How To Attract & Retain Visitors To Your Exhibition Stand

The marketing power of using exhibition stands is paramount when it comes to establishing brand identity, releasing and launching new products and engaging with potential customers and new leads. The primary focus of your exhibition stand will be first to attract the attention of attendees and when you have them at your stand, you need to interact with them with a friendly and energetic sales team.

If you can put these two ingredients into a successful trade show exhibition stand you can expect to gain new connections, more conversions of your products and many more leads and potential customers as well as business partners.

Within this article, different ideas and suggestions will be laid out on how to gain the most attention and attract attendees to visit your exhibition stand and interact with your sales team. Follow the tips below and be sure to elaborate on the ideas mentioned for even more opportunities for increased results.

The very first thing you will need to accomplish is gaining the attention of attendees and getting them to visit your stand. The following four techniques are proven for gaining attention so try them out.

 Ubisoft's E3 Booth
Entertainment Is Key To Attracting & Retaining The Attention Of Trade Show Attendees. Image credit: Pinterest

1. Keep Visitors Entertained

You can do such things as live music, have live entertainers, have video, interactive displays, games, and entertainment that will make you more memorable. These are methods that have worked for others to gain attention and capture the interest of trade show attendees.

2. Get A Great Exhibition Stand

You will want to incorporate colourful and loud design features that will set you apart from other competitors. You will want to have your brand and the features of your products proudly displayed with the benefits of your brand and product listed. Using things like lighting and powerful colours can give a more dramatic effect encouraging visitors to come to visit your exhibit stand. Hiring a professional exhibition stand design contractor is a great step forward.

3. Offer Free Training & Information

When people attend exhibition trade shows they are typically looking for trending and new solutions to their needs. You can develop such things as workshops and seminars that offer intriguing ideas as well as informative topics that will interest your target audience and display how your product or brand can help them with their needs or challenges.

4. Technology Is A Powerful Tool

Using things like technology can have visitors line up to try your offers. When you offer interactive technology you can help entertain attendees and furthermore you can gain more attention and drive your brand and product information deep into your visitor’s minds.

When it comes to attracting people to your exhibition stand you will need to engage them and keep them interested. There are plenty of ways to do this and here are five ideas that are successful in capturing the interest and engaging visitors.

1. Offer Free Coffee

Attendees can easily become tired and less interested when they are tired. Offering free coffee is a reason for them to visit your stand and stay. The caffeine will keep your attendees more alert and gives your sales team time to talk to visitors as they wait for their hot drink to cool. Caffeine also works on the pleasure centres of the brain which creates a positive link to your brand.

2. Hire Engaging Staff

Be sure to train staff to be engaging, personable and friendly. You want them to go the extra mile with capturing the interest of attendees as well as capturing leads.

3. Videos Are Powerful Tools

When you utilise the power of videos you can use high quality and extremely colourful and stimulating images to reinforce your brand. Be sure that you include a call to action to help with gaining more leads for your marketing team to follow up with.

4. Use Social Media

You can use a live twitter feed that will give your visitors the opportunity to follow your brand and use your #hashtag to converse with your social media team. Using Twitter can help to engage visitors with your brand and keep them educated.

5. Use Handheld Technology

You can use technology such as the iPad to help gain more visitors and it is an excellent method for gaining lead information. You can have people fill out surveys and try out products. Nowadays people are more likely to leave their contact information on a tablet then paper.

Follow the suggestions above to maximise the attention and engagement at your next trade show. These exhibition stand suggestions are winners and when used can maximise your return on investment.


The author wishes to thank the following websites for use of reference material in the writing of this article:

Understanding the HMRC’s Seafarer’s Earnings Deduction Rules

Earn tax free income at sea under HMRC’s SED exemption

Do you happen to be employed on a ship or offshore based profession and happen to be a citizen of the United Kingdom? If you answered yes this specialised article will share with you the highly important piece of tax legislation that lets you keep 100% of your earnings. Believe it or not, the HMRC has a program available known as The Seafarers Earnings Deduction.

It allows you to claim a complete tax exemption on all income earned in foreign waters. The HMRC created this tax legislation after 18 years of legal battle that created the final agreement as of the year 2012. Not all seafaring employees are entitled to this tax exemption and we aim to help you in understanding the Seafarers Earnings Deduction and if it applies to you.

The HMRC is known for being entangled with different rules, regulations, and definitions of what exactly a person employed as a seafarer is and whether or not he or she can use the exemption. Continue below as we try to remove any and all confusion and answer your potential concerns.

The beginning of the Seafarers Earnings Deduction first came into legislation during the 1988 Finance Act. It has since been adjusted and improved and the rules and regulations have changed. It has been updated as of 2012 and we will discuss the variables. To begin with, the Seafarers Earnings Deduction was created to help workers deal with the extremes of an incredibly fierce and competitive job market as well as providing a solution for the needs of national defence for the United Kingdom.

The tax exemption was designed to make working offshore more financially beneficial for UK citizens. Many people who work aboard ships including yachts do not completely understand the HMRC definition of what a seafarer is and how the exemption can apply to each individual. The HMRC provides resources in terms of information but truthfully it is like reading a foreign language which can and does prevent seafarers from claiming this deduction.

Working aboard a super-yacht means you can earn tax free wages. Image credit:

To begin with, the HMRC has provided few details on who exactly qualifies as a Seafarer. What they do outline in their help sheet is that you must work on a ship. What their definition of a ship is varied however the HRMC has outlined what they do not outline as a ship. These include the following: flotels, mobile offshore drilling, and fixed production units, fixed production platforms as well as floating production platforms. If you work on one of these listed positions then the Seafarers Earnings Deduction will not apply to you, unfortunately.

