How to Boost Blog Traffic Through Facebook

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Underestimating the power of Facebook to drive traffic to your blog is a big mistake. Some bloggers say they don’t use Facebook to drive traffic, but others say it is essential in converting Facebook followers to blog subscribers.

How to Boost Blog Traffic Through Facebook

There is an amazing opportunity right in front of you to utilize Facebook to drive traffic to your blog, so today I’d like to provide you with several methods to make that happen.

Please remember that not all of these tips may work for every blogger. Keep in mind what your blog’s niche is, who your readers are, and what you are aiming to solve or provide for your readers.

If you have any additional tips you’ve found useful, drop me a line at the end of this post. I’d love to hear from you!

1. Connect your blog to Facebook

Every time you write a blog post, you should be sharing that post on Facebook. WordPress makes it easy. Simply connect your Facebook page or fan page to WordPress and you are automatically posting to Facebook. If you aren’t using WordPress, another easy way to share you post is to simply copy and paste your post’s URL into Facebook. This is too easy to not be doing this now!

2. Tag others

One of Facebook’s greatest features is the ability to tag others. When you tag someone, it appears on their wall and the wall of all of their followers. This is a great and effective way to draw interest to your post.

3. Use full-size images

Studies have shown that using full-size images on Facebook increases engagement. The best way to get the full image in your post is to upload it directly to Facebook. If you are trying to upload it from another social media account, it can get cut off during the transfer.

4. Use Facebook Ads

Have you tried Facebook Ads to boost your blog posts? In the right hand corner of your post, click the drop down arrow. You’ll see an option to boost the post. You can easily select the budget for the post and track its performance. Boosting posts works well if you have a well-designed post.  If you are just boosting a random post, don’t waste your money on this feature.

5. Interact with your followers

It’s one thing to just promote post after post, but to really get the most out of Facebook, you have to be social. Isn’t that why it’s called “social” media? Interacting means responding to posts with genuine feedback and sharing other content.

6. Write catchy headlines

Want to grab someone’s attention? Write a catchy headline to draw the reader in to view the full article. The goal of the headline is to grab the reader’s eye and make them want more. Make your headlines unique and impossible for your followers to ignore.

7. Create a Facebook group

Facebook groups are very popular places for bloggers to hang out, share content, and meet other bloggers. A quick search on Facebook will lead you right to groups in your niche.  Of course, if you are just looking for a blogging group, there are tons. You can also join mine – Blogger Share and Promo Group.

8. Create video posts

One thing I haven’t done a lot of yet is create videos related to my blog posts. This is a great idea to do for Facebook because videos tend to draw in more views. Now that Facebook has a live video feature, take to the live airwaves to answer follower questions, run a course, talk about a blog post, or just connect with others.

9. Limit “sales pitches” on social media

No one wants a Facebook wall full of nothing but your advertisements for your affiliate links. Sure, it’s okay from time to time to share a product you really love and believe in, but don’t do it every half hour. Write meaningful posts talking about why you love the product and incorporate the “sales” aspect of the post in with the content. Starting a Facebook with a “buy now” headline will turn readers away.

10. Add your email subscribe form

Facebook fan pages can have their own subscribe form embedded on the page. Take the opportunity to add it to yours to make it as easy as possible for readers to subscribe to your blog. Don’t forget to offer a freebie for subscribing!

Now, go and be a Facebook superstar!

I hope these quick tips will help you in your quest to drive traffic from Facebook to your blog!  Now, can I ask one last favor?  Would you be so kind to share this post on your Facebook page?  And maybe “like” my page?  Thank you!

5 Tips for Keeping Up With Energetic Children

It’s wonderful being a parent, but we can’t deny that the role does throw up a few challenges that be difficult to overcome. There’s the matter of making sure we always have enough money to give them what they need, taking care of three meals a day, and ensuring they’re growing up to be polite young men and women. And there is the big physical difference, too: children can have bags of energy, while us grown-ups are left floundering. Below, we go through five tips that’ll help you become part of play-time for longer.

