an electronic cigarette starter kit. If the growing environmental movement to tax cigarette filters (or ban them) outright succeeds, the effect could be enormous.

 

In other words, the one case that everyone talks about the net effect has been zero. In another scenario few people talk about, the effect may be relatively large and significant. By that point, of course, the client’s head explodes.

 

The Business Analyst’s Credo

The first two commandments have always been the most essential. First, thou shalt make assumptions. Second, thou shalt not make client assumptions for them. In saying this, we’re already assuming that climate change doesn’t cause our extinction.

 

The Unknown, Exploratory, New, Adaptable, and Non-Adaptable

Marketing students get ingrained with the idea that questions have many answers, and life comes in grades of adaptability. Within limits, engineers can give some idea of what’s possible with current technology, and finance people can help rule out irrational decisions. All of that comes with assumptions.

 

Change Your Assumptions. Unleash Innovation

Some examples:

 

-Maybe climate change will eventually inundate southern Florida, but what is ‘land’ anyway, but surface area above sea level? Maybe Miami will become a vast, floating metropolis, or sit on pilings to become a sort of New Venice.

 

-Lloyds of London has predicted that climate change will affect the insurance industry. Maybe. On the other hand, people are naturally risk averse, so maybe we will act to decrease our exposure by an offsetting amount, rather than pay higher premiums.

 

-Maybe the climate will warm sufficiently, so that man-made snow will no longer be able to keep up at resorts like Heavenly, outside Lake Tahoe. Or, maybe we’ll be skiing indoors. There are already plans afoot to throw a geodesic dome over Houston, Texas. Among other things, that would protect it from serious weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. On the other hand, it would also create a climate-controlled environment. No HVAC means fewer coal fired power plants and less greenhouse gas.
 

In many cases, these are already questions. Not of inevitability, but of innovation, marketing, engineering, and financing.

  
Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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