The Pitfalls of Overreliance on Link Building for Search Engine Optimization

The Pitfalls of Overreliance on Link Building for Search Engine Optimization

In the world of digital marketing and online visibility, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a pivotal role in driving organic traffic to websites. As businesses strive to increase their online presence and climb the search engine rankings, the strategy of link building has emerged as a key component of many SEO campaigns. Link building involves acquiring external links from other websites to your own, with the goal of improving your website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines like Google. While link building can be a valuable tool in an SEO toolkit, it is essential to recognize the dangers of solely relying on this strategy for search engine optimization. In this article, we will delve into the potential pitfalls and drawbacks of overemphasizing link building in your SEO efforts.

1. Unnatural and Low-Quality Links:

One of the most significant dangers of solely focusing on link building is the potential to accumulate unnatural or low-quality links. Search engines have evolved to detect and penalize websites that engage in manipulative link-building practices. If search engines like Google identify that a website is acquiring links from irrelevant or low-quality sources, it can lead to ranking penalties or even complete removal from search results. Relying heavily on link building might tempt website owners to engage in shady practices such as purchasing links, participating in link farms, or spamming comment sections with links – all of which can severely harm a website’s reputation and SEO performance.

2. Neglecting Content Quality:

A strong SEO strategy requires a holistic approach that encompasses various factors, including high-quality content. Overemphasizing link building can divert attention away from the creation of valuable, relevant, and informative content. While links are undoubtedly important, they should be built upon a foundation of quality content that provides real value to readers. Neglecting content quality in favor of link acquisition can lead to a poor user experience, high bounce rates, and decreased engagement metrics – all of which can negatively impact search engine rankings in the long run.

3. Vulnerability to Algorithm Changes:

Search engines constantly update their algorithms to provide users with the most relevant and accurate search results. An overreliance on link building leaves websites vulnerable to algorithm changes. Google’s algorithm updates, such as Panda and Penguin, have historically targeted websites with unnatural link profiles and poor content quality. If a website’s SEO strategy hinges solely on link building, it becomes highly susceptible to sudden drops in rankings and organic traffic when algorithm changes occur.

4. Limited Diversification:

Effective SEO involves diversifying strategies to ensure a well-rounded approach. Relying too heavily on link building narrows the focus and limits the potential benefits of other crucial SEO tactics, such as on-page optimization, technical SEO, mobile responsiveness, and user experience enhancements. A diversified approach not only reduces risk but also improves a website’s overall online presence and resilience to changes in search engine algorithms.

5. Failure to Build Relationships:

Link building, when done right, involves building relationships with other website owners, bloggers, and influencers in your industry. It’s not just about acquiring links but also about establishing connections that can lead to collaborations, guest posting opportunities, and knowledge sharing. Solely pursuing links without cultivating relationships can result in missed opportunities for partnerships and mutual growth within your industry.

6. Short-Term Gains vs. Long-Term Sustainability:

Link building can deliver short-term boosts in rankings and traffic. However, an overreliance on this strategy often sacrifices the long-term sustainability of a website’s SEO efforts. Websites that prioritize quality content, user experience, and a diversified SEO approach are more likely to withstand changes in search engine algorithms and evolving industry trends.

7. Diminished User Trust and Authority:

Websites that rely heavily on link building at the expense of other SEO factors may come across as less trustworthy and authoritative to users. When users encounter a website with an abundance of external links but lacking in quality content or user-friendly design, they are likely to question the website’s credibility. Building a strong online reputation requires a balance between various SEO elements to earn users’ trust and establish industry authority.


Link building undoubtedly has its place in a comprehensive SEO strategy, but it should not be the sole focus. Websites that prioritize high-quality content, user experience, technical excellence, and a diverse range of optimization tactics are more likely to succeed in the ever-evolving landscape of online search. Rather than relying solely on link building, businesses should adopt a holistic approach to SEO that emphasizes long-term sustainability, ethical practices, and a commitment to providing real value to users. By striking this balance, websites can position themselves for success in search engine rankings while building a strong and credible online presence.

4 Interesting Facts to Know About Personal Injury Lawyers

4 Interesting Facts to Know About Personal Injury Lawyers

If you’ve ever been in a car accident or dealt with legal paperwork during a tough time, you know how hard it is to manage the legal process. That’s why there are personal injury lawyers who protect your rights in any scenario. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, this article will explain what this team of professionals does to help you.

