Small Business Blog Integration Advice

Small business owners considering a blog to enhance their website should review the different methods of integrating the content into their main site. Three options for blogging will be reviewed with suggestions to help you maximize the value to your visitors and search engines. A blog is an easy method for adding fresh content to your site without paying a web developer for each new page created.Blogs, aka weblogs, first began as personal daily journals. An online diary with what you had for lunch does not seem like a practical way to promote a small business. The vast majority of blogs are still personal and non-commercial, while others have become monetized by including advertisements. Blogging for business is a trend that deserves attention.Times have changed. Small business blogs are a great opportunity to provide your customers advice, news, and reviews. The value a blog provides to small business owners is fresh content that you may easily add to your site. Websites that are launched and collect dust without growing will not be search engine magnets. A good blog should result in your site being visited and indexed by the major search engines frequently.It’s important to understand the structure of a blog compared to your commercial website.The big difference between your site and the blog is how each is created. Most websites are done in HTML. Individual pages are usually created by a web designer with a significant cost per page. Blogs use templates which allow the owner to easily create posts from a control panel. Each post becomes a new page, so adding one a week adds 52 pages to your website per year. Several major online service companies allow you to create a free blog, and you may begin adding content immediately.For the small business owner, the template and control panel with automatic uploading makes it easy. Where you choose to host determines how your content is integrated into your site. This can be a critical decision when part of your goal is search engine optimization.Here are 3 common methods for hosting your newly created blog content, and explanations of each.1. Free hosting by the blog service provider. Blogger by Google, WordPress and TypePad are well known.2. Setup a sub domain of your main www domain which replaces the www with “blog” in your web address.3. Setup a subfolder “blog” below the root directory so the address would be your www domain plus /blog.Free hosting is the method of choice for owners of most personal blogs. Very small commercial businesses may use free blog hosting to take advantage of the zero cost startup. The free blog is fine. Reconsider hosting. If you have a website and host your blog with a free service, your content is remotely located without any connection to your main site. For most small business owners, the other options will yield better results.The sub domain option attaches your blog to your main www domain. For the sake of clarity, the sub domain can be any word, and I used “blog” here as an example only. The normal address with www followed by dot and then your domain name, and finally dot and the suffix com, biz, info, etc. becomes a similar address with blog followed by dot, your domain, dot, and the suffix. For your main website to grow and benefit, the new blog content must be integrated with your original site, and not viewed by search engines as a completely new website.The subfolder “blog” creates a longer www name, but the disadvantage is minimal. The major advantage is your content is no longer remote or separate from your domain. When search engines visit your site to index content having the blog content in a subfolder means it is indexed as part of your main site. With the other methods, if your original website was launched and never changed, it remains stale. Instead of a dynamic new addition, you have a dusty commercial site in one place, plus a separate advice, news or review site that grows and grows.Tip: Consider paying for a custom template to match your main website. Blog templates are provided by each of the major service companies that offer free blog hosting. A person can sign up for a free blog with free hosting and be publishing in minutes. The limited choice of color schemes is unlikely to match your existing website, so a near or exact match is preferred.In conclusion, you may want to search for blogs related to your business and see what other people are doing before you jump in and regret choices later. Consider your purpose. Avoid blatant self-promotion and provide visitors with valuable news, advice, or insight into your business to help and inform rather than sell. Link to your main site from the blog and keep the hard sell there.Finally, other add-on options for your blog are available as free services to allow visitors to subscribe to posts, notify blog directories each time you post, plus other methods to promote your blog. Check the help files and forums of the services you are considering to learn as you go. Happy blogging!

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Athem Blue Cross Offering Two New Health Insurance Plans in California

Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is responding to the national health care crisis by offering two new affordable health insurance plans for California residents. The two new plans will be rolled out in early 2010, providing low-cost health insurance alternatives for the many Californians who either don’t have health insurance or who have health insurance plans that they are struggling to afford.The first of Anthem’s new health plans – CoreGuard – will become available on January 1, 2010. CoreGuard is a PPO plan that provides tax deductible options and prescription drug coverage. Most importantly for many California residents: the monthly premiums for CoreGuard will start at “prices to meet just about every budget,” noted one California insurance agent.As an example of the low-cost rates for the CoreGuard plan, the monthly premium for a male under the age of 40 is expected to be about $75 per month. However, as with most healthcare plans, participants will need to meet a deductible in order to receive coverage. Participants can select from a wide range of annual deductible amount and rate combinations to select the one that best for their budgets and healthcare needs.The second of Anthem’s new affordable California health plans is ClearProtection. ClearProtection will launch on February 1, 2010 and is designed to provide a wide range of benefits, but still offer first-dollar coverage. A male under the age of 40 will have a monthly deductible of about $69. ClearProtection is being touted as the PPO health plan with the lowest rates of all of the Anthem PPO health plans.Blue Cross of California has one of the largest networks of healthcare providers throughout the state of California, which includes more than 50,000 doctors and almost 400 hospitals accepting PPO insurance. Anthem’s health insurance plans also travel with participants across the country, helping to ensure that even if California plan holders leave the state, they will still be covered.In addition to the basic healthcare coverage provided by these two new Anthem PPO plans, participants can also select from optional coverage for healthcare needs such as dental and term life.Anthem’s NextRX delivers prescription medications to California residents through the mailThe two new health insurance programs from Anthem may be the newest additions to Anthem’s health care program line-up, but they fall into line with a whole host of helpful healthcare services offered to California residents by Anthem.The NextRX program is Anthem’s preferred mail service pharmacy, which is available to Anthem members who taken maintenance medications on a regular basis. Many of the medications that qualify as maintenance medications include drugs that are used to treat heart disease, diabetes, depression, allergies, and even oral contraceptives.When California residents enroll in the NextRX program by December 31, 2009, Anthem will waive the first co-pay for each generic prescription that participants transfer to NextRX.Anthem also offers state health programsIn addition to the two new affordable health insurance plans offered by Anthem for California residents, Anthem also offers California state health programs, including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, MRMIP, AIM, CMSP, and Telemedicine. Here’s an overview of each of these different California healthcare programs:Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid Program, which is available at no cost for individuals and families who meet certain low-income or other qualifications.The Healthy Families Program is a low-cost managed care coverage program for children who live in households with financial situations that make them ineligible for the Medi-Cal Program.The MRMIP program (California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program) is a health insurance plan that is available for Californians who cannot obtain health coverage in the individual health insurance market.AIM is the low-cost manage care coverage available for infants and their mothers who have family incomes too high for Medi-Cal coverage.CMSP is a program that provides medical, dental, and vision services for eligible low-income adults who live primarily in one of 34 rural communities who are also not eligible for the Medi-Cal program.Finally, the Anthem Blue Cross Telemedicine Program provides access to specialized healthcare for rural Californians.For more information about Anthem’s CoreGuard and ClearProtection PPO health insurance plans, consumers should speak with a health insurance specialist who can explain the specific details of each different coverage option and type of plan. Also, in addition to Anthem’s health plans, California residents can select their insurance plans from a wide variety of other insurance carriers that service the state. A California insurance specialist can help California residents to sift through all of the available insurance options to find the right plan for their specific healthcare needs.

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The Role of Dealerships in the Automotive Industry

There is no question that the automotive industry has become one of the most important commercial sectors in the world today.  However, many people fail to realize all the specific elements that make up this sector.  From manufacturing to consumers, there are many important steps a vehicle must travel through.  In fact, one of the most important, if often overlooked, components of the automotive industry are dealerships.Dealerships serve as the essential middleman between an automobile manufacturer and the consumer.  At a dealership, sales professionals are employed to explain vehicle options to potential buyers and ultimately facilitate the transfer of ownership.  Both used and new automotives can be purchased at a dealership, and the thousands such facilities worldwide make up the major source for vehicle sales.Automobile dealerships generally stock a wide range of vehicle options.  They are also able to customize products with special orders to suit a consumer’s specific needs.  In general, dealerships stock such vehicles as motorcycles, cars, light trucks, vans, and some water sport devices. 
Perhaps one of the most vital roles dealerships play is in determining the actual selling price of a vehicle.  Unlike other products, automobiles are fairly flexible in terms of the buyer’s power to influence how much he or she will pay.  Negotiating a “good deal” is an essential component of the vehicle purchasing process at a dealership.  Thus, the dealer must be aware of various market considerations to ensure a profit is made without losing consumers to competitors.  Dealerships may also offer leasing options.  This allows them to retain ownership of a vehicle and temporarily rent it out to a user for a period of several years.  This provides consumers with a more affordable option for accessing an automobile.  It also gives the industry access to people who otherwise would be unable to spend income on an automobile.Once a consumer decides to purchase an automobile from a dealer, he or she must also use the dealership to facilitate financing.  Most vehicle purchases are not made in cash.  Rather, they are paid on a set schedule for a number of years.  Instead of procuring a loan from a separate lending institution, most dealerships provide financing services through participating partners.  This can be done simply at the dealership without much pressure placed upon the consumer to investigate several banks.  Additionally, some dealerships help consumers procure automobile insurance and appropriate license plates.   Thus, dealerships become “one stop shops,” for automobile purchases.  This is not only a convenience for customers, but also helps increase automobile revenues.
In addition to facilitating sales, dealerships are a consumer’s primary resource for vehicle care.  Most dealerships offer mechanical services to vehicle buyers for years following the initial transaction.  This helps keep consumers active in the automotive economy even beyond the actual purchase of a vehicle.  This provides considerable numbers of jobs in the automobile industry for those who understand vehicle mechanics.  Subsequently, dealerships help expand the automotive sector in yet another way.Ultimately, dealerships are an integral part of the automotive business.  They play a number of important roles that are necessary to the survival of this industry.  Without dealerships, it is unlikely automobiles would be as accessible to the general consumer public.

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