Tag Archives: internet

The Ultimate Guide To Help You Understand Telecommuting

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The Ultimate Guide To Help You Understand Telecommuting

We live in a digital world and the concepts of a daily commute or corporate cubicles can be a thing of the past for people who telecommute. What is telecommuting? It’s when an employee of a company can do their work from home.

This can be full-time at-home work or part-time, but the key is the ability to do almost all of one’s daily work activities from home. There is no need to visit the office or even have an office. While telecommuting is more popular than ever, it’s not as easy as it seems.

In today’s post, we’ll explain some of the best practices for telecommuting and how you can be more efficient:

What Is Telecommuting and Is it for Me?

There are some jobs that are more suited for telecommuting than others. Jobs that require the use of computers and online tools work best. If your job requires hands-on labor or to use assets only available at the office, then telecommuting would be difficult.

The digital world of today is suited for telecommuting because cloud storage, Internet use at home, and reasonably priced computers have made it possible for people to have everything they need without leaving their homes.

Telecommuters can connect with company assets and data via their Internet connection, password protected online servers, and company websites. Types of jobs that allow for telecommuting include sales and marketing, healthcare, education, customer service, and information technology.

If this sounds like your job or a type of living you want, then telecommuting might be right for you.

Reasons Businesses Offer Telecommuting:

With telecommuting jobs on the rise, companies understand the benefits of offering it to their employees, but not all companies. If you’re a business owner, then consider allowing your employees to work from home at least part-time.

How much money do you spend to rent or buy office space every year? Has your company grown, and you need to expand your office to accommodate new employees? Telecommuting decreases these costs substantially. You don’t need an office at all or you can have a small office to meet with clients, etc. and never worry about expanding. Since most of your employees work from home, you can hire new ones without expanding your office space.

Studies show employees will work for less money if telecommuting is an option for their job. You can also hire employees from anywhere in the world and not worry about them moving to the area. They can stay wherever they are, so your pool for potential employees grows.

Telecommuting and Efficiency:

If you’re planning on telecommuting, then you need to have a good work ethic and be efficient. One of the biggest motivators for in-office employment is the ability for the manager to make sure the work is done on time. You can’t procrastinate if there is a manager hanging over you that wants daily meetings. When you work from home, it’s more difficult to focus and work because you’re surrounded by the familiar.

Before telecommuting, the home was a place of leisure. It’s where you could forget about work and enjoy your family and the comforts of home. It can be difficult to shake that feeling when you need to work from home.

Don’t work in your pajamas or from your bed. Treat the telecommuting day as you would any other. Wake up, get dressed in work-appropriate clothes, and work from an at-home office area. This will help you focus on work time and not home time. If you can’t be efficient from home, then your company may not offer the option.

Working from home is great because it offers you flexibility, lower stress, and an atmosphere that you control. It also requires focus and discipline to get the necessary work done and not be distracted by the comforts of home.

Keeping Telecommuting Secure:

The biggest worry an employer has about their data is security. Your servers house everything about your company and customers and it needs to be secure, but how can you do that with telecommuting employees?

We’ve seen countless stories about data breaches in the news and you don’t want that to happen to you. You can provide your employees with computers that have security programs or provide them access to the security programs for at-home computers.

Access to data can be protected by passwords, but that may not be enough. You may need data encryption and other security measures to keep your data secure for telecommuting employees.

Beating the Telecommuting Blues:

At first, telecommuting seems amazing for employees. They don’t have to commute and still get paid without dealing with an office. After a while, the employees begin to miss having coworkers and may get cabin fever because they never seem to leave the house. Work friends and human interaction are important, and telecommuting removes that.

If you want to beat the telecommuting blues, then you need to continue having work relationships despite working from home. Video chat meetings via Zoom or other programs allows people to see their co-workers and chat about not only work but life as well.

Schedule time to leave the house during the week for fun activities with your friends. Have a drink after work or go see a movie. It’s important to maintain relationships when telecommuting or else it can be lonely.

Keep Employees in the Loop:

When dealing with telecommuting employees, the manager must remember to keep them in the loop. In offices where the employees are a mix of in-office and at-home, managers may forget to loop virtual workers in on meetings or changes to projects.

