How Your Business Can Benefit from a Blog

In the 21st Century information age of Google, Facebook, Twitter and iPhones being connected and having a web presence is a must.  If you have a business whether it be in its infancy or well established opportunities for growth exist online. Every business especially those that provide services to the public, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Lawyers just to name a few should have a web presence. You need a website to attract customers in the new millennium.  But having a website alone might not be enough? To increase traffic one needs to be engaged in Internet marketing more so than just being listed on Google and placing ads.  Social networking sites are a great way to form a fresh young client base.  Facebook and Twitter are sites consumers are using to connect to their favorite brands.  One of the best ways to provide constant updates on your business, your products or services on social networking sites is to maintain a blog.

A blog? Isn’t that for political and news junkies and teenage girls who follow celebrity crushes and entertainment news?  Is it really for a business?  Absolutely! Businesses are catching on to the world of blogging.  Blogs are for everything and are for everyone!  Many blogs look professional and offer updates on areas of your business’s expertise.  A stock broker or agency may write about the pulse of the market.  Real Estate agents will often give tips and feedback to buyers and sellers, show market trends in the price of houses.  As a business you are offering something free, a sample of your services online to everyone to establish both a rapport and a sense that you are the expert.  The idea is for the consumer to remember this and in return offer you their business.  The goal is to establish a sense of credibility so the next time the consumer whom browses your site needs a service they come to you in trust.

A blog is the best Internet marketing tool because updates and posts can automatically be posted to Twitter and Facebook.  Both Blogger and WordPress are free services that have great hosting abilities and plenty of templates.  In addition with just a click of a button the latest post is added to your Facebook page with a description and picture.  It will even update your Twitter status using the title of the post and link to article.  This is an automatic way to increase traffic.  Twitter is the ultimate free traffic maximizer!  It is a system in which people follow you have your Tweets updated on their homepage.  You could have thousands of people seeing your new post every day.  If you do Twitter right it is easy to get a couple thousand of followers within a few weeks.

Additionally, blogs are great for search engine optimization (SEO) because they often have more posts and constant daily hits due to the updating search engines tend to pick them up faster.  A blog is a must for extreme traffic and sales!

Enhance Social Media Presence with Facebook

Most people have a personal Facebook page set up which allows them to communicate and interact with their friends and family.  However, many businesses are not taking advantage of this marketing tool and setting up a Facebook fan page for their business.  Having a Facebook fan page allows a business to advertise current promotions or upcoming sales and events.  Additionally, fans and followers of the business and products can keep abreast of company activities and add comments to the fan page.

This type of interaction creates a relationship between the customer and business.  Additionally, research reveals that customers are more likely to buy from a business or sales professional that they feel comfortable with and they can trust.

Facebook provides many opportunities to generate interest in a business. By attracting fans, a business can have access to up to 5,000 people. A business can update fans on new products or news and include links to the information they want to spread the word about.  Additionally, a business can send marketing messages, offers and other lead magnets to their target market to persuade them to “like” their fan page. A business will then have access to their target market.

Facebook has some additional benefits that many of the other social media networking sites do not.  Facebook allows users to post pictures, video, links and longer posts.  Additionally, fans will able to access a business’s post for up to five years.

With so many powerful ways to build traffic using Facebook, marketers cannot ignore this medium of generating sales. However, attracting clients and prospects via Facebook can be quite time consuming. Fortunately, there are numerous services and tools that can automate many of the tasks that would take an undue amount of time to complete if they were all being done manually.  Furthermore, Facebook is also a very inexpensive way to promote products or services. A business with a lot of fans will result in simple and easy promotions.

If a business wants to compete in today’s technology driven marketplace then they have to modify their means of communication and way of doing business to accommodate social media interaction.  Social media is used as a tool to stay connected with consumers via the internet; knowing that the internet is a powerful tool for communication. Social media is seen as a means to maintain a sound relationship with existing customers while simultaneously reaching potential customers.

Which Is Better : Fresh Produce Or Frozen Produce?

Frozen Fruit and Fresh Fruit : Which Is Better?There’s a long-standing myth that freezer-section produce is “worse for you” than fresh produce from a farm. The truth, however, is often the opposite.

Because of upgrades in packaging and delivery methods, frozen produce is often more fresh than “fresh produce”, and contains higher nutrient levels, too.

The key is to know how to shop for it.

The main advantage that frozen produce carries over fresh produce is that frozen produce is picked in its most ripe — and most nutrient-rich —  state. Then, when the produce is flash-frozen, its nutrients become locked-in and sealed.

