Category: "Blogging"

Importing Forum Software into WordPress Forum using BBPress

With WordPress powering nearly 25% of the web, it’s safe to say that its popularity coupled with ease-of-use and vast plugin support make it a primary contender and choice of many website owners. For many years other software such and Bulletin Board software reigned supreme more so in the years prior to social media sites such as Facebook were heavily utilized. Those using phpBB, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, and others such as Xenforo had long used WordPress as the home page with the forums being installed into a sub-folder… then adding in a Single Sign On or “bridge” to link the two systems – this could be done easily by developers and avid WordPress enthusiasts however it left simple site owners in the dark!

BBPress (and/or BuddyPress) creates a forum within your WordPress and for those who had previously utilized WordPress as a home page yet depended on other forum software to render your forums to your member base it does a simple and quite elegant job! Below is the process of installing BBPress into WordPress and then importing forum data into it, thereby seemingly transferring your WordPress site into a forum as well!

Preparation

  • Backup your site, both database and files before beginning.

Installation  (Source)

Automatic Plugin Installation

  1. Open your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Under Search, type in bbPress into the search form and click the Search Plugins button to the right, bbPress should be the first result in the returned list.
  3. Click Details for to confirm the author is listed as ‘The bbPress Community‘ and links back to http://bbpress.org
  4. Click Install Now to install the bbPress Plugin.
  5. A popup window will ask you to confirm your wish to install the Plugin.
  6. Click Proceed to continue with the installation. The resulting installation screen will list the installation as successful or note any problems during the install.
  7. If successful, click Activate Plugin to activate bbPress.

Manual Plugin Installation

  1. Download the current version .zip of bbPress and extract the contents to a folder on your PC.
  2. With your FTP program upload the extracted ‘bbpress‘ folder to your ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ folder.
  3. From your WordPress Admin Dashboard and go to Plugins and Activate the bbPress Plugin.

After you’ve successfully installed and activated BBPress, the next step is to import from your alternate forum software.

How to Import

  • Visit WordPress Admin Dashboard > Click on Tools > Click on Forums > Click on the Import Tab

You will see the following screen when doing so:

bbpressimport

As you can see in the screenshot, some additional information is required, this being database details for the alternate forum software, in nearly all cases this can be found in a config.php file from the other software OR listed in the administrator control panel of said alternate software. *Also please note, there is another “Import” link in the menus, the look of this page will greatly differ from the screenshot above and is the wrong location, do not use the import function if it does not resemble the page in the screenshot above as it would be the wrong location and import respectively.

Once you’ve provided all information required from the other software, you can begin your import. Once finished simply follow any additional on-screen prompts and then check your site to see if everything imported properly.

For example:

  • www.example.com/index.php  <– WordPress.
  • www.example.com/forum/index.php  <– Old Forum Software
  • www.example.com/index.php/forums/  <– Is now your new BBPress Forum within WordPress

There are now other things you can do, such as changing URL Hierarchy (how links work and look) to make them more SEO friendly, what plugins do you wish to use? Now is the time to check the plugin directory for WordPress and also the BBPress plugins directory and see what you can use to your benefit!

Now with all changes in place, your new WordPress forum is ready to rock and roll! We do suggest you backup and archive your old forum software for reference purposes.

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Creating Terms of Service and Privacy Policy Documents

 

 

tos

From forums to ecom sites, the importance of current Terms of   Service, Privacy Policies and various other legal documents cannot be be stressed enough. Automattic has open sourced all of its legal documents, including a DMCA takedown notice.

To use Automattic’s legal document as a foundation for your sites document check the Auto Terms of Service and Privacy Policy plugin at WordPress.org.  Clifford Paulick’s, wrote the plugin to use content from Automattic’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, both are available to the public under the Creative Commons Sharealike license. The language of each document is generic and can apply to most sites or service providers, from single sites to subscription sites, blog networks, forums and others.

Github and its Legalmattic repository is another source to check for these documents.

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Getting Started with WordPress

 

Ok, WordPress is installed and running…What’s next? If you’re new to WordPress, this article will give you some all important tips on setting up and securing your new WordPress site

1) Set the Title, Tagline, Time zone and add your Favicon

We rolled these into one step as their easily made from the setting area of your WordPress Admin panel.

In your WordPress admin panel find Settings and choose General. Add your site Change both your site title and complete the tagline with something descriptive of your site.

