Police make dozens of arrests and fire tear gas on protesters at Paris France on fuel tax and price increase

French police made dozens of arrests across France Saturday amid violent anti-government protests described by one of the protesters as a “civil war,” CNN affiliate BFM reported.

 

In Paris, police resorted to tear gas and water cannon to try to clear the Champs Elysée.
“The objective was to unite everybody here in Paris. I am disappointed because it wasn’t meant to be like this,” Thierry Paul Valette, one of the organizers of Saturday’s demonstration in Paris told CNN.
He blamed it on a “small section” of “the extreme left and the extreme right” and said it was like a “civil war.”
In total, 35 people were taken into custody.
The “yellow vest” protests, which began as a campaign against rising gas prices, have morphed into a wider demonstration against the government of President Emmanuel Macron in recent weeks, spreading as far as France’s Indian Ocean territory of Reunion.
Police say they have mobilized 3,000 officers in Paris to contain the 8,000 protesters. A security perimeter has been set up in the city center, with government buildings protected. Three people have been arrested so far.
At a news conference on Saturday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner blamed the clashes on far-right extemists infiltrating the demonstrations.
“Today, the far right has mobilized,” he told reporters. “The security forces perfectly anticipated this situation.”
Far-right political leader Marine Le Pen rejected the accusations, describing them as a “pathetic and dishonest” form of “political manipulation” by the government.
Earlier Castaner said of the protesters: “Their freedom of expression will be guaranteed, but it must not be exercised to the detriment of security, public order and the right of everybody to come and go. There is no liberty without public order.”
Last weekend a protester was accidentally run over and killed by a car, and more than 200 people were injured during a demonstration in eastern France.
Protesters clash with riot police who fired  tear gas canisters in central Paris on Saturday.

Macron under fire

In addition to concerns over spiraling fuel prices, the protests also reflect long-running tensions between the metropolitan elite and rural poor.
Diesel prices have surged 16% this year from an average 1.24 euros ($1.41) per liter to 1.48 euros ($1.69), even hitting 1.53 euros in October, according to UFIP, France’s oil industry federation.
The price hike is largely caused by a leap in the wholesale price of oil, with Brent crude oil — a benchmark for worldwide oil purchases — increasing by more than 20% in the first half of 2018 from around $60 a barrel to a peak of $86.07 in early October.
French protesters are, however, not directing their anger at OPEC for reducing oil production, or at the US administration for implementing tariffs on Iran, crippling its oil exports.
Macron is instead bearing the brunt of widespread French discontent, with many protesters furious at the current leader’s extension of environmental policies implemented under François Hollande’s government.
Notably, taxes were increased by 8 centimes last January on diesel, and by 4 centimes on petrol. Tax on diesel will also increase by another 6.4 euro cents in 2019, and by 2.9 cents for petrol. These rises follow many decades of under-taxation of diesel in France.
President Macron is instead bearing the brunt of widespread French discontent.

Further revolts

The growing resentment has also been a springboard for partisan political attacks, with opponents of Macron’s centrist En Marche party attempting to energize their bases to fuel further revolt.
One protester, Ludivine Landrin, a 32-year-old from near Paris, explained why she was protesting. “I’m here because I am a citizen. I want the struggle to come together. I want the French state to understand that we are here together. We want another state, we want another government,” she told CNN.
“In France we have a lot of taxes. The beginning of the movement was about taxes on fuel. The movement became bigger because all the taxes are making people fed up. The Macron government is making everyone fed up — on the right and on the left. We are all fed up with Macron and his government.”
Another protester, 33-year-old Emilie, declared that a revolution was happening. “We pay our taxes but it is only the rich who profit,” she said.
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Domain Names And Web Hosting Are the Same Thing?

Ready to start a website? Great! Are you thinking that web hosting is the same thing as a domain name. Wrong. It is easy to get confused between web hosting and domain name and think that they refer to the same thing. Web hosting is the place where your website and all its files are stored, a server. Whereas, a domain name is the actual name of your website like facebook.com, amazon.com. In layman terms, domain name is actually the name of the house that you live in and web host is the actual house. Can you have a website without either? No. That is why they go hand in hand with each other. Let’s dig a bit deeper into domains.

web hosting 101

What are Domains? We have all heard about IP addresses. They are series of numbers which are used to refer to a website. However, who is going to type or remember the long series of numbers.

