Saturday, 28 July 2012

Squats: The Best Exercise To Lose Belly Fat

It may surprise many people – maybe even you – but the best exercise to lose body fat isn’t even an abdominal exercise at all! See, stomach exercises (such as crunches) only work your mid section, which is fine for strength and condition the abs, but in terms of dropping unwanted body fat, it has a long, LONG way to go to beat this classic:

Squats: The Best Exercise For Losing Body Fat

I can hear the moaning already, and some of you might already be saying: “What? Squats don’t even work the abs, how in the heck can they help drop unwanted stomach flab?”
Technically, this isn’t true at all, as squats do work the mid section, albeit mostly as a stabilizing function throughout the movement. But for the sake of the bigger picture, let’s remember that our muscles burn calories at a tremendously faster rate than body fat, and furthermore, the larger the muscles you use, the more hungry muscle tissue you’ll have begging for some of those stored calories (i.e. belly fat). Add in the fact that the Squat actively uses muscles in the lower body, midsection and even the upper body, and not only are you recruiting big muscles, but you’re recruiting them in mass.
I should mention that any workout or exercise routine should include exercises from every major muscle group, but since you probably ended up here looking for the one BEST exercise – the movement you should perform if you could only do one – you won’t find anything better than this one.

How To Perform The Squat

Ready to kick your unwanted belly fat to the curb for good? Get ready because you’re probably going to sweat.
Why? Because all of those big, fat-breathing muscles also demand oxygen as they fire, which means you’ll quickly find yourself in “Oxygen Debt” (a fancy way for saying “out of breath”). But more importantly, it means your big muscle fibers are devouring calories and stored fat like an NFL lineman sizing up an all-you-can-eat buffet.
You can perform squats with or without weights. The two most common ways of using weight are to place a barbell across the top of your back (called a “Back Squat”) or to hold dumbbells in each hand. As an unweighted, or “body weight” exercise, most people either interlace their fingers behind their head (called a “Prisoner Squat”) or hold them straight out in front of them, parallel to the floor. Experiment and find out what works best for you.
Step 1: Stand facing forward with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart. Also make sure your toes are lined up facing forward.
Step 2: Keeping your back straight, bend at the knee and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knees go any farther forward than your toes; it often helps to envision sitting down in a chair, with the back of your legs already brushing up against the front edge.
Step 3: Drive through your heels (not toes!) and return to the starting position.
See, not so bad, eh? And if you incorporate these into your exercise routine, you’ll get much better results than those silly folks flailing on the ab equipment thinking crunches are the best exercise to lose body fat.
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Friday, 27 July 2012


When you and your partner are ready to try to conceive a baby, it is important to eat the right foods so that your body can make healthy semen, which increases your chances of success. According to Baby Centre, 32 percent of infertility issues are linked to men. Change your diet to incorporate foods that promote healthy reproduction before you begin trying for a baby to ensure that your semen is as healthy as possible.


Oysters are high in zinc, a nutrient that is vital to producing more semen. Zinc plays an important role in male reproduction by promoting healthy semen production and function, reports If you are trying to conceive a baby with your partner, add some oysters to your diet to help you meet your zinc needs. If you don't like oysters, zinc is also available in seeds, nuts, red meat, wheat, barley, turkey and lamb. Talk to your doctor about taking a supplement that contains zinc if you are still having trouble meeting your recommended daily quota, which is 11 mg, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Six oysters contain about 76 micrograms of zinc.

Asparagus recommends eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which will contribute to a healthy amount of semen. However, asparagus is a particularly good choice because it is high in folate, or folic acid, according to This nutrient is often associated with the reduced risk of neural tube birth defects in a pregnant woman's diet. However, folate is also important for healthy semen volume. Asparagus contains antioxidants that help sperm stay healthy and increases the amount of healthy semen that is available for conceiving a baby. Okra, broccoli and citrus fruits are other good sources of folic acid that can help you create more semen. A multivitamin will also help you meet your daily needs of 400 mg per day.


Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, a substance that aids in the increase of semen, reports Adding tomatoes and tomato products to your diet on a regular basis increases semen volume, but also keeps sperm healthy so that your odds of conception are higher. If you don't care for raw tomatoes, pasta sauce and pizza sauce are both good ways to incorporate tomatoes into your diet. Other good sources of lycopene include guavas and pink grapefruits. It is important to eat lycopene-containing foods because it is not available from the standard multivitamin you may already be taking. In addition, a diet high in fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, promotes a healthy weight, another factor in producing a good amount of quality semen.

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8 Diet and Exercise Mistakes That Age You

Eating too much sugar certainly isn't wise for your waistline, but did you know that overindulging in dessert can add years to your face? And even if you do strenuous cardio workouts each week, you'll be missing out on potential anti-aging body benefits if your schedule doesn't include yoga, weight training, and rest.
"Good nutrition is a fundamental building block of healthy skin," explains Leslie Baumann, MD, a Miami Beach dermatologist. The natural ingredients in whole foods such as romaine lettuce and strawberries help increase cell turnover, and boost production of collagen fibers to help keep skin smooth and firm. Conversely, foods with little-to-no nutritional benefits, like sugar-packed doughnuts, can actually damage the collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. These aging effects start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
Even if your diet is wholesome, you could be making exercise mistakes that age you as well. For example, if you only do cardio at the expense of other types of exercise, like yoga and strength-training, you could be missing out on skin-protective benefits.
Find out if you're making one of these 8 common aging diet and exercise mistakes, and get smart prevention strategies that can keep you slim and youthful for years to come.

The breakdown of sugars, called glycation, damages the collagen that keeps skin smooth and firm. To prevent this natural process from careening out of control, Naila Malik, MD, a derm in Southlake, TX, sticks to low-glycemic carbs like whole grains; they're naturally low in sugar, and the body processes them slowly to limit the loss of collagen. If you want to sweeten up your tea or oatmeal without making your skin look older, try all-natural stevia. It's an easily digested herbal sweetener that doesn't trigger glycation, according to board-certified dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, MD, an adjunct professor of medicine at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine.

