The Benefits of Hiring SEO Services

seobenefitsIn the world of business, you need to spend in order to increase earnings.  This has always been true and will almost always likely to be true.  Physical businesses need to advertise their products or services in order to get the attention of consumers.  Whether the product they are selling is food, groceries, clothing, appliances, furniture, electronics, automotive, machineries, or any type of product or service, advertising is key to selling them as it is essentially a form of making the products known to the public that they are now available to you.  Regardless of niche market, any product or service on sale will require a customer that is in need of that product or service.

Online business is also very much like a physical business because you need to spend in order to earn.  There are actually different ways on how to increase earnings online.  There is the case of buying advertising spaces on popular and highly visited websites, and there is the case of making your website have good page ranking by employing the services of SEO companies.  Basically, what the SEO Company does is make your website become search engine optimized for a particular search term or keyword that you are targeting.

Traffic is essentially the lifeblood of any website because without traffic, there will be no one viewing the website.  Of course, without any website viewers, the products that are being sold in your website will have no buyers.  Having no buyers’ mean that you don’t earn a profit and this may lead you to closing your website once your domain and hosting contracts expire.  However, by taking advantage of the services of Calgary Seo Experts having your website search engine optimized gives you a better fighting chance of gaining crucial traffic that have the potential of providing sales revenue to your website.

Calgary SEO Services is an SEO Company that can help you achieve online success.  Their experience in this trade has allowed them to grow and be more knowledgeable of the secret’s known in their trade.  This enables them to provide you with satisfactory SEO results.  Under their SEO services, you will begin to enjoy increased amounts of organic traffic which will help you to potentially generate sales that you have not seen before.  This is essentially how you benefit from hiring SEO services.

Signs Of Aging: Short Hair And Ugly Cars

Since I was a kid I’ve always had this impression that the older a woman gets, the shorter her hair gets. Because of this perceived tendency, I’ve been freakishly attached to my long hair.  Well, I’m attached because of the fear of aging, but I’m also a lazy bastard and hate spending money to get my hair cut so I’m liable to go 6-8 months without ever stepping foot into a salon.  My good friend slash hair stylist has always given me shit about my laziness and how it effects my looks.  I’m all about pony-tails and just enough make-up to prevent the assholes I work with from saying “you look like you just woke up” all day long.  “You know, your hair would look really cute if you’d use some product in it every now and then!  And stop wearing the pony-tail so much, you are ruining your hair!” She’s lectured about this for the past 20 years.

When I went to get my hair cut a few months ago, it had been 8 months since the hair cut before that.  Seriously, I’m not exaggerating.  My hair was to the lower middle of my back.  I was in a pissy mood (I’m reminded of a comedy show where the accused stood before the judge saying “ohhhhh it was a crazy day and I was flowing pretty heavy, and he was an asshole anyway, so I shot him 10, 12, 15 times”) and my hair looked a hot mess so when the stylist asked me if I’d ever considered going short, I gave her cart blanche to do whatever she wanted so long as she didn’t talk to me for the rest of the appointment.  She cut it shoulder length, a look I was completely indifferent about but others seemed to enjoy.  I’m pretty sure they loved the significant improvement moreso than the actual style.

Mid blog rant about stylists – why do they feel the need to engage me in conversation during the hair cut?  I’m an introvert and I hate that.  If they’d ignore me the entire appointment they’d get a significantly larger tip from me.  And do you ever feel like your stylist is justplaying with your hair like they do with those creepy doll heads instead of seriously working on the task at hand?  I swear they can turn what ought to be a quick blow-dry into an elaborate production of brush and dryer that goes on so long I’m always tempted to start screaming “STOP FUCKIN AROUND – I’VE GOT SHIT TO DO!  THE HAIR WAS DRY 10 MINUTES AGO! WRAP IT UP!”  And, newsflash, everybody does not enjoy real hard head massages during the shampoo!  It feels like physical abuse to me and makes me never want to put my head in your bowl again.

On Monday I turned 41.  I am still in complete shock and denial about the whole damned thing.  As a birthday gift, my guy paid for a fancy hair doo which has rendered me, you guessed it, with real short hair.  It’s gotten rave reviews at work but now, in addition to being in shock about being old, I’m in shock that my hair is not even close to touching my neck in the back.  WTF?

