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How to Write Killer Sales Copy

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Dear Business-Builder,

Sometimes, I get flummoxed.

Like a few years back — when the president of Phillips Publishing asked me to answer questions his group publishers and marketing managers had about copywriting.

It was in the early 1990s, and Phillips’ president was the legendary Bob King – a truly great man, and one of the sharpest marketing minds I have ever known.

As I remember, the first question his people asked me was, “How do you know the difference between good sales copy and bad copy?”

Hence, my flummoxation: These were executives with degrees in marketing from major universities — marketing hot shots who hired copywriters every single day … critiqued our copy and dictated changes to us — and the one thing they wanted to know was … “How can I spot powerful sales copy when I see it?”

My mind reeled. I was so caught off-guard, I just blurted out the first thing that went through my mind: “You don’t know it,” I said, “You feel it.”

I explained that consumers almost never buy things because it is logical to do so – and that the vast majority of purchases made in this country are made because they satisfy an emotional need. So to be great, sales copy must connect with the prospect’s most powerful resident emotions – whether positive or negative – and demonstrate how reading the copy and buying the product will fulfill or assuage those desires or fears.

That’s why, I explained, instead of merely thinking through the writing, editing and review process, I feel my way through – making sure that the “tingle factor” intensifies with every passing paragraph until I literally can’t wait to order.

I explained how every sales message is like a chain designed to meet the reader at the point of his need … and then lead him, step by step, link by link, to the order form.

I showed them how the chain is only as strong as its weakest link: How the minute you lose the “tingle factor,” the reader gets bored, you lose him, and the chain breaks. How if something you say feels unbelievable to him, the chain breaks. And how if you confuse him by losing your clarity of vision, the chain breaks.

I also pointed out that, even if you make sure that every link in the chain is unbreakable, your sales copy is also only as strong as its strongest link. The more compelling each section is, the greater your response and average order will be. And here, once again, feeling my way through lets me strengthen even the strongest sections of my copy.

I thought it was a pretty good answer. I still do. In fact, if you haven’t had the experience of reading your copy aloud, sensing how each passage feels to you, sensing how it’s likely to feel to the prospect, I highly recommend it.

But as I watched the young gun’s faces, I could tell that I had raised more questions than I answered for them. They needed something more tangible from me. They needed a checklist – a handful of nitty-gritty, nuts-and-bolts tactics to look for.

And so, in a belated attempt to improve on my decade-old answer, allow me to offer 21 ways to spot strong sales copy – and to help make the ads, direct mail packages and Internet promotions you’re working on bigger winners for you.

THESE ARE NOT RULES. I hate rules. But they’re great “non-rules” – guidelines that have paid off for me time and time again in my 30 plus years in the direct response trenches – and that I’m confident will strengthen your ad copy as well …

Non-Rule #1 – BE Somebody!

We tend to be skeptical, even suspicious of information given us by a corporation. We welcome – indeed, we seek out — advice from qualified guides and advocates who have our best interests at heart. And we welcome advice from someone who has solved a problem that we’re struggling with.

Putting a friendly and/or highly qualified human face on copy – and speaking in that person’s voice — will ramp up the impact of your sales messages by an order of magnitude.

Non-Rule #2 – Address Your Prospect Directly:

Here, you actually get two maxims for the price of one:


A) Talk to your reader: Instead of talking about how “we” age … how “we” encounter various health problems, talk to the reader about her life … her future … and most importantly, her feelings.

Use the word “YOU” as often as is humanly possible throughout your text. Remember: Your prospect really couldn’t give a flip about you, your company, your product or anything else. The prospect is interested in the prospect!

B) Talk about the reader: Yes, it’s true that x million Americans have heart attacks each year. But saying it that way, you’re not talking about her; you’re talking about x million other folks.

Find ways to personalize these kinds of statistics: “As an American over age 40, your chances are one in x of having a heart attack this year.” Wow. Now, you’ve got my attention!

Non-Rule #3 – Be Personal:

I often begin by closing my eyes and imagining that I’m talking to a friend about the subject at hand. How would I begin the conversation? What would I say? What would he say? What would I say back?

I would not refer to myself in the plural: “We want to help you …” I’d say, “Here – let me help you …”

Non-Rule #4 – Identify With Your Prospect:

Gary Bencivenga did this beautifully with his “Why we investors are fed up …” deck in his all-time classic “Lies, Lies, Lies!” package. Instantly, in the prospect’s mind, the person addressing him was transformed from a salesman into “a regular guy” — someone just like him.

Tell the reader what you have in common. Let him know that you empathize: You’ve been there. Reveal a non-fatal weakness or a petty frustration that the two of you might share. Anything that puts you on the reader’s level will endear him to you and engender trust between you.

