BloggingPro http://www.bloggingpro.com News, plugins and themes for blogging applications Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 10 Must-Visit Online Resources for Content Writers http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/31/10-must-visit-online-resources-content-writers/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/31/10-must-visit-online-resources-content-writers/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:00:24 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31206 Editor’s note: This post was written by Steve Aedy, ghost blogger and writer for FreshEssays, a community of experts that provide advice on writing and editing. He enjoys blogging, non-fiction writing and good reading. Reach him on Google+.

As the blogging community has grown, so have the number of online tools available to writers. Content writers work in an increasingly competitive field where quality content is expected under tight deadlines. As new trends in writing and blogging develop overnight, it’s important to improve your own writing and be tech-savvy.

online resources content writers

Advanced editing apps, time-management tools, free image databases, pro tips on blogging and writer’s communities can make significant contributions to the quality of your content. While many of these resources are free, some will charge a small fee. Depending on how much work you’re doing as a writer or how much you plan on doing, a small investment in some of these programs may be worth it. Check out these resources for improving your content.

Things Every Writer Should Have

AP Stylebook (Associated Press Stylebook) is the respected standard-setter for writing styles, grammar, punctuation, etc. If you have doubts about capitalization, hyphens, spelling or any other nook and cranny of writing rules, this is your bible. It’s updated annually and is the ultimate reference for writers. Editors and professional writers are well-versed in AP Stylebook rules and regulations. Access to their online version costs $25 annually.

Thesaurus.com is the biggest online thesaurus. Simple and easy-to-use, it’s a tool that every writer needs once in a while. It also provides a dictionary, a quotes list and a translator tab.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary is the perfect resource when you can’t remember the word you’re looking for. Type in a description of what the word means and it provides you a list of possibilities. Genius.

Technical & Editing Aids

Hemingway is an app that highlights grammatical and style errors with color. It’s an easy-to-use app that spots problems such as lengthy sentences, adverbs, long words and passive voice. It also gives you a paragraph, sentence, word and character counter and rates your piece for readability. A great tool for trimming the fat from your writing.

Wordcounter is a tool that counts the number of times the same words appear in your text. No better way to prevent you from becoming repetitive.

Pro Writing Aid is a multi-functional editing tool. Its features include the basics like grammar and spell-check and then delves into things like readability, overused or ineffective words, cliches, paragraph structure improvement and best of all, an online plagiarism detector. Keeps your writing clean and error-free.

MacJournal is a journaling program that allows you to add music, photos and videos to your journal and uploads easily to Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal, Tumblr and others. It also includes a timer to monitor how long you’ve been writing and fun personalized features like choosing a color to suit your mood or the tone of an entry.

SmartEdit is an advanced editing tool that runs 20 different checks on your text for things like repeated phrases and words, adverbs, redundancies, cliches, misused words, quote use, punctuation and more. Works for Macs and Windows. It offers a ten-day free trial, after which you can purchase one of its two versions for $57 or $67.

Draft has an incredible amount of features. Ready for a shortlist?

  • Saves and protects old versions of your documents from overwrites so you never lose content.
  • Offers copy-editing services at the click of a button.
  • Provides a visual comparison of different drafts using color-coding.
  • Imports documents from Dropbox, Evernote, Box and Google Drive.
  • Publishes directly to WordPress, Tumblr, Ghost, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Basecamp.
  • Offers audio/video transcription tools.
  • Contains a “Simpify” button to eliminate wordiness.
  • And perhaps the most unique is the Hemingway mode that removes your ability to hit the delete button, so you can free-write without editing, like writing on paper.

Time-Management

Rescue Time is a program that tracks your activities on your computer. You can set it to block time-sucking or distracting websites (aka Facebook). It measures the amount of time you’ve spent on different activities such as writing, emailing, playing games, etc. It breaks down your activities into graphs and numbers, so you can get a clear picture of how you’re spending your time. A great time-management tool for those in need of a little discipline.

Blogging

Kikolani is a blog written by professional content writer Kristi Hines. Check out her advice to content writers including beginner-advanced tips for bloggers from creating images for your blog posts to content marketing.

WordPress Tips

online resources content writers

Beginner’s Guide for WordPress is a great primer source for WordPress users. Hundreds of articles on everything from starting your first WordPress blog to strategies to increase email subscribers to getting Google’s Verified Authorship for your blog. Get schooled in WordPress from the pros!

Communities

Scribophile is an online writer’s community with thousands of members. It works on the “karma” system where you must give feedback on someone else’s writing in order to receive feedback for your own. Its “spotlight” system moves your work through a queue, so that it eventually receives the “spotlight” and stays there until a certain number of feedbacks have been reached. It also features advice from professional writers and tips for freelancers. Its basic services are free and premium services run you $9/month or $65/year.

Free Images

Flickr Creative Commons license is a database of free photos that you can use for your blog posts.

Freedigitalphotos.net is another great source of free photos and illustrations. Reasonably priced larger images available as well.

Adopting some (or all) of these resources will not only improve your content, but help keep you up-to-date with new industry standards. Blogging has introduced a new form of writing and the key to successful content writing is staying current. While some of the resources require time to get used to, the end result can save time and improve your content- a total win-win. Happy blogging!

More blogging tools to help you:

5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles
11 Must-Have WordPress Plugins Every Modern Blogger Needs for that Competitive Edge
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A Guide to Google Ad Grants for Non-Profit Organizations http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/30/guide-google-ad-grants-non-profit-organizations/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/30/guide-google-ad-grants-non-profit-organizations/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31210 Many bloggers rely on Google ads to make gain traffic and earn money. The same thing applies to non-profit organizations, specifically in terms of exposure. The problem is that the process is not cheap. In fact, advertising and marketing can be quite expensive, especially for certain keywords. If you’re a non-profit organization, or are in involved in one, there is something that can help you a lot: Google Ad Grants.

google ad grants non profit organizations

Google has always said they weren’t evil, although this stance has been questioned a lot in the past years. While some things may still be up in the air in this regard, Google Ad Grants for non-profit organizations certainly gives ‘good’ points to the company.

What exactly is Google Ad Grants?

It is the non-profit branch of Google AdWords. As the program’s name says, it only applies to non-profits. The program awards $10,000 of Google AdWords advertising per month. That is a sum that will definitely boost a non-profit’s advertising campaign!

Can any non-profit qualify?

There is a process that a non-profit organization has to go through to become part of Google Ad Grants. While it may seem daunting at first glance, it is rather simple if you break down the requirements and steps.

The guys at WhoIsHostingThis have put together an infographic that does just that. And I have to say, they did a really good job presenting the information – from requirements to qualify to the process to upgrading the grant amount. Even I, who has no clue about non-profits and the Google Ad a Grants program was able to figure out the whole process.

Anyone interested in participating in the Google Ad Grants program, this is a must-read.

Google Ad Grants non profit organizations

Also read:

4 Reasons Why In-Image Advertising Converts Better Than Traditional Banner Ads
The Ultimate Resource Guide for New WordPress Bloggers in 2014
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Twitter Versus Facebook: Marketing for Bloggers http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/30/twitter-versus-facebook-marketing-bloggers/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/30/twitter-versus-facebook-marketing-bloggers/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31198 Editor’s note: This post was written by Matthew, who can be found on the Devumi Social Media Marketing Blog. You can find him there every Friday and Wednesday talking about what’s happening in the online worlds of YouTube, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Join the Devumi Gorilla on Twitter for news and commentary as it happens!

twitter faces facebook

Facebook’s organic reach amongst businesses, blogs, and even friends have been dying a very noticeable death as of late. Fewer and fewer businesses are finding themselves in the Newsfeeds of their fans as Facebook continues to push them out in order to bring them back in with paid advertising.

In essence, Facebook made those doing online marketing believe that they had to come join them…and maybe buy a few ads. Now they’re telling them that they still have to join, and they have to pay for ads to get noticed. A classic scam if I ever read one.

This is causing social media savvy businesses and bloggers to focus more of their time, money, and energy on Twitter content marketing. This article will look further into why this is happening, and explain tactics that will help you succeed.

More evidence of the death of Facebook organic reach

Facebook’s PR folks seem to have a spin for everything when it comes to words. Numbers, however, are hard to ignore. Numbers turned into graphs? Those are even easier to understand, let this graph from social@Ogilvy show you something:

9k1dK

Everyone has seen their reach cut in half. Those are rough numbers for sure, but the fans are still interacting, right? Right?!?

Wrong. Martin Beck of Marketing Land examined some simple A/B testing during the 2014 World Cup. The test was conducted by Snickers who sent out the exact same photo, with similar text, at the exact same time on both Twitter and Facebook. Here’s what happened:

  • Snickers Facebook page had 11 million likes.
  • Snickers Twitter account had 54,000 followers.
  • The Facebook status had less than 5,000 likes, shares, and comments.
  • The tweet had 39,000 retweets, and 17,000 favorites.

Add the retweets and favorites together and you’ve got 56,000 fan interactions on Twitter versus under 5,000 on Facebook.

Later in the post they do another A/B test with a different brand during the 2014 World Cup. Maybe Snickers fans aren’t very Facebook oriented? Nope, different brand, same results.

Trident Gum did their A/B test same with with the same message in a tweet and a Facebook post at the same time:

  • Trident’s Facebook page had 13 million likes.
  • Trident’s Twitter account had 33,000 followers.
  • The Facebook post had a total of less than 100 likes, shares, and comments.
  • The tweet had 1,500 retweets, and 790 favorites.

