How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Blogging?

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in Internet Marketing SEO
How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Blogging

It wasn’t that long ago when ninety-nine percent of blogging was nothing more than people keeping their personal journal online. However, in a short amount of time, blogging has evolved from people talking about their cats into a very effective communication tool for businesses of all sizes. Considering that even large corporations are taking advantage of blogging, it’s time for you to find out what blogging can do for your small business.

When it comes to blogging, it’s important to understand that it is not some kind of magical secret that will instantly triple the revenue of your small business. However, when done properly, blogging can be a very useful tool in helping you harness the power of the Internet to attract new customers.

Creating a Blog

content writing 300x200 - How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Blogging?So, how do you get started with blogging for your small business? The first step is creating a blog. You should already have a website for your business (if you don’t, before you think about blogging, get a website set up), so you can add a blog directly to your website. You will have to discuss your options with your webmaster, but one of the most popular free blogging platforms is WordPress, which your webmaster should be able to add to your website.

Once you have created a blog, it is time to start writing. When it comes to blogging, there are no set rules about how you should write or what you should write about. However, there are some general guidelines that will help you move in the right direction. The most important thing you can do when you are writing posts for your blog is to be honest and real. While sales copy on websites does not necessarily have to be personalized, your blogging style should show your personality. The whole point of small business blogging is to create a one-on-one relationship with your customers and potential customers, so if your writing is dry and hides your personality, it is going to be much harder to accomplish that goal.

Create contents that will appeal to your target audience

content marketing 300x200 - How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Blogging?In terms of what you should write about, there are once again no concrete rules, but you should always focus on creating content that will appeal to your target audience. This can take time to figure out, but the more comfortable you get writing for your audience, the easier it will be to come up with content that they enjoy.

In addition to writing your own posts, you should start reading and commenting on other blogs within your industry. Participating in this kind of activity is the easiest way to attract new readers for your own blog. When you leave an interesting comment on a relevant blogger, visitors will take notice of you, and follow the link attached to the comment to your own blog. Additionally, when you come across a good post from a relevant blog, don’t be afraid to link to it from one of your future posts.

By blogging for your small business and participating on relevant blogs, you will begin to build a community which will continue to grow over time.

Doctor’s Advice on Fibromyalgia and Social Security Disability

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in Health Social Security Disability
Doctor's Advice on Fibromyalgia and Social Security Disability

Let’s talk about fibromyalgia, does fibromyalgia qualify for disability and how to get Social Security benefits if you have fibromyalgia.

First of all what is fibromyalgia? Well those of you who have it certainly know that it is a condition where there is pain and the muscles joints and tendons as well as stiffness and tenderness to the touch. The pain sometimes may hurt all over and it may be accompanied by headaches or by fibro fog which we refer to in that way when there’s confusion and memory lapses. It may have colitis symptoms associated with it and fibromyalgia may often have headaches and other symptoms as well as chronic fatigue. These are all the symptoms that most patients with fibromyalgia have to a greater or lesser extent.

The cause of fibromyalgia is not known

can you get disability for fibromyalgia 300x200 - Doctor's Advice on Fibromyalgia and Social Security DisabilityThere are many theories that we won’t get into today but certainly at bottom no one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia depends on the American Rheumatism Association criteria that were established in 1990 which incorporate finding 11 out of 18 trigger points. Now the newer criteria established more recently by the College of Rheumatology has actually done away with the trigger points that is to say, trigger points are no longer a part of the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Why is that? Because the ACR thought trigger points were just too inconsistent and not reliable to really diagnose this condition. However, Social Security still probably uses trigger points when they process benefits claims. Your doctor should be aware though that there are newer criteria to diagnose this condition. All soon, what’s new is the fact that there is now an objective blood tests to help diagnose fibromyalgia.

For years, fibromyalgia is a condition that we often said didn’t have any objective findings the new tests for fibromyalgia which is called FM /a. FM for fibromyalgia and /a is a blood test that measures cytokines in the blood and certain patterns of cytokines help to diagnose and confirm the presence of fibromyalgia. Ask your doctor about the FM /a test and if appropriate maybe that should be done in your case to help objectively diagnose fibromyalgia.

Your doctor must document all of these symptoms and findings in your medical record

Fibromyalgia is a condition that can be quite disabling, and you and your doctor have to discuss your symptoms in detail as to:

  • how much chronic fatigue you have
  • how much sleep disturbances you have
  • whether or not your pain is grade 7 or grade 9 or grade 10 out of 10 and so forth

Fibromyalgia Help 300x183 - Doctor's Advice on Fibromyalgia and Social Security DisabilityAnd what’s important is that your doctor must document all of these symptoms and findings in your medical record.  Why is that so important? Because Social Security looks at your medical records in order to determine whether you have disability. If you do not communicate to your doctor your findings and symptoms, and if your doctor doesn’t carefully document them in your medical record then when your case comes up to be heard Social Security may have nothing on which to base a disability award. That’s why it’s so important to have a two-way communication with you and your doctor and have your doctor carefully document your condition now.