Non-Rule #5 – Put a Face on the Enemy:

Why has the reader failed to solve this problem or fulfill this desire? Were all the other products he’s tried ineffective? Were the “experts” who gave him advice wrong? Is someone intentionally using him?

This is a rich emotional vein – so mine it! But instead of droning on about how unfair banks are, personalize it. Talk about how greedy bankers do this or that to the reader. Or about how callous drug company execs trick his doctor into prescribing costly and dangerous things that often don’t work.

Non-Rule #6 – Prove Every Point:

Never ask your reader to accept any claim at face value. Always include proof elements that suspend his disbelief with every claim. Best credibility devices could include:

  1. Study data from respected sources
  2. Expert testimonials
  3. User testimonials
  4. Statements that support your point from a major periodical – The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.

Non-Rule #7 – Don’t Fear the Occasional Obvious Overstatement:

No, I’m not suggesting that you should exaggerate when describing what your product does. But I often use an obvious over-the-top phrase to demonstrate how intensely my client feels about a particular point.

Once in a health promotion, for example, I wrote:

“Some surgeons are so greedy, they’ll gladly cut a hole right through you – just to get to your wallet!”

Was it true? Who knows? No, I didn’t have a story about a surgeon who had literally cut through a patient to reach his wallet in my substantiation files. I did know, however, that many of my readers had had hysterectomies, mastectomies and other surgical procedures that were later determined to be unnecessary – and that line got every one of them emotionally involved and on my side.

Non-Rule #8 – Speak Colloquially:

I try to speak to my prospects as they’re used to being spoken to. Yes, that means I often dangle my participles and other parts (of speech). So what? I’m trying to communicate here – not trying to pass an English exam.

To mock the sticklers who were constantly correcting his prepared speeches, Winston Churchill once declared, “A dangling participle is something up with which I will not put.” Pretty much says it all …

Non-Rule #9 – All Jargon is NOT Evil!

Many coaches say you should avoid technical terms and industry jargon altogether. Baloney. The selective use of jargon comes in handy lots of times when I’m writing — like …

A) When the jargon’s meaning is familiar to the reader – especially investors and medical patients — I’m respecting his intelligence; speaking a language he understands and is comfortable with.

B) When the jargon is being spoken – sparingly – by an expert, it demonstrates the expert’s, well … expertise. We expect doctors to be proficient in the use of medical jargon and brokers to use investment terminology. If the term is obscure though, I’ll include a quick explanation and then move on.

Non-Rule #10 – Figures of Speech are Wonderful!

Early on, I was told to avoid clichés, sayings, analogies, aphorisms, proverbs, adages and so on. But why? If you had a face-to-face conversation with your prospect wouldn’t you hear tons of these figures of speech?

Doesn’t the use of these favorite sayings instantly say, “Hey – I’m not a salesman; I’m just like you!”? Don’t they get your prospect smiling? And don’t most of them instantly communicate something that it would otherwise take us a sentence or more?

If a picture is worth one thousand words, a good figure of speech should be worth at least one hundred. So go ahead: Experiment. If a figure of speech helps you communicate faster or drive a point home harder – and if you’re absolutely sure that its meaning will be instantly grasped by your prospect – go for it!

Of course, writing copy that’s just one cliché after another might be a slippery slope. Your client may even say that your promo is a basket case. That would be a close shave! You might end up feeling as dumb as a bag of hammers.

But on the other hand, choosing the right spots to communicate quickly with an idiom could turn out to be your bread and butter. Who knows? Maybe you’ll wind up richer than Midas!

Rule #11 – Put the 75 Most Powerful Words and Phrases in the English Language to Work for You:

Use these freely (no charge) when crafting headlines, subheads, and throughout your copy:

  • Amazing
  • Astonishing
  • Astounding
  • Announcing
  • Appalling
  • At Last
  • Bargain
  • Bonus
  • Breakthrough
  • Charter
  • Comfortable
  • Discount
  • Discover
  • Discovery
  • Easy
  • Effortless
  • Exclusive
  • Fearless
  • First Time Ever
  • Forever
  • Free
  • Gift
  • Guaranteed
  • How to…
  • How I …
  • Hurry
  • Immediate
  • Improved
  • Inevitable
  • Instantly
  • Intense
  • Introducing
  • It’s here
  • Just Arrived
  • Last Chance
  • Limited
  • Locked-In
  • Miracle
  • Money
  • Never Before
  • Nothing To Lose
  • New
  • Now
  • Opportunity
  • Painless
  • Premium
  • Prestigious
  • Priority
  • Promise
  • Proven
  • Quick
  • Revolutionary
  • Right Away
  • Rush
  • Sale
  • Save
  • Savings
  • Scandalous
  • Secret
  • Send No Money
  • Sensation
  • Simple
  • Special
  • Shocking
  • Steal
  • Surprising
  • The Truth About…
  • Today
  • Unique
  • Valuable
  • Why
  • Win
  • Windfall
  • Yes
  • And of course, the all-time award-winner … YOU!

