What Are The Top Art Schools?

Rankings are always tricky. Rating the top art schools depends on the criteria of the one or ones doing the judging and possibly whether or not they have some sort of connection or vested interest in placing certain schools where they place them. Cronyism aside and imagining a perfect world of total objectivity, a one-size-fits-all rating system would only work in a world where artists are determined ahead of time in a test tube and everyone is a homogenous clone. But then you have to wonder if art and creative expression would even really exist in such a utopian society.

So, back to the present day reality, a single specific answer to the question, "What are the top art schools?" generally does a disservice to the needs of the individual student. As with stereo components, it depends entirely on priority and application. The top school for music and performing arts will likely not be the top school for commercial and visual arts. Even within a single category, the "best" art school will still depend on the needs and priorities of the student.

There are a number of organizations and publications willing to give it a shot, though, and their conclusions can be easily found on the Internet. However, it is best to consider these ratings simply a starting point, as they can be quite misleading. Remember that higher education is funded primarily by the students who attend said facilities. No students, no school. No school, no over-paid faculty incapable of working in the real world. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?) And that, that certainly does not apply to all art school faculty members.

The first thing you need to determine is what you plan to do with an art education. There are many and varied career choices. The art career or occupation you want will be one of the most important deciding factors in your own personal ranking system.

For instance, if you're already working in the art field of your choice (or close to it) and all you need is a piece of paper, then you can probably get what you need from a local community college or state university. Depending on the state, that may be a less expensive way to get that piece of paper than going to a dedicated art school.

If, on the other hand, you're gunning for a particular possibly prestigious position in a well-known art gallery, it would serve you well to work backwards. Find out what they consider the top art schools and which of those they most often hire graduates from. In other words, which art school degree will get your resume to the top of the stack?

Your choice may also come down to economics. What can you afford; what kind of financial aid is available; and what are you chances of a reasonable pay off?

In the end, you are the judge. You will have to determine what the top art schools are for you and make the best choice for you. After all, individuality is the very pulse of art.

Video Marketing For Traffic – Branding Your Videos, Your Business and Yourself

Ever heard of YouTube? Yeah, I thought so! Nearby, in January 2008 79 million users made over 3 billion video views (That's over 100 million views per day!) How would you like a slice of that kind of audience?

Video really has become popular on the web recently and it's easy to see why. It's unparallel by any other medium in terms of getting your message across. The problem with video online is that it has always been expensive to produce and host, requiring specialist equipment, expensive software, and massive bandwidth. Not any more because, since you can produce a screen capture video at zero cost (using Camstudio or similar software), and not only host it for free on YouTube, but also use it as a source of traffic!

You can not embed links in video on YouTube. What you can do however is put a link in the video description, create a profile or 'channel' with a link to your site, and brand your video with your domain.

Publishing and branding your videos

To get started, head over to YouTube.com and sign up for a free account. Your channel is automatically created for you based on your username (ie [http://www.youtube.com/username]) and once created you can customize it.

On your channel select 'Personal Profile' and there is a space to add your website URL. While you're there, fill out the rest of the profile too and upload a photo. Remember, YouTube is a social media site so you want to brand yourself, not just your business or products!

When you come to upload a video, use SEO practices. Remember that people will find your videos by searching, just like on Google, so use relevant keywords for your title, tags, and in your description. Also, your description can include a link to your site so long as you remember to include the http: // part! If you use a full URL the link will appear on the video page without the user having to click the 'more info' button!

While links in the description and on your profile are great, it's your video that people's attention will be on so get the URL in there! Start and end the video on a 'splash screen' with the video title and your domain clearly visible. You can also, depending on the nature and content of the video, use an overlay which shows your branding through the video!

While YouTube is far and away the king of online video, it's by no means the only site you can publish to. MetaCafe, HowCast and Blip.tv are just a few of the sites I use, but uploading to each of them takes time and effort. Do not worry though, help is at hand with a tool called TubeMogul.com

TubeMogul allows you to upload to all of these sites and more in one go, and even tracks all your views for you in one easy to use control panel. I recommend uploading to YouTube manually (so you get more control and can set the description etc. specifically for YouTube) and then use TubeMogul to upload to any other sites relevant to your niche. You can still use TubeMogul to track your YouTube views though!

Video on your own site

If you're creating video for a membership site, or a product then you will have to host it yourself to keep it private and secure. However, any videos that you're giving away are free to your visitors can also be hosted on YouTube. Just upload as normal, head to the video page and on the right hand side you'll see a box called EMBED with some HTML code (starts with

Affiliate Commissions

Affiliate marketers participating in affiliate programs earn their keep through transactions. Commissions vary from program to program depending on the salability of the product. Some programs give as much as 45% to their affiliates while some affiliate programs give a mere 10%. So small compared to the effort an affiliate marketer puts into his task just to generate a sale.