Taking your work angst out on the Spinning bike or treadmill might make you feel better for a little while, but incorporating yoga into your fitness routine regularly may help you look younger and prevent breakouts while whittling away stress. Sounds like a winning workout to us! "Yoga moves like Child's Pose, Downward-Facing Dog, and Sun Salutations improve circulation--the boost of oxygen is what gives skin that lovely yoga glow," says Hema Sundaram, MD, a Washington, DC - area dermatologist. New research finds regular yoga practice may reduce the inflammation and stress that speed skin aging. If you need another reason to om away your stress: High levels of tension can spike hormone production that leads to breakouts or aggravates conditions like psoriasis. "Controlling stress keeps your skin calm," says Annie Chiu, MD, a derm in LA
Research suggests that green and black tea contain protective compounds--like EGCG and theaflavins--that help prevent skin cancers and the breakdown of collagen, the cause of wrinkles.
Following a regular strength-training routine that creates better, more supportive muscle tone will help you firm sagging skin from the neck down. "I am religious about strength-training, and I always tell patients to do it more as they get older," says Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist in Metairie, LA. "It's like adding volume to the face with fillers, except on your body," says Dr. Farris.

"Hormones in traditionally produced dairy, poultry, and meat may contribute to acne," says Katie Rodan, MD, a dermatologist in the San Francisco Bay area. She says that her patients who eat those less frequently--or at least choose grain-fed beef and poultry and organic dairy--often notice their skin looks better.

When your exercise routine is so intense that you're tired all the time but can't sleep at night, you're setting yourself up for overuse injuries--not to mention dark circles and bags under your eyes from those sleepless nights. These symptoms could be a sign of overexhaustion, says Ryan Halvorson, personal trainer, IDEA Health and Fitness Association expert, and author. Other clues that you're working out too much include extreme muscle soreness that persists for several days, unintended weight loss, an increased resting heart rate, interruptions in your menstrual cycle, or decreased appetite. "Plan your rest as well as you plan exercise," says Polly de Mille, RN, a registered clinical exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. "If there is no balance between breakdown and recovery, then the muscle is in a state of chronic inflammation and what may start as a simple case of soreness after a hard workout can turn into an actual overuse injury."

When your diet isn't balanced, your skin, hair, and nails will suffer. Cutting calories can deprive your body of certain nutrients that promote healthy cell division, cell regeneration, and overall skin tone and texture, explains David E. Bank, MD, FAAD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. "The skin also requires essential fatty acids--which the body can't produce on its own--to maintain hydration. A diet that's too low in fat could cause dry skin, hair loss, and brittle nails." Other key youth-boosting nutrients include vitamins A, C, and E. Being deficient in A can cause acne, dry hair, dry skin, and broken fingernails. Get your daily vitamin A fix by eating five baby carrots each day. A lack of vitamin C can affect collagen synthesis (the "glue" that binds our ligaments, bones, blood vessels, and skin), impair wound healing, and make you more likely to bruise. Incorporate vitamin C - rich foods in the form of citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, peppers, and leafy greens. Low levels of vitamin E can result in easy bruising and cause chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up. Get more vitamin E in your diet by eating almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, spinach, and fortified cereals.
Kimberly Snyder, a Los Angeles nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution ($9.77;, says she sees a big improvement in her clients' skin and hair when they eat more alkaline-forming foods, such as parsley, almonds, kale, pears, lemons, and apples. "If your body is too acidic, which can happen when your diet is unbalanced, it leaches the alkaline minerals, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, that allow us to have strong, healthy bones, teeth, and hair," Snyder explains.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

What are the Health Benefits of Okra

The world's most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to the history record.
CleopatraYang Guifei
Cleopatra of EgyptYang Guifei of China
When we visited the world's most productive land of okra in a rural area in Kami, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, the young and old all look very healthy. When we asked their secret in having good health in that area, they graciously answer “okra”.
Okra has a long history, with its beginnings in Egypt where it is cultivated before the time of Cleopatra. The okra plant spread to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. During World War II, the shortage of coffee beans made them use okra seeds as a substitute for coffee. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra's popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.

Nutritional Information

Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties.
For 1/2 cup sliced, cooked okraFor 1 cup raw okra
Calories – 25
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates – 5.76 grams
Vitamin A – 460 IU
Vitamin C – 13.04 mg
Folic acid – 36.5 micrograms
Calcium – 50.4 mg
Iron – 0.4 mg
Potassium – 256.6 mg
Magnesium – 46 mg
Calories – 33
Fiber – 3.2g
Total Fat – 0.1g
Protein – 2.0g
Carbohydrate – 7.6g
Vitamin A – 660 IU
Vitamin C – 21mg
Folate – 87.8mcg
Magnesium – 57mg

Health Benefits of Okra

  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra's mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
  4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  10. Okra is good for constipation.
  11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.
I myself planted about 25 stems of okra in my backyard garden throughout the year for over 20 years now. I can pick up about 20 pieces of okra pod every morning. All okra pods are consumed by my family. There are hundreds of recipes that can be done. You can either: cut it raw and mix with vinegar and pepper; cut it raw and mix with mayonnaise; steam, cut, with mayonnaise dressing; or, cook with stew or soup.
Okra is easy to grow anywhere during summer season in cold countries and throughout the year in tropical areas. You can even plant it in a container garden at the terrace in condominium buildings.

Inventor of PYRO-ENERGEN, the author, Mr. Takano himself picks up Okra in his backyard garden
To tell you the truth, I did not know that okra seed was used as a substitute for coffee beans during World War II. I have about 500 grams of okra seeds, so I roasted one-half of it using an iron cast pan, and pulverized it. I made okra coffee with it, and it tasted like real coffee although it was darker in color. When I offered the okra coffee to my staffs and visitors who did not know the real thing, they replied "Oh, you got a new blend of coffee, taste is good". I blended it with real coffee, too. It tastes all right. We do not know, however, what nutrients okra coffee gives.