How anyone can ignore those numbers, or put a positive spin on them, is beyond me. They clearly illustrate not only the fact that your message is going to fewer people, but that they’re interacting with your content less and less.

What can you do to maximize your Twitter outreach

If you’re looking to try viral marketing, where many people rapidly spread your message (which Twitter specializes in), you’ll need to start reaching out to those in your industry with a large and established following. These are ‘crowd influencers,’ and they can be your best new friends.

You can find them in a number of ways. The easiest is to take the keywords from your blog that bring visitors in, doing a search for them on Twitter, and seeing who comes up. You’ll find people using those words in conversations. Follow anyone who’s relevant to your brand.

Create a list of crowd influencers

As you’re doing this, create a list of those who are the most relevant to your blog with large followings. You need to start interacting with them: follow them if you haven’t already, retweet their tweets, send them messages, give them @mentions when you send out their content. Work at getting their attention until you have it!

A real-world way to do this is at trade shows and conferences. You will find many key crowd influencers at these gatherings. Have your smartphone at the ready to follow one another, and make sure your business cards features your @UserName prominently. These kinds of meetings may be the best moments you have when it comes to getting the favor of crowd influencers.

Tweet out the best, and most current, content

Twitter thrives on excellent, real-time content. This content should closely follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of the content you share either isn’t your own, or isn’t a marketing message. That remaining 20% is where your marketing message will fit in.

The easiest way to get your marketing message out there is via content creation. Write blog posts, take pictures, creates GIFs, shoot a video – and above all be entertaining or useful in some way.

Obviously bloggers will have an easy time with this – your goal is to create content. For bonus points, be sure to embed images from your blog posts into the tweet.

Have a content schedule for your tweets

If you’re a successful blogger, you likely already have a content schedule for your posts. You’ve seen how successful this has made you, and you need to bring this same consistency to Twitter. While Twitter is a real-time marketing platform, no one likes the account that swoops in for one big event and then flies off again.

To work on your consistency, TweetDeck and Hootsuite are your two main tools. I have two branded accounts that I work with. Every Monday I sit down to schedule out the tweets for the week using both tools. It takes about 2 hours for each one. I then come back and spend about half an hour each day following up on messages. A blogger can follow a similar time investment schedule.

Twitter is the new home of organic outreach

Facebook had a good run, but it is now Twitter’s time for anyone looking to do anything with social media beyond keeping in touch with their mom or high school friends. Investing more time in Twitter’s organic reach is going to help your blog grow, put you in touch with key crowd influencers, and prevent you from wasting your time on Facebook!

Image credit to Wikimedia Commons.

Also read: Content Curation: Blogging’s Low-Hanging Fruit

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The Vital Foundations for Success Every Online Startup Needs to Secure & Master http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/29/foundations-for-online-startup-success/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/29/foundations-for-online-startup-success/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:42:30 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31201 Launching a winning startup goes well beyond simply having an ingenious product, service or invention. In a noisy online world crowded with dozens of new businesses being launched each day and new apps and technologies entering the marketplace there’s no guarantee that your perfect idea with get the attention it deserves or within reasonable timing. This leads many entrepreneurs to not only dwell on or become complacent solely within the scope of product development but also execute marketing plans and growth and culture development with precision and well thought out plans.

online startup strategies

The startup environment is unpredictable and unforgiving but at the same time promises to liberate the victorious beyond their wildest dreams. One has to be vigilant as preparations are made for growth, acquiring customers and managing the daily activities necessary for support.

Here are the key areas that online startups need to focus on to ensure the best chance for survival and success.

The New Age of Marketing

A majority of startups are not richly funded by A-list investors and will need to pay very close attention to cash flow while taking advantage of low cost and sometimes free strategies whenever possible. While some startups will have financial support it is best practice in keeping spending in check and within reasonable levels; and not become a spendthrift because of the illusion of availability of cash. The perfect mindset is one that creates a business ready for tough times and unexpected challenges.

The new age of marketing can certainly be a zero-cost venture as we’ve witnessed with successes such as Dropbox and payment processor Square, who essentially gave away something users found useful to acquire millions of signups and paying customers. Dropbox in particular leveraged the power of freebies and rewarded brand advocates who referred the most customers with valuable cloud storage while square’s mobile card readers were offered for free making the barriers for retailers to begin using their product practically nonexistent – a sacrifice that paid off in the end. These marketing strategies popularly known as growth hacking revolutionized the way we market our businesses dropping the need for million dollar budgets.

dropbox growth hacking

Here’s what your general approach to marketing should be as a startup:

Leveraging marketing platforms – Smart entrepreneurs use tools that multiply effort to reach million-strong audiences; and the introduction of marketing automation tools as well as management platforms have revolutionized marketing and is comparable to the impact of the invention of the wheel in human society. Products such as Hootsuite, Trello, Moz and 99DollarSocial are all examples of products that help to organize your marketing team and activities, monitor and manage connections with customers on social media, run killer SEO campaigns and outsource important tasks. 99DollarSocial in particular allows businesses to delegate the repetitive and labor intensive tasks of social media marketing and management to their team of trained and proven professionals. While their teams manage the daily social tasks such as responding to followers, posting updates and monitoring campaigns, startups can focus on other activities necessary for growth; freeing up time for the entrepreneur to focus on bringing visions to reality.

Perfect content marketingContent marketing is the primary marketing activity driving business on the web and those who create the most engaging and widely distributed content are increasing sales and growing their business. Whether it’s through a blog, YouTube or a social network, your content strategy has to be on point and geared towards serving and appealing to your target audience on the most relevant channels. Not to mention also that inbound marketing is about half the cost of outbound strategies.

Master the art of building relationships – Relationship building is not only important for acquiring new clients but also reaching the right investors and professionals to invest in your ideas and collaborate to build better products and reach wider audiences.

The new age of marketing allows startups to leverage technology at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods, with tools for greater accountability and the ability to launch more customized and targeted campaigns.

Maintaining High Availability for Services

If you’re running an online startup delivering products or services that demand high quality and capacity servers, whether it’s for running the backend of mobile apps or delivering a large scale web app, you’ll need a secure method of guaranteeing uptime and availability for your users. In the face of recent web security threats, denial of service (DDoS) attacks and other intrusive attacks pose serious threats to your main bread and butter as attacks can easily take your business offline. The intensity of DDoS attacks alone have increased tenfold with attacks ranging in bandwidth around 15 Gbps in 2013 to now as high 180 Gbps; enough to take down an entire web host provider.

DDoS attack histroy

Through Application Delivery Controllers, threat mitigation providers offer businesses the 3 main areas for maintaining availability covering security, through sophisticated and centralized Web Application Firewalls, speed, delivered via global Content Delivery Networks and load distribution which is handled by a combination of load balancing and failover services.

Notably for the software as a service startup, load balancing and failover will ensure that a backup server is always available whenever there is a network outage or application failure while also distributing load across multiple servers and data centers favoring faster data pathways to guarantee maximum speed and efficiency. This results in the best experiences for users as apps are delivered on demand and at enjoyable speeds.

Web security providers allow startups to leverage high cost enterprise grade security and application delivery infrastructure at a fraction of the cost to acquire the equipment and staff themselves. This means that entrepreneurs can direct valuable cash and attention to other vital areas of the business while guaranteeing uptime for critical services.

How to Position for Growth

It’s safe to say that the average entrepreneur is interested in growth and wants to see their business go from 100 users to 100,000. However, growth favors those who are well prepared with systems, processes and staff poised, matured and ready to take on greater demand and innovate. The startup mindset necessary here is to ensure that:

Workflows and processes are in motion – Working processes mean that there’s roadmap laid for every task and scenario your team will and may face with established guidelines on how to handle each situation. This means that founders can focus on business development and making products better versus being bogged down with day to day maintenance activities. The business needs to be able to run almost on autopilot without input from the leader on every single decision.

The business can adapt to unexpected demand – Whatever capacity your market requires from you now, ensure that you have a plan to handle 100 times that when needed; whether it’s through renting additional server space on demand or quickly expanding your team. Coverage from a major news site can create the influx of customers necessary to either grow or break your business so make preparations.

Have an ability to identify growth opportunities – Leaders should not say yes to every offer but must evaluate the perfect few deals that are vital for success. As a startup, it will be tempting to latch onto every opportunity that becomes available but you cannot say yes to all as you’ll quickly find yourself bogged down, stretched thin beyond your limits and failing as you’re no longer focused and concentrating your energy. Evaluate, negotiate and wait for the best opportunities.

To conclude, as you position your startup for online success, identify the necessary characteristics and foundations you need to secure for reaching your goals. A focus on innovative marketing, envisioning and preparing for growth and employing systems that guarantee deliverability of your services will be the best starting point for your long-term success.

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The Science Behind Highly Effective Blog Posts http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/29/science-behind-highly-effective-blog-posts/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/29/science-behind-highly-effective-blog-posts/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:09 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31189 The Science Behind Highly Effective Blog Posts

A blog post is made up of different components that make up a unified whole. If the parts are clicking on all cylinders, then expect the blog post to be widely read are shared by users. If not, then the post won’t make the same impact.

In order to consistently publish high-quality on your blog, you need to understand how to optimize the different parts of a blog post. To further help you make these parts even better, below are statistics and concepts that support why and how you should tweak the parts of the post to make them even better.

Header: 80/20 Rule Still Rules

On average, 8 out of 10 will be reading your blog headline but only 2 out of 10 will click through the title and read the article, according to CopyBlogger.

