BloggingPro http://www.bloggingpro.com News, plugins and themes for blogging applications Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 How Blogging Retailers Can Improve Online Video SEO http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/17/blogging-retailers-can-improve-online-video-seo/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/17/blogging-retailers-can-improve-online-video-seo/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31571 Television production concept. TV movie panels

Video content is a great way for online retailers to promote their products and get them across their target market. Unlike static content such as text and images, videos present the products in a more dynamic fashion to help potential buyers decide much quicker whether or not to purchase from you. Not to mention, online videos are a great way to boost organic traffic and lead nurturing by 300%.

Sadly, among online retailers, only a handful are correctly incorporating online video into their marketing strategy. A research study launched by Conductor and Invodo called “The Marketer’s Guide to Video SEO” reveals that, out of the top 100 retailers in the 2014 Internet Retailer 500 list, only 16 have more than 10,000 videos on their site.

If you are a retailer who uses blogging as a platform to sell your products and goods, then it’s high time that you learn the ins and outs of online video SEO to maximize the chances of ranking for your content, as well as convert those visitors into actual buyers. Below is a list of ways on how to optimize your online videos.

Plan your video content in advance

You can’t simply create different videos displaying your products to the public and expect them to come running down your online shop and buying your stuff. In order to create videos that generate traffic and interest towards your brand, which later on could lead to a sale,  you will need to develop a content strategy for your online video content. Doing this will help you refine:

  • your target audience
  • your core message and mission objectives (why do you want to create videos for your shop in the first place?)
  • the tone of voice the video content must possess
  • the topics to be discussed in the videos that your audience will love
  • the amount and frequency of content to be published
  • how your videos are different from your competitors

Once you get these things done, you will have a better understanding on how to approach creating your video content to maximize their effect.

Observe best SEO tactics

As with all types of content, online video also needs to be optimized in order to observe the best SEO practices. To cover this part for us, LocalVox has published an infographic that details all the things you need to do in order to optimize your video content.

Video-SEO-Infographic

Image source

Additional tips:

  • Create a video sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools and submit it to Google so that its search engine spiders can crawl your content much easier and rank your content on your specified keyword
  • Make sure that your logo and website is featured on the video so that people will be able to associate your high-quality video content with your online shop.
  • Link related videos you’ve created together by way of creating annotations (if you hosted your videos on Youtube) so that it will be easier for users to check out on your other videos for increased views
  • While social proof as an SEO factor is still up for debate, it is nonetheless important to share your video content on social media or create blog posts about it to drive your social shares through the roof.

Question: What are other ways that retailers can boost their online video SEO efforts?

More on online video:

How To Kill Your Blog Using Video Based Content

Seven (7) Must Have iPhone Apps For Video Bloggers

 

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Turn Your Old Blog Post Into… an Image http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/15/turn-your-old-blog-post-into-an-image/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/15/turn-your-old-blog-post-into-an-image/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31556 Image pinned on noticeboard

This post is the first part of the “Turn Your Old Blog Post into…” series where we share tips and advice on how to recycle old posts that you’ve written on your blog into someone better to increase your traffic.

Have you written a high-quality post before that, for some reason, did not drive blog traffic the way it should have? You’ve promoted it on social media and created backlinks for it from different sites, and yet, the supposed “high-quality” post isn’t living up to its name?

There are perhaps different factors involved here, but something that you should highly consider is turning your old post into an image. The reason here is the increasing importance of visual content as an effective way to reach out to your target audience. Judging from the statistics and data shared in this infographic, there’s no doubt that visual content can potentially help your post go viral, increase your subscribers and followers, and is easier to process compared to a written blog posts.

The problem now is how you can create a visual content compelling enough to achieve all the things above. Luckily for you, below is an easy-to-follow guide to turn your old post into something more visual.

Learn how to use a graphics editing tool

Photo editor   PicMonkey  Free Online Photo Editing

While creating an image will require you to learn how to operate a graphics editing tool, sites like Canva and PicMonkey, among others, have made it much easier for you non-designing bloggers to come up with a great visual content out of your old blog post.

Some of the more premium image editing tools out there feature drag and drop capability, which shortens the learning curve and make designing an image easier for you. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that you observe the best design practices in creating your image.

Once you have acclimated yourself with a graphics editing tool of your choice, you can do the following for your blog post:

  • Create a shareable image for the post if you don’t have one yet. We have detailed how you can make one in this post.
  • Break down your blog post into different points that you will each turn into an image. Each image that you will create must contain a tip that is drawn from the points of the blog post so that the created image is helpful and actionable. You can then post the images on social media daily – one tip image each day – and link back to the original post to drive additional traffic to it.

Turn your post into an infographic

If you don’t want to break your post into different images and just want one big image to host all the information of your post, then you might as well turn it into an infographic. Creating one can be a daunting task, but with easy to use online infographics creators at your disposal, you can lessen the pain of creating a shareable and viral infographic of your old post!

One of the biggest things about infographic, also known as data visualization,  is that it shouldn’t literally be a written post turned into an image file. Rather, it should also feature measurable and proven data to support the claims made on your old blog post. Also, you need to cite your sources at the bottom of the infographic to validate your findings and include your logo and URL so that viewers will know who created the inforgraphic.

For more tips on how to design an infographic, here are some of its do’s and don’ts.

Once you have created your infographic, here are some of the things you can do:

  • Create a new blog post embedding the infographic. Encourage your readers to share the file on their social media or blog.
  • E-mail people within your niche who may be interested with the infographic so they can feature it on their website.

More on old blog content:

Creating Consistency On Your Blog With Persistent “Focused Content”

5 Types Of Content To Help Your Blog Grow On-Site and Off-Site

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, December 15, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/15/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-15-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/15/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-15-2014/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:30:19 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31557 Job board highlightsGood morning, everyone. How does your week look? Here’s to a good and productive week ahead.

Take a look at the job board highlights, and good luck!

Independent Film Blogger

Recently launched Indie Film Depot is seeking several bloggers to join their team. They are seeking bloggers who can write several well written articles per week on a per post basis. As they are an independently funded start-up pay will be low, but they are willing to discuss and negotiate rates with the right candidates.

Content Writer

This position is an on going writing gig with a start up product review website. Their focus is on quick concise reviews on the best products available to consumers. The website and its content is continuously in a state of update as there is always new and improved products becoming available.

Remote / telecommute writers – high volume – long term

A fast-growing content writing business, founded 2003 is looking for content writers. Although they are based in the UK, much of their business is with American clients for whom they require American writers.

Experienced Resume Writers

A successful resume writing service, operating as a full-time business since 2007) is looking for two (2) experienced resume writers who are seeking 2 – 3 projects per week. You do not have to be in SF.

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WP Super Cache – Detailed Configurations for Better Performance http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/12/wp-super-cache-detailed-configurations-better-performance/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/12/wp-super-cache-detailed-configurations-better-performance/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:29:14 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31543 wp-super-cache

As one of the most popular WordPress cache plugins, WP Super Cache is powering millions of websites. The plugin offers a caching system to accelerate websites by serving visitors with static HTML pages instead of dynamically generated content. It has been recommended by a large number of professional WordPress-related resource sites including PHPMatters.

It is easy to install WP Super Cache and get it started, but many beginners may encounter problems in configuring it properly to make the most out of it. To get rid of this kind of trouble, we suggest you to make the following configurations to achieve the best possible website performance and search engine optimization.

Enable WP Super Cache

After installing WP Super Cache successfully, you will find that the plugin is disabled by default, and you need to go to the plugin admin page to activate it manually. To finish this, you can go to Settings > WP Super Cache to get to the settings page. Under the Easy tab, check Caching On and then click on the button that says Update Status to allow the plugin to work.

image-1

There is one thing to remember that you need to backup your .htaccess file before allowing WP Super Cache to make any change to your website because the plugin will update .htaccess file automatically.

If you want to make sure that the caching starts working, you can click on the Test Cache button to run a check. The same time stamps for the two pages displayed in the test result are an indicator that caching is already on.

Configure Advanced Settings

Next to the Easy tab is an Advanced tab. Having a click on it, you will find a large amount of information categorized under Caching, Miscellaneous and Advanced. The settings listed on this page are the core features of WP Super Cache, so you should deal with them carefully.

image-2

In terms of Caching, we suggest you to follow the settings recommended by the system itself. There is a detailed explanation for the pros and cons of the three caching options, from which you can see that using both mod_rewrite and PHP caching is fast. However, we don’t recommend PHP caching especially in a shared hosting environment although the system informs that this option is suitable for new users. PHP caching consumes too much resource.