Who is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in providing legal representation to plaintiffs who have allegedly been hurt or injured (physically or psychologically) as a result of some form of carelessness or negligence on the part of another individual, organization, or entity.

“Personal injury attorneys specialize in an area known as tort law,” legal journalist Sally Kane writes. “This covers private or civil wrongs or injuries, including defamation and actions for bad faith breach of contract. The main goal of tort law is to make the injured party whole again and to discourage others from committing the same offense.”

Personal injury lawyers can work on a variety of cases, but some of the most common ones include auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, animal bite injuries, bicycle accidents, boating accidents, defective products, medical malpractice birthing injuries, nursing home abuse, and construction accidents.

4 Interesting Facts

You’ve seen commercials on TV, seen the lawyer ads online and probably driven past their billboards, but if you’ve never personally worked with a personal injury lawyer, you might not know much about them. Here are several interesting facts:

1. The Personal Injury Law Industry is Big

According to TechTimes, there are approximately 800,000 to 1.2 million lawyers in the United States. Of those, somewhere between 93,000 to 135,000 are personal injury lawyers. In other words, more than 10 percent of attorneys practice personal injury law.

One of the reasons for the size of this industry is the growing demand for this sort of representation. There are an estimated 400,000 personal injury cases each year (not even including the millions of injuries stemming from car accidents). And even though just a small fraction of them (roughly 4 percent) ever go to trial, skilled attorneys are usually needed to ensure plaintiffs get the right settlements outside of court.

2. Personal Injury Lawyers Don’t Get Paid Unless You Do

One of the most interesting things about working with a personal injury attorney is that you don’t owe them a dime unless they help you recover money as part of your claim.

Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means their fee is contingent/dependent on them being able to secure a settlement or positive verdict in your case. If they’re unable to, you don’t owe them anything for their time. If they do help you recover money, they generally charge a fee somewhere in the neighborhood of 33 percent.

3. Good Personal Injury Lawyers Are Worth Every Penny

Don’t underestimate the importance of hiring a good personal injury lawyer. While they might charge what you consider to be a steep fee when winning a case, the reality is that they bring a ton of value to the table that you simply wouldn’t have if you were representing yourself.

A good personal injury lawyer is worth every penny they charge. Take the Matthews Injury Law team as an example. They’ve recently helped a client get a $60 million verdict for a car accident and $11 million for a wrongful death case. They’ve also helped settle cases with insurance companies for $5.4 million (motorcycle accident) and $4 million (auto accident). These are figures that individuals wouldn’t be able to sniff if it weren’t for experienced legal counsel.

4. Most Personal Injury Cases Don’t Go to Trial

Did you know that just four to five percent of personal injury cases ever go to trial? That means roughly 95 percent of all cases are settled outside of court. This makes personal injury lawyers some of the best and most skilled negotiators in the world. They’re able to go toe-to-toe with greedy insurance companies who have thousands of employees on the payroll and extract six-, seven-, eight-, and even nine-figure sums on behalf of their clients.

Putting it All Together

Next time you see a personal injury advertisement – or the next time you need a personal injury attorney to represent you in a case – remember that there’s more to them than initially meets the eye!

How to Cope With the Emotional Trauma of a Car Accident

How to Cope With the Emotional Trauma of a Car Accident

The abrupt and violent disruption of a car accident can have profound emotional repercussions, often overshadowed by the physical injuries sustained. But in the long run, if these issues aren’t dealt with properly, they can become even bigger problems.

The Emotional Aftermath of a Car Accident

While the physical injuries associated with a car accident usually get the immediate attention of doctors and physicians, it’s the emotional trauma that can have the longest lasting impact. In many cases, it can lead to PTSD.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological condition that can affect people who have experienced or witnessed a terrifying event,” Nolo explains. “The condition was likely first identified as ‘shell shock’ in soldiers returning home from the first World War. Now the American Psychiatric Association has recognized PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a condition that applies to a wider range of human experiences.”

Common symptoms of PTSD in car accident victims include intrusive memories, avoidance, mood changes, and behavior changes. It’s also worth noting that there are different types/levels of PTSD.

