XenForo 1.3.3 Released

XenForo upgrade

XenForo upgrade

Today, we are happy to release XenForo 1.3.3. This release fixes a number of bugs and issues that were found in 1.3.2. As this is a maintenance release, the vast majority of the focus was an increase in stability.

Some of the bug fixes include:

Fix Google+ integration in IE8
Attempt to prevent appearance of duplicate posts when refreshing the page in Firefox
Improve the speed of BB code stripping on large posts
Fix link canonicalization of “//” links

Disable the rich text editor in Firefox on Android due to incompatibilities
Fix some editor inconsistencies in IE11
Maintain formatting when pasting between editors in more cases
When editing a link in the editor, update the link text if it’s the same as the link
Ensure that links in emails that are set to blend in have underlines
See or contact URLJet.com for more information

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vBulletin5 gets Spanish Language Support

Just released a Spanish language pack for vBulletin 5.1.1. German and French language packshave gotten excellent feedback and expanding language support to Spanish is a great addition.

The vBulletin 5.1.1 language packs for all three languages are now available in the vBulletin Members Area. If you would like to install one of these and have any questions on them, you can post in either the vBulletin 5 Support Issues & Questions or the language-specific sections of our forum, or contact support@urljet.com

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Update Patches Vulnerability in the All in One SEO Pack WordPress Plugin

don-t-hack-me

A security release patching two privilege escalation vulnerabilities found earlier this week has been released
Two security flaws permit an attacker to escalate privileges and leave the site open for cross site scripting attacks. If you allow subscribers, authors and non-admin users logging in to wp-admin, you are a risk. If you have open registration, your site is at risk and you should update asap.

In privilege escalation, a logged-in user, without any sort of admin privileges (like an author of subscriber), can add or modify certain parameters used by the plugin. This includes SEO title, description and keyword meta tags.
In conjunction with another vulnerability this bug can also execute malicious Javascript code. Opening the site to potential javascript code injections and the opportunity to change the admin password or leaving a backdoor in your website’s files in order for later nefarious.
The fix is easy: Upgrade to the latest’s version

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7 Common Misconceptions About WordPress

7 Common Misconceptions about WordPressWordPress powers 21.2% of websites online.

That’s a huge number.

With such a strong presence around the web, it’s amazing that more people haven’t caught on. WordPress is much more than a blogging platform — it’s far more versatile than you might imagine. If you are leaning towards WordPress, or simply struggling with updating your old, clunky website, perhaps it’s time to make the switch. In order to make the transition smoother, we’ve come up with a list that sheds light on some of the misconceptions that surrounding WordPress.

Read on to learn more.

1. WordPress is for blogging

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. WordPress is used for blogging, but that is just one of its many applications. In fact, WordPress has evolved to become more of a CMS (Content Management System). The software has everything you need to build and easily maintain any type of website, whether for blogging, ecommerce, or business.

2. WordPress is not secure

WordPress is very secure, thanks to its global community of developers and researchers that spend their time fine-tuning the software, releasing patches when needed, and improving user experience. The reason WP is actually more secure than other alternatives is because its use is so widespread. With so many people contributing to its improvement, the product is constantly being improved in both security and capabilities.

3. WordPress isn’t for ecommerce

There are a plethora of themes and plug-ins to make it easy for anyone to sell their products and services online. Woocommerce is one plugin that has been around for years, and makes setting up an ecommerce site a breeze. Woocommerce is a free plugin with a variety of upgrades and add-ons. Woocommerce includes features like coupon codes and discounts, control over shipping calculations, product and category RSS feeds, multilingual support, PayPal and Google Checkout integration, one-page checkout, admin dashboard for sales overview, basic inventory control, and much more.

4. Can ‘free’ software really be that good?

Sometimes when we think of ‘free’ we picture something of little value. It’s time you stop thinking that way. WordPress is open source and free, and backed by a team of developers, designers, and volunteers all over the world. The sheer number of people working with WordPress is exactly what gives it value. While the software is free, themes, plugins and similar services do still require an investment of time and/or money. But the beautiful thing about WordPress is it makes creating a website accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

5. All WordPress sites look the same

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are plenty of themes to choose from that can give your site a unique look. Plus, WordPress can be customized anyway you see fit.

