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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Where Will Your Website Be In 2014?

Where Will Your Website Be In 2014?

This year is on its way out. Let’s not kid ourselves here: time flies. Whether you are moving forward or not, time waits for no one. If you dream of having a snazzy website, lots of traffic, and online success — you have work to do.

It’s time to start thinking about your goals for next year. We’ve made the work a bit easier on you and came up with the top 6 ways you can make your website (and online presence) better.

Ready? Let’s do it.

Go mobile

Numbers don’t lie: mobile phones account for 17.4% of global web traffic and the people in the know only expect this number to grow. “You need to be where your customers are” cannot get any truer. People are using their smart phones and mobile devices to look for products and services. If you’re online make sure your website is responsive, or have a mobile version of your website setup.

Focus on content

To say content is important would be the understatement of the century. Good content is what attracts visitors, and you need visitors in order to turn them to customers. Make sure you are devoting time to producing content that is useful and informative. You should also publish regularly. Just remember to not drone on about your products with every post. It’s important to craft content that will be useful to your readers.

Original content will help you:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Showcase your expertise
  • Grow trust with your readers
  • Differentiate from the competition

Get active on social media

This is a big one. Search and social go hand in hand. If you’re after rankings and traffic, you’re much better off approaching online marketing from both angles. What’s important to remember is don’t just use social media to share your links. Be sure to actively engage with influencers and others in your industry. This will give you more visibility and help to establish you as one of the key people in your niche.

Create concrete goals

You won’t get anywhere without goals. You have to know where you are going in order to get there. Write down a list of goals and areas you want to improve, then start scratching those tasks off the list. Want to use something besides paper or Word? Wunderlist is a handy little app that will allow you to easily create lists, set due dates, and reminders and more.

Measure what you’re doing

Once you have goals in place it’s important to measure your efforts so you know if they are paying off. Use tools like Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and Facebook Insights to gather data about your brand. Try to analyze what’s working and what’s not. If you can pinpoint some of the activities you’ve been doing that are working well, look for ways you can do them better — or just do more of it. The important thing here is to find areas that may be not producing and eliminate them.

Start making deadlines

You cannot have goals without deadlines. When you don’t set an end date to a task, all it becomes is a “want”. Set your goals and pick a reasonable amount of time to accomplish them. If you have a date in mind you’ll have an easier time getting things done. You want to take small steps towards your goals everyday.

What are your plans for 2014?

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How Reciprocation Is The Biggest Thing In Online Relationships

How Reciprocation Is The Biggest Thing In Online Relationships

All businesses, whether online or off, exist through relationships. These relationships are important because they can determine the success — or failure — of any business or website. People want value. They want treated with respect. And, they want recognition.

Community managers and forum owners should understand this absolutely. You can call it the Art of the Favor, or the Law of Reciprocity, but whatever name you decide to use, it boils down to relationship marketing and common sense.

Let me explain:

How many times have you felt compelled to help someone out, merely because they helped you in the past? For example, if I was to do you a favor, wouldn’t you feel compelled to return the gesture? I would venture a guess and say you would for the simple fact that this is human nature.

If You Own A Forum Or Manage A Community, Remember This

If you want to build a thriving community, and want an active forum: be active.

If your goal is to have a community where everyone shares valuable information: share valuable information.

Your actions will directly impact the type of community you are wanting to build. As a community leader, you have to set the tone of the forum by example. But above all, you have to care. Building a community can definitely be a worthwhile investment, but it will never be a strong community without passion, and unwavering dedication. When someone becomes a member of your forum they are investing their time in you. Make sure you reciprocate by building a community full of value.

3 Tips For Applying the Law of Reciprocity In Your Forum Or Community

1) Go Out Of Your Way To Help Your Members

People want recognition. They want to feel important and that their needs are being met. The best way to use this to your advantage is to go out of your way to help your members. If someone asks a question, offer them a detailed answer. If a member of your community is seeking advice, give them your professional opinion. When you have to make a decision as a moderator, give a clear and transparent reason for your actions.

You want your community members to feel that they are in fact, part of a community. Show them that it’s true.

2) Help Solve Problems

We all know how frustrating being stuck on something can be. Maybe you have even found yourself visiting a forum in the past to search for some obscure information that you had a question about. Forums are usually the place to find answers like that.

When someone becomes a member of your community to ask a question, make sure that the answers come quickly. If your forum has a long list of members, you’ll likely get some help in this department. But if your forum is new, you need to be quick to jump in with a solution. Offer value and insight (and be friendly) right from the beginning and you set the tone for the relationship.

