­­Biggest Factors Causing Foundation Problems

Without foundation, your house can never stand. Foundations are the most ignored part of the building structures mostly because they are hidden. Most people take a lot of good care of the walls, interiors, and roof but forget what holds the beauty of their house is the foundation. 

The foundation carries the whole weight of your home and many factors will contribute to its problems which can, in turn, jeopardize the structural stability of the building. The main contributing factors are as follows:

Material 

The strength of the foundation materials plays a central role in whether your foundation will soon have problems or not. Some materials are weak and decompose quickly compared to others that are long-lasting. The effect on materials goes beyond quality to the right mixing ratios which determine how strong your house foundation will be. 

It is important to buy only the best building material and for that you need to contact a reputed lumber yard and building material supplier. Lumber One in Kansas City has a variety of building materials and lumber, all under one roof. The material includes treated lumber, flooring, siding, deck supplies, roof and floor trusses, trims, windows and doors, etc. They supply building materials for the whole building from the foundation to roofing and for interiors finish. 

Water

Water can be termed as ‘the greatest enemy’ to find stability because of the high destabilizing ability it carries. Water can destroy the foundation of your house in three main ways.

Moisture: Moisture builds under the foundation and begins corroding the undelaying, thereby weakening the whole structure. Moisture will also go up the walls after destroying the DPC and create a conducive environment for mold which is toxic to the lungs and destructive to walls.

Soaking soil: When too much water builds up underneath, it will soak the soil and if it’s not removed in time, the soil underneath will begin to sink and destabilize the foundation.

Corroding metal and concrete:Water causes the metal to build rust and concrete to weaken. When the metal that is holding the building underneath rusts, it begins to corrode away and eventually give in to the weight of the house. 

Structural design

The structural designer must consider the stability of the house by having a foundation that is stable enough to hold the weight of the house. If the design of the house foundation is weak, there could be problems even before the building is complete. 

It is important to work with the right foundation repair company that understands foundation needs and can advise on the best foundation structure you need for your house. 

Olson Foundation Repair understands well the biggest factors causing foundation problems and will only advise after studying all the main causes. Their team of experts will visit your site and give an expert recommendation of how to best lay down your house structure. 

Soil

When planning to construct your house, one of the main factors to consider will be the type of soil in your area. These three types of soil are most prone to weather conditions.

Clay soils: Clay soil is highly compact and can hold water for long. Clay soil can also expand to great lengths during summer and contract considerably during winter. When clay soil is soaked in water, it expands too and if it fails to solidify evenly, it causes upheavals in your foundation. 

Sand: Sand is naturally weak because its particles are loose and can rarely hold together. When the house structure is heavy and will move and give way, causing cracking on the wall.

Black cotton soil: Black cotton becomes extremely soft during the rainy season and extremely hard in the dry season. When it’s too soft, it sinks under the weight of the house and when too hard, it forms wide and deep cracks. 

3 Lighting Tips

Poor lighting is frequently cited as a common interior design mistake. It’s annoying in any room you’re in, but it can become especially problematic in an office setting, where you’re trying to focus and be productive. It’s no surprise that poor lighting is among the top complaints among office employees everywhere.

Lighting is an essential part of office design because, much like the layout, it has a strong impact on the staff’s comfort and productivity. Bad lighting can result in fatigue, eye strain, and headaches. It also influences how well people sleep at night, their ability to focus, and the decision-making process. In more extreme cases, poor lighting can even lead to accidents and injuries.

Below you’ll find three tips on how to improve lighting in your workspace, which will help make a better impression on both employees and clients.

Natural Light

Windows have long been considered prized possessions in any office space. Although they sometimes seem to be reserved only for executives, windows do much more than giving us a nice view. Natural light instantly makes an office look more welcoming. Getting enough natural light during the day helps you sleep better at night, boosting energy level and improving concentration. Since employees who get more exposure to natural light enjoy a better quality of life, they also report greater job satisfaction.

Natural light will also be better than any form of artificial lighting. First of all, it improves productivity and morale. Second of all, getting enough natural light means you can cut energy costs, so you have an additional financial incentive.

LEDs vs. Fluorescent Lights

 Fluorescent tubes have long been a staple for office buildings because they’re cheap and can be easily installed on the ceiling to light large areas. However, they do present some problems that are hard to ignore. As time passes, they become dimmer, they flicker and create a buzzing noise. This means that the quality of light is inconsistent. The flicker and buzzing also make it hard for employees to focus on their work, so they’re far from the ideal choice.