“Scientists are beginning to distinguish between PTSD and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), in which exposure to prolonged, repeated trauma causes severe behavioral problems, including difficulty controlling emotions, substance abuse, eating disorders, or mental difficulties, including amnesia,” Nolo continues.

Generally speaking, PTSD in car accident victims is almost always going to be standard PTSD. It’s unlikely that C-PTSD will occur, as it’s typically the result of repetitive exposure.

Effective Coping Strategies

If you’re dealing with emotional trauma, anxiety, and possible PTSD after a car accident, it’s important that you find healthy coping strategies to accelerate your recovery. Here are some suggestions:

  • Prioritize self-care. After a traumatic event like a car accident, prioritizing self-care is paramount. Self-care activities might include maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, ensuring you’re getting adequate sleep, and taking time each day for relaxation and decompression. Practices such as mindfulness and meditation can also be powerful tools for managing emotional distress.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Connecting with others can greatly aid your emotional recovery. Reach out to trusted friends or family members who can offer emotional support. You might also consider joining a support group of others who have experienced similar traumas. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others can often lighten the burden and make the recovery process feel less lonely.
  • Find balance in your life. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is another effective coping strategy. This can mean balancing work and relaxation, social activity and alone time, and physical activity and rest. Also, try to maintain a regular routine; this can bring a sense of normalcy and predictability back to life after the chaos of a car accident.
  • Find a car accident attorney. Much of the stress and anxiety of car accidents has to do with the complex legal and financial processes that unfold in the wake of the collision. Don’t try to handle this by yourself. As Hancock Injury Attorneys explains,“ Working with someone who has the skills and knowledge to advocate on your behalf can be crucial to a positive outcome to your claim. Focus on rebuilding your life following an accident and allow your attorney to handle the legal aspects of your case.”
  • Explore CBT.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. CBT encourages patients to challenge distorted cognitions and change destructive patterns of behavior. It’s particularly effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression, all common after a car accident. CBT can equip you with practical strategies to manage distress and improve your mental health.

There’s no “magic sauce” or “secret formula” for overcoming the emotional trauma of a car accident. Every person is going to behave differently. With that being said, exploring tips and strategies like the ones highlighted above may help you move toward a faster recovery.

Adding it All Up

The most important thing you can do for your long-term mental health is to get behind the wheel of a car as soon as possible. The faster you resume driving, the less likely it is that you’ll develop a long-term fear of driving (which can make life very difficult and inconvenient). Speak with your mental health professionals to determine when the timing is right to get back in the driver’s seat.

How to Help an Anxious Child

How to Help an Anxious Child

Anxiety can be crippling for everyone, but it tends to be worse for children. Most adults at least have access to resources to develop their coping skills, but children often have less ability to deal with anxiety for several reasons.

First, the source of anxiety is sometimes out of their control. For example, stressful home life or a negative school environment are common anxiety triggers, but kids don’t have a choice in their exposure. Second, kids rely on their parents for resources, and they won’t get help if nobody knows they’re suffering.

If your child suffers from anxiety, here are some suggestions to help them cope with their triggers and experience less stress.

Make their life easier

The fewer stressors your child has in their life overall, the easier it will be for them to manage anxiety. It doesn’t matter where you start, but try to make their life easier in every possible way. For example, don’t push them so hard when they forget to do a chore, let them listen to music while they do their homework, and compromise in their favor. There are some things you can’t allow, but if it’s reasonable and seems to alleviate some stress, cut your child some slack.

If your child is on the autism spectrum and receives Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, try getting in-home therapy sessions to ease their mind about having to leave the house. Even if your child doesn’t actively complain, it can be a big deal to get ready for each appointment and sit in an unfamiliar space for the duration of their session.

Holding their therapy at home will be one less thing for your child to feel anxious about.

Don’t shield them from triggers

It might seem strange to suggest that children should learn to live with their triggers, but sometimes that’s the best way to help them cope. The good news is that over time, triggers can be reduced and/or eliminated. The problem is that shielding makes this type of healing impossible.

When a child’s anxiety is caused by stressors that will never disappear from their life, like loud sounds, crowds, bullies, and unfamiliar situations, shielding them at home will only make their life worse when they move out. They will then expect other people to protect them; that’s probably not going to happen, especially in the workplace.