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Lose Weight Fast Eating Fruits For Breakfast

iologically, it has been noticed that the body has the tendency to start the process of “excretion”, of wastes, towards a time period between 4 AM to 12 PM, which is basically from early morning towards noon. This is one reason why you have a bad breath, coated tongue, dusty eyes and bowel movement in the morning as you wake-up.
It’s quite a revelation to understand that the process of excreting wastes, or “detoxifying”, actually continues till noon time (till around 12 PM). When the body is not given ample time to relieve the wastes, not just in the intestines but also in the blood stream and cells in general, it starts storing up these wastes in the cells, intestinal linings and also in the fat tissues. The more wastes that are stored up in the body the more unnecessary weight you carry around, plus the toxicity of these wastes leads to a slow down of your body’s functioning leading to health disorders.

Eating Fruits For Breakfast, How It Helps Weight Loss?

Eating fruits for breakfast, and sticking to fruits till noon-time, is one of the best ways to not only supply the body with energy for the detox process but also allow the body the “free time” to give full attention to detoxification instead of being bogged down in the process of digesting foods/beverages that we are in the habit of in consuming in the morning. So instead of consuming that bagel, donut, buttered bread, milk & cereal, omelet or bacon, have a bowl of citrus fruits for breakfast followed by some sweet fruits for mid morning snack. You will be amazed at how brisk you feel in the morning when you eat a fruit breakfast and will notice a definite reduction in your weight within just a couple of weeks of following this eating practice.
Whatever be your diet plan for lunch or dinner, you can certainly lose weight fast by including an all fruit breakfast plan into the mix. A wholesome fruit breakfast has several other health benefits than just losing weight, but it’s a definite catalyst to help quicker weight reduction.

My Personal Experience With Eating Fruit Breakfast

Having lived a highly unhealthy lifestyle of eating processed foods and unwholesome/fattening foods, and touting a sluggish and puffy body as a result, I decided to detox with a fruit breakfast plan based on the insights I got from a book called “Fit For Life” by Harvey Diamond. I decided to focus on eating whole fruits (so that the dietary fibre is not removed) instead of juicing them. I also understood that citrus fruits are like virtual fat burners because of the Vitamin C content present in them that helped the body metabolize fat. So my plan was to eat a bowl of citrus fruits in the morning on empty stomach (around 8 am) and have a snack of sweet fruits, or have a glass of juice, around 11 am.
Some fruits that I included in my breakfast are – Oranges, Kiwi fruit, Grapefruit, Grapes, Tangerines. I also ate an apple, pear or guava, if I felt an appetite for it. Around 11 am I would have a couple of bananas or eat some cut pineapples, mangoes, apple or papaya.
Eating fruits allowed me to have an active morning, with no “sluggishness”. I felt more energized, my brain felt more focused and creative and my body as a whole felt agile. I liked the feeling generated by this simple breakfast of fruits and so it was easy for me to continue this eating pattern without requiring any “will power” or discipline.
I was able to see some very vivid results with respect to weight loss. I easily lost close to 5 pounds in a period of 2 weeks, despite the fact that I was not into any exercises or work outs at that time, neither did I make a marked change in my eating patterns at lunch or dinner (I had stopped over-indulging in processed foods, and was focused on eating more whole foods for quite a while before I started this fruit breakfast plan). So the fruit breakfast plan accentuated the process of weight loss for me and helped improve the overall fitness/health of my body. If you’ve never tried this before you will be amazed at the positive results you will see within just a few weeks of sticking to this plan of eating.
I would like to answer a few common questions that come through from people who are planning on trying the fruit breakfast plan for weight loss.

Are There Any Fruits That I Should Avoid Eating?

Eating fruits has never lead to weight gain in anyone, because it’s a natural food the body can sense when it has a reached “satiation” and thus avoid over-eating, and hence prevent an over dose of non-required calories. You can eat as much citrus fruits, or sweet fruits, as your body allows for until it reaches satiation. There are no fruits that you need to avoid, even avocados (that are the only fruits with high fat content) are healthy fruits because they contain essential fats and anti-oxidants.
Also, some people find that mixing citrus fruits with sweet fruits (like bananas, papaya or guava) causes unpleasantness in their stomach, so you might want to avoid this combination. It’s best to give a one hour break between eating citrus fruit and eating sweet fruits.

How Much Fruit Should I Eat For Breakfast?

As explained above, you can eat fruits till your body reaches satiation. Fruits are rich in water content which allows for a quicker feeling of satiation, and the natural sweetness of the fruits allows the body to judge clearly on how much calories can be obtained from it, thus giving a “stop” signal as soon as its has had its fill of required calories.

Can I Eat Only Fruits Through Out The Day For Quicker Weight Loss?

There are some people who try a radical eating change of only taking fruits through out the day, for a quicker weight loss. It’s okay to follow such a diet for a couple of days or even for five days, but I personally feel that any period longer that this would require some educated supervision and consultation. It’s hard to imagine that the body can get all the required essential fats, proteins and minerals simply by eating fruits through out the day. It’s best to focus on eating wholesome foods for lunch and dinner, and eat fruits for breakfast alone. This plan of eating can be continued as a lifestyle and thus allow for a permanently healthy and fit body.

Should I Follow A Specific Plan For My Lunch And Dinner Also?

Eating fruits for breakfast allows your body the time to “detox” and thus prevents the depositions of wastes in the body even when one is indulging in a slightly unhealthy lunch or dinner based on processed foods, junk foods or fried/fattening foods. But you would be helping yourself lose weight faster if you would stick to a wholesome lunch and dinner, while indulging your “unhealthy” cravings as moderately as possible. Whole foods like vegetables (boiled or stir fried), whole wheat preparations, brown rice (or less polished rice), fish (preferably grilled or baked), chicken (lean cuts without skin, grilled or baked), red meats (moderately), lentils etc not only provide the required calories but also provide dietary fiber and minerals required for a healthy functioning of the body. Here’s a list of some easily available wholesome fat burning and fat reducing foods.

Can I Drink Coffee Or Tea With Fruits?

It’s best to avoid the consumption of coffee, but one can have green tea 30 minutes, or so, after the consumption of fruits or before the consumption of fruits. Coffee, or even milk based tea preparation, may create some unpleasantness in the stomach when taken with citrus fruits.