LED lights are seen as the more expensive option, but long-term, they’re actually more economical since they last a lot longer and use less energy. They’re also much more comfortable for employees because the quality of light is more consistent.

The Appropriate Light for Every Task

Since the ceiling light has to be strong enough to illuminate the desks underneath, open-plan offices can easily become flooded with light leading to glare and overillumination, which is not only an inefficient use of energy, but it also has a negative impact on productivity.

Each area of the office space requires its own type of lighting that’s approaches for specific tasks. To avoid overillumination, lighting should be layered. You can reduce the light coming from the ceiling and valance it with ambient light, and provide employees with adjustable desk lights so they have more control and can adapt the lighting to their personal needs.

3 Lighting Tips

Improving Google Ranking in 5 Easy Steps

Developing a website and maintaining it is not an easy task. After all the development work gets over and the site is launched, nothing can be more discouraging than low traffic volumes. 

Fortunately, by using different tactics, you can get more traffic to the website. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by improving Google rankings. Here are five easy ways to get higher website rankings:

Building solid link-building strategy

To get a higher ranking in the Google search engine, you must have a solid link-building strategy. Search engine algorithms want to see that your content is relatable and benefits the target audience. The best way to assess this is by looking at how many blogs and websites link to the website you have developed. 

To get higher inbound links, some bloggers and webmasters might engage in activities such as buying them. You should never buy outbound links from shady websites because this wastes budget spend that could be better used and impact current ranking positions. 

You can rather choose to write technology guest post if you’re into that niche and contact GetPixie.com for the right guidance on mastering guest posts on other good sites.

Conducting extensive keyword research

To have a strong SEO strategy, you need to focus on the keywords used on the website. Before writing and publishing the content, use extensive keyword research tools. Many different tools claim to contribute to keyword research but not all of them deliver. 

Get a reliable solution that serves your purposes well. Ensure that you use a good mix of traditional keywords and long-tail ones. That helps make the content more visible even if it is searched using Voice assistant apps. Ensure that each keyword is well-researched and plausible conclusions were made on the implementation of every keyword used.

Focusing on visual SEO

Is visual SEO a thing yet? Yes, it is a thing and to rank higher on Google search results, you should implement this in a meaningful way. How can this be done? First of all, use image alt text every time it is possible to do so. 

To implement visual SEO, other elements need to be brought into consideration as well. Also, using more visual content that is relatable can help contribute ranking points to the website page. Visual SEO works best also on e-commerce platforms because they help drive users directly to the product they are looking for.

Implementing local SEO

If you are running a local business, implementing local SEO should be one of the top priorities in this regard. Local SEO helps connect your website with the most relevant audience that is most likely to make a purchase. Unlike traditional SEO, using local keywords can help communicate your message with people that can make a purchase now. 

When implementing local SEO, remember to mention the primary operational location at least once. Doing so will direct the content you have created to people in the neighborhood who can visit your office. Mix local SEO with traditional keyword research and implementation for best results.

Optimize website structure

Another major contributing factor to website rankings includes the website structure. The impact made by the website is mostly about the page loading time and the structure of the website content. 

You should strive to reduce the page loading time because this has a negative impact on Google search rankings. At the same time, break up the content into different sections using subheads and headings to make the content easy to scan through. You can get more insights using the PageInsights open-source platform designed for this very purpose.

Steps to Overcome Depression and Anxiety After Job Loss

It’s no surprise that the loss of a job is devastating. You question your ability to do anything, and as a result, it can take weeks to get back on the job market.

These are normal emotions to have; with some reassurance, they’re sure to pass. Remember, unemployment is temporary and it doesn’t define your worth. Here is a list of the best methods to get out of that slump and into your new job.

Allow yourself to grieve

Mental health professionals say that it’s normal to grieve the loss of a job. Retrenchment elicits anger and denial, in the same way as the loss of a loved one does. Allow yourself to grieve, as it’s an important part of the process to get back on your feet.

Make use of a herbal remedy for anxiety and fear to help soothe the healing process. Green Maeng da Kratom is an alkaloid powder from KingKratom.com used to ease anxiety and boost mood. Take as a daily supplement and be at your first interview in no time.

Reach out to friends and family

Isolation exacerbates depression and anxiety. The company of friends and family is a natural stress reliever. So, take the time you have and spend it with family and friends. Familiar faces do wonders for your state of mind.

