Guest Posting and Link Building: My Warning

Warnings of who is asking to guest post

On Thursday 25th May 2017 Matt G Southern a well-known and respected writer at the Search Engine Journal published the article “Google Issues a Warning About Guest Posting to Build Links“.

I began to read the article hoping that an issue that happened to me recently would be mentioned, but it wasn’t.  This article is also a warning, but of a different kind when accepting guests posts onto your website for the purpose of forming genuine, respectful links.

However, as already stated in the published post by Matt Southern, the posts can be misleading and the links are in fact spammy.  This was what was quoted yesterday directly from Google.

Google has issued a warning to remind site owners about the dangers of publishing content on other sites for the purpose of building inbound links.

The company doesn’t frown on guest posts or syndicated posts in general, but lately there has been an increase in spammy links stuffed into these types of posts. That’s the reason behind this sudden warning from Google.

Distributing content on a large scale when the main intention is to build links back to your own site is strictly prohibited under Google’s guidelines on link schemes.

But what if there is another reason that people are approaching small businesses to guest post?  I, from experience, can tell you there is.

Is Guest Posting What it Seems?

I have been approached by email on several occasions over the years I have had my website asking if I accept guest posts.  Surprised at this as Virtuadmin.uk to be perfectly honest doesn’t have a tremendous amount of traffic, so together with other SEO (search engine optimisation) publishing guests posts is an ideal way to gain genuine backlinks to improve my SERPs results myself.

The person that contacted me introduced themselves to me as a “Content Writer & Editor” full of praise for my website and to quote in their opening statement “I am a business content writer and I chanced upon virtuadmin.uk“.

I am no website designer, personally, I feel that my website is somewhat amateurish but enjoy the challenges of attempting to improve it to what I consider a professional standard (not there yet but trying!); I am not a website designer but an experienced touch typist and transcriptionist!

Emails were sent back and forth, not very frequently, once every two weeks or so.  They would send an email to say they were working on my article and would email once it was ready for review and any edits I would like.

When the final article came back, I read through it very impressed, suggested some edits to the post, which were duly done.

In the meantime of waiting for the finished article to come back and then be published on this website, I decided to do a bit of research into the person that had contacted me.  I usually do this when I get requests to accept guest posts or infographics.

My Shock

I was horrified to discover the person that had initially contacted, maintained communications with me so professionally, written such a brilliant post I couldn’t wait to publish it, was my biggest competitor. 

Just to be sure of my facts, I looked for information on the person on the professional alternative to Facebook, LinkedIn and Tweeted the company directly to ask if they had a content writer of that name, to which they replied they had and gave me their email address!

This company did not just provide the service in the niche area that I am working solo as a transcriptionist and typist, but many other types of administration duties that can be outsourced and carried out online.  They are very established, very large.  In my mind, if someone chanced upon the article upon my website, I always reference guest post at the beginning, therefore technically I would have been sending business to them.

Personally, I just can’t help wondering for a company so large why are they trying to take out small-time work-from-home Mums like myself?  It’s not just that, why the underhanded way in which they approached me, not even volunteering the information of who they worked for as a Content Writer and Editor!

My Warning and Advice

My warning to anyone that is trying to genuine improve their website rankings without the budget of hiring SEO experts or other tactical ways of achieving page one on Google SERPs, if you are approached out of the blue, just like I was, be polite, the might be genuine but check them out.

How?  Firstly, Google or Bing is a great start.  If it is a common name like the person I was researching, narrow the results down with the details you have.  Location, their job, email address, alternatively LinkedIn.

Even with minimal information, I only had a name, email address and job title, for example, but believe me, you can research the person concerned, you can find out who they are that has contacted you to make this request it.

Hopefully, unlike my unfortunate experience, they are equally a small-time business or stay-at-home Mum or Entrepreneur looking to make genuine backlinks because you share a common niche area.

 

 

 

 

23 Free Blogging Tools That Will Make You a Better Blogger

23 Free Blogging Tools
23 Free Blogging Tools

Whether you blog to share your experiences or to promote your business, blogging is the best way to connect with the outer world.

