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How to de-clutter your life in an effective manner


Do you think the clutter around you does not affect you? Various studies have shown that even if you don’t consciously notice the clutter in your room, in your house, in your locality, or even in your interpersonal relationships, it doesn’t mean that your mind isn’t processing that clutter. The audiovisual data is constantly getting into your brain and your brain is constantly processing it. You sometimes feel exhausted even when you haven’t achieved much? It can be because of the clutter around you.

What exactly is clutter

All that stuff that is lying around in your room is clutter. It isn’t necessary that all the things lying around are not required, it’s just that they’re not put at the right place. Again, everything that is lying around isn’t required. So you need to figure out what are the things that you need and what other things that you don’t need. The clutter inside your house has got nothing to do with how much you have and how much you don’t have. The same goes with your life. If you are not managing it properly, you are creating emotional clutter for yourself.

How to get rid of the clutter around you?

  • Create different columns categorising all the items: All these years you must have been accumulating stuff. Maybe at the time when you acquired it you thought it would be useful, right now it is not. Or maybe there are things that you have always been planning on using but haven’t ever gotten onto using them. So you can draw three or four columns in a paper and then start putting things under the appropriate heading – Used regularly, Used occasionally, Can be packed forever, Can be discarded
  • Separate the items you use regularly: These are the items that you can arrange last because you need to access them on a daily basis. Put them in a separate corner or if possible, in an altogether different room.
  • Start arranging the Used occasionally items: Start putting the items that you occasionally use in their cupboards and boxes. You can leave space at the front for the regularly used items.
  • Pack the items that you’re not going to use even occasionally: There are some items, like old books that you don’t want to discard but you don’t even need them. You can pack these books using newspapers, polythene bags and Sellotape and put them somewhere like an attic or the upper shelves.
  • Give away or throw away items that can be discarded: Finally you’re left with items that you neither need nor want to keep. You can either throw them away or if they can be useful to someone else, then give them away.
  • Arrange Regularly used items: Now you can arrange your regularly used items in front of the occasionally used ones. If there is no extra space in your cupboards, you can even arrange these items somewhere in the open by folding them or packing them properly.

If de-cluttering seems overwhelming in the beginning you don’t need to worry much. Chart out a long-term plan. Maybe a couple of weeks. Or maybe even a month. Devote 10 minutes everyday to your de-cluttering exercise and then stick to those 10 minutes. Don’t get carried away.

Another way of gradually de-clattering your home is to make a resolve that you are not going to purchase anything unless it is totally unavoidable.

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How to control your expenses as a student

Controlling your expenses in your student years is highly important if you have to fend for yourself. If your parents are supporting your higher education then there is constant pressure to make do with whatever monthly financial help they send you. If you have taken a student loan you not only have to meet the daily expenses you also need to worry about eventually paying the loan. Whatever sort of lifestyle you are living right now, controlling your expenses can be an overwhelming task without knowing exactly where you are spending your money and where you shouldn’t be spending it. Listed below are a few things you can do.

Control expenses as a student

Create a list of your expenses

You can control your expenses only if you are familiar with them. In most of the cases we simply spend money without tracking its outflow. Everybody has a computer or laptop these days – even if you don’t have one, at least you must have a tablet or smartphone where you can quickly enter information for record-keeping. Keep track of your expenses in such a manner that by the end of the month you can easily find out where you’re spending most of your money and where you can tone things down.

Open a savings account

Stashing money somewhere doesn’t normally work because you end up spending it at the slightest pretext just because it is within reach. On the other hand, if you have a savings account in a bank, all that effort to get money from the bank (it’s a different thing if you have an ATM card, though) can act as a deterrent. Also, it is fun to see your money growing when you occasionally check your bank account statement. Remember that it is not about how much money you can save in a lump sum, it’s about how regular you are. Even if you are saving $ 100 every month, in a couple of years you can save $ 2400. Right now it may not seem like too much amount, but it is definitely better than having no money.

Buy used textbooks or by their digital versions

Used textbooks, if they are not damaged much they can be a good option compared to new books. When you look around, you will find many senior students looking for people to buy their books either online or even on your campus. This can save you a big chunk of money. You can also get your textbooks issued from the library. If you further want to control your expenses, you can also go for the digital versions of your textbooks. Kindle books can be easily read on your laptop, iPad or generic Android tablet. You can download thousands of free books from Project Gutenberg.

Cook your food instead of eating out

Regular eating out can be quite expensive and it also wastes lots of time. Cooking your food isn’t as time-consuming as it may seem initially and you can easily coordinate the activity with studying or exercising, or even watching TV. Group-cooking is even cheaper. 3-4 friends can get together and cook their meals together to reduce costs. When you cook your own food you can also recycle and it is up to you where you want to buy your food from. There are many cheaper options that can provide you nutritional foods once you start looking around. Eat healthy food as later on it will save you lots of medical expenses.

Concentrate on needs rather than on wants when buying

In order to control your expenses by stuff that you need rather than stuff that you want. Take for instance the latest gadget (Apple has just released iPhone 5) you want to purchase. If you already have a phone, why do you want to upgrade? What other things that you will be able to do with your new phone that you cannot do with your existing phone? The same goes with everything.

Use public transport or carpool

There is no need to burn fuel everyday just so that you can control the steering. In most of the countries these days the public transportation system is quite decent. Even if it is not, start a carpool group. For smaller excursions use a bicycle – it will not just save you fuel costs it will also improve your health.

Use student discounts

There are many stores and companies that provide student discounts – you just need to constantly look out for them. For instance, Microsoft products like MS Word come with student versions that are much cheaper compared to their commercial counterparts; the same goes with the Windows operating system. Similarly there are many shops and stores that provide student discounts.

In order to control your expenses you will need to make a conscious effort. You may feel difficulty in the beginning but once it becomes a part of your system, saving money and spending less on things will become a natural part of your life and it will also help you later on.

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How to know if someone is lying in a text message

Millions of text messages are sent and received every minute. You will see people hunched onto their phones, texting ferociously, even falling into potholes in the process or crashing into vehicles and poles. Since so much communication is happening via text messages, these messages have their own dynamics, and if you want to know whether someone is lying, according to this CNet article, you can find that out.

Lying in text messages

The problem with text messages is, as it is with every form of communication when the other person cannot directly see you, that it is very easy to lie. According to Tom Meserve, BYU Professor of Information Systems:

Unfortunately, humans are terrible at detecting deception. We’re creating methods to correct that. Humans can detect lies about 54 percent of the time accurately – not much better than a coin flip. It’s even harder to tell when someone is lying through a digital message because you can’t hear a voice or see an expression.

So how do you know if someone is lying in a text message? They say that the messages are unnecessarily longer and they take a longer time to come. You can find such examples even in the real world situations: people use unnecessary words when they’re trying to convince you. Even the flow of their verbal communication is stunted because they constantly have to think and process lots of information before speaking. The same thing happens with a text message.

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How to write great articles really fast

Writing very fast

While writing content for your website or blog the greatest obstacle is the lack of time. You have great ideas, you can also write well, but you just don’t have enough time. But you can create a really powerful article or blog post in just 30-40 minutes. This much time you can definitely take out every day, or every couple of days.

Writing great articles extremely fast doesn’t require magic, it simply requires planning and scheduling. I’m not saying that you can immediately decide that today you’re going to write an article in minimum amount of time and then you’re going to succeed at it (you may, it depends on your writing speed and your comfort level with the topic), but with little bit of planning and foresight you can significantly improve on the time you need to spend writing articles and blog posts that people actually find useful. Here are a few things you can do.

Keep a ready list of titles

It’s easier to start writing when you know what you want to write about. Maintain a list of titles you would like to cover for your website or blog. Do this routinely. You can use various tools available to you to maintain this list. The best suggestion would be Google Keep that can be available in practically every device that you use. Create a dedicated list in Google Keep and then keep on adding titles to it as they come to your mind.

Get used to taking notes

If you haven’t yet used Evernote, you should start using now. It is a great tool to collect your thoughts systematically and retrieve them whenever you need to. For every new title you can create a new note and then start putting ideas as you go on doing other stuff in your everyday life. This way you don’t have to work on an article or blog post in one go. Again, a great benefit of using Evernote is it is available on practically every device so you don’t have to wait until you are at your computer in order to jot down your ideas.

Get in the habit of writing every day

Your writing muscles begin to atrophy when you don’t use them for a long time. In order to be able to write faster, you need to practice every day. This is a generic tip that you find yourself applying in almost every aspect of your life. The more you do a particular thing, the faster you can do it. Even if you think that you don’t have anything particular to write about, spend at least 10 minutes working on an article or a blog post even if you create just a single sentence during those 10 minutes. This way, whenever you actually need to write something, you won’t face any difficulty in order to get into the groove.

Keep collecting vital data

Want to sound knowledgeable in your articles without spending much time on research? For this to happen, you should already have well researched data stored somewhere. Again, you can use Evernote. You can create notebooks and within those notebooks you can create notes so that you can categorize the sort of data you’re saving. You can also associate different tags with different bits of information that you save so that you can immediately find it while working on your article.

Just keep in mind that the key to writing your articles extremely fast is having the information at hand. Most of the times writing blogs and articles requires lots of time because you don’t have the correct information with you. Plug that hole with regular data collection and 90% of your job is done.

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How to avoid dementia by staying mentally active

Dementia normally hits you in the old age and you can avoid it by staying mentally active. Like any other muscle in your body, your brain needs constant exercise and you can exercise your brain by constantly using it. Up till now it has been an unscientific logic, but according to this Time article the latest research has established the fact scientifically.

What exactly does staying mentally active mean? You don’t need to solve intricate puzzles and ponder over complex scientific theories. You just need to remain involved in your day-to-day activities, just as you were when you were a bit less older.

Avoid dementia by staying mentally active

Avoid dementia by staying mentally active

In most of the cases dementia is not a disease. It’s a muscular degeneration caused by inactivity. It can happen with any part of your body. If for a long period you don’t use your hand and simply let it hang for a couple of years, you won’t be able to use it. The same it is with your brain, if you don’t use it, you cannot use it when you really want to use it.

There is a reason why scientists, writers and thinkers continued to remain sharp until their deaths. This is because they are constantly using their brain. There are many writers who keep on writing and getting published way beyond their 90s, by following a strict intellectual routine in order to remain sharp and informed.

Listed below are a few things you can do to stay mentally active and consequently, avoid dementia.

Being old doesn’t mean you are irrelevant

Sadly, this is our socio-cultural set up. People growing old means they are no longer a vibrant part of the society. Due to the old-age their activities have been limited, they’re not upbeat about their future, their kids don’t depend on them for financial as well as physical support and basically, they are waiting to die, knowingly or unknowingly. Stop thinking like that. As long as you live, you are part of this world. If right now you don’t know your relevance, you have to find it.

Develop passions and hobbies

All our lives we want to do something meaningful but since we have to provide for our families, our livelihoods take precedence over our passions and hobbies. Have you ever wanted to plant at least 20 trees in your neighborhood but never actually got to doing it? Do you want to keep up a pet? Do you want to help the unfortunate? Do you want to get involved with your church or your temple? Are you good at accounts and can help people sort out their finances? Can you take care of your grandkids for even a couple of hours to give some respite to their parents? Do you want to take up painting or singing? Do you want to write for a local newspaper? Or for that matter, would you like to start a blog and develop your own community of dedicated readers? There are so many things you can do. All it takes is some effort.

Become more social

Don’t be a recluse, even if just for the sake of avoiding dementia. When you interact with people, when you hold conversations, you have to use your brain. You have to think about things. You have to solve problems. When you’re constantly staying at home, totally alone, with no stimulating interaction, your brain grows inactive. You can hold get-togethers and parties in the neighborhood. You will be surprised to know how many old and retired people are there in your neighborhood. Since all of you have a cornucopia of knowledge and wisdom, and also experience, you can have lots of engaging conversations with each other. And who knows, you may also develop new relationships.

You can also join groups and clubs for different activities. For example, in the movie “A Song for Marion” a group of old people forms a singing group and gets together regularly for practice.

What about finding old and forgotten relatives? What a fun it would be to be able to chat with a cousin with whom you haven’t talked for the past 50 years!

The basic point is, you don’t have to be a public intellectual or a successful professional in order to remain physically and mentally active. Even in day-to-day affairs you can remain sufficiently active and as an added benefit, avoid problems like dementia.

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How to add files and photos to your Gmail message

Gmail is perhaps the most widely used e-mail service on the Internet, and maybe also in the world. When sending e-mail messages to family members and friends, sometimes you also want to send files and photos. Suppose you recently clicked some great photographs during your trip to the Bahamas and you don’t want to share them on Facebook. You just want to send the photographs to your kids.

You already know how to compose a message in Gmail, right? You also know how to hit the “Reply”. You just want to add some files and photographs to your message.

Let us suppose you are creating a new message in Gmail. These days when you click “COMPOSE” a new window pops up that allows you to create your message.

Gmail compose window

Gmail compose window

As you can see in the above image, you have to click the “Attachments” icon in order to add files and photos to your outgoing message. When you click it, it opens the standard Windows Explorer window. You can navigate to the folder where your files or photographs reside.

If you want to select all the files or photographs, simply press CTRL + A and everything within that folder will be selected.

If you want to select multiple individual files, keep your CTRL key pressed and click individual filenames.

Of course if you want to add just a single file, you can either double-click it or just select it by clicking it.

Then click “Open” and your files begin to upload. If it is a heavy file, or if there are multiple files, it may take a while to upload everything. You don’t need to wait for everything to upload and after composing your message, you can click “Send”.

There is another way of adding files and photos to your Gmail message. You can simply drag and drop them. If there is enough space on your computer screen (that is, you have a wider computer monitor) you can open two windows side-by-side – one browser window where you are composing your new Gmail message and a Windows Explorer window that allows you to navigate to the folder that contains the files that you want to add or attach. After that you simply have to drag the files from your Windows Explorer to the composing mail window. Your files get automatically added.

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20 things you can do to protect your online privacy

Online privacy

Although after the PRISM revelations our casual online privacy concerns seem trite but it always pays to be careful. Private information falling into the hands of wrong people, even if they don’t cause you financial or mortal danger, can create lots of unnecessary nuisance.

Why you should be worried about online privacy?

One reason is the fear of identity theft where people use your personal details to pretend being you and practically take over your life. They can get hold of your credit card and other financial details. In your name they can start spending money. They can pretend to be the guardians of your children. The list goes on.

Even if we are not worried about illegal aspects of online privacy, businesses and organizations continuously collect data to monitor your behavior on the Internet and then advertise to you accordingly. There is nothing wrong in it, but it can become a problem when they start deciding what is good or bad for you and then accordingly tailor content that you encounter on the web. This constrains your choice and it also eliminates chances of stumbling into something totally new and enlightening.

The same concern applies to the private photographs and videos that you share on Facebook and Google Plus. You never know who might be watching them and to whom he or she might be forwarding your personal details.

The privacy concerns listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. People have done their PhD’s on the subject.

20 ways you can protect your online privacy

  1. Don’t share your phone number publicly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and other such websites
  2. Restrain yourself from publicly sharing bits of information such as the exact ages of your kids, in which school they go, etc.
  3. Don’t share your address unless it is your business address
  4. Change your Facebook privacy settings so that only your close friends and family members can see your photographs
  5. Never remain logged into your e-mail account if your computer, laptop or tablet PC is shared by multiple people
  6. Don’t exchange private information while using an open/public Wi-Fi connection
  7. Don’t allow websites to store cookies locally on your computer to monitor your net usage behavior
  8. Logout from your e-mail account, especially your Google account if possible because Google collects information to customize ads
  9. Create a separate e-mail account for your social media profiles, online forum interactions and for all those services where you have the submit your e-mail ID casually.
  10. Use a proxy server while surfing the web so that nobody can easily find out where you are surfing from
  11. Use an anonymous identity if it doesn’t matter whether people recognize you online or not
  12. Don’t display your e-mail ID on your website, use a contact form instead
  13. Don’t exchange personal details at workplace because your personal communications might be monitored
  14. Don’t reply to spammers and phishing e-mails
  15. Don’t participate in chain mail campaigns
  16. Never submit your credit card details unless it is a secure, authorized vendor
  17. Never click an e-mail link that takes you to your bank website or PayPal account – always manually type the URL
  18. Activate 2-factor authentication whenever possible; whenever you need to use your password or log onto a critical online account, a verification pin is sent via SMS to your registered phone number. Unless you enter that pin, you cannot log in
  19. Only use trusted apps on your smart phones and tablets
  20. Avoid using the same password on every website because if via hacking or other means someone gets access to your one online account, he or she can have access to all your accounts.
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How to beat the winter blues this winter

Winter blues

The southern hemisphere is experiencing severe winter season these days and many people are going through the proverbial winter blues. This is a kind of depression because people are unable to move out and they don’t see the sun for many days. In whichever country you live, whenever there is winter, one way or another you go through winter blues and there are many ways you can beat them. This article lists some of the things that you can do in order to remain productive and bright during winter:

  • Mind your attitude: No matter how harsh the weather is, it is your attitude that controls how you are feeling. Just think about the Santa Claus. The poor guy lives in the North Pole and isn’t he supposed to be the jolliest person around? Fine, he might be mythological and all, but it is his attitude that keeps him jovial and laughing all the time. Look at the positive side. There are so many things you can do during winters. As a family you can huddle together around a fire. You can also get together your neighbors and have a bonfire outside and then you can all sing and dance around it. You don’t even have to wait for an occasion.
  • Have a purpose in life: It’s mostly those people who don’t have any purpose in life who go through winter blues. You are brimming with enthusiasm everyday if you have a purpose in life. Developed a passion. Whether it is your profession or your hobby, try to do your best.
  • Become more social: We are gregarious by nature as our social studies books often say. So naturally we feel warm when we are around people we love and care about. Try to meet as many people as possible. Organize get-togethers and parties at the smallest pretext. Recall one of those Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky novels in which the rich are constantly having soirees where they discuss people and politics. If they could survive the Russian winter, you can survive any winter.

You can read the remaining points in the original article.

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Are Android phones used the most or the iPhones

Do you ever wonder whether most people in the world are using Android phones or the iPhones? This may especially matter to you if you are either an Android fan boy (or girl) or an Apple fan boy.

Presented below are some interesting graphic representations published on various websites, but for this particular blog post, I’m referencing to this particular report published in Daily Mail. This report and associated graphs have been generated as an outcome of around 3 billion geo-tagged tweets using Android phones and the iPhones over a period of two years. Here is the Mapbox blog post that explains the entire process of mapping this gargantuan number of tweets into attractive visualizations.

The red dots represent the iPhones, the green, Android, and the purple dots, yes, it is still in the reckoning, the BlackBerry. Let us first see New York/

Android and iPhone usage pattern in New York

It has been proven what has always been said, there’s the rich people, or economically well-off who use the iPhone’s and the remaining ones use the much cheaper, Android devices. You will see, the iPhone – the red dots – are concentrated around the Manhattan and other rich areas in New York and the green dots – Android phones – in relatively, less financially advanced areas.

