Understanding ‘Traffic Sources’ in Google Analytics | Practical Ecommerce

The Google Analytics “Traffic Sources” section can help ecommerce marketers understand how well campaigns are working and how better to invest in site content, advertising, or other forms of engagement.

Google Analytics is a free service that uses cookies — which we explain in “Cookies Make Shoppers Feel Welcome” — to monitor how visitors are interacting with a particular site. The Traffic Sources overview and its various sub-menu items describe how visitors are getting to your site.

3 Basic Traffic Mediums

The Google Analytics Traffic Sources section categorizes your site traffic as “direct” traffic, “referring” traffic, or “search engine” traffic.

The Traffic Sources report places each visit in one of three mediums.
The Google Analytics Traffic Sources
  • Direct traffic. Direct traffic represents those visitors that arrive directly and immediate on your site by: (1) typing your URL into the browser’s address bar; (2) clicking on a bookmark; or (3) clicking on a link in an email, SMS, or chat message. Direct traffic is a strong indicator of your brand strength and your success in email or text message marketing. Direct traffic can also be an indicator of offline marketing success. We offer our views on the benefits of direct traffic at “Direct Traffic is Better than Google Traffic.”
  • Referring traffic. Referring site traffic, which is sometimes called referrer traffic or referral traffic, counts those visitors that click a link on another site and land on your site. Referral traffic can be indicative of social media marketing success.
  • Search engine traffic. Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page for any search engine — whether Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Blekko, or similar. This traffic source is divided into organic or non-paid search engine traffic — meaning that the visitor clicked on a so-called natural search result — and CPC or paid search engine traffic, which is the traffic you purchase (via pay-per-click ads_ from search engines. Search engine traffic usually indicates that you have good or at least reasonably good content. It also can mean that you have chosen a good software platform. Be sure to learn which keywords are driving this traffic. Multi-channel merchants, as an example, may find that their brand name is a key search term. When this is the case, offline marketing is usually the real traffic driver.

In the default table for the Traffic Sources report Google Analytics shows a source followed by its medium.

In the default table for the Traffic Sources report Google Analytics shows a source followed by its medium.

Selecting “All Traffic Sources” from Google Analytics left-side navigation will show you a table listing the most active traffic sources and their medium. Direct traffic, as you would expect, has a medium of “none.” Traffic from Facebook, as an example, will have a medium of “referral.” Search engine traffic will have a medium or “organic” or “CPC” as described above.

Sometimes you will see a search engine domain, like Google.com, with the medium “referral.” This indicates that the site sent you traffic from a page other than a search engine results page. This could be a link from a Google+ account or some other Google service.

Interpreting the Traffic Sources Report

Of course, data — not interpreted and analyzed — will be unable to inform your marketing planning or investment. So take the excellent information found in the Traffic Sources section and discern what it says about a website and that site’s marketing.

Put another way, looking only at the sources that drove the most traffic will not tell you anything about why visitors are coming or whether the site is meeting expectations or making sales. Rather, you need to look at traffic sources in context in order to properly interpret them.

Using Bounce Rate with Traffic Sources

Start by navigating to the “All Traffic Sources” sub-menu. Notice the site’s “bounce rate” for the selected time period.

Bounce rate is a good indicator of visitor engagement on ecommerce sites.

Bounce rate is a good indicator of visitor engagement on ecommerce sites.

The bounce rate measures the percentage of site traffic that resulted in a single page visit. A visitor landed on the site and left without clicking to any other page. Comparing a source’s bounce rate to other sources and the site average can be a good indicator of a source’s compatibility, and it will help with some marketing campaigns.

To see this in your Traffic Sources section, switch your analytics view from “table” to “comparison” by selecting the comparison icon on the right side of the page.

The comparison views shows how individual sources perform relative to the site average.

The comparison views shows how individual sources perform relative to the site average.

Set the “compared to site average” drop down to “Bounce” so that a source’s visits and bounce rates are compared to the site average for bounce rate.

Compare site visitors to the site average for bounces.

Compare site visitors to the site average for bounces.

In the example below, Google’s organic results generated the most site traffic for the time period shown, but had a bounce rate that was greater than the site average. By contrast direct traffic generated fewer visits, but had a lower than average bounce rate. A page from another website, generated 5,946 visits but had a bounce rate 22.62 percent less than the site average.

Search engine traffic will often have a higher bounce rate than direct traffic.

Search engine traffic will often have a higher bounce rate than direct traffic.

So what does this mean? “Bounce rate” can be thought of as a measure of engagement. If visitors are moving around your site, they are engaged. If they are bouncing, they cannot think of a good reason to stay. There is one notable exception to this: Blogs, videos, and news sites often have higher bounce rates because a visitor reads a particular article or watches a video and then leaves. For an ecommerce site, however, you would like to see relative low bounce rates. Sources that bounce a lot are probably not providing quality traffic.

You can apply this to marketing in a few ways. If, for example, you purchase paid search advertising, you’ll want to make sure those “CPC” sources have generally low bounce rates. If a pay-per-click or cost-per-click campaign has a high bounce rate (1) check your landing page to make sure that it provides the content promised in your ad, (2) check your ad copy to ensure it is clear, and (3) check your keywords.

Bottom line, if a source has a high bounce rate, the site is probably not relevant to what the visitor clicked on.

Use Average Time on Site with Traffic Sources

Another good metric to follow in the Traffic Sources section is the “average time on site” compared to visits comparison view. This report can be found under “All Traffic Sources,” in the comparison view. In fact, this is the same place as I directed you to go for bounces, only select “Avg. Time on Site” from the drop down menu.

Switch the drop down menu to "Avg. Time on Site" for another way to measure visitor engagement.

Switch the drop down menu to “Avg. Time on Site” for another way to measure visitor engagement.

Google measures average time on site by first collecting each visitor’s exact time on a particular page. Imagine that a visitor lands on page 1 of your site. Google places a cookie, including a unique code for the visitor and a time stamp. When that visitor clicks through to page 2 of your site, Google again notes the time, and then subtracts the time that the visitor arrived at page 2 from the time that the visitor arrived at page 1. Google then averages each and every page’s time spent to get the average time each visitor spends on the site.

It is worth noting that a visitor must click to at least one additional page for Google to capture the time spent. When a visitor bounces, Google does not include the bounced page in this calculation.

A source's performance relative to the average time on site can be a key indicator for marketing programs.

A source’s performance relative to the average time on site can be a key indicator for marketing programs.

In the example above, Google organic results drove the most total traffic for the time period in view. But the Google organic traffic source forwarded visitors that spent an average of 31.39 less time on the site than the average. Visitors coming directly to the site, by contrast, spent 51.31 percent more time on site than average.

With average time on site, it is worth taking the analysis a step deeper. Try (1) clicking on one of the individual traffic sources, (2) selecting the comparison view, and (3) setting the dimension to “keyword.”

 

Dimensions can be found in a drop down menu at the top left of the comparison view and serve to further refine the Traffic Sources section.]

This section is particularly helpful when looking at organic results from search engines, since it will let you know which search queries resulted in engaged traffic. Below is another example from a site that focuses on electronic components. Overall, the Google organic source was well behind the site average, but some specific search queries were actually performing better than average.

Digging deeper into the Traffic Sources section can provide specific and actionable data.

Digging deeper into the Traffic Sources section can provide specific and actionable data.

For marketing, try to monitor the traffic sources that provide visitors who spend the most time on site. For example, if you notice that Twitter is sending visitors that spend a few minutes on each page, it would be worth investigating the site’s Twitter presence.

Summing Up

The Google Analytics Traffic Sources section monitors which sources are sending traffic to a site and — with a bit of interpretation — this data can be used to measure the quality of traffic being sent.

Armed with this information, ecommerce marketers can learn why some sources might be under-performing or focus efforts on sources that drive better quality traffic. In some cases, this might mean relying less on search engines and more on social media or brand awareness. Other times the opposite could be the best course of action. Either way, the Traffic Sources section in Google Analytics can help.

Source: Understanding ‘Traffic Sources’ in Google Analytics | Practical Ecommerce

Freelancing – Two Popular Freelance Sites Analysed

Freelancing and procuring work on a regular basis to keep the cash-flow circulating in on the context of submitting proposals, quotes, or setting up gigs or services is hard to do. I’ve been freelancing as Virtuadmin on a variety of sites for the past few years but work has suddenly come to a halt and wondering why.  I’ve been marketing Virtuadmin regularly the best way I know how; posting to our website by sharing great tools and information and generally being active on Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ to name a few.

The most success I had was on Fiverr.com, unfortunately, the exchange rate of ‘$’ to ‘£’ doesn’t make working in a professional niche viable sometimes. To explain further, my success was transcription and was getting regular orders. It takes the average transcriptionist with touch typing speeds in excess of 70 words per minute 4 hours to transcribe one hour of good quality clear audio. To transcribe say 30 minutes for ‘$5’ would give the freelancer, me, ‘$4’. At the time of writing the exchange rate would convert that $4 into approximately £2.82. Break that down even further and it works out to £2.82 divided by the 30 minutes of audio is 0.09 per audio minute.

After discovering Fivesquid.com and the British equivalent to Fiverr.com in as much that it is working in £’s and not $’s suited me better. This would make £4 and not $4 for 30 minutes of audio to be transcribed (An example for ease of explaining and this would then make the audio 0.13p per audio minute. Other freelance sites offer multiple currencies to pay or receive payment in.

Fiverr.com and Fivesquid.com are two very similar sites with the same objectives of providing quality low-cost freelance services. This got me thinking why I’m not getting the views of my services on Fivesquid as I was getting on Fiverr.com (my account is closed on Fiverr). My ‘gigs’ are active on Fivesqid.com but even after cross promotion on various platforms, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Flipboard some days I am just not getting the views or orders.

A quick search on Google to see if there was a website out there that would show traffic rates and comparisons of traffic; hey presto I found www.similarweb.com. These two graphs have been generated by this wonderful website and show the difference in volumes in traffic and their sources.These two graphs are a comparison of estimated monthly visits website traffic between fivesquid.com and fiverr.com. To clarify this is the estimated number of internet users who visited fivesquid.com compared to its American competitor fiverr.com.

Estimated Monthly Visits

The reason for my comparison is to ascertain if Fivesquid as a freelancing website is actually growing in popularity or are regular users maintaining it? Are more people actually looking for and hiring freelance services via Fivesquid?

To look at the graph above for the last 3 months looking at the first two indicators, ‘Direct’ and ‘Referrals’ the answer would seem to be no. However looking at the results of ‘Search’ which is Search engine traffic is that traffic that comes from visitors clicking on links on a search results page this would change my opinion a little. There is a significant number of more clicks from search results for Fivesquid as opposed to Fiverr.

Engagement

Fiverr has a much higher engagement rate to that of Fivesquid, it would appear that Fivesquid is remaining steady in popularity and Fiverr is decreasing in popularity. Certainly, over October, November and December their visits have fallen by approximately 10 million. In referrals, they are much pretty neck and neck but with the decrease in visits and referrals staying the same Fiversquid is getting a more trustworthy site to hire freelancers on. Their rate of conversion at roughly 9.58% compared to Fiverr shows that Fivesquid has a much stronger email marketing strategy and therefore better conversion rates.

 

Conclusion

This is only my opinion as an experienced Professional offering digital services as Virtuadmin Services working with years of experience working in an office and freelancing.  Our conclusion and belief are that Fivesquid has a lot to offer small businesses and organisations or businesses or anyone looking for cost-effective digital solutions.  Fivesquid has an awful lot to offer where benefits are to be gained outsourcing in the currency Great British Pound but unfortunately are not promoting.

It is encouraging that ‘Search’ results and ‘Mail’ initiatives provide much higher traffic sources and conversions hoping that one day they will increase their hundreds of thousands of visitors to millions like Fiverr.

Entrepreneurs, Solopreneurs, Small and medium sized businesses, organisations, self-employed are turning more using the professional services offered by freelancers that ever before.  Outsourcing to a freelancer is a cost-effective solution and hiring freelancers via freelance websites ensure security for both parties in the buying and selling of a service, flexible that you can hire them to do a one-off job or long-term pretty much hassle free. The only drawback to a site like Fiverr for freelancers where the exchange rate is not favourable to their native country’s currency they cannot work for any decent amount of money without severely dropping their working rates of what they are willing to accept for a certain task. Many, many freelance professionals produce high-quality work and this alternative of compromising working rates does not seem at all fair.

I hope in the future that contractors using freelance sites will consider the currency aspect and appreciate that the digital world operates in different types of currency values and unfortunately, therefore, some parts of the world can outsource their quality services cheaply and work happily on sites like Fiverr whereas others like myself have to remain on less popular websites like Fivesquid.com that haven’t got anywhere near the same volume of visitors or traffic but the buying and selling of services are conducted in the native country’s currency.  The quality of services is not to be doubted in any way, they are absolutely top quality and professional.  It needs is recognition in countries that can operate on a sensible valuable level to the contractor and freelancer operating from their habitual residence.  What would you want for £5?  What would you do for £5?  Visit www.fivesquid.com or visit fiverr.com for the alternative and see for yourself what works best for you, your wallet and your business!

If you are interested in hiring our professional freelance services please feel free to drop me an email or visit our profile on https://www.fivesquid.com/freelancer/Virtuadmin. Quality low-cost transcription service and Construction (CnDM Manual compilation.

What’s your experience of working on Fiverr.com or Fivesquid.com?  Let us know your experiences as a buyer of freelance services or seller of skills and knowledge, we’d love to hear from you.  Thanks for reading. – Virtuadmin

How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging by Julia McCoy

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably wondering how you can produce huge results, the kind other bloggers retire doing. Or, you’re looking to gain a serious boost for your business via blogging, but not sure how to get rolling. Fortunately, this success isn’t just blind luck – it is the direct result of a series of efforts you can apply to your own blog.

