November 04, 2011

Are You a Victim of the 5 Biggest SEO Content Myths?

Are You a Victim of the 5 Biggest SEO Content Myths?

Publishing great SEO content is harder than you might think. After all, you need content that wows readers, teaches them something new, and convinces them that you're a bona-fide expert - all while letting the search engines know exactly what keywords you're trying to rank for.

Anytime you're dealing with SEO content, you're walking a fine line. That next article or blog posting you publish has the potential to make you stand out, make you blend in with the rest of your competitors, or make you look downright bad.
Making matters even more difficult? There are a ton of SEO content myths floating around out there. On the surface, may of them look legitimate - so it can be tough to separate the wisdom from the rubbish. In fact, you may not even know that you're operating your entire content writing philosophy under a myth!

Are you falling victim to any of these 5 popular SEO content myths?

1. The Best SEO Content is 1,000 Words. (or 500 words, or 250 words)

This is a common sentence uttered by people who just don't know a whole lot. You may be inclined to think that longer is better, or that shorter content will leave people yearning for more - but the truth is, there is no "magical" SEO content length.

Instead, the best length for your SEO article, blog posting, or sales copy depends on your topic. Sure, it may be easy to create 1,500 compelling, well-researched words about getting over a divorce - but imagine what it would be like to read 1,500 words about heartburn medication or pipe welding. Trust me, your readers won't want to do it, either!

Great SEO content writing leaves readers feeling like they've learned something new, and it instills enough trust in you that readers want to see what else you have to provide. Sometimes, you can do that in 400 words. Other times, it takes 1,200 words to do it.

2. If Your SEO Articles Get Re-Published on a Bunch of Different Sites, It's Duplicate Content
This might be the biggest SEO content myth out there! If one of your SEO articles gets picked up (either from your site, an article directory, or from a site you published a guest post on), it's called "syndication," not "duplicate content." That's because "duplicate content" refers to have the same content on multiple pages of your site. Syndication, on the other hand, is a great way to build links and get exposure.

Anytime you publish SEO content, the goal is to get it syndicated. That way, it winds up in front of the eyeballs of people who are going to do business with you.

3. Your SEO content Isn't as Important as Your Backlinks

The high-quality links out there - you know, the ones that are going to boost your ranking in the search engine results - are not the ones that you trade for, or purchase. Instead, the only way to get those high-quality links is to give something that other people WANT to link to. That means coming up with SEO content that knocks people's socks off. If you publish content that people can't help wanting to share with their friends and colleagues, you'll wind up getting a ton of high-quality backlinks.

4. Your SEO Content Has to be Updated All the Time

Actually, this is a half-myth!

Yes, the search engines like websites that are updated on a regular basis. That's why your new SEO article or blog post can bump you up a few spots in the rankings right after you publish it.

However, that doesn't mean that you have to edit your existing content. For example, if you have a great homepage that's generating results, don't change it just to appease the search engines. Instead, add new content to the internal pages of your site.

5. Optimizing SEO Content Properly Means Having a High Keyword Density

Of course, you need to have your target keywords sprinkled throughout your article, blog posting, or sales copy. After all, that's how the search engines know what you're trying to rank for.

However, if you use your keywords too frequently, all you'll do is turn off readers and search engines.

The right keyword density for your content depends on the keyword itself. Some keywords lend themselves nicely to a density of 1.5% or 2% - while others can only be used less than 1% of the time and still look natural.

Remember, your readers shouldn't be able to read your content and pick out the keywords you used. If your keywords stick out like a sore thumb, you're not optimizing your content properly. Instead, your SEO content will cast a negative light on you and your business!

August 22, 2011

Life Insurance - 5 Common Myths & Misconceptions.