Guess what most of the people in Jakarta use.

BlackBerry usage pattern in Jakarta

You can view the remaining images at the original Daily Mail link included above.

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How to save money as a youngster

Saving money for youngsters

It’s never too early to start saving. It will pay you great dividends if you start saving money as a youngster. Unfortunately, as young people we behave as if we are never going to grow old, and we’re never going to need more money than we need to spend on gadgets, fast food and chilling out.

This article lays down reasons why youngsters find it difficult to save money. But let us flip the entire idea upside down and rather than thinking about how we lose money when we are young, let us think about how we can save money so that by the time we actually start living (you know, having a house, and a family to care for, and preparing for retirement), we have some spare cash and we fully realize the importance of keeping it safe.

Actively start thinking about saving money

Regular thinking often leads to action. If you find saving boring (naturally, since spending means getting new things and getting new experiences) you are not alone. You need to change your attitude first of all. Talk about saving money. If your friends and siblings are not serious about it, raise the topic whenever you get opportunity. If they still remain uninterested, chart your own way. Do some reading and writing about how you can save money without curtailing your current lifestyle. It can be done. You just need to prepare your budget and then stick to it. There are great many books and blogs on saving money. Start reading them.

Be stingy about your credit card

Got a credit card? It can be a great temptation because you are not physically paying cash. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much you are spending because the figures aren’t right in front of you. They are just being added somewhere else, in some distant machine. The credit card is not as friendly as it may seem when you’re spending money through it. The credit card companies keep record of your every transaction and they are going to charge heavy interest because after all, that’s how they earn. They are not running a social service by giving a credit card to you (when they are offering a new credit card, they actually sound as if they are doing some social service). They not only want their money back, they also want to charge you extra for not paying your credit card dues on time. So the more you spend via your credit card, the higher interest you pay. Remember that its credit, it’s not the money you have with you. Someone is giving that money to you so that later on it can be retrieved from you with interest. The current economic meltdown in the Western countries can be attributed to people’s tendency to use their credit cards without giving a second thought to how they’re going to pay back.

Do you really need a car?

People have this misconception that once they have a car, they have arrived, they have grown up. Well, this is an antediluvian mentality. The baby boomers perpetuated this concept of materialism and possession of a car symbolizes that. Why do you need a car, especially when you have a functional public transport system? Even if you don’t much use public transport, there are many ways you can have a great time without purchasing a car. In fact in busy cities like New York and Mumbai people don’t use their cars simply because everybody seems to be using them, causing massive traffic jams in the process – it proves counterproductive. A car can be a big expense. You don’t just spend lots of money purchasing the car of your choice, there are also ongoing maintenance costs. Of course, the ever rising fuel prices.

Into your first job? Hold your horses

Your first job, and consequently, your first pay, can be really exciting. Fast food companies like Domino’s even exhort you to spend your first pay on giving a pizza party to your friends. Remember that these pizzas are not free. Don’t give in to temptations – nobody wants to sell you products and services for free no matter how emotional they sound. Anyway, when you get your first pay, it seems that you have got lots of money, suddenly. I’m not saying that you should have no fun at all, but save at least some portion of your money in a separate account, and try to do that every month.

You want that new smartphone, seriously?

Every month a new smartphone is launched, whether it is Samsung Galaxy or the iPhone. These companies need the hype because they need to make the money. They act as if buying their new phone is the most important decision you’re going to take, even though if they were making the same claim two years ago for the version they launched at that time. So don’t go for the trap. You actually don’t need all the features being offered in the new smart phone and your existing phone is quite cool. And anyway, since everybody around you is going to buy that phone, there is nothing even unique about it.

Saving money as a youngster is an attitude, it is a habit and you have to be mentally ready for it. Otherwise you will lose track. That is why it is very important to think of saving money at regular intervals, preferably, everyday. Whenever you’re going to spend money, just stop for a few seconds and think – do I really need to spend my money here?

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How to deal with a bully who is also your sibling

Bully sibling

Unfortunately, bullying is a reality of our times. It is taken so much for granted that children accept it as a sorry aspect of the world and learn to deal with it, or at least bear it. Bullying among siblings can be worst because you are staying under the same roof. You are easily accessible to the bully and your parents cannot deal with him or her as harshly as they would someone from outside of family. Even contemporary movies never show a normal, loving, healthy relationship between siblings. The eldest sibling is always shown to be performing obnoxious tricks upon the younger sibling, including intimidation, physical abuse and breaking of toys. Such movies and stories constantly seem to be saying, well, buddy, this is the reality, so deal with it.

Not getting along or peripheral sibling rivalry is normal among families. It crosses the limit when it begins to affect negatively, both physically as well as mentally, the kid being targeted. The problem is aggravated when parents don’t take this matter seriously and conveniently assume that the child being targeted will be able to handle the situation sooner or later.

This article in the New York Times refers to a study that says the scars and psychological wounds left by sibling bullies can be as devastating as those left by a bullet wound.

While normal rivalries with siblings can encourage healthy competition, the line between healthy relations and abuse is crossed when one child is consistently the victim of another and the aggression is intended to cause harm and humiliation, said John V. Caffaro, a clinical psychologist and the author of “Sibling Abuse Trauma.” Parents who fail to intervene, play favorites or give their children labels that sow divisions — like “the smart one” and “the athlete” — can inadvertently encourage conflict.

Nationwide, sibling violence is by far the most common form of family violence, occurring four to five times as frequently as spousal or parental child abuse, Dr. Caffaro said. According to some studies, nearly half of all children have been punched, kicked or bitten by a sibling, and roughly 15 percent have been repeatedly attacked. But even the most severe incidents are underreported because families are loath to acknowledge them, dismissing slaps and punches as horseplay and bullying as boys just being boys, he said.

Although the study gives meaningful numbers, it doesn’t throw any light on how to deal with a bully who is also your sibling. Here are a few things you can do:

Accept that bullying is not normal

Just because your sibling is older than you, stronger than you, doesn’t mean that he or she is entitled to bullying you. It is an evil act. It is not acceptable, it is not natural. If your sibling bullies you, something is wrong with him or her, not you. Even if you are weak, introvert and nonaggressive, it doesn’t mean that you should be subjected to such behavior. Whether you have been bullied for years or it has just started, protest vociferously.

Share your problem with your parents, seriously

For parents all kids are the same, so initially it will be difficult for them to realize and acknowledge that one of them is indulging in a villainous activity. They may immediately go on the defensive. Instead of feeling upset, expect such behavior from them. So you will need to be persistent and you will have to drive the point across in a clear language. Tell them that the bullying has become a serious issue and if they don’t take any action, you are going to talk to your teacher or someone else outside of the family.

Try to strike up a good relationship with your bully sibling

Does your sibling bully you just because he or she is nasty, or does he or she resent you for something? Is it that your parents give you more attention than your brother or sister? Are you the star of the family while the other sibling gets constantly ignored? Are you, unconsciously, nagging your sibling? Talk to him on her. Let it be known to him or her how troubled you are by this behavior. Tell that you are deeply hurt. Also convey how much his or her behavior matters as a brother or a sister. Let it be known that as the eldest sibling, he or she should be protecting you rather than hurting you. Sometimes a simple talk can change feelings.

Grow mentally and physically stronger

This may sound like a Chuck Norris sort of advice, but this may really help if nothing else works. Grow stronger so that you can beat up your bully sibling. Most of the bullies are timid people; the moment they are threatened, they retreat or stop their objectionable activity. This must be the last resort.

Here is some good advice on The Telegraph on how to deal with a bully brother.

By the end of the day, the ineluctable reality is there is no escape from a sibling who lives under the same roof. You will have to learn to deal with him either by tact or by force.

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How to make mundane tasks pleasurable and exciting

Mundane tasks can be boring as well as uninspiring but most of them are unavoidable, for instance, waiting at the doctor’s clinic, as explained in this LinkedIn article. Everybody is getting bored and everybody is a bit tensed up, suddenly this bright and chirpy girl brightens up everybody’s world by initiating a chain of funny and engaging conversations.

This may sound clichéd, life is what we make of it. Many companies try to coat bitter medicine with sugary substance because, well, why not? If taking this medicine cannot be avoided, why not reduce the unpleasantness by using some sweet coating? The same concept can be applied on our day to day mundane tasks. We can incorporate interesting and innovative routines to make mundane tasks interesting, meaningful and entertaining.

Even regularly changing the desktop image of your computer can brighten up your mornings. You can create a folder and store all your favorite, preferably high-resolution, images and photographs there and then set your PC to alternate between these images and photographs as your desktop background.

Do you know that these days you can get shower heads that will also play music? Everybody can become bathroom singer but not everybody wants to. Some people would like to listen to soothing music while having their bath. People used to take portable music players (in fact, they still do). According to recent advertisements on TV, you get showerheads that also double as stereo speakers for your music system.

Find driving to your office boring? Why not take another route? Why not change mode of transportation? If you go by car every day, you can try the Metro or the tunnel. You can ask one of your colleagues to give you ride or offer somebody a ride so that you have company when going to office. Try to play different games when you’re dropping your kids to school.

Once you decide to make your mundane, day-to-day tasks interesting, you will be able to come up with many innovative ideas.

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How to keep toxic people away from your life

Toxic people

Not only chemicals are toxic, even people around you can be toxic. They can have a very bad influence on you even by their mere presence.

Who exactly are toxic people?

It can be one of your family members. It can be one of your colleagues at your workplace. It can be one of your so-called friends. It can also be your girlfriend or boyfriend. Whenever they are around, you end up feeling negative about yourself, about what you do, about your goals and ambitions. They have a knack of putting a pin into the balloon of your enthusiasm. Instead of encouraging you to do your best, they act as naysayers. They always focus on what you cannot do rather than what you can do.

Even if they don’t directly target you they can create a toxic environment. Constant negativity can be bad for your state of mind. If they are constantly complaining about their lives, how everything is messed up perpetually, what a lousy deal they have got, etc. they are toxic for you. People who are perpetually fearful, running out of money, foul natured (even if not targeting you), unkempt, bad parents, with lax morals, they can all sap positive energy out of you.

Keeping toxic people away from your life can be a great challenge especially when they are your family members. Can you stop talking to your brother or sister, or your mother or father? Can you break up with your partner? Can you throw your child out? These are all very tough decisions, and you can make these decisions only when you realize what is at stake and what their toxicity is costing you.

Here are a few things you can do to keep toxic people away from your life.

Believe in yourself

Why should you give people enough power to put a dent in your enthusiasm? If you want to be a writer and you know you can become one, there must be a reason for that logic. You must have read your own writings. At different junctures of your life people must have given you positive comments after reading your writings. You have a way your words. Then why should somebody telling you that you cannot become a writer and you should forget about it, affect you? Who knows more about you? You or that person?

Communicate what you feel about that person, to that person

If somebody makes you feel bad about the world in general and your self in particular, let it be known to that person. There is a great possibility that he or she doesn’t even realize what he or she is doing to you and consequently, may even change his or her behavior. Even if he or she doesn’t change his or her behavior, he or she will be conscious. In many cases, people do this purposely. They want to unnerve you purposely and they are in this comfort zone that you are not aware of that. Once you let it be known that you know what they are doing, they feel exposed and vulnerable. Also let them know that their attitude is not going to affect you.

Avoid the company of toxic people

Of course this is very obvious but sometimes you have to make extra effort to avoid the company of toxic people. It doesn’t mean running away from them or feeling scared of them, it’s just that, you have got better things to do. It’s like, constantly killing one mosquito at a time, the entire night, or, putting up a mosquito net and sleeping peacefully for the rest of the night.

Give them a dose of their own medicine

Most of the toxic people, strangely, consciously or unconsciously, have an inkling of what they’re doing and what they are achieving in the process. They know they are causing you harm and in the process, they feel superior to you. You can give them a dose of their own medicine by finding their faults and pointing out what all they cannot do. You don’t have to stoop down to their level but sometimes it is fun to act what you are not. Think of it as a game. It will scare them away or at least force them to tone down their pursuits.

Let other people know how you feel about a particular toxic person

If that person creates a toxic environment for you, there is the great probability that he or she is creating similar circumstances for others too. Start spreading the word how negative that person is and how he or she constantly discourages you from doing what you really want to do. Sooner or later he or she will come to know of it and grow self-conscious and nervous as a result.

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How to overcome fear really fast

Fear is a primal feeling. When we were living in the wilderness as primitive beings, fear kept us alive and taught us how to keep our distance from mortal danger. Lack of fear could get you killed in no time.

So as such it is not a very bad feeling, as long as it is not shadowing every aspect of your life. Fear is bad if it stops you from realizing your true potential, spoils your relationships and creates barriers on the path of your career. You need to overcome that sort of fear. Sometimes, you also need to overcome fear of danger, and a fear of circumstances. How do you overcome it?

In order to figure that out, you actually have to gauge your situation. Under normal circumstances when we talk of overcoming fear fast, we don’t mean jumping off the bridge to land upon a truck passing underneath. That would be suicidal and it would be better to remain fearful of that tendency. In this blog post when I talk about fear, I mean fear of approaching people, giving a presentation on stage, giving a performance, doing something out of the way to realize your dreams or expressing your true feelings to a near and dear one. How do you overcome that fear? Here are a few things you can do.

Accept that it is fear

Fear can manifest in many ways and sometimes you don’t even realize that that it is fear. You may think that you terribly dislike something and that is why you have such a strong reaction to it. Whenever you need to tackle the problem you first of all need to acknowledge it and accept its existence. Once you have done that, you can start figuring it out.

Distinguish between realistic and unrealistic fear

If the site of a single cockroach freezes your limbs and terrifies you, this reaction lurks on the fringes of an unrealistic fear. Cockroaches can be really creepy but unless 100s of these creatures attack you collectively, you are in no danger. Similarly, if you are afraid of driving a car on a busy road no matter how many times you have practiced, this is an unrealistic fear because millions of people drive cars every day all over the world.

On the other hand, if you are scared of jumping from the third floor then of course it is a realistic fear and by all means you should stick to it. These examples might not be appropriate, but the point is, you have to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic fear in order to figure out whether you really need to overcome it or not.

Explain to your self why you want to overcome this fear

There is a lady in the office you find really attractive but the fear of rejection holds you from approaching her? You need to overcome your fear in order to be able to approach her and strike a conversation. Want to ask for a raise but are afraid that you will either be reprimanded or outright rejected? In order to try to get that raise, you will need to make the effort. So whatever is your fear, sit down somewhere quietly and note down what you stand to gain by overcoming this fear.

Nothing is a matter of life and death, unless it really is

Really, a matter of life and death is ending up with a terminal disease or illness, being hit by a truck, being waylaid by an armed mugger, being attacked by a ferocious lion, being tied to the railway tracks or something like that. Other than that, every situation can be handled.

So the sky is not going to fall if somebody rejects you, bypasses you, makes fun of you or ridicules you. Even if that cockroach lands on you, it cannot crush you with its weight or bite you to death. Remember that, you can never, ever control how people behave with you, but what you can surely control is the way you react. If you think a particular physical or emotional situation makes you vulnerable, get out of such a situation on priority basis. Most of the fears originate when you are vulnerable. Stop being vulnerable and most of the fear will be gone.

Accept your place in the world

This might not work on a cockroach, but it will surely work on an individual. When you’re comfortable in your skin you look confident, pleasant to look at and more approachable. Remember that being fear-ridden makes you look worse than you currently might be feeling you are. Your best option is, even if you think right now you cannot improve further, is looking your best, and you can only look your best if you are not fearful.

Realize that fear is common

If not millions, there are surely hundreds of thousands of people sharing the very same fear that torments you. So you are not alone. Whether it is fear of cockroach or approaching someone you love, people have been in a similar situation, they are in a similar situation, and they will be in a similar situation. So don’t think that you are being singled out by whatever reasons.

You mean well

Suppose you have a fear of public speaking and after 5 minutes you have to speak to a couple of thousand people. What sort of speech have you prepared? What do you want to convey? How is it going to help your audience? These are the things you should focus on rather than how they are going to judge you and evaluate your speaking skills. Nobody cares how you speak if you speak from your heart, if you really mean what you are saying. Focus on that.

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How should you decide if you really want to quit social media

Have you been wanting to quit social media? When I say social media I mostly refer to Facebook but it can also be Twitter or some other online place. The question of quitting it arises when you feel that you are becoming addicted to these websites and they have begun to take a toll on your time, finances as well as emotions.

Social media is a communication boom. People from across the globe can come together, exchange ideas and information and actually experience the global village. Suddenly the entire world seems to be within the reach. Students are finding their old teachers, relatives who haven’t talked for years regularly interact with each other, new business partnerships are being struck and new relationships are being discovered. In terms of mass communications, it is an unprecedented phenomena. Nonetheless, it can be addictive.

The urge to share everything and the urge to know everything can take its toll. People want to share everything these days. The problem, if at all you want to call it a problem, has grown to such an extent that instead of enjoying the moment, people are constantly worried about sharing it. Instead of enjoying and talking to each other, people are busy taking photos on their phones and uploading them on Facebook.

For some people, social media can be an addiction just like consuming alcohol or doing drug abuse. Once they start doing it, they don’t seem to be able to stop. Therefore, some people would like to stop using social media altogether. If you are among them, here are some reasons why you should quit social media:

It is affecting your self-esteem

Ain’t everybody suddenly having a super exciting life while you have no life at all? People in your timeline are visiting places, having relationships, landing up with new job assignments, buying expensive vehicles and homes and holidaying at exotic locations. What are you doing? Sitting in your basement, going through all these updates and pitying yourself. A big blow to your self-esteem. Various studies have revealed that people go through big and small bouts of depression after seeing updates from their friends and family members. Ignorance sometimes can be bliss. If you don’t check your updates you won’t come to know of their various achievements.

Some people also start stalking there ex-boyfriends and girlfriends on Facebook and consequently, find it hard to move on with their lives. Quitting social media or at least taking a prolonged break can really help you at this juncture.

It is giving you lots of tension

Interactions on social media can be really unhindered, and this is not always in a good sense. Flame wars are rampant. People are out to criticize you and put you down at every opportunity, and this is a reality. The so-called old world charm does not exist on social media. People can be as blunt as it comes. Many a times it is full of negativities and complaints. With so much negativity, you may feel overwhelmed and would like to get away from all this.

Social media is affecting your real relationships

If you are interacting more on Facebook and less to your near and dear ones, it’s time to tone down a bit. Many youngsters prefer their social media friendships over real friendships. They become reclusive and lose track of reality. They regularly interact with people living thousands of miles away but don’t even say hello to their neighbors. Many marriages and relationships have been broken by social media addiction.

