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SportyDave

SportyDave   , 46

from Sydney

How Popular is Your Competition’s Website?

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We put our house on the market a few months ago. One thing I’ve learned about real estate is that it’s vital that you analyze local comps. What this means is, you look at comparable homes (comps) in the neighborhood.

Competitors are homes that are selling for around the same general price range you are selling yours for, with similar square footage, a number of bedrooms and baths, etc.

The idea is if there are a number of other homes in your neighborhood that are around the same size with the same amenities, and you are way overpriced, good luck selling your house anytime soon.

In this post, we’ll explore how to look at your competitors on the web and get an idea how much traffic they have. This will help you figure out who you’re really competing with.

Once you know who your competition is, you can spend some time looking at what they’ve got going on and then you can decide if you need to spend the money on that granite countertop (i.e. hire a designer to do a fancy website redesign or take a class to learn about SEO).

"We watch our clients' competitors closely", says Dan Steiner of Elite Legal Marketing, "we see what’s working for them in Google and other search engines and if it’s working, we look for ways to improve on it in our own client SEO."

If you’re selling a specific line of products, you want to know who else is out there selling the same products you are."

You want to know what their prices are, how they are running sales, and how popular they are.

If they are consistently outranking you in search engines, you want to study what they are doing so you can beat them.

If you are a blogger in a specific niche, I highly recommend that you become friends with your competitors.

Link to them in blog posts, comment on their blogs, chat with them on Facebook. I have a lot more to say about this but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

How Popular Is Your Competition’s Blog?

Unlike the real estate industry, it’s not so easy to know how popular a blog is just by looking at it, and we don’t have an MLS where you can just look it up.

But there are a few ways to find out…

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Google Page Rank Toolbar

Wondering if your competitors’ websites are getting more traffic that yours? Use the Google Toolbar (Only IE and Firefox) to view the PageRank™ display. This will tell you how Google assesses the importance of the page you’re viewing.

Here’s how it works. After you’ve installed the Google Toolbar, check the top of your browser.

See that big long green bar? That’s the PageRank meter. If you hover over it with your mouse, it will actually show you the PageRank score for the page you are visiting. Now visit your competition and compare.

Update: I use Firefox and for some reason Google has not updated their toolbar to work with Firefox. (And it’s pretty hard to avoid updating Firefox since it happens pretty much automatically.)

So I am now using this Firefox add-on instead.

Even better isthe Moz Bar these days.

Mailing List

Sometimes people will show the number of subscribers they have on their mailing list on their blog.

This is really helpful and will tell you a lot about how big of an influencer they are. It’s easy to build a Twitter fan base with the right software, and you can just throw money at Facebook to grow your fans.

But growing a newsletter subscription base takes time and effort, and money if you have it to spend.

I have tended to favour Vertical Response. It's not that it's any better than other mailing software. It's just a case of goingwith what you know.

FeedBurner

When you visit a blog, chances are it’s probably using FeedBurner counter to keep track of its RSS feed subscriber counts. Some bloggers display the FeedBurner FeedCount chicklet; others don’t show it.

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For blogs that don’t have a FeedBurner chicklet, it’s still possible to view number of subscribers provided that the blog owner has the FeedCount activated in his FeedBurner account.

All feeds on FeedBurner start with the address:

feeds.feedburner.com/feedname

To view the FeedCount for a blog, just add ~fc/ so that the new URL becomes:

  • feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/feedname

Therefore, TechCrunch.com feed count would be:

  • feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/techcrunch

If the FeedCount is not enabled, you’ll get a message saying FeedCount is not enabled for that feed.

Alexa Rank

You can also check out their Alexa rank.

I’m also not sold on Alexa, since the numbers can be misleading. The only people who show up in the reports are people who have the Alexa toolbar.

If your audience is very techie, it’s likely they have an Alexa toolbar. But if not, this is useless information. It’s a data point, but nothing more.

Compete.com

Lastly, Compete.com is another tool.

I don’t really like Compete because it is not very accurate.

I included it because you can use it to give you a general idea of what your competitors’ traffic looks like, but don’t base anything on it because I’ve seen it be wildly off.


Upbeat Wedding Receptions the New Normal

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Whilst the simple beauty and tradition of a white wedding continues to this day, more and more couples are moving towards fun, upbeat and energetic wedding ceremonies.

After all, couples want a wedding that is memorable, they want a wedding which not only captures the imagination of their guests but is remembered amongst friends and family as a unique experience and awesome day.

So, what's hot in the world of edgy wedding receptions? Let's take a look at some of the trends that are becoming the new Normal in haute société wedding reception culture.

Wedding Drones.

Yes, wedding drones. Drones are fast becoming a fashionable accessory heard buzzing around at weddings. Handled properly they can capture photos and videos from a unique and interesting angle.

These photos are sure to cause a buzz amongst your friends and family. The technology is new enough to have a wow factor and leave your guests impressed to the max.

Of course, wedding drones have a downside. They don't work so well in wet weather, and yes, they have been known to crash into the bridal party. Whoops! 