In this series of myths and misconceptions, I am trying to highlight / demystify various false notions associated with Personal Finance. I’ve already covered quite extensively the fallacies linked to tax, credit cards and mutual funds. Here’s top 5 myths & misconceptions about Life Insurance:
Misconception #1: Insurance is a tax saving tool.
The biggest myth about life insurance is that it is considered a tax saving tool rather than risk management tool. People buy it for the sole purpose of saving tax. There is nothing wrong in considering tax benefits while applying for it but buying it solely for tax savings is wrong.
Misconception #2: Nominee is same as the legal heir.
Nominee is the person who’s entitled for the claim proceeds if the life assured dies and is meant to give valid discharge to the life insurance company. Put another way, nomination only indicates the person who’s authorized to receive the claim amount and need not be a legal heir of the life assured.
Thus, nominee doesn’t acquire the absolute right over the proceeds if he is not the legal heir or the beneficiary in the will or if he is only one of the legal heir or beneficiary. The other legal heirs or beneficiaries can contest the ownership of the claim proceeds.
Misconception #3: ULIPs are equity linked.
A common myth about ULIPs (Unit Linked Insurance Plans) is that they are linked only to equity markets.
The fact is that there are various fund options (differs from company to company) available in case of Ulips. However, we can broadly categorize them into three categories 100% equity fund, balanced fund and 100% debt fund. There are also other fund options available with varying degree of equity and debt.
You have the flexibility to choose a fund option based on your risk appetite and if you wish, you can switch to another fund option at a later stage.
Misconception #4: Life Insurance is more important than Personal Accident / Disability Insurance Absolutely wrong.
Risk coverage for personal accident and disability is much more important than life insurance. Before you go for life insurance, you should be adequately covered for personal accident and disability insurance. Why?
    1. While life insurance covers only death whether natural or accidental, personal accident also covers disability (both temporary and permanent) caused due to accident (besides accidental death) and disability insurance covers you for non-accidental disabilities arising out of various diseases / ailments.
    2. In terms of financial impact, suffering from life impacting disabilities is worse than dying.
    3. The probability of meeting an accident or suffering from a disability is much more than natural death, particularly for younger people.
    4. Finally, these general insurance covers are much cheaper than life insurance.
However, please note that these policies don’t cover you for hospitalization (for which separate risk covers are available) expenses but for loss of income arising due to disability.
Unfortunately, as of now, disability insurance also called 'Income Replacement' or 'Income Protection' insurance is not available in India.
The next best alternative to insure against the risk of sickness induced disability is critical illness insurance which differs from disability insurance in terms of coverage and benefits with some some overlaps.
Misconception #5: You should receive the money back when the life policy expires.
How much annual premium do you pay to get your motor comprehensive cover on your 4 lakh or 6 lakh car? Do you get that money back when your motor car policy expires? But you expect your money back while buying a life insurance policy. Isn’t it amazing? To know more of it, see: Most Amazing Fact about Life Insurance.

August 20, 2011

Top Myths for Investing in Mutual Fund.

It is really amazing to see how people – who are otherwise skeptical, rational and intelligent – become so gullible when it comes to making investment decisions.
Investment path is strewn with deadly pitfalls that might appear harmless but in reality can do irrevocable damage to your investment portfolio if you’re not diligent.
Here is a list of 6 commonly held misconceptions about investing in mutual funds:

1. Mutual fund declaring dividend is better than the one not declaring
Most of the investor’s assume that dividend’s are indicators of strong performance. It may or may not be true. It may be just another marketing trick to attract investors.
Further, from this wrong perception, we may deduce that fund declaring dividend is better performing and hence a better buy than the one not declaring it. In other words, funds which are not declaring dividends are performing worse than those declaring it.
Try to understand that mutual fund dividends are not same as corporate dividends. You don’t get anything extra because to the extent of dividend distributed, the NAV comes down.
Let’s say, when you buy a mutual fund the NAV is 36 and soon thereafter the mutual fund declares a dividend of Rs 8 per unit. You will receive Rs 8 per unit in cash but the new/adjusted NAV of the fund will become Rs 28. Finally, you end up where you started meaning thereby that you don’t get any extra gains, your money is simply paid back to you.
If there is any difference, it is from the tax point of view.
Many mutual funds take full advantage of this misleading notion and market their funds based on dividends rates to lure investors. Therefore, don’t get fooled.
2. Mutual fund’s NFO’s are similar to IPO’s of companies and offer listing gains
Unlike stocks which are primary instruments (i.e., a financial instrument whose value is determined by the market based on demand and supply and is not derived from that of another instrument) and may list at premium or discount to the offer price, mutual fund units are secondary instruments (collective investments that pools money from various investors and invests in primary instruments like stocks) and does not offer any listing gains.
There are three different values in case of financial instruments, market value, book value and intrinsic value. In case of stocks, the market price may differ significantly from their book value and intrinsic value, whereas in case of mutual funds, all the three values are the same and represented by NAV.
The reason behind stock IPO’s listing gains –during bull markets - is that due to hype created during the IPO marketing, the demand sometimes exceeds the supply.
In case of mutual funds supply is always equal to the demand. In other words, in case of open ended mutual fund, supply is unlimited and is based on their demand i.e., the new units gets created at the time of investment and gets destroyed at the time of redemption. Therefore, in case of open-ended funds (they are not listed and thus not traded in the market) there can never be any premium or discount based on demand.
But the above argument does not hold true in case of close-ended funds which are listed and traded in the market and where – like stocks - the supply is limited which may sometimes lead to their market price drifting away from the NAV.
Therefore, before investing in a NFO, understand that you won’t get listing gains and so resist the temptation to invest in NFO’s.
3. NFO’s are better than existing schemes because you get a bargain by buying the NFO at-par
Just because a NFO is available at Rs 10 does not mean that it is cheaper than the existing fund.
Let’s say you invest Rs. 10,000 in a NFO (1,000 units @ Rs 10) and another Rs 10,000 in an existing scheme at a NAV of Rs 20 (500 units). Now, if the NFO gives a return of 10% and the existing scheme gives a return of 20%, then after one year your NFO amount will become 11,000 whereas existing scheme amount will become Rs 12,000.
I don’t mean to say that NFO always performs worse than the existing scheme. Rather the point is that while investing in mutual funds, the cost factor is totally irrelevant i.e., the rate at which you buy the units (whether new or existing) doesn’t make any difference. Whether the rate is Rs 5 or 50 or 500 has no impact, whatsoever, on the future returns.
In mutual fund investing, the only thing which matters is future performance and that is easier to judge in case of existing schemes because unlike NFO’s, existing schemes have a track record.
Although past performance does not guarantee future performance, it’s a good indicator. A fund which has consistently performed well in the past is also likely to do so in future.
Hence, it is always prudent to stay away from NFO’s.