Because of this very reason, the header  is arguably the most important part of your blog post. Its responsibility is to encourage users to click through and read your article.  This is evident when your post starts appearing on search results or is shared on social media.

One of the sites who have mastered the art of click-bait headlines is Upworthy.

In this Facebook post by this viral news aggregation site, the headline makes great use of the audience’s curiosity to offer a refreshing take about a topic that’s been discussed to death. As a result, this has not only encouraged clicks to view the content, but also amassed thousands of likes, shares, and comments from their fans. Skimming through their other posts in Facebook yields the same results in terms of social proof, which goes to show that their approach to composing headlines works.

In other words, you need to strive to make your headline as a way to draw attention and drive interest to your blog content in order to break through the 80/20 average. If you want to learn how to use “curiosity gap headline” tactic to your blog, read this article by FastCoDesign about Upworthy’s headlines. For more headline strategies to employ on your blog posts, read this post by Buffer.

Post length: Longer is Better

 

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Source

According to separate studies conducted by QuickSprout and SerpIQ, 1,500 words or more is the sweet spot for the number of words in a blog post. Consider:

  • The top 10 search results has at least 2,000 words. The higher the  SERP of the page, the more words there are, going as high as 2,450 words (SerpIQ)
  • Based off a Moz test, more words garner more backlinks (Quicksprout)
  • Posts with more than 1,500 words are shared more in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (Quicksprout)

Keep in mind that, while more words in your blog posts will give you more opportunities to rank on search engines and to be shared on social media, you must still be mindful of the post’s quality and how well-written it is. Speaking of…

Users only read 1/5 of your blog post

A case study by the Nielsen Norman Group reveals that users realistically read 20% of a blog post’s content. While the study was conducted in 2008, there’s still a good chance that this statistic stands even today. Therefore, while post length helps you rank and get shared, it doesn’t necessarily push visitors all the way to the end of the post.

So what’s the cure to get more people to read all that you’ve written on your post?

  • Characters per line – In essence, the less characters there is in a line of your blog post, the easier it is for readers to process and read the content. This has to do with the font size and the content width. In order to optimize both elements of your blog post, go to Golden Ratio Typography Calculator and find out the best measurements for both to get the optimum characters per line.
  • Divide posts into subheads – Compartmentalize the information on your post by separating each section using subheadings.
  • Go visual – Use high-quality images related to the article to cut through the wall of text  and give readers alternative content in your post.
  • Encourage action – Ideally, your blog post must always end with a call to action. This pushes readers to take part with your article, from commenting about what you’ve just written or getting them to purchase a product from you. Read “The One Crucial Almost Every Other Blog Is Missing” for more information.

Did we miss out on any other crucial stat that bloggers need to know in order to write more effective blog posts? Fill us in by commenting below!

More on blog statistics:

5 Ways Your Stats Are Becoming Less Useful

Who’s Blogging? Just the Facts Ma’am

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Content Curation: Blogging’s Low-Hanging Fruit http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/27/content-curation-bloggings-low-hanging-fruit/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/27/content-curation-bloggings-low-hanging-fruit/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31179 cherries-178148_1280

Low-hanging fruit is a term used primarily by marketers to describe high-reward goals that are done with little effort. This is literally like plucking the juiciest and most succulent fruit within your reach from a tree. The ‘fruit,’ in this case, depends on the goals you want to achieve with the project at hand.

With blogging, one of the most common goals is the constant creation of high-quality content. It is through this single goal that other objectives, such as increase of ROI (rate of investment), sales, and profit, are made possible.

One of blogging’s lowest hanging fruits is content curation.

What is content curation?

This type of blog post features links to web pages about a topic. It is similar to how an art curator reaches out to different artists and asks to have their artworks commissioned for a show.

An example of a content curation post is the “5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles” from this site. The post showcases the helpful tools that people can use to compose high-quality articles on their blogs.

The author, in this case, does not necessarily have to come with up original content to be featured on the post. Instead, his responsibility is to showcase and make sense of the featured existing resources that will help readers learn more about the topic of writing more engaging blog content.

Why content curation?

If you’re not doing content curation on your own blog, here are reasons why you should perform this fast and easy low-hanging fruit:

  • Content already exists – Instead of writing up an article from the ground up, you let the curated content do the talking for you. Just add a short description to each resource and you’re good to go.
  • Increase authority within your niche – By highlighting the best and effective resources in your post, you also get to show your knowledge about the tools for a particular topic.
  • Great outreach method – Contact the site owners whose web pages you featured on your post and let me know that you made a post about them. This can lead to the post being promoted by the site owners themselves. Better yet, you can make a connection with them that you can leverage further later on!

How to do content curation?

Below is the basic process on how you should proceed with curating content for a blog post.

Narrow down your topic related to your niche

Let’s say you own an online marketing blog. Unless they also double as a designer or photographer, one of the biggest problems that marketers have when creating blog posts for their sites is looking for high-quality free stock images.

Search for resources that will be used as resources

One of the best places to look for content to curate on just about any topic is Quora, one of the  most popular Q&A sites. Perform a search about your topic and the site will return you relevant questions that have been answered by users. In our example, doing a search using the query ‘free stock images’ yielded these results:

(4) Search - free stock images - Quora 2014-10-28 09-28-57 (4) Where can I find FREE stock images- - Quora 2014-10-28 09-30-14

From here, you already have seven resources that you can feature on your post about where to get free stock images! Browsing down the questions will also show you more links to other websites that you can include in the existing list.

Write the article

The tricky part now is to tie everything together with your writing. This wouldn’t be much of a problem since the resources speak for themselves.  However, it is still best if you visit each site and describe on the post how your readers can download or get the free images from there to be used in their blogs.

Now that we’ve described content curation, here’s an exercise you can do on your own blog…

Follow the process of content curation and create a post about the sites where bloggers can get high-quality free stock images. Once you’ve written and promoted it, let us know whether or not the post helped you achieved your goals with the little effort that you did. Also, I highly encourage that you share the curated post you’ve made about the free stock images along with your comments.

More on blogging:

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

3 Simple Things to Do to Grow Your Reader Base

 

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, October 27, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/27/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-27-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/27/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-27-2014/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:00:48 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31177 Job board highlightsHere are the job board highlights to help you get a good start this week.

Good luck!

Creative Copywriter

Creative Copy Writer for a large mattress company with two channels, retail and wholesale. Must have a superior command of the English language with a strong and convincing writing style. Mattresses are hard to sell and the market is a sea of sameness! Looking for a way to continue to rise above the fray.

Science and Technology Writer

The Science and Technology Writer will create written scientific materials for a wide range of marketing, research, and development purposes. Specific responsibilities include:

-Writing up to 6 blog posts (1-3 pages long), 1 White Paper, and 1 case study monthly.
-Writing in great detail for longer papers, and concisely summarizing large quantities of content for shorter pieces.

News Site Editor

A fast-growing education news site is looking for an editor who can assign and edit stories for iSchoolGuide as well as manage the homepage. Editor should have an interest in breaking and trending news and be able to offer creative angles that attract attention and gain traffic.

Transportation Blogger

Company is looking for a blogger that has knowledge about or can obtain knowledge of the freight transportation/trucking industry. They require weekly industry specific articles of 500-700 words. This will be a long term contract and They have fast/easy payment terms via PayPal.

Health and Nutrition Writer

Health Ambition is a popular health and nutrition blog with over 250,000 visitors per month. They are looking to expand their team of writers with more health experts. Please only apply if you are a genuine health expert and have written about health and nutrition before.

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4 Striking Things Bloggers Can Do to be True Game Changers & Increase Engagement http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/24/how-bloggers-increase-engagement/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/24/how-bloggers-increase-engagement/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 22:32:45 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31168 There are now almost 300 million blogs in existence; the web has become a noisy and crowded place with everyone trying to tell their own version of events and stories. As bloggers, it’s tough and not only are we competing with fellow bloggers but now also the corporate world with businesses with budgets capable of hiring the best talent to create content, develop killer sites and with available cash to push distribution through the most popular networks. At the same time, do not allow a seemingly saturated online market to fool you. While there is chaos and noise abound with a crowded pool of so-called experts, the one thing that has not saturated the market is authenticity and consistently high quality content. The vast majority of blogs and online marketing professionals you’ll come across are far from perfect with many of them mediocre. Within every niche there exists grand opportunities to do things better than the majority and make a name for yourself in your own cozy niche.

blogger-success

Therefore, in the midst of the noise, how do you stand out from the crowd and be seen and heard? How can bloggers make their mark now and for the future? Here are 4 tips to help you get started.

Blogging Like It’s Business

Running a blog like it’s a business isn’t about having a cool business name, a corporate bank account or products and services to sell. It’s about the processes you put in place and stick with to have your blog running like a well oiled machine. It’s about the reputation you build whether through services or the high value content you’re providing to your community. It’s what you do every single day that counts and mastering a daily routine and the business process is what’s going to guarantee your long-term success; and not a haphazard  approach where you’re trying some new magic traffic formula every week.

Your blogging business needs:

  • A long-term vision of what will define your success. Whether it’s writing 20 high quality articles a month, connecting with 10 new people everyday or selling “x” amount of consultation sessions as a result of your blogging activities. Your path needs to defined, visible in front of you and yet, not set in stone.
  • Document a basic marketing plan that supports these goals.
  • Develop your daily routine for accomplishing those targets, stick to it and form new habits of daily accomplishment. The stronger this process is and the more ingrained your attitude towards meaningful work is, the better your chances of achieving something worthwhile.

