​Pep calls on past ties to bring Juventus defender Alves to Man City

first_imgManchester City are interested in signing Juventus fullback Dani Alves, according to Sky Sports.The report suggests the two clubs have had initial talks over the transfer, but that an agreement is yet to have been made.Alves has one year left remaining on his current contract after joining Juve from Barcelona last summer.The Brazilian spent four seasons under current City manager Pep Guardiola at the Camp Nou between 2008-2012.Guardiola is desperate to sign fullbacks this summer having released Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta at the end of last season.last_img

Southampton legend Le Tissier: Pellegrino will want to buy creativity

first_imgSouthampton legend Matt Le Tissier expects new manager Mauricio Pellegrino to seek creative players this summer.Saints finished eighth last season under former manager Claude Puel.Le Tissier told Sky Sports: “I would imagine his remit would be the top-eight which is where we have finished for the last four seasons, it was great to get to a cup final which we narrowly missed out on.”Probably the biggest thing would be to maybe add a little more creativity in the way we play. A little more of the high pressing that we became accustomed to over a few seasons with [Mauricio] Pochettino and with Ronald Koeman.”That’s what the club are looking for – somebody who can take the club back to the way we were playing before last season.”last_img

Benjamin Mendy urges Monaco to sell him to Man City

first_imgAS Monaco fullback Benjamin Mendy is eager to sign for Manchester City.L’Equipe says Mendy, having returned to Monaco on Friday for the first day of preseason, informed directors he wanted to be sold.The France international is aware of City’s interest and has asked ASM to sell him.ASM immediately responded, telling Mendy that they do not wish to lose him unless City make an irresistible offer.City have also contacted Monaco this week in an effort to open negotiations about a fee for Mendy.last_img

Buzz Meeting: How Do We Expand the Maternal Health Community Without Losing Focus?

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 11, 2011June 19, 2017By: Janna Oberdorf, Director of Communications and Outreach, Women DeliverClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)At the end of the two and a half days of the MHTF Buzz meeting, my brain is certainly buzzing with ideas, thoughts, and more than anything – questions. The goal of the meeting was to bring up “5 Questions You Need to Ask About Maternal Health Right Now,” and to discuss and debate these tough questions. At first, I think it was really challenging for the group to think about asking tough questions without focusing on finding answers – something our community strives to do. But, looking back, I feel really privileged to have had the space to think about maternal health on a different scale – to see beyond “next steps” and “action plans” and to have the freedom to think big.One thing that struck me was a key question that was addressed towards the end of the meeting: How do we expand the maternal health community without losing focus? The “askers” of this question were getting to the heart of inclusion and integration of other development issues like newborn health, child health, women’s health, women’s empowerment, etc. But, I think this question can make us go beyond the integration piece and think more critically about what does it mean to “expand” the community.For the past two years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and striving to get more young people involved in maternal health. I’ve talked about the need for new voices in the field, the need to ensure the future of the movement by investing in the leaders of tomorrow, and the need to pass on the lessons of the last 25 years of the “safe motherhood” initiative so we don’t lose what has already been learned. But, being at the buzz meeting, I came to realize that the need to expand the community goes so much farther than just a question of age. Countless times at this meeting, participants would qualify their statements and contributions by saying, “I’m not an expert in maternal health, but…” or “I’m on the outside of this issue, but…” I did it often myself in saying, “I know I’m new to this field, but…” What I came to realize is that we need to expand our community to include young people, for sure, but we also need to be better about letting our guard down to all people who are engaged and excited about working to improve maternal health – whether they are 18, 35, or 75.We need to accept that everyone will come from a different perspective and will have a different set of skills, and it’s this diversity of interested actors that could potentially push the maternal health issue forward. We need more people to feel like they can be part of the solution.At the same time, the maternal health community should work to pass down the history of the last 25 years in a way that excites and engages new players rather than builds barriers. I think that a major part of this is an immense need for better intergenerational dialogue – we need to ensure that the future leaders in the maternal health community inherit the wisdom and the knowledge of the past 25 years without inheriting the baggage. We need to learn from what the current leaders know, but feel freedom to challenge, try new things, and even re-try things in a new generation and new context.Meetings like the MHTF Buzz are an important step in this process. It’s always more satisfying to answer questions than to ask questions, but both are so essential to move forward. “I know I’m new to this field, but…” I feel optimistic that we can and will make progress on maternal health. So let’s start bridging the knowledge gap not just in data and research, but look to bridging gaps between issues, between generations, and between people.Share this:last_img read more

How to Avoid Predatory Journals: A Five Point Plan

first_imgPosted on January 28, 2015May 9, 2017By: Jocalyn Clark, Executive Editor, Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition at icddr,bClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Increasingly, I’m asked to advise and assist with the problem of predatory journals. While it’s probably only an annoying nuisance to many in the developed world, the increasing number of spam emails inviting articles and conference participation is beginning to feel like a potentially serious problem for developing world scientists and institutions. This demands action, as Richard Smith and I argue in a recent editorial in The BMJ.That’s because these countries’ relative lack of development also extends, unsurprisingly, to scholarly publishing. Whereas in rich country institutions we would have training, supervision, and support that generate a level of literacy to discern predatory versus legitimate journals, this is often missing or nascent in developing country institutions. As a recent paper shows, the majority of authors in predatory journals are inexperienced and based in developing countries.Predatory journals (a term first coined by librarian Jeffrey Beall) are fake or scam journals that send phishing emails offering “open access” publication in exchange for payment, without providing robust editorial or publishing services. They have been discredited by the scientific community, and because they are not indexed in standard databases any research published in them is effectively lost. Their motive is financial gain, and their modus operandi is a corruption of the business model of legitimate open access publishing.Many organisations and universities around the world are facing this problem, but it appears predatory publishers may be particularly targeting institutions in the global south.I’m struck by how many more spam emails from predatory publishers I get to my Bangladesh institutional email than I do to my Canadian academic account. In a recent seven day trial, I received 14 predatory journal spam emails to my icddr,b account and six to my University of Toronto account; a colleague at Harvard in the same period got just two.This can’t be explained by inadequate junk mail filters, as the system we use at my organisation in Bangladesh is an industry standard.I recommend a five point plan for researchers to avoid predatory journals, which involves “doing your homework” to check the credibility of a journal or publisher, and always being sceptical of unknown journals. To distinguish legitimate from predatory journals, here are some useful sources of information—none of which are adequate on their own:Is the journal or publisher listed in Beall’s List? If so, it should be avoided, as this “blacklist” is regularly updated and specifies criteria for identifying predatory journals and publishers.If claiming to be an open access journal, is the journal in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)? This is a sort of “whitelist,” and journals here must meet specific criteria.Is the publisher a member of recognised professional organisations that commit to best practices in publishing, such as the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); the International Association of Scientific, Technical, & Medical Publishers (STM); or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)?Is the journal indexed? Do not accept the journal’s claims about being indexed. Instead verify these claims by searching for the journal in databases such as PubMedCentral (free) or the Web of Science (requiring subscription).Is the journal transparent and following best practices when it comes to editorial and peer review processes, governance, and ownership? Are there contact details for the journal and its staff (email, postal address, working telephone number)? Reputable journals have a named editor and editorial board comprised of recognised experts. Are the costs associated with publishing clear? Credible journals do not ask for a submission fee. Many bona fide open access journals require a publication charge, but this is levied after acceptance and through a process separate from the editorial process.To help with “doing your homework” authors can consult new guidance from COPE, which—along with the DOAJ, OASPA, and the World Association of Medical Editors—has set out principles of transparency and best practice that set apart legitimate journals and publishers from “non-legitimate” ones.These sources of information can help any researcher struggling to avoid predatory journals, but should supplement rather than supplant extensive discussions among co-authors about the right and reputable target journals for their papers.In addition, those of us who collaborate with and advocate health research from developing countries should lend our support to colleagues, especially junior colleagues, to spread publication literacy and to fight against the predatory journals.This post originally appeared on BMJ Blogs.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