Can I Undertake Rigorous Workout With This Breakfast Plan?

If you are into aerobics or cardio exercises like running, speed walking, cycling, swimming or skipping, you should have no issues with a fruit breakfast, since fruits can easily compensate for the body’s requirement for calories after these exercises (however, you might have to consume more fruits than a person who is not working out in the morning). If you are into resistance work outs like lifting heavy weights, you might have to consider having a protein shake after the workout and eating fruits later in the morning. You can also a have a fruit based protein shake (by adding protein powder to fruit smoothies).

In Conclusion

Eating fruits for breakfast provides very positive results in your goal towards losing the excess weight in your body. Try it for a couple of weeks to seek the impact it has on your overall health and on weight reduction per se, once you see the results you will no want to change this habit/plan of eating.
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Does Oatmeal Make You Fat?

A big resounding “No” would be the answer. Oatmeal is not fattening at all, in fact it’s about the best breakfast cereal you can ever eat for good health. Of course we are talking about plain oats here and not the flavored, sugar laced, brands of instant oatmeal; neither are we talking about oatmeal cookies high in butter and sugar.

Oatmeal – The Cholesterol Lowering Cereal

The best thing about oatmeal which makes it a great “fat burning” food is the presence of insoluble and soluble fiber. Any food rich in soluble fiber will aid in fat reduction because of its tendency to bind, and discard, the cholesterol producing substances in the stomach.
If have been adjudged to have high blood cholesterol, after your routine body check up, it’s time for you to move on to a healthier breakfast option, namely oatmeal. Here are benefits you will reap from eating this excellent cereal.
  • The insoluble fiber, beta glucan, present in oatmeal will help relieve any constipation issues you suffer from, clean up your colon and free up energy which the body can then use for removing toxins.
  • The soluble fiber, which converts to a viscous gel in your digestive tract, reduces the LDL (bad cholesterol) in your body by biding with substances related to high cholesterol. It does not impact the HDL (good cholesterol) production.
  • Oatmeal has a lower Glycemic Index (GI), in other words the carbohydrate is slow to be absorbed into the blood stream. It slows down the sugar absorption from any starchy food you might eat after the oatmeal and thus helps in regulating blood sugar levels. No wonder oatmeal is recommended as miracle food for diabetic patients.
So even if you eat cholesterol rich food after an oatmeal breakfast, you will be saved from any adverse effects thanks to the cholesterol fighting properties of oatmeal.

How To Eat Oatmeal?

Oatmeal is not fattening but if you buy the flavored instant oatmeal concoctions being sold in the market today, you are likely to ingest a lot of fattening ingredients especially the “refined sugar”. It is tempting to go in for apple or cinnamon flavor, sweetened oatmeal, but it’s not in the best interest of your health.
Oatmeal breakfast
You are best off buying simple rolled oats, from brands such as Quaker oats or any other brand. Rolled oats are easy to prepare and can be eaten with relish with fruits like blueberries, raisins and honey.
All you need to do is boil the rolled oats for 15 minutes or so until it obtains a viscous consistency. If you are “no fuss” eater, this simple gruel is the most healthy breakfast to take in. But if you are fussy about taste you can add some honey and flavored protein powder to the oatmeal. You can also add some dry fruits like dates or raisins to the oatmeal porridge.
Some people like to eat their oatmeal with milk, but this is a slightly fattening option. Though oatmeal has a bland taste, its best eaten plain with water. Avoid adding butter or refined sugar to the oatmeal if you are looking to go low on fat.

Does Oatmeal Contain Fat?

One cup of oatmeal, close to 80g, will generate approximately 300 calories in the body. 8% of the calories will be obtained in the form of fat. But the good news is that the fat present in oatmeal is the “good fat”, or rather the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are good for the body per se. You are not going to gain “fat” by eating oatmeal.
The best thing about oatmeal is that it’s a whole food laced with nutrition in the form of Vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. The carbohydrate from cereal is released slowly into the blood stream and so it makes for an excellent breakfast before a workout or exercise session.
In conclusion, oatmeal is not fattening but is highly nutritious and provides for excellent wholesome health benefits. So tuck into a bowl of boiled oatmeal, with some fruits and raisins, and enjoy a healthy day.
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Swimming to Lose Belly Fat (Weight)

Being overweight is a tough battle that unless you are focused and determined, you can never win the battle of reducing the excess weight. This is because for many people weight reduction involves exercising which some view as a form of punishment and so they cannot engage themselves in it. However, the most important thing to know is that, losing weight involves burning more calories than you consume. The only way you can burn calories is by exercising. Exercising can be through swimming which is helpful in reducing belly fat. It also gets the heart pumping and protects against chronic illnesses.
Swimming is helpful to the human body since it facilitates a faster heart beat that employs the use of large body muscles.  For example, an individual who has a weight of 160 lbs goes for a swim for a period of one hour, the amount of calories that they will be burn is approximately 500. The amount of calories burned is directly proportional to the duration of the swim, swimming experience and the kind of swim stroke the person applies during swimming.
However, when you want to lose belly fat, swimming is the best exercise to engage in mostly for those who fear any other exercises that could as well help to burn calories like aerobics, kickboxing and running. In addition, swimming is also advantageous to the those who suffer from other diseases like arthritis. Swimming is preferred for those who suffer from arthritis since they cannot feel any difficulty during the exercise while at the same time they will be engaging in some powerful exercises. An additional advantage to those who swim in order to lose belly fat is that there is less muscle pain which gives them an opportunity to do swimming more often thereby contributing to great weight loss.
Apart from just burning calories, swimming also enhances the mood of an individual as it brings about a relaxed mind since most people take swimming as a form of entertainment rather than a serious activity. Its participants can be any body ranging from family members as well as the public if you swim in a community pool.  Swimming is also important when it comes to the development of lean muscles since its mass is metabolically active thereby ensuring that the burning of calories proceeds even after swimming which in turn helps to recuperate the body after the exercise. However those who have difficulty swimming or who cannot swim can look for a Flex Belt which can be found online and they can even get an ab belt discountthanks to coupons now available.
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How to Lose 10 Pounds with a Jump Rope (Skipping)

Every year, people try all kinds of new exercises in an attempt to lose weight, but did you know that the trick to your weight loss may be the jump rope in your very own garage? This article discusses how to lose 10 pounds with a jump rope. You'll feel so good after the 10 pounds are gone, you won't want to stop jumping!