Now some workers who are employed as Seafarers will typically do one of two things when it comes to filing taxes. The first type of employee will not declare anything which is a huge mistake. The government has an open information system set up. If you were to not declare your income you could get caught and penalised. Other individuals that are employed as a Seafarer may set up limited companies on shore or in other countries with less taxation. Ultimately if you meet the requirements of the Seafarers Earnings Deduction you have nothing to lose when you do not have to pay anything on your tax bill when it is time to fill your earnings for the year. This is a great benefit and should be utilised if it is available.

Sometimes people will not file their taxes properly because of the issued time you are allowed to spend in the UK. As a seafarer, you are allowed to spend no more than a 183 days per tax year inside the United Kingdom. You will need to be able to account for the days that you spent ashore. You will need to keep all paperwork and ticket stubs that provide the details and information outlining your time in the UK. If you are in the country as of midnight on a given day then it counts as a day. Be sure that you are honest with how many days you spent ashore and as we stated earlier be sure to have all records and paperwork that prove this.

As a Seafarer, you will have to disembark from a foreign port to be able to use this tax exemption. Your ability to  harness the tax exemption will also be determined by how many days that you spent outside of the United Kingdom working.

If the HMRC had made the law more understandable we believe that more people would use this specialised tax exemption. Not declaring your income is not a solution and will not provide you any benefits whether if the SED applies to you or not.


The author acknowledges use of material by way of links, text and imagery to the following third parties:

Why Adding a Carriage House to Your Property is a Great Idea

Keep Your Vehicles Safe from the Elements With a Timber Carriage House

Before the modern design of garages being incorporated into the development of modern homes, in earlier times many people used carriage houses. Today within this article we will discuss the advantages of using a carriage house and the different elements you can incorporate within one. They are a great idea for anyone looking to house their vehicles and adding storage space.

Carriage houses were traditionally used for housing animals and carriages before the invention of automobiles. The carriage house was used to feed and maintain the food and cleanliness of the horses that were used to pull carriages. Over time the vehicle took over the carriage house and soon became used as a place to work on the vehicle and house tools and other equipment dedicated to the upkeep of the vehicle. If you have a larger portion of land we recommend you build your home front and centre with your carriage house situated behind your home. Using this method you will maximise your use of your property and increase your options for home design.

A Carriage House Will Need a Suitable Concrete Base Before Erecting. Image credit: Log Cabins South West

The code requirements for energy efficiency will be different than from your actual home since your carriage house is its own separate building. In most chances, the costs will be much lower than the costs associated with your home. Many different government municipalities will tax outbuildings at a lesser rate. If you have concerns related to real-estate taxes, be assured that you will be spending fewer taxes then if you were to have an attached garage to your home rather then employing a carriage house.

If you would like to utilise the concept of building a carriage house you won’t need much more than a concrete base, and a built roof and exterior shell. It does not have to be fancy if you are on a budget. However, if you have the funding available you can incorporate many different design elements and features as far as your budget allows. The carriage house offers a lot of storage space especially if you own more then one vehicle. If you have sports utility vehicles, snowmobiles or dirt bikes, the carriage house will make a perfect home for them. You can also use the carriage house as a shop type area to work on and maintain your vehicles.

Carports & Carriage Houses Come in Various Modern Designs. Image credit: Exterior Living

You can also utilise the upper level of the carriage house with a loft that you can use a man cave or a guest suite or full-time in-law home. You will need to pass the requirements of your local real estate laws before you attempt this. However, it is a great idea as long as you hire proper electrical and plumbing contractors to get the most from your carriage house. Having adequate plumbing and electrical hookups will make any timber carriage houses much more usable. Even if you do not presently intend on adding electricity or plumbing at least have the plumbing and wiring planned out. Later on, you will thank yourself when you choose to add full electrical and plumbing to your carriage house.

Today’s carriage houses are no longer designed in an old-fashioned way. The common element these days is different styles and they are often also elegantly designed to look like a typical modern home you would see anywhere. When you go about planning your carriage house with the design in mind you can add just one floor above or have the house completely levelled. You need to be specific and precise with your upper room floor plan to maximise space. It is best to know what exactly you want to use the loft for before you begin building or even designing.

Carriage houses let homeowners appreciate a very different and unique blend of architecture and modern function. With a small budget and a big imagination, the carriage house can be used for all sorts of purposes including anything from business to pleasure. If you are considering building a new home or making an extra addition to your house, a carriage house is a highly popular building that is worthy of your consideration.

You can always find a good architect to come up with suitable plans based on your ideas or you can always do it on your own. You will need to do some research into carriage houses on your own and check out pictures and read about the different elements and styles that are available for you to build before you completely finalise your plans. Ultimately you can use them to house your vehicles and sporting equipment and you can use the upper loft as an apartment for ageing parents or family members or you can use it as a business office.

Article Credits

The author would like to acknowledge the following external website for use of their content, imagery and reference material:

How to improve your kitchen with replacement fitted doors

Are you fed up with your kitchen’s outdated look. Have you been wanting to replace it but are not looking forward to the hassle and the cost involved? There is one solution that could make things simpler and more affordable, while also giving that much needed facelift to your kitchen. This is to improve your kitchen by means of replacement fitted doors.

Simply put, you would be retaining the inner cabinets, which basically forms the skeleton of your kitchen, but you would be installing new and more modern doors onto the existing cabinets if they are still in a reasonable condition. In many cases the kitchen’s existing carcasses are still perfectly good for continued use. The kitchen doors are what are mainly subjected to extreme wear and tear, not to mention the fact that they are what is actually visible, and thus responsible for your kitchen’s tired and dated look.