Fresh produce, by contrast, tends to be picked before it’s ripe, and is left to ripen in transit.

Because food nutrients degrade with exposure to heat and/or light, the longer it takes produce to get from the farm to the supermarket, the fewer nutrients the produce will have. 

Did you know? Fresh fruit and vegetables might sit for up 2 weeks before they’re sold by your local supermarket. And not to mention how long it may take you to consume them.

Another advantage of frozen produce is that it’s often less expensive than fresh fruit. For example, looking at the cost of strawberries bought in bulk:

This isn’t to say that frozen produce is “better” than fresh produce. It just depends on your circumstance. If you plan to consume the produce within a short period from purchase, and can account for its ripeness and freshness, fresh produce may be preferred. Or, if you eat organic produce, free from pesticides and chemicals — certain produce may be better eaten fresh.

But know the facts. Frozen produce can be healthier and cheaper — a good combination for your household.

How Does Your Real Estate Tax Bill Compare To Other Parts Of The Country?

Real Estate Taxes compared to local household income

Mortgage rates may be a function of free markets, but real estate taxes are a function of government. And, depending on where you live, your annual real estate tax bill could be high, low, or practically non-existent.

Compiling data from the 2009 American Community Survey, the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan educational organization in Washington D.C., published property taxes paid by owner-occupied households, county-by-county.

The report shows huge disparity in annual property taxes by region, and by state.

As a percentage of home valuation, Southeast homeowners tend to pay the fewest property taxes overall, while Northeast homeowners tend to pay the most. But statistics like that aren’t especially helpful. What’s more useful is to know how local real estate taxes stack up as compared to local, median household incomes.

Not surprisingly, real estate taxes are least affordable to homeowners in the New York Metro area. The 10 U.S. counties with the highest tax-to-income ratios physically surround New York City’s 5 boroughs. The areas with the lowest tax-to-income, by contrast, are predominantly in southern Louisiana.

A sampling from the Tax Foundation list, here is how select counties rank in terms of taxes as a percentage of median income:

  • #1 : Passaic County (NJ) : 9.7% of median income
  • #6 : Nassau County (NY) : 8.6% of median income
  • #15 : Lake County (IL) : 7.2% of median income
  • #18 : Cheshire County (NH) : 7.1% of median income
  • #70 : Travis County (TX) : 5.0% of median income
  • #90 : Marin County (CA) : 4.6% of median income
  • #110 : Middlesex County (MA) : 4.4% of median income
  • #181 : Sarasota County (FL) : 3.9% of median income
  • #481 : Douglas County (CO) : 2.4% of median income
  • #716 : Maui County (HI) : 1.3% of median income

The U.S. national average is 3.0 percent.

The complete, sortable list of U.S. counties is available at the Tax Foundation website. For specific tax information in your neighborhood or block, talk with a real estate agent.

How To Clean A Gas Grill

Keep a clean grillWhether you barbecue for friends or family once annually, or through all 4 Sacramento seasons, it’s important to keep a clean gas grill. A well-maintained grill will help your food taste its best — no matter what you’re cooking up.

Cleaning a gas grill is simple and should be performed at least once every 12 months for light use, and once every 6 months for heavy use. You’ll need the following tools:

  1. A drop cloth
  2. Aluminum foil
  3. A regular scrub brush plus a wire brush
  4. An active garden hose
  5. Dish detergent
  6. A soft sponge
  7. A bucket
  8. Rubber gloves

With these tools in-hand, follow these basic steps.

First, disconnect the propane tank and move the grill onto the drop cloth. Open the grill and remove its grates and the flame guards (the v-shaped metal pieces on top of the burners). Then, disconnect the igniters and remove the burners. Soak the grates in hot water if they’re excessively dirty.

Set the pieces aside for cleaning.

Next, clean out any loose debris from the bottom of the grill. Use the detergent to make a soapy mixture and scrub the bottom of the grill, including its grill pans and grease trays. Clean the grates at this time, too.

Gently brush the outside of the burners with the wire brush, then allow running water from the garden hose to flow through the tubes to clean out the insides. If the burners appear to be cracked, replace them according to the grill manufacturer’s instructions.

Allow all of the above cleaned pieces to air dry, then reassemble the grill.

Next, clean the outside of the grill using a soapy mixture and a soft sponge, treating early-stage corrosion with some cooking oil applied like car wax. If your grill has a stainless steel exterior, wipe with the grain to minimize streaking. And that’s it!

Cleaning a gas grill can be time-consuming, but better tasting food is worth it. Plus, your grill will last longer.