For the settings included in the categories of Miscellaneous and Advanced, just follow the screenshot above to make them optimal. When you have checked all the options, hit the Update Status button to save all the changes.

Now you are prompted with a yellow box containing lines of code which will be applied to your .htaccess file. Scroll down and choose to Update Mod_Rewrite Rules. When the update is accomplished, you can see the box turn green telling that “Mod Rewrite rules updated!”. Now the Advanced Tab is configured successfully.

If you are still a little bit confused about the steps discussed above, this how-to tutorial offers even more detailed information about the settings.

Set Up CDN with WP Super Cache

CDN is a recognized method for speeding up page loads and saving bandwidth. In the case that you are using a CDN service, you can integrate it into WP Super Cache to see a further speed improvement and much easier management. To set up CDN is easy, and you can have all tasks done by following the steps below.

  • Click on the CDN tab and then check the box for Enable CDN Support.
  • Fill in your CDN URL, for example, http://cdn.yourdomain.com.
  • Fill in Additional CNAMES with the same URL.
  • Check the box for Skip https URLs to avoid “mixed content” errors.
  • Click to Save Changes.

image-3

Set Up Contents Tab

The Contents tab is used to show you the details about the cached pages of your WordPress site, including the URLs of the cached pages and the age of them. If you fail to find the latest cache stats, you can click the link of Regenerate cache stats to get updated information. Choosing to list all cached files will show you every page that is cached.

image-4

Configure Preload Settings

Preloading allows you to create super cache static files for all posts and pages to serve unknown visitors, which helps much in improving future page loads. There is an interval for refreshing the preloaded cache files which you can inject as you like.

However, in a shared hosting environment, you should never allow frequent refreshing because too many files will result in resource overuse. Therefore, you’d better set the interval to be 1440 minutes to perform refreshing once a day. If you are on a VPS or dedicated server, the value can be much lower. 0 indicates to disable automatic refreshing, which means that you need to refresh the preloaded cache manually.

Having checked the settings as the screenshot below, you need to Update Settings. If you choose to Preload Cache Now, caching starts immediately. When the caching process is completed, click on the Contents tab to check the information about the cached pages.

image-5

10 Must Have Plugins for a Beginner WordPress Blogger

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How Social Media Is Being Used for Recruitment http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/11/social-media-used-recruitment/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/11/social-media-used-recruitment/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 14:30:15 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31531 social media for recruitment

Social media might very well be the buzzword of the decade, and we’re certainly contributing to its use as such. There is, however, no doubt that social media has changed the way we live our lives – both personal and professional.

As bloggers, especially freelance bloggers who take on client work, we know the role that social media plays in making our living. While we may consider our social profiles as extensions of our personal lives, there is no going around the fact that whatever we post or tweet is seen by others. Unless we clamp down on privacy settings and make sure only selected people see what we share.

In many cases, however, social media posts are seen even by people we may not know – clients and employers for example.

Take our Job Board as an example. Many of the listings there want applicants to provide their Twitter handle.

Why?

Because potential clients want to get an insight on the people they are considering hiring.

If you are looking for a day job, the same principle applies. The guys at Staff.com took a look at how social media is being used for recruitment today, and their findings show that, indeed, companies are more and more considering this element in making decisions when hiring a person.

You might want to take a look at how social media for recruitment is being used.

Social Media for Recruitment

Have you taken a look at what you’ve shared in the past year? What does the content tell people about you?

Also read: Most Popular WordPress SEO and Social Media Plugins

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How to Design Your Blog Like Painting a Room http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/11/how-todesign-your-blog-painting-room/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/11/how-todesign-your-blog-painting-room/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 13:00:26 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31527 Painting of an empty wall. Renovation home. 3D illustration

Blogging and painting a room appears like polar opposites in the career department. One requires them to sit all day in front of the computer and create content for their blog in the hopes of making money. The other depends on people moving around a lot and reaching out for places to get the paint on the surface as their form of livelihood.

However, you’d be surprised to know that blogging – designing a blog, in particular – shares common traits with the things licensed painters do.

Prep your approach

Painting a room requires incisive planning since you will have to estimate the cost and amount of paint that you will purchase from the store, aside from the different rollers and brushes that you will use to achieve the desired coat on the walls of your room. Designing a blog functions the same way, only that it won’t cost as much.

When choosing the different colors that you will use to paint your room, you will refer to a color swatch to find the perfect hue and saturation for the colors that you feel best fits the room. For bloggers, they will use Palleton, previously known as Color Scheme Designer. The site is a free online color wheel that allows users to pick the shade they plan to use on their blog and shows the different color harmonies available (monochromatic, adjacent, and triad, along with their complementary colors). You can also view a sample of the chosen color and harmony used in a dummy site to see if the color combinations work to your advantage.

Read more: 5 Design Rules No Blog Should Break

Painters will also have to consider the floor plan such as feng shui, vastu shastra, or other philosophies allow harmony to exist between its dweller and habitat. This is so the painters could focus on places in the room where there is accent or the use of bolder colors for emphasis.

Those who design the blog, on the other hand, refer to a wireframe created by the blogger. This visual guide plots out how the different elements of the website will appear on its pages. If the bloggers use any of the different wireframe tools available, it will be much easier for the designer to figure out which shades of the chosen colors will be used on different parts of your website.

The actual painting!

The art of painting a room is most evident once painters finish chipping off the old paint and fixing broken surfaces. Only then will they be able to work on the edges before rolling the paint on the surfaces and trims of the room. Once done, painters will have to clean all the materials used to complete the task. Depending on their proficiency with painting, as well as the size and condition of the room, they will be able to finish it in a couple of days, if not weeks.

Designing a blog shares the same approach. An artist is only as good as his tools, as the saying goes. However, bulk of the knowledge in designing a beautiful blog relies on the skill level of designers in using their preferred graphics editing tool in order to correctly implement the planned design. They will also have to be knowledgeable with the CSS language in order to fully customize the blog’s appearance.

For bloggers without any design experience, they can use premium website builders that use the drag and drop feature so bloggers can simply populate the pages of the sites with different elements to their liking. While these aren’t as flexible as more robust CMSs like WordPress and Drupal, the learning curve to designing a blog is cut much shorter, thus allowing bloggers to create a blog without writing a line of code.

Question: Do you approach how to design your blog the same way as painting a room, or do you pattern it to some other DIY activity? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

More on how to design your blog:

Colors, Fonts, and Layout: How Do You Get Started with Blog Design?

How Much Would You Pay for Blog Design?

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Why All Students Should Be Encouraged to Blog http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/10/students-encouraged-blog/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/10/students-encouraged-blog/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 02:20:40 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31523 Students internet computer addiction sitting bench

With each passing year come more dire warnings from university professors who complain about the fact that their incoming students simply do not know how to express themselves with the written word. One possible reason for this learning gap is that students do not put enough emphasis on writing in the classroom. With the move towards collaborative learning and project-based assessments, students are doing a lot less writing than they were a generation ago.

The answer is not simply to pile on more essay assignments, though. While students do need to write more often, writing serves instructional ends – as well as personal ones – when it is authentic. Blogging is a writing style that lives squarely in the twenty-first century, but it is also a medium that goes back centuries, what with the pamphlets that essayists would spread around town in the first centuries after Gutenberg fashioned that printing press. Because we want our students writing as much as possible, we should encourage them to create a blog so that they can feel a sense of ownership in what they create. There are several reasons why blogging will create stronger writers in the classroom.

1. Blogs have authenticity

Do you want your students to write for actual audiences, instead of just ‘pretend’ ones? Blogging is the perfect format. They write their thoughts, and then they get to see how the world interacts with them by looking at statistics. If they are looking to impress the blogosphere with their writing, their quality will increase because they are the ones raising the bar, not you.

Once your students generate an audience of real readers out there in the world, the writer instantly feels a sense of connection. You as the teacher have to read their work, and so you are not part of their authentic audience. Getting feedback from real people, who have no obligation to read their work, is much more motivational than the positive words you may say.