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Do Regular Exercise

If you want to have the energy to keep up with your children, then you’ll be doing regular exercise. Even though it might be counterproductive, exerting energy at the gym or running on a treadmill will give you more energy in the long term. It’s when we stay sedentary for too long that our tiredness begins to catch up with us. There are plenty of other benefits to exercising too, including improved moods and all round health.

Embrace the Fun

When it comes to spending time with your children, it’s all about the quality of the time you’re together. While we’re sure you’d love to spend every last minute enjoying time with them, this isn’t possible, and especially when they’re intent on running around and having lots of fun. Instead of committing for a long, three hour game of baseball, for example, join just an innings or two. You’ll have had the experience of playing sports with your children without having exerted too much of your energy. For the rest of the game, you can sit on the sidelines, and then always rejoin when you feel up to it.

Bursts of Energy

In our hectic day to day lives, it’s important that we appreciate the small details if we want to stay alert and energetic throughout the day. Start off with a breakfast that’s fit for a king (a king who wants to ride his horse all day) by having foods known to boost energy in the morning, sure as oatmeal. During the day, snack on foods like fruit or granola, and have a Monster Energy drink when you need the extra boost of energy. Also, you should be making the most of any free time you have in the afternoon to have a nap. Even 10-20 minutes of sleep can have a big difference.

Let Them Do The Work

If your children are extra energetic, then you might be able to get away with doing nothing whatsoever and still be part of their fun. How? By making them do all the work. If you’re playing in a garden, sit or lie down next to them; they’ll incorporate you into their schemes in one way or another, and you won’t have to move a muscle.

Non-Active Fun

There comes a time when even the most energetic of children become tired. This is where you can strike. When they’re all tired from running around, bring them indoors for an evening of board games or movie watching.

 

The “Family” Business

It’s the dream for a lot of people, setting up a business where you get to work from home. A lot of people incredibly jealous of those that are able to do this, but the reality of the situation is always different from the perception, and this is none more so when these people that work from home have a family to juggle also. For those that are in the midst of setting up a blogging business, trying to juggle the company while also making enough time for your personal life can be a very difficult balance to strike. Especially if both aspects of your life are growing at a substantial rate. If you’ve got a business that’s in the ascendancy but your family is so young that it’s an important time for you to be there as much as possible you can feel guilty for either spending too much or too little time on one area or the other. And while we all need to make money to support our families, what can we do to deal with increased demands for our skills, personally and professionally?

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Eliminate Waste From Your Life

It’s something that you probably feel like saying on a semi regular basis,”I don’t have time,” and if you feel like you don’t have time for a lot of things anymore because you are working two full-time jobs on minimal sleep, it’s now time to work smarter, rather than harder, so where can you start to cut down on unnecessary waste? The commute to work is the best place to begin. If you have hit the point where you need to start setting up a physical place for you to do business. If you have grown from your modest home office with a few remote employees to a proper startup with 50 members of staff, all of which need to get paid regularly, you need to be as close to the operation as possible without physically living there. The biggest waste of time is the dreaded daily commute, so make the most of somewhere that’s five minutes away or a place with excellent transport links meaning that there’s not much time wasted on the commute if you need to make one.

Embrace The Professional Image

The hardest thing about running a business when you have a family, especially if you are running one from home, is that it can be a struggle to maintain that entrepreneurial image, the one that inspires and leads employees. Because it’s very difficult to keep this image up during a Skype call if you’ve got your children playing in the background and while it can’t be helped, it doesn’t communicate to the people on the other end that you are a person that has decorum and has a reliable operation. If you aren’t at that point where you can afford to rent an office, there are other options. For correspondence you can make the most of companies like Physical Address where you put down an address for correspondence that is not your own residential one, meaning that you won’t have your home details emblazoned on client correspondence and as the address is a more professional looking one, it will communicate the right message to potential clients. When you are growing business it’s not just about the products you deliver but it is about the image you present, so make it a good one!

