New Mexico’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2021

While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, we didn’t want to let that stop us from celebrating the amazing small businesses of New Mexico!

Best known for UFO sightings, the world’s first atomic bomb detonation and green chile, New Mexico is a wonderful state to live in and visit. Home to Carlsbad Caverns, more than 500 dinosaur footprints that date back 100 million years and seven national forests, the “Land of Enchantment” is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make New Mexico such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of New Mexico, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2021. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2021 award winners in New Mexico.

To calculate our 2021 winners, we’ve looked at each business’s Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites and the business’s average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of New Mexico and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 667 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 95.38 and average star rating of 4.85. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 68.86 Rating Score and a 4.20 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in New Mexico that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in New Mexico for 2021 — Terry Gomez DDS PC. A dental clinic that cares for patients like family, Terry Gomez DDS PC has become Albuquerque’s premier source for dental care. Terry Gomez DDS PC has received 441 reviews across 5 verified review sites with an average star rating of 5.00, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of New Mexico for 2021. This is the second year in a row Terry Gomez DDS PC has been a Top Rated Local award winner in New Mexico!

Congratulations to all of our award winners in New Mexico for 2021. We commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.

Reach Your Fitness Goals With Alabama’s Top 5 Fitness Centers

Unsurprisingly, losing weight and getting fit are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions each and every year. That’s why, come January, droves of people head into local fitness centers across the country.

The fitness center you choose and the professionals you work with can have a direct impact on how motivated you feel to work out and how consistently you stick with it. It’s important to choose the right one!

If you’re in Alabama, you’re in luck, because we’ve just announced the Top Rated Local® award winners for 2021. Keep reading about the highest-rated fitness centers to help you reach your New Year’s resolution this year.

Alabama’s top 5 fitness centers in 2021

#1. BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery

BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery serves Montgomery, offering personal training and a focus on helping clients reach their goals by balancing exercise and nutrition.

BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery has received 57 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.85 stars. Overall, BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery has earned a Rating Score™ of 98.47 and the honor of being the number one award winner for fitness centers in Alabama.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for fitness centers in Alabama, BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the entire state!

Learn more about BodyTrac Health & Fitness Montgomery!

#2. Shaping U Fitness

Shaping U Fitness serves Pelham and offers personal training, boot camps, group fitness and boxing, and is dedicated to helping its members get results.

Shaping U Fitness has received 227 reviews across 7 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.78 stars. Overall, Shaping U Fitness has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.80 and the honor of being the number two award winner for fitness centers in Alabama.

Shaping U Fitness is a second-time Top Rated Local award winner for fitness centers in Alabama, and in 2020, they also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about Shaping U Fitness!

#3. Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown

Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown serves Birmingham and offers everything from daily workouts and personal accountability coaches to meal plans.

Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown has received 118 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.77 stars. Overall, Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.69 and the honor of being the number three award winner for fitness centers in Alabama.

This is the third year in a row Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown has won a Top Rated Local award for fitness centers in Alabama, and in 2019, they were also ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state.

Learn more about Iron Tribe Fitness Downtown!

#4. Metro Fitness

Metro Fitness serves Montgomery and offers personal training, group fitness classes, a full gym including a running track and spa services.

Metro Fitness has received 142 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.72 stars. Overall, Metro Fitness has earned a Rating Score™ of 97.17 and the honor of being the number four award winner for fitness centers in Alabama.

This is the first year Metro Fitness has won a Top Rated Local award for fitness centers in Alabama.

Learn more about Metro Fitness!

#5. Pure Barre

Pure Barre serves Birmingham and offers Barre classes with modifications to fit every body type and every schedule.

Pure Barre has received 323 reviews across 4 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.90 stars. Overall, Pure Barre has earned a Rating Score™ of 96.99 and the honor of being the number five award winner for fitness centers in Alabama.

This is the first year Pure Barre has won a Top Rated Local award for fitness centers in Alabama.

Learn more about Pure Barre!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning fitness centers in Alabama for 2021! These fitness centers truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winner in Alabama for 2021.

If you’re looking to make 2021 the year you reach your fitness goals, it’s time to find a great gym, personal trainer or fitness center near you.

With Top Rated Local, you can read fitness center reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare gyms and trainers side by side, get a snapshot of a fitness center’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find a fitness center near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for fitness centers in Alabama in 2022? Create a free account.