Triggers caused by other people, like bullies, should definitely be addressed. However, you can’t just pull your kids out of school to avoid harassment and expect that they’ll never experience the same thing anywhere else. They will encounter bullies throughout their life; if they don’t learn to cope, their anxiety will only worsen.

If your child is triggered by things like noise, unfamiliar situations, or negative interactions with others, help them find ways to cope rather than trying to eliminate the source of the problem. For example, find earplugs or noise-canceling headphones they can carry in their pocket or backpack. To help your child cope with the unknown, start by validating their feelings and encouraging them to act despite their fear.

When it comes to bullies, they will never disappear, so the earlier your child learns to stand up for themselves, the better. Teach your child to say something to a teacher (or you) when they’re being mistreated at school. Don’t let them fall into the trap of believing nothing will be done about the situation because that will make them a perpetual victim to their bullies.

If the school doesn’t put a stop to things, you’ll need to step in for your child. If you push hard enough, you can get the administration to resolve the problem.

Anxiety is normal and treatable

Not sure if your child is anxious? If you’re unsure whether your child is suffering from anxiety, check this list of symptoms because not everyone will outright state they are anxious. Some kids don’t have words for how they feel, and you’ll have to pay close attention to their behaviors.

Although it’s difficult, anxiety is fairly common and is possible to treat. Anxiety is technically a nervous system disorder, sometimes caused when the body goes into “fight or flight” mode and never returns to normal.

In this state, over time, triggers have a deeper impact on the individual and the body perceives threats where there are none. It’s understandably not everyone’s first choice, but medication can help, and so can psychotherapy.

However, only you can know the best way to treat your child’s anxiety.

3 Tips for Getting Out of Debt

3 Tips for Getting Out of Debt

Did you know that total household debt in the U.S. was $17.05 trillion in the first quarter of 2023?

If a debt albatross around your neck is weighing you down and stressing you out, you’ll want to know how to tackle the problem. It’s hard to go about life acting as though everything’s okay when you know you’re drowning in debt with no life preserver in sight.

What are some of your options if you need to get out of debt sooner rather than later?

Continue reading for three tips to help you slay the debt albatross and get back on track.

1. Consider Selling Your Home

One option is to sell your home. Depending on how much your home is worth and how much equity you have in it, you might be able to eliminate your debt or take a big chunk out of it. Selling your home should be a last resort. But it can make a lot of sense if you want to pay off your debt sooner rather than later. You can sell your home, pay off your debt, and buy a less expensive house. When selling your home, you don’t have to do it the traditional way:

  • Hire a realtor
  • Get a property value assessment
  • List your home
  • Wait for someone to buy it

There’s an easier way to go about selling your home. It’s faster, and you won’t need a realtor. For instance, if you choose the right online platform, you can sell your home for cash. You can consider cash offers, accept the one you want, and get paid in as little as seven days.

And remember that selling your home for cash usually means selling it as is. That means you won’t have to perform costly repairs before putting it up for sale. You’ll be able to pay off your debt in short order since a cash deal will close without a bunch of conditions slowing things down.

2. Get a Side Hustle

Another way to tackle debt, cut it down to size, and eventually eliminate it is to find a side hustle. In fact, you might want to find multiple side hustles. What is a side hustle? It’s a job you take on in addition to your full-time employment. And it can involve just about anything.

The goal is to use whatever money you make from side hustles to pay down debt quickly.

What are some popular side hustles? They include, among other things, the following:

  • Signing up with ridesharing companies
  • Making deliveries
  • Becoming a virtual assistant
  • Renting your home or rooms in your home with Airbnb
  • Tutoring online
  • Washing and detailing cars
  • Starting a landscaping business

Getting one or more side hustles might be the right way to fix your debt problem. When considering side hustles, ensure you choose jobs that interest you. That way, you’ll have more motivation. The last thing you want is to do something you dread just to make more money. Even so, if that’s the only way to reduce your debt, it’s worth doing.

3. Get a Raise or Change Jobs

Yet another way you can make more money is to ask your current employer for a raise. You can ask for a raise if you’ve worked for the same employer for a long time and have a strong track record of success. There’s no guarantee you’ll get one, but it’s within your right to ask. That’s especially the case if you have a good rapport with management or leaders at the company.