Still in the General section, find Timezone and add a city in your same time zone. You can also use the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Sites like this will help you find the correct UTC setting.

As Always, Save Changes.

Adding your favicon.

Favicon is little icon in the browser tab next to your site title and helps identify your site. Many times it’s not changed and show the WordPress default icon.

Creating a Favicon

A favicon is a square image. 32×32 pixels or 16×16 pixel images are the right size. Using you image editor, create a square image large enough so that you can work on it. Keep in mind that greatly reducing an image also reduces detail, making it important to use a bold, simple image for your favicon. When the image is ready, use a tool like Favicon Generator to convert it to a 16×16 .ico file.

Adding a Favicon to your WordPress Site

To add your new favicon, simply upload it to your sites root directory and paste this code into your theme’s header.php file….making sure to change mysite.com to the name of your site. Save it and check your site. You should see your new favicon.

1 <link rel=”icon” href=”http://mysite.com/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />
2 <link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”http://mysite.com/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />

No header.php file? This plugin gives you a way around that and will also help with adding scripts like google analytics. Install the Insert Header and Footer plugin. After activating go to Settings » Insert Headers and Footers. Once there, past the above code, save and you’re good to go.

2) Setting Your Front Page Display

Also from the Settings area of your admin panel, go to Front Page Displays and set the page to show as desired.

Here you can set a custom home page that focus on a specific topic or product. You can also set additional pages to display your blog posts (we’ll cover that in future articles).

Decide what should be seen on the front page and go. Keep in mind that you can always change it later. You can also make some of these changes with the Customize option, from the front end of your site.

3) Setting Your Permalink Structure

WordPress’s default permalink structure (the link structure added to yours sites URL, mysite.com) can be made a bit more search friendly.

Still in your admin panels Settings area, select Permalink. You’ll find a few different choices for setting a new structure. I prefer either the Day and Name or Post Name options. Pick, Save and you’re done.

  1. Addressing WordPress Security

A little paranoia can be a good thing when dealing with your sites security.

First security step many take is to install a WordPress backup plugin. At URLJet, we’ve done that for you and automatically backup your site (You can remove backups on our VPS and dedicated options). The next is to secure your wp-admin area. This could be a topic in itself but two quick tips are to

  • Limit logins.  This plugin limits missed login from the same ip.
  • Use .htaccess to password protect your wp-admin folder. In cPanel find password protection and follow the instructions to add it to your wp-admin folder
  • Add a Web Application Firewall (waf) We like the Incapsula personal plan as it gives the additional bennifit of a cdn http://www.incapsula.com/pricing-and-plans.html
  1. Remove Unused Themes and Plugins

WordPress users tend to install and test a few themes or plugins before deciding on the final one. Don’t leave them behind; delete them as for security, they also need updating and maintenance.

It’s easy, find the menu item named Appearance and go to themes. To delete a theme, hover over it and select Theme Details. A window will open and give you the opportunity to delete the theme.

  1. Add an Anti-Spam Plugin

Spam is not a good thing and WordPress sites can be magnets for spam. Spam comments are irritating for users and bad for SEO. Adding an anti-spam plugin will help greatly in keeping your WordPress site from becoming a spam magnate. This is the best way we know of to knock down spam:

  1. Add Askimet
    If you use JetPack, you can active it through JetPack. If not, just follow the prompts to active it.
  2. Limit links in a post. Go to Settings>Discussion panel. Scroll to comment moderation and limit the number of links. It’s set to 2 by default, try 1 if spam becomes an issue
  3. Comment Blacklist. This is a list of word forbidden on your blog. Go to Setting> Discussion Panel, find comment blacklist and add problematic words.
  4. Add a WordPress SEO Plugin

Getting your site found is vital and good SEO is important for any website website. To ensure that your blog posts are getting maximum results, you need to optimize them for SEO and The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/makes this part easier. SEO isn’t automatic but this will make your life easier.

https://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/

A top choice for many is the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast. https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/It’s easy to use and  generates xml sitemaps at the click of the mouse.

  1. Add a Cache Plugin

User appreciate fast sites and so does Google. Caching helps take the load off your server and speed up your site.
Below are a couple of the more popular cache plugins for WordPress:

W3 Total Cache – Possibly the most powerful cache plugin available for WordPress. It’s loaded with options to help boost WordPress performance and is a popular plugin for CDN integration. This plugin has a lot of options and easily mess things up if not configured correctly. New users may have better luck starting a bit smaller. If you’re ready to jump on, make sure to follow the set instructions.
WP Super Cache – Much easier for a new user yet still good choice for caching plugins. Just Install, turn on caching and check your site speed. It does have some additional option and like with other cache plugins, make sure to read the set up info and test before hitting save and leaving.