6. WordPress is for amateurs

WordPress makes site management simpler even for veteran webmasters. Who wants to toil with lines of code when you don’t have to? Of course, when it comes to customization and design, code is still required. Of course, if you just need to update some text or upload an image, wouldn’t it be easier to be able to do it yourself? You don’t want to be paying a designer for simple updates. WordPress makes it easy to do it yourself.

7. WordPress won’t work for big sites

TechCrunch, TheNextWeb, Wired, and List25 all use WordPress.

Nuff’ said

Hopefully this article cleared up any confusion you may have about WordPress. Continue learning on your journey through the world of WordPress, and check back here at our blog for more tips and tricks. If you have any questions, please add them in the comments!

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How To Create A Landing Page That Converts

How To Create A Landing Page That Converts

 

Landing pages are one of the ultimate ways to attract new customers to your site — and ultimately increase sales. You can’t assume that new visitors reaching your site are going to wind up on your home page: if their search query matches another page on your site, it’s likely that Google will send them towards the most relevant page. This means that visitors from organic search can be reaching pages other than your homepage for the first time. This makes it all the more important to structure each page like a landing page. This insures you are putting your best foot forward, no matter what page your visitor lands on

 

A landing page  is like a first date, so try to make it more attractive and eye catchy with a clear cut Call To Action, that makes an elegant impression on the customers.

There are 8 main essential elements found in converting a page and they are:

C= Clear call to action

O= Offer

N= Narrow Focus

V= Very Important Attributes

E=  Effective Headline

R= Resolution and Layout

T=  Tidy Visuals

S=  Social proof of your site

Today, we are going to review some of the best landing page practices that will definitely let you gain more conversions, so that when a visitor or a customer clicks to your landing page they walk away happy and informed and you get a sale or new lead.

Create strong, uncluttered Landing Page content

As an owner, you probably do not have much time to connect regularly with your customers. For instance , a first impression on a date, you only get one before that person makes their decision about you, same thing applies to the landing page content. So, include clear line content, concise information and eye catchy headlines. You should use ‘’you’’ word to make a clear connection to the customers so that they can easily understand the facts about your product. Give your visitors the ability to scan the landing page quickly and be able to pick out the important information they need.

 Place a prominent call to action on your landing page

You should make your CTA [call to action] noticeable so that customers are clear about where and how to convert. You can use contrasting colors and blank spaces behind the CTA to make it and use simple words that can encourage visitors to take action.  You should give them clear information on what will happen after clicking to CTA. Give them the information on what to expect from your company after they have signed up. Even if you don’t make a sale from some of those sign up’s, think about it this way. You now have a new prospect and or “lead”. This person has just given you their personal information and is clearly interested in your product or services. You can now send them a follow up email with a first time customer deal or just some more info on why your company or product is a right fit for him/her.

Include a video on your landing page

A small image and a small length video is more helpful and clear for a visitor than a lengthy article. You can use a 30 seconds video on your landing page to increase the conversion rate.

Place customer testimonial on your landing page

Placing strong customer testimonials can convince visitors that your product or service is worth trying. Attaching the customer testimonial near the CTA will be a good strategy as it can encourage visitors and reinforce the positive conviction of your landing page.

Closing Thoughts

Without elaborating this more, I wanna stop myself here. So I hope you all understand the way to create a landing page that converts. Really a landing page is the overall impression of your service. Create something that speaks to your clientele, allow them to get clear and concise information about your product or services prior to them signing up for something. A landing page is a great way to showcase a new product or feature.

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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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How To Find A Great WordPress Theme (And What To Look For)

How To Find A Great WordPress Theme (And What To Look For)

If you have decided to take the leap and are moving to a self-hosted blog, congratulations! You are making the right decision. Sure, nothing beats free, but when it comes to hosting your own site, you get to be in the driver’s seat.

WordPress.com and Blogger are great if just want to test the waters with blogging, but for some it is just not an option. If you want to build a brand, you need brandability — and that means losing the restrictions that come with using a hosted blogging platform.