So, now that I’ve gone shorter and people have noticed, that means I’m more pressured than ever to keep up with my hair.  Short hair cuts suck on so many levels but the main thing is that the up-keep means way more frequent hair cuts than I want, or can afford.  When your hair is long and scraggly, another couple of inches doesn’t make it look any worse.

And once I trade my car for a Prius, I’ll be fully set with the requisite age related transition activities of whacking off my hair and getting an ugly car.  It can only get worse from here.

Prelude To A Bathroom Remodel

When we bought this house nearly 5 years ago, the bathroom was already a piece of crap and it has just gotten worse 2009-0211image0058-thumbover the years.  Notice the ugly blue paint?  I’m ashamed to admit that I did that myself a couple of weeks after we moved in.  That color is my attempt to coordinate a darker blue with the ugly lighter blue wall tile.  Anybody have any idea who would decide that the dark red trim tile would look good with the blue tile?  And by the way, those tiles are plastic!  Way to go upscale, former owners!

I only agreed to move to this house if we could remodel the bathroom pronto.  But, it has taken all these years to save the money to do it.  We nearly put off the remodel even longer because we wanted to expand the bathroom into a totally unusable hall space which would have allowed us to extend the counter, make double sinks and build a separate shower stall in addition to the jacuzzi tub.  Even as I’m typing this I’m having regrets about not waiting until we could afford the way-better bathroom.  No no no!  It’s wrong to do crap you can’t afford!  And if we couldn’t come up with the money after 5 years then we obviously cannot afford it, right?  5 years!  I really have a hard time with the whole “living within your means” thing.

So, tomorrow morning at 7:00 am some strange dude named “Ivo” is coming over to my house to demolish our one and only bathroom.  He has committed to re-installing the toilet after each work day but says we’ll be without our sink and tub for a minimum of 3 days.  Thank you Bally’s for that free 7 day guest pass!  I’ll be showering there this week.

America: We Do Poverty Right

When I was younger (actually until just a few years ago) I was one of those people who’d get pissed off about all those Feed The Children commercials angrily proclaiming “WE SHOULD TAKE CARE OF THE POVERTY STRICKEN PEOPLE RIGHT HERE IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, FIRST!”

As soon as I stopped viewing the world through the American fish bowl I realized that we are the richest people in the world, even our homeless people.  If you are homeless in America, you can usually get a free meal if you can make it to a shelter and maybe even a bed at said shelter.  But many people in third world countries don’t even have access to clean water.  Here we sit in America, drinking our fancy bottled water because we’re such snobs that we don’t think the tap water is good enough, while families die from disease all over the world because they have no clean water all.  They’d die for our regular ole tap water!  Our medical community has no problem doling out the 8-10 glasses of water recommendation for us while others would be lucky to get one clean glass.

It’s human nature to view the world from where you stand.  But, at least today while we are focusing on poverty, make sure that you take the time to look beyond your own backyard and into the other less fortunate countries of the world who struggle to get the basic crap we take for granted every single day.

One of our favorite charities we support is Ryan’s Well.  This charity was start by Ryan when he was a young kid who felt bad about people not having access to water and wanted to do something about it.  He’s much older now but he’s still rockin his well charity and it’s been really successful and building wells in remote villages all over the place.  He’s changing the lives of the people in those villages for generations to come.  Ryan, you rock!

Bathroom Remodel: During

2009-0211image0071-thumbHere’s what the bathroom looked like at the end of day one.  As you can see, there is nothing there besides the now broken and filthy toilet that Ivo et al put back into place just before they left.  The ceiling is missing so I can see up into the attic (see last picture), a place I’ve never even been before (in this house).  There is no electricity so my guy thought the flower lamp would provide just enough light for us to get our ass on the toilet.  I think it’s a nice touch.

2009-0211image0058-thumbUnfortunately, when Ivo removed the wall behind the sink, he discovered some plumbing that is oddly placed and can’t be moved on our budget.  This is obviously the reason for the soffit placed there making the vanity stick out further than it should.  (see before photo left)  This probably means that the double sink isn’t possible – I’m bummed about that.