But blogging is definitely much more than writing.The work does not end when you hit publish. You should be able to attract your readers time and time again to your site, and keep them engaged.

Are you ever worried about maintaining an engaged blog audience?

It all starts with detailed research and using the right blogging tools.

Here is the deal: Tools alone won’t solve your problems, but they will help you get things done more efficiently.

With that being said, I have compiled a list of 21 free blogging tools that you can start using today. These tools are a great way to improve your performance as a blogger, in terms of workflow, writing quality and visuals.

A perfect topic can make or break your content workflow

It doesn’t matter how great you are at writing, every now and then you will fall into a blogger’s pit AKA blogger’s block.

a-perfect-topic-for-free-blogging-toolsAccording to Allee Creative, producing enough content and content that engages, are the two most difficult struggles that over 50% of B2B marketers face.

Creating enough content is proportional to blog topic ideas. If you can’t find topics to write about, you can’t fill up the content calendar.

These are the tools that will you help find blog topics every day.

1. Answer the Public

answer-the-public-for-free-blogging-toolsAnswer the Public is one of the coolest search query tools I have used in a while. This handy little tool fetches and maps suggestions based on visualization after you type in a keyword.

It breaks down keyword listings to three different parts:

  1. Question: what, who, when, why?
  2. Preposition: for, like, with
  3. Alphabetical: keyword + a, keyword + b

With this tool, you can also get a ton of LSI keywords that you can easily sprinkle throughout your post.

2. BuzzSumo

buzzsumo-for-free-blogging-toolsWhat if you could find a topic that you know has the potential to go viral? That’s what BuzzSumo is all about.

It gives a list of posts that have got maximum amount of shares in a given period. This way you know the potential of the topic.

It’s easy to use interface is one of its many benefits that makes it one of my favorite tools. Not only does it hook you up with great data, it binds you to topical relevance. So, you don’t go off topic when searching for ideas.

Just looking at the above topics you can easily tell that list posts are the ones that get the most social love.

Can you do better than that?

3. Google Keyword Planner

google-keyword-plannerfor-free-blogging-toolsMeet Google’s most awesome and popular keyword tool, Keyword Planner. And Yeah, it’s totally free of cost.

In order to use this incredibly powerful keyword research tool, first of all you need to get an AdWords account. And then, you can start the journey to find the right keywords for your business.

Google Keyword Planner might not give you the exact keyword suggestions, but it surely gives you a pretty good number of variations to your keywords, followed by average monthly searches, level of competition (high, medium, or low), average cost per click, and much more.

Effective tip: You can find more blogging ideas by putting your competitor’s url into keyword planner’s landing page search box.

4. Google Trends

google-trends-for-free-blogging-toolsHow can I leave out one of the most versatile tools, Google Trends?

Google Trends displays a list of the top hot searches and charts of the day. You can also see searches by category.

Like other keyword research tools, Google Trends does not give you the actual keyword search number. But, it does not mean that it is completely useless. You need to be smart here and use this tool with the Keyword Planner tool to get the best results.

Rule content marketing by writing captivating headlines

Headlines are the bread and butter of great content. A great headline not only grabs a reader’s attention, it’s the main source of increasing click through rate from organic traffic.

According to a test done by Koechly at Upworthy, traffic varies up to 500% depending upon your headline.

Whether you need to engage your audience on social media, or increase the open rate of your emails, a magnetic headline carries a heavy load.

Here are the free blogging tools that can help you write enticing headlines.

5. Impact Blog Title Generator

Impact blog title generator is a great tool for quickly coming up with blog ideas and titles. Just like any other headline generator, you need to type in your primary keyword. It will then pull out hundreds of enticing title options that you can use.

Hit the heart button if you like any given titles. It will then be transferred to a notebook which you can email later.

One of the creative and fun ways of dealing with writer’s block in this tool is the writer’s block option. Click it and start doodling.

6. SEOPressor Blog Title Generator

seopressor-blog-title-generator-for-free-blogging-toolsIf you are a WordPress blogger, you will absolutely love this simple but highly effective tool. Yes, it comes with a WP plugin, but the web version is equally as useful.