So what do you do to increase your commission earnings? Do not join affiliate programs which commission rates are only 10%. Investigate the type of products or services that the affiliate programs are promoting to find out if the commission rate of 10% is justified. Beside, an affiliate marketer getting only a 10% commission rate needs to have an extremely large customer base to be able to earn a reasonable amount of money.

Consider this scenario: Suppose you were selling a product that costs about $ 100. To be able to earn enough money from this product you will need at least about 250 visitors to your website. If 60 customers out of the 3,000 visitors bought a product from the website that would give you a commission of $ 6000 a year.

Compare it with this scenario: You are selling a product that gives you $ 1 commission per affiliate program. You would need to sell at least 500 items per month to be able to earn a $ 6000 commission a year! A sales ratio of 2% would mean that your website would have to generate 300,000 visitors a year or 25,000 visitors a month.

Based on the two scenarios, I believe it would be more practical to sell a product of high value. As difficult as it is to attract visitors to a website, it is more difficult to make a sale. Selling a product of higher value would mean generating less traffic to the website but would still earn the affiliate marketer a reasonable amount of money.

And ask yourself this; is the product manufacturer serious with his affiliate marketing program? A manufacturer who is serious in promoting his products would not give a meager 10% commission to his marketing affiliates. You see, to be able to attract effective marketing affiliates the manufacturer would have to use generous commission as bait. So if a marketing program offers you a 10% commission, think about it overnight. You might find out that the effort you placed into selling the product can not be compensated with a 10% commission.

I know of an affiliate program that pays 45% commission to their top affiliate marketers. Second tier affiliate marketers of their program are given 10% commission. The affiliate program is giving away a generous 55% to their affiliate marketers and only keeps 45%! In my opinion, this is a smart marketing strategy. By paying high commissions to their affiliates, they are actually appealing more affiliates to their program. This means that the products they are promoting are moving at a higher volume. This means higher earnings for the manufacturer with no extra effort since the affiliates of his marketing program are doing all the work. This is like dangling a carrot in front of a donkey in order to make the donkey move! In order to make higher volume sales, a generous commission must be dangled in front of affiliate marketers!

Cooking – Liver

All liver is a great source of iron and B vitamins and should be a regular part of a healthy diet and if cooked correctly liver can be delicious. Although liver does have bad press and many people will not even consider trying it. Sometimes it calls for the cook to be somewhat inventive to get people to try liver. There are many recipes to choose from and it is worth the experimentation.

The best liver is the liver from young animals as it is mildest and tenderest. Calf’s liver is delicate and delicious but fairly expensive. Real calf’s liver is paler in color than the redder more mature baby beef liver. For a mild flavored liver choose the palest that you can find. The darker the color the stronger the flavor.

Take care when choosing liver as sometimes baby beef liver is labeled calf’s liver in the supermarket or grocery store. To ensure purchasing true calf’s liver buy from a butchers or a reputable gourmet supermarket.

Baby beef liver is stronger in flavor than calf’s liver but is very good and preferable to actual beef liver. Liver from beef is dark red and the color corresponds to the strength of flavor. Beef liver is readily available but many believe it is too strong for simple preparations.

Some cooks after buying beef liver soak it in milk or a flavorful spicy marinade such as a white wine marinade before cooking to soften the intense flavor. After marinating throw the liquid away and pat the liver dry before cooking.

A lovely tender well-flavored liver is lamb liver but this is generally quite difficult to find.

Also hard to find is pigs liver, which is strong in, taste but extremely tender. Again for pig’s liver it can be soaked or marinated like the beef liver.

When choosing liver it should be impeccably fresh with no slimy or dry patches and should have a clear scent.

Should you find yourself preparing a whole liver first wipe it with a damp cloth, then with a sharp knife remove any exposed veins, ducts or connective tissue. With your fingers peel away the thin outer membrane without tearing into the liver itself. You then just slice on the diagonal to the desired thickness your recipe calls for.

Of course presliced liver can be purchased and is actually more commonly available than whole livers. If the butcher has not done so remove the outer membrane on the slices.

Before cooking make 1/8th inch cuts at 1-inch intervals around the outside of the liver slice. The reason for this is because liver has a tendency to shrink and curl when it is cooked and these cuts will help to prevent that from happening.

The liver is now ready for cooking. Liver should be cooked until it is pink but firm in the center. If liver is overcooked or cooked on excessively high heat it will toughen.

Liver is a lot richer in flavor than many other types of meat so a 4-ounce serving should be ample as a main course for most appetites.