Accidents aside if you’re considering hiring a drone then make sure you find a reputable photographer who knows how to operate the drone properly, this will ensure you receive great images and stay safe at the same time.

As drone technology catches on more and more traditional photographers and videographers are starting to implement the technology, so finding someone is getting easier every day!

Wedding Photo Booths With A Twist.

That's right; it's time to ditch that old photo booth and embrace the latest in wedding entertainment, the open air photo booth.

Open air photo booths offer an opportunity for guests to entertain themselves whilst at once capturing priceless memories as beautiful high-resolution photographs.

Agencies like Booth Boy Photo Booths make it easy and fun for wedding reception guests to get in on the photographic action - something that has historically belonged to the bridal party only. But why leave guests out of the fun? 

A great photo booth hire company will supply all the props you need to make sure your guests are entertained all night long, this way your guests have something to do other than dancing till they drop, which is slightly less than desirable.

Kids Party Corner.

This is one that I came across recently at a wedding not far from Newcastle, let's just say the kids loved it! On each of the kids, tables were gifts and activities suitable for children. They also had a fairy floss machine (sugar overload!) and a number of games, including air hockey.

The party corner kept the kids well entertained, which is fantastic because nobody wants to be at a wedding with bored children! Of course, they also love jumping into the photo booth, another sure fire way to keep the kids entertained.

My own kids, four of them, all under 10yrs, never once complained about the time of day or the length of the event. And that my friends is a win!

Flash Mobs.

Flashmobs involve a little more work and a little more time - not to mention the possibility of a slightly higher cost. But, they are an engaging and quirky way to entertain the bridal party and guests.

In fact, many of these flash mobs are being performed by the bridal party themselves, much to the enjoyment of the reception guests.

At a recent wedding I saw the groom's entire party put on the flash mob dance for the bride and the bridal party, it took them by surprise, created many a laugh and was a huge success amongst both the bridal party and the guests.

Whilst beauty and tradition is still a huge part of weddings, technology is only adding to the experience and providing new and inventive ways of saying, "I do". 

High-tech entertainment is fast becoming the new normal for the 21st-century wedding, it’s certainly an interesting time to be hosting a wedding!

Image Source: Booth Boy Photo booth


Using Tea for Detox in After Massage Care

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If there's one beverage that has been lauded as the panacea of cures for hundreds of years, it's tea.

Tea has always been capable of improving the health of those who drink it, not least of which is its ability to provide a gentle system detox.

While there are many types of tea capable of achieving this, what's true about all of them is the important detox benefits they offer as part of your after massage care.

The Benefits of Tea

There's no shortage of what tea can do for you. Chief among their many advantages is their ability to detox your body.

With an abundance of antioxidants in herbal teas, the various harmful toxins in your body get flushed.

With the removal of such toxins, drinking tea can reduce your chances of heart attacks or strokes, improve the health of your teeth, lessen the likelihood of cancer, and even aid with weight loss.

Which Types Of Tea Should You Drink?

There are many kinds of healthy teas available for a good detox and Life Hack has a good guide on how to undertake the detox as well.

Oolong tea activates special enzymes that help cut down on fat in the blood. Cup Above Tea have a great set of recipes for Oolong Tea Cocktails which are both refreshing and serve as a great way to begin a detox regime.

Black tea helps lower cholesterol levels. And green tea significantly reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular disease.

Regardless of the type of tea you drink, nearly all of them have many health benefits.

What is the Best Time of day to Drink Tea?

There isn't specifically a 'right' time to drink tea, but there can be a strategic time depending on why you're drinking it.

If you drink tea purely for the health benefits, the best time to drink tea is roughly an hour after eating a meal. This is because tea can hurt iron absorption by the body if you drink it while digesting food.

Drinking tea after a massage will also help cleanse the system.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, has been the major health care system in China for over two thousand years. Its practice is guided under the ancient Chinese Philosophical framework of Yin and Yang Five-element Theory. (Source: https://www.mimt.edu.au/info/course/oriental-massage)

In traditional Chinese and oriental massage providing these teas before and after a massage is very common aspect of this five-element framework to good health.


How To Prepare Both Cold and Hot Tea

You can drink tea both hot and cold, depending on your personal preference. Thankfully, preparing either tea is easy.

For cold tea, do nothing more than prepare the tea as you usually would but allow it to chill in the fridge until it's your desired temperature. If using a tea bag, remember to remove it once the tea has reached the right colour or strength.

For hot tea, be sure to use fresh water that's come to the boil. Depending on the tea, allow it to steep for 3 to 10 minutes. For detox purposes, don't add any milk or sugar. After a further five to ten minutes, it'll be ready to drink.

How Much Tea Should You Drink?

Depending on whether your tea is caffeinated, there is a certain amount you should drink each day. If your tea is caffeinated, you should only drink up to five cups a day. With decaffeinated, you can drink up to eight.

There are many reasons as to why tea ought to be consumed on a regular basis. Aside from being delicious, the health benefits they offer are many and significant.

With the almost endless varieties of tea to choose from you can be sure you'll find your right flavour brimming with benefits to enjoy often.