Ideally there should be a balance. Social media is nothing short of a revolution. It basically connects everybody with everybody (at least those who can log onto the Internet via computers, laptops and mobile devices). You can also interact with people over phone and e-mail, but these are 1-1 communications and after a particular point you have to end the thread. On social media, especially on Facebook, communication, whether it is one to many or from many to one, is practically nonstop. Besides, it is a full multimedia assault

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How to convert your blog visitors into paying customers and clients

Getting customers from your blog

Unless you’re publishing a blog to promote advertisements, eventually you need to generate some business out of it. You need to convert your blog visitors into paying customers and clients. Of course “payment” can mean different things to different people and so can customers and clients. Fundamentally, your visitors shouldn’t just leave your blog all the time, they should also do something that takes your cause further, whether it is monetary, social or political.

A blog can be better than a website

A good thing about a blog is it can generate more traffic than your normal business website. You are constantly adding new content and it drives traffic in hordes. You not only publish highly useful and relevant content on your blog, you are also perpetually promoting the blog using various social media and social networking channels. Even search engines like Google prefer blogs over static websites. So your blog is always at an advantage in terms of getting more attention and traffic, compared to your website.

Converting your visitors

According to this blog post on Quick Sprout, there are various ways you can convert your visitors. Conversion can mean different things to different people. It might be clicking your affiliate link, subscribing to your newsletter, subscribing to your RSS feed, clicking one of your advertisements, contacting you for business queries, downloading one of your digital products or urchasing something else from your blog. So you need to formulate your conversion strategy keeping the end result in mind.

Since blogging is primarily used to create a platform where you can showcase your knowledge and share your experience and basically interact with your target audience, hard selling doesn’t work on a blog. You have to draw visitors to your blog via quality content. This can be done by sharing information they’re looking for. Make sure the information is not only valuable it can also be immediately implemented or used. As a service provider you want to show your visitors what you know and what you can do. As a product seller you need to highlight the overwhelming benefits of the product you are selling. Don’t dilute your content otherwise you will end up attracting the wrong audience. Here are a few things you can do to convert your visitors into paying customers and clients:

  • Recognize your core audience: Exactly why people would like to come to your blog and read it? Are they just looking for information or do they really want to do business with you?This can be decided by the sort of content you continuously publish. Many online businesses don’t have a well-defined content strategy and consequently end up attracting wrong audience. Before they realize it, it’s too late.
  • Keep your message clear: Let there be no ambiguity why you have a business website and why you publish a blog. Through your blog you want to generate more awareness and eventually that awareness must lead to more business for you. Your audience must know that.
  • Build a mailing list: Since you get tons of traffic on your blog it’s a good chance to capture people’s e-mails so that you can keep in touch with them. Of course it needs to be permission-based and double opt-in on that so that people know what they’re doing and expect what sort of e-mails they will be getting from you.
  • Run special promotions on your blog: Your blog is a good place to run special promotions because you’re already getting lots of traffic. In order to create buzz you can offer discounts, coupons or organize contests. You can also give them bundled deals. You can also incorporate social media engagement into the promos.
  • Use direct call to action: If you want people to do business with you, then ask them for it. If you are selling a book, let them know that they can buy the book via a particular link. If you are selling a service, then let it be known to them that you are available for hire.

Publishing a successful blog can be a double-edged sword because although you will be spending lots of time generating quality content and then promoting your blog, all the effort will go waste if your content doesn’t attract people who will eventually become your paying customers and clients. So spend some good time strategizing your content.

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How to buy a mobile phone for your parents

Elderly Lady using a phone

Are you planning to buy a mobile phone for one of your parents? You wouldn’t buy just any phone for them. Whether you want to give them a smart phone or a regular phone, usability and easy access to vital functions is going to be your main concern. Remember that the plethora of features may be a hindrance rather than an advantage when you are a bit older and you have different priorities.

buying phone for the elderly

With the advent of smart phones you have got multiple options. If you take the person you are buying a phone for to the shop he or she will be able to get a direct feel of the software and the hardware. For many people a full-screen touch sensitive phone can be a bit of a problem because they need some area to grab the phone and for such people it’s better to have a phone having a physical keyboard. There are many phones for the elderly that have very big keyboard buttons and a very bright-contrast screen so that it’s very easy to dial a number and also see it on the screen.

Before going for a phone for one of your parents you need to know their phone usage patterns. Does he or she use the phone just to make phone calls or he or she would also like to perform other functions such as checking e-mail and SMS messages, taking photographs and uploading them on Facebook and Twitter, maintaining tasks and schedules and listening to music. In most of the cases the elderly simply want to make phone calls.

In broad terms, these are the features that you must look for in a phone while purchasing one for one of your parents:

  • A simpler interface: This isn’t a big problem with most of the smart phone operating systems coming with highly customizable home screens. In most of the android smart phones you can customize various screens and you can have a minimum number of icons on the default home screen. With various themes you can also customize the size of the icons. Even if you’re looking for a physical keyboard there are keyboards that have very large numbers and you can also assign emergency numbers to particular keys. Remember that in the times of emergency the phone might be the biggest help around.

    Almost all phone companies these days offer phones with very intuitive interfaces, including the iPhone, the Android smart phones, Windows phone and even Nokia. Some people may like BlackBerry but then again due to its QWERTY keyboard it might be difficult to use for the elderly.

  • A bigger screen size: A bigger screen size not only allows you to display more information it also lets you increase the size of the fonts and the icons.
  • Sturdy as well as easy to carry around: They may drop the phone multiple times and they may also end up losing it if it is not convenient for them to carry the instrument around. So also keep this in your mind while purchasing a phone for your parent. Does he or she normally carry the phone in hand, in a purse or in a bag? Can he or she carry the phone around his or her neck? Does the phone come with a study encasing so that nothing happens to it in case it falls on hard floor? How is the battery life?

Remember that phone is a very critical part of modern lifestyle. Your parents are not going to use the phone for day-to-day communications and information updates, they will also be using it in the time of emergency. So buy a phone for them keeping that in mind.

Image source: the Telegraph

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How to breed creativity with rejection

If your life, your career goals depend on others’ acceptance, the rejection is something you should always prepare for. It doesn’t just happen because the person who rejects your doesn’t like you or holds a personal grudge against you, he or she subjects you to rejection because he or she cannot recognise your potential at that time. You will be surprised to learn on this link that Lady Gaga was rejected by her initial record company and for two years she had to struggle before she could sign up with another label. The person who was responsible for her rejection in the first record company must have kicked himself or herself indefinitely when she became phenomenally famous.

What life gives you, what others do to you, is not in your hand, but how you react, is certainly in your hand. The same goes for rejection. You can either wallow in abject misery after being rejected, or you can use it as another opportunity to redefine yourself and enhance your abilities.

The above-mentioned link talks about a study that was conducted to see the impact of rejection in people and how it affects their creativity levels. To their surprise, people who faced rejection fared well compared to those who didn’t. How did it happen? Again, it depends on how you react when you face rejection. How do you become more creative when people who were supposed to accept you, encourage you, reject you.

Here are a few things you can do:

Don’t take rejection personally

In most of the cases rejection has got nothing to do with who you are and how that person feels about you. You merely don’t fit in the scheme of things. Whether it is not being accepted in the school football team or not making to the finals of a singing competition, there is nothing personal (unless you have real reasons to think that way).

Instead of taking rejection personally, make a list of factors that caused it. How can you eliminate them? How can you make it better?

Believe in yourself

You do something because you believe you can do it. You dance because you believe that you can. You write because you know that you can write. When you believe in yourself rejection reaffirms your resolve.

Recognize the opportunity

Rejection gives you more time to hone your skills and increase your expertise level. It compels you to do better. It gives you a chance to prove the other person wrong (although you should not give somebody that much importance, but this can be done in a good way). Just as I mentioned above, just imagine how that person must have felt who cancelled Lady Gaga’s contract. It must have cost him his job.

Rejection can be of many types and you cannot pinpoint exactly what sort of rejection is good and what sort of it is bad. But as the famous saying goes, when life gives you lemons make lemonade.

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How to make a good conversation with a stranger

Approaching a stranger and striking up a conversation can easily be among the most difficult tasks to achieve. You don’t know the person. You don’t even know if he or she wants to talk to someone or not. And anyway, why would you approach any stranger and try to strike up a conversation with him or her, forget about good conversation?

It’s always great to know new people. As children we are constantly taught to stay away from strangers, but as adults accosting strangers and talking to them is not as much fraught with danger as it is when we are small. It can bring great opportunities to you. You can get a new business opportunity. You can get into a new relationship. You can get a new friend. If nothing else, it is always good to know more people rather than knowing few people.

This blog post on Happiness Project (it’s a bit old) lays down several things that you can do to have a good conversation with a total stranger. The summary, with my own additions, is presented below:

  • Find some common topic: It can be anything. It can be about the place. It can be about the weather or the food. Make it natural. Since you are approaching that stranger, it’s a given that you are taking the initiative, so don’t feel awkward. Once you have approached that person, talk to him or her as if it was the most natural thing to do.
  • Maintain a respectful distance: How would you feel if somebody suddenly comes up to you and barges into your personal space? I’m sure you will run from that place. So maintain a respectful distance. Don’t try to get too close and don’t try to touch the person. Keep your voice low, natural and polite.
  • Ask questions that require a couple of lines: You can ask something like, “So what work do you do?”, or “How do you know the host?”
  • Get the cue if the person is not interested: Remember that you’re not on a mission, and don’t take it personally if that person shows no interest in you. He or she might be waiting for someone else or preoccupied. So after a few attempts if you don’t elicit a positive response, retreat.
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How to get your comments blocked or deleted

Leaving comments on other blogs is a great way of showing that you really appreciate what the blogger has published and you would also like to express your own thoughts on the topic. You have something valuable to say and you would like to share it with not just that particular blogger, but also with his or her audience. Right?

Ideally it should be like that. But many people get carried away. Whether they do it intentionally or unintentionally, according to this blog post, they end up creating a situation that gets their comments blocked or deleted.

At the most fundamental level people leave comments on other blogs for two purposes: because they really want to leave comments; they just want to drop links.

There are many aspects of the former purpose that can get your comments blocked or deleted including

  • Being rude: Just because you don’t agree with someone it doesn’t mean that you have to be rude with that person. In a very simple manner to you can express your disagreement. Even if you can find a clear mistake, you need to politely point that out and then also present the right fact. By being rude, even if you’re right, you end up being the bad person.
  • Being a troll: Trolls are famous for creating lots of nuisance on the Internet. They just want to be nasty in order to cause trouble for the person they are trying to hurt or damage reputation of. They never mean to hold any meaningful discussion. They are mostly creating noise.
  • Being off topic: Even if your intentions are good, if your comments are totally off topic they will be deleted or blocked by the moderator or the owner of the blog. Stay on the topic of the blog post where you are commenting.
  • Using your company name or keywords instead of your actual name: This is a sure shot way of telling that you’re leaving comments just to create anchor text linking back to your own website or blog. Why would someone allow you to do that?
  • Using ALL CAPS: You don’t necessarily mean any harm by using all caps but on the Internet they mean that you’re shouting.
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How to edit videos on YouTube

Although there are many tools available for editing videos that you can download and install on your desktop, for smaller editing and media manipulation YouTube itself gives you a decent number of tools that are reviewed in this Mashable blog post.

These tools are not for professional editing but you can use them for trimming your clips, observing the timeline, stabilization and adding comments and snippets. For most of the video enthusiasts who are uploading videos straight from their PCs or cameras these tools can be of great help especially if you want to add text effects.

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How to effortlessly find new ideas for your blog

The biggest hurdle while trying to create a successful blog is constantly generating new blogging ideas. It’s very exciting to create a new blog and for a few months, or for a few weeks, it is quite easy to continuously create new blog posts. But gradually you begin to run out of ideas, and soon you start getting doubts whether it was a good idea to start this blog or not.

You’re not the only one facing this problem. All the successful bloggers have gone through the same dilemma. But they never gave up. They believed, with enough effort, they are always going to come up with something interesting to say about their topic.

This blog post on Social Media Examiner presents to you many ways you can effortlessly create and find new blogging ideas. Some of them are (not all of them belong to the blog post presented above):

  • Get ideas from your existing blog posts: Not all things can be covered in a single blog post and while you’re writing on something, there are many things you simply touched upon without elaboration. These are great blogging opportunities. For instance, take this bulleted point. A complete blog post can be created out of how to find new blogging ideas from your existing content.
  • Use websites like Quora: It is a place where people ask questions and receive answers. By visiting such websites you can find out what people are talking about, whether it is a subject of your blog or something related. Even if you carry a partial searches the drop-down suggestions can give you lots of new ideas.
  • Search on Twitter and Facebook: People are constantly talking about different things on these social networking websites. You can either use hash tags or simple searches to find ongoing threads. If you are using third-party social networking clients like Hootsuite you can also create columns dedicated to particular search terms so that you can constantly monitor the conversation threads going on.
  • Use customer questions as blogging ideas: If you are a business your customers are going to ask highly relevant questions and you can use these questions to create new blog posts. Suppose a particular customer asks a question that many of your customers may also ask in the future or may already be dealing with. If you can create a blog post and present your answers they it can be accessed by everybody.
  • Read other blogs in your niche: What are other people writing on similar topics? Prepare a list of at least 50 blogs that publish content on your topic and constantly monitor what is being published over there. Don’t plagiarize their content: just as you might use your own existing content to get new blogging ideas you can also use their content to write something new.
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How to solve writer’s block by having conversations

No professional writer is unfamiliar with the dreaded writer’s block. For the uninitiated, it is a state when, no matter how experienced you are, you just cannot write. Your brain is jammed and you feel like the worst writer in the world. It is like physical activity. If you remember, sometimes you simply cannot get up. Your body totally feels drained and every movement is labored. You would simply like to crash into your bed, sleep as if you’re never going to wake up. Something similar happens during the writer’s block.

Dealing with writer's block

This blog post at V3im suggests that you can solve your writer’s block by having a conversation with someone, and it makes great sense.

The author of the above-mentioned blog post was able to solve her writer’s block by having a conversation with another person. How did this happen?

When you are talking with someone else, your brain is more active than when you are simply thinking. When you are on your own, it is very difficult to think out of the box. You are in the same loop since there is no external stimulation.

When you talk to somebody, that person acts as a catalyst. When you have a conversation with the person you really like and respect, your brain cells are stimulated and you get more interested in the subject. Your brain allocates more thinking resources to this particular activity. Since in most of the cases writer’s block manifests when you are less interested in a particular topic (there is no adrenaline rush and there is no increase in the heartbeat), the interest that is triggered by having a conversation with one of your favorite people tricks the brain into thinking that you really like the topic and hence you feel more energized as well as creative.

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How to build your self esteem

Building your self-esteem is not just the usual self-improvement pep-talk – it can go a long way in improving quality of your life. You can actually make a big difference in your life by training your mind into thinking how capable you are, according to this Pick the Brain blog post. What exactly does it mean?

What is self-esteem? It is your ability to feel confident in yourself, in your true self, and believing in your potential. There are two types of people who really look good: people who are actually good looking, and those who have lots of self-confidence and who are at peace with themselves.

The problem with the brain is it thinks too much and most of the times it doesn’t make sense. At one moment you feel highly motivated, and just the next moment you are bombarded with a slew of doubts. You must have experience this when a spark of a new idea hits you and you are all charged up. And then, suddenly something negative happens and all the energies are gone and all the doubts are in. At these moments your brain can come up with 1000 reasons to not to continue. This is how the brain is wired.

So your self-esteem, your state of mind, depends on how your brain thinks. Since you thinking controls your personality and outlook, wouldn’t it be nice if you can make the brain think the way you want it to think?

For that you have to understand how your brain functions and how you react to its various whims. Try to think of those moments when you think that you can win the world (we all have these feelings). Everything suddenly is within reach. There is goodness everywhere. And then something bad happens and the entire world crumbles around you. Nothing much has changed. What has changed is the way your brain is thinking.

So you have to figure out how to bring your brain in a state of goodness and positivity. The author of the above-mentioned blog post suggests that if you want to improve your self-esteem start thinking in terms of what you want to be rather than what you cannot be. For instance, if you want to improve your lifestyle and adopt a healthier routine, constantly start telling yourself that you already have a healthier lifestyle. Then you become conscious of what you should eat, what physical activities you should do and what positive thoughts you should nurture. Go to the blog to read more.

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How to use a blog to improve and expand your business

Initially blogs were just online journals used by people who wanted to publicly share their opinions and collaborate on various activities. Initially, even the Internet was simply a network of enthusiasts. These days the Internet is a major commercial hub. Similarly, blogging has metamorphosed from a simple hobby to a full-fledged business tool.

If you already have a business blog but you aren’t paying much attention to it, you better start doing it now. If you don’t have a business blog, it’s high time you had one.

According to this blog post on Problogger, every business segment can be served well with a business blog. No matter how dull your business sounds (if it makes you money, it’s not boring, is it?) you can have an interesting and vibrant blog for it.

For every sort of information people turn to the Internet these days. When was the last time you didn’t do a Google search before buying something and making a big financial decision? Think of your customers and clients in the same manner.

If you work in a highly competitive environment (that is, you have many competitors) you have got all the more reason to start a business blog. You can get an edge over your competitors if they haven’t explored blogging yet. With your business blog you will get repeat visitors, you will have higher search engine rankings and you will enjoy a better conversion rate.

Regular blogging helps you reach out to your core base. People are more receptive to blogs than official websites because they are informal. Blogs are often written in conversational manner.

The great thing about blogging is it isn’t as difficult as it used to be 10 years ago. There are many straight out of the box blogging tools available these days that allow you to set up a blog and start publishing within 5 minutes.

And if you think you won’t be able to publish as regularly as blogging demands, you needn’t worry about that. Successful blogging is about producing quality content and not quantity. So focus on quality and don’t worry about time. If you post something really valuable even twice a month people are going to respond to it.

With a business blog you will be able to

  • Attract more people to your website from search engines as well as social media and social networking websites
  • Improve your conversion rate due to increased engagement and repeat visits
  • Educate your existing and prospective customers and clients about your business and consequently make them more receptive
  • Establish yourself as an authority and thought leader
  • Have a tremendous edge over your competitors if they haven’t started business blogging yet
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How to use Facebook meaningfully as a teacher

With more than 1 billion people on Facebook these days there is a great chance that if you are a teacher most of your students are on Facebook, and so might be you. Since everybody is connecting with everybody how do you respond to the presence of your students and how you can use the social networking website to your advantage? This blog post on Mashable has some useful tips on how you can use Facebook meaningfully as a teacher. Here are a few highlights of the blog post:

You need to understand the dynamics of the social networking platform

Whereas Twitter is used for information dissemination, Facebook is mostly used for networking and connections. Strangers are not welcomed and people normally know each other. Consequently, interactions can become personal and this might be a problem especially when you’re sensitive about the teacher-student relationship. Would you like your students to see your Christmas party photographs and vice versa? Would you like them to know your political opinions and your views on the economic policies of the country? Do you want them to know how religious you are or what atheistic feelings you nurture? These are very sensitive issues and you will need to be cautious of them.

