January is Glaucoma Awareness Month: Protect Your Eyes At Work!

Many years ago, it was the use of fluorescent lighting that was often the culprit causing headaches and eyestrain in the the workplace. Today, it’s the use of our omnipresent technological devices, everything from sitting behind a computer to the use of tablets on the road and smartphones out in the field. You don’t have to be sitting behind a desk all day to be chained to a screen for the better part of your work week to experience eye-related difficulties.

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While the seemingly constant use of modern technology doesn’t seem to cause any permanent damage to our eyes or vision, there are still some conditions that many of us suffer from like dry eyes from a lack of blinking, simple eyestrain and more complex headaches that can occur from excessive screen time.

Use The 20-20-20 Rule

If you’re going to spend more than an hour in front of a screen, remember the 20-20-20 rule when using these devices. Every twenty minutes, look at something at least twenty feet in the distance for at least twenty seconds. This allows our eyes a quick break from the bright, electronic screen and lets them refocus at a distant image that will help to reduce eyestrain.

Forgetting To Blink

Another practice that contributes to eyestrain and dry eyes is the fact that sometimes we forget to blink, or more accurately, we often tend to blink less often when using these electronic devices. Perhaps the simplest way to relieve dry eyes and help with eyestrain related to not shutting our lids enough, is to use eye drops or artificial tears. If you’re using the 20-20-20 rule, add blinking and a gentle massage to this routine.

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Massage Techniques

As any eyecare professional will tell you, you shouldn’t rub your eyes directly, especially when they’re already irritated since this practice can cause more harm than good and possibly damage or injure them. Instead, try some simple massage techniques around your temples, underneath, above and around your eyes. Watch this short video by Dr. Brandon Gilbert on how to perform these short massage moves yourself.

Exercise & Activity

For those who are desk bound, it’s always a good idea to get up and move around periodically throughout the day to get your blood circulation going, which is also good for your eyes. There are also some simple exercises you can perform with your eyes themselves that not only help to relieve strain, they’re also said to assist with the onset of conditions like near and far-sightedness.

Exercises4eyes.com gives weary screen users a step-by-step slideshow that shows people a handful of simple eye exercises that will aid with tired vision. They also offer a couple of quick squints and rubs to help with aching eyes at the end of the show.

Safety First

Depending upon where you work and the profession you’re involved in, we all know to wear protective eyewear whenever and wherever appropriate. For those working primarily outdoors, it’s very important to wear sunglasses during the day regardless of the season. Along with ensuring these glasses block out up to 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, for some people, the choice of these types of lenses can be especially helpful.

There is a very specific and unique difference between regular tinted shades and polarized lenses. For those who work around water, snow, metal or glass, the glare reflecting off these surfaces can cause additional eye strain and possible damage. Polarized lenses are specifically designed to reduce this type of reflective glare and can better protect your eyes.

To further protect your valuable and priceless vision, do the best to relieve the daily wear-and-tear we can often put on our eyes. Make decisions wisely and keep your peepers at their very best of health to ensure they’ll last a lifetime.

Adding a Master’s Degree To Your Curriculum Can Significantly Impact Your Career

Climbing up that invisible ladder at work can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to boost your career and therefore your earning power is to add a Master’s degree in the mix. “Oh, no, more school,” you may be thinking, but believe us, this time it’s well worth it. To get you in school mode, give our helpful article a thorough read about how adding a Master’s degree to your curriculum can significantly impact your career. And when your career is better, your quality of life is better, which makes one happier you.

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Skills to the Max

What’s one of the best ways to nab a bigger and better job? Have more marketable skills, of course. Getting your graduate degree will widen your breadth of skills, so you can get more advanced in either your current field or switch to another one altogether. This can bolster a lagging career or jumpstart a whole new one.

If you’re in marketing, just imagine what a Master’s in marketing can do for you versus a Bachelor’s? You can learn all types of fancy terms and theories that you never would’ve figured out through Google. Impress your boss and co-workers with your newfound skills and knowledge. They’ll be blown away.

Better Career Advancement

Honestly, what’s the number one reason why people go back to school? If you answered education, then you may not be being entirely honest with yourself. The right answer is career advancement. You can move up the rungs of that corporate ladder quicker than you ever thought possible.

Better is, well, always better, especially when it comes to your career and expanding your horizons. That Bachelor’s you have in journalism may be just fine and dandy for a late-night reporter shift in an inconspicuous market, but what about if you get that fancy graduate degree? That’s right—you can probably land a prime position in a city that people have actually heard of. Won’t your mom be so proud to see you on TV in a real market?

