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Picture Perfect: Your Quick Guide to Using Images on Your Website

You know that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But in online marketing, it’s definitely more than a metaphor for conveying a complex idea. A photograph can be worth high volume traffic. If your web pages display relevant images, you’re doing a great job. It means that you’re carrying out some steps to engage your audiences. Remember, online visitors don’t just read your text content; they also look for further clues that will validate their decision about whether they will buy your product or like your social media page.

According to Alyka, using images on your website has some unwritten rules. You can’t just place a generic stock image without modifying it or making it contextual and relevant. Here are the other rules on using pictures to drive traffic to your website.

stock imagesUse Expressive Images

If your objective is to sell, place pictures that will elicit certain emotions. They should act as a decision-making trigger. If you’re running a restaurant reservation website, you should place pictures of people enjoying their food. These depictions will trigger some emotions on the part of your online guests that will make them reserve restaurant seats.

Use Stock Photos Wisely

Many graphic designers treat usage of stock photos as a crime. It’s not an offence at all if you know how to use them properly. Online consumers can easily tell original photos from stock photos. But if you’re going for the second option, make it look professional. If the website is about your business consulting and mentoring services, don’t just settle for photos of businesspeople shaking hands. Make it subtle by using a photograph of a person climbing stairs. Even if it’s not obviously related to your business, your audiences can connect the dots and will have an impression that the photo is about advancement, which is something your company provides.

Own the Season

Display images that go with different occasions. Doing this will give your audiences an impression that you’re updated or that you care about the things outside your business. If you’ve got no idea how to do it, look at Oreo’s Facebook Page to see how.

Caption it!

Don’t hesitate to put a caption whenever appropriate. The caption doesn’t need to sound like you’re selling; the call to action will take care of that. Instead, come up with taglines or questions that will act as a subtle trigger.

These are only some tips that will help you use photographs to drive web traffic. Don’t forget to optimise your images for search and more importantly, don’t steal. A good photo is no use if you get hit with a lawsuit because of copyright infringement.

August 27, 2014 at 4:09 amInfo Tech

Ways to Improve Your Garden

gardenIf you are looking for a way to improve the aesthetic appeal of your yard, consider gardening. To have a lovely garden, you do not need many fertilisers, pesticides and water. It is actually not hard to produce a healthy carpet of grass.

After deciding the spot where you want it, all you need to do is to buy a turf. There are different types of turf, so make sure to choose the right one for your garden.

Choosing the right turf for your garden

According to premium turf suppliers in Gold Coast, the varieties of the material allow people to find the most suitable grass for their lawn. It added that each type has a different set of qualities to stay beautiful under a particular environmental condition. To ensure quality and longevity, here are three grass types:

• Empire Zoysia Grass – It is renowned for its dark emerald green leaf blade colour. It slowly grows and is low maintenance. It easily adapts to any weather, but it grows better in areas with long hot summers.
• Palmetto Buffalo Grass – It is famous for its excellent winter colour. It is the most popular type of grass because it has a solid reputation for its superior quality and low maintenance properties. It requires less watering and mowing.
• Sapphire Buffalo Grass – It has a deep green colour and a fine texture. The grass grows fast across the ground, making it recover fast from wear.

Ways to improve your garden

Green is great, but endless grasses are plain. For the final touch, you may plant vibrant colours to make your garden look striking. Think of the weather when planting flowers.

Water your plants – Water it regularly. Be sure to provide more water during hot season.

Maintenance – Regular maintenance and repair is one of the significant aspects in making sure that your grass is in great quality.

When it comes to home decoration, it is best to consider designing your garden. It is an extension of your living space. Follow these tips and your gardening style will be the envy of your neighbours.

August 23, 2014 at 10:25 amDirect Service

How to Take Care of Your Skin

As every expert would say, your skin is the reflection of your health. It’s the most visible part of your body, and one of its most valuable assets. It’s also the only you’ll get, so your daily habits mean everything.

Here are a few skin care tips as recommended by CDVMI.com:

Protect yourself from the sun

Too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots, and other skin problems. Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. It is also advisable to use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum skin product with an SPF of at least 15. When you’re outdoors, make sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours — more often if you’re perspiring or swimming.

skin careStop smoking

Smoking can also affect your skin. It can make you look older and can cause wrinkles. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, w
hich affects blood flow. It also depletes oxygen and nutrients your skin needs, and destroys collagen and elastin — these are fibers that protect your skin.