6 tips for creating a social media presence that works

first_imgWhen I first joined Facebook in 2009, I did so to stay connected to family members, friends, and students. My social media presence was quite capricious and often, to be honest, I went on there just to be nosy—to see who was getting married, having a baby, getting a divorce or all of the above.This lasted for years until a friend, who is a social media guru, chastised me about being virtually invisible. I told him, “I don’t do social media.”At the time, I didn’t really see the purpose of having connections with people I didn’t actually know. I was content with my 500 friends.My friend nudged me further and said that I was missing out on a gold mine. He explained how he used his social media presence to introduce potential clients to his work, to create a brand, and to gain greater visibility which he leveraged as a freelance writer and public speaker. “Give it two months,” he insisted. I agreed.It actually took less than a month and I “got it.”Fast forward to 2017 and I now have a combined 23,000 friends/followers/fans on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with my primary base being Facebook.And, yes, he was right. It is a virtual gold mine if you figure out how to use it to your advantage and I am not talking about algorithms or sponsored ads. I am talking about good old fashioned human connections—even if they are virtual.So, what can you do? Try these 6 tips.Be clear about how much of ‘you’ you want to shareIf you want to get traction on your personal page and that traction is derived from strangers, be very clear and intentional about what you plan to share. Because I brand as a freelance writer who is passionate about writing and social justice issues, I am myopic with my posts.Occasionally, I may throw in what I ate for dinner last night and I may shout out my partner, but that is rare. I also made some of my old pictures and photo albums private. My rule of thumb when deciding whether or not to post on any platform is: Only share information that you are ok with telling a perfect stranger. As your platform grows, that’s who you may end up talking to.It’s ok to have more than one Facebook pageFacebook limits personal pages to 5,000 friends. As I watched a significant uptick in people sending me friend requests, I knew that I needed to expand my reach.I did not want to start over and create a public figure page, so I opted to create two additional pages.I established a page exclusively for Seldon Writing Group, LLC and a page called Black People Who Love to Write, where I have followers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds from all around the world.I think of these 3 pages as my trifecta—-me, my work, and my passion. This may seem like extra work, but it’s not. I often share posts from one page to all three of the pages.If three different pages seems unrealistic and you don’t want to open up your personal page to others then definitely create a FB page just for your freelancing services and invite all of your friends to like and follow it.Tell people what you do and shareDo your social media connections know that you are a freelancer? When’s the last time that you—to the extent that you can—shared some of your work? I underestimated the importance of this at first. It’s not enough to just tell people, “I am a ___________________.”You may have potential clients who are in need of your services and simply sharing that you freelance can lead to transactional relationships. Like I tell my writers, show, don’t just tell.Be consistent in how you use your platformsOne of the most important aspects of social media branding is brand consistency. If you are a freelance videographer, make sure that your social media platforms are aligned with what you do and your area of specialization.People will start gravitating towards you because they will associate your page with great video products. People will also use what you post as virtual business cards when they tell others about your work.With Facebook analytics (for non-personal pages), I can gauge the reach of a post, the gender, age-range, and geographic location of the people who follow 2 of my 3 pages. For example, my niche audience on FB are women ages 34 to 55 who live in NYC, Chicago and Houston. 65% of my new clients in 2017 are via Facebook and they fall within this demographic, so I can actually attribute this growth directly to having a social media presence. Had it not been for FB, they probably never would have ‘found’ me.Create good contentGood content is like the trailer of a movie that isn’t coming out until 2018 and you’ve already made plans to see it.In the social media ecosystem, good content is a status, a post, a tweet, a picture, a caption, a meme or even a hashtag. Links to longer pieces are great, but sometimes, 30 seconds is all that you need. Good content is also like a virtual billboard for your services. I have posted content that has been shared by thousands of people. I also know that my content has reached over a million people. Does this translate into sales? Not necessarily, but it does help with branding and marketing your services.Venture into new territoryI joined Instagram in June at the urging of two different clients. “You’re missing out, Doc.”When I initially thought about Instagram, I thought about scantily clad women and since my modeling days are over, I opted to pass. I really did not understand why it would be advantageous for me from a business standpoint. So, one day, as my client and I were having lunch, I asked him to show me how the hashtags worked.He showed me a few posts and when he typed in #freelancers, #writers, #authors, and #editors, millions of posts popped up. We clicked on a few and I was pleasantly surprised to see others sharing their written work. I’ve grown to like Instagram and I primarily use it to share inspirational quotes, cover shots of my clients’ books, or a selfie or two.I also link my company website in my bio and a few links to my blogs. I have made some connections that have resulted in opportunities to freelance. Conversely, Twitter has not panned out as much for me, so I don’t actively use it, but it might be right for you.It is worth noting that because I have watched other people launch and grow businesses using social media platforms, I am drawing from tips that are more process-oriented than personality based. I know my charisma is a factor in some of my success, but these tips are bankable for freelancers anywhere if you give them time.One other cool thing about posting on multiple social media platforms is that many of them are interconnected, so you really only have to pick one and share from there—there are even apps for that.I’d love to hear from you. How have you used social media to establish and/or build your freelancing career?last_img read more

Is your income protected?

first_imgEpisodic income is one of the biggest challenges freelancers face. As freelancers know all too well, when you’re too sick to work, you don’t get paid.Until now.Freelancers Union is thrilled to offer freelancers in Georgia exclusive access to Trupo, a brand-new short-term disability insurance product for freelancers. It will be coming soon to freelancers around the country! Enter your zip code to see if Trupo is available in your area:Trupo was started by Freelancers Union founder Sara Horowitz and it represents an important step in building a new safety net that works for freelancers.Here’s how it works:You pay a monthly premium depending on your income level and line of workIf you’re ever too sick or injured to work for more than a week, you receive checks for up to half of your incomeWe’re excited to be partnering with Trupo to offer this exciting new option for freelancers. We hope you’ll sign up and be a part of an innovative solution that helps freelancers thrive. You can also join Trupo’s Facebook group and follow #Trupo on Instagram and Twitter.last_img read more