Keep Your Foundation Strong

If you are at that point where work and life are mixed, then you need to make sure your foundations are strong in both. And you ultimately need to make sure your relationship is strong during these tough times and while it can be easy to focus your attention on the business when you have an exciting client, don’t forget it’s your spouse who provided you the support, either emotionally or financially when you were struggling, so it’s important to keep those foundations intact by making time for each other and the family, however little time it is. Because you need to remember that this is just work at the end of the day. You won’t look back in 50 years time and think “I really should have worked more!” You’d think that you should have spent more time with your family, so do it!

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Don’t Use The Laptop On The Kitchen Table!

If you got young children you don’t want to be giving them the message that the laptop and the smartphone is an extension of your body. So make sure that you use them only in your home office and not doing the important family time. It can be very difficult, especially if you’re waiting on an important email, but you can always make the most of detailed out of office responses if you have promised your children you would spend quality time with them. It may be important to secure that contract, but you don’t want to break a promise to your child, so do what you can to differentiate between working at home and socializing at home. The one way a lot of people tend to do this is by working when everybody else is asleep. Either during the night after everybody’s gone to bed or get up a couple of hours before everyone else does when you aren’t seen to be holding your laptop under your arm constantly!

Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself

Yes, it is an exciting time in your business, and you want to be there every step of the way. But if you have the demands of a family pulling on you full-time as well as excessive hours you’re putting in to making this business work, something is going to give at some point. It’s important to find ways to delegate duties to others if it’s possible. If you don’t have any other employees, you could always make the most of the freelancer websites like guru.com where you can hire someone to do some of the basics that you are happy to let go of. If this means you’ve got a bit more time with your family in the morning or you can pick them up from school or do that mid afternoon feed then it’s worth it.

How Can You Improve Your Hand Eye Coordination Through Sports?

Most people have never really thought about their hand eye coordination skills, it doesn’t seem like something that would be important. Parents sometimes consider it when their children are young because it’s a skill that they need to develop but once you get to be an adult, you probably forget all about it. Your hand eye coordination skills are just as important, if not more so when you’re an adult. There are loads of different things that you would never realize are affected by your hand eye coordination so it’s important to train those skills regularly. Playing sports is one of the best ways to do this.

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What Is Hand Eye Coordination?

Hand eye coordination refers to the way in which your brain processes information from your eyes and then transfers that into the movements that your hand makes. People often think that it just refers to things like throwing and catching but really it affects almost anything that you do with your hands. If you don’t hone those skills then your brain will be slow at processing information and then reacting to it.

Why Is It Important?

In extreme cases, bad hand eye coordination skills could lead to a condition called dyspraxia. This usually results in an inability to perform basic tasks like tying your shoes and typing, which can obviously have a big impact on your life. That’s only a worst case scenario but having good hand eye coordination can improve your skills in all sorts of areas. Typing is something that most of us do on a regular basis, especially at work so having better coordination can seriously improve your productivity. It has also been suggested by researchers that it could improve your strategic thinking skills. This is because your brain sees an object and then processes the information in order for your hand to interact with it, that process involves a lot of foresight which can help to improve your strategic thinking abilities. This is going to help you in all areas of your life. As you age, your hand eye coordination starts to get increasingly worse so keeping on top of it is incredibly important. If you’re worried about it, try out these sports and activities to keep your brain healthy.

Bingo

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You wouldn’t think that bingo is good for your health but there have been studies done on it. They showed that people that were playing bingo for extended periods scored significantly higher in hand eye coordination tests than the group that hadn’t been playing bingo. It might not be the most exciting activity but it is popular amongst the older generation so maybe it’s time for you to get into playing bingo.

Table Tennis

Tennis is one of the best sports for hand eye coordination because the ball is incredibly fast moving, but even better than tennis is table tennis. Table tennis is on a much smaller scale so the level of accuracy that you need to display is a lot higher. The smaller table also means that your reactions need to be much quicker than in a normal game of tennis. You can play with somebody else but if you’re on your own then just put one half of the table up and play against yourself, the benefits will still be the same.

Golf

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Golf is all about hand eye coordination, without it, you won’t get anywhere near a good swing. If you’re going to play golf, you need patience because it takes a bit of time before you’ll get good. When you’re starting out, a good set of clubs is the first thing you should be looking for. Get yourself a  taylormade driver for high handicapper which is designed to help beginners with their swing. It should help you improve your game. Golf is great for coordination because you will be able to see the improvements that you’re making in real time as your swing gets better and better.

