Eight Reasons to Shop Local for Your Printing Needs

1)Business Acquaintances

Owning your own business is a big deal. When someone starts their own business the ‘shop small’ term becomes real to them. Shopping small means not shopping the big box stores or even the online mega sites. Instead make real interactions with people branch out your business contacts and get to know other small businesses. If you give your printing business to a local printer, you are supporting another small business and not selling out to the big names that offer you thousands of prints for a couple of bucks. You are building a business relationship that will prove very valuable down the line if not right now.

2)A Personalized Touch

A local printer is going to be in the printing business because it is their passion and something they enjoy doing. Not just a job till the next thing comes along. They are invested and want to produce the best products they know how. Their talent will shine through their work no matter how big or small the project is.

3)Face to Face Design time

Most local print shops like Willmar Printing have a designer on staff. Someone you can bring your ideas, and your dreams and visions for your company. This Designer can then transform your ideas into a logo for you, or help you set up the perfect lay out for a planner that suits your needs.

4)All the Examples You Can Handle

When you can walk into an actual print shop, where all they do is print, nothing else, you will be able to get exactly what you want. You will not have to stare at a screen four hours on end hoping that what you put on to that business card comes out right or that the colors are right. You know the alignment will be perfect. With a real live print shop, you can do all the tedious work with them and if for some weird reason it prints out not the way you thought it would on the first example they give you, it can be tweaked and reworked until it is just what you need.

5)Relationships

Working one on one with people like this will build relationships. Whether You want it to or not. They are going to know you by name and your business. It is a nice thing in the world of the internet, and rather refreshing. To know there is someone else out there rooting for your business is something more of us need. They want you to succeed because if you do they will get more business too. Either from you or the references you give out about them. These relationships are what good businesses are built on.

6)The Common Good

When you live in a town as a business owner you naturally care about the town, or else you would not be living there. You would be somewhere that you care about. Just like you the local print shop cares about the community too. Small businesses are the fresh air that towns breath. You keep the heart alive in communities by building the town up. That maybe through doing fundraisers for a local charity, or handing out coupons to your business. Having someone to partner with to work out the little details like the flyers or the raffle tickets or the coupons is a great teammate to have.

7)Bartering

If you are just starting out your business do not be afraid to offer up a barter. You are going to be telling them about your work anyway to have things printed off for the business. So why not mention that if they have a need for your services you would love to do a trade. It saves you both money and you both will be getting something you need. Win win!

8)Consistency

When you work with a local print shop exclusively they will know your brand. Your style, your manner of speaking. They will be able to keep everything they print for you looking and feeling the same across the board. This will help your business not look like a Hodge podge of several different styles pushed together. Consistency is key!

Tips to Choose The Right Water Softening System For Your Home

A water Softening system is an essential component in any home that is located in an area served with hard water. Understanding the nature of the problem you are solving is crucial in choosing the best solution to the problem. Hard water is water that contains high levels of mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. These minerals in hard water make cleaning operations at home quite difficult; leading to wastage of soap and synthetic detergents. Other numerous effects of hard water including clogging of pipes, formation of scales on bathtubs and sinks among many others make it crucial for home owners to install Water softening systems in their homes. Choosing the best water softener system for your home is crucial.

Salt based Ion exchange water softeners

This type of water softener cycles your household water through two tanks. One tank has special resin beads while the other tank is filled with brine. The resin beads come in handy in getting rid of the hardness ions. It basically works on the concept of ion exchange where it softens hard water by way of substituting salt that is the sodium, for the hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium hard. When the resin beads become exhausted and cannot extract any more of the hardness ions, the beads are refreshed in the regeneration process. Here a sodium solution is generated and washed through the resin beads. With this option remember that the softening process indeed adds some tiny amount of extra salt to the water which is however safe for consumption.

