Keep Windows 10 Organized, Pretty, and Productive

Microsoft Windows can get messy. It’s not (always) the operating system’s fault. You download tons of apps and files, and create new content stuff of your own, until your “Downloads” directory looks like a landfill for old content. Your desktop is so full of icons, you can’t see your pretty wallpaper. Your Start Menu looks like an app buffet. In short, your operating system is a mess, but it’s not unfixable.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

There are a few free apps you can use to add some much-needed organization to your Windows world. Here are a few of our favorites:

DropIt

Screenshot: DropIt
We covered this app a long time ago, but it’s worth resurrecting. DropIt is a great utility that can help you stay organized if you’re the kind of person who dumps everything you download (or copy to your PC) into a single folder-one giant, sprawling hub that many files enter, but rarely leave.

DropIt allows you to set up a ton of different rules that fire off whenever you drag files onto the utility’s little icon. For example, you can set the app to always move image files into your primary photos folder, video files into your videos folder, and Word documents into-you guessed it-your documents folder.

That’s just the start. If you want to get more advanced, DropIt can automatically scan folders (like your Downloads folder) and apply more advanced filters to anything it finds, like automatically unzipping archives, renaming files based on your parameters, or compressing large batches of files that are otherwise taking up a bit more space than you want.

Automation is a great way to help you stay organized in Windows, and DropIt practically gives you a virtual helper at your fingertips.

digiKam

Screenshot: digiKam
If your sprawling photo library needs some serious organization but you don’t want to pay for something like Adobe Lightroom, the open-source app digiKam is a great alternative.

Use this app to sort your photos and create (or edit) metadata so you can find exactly what you’re looking for in one easy-to-access library. If you’re also a bit of a photo perfectionist, you can use digiKam to edit your regular and RAW shots to make them picture-perfect.

This app is a much better solution for organizing shots than just dumping them into arbitrary Windows folders. Your disorganized hard drive will thank you, and you’ll be much less likely to lose (or forget about) images going forward.

LaunchBox

Screenshot: LaunchBox
We’re not going to ask why you have a bunch of emulators installed on your system, and we’re going to assume that all the ROMs spread across that nightmare of a folder structure in the “Games” portion of your hard drive are completely legal. Right? Regardless, if you just spent the last day getting your nostalgia kick by downloading archives of thousands of different retro games to play on your modern-day PC, keeping these games under control is going to feel overwhelming.

We suggest grabbing LaunchBox, which is a great “game organizer” utility that allows you to quickly find and play titles in your giant library. You can tap into the app’s crowd-sourced database to pepper your titles with useful information, like release dates, genres, publishers, and images, and you can mark certain games as favorites to make theme easier to hunt down when you have a little time to kill.

LaunchBox also makes it (somewhat) easy to import games from your favorite distribution services, like Steam, Battle.net, and GoG (to name a few). If you’re the world’s biggest gamer who plays everything you can download and always grabs new titles to try from all the major services, LaunchBox is a great way to organize your games under one digital roof.

AquaSnap
Screenshot: Nurgo Software
Everyone knows Windows’ Aero Snap shortcuts, right? Hit Windows Key + one of the arrow keys on your keyboard to send your active window flying all around your screen: minimizing, opening, shrinking to fill a quarter or half of your display, and bouncing off your primary display entirely (if you have a multi-monitor setup).

How To Write Engaging Social Media Posts

One thing to do on social media is to write content for your posts. Posts are what keep your social media active and your audience engaged. However, it’s imperative that you have a strategy so that you can get the most out of your social media interactions.

Understand Your Customers

You need to know who your target audience is so that you can recognize what type of posts will get more traction with them. For example, some audience members will be insulted by certain types of comedy. Others will respond very well to it. Know who they are so that your posts can be targeted.

Watch Your Competition

It’s always a good idea to check out what your competition is doing in regard to social media posts. Don’t just copy what they are doing. Instead, observe whether or not the competition is getting a result or not from their actions, and note how you can do it better or differently.

Know the Goal of the Post

What action do you want your customers to take when they read the post? Do you want them to click through to read more? Do you want them to like, follow and share? You need to be clear about what you want them to do in order to get action.

Add a Relevant Image

People respond best to relevant images on social media. You can make memes and infographic using free software like Canva.com for your social media posts. A nice image, watermarked with a relevant quote will do wonders.

Write Content that Gets Attention

When you share a meme or a blog post or other type of post write content about it, and what you want your readers to do about it.

Ask Your Audience to Share

Never forget to ask your audience to share your posts. You can also invite them to take memes and infographics off your website to share. Just set up a new page that lists all the watermarked images that your audience can share.