  1. Optimize For Social Media Sharing via Sharing Plugins

Social Sharing can greatly accelerate the growth rate of your site and easiest way to optimize your site for social shares is to use a Social Sharing Plugin.

There’s a scad to choose from and as always some are better than others. These are 2 that we like…We’d like to hear from you, with your choices and experiences.

HootSuite
HootSuite is one of the original social management tool and we feel it’s still one of the best.

Bit.ly https://bitly.com/
A great link shortner. You can have your own branded short urls, easily organize your links, create custom keywords and it offers analytiucs for your shortened links.Last but certainly not the least, Bit.ly offers analytics for each shortened link.

Moving on

We’ve found the steps above to be a great help in running an maintain a WordPress site. We’d love to hear your comment, observations and favorite plugins.

 

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Tips for the Noob Blogger: Blogging Tips for Beginners

Tips for the Newbie Blogger

Welcome to the world of blogging! Whether you’re just getting started or have little experience, these tips are here to help guide you on your path to becoming a successful blogger. The web is littered with stories on how to attain success and make it as a blogger. Information overload is a problem when you’re just starting out. We’ve distilled the best advice, taken from some of the world’s most popular bloggers, to create a road map for building your blog.

Read below for some tips that will help you get started blogging.

Starting tips:

Never copy someone else’s content.

Blogging is a personal journey that you use to chronicle your thoughts and put into words what your experience has taught you. Bring out your own ideas and write for yourself first before writing out for the audience. Once you start writing for yourself, you will come out with more content in a short time. And this would also give you more audience than you had expected. Never try to impress others without impacting your mind. Always tell the truth and never mislead your followers. Always keep in mind that earning trust will take time while losing the same would happen easily. When you start writing, you feel that there is no one to hear you. Be patient it takes some time for people to start following you. Once you are settled, it is time for you to set a theme for your blogs and write accordingly. This will increase your followers as people with similar ideas will start following your blog posts. Keep in mind that there are millions of blogs on the internet and you need to ensure that you stand out from them. Only then you will get the number of followers as you desire.

Growing tips:

Well, by now you are now not a beginner and have reached a level of blogging experience.

It is time now for you to measure your statistics. There are various tools such as Google Analytics that would help you analyze the trend of your blogs. This would help you modify your blog posts accordingly. You need to ensure that your blog content can be easily shared and made available for your friends and followers in social websites such as Facebook and Twitter. This will also help your friends; share your content to their friends and so on. The success of a blog depends on the number of followers following the post. Interact more with the audience by asking their comments, opinions of the blog, feedback of your writing, etc. You can also leave some of your blogs unfinished, thereby letting your community to complete the posts based on their ideas. Once you start writing blog posts, never leave the posts unattended for more than a month as this would give the image that you are not connecting with your network.

Writing tips:

Blogging is all about writing. Write, write and write, but don’t write too much.

Little confused? You need to write often, but every time you write, do not write too much. Make it a rule that you do not write more than 1000- 1200 words for a blog post. Also make sure that you do not write less than 200 word posts as it seems like a comment and not a blog. You need to write content that is different from what is already there in millions of other blogs. Talk more specific rather than writing some newspaper content. Be bold enough to share your thoughts, but never be too offensive. Get along well with the audience and admit if you make any mistakes. If you feel that what you write is not captivating the mood of the audience, try changing the genre. See if you get positive results now. But this should happen only after you wait for some amount of time. Never give up writing. Once you stop writing blogs, it is very difficult to come back and win audiences.

Risk Tips:

Wondering what risk is involved in blogging? There is no risk until you take a risk.

There are various blogging tools such as analytics tools, plug-ins for social sites, etc. Bloggers tend to easily get attracted towards a tool that they start using it in their blogs. Sometimes, these tools ensure that the blog is destroyed to full extent by posting content without your permission. It is always wise to analyze the new tools in terms of its origin, benefits and requirements. If you feel a tool to be “nice to have” but do not help in achieving your goals, give second thought about using that tool. Instead if you feel a tool to be necessary for reaching the target, don’t give a second thought but use it. Never shy away from asking for help from other communities. No blogger has reached success without being a beginner. Since blogging is all about networking and sharing, I’m sure they would be happy to help you out. Reach out to them and get their advice on a tool or strategy. This way you ensure that you are making people know about your blogs.

