5 Highlights from CES 2015 Day One

CES 2015 runs from the 6th of January all the way to the 9th. In that span of time, new technologies will be introduced and showed off, all of which will have an impact on consumer technology in the following months.

For such a large event featuring the biggest names in the tech industry, there’s only so much you can digest. A lot of products and innovations will surely stand out in an event such as this, and here are the most noteworthy:

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Car technology

 

Tech is already ingrained into our vehicles and auto manufacturers just showed what the future of car technology will be. Ford introduced Sync 3, their Smart car platform, last month but went a little in depth at CES. The company suggested that cars will act as data collectors in the future to help with adapting to road conditions, finding spaces for parking and even customizing insurance for drivers.

Apart from Ford, BMW also showed the new touchscreen and gesture controls for its iDrive interface. On the other hand, Pioneer showcased their NEX series in-dash multimedia receivers which features Android Auto integration.

Intel’s RealSense

 

The press conference of Intel highlighted lots to look out for. For one, they focused on RealSense, a system that makes use of a 3D camera in order to detect depth and gestures in real time.

Intel also introduced a security application for RealSense called True Key, which is a facial recognition tool. Apart from that, the chip manufacturer also promoted robotics applications with iRobot devices capable of detecting and moving through three-dimensional spaces. They also highlighted the use of RealSense by drones in order to avoid obstacles while flying.

Dell’s new products

 

Dell unveiled quite a few products to look forward to. One of which was the XPS 13, a compact and lightweight laptop which is the smallest 13-inch device in the world. They also promoted refreshed versions of their popular Alienware gaming laptops.

Smart homes

 

Just as tech invaded cars, they too are coming into our homes. A highlight of the smart home solutions were the first HomeKit – a feature of iOS 8 that sees your home connected to your iOS mobile devices – accessories for Apple devices. iDevices and iHome showcased two accessories that make use of the HomeKit platform.

Another highlight was the security system of MyFox, a European security company, which aims to prevent crime before it happens.

Pet technology

 

Better tracking of pets was provided by Tagg with its heat-sensing pet tracker. But not to be outdone was Motorola who showed off their Scout 5000 device, a GPS-enabled device that not just allows you to see what your pet sees but also allows you to speak to it.

All of these wonderful technologies in just a day at CES. Only time will tell when you get to see these products in actual use.

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How to Promote the Right Content?

Words have never been more powerful than those used online. No SEO strategy will be complete without content that is keyword-rich, relevant and original. In fact, content was such a powerful tool in optimization that it was abused, prompting Google to develop Panda, an algorithm that targets low quality content with high bounce rates.

This greatly improved website content, but raised the bar in terms of promoting it. Don’t worry; there are effective ways to get Google and online users to notice your content.

Make sure your idea will stick

Finding an idea that can cause something similar to a last song syndrome is no easy feat. This might also inadvertently lead to a mental block. Well, just think of any idea and then verify it against the six core parts of sticky principles — simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional and tells a story.

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Know your audience

To whom are you talking to? Who are the people you want to reach out using your content? Getting to know your target audience is essential, especially in the emotional aspect. It will be hard to connect with them on an emotional level if you don’t have a grasp of their behavior or how they will react. To this end, carry out customer intelligence, market research or use FullContact, a tool that lets you gather information about your audience.

Promote effective content

Using Google Analytics, you will have an idea which content has greatly contributed to conversion. You can then promote it as a top content through organic outreach, paid or both. Just don’t overspend on it, as a content page is relatively low in terms of conversion, compared to product pages.

Learn from competitors

Got a competitor who’s leading the race? Find out what they’re doing to succeed and see if you can use the same thing. You can also find ways to add a twist to their process and make it completely your own.

Writing content is not easy. Promoting it? Even harder. But, by following the steps above, you will also succeed.

Image from kaleidico.com

WordPress or Blogger: Which is Best for You?

WordPress and Blogger are both well-established platforms for publishing content. But even so, there’s still the posing question of: which one is better for you? In this article, we shall list down that pros and cons of the two blogging outlets and hopefully, at the end, you’ll be able to choose which of the two would suit your needs best.

Blogger

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Advantages

  • Free
  • Easy-to-Use
  • Reliable; not prone to hacking and no downtime
  • Good template selection

Disadvantages

  • No premium options
  • Template customizations can be lost
  • Limited features
  • Google can use and freely distribute your published content

 WordPress

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Advantages

  • Free
  • Flexible and has a lot of features
  • Highly customizable
  • Free and premium themes available
  • Easy-to-use; coding knowledge is not necessary
  • Like Genesis, premium frameworks can be used
  • Your content and yours alone; no fine print

Disadvantages

  • Web hosts may be unreliable
  • Customizing themes can be difficult especially for beginners
  • Easier to hack
  • Requires paid web hosting and domain name

Conclusion

If your budget can cater to yearly domain costs and web hosting, then WordPress would be your absolute best option. It offers more features and will allow you to effortlessly expand your self-hosted blog as your audience grows. Self-hosted WordPress blogs are often the choice of people who aspire to become professional bloggers one day. WordPress is also the first choice of people who want their blogs to act as the extension of their business.