It’s about accountability to yourself and your business.

Mastering Responsive Communication

The more you appreciate that as a blogger, you are in service to your audience, the faster you’ll grow as you act on that. Part of that service is communicating and engaging your audience proactively and consistently. For instance, someone comments on your blog, leave quick and meaningful replies, look for opportunities to help users online without expecting anything in return, whether it’s in relation to your blog and business or not – it’s about being human. The blogger who continues to be genuinely present within the online community will be on readers’ radar and will have some weight in the market.

In addition, the modern blogger has to make use of tools in the marketplace that will help to get things done more efficiently. A free Twitter community management tool like Commun.it or a premium social media management service like Hootsuite will be vital tools which will allow you to schedule posts and other activities and use automation to enhance your responsiveness and presence. Or to even make a greater impact, use a meeting service like ClickMeeting to facilitate high quality online meetings where you can completely brand the meeting experience as you like and really deliver a stellar service especially if you’re an online consultant who blogs. It’s all about going a step further, thinking beyond the box and giving your audience and clients unique and valuable experiences.

Appreciate the New Era of Content Marketing

Content marketing is no longer about simply publishing as many blog posts as you can and mass share them on all social networks in existence. That really isn’t mature content marketing and market demand will punish the ill-prepared and complacent blogger who is stuck in that lazy mode of marketing.

Successful content marketing demands:

  • Creating rich experiences on all devices, especially for mobile. Blogs must at least be mobile responsive.
  • Content has to be the right mix of text, images, video and audio. Rich media has proven to perform better than stale text and readers are more responsive to content with that visual appeal.
  • Forget blog post word limits. A focus on this metric has done more harm than good as it shifts bloggers’ focus from getting to the point and sincerely providing something of value to worrying about whether or not my article is long enough. Word count is a distraction and in reality if your ideas are best delivered in 300 words, then that’s what you should stick to. Focus on what the content needs to accomplish and be smart about it.

Master Distribution Channels

There’s a saying that goes “content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” This essentially means that regardless of how good your content is, if you don’t have a method for attracting readers and gaining reach you’re wasting time and knowledge. Regardless of whether you’re utilizing paid distribution through Facebook and Twitter ads or going a strictly organic route, you’ll need to understand how the channels work and what makes users on each network tick and engage. Mastering distribution is not just running ads but having a deep appreciation of why someone would click your links on Twitter versus following you on Instagram. Each network has its own language and cannot be treated with a general approach – a strategy that works for one may result in failure on another.

A common error bloggers make is posting the same identical messages on all networks. Let’s say a new blog post is published, oftentimes bloggers use one description for every network the content is being shared on, not realizing that different combinations of text and visuals has to be unique for each network’s audience. As you tailor content for each network you’ll experience an improvement in clickthrough on each.

To conclude, the game changing blogger is one who sticks to a daily process, continuously studies the market and adapts, pushes the limit on quality where content is concerned while consistently treating online relationships with sincerity and care. These are the foundations to not only successful blogging but every online venture you can imagine.

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Ever Wonder About ccTLDs and Their Locations/Restrictions? http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/24/cctld-guide/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/24/cctld-guide/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:30:09 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31161 When talking about domains, .com, .org, .edu, and .gov are the ones that we usually hear about. But what about CcTLDs, or Country Code Top-Level Domains? These domains are specific to a country or territory, with some restrictions applied.

cctld

If you’ve ever wondered about CcTLDs and/or you’ve been considering getting one, here’s a handy tool that you can use as a springboard.

At the very least, you can have fun clicking on a country and learning details about its domains, subdomains, prices, etc.

This tool was created by Namecheap

Also read: The 3 Laws Of Blog Domains: Ignore Them At Your Own Risk
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5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/23/free-blogging-tools-publish-better-articles/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/23/free-blogging-tools-publish-better-articles/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31107 5 Free Blogging Tools To Help You Publish Better Articles

The one thing that separates a terrible blog from a great one are high-quality articles. In order to drive more traffic to your blog, as well as maintain a readership who will constantly engage and chip in with their two cents, you need to be able to draw them first with the articles you publish.

If your content is shallow, published sparingly, difficult to find online, and mentions the things that have already been said online, then expect no visitors and no readership. Therefore, you must strive to publish articles on a consistent basis that provide great insight about your niche and can easily be found. Below are free blogging tools to help you achieve these goals.

Übersuggest

Keyword suggestion tool — Google suggest scraper — Übersuggest

When writing a blog post. it is important to choose the appropriate keyword to use and optimize for. This is so the page can rank for its assigned keyword on search engine, when optimized correctly, for added traffic. While Google Keyword Planner provides you the relevant data about keyword to determine whether to optimize for it or not, it does not give you additional keywords suggestions to use. With Übersuggest, aptly named ‘Suggest on steroids,’ you can choose from equally relevant keywords based on Google user queries.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Content Idea Generator   Portent

The difficulty of writing articles regularly is having to come up with new topics to discuss in your niche. It will come to a point that you’ll have discussed everything that needs to write about the subject matter that coming up with new and refreshing topics has become a chore. Portent’s Content Idea Generator changes all that by automatically generating a really unique idea for your keyword or choice of topic that you can turn into an article. If you’re not satisfied with the first result, you can keep refreshing the result for new ideas.

AppSumo

BuzzSumo

Blogging sometimes requires research on your part to support the idea you’re presenting in your article. This includes featuring posts about your niche from other sites to be used as resources or serve as inspiration to an altogether different topic. Instead of running a search query on Google, go straight to the most shared web pages on social media with AppSumo. You can filter the results on the left side of the page to get specific content that matches your need. AppSumo is great when you’re writing weekly round-up posts about the best content within your niche or topic.

WordPress Editorial Calendar

 

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Blogging requires commitment and dedication from writers. They must commit to a fixed schedule and dedicate themselves to publishing articles based on that schedule. The problem most bloggers face is the lack of foresight on what articles to write the next week and the week after. With the WordPress Editorial Calendar, bloggers will have an interactive calendar in their dashboard that organizes their content publishing schedule for the next few months, if not the whole year. From the calendar, you can drag and drop post to new dates or edit articles on the go.

Outbrain

The Most Trusted Content Discovery Platform   Outbrain

Promoting your content through different online channels can be time-consuming. One way of automatically getting your content shown at different sites is by signing up for an account at Outbrain and enter the blog that you want to promote on other sites. By doing so, your blog will appear at sites related to your niche for increased clicks to your web page. At the same time, related content from other sites will also appear on your blog posts for greater engagement with your audience.

Are they other free blogging tools to help writers produce higher quality articles? Share these tools by commenting below!

More on free blogging tools:

10 Free Blogging Tools I Can’t Live Without

10 Essential Blogging Tools

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WIN 2 Developer Subscriptions From Elegant Themes [#Giveaway] http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/22/elegant-themes-monarch-giveaway/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/22/elegant-themes-monarch-giveaway/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31146 Elegant themes monarch

New themes are always welcome, especially if they look good and they have the functionalities that modern designers and bloggers want. When it comes to theme providers, one of the most popular is Elegant Themes, and we have partnered up with them to celebrate the release of their new theme Monarch.

Take a look at some of Monarch’s features, and you’ll want to give it a go for sure.

monarch-dashboard monarch-design monarch-logo-overlay monarch-popups monarch-sidebar monarch-stats

Here’s an explainer video to give you more information.

Monarch giveaway

The guys at Elegant Themes are feeling generous with the launch of Monarch, so they are giving away TWO Developer subscription packages, valued at $89 each.

Elegant Themes Monarch

All you need to do is tweet (you can do so once a day, every day, till the giveaway ends. To earn more points and increase your chances of winning, you can also go the extra mile and leave a comment plus more. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below, to find out how you can get more points.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER
The giveaway starts today, October 22 (Wednesday) and ends on October 26 (Sunday). The winners will be announced on October 27 (Monday).

Tweet, comment, share, and follow away!

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11 Must-Have WordPress Plugins Every Modern Blogger Needs for that Competitive Edge http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/best-wordpress-plugins-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/best-wordpress-plugins-2014/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:26:00 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31130 With tens of thousands of plugins in the WordPress.org repository, and growing, selecting the right plugins to get the job done can be confusing, especially for new bloggers. At the same time I’ve realized that once you’re seasoned and have tried and tested dozens of plugins, you’ll tend to settle with a few that will almost always get the job done right without any issues.

best wordpress plugins

While there are thousands of great plugins available, there are only a few in my opinion that have and will continue to stand the test of time as web user experience design gets more complex and users demand richer experiences. These plugins will give you great control over how you create and promote your content as well as how effective you are at interacting and getting valuable signups and input from your audience – which is what will drive your blog’s success.

Here are some powerful plugins that are guaranteed to give you that edge you’re looking for and the longevity you need.

Sumome Plugins

Sumome is actually a combination of 10 plugins that work to help you achieve everything you need to on your blog. The developer covers email marketing, lead generation, conversion and user behavior tracking, social sharing, form building and even advanced analytics that delve deeper into user behavior. They’re offering a complete package of free plugins that accomplish tasks you would normally have to pay for at that quality.

My favorite plugins in the bunch are the List Builder, Heat Maps and Content Analytics.

Content Analytics: Their Content Analytics plugin goes a step further than simply tallying user visits and time spent on site but shows you how readers are interacting with your content by showing precisely where they stop reading, how many of them complete articles and reports to show your most engaged content. Very powerful for tweaking where you place your call to action buttons and other content.