How to Get the Lighting Right in Your Home Office

The COVID pandemic has changed how we operate in many, many different ways, including where we work. Today, there are more people (4.3 million in the US!) working at least half the time, from home than ever before.

With the rise in the remote workforce, there’s been a scramble to cobble together a place in our homes where we can focus and get the job done.

Lighting is a critical aspect of interior design. It can set the mood in a room like nothing else, and it can completely change how you feel when you’re in it. And, believe it or not, lighting can even impact how productive you are, making it even more important when it comes to your home office.

Lighting design in your home office can have a direct impact on how well you can focus, how awake you feel while working and how much you get done in a day. It can even help to reduce eye strain! Keep reading to learn how to get it right.

Your guide to better home-office lighting

The key to home-office lighting is layering

There are a number of different things that happen in your home office every day. At any given time, you might be working on your computer, reading a physical book or magazine, participating in a video conference or meeting, writing or drawing by hand and any number of other things.

Not every kind of lighting is ideal for every task. And since there are so many different tasks that take place in your average home office, layered lighting is often the ideal choice, because it allows for different lighting options for different tasks.

Start by choosing an overhead light to evenly illuminate the whole of your office, ideally with a dimmer. Then, supplement the main light with additional task lights as needed.

Use a dimmer

The many different activities that take place in your office require different types of lighting. And, while task lighting can help to meet the lighting needs of different tasks, having an adjustable overhead light can also make a huge difference.

Installing a dimmer for your overhead light will give you the ability to adjust the brightness in your home office based on the task you’re working on. This will also help to ensure that you have the ideal lighting option at different times throughout the day when the natural light might be brighter or dimmer.

Take advantage of natural light

If you’re looking to improve the ambiance in virtually any room, natural light can be a powerful tool. Letting more natural light into your office can also help you stay more focused and productive throughout the day, and improve your mood.

The best part of natural lighting, though, has to be how good it can make you look on Zoom calls. It’s the cheapest, most effective way to get video conferencing lighting right.

The one downside to using natural light is that you have no control over the position of the sun, and at certain times of the day, the glare can be blinding. Suffice it to say, that will do nothing for your productivity level!

Invest in some translucent blinds for your home-office windows. This will allow you to enjoy natural sunlight without being blinded by a glare (or blinding everyone in your Zoom call).

Get the placement right of your lights

Believe it or not, the placement of the lights in your home office is just as important as lights themselves. A poorly placed light can create shadows, blocking the light from whatever you’re working on.

Desk lamps, for instance, make great task lights, but if you put them in the wrong place, you won’t get the illumination you need.

Whether you’re writing something by hand or using a mouse, place your task light on the other side of your working hand to avoid shadows. Elevating the task light will give you even better results.

Perfect the lighting on video calls

Video calls are the new normal for remote employees. The business that used to be conducted in person or over the phone has now, by and large, moved to Zoom and Google Hangouts, among other video conferencing software.

Of course, we all want to look our best when we’re video conferencing with our bosses, and apart from making sure you’re dressed and presentable from the waist up, the lighting in your home office plays a huge role in how you look.

As I mentioned previously, natural light, preferably from a source behind your monitor/camera, is probably the best video call lighting you can ask for, especially if you want to avoid having to spend a lot of money, but natural light isn’t always on your side.

For the best artificial lighting set-up for Zoom calls, you want three fixtures located behind and above you, pointing down at you, and use LED light bulbs for the best video quality. Alternatively, a ring light is an easy solution that works well.

Combat eye-strain with corrective lights

When you work at a computer all day, it can lead to painful eye strain and migraines. But, luckily, there are ways you can avoid them with the simple use of corrective lighting.

By placing corrective lights behind the screen setup or monitor, you can help to dull the bright glare from the screen.

One other thing you can do to combat eye-strain in your home office is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to focus your eyes on something outside that’s at least 20 feet away.


Lighting is important for so many reasons, but it’s not the only critical piece of an effective home office where you can focus and get the job done. And if you need help designing the ultimate office space, turn to a professional, local interior designer. Top Rated Local® can help you find the right one!

With Top Rated Local, you can read compare the top 10 interior designers near you side by side, get a snapshot of their online reputation overall, read interior designer reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and Angie’s List, and see how interior designers stack up based on the five pillars of excellence — quality, value, timeliness, experience and satisfaction.

Find a Top Rated Local interior designer to help you get your home office right today!

Alabama’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2021

While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, we didn’t want to let that stop us from celebrating the amazing small businesses of Alabama!