Always use a professional to fit your kitchen doors. Image owner: Big Stock

Replacement kitchen doors can make a huge difference to your kitchen. The same applies to new drawer fronts. And the best thing is that they can be easily installed, avoiding a long and tedious process, as well as being so much more affordable.

The new doors will obviously need to be made to measure so that they will fit properly in your kitchen carcasses. So you will need to take exact measurements of your kitchen for each door or drawer. If you will be hiring someone to make the doors for you the measuring process will be seen to by him.

Routing an MDF kitchen door. Image owner: WoodHaven

There are several materials you can choose from, as well as colours, when it comes to kitchen then replacement doors. Most kitchen doors are generally manufactured from MDF whilst some more expensive options are made from solid wood.

You may order your replacement fitted doors or else fit them yourself if you are a DIY lover. Obviously you would need to have certain equipment to cut and give them the desired finish and style.

Modern kitchen doors generally stick to flat panel styles, but there are still many who prefer to opt for other styles. A flat centre panel and raised frame, generally looks very contemporary. Raised panel cabinet doors are also popular as the centre panel will be surrounded by a contour, which appeals to many people.

Another point worth noting is that you will also need to consider staining the doors, so as to have a colour that will complement the cabinet boxes. Once the doors are ready, you will need to take off the old doors and any hardware that was keeping them attached to the kitchen frame. Then, you will just have to install the replacement doors in their place. When it comes to hanging the new kitchen doors, you will need to pre-drill holes in them, insert hinges, and then secure them to the hardware on the cabinet frame. It is worth noting that new hardware is generally recommended.

For less stress and mess, and lower expenses, opt for replacement fitted doors for your kitchen. You will be amazed at the considerable difference they will make as you can greatly improve your kitchen with replacement fitted doors and give your home one of the best kitchen makeovers you can imagine!

Acknowledgements & External Resources

The following websites and external resources were kindly used in collating the information found within this article:

How to choose the best running shoes for men

What To Look For When Buying Your First Pair of Runners

What matters when choosing the ideal running shoes is the shape of your feet and your running style rather than the logo on the side of the shoe. It is important to find the right running shoes so that you are able to run comfortably and also avoid getting injured.

Having the right running shoes makes a difference between a great run and a run that will leave one hurt or with blisters. A pair of running shoes should last between 3 to 4 months, i.e. after 400 to 500 miles of running for the regular runner before they are replaced.

When buying shoes for running, first it is important to know the kind of feet you have, the terrain on which you will be running on and how you run. If you don’t know, visit most local running specialist stores for a shoe fitting and proper gait analysis. As a man who needs running shoes, you should consider the following when choosing the best running shoes:

Get a perfect fit

Buy your shoes late in the evening because this is when the feet are swollen due to the day’s activities. The correct shoe size will go in line with the length and width of the feet and also the weight of the runner.

Some shoes have a narrow width while others are slightly wider so fit the shoe to see that it fits well and doesn’t snag. Don’t choose a shoe that is too wide because the foot will have too much room which will cause it to shift as you run. A runner’s weight affects the amount of force in which the shoe will be subjected to so if you are heavy, choose shoes with thicker soles to save you from too much impact.


Different shoes have different cushioning on them and when choosing a shoe you should consider your frame and preference. If you weigh above 200lbs then you need a shoe with a lot of cushioning and if about 130lbs you would need shoes with less cushioning. The cushioning will also depend on how much padding you would want under your feet and the contact to the ground.

The Different Types of Pronation. Image credit: This Runners Recipes

Ankle support

The shoe should support the ankle, heel and upper foot to avoid a badly sprained ankle. You need to know the shape of your feet and how the ankles and feet move during a run.

There are three types of motion, i.e. pronation, supination and overpronation. For a person with pronation motion, they have reduced stress on the knees, hips and ankles so they wouldn’t need a special type of shoe.

Supination or underpronation motion is where the foot rolls outward rather than inward upon contact which may cause a harsh impact on the knee once they need a shoe with a more flexible upper portion, and extra cushioning in the soles of the shoes.

Overpronation motion means that the foot rolls inward and it may also cause injury to the knees so choose a shoe that adds stability and rigidity to the feet.

Terrain appropriate design

There are two types of mens running shoes i.e. road running shoes are best for paths and paved roads and off-road running shoes which are also known as trail runners for unpaved trails. Road running shoes allow a runner’s foot to be flexible and are lighter than trail runners. The trail shoes provide stability and extra shock absorption on uneven ground and they ensure runners to have optimum traction on slippery rock surfaces or gravel.

High-quality construction – most running shoes are made of synthetic leather because it is flexible, durable, light in weight and dries quickly which is much better than genuine leather. Choose a running shoe that has strong seams and breathable panels that are made of mesh. The upper part should be water proof which prevents water from getting in as you run and the lining should also be water resistant.

The Adidas Ultra Boost is a very popular running shoe. Image credit: Sneaker News


Style preference is different among people because some prefer streamlined shoes that give the foot a narrow appearance while others prefer chunky heavy duty shoes. The standard shoe has a basic color with white splashes and has the manufacturers logo or mascot.

Affordable pricing

A high priced shoe means that it is of high quality with the development of the shoe and aerodynamics of the shoe design making it worth the cost. However, here are affordable shoes that are of good quality if you are on a tight budget.

