9 June 2014
The Daily News

Natural Grass To Artificial Turf: 5 Reasons To Change

Artificial grass is no longer solely applicable for sports fields. It can be installed even in your own home, providing a low-maintenance garden grass, or an indoor fountain centrepiece. If you’re already maintaining a natural grass lawn, here are five reasons that can convince you to shift from natural grass to artificial turf:

Lawn Maintenance

turf suppliersMost turf suppliers in Brisbane offer low-maintenance artificial turf that can look vibrant even without fertilizing, mowing, watering, and receiving constant attention. You can get Empire Zoysia grass, for example, that is known for its dark emerald green leaf blade colour. This type of grass has a slow growth rate, and only requires 4 to 5 hours of sunlight—making it suitable for shady areas around the house.


An artificial turf resembles the natural look of authentic grass. They stay green and free of weeds and chemicals year-round. Look for a trusted turf supplier that meets your requirements. Enquire if you can try installing Palmetto Buffalo grass—the most popular lawn grass in Australia—and have the best looking lawn in the neighbourhood without breaking a sweat.


You do not have to stop your kids and pets from playing in your front yard. Pets simply cannot chew or easily tear your turf—especially when most pets are not attracted to artificial grass lawns. You need not worry when your kids play on the turf since you don’t apply cleaning chemicals for lawn maintenance.


Without the need to mow the lawn, you do not need to buy expensive lawn mowers. You may also receive lower utility bills since you do not need to water and mow your garden, as opposed to real grass which usually consumes lots of water.

By installing artificial turf, you can save money and enjoy playing on your green lawn with your family and pets. Your artificial turf does not need annual replacement as it has a long lifespan. In fact, a number of independent long-term studies reveal that any landscaping investment yields returns of 100 to 200 percent.

6 June 2014
Tech 101

Boost Email Privacy: Google To Test New Security Features

Google is working on updates to security features in Gmail in an attempt to shield emails from snooping and improve its users’ online privacy.

Ultimate security feature

search-engineKnown as “End-to-End” encryption, Google said emails that are encrypted are like sealed envelopes that are less vulnerable to spying.

To encourage more people to encrypt their email, Google released a source code intended at offering an extra layer of privacy protection.

The search engine giant is hoping its new service will make “end-to-end” encryption an easy option for its users.

Encrypting data

The move comes as Google voiced its support to oppose mass surveillance online.

So far, End-to-End is not yet available, but Google said the program is in a public testing phase.

“We recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection,” said Stephan Somogyi, a Google product manager who oversees security and privacy, in a blog post. “But we hope that the End-to-End extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it.”

4 June 2014
Business Adviser

Guide to Visual Merchandising

Whether you’re managing a big box retail store or a pop-up shop, visual merchandising is important in attracting customers and getting sales in. Some owners and managers, however, are busy planning promos and sales events that they forget to create a place where they can feature their products effectively.

As an entrepreneur, remember that your retail space is your most effective “salesperson”. To increase revenue, you need to set the mood and learn the right way to display your merchandise.

Appeal to All Senses

StoreWhen designing a shop, remember that your customers have five senses. Don’t just think about your store’s visual appeal and focus on your shop decorations and fittings. You can increase sales by giving your customers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. The music you play affects your customer’s moods. If you want them to take their time and look around longer, consider playing slow, mellow music. To attract teenagers and young adults, have a playlist of the latest hits.

How your store smell also affects the behaviour of your customers. Studies show that scents (and odours) affect people’s memories and emotions, two important factors that help customers choose one brand over another. Have a distinct scent for your store, so that when people smell that scent from somewhere else, they’ll remember you.

Remember the Rule of Three

Follow the Rule of Three when creating displays. Make it easier for customers to choose by providing them three options instead of one. For instance, when you have products in varying shades and sizes, consider featuring products by size and in different colours, as in tall, taller, tallest or dark, darker, darkest. Furthermore, help them spot bargains by displaying products according to their value: good, better and best.