Your community network can be a valuable source of comfort and information. Volunteer at a local shelter. It will put your situation into perspective and you’ll realize that dignity and kindness are not lost on you.

Find ways to redefine identity

Redefine your situation as an opportunity to reflect on your goals and aspirations. Retrenchment feels like a failure, but it’s not. See your unemployment as an opportunity to apply for a new position at a better company.

Unemployment can last a few weeks or a couple of months. Use the time off to explore a passion, upskill yourself or re-evaluate your career. Think of yourself as someone who is “between jobs” and not as the person who “got fired.”

Exercise

Exercise is great for various reasons. When you’re depressed and anxious, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees. Exercise gives you an opportunity to see the world beyond your situation and it’s good for your health. 

Endorphins, the happy chemicals, are released in the brain during exercise. When your brain has trouble producing happiness and calm, you feel depressed. Climbing the stairs or walking in the park is enough to get the brain to produce these chemicals to make you feel good. 

Eat well

Your brain needs food to function, but depression and anxiety affect your appetite. So, you either eat too much or very little to no food at all. Junk food is convenient and easy but doesn’t provide the sustenance you need.

Aim to eat a balanced meal at least 2 – 3 times a day. Ensure that meals contain protein, whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Drink water often to keep hydrated. A good diet produces prolonged energy, which you’ll need to get back to work.

How to Improve Your Financial Life in 4 Steps

Personal finance is one of those things that you need to learn as an adult so that you can effectively plan for your future through sound money management. 

Keep in mind that every financial decision that you make will affect your overall financial health. 

Some of the most common words of wisdom that we get relating to personal finances include saving 10% or more of our monthly income and not spending more than we earn. 

These are all valuable pieces of advice but below we’re going to delve into an in-depth analysis of how to take control of your personal finances, one goal at a time. 

  1. Set Financial Goals

The most that people know about finances is that they have income and expenses. More than that, they have no idea about the implications of financial health. 

However, it’s important to take responsibility for your finances early on to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. 

One of the best ways to get started is to set short-term and long-term financial goals based on your current financial status and future aspirations. 

Look at your net worth, which refers to your income minus your exposes, or assets minus liabilities. 

  1. Don’t Spend More Than You Make

A lot of people get stuck in the trap of lifestyle inflation which basically means that they spend more money as soon as they’re able to make more. If they get a raise, then they start spending in tandem with that amount. 

Lifestyle inflation is nice in the short-term but it can be extremely detrimental to your long-term financial health and even impede your ability to build lasting wealth. 

Keep in mind that every dollar that you spend today takes away from money that you could invest for your retirement. 

People often end up on the track of lifestyle inflation because they want to keep up with their peers and share the same lifestyle as them. As famous Hollywood actor Will Smith put it, “we buy things we don’t like to impress people we don’t care about.” 

Avoid being the victim of tax relief later on by managing your finances well now. 

  1. Manage Your Budget Carefully

Mindful spending is all about being aware of the value of money and spending in a way that honors it. 

Remember that you worked hard for your money so you want to spend it wisely by distinguishing between needs and wants. 

Needs include necessities like food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and healthcare as well as savings. Wants are things that you don’t need. 

They can be things that you spend money on because you see other people spending money on them. 

  1. Start Saving as Early as Possible

It’s always best to start saving for retirement early on in your career. 

That’s because the longer you save the more money you’ll have once you retire, thanks to the power of compounding. 

Compounding only works if you save consistently over a long period of time and it’s one of the reasons why seasoned investor Warren Buffet advises to hold for a long time onto stocks and shares that you’ve bought in order to get the most out of the investment. 

How to avoid being hacked and stay safe when shopping online

Shopping for clothes and accessories online provides a wider choice, not to mention better price and quality. Most websites offer free returns, so if your dress is too short or the trousers are too long, you can send them back. Cyberattacks on e-commerce sites are becoming more common, unfortunately. Malicious actors can get their hands on your payment information and sell it to other criminals or conduct identity theft. Given that billions of records of personal information are stolen each year, you must be very careful when shopping online. Here’s what you can do to secure your online activity. Being a smart shopper starts with protection. Don’t put yourself at risk for identity theft. 