Another thing: Some words and phrases are wimps. The limp-wristed, namby-pambies of the writing universe. “Can” … “could” … “should” … “might” … “may” … “ought to” … “seeks to” … “has the potential to” … “In my opinion” … and all the rest of these sissies should be banned from your copy whenever necessary.

Tell your prospect what your product will do. If the legal beagle or compliance officer complains, make a phone call and haggle.

Example:

YOU WRITE: “These investments are guaranteed to soar when interest rates rise.”

COMPLIANCE VERSION: “These investments could possibly have the potential to soar when interest rates rise – maybe.”

COMPROMISE: “These investments have the power to soar when interest rates rise.”

Non-Rule #12 – Squint:

Squinting makes the individual letters and words indecipherable and I’m left with just the pattern the paragraphs make on the page.

As I study the page, I’m asking myself, “At first glance, does this feel easy-to-read and inviting? Or is it covered with long, dense paragraphs that will only discourage my reader?”

Then I …

  • Jump in and break long paragraphs into shorter ones – even one-line paragraphs when I can …
  • Identify spots where the thing is crying out for a break – a sidebar or indented paragraph, for example – and then work them in …
  • Look for opportunities to turn a long block of copy into a string of pearls (like these).

I look for a series of benefits, steps in a procedure or other copy points that I can precede with bullets, numbers, letters, etc.

You can present horrifying alternatives …

  • Ages your body: Fluoride has been shown to damage your chromosomes and block the enzymes needed to repair your DNA.
  • Poisons your brain: Laboratory subjects given tiny doses of fluoride for a year showed an increased uptake of aluminum in the brain, and the formation of beta amyloid deposits which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. And five Chinese studies have documented a lowering of IQ in children exposed to fluoride!

… Or, billboard benefits, as with these fascinations from a recent promotion for Your Money Report:

  • The #1 Secret of Landlords Who Get RICH: Doing this one thing can mean the difference between fat profits and a devastating loss! Page xx
  • Flipping For A Fortune? WATCH OUT! Ingenious strategy lets you make a bundle without ever owning a single property. BUT, it could also get you sued – or worse! Essential advice: Page xx
  • Beware of These “Landlord Landmines!” 3 easy ways to sidestep costly landlord/tenant traps. Page xx

… Or, create a label. This series, “7 Guilty Secrets Drug Companies Do NOT Want You To Know” was also touted on the cover of the piece as a reason to read the piece:


FACT #1: Drug Companies Kill Tens of Thousands Each Year: Many of today’s most-often prescribed medications are not only useless, but extremely dangerous – crippling and killing as many Americans each year as died in the 18 years of the Vietnam war.

FACT #2: They Do It Knowingly — For Money: The ultra-rich U.S. drug industry – the single most profitable businesses in America – is guilty of using bogus research, distorted reporting, and bald-faced lies to push deadly and ineffective drugs onto unsuspecting doctors and patients.

Non-Rule #13 – Go for Precision and Power:

A lot of experts say you should use short words. Write as if the prospect is an eighth-grader.

Some anal-retentive rule addicts have even gone so far as to instruct students to add up all the letters in each paragraph and divide by the number of words, and make sure that the average word is no more than five letters long!

Utter nonsense!

Here’s what I do …


o If a long word means precisely the same thing and carries the same emotional coloring as a shorter word, I’ll go with the shorter word.

I can’t stand to read or even talk to people who use longer words when shorter ones will do just fine: Who say “facilitate” when all they mean is “help” or “ease” … “compensate” when they mean “pay” … “Individual” when they mean a “guy” or a “gal” or “person” … or “sufficient” when they mean “enough!”

Nine times out of ten, I’ve found that people who write or talk like that are trying to hide something. Like massive insecurities. Or the fact that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

To quote William Zinsser’s advice in his classic, On Writing Well:

“Beware, then, of the long word that is no better than the short word: ‘numerous’ (many), ‘facilitate’ (ease), ‘individual’ (man or woman), ‘remainder’ (rest), ‘initial’ (first), ‘implement’ (do), ‘sufficient’ (enough), ‘attempt’ (try), ‘referred to as’ (called), and hundreds more.”

o But if a longer word – or even an entire phrase — more precisely conveys my meaning or more effectively invokes the emotion I’m going for, the longer word it is!

Non-Rule #14 – Short Sentences Rule!

This is a particular weakness of mine – I tend to string too many thoughts together … use hyphens and ellipses and other devices to connect them; and only wind up turning sentences into entire paragraphs in which the prospect eventually gets lost or has to read twice. (Damn – did it again!)