More Employment Opportunities

Who wants to be stuck in the same position year after year? Not you, our enterprising friend. You want to do something grander and loftier, which is what that shiny Master’s will do for you. Maybe you’ve always had an interest in calculus, but you’ve been stuck doing statistics. Going back to school can get you into the mathematics position of your dreams.

A back-to-schooler can expect to embrace a world of new opportunities that may not have been plausible or even recognizable prior. Going into a new industry can open a Pandora’s box of various careers to think about. Find the perfect seat at the career buffet table. We won’t tell anybody that you ate too much.

More Money, More Money, More Money

Right now, you might be working for a paycheck, but with a Master’s degree, you’ll have a career and that can mean some really big bucks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a Bachelor’s degree have a typical median weekly income of $1,137, while those with a Master’s degree can expect $1,341. Sharpen up those math skills and figure out how much more money that is per year.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a new house, a new car, a swanky vacation and some organic food. Plus, if you’re the flashy type, you might want to give everybody a glimpse of your prosperous new life with some big-time jewelry.

Besides, if you’re less worried about bills and have all these nice things described above, you’ll be happier. In turn, a happier you makes a happier worker. Your being happy is actually good for your career and the economy, as a whole. Keep spreading that happiness.

Greater Connections

One of the great things of adding a degree into your curriculum is all of the intelligent and interesting people you can meet while attending classes. The person sitting next to you could know of a great opportunity that would suit you so well. Voila, you now have a viable business connection.

Even if you take the non-traditional route and have online classes, you can still meet important contacts according to a WiseBread contributor. He suggests that you take the time to get to know people, whether in person or virtually, because it can definitely serve you in the long run. And we can’t help but to agree with that.

Greater Credentials

When you tell people you have a Master’s degree, they probably automatically think, “Oh, this person is smart.” But more importantly, they’re probably thinking that this lends credence to the fact that you have some top-notch credentials.

Credentials can mean all the world between you even getting your foot in the door for an interview. If an employer doesn’t think you have the qualifications, they’re not going to waste their time by calling you in for an interview. What’s the point?

With credentials that a Master’s can bring you, so many more doors will be swung open for you. You’ll be in such high demand that you’ll actually be turning down the jobs instead of vice versa. Now, that’s how you impact your career in the best possible way.

What Are You Waiting For?

Alright, we’ve given you the top reasons why you should go back to school and grab that Master’s degree that’s so completely in your reach. Our compelling list should leave no doubt in your mind that an advanced degree is the best way to impact your career.

All you have to do now is find out what you want to go to school for, apply, get accepted, crush your classes and graduate. It may seem like a lot at the beginning, but believe us, it’s well worth it for not only your career, but for your future happiness. Now, what are you waiting for? We’ll still be here once you graduate with honors.

5 Steps To Ramp Up Your Website Traffic For The Holidays!

You’re probably used to a welcome boost as shoppers search for the perfect gift. But are utilizing the holiday marketing opportunities to their full potential? Here are 5 steps to prepare for and attract extra holiday web traffic.

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  1. Perform a web-site “tune-up”

The last thing a stressed, last minute shopper wants is a slow loading website. Believe it or not , every second counts – in fact a delay of one second leads to a 7% loss in conversion. Your consumer has plenty of options. If they grow frustrated with the speed of your site, they can simply turn to one of your competitors. Remember that even though it is not in a brick and mortar store, shopping online is still an experience.

There are tools that can help you check your current load speed such as Google’s Page Speed Insights and GT Metrix. They also provide suggestions, which is probably the most helpful part if you are already aware your load times aren’t the best.

It also doesn’t hurt to make sure your server is prepared to deal with the extra traffic – which might mean an upgrade. Even if it seems like a pain to spend more monthly, it will be worth it when your site doesn’t go down on a critical shopping day.

  1. Boost your SEO

A holiday season means a new influx of buyers who probably don’t usually frequent your site. While hopefully your marketing and advertising channels will help bring people in – a good number of new users will probably simply click on your site because it was the first relevant result that comes up. This means anticipating what people are going to search.

If you have analytics from last year, this is a great place to start because you already know keywords that were popular, and can put greater focus on them in your new content. This is a slow-building race, as it takes to time for the information to crawl in Google results, so don’t wait until the week before to start doing this.

Having a landing page focused specifically on your holiday products and deals will be the easiest place to work in language people might be searching for that wouldn’t make sense elsewhere on your site – such as “Christmas gifts for him”.

Make sure your website doesn’t have any 404, broken links, or incorrect redirects. Use Link Redirect Trace to make sure all of your redirects are working properly, and Screaming Frog to look for 404 errors or broken links. It’s essential for your site to work FLAWLESSLY for both users and Google spiders.