If you are looking to get the best running shoe, visit a running shoe store and get the best shoe. Don’t be in a hurry while selecting and you may ask for help from the sales person. Carry your running socks so that you get to fit shoes while you are wearing them and they will help you know if the shoe does fit well when wearing socks.

Acknowledgements & External Resources

The following websites and external resources were kindly used in collating the information found within this article:

How to build a fireplace mantel with MDF boards

Why buy a new mantel when you can build one yourself with MDF?

Having a nice, cozy fireplace in your living room or sitting room is surely a great idea, because it serves as a focal point in the room. There is no denying that a fireplace however costs money. You might never have decided to install one simply because of the relatively high cost. However, what if you were to build one yourself? You would be able to save a good amount of money if you were to build the fireplace mantel using MDF boards cut to size, which are really affordable.

MDF boards are bought as sheets and there are different sizes and thicknesses to choose from. Make sure you plan in advance so as to cut the smaller parts in advance. You will not need very large boards for some parts of the mantel, and you can have some cut down into manageable sizes when you go shopping for them.

Beautiful Fireplace Mouldings. Image Credit:
Beautiful Fireplace Mouldings. Image Credit: Inviting Home

Moreover, you can also buy crown moulding and small cove moulding, so as to add additional detail to the plain body of the mantel. These can be used for the edges. You will also be able to find screen moulding for inset panels. These ornate details will make a huge difference in the final look of the mantel. You will be able to choose your favourite special ornate touches from a nice range in most stores.

Obviously, you will need to plan in advance so as to adjust the general dimensions according to their dimensions. For instance, you may need to change the width of the capitals, and that of the pilasters accordingly. These adjustments will depend on their respective sizes and your preferences too. It is a good idea to draw up your fireplace mantel and write down the proposed dimensions. Then, go to the store to take a look at the selection of mouldings, and take into account the sizes of the ones that you like, by taking into account your drawing. Your fireplace mantel will need to be adjusted according to these details, as well as your space.

Other than that you can then move on to the construction phase, which is quite straightforward. First off, this is ultimately a surround, which is composed of two pillars, and an MDF box beam header.

You can start cutting the front and the sides of the pillars out of the MDF boards. You can drill pocket holes on the back of the front piece right away, so as to connect the sides to it later with pocket screws, and some glue too.

Next you will need to cut supports. At least three supports for every pillar are recommended. You can simply use a pocket hole jig so as to drill the pocket holes on the ends of the supports, and then attach to the top, the bottom, and the middle of the pillar. Cut another piece to secure it to the bottom of the front piece. Mitres can be cut so as to be attached around the edges with brad nails and glue. Any part that may be sticking out will later be covered up with cove moulding, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Next, start cutting the trim pieces, which will be used on the front of the pillars. At this point you are quite a good way along. Fill up the brad nail holes with woody putty and sand it. The next step revolves around the MDF box beam. So, cut the bottom, the front and the sides, and attach them to one another as explained before. Later, the back support can be attached, as you will need to fasten this onto the wall.

So, as you can see it was really simple. The pillars are attached to the wall vertically. Then the pillar is placed over and secured with screws. And finally the MDF box beam is screwed down to the pillars and to the wall. Any mouldings that you choose to add can be glued or nailed in place. These will add a unique touch to your fireplace mantel, and you can be as creative as you like. For instance you can make a panelled frieze for a more rustic look. Federal period mouldings are also a popular selection as they have finer and more delicate features, which make your fireplace stand out even more. If you want to make a hood too, make sure to sketch the profile in order to facilitate the decision of the capital hood dimensions according to the other dimensions. Ultimately, the sky is your limit in building your fireplace mantel actually! As you can see it is really quite easy to build your own DIY fireplace mantel with MDF boards and you can make it exactly as you wish! Once done, paint it up and sit there to enjoy the unique cosy ambiance it creates!

Landscape Design: Understanding It’s Importance in Society

Protecting our environmental futures

Interior design is a discipline that we all know about. Many people hire the services of an interior designer to create the best possible layout and design for their home. Business owners also hire designers to set up their premises and offices in order to make the best use of the space available, while offering a pleasant customer and employee environment. But, it is a common tendency to focus solely on the inside of a building.

But what about the exterior and outdoor areas? They also have an element of importance, especially since it is generally the first thing one will see. This is where landscape design comes into the picture. Landscape design is essentially a field where designers create plans in an attempt to modify or arrange outdoor features. The aim is to improve their aesthetic appeal while also enhancing the value of the area.

Organic Landscape Design. Image credit: Pinterest
Organic Landscape Design. Image credit: Pinterest

Landscape design integrates various elements to achieve outdoor spaces that are both beautiful and functional, while making the best use of the space available. In every job landscape designers try to come up with innovative and customized solutions as tailoring these according to the client’s preferences and needs is very important. Often those who decide to do the job on their own, without having the necessary expertise, end up committing costly mistakes. This, along with any unnecessary confusion and problems can easily be bested if a landscape designer is hired from the very start.

It is important to point out that a proper landscape design not only helps to improve the enjoyment and aesthetic appeal of the particular space, be it a public one, or a private garden or yard, but it also increases the value of that place. For instance, a well-designed outdoor space does not only look incredible, but a beautiful garden also increases the value of the house. So it is evident that outdoor spaces that have been thoughtfully developed will offer various advantages.

A landscape designer could come up with ideas to use the space more wisely, or to utilise a part of the area for a specific use, and chances are you may never even have thought about such ideas or potential. According to various studies, it has been concluded that outdoor spaces that have been designer professionally by a landscape designer, can increase the value of the house or property by up to twenty percent.

