Archive For: July, 2013

The Real Way To Use Blogs For Traffic and SEO

The Real Way To Use Blogs For Traffic and SEO
Link building is hard work that takes time. There is no shortcut, it takes a combination of quality and quantity. While commenting on blogs will not get you the best quality links, it will still build your brand and collect organic clicks when done properly. But in order to do it properly you’ll need to formulate a strategy.

Your goal for gaining traffic from blogs should be to actually engage in a thoughtful conversation in your comments. Also, be sure to include a link to your website where it can be easily seen, either in your blog, signature, or at the end of your post depending on the blog you are posting to. Many well written blogs will inspire a continuing conversation, so be sure to leave thoughtful comments on the subject in order to get clicks on your link.

Your comments could be a new angle on the topic, additional information that the writer might have overlooked, or anything that adds to the discussion. The whole point is to say something that impresses or inspires others to join into the conversation with you. It will show that you are an expert in the niche or highly enthusiastic about the topic, which builds your brand and brings in website traffic through your link.

Find blogs in your niche

But before wasting your time posting on blogs that either do not have a lot of readers or do not pertain to your niche, put a little research into the blogs of your interests.

Alltop.com is a great resource to find tons of blogs pertaining to your niche. They gather the top blogs on several topics all in one place for you. You can create an account and easily sift through the blogs pertaining to your niche. The site even allows you to create custom lists for yourself and keep up on the latest blog posts.

Feedly essentially does the same thing, but it uses RSS feeds and e-mail updates. By using this tool all of the blog posts from your niche will be collected in one place. The conversations within the posts can be monitored and it will be easier to become apart of the conversations.

For mobile users, Flipboard is another awesome resource that can be used to do the exact same thing. It works both on android and apple devices. Users are able to subscribe to RSS feeds, blogs, online publications, and social media feeds. You can create customizable “magazines” or feeds pertaining to your niche, and easily comment through your flipboard account which can be linked to other accounts like Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Posting on social media groups to build traffic

There are several social media sites that you can also treat as blogs in order to further your traffic building strategy.

Depending on your niche LinkedIn could likely be one of the most influential areas to focus on due to their many groups centered around specific industries. Try using LinkedIn’s search or their group directory to find online communities built around your niche.

Treat the groups just like a specialized forum and integrate yourself within the community. Post well thought out and insightful comments just as you would with the blogs. The results may even have a better payoff than posting to most blogs because LinkedIn groups are tighter knit communities.

Essentially the same thing can be done through Facebook and Google+ groups as well. But it can be hard to keep track of all these social media sites so that is why Hootsuite can be a very important tool for your strategy.

Hootsuite will put all these social media feeds in the same place, making them easier to manage, read through, and post. It is particularly useful in tracking Twitter lists as well, which can be used to keep track of important bloggers you are following and keep up to date on their posts.

In addition to gaining organic traffic through your link while posting on social media groups, you may even form networks that could benefit you in the future.

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Create Content That Gets More Shares On Social Media

Create Content That Gets More Shares On Social Media
Social media plays a big factor in online marketing. If you want your website to rank you need well written, engaging content. Good content is more important than an article overloaded with keywords.

Remember that.

It all boils down to two key aspects, call them your recipe for success. You need: 1) good content; and 2) social signals. In other words, people need to be reading and sharing your content.

Understand what slows a reader down

Throughout the 1930’s and 40’s there was a plethora of research on readability in the US to determine the most common reading level among the American population. The science behind these reading levels is a bit too extensive to include in this article, but the general consensus was that 8th-grade reading level was average among Americans.

In 1947 Donald Murphy conducted a study on how to make texts easier to read. He found that reducing the reading level from 9th to 6th on various articles caused a remarkable increase in people who read articles all the way through. (E.g., a 43% increase in an article about nylon and 60% increase in an article about corn).

A similar study conducted by Wilber Schramm showed that an article nine paragraphs long would lose three out of ten readers by the 5th paragraph. While a shorter story will lose only two out of ten.

To this day things have not changed much, The National Study of Adult Literacy has released  multiple studies between 1993 and 2008 which have consistently measured average literacy levels at a 7th or 8th level. One of the largest publications, Reader’s Digest (at 12 million subscribers), writes at a reading level of 9th-grade. Newspapers and online publications can range from college to 6th-grade reading levels.

How can I best engage readers?

Due to the increasing number of distractions, it is safe to assume that shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs will better hold our attention than longer ones. Overly complicated grammar and redundant sentences should be avoided as well.

Excessive punctuation is another no-no. Stick to simple commas and periods for the easiest readability. Avoid useless punctuation like semicolons. Some would argue that semicolons are useful to separate two independent clauses; I argue that the same thing can be accomplished with a period. Read that last sentence again and replace the semicolon with a period or comma. Does it read the same? Most people read semicolons the same way they would a period or comma, the only difference is that the semicolon slows them down.