Fencing

Fencing is another sport that requires great precision so you’re likely to see massive improvements in your hand eye coordination in a short period of time. Because you’re so close to your opponent, your reaction times need to be incredibly fast, while making precise movements with your hand. The combination of accuracy and speed makes fencing a brilliant sport for hand eye coordination as well as a good way to stay fit at the same time. Finding a fencing club can be difficult but you can get the same benefits by practicing at home on your own with a dummy.

Water Polo

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Water polo isn’t a very common sport but if you can find a local team, it’s worth joining. It has so many great benefits because it’s one of the most intensive sports out there. You’ll have to tread water and swim throughout so the cardio benefits are massive. Throwing and catching are both great ways to improve hand eye coordination but doing them at the same time as trying to tread water and swim makes it far more difficult, so the coordination improvements are even bigger than usual.

Basketball

Basketball is probably the best ball sport to play when it comes to training your hand eye coordination skills. If you’re playing football, you’ll practice your coordination when you throw and catch but you’ll be running with the ball. Constantly dribbling in basketball means that you’ll be honing your skills for the entire game. Shooting also takes a huge amount of coordination so every aspect of the game is beneficial for your brain health.

As well as sports, there are plenty of simple exercises that you can do to quickly improve your hand eye coordination skills.

Play Catch

If you can’t get out to play any sports, a simple game of catch will do just fine. Start off at a short distance and gradually get further and further away. You’ll find that you’ll be better and better each time you play and you’ll be able to catch from further away. If you don’t have anybody else to play, you can just bounce the ball off a wall and catch it that way. If you really want to give yourself a challenge, try bouncing a football off the wall, it won’t bounce straight so catching it at different angles will be great coordination training.

Juggling

Circus skills aren’t likely to be top of your list when it comes to ways to help keep your brain healthy, but most of them involve serious hand eye coordination skills. Juggling is probably the best thing that you can do. Trying to keep your eyes on multiple balls at the same time is a big challenge and if you can manage it, it’ll help to keep your brain in good shape. Start off simple with two balls and once you’ve mastered that, you can move onto more. For an even bigger challenge, try juggling with different objects that are more difficult to catch

Eye Exercises

When you’re trying to train your coordination skills, people tend to focus more heavily on their hands, but the eyes are just as important. One simple way of exercising your eyes is to take two objects with a good amount of detail on them. Place one object about a foot away from you and the other about ten foot away. Switch your focus between the two every few seconds and try to pick out as many details as you can. Doing this for a few minutes every couple of days will keep you coordination skills honed.

Hair On Your Pillow: Options For Combating Male Pattern Baldness

Millions of men all over the world know the feeling of disquieting horror when they look in the mirror and start to see a shiny patch of scalp glaring mockingly at you through their hair. Hair on your pillow, seeing your hairline creep back by a quarter inch every few weeks and playful remarks from your other half about how you’re ‘getting a little thin on top’ may seem fairly innocuous to those who haven’t needed to endure male pattern baldness, but for some it’s a crippling blow to their self-esteem.

Image by Flickr

A full head of thick, glossy hair has been a symbol of health, youth, vitality and male potency for thousands of years. Just think back to the biblical legend of Samson and Delilah. Whether we like it or not, whether we’re even aware of it or not, western society has an inexplicable prejudice against those afflicted by male pattern baldness and while a great man women (and men) firmly believe that bald is beautiful that can be cold comfort to men who are seeing a symbol of their youth and vitality falling from their heads. If you keep yourself looking young and healthy by staying fit and looking after yourself then hair loss can undo a lot of your hard work. Even though hair loss affects some 70% of men in their lifetime, many men feel isolated and alone in their hair loss. All of those flawless heads of hair in the media and popular culture don’t help either (more on that later).

