christer axe on Preferred Home Choices To…
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Is Your Site Mobile Responsive?
By Driving Traffic Contributor on May 11, 2013
Marketers have been obsessing over creating a mobile-friendly version of their website and online identity, so as not to miss out on the incredible and still growing number of smartphone users.
That little device in their pockets has already changed the way people search, browse, and engage with online content, and nothing turns them away faster than a wonky design that doesn’t transfer seamlessly to their smaller screens and tap-to-click interface.
And we can’t forget about the cousin of smartphones, those increasingly capable tablets being used in higher frequency every day.
Heck, Mashable even called 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design.
So what does it mean to have a responsive website, and how can you make sure you’re taking the right steps?
Here at Driving Traffic, we’ve made it a point to choose designs and themes that are automatically responsive. It’s a growing trend that’s becoming necessary to keep up with all the developments in the smartphone and tablet universe.
There really aren’t any advanced technical processes needed. Instead, it’s a matter of developing adjustable designs that can switch on the fly, and appear just as pretty and useful no matter how people are absorbing the content.
So What’s It Look Like?
A responsive website helps eliminate things like horizontal scrolling and image distortion by enabling flexible elements that can automatically be optimized to look and feel as clean as possible.
For example, working with columns is a typical responsive site strategy because they make it simple to arrange content in a way that’s easily accessible for tablet and smartphone users. That’s the main point here: there should be no or very little effort on the site visitor’s part to see what they want to see.
How’s It Work?
Responsive design uses something called “fluid grids,” which base sizes on proportion rather than pixels. That way, images and text can be automatically adjusted relative to each other, instead of needing specific parameters for each piece.
Another important aspect of responsive design are “media queries,” which can determine the resolution needed for any device being used to view a site. Though loading times can be amplified on a mobile device (because when you need all those service bars, they never seem to be there), it’s still a wise choice to enable a responsive design that keeps things in check.
Where Can I Find It?
Responsive design templates are available under the WordPress umbrella, as well as most other major site platforms. They may cost a little more than the non-responsive equivalent, and perhaps require a bit more attention to detail, but once implemented they can be just as easy to use.
Template Monster has a good collection of designs to choose from, and UXPin helps by providing breakpoints that “allow you to create responsive prototypes and wireframes that will look great on all the different kinds of devices and resolutions.”
We’ve also heard good things about Responsify (and we love the name), which actually lets you come up with the best template that will fit your needs, and customize a grid to go with your content, not the other way around.
It’s up to you to choose a design and template that will work for you. We wouldn’t be able to tell you what’s perfect for your situation, so check things out for yourself and go with something that fits.
The objective here is to build a site once, and watch it work across a billion screens, no matter what their size may be.
Tablets and smartphone adoption rates continue to skyrocket, and it’s never been more important to make sure your site is adapting to this shift.
You can’t please all the people all the time, but with responsive design you at least have the option.
8 Tips for Maxing Out Google+ Local Impact
By Driving Traffic Contributor on May 6, 2013
We’ve come to know how important claiming a Google+ Local listing can be for businesses that are trying to reach the right audience. Experts say Google produces about 80% of local leads in America, and even more in Europe. Google even claims that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.
In other words, if you haven’t claimed your listing by now, what gives?
In the past, the Google Places user interface was said to be a little wonky, and it usually took a while to update information. Now, with the new look and feel (which basically resembles the rest of the Google+ avenues) modifications will be faster and update across all Google platforms, including Google Maps.
All the navigation tabs have been moved to the left of the screen, and AdWords Express is now found in the same place.
(Don’t let the moniker confuse you: Google+ Local is what Google Places used to be and a whole lot more)
It’s simple to cash in on this killer search feature, and it won’t cost a dime. Here’s a crash course in case you’ve yet to claim it.
Make Your Account
Punch in your business phone number to start the search, and that should be enough for the Google robots to track you down. Don’t fret if your information is wrong. That’s the point here; you’ll be updating everything to make sure it’s all correct.