Purchase a Jump Rope

The most important step in losing 10 pounds with a jump rope is to actually purchase a jump rope. This may seem silly and self-evident to the readers, but in fact, it is essential. Many people set a goal every year that they will lose weight, but never actually join a gym, buy a pair of walking shoes or participate in any physical activity. Once you make the decision to lose 10 pounds through the use of a jump rope, be sure to either locate, borrow or purchase one. Make sure the jump rope is in good condition, and that is is approximately the right length for your body.

Set a Goal for Yourself

Next, you should begin setting goals for yourself. But wait, you're probably thinking, I already have a goal--I want to lose 10 pounds. While this may be your long-term goal, it is essential that you set shorter, easier-to-attain goals in order to keep you on track to your ultimate goal of losing 10 pounds. Start by saying that you will jump rope for ten minutes every day for one week. If you reach this goal, treat yourself to a manicure, a new magazine or another small gift. Then, set a new goal. Maybe your next goal is that you want to lose one pound in a week. Again, once you reach the goal, buy yourself a gift. This will keep you motivated and engaged in the activity, and therefore, will ensure more success in your long-term goal.

Jump Rope Everyday

This one probably also seems obvious. In order to lose 10 pounds with a jump rope, you obviously will need to actually jump rope. But, in order to get the best results in the shortest time possible, it is essential that you set aside some time each day to get your jump roping in. No matter if you do it in the morning before work, during a lunch break or in the evening after dinner, try to create one block of time and stick to it each day.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Finally, one of the most important ways to lose 10 pounds with a jump rope is to keep track of your progress. Keep a small book with notes for each day that you jump, including notes on how you felt before, during and after the exercise, how long you jumped for, how difficult it was for you, and of course, your current weight.
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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

How to pull traffic to your website

Many people think that having a good website is all you need to get tons of visitors. Wrong answer. Getting traffic to your site takes hard work and diligence and is not accomplished overnight. Think about it this way - how are people supposed to know where to find your site if you don't tell them? You must advertise. Here are some proven ways to advertise your site without spending [much] money:
  1. Submit your site to as many search engines as you can. Here are some of the popular ones you can start with:

    MSNNational DirectoryYahooBingWebCrawler
  2. Use a favicon.ico - see below.
  3. If you have a Christian Website, be sure to submit it to all the Christian Directories. We have a list of about 50 of the most popular Christian Directories here. (sadly the list gets shorter by the month)
  4. Have Dynamic content on your site - Message Board, Links Directory, Guest Book, Online Search, Picture Gallery, Quote of the day, News items, Site Search, Links Engine ... It all makes for a more enjoyable experience for your visitors ... and interested visitors come back.
  5. Make sure you don't have broken links on your site! There is nothing more annoying when one clicks a link and it does not work. There are hundreds of places you can go on the internet that will check your link validity. Use them.
  6. Make sure your META TAGS are done right. Learn how to do this here.
  7. Submit your site to as many privately run Link Directories/Search Engines as you can find. These will not generally boost your traffic in any major way but will help to maintain steady stream of qualified visitors.
  8. Use Banners with care. See below.
  9. Subscribe to the Usenet groups and advertise there. A good place to start is Google Groups
    • Be sure to submit your site in appropriate groups!
    • Be sure to signup with a backup email or you will get onto every spammers database!
    • Be sure you don't SPAM -- only submit a write up of your site once to any given group.
  10. Use social networking sites like TwitterfacebookYouTubePlaxoLinkedin and others to get the word out.

No one knows exactly how many sites there are on the whole of the internet but there are millions! And thousands more are being added every day! Let's say, you run a bakery. You bake for diabetics. A search on Google showed the following results:
Search forGoogle results
diabetic bakery84,000
"diabetic bakery"1,360
diabetic-bakery biscuits1,110
diabetic bakery biscuits cheesecake toffee708
The chances of your brand new website featuring anywhere in the list for the keyword "bakery" are infinitesimally small - that means you have NO CHANCE of your site featuring anywhere near the top in a search.
OK, great. So how do you get your site to show on Google?
  • Firstly, don't try to compete with a keyword "bakery" - as one in 24.5 million, you don't stand a chance.
  • Think "phrases" instead of "words". Look at the table above; as you add more words to the search, you get less results. If your page(s) contain the words "diabetic bakery biscuits cheesecake toffee" in a sentence like this for example:

    "Our diabetic bakery specializes in biscuits, cheesecake, toffee and breads"
  • Use similar wording in your TITLE as well as DESCRIPTION tags
  • Remember, a search engine cannot read pictures on your site. Even if they are very descriptive. Your text must say it all. Search engines index text.
  • Your page rank is critical. The site that ranks #1 on Google for "bakery" has a very high page rank and that's why it is #1. Page rank is a VAST subject and it is not possible to cover it in any detail in a few paragraphs. If you want to know more about Page Rank, here are some handy links:
We have written a handy little application
you can use right here to check the
Google Page Rank of your site.


Check the Google page rank of any site by entering it above
Page Rank Explained - a page by Google
that will help you better understand how
page rank works
Page Rank Explained #1
Page Rank Explained #2
Page Rank explained with examples - a bit
technical but well worth getting your head
around if you can.
Page Rank
So how much page rank is good and how much is bad?
Basically, the higher your page rank is, the more the search engines will favor the text on your site when people search them for those words. (It's actually a lot more than just that but for the purposes of this example, it's close enough). Obviously, you should have as high a page rank on your site as possible with 10 being the highest you get. Generally, anything above a 3 or a 4 is considered good. A page rank above 6 is very good and 7 or 8 is exceptional.
It is important to understand that page rank is NOT linear but logarithmic. (Actually only Google knows the real formula as it is a closely guarded secret). It works something like this:
Page RankActual ranking
No one has ever heard of you.
All sites begin here
1very low
2very low
3low in top 100,000,000
4moderate in top 10,000,000
5In the top 1,000,000
6In the top 100,000
7In the top 10,000
8In the top 1,000
9In the top 100
10One of the top 10 sites period!
From the above, you can see that there is a vast difference between page rank 3 and 4 or between 4 and 5. As your site moves up in rank, so the competition becomes more fierce. For example, if you have a page rank of 6 you may be one of the top 100,000 sites. To get to a rank of 7, you need to be one of the top 10,000 sites. To have a page rank of 8 would mean you are one of the top 1,000 sites (in the whole world remember) - a huge difference.