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re probably wondering how you can produce huge results, the kind other bloggers retire doing. Or, you’re looking to gain a serious boost for your business via blogging, but not sure how to get rolling.

Fortunately, this success isn’t just blind luck – it is the direct result of a series of efforts you can apply to your own blog.

If you’re looking to increase your SEO, blogging is the first and most important step. According to HubSpot’s 2015 blogging frequency benchmark data, companies that blog earn 97% more inbound links than companies that do not. Additionally, companies that post more than 16 blog posts each month get roughly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that publish four or fewer posts each month. (We recently gained over 300 keyword positions in a single day—and it was 100% through our content & blogging.)

Read on to learn more about the SEO importance of blogging and how you can triple your SEO efforts through regular, high-quality posts.

Blogging 101: Why it’s so Darn Important for SEO

When it comes to SEO, there is arguably nothing more important than blogging. In order for content to rank well, there has to be content in the first place and multiple industry leaders have shown that companies that blog regularly do better than companies that don’t. 

HubSpot’s aforementioned blogging frequency benchmark data shows that when small companies with 1-10 employees publish more than 11 posts each month, their sites get three times as much traffic as companies of the same size that publish only one post per month. What’s more, sites with 11 posts each month earn twice as much traffic as companies that publish between 2-5 posts each month.

For slightly larger companies, the results are comparable: companies with between 26-200 employees that publish more than 11 posts per month get twice as much traffic than companies who only publish one post each month.

It’s obvious that blogging frequency really does matter and that, in order to boost traffic and improve SEO, you need to produce relevant, useful content on a regular basis.

One of the main reasons for this is that old blog posts stick around long after they’ve been published. In fact, when HubSpot conducted a study of their own blogging traffic, they found that 90% of the leads their blog produced actually came from old posts. That said, it’s possible to generate, in equal parts, traffic from both old and new content, as long as you know how to create content that is genuinely interesting and valuable.

How to Blog for SEO: 6 Takeaway Tips

Now that you know how important blogging is for SEO, here are 6 tips to help you blog better and produce better results.

1. Create quality content

This may seem obvious, but creating content is one of the most important aspects of SEO. This is because each post you write adds a new SEO page that has the potential to be crawled and indexed by Google. Additionally, each new post can be optimized for unique long-tail keywords which allows bloggers to create pages full of new ranking opportunities. Blogs also offer the opportunity for high-quality backlinks and plenty of organic traffic to your site.

2. Write attention-grabbing headlines

If you do it right, every post you write can create high-quality traffic that gets you noticed. Unfortunately, most people don’t do this right. This is because they focus only on getting content written and distributed rather than creating viral content that maintains its value. The first secret to doing the latter is to make sure that your headlines are irresistible.

Eight out of 10 people read headlines while only two out of 10 read body copy, so you can bet that people will click through to your blog if you get your headline right. Need an example? Consider Upworthy for a moment. Upworthy launched two years ago and now boasts viral posts and 88 million visitors, which makes it more popular by visitor numbers than the Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Buzzfeed. The secret to Upworthy’s success? Attention-grabbing headlines first of all, and then minimal sharing buttons and the use of short, intriguing videos to grab users.

How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging

Once you’ve mastered killer headlines, you’ll want to ensure that your content is the correct length. At Express Writers, our blogs are generally between 1000-3000 words and Buzzsumo has found that its most popular posts range between 3000-10,000 words.

3. Solve your readers’ problems

No matter how quality your content is or how shocking your headlines are, it isn’t going to carry you to SEO and sales success if it doesn’t pertain directly to your readers. This means that, in order for your blogging efforts to work in favor of your SEO standing, you need to understand your audience very well. You should know what they’re interested in and which problems they’re struggling with and you should be able to synthesize new content ideas that will help make their lives easier.

To get a better handle on who your audience is and what they want, use sites like Quora to get involved in niche-specific conversations and then head to BuzzSumo for help in creating and generating new ideas for content. BuzzSumo allows users to plug in keywords and see what other related topics have gone viral on social media. Another great tool for this same purpose is Ubersuggest, which is fantastic for generating ideas for blog posts and advertises itself as “Google suggest on steroids.”   

4. Make it evergreen

It’s one thing for your posts to be attention-grabbing but it’s entirely another for them to hold their value throughout the months or years. This is where Evergreen topics come in. According to Moz, evergreen content offers “continued and sustained success.” To put it another way, evergreen content doesn’t rely upon passing trend and it doesn’t rely on the re-posting of old content. Rather, it uses foundational industry truths as topics from which to branch out. Examples in the world of blogging include “How to Blog – The Steps to a Successful Blog Start,” “Revealed: 19 Things to Know Before You Start a Blog” and ProBlogger’s own “How to Blog: Blogging Tips for Beginners.” These posts all take one evergreen topic (blogging) and offer helpful tips and tricks on the subject. Because of this, these posts aren’t going to come into and out of fashion. Instead, they will continue to be highly searched-for and will continue to be a major source of traffic for their home sites.

5. Use long tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are and have always been a big traffic factor for bloggers. Take Search Engine Journal, for example, who noted a huge 78% jump in traffic after optimizing their content for long-tail keywords. In order to optimize content for long tail keywords, it’s important to create extensively researched, lengthy, valuable content that utilizes your long-tail keywords in a natural way.

Since long tail keywords show you what your users are looking to do, there’s a high probability that content optimized for them will produce far better conversions than content that is not. Additionally, longtail keywords can help you understand how to better structure content in order to solve a searcher’s problems or provide value for their needs.

6. Use CTAs to collect emails

As of 2013, there were more than 3.6 billion email addresses worldwide with upwards of 247 million emails sent on a daily basis. According to many email marketing experts, for every $1.00 bloggers spend on email marketing tactics, they earn $42.00. If you need an example, you can think about QuickSprout, which created a revenue of $43k from one email blast over a single 24-hour period.

That said, it’s wise to collect emails every time someone visits your site. Do this through a special landing page or embed email popups or subscription forms throughout your blog. Accompany these with powerful CTAs and then use the gathered emails for email marketing down the road. In order to get the most emails possible, ensure that your site is structured properly and easy to use. This means that your site should be compatible for all devices and very readable (in terms of font type and actual writing). The site should also load quickly and be easy to navigate. When your site provides a positive experience for users, people are much more likely to click and subscribe than they would be for a difficult site that wasn’t intuitive.

Conclusion

While increasing SEO can be confusing, it’s obvious that blogging does in fact have a large impact on SEO. Follow these 6 tips to help you blog better, increase SEO rankings, and make more sales. Happy blogging!

Julia is a serial entrepreneur and content marketer, and the founder of Express Writers; she loves to blog and is a soon-to-be published author.

Source: How to Triple Your SEO Efforts Just By Blogging

The Ultimate List: 70+ Best Tools For Skyrocketing Business Growth in 2016

If you want to be an effective business owner in 2016, you can’t manage everything on your own.

In order to scale the progress you’ve already made, or simply experience real growth for the first time, you have to be willing to delegate responsibilities, standardize processes, and use the right tools.

The problem is, there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Knowing where to start or which tool to try is not always easy.

This collection of tools can help you narrow your search results and quickly find the right tools for your business—the ones that are really going to help move the needle and take your business to a whole new level.

The tools are separated into eight different categories:

  • Marketing
  • Conversion & Lead Generation
  • Business Management
  • Project Management & Communication
  • Customer Service & Retention
  • Outsourcing
  • HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation
  • Social Media Marketing

As you go through this list, think about your business goals for this year, what your plan is for achieving those goals, and whether you think any of the tools listed could help you get you to where you want to go.

Here are the 70+ tools you should be using in 2016 to grow your business:

Marketing

1. CuratedCurated is a tool that allows you to quickly find and save content to share with your email list in the form of a beautifully simple weekly email digest. It’s a great tool for providing extra value to your audience. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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2. Referral SaasquatchReferral Saasquatch is a great tool that can be used to build and manage customer referral programs for your business. Referral tools like this one make it incredibly easy to incentivize and encourage more word-of-mouth advertising of your business. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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3. Content MarketerContent Marketer is the best tool on the market for promoting content, building links, and connecting with influencers. It’s the tool you want to use when you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to the next level and start seeing more ROI from your efforts. Pricing: $19/month

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4. QuuuQuuu provides you with hand curated content to increase your social media activity. After selecting a few categories that represent the type of topics you’re interested in, Quuu automatically sends hand curated content to your Buffer account. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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5. CanvaCanva is one of the easiest tools out there for creating compelling, original images for social media and blogging. The tool offers a wide variety of backgrounds, icons, and fonts to fit the needs and dimensions of any platform you’re using to connect with prospects. Pricing: FREE

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6. Campaign MonitorCampaign Monitor is one of the top email marketing platforms on the market. The drag-and-drop email builder allows you to create a customized email campaign in a matter of minutes. It also offers a lot in terms of personalization, segmentation, and A/B testing. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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7. BuzzsumoBuzzsumo is the top tool for performing content marketing research. The tool makes it easy to evaluate the performance of any blog post, website, or competitor. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start investing in advanced content promotion and outreach. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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8. Death to the Stock PhotoDeath to the Stock Photo is a site that offers fresh, inexpensive, and non-cheesy stock photos that can be used in a wide variety of marketing campaigns. You can sign up to receive new photos each month, or you can go premium and get access to all photos at once. Pricing: $15/month

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9. SEMrushSEMrush is a top tool for performing advanced advertising, keyword, baclink, and competitor research. The tool provides powerful analytics reports that can give you valuable insight and help you decide where to take your strategy next. Pricing: Starts at $69.95/month

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10. Sticker MuleSticker Mule is a tool that can be used to create and order custom stickers and graphics for your startup. The tool is relatively inexpensive and provides fast delivery and free shipping. Pricing: Varies depending on quantities

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Conversion & Lead Generation

11. SumoMeSumoMe offers a suite of tools that can be used to drive conversions and engagement on your website. Examples include the Welcome Mat, the Scroll Box, the Smart Bar, and others—all of which can be added to your site and customized to fit the look and feel of your brand in a matter of minutes. Pricing: Starts at $10/month

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12. OptimizelyOptimizely is one of the top tools for easily and quickly building and running A/B tests on your website. A/B testing is an important tactic when it comes to influencing more engagement and conversions, and with Optimizely, you can test everything from color, copy, button placement, entire landing pages, personalization, and more. Pricing: Varies

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13. LeadChatLeadChat (shameless plug) is a tool that you can use to insert sales staff right into your website. The tool makes it incredibly easy to add their ready-to-go live chat agents to your site who can chat with visitors and convert them to customers. Sound interesting? Ask for a trial now. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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14. Import.io – Import.io is a tool that allows you to scrape the web for relevant information about products, businesses, and competitors. The tool automates the data collection process and presents it in an easily digestible manner for business owners looking to quickly identify and take advantage of gaps in their market or industry. Pricing: Varies

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15. Datanyze – Datanyze is a sales intelligence tool that allows you to uncover, research, and reach the right prospects. Alerts tell you which websites have started or stopped using a particular provider’s tool, Research helps you understand your prospects better, and their predictive modeling helps you determine which leads are worth pursuing first. Pricing: Request a demo to find out

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16. LeadPages – LeadPages is one of the top tools available for building customized landing pages on your site. The tool offers hundreds of templates that can be used to drive conversions and nurture prospects. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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17. ConvertKit – ConvertKit is a tool that can be used to nurture leads down your sales funnel. The tool allows you to easily make customized opt-in forms that can be placed in content and around your site. You can also design landing pages, create drip campaigns, and send important one-off emails to your subscribers. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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18. Crazy Egg – Crazy Egg is another tool that can be used to gain more insight into the actions and experiences people have when they land on your website. With this tool, you can analyze where people are clicking, how far down they’re reading, and where people are coming from when they land on your site. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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19. Drip – Drip is a tool that you can use to create simple drip email courses. You can use the tool to easily repurpose your best blog content into a compelling email course that educates, nurtures, and converts your website visitors. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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20. FullStory – FullStory is an amazing tool that allows you to actually record, replay, and analyze the experience people have when they land on your website. It’s a great tool to use for improving customer support, making decisions about development or product updates, and empathizing with users. Pricing: Starts at $199/month

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Business Management

21. Recurly – Recurly is a tool that automates recurring billing for subscription-based businesses and products. The tool is incredibly easy to set up and seamlessly integrates and connects with your existing merchant accounts and website. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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22. Xero – Xero is a beautifully designed online accounting tool. An alternative to QuickBooks, this tool can help you manage invoices and quotes, inventory, purchase orders, bills and expenses, employee payment, and more. Pricing: Starts at $6.30/month

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23. Chartio – Chart.io is a cloud-based business intelligence tool. It’s a tool that you can use to quickly organize, visualize, and analyze complex data related to your products and business. It’s a great tool for any business looking to become more data-driven in 2016. Pricing: Sign up to get pricing information

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24. TradeGecko – TradeGecko is an inventory management tool for business owners looking to automate painful and repetitive tasks. The tool can help streamline order management, stock levels, tracking at multiple warehouse locations, multi-channel sales, and more. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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25. Segment – Segment is an incredibly convenient tool that allows you to collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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26. Google Analytics – Google Analytics is an essential tool for any business owner looking to gain a better understanding about website visitors. With Google Analytics, you can track metrics, set up goals and events, and find ways to optimize your website in order to boost conversions, engagement, and repeat traffic. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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27. UpCounsel – UpCounsel is a tool that offers on-demand legal help for business owners who don’t necessarily have the funds to keep a full-time lawyer on retainer, but need legal assistance from time to time. The tool can help with agreements, trademarks, patents, labor and employment, and more. Pricing: Varies depending on work

