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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Web Hosting - All About Domain Names "What's in a name?" Shakespeare asks in Romeo and Juliet. In the case of your web site the answer is: quite a lot. A domain name is the English (or other) language designator for your site. Because of the way the Internet functions, that name is associated with an IP address, a numeric identifier that computers and network components use to connect a browser to a web site. It's not mandatory that a site has a name. But directing visitors by IP address can quickly generate difficulties. Having an IP address IS mandatory, since it's ultimately the way a web site is located by other computers and network software. In the early days of the Internet the name was chosen carefully in order to help a person remember the URL. That made it easier to type, too. With hotspots on a page, great search engines, social networking and other contemporary tools, that's not as important now. But from a marketing perspective, it still helps to have a good name. It's still beneficial to have a site called 'CheapTVs.com' if what you sell are inexpensive TV sets. Calling your site, 'InexpensiveElectronicVisualDisplayDevices.com' may describe your business in some way, but it's a little harder to refer a new person to your site. Which name you choose can, therefore, affect how much traffic your site gets, how soon. Sooner or later, if you have information and/or products/services that people want, word will get around. But having a good name can certainly help. Love them or hate them, the Google company chose well. Of course, the fact is that there are millions of web sites around the world. That means, you don't necessarily get the name of your first choice. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the internationally recognized authority for managing IP addresses across the worldwide Internet, along with the top-level domain name-parts (.com, .net, .org, .edu, and so forth). But registering a name is done by simply contacting any of a hundred organizations that work as intermediaries to establish and track the names. GoDaddy, Register.com, Network Solutions and a great many others provide the service for anywhere from free to a few dollars per month or year. You contact them by navigating to their web site. Then, using a feature they all provide, you can select a possible name. They use something called whois and other software to determine if the name is already claimed. Or, you can check yourself at www.whois.com. Registration is for a limited time, but typically renewable in perpetuity provided you pay the (usually annual) fee. You may have to go through several choices to find a domain name that isn't already in use. With so many millions of sites, the odds of you getting your first choice is slim, unless you have a highly unusual imagination. But, it's also true that domains tend to die or expire. As they do, the name becomes available for use by someone new. A method for getting on a 'waiting list' is available. You register the name you want and if and when the name becomes available, you are offered the chance to claim it. Naturally, there's competition even on the waiting list for 'good' names. There are many different ways of establishing priority that vary by company. At any given time there are thousands of so-called auctions going on to bid on names. Give some thought to your new domain name and research its availability, but don't stress over it. The name isn't everything. After all, if Google had built a search engine that delivered usable results only 10% of the time, their name would be mud.

The Makings of a Magazine: Do They Include You? (writing magazine articles) Magazines are everywhere. They are published on nearly every subject you can imagine, in duplicate and triplicate and more. All that a start-up magazine needs is a niche and an audience. While there may be hundreds of cooking magazines out there, a new one could come up if it should cover cooking for your pets. In fact, there may already be such a magazine in existence. The niche is cooking for pets. The audience is those people who want the healthiest foods for their pets and are willing to put the time and effort into making it for them. If you are interested in writing magazine articles, you?ll be sure to find one that is perfectly suited to your interests and abilities as a writer. Because there are so many magazines, it won?t be difficult to find one that you will enjoy becoming a part of. What You Should Know Magazines survive on advertising. The advertisers pay because the content is good enough that readers will invest in the glossy covers again and again. The best way to find a healthy magazine is to look through the racks for thick publications. They will only be full of content if they are full of advertisements. The big magazines can afford to pay their writers more, but they can also afford to pay only the best writers. Even though there is quite a lot of space to fill with content, you may have a hard time getting published in major magazines at first. Smaller magazines do not have quite the readership and so they also do not have quite the advertisement content. The space will be limited and the pay will be lower, but these magazines will be more open to new writing talent nonetheless. The More You Know, the Better When it comes to a writing career, the more you know the better off you will be. It is not hard to figure out that you will have the best chances for publication if you can write on a variety of topics. You should not limit yourself to a small area of expertise. Work to become an expert in every topic you come across. There is no possible way of course to be an expert in every area of human knowledge, but it will help you in writing magazine articles to learn every new piece of information that you can. For example, if you were to send a query to a health and fitness magazine about writing a short piece about general mountain biking tips they may accept it. They may also then request additional information about the pros and cons of using a road bike on mountain trails. If you only know about mountain bikes, you?ll be stuck. If you have worked on broadening your horizons though, you?ll be able to produce the work that the magazine editor requires. Getting On Staff Querying magazines is a way to get published, but if you need a more stable job, you may be interested in getting on staff with a magazine. Writing magazine articles is a talent. If you can consistently bring an editor what he is looking for, you might have a chance. To improve your chances, in addition to writing effectively, it will help to have some significant education behind you. If you are serious about making it to the masthead of your favorite magazine, it?s time to go to school. A degree will help your credibility as a writer and will help you open doors into the magazine publication world. Writing magazine articles takes a special kind of writer. You have to have a feel for what people are interested in reading about. The magazine content will help you understand how to write for a particular magazine and audience. You can also improve your chances of writing accepted articles by improving your knowledge base. Don?t be picky about what you?re willing to learn and you could go very far in the writing business.

To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.