Setting boundaries and creating forums

Since Facebook is a great social networking tool you can use it to your advantage by creating subject-specific pages for your students instead of allowing them to add you, or adding them as your friend. When you create pages for your topics and subjects they can follow those pages and participate in fruitful discussions. Suppose you teach English literature and you need to discuss Hamlet actively. You can create a page on Facebook and your entire class (or whoever wants to) join in and participate. You can also encourage them to post interesting links and videos on that page.

You can also create unique pages for different activities going on in the school. For instance you can use a Facebook page to coordinate effort between different students for an upcoming annual musical.

Just like you can create circles in Google Plus you can create groups in Facebook so you can post certain content only for certain groups. This way you will be able to decide what content you would like to share with your students. But then you need to keep in mind that once you make your photographs and opinions public, and if people want to access them (your students in this case) they can do so.

As a teacher it might be awkward and a bit odd for both you and your students to befriend each other on Facebook so it should be left on personal discretion. The blog post rightly suggests that don’t send friend requests to your students. Let them make that decision. And if you’re excepting friendships from your students, don’t be selective. Another way of connecting with your students is becoming their Facebook friend once they have graduated and moved on to another class, but then you are not interacting with them via a student-teacher relationship; your interacting with them just as two individuals do.

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How to use Twitter with no Internet access

With a 24-hour Internet access – whether you’re using Wi-Fi or 3G/4G – we take connectivity for granted and we assume it is always going to be there. Well, there might be some situations when you don’t have Internet access and you would like to check your Twitter messages. This might specially be more important during emergencies like Hurricane Sandy when you can get vital updates on social networking websites. According to this article in Washington Post you can follow some Twitter handles like @DrGridlock, @PepcoConnect, @CraigatFEMA, @EricFisherTWC, @MayorVinceGray and @BreakingStorm or some hash tags like #hurricanesandy or #sandy to get latest updates on the various regions affected by the natural calamity.

Fortunately you can access Twitter even when you have no Internet connection, according to the same Washington Post article mentioned above. You can use your SMS service to send and receive messages. The important number you need to save is 40404 (please keep in mind that only US-based phone numbers can use this service). With this SMS service you don’t even need a Twitter account in order to follow other users. In order to follow somebody, all you have to do is send a text message to 40404 containing “Follow username” (without quotes). Don’t use the @ sign before the username. For instance, (just hypothetically) if you would like to follow howtoplaza you just need to send a text message to 40404 containing “Follow howtoplaza”.

Since it is standard text messaging service you will need to pay for every message you send out. That is why you should turn on and turn off the service as and when you require. You can turn off the service by sending “OFF”, “STOP” or “LEAVE” to 40404. Send “ON” to 40404 and the service will be resumed.

What if you already have a Twitter account?

In order to send messages you need to have a Twitter account. First of all you need to start the service by messaging “START”.

You will get a reply to confirm and you will need to send “YES” (all the messages will be sent to the same number mentioned above).

After that you will need to text your username; again, don’t use the @ sign.

After that you will have to send your password following the same procedure.

After this, every message you send to 40404 will be posted under your Twitter account.

In case you want to send an update to a particular person (mention in Twitter language) you can simply send

@that_persons_user_name + your message

You can also send direct messages using the conventional Twitter format.

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How to start online networking from scratch

The concept of networking is not new whether you are into business, social work, politics or even sports. You need to know people. Everything works on connections. And networking, whether online or off-line is not just about knowing people and dropping names, it is about recommendations, references and access to people who can make a difference in your life.

Online networking from scratch

Although everybody talks about the benefits of online networking it is one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish, especially when you need to start from scratch. Approaching people, especially when you’re not used to, and more so when you don’t know many people, can be one of the toughest jobs in the world. How do you approach people? How are they going to react? What first impressions are you going to make? Will they think you are just being a pile on?

The problem is that you cannot function in isolation. This is more so on the Internet. If your business mostly involves interacting with local people then things are quite easy. All you have to do is be visible in the neighbourhood, go out, talk to people, mingle with them and participate in social activities, and most of your networking is done.

When it comes to online networking the physical element is missing. You might be interacting with people from all over the globe and unless you have loads of money you cannot travel everywhere and meet people. So what do you do? How do you initiate your online networking effort? Here are a few things you can do:

Understand the objective of your online networking endeavour

Why do you want to network with people? Is it just for work or you really enjoy meeting new people, helping people and asking for help? What benefit are you going to accrue on personal as well as business level by knowing more and more people?

Remember that business opportunity is just a byproduct of networking, it is not a direct result of it. Because you move in certain circles and are known among certain people some business opportunities may come your way, but there is no guarantee. So don’t think of networking as an all-encompassing solution. By the end of the day you have to perform. You have to become a person people would like to be friends with. You will need to add value to the network. And this is the moot point – what value you bring. How you can influence the people who come to know you?

Consider online networking a long-term exercise

Friendships don’t happen, they are formed. Formation always takes time although on rarest of rare occasions they happen fast. Just because you want to network with people it doesn’t mean that they also want to network with you or have similar interests. It may take months or even a few years before people start responding favourably to your messages and interludes. Whatever medium you’re using, people are going to take their good time to respond. So be prepared for that.

Be prepared to excel in your field

Nobody likes to network with someone who doesn’t deliver what he or she preaches or promises. People don’t necessarily prefer successful people, but they certainly prefer people who are hard-working, creative and perseverant. Networking just for the sake of spreading your influence rarely works. You need to excel in your field in order to become more approachable.

Become active on social networking and social media websites

Online networking is not as difficult as it used to be a few years ago. You can easily set up an account (if you haven’t already done so) on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter and start following conversations in your niche. You will need to follow people that you would eventually like to know. Highly networked people can give a big boost to your networking efforts once you start interacting with them on a regular basis. Regularity and meaningfulness are the keys here. Respond to their questions and queries. Engage with them without flooding their timelines. Share with them useful information. All in all, become active on social networking and social media websites in a productive manner.

Maintain a blog

A blog is a great way of communicating your ideas and opinions and you will come in contact with many people who start visiting your blog. When you publish a blog regularly gradually you become an authority in your field and people begin to respect you. Influential people (most of the influential people blog these days) start linking to you from their own blog posts and articles, increasing your circle of influence as a result. Remember that it may take lots of time so don’t be in a hurry or in a state of impatience. Be prepared to publish high-quality content for a very long time without eliciting a response. This is normal and it happens with every person who is starting from scratch. Once you stick to quality and regularity, things magically begin to happen. Again, this is natural.

Visit blogs of other people and leave comments there

Good comments are always appreciated because they add value to the ongoing discussion. Many people mistakenly leave comments to earn back links but this is not a good strategy. Leave a comment when you really have to say something and you believe that your comment is going to present a unique perspective. The more interesting your comment is the greater is the chance that it will be appreciated by people.

Attend workshops and conferences

This can be costly and time-consuming but this is the best way of networking with people as professionals from your related industry will be there. These events are the places where new partnerships and friendships are struck and networking ties are strengthened. Keep a tab on various events happening in the circles of your profession and make sure whenever you can attend these events and if possible present a paper or a note.

So these are a few things you can do to start your online networking from scratch. Again, this is not something you can put on a fast track. Networking is something that goes on for months and years and in fact it is not a separate activity. It should be an integral part of your business and personal pursuits.

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How to stay inspired as a self-employed person

It’s great to be self-employed as you are your own boss and you can decide your own work environment and time frame (provided you don’t have to work along with your clients). When you are working for yourself you can decide your own rates and you can also decide for how long you want to work. You can decide what sort of work you want to take on, how much money you want to earn by the end of the month and so on. If you work from home you also get to stay with your family.

Stay inspired as a self-employed person

But staying focused and inspired can be one of the biggest problems for the self-employed. Since nobody is breathing down your neck you are not forced to follow a deadline and there are very few people who can remain inspired without supervision.

Another problem is that since you are your own boss you are also responsible for all the ups and downs your business has to go through. So on many occasions you will not feel inspired and you will feel totally drained. There will be bouts of depression and on many days you simply want to give up and join the security of a regular job. The problem is exacerbated when you see everybody around you heading to their respective jobs fully aware of the fact that after fixed working hours they will be out of office. They also know how much money they are going to get by the end of the month.

Have a clear idea of your priorities

In order to stay inspired as a self-employed person, this article in suggests, always have a clear idea of your priorities. Stop comparing yourself with your friends and colleagues. You chose your career path fully aware of all the problems and ups and downs you may face. This was your choice, this was something that you wanted to do.

Stay positive about your work

Also, feel positive about your work. Instead of simply thinking of earning money, think of the constructive work you are doing. For instance, I’m writing this blog post: although I will be paid for it and that might be my only motive, but along with that I also have the satisfaction that I could find a useful link that I can share with my readers. Similarly, when you’re working with your clients, even though eventually they will be paying you, think of how you’re going to help them achieve their goals. You are an important part of their existence and that is why they are paying you. Nobody pays you for just being there.

Feel proud of your work

Although this is not mentioned in the above link, also feel proud of your work; this way you can stay inspired even when you have to slog for hours in an isolated corner of the world. Don’t take it as some punishment of sorts.

Remember that work is not everything

Many self-employed people forget that work is not everything. Work is but a part of your life, it shouldn’t become your life. Your inspiration level takes a dip when your work life begins to take a toll on your personal life. This is why you keep on comparing yourself with happier people. Instead of resenting them for having a secure lifestyle, try to create a secure lifestyle for yourself too. Complete your work on time so that you can wind up on time and be with your family in the real sense (not while sitting in front of your computer with your baby on your lap).

Staying inspired as a self-employed person is a condition that you can develop gradually. You have to accept that there will be lows and highs. You may have to encounter disappointment at many stages. During these times you will have to remind yourself why you decided to start your own path rather than joining the usual grind.

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How to make people like you especially when they don’t like you

Sometimes people don’t like you and you don’t even have to make an extra effort. May be you started on a wrong footing, you made a comment that pissed off someone permanently or you are in a position where that person should have been. Whatever is the reason, that person dislikes you and you want him or her to like you. Maybe that person is at your workplace. Maybe he or she is in your class or he or she might also be in your family. It’s not a conducive environment to work in, or live in, if there is someone, or if there are people who don’t like you.

We’re not talking about bullies and we’re not talking about people who generally have a negative attitude – these people anyway dislike others and they need psychiatric help. In this article we’re talking about normal people who don’t like you due to some misunderstanding or some misconception or some preconceived notion. You actually want these people, or this person, to like you.

Again, wanting to make people like you shouldn’t turn into an obsession. You can be nice to them, you can be pleasant to them, you can even do favors to them, eventually it depends on them whether they like you are not. If nothing changes their feelings for you, the best option for you is to move on and learn to live with the reality.

This article in Forbes lists a couple of things you can do to make people like you in case they dislike you. You may not agree with them if you think making you vulnerable to rejection isn’t worth it.

  • Give genuine compliments: You should really mean them. Every person has something good in him or her, we just have to look for it. Does that person sing well? Does he or she have beautiful handwriting? Does he or she have great marketing skills or knows how to persuade people? You can also try to find out his or her positive sides from close friends and colleagues without making it obvious. Keep it natural because if you are forcing yourself to say something, it shows on your face and your voice doesn’t sound as friendly as it should.
  • Ask for their advice: When you ask for advice, it shows that you trust that person’s wisdom. When you seek advice you accept that that person knows something that you don’t. It also shows that you actually like that person and appreciate his or her counsel.

Aside from these things you may also directly like to ask the person why he or she dislikes you. It may put both of you in an awkward position but if you clearly explain that you don’t like the current status quo and you would like to change it if it can be helped, the situation can be improved to a great extent.

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How to be happy now by avoiding certain things

The condition of being happy is not as formidable as it mostly seems. Most of the times we are unhappy because we are constantly dealing with negative thoughts. Although you cannot control how people think, about you and about themselves, you can certainly control the way you think about yourself and about people around you.

In order to be happy, according to this article, you need to get rid of the following things that keep you unhappy:

  • Blaming others: Blaming others for your problems is the easiest thing to do. You’re not getting what you want, you’re not as happy as you would like to be, your job sucks, you are not able to achieve your dreams – all these things are within you. The moment you stop blaming others you will feel empowered. Instead of blaming others, when you start introspecting it means things are in your control and not theirs
  • Trying to impress people: If you want to please people, you’re never going to see the end of it. If your happiness depends on how people think of you then you are never going to be happy unless you become an idol. Instead, just do your thing. It doesn’t mean act lousy. Instead of trying to impress people, try to do what’s best for you.
  • Clinging to things: Let go, whether it is the past or the things. It’s not worth it. Move on. Move on to new people, new possessions, even to new place if that’s what makes you happier.

To read the rest of the pointers go to the original link mentioned above.

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How to avoid the top Internet marketing mistakes

top Internet marketing mistakes

Internet marketing is a field as old as the concept of doing business online (that is, a few years, to be frank). Doing business on the Internet is all about getting targeted, relevant traffic to your website (or your blog if you do business from your blog) and in many cases it involves a long drawn Internet marketing strategy.

Just like in the brick and mortar world, when you open up shop on the Internet, you need to make it easier for people to find your place on the web just when they are looking for something you can offer. Whether it is a service, a product or a piece of advice, the most crucial aspect of Internet marketing is, getting found for the right stuff. But in order to get lots of traffic in a little time and with little or no effort, either knowingly or unknowingly many online entrepreneurs commit Internet marketing mistakes that cost them big time. Listed below are the top Internet marketing mistakes that you should avoid in order to create a long-lasting and profitable business online.

Don’t make unbelievable promises

The Internet is full of quick-rich schemes and most people have burned their fingers and hence lost total faith in many online businesses. It doesn’t mean there are no trustworthy businesses on the Internet, it’s just that, it is so easy for people to start a business online that you can easily con people without having to invest much. So avoid making the same old cliched promises used by “shady” entrepreneurs like “become a millionaire while being lazy”, or “earn $ 10,000 within a couple of months of downloading this incredible report”, and such.

Avoid black hat SEO strategies

This is one of the most common Internet marketing mistakes people commit simply because the “imagined” result seems incredible. Black hat SEO strategies promise quick results with little effort — you can rank incredibly well for all your major keywords and search terms. In reality it only gets you labelled as an insincere, conniving and lazy person who doesn’t want to work hard and enhance his or her presence naturally. If you don’t know what is “black hat” SEO it is a technique to trick search engines into believing that you deserve better rankings compared to those who actually do. Practising black hat SEO might get you instant results but search engine companies are perpetually working to curb such practices and hence sooner or later you get penalised.

Don’t spam people

Spamming is as old as e-mail marketing itself – it means sending unsolicited e-mail messages to unsuspecting recipients. The only strength of spamming is its sheer number: 100s of 1000s of e-mail messages are sent hoping that a small percentage will generate business. Of course it works in many cases and that is why people are still indulging in it, but spamming is not a sustainable technique for serious businesses and most of the businesses indulging in spamming don’t survive for much longer. Yes, for spammers (people that provides spamming services to unsuspecting clients) it is a goldmine.

Don’t use free web hosting services to host your business website

Just imagine, why should I do business with you if you don’t even have enough confidence to invest in a legitimate dot com website? In fact you’re so unsure that even to host a single web page, you are using some free hosting service. Using a free hosting service means you can abandon your business at any moment because moneywise you have no stake although you might have invested lots of time (that you might have because you have got nothing else to do). Genuine and serious business people have their own websites.

Don’t have crappy content on your website

Almost all websites do business on the strength of the content they have. Your content is your dialogue with your visitors. In order to strike a rapport you need to use compelling, engaging and well-written content on your website, not hastily-prepared content that appears like an afterthought. Most of the people will do business with you after reading content on your website.

Don’t have a crappy-looking website

Although your web design doesn’t have to win any webby award your design and layout must be decent, pleasing to the eye and easily accessible. All the information that a person may need in order to do business with you must be available within 2-3 clicks.

These are a few top Internet marketing mistakes that you can avoid in order to have a successful online business.

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How to show your latest Twitter updates on your WordPress blog sidebar

Showing your latest Twitter updates on your WordPress blog sidebar not only supplies fresh content to your blog with greater frequency, it also gets you new followers from your blog who might otherwise never visit your Twitter profile page.

There are many ways you can publish Twitter updates from your own stream as well as from people and organisations you admire. For instance, instead of publishing tweet updates from your own Twitter profile you can publish stream from @howtoplaza.

Using the Twitter widget to publish updates on your WordPress blog sidebar

Anyway, the fastest way would be to use the widget provided by itself. It is fully customisable in the sense that you can change the colour, the number of updates to publish and the behaviour of the box that displays the updates.

Publish Twitter updates on WordPress

As you can see above, you simply have to enter a Twitter handle in order to generate an updates box for it. On the left hand side there are various links that allow you to fully customise your Twitter updates box for your WordPress blog:

Publishing Twitter updates on your WordPress blog sidebar

Once you are satisfied with the way your Twitter updates box appears, you can click the “Finish and Grab Code” button. You need to copy/paste the code that you get where you want the box to appear.

Code for publishing Twitter updates

Using WordPress plug-ins to publish product updates on your blog sidebar

What would be better than using WordPress plug-ins to publish your Twitter updates on your WordPress blog sidebar? Most of the plug-ins that allow you to publish this information let you fully customise the look and feel of the box so you don’t have to dirty your hands with programming and coding. Here is a list of plug-ins that you can explore in order to publish your Twitter updates on your WordPress blog sidebar.

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How to become an online authority by publishing quality content

Becoming an authority

Establishing yourself as an online authority is essential to your success as an independent professional on the Internet. You can do that by constantly publishing quality content.

Why publishing quality content helps you become an online authority?

When you publish quality content it means you are an expert in that topic. When you publish quality content regularly, non-stop, people begin to trust you, they begin to trust your wisdom and consciously or unconsciously they begin to believe you. When they believe you, you become an authority. They seek your advice before taking important decisions.

Take for instance, you sell Android mobile phones from your website. The standard content on your website would be, descriptions of various mobile phones, their pictures, possibly their videos, and possibly, some feedback from your present customers.

Quality content would be comprehensive reviews of the mobile phones you’re selling coupled with your own opinion, whether it is negative or positive. Of course you are going to have limited negative opinions of the Android phones you’re selling because you wouldn’t anyway sell the instruments you think negatively of.

Quality content means people visit your website even when they don’t want to purchase an Android mobile phone from you; they are just seeking an authority advice they can trust. But if they don’t purchase from you, how does it matter how many people come to your website for advice? First of all, visitors, whether they purchase or not, are always better than no visitors, right?

Second, whenever it is possible for them to purchase from you, they would rather purchase from you than from a person they don’t know. They are also going to recommend other people to your website and this means more visitors, and possibly more customers.

Becoming an online authority by publishing quality content doesn’t just mean selling gadgets you can review, even if you are a consultant you can gain lots of credibility by expressing your thoughts and opinions on your website or blog.