Beautiful Landscaped Garden. Image credit: HGTV
Beautiful Landscaped Garden. Image credit: HGTV

Thus hiring a professional landscape designer can indeed be viewed as a form of investment. From creating exciting and functional outdoor spaces for entertainment, or to use as a play area for little children, or simply to have a peaceful haven where you can relax, a landscape designer can surely help you attain what you have always wanted from your outdoor space.

This will be done by taking into account your preferences, as well as your budget. The designer will start off with a site analysis, and then discuss these factors with the client, so as to come up with a practical plan for your outdoor space. The aim of a landscape designer is to create a customized design that is best suited for the client’s needs, any specific preferences, as well as the particular lifestyle or requirements. The landscape designer will be taking into consideration all of this, while providing that unique artistic touch.

Once the client agrees with the designer’s plan and the site-specific solutions that he/she recommends, the work can then commence. Generally landscape design services will include agreeing on the most suitable plants and trees for that outdoor area. The landscape designer will advise on these important choices according to the amount of sunlight your outdoor area gets, the weather conditions, and the amount of care and maintenance you are willing and able to provide. Professional landscape designers have a lot of experience in different kinds of plants and trees so you may rest assured that they will help you choose the best types for your garden or patio.

With the designer’s guidance you will be able to choose the most suitable design elements and materials for the site, apart from the plants. By providing a clear course of action and a plan, you will know exactly what you will be getting, apart from avoiding any costly mistakes that would result out of lack of planning. Professional landscape designers will help to ensure both the immediate as well as the ongoing success of your outdoor project.

Which Constellations Can Be Seen Along The Ecliptic?

Starting in the constellation Aries, the Sun passes through 12 constellations as it moves along the ecliptic, which is the plane of its orbit around the galactic centre. However, while western astrologers recognize only 12 constellations, or signs in the zodiac, the Sun actually passes through 13 constellations, with Ophiuchus being the 13th.

We need not go into the reasons why astrologers do not count Ophiuchus as part of the zodiac; suffice to say that in astrology, the ecliptic is divided into twelve 30-degree segments, with a constellation assigned to each segment. See the image below for details on how the segments and constellations are arranged.

Image credit:
Image credit:

Starting at the First Point of Aries, also known as the Vernal Equinox (which is really in Pisces), the Sun passes through the constellation of the zodiac in this order: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, [Ophiuchus], Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.

However, from an astronomical point of view, the division of the ecliptic does not agree with the dates (and number of days) the Sun actually spends in each constellation. See the table below for details of the differences between astrological and astronomical data.


An overview of the zodiac constellations

Astrology aside, let’s take a closer look at the constellations on the ecliptic, and in the order in which the Sun passes through them:

Aries: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere between latitudes +90° and -60°, taking up an area of 441 square degrees, making it the 39th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Cetus, Perseus, Pisces, Taurus, and Triangulum.
  • Best seen: Autumn; during November, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: Aries has no Messier objects, but it does contain several notable deep sky objects, such as the unbarred spiral galaxy NGC 772, and NGC 1156, an irregular dwarf galaxy.
  • Brightest star: Hamal – α Arietis (Alpha Arietis), a K-class variable orange giant whose apparent magnitude varies between 1.98 and 2.04. Hamal is located about 66 light years away.
  • Planets: 7 stars with 10 planets between them.
  • Meteor showers: May Arietids, Autumn Arietids, Delta Arietids, Epsilon Arietids, Daytime-Arietids, and Aries-Triangulids.

Taurus: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere between latitudes +90° and -65°, where it takes up 797 square degrees, making it the 17th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Aries, Auriga, Cetus, Eridanus, Gemini, Orion and Perseus.
  • Best seen: Autumn; during December, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: Taurus contains two famous Messier objects; M1, the Crab Nebula, and M45, the well known Pleiades star cluster.
  • Brightest star: Aldebaran – α Tauri (Alpha Tauri), a variable orange giant star that is at least 44.2 times as big and 425 times as bright as the Sun. Aldebaran is located about 65 light years away.
  • Planets: 10 stars with 12 planets between them.
  • Meteor showers: Taurids and the Beta Taurids. The Taurids peak in November, while the Beta Taurids peak in June and July.

Gemini: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere between latitudes +90° and -60°, where it takes up an area of 514 square degrees, making it the 39th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Auriga, Cancer, Canis Minor, Lynx, Monoceros, Orion and Taurus.
  • Best seen: Winter; during January, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: One Messier object, M35, a famous star cluster.
  • Brightest star: Pollux – β Geminorum (Beta Geminorum) is also the 17th brightest star in the entire sky, with an apparent visual magnitude of 1.14 from a distance of about 34 light years away. Pollux is a fully evolved class K0 III orange giant that is twice as massive, as nine times as big as the Sun.
  • Planets: 9 stars with one planet each.
  • Meteor showers: Geminids, and the Rho Geminids. The Geminids are almost always very bright, and peak around December 13-14.

Cancer: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere between latitudes +90° and -60°, where it takes up an area of 506 square degrees, making it the 31st biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Canis Minor, Gemini, Hydra, Leo, Leo Minor, and Lynx.
  • Best seen: Winter; during February, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: two Messier objects, M44, the Beehive Cluster and M67, a large open star cluster.
  • Brightest star: Al Tarf – β Cancri (Beta Cancri) is a 3.5 magnitude binary system that consists of a K-class orange giant, and a dim, 14th magnitude companion located about 29 seconds of arc away. The system is located about 290 light years away from earth.
  • Planets: 8 stars with 12 planets between them.
  • Meteor showers: The Delta Cancrids is the only meteor shower associated with Cancer.