That is where domain names come in. A website owner registers a domain name which is then used to route to the particular IP address of the website. It is essentially a pointer, and means nothing on its own.

Together or Separately:  Should you buy the domain name and web hosting from different companies or one? Many web hosting websites also provide you with an option to register a domain with them but not all of them.

  • If you buy it from different companies, you will need to edit the DNS settings of your domain name to point it to your website. You need to keep the login details for your account safe.
  • Buying from one company is convenient and easier to manage and no need to change any settings. It does not mean that if you decide to move web hosting, you will need a new domain name. You own the domain name and will just need to transfer it.

How To Choose A Domain: There are numerous articles detailing how to go about selecting a web hosting site for your business, but fewer details when it comes to choosing a domain name. It is extremely important to pay attention to it because it will be your online identity. Here are some tips to make sure you buy the right domain name:

  • Do Your Research: Before jumping ahead and buying whatever came to your mind, do you homework a bit. Look at your competitors sites and see what names are available.
  • Make it Your Brand: Try not to use the name of your product in the domain name rather any other associative word. Do not use very common words that people forget or mix it up with your competitors. The name should be easy to remember and not include difficult spellings.
  • Make it brief: The shorter your domain name is, the more user friendly and easier to remember. But do not use a generic name. Try not to use slang or using numbers in the name.
  • Check Social media: Make sure that the domain name you have used is not already in use as a Facebook page name or twitter handle.

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Creativity Is a Talent and Hard Work

The Fertile Mind

Life requires daily acts of ingenuity and novel workarounds, so it is in everyone’s interest to nurture creative impulses, regardless of one’s day job. How to shake up the way we think? Creativity is associated with many factors including conducive environments, ideal collaborators, personality traits, serendipity, and even a quest for spiritual muses. Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, which is accomplished by cultivating divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and to learning. While research psychologists are interested in tapping innovative thinking, clinical psychologists sometimes encourage patients to use artistic expression as a way to confront difficult feelings.

Innovate!

Many people feel that they have no or very limited creative ability—even people who work in creative fields! However, innovation is not some divine gift; it’s actually the skilled application of knowledge in new and exciting ways. The truth is that creativity can be acquired and honed at any age or any experience level. When a person learns new information, sleeping or enjoying a distraction allows  the unconscious mind to process the data in novel and surprising ways, thereby laying the groundwork for a creative insight or breakthrough.

 

In 1666, one of the most influential scientists in history was strolling through a garden when he was struck with a flash of creative brilliance that would change the world.

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While standing under the shade of an apple tree, Sir Isaac Newton saw an apple fall to the ground. “Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” Newton wondered. “Why should it not go sideways, or upwards, but constantly to the earth’s center? Assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in matter.” 

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And thus, the concept of gravity was born.

The story of the falling apple has become one of the lasting and iconic examples of the creative moment. It is a symbol of the inspired genius that fills your brain during those “eureka moments” when creative conditions are just right. 

What most people forget, however, is that Newton worked on his ideas about gravity for nearly twenty years until, in 1687, he published his groundbreaking book, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. The falling apple was merely the beginning of a train of thought that continued for decades.

Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life by William Stukeley
The famous page describing Newton’s apple incident in Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life by William Stukeley.

Newton isn’t the only one to wrestle with a great idea for years. Creative thinking is a process for all of us. In this article, I’ll share the science of creative thinking, discuss which conditions drive creativity and which ones hinder it, and offer practical tips for becoming more creative.

Creative Thinking: Destiny or Development?

Creative thinking requires our brains to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. Is this a skill that we are born with or one that we develop through practice? Let’s look at the research to uncover an answer.

In the 1960s, a creative performance researcher named George Land conducted a study of 1,600 five-year-olds and 98 percent of the children scored in the “highly creative” range. Dr. Land re-tested each subject during five year increments. When the same children were 10-years-old, only 30 percent scored in the highly creative range. This number dropped to 12 percent by age 15 and just 2 percent by age 25. As the children grew into adults they effectively had the creativity trained out of them. In the words of Dr. Land, “non-creative behavior is learned.” 