Give Ideas

Don’t just put up items on shelves and racks. Many customers will buy a product once they’ve envisioned the way they’re going to use it. Give your customers ideas on how much fun they’ll have with your products through your display. When you’re selling accent pieces and home decors, set up your display in such a way that people can imagine the merchandise in their own homes.

Gaining loyal customers and increasing revenue don’t have to be difficult. When done properly, visual merchandising may be all you need to grow your business.

3 June 2014
The Daily News

Lighting Options for Indoor Plants

purchasing grow lights for indoor plantsGrowing an indoor garden can be difficult, especially as you have to supply plants the right amount of light they need. Fortunately, there are different types of grow lights available today. These lights make it easy to grow plants in an indoor environment. Whether you’re planning to grow flowers or vegetables, here are a few lighting ideas that could work for your endeavor:


This is one of the most affordable grow lights available in the market. These lights are ideal for low-light plants like ferns, dracaenas, or vines. They may not work well for light-loving plants such as succulents or cacti. As incandescent lights can get extremely hot, it is advisable to use them with care. Place them at least 24 inches away from the plant.


These lights are energy-efficient and easy to install. Fluorescent lights typically produce blue spectrum lights, which encourage compact growth for your plants. Blue light is also ideal to place within just a few inches away from the plants. Fluorescent lights work best for herbs and other types of plants that don’t need a lot of light.

Full-Spectrum Fluorescent

These lights provide a red spectrum, which encourages plant blooming. Full-spectrum lights have extremely high output bulbs that are energy-efficient and long-lasting. These lights are ideal for budding or flowering plants, as they emit enough light.

LED Lights

These lights can be a practical option in greenhouses. LED grow lights maximize red and blue light to offer balance. These grow lights are more energy-efficient compared to standard lighting systems. While they are a bit pricier than other lights, the energy-cost savings ensure more value for money.


These lights are suitable for large spaces, as they cover more distance. Halides give off a high level of light and heat, which helps in superior vegetative growth. They emulate summer light and contain energy peaks at wavelengths of the visible spectrum.

It is important to know how much light your plant needs to choose the best lighting option. Think about other aspects like temperature and humidity, which factor in to the life and development of your indoor plants.

31 May 2014
Business Adviser

Make Your Online Store Shine: 3 Secrets to Success on Instagram

seo companyWhen it comes to staying in the e-commerce business, you need to make your brand visible. If your online shop already has a Twitter and Facebook account, invest your time in promoting your business through Instagram as well.

It is no secret that the photo-sharing site is a great platform for grabbing the attention of users. In fact, it is taking the fashion world by storm. As the Internet continues to evolve, you must find a way to surprise and delight your customers.

Create a game plan

Consult companies specialising in SEO, as it is always a good idea to learn from experts. They can help your online store establish an identity to attract more consumers. Search Engine Optimisation is more than just knowing the latest algorithms in Google; it is about converting traffic into leads as well.

Catchy photos

As many businesses have started using Instagram, the company released a blog that offers helpful tips and brand spotlights for getting more followers. This can help you promote your business well. Keep in mind to post photos that are relevant to your brand. You can embed Instagram photos or videos in your blog to help people find you there, especially ones who do not know you are on Instagram. This is a great way to extend the reach of your content.

Attract them with special offers

If you cannot keep up with the big companies in terms of price, special offers and amazing service should be your solid strategy. Do not focus on making your posts all about sales and promotions. The trick here is to experiment with creating images that feature your products. Always add creative photography to your product shots to make it more appealing. This way, you can stimulate the interest of your followers.

These are some tips to help you get started doing business in Instagram. Be sure to seek the services of SEO companies, as they can provide the solutions that will suit your business situation.