Under HIPPA, you have the right to look at your medical records and to see what your doctor has entered and it is recommended that you do that. Ask your doctor for a copy of each and every progress note when you see your doctor. So that you can see what in fact your doctor enters into your medical record and if your doctor isn’t entering the data that you need for your disability award. What your symptoms are, how they disable you what you can or cannot do. Then you can talk to your doctor at each and every visit to see what that information is captured in the medical record. You have a legal right to look at it inspect your medical records. So finding a good doctor who is going to work with you, who understands fibromyalgia, who is willing to capture the information that you give to that doctor and make a solid medical record for you. That’s important if you’re going to win your disability for fibromyalgia case.

 

Senior Independent Living or Senior Assisted Living Selecting The Right Nursing Home

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in Senior Living
Senior Independent Living or Senior Assisted Living Selecting The Right Nursing Home

Senior housing can take many forms, including senior independent living and assisted living communities, Alzheimer’s and dementia care homes, residential care homes (also known as board and care), and skilled nursing facilities.

An assisted living community for seniors provides care for individuals who need some help with activities of daily living, yet who wish to remain as independent as possible. These senior living communities bridge the gap between independent living and nursing homes. Residents in assisted living communities aren’t able to live by themselves, but they don’t require constant care. Medical care is limited in an assisted living community and each state sets its own limits. Residents are assessed when they move into the community so the community can develop an individualized service plan to ensure that the senior get the best care possible.

senior independent living 300x200 - Senior Independent Living or Senior Assisted Living Selecting The Right Nursing HomeThere are about 33,000 assisted living communities in the United States. The number of residents living in a community can range from a few up to 300, with the most common size being between 25 and 120 individuals. Each community offers different levels of care and charges varying rates. The communities range in size from high rises to classic Victorians. Rooms vary from studios to one and two bedroom apartments with kitchenettes.

Residents may suffer from memory disorders, various diseases, or simply need help with mobility, incontinence or other challenges. Assisted living is appropriate for anyone who can no longer manage to live on their own but doesn’t require medical care.

Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

Facing the difficult task of selecting a senior assisted living facility for your loved one can be an emotionally stressful situation. You will want to ensure you find a community that will treat your loved one with compassion, respect, and dignity. It is important to take your time with this decision. With the right help, it’s possible to enhance the quality of life of your family member as they face the challenges that come with the aging process or a health issue. Because there are many options in assisted living facilities, you will want to take the needs of your loved one into account to ensure they are placed in the best possible assisted living community for their needs.

Things to Consider When Selecting the Right Community

The most common types of assisted living facilities include:

  • Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE)
  • Memory Care Homes (Alzheimer’s and other Dementia)
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)
  • Independent Living Communities (IND)
  • Assisted Living Communities (ACL)
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)

Assisted Living Community 300x200 - Senior Independent Living or Senior Assisted Living Selecting The Right Nursing HomeEach type of facility will provide a specialized level of care based on the needs of these types of patients and residents. If your loved one needs very little assistance, you may consider a residential care assisted living facility. This type of home will offer the ability to remain as independent as possible while receiving the care needed to remain healthy and safe. These facilities are ideal for seniors that wish to avoid the responsibilities that come with remaining in their own home, but still are able to live on their own.

Patients with Alzheimer’s or other dementia will require a specialized level of care offered at assisted living facilities dedicated to these illnesses. With a staff that understands the unique challenges of these conditions, your loved one will be cared for with dignity and respect when you select a Memory Care community that specializes in Alzheimer’s or dementia care.

Skilled nursing care facilities are for patients in need of a higher level of care. Seniors with significant health problems, mobility issues, and other challenges will receive a higher level of care when placed in a skilled nursing facility. For up-to-date information consider following Senior Care and Nursing Homes Tomorrow podcast.

 

How to Take Care of Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

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in Senior Living
How to Take Care of Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease

One of the common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease is the ability to recall past memories and the failure to remember recent experiences. If you notice your parent has this capacity, chances are, he or she is suffering from this disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain syndrome that gradually causes memory loss. It affects a person’s mind and work. The thinking power of a person is slowly deteriorating over time. Medications are a big help and so is family support. Thinking ahead and winning the battle on dementia. You may consider senior care treatment through memory care and family support from senior home health care.