Similar trends have been discovered by other researchers. For example, one study of 272,599 students found that although IQ scores have risen since 1990, creative thinking scores have decreased. 

All of this to say, claiming that “I’m just not the creative type” is a pretty weak excuse for avoiding creative thinking. Certainly, some people are primed to be more creative than others. However, nearly every person is born with some level of creative skill and the majority of our creative thinking abilities are trainable.

Intelligence and Creative Thinking

What does it take to unleash your creative potential?

As I mentioned in my article on Threshold Theory, being in the top 1 percent of intelligence has no correlation with being fantastically creative. Instead, you simply have to be smart (not a genius) and then work hard, practice deliberately and put in your reps.

As long as you meet a threshold of intelligence, then brilliant creative work is well within your reach. In the words of researchers from a 2013 study, “we obtained evidence that once the intelligence threshold is met, personality factors become more predictive for creativity.” 

Growth Mindset

What exactly are these “personality factors” that researchers are referring to when it comes to boosting your creative thinking?

One of the most critical components is how you view your talents internally. More specifically, your creative skills are largely determined by whether you approach the creative process with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

The basic idea is that when we use a fixed mindset we approach tasks as if our talents and abilities are fixed and unchanging. In a growth mindset, however, we believe that our abilities can be improved with effort and practice. Interestingly, we can easily nudge ourselves in one direction or another based on how we talk about and praise our efforts.

Here’s a brief summary in Dweck’s words:

“The whole self-esteem movement taught us erroneously that praising intelligence, talent, abilities would foster self-confidence, self-esteem, and everything great would follow. But we’ve found it backfires. People who are praised for talent now worry about doing the next thing, about taking on the hard task, and not looking talented, tarnishing that reputation for brilliance. So instead, they’ll stick to their comfort zone and get really defensive when they hit setbacks.

So what should we praise? The effort, the strategies, the doggedness and persistence, the grit people show, the resilience that they show in the face of obstacles, that bouncing back when things go wrong and knowing what to try next. So I think a huge part of promoting a growth mindset in the workplace is to convey those values of process, to give feedback, to reward people engaging in the process, and not just a successful outcome.”

—Carol Dweck 

Embarrassment and Creativity

How can we apply the growth mindset to creativity in practical terms? In my experience, it comes down to one thing: the willingness to look bad when pursuing an activity.

As Dweck says, the growth mindset is focused more on the process than the outcome. This is easy to accept in theory, but very hard to stick to in practice. Most people don’t want to deal with the accompanying embarrassment or shame that is often required to learn a new skill.

The list of mistakes that you can never recover from is very short. I think most of us realize this on some level. We know that our lives will not be destroyed if that book we write doesn’t sell or if we get turned down by a potential date or if we forget someone’s name when we introduce them. It’s not necessarily what comes after the event that worries us. It’s the possibility of looking stupid, feeling humiliated, or dealing with embarrassment along the way that prevents us from getting started at all.

In order to fully embrace the growth mindset and enhance your creativity, you need to be willing to take action in the face of these feelings which so often deter us.

How to Be More Creative

Assuming that you are willing to do the hard work of facing your inner fears and working through failure, here are a few practical strategies for becoming more creative.

Constrain yourself. Carefully designed constraints are one of your best tools for sparking creative thinking. Dr. Seuss wrote his most famous book when he limited himself to 50 words. Soccer players develop more elaborate skill sets when they play on a smaller field. Designers can use a 3-inch by 5-inch canvas to create better large scale designs. The more we limit ourselves, the more resourceful we become.

Broaden your knowledge. One of my most successful creative strategies is to force myself to write about seemingly disparate topics and ideas. For example, I have to be creative when I use 1980’s basketball strategies or ancient word processing software or zen Buddhism to describe our daily behaviors. In the words of psychologist Robert Epstein, “You’ll do better in psychology and life if you broaden your knowledge.”