2. Blogs allow passions to flow freely

No matter what your passion in life is, it is likely that other people have also started blogs about it. If you have students who are into lacrosse, crochet, chess, the band One Direction, lizards or any other area of interest, your students will write freely about what they enjoy. Finding other bloggers who share their interests will galvanise many of your students, inspiring them to write more richly and deeply as they become part of a community.

3. Blogs ask for feedback

One of the most ‘educational’ parts of the blogging process involves learning how to deal with feedback from other people. Readers who have an opinion about blog entries will often post comments, and those ideas often provide the most meaningful form of feedback on writing. This saves you as the teacher from having to mark every issue with an entry, because the other readers are sure to point some of the most obvious flaws out. Also, students who receive feedback that is positive walk away with validation not just for their viewpoint but also for the way in which they express that viewpoint.

4. Blogging permits experimentation with more than one form of media

When you craft a blog entry, you can add sound files, pictures, and videos to your content in ways that print media simply cannot replicate. Consider ways in which this versatility makes communication richer, and find ways to integrate the different types of media into your lessons as a teacher, so that your kids have rich products on their blogs.

Companies like 34SP can help teachers create blogging communities by providing reliable web hosting that will allow their students work to be seen by the widest audience of all.

Supplemental Job Ideas for Bloggers

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5 Must-Read Blog Posts About Blogging in 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/10/must-read-blog-posts-blogging/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/10/must-read-blog-posts-blogging/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31519 iStock_000025596800_Small

While blogging has paved way for people to live a sustainable lifestyle by earning money from writing about something they truly feel passionate about, there’s more to blogging than simply making money off it. At the core of every blog are posts that share helpful and compelling information to a specific audience.

Therefore, if you want to take a slice out of the blogging pie, it’s time to learn how to correctly approach blogging in order to create great content that will allow you to increase blog traffic and build a readership. From here, everything is possible, including generating revenue from your blog.

If you wish to start with blogging or already have a blog but are still struggling with building substantial traffic, then reading the best must-read blog posts about blogging that were published this year.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post: The Data on Headlines, Length, Images and More

by Kevan Lee at Buffer Blog

Arguably one of the most thorough and thought-provoking blog posts you’ll ever read about blogging this year, Kevan Lee extensively breaks down the elements of a blog post (headline, content length, social shares, etc.) and discusses how you should optimize for each. The claims made in the  post are also backed up by recent statistics to encourage you to do as the post suggests.

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic (Updated 2014)

by Rand Fishkin at Moz

This post was originally published in 2012 but has been updated ever year since then to accommodate any additional best practices for increasing your blog traffic. This post covers all the basic ways on how to get your blog out in the open (writing for a specific audience, making your content SEO-friendly) down to the more advanced tactics (link poaching, guest blogging, and more).

How to Create Viral Content Using the SkyScraper Technique

by Christopher Gimmer at BloggingPro

The Skyscraper Technique is a very complicated and long-winding process of creating epic content for your blog and promoting it to different channels. However, when performed correctly, as with the case of Christopher and his site, the rewards are blog traffic beyond your wildest dreams. This post guides you on how to make your own Skyscraper content so you can enjoy high traffic your blog deserves.

9 Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Be Using

by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner

To become a successful blogger, you will have to learn from those who struck it rich as bloggers. This post features nine of the most popular figures in blogging and online marketing, each of whom shares a blogging tool they use to achieve their online goals. Whether it’s helping you brainstorm for better content, reach out to your target audience, or simply focus on the tasks at hand, the post has something for you.

5 Game-Changing Website Tools To Watch Out For In 2015

by Christopher Jan Benitez at Tweak Your Biz

Keeping up to date with the latest tools is advantageous for every blogging looking for an advantage against their competitors. The tools featured in this post should help you launch and supercharge your blogs with the most cutting-edge technology to help you with your web hosting, content discovery, keyword research, and web design needs.

Question: What are other must-read blog posts published this year that have changed how you approach blogging in a good way? Share the lins to these pages by commenting below!

More about blogging:

3 Solid Ways Bloggers Can Build a Professional Persona to Achieve More & Stand Out

14 Signs You’re Not Ready to Blog

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Master WordPress at TakeControlofWP.com [Giveaway] http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/master-wordpress-takecontrolofwp-com-giveaway/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/master-wordpress-takecontrolofwp-com-giveaway/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 15:00:20 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31499 WordPress is a popular Content Management System and Web Site Creation tool, used by millions of people around the world, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Ford, CNN, NASA, Pepsi, and many more. From beginning bloggers to the more experienced ones, WordPress is arguably the best platform to use.

If you’re fall under the first group, you will have an exciting (albeit sometimes difficult) time learning the ins and outs of WordPress. But there’s help for that.

TakecontrolofWP

TakeControlofWP.com, a new video tutorial website teaches beginners how to setup, secure, speed-up, and analyze their own business website quickly and easily using WordPress.

Win a Free 1-Year Membership to TakeControlofWP.com, and learn WordPress Today!

Today, we’ve got 3 FREE one-year memberships for TakeControlofWP.com, to be given away to BloggingPro readers. You’ll get a full year of free access to all of their courses, and other great member features.

TakecontrolofWP

Here are some of the topics they cover, and what you can learn:

• How to purchase and setup your domain name
• How to purchase and setup your hosting, where your actual website files reside
• How to install WordPress, both with one-click, and manually
• How to use FTP, which is how you can transfer files to your site
• Learn WordPress from front to back
• We then walk you through setting up your professional, modern business
website quickly, with both a free and premium option
• How to secure and speed up your site
• How to install Google Analytics to start tracking your visitors

Aside from their courses, they offer exclusive member’s only blog content, and Quick Tip videos. You’ll also have access to WordPress experts who can answer any questions you may have.

Save lots of time and money on support and maintenance, and gain the skills to fully create and control your site with TakeControlofWP.com.

What to do

The giveaway will run from today, December 8 to December 12. The winners will be announced on December 15.

To join, just follow the easy instructions below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other resources:

5 WordPress Plugins to Boost Social Media Activity
4 Powerful Free CRM Integrations & Plugins for Your WordPress Site
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5 Must-Download WordPress Plugins for Lead Generation http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/wordpress-plugins-lead-generation/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/wordpress-plugins-lead-generation/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31491 Lead

WordPress is one of the most robust and flexible CMSs out there. This is because of the selection of free and paid plugins that you can choose from to achieve your business goals.

One way of using your WordPress-charged site is to increase leads. Thankfully,there are lots of helpful plugins to boost your lead generation process. This is fortunate because, “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa).”

Through the many plugins available, you can have more and than one way to reach out to your potential customers and engage with them. Below are the best of the best:

Thank Me Later

thank me later

Commenting on blogs is a great way for marketers and other bloggers to build relationships online. As the blog owner, you can boost your relationship building efforts by using this plugin. Once users have commented on your blog, they will receive an automated message using the e-mail you indicated on your comment. You can edit the message they will receive so you can include links to your landing pages and sign-up forms.

Read more: 5 WordPress Design Plugins for Non-Designers

Subscribe to Comments Reloaded

subscribe to comments reloaded

Upon setting up the plugin properly, people can register to receive updates on the comments section and view comments they haven’t replied to yet. The comments will be saved on your dashboard. You can then use the database to see which blog posts they commented on the most and send them a personalized e-mail to your products or services.

MailPoet

MailPoet   A newsletter plugin for WordPress

If you have e-books or white papers available for download, then use this plugin to gain something in exchange to your free digital goods. Setting this up correctly, you can create a sign-up form that users will have to fill out in order to receive a link of the e-book to their e-mail. If you don’t have digital goods up for grabs, you can set up a blog newsletter instead so people can receive updates of your blog straight to their e-mails.

Leadin

Leadin   Free WordPress CRM   Lead Tracking Plugin

Track your lead generation campaigns much more effectively and efficient by using this plugin. Once you have acquired leads using the tool’s pop-up feature, its dashboard will provide data on how the lead was discovered, the specific content that the lead found your site, traffic sources, and more. The plugin will also automatically find useful information about your potential customers such as social media, work history, and company info, among others, and sync to your e-mail marketing platform.

Optinmonster

OptinMonster   Best WordPress Popup and Lead Generation Plugin

If you want irresistible opt-in forms that are easy to create and edit and won’t require you to write a line of code, then this plugin’s for you. Unlike other opt-in form plugins, this one has a smart targeting feature in which the form will appear on specific pages on your site or after users perform a specific action on your site, as well as A/B testing.