This not only hurts the business but also makes the telecommuting employees feel less important than those working in the office. You must maintain communication with telecommuters and provide the same feedback for projects, success, etc. that you would for those working in the office.

If you are considering working from home or letting your employees telecommute, use the tips above for the best success!

Taking Advantage Of The Internet In Self-Isolation

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Taking Advantage Of The Internet In Self-Isolation

Hello! Thank god for the internet while we’re all hunkered down at home, amiright? Personally, I would be going crazy without my access to social media and all of the entertainment streaming services that Johnny and I have. The internet is a wonderful tool to help fight the boredom blues and, amidst the stay at home orders, it is now being used for a lot more than aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. Bored? Try some of the following:

Take A Class:

Right now, there are so many free courses being offered online from reputable colleges to teachers hosting Zoom lectures. I have even seen that Yale is offering free admission to their course entitled “Happiness” or something of the like. I, myself, have been participating in an online American Sign Language class being taught via Zoom and have been having a blast. It feels great to learn something new and you can’t beat free!

Tour A Museum:

In the mood to travel? How about taking a virtual trip to one of the many museums offering tours online. Play some classical music, enjoy a glass of wine, and get a taste of the finer things as you admire art from around the world. Take a look and get inspired and then, who knows? Maybe you’ll be creating your own masterpieces afterwards.

Watch A Play:

Many theaters and opera houses are offering online streaming of their shows. I have seen advertising from everything from theaters in New York City to the Paris Opera House virtually opening their doors to the bored general public. I would love to watch a few operas in my free time and I am interested in checking out a viewing of the Phantom Of The Opera which I have seen advertised all over Facebook. So cool!

Connect With Friends:

Who says getting online has to be all about learning? Of course, connecting with friends is a given on social media. But, how about scheduling a chat over Zoom? You could play trivia, watch a show all together, have a paint night, or participate in a happy hour drink. Yes, it’s fun to catch up but actually doing an activity together will be a nice reminder of old times and could be a new weekly tradition to look forward to until real life meetings can happen.

Start A Club:

If you are trying to connect with like minded individuals, try hosting a virtual club. You could form a group based around anything from books and writing to movies and art. Schedule a weekly Zoom meeting to discuss the latest few chapters or the cliffhanger in the TV series you’re watching together. Intelligent conversations always perk me up when being plopped in front of the TV is the norm and everyone can benefit from that!

So many resources have made the internet even better than it already is during the coronavirus panic and these ideas are sure to entertain during those times when it feels like there is “nothing to do”. Enjoy!

Have you been doing anything similar to the tips above? How have you been using the internet to your advantage right now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Let’s Be Friends!

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Let’s Be Friends!

Hello!! Now, I know a lot of my fellow blogging friends have multiple social media pages but that is just not for Lil Red. I have a slide up LG phone and I like to keep things pretty old school. This means no Twitter, Instagram, or SnapChat because when I’m on the go, I don’t have internet access unless I can connect to it with my iPod touch (Which is primarily used for my music and picture taking purposes).

HOWEVER, I do have a Facebook that I am pretty active on and I encourage all of you to friend me on there at: Sarah Mushenheim. You guys will get sneak previews of photo shoots and pics before it becomes an OOTD post on here and memes… lots and lots of memes! Shoot me a friend request and make sure you send me a message so I know that you are one of my blog readers and enjoy the ridiculousness that is my FB profile!

What is your favorite form of social media? How do you stay relevant on the social media sphere? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Basic Traffic Boosting Strategies For Startups

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Basic Traffic Boosting Strategies For Startups

In the past, we’ve talked about merging traditional marketing with digital technology to boost your business’ online presence. While SEO is one of the most effective ways to get people to your site, it’s not the only way. In fact, there are other ways of boosting organic traffic, you just have to know what to do! Here, we list some basic Traffic Boosting strategies that aren’t too difficult to pull off:

Long-Tail Keywords:

With almost 50% of search engine queries coming from voice search, Google is starting to shift its focus towards long-tail keywords. Simply put, long-tail keywords are more like key phrases: they contain more words than traditional keywords and are usually much more specific.

For example, instead of typing down “best BBQ Texas”, users will more likely use their voice search and ask, in plain English, “What’s the best BBQ restaurant in Texas”. Because of advances in voice-recognition software over the past couple of years, Google and other search engines will be prioritizing the use of full sentences rather than chunky keywords.