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28. Toggl – Toggl is a time-tracking tool aimed at helping business owners boost daily productivity. The tool streamlines time-tracking and makes it incredibly easy to identify where time is going and how to become more productive throughout the day. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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29. Zirtual – Zirtual is a tool that can be used to find U.S. based virtual assistants. The tool now falls under the Startups.co umbrella, and is a great resource to take advantage as you continue to scale your business in 2016. Pricing: Starts at $398/month

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30. HelloSign – HelloSign is a tool that can be used to send and receive legally binding electronic signatures for business purposes. It integrates with familiar apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Project Management & Communication

31. Trello – Trello is a fantastic project management tool that can really bring your projects to life. The tool creates a visual representation of your projects in the form of cards that can be moved from column to column as a project progresses. It’s a great tool to use for managing freelancers. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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32. Basecamp – Basecamp is another tool that can be used to manage projects. It’s different than Trello in that it’s less visual-focused and more centered around team collaboration. The tool just launched a brand new version, which can be explored here. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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33. Asana – Asana is a project management tool that works well for teams that are moving a lot of projects through the door at a given time. It’s one of the most flexible and customizable project management tool available. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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34. Evernote – Evernote is a great tool for managing personal projects and to-do lists. It’s a cloud-based tool that can be accessed from the mobile, web, or desktop. It’s a particularly useful tool to use when you want to pull in various types of media (photos, screenshots, notes, etc.). It does also offer the ability to collaborate with others. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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35. Slack – Slack is one of the most popular real-time messaging apps available today. It’s incredibly well-designed, and easy to implement across multiple teams. The tool can also be used to manage specific projects by setting up different channels within a chat group. It’s a great option if you have or plan to grow a remote team. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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36. Google Apps For Work – Google Apps For Work offers professional email, online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more. It’s also a great alternative to the Microsoft Office suite—it has a word processor, a presentation tool, a spreadsheets tool, and a form builder. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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37. Wrike Wrike is a versatile project management tool that can be used by marketing teams, product development teams, department heads, and more. With the tool you can easily create tasks, mention team members, collaborate in real-time, and seamlessly integrate with your other tools. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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38. Projects by GrowthHackers – Projects is still a bit of a mystery, but early previews make it appear to be an incredibly user-friendly project management tool. To try this tool, you’ll need to request early access to join their beta program.

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39. Join.Me Join.Me is a simple tool that can be used to host video and audio conferences, share your screen, record meetings, and more. It’s a great tool to use when you need to quickly pull up a presentation or reference your screen while on a group call. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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40. Dropbox – Dropbox is one of the top cloud-based file storage tools on the market. It’s a convenient way to store and share important documents with team members, customers, investors, and anyone else involved in the growth and success of your business. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Customer Service & Retention

41. SatisMeter – SatisMeter is a tool that helps you gather customer feedback through NPS surveys. Net Promoter Score surveys are an incredibly effective way to gauge how loyal and happy your customers really are. The tool can be installed onto any website or app in less than 10 minutes. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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42. Intercom – Intercom allows you to easily communicate with your customers through targeted in-app and email messages, triggered by time or behavior. The tool can be used to collect customer feedback, chat with customers in real-time, create marketing lifecycle email campaigns, and provide support. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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43. Packs By Startup Threads – Packs By Startup Threads offers a convenient way to create and send customized swag packages to your customers. The tool is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is build your pack, order a reserve amount to store at the Startup Threads warehouse, and use their API or dashboard to send out to customers in an effort to boost loyalty and retention. Pricing: Varies

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44. MailLift – MailLift is a handy tool for sending handwritten thank you cards to customers. Handwritten thank you cards are a great way to boost customer happiness, but as your business continues to grow, it’s important to take advantage of tools like MailLift that can help you automate time-consuming tasks, while still keeping things personal. Pricing: Varies

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45. Zendesk – Zendesk is a web-based customer support platform. The tool allows you to accept and manage support tickets from a variety of channels—web, email, social, chat, or phone. It also provides the ability to create and manage a Help Center for your website. Pricing: Starts at $5/agent/month

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46. UserVoice – UserVoice is a tool that allows you to collect and prioritize feedback from customers, partners, and teams that can influence future updates to your products. The tool makes it easy to collect feedback right in your app (web or mobile), from your website via a private forum, and in real-time chat. Pricing: Starts at $499/month

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47. GoToMeeting – GoToMeeting is a top tool for coordinating and hosting webinars. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start educating prospects and customers about product benefits, protips, and other topics that can help them use your product successfully. Pricing: Starts at $24/month

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48. Snagit – Snagit is a tool that allows you to easily create screen captures and videos that can be used to create tutorials for customers. It’s another great tool to use when you’re ready to start spending more time and resources on educating your customers. Pricing: Starts at $49.95

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49. TypeForm – TypeForm allows you to create visually-compelling survey forms. The tool makes it incredibly easy to design custom forms to use for social media contests, customer feedback, hiring, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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50. Customer.io Customer.io is another tool that you can use to send targeted messages to users and customers. The tool allows you to leverage user behavior data in order to send more effective messages. With the tool, you can A/B test, build campaigns, track conversions, segment messages for specific audiences and traffic, and more. Pricing: Starts at $100/month

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Outsourcing

51. Upwork Upwork is a tool that you can use to find freelancers to help you grow your business. This site can connect you with developers, creatives, customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other consultants. Pricing: Varies

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52. ScriptedScripted is a tool that you can use to scale your content creation efforts. It’s a tool that can connect you with on-demand writers to help you produce content for blog posts, landing pages, white papers, social media updates, product descriptions, and more. Pricing: Varies

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53. FiverrFiverr is comprised of an incredibly vast network of freelancers who can help you complete almost any task, no matter the size. Categories on the site include graphics, marketing, writing, video and animation, video and audio, and more. Pricing: Starts at $5, then varies depending on project scope

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54. 99designs99designs is a site that primarily focuses on helping connect designers with business owners looking for help creating brand-specific collateral (logos, brand identity, t-shirts, etc.). Pricing: Starts at $299/month

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55. Toptal Toptal is a site that connect business owners with the top 3% freelance software developers and designers. Pricing: Varies

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56. PeoplePerHourPeoplePerHour is a site that connects you with freelancers who can help with design, development, content, and promotion. It’s a great tool to leverage when you need help fast. Pricing: Varies

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57. WriterAccessWriterAccess is another tool that you can use to find freelance writers. Pricing varies, but can be as low as two cents/word for content. 

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58. GuruGuru is a site that can connect you with admin support freelancers, engineering and architecture freelancers, legal freelancers, and more. Pricing: Varies

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59. Gun.ioGun.io is a tool that you can use to connect with and hire the best freelance developers in the world. The site offers a unique concierge service that matches you with a representative who can help you find the right person for the job. It’s a good site to go to when you’re looking for help building apps for mobile and desktop, when you need help scripting, building a UX strategy, and more. Pricing: Varies

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60. GigsterGigster is a site you can go to when you need to hire an entire freelance development team. Pricing: Varies 

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HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation

61. TinyPulseTinyPulse is an employee retention tool that allows you to create surveys for your team to anonymously answer each week. It’s a great way to sync up with your employees and make sure they’re getting everything they need in order to be successful in their roles. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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62. AnyPerkAnyPerk is a convenient tool that allows you to show appreciation and offer rewards to employees who go above and beyond in their roles. The tool offers a wide variety of perks that employees can choose from based on their interests—such as travel discounts, gym membership deals, restaurant coupons, subscription services, and more . Pricing: request a demo

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63. KinKin is a tool that allows you to completely streamline your human resources department. The tool makes it incredibly easy to onboard new employees, keep track of important employee information, manage communication with employees, track time off and vacation, coordinate employee performance reviews, and more. Pricing: $5/user/month

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64. 15Five15Five is a tool that allows you to keep track of what’s going on at your company week by week. The tool allows you to send customized surveys to employees in order to celebrate wins, identify challenges, and determine what people need in order to keep moving your company forward. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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65. GlassDoorGlassDoor is a site that you can use as a tool to recruit top talent. As a company, you can create a presence on the site to attract job seekers, advertise jobs, and promote your company against competitors. Pricing: Request a quote

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66. Zenefits Zenefits is another tool that you can use to streamline your HR tasks. The tool can be used to manage payroll, benefits, time, talent, compliance, and management. Pricing: Free

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67. KudosKudos is a tool that allows you to give recognition and appreciation to team members in real-time. The tool makes it easy for managers to give praise to peers and for peers to give kudos to peers. It’s a fairly robust platform, and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to boost employee morale at your company. Pricing: Starts at $2/user/month

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Social Media Marketing

68. CoScheduleCoSchedule is a top tool that marketers use to build editorial calendars, manage social media updates that relate to content, and manage the content creation process. Pricing: Starts at $15/month

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69. BufferBuffer is the top tool that marketers use to schedule social media updates. The tool makes it easy to schedule and share updates when your audience is listening in order to boost engagement, grow your following, and get the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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70. GleamGleam is a popular tool that allows you to create and manage social media contests and reward campaigns. Examples of the types of contests and campaigns you can create include 1-click entry competitions, refer-a-friend campaigns, coupon offers, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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71. GrammarlyGrammarly is a tool that you can use to identify and eliminate common spelling and grammar errors in your content. The tool also offers content optimization features aimed at improving your content and your writing abilities. Pricing: Premium plans start at $29.95/month

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72. FlareFlare is a tool that you can use to create a social media share bar on your website content. Social share bars can boost engagement and brand authority. The tool allows you to track social and engagement analytics in order to determine the effectiveness of your blog content. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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73. MentionMention is one of the best ways to monitor your brand, your name, and the names of the people you work with (executives, coworkers, partners, etc.). The tool helps you keep track of mentions from the web and from social media, making sure you never miss an opportunity to engage with a fan or prospect. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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74. NarrowNarrow is a tool that makes it easy to grow your Twitter following. The tool helps optimize and automate the process by working with you to identify the right types of followers you’re looking to connect with on Twitter. All you have to do is enter target keywords, and Narrow does the rest. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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75. Notifier Notifier is a tool that you can use to boost traffic and engagement on your site. You can use the tool to scan your latest blog posts in order to automatically find and organize the influencers you know you want to reach out to. Once you scan your post and build your list, all you have to do is compose your social media outreach message template, select the people you want to reach out to, and send or schedule your tweets. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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What other tools would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and tell us what tools you’ve been using to grow your business! We’d love to hear from you.

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features Everyone Should Know About by Lindsay Kolowich | @lkolo25

In the past few years, Instagram has quickly become the go-to social network. And if you think it’s just middle and high schoolers are the ones using the app, think again: Pew Research Center reported in 2015 that 26% of adult internet users use Instagram. Compare that with the 23% of adult internet users who use Twitter.

Not only do adults use instagram, 53% of adults ages 18–29 years old say they use it every single day.

To help beginners and advanced Instagram users alike familiarize themselves with the platform, we’ve put together a list of 15 of the lesser-known tips and features Instagram has to offer.

Whether you’re a recruiter looking to showcase your company’s culture, a marketer in the ecommerce industry, or an individual looking to take your Instagram game to the next level, there are tips and features in here for you. (I think we can all agree #4 is a game changer.)

And for further reading, check out this list of the 11 best photo and video editing apps for mobile.

Note: Before getting started, make sure you’re operating on the latest version of Instagram, version 7.13.1.

15 Hidden Instagram Hacks & Features

1) Get notifications when your favorite people post.

Never want to miss an Instagram post from your favorite people again? You can choose to get a notification every time a specific users post a new photo. All you have to do is turn on notifications for each user individually.

To turn on notifications for a specific user: Visit that user’s profile, and open up one of their posts. Then, click the three dots in the bottom right-hand corner of the post, and choose “Turn on post notifications” from the menu that appears.

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Want to turn post notifications off? Just follow those same steps.

Note: If you followed these instructions and still aren’t receiving notifications, double-check that you’ve allowed notifications from the Instagram app in your phone’s settings. Here’s how:

  • To allow notifications on iPhone/iPad: Go to “Settings,” then “Notifications.” Choose “Instagram” and then turn on the setting to “Allow Notifications.”
  • To allow notifications on Android: Go to “Settings,” then scroll down and choose “Apps,” then “Instagram.” Select the option to show notifications.

2) See all the posts you’ve Liked.

Ever wanted to see the posts you’ve Liked, all in one place? All you have to do is go to your own profile and click the “Options” button (a gear icon on iPhone/iPad and three dots on Android). Then, click “Posts You’ve Liked.”

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To un-Like any of the posts you’ve Liked, simply go to the post and deselect the “heart” icon below it. The user won’t be notified that you’ve un-Liked their post.

3) See the posts your friends have recently Liked, commented on, and so on.

You already know how to see the posts of yours that others have Liked recently. But what about the posts the people you follow have Liked recently? Or what they’ve commented on others’ photos, for that matter?

To view the recent activity from the people you follow: Click the heart icon at the bottom of the home screen that shows which people have Liked your photos. Then, choose the tab near the top that says “Following.”

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4) Look through pictures without worrying about accidentally Liking them.

Live in fear no more. This is more of a hack than a feature, but here goes: To look through someone’s Instagram photos without “double-tap paranoia,” scroll through their feed while on airplane mode. Without internet access, you won’t be able to Like their photo even if you accidentally double-tap it.

The pictures won’t load in the first place if you start on airplane mode, though. You’ll have to go to the feed first so the pictures load, then turn on airplane mode, then start scrolling. When you reach the end and need to load more pictures, simply turn airplane mode off, let more load, and then turn it on again.

  • To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone/iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and click the airplane icon. Or, go to “Settings” and then “Wi-Fi,” and switch “Airplane Mode” on.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an Android device: Swipe down from the top of the screen. Then, swipe from right to left until you see “Settings,” and then touch it. Touch “Airplane Mode” to turn it on.

5) Clear your search history.