Question: Do you know any other WordPress plugins out there that can help your lead generation campaigns and increase signups? Let us know by commenting below!

More about lead generation:

WordPress-to-Lead Salesforce Plugin by Yoast

How To Link Bait Without Alienating Your Reader Base

 

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, December 8, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-8-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-8-2014/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31505 Job board highlightsIt’s the start of a new week, and I hope you’re all ready to take on the next five days.

Let’s start things off with the job board highlights. Have a great week ahead!

Social Media/Online Publishing/WordPress Blogger

A WordPress/blogging site is looking for a blogger:
-with experience writing about the web, WordPress, social media, and blogging/writing
-who keeps tabs on the latest Internet/social media/blogging/WordPress trends and news
-who is committed and reliable.

Development Writer – Specializing in Grant & Report Writing

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is looking for a development writer will work with Museum colleagues to draft and edit fundraising materials including letters of inquiry, grant proposals, stewardship progress reports, concept papers, project briefs as well as a variety of development-related documents for both individual and institutional donors on a range of Museum programs. These include exhibits and educational offerings, museum collections, teacher and leadership trainings, Holocaust scholarship, and the Museum’s genocide prevention program.

Social Media Writers

Social5 is seeking freelance writers across the nation to keep up with recent growth. Social5 is looking to hire 10 writers before Jan. 15. A journalism background is preferred, but experienced bloggers and social media consultants are invited to apply. Preference will be given to writers who demonstrate experience in the industries listed below, as well as proficiency in WordPress and customer communication.

Ghostwriter with a Passion for Psychology

Looking for writer for a personal blog focused on self development and lifestyle design with over 20k+ weekly readers; specifically looking for a ghostwriter with a background in storytelling / scriptwriting and a passion for psychology to help develop content the audience (creative professionals) can benefit from.

Freelance Travel Copywriter

Secret Escapes is one of the USA’s newest and most inspiring members-only websites for luxury travel. They negotiate amazing discounts on four and five-star hotels and vacations and sell them to members in time-limited ‘flash’ sales. They’re looking for a freelance copywriter to support the US content editor.

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How to Create Pinnable Images for Your Blog Post http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/create-pinnable-images-blog-post/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/08/create-pinnable-images-blog-post/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:42:00 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31403 I love pin + interest

Since being founded in 2012, Pinterest has become a great way for bloggers to drive lots of traffic to their blogs. According to StatCounter, this image sharing social media site refers the second most traffic to websites with 10.38%, trailing Facebook with 67%.

This coincides with the growing power of visual content when used on websites. Among the many facts and figures raised by this infographic created by Digital Marketing Philippines, well-crafted visual content can generate up to 94% more traffic to your site.

Read more: 5 Types Of Content To Help Your Blog Grow On-Site and Off-Site

As a blogger, therefore, you need to take advantage of the benefits of visual content by including it in your blog posts and pinning it on Pinterest!

In this post, I will show you a step-by-step process of creating a simple pinnable image for this post so you can do it on your blog and enjoy increased traffic to your blog!

Find contextual, high-quality images

The photo that must be included in your blog post should be related to its topic and must be in high resolution (at least 300dpi).

You can find the image that we used in our blog on GraphicStock where you can get unlimited downloads of high-quality stock images to use on your blog.  They even have a 7 day free trial, so you can download these images and try editing the images along with us!

For this example, I will use the image of a push pin that I found from GraphicStock because I’m talking about “pinnable” images in this post.

Push Pin Isolated

Link to image here

Design!

Quality alone won’t get your image pinned on Pinterest. You will need to give a reason why visitors should pin your image on their boards.

A way of doing this is by adding text and embellishments to your image.

This can be done by using a graphics editing tool or software. You can choose from a list of free graphic design tools at “LET’S GET VISUAL! 12 ONLINE DESIGN TOOLS TO INSPIRE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS.”

If you have no design experience, then you don’t have to worry as the tools mentioned on the link above are fairly easy to use due to their drag and drop features.

After deciding on which tool to use, be sure to type out the title of your blog post on the image. If you want to use a different headline instead, read “8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them” to learn the different types of headlines to use based on the kind of blog post you’re aiming for.

You should also type out the URL of your blog. If you have a logo for your blog, you should include it as well. The reason for this is so Pinterest users will see the post and associate your image with your brand and site URL.

If you want to drive increased traffic to the post you’re creating an image for, you can use Bitly and shorten and customize the URL of the blog post to include on the image.

Try to achieve a different look with your image by adding filters and effects to it.

Once you’ve done all these, you should come up with something similar – if not better – like the one I created below.

Push Pin Isolated

How about you, dear reader: what are your tips on how to create pinnable images for blog posts to increase traffic? Share them by commenting below!

More about blogger tools:

Boost Your WordPress Skills with the 0-100 WordPress Starter Kit

5 Things Your Blog Needs You’ve Never Thought Of

This post is sponsored via Syndicate Ads.

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Most Popular WordPress SEO and Social Media Plugins http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/04/popular-wordpress-seo-social-media-plugins/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/04/popular-wordpress-seo-social-media-plugins/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31456 WordPress seo and social media plugins

Great content is the bottom line of getting – and maintaining – traffic to your blog. However, a blogger cannot ignore SEO and social media. These topics have been talked and written about over and over again, but there must be a good reason for that: they are essential to optimizing your blog and expanding your reader base.

If you’re using WordPress, like countless other bloggers and online publishers today, then you’re in luck due to the nature of the platform. Your life is made so much easier by WordPress SEO and social media plugins that developers have released for the public to take advantage of.

The great thing about these WordPress SEO and social media plugins is that you don’t even have to be an SEO expert to benefit from them. You just need to read the plugin notes, and you’ll be able to figure most of them out, and then you’re good to go.

But what WordPress SEO and social media plugins should you use on your blog?

With the proliferation of these tools, you might get overwhelmed. You might use too many and end up not benefiting at all. You may even encounter incompatibility issues, which will probably mess up your blog – at least on the back end.

BESTPLUGINS have done some of the legwork for bloggers, especially beginning ones, and compiled the best WordPress SEO and social media plugins in an infographic that will narrow down your options.

If you take a close look at the plugins presented in the infographic, you will probably recognize several of them – they’re not called the most popular for nothing, after all – but you’ll also find some that you might want to install on your blog.

From All in One SEO Pack to AddToAny to SEO Ultimate to Social Media Feather – this infographic will be useful for any blogger.

WordPress SEO and social media plugins
Source: Best WordPress Plugins

Also read:

5 WordPress Design Plugins for Non-Designers

5 WordPress Plugins I Won’t Build a Blog Without

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Kickass Adds-on and Tools for Non-WordPress Blogs http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/03/kickass-adds-tools-non-wordpress-blogs/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/03/kickass-adds-tools-non-wordpress-blogs/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31478 blog-publishing service web sites.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but WordPress isn’t the only game in town.

Don’t get me wrong – I would choose WordPress if given the chance to create a blog due to its easy to use features and host of extremely helpful plugins to choose from. In fact, more than 50% power their websites using WordPress, according to Opensource CMS. In other words, there’s a reason why WordPress is the choice of most website owners and not simply because everybody seems to be using it.

On the other hand, WordPress isn’t for everyone as some would use other blogging platforms to run their websites instead. While there’s nothing wrong that WordPress is the choice of many, it’s also great to know that other platforms have stepped up to the plate and provide an alternative service for businesses to create their site.

However, the biggest obstacle non-WordPress blogs have to face is the limited features made available to them. WordPress users have access to thousands of plugins that they can download and install on their site for free, from e-commerce tools to lead generation add-ons. Alternative CMS platforms may not have this luxury, but there are add-ons and tools that non-WordPress users can nonetheless utilize to supercharge their Blogger, Tumblr, SquareSpace, and Weebly blogs, to name a few. Below are some of the best.

Hello Bar

Why does this kick ass: Hello Bar lets you have an attractive and eye-catching bar appear on the most visible part of the page – the header – with a link to the page you wish to drive more traffic to and increase conversion rate. The bar can be customized according to text color, background color, size, and more.

SumoMe

Why does this kick ass: The host of features available from SumoMe aim to boost your e-mail list with the options of making your signup form appear above your header, in the middle, or as a scroll-triggered box that will pop up from the lower right portion of your screen. The tool also allows easy sharing of content and image by incorporating social buttons within different parts of the page.