2009-0211image0063-thumbI don’t know any other way to see this except this room looks exactly like a place where monsters and ghosts would hang out.  It’s dark and cold and scary and I do not want to go in there at all.  I keep having visions of me being on the toilet at 2:00 am half asleep and being sucked into the attic by some poltergeist.  I’ve already warned him that if I need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I’m waking him up to come with me to stand guard outside the door.

Tomorrow I was promised a tub.  My entire house is covered with a think layer of dust and I feel like my lungs are working overtime to stay clean.

From The Nosebleed Section: The Basketball Pimp

Buying season tickets is sorta like buying a condo.  You pick the seats you want but you have no idea what your neighbors will be like until after you move in and realize they suck.  By then, it’s too late to do anything about it except give them dirty looks and wish bad stuff on them.  Like that your foot will accidentally be in the isle and they’ll trip and fall down the very steep stairs on the way to their regular 3rd quarter bathroom break (hypothetical). 

This will be the 6th year that we’ve purchased season tickets to the Chicago Bulls.  We sit in the 300 level, the nosebleed section.  Seriously, there is only one row higher than our row.  We’ve had the same seats for the past 4 years and besides one guy who I frequently want to stab, our neighbors are tolerable.  Remind me to tell you about our first-season seats and the event(s) that nearly landed me in jail.

I love people-watching as much as I do basketball.  There are Bulls basketball home games a couple of times per week from October through April (and later if we make it to the playoffs) and that’s enough to satiate my people-watching appetite.  At the games, one of the people I’m the most fascinated by is the dude I call Basketball Pimp.  Basketball pimp is a handsome-ish young (I’d say he’s about 28) well dressed guy who shows up about half-way through the first quarter of every game with a different pretty girl.  He brings young chicks, older chicks, black chicks, white chicks – he’s been doing the same thing for years.  I always imagine that every girl feels flattered that he’s willing to share his season tickets (we season ticket-holders feel we’re one-up on the rest of you) with her and that she’s the most important girl in his life.  They all have that look.  That hey-look-how-hot-I-look-even-though-it’s-just-a-basketball-game look.  He walks in barely looking at them and they follow along behind him like little chicks do big chicks.  His seats are in the center of the row below us and he always takes the shortcut to get to them, which requires taking a huge step up from the platform onto his row.  Since his girls are usually wearing shoes/boots with real high heels, they always need help with that big step but Basketball Pimp never does it – it’s always the uber-friendly older guy who has the season tickets right there at basketball pimp’s cut-through.  Having to help these strange girls every game would annoy me but I think it makes this guy feel like a hero and probably give him future masturbation material.  Basketball Pimp never seems to be very nice to the girls so I’m always wondering why so many of them want to hang out with him.  I’m pretty sure it’s not the “love of the game”.  Please understand, these are not basketball fan girls.  They don’t clap or gasp at bad calls like the rest of us.  They just sit there looking pretty and trying to squeeze out any conversation they can from him.  Sometimes when I’m supposed to be paying attention to the game, I’m watching them, psychoanalyzing them (mostly him), deliberating about what (if anything) they did before the game and what they’ll do after.

Dinner, then basketball game, then nightclub where he’ll buy them too many drinks, then have his way with them later back at his place.  After he’s done with her, she’ll want to cuddle but he’ll find some reason that she needs to leave.  He’ll take her home then head back to his place for a sandwich and never give it (her) another thought until he runs into her again. 

The butterflies will keep her awake that night.  She’ll tell all her friends about him and he’ll consume her thoughts for days.  First hoping, waiting for his call, then realizing he’ll never call, then the grieving process that girls go through when they realize they’ve given what ought to be their most treasured possession to some random dude who took her to a shitty basketball game.

Well this season, just for fun, I’m gonna keep up with how many different girls he brings to the games.  Occasionally he does bring the same girl back for more than one during the season – I’m gonna keep up with that, too.  And if you’re interested, I’ll be sure to share that with you here.

I’m A Big Chicken: Reducing The Personal Risk Of Starting A Business

I had lunch with my new business mentor, Michele, the other day.  I feel such a connection with her that it’s spooky.  Not an I-wanna-be-your-best-friend connection but our styles seem very similar so there is a comfort level in talking to her that makes things easier.  I was shocked and thrilled to learn that she has a MFA in Fiction Writing.  Like me, she wants to be a writer when she grows up.