For an example, have a look at Seth Godin’s blog. I’m not sure whether this is true or not, but people say that his blog posts appear even on Christmas. Due to the level of authority he has gained, he is able to sell more books and get more speaking gigs from his blog.

Similarly you can check out Problogger; Darren has been publishing his blog on blogging for years now and people really trust him as an authority. The benefit of this is when he recommends something, even when he launches a new business, he already has many people who trust him and know that he is never going to offer something inferior or spurious.

Why become an online authority

On the Internet it is very difficult to trust people. This is primarily because anybody can have a website in a few dollars and pretend to be a serious business person. Many people are hoodwinked into deceptive bargains by such people. Even if there are no deceptive bargains, just as it is very easy to start a business on the Internet, it is very easy to wrap one up because the stakes are not big the way they are in the brick and mortar world. The biggest casualty has been the trust factor. Even those people who have something genuine to offer find it difficult to gain trust.

That’s why when you become an authority, people know that you are not goofing around and you really mean business. They know that it takes many months and years to become an authority and if you can put in that much time, then your business really matters to you.

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How to set your freelance fee

Setting your freelance fee

The way you set your freelance fee can be very critical for the survival of your business. Your entire income as a freelancer depends on how much you charge from your clients.

But the problem is, especially when you’re working on the Internet on your own, it is very difficult to know exactly how much you should charge and how you should set your freelance fee. There are many online forums, blogs and even PDF reports that can give you a fair idea of how much individual freelance professionals charge but when it really comes to charging clients, you never know whether you’re going to get work for the fee you set yourself or not.

Although the fee or charge depends on your service, the competition you face, and your target clients, it largely depends on what value you deliver and what reputation you have. Whatever is your field and whatever sort of freelance work you provide, given below are a few pointers that can help you set your freelance fee.

How much is the work worth to you?

Sometimes it isn’t just about money. May be you aren’t getting what you’re supposed to get but this particular project would be a great addition to your portfolio and the client may also fetch you more work. In the same manner, you might learn something that you will be able to use in your future projects, so it is something like earn while you learn. In such a case, just go by your gut feeling and by what the client is ready to pay you.

How much is the worth of your work to the client?

The client will pay more if he or she really needs your services and if he or she doesn’t need your services then no matter how good you are, he or she is not going to pay you. Then either you can decide not to work with that client or set your freelance fee accordingly.

What is your cost of living?

Your freelance fee depends a lot on your cost of living. It doesn’t make sense to work as a freelancer if your fee cannot cover your cost of living and you should rather be having a job. You have to make your fixed and variable monthly expenses including food, clothes, shelter, health, kids school or college fee, medical emergencies, etc. So no matter what is the condition, you need to set your freelance fee taking into consideration your cost of living.

What are your operational costs?

When you’re working on assignments you are spending money on workplace (even when you’re working at home you are using some space for the work), on electricity, on hardware depreciation, on a broadband connection and a horde of other stuff that you have to spend money on in order to meet your professional commitments. You might also be travelling occasionally to meet some work-related requirements. All these expenses are to be included/accommodated.

How much do you want to save?

Then you can also set your freelance fee according to the money you want to save every month. Saving is a part of your overall financial planning and it should always be considered when you are charging your clients.

What value do you bring to the table?

Ultimately, it is the value that you bring to the table that decides your final freelance fee. Unless that value is there, no matter what is your requirement you’re not going to get paid accordingly. Once you are able to deliver exceptional value you will be able to set your fee at your own will and your clients will eagerly pay you.

As already mentioned above, how you set your freelance fee differs from situation to situation, profession to profession and region to region, but the points mentioned here can help you decide to a fair extent how much you should charge for your services as a freelancer.

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How to increase your savings in tough times

Image of saving money in tough times

Everybody wants to, and tries to increase his or her savings in tough times but these are the times when it is very difficult to save. With rampant unemployment, perpetually lowering wages and soaring inflation even the thought of saving money seems like a far-fetched idea.

We save money for long-term security and we need money for short-term needs, for instance food, mortgage, kids school and college fees, medical bills and all sorts of expenditures that take precedence over our tendency to save.

Is it impossible to increase your savings during tough or hard times?

It depends. Sometimes things that seem impossible become possible if we sit down and think up of ways to achieve the task. Listed below are a few ways you can increase your savings even in tough times:

  • Avoid impulse buying: Do you really need that gadget or that commodity you are about to buy? Whenever there is a strong impulse to buy something, wait for a few minutes. If you are in a mall, take a round of another aisle and then come back to the one where your desire sit. If you want to save money and if the need to own that thing isn’t very urgent, you will be able to control your urge to buy. Many times we buy things we don’t really need and simply by them to own them.
  • Stop worrying about what people think of you: Owning an iPhone doesn’t make you cool, but saving money does. In the same vein going around in an expensive car or fuel guzzling truck might impress people you come across, but it is going to dig a big hole in your pocket and you might soon have to sell your expensive car. Don’t buy stuff just to impress people.
  • Do bargain shopping: There are lots of bargains and promotional deals when you go shopping. Look for them, and you will find them. You can also collect coupons and discount cards and then use them when you are shopping. There are some markets where you can purchase food items cheaper compared to other markets. Explore such markets.
  • Minimize the use of your credit card: Plastic money is good in a sense that you don’t have to carry cash with you and you can also use it while purchasing goods and services on the Internet, but the more you use your card, the more you have to pay to the credit card company. Pay off all your credit card debts even if you have to skip meals because having money to pay in your credit card means you are constantly paying interest. If it is possible, stop carrying your credit card altogether because it is very easy to shop like crazy without realising how much money you are actually spending.
  • Try to create multiple income streams: If a single job doesn’t give you much scope to save money during tough times, try to generate another income stream. If there is some skill that you can offer to your friends, family and neighbors, let them know. If you can open a side business on the Internet offering consulting services, then do that, although getting business on the Internet, whether direct or through advertising revenue takes its own good time and effort, but at least it is better than doing nothing.
  • Include saving as a part of your monthly budget: Just as food is an inseparable part of your monthly budget, so should be your saving. Don’t consider increasing your savings as a leisure, or something that you should do when you have extra cash. Even if you can save five dollars this month and ten dollars the next month, fifteen dollars are still more than having no dollars.
  • Turn saving into a family project: You don’t save just for yourself, you save for the entire family, so it is the responsibility of your entire family to get involved and save money. Have weekly meetings with all your family members and brainstorm on how individual members can contribute towards your savings. This way even younger children will feel important and you will see a significant improvement in your savings.
  • Don’t throw away food: Aside from the fact that the food that you normally throw away can feed almost a family in a Third World country, you are practically throwing away money when you throw food. Devise ways to reuse food that remains un-eaten. Store leftover food in the refrigerator and concoct an entirely new meal out of it for your dinner, lunch or breakfast.
  • Take good care of your health: This will reduce your medical bills. Cut down on junk food, indulge in physical exercises and go for long walks. Encourage every family member to take good care of body and teeth.
  • Barter with your friends and relatives: Do you have something you don’t need but your friend needs? Does your friend have something he doesn’t need but you need? Exchange it. You can also exchange services for products and vice versa.
  • Conserve energy: Make sure your electrical appliances and light bulbs are switched off when not in use. Similarly, conduct an audit of your house and see that heat doesn’t escape in winter and doesn’t enter your house in summer. There are many ways you can change the surroundings of your interiors in order to use less energy and hence save on your energy bills.
  • Spend more time with your family in order to increase your savings: Yes, spending time with your family instead of going to the bar or visiting an expensive club is definitely going to be more enjoyable. Even a simple lunch of vegetable sandwiches on your lawn can be an enthralling experience.

So these are a few ways you can increase your savings even in tough times. Feel welcome to contribute your own thoughts in the comments section.

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How to learn to succeed from Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

It would be an understatement to say that Mark Zuckerberg has experienced success early in his life. Looking the way Facebook has gone mainstream in just a few years, it is natural that people try to study the factors that make Mark Zuckerberg so successful as an entrepreneur, as a visionary, and of course, as a person who has become a mega-billionaire even before he has reached his 30s.

What makes Mark Zuckerberg so successful?

There is a combination of many factors, as specified in this TechCrunch blog post, some that are in his hands, and some, might not be in his hands, but it depends on your perspective. These factors are, according to the blog post

  • Ambition
  • Vision
  • Determination
  • Execution
  • Luck
  • Timing

The luck is the only factor that is not in his control, but as they say, luck favours the brave. You wouldn’t get lucky just by whiling away your time on your computer or drinking yourself to nuts every evening. You have to be ready and prepared when a real opportunity knocks at your door.

Mark Zuckerberg had a clearly defined ambition when he was working on the interface of Facebook. He wanted to make something big and they had enough drive in him. But it isn’t just ambition and drive that makes you successful, you also need a vision. You need to have a clarity of exactly what you’re trying to achieve and what you want to deliver to the world. He wanted to build a place where people could find each other, keep in touch and share their daily routines. Although initially it all began to increase his own circle of friends and to get laid (according to the movie Social Network).

Then comes execution. As rightly mentioned in the blog post, Facebook gained ground because MySpace was really lousy and grotesque. People were looking for an interface that was cleaner, well-organised and sober and Mark Zuckerberg provided it. And here comes luck and timing. Even without knowing it, people were desperately looking for such a platform (going by the popularity of Facebook) and as luck would have it, the alternatives were really bad, the market was really there, and he had access to the needed technology.

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How to increase your traffic and improve SEO with social sharing

You can increase your website traffic and also improve SEO with social sharing, says Neil Patel in his latest blog post. Wondering what is social sharing?

Practically everybody who is on the Internet is on social networking and social media websites these days from CEOs to school going kids (yes, even kids less than 13-year-olds managed to open Facebook accounts) and more and more content is being shared via various social media profiles.

If you know that people prefer to share useful links and information via Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr (just to name a few) why not make it easier for them to share your links via their accounts?

Even major search engines like Google have begun to include social media postings in their search engine results. That is why it is often advised that you post repeated content on Google because content that gains traction on Google also benefits on search engine result pages. Major search engines are also drawing content from Facebook and Twitter. Blogs have already been a hit among search engines and online publishers.

The blog posts title “10 ways to get more traffic, attention and higher rankings through social sharing” lists the following ways to encourage social sharing of your content:

  • Providing buttons and other interface elements to make it easier to share your content on social media websites (providing Facebook and Twitter buttons right on your website or under every blog post)
  • Straightway requesting your readers to share your content on their social media profiles
  • Regularly communicating with social media influencers
  • and a couple of “sponsored” methods

Read the complete blog post.

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How to make your kids do their daily chores

Making kids do their chores

Making your kids do their daily chores can be one of the biggest challenges of your daily life. Kids these days simply don’t want to listen to their parents due to many reasons such as zillions of distractions, a depleting attention span and a rapidly changing lifestyle. It’s not just the kids that should be blamed, even as parents the grown-ups these days don’t have enough time and patience to provide proper guidance to their kids. Listed below are a few ways you can inculcate a habit of performing daily chores among your kids.

  • Strike a rapport with your kids: Kids these days don’t take their parents seriously simply because the parents don’t interact much with their kids these days. We live highly busy lives and this leaves little time for meaningful, relaxed interactions. Right now most of the parents are not a significant part of their kids’ lives. They are simply providers. They provide food, shelter, entertainment, education and general upkeep but otherwise their existence is always in the background. Be an active part of your kids’ life.
  • Remove the scope of ifs and buts: There should be no ambiguity when it comes to doing their daily chores. Some ground rules need to be laid as soon as possible.
  • Make your kids responsible partners: We are all responsible for the well-being of the house when we are living together and make it clear to your kids. They too have a stake in the family and their chores are as important as yours. Don’t make them feel that these chores are being imposed upon them just because you are bigger and they are smaller and hence they can be bullied into doing things they don’t want to do. Logically explain to them why it is important that they should do their daily chores.
  • Make doing chores fun: Kids are always looking out for fun. They can easily turn any activity into a game or a source of entertainment and you should utilize this tendency by redefining the chores into fun games. Take for instance putting the dirty laundry into the basket instead of throwing it on the floor of the room; if your kids are really small, and if you have multiple kids, you can turn it into a competition, something like which kid can put more clothes into the laundry basket. You can also play their favorite music while they are tidying up their room for helping you cleaned up the dinner table. Concoct a funny dance routine while sorting out the laundry.
  • Make doing chores a matter of rewards and punishments: Of course not hard punishments, but something that would be annoying. Suppose they like a TV show. Make it mandatory that they can only watch it if they will pick up their dishes after the dinner and make it a point not to let them watch the show if they don’t pick up their dishes. They will raise lots of hue and cry but eventually it will become a part of their system.
  • Make your kids an important part of decision-making: Most of the times kids are just on the periphery and most of the decisions like what everybody is going to have for dinner, where everybody should go for the next holiday, what family program must everybody watch or who should walk the dog are taken randomly. Invite your kids to sit with you and then you can assign particular activities to different persons in your family. This way, they will get the message that the chores that they have to perform are very important.
  • Follow a persistent pattern: Doing daily chores should be a regular part of lifestyle rather than an intermittent affair. Don’t use doing chores as a punishment or as a way of getting back to your kids for being mischievous. Just as you have to cook dinner every day, wash the laundry regularly or go to your job, they have to do their chores every day just as a part of everyday living.
  • Start early: The earlier you start making your kids do their chores the easier it will be on you and on them. Younger kids anyway like doing things their elders do and they want to act grown-up. So if you let them feel important by doing their daily chores they will be happy to do them.

These are a few things you can do to make your kids do their daily chores. Feel welcome to add your own points in the comments section.


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How to survive a divorce as a man

Survive divorce as a man Divorce is a terrible catastrophe and often it is very difficult to survive whether you are a woman or a man. Unfortunately, whereas there is lots of support and advise for wives/women, there is little support for men who go through lots of pain and heartbreak. It is an excellent thing that more and more women are as independent – financially and socially – as historically men have been, and it gives them equal opportunities to divorce their man and chart out new life paths just as men could do in the olden days. So naturally, when a divorce happens, there is a great chance that a man has been abandoned and not a woman and hence requires lots of support.

Even if it is not a case of abandonment sometimes couples simply cannot live together due to various reasons. In such case scenario, no matter how painful the separation is, people have to get a divorce and both in such cases go through equal amount of pain. They both need to survive the divorce in their individual ways. Listed below are a few things you can do in order to survive a divorce as a man.

Know your legal rights and get good legal advice

A divorce can make people ruthless and don’t be caught by surprise if that happens to you. You should know your legal rights otherwise an unfavorable settlement can wreak havoc to your present and future life. As a side note, it is always good to part ways when things are not completely messed up so that you don’t get into unfathomable legal tangles later on.

Accept that the divorce has happened and life has changed for ever

In order to survive the divorce first of all you have to accept that the eventuality has happened. Lots of trouble happens because as a man often it becomes very difficult for you to accept that the bond between your family was not strong enough and you couldn’t hold the thread of your family together. In order to move on, you have to accept the fact that you are no longer together. The sooner you accept that, the easier it will be for you to move on and make the necessary changes to your lifestyle.

Don’t indulge in blame game

Whatever has happened has happened and you cannot go back by trying to establish who is to blame for the divorce. Sometimes divorce or separation is better than having a life long pain and making life difficult for each other. Respect your spouse as another individual and wish her well; this will give you lots of peace.

Don’t take to drinking and wallow in self-pity

This is something men often do after going through a divorce and this is not a good way of surviving it. Booze can completely destroy your life, including your career. Take a break if you want to, even party if you want to (after all, you are free again) but don’t indulge in excessive drinking. This may also hinder your child custody chances.

Seek help from your friends

After the divorce, there is nothing to feel ashamed of and you should mingle with your friends as much as possible, and they will also understand that at this particular point you need to be with them rather than being alone or being with people you shouldn’t be. Surviving a divorce will be a lot easier if you have friends with you, especially good friends.

If you have had kids, remember that you’re still their father

You have to survive a divorce if for nothing else then just for your kids. Whether you’re living with your wife or not, whether the custody of your kids has gone to you or your wife, you are still their father and they need a strong dad they can count on. Meet them whenever you can if you are no longer living with them and explain to them that they had nothing to do with the current situation and they are not to be blamed. Tell them that sometimes it is not possible for a couple to stay together and live a happy life and you all will be better off by not living together. Kids adjust very fast no matter how miserable they are feeling right now.

Spend your time rekindling your old hobbies

A marriage takes its toll whether it is for good or for bad and you must have sacrificed some of your hobbies or favorite pastimes when you got busy taking care of marital responsibilities. Now that they are over, you can take up your favorite hobbies. Do reading, go on trekking with your friends, watch movies you always wanted to watch but your wife never allowed you to, play goals, do whatever you want to do basically as long as it is not harmful to you.

Join a support group

There are many support groups that are exclusively for men to survive a divorce. You can either join online forums are you can physically visit such groups. The problem with joining online forums is, although the support can be great, physically you are still isolated and you are in the same environment.

Get rid of most of the things that remind you of her

Hey, by this I don’t mean to say that you get rid of your kids (just joking). Ideally, things that remind you of her shouldn’t bother you, but if they do, get rid of them, may it be the old bedsheets, or particular furniture, or perfumes that smell like her or her favorite toothpaste, or have photographs with you, etc. Move on.

A divorce, no matter how horrible it seems right now (or whenever it is happening) is not the end of the world. In fact, many times, it is the beginning of a new world. It is a new change. It is not a reflection on you because a marriage is a mutual exercise. Accept the divorce and move on.

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How to forgive someone and move on

Importance of forgivenessUnderstandably it is very hard to forgive someone if you have been badly hurt but for your own sake, you need to learn to forgive and move on. Not forgiving and carrying a grudge for a long time is self-defeating and if you carry out the act of revenge (although, this event is cathartic sometimes but it shouldn’t be taken to extremes) it not only harms the other person, it also permanently scars your own soul. Forgiving someone does help and this is how you can move towards the path of forgiveness.

Forgiveness sometimes has to be a conscious effort

In order to forgive someone sometimes you have to make an effort. It is not a wound that is going to heal itself, you have to put the balm of forgiveness on your own, repeatedly. Don’t just forgive because somewhere you have read (for instance here) that forgiveness is good. Obviously it is good, but you have to understand it logically. You have to understand its psychological and medical ramifications. Only then you will be able to make a conscious effort towards forgiving someone.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean weakness

Many people think that forgiving means weakness and you’re not strong if you cannot extract a revenge. Like craving for sex when you’re aroused or craving for food when you are hungry, it can be extremely difficult to forgive and move on when you’re craving for revenge, but taking revenge in the same coin would be bringing yourself to the same level as the person who has wronged you.

Understand that not all wrong-doings our intentional

Sometimes things just happen and people who seem to have done a wrong to us didn’t actually mean it. Then there is no sense in taking revenge from them. Damage that has happened cannot be undone by making that person go through the same situation.