4. A mutual fund unit with a low NAV is better than the one with a higher NAV
It is another erroneous perception that NAV of a mutual fund is similar to market price of stocks and therefore buying funds at low NAV is similar to buying stocks at cheaper prices. This wrong belief stems from the view that a low NAV fund holds more potential for appreciation. Besides, the low NAV seems to be cheaper because it allows you to buy more units.
As already mentioned above, unlike shares which are primary instruments, mutual fund are secondary instruments, so the current NAV level doesn’t matter at all.
The value of your investments is the product of number of units and the NAV. What happens is that in case of low NAV, you’re allotted higher number of units and in case of high NAV, you’re allotted fewer units. But the end result is that value of your investments remains same in both the cases.
Say, you have Rs 200 to invest and you invest equally in two existing schemes Fund A (with a NAV of Rs 25) and Fund B (with a NAV of Rs 100). In the case of Fund A, you receive 4 units @ Rs 25 each and in case of Fund B, you receive one unit @ Rs 100. Now, let’s further assume that both the funds performed equally well and gave an annual return of 20%. So, in case of 'Fund A' NAV becomes Rs 30 per unit and in case of 'Fund B' NAV becomes Rs 120 and value of your investment in each scheme becomes Rs 120. Thus, your total gain/return in both cases would be same irrespective of the NAV.
Therefore, always remember that existing NAV of a fund does not have any impact on the returns.
For making investment decision, NAV of a fund is totally irrelevant. The only criteria to judge mutual funds performance is risk adjusted returns and current NAV – whether high or low – makes no difference to returns.
5. High returns, say thirty per cent, means excellent performance
The above statement may or may not be true because in this universe of relativity, everything is relative and nothing is absolute.
While judging the performance of mutual funds, what matters is relative rather than absolute performance i.e., how the particular fund has performed in comparison to similar schemes and its benchmark.
6. High annualized returns, say fifty per cent, means the fund is a good buy
If a fund says it has given annualized returns of 50% based on last quarter performance, it means that the fund is assuming last quarter performance is going to be repeated during next three quarters which is highly improbable, if not impossible.

Commercial transactions are governed by the doctrine of Caveat Emptor, Latin for ‘let the buyer beware’, which means that a customer should be cautious and alert to the possibility of being cheated. This principle is also equally applicable while making investments.
Furthermore, Unscrupulous mutual fund companies and distributors/agents who are well aware of these widely held but mistaken beliefs, take undue advantage and mis-sell the schemes to naive investors based on these false notions.
Therefore, don’t be so credulous and blindly rely on the judgement and honesty of your financial advisor and mutual fund company. Understand that they’re there to get your money and can lead you astray if you’re not careful. Ultimately, the onus to protect yourself lies on you, the investor. Hence, become a smart and intelligent investor.

August 19, 2011

60 Ways to look young and feel great !

Our advice has changed little since because we've always extolled the fundamentals: The right diet, exercise and spirit promote long life - and keep you looking and feeling young. (Of course, a fabulous haircut, lipstick, and the right pair of jeans can't hurt, either.)
Here's the ultimate clock-resetting guide - beauty how-to and health must-do.