3) Handle Moderation Fairly, But Firmly

A big part of managing a community or forum is moderating the discussions and posts that appear on the site. You have to be vigilante with defending your community from spam and scammers, but you also don’t want to take a heavy hand when informing people of the rules. Without a doubt you need to have developed policies and rules, but people do skim over these. Chances are you’ll have to remind people from time to time. The key is how you handle these situations when they arise.

Always be polite and friendly, but firm in your stance. Set the rules of the community, and make sure they are followed. The reason for this is to maintain the atmosphere of your community. If you allow it to go too many places at once, you’ll likely alienate the people that were drawn to your forum in the first place.

Want to build your own community? Create your own forum and get personalized help setting up your site.

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The Best WordPress Plugins for Community Building & Engagement

The Best WordPress Plugins for Community Building & Engagement

Engagement is more than a buzzword. Entire businesses are built on their ability to successfully cultivate a community that is both engaging and informative. In the online world, community is big. Every webmaster wants tasty stats like high traffic numbers, pageviews, and clicks, but the reality behind those numbers are people.

It’s people that drive those numbers. If your business is not engaging, your traffic will never be all that it can be. In other words, it won’t convert. Lucky for you we have compiled a big list of WordPress plugins that will help you ratchet up engagement and turn visitors into fans.

WordPress Plugins for Search & Stats

There are two plugins that every WordPress blog or site should have installed and these are Askimet and WordPress SEO. What do these have to do with engagement you might ask? Allow me to explain.

Akismet

This plugin was created by Automattic (the makers of WordPress). It works great for filtering spam comments from legitimate ones, which is important. If you do not have a way to automate spam filtering you’ll be bombarded with spam and will have trouble responding back to legitimate readers.

WordPress SEO

This one is an absolute must. In order to create a site that is popular and engaging you want to be found in the search engines. WordPress SEO by Yoast helps get you there by giving you an easy way to edit your title and description tags. Plus, it adds an XML sitemap to your blog and makes it a no-brainer to add Twitter cards and Google Authorship.

Jetpack

You should never be ignoring Google Analytics, but if you want a sneak peek into the performance of your site and would like to check out stats within your WordPress dashboard this is the plugin for you.

WordPress Plugins for Commenting & Discussion

You cannot have engagement without having a platform that makes conversation easy. These plugins help in many ways; from online forum-like discussions to social media enabled comments, you’ll find them here.

Commentluv

This plugin is first on the list because many bloggers use it and installing this plugin on your blog will usually help with engagement right out the gate. What is unique about this plugin is it allows commenters on your blog to have a link back to their last post (if they use WordPress).

Comments Evolved

This was once known as Google+ Comments for WordPress, but as the name suggests it…evolved. The earlier version allowed people using Google+ to easily comment when signed into their Google+ profile. There are a ton of benefits to being active on Google+, including more visibility in search. What makes comment plugin even more powerful is the fact that is integrates comments from Facebook, Disqus, and WordPress. It even includes trackbacks.

bbPress

As you may already know, we’re big on forums. There is nothing cooler than to be able to have forum functionality added right into your WordPress site. This plugin stands out above the rest for the simple fact that it was created by none other than Matt Mullenweg (the creator of WordPress). It’s lightweight, built for speed, and made to seamlessly integrate. What more can you ask for?

WordPress Plugins for Social Engagement

Digg Digg

First on the list is Digg Digg. This plugin adds a floating social media bar to your posts or pages (or both). You can configure it how you like and choose where you would like it to appear on the screen.

Social Locker for WordPress

This is a unique plugin that gives you the ability to “lock” content on your posts and pages that can only be viewed by the reader sharing your post via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Unlike the other plugins we have mentioned, this is a paid only plugin found on CodeCanyon.

WordPress Plugins for Lead Generation

Contact Form 7

This is a contact form plugin that works great, don’t cost a dime, and integrates with Akismet and CAPTCHA. It allows you to embed different contact forms using shortcodes that can be configured individually.

Gravity Forms

Think of Gravity Forms form software on steroids. It’s a paid-only plugin, but it is definitely worth the price if you are looking for easy integration between payment gateways, email marketing software and more. You can create a variety of forms with a few clicks. They also have support to help you along the way.

Pippity

This is another paid plugin, but if you are a serious marketer or are trying to build a list this should be in your toolbox. Pippity gives you the ability to create beautiful plugins, but the real value comes from being able to create unique pop-ups that appear only on certain pages and posts. You can also time pop-ups to only appear after someone has finished reading your post or viewed the page for a certain time.

ClickDesk

Did you know WordPress has live chat and support plugins? Well, now you do. Clickdesk comes in three flavors: free, lite, and Pro. The free version has plenty of features, including social integration, but limits you to only 30 chats per month.