Best known for being the “Heart of Dixie,” southern hospitality and for being the peanut capital of the world, Alabama is a wonderful state to live in and visit. Home to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Harper Lee and the Talladega National Forest, the Yellowhammer State is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make Alabama such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of Alabama, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2021. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2021 award winners in Alabama.

To calculate our 2021 winners, we’ve looked at each business’s Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites and the business’s average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of Alabama and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 392 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 96.29 and average star rating of 4.86. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 68.86 Rating Score and a 4.20 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in Alabama that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in Alabama for 2021 — Skydive The Gulf. With the best tandem instructors in the industry, Skydive The Gulf has become Elberta’s premier source for skydiving. Skydive The Gulf has received 575 reviews across 6 verified review sites with an average star rating of 5.00, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of Alabama for 2021. This is the third year in a row Skydive The Gulf has been a Top Rated Local award winner in Alabama!

Congratulations to all of our award winners in Alabama for 2021. We commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.

Feel Your Best With Virginia’s Top 5 Beauty Salons and Spas

This past year has been anything but easy. We’ve faced a pandemic, murder hornets, an economic recession, mass protests, riots and more. Suffice it to say, a little “me time” is in order.

If you’re looking for a little pampering, there’s no better place to turn than to a Top Rated Local® beauty salon and spa near you. And luckily for the good people of Virginia, we’ve recently announced our winners for 2021!

Virginia’s top 5 beauty salons and spas in 2021

#1. Brush Strokes Salon

Brush Strokes Salon serves Herndon and offers a retreat to its customers, where they can come and relax, rejuvenate and refresh, and serves everyone — men, women and children.

Brush Strokes Salon has received 911 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.98 stars. Overall, Brush Strokes Salon has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.83 and the honor of being the number one award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia.

In addition to being the 2021 Top Rated Local number one award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia, Brush Strokes Salon has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the entire state!

Learn more about Brush Strokes Salon!

#2. Andrew Taylors Hair Design

Andrew Taylors Hair Design serves Fairfax and offers a variety of salon services in an environment that’s friendly, comfortable and relaxing.

Andrew Taylors Hair Design has received 636 reviews across 7 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.98 stars. Overall, Andrew Taylors Hair Design has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.82 and the honor of being the number two award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia.

In addition to winning a 2021 Top Rated Local award for beauty salons and spas in Virginia, Andrew Taylors Hair Design has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the entire state!

Learn more about Andrew Taylors Hair Design!

#3. Alexandre De Paris

Alexandre De Paris serves Fairfax and offers everything from haircutting and design to massage, nail services and body treatments.

Alexandre De Paris has received 4,421 reviews across 6 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.97 stars. Overall, Alexandre De Paris has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.67 and the honor of being the number three award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia.

This is the second time Alexandre De Paris has won a Top Rated Local award for beauty salons and spas in Virginia, and they’ve also won an award for ranking among the top 100 businesses in the state for 2021.

Learn more about Alexandre De Paris!

#4. Modern Concept Salon

Modern Concept Salon serves Ashburn with a focus on personal service in an environment that is both trendy and intimate.

Modern Concept Salon has received 1,946 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.96 stars. Overall, Modern Concept Salon has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.59 and the honor of being the number four award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia.

In addition to winning a 2021 Top Rated Local award for beauty salons and spas in Virginia, Modern Concept Salon has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state!

Learn more about Modern Concept Salon!

#5. Positive Image

Positive Image serves Springfield and offers upscale hair, nail and waxing services in a professional, friendly environment.

Positive Image has received 1,921 reviews across 5 different verified review sites with an average rating of 4.95 stars. Overall, Positive Image has earned a Rating Score™ of 99.53 and the honor of being the number five award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia.

In addition to winning a 2021 Top Rated Local award for beauty salons and spas in Virginia, Positive Image has also won an award for being ranked among the top 100 businesses in the state!

Learn more about Positive Image!


Congratulations to all of the Top Rated Local award-winning beauty salons and spas in Virginia for 2021! These beauty salons and spas truly are the best of the best, and we salute their dedication to excellence in everything they do.

Learn about the other Top Rated Local award winner in Virginia for 2021.

2020 was quite the year, and now that it’s finally over, we could all use a little rest and relaxation. If you’re looking to start the year on the right foot, looking and feeling your best, look for a beauty salon and/or spa near you today.