Mind your brain 
These strategies will help keep you sharp-witted(and healthy, too!) throughout your life

Drink up 
Your coffee, that is. Swedish and Finnish researchers found that moderate consumption of coffee (3-5 small cups a day) cuts the risk of dementia by 65 percent.

Get moving
Middle-aged women and men who exercise 5-6 times a week (brisk walking is okay) are far less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment later in life.

Check your numbers
High cholesterol in your 40s can up your chances of developing Alzheimer's later in life, researchers reported at a 2008 meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Also Keep an eye on
Your high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Low levels are linked to memory loss and dementia, a University College, London, study of 3,673 participants found.

Watch your weight
Obesity can increase the dementia risk by 80 percent, a Johns Hopkins, US, study found. Most dangerous: fat around your middle.

Be a groupie
Payoffs from having a circle of friends or people you see regularly at a club or other gathering:
Lower blood pressure
Delayed memory loss
Reduced risk of recurrent stroke and even the common cold

Save your skin
Choose the right products but follow through with some mustdos as well... Your chest is thin-skinned, making it susceptible to sun damage. to renew it, gently exfoliate regularly with a face scrub. Wear a hat that has at least a three-inch brim in order to shade your face. or carry a parasol. on cold days, give your face extra protection with a super-rich thick moisturiser. Use sunscreen with a minimum spf of 15 - no matter where you live or what your skin colour, use every day, whether it's winter or summer. and don't forget the after-sun face wash.

Keep an eye on your vision
Dark green leafy vegetables are prime sources of both lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that protect your eyes from uv damage. make lettuce salads - and make sure spinach is on the menu, too.

Happy birthday!
Celebrating one of these milestones? Gift yourself new cosmetics and a new look. Move beyond the bare essentials.
Don't hold back - treat yourself to...
AT 30 tinted moisturisers, loose body powders and shimmers.
AT 40 lengthening mascara, eyelid primer.
AT 50 rosy blush, glowy foundation.
AT 60 shimmery shadow, hydrating lipstick.

Dress code
7 fashion tricks that will make you look younger-instantly---
1. Try the new black - It's actually black and white; the combination makes you look sophisticated but still playful.
2. Experiment with a new trend - It updates your look and gives you a more youthful vibe.
3. Learn the power of shapewear - They can give you a sleeker line by invisibly smoothing the areas that bulge out a bit. A more supportive bra adds lift - and subtracts years.
4. Show some leg - Who said that once you're 40, hems should be below the knee? At the knee or just above is most flattering.
5. Skip the Mommy jeans - A dark wash, lower waist, and slimmer-cut jeans will give you the impression of legs you had in high school.
6. Go casual - A T-shirt under your jacket instead of a buttondown shirt, for example, can make you look younger.
7. Keep it in proportion - A slim pant, paired with a longer tunic, will take away years (and conceal extra pounds).

Go fish
For omega-3-rich sources. The fatty acids in these cold-water fish fight inflammation (precursor to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes) and boost mood.
Best high-in-fat:
             Salmon (canned is fine)
If you can't find these fish, or your tastes are more turf than surf, then take fish oil supplements containing 500mg of EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). Seven Seas Seacod and Maxepa are locally available brands. While you can get omega-3s from plant sources, they're in a form that don't give you similar protection.

Love lessons
A study conducted at Columbia and Yale Universities found that elderly women who named their husbands as their primary confidants had a reduced risk of dying over the next six years. Bonus: Their husbands lived longer, too.The give-and-take of couple-dom may help keep the neurons firing, say Scandinavian researchers whose study of 1,400 men and women found that people who live alone at mid-life are twice as likely to develop cognitive impairment later in life as against those who are paired up.

A hand up
Pure lemon juice is one of the finest things for the hands,' Good Housekeeping reported in 1897, foreshadowing today's fruit-acid craze. While citric acid remains a great slougher, here are two more smooth moves: To avoid chapping, always dry hands thoroughly and follow with a hand cream. Keep gloves in your kitchen and bathrooms, to protect your hands whenever you're washing or cleaning.