Bookmark this page now. Now go look at your Bookmarks. You should see a bookmark that looks like this -How to get traffic to your site the right way 
The  image is neat because it makes the site stand out in the Bookmarks no?
Some cool browsers - like Firefox - also support this tag in the <head> section:

<link rel="icon" href="/favicon.gif" type="image/gif">

This allows you to use an animated gif -- called favicon.gif in this case -- to replace the static favicon.ico
Here's how you do it (for a static .ico file):
  • Make an image of 16 * 16 pixels.
  • Save it as an ICON file (.ico) extension with the name favicon.ico in the root folder of your Website. (The folder with your index.html file)
  • Done. It's that simple.
  • To also allow browsers that support animated gifs, add the following line to the <head> section of your HTML:
    <link rel="icon" href="/favicon.gif" type="image/gif">  and, of course, make the gif file and place it
    in the root folder of your site.
When someone bookmarks your site, the Browser looks for a file called If it finds a file it uses your file instead of it's default file.
There is lots of software out there that can save gif or JPEG images as an .ico file. A good free one is Irfanview.

Personally speaking, these are a bust and don't work. Don't waste you money.
There is a simple reason why these "automated" and paid options don't work - Category Targeting.
Put very simply, Category Targeting is all about submitting your site to the right categories in the right search engines and directories.
For example, say you have a site on Corvettes. At one search engine, they may only have a category for Cars. However, at another one, there may be a sub-category from cars called Sports CarsOnly you would know to submit your site to the Sports Cars category -- automated software or someone else would simply bang it into cars and sports car enthusiasts would never see you link let alone click on it!
Another example would be the description you give your site in one place may be entirely different to the one you choose in another.
For example, on a Teen Centered link engine you may use words like  funky, neato, boss, ppl, cu, l8r, 4u, and so on to describe your site because it's part of the language teens use. On an O-So-Serious search engine catering mostly for retired folk you would not dare use these words because no one would understand you! :) Automated software simply cannot do this!
There is absolutely no benefit if your site is in 1,000,000 search engines but no one clicks anyway. It must say the right stuff and it must be in the right category. As the person who creates the site only you have the knowledge to do this right. Don't waste your money on automated software submission software. It doesn't work.

There are thousands of sites out there that will sell you hits to your website. The big ones you may know are Google, and Overture etc. However, these are mostly overpriced as they work on a bidding system where you bid against others on keywords. For example, if you type "Christian Web Hosting" on Google you get all those links on the right and the top. These are paid advertising links. Every time you click a link, the advertiser pays ... up to $50.00 for a click! I don't know about you but I certainly won't pay that kind of money for a click. The more "valuable" the word or phrase, the more you have to bid in order to get your site near the top. Crazy huh?
Then you get the smaller advertisers. These are usually small companies or individuals that run some kind of paid advertising scheme. In my opinion, this is where you will get the best value for money. But beware, some are good and some are outright crooks! Be very careful!
Examples of this kind of advertising include those who sell you paid niche market indices, pop-under ads, pop-up ads, pay per click ads, banner adds and redirected traffic. From experience, we have found only some of them are worth it. The rest are dodgy investments at best.
niche market indices
There are several Christian sites -- big and small -- offering this kind of advertising for a price. Shop around to find the best one for you. They come in two flavors:
  • Pay per click
  • Pay per month/year etc. (Recommended if the site has qualified traffic and enough hits).
  • Pay per veiws
Pay per month is obviously much easier to budget for as your cost is fixed but it will depend on how much traffic a site gets. You may find the one better than the other. It's very much a trial and error thing and you have to try it for a month with a given advertiser to see which works best. We offer this type of [button/banner] advertising on some of our high traffic sites here.
This kind of advertising, is often the best since you will be drawing your visitors from a source that is related to your site. For example, advertising your yacht business from a banner on a large yachting message board will guarantee your visitors are mostly yacht enthusiasts. (It's unlikely you will sell any yachts on a skate boarding site)
pop-under and pop-up advertising
Don't! As simple as that. Don't do it. Most Browsers these days block Pop-Ups so it has become a pretty useless form of advertising.
redirected traffic
A relatively new development is redirected traffic reselling. How it works is that people buy up old domain names -- sometimes by the thousands. These are all kinds of domains. For example, companies that went bust, old websites that were abandon by the original owners etc etc. These domains still get traffic simply because they are listed in the search engines and they come up from time to time when people search for certain words.
You go to a company or individual who bought a whole bunch of these domains and they set them up to redirect the traffic that would have gone to the old domain to your site instead. In principle this is a great idea but in practice it's a failure. Don't buy this kind of traffic.
Why not? You ask. Simple - you have no idea what kind of traffic is being sent you you. Let's say you have a site which sells second hand antique furniture. What value would traffic intended for a manufacturing company specializing in the manufacture of rocket fuel have for you? No matter how many rocket fuel visitors you get, it is highly unlikely any would be interested in your furniture. Traffic must be targeted if it is to be of value.
"Social Networking" sites
I put this in quotes because this would include everything from YouTube to Twitter to the mega blogging sites and everything in between. All good and all will generate some hits, just be careful not to overdo it: getting yourself banned on YouTube or your blog about your website on BlogSpot is so obviously an ad doesn't help. People want information, not more ads; we all get them up to our eyeballs on radio and TV every day. Be informative, give information but don't advertise.
General Warning: Regardless of which type of traffic you buy or use, be very careful of who you get it from. There are several companies and individuals out there who will send you thousands of unique IP address hits to your site (which you can verify in your logs), but no one will ever see your page/s! There are several techniques for doing this and you could easily be caught. (Some of the techniques involve things like opening your whole page in a 1 * 1 pixel window for example. You get the unique hit but no one saw your page ... not unless they had x-ray vision like superman!)
What works best?
It depends on several factors -- your site, the sellers site and many more. Fixed text link and fixed banneradvertising are always the best. Why do I say that? Two reasons:
  • Because you are not only getting the traffic from the sellers site but you are also getting a fixed link from the sellers site. This cannot be over emphasized. This will boost your ranking in all the major search engines and will do so for as long as your link/banner is on the sellers site. If the seller's site is highly ranked in the search engines, your site will benefit greatly! Read what Google has to say about this here.
  • Conversely, when the link to your site is in JavaScript (most do it this way), you may get the clicks but you benefit nothing from the page rank of the site referring to your site. (And I would argue that this back-link, as it is called, is more important)
  • Provided you have some means of knowing how much traffic the page gets your banner/link is on it is also thesafest form of advertising -- you can go to the sellers site anytime to see your link or banner. With any of the other methods, you have no guarantees at all that anyone even went to your site.
Bottom line: You get what you pay for. If someone is offering you 100,000 hits for $25.00, think carefully before you spend your money because that is a price that is way too low and it might just be a scam. For pop-up/pop-under advertising (which you should never use!) expect to pay around $0.01 to $0.10 per page view and for banner advertising in the same order for monthly advertising and $0.20 and up for click through advertising.