Magic Action Box

What is especially useful about this plugin is its ability to add optin forms after every post. This is essential if you are wanting to build a solid email list or you are wanting to create a good-looking call-to-action after posts. Available in free and paid versions. (Although, the free version is rather limited).

WordPress Plugins That Encourage Clicks

Hello Bar

HelloBar is a great tool that allows you to add an eye-catching call-to-action at the top of your site. Installation is easy — just grab the code and paste it into a text widget. You can also do A/B campaigns and it comes with its own analytics that allows you to track clicks.

Related Posts by Zemanta

Keeping visitors on your site should be your main concern. You want low bounce rates and people staying on your site. The best way to do that is to encourage clicks within your site (plus have plenty of good content). Related Posts by Zemanta gives you an easy way to display related posts after each one of your blog posts.

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Using Online Forums To Build Social Engagement And Loyal Fans

Using Online Forums To Build Social Engagement And Loyal Fans

At times it may seem like pulling teeth to get people to read your blog. You could have award winning content and be a social media marketing master and still get mediocre page views and little to no comments. But one reason you may not be gaining the notoriety you crave is because you are simply not marketing to the right audience. Another reason could be that you are not becoming engaged in other communities and blogs.

In order to build loyal fans and traffic it is important to join forums focused around the same niche or industry. As long as you are active in the communities and post relevant content that inspires other people you will stand a better chance of attracting people to your social media channels and engage people with your brand. You must scan through relevant topics, read, and engage in conversations. When commenting, reply with meaningful insight which either inspires others to reply, answers someone’s question, or adds upon someone else’s point.

Google Search Operators

Google search operators are little shortcuts that help refine search results. Examples of this may be the word OR, symbol |, quotations around phrases or stop words, and other symbols such as a minus sign or hyphen (-), asterisk (*), half ellipse (. .), and tilde (~).

There is a whole website which contains a very in-depth guide on how different ways to use Google in order to refine search results to specifically search certain parts of the internet. It contains all kinds of Google search tips that many do not even realize exist. Below is list which should provide helpful examples on the basics of how to use Google search operators to find forums that will be relevant to your business.

Niche keyword “comments”

Putting comments in quotes will specifically find pages that have comments. It will help find discussions related to your niche. Try changing the keyword to a variety of words or phrases related to your industry for different results. Give yourself time to read articles or forum posts and reply with meaningful comments.

Keyword site:wordpress.com

This will search a specific site for results. It may provide better queries than using the websites own search bar and allow you to look for specific types of posts on a forum. That way you can easily filter through results to find the most relevant posts which pertain to your area of expertise.

“Powered by vBulletin” keywords

This is quite possibly the best Google operator phrase you can use to find great niche forums. As the query implies, this quotation will search through all message boards powered by vBulletin. You can of course do the same thing with any forum host that has been around for a long time such as SMF, IBP, MyBB, PunBB, and Phbb.

By combining different operators and trying new things there are a variety of different results you may get. Just experiment with what you know and see what you find. At the very least you will find helpful articles that pertain to your market. So experimenting with search queries can’t hurt.

Include a great bio with a call to action

Before you begin posting on forums that you find while utilizing these tips make sure that you write an awesome bio or forum signature in your author profile as well. Keep it quick and to the point while also inciting others to click on your link. Effective author bios should also include a small call to action.

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Your Content Should Attract The Right People

Your Content Should Attract The Right People

Sales funnels and online marketing are essential tools in today’s business world and they need to work in unison. Social media, blogging, and business e-mail newsletters are all tools utilized in online marketing. But just like any tool, it is important to understand how to best utilize them in order to get the best results.

Many entrepreneurs think that just by having a Facebook page and a blog they will get more sales, but what most do not realize is it takes a bit more work than that. Every online marketing tool at your disposal must be used properly in order to draw people closer to the next step in your sales funnel.

There might be a variety of products or services that your business offers, but these are usually high selling services that are harder to sell. In order to attract more customers to your high profit products you need to use a sales funnel and utilize online marketing techniques to guide them through the funnel. Make sure that all of your online presences, Facebook, newsletters, blogs posts, are all working in unison to attract customers to your high cost items.

Utilize your company Facebook & blog to form a relationship with your customers

In order to do this your goal should be to form relationships with your clients, in order to identify a need. Start by offering something free, like helpful information through a blog. Make sure your blog posts relate to the products and services you offer. You are not giving them a sales pitch just yet, you’re just reeling them in, perhaps creating a need. Make sure that your blog points them toward a Facebook page, where they can like your page and get updates about events you do or new things you over.