There are probably about 10% of you reading this who wondered why I didn’t use a hyphen in the word semi-colon. It is one of those words that some dictionaries list with a hyphen, some without. I choose not to use the hyphen because I felt that giving it a hyphen would give the word too much unneeded attention, meaning your eyes would be drawn to it before you reached the word in the sentence. Yet another thing to be avoided in order to create better readability.

Break your reading up into easy to read chunks. As an example you can take a look at this article here. Observe how each section contains around three to four paragraphs and is clearly marked with a header.

Look at the paragraphs themselves and observe how large they are. Most are no bigger than an inch. Each paragraph break is carefully chosen depending on the flow of the subject matter. Every new idea is a new paragraph and sentence size is generally small.

This is all done for you, the reader, to reduce what’s called “fatigue in reading”, which is another factor in the science of readability. Longer paragraphs, sentences, or words you are not familiar with will increase your fatigue and cause your attention to drift. If you want readers to be engaged and share your writing, keep things short and to the point.

Encourage shares on social media with buttons and special “tricks”

You could follow every one of the tips suggested in this article to increase readability and it is likely that those that find it will read it. But if that same article has no buttons for Facebook likes, tweet mentions, and +1s – no one will share it! Your chances of someone copy and pasting your link to their feed are significantly lower than someone clicking on a like button.

Twitter is one of the best social media platforms to focus on when aiming for sharable posts. But in order to capitalize on it be sure to use it correctly. Embedding thought provoking sentences in your article as a tweetable quote can really help your readability. As readers tweet the quote, traffic will be generated to the article from twitter.

In addition to these tricks there is one more super secret method that is guaranteed to get you the most social media shares.

Social Content Locker

I decided to let you slide on having to share the post to see the rest (however, if you’ve found it helpful a share would be most appreciated).

Content lockers may not be a secret and they’re certainly not guaranteed to get you more social media shares than other methods. Used properly however, they might.

In order to use content lockers most effectively it is important to begin with an interesting title and amazing introduction. Give them a few spoon fulls, enough to make them want to read the entire article, the content locker will block the last half or so of the post. Sharing the content on social media is the only way to unlock the rest.

Just be sure that you are rewarding your readers with good content when using the content locker. Don’t do anything that will make them regret their decision and “unlike” the content. Pretty sure bribing or tricking your readers into sharing like I might have done is a punishable offense, or at least is should be.

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8 Super Successful Bloggers You Should Know About

8 Super Successful Bloggers You Should Know About

Blogging is more than a past-time – it is a business model. If you are hoping to turn blogging into a full-time income, these successful bloggers are a great example of what’s possible. You’ll also get an idea of the work in front of you. Done right, blogging has the potential to generate income, and earn revenue month after month. These bloggers have proved that working from home is no longer a fantasy, but is entirely possible. If you want to become  a successful blogger, these are the people to pay attention to:

Darren Rowse, Problogger.net

Former minister and current blogger Darren Rowse has shown that it is possible to turn full time blogging into a career. He has written several ebooks and founded several blogs including Problogger.net where he explains how others can make money blogging as well. His two personal blogs, ProBlogger and Digital-Photography-School.com generate up to 100,000 page views daily and over $20,000 a month in ad revenue proving that blogging can be a six figure job. As a result Darren Rowse is truly an inspiration to bloggers everywhere and his success shows that he knows his stuff.

Pat Flynn, SmartPassiveIncome.com

Former Job Captain for an architecture firm, Pat Flynn started blogging as a means to organize study material for the LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) which is an extremely difficult exam to study and pass. While studying for the LEED exam Flynn had also landed a position as a Job Captain in an architecture firm. Unfortunately this also took place during the recession and Flynn’s firm had to make cuts backs which meant that many were laid off, including Flynn.

Perseverance and the will to support his wife and kids kept him going. Throughout his time studying for the LEED program and blogging his research, he had also picked up knowledge about WordPress and blogging for profit. So after Flynn found out he would be laid off he began hatching a plan for a means of online income. Flynn explains the full story at smartpassiveincome.com where he explains how his blog became so popular, but to make a long story short, he was able to support his family without a 9-5 job and it was all because of blogging.

Bill Slawski, SEObytheSea.com

Bill Slawski dives in to the world of SEO by scrutinizing Google patents and sharing predictions on the latest SEO findings. Hos blog covers tips, information and news on the latest SEO trends. His website SEObytheSea.com is used as a way to showcase in his authority in SEO. By trade, he acts as a consultant and uses his blog much like a business card or resume.