Sleep longer. In my article on how to get better sleep, I shared a study from the University of Pennsylvania, which revealed the incredible impact of sleep on mental performance. The main finding was this: Sleep debt is cumulative and if you get 6 hours of sleep per night for two weeks straight, your mental and physical performance declines to the same level as if you had stayed awake for 48 hours straight. Like all cognitive functions, creative thinking is significantly impaired by sleep deprivation.

Embrace positive thinking. It sounds a bit fluffy for my taste, but positive thinking can lead to significant improvements in creative thinking. Why? Positive psychology research has revealed that we tend to think more broadly when we are happy. This concept, which is known as the Broaden and Build Theory, makes it easier for us to make creative connections between ideas. Conversely, sadness and depression seems to lead to more restrictive and limited thinking.

Final Thoughts on Creative Thinking

Creativity is a talent and hard work. It’s not just a eureka moment. You have to work through mental barriers and internal blocks. You have to commit to practicing your craft deliberately. And you have to stick with the process for years, perhaps even decades like Newton did, in order to see your creative genius blossom.

 

 

3 Most Common Mental Errors That Sway Us From Making Best Decisions

I like to think of myself as a rational person, but I’m not one. The good news is it’s not just me — or you. We are all irrational, and we all make mental errors.

DFA-Mental-Errors

For a long time, researchers and economists believed that humans made logical, well-considered decisions. In recent decades, however, researchers have uncovered a wide range of mental errors that derail our thinking. Sometimes we make logical decisions, but there are many times when we make emotional, irrational, and confusing choices.

Psychologists and behavioral researchers love to geek out about these different mental mistakes. There are dozens of them and they all have fancy names like “mere exposure effect” or “narrative fallacy.” But I don’t want to get bogged down in the scientific jargon today. Instead, let’s talk about the mental errors that show up most frequently in our lives and break them down in easy-to-understand language.

Image result for Mental Errors

Here are three most common mental errors that sway us from making best decisions.

1. Survivorship Bias.

Nearly every popular online media outlet is filled with survivorship bias these days. Anywhere you see articles with titles like “8 Things Successful People Do Everyday” or “The Best Advice Richard Branson Ever Received” or “How LeBron James Trains in the Off-Season” you are seeing survivorship bias in action.

Survivorship bias refers to our tendency to focus on the winners in a particular area and try to learn from them while completely forgetting about the losers who are employing the same strategy.

There might be thousands of athletes who train in a very similar way to LeBron James, but never made it to the NBA. The problem is nobody hears about the thousands of athletes who never made it to the top. We only hear from the people who survive. We mistakenly overvalue the strategies, tactics, and advice of one survivor while ignoring the fact that the same strategies, tactics, and advice didn’t work for most people.

Another example: “Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg all dropped out of school and became billionaires! You don’t need school to succeed. Entrepreneurs just need to stop wasting time in class and get started.”

It’s entirely possible that Richard Branson succeeded in spite of his path and not because of it. For every Branson, Gates, and Zuckerberg, there are thousands of other entrepreneurs with failed projects, debt-heavy bank accounts, and half-finished degrees. Survivorship bias isn’t merely saying that a strategy may not work well for you, it’s also saying that we don’t really know if the strategy works well at all.

When the winners are remembered and the losers are forgotten it becomes very difficult to say if a particular strategy leads to success.

survivorship bias (Common Mental Errors)

2. Loss Aversion.

Loss aversion refers to our tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses over acquiring gains. Research has shown that if someone gives you $10 you will experience a small boost in satisfaction, but if you lose $10 you will experience a dramatically higher loss in satisfaction. Yes, the responses are opposite, but they are not equal in magnitude. 

Our tendency to avoid losses causes us to make silly decisions and change our behavior simply to keep the things that we already own. We are wired to feel protective of the things we own and that can lead us to overvalue these items in comparison with the options.

For example, if you buy a new pair of shoes it may provide a small boost in pleasure. However, even if you never wear the shoes, giving them away a few months later might be incredibly painful. You never use them, but for some reason you just can’t stand parting with them. Loss aversion.

Similarly, you might feel a small bit of joy when you breeze through green lights on your way to work, but you will get downright angry when the car in front of you sits at a green light and you miss the opportunity to make it through the intersection. Losing out on the chance to make the light is far more painful than the pleasure of hitting the green light from the beginning.