Why WordPress.com Is A Bad Idea

You are not in control. Bottom line, when it comes to your website that is unacceptable. Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) reserves the right to display advertising on every site hosted on their platform. While this might not be a big deal to some, the reality is you are putting in all the hard work and the ads placed on your site don’t benefit you. In fact, these ads will probably be siphoning at least some of your visitors away. Not good.

Why You Should Choose A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog

You are in control. See the dynamic change? When you host your own site you are not bound by the terms and conditions of any free service. This means no ads, no limitations on the content. You can do as you wish and build the site you want.

Of course, there still is the whole website issue. You’re going to need one, and if a custom solution is not in the budget then you are going to want to pick out a theme for your new site.

How to Find the Perfect WordPress Theme

Fortunately, there are quite a few places to find the perfect theme, but the one you decide on depends on what your goals are for your site.

The most popular theme marketplaces are: (put screenshots of marketplaces here)

Themeforest

Themeforest

WooThemes

Woothemes

StudioPress

StudioPress

What to Watch Out for When Choosing A WordPress Theme

Just because a theme looks great doesn’t mean it will have the greatest functionality. You want a theme that not only looks good, but performs just as well. The code should be clean and well-organized. But above all, the theme you choose should follow best practices for SEO.

Here are a few quick pointers:

1. Choose the right developer.

The most important thing you can do is choose a theme from a developer that offers ongoing product support and updates. The last thing you want to do is invest your time in a theme that is not being actively updated.

2. Make sure you’ll have support.

Most developers will have some level of support for their themes. Look for a theme that has a strong development team behind it with plenty of resources and tutorials on getting started.

3. Read the reviews.

Nearly every theme marketplace has individual reviews for each product. A theme with little or no reviews has not been tested in a production environment. You want to choose a theme that has plenty of positive reviews.

4. Double check for SEO support.

SEO is obviously a biggie. While it does take some work, you should check the demo theme and make sure Title tags display correctly, and every page has an H1 tag. If possible, crawl your website with Moz or Raven Tools. Alternatively, you can use a free tool called Screaming Frog.

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Social Media: The Secret Sauce to Strategic Forum Marketing

Social Media: The Secret Sauce to Strategic Forum Marketing

Social media is something to leverage. Most people understand this. Bloggers do. Marketers do. For some reason, forum owners don’t seem to get it. Am I qualified to make that statement? Absolutely.

We host forums. That’s what we do.

I’ve been asked for tips on getting forum traffic more times than I can count, but what I’ve consistently seen across the board is a lack of participation in social media. Which, if you think about it, is ironic because the main focus of a forum is community.

This post is not going to cover how to boost participation on your forum. I’ll save that for another post, but if you have time you are welcome to look back on a few different posts we’ve done on starting a forum.

For this post, I want to focus on how to get people to your forum using social media.

Let’s start with Facebook.

Using Facebook for Forum Traffic

Don’t ignore the power of Facebook. With over a billion people on the site, there is a huge audience to tap into. The first thing you should do is start a fan page and post content that is relevant to your audience. Don’t skimp on design — a well designed fan page can significantly boost engagement and encourage people to interact with your page.

Posting links to threads on your forum is important, but remember to not overwhelm your fans. Also, don’t post links without adding an image that either expands on the topic, or is simply eye-catching. Posting a series of text posts or links with ugly images won’t help get people over to your forum.

Using Twitter for Forum Traffic

Twitter is a social network that you can afford to share all of the threads on your forum. In fact, it’s very easy to setup your Twitter account to automatically tweet new threads. We have created a step-by-step tutorial to guide you through the process.

Using Google+ for Forum Traffic

Depending on your niche, Google+ can be a good place to get started. Beyond the SEO value of sharing links on Google+, there are a variety of communities built around different topics. It might be a good idea to get involved and meet people in your niche. One thing to keep in mind is that, much like a forum, you are going to want to participate. Don’t just post a link and run.

Using Pinterest for Forum Traffic

If your forum has a resource section or some particularly popular threads you should consider adding them to Pinterest. All you need to do is create some catchy graphics that tie into the topic. Then, “pin” these on Pinterest and link back to the thread on your forum.