We discussed starting a business and I left with homework including doing research to start to determine a price point (I don’t even know if my idea is profitable) and writing down my ideas rather than having them wondering aimlessly around in my head.  Michele suggested that, rather than start with a standard business plan template, that I start working on 3 documents

  1. What will my business do for me.
  2. What will my business do for my customers (hospitals)
  3. What will my business do for the recipients of the service that my business will provide (patients)

The tuffest part of our discussion was about the level of personal risk that is involved with starting a business.  “After 9/11 I didn’t get paid for 3 months.  We didn’t buy Christmas gifts for each other and we ate a lot of macaroni & cheese – all the money went to pay the staff” Michele explained.  Yikes!  Am I really prepared for that?  I’m pretty much use to buying what I want when I want it.

Here are my top concerns when it comes to the risk of starting a business

  1. I’m afraid to not have health insurance.
  2. I’m afraid to quit my job and lose the guaranteed paycheck.
  3. We need my income.  In fact, I’m not even sure we could go one pay period without my income.
  4. If the business is not sustainable, I’m afraid I’d have a hard time getting back into a position making the money I make now.

The list goes on.  The bottom line is that there is a ton of personal risk in starting a new business.  And I’m realizing that I don’t have the balls I had 10 years ago.  Plus, my guy is much more level headed and practical than I am which means I’d not likely convince him that it’s worth the risk.

Michele had some good ideas about reducing personal risk, one of them I’d already thought of myself.  Since the business I’d like to start is highly connected to my current career, I could try to convince my boss to allow me to move into a role just like my business would provide on a part-time basis and allow me the freedom to offer my service to other organizations like ours in the area.  This would allow me to keep my employee benefits (though they’d be more costly on a part-time basis) and it would give me credibility since I’d be performing the same service I’d be offering other clients and doing so for a very reputable organization.  The bad part of this idea is that it gives my boss way more control than I’d like her to have.  I’m not sure if this would translate into problems but the potential is certainly there.  Either way, I’m in the process of scheduling time with my boss to discuss the idea.

Anybody have an great advice on reducing the personal risk of starting a business?

Do I Have What It Takes To Start A Small Business?

The more I agonize over the possibility of trying to have a baby, the more I think about ways to work from home like starting my own business.  My father made a living from his small business and is now retired so this kind of thing is in my blood.

I’ve got what I think is a pretty good business idea that would allow me to utilize my expertise and contacts from my current profession and I know that I have the drive, determination and “business sense” to be successful at it.  The things that concern me are mostly related to the “how-to’s” of certain parts of business planning and execution how to set a price point.  My business idea is for a service that would be provided to health-care facilities and since there is no business like it (yet) I have no idea how to determine a fair price so that I can figure out if I’d even be able to make a living at this.  The other scary thing is health insurance.  My parents raised us 3 kids with no health insurance what-so-ever.  They were lucky that none of us had much more than a couple of broken bones (I broke my right arm twice as a child).  In fact, I didn’t have proper health insurance until I was grown and working my first “real job”.  That scares the shit out of me, especially with my medical history.

I’m not the type to let all these fears stop me, though.  For me, it’s important to find a business mentor.  Having somebody to bounce ideas off of and somebody who can give me some guidance about business start-up fits my personality well.  So, I’m having lunch with a female entrepreneur that owns a business that provides a service to health-care facilities like mine.  In fact, my organization has a business relationship with her company so I’ve had the pleasure of working with her a lot since April 2008.  I love her personality and the way she handles her business and her customers.  When I first met her I didn’t like her all that much because she didn’t caudal my department like most people do.  She had this I-don’t-give-a-fuck-who-you-are-this-is-my-turf-and-I’m-the-expert-here sort of attitude and I wasn’t use to feeling like people know more than me (I’m arrogant!).  Michele freely shared her story of the history of her business including that she had bought it from her mother who she now mails all her money to.  I instantly felt that itch and even told Michele “you make me want to start my own business”, to which she replied “it’s not all roses, my mother had 3 failed businesses before this one.”  Talk about never giving up!  She had no hesitation in accepting my lunch invitation where I’ll share my idea with her and ask these burning questions that I haven’t been able to find good answers for on the Internet.

  1. Is my business idea viable one?
  2. How could I go about setting a price point for this type of service?
  3. How do you get health insurance with a small business?
  4. What should my first step be?
  5. Will you be my business mentor (is this the kind of thing you out right ask or does it just happen, like falling in love?)

