A Good Writer Is A WordPress Expert Too

For most businesses, hiring both a web content writer and a WordPress expert isn’t necessary. Since such a large portion of the web is now created using WordPress, most writers are WordPress experts too.

If you insist on a custom theme or need to match a blog to an existing website, contracting briefly with a freelance WordPress consultant might be a good idea. If you simply want a nice-looking site to serve your customers and potential customers, however, there’s probably no reason to incur the added expense.

Writers Often Have Wider Knowledge

In many cases, web content writers create and maintain many keyword-targeted sites of their own, and to keep costs down they often do this without WordPress services from outside companies. That means most competent writers can:

    • Research a topic and its related keyword phrases
    • Write error-free content that appeals to human readers as well as search engines
    • Format text in WordPress and other popular platforms
    • Add graphics, tables and other additions to spice up content as needed
    • Create promotional articles to attract visitor to a site.

Simply put, most of today’s content writers have skills once only available from website design companies and marketing professionals. That means it’s important to ask your freelance content writer about the array of services he or she can provide before you contract with any other professionals.

What It Takes To Be A WordPress Expert

There’s also something else you need to know: WordPress is incredibly easy to use.

WordPress is a content management system designed to be simple and straightforward so that anyone who can use a website can use it. With an uncomplicated text editor, obvious navigation and access from the web with no downloads required, it doesn’t take a genius to use it.

In fact, many of the WordPress consulting services for which companies spend hundreds or thousands are unnecessary. If your writer can’t figure out how to fix a problem or accomplish what you want, the software’s online forums and established tutorials provide all the details.

A relatively competent writer is likely to be experienced in editing page templates to make minor changes, adding plugins to provide additional functionality and changing themes to improve the cleanness and overall professionalism of the site. And because the system is so easy to use, even a writer with limited WordPress experience can soon come up to speed.

Choose A Writer Based On Extra Skills

Obviously, then, it makes sense to choose a web content writer based on more than just writing skill. If you’re a small business with limited resources, choosing the right writer can mean you won’t need to bother with a team of other talented-but-expensive professionals.

And what if a writer you really like isn’t a WordPress expert? That’s fine — as long as you understand that there’s probably a great writer out there who can handle both your WordPress services and your writing tasks with ease.

There’s nothing wrong with paying for a separate WordPress expert when it’s necessary, but you can save money, time and hassles when you work with a web content writer willing to provide services beyond the expected.

Best Belgian Waffle Maker Is A Great Value Too

There are many definitions of best, but in my mind, the best Belgian waffle maker is the one that performs its task well — and without hassles — but doesn’t cost much either.

Value, I believe, is an important characteristic of a great product.

And this definition means that the Oster Belgian waffle maker I keep in my kitchen is the best on the market — and I’ll tell you what I like about it.

Today, you can make much more than just waffles in your waffle iron, and I put my mine to the test as often as I can. I make falafel, grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate-chip stuffed croissants and more in mine. You can make hamburgers, hash browns and sunny-side up eggs — if you don’t mind the funny shape — in yours and get even more value for your money.

Even better, however, is how much better fresh-made waffles are than those store-bought frozen ones.

The Oster Waffle Maker Review

the best Belgian waffle maker I've found
the best Belgian waffle maker I’ve found

On a whim, I bought the Oster 3883 Belgian Wafflemaker — available from Amazon — without researching anything about it because it was the least expensive model available when I wanted to buy. You know what? It has turned out to be much better than I expected and has some useful features that make it better than many more expensive models.

The first thing I like is that you don’t have to flip the thing over as you do with some more expensive, stand-mounted models. The turning is supposed to promote even browning, but it’s a real hassle — and my waffles brown just fine with this model.

Also, this Oster unit has an adjustable temperature control. I leave mine around medium most of the time, but you can cook on a lower setting for fluffier foods and a higher setting for crispier ones.