Treat your skin gently

Regular facial cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. You can keep it gentle by limiting your bath time. Keep in mind that your body also needs natural oil. Hot water and long showers can remove this oil from your skin. After bathing, use a clean towel and gently pat or blot your body dry so that some moisture remains on your skin. Use a moisturizer that fits your skin type.

Avoid using strong products. Strong soaps and detergents can hurt your skin. Choose mild cleansers instead. Shave carefully as well. Apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving to protect and lubricate your skin. For the closest shave, consider using a sharp razor. Shave only in the direction of hair growth, not against it.

Improve your diet

A healthy diet can help restore your skin. It can help you look and feel fresh. Heath specialists usually recommend plenty of fruits, green veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Some research also suggests more vitamin C intake to help eliminate unhealthy fats and processes or refined carbohydrates.

Above all these tips, visit a skin expert regularly. Keep in mind that there are some conditions associated with your skin. Prevention is always better than cure.

August 22, 2014 at 6:11 amHealth & Lifestyle

Top 3 Splurge-Worthy Home Features on your Next Home Remodel

Imagine coming home to a place that is clean, peaceful, and the kids are happy. After a demanding day at work, perhaps no one wants to see a messy and chaotic house. It’s great to have a home that will help you unwind and relax.

To achieve this, most homeowners constantly renovates their home. If you want to turn your home into an amazing oasis, chances are, you will think about the budget. You are not alone, though, as many find it difficult to decide where to spend on.

Fortunately, you can get the home features you want and enjoy your environment. Here are some things worth the splurge:

Windows

installing window blindsSpend on window features that can improve privacy, such as outdoor shutters, blinds, or awnings. Apart from controlling your privacy, you can also manage the airflow and level of light in your home. Keep in mind that outdoor shutters can add so much to any room. It’s best to seek professional help when you plan to have shutters.

Built-in cabinets

That small corner in your living rooms looks like it needs your attention. It’s now full of dust and cobwebs. Why not transform that area into a cosy sanctuary. A great way to make the space useful is to have a built-in cabinet. Make any room organised by splurging on custom cabinetry with shelving. You can use it for storing books or displaying memorable items. It makes sense to do it sooner, especially if you want to maximise a small space.

Flooring

Comfort is one of the most important things to consider when remodelling. Your floor reflects how you live, so spend on flooring that you will love. From colourful tiles to hardwood and marble, they will surely add beauty and value to your home remodelling project.

A well-designed space is beneficial to your physical and emotional health. It’s okay to splurge on things that will last a long time and make your home more functional.

August 21, 2014 at 5:21 amDirect Service

Have The Wedding Invitation Card Everyone Can Fall In Love With

You are head over heels in love. You have found the perfect match. And now after years or months of being together you are officially shouting to the world that he or she is, indeed, The One. The first way that will make it all official is to finally send the wedding invitation card to your friends and loved ones.

Needless to say, one of the most important aspects of any wedding is the invitation and, apart from the dress and the ceremony, it is one of the things that you would want to be perfect. Fortunately it is easy to have a wedding invitation that is not only beautiful, but also something you and your loved ones can fall in love with.

Perfectly Invited shares that there are three basic things to keep in mind when crafting your invitation: keep it simple, make it personal and mind the typos.

wedding invitationKeep it simple: No matter what the motif is, it is best to keep these three things: simple wording, simple design and simple lay-out. After all, a wedding is first and foremost a serious event. The wording should be brief and should, of course, include everything that the guests need to know, such as the time and location.

It shouldn’t tell your whole love story no matter how exciting and romantic it is. The design, on the hand, may depend on the couple’s character, but loud colors and ostentatious lines and graphic design are a no-no. It’s okay to have fun, but everything should be “tasteful” and kept to a minimum. Otherwise, it might appear tacky, a word that no one wants to be associated with their wedding.

Add a personal touch: Wedding invitation cards are most perfect when they sound and look like they actually came from the couple. These invitations will be received by people who know both the groom and the bride very well, and it would be a treat for them to recognize the couple’s personalities on the card itself. Perhaps the couple can slyly inject their favorite expressions or even a sentimental quote from their favorite poem or novel.

Lastly, be aware of typographical and grammatical errors: It’s a simple reminder, but it is something that happens frequently. Before sending the final copy for printing, check for grammatical errors and any typos of the names listed on the invitation. Double check the location and the time of event. Proofread very carefully and if possible let a relative or a friend go over it just to be sure nothing will be missed.

After all, that misplaced “R” or, worse, a wrong date or time may cost you not just a huge amount of time, but a lot of money as well.