Leo: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere, between latitudes +90° and -65°, where it takes up an area of 947 square degrees, making it the 12th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Cancer, Coma Berenices, Crater, Hydra, Leo Minor, Lynx, Sextans, Ursa Major, and Virgo.
  • Best seen: Winter; during March, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 5 Messier objects: M65, M66, M95, M96, and M104. All are visible with amateur equipment.
  • Brightest star: Regulus – α Leonis (Alpha Leonis) is a multiple star system that consists of two pairs of star that orbit another pair. The systems’ combined apparent visual magnitude of 1.35 also makes this system the 22nd brightest star in the entire sky. This system is located about 77 light years away.
  • Planets: 15 stars with 18 planets between them.  
  • Meteor showers: The Leonids is generally a very productive shower that peaks during the night of 17/18 November. A second shower associated with Leo, the January Leonids, is regarded as a minor shower that peaks in the first week of January.

Virgo: Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +80° and -80°, where it takes up an area of 1 294 square degrees, making it the 2nd biggest constellation, after Hydra.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Boötes, Coma Berenices, Corvus, Crater, Hydra, Leo, Libra and Serpens Caput.
  • Best seen: Spring; during April, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 11 Messier objects: Messier 49 (M49, NGC 4472), Messier 58 (M58, NGC 4579), Messier 59 (M59, NGC 4621), Messier 60 (M60, NGC 4649), Messier 61 (M61, NGC 4303), Messier 84 (M84, NGC 4374), Messier 86 (M86, NGC 4406), Messier 87 (M87, NGC 4486), Messier 89 (M89, NGC 4552), Messier 90 (M90, NGC 4569) and Messier 104 (M104, NGC 4594, Sombrero Galaxy). All are visible with amateur equipment.
  • Brightest star: Spica – α Virginis (Alpha Virginis) is a 1.04 magnitude binary star, and the 15th brightest star in the entire sky. What makes this system different from other binary stars is the fact that the component stars do not eclipse each other. Instead, they both rotate about a common centre of mass, but so closely that their mutual gravitational effect is distorting both stars, producing measurable variations in their respective luminosities.
  • Planets: 26 stars with 33 planets between them.    
  • Meteor showers: The Virginids, and the Mu Virginids. Both showers are included in the very complex Virginids Complex of meteor showers that stretches over several months.

Libra: Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +65° and -90°, where it takes up an area of 538 square degrees, making it the 29th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Centaurus, Hydra, Lupus, Ophiuchus, Scorpius, Serpens Caput, and Virgo.
  • Best seen: Spring; during May, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: Libra does not contain any Messier objects, or any other noteworthy objects. The only object of any interest is HD 140283, commonly known as Methuselah, which with an age of about 14 billion years, is the oldest known star in the observable universe.
  • Brightest star: Zubeneschamali – β Librae (Beta Librae) is a magnitude 2.61 blue-white dwarf located about 185 light years away. The star’s rotational velocity is around 250 km/sec at its equator, which is close to the speed at which it would break apart under its own centrifugal forces. This star is about 5 times as big, and at least 130 times as bright as the Sun.
  • Planets: 3 stars with 7 planets between them.
  • Meteor showers: May Librids.

Scorpio (Scorpius): Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +40° and -90°, where it takes up an area of 497 square degrees, making the 33rd biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Ara, Corona Australis, Libra, Lupus, Norma, Ophiuchus and Sagittarius.
  • Best seen: Spring; during June, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 4 Messier objects: Messier 4 (M4, NGC 6121), Messier 6 (M6, NGC 6405, Butterfly Cluster), Messier 7 (M7, NGC 6475, Ptolemy Cluster) and Messier 80 (NGC 6093).
  • Brightest star: Antares – α Scorpii (Alpha Scorpii) is a magnitude 0.96 red super giant, and the most evolved member of the Scorpius-Centaurus Association, the closest OB stellar association to the solar system. Antares is a spectacular star on all counts; it is about 15-18 times a massive as the Sun, and at least 10 000 times as bright, and 883 times as big as the Sun.
  • Planets: 27 stars with 34 planets between them.
  • Meteor showers: Alpha Scorpiids, and the Omega Scorpiids.

Ophiuchus: Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +80° and -80°, where it takes up an area of 948 square degrees, making it the 11th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Aquila, Hercules, Libra, Sagittarius, Scorpius, and Serpens.
  • Best seen: Summer; during July, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 7 Messier objects: Messier 9 (M9, NGC 6333), Messier 10 (M10, NGC 6254), Messier 12 (M12, NGC 6218), Messier 14 (M14, NGC 6402), Messier 19 (M19, NGC 6273), Messier 62 (M62, NGC 6266) and Messier 107 (M107, NGC 6171). The constellation is also home to some famous nebulae, among which are the Twin Jet Nebula, Little Ghost Nebula, dark nebulae Barnard 68, Pipe Nebula, Snake Nebula, and the Dark Horse Nebula. All Messier objects in the constellation are visible with amateur equipment.
  • Brightest star: Rasalhague – α Ophiuchi (Alpha Ophiuchi) is a combined magnitude 2.07 binary system, in which the primary star is a class K5-7V white giant star that is about 2.4 times as massive as the Sun. The system has an orbital period of only 8.62 years.
  • Planets: 17 stars with 19 planets between them. 
  • Meteor showers: Ophiuchids, the Northern May Ophiuchids, the Southern May Ophiuchids and the Theta Ophiuchids.