Living a happy, content life is the best revenge

Even if a person has wronged you in order to cause you misery, the best revenge would be to stay calm and unaffected. Why should you give him or her the satisfaction of disturbing your balance of mind and bringing you to the same level of his or hers? This is exactly what he or she wants.8u People harm you because you have something they don’t have. They are already miserable, they are already suffering and they need to feel important. If you remain angry with them, if you become obsessed with extracting revenge, you are bringing them satisfaction. Instead, forgive, move on and live a healthier life. There is so much to be done.

Of course, sometimes forgiveness is not possible and we also have to draw a line between forgiveness and justice. You cannot forgive a murderer or a rapist or a kidnapper simply because you want to move on. Such criminals need to be behind bars for the protections of not only you, but also the others. So when we talk of forgiving, we don’t talk of forgiving criminals. We talk of forgiving people who intentionally or unintentionally hurt us but they are not criminals. You should forgive such people and move on.

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How to deal with difficult relatives during holidays

The charm of holidays is magnified when we enjoy them with our siblings and relatives but sometimes it becomes a tad difficult to deal with or cope with so many relatives especially when you also have some difficult relatives. To be frank we live isolated lives these days, totally aloof from even our closest relatives so when all of a sudden, during holidays and festivals, when there is a deluge of relatives, we are at a loss and don’t know how to deal with them.

First of all, you need to change your mindset if often you find it difficult to deal with your relatives during holidays and festivals like Christmas and Thanksgiving. You need to understand during the time when you are surrounded by your relatives, you cannot live the way you have been living when you live alone. Keep in mind, your relatives might be feeling the same sort of problem and they are also coping with it. So it is a mutual exercise. Of course, there can be some relatives that thrive on causing trouble and discomfort and they are okay with messing around but this is an exception and not the norm.

So what exactly are difficult relatives

Difficult relatives can come in many forms. They can be outright nasty or they have certain habits that cause problems for you. For instance, there are some relatives that don’t mean harm, but still can be a great nuisance if they can’t keep secrets and keep blabbering about various things causing trouble in the atmosphere. Then there are some relatives who easily get upset and you have to be very careful about what to say and what not to say around them. There are some relatives who have no sense of privacy and by the time they leave they have used every stuff of yours and gone through every cupboard and box and shared every secret of yours with every other relative. Then there are some relatives from whom you have to hide your stuff. The list goes on and on.

Listed below are some tips that can help you deal with difficult relatives during holidays

Be prepared for difficult relatives

By this I don’t mean be super-conscious of their every move and gesture, just make sure you’re not caught by surprise. If you have known your relatives for long, you already know how they behave and how they act during certain conditions. We get into trouble with them when we forget about their peculiarities. If they are short tempered, then we have to practice restraint around them. If they are extra sensitive, we need to keep that in mind. If they don’t have manners (they openly burp or fart) you have to keep them away from people among whom you have some reputation. So before the festive season, make a list of difficult relatives you’re going to face and chart out a plan how you are going to deal with them.

Draw a line

We get in trouble with difficult relatives because we don’t draw a line in time. The problem might not be that much with those relatives but with you because you are not able to convey to them – due to any reason – that you don’t appreciate their particular habits. If they love you, they are surely going to adapt according to you. For instance if you don’t like people going through your personal stuff, then make it clear, and also make it clear that you get really upset if someone does that and it is not a joke. Similarly, if you don’t want to stuff yourself with food, specify that. Relatives like grannies and aunts love to feed you and by the time the festive holiday season is over you have gained a few pounds. Make sure you stick to your decisions.

Show your relatives that you actually care for them

Of course you love your relatives no matter how difficult or nagging they are. They have some problems, but these problems don’t make them your mortal enemies, you just wish that they wouldn’t do what they do and end up irritating you, or upsetting you. Show them that you love them and care for them and to your great surprise, you will notice that you encounter their irritating habits in a much mitigated state.

Always know when to get out of the situation

Many a time we find ourselves in a difficult situation because you think things might be worse if we get out of this situation. Especially during holidays and festive seasons, we don’t want to be without our relatives. This is the wrong perception. Of course, having lovable people around you can be really cheering and uplifting, but if they are lovable only theoretically and not practically, than it is not worth it. You’re better off enjoying the holidays on your own. So always know when to get out of the place and enjoy yourself.

These are a few ways you can deal with difficult relatives during holidays. How do you deal with difficult relatives?

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How to adjust to or cope with the Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time allows you to enjoy more daylight during summer by shifting the clocks back one hour because in summer the sun rises earlier compared to winters. This way you can start your day one hour earlier and utilize the sunlight.

But the problem is by the time the Daylight Saving Time takes effect, whether in the beginning of summer or winter, your biological clock has adjusted to the existing time and hence it becomes a bit difficult to all of a sudden adjust to the new time. Given below are a few tips that you can use to adjust to the new Daylight Saving Time.

Adjust your sleeping pattern as soon as possible

The biggest problem with the Daylight Saving Time readjustment is the disturbed sleeping pattern. So readjust your sleeping pattern as soon as possible because the more you linger the more trouble it is going to cause you. For instance, in the beginning of summer, you might have to get up an hour earlier and at the outset of winter you might have to get up an hour late.

In the same manner, even at night, readjust the wrapping up of your day according to the new timing as soon as possible.

Change the mealtime even when you’re not hungry

You might not feel hungry when the daylight saving time is switched back to the normal time but switch to the new mealtime as soon as possible whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. This way, your body will readjust faster.

Obey your clock

Of course you will be readjusting the time in your clock whether you use it on your phone, on your computer or the regular watch. When you set the alarm, make sure you get up as the alarm goes off and don’t linger in the bed.

Explain to your kids the benefit of the Daylight Saving Time

It must be quite confusing to your kids when randomly the clocks are being moved backward or forward at certain intervals. They may also protest against the new schedule. Explain to them why the Daylight Saving Time is observed so that it becomes easier for them to cope with it.

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How to write memorable blog posts

Memorable blog posts

Writing memorable blog posts is just another form of writing highly relevant and useful blog posts. Before you can understand how to write a memorable blog post, you need to recall which blog posts you still remember even when you read them a year ago, or maybe a couple of years ago?

It’s not necessary that you remember exactly what the name of the blog post was or on which blog you read it. Even if you remember the basic context and then using that context on the search engine you can find that particular blog post, it was a memorable blog posts.

A blog post becomes memorable when it provides something really valuable just when somebody is looking for it. Suppose you are looking for a cool font that you want to use in your logo or header and you cannot find it on the Internet by simply searching for it. You don’t even remember its name and you don’t remember on which website or blog you saw it. But you remember that it was mentioned in a blog post that had listed more than 100 sources of free fonts. There is a particular phrase that you remember and you use that phrase to search the link on Google, and lo! you find the link. The resourcefulness of the blog post made it memorable.

But it is not just information that makes a blog post memorable. Here are some points to consider in order to write memorable blog posts:

Provide highly useful information

We remember things we value and we value things we really need. Always write for your core audience and try to deliver as much value as possible. This means, even if you are forced to write fewer blog posts, focus on value rather than quantity. If you publish 100 blog posts every month and most of them are irrelevant, people are not going to remember even well-written and well-meaning blog posts. Spend as much time as possible and create high-value, quality blog posts.

Take a stand to create a memorable blog post

When you take a stand, people either love you, hate you, or don’t understand you (and your target is not these people). People who love you or hate you are going to remember your blog post. They are going to refer to it in order to show what a crap thinking you have or what a genius idea you’re conveying; in both the cases you create a memorable blog post. Nobody remembers things that are neutral and don’t make a negative or positive impact.

Create a valid counter argument

Don’t flow with the current, decide to flow against it, but not just for the sake of it. Don’t be scared to write an opposing view even if you have to write against the biggest names in your niche. This is a double-edged sword and you really have to be sure of yourself. Although, if you end up making yourself one of the biggest fools, people are still going to remember you just for the sake of some laughs, this is not going to help your business. So whenever you are making a counter argument, be sure you know what you’re talking about and if it clicks, you will have a memorable blog post on your blog.

Write something that touches people

This can be funny or sad. No matter how short our attention span is on the Internet there is still some content that touches people and brings them back to the blog again and again. In order to create such a memorable blog post, you have to write from your heart and you really need to feel what you’re writing. In such cases, personal experiences matter a lot.

Got some more ideas on how to create memorable blog posts? Please share them in the comments section.

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How to become a better parent

Every parent wants to know how he or she can become better at dealing with his or her kids so that they turn out to be better human beings. Parenting is one of the most challenging jobs in the world because you shape the destiny of human beings, and these human beings later on shape the destiny of the world. What you teach your kids as a parent, how you interact with them, how you teach them values and how you set boundaries for them depends a lot on what you think better parenting is.

“Better parent” has different definitions for different people. Having said that, there are some global and universal benchmarks that can help you become a better parent. For instance, no matter to which culture you belong, teaching your 10-year-old how to smoke or beat up his or her siblings without reason is a really disgusting parenting example and only a person with a twisted mind would disagree. Listed below are a few ways you can become a better parent.

Respect your kids as individuals

As individuals your kids have their own identities, their own opinions and their own sense of space and freedom. Respect that. Simply because they are your kids and they live in your house doesn’t give you the right to violate their privacy, abuse them physically or mentally, or disrespect them just because you want to do that.

Don’t expect adult logic from your kids

Your kids are after all kids and sometimes they don’t understand the implications of their deeds. In order to become a better parent, you need to draw a line between when they should use their judgment and when they should respect your judgment whether they like it or not. Sometimes kids simply refuse to understand and in such situations it is not wrong to show them who is the boss. Of course the first preference should be trying to explain why they shouldn’t do certain things and why they should do certain things.

Keep communication with your kids two-way

Don’t just lecture them all the time, you must also listen to them. If something about you troubles them, you should be open to feedback because after all just as you are putting up with them, they are putting up with you and the understanding and adjustment have to be mutual.

Be there when your kids need you

Nothing is more important than your kids. Be there when they really need to talk to you. Something that seems trivial to you might be of immense importance to them. This is how they gain a sense of self-respect and confidence. They must know that when they want to talk, somebody is there to listen to them and acknowledge their problems and apprehensions.

Don’t meet every demand of your kids just to seem like a better parent

Kids sometimes don’t know how to draw boundaries when they start making demands and you don’t have to meet every single demand of theirs. Lay down some ground rules and stick to them. These rules must not be just for them, they must be for every member of the household, including you and your spouse. For instance, if there is a moratorium on gadgets and video games, then that moratorium must be applicable to every member of the family so that your kids know that you’re always fair with them.

Involve your kids in decision-making

Your kids will feel important and close to you when you seek their advice during critical moments like preparing domestic budget, deciding what to buy and what not to buy, or funding various projects. Ask their opinion and let them come up with their own thoughts on the subject under consideration. This strengthens your family bond.

Allocate time to your kids

You don’t always have to be around your kids and even they will get fed up of your constant presence. Decide a day or time and then definitely spend that day or time with them. It’s better to start this routine early so that by the time they grow up, it is a part of their system. For instance, if every Saturday in the afternoon you decide to spend some quality time with your family and kids, then stick to that schedule unless there is some emergency that you cannot avoid. Even on a day-to-day basis, if possible, there has to be an “all-family” time at least once a day. It can be the morning breakfast or the evening dinner. Make it a rule that everybody is present at that time and stick to it yourself too.

Set a good example for your kids

In order to become a better parent first of all you need to become a better person and set a good example for your kids. Be polite with everybody (it doesn’t mean people can bully you), be honest in your day-to-day dealings with people and affairs, don’t curse, respect your spouse, help others, exercise restraint when spending money and definitely stay away from drug and alcohol abuse. Remember that what you want your kids to be, first you have to become that.

These are a few things that can help you become a better parent.

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How to tackle trolls on Twitter and elsewhere on the Internet

The Internet, and especially social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook, are full of trolls. You may also find them on blogs and online forums.

What/who are trolls?

The word “trolling” is literally derived from putting bait on a fishing hook and luring fish. The trolls on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs do the same thing. They try to bait you into needless discussion loops without having any purpose. They just want to irritate you, make you angry, make you feel attacked and threatened or even vulnerable.

You may also find trolls on YouTube as you must have observed some videos have very nasty and harsh comments on them. YouTube has a voting system and many trolls can be down-voted by other members. But this feature is not available on all the platforms.

Why do trolls exist?

You might as well ask why do psychopaths exist. Sometimes there are no tangible reasons for things to happen. Most of the trolls on Twitter and elsewhere are not dangerous. They simply don’t have anything better to do and as you very well know, an empty mind is the devil’s workshop. A sense of anonymity on the Internet makes it very easy to verbally target people and harass them. It’s very easy to open a Twitter account with a vague name, randomly picking up people and then replying to their tweets.

Types of trolls

Whereas most of the trolls are not very intelligent and informed, there might be some trolls who are pretty informed and socially, politically and literally aware. Such intelligent trolls simply want to confound you without any intention of adding value to an ongoing discussion. They will plant confusing information and then encourage you to respond. They also do this to obfuscate you and people participating in the discussion.

How to avoid or discourage trolls

The best way to discourage trolls is to ignore them. They thrive on your response and the more you respond, the more vigorously they begin to troll you. Once they know that it’s easy to provoke you, at every opportunity they fire salvos at you and disturb your peace of mind. So simply ignore them. If ignoring doesn’t dissuade them, then block them. Before blocking you may like to know that sometimes people become trolls temporarily. Not everybody is a permanent troll. As mentioned above, a troll needlessly pokes you and draws you into debates that have no meaning, and anybody can do that, even a person who otherwise engages in “normal” discussions everyday. If such is the case, simply ignore that person and he or she will get the clue.

Is it possible to ignore trolls always

As mentioned above, some trolls are not perpetual trolls. You may like to answer to them. Just don’t feel provoked. It may seem like a direct attack on you, but it is not. For an attack to be direct, a person needs to know you quite well. Maybe he or she doesn’t like your DP. Maybe he or she found your recent update irritating or offending. Or you totally contradicted his or her opinion using sound logic. Whatever is the reason, he or she may temporarily turn into a troll. There might also be political trolls out there to propagate a particular political ideology and they are going to attack you if you don’t share their ideology. In such situations, reply politely. If they contradict you, ask them, why they contradict you and what is their counter-opinion? If they sound offended, ask them in polite/formal language, what offended them? After that, if they keep going on and on, you can ignore them.

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How to write powerful and effective business articles

Effective business writing

Powerful and effective business articles can be a great marketing tool for your online business. In fact they can also help you even if you don’t manage your business entirely on the Internet. The basic idea behind writing effective business articles is raising awareness about your business as a brand, and establishing your presence as an expert. The more business articles you can publish the greater presence you enjoy.

You can write and publish business articles on your own website/blog or other websites/blogs. Both the publishing platforms have their merits. When you publish powerful and effective business articles on your own blog or website it increases your content value as well as overall keyword density. When you publish your articles on other websites and blogs they can fetch you high quality incoming links that are beneficial both in terms of increasing your search engine rankings as well as getting direct traffic.

In order to derive benefit from your business articles they have to be of great value. Even when you publish them on your own website or blog, aside from generating highly targeted content for you they should also encourage other website publishers and bloggers to link to them.

Writing powerful and effective business articles

An effective business article has an objective

What is the genuine objective behind creating and publishing a powerful and effective business article? If you simply want to increase your keyword density, although the concept is not as bad as it is made out to be, it is not going to be very effective. You have to convey your message. You have to deliver something tangible with every article. After reading your article your readers must feel enriched and informed. Additionally it should also further your business objective. Remember that every article should push your readers towards doing business with you. Making a list of objectives always helps to create more effective business articles.

Back your assertions with well researched-data

Do your research for creating your business article. Don’t just use vague claims in order to impress your readers. Have your numbers and data with you along with sources. When you use well researched data it shows that you have spent time on your business article and you’re not merely creating it as a quick job. People will take your articles seriously only when you yourself take them seriously while writing them.

Don’t ignore keyword research while writing your business articles

Whereas solely focusing on keywords while creating business articles is heavily discouraged you must use words that are relevant to your business while creating your articles whether you plan to publish them on your own blog or website or somewhere else. Your business article must be easily findable no matter where they are published.

You should follow SEO strategic placing of keywords for better effect. For instance your primary keywords and key expressions must appear on your business article title, once or twice as headlines, at least once in a bulleted list and a couple of times as hypertext.

Create well structured business articles

Your business articles shouldn’t appear ameteur as you need to convince people that they represent a serious business. That is why your articles must be well structured and properly organized. For this

  • Have a compelling heading/title
  • Give an introduction
  • Follow a pattern and a direction
  • Spellcheck thoroughly
  • Maintain good readability but use a language people in your niche are comfortable with
  • Respect your readers and avoid offending them by making cultural and regional references
  • Write a conclusion that creates an impact and helps people remember your article
  • Thoroughly proofread your article for spellings and grammar mistakes

These are some basic techniques you can follow while creating powerful and effective business articles. Remember that every business article is an image building exercise for your business so be very careful. Don’t rush into creating scores of business articles if you don’t have enough time to do thorough research and proofreading. Just focus on a few well-written articles and they will keep generating business for you for a long time.

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How to self motivate yourself

How to self motivate

Do you want to self motivate yourself? When you’re feeling totally demotivated and sometimes down in the dumps it may seem like an impossible feat to achieve but actually it is not very hard to self motivate yourself once you have decided to take this positive step.

You need to self motivate yourself when you want to achieve something and you find yourself totally drained and uninterested. You know that what you want to do or have to do is extremely important (as important as paying your bills) but still somehow it feels like all spiritual energy has been drained out of you. You cannot take even a single step towards completing your work or spending another moment productively. Listed below are a few things you can do in order to self motivate yourself.

Realize and understand that life is what you make of it

It may seem sometimes that your life is controlled by the circumstances around you and you are no way in control. This is partly true. We cannot control the events around us but we can certainly control how we react and this is what differentiates success from failure. It’s not that highly motivated and successful people are always coming across favorable circumstances; not at all. They are simply in control of how they react. They decide what their life is going to be no matter what happens. This is the mindset that you have to develop for yourself in order to self motivate yourself.

Self motivate by deciding to motivate yourself

Now this is very important. Without a desire there is no action. Motivation is not going to just fall off the sky: you will have to take a decision in this direction. As long as you’re in a position to think and decide, decide in favor of motivating yourself. Tell yourself that you’re going to motivate yourself no matter how adverse the circumstances are and you going to find your way around because this is the only choice you have. The decision is very crucial. If you’re not even sure of motivating yourself you are never going to struggle for a solution and will always be waiting for some miracle to happen. Miracles do happen but they are very random.

Adopt a positive attitude no matter how silly it sounds

See your life in the positive sense. Everyday is the first day of the rest of your life so everyday is a new beginning. Believe that as long as you are alive your life is full of opportunities. People survived the Nazi concentration camps and if they could do that so can you. Sometimes the brighter side of life is just around the corner, we miss it by an inch. So what if you don’t have money? Isn’t it great that you’re not sick? Even if you are sick every breath is a blessing simply because you are still alive and as long as you’re alive you always got the fighting chance.