You can also consider applying for other positions available at your company. Are there higher-paying positions that need to be filled? Why not apply if that’s the case? If you get the job, you can use the extra money to pay down your debt.

If there’s no way to achieve your objective at your current company, you might want to look for a higher-paying position at another business.

These are some things you can do to tackle your debt situation and achieve better financial health. You won’t be able to fix things overnight. But you can take steps — perhaps one or more of the suggestions above — to get started and move in the right direction.

Why You Could Have Mesothelioma Without Knowing

Why You Could Have Mesothelioma Without Knowing

Like many cancers that take significant time to develop, you could have mesothelioma without knowing. Symptoms can take decades to appear and often mimic other common health problems, which makes early detection challenging.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

If you’re suffering from certain health issues that don’t seem to be getting better, talk to your doctor about the possibility of mesothelioma. Here are some of the symptoms that indicate you might have this form of cancer:

  • Chest pain
  • Pleural effusions (fluid build-up in the pleura)
  • Painful breathing
  • A persistent cough
  • Stomach pains
  • Ascites (fluid build-up in the peritoneum)
  • Weight loss with no explanation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pericardial effusion (fluid build-up in the pericardium)
  • Heart murmurs

These symptoms are shared by other, more common health issues like asthma, COPD, the flu, and pneumonia. If you experience any of these issues, it’s easy to think it’s caused by something else. Since the symptoms of mesothelioma can take decades to appear, by the time you notice these symptoms, you may not even remember being exposed to the culprit: asbestos.

Asbestos causes nearly all cases of mesothelioma

There are a few different types of this cancer, but all are almost exclusively caused by asbestos. You’ve probably heard of asbestos, but you might not know exactly what it is and why it’s so dangerous.

There are six main types of asbestos, and all pose a significant danger to human health. As a mineral, it’s composed of flexible fibers that are surprisingly heat-resistant and deflect electricity and corrosion. These qualities make asbestos quite useful and as such, it’s often used to make products like insulation, electrical parts, cement and building materials, and also auto parts.

Unfortunately, despite its usefulness, asbestos fibers tend to be jagged and sharp, and when inhaled, they become lodged inside of the lungs and trapped throughout the body in various places. This causes inflammation and scarring, which eventually leads to cancer.

The different types of mesothelioma

The most common form of this cancer is pleural mesothelioma, which makes up about 80% of all cases. This is caused when you inhale asbestos fibers that become embedded in the pleura (the lining of your lungs), which is made of mesothelial cells. As the fibers cause irritation, the tissue becomes thicker and fluid begins to build up around the lungs. As the lining thickens, the lungs are prevented from expanding completely, which makes breathing painful.

The next most common form is peritoneal mesothelioma. This accounts for about 20% of cases and comes from ingesting asbestos dust. When swallowed, the sharp asbestos fibers end up lodged in the peritoneum, where they cause the same irritation in the lining.

Pericardial mesothelioma is the rarest type of this cancer and accounts for less than 1% of cases. Medical experts aren’t sure how it happens, but this form is caused by asbestos fibers making their way to the pericardium (the heart’s lining). An even rarer place for asbestos fibers to travel to is the testicles.

You may not know you’ve been exposed to asbestos

It’s common for people to be exposed without knowing they’ve come into contact with asbestos. Your chances of having been exposed are high if you’ve worked in construction or as an auto mechanic. However, many people have been exposed from their home.

Although asbestos is dangerous, it only becomes a problem when airborne. When it’s properly contained, it doesn’t pose much of a risk. Because of this, many homeowners become exposed when performing remodels on a home they haven’t had tested for asbestos.

The dilemma is that tenants and homeowners have no way to know if asbestos is present without having their home professionally tested, and sometimes landlords know about the problem, but fail to remedy the problem. Even though there are no state laws mandating disclosure, landlords can still be held liable for damages under the requirement to provide a habitable living space.

Have you been exposed to asbestos? Do you have symptoms?

If you have symptoms and know for sure that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to find a doctor to examine you immediately. However, you can’t just go to your regular GP because you’ll risk getting misdiagnosed.