28 May 2014
The Daily News

Separate Ways: 6 Things You Only Learn After Divorce

Divorce is undeniably a turbulent time for any couple. This is one thing no amount of self-help books and magazine articles can prepare you for.

divorce attorneyWhether you’re trying out the new New York divorce law and ending your marriage due to irreconcilable differences, or because you have other issues with your spouse, ending your marriage always leads to heartbreak and pain that will last before, during, and after all the legal proceedings.

To give you an idea, here are a few things nobody tells you about divorce that you only learn after going through it yourself.

1. It doesn’t matter who initiated the divorce or how amicable the legal procedure is; in the end, divorce will involve a lot of heartaches and pain.

2. You need all the help you can get. Your trusted Long Island divorce lawyer, as well as your family and friends will be your support system during these trying times.

3. Divorce may not be as awful as you think it might be. There’s a reason you wanted to split, and that’s likely for your betterment, your kids, or both. Sometimes, getting a divorce is better than staying married especially if it’s for the benefit of the children.

4. You’re tougher than you know. Some people will likely tell you that you’re taking the easy way out and just ending the marriage instead of fighting for it. Ignore them.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and fight for a better life, the kids, and yes, even for your soon-to-be-ex spouse. Making changes is always harder than sticking to the status quo, so you have all the reason to be proud of yourself.

5. Friends will disappear and/or take sides

During the dating years and your marriage, you become friends with your spouse’s friends. And when you split, everyone will take sides. The hard part will be losing friendships you genuinely shared. You may still see and chat up your ex’s friend when they’re on their own, but as time goes on, some of these friendships will fade. Divorce makes people uncomfortable, and although it may be hard, losing some friends may be for the best.

6. Money will always be an issue. Even if both of you are well-off, there will be some issues when it comes to alimony, child support, and other financial matters. This is why hiring a divorce lawyer is advisable, so you can settle all legal and financial issues.

Just like marriage, divorce is a learning process. While it may be difficult, you will come out of it a tougher and better person.

26 May 2014
The Daily News

Michael Essien Tips Ghana To Reach 2014 World Cup Semi-Finals

Image from John Dobson | Wikimedia

Image from John Dobson | Wikimedia

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien says that their World Cup squad has what it takes to reach the semi-finals in Brazil. The Black Stars are set to meet the USA, Portugal, and Germany in what is regarded as the “Group of Death.”

 Aiming High

 Essien said, “The squad for this tournament is the best Ghana has to offer, and the quality in depth is extremely good, especially in midfield. We have multiple options in most positions which is always a plus for any side.”

“Our initial aim will be to get out of the group into the second round, and then take it from there game by game. Who knows? We are certainly capable of going one better and making it to the semi-finals or even finals. Anything can happen, but we are realistic enough to know we cannot aim that high from the start.”

 Young Group

The AC Milan football veteran will represent his country at the biggest football stage for the second time. The country has made its debut in 2006.

22 May 2014
Medical Standard

Staying on Top of the Dental Field

It seems as if there’s a new dental practice opening every day. It’s a given that the demand may never disappear, but you could still lose out to newer and bigger practices. Give your dental practice a fighting chance by employing some of these easy steps:

Dental instrumentsMake sure your facilities are up to scratch

Routinely undergo dental waterline testing to make sure the water you use for dental procedures is clean. Don’t overlook the cleanliness of your clinic. While it’s friendlier than the average hospital, it should still be as clean and sterile.

Hire staff that reflects your practice philosophy

Plenty of people are afraid of the dentist as it is. You can do your part by making sure the people you employ will put the comfort and needs of your patients first. Put together a team of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and even front office with the same medical philosophy you believe in to keep your practice as cohesive as possible.

Continuously offer the best and the latest practices

As a medical professional, it is your duty to stay on top of your game. The more you know, the more services you can offer. You can even stay ahead of the competition by being the first to offer a certain service or use a certain technology. Invest in state of the art tools. They may be pricey to buy, but they will pay for themselves before you know it.