You put a link on your site to mine and I'll put one on my site to yours. Sounds fair doesn't it? Ha! but there's a catch!What if you are an honest Joe like me and believe the person on the other side is honest and you do your bit by adding the link to the other guys site but ... back at the ranch ...
  1. S/he never adds the reciprocal link back to you. You've been had!
  2. S/he sends you and email saying "here's the page with your link ..." but the page with your link is not linked from anywhere else on this person's site! You get it? Your link is on the other site but the page it is on can never be found on that site ... you've been scammed!
  3. S/he waits for 2 weeks then removes your link but you still link to him/her. Scammed again!
Reciprocal links are great and work very well because of the way search engines rank sites. However, they are open to abuse. Use with caution and be sure you grasp what is written above before blindly jumping onto the reciprocal link bandwagon.

Once you have submitted your site to a search engine be sure you find out from the FAQ's listed (sometimes) on that particular Search engines site, as to how it works. For example:
  • Some search engines will automatically drop your listing after a preset time. Others won't.
  • Some search engines will penalize (even permanently 'ban' your site) if you re-submit it too often.
Bottom Line - make sure you find out these things about the search engine you are submitting to and then comply with their rules.

Be aware and focused on who your target audience is. If you have a site on the merits of paper recycling you are far more likely to find a receptive audience with the earth lovers than with the trucking union!
Be selective of where you submit your site to. For example, don't submit your Windows MS Access site to a MYSQL forum. All you will get is a lot of rude replies telling you how lame Access is! Often Website owners neglect to take this very important aspect into consideration - you are likely to do more harm than good to yourself and your website by submitting it to inappropriate places.

Makwe shutre youk spll corrgrtly!! A page full of obvious typos won't get you far. With all the spell checkers out there these days, there is no excuse for poor spelling. But spelling is only one part of the problem. The other major part is grammar. Carefully read the two sentences below. Both are identical except for the placement of a single comma; and they have t-o-t-a-l-l-y different meanings:
  • Here lies my dearly departed Martha. In heaven she is, not in hell, this I know well.
  • Here lies my dearly departed Martha. In heaven she is not, in hell, this I know well.
While on the subject of spelling and grammar, don't forget that English is not spelt (or spoken) the same all over the world. There is a vast difference between American English and British English spelling for example. It is not really important which spelling you decide to go with provided you are consistent.
Always keep in mind your intended audience when adding text. For example, the word 'Ketchup' is a common word in America but someone in South Africa won't know what that is because they call it 'Tomato Sauce'. There are hundreds of words and phrases we take for granted that either mean something completely different to someone from another part of the world or has no meaning at all.
Also, some words or phrases are considered vulgar in some cultures but not in others. Be aware of your audience.
Similarly, keep in mind the intended age of your audience. Very few teenagers would be likely to know what "baby-boomer generation" means.

Search engines are mathematical marvels that read the text on your site and combine it (not all of them) with yourMETA TAGS. Some even integrate other HTML tags like the <H1>, <H2> <H3> tags. Have you ever wondered how when you search for something the Search engines  actually find it?

You have a website about boats. You want to say this

"Buy our boats because they are the best in the West" 

Not a bad start. But you won't get many point in search engine terms for your choice of words. a better way would be to be a little more verbose and use words that people will likely be typing into the search Engines. I don't know much about boats, but something along the lines of the following would be better (assuming it was true of course)

"Shipley boats are delivered by helicopter to your doorstep. Pre-fueled and ready for ocean faring adventure immediately. Manufactured from highest quality Titanium, extracted from mines deep in Siberia. Shipley boats assures you of a consistently high level of cruising comfort all year round."
Do you get the point? Here's what the search engine "sees":
  • "Shipley boats" - your company name, appears several times. Telling the engine it's important,
  • You have used words like deliveredhelicopterpre-fueled ocean faring etc. All these words are potential terms someone using a search engine looking for boats may be using. Use them liberally, they will maximize your chances of being found.

Dead links are mentioned in the introduction. However, they are so important we feel they warrant another mention.Avoid them at all costs! Dead links tell your visitor the following:
  • You are not really interested in the website [so why should s/he be?]
  • You don't know what you are doing [so if you are selling something, why should s/he believe you?]
  • You never update your site [so he's reading old news]
There are tons of places you can go to check out the links on your site. A free one that we use you can download from here.