Outbrain

The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform   Outbrain

Why does this kick ass: This content discovery platform lets you place links to related content from different sites that are part of the Outbrain network on your page for increased engagement. This can also drive more traffic to your site if sites link back to your content.

Clicky

Web Analytics in Real Time   Clicky

Why does this kick ass: This Google Analytics alternative serves up the same reliable analytics data about your website, which you can use to tweak your site to increase its performance. Clicky also has a Heatmaps feature so you can see which parts of your pages are catching the attention of your visitors.

Canva

Canva – Amazingly simple graphic design for blogs  presentations  Facebook covers  flyers and so much more.

Why does this kick ass: This easy-to-use tool lets people create compelling and attractive visual content for their site without any design experience using their pre-made templates of different sizes and shapes.

Disqus

Disqus – The Web’s Community of Communities

Why does this kick ass: Integrate social media profiles and sharing in your commenting system using this tool. Disqus also sends out newsletters to users about  content that may interest them, making its easier for blog owners to engage with their audience.

Question: What other tools do you need for your non-WordPress blogs to meet your business goals and objectives? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

More on blogging tools:

5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles

10 Free Blogging Tools I Can’t Live Without

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5 WordPress Plugins e-Commerce Sites Must Have http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/5-wordpress-plugins-e-commerce-sites-must/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/5-wordpress-plugins-e-commerce-sites-must/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 04:55:43 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31440 5 WordPress Plugins e-Commerce Sites Must Have

As a retailer, you would want to do whatever possible to grow your sales and develop a customer base. For this very reason, it’s high time that you should build an e-commerce site. This is where lots of buyers make their purchases now, as 41.3% of internet users have bought products or services from online stores in 2013 and will only grow in the future.

The real challenge now, therefore, is creating your e-commerce site. Unlike building a static website, setting up an online shop is much more technical as you will have to deal with your inventory, sales funnel, order pages, and the type of analytic tool to use for monitoring visitor behavior, to name a few.

Thankfully, the process will be made much more easier when you build your e-commerce site using WordPress CMS and the plugins you can download. These allow you the capability to create attractive pages for your products just like the ones on Amazon or www.Engelbert-Strauss.co.uk, manage multiple orders, provide various payment options, and make the buying process seamless for potential customers of your online store.

Below is a list of basic yet essential WordPress plugins e-commerce sites use to set up their products and services up for sale.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce

Image source

Arguably the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce will have everything  you need to set up your online store such as track your sales and store performance, multiple payment choices, social sharing of your sales pages, and a lot more. Setting this free plugin is fairly easy, which also has documentation to guide you through the process. Its flexibility also allows a host of apps and extensions to further put your stamp on your e-commerce site. Simply put, your online shop won’t go wrong with this powerful plugin.

Honorable mentions: WP e-Commerce, iThemes Exchange: Simple Ecommerce

Easy Digital Downloads

easy digital downloads

Image source

If you’re selling digital products and wish to keep sales of your products clean and simple, then this plugin is for you. Easy Digital Downloads includes a promotional code system to facilitate your marketing campaigns, earnings chart, and add-ons to supercharge your sales.

PayPal File Download WordPress Plugin

paypal file download

Image source

If you find it convenient using PayPal buttons for your digital goods on sale, then you’ll love this plugin! PayPal File Download automatically sends out the digital file (PDF, ZIP, MP3, etc.) within seconds a customer makes a transaction on your site using PayPal.

Bootstrap CDN

bootstrap cdn

Image source

As a site owner, you should make it a priority to make your site load as fast as possible to increase the chances of visitors to make a purchase from your site. This is where Bootstrap CDN comes in, which uses  global content delivery network of NetDNA to ensure that your site performs at optimum levels despite heavy traffic while consuming less bandwidth from your hosting.

Clicky by Yoast

clicky by yoast

Image source

If you draw web analytics data from your e-commerce site using Clicky, then this plugin will make gathering data from visitors and monitoring your website performance much easier.

Question: Do you know other WordPress plugins e-commerce site owners must own? Share them with us by commenting below!

More on e-commerce:

4 Awesome Plugins To Help You Effectively Earn More From Your WordPress Blog

WordPress and eCommerce: Time to Get Serious

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WIN a WordPress Theme + 1 Year Hosting Plan + 1 Optional Free Domain From ThemeFuse http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/win-wordpress-theme-1-year-hosting-plan-1-optional-free-domain-themefuse/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/win-wordpress-theme-1-year-hosting-plan-1-optional-free-domain-themefuse/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:00:14 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31471 ThemeFuse giveaway

Those who are fond of WordPress can look forward to an amazing offer. ThemeFuse has launched its own website scheme. With this new scheme, customers who purchase a hosting plan for a period of one year get the opportunity to use a domain name for free. The ThemeFuse team will finish the set up, and you will receive your login details within a few minutes by mail.

If you want to know more, take a look how simple this process is.

FULL PACK (THEME + HOSTING + DOMAIN) from ThemeFuse on Vimeo.

What makes the deal even more appealing is that the company has come up with a great offer where it will provide a hosting plan for one year, a WordPress theme as well as domain name for a year at no additional cost.

In return, you will have to state a valid reason why we should choose you as our partner and in how you will use it, if you win the package.

How can you win the ThemeFuse giveaway?

  • Commenting below the post and telling us why should you win the free pack.
  • Tweet: Win a full website (WordPress theme + 1 yr hosting + 1 free domain) @ThemeFuse #WordPress Theme from @blpro (RT to Enter).
  • Like ThemeFuse Facebook page.

To make it easier for you, just use the Rafflecopter widget below and fill out the necessary fields.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

IMPORTANT: The ThemeFuse giveaway starts today, December 1, and ends on December 5. The winner will be announced on December 9. You can tweet once a day, every day, to earn more entries.

Good luck!

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Website Traffic: SEO Objective or Means to an End? http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/website-traffic-seo-objective-means-end/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/website-traffic-seo-objective-means-end/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:36 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31464 Website Traffic: SEO Objective or Means to an End?

Web presence management provider Conductor, in partnership with research firm Ascend2, releases an SEO research study “Inside Enterprise SEO: SEO Survey Benchmarks for Large Companies.” The survey consists of valuable data for marketers about how SEO has performed for clients in terms of meeting their business goals.

One of the most interesting statistics uncovered by the study is the perceived importance of increasing website traffic by marketing, sales, and business professionals:

Inside Enterprise SEO: SEO Survey Benchmarks for Large Companies

Image source

According to the survey, increasing website traffic is the second most important objective, behind increasing lead generation.

Well, I’m here to tell you that website traffic should never be an exclusive objective of your SEO strategy.

Let me get one thing straight first: boosting website traffic is important in driving more views to your products and services. This way, you increase your chances of getting potential customers to see your offers and sending them down your sales funnel.

However, increasing traffic is never a goal in and of itself.

The only time website traffic can be viewed as a primary goal is if site owners rely on an advertising platform like Google AdSense as their only stream of income for their sites. The more visitors they have on their site, the more impressions they’ll receive on their ad blocks (depending on their placement on the page). However, ad blocks are only profitable if they’re able to drive in millions of visitors a day. And even if they’re making that amount of visitors, it won’t matter if Google penalizes their sites and drops them from search results. Goodbye, steady stream of income…

Ultimately, website traffic is an empty metric. The number of visitors to your site only makes sense if there’s an end-goal to getting visitors to your site in the first place.

There are lots of post on how to generate massive amounts of traffic to your site. However, do you even know why you want to boost website traffic?

There’s a good chance that your answer will consist of other website goals that you need to hit such as increasing signups to your subscription form or  follow you on your social media, to name a few.

The aformentioned goals will help you generate leads that you could turn into customers later on, thus boosting your sales and funds for your business website, something that traffic alone won’t be able to achieve for you.

How to make sense of website traffic?

Therefore, you need to consider increasing your website traffic as a means to an end. When forming an SEO strategy for your website or blog, follow through for your visitors by taking heed of the tips below:

  • Increase e-mail signups. If you are building an e-mail list, make sure that the page that you’re optimizing for will have a visible signup form that’s easy to fill out.  Read more: 27 Tips on How to Get More Email Signups
  • Increase social media followers. Cultivate your visitors by getting them to follow you on Twitter or Google+ so you can send them updates, discounts, and other promos. Read more: Use Social Media to increase your Sales
  • Increase sales. Cut through the chase by offering them your products and services on your optimized page. Read more: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales 

Question:  Do you agree that website traffic should never an SEO goal in and by itself and should only be a means to and end? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

More on website traffic:

Why Am I Not Getting Enough Blog Traffic?