Look into online marketing

In order to be dental practice of choice for patients in your area, you need a lot of patients. This is where an online presence comes in handy. Make yourself visible online. Don’t just rely on word of mouth advertisement. When advertising, don’t sacrifice integrity for the number of patients.

Combine all these techniques and prioritize what’s important like regular dental waterline testing and you’ll soon be the go-to dentist in your area. The road to the top is not complicated. Simply do your job, put your patients first, and continue learning.

20 May 2014
Business Adviser

For Online Marketers: Little Things that Will Help Convert Leads to Sales

advertising servicesMore than 2 billion people across the globe are active on the web, but that does not mean that the generation and conversion of leads is going to be easy. The search for prospects follows a process that is not a cookie-cutter approach.

The process normally goes as follows: first, you will have to refine your targeting schemes to make sure that you are engaged with the right people. Next, you will need to employ appropriate techniques to connect with the target audiences and eventually turn them into customers. In the course of engineering such techniques, many online marketers often overlook some of the simple things that create a massive impact on the marketing effort.

Whether you’re using third-party online advertising services or not, it’s your job to include these seemingly trivial aspects in your marketing plan:

“Forms” on Top of Contact Details

Sure, you have your e-mail address, actual physical address, and phone number on your Contact Us page, but do you keep track of the number of people who actually reach out and visit your store? Other than these details, it is also important to put up an enquiry form. Such forms should include fields that will help with profiling your prospects. One benefit of using enquiry forms is that they are easy to record and monitor. You can use records for follow-ups or to categorise customers.

What Everyone Else Says About You

Your identity on the internet is not defined by your claims alone – it is what other people say about you that matters most. Create a “Testimonials” page and post what clients have to say about you. These support your claims and give prospects an impression that you are trustworthy. Do not forget the media mentions, if you have any.

The Seals of Trust

Any affiliations with business governing bodies or accredited products and services require the display of trust seals. These are like medals that you can show off to your mum. These online medals can increase trust factor among your prospects.

Lead generation has become a whole lot easier than before, but the real test here is to convert those leads into paying customers. If things do not seem to be working, do not hesitate to discuss the matters with the online advertising company you currently work with.

19 May 2014
Business Adviser

Don’t Forget to Budget: Tracking Business Expenses

business accountantsBudgeting is an effective way to keep your business and its finances on track. It helps you determine how much money you have, how much you need to spend, and how much you need to bring in more profit. It can also let you monitor the financial impacts of your decisions and operational strategies.

While this process may not seem like a glamorous task, it is a significant part of any business. Tax and accounting experts Femia and Associates shares some tips on setting a budget.

Choose a Timeframe

Decide if you want to budget on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. This will depend on the type of business you are in. For small businesses, however, it is better to budget a monthly, as the industry can be unpredictable and unexpected expenses can throw off revenue expectations.

Divide Costs

Separate all your fixed costs from variable costs. Fixed costs refer to any business necessity expenses such as rent, utility bills, and salaries. Variable costs, on the other hand, cover expenses such as raw materials, employee costs, and other optional expenses.

Use a Spreadsheet

Make a spreadsheet to estimate the total amount and percentage of your revenue will be allocated to raw materials and other expenses. Before continuing with your budget, it is advisable to contact your suppliers. Include a column for income, budget, and actual expenses. You may also consult business accountants to help you create a detailed budget plan.

Predict You Sales

This process will be much easier if you have been operating your business for years. If you’re just a start-up, however, you will need to research thoroughly. Talk to your current and prospective customers to know the times they are most likely to buy your products. Then, try to estimate your revenue based on the data you have. Build an allowance to account for unpredictable events.

Consider Cost Cutting

If you need money to pay for advertisement or capitalise a new opportunity, think about doing some cost cutting. This is also important to acquire more cash reserves in case your business experiences a rough sales month. See if there are expenses that you can control for the meantime.

The goal of budgeting is to make sure that you have enough money to keep the business running and growing, along with ensuring an emergency fund. Talk to tax and business accountants to ensure your business success.