Free Travel Tips Help Stretch Your Travel Dollars Further

When traveling, you will need to figure out what works best for you, but these free travel tips should be helpful.Your preparation for travel and necessary travel tips will likely depend greatly on your mode of transportation. If you are going to fly, there are several factors you need to consider. Most people drive to the airport and leave their vehicle in airport owned parking garages, which may charge you an additional $80 per week. You can avoid this charge in a number of way. Having someone drop you off at the airport is the most convenient way, for you anyway, but if you know someone that lives in the area, they could pick your car up at some point during the week. In many cases, there are shuttle services that will pick you up at a designated stop, or even come to your house. Although a shuttle may cost a little money, free travel tips, easily found online, can give you some more ideas on how to save money.For security reasons, there are numerous items you cannot have on your person while flying. Although this list includes weapons, it also limits the quantity of other items such as makeup and other liquids.If you are traveling internationally, you will need to get a passport, which you can usually apply for at your local post office. Even for Americans visiting Mexico, you must have a passport to enter. If you visit Mexico, there are a few Mexico travel tips you should be aware of. The tap water in most of Mexico contains so many parasites that nobody drinks it, not even the Mexicans. Instead they use bottled water, similar to Culligan, for drinking, food preparation, and making ice. However, many tourists become sick from the water by using it to rinse their tooth brush or washing their hands and eating finger foods, which are prevalent in Mexico. Rinsing your toothbrush with bottled water and using hand sanitizer are two Mexico travel tips that will keep you in the sun and out of the bathroom.For travel tips involving a long drive, you may want to bring some food and beverages rather than eating greasy fast food or at expensive restaurants three times a day. If there is room in your vehicle, packing a cooler with some drinks and food can save you a lot of money and help keep a better traveling pace since you can eat on the road or at any place you stop. Searching for restaurants in unfamiliar areas can take a lot of time and keep you driving longer than you intended.Regardless of your destination or mode of travel, there are plenty of free travel tips that will let you enjoy your traveling experience even more.

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Smart Strategies For Real Estate Investment

If you’re deterred by the roller coaster rides of the stock market, then real estate is the best place to invest your hard earned money.But real estate business is not an easy one. It calls upon concrete strategies to realize your goals and turn your business into a lucrative venture. If you’re an aspiring real estate entrepreneur, then have a look at the five strategies given below that will help you in having a successful real estate investment.Buy and Hold strategyUnder this strategy, you buy a property and lend it on rent. Hence, this strategy is usually known as rental properties. Buy and hold strategy of real estate investment opens three paths of income for you:amortization–you lower the amount of debt while paying your mortgage,appreciation–you increase the value of your property over the years, and tax incentive–as a landlord you’ll get a chance to cover up your investment costs within a few years. Even if the rent doesn’t break even your entire mortgage payment, it’s not disheartening, as you still have a positive cash inflow.But before entering into a contract with your tenant, you should make yourself aware of your rights and duties to avoid trouble later.Flipping strategyFlipping involves buying and selling real estate property without taking its ownership. You sign a contract with the buyer of your property and earn a commission for your services. There are no credit checks or down payments involved in flipping. And the bright side is that you don’t need to go for a mortgage, as you’re not the actual owner of the property that you are selling.However, there are two conditions for successful flipping of a real estate property: the property should be able to attract buyers within no time and you shouldn’t keep hold of the property for a long time, i.e., not more than 15-20 days. Under this strategy, you simply buy the real estate property, flip it to a buyer, and collect your money as commission.The strategy of RehabsHere, you buy a ramshackle property at a cheap rate with the expectation that your rehabilitation cost estimates will be highly rewarding at the end. This strategy looks good only on paper. The truth is that such kind of real estate investment involves a high amount of risk and usually end up in loss. This happens because you either fail to find a worn-out property that is cheap enough to give you a profit, or worse–the rehabilitation costs end up being higher than the cost of purchase.Commercial Real Estate Investment strategyCommercial real estate doesn’t always mean magnificent shopping malls or office complexes. Any building larger than a 4-unit apartment is regarded as a commercial one. The big advantage of commercial real estate investment is that your property value is calculated in terms of the income it generates through rent and not in terms of bidding on residential real estate.New Construction strategyThis strategy involves selling your new home during its construction phase. Most of the investors find this strategy to be the most affordable and the easiest one. The important thing here is to keep yourself updated with the market trends. However, there’s a limit imposed by the construction companies on the number of homes you can buy.A smart way to make an optimal use of this strategy is to have one or two homes under construction continuously. But this strategy brings profit only in a sellers’ market. If you find the local real estate market to be highly fluctuating or to be on the buyers’ side, then it’s better to avoid this strategy.The above five strategies will help you to reap rich harvests in real estate investment provided that you select the most suitable one. The choice is yours.This article is brought to you by