Show of Love

memory care 300x203 - How to Take Care of Seniors with Alzheimer’s DiseaseLet’s face it. Some seniors are hard to deal with. They do not want to be told what to do. They do what they want and always insist that they know best. You can make them feel loved by doing little things with them.

If your parents love to cook, spend time with them in the kitchen. Give them simple tasks to do like sorting out vegetable leaves. This easy task makes them feel useful and loved.

Laugh Together

You and your parents have enjoyed a laugh before. Remind them of those times. Laughter is still the best medicine.

Physical Touch

Like a small child, hug your parents. Sleep next to them, even only for a short nap and hold their hands. Touch them as they want to feel important. They have this insecurity of uselessness. A simple touch can do wonders for them.

No Arguments

Instead of arguing with them, try to distract attention by soothing them. Persons with this disease are fond of repeating things. It is inevitable. You have to avoid being too critical. Whenever possible, change the topic. Never let them see your disappointment, frustration and boredom. These reactions injure their self-esteem.

Always see to it that your tone is positive and friendly. Stick to everyday topics like the weather, food, and their hobbies. Try to veer away from abstract topics that require a lot of thinking such as politics.

senior home health care 300x200 - How to Take Care of Seniors with Alzheimer’s DiseaseListen

Parents need a listening ear. Whenever they are relating anecdotes of long ago, listen to them seriously and take down notes inside your mind. Accompany them to the doctor. Tell the medical practitioner about their reactions.

Food

Seniors have a different diet. You have to break the monotony by cooking their favorite dish from the past. It can remind them of the times they cooked for you. This can make them feel younger and stronger.

Family Support

It is essential that you ask help from family members. Take turns in making your parents feel loved. Play cards and bingo with them. Look at old pictures with the family and reminisce the good old days when they were younger.

Alzheimer’s diseases may be a frustrating condition, but with your constant support and love, you can help your parents feel a lot better.

 

10 Digital Art Tips For Beginners

tedeschifoodshops.com
in Digital Arts
digital artist

There are probably a dozen ways to draw a simple circle, so you can imagine the many ways to do digital art in general. Personally, I tend to shift my way of working with almost every picture.  But there are basic tools and methods that have been consistent for me and I want to share those with you. I will mostly use Photoshop and a bit of Clip Studio Paint, because these are the ones I have the most experience with. But a lot of these of these tips will be transferable to other software and often the way you do things are very similar.

1. Work with Shortcuts

digital art tips 300x201 - 10 Digital Art Tips For BeginnersBefore starting a digital artwork, it is helpful to know about the keyboard shortcuts that are available. These will save you an immense amount of time, especially if your tablet has express keys to assign them to. There are lots of different preferences and you might not even know some of these exist. So let me give you a few recommendations that I use:

Ctrl+Z – for undoing things is the most common and should definitely always be on your mind or assigned to one of your expresskeys.

Holding R –  allows you to rotate your canvas freely and therefore is also a nice shortcut you might want to keep for an expresskey.

Ctrl+T – which is for the transform tool and helpful if you started to big or too small.

Scale, rotate or distort things with this.

Ctrl- and Ctrl+ is for zooming and especially time-saving so I have them on express keys as well. Of course this becomes obsolete if your touch enabled tablet allows you to pinch to zoom with your fingers.

The Alt key, while in brush mode, activates the color picker as long as you hold it. I use it so frequently that I have it assigned to a button on my stylus. This is incredibly helpful with painting, but more on that later. For the other button on the stylus I usually use the Right-Click, which in Photoshop lets you browse through your brush set and adjust the size of the brush.

2. Pick your Brushes

Early on when I started digital art I really got caught up with brushes, playing around and even creating some of my own from photos with really low resolution. I thought that other digital artists were only so good because they had that one specific brush that I would never get my hands on. There are some brushes that are perfect for a highly specific thing like certain textures, clouds or chains. But for most of your drawing and painting process, a simple round brush is often enough. You can change the pen pressure, the hardness and opacity and I learned that this already gives you a lot of options in your hand. But it can also be a lot of fun to try out different brushes, so I will link a few awesome brush sets in the description of this video.

3. Sketching

digital artwork 300x169 - 10 Digital Art Tips For BeginnersFor sketching, I typically use a simple round brush with slightly reduced opacity. Why a lower opacity? When you’re drawing many lines over or along each other, the areas they have in common will come out stronger. This acts as a great guide for when you work on your lineart later. You can of course, experiment with different brushes if you want your sketch to have a certain aesthetic. Make sure to put the sketch on its own layer. That way you can color it if needed. Try not to lose yourself in details too much and rather focus on the overall composition and proportions. When working digitally, you can easily mirror the image, which can quickly expose errors that you might overlook because you get so used to your drawing in its regular orientation.