Some extra pointers:

Whenever people visit your blog, the first thing they would see is the website. Ensure that the web design match the theme of the blog. There have been numerous instances where web design has come in the way of quality content. So do not hesitate to invest in a good design. Be generous in sharing any content that you feel will benefit the audience. If you find good content elsewhere on the internet, share the link in your blog. This way you make others share your link as well. But never do this for money. People will lose credibility over your site when you share links for payment. Follow some popular bloggers and see how they captivate audience’s mind. It’s time to get your space in the online community. Enjoy your time by sharing your ideas and receiving comments. Happy Blogging!

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Content Is King, But A Plan Is Your Dynasty: Build Your Kingdom With These Royal Tips

Content Is King, But A Plan Is Your Dynasty: Build Your Kingdom With These Royal Tips

Taming the content monster isn’t necessarily the bonus hour of most people’s day. Writing can be an arduous process that requires effort, patience, and time to get right. If the ‘Content is King’ mantra hasn’t yet been beaten into your head, you better get with the program quick: If you want your site to show up in organic search, you have some work to do.

I’m going to assume you understand the implications of publishing content on your site: it leads to better rankings, higher traffic, more conversions. Backlinks are becoming a thing of the past. Not to say that they are not still important, but the true deciding factor these days is where are those links coming from? If you’re not picking up links from authoritative sites you run the risk of getting whacked by Google. Penguins and Panda bears might be cute in the zoo. Not so when it comes to your website.

I Don’t Know Where To Start!

A lot of people have questions about producing “good” content. While there is no exact science, there is a simple formula to producing content on the regular. Consistency is what pays off. Add to the fact that the more you write, the better you become. You need a content calendar, and you need a plan.

What a content calendar allows you to do is structure the content you publish to target your buyer personas. A content calendar also helps you match content with current promotions and marketing initiatives. Still another benefit of creating a content calendar for your website is it keeps you on track and gives you a deadline. It beats wasting time thinking about what you should be writing about.

Plan your content calendar with these resources:

17 Essential Content Templates and Checklists

How to Create an Editorial Calendar Using Trello (and Why You Need One)

How to Build a Content Calendar (Plus a Free Template for 2014)

Master The Outline

How you structure your articles is important. If your plan of attack is laid out before you, all it requires is filling in the blanks. All great posts start with a title. It has to be catchy. People should want to click. Your title should arouse the curiosity of your readers.

As Rita Mailheau says:

Get your headline right and people will start to read. Get your lede right, and they’ll keep reading. It isn’t hard. You just need to know how to do it.

I would recommend reading her article. It explains perfectly how to structure your content. Just for an overview, here is a quick cheat sheet:

1. Start with a title. Your title should set the tone of your article and be your compass for the content that follows.

2. The Lede. This is the first paragraph that should tell the reader the main purpose of your article. Balance being informative and intriguing to keep the reader engaged and wanting to read more.

3. Outline your main points. Brevity is important in writing, and so is breaking up your content with headings. Blobs of text are hard to read and will end up causing you to lose visitors. Headings help readers quickly scan your content, which is the new way people read online (if you haven’t heard).

4. Fill-in-the-blanks. Once you have your title, lede, and your headings mapped out, all you have to do is fill in the blanks. You set yourself up for success when you map out your articles this way. You’ll notice that you write faster and your articles are far more cohesive.

5. Write a long post. While you should never write strictly for word count, there is evidence that longer posts perform better across the board in terms of rankings, social shares and authority.

Don’t Skimp On Promotion

Just because you hit publish doesn’t mean your job is finished. Your job is just beginning. Promotion is the second half and you should definitely put in some time to get the word out. If you need an exhaustive guide to getting this part done, this post covers it.

Here are some ways you can promote your new post:

  • Share on social media (duh!)
  • Mention people in your post
  • Send trackbacks to sites you linked to
  • Comment on other people’s blogs

Don’t Ignore SEO, But Don’t Go Overboard

Semantic search seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear in search results. This means that Google is getting better at understanding search queries that mimic human speech and intent. Heavy keyword usage is no longer advisable. You can include your keywords, but never forget that you are writing for people, not search engines.

