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)







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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Why Great Web Design Matters

Why Great Web Design Matters

You only get one chance to make a good impression.

Your website can either turn people into customers, or turn people away. There is no middle ground. Design plays a huge role in how people think about your brand. Your design should stand out. Your design should grab people’s attention. But above all, your website should be designed to get your visitors to take action.

Studies show that the average adult attention span is a mere 8 seconds. This means you only have seconds to capture your reader’s attention. Of course, there are a few tricks you can employ to improve your website and boost conversions.

Go Responsive

More and more people are accessing the internet through smartphones and tablets. If your website does not work on a mobile phone there is a good chance that you are missing out on visitors. A mobile website is not enough. Ideally, you want your website to be responsive. This will allow your website to scale to any size and display perfectly across any device.

Lose the Clutter

A noisy website offers too many distractions. More choices are not always a good thing, especially on your homepage. With little time to capture the interest of your visitors, you want to make sure your website is laser focused and directs visitors exactly where you want them to go.

If you have too many banners on your site — get rid of them.

Add Call-to-Actions

This is how HubSpot defines a call-to-action:

A call-to-action as an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”

A good place to put your CTA is above the fold — make sure it’s immediately visible without having to scroll down. You can also put CTAs after your posts or along your sidebar.

Cross-browser Compatible

This is a biggie: Make sure that your website works correctly across all major browsers. The big three to pay attention to are Google, Bing, and Internet Explorer. You should also check compatibility with Opera. There are online tools you can use to quickly check your website, or you can simply download each browser and check yourself.

Publish Content

Google favors sites that publish unique content. Blogging for your business increases search traffic and gives you more things to share on social media. According to HubSpot, 57% of businesses that blog have acquired a customer directly from their blog.

Make Checkout Easy

Did you know that 67.89% of carts are abandoned during checkout? That is a HUGE number. Even trimming that percentage down a little bit can have a significant impact on sales. The more steps you have in your checkout, the more people are skipping out on making a purchase.

Want the cold hard numbers? Expedia increased profit by $12 million by eliminating a single field from their checkout process.

One field.

If that doesn’t show you that even the small things count, I don’t know what will.

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15 Ways To Promote Your Twitter Account & Get More Followers

15 Ways To Promote Your Twitter Account & Get More Followers

If you’re not on Twitter, you should be. Home to 232 million users, Twitter is the social network for spontaneous conversation, and it’s a great place to reach out to people and network. There are over 340 million tweets shared each day and searches on the network top a whopping 1.6 billion search queries every day.

Those are no small numbers. If you have a website or forum to promote, those numbers likely caught your attention. That still doesn’t answer the major question most people have when it comes to Twitter:

How do I get more Twitter followers?

Fortunately, with the help of the infographic below (and a few other facts we’ve dug up) you’ll have plenty of information at the ready to make a splash on Twitter.

Quick Tips On Getting More Followers On Twitter

1. Embed your tweets on your blog posts to make it easy for people to tweet your article and follow at the same time.

2. Advertise on Twitter. You can promote your account or a tweet. The choice is yours and you don’t have to spend a bunch to get started.

3. Host a webinar. Encourage people to share the webinar as it is taking place and field questions directly off Twitter to boost interaction and engagement.

4. Add a Twitter widget to your site. This one is pretty self-explanatory. You need to make it easy for people to follow you.

5. Run a contest. Giveaways are great for getting traction on social media. Find ways to make tweets and retweets increase entries or raise the value of the prizes. Be creative.

6. Offer support. Don’t relegate your company to email. Branch out into the areas your customers choose. While you may not wish to use Twitter as an official support channel, you can still help your customers find answers to their questions and get help.

7. Business cards. Make sure you add your Twitter handle to your business cards.

8. Share relevant content. Be sure to share content from influencer’s in your niche or industry. You can also share content that your audience will find useful.

9. Share funny content. Everyone likes to laugh. Be the source of a few giggles and people will be more likely to follow.

10. Start guest blogging. Offering to write articles for popular blogs in your niche can widen your audience and help establish you as an authority in your niche. Most webmasters that accept guest posts will allow you to link to your Twitter account in your author bio.

11. Share images. Engagement is 200% higher for tweets with image links, according to Quick Sprout.

12. Ask questions. People are more likely to respond to questions, meaning your tweets will get more engagement.

13. Use hashtags. You should be using hashtags in your tweets — just don’t over do it. 1 or 2 works perfectly, but if you go over that studies show you’ll end up with less engagement.

14. Follow people. When you follow someone, most will follow you back. Just don’t go overboard on following new people, especially if your account is new. Twitter has daily account limits and will suspend your account for “excessive following” (100 or more in a day).

