Total Merchants, Merchant Account Reviews, Credit Card Processing Companies

My Credit Card and Me

October 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

It seems like the world runs on plastic doesn’t it? Everyone uses credit cards to pay for something, whether they need it or not. I wonder if there is enough money in the US to account for the debt riding on those plastic cards. I have had a credit card for most of my adult life, and like many people do not do a very good job managing the debt they incur on their credit card. A credit card was only to be used in an emergency in my house, or to buy something I knew I could pay off with one payment, thereby avoiding an interest charge. This worked fine for about two purchases and then we fell into the trap I think most do and that is buying small ticket items first. Then feeling confident about being able to keep up with this we went to bigger ticket items. My credit card did not take long to go from a manageable balance to a balance that made the monthly payments very high. I found a solution and was pleased since then. I switched over to a card that has a pre-paid balance on it. I found a company that has cards that you can fill and use without worrying about going over your limit or having a surprise bill come in the mail. My Green dot card is one card I will always use as it is easy to refill and in my case is a MasterCard. I finally paid off my credit card debt and just use my Green dot card, and I know my bills are so much easier to manage. No more surprises in the mail. Credit cards are a great thing to have for the things you need. Just remember it is your needs you should charge and not your wants.

Mobile Apps Can Really Improve Your Business

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In this day and age, people are always on the move, and in order to make the most of your marketing, you need to have all of your bases covered. That means that not only do you need to have your website updated regularly with news and relevant product information to keep your clients invested, but that also means that you need to be able to reach out the them wherever they are, even if that are away from their computers.

By taking advantage of mobile apps, you can make sure that your product or service is still within reach of your clients, and show them that you are catering to their needs by understanding their lifestyle. By gearing your business toward mobile users, you are ensuring that whenever your company crosses their mind, you are available, and in a format that they can easily navigate, wherever they may be.

In order to make sure that your app performs up to your highest expectations, there are some necessary steps that you must take to test the software and make sure it can handle everything you throw at it. By initiating a series of performance test runs, you can ensure that your site continues to run at maximum efficiency, regardless of bandwidth issues or any other hindrances.

You also want to make sure the app is easy to use, and by conducting these tests, you can identify problems with the user interface, such as display issues, or the accessibility of user input. If the user is having to spend a an excess amount of time typing their information in, or inputting their goal into the search bar, that may prove to be tedious on certain devices and deter them from using the app.

By periodic mobile app testing, you can keep up to date on any potential issues, as well as updating current information and addressing any problems that may occur. App maintenance is an ongoing commitment, but don’t think of it as a hassle. Instead, consider it a measure to ensure quality control and a means to always be on top of what your users are experiencing, while at the same time, giving you a better understanding of how to better service their needs and further your development of the app as well.

It may seem like a lot of work, but for the sake of your business, it is just as important as any other marketing strategies you may already be incorporating. Always remember that in order to keep your customers’ interest, you must always be striving to improve upon your business model, and by integrating a mobile app into your selling and marketing strategies, not only does it show that you can grow and adapt with digital trends, but it also shows your willingness to invest in your customers, and that you will do whatever it takes to provide them an easier, more user friendly experience.

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Interior Design: Wall Decorations

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Rule number one of home decoration: confidence. Confidence says you’re not afraid to mix and match colors, and you’re willing to take a risk on odd furniture most people would normally be too afraid to buy. Even decorating something as simple as a wall requires confidence.

All wall decorations are set at eye level to allow a person the chance to spot them quickly. These items can be as small as a mirror to as large as a portrait. Whether small or large, not all decorations are designed to coordinate alongside other items. It is up to the person decorating to determine whether the item will function as intended. If you’re feeling a bit scared of how to decorate your home, here are some confidence boosting tips to help you along.

Art

Art comes in a variety of different forms from small sculptures, portraits to even ornaments. Art should be hung in such a way that guests can locate the item instantly. Do not place the item too high or too low, as this will create an awkward, un-centered image. Each piece of art will determine where exactly to place it once inside the room.

Art serves as a centerpiece for any wall. The art attracts attention, and often times, you can find complementing objects, such as wall mirrors to draw attention to the artwork. Items that do not complement the art should not be placed near it, such as a family portrait or an ornament.

Pictures

Pictures are great decoration items that add character to a wall. Small family photos, personal achievements or pictures of nature give the room color and character. However, too much color for any wall can be a bad thing, and too many photos can ruin a wall entirely. Spread your family photos out so they are not so close together. What you don’t want are too many frames on one wall. Too many photos near one another make it hard to focus on just one. You want to spread the color across the room, allowing each photo a set location to draw a guest’s attention.

Mirrors

As with pictures and artwork, mirrors also function as wall decorations that can add style to the room. Whether you decide to hang square or round wall mirrors, each class of mirror will add creativity and style to the room. Before you hang anything, you’ll want to look at the size of the room and the space you are willing to commit to a mirror. Some mirrors maybe too big for the room, or you may have other items on the wall that can detract from the decoration of the mirror. You want to commit an entire wall to one mirror if it’s large enough. If you plan on hanging a small mirror, you can often get away with hanging multiple items on the wall; however, just be careful to not cluster the mirror around with other ornaments.