How To Stop Wasting Food

2009-0103image0031-thumbThe more aware I become of the finite resources on our planet and my consumption habits, the more angry I get at myself for wasting food.  I don’t do it intentionally.  In fact, the wasting of the food seems to always result from my efforts to eat better, backfiring.  Here’s how it works…

I decide I need to eat more fresh fruits and veggies (which I do at least every other month), then run out to the grocery store or farmers market and buy a bag of apples or oranges, a couple of bags of salad greens (they force me to buy two because that’s the only way I can get the sale price – the bastards!) and whatever other fresh vegetables seem appetizing while I’m sitting on the couch planning my amazing new eating habits.  Then, when it’s time for dinner, I never want the crap that I’ve bought.  I’d much rather just throw a veggie burger and fries in the oven.  And a few days later, I’ve got a science project growing in my fridge from all the wholesome food I bought but did not eat.

Over the past year, every time we’ve thrown away food, I’ve gone on a mini-rant about how much we suck for wasting food and money and quite frankly, I’m sick of feeling bad about it.

I don’t think any of us need to hear more lectures on wasting food (starving kids in third world countries, fuel to ship my oranges from God knows where, blah blah blah), we know the deal.

One of the goals I set for 2009 is to reduce and record the food that we throw away.  As you can see from the picture, I just slapped a piece of paper on the fridge for us to write down everything we discard.  I’m hoping that it will encourage us to eat the food that we buy/prepare before it spoils, but, even if it doesn’t, it should be an interesting exercise at the end of the year to tally just how much food we wasted and estimate the cost of it.

If you are a food waster like me, feel free to play along.  The only thing you need is a convenient place to write down what you throw away, and a moderate commitment to eat the stuff you buy (or grow for us gardeners) before it spoils.  I know my best friend has this same problem because we talked about it on the phone last night.

Me “what if I compost the bag of rotten oranges? Do I still need to write that down as wasted food?” Her “Um, yes, you should be eating the oranges and composting the peels, anyway.  OK, maybe you can have partial credit for that but you are really reaching.”

So far, it’s January 3rd and we still have nothing on the list.  But, I presently have two bananas that need to be eaten in the next 48 hours, and left over black-eyed peas, collard greens, salsa chik’n/rice and a 2 day old container of organic salad greens that is virtually untouched in the fridge.  All good stuff, but, it’s Saturday and we almost always eat only bad food (pizza, burgers, etc…) on the weekend.  Plus, my guy will not touch the black-eyed peas or collards and the bananas are already past the point where he’ll eat them (he likes them almost green which totally grosses me out).

If I Was A Movie Star

Have you ever noticed that movie stars never seem to give a shit about being old and having babies?  I was reading an article over at Babble this morning about how Jennifer Aniston is nearly 40 and still very much wanting to have a family.  Apparently she’s thinking of adopting since she’s not in a long-term relationship.  Either way, movie star chicks all over the world are 40 and having babies.  As near as I can tell there are 2 things that separate me from them.  Money, and health.

Typically these movie star types are super skinny and seem pretty freakin healthy.  Maybe they’ll live longer or maybe this just makes for an easier conception and pregnancy.  Then there’s the $$$.  Not having to worry about feeding a baby andplanning for retirement sure would be nice.

The other day it hit me that I’d be 80 years old on my child’s 40th birthday if I had a baby today.  Then I started thinking about what my life would be like right now ifmyparents were 80 and needed me to care for them.  Since my parents live in Nashville, Tennessee and I live in Chicago, Illinois, I’d need to move them here and I’m not sure that would be what either of us would want.  If we had lots of money I could pay a live-in care giver which would be expensive and still require frequent visits to check on them.  Either way, it would be a financial burdeon.

Older movie star moms don’t have to worry about this stuff.  For the most part everybody just thinks they’re cool for waiting so late to have babies.  They never have to experience the horror that I’ve read about where older moms are mistaken for grandmothers or the whispers from friends and family about how selfish it is to have a baby late in life considering the potential embarrassment to the child and higher risk of kicking the bucket way too early in a kids life.  And since they are all rich, basic caring for themselves, their parents and their children is a non-issue.