Sunday, March 30, 2008

The School of Notable Names

Thanks to www.culinary-school-finder.com, I was able to find the right culinary school for me. Close to home, affordable tuition fee and great programs. This is a chef school which has produced notable names in the industry together with the other great culinary schools in the country.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

SEO Sitemaps Give Websites a Boost

A lot of web pages will find an SEO sitemap useful in improving their performance. SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”, the process that aims to create or revise Internet sites so that it can be better found by search engines. The objective of SEO campaigns is to have websites appear in the top listing or first results page of search engines.

Internet search engines, such as Google and A9, maintain a very large database of Web pages and available files. To do this, they devise a program called a web crawler, or spider. This software automatically and continuously surfs and hunts content in the Web. Pages that the spider finds are retrieved and indexed according to text content, giving more weight to titles and paragraph headers. Spiders never stop navigating the web from page to page, to index the relevant content of the Internet. Besides looking at the text of titles and headers, some programs are able to identify default tags and keep a library of these page keywords or key phrases in the index.

When a user connects to the Internet types a query, which is automatically interpreted as keywords, the search engine scans the saved index and creates a list of web pages that is most appropriate to what the user is searching for.

SEO will use all the combined techniques of keyword analysis, smart code, good content literature, link popularity study and website organization to place the subject web page as high as possible in the list of search results in search engines. Web pages displayed on the top of results pages are assumed to get the most attention, and therefore, opportunity for earnings for web businesses and pages with sponsor links.

Search engines usually return a list of results ranking pages according to the number of Internet sites linked to them. Results can be classified as organic, or sponsored links. Sponsored links are shown prominently because their creators or agents paid the search engine. Sponsored links are the main source of income of search engines. “Organic” search results are the lists of actual results from the engines index and are directly related to the keyword typed in the request.
One of the more effective techniques of SEO is the creation of a well-organized site map in a website. Since the site’s main page and other content are directly linked to a site map, spiders can more easily move through the website, identify the key words of the content, and index these for a search engine. This is where the SEO sitemap helps the website creator or administrator.

Site maps are usually pages filled with links. These are shown as tables or lists, although lists are generally more effective. Writing code for SEO sitemaps is very easy and simple to format and maintain. These are ideally basic HTML pages with default tags, logical titles and keywords scattered in the Meta description. Introduction areas can contain more of the keywords. The site should have a main heading for every directory.

A simple list layout helps reduce unnecessary tags that might “hide” your keywords. Some spiders give more weight to the following, than text in the normal body of the webpage: heading text, content within link elements, text nearer the top of the page and the text written for a link. Therefore, writing the keywords and links in these areas could somehow move up the web page’s ranking. This goes for SEO sitemaps as well.

Web sites should be designed consistently, so navigation models should follow the flow of the site map. Therefore, the first section in the site map should be the first link in the navigation bar.

In an SEO Sitemap, and most pages, the headings contain title attributes where more key phrases in the site map can be added. Keywords are generally well chosen and written in the body of a webpage. However, in an SEO site map with little text, key words should be added as much as possible. As much as possible, web links should follow web page titles, and must undergo SEO during coding. Care must be exercised not to cram the page with keywords and links, or the page will be interpreted as blatant spamming and not receive any traffic at all.

There is no way to guarantee that a website will be shown in the topmost ranking of "organic" search results for an extended period of time. However, smart and responsible SEO sitemap techniques can be used to place the website high up in the search position. Regular monitoring and adjustment of the SEO Sitemap and search results would ensure that a website is kept near the top ranking and receiving lots of web user traffic.

PPC ADVERTISING: HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS "CLICK"

PPC stands for Pay Per Click - a popular advertising technique on the Internet. Found on websites, advertising networks, and especially on search engines, PPC advertising involves sponsored links that are typically in the form of text ads. These are usually placed close to search results, where an advertiser pays a particular amount to visitors who click on these links or banners and land on the advertiser's web page.

In essence, PPC advertising is all about bidding for the top or leading position on search engine results and listings. Advertisers do this by buying or bidding on keyword phrases that are relevant to their products or services - the higher the bid, the higher the spot on the search results, the more the people will find the ad (and click on it) to go to their websites (this is why some people call it "keyword auctioning"). Advertisers would then pay the bidding price every time a visitor clicks through the website.

PPC advertising is also known under the following names/variations:

· Pay per placement
· Pay per performance
· Pay per ranking
· Pay per position
· Cost per click (CPC)

PPC advertising is usually done with the following standard procedures:

1. Setting up an account and/or deposit funds.

2. Creating a keyword list.

3. Choosing (and setting up) an account with a PPC search engine.

4. Bidding on the ad placement, including the search result words or phrases.

5. Writing out an ad copy.

6. Setting up the 'landing pages' for your ads.

7. Placing the advertisement in the search engine.

There are many benefits to Pay Per Click advertising, making it an effective way of promoting a business 'online'. Some of them are listed below:

· Get launched immediately. PPC advertisements are implemented very quickly - they can go 'online' within an hour after winning the bid and paying for it.