However, this doesn’t imply that Blogger is not a good option. Blogger is great for people who are just starting out. You won’t need to concern yourself with hosting fees and the features are pretty decent. Blogger is ideal for casual bloggers on a budget or those who do not need extensive features.

 

The 3 Best Invoicing Software for Freelancers

If you are a freelancer managing your own business, sorting out your accounting books is important. For this, you’ll need a good invoicing software that will ensure you get your payment sooner rather than later. There are so many offerings out there but here are 3 of the best you can find.

  • FreshBooks

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FreshBooks is most known for its simplicity. With just a click of a button, users can automatically generate invoices. It has a feature that allows invoices to be sent via email but users may also opt for the invoices to be sent through regular post. FreshBooks has 13 payment options and allows tracking both expenses and time. There’s also the option of issuing late payment reminders and fees.

  • Freckle

What’s great about Freckle is that it doesn’t only help with time-tracking; it also helps with analyzing work habits! For instance, it can show you that you have a tendency to be unproductive on certain days or that you waste more time when it comes to unbillable time. Freckle also has a cool feature called the Pulse View. This feature shows users their entire work outputs on a calendar.

  • Harvest

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Harvest allows users to create tasks on projects and estimate how much time each of these tasks will require in hours. Once you have finished a task and logged the hours you spent completing it, the software will subtract the logged time from the original estimate. In case you go beyond your estimated time, Harvest will immediately highlight in red how many hours you have run over. What results is a software that will help keep projects not just on time but also under budget. This means having lots of satisfied clients!

Whichever invoicing software you choose should really depend on what you think will work for you best. Before deciding, you should first think about what you are looking for. Do you need software with good time-tracking features, clean interface, or easy workability?

 

Images from http://www.crunchbase.com

Top 5 Gurus for Startup Entrepreneurs

A start-up is both a gateway and stumbling block of business success. Unless you get past the hurdles, moving forward would be impossible. The good news is there are people who can provide practical advice on what you need to do. Of course, you must choose wisely who you listen to. Well, there’s no one else more reliable and trustworthy than these start-up gurus:

  1. Kate Kendall

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Co-founder and CEO of CloudPeeps

Before becoming an entrepreneur, she has played a variety of roles in the corporate world, leaving little doubt that she can provide the best and most practical advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. She founded The Fetch, a site that provides a variety of information to professionals, and helped launched Stripe, a cross-device payment form.

  1. Danielle Morrill

CEO and Founder of Referly

From marketing guru to start-up mentor, Danielle Morrill, has done it all. This means, she will be more than capable to answer any start-up question you throw her way, even those that cause you sleepless nights. Combined with her various skills, and recent experiences in fundraising and founding of Referly, social networks’ online referral system, you know that you can trust her word.

  1. Gary Vaynerchuck

CEO of VaynerMedia

Before he became CEO, published author and founder of his own seed fund, Gary Vaynerchuck went through various challenges in business and succeeded. So, if there’s anyone startup owners should aspire to, he’s the man. His blog gives insights about entrepreneurship, social media marketing and other useful business hacks.

  1. Neil Patel

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Co-Founder of Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and Hello Bar

As a specialist on building web traffic for startups, Neil Patel has the skills, knowledge and experience to help budding business people hit it big online. His recognitions by The Wall Street Journal, President Obama and the United Nations, also showed his influence and success in the corporate arena.

  1. Joel Gasciogne

Co-Founder of Buffer

Buffer is a social sharing app that Joel Gasciogne co-founded back in 2010. He’s been blogging about his journey as an entrepreneur, sharing lessons and hacks to other aspiring business people. As acting CEO, he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

  1. Verne Harnish

Founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs

Called by Fortune Small Business as one of the Top 10 Minds in Small Business, Verne Harnish is one prolific author any entrepreneur, aspiring or otherwise, should follow. Add to this the two international entrepreneurship organizations he’s founded, and you know he’s the man to ask advice about growing companies and small business trends.

  1. Steve Blank

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Serial Entrepreneur, Business School Professor and Author

Steve Blank wrote a book called Four Steps to the Epiphany that outlined the process of building early stage companies. From this alone, it’s pretty clear why aspiring entrepreneurs should seek his advice, input and insights. He also developed the Customer Development model that is designed to discover and validate the right market for the business idea you have in mind. What more can you ask for?

  1. Guy Kawasaki

Business Evangelist and Author

If you’re a fan of Apple, you know Guy Kawasaki as the company’s Chief Evangelist. Although he’s moved on since then, he remains the best person to refer to when it comes to building product awareness and startup ventures. Non-practical people searching for practical advice must read his blog, “How To Change the World”.

  1. Seth Godin

Prolific Writer and Founder of Yoyodyne and Squidoo

Seth Godin is best known for the 17 marketing books that he wrote, but he is also a marketer and entrepreneur. His blog offers plenty of expert marketing tips that are useful for any business owner looking to bring their products out there.