Build a better memory
Our ability to commit new information to memory - and then retrieve it when we need it - slows down over the years.
To minimise the decline:
Practise paying attention Forcing yourself to observe and recall the details of your day - which tie did your husband wear? Did the supermarket cashier have her hair up or brushed back - sharpens your memory, even if you never need the information.
Watch TV, or unwind in whatever way works for you - a long walk, a chat with a girl friend. Stress hormones (cortisol) may interfere with encoding and retrieving information; as you age, chronic elevated cortisol levels are linked to memory impairment.
Do crossword puzzles, or learn a new instrument or language. Mentally challenging activities build fresh connections in your brain, creating "cognitive reserves" that may protect memory later in life.

Shine on
'The price of a head of good hair is never ending vigilance,' warned Good Housekeeping in 1910. Today, thanks to new techniques and products, you can drop your guard but keep your looks.
1. Gray hair, which can be coarse, needs extra conditioning. Try hair products which soften hair. Hot oil treatments are still your best bet.
2. Hair becomes drier as you age; keep it healthy-looking with frequent trims and deep-conditioning.

A cut above
Ask your hair stylist for bangs. They look young and fun, and hide forehead lines.Make waves. Stick-straight hair can look severe (read: older); gentle curls soften the contours of your face.
Short cuts create the illusion of more hair. If you prefer to keep your hair long, add face-framing layers for a subtle lift.

A la smart menu
'Proper diet? will tend to ward off diseases,' Good Housekeeping said in 1919. Today, research has identified specific foods that can help you stay healthy and happy:? Berries of all hues are rich in antioxidants. They combat chemicals that can cause cell-damage and chronic inflammation. Spinach and other dark leafy greens deliver Vitamin K, which strengthens bones. Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant, inflammation-deterrent, and artery-protector. Curd and other dairy products are a terrific source of bone-building protein and calcium.
In a Japanese study conducted recently, eating 1/4 cup of curd a day led to a 50 percent reduction in tooth loss, possibly because of the probiotics in curd. Whole grains can protect against diabetes, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, and gum disease. Dark chocolate helps keep your arteries functioning well. But have no more than 42gm a day. Too much will pack on the heartdamaging kilos.

Keeping lips luscious
Whatever your challenge - dryness, shape - there is a solution.
Lift droopy corners, apply a basic colour first, then go over the centre of lips with a slightly deeper shade.Prevent the lipstick from melting away into lines. Use a pencil to line lips before you apply lipstick. Then, avoid too-creamy or glossy formulations, which tend to migrate or melt into those lines.
Soften your pout. Gently rub a warm, damp washcloth over your lips to slough dead skin. Follow with a balm.
What's so funny about that
A University of Maryland, US, research found that laughing can increase blood flow by 22 percent and may protect against heart problems. It also relieves stress.

As the crow's(feet) fly
In 1931, Good Housekeeping referred to them as those "hateful little lines," and advised - as a deterrent - avoiding 'visual strains of all kinds,' including 'lack of glasses when they are not needed.' Besides not smoking, here's how you can minimise the dreaded crinkles:
After you've washed your face, pat around your eyes to dry the delicate skin - rubbing stretches it.
Even if you have oily skin and don't use a face cream, moisturise around your eyes twice a day. Apply moisturiser with your ring finger; it's your weakest one and thus least likely to cause damage to your eyes, or result in wrinkles.

Master your metabolism
You'll reverse middle-aged spread - and help keep your body slim and strong for years to come. Shed pounds slowly Crash dieting leads to greater loss of metabolism-boosting muscle. A fast-like diet will drop the average woman's metabolic rate by at least 25 percent.

Pump iron
Adding weight training to your cardio routine helps you avoid losing the 2.3kg muscle that otherwise disappear every decade, simply from getting older.

Switch it up
Trying different routines keeps muscles from getting bored - they have to work in new(challenging) ways.

4 Eye-Openers
1. Curl your lashes.
2. Cover dark undereye circles without telltale chalkiness - apply powder foundation in a shade that matches your skin tone to the darkened areas, then pat with a damp sponge.
3. Liner trick - choose a creamy eyeliner pencil. Hard pencils can pull at delicate skin.
4. Because of its texture, the skin around your eyes looks youngest with just a bare minimum of setting powder.

What is the Best Girlfriend Birthday Gift?

August 17, 2011

Learn before Investing Money in Mutual Funds.

