Category Archives: Technology

Changing the Power Game: Solar Panels

Solar PanelsPeople are worried about the Earth’s continuous damage caused by humans and wastes. In hopes of reducing toxic waste and consumption, the use of solar energy was first carried out in the 1950s. Since then, the prices of solar panels have dropped and more and more people are starting to make the shift to renewable energy.

Why invest in a solar panel for your homes?

1. Significantly Cut Bills

Installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) in your home might require you to make some adjustments, according to industry experts at Ecolution, such as finding a perfect location or renovating your roof. While these might cost some amount, the returns of “investing” and using solar panels can significantly be felt when your next month’s utility bills arrive. Because your household is generating power from the sun, usage of power from utility providers are decreased.

2. Incentives from the Government

The government encourages the shift to solar energy. One of the most common incentives is through subsidies, rebates and discounts. A household that has made the shift to solar energy can save as much as 50% in their initial investment because of the government’s share.

3. Do Your Part in Saving the Earth

Others are doing their parts. Do your share too. Recycling wastes, reducing the use of fossil fuels and turning organic are a great way to start. Step a notch higher by relying on solar energy.

4. Low Maintenance

External circumstances like dust have little to no effect on your solar panel’s output, making it very low maintenance. To add to that, a solar panel is projected to have a lifespan of 25 years before it needs to be upgraded and replaced.

So, why invest in solar panels? As it allows you yo enjoy the comforts of your own home without contributing to the earth’s destruction. Preserve the earth that gave life to you. Be a conscious consumer before it’s too late.

Why Your Business Needs a Proper Website

Example of Website in BrisbaneThere is no doubt today that all businesses should have an online presence of some sort. Whether it’s a website or at least a social media account, you need to be online. If you only have a social media account like most small businesses, however, you are losing a lot of potential traffic. A website is still your most important means of being on the Web.

Many small business owners simply shrug their shoulders when asked why they won’t build a website, and quickly mention that they have a social media account and that is enough. The truth is, it’s not enough. You need a website.

Why a website is important

A website is important because it makes you look more professional, Bambrick Media explains. You can put your story there, blog about things you would like to be seen as an authority in, put a space for testimonials and comments and inquiries, upload videos and more. You can even do your business there by enabling eCommerce on your website. You also need social media presence, but only as a support for your real website. When you post an update on, say, Twitter, you should link to a landing page on your website.

Make your website searchable

Another advantage of having a website is you have something Google can index, making it easier for customers to find you with a simple online search. Make sure your search engine optimisation is strong and updated regularly, though. Otherwise, your website might not appear on the first few pages of Google and, since the average user only trusts the results on the first three pages, you might not even get a chance at all.

A website is no longer a luxury reserved for the big companies. It’s a necessity for anyone who wants to get more customers and enjoy a fair chance of competing with more established businesses in your industry.

 

Proper Cost Estimates are an Important Part of a Construction Project

Good Cost Estimates for Construction Projects

Good Cost Estimates for Construction ProjectsConstruction projects include many phases, from clearing to actual building phase. Each phase has its own estimated costs. As a contractor, you need to have accurate estimated cost of materials and labor at every stage.

One of the most difficult phases in preparing a building construction proposal is assembling all the necessary data that can help you in determining the total cost of the project. Obviously, you would not want to set a price without first checking the cost of materials, labor, or equipment that you will be using, for fear that you might set it too high or too low. As such, it could mean either you lose the opportunity of winning the project or you might lose money. It’s unacceptable in both cases. To avoid this from happening, you may want to prepare Quantity Take Off’s or QTO with software such as eTakeoff, LLC.

What is it?

Simply put, QTO is a comprehensive evaluation of all the materials and labor you need to complete a project. According to Delta University, the information presented in the QTO must be very precise. This document is usually developed and prepared by qualified construction cost appraisers who are usually hired by construction companies to study the project and come up with cost estimates. The data contained in the QTO are then used by the proponent, in this case, the construction company, to come up with an estimated cost for the entire project.

The Appraiser’s Task

It is the job of the appraiser to factor everything including the phases involved in the project and the time needed to complete it. For instance, the site where the building is to be constructed still needs to be cleared of debris. In such case, the appraisers needs to conduct a site inspection to see how big or small is the task involved and what type of equipment would be needed. Naturally, he also has to determine how many people would work on that initial phase. In all, you will now be able to evaluate how long each phase would take, as well as the number of people involved and the type of equipment to use.