With Top Rated Local, you can read salon and spa reviews from across the web, including Google, Yelp and beyond, compare salons and spas side by side, get a snapshot of a salon or spa’s online reputation as a whole and more. It’s the ultimate way to find a local business you can trust.

Find a beauty salon and spa near you today!

Want to have a chance to become a Top Rated Local award winner for beauty salons and spas in Virginia in 2022? Create a free account.

Common DIY Plumbing Mistakes

When you need plumbing repairs or maintenance, or you’re looking to do a replacement or renovation, doing it on your own can be a great way to save money. But, that’s only if everything goes as planned, and if you’ve ever done DIY projects around the house, you’ll know that rarely happens.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to make simple mistakes that can end up costing more to fix than if you had hired a plumber in the first place. Here are a few of the most common mistakes homeowners make when tackling their own plumbing projects.

8 common DIY plumbing mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1. Forgetting to turn off the water

Before doing almost any plumbing repair, maintenance or replacement, you want to turn the water off to the sink or fixture you’re working on. If you don’t, you could end up with a flood on your hands.

In addition to making sure that you turn off the water to the fixture in question, it’s also a good idea to know where the main water shut off valve to your home is. If you have water rushing into your home, it’s imperative that you know where and how to turn it off as quickly as possible.

Mistake #2. Using chemical drain cleaner

When you have a slow-moving drain (or a drain that’s completely clogged), it’s tempting to reach for the drain cleaner for a quick fix to the problem. But, the reality is that this is the absolute last thing you should do when you need to clean a drain.

Chemical drain cleaners can actually do a lot of damage to your pipes, especially if you rely on them too often. You’re much better off with a natural drain cleaner, like a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, or a drain snake.

Mistake #3. Tightening connections too much

The tighter the connection between two pipes, the less likely they are to leak, right? Wrong. In fact, the opposite is true.

When you tighten connections too much, you run the risk of doing damage, like cracking fittings, stripping threads, breaking washers, damaging fittings and more. All of this damage can end up causing leaks.

When tightening connections, do so carefully and properly, and stop when the connection is secure.

Mistake #4. Failing to plan

Too often, DIYers go into plumbing projects with the belief that common sense will be enough to get the job done. But, the reality is that plumbing takes training and know-how, and when you’re tackling plumbing projects on your own, you need to have a plan.

Long before you start actually trying to do the project, take some time to do research about the steps you’ll need to take to get it done, as well as about possible problems that may arise and how to solve them when they do.

Mistake #5. Not getting necessary permits

When homeowners want to upgrade things in their homes, they often choose to handle the renovations on their own, particularly if they are minor renovations, in order to save money. However, having the right skills and equipment is a good start, but many homeowners skip the necessary permits.

Building codes and permits are designed to keep everyone living in your home safe, and unpermitted work can lead to problems that could go unnoticed for years. Having unpermitted plumbing work could cause difficulties down the road when you sell your home or need to renew your insurance.

Mistake #6. Connecting the wrong pipes

Even if a homeowner knows a thing or two about plumbing, what many don’t know is that, when you connect mismatched pipes, an extra step needs to be taken. When connecting copper pipes with galvanized steel pipes, you need to utilize a specific fitting, called a “dielectric union.”

If you fail to use a dielectric union when connecting copper and galvanized steel pipes, leaks can, and will, start forming over time. When this happens, the pipes will have to be disconnected and then re-connected properly with a dielectric union.

Mistake #7. Not having the right tools

With any job, having the right tools on hand will give you your best chance at a successful outcome. And, when tackling plumbing projects, you’re going to need very specific plumbing tools in order to get the job done properly.

A few tools you’ll need to have on hand for plumbing projects include a plumber’s wrench, a basin wrench and a hand auger. But, do some research before starting the project you’re working on so you can get the right tools for the job.

Mistake #8. Refusing to admit defeat

DIY plumbing projects can, and do, go wrong all the time, and unfortunately, simple mistakes can leave you with even bigger problems than you were dealing with in the first place. Knowing when to throw in the towel and call a professional is a key part of preventing DIY repairs from becoming bigger plumbing problems.

When you’re getting ready to take on a plumbing project on your own, it’s always a good idea to know who you’ll call in the event of an emergency, or if you need additional help. Having a plumber on hand will prevent you from having to research one in the midst of chaos.


Having a plan, making sure you have the right tools and equipment, getting the proper permits and turning off the water are all helpful at preventing these and many other plumbing mistakes, but the only way to avoid them altogether is by hiring a professional plumber to handle the job.