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10 Local Marketing Strategies

10 Local Marketing Strategies

Local marketing can have a huge impact on your business. If you have a brick-and-mortar location it is an absolute must. But, even if most of your business is done online you can still benefit from local marketing. The more exposure you have in your local market, the more word-of-mouth business will come your way.

We’ve outlined 10 local marketing strategies that can help get you there.

Add Schema.org markup to your site.

Schema.org is semantic markup of data that helps search engines make the internet more structured and intelligble. Schema.org helps search engines identify local businesses, events, reviews, products and more through a simple standard used by all major search engines. It requires that you add a snippet of html to your web pages so that search engines can display microdata in search engine results.

Raven Tools has a free tool that allows you to easily create the correct microdata for your site. You can also learn a great deal more about rich snippets by reading this post from Moz.

Create and verify your Google Places page.

Create and verify your Google Places page.

Google Places “7-pack” in local search results.

If you want any chance of showing up in the coveted 7 pack in Google, you want to make sure that you have verified your Google Places page. The first thing you should do is create a Google+ page for your business. Next, verify your company address by requesting verification. You can verify your business by phone or by having a postcard mailed to your location.

Add Authorship to your site.

More and more marketers are talking about Google Authorship. No doubt you’ve seen people’s picture search results. That picture adds clicks. Site’s that display author pictures in search results get higher click-throughs, which means more visitors. One of the most touted benefits of adding Authorship to your site though is the increased SEO value. Jon Morrow published an epic resource that will walk you through everything you need to know about Google Authorship.

Google Authorship

See how Google Authorship makes your site stand out in the SERPs?

Claim your listings.

Local SEO is all about NAP: Name, Address, Phone. Those three ingredients are very important if you want search engines to show your business in local search results. Start by claiming all of your local listings. You can use GetListed.org to search local listing sites for your business, see where you’re listed, and double-check that your information is correct. It’s very important that all of your listings reflect accurate information.

Advertise with print.

Don’t ignore the power of print, even if your business is mostly online. First things first: get yourself some business cards. Having a business card to hand prospective clients will help seal the deal. It invokes trust. It makes your website seem “real”. Plus, you don’t have to worry about them remembering your domain.

Join local business organizations.

Local business organizations are great hubs for networking and promoting your business. Not only will you be able to connect with local business owners, you’ll be able to get a link to your website from the members page. Links like these are usually valued highly by Google and will help push you closer to page 1. If you have the time to network and want a good local presence, you need to do this.

Encourage testimonials on Yelp and Google+.

BIA/Kelsey, along with ConStat conducted a study that found nearly all consumers (97%) use the internet to get information on local businesses. Google+ and Yelp are two sites that consistently rank high in local search results. People trust third-party review sites, especially Yelp. In order to get the most out of creating a presence on these sites you need to encourage your customers to leave testimonials. There is no secret science to getting reviews. When you have a happy customer, ask them to leave a testimonial. Be direct. Most people understand that reviews are good for business, and if they are happy with your service most will be glad to leave you a review.

Get active on social media.

When you are active on social media it builds trust with your target market. A website can be a very stale place. Other than your blog, things don’t tend to change much. And unless you are blogging everyday, there won’t be much activity for your visitors to check out (unless you have a forum). Social media helps bridge that gap and gives your visitors a peek behind the scenes, so to speak. It also encourages people to get in touch.

Join a local Meetup or host your own.

Meetup is a wildly popular site that helps people find people who share their interests. There are no shortage of groups online you can join, and you can search by topic or keyword. You shouldn’t have any problem finding a relevant group. Start by attending a few Meetups yourself so you know what to expect. Get used to networking and meeting new people, and if you’re really bold start your own.

Build links to your site.

Your website needs backlinks. When another site links to you it gives your website credibility. If you are building high quality links from relevant sites you can start increasing your organic search traffic from keywords that relate to your business. This will help you move up in the search results. There are many ways to do this: directory listings, guest blogging, and participating in forums are a few ways.

Have you used local marketing to boost your business? What was the hardest part?

10 Local Marketing Strategies (Infographic)

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