You can simply type in your keyword and get a bunch of blog ideas (it has its own pre-decided keyword categories).

Then, it pulls out a list of easy to use headlines. You can also modify it so that it looks more convincing.

To get more blog ideas, you have to put in your email. And, it will send the list directly to your inbox.

7. Link Bait Title Generator

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Link-bait-title-generatorfor-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

link-bait-title-generatorfor-free-blogging-tools

Recommended for You Webcast, December 14th: Measuring Micro-Moments With Google Analytics

This is not a fancy tool with flashy visuals. However, as the name suggests it gets the job done. As a marketer, we need a headline that entices users to click.

Basically it pulls in headlines that can be a little buzzfeed-esque and targets click bait. If you are a blogger in an entertainment niche, you will fall in love with this tool. Some suggestions might be really insane but it gets the job done.

8. Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Emotional-marketing-value-headline-analyzer-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

emotional-marketing-value-headline-analyzer-for-free-blogging-toolsAccording to Psychology Today, consumer decision making is highly influenced by emotion. With this tool you can check the emotion weight of your desired headlines.

Although it’s not as colorful as the other tools in the market, it is easy to use and works perfectly. All you have to do is plug in the headline and choose an appropriate category. You will receive an EMV score that defines the emotional credibility of your headline.

37.50% may look bad as a number. But if you look closely, anything above 50% is considered the best. So, if you have anything within that range, you are doing great.

Add a touch of image beauty to make your blog attractive

Photos play an important role in making your blog visually stunning. If you have photography talent along with your writing skill, then trust me, you don’t need anything else.

The right post with the right photo is what audiences are looking for. But, in many cases, a blogger ignores the fact that images are an important component to user engagement and messes up with cheap stock images.

One case study states that a tweet with an image is likely to boost retweets by 35 percent.

Here is a list of awesome tools that I use to flood my post with top-notch free images.

9. Pixabay

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Pixabay-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

pixabay-for-free-blogging-toolsFinding free high quality images that perfectly match your blog content can be a challenging and daunting task. To help you with your free stock photo hunt, Pixabay offers millions of high quality images free.

Pixabay is a resource created with no copyright restrictions. You can use the images for whatever purposes you want, even for commercial purposes too.

A great thing about Pixabay is that there is no registration required. You can simply jump in, find photos and begin to use them.

10. Death to the Stock Photo

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Death-to-the-Stock-Photo-for-free-blogging-tools-1.png.png

death-to-the-stock-photo-for-free-blogging-toolsAre you fed up with visiting websites in search of free stock photos? Well, here’s a solution for your problem.

Death to the Stock Photo sends you free high resolution photos of different categories to your email every month. All you need to do is submit an email address where you want to receive those images. Amazing, right?

Now, you can make your blog posts livelier and more visually appealing with the high quality resolution images that you receive from Death to the Stock Photo.

11. Evernote

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Evernote-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

evernote-for-free-blogging-toolsOne of the best ways to grab images is through screenshots. And, one of the best tools in the market to do that is Evernote. It not only gives you sleek and clean graphics, it organizes your images in a proper format.

First go to evernote and sign up for a free account. Then, download it’s free chrome plugin. Now, whenever you need to take a screenshot, click the little elephant icon in the top right hand corner. You can select the part and save it. It automatically gets saved in your evernote account.

12. PicMonkey

picmonkey-for-free-blogging-toolsAre you looking for a photo editing tool which can spruce up your images and make your blog look attractive? PicMonkey is the best tool to check out.

You can use this fantastic photo editing tool without downloading it to your computer.

With its awesome photo edit, touch up, design and collage features, you have got everything that you need to make your ideas come to life.

PicMonkey also publishes awesome guides to help you create your own visually attractive images. So, if you are an amateur designer and don’t have good experience with editing tools, then PicMonkey is what you need to have.

13. Canva

canva-for-free-blogging-toolsCanva is one of the most used photo editing tools in the world. From its drag and drop feature, the professional layouts and amazing design graphics, Canva has everything that you need for creating your own stunning images.

