Adding Strength with Insulation

Spring is just about here.  The landscape is waking up after its long winter nap and you can see signs that warmer weather is just around the corner.  We just came across an article about storm damage and how spray foam closed-cell spray foam insulation can fortify a building against wind damage.  This got us to thinking about building homes and what we look for when we buy a new or used home.

When looking to buy a home, you first fall in love with the appearance of the home and its features.  How does it look?  What style is it?  How many rooms?  How big are the rooms?  What does the property look like? These are all things that are on the outside of the home.  Rarely do people look at the systems of the home, how it is built, and the quality of the materials before they make an offer on a home.  They leave those details to the home inspector who may tell them that the home is ship-shape and nothing to worry about or that the home is in need of repair work that will cost an indeterminant amount of money.  By that time, however, the prospective homeowners have already taken mental ownership of the home and not much dissuades them from backing out of the deal.

With spring storms already appearing in several parts of the country, including tornadoes in Texas and the Great Plains states, you have to wonder whether the devastation you see on TV could have been avoided if better building practices were implemented.  The rubble that is left after a tornado rips through a town is a huge cleanup project.  Did these homes have to come apart like this?

The aforementioned article points out that if the builder had used spray foam in the walls to not only insulate but fortify the walls, would those homes still be intact?  Another thing the article points out is that if the roof was better attached to the side walls of the home, then the roof might not lift up as easily thereby keeping it intact and lessening the damage inside the home.   You have to ask if the home was built as eye candy or was it built for its intended purpose which is shelter?

It is good to know that there might be solutions to these problems caused by high wind storms.  Hopefully, builders and homeowners will employ more of them as time goes on and we improve what is important.


Middle America

For all the talk about how great New York is (yes, it’s great) and how the left coast is so amazing (ok, it is), very little is said of the middle of the country. People that are enamored with the celebrity of their coastal regions refer to the middle of America as ‘fly over country’. The meaning of this slur is just about as offensive as “New York Values” which some people took great offense to. Fly over country implies that the region is just not worth your time or not worth your consideration for anything. But I guess unless there is something really celebrity worthy, the press just doesn’t cover middle America. When you think about it, what world class events are held in New York City or LA anyway? Actually, none.

Take Louisville, Kentucky as an example. The first weekend in May hosts the Kentucky Derby. Known as the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Derby is most definitely world class. There isn’t another event like it. Although the Preakness and Belmont Stakes come in a close second and third (pun intended), they don’t have the same cachet as the Derby as they aren’t the first event of the season nor are their fields as big. No, the Derby attracts people from all over the world and there are probably more billionaires in the gallery than in any other event. The entry of several wealthy people from the Middle East who have built huge horse racing empires ensures that fact. And where is Louisville? Right in midst of the Midwest. The breadbasket of the nation. Where waterways ply cargo ships of all kinds. Where Abe Lincoln was raised. Yes, Louisville. Oh, and by the way, that’s where Kentucky Fried Chicken or Yum Brands is headquartered.

Other than the Grand Prix de Monaco, there is probably no other car racing event to compare to the Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis, is also the birthplace of Willis Van Devanter, a lawyer and Supreme Court Justice, Larry Bird, Jane Pauley, Newton Tarkington (a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist) and a host of other names that were at the top of their game. But it is the Indy 500 that brings racing fans from far and wide for one day a year to the fastest and most exhilarating afternoon in sports. Just the mention of ‘gentlemen, start your engines’ is enough to get one’s heart racing.

So the next time you are faced with responded to a slur about the middle of the country, you can just respond with a list of the world class events that take place 35,000 feet below. That should keep them quiet for a while.

Saving Money the Smart Way

There is really no point in trying to save money if you put it in one end and let it leak out the other. Your home can be the biggest cause of money leaching out of your bank accounts. Unexpected expenses are one thing, but when you let your energy escape month after month through drafty windows, leaky doors, inadequate attic insulation and walls that aren’t insulated properly, you are letting yourself in for a surprise at the end of the month. The monies you thought you were going to stash away are suddenly not there because of a $300 heating bill or a $400 air conditioning bill.
The answer to this impending misery is to stop all the leakage of savings and income by doing something about the ever-rising energy bills that your home is incurring. You can address the supply, as in using solar energy instead of the natural gas company or oil deliveries, or you can address the demand by helping your existing hvac use less energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer without overburdening your budget or working harder than it has to.
There are lots of ways to go about this. We like spray foam because of its superior insulating value. There are two types depending on whether you need a vapor barrier too. You’ll want a vapor barrier in moist areas like the basement or an attic but you don’t really need it for walls unless you are insulating a wet area like a bathroom. This choice allows you to choose not only insulating value, but air and moisture movement level that you want. It does cost a bit more up front, but if you expect to be in your home for many years to come, then you will save money every single month and that will add up over time. In fact, you can boast about your low heating and cooling bills to prospective home buyers when you eventually decide to sell your home. For them, it may have enough value to offer a higher price for your more energy efficient home.
You’ve now saved money in the present and may make more in the future. A win win.

Spammy Links


Is your website drowning under the weight of spammy links?  You know what these are, the voluminous links from low quality sites that helped your inbound link numbers at one time but now are hurting your rankings.

In the prior SEO world, it was possible to send thousands of links to a site and the rankings would go through the roof.  No more.  With the Penguin updates of the past few years, quality has replaced quantity.  You might still have some of these legacy links lying around, clogging up your Google Webmaster Tools link profile and creating a problem within your rankings.

What can you do about these spammy links?  If you have a list, you can contact the site owner where the link is coming from and ask them to manually remove the link.  This can be quite tedious, but is the best way to get the job done if you have fewer than 50 links or so.  More links?  Then your only resort may be to use the Google Disavow Tool that can be found within Google’s Webmaster Tools.  Basically, you create a list of all the links that you believe are low quality and created without your knowledge or consent, and submit these links to Google.  Does this work?  Not all the time.  Sometimes, site owners find that these links were not the problem at all and something else was causing the problem.  Sometimes it does work and the site slowly starts to regain rankings bit by bit as newer, high quality links and content are added.

The following video goes into great detail about link spam and where it comes from and what to do about it. This video is courtesy of the Search Marketing Expo.

One note. Link spam can be malicious and is not owner or owner’s agent generated. In this case, it is best to use the Disavow Tool and to ask for a manual review of your site.

Does your business need SEO?

Are you one of the thousands of businesses that gets emails, phone calls, letters and other solicitations for SEO services each and every day?  We certainly do.  Very few of them, however, tell you why you should use this online marketing strategy and why SEO plays a huge role in your online success.  Here are just a few reasons why:

1.  SEO is number one for ROI.  When properly done, SEO will give you the nonstop traffic your site needs to grow at a much less cost than paid search could ever hope to deliver.  If you haven’t had success with SEO before, it is probably because the vendor you selected didn’t have a clue what they were doing or why.  Maybe the work was sent overseas.  Low quality means low results even in SEO.

2.  When you invest in a SEO service that knows what they are doing and does it right, it will cost you more than a few hundred dollars a month.  Simply put, these services are a ripoff and six months down the road you will have wasted your time and month.  An experienced firm will make SEO work for your site, consistently, over and over again every month of the year…no matter what algorithm change comes down the pike.

3.  SEO will be around as long as the Internet is around, so you might want to get into the game now.  Techniques to build and maintain rankings change all the time but good SEO consistently maintains high standards and evolves with the changes.

Consider these tips when you are selecting your next SEO vendor.  It is not difficult to find a good SEO.  Good SEOs charge you a fair price based on the return you get for your efforts.  And in business, ROI is the name of the game when it comes to investing in new equipment or in an Internet marketing plan.


Online Blueprint


Internet Marketing Tips


Some business owners are just waking up to the fact that they need to be online.  And not just in a “put something up” kind of way, but in a more meaningful way.  They see the success that their competitors are having online and figure that they should be part of this latest gold rush.  The herd mentality takes over and one feels as if one is missing out on something.

The problem is that all business niches online are different.  Sure they can use the same marketing vehicles such as SEO, SEM, social media, banner ads, contextual links, etc.  to build an online presence and begin to convert visitors to paying customers.  But the way each kind of business should use these vehicles is different.

Most companies can benefit from testing out a few different internet marketing methods to see which ones work the best for their business.  When money is tight, however, it is hard to get people to invest in testing.  But a small test that is scalable is infinitely less risky than putting all your hopes in one method or another.  You won’t waste time doing testing, but you can waste a heck of a lot of money if you pick the wrong thing to start out with and it doesn’t work out.  Your window of opportunity could close, you could run out of money, or any of a number of things could go wrong.  By testing, you limit both your downside and upside, but if it is scalable, you can always go back and rinse and repeat.

For the newest of companies, you’ll want to try a little Adwords or Facebook ads, you will want to do seo optimization for a few key terms, you will want to try and get posts on complementary sites and a few more to see what works and what doesn’t.  Once you have a good idea of how these vehicles work for your business, you can do more of the good ones and drop the bad ones completely.