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Professional SEO: Hand Off to Bob or Outsource the Job

We are often asked if professional SEO (search engine optimization) can be done effectively utilizing in-house talent. Despite our obvious self-interests on the subject, our answer is always a qualified “yes”- you can achieve professional SEO results using existing talent. However, for every company we have known that has met with great in-house SEO success, we know of many more that have seen their in-house efforts fail. We have also discovered the companies that have succeeded share some common traits.If your company is considering doing SEO in-house, there are some critical questions that you should address before you proceed.

Do I have the proper resources at my disposal to achieve professional SEO results?

Search engine optimization takes time, and your internal SEO expert will need to have a great deal of it at his or her disposal – especially at the project’s outset when target audiences, keyphrases, and optimization schemes are first being established. Even after the initial optimization effort, the nature of SEO will require this person to spend ample time keeping up with industry trends, monitoring campaign progress, performing A/B testing, and expanding the campaign as new product and service areas are added.

Perhaps even more important than time, achieving professional SEO results requires a unique set of aptitudes. The person responsible for your internal SEO initiative must possess the ability to learn quickly and to look at your website from a macro-perspective, marrying together the needs of sales, marketing, and IT. He or she can not be an aggressive risk taker, as this is often a surefire way to get your website penalized and potentially removed from the major search engines. These gifted people exist in many companies, but given the unique attributes that these individuals possess, their time is often already spent in other crucial areas of the business.

Without enough time to invest in the project or the right type of person to execute it, an internal SEO initiative is likely doomed to fail.

Do I know which departments of my company should be involved, and will they work with an insider?

As mentioned above, professional SEO, by necessity, involves marketing, sales, and IT. The SEO expert must work with marketing to find out what types of offers and initiatives are working offline to help translate them effectively online. He or she must work with sales to identify the types of leads that are most valuable so that you can target the right people in the keyphrase selection process. And, finally, your SEO expert will need to work with IT to determine any technical limitations to the SEO recommendations, learn of any past initiatives based on a technical approach, and get the final optimization schemes implemented on the website.

Sadly, in many businesses, these departments have a somewhat adversarial relationship. However, it is the duty of the SEO expert to act as a project manager and coordinate the efforts of all three departments if you are going to get the most out of your campaign. No professional SEO project can be completed in a vacuum. For whatever reason, it is often easier for an outsider to get adversarial departments on the same page, in the same way that a marriage counselor might convince a woman of her undying love for her husband while the husband is still grimacing from a well-placed knee in the parking lot.

Will someone be held accountable for the results?

This may seem like a small consideration, but it can have a tremendous impact on the success of the campaign. If you have added this responsibility to some poor soul’s job description with the direction that he or she should “do the best you can,” you’ll be lucky to make any headway at all (especially if the person is not enthusiastic about SEO). Whether SEO is done in-house or outsourced, someone will have to take responsibility for showing progress, explaining setbacks, and continually improving results. Without this accountability, it is very common to see an initiative fade as the buck is passed.

Can I afford delayed results based on a learning curve?