The great news is that if you’re affected by male pattern baldness, you’re living in the best possible age as there has never been a broader range of solutions to your ‘problem’. Hair loss has become a billion dollar industry over the past few decades with a range of scientific solutions designed to help you to prevent, disguise or reverse your hair loss. Sounds expensive? Sure, it can be. But there are a range of less expensive yet extremely effective ways to address your hair loss and you may just be pleasantly surprised by the results.

First, though, let’s have a look at just why society has it in for men with hair loss.

Baldness… the unfair stigmatism

The associations with baldness are almost universally negative. By some strange, unwritten consensus bald or balding men are viewed as less attractive, youthful or healthy than their hairy-headed counterparts. Perhaps it’s the portrayal of baldies in popular media? While there are a few sexy bald men in Hollywood to fly the flag such as Jason Statham, Corey Stoll, Woody Harrelson, Patrick Stewart and Dwayne The Rock Johnson, the fact remains that by-and-large baldness seems to be used in popular media as a shorthand for villainy. Walter White, Freddie Krueger, Gollum, Darth Maul, Pinhead, Voldemort, Bane, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his parody counterpart Doctor Evil, Lex Luthor, Ming The Merciless… The list goes on and on.

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That said, negative connotations with baldness predate popular media. Men have employed all kinds of strange and unsavory means to avoid facing the stigmatism of hair loss for centuries. Follically challenged men in ancient Rome would run hippo fat into their bald patches to stimulate regrowth. We can only assume it didn’t work out. And all of those 16th century fops? We can only assume that they didn’t wear all those elaborate wigs for their comfort.

Before we go into discussing treatments, let’s look at the route cause of male pattern baldness…

Know your enemy

If you expect to beat your hair loss, the key is to understand it. Male pattern baldness is a genetic, hereditary condition passed down through the X-chromosome (you mother’s side of the family). It is dormant in childhood and tends to activate in men when they mature. The older you are, the greater chance that your hair loss will develop. Some men start to experience it in their early twenties but most begin to encounter it in their thirties and forties. Baldness is linked to testosterone, though men who encounter it tend to have normal testosterone levels. Cells in the skin of the scalp convert testosterone into a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Over time, affected hair follicles become more sensitive to dihydrotestosterone, which causes the hair follicles to shrink resulting in the shedding of hair and eventually the death of the follicle.

So… Now that you know the cause, let’s explore some of your options.

Let it go!

Of course the cheapest and simplest option is to do nothing. This may sound glib, but embracing your male pattern baldness with confidence (and / or shaving your head) can be a highly effective way of ridding yourself with the anxiety and poor self-image caused by your hair loss. It worked for Jason Statham, it worked for The Rock, it can work for you too!

Before you consider a transplant

Remember that a hair transplant does not guarantee a healthy head of hair for life. Any trichologist (scalp doctor) worth his or her salt will likely supplement or precede a treatment of follicle grafts with another treatment. Topical Minoxidil will usually be applied to affected areas for a period of months (or even years) prior to a transplant. This will improve circulation of blood to the scalp, nourishing anaemic follicles and improving their ability to produce thick, healthy hair. You may also be prescribed Finasteride tablets which will inhibit your body’s production of DHT. Even if your trichologist recommends a transplant, it’s likely that you will have to maintain a course of Minoxidil, Finasteride or (most likely both) following your transplant to prevent the loss of your existing hairs which have not been transplanted.

Out of sight, out of mind

If treating your hair loss isn’t feasible then there are more options than ever for disguising it. Keratin fibers are an affordable and effective way of concealing areas of thinning hair or bald spots. These stick electrostatically to your existing hair, thickening it and bonding to your scalp to create a seamless appearance that’s virtually undetectable at a glance.

While this is a great solution for thinning hair, it’s not so hot against receding hairlines.

If your hair loss is too extreme for keratin fibers and a hair transplant doesn’t appeal to you then wigs are worth considering. While they’ve gained an unfortunate reputation over the years, they’ve become far more sophisticated over the years than many may expect. Non-surgical hair replacements are the exact middle ground between a transplant and a typical wig, attaching a layer of polyurethane to the scalp as a second skin into which are woven strands of real hair for a seamless appearance.