Warning: Hit and Run Traffic Likely to Cause Severe Blog Damage

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, December 1, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-1-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/12/01/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-december-1-2014/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31468 Job board highlightsHow was Thanksgiving weekend? I hope you all went through Black Friday intact and that you’ll have a blast on Cyber Monday.

Here are the job board highlights to help you get more gigs for holiday shopping.

Blogger with UX / Web Design Background

PlaceIt is looking for someone to blog (in English) with a background in web design and/or user experience. You also need to have great writing skills and be able to the research yourself. You should also be able to edit your own work. They will provide the general topic area and you would write within those general constraints.

Travel / Lifestyle Bloggers Needed on Ongoing Basis

Travelog is looking for bloggers to contribute posts to the blog; looking for local experts in following cities: Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore, Bali, Phuket, Chiang Mai.

Tech-Savvy Writer

WhoIsHostingThis.com is one of the worlds most popular web hosting sites. They’re growing fast & looking for new members to join their remote team.

Hunting Bloggers Needed

GoodGameHunting.com is a hunting blog dedicated to providing other hunters with tips, stories, and product reviews to assist with any of their hunting needs. They are looking for bloggers (2-3x/week) mostly about assigned, but also about topics they are able to come up with themselves. You will have to research the topics to write content that provides real value, not a rehash of what you googled on the topic.

Content Marketing Hero @ Repixl

Repixl is looking for someone to create and manage the content on their site, which will cover self-publication as well as sourcing and management of contributing writers and content producers. Some experience of copywriting and digital marketing is preferred.

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15 Best Apps for Bloggers http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/28/15-best-apps-bloggers/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/28/15-best-apps-bloggers/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31451 Editor’s note: This post was written by Cari Bennette, blogger, editing expert at Jet Writers and experienced writer. Her main interests are reading, writing on the Web and assisting blogging newbies.

Incredible apps are revolutionizing the way we write. From dictation devices that transcribe and upload your notes to advanced organizational apps to virtual writer’s meditation centers, writers and bloggers of today have the world at their fingertips.

best apps for bloggers

Check out these 15 best apps for bloggers and writers.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the most popular dictionary in the US. Its app’s “voice-search” feature allows you to look up a word you can’t spell but know how to pronounce.

WordPress is the number one blog publishing site on the internet. Their app gives you editing, optimizing and publishing power on your mobile. It’s a must for anyone who has a blog.

Evernote is the most popular note-taking and organizational app. It helps you keep notes, including web articles, photos and audio recordings, and makes sure you can find them again with a powerful search program. Evernote allows you to sync with your devices, and makes it easy to publish on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Also serves as a budgeting tool, calendar and digitalized business card organizer.

Diigo is a cloud-based researching tool that allows you to highlight and write notes on web pages you’re reading. Works on all major web browsers, iPad and Android. Easily shared, great for collaboration projects or just for your own personal use.

Dragon Dictation brings a whole new world of possibilities to writers. You don’t even have to type anymore. Just dictate your ideas and Dragon Dictation transcribes it into text. It’s five times faster than typing and you can even publish your dictations in text form to emails, SMS, Twitter, Facebook and others.

best apps for bloggers

Help me Write is an app that allows your readers to choose what you’re going to write about next. You put out some ideas for topics and your followers vote on what they want to read about. When you’ve written on the most popular topic, you can send it out to your readers. Rather than looking at trends and graphs, Help me Write gets you direct feedback from your audience.

SelfControl is an application for Macs that allows you to block access to distracting internet sites. You can add sites to a “blacklist” and when you start the timer, those sites will be unavailable to you until the timer goes off.

Spice Mobile is an app for sparking your creativity with over 22,000 quotes from great literature. If you’re stuck in your description of a certain topic, type it in and see a list of at least 5 literary descriptions. Then let your own imagination loose.

Bitly is a must-have for advanced bloggers. It allows you to brand your content and share it on social media. It also tracks the performance of your links with graphs and data based on geography, historic traffic and trends.

Omm Writer is a customized writing center that works for Macs, PCs and iPads. It makes the entire writing process an exercise in personalized aesthetics. Beyond the background color scheme and soothing music you can choose from a variety of personalized fonts and addictive keyboard stroke sounds. Pure bliss.

Snapseed is an advanced and easy-to-use photo editing app to drastically increase the quality of your photos. Cool filters like Retrolux, Drama, Vintage and Grunge take your original photos to publish-worthy levels. Easily shared on Google+ and social media.

Pixlr is a time-tested simple photo editing app that’s compatible with PCs and Macs as well as iOS and Android. Edit and add text to your photos with this super-simple app.

MindMeister features visual mapping of your ideas. Its simple layout allows your ideas to flow. Share your “mind maps” with friends and project collaborators. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and Android.

Pulse is the app by LinkedIn that allows you to read news stories that are relevant to you and your business. Syncs to all your devices and saves your articles for you when you’re out of internet range. It allows you to easily publish to social media including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr.

HootSuite is the number one social media management app. Boasts an easy-to-use and ultra-streamlined setup. Allows you to share posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare. Its autoschedule feature allows you to schedule sharing posts several days ahead.

Other useful tools:

5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles

The Ultimate Resource Guide for New WordPress Bloggers in 2014

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How to Find Guest Blogging Opportunities on Twitter http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/27/find-guest-blogging-opportunities-twitter/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/27/find-guest-blogging-opportunities-twitter/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:45:22 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31313 If you aren’t taking advantage of Twitter to find guest blogging opportunities, you’re missing out. Twitter is a great way to find and make connections with publishing influencers in all kinds of industries.

Recognize the Power of Social Search

Twitter offers its users more chances to connect with people they don’t personally know or share mutual friends with, making it a great platform for locating new guest blogging opportunities. Twitter also offers highly effective, yet simple, search features that can help you connect with the right people.

Additionally, a social search tool like Topsy allows you to search for terms like “guest bloggers,” “looking for writers,” “write for us,” “guest post” and other variations. The results show you who has recently tweeted about seeking guest bloggers, or sites that have recently hosted guest posts and presumably would be open to the idea of hosting more.

topsy-seeking-bloggers

From there, you can tweet back at them or contact them via their website. Take some time to get to know their site before you reach out. Consider whether or not you would be a good fit, and get a feel for the style of the other posts.

Topsy used in combination with powerful search operators can define your searches and yield fruitful results.

Flatter Your Targets with Twitter Lists

Everyone appreciates a little flattery. Create public Twitter lists of your mid- to high-level targets, naming your lists something like “my favorite [insert your industry here] blogs” or “must-read [insert your industry here] blogs.” For example, I gathered together some of my favorite design blogs into this list. And it’s not just because I dream of writing for them someday – it also just makes it super easy to stay on top of my interests and news in the graphic design world!

twitter-lists

Make sure the list is public so that everyone you add will get a Twitter notification when you do so. It’s a compliment to be added to a list like this. Your targets will likely remember you after this act of flattery.

Revisit your list often. Retweet your targets and comment on their recent articles. After a few weeks, reach out to them about a possible guest blogging opportunity. They will likely recognize you from engaging with them on Twitter, and this could very well be the start of a long-lasting relationship.

Become Someone’s “Super Advocate”

The more popular you become, the more guest blogging opportunities you will have. Find someone whose beliefs align well with your own and begin advocating for them via Twitter. Discover this person’s goals and interests. Subscribe to and read their blog, and retweet them often. Be this person’s super advocate.

To be an effective super advocate, don’t expect anything back from the relationship, at least not immediately. The benefits are gradual, but will come over time. Support influential people who are deserving of your loyalty. Keep in mind that they will not always reciprocate your efforts – and that’s OK.

Focus on your goal of advocating for well-deserving, influential people and the outcome will be recognition of your positive reputation and an increased Twitter presence. With more people aware of your growing status as an influential person, guest blogging opportunities will arise.

Make First Contact on Twitter

Before emailing a target to inquire about a guest blogging opportunity, make first contact on Twitter. Whether you flatter them by adding them to a list or frequently retweet them, it’s wise to use Twitter for the initial contact.