Salt-free water softeners

Unlike with the above discussed water softener, this uses potassium-chloride salt instead of sodium to regenerate. So if you are concerned about salt intake in your home, this option is convenient for you. To be precise this category of water softeners is really a descaler; it prevents minerals from actually depositing as sales on kitchen appliances and pipes rather than effectively reducing the hardness of the water.

Dual tank water softeners

This comes with two tanks. The advantage here is that while one is in use, the second tank is regenerating. This ensures an uninterrupted supply of soft water to your home.

Magnetic Water Softener

This is a newer approach to solving some of the challenges posed by hard water. In this approach, the system generates a magnetic field which changes electromagnetic properties of the hardness causing calcium carbonate minerals. This makes the minerals to be repelled by each other and by the water pipes. This technology doesn’t alter the chemical properties of the hard water. Hence the benefits of calcium and other particulates in the water are retained. This however implies the problem of soap and detergent lathering remains.
So depending on your needs these are the options available. But for you to determine the right water softener for your home, establish the following:

· The water softening capacity of the system.
· The amount of water and salt used in the regeneration
· Suitability of the design in ensuring your home’s water will be totally softened.
· The price is good enough and guarantees reliability and reduced running costs.

The developing world aids mobility

Mobility aids are devices designed to help individuals to walk and get around easier, their main purpose is to aid mobility. Mobility aids are generally used when it’s becoming hard for individuals to get around by themselves, e.g an elderly person who is starting to find moving around more challenging and needs help to keep them mobile. Of course, mobility aids are not just for the elderly, in fact they are for any person who has a disability and may need some form of help to get around. Someone with a sprained or broken leg might need to use crutches to help them get around until the leg has healed, they may even need to use a wheelchair, both wheelchairs, and crutches are mobility aids which are commonly used in the world today.

If you’re looking to buy mobility aids, it’s important to know exactly what kind of mobility aid you need.

What are some examples of mobility aids?

Wheel Chairs – Probably one of the most common mobility aids, a wheel chair is used in many different cases, from people who are paralysed to people who are being moved around in hospital – even if they can walk on their own steam. Wheelchairs have a few different common types – the normal wheelchair, this has 4 normal sized wheels and involves the patient or user sitting in the wheelchair whilst a second person pushes them around. The second type is an electric wheelchair, much like a normal wheelchair, however this has a small joystick style control on the armrest which electronically moves the wheelchair via the use of motors. The final type has 2 small wheels at the front, and large rear wheels which can be turned by the hands of the people who are sitting in the chair – these are also used in sports such as wheelchair basketball etc, and give some independence to the user.

Mobility Scooters – Similar to an electric wheelchair, but more like a 4 wheeled motorcycle, mobility scooters often come with baskets mounted to them to allow the user to go shopping. These scooters give freedom to people who can walk short distances and get on and off by themselves. These are common amongst elderly people who wish to keep some of their independence without having to ask other people to help them out.

Zimmerframes, Walking Sticks and Crutches – these devices all have plenty in common – they are not motorised, generally do not have any moving parts, and their primary purpose is to take some of the weight off the users legs. Crutches are commonly used for people with broken legs, ankles or feet and are often used in pairs so that the leg with the issue does not need to touch the ground at all.

Walking sticks generally take the weight on one side of the body, for people who have a bad hip, knee or perhaps have athritis – walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes and are more common amongst the elderly.

Walking/Zimmer frames are small frames which usually have 4 legs and is lifted and moved forward with each step – they are built this way so that they are sturdy and do not easily fall over, they are generally used more commonly by the elderly who are more frail and have less strength which means they can’t use a walking stick efficiently

There are of course other types of mobility aid available which can be used to help people with disabilites and injuries of different types, that is why in today’s world, less and less people are being confined to their homes, or even worse, their beds – mobility aids are keeping people mobile for longer, and this will only get better with ever advancing technologies.

Expired domain names for a new venture?