This is good news for everybody: online companies will have to write more organic sounding content (which is always better than contrived pieces), and search engines are able to provide more accurate, more localized results (and even improve their Machine Learning algorithms in the process!).

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Wokandapix on Pixabay

Internal Links:

Basically, internal links are when you create content that has links to a different webpage within your webpage. Why is this important? Well, it all boils down to two things: bounce rate and page rank.

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of website visitors who navigate away from the website they’re visiting. A high bounce rate is bad news; it means your website is boring, it doesn’t add value to your readers, or it’s confusing, among other things. A low bounce rate, on the other hand, is good news: it means your website is interesting, easy to use, adds value, and a lot of other things that people will want to stay for.

Page rank is pretty self-explanatory: it’s the rank your website occupies in the search results of Google. The higher the rank, the higher the chances of your website garnering traffic, the higher your chances of converting leads. There are dozens of data signals Google uses to determine page rank, and one of them is, you guessed it, bounce rate.

So what do they have to do with internal links? Well, internal links drastically reduces your bounce rate, especially if the links you provide go to a page in your site that offers even more information (or value) to your visitors. This creates a positive feedback loop that reduces your bounce rate and increases the time people spend on your website which, in turn, gets you higher up the page ranks which, in turn again, drives traffic to your website.

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Edho Pratama on Unsplash

Involving the Community:

Now that you have your internal links and keywords sorted out, it’s time to start reaching out to your community. Social media management is an important aspect of traffic-driving and, if done right, can mean a drastic uptick in website visits.

Managing a social media community is all about engagement, transparency, and prompt addressing of issues. This means talking to your customers through social media, whether it’s by commenting on their posts, replying to tags, or through instant messenger. For the latter, bots exist to address the most common concerns, but it’s always good to be on hand for any questions that you might not have programmed your chatbots to answer.

But, don’t limit yourself to social media! Find out which online forums your community hangs out in and start cultivating a positive image of yourself by posting value-adding content that isn’t spammy or kitschy. Just stick to forum guidelines and you should be okay.

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William Iven on Unsplash

Build Those Links:

Speaking of community, it’s a good idea to start link building. Basically, link building is getting an external website (usually blogs) to host your content on their site with a hyperlink that can direct visitors back to your website. Simple, right? Well, yes and no.

Link building is a very effective way of driving traffic, if you do it properly. What is proper link building? It’s creating great, organic content that other website owners will have no problem hosting. What’s important is that this happens naturally, with no exchange of any kind of resources, whether monetary, favors, or even the website owner’s links. This is because Google hates it when you try to manipulate your page ranks in a non-organic way.

But not to worry: there are plenty of legitimate link building service providers who can help you build your links in a natural way for maximum traffic driving.

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DiggityMarketing on Pixabay

Boost your traffic with the tips above and watch your website begin to blossom!

Featured Image By: Carlos Muza at Unsplash

Giving Your Customers Faith In Your Online Business

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Giving Your Customers Faith In Your Online Business

What’s a business worth if it’s not trusted by its customers? Nothing!

These days, online businesses are everywhere and you’ll find everything being sold. From crazy unique clothing pieces to hand-crafted wooden miniatures, you can purchase virtually anything from the internet and there are so many small businesses that you probably won’t be able to remember all of them. Because of this, it’s actually very difficult to build a brand that customers will come back to time and time again.

Thankfully, there are a couple of solid strategies that can help you improve your reputation and build your customer’s faith in your business. In this article, we’re going to discuss three of those methods so that you can get a better understanding of how to appeal to your audience and get their trust:

Make sure your website meets all the security regulations and standards:

Online security is a huge issue now, especially with hackers running rampant and leaking everything from credit card information to selling private celebrity photographs on the dark web. As a result, it’s vital that you get protection for your business from Jumio and other specialist firms that can help you design a safe and secured online website. In addition, you should always rely on eCommerce platforms with a good reputation so that if you ever come across a fraudulent transaction, you can deal with it immediately and effectively so that it doesn’t ruin your business or cause it to collapse.

As long as you follow all of the relevant regulations and standards, you’ll find that your customers will trust you more because you’ve gone the extra mile to ensure that they can feel safe when giving you their bank card information to make purchases.

