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Thursday
Aug172017

How to Arrange a Bedroom for Children

I bet that parents all over the world share the same battle cry with me: “Kids, clean your bedroom!”

As a mom myself, my children’s bedroom is where I usually find exhausting and challenging to arrange and keep tidy.

While festive events such as holidays or birthdays give me the motivation to clean and organize things, I still couldn’t calm the clutter. But that was before! I am still no expert in this, but my continuous effort (and battle) somewhat taught me important things when arranging the kids’ bedroom.

Get Down to Their Level

I think we should take this tip literally. Getting down to my child’s eye level allows me to view their room the way they see it. I realize that for me to arrange their room, my solutions must fit their skills and needs.

  • What most adults like us forget is that our ways and means of organization does not translate to younger children’s ways. Their dressers or drawers might be too large or too heavy for them to manage.
  • Closet hangers could be out of reach or won’t fit their tiny clothes.
  • Toy containers might be too high for them to segregate toys accordingly.

What could be “organized” to them might not pass your standards (not even half of it) so look at it from their vantage point, so you’ll be on the same page with them.

Let the Kids Decide

It is important to hear what your children say. Engage them in making decisions on what stuffs to stay and what goes. You will be surprised how this could help your organization goals easier to achieve. Let us look at this cleaning and organizing thing as a learning activity rather than a task or errand.

Most importantly, expect for it to be a trial and error activity. Soon, you and your child will determine what works for the both of you and what could be the root of the problem.

Try to develop a checklist that your child can follow. I will try to devise my own soon and allow my kids to take part according to their skills and needs. Hence, involving them makes it possible for them to understand why to keep their room clean and organized.

Do it one at a time

Consider organizing the sections mentioned above one at a time. Tailor your efforts of de-cluttering their room until it makes sense to them. Focus on a single zone and find out what falls into the category of donating it, keep it or store it.

Again, doing this whole thing could be overwhelming to your children thus, give the kids and yourself an ample time to sort out stuff.

Typically, a child’s room is composed of the following zones: toys, clothing, school stuff such as books and papers and other random things like memorabilia, souvenirs from parties or uncategorized gifts.

Instead of giving them “threats” or having that deadly stare, we should exert all our efforts to teach them organization skills and methods. I also learned that my supposed-to-be sad face wouldn't help.

Practice and Patience Please!

Times can get rough, and a messy room could be one of the least issues you want to deal with thus, the more important it is to teach your children the process of organizing and tidying their rooms.

Regardless how fancy your containers and storage boxes are, kids won’t use them accordingly if they don’t understand why and how to use them. Start the soonest possible. Have you tried any of these techniques? Bet they’d helped you a lot!

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Wednesday
Aug092017

SEO changes that we can expect in 2017

SEO world is always turbulent.

Changes happen on a monthly basis and sometimes we are not even aware of them as Google usually decides not to disclose information regarding their algorithms. This often leaves us to ponder as what we happen next and how to adapt.

At this point in time, search engine optimization has become a highly competitive sport where all the websites participate. In fact, if you’re not doing it, there is a good chance that your business will not last.

Based on current algorithms and trends, these are some techniques and methods that are being used in 2017.

Infographics – Yes or No?

I often see threads where people are complaining how infographics are no longer working in 2017.

And I have to agree; their popularity among bloggers has fallen dramatically. You can no longer build white hat backlinks in 2017 as easily as you could during its hay day. Now, they are nothing more than a link building technique that partially works.

But let’s talk about this partially. What is necessary for a campaign to produce necessary results?

Your infographics definitely have to look apart and to be of high quality.

The issue which made them so unpopular at one point is that, not only were they over spammed, but they also lowered their quality (on average). So best way to circumvent this is by hiring a person that knows their stuff.

Also, the whole campaign has to be much more extensive.

It is necessary to hit as many people as possible but with something different from your classic email template.

Why do I say this?

Well because email templates became over spammed as well.

It can be a lot of work but it can also definitely provide some great results.

Mobile-friendly and site speed

As much as this pains me, I have to say that the western world has become quite spoiled.

Perhaps we got used to having everything at our disposal?

This poses an enormous problem to all blogs given that they constantly have to adapt to increasing requirement of the visitors. Two things that most people require from sites nowadays is that they are mobile-friendly and that they are really quick.

Asking websites to be mobile-friendly is to be expected especially if you’ve seen the figures in last few years.

Desktops are no longer as popular as they used to be and majority of people use mobile devices to browse the Internet. But not only that; they also more commonly use mobiles for shopping making it even more important to be user-friendly.

Second aspect is website speed.

According to research, every second of load loses 7 % of your conversion rate. This means that slow sites will take quite a hit in terms of their sales. This is and mobile-friendliness are precisely the reason why most e-shops nowadays are rather simplistic.

Given this shift, I wouldn’t be surprised if even the regular blogs started lowering quality of their website design as a way to answer this requirement.

YouTube era

So far I talked about tech switch and the fact that we are using different devices to browse. This also coincides with the increased use of YouTube.

Let’s face it!