Lifestyle and business habits of happy freelancers

first_imgThis is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.Freelancing is great! You have complete freedom over the whats, whys, and hows of your work. However, it comes with some serious caveats. From staying social and healthy to achieving financial security, here are some tips that successful, happy freelancers know.Set strict boundariesThe freedom that comes from freelancing is a double-edged sword. Unlike corporate, there’s no one managing you but you — and this makes it easy to go off track (especially if you’re just starting out).For instance, I’ve found myself losing out on important personal time to keep up with deadlines and take up more work than I can handle. But now I have strict rules on how much work I take up and block out time for me.Here are a few things you should consider:Find a distraction-free area for work, i.e. a home office or a coworking spaceBlock out certain hours of your day for work Don’t overload yourself Take some time offEat right and exercise regularlyWith freelancing, there are no working hours. So many people end up working overtime and skipping meals.But keeping healthy will actually improve your productivity and, over time, help you get more done. What’s more, staying healthy is key to living a happy life.Here are a few ways I fit fitness in my hectic freelancing workweek:I work where I eat so that I have easy access to food when I’m hungry. This could be your home (if you cook) or a work cafe that has food.Take up bodyweight exercises you can do in the park. So there’s no need to get an expensive gym membership or go to the gym.Alternate between standing and sitting while working.Get smart about revenue I’ve learned to leverage the freedom from freelancing to build passive income businesses like my blog. You see, freelancing isn’t the end goal, but a gateway into other fields (think entreprenurship).Here are a few ways you can do the same:Build a blog: You can treat this as your portfolio site and use it to generate incomeCoach people that want to become a freelancer like yourselfDiversify into consultancy (takes several years and key skillsets)Be socialFinally, it’s important to get social and have a life apart from freelancing. After all most of your clients and colleagues (if you’re in a team) are on the internet — especially if you’re a freelancing nomad always on the move.Here are a few ways I maintain a healthy social life:Attend events: There’s always something happening. Be proactive.Work in busy places: Work in cafes or coworking spaces to increase your chances of meeting new people.It’s important to have a life outside your work. Stay social, stay fit, and on the whole stay connected with the world.last_img read more

Sarah Hofstetter Named to Advertising Hall of Achievement

first_imgWe’re excited to announce that Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i, has been named to the 2014 Advertising Hall of Achievement, which honors the top young advertising talent in the industry. Sarah was the only one of two agency executives to make this year’s list.The Advertising Hall of Achievement is the industry’s premier award for outstanding advertising leaders age 40 and under. The American Advertising Federation established this program in 1993 as a way to recognize young talented individuals who are making a significant impact on the advertising industry.In addition to Sarah, fellow 2014 inductees include: Lauren Connolly, Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director, BBDO New York; Ross Martin, Executive Vice President, Scratch, Viacom Media Networks; Erika Nardini, Chief Marketing Officer, AOL; Elias Plishner, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Digital Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Bozoma Saint John, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Marketing, Beats Music; and Jennifer Warren, Chief Marketing Officer, RadioShack.The American Advertising Federation (AAF), the nation’s oldest national advertising trade association. The AAF’s membership is comprised of nearly 100 blue chip corporate members comprising the nation’s leading advertisers, advertising agencies, and media companies.Congratulations to Sarah and to all of this year’s honorees!last_img read more

Financial Trends: What’s In and What’s Out for 2014

first_imgMy birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Technology has transformed the way we dine out in groups. Gone are the days when friends take turns treating each other to nights on the town. Now that apps make money accessible everywhere, tabs are paid down to the cent… Full Story,Occupation: Copywriter Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 29 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck (BiWeekly): $2,100/mo after HSA and 401(k) removed Monthly Expenses: Rent: $462.50 Car lease: $300 Insurances: $85 All other expenses Utilities: $200/mo Pet supplies: $30/mo Phone: $50/mo Streaming services: $15/mo… Full Story,Occupation: Digital advertising Age: 30 Location: San Francisco Bay Area Income: $5,200 month net post 401K, health insurance / HSA, and taxes Total Debt: $0 Monthly Expenses: Rent and utilities: $1,800 Auto: $275 including car insurance Internet/mobile: $120 10:00 am:… Full Story,The holidays are time for family. Here are some fun ideas from our friends at Quotacy on how to make the most of this holiday season with your loved ones, with a bit of humor. ?   With the rise… Full Story,Occupation: Social Media Manager Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 26 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck: $2,500/month after health/vision insurance deductions Monthly Expenses Rent: $700 Car Insurance: $65 Renters Insurance: $16 Utilities: $75 (Internet, Electric, Gas) Dental Insurance (not through work): $15 Hulu:… Full Story,On November 30th, The Financial Diet is kicking off their nationwide book tour for The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide To Getting Good With Money in New York.  Join us when the tour hits your city and don’t forget… Full Story,Occupation: Data Analyst Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 31 Location: Menlo Park, CA Paycheck (BiWeekly): $1,700 after auto-savings, 401k, ESPP purchase, renters & auto insurance and health care removed I have everything removed automatically as I have trouble with in-the-moment spending…. Full Story,Occupation: Account Services & Freelance Writer Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 39 Location: Longmont, CO Paycheck (3): $4,700/mo includes salary and three freelance clients (side hustles) Monthly Expenses Rent: $900 Car loan: $275 Credit card payment: $450 All other expenses… Full Story,If you’re still in college or a recent grad working with a limited budget, the idea of implementing a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming and very expensive. If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself shelling out lots of cash… Full Storylast_img read more

7 Things College Students Should Know About Credit

first_imgI opened up several credit cards within the first semester of college. Each time, I earned some sort of cool promotional item – a shot glass, a tee-shirt, a Penn State keychain. When the cards arrived in the mail a week later, I didn’t really bother to use them and when I did, I wasn’t aware of the fine print. When bills arrived in the mail, I just paid the minimum balance, thinking that was all well and good.I had no idea what I’d really gotten myself into.College can be a popular time to establish credit. According to a survey by credit reporting agency Experian, 58% of soon-to-be college graduates possess a credit card, making average monthly charges of over $500.Opening a credit card when you’re young can be a helpful way to achieve a strong credit score in the future. The length of your credit history is equal to 15% of your FICO credit score. The earlier you establish credit, the longer your credit history becomes and credit score calculators consider this a plus.But it can only work to your advantage if you commit to managing credit responsibly and educating yourself on the rules and best practices surrounding credit usage and credit health. This includes credit cards, student loans and other types of credit.Specifically with credit cards, since 2009, the laws have changed whereby those under the age of 21 cannot open a credit card without a cosigner or proving they can afford to make the payments (i.e. have income). The CARD Act (aka The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act), which implemented this rule, also bans banks and card issuers from marketing credit cards to college students.Still, there are smart and responsible ways to establish credit when you’re young. Here’s the credit advice and education I would have given my 18-year-old self back in the day.Student loans can help you established credit.While a large part of your credit score relies on how well you manage revolving debt, like a credit card, student loans also play an influential role. Student loans and mortgages, which you pay back in equal installments every month, are what are known as installment loans.  Be sure to be current and on time with your student loans. While they’re often hailed as “good debt,” a missed payment or delinquency can make life miserable.Credit cards are not free money.It’s really, really easy to spend when using a credit card. In fact, it’s a lot less painful than using cash, research has found.Resist temptation and if you’re prone to impulse purchases, avoid keeping the card in your wallet.Instead, leave it in a drawer at home and link a couple online bills to the card and charge routine expenses to it like a utility bill or gym membership fee. Only spend what you can pay back in full, reconciling the bill with an automatic transfer from your checking or savings account when the balance is due. This way you’re still “using” the card, but not making it all too convenient to swipe (or dip, as it now is). All the while, you’re establishing great credit.Bad behavior can haunt you for years to come.Just like with student loans, one missed payment on a credit card can stain your credit report for years. Later, when you’ve graduated and long forgotten about the incident, a future lender or landlord might take that into account as they review your credit report. They may think twice about lending you money or even offering you the keys to a lease. Steer clear of late payments by automatically scheduling payments to your credit card each month.Talk to a parent or older friend before opening a card.As part of your due diligence, before opening a credit card, speak with someone older and more experienced. Speak with a parent or older friend for their advice. How did they establish credit? What credit card do they have and why?Can’t qualify? Avoid cosigning with parents.If you’re under the age of 21 and don’t have income to prove you can afford credit card payments, you may be tempted to ask a parent to co-sign the credit card offer with you. But realize that you are putting a parent equally on the hook for payments. If you can’t make a payment, the card issuer goes after the co-signer.Instead, consider becoming an authorized user on one of your parent’s cards. Their good behavior with the card – paying on time and in full – is something that gets reported on your credit report and boosts your credit health. On the flip side, you may not want to go down this path if mom or dad is not financially responsible. Negative activity on the card also gets reported on your credit report.As an authorized user you can receive your own copy of the credit card with your name on it. Make a plan with your parent to know how much is OK to spend on the card each month and how to pay back your portion.Avoid applying for multiple cards.Each time you apply for credit, the lender or card issuer reviews your credit profile by pulling your credit report. This is considered a “hard inquiry,” and multiple hard inquiries can injure your credit score by several points.Hard inquiries usually lose their impact after a year, but better to do your research and be very selective, and apply for the one card you have a very strong sense for which you’ll qualify. Mint has a great tool to help you find the right credit card here.Check your credit report. It’s free!Did you know that you can review your credit report at no cost each year? And you can do so from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies? Yep, it’s your legal right. Visit annualcreditreport.com to download your credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.Periodically it’s important to review your credit report to ensure that your credit usage is being reported accurately.  Take a close look all the types of credit listed on the report and the status of each credit card or loan. This is important because information recorded on a credit report directly impacts your credit score (which you can review for free on your mint dashboard.) Have a question for Farnoosh? You can submit your questions via Twitter @Farnoosh, Facebook or email at farnoosh@farnoosh.tv (please note “Mint Blog” in the subject line).Farnoosh Torabi is America’s leading personal finance authority hooked on helping Americans live their richest, happiest lives. From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to now hosting a primetime series on CNBC and writing monthly for O, The Oprah Magazine, she’s become our favorite go-to money expert and friend. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedUsing Rebuilding Credit Cards to Rebuild Your Credit ScoreApril 20, 2018In “Credit Info”How to Get Rid of Closed Accounts on Credit ReportsJanuary 13, 2014In “Credit Info”College Students: Here are The Biggest Financial Mistakes You Need to AvoidAugust 21, 2018In “Budgeting” Post navigationlast_img read more