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Dealing With the Economy in Los Angeles

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are great places to live, but have been anything but resistant to the economic downturn over the past few years. There are many ways of spending less and getting more that people are going to become accustomed to until America is out of this downturn. Luckily with the Internet, there are more ways to do this now that ever.

The most necessary expense that can be cut is groceries. Most people shop at regular grocery stores and markets. While these are good places to shop for a lot of things, there are bulk stores like Sam’s Club or Costco that seller higher quality products for less money. The downside is these stores require a membership payable each year, but the amount of savings that is gotten out of it is more than worth the cost. While a regular grocery store has more variety and needs to be used, the majority of shopping should be done at one of these bulk stores to make the money go farther.

Using Craigslist is also a good idea, but comes with some caution. Craigslist is a mostly uncensored posting board where anyone can contribute, so many of the listings are scams or spam. With these auctions it is a good idea to only contact listings that provide a phone number, and anything that looks much too good to be true usually is. Meeting with people in a public area to do the transaction is recommended to make sure the person’s safety is not at stake. As long as caution is taken and instincts are paid attention, some of the best prices can be found on Craigslist locally.

Another great avenue is buying from eBay. Auctions are a great way to score items low, and looking and bidding will bring great prices on new and used goods alike. Looking for wrongly listed items and bidding at the last minute are both good practices to get even better prices on goods that would normally sell for higher. Although no one except the seller can see how many people are interested, finding a listing that looks worse and has less detail in the description will usually mean a lower ending price.

For those that need more than simple spending help, bankruptcy is also an option. Whether it is a Woodland Hills bankruptcy attorney, a Van Nuys bankruptcy attorney or an attorney from within Los Angeles, finding the best attorney is necessary. A good attorney will mean not giving up possessions and having peace of mind knowing the person has someone that will fight for them. There are many attorneys that just want the lawyer fees and are not interested in helping, so doing proper research is needed.

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Company Executives Fly Private, Not Commercial

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Long lines, annoying passengers and even long commute times. Business men and women know all too well the hassles of flying commercial. Commercial flights are prone to long delays; subject its passengers to intense security screenings; and can cause mishaps in your business schedule. For company execs especially, flying from one part of the state to another can be a hassle, especially when traveling through a large airport. Executives handle the company’s bigger issues and execs need a reliable form of transportation to accommodate the demands of their job. Flying commercial just doesn’t cut it for an executive to perform his duties effectively with minimal interruptions.

Flying Commercial vs. Private

If you have ever flown commercial, you understand the headaches you will face. Private jets allow for more freedom and flexibility that normal commercial flights cannot provide. For instance, most commercial flights no longer provide food on flights, with the exception of flights lasting longer than six hours. Now think about that, you may pay as little as $200 to as much as $2,000 for a round trip and all you get is a free bag of peanuts and two, microwave meals. Not much of an in-flight dinner. With a private jet charter you have the freedom to order the meals you want, and get them specially prepared for you.

Food may not be a big issue, but the travel schedule is. Commercial flights require you to arrive at least 3 hours before so that you may pass through security, unload your bags and board the plane. When you fly private, you can skip the long security checkpoints, forget about the 3 hour wait time, and arrive when you want. Even if you must stay an additional day or two because of a meeting, you can do so. Private jets accommodate your needs and wait for you until you are ready to leave. Private jets offer flexibility that no commercial flight can mimic.

Commute times from your home to the airport may also be long. In addition to the 3 hour wait period to board a flight, you still have to travel to the airport to fly. With an executive jet charter, you have the freedom to tell your pilot to fly to a smaller airport closer to your home, cutting your commute time significantly. Smaller airports also make for less crowded atmosphere perfect for you to find parking and avoid large crowds of people.

Besides the flexibility, travel to smaller airports and food, private jets allow you to choose the size and amenities you find on board. You may like to work as you travel, so you may get a 14-passenger jet with built-in Wi-Fi and a work desk. If you want to enjoy your flight, you can relax, watch some television with a built-in satellite receiver, allowing you to watch movies or catch up on world events.

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How Search Engines Operate

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Search engines the most used aspect of the Internet today. Since the services are free and in order to find good information they must be used, everyone that uses the Internet uses them at least a little bit. They are also much more efficient for advertising than traditional methods, offering a number of different methods for searching.

The first thing to understand is how search engines sort their listings once a search is conducted. Each search engine does this a little bit differently, and there are far more aspects of the algorithm than can possibly be presented. The basic way search engines work is they sort keywords by amount. Older search engines were strictly based off of this, but it is easy to be faked and is difficult to find the thing the person is looking for.

Modern search engines incorporate very complex methods of sorting. The first way is by relevance to the searcher. Each time a search is conducted it will put the links people most often clicked at the top and then sort with the same idea. The second way is by independent companies that the engines hire to rate their search results. These often provide tweaks and filter garbage results out that have been able to keep top spots. The third way is by relevance across the Internet. The more a website is linked to and talked about, the higher in the results it goes. This keeps searches relevant with current events by being able to quickly restructure search results once something blows up within the media.