4. Use the Liquify and transformation tool

When you spot mistakes after drawing for a bit, there are great tools you can use to avoid having to draw everything from scratch again. Two of these are the Liquify and transform tools. As I mentioned, you can mirror the sketch to see any oddities that have gone unnoticed and then use the Liquify tool to push and warp everything to its correct place. I love this tool because you can just play around with it, because sometimes you are not really sure what exactly is wrong with your drawing until you see it corrected. A tool like Liquify can also be found in Krita and Gimp. But another helpful tool that is also included in Clip Studio Paint is the transform tool. There is a bit of a difference between those programs but the application is pretty similar and great to use on details. Use a lasso and circle the area you want to change, the eyes for example. Then use transform to create a grid to warp the subject to your liking. It’s especially helpful when you want to match objects to a certain perspective, like for example add posters to a wall. An important note though: The Liquify or the transformation tool is best used while you are still in the sketching process because they lower the quality of the areas you work on. Lines for example often become noticeably blurry afterwards. With the sketch it usually is no big deal, since it will most likely disappear later in the process anyway. But if you warp your lineart heavily you might notice it.

5. Lineart vs. Painting

digital painting in photoshop 300x188 - 10 Digital Art Tips For BeginnersSomething that you should be aware of once you are satisfied with your sketch is that you can go in basically two different directions from there. You can continue and start working on a lineart which is often the case with manga or cartoon drawings that have significant lineart. Or you can work in a more painterly manner for a rendered look. In that case you want to work with areas and only use the sketch as your guide. If you choose the lineart route, you would first create a new layer on top of your sketch. To set the lineart apart from the sketch in the process, you can either lower the opacity of the underlying sketch layer or you can color it. Either way, doing this will help you distinguish the lineart from the sketch while keeping both visible. Doing the lineart can often be quite exhausting in my experience. A lot of time is wasted on undoing brush strokes which you’re trying to match to the underlying sketch. Unfortunately, there is no real shortcut around this, other than for example copying or mirroring single elements to re-use them wherever possible. For drawing linearts, I recommend using Clip Studio Paint or Paint Tool SAI rather than Photoshop. Clip Studio Paint creates very crisp and sharp, thin lines that look a lot cleaner compared to the ones you can do in Photoshop for example. After years of using both, I always end up feeling that lineart done in Photoshop comes out more rough, sketchy and shaky. But of course you can use whatever you like most. When it comes to architecture or other objects with lots of even, straight lines I can recommend Photoshop. Turn off the pen pressure and hold shift to connect points with a line easily. If you want to go more into realistic rendering, just skip the lineart and move on to the next step which is …

6. Creating a base

First, we want to create a basic layer that helps us stay inside the lines when we color. One way to do it is using the lasso tool to trace the outer line of your drawing. This way you make a selection of the inside that you can then fill on a separate layer. With a tidy and clean lineart that doesn’t have any gaps, the magic wand can save you some time. Select the space outside of our drawing and then invert the selection. This effectively selects the inside of your lineart. Fill it and you have a solid base layer. Once we have that, we want to make sure we only paint on the base and not outside of it. For that, you can lock the layer. Now, you can only paint on the parts of that layer that already have color in them.

7. Clipping layers

If you are scared of making mistakes – like me – and also want to quickly adjust and change things, make sure to try using clipping layers. For that you need to right click on your layer and select “Create clipping mask”. Here you can see me being able to paint everywhere. But as soon as I create a clipping mask, everything outside the area that we defined with our base layer disappears. Only the areas that overlap with the base layer can now be seen. The rest gets clipped. This is super helpful, because now we only have to focus on the area inside the line art. Using this technique, you can create layers for the single purposes like hair, skin, eyes, clothes. Basically as many as you like. Just keep in mind that you will quickly increase the number of layers and navigating hundreds of them can become quite confusing.

8. How to use the Color Picker

digital painting softwares 300x150 - 10 Digital Art Tips For BeginnersThe color picker is one of the essential tools for digital painting. As I said previously, I recommend assigning it to a button on your stylus, or at least somewhere easily reachable.  The color picker – assists name implies – picks up the visible color so you can use that as follows. Chose the layer you want to paint on and start with a shadow tone for example. Now you can hold the key for the Color Picker, pick up a transition tone, let go of the key and you can immediately keep painting with your brush. Of course this also works with highlights or just to keep a consistent color scheme, because you only use colors that are already present in your painting.