Image Source Credit: Pixabay CC0 License


10 Balloon Ideas for a Girls Birthday Party

Balloons can prove to be a versatile decoration for your girl's next party. They can turn an ordinary celebration into something remarkable.

Backdrop

Build up a balloon backdrop to match the theme of your party.

 Depending on your theme or even the age of the birthday girl, try a backdrop like a bunch of balloons, put together to build up a heart shape, or helium balloons bouncing around in the form of the number "16".

Try making a balloon wall using the video guide below.

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Photos hanging from Balloons

Helium balloons can be used in various ways, but they are great photo-hangers.

 Hang photos on strings from the balloons to make the birthday party more personal and endearing.

Polka Dot Balloons

Polka dots balloons are a girl's weakness as they're incredibly cute.

Any ordinary balloons can be turned into one of them by using round shaped stickers. You could even reuse them once the balloons deflate.

Try pom-poms instead of stickers to make it more fun.

LED Balloons

Who wouldn't love balloons that glow brightly in the dark? A great idea for balloon party games, these fun and spectacular party brighteners are as unusual as they are eye-catching. Place them everywhere to bring the place alive.

Confetti balloons

If all that glitters is gold then why not glue gold or silver confetti on the balloons to give the party a more regal feel?

Put some inside your balloons to beautify them further. And if they burst, what a treat!

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Image Source Credit: http://www.shindigs.com.au/.

Add drama to the favour bag

By attaching balloons to each of the favour bags, you can easily add a lasting feel of party festivities, and everyone gets to take home a fancy balloon.

Balloons are the new bling

Add balloons on the top of your cake, attach them to the silverware or the handkerchiefs, scatter them on the floor - it's all in the details.

Balloon Stomp

With about a metre of string tied to each balloon, tie the other end to each person's ankle. The goal is to stomp on everyone else's balloons and pop them but save yours from being popped.

The only one remaining with an unpopped balloon wins.

Catch that Balloon

This game is a superb idea for a kid's birthday party.

One person holds a balloon and the kids gather around them. The one holding the balloon throws it in the air and calls out one kid's name. If he/she catches it before it touches the ground, that kid is the next to toss the balloon.

Balloon Seize

This game is hilarious and fit for adults!

Place as many balloons as you can on the floor. Give everyone sixty-seconds to pick up and hold as many balloons as they possibly can. Put them between your legs, under your arms, even in your teeth, or in your clothes. The one with the most balloons seized wins.

Balloons are fun, and when used creatively they're an essential part of the festive feel, adding life, colour and fun.


Gadgets to Reduce House and Garden Pests

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House and garden pests not only ruin harvests and household items but also prove a significant threat to health and hygiene.

We can combat these problems electronically with helpful gadgets that are safe to use and offer less risk than their chemical counterparts.

Cockroaches

“Pest Free” is an electronic pest control device that, once plugged in, uses small pulses of electromagnetic force to fight off cockroaches. It's entirely safe for family and pets.

Devices like Pest Free uses no harmful insecticide chemicals, thus making it an eco-friendly solution. Switch on and it will effortlessly do its job of protecting your house from cockroaches.

Mice and rodents

Using a combination of ultrasonic, electromagnetic, and ionic technologies, a device like Pestrol Rodent Free will rid your home of mice and rodents.

It's easy to use and requires absolutely no maintenance. Plug it in, and it's on the job straight away. Pestrol Rodent Free is an excellent choice for a discreet, humane, and mess-free solution of repelling and controlling mice and rodents domestically.

It's environmentally friendly as uses no harmful chemicals, therefore posing no threat to humans or pets.

Slug traps

Slugs, the slimy garden and lawn destroyers, chew on any plant they come across. That's when “SlugX” comes into play to help rid you this particular pest.

It's a simple plastic box into which you pour beer that attracts and then drown the slugs. It gives great results as the beer doesn't evaporate nearly as fast as it would in an ordinary container

If you’re looking for a fancy slug trap, then Terra Trade’s Sunflower Slug Trap is the ideal choice to help you maintain a stunning garden.

The Slug Trap uses no toxic or harmful chemicals that might harm one’s health or pose a threat to the environment, unlike pesticides that would ordinarily be used, making it a top choice for the avid gardener.

Birds

“Daddi Long Legs” is a different bird deterrent designed to prevent birds from landing in open spaces that are hard to protect.

This device consists of thin stainless steel rods that rotate and wave even in the slightest breeze. This design interferes with the birds’ ability to land.

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The plastic-tipped rods will not harm humans, birds, or any animal for that matter, and proves an ideal choice to keep bird problems at bay.

Another choice is “PestBye Ultrasonic Pest Repeller & Deterrent”, an electronic device that produces high pitched, ultrasound emissions.

The frequency is too high for human hearing but one that falls within the range of most species of birds, thus keeping them away.

The gadgets discussed above are eco-friendly, humane, and discreet, making them more desirable than chemical alternatives.

For these reasons, more and more people are shifting toward these gadgets and away from insecticides and pesticides.