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List Builder: List Builder is a super simple email signup pop-up plugin that integrates with popular email marketing services like MailChimp, GetResponse and Aweber. This is a functionality you’d have to pay for to get anything of quality. It’s simple, free, it works and helps you build your email lists quickly.

pop-up-screenshot

Heatmaps: Another premium functionality that is rarely found for free. The Heatmaps plugin allows you to study precisely where on your site readers are clicking and interacting so you’ll have the knowledge to improve your blog to get them clicking where you want them to.

heatmap wordpress plugin

Clef

Clef eliminates the need to use passwords to access your WordPress blog; it’s the future of security as a two-factor mobile authentication and strongly encrypted solution. Two-factor authentication is particularly more secure than average solutions since it prevents hackers from accessing your site via logging in since they’d need to have your physical mobile device to do so – an additional obstacle to hacking.

Install the plugin, install the mobile app, configure your settings and you’re ready to go. No need to use a password, simply scan the unique code presented on your login screen, use your phone’s camera to scan it, then you’re in. Check out the video below for the quick demo.

Visual Composer

Visual Composer is a premium drag and drop page builder that gives you control over the layout and design of your site without the need to be a professional web developer or designer. Build responsive pages and elements, gain control of columns, insert buttons, add complex and visually appealing animation, building practically any layout you can imagine through up to 45 features and elements.

visual composer drag and drop wordpress plugin

This plugin allows the average blogger to build elite, professional page layouts by leveraging a simple drag and drop system. With a plugin like this bloggers can get very creative with building a unique presence to truly stand out. Make your mark!

Mobile ShareBar

As you better streamline your mobile strategy, every plugin you use needs to be mobile-friendly and Mobile ShareBar is a beautiful social share option. The plugin even comes with a “Share on Whatsapp” share button for iOS; a unique feature on mobile for building reach.

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Simply put, the plugin is fast loading, easy to setup and works great for mobile.

Tablepress

We can’t always avoid using tables, sometimes it’s the best thing you can use to present your data in a visually appealing and easily consumed format and TablePress will help you to achieve this. The plugin offers numerous functions for controlling how data is presented such as sorting features, search, coloring and more complex stuff. You can include tables in posts, pages and even widgets. An excellent plugin for inserting tables.

tablepress plugin

WordPress Social Sharing Optimization

This is an important plugin for maintaining control over how content is shared from your site to social networks. The reason this is so important is that oftentimes when readers share your content, you’ll end up with missing or inappropriate images, descriptions, image sizes and messages that don’t quite sell your content the way you’d be pleased with. WordPress Social Sharing Optimization places the control in your hands and allows control over more modern media share types like Twitter image and product cards.

WPSSO is useful for improving social engagement and clickthrough rates.

VaultPress

VaultPress is a premium backup service from the developers of WordPress and for only $5 per month, they’ll backup your WordPress website on a daily basis. It has been revealed that other free traditional backup plugins have some serious vulnerabilities like exposing your database passwords. It’s time to start spending on services that stand the best chance of protecting your business assets. Features such as one-click backups and restores mean you can easily revert and recover when you need to.

WP Smush.it

I found WP Smush.it a useful plugin for optimizing images and decreasing the bandwidth demand from your media – basically speeding up the load time for images. It optimizes images via a lossless process effective for stripping unnecessary JPEG metadata, converts GIFs to the better performing lightweight PNG formats and stripping unused colors from indexed images and therefore reducing image sizes. A great plugin for making your image heavy pages load much faster.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

SEO by Yoast is the best free SEO plugin available in my opinion. It doesn’t promise to automatically improve rankings with witchcraft-like claims as many other plugins do but allows you to gain full control over your on-page SEO strategy and that’s what you should be concerned with. It’s a plugin bundled with features to help you cover the bases you’ll definitely forget on your own like using correct meta descriptions, social sharing tags, XML Sitemap integration, link elements and page analysis to guide your SEO efforts.

It’s a standard SEO plugin for the WordPress industry and is used by even larger enterprise websites.

These plugins are perfect for getting the most out of your WordPress site and will go a long way in extending your blog’s functionality for the current modern audience and beyond.

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Forget Online Content Marketing for a Moment and Promote Your Blog Offline http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/forget-content-marketing-moment-promote-blog-offline/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/forget-content-marketing-moment-promote-blog-offline/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:30:31 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31100 Everyone is placing their attention on content marketing as a means to promote their blog. Whether it’s a company blog, or a personal/niche blog, promotion certainly plays a huge role in making the endeavor successful.

promote blog offline
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But is online content marketing and promotion the only way to go?

It might seem to be the case since blogs are online, but there are other options that you may be overlooking, especially since the hype is centered on content marketing.

Have you ever thought about promoting your blog offline? 

While your blog doesn’t have a physical presence, there are still benefits to reaching out to the real world. After all, you want to reach those people who live in the real world.

Here are some ideas to promote your blog offline.

Business cards

“Who uses business cards these days?” I’ve heard that from quite a lot of bloggers. They point to LinkedIn, and various other online platforms where people can “check you out”.

The truth is that business cards are still relevant today, and people still use them. They’re cheap to be made professionally, or you can print them out yourself using your home printer.

Perhaps, it’s just that technology has changed the way business cards are used.

Think about it: instead of the usual boring designs, you can add your own flair to your biz card if you design it yourself. Also, you can add your blog URL in addition to the usual information. Even better, add a QR code that points to your blog.

Being creative is paramount to the use of business cards today. Instead of the usual card that has no other use, why not make a business card that is designed as a bookmark?

Write for print

promote blog offline
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Writing for print may be different from writing online, but it is not so difficult to learn. The idea is to get in touch with your contacts who may be able to get you a slot in a magazine, a newspaper, or a newsletter. You can even get in touch with editors yourself, and make a pitch.

I’ve been writing online for a decade now, and in that period, I have written for magazines from time to time. Trust me, seeing your name in print gives you a different sense of achievement; but that is not the only goal in writing for print – you want to promote your blog, remember?

As such, make sure that when you’re “negotiating” writing a piece for a magazine or newspaper, you mention that you want to include your blog URL or QR code. This can be placed in the byline, or if relevant, in the body.

Having pieces published in print media will not only promote your blog offline, but add to your credentials.

Attend conferences/seminars

I’m not talking about about blogging meetups or tweetups – although those can be venues for blog promotion as well. What can be more beneficial are events that are not blogger-centric. These could be a business conference, a community event, or an academic seminar.

Participating in these events may lead to opportunities to hand out your business card. Of course, you have to be tasteful about this and not merely shove your card in every person’s face.

When you give your card, make it memorable. You can use it as a springboard for topics that your conversation partners find interesting, for example.

Have you ever tried any of these offline ways to promote your blog? What do you think of them? Are there other methods we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

Other useful reads:

Dashboard Tools Can Revolutionize the Way Marketers Consume & Use Data

6 Must Have Mobile Tools for Bloggers

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Why Am I Not Getting Enough Blog Traffic? http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/getting-enough-blog-traffic/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/21/getting-enough-blog-traffic/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:21:34 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31117 Why Aren't People Visiting My Blog??

There are various reasons for having a blog. Some of them include being able to share ideas about a topic that you’re knowledgeable about or earning money off the content you write using different tactics.

In order for you to hit your goals, your need to first drive lots of visitors to your blog. By doing this successfully, you will be able build a readership that will make it easier for you to meet your objectives.

However, driving traffic to your blog isn’t as easy as it seems. Despite your efforts, there’s a chance that visitors are still low and comments on your posts are non-existent.

If you’re clueless as to why you’re not receiving the amount of traffic you think you deserve, here are the likely reasons:

Your blog looks like it was built in the ’90s and hosted by Geocities

Bloggingpro   Blogging news  tips and reviews

Geocities is a free website builder in the early ’90s that allowed users to create and design their pages on the web. Due to the limited technology back then, design features available were primitive and unrefined while users had no idea about the best web design practices. To learn more about the common design elements in a Geocities-hosted page that are problematic nowadays, go to the One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Photo Op Tumblr page for a trip down memory lane.

Fix: Read our post Colors, Fonts, and Layout: How Do You Get Started with Blog Design? to understand how the different design elements mesh together into a cohesive and unified web experience. If you don’t have time designing your site, hire skillful designers from Fiverr to do it for you on the cheap.

Your content reads like those found in Ezinarticles and other content farms

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Ezinearticles is a highly popular content farm and one of the reasons for the Panda Update that took place in early 2011. Content farms pride themselves in delivering content in bulk about different topics that rank in search results. The problem was that the published content were horribly shallow and terribly uninformative. Because of this, content farms were penalized from ranking on Google and are still reeling from the lost traffic since the Update.

Fix: Click on the links below to read tips and advice on how to create high-quality articles.

6 Quick Ways to Improve Your Blog’s Writing

A-List Article Creation That Can Improve SERP Rankings

Blogging Pitfalls: How to Avoid Lazy Writing and Editing

Your blog isn’t indexed in search engines

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Google is the biggest search engine with a robust search algorithm allowing high-quality and optimized pages to rank for their target keywords. When a page is optimized for search, it has a chance to rank high on search results, which can drive more traffic to your blog!

Fix: When writing for your blog, you need to have an SEO (search engine optimization) frame of mind in which all your articles are optimized for a specific keyword. Click on the links below for resources on how to help you become more SEO-conscious in your writing.