Image result for Mental Errors

3. Confirmation Bias.

The Grandaddy of Them All. Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to search for and favor information that confirms our beliefs while simultaneously ignoring or devaluing information that contradicts our beliefs.

For example, Person A believes climate change is a serious issue and they only search out and read stories about environmental conservation, climate change, and renewable energy. As a result, Person A continues to confirm and support their current beliefs.

Meanwhile, Person B does not believe climate change is a serious issue, and they only search out and read stories that discuss how climate change is a myth, why scientists are incorrect, and how we are all being fooled. As a result, Person B continues to confirm and support their current beliefs.

Changing your mind is harder than it looks. The more you believe you know something, the more you filter and ignore all information to the contrary.

You can extend this thought pattern to nearly any topic. If you just bought a Honda Accord and you believe it is the best car on the market, then you’ll naturally read any article you come across that praises the car. Meanwhile, if another magazine lists a different car as the best pick of the year, you simply dismiss it and assume that the editors of that particular magazine got it wrong or were looking for something different than what you were looking for in a car. 

It is not natural for us to formulate a hypothesis and then test various ways to prove it false. Instead, it is far more likely that we will form one hypothesis, assume it is true, and only seek out and believe information that supports it. Most people don’t want new information, they want validating information.

confirmation bias (Common Mental Errors)

Where to Go From Here

Once you understand some of these common mental errors, your first response might be something along the lines of, “I want to stop this from happening! How can I prevent my brain from doing these things?”

It’s a fair question, but it’s not quite that simple. Rather than thinking of these miscalculations as a signal of a broken brain, it’s better to consider them as evidence that the shortcuts your brain uses aren’t useful in all cases. There are many areas of everyday life where the mental processes mentioned above are incredibly useful. You don’t want to eliminate these thinking mechanisms.

The problem is that our brains are so good at performing these functions — they slip into these patterns so quickly and effortlessly — that we end up using them in situations where they don’t serve us.

In cases like these, self-awareness is often one of our best options. Hopefully this article will help you spot these errors next time you make them.

10 Best Ways to Get Free Backlinks for Your Websites

Backlinks are the focus of attention of SEO community for a good reason: link profile is one of key factors for the website’s SEO. At the same time, link building expenses are a significant part of SEO budget.

In this article, we’ll explain how to save your money and get free (or almost free) backlinks in 10 best different ways.

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1. Social Media

Social media use is one of the easiest ways to get free backlinks and increase your brand visibility in SERP. Some of them allow you to get dofollow backlinks, others don’t. In spite of the fact that dofollow links value much higher, do not underestimate nofollow links. Natural link profile must contain both dofollow and nofollow ones.

  • LinkedIn. LinkedIn blog-publishing service allows you to place nofollow links in articles. They can lead traffic to your website and naturally diverse link profile. And the main thing is that correctly written posts can be ranked pretty high in organic search. It means that you can use Linkedin blog as an additional promotion tool.
  • Pinterest and Tumblr. These popular visual content sharing platforms allow to make posts with dofollow links and successfully promote your content in organic image search.
  • Youtube. If you didn’t start any promotion of your company on Youtube, now it is time to do it. Don’t want to think about this? Ok, but what about backlinks and brand visibility in SERP? It’s reason enough to start working with Youtube.
  • Google Plus. We have already dedicated one of our WordPress SEO articles to Google+ social network and its importance. Backlinks from active G+ profile can be very useful for your website’s SEO: they’re considered not only by Alphabet’s search giant but also by other search engines.
  • Facebook and Twitter. Even if single thought about creating nofollow links makes you depressed, we highly recommend not to ignore popular social networks. They can become a nofollow link source, attract new visitors to your website and increase organic presence of your brand.
  • Reddit. Reddit is one of those services that react negatively to link spam: it requires appropriate and relevant link posting. It can sound a bit scary but don’t be afraid. When you’ll understand laws Reddit lives by, each properly placed link can become great garnish of your ‘link cocktail’ and lead huge amount of targeted traffic to your website.