Another thing to consider is forum marketing. Find a popular forum that pertains to your products and services and register an account. Make sure that you are posting regularly, try at least two times a week, rather than dropping in and only posting to promote your product. Posting regularly and replying to threads will boost your rapport with the community, and validate your posts when you try to promote something of your own. This form of marketing does take time, so it is best that you have fun with it because it is worth it in the long run.

For example, let’s say your business is selling handcrafted jewelry. Along with creating jewelry, you might write a blog about metal working or arts and crafts. People who have an interest in this subject will appreciate the helpful information you can provide on your trade. You might put your blog on your business cards and invite people you meet to check it out if they have an interest in such things. From your blog, you can pull them towards your Facebook page and continue to reel them in to your products.

Think of Facebook as a way to expand your relationship with your customers. Learn what their needs are and point them toward your low cost products. This can be done a number of ways. One method is simply posting updates and waiting for feedback. Talk with your customers on your page to find out how your company can best serve their needs.

If we use the hand crafted jewelry as an example again, let’s say that your local park is having an arts and crafts day where your company plans on putting a booth up. The first thing you want to do is tell your followers about the event, encourage them to come out. Have low cost items available for them and invite them to sign up to your emailing list when they arrive. Again, it is all about building a relationship.

In addition to this, by integrating social media into your company website properly, you will ultimately improve the quality of your website and increase the number of hits. Make sure that your website has buttons that link back to your social media sites and visa versa. For this reason it is an excellent idea to create a page for every popular social media site out there. And use all your social media outlets to promote your website and company events. This alone will boost your online marketing effectiveness tremendously.

Internet newsletters are best used for target leads

Depending on your business you may want different types of newsletters depending on the range of services you provide and the needs of your customers. Your newsletters should introduce your customers to your services in a way that creates or fulfils a need. By this time they are already interested, they signed up to your newsletter based on their own interests, so the rest should be easy.

Based on this example you can see how you can use each online marketing tool to link to the next. By utilizing these tools correctly you can build a relationship with your customers, match the need with the product or service, and slowly reel them in.

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5 Best WordPress Plugins Which Encourage Social Engagement

5 Best WordPress Plugins Which Encourage Social Engagement

WordPress is one of the most versatile blogging platforms to date and it is all due to the plethora of free and convenient applications at your disposal. Add-ons and plugins make every WordPress site a truly unlimited customization platform for all web content. So here are my picks for the top 5 WordPress plugins available.

Every blog needs a Digg Digg

Digg Digg is a social media share bar that will display on the side of your page. If you have spent any amount of time reading online publications it is likely that you have already seen Digg Digg at work. The share bar stays in a fixed position on the left or right of the page as the user scrolls down the page. There are a variety of buttons you can add to your Digg Digg bar including basic share buttons for the most popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, TweetMeme, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, YahooBuzz, Tumblr, even a print button to quickly print the page.

One of the most handy features apart of this plugin is the “Buffer” share button which will automatically share the same message on the users Facebook and Twitter account simultaneously.

Encourage users to post comments with CommentLuv

CommentLuv is a friendly little plugin that will search the an author’s most recent blog posts as they type a comment to your blog. Once the user’s comment has been posted, it will then retrieve their last blog post and give the user the option of displaying it at the bottom of their comment.

The best thing about this app is that it not only encourages other authors to comment on your blog, but it also creates a tighter knit community of readers.

Cut out the middle man with Comments Evolved

This started out simply as a Google+ comment plugin for WordPress but it has expanded to Facebook, Disqus, WordPress comments, and trackbacks. This plugin is especially helpful for any blog that requires a user to register in order to comment. What it does is allow the user to instead use an existing account that they already own in order to comment, instead of having to register for a new one. After all, very few people will take the time to register for a whole new account that they may never use again to just comment on your blog. Your writing may be good, but not that good! This plugin will instead give them other options, which reduces the hoops they have to go through to comment, making everything easier.

Let your regulars introduce themselves with WordPress Author Bio Box

Author Bio Box will allow users to submit a bio in the WordPress account dashboard and display the bio at the bottom of their post. This is another tool whose goal is to encourage socialization between users. You can allow guest authors to submit a link to their own website if they want as well as information about themselves.

Invite readers to your social media pages on Social Stickers

Social stickers are thumbnail links you can include somewhere on your blog that link back to all of your social media sites. That way you can provide an easy portal for readers to follow you and further the conversation on your social media platforms. Much like Digg Digg, Social Stickers will enable you to include links to all the most popular places social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest or a Blogger account as well as other website links. There is also the option to display an RSS feed which is an absolute must.

Another great feature with this plugin is the ability to create a unique theme for the stickers which will match your website. You can also customize the order of the icons as you see fit. There is also an option to display how many Twitter followers or Facebook likes you have on your page.

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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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