August 20, 2014 at 5:11 amDirect Service

Child Support: Taking Care of the Children after Divorce

Ending a marriage doesn’t mean that your responsibilities as a parent are over. Your children deserve a comfortable life. What you can do now is support them financially and emotionally.

Who Should Pay Child Support?

Every state in the U.S. allows their court to order non-custodial parents to pay child support after a divorce. If the parents are unmarried, a child still deserves support. All it takes is for the father or mother to admit or file a paternity case. Child support isn’t for a lifetime, though. It ends once a child reaches 21 years old, don’t have specific needs, and can live on their own.

How Much Should You Pay?

child supportBarton R. Resnicoff noted in a blog post that child support depends on the gross income of both parents and a formula ruled by the Child Support Standards Act (CSSA). Here’s the percentage of income you need to give according to the number of children:

  • One child – 17%
  • Two children– 25%
  • Three children – 29%
  • Four children – 31%
  • Five (or more)children – at least 35%

Apart from these, the court will also deduct taxes like Medicare and social security. If you’re unemployed or underemployed, however, the court can make an exception according to your earning capacity.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay?

1. Garnishment – Also known as wage execution, this method of debt collection deducts child support payment from your paycheck. What’s worse is your employer will know about it, as they’ll be withholding part of your earnings and give it to a judgment creditor.

2. License Revocation – The court has the power to revoke your licenses, like a driver’s license, and you can’t apply for a new one even if you move to another state.

3. Credit Bureau Reporting – Filing a report about missed and late payments to consumer reporting agencies is possible. They’ll take action depending on how much you owe.

Filing a divorce doesn’t only involve you and your ex-spouse. The future of your child is also at stake. You may not have custody, but at least you know what to do to show your love and support.

August 19, 2014 at 1:50 amDirect Service

3 Design Flubs that Could Lower Your Home’s Value

There are some home design flubs that you probably can let go or live with, and then there are mistakes that are offensive to home design itself.

Say you’re looking for a house in Australia. You want the home to be your safe haven, and you can do whatever you want with it, but if you want a property that is an investment as well, it’s important to make sure that all aspects of the design adds value both aesthetically and economically.

To avoid such dilemmas, here are a few design flubs that could be running your home’s value to the ground:

Going Overboard with a Specific Area

home designsWhile you’ll want to develop your property, focusing on the design and construction phases could turn it into an expensive outlier. Overdeveloping the backyard with an expansive pool, for example, won’t add much value to the property.

Pay close attention to your neighbourhood’s style. Ask potential neighbours, local real estate agents, trusted home builders, Brisbane professionals, and other experts about the home features you want to add. If they say it’s a good idea, then go for it, but otherwise, it’s best to skip it.

Lacking Consistency

Homeowners often have a specific design in mind for each room and area in their house, but the problem is, these designs often clash. You have a kitchen fit for a five-star restaurant, for example, but your living room and bathroom aren’t as grand. In this case, you’re letting one room make up for the deficiencies of others.

The best way to get a great return on your home features it to improve the deficiencies. Make sure there’s a good flow between all the rooms and the design follows a general theme. The whole house is still more valuable than a grand bathroom.

Going Too Trendy

Everybody wants to have a house that’s “in.” Too trendy, however, can be a trap. Remember that fads come and go, and popular home trends now may not be the same in a few years.

Be very careful when choosing home features that are trendy, and try to avoid it at all costs. In a few years, buyers will want to rip these out should they decide to buy your house. It’s always safe to go with the classics.

When you’re building a house from the ground up, it’s your job to be informed not just with what you should include in your house, but also about what you shouldn’t include.

August 17, 2014 at 2:45 amDirect Service

Weathering the Storm: How to Minimize Water Damage after Heavy Rain

The water damage from storms ranges from relatively minor to catastrophic, depending on your home and the steps you take. After periods of torrential rain, it’s important that you inspect your property as soon as possible to detect any problems.

Why you should be concerned

When neglected, water damage brings a wide variety of headaches. The biggest of these is mold; this destructive fungus causes serious structural damage, while posing significant health risks. Because of this, AAA Restoration and other water damage experts say that it is one of the biggest factors that reduce home value.

water damageWhile mold is dangerous to everyone, it is especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people with asthma. It’s also quite hard to detect; in most cases, you will only notice mold when the problem has become very severe. Therefore, prevention is always better than cure.

Places to check

The following places are the ones most at risk for water damage after a storm. Look for obvious signs, such as puddles and drips, or a musty odor that indicates mold growth.