Claim your business listing by clicking “Edit,” or create a new one if you can’t find it.
Here’s where you will specify location, contact info, hours of operation, and share a brief description of what it is your business does.
(Please note this is a fake business created solely for the screen shots, I am not opening a Falafel Emporium in downtown Austin)
Now that you’re going strong with the right information in the right place, here’s some tips to optimize the overall effect Google+ Local can have.
Google+ Local Tips
- Make sure your authoritative and official website is included in the general information, so as to keep Google happy and improve search results.
- Add images and videos to set your listing apart from the rest of the field.
- If you’re a business owner without a physical location (like, say, a carpenter), you can now incorporate the same results that an online Google+ Local listing can offer.
- Respond and engage with customers using the Google+ Local account, and make it feel as though there’s a person behind the information.
- Put some thought into the categories section your business will be listed under. Be specific, and in turn be noticed.
- Encourage people to write reviews on your Google+ Local page, which is as easy as clicking “Write a Review” directly from the listing.
- Don’t forget about the Google+ Local app for the iPhone and iPod touch; it will let you manage things on the go.
- Stay within the Google quality guidelines and content policy.
This is one of the best ways to virtually guarantee a page one appearance on Google searches, something that businesses sometimes just can’t seem to do. It’s basically been moved into the category of “required” for local businesses, and Google+ Local pages are going to be much more visible in search results than Google Places were before them.
Though it seems like Google sometimes force-feeds us things, this is one of those meals you can swallow easily. The social media/business directory hybrid that’s being created is a revolutionary new way to find, please, and keep customers.
Google has pushed all their chips to the center with Google+ Local, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t call them.
Google Plus is as important as Yahoo or Yelp and Facebook.
Now you know why it is important to be a part of Google+ Plus.
Mr. Buffett approached that figure after he collected another hefty payment last week, bringing to nearly 40% the pretax income on his crisis-era investments, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.
The bounty is a vivid illustration of one of Mr. Buffett’s favorite investing maxims: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”
$680 Million earned on $4.4 Billion in five years… *
The latest windfall for the Omaha, Neb., billionaire and his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., came when candy maker Mars Inc. repaid $4.4 billion that its subsidiary, Wrigley, borrowed in 2008. That payment alone is expected to net Berkshire a profit of at least $680 million.
“In terms of simple profitability, an average investor could have done just as well investing in the stock market if they bought during the panic period,” Mr. Buffett said in an interview Saturday. He was referring to a monthslong stretch beginning in the fall of 2008 when the stocks of some of his favorite companies, including Wells Fargo & Co. and American Express Co., fell to historic lows. “You make your best buys when people are overwhelmingly fearful.”
But few investors, if any, capitalized on the crisis as expertly.
By comparison, the U.S. government invested about $420 billion through its Troubled Asset Relief Program. The government also demanded beneficial terms and collected sizable dividend payments for a return of about $50 billion, or 12%, thus far, according to the U.S. Treasury’s website.
Mr. Buffett said he hopes to use the cash to make other big investments soon that will bring equally attractive returns. Berkshire will continue to buy stocks to add to its portfolio of over $100 billion, because “it’s still better to have equities than cash,” he said.
But big acquisitions such as the 2010 purchase of railroad operator BNSF Railway Co. for $26 billion have gotten harder to find. As prices have risen along with the economic recovery, Mr. Buffett has publicly lamented the paucity of transformative deals that would allow Berkshire to put some of its cash to use.
Starting with Mars in April of 2008, when credit markets began to tighten in advance of the financial crisis, some big-name companies looked to Mr. Buffett—and Berkshire’s huge war chest—as a lender of last resort.
In addition to much-needed capital, the companies acquired something equally valuable: Mr. Buffett’s implicit endorsement of their long-term prospects. Shares of these companies generally went up after they revealed Berkshire’s involvement.