I swear this blog post isn’t all about how to convince people you’re not a total creep. But let’s face it: there are times when we all wish we could just clear our search history on Instagram. Luckily, you can.

To clear your search history: Go to your own profile and click the “Options” button (a gear icon on iPhone/iPad and three dots on Android). Scroll down and click “Clear Search History.” When prompted, click “Yes, I’m sure.”

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6) Reorder the filters, and hide the ones you don’t use.

If you use Instagram a lot, chances are you have a few favorite filters you use all the time, and others you never touch. To make editing photos easier, you can reorder the filters in your editing window and even hide the ones you never use.

To reorder or hide filters, upload a photo and begin editing it, as you would when editing a new post. When you get to the filters page, scroll to the very far right of your filters options and click “Manage.”

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To reorder filters: Simply hold your finger down on the three grey lines on the far right of the filter you’d like to move, and drag it to reorder.

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To hide filters: Deselect any filters you’d like to hide by tapping on the white check mark to the right of the filter.

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When you’re done, exit the filter manager by tapping the “X” on the top right of your screen.

7) Use Instagram as a photo editor (without having to post anything).

Love Instagram’s filters and editing capabilities, but don’t necessarily want to post the photo to your account right now (or ever)? To use Instagram as a photo editor without posting anything, all you need to do is publish a picture while your phone is on airplane mode.

First, be sure you have “Save Original Photo” turned on in your settings.

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Then, turn on airplane mode. Here’s how to do that:

  • To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone/iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and click the airplane icon. Or, go to “Settings” and then “Wi-Fi,” and switch “Airplane Mode” on.
  • To turn on airplane mode on an Android device: Swipe down from the top of the screen. Then, swipe from right to left until you see “Settings,” and then touch it. Touch “Airplane Mode” to turn it on.

Next, follow the normal steps to post a photo to Instagram: Upload the photo, edit it, and press “Share.” An error message will appear saying the upload failed, but you’ll be able to find the edited image in your phone’s photo gallery.

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8) Insert line breaks into your bio and captions.

When you write a caption in Instagram, you’ll see the keyboard doesn’t give you an option to press “Enter” or “Return.” The same is true for your bio. So how do all those people put line breaks in there?

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Here’s a handy trick I learned from Stephanie in her blog, Life in Limbo: Write out your caption in a different app, copy it, and paste it into Instagram.

Stephanie’s found that this doesn’t work sometimes, but the app with the best outcomes has been the Facebook app. She suggests opening up the Facebook app and creating a new status by clicking “Update Status.” Write your caption in the text box as if you were going to publish it on Facebook, line breaks included. Then, instead of posting it on Facebook, copy the caption and paste it into your Instagram caption or bio. The app should preserve your line breaks.

While this is a great hack, keep in mind that Instagram recently started capping captions at three lines without users having to click “More” to see the whole thing.

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9) Hide photos you’ve been tagged in.

When someone tags you in a photo or video on Instagram, it’s automatically added to your profile under “Photos of You,” unless you opt to add tagged photos manually (see the next tip).

To see the posts you’ve been tagged in: Go to your own profile and click the person icon on the far right below your bio.

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To hide the posts you’ve been tagged in from your profile: Once you’re looking at the posts you’ve been tagged in, click the three dots in the top right of your screen and choose “Edit Tags.” Then, select the posts you’d like to remove from your profile. When you’re done selecting posts, click “Hide From Profile” at the bottom of your screen. When prompted, click “Hide From Profile” again.

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This won’t remove the posts themselves from Instagram, but it will remove them from your profile so you and others can’t access them.

10) Adjust your settings to approve tagged photos before they show up in your profile.

Again, when someone tags a photo or video of you on Instagram, it’ll automatically be added to your profile by default. But you can change that so you can manually select which photos you’re tagged in show up on your profile.

To add tags manually: Go to your own profile and click the “Options” button (a gear icon on iPhone/iPad and three dots on Android). Select “Add Manually.”

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Once you choose to add photos to your profile manually, you’ll still be notified when someone tags you in a photo.

To manually add a tagged photo to your profile: Tap on the photo you were tagged in, then tap your username and select “Show on My Profile.” (If you’d rather not, simply choose “Hide from My Profile” instead.)

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11) Remove photos from your photo map.

Alright … if you’re seeing this for the first time, I’m about to show you something a little creepy. When you go to your profile and click the location pin icon under your bio, a map will appear, which groups photos by where you were when you posted them.

Here’s what the map looks like. As you can see, you can zoom in on that map to a better idea of the specific location that photo was taken … right down to the street level. Yikes.

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If this realization creeps you out, you may want to remove the location data on some or all of your photos.

(Note: This is different from simply removing the geotag from an individual photo. Here, we’re removing all the location data that Instagram recorded and attached to a photo at the time that you took it. If you geotagged the photo, it’ll remove the geotag, too. If you didn’t geotag the photo, it would still have shown up on the map if your phone settings let Instagram know your location, so this step would remove the rest of its location data.)

Luckily, Instagram doesn’t make you go through individual photos to remove the location data from a photo. Instead, it lets you remove location data from photos in batches — and right from your map in the Instagram app.

To remove location data from photos: Go to your profile and click the location pin icon under your bio.

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From there, you’ll see the map that groups photos by where you were when you posted them. You can zoom in and out on different parts of the map to get photos’ more specific locations.

When you’ve narrowed in on which group of photos you’d like to go through to remove location data, click “Edit” at the top right of your map. As shown in the screenshots below, the numbers on the photos will turn from blue (left) to green (right).

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Tap a grouping of photos and click “Edit” in the dropdown menu that appears.

A new window will open that displays the photos from that grouping in one place. From there, you can deselect the photos from which you’d like the location data removed — either one by one, or by choosing “Deselect all.”

Once you’ve deselected posts to your liking, click “Done” on the top right of your screen. In the window that appears, click “Confirm.”

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POOF — location data will be removed from those photos forever. (Note: When you remove the location data, it’ll be removed permanently.)

(One more note here: The language “Remove 4 geotags?” is admittedly a little confusing. To reiterate, you’re removing the location data from the photo entirely. If you geotagged the photo, it’ll remove the geotag, too. If you didn’t geotag the photo, you’ll be removing the rest of the location data that was attached to that photo when you posted it. In the end, whichever photos you deselect will be removed from your map permanently.)

12) Browse photos taken in certain locations.

One fun thing you can do on Instagram is browse photos taken at a specific location, or taken near your current location. I like to do this when I’m in a particularly beautiful place, or when I want to scroll through photos taken at a specific event or something like that.

Here’s how to do both of these things.

Browse Photos Taken at a Specific Location:

You can either search for a specific place, or you can click into a geotag on an existing photo.

To search for a specific place: Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring you to the general search page. When you click in to the search bar at the top, four tabs will appear. Choose “Places,” and type in the name of a place. When you press “Search,” it’ll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.

To look at photos from a certain geotag: Go to the photo that’s geotagged with that location, and click the geotag. It’ll show you all the top and recent posts that were geotagged with that location.

Browse Photos Taken Near Your Current Location:

Tap the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home screen, which will bring you to the general search page. When you click in to the search bar at the top, four tabs will appear. Choose “Places,” and click “Near Current Location.”

places-near-current-location.png

Choose which geotag you’d like to browse from the options that appear. Let’s say I chose to browse photos tagged with the HubSpot geotag. When I click “HubSpot” on the menu, I’ll see the top and recent posts that were geotagged with “HubSpot.”

browse-posts-near-hubspot.png

13) Drive traffic to an external website.

One of the biggest frustrations people have with Instagram — especially businesses — is that it isn’t a great platform for driving traffic away from the app to a website, a Twitter page, or somewhere else. Why? Because clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio.

If you put a URL in a photo caption, it’ll appear as plain text, meaning users would have to painstakingly copy the URL, open a web browser, and paste or type it in there.

One sneaky way to get people to visit your Instagram profile, which is where that one clickable URL is allowed, is to use your photo captions to encourage people to visit your profile for a link. Then, update that URL frequently to point to your latest blog content, YouTube video, product, or offer.

Check out the example below. On the left, the photo caption provides a text call-to-action to visit the user’s profile so you can click the link related to the post. On the right, you’ll see the link itself. Update this link frequently to point to your latest content or offer.

link-mentioned-in-caption.png

Image Credit: SmartInsights

14) Hide ads you don’t find relevant.

Instagram, like its parent company Facebook, tries to show you ads that are interesting and relevant to you. You might see ads based on people you follow and things you Like on Instagram, your information and interests on Facebook, and the third-party websites and apps you visit.

If you see sponsored posts you don’t find relevant, though, you can let Instagram know and slowly teach its algorithm what you like and don’t like to see.

To hide ads on Instagram: Tap on the “Sponsored” label on the top right of any ad, and choose “Hide This.”

hide-ads.png

From there, it’ll ask you to share why you don’t want to see the ad anymore.

why-no-ads.png

You can also opt out of seeing ads based on sites and apps off of Instagram and Facebook from your device’s settings. Note that even if you choose to opt out of seeing these types of ads, you’ll still see ads based on your Instagram and Facebook activity.

  • To limit ad tracking on an iPhone/iPad: Go to “Settings” and choose “Privacy,” then “Advertising.” From there, choose the option to “Limit Ad Tracking”

limit-ad-tracking-iphone.png

  • To turn off interest-based ads on Android: Go to “Google Settings,” then “Ads.” From there, choose the option to “Turn off interest-based ads.”

opt-out-interest-based-ads-android.png

15) Send photos privately to your friends.

Sharing posts with all your followers or with the public isn’t the only way to share photos on Instagram. You can also share them with individual users or with groups, kind of like a Facebook message or text.

You can either send a new photo to friends, or send a photo that you or someone else has already posted.

To send a new photo privately: Upload a photo and begin editing it, as you would when editing a new post. When you get to the “Share to” page, choose “Direct” at the top of your screen. From there, you can pick and choose whom you’d like to send the photo to, whether it’s an individual, a new group, or an existing group. When you click “Send,” it’ll start a direct conversation with that person or group.

send-photo-to-group.png

You can access your direct messages at any time by clicking the mailbox icon at the top right of your homepage.

To send an existing photo privately: First, open the photo. It can be your own photo or someone else’s, as long as they have a public account. Next, click the curved arrow icon to the right of the Like and comment icons underneath the photo. From there, select whom you’d like to send it to. You can add a message if you’d like, and then click “Send.”

send-photo-to-friend.png

What other lesser-known Instagram features do you know about? Share with us in the comments.

 

5 Advantages of Outsourcing Transcription Services by Carey Suante

To outsource or not to outsource transcription services?

Many companies and individuals including law firms and real estate firms, construction firms, entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, are choosing to outsource transcription services because they understand and realize the advantages of outsourcing.

Services like audio transcription requires huge investments if you want them in-house.  Transcription is also a niche skill set.  There are not that many people with the required skills and competence for transcription.  When you consider the wages, benefits and overhead of a dedicated transcription department  in-house it is very expensive for any company.  This is why many companies are choosing to outsource their transcription needs.

The digitalization of the recording equipment such as smartphones with voice recognition, secure online connections and a skilled freelance labour pool has made the outsourcing of transcription an attractive option for real estate firms, professional firms and law firms and other who record important meetings, telephone calls, interviews and the like.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing transcription services to your organization.

At first glance, it would seem that opting to outsource transcription services would add cost to running your practice or decrease your company efficiencies. Not true. Advantages of outsourcing transcription services to a third party outweighs any perceived disadvantages.

5 advantages of outsourcing transcription services for your business:

1. You only pay for what you need, when you need it: Your transcription volume and requirement will fluctuate. Most companies will not need large volumes of transcription carried out on a regular basis.  This leads to transcription volume peaks and troughs. This fluctuating nature of your transcription requirement means it’s difficult to ascertain how many in-house transcriptionists you need to transcribe.  Keeping the least number of transcriptionists will mean they don’t cope in times of peak and keep enough transcriptionists to cope when your transcription volume peaks means your transcriptionists will be underused when the volume falls. So having an in-house transcription department is a bad idea.

Advantage of Outsourcing: You literally only pay for what you need as most transcription services only charge by the minute or by the line rather than the hour, and they are flexible in terms of capacity.

2. Outsourcing transcription saves money: The cost savings in outsourcing transcription instead of employing full-time transcriptionists in-house is significant. In the US a full-time secretary earns approximately $34,000 per year. Therefore, monthly expense on one full-time secretary is $2833 and this is excluding expenses on space, furniture, computer, electricity, Healthcare, insurance on this employee.  Also consider this transcriptionist will take time off for annual leave and illness, and you could be looking at savings of more than 30% of the expense by using an outsourced provider.

Advantage of Outsourcing: An outsource transcription provider provides expertise and specialized skill at a fraction of the cost you would need if paying for an in-house transcriptionist.

3. Access to experienced staff: Transcription is not an easy job. It requires focus and attention to detail as well as a keen ear. Using less experienced staff can result in inaccuracies and delivery delays.  Transcription expertise is a rare skill too.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Transcription companies are specialized service professionals. They are experts in transcribing audio to text. By using professionals you gain access to their skills and knowledge to give you a quality outcome. By using an outsourced transcription service, you’ll tap into a huge bank of experience for a small percentage of what you would otherwise have to pay.

4. Flexibility: Success in the your industry requires managing rapidly changing environments.  Transcription providers give you the flexibility to meet these rapidly changing conditions. The challenges for businesses include varying transcription volume, different turnaround times for different projects and cases, adding new services and departments, contraction, report format changes, etc.  These are a few of the curve balls a flexible transcription vendor can help your practice navigate.

5. Outsourcing transcription frees up time for your staff to develop other skills: Transcription is a specialized skill. Not every secretary or admin person can transcribe with accuracy and expertise. Most employees have skills that are better suited to other activities.