15. Cross-promote. You should be using all of your social networks to your advantage. Make sure you link to your Twitter account from Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and anywhere else you have a social presence.

15 Ways To Promote Your Twitter Account & Get More Followers

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How To Stop Forum Spam

How To Stop Forum Spam and Take Back Control of Your Forum

If one thing sucks the enthusiasm out of site Administrators, it’s the never ending battle against spammers. I say battle as effect of forum spam are truly unwarranted and often create long lasting problem like email blacklisting, spam posts and can even slow the speed of your forum.

It’s important to understand the techniques spammers use and know a bit of why spam exists to be able to effectively prevent it. A forum can be attacked with both automated scripts (aka “Bots”) and/or Human “Bots” as well. Yes, a “Bot” could be human but more times than not they simply bypass registration security and go on something like cruise control, for lack of a better way to describe it. What every site owner must realize is just as forum security evolves to combat spam, spammers are also evolving in their methods in order to bypass new security measures. It’s a constant battle.

Why are there “Spambots”? Well that’s simple. For the most part it is to promote their content or links on other sites, with high traffic and page rank being the most valued targets. So if your forum is large , you’d better believe there’s a target on it.

What we’re trying to do here is give you, the site owner needed information and proven methods to help battle the onslaught of spam on their site. Hopefully you’ll find this interesting and informative and we hope to hear back on your spam stopping techniques.

*Please note that not all of these modifications or methods listed will work for you, some will work better than others, and some in combination will work best instead of just one being utilized. We’ll try to identify conflicts in advance and mark them w/ an  *asterix indicating that you should not use two w/ a * at the same time.

Blue *’s indicates mods that are similar in functionality and should not be used in conjunction with each other.

Anti-Spam Modifications:

Recently,  many forum owners have seen an increase in spam registrations and in some rare cases the registration page is being hit so hard it’s almost like a denial of service attack. If this sounds familiar try this mod from BOP5:

Be creative in your prevention methods! Here’s a list of methods, utilities and modifications you could possibly use in helping cleanup if a spammer does hits:

* Paul M recently added in a new modification prefix “Anti-Spam Options” so as new modifications are released, if the author chooses the prefix correctly you will start to notice more listed here for example: http://www.vbulletin.org/forum/forum…i-Spam+Options


Some vBulletin 3.x mods will work on vBulletin 4.x, here’s a article by BirdofPrey5 that list quite a few compatible modifications.

Another method that’s proven quite effective is banning spammers using the hourly cleanup cron job or cleanup.php by adding in code similar to the below. PLEASE NOTE this method is based on custom profile fields and requires you to manually monitor spam to determine patterns and repeated entries that make no sense and plainly labels the users as spammers. This does not remove posts; it only bans the spammer to prevent further activity.

The default profile fields in vBulletin are:

  1. Biography
  2. Location
  3. Interests
  4. Occupation

You have the ability to create new profile fields via AdminCP > User Profile Fields > User Profile Field Manager

Using data entered by spambot in the default fields can be used against them however it’s not as effective as utilizing custom fields to help determine a pattern and fight against it! Here are descriptions of the default and other (custom) fields in the query shown so you can see how to go about this:

  • user.username = The members username on the forum.
  • userfield.field1 = Biography
  • userfield.field2 = Location
  • userfield.field3 = Interest
  • userfield.field4 = Occupation
  • userfield.field5 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Youtube Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Youtube profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field6 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Facebook Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Facebook profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field7 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “Twitter Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their Twitter profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.
  • userfield.field8 = A Custom field where you required them to enter in let’s use “LinkedIn Profile URL” as our example here and you used it in some creative way to show a image/link to their LinkedIn profile below their avatars in posts and profile or other etc etc.

The key thing to note here is that you need to study new registrations and develop your own ways to identify the spammers using the default and custom profile fields before this will work effectively.

*Please Note: This can affect your users in such a way it might be a complete disaster. If you are not comfortable with how this works (sql queries in particular), setup a test site and test your changes first. You can clone your live site and place it in a /testvb folder on the server (htaccess protect it per the license agreement) this will keep you from slipping and causing issues on your LIVE/Production site.

