How to get a better credit score

When I signed up for a new mobile phone contract last year I had a nasty shock – my credit score was so low they wouldn’t let me take out the contract!

My credit score had always been really good up until then, so I was mortified. It turned out that as I hadn’t applied for any credit in my married name and the credit checking companies hadn’t linked my maiden and married names together into one credit history. So in the end there was no need to panic. Although it did make me realise how important it is to keep a good credit score.

If you’d like to improve your credit score or hang on to good one you’ve already got, you can pick up some tips in this useful little video.

This is just one of the videos from Capital One’s Credit Made Clearer campaign. You can check out the rest of the series on the Credit Made Clearer YouTube channel and website.

How to shop safely online

I don’t know about you, but I shop online all the time. In fact I can go for days on end without handing cash, bank notes or even a credit card over a shop counter. That’s why it’s  no bad thing to have a reminder of how to shop safely online from time to time.

Today I’ve got for you the second in my series of videos from the Credit Made Clearer campaign (you can see the first in taking care of your money and leaky buckets).

(This is just one of the videos in the campaign. You can check out the rest of the series on the Credit Made Clearer YouTube channel and website.)

Here are some safe online shopping tips:

  • Check your computer has anti-virus software, a firewall that’s enabled and you use passwords that are hard to guess.
  • Look for a padlock in the browser bar (not on the website itself)
  • Register your cards with MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa
  • Shred receipts and any paperwork with your name and address on it
  • When you get your statement, check it thoroughly and report any suspect items to your bank or card provider

I’ll be featuring my third video of the series in a couple of weeks.

Business blogging: What’s the point of your post?

The big difference between writing for business and writing for fun is that business writing needs to have a clear purpose. That’s why you need more than just a topic for each post, you need a point, too. Each post on your blog should have just the one point.

Whether it’s to encourage readers to sign up for your email list, urge them to leave a comment or encourage visitors to buy something, each post should have a specific point and a call to action.

Here are some ideas for points:

  • To encourage readers to subscribe to your mailing list

The aim is to write a post that’s so useful or engaging that your readers want more. (Blogging gurus call these ‘pillar posts’). At the bottom of these posts, include a sign-up box for your email list so you can capture the reader the second they finish your post.

  • To sell something

Whether it’s your own products or someone else’s, blog posts can make people more receptive to buying. Product reviews, case studies, and new product announcements can help you sell a product or service. Make the post a conversation rather than a sales pitch, though.

  • To engage your readers.

Sometimes, you may want to get feedback or create a feeling of community. To get your readers to respond, you could ask questions, invite discussion or even suggest that readers respond in the comments section or on their own blogs.

  • To encourage viral marketing

If you want your posts to go viral, you need to create valuable content that others will want to save and pass on to friends, or even tweet to their followers on Twitter. These types of posts make up the backbone of your blog. While they may not directly bring in sales, they encourage readers to return again and again and to recommend your site to their colleagues and friends.

You may have another reason that isn’t mentioned above and that’s perfectly OK. The key is to have a reason, and to know that reason before you even start writing.

If you’d like to know more about business blogging, I recommend WordPress for Business Bloggers by Paul Thewlis

Contains affiliate links

What do you want from your business?

Yes, I know, work that fits around your kids! But let’s be a little more specific. Are you…

  • Aiming to make some extra money to top up your family’s income?
  • A stay-at-home-mum who has started a business because you were going crazy with nothing but nappies and finger-painting to keep your mind occupied?
  • Aiming to build a business that will grow slowly as your children grow, but nevertheless will be a long-term source of income for you (and perhaps others) and you have no intention of going back to a job once your kids are older?
  • Using your hobby or passion as a way of earning while you’re on a career break with your young children?
  • Something else? Continue reading “What do you want from your business?”

Don’t Waste Your Money On A Professional Link Building Service

If you own a website, chances are that at some point or another you will be approached by a professional link building service company about their services and while the offer might sound tempting at first, please don’t get too excited about it.I have looked at quite a few of their offers both for my own sites and for those of my clients and I have seen some of the link building work they do. It mostly consists of creating fake profiles for various forums and other interactive sites. And while the forum profiles of active members do gain quite a bit of “link juice” and strength, a simple profile with one or no post on the forum, is often not even indexed by the search engines, making it completely useless.What should you do then, if you obviously need links to get quality traffic and to start ranking for your keywords in the search engines? The good news is that SEO and link building isn’t nearly as complicated as some will have you believe and can easily be done in-house. If you are a solo entrepreneur just starting out, I recommend you do most of it yourself. Once your budget allows, outsource some of the parts and pieces. You can then simply create a overall link building strategy and hand your employees or virtual assistants a list of tasks to complete that will send your site traffic and build quality links.

Part One – The Strategy

Find a keyword you want to rank for and make sure you are using it in the title and once or twice throughout the content of the page on your own site. Pick a homepage or category page as well and have the keyword you want to rank for handy.

Step Two – The Links

Now that you have your two keywords, it’s time to start building links. Use the keywords as the anchor text in those links and whenever you can build a link first to the content page, and then to the category or home page. If you can include only one link, go with the content one.

How do you build those links? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Social Bookmarking Sites
  • Blog Commenting and Forum Participation
  • Yahoo Answers
  • Writing and Submitting Articles to Various Article Directories
  • Guest Blogging on related blogs

Rotate through these activities and build as many links as it takes to rank for the keyword of your choice. Since it can take a little while for links to get picked up, I recommend you do 4 or 5 of the activities (mixing and matching as needed) and then wait a few days to see how the links affect ranking. While you are waiting, those quality links will start to bring some traffic to your site directly and will continue to do so day in and day out. Doesn’t that sound simple? Yet it is so effective and you truly don’t need a professional link building service.

Looking for a link building program?

Go get information at

This is a guest post by Susanne Myers of and contains affiliate links

Creative Commons License photo credit: [nohide]alexbrn[/nohide]