Cost Estimates

Aside from defining the number of phases involved in the project, along with its corresponding estimated number of days to complete, the appraiser also needs to determine the costs involved for each phase. While detailed cost estimates are not always asked for by clients since their concern is actually the total cost, the American Institute of Architects is of the opinion that comprehensive cost approximations can be an important aspect in terms of budget adherence and cost management.

Automate

The only issue with all of these is the amount of time the QTO appraiser needs in compiling every data he have gathered. On top of this, he also needs to ensure that his calculations are accurate to the last penny. Because of the huge volume of data involved, it is expected that errors may occur. Using take off quantities software may greatly help in this case. This software solution can generate accurate estimates of your materials, labor, and even waste costs at a touch of a button. This way, you can do away with a QTO appraiser and still have accurate results when and where you need them.

The pre-construction phase is usually the most challenging phase in a building construction project. If you go by the traditional method of hiring QTO appraisers to get an accurate cost estimate, you would have to wait for some time for it to be completed. In such case, using a software solution can be your best option.

What to Do: Improving Field Service Operations and Productivity

Field Service Management SoftwareWhen it comes to businesses that have procedures involving field service operation, it is necessary that team managers should make collaboration a lot easier. Through proper collaboration, all members involved in the project would have an easier time communicating with each other.

This is where field service management software programs come into play. JobLogic and other development software experts list what it can do for you:

Maximising productivity

Field projects often involve different components that it can be a hassle for everyone when participation becomes a problem. This is the main reason organisations have to realise the importance of having management software to take care of the basics and even the advanced areas of their management procedures. Through these programs, an organisation can increase their productivity, which will then result in better results delivery and of course, increased overall profit for the business.

What these programs can do for you

These programs ensure that their clients receive the best of the best. For instance, they make collaboration between team members a lot easier. This means that they can communicate, whether online or offline, through a single application. This ease of communication eliminates and reduces the risk of errors. For leaders and supervisors, this means they can monitor what their members are doing in real-time.

Intelligent automation for accuracy and efficiency

Field service operation and its numerous moving parts require proper management, or else the project may fall into pieces. You, either as the business owner or the leader of the project, should manage it accurately and efficiently to make certain that every member is doing their part in a timely manner. Doing so will ensure utmost productivity, higher revenue and most importantly, client satisfaction.

Through an intelligent, automated field service management application or program, you can achieve all these and even more, so do not think twice about investing in it.

What You Track is What You Get: Winning at PPC Advertising

PPC Advertising

PPC AdvertisingDitching thorough analytics may result in 97% of inbound marketing campaign failures.

Does that capture your attention? It should.

Hubspot’s 2014-2015 State of Inbound Report revealed the shocking statistics. Inverted, marketing strategies without good analytics only have a 3% chance at success. But what does good analytics mean exactly?

In the world of PPC advertising services, there’s a variety of metrics you could track. The question is, which of these should you track?

What You Track, What You Get

Before you dive into the complexities of paid search, keep this in mind: your business will produce more than what you measure.

This is important in PPC advertising, which considers every click valuable. There is an opportunity cost associated with each lead; as a result, spending time optimizing the wrong metric should NEVER be an option.

A total of 77% of companies heavily depend on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), but this should not be the case. Remember, not all KPIs are equal; only some link to real company success. If you’re not careful, you’ll waste time in meaningless number games. Therefore, it pays to know the indicators that lead to success.

  • Traffic

Traffic metrics (e.g. clicks, cost-per-click [CPC], and click-through rate [CTR]) are some of the easiest metrics you can track. Since you pay for each click, the PPC platform does the job by tracking for you.

These metrics provide information on the users finding you — how they do it and what you should do to get more attention. It offers important feedback on which ads work and if they resonate with your audience.

  • Conversions

To ensure your site receives the right traffic, tracking conversions is a must — and you need to track EVERYTHING.

While traffic metrics tell you what the audience thinks, conversions focus on what the traffic thinks of your landing page. It’s not easy to track like traffic marketing, but a little effort transforms this into a low-maintenance metric.

  • Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROIs) is your golden metric and is also one of the most difficult. Efforts on profits revolve around your ROI metrics. Still, optimizing your strategy through ROIs focuses on maximizing profit.

Don’t let your efforts go to waste. Keep these indicators in mind and save your PPC strategy from future bumps.

The Value of Nostalgia: Investing in Old Pokémon Trading Cards

Pokémon Trading Card GameThe Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) first came out in October of 1996 in Japan. It bases itself on the Pokémon video game series, while later expansions would feature cards relative to the TV series. Since then, the collectable card game has grown in popularity to cater to fans across the world.

Today, the old Pokémon trading cards, such as the Base, Jungle and Fossil sets, are more than just collectables. They now have, albeit varied, investment values. Depending on which card you own, you can make as low as 100,000 USD if you have the rarest of them all.

Is There Money in Old Pokémon Trading Cards?

In investing, it helps to have some cash to spend, or at least, prepare your financial cushion. Rapid Loans can provide for people looking for short-term loans. These loans are easier to secure and can provide you with the cash you need to start your investment.

For instance, regular cards from the first three sets have rates between 1 to 13 USD. If you have a box full of these old Pokémon cards, you can begin by pooling them together for a quick sell. You can easily buy them online through auction or collector’s websites.

The rarest and most expensive of cards are the Pokémon Illustrator card and the Japanese Holographic Charizard. These two cards are worth around 130,000 USD in total.

The Value of Nostalgia

Basically, these collectible investments are mere cardboards. Its value, aside from its rarity as a manufactured commodity, lies in the meaning they have had to people.

These cards once meant a lot to children. Battling with their decks, trading cards and collecting amongst friends — the Pokémon TCG started a craze. And today, since these children are all grown up with purchasing power, they can more or less dictate the demand and supply of these cards — making them a worthwhile investment that will only continue to grow in value.

Facebook SEO: Optimize your Business Page for Search Engines

Facebook Marketing in MinnesotaFacebook marketing is an integral component of any online marketing strategy. Although some online marketing channels could get a bit pricey, Facebook is relatively free (though you should highly consider paid Facebook ads) and effective if you can optimize your business Facebook page for SEO. 

Here is some advice you can follow:

Your Facebook Page URL

You could either go with your brand name (if you already have an established one) or an optimized description of your services (if your business is relatively new). For example, if your business name is “XXX Nutrients” and you specialize in organic oils in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you could use "minneapolisorganicoils" for the URL.

Your About Page

This should include a keyword-rich and detailed description of what your business is about. Digital marketing and SEO companies in Minnesota noted that you should include your contact information and complete address to optimize your page for local search. Additionally, search engines prioritize businesses that provide detailed contact information.

Taking Advantage of Link Building

While posting links of your blog or site on Facebook helps in building quality links for your site, posting other links of reputable sources on your Facebook page could likewise improve the chances of your page ranking in search results.

Always Provide Fresh Content

You should post content regularly that’s relevant to your business to offer search engines fresh sources for crawling and indexing your Facebook page under. Fresh and relevant content will likewise increase engagement with fans and attract potential customers. When you post updates, consider putting the most vital keywords because search engines use a Facebook post’s initial 18 characters for making titles on every post.

While your Facebook page doesn't count as a website, search engines could still reach them and that’s what matters most. This means that optimizing your Facebook page for search engines is just as vital as optimizing your website. 

Remember, SEO is mainly about being seen. No matter how great your offers are, you won’t get customers if no one knows about your business. Optimizing your Facebook could significantly help with that.

3 Reasons Storytelling and Web Design Mix

Storytelling WebsitesEverybody loves stories. Given a particular scenario or situation, humans are naturally curious about what happened and what would happen next. Good storytelling keeps the audience glued to the end, satisfying the thirst for information and closure.

Storytelling websites are no news, but they came alive as of late, thanks to animations and user interactivity. Sites that use this style tell stories through the gradual movements of visual elements on the screen, as the visitor scroll anywhere the next chapter lies. When made engaging, it can enhance user experience, for many site visitors these days love to try new things on the Internet.