• Basement or Crawlspace – The most common place for flooding and water damage to occur, especially after downpours, is the basement. Water naturally seeks the lowest level, and the basement is usually where the worst leaks happen.

• Around your home – If water pools for extended periods around your walls, then it poses various threats to your structure. This usually indicates a drainage problem as well.

• Your roof – Considering that it’s your primary defense against the rain, detecting any leaks in your roof immediately is of paramount importance. It is one of the most expensive parts of your house to fix, after all.

What to do if water damage is detected

Notice that we emphasize simply detecting water damage instead of telling you how to fix it. This problem is not something you should DIY – in many cases, you’ll need much more than a simple cleanup. The puddles and flooding you see are just one part of the problem, since water is probably seeping into your walls, floor, or ceiling.

If you don’t find and properly fix the various leaks themselves, the problem will persist and mold will grow in places you can’t see. To preserve your home, you should leave severe cases of water damage to the professionals.

August 11, 2014 at 2:32 amDirect Service

Inexpensive Ways to Attract More Local Customers

You’ve got a good product, your prices are competitive, and the store is in the perfect location. Now that the basics are out of the way, it’s time to focus on attracting more customers; word of mouth will only get you so far.

For many businesses, success depends on attracting local clients and getting them into your store. Traditional advertising mediums, such as radio, newspapers, and TV work well, but might be too expensive for a small marketing budget. Here are some cost-effective methods you can try instead.

local SEO1. Make use of cross-promotion – The best businesses are built on cooperation. Reach out to related, but non-competing businesses in your area and try to work out a cross-promotion strategy with them. Most will gladly participate, since it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Best of all, this usually costs nothing more than the printing of flyers and coupons.

Through cross-promotion, you can stretch your marketing budget and compete with larger companies. These partnerships expand your customer base, enhance your credibility, and build valuable business connections.

2. Start building your online presence – Too many business owners spend great deals of money on their storefront, but don’t even have their own website. If you’re one of them, then you’re missing out on a massive source of potential sales. The majority of people today search for what they need online; admit it, when was the last time you used the yellow pages instead of Google?

A good website isn’t much use if people can’t find it. Many digital marketing companies like TrueLogic.com.ph specialize in local search engine optimization, and they can help get your business’ website to the top of search engine results. This results in a steady stream of potential customers interested in what you’re offering.

You shouldn’t neglect your social media presence either, especially in today’s Facebook driven society. Social media is a great way to connect with your customer base, and makes it easy for them to share your business with friends and acquaintances.

3. Work with local organizations – Helping out with the local government or charities is a great way to get your name out while giving back to the community. It does wonders for your public image, your employees feel proud to work for the company, and you sleep well at night knowing that you’re supporting a good cause.

August 8, 2014 at 8:51 amStraight Market

How to Choose the Best Colours for Your Restaurant Interior

restaurantAnyone in the hospitality industry will tell you that a restaurant can’t just rely on its food quality. The customer’s dining experience depends on many factors, and one of these is ambience. Everything from what music is playing all the way to the table arrangements contribute to this, but arguably the most important to consider is what colours you should use.

Most painters and interior decorators will tell you that colours play a big role in influencing the mood of your customers. Colour psychology is well documented, and the way you use it can make the difference between a decent restaurant and a great one.

Here are several tips that can help you decide.

1. Light or Dark? – Choosing between light or dark colour schemes depends a lot on the kind of restaurant you have, how large it is, and the impression you want to make.

• Light colours can make a small restaurant look bigger than it is. These create a leisurely and relaxed atmosphere, ideal for family restaurants and informal dining.
• Dark colours are exactly the opposite. They can make a large restaurant look more intimate and romantic, and they work well for classier, upscale establishments. An added plus is that they can also mask structural quirks.

2. Be careful with primary colours – Primary colours aren’t taboo, but you have to be very careful with how you use them. Bright yellows and reds are good in cafeterias and fast food places, as they encourage fast customer turnover, freeing up tables quicker. Blue, on the other hand, is rarely a good option for restaurants, unless you’re going for a seafood look. Even then, you have to balance and support it well.

3. When in doubt… – Rather than trying to come up with great combinations on your own, most paint shops and designers have recommended colour schemes that you can draw inspiration from. It’s also helpful to look at restaurants similar to yours, and see what’s working for them. Be sure that you don’t end up looking like everyone else, however.

Remember though, there’s no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all solution for restaurant colour choices. Your restaurant is unique, and finding a great look for it will take time and a great deal of creativity.

August 7, 2014 at 2:02 amDirect Service