Transplants. Know your options. Know the risks

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If you decide a hair transplant is the way to go then take a look at Seager Hair Transplant Centre for a detailed explanation of the transplant techniques on offer. There are two prevailing techniques for transplanting healthy hair follicles onto an area affected by hair loss. These days, most surgeons now use the FUE (Follicular Unit Extraction) technique. This involves the extraction of  individual hair follicles from ‘donor areas’ which are replaced on affected areas. This is preferred by many as it allows follicles to be replaced without scarring. FUT (Follicular Unit Transplantation) involves the extraction of long, thin strips of skin from the sides of the head, where the hair is thickest, to different areas of the head to cover areas of hair loss. While this technique is less expensive, it is seldom used because it does leave scars and is not recommended for those who favor the short back and sides look.

Like any surgery, a hair transplant comes with a risk of complications and side effects. Hair transplants are extremely safe but you may expect to experience these after the procedure:

  • pain
  • numbness
  • itching
  • cysts around transplant site
  • thinning of pre-existing hair.

As with any surgery, there is also always a risk of infection. Minoxidil and Finasteride are also not without their risks. Side effects of Minoxidil may include:

  • weight gain
  • chest pains
  • swelling of the face, hands, ankles, or abdomen
  • trouble breathing when lying down
  • rapid heartbeat

While the side effects of Finasteride can include:

  • itching
  • rash
  • Build up of fat on the chest (breast growth)
  • swelling of the face or lips
  • loss of libido
  • painful ejaculation
  • pain in testicles
  • difficulty getting an erection

It’s all about you!

Ultimately, the approach you choose to combat your hair loss (if any) is your decision. You shouldn’t allow anyone to influence your decision or push you into surgery if you don’t feel you’re ready. If, upon consultation, your trichologist tries to push or rush you into making a decision… You need to find a new trichologist. That said, it’s important to remember that unless treated your hair loss will only ever increase over time. It usually takes between 10 and 15 years for a man to become totally bald but in some cases the process can take less than 5. The younger you are and the earlier you are in the process then the better chance you have of regaining a full head of hair.

Leaving On A Jet Plane: How To Book A Fantastic Summer Vacation

Summer is here, and many of us may have already made our summer plans for vacations or the things we are doing with our families. However, some people may be thinking about next year already or might not have even considered what to do throughout the next few weeks or months. I thought it would be worth sharing with you some of my top tips for booking an awesome summer vacation. Put it into practice now or even use it for next years jaunt.

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Consider where to go

One of the biggest decisions you make is where to go for your summer vacation, and let’s face it, you have a fair bit to choose from globally. At this stage, try and think about the type of vacation you and your family would like or enjoy doing. Does it involve activities or even doing something like camping? Do you go on vacation to relax and rejuvenate from your hectic and busy daily lives? Do you want to make sure that the children are happy and have plenty to see and do themselves? These are all important questions to be asking yourself before setting a decision on a location for your vacation.

What will you do when you are there

Once you have made that decision of the location now comes the fun part of researching what you will do when you get there. Some people leave this purely for when they arrive, but I think it’s always worth being organized and trying to ensure you know what you are doing. This is when websites like myconcierge.com come in handy. Allowing you to focus on a destination and seeing the endless possibilities of the things you can see and do while you are there. You may also want to involve the whole family in this to ensure that you are all wanting to be involved in the same sort of activities.

It’s wise to think about your budget

No one likes to discuss the financial side of things, but there isn’t always an endless pot to be using or a money tree in the back garden. So you need to think about your budget, not just for your holiday, but also for the money you will spend while you are there. This is why research is important as it can highlight different activity costs before you go.

Book in advance

You may find that in most cases, booking online and in advance can save you a fair bit of money. However, this is only a viable option if you are in the position to pay for it. But, sometimes those online discounts can be too good to refuse.

Get the whole family involved

Finally, get the whole family involved when it comes to the planning, booking and even the excitement of counting down to your vacation. Websites like parents.com could help. This is truly a family affair and an opportunity to spend quality time together, what isn’t to love about that?

I hope these tips help you for your next trip away.