The best place to find the right local plumber in your area is with Top Rated Local®, your go-to local business directory. From one place, you can compare plumbers near you side by side, read plumber reviews from across the web, get a snapshot of a plumber’s overall online reputation and more.

Find a Top Rated Local plumber near you today!

Virginia’s Top Rated Local® Businesses: 2021

While there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, we didn’t want to let that stop us from celebrating the amazing small businesses of Virginia!

Best known for being the first permanent English settlement in America, Virginia is a wonderful state to live in and visit. Home to eight US presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Mother of Presidents is also home to a number of truly incredible local businesses — from acupuncturists to window cleaners — that work to serve their communities and make the world a better place.

Top Rated Local® is here to recognize the many local businesses that work to make Virginia such a phenomenal place to live and visit. There are so many amazing businesses that serve the people of Virginia, but only the best of the best have made it on our list of Top Rated Local award winners for 2021. Today, we’re ecstatic to announce our 2021 award winners in Virginia.

To calculate our 2021 winners, we’ve looked at each business’s Rating Score™, which is determined by the total number of verified review sites the business is listed on, the total number of ratings/reviews the business has on those review sites and the business’s average overall star rating. The more review sites a business is listed on, the more reviews or ratings a business has and the higher the average star rating, the higher the Rating Score will be, with the highest being 100.00.

There are a large number of businesses that work hard to serve the people of Virginia and provide them with everything they need to thrive, and this year, we’ve identified 407 total businesses that have made the cut. These one-of-a-kind, local businesses have clearly made an impact on the customers and clients they serve each and every day, as evidenced by their impressive average Rating Score of 97.84 and average star rating of 4.91. For comparison, businesses across Top Rated Local average a 68.86 Rating Score and a 4.20 star rating. These businesses are truly the best of the best.

There are so many stand-out businesses in Virginia that deserve to be recognized for their success, but we’re especially excited to give a shoutout to the number one award-winner in Virginia for 2021 — Roof.net. With a dedication to providing dependable, honest and professional service, Roof.net has become Bozeman’s premier source for roofing services. Roof.net has received 3,061 reviews across 6 verified review sites with an average star rating of 5.00, which has earned it a phenomenal Rating Score of 100.00 and the bragging rights of being the number one Top Rated Local business in all of Virginia for 2021. This is the third year in a row Roof.net has been a Top Rated Local award winner in Virginia.

Congratulations to all of our award winners in Virginia for 2021. We commend you for the outstanding service and support you provide for your community day in and day out.

How to Say Goodbye to Back Pain

Have you been struggling with back pain? Don’t let back pain stop you in your tracks in 2021. Learn how to prevent and relieve back pain with these tips.

10 tips to help you say goodbye to back pain

#1. Watch your weight

The more weight you’re carrying — particularly around the middle — the more strain it puts on your lower back and the more it shifts your center of gravity. You can help to prevent and relieve back pain by ensuring that you stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight (which is calculated based on gender, height and age).

Diet plays an especially large role in weight, and there are lots of small changes you can make in your diet that can lead to real results. These include drinking more water and less soda and alcohol, reducing sugar intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, etc.

#2. Exercise more

Speaking of weight loss, exercise can help you reach your goals and stay motivated enough to commit to a healthy diet and lifestyle. Best of all, exercising more will also help you to avoid back pain.

Exercise helps back pain by helping you to drop additional pounds, but it also builds muscles that can help to support and take some pressure off of your spine.

Yoga has proven to be an especially effective exercise for relieving and preventing back pain, as it helps to reduce stiffness, loosen the spine and build back muscles.

#3. Move around frequently

Whether you’re sitting or standing, being in the same static position for too long is going to be hard on your body. Sitting for too long can put additional pressure on your spinal discs, and standing for too long, especially if your posture isn’t good, can lead to misalignment and puts stress on the spine.

Whatever position you’re in, make sure that you don’t stay in it for too long. If you have a desk job, take a few minutes to walk around and stretch every so often. If you stand for long periods of time in one place, stretch or walk in place periodically throughout the day.

#4. Quit smoking

Most people are well aware of the fact that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer and can cause a range of other health problems. But, did you know that smokers are actually more prone to back pain?

That’s because smoking restricts blood flow to the spinal discs, preventing them from getting the nutrients they need and eventually causing them to break down. Smoking also leads to inflammation, making back pain worse.

