winter sun

Most ‘Dangerous’ time of the year?

Which is the most dangerous time of the year, Summer or Winter?

As you sit in the garden, sipping your evening glass of wine this summer, it might not occur to you that this is the most dangerous time of year. Indeed, you may quite rightly think that winter with all its cold snaps and storms is the season to be wary of. The truth is that both summer and winter have their dangerous sides and they can certainly pose a threat to the most vulnerable in society.

The Heat of Summer
We are lucky that we live in a temperate country such as the UK but there are times when the skies clear, the temperatures soar and we all need to take a little extra care with the heat. The longer days and warmer weather gives us greater opportunities to go out and about and enjoy ourselves. There’s also the chance to have the odd barbecue here and there which can present its own dangers including mixing flammable liquids and hot open air grills with people who may have had too much alcohol.

Making sure that you drink enough water during the hot summer days is a must, as we are all aware. Don’t forget to check on any elderly neighbours as they are the most vulnerable when it comes to problems such as dehydration. You will also need to apply some suitable sun protection when going out in the heat of day and make sure any children are adequately covered.

Beaches can very quickly turn a relaxing environment into a trial of the elements. Every year millions of people look to the golden sands and pebbled beaches of the UK’s coastline with a view to topping up a tan, reading a book or playing in the sea and sand with their family. With so many people cramming into finite areas of space it is not uncommon for more and more people to seek the more secluded and less popular stretches to spread out onto.

The downside of this is that many fail to take into account the reason they are less popular. Fierce rip tides, full stretches of beaches cut off and then submerged leaving many beach goers stranded and in need of rescue. Last year alone 7,000 people had to be rescued in situations ranging from straying too far from the shore on inflatable beds to wind surfers getting caught by fierce tides and people being stranded by the sea.

During prolonged hot spells you may well find that areas like forests become vulnerable to fires and whilst the UK is nowhere near as dangerous as a country like Australia in the summer, people still need to take care when lighting up for whatever reason. Avoiding extremes is also a good idea and you should think twice about jumping from a hot day into a cold river or lake as the shock can actually cause your heart to fail.
The Ice of Winter
Winter, of course, brings its own problems. A cold snap can be a danger to the most vulnerable in society, particularly the elderly who may not possess the funds to keep their heating on all the time. In addition there may well be icy spots on the roads and pavements that present a danger to almost anyone who isn’t taking sufficient care.
If you are going for a walk out into the country then you need to make sure you are prepared for every eventuality. What starts out as a nice day may well turn more wintry and leave you stranded without the right equipment or clothing. A major factor in many deaths, particularly in the country, is the wind chill that can send temperatures plummeting and leave people in real difficulty.
A Change in the Weather
We are beginning to see more and more extremes of weather in the UK and we have, in recent years, encountered cold snaps and heatwaves as well as periods of rain that have caused damaging floods across the country. Both Winter and Summer have their own challenges and making sure you are properly prepared for most eventuality will help keep you safe and in full health whatever the season. One advantage of injury by insufficient planning and poor quality environmental maintenance means that you may actually be eligible for compensation. Girlings Personal Injury Claims company have an online claims checker that allows you determine whether or not you would qualify for compensation.

the art of blogging

What, How, Where and When to Blog – the simple guide

What to Blog

Finding the right topic upon which to pontificate is a daily ritual for many bloggers, whether professional blogger or toe dipping business amateurs. Finding the subject matter and then forming the necessaries is often a task more daunting than actually sitting down and writing what you need to.

With some, the decision and indeed the process is an easy one. They simply write whatever they want on the subject that interests them the most and hope that the content is sufficiently interesting that others who are similarly interested will be able to zone in and enjoy your ‘verbiage’ without falling asleep. (Yes, verbiage is a real word!)

So in the ‘what’ to write section you need to consider ‘what’ your core reader/customer/potential client would be interested in. For instance if you are a Kitchen Fitter you would be interested in style related articles, latest trends, fashions and strong epoxy’s. A subject which almost certainly would not appeal to accountants.

Twitter can give some idea of current trends as can Google, but really it is best to write about what you know.

 

How to Blog

Website, wordpress, blogger, log in, type and blog innit!

Commitment to blog is more important in some ways to the actual content. For if you cannot motivate yourself to get up each day and bang a keyboard then limited and sporadic content can be less than helpful in any coordinated attempt to raise your blogging profile.

Look at the reasons you want to blog. For most it is to promote a website, service, product or weird hobby. In which case you need to motivate yourself regularly to keep coming up with content and reasons for people to want to read your blog. Simply bashing out a few pieces every month is unlikely to win you customers, but banging out a constant stream of relevant content suddenly makes you an ‘expert’!

It is also more likely that one of your blogs will contain elements of relevance to other people, the more you have, so they are more likely then to link to your exhaustive and encyclopedic blogs for reference.

With that in mind it can be as simple as dedicating the first hour of every day to writing your thesis for the day.

