Bring Music to Your Customer’s Ears


According to the Wall Street Journal, Americans are expected to spend $327 billion online by 2016. With expectations like these, you can’t afford to put off starting your online store any longer. The only problem is that you don’t know the first thing about starting an online store. If you already have a business plan, you’re well on your way to entering into the world of eCommerce.

Entering into the eCommerce World

The first step you will have to modify your existing business plan and modify it to include the goals you have for your website. Like your original business plan, you have to know who your target customers are. This will include what these customers want, what their needs are, as well as what you want your target customers to use your site for like gaining information or purchasing tangible products.

After you have established who your target customers are, it’s time to establish what you want to sell on your site. Do you want to use it for selling music online, or do you want to provide your customers with information. Knowing this information will help you decide how you want to design your site. The design of your site is almost as important as what you sell on your site. A poorly designed site can quickly turn off customers resulting in lost sales.

When designing your site, it is important that your potential customers are able to find your company’s contact information in case they need to contact you should any questions arise. They should also be able to explore the rest of your site easily without getting lost within the numerous pages that are often associated with eCommerce sites. Easy navigation and prominent menus are an essential component.

Becoming Mobile

To become a successful online seller, you may need to design a site that can be viewed on mobile devices, laptop, and tablets as well as PCs. The best way to do this is to create a responsive design. This ensures your site’s content will be translated properly across all platforms. Therefore, if a customer views your site up on their smartphone or tablet, it will look the same as if they are pulling it up on the home PC. With customers constantly on the go, it is important for them to be able to purchase your product at any time of day, and from anywhere in the world.

Marketing Matters

Just because you’ve created a superb eCommerce site, it doesn’t mean the customers will flock to your site. Just like a brick-and-mortar business, your eCommerce site needs to have a sound marketing plan in place in order to drive traffic to your site. Along with the traditional marketing methods of advertisements, flyers, coupons, and word-of-mouth advertising, social media marketing is a key strategy to drive traffic to your online store.

Social media marketing includes creating compelling copy to include on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. With millions of followers, posting the right content to these sites at the right time can lead to increased sales, and the potential to attract loyal customers. Social media has become one of the best forms of marketing in today’s technological society.

Transitioning from a brick-and-mortar store to an eCommerce site is something that can be completed with little effort. It is important to make sure you have a solid plan in place before you get started. As with any business, having a solid business plan, will eliminate much of the frustration and mistakes that you can potentially make if you jumped into the endeavor without planning.

Practical Tips on Getting the Best Mortgage Possible Using Credit Tools


Being vigilant about your credit history is no longer an option but a necessity, especially with the increase in identity compromises and thefts. The last thing you want to do is to walk into a lender’s office facing financial information you know nothing about. If you want to get the best home loan, you need to understand the process and stick to your guns.

Check Your Credit Report Religiously

Everyone is entitled to one comprehensive credit report a year where all three agencies show what information they have on you. What many people don’t realize is that in addition to your report, you have the ability to get one free report from each individual agency. So what you could do to make sure you keep an eye on your credit throughout the year is to get the comprehensive report in January and get your free report from Experian, Transunion, and Equifax each at three month intervals. That way, if you see anything suspicious, you can catch it quicker than if you found out about it a year later.

Decide What’s Best for You

When you’re looking for the Credit Tools, you have to go hunting, not fishing. What that means is you first have to contact the lenders and get the numbers, whether they’re offering a 5.5 percent on a 20-year mortgage or offering a 5/1 adjustable rate. The difference between fishing and hunting is the decision. Mortgage lenders are going to try to turn your head and dangle the best offer they can to prevent you from calling the others back. If you stick to your game, do the math, and make a decision as to which loan is right for you, you won’t fall for the bait. Understand your budget, decide what you want, and stick to your game plan no matter how tempting it is to stray. The field of mortgage lending is extremely competitive, so know your value and deviate from it.

Understand the Lender’s Perspective

You are completely focused on what you need to do to get yourself and your credit right and that’s great, but when you’re able to understand the lender’s perspective on what that interest rate really means, you’re armed with insight that will come in handy. The best rates represent the risk that the lender is willing to take with the borrower. The riskier you are, the higher the rate and vice versa. If you’re able to show a clean history, a great credit score as well as equity and you unwavering ability to repay your debts without difficulty, you will have a chance to get that low interest rate.

New Underwriting Rules

While the chance of getting a good rate is better than none, it’s not a huge victory, but it may be needed in order to ensure a low rate. There are continuous changes in the housing and mortgage industry, and in 2014, new lending rules are expected to impact both sides of the mortgage lending table. The changes are based on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that was an answer to the tightness that banks were displaying with mortgages and the cutbacks on loans to people with lower interest. The rules are more stringent and there are at least seven basic criteria that need to be met, but more qualified borrowers will have access to the loans without predator factors such as interest-only loans, balloon payments, and principals that creep up over time.