· Obtain specific, pre-qualified, and quality traffic. PPC provides you with a quality or a well-targeted traffic. Visitors are narrowed down into 'qualified' people who are actually looking for specific products and/or services that you offer - those who are more likely to become a 'lead' (a convert) and complete a transaction (either by buying your product or subscribing to the service that you are offering.

· Widen your reach. PPC advertising provides additional traffic to your site, aside from the natural or "organic" search engines.

· Track your investment. PPC advertising makes use of a tracking system that will determine exactly who comes to the website and what they do once they arrive - the length of their stay on the site and the number of pages (including the actual pages) that they view. These are valuable tools in determining statistics such as return on investment (ROI), acquisition cost-per-visitor, and conversion rates (the percentage of visitors who are converted into customers or leads).

Below are some important things to consider when planning on a pay per click campaign:

1. Know your product. Take an inventory of the product and/or services that you have to offer (before anything else).

2. Stay within the budget. Determine your daily or monthly budget; and stay with it. This means keeping your budget in mind, avoiding bidding wars if possible.

3. Bid just right. Know how to bid right - a bid that is too high can exhaust all of your money, while a bid that is too low can make you lose that spot.

4. Watch the bottom line. Measure your profit margin against your spending or expenses. Know when to stop and terminate your PPC program - if you spend more on advertising but have little or no sales at all.

5. Find the right keywords. Decide which keyword phrases to opt and bid for. Do some keyword research, either by actually looking at existing search terms or with the use of online keyword suggestion tools, to know which terms are mostly used when searching for items that are related to your business. Focus on specific keywords, not on general ones.

6. Write effective ads. A good PPC ad is that which can persuade and move a searcher. There are several approaches to this:

· Discount offers
· Testimonials
· Celebrity/famous endorsers
· Money-back guarantees
· Free trials or sample offers
· Freebies
· Reverse psychology
· Major benefits ("Lose weight")
· Direct instructions ("Click here")

7. Maintain a professional-looking site. Your web content should be regularly updated and checked for spelling and grammatical errors. There should be no broken links or images. The website should be simple - designed in such a way that it will be easy for visitors to navigate and load. Include contact details to create a good impression among potential customers.

Done properly, PPC advertising can be an effective marketing tool that will maximize the return on your investment.

The Flavors Of Wine

Although the four main flavors - sweet, salty, sour, and bitter are all your tongue is really capable of tasting, the long lasting impression that wine leaves in your mouth is far more complex. When you drink or taste wine, your taste buds and your sense of smell are involved, adding to the way you interpret wine overall. The flavors, aromas, and sensations that wine is comprised of provide the interaction that you taste when you sample wine.

Sweetness is something that wines are well known for. With most types of wine, grapes are responsible for the sweet taste. Grapes contain a lot of sugar, which breaks the yeast down into alcohol. The grapes and yeast that were used to produce the wine will leave behind various sugars, which your tongue will be able to quickly detect. Once your tongue detects these various sugars, the stimulation of sweetness from the wine will be ever so present in your mouth.

Alcohol is also present in wine, although your tongue doesn’t really know how to decipher the taste of alcohol. Even though the tongue doesn’t really taste alcohol, the alcohol is present in the mouth. The alcohol found in wine will dilate blood vessels and therefore intensify all of the other flavors found in the wine. After you have samples a few types of wine, the alcohol level can easily have an effect on your taste buds, making it hard to distinguish other drinks that you may have.

Another flavor is acidity, which will effect the sugars. With the proper balance of acidity, the overall flavor of wine can be very overwhelming. Once you taste wine that contains it, the flavor of the acidity will be well known to your tongue. Although acidity is great with wine, too much of it will leave a very sharp taste. With the right levels, acidity will bring the flavors of the grape and fruits alive in your mouth - providing you with the perfect taste.

Yet another effect of flavor are tannins, which are the proteins found in the skins of grapes and other fruits. If a wine has the right amount of tannins, it will give your tongue a great feel, and bring in the sensations of the other flavors. Once a wine starts to age, the tannins will begin to breakdown in the bottle, giving you a softer feel to the taste. Tannins are essential for the taste of wine - providing the wine has been properly aged.

The last flavor associated with wine is oak. Although oak isn’t put into the wine during the manufacturing process, it is actually transferred during the aging process, as most wines will spend quite a bit of time in oak barrels. Depending on how long the wine is left in the oak barrel or cask, the ability to extract the flavor will vary. Most often times, wine will be aged just enough to where the oak taste is visibly there - and adds the perfect sentiment to the taste.

Although there are other flavors involved with the taste of wine, they aren’t as present as those listed above. The above flavors are the most present in wine, and also the flavors that you need to get more familiar with. Before you try to taste wine or distinguish flavors, you should always learn as much you can about the components responsible for the flavors. This way - you will know more about what you are tasting and you’ll truly be able to appreciate wine.