It’s a reality – professional SEO expertise has a steep learning curve. While the information on how to perform the basics of optimization are freely available on the web, much of the information out there is also contradictory, and some of it is actually dangerous. It takes time for someone unfamiliar with the discipline to sort the SEO wheat from the SEO chaff (on a side note, a “quoted” search of Google reveals that this may actually mark the first occasion in human history that the phrase “SEO chaff” has been used – we’re betting it’s also the last). Simply put, if the person you are putting on the job has no experience, it will take longer to get results. This may not be a consideration if you aren’t counting on new business from SEO any time soon. However, if you are losing business to your competition due to their professional SEO initiatives, time might be a larger factor.

Will it cost me less to do it in house than it would to choose a professional SEO firm?

Often, companies will attempt this specialized discipline in-house in order to save money, and sometimes this works out as intended. However, accurate calculations of the cost of in-house labor that would be involved versus the price of the firm you would otherwise hire should be performed to make an accurate comparison. When making this calculation, also factor in the opportunity cost of the resource – the tasks that your in-house people are not able to perform because they are involved in SEO.

In addition, if worse comes to worst and your in-house SEO expert is led astray by some of the more dangerous “how-to” guides available, it can cost even more to repair the damage than it would have to hire a professional SEO firm to perform the optimization from the outset. And an internal SEO campaign gone wrong can cost even more than the stated fee – websites that violate the terms of service of the major search engines (whether intentional or not) can be severely penalized or even removed, costing you a lot of lost revenue when potential customers can not find your website for a period of time.

Do I believe that the end result I’ll get in-house will be equal to or greater than the results I would have gotten from a professional SEO firm?

Search engine optimization can create huge sales opportunities, and slight increases in overall exposure can have not-so-slight increases in your bottom-line revenue. If you believe that your talented in-house resource will, given enough time, achieve results equal to or greater than those that could have been achieved by the professional SEO firm you might have chosen, it may make sense to do it internally.

However, in addition to a better knowledge of industry trends, one clear advantage that search engine optimization firms have is the benefit of the experience and macro-perspective that comes from managing many different websites over time. Professional SEO firms can watch a wide range of sites on a continual basis to see what trends are working, what trends aren’t, and what formerly recommended tactics are now actually hurting results.

This macro-perspective allows professional SEO firms to test new tactics as they appear on a case-by-case basis and apply those results across a wide range of clients to determine what the benefit is. It is harder for an individual with access to only one site to perform enough testing and research to achieve optimum results all the time, something that should also factor into the equation.

Do I have at least a slight tolerance for risk?

Neophytes to SEO can make mistakes that can lead to search engine penalization or removal. This happens most commonly when they have an IT background and treat SEO as a strictly technical exercise. We are often called in to assist companies who have had an internal initiative backfire, leaving them in a worse position than the one they were in before they started. The simple truth is that you cannot perform effective SEO without marrying your efforts to the visitor experience, but this is not something that is intuitively understood when people approach SEO for the first time.

However, professional SEO firms are not perfect either. Some firms use those same optimization methods that violate the search engines’ terms of service and can get your site penalized. So, if you do decide to outsource, educate yourself on SEO and do some research on the firm. Know the basics of the business, find out who the firm’s clients are and how long they’ve been in business, and ask for professional references – just like you would do with any major business purchase.
If you have considered all of the above questions, and your answers to all seven are “yes,” your company may be uniquely equipped to achieve professional SEO results in-house. If you answered “no” to any of the first three questions but “yes” to the rest, it does not necessarily mean that you can’t perform SEO in-house – just that you may not be in a position to do so at this time. Taking the actions required to get you in the right position to answer in the affirmative might be worth your while. However, if you answered “no” to any of the last four questions, you may want to consider outsourcing the project to a professional SEO firm.A professional SEO firm has the resources, the time, the expertise, and, most importantly, the experience, to launch an SEO initiative for your website that will have a positive effect on your bottom line. Whichever option you choose, it is important that you fully embrace the channel. A half-hearted initiative, whether done internally or outsourced, can be as ineffective as taking no action at all.

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