How to Start Your First Garden Ever | gardening

Gardening is a very rewarding activity. You can acquire a fitter physical and mental self with hours spent engaged in gardening activities, enjoying the sight of your full-grown garden and spending time in it with family and friends. The best thing is that you can actually start a garden on your own without the help of professional landscapers and gardeners. Here are the easy steps to do so.Set Your Garden GoalsThere are many types of gardens to choose from. You have vegetable gardens, herb gardens, fruit gardens, ornamental plant gardens and flower gardens, to name a few. Well, of course, you can mix and match plants to achieve a composite type of garden. You have to be realistic about your gardening goals, too. Thus, you need to plan in advance the types of plants, their layout and the care necessary for each one.Select Your SiteAlong with setting your goals, you have to consider the site your garden will be. Keep in mind that your choice of a garden will affect your site. Thus, if it is an herb garden, you must choose the sunniest site while a flower garden requires some places to be shady. You also need to look at the site drainage, the availability of the water supply, the amount of sun received, and even the view from the house. If you are going for container gardening, then looking for good windowsills and appropriate containers is necessary.Lay Out the BedsYou should then mark out the borders of your garden in accordance with your initial plans. You may use the garden hose or a length of string as well as garden stakes to do so. Measuring the shapes and sizes of your garden beds allow for a more informed decision of the number of seeds and plants that you will have to purchase later on. Plus, it will provide the opportunity to clear out certain areas for planting.Of course, laying out the beds also means that you have to amend the soil, which is best done through the addition of compost to the soil. You may also have your soil tested just so you can determine exactly how much compost and/or fertilizer you will need to make your soil a good one.Select the PlantsNow, look into your plans before purchasing the plants. You want to avoid impulse buying especially when you are on a limited budget, a limited space and a limited time for gardening. When choosing from the plants, you have to inspect them for unwanted insects, diseases and other issues that can affect its transplantation. Plus, it will not do for an infected plant to adversely affect your healthier plants, thus, possibly rendering your first efforts at a garden as a disaster – a learning disaster but a disaster, nonetheless.Plant the PlantsThe final step in starting your own first garden is, of course, to plant the plants and/or seedlings into the prepared beds. The most important tips are to keep your plants as moist as possible, plant them in sufficient holes and place organic mulch at the topsoil.Now, all it takes is to build on the gains of your first planting efforts by taking good care of your plants.

Traffic and Conversion – The Foundation of Online Marketing | Online marketing

I’ve got a secret for you: there are no secrets in marketing. Successful marketers have been using the same strategies for hundreds of years and, in 50 years from now, the next generation of marketing gurus and experts will be doing exactly what works today.Unfortunately for the marketing executive or small business owner, marketing has become a bit of a mystery. It’s not the strategies – it’s the technology. Yes, the strategies are the same but the technical platform, the Internet, has changed the tactical side of this battle. Online marketing has made it easier for customers and clients to contact you and buy, but delivering this ‘ease’ through the Internet is complex.To demystify online marketing, I’d like to introduce two key concepts that every business owner and marketing executive must grasp:Traffic
ConversionThink of your online marketing as a retail store. You have to persuade people to visit the store (the traffic) and once they’re in the store, you have to persuade them to buy (the conversion). And then persuade the shoppers to come back and buy again. And tell their friends.Let’s start with traffic.In online marketing, you can set up a stunning and effective website but, without traffic, the site is totally useless. Some proven ways to generate traffic to your site.Sponsored traffic (also known as pay per click)
Organic search (using search engine optimization)
Affiliate programs
Radio advertising
Television
Direct mail
Print advertising
Yellow pagesWhen I’m speaking with potential clients, they’re often surprised to learn that ‘old’ tactics (4-8) are still effective. They are. But I also advise clients they need to measure everything. Measuring marketing results is nothing new; the Internet makes it easier to discover what’s working and what’s not. You may learn, to your surprise, that the best way to drive traffic to your website is direct mail. Another key to driving traffic is giving potential visitors a strong reason to visit. For example, a roofing company can send a letter out saying, ‘visit our website to get a free insurance estimate – your insurance company might pay for a new roof.’ When you give people a strong reason, an irresistible offer, to visit your website, traffic improves.Conversion. Once you have visitors to your website, it’s vital to turn them into customers. Let’s go back to the store. An intelligent store owner trains the employees how to sell. If an employee fails to make a sale, they know to get an email or a phone number so they can stay in touch with the potential customer.It’s the same with online marketing: you have to persuade the visitor to buy or hand over an email address and other vital information. The technology is complex and making a website easy for the client or customer is difficult – but achievable. But conversion strategy is based on fundamental and timeless sales principles.So – if you’re thinking about ramping up your online marketing I have three pieces of advice.Learn as much as possible about the fundamentals of direct response marketing.
Try and test different traffic generation techniques.
Base conversion on making life easy for potential customers and clients.By Will Swayne, managing director, Marketing Results.