Corbett Barr, ThinkTraffic.com

Trainer, life coach, and blogger Corbett Bar knows the ins and outs of online business. His blog ThinkTraffic is an excellent resource for any entrepreneur interested in making money online. Barr also produces several videos with the Fizzle team on Fizzle.co. Their videos teach everything there is to know about creating a thriving online business. Barr is a great example of someone who has turned his passion into a niche and this has made him a very successful blogger.

Kristi Hines, Kikolani.com

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer that contributes content for several websites. Her personal blog Kikolani contains numerous tips for bloggers of all types. Hines is also extremely knowledgeable on social media and blogging trends. Due to her high level of writing experience she is an excellent source of advice for professional writer’s of all types.

Mari Smith, MariSmith.com

Mari Smith is an expert on online marketing and social networking. She shares her knowledge wonderfully in seminars and has become internationally known for her public speaking. Smith is author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Her blog has helped several business owners improve their marketing strategies using social media.

Glen Allsopp, ViperChill.com

Glen Allsopp is a blogger with an extremely interesting story. He had been doing blogging and marketing for quite some time when suddenly, his blogging caught the attention of a company in South Africa who hired him on as a Social Media expert for their Fortune 500 clients. One thing led to another and after working in Hanoi and Bangkok Allsopp was able to go to work freelancing full time and focus all his attention on blogging through his website ViperChill.com. He also released a book titled Cloud Living where he explains in detail how he became an online nomad. Allsopp is a shining symbol of online success, having made over $4000/month all online at the young age of 17 through blogging and marketing.

Ann Smarty, SEOSmarty.com

Ann Smarty writes heavily on several topics concerning online marketing such as social media, SEO, blogging and more. When it comes to the internet and online businesses she is a bit of a jack of all trades dabbling into a little of everything. She writes several helpful tutorials at SearchEngineJournal.com as well as her personal blog, SEOSmarty.com. Smarty is also head moderator and editor at MyBlogGuest.com, a thriving community of guest bloggers looking to build their portfolios. Due to her experience with MyBlogGuests many beginner bloggers turn to her for advice on how to get started and advance their experience as a writer.

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Leading Forum Software

Leading Forum Scripts

One question many forum owners are asking these days is which forum software systems are considered to be the best in terms of user numbers, reputation and overall features. Although most current forum managers have used PhpBB or vBulletin successfully in the past, many may now be looking for something new that offers a bit more.

The most common basic requirements sought still remain public viewing with registration required to post, hosting compatible with MySQL, and the ability to customize the pages.   Although PhpBB and vBulletin have dominated the market, PhpBB is free and open source and vBulletin costs a few hundred bucks and is closed source. Another big player these days that has been used by many popular forums is BigBoards, and Jive; Lithium and LiveWorld all have done well too.

For forum software with a mobile interface, there’s a WAP plug-in for vBulletin available, and Vanilla Forum is a lightweight easily customizable forum that also works well on mobile devices. You could also use Tapatalk, an app that works with any phone and provides free read-only access to forums. Because there are no similar plug-ins for PhpBB users, many PhpBB people have simply used mobile themes to get around the issue.

There have been many new developments in the free forum software field and some have been more well-received than others. In terms of general popularity with users and forum managers in particular, the top fifteen free forum software systems currently available today are:

1.     MyBB – released 2011-11-25  

2.    BurningBoard – released 2011-08-26  

3.    PhpBB(3) – released 2012-01-02  

4.    Xenforo – released 2012-02-07  

5.    Vanilla Forums – released 2011-11-03  

6.    FUDForum – released 2011-07-17  

7.    Simple Machines – released 2011-12-22  

8.    Wikid Forum – released 2011-08-24  

9.    FluxBB – released 2011-09-13  

10.  UseBB – released 2011-11-04  

11.    bbPress – released 2009-07-28  

12.   PunBB – released 2011-12-01  

13.   Phorum released 2011-09-09  

14.   MiniBB – released 2010-10-05  

15.   IceBB – -released 2010-12-02

If you are in need of high performance vBulletin hosting or managed forum hosting, look no further than URLJet. Why go with “vanilla” hosting when you can get vBulletin optimized hosting that will run your forum faster than anyone- period.

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6 Different Types Of Free Forum Software You Can Use To Build A Forum

6 Different Types Of Free Forum Software You Can Use To Build A Forum

One of the first decisions you will make when starting a forum is deciding on what forum software to use. There are many options, both free and paid. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some great free forum software option available. There is a respectable list of great forum software options out there.

Here are six of them:

#1 PHPBB

phpBB Forum Software
phpBB is one of the top free forum software options available. It’s open-source, but what is unique is that they provide a unique and helpful database which contains all user created plugins. Everything is organized well and easy to find. Like MyBB, there are several plugins to choose from to customize however needed so the two are close competitors. Deciding which is better would be based solely on preference.

There are few things that give phpBB an edge from my experience. One notable feature would be their support section, which is well put together and extremely informative.