The expired domain names market is growing larger by the day – with hundreds or thousands of people fighting to own the latest premium domain name which is expiring. Buying an expired domain is not as easy as you may think, unless of course the domain name has no real value – if you’ve just purchased an expired domain name and found it very easy, the chances are it was so easy because nobody else wanted it, and unfortunately unless the domain name is your own name, your business name, or your product name, the chances are it’s not worth very much.

Domain names which are about to expire go through several phases or statuses – first, the domain is classed as expired, this happens on the first day after the paid registration period runs out, the domain name will remain in this phase for around 30 – 40 days, and during this period the person who let the domain expire may pay the renewal fee and continue to use the domain name, the renewal fee will be the standard fee they would have paid to renew the domain name before it expire.

If the owner does not renew before the grace period expires, the domain name will then enter a second status – the redemption period, this is a period of time during which the previous owner may still choose to renew the domain name, but they will be required to pay a penalty fee for doing so, the fee may vary between different registrars but it can be as high as seveal hundred dollars.

Assuming the owner does not renew the domain name during any of these periods, the domain name will become locked, it will now be in the pending deletion phase, at this point it can not be registered by anyone – not the previous owner, and not a new owner. This period is around 5 days long, and on the last day of the deletion period the domain name will be dropped and will be available for anyone to register – there is fierce competition for the more valuable domain names, and particularly valuable domain names will not drop at all, they will enter an auction period which allows potential new owners to bid on the domain name, with the highest bidder winning the domain name and having it transferred to their domain name account to use as they wish.

If you are just looking to purchase a single expired domain name which has meaning to you, but not other people, or is your business name exactly, then you shouldn’t have too much trouble, but more premium domain names have people who are experienced in registering expired domain names, some domain brokers even have special web servers which have a super fast connection to domain registrars so they can save those vital few seconds when the domain name becomes available and try to register it before anyone else. But don’t be disheartened, these people often go after domain names which are worth multiple hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands – not ones which are worth less than 1 hundred dollars.

There is another way to purchase expired domain names, which can sometimes work, but can sometimes end up with the domain name not expiring at all, or costing you more than if you’d just waited for it to become available – that is to contact the current owner of the domain name before it expires and ask whether they would be willing to sell it to you for a price which suits both of you – of course, what you may actually be doing is reminding them that the domain is about to expire, in which case they’ll renew it and continue to use it, or you may be speaking to a “greedy one” who asks for more than it would cost even at auction! If you’ve got a greedy one, one of 2 things will happen – they will leave it to expire anyways if you refuse to pay what they ask, or they will renew it to be spiteful, in which case, move on and find another domain – there are thousands expiring every day!

You’ve nurtured and developed your website, now it’s time to move on

You’ve had a long hard think and came to the decision that it’s time to sell your website, now the fun starts – how do you go about it? It’s not quite as simple as selling some old furniture on ebay, there is a lot more to consider when selling a site.

Finding the right buyer is not a simple task, so you have to make sure you are marketing to the right type of buyer.

If you’ve recently started your website and it hasn’t yet generated any income, you’re going to have to market it based on potential revenue it may make in the future, rather than income you can prove, this is a lot harder to do than marketing a website which has a history of monthly income.

If your website targets a certain niche then it is a good idea to market to people who already run businesses in this niche, they will know the market well and will understand earnings potential as well as proven income. By browsing websites for sale in a similar niche, you will also be able to get a rough idea of the value of your website, and even the potential earnings it could make in future.

If your site is already well established, and you can prove a regular stable earnings income from the website, you will be able to place a value on the site a lot easier. Generally websites are valued at between 6 and 12 months of their income, even up to 18 months in some specific niches.

Value will also be calculated based on the age of the domain, the traffic which it receives and several other intricate factors – it is important to note that potential buyers will want to see statistics relating to traffic, and where the traffic comes from.