How To Apply For Student Loans Without Your Parents

first_img Post navigation For some prospective college students, taking out student loans is a breeze. When you have a supportive parent there to explain the fine print and co-sign on the dotted line, all you really have to do is fill out some paperwork.But not everyone is so lucky. Even students without the support of their parents need access to student loans – often more than their peers, who may have their educations partially funded by Mom and Dad.So for applicants in this situation, what are the available options? Read below to find out.Fill out the FAFSAThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application that determines how much you qualify for in federal student loans. Colleges also use your FAFSA information to decide how much additional aid you qualify for, such as university-specific grants and scholarships based on your family’s income.You can fill out the FAFSA as a dependent student receiving parental support or as an independent student. If you’re an independent student, your parents’ income information won’t be used to decide the financial aid package.The federal government has strict rules about who counts as an independent student. Generally, you need to be at least 24 years old, married, applying for graduate school, a veteran, supporting dependents of your own or legally emancipated from your family. You can find a full list of qualifications here. If you’re an 18 year-old straight out of high school, you’re not likely to be eligible.If you don’t count as an independent student, you should still fill out the FAFSA. When you get to the FAFSA portion that asks about your parent’s income, you’ll have to ask them to provide that information. If they refuse to tell you, you can designate on the form that you don’t have access to your parent’s financial information.Each individual college is responsible for deciding which federal loans you qualify for. When you fill out and submit the FAFSA, it’s sent to all the colleges you applied to. They reserve the right to decide whether to give you a federal loan or not.After you submit the FAFSA, contact the financial aid departments for those universities and explain your situation. If possible, ask your parents to write a letter stating that they aren’t providing you any financial support.It’s best to contact the college before you receive your financial aid letter. By the time you discover that you didn’t qualify for anything, it might be too late to re-submit the application.If you do receive federal student loans, they’ll likely be unsubsidized loans carrying a higher interest rate. You can receive a maximum of $57,000 total, so that amount needs to last you for all four years. If you run out or need another year, you’ll have to look for private funds.Apply for Private Student LoansIf you don’t receive enough money in federal aid, your next option is to apply for a student loan through a private lender. The snag here is that many private lenders require a co-signer, which usually means a parent. A co-signer is someone who will take over your student loan if you stop making payments.Some lenders may approve your application without a co-signer if you have a job or a high credit score. Funding University is a lender that never asks for a cosigner. You can be approved for $3,000 to $10,000 per academic year. This may be enough if you’re going to an in-state public university, but likely won’t cover the costs of a private college.Other lenders that may be less likely to require a co-signer include LendKey, Citizens Bank and College Ave. If you have an account at a bank or credit union, you can also try contacting them.If you can’t get approved, see if there’s an adult in your life who would be willing to co-sign, like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or close family friend. Remember that co-signing can have serious consequences for the co-signers credit score, so it’s not a small favor to ask.Other Tips to Save on CollegeIf you’re going to college without your parent’s financial support, you need to be more mindful of how much you’ll be paying. Here are some ways to minimize how much you need to borrow:Go to Community CollegeCommunity college can be a great starting point if you’re worried about paying for college by yourself. According to the College Board, a year at community college costs an average of $3,440 a year, while an in-state public university costs $9,410.Take your basic classes at a community college and transfer those credits to an in-state public university. You can often knock out two year’s worth of credits at a community college for less than half the price of a four-year institution.Before you start taking community college classes, make sure those credits will be applicable to the state school you want to attend. Not all courses transfer equally, and it would be a waste of money if you discover this after the fact.Apply for ScholarshipsAs a student without parental support, you should be more motivated to apply for scholarships and grants. No matter how small a scholarship is, you should still apply for it. Even $500 could be enough to buy all your textbooks for a semester.If possible, try to note in your applications that you’re not receiving financial support from your parents. Ask your high school guidance counselor to write a letter verifying this.Take a Gap YearA gap year can be a good way to build your credit score, get some life experience and save money for college. It can also help you decide what you want to study – and if going to college is really the right choice at all.If you do still want to attend college, focus on improving your credit score. A good credit score can raise your chances of getting a private student loan with a lower interest rate.You can find your credit score for free through the Mint app. If you have a low or nonexistent score, try applying for a secured credit card.A secured card requires a small deposit to act as collateral, usually between $75 and $200, that will act as your credit limit. Pay off your credit card on-time every month and spend less than 30% of the credit limit. When you use a secured card successfully, your credit score will increase over time.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedWhat You Need to File with FAFSANovember 5, 2019In “Student Finances”How to Help Your Kid with FAFSA, Student Loans, and More!May 23, 2019In “Family Finances”Student Loans Explained: WTFinanceAugust 12, 2019In “Financial IQ” last_img read more