How to Transition Smoothly from Blogger to SEO Blogger

Top 8 SEO Blogs You Should be Reading

Nobody’s sharing your blog on social media

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Social media is one place where you can drive blog traffic by sharing it to your target audience. However, if you don’t have social media buttons that make it easier for readers to share your content or if you are not active in promoting your content on social media, then you’re missing out on some high-volume traffic from this channel.

Fix: In our must-read post “5 WordPress Plugins to Boost Social Media Activity,” we detailed the different tools to help drive more social media activity and engagement in your WordPress-powered blog. You can also read other valuable articles about this matter by clicking on the links below.

How To Destroy Your Blog With Bad Social Media Engagement Practices

3 Ways To Increase Your Readership By Writing For Social Media Instead Of SEO

There’s no new content in your blog

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A blog that’s not updated regularly is simply gathering dust online. Not only is your blog losing SEO value by not publishing articles on a consistent basis, but you are losing readership in troves who are hungry for high-quality content.

Fix: To be a blogging success, you need to love blogging. If you felt you’ve lost your passion for the written word, then our post “Blogging Pitfalls: 5 Steps to Recapture Your Love for Blogging” should help you rekindle it.

Did we miss out on the factors that affect blog traffic? If so, then help us complete this article by commenting below with your ideas!

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Can You Earn From Running a Tech/Gadget Review Blog? http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/20/can-earn-running-techgadget-review-blog/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/20/can-earn-running-techgadget-review-blog/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31093 Most bloggers who enter a specific niche want to earn some money from their activity. While it has been said so many times that you shouldn’t prioritize making money out of your blog, at the end of the day, it does matter.

One of the niches that is quite popular is tech, a sub-niche of which is gadget review blogs.

gadget review blog

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There is no doubt that a gadget review blog can be popular, especially with how consumers have become fixated on gadgets -from mobile phones to tablets to computers to other electronic devices. So, yes, the simple answer is you can earn from running a gadget review blog. It is a matter of how much you expect to earn.

If you’re thinking about starting a gadget review blog, there are two questions to ask yourself.

1. Do you buy the gadgets out of your own pocket?

This is a critical consideration because you will have to shell out a considerable amount of money in order to purchase gadgets. If you have that kind of money, then you’ll have the advantage of being able to say that you are truly unbiased in your review.

Another just as important thing to factor in is how and where you buy devices for your gadget review blog. Again, you have two options:

  • A brick-and-mortar store
  • Online shops

Both types of stores offer all sorts of discounts, so you just have to do your research and be patient so that you don’t have to pay more than you have to.

gadget review blog

A piece of good news when it comes to making purchases is that, in the near future, you won’t have to worry about credit card debt as well as security/ID theft. A new payment technology called  IFAN Financial Inc. (OTCBB: IFAN) is about to launch a secure and convenient way of paying for your purchases. It makes use of a device called iPIN, which is plugged into your mobile phone or your computer; so whether you are shopping at a physical store or an online shop, you can use this device.

How does it work and why should you be interested in iPIN?

iPIN works just like your ordinary debit card works. Once you plug the device into your phone or computer, you swipe your debit card, and the payment goes through immediately – as long as your account has enough funds. The advantage of this is that you will not fall into the trap of maxing out your credit card only to find that you are neck deep in debt.

gadget review blog

The premise of the technology of IFAN Financial Inc. (OTCBB: IFAN) is to make it faster and more secure for consumers because the merchant does not get any of your information at all.

Right now, the IFAN Financial Inc. (OTCBB: IFAN) tech is yet to launch, but they are going to partner with shops offline and online, and you will be able to buy your gadgets for review using this tech.

To learn more about how iPIN will make your life easier, watch this video.

2. Do you rely on review products given by companies?

This will certainly save you a lot of money because many manufacturers or marketers/agencies give away their products to gadget review blogs without expecting them to be returned. They allot a budget for these items to be given away.

That being said, there is the question of how objective can you be in this case?

Let’s face it, even though the source of the gadget says, “Please give us your unbiased opinion”, do you really think you can be 100% objective?

Maybe. Maybe not.

However, if you want to be respected by your readers, one thing is compulsory: you should disclose if you were given the gadget for free.

Also read: How To Score Products To Review For Your Blog

How can you make money?

It’s up to you which route to take, and you can even make it a mix.

As for making money, there is the traditional way of getting a lot of traffic and earning from AdSense. Relying on this for earnings will not work, however, if you do not make splash first and gain enough traffic.

One way to drive traffic to your site is promoting and marketing your content.This will also take time, but if you do it right, and you have enough patience, you’ll get there.

Another way to gain a larger audience is to hold giveaways. This might hurt you financially at first if you buy your own devices for review. If you are given gadgets by companies, then you won’t lose anything. In fact, it will score you points, as you do not keep the devices for yourself.

Advertisements/endorsements. This is also a touchy subject, because some companies may want an exclusive deal with you. For example, if X telecom gives you X money per month, they may give the condition that you can’t review or advertise anything related to Y telecom. This money-making method can give you lots of earnings, though.

Wrap up

Depending on how you handle your gadget review blog, you can make some money. It all depends on how strict you are when it comes to “free” review products and advertising.

Have a little patience, provide excellent reviews, and you just might make big bucks out of your gadget review blog.

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, October 20, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/20/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-20-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/20/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-20-2014/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:00:05 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31091 Job board highlightsGood morning! Here are the job board highlights. We’re hoping you get lucky, and find new jobs this week. Have a good week ahead!

Seeking European-based freelance writer and copyeditor with knowledge of wireless telecoms market

FierceMarkets, a growing online media company based in Washington, D.C., is seeking a part-time writer and copyeditor for its telecom newsletters and websites. This person will write news articles and copyedit an executive newsletter on the European wireless telecoms market.

Freelance Sports Content Writer

SportShocker.com, a division of Hallamos Media Inc., is looking for freelance writers to help develop our unique sports-related online content. We are currently seeking creative and funny individuals to help research and editorialize SportShocker.com stories.

Weekly Blogger for gravesprinting.tumblr.com

Weekly Blogger needed for writing printing industry related stories on gravesprinting.tumblr.com with links back to main site and products at: gravesprinting.com

Consultant/freelance curriculum developer

Hack the Hood is looking for an experienced and creative curriculum developer/instructional materials writer/editor to help our team expand and polish our professional development and technology training curriculum geared towards low-income youth of color. This is a part-time, contract role working with a very hands-on team with a track record of success in teaching young people tech and workplace skills.

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Amazon by the Numbers http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/17/amazon-numbers-infographic/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/17/amazon-numbers-infographic/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31072 Amazon by the Numbers

The chances are that you are connected to Amazon in one way or another. Perhaps your blog is part of the Amazon Affiliate Program. Perhaps you use Amazon Web Services. I’m pretty sure you’ve bought from Amazon at least once.

But have you ever thought about the immensity of the business Jeff Bezos has created? We have heard all sorts of stories – I’m sure some are true while others are not – about the founder of Amazon. He’s been called a genius. He’s also been labeled as the bad guy.

Looking at Amazon, though, we get to see just how massive the company’s operations are; and there are also nice tidbits that you may not have known. Here’s an infographic from TechieSense, which will shed some insight into the household name called Amazon; before that, here’s a quick rundown of some of the best details:

  • Jeff Bezos only makes $81,840 per year, even though he is CEO.
  • Amazon started by selling only books to selling everything from clothing to electronics. That’s a total of 17 umbrella categories, with 143 subcategories!
  • Amazon has 132,600 employees
  • Amazon is the number one spender when it comes to Google ads – a total of $158 million (2013)
  • When Amazon went down for less than an hour (49 minutes) last year, the company lost about $4.8 million in sales.
  • Amazon’s sales during Cyber Monday of 2014 amounted to 37 million items, which translates to 428 purchases per second.
  • Every employee has to spend two days every two years as a customer service representative. This includes the CEO himself.

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The Age of Link “Earning”: Why Link Building Doesn’t Matter Anymore http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/17/link-earning-link-building/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/17/link-earning-link-building/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:30:16 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31053 chain-297842_640

Are you aggressively implementing a link building strategy in which you employ blog commenting, forum posting, online directories, and guest posting as tactics?

If so, then I suggest you throw your strategy out the window. It’s not going to work. I’m serious.

The problem with link building

To understand what makes link building problematic, you need to look into the history of the Google algorithm updates.

Prior to 2011, link building felt like a data entry job. All marketers have to do is copy and paste a block of text with an anchor text pointing back to their website and have it published online. Not much thought or insight is used in this activity.

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One of the most effective link building methods at the time is getting your content published on content farms. It is fairly easy to rank an article with a backlink to your site for your desired keyword once published on sites like EZineArticles. If your content does begin appearing in the SERPs, then your website gains a valuable backlink that will also help raise its ranking for its keyword.

Content farms drew the ire of Google and search engine users when shallow content that did not offer valuable information about the subject matter began ranking at the top of search results. Google prides itself on providing users with relevant websites for the keyword they searched for. Therefore, Google came out with the Panda update to eliminate the shallow articles coming from content farms. This cleared search results from uninformative content and websites that relied solely on content farms for links.

Fast-forward to 2014.
Google drops another bomb at another misused link building practice: guest posting. While this tactic is a legitimate way of getting a backlink from a website because there is permission from the site owner to get your content published on their site, guest posting began to be infiltrated by people who wrote articles for the purpose of getting a backlink regardless of content quality.

Google released an algorithm update early this year that specifically penalizes MyBlogGuest, a site responsible for connecting publishers of spammy articles and webmasters willing to publish such content.