  1. Add a charitable focus

Christmas is a time where people are in a giving mindset – and not just for family members and friends, but the community around them in general. If your company has a charity whose values they support, Christmas is a great time to form a partnership. Whether it’s donating a certain percentage or taking part in an event, people will be inspired to support you when they see you helping work towards the greater good.

Adding a page about this on your website means people who already support the charity might find you, and it is easy to structure a campaign around this for an extra boost. Just make sure it’s an organization you can truly support and that you know is legitimate.

  1. Prepare your Security

The most data breaches happen around the holidays. This fact SHOULD scare you, because the loss of a day website’s traffic the weekend before Christmas is likely to affect your bottom line a lot more than a day of downtime in the middle of the summer.

If you don’t know if your website is ready, have an inside or outside IT technician run an audit of your current security system – firewalls, data protection to search for flaws. Ask them to predict common attacks and see if that tactic would work.

Once you are sure your website is safe, help shoppers feel secure. One way to do this investing in SSL authentication. A user can recognize a website that has this because the url will start with “https” instead of “http” and a specialized green lock icon. You can also get a “trust seal” from a source such as Norton to reassure the consumer your site is virus free.

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  1. Have a Strong Mobile Plan

Your mobile website should just get as much attention as your desktop version. Following all the above steps for mobile may look different with condensed pages and images and a different browsing experience. You will also need to take additional security protocols for mobile threats, that differ from desktop ones. This is double the effort but with smartphone shopping so popular, it is essential.

You may even consider investing in a smartphone app if you haven’t already done so. The advantage here is being able to send push notifications to the user. You can alert them of different items going on sale, sales coming to an end, and other special offers. This could help remind a user to finish a transaction who might have got distracted and abandoned their cart.

It might feel tempting to rely on the natural influx of shoppers for the holiday season. But every one of your competitors is expecting extra traffic too – so make sure your company’s website stands out! Putting the pieces together in advance for a successful digital holiday marketing plan means less stress when the extra users start to flow in. Make this season a merry one not just for your shoppers, but for your company as well.

Pinterest Holiday Marketing Guide

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Pinterest is a powerful social media channel that maximizes marketing efforts. Using the power of Pinterest to boost your brand awareness is especially important during the holiday season.

There are more than 100 million users you can reach on the social media platform. And if your demographic is happens to be women, Pinterest is a valuable asset since 70 percent of their users are women.

Pinterest Leads the Social Media Marketing Charge this Holiday Season

Pinterest has become also surpassed Facebook and Twitter when it comes to revenue per click. On average, Pinterest users stay on site for 15 minutes with 75 percent of users making purchases.

Holiday Pins are certainly a valuable asset to your brand. It is estimated that 38 million people have saved holiday related Pins. Creating a holiday inspired Pinterest board is simply marketing gold.

A few fantastic holiday themed board ideas include:

  • “Pin the Halls” board
  • Holiday party decorations and festive themes like “Bad Santa” sweater party ideas
  • The 12 days of Christmas
  • Best holiday houses
  • Funniest or most bizarre holiday family photos
  • Holiday pets

Make Your Pinterest Holiday Marketing Plan a Success

There are a few important Pinterest strategies you should add to your holiday marketing strategy.

  1. Create Mobile Friendly Pins

Making your Pins mobile friendly is best practice, since 80 percent of Pinterest traffic is via mobile devices.

  1. Focus on Your Images

Pinterest is image driven, and if your images are uninspiring, so will be your brand engagement. Image Pins without faces net 23 percent more Pins.

  1. Make a Price Point Pins

When planning your holiday marketing strategy for Pinterest, ensure you add your prices. Research found that Pins with prices get 36 percent more likes.

  1. Pin Five Times a Day

The amount of Pins per day is another element of creating brand awareness this holiday season. Studies have found that five Pins per day is the magic number. And Saturday was found to have the most impact.

  1. Have Pinterest Sales and Giveaways

The holiday season encompasses gift giving, and everyone likes a good sale or giveaway. Multi-day giveaways are great for engaging with your audience. And having Pinterest only sales will generate more re-Pins from your followers who want to unlock your sales codes.

Leveraging Pinterest effectively this holiday season will increase traffic, drive engagement, and create a powerful call to action.