Most doctors aren’t trained to spot the difference between rare health conditions in patients who present with common symptoms. You need to see a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating mesothelioma. If you suspect your symptoms are related, don’t hesitate to find a specialist because it’s the only way you’ll get access to the treatment you need.

How to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

How to Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

If you ever get into a car accident, slip or fall at work, or get injured due to a faulty product, you’ll want to contact a personal injury lawyer.

No one wants to envision a scenario where they get hurt, have to take time off work for treatment, and see their lives turned upside down if no income is coming in. It makes sense to call a personal injury attorney after an accident because the legal professional will examine the situation, let you know if you have a credible case, and then advise you from there.

But just like you’d never go with the first quote you get from a roofing company, homebuilder, or other professional, you can’t just select the first personal injury lawyer you see in a directory. Much is at stake. You’ll want a reputable lawyer to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Here are three things to look for in a personal injury attorney you can trust with your case.

1. Ask About Specialization

Find a personal injury lawyer who specializes in personal injury law. You don’t want someone who dabbles in various areas of the law. You must find an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases day in and day out. A personal injury case can drag on for years. You want help from someone who knows the process, can advise you, and can represent you.

Ask how many years the attorney has been practicing personal injury law and ask for examples of past clients whose situations were similar to yours. If you suffer a severe injury that requires extensive medical care, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is vital. You’ll have someone on your side who knows how to work with insurers and medical care providers.

2. Ask About Potential Outcomes

When you go for a consultation with a personal injury lawyer, you’ll want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You need to know about the potential outcomes you face. It’s also essential to get honest assessments of the likelihood of the possible outcomes.

If you are injured in a car accident, you’ll want to get resources to pay for medical care and to compensate you for time off work. You’ll want the lawyer to explain what you face. Knowing the potential outcomes will help you make informed decisions about your case.

3. Ask About the Planned Legal Strategy

You’ll also want to ask any lawyers you’re considering about their planned legal strategy for your case. It’s essential to hire a personal injury attorney who can explain their plan and let you know down the road if there’s a need to pivot based on changing circumstances.

Are the lawyers you’re considering willing to take your case to trial? While it’s usually best to work out a settlement, you don’t want to go that route if the offer is too low. Some lawyers will try to settle at all costs. A court case can be a lengthy affair and can be emotionally training. But that doesn’t mean you should have to accept a lowball offer. If the chances of success in a court trial are good, then going to court might be better. That’s especially true if the insurance company won’t negotiate in good faith.

These are some of the more critical things to look for in a personal injury lawyer. If your case drags on for months or years, you may be working with your lawyer for a long time. So, you’ll want to choose well.

Finding the help you need after an accident is essential. It’ll be hard enough dealing with the effects of the accident, let alone having to pay for treatment out of pocket. A reputable and experienced legal professional will help to achieve a successful resolution.

How to Effectively Screen Tenants

How to Effectively Screen Tenants

According to the Pew Research Center, renters make up about 36% of the nation’s 122.8 million households as of 2019. That’s over 44 million households that rent.

As a landlord looking for new tenants, you may have a large tenant pool to choose from—especially now that we’re in the least affordable homeownership market in nearly four decades.

To ensure you choose the best tenants and keep your cash flow strong, it’s important to have a robust tenant screening process in place. Otherwise, you may end up with problem tenants or need to process an eviction later down the line.

Whether you perform the screening process yourself or hire a property manager to do it for you, it should include these steps:

1. Understand fair housing laws

Before you start denying tenant applicants, you need to have a good understanding of fair housing laws.

For example, according to the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords are not allowed to discriminate against tenants based on their race, color, national origin, religion, disability, sex, or familial status.

Your state and city may have further prohibitions against discrimination. So do your homework to make sure you don’t accidentally violate the law.

2. Set minimum applicant requirements

With a sound understanding of fair housing laws, you can set minimum requirements that you want your tenant applicants to meet.

For example, you could require a certain household income level. The federal government generally defines affordable housing as housing for which an occupant pays no more than 30% of their income on housing costs, including utilities. So if you charge $1,000 for rent, you may want to require that applicants make at least $3,000 per month.

You may also want to require a minimum credit score. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and most landlords require tenant applicants to have a score somewhere above 600.

In addition, you should think about requiring a security deposit. This is money given to you upfront to demonstrate the applicant’s intent. It can be refundable or non-refundable and may also be used to pay for any damages or lost property caused by the tenant. Just make sure you follow your state and local security deposit laws.