#5. Prioritize sleep

When you’re in pain, it can be difficult to get to sleep at night. And, when you don’t get enough sleep, it exacerbates the pain you’re feeling. It’s a vicious cycle, and if you’re stuck in it, it’s important to take steps to get a better night’s sleep.

Keeping a sleep schedule, reducing your caffeine intake, avoiding screen time before bed and exercising more during the day are all things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene.

#6. Find a better sleep position

Sometimes, the position you’re sleeping in is actually the cause of your back pain (or it at least isn’t doing you any favors). And, making adjustments to how you’re sleeping can go a long way to relieving that pain.

Protect your spine by sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up to your chest, or on your back with a pillow under your lower back and knees. Sleeping on your stomach is probably the worst position for back pain, but if it’s your premier sleep position, putting a pillow under your hips could help.

#7. Avoid wearing heels

When you want a little extra style in your step, nothing gets the job done like a great pair of high heels. However, if you have back pain, you’re better off finding another way to express your sassy side.

When you wear high heels, it shifts your center of gravity, putting additional strain on your lower back. If you must wear them, though, stick with heels that are an inch or shorter, or bring a pair of low-heeled shoes with you to change into later.

#8. Lift properly

You may not be lifting heavy weights at the gym, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t lifting heavy things throughout the day. Whether you’re picking up your kid, unloading the groceries or lifting your tool box, it’s important that you do so properly.

When you lift something heavy, start by bending your knees and squatting. Hold the item close to your body, lift up using your leg muscles and support your body using your abdominal muscles. Never twist as you lift, and opt to push heavy objects rather than to pull them.

#9. Practice good posture

When you sit for prolonged periods of time throughout the day, it’s key that you get up every so often to stretch, walk and otherwise move around. However, you can also help protect your back while sitting by making sure that you’re practicing good posture.

Choose a chair that has a straight back or one that provides you with lower back support. Sit with your knees slightly higher than your hips; use a stool if necessary. Support your back by engaging your abdominal muscles while seated, and keep your head and back straight.

#10. Stop sitting on your wallet

While an overstuffed wallet might be a happy wallet, if you want to avoid back pain, you should also avoid sitting on an overstuffed wallet, especially for long periods of time.

Believe it or not, sitting on a fat wallet for extended time periods can wreak havoc on your spine as well as your posture. Instead, consider carrying your wallet in a bag, or sitting it next to you for long drives and other extended periods of sitting.


Whether it’s caused by sitting on a too-fat wallet, wearing high heels or carrying a heavy bag around with you, there are a lot of things that can cause spinal misalignment and lead to back pain. Luckily, your local chiropractor can help you combat it effectively.

With Top Rated Local®, you can compare chiropractors in your area side by side, get a snapshot of their reputation overall and read chiropractor reviews from across the web.

Find a chiropractor near you with Top Rated Local today.

A Beginner’s Guide to SEO for Local Businesses

These days, it’s not enough just to have a website; you need to make sure that your website gets found!

Ensure that your local business gets found

Having a website is a must for any local business in this day and age. People search for just about everything you can think of online, and that’s not a trend that will die down any time soon.

However, simply having a website is only the first step toward success; you also need to make sure that your website will be found. It could even be argued that, if your website isn’t among the top search results for relevant keywords, it might as well not even exist.

According to searchenginepeople, around 75% of clicks go to the first page of results in organic searches, with 33% going to the first position, 15% going to the second position and 9% going to the third position.

SEO is a vital part of reputation management.

If you’ve read many of our Top Rated Local® blogs, then we don’t need to tell you how important your business’s online reputation is to your success, and you may be wondering where SEO (search engine optimization) ties into it. The truth is that SEO and reputation management go hand in hand, and you can’t really have one without the other.

Did you know that customer reviews can actually help you rank higher in the SERP (search engine results pages)? Did you know that claiming and optimizing your listings can help to improve your rankings as well? Did you know that, while you can’t always control what other people say about your business online, you can work to ensure that the top search results for your business name are your website and social media pages instead of negative press?

Start taking control of your business’s online reputation by implementing a local SEO strategy.

5 beginner SEO tips for local businesses

#1. Get started with Google My Business.

The first and most important thing a local business can do from an SEO standpoint is to create their listing on Google My Business, and then to optimize it.

Your Google My Business listing is what ensures that your business ranks in the maps result for local, “near-me” searches.

This is incredibly important for any local business, but especially for those that have brick and mortar locations where clients or customers can visit you, like flower shops, restaurants, jewelry stores, etc.