Check out all the wonderful ways you can boost your holiday marketing with this informational infographic by Brilliance:

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The 3 Types of Entrepreneurs You See on Shark Tank

We can actively deny it, but the truth is that we like reality shows. We really do. Especially, when these shows are entertaining and educational at the same time. A telling example of such a show is ‘Shark Tank’, which is so popular among experienced businessmen, young entrepreneurs, and even housewives. The entertaining part of the show is obvious and out of doubt. Let’s face it: not any show can manage to win Emmy Award twice. As for the educational part, questions might arise. However, if this show has taught us anything, it is that not all entrepreneurs are equal. Mark Cuban stated that there are three categories of entrepreneurs we can see on ‘Shark Tank’. Wonder what categories are there?

Type one: honest entrepreneurs

While in a perfect parallel reality all entrepreneurs deserve to be called honest, here and now  only a small part of entrepreneurs belong to this category. So, what makes a regular entrepreneur an honest one? First and foremost, it is an implicit belief in a project or idea this entrepreneur is working on. As we can observe while watching ‘Shark Tank’, honest entrepreneurs tend to sound passionate when they talk about their start-up, and they seem to be very frank and emotional. Any fan of ‘Shark Tank’ would agree that entrepreneurs of this category are not only persuasive but also successful due to their enthusiasm and motivation, which they are not afraid to demonstrate.

Type two: arrogant entrepreneurs

Although the name of the category is self-explanatory, still this type of entrepreneurs deserves being discussed and explained in details. There are three words that can describe arrogant entrepreneurs: they are self-confident, tricky, and snobbish. For some reason, arrogant entrepreneurs consider themselves the smartest and coolest people of the show. Of the entire history of all existing shows, to be more specific. While sometimes they haughtiness might be justified, in the majority of cases it is not. However, arrogant entrepreneurs tend to be the best and most interesting pitchers. Obviously, they are familiar with the best practices of negotiation, and this knowledge helps them stand out among the competitors. We do not know for sure if the participants of ‘Shark Tank’ are prepared to pitch and negotiate professionally as Andrew Medal believes, but is is safe to say that some pitches can make great case studies.

Type three: scam artists

Watching such entrepreneurs taking part in ‘Shark Tank’ can be annoying but interesting at the same time. So-called scam artists make their way to the show with one single purpose to get money. Just like the previous category of the entrepreneurs, scam artists tend to act snobbish. However, contrary to the arrogant entrepreneurs, scam artists never have a valuable and original idea to offer. Rather often projects of scam artists are designed specifically for participation in ‘Shark Tank’, and it is hardly possible not to notice how material and mercenary those people are.

Needless to say that all entrepreneurs are unique and not everyone in business is going to comply with this classification. However, as long as ‘Shark Tank’ remains the most popular show of its kind, no one knows the world of entrepreneurship better than people working on this show. With this in mind, there are grounds to assume that today’s world of business contains at least three types of entrepreneurs, and now you can consider yourself an expert in this question.

4 Ways To Increase Revenue From Social Media

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Once businesses move beyond the blind quest to accumulate as many followers as humanly possible, they find that engagement, interaction and ingenuity on social media can lead to higher sales and more repeat business. Instead of chasing vanity numbers, it’s important for brands to shift the focus towards actual conversions and sales.

In this article, we’ll discuss four elements of a revenue-boosting social strategy:

  1. Include an Online Store

Traditionally, social media acted as the middleman between research and purchase. Potential buyers would browse social media, encounter a promising product or service and then click a link that would whisk them away to an outside landing page, where they could then complete the conversion.

Publications like Entrepreneur, however, suggest cutting out the middleman altogether by embedding shopping carts directly into social pages. Facebook, for example, supports ecommerce apps that enable users to open stores, which allows customers make purchases without ever leaving Facebook.

The fewer touchpoints customers encounter on their buying journeys, the fewer chances they have to exit the process altogether. Businesses can boost revenue by consolidating their purchase order template, shopping cart and checkout function all in their social media platform of choice.

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  1. Rethink Customer Service

It’s no secret that customers turn to social media to vent, to complain, to report problems, to seek help and — occasionally — to shower businesses with praise. Research shows that 42 percent of customers who turn to social media to express a concern expect a response within 60 minutes.

Solving problems through social media provides multiple benefits. Research shows that customers spend between 20 percent and 40 percent more with companies who quickly address their concerns on social media.

Equally important is the public setting in which social customer service takes place. When a business addresses and resolves a customer’s issue on Facebook, Twitter or any other platform, everyone in that customer’s network sees that the business in question is diligent and responsive.

  1. Focus on Engagement, Not Raw Numbers

Marketers historically have focused on the number of fans and followers their social accounts attracted. It is becoming more and more evident, however, that quantity of followers has far less impact on revenue than the level of engagement per follower.