Respond to Comments

Don’t just ignore the interaction that is happening on your social media pages. Always respond, and add comments to the discussion. Answer questions, and be kind. Even if someone is rude, don’t respond rudely. If you have to, delete the rude comment and let it go.

Writing social media posts that get a discussion going and inspire people to share and interact is an art. You’ll need to try different tactics to see what works with your particular audience. But, be sure to always have a call to action on the post so that your audience knows what to do.

Selling on Social Media Without Driving People Away

5 Social Media Selling Tips & Warnings

Social media is one of the best marketing tools out there: you can grow and reach a large audience with content and ads, and people who like and/or follow you are your fans, so they’re already your target group.

However, people can be resistant to selling on these platforms. They see sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as places to share content and interact with friends, families-and nowadays, brands.

You really have to approach this the right way or you could alienate your audience, causing them to unfollow or unlike you because they expect a two-way conversation and engaging content, not to be marketed to.

It’s also important to clarify that social selling doesn’t mean advertising your product or service online for people to buy.

Social selling means you’re using social media to connect with sales prospects and nurture relationships to hopefully convert them into customers.

For example, I recently did a Tea Time Tip about things that you need to consider before you start building your website. People could comment and asking questions in real time, and the Facebook Live had a lot of information about hiring a professional web development company.

So, I wasn’t simply talking at people to hire us for their website-building needs; I was sharing pertinent information and nurturing those leads who might be looking for a company to help them out.

Now that we’ve defined social selling, let’s discuss what you can do to increase your odds of success:

1. Think relationships, not dollar signs.

Make sure you’re posting relevant, non-sales content. You want to become an expert resource in your industry, so focus on adding value to your users’ feeds.

According to a study performed by LinkedIn, buyers who are active on social media welcome input from industry experts. In addition, 76% of buyers are ready to have a conversation with potential providers.

Get to know your potential customers by asking them engaging questions, answering their questions in a timely manner and responding to comments. The more trust and loyalty you build, the better your odds of converting a follower into a paying customer.

Read: The Power of Social Media Storytelling

Once upon a time your strategy was probably largely focused on sharing links to third-party content with your audience. Well, those days are over, and if you want to stand out in the crowded and noisy online environment, you need to focus on content marketing storytelling.

2. Take the time to build out your accounts.

Make sure that your bio and profile are filled out on all the platforms you want to use for social selling. You should include your website URL, About Us, phone number and any other relevant contact info.

It can also help to pin relevant posts, make sure your branding stands out and have high-quality images to attract followers’ attention. Again, this builds trust and loyalty, making people feel more comfortable and secure doing business with you.

See how one of our clients, A Family Law Firm, has taken the time to not only fill out their contact info, but also the “Our Story” section on Facebook.

3. Choose your messaging wisely.

What works on one platform may not work on another. Where do your potential clients hang out? Where do they talk business, or go for restaurant recommendations? Generally:

* LinkedIn is more business-focused, so people are more comfortable with marketing messaging there.

* Twitter has a great search function, so you can more easily connect with prospects, and find relevant topics.

* Facebook has many communities that you can join and network in (remember, don’t be pushy!)

* Instagram and Pinterest is for visuals, not long content pieces.

By tailoring your messaging for each platform, you’ll be more likely to attract the right kind of customer.

4. Let user-generated content sell for you.

You don’t have to do all the work of social selling alone! There are so many ways to use user-generated content (UGC) to your advantage, including:

* Contests and giveaways that encourage followers to share your content, hashtags and/or messaging.

* Ratings or reviews for your product or service

* Testimonials

For example, J.Crew posts user ratings and reviews on their website, so when they post a dress or shirt on their social media account and someone clicks on through, they see other people’s votes of confidence.

Not only does user-generated content help you, but it helps your customers. Almost 80 percent of people say that UGC drives their purchasing decisions. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Try, test and try again.

Every business owner should be tracking and measuring their efforts, whether it’s a digital Newsletter push or a Google AdWords campaign. Look at your data and stats to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Maybe people are being referred to a page on your website from your Facebook post, but they’re only spending a few seconds on it.

You need to look at why that is: is your messaging unclear? Boring? Is there a broken link? By tracking your visitors’ paths, you can see where you need to take a closer look.

Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to measure your website statistics, and there are also paid tools out there that can help you break down and understand your data.

The more you test and tighten your social media selling attempts, the better your ROI will be (and the happier your followers will be).

While social selling is different than traditional methods, it’s still about building relationships and credibility. Focus on the person behind the platform, not on converting them into a sale or guiding them down a marketing funnel. Take the time to build connections and you’ll create a community of prospects who will welcome hearing from you.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7

Shoe Repairs And Several Other Things When I Was 7
My Dad repaired most of our shoes believe it or not, I can hardly believe it myself now. With 7 pairs of shoes always needing repairs I think he was quite clever to learn how to “Keep us in shoe Leather” to coin a phrase!