YouTube has always been popular. However, it was hard to imagine that it would one that surpass regular blogs. Although this hasn’t happened yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does in a nearby future.

YouTube is a perfect fit for mobile devices.

It is something you can easily watch regardless of optimization. Video will be shown in the same way it is shown on desktop making it a clear choice for anyone wanting to watch while on the move.

This transition has also been noticed by websites and more and more of them are trying to adapt to it by creating video content.

One of the best examples of a quality video content are animated explainer videos. They are also increasing in popularity as of late and are a perfect fit for all those who wish to digitalize their written content.

In fact, I can predict that explainers will become a new trend in future.

They are short lasting for up to 5 minutes and can explain some basic terms within an industry. This makes them a great fit as you can learn on the go without even having to watch the screen.

It still remains to be seen where will this go and whether written content will be completely replaced with coming of age of new generations that are more geared towards video content.

Interacting with visitors in 2017

Interaction with your readers has always been important.

Whether I am talking about call-to-action or attempts to engage people into commenting, this was always the goal of savvy internet bloggers.

Even with all its previous importance, you couldn’t expect that it would be this crucial in 2017.

First of all, I wish to mention a continuous debate whether user-engagement factors are important for SEO.

A lot of authors have talked about how these factors have changed the game. Officially, they are not important for ranking pages but there are those who have our doubts.

Now, even if you wish to disregard these talks, it is hard to neglect the fact that Google is constantly trying to cater to users. It is becoming increasingly obvious especially after RankBrain.

According to Google, readers’ response to content will affect the rankings.

So this means that in this and following years it will be really important to create loyal readers as a way of improving your ranking chances.

Last thoughts

Like always, shift in internet marketing industry is mainly technological.

But in these last few years, this also means that a regular blogger will be forced to work on several platforms and to effectively create different forms of content.

As for users, there are still a lot of questions we need to ask ourselves. Nevertheless, it can be expected that they will be an important factor for boosting your website’s presence.

Tuesday
Aug082017

How Stay at Home Parents Are Making the Most from Direct Sales Jobs

Many parents have difficulty achieving a proper work-life balance. Working as your child's chef, chauffeur, nurse, and personal assistant may be rewarding, but it simply won't pay your bills.

That's the main reason stay-at-home parents have been turning to unique employment opportunities to make their schedules work for them. There are thousands of opportunities to make extra income in the industry of multi-level marketing, also referred to as direct sales. It just requires persistence, dedication, and a knack for marketing.

What is an MLM company? Law Street Media explains, "a multi-level marketing company is one where individuals act as salespeople and sell items from a particular company to the public. Sometimes they’re referred to as direct-selling companies. The sellers aren’t paid any sort of salary, but rather make money through commissions for the items they sell, which they usually buy in bulk from the company that produces them."

While many see multi-level marketing opportunities as nothing more than a scam targeting stay-at-home parents, there are just as many -- if not more -- who are incredibly grateful for their experience. Caroline Ehrhart from Delaware, for example, was talked into becoming a consultant for LuLaRoe, a clothing distributor known for its dresses and leggings with colorful patterns. Even her husband, a U.S. Marine, was encouraging her to give her sales skills a try.

But she, along with many other initial skeptics, had serious concerns about the hefty startup costs. The baseline for a LuLaRoe startup package runs about $5,000.

"I was just really confused because it's a lot of money you have to put in on the front end," Ehrhart told Delaware Online.

One of the biggest challenges when working as a consultant for a direct sales company is building rapport with a consistent customer base. That's why many salespeople start by selling to friends and family rather than strangers.

There's a reason this approach works. When Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov studied interactions between strangers, they found that we form lasting first impressions in a tenth of a second. So while door-to-door cold sales have largely disappeared in the digital era, multi-level marketing allows aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage their own network of acquaintances, friends, and family.

When that's not enough, some men and women rent kiosks in malls to find customers. Shoppers make 82% of their purchase decisions in the store, and Ehrhart had to set up creative retail displays in several different areas to draw in her first customers.

However, there's another popular tool in the direct sales world, and it's a major reason why the industry is booming right now. The internet and social media have given direct salespeople new ways to connect with customers and set up sales parties, and that's why your Facebook feed is full of "party" invites to by leggings, essential oils, and nail wraps. Social media has become a viable medium in which to advertise... well, almost anything, and with even a small following, consultants can successfully book both in-person and online parties and earn commission on the profits.

U.S. marketers will spend more than $103 billion on search engine marketing, display, social media, and email marketing by 2019, growing by 12% each year, and as recognition grows, so will sales.

One pro tip from husband-and-wife duo and top LuLaRoe consultants Alex and Matthew Laigle emphasizes availability and interaction. The couple hosts weekly online parties using Facebook Live.

“Our customers call our live sales ‘Laigle TV,’” Alex told Racked. “It’s about so much more than just selling product. It’s a community event where we all joke around, have some girl talk, and sell some gorgeous clothes! They’re fun, interactive, and an amazing way for us to build relationships with our customers.”