If you generate traffic from paid advertising, be honest – if you sell a website and the traffic stops suddenly because you’re no longer advertising, the buyer will not be happy, if you’ve told them in advance they can continue with the advertising and retain the traffic levels, and at the same time, you can retain your good reputation. Failing to dicslose important information like this will make it very hard for you to sell any websites in the future.

Once you’ve established a value and compiled all of the information about your website, traffic and income, you need to start advertising it – where you advertise will depend on your target market, but in general it won’t do any harm to advertise in as many places as possible – Check out the likes of the Digitalpoint forum domain marketplace, the Sitepoint marketplace, Flippa, Ebay etc – all of these have potential buyers, and are either free or cost a relatively small sum.

If you’re not confident in selling by yourself, you can consider handing it over to a broker to handle the sale, a broker will charge a percentage of the final sale value, usually between 8 and 12% – A broker will do all of the administration work involved which leaves you to get on with other things. If your website is relatively small and doesn’t make much in the way of earnings, you may struggle to find a broker to take it on, as they are generally attracted to higher value sites for the comission they will receive.

Clay vs Concrete – Paving

Block paving is generally manufactured from one of two material types, either concrete or clay – there are of course many other types such as rubber, stone, glass and plastic but the two most common types are concrete and clay. But what is the difference between them? Does one have a benefit over the other, or are they just personal preference?
Concrete Paving Blocks

Concrete paving blocks are made up of a mixture of stone or aggregate and cement, the sizes of aggregate used very from around 10mm down to 1mm aggregate dust. The dust is primarily used to bind the stone together and create a stronger material. Aggregates and cement is mixed together with water to create the concrete, which is then dyed with a coloured pigment to create the final colour of the paving stone. The pigment can be added in different amounts to create different colours and shades. Once the desired mix is created, the concrete mixture is poured into block moulds and either pressed or vibrated to remove air and smooth the mixture. Concrete paving blocks are air dried, and then turned out of the mould and loaded onto pallets ready for delivery when required.

Clay Paving Blocks

Clay paving blocks, unlike concrete paving blocks, are made from natural clay which is locally sourced from the area near manufacturers. This differs to concrete blocks because concrete blocks are made from man-made materials. Much like concrete pavers, clay paving blocks can have colour pigments mixed into them whilst the clay is still soft and workable, once the desired colour is reached, the clay is placed into a mould and left to dry slightly before being oven fired in a high temperature kiln. You may have seen this process used to fire clay pottery, the process is exactly the same.

Once the firing process is complete, the clay paving stones will be very hard. They are left to cool before being stacked onto pallets ready for delivery to any projects which require them.

So it’s clear that these two main types of paving blocks are both diffrent, and similar at the same time – so what are the benefits and downfalls of using one over the other?
Clay paving stones

The benefits of clay paving stones: extremely durable and hard wearing, many vibrant colour choices, as well as natural clay colour, do not stain or fade easily, very easy to keep clean.

The bad points of clay paving stones: They are generally more expensive than concrete alternatives, can be brittle and chip or shatter, due to the firing process there can be slight size differences, colours are harder to match due to the natural colour varying from slab to slab, some areas do not have a ready supply of clay paving stones, so they need to be shipped in from further afield.

Concrete Paving Blocks

The main pros of concrete pavers: cheap and cheerful, can be sourced in many different colours, colours remain true throughout a batch so can be easily marched. almost all local suppliers will stock concrete paving blocks.

The downside of concrete block paving: Requires sealing regularly to avoid staining. Can absorb dirt and grime. Is not as hard or tough as clay based paving blocks.

If you’re unsure exactly which block type is best for your need, you can ask a specialist paving company such as a birmingham paving contractor, they will be able to advise you of which material will be best for your application, and whether there are any downsides to your plans.

Does development ever end?

If you’ve ever created a website, a product, or an ebook, you’ll have asked yourself the question “Am I done?”

In the world of development, continually tweaking and optimising your product is a simple habit to fall into, and can mean the product is never truely finished.