There are services that help various companies and websites increase their search results rank as well. These SEO services use methods that search engines respond to in order to make a website more valuable for search results. The companies study how search engines operate and use methods that play into their methods of sorting. Anyone that wants to build a strong online presence is advised to look into one of these companies, because their services go far beyond what any individual company can do since the workload would be far too great.

Besides search results, there are ad banners that use a pay per click distribution system. What happens is when a search is conducted, there are advertisements that show up based around the search criteria. The search engine always wants to use the more relevant banners possible because they are paid each time the banner is clicked, linking the user to the advertised site’s webpage. PPC management companies often act as an intermediary between the search engine and the businesses. These companies allow one service to span a banner across multiple websites and search engines. This ensures the most reach possible using an inexpensive advertising method.

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Show Off Your Creative Side

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As the age old question goes, “If a tree falls in the forest would it make a sound?” This is meant to set up the idea that if no one is around can you really tell if something happened? Now apply that concept to all your creative work or special mementoes: If you don’t take the chance to proudly display them how can you ever share them with friends and family? One of the best options for this kind of display would be shadow boxes or flag cases.

If you’ve never worked with shadow boxes before you should know that it follows along the same lines as a photo or picture frame in the sense that this is something that can be hung on a wall. The big difference is that with shadow boxes is that they allow you to encase more bulky items than you would with a traditional frame. As the name implies, shadow boxes are actually boxes that allow you to build a sort of diorama for your objects. Flag cases, on the other hand, are designed to specifically hold a flag that has been ceremonial folded in a particular way. Typically flag cases would be a triangle shape that can show off the stars of an American flag used in a memorial service of some kind.

The type of shadow box you can use depends entirely on what you’ll be saving inside. They come in a wide array of frame sizes and finishes. You can even have them custom designed to fit your exact specifications. If you want to use you own special finish the shadow boxes can come untreated.

The best approach for picking the perfect shadow box would be to select which type of objects you want to put on display. Not only would these creations be a perfect addition to your own home but that also make a delightful gift for someone special. You could create a baby shadow box for a newborn infant that includes the birth announcement, early photos and other trinkets the baby first used. For married couples a wedding shadow box can include the invitation, commemorative wine glass, the cake topper and program. A shadow box for a new graduate can house a program from the ceremony, photo and even tassel and cap.

Next you’ll want to pick the type of covering you’ll use on the back of the box. This should would in conjunction with the objects. You can use simple backings like felt or velvet or wrap the back in decorative paper. Keep in mind that you should avoid gluing objects to the back of the back and instead find a way to use pushpins for placement. If you want to glue the objects make sure to use a clear adhesive.

Finally, you should find a way to create some depth and dimension for your shadow boxes. This will mean placing items at different layers within the box itself. You can even use pieces of foam as a support to give height to certain items. With flag cases you are limited in how created you can be but that shouldn’t deter you from using them as poignant displays.

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An Artist Best Viewed On The Big Screen

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

There are few artists who can cross multiple genres skills these days. How many artist do you know who can sing, write books, act and paint? The one man who can accomplish all of this is Aussie’s answer to royalty, Nick Cave.

Cave has been a front man for several band’s including his most recent endeavor Grinderman. He is known for his haunting and often times volatile stage performances. However, few people know that his first love was art. He attended college to become a painter and then became obsessed with religious-gothic art. However, due to his somewhat pornographic depictions and interpretations of biblical passages, he was thrown out of the college.

At this time he was also singing for a local Australian band called The Boys Next Door, who evolved into the violent punk band The Birthday Party. A name Cave came up with while reading Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” scene that took place at a birthday party. In the early eighties The Birthday Party broke off into Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, which is still going strong and touring every few years.

Cave also started writing and acting with director John Hillcoat in the late eighties with the movie “Ghosts of the Civil Dead”. This was based loosely on the terrible treatment inmates where receiving in the Australian prison system. This is an amazing work that is meant to be seen on the big screen, but unless you have your own home theater including home theater seats to view this masterpiece, then you might have to suffer watching this on a small screen, which looses it’s magic.

Another collaboration Cave did with Hillcoat was the Australian homage to the western called “The Proposition” which tells the tale of a gang of brothers who must decide their fate and turn in one of their own or let another die. This movie is a bit bloody at times, but again, best seen while you relax in those home theatre seats and view it on the big screen. Some movies aren’t made for the small screen and this is one of them.

If you have decided that you like Cave, you can stay in your home theater seats and watch the documentary “God Is in the House”. This is one of the best live performances ever captured on video of any artist. There is also a documentary about Leonard Cohn called “I’m Your man” in which Cave performs a few songs and talks about the importance of Cohen.

Now if you want to get out of the home theater furniture and cuddle with a good book, Cave has two excellent novels. One is a southern gothic tale called “And the Ass Saw the Angel” which was penned in the early nineties. His more recent endeavor is “Bunny Monroe” which is more along the lines of Henry Miller with its explicit scenes. Either of these books are good for bed time reading.
Nick Cave is one man who can and does do it all. He is one of the few who is multi-talented in all areas of art. It seems unfair that one man should have so much talent, but when you do it as well as him, you can afford to be greedy with it.

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