I don’t worry too much about it on my first drafts. That’s when I’m just trying to get everything out on paper. I try to fix my run-ons when I’m editing, later on.

As I edit my copy, I try to keep this advice in mind from the classic book on writing, The Elements of Style:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

Non-Rule #15 – Count Commas:

I view commas as warning flags in my copy. Sure – they could be there for a good reason: Like showing the proofreader that I do, in fact, know a thing or two about proper punctuation.

But often times, commas are a big red flag that tells me that I’ve got a run-on on my hands. Or even worse, they scream, “HEY, BOZO! You wrote this sentence UPSIDE DOWN!”

Consider …

“With only the finest of intentions, Clayton wrote his example.”

That comma in the above sentence is a dead-giveaway that something’s out of kilter. Wouldn’t it read faster if I merely said …

“Clayton wrote his example with only the finest of intentions.”

Non-Rule #16 – Use Connecting Words at the Beginning of Paragraphs:

In addition to communicating, every paragraph of great copy should also make a sale: It should “sell” the prospect on the idea of reading the next paragraph.

Early on, I learned that using conjunctions and other connecting words at the beginning paragraphs was a simple way to keep the momentum going: “And” … “Plus” … “But” … “Furthermore” … “Moreover” … “What’s more” … “And there’s more:” … “Even worse,” for example.

Hint: I like “and” better than “but.” “And” is positive. “But” is negative. I look for “buts” and try to replace them with “ands” wherever I can.

Non-Rule #17 – Look for Shortcuts to Keep the Momentum Going:

I make liberal use of contractions. After all — it’s how people talk! In fact, the only time I write “does not” instead of “doesn’t” is when the “not” is crucial to my meaning. And if it’s really crucial, I’ll add emphasis to it with an underline, italicizing it, capitalizing it, and in come cases, all of the above.

Non-Rule #18 – Be Specific:

Every generality in your text is a landmine. That will kill you.

Instead of merely saying “you’ll save time,” tell your prospect precisely how much time he’ll save. Don’t say, “Buy now and save!” Say, “You SAVE $99 by calling in the next 10 minutes!”

I actually read through each draft looking for excuses to add specifics to fully dimensionalize every problem and every promise.

Non-Rule #19 – Consider The Question:

Some folks think that asking the prospect a question – either in a headline or elsewhere in your copy is a mistake. “After all,” they say, “Declarative sentences are strong; questions are weak. And besides, how do you really know how the prospect will answer?”

But sometimes questions aren’t weak. Sometimes, they’re hypothetical – and make a very strong declarative statement. A headline I wrote for Louis Navallier – a head that mailed successfully for more than a year — once asked …

What’s wrong with getting richer QUICKER?

The copy went on to say:

I’ve made money slow, and I’ve made money fast. Believe me: Fast is better!

That head wasn’t a really question. It was a cry of defiance from impatient investors who were sick and tired of being told to cool their jets.

In the pre-head of a recent direct mail piece for Your Money Report, I wrote …


o Suspicious of corporate CEOs who lie about their earnings?

o Fed up with stockbrokers who tout lousy stocks – and get rich even when you don’t?

o Impatiently waiting for the profits Wall Street promises you – but never delivers?

It’s time for you to join millions of your fellow Americans who grew rich when they finally said …

“Thanks for nothing, Wall Street –

I’d Rather Do It MYSELF!”

Used properly, questions can often be used to demonstrate that you already know and empathize with the answer. And they can also be a great way to demonstrate the horrifying alternative — as I did in this P.S. for an investment newsletter …


P.S. What if I’m right? What if I really can help you avoid losses and even profit when tech stocks tumble? How will you feel, licking your wounds and knowing that if you had just said, “YES,” to this generous offer, you could have made a killing?

Please – for your sake – let me hear from you today. If I can’t help you, my service costs you nothing. If I can, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Non-Rule #20 – When in Doubt, Cut it Out:

After I’ve completed a draft, I often realize that my best lead is buried a few paragraphs down in the copy. Moving or deleting the first few paragraphs — or even the first page — would get us off to a much faster start.

Another weakness of mine: Excessive repetition. I tend to over-write key paragraphs, or write a key paragraph several different ways. Second drafts are the perfect time to spot this needless repetition and condense several graphs into one, short, punchy one.

Non-Rule #21 – Break the Rules!

Never let the fact that a particular technique is frowned upon prevent you from using it. Follow every road that opens up before you as you write. Explore every unbeaten path. Don’t let that left-brained party-pooper who lives inside you kill what could be a great idea before you’ve had time to fully develop it. Even if you later agree that it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something. And if it does work, you’ve made a breakthrough.

