Excel - Certainly understandable if you need to bring in dividend income! Any dividend income I have is usually re-invested, so for me personally it's normally less tax efficient to receive my owner-earnings in cash. Usually if I'm in an attractive business, I'll be content to see the company retain my earnings and compound them internally. So long as the company can put my capital back to work efficiently - and isn't ploughing money back just to stand still! That's part of the worry I have with the big Oil players, which the article rightly points out.
4% on TSCO and GRG is unfortunately the best I can do in terms of dividend yield, unless you're willing to look at less established companies -
While being far from assured, I think a less risk-averse investor could look at out-of-favour Albemarle & Bond (ABM), but there's a different risk profile there. This would offer a 5.6% yield despite an excellent record of increasing dividends since 1996, but certain conservative assumptions would need to be made about the gold-buying portion of their business. Maybe not for the faint of heart, but happens to offer an attractive yield/growth record if you believe they can maintain their dividend policy and returns on the existing assets of the company (the market is pricing it otherwise).
Everyone has their own preferred methods, but I've felt a lot more confident as an investor becoming familiar with the 20 year track record of companies on the London market. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in fundamental analysis!