Self motivate yourself by setting achievable goals

You can self motivate yourself by setting smaller, achievable goals for yourself. Bigger goals may seem daunting and sometimes they demotivate almost everybody. The trick here is, dividing bigger goals into smaller achievable goals. Suppose you want to complete a novel within the next six months. This may seem like a gargantuan task and hence you may find yourself highly demoralized and demotivated. Instead, set smaller goals for yourself. Initially you can just keep a target of writing a couple of sentences or a paragraph. Then you can stretch yourself to 2 paragraphs. Gradually you can move on to full pages or even multiple pages. After a while you will be amazed to realise how easy it is to complete full chapters in a single day.

Similarly if you think that initially it will be impossible for you to run 2 miles, just focus on running for half a mile and stick to this distance for a couple of weeks. Then gradually stretch yourself and before you know you will be running for 2 miles very easily.

Do some voluntary work

Doing voluntary work is a great way of self motivating yourself. When you volunteer you’re working for others and not for yourself and this gives you a blissful satisfaction. There is no stress involved. You are simply helping other people and trying to make their lives easier. It takes your mind off your own problems and after that you come back to tackling your own problem with a fresh perspective. When you help others you also realize that everybody in this world has his or her own set of problems.

Start proactively caring for your family

I don’t mean to say that right now you don’t care for your family but sometimes we get too bogged down by our surrounding problems and our feeling of care for the family is put onto the back burner, unconsciously. Look at your kids; they totally depend on you. Look at your spouse; he or she has decided to spend his or her entire life with you. Look at your parents; did they raise you so that you could give up so easily? Do you really have the luxury to feel demotivated? You have to excel, if not for you, then for those who care for you and love you.

Self motivate yourself by rewarding you

Of course the question of self-motivation doesn’t just arise in case of overwhelming circumstances. You may need to self motivate yoursel when working on a particular project. Suppose you need to work on an essay and no matter how hard you try you cannot motivate yourself. For such instances decide to reward yourself if you can accomplish the task at hand. You can treat yourself to a movie, your favorite snack or dessert, or an outing with your friends.

We all constantly need to self motivate ourselves and it is a normal phenomena. If you feel that you need to self motivate yourself it doesn’t mean you are going into a depression or something is lacking in you. Lack of motivation is a common occurrence. You just need to be aware of it and be eager to deal with it.

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How to avoid distractions and be productive when working from home

Working from home

Working from home is more of a norm these days rather than an exception. The misconception is that people working from home need to work less compared to those going to offices and other workplaces; it is not so. When you’re working from home there are too many distractions and you really have to work towards being productive. The moment you get a bit loose your productivity begins to go down and sometimes by the time you realize it you have already missed deadlines and have a long list of unmet commitments.

So how to avoid distractions and be productive when working from home? Here are a few things you can take care of:

Respect yourself and your time

Working from home doesn’t mean that you have all the time in the world. Just like going to work you have definite number of hours available to you and you have to complete your assignments during those definite number of hours. Once or twice in a week is fine but if you start putting in extra hours on a daily basis your personal and family life begins to suffer. That is why it is very important that when you are working from home you make proper use of is your work hours. People will respect your time only if you respect your time.

Set achievable goals for yourself

In order to remain focused you must have goals whether they are smaller goals or bigger goals. The basic idea is knowing what you have to do. Once you know what you have to do you can straightaway get to it without giving your mind enough space to get distracted. Our mind works better if it already knows what it needs to do. Bigger goals can be daunting in the beginning so divide them up in smaller goals and then work towards achieving those goals.

Have a separate space for yourself

If you’re looking for serious returns from your work you have to take it seriously and this also involves allocating a separate space for your work. Working from home doesn’t mean you can sit anywhere with your laptop and start working. Although logically there is nothing wrong in it as long as you can remain productive but if you feel distracted all the time you must have a separate space for yourself. Working in the living room while your kids are watching TV or playing games can be really difficult.

That is why it is very important to have a separate place for your work, preferably a different room, preferably a bit away from the usual household activities. If it is not possible to have a separate room at least you should have a separate corner of the house allocated to your work table and a little bit of space around it.

Set boundaries for your family members

Work area means work area. You can avoid distractions and be more productive if few people visit your work area when you are busy. Just imagine, you are about to write the greatest sentence you have ever written and bang — your son’s ball lands right on your computer screen. You have to set boundaries for your kids when you work from home. Let it be known to them that while you are accessible to them 24 hours, there are certain hours when you shouldn’t be disturbed unless there is an emergency. The same goes for your spouse. During work hours there should be no gossiping, discussion of sports or tasting of new recipes.

Use tools to organize tasks

Using tools doesn’t necessarily improve your productivity but they can definitely help you organise your tasks and to-do lists efficiently and effectively. It always helps to have a list of things you need to do on a particular day in advance. It is better to organise your tasks the previous day before wrapping up so that when you start your work the next day you already have things to do.

Learn to distinguish between being busy and actually accomplishing something

When we’re working on our own sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between just being busy and actually doing work. This is primarily because there is nobody standing behind our backs to monitor our activities and review the work on an ongoing basis, the way it happens in a normal office or workplace. When you work from home you are, in the word’s true sense, your own boss. You not only dictate when you work and how you work you also supervise yourself so that you can give your best even when nobody is pushing you or judging you.

Define tangible benchmarks. Doing research for an article might be considered as work but the actual work is completing the article and publishing it, or sending it to the client. Similarly, if you’re making a web design, creating different mockups for yourself might not be the actual work, the actual work is submitting the draft for client review.

Switch off communication channels when you are working

Do you really need your phone all the time? Do you really want to check your e-mail as soon as it arrives in your inbox? Do you really have to keep your instant messengers on all the time? These are nothing but distractions when you’re trying to concentrate. Allocate some time to checking e-mail and check your e-mail only during that time. Let it be known to your clients and customers, for example, that you normally check your e-mail between 3-5 PM and unless there is something urgent this is the tentative time they will receive a response from you. You can request people to send you text messages on your phone in case you needed urgently.

There are many more steps you can take in order to avoid distractions and the product of while working from home. Please mention your own opinion in the comments section.

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How to change your Twitter username easily

Do you want to change your Twitter username? When you started using Twitter a few years ago you never knew that it would matter what sort of Twitter username you have. Maybe you created a Twitter username just for fun and it didn’t sound very respectful or trustable. There are many individuals who use their Twitter usernames as also their business contacts.

Why change your Twitter username instead of creating a new one?

Simply because you will not like to lose your followers. It takes lots of effort and communication to increase your followers count and if you create a new Twitter username from scratch you will have to start the entire process again and it may again take you 2-3 years to reach the count you have now. Although it is a different matter if you have lots of money to spend or if you are a celebrity: then it hardly matters how many new Twitter usernames you create for yourself, you’re always going to get followers in hordes.

For the lesser known ones it is always prudent to change your existing Twitter username rather than creating a new one.

Changing your Twitter username is quite easy actually. Just login to your account and go to Settings (you can access settings by clicking the down arrow on the right hand side of your name on your Twitter profile page). Type in the new username in the Username field and if that name is available you will get it immediately. Once you have entered the new name save the details and you have changed your Twitter username.

But then what happens to your older Twitter username?

For the time being it is gone completely. Since there are many people who will still be using your older Twitter username and if you have been using your older Twitter username at different places on the Internet they will keep sending traffic to that particular profile name. So it is advisable to quickly create a new account using your older Twitter username. Then on the profile page simply mention that you have created a new Twitter username for yourself and your updates are available over the. You can also post a single tweet mentioning the same.

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How to finish what you start

How to finish what you start

Finishing what you start can be the most overwhelming challenges of your life. In fact most of us don’t succeed in what we want to do simply because we don’t know how to finish what we start, and I’m not talking about finishing your snacks or your lunch. I’m talking about the life goals. Something like, you start working on a novel or a book with this great idea but after 30-50 pages all the energy and enthusiasm begins to fizzle out and then one day you realize that you never finished your “world-changing” magnum opus.

Frankly, the desire to finish what you start has to come from within. No matter how many tools you use, no matter how many motivational articles and essays you read, and no matter how many seminars you attend, unless you’re really hellbent upon finishing what you have started, nothing is going to make a difference.

Nonetheless, constantly keeping yourself stimulated by reading blog posts and articles such as this may help you keep the fire burning and eventually you may finish what you started. Listed below are a few steps you can take in order to realise your dream and reach the finishing line after you have started running.

Start taking yourself seriously

You were born into this world to do something special and if you’re not doing that special thing you’re wasting your life. Your primary objective in life is to achieve what you came here for. Start taking yourself seriously. Your time is precious. Your talent is precious. If you keep waiting for the problems of the world to solve themselves before you can start taking yourself seriously then you can wait till eternity because the world has been going on this way and it will go on this way.

Realize what you really want

Do you want to become something or achieve something? Suppose you want to be the greatest footballer of the decade. Is it for the love of the game or are you looking for fame and riches? If you are looking for fame and riches then you will be happy no matter what you do as long as you are famous and rich, right? Although you can say what is the harm of being rich and famous while also getting to do what you love, this is normally not true. All those people who perform great fetes in sports and other fields become famous and rich as an outcome. They are rarely aspiring for the riches. If you’re more interested in such outcome you will become impatient in just a few months and then give up, and worse, consider yourself a failure.

Anyway this is just an example. In order to finish what you have started you really need to desire that.

Have long-term as well as short-term goals

Long-term goals keep you focused and short-term goals keep you energised. Just make sure that your short-term goals are the subsets of your long-term goals. Your long-term goal might be becoming a successful footballer but your short-term goals must be making yourself physically and mentally strong, increasing your stamina, practising everyday, improving your diet and keeping yourself away from drugs and alcohol.

Even these short-term goals can be further broken down to much shorter goals. This requires some planning and strategy. Focusing on short-term goals gradually moves you towards your long-term goals. If you want to write a novel you have to begin with the first sentence and after the first sentence you have to write the second sentence. So in the beginning just focus on the first sentence. Once that is done, focus on the second sentence and so on. Don’t let the magnitude of the effort overwhelm you.

Have something like a business or career plan

Things become difficult to achieve when you don’t have a plan. A well drawn out plan gives you the right direction and keeps you focused. Planning can be a part of defining your short-term and long-term goals but it can quantify those goals and give you a clear picture of what you are achieving and where you are lacking.

Seek collaboration from your near and dear ones

Unless you’re living alone it is extremely difficult to work on your goals without working with your family. Since they are an integral part of your life the pursuit of your goals and they can never be mutually exclusive. In order to finish what you start take into confidence your family members: your spouse, your children, your siblings or your parents. You may also inform your friends and colleagues so that they can understand when you are unavailable. Make it clear that they should respect your aspirations.

Develop a habit of documenting your activities

This may seem something new but it may help you a lot if in some manner you can document your activities. You are already doing that if you are writing because writing is after all documenting. Even when you are writing, don’t depend upon a single document. Create different versions whenever you’re revising your drafts even if you have just 20 pages. Take multiple backups. These days you can easily store your documents on various cloud-based backup services.

Similarly if you want to improve your health you can document your activities on a daily basis; how long you run, how many laps you did while swimming, what you ate, etc. This way if something goes wrong you can always refer to your documentation to see exactly what you have been doing that led to the current situation.

Hold yourself accountable but never give up

Remember that it’s up to you whether you succeed or fail so hold yourself accountable for your failures. But it doesn’t mean you beat yourself to depression and defeat. Failure is as normal as success. The one single thing you have to do is never give up. Learn from your failures and start doing again.

As mentioned in the beginning finishing what you have started is all about your mental framework. If you are fickle by nature it will be very difficult for you to finish what you have started. You need to train your heart and your mind and keep yourself focused.

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How to use blogging to improve your website SEO

Blogging is a great way to improve your website SEO simply because blogs in themselves are developed and published in such a manner that they cater to most of the whims and fancies of search engine algorithms. Whether you are publishing your blog under your main business domain or as a separate domain in both the ways directly or indirectly you can improve your website SEO with blogging. Here is how:

Put your website link on your blog

In all probability your blog is going to have a better page rank compared to your website unless you are able to generate more buzz for your website through various other means. Since on your blog you continuously publish new content the search engine crawlers crawl and index your blog with greater frequency compared to your main website. Since they try to crawl most of the links present on your blog there is a greater chance that they will crawl your main website too with greater frequency. Preferably put the link to your main website at the top or somewhere on the sidebar so that it appears on every blog post and every page on your blog.

Provide other online publishers enough incentive to link to your blog

As you publish more and more quality content people begin linking to your blog to add value to their own content. When they link to your blog, indirectly they will also be linking to your website and consequently this will help improve your website SEO.

Link to your website from within your blog posts

Whenever there is a right context link to your website from within your various blog posts. Take care that you use appropriate hypertext. Then after linking to your website from particular blog posts try to promote those blog posts on various forums, blogs and social networking websites so that other people can link to this blog post.

Use your blog to publish press releases for your main business website

Although you must use professional press release services for more effective SEO you can also publish a copy on your own blog while linking back to your main website. Since press release is normally a news people eagerly link to it from their blogs and websites.

These are a a few elementary things you can do to use blogging to improve your website SEO. If you have more suggestions please share them in the comments section.

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How to create an effective mission statement for your business

Creating effective business mission statement

The mission statement of your business tells the world what makes your business so special and what it stands for. That is why it is very important to create a mission statement that is effective in the sense that it totally conveys its character to your customers, clients, employees and investors. The mission statement of your business tells people why they should partner with you, do business with you, invest in your business and work for you. It must enlighten and motivate people in the least possible words. With passion and conviction you need to convey why you exist and what you aim to achieve.

The mission statement for your business is not like goals and objectives. Mission statement is intangible, holistic and non-financial whereas goals and objectives are financial, they can be quantified and represented graphically. A mission statement encapsulates your life goals rather than business goals.

Creating or developing an effective mission statement for your business can be one of the most critical milestones in the life of your business. It demands careful deliberation and lots of time. Some points mentioned below can help you create an effective mission statement for your business:

Ask questions and interview yourself

Prepare a list of questions about your business such as

  • What business you do?
  • Why you feel passionate about your business?
  • What prospects do you see for your business?
  • Why you think your business is going to survive over the years?
  • What do you bring to the table that your competitors don’t or cannot?
  • What responsibility do you feel towards your family, your friends, the society and the world?
  • What impact or legacy you want to leave behind?

Keep your mission statement short, succinct and compelling

Your mission statement should be something that can be convincingly articulated within a paragraph or within two paragraphs at the most. It shouldn’t be long because the longer mission statement fails to hold attention and consequently fails to make an impact. Every word must be measured and you should be ruthless when it comes to eliminating words or changing them.

Let your mission statement incubate

Creating an effective mission statement for your business doesn’t mean it is a once-in-a-lifetime activity and it needs to be finalized once and for all. It’s not like that. Share your mission statement with people, especially people around you and even your employees and ask them to give a response. If you have a blog you can also share your mission statement on it and ask people for advice. You can even change your business mission statement after a month or a couple of months. Altering your mission statement even if many people have gone through it is much better than being stuck with a lousy mission statement.

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How to beat anxiety

Dealing with anxiety

You need to beat anxiety in time otherwise it can overwhelm you beyond control and in many cases it may also leave physical consequences. You can be hit by anxiety at any time because basically it is a chain of thoughts where one thought leads to another and before you can realize things are beyond control. Anxiety normally happens when either you’re too busy or you have got nothing much at your hand, for example when you’re lying on your bed. Maybe you have some thoughts regarding the lack of money or investments and all of a sudden start thinking about things that may happen while you run out of cash, for instance, somebody falling sick in the family while you don’t have medical coverage, or some sudden unavoidable expense or school or college fee of your kids.

Symptoms of an anxiety attack

There can be many visible and invisible symptoms of an anxiety attack including

  • A faster heartbeat
  • Feeling of a massive lump in the throat
  • It becomes harder to swallow food or water
  • Extreme restlessness when lying down
  • Uncontrollable sweating and dry throat
  • A headache or migraine attack
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Constant feeling of an impending doom

Whatever is the reason you have to beat anxiety before it begins to beat you. Listed below are a few steps you can take in order to beat anxiety.

Make a conscious effort to beat anxiety

Anxiety doesn’t help you, it only aggravates the situation. This is why you need to make a conscious effort to beat it. Try to talk yourself out of it by focusing on something positive no matter how adverse the situation seems. Repeat to yourself “anxiety isn’t helping me it is only making matters worse”.

Go for a walk to beat anxiety

Going for a walk releases positive chemicals that travel to your brain and it also pumps in fresh oxygen into it. This type of mild activity also releases toxins out of your body in the form of sweat. You also get distracted by looking at people, things, animals, and thousands of other things that you come across consciously or unconsciously while you’re walking outside. If nothing else openness and fresh air always has a calming effect on your psyche.

Watch some funny program on TV

Watching some funny program on TV is a great way to distract yourself but only for a while. Watching TV is not recommended on an ongoing basis because it provides you passive stimulations and keeps you distracted only while you’re watching some program. The moment you switch it off your anxiety may return. Anyhow it is a good way to give yourself some respite if you’re stuck in the loop of anxiety.

Eat something rejuvenating

Eat something that makes you feel good whether it is a watermelon during summer or a hot dessert during winter. Don’t stuff yourself and eat so much that you fall sick; just savor it. Eating your favorite dish always elevates your mood and improves it considerably.

Talk to somebody

Since anxiety can lead to a mental breakdown it is a good idea to talk to somebody about the situation or the circumstances that are triggering anxiety. Even if you have to wake somebody up in the middle of the night do it.

Keep yourself busy till the anxiety subsides

When you keep yourself busy you don’t give enough space to your brain to feel anxious. You’re always preoccupied when you are busy and your mind is always processing one thing or another. Anxiety is normally a momentary situation so if somehow you can pass that moment it eventually goes away. If there is certain task that is causing anxiety start doing something else but don’t just sit idle and think about things not happening. Do something else. Being productive always helps.

Whenever you want to beat anxiety quickly just stop what you’re doing and try to take yourself out of the anxiety loop. You should never take anxiety lightly as it may lead to many health related problems including even a stroke. Fix up an appointment with your doctor if the anxiety comes back again and again and it becomes a regular affair. Sometimes reasons for anxiety can be well-founded even if you’re not consciously aware of them.

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How to select the right keywords for SEO

Right keywords for SEO

The entire strength of your SEO strategy rests upon the selection of the right keywords. SEO basically means getting targeted traffic from search engines for the right keywords and key phrases and this traffic comes only when you have content centered around those keywords and key phrases. This is why it is very important to know what are the right keywords for your SEO.

Do the right keywords for SEO just mean writing for the search engines?

Certainly not. Your website or blog content must always be written for human readers because eventually they are the ones who consume your content. The search engines merely find the content they are looking for and bring it to them for the keywords they use in order to find it. So you have to create your content in such a manner that the search engine algorithms find it worthy of higher rankings for the most appropriate keywords and search terms.