Hope this helps!

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Sure Bet, You Can Make It to Pinnacle Sports Betting

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You must have heard of Pinnacle Sports betting empire that has grown large due to its massive offering of bets online on different sports and online casino games. But, since it has voluntarily exited from the United States in 2007, you can still make bets with World Sports Exchange (WSEX) based in the country.

Now, get your computers ready to go online and resume enjoying online gaming especially on popular sports. You need to register online and create your own password. The main factor that makes this online gaming facility attractive is its ability to provide the best odds. It offers a unique “reduced margin pricing model”. Unlike other online gaming organizations that offers the standard -110 or equivalent to $1.91, this pioneering online gaming organization popularly known as Pinnacle undercuts the standard rate to -105/-104 or the equivalent of $1.95/$1.96 on head-on-head match ups and spreads.

Through the WSEX, anyone can still make bets online for their chosen sports such as basketball, baseball, hockey, football, rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, and soccer. The Pinnacle Sports Worldwide based in Curacao also operates online sports gambling review and other online sports books. These resources can help you to be updated with the latest trends and information about teams and players and trading of players. They also include statistics on all sports from games played to individual player stats to future game odds.

One can never get lost in the online systems that Pinnacle Sports betting offers to all its worldwide customers. These online systems are upgraded for efficient user-friendly purpose. Hence, if you are a newcomer, you can never go wrong by browsing through and navigating across its webpages. The statistics are on updated regularly and transcribed in plain language for easy understanding. For example, you can go online on live NBA and place your bets as game is progressing.

Handicaps between teams playing are displayed to give you “intelligent guesses” and estimates that are based on history and predictions. There are money lines and total points for you to rely on so that you can make a smart decision how much money to place as a bet and for what game. The only thing is you have to open an account and make sure that you fund your account so that you would not be embarrassed placing a bet without an account funded well for the bet.

Pinnacle Sports betting systems are still favored by many Americans and other nationalities because of its prestige to be part of the giant network of online sports betting. It is important that you are also knowledgeable about the terminologies used in the sport that you have chosen to play. There are helpful aids for you to go in case you are stuck with something. There is the customer support services online and there are theoretical sources to use like the online sports books. One exciting feature about this worldwide online sports betting facility is the instant payment that you get through your account when the results of the game come out. You bet that you will love this.

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A Civil Engineer Career Might Be For You

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Did you spend an inordinate amount of time as a youngster tinkering with toys for insight into their inner workings? Have you always had a fascination with the physical construction of buildings and other structures? Do you derive great delight at the prospect of designing modern architectural marvels?

If any of these pictures include you within their frames, you should take a good look into a Civil Engineering career. These highly-skilled professionals are trained to maintain and enhance our environment in many ways. Remove the hard hats and steel-toed boots. Seat yourself comfortably and prepare for serious exploration into environment of a civil engineer.

Everyday workday experience

Civil engineers, or CEs exercise their skilled craft in widely varied settings. Found in both public and private settings, these professionals deal with all aspects of design, maintenance, construction, and repair of major environmental features.

Frequently found on construction worksites advising supervisory staff, civil engineers function as the “eyes and ears” of the entire project. When major infrastructural crises occur such as the collapse of municipal water mains or utility poles, CEs are invariably on the scene. Accurate damage assessment and efficient solution development are vital to restoring essential public services.

Civil engineers also engage in extensive community consensus development and project planning activities. Upon becoming a CE, you might find yourself planted behind a desk doing detailed analyses of architectural drawings one week.

The next week may find you conducting on-site inspections of municipal drainage systems. A month later, you could easily find yourself by the side of the road surveying local highway dimensions. A mere quarter-year later, you may be climbing utility poles for a closer peek at their external wiring and electrical apparatuses.

Academic accoutrement acquisition

Educational requirements of entry-level civil engineer positions typically include a bachelor’s degree with a Civil Engineering major. Typical coursework covers subjects such as Design, Mathematics, Project Management, and Physics. Initial years of study usually cover a broad range of engineering subtopics. Subsequent study usually focuses on a specific civil engineering sub-discipline.

Upon successful degree completion, professional certification must be obtained. This is accomplished by meeting pre-established criteria of an applicable professional organization. A common certification prerequisite is relevant work history of a minimum length and passage of comprehensive examination(s). Successful certification candidates receive the designation of “Professional Engineer.”

Careers, cores, and concentrations

The primary civil engineering subspecialties include but are not limited to:

  • environmental engineering
  • geotechnical engineering
  • structural engineering
  • transportation engineering
  • municipal or urban engineering
  • water resources engineering
  • materials engineering
  • coastal engineering
  • surveying
  • construction engineering

Such a broad variety lends versatility and opportunity to this career path. In general, starting positions entail less responsibility for fewer aspects of projects or systems. As the engineer gains experience, greater accountability and more complex analyses or designs are delegated to him or her. Managerial or consulting positions are also available options.