Sagittarius: Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +55° and -90°, where it takes up an area of 867 square degrees, making it the 15th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Aquila, Capricornus, Corona Australis, Indus, Microscopium, Ophiuchus, Scutum, Scorpius, Serpens Cauda and Telescopium.
  • Best seen: Summer; during July, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 15 Messier objects: Messier 8 (M8, NGC 6523, Lagoon Nebula), Messier 17 (M17, NGC 6618 Omega, Swan, Horseshoe or Lobster Nebula), Messier 18 (M18, NGC 6613), Messier 20 (M20, NGC 6514, Trifid Nebula), Messier 21 (M21, NGC 6531), Messier 22 (M22, NGC 6656, Sagittarius Cluster), Messier 23 (M23, NGC 6494), Messier 24 (M24, NGC 6603, Sagittarius Star Cloud), Messier 25 (M25, IC 4725), Messier 28 (M28, NGC 6626), Messier 54 (M54, NGC 6715), Messier 55 (M55, NGC 6809), Messier 69 (M69, NGC 6637), Messier 70 (M70, NGC 6681), and Messier 75 (M75, NGC 6864). The constellation also contains the rotational centre of the Milky Way galaxy. While all Messier objects in the constellation are visible with amateur equipment, the galactic centre is not.
  • Brightest star: Kaus Australis – ε Sagittarii (Epsilon Sagittarii) is a magnitude 1.79 binary system in which the primary star, Kaus Australis, is a class-B blue giant that is at least 375 times as bright as the Sun. The system is about 143 light years away.
  • Planets: 25 stars with 26 planets between them.    
  • Meteor showers: No meteor showers are associated with the constellation.

Capricorn (Capricornus): Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +60° and -90°, where it takes up an area of 414 square degrees, making the 40th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Aquarius, Aquila, Microscopium, Piscis Austrinus, and Sagittarius.
  • Best seen: Summer; during August, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 1 Messier object; M30 (NGC 7099), a large globular cluster that is best seen from the southern hemisphere.
  • Brightest star: Deneb Algedi – δ Capricorni (Delta Capricorni) is a 2.85 magnitude four-star system that consists of two pairs of stars orbiting each other. The brightest star in the system, Delta Capricorni, is about 8.5 times as bright as the Sun. It is also very close to the ecliptic, meaning that it can be occulted by the Moon, and very rarely by the planets. The system is about 40 light years away.
  • Planets: 5 planets with 9 planets between them.      
  • Meteor showers: Alpha Capricornids, Chi Capricornids, Sigma Capricornids, t Tau Capricornids, and the Capricorniden-Sagittarids.

Aquarius: Quick Facts

  • Location: Southern hemisphere, between latitudes +65° and -90°, where it takes up an area of 980 square degrees, making it the 10th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Aquila, Capricornus, Cetus, Delphinus, Equuleus, Pegasus, Pisces, Piscis Austrinus, and Sculptor.
  • Best seen: Summer; during September, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 3 Messier objects: M2 (NGC 7089), M72 (NGC 6981), and M73 (NGC 6994)
  • Brightest star: Sadalsuud – β Aquarii (Beta Aquarii) is a rare yellow super giant star with an apparent magnitude of 2.91, located about 610 light years away. It is also six times as massive and at least 2 200 times as bright as the Sun, which means that its luminosity makes it difficult to spot all of its suspected companion stars.
  • Planets: 14 stars with 19 planets between them.      
  • Meteor showers: March Aquariids, Eta Aquariids, Delta Aquariids, and Iota Aquariids, none of which is particularly spectacular.

Pisces: Quick Facts

  • Location: Northern hemisphere, between latitudes +90° and -65°, where it takes up an area of 889 square degrees, making it the 14th biggest constellation.
  • Neighbouring constellations: Andromeda, Aquarius, Aries, Cetus, Pegasus, and Triangulum.
  • Best seen: Autumn; during October, at about 9 PM local time.
  • Notable objects: 1 Messier object, M74, a spiral galaxy that is visible with amateur equipment.
  • Brightest star: Kullat Nunu – η Piscium (Eta Piscium), is a 3.26 magnitude yellow giant star that is 316 times brighter, 26 times bigger, and 3.5 – 4 times more massive than the Sun. The star is about 295 light years away, and has a very dim companion orbiting it at a distance of about one second of arc.
  • Planets: 39 stars with 41 planets between them.     

Meteor showers: The Piscids, which has been known to produce relatively large numbers of meteors at its maximum.

Where to locate Ophiuchus

The best time to observe Ophiuchus is during summer form the Northern Hemisphere or winter from the Southern Hemisphere.

From the Northern Hemisphere, the constellation can be seen high in the southern sky at nightfall and early evening during late July and early August. During Autumn evenings, it can be observed in the southwesterly skies.

Ophiuchus is joined in legend and in the sky to the constellation of the Serpent, which the name originates from two Greek words meaning serpent and holding.

If you have a very dark sky, you should be able to observe this constellation with a high quality telescope and see that actually looks similar what it’s supposed to be: a large man holding a snake!

Choosing The Best Luxury Refurbishments For Your Bathroom

If pampering yourself and scheduling a trip to the day spa are among your favorite activities, you can bring them into your home – thanks to modern luxury home refurbishment trends. For many people, this is a cost-effective investment and one of the best things they can do as a treat. After all, a little indulgence from time to time can be great for everyone in the family – not only yourself.

Thanks to some of the country’s top luxury refurbishment contractors, you can reinvent your home’s bathroom and make each day a luxurious and fabulous experience!

