We're tired of hearing that social media is taking over the world. Yawn. But does that mean we should scrap our websites, just make a killer Facebook page and call it a day? No. Websites are still important, as they lend credibility to your company or services. And a good website will do so much more than that. Here are some tips for making the most of your website.
1. Come up with a great domain name.
Much like a book's cover, a name is the first impression people will have of your company. This is one of your most important decisions, next to what you will name your first child. (Alright, we're exaggerating.) But seriously, take your time when thinking of a domain name. Make sure it is memorable, easy to type, and has keywords. Here are some other great tips for choosing your domain from our friends at GoDaddy.
2. Shell out (a tiny bit) of cash.
If your website involves no upfront money, it's probably going to flop. Remember, this is not the blog you had in middle school. A .com domain costs $0.99 at GoDaddy. All you have to do is search your name, make sure no one has already lay claim to it, and buy that puppy up. A self-hosted website is where you want to be. Being hosted on a 3rd party site means that site owns your site and information. A self-hosted site tells the world that you are a serious entrepreneur because you're willing to make an investment in your virtual appearance. Site hosting such as Bluehost costs $3-6 per month. Not much considering that's just about your daily coffee budget.
3. Get out the pencil and paper.
Woah cowboy. We know you want to go live right away, but we advise you to take a step back. Draw a mockup of what you want the site to look like (no matter your drawing ability). This will help you visualize the user flow and work out any kinks in logistics.
4. Do some "online shopping."
We don't mean actually "online shopping," but shop for websites that you love. What makes your favorite websites so great? Is it their visual aesthetic? Font? Colors? Images? Or is it their short and sweet content? Make notes about what you like (and dislike) about other websites, take screenshots, and make a virtual storyboard.
5. Make friends with a graphic designer.
A really good logo and design can work wonders. Yeah, with a few hours on Photoshop you can come up with a decent logo, but it helps to get a pro. If you're not already BFFs with a top notch graphic designer, there are tons of freelance graphic designers out there. Here's a great place to start.
6. Write perfect content.
Don't bore your readers with your lengthy bio. Keep all content relevant. Your website is not just a home for your portfolio and contact information, but you should tell visitors what you can do for them. What helps is to include client testimonials or blog content that will help give them a clear picture of what you offer. Staying concise, positive, and injecting your personality where necessary will help turn your site into a web destination.
It's so nice to open a web page that doesn't bombard you with places to click, photos that pop out of nowhere, and ads galore. If your layout is calm, then your site visitors will trust that you are somewhat of an organized person. Be minimal but don't be sparse. If you're into that modern art kind of thing, just make your whole website one blank white page with white text. (Just kidding.)
Now equipped with your amazing website, you're all set to embark on your journey into the Internet. Want to start from scratch? Here's how!
When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.
A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.
One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.
The Federal Reserve
The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.
This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.
The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.
Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.
Frugal gifting often gets a bad reputation. However, this shopping method does not make you cheap — it makes you practical. Frugal gifts often avoid waste and overspending and can be just as meaningful (if not more so) as any other present.
With the National Retail Federation predicting each consumer this holiday season to spend upwards of $1,000 on holiday gifts amidst an economic recession —this year might be the perfect time to reconsider your spending budget. We've formulated the ultimate list of frugal gift-giving ideas to get you started.