Satisfaction on many levels

A civil engineering career can be quite rewarding. Much satisfaction is derived from serving many vital public interests. Insuring proper maintenance of major infrastructures such as bridges, sewer systems, and highways is quite gratifying. Similarly, providing prompt efficient solutions to widespread crises and catastrophes yields professional and community prominence – and personal pride.

Civil engineering is also quite rewarding on an entirely different level. Just as you and your colleagues work covertly behind the scenes to insure continued smooth operations, so does Uncle Sam. Thanks to the sustained efforts of his staff at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), a clear picture of this career path has emerged.

As of May 2008, civil engineers’ average annual salary was $78,560. Per a 2009 BLS survey, civil engineering starting positions for bachelor’s degree conferees averaged $52,048 per annum. Class, you can’t shake a stick at these figures.

The future occupational outlook for civil engineers is exceptionally bright. The BLS believes that jobs in the field will increase substantially faster than overall for all careers through 2018. This ambitious expansion is attributed mainly to an increasing population that will accelerate the demand for new construction and design.

As older structures deteriorate, fresh alternatives to age-old rehabilitation remedies will be in high demand. Further statistical details are available for devouring at bls.gov/. For now, class is dismissed. Go out and do something “constructive.”

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Top Rated Antivirus Guide to Choosing the Right Antivirus Solution for Your Home or Small Business

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Keeping your personal data 100% these days is very difficult. Even major corporations like Yahoo and Equifax have experienced huge breaches that affected millions of users. How can a private citizen or small business prevent a cyber security breach from occurring? The best thing to do is invest in a top rated antivirus – ideally one that automatically updates frequently.

Modern antivirus tools are made to handle a variety of threats like rootkits, Trojans, adaware, spyware, and ransomware. There are dozens of programs to choose from, but how do you know which one to invest in? Even though Windows 10 comes with its own antivirus and defense tools, many users don’t consider it to be enough and opt for a better set of security tools. Also, not everyone uses Windows 10 this day and age. What about Mac and smartphone OS? Which cyber security software company offers protection for Android and iOS?

Here are a few features the top rated antivirus offers:

• Excellent malware-detection capabilities

• Easy setup and user-friendly navigation

• Web and email protection

• Multi-platform and multi-device licensing options

• Router and network protection

• Automatic analysis of suspicious files

• A “Smart Scan” mode

It’s highly essential that you use a solution that offers in-product support and troubleshooting. Even it’s easy to use, you never know when you might need tech support, which should be available 24/7.

Before installing any antivirus program, look over the system requirements to make sure it is compatible with your computer / device and operating system. It should run smoothly in the background and not interfere with your active apps. A “Game” or “Movie” mode is a beneficial feature as well since it puts notifications on hold so that your full-screen experience won’t be interfered with.

How to Get a “Taste” of a Top Rate Antivirus

A top rated antivirus will offer a free trial or free, basic version of its software. You should never be forced to pay anything right away. However, a basic antivirus program might not offer all of the protection you’ll need forever – especially if you’re running a business or home office. Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated all the time, so you’ll need only the best antivirus protection that is able to keep up with all of the newest threats.

So, now that you know what to look for, what is the top rated antivirus that many experts recommend? Avast is a highly-rated name in the internet security industry. Its antivirus software is available as a Basic Version and Pro version, and there are a variety of subscription options to choose from. Whatever kind of security you need, you can trust that there is an Avast Antivirus solution that meets those needs.

When you have the top rated antivirus installed, you reduce the risks of getting viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats significantly. All you need are Avast Antivirus discount codes to help you get this product at a very affordable price.

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Hardwood Floor Care

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In many homes in Houston, hardwood floors are one of the most beautiful focal points in the home. They come from a wide variety of woods and can be finished in just about any color and finish you can imagine. While hardwood floors are very durable and traffic resistant, proper care and maintenance is essential to keeping them beautiful for many, many years.

The key to keeping hardwood floors looking beautiful lies with keeping them as clean and dry as possible. Dust and other debris on the surface of hardwood flooring gets ground into the finish, and this causes floors to dull over time. The longer this surface contamination is left on the floor, the more deeply embedded the debris becomes and this causes more damage to the finish. If not attended to, this can actually strip away the finish and leave raw wood exposed. Keeping a good coat of wax on the floors will prevent casual spills from absorbing into the wood if you act quickly clean them up. The good news is that keeping your floors clean is a simple matter of sweeping them a couple of times a day with a swifter mop (use a micro fiber pad) and a product like Orange-Glo.