Focus on offering good customer support to each and every customer without exception:

We’ve probably all experienced the “joys” of poor customer support. Whether it’s outsourced to another country or if we get put in touch with a clueless operative on the other end, it’s never a pleasant experience to be subjected to terrible customer support.

Every business should focus on having a solid customer support structure so that they can better serve their customers. Make sure you have several points of contact such as social media handles, emails, and phone numbers, and make sure they’re manned so that if your customers do want to get in touch, they can.

Be truthful about any errors or problems that you encounter:

Although your customers expect you to deliver their products and services on time, there’s undoubtedly going to be a couple of situations in which you can’t deliver on your promises. During situations like this, it’s vital that you speak to your customers and tell them the truth so that you don’t lie to them and create suspicion that you could be abusing their trust in you.

Aim to deal with the situation as quickly as possible. It could be a late delivery because you forgot to post an item or it could be a problem caused by miscommunication by one of your sales representatives. Whatever the situation is, be truthful about it to the customer if they ask and do whatever you can to compensate them.

Running an online business requires the smarts and customer service skills, combine the two and your customers will always have faith in your enterprise.

Building Brand Awareness With A Killer Video

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Building Brand Awareness With A Killer Video

A brand isn’t just an advert on TV or logo. It runs deeper than that, because successful brands connect with the audience on another level. Customers and consumers see the ones that they love and opt for them every single time. It’s called brand loyalty and it’s something businesses aspire to on a daily basis. So, it isn’t enough for you to aim for an audience with a novelty idea. Weird works, but it’s a short-term solution.

Long-term is where the future of the brand building is at today. Get them on the hook for the foreseeable future and the business will have a sustainable source of revenue. In a world dominated by social media and the internet, there is no better way than to create a video. Not only is it fun and engaging, but it is interactive, too, so customers feel as if they are apart of the clique.

But, before you hire a camera and develop a script, there are things to understand first, mainly, videos aren’t a sure-thing. For it to work, it has to be enjoyable, good-looking, and add value. Here are the ways to hit your brief:

Research The Audience:

It goes without saying, but videos should be marketed towards a particular demographic. In the same way you’d aim for an audience with SEO, PPC, etc., the video should hit a specific group. Remember that this is the most important part, because the research will determine the type of video that the company creates. Now, let’s move onto the issues which aren’t as obvious.

Introduce Oneself/Be The Lead Actor:

You don’t want to use the power you have and award yourself the number one position? How commendable of you; however, it’s a mistake. In the future, it’s more logical and humble to hire actors to represent the brand. Let’s face facts and admit that professionally trained thespians are better in the role. Still, it’s vital that the company and the brand introduce themselves in the very beginning. What is it? What is it looking to do? Who are the people behind the mask? These questions are important to answer as they break the ice and instill trust in equal measure. When customers can put a face to a name, they are less worried about scams and online purchases. A company profile vid is a perfect way to kick-start a corporate marketing plan whether people know who you are or are newcomers.

 

Be Dramatic:

Okay, so you’re no Ridley Scott or Steven Spielberg and the video isn’t going to be nominated for an award. Because you’re an amateur, it’s easy to take the route most traveled and neglect all of the things that go into being a director. For instance, terms such as artistic integrity aren’t on your radar. However, everyone should tap into their creative side no matter how pretentious it seems as it sets the mood. Using music is a prime indicator of tension and atmosphere because the tune builds and grips the audience. Check out The Tune Peddler for royalty-free songs as well as Incompetech. Like everything creative, a video needs a theme which runs throughout as well as a plan of attack. Over to you, Scorsese.

Answer FAQs:

Feedback is vital, as it gives you an insight into the mind of the target base. With this invaluable info, the business can tweak or develop new measures to generate leads. Asking people on the street for advice is played out and annoying, yet consumers love to post in the comments section at the end of a mini-production. Take a look at YouTube if you are a non-believer. Don’t gloss over the reviews and feedback that watchers leave, even if it’s mostly garbage. There will be things in there that are like gold dust and can help. Plus, people will ask questions. To show that you care and to interact with the audience, be sure to post a response. Something quick and simple can go a long way with viewers.