How to Increase Sales Through Streaming Audio

Many studies have proven that radio is a good medium for product advertisements. People listen to the radio for entertainment, usually to listen to the latest music or to their favorite radio program. In between the program, advertisements on products and services are being played.

For many years, this has been the trend in advertising. But now that the radio medium is almost behind the audio-visual medium, the TV, and the Internet, other marketing strategies have to be employed to continue the benefits of advertising through audio.

It is then that the benefits of using music on websites were discovered. Before, music on the Internet was just available in downloadable forms as mp3. Even through hosting downloadable music on their servers, companies were able to get much traffic on their sites. And everyone engaged in Internet marketing knows that website traffic plays a big role in boosting product and service sales.

However, there had been a problem with illegal music download in which artists, musicians and record companies have lost millions of revenues.

Then, came the popularity of Internet music streaming. Unlike the former, radio streaming does not allow download of the music files. Thus, the copyrights of the artists and record label owners are protected.

So, how can this be done? There are several ways to stream audio from your site. First, is to stream a radio program from your site or blog. You can find free affiliate programs that allow you to stream their radio content from your site.

What will this mean to you? This means that your site will have new audio content every time it is visited. What's even great is that the content is being updated even without much effort from you.

In this case, what you needed to do is to signup with an Internet radio station and have the link embedded on your blog or website.

Another way is to stream mp3s. To do this, you just need to upload your mp3files on a server and add the files' links to the page. When the link is clicked, the browser opens a media player window and plays a file. However, since the file is in mp3 format, it may also be downloaded. Downloading music files without the authorization of the copyright owner is illegal. Therefore, if you will be using this type of streaming, make sure that you have the appropriate permit to do so.

A third way to add audio to you blog or website is to stream music through organizing playlists. Playlists are m3u files, which if downloaded, will not play music if offline. Using this process, however, can be complex. Here is a short instruction on how to do it.

1. Save your mp3 or wma file on the server. You may skip this step if you know that the file exists on another server and know the link to that file. Make sure that the link has a .mp3 or .wma extension.

2. Open your text editor and type the path to the file. Include the http:// and the file extension. Repeat this step until you have included all the links to the files that you would like to be included in the playlist.

3. Save the playlist with a .m3u extension.

4. Upload the m3u file on the directory where the music files are hosted or to your server.

5. Open your html editor and embed the link to the m3u file. Through this, you can also set if you want to have the playlist to autoplay if someone visits your site of if you want your visitor to control playing the music. You can also set the volume level.

After the code is embedded on the html file, and whenever your site is visited, the songs in the playlist will be buffered, streamed and played one after another. If your playlist has several songs, the user can skip forward or go back a song in the playlist using the media player controls.

Doing this setup works for many website owners. Through this you can customize the type of music being played on your site. You can even play recordings related to your product to boost product awareness.

It requires knowledge of html to be done. But if it will be the best way to increase traffic to your site, why not request assistance from programmers. After all, having audio on a website is a proven way to increase sales.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why Should I Make a Budget?

You say you know where your money goes and you don’t need it all written down to keep up with it? I issue you this challenge. Keep track of every penny you spend for one month and I do mean every penny.

You will be shocked at what the itty-bitty expenses add up to. Take the total you spent on just one unnecessary item for the month, multiply it by 12 for months in a year and multiply the result by 5 to represent 5 years.

That is how much you could have saved AND drawn interest on in just five years. That, my friend, is the very reason all of us need a budget.

If we can get control of the small expenses that really don’t matter to the overall scheme of our lives, we can enjoy financial success.

The little things really do count. Cutting what you spend on lunch from five dollars a day to three dollars a day on every work day in a five day work week saves $10 a week… $40 a month… $480 a year… $2400 in five years….plus interest.

See what I mean… it really IS the little things and you still eat lunch everyday AND that was only one place to save money in your daily living without doing without one thing you really need. There are a lot of places to cut expenses if you look for them.

Set some specific long term and short term goals. There are no wrong answers here. If it’s important to you, then it’s important period.

If you want to be able to make a down payment on a house, start a college fund for your kids, buy a sports car, take a vacation to Aruba… anything… then that is your goal and your reason to get a handle on your financial situation now.

Making Money with Articles: The Importance of Picking a Catchy URL

One of the first things you will need to do, or possibly last if you need some inspiration, after you pick your niche topic is to pick a catchy URL. You want it to be one that will stand out and that will be easy to remember for those who plan on being return visitors.

To get some ideas and inspiration, take a look at the various keywords that you have singled out for your niche to see if any of those have a catchy ring. You want it to be kind of “used car salesman” sounding, rather than something that is boring or does not have an original sound to it. For example, if your niche is “blah”, you could try “MegaBlah”, “Blah4u”, “HouseofBlah”, or “BlahKingdom”. These will all be original, explain what you niche is, and, most importantly, will be easy to remember.

How easy your URL is to remember is the most important so that your visitors will not have any trouble returning and clicking on more affiliate links!