   10. Fred Wilson

Financer

 

As Managing Partner of Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures, 2 venture capital (VC) firms, Fred Wilson knows business financing more than anyone else. With his VC experience that spans over 20 years, reading his blog would open up your eyes to the reality of entrepreneurship and financing.

 

Exercise Tips for a Healthier You

It’s a fact that physical attraction is what initially pulls a man to a woman, and vice versa. Yes, women are just as focused on physical qualities as men are, based on a study done by social psychologists. As there’s backing for this claim, women should work hard to improve their physical appearance to attract the opposite sex. That is, if they aren’t working hard already.

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Step Aerobics

As simple as stepping up and down a platform can do wonders to tone and firm your bum. If you want to get more than just great-looking buttocks, you can also exercise your arms at the same time by lifting dumbbells. So put on your favourite dance tune and step right up then down. Make better use of those stairs by doing step aerobics.

There are many other exercises that are designed not only to promote health, but to tone and tighten your buttocks as well, such as running, kickback, side and back lunges, hurdles and elliptical machine. It is up to you to decide which exercise to do. With the bikini season just around the corner, pick a workout that is simple but yields better results. How?

  • Think about the amount of time you can spend on a particular exercise. If you can barely squeeze in half an hour to your hectic schedule, choose activities that you can do while working or when you arrive at home.
  • Think about the equipment required. Do you have a bar at home? If you don’t, you would have to go the gym to perform deadlifts, which could pose a problem if you prefer to exercise at home. But if you do step aerobics instead, you can just use the stairs in your house.
  • Think about your budget. Gym membership isn’t free, but you do gain access to a variety of equipment and, in some cases, a personal trainer. Then again, you can always choose those activities that won’t cost you any money. Moreover, if the only problem area you need to work on is your butt and those unsightly cellulites, you don’t really need to spend money.

Achieving Ripped Abs

  • Train your abs along with other parts of your body. The tendency with most is that they are too tired to focus on their abs once they are done working out their calves and forearms. This is why it is best to train all of these areas together so that you attack all of them with great intensity. Plus, you don’t have to feel worried about not getting to your abs at the end of a workout session.
  • Train your abs at home. The beauty of developing abs is that it doesn’t have to happen in the gym. There are exercises you can do at home to achieve a ripped 6-pack, and these include:
  • Do sit ups. Lie on the floor with your feet planted flat. Your knees should be up and your hands should be crossed on your chest. If you don’t have someone who could hold your feet down, wedge them underneath something heavy. Sit all the way up by lifting your lower back off the floor along with your shoulder blades. Keep your back straight then lower yourself down. Keep doing this in 3 sets of 10, with 1 minute rests in between sets.
  • Do crunches. Lie on the floor with your hands lightly touching your temples. Using only your abdominal muscles, bring your shoulders towards your knees. You can do this in 1 or 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
  • Do leg lifts. Lie on the floor with your legs straightened out. Keep your hands at your sides. Lift your legs straight up without bending your knees. Do this until it’s at a 90-degree angle. Lower your legs then repeat.
  • Train your abs in traffic. Being stuck in traffic doesn’t mean you have to be unproductive. You can use this time to do a simple ab exercise. You can simply flex your abs as hard as possible while crunching down and exhaling. Hold for five counts then relax and repeat.
  • Eat healthy. Yes, other than doing all these physical activities, your diet plays a huge role in getting that ripped body you want. Try to avoid junk food, but in case you give in, don’t beat yourself up. You can always try harder for your next meal.

 

 

6 Simple SEO Tips for Beginner Bloggers

 

Integrating SEO into your blogging shouldn’t be a hard task. Here are some simple tips to get you started:

  1. Break your content into sections

When you write content for your blog, it helps to separate these into different sections or subheadings if you will. Make use of the H-tags as this makes it easier for search engines to know what your post is all about.

  1. Pictures aren’t just for visual attraction

If you use your own photos in your blog posts, it’s best to optimize them. Take time to fill out the title and alternative text (a description of the image) too as Google checks on these for image searches.

  1. The power of linking

When you write a new post and can refer to a previous post that you wrote, by all means, link to it. Plus, if you find a great resource that will help readers understand what your talking about a whole lot better, link to it as well.

You can also link to your site from other blogs that you are active on. However, don’t get too carried away because Google will punish you. The links will come as you keep creating content.

  1. Don’t be too obsessed with keywords

The key to blogging is to write as naturally as possible. You don’t want to sound forced in your posts by inserting keywords you think will bring you traffic. How you write your content, how it gets shared and how you promote it is what matters.

  1. Sharing goes a long way

SEO and social media go hand in hand. You can’t just publish content without letting other people know. Whether you’re on Twitter or Facebook, post links to your newly published blog posts. And do make use of hashtags to widen your content’s reach. Also, share the link at different times of the day so it reaches audiences in different time zones. Take a look at some of the popular accounts on Twitter and notice that they share the same content more than once each day.

  1. Leave comments and answer them

Responding to comments increases traffic. It may be time consuming, but you should take the time to do it. When you visit related blogs in your niche, leave comments too. This is called relationship building and is key in getting your blog noticed.

These are just the basics, but they help get you started in the world of blogging and SEO.