In six major deals, Berkshire invested a total of about $26 billion. Mr. Buffett used Berkshire’s gigantic cash hoard to move swiftly and exact lucrative terms that created a stream of payments from the borrowers.
Mr. Buffett’s deal-making started in the early days of the crisis and continued deep into the recovery. The last of the deals was a 2011 loan to Bank of America Corp. for $5 billion.
Besides Mars and Bank of America, Berkshire made investments in Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Swiss Re Ltd., Dow Chemical Co., and General Electric Co.
Several deals are continuing to pay hefty dividends. Berkshire also owns equity stakes in the firms, or warrants to buy them, that add several billion dollars more to the company’s return on investments, at least on paper.
Although the warrants on some of these deals effectively came free with Berkshire’s purchase of preferred shares, accounting rules require the company to split its cost between the stock and warrants acquired. That means Berkshire records gains differently in its books than a cash-in, cash-out tally adding up to about $10 billion.
As the economy has recovered, and with credit available at more attractive rates, some of the companies have opted to redeem securities owned by Berkshire or adjust the terms in ways favorable to Mr. Buffett.
Dow Chemical, which borrowed $3 billion from Berkshire to help fund the 2009 acquisition of Rohm & Haas, has said buying back the preferred stock is a priority.
Also last week, Berkshire became one of Goldman’s largest shareholders with a $2.1 billion stake after the close of a five-year deal in which Berkshire injected $5 billion into the bank.
Berkshire bought 50,000 shares of preferred stock from Goldman that required the bank to pay $500 million in annual dividends. When Goldman redeemed the shares in March 2011, it paid Berkshire an extra $500 million as a premium.
The original deal also gave Berkshire warrants to buy 43.5 million common shares for an additional $5 billion, which would have made the conglomerate Goldman’s largest shareholder. In March, the bank amended the terms to give Berkshire a smaller stake without Berkshire having to spend extra dollars.
Berkshire helped Mars candy, finance its $23 billion purchase of Wrigley gum. The company has sought to refinance parts of its debt since then to take advantage of lower interest rates and an improved credit rating, a spokesman said.
Berkshire contributed $6.5 billion, including $2.1 billion for preferred stock in Wrigley that pays an annual dividend. Berkshire also bought an additional $1 billion of Wrigley debt later. Thus far, the investment is expected to net Berkshire nearly $4 billion, including annual dividends and a prepayment premium since the bonds were due in 2018.
Mr. Buffett’s stake in Bank of America could pay off for years. Berkshire invested $5 billion in the bank in 2011, which adds about $300 million in annual pretax income. Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan recently said he doesn’t plan to buy back the preferred shares any time soon. Berkshire also has until 2021 to exercise warrants for 700 million common shares for an additional $5 billion at $7.14 a share. Based on the bank’s current stock price of about $14, the warrants create a paper profit of nearly $5 billion.
*Now you see how $680 Million can be earned from a loan of $4.4 Billion to Wrigley’s gum owned by Mars, Inc. candy company in 2008 during pressed times.
Thanks to author A. Das for the update.
Radical V2 video: www.5gum.com/5gum
For information on making you money online: www.extremewealthsolutions.info
To learn more about why this is good: www.empowernetworkmarketing.net
With thanks to Ethel Mars and www.ethelm.com
Hong Kongers spend HK$5K a year on wine
1st October, 2013
by L. Xin and Christeraxe
Hong Kong upper middle class residents are likely to spend more than HK $5,000 annually on wine, according to a new survey by the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.
The survey, which was conducted in August and September this year in 2013 with 508 participants aged 18 or older, was designed to understand the current drinking habits and wine purchase patterns currently in Hong Kong by the upper middle class.
The findings showed that 51% of respondents enjoy wine several times a week, while over 20% drink wine everyday. While 15% of survey respondents spend HK$3,000-$5,000 (£240-£300) every year on wine, more than half spend over HK$5,000, reflecting the growing popularity of high quality wine consumption in Hong Kong.