Similarly, you can also choose to require the first month’s rent upfront.

Other minimum requirements you can consider are bans on pets or smoking. Both represent extra risk of damage to your property and may annoy neighboring tenants. If you do allow them, consider charging more for rent.

Ultimately, setting minimum applicant requirements helps set expectations upfront. Just know that the stricter your requirements are, the fewer qualified applicants you may get.

3. Prescreen tenants with your rental listing and application

Next, create a rental listing and a tenant application with information about the property as well as your tenant requirements. That way, applicants who don’t meet your criteria or don’t want to abide by your policies will know not to apply.

Make sure to include the monthly rent, security deposit amount, and any application, credit report, and background check fees.

In the application, ask for basic contact information, employment history, gross income, previous addresses and landlord contact information, personal references, and information about roommates and pets. The more information you have, the better.

4. Run a credit, rental history, and background check

Once you receive a completed rental application, check it to ensure that the applicant meets all your requirements.

From there, you can run a credit check (with the applicant’s consent). This indicates how financially responsible the applicant is. The higher the credit score, the better. Don’t forget to look at past financial problems on the credit report as well. These could include past bankruptcies, debts, and late payments.

You can also check an applicant’s rental history to figure out how long they typically stay in one place and if they tend to hop around a lot.

A background check can also reveal a tenant’s criminal record and whether they’ve ever been in jail or convicted.

5. Speak with the applicant’s current employer and landlord

It’s also a good idea to speak with the applicant’s current employer and landlord. This is a great way to verify that the information on the application is correct and to get their opinion about the applicant.

When speaking with the landlord, ask whether they would rent to the tenant again, if the tenant ever paid rent late, if they took good care of the property, and if they have any complaints about the tenant overall.

When speaking with the employer, ask about the applicant’s work ethic, reliability, and whether they would recommend them as a tenant.

6. Interview the applicant

At this point, it’s time to meet the applicant. While an in-person interview is ideal, a phone interview also works. During the interview, verify the information provided on the application, discuss any discrepancies, and allow the applicant to ask questions.

Be careful not to ask questions that would violate fair housing laws, such as where they are from or how many children they have. Instead, ask why they are moving, when they would like to move in, how long they plan to stay, and any other relevant questions that can help you get a better sense of the applicant.

7. Review all applicants and make a decision

Now it’s time to make a decision. Choose a qualified applicant who meets all of your minimum requirements. If you have more than one eligible applicant, consider following a first-come, first-served policy.

Whatever you do, don’t settle for a bad tenant. Stick to your original requirements, and don’t be afraid to deny an applicant if they fail to meet your standards. Just make sure that if you deny an applicant, you follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) laws.

That’s it! By the time you finish the above screening process, you’re more likely to find the right tenant for your rental. It may take some patience, but it’s definitely worth it.

What to Do if You Get Hurt at Work

What to Do if You Get Hurt at Work

Every year, about 2.8% of the working population suffers an injury that requires medical care. Although this doesn’t seem significant, statistically speaking, a worker with a 40-year career is more than 75% likely to be injured at some point.

There are some industries that are significantly more (and less) dangerous, but on average, workers have a good chance of being injured eventually.

If you get hurt at work, your focus will probably be on getting better. In the meantime, you should take the following steps to ensure that you are taken care of properly and that you get back to normal as soon as possible.

Seek medical treatment

As soon as you get hurt, seek medical treatment. This is important because it’s the only way to make sure that your injuries are documented and assessed by a professional doctor. If you don’t seek medical attention right away, it can be harder to prove how serious your injuries were, and therefore, harder for your employer to compensate you for them later.

Get a doctor’s note stating that you were injured at work that outlines any necessary treatments. Ideally, this document should also include recommendations regarding what activities should be avoided until healing has occurred or is close enough to no longer be at risk of re-injury from those activities being resumed too soon (like lifting heavy objects).

Tell your supervisor or HR representative about the injury

If you get hurt at work, tell your supervisor or HR representative as soon as possible. They’ll help you figure out what to do next and make sure that you get compensated.

If there are any witnesses to the accident, ask them to write down what happened in case there’s any dispute about what occurred. This can help prove that it was an accident and that it happened when and how you are claiming.