Your business’s listing on Google will often be the first thing prospective customers see when they come across your business online, so in addition to creating a listing on Google My Business, you also need to optimize your listing.

Optimizing your Google My Business page means adding photos, posting about upcoming events and promotions, updating your business information, gathering reviews and making your page as complete and as active as possible.

What if there’s already a Google My Business listing for your business? Don’t worry; this sometimes happens. And as long as you have the authorization to manage the listing, you can request that the ownership be transferred through Google.

#2. Create and/or claim listings on local directories and review sites

The more websites your business is listed on, the more exposure your website — and your business — will get. Plus, when your contact information is listed accurately and consistently across many different websites, it ensures that your customers are able to get ahold of you when they need to, and it will help to improve your website’s standing in the rankings.

When you go to create a listing on sites, like Top Rated Local, you may find that a profile or listing already exists. If that’s the case, it’s advisable to claim the listing as your own. This will allow you to update the contact information, respond to any reviews you get on the platform and, on some websites, to write a few words about who you are and what you do.

Consistency across listings will also help to build trust with prospective clients, and it makes it easier to get reviews from your clients because they’ll have a higher chance of already having a profile set up on a site you’re listed on.

Does the idea of updating listings across a plethora of directories and review sites seem daunting? Luckily, there are plenty of citation building services out there that can simplify the process for you, like Marketing 360®’s Listings app, which will help you easily get your business listed on more than 50 local directories, sites and apps.

#3. Publish local-friendly content on your website

If you’re not new to our blog, then you’ve probably seen the phrase, “Content is king,” more than once. That’s because, in terms of SEO, absolutely nothing beats consistently publishing quality content on your website. And when you want your business to rank locally, it pays to learn how to write local-friendly content. Here are a few local-friendly blog topics you could write about:

  • Customer case studies and success stories – If you have a great success story with a happy client, ask them for permission to share it online! Case studies are an amazing way to show off how much of an impact your service or product can make for real-life customers and you can add in the local flavor by adding in relevant details about the location.
  • Volunteer work and local causes – Giving back will not only make you feel good; it will make you look good, too. And, it makes for great, local content because it helps you demonstrate your love for your local community.
  • Local partnerships – Lots of businesses could benefit from partnering with other local businesses. For example, a pet groomer may partner with a veterinarian to get referrals, or the other way around. If you partner with any local businesses, it will make a great, local blog topic.

#4. Don’t skip the on-site basics

Setting your website up for SEO success is a little more involved than you might first think, but it will be worth it.

These are called the on-site basics, and they consist of a variety of small, on-page tasks to improve your website’s ranking. Here are a few of the on-site basics you should complete on your website for a better ranking in the SERP:

  • Optimize title tags and meta descriptions – Title tags and meta descriptions are what people see in the SERP when your website comes up. Optimizing your title tag and meta description with your location (or the areas you serve) will help to improve your rankings in the SERP, as well as your click-through rate. Did you know that pages with meta descriptions rank an average of 5.8% higher than pages that don’t?
  • Add alt image tags to your photos – Part of mastering SEO includes getting as many keywords onto your website as you can, and adding alt image tags to your photos could give your business a small bump in the rankings.
  • Have a unique page for each location – Does your business have multiple locations? If so, it’s important to have a unique page on your website for every individual location.

#5. Build links to your website

The more links that point to your website, the better, as link building will help to improve your business’s rankings in the SERP. This is another reason why it’s important to get your business listed across a variety of directories and social media sites. Here are a few tips to help you build local links that point to your website:

  • Utilize your partners – If you partner with other local businesses, this is a great opportunity to get some links pointed to your website. Reach out to the local businesses you partner with, offer to promote them on your website and ask that they do the same.
  • Sponsor organizations and events – Most organizations and event planners will publish information about their sponsors with links to their websites.
  • Send out press releases – If you’ve got an announcement, creating a local press release is a great way to spread the word about it, and as a bonus, you’ll get a host of new links pointing back to your site.
  • Write some guest posts – As a business owner, chances are, you’re a subject matter expert in whatever industry you’re in, which means that you have a lot of knowledge to share. Offering to write guest posts for local bloggers with an audience that might be interested in what you have to say is an excellent way to flex your writing skills and gain some links for your business.

Get listed or claim your listing with Top Rated Local!

Now that you know the importance of getting listed and how it can help improve your business’s rankings in the SERP, it’s time to create/claim your Top Rated Local listing today! Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Top Rated Local business, and sign up for free!