Advantage of Outsourcing: Outsourcing transcription means your personnel is used more efficiently and productively with minimal investment. This increases productivity and saves costs.

These are 5 advantages of outsourcing transcription that can help your business be more productive, profitable, efficient and competitive. We haven’t touched on the advantages of outsourcing transcription in terms of customization, automation, universal access and standardization, workflow process and branding for your business.

[This post first appeared on www.transcriptionpro.net on May 26th 2015]

*Virtuadmin would love to assist with your transcription needs.  See testimonials from very happy clients who have outsourced their transcription and typing to me.  If you would like a quote on your audio or video for transcription there is a contact form in the “contact me” section.  Have you outsourced your transcription before? If not, it’s very easy and simple, just send me a message and we can take it from there.

 

11 Basic Excel Tricks That Will Change Your Life – Sara Silverstein Business Insider

Here are 11 basic Excel tricks that will change your life

Business Insider/Sara SIlverstein

Microsoft Excel is an amazing piece of software, and even regular users might not be getting as much out of it as they can. Improve your Excel efficiency and proficiency with these basic shortcuts and functions that absolutely everyone needs to know.

1. Jump from worksheet to worksheet with Ctrl + PgDn and Ctrl + PgUp


2. Jump to the end of a data range or the next data range with Ctrl + Arrow

Of course you can move from cell to cell with arrow keys. But if you want to get around faster, hold down the Ctrl key and hit the arrow keys to get farther:

NavigatingX

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

 

3. Add the Shift key to select data

Ctrl + Shift +Arrow will extend the current selection to the last nonblank cell in that direction:

SelectX

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

4. Double click to copy down

To copy a formula or value down the length of your data set, you don’t need to hold and drag the mouse all the way down. Just double click the tiny box at the bottom right-hand corner of the cell:

DoubleClick

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein
 

5. Use shortcuts to quickly format values

For a number with two decimal points, use Ctrl + Shift + !. For dollars use Ctrl + Shift + $. For percentages it’s Ctrl + Shift + %. The last two should be pretty easy to remember:

FormatingX

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

6. Lock cells with F4

When copying formulas in Excel, sometimes you want your input cells to move with your formulas BUT SOMETIMES YOU DON’T. When you want to lock one of your inputs you need to put dollar signs before the column letter and row number. Typing in the dollar signs is insane and a huge waste of time. Instead, after you select your cell, hit F4 to insert the dollar signs and lock the cell. If you continue to hit the F4 key, it will cycle through different options: lock cell, lock row number, lock column letter, no lock.

F4

Business Insider/Sara SIlverstein

7. Summarize data with CountIF and SumIF

CountIF will count the number of times a value appears in a selected range. The first input is the range of values you want to count in. The second input is the criteria, or particular value, you are looking for. Below we are counting the number of stories in column B written by the selected author:

COUNTIF(range,criteria)

countif

SumIF will add up values in a range when the value in a corresponding range matches your criteria. Here we want to count the total number of views for each author. Our sum range is different from the range with the authors’ names, but the two ranges are the same size. We are adding up the number of views in column E when the author name in column B matches the selected name.

SUMIF(range,criteria,sum range)

sumif copy

 

8. Pull out the exact data you want with VLOOKUP

VLOOKUP looks for a value in the leftmost column of a data range and will return any value to the right of it. Here we have a list of law schools with school rankings in the first column. We want to use VLOOKUP to create a list of the top 5 ranked schools.

VLOOKUP(lookup value,data range,column number,type) 

The first input is the lookup value. Here we use the ranking we want to find. The second input is the data range that contains the values we are looking up in the leftmost column and the information we’re trying to get in the columns to the right. The third input is the column number of the value you want to return.

We want the school name, and this is in the second column of our data range. The last input tells Excel if you want an exact match or an approximate match. For an exact match write FALSE or 0.

vlookup copy

 

9. Use & to combine text strings

Here we have a column of first names and last names. We can create a column with full names by using &. In Excel, & joins together two or more pieces of text. Don’t forget to put a space between the names. Your formula will look like this =[First Name]&” “&[Last Name]. You can mix cell references with actual text as long as the text you want to include is surrounded by quotes:

ConcatenateX

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

10. Clean up text with LEFT, RIGHT and LEN

These text formulas are great for cleaning up data. Here we have state abbreviations combined with state names with a dash in between. We can use the LEFT function to return the state abbreviation. LEFT grabs a specified number of characters from the start of a text string. The first input is the text string. The second input is the number of characters you want. In our case, we want the first two characters:

LEFT(text string, number of characters)

left

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

If you want to pull the names of the states out of this text string you have to use the RIGHT function. RIGHT grabs a number of characters from the right end of a text string.

But how many characters on the right do you want? All but three, since the state names all come after the state’s two-letter abbreviation and a dash. This is where LEN comes in handy. LEN will count the number of characters or length of the text string.

LEN(text string)

len

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

Now you can use a combination of RIGHT and LEN to pull out the state names. Since we want all but the first three characters, we take the length of our string, subtract 3, and pull that many characters from the right end of the string:

RIGHT(text string,number of characters)

right copy

Business Insider/Sara Silverstein

11. Generate random values with RAND

You can use RAND() function to generate a random value between 0 and 1. D0 not include any inputs, just leave the parentheses empty. New random values will be generated every time the workbook recalculates. You can force it to recalculate by hitting F9. But be careful. It also recalculates when you make other changes to the workbook:

Source: Here are 11 basic Excel tricks that will change your life – StumbleUpon

Do you have any tips that aren’t on the list?  Comment on the post and we can update the Excel Tricks List Thanks! 🙂

2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

2016 Forecast: Make a living writing
Top 12 Freelance Writing Gigs for 2016

If you think there are no great-paying freelance writing gigs out there anymore and it’s all $5 blog posts, I’m here to spread some sunshine.

I have the advantage of chatting with hundreds of freelance writers on a regular basis in Freelance Writers Den. That’s allowed me to get a strong sense of what the trends are, and where writers are finding opportunities.

I’m hearing more and more reports of rising rates in some specific writing niches, and of growing demand for some emerging assignments.

If you’re hoping to up your game and find great-paying freelance writing gigs this year, check out my list of a dozen top niches.

All of these niches have two things in common, so let me call out those two key items first:

Look for complex topics

This one cuts across all the categories below. If you want to earn well, stop writing about parenting/travel/yourself/pets/books and all the other things everyone on earth can easily write about, and tackle difficult topics few writers can manage.

That continues to be where all the money is. If you can write about surety bonds, advanced washing machine technology, trends in shower-curtain materials, new energy efficiency technology, that sort of thing? You can name your price.

Bigger is better

Most starving writers I know write for solopreneurs, local publications, small nonprofits, or local small businesses in their town.

Want to earn more? You need to start pitching bigger clients who have bigger budgets. Yes, I know you’re scared. But writing for bigger clients is actually easier and more fun. Successful enterprises tend to be less dysfunctional, better planners, and more focused — and they’ve got experience working with freelancers that can make your job easier.

Start going after bigger fish to bring home bigger paychecks.

Now that I’ve got you thinking niche topics and bigger prospects, what types of writing are set to earn well this year? Here are my predictions (in no particular order), and a break-in tip for how to get going in each market:

1. Case studies

Wherever companies sell a complex product or service, they need customer success stories to help describe why their solution is the best one in the marketplace.

I’ve seen writers get $1,000 for their first paid case study, after writing a single sample.

Break-in Tip: Nonprofits and small businesses would always love to have case studies, but can’t afford to hire a writer — volunteer to do one to get a sample.

2. White papers

Anywhere you find a business with a complex product or service they sell to other businesses, there are white papers. A study conducted by The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs reported 68 percent of B2B marketers used white papers last year.

If you’re not familiar with this format, which often runs 5-10 pages or more, it’s worth learning how white papers give buyers useful info while positioning the sponsoring business as the go-to source for a particular solution. Rates range from $.50 a word to $500 a page and up. (Steve Slaunwhite taught a nifty bootcamp we’ve got stashed in Freelance Writers Den on this topic.)

Break-In Tip: Look for tech startups that couldn’t afford a pro, and propose a brief white paper to help them gain visibility. Then, you’re set with a white paper sample.

3. Longform blogging 

Have you noticed blog posts are getting longer and more detailed? Yes, marketers have learned Google hates short posts, and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

Fortunately, that means a great opportunity for writers to earn more in blogging, as blog posts increasingly become more like articles.

Google hastes short posts and rewards sites that have more in-depth information.

The secret of good longform blogging is not to simply take longer to say the same thing (which I’m seeing a lot of). Great long posts are packed with useful information, and often use screenshots, infographics, fresh interviews, and unique research. I’m seeing $200-$400 and more for these, and I believe we’ll see many more markets up their game in the coming year.

My biggest blogging prediction for 2016 is that it’s the year that recycling stuff you found on other sites will simply no longer cut it. To win these clients, start digging for the new angle that will get their blog noticed.

Break-In Tip: You can write a longform blog post on your own blog or as a guest post to show what you’ve got.

4. Brand journalism

What smells like a sophisticated, online magazine but is run by a company — and pays like copywriting? Brand journalism projects. These articles are usually overseen by an experienced editor, and you report the story like you would for any magazine or newspaper. The catch is the ezine content is there to get the brand name in front of consumers.

I’ve earned $2,000 an article writing these, and was able to pitch my own topics and write some fun stories.

Break-In Tip: Watch for brands that feature article-quality content. Many blue-chip brands are into this — I’ve worked on projects for SunTrust Bank, Dun & Bradstreet, American Express, and was recently approached by Intuit.

You may need to sleuth a little, because many outsource the editorial management to an agency. Try searching on LinkedIn or Twitter to see who’s connected to their content project, and reach out.

5. Annual reports

Along with their cousin the corporate social responsibility report, annual reports continue to be fat projects that can pay $5,000-$10,000. I’ve seen annual reports that easily top 100 pages — and if they like your work, this can be a nice repeat gig, every year.

More and more companies are feeling the need to do social responsibility reports to document their sustainability, human rights record, and more, particularly at public companies, so this is a growing niche.

Break-In Tip: Small nonprofits need annual reports, too — volunteer and claim a sample.

6. Big national consumer magazines

Reports of the demise of print have been widely exaggerated. Yes, there’s a lot of change going on, but some magazines are still going great guns and paying over $1 a word. I did a 1,200-word feature assignment this summer that paid $2,800 plus every dime of my travel expenses, for instance.

New magazines also continue to be born, though fewer than in the past — there were nearly 100 launches last year, and closures slowed — and new pubs are often more open to new writers than established rags. Crack that Writer’s Market online, dial their search tool up to five dollar signs (signifying highest paying markets), and see who you could pitch!

Break-In Tip: Start with those newer magazines, or your local ones, but don’t get stuck there. Keep pitching up to the next rung — and if you’re not getting responses, learn more about how to write queries and perfect your pitch.

7. Trade publications

These low-glamour industry-news pubs don’t get pitched a lot, and are usually desperate to find someone who can help pharmacists, restaurant operators, or convenience store owners wring another dollar of profit from their business.

As a result, pay tends to be good — $.30-$.50 a word at the low end, up to $1 a word or so. Trade pubs have survived the magazine fallout fairly well, as each has a niche audience advertisers who sell into that industry are dying to reach.

Go to tradepub.com and browse for topics you know or are interested in, scan some issues, and write a strong introduction letter that plays up your knowledge of the sector.

Break-In Tip: Play on your life experience here. Used to be a lawyer? Try one of the state lawyer magazines put out by the state Bar Association. This is a real use-what-you-know situation.

8. Video scripts

You’ve probably noticed that video is booming, from internal company announcements to welcome videos on blogs to video sales letters. It’s a great opportunity for you former TV and radio journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, and anyone else who writes for aural media to cash in.

Break in tip: Make a video for your website that shows your writing skill, or perhaps find a nonprofit that needs to promote one of their programs, write a script, and collaborate with a videographer.

9. Web content

If you can write an online sales page that gets your clients more revenue, you will earn well. I know writers who charge $2,000 for a long sales page.

But if salesy stuff isn’t for you, no worries — there’s plenty of earning opportunity in other static Web content.

Some of the best projects out there are revamps of big websites with 35-100 informational Web pages or more. I once worked on one of these projects for well over two years, billing $2,000 a month and up, every month.

As online presence becomes ever more important for companies, and changes like mobile require rethinking, I expect to see steady demand for Web content writing and rewriting. Remember my caveat about complex information — things like writing up hotel descriptions continue to pay poorly, but if you need to explain something like insurance consulting services or environmental engineering projects, pay should be at professional rates (at least $100 a page for under 300 words of copy, $300 and more for longer pages).

Break-In Tip: Finding starter clients for your Web content writing services is like shooting fish in a barrel. Get a list of prospects together in a particular industry, and then take a look at their websites. Contact the ones that look dated or lack basic info like a strong About page, team bios, or testimonials.

10. Marketing emails

All those people who predicted email would die are looking dumb about now, because email marketing continues to be one of the top ways blogs and brands reach customers and sell products and services.

Maybe at some point they’ll project these messages straight into our brains, but for now, building an email list and sending marketing emails continues to be a key marketing strategy. As with writing online sales pages, if your writing is connected directly to sales, you are golden.

I know writers getting $250 per email and more for autoresponder sequences or marketing campaigns.

Break-In Tip: Subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters in niches that interest you. Watch for brands where news turns up only sporadically, or sales angles seem weak — then reach out and offer to help.

11. Book ghosting for CEOs

Forget the regular folks who’re hoping you’ll write their life story, or the people advertising on Craigslist that they want an e-book written for $200. There’s real money in ghostwriting for busy, successful CEOs, coaches, motivational speakers, and other thought leaders.