Promote Online For Free:

The video is ready and you are going to post it on the firm’s site. Great, but what’s the plan going forward? Your website or blog is simply one cog in a large machine that is the industry. To compete with rivals and increase your market share, the company has to raise awareness across the internet. A digital presence is essential, and a video is an excellent way to build on the foundations. By posting on Facebook and Instagram, and tweeting a link on Twitter, you can include all of the business’s followers. Also, by uploading to YouTube, the video may receive a chunk of the host’s traffic. One percent of a couple of billion is plenty for a small business with big ideas.

The internet is an amazing tool. Be sure to use it well while promoting your video and business!

Upgrade Your Evenings In With These Netflix Hacks

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Upgrade Your Evenings In With These Netflix Hacks

Thanks to Netflix, nights in have gotten so much better. We now have a lot more options when it comes to finding TV shows and movies to watch. What’s even better is that it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as a Sky TV package. Viewing some of the best movies and shows has never been so cheap! But did you know that your streaming could be so much better by using just a few simple hacks? Read on to find out more!

Upgrade Your Internet:

First things first, it is worth taking a look at your current internet package. If you are paying for just the basic package, it really is worth upgrading. That’s because your internet probably won’t be fast enough for top-quality streaming. It could make everything that you try and watch freeze or load really slowly. Not only that, but the picture quality probably won’t be fantastic. So, buy some faster broadband, and you will notice a big difference in the quality of your streaming. If you do decide to look at some different internet service plans, make sure you shop around. That way, you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money!

Download Movies And Shows For Offline Viewing:

Power cuts might be very rare these days, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! After all, you never know when the next big storm might hit your home. And you don’t want to be left without power and things to watch on TV! So, download some shows and movies onto your tablet devices for those times tht you need to watch something offline. This is also a great idea for long journeys, too. Just give your kids your smartphone with a film downloaded onto it and you won’t hear a peep from them throughout the entire trip!

Add Another Subscription For Even More Choice:

Netflix has some really great choices, but let’s face it. It doesn’t have everything, does it? For instance, there are still a few of last year’s Oscar-nominated films that still aren’t on the streaming platform. So, it could be worth adding an extra subscription service, such as Amazon Prime or Now TV. That way, you can improve your choices and you will never run out of things to watch.

Remove Your Guilty Pleasures From Your History:

Your viewing history will help the Netflix algorithm figure out suggestions for you. Unfortunately, one badly chosen movie or TV show will ruin your algorithm and it could start recommending you a load of old rubbish! Thankfully, you can delete your history. And that also comes in handy if you have a fondness for watching guilty pleasures, such as romcoms. You can remove them so no one else will know what you’ve been watching!

Ready to take your Netflix viewing to a whole new level? Well, you can do just that with all of the great hacks above. Movie night, anyone?

Featured Image By: Pexels

Technology – The Secret Ingredient Of Success

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Technology – The Secret Ingredient Of Success

More and more businesses are relying on technology to make their operations more, well, awesome, efficient, productive, secure, and profitable. The big problem is keeping up with the Lewis Hamilton paced world of advancing tech, which is complicated further by the fact that business leaders, like you, already have their hands full with the other tasks that keep their company in the here and now.

Luckily for you, we have taken the time to cast a rather glorious spotlight on exactly which areas of your business can be greatly improved by the introduction of the right technology. What’s more, we’re not going to waste any more of your time getting to the point:

Mobile Is The Number One Must-Have: For all of the different technology that there is out there, none has crashed into our lives like a New Year’s Eve fireworks display more than the mobile. Last year alone, more than six billion people tuned into a mobile device. Of course, this is quite a big entity in its own right, so to narrow it down a bit more, the areas you need to concentrate on are having a responsive website, a well-tested app, and mobile payment capabilities to keep your company in check with the tech savvy.

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 Off the subject, but I like that bag!

It’s Time To Automate Your Marketing: In a world where time is the most valuable commodity and marketing is the number one way to grow your business, being able to combine the two is becoming increasingly important. Not only this, but they will also dent your need to hire another costly marketing agency-slash-executive. The major benefits on the efficiency front come in the form of lead generation, segmented messages, tailored responses based on actions, and their seamless integration with CRM platforms.