Finally! Google Updates PageRank: Here’s The Real Scoop From 139,000 Websites

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 25, 2007 11:54:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Google Updates If you’re involved in Internet Marketing, chances are, you have read the news about the recent updates Google has made to it’s Toolbar PageRank number (this is the publicly available PageRank number). Much of the current discussion has been the loss of PageRank by some high-profile sites in articles like “Digg Favorites Slapped by Google” and “Google changing the PageRank Algorithm?”  There has also been a fair amount of speculation as to the cause of this PageRank loss for these popular (and in many cases, highly regarded) websites.(For those of you who don’t know what Google PageRank is, check out The Importance of Google PageRank.)The most common speculation is that these sites lost PageRank because they were selling links, and that this is a “penalty” being imposed by Google rather than just a “normal” update of PageRank. I don’t have a strong opinion (yet) as to whether this was indeed the cause, but I do have some facts related to this recent news. As it turns out, we have access to the Google PageRank data for over 139,000 websites.  This data was collected via our free SEO tool called Website Grader.  Website Grader looks at a number of factors about a website as part of its evaluation — including Google PageRank.So, here are some of the insights drawn from this database. Disclaimer: The following was derived from some quick database queries and should be used for amusement purposes only. I’m not going to try and defend the points below. You don’t have to believe me.  Also, I’d suggest using some of the numbers shown as relative measures indicating trends — not absolute numbers you’d hang your hat on.What You Can Learn About PageRank From 139,000 Websites1) Contrary to what some believe, this recent update did not just reduce PageRank for some number of websites. There were sites that have increased in PageRank as a result of the recent update. A quick scan showed at least a handful of sites with PR5 or higher than rose to PR6 or higher. (As you would expect, there were also improvements in PageRank for a lot of lower ranked sites as well).2) Overall, the average PageRank (across all sites) seems to bounce around a little. If we ignore sites with PageRank 0, the average PageRank for the home page of websites submitted to Website Grader was around 4.59 in March 2007. This increased to about 4.77 in April 2007. Coincidentally, there was a Google PageRank update in that month. I always suspected that the April update was reasonably “liberal” in its allocation of PageRank, now the data seems to back it up. Note: Technically, PageRank is assigned to individual URLs (not websites). What we tracking is the PageRank of the home/default page of a website as that is what most people talk about as a measure of the overall weight of their website with search engines.3) Currently, the average PageRank is about 4.22 in October 2007  (it was 4.16 in September 2007). So, it would seem to me that there has been a drift downward in PageRank overall since the peak back in April.Dharmesh Shah contributed heavily to this article.  In fact, he might have even posted it himself if he were not locked in the basement writing code for HubSpot right now.  (To any law enforcement officials reading this, don’t worry, he is not being held captive against his will.  He has a big smile on his face and is working on “really cool stuff”.) Topics:last_img read more

How to Build a Community of Twitter Followers for Your Company

first_img Topics: I’ve been getting this question more and more lately, as Twitter becomes more and more mainstream and the business benefits of Twitter are more and more talked about.First, a word of caution. When engaging in any social media, you want to do so authentically – it will involve a fair amount of your participation, both give and take. Your first step once you join Twitter should probably not be to go follow 1,000 people. First of all, you very possibly might not be able to due to recent limits set by Twitter. This act seems kind of spammy, and that’s the last thing you want to do in social media. You should aim to let your community grow organically. That said, there are a few things you can do to get started.The first thing you absolutely have to do once you sign up for a Twitter account (though you can do this before signing up for Twitter, but you won’t be able to do much beyond this), is start monitoring who and what people are saying about your company. Go to Search.Twitter or Tweetscan (it may be worth it to use both, or even additional Twitter search engines, as they don’t all pick up on everything) and search for your company name, your executives’ names, perhaps your competitors’ names. You’ll see all the recent tweets that mention that name or phrase. What’s also great about these services is you can subscribe by RSS to this thread so you’ll be able to keep tabs on new posts about your company. When someone does talk about your company – respond, favorite the tweet perhaps if it’s favorable, and start following the person.A very close second most important thing to do once you’re on Twitter is to actually engage in the Twitter community. If you want people to follow you, you need to give them a reason to. Post interesting tweets, respond to others (see first point above). As noted in my word of caution, you want to be an authentic participant in the community. One of the wonderful things about Twitter is that you have to opt-in to receive someone’s updates (follow them). So, you need to think of ways to warrant a follow. I’ve been pretty impressed with Whole Foods in this regard. I started following them, though I’m no Whole Foods nut, because of their interesting tweets like “TOTD” (tweet of the day), and interesting food-related tweets like plugging food festivals across the country.Those are really the two most important things you can do on Twitter. But, if you’re still interested in ramping up your Twitter following, here are a few additional ideas:Go back to Search.Twitter and search on more general phrases that relate to the audience you’re trying to reach. Subscribe to those updates and respond/follow as appropriate.Check out the directories, like Twellow. Twellow is a directory of Twitter users categorized by industry or interest. There are a few other cool services, like Twubble and Twits Like Me. ReadWriteWeb posted a great article on these services here.Follow those who follow you. People like to feel like you’re listening to them and that they’re engaging in a two-way conversation with you. A follow-back is a great way to set that environment.Check out who your followers are following. They are likely interested in similar topics, and are a natural extenstion to your existing network.One more thought to consider before you get going: Will you be setting up a company Twitter account or will various employees have personal Twitter accounts (or both)? At HubSpot, we recently launched our company Twitter account @hubspot that a few of us monitor and update. There are also a bunch of us who have our own personal accounts, including our CEO, CSA, VP Marketing, and lots of others from across the company, including myself of course. The question is which brand you are building up – your corporate brand, or your personal brand (which in turn contributes to the company brand as well). I like the mix of both, though a lot of marketers may not have the bandwith to support more than one Twitter account. Either way, the first thing you must do after reading this post is to reserve your company’s name on Twitter before someone else does.If you want to see some companies out there who are doing a great job on Twitter, check out Zappos or Whole Foods. If you want to see a full list of companies on Twitter, check out the new Social Brand Index (and it wouldn’t hurt to get listed there, too, while you’re at it).Have you had any luck building a following for your company on Twitter? Do you have any additional techniques that worked for you? What have you learned from other companies on Twitter – good and bad approaches? Leave a comment and let’s discuss. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Social Media Originally published Aug 18, 2008 9:15:00 AM, updated October 29 2019last_img read more