The right keywords are most probably not the ones that you think people should use, they are the ones people are actually using. That is why in order to select the right keywords for SEO it is very important that you see your product or service from the perspective of the end users, the people who are eventually going to look for it and use it. Now they are going to look for it according to their own understanding not your understanding. You might be seeing at things from the technical side whereas your customers and clients might look at them for their utility value. For example when you think in terms of megapixels they might think in terms of image size and image clarity so instead of focusing on megapixels for your website or blog content you will be focusing on image size and image quality.

Listed below are a few steps you can take in order to select the right keywords for your SEO strategy

Start researching keywords before writing content

It is very important that you know what keywords you are going to focus on before you start publishing content on your website. If later on you discover that most of the keywords that you have used to generate content were misguided all your effort will be wasted and once the pages get indexed it becomes very difficult to get them refreshed (not impossible but it may take quite a while).

Use the right keyword research tools

Personally I’m not a big fan of keyword research tools unless you have a very big budget and you plan to generate thousands of pages to accommodate all those keywords and key phrases that these keyword tools finalise for you. Nonetheless they are a great way to get a glimpse of different keyword combinations that can be used while you are generating your content. One of such keyword research tools is the Google Keyword Tool. Again, its suggestions would depend on the type of keyword you submit to it so you need to know the fundamental keywords you need to focus on before you can use this tool.

Another reputed keyword research tool for SEO is WordTracker; this is perhaps one of the oldest keyword research tools and also one of the best and most comprehensive. Paid version is a bit on the expensive side and I wouldn’t advise it unless you have multiple websites to search engine optimize, even its trial version gives you a fair idea of its capabilities.

The keyword research tools not only give you a list of keywords to play around they also tell you actually what people are using in order to find businesses similar to yours.

Talk to people directly

This is surely the best way of finding the right keywords for your SEO. Talk to people who are not involved with development of your product or service but who would be the right candidates as customers and clients. They should need your product but shouldn’t be aware of it. Ask them what search terms they would use on the search engines in order to find what you can offer them.

Focus on primary and secondary keywords

Primary keywords are your main keywords and you may generate the maximum amount of traffic for those keywords and the second keywords are different combinations of primary keywords and related keywords. For example if you supply organic foods then “organic food suppliers” would be your primary keyword and “supplying organic food”, “Best organic food suppliers”, etc. would be your secondary keywords. Sometimes secondary keywords can stretch to an entire sentence.

These are a few methods you can use to select the right keywords for SEO.

Home » Articles posted by Smita Awasthi

How to know if somebody is lying

Knowing if someone is lying

If you want to know if somebody is lying or if you want to catch a liar it is actually not very difficult although a little bit of training and knowledge can obviously help. Lying is basically a fabrication; you are making things up impromptu and if you are not an expert liar and a great storyteller it is an extremely difficult task and consequently it makes things easier for you if you want to know if somebody is lying.

Scientific methods of finding if somebody is lying are a bit complicated and sort of fool proof. For instance scientists know that 3 different parts of our brain are working spontaneously when we are lying. On the other hand when we are not lying we are using intrinsic memory that is already there and hence we are using just one part of the brain. If somebody is lying he or she doesn’t have to come up with just one lie but many lies in order to complete that single lie. Here are a few simple things you can do to know if somebody is lying.

Observe the way the person speaks

If you are familiar with the person you can easily make out that the person who is lying is speaking a bit differently than the way normally he or she speaks. May be instead of “I didn’t do” he or she says “I did not do” or something like that or maybe the sentences are unnaturally long or short. Sometimes individual words are spoken with lots of stress as if he or she has to think a lot before saying those words. You just need to pay a bit more attention and you will be easily able to recognize different speaking patterns that are not natural.

Change the topic suddenly and observe the reaction

Normally you will find the person immediately relaxes the moment you change the topic and start talking about something totally unrelated to the subject that was making that person lie. This will be a welcome reprieve for that person. He or she himself or herself was looking for this type of distraction. Then again come back to the old topic and carefully note his or her reaction. This can give you lots of indications whether that person is lying or not.

Raking up the issue again will also help you detect inconsistencies. If that person (the one allegedly lying) is making up stories it will be very difficult for him or her to be consistent and this is where you can easily catch him or her.

Take note of facial expressions

There are some unnatural facial expressions when a person is lying. Professional persons who find out whether somebody is lying say that the person who is lying does not look directly into your eyes but slightly to the left of your face. There might be some twitching and extra touching of nose, chin or ears. If that person is not used to lying you may also observe that his or her face is flushing and slightly sweating if it is not very cold. With some people when they start lying they feel itchy all over the place and they start scratching.

Is he or she being offensive or defensive

Most of the liars act defensive when confronted because their inherent defence system tells them that they are in danger and they need to protect themselves. Lying puts you at a disadvantage because you’re never sure what you’re going to have to say the next moment. You have to quickly make up things and imagine them fast. You also need to guess all the probabilities and think up of lies accordingly. This alarms your defence system and you want to protect yourself and hence you go defensive.

A person who is not lying on the other hand goes on the offensive because he or she has nothing to hide and he or she does not have to spend energies on making up lies. So he or she can easily use all the energies towards putting the point across.

Observe the body language

The person who is lying sometimes has an awkward body language because, again, all the energies are going into making up the lies and there is no coordination between body and mind. The person grows stiff and fidgety. He or she cannot sit the way he or she normally does. He or she needlessly starts moving around and aimlessly picking things up and putting them down. He or she tries to be natural but there is a strange stiffness in every movement. This is because the person thinks that even the slightest mistake can help you know that he or she is lying.

These are some very fundamental things that you can do to know if somebody is lying. You can also cross question the person to verify facts if you are okay with confronting him or her directly but if you want to keep things secret then just observe the way he or she talks and acts and you can find out plenty of things about the story.

Home » Articles posted by Smita Awasthi

How to set your goals and achieve them

Achieving your goals

It is very easy to set goals but actually very difficult to achieve them. Millions of people set all sorts of goals for themselves but you can easily count the ones who achieve them. Does this mean people don’t have the required resolve? It might be the case with most of them but with many people the problem is not with achieving the goals, but setting the right goals. Are you actually setting the right goals for yourself? Whenever you are not able to achieve your goals you have to sit down and think, are you pursuing the right goals?

How do you set your goals?

This is a philosophical, scientific and psychological question. You may also call it the state of Nirvana. It requires great wisdom and understanding to know what are your goals; exactly what you want to achieve in your life and where you want to be, let us say, after the next five years.

But it is not as difficult as it may sound initially. You just need to be sincere with yourself. You also need some knowledge that makes you distinguish between needs and desires. Desires can be misleading. Want a big mansion for yourself? Do you want this mansion because you really need that much space or you want it as a status symbol? Do you think people will respect you more once you have a mansion and a couple of expensive cars? If you are able to achieve this goal many people are really going to respect you and love you for that? People who love you for your material possessions don’t actually love you and respect you, they are just desirous of the same position and when they spend lots of time with you they are just getting the vicarious pleasure. That’s a different story and it would be a digression to talk about this.

In case you’re not able to get a mansion for yourself and a couple of cars you are obviously going to consider yourself a failure and if you’re not the failure types you may set the same goal for yourself for the next year and this may go on. Actually there is nothing wrong in wanting a mansion and expensive cars. The problem is when you begin to think that you will be happier and more satisfied once you get them.

On the other hand let us assume your goal for the next five years is to live a satisfied and secured life. This seems more attainable. You can be satisfied and secure in a smaller house and a car that is safe and can easily accommodate your family. You don’t have to worry about your children’s college education and your family’s health care expenses. Once you have these goals you begin to explore means to achieving them. You may start saving money wisely or investing money wisely.

You may also set a goal for yourself to have a healthy body within the next two years. This is quite an achievable goal. You may also decide to spend more and more time with your family and this may involve changing your career. The basic point is knowing what you want to do and what all needs to be achieved in order to achieve your goals.

How do you achieve your goals?

Once you know what your goals are it becomes a lot easier to achieve them. It is like knowing where you want to go. After that you just need to know the way. Here are a few things you can do to achieve your goals

  • If you want to make your dreams true then wake up first: It’s not enough to just dream about achieving your goals. You actually need to get up, wake up, and start working towards achieving your goals. This means taking all the necessary actions instead of simply thinking about them. Get your act together and start working.
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses: It is very important to know what are your strengths and weaknesses so that you can plan ahead accordingly. You can use your strengths to your advantage and you can work harder or strategically to overcome your weaknesses. This way your weaknesses won’t pull you back or slow you down.
  • Create short-term goals: Bigger goals are the sum total of multiple smaller goals. Your overall goals may look overwhelming because they have bigger dimensions. But it will be your smaller goals that will push you towards your bigger goals one step at a time. So focus on your smaller goals. Take for instance going for a morning jog everyday. If you’re not used to getting up early this will be your first goal: to get up early. Obviously in order to get up early you must get to bed early. If you’re not used to it, then first of all you need to get used to going to bed and sleeping early. You don’t have to straightaway start going for your morning jog. Just get up early and spend some relaxed time and gradually you start going out for a walk or a stroll.
  • Make commitments and stick to them: Be answerable to yourself if nobody is supervising you. Be sincere with yourself. Make commitments to yourself and then stick to those commitments. Going back to the previous example if you want to start getting up early at a particular hour then get up even if there is nobody to make sure that you really get up. Since this requires you to get in the bed early the previous night then discipline yourself.
  • Quit being double minded: Whenever you’re working hard at achieving your goals many conflicting thoughts stop you from giving your best. This is the time you should quit being double minded and straightaway focus on what you should be doing rather than what you want to do. Don’t give your mind enough time to create doubt inside you. For instance when getting up early in the morning don’t debate whether you should get up or not, simply get up.
  • Always have a plan B: You don’t always have to burn your ships once you start doing something; this may work or may not work so it is always better to have a plan B in case plan A fails. This way your efforts will not be derailed in case there is a setback that is not directly under your control.

Whenever you want to set goals and then achieve them it always helps to create shorter goals because then it becomes easier to achieve them.

Home » Articles posted by Smita Awasthi

How to make social media serve your business

Using social media for business

You can certainly make social media serve your business but you perpetually need to keep this in mind that basically social media is for social interaction and it cannot be used to merely promote your business. You need to create a social presence and once you have created that presence you can let people know what is your business and whether you would like to serve them or not.

Nonetheless every serious business these days has a social media presence and so should you. This is because more and more people are spending most of their time interacting on social media and social networking websites. They no longer check e-mails and their visits to various blogs and websites and online forums are dwindling too. On the other hand traffic on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook is increasing in leaps and bounds. Since you have to be where your target market is, without intruding upon people’s need to interact socially, you need to figure out how to make social media generate new business for you.

You need to be social on social media

It is very important that you create a vibrant social media presence before you can even think of talking about your business. Know people and let them know you. Let them be familiar with your presence. Be useful to them. Primarily there are two reasons people spend time on social media websites: to interact with their friends, family and colleagues and to get timely information on their preferred topics. This is what you need to provide and you need to provide it on an ongoing basis.

Remain focused on your core subject

Remianing focused on your core subject gives you two advantages: people searching on social media websites for topics relevant to your business can easily find your updates and consequently go to your website, and your friends and followers know exactly what type of updates you post and hence pay more attention to what you have to say. This way it also becomes easier for those who want to follow you: they know exactly why they are following you.

Keep people engaged and participate in conversations

Simply posting updates multiple times a day won’t help you get attention, you need to engage your friends and followers by continuously talking to them and having conversations with them. Having 1-1 interactions is often not possible if you have 1000s friends and followers (if that is the case anyway you need a dedicated person to manage your social media presence for your business), but if you have fewer and manageable followers and friends try to have as many conversations with them as possible. You will need to maintain a balance. Observe what is going on and pay attention to what people are talking about and then whenever you think you have something valuable to add, pitch in. Suppose somebody is looking for an answer that you have; provide that answer directly to the person.

As a business you can engage your friends through your Facebook fan page by organizing events, activities and contests on a regular basis.

Be a human not just a business

Again, social media is all about being social so you need to be a person on social media. Share your personal experiences and opinions now and then. It doesn’t hurt if occasionally you post some light-hearted photographs of yours or your office. If you recently had an office party it will be using to post some pics on your Facebook account, for instance. Just make sure you know where to draw the line.

Measure your social media engagement

Of course if you want social media to serve your business you need to measure and track your activities. You need to know how many people actually click the links you post. You need to find out how many people actually visit your website when you post links to it on Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you ask a question many people respond positively, negatively or do they remain neutral. There are many tools available on the Internet that can help you manage, track and measure your social media engagement.

Respond promptly when somebody has an issue

There is no use having a social media presence for your business if it takes 2-3 days for a response to appear on your timeline when somebody has an issue with your product or service. The response must be there within a couple of hours if not within a few minutes. This is because people have very active timelines on social media and soon they lose track of what they had asked for unless the problem is very pressing. If they don’t receive an answer from you within a few hours they are going to assume that you don’t answer.

Have branded social media presence

It pays to have a blended Twitter profile page and a Facebook fan page where people can easily recognize your business and brand. If you have a logo or a header, use it on your Twitter profile page and your Facebook fan page.

Social media is a great tool to promote your business provided you can strike up a balance between social activities and business promotion. People on social media want to interact and they want to be informed. They are looking for information they can use. Direct marketing/push marketing doesn’t work on social media because nothing is on autopilot.

Home » Articles posted by Smita Awasthi

How to loosen up your vocal cords before singing

You need to loosen up your vocal cords before giving a singing performance otherwise you will feel a strain that will neither let you touch lower scales nor higher scales. The beauty of your singing performance depends a lot on how relaxed and reverberating your vocal cords are.

Too much practice or loud speaking sometimes stiffen or strain your vocal cords and you need to relax them. When you can relax them you can sing with maturity and express deep emotions through your singing.

Loosening up or relaxing vocal cords before singing

It is preferable that you have a musical keyboard with you, a piano or a harmonium would do. Take some deep breaths and relax yourself. Get rid of all the thoughts that produce tension in your body and mind. Bring a smile on your face and try to laugh at something. The basic idea is to get rid of all the thoughts that may strain your vocal cords.

Once you are feeling relaxed start playing notes on your keyboard and humming them quietly. Don’t go very high and don’t go very low, just the middle notes that you can easily hum. Take 4 notes at a time and start ascending and descending in relaxed successions while maintaining a beat, something like

do re mi fa mi re do

Keep repeating them and make sure the sound is coming either from your chest or your stomach and not from your throat or nose. There must be no strain in your throat. Try to whisper these notes sometimes as if you’re singing them into somebody’s ears. Once you are feeling relaxed start going towards the lower octave like

do si la si do re mi (the lower ones, not the higher ones)

And keep repeating these notes so that you feel more relaxed.

What is the lowest note your vocal cords can manage? Take 1 note higher and try to sing it non-stop for at least 30 seconds. If you cannot manage 30 seconds, sing for as long as you can manage and keep repeating that. This will make you comfortable on that note and loosen up your vocal cords.

Remember that the lower you can go the more relaxed your throat will be and you will feel your vocal cords loosening up. Don’t be in a hurry. This should just take 15-20 minutes. Repeatedly practising lower notes makes it easier for you to reach higher notes automatically but this is not true if you keep practising the higher notes. Higher notes normally strain your vocal cords and may also harm them sometimes because you’re basically stretching them.

Once you are totally comfortable with the lower notes, start moving towards higher notes but move 2 notes at a time. Remember there should be no strain while you move towards the higher scale. There is no hurry, again. If you hurry the strain will come back. Keep singing those notes, 4-3 notes at a time and start moving towards the higher octave.

Eventually you should reach the highest scale your vocal cords can easily accommodate. Descend and ascend, dissend and ascend, and keep doing this without tiring or straining your vocal cords. Remember that you need to loosen them up and not cause them to strain.

Once you have practised these notes start singing first

re re re…

Move towards higher notes and lower notes and keep doing this.

You can do the same ascent and descent with first

ga ga ga…
gi gi gi…

And then

ka ka ka…
ki ki ki…

You can also try

o o o…

Because on the higher notes saying o sound can be a bit difficult sometimes.

By the time you are through with this exercise your vocal cords should be quite relaxed and you should be able to give a stellar performance. Keep in mind that you have to be in good spirits when you are about to sing.

Home » Articles posted by Smita Awasthi

How to effectively search engine optimize individual blog posts

Every new blog post that you publish on your blog contributes towards increasing your traffic so it is very important that you take appropriate measures to search engine optimize every post. It rarely happens (although sometimes it does happen) that your blog draws traffic for the target keywords and key phrases as a whole: it is always the sum total of individual blog posts that includes the true measure of your total search engine traffic.

Presented below are a few things you can take care of in order to search engine optimize your individual blog posts:

Include your keywords in the blog post title

Your blog post title is one of the most important parts of your post. In fact it is so important that it shows up as a hyperlink on the search engine result page. That is why the search engine crawlers look for your main keywords in your blog post title. Make sure that your blog post title is compelling as well as relevant because eventually it is your title that makes people click the search result and visit your blog post.

But does creating search engine optimized blog post titles force you to create drab and uninspiring titles? Not necessarily. Fortunately some SEO add-ons and widgets for WordPress allow you to create blog headers and blog post titles separately. Difference? The block post title is the text that you see in the top browser window bar. This text comes between the header HTML tags <title></title>. The all in one SEO pack allows you to create the blog header (the name of your blog post that appears above your main content) and the block post title separately.

Have search engine friendly URLs or permalinks

Most of the blogging platforms these days allow you to create search engine friendly URLs or permalinks, but they don’t come as a default. For instance in WordPress if you don’t change the structure of your permalinks most of your URLs appear as This is not very inspiring and doesn’t carry your keywords.

If you change these settings the text of your URL is taken from your blog post title and this gives you a search engine friendly URL. Such URLs help you improve your search engine rankings.

Organize your blog post content as headlines, sub-headlines and bulleted points

These are the places where search engine algorithms look for your prominent keywords because they carry the gist of your blog post content. For instance you could use headlines and sub-headlines to highlight your main points. These main points should automatically carry your primary and secondary keywords and key phrases. Similarly you can present your main points using bulleted lists and consequently bulleted lists can also have your keywords.

Use interlinking

The more you link your blog posts to each other the easier it is for the search engine crawlers to find content on your blog. From wherever the search engine crawlers begin to crawl your website if all the blog posts are interlinked it is easier to reach them and then index them.

Encourage people to link to your blog posts

Make more and more people aware of whatever new blog posts you are publishing by posting your links on your social media and social networking profiles and introducing them contextually wherever there is an opportunity. The incoming links are kind of a validation that your blog posts carry quality content and consequently it helps to improve your search engine rankings.

These are a few steps you can take in order to improve the search rankings of your individual blog posts. If you know some other methods please share them in the comments section.