Use our simple tips to ensure you finish your development project to the highest standard, and more importantly, reach your end goal.

Plan

Whether you’re creating a physical product, an ebook, a website, or something else, the first step of the process should always be to plan. You should have an end goal in sight and this is what you should aim for. Sure, it’s ok to modify your plans along the way, but you should always have an end in sight, if you don’t, you risk overthinking your plan and ending up with a half finished product that doesn’t meet your original requirements.

Take a website for example, you know exactly what the website needs to achieve, and you have a rough idea of how it should look, but once it’s done you find yourself not liking what you see, you then begin tweaking the site, missing release deadlines, and ultimately, no longer believing in your product, or yourself.

Stick to the plan, your initial ideas were likely good, once you have your project complete give it time, gauge the results and then think about making changes if required – remember, you’re creating your product, design, website, whatever for other people, not for yourself.

Manage Your Time

Once you’ve started your project, break it down into bitesize chunks, work on each step in order and don’t be tempted to do the good bits first, whilst it may be fun, you’ll be left with a bunch of boring tasks needing done before you can go live, and you’ll soon lose interest.

As you complete each step, mark it off your list, visualise your goal and see how near you are getting.

Compromise

Sometimes even the most thought out of plans can hit unforeseen issues, if you come across an issue that you really can’t overcome, carry on with the rest of your plan. A completed project is better than a project which has been half completed and left by the wayside, and you can always revisit later.

Never Give Up

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in any project is persevere, never give up, always reach your intended goal – many a time in the past we have given up on a project, only to kick ourselves down the line when someone else has succeeded where we failed, and we have to watch someone else reap the rewards, the very rewards we would have achieved had we stuck to our guns and got the project finished.

When everything on your list is ticked off, your project is complete – you have a success whether it takes off or not, you can of course start a second project revising the first – if doing this you should follow the same initial process, planning, managing, compromise and persevering.

Develop a more involved visitor base

Five simple suggestions to improve your email marketing.

1. Have a mobile friendly site

Responsive web designs can increase your email list by up to 130%. No – that’s not a typing mistake, we really mean 130%. A huge amount of website visitors these days use a Smartphone or tablet, a website which automatically fits itself to these devices will make them much more user friendly, and in turn allow more users to submit their email to your mailing list.

2. Track your signups using analytics

Having multiple places for a user to sign up to your mailing list can increase the likelyhood someone will sign up, but it may also annoy people into leaving your website, if you use an analytics type system to track which signup forms are converting, and which are not, you can get rid of some of your signup forms which will in turn de-clutter your website.

You can also use analytics to track how many people on your mailing list are opening and reading your emails, and again, how many of the people who do read your emails are returning to your website (or to the product you are marketing).
3. Engage your readers

Building an email list is all well and good, but if you don’t engage your readers, if you can’t convince them to do what it is you want them to do (buy your product or service, visit a website, visit your store) then your list is not much use to you. It is important that you treat your readers as people who are valuable to you, and give them something of value in return, why not offer them free guides or discounts in return for their loyalty?

4. See your material from your readers eyes

When you write content for an email, or your website to try and engage a user, think of your target market, then put yourself in their shoes – is your content giving them something useful, or does it feel like it’s sole purpose is to market a product or service? If it’s the latter then you need to work further on this, or employ someone such as Calagry Internet marketing to handle your email marketing campaigns.

5. Use rich media

Whilst plain text emails are supported by all email clients, the use of images, videos and formatted, rich text (html style) in emails can really catch the users eye – If you’re marketing a new product, include images and a demo video, if you want to highlight a particular part of your email, try bold, or coloured text, or header tags, draw the readers eye to exactly what you want them to read, encourage them to perform the action you want – make your email a call to action.

If you still don’t feel confident in carrying out a successful campaign then you should consider employing Calgary SEO or a similar company who will be able to handle all of the hard work for you, meaning you don’t need to get your hands dirty, or worse – risk getting it wrong!