Consider asking your target a question which will provoke a response, such as a question about their site or a particular article. Maybe you have a question about sources for an infographic they recently posted, or you disagree with a point they made in a recent post and want to pick the blogger’s brain about it.

If you can’t find their email address (some bloggers are very protective of their inbox!), Twitter is a great way to find out how to get in touch. Once you’ve made the first contact via Twitter, your eventual email inquiry about that guest blogging spot is less likely to go unanswered. You’re not just a random guest post request anymore; you’re someone they recognize from Twitter.

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Watch Shares on Your Own Posts

Carefully watch who shares your writing, whether it’s posts on your own blog or guest posts you’ve done for other sites. If people share it, they obviously liked it or found it valuable. These people could be gateways to your next guest blogging opportunities.

Check out their blog, and ask if they would like you to write for them. This is an effective, yet simple, way to connect with guest blogging opportunities.

Chances are, if they are tweeting out your work, they are avid social curators and will also be tweeting out lots of similar content from a variety of sources. This can be a great way to discover new targets and great reading material.

Connect your way to ideal guest blogging by utilizing the many opportunities Twitter presents. It’s social media’s powerhouse, and it shouldn’t be overlooked as a useful tool to build great blogging relationships.

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Blogging Lessons from Hollywood’s “Angry Black Woman” http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/26/blogging-lessons-hollywoods-angry-black-woman/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/26/blogging-lessons-hollywoods-angry-black-woman/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31424 1024px-Shonda_Rhimes_2008

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Whether or not you’re a fan of her shows, there’s a reason why Shonda Rhimes is one of the most respected producers and writers in Hollywood. Consider the following:

  • Grey’s Anatomy is on its 11th season on TV, with its overall rank in viewership not going lower than 34
  • Scandal won the 2014 Peabody Award for Area of Excellence in television
  • Both of the shows above, along with How to Get Away with Murder, comprises ABC’s Thursday prime-time programming, referred to as “Thank God It’s Thursday”

So what is it about her shows that has demanded the respect of not only the network she’s in – who has given her the platform to produce some of the most compelling shows on TV – but also of the viewers – who seem unable to flip the switch once her shows roll in? Some of the lessons imparted here applies to all walks of life, especially for bloggers who have had trouble meeting their online goals.

Build strong characters

While Grey’s Anatomy is typified by its strong ensemble cast, Rhimes’ two other shows are different. Upon watching them, it is evident that Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder are Kerry Washington and Viola Davis, respectively. Both are highly decorated and accomplished actresses who play their on-screen characters to a tee. It doesn’t hurt that the writing of their characters play to both actresses’ strengths.

What bloggers can learn from this: Develop a clear and distinct voice for your blog to communicate your message effectively. Do you wish to go for humor or do you want to address your audience in a conversational manner? You voice will give flair and personality to your posts, which will help make your content “gold.”

Keep audiences on the edge of their seats

If you’re an avid fan of ShondaLand’s shows, you probably had your mouths agape while watching the finale of Grey’s Anatomy’s sixth season when a civilian started shooting down doctors and nurses in Seattle Grace Hospital. Or you probably were shocked while watching the end of the seventh episode in Scandal’s second season, when the President of the United States was abruptly shot in the head.

As writer, these are just some of the plot twists that Rhimes use to keep viewers engaged build some intrigue for the next episode.

What bloggers can learn from this: Make your blog visitors come back for more! Aside from writing extremely helpful posts on a consistent basis to build a loyal following, try to write serialized content in which you write a series of articles about the same topic for the next few weeks or months. The idea here is to keep them hanging for more!

Let your audience speak up for you

In a New York Times article that attempts to praise her latest show How to Get Away With Murder, writer Alessandra Stanley caused a ruckus in social media when she referred to Rhimes as an “angry black woman.” Even after NYT has also released a retraction statement and Rhimes chimed in on the whole debacle, it is clear that Rhimes didn’t even have to lift a finger to get people to fight her cause. Not that she needed them to, but her excellent body of work speak simply commands respect, something that TV viewers clearly have for her.

What bloggers can learn from this: Gain the trust of your audience. It all starts with strong blog content published on a regular basis that will compel your visitors by way of content strategy. From here, your audience will be at your mercy.

What do you think of this post? Feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below!

More about blogging tips:

4 Striking Things Bloggers Can Do to be True Game Changers & Increase Engagement

3 Habits That Will Make Writing Blog Posts Easier

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5 Best SEO-Friendly WordPress Themes for Bloggers http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/25/5-best-seo-friendly-wordpress-themes-bloggers/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/25/5-best-seo-friendly-wordpress-themes-bloggers/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31428 5 Best SEO-Friendly WordPress Themes for Bloggers

Indeed, “good design is good business.” But what does it mean to have a “good” design? It all goes back to how your website or blog comes off when viewed on a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone, which is imperative in encouraging users to visit and stay on your site. You must ensure that your blog design follows the best practices in user experience and SEO.

For newbie bloggers, learning how to make it look good is just as important as learning how to make a website. Fortunately for WordPress users, a good design is make possible with just a few clicks of a button – no coding necessary! This is because a blog design using the WordPress CMS is determined by the theme you choose.

For “good design” that observe the best practices in both UX and SEO, look no further than these SEO-friendly WordPress themes below!

Note: You may be wondering the exclusion of Thesis and Genesis theme from the list. While both are ideal for use if you want a clean, responsive, and fast-loading blog, both work more as frameworks in a sense that both come with additional features on top on what you already have on your WordPress blog. While ultimately not being themes in the strictest sense, both still come as highly recommended.

Schema

Schema  Fastest SEO Theme Available for WordPress   MyThemeShop

The self-proclaimed “fastest SEO WordPress theme” is the flagship theme of MyThemeShop. According to its Comparison Report, Schema loads much faster than a Genesis-powered site! Along with its comprehensive documentation and powerful custom panel that features the best options from MyThemeShop, Schema is something that you should look deep into to supercharge your WordPress blog.

SEO WP

WordPress   SEO WP — Social Media and Digital Marketing Agency   ThemeForest

SEO WP is recommended to be used by digital marketing and social media agencies to power their sites. However, this shouldn’t dissuade you as a blogger to give this theme a try. The theme makes use of a drag-and-drop feature to design your site, which is perfect for non-designers. Also, SEO WP has the Rankie plugin that allows users to track their website rankings based on the chosen keyword.

Avada

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Avada is one of the most powerful themes available at ThemeForest and not just because of its features that boost your blog’s UX and SEO. At the heart of this theme is the Fusion Core plugin, which allows users to drag and drop elements using its visual builder (Fusion Builder), create custom pages using its Shortcode Generator, come up with a one-page Parallax design, and more.

Read more: WordPress Theme: What Would Make You Pay for a Theme?

Divi

Divi is a powerful WordPress theme that works as a website along with being a blog. Available at Elegant Themes, the theme upholds the name where it can be downloaded from with its sleek design and beautiful pre-made layouts. Designing your site using this theme is also easy using its Divi Builder.

DW Timeline

DW Timeline WordPress Theme   Lovely Templates

This theme is inspired by Facebook’s Timeline layout. DW Timeline is best used for your blog and portfolio site. It runs on Bootstrap Framework, which is commonly used for running responsive and mobile-friendly web design. Aside from its host of features (post-grid option, custom header image and background, HTML5 Boilerplate), DW Timeline is free for download.

Question: Do you have any experience using the SEO-friendly WordPress themes above? Do you know other themes aside from the ones mentioned above that observe the best SEO and UX practices for your blog? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

More about WordPress themes:

First Look at Kirby, WordPress 2010 Default Theme Concept by Ian Stewart

Blogging Pitfalls: Why You Should Update Your Themes (and Use Child Themes)

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3 Burning Questions for Google Inbox App http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/24/3-burning-questions-google-inbox-app/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/24/3-burning-questions-google-inbox-app/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31420 Inbox by Gmail   the inbox that works for you

Google has recently launched the Inbox app for invite only. Upon requesting for an invite, I have received a notification allowing me access to the beta version of Google Inbox on my desktop and smartphone. Here’s what they mentioned on the e-mail:

Your email inbox should help you live and work better, but instead it often buries the important stuff and creates more stress than it relieves. So the Gmail team built a clean, organized, and helpful inbox to work for you.