Someone once said: "Don't reinvent the wheel!"This is just as true for websites. Unless you are sure you have a relatively sophisticated audience DON'T use different colors for links. DON'T put stuff on pages where people won't find it.
A good rule of thumb: Go to the big Search engines - Google, MSN, Yahoo - and look at how they have laid out their pages. Look especially at the following:
  • The colors they use for text, hyperlinks etc.
  • The placement of the navigation links on their pages.
Bottom line - Everyone has been to Google or MSN or Bing. If your visitors are likely to be 'Internet novices' by all means make your site mimic these sites. This way, you will be sure your visitors  will feel 'at home' on your site.

Whatever you do, DON'T SPAM. Some people think Spamming is only when you send porn or Viagra adverts to someone by email. This couldn't be further from the truth. Spamming is any unsolicited email. If you don't have permission to send someone an email and you send an email it is SPAM. Plain and simple.If you get accused of spam, not only will your web-host close you down, you most likely will find it hard to find another hosting company willing to host your site. Don't spam. It's not worth it. Click here for more.
Even worse, people will report you for spam to the many automated spam databases and that gets onto the search engines. Once that happens, you are pretty much black-listed. Don't do it.

Use the search engines and visit other websites with similar themes to yours to get ideas of what do do. Often, just navigating someone else's site will give you a lot of inspiration.NOTE: Do NOT take images from someone else's site or copy chunks of text to paste into your own. See that littleCopyright © thingy at the bottom? That means "Copyright" ... not "Copy-rite". You can get yourself into a whole lot of trouble if you use text and/or images from someone else's website without permission. Always ask. Most webmasters will be flattered and have no problem if you do.

Call me old fashioned if you want but I loath FLASH. It takes a whole lot of time to load, hogs precious bandwidth and doesn't add anything to the site. Some people love it but many avoid Flash pages like the plague. If you do use it, some people won't go past your welcome page. (Obviously there are exceptions to this. For example, if you have a graphics design site, because people have come for the graphics. A Flash intro might 'sell' your abilities very well).If you have pictures, don't have massive pages with zillions of big images. This is a sure turn off for any visitor. Thumbnail the images in something like a table and have hyperlinks to each image on a separate page.
Also, Search Engines cannot read flash or Graphical images so even though your Flash may say a whole lot, it says a whole lot of nothing to the Search Engine.
NOTE, it's far more work to have the thumbnail images link link to HTML pages with the large images than to just link to the images directly but there is a payoff if you use the longer method: If you put each image on a separate HTML page, you can add Titles, text and META TAGS to the HTML pages. You can't to this if you are simply linking to an image file. This gives you more credibility with the search engines and therefore a higher ranking. If you select yourMETA TAGS carefully, you can achieve hugely improved search engine results.

Many webmasters love Java scripts. It is true you can do a lot with Java and make some really interesting pages. BUT there are some things you need to be aware of:
  • Many Internet surfers disable JavaScript in their Browsers. Some intentionally, some because they don't know. The reasons aren't very important but the fact is around 22% of all people surfing the Internet have JavaScript disabled for one or other reason.
  • Different Browsers (Netscape, MSIE, Opera etc) need slightly different Java commands or they give errors. If your pages only work with Microsoft Browsers of a specific version you automatically exclude all the others. This makes for a direct reduction in your traffic to your site.
  • Search Engines generally do not follow JavaScript Links. If you use them only link to pages that are not important for Search Engine placement.
If you must use JavaScript, make sure you test it on all the Browsers you can lay your hands on to be sure your visitors won't get error messages which will surely make them click off your site.

Been to one of those sites where a zillion pop-ups suddenly jump at you as soon as the site opens? Every time you close one, another 5 appear? They are terrible! Don't do it on your site. Nowadays all browsers block them by default so they are pretty useless anyway.Very few sites that employ this method of advertising get a lot of traffic simply because popup banners are so annoying.
Bottom line - No one like popup advertising. Avoid using them. The couple of $$ you will be paid by the company you advertise just isn't worth the loss of traffic. Don't use them.

Having your own domain name is very important for two reasons:
  • Many of the search engines will not list sites that are not 'primary' e.g.
  • A domain name like hard to remember. If your visitor liked your page and wants to come back but did not bookmark you, s/he probably wont be able to find your site again.
We did an experiment some years ago to prove this. Here's what we did:
  • We created two identical 2-page websites.
  • The one website we put up at geocities (free website). The other we put on it's own domain.
  • We submitted both to exactly the same search engines.
The result?
After 6 months, the geocities page had 547 hits and the one that had it's own domain had 5,200 - almost 10 times more! Having your own domain does make a big difference!

We call them 'Christmas tree' sites. You've seen them. The ones where the owner has found every possible banner, logo, Webring and award s/he could find and put them all on his/her site. They are absolutely ghastly! Don't do it! It makes it look like:
  1. You have nothing to say, so you filled your page with every bit of Internet junk you could find,
  2. The site is so unpopular you have resorted to desperate measures to get traffic.
Banner Exchanges, Site Awards and the like all have their place. However, it is the experience of the author that they generally don't provide what they promise - traffic. Most banner exchanges work on a 2:1 ratio. That is, for every 2 times someone else's banner is displayed on your page, your banner will be displayed on someone else's page. Now ask yourself this. When last did you click on a banner on someone else's website? For most people the answer is either "a year ago" or "never". Contrary to popular belief, banners Exchanges don't generally work if you want to build a really prime site.

Although comparative advertising is acceptable in many parts of the world it is not necessarily the best way or even a good way to advertise your site. Consider the following a line advert on a web hosting site:"Don't use xyz hosting because they give poor service and we give great service"
Firstly, a comment like this is in poor taste and won't help getting you new hosting customers. In fact, people are more likely to be put off by your callous remark about your competition. Not only that, "xyz hosting" - who may be 10 times bigger than your company and might just decide to reciprocate the favor by making a similar comment about you! Putting down your competition is never a smart way to get business.
There are of course exceptions. For example, if you run a web hosting review site you could say something like this:
"Many of our members have reported poor after sales service from xyz hosting"
This is an entirely different ball game - as a web review site you are expected to write reviews about other web hosting companies. A negative comment about another company is acceptable because in this context it is regarded as information and not putting down.
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