Only shop at secure online shops

Needless to say, you should never buy anything online using your debit or credit card from an unknown website, especially if it doesn’t have SSL encryption installed. If you buy clothes and accessories online, do your shopping at renowned sites such as H&M or ASOS. You can protect yourself from hackers and even get some good deals while doing so. Get cozy on the couch and shop through the latest styles. To stay away from shopping scams, avoid the temptation of buying from less popular sites. If you saw something you can’t get your mind off, verify the legitimacy of the site by checking out the contact details and seeing what other shoppers say about it. You might have unpleasant surprises.  

Use a dedicated proxy server to order online 

There are different kinds of security threats, like password attacks, malware, and so on. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Use a datacenter proxy server to order online. It will act as a firewall and web filter, keeping your online activity completely safe. Plus, your order won’t be delayed or rejected, provided you live in a different geographical area. What the datacenter proxy server does is to add a layer of security between your server and external traffic. Your IP address, which will be visible to anyone on the Internet, will be unique. Nobody will be able to track you. The price of the datacenter proxy server is affordable because it’s shared between various users. If you want something just for you, get a private datacenter proxy. 

Keep a close eye on your bank account 

Even if banks are well-protected against hackers, data breaches take place every now and then. It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your bank account – in other words, see if funds are missing. It might not be due to a software glitch. The bank will investigate the issue and find out what’s happened. Equally important is to enable secure online payment. For instance, you can add another layer of security with a single-use code. Only you, i.e. the cardholder, can finalize the payment. Anyway, make sure to closely monitor banking app notifications and see if something suspicious is going on. you can potentially spot fraudulent activity and prevent significant financial losses. 

When a Loved One Dies and We Have No Words

How many times, when we hear of the death of a friend’s loved one, have we found ourselves thinking, “What do I say to make it better?”. The answer is that there is really nothing that we can say to ease their pain. 

The best thing we can do is to simply be there to ensure they know that our support is unwavering. The finality of death is a very bitter pill to swallow and we are often left feeling as if we needed to just see them one more time, to tell them what they meant to us. The sense of loss leaves us feeling hollow, with an ache deep inside our hearts.

Write them a letter

If you are feeling robbed by death, you could try writing a letter to your loved one, pouring out all your deepest feelings, ensuring to tell them how much you loved them and how much you miss them. What you choose to do with this letter is up to you. You can lay it under a stone on their grave, or you could seal it in an envelope and just keep it until you feel ready to open it and read it again. 

You could even set the letter on fire and scatter that ash in your garden, then plant a beautiful flower in that spot. Each time that flower blooms, you will remember what those flowers symbolize.

Wearing your memories

A novel way to remember the one you have loved and lost is to have a minute portion of their ashes made into a unique piece of cremation jewelry. At Memorials.com, you can choose your own design from the large range that includes beautiful pendants, bracelets and rings. 

The pieces are tastefully and delicately made. Another option is a tiny ceramic photograph, eternalized into a pendant to be worn close to your heart. Whatever you choose, you will be assured that your loved one will be with you, wherever you go. 

Sing their favorite songs

Make a compilation of all the music that is tied to specific memories with your departed relative. Play that music in your car and in your home and sing along – even if you’re completely tone-deaf, that’s okay too. 

Each song or piece of music will have a special meaning and each one will elicit different memories of the time you had together. With modern cell phones, you can even download the songs and listen to them through your wireless earphones when you’re running or training in the gym. 

Speaking of exercise

Since we mentioned exercise: remember that physical activity is one of the best ways to make you feel better. The endorphins released during a run, or aerobics class, are your body’s natural antidepressant. 

So, dust off those running shoes and take yourself for a run, or a walk, while playing those memory-laden songs to keep you moving. If you’re not one for running or structured exercise classes, then dance as hard as you can in your own living room. The movement will have the same effect as a run and it’s great fun. 

Binge-watch your favorite series

If the idea of exercise turns you cold, then how about binge-watching the series you and your loved one enjoyed the most? 

To start with, try sticking to the more light-hearted series. The last thing you want is to watch a tearjerker, as this will only start the tears flowing again. Watch a sitcom, preferably one that will make you laugh out loud. That laughter will work absolute magic on your general demeanor. 

5 Interesting Facts About the Chinese Search Engine Baidu

While the rest of the world conducts its online searches through Google, China has its own search engine called Badu. 

A lot of people don’t realize this, but China’s online landscape exists in its own universe. The people of China aren’t allowed to use all of the apps that we’ve become used to in the rest of the world, such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Pinterest. 

But, you don’t have to feel bad for them because the Chinese have their own equivalents of all of these different apps. For instance, they’ve got Xiahongshu instead of Pinterest and Baidu instead of Google. 