What is a Mutual Fund?  
Mutual Fund is a trust that pools the savings of a number of investors who share a common financial goal. Each scheme of a mutual fund can have different character and objectives. Mutual funds issue units to the investors, which represent an equitable right in the assets of the mutual fund. 
What is the difference between an open ended and close ended scheme?  
Open ended funds can issue and redeem units any time during the life of the scheme while close ended funds can not issue new units except in case of bonus or rights issue. Hence, unit capital of open ended funds can fluctuate on daily basis while that is not the case for close ended schemes. Other way of explaining the difference is that new investors can join the scheme by directly applying to the mutual fund at applicable net asset value related prices in case of open ended schemes while that is not the case in case of close ended schemes. New investors can buy the units from secondary market only.
 How are mutual funds different from portfolio management schemes?  
In case of mutual funds, the investments of different investors are pooled to form a common investible corpus and gain/loss to all investors during a given period are same for all investors while in case of portfolio management scheme, the investments of a particular investor remains identifiable to him. Here the gain or loss of all the investors will be different from each other.
What does Net Asset Value (NAV) of a scheme signify and what is the basis of its calculation?  
Net asset value on a particular date reflects the realisable value that the investor will get for each unit that he his holding if the scheme is liquidated on that date. It is calculated by deducting all liabilities (except unit capital) of the fund from the realisable value of all assets and dividing by number of units outstanding.
Can I get fixed monthly income by investing in mutual fund units?  
Yes, there are a number of mutual fund schemes which give you fixed monthly income. Further, you can also get monthly income by making a single investment in an open ended scheme and redeeming fix value of units at regular intervals.
What are the tax benefits for investing in mutual fund units?  
Dividend income from mutual fund units will be exempt from income tax with effect from July 1, 1999. Further, investors can get rebate from tax under section 88 of Income Tax Act, 1961 by investing in Equity Linked Saving Schemes of mutual funds. Further benefits are also available under section 54EA and 54EB with regard to relief from long term capital gains tax in certain specified schemes.
As my dividend receipts from mutual fund units were tax free under section 80 L, will I  loose because of the new budget provision whereby my mutual fund will pay 10% tax on total dividend distributed and indirectly even I will end up paying the tax?  
The above statement is partially true. 10% tax on dividend paid is not applicable for funds which have invested more than 50% in equity for next three years. Hence, if you have invested in an equity scheme, you will not loose out for the time being. However, in case of debt funds, your statement is true.
 Are investments in mutual fund units safe?  
No stock market related investments can be termed safe with certainty as they are inherently risky. However, different funds have different risk profile which is stated in its objective. Funds which categorize themselves as low risk, invest generally in debt which is less risky than equity. Anyway, as mutual funds have access to services of expert fund managers, they are always safer than direct investment in the stock markets.
How do I find out about a scheme which suits my individual requirements?  
You have to define your individual requirements and then simply go to ‘Choose a Scheme’   icon on the home page of this web site. You can select your defined parameters and get a list of schemes which would fit the needs.
As mutual fund schemes invest in stock markets only, are they suitable for a small investor like me?  
Mutual funds are meant only for a small investor like you. The prime reason is that successful investments in stock markets require careful analysis of scrips which is not possible for a small investor. Mutual funds are usually fully equipped to carry out thorough analysis and can provide superior returns.