Nothing Is More Important Than Security: Making sure that your business is safe and secure falls into the category of “Pretty Darn Important” for a plethora of reasons. There is the trust you give to your customers, the peace of mind you give to your clients, the reputation you need to protect and, of course, your profit margin. In terms of technology, we recommend you look for a home surveillance camera for sale, something that will let you monitor your physical space and employees from your mobile and not just online threats. That said, the advancements in tech have also made it easier to protect your email accounts, bolster your firewall, and secure both your wireless network and your browsers.

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 Hands up for security!!

Call In The Collaboration Tools: There are a thousand reasons why you need to adapt to the remote world in which we live; reasons that range from attracting top talent to keeping business overheads down. However, in order to make remote working a viable option, you need to invest in the best collaboration tools. Sure, this may not be much of an issue now, but it is projected that over 60% of workers will work remotely by 2022. The platform we are loving at the moment is Google Team. It offers real-time collaboration on a virtual chat-based work space that is designed to make collaboration more accessible and efficient. Music to your ears, huh?

The world of technology is fast paced and constantly changing, and it is up to you as a business leader to keep on top of the ball so that you can keep your company at the top of the ranks.

Featured Image By: Pexels

5 Important Considerations Before You Sign Up For That Online Course

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5 Important Considerations Before You Sign Up For That Online Course

Are you thinking of signing up for an online course? Maybe you have your eye on one already, or you just think that this would be a good option for you instead of going to night school or taking a part time course. Online courses can be a brilliant option for certain people, but they aren’t right for everybody. Here are 5 important considerations you need to make before you sign up:

Will You Get Support?

You don’t want to sign up for an online course only to be left completely in the lurch when it comes to asking questions. You don’t necessarily need direct contact with the person who created the course. A simple forum, speaking with other students could be a great way to clear up any confusion that you have about the work ahead of you. In some cases, you may get direct support with the course creator to ensure that you get the most out of the course. Make sure that you know what the support is like before you sign up.

Do You Get A Real Qualification?

Some online courses can give you great information, but you don’t actually get a real qualification at the end of it. Consider whether you need a real qualification. If it isn’t important, then it won’t matter so much. However, if it is, you need to make sure that the qualification is legitimate and that you can do something with it afterwards. Doing an online hospitality degree is a popular option, as you get a real qualification once the course is over.

Will This Bring Value That You Can’t Find Elsewhere Online?

The internet is vast and full of resources that just about anybody can use to learn to do anything. Some resources are more in depth than others. Once you’ve found a course, you need to consider whether this will bring value that you can’t find elsewhere online. For instance, if you want to learn how to build websites, this isn’t information you necessarily need to pay for. You can learn this using YouYube videos and other resources, and by practicing yourself. It’s not something that you need a qualification for to be good at, although you will need to make sure you’re good at it to make money from it!

How Well Do You Learn In Your Own Time?

Some people just aren’t good at learning in their own time. They like to watch TV, read a book, relax…they just can’t find the time to sit down and do the course they’ve bought. If they have the course forever, it often gets put off until they realize that they bought it years ago. If you’re a person who can motivate yourself, then this could be a great option. If not, you may be better off signing up for a night course!

Is It Good Value For Money?

Courses can vary wildly in price all over the internet. A cheap course doesn’t mean it’s bad and an expensive course doesn’t mean it’s good. You need to be sure you’re getting value for money, whatever your budget is!

Ready, get set, learn…online!

Featured Image By: Flickr

5 Gadgets That Can Make Your Life Easier

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Hi everyone and happy weekend! This post is compliments of my friend, Amelia, from thetrustcompass. In a world full of gizmos and gadgets, this article is dedicated to helping you pick out the best new toys possible to make your day to day life a total breeze. Check out Amelia’s author bio and then read on for the latest in the technology that you need ASAP:

Hello, Amelia here from thetrustcompass.com! I am a technology expert and have experience writing for several websites. When it comes to anything technology related, Thetrustcompass is your one stop destination. It has useful posts on a wide range of topics and detailed reviews of products related to technology, outdoor games, and health to help buyers make informed choices and spend their money wisely.

5 Gadgets That Can Make Your Life Easier

Today, more than ever, we are highly dependent on tech gadgets to help us run our life, and luckily, more and more smart products are doing just that. They connect to our phone, so we can operate them remotely, which gives us more time to focus on chores that need winding, or grab a few more minutes of rest and recuperation.