7 Tips for Growing Your Email List With Sweepstakes

first_imgThis is a guest post written by Ross Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Lititz, PA-based email marketing firm, Listrak.After working in the industry for more than 15 years, you learn countless tips and tricks to boost customer engagement and company revenue. But there’s one key lesson that all inbound marketers need to learn – how to multiply their email list. I know what you’re thinking. Could we get any more low level? But successful email list development and strategy can make the difference between campaign successes or failures.Even seasoned email marketers who follow best practices for email list development, relevancy, and deliverability still lose about one-third of their subscribers annually due to bounces, unsubscribes, and spam complaints, according to the Email Experience Council. And the attrition rates are even higher for less vigilant marketers.Luckily, there are strategies proven to quickly acquire qualified subscribers and keep them longer. Among these include sweepstakes, contests, or other viral campaigns. But before you decide to run a sweepstakes strategy of your own, consider these 7 tips to make sure you know how to run a successful one that will help you grow your email list with qualified subscribers.1. Keep it SimpleWhile it might be tempting to create a contest that runs for several weeks, sweepstakes that are strategic, targeted, and time-sensitive give the appearance of exclusivity and prompt people to respond quickly. In order to maximize list development during a short time period, you must have a plan in place prior to launch that includes automated emails, banner ads, social and mobile announcements, etc.2. Make it PersonalA cash prize may entice more entrants to your sweepstakes, but by awarding your own merchandise instead, you will get a more qualified group that is clearly interested in your company’s brand and what it has to offer.3. Encourage Social SharingEmail and social media can really complement each other. Offer your members some incentive such as a second entry or a free gift if they invite friends and other connections in their social networks to participate. This tactic will greatly expand the reach of your campaign. However, be sure to maintain control of the contest. Provide a form to capture the additional email addresses and immediately send those subscribers a message with the details of the contest and an easy way to enter.4. Promote in the Right ChannelsWhile email is the most effective communication channel to promote the sweepstakes to your subscribers and members, it shouldn’t be your only channel.  Announce your contest on your blog and in your social media and mobile networks, and include banner ads on your website and other relevant sites.5. Send Entry ConfirmationsOne of the most important steps in this whole process is sending email confirmations to all entrants. The last thing you want to do is add invalid email addresses to your list because the increase in bounces will negatively affect your deliverability. An automated confirmation email will safeguard your reputation and ensure that only legitimate email addresses are added to your list and only real people are entered into your sweepstakes. Also, if you’re worried about bots inundating your sweepstakes with junk email addresses, a simple CAPTCHA on the registration form will prevent that.6. Welcome Your New SubscribersSubscribers are most engaged within the first few weeks of opting in, so you should use this time to start building the relationship right away. An email welcome series designed to engage and interact with subscribers should be part of your usual email development process, but it is especially important when running a sweepstakes. A welcome email will help you weed out the entrants who were only interested in the contest since it gives uninterested subscribers an opportunity to opt-out and provides valuable open and click-through data so you can measure engagement. That way, you’ll be able to focus your attention on the subscribers who are most likely to purchase from you.7. Monitor New SubscribersWe’ve seen a well planned sweepstakes grow lists by 30% or more in a matter of days. That said, even if you follow best practices for attracting the appropriate entrants for your brand, you’ll still get a number of invalid email addresses and people who are only interested in the prize. In order to protect your reputation, closely monitor the results of your confirmation email and welcome series (not only open and click-through rates, but also bounces, complaints, and unsubscribes), and watch the inactivity levels for the new subscribers. If they don’t show interest in your messages, try a re-engagement campaign or remove them from your list.Have you found success through sweepstakes? How many qualified email addresses did you gain?Photo Credit: Ian Lamont Originally published Aug 25, 2011 3:02:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Email Lists and Segmentation Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

The Key to Persuasive Writing? Stop Couching!

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Writing Skills Topics: Originally published Mar 31, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 A few weeks ago, a couple HubSpotters and I were talking about something people do all the time, but shouldn’t. You’ll be in a meeting with your team, and suddenly it comes time for you offer up your opinion.“I could be wrong, but I think …” or“I just want to say …” or“I actually think …” or “This is probably a stupid question, but …” or“I’m not sure, but …”It’s called couching. You’re trying to make other people feel comfortable and not come across too strong. In certain situations, it’s a great tactic. But in other situations, it can make you seem weak and wishy-washy.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. Often this happens when you speak, but if you’re trying to write like you speak (because that’s how you should be writing) phrases like these will creep into your blog posts, ebooks, emails, infographics, social posts, and pretty much any other marketing material you write. But why do we even couch in the first place? Should you ever intentionally couch? How do you strike the balance in your writing between being helpful and pushy? What other things can you do in your writing instead of couching?To get to the bottom of this, a group of HubSpotters got together and asked ourselves questions like these. Below are some of the solutions we found — test to see which ones feel natural in your writing style.Why We CouchTone and voice are incredibly important elements of your writing. Couching phrases have the biggest effect on these two writing elements — and not always in a good way. Three common scenarios in which writers might couch are:When we’re not sure we’re right.When we don’t want to come across as arrogant.When we want people to like us.When we’re concerned about how people perceive us, couching is much more likely to creep in. When you’re writing, this is even more likely to happen — you’re worried from the moment you start writing about how your audience will perceive the piece, leaving natural room to couch. Most times, it’s counterproductive, making your arguments sound weak.Other times, it can actually be beneficial.When We Should CouchDepending on the situation, adding couching phrases could be beneficial. The key is to ensure you’re actively choosing to couch your writing — not letting it happen accidentally.Determining whether couching is appropriate for the situation all depends on what you’re trying to get out of your writing. Are you arguing with a high-profile commenter over a point in a blog post? Couching might be appropriate. Are you trying to communicate a point to an executive? Leave the couching behind.  Every situation is different, so you’ll need to make the judgment call. As long as we’re aware that we’re couching and we know that it’s helping us maintain a relationship or get a positive response, it can be a helpful tool.How to Get Rid of Couching in Your WritingThere are lots of solutions here, but we all need to find one that works best for our personality and writing style. Here are a few that we came up with:1) Actively Search for and Remove Couching PhrasesKnow what couching phrase you write all the time that you shouldn’t? Before you hit publish, find and delete it in the post (type Control + F on a PC or Command + F on a Mac). If you really want to be aggressive about removing couching statements from your writing, penalize yourself for it. Maybe you set up a jar that you throw a dollar in anytime you catch the phrase in your writing. At the end of a month, you’ll likely have some decent change that you could donate or put to a team outing. Your teammates will appreciate your higher quality writing (and the cupcakes you bring in) from this tactic. 2) Be Empathetic, Then DirectAddress your audience’s fears and feelings before you unapologetically offer advice. Explaining how your readers feel shows that you understand them. Then, be very direct about why you disagree or believe something else.For example, you can say something like, “I know you often struggle to make time in the day for social media. It can feel distracting and silly compared to other marketing problems on your plate. That being said, it’s a crucial component of a successful inbound marketing strategy. You’re losing out on customers by not devoting time to it.”3) Use Data and Logic Instead of attacking your readers head-on with the “You’re wrong, I’m right, deal with it” approach, try using logic and/or data to frame your argument. Relying on facts makes it less likely that you’ll default to, “I could be wrong, but …”“After running an A/B test on our site, we found that CTAs with a blue button perform better than one with an orange button.”Or“I know your company goals are to focus on increasing your visit-to-lead conversion rate, so X project would be most effective to reach that goal because of Y.”Keeping emotion out of the equation makes your writing much more persuasive and strong. 4) Gut Check With PeersNot sure if you sound too aggressive … or not assertive enough? Run your writing by peers who’ll give you honest feedback before you hit “send” or “publish.” Plus, they can give you a heads up if there are any glaring typos or grammatical mistakes.5) Ask Rhetorical QuestionsI know we’re often told that rhetorical questions weaken writing, but they can actually help you remove your couching phrases in a conversational way. You’d write something like “Why do you spend so much time on Pinterest? With your B2B audience, you should look at ways to get ramped up on LinkedIn” instead of “I just think you should try out LinkedIn. I heard it could help your audience.” The former is strong, yet still conversational. Finding your personal writing solution to couching can be tough — I still have problems with couching in my writing despite compiling these tips from my coworkers into this post. With a little more awareness and some anti-couching solutions we can try ASAP, we all can take our writing to the next level in no time. last_img read more