August 16, 2011

Top 10 healthy tips for saving money on food bills

At a time when money’s tight and you’re looking to make cut-backs in your weekly food bill, healthy eating does not need to go out of the window. Eating healthily does not have to be costly, and by considering healthier options, and making sure you actually consume them, can surprisingly bring down the cost of your shopping bill.
Here’s 10 tips that will likely improve your health and your wealth when shopping for food and consuming it the home or workplace: 
1. Avoid food shopping when hungry — This is one of the cardinal sins of food shopping; go shopping on an empty stomach and you’ll come back with all sorts of impulse buys that appealed when your stomach was growling, but probably don’t know. In all likelihood, those food purchases will be the fat-filled, artery-clogging processed foods that are going to have cost you both in monetary and health terms.
2. Avoid food shopping with the kids — Shopping with the kids leaves your purse or wallet in severe danger, and if they are hungry when you go shopping, it’ll be a double whammy. Kids will have been subjected to all sorts of clever advertising and will be pestering you for the far-from-healthy options like cholesterol-filling brontosaurus burgers and calorie-busting, decay-inducing, sugar-coated cereal. And if the kids are hungry, they’ll be pestering for an unhealthy snack to fill them ‘til you get them home too!
3. Shop with a shopping list — Those who shop with a list generally buy exactly what they need; those who don’t pay the price. Preparing a well-planned shopping list creates some discipline so that you can avoid walking up aisle after aisle of inviting junk food, which is just waiting to reel you in. If you don’t have to shop aisle by aisle, you can buy just what you want, saving you and your family from a junk food overload.
4. Plan to eat fresh soon after your shop — Even the best of intentions can be wasted. You buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean meat and fish, and then it just sits there as if it’s an experiment to recreate the discovery of penicillin. The best advice is if you are planning to create healthy meals, do so within a few days of your shop so that you use up the healthy ingredients you bought. You could make wilted lettuce a thing of the past by having salads earlier in your shopping week.
5. Buy unripened fruit and veg — If you know that you’re not going to be tucking into that fresh fruit and veg for a few days, then there’s little point buying already ripe stuff. Buy fruit that's still a day or two behind ripeness and avoid vegetables that look like they’re past their best. It’s quite likely there’s a new load of fresh produce in the storeroom waiting to be put on display, so ask at the store.
6. Buy in season — Although most fruit and veg is available year-round, it makes sense to buy when it’s in season. Not only will they be cheaper, but it’s likely that they will have only traveled a shorter distance, so will be fresher and likely to last longer when you bring them home.
7. Become a smoothie operator — Those bananas that have been sitting there ripening in the fruit bowl need not be ditched once they have metamorphosed into black bananas. Put them to good use and make a smoothie which will not only make use of the bananas but prevent you from feeling the need to snack on some other less healthy option. The same applies to many other forms of fruit, while certain vegetables could still be ‘recycled’ in a soup or stew.
8. Make your own healthy lunches — It probably seems as though your lunch break is continually being squeezed and the temptation to go for the easy option fast food meal can be great. Avoid that temptation and consider taking food left over from the evening meal to work the next day, or making a healthy sandwich or salad at home which is going to be much cheaper than the salt-packed, deep-fried fast food option.
9. Drink tap water — Is bottled water really what it’s all cracked up to be? Yeah, we all know that water is good for us and that recommendations are that we should drink around 8 glasses of water a day, but there’s nothing to say this has to be bottled water. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle and fill it with tap water and you can keep it in the fridge if you like your water chilled. Keeping yourself topped up with water will stave off hunger pangs, which are actually usually just signs that the body is dehydrated rather than hungry. Drinking water will also limit your need for fizzy soft drinks.
10. Buy frozen — If you’re one of those people who is continually throwing away fresh produce, and you just can’t make proper use of it, then buy your produce frozen or freeze it yourself. Stock your freezer with small separate portions in freezer bags so that you can just take out what you need rather than having to thaw it all out and ending up throwing the majority of it away.

July 22, 2011

7 Unbreakable SEO Rules.

As a practice and industry, SEO is constantly evolving. Sites are seemingly at the mercy of the search engines, who usually can't be bothered to give the site owners a heads up before they update their algorithm. Every few weeks it seems like someone is heralding the death of SEO, but evolution does not equal demise. Over time, tactics and methods change to work inside the guidelines of the search engines and to meet the needs of the online user, but the core fundamentals of SEO have remained the same. 
Here are 7 basic rules of SEO...
1. Understand User-Intent
Keyword research is the cornerstone of any SEO campaign. Understanding user-intent when conducting and selecting your keywords is critical to getting your SEO off on the right foot and helping the right audience find your site. For instance, are "gym shoes," "sneakers" and "tennis shoes," the same thing? For some consumers those three words are completely interchangeable. But if a tennis player were looking for a new pair of shoes, they would search using "tennis shoes" and expect a very specific result. It doesn't matter how you would search for your brand/products, it only matters how your target audience searches. Targeting the wrong keywords because you failed to understand the intent of the search means you'll miss out on potential traffic and customers.
2. Don't Rush Your Link Building
It is crucial for the search engines to see a diversified approach to link building that slowly grows over time. A blended approach demonstrates your commitment to white hat link building and building your online presence naturally. The search engines are very aware that they are playing a game with spammers and black hat SEO users, and they don't plan on losing. If you develop too many links too fast, even if they are good quality links, this can raise a red flag with the search engines and your site could be penalized.
3. Content is King
Content is anything that is public and shareable. This includes blog web page content, blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, whitepapers and more. It is also the most important factor of a website's long term SEO success. Content should always be written for the end user, not for the search engines. You have to remember that the search engines are not going to be the ones purchasing your products or services, people are. Optimize your content so the search engines can find it, but don't forget that it has to be human friendly first. 
4. Be Strategic, Not Spammy
This is especially important in regards to social media marketing and social SEO. If you really wanted to, you could create a hundred different Twitter profiles to promote your content through. But what kind of real value are you getting from those profiles other than a link? You don't have to tackle every aspect of SEO at once. Frankly, there just isn't enough time in a day to take on that much work upfront. Pick and choose your battles so you don't overdo it. Flooding the online market with low-quality SEO doesn't help build your brand or reputation.
5. SEO is Long Term
This is probably the hardest thing for those new to SEO to wrap their heads around. SEO is not a quick fix to your online marketing. No, you won't be ranking on the first page of Google for all your keywords by tomorrow, next week, or even next month. This is especially true if you recently launched your site. It takes a long time to build up your trust factor with the search engines.
SEO builds upon itself over time, but that doesn't mean that once you have reached the first page in the search engines that you get to pack it up and call it a day. The Internet is continually growing and evolving. If you want to stay at the top, you have to keep working for it. It doesn't take long for your site to slip down in the results pages if you abandon your SEO.
6. Follow Search Engine Guidelines
Google, Bing and Yahoo want you to do well with your SEO because it helps clean up their search results. A better SERP makes for a happier search engine user. Search engines are in the business of pleasing the customer, just like everybody else. If your site can't help them do that, you won't ever rank well. That's why every site owner and marketer has to read the Google and Bing Webmaster Guidelines. Consider those guidelines your SEO line in the sand. If they call something black hat, then treat it as such and avoid it. It can be very tempting to test out the black hat side of SEO, especially when you see your competition doing it and seemingly getting away with it. Just don't! Sooner or later the search engines catch on and your site will be penalized.
7. Integrate Everything
Just about all your marketing online (and offline marketing) efforts can be leveraged for SEO. One of the biggest mistakes you could make is keeping your actions in separate silos. SEO works best when it is incorporated into the mix, becoming an essential component of your marketing online. If your company has a large marketing department, don't segregate the SEO guy back to the IT department. Bring him aboard the marketing team and you'll achieve greater online success.