9. Smudging tool is not as bad as it seems

For a long time, I despised the smudging tool because it has such a characteristic look when you try to implement it in your work. But that was because I didn’t know how to use it properly. The smudge tool actually is pretty versatile. You can use different brushes with it, creating different effects. You can use it for textures and interesting transitions.  What I love to use it for is to soften edges. For example, I start cell-shading a piece and then just go over the hard edges to soften them to my liking. The brush isn’t standard with Photoshop as far as I know, but you can easily build such a brush for the smudge tool yourself. Pick the smudge tool and open a regular round soft brush. Then open the brush settings and set the spacing to 25%, scatter to 29%, count jitter to 46%, activate transfer and you are done.

10. Layer Blending Styles

digital art for beginners 300x203 - 10 Digital Art Tips For BeginnersLast but not least let’s take a quick look at some of the blending styles for layers that are worth checking out. Multiply is great when you scanned your traditional lineart and want to start coloring. Just put your line art on top and set it on multiply to make the white paper transparent screen is very helpful to create light effects. For example, I took this photo of a sparkler and set the layer to screen which makes all the black tones transparent. It’s like the negative version of Multiply Overlay is best for textures. If you want to give your art a watercolor look you can use textures and overlay them to add them to your painting Color is useful to change colors on individual areas and play around with color schemes. Would the ring look better in silver? Create a layer set to “color” and draw on the area with a grey tone to try it. Last but not least, here is some general advice on your tools.

A bonus tip if you will:

For digital art there are loads of options regarding both software and hardware. From normal drawing tablets to screen tablets, to tablet computers there is a variety of brands, qualities and prices you can choose from. I have noticed that a lot of beginning artists imagine that you can only create good art with a screen tablet but that’s a misconception. Back in 2005 I used a Graphire 4 and Photoshop Elements that came with it. At that point I only occasionally did digital art and I wasn’t sure whether I would be doing it much in the future. Not because it was so weird to not look at the surface you are physically drawing on but simply because learning the program was actually a lot harder. After using the screenless tablets for about 10 years I eventually figured that I wanted to upgrade to a Cintiq. My advice would be to let the tools grow with you. Start with a tablet appropriate to your needs and budget. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a tablet when you do not see yourself working with it for a long time.

For beginners, I highly recommend starting with a classic drawing tablet without a screen on it because they are far more affordable and you won’t hate yourself too much if it starts gathering dust. With practice you will get used to looking at your computer monitor. After all, you can always see where the cursor is on screen. Some people actually use games like OSU to practice their accuracy if they’re not drawing or painting something anyway. For digital art, I think understanding of the software is often times more crucial for your workflow than whether your drawing tablet has a screen built in or not.

 

Modern Web Design and Development

tedeschifoodshops.com
in Web Design
website developer san diego

The main purpose for a web development company is to design a website which will create a positive image for the business or company. This is one of the most important tools of a company any where in the world as it facilitates the most effective communication and advertisement tool -not to mention the most inexpensive. Your web site must be very professionally designed to attract and keep the attention of the visitor online long enough for them to find what it is they are looking for. There are many ways and techniques of doing this.

Web design is an art

website design companies 300x200 - Modern Web Design and DevelopmentAny business is incomplete without internet presence. Web design is an art that is the business of small and large enterprises alike. There are a lot of top webdesign companies who can create the most attractive web designs on the Internet at a fraction of the cost. Put in a nut shell a web site must attract customers or clients and create interest in them for the products and services the web site offers by displaying eye catching graphics and content. Though content creation is not a part of web design, web design does undertake to display the content in an attractive way on the Internet.

Make a web site less boring

There are technologies such as interactive videos that make a web site less boring and keep the visitor for longer periods at the site. These web designs include links that load and play a video that actually explains the web content to the visitor. An attractive face and a clear, crisp voice will definitely hold the interest of the visitor for longer and the convenience of having the content read out to them is an added advantage for many web surfers.

Make your website stand out

san diego web design firm 300x173 - Modern Web Design and DevelopmentAny online business that wants their website to stand out to apart form the rest; A good site can make this happen by using a web design which is unique and different from all the other web sites on the Internet. Choosing the precise web design options carefully and implementing the latest technologies is a must for a successful web site. Then comes the aesthetics – The choice of colors of your web site is probably the most important thing. You don’t want text and pictures to be hidden by bright colors on the site. Good web design professionals choose the best good color, graphics, animation and sound to match the theme of your site.

So in the ultimate analysis; your choice of a good web design professional or company will be the deciding factor of your web site being a success or failure, and that is determined by the number of people who visit your site and the number that is actually converted to customers. We provide top quality and affordable web design services.