What’s the common denominator between these two instances?

Both banned tactics are high-profile examples of unnatural link building.

Google has always come down hard on websites that stray away from their guidelines to control search rankings. Since rankings of websites on search results are primarily based on the number of links pointing to a website, Google prefers that websites go the organic route with regard to gaining backlinks. This means that, instead of webmasters going out of their way to create links pointing to their sites, they should encourage people to link to their sites instead.

It’s time to earn your backlinks, not build them!

Examples of link earning techniques:

  • Create link-bait content – Give people a reason why they should link back to your site through the creation of high-quality, actionable, and informative content. Essential read: SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics
  • Build relationships – The approach to link building should not necessarily be all about getting that almighty link. Instead, focus on getting to know the people behind the sites you’re trying to get links from and make a profound connection with them. Essential read: Relationship-Based Link Building
  • Launch contests – Get people interested in your business by holding contests and giving away freebies and amazing prices. Use Rafflecopter to easily run contests.

More on link building:

Sunday Morning SEO: The Psychology of Link Building

Sunday Morning SEO: Link Building With the Cold Call Guest Post Method

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5 WordPress Plugins to Boost Social Media Activity http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/15/wordpress-plugins-boost-social-media-activity/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/15/wordpress-plugins-boost-social-media-activity/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31025 5 WordPress Plugins To Boost Social Media Activity

Image from Pixabay

WordPress is one of the most widely-used content management systems (CMS) for a good reason: it can be easily tweaked and customized to your liking. However, the flexibility of WordPress to accommodate different website types, from blogs to e-commerce, hinges on the WordPress plugins used to help achieve the site owner’s goals.

For webmasters who wish to increase site visitors, one way of doing this is to use WordPress plugins that allow easy sharing of site pages on social media.

Below are five of the best WordPress plugins that you should use to get more shares, as well as possibly boost your fans and followers.

SumoMe Sharing Options

SumoMe originally worked to increase your e-mail subscribers with its List Building apps. However, it has grown to include more apps to really help site owners gain more visitors to their pages.

The Image Sharer app lets visitors share pictures on the page using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

The Share app is a floating bar on the left side of the screen to make it easier for visitors to share the post on social media. The default available are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To access other social media sites where you can share the post, click on the crown icon.

The Highlighter app lets visitors easily share quotes from the post. All they have to do is highlight the text and a pop-up menu will appear on the screen so they can share it using Facebook or Twitter.

Click To Tweet by Todaymade

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Create tweetable content on your post so people can easily click and share it on Twitter. Make sure to observe the 140-character limit when writing messages to tweet using this plugin.

Evergreen Post Tweeter

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Another plugin that boosts site traffic using Twitter, this lets you automatically post your website content on social media. This is ideal for webmasters who manage sites with lots of content that they want to share on social media. You can set up the types of posts and under which category, allowing you full customization of the automatic tweets that will be published on your Twitter account.

wpLike2Get

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If you have e-books and white papers available for download on your site, then you ought to use this plugin. Once installed, instead of people downloading the resources off your site for free, they will have to share the page on your site using their social media first before the resources become available for download.

WP Sharely

wp sharely

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This is similar to wpLike2Get, but instead of downloadable content, it works on the actual content on the page . If you want to entice readers to read your post, you can stop at the first few paragraphs and “gate” the rest of the content using this WordPress plugin. This will encourage them to share the post in order to read the entire article. Keep in mind that this is a paid plugin.

Did we miss out on any other WordPress plugins that help site owners increase their social media activity? Let us know by commenting below!

More about WordPress plugins:

10 Free WordPress Plugins Every Blog Needs and 5 Bonus Plugins

WordPress Launches Plugin Compatibility Beta

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Dashboard Tools Can Revolutionize the Way Marketers Consume & Use Data http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/14/dashboard-tools-can-revolutionize-way-marketers-consume-use-data/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/14/dashboard-tools-can-revolutionize-way-marketers-consume-use-data/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 00:27:22 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31029 We’ve all been hearing the “big data” buzzword thrown around lately and while some may view it as just another fad everybody’s going crazy about, the reality is that, as marketers, we all have our personal experiences with analyzing and making sense of all the information coming our way. Every data point has potential clues into how we can run our online businesses better or coin the perfect headline for our blog posts, for example. There’s some magic in the numbers and that may be a reason for our obsession with metrics such as page visits, bounce rates and even page likes. These data points say something about our work online and we have to get to the bottom of it.

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The numbers relating to big data do speak for themselves though and by the end of 2016 we’ll enter what Cisco calls the Zettabyte Era, where annual global internet traffic will reach 1.6 zettabytes (1.6 billion terrabytes) by the end of 2018. There’s a lot we’ll have to digest and as more information becomes available through the continued advancement and availability of computing power, an understanding of it will be a crucial element for success in the business world.

Right now as you try to make sense of all the industry statistics, website visitor data, social network conversations and marketing information coming your way, you’ll need a personalized method for interpreting and using this information. Here are some guidelines for streamlining the data collection process and what to focus on.

Data Analysis Should Align with your Objectives

Not all data is necessarily useful data and you’ll need to identify early on the metrics that make sense for you, your website and online business towards achieving higher conversion rates and ROI. As you pull data related to user interaction with your content, visitors statistics from Google Analytics or engagement metrics from Buffer, time shouldn’t be spent collating the total number of likes your content receives if it has nothing to do with a sensible outcome which impacts your bottom line objectives.

Here are some examples of what you should be focusing on:

Using keyword & topical research in relation to onsite actions – As you conduct keyword research to take advantage of long tail opportunities, monitor and assess how each keyword focus affects how users interact with your site. Try to understand how users in each niche respond to your content marketing campaigns to identify the real money keywords with earning potential. It’s possible to attract tons of traffic from low competition keywords that produce zero tangible results because the subject matter just does not translate to earnings. Know which keywords bring valuable business for you rather than hunting keywords solely for traffic.

Monitoring & making sense of clicks – Using heatmaps to learn users’ click behavior is worth spending your time on. Anything that helps you to understand user behavior will empower you with information towards satisfying them. Use Sumome’s Heatmap plugin, it’s free, it works and is simple to use.

Social engagement that matters – Sure acquiring 1,000 likes on your blog posts look good and it’s a healthy ego booster. However, what tangible value does it create for your website and business? Does it just look good or is it increasing the value of your advertising products? Or, how much is a share on LinkedIn worth and should you be more focused on getting shares on Twitter? Study your niche to identify which engagement metrics value more since every network responds differently based on topics and audience preferences.

Actions that lead to sales & other objectives – Once there’s some action taking place on your site, spend time identifying each one that contributes to your goals and objectives and assess and compare values. Never make assumptions on the value of what your readers are doing on your site. You may be surprised to discover that you’ve been wasting time and money investing in something that literally adds no value. Strive to be in the know and what each action such as email subscriptions, comments and shares mean for your business.

Everything you invest in your business or blog should have some justification behind it and clearly aligns with your ultimate objectives. Acting otherwise is merely operating blindly.

Taking Advantage of Tools

Thankfully, there are myriad tools available that will help us make sense of all the data that bombards us on a daily basis. As you begin to collect and assess data, it’s never recommended to utilize a manual approach since there are just so many data points and relationships we need to interpret. Tools reduce the margins for error and can better guarantee accurate and meaningful assessments and conclusions.

Google Analytics

It’s safe to say that a majority of website owners use Google Analytics since it’s free and quite powerful. However, the majority of us are not using this powerhouse tool to its full potential. GA has lots of useful features for making sense of visitor behavior such as goal setting, campaign creation and tracking, visitor flow visualization and even creating custom dashboards for personalizing even further the data collection and interpretation workflow.1334098468_bb17d24cf076f88e6231ec935d23691d

GA allows you to dig deeper to use event tracking to measure calls to action, see who spends more than a minute on your site, see how the visitors who subscribe to your lists behave and even gain insight about users who purchase books and other merchandise from your site. It’s a powerful tool that is typically underutilized. Here’s an excellent article on Moz that goes in-depth on how useful GA is for making sense of all the site data you need.

Cyfe All-in-one Dashboard

Another powerful data visualization and analytics tool is the Cyfe all-in-one dashboard. This tool helps marketers create custom dashboards with access to a large number of widgets that provide one centralized spot for everything ranging from finances, social media, advertising to web analytics.

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Marketing dashboard

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Social media dashboard

Most marketers will have a few dozen marketing tools and accounts that we login to on a daily basis. This can be a time consuming task and making all data points connect to form a big cohesive picture is often elusive and daunting. Cyfe allows you to connect all the common accounts you regularly use, specify which data you’d like to automatically pull from them and display them in neat custom dashboards that present the information exactly the way you want it. This completely eliminates the need to login to multiple accounts and presents a complete view in one screen of everything you need to know and analyze.

Setup real time visual dashboards that cover data such as Facebook insights, Google Analytics, Trends, Twitter searches, Google Webmasters, AdWords, Alexa rankings, Paypal earnings and more. Cyfe is basically one place to manage multiple SEO campaigns and every other aspect of running your business.

To conclude, as more data becomes available to us, there’s no need to become overwhelmed, it’s simply a matter of choosing the right tools that give us control over what we need to pay attention to. Now is the time to start getting serious with the information available regarding your business. The more you know, the greater your power to take action and achieve success.

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, October 13, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/13/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-13-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/13/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-13-2014/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31021 Job board highlightsThey say that if you start your day/week on the right note, everything will fall into place. I hope that’s the case for you this week.