Ultimately, MLMs may not be the right opportunity for everyone, but for those who are committed and persistent, the sky's the limit. It might have its critics, but the MLM industry is giving countless stay-at-home moms and dads the chance to get their side hustle on. Today, nearly 64 million workers in the U.S. have a job that lets them work from home at least part of the time, and that number keeps growing.

"I actually love it, and I'm so happy I started doing it," said Ehrhart. "I have something to do and I can still provide and help out with family stuff, and still spend a lot of time with my child."

Tuesday
Aug082017

Study: When Women Crowdfund, They Do It Better Than Men

Crowdfunding has become a popular means of fundraising in recent years, and it's easy to see why. It's convenient, especially for those who are both generous and tech-savvy; around 17% of crowdfunding donations are made on mobile devices, with others being given via laptop, personal computer, tablet, and other internet-accessible devices. It's also a highly shareable method, allowing friends, relatives, and perfect strangers to learn more about a cause and give money to support it. Some campaigns even go viral. But although women are less likely to embrace this means of fundraising than men, a recent study has found that when women do go the crowdfunding route for their personal and business projects, they're a lot better at it than their male counterparts.

According to data from The Crowdfunding Center and PwC, a consulting firm, crowdfunding campaigns led by women were 32% more successful at reaching their targets than those led by men. Not only were they more likely to reach the targets they had set, but they also received more money per backer, on average: women attracted $87 per funder, while men received $83 per funder.

Interestingly, the study suggests that one reason for female success in this arena may be the fact that women are more likely to donate via seed crowdfunding than by other means of fundraising for projects (like venture capital). Women also seem to be a bit more realistic about their campaign goals; they tend to set lower targets, so they're more likely to reach them.

That said, men are more likely to use this tactic than women in the first place. In the technological sector, there are nine male-led campaigns for every female-led campaign; in digital tech, the ratio is 3:1. Men are also more likely to lead the highest level campaigns. Of campaigns that raised over $1 million, 89% were led by men and only 11% were led by women.

But in all geographic locations surveyed, women still outperformed men by a significant margin. This was found to be true even in the U.S. and the UK, the two countries with the highest campaign volumes. When women embrace crowdfunding for their ventures, it's clear that they dominate.

Co-founder and chief executive of The Crowdfunding Center, Barry E. James, said of the results in a statement:

"Who could have expected that when the middle-men are removed from the equation, and women and men entrepreneurs get equal and direct access to the market, it would turn out that women would, immediately and decisively, outperform the men, across the board? It's time to readjust not just our expectation and perceptions but our attitudes, institutions, behaviors -- and the way we make decisions."

The study, which analyzed 450,000 different crowdfunding campaigns, highlights the need for women to embrace this method even more for their ventures. While they lead the way when they decide to raise funds in this manner, they still don't attempt it as often as men do -- and they set lower goals. For businesses that need seed money, crowdfunding may be an option that's well worth looking into.

Friday
Jul282017

Study: There Are Just 4 Types of Facebook Users - Which Are You?

Researchers have found that it is possible to group all the billions of Facebook users into four different user profiles.

In an attempt to understand how social media works and to find a reason behind why Facebook is so popular, researchers at Brigham Young University have taken a deeper look into who logs onto the social media site every day.

Facebook is more popular than any other social media available. On any given day 1.28 billion people check it, it has 1.97 monthly active users worldwide and over 2 billion users with active accounts. And it's not that users simply go onto Facebook for a couple minutes at a time; the Daily Mail reports that the average user spends 35 minutes every day scrolling along.

It was this amount of time that had the leader of the research team, communications professor Tom Robinson, ask, "Why are people so willing to put their lives on display?" So, his team compiled a list of 48 statements of why people log onto social media and asked participants to rank each statement on if it resonated with them or not.

Based on their findings, the team was able to clearly identify four different types of Facebook users: town criers, selfies, relationship builders, and window shoppers.

Town criers focus on reporting information about their surroundings, and rarely ever post pictures or information about their personal lives. They mostly share news stories, re-post viral articles, and go on Facebook to see what is going on in the world.

Selfies are Facebook users with the primary goal of self-promotion. They are solely focused on getting likes, comments, and shares. According to the study, the Selfies use Facebook "to present an image of themselves, whether it's accurate or not."

Relationship builders are looking to do just that, foster relationships with others around the world. This goes for regular users who are looking to build relationships with friends and families, or for small business owners who are trying to boost their visibility online. Considering that only 44% of businesses survive their first five years, social media can be a powerful tool for gaining customers, and relationship builders are quite dedicated to the cause.

Lastly, the window shoppers primarily look to see what others are doing online. Similar to town criers, window shoppers don't post a lot of personal information but choose to have a Facebook account simply because of social pressure.

With these four personality traits in mind, study author Kris Boyle explains that the goal is to have people really sit down and think about why they choose to interact online. The research team believes that if every person sat down and at least tried to figure out how and why they interact online, it would be easier to identify with others in the online sphere.

Boyle explains, "Social media is so ingrained in everything we do right now. And most people don't think about why they do it, but if people can recognize their habits, that at least creates awareness."

So what personality type do you identify with? We'd love to know!