PHP Code:

// Spam Management – Move all spammers based on profile fields to usergroup 8 i.e. Banned Users
$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7

Now we interpret the above query as:

Update the user table and join the user table with the userfield table (these tables are separate, we join so we can compare and execute what we want to do) and set the users usergroupid to 8 (the banned usergroup by default) where their Twitter Profile URL matches their Username:

AND (where) their LinkedIn Profile URL contains something like 12345 in any part of the field (why we use the %’s on each end so it reads the field and if for example they entered in 123456 it catches that because it contains 12345 – Also you may want to note that no one’s LinkedIn profile is going to be 123456 i.e. http://www.linkedin.com/in/123456
AND (where) their Interests is not empty
AND (where) their Youtube Profile URL is not empty
AND (where) their Twitter Profile URL is not empty
AND (where) their Interests is like thier Youtube Profile URL
AND (where) their Youtube Profile URL is like their Twitter Profile URL

Logic tells you that if you made the custom profile fields and use them in certain ways… that http://www.linkedin.com/in/123456 or http://www.facebook.com/123456 (even though that will redirect to http://www.facebook.com/ohmycarling the user in question would never enter in /123456 he/she would enter in /ohmycarling see my point?) and when you notice the word Man or Woman in the code shown below, well it seems a common mistake bot scripts to put Man or Woman data in the Biography field.

Now for the != parts near the bottom. This is required when you close out your comparing two fields using a like and if they were both empty it could cause issues as without the != if both are empty and the query moves them, possibly identifiying a normal user as a spammer. Not a good thing, so be careful when creating your own query!

If your are banning the user, go ahead and update their user title as well. This query compliments the first one above:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usertitle = ‘Banned’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7

Where to add these codes? Makes sure scheduled tasks are enabled then edit the file cleanup.php You’ll find it in the /includes/cron/ folder. Add your version of the query just below:

PHP Code:

// ########################################################################
// ######################### START MAIN SCRIPT ############################
// ########################################################################

Save the file and upload, when the scheduled task next runs if any accounts match your custom query they will be moved into the banned usergroup.

**To Test a query beforehand you can use SELECT for example here is a query to show you the results BEFORE actually running a query:



FROM vb_user AS user

LEFT JOIN vb_userfield AS userfield

ON user.userid = userfield.userid

SET usergroupid = ‘8’

WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username

AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’

AND userfield.field3 != ”

AND userfield.field5 != ”

AND userfield.field7 != ”

AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5

AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7;

*Prefix added, remove if you are not using one

WARNING: TEST ALL QUERIES BEFORE YOU EXECUTE THEM! Do not perform any query on your database without doing a database backup and without knowing how to use it if required!

Here are some links provided by Lynne to help you perform a backup:

Now let’s see another example…
You try to see how I used the logic here:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field1 = ‘Man’ OR userfield.field1 = ‘Woman’
AND userfield.field6 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field3 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field8 = ‘123456’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field6 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”

The query for usertitle update:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user AS user
LEFT JOIN ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usertitle = ‘Banned’
WHERE userfield.field1 = ‘Man’ OR userfield.field1 = ‘Woman’
AND userfield.field6 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field3 = userfield.field7
AND userfield.field8 = ‘123456’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field6 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”

Session Table Issues?
Here’s a quick method if you happen to notice a sudden increase of the number online when nothing has warranted such behavior. Monitor your session table to see possible spammers online however a query like this is only effective if the bot logs in multiple times in which you will see different ip addresses (possibly hundreds) all as the same logged in user (OR the same IP address for countless users) and accessing different locations as well (some even show as logging in again). With it added to your cleanup.php cron job it will interrupt their actions on the fly and upon refreshing your session table you’ll notice quite a few less entries.

PHP Code:

WHERE userid = ‘15065’

To delete the users session based on IP use:

PHP Code:

WHERE host = ‘’

^ Replace the with the problematic users IP address.

*Yes you can truncate the session table HOWEVER that is not advised, if you do truncate then it simply kicks EVERYONE off the site all at once and they must relogin and also navigate back to the page they were on prior.

**If you have any issues using queries that you develop it may be due to using a table prefix in your database (recommended actually) so the perfect example of what to add in is right above us i.e. ” . TABLE_PREFIX . ” should be pasted before any Table names in the queries otherwise you will receive a error and here is a example:

PHP Code:

$vbulletin->db->query_write(“UPDATE ” . TABLE_PREFIX . “user

As you can note, the code ” . TABLE_PREFIX . ” goes directly in front of the table name without spaces which then converts into the prefix you have listed in the config.php file!

In the other queries shown that you can run via phpmyadmin directly you will need to modify them to add in the prefix so for example if you have a table prefix vb_ then it would resemble this:

PHP Code:

UPDATE vb_user AS user
LEFT JOIN vb_userfield AS userfield
ON user.userid = userfield.userid
SET usergroupid = ‘8’
WHERE userfield.field7 LIKE user.username
AND userfield.field8 LIKE ‘%12345%’
AND userfield.field3 != ”
AND userfield.field5 != ”
AND userfield.field7 != ”
AND userfield.field3 LIKE userfield.field5
AND userfield.field5 LIKE userfield.field7;


Contributions to this article from these valued vBulletin community members:

  • Lynne
  • Last Superman

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