The biggest problem with hardwood floors is getting them scratched by the demands that simply living on them causes. You must take care when moving things around on hardwood floors. When living on hardwood floors, do not drag anything across them when moving furniture or other heavy objects. Use large area rugs under heavy furniture, and keep pads under furniture legs, as these will move when sat upon or brushed up against. These will dig into the wood if left unprotected. Large dogs with toenails that click as they walk can do a lot of damage to hardwoods. Even small dogs and cats can damage hardwood floors. If their toenails are clicking on your hardwoods, it is time to clip them back. Have a door mat so people can clean the soles of their shoes before they walk on the hardwoods.

In my home, I put a ceramic tile “stoop” inside the front door so someone who comes in with grit in their soles can slip them off without damaging the hardwoods.

Pets also may have an accident on your floors, and these must be attended to as soon as found. The beauty of the floor and the health of your family is at stake. Bacteria in the animal’s urine or feces are a health hazard, and when animal fluids get on hardwood floors, acids in the fluid will attack the floor. It is important to use something like Orange Glo that will eliminate the acids. Keeping your floors properly waxed will help prevent these stains from penetrating the wood as quickly.

While scratches are the most common wear and tear issue hardwood floors have to deal with, by far the biggest enemy of hardwood floors is water damage.

Houston hardwood floors are often subjected to high humidity, tropical storms and even hurricanes. Local flooding is always a possibility when living along the Gulf Coast. In addition to weather related flooding normal hazards like plumbing leaks, roof leaks and such can play havoc with hardwood floors. Water will destroy the finish of your hardwood floors, and in severe cases, such as urban flooding, the individual slats of wood will absorb so much water that they will begin to swell and warp.

Almost any Houston handyman service can wax or refinish your hardwood floors, but restoring hardwood floors that have been flooded is a job best left to those professionals certified by the IICRC. Always bring in a professional when this happens, because inadequate drying will result in mold growth later in the areas that did not get dry. Be sure that your technician is certified in water damage restoration with the IICRC, the national certification organization for floor care professionals. If called in time, these professionals can take measures to save your hardwood floors from total destruction. You can visit the IICRC online at http://www.iicrc.com.

In the event of major urban flooding, these steps can save your floors while you wait for a professional to arrive.

Call your insurance adjuster and take any photos you need for insurance purposes before you start the cleanup process.

  • Get everything off the hardwood floors as quickly as possible. This means carpets, rugs, and furniture.
  • If it is safe to do so, use electric blowers to blow air onto the hardwood
  • If possible, direct the flow of these fans downward. Just prop them slightly to one side.
  • When you get a large dry spot, move the fan, and dry out another spot
  • You will notice that your previous dry spot will begin to look wet. This is due to wicking. Just keep moving the fans around until there are no more wet areas.
  • Lean the fans along cracks of walls to force air into these places to help the drying process along.
  • Humidity in a flooded home is incredible, open the windows and place fans in them on one side of the house to force wet air out and bring dry air in. This will do more to dry your floors than the fans on the floors will. You must get the moisture out of the house or it will simply absorb right back into the wood.

The key factor to saving the floors that have been flooded is to get them dry as fast as possible. As soon as possible after the flooding event, you MUST remove everything from your hardwood floors, not just carpet and rugs, but furniture as well. Get as many fans and blowers as you can find and point them downward so that they will dry out the hardwood. As soon as you see a dry spot, move the fan. Be sure to open the house up to the outside so that all this water vapor you are creating will be able to escape from inside the home. If your relative humidity is 50% or less, you can dry the floors out much faster by using fans to blow this hot, drier air into the house along with the floor blowers. (do not do this on high humidity days, it is not as effective). You will have to blow the floors until they are dry, which may take many hours, even days.

Because wood wicks water, as soon as you create a dry spot, the dry spot will start to pull in moisture from the wet wood around it. This greatly increases the rate of drying the floor over not moving the fans around. Many hardwood floors are installed on a “bed” that creates an air gap under the wood slats. If this is the case for your floors, try to create a funnel with a piece of plastic or canvas and force air underneath the floors along any cracks you can find. Use duct tape to tape the funnel to the fan, and an office stapler to staple it over the crack you want to dry out. Take your time, failure to let the floors dry completely out will set up conditions for mold to grow.

While hardwood floors can almost always be restored or replaced, or simply re-finished to restore their beauty. this is very expensive compared to performing the proper maintenance in the first place.

You cannot do anything about flooding, but you can avoid dragging that recliner across the room to put in front of the TV for the big game.

Remember, keep them clean, wax them as needed, get water off as fast as possible, deal with pet stains (and toenails!), properly.