I auditioned in the past year for several projects in the $15,000-$35,000 range, and $50,000 is not uncommon. If anything, the drumbeat of marketers telling thought leaders they need to build their authority by putting out a book under their byline is only growing — which means the audience that might pay well for a book is, too.

Break-in tip: Write an e-book yourself, so you’ve got a sample! Then start networking and connecting with the kind of coaches/CEOs who might do a major book.

12. Online Courses / E-Learning

This niche is huge — $107 billion globally, plus another $50 billion in self-paced e-learning courses, according to an elearningIndustry.com report. And talk about a global opportunity in every language — the three fastest-growing country markets for online education are India, China, and Malaysia. Much of this work is done by agencies or freelanced directly to writers and designers.

We’re not just talking online, universities, either — most clients are major corporations with the budgets to pay handsomely. From how to fill out your time sheet on up, companies are saving money and (wo)man-hours by turning trainings into online modules.

There’s a bottom line that putting training online instead of teaching it in person saves travel expenses for companies, standardizes learning, and creates convenience for learners. Interactivity is making online ed ever more efficient and valuable. Online ed is going to keep growing, as more companies discover the benefits — estimated growth is over 9 percent annually.

The opportunity for freelance writers in this niche, as Donald Trump would say, is huuuge.

Break-In Tip: There are a few moving parts to getting into this niche — but it’s easier to get started than you might think. If you’re interested, it’s worth taking the time to find out more about writing for e-learning.

To sum up, don’t believe the negativity out there, that all freelance rates are through the floor. There are still great-paying freelance writing gigs — if you know the types of writing that are in demand, and the clients that want you.

What writing niches do you think will pay well this year?  Leave a comment and add it to my list.

Source: 2016 Forecast: Top 12 Great-Paying Freelance Writing Gigs

How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page

The-Perfect-On-Page-SEO-Checklist-for-2016-Infographic-image

 

How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page

This Infographic was created by Neil Patel at Quick Sprout and introduces his Infographic by stating that (when this article was first published in November 2014 to help get your head around Search Engine Optimization) that Google looks at over 200 factors when ranking a website and that was in 2014!

Today Cent Muruganandam has revisited this infographic and broken down each element of the page and explains the function of and how best to optimise it for better SEO rankings.  This is "The Perfect On Page SEO Checklist for 2016" and was published on Business 2 Community on 14th January 2016.

Today we are going to look at on page SEO checklist every website should be taking advantage of; this includes new blogs as well.

After all, who doesn’t crave for Google Gods blessings?

This is an infographic checklist that delivers the message in an elegant way.

This checklist was created by Neil Patel so you know its undoubted quality!

SEO Friendly URL

More weight is given to the first 3 to 5 words of a URL according to Matt Cutts of Google.

Examples of Bad URLs:

YourEscapeFrom9to5.com/?p=3155 (Only Numbers)

YourEscapeFrom9to5.com/how-to-use-stumbleupon-to-drive-traffic-and-marketing-infographic (Too Long)

An Example of a Good URL:

YourEscapeFrom9to5.com/user-experience-tips-infographic (Short and Descriptive)

How to Fix Non SEO Friendly URL

  • Use a plugin like PrettyLink to redirect the old URLs (in WordPress)
  • Update permalink structure (in WordPress)

Title

50 – 60 Characters

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales Hacks to Close the Deal

Use H1 Tags for the Title (Also use H2 and H3 tags for Subheadings)

Include Target Keywords

Remember, only 512 pixel width of text will be displayed on mobile devices

How to Fix Title Issues

  • Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to investigate title and description issues. Yoast gives traffic light rankings for each post. (for WordPress)

Use Multimedia and Visual Content

 

Use pictures, videos and audio content to your advantage. Each media type has another avenue for promotion. Videos -> YouTube.Multimedia can keep online visitors engaged and reduce your website bounce rate.

Read more at http://www.business2community.com/infographics/perfect-page-seo-checklist-2016-infographic-01428523#ikX4KUvfzx72dtdR.99

Link to Authority Sites

Outgoing links tell search engines like Google what your page is about. The quality of your external links is a signal to Google of the quality of your page.

Internal Linking is the Best Form of Content Marketing

As a rule of thumb, link to your older posts when you publish a new post. Try to include 2 to 3 links in each post. The key is to internally link to posts naturally. Don’t try to sell a shoe that doesn’t fit the customer’s leg.

Use Keyword in the First 100 Words of the Content

Keyword should not only be part of your title and URL; it should also be part of the Meta description and content. The earlier the keyword appears in all of these elements the better.

How to Fix Keyword Issues?

  • Use Yoast SEO to manage keywords and on page SEO elements. (for WordPress)

Use Related Keywords or Similar Words in Your Content

Google uses Latent Semantic Indexing which looks at relative words in the content when ranking websites in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Optimize ALT Tags and Image File Names

ALT tags tell search engines what the image is about. If your image name is ‘image1’ or ‘pic2’ it is useless from a search engine perspective. As a rule of thumb always make the ALT tag descriptive and include keywords. Remember, there is less competition in Google image search and you have a chance of being displayed as one of the images found for a user’s search term.

Website Speed Matters!

If you are stuck in traffic in a slow-moving lane, what do you do? Put the indicator and move to the next lane. What will happen if your website is slow? No indicator, just less traffic. We live in a fast-moving world so test your website speed every once in a while (monthly is a good idea) to make sure your visitors are not lost.

How to Improve Website Speed?

  • Glad you asked. Here is an infographic with 16 tips to improve a website’s loading time.
  • You can also implement a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to boost loading times. CDN sounds complicated but it is easy to implement. If you are on a budget try CloudFlare CDN which is free.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/glass-time-watch-business-medium.jpg.jpg

website-speed-matters-image

Leverage Social Sharing Correctly

Use floating social share buttons. They are easy to use, always visible and a constant reminder to the user. Encourage users to share your content. Use hashtags when you post content in social media and share valuable content from others.

Content Length is Strength

Produce long form content that is useful to the viewer. This post not only tells what the on page SEO elements to focus on but also tells you how to fix them. The content length is determined by whatever it takes to get the message across. Some SEO’s will tell you to only write long post content that is 1,500 to 5,000 words.

Mobile Responsive Website is a Must

The number of mobile devices is growing rapidly; so is the number of people using their smart phones to browse the web. A mobile responsive website resizes its web pages based on the device type the user is on. Remember, social media usage on mobile devices is on the high and you don’t want to be losing out.

How to Make your Website Responsive?

  • Hire a web developer
  • Use a responsive theme (for WordPress)

Wrapping it up

A new website or blog will take time to build up its domain authority (DA) and backlinks. One good habit to get into early is to always focus on, SEO elements on the page as this does not depend on domain authority, domain age or backlinks. On page SEO elements are crucial for search engine traffic and rankings.

If you like this essential on page SEO checklist, then share it!

35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed In Blogging

35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed in Blogging
35 WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed in Blogging

In this ever changing field, you can stay ahead of the curve with my WordPress SEO tips designed to provide you with what works to achieve results.

A great way to start the New Year – I heard from a very trusted colleague and want to share these wonderful search engine optimistion tips with you.  Over at www.onblast.com he got in touch to say Hi and Happy New Year.  We’ve not spoken for a wee while and really happy to hear from him and guess what?  Even though it has been longer that it should have been he wanted to share his latest post about WordPress and the secret tips of how to get success with blogging.  I am so grateful to him for sending me this I had to share it with you…ssshh don’t tell him!

So with that being said, welcome to the ultimate resource for WordPress SEO tips this side of a Tibetan monk who understands the mind of Google (I’m fairly certain he doesn’t exist).

WordPress is arguably the best blogging platform in existence, and it provides us with a lot of SEO tools that many of you may not know about.

Of course, there are an abundance of other practices in your structure and content that will also lend to a more optimized website, but we’ll get to all of that in due time.

For now, as the salad said to the dinner: “lettuce begin!”

The Secrets to Successful WordPress SEO (You’re Welcome)

“Optimizing your WordPress site is the first step toward real blogging success” [click to tweet]

It’s hard to believe anyone would give this out for free, but I’m Matt Banner, and although most people know me through my brother Bruce, you know, the big green guy (the Hulk) I’m sporting a brain that’s equally powerful and like him I want to use my power for good.

Hulk

(Source: Flickr)

Here’s what you’re going to learn by the end of this article:

Today’s Roadmap
  • A massive list of the best SEO practices out there
  • WordPress exclusive tips to maximize your blog’s potential
  • A sneak peek at the future of SEO and how you can prepare today
  • Step by step on How to Optimize WordPress with the Yoast Plugin

35 WordPress SEO Tips to Chew On

1) Pay attention how you structure your URL: as you create phenomenal posts, remember that WordPress allows you to tailor the structure of your permalinks (or URL) under the settings > Permalinks. You can utilize a custom structure (my recommendation) or pick something different.

Just know that the shorter, the better (i.e. onblastblog.com/get-more-traffic). You don’t need to fit every single word of your article title in the URL.

2) Install the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin: Of all the plugins out there, this is the one you need for your blog. This will help you keep track of your optimization and allow you to tailor other features of your blog without the need for multiple plugins. Yoast will keep your website clean and on track.

Yoast

3) Add Internal Links: When you’re working on a new post, make sure you link to other relevant ones on your blog to increase the networking structure and keep the other posts in the limelight.

This is one of those blogging best practices you should make a habit of doing when you first start your blogSee what I did there?

4) Optimize Images: This is relatively easy and comes included with WordPress. When you’re uploading and inserting an image on your blog, there are fields to provide an alternate text, caption, and description.

Use them all. These all add to the organic visibility of the image, so don’t forget to use them.

5) Content is for People First: Some bloggers get all caught up in throwing as many keywords into a post as possible, and while having your primary and LSI keywords present is certainly needed to help people understand what you’re talking about, ultimately the usefulness of your content will decide how well it performs in search engine results.

Make it well-written, unique, and above all else, useful for your readers.

6) Generate More Brand Mentions: Brand mentionsHaving your posts linked on other blogs is an important step in building a strong organically-focused blog.

Essentially, they are 3rd party recommendations that scream “What you’re doing is awesome”. That being said, you don’t need links from sites that aren’t in your niche or don’t relate to your topic.

Remember, your goal is ultimately about judging the usefulness of your site for users.

7) PageRank isn’t as Important as You Might Think: The way pages are viewed and ranked by search engines is part of a huge machine like algorithm. It’s been widely noted that using page rank as a ranking factor is no longer recognized.

8) Ensure your Title Tag Contains the Most Important Words: The title tag, which displays on Google and other search engines, shouldn’t just be the company name or the name of your blog. Each title tag should accurately describe what will be on that given page.

Practicing this will better improve your SEO and proudly display the content of the post.

Title tag example

9) Make Your Hyperlinks Keyword Phrases: This is a simple tip, but an important one. If you’re linking to an article about common mistakes bloggers make, don’t just say “click here”, use the phrase so readers know what they’re clicking on.

10) Long-Tail Keyword Phrases Beat Lonely Ones: Long tail keywordsYou can pick and choose keywords like you’re the king or queen of the apple bobbing contest, but the real way to utilize these keywords is by placing them in phrases that are relevant to your topic.

If you’re talking about cooking dessert dishes, then expand on that like so: “Our detailed recipes will help you craft the finest dessert dishes.”

11) From the Beginning, Your Design Should be SEO Focused: Your blogs design, whether it’s done by you or by a web designer, needs to be focused on organic search traffic.

While fancy colors and animations are nice, the search engines are looking at text and image descriptions, they might as well be color blind. Bottom line: Don’t get too cute or too fancy with flash and javascript.

12) Get your Site Indexed: Using a tool like Google Search Console will help you establish a clear connection between your website’s content and the Google search engine.

Navigate to Search Console and submit an XML sitemap to make sure your content is indexed as quickly as possible. You can easily create an XML sitemap with the Yoast plugin I touched on earlier.

13) Structure Your Site With Simplicity: A complicated and disorganized blog isn’t going to get a lot of readers or backlinks.

Don’t go crazy with folders and subfolders. Keep things organized and if people want to look at older posts, make sure that’s easy to do as well.

14) Always, Always Reciprocate: Sourcing other contentNot only is it common courtesy to link & reference other sites that have furthered the topic conversation you’re writing about, but doing so will help build your popularity and improve your authority (so long as they’re quality trusted sites that are applicable to the same topic) in your particular niche.

15) Content Needs to be Unique and of High Quality: You can write about the psychological profile of the common household cat all you want, but if the content isn’t of high quality (meaning no keyword stuffing, or a litany of grammar and punctuation issues) then you’re not going to see the results you want.

Creating content that does both of these things will be infinitely more noticeable to Google.

16) Choose a Single Main Keyword Phrase: Don’t try to create a single post that addresses multiple keyword phrases. Find one that most represents your content and use it sparingly in the post.

Branch off of that keyword with secondary keywords and relevant topics to further expand on the subject matter.

17) Your SEO Must Lead to a Strong CTA (Call to Action): Much like dousing logs in lighter fluid, it’s all for naught if you don’t light a match to ignite the flames. At the end of your posts, you should always leave the reader with something to do.

It could be a sign up for your newsletter, or an invitation to comment. It could also be an opportunity to purchase your products or services. Make sure this is present, and that it’s clear and concise.

18) Never Stop Researching: IdeasAnything involving SEO is only a present solution or tactic.

The landscape of this is always changing. With new updates to Google and Yahoo, the methods by which pages are displayed and ranked is always changing. Staying current on these trends and algorithms is the best way to stay ahead of the curve.

19) The Text Around Your Images Matters: As mentioned earlier, the caption, description and ALT-Text attached to your images helps them rank well in search engines.

What you’re saying when the image appears (the text around it) also matters. SEO is relying more on how things connect and less on specific keywords, so remember to make everything fit together.