This is a Belgian-style maker, meaning that you get a large round waffle — easily divided along the seams into two or four pieces — instead of a traditional model that makes small square waffles. But this unit is more versatile for other uses than those that make small, square ones.

The surface is nonstick, and if you treat it with oil as explained in the directions before the first use and spray a bit of cooking spray on it every few uses, you’ll never have a problem with sticking. Apparently, that’s a big problem with some models.

Handles stay relatively cool during use, so you can move the unit without risk. Of course, the hot plates are exposed when the unit is open for filling, so children and clumsy adults should be kept well away from any waffle maker when it’s in use.

It’s nice that you don’t have to wash the plates after use. Just wipe away residue from runny additions to your batter and you’re good to go next time. The outside is chrome and looks good enough to leave out on the counter, but I keep mine in a cupboard since it’s easy to move and I only use it a couple of times a month. (Waffles freeze well, so I make a big batch each time I have it out.)

There’s also a booklet enclosed with some useful recipes, including one for yeasty whole wheat waffles. Most of the time, however, I use Krusteaz brand mix available just about everywhere. It’s the best tasting I’ve found, and you can add additional vanilla, some cinnamon or even chocolate chips or blueberries.

Summing Up

I happened to stumble on the best Belgian waffle maker on the market and am enjoying using it for grilled cheese sandwiches and even toast and funny-shaped biscuits. But you don’t have to stumble around looking for the best choice. Choose the Oster 3883 Belgian Wafflemaker and go with a proven winner.

Whether you want waffles every night or just every now and then, this is a durable unit that will serve you well as often as you need it. But because it’s so affordable, you can afford to buy it now and keep it on a shelf for those special occasions when you want homemade waffles.

Click here to see the very affordable Amazon price for this Oster Belgian waffle maker, and buy one now. You’ll always have fresh waffles when you want them.

Hair Clipper Oil Alternatives: What Can I Use Instead?

That little vial of hair clipper oil that comes with new beard trimmers, clippers and other small corded and cordless cutters won’t last you very long. Even if it doesn’t leak out as mine usually does, you’ll soon use it all up.

So your clippers are rattling, the blades aren’t cutting well and you need to know what you can use instead. You have some choices. Stay with me here and I’ll take you on a little tour of what to try — and what not to.

What You Can Use

You need a lightweight oil that can withstand very high temperatures. If you think about it, those little blades must move very fast and very close to each other, creating heat. If you can’t find any real hair clipper oil, you can try vegetable oil or olive oil. Don’t use something fancy like extra virgin olive oil — which can’t withstand high heat — but the everyday stuff should be fine. If you can saute an onion in it, it should work great on your hair clippers.

You could also try a light penetrating oil intended for small machinery. It’s very similar to real hair clipper oil like the kind you can buy that’s made by respected trimmer manufacturers.

The instructions that come with hair clippers and beard trimmers usually tell you to apply a drop of oil to the blades when they’re running, but that can be tricky if you don’t have a dropper for your improvised oil. Instead, you can touch a small amount of oil from the tip of your finger to the bottom of the exposed cutting surface while the motor is OFF. Then remove your finger from harms way and turn the trimmer on. The oil should spread itself around just fine.

What You Shouldn’t Use

Heavier oils, greases and water displacers aren’t good substitutes for hair clipper oil. That means you should avoid motor oil and other dark, heavy oils intended for heavy machinery. Vaseline is out of the question too, as are various door hinge greases and other things that are intended to cling. They will gum up the works of your clippers and cause them to stop working.

Perhaps surprisingly, WD-40 and other penetrating lubricants don’t work well either. In addition to smelling terrible, they aren’t really oils. They’re water displacers and rust inhibitors that don’t do much to make your trimmer blades work smoothly, at least not for very long.

Don’t ruin perfectly good clippers by experimenting on them will lubes, greases and heavy oils that were never intended for such delicate cutting surfaces — or for contact with your skin.