Originally published 11/23/19

Why Resolve to Support Local Businesses in 2021

It’s finally New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2020. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the last year and think ahead of what’s to come in 2021.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have very little control over the future, but what we can do is make a conscious effort to change the way we live our lives. When all is said and done, that’s what New Year’s resolutions are all about.

This is the perfect year to change the way you spend money by making a commitment to yourself to shop local whenever possible.

7 reasons to make supporting local businesses your 2021 New Year’s resolution

#1. It’s easy to keep

Did you know that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions people make are abandoned by February? There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest reasons is that a lot of people make resolutions that are too vague to actually achieve.

For example, a lot of people resolve to lose weight in the New Year. But, “losing weight” can mean anything, and unless you have a specific goal in mind, it’s not really possible to actually reach it.

On the other hand, specific goals are only acceptable if they are also achievable. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, the chances of reaching it aren’t good. But, simply committing to shopping at local businesses whenever possible is both easy and achievable.

#2. You’ll be supporting local jobs

Cities will often do almost anything to attract big businesses. Just look at how many cities offered millions of dollars in tax incentives to Amazon when it was looking for new headquarters a couple of years ago.

You’d think with all the hoopla that big businesses are what employ most Americans, but the fact of the matter is that local businesses are responsible for many, many local jobs.

When local businesses do well, they hire more people within your community. That creates and supports quality jobs that often provide better job satisfaction than similar jobs at corporations and big businesses.

#3. You don’t need any special equipment

For some resolutions, everything you need to achieve them you already have. But, that’s not the case with every resolution.

Let’s look at the weight loss example again. In order to actually lose weight, you may need to sign up for a gym membership or sessions with a personal trainer. You may need to restock your pantry with healthier options, or invest in a new pair of running shoes.

When you resolve to support local businesses, you don’t need to sign up for extra services or spend an arm and a leg on extra equipment. You simply need to choose a local business for your needs.

#4. More of your money will stay in your community

When you spend money at a big box store, much of the profit goes to shareholders who have absolutely no ties or connection to your community. Furthermore, products and supplies likely won’t come from your community; most won’t even come from the United States at all.

Local businesses, on the other hand, are a lot more likely to get the equipment and supplies they need locally, and to choose local manufacturers or artists for their inventory. Furthermore, their rent will go to a local landlord, their profits benefit the local economy and their charitable donations will go to local nonprofits.

When you support local businesses, you help to support your community. It’s as simple as that.

#5. Find new, go-to spots around town

I’ve lived in the same city for more than a decade. You’d think I’d have visited every restaurant and little shop it has to offer, but the truth is that I have a few favorite places and rarely ever check out any of the other great local businesses my city has to offer.

If you’re anything like me, you may need a little something to push you away from your comfort zone. Making the commitment to support local businesses gives you an incentive to do just that, and you may just find some new go-to spots along the way.

Let’s say you love a good hamburger. Rather than stopping at the drive-thru of a chain, order take-out from a local hamburger place instead. You’re almost guaranteed to have a better experience, and a new favorite restaurant to grab a burger.

#6. You’ll help to keep your community special

Almost every city in the United States has the same Walmart with the same layout, as well as the same McDonald’s and Starbucks with the same menus, etc.

There’s a reason why you chose the community you’re living in, and it’s not because it’s exactly like every other community in the nation. It’s because it has something special, and small businesses are what help to make it special.

Local businesses are the lifeblood of their community. By making a choice to support the local businesses in your community, you’re also helping to support the very thing that makes your community so special and unique.

#7. You don’t need a plan to be successful

Most New Year’s resolutions often consist of big goals that take major lifestyle changes in order to accomplish. Weight loss is another great example of this.

Losing weight — and actually keeping it off — requires major disruptions in how you go about your daily routine. Where you once might have enjoyed heating up a frozen pizza for dinner while catching up on your favorite show, you now spend your evenings going for a run and preparing your food for the next day. In other words, you need to have a plan.

The beauty of making supporting local businesses your resolution is that you don’t have to change your normal routine all that much, nor do you need a big, sweeping plan to achieve your objective.


Want to support the local businesses in your community? Find great local businesses near you with Top Rated Local®.

Top Rated Local is a local business directory like no other. Not only does it make it easy to find local businesses in your area, but you can also compare local businesses side by side, read reviews from across the web and identify the highest-rated businesses near you.