You can blog in simple ways, Microsoft Word (should you prefer such a reprehensible medium) offers a simple blog link  in allowing you to connect your word documents directly into your wordpress site. Or you can simply log directly into your blogging platform be it wpress, buddy, Joomla, Modx or others.

 

Where to Blog

Another good place to blog is social media platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Faceache or others where you have a direct connection with an existing community. Not that it guarantees that anyone would read the blog or even give a passing glance. But it all helps.

Blogger.com is a fairly useful and dynamic blogging platform that links nicely into other Google sections. Also blogging direct onto WordPress.com makes you ‘community’ and is often just as likely to get read by other ‘community’ bloggers.

One of the best venues, however, is always going to be someone else’s blog. Guest blogging is a growing phenomenon and one that works well for everyone as it gives you direct access to someone else’s core readership, with very useful and nice link backs to your website and or blog.

A good discerning blogger will be careful who they invite to ‘Guest Blog’ on their own site as they won’t want anything too controversial or damaging to their own reputation or online name. That said there are many benefits to opening your blog site to other bloggers, not least of which is constant stimulating content that certainly can’t hurt your main blog at all and will lead you to open your category selection and widen the variety of your own online content. The result being a larger group of wandering input junkies lusting after your site.

 

When to blog

Right now. Seriously, what are still doing reading this, you should be writing!

Current thinking is that most people search at all times for all things that interest them at any time that is relevant to them. As long as your blog is well optimised and the content relevant, they will find your piece. So when you actually blog is largely irrelevant……..except when you are blogging on trending issues.

For instance there is little point in blogging about England’s poor performance in the last game if there have 6 games since the one you are talking about. The dates on blogs will help visitors to understand the context but make sure you blog within an appropriate timeframe for current affairs.

 

So there you have it – a simple overview on how to blog. (you got this far!?!?!)

 

 

Social media refers to interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks

How Social Media platforms impact on small retail businesses

Social media platforms have completely changed the way businesses can get in touch with their customers through social marketing. There is no other media channel which allows your business to access over 1 billion people instantly and initiate direct contact with them. Whatever the size of your business, you should consider social marketing via Facebook and other various social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

Facebook has provided a diverse platform where you can reach customers who are geographically and demographically placed for you to access in order to make online sales, discuss how they view the product and what improvements they would like to see, address their concerns and complaints quickly and promptly, and allow them to spread the word about your brand and company amongst their family and friends.

With the increased popularity of people shopping online through mobile devices, this new buying habit has created revenue opportunities for various small retail businesses. Facebook has provided an online market platform for both large and small businesses. Large companies are spending significant budgets on this social commerce and marketing trend, but this doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot benefit from this phenomenon. They too can leverage the new social marketing trend to generate increased revenues. Here are top 5 ways to benefit from Facebook as a small retail business:

1. Be more personal
Large companies might not be able to provide individual attention to every customer on their social media page. They might appoint other individuals to stay in touch with customers, but transparency and quality control in the way they handle customers can be uncertain and inconsistent. On the other hand, small retail businesses due to their size can pay attention to individual customers and be more personal with them by taking time out to address each and every concern they have. Effective dialogue and genuine engagement is what creates long-term and loyal customers and gives rise to a robust social marketing campaign. You can encourage and motivate customers to share their experiences and take the opportunity to resolve their issues in “real-time”, bringing you much closer to them as compared to a large corporation.

2. Keep customer service first
For many people a company Facebook page is a platform where they can voice their ideas and feelings about the company and its brand. Therefore, you wouldn’t like them to share any negative experiences since this page is being followed and “liked” by millions of people. In order to avoid such situations, it is best to stay on top of your customers. A proactive behaviour will help you resolve all queries within 12 hours and provide customers with a rapid solution to their issues, resulting in an effective social marketing approach. Large corporations have many other things to consider and might not be able to concentrate on what issues the customer is voicing. As a small retail business your company can provide a personal and individual service towards your customers which will make them feel valued and looked after.

3. Optimise your Facebook page
In order to run your company’s Facebook page it isn’t necessary for you to have significant IT knowledge. A simple review of your page and effective feedback from your customers will help you optimise your page. Also by concentrating on what you expect to generate from your Facebook page will keep you on a straight path. Differentiate between whether you are interested in boosting online sales or attracting “likes”.

If you are looking to boost online sales, then your Facebook page will act as an advertising platform for your business. This involves creating external website ads, which when clicked on, will direct the customer to your web page. On the other hand if you are interested in created a viable and robust online presence you might be looking to attract substantial “likes” from your Facebook page. This encourages interaction between customers and your company. It gives you greater opportunity to talk to them about your product, arrange polls/surveys and other activities that will keep them engaged.

Whatever your reasons might be to promote your company online through social marketing, creating a Facebook page is essential for any size and type of business. There are various ways this and other social media platforms can benefit your company, whether you have a geographically dispersed customer base or a local customer base; either way it can help you generate revenue and boost sales. A great example about how Twitter can help small retail business is www.timberclick.com who use it for the promotion of special offers and timber stock clearance.