A Good Approach

The best approach is to buy a supply of clipper blade oil before yours runs out. It’s available online from Amazon — although not at some local discount stores. You might expect to find it at Walmart or Target, but you won’t in most areas. It’s very inexpensive online and comes in quantities that will last for years.

If you run out of hair clipper oil, the light oils mentioned above will do in a pinch. But there’s nothing like having the right product for the right task.

One thing you don’t want to do is run your clippers without oil. They’ll rattle, cause damage to the blades and eventually seize up. Just as importantly, they won’t cut well. And a trimmer is useless if it won’t cut.

Is Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel Deodorant Discontinued? (With Update!)

If you have been a regular users of Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel deodorant, you may have noticed that it’s no longer available in stores near you. Is this deodorant discontinued? Can you still get it online? Here are the answers you need — or as close as I can come to them.

(Wait! Be sure to read the important update at the end of this article. It’s good news.)

In late 2012, Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel deodorant disappeared from the shelves at the Walmart stores near my home. I checked Target, Walgreens, CVS and even some grocery stores, but this product seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

Soon, I noticed that many stores were completely rearranging the way they display deodorant — and many antiperspirant and deodorant products were out of stock, leaving shelves a mess at almost every store I checked.

What could have happened? Was there a massive recall or some kind of production problem? An Internet search for news items didn’t turn up anything written recently about deodorants — except Unilever’s decision to decrease the size of their products and charge the same price. That probably accounts for the redesign of deodorant racks.

I sent an email to the customer service address found on the arrid.com website, where the product is supposedly still for sale. I also sent an email to the parent company’s media relations department telling them I would be writing about the issue. Neither got a response.

Arriving At An Answer

When the people with answers won’t return emails, there’s another way to gather information: from anecdotal evidence. I know that Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel isn’t available in North Texas. I’ve seen reports on Amazon product reviews and in Internet searches indicating that the product is no longer available in other cities.

I’ve even seen quantities and offering on Amazon dwindle. I can only reach one conclusion: Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel has been discontinued. (I’m opening comments on this page, so please offer your comments below if you can contradict this information.)

It’s frustrating when a product you have used for years is no longer available, but fortunately there are many other clear gels deodorants on the market. Most are more expensive, but they’re available in stores and online, so you’ll be able to find a suitable replacement. I’m starting with an Almay hypoallergenic product I found at Walmart for about the same price as the Arrid product.

Finding Remaining Supplies And Alternatives

Some websites are still offering the discontinued Arrid deodorant for sale online. In fact, the product is still for sale on arrid.com. Amazon apparently some supplies remaining. There’s no way to be certain you’ll actually get the product if you order it, however. If you try, remember to deal only with a reputable source like Amazon in case you need a refund.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find some. As time moves along, however, it will certainly become impossible to find.

There are a number of other clear gels on the market, and most have the same active ingredients as the Arrid product, so they should work similarly. It’s also important to note that most solids have the same ingredient as the gels, so they should work for you too. If you’re worried about staining, it’s the ingredient that causes the stains, and you probably already know that the gels cause yellow staining of cloth just as the solids do.

It’s also interesting how many articles I found during my research that promote homemade deodorants — or not using any at all. Maybe this is a good time to go a few days without any to see if you really need it.

Important Update

Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel Not Discontinued
Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel Not Discontinued

While Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel was unavailable for many months, it’s available online from Amazon now. While you still can’t find it in many chain discount or drugstores, this this six-pack available on Amazon is a good value. It promises an improved formula, and the product still works great. It also still doesn’t leave a white residue and lasts at least 24 hours on most people — making this a bargain at any price. Fortunately, it’s actually at quite a good price.

When you click the link, you’ll also see on the page similar offers on other scents and other quantities.

I’m very pleased to report that this product is available again if you don’t mind purchasing it online. Just click here to visit Amazon and see this special six-pack Arrid Extra Dry Clear Gel offer.