The Need For Luxury Bathroom Refurbishments

The truth is, life can be so hectic and stressful at times. When we come home, we simply need an area to retire for a while and let go of all the stresses and melt away the strains. That is how a luxury refurbishment can make your bathroom a true retreat for you – and reinvent your outdated bathroom area in a better way.

For example, making the shower bigger and more invigorating is a growing trend. Many people want to get rid of the tub altogether, especially if their bathroom space is limited. Using more glass and hinged doors instead of sliders can be a great improvement. The main point of these premium luxury refurbishments is the feeling of something special and more luxurious when entering the shower.

On the other hand, many people opt to convert the entire bathroom area and make the shower dominate the space by ripping out the shower walls entirely. However, ventilation may be the key issue here – and powerful remote fans can also play a major part in your refurbishment considerations.

Contemporary Bathrooms as a Part of a Luxury Refurbishment

Nowadays, contemporary bathrooms are of utmost importance. Simply put, they resemble an extra room in your house and a wonderful treat for every member of the family. Also, extra rooms in your home can be turned to bathrooms and such retreat areas – including the premium luxury refurbishments that add the modern and sleek design.

The main point of this is that the bathroom as an area needs to get bigger – as our homes get bigger. No one wants to feel stuck inside a bathroom anymore – and thanks to advanced technology, luxury refurbishments are essential for the comfortable feelings inside your own home.

The Benefits of Refurbishing Over Rebuilding

When we look at the benefits of residential refurbishment, we can clearly see that this is a better choice than rebuilding the entire bathroom or any reconstruction in general. That being said, luxury refurbishments come at lower costs – simply because of the demolition costs included in rebuilding which can skyrocket especially if the area needs serious changes.

Aside from that, refurbishing is a process that drastically reduces the time span of a project. Opposed to the lengthy demolition process, refurbishing involves a lot less time and effort – and focuses on the luxury finishes rather than rearranging the space and the walls, floor or furniture inside it.

Overall, refurbishing can be the best choice for you if you want to increase the value of your home. Having a luxury bathroom with spa or a tub can definitely increase the price tag of a property and adds value to a building. Anything from changing the floor layout to adding a skylight or new doors increases the worth of a home – and this can be a great way to add value both in a monetary and non-monetary way.

Why Choose a Refurbishment Company?

In the end, it is clear that although interior refurbishment in London is a huge investment, it is something that is definitely worth persisting with. They directly affect your well being, increase the value of your home and let you relax and enjoy in the comfort of your property. On the other hand, if you are interested to sell or lease the building, they can raise the price tag and improve its ambience.

There are many types of luxury refurbishments nowadays – not only for your bathroom, but every room in detail. Choosing them means improving your life and feeling better in the space you love most – your home.

Is there such a thing as cheap, affordable SEO?

Understanding the importance of quality over quantity when link building

As a search engine marketer, having been involved in the internet industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen a great deal change in this business. Having started life as a website designer and front-end developer, creative styles have evolved, development languages have moved on, devices have increased in power and capability, search engines have come and gone but one thing has always remained a constant issue – organic search ranks.

Back in the day, the search sphere was shared by a number of platforms and various folks used different options dependent on their personal preference. Yahoo, Metacrawler, Excite, Alta Vista, Lycos, MSN and AOL to name a few. Oh how times have changed.

Today, the search world is pretty much dominated by one giant of the internet in the form of Google, which enjoys over 85% of market share. Back in the 90’s, the SEO game was about ranking on sites across the board and ironically, it was a great deal easier to get ahead of the game back then. Just a few tweaks here or there, some keywords stuffed in appropriate places and hey presto, your site was rocking the search world. Not so anymore!

Nowadays, Google requires a great deal more than some keyword stuffing, invisible anchors and text boldening to make your mark. Yet I find it incredible that there are still website owners out there who believe that the search engines rank sites in the same way back then today. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve received enquiries from prospective clients saying that they need their site looked at as their ranks dropped. They had added all the meta tags, jammed them full of keywords, placed a ton of references to search phrases in their website verbiage and hired an SEO or two over the past couple of years to build them a ton of directory links for a few bucks. Seriously, do these people not ever read the free and informative information that’s out there on the web? Five minutes work will tell them just how foolish they’re being.

It still baffles me that business owners think this is the way that SEO is performed and that the search engines, built on highly sophisticated artificial intelligence that receives multiple software updates, has never moved on or improved its algorithmic framework. It’s the technology sector for Pete’s sake, of course it will have evolved!

Yet time and again, I receive emails from business owners who state that they need the help of an SEO to get their ranks back but can’t afford to spend much. It’s like the famous saying Einstein penned: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, yet expecting different results”. Yet this insanity goes on in worrying abundance!

The fact is, SEO is about quality and authority and you do not get that from building a house of cards amassed from low quality spammy links, directories and blog comments. The only type of affordable SEO is the kind that works – period. The kind of SEO that works is devised by knowledgeable search marketers who takes the time necessary to fully analyse every aspect of your website from the ground up. The source code, the markup, the content quality, the link and social signals, citations, domain and page authority… in fact, a whole array of factors that highly influence your website’s appeal to Google’s very stringent ranking algorithms. Not just how many millions of links you can acquire in the fastest time.

So is there such as thing as cheap affordable SEO? Yes. Is there such a thing as cheap SEO that works. Absolutely not. Sadly, there are still many misinformed or ill-judged business people left in the world who are willing to risk the very long term future of their businesses in favour of a quick and cheap option instead of realising what the real meaning of affordable search marketing really is.

Gamble with your business and expect to get burned. I say good luck to these people but I seriously doubt they’ll get any if that’s where they’re headed.