But do all gadgets truly uncomplicate our lives? Yes, cutting-edge phones and 4K TVs are worth drooling over, but are very heavy on the wallet, too. A fitness tracker might help us live healthier, but being constantly nagged by a device isn’t very zen. A drone might aid in capturing some beautiful angles, but only if you’re adept at not crashing it. A smartphone might let you communicate with anyone in the world, but too much social media can be pervasive and pesky. State-of-the-art VR kits and the best 3D pens are taking innovation to a new level, but a good gadget should not only be solving the problem, but also making life easier.

The best tech devices are ones that make some part of our day easier, whether it’s getting ready for work, cooking a meal, sticking to our walks, or just catching the morning news. There are devices that make all of this possible with no more effort on our part than setting up an accompanying app. Below, we’ve rounded up a few gadgets that can add to our day, but don’t demand much in return and none of them will wind up being ‘another thing to worry about’.

1 – Amazon Echo Dot

The Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free, Bluetooth speaker that can be operated with voice commands. The Dot can be synced with your wireless router and all of your smart devices including Nest and Samsung SmartThings, as well as other wirelessly controlled lights, fans, and sprinklers. You can tell the Dot to “play my music” to stream Prime Music, Spotify, or IHeartRadio through the device, your headphones, or Bluetooth speakers. The Dot will tell you how bad the traffic is, what weather can be expected, and list movie show timings. You can ask the Dot to tell you headlines from sources like NPR, CNN, Bloomberg, and Discovery News while you’re getting dressed, so that you know the latest buzz before you leave the door in the morning. These features help make everyday tasks a little easier. Tring! That’s your Dot reminding you to take that cake out of the oven- it works as an alarm clock, too.

2 – The Universal Switch

With dozens of tech gadgets buzzing in our instant environment, what if we had one super ‘switch of all switches’ that could turn on or off all electrical activity in a second, at our will, and without us getting off the couch?  Enter The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch! This Switch is a standard plug, but on steroids! It plugs into an existing AC outlet, connects to your WiFi network, and then lets you turn on or off whatever is plugged into the outlets, through its app- a lamp, fan, space heater, or what have you. If you suspect a device is using too much energy, you could have it automatically shut down once it hits a certain cost for the day. It even works with Amazon Echo, which is super convenient.

3 – Power Bank

Picture these scenarios: You’re hiking on top of a mountain, taking panoramic shots of the scenic sights, and as you reach the summit, your phone decides it’s time to play dead. Or you’re trying to drive with your phone’s GPS app, and your phone decides to leave you hanging. Chances are, you’ve probably been in a situation where your phone has died at the most inopportune time. That’s why, a portable battery charger, or Power Bank is something that you should definitely invest into. It gives you the freedom and power to power up to three dead devices while you’re out and about and not near a power source. These power banks are small and super-easy to carry. The next time your phone dies before you can call that cab home, you know what you have to do.

4 – Tile

If you’re forgetful or have too many gizmos to keep track of, the Tile Mate is made for you. This little gadget is designed to loop onto or attach to, well, just about anything else you own. Once attached, the tracker sends location data to an app on your phone. If you don’t know where you put your keys, you can send the Tile Mate command to ring. The diminutive Bluetooth tracker can talk with (and remotely ring) your phone from over 100 feet away, telling you exactly where you left your particular item. If you’re worried you might lose something valuable, throw a Tile on it.

5 – Google Chromecast

The Google Chromecast is one of the best ways to use your regular TV as a smart device. The small, circular device plugs into an HDMI port on your television. Once there and connected to your Wireless internet, it can stream a heady range of entertainment apps, such as Netflix, Go, Hulu, and HBO. Just plug it in, pair it with your phone, tap your app’s Cast button, and enjoy. The $35 price-sticker doesn’t hurt, either. If you’ve ever wanted to smarten up your speakers, the Chromecast Audio is just as simple to use. Chromecast comes with thousands of apps and more than 30 million songs and radio stations. Better yet, it includes a mirroring feature so you can beam what’s on your Android phone to the TV.

Get yourself equipped with these smart gadgets and make your life a walk in the park!

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^^^ Thank you again to Amelia for updating my readers on the latest and greatest technology that’s on the market! What is one gadget that you can’t live without? Do you think you could handle a day without your smartphone? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah