5 Reasons to Invest in Replacement Windows For Your Home or Business

replacement windows

We are happy to welcome guest blogger, Matt Wheeler to our website! He is the owner of a replacement window and door business in Charlotte, NC called All Seasons Window & Door Co. Today, he’s going to be discussing the top 5 reasons to consider replacement windows for your home or business.

Whether you live in the queen city or elsewhere, we hope you’ll find this post helpful in meeting your home improvement needs!

As someone who’s been in the window and door business for a long time, I can attest to all the benefits of replacing your windows. While you may have heard that doing so can save you lots of money on heating and cooling costs, that’s not the only reason. Besides better energy efficiency, here are 5 more reasons to consider replacement windows for your home or business building.

Reason #1: More Comfort.

Ever sat near a window and felt a cold draft in the middle of winter? It’s enough to literally send chills down your spine! I’ve had customers who even reported watching the flames in their fireplace dwindle down to nothing because of a strange wind coming from a crack in their window sealing. If you’re noticing issues like this, they’re surely a pain, which means it might be time for some new panes… pun intended.

Reason #2: Improved Curb Appeal and Resale Value.

Thinking about selling your home soon? New windows can significantly increase its monetary value. But even if you don’t intend to sell, they will certainly boost your curb appeal and make your neighbors stop and stare a little longer while they’re out on walks. Who doesn’t want to own the most admired home in the neighborhood?

Reason #3: Easier Maintenance.

Today’s window technology has made significant improvements in terms of ease of maintenance and cleaning. If your home’s windows are old and hard to clean, replacing them could save you lots of time and effort in the very near future. And if you pay a professional to come and clean your windows every so often, you’ll save money. New windows for the win!

Reason #4: Safer.

Again, window technology has greatly improved. Modern replacement windows are safer than the windows of old, which means you’ll have greater peace of mind that your home is protected as well as it can be. Not to mention, they open and close easier from the inside, so you and your loved ones can get out quicker in case of fire or other emergencies that might require a prompt exit.

Reason #5: Current Specials.

Now is the time to take advantage of any special promotions that your local window and door replacement companies may be offering. With the spring season in full bloom, you’re bound to find some great deals out there. If you live in Charlotte, NC, give us a call at 704-343-8438 to learn about our current specials!

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers: 3 Things The “Experts” Won’t Tell You

Have you ever searched the web for “how to get more followers on Instagram” and been disappointed because all of the articles you read seem to suggest the same things? And then you implement those things and discover that they don’t really work all that well?

That’s because anyone who’s smart or considers themselves an expert on a subject is not just going to give away super-helpful information for free. They’re going to lure you in with shallow content that doesn’t really help you, and then upsell you on the really good stuff, which might actually get you a decent following … for a time … until you have to buy another course from them. (The goal is to always get you to spend more, right? Smart marketers know this and capitalize on it.)

If you really want to get more followers on Instagram, you need to do the things that no one is telling you to do. Dig deep into the stash of secrets that most experts are keeping in their closets and use those. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’re going to get the same results as everyone else. And most people are not getting results.

We’ve got some good news for you: we know a few of their secrets and we’re going to share them with you here, absolutely free.

That’s right. No charge for this super-helpful info. We’re even going to save you money by telling you about some awesome, cheap tools that have helped us grow our follower base on Insta. And we’re also not going to ask you to give away your email or sign up for anything in return. All we ask is that you share this post with everyone you know so that word gets out about our blog and we can grow our audience.

Yes, we have ulterior motives. But those motives don’t involve you giving out your info or cash. We genuinely hope you find this information so helpful that you’ll want to share it with everyone you know! So here goes…

#1. You can’t just “post everyday” and hope the followers will come.

Most of the experts will tell you to “build it and they will come.” And building it means posting to your account every day, using relevant hashtags, and hoping you’ll get found. But that’s not necessarily the case, especially since Instagram’s recent algorithm change.

Unfortunately, you’ve gotta pay to play if you want to get somewhere fast. The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune. Instagram’s advertising platform is still relatively low-cost. Also, there are tools out there to help you engage with potential followers more to grow your base. Which brings us to point #2.

#2. Using auto-like tools can be very lucrative.

Experts will usually tell you to avoid software that goes into Instagram and automatically likes posts from other people that use certain hashtags. They’ll say it’s “risky” and that you won’t be able to build a genuine following that way.

But we’re here to let you know that’s just not true! If you do it well, auto-liking can save you tons of time and energy, help you engage with potential followers, and grow your following significantly. One of our favorite tools is Robolike. We use it auto like other users’ posts that are tagged with certain words and phrases, and it works like a charm. In just over a year, we grew our following from 50 to over 9K.

Just don’t be spammy about it and you’ll be fine. We never recommend auto-commenting tools, as those can be difficult to regulate. But you could hire a VA on Upwork to go in and leave relevant comments for you for relatively cheap if you have the extra budget. Leaving comments manually using tools like iconosquare (which is also great for instagram analytics) can definitely help to boost your following, because it’s even more engaging that simply liking other posts with relevant hashtags. But it does take some time and effort on your part (or on the part of your VA!)

3. You don’t need a $1,500 camera!

The rule of thirds, good lighting, and a smartphone go a long way these days. Especially since the newer smartphones are equipped to produce images that are comparable to what you could get with a DSLR. So-called experts will try to get you to spend money on an expensive camera that’s just not practical. We’ve taken quite a few professional-quality photos with our iPhones that have received compliments from people inquiring what kind of camera we use. Who wants to carry around a big, bulky Nikon anyway?

Again, we hope you find this post helpful. And we’re sure that if you implement the above suggestions (especially the tools mentioned in #2), you’ll start to see some great results. Give it a try and let us know your results in the comments below!

How to Write Amazing Ad Copy That Converts

how to write good ad copy

Copywriting is an important element in the advertising and marketing of just about anything, and even more so in a local capacity. Whether it’s online advertising or offline advertising and marketing. A great advertisement might be the difference between success or failure of a product. The ideas discussed below will certainly offer some insight into creating awesome ad copy.

Writing an effective ads is key to achieving optimal sales success. Just what makes for good or excellent copywriting and how you can create a good advertisement?. Let’s look at some essentials of great copy.

Understand Your Customer:

It is very important to understand the intent of the client and also his/her organizational background. A good understanding aids in determining your target audience.

Know Your Products:

Full understanding of the products you’re trying to sell is extremely vital from the advertising point of view. Things like: what is the item, what are its advantages, its objectives, your target market, your medium of marketing, current reviews, the price as well as the region of advertising. All these factors are important to consider when advertising a product or collection of products.

Know Your Target Audience:

To recognize your target market, it is vital to comprehend the product and the age group the item is being targeted to. Once the age group is narrowed down, the following step would be to understand the mindset of that age group, the area they come from, their tastes, likes and dislikes. These are some of the elements that should be thought about before writing your ad copy.

An inadequately written advertisement might destroy an excellent product, just as a properly composed ad might escalate the sales of a mediocre product.

The next time you write an advertisement, take into consideration these aspects and you’re sure to come up with an awesome ad that converts.

How to Write a Song

how to write a songBefore you get too excited, you should know that this post is not going to outline a step-by-step process for actually sitting down to write a song. Truth be told, as an experienced songwriter, I can confidently say that the process is different for everyone. In fact, in many cases for me, it’s a different process every time I do it.

Sometimes, I come up with the melody first.

Sometimes, I come up with a chord progression first, and then I get a melody from that.

Sometimes, I write lyrics and it’s months before those lyrics get put to music.

And sometimes, I can write a whole song—lyrics, melody, and chords—in one 30-minute sitting. (It’s rare, but it has happened.)

My point is, just like there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup, there’s no wrong way to write a song. And there’s no one single way to write one either. It really all depends on several factors, such as where your inspiration comes from, when it comes to you, how it comes to you, what your motive is for writing, and what instrument(s) you have to aid you in the process. All of these factors add up to influence a person’s songwriting process in a different way each time.

That said, I can sum up my songwriting process pretty easily. Even though it is different every time – there is one core thing that acts as the common thread between the various elements that come into play. I’ll put it the way another songwriter once put it to me and helped me begin my songwriting journey many years ago:

Writing a song is no different than writing an essay or a story.

Yes, that sounds simple, but it was hugely impactful for me, mainly because I was a college student at the time, and I was majoring in English. So I had plenty of experience writing essays and stories (mostly essays.)

You can break it down just like any high school student would break it down. An essay is usually made up of an introduction, a conclusion, and a number of supporting paragraphs (3 if it’s the standard “5-paragraph essay” that I was taught to write as a teenager.) Each supporting paragraph is made up of a single topic sentence along with examples to support that topic sentence. And each supporting paragraph should be written to support the essay’s main idea or thesis, which is usually presented at the end of the introduction.

In the same way, a song is simply a poetic “essay” of sorts. You have one main idea, and you support that idea with verses, a chorus, and possibly a bridge. Not all of these elements is required every time, but most popular songs are made up of verses, choruses, and a bridge, and many of my songs follow this structure.

So, how do you write a song? First, you come up with a main idea. You may wish to communicate that idea through your chorus, since that is the “hook” of most songs. Then, you come up with several supporting verses to describe or exemplify that main idea. It really is a lot like writing an essay.

It really doesn’t matter if you write the music first or the lyrics first. I’ve done it both ways. In many cases, I’ll try to coordinate the style of the music to fit the overall “feel” that the lyrics produce when read. If the lyrics are meant to provoke thought, then the music will be written to elicit a thoughtful emotional response. If the lyrics are sappy and meant to draw tears, the music will usually be written with that in mind. Sometimes, if I have a main idea and overall “feel” in mind, I’ll write the music first, and then add lyrics. In those cases, the music almost always gets altered as the lyrics progress.

Sorry this wasn’t a step-by-step how-to. You can find lots of those online, but I feel as though they can be extremely limiting, because, as I said before, there truly is no wrong way to write a song. If you’re interested, we did another post a while back on the basics of songwriting that you can check out here.

Happy songwriting!

How to Find a Good Marketing Company Online

digital marketing

Ever since we started this website, we’ve gotten spammed with emails and calls from people saying they could “get us ranked on Google.” Usually, it’s the same spiel:

“Your website isn’t coming up when I search for your keywords on search engines … our company specializes in search engine optimization for blogs … yadda, yadda, yadda …”

I’ve heard it all—usually from some Indian guy who claims to have Google in his back pocket.

Having dabbled in SEO myself and having seen some success, I like to think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this stuff. I’m sure there’s a ton of stuff I can learn, but I recently interviewed some friends of mine in Charlotte, NC who actually own their own digital marketing company and asked them to speak toward this issue. (FYI: If you’re a local business owner and you’re looking to get some more action online, you might want to consider hiring them, ’cause they really know their stuff!)

My main question to them was, how do you find a good digital marketing company? There are so many self-proclaimed “SEO experts” out there in the universe. How do you know when you’ve got one that’s actually gonna deliver on their promises?

Their answer made perfect sense: search online.

A company that claims to know SEO and be able to get your business ranked on Google should first have their stuff together. What do I mean by that? They need to have ranked themselves on the Big G locally first for some common keyword searches like:

  • seo experts + your city and state
  • seo services + your city and state
  • internet marketing services + your city and state
  • online marketing company + your city and state
  • seo agency + your city and state

You get the point. If you do a search online to try and find the right internet marketing company to work with in your area, this is the first piece of criteria you should be looking for. However, your search does not end when you discover the top result. It has only just begun at that point. And believe it or not, the guy ranked #1 for your keyword may not actually be the one you want to work with.

good digital marketing company will not only know their stuff when it comes to SEO. They’ll also know their stuff when it comes to digital marketing as a whole, which encompasses a slew of other services from branding and social media marketing to lead generation and more. You’ll know if they know their stuff when you see how well they’ve branded and marketed themselves in each of those different areas.

This may be a bit of a plug for my friends (and I may be biased), but I honestly think they’ve nailed it when it comes to branding and marketing their own company. They also happen to really know SEO and what it takes to get yourself ranked on search engines. I say this, because to me, their brand stands out. If you don’t believe me, check out their website yourself.

SEO is a competitive world. You might know your stuff, but so do all the other self-proclaimed “experts” out there. If you’re going to differentiate yourself in this market, you gotta actually BE different. When people visit your website, they need to see read something that doesn’t sound like the same cookie-cutter B.S. every other Indian guy keeps telling me on the phone (“we can get you ranked…”)

That’s what’s going to compel them to take notice. And then once they take notice and decide to hire you, you gotta deliver on your promises. I always say “under-promise, over-deliver.”

Writing Your Very Own Songs: The Basics

People write songs using many different methods. Some writers compose the music first, while others write the lyrics. For some, the lyrics and the tune come to them simultaneously, while others compose the tune first and lyrics last. No matter what order you are comfortable with, you will at some point need to choose exactly what the tune is about. There are a range of various types of tracks varying from tracks that inform fictional stories to songs that produce deep individual sensations.

An excellent first exercise is to create around an story or something you’ve checked out in the newspaper if you make a decision to write a “story” song. This way you could use your initial track to sharpen your word-selecting skills without the stress of thinking of your very own tale. If you currently have a suggestion for a story to tell, you could create it out in rhyme form as well as attempt to make suitable rhymes and structures that help to communicate exactly what happens in the track.

Writing the real music for a song can be done in many various ways depending on your musical expertise and also your emphasis. Instrumental virtuosos will have a very different approach to songwriting than that of novices. Frequently, songwriters will construct entire songs, tune and all, without also knowing exactly what they will be about. Check out the video below for some basic tips on how to get started.

Once you have put your words and songs together, you may really feel the need to perform your brand-new track. When you feel comfortable playing your song, you should take into consideration visiting an open mic evening at a local coffee shop or bar.

Due to the fact that songs are so expressive, many songwriters utilize their make-ups to reveal just how they really feel, whether it has to do with an individual or a scenario or even a specific place. Creating the music might be very personal, so everyone does it differently. Write it down in a notebook and come back to it later when you have strong emotions concerning something. You might think about a great line that shares a feeling pretty well, and if you remember it, you may be able to build a whole song around it. Having peaceful time to think is always helpful when you are trying to compose a track.

If you are interested selling your songs, however, you should be conscious that it is a hard road and also that not many songwriters accomplish great fame or make tons of money quickly. If you have sensible expectations, you will certainly realize that composing songs is a beneficial experience, whether it is a pastime or it becomes a career.

Is Boxed Wine Worth Your Time?

It’s wine in bulk… how could it not be worth your time? Well, yes, there are lots of reasons for a wino to love in love boxed wine. Okay, two reason really…. it’s wine and there is lots of it! However, not all boxed wines are created equal and though your pockets may take less of a hit your palate could get wrecked! I am hoping that this post will guide another wino towards the promised land of drinking copious amounts of wine at a great value.

Since the news came out about Californian wines containing Monsanto’s glyphosate I have made it a point to stay clear from drinking them. So, when I saw that Trader Joe’s offers a boxed Shiraz from Australia I was all in on that parcel. The box contains about 4 bottles of wine and stays good for up to 45 days after you open it. It is almost half the price of Black Box boxed wine and way more drinkable. It has become my go to wine purchase for these reasons plus there are more benefits to drinking boxed wine over bottled wine as well.

Beyond the benefit your pockets will feel by purchasing boxed wine it is also beneficial from an ecological stand point. If that isn’t enough reason to make the switch to boxed wine consider the convenience aspect. Say it’s just you and you want a glass of wine, with a bottle you have to open it up and if you do not finish it in two days the bottle will go bad. With boxed wine you can pour as little or as much as you want and you don’t have to worry about the wine going bad because it stays good for up to 45 days.

So yes, boxed wine is well worth your time and one reason for that is it preserves well over time. The freedom to pour as much as you would like is very liberating. You are able to pour a half glass if you just want a little bit or if you need some for cooking it is readily available on tap. So far, in my experience the Trader Joe’s Block Red Shiraz is the best tasting boxed wine for around $12. What are your thoughts on boxed wine? Do you have a recommendation for boxed wine that you think is better? Let me know in the comment section!

Water Bottle That Filters Fluoride?

People are starting to wake up to the fact that fluoride is a dangerous toxin and added more of it to water or putting in toothpaste is not a very smart thing to do. The people who do not realize this are obviously getting a healthy dose of fluoride daily and one effect of the toxic chemical is that it lowers IQ. When looking at your container of toothpaste it should clear as there is warning to contact poison control if you end up swallowing your toothpaste. But doesn’t it help prevent cavities? Sure, so I guess your teeth will look nice and shiny for your wake when you die from cancer.

Anyone who is unaware of the dangers of fluoride or on the fence can check out the documentary, “Hard to Swallow.” For those you have woken up to the dangers of this toxic chemical but not sure what to do with that information continue reading. There are a variety of filters on the market that will filter out 90% of fluoride removing most but not all because fluoride does occur naturally in water. The amount of fluoride that occurs naturally in water is 10 times less than what is added to water with fluoridation programs. These filtration systems range from whole house systems to straws, containers you can keep on your kitchen counter or a water bottle you can take on the go.

My family and I use the water bottle method as it is the easiest for when you are on the go. It is super convenient when you can fill up your water bottle anywhere and drink clean, refreshing and non fluoridated water. In addition to filtering out 90% of fluoride the bottle also filters out 99.9% of bacteria, e-coli, salmonella, and chlorine. You could literally dip your bottle in a river or lake and drink it and though I have never tried this it is nice to know that in the event of a total economic collapse one thing we wouldn’t have to worry about is finding clean, drinkable water. A simple Google search for “fluoride filters” will get you started so you can do your research and find one that is right for you. Happy hunting!

5 Ways to Unclog a Toilet

This post is a bit unorthodox for us. So far, we’ve mostly talked about music and things related to that, so this probably seems weird, but there’s a good reason for it. One of our readers actually wrote in and asked about ways to unclog a stubborn toilet, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect due to a recurring toilet situation we’ve been having for a while now…

We share a unisex bathroom at our music studio, and the toilet has been clogging a lot lately. At first, we figured it was one of the guys. There are some big, tall guys in our crew and they eat a lot of fast food. Imagine our surprise, when we discovered it was one of the girls in our group.

I promise she gave me permission to write this post … but only because I swore I wouldn’t disclose her name or any other information about her.

This girl is petite, so it was very surprising to learn the cause of the clogs…

Too much toilet paper? Nope. She uses the standard 3 sheets, and the TP we buy isn’t particularly thick.

Tampons? Wrong again. She hasn’t had a period in a while due to the birth of multiple kids back to back.

Flushing drugs down the toilet? Nah… despite our musician lifestyles, we’re not into that sorta thing.

The constant toilet clogging has been due to nothing more than her having really large, dense stools. Her boyfriend has affectionately nicknamed her “little big poops.” She didn’t think it was nearly as funny as he did…

Given the fact that none of our guys have ever manage to clog the toilet, ever, we knew it wasn’t a result of poor plumbing. We’ve tried many different methods of unclogging and learned a lot along the way. I wanted to write this post for anyone who shares a bathroom in a small music studio (or a similar setting where there’s only one toilet that a lot of people use) – mainly because I know that #thestruggleisreal and I’m hoping it will be of use to you, should happen to come across it. Here are the 5 methods we’ve used to unclog our music studio toilet:

Method #1: Use a plunger. I know what you’re thinking. “Well, duh…” But I figured I’d include it in this list, just in case it’s not a method you’ve tried. (You never know, right?) If a plunger doesn’t work, or if you don’t have one handy, methods 2 and 3 have worked wonders for us in a crappy situation. (Ha. See what I did there?)

Method #2: Use Dawn dish soap. Not only is this method really effective; it makes your whole bathroom smell like clean dishes. Simply squirt a good amount of the stuff into the toilet bowl, pour in some boiling hot water, and let it sit for a few minutes. The soap will help dissolve some of the fats in the clog (assuming it was caused by a dense stool.)

Check out this video to see the above method in action:

Method #3: Use baking soda & vinegar. Similar to the dish soap method, these ingredients will help to break up deposits that might be clogging your toilet. I’ve used this method multiple times after a plunger and a snake didn’t help, and it made the toilet flush like new again. Use equal parts baking soda and vinegar (approximately half a cup should do). Pour the baking soda in first, followed by the vinegar, and then top it off with a cup of boiling hot water. Note: be sure to pour the vinegar in slowly, as it will cause the baking soda to fizzle and foam, and you don’t want the water to run over the rim of the bowl.

Method #4: Snake it. You can get a good snake from Home Depot or Lowes for pretty cheap. Make sure it’s one of the ones that won’t scratch your toilet bowl. (Here’s the one we use.)

Method #5: Hire a plumber. Only as a last resort, if none of the above works. If method #4 fails, then you either have a really bad clog, or something’s up with your plumbing system, in which case, a plumber can save you tons of time and money in the long run. Thankfully, we haven’t had to go here yet…

Soundproofing Your Music Practice Room

foam insulation

When I was in a cover band, we used to pay a monthly fee to rent a practice room uptown. It was an awful experience, mainly because we didn’t just practice there. We also attempted to create many of our recordings, and we’d have to make sure and show up on a day when the building was virtually empty, because the rooms weren’t soundproof. If we showed up when other bands were practicing, it was pretty much pointless. Especially since I happen to live in a city that’s obsessed with heavy metal.

Since those days, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of practicing and recording in a soundproof room or studio. We ended up moving from that uptown space into our drummer’s soundproof loft, and I couldn’t have been happier with the decision. (Our band mates weren’t thrilled, because it was a 45-minute drive to the spot, but I remedied that problem by agreeing to transport them there every time we wanted to practice, so it all worked out… until the band broke up. But that’s another story for another post.)

Anyway, my buddy who let us practice at his house had spent a lot of time and money soundproofing the room to make it work. He also hired a professional electrician in Greenville, SC to wire his sound system, which made a huge difference. It sounded amazing in that room every time we practiced. He was a pretty dedicated musician and had the time and resources to build a better-than-average practice room right in the comfort of his upstairs loft.

Recently, someone wrote in and asked us about soundproofing music rooms, and I thought I’d let him weigh in on this question since he’s more of an expert than I am. Here are some things to consider when it comes to soundproofing your band’s practice space.

Reasons to Soundproof Your Practice Space

This may seem like common sense, but it’s worth covering anyway, especially if you don’t feel this is an important topic. Soundproofing your music practice space can have a number of positive effects, including:

Better sound quality. This frees you up to focus on making excellent music, rather than worrying about the environment’s acoustics.

Fewer recording takes. No sound interference from the heavy metal band in the room across the hall means less time spent doing multiple takes just to get one section of a song recorded.

Privacy. Your neighbors across the hall (assuming you share a multi-room building) won’t have to worry about you either.

Fewer distractions. Sans outside noises, your creative juices will flow better, allowing you to create more high-quality music.

Soundproofing Products

There are 2 main types of products to consider when setting up your practice space to reduce unwanted noise. First off, there’s a difference between soundproofing and sound absorption. Sound absorption improves the sound quality of your environment, whereas soundproofing reduces outside noise. If your space already has great acoustics (and we’ll assume for the purposes of this post that it does), then you’ll need to focus on soundproofing. You’ll need to renovate your walls, floors, and ceilings for best results, and how you do it depends on how your space is currently constructed.

Soundproofing walls: Mass-loaded vinyl barriers or insulation help to isolate the sound so that it stays within your space and doesn’t leak to the outside. You can also install new drywall over your existing wall with a hollow air gap in between. High-grade foam can also improve your sound quality by absorbing sound waves and cutting down on reverb and echo.

Soundproofing floors:  If you have hardwood floors, you’ll simply need isolators to create separation so that no part of the original flooring touches the new flooring. We recommend carpet underlay for solid concrete floors.

Soundproofing ceilings: My buddy’s loft already had dropped ceilings which worked in our favor. All he had to do was pack them with soundproofing materials to isolate the sound and prevent outside noise from leaking in. He also had an infant at home, so soundproofing was definitely a necessity, especially since the little guy napped upstairs!

There you have it! An introduction to soundproofing your practice space. I know this is pretty basic stuff so if you’re looking for an in-depth tutorial, you may want to visit your local music or hardware store and talk to a professional. Or, if you’re not into DIY, you can always hire a soundproofing expert to upfit your space for music practice. Either way, I think we can all agree that a soundproof band practice space is the optimal solution if you’re serious about making great music.