Here are the job board highlights to help you find new gigs.

Seeking freelance journalist for viral video blog

PopVideo is a blog that is concerned with the technical, creative and business aspects of online video. They require a writer who can conduct and publish Q&A interviews with relevant newsmakers. Usually, you’ll be interviewing the people behind the latest viral videos and film crowdsourcing campaigns.

Real Estate Blogger

A top producing real estate team is in needed of bloggers who are keen to write for the real estate industry and/or local events and news in the Phoenix Metro area.

Freelance Beauty and Fashion Contributor

Job Description: xoJane.com, the premier site where women go to be their unabashed selves, is looking for freelance beauty and fashion contributors. For fashion posts they’re looking for fun, engaging stories and slideshows that highlight aspirational aesthetics for bold, freethinking women. Along these lines, they’re also looking for shopping posts that are both relatable and service-y. Straightforward how-to’s are also welcome in this section.

Article Writer

The Travel Dealer is adding experienced writers who love talking about Las Vegas. You must have writing samples and be able to work with editorial direction. They will evaluate you for featured status (credit) on their website. Submissions may be about your area of interest (must be Vegas-related), one of their blog categories, or related to their monthly themes, as directed by the Editor.

Tech Bloggers

Chase needs 5-10 Tech bloggers to write sponsored posts about their clients’ startup. The posts will have a focus on driving traffic to their website as well as increasing awareness of their project.

To be able to apply for this role, you must have a Tech or App related blog that you can prove receives at least 20,000 Monthly unique visits.

In return, you will receive $30 – $60 per post.

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WordPress Websites Targeted by Russian Cybercrime Network http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/09/wordpress-websites-targeted-russian-cybercrime-network/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/09/wordpress-websites-targeted-russian-cybercrime-network/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=31010 WordPress websites are battling with a new threat involving a Russian cybercrime network, which is stealing login credentials for U.S. and European banks. Using a botnet, the cybercriminals have already obtained information from 800,000 online-banking transactions. More than 50 percent of these are reported to be from five of the largest banks in the U.S.

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The illicit activities of the cybercrime network were discovered by Proofpoint, Inc., a Sunnyvale, California-based security company. It has released information on how cybercriminals get around security measures.

Not all WordPress websites are targets of this new cybercrime activity, although those that have been exploited are basically taken over by a browser exploit kit. As explained by Tom’s Guide: “The Blackhole exploit kit is a collection of malicious code that exists on fraudulent websites, or can be illegally injected onto legitimate, but hacked, websites. These pieces of code are designed to detect and exploit vulnerabilities in Web browsers and create security risks for PCs.

In this particular case, users who visit compromised WordPress sites would become infected with malware which steals information.

Here’s the dark side of the Internet coming out: the criminals were able to take control of WordPress sites by purchasing information about default WordPress administrator login credentials in online cybercrime markets.

The not-so-bad news here is that most of the computers that have been affected (about 52 percent) are still running on Windows XP. Maybe Microsoft was right in pushing people to discard the old operating system after all!

In any case, if you’re running an up-to-date operating system, you’re probably safe – at least for now.

Just to be sure, if you’re running a WordPress site, change the admin log in details NOW, and make it a habit to change them periodically as well (which is good practice in any case).

More on blog security:

Most Popular WordPress Security Plugins

6 Quick And Simple WordPress Security Tips

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Is Micro Blogging Better? http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/08/micro-blogging-better/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/08/micro-blogging-better/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=30981 Editor’s note: This post was written by Larry Alton, an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

As a business owner, you know that blogging is arguably the best platform to actually engage with your audience. It’s how they put a face to a business, how you can foster relationships, and a great source for dishing up quality content that can help bolster your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. You have blogging down, or at least you know how important it is, but suddenly the world is buzzing with “micro blogging” and you might feel like everything you knew about blogs has gone down the tubes.

 Micro blogging

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Micro blogging refers to the fast, frequent sharing of bite sized information via a certain platform. Most often, it’s used to send or receive updates from posts that are based in text (in other words, memes and short Vine-esque videos don’t qualify as micro blogging quite yet as they’re image-based and not text-based). However, that’s changed in recent months and now some experts consider just about anything fodder for micro blogs whether it’s audio, text, video or images. Once the content is uploaded to a site like Twitter, it’s sent to members so the “group” is automatically notified of the microblog.

You might consider Twitter the biggest microblog of all, but there are plenty of others with the same nugget-sized approach.

The rules of micro blogs

Don’t forget about the “blog” in micro blogging: For the most part, micro blogs are about yourself or about your business. It’s not usually a means of spreading third party news (otherwise that would be “micro news”) and it’s simply a shortened version of long-form blogging—although spreading third party news happens in micro blogging and isn’t going to get you in trouble with the “blog police”. Traditionally, long-form blogs were a few hundred words, but micro blogs are a few hundred characters. You probably don’t have your own site for micro blogging, but instead rely on a web service to post.

There are a few reasons people choose micro blogs instead of – or in addition to – long-form blogs. You might want to stay in touch with friends, get involved with a group for entertainment, engage in genuine discussions without having to write the equivalent of a novel, or get expert opinions. Business professionals use micro blogs to sell or market products, to become a live support tool, foster user feedback, or bolster brand awareness.

Where do you micro blog?

micro bloggingObviously Twitter is one of the most well known platforms, but it’s also worth checking out Soup, Chyrp, Jaiku, Tumblr, Streem or doing your own research to pinpoint the right service. If you’re on the fence, consider micro blogging for updates that are instantly accessible to your community. Unlike messengers that were previously used, micro blogging allows for more people to interact at once. There’s no need to spend hours creating a long-form blog post with micro blogging, which by nature is more informal and initiates more of a conversation than an article-length post which serves as a catalyst.

On the other hand, micro blogging has fewer characters allowed, with some platforms being stricter about this than others. With Twitter, you only have 140 characters and there’s not much more flexibility with other sites. Plus, micro blogging has a penchant for letting discussions get hijacked (after all, it certainly appeals to those with short attention spans). So is micro blogging for you, and is it better than blogging? That all depends on you, your business, your audience and what you hope to achieve.

Any business can benefit from micro blogging if done well and consistently. If you can create shareable content that’s informative and/or entertaining, you’ll catch the attention of more readers in a wider demographic with commitment. Just keep in mind that any form of blogging, micro or otherwise, takes awhile (sometimes months) to see seriously improved analytics.

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BloggingPro Job Board Highlights, October 6, 2014 http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/06/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-6-2014/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/06/bloggingpro-job-board-highlights-october-6-2014/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=30999 Job board highlightsIt’s the start of the week once again, and as usual, we’re bringing you the job board highlights.

We hope you find some good gigs today.

Social Media/Online Publishing/WordPress Blogger

A blog network 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.

Freelance Content Writers

Be part of a game-changing team. LocalVox is a local, social & mobile marketing platform. LocalVox has been named the third hottest startup in NYC by Business Insider and the best high tech tool for new business entrepreneurs by Good Day New York. And they’re seeking talent for long-term freelance assignments!

Copywriter (clever short form, freelance)

A comfort focused retail and consumer goods company is in need of a talented Copywriter to assist their team on a freelance, offsite basis. Your expertise is needed to create clever product names and perhaps even the product descriptions.

Psychology Health Writer

Part time writer needed for busy doctor and writer/producer of a boutique production company focusing on psychological topical news stories (sex, dating, drugs, relationships, human behavior, celebrity behavior, medical studies, etc.)

Domains/DNS and web app/cloud copywriter

Rude Otter is looking for contributors to a small but growing blog focused broadly on web applications and development. Posts are a mixture of informational pieces as well as step-by-step tutorials. They’re looking for 2-3 posts of 500-700 words each month.

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Take Advantage of the Cloud to Optimize Online Publishing http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/03/take-advantage-cloud-online-publishing/ http://www.bloggingpro.com/archives/2014/10/03/take-advantage-cloud-online-publishing/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.bloggingpro.com/?p=30992 Cloud computing is all the rave today, with sitcoms even referring to it (see Big Bang Theory Cloud back up). While it is a buzzword, sometimes, you hear things from some people that makes you convinced that not everyone understands what the Cloud really is.

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Here’s a quick explanation from PCMag:

“…to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronized with other information over the Net.”

That’s clear as day, isn’t it?

But how can you take advantage of cloud computing as a blogger or online publisher? Aside from making sure your cherished photos (which may or may not be relevant to what you’re doing), is there anything else of import about the Cloud for a blogger?

Here’s an infographic that gives an overview of what you can do, and I’ve added some tricks on how you can take advantage of the Cloud as an online publisher.

  • Streaming. Video and sound are elements that can add value to your content. Streaming services gives you access to media which you many otherwise not have stored locally. This is also convenient when you’re on the road and still working.
  • Document sharing. You may have a document stored on your computer, but what if you’re out, you need the document, and you only have your iPad with you? Enter the cloud – assuming you’ve uploaded that file to a service such as Dropbox. If you use a Mac, though, you will soon be able to do this seamlessly with the upcoming OS, Yosemite.
  • Backups. Backing up your blog on a regular basis is good practice. There are many tutorials on how to do this, although some web hosts offer this in their packages, and you can easily back up your blog with a click or two.

Here, take a look at the infographic, which will give you more ideas about what you can do with the Cloud.

cloud online publishing

How else do you take advantage of the cloud for your online publishing needs? What apps do you use that run in the cloud?

Let’s hear from you in the comments.

Also read: 5 Solutions For Backing Up Your Blog

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