By asking questions, responding to inquiries and focusing on interaction, businesses can boost the number of shares, reblogs, retweets, likes and comments per post — all of which are more important than sheer volume of followers. Research shows that engaged customers spend nearly twice as much money as non-engageds social customers.

  1. Develop Social-Specific Landing Pages

Visitors who enter your website through social media are generally coming from the top of the sales funnel. Unlike say, PPC visitors who are nearing the end of their purchasing journey at the bottom of the funnel, social visitors are probably just discovering your brand, service or product.

It is likely those social visitors haven’t conducted more than preliminary research, and that they are unfamiliar with who you are and what you do. It is critical to create separate landing pages specifically for visitors from social media and on mobile devices. These landing pages should be more introductory and explanatory than bottom-funnel pages.

Social visitors require their own landing pages if they are ever going to convert. But an alternative solution is to avoid website landing pages altogether by embedding shopping carts and checkout capabilities directly into social pages. Businesses should remember that social media is the most direct, most personal and most cost-effective customer service platform that exists — and remember, social engagement is more powerful than big lists of followers.

The Right Idea For Your Social Media Efforts

The Right Idea For Your Social Media Efforts

 

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Stay tuned, there’s a lot to come!

SEO Tools for Unseen Problems

SEOIn today’s online market, everyone is using anything they can get their hands on to be one step ahead of the competition. The funny thing is, the people with the most success are using things easily accessible to anyone. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the buzzword that has encapsulated everything a company or individual needs to be successful in the online market. This article lists some of the most common and effective digital marketing tools being used by top companies today.

Moz
Moz is a tool designed to search and compare keywords against each other. It can identify bad links and broken pages as well as detect data intensive areas on a website that should be rectified. If a website owner wants to improve his/her website’s visibility, Moz can help make it happen.

Other marketing tools free from Moz include:

  • Followerwonk, which allows user to compare data between Twitter accounts.
  • Mozbar, which works with an internet browser to inform users of key features on websites that have been opened.
  • Moz Local, which provides information on a website’s local citations.

Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog takes a family portrait of a website, making a full list of keywords, pages, links, and crawl levels. This tool is powerful when trying to get a picture of where a website currently is so optimizations can be made in particular areas needing attention.

SEMrush
If the owner of a website wants to know more about the keywords being used by a competitor, SEMrush is the right tool for the job. Even entering a sites URL reports 10 keywords being used by the site entered. This is a great tool for getting to know the competition so websites can make themselves stand out. It was also named one of the best SEO tools of 2015.

Clicky
Clicky is a dashboard for data that allows users to easily sort and filter visitors to analyze data associated with unique users. This information can be vital when trying to figure out how long visitors are spending on each page with the added benefit of informing the user if their website goes offline.

Google Search Console
Google Search Console is something that anyone who owns a website should never go without. This tool is meant to work with a user’s website in relation to how people using the number one search engine on the internet can stumble in the right direction. Everyone wants a higher page ranking on Google, and Google Search Console is a great tool to get it.

Piwik
Piwik provides unlimited data storage to keep track of web analytics reports with real-time updates, event tracking, and so much more. With great community support and the convenience on working for both Android and iOS, this is the pocketknife of data dashboards.

Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools
As with Google Search Console, if it has Google in the name, odds are anyone with a website should have it. Any online marketer is lost without the information available through these tools. An argument could be made that having these tools may give someone everything they need to start off. With a strong dashboard for data that provides link data (showing which links are getting people to a user’s website), Google Analytics & Google Webmaster Tools can help everyone from web pages to webmasters.

Woorank
Another tool that can generate reports on competitors websites, as well as the user’s website, is Woorank. Worank can provide some of the most minute details that a user may never have considered. From in-depth geodata to a convenient mobile section, this tool provides information that no other premium analyzer does.

Raven
If a user likes Google Analytics and Google Search Console, Raven uses these data sources in its analytics and does so much more. If efficiency is the game, this tool plays it just as good as anyone else — maybe better. Creating multiple online marketing reports, Raven can keep track of when a site is running well, or when there are trouble areas that need to be fixed. Raven also detects general coding errors and broken links.

These tools are just some of the many out there, and one size doesn’t fit all. Just as using a sledgehammer for a finishing nail is overkill, using a six-ounce hammer to bust concrete won’t be enough. Consider the tools above to be a starting point. When a user familiarizes themselves with one data dashboard, they can start to understand their needs and what they’re looking for as they explore other options.

For users trying to up their game or simply learn the rules, mastering and utilizing any of the above SEOs will give an edge. The more tools a user has in his/her tool belt, the more efficient they can be when it comes to solving issues on their website and optimizing their hits from search engines.