Finally, if possible, take photos of the scene where the accident took place to show proof of how serious the situation is and why compensation should be given out accordingly.

File for workers’ compensation.

Once you’ve made your work aware of the accident, file for workers’ compensation. It doesn’t matter if you are full-time, part-time, insured, or a seasonal worker. Every employee is entitled to workers’ compensation.

You can file the claim yourself or use an attorney. Most states allow injured workers to file their own claims with their employers’ insurance companies as long as they have all relevant documentation on hand. If things are really complicated, or if multiple doctors, therapists, and other parties are involved, it could be beneficial to hire an attorney.

Keep detailed notes about your medical care for your employer

You should keep a detailed record of your medical care and progress. Write down your doctors’ names, what they said and did, and how long it took to get an appointment. Also include information about medications you’re taking and any side effects. If you have health insurance or an HMO plan, keep track of when payments were made for each visit or procedure. Keep these records in one place where they can be found by anyone who might need them.


Nobody ever wants to get hurt at work, and hopefully, it never happens to you. But if it does, it is important that you take these steps to ensure that you are taken care of in the best way possible.

5 Reasons to Get an Outdoor Kitchen

5 Reasons to Get an Outdoor Kitchen

Do you want to get an outdoor kitchen for your property? Buying an outdoor kitchen means increasing your seating capacity and saving money on energy expenses. But there are other benefits you can unlock by repurposing your back deck into a more useable space.

One source says that outdoor kitchens ranked as the top kitchen trend of 2022. And once you learn how an outdoor kitchen can help you, you’ll likely want one for your backyard space.

Continue reading for five reasons why you need an outdoor kitchen if you don’t already have one.

1. Make the Most of Your Exterior Space

One reason you should consider installing an outdoor kitchen is that it’ll allow you to make the most of your home’s exterior space. It’ll almost be like adding to your home’s usable square footage. Many homeowners seek to create outdoor living spaces to enjoy every nook and cranny of their properties. Getting an online kitchen will help.

2. Enjoy the Benefits of Being Outdoors

Spending time outdoors has many benefits, including physical and mental wellness, since you can enjoy nature, which can lower stress, cortisol levels, heart rates, and muscle tension. Fresh air will also clean your lungs, boost your energy, and improve your digestion. So, there’s something to be said about spending as much outdoors as possible. An outdoor kitchen will provide the perfect time to spend with family and friends.

3. Provide Opportunities for Socializing

Another reason you’ll want to get an outdoor kitchen is that it’ll allow you to bring together family, friends, and neighbors. Perhaps you’re the sort of person who likes to have company. Whether you have the space inside your kitchen or not, gathering on the back deck can make a get-together even more fun. You can seat your guests on the back deck and then cook the meal in the outdoor kitchen. An outdoor kitchen can come equipped with whatever you want, such as a sink with running water, cabinets, countertops, a grill, and whatever else you fancy having.

It wasn’t that long ago that people were forced to stay home and avoid large gatherings. Now that those mandates are over, why not enjoy time outside with people you know and care about? Besides, meeting outside means you won’t be cooped up in your indoor kitchen.

4. Boost Valuation of Your Home

Yet another reason to get an outdoor kitchen is that you’ll boost the valuation of your home by so doing. How many homeowners do you know who have invested in equipping their outdoor living spaces with outdoor kitchens? While more and more people are going this route, that doesn’t mean every home has one. You can differentiate your property, make it more desirable to homebuyers, and increase its valuation by installing an outdoor kitchen. Whether you plan to sell or stay put, your residence will be worth more.

5. Keep the Cooking Smells Outside

Even if you cook the most mouth-watering meals, you don’t want the scents to linger for hours or even days after the meals. But that’s what you might face if you cook inside your kitchen. It’s one thing if it’s the aroma of fresh bread or oatmeal-and-raisin cookies. But it’s another thing if it’s the aroma of a garlic-heavy meal. You can avoid this if you cook in your outdoor kitchen. You won’t have to worry about lingering aromas that you don’t care to keep smelling after eating.

These are just a handful of reasons why it makes sense to have an outdoor kitchen. If you finally get one for your property, you’ll likely discover more benefits of having an outdoor kitchen.