2. Blog Publishing Services

Independent blogging platforms and blog publishing services from leading search engines can serve as additional source of backlinks and traffic. While making posts, don’t forget that publishing of same content on all platforms definitely isn’t good for you. Besides, every blogging platform has its own specific characteristics you need take into account in the content development process.

  • Blogger (ex-Blogspot). Blog publishing service developed by Google that allows placing dofollow links in posts.
  • Medium. Large independent service that is pretty popular in professional communities. Unfortunately, all Medium links have rel=”nofollow noopener” attribute.

3. Q&A Platforms

Main perk of Q&A services in terms of your website’s SEO lies not so much in backlinks creating, but in increasing brand visibility and direct targeted traffic flow. Usually, Q&A websites automatically set rel=”nofollow” attribute for all links, but it doesn’t mean that such links are completely useless for your website.

Here are several Q&A services that deserve special attention:

  • Quora. Large international service with a huge community and amount of professional questions (and answers, of course).
  • Yahoo Answers. Popular Q&A service developed by Yahoo search engine.

4. Forums

Manual blog commenting is one of the most simple and widespread link building techniques: all you need to do is to find and filter topics relevant to your niche and then start leaving comments.

Before you start working with a certain forum, you need to check:

  • amount of organic traffic
  • regular activity
  • who ‘lives’ on a forum: real users or link builders

Before writing comments, take forum rules into account: some of them say that you need to get some reputation before placing links in your comments. Violation of the rules can entail temporary or even lifelong ban.

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5. Websites with Lists of Products/Companies

If ratings and lists (of products or companies) are popular in your niche, you can use existing options and add your company (and website link) to them.

To find popular niche lists, use one of the Serpstat instruments — Keyword Research → SERP Analysis → Top by Keyword.

Link adding method will depend on list format of the list itself. If it was created as an article, you need to write a message to its author directly. If it was generated automatically, perform all necessary procedures required by a website to get in general rating.

6. Guest Posts and Publications in Niche Mass-Media Blogs

‘Blog’ section of niche media can be seen as next step in a long chain of ‘opinion pieces’ evolution of classic print media. The difference is that publication process became much easier than before. Now it is enough to register (or log in), upload your article with appropriate formatting and correct links and push a ‘Publish’ button.

This technique successfully works in such projects as TechInAsia: user-generated content goes through basic moderation and doesn’t require lengthy referral process and serious editing. It is a perfect way to place a natural link on the one hand and attract a great traffic from the newsfeed (and organic search) on the other.

One way or another, we can say that guest blog posting in niche media is a profitable venture 🙂 You need only to spend a little time and make an effort to create unique and valuable content that must be approved for publication.

7. Broken Link Building

If outbound content generating or publishing becomes problematic (you’ve completely run out of ideas or website owner asked for an exorbitant price), you can use one more link building method. This method involves searching for broken links and replacing them with active relevant links (from your website, of course):

  1. Select websites.
  2. Crawl them with Netpeak Spider to find all broken links within each website. You can read a detailed guide about broken links and how to find them in our previous post.
  3. Export and analyze broken links.
  4. Offer to website’s owner to replace broken link with a new one that leads to a relevant article from your website.

8. Participation in Conferences and Other Professional Events

Participation in professional events can not only be useful in terms of traditional PR: it also can provide additional possibilities for link building. Send your employee to an event as a speaker, become an media partner or a sponsor – and you are guaranteed to receive high-quality backlinks on event’s website. Don’t forget to speak out your requirements for links at the beginning of the partnership with event organizers.

9. Collaboration with Bloggers

In a perfect world partner (advertising) blog posts include an active dofollow link, and therefore content marketers and SEOs are interested in them.

Can we classify this method as free? If your company has sufficient social media authority or huge email subscriber base, your PR opportunities can be a good argument for collaboration with bloggers. Otherwise, you can always propose a straight swap if the blogger really needs your product.

10. Wikipedia

This backlink creating method is the most resource-intensive. And we don’t even mean money: it’s all about your time and nerve cells. The process of creating a Wikipedia page demands your perseverance: you’ll face series of edits before your article will be approved by Wikipedia administrators. However, when a page will be published you’ll get your treasured trusted backlink.