Breaking this spend down further, 33% reported spending HK$201-$350 (£16-£28) each time they visit a wine store, while 22% spend as much as HK$351-$500 (£28-£40). Once in a restaurant, survey respondents said they were willing to spend 30% more than in the off-trade.
The survey also found that Hong Kong people are fastidiously fussy regarding the quality of their wine and often seek professional advice when purchasing… 68% buy from a wine merchant – four times more than the number who primarily buy their wine at a supermarket. A similar proportion, 67%, base their wine choice on suggestions from family or friends.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Debra Meiburg MW, Director of Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition, pointed out: “The newly-affluent middle class is choosing premium quality wines. Tastes have become more discerning and the average spending on wine is increasing, creating a huge potential in the market for quality wines.” Good news for the wine industry worldwide.
Noting the above, realization of new connoisseurs being cultivated or popping out worldwide, Christer writes…
As one knows in California, the wine industry is solid with many grape harvests and fermentation vintages selling out within the California state or US alone. This realization will bring out the question on whether it is worthwhile to export vintages across the seas for price profit gains or simply maintain a stable marketplace here in the region or our country where the grapes are grown. Decades ago, imports of Italian and French wines made their way to California aficionados of fine wines or at least the desiring taste of such, and then California growers exceeded the expectations of century old vines and estate wineries of Europe only to cease the major need for importing wine product. California exceeded expectations.
When price comes into play, one has to wonder if vintners will expand their existing markets and world delivery options to now explore the current trend with new profits and recognition. Popularity gains already established within the United States could be considered but a stepping stone by now sending good wines overseas that create new consumers and a larger customer base willing to pay upwards of five times the value. Whether as novelty or sincerity, Hong Kong wine lovers seem to be growing in their taste and elite status with new wine popularity spends from another foreign food group. Even though they have but one wine vintner.
California west coast wineries have already expanded into small wine tasting rooms through-out neighboring villages to become a main focus on Main street. Small towns cater to the wine industry with open doors for walking tours and free tastings. Carmel-by-the-Sea, City of Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo, and central San Joaquin valley, all have tasting rooms withing the city. With vines maturely in place, the wine industry of Northern California supports an already existing demand on bottled wine consumption within the whole of the United States and one has to wonder if this positive growth will lead to the exclusivity of world consumers and made only available to those classes who truly want or are willing to spend for the “Wine of the Gods”, fruit-of-the-earth, high-end quality wine, (both red and whites).
We may see in decades ahead, the closing of boutique tasting rooms that house/employ three and four workers, who but pour $5. tastings, to become closed, with an emerging market now focused on delivery worldwide for those with new discerning palates and expensive tastes for quality. Those with the finances and who are willing to spend on the ultimate in the “enjoyment of a wine tasting experience”, the world is becoming smaller and good wine becoming bigger. The two don’t mix or blend when wanting to keep the best for yourself locally.
In the end, we see proof study that Hong Kong middle class enjoy wines from California and world wide. http://EWSCA.com
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The Rich say: ByeBye wine cellars to more Open Space and electronic gadget home wiring or modern pool.
The Preferred choices for today.
Wine cellars and tennis courts are becoming passÃ© for today’s fine homes/mansion buyers. What they really want are open floor plans, smart technologies and really nice pools.
A survey from Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Luxury Institute asked homebuyers who make more than $250,000 a year about their priorities or amenities for their homes. To put this group in perspective, their most recent home purchase averaged $1.6 million. More than a third own at least two homes.
When asked about their preferred amenities, the number one choice was “open floor plan,” cited by 39 percent of respondents.
(Read more: Six words only billionaires know )
Ranking second (32 percent) was “fully automated/wired home environment”-everything from high-speed cabling and integrated music systems to computerized lighting and…
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