Some of the factors are well within your control, and for those, it’s more important than ever to get the facts and watch for the changes coming down the pipeline for future mortgage lending.

Basic Types of Insurance Coverage in North Carolina

Purchasing car insurance is one of the most important aspects of owning an automobile. Although car insurance is required by law, the car owner has the freedom of being able to choose their own level of coverage. So it is everyone’s right to know the basic types of insurance coverage’s so that when you buy a car, you can choose the best insurance cover for yourself.

Here are the basic types of insurance coverage in North Carolina.


Liability insurance coverage is the minimum amount that is mandated by the law. One of the benefits of liability insurance coverage is that it is the least expensive to obtain. However, the insurance company will not pay to get the car owner’s vehicle fixed if they cause an accident. Typically, drivers that own an old, high-mileage vehicle may opt to get liability coverage.


Collision coverage is a step above liability coverage. This means that if the car owner is involved in a crash, the insurance company will cover the damages. In many instances, the motorist may be required to at least have collision coverage if the vehicle is being leased or being paid for by a lender. The extra cost may prove to be well worth it in the long run.


Although comprehensive coverage is a tad bit more expensive, it offers several advantages. While collision coverage only includes an accident involving another vehicle, comprehensive coverage covers a wide range of potential accidents. Some of the things that are covered include floods, earthquakes, fires, storms, falling objects, larceny, and collisions involving an animal. Comprehensive coverage is definitely recommended for owners of expensive or rare vehicles.

Uninsured/Under-insured Motorist

The state of North Carolina requires every insurance policy to include uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. Whether you are seeking Durham insurance or living in another city in North Carolina, the fees for the uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage will automatically be included in the total cost of the policy. This is to protect the driver and the occupants of the vehicle in the event that an uninsured motorist crashes into the car.

Medical Payment

Medical payment coverage is designed to pay for any necessary medical care due to a car accident. Not only will the driver be covered, but all the passengers will also be covered if they happen to be injured.

7 Unusual Facts about Annuities

Annuities aren’t often the kind of subject that makes it into dinner party conversations but whilst the topic may be less than thrilling, it’s one which is important to understand in order to get the best from your money.

An annuity is a type of income that is bought with a pot of money, typically a pension fund which has accrued over many years. You ‘buy’ an annuity with this money and the provider then pays you a regular income based on the choices you have made. The amount of money you get depends on the size of your pot, and a number of personal factors.

Just to prove that annuities aren’t quite as dull as they may sound, here’s seven interesting facts which should help you understand more about how they work.

1) Being a smoker helps…

In the modern world, being a smoker is something which is frowned upon in nearly every circle and it is rare, if not impossible, to gain an advantage from the habit.

However, this is not the case for annuities.

Being a smoker gives you better returns on an annuity

The amount of annuity you receive will be based on a number of different factors, including life expectancy. As a smoker is expected to be more likely to become ill, you will be given a preferential rate, even if you are in good health. A non-smoker will be penalised because – as an average – they will be expected to live longer (and will therefore cost more!)

2) ….and so does being ill!

If you suffer with a condition which has the potential to impact on your life expectancy, you could be entitled to receive what is known as an enhanced annuity.

This is where the company pays you a higher rate of income but not all illnesses or medical conditions will qualify. Your annuity provider may need to get a report from your doctor before offering this.

3) Game shows give out annuities as prizes

Everyone has seen those game shows where the contestant walks away with a huge cash prize in return for winning. But what many people don’t realise is that in the vast majority of cases the money is not paid out as a lump sum, but as an annuity.

Some shows offer contestants the right to choose whilst others secretly insist upon it in the fine print. Wheel of Fortune is one of the most famous global TV shows that regularly pays out winnings as an annuity.

The wheel of fortune hands out annuities as a prize

4) You could get out more than you put in

The saying suggests that you don’t get something for nothing but when it comes to annuities, you could end up making money on the deal.

When you purchase a guaranteed annuity, the provider is committing to paying you the sum they promise until you die. They estimate your life expectancy and provide you with a quote based on this. However, if you live for much longer than they were anticipating, they are still obliged to continue payment. This means you could end up receiving more money than you paid in!

5) Charles Dickens and Jane Austen regularly wrote about annuities

The concept of purchasing an annuity is not a modern one; in fact annuities feature in many classic works of fiction.

Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are two famous authors who regularly referred to annuities in their books. One of the most famous quotes on the subject comes from Mr Dickens himself who said, ‘Buy an annuity cheap, and make your life interesting to yourself and everybody else that watches the speculation.’.

6) You are never too old

An annuity is a great way to protect your capital from market fluctuations and instead benefit from a regular and guaranteed income. You can pick the basis on which you want to be paid, and this includes opting for it to continue to your spouse or financial dependents after you die.

This flexibility means that even if you didn’t purchase an annuity straight away when you retired, it’s never too late. An annuity can be suitable whether you are 60, 70, 80 or beyond, contact a Company like Retirement Secured for further information!

7) Benjamin Franklin used annuities in order to pay for the construction of US cities

Although annuities are a product frequently used by the man on the street to provide a regular income, they can also be used on a larger scale too.

American President Benjamin Franklin relied on annuities to provide the money to build up some of the most well-known cities in the US today, such as Boston and Philadelphia. The very last one of these annuities was not cashed in until 1991 (in Boston).


Annuities are a vital part of financial planning and by shopping around to compare annuity rates you can be certain that you are locking in the best rates available. And as the above facts show, it won’t necessarily put you to sleep just reading about it!

Image Credits: gaelx and pds319





Kaiku Prepaid Card-Managing Money was never so Easy


If you’re looking for a prepaid card that offers you a number of financial benefits like Visa rewards, you may want to take a look at Kaiku. This prepaid card from Visa makes it easy for you to manage your money from anywhere.

You can check your balance and deposits for your Kaiku card from your Smartphone, and there are over 55,000 ATMs across the country that you can use free of charge. If you want to receive text messages concerning your account, you can select this option as well. The card even allows you to receive direct deposit payments from your place of employment, which means you can use the card like a bank account. Kaiku also lets you pay your bills online so you won’t have to worry about purchasing stamps. You can opt to set up ongoing payments for your bills or pay a bill once or twice using your card.

Moreover, If you need assistance with your account, have questions about a deposit or withdrawal or want to know how to apply for a Kaiku card, customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach Kaiku customer service by visiting or calling the company’s toll free number. So get a Kaiku card today and get ready to receive Visa rewards.

Interestingly, the card has been targeted for family users wherein the card holder gets the benefit of adding additional cards for family members. The debit card has been designed to be accepted anywhere across the world. So it’s almost like carrying your piggy bank in the form of card to withdraw money at any moment. The modern day technology makes it possible to use the card even from your smart phone for balance enquiry and other details. The user can get text alerts in the phone for all account related information.

The Kaiku prepaid card has the benefit of reloading money like saving it for future spending. So in one credit card, the card holder gets the benefit of easy spending, reloading and get text alerts from your phone about monetary transactions. It’s also a very shinny black looking card that gives a powerful possession to hold from which one can spend money at anytime and anywhere around the world. It’s a modern day boon to lead a life of exuberance and luxury without having to worry about withdrawing money from any nearby ATM


Essential Promotional Materials For Business Savvy Artists.


Whether you’ve just hit the road or are creating a name for yourself in your own hometown, making your musical career successful requires a little more than talent. As a musician, you are your own brand and it’s a part of the job that you get your brand out there for the world to see. Of course you want the world to hear your music, but by choosing the right promotional materials you can let your listeners do the promoting themselves. Make sure you have these essentials in stock.

• T-Shirts – Shirts or tank tops (or anything that can be printed on for that matter) are staples to the starting musician, use ondon t-shirt printing companies like Iconprinting to print your band’s logo in bulk and sell them for relatively cheap. Give away some of your shirts to friends and family members who will wear them often and come to shows and you’ll soon have walking advertisements for your music.

• Stickers – Stickers are great options if you don’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on promotional materials. Print them in mass quantities and hand them out at shows as reminders for listeners to visit your website. Leave the rest up to your fans who will plaster your name all over the city. Stickers are the promo material that keeps on giving as your name will keep popping up long after your show is over.

• Business Cards or Flyers – Even cheaper than stickers, make some flyers or business cards for your band, anything that people who come to your show can take as a reminder. You can print flyers from your home computer if you’re feeling thrifty or head over to Kinko’s and do it right. If you have a list of upcoming shows, make sure you include them as a way to encourage people to come see you play again.

• Picks – Picks can be custom ordered in bulk much like stickers, so if you’re one of those musicians that likes to toss picks at the end of each song, make sure you’re promoting yourself at the same time. Sign a batch with a Sharpie and hand them out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Your fans will love that they have the autograph of the next big thing.

• Wristbands or Bracelets – Bracelets or wristbands, or pretty much any jewelry that you can paste your name on, are nice alternatives to t-shirts. Make sure your name is nicely printed and colorful, a piece of jewelry that someone will actually want to wear.

Of course the most important promotional item you can bring to one of your shows is your music or at least resources so that they can find your music online. You don’t have to give away your whole album, but your fans are much more likely to share your talent if you include a way for them to post on Facebook and draw more fans for you. Let them see how talented you are by giving them what they want!