He bought several different sizes of cast iron cobbler’s “lasts”. Last, the old English “Laest” meaning footprint. Lasts were holding devices shaped like a human foot. I have no idea where he would have bought the shoe leather. Only that it was a beautiful creamy, shiny colour and the smell was lovely.

But I do remember our shoes turned upside down on and fitted into these lasts, my Dad cutting the leather around the shape of the shoe, and then hammering nails, into the leather shape. Sometimes we’d feel one or 2 of those nails poking through the insides of our shoes, but our dad always fixed it.

Hiking and Swimming Galas
Dad was a very outdoorsy type, unlike my mother, who was probably too busy indoors. She also enjoyed the peace and quiet when he took us off for the day!

Anyway, he often took us hiking in the mountains where we’d have a picnic of sandwiches and flasks of tea. And more often than not we went by steam train.

We loved poking our heads out of the window until our eyes hurt like mad from a blast of soot blowing back from the engine. But sore, bloodshot eyes never dampened our enthusiasm.

Dad was an avid swimmer and water polo player, and he used to take us to swimming galas, as they were called back then. He often took part in these galas. And again we always travelled by steam train.

Rowing Over To Ireland’s Eye
That’s what we did back then, we had to go by rowboat, the only way to get to Ireland’s eye, which is 15 minutes from mainland Howth. From there we could see Malahide, Lambay Island and Howth Head of course. These days you can take a Round Trip Cruise on a small cruise ship!

But we thoroughly enjoyed rowing and once there we couldn’t wait to climb the rocks, and have a swim. We picnicked and watched the friendly seals doing their thing and showing off.

Not to mention all kinds of birdlife including the Puffin.The Martello Tower was also interesting but a bit dangerous to attempt entering. I’m getting lost in the past as I write, and have to drag myself back to the present.

Fun Outings with The camera Club
Dad was also a very keen amateur photographer, and was a member of a camera Club. There were many Sunday photography outings and along with us came other kids of the members of the club.

And we always had great fun while the adults busied themselves taking photos of everything and anything, it seemed to us. Dad was so serious about his photography that he set up a dark room where he developed and printed his photographs.

All black and white at the time. He and his camera club entered many of their favourites in exhibitions throughout Europe. I’m quite proud to say that many cups and medals were won by Dad. They have been shared amongst all his grandchildren which I find quite special.

He liked taking portraits of us kids too, mostly when we were in a state of untidiness, usually during play. Dad always preferred the natural look of messy hair and clothes in the photos of his children.

What Are The Dangers of Using Facebook to Grow Your Business?

Several years ago, if you wanted to grow your business, Facebook was the most popular method. And many people still feel today that using this Social Media Platform is practical.

This thought process is nativity glorified. When Facebook launched in 2004, my friend called and invited me to join her. After about a year I finally did it. It did not occur to me that I could grow a business using it.

Several years later after I closed my brick and mortar business, I helped other small business owners develop and grow their business on social media. And like most consultants, I recommended and used Facebook. My small business owners were successful, so I was successful.

Later when I retired from small business consulting, I decided to open my doors to on-line marketing. And it was enjoyable as well as educational. Like so many other people, I learned from failure. Marketing anything on-line is challenging because of the scams.

When I finally earned my master’s degree from the University of Hard Knocks using Internet for my business adventures, I found that I too could use Facebook to grow and expand my bank account.

Using Facebook Groups, and building relationships was easy. I opened four groups of my own. All was going very well. Although I was not completely happy with Facebook it was producing results. And I did buy Facebook advertising occasionally.

Several of my business associates cautioned about changes on the horizon. But I was successful and did not listen. That was my mistake.

The point here is this; do not trust this platform. They have a unique way of selling our personal information, and an even more unique way of tracking our posts. (Yes, even our business content).

The insidious fact checking is primary. Mostly because the fact checking is not fact checking, it is a way to silence and control our content.

Be careful if you are building your business on this platform. At any moment they can disable your account. And much of the time you are not told exactly the reason.

I lost all my personal groups, plus my thousands of followers and my account. If I had only listened to my associates before this happened, I would never used this platform.

My business was moral, legal, ethical and above-board. I lost my Facebook account because my content didn’t fit their narrative.

I have opened a new account. But never again will I trust a platform that controls my content; business or personal.

Anyone who suggests that you build your business with Facebook is naive. The marketplace and business environment is not what it was five or tens years ago. Today, it’s about control. Your business is your livelihood; it’s your hard work. Think about it before you move forward. Perhaps you may want to make changes.