July 21, 2011

10 things to leave off your CV.

Everybody knows that in most situations, less is more.
Job seekers do themselves a disservice when they send out CVs with too much information. Employers don't have the time or the patience to sift through irrelevant, extensive and false information. Just stick to the basics and you're good to go.
Here are 10 things to leave off your CV and why:

1. Your picture
Unless a job posting specifically asks for your picture (and very few jobs will), don't include it just for fun because your looks are irrelevant to your potential as an employee.
2. Interest and hobbies
Unless your interests and hobbies have something to do with the job you're applying for, there's no reason to include them. In general, make any applicable connections between your hobbies and the job in your cover letter. Better yet, save them for the interview when you're asked what you like to do outside of work.
3. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Most employers assume that if you're OK with sending out a CV littered with typos and mistakes, you'll have the same lack of concern for the work you do as an employee at their company. While spell check picks up most errors, it can miss something major -- did you work the late night shift? Or did you forget to include the "f" between "i" and "t"? -- so have several eyes look over your CV before sending it out to employers.
4. Personal attributes
Similar to sending a picture with your CV, your height, weight, age, race or religion are all unimportant to an employer. Though it's illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants because of any of these factors, some will do so, regardless. Keep everything on your CV pertinent to the job, and you'll be fine.
5. Minute details
Hiring managers don't need to know the details of every task you've ever done in every job you've ever had. It's just too much information, and usually half of that information isn't relevant. Employers want to be able to see at first glance that you're a great candidate, so pick out those details that are most relevant to the job for which you're applying and omit the rest.
6. False information
Plain and simple, no one wants to hire a liar. Don't say that you have a master's degree if you've only earned your bachelor's; don't say you're presently employed at a company if you've recently been fired; don't list your salary history as 20 percent higher than it was. Everything you tell an employer can be verified, so play it safe and be honest.
7. Crazy colours and fonts
No one wants to look at a CV on fluorescent paper, covered in crazy fonts and symbols. Use a font that is clear to read in black colour. Anything else will make your CV hard to read and chances will be high that it won't be read at all.
8. Information that is too personal
Links to personal web sites, your photo-sharing site, or strange e-mail addresses can also be left off. Employers are less likely to respond to than just
9. Negativity
Never put anything negative on your CV. Don't include your reasons for leaving. If you left the position due to a layoff or you were fired, for example, bring it up only if asked. Never write anything bad about a previous employer. Don't explain gaps on your CV by stating that you were in prison for 10 years. Keep your CV all positive, all the time.
10. An objective that is too simple
Employers are trying to determine whether you're a good fit for their organizations, so everything on your CV should point to your experience. Employers would rather see a summary of qualifications that displays your accomplishments and background than a generic objective statement like "To get a full time position at a financial institution".