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Omid Shekarchian and the VoIP Revolution

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Omid Shekarchian, veteran and pioneer in the field of Information Technology and Telecommunication has made a substantial contribution in voice and data networks for more than ten years. VOIP telecom is definitely among the hi-tech advancements observed over the years. Omid is an expert in Business administration and marketing strategies which has proved major achievements in Telecom sector. A much sought after consultant in the field of software development, he is well versed with technologies in both back end and front end interface. His efficiency as Telecom General has demonstrated great foresight to bring about telecom network expansion in US, Canada, and some European countries. Major grounds captured by him are Business Development, Business Administration, Telecom network design, Maintenance, System Integration and development.

He has wide-ranging and specialized technical expertise in telecom network design and has applied this expertise and broad understanding of multiple disciplines to his business. He integrates expert knowledge of technical principles and methods of multiple disciplines due to his comprehensive knowledge of products/ services and internal operations. His impeccable marketing sense, sound business management strategies has pushed the frontiers of VoIP industry to different Middle East countries and the US. Estimates reveal that thousands of businesses have saved up to 70% on their monthly phone bills by switching to a VoIP phone service as recommended and set up by Omid. This speaks volumes about the man’s business management skills and his uncanny knack of business management, Telecommunication industry was beset with multiple problems previously as there was a major disconnect between network workstations.

The advent of Voice over IP (VoIP) software packages signaled a drastic revolution for the industry and most of the problems got sorted out. VoIP services are similar to facsimile and voice messaging applications which aid voice and data transmissions over the internet and is different than the heavily used public switched telephone network. His Unique ability range from Technology Infrastructure, Telecommunications, Telephone systems, VoIP, IT and Computer Networks

The voice signals in Analog form are converted into digital form which is then transformed into IP compatible signals ready to be transmitted over the internet. There are various telephone signal protocols including SIP Session Initiation Protocol which are used for VoIP calls. Omid brought about an intelligent change in the whole process. With the vision of Business Administration Omid identified the solutions in the form of new techniques which are used at the receiving end. As an efficient Telecom General he has taken care of needs to meet the unique requirements of each customer.

To implement VoIP in one’s company, the right provider is essential. The provider should be aware and well versed with the changing technologies and should be in a position to offer the most competitive schemes available. Omid Shekarchian has intensive knowledge and broad experience in the field and is best suited provider for any company who wants to implement VoIP in the company. He connects with vendors and customers through TDM or Voice over IP (VoIP) using SIP. His services present a perfect blend of state-of-the-art telecommunication technology and innovation for corporate communication.

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Yahoo Merchant Offers Easy Payment Processing

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If you’ve been marketing online for awhile, you know that processing payments can be a little challenging at times. If you don’t have a merchant account, you may be wondering whether to get one or use a payment service. You may also be wondering if the payment service you are considering will work with your online shopping cart. And if you have an existing merchant account, you’re concerned about making sure the shopping cart program you choose will work with your merchant account. All of those worries disappear with Yahoo Merchant services.

When you set up your online store with Yahoo Merchant, you have a number of options for processing payments. If you don’t have a merchant account, you can easily set up an account with PayPal and use Website Payments Pro, which allows you to accept credit card payments as well as payments through the buyer’s PayPal account. You can also set up a merchant account with Chase Paymentech, one of Yahoo Merchant’s partners.

If you have an existing merchant account that is compatible with the FDMS Nashville payment platform, you can accept payments in your Yahoo Store and process them through your merchant account, at no additional charge. You will not pay monthly or transaction fees to Yahoo Small Business to accept payments with your existing merchant account through your Yahoo Merchant store.

You may also choose to use PayPal Express payments with your Yahoo Merchant store, and pay no monthly or annual fees. With this option, you’ll only pay transaction fees on your actual sales. With Yahoo Merchant, you can also use your existing merchant account in conjunction with PayPal Express, and offer your customers the choice of paying by PayPal or credit card for more flexibility. The more options you offer, the more likely your customers are to buy from your store, and Yahoo Merchant helps you offer multiple options.

Of course, when you choose an online store provider and payment processing option, you want to insure the security of your customers’ information. Yahoo Merchant offers 128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to protect your customers, and fraud reduction tools like address verification and IP blocking to protect you.

When you set up your online store with Yahoo Merchant, you’re partnering with Yahoo, one of the most trusted companies on the Internet, to build a complete store, with everything you need to make your online business succeed. You’ll have a professional online presence, the ability to offer gift certificates and coupons, reliable support, several options for payment processing, and the security of knowing you’re working with Yahoo Small Business.

Setting up an online store may be one of the most important things you do. Your online business’s success is important to you, and it’s important to the people behind Yahoo Merchant. When you choose to work with Yahoo Small Business, you’re making the choice to work with the best web services provider on the Internet. Your online store is a commitment to your business. Yahoo wants to make that commitment with you.

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