As far as actual features go phpBB seems to have better security from the start. They also provide anti-spam tools. Other than that many of the features you start with are similar to that of MyBB, except for the reputation system which is unique to MyBB. This is where it becomes a matter of preference. Due to the many plugins available with both of them, it’s always possible to customize to your needs, but it all depends on how much you want to customize.

Get phpBB Forum Software

#2 XMB Forums

XMB Forum Software
XMB is a good place to start if you’re new to forum hosting. They provide all the basic tools you need to get started. You can edit administration settings, templates, add/remove topics, and member settings. There are other tools available, but for the most part, nothing too complex, just your forum basics. Great for beginners.

Get XMB Forum Software

#3 UseBB

UseBB Forum Software
UseBB has the simplicity of XMB, but with a little more to offer in terms of security and anti-spam features.
There are also extra features for users to customize their profiles like remote avatars for example.

Get UseBB Forum Software

#4 FluxBB

FluxxBB Forum Software
Flux was born after forking from PunBB after it’s founder Rickard Andersson left the project in 2008. For a long time PunBB was widely used for many open-source and commercial product’s discussion boards, and several currently use FluxBB due to many of the ported over features.

Flux prides itself in it’s ease of use, fast speed enabled through their superb code, clean admin interface, flexible permission system, and powerful moderator tools that allow for easy user and consequence/reward management.

One drawback is that adding modifications might not be as easy of a task as other forum software on this list, because doing so requires manually editing source code. There are still a few plugins available, but not as many as you would expect. There are plenty of features already available for discussion boards. Unless you want serious in-depth customization there is not much more that would need to be downloaded.

Get FluxxBB Forum Software

#5 MyBB

MyBB Forum Software
What is great about MyBB is that it is both free and open-source. As a result there are hundreds of modifications and plugins at your disposal. Unlike FluxBB, MyBB will not require you to edit a single line of code. There is nothing for you to have to add anything. You get ease of access and amazing versatility. It truly is the ultimate sandbox for forum enthusiasts.

Features available by default will give you all the basics. Convenient administration, built in templates and theme editors, a reputation/warning system, a tasks system which helps with maintenance, easy moderation, private messaging, calendars and events, a mass mailing system, and fast performance. It even has MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite database support with replication/slave support built in. Any other features you would need can easily be added using modifications and plugins.

Get MyBB Forum Software

#6 PHP-Nuke

PHP Nuke Forum Module
Unlike all of the other software on this list PHP-Nuke is more of a content management system. It’s interface includes features that are specialized for online news sites, making it the perfect choice for any professional online publication.

For example, there is a WordPress like editing system so that authors can save pending posts which editors can edit before publishing. It also includes several features many news sites have such as a “Top Story” section to display the most popular stories at the top of the web page, surveys or polls to gather reader opinions on political events (or whatever poll you want to create), as well as archives to provide access to older articles. The features would also work wonderfully for guest contributor blogs as well.

PHP-Nuke can be more than just a news content management system. It’s a cake walk to add a discussion board, and as the name implies, it is PHP based. This forum software is based on bb2nuke which is a popular open-source ported version of PHP-Nuke revamped as a phpBB discussion board.

There are several add-ons and plugins available for the software which would enable users to customize their site to be able to do just about anything.

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The Top Paid Forum Software Options

The last two forum software providers on this list are not free, but they are both well worth the costs. Just imagine forum software that incorporates everything we have talked about so far, but better. Let’s just say they should definitely be options you should look into, and here’s why.

vBulletin

vBulletin Forum Software
vBulletin is written in PHP, works on any operating system, and uses a MySQL database server.

vBulletin has two versions, one that is just their classic forum client, and another that is not just forum software. It also an article-based Content Management System and blogging software. This is what gives vBulletin a bit of an edge over all the others. They provide the most versatile all-in one solution for whatever you need. But, if all you need is the basic forum essentials they have you covered with the classic version, which still has easy to apply plugins.

Get vBulletin Forum Software

XenForo

XenForo Forum Software
XenForo has several influences from vBulletin because a few of the developers from vBulletin also worked on XenForo. It is written in PHP and works on pretty much any operating system. Due to it’s popularity there are several hosts that support XenForo as well, including us.

Interesting features include a “like” system a little bit like Facebook or Reddit, and it also has a feature that rewards users with trophies for reaching certain milestones of participation. User features like these encourage social engagement and participation in a way that other forum software solutions don’t explore. There are also several unique SEO features built in which has probably contributed to it’s popularity. They also do a great job with security and anti-spam.

Many of the default features will probably be enough for whatever you will need to do with your forum, but just in case, there is also a huge database of modifications and plugins at your disposal. Not only are add-ons simple to apply, but XenForo framework makes them simple to build as well.

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