From here, one can easily assume that the Google Inbox is the logical replacement to its current mailing system, GMail. Still, considering that the app is still on beta mode, nothing’s set on stone for this evolutionary e-mail app from Google. For those who are still waiting for their access after requesting for an invite, below are some of the most important questions raised by this app that you also ought to know.

It is necessary?

Google Inbox app applies the “most important e-mail on top” system (first introduced by the GMail Tabs) through its Bundles feature. What Inbox does is cluster similar and less important e-mails (Promos, Social, Updates, i.e. e-mails that are automatically sent to you) into one entry on your inbox so that e-mail coming from real people appear at the very top and are therefore easily seen.

Read more: Does Forced Email Opt-in Make A Plugin Premium?

Another new feature of Inbox is Highlights, in which preview of the snippet content (text and images) sent by e-mails that are not bundled will be shown on the inbox.

Snippet text refers to the first 40-75 words in the body of your e-mail.With Inbox putting weight on your snippet content, you need to learn how to optimize for them, especially if you’re a marketer. To help you optimize your snippet text – also known as the “second subject line” – check out this infographic.

Given these new features, Google Inbox is necessary in the sense that it intends to make the more meaningful e-mails to appear on top and puts emphasis on snippet content so marketers can optimize their e-mails and increase CTR.

Should you use it?

For the sake of being one of the early adopters of this app, it wouldn’t harm anyone to request for an invite and try out the app for themselves. However, from my experience, Inbox’s layout takes time getting used to, since I have been pretty comfortable using GMail. The new features make a lot of sense for users in the long run, but the layout changes are a drastic departure from how users usually interact with their e-mails. For instance, to clear the bundles from your inbox, you can click the check icon on the right side. You can also snooze e-mails so you can be reminded of them later on.

This is obviously the price people will have to pay for testing out a new product. Some would even say that Inbox is an unnecessary update to the tried-and-true GMail. In my opinion, however, Google will transition users from GMail to Inbox once the kinks from the beta version have been ironed out.

What are the foreseeable effects in the long term?

As mentioned, the biggest impact that Inbox has is how e-mail marketers approach crafting their newsletters and autoresponders for subscribers. While Google Inbox is still on invite-only mode, it’s best to at least understand its features and how you can use them to your advantage.

Below are additional resources to read up on to increase your experience with Google Inbox:

Question: Have you tried out the Google Inbox app? What do you think of the features and layout changes? Do you like or hate them? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

About e-mail marketing:

Why Bloggers can’t Ignore Email (Yet)

Blogging Pitfalls: How to Avoid Email Overload

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5 Tips for Writing a Travel Blog That Stands Out From The Rest http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/21/5-tips-writing-travel-blog-stands-rest/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/21/5-tips-writing-travel-blog-stands-rest/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:34:01 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31413 iStock_000027748068_Small

It seems like almost everyone who goes on vacation writes a blog to document the trip. A blog is a great way for to document your trip, but most of us don’t tend to get a big following.

Aside from family and friends who read the blog mainly to make sure you’re doing all right on your trip, most travel blogs are only updated for a week or two for the duration of the trip and then forgotten.

So what’s the key to making your travel blog stand out? Consider the following expert tips and advice.

When you’re looking to push past an audience that consists of little more than your family and friends, it’s best to learn from the folks who have been there before. Thankfully, successful travel bloggers are often willing to share some of their secrets and let aspiring writers in on how they manage to set themselves apart.

Here are some of the best tips, gathered from multiple sources.

  • Study your audience. Dave Larson, founder of TweetSmarter, believes one of the most valuable things you can do is learn from your readers. If you don’t have many readers, learn from people you follow on social media or interact with on a daily basis. What questions do their readers post, what topics do they find interesting, and what content do they read the most? By answering these three questions, you can usually develop blog posts that appeal to the masses.
  • Find a niche. On the other end of the spectrum, you could consider finding a niche and attempting to add value for a small and particular subsection of travelers or readers. While your audience may be smaller, the fact that it’s a niche probably means there aren’t going to be as many other blogs fighting for your readership. Choose a destination, type of travel, or subject that interests you and go after it full force.For example, if traveling to Thailand interests you, make it your goal to cover everything related to Thailand. You may fail to interest the people that like traveling through Western Europe, but you’ll gain the attention and respect of those who enjoy taking trips in Southeast Asia.
  • Polish your skills. Travel bloggers face a number of challenges. Not only do you have to be willing and able to travel, but you should also be an above-average writer. Jenny McIver of RTWin30Days.com always tells people to focus on polishing their writing skills first. “No one wants to read a boring play-by-play of your trip to Italy. Good writing and interesting destinations keep readers coming back,” she says.
  • Go offline. While Internet marketing and making connections with other blogs and sites are important, don’t underestimate the value of networking off the web. There are plenty of resources, events, and conferences for travel writers. Building an offline community and surrounding yourself with talented people will give your blog a better chance of succeeding. Often, offline connections can pay major dividends online. People are much more likely to help you out after you’ve developed a personal relationship with them.
  • Create a CTA. Once you begin to develop a following for your travel blog, you need to start implementing calls to action. These could be anything from asking your readers to follow you on Twitter to signing up for a newsletter. It doesn’t necessarily matter what it is; just have them do something. It’s important to engage your readers and gain more access into their world. If they simply come, read, and move on, you’re not very likely to develop a loyal, long-term audience.

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Blog away!

These five tips should help you improve your existing travel blog or motivate you to start a proper one. While it’s always good to have your aunt and best friend reading what you write, it’s even better to have thousands of readers across the world.

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SEO Factors to Consider When Registering for a Domain http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/20/seo-factors-consider-registering-domain/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/11/20/seo-factors-consider-registering-domain/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:43:40 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31398 iStock_000019333241_Small

What’s in a domain name, you might ask? While registering for a domain in sites like this one here is a breeze,  choosing of your domain name is the difficult part.

If you already have an established brand, then you’ll probably want to use it as your domain name to maintain consistency with your branding. However, if you’re just starting out and wish to build your online brand as fast as possible, then you need to understand what role search engine optimization (SEO) plays with the domain name you decide to use.

Following the best SEO practices enables you to make the most out of your blog and rank for your chosen keyword. By ranking on the first page of Google search results, you increase your chances of getting found by your target audience.

(If you have yet to choose a dedicated keyword to optimize for your blog, read How to Do Keyword Research: A Beginner’s Guide and learn how do conduct a keyword research the right way!)

But before SEO can change the way you approach building your blog and creating content, you need to apply it on the domain name you plan on using. Below are factors that you need to consider for domain name to maximize performance of your blog.

Memorability

Always go for short and easy to remember domain names, plain and simple. Domain names that are easy to type and recall will drive more traffic to your blog.

Including your keyword

While you want people to easily remember your blog’s URL, you also need to try and incorporate your chosen keyword as much as possible. It doesn’t have the same impact on search results as it did before, but using your keyword as part of your domain name is still one of the many factors that Google uses to determine the ranking of your blog on search result. If you do plan on using your keyword, just make sure that it does not compromise the memorability of your domain.

Additional reading: Blogging Pitfalls: Why Where you Register Your Domain Matters

Go for a .com domain

Aside from the fact that almost 115 million sites (and counting) are registered using this top-level domain (TLD), buying .com domain will help your website become even more memorable. After all, this TLD has existed since 1985 and was the first available domain for purchase in the early ’90s.

If the .com domain is not available, a way around this is to include a hyphen in between words (i.e. your-site.com if yoursite.com is already taken).

However, the problem with hyphenated domain names happens when spelling it out to people (instead of your-site.com, they might enter yourdashsite.com) and that hyphens on URLs are considered spammy.

For more suggestions, read “What to do when the domain name you want is not available.”

Buying other extensions

Once you’ve purchased a .com domain, you will be offered to buy other less-reputable TLDs. (.biz, .info, etc.) for branding purposes and to funnel traffic from these extensions down to the one you originally purchased.

If your intention of buying these domains is to purely for SEO reasons, then it is best to not do this, according to Moz.

However, Hubspot offers a different take about purchasing these types of domains:

“[I]f you’re simply concerned about protecting a branded website address, it’s not a bad idea to pick up related domain extensions and redirect them to your home page, just to avoid brand confusion in the future.”

Care to add on other SEO factors that people must know about before registering for their blog domain name? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

More on blogging:

Blogging Pitfalls: Picking a Bad Domain

Blogging Pitfalls: Why You Need Your Own Domain

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