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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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4 Things You Must Do To Become A Successful Blogger

4 Things You Must Do To Become A Successful Blogger

Although it may sound like a no-brainer, all successful blogs share one thing in common – a strong readership. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but with a few tricks you’ll be headed in the right direction. As a blogger, it’s important to remember your goal should be to capture the interest of your visitor immediately, and make them feel like they’ll walk away with some valuable information. If you’re new to blogging and unsure where to start, here’s four guidelines to live by to make sure you’re not only engaging readers, but keep them coming back.

Find a niche

Pick a topic that you are passionate about. If you are truly passionate about something, your writing will reflect that, and this will keep your viewers coming back. Writing about your niche will also keep you from losing interest.

Consistency

Which brings me to my next point, stick with it. After you have given your readers something to come back for. Build a bio with your blog and let them know how often they can expect new content. Most importantly, stay true to that pledge, you do not want your readers coming back to nothing. If you formed a good niche that you are passionate about you should be able to do this fairly well.

Relevant content

Think about your target audience and what type of medium they would be most interested in. Ask yourself, what is it that attracts them more, pictures, videos, or text? Of course you can use all of these things in your blog, but depending on your audience, or the nature of each post, you might want to focus primarily on one medium.

Engage readers

Speaking of engaging readers, you should do it as often as possible. Find a way to get them to participate somehow. Example, you blog about cooking and you want to do a piece about your favorite recipes. Maybe for this piece you do a video and actually show your audience how you prepare these favorite dishes. Then you invite your audience to talk about their favorite meals, and how they prepare them. People do this on YouTube all the time, and you can do it with writing too. You just need to be creative.

Another way to engage your readers is to actually acknowledge that you appreciate them. You can do this a number of ways, from responding to comments to just mentioning that you saw their replies and you appreciate it. You may not be able to respond to all your replies, but you can at least let your audience know you value them. This alone will keep people coming back.

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Don’t Follow the Hype: Create Authenticity through Originality

Don’t Follow the Hype: Create Authenticity through Originality

Content marketing is essential to build any kind of online presence in today’s market. But what seems to be happening is building links has overshadowed the importance of building brands. This leads to sloppy marketing techniques where content focuses not on a product or service, but only serves the purpose to house a link.

Link building is an excellent strategy that can stimulate plenty of views on your web page and bring you to the top of search results. But in the long term, it is better to create quality content that not only helps your SEO but also shows quality in your products and services. Do not depend on Google, search engine algorithms change. However, the first impression your company has in a customer’s mind never goes away.

How do you build your brand?

When you think of Rolex what comes to mind? Watches, right? It took time for Rolex to build their brand, but today, everyone knows that Rolex makes quality watches. Movie stars are photographed wearing them all the time afterall. That’s the effect that everyone should aspire for their company name, quality. No matter what it is your business does, even if you are an independent contractor, you want people to see you as an expert in your field.

Remember that branding is more than visual identity

Your “brand” is not the same as your logo, too many people get this mixed up. You should think of your brand as the single greatest thing about your company, the thing that sets you apart from everyone else. There may be hundreds of companies that make watches, but there’s only one that makes them like Rolex. A brand should show people that you are an expert at what you do. Good content will mirror this.

Using content to improve your brand

There are several ways to use web content to your advantage and build your brand at the same time. All it takes is a little bit of originality. When it comes to blog posts, a good way to do it is by telling readers something interesting they may not have ever heard before. These interesting facts would be related to your business of course.

This article is an excellent example of this because it would peaks the interest of people involved in forum marketing, while also introducing them to something they might not have heard before. It also promotes a brand, a forum host, in a subtle way without sounding too salesy. They do this by simply, being an expert in their own field, and they use their blog wonderfully for this purpose.

Know your demographic

Believe it or not going after a demographic that is too general is a terrible marketing strategy. Understand who your largest demographic is and target them specifically with all of your content. All of your online content should be written to the intended audience. This will not only develop a specific style and brand but also reach out to potential customers. That way, not only are you receiving hits, but you’re getting more sales out of those hits as well.

Leave a footprint

Whatever your marketing strategy is, just remember that your link building strategy should work in unison. Missing out on that golden opportunity would be like shooting yourself in the foot, causing you to be at the mercy of search algorithms, no one wants that. Imprint an awesome impression into your customer’s heads instead.

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