Whether you are an experienced designer or just a beginner, Canva makes image creation super easy and fun.

With millions of images, hundreds of fonts, numbers of free icons and shapes, and amazing photo filters; Canva is without a doubt the most loved photo editing tool online.

Make writing faster and easier

Anyone can write a blog, but only an experienced and skilled blogger can write an extraordinary piece of content that offers valuable insights and attracts user engagement.

There are millions of amazing blog posts uploaded every second, which grab people’s attention and compel them to share on social media channels. If you want your content to receive such attention from readers, then you need to write amazing and original content.

Do you have a favorite blogging tool that helps you with this?

There are tons of writing tools available online and choosing the right one definitely takes lots of your time and effort. Here are a few tools that can help you with easy and fast writing.

14. Google Docs

Many bloggers use their blogging platform to write and edit their content. But, are you aware of the blog editing and posting features of Google Docs?

Yes, you heard me correctly. Google Docs can be used as a blog editor and you can post your blog entries directly from it.

Google Docs is my favorite blog editor. It allows you to collaborate with others and its amazing spelling and grammar checking tools are worth trying. Being a product of Google itself, you can directly research your queries from it.

15. Readable

readable-for-free-blogging-toolsReadable is one of the most interesting free blogging tools, which quickly analyzes your text for readability. This awesome tool takes your text and analyzes it by giving it a score for the most used readability indicators. So, your text is easier to understand.

It gives you flexible options to carry out a test; test by url, test by directly entering your text, and test by entering a referral link.

16. Grammarly

grammarly-for-free-blogging-toolsIs your content free from grammatical errors? Readers really hate to read content with grammatical errors.

Posts with many grammar errors can make a reader lose interest in reading further. They might not even bother reading your future blog posts. So, make sure to perform grammar checks before publishing your blog.

Grammarly is one of the most used online grammar checkers. It checks for spelling, sentence structure, style, punctuation, alternatives, etc. All you need to do is copy your content and paste it into Grammarly’s online grammar checker.

You can add this tool to your chrome browser and easily use it whenever you need to.

Get more engagement on social media

You just published a post, and you immediately share it to your social accounts. What you see after a few days rattles you.

Only a couple of people have engaged with your post. Sounds familiar?

One of the many reasons why you aren’t seeing any engagement on social media is because you are not doing it right.

For example, your preferred audience may be in a different time zone than yours. The frequency and timing of your post depends completely on the industry and brands.

You can take something from what the big brands do. Every brand has a different set of times to post on Facebook, Twitter or share it on other social accounts. Always check the analytics of your social account to get a better grip of your audience.

After you know the best time, you can schedule your post with these tools and save time.

17. Buffer

buffer-for-free-blogging-toolsBuffer has to be one of the most efficient social media management tools I have ever used. Even though Hootsuite has more supported networks, and is bigger than Buffer, I feel Buffer is easier to use.

Just like any content scheduling tool, you can easily integrate your social media accounts and start scheduling your posts. It also gives you a brief analysis that lets you A/B test your headline versions.

18. Ahalogy

Pinterest can been a great source of traffic for many bloggers. Unfortunately, if you aren’t using the paid version, it’s not possible to schedule Pinterest pins from Buffer.

Out comes Ahalogy to solve this problem. You can easily schedule all your pins to your personal and community boards.

However, the catch is you have to get accepted by Ahalogy to start using it.

Once you get accepted, you have to place a code to track your results. If this is something you don’t want to do, you can download the Ahalogy plugin and it automatically pushes your content to your Pinterest account.

19. Click to tweet

ahalogy-for-free-blogging-toolsClick to tweet are tweetable quotes that are used widely on numerous blogs. What it basically does is offer more traffic from twitter and gives an easy one click path for the user to share your content.

Working with click to tweet is really simple. All you need to do is sign up for a free account. On your dashboard, you can type in the message you would like to tweet. Then, it generates a new line of code. Copy and paste it into the post that you want to display it. You can also see the engagement of your audience and click through rate of that simple tweet button.

Improve your productivity

The tough part after starting a blog is maintaining its quality