Why People Buy Things Online [Data]

first_img Originally published Nov 11, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Buyer’s Journey Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Just because we’re marketing things doesn’t mean we really know the science behind what makes people buy. But marketing without that information is like walking outside with a blindfold on — it’s going to be very hard to end up at your destination without a scratch. To catch up on the latest and greatest research about online buyer behavior, keep on reading. Below, we’ll cover eight data sets on buyer behavior, their key findings, and the lessons you should take away from each piece of research. Take the ones that apply most to your business and then use them make smarter marketer decisions, like building or tweaking data-driven buyer personas, designing a new experiment for your website, or maybe even making the case to your boss to hire someone new. So let’s dive right in.1) “The New Normal of Consumer Behavior and How to Respond”This study, carried out by Quirk’s Marketing Research Media, interviewed nearly 2,000 U.S. buyers in 2014 in an attempt to understand how consumer attitudes and behaviors have changed after the Great Recession.Key FindingsConsumer debt is at its lowest point since 2006, indicating that buyers are prioritizing thoughtful purchases over conspicuous consumption.79% of survey respondents report at least sometimes checking reviews before making an online purchase.Consumer rank “a person like yourself” as a highly credible source of information, indicating a shift of trust towards individuals and away from institutions.TakeawayEncouraging satisfied customers continues to be an important priority for businesses, but this data reveals more than that — sellers should look for other opportunities to empower their buyers. Allowing buyers to control the number of options available for consideration, provide feedback during all stages of the buying process, and see how other customers have used your product can all help mitigate their distrust of larger institutions.2) “It’s All About the Images”MDG Advertising developed this compelling infographic, which drew data from the National Retail Federation, BrightLocal, PR Newswire, Skyword, Web Liquid, Alexa, and The New York Times, in order to highlight how important images can be in the buying process.Key Findings67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product (compared to 54% who feel the same way about long product descriptions and 53% who give ratings and reviews the same credence).Content featuring compelling images averages 94% more total views than content without images.TakeawayThis one’s pretty straightforward. If you don’t have good images on your website and product pages, add them now. And if you have images on your site, but they aren’t high quality, upgrade them now to appeal to today’s internet buyers.3) “Why Customers Shop Online”In this study, Shopper Approved set out to understand why consumers purchase online, rather than through brick and mortar stores. Their survey included 25,660 individuals who were asked “What key factor influenced you to buy online instead of locally?” immediately after they purchased from 207 online retailers in a variety of industries.  Key FindingsThe following factors came out tops in terms of encouraging online purchases:25.4% said larger selection25% said better pricing24.7% said more convenient 7.2% said time savings 3.6% said easy to compare 3.3% said no sales taxTakeawayIf you’re an online business, you have an advantage over traditional retailers in that you aren’t limited to the amount of shelf space available when considering which items to stock. Adding selection, therefore, may help you appeal to online buyers, as can keeping your prices below traditional competitors and streamlining your purchase process to create a convenient experience for shoppers.4) “The Psychology of Stuff and Things”“Fanboys” — those who will purchase any product offered by the companies they follow — are an interesting phenomenon that most businesses should strive to understand, given their implications for brand awareness and future sales. A 2010 study by Kyungmi Kim and Marcia Johnson shows that the strong associations underpinning this “cult-like’ following form at a neural level.  Key FindingsBy scanning participants’ brains as they viewed boxes full of items labeled “mine” compared with containers labeled with others’ names, Kim and Johnson were able to identify extra activity in the media prefrontal cortex — the area associated with the way we think about ourselves — when the owned items were viewed.TakeawayMany consumers subconsciously view the brands they associate with as being signals of their membership in certain groups (see fanatical Apple buyers and the video game console wars as evidence of how owned items can be used to convey certain personality traits). If you want your customers to identify as strongly with your products as they do with these notable brands, look for ways to encourage buyers to claim ownership of their purchases.5) “Take Advantage of Positive Email Attitudes”Interesting research by Forrester Research demonstrates that consumer attitudes towards email marketing are becoming less negative — good news for marketers that rely on this powerful channel. This trend comes from a survey of 33,546 U.S. online adults and is based on the following data points.Key Findings42% of U.S. online adults delete most email advertising without reading it, down from 44% in 2012 and 59% in 2010.3 in 10 respondents agree that they often wonder how the companies sending them messages got their contact information.The percentage of respondents agreeing that most email ads don’t offer anything of interest fell from 41% in 2012 to 38% in 2014.TakeawayConsumers seem to be feeling better about email promotions, but there are still some weak spots. As a result, it is important for marketers to balance promotions with other more engaging messages.6) “How Consumers Form Their Impressions of Companies”A recent study by Vanessa DiMauro and Don Bulmer in conjunction with The Society For New Communications Research indicates that the quality of a company’s products is the most important factor contributing to consumers’ perception of the company. To reach this conclusion, DiMauro and Bulmer presented survey participants with a list of several different factors and asked them to rate their importance in forming their impression of a company.Key FindingsThe following percentages represent the number of participants giving “very important” responses to the prompt above:Product quality – 80%Cost of products and services – 55%Company’s customer care program – 37%What trusted contacts say about the company – 34%Customer reviews – 30%Ratings on social media sites – 30%What the media says about the company – 13%What the company says in ads – 10%The company’s social media presence – 7%TakeawayProduct quality is king when it comes to boosting perceptions of your company — and fortunately, that’s one of the few factors in the list above that’s completely under your control. If you’re not sure how to improve your product, the easiest way to start is to ask your customers. Check your reviews for suggested improvements or use social media and other consumer-focused web tools to ask prospective customers directly what changes they’d like to see.7) “What Influences an Online Purchase Decision”Looking at research to determine what causes consumers to buy gives internet retailers the insight needed to improve their offerings and boost sales. Using a collection of studies, online store provider Bigcommerce identified the ten primary factors listed below that contribute to purchase decisions.Key FindingsProduct quality – 56%Free shipping – 49%Easy returns – 35%Customer reviews – 33%Visual search – 30%Great navigation – 26%Checkout ease – 24%Multiple options – 24%Special size – 12%New product – 10%TakeawayAs in the DiMauro and Bulmer study referenced above, product quality comes out on top in Bigcommerce’s infographic. They begin to differ after that, with free shipping and easy returns take an expected second and third (the success of Amazon Prime and Zappos highlight how important these factors are). If you aren’t already offering free shipping, see if a small price increase might cover the cost without affecting sales too significantly. And if there are any resistance points that complicate your returns process, minimize them as much as possible.8) “Consumer Psychology & The Ecommerce Checkout”Online savings code hub vouchercloud compiled the results of a number of studies to create its “Consumer Psychology & The E-Commerce Checkout” infographic. While the entire thing is worth a look, the key findings below should give you a starting point for making meaningful changes to your checkout or conversion process.Key Findings57% of online consumers will abandon a website if they experience more than three seconds of load time. 80% of these could-be customers will never return.Products are assessed and initial purchase judgments are made within 90 seconds.41% of shopping cart abandonments occur because consumers encounter hidden charges at checkout.53% of consumers say that low-cost shipping is a sufficient reason to change online retailers.Takeaway LessonsThe statistics showcased in vouchercloud’s infographic make one thing clear: Anything that adds resistance to your checkout process reduces your sales. When it comes to boosting online sales, consumers look for streamlined experiences that give them the best possible deals with the smallest amount of hassle. To see how your checkout process stacks up, go through each of your competitors’ shopping carts and try to make a purchase. Anything that makes your own system more complicated than theirs should be revised.Were you surprised by any of these findings?  If so, share your reactions — as well as how you plan to apply these lessons to your business — in the comments below.last_img read more