According to experienced Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota SEO companies, storytelling has been a hot trend in web design over the years for great reasons:

Capturing the Interest of Visitors

The use of high-quality visual elements is a surefire way to arrest the eyes of online users. Sites with only text-based content, which only shows repetitive lines of letters, tend to look boring and uninteresting.

On the other hand, websites filled with vibrant images are more appealing and striking. As the initial mission of web design is to make a solid impression to visitors, the use storytelling is one way to amaze online users the moment they land on your page.

Simplifying the Complicated

It’s easier to send your point across with the aid of creative visuals. Instead of forcing visitors to read chunks of text about your business, why not use moving illustrations to express your message. By putting a snippet on every part of the story, your visitors can quickly grasp the concept you are trying to convey with less stress.

Inducing Engagement

Morphing web elements can truly keep online users at the edge of their seats. When executed property, navigating your site is like reading a novel you couldn’t put down. Users would be hooked to see how the story unfolds and take the time to finish it. This allows them to become engaged with your products and services, and translate their visit into positive traffic.

In web design, you only get one shot to make a great impression. If you can turn your site into a virtual raconteur, you can have a good chance to generate more leads, and even conversions.

Electrical Power Testing: The Real Essence Behind the Test

Electrical Power TestingProfessional cable and wire installers and repairers require dependable, accurate, and efficient test instruments so they can pinpoint issues, fix them immediately, and maintain optimally functioning electrical systems. Through these devices, they can isolate problems and resolve them immediately, thus; avoiding the interruption of workflow in offices or leaving houses without electricity.

Most importantly, they keep workers safe and protected from the dangers of working with wires and cables, particularly burns and electrocution that live or hot wires can cause.

The essence of electrical power testing

Inspection, testing, and servicing are all integral components of the maintenance of power systems. This is why they play extremely critical roles in ensuring maximum safety and reliability of all operations, whether for residential or commercial purposes.

All installers and repairers require electrical testing devices that should allow them to test leads via a variety of connection types, depths, lengths, and ratings. One of the most important tools that they should have is the electrical wire finder.

Electrical and electronic wire finder 101

Through the use of these wire and cable finders, workers can establish their place of installation, even when located underground, in between walls, or in other part of a building where they remain unseen. Finders and tracers also help operators figure out which wires or cables have faults in them, as long as they have a built in fault-finding feature in them.

Some electronic wire finders only serve the purpose of tracing these hidden cables and wires, while some have built-in fault finders in them.

Other applications these tools are used for

Aside from locating electrical cables and wires, utility services also use these pieces of equipment in applications including water and sewer lines, underground cable TV and telephone cables, natural gas pipes, and wasters. In addition, they can also function as a locator for buried markers.

Electronic wire finders are just some of the most important devices wire and cable installers and repairers should have, and they should always have it in their tool set.

It’s All in the Technique: Effective Studying Simplified

Effective Studying Technique

Studying may be something you don’t always enjoy. This is especially true if you’re dealing with difficult courses, such as math and history.

Studying, however, is important, more especially if you have a test coming up in Effective Studying Techniquea few days. You need to have more effective studying strategies in case you’re planning to take up a course that needs certification. IT professions, for instance, require A+ practice tests.

If you want to take studying seriously, here are some methods that will help make it easier and more bearable.

Start with Note Taking

The golden rule of studying? Do not rely on your memory. As such, you need to have good note taking habits. When listening to a lecture, always list down the keywords. You may also use a mnemonic device that will help you remember a certain word or phrase.

Keep a Schedule

You cannot keep a habit if you don’t schedule it. Every day, set aside an hour or two for study. If you do it regularly, it will turn into a habit. Always review or revisit your material; a repeated exposure to learning material will help you retain information. You may find it difficult at first, but remember why you’re doing this.

Study with a Friend

You don’t have to go at it alone! Invite your friend to study with you. Having someone that will review-study with you will inspire you to do more. You can also practice with them by having short quizzes.

Choose Your Study Place

Where you study is also important. It’s important that you’re free from distractions. As much as possible, choose quite places. Other than the library, you may study in a coffee shop. If you want to study in your room, you may choose to play mellow or classical music to improve your concentration.

Have goals in mind to keep yourself motivated. Above all, don’t forget to take a break. Reward yourself if you have achieved your goals. You deserve it.