20) Your Social Media Presence is Huge: Having your blog posts present on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites goes hand in hand SEO. Installing a social media plugin on your WordPress blog will also allow people to share your posts on their networks, further spreading the influence of your site.

21) Mix-Up the Types of Content on Your Blog: It’s not about text and pictures, you need to get more creative than that. Publish videos, record podcasts, and try new things with your posts. You never want to shatter the style or voice you’ve established, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stretch the types of content you deliver to other forms.

22) Use Clean and Simple Themes: Designed ThemeThink minimal.

The more code that search engines have to search, the harder it’s going to be for your content to stand out.

Use simple themes that are light on coding and run fast. This way your content is found faster and easier by search engines and ultimately by your readers.

23) Create an XML Sitemap: This is essentially a map of your website that Google can use to properly understand what pages you have.

Creating one of these can be done using an SEO plugin, or with other sitemap specific plugins, but regardless of how you do it, this is an essential action that will make your site infinitely more readable for search engines like Google.

24) Don’t Index Every Single Page: All the pages of your blog don’t need to be indexed as some of them are just, well, there. The ones that provide value to readers, the ones with content are the ones that should be viewed by search engines. That being said, if you index your category pages on your blog, consider adding a paragraph or two about what’s in that category.

This adds value to the page, and being that’s a detailed description, it will only show up for that category, this is key because simply placing a post teaser or teasers on the page will still allow that content to appear in other searches.

SEO WordPress Tips for 2015

25) Keep Your WordPress Up to Date: The updates for WordPress that come down the pipeline are important.

They ensure that your security is solid, but they also alter any possible errors or glitches in the coding that could be hurting your SEO ranking. You don’t want anything holding you back, but more than that you don’t want your site getting hacked.

26) Remove Defaults from Your Site: Configure SettingsWhen you’re first developing your WordPress blog, you’re going to see defaults that can hurt your SEO. For example, in the beginning, the posts are categorized.

As mentioned above, you can create category pages with their own unique content and index them for an SEO boost.

In addition to things like that, consider changing default messages like “Hello World!” and others that are put there as placeholders. These look unprofessional on a live website and your readers will recognize them as they stand out from the rest of your blog’s style.

27) When Customizing your URL, Remember Keywords: I mentioned earlier changing the URL from the default setting, but there’s something to be said about customizing them yourself to include the title of your blog post that remains as small and simple as possible.

Focus on the keywords and remove things like “and” “a” and “is” from the permalink.

28) Avoid Duplicate Content by Creating a Static Homepage: Identical content is the bane of any blogger’s existence. When you setup your WordPress site, the default is posting your latest content on the homepage. The problem with this is that showing the content on the homepage and in the respective post creates that dreaded duplicate content.

To fix this, create a page for blog posts and go to the reading settings. Once you’ve done this, choose between latest posts or a static page for the front page displays.

Each article you post should be represented by an excerpt, then double check that the discourage search engines from indexing this site is not selected.

29) Track Your Progress with Google Analytics: Analytics & GrowthUsing an analytics tool such as Google Analytics will help you monitor your progress.

you should always be aware of how well you’re doing, and this is the way.

The results of a tracking program will help you find 404 pages, see how long people stay for, and how much traffic you’re getting from search engines.

All of this information will help you better understand what’s working, and what isn’t. When you finally find that ‘secret sauce’ based on all of your efforts and the results to prove it, then your analytics account should look something like this:

Good Analytics Screenshot

30) Make Sure You’ve Got the Date Right: New and fresh content is great for SEO, but WordPress uses a default UTC time zone when you set it up. If this time zone isn’t correct for your location, your new content may not be noticed by search engines.

When searching for new content, Google check the time set on your WordPress, not the time and date it actually went up.All you have to do to fix this, is head into the settings > General and you’ll see the time zone. If you need help figuring out which time zone is yours, Wikipedia has a handy chart.

Looking Into the Future: How SEO is Evolving (And How You Can Stay Ahead of The Curve)

As time goes on, the way that Google searches changes constantly. In 2013 there were a number of updates for example, some small, and some large.

With each of these updates the SEO landscape changes and we must in turn change with it. While the changes are beneficial and contribute to the overall whole, they are still radical in some aspects. Here are the updates issued in 2013:

Panda #24: First update of the year issued on January 22nd.

Panda #25: This was the last update before the Panda update was added into the core algorithm.

Hummingbird: This was a major update to the core algorithm, modifying semantic search among other SEO tactics in a big way.

Penguin 2.0./2.1: These were both minor updates that didn’t touch the main algorithm.

So, why did I show you a list of oddly named updates? Well, of the five updates, two of them were fairly major. This means that several times per year, the way we understand SEO changes. I know, that seems scary, but you needn’t be afraid.

When it comes down to it, Google is just trying to make their search results the best they can be for users. Speaking of users, don’t forget to use a handful of these WordPress plugins to improve your reader’s experience on the site.

SEO Cycle

Staying ahead of the curve isn’t about reading every last update note (that would help though if you can understand them) it’s about understanding what Google defines as a high-quality website. If you meet these standards, then the search engine is looking for you instead of you looking for it. That’s gotta be a nice confidence boost.

So, with that in mind, here are characteristics of a high-quality site in Google’s eyes:

  • Original, Quality and Correct Content
  • Trustworthy and Credible
  • Nothing biased or one-sided (use perspective)
  • Minimal to zero consumer complaints
  • Content should be comprehensive and thorough

 

A low-quality or unoptimized website has paid links everywhere, way too many ads, and little to no content.

And you know what proves all of this? Your analytics account: The average amount of time a reader stays on your website, how many pages do they visit, etc.

What About the Future?

With time flying past us, we’ll be talking about 2015’s update logs before you know it, but we’ve already seen some big changes coming down the pipeline.

In order to keep you on top of how things are going, I’m going to give you some final tips that will help you stay at the forefront of these constantly changing times.

31) Promote Your Content

Promotional outreachI know, you’re probably thinking that you’ve heard the word “content” enough times to make your ears bleed, but hear me out on this one.

Older SEO resources will tell you that proper structure, keywords, permalinks, site mapping, and so on will be enough, but they’re not anymore. Those things are still important, in fact, they keep you afloat. They don’t, however, elevate you to greatness.

The SEO tips I’ve provided will act as your life jacket in the ocean of the internet, but you’ve got to reach out and grab something to hold onto if you want to take off.

This is done through marketing. When you write your posts, make them unique, powerful, and irresistible. Give people the power to share it with social media plugins, and spread the word! This is one of the best ways you can promote your blog and increase traffic to it.

A post on Quicksprout from Neil Patel stated that 95% of your SEO is attributed to your link profile.

What’s that about?

Essentially it means that you must produce top notch content and market it to your targeted audience, as well as similar websites in your industry.

This will help contribute to building up a link profile that Google approves of, which in return will allow your site to rank higher in the search engine results pages.

32) SEO and Public Relations Are Merging

I know, it’s scary, but this is the way of the future. In a video posted by Matt Cutts of Google fame, he spoke about the importance of integrating PR tactics into your SEO:

“Over time, backlinks will become a little less important. If we could really be able to tell, you know, Danny Sullivan wrote this article…or Vanessa Fox wrote this article, something like that, that would help us understand — okay, this is something that we can tell, 1) it’s an expert, 2) it’s an expert in this particular field.”

In essence, people want to know who is writing these articles. When Google Authorship was still around, these profiles would rank incredibly high, along with Wikipedia pages, and expert news articles.

Suddenly it became about more than the content, it was about who wrote it and what their presence is on the internet. While it may seem hard to grasp, it’s important that going forward, your content is optimized, marketed, and that the author of the post has an equal presence and profile.

33) Google’s Algorithm is Smarter Than You

Blast offYou may be a certified genius, but it means nothing when compared to the might of Google.

In May of 2014 they celebrated 16 years and in those years, numerous changes and modifications to the search algorithm have resulted in one singular truth: you can’t trick Google.

Back in the early days, there were tricks and workarounds that you may still see online, but check the date on those articles, because those things don’t work anymore.

A great example is co-occurrence which is one of the recent developments. This concept allows the search engine to predict how one phrase will spark other ones.

If those phrases are present, the page ranks higher for relevancy. So if I were to say “Mickey Mouse” then other phrases like “Disney World” “Magic Kingdom” and “Minnie Mouse” will relate to that original term.

34) Social Profiles Matter More Now Than Ever

Social

When looking at sheer numbers of search inquires, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have upwards of two billion searches per day.

With all of these incoming searches, SEO is now becoming more social than ever. We always want to market our content, but now we need to market ourselves.

Just like the rise of PR in SEO, people are going to look for your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

Your persona and your reputation online through these sites will greatly affect the success of your blog.

Obviously you don’t want to be fake, but just like an embarrassing picture can sabotage a job interview, the same principle now applies to your readers. Put your best face online.

35) Future Concept: Entity Salience

A Google Research paper recently mentioned the concept of entity salience. This is some future level stuff but you can prepare for it now and it will pay off in the long run.

Beyond using keywords to determine relevance, this technique uses “entities” on the page, examining the known relationships between them to better understand the content.

Anything that is distinct or well-defined is an “entity.” If the relationship between entities is strong, it adds more relevance to the overall page.

Entity Salience

For example, if we’re writing about HBO, we could go into shows that the channel broadcasts like Game of Thrones, but we could go even further and establish entity salience by mentioning specific characters like Jon Snow or Arya Stark, or Ned Stark, thereby strengthening the relationships between these entities.

Setting Up Your WordPress for Success

Like me, if you’ve ever tried to fully optimize your WordPress blog for success then you would know first hand that you’ve driven yourself crazy trying to figure it out.

“What chu talkin about Matt?”

What I’m talking about is the irritating plugins, themes etc. that get in the way of our optimized WordPress blog.

Here’s a quick step by step tutorial on how to optimize it specifically using Yoast:

Step 1: Descriptions & Titles

Titles & Descriptions

WordPress SEO by Yoast features very useful settings that give you ultimate control over title & descriptions. This applies to all post & page types.

Step 2: Indexation

Indexation

Under “post types” ensure that posts and pages are both left unchecked so they are indexed. There’s no need to keep media indexed, however.

Indexation 2

Categories do not HAVE to be indexed. Deciding whether or not to index your category pages depends on whether you anticipate those pages to rank on search engines.

In addition to that, a category page (like any indexed page) HAS to have unique and valuable content that can’t be found elsewhere.

Meta Settings

Step 3: XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps

Please make sure you’re not using any other plugins that handle XML Sitemaps – this can cause confusion for your WordPress.

When you’re excluding post types and taxonomies, only check mark the types of pages you DO NOT want indexed. Performing this step the right way will help you with an optimized XML Sitemap.

Step 4: Permalinks

Permalinks

I would strongly advise you to strip the /category/ off of category URLs. The shorter and more succinct your URLs are, the better.

I would also enforce a trailing slash on all category and tag URLs as well as removing stop words from slugs. Slug is another word for URL.

After configuring the permalinks, your Yoast plugin is all set and optimized for success! Now, on to the meat of this article, my very own WordPress tips for you to keep in your back pocket.

Some Final Thoughts

SEO is always a subject that constantly changes. Just about every tactic sticks around in one form or another, but they always evolve.

Constant changes on a yearly basis can be seen, and things that worked six months ago won’t work now. It’s not something to be afraid of, but it is something to be aware of.

We can prepare for the future by staying abreast of changing elements in SEO and always focusing our content on being unique and high-quality for our readers. If you’re writing for them, you’ll never fail.

Keep these tips in mind, but never let them leave yours. Now that we know how PR is affecting SEO, we can also seek to improve our social media presence as we market our content.

These are all great WordPress SEO tips, so make sure you’re using them all as your make your mark.

It’s a lot to take in, especially the concepts of Entity Salience, but I promise, you’ve got this. Keep this blog bookmarked as we continue exploring the best ways to blog, and as always don’t forget to tell me about your opinions and your SEO tips in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Source: WordPress SEO Tips to Succeed In Blogging

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet of Photo & Image Sizes on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Other Social Networks [Infographic] + Free Templates

Hubspot Marketing Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Social Media Platforms Image Sizes
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet of Photo & Image Sizes on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Other Social Networks [Infographic] Written by Lindsay Kolowich
When you’re designing cover photos, graphics, and other social media assets, sometimes knowing the bare bones image dimensions isn’t enough.

A cheat sheet of the sizes and dimensions for photos and images on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and Google+.

What if you wanted to place text or an arrow on your Facebook cover photo without it getting covered by the profile photo? And what about the shared link thumbnails on Facebook or in-stream photos on Twitter … how big should those be?

Download pre-sized cover photo templates for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube for free here.

If you’re looking for a detailed guide to social media photo sizes — including recommended dimensions, minimum and maximum dimensions, image scale, and more — then this is it.

The infographic below from Jamie Spencer of MakeAWebsiteHub.com is a great reference to bookmark or keep close-at-hand the next time you’re creating an image for your social media profile. 