5 Tired Web Design Trends Marketers Should Retire

first_img Topics: Beware … bad web design can happen to good web pages. Compelling design is an imperative aspect to your website. Your visitors will spend an average of .05 seconds before they form an opinion of your site once your page loads. Make sure your design aids the user experience to ensure they stay on your site. Learn from these tiresome design flubs so your website doesn’t fall for them.1) SlidersI know what you’re thinking, “how did this make it on the list?” The truth is, sliders aren’t working for you; they’re actually working against you. As a marketing company, you want to direct your viewer’s attention to how you can solve their pain points. Don’t give them a chance to lose track of this by distracting them with multiple images.Even though all your messages may be relevant, you need your target audience to hone in on the main value proposition. When someone lands on your page, they’re on the hunt for information pertinent to what they’re looking for. It’s very unlikely that a visitor will sit idle and view all images in a slider. The only reason they’re usually being utilized is because a client asked for it.Sliders are made using JavaScript and multiple large images. This can be detrimental to your website’s loading time. On mobile devices, these images tend to slow down your page load speeds to a crawl. As more people today access content from a smartphone, rather than a computer, this is especially important (Convince&Convert). It takes just three seconds of load time until you lose your precious visitors (Econsultancy). Slow your website down with sliders, and your website will start to look like a ghost town.2) Snarky Pop-upsPop ups that offer you the option to subscribe to a blog, or engage in another action on your website, aren’t a bad practice, so long as they don’t hijack the user experience and subvert marketing efforts. A message that pops up after an appropriate time with an option for you to easily opt out of the box is effective. When pop-ups become mean – now that’s a problem.When the pop-up is labeled something snarky, such as “no, thanks. I like missing out on leads….” it can be offensive, or annoying, to your audience. Never use wording on your pop-up that tries to get your viewer to feel bad that they’re not doing something. People are savvy; they will easily see how you’re trying to trick them… and they won’t like it.3) Auto-play VideosNo one wants to be ambushed by sound and video.  The goal is to get viewers to stay on your page, not drive them away. In an effort to get away from the noise, in many cases, your visitor will just leave your site. Respect your viewers and give them the ability to opt-in to watching your video.4) Separate Mobile SitesWhat Google says goes. If you feature a responsive, smart design, Google will give you a better rank and prefer your website over another that doesn’t use responsive design. A “mobile only” version of your site doesn’t give you a high quality user experience like having a responsive site does. Also, Google doesn’t recommend them; you’ll actually get penalized due to the duplicate content issue.Many people who visit websites on a mobile device expect to see similar functionality to the desktop website. Mobile-only versions of websites tend to differ widely from the desktop counterpart, and thus only confuse the user.5) SkeuomorphismSkeuomorphism: this trend had a long life span, and I’m happy to say that it’s finally on it’s way out. It’s the design principle that makes digital images look lifelike– and it’s been used far too much.At first, it was a functional design technique. It eased the transition of doing something the old way by cuing you into how it’s done the new way. This just makes design on websites, for lack of a better word, look cheesy. People have already realized what to do with a notebook, or how to use a calculator on their phone. The iOS7 dropped the trend, and so should you.There are instances where a specific group of your users may not be as tech-savvy as others on your site, and flat design tends to confuse this group; think Windows 8. With these users, skeuomorphism can prove to be helpful. You can subtly use this design technique with buttons and other interactive features on your website to gently guide this user group in the direction you want them to take.No matter what design trend you’re utilizing, always put yourself in the mind of the visitor. Do your design efforts hurt or improve the overall user experience? Diversity in web design is what makes design fascinating… just make sure that diversity supports the overall goal of your website. It’s a big world out there: if you don’t captivate your visitors, someone else will. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Design Trends Originally published Feb 11, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

India grouped with Taiwan and Singapore at Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships

first_imgIndia have been drawn alongside Taiwan and Singapore for the Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships, which will be held in Hong Kong from March 19-24. There are 11 teams participating in the biennial continental event and they are Japan, Hong Kong (hosts), Taiwan, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia and Macau.The teams are divided in groups on the basis of their seedings according to the latest BWF rankings. The seeding of a team is calculated by the total world ranking points accumulated by their top shuttler or the top team in men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.While India have been grouped in Group B with Taiwan and Singapore, hosts Hong Kong are in Group A with Japan. Group A is the only group which has just two teams.Group C consists of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka while China, Malaysia and Macau form Group D.Here is the final result of Badminton Asia Tong Yun Kai Cup 2019 group stage draw, stay tune for the video of the draw!All the best teams! pic.twitter.com/ephmeO1BwTBadminton Asia (@Badminton_Asia) February 28, 2019On the cut-off date, India were the sixth seeded team, behind Japan, China, Indonesia, Chinese Taipei and Thailand. Here are the rankings of the top Indian shuttlers/teams:Men’s singles: Kidambi Srikanth, world No.8Women’s singles: PV Sindhu, world No.6Men’s doubles: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty, world No.20Women’s doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa-Sikki Reddy, world No.25Mixed doubles: Ashwini-Satwik, world No.24Even though India have been seeded according to the rankings of the above-mentioned shuttlers, Badminton Association of India (BAI) have announced a second-string team for the tournament, just like the other nations.advertisementMen: HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma (both singles); MR Arjun, Shlok Ramchandran, Arun George, Sanyam Shukla (all doubles).Women: Ashmita Chaliha, Vaishnavi Bhale (both singles); Ashwini Bhat, Shikha Gautam, Rutaparna Panda, Arathi Sara Sunil, Mithula UK (all doubles).From each group, the top two teams will qualify for the knockout stages. There will be another draw for the knockout stage and teams from the same group will not be drawn to meet in the first round of knockouts.Also Read | Transitional struggle from junior to senior: Indian badminton’s not so smashing success storyAlso Read | National badminton champion Sourabh Verma rues lack of financial supportlast_img read more

Barcelona’s Neymar offer has not met our demands: PSG sporting director Leonardo

first_imgParis St Germain are not close to reaching a deal with Barcelona that would take Neymar back to the Spanish champions as the Catalans have not met the French club’s asking price for the Brazil forward, PSG’s sporting director Leonardo said on Friday.Barca’s attempt to re-sign Neymar two years after he joined PSG for a world record 222 million euros ($247.40 million) has dominated sports headlines for months, but time is running out to strike a deal before the transfer window shuts on Sept. 2.Speaking after PSG’s 2-0 win at Metz on Friday, which Neymar missed, Leonardo said the Ligue 1 champions would only sell the player at the right price, which Barca have yet to come up with.”The first time we received a proposal from Barcelona for Neymar was on August 27. They have not yet given us an offer which has met our demands,” Leonardo said.”PSG’s position on Neymar has always been clear: if a satisfactory offer arrives then he could leave but that is not the case. The negotiations have not broken down but there’s no agreement for now because our demands have not been met.”No one has enough money to buy Neymar: LeonardoLeonardo did not hide the fact that Neymar is keen to move from PSG, but said the Brazilian’s position was not helped by his staggering price tag.”Neymar has always made it clear that he wants to leave but no one has enough money to buy him. And if an offer doesn’t arrive which we think is worth it, he will stay,” he added.advertisement”He’s an extraordinary player but his relationship with the club isn’t the best right now.”Barcelona coach shocking comment on Neymar dealBarca coach Ernesto Valverde said earlier on Friday that he had grown tired of the negotiations over Neymar and would be glad when the transfer window closed.”I am really looking forward to that day — September 2 — so that we can all get some rest at last and know what we have for the season as it has gone on too long,” Valverde said ahead of Saturday’s La Liga game at Osasuna.”Neymar is a PSG player and as always we respect all our rivals, but I reiterate that I’m looking forward to this ending once and for all.”Valverde was then asked to rate out of 10 how bored he was with the transfer speculation surrounding Neymar and said: “Around nine and a half.”Also Read | Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo says he hopes to have dinner date with Lionel Messi in futureAlso Read | Europa League draw: Manchester United face Kazakhstan trip as Arsenal draw Eintracht FrankfurtAlso See:last_img read more