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Whitewater Rafting the Nantahala River in April

Overview

The Nantahala river is a scenic whitewater run that is full of great views and also offers some thrills. Nantahala is a Cherokee word which, when translated, means land of the noon day sun. the river is called Nantahala because of the steep walls of the gorge. The walls are so steep that some parts of the river only get direct sunlight for the middle part of the day. The Nantahala river is a relatively short river that runs from Lake Nantahala to Lake Fontana. The section that is actually rafted is on the last eight miles of the run. The sections above the commercially rafted section are popular fly fishing spots. There are also scheduled releases for whitewater kayakers who want some class IV-V thrills. The section that is commercially rafted is only class II with one class III at the very end of the run. This river is great for kids and first time whitewater rafters. Kids must be above sixty pounds to be allowed on the river. The water is below fifty degrees year round due to the fact that it is sucked from the bottom of the four hundred foot deep Lake Nantahala.

Nantahala River in April

What to Expect in April

April is the first true month of spring in the Nantahala gorge. The trees have started to gain their leaves and the gorge begins to bustle with life. Rafters should expect temperatures in the mid sixties most days. Depending on the year there could be some much colder days or some warmer days. Just depends on the weather. Whenever you are in the Nantahala Gorge there is a chance of rain showers. Especially in the spring and late fall, check the local weather forecast. If the weather man says it is going to rain it is up to you weather or not to hit the water. The weather is very unpredictable in this area of the mountains. It could just be a sprinkle or it could be a downpour for hours. It all depends on how the weather system reacts when it hits the rugged mountains. The river will not be very crowded in April as in June or July. This is due partly to the fact that most kids are still in school. It is also due to the fact that the air temperature is not to the point where most people want to jump into the fifty degree water. If you raft the Nantahala in April you are most likely just looking for some views and a relaxing trip down the river. If you are looking to cool off from the heat and have an exciting trip full of splashing and getting soaked, you should raft later in the season.

Lodging in April 

When searching for lodging in the mountains of western North Carolina you have a few different options. If you want to stay in a rental cabin, there are hundreds of options within range of the Nantahala gorge. The area surrounding Nantahala is full of very beautiful cabins to suit any desire or price range. Another great option is camping there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from that are inside the gorge and just outside of it. Each campground offers a different camping experience. The weather in April can be a little chilly. Getting down into the forties at night you should have either a camper or some cold weather gear.

Nantahala River

 

Why Create a Google Plus Profile For Your Business?

Why Create A Google Plus Profile for Your Business?


When you are attempting to increase your business’ presence online, a Google Plus profile is a necessity. Ranking in Google search is an extremely valuable asset to any business and should be a top priority. Although Google Plus is not the most popular social media platform it is definitely one of the most powerful when it comes to ranking in search. When you compare the ability for social media posts to rank in search, you will see that Google Plus is the most powerful. Twitter is second most powerful. When your business has a Google Plus profile, your posts that contain keywords related to your business will rank in search and bring customers to your business. So if you are in charge of a business or in charge of web marketing for a business, you need to create a Google Plus business page. A Google Plus business page will bring more traffic to your business than any other social media platform.
When creating your business’ Google Profile it is important to not put the name of the company as the name that the google profile is under. You will make your business specific page later. You will want to use your own Google account to create the business page. If you do not have a Google account you will need to make one. Once you are logged in to your account, go to Google Plus. It is smart to fill out your profile information before creating the page if you have not already done so. Once you are logged into your Google Plus account you can now begin setting up your business’ page. To do this you will need to click on the drop down menu in the top left corner that says “home”. Then near the bottom above “settings” you will see a button for “Pages” This is where you will create your business page.
When you Create your page you need to make sure that all of the information is filled out. Make sure you leave a good description of what your business is all about. You should also add contact information so that potential customers can reach your company to do business. You also want to make sure that you add a link to your company’s website. If you do not have one, you should at least create an online blog with contact information and other information about your business. You should put a link to this blog once it is created.
A business page on Google Plus will bring customers from Google search to your business. I recommend that every business create a Google Plus page to increase their web presence.

Using Instagram to Market Your Business’ Products

 

Image result for instagram moneyInstagram is a great tool for marketing products to specific demographics. The ability to put your product under the eyes of specific groups for free is an opportunity that every business, big and small, should take advantage of.  The process of marketing on Instagram is extremely easy and thousands of businesses are already posting pictures and getting more business. Instagram is a great tool because it is based on visuals which catch customers attention very easily. Using Instagram to market products is just a matter of creating a quality image that contains your product and is portrayed in a very attractive manner. Then posting it while making sure that somewhere in the post whether it be in the image or in the caption you mention how the customer can purchase the item or get in contact with you. It is vital that you give your customers a way to reach you or your product. Otherwise there is no reason to create the Instagram in the first place, unless you dominate search results online for whatever you are trying to sell.

 

 One

The first step to creating a good Instagram account for your business to showcase your products is to make sure you have a solid profile set up. A good business Instagram accounts has a username that matches or is a variation of your company’s name. Once you have your account with password set up, you need to set your bio. This is the part of your profile that will be displayed below your username and profile picture. In your bio you will give a brief explanation about what your company or business is all about. It is where you will put your company motto if you have one. After this you will want to put a link to your website if you have one. Do not put your website link in the bio. There is a special space for your website link. If you put your link in the bio it will not be a link. If you put it in the space that says “website” there will be a clickable link below the bio on your profile. Now that you have your profile set up you can start creating posts to promote your business and get products under the eyes of potential customers.

Creating Posts

Now that your profile is set up and ready to direct customers to your business’ website or to you directly, you need to fill your profile with images of products or anything related to your business that will catch your customer’s attention. To do this it is important to have high quality pictures of your products. Having high quality images is seen as a reflection of the quality of your product. Also, it is important to be creative with angles. Take pictures of the products in action from different angles that make the product look good and catch customers attention. When creating a caption you should briefly describe the product in the post and describe how to purchase the product. If you have a link in your bio you can simply say “visit the link in our bio for more information. Another tip for creating posts is to make sure you don’t overfill your profile with products. Your profile should contain images of events related to your products or images of activities related to your product. For every post about a product you should have two posts with images of a related activity or place. A good idea for posts other than products is to give potential customers a look behind the scenes. Customers love to see where their purchases are coming from. But when you give a behind the scenes look, be sure that you are displaying a professional looking set up. If you are running your business out of your garage, don’t have random personal items in the pictures. Do not post more than twice a day. If you are posting more than two pictures a day it will be seen as spam. Nobody likes to do business with a source of spam. So be smart and keep your posts to a maximum of two a day.

Hashtags

Hashtags are what you are going to use to get your posts containing your products under the eyes of your desired demographic. Hashtags are so effective because you can put your post right where you want it to be. If you have a post containing fishing hooks, you can add the hashtags: #fishing, #fishhooks, and #hooks. This will lead anyone who looks at any of those hashtags to your profile, then subsequently to your business. Using hashtags will also lead to your profile gaining followers. Followers will add credibility to your business. When people see that you have a large number of followers, they will know that you are a credible business and your products are trusted. Using hashtags are a great way to expand your brand. Another way to gain followers is through interactions. Visit hashtags related to your products and like some pictures. Whoever posted the picture will see that you liked theirs and see what your profile is all about. Which will get their eyes on your products. Hashtags are a great idea when your account is new.
Instagram is a great tool for marketing products and I have found it to be the most effective social media platform to do so. Follow these steps to create a strong social marketing account on Instagram that will drive more customers to your business and in turn lead to more sales.

Kayaking the Neuse River in Raleigh in August

Kayaking the Neuse River in Raleigh in August

First Quarter Mile 

Image result for neuse river elf kayaking
The Neuse river is a generally river that flows from the tail race of falls lake dam all the way to the Pamilico sound. Depending on the flow you may or may not be able to safely navigate the river. At high water, which ranges between seven hundred and four thousand cubic feet per second, the tail race immediately downstream of the dam turns into a quarter mile section of class III plus whitewater. This water is extremely dangerous to paddlers who are not equipped for those turbulent conditions.  At lower water, below seven hundred cubic feet per second, this upper quarter mile section turns into a maze of rocks and extremely shallow water. In august the water level is rarely above three hundred cubic feet per second so if you want to attempt to navigate the upper quarter mile you can give it a try. Most paddlers and tubers run the section that starts just below this first quarter mile. 

Below First Quarter Mile 

Image result for neuse river kayaking augustBelow the first quarter mile is the section of the Neuse river in Raleigh, North Carolina that is most commonly paddled. This section consists of gently flowing water that flows for around three miles to U.S.1. This section of the Neuse river us full of scenic views. When floating down try to avoid strainers. Strainers are fallen trees in the river which can be very hazardous. Just paddle away from these as you float down the river. The entire section of river is flanked by the Neuse River Trail. This is a paved trail that is used by bikers and runners. If you ever have any trouble and are forced to get off the river the paved trail is always an option. This trip takes around four hours with minimal paddling. If you really put some paddling in, you could probably make it in an hour and a half or so. If you want a little excitement on your trip, you will pass a few different rope swings on your way down that you can get out and swing into a deep pool. There are also some sandbars where you can set up for a picnic if you desire. 

What to Expect in August

In August the Neuse river is warm and it is a great experience if you have never tried kayaking a river. In August both the air temperature and the water temperature are very comfortable. You can kayak, canoe or tube down the river at this time of year. If you do not have your own kayaks you can rent them from a local outfitter. 

Rabbit Online Video Chatting Update August 2015

Rabbit recently updated their online video chatting service to create a service that is much more simple to use. The most recent update of the rabbit online video chatting website included some simplifying of controls and the ability to save friends and chat with specific people in the room as well as the whole room. These additions add a few advantages to this version over the previous version of rabbit.

Simplified Controls

The new version of rabbit offers a control panel that is made simpler and less cluttered. How did they do this? They started off by moving some of the icons into a single button that expands when clicked. The new icon that contains all of the old icons looks like three dots in a row. Icons moved into this folder of sorts are the icons for: full screen, pin all, start self cast, turn off video chat, lock room, leave chat, and end chat. With all of these moved into one icon the dashboard is much less cluttered which leaves more space to see what is going on in the room. Weather it be a movie or a meeting for a class group, you will be much more engaged with less clutter on the screen. 

Adding Friends on Rabbit

Users have been asking for the ability to add and save friends for a while now. Wish granted! You now have the ability to add and save friends. This way you can easily start rooms and invite people to your room. Adding friends also allows users to message specific people in the room. You can also message every user in the group but you can also send messages directly to specific users that only they can see. This could lead to some drama but it can be a cool feature if you have a private question that you need to ask a specific person. How do you add someone as a friend on rabbit? To add a user as a friend just hover over their bubble at the bottom of the screen then click the plus symbol in the top center of the bubble. This will send them a request. Once they have approved the request you they will be listed as your friend and you will be able to invite them to your room or go to their room much quicker. 
All around I think that the update will have a positive effect on the service. I can’t wait to see what rabbit adds next. Check out the new features and let me know what you think. 

Whitewater Rafting the Nantahala River in August

Overview

The Nantahala river is a scenic whitewater run that is full of great views and also offers some thrills. Nantahala is a Cherokee word which means land of the noon day sun. the river is called Nantahala because of the steep walls of the gorge. The walls are so steep that some parts of the river only get direct sunlight for the middle part of the day. The Nantahala river is a relatively short river that runs from Lake Nantahala to Lake Fontana. The section that is actually rafted is on the last eight miles of the run. The sections above the commercially rafted section are popular fly fishing spots. There are also scheduled releases for whitewater kayakers who want some class IV-V thrills. The section that is commercially rafted is only class II with one class III at the very end of the run. The water is below fifty degrees year round due to the fact that it is sucked from the bottom of the four hundred foot deep Lake Nantahala.

What to Expect in August 

In the month of August, whitewater rafting on the Nantahala river is fun and exciting. You will enjoy gentle class II rapids that wind through a scenic gorge. The water is crystal clear and you will be able to see trout swimming beneath your raft. The river is not nearly as busy as it is in July but there will still be people wanting to get their last few runs of the summer in. You may run into some crowds on the river during the weekend but if you make your run during the week your trip should be pretty quiet. Some differences you can find rafting in August as apposed to other summer months is that there are more rain showers this time of year. Also the prices that outfitters charge is a little bit lower due to the fact that the tourism starts to die down around this time of year and the demand to get on the river is much lower. The air temperatures this time of year are just as warm if not warmer than the months of June and July. 

Lodging Around Nantahala In August

When searching for lodging in the mountains of western North Carolina you have a few different options. If you want to stay in a rental cabin, there are hundreds of options within range of the Nantahala gorge. The area surrounding Nantahala is full of very beautiful cabins to suit any desire or price range. Another great option is camping there are plenty of campgrounds to choose from that are inside the gorge and just outside of it. Each campground offers a different camping experience. The weather in august is great for camping in the mountains of western North Carolina. 

Basics to Ranking in Google Search

If you want to rank well in Google search it is very important to make certain that your content is unique, fresh, and relevant. Your content needs to fill a niche that has not yet been filled. Find a search keyword or phrase that doesn’t have many results. To see how many results there are for a keyword or phrase you just put quotation marks around the keyword or phrase in the google search bar. So say you want to see the results for: Jacksonville boats. You would type in: “Jacksonville boats”. By doing this you are only seeing results that contain that specific keyword or phrase. In normal Google search there are results that are paying extra to rank higher as well as results with the words of the key phrase jumbled. When you put the quotation marks around the phrase, only search results that have the exact phrase will be displayed. If there are less than two pages of results that means that you can fill that niche with content. Jacksonville boats is pretty full, I’ll go ahead and tell you. When you are posting unique material that is filling a niche you are guaranteed to rank well for that content.
Another deciding factor in where you rank is the diversity of media and length of content within the resource being created. If you want to rank well in google search you need to provide a resource that is full of relevant information. If you can post content with at least seven hundred words you will rank well if you are filling a new niche. If you want to rank well for a keyword or phrase that already has a lot of content that matches it, you will need to increase the amount of content being posted. For the most popular keywords I would say around fifteen thousand would be a good benchmark. On top of having a solid amount of content, you will want to include different types of media that are unique to your website. Include videos, images, vines, and GIFs. Be sure that these media files are unique and have never been seen online before.
Another way to rank well on Google is to fill the niche as fast as possible. If an a new product hits the market, or something happens in the news, you can take advantage of the opportunity by being one of the first posts on google about whatever it is that is new. If you can be the first post about something and your content is lengthy, relevant, and contains diverse media, you are guaranteed to rank well for that keyword or phrase.

Pinterest Buyable Pins Allow Merchants to Sell on Pinterest

Image result for shopify pinterest

Pinterest now allows merchant’s products to be displayed on pinterest as pins. Pinterest users can now buy merchant’s items directly from the merchant from their pin. Pinterest users can upload their debit or credit card information to their account as well as their shipping address. This allows users to purchase items displayed as a pin extremely quickly. The addition of buyable pins will be a great marketing tool for companies. This addition will be especially effective for companies who sell products that are attractive to females ages fourteen to twenty nine, because this is the largest demographic that uses pinterest. Their products will be one click away from being purchased by millions of users of pinterest. The buyable pins will be able to be treated just like any other pin on pinterest. Users can pin items to boards and share them with friends. This ability will allow users to create boards called “birthday wishlist” and pin items that they really want. Then their friends can look at the board and see what they could get them for their birthday. I know from speaking with some users that they can be frustrated because they see something on pinterest that they are extremely interested in but can not find the item anywhere. This will make it easier for users to find select items that they see on pinterest, because the item will have the option to be purchased on pinterest. Right now there are not many merchants that are set up with buyable pins on pinterest, but in the near future there will be plenty of merchants that begin to add their items to the pinterest shop. There will be larger brands such as Target or Michael’s that will get their foot in the door for this great marketing tool. For companies to be able to create buyable pins to put on pinterest they must first be own a shopify.com store. Basically all the buyable pin is, is a shortcut to purchasing an item from a company with a shopify online store. So it is just a shortcut to purchase the items you find on pinterest.

Zello Instant Talking App For iPhone

Image result for zelloThe Zello mobile app is a communication tool that is extremely similar to the old Nextel cell phones. It is an instant talking service that allows you to use your phone in the same way that you would use a walkie-talkie. First of all downloading this app has been more difficult than it should for some people. Some people misspell the name of the app and spell it “zellow”. When you search “zellow” on the app store, the only result you will get is zillow. Zillow is an app that allows you to search for property and homes. So make sure that when you type it into the app store you spell it correctly. Zello offers a simple and effective way to use your iPhone as a walkie-talkie. 

When you first open the app you will have to create your account with zello. They will ask for your desired username and password as well as your email. Once you have completed these you will be prompted with a screen where you will add more information to your account. You can add a profile picture and any other information you want related to your profile.
Once you have filled out your profile you will be sent to a screen where you will test your microphone. You will call a contact called “Echo”. It is called echo because when you talk to it, it just plays whatever you say back to you. So basically you are the sender and the recipient. To talk you hold down the large circular button in the center of the screen until you hear it beep. When you hear the beep you can begin speaking. Once you have said everything you need to say, just release the button and wait for it to be played back. If the quality of the audio sounds good you know that your microphone is working. If not, get a new phone.
Once you have verified that your microphone is worked, and messed around talking to echo, you can add contacts to begin talking to whomever. To add contacts, tap the arrow in the top left corner of the screen. Then tap the same area with the three horizontal lines. This will bring you to your dashboard. Then tap on contacts, then tap “add a contact” at the bottom of the screen. There are three ways you can add people to talk to on zello. The first way is to search their username. This it the most common way. The other two ways to add new contacts are through your phones contacts and by scanning the users QR code.
Once you have added contacts you can talk to them; instantly. To talk to your contacts, just go to your contact list and select which contact you’d like to talk to. Then, just like talking to echo, just tap and hold until you hear the beep then speak. When your contact responds you will hear a beep then whatever they said will be played. Their message will be played even if your phone is asleep.
If you do not want to receive messages for whatever reason you can disable the notifications by going to your  dashboard and tapping on your status. You have the option of changing your status on zello to : Available, Solo, Busy, or Offline. Available allows anyone to send you messages and you can hear the messages when your phone is asleep. Solo means you can receive live messages from selected contacts only the rest are saved for later. Busy means that you will receive visual notifications and you will be able to listen to them later. Offline means that you will receive notifications on your lock screen and you can play them back later.
This app is pretty neat and is a must try for anyone who likes a quick way to talk with friends. This app is also similar to walkie-talkies which can be fun to mess around with. Go try it out and find out for yourself.

Some Things to Consider Before Applying for a Home Loan

A home loan, for most, is the largest financial investment in their lives. People spend a large part of their life paying off their home. It is important to understand the process of applying for a home loan and have the proper financial housekeeping taken care of before you begin the process. This article will discuss the items that the lender will be interested in before approving your home loan application.

We will start with credit related items that you will need and how to make them look good before you apply for the home loan. The first item you will want to get is your credit report. Be sure that you get a report from all three major credit bureaus. Check over the information and make sure that there are no errors in the report. If there are discrepancies in the report it could cause your rates to be much higher than they should. Forty percent of credit reports are faulty; so be sure that you check over them. Not checking over them can cause you to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent.

You will also want to check on your credit standing. Make sure that you have little or no credit card balance and be sure that you take care of any outstanding bills before you apply for the mortgage. If the lender sees that you have debt piling up they will be hesitant to loan you money. It would be like a friend that has borrowed money from people and failed to pay them back, asking you for money. Would you do give them the money? Probably not.

The number of credit accounts that a borrower has can also affect the loan that you get. Make sure that you do not open or close any accounts prior to applying for the loan. When you are constantly making changes to credit accounts it could look like you are trying to hide some bad financial decisions from the lender. These actions will look suspicious to the lender and could cause them to deny a loan application.

Now that all of the credit related items are accounted for you are going to want to look into the financial process that is part of the mortgage plan. These financial parts of the loan application process include income, interest, funds, and price ranges.

A steady source of income is also a must when applying for a home loan. Banks look for an income that can support the payments of the mortgage. If you are making $30,000 a year and are looking for a $900,000 loan, that is more than likely out of the ball park. A loan of $100,000 is a more realistic option. Lenders will be a lot more likely to give you a mortgage if you are clearly able to afford the payments.

You must also consider interest rates when applying for a home loan. A higher interest rate will mean you are being charged more per dollar borrowed per year than if the interest rate was lower. A lender’s interest rates could rise before the loan application is reviewed and approved. This means that you could apply while the interest rate is 4.297%, but by the time you are approved it could rise up to 4.341%. This change will lead to larger payments and an all around larger amount of money spent that could be saved.  It is really impossible to predict changes in the interest rate. If you find a favorable rate and wish to maintain that rate throughout the entire review process, you can pay a lock in fee which will save the favorable rate.

You must also prove to the lender that you have the money to cover closing costs and other costs that will come with the purchasing process. Be sure that you do not spend a large amount of money, that could deplete the amount of money you have on hand, prior to applying for the loan. You will want to have money set aside on top of the down payment that will cover these costs.

Make sure that the house that you have your eyes on is in your price range. You must check to make sure that you will be able to afford the payments on the mortgage. You will have to figure out your debt to income ratio (DTI) which is the percentage of your income that is put toward paying off debts. If the percentage put towards paying off debts is less than the payments of your mortgage your loan application will be denied.

Last, but not least, do some research on the lender to see how many applications they approve, and how many they deny. Find out the total percentage of applications that are approved by the lenders. If the total percentage of applications that are approved is less than fifty percent try to shop around and find a lender that has an approval rate higher than fifty percent.