Warranties to cover new technology

Car warranties – what will and won’t void them?

So you’ve got a new car and been given a 3 year warranty (or some other time), or you’ve purchased an extended warranty for your current car, now you’re hearing horror stories about what you can’t do if you don’t want your car warranty to be void, well let us help you out.

Generally, car warranties DO have a clause in them which will state exactly what will void them, red that clause carefully just in case your chosen provider has any additional voidable “offences” within their contract, however, in general reasons for voiding will be things such as;

-Using your road vehicle for off-roading.

-Damaging your car during a race event / otherwise in a manner which would be reasonably expected of a road going car.

– Modifying your car in a way which may cause damage or reduce the life span of a part covered by warranty, this could include things such as modifying or removing certain sensors, making modifications to the cars ECU or onboard computer, for instance a remap – remaps often change the fuel/air ratios and could cause damage to the engine (this is of course highly unlikely, but if there is a chance that it caused the damage then it will be seen as your fault, and will not be covered).

– Not sticking to an agreed service schedule. If you don’t have your oil, or belts changed, and as a result your engine seizes or breaks its valves, then you would not be covered under warranty, however, the services must be carried out correctly, but DO NOT need to be carried out by a main dealer, a local independant garage is completely fine, as long as you can prove it was carried out, for example with a stamp in your service book, or with receipts for the work.

Things which will not (unless explicitly stated in your contract) void your car warranty include;

Changes to the physical appearance of your vehicle, such as paint, stickers, window tints, bodykits etc, unless they can be proved to have contributed to the fault.

Interior changes such as new headunit, leather seats, lighting upgrades etc (if these items break they are unlikely to be covered under warranty though!)

So don’t let people misinform you, it’s harder than you think to void a car warranty, if you use your car in a normal manner and don’t do any crazy engine mods, you should be completely fine.

Why purchase when you can hire?

Before you think about hiring a crane, you will need to ensure you fully understand all aspects of the hire – including who is liable in the event of any accidents. A crane can potentially be very dangerous. Generally, a crane hire company will also send a crane operator/supervisor who will be responsible for all aspects of the crane’s use, meaning you won’t be liable if something goes wrong, but it is important to be sure. The hire company should be insured for loss or damage of the crane equipment in an accident, however, unless the operator was negligent, damage to your property may not be covered – check this when hiring.

Be certain that you read all small print as generally you will be required to ensure that the ground is stable and suitable for a crane, and that all information about what you are lifting, and where you are lifting it to is correct – the provided crane operator will not perform any lifts which he deems unsafe or too much of a risk to either the public or the crane hire equipment.

Any lift with a crane comes with its risks, ensure you have planned out the lift in the best possible way to ensure that the lift(s) go without any issues or unnecessary risks – if you identify any potential risks, either resolve them, try to find another alternative method to perform the lift, or in the worst case, ensure you are insured against any damage or loss caused by the lift.

Ensure there is good access to your site for the crane, as many crane hire contracts will state that you are responsible for the crane and related equipment once it leaves the main road and joins part of your site, whether that be your access road or the building site itself.

You should plan well in advance and do a full risk assesment on all aspects of the lifts you need completed, and be sure to follow all of the latest guidelines and standards. If you’re hiring from a reputable company such as ldncranehire.co.uk they will be able to advise you on the latest standards and guidelines and provide relevant advice where required. Remember, if you do not adhere to the required standards then the crane hire operator is highly unlikely to carry out the lift for you.

Be sure to make enquiries if you’re unsure about the type of crane required, the crane hire company won’t be liable if you order the wrong equipment to the site, and you will likely still have to pay at least part of the fee.

A good hire company will be able to assess your needs and advise on the best machine for your requirements if you give them detailed information over the phone, otherwise it may be worth having an on-site survey performed – it’s better to pay a little extra to get the right machinery, than pay out for something which will not suit your needs.