Photo & Image Dimensions for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and More


hubspot-social-image-size-guide.jpg

Quick References

Facebook Image Sizes

  • Cover photo: 815 px wide by 315 px tall
  • Profile image: 180 px wide by 180 px tall
  • Highlighted image: 1200 px wide by 717 px tall
  • Shared image: 1200 px wide by 630 px tall
  • Shared link thumbnail image: 1200 px wide by 627 px tall

LinkedIn Image Sizes

  • Background image: 1500 px wide by 425 px tall
  • Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
  • Career cover photo: 974 px wide by 330 px tall
  • Banner image: 646 px wide by 220 px tall (minimum)
  • Standard logo: 400 px wide by 400 pixels tall (maximum)

Pinterest Image Sizes

  • Profile image: 165 px wide by 165 px tall
  • Board display: 22 px wide by 150 px tall
  • Pin sizes: 236 px wide

Instagram Image Sizes

  • Profile image: 110 px wide by 110 px tall
  • Photo size: 1080 px wide by 1080 px tall
  • Photo thumbnails: 161 px wide by 161 px tall

Twitter Image Sizes

  • Header photo: 1500 px wide by 500 px tall
  • Profile image: 400 px wide by 400 px tall
  • In-stream photo: 440 px wide by 220 px tall

YouTube Image Sizes

  • Video uploads: 1280 px wide by 760 px tall
  • Channel cover photo: 2560 px wide by 1440 px tall

Tumblr Image Sizes

  • Profile image: 128 px wide by 128 px tall
  • Image post: 500 px wide by 750 px tall

Google+ Image Sizes

  • Profile image: 250 px wide by 250 px tall
  • Cover image: 1080 px wide by 608 px tall
  • Shared image (on home stream): 497 px wide by 373 px tall
  • Shared image (on feed or your page): 150 px wide by 150 px tall

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free trial of hubspot's social media software

[This updated Infographic first appeared on Hubspot on the 12th January 2016]

Why you should get your audio or video transcribed

Virtuadmin blog post why you should get your audio or video transcribed
Why You Really Should Get Your Audio or Video Transcribed

Every single audio or video that is recorded in a variety of different formats; interviews, podcasts, webinars, video’s captioned, motivational speeches, business conferences, student lectures is unqiue to the speaker and the participant/s.  Whatever is spoken you have taken enough care and organisation to record it so that you have a record of what was said.  The thing is you need it in a permanent ‘hard-copy’ of what what spoken in the form of a transcript.  Why you ask?

Well computers, hard-drives, servers, cloud based servers are wonderful things but are vulnerable to attack and your audio or video starts with you.  Whatever you have recorded was important enough for you to record it in the first place, but what happens if that audio gets corrupted and no longer playable?  You have lost that important interview, coaching call, student lecture, business tips speech or whatever audio or video that you took part in.

The new age digital world is a wonderful place but it can be hacked, viruses can be spread and all the data that was precious can be gone in an instant so why not get it transcribed?  As soon as your recording is complete you can send it to your transcriptionist straight away.  They should already have an active Dropbox account or similar like Google Drive to share the audio or video files.  The sooner they receive the audio or video the sooner they can turn it around for you and your audience, participants or clients get their copy of the transcript.

  1. There are many other advantages of getting your audio or video transcribed which I feel outweigh the expense of the initial transcription:-
  2. Permanent record should the digital copy accidentally deleted or lost.
  3. Always something to refer to, copy it as many times as you like and write all over A ‘bonus’ for participants  of your podcast, webinar, or live audience.
  4. Text to copy and paste Tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other Social Media platforms to market     and advertise your business.
  5. An accurate transcript added to a Podcast, Video, or Explainer Video will enhance your listing in Search Engine Results Pages.
  6. Excellent resource for Student revision or inclusion in dissertations.

Depending on the length of the audio or video/podcast, the amount of speakers, quality and clarity of speech will generally dictate the time to transcribe and cost.  The transcriptionist will have to take these things into consideration when pricing an audio/video for transcription etcetera.  It’s rare to get a recording that cannot be transcribed, calls in cars, conversations via skype can be challenging due to the background noise while travelling in the car can cause interference and a slow internet connection on Skype.

Before hiring the transcription service of your choice after research or recommendation it’s always helpful to forward a copy of the audio first so that you as the client and your virtual digital transcription service provider are sure that they can both fulfill the agreement of recorded audio or video speech into a text, word or other format of your choice can be met.

Hiring a professional transcriptionist like Virtuadmin may seem a little daring compared to other big companies with their fancy website and assurances but please consider this; what is the process when you visit one of these sites?  Can you speak directly to your transcriptionist and explain what little tweaks you would like from your transcript?  Can you speak about the environment in which it was recorded and the background details of why and the subject matter?  Most probably not.  You have security that they have secure servers, confidentiality agreements (we do too just ask!) and secure payment methods but once you’ve fired off your audio and paid for it what then?  Can you chase it up to inquire about the progress?  Again probably not, why?  Because most big outsourcing transcription companies and organisations break the audio’s into tiny little segments that get sent to many different transcriptionist if the audio length requires it.

This breaks it down to make it more cost effective for the business that is transcribing your audio but many transcriptionists are listening to your audio what if this audio contains sensitive information?  Is each and every transcriptionist expected to sign a confidentiality agreement (we have one in place for you) or non-disclosure agreement?  This is getting time consuming and costly before you’ve even got your transcript!

The many other benefits include accessibility for the hard of hearing, they may hear some of what what was said but having the transcript alongside the audio would ensure they they do not miss out on any important details and especially helpful for students.  Some people who are listening to your audio or watching your video, listening to your podcast rather than auditory and therefore would benefit from an accompanying transcript to get a better comprehension of what was being explained or taught.  Adding a transcript to a broadcasted podcast, video or webinar will enhance the Search Engine Page Results because by adding a transcript the search engine trawlers have a lot more information about your podcast, video or webinar rather than just a title and maybe a brief description.  With the spoken text in your niche it is by nature your transcript will be keyword rich in your subject area giving SEO bots more information to rank it higher.

To conclude the benefits of hiring a freelance transcriptionist is phenomenal and very cost effective.  If you have carried out your research well, asked the right questions before hiring your potential freelance transcriber this should far outweigh the initial expense of the transcript.  Again a freelance transcriber should be more cost efficient than bigger corporations due to the lower overheads that virtual digital transcribers have to bigger competitors.  You’ll get better accuracy, efficiency, flexibility of the format of your transcript, time-stamps, names included, intelligent or strict verbatim and probably a lot more.  More importantly virtual assistants with transcribing / audio typing skills will probably have a wide range of knowledge and experience with a higher skill-set in areas of professions and topics covered in your niche, but that is just one of the questions to ask when searching for the “right” transcriptionist to meet your requirements for your uniquely recorded audio or video.

Thanks for reading and if you can think of any other benefits to having your audio or video transcribed please do comment on the advantages for you at the end of this post, I will be sure to update it.

Top Ten Confused Words [T]

Words and Grammar - Confued Word 'T'
Top 10 Confused Words – Letter ‘T’ by Maeve Maddox – Daily Writing Tips

My cumulative list of “words commonly confused” continues with ten that begin with the letter T. The confusion relates to spelling or meaning.

1. taught / taut
The word taught is the past tense of the verb to teach. It is also used as an adjective to mean instructed: “Howard Phillips Lovecraft, weird fiction writer and primogenitor of modern horror fiction, was a self-taught writer.”

The adjective taut means “pulled tight.”

A common error is to spell taut as taught, as in this fishing advice in a magazine called Backpacker:

INCORRECT: Use more weight to keep the line taught.
CORRECT: Use more weight to keep the line taut.

2. titivate / titillate
The verb titivate means “to spruce up, to make more attractive.” Ex. We decided to titivate the kitchen with new cabinets and countertops.

The verb titillate means “to excite the senses or imagination in an agreeable way.” Ex. Camilla Ochlan has crafted a supernatural mystery-thriller that will titillate the palate of even the most discriminating Sci-Fi Fantasy reader.

The error is to mix them up, as in this example from a restaurant site:

INCORRECT: We are sure to have something to titivate your tastebuds.
CORRECT: We are sure to have something to titillate your taste buds.

3. tortuous / torturous
The adjective tortuous means “full of twists; complex.” The tortuous road we had to climb had one steep and narrow curve after another all the way to the top.

The adjective torturous means “full of pain or suffering. Ex. More significantly, the book prominently features a scene in which the heroes resort to torturous means in order to extract vital, life-or-death information.

The error is to mix them up, although some might argue that a thing can be full of twists and pain at the same time.

4. tenant / tenet
A tenant is someone who rents property. Ex. The tenant always paid her rent on time.
A tenet is a principle or belief. Ex. The tenet to love one’s neighbor is stated in Leviticus 19:18.

The error with these words goes both ways:

INCORRECT: This course is designed to give the students an overview of the basic tenants of Christian Doctrine.
CORRECT : This course is designed to give the students an overview of the basic tenets of Christian Doctrine.

INCORRECT: Most importantly, stay informed about your rights as a tenet.
CORRECT: Most importantly, stay informed about your rights as a tenant.

5. than / then
The word than is a conjunction used after a comparative adjective or adverb to introduce the second member of the comparison. Ex. She thinks her border collie is smarter than my boxer.

The word then is an adverb that refers to a specified time, past or future, as opposed to the present. Ex. We didn’t have enough money for luxuries like books then.

6. through / threw
Through is a preposition used to convey the idea of entering the inside of something and coming out the other side: They always go through the churchyard on their way home.

Threw is the past tense of the verb to throw: He threw the ball over the fence.

The usual error is to spell through as threw, as in this example from a geocaching site:

INCORRECT: You will need to go threw the tunnel to access this cache.
CORRECT: You will need to go through the tunnel to access this cache.

7. throws / throes
Throws is the third person present singular of the verb to throw: He throws with his left arm. Throws can also be the plural of the noun throw that refers to a light blanket: She keeps throws on all the couches and chairs.

Throes is a noun that means “severe pains.” Figuratively, it can mean “difficult times.” Ex. The pirate lay in the last throes of death. The Smiths are in the throes of divorce.

8. track / tract
As a noun, track is a mark or series of marks left by the passage of something. The Mountie caught the fugitive by following the track left in the snow.

One meaning of the noun tract is “a book or written work treating of some particular topic.” Ex. The evangelists passed out tracts on the subject of salvation.

9. till / ’til
Till has different functions, one of which is that of conjunction with the same meaning as until: ‘to the time that; up to the point when”: I will sit here till he agrees to speak to me.

The form ’til is an unnecessary shortening of until.

The error is in thinking that till is a shortening of until.

10. torpid / turgid
The adjective torpid means benumbed or “devoid of the power or motion of feeling.” Ex. Even when he was awake he was completely torpid.

The adjective turgid means swollen, distended, puffed out. The word is applied figuratively to language with the meanings inflated, pompous, bombastic.

Examples of literal and figurative use:
My arm was turgid where the snake had bitten it.
Eventually, the movie surrenders to the most turgid Hollywood speechifying and sentimentality, far more so than the original permitted itself to do.

Source: Top Ten Confused Words [T]

11 Quick Tips to Get More Comments on Your Blog [Audio + Full Transcript) by ProBlogger and Virtuadmin

Podcast wth full transcript on how to get more comments on your blog
11 Quick Tips to Get More Comments On Your Blog Posts by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.com
[This podcast is by Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.com.  The transcript is by Joanna Doughty at Virtuadmin.uk]


Today’s episode is about how to get more comments on your blog. I share 11 tips you can use to get more attention and interaction. Today’s podcast is a challenge to myself – to include as much high quality advice as I can in just 3 minutes! These are tips you can keep coming back to in future to keep improving your relationship with your readers.

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • How to invite comments
  • How to write in a conversational tone, so people feel more comfortable to leave a comment
  • How to ask a question at the end of your blog posts to increase your chances of getting comments
  • How you can use your blog headline to get people excited about commenting
  • The most powerful type of question you can ask for increasing comments
  • An easy tactic you can use to get the ball rolling for comments
  • How to respond to trolls and scammers
  • How to respond to constructive comments to encourage those people to comment more in future
  • How to use social media to increase blog comments

Transcript

Hi there my name’s Darren Rowse and welcome to episode 79 of the ProBlogger Podcast where today I want to give you a three minute podcast, it’s another short one but I hope it’s helpful for you because it’s on a question I get asked all the time “how do I get more comments on my blog posts?” You can find today’s show notes at ProBlogger.com/podcast/79.
So let’s get into the tips.

1. Invite comments. You exponentially increase the chances of getting comments on your blog posts simply by asking for them at the end of your post.

2. Write in a conversational tone. The more your readers feel like you’re talking to them rather than just writing a post the more likely you are to get comments so write in a conversational kind of tone.

3. Ask questions at the end of your blog posts. Rather than just saying leave a comment include a specific question. This gives your readers a starting point when they’re thinking about what to comment on.

4. Building upon this idea of asking questions and it is to ask a question in the headline of your post. You won’t want to do it in every single post but when you ask a question in your blog post title it invites your readers to start thinking about their response even before they read anything at all; it really works well.

5. Be open-ended with your blog posts. If you said everything there is to say on your topic in your blog post there’s much less chance that your readers are going to feel the need to comment at all.

6. Interact with the comments left. If you’re not willing to interact in the comments why would your readers? This makes your comment section become a conversation section.

7. Kick off the comments with your own comment. Now if you’re not getting many comments on a post or any at all then answer your own question or add a new point to your post by leaving a comment this sometimes gets the ball rolling.

8. Deal with trolls and spammers. If comments on your posts are going toxic be willing to step in and get things back on track.  An un-moderated comments section can be a real put-off to those who are new to your blog.

9. Reward good behaviour. Acknowledge and reward good commenters.  You don’t actually have to give them a prize or anything but just responding to their comment. Emailing your commenters promoting a great comment to a blog post or you may even want to send them a little gift by drawing attention to those who comment well, you’ll find that they will come back and comment again but it also shows other readers that you value interaction.

10. Promote conversations in your social media feeds. When a conversation is really going well on a blog post, promote it to your social media accounts by saying “there’s a great conversation going on here”.

11. The last tip – well I’m going to leave that up to you. I want to know what you would add.

I could go on with this list for quite a while now but I want to take my own advice and get your opinion on it, so I’d love you to leave a comment over at www.problogger.com/podcast/79 with your own tip on how to get more comments. I went 30 seconds over today but hope that you’ll forgive me and I’d love to hear your feedback on this particular podcast at the show notes. Thanks for listening.

[This transcript+main image to this post was produced by Virtuadmin.  If you require an accurate transcription service please click here or alternatively you can click this link contact which will take you to the Contact Us form in the "Contact Us" section of our website.]