If you want to find out more about Baidu and how it works, read on as we dissect all of what this unique search engine has to offer. 

  1. Who Founded It

While working for Dow Jones and Company in 1994, Robin Li decided to take up search engine algorithm research and tinker around with this aspect of technology as a hobby. 

Out of his curiosity, RankDex was born in 1996. RankDex is an algorithm that’s designed to rank web pages and soon after he started working for Infoseek in China and in 1999 he launched Baidu. 

This means that China was introduced to the Internet long after it was a thing in the west. At first, Baidu operated as a paid search service that was mainly utilized by major corporations in the country. 

A year after Baidu was introduced, Robin decided to offer Baidu as an independent service. 

  1. How Was It Funded

To launch Baidu in the early 2000s, Robin Li and his partner Eric Xu, raised $1.2 million from Silicon Valley. 

About 8 months after raising this initial amount, the two partners got an additional $10 million from IDG Technology Venture and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. 

  1. It’s the Biggest Search Engine in China

Baidu was the first of its kind in China, which is why it’s the most successful search engine in the country, taking over 70% of China’s search engine market. 

There are only two other search engines available to the people of China, called Shenma and Sougou but they only account for about 8.8% of the country’s search engine market. This means that Baidu accounts for over 90%. 

Baidu is just like Google in the way it works. It even has its own version of Adwords, Maps and Translate, to name but a few, which is what makes marketing in China so unique. 

  1. How Does It Make Money

How does Baidu make money? Through ads. 

Chinese people are known for their love of doing product research before they go ahead and make a purchase. 

So, Baidu makes the most of this traffic by running ads on health, beauty, fashion, electronics, and household products. 

  1. Works Differently from Google

Although Baidu has its own version of Google Ads, their buying process is very different. 

As a result, it’s way more difficult for businesses to establish themselves online because they have to provide Baidu with ID proof and a business license before they can start advertising on the platform. 

It’s also essential to be fluent in Chinese because the app is only available in Chinese. 

3 Things to Consider Before Starting a Delivery Service Business

Online delivery is a natural evolution of ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber that rely on crowdsourced labour as the delivery provider’s own system. The Covid-19 has stirred a huge demand due to shelter-in-place and health concerns – encouraging entrepreneurs to consider starting a local delivery business. As you may know, startup costs can be low when licensing an appropriate app and using an independent contractor.

 Demand is definitely peaking. If done properly, an operator can even synchronize with distribution centres and grocery chains to sync systems. Or a small business can easily join a large business IT infrastructure. One way to speed up profits is to charge a mark-up for purchased products in addition to shipping fees. Or even certify orders as prepared using rigorous health practices to win new customers. But what can go adrift? Here are some of the things you should be on alert for.

 #1 Customers need near-perfect execution

Most business owners consider that a 95% success rate for delivery is good enough. But that probably isn’t. Look at Amazon’s tremendous disruption of the industry through Amazon Prime and Amazon Flex. For instance, according to their website, Prime comes up with one-day shipping for over ten million products. How did they get so far? Thanks to Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos and his constant appetite for flawless logistics, buyers too, have augmented their expectations for gig drivers.

What you should know is that delivery services ask for more than just dropping off packages. A decisive factor is an overall experience for the buyer—every step matters – from browsing products, placing the order, and finally receiving it. People expect a delivery – regardless of its content to be reliable, convenient, safe, and on-demand.

#2 A small business must optimize for last-mile logistics

Discipline and experience matter the most when you decide to optimize operations as it could be quote tough competing in this business. Even an experienced operator can do everything properly and still face problems near the finish line. There can be payment issues. An erroneous app can lead your driver to an adjacent but wrong address. A customer isn’t notified of delivery.

A delivery service must work hard and optimize for last-mile logistics and even ensure the wholesale packing supply is stored accordingly and ready for delivery. After a customer buys the ordered products, last-mile logistics involve transporting the items from distribution to a personal residence or office as fast as possible.

#3 Being careless with pandemic safety protocols

Shoppers around the world must now have the discipline to comply with new health protocols like wearing personal protective equipment and keeping social distance. Some of the most common safety practices among delivery services include contactless payment and delivery confirmation, and barcode scanning.

Whether you plan a standard parcel delivery business, a food delivery service or anything between, planning ahead while learning what to avoid is the key to your success. These tips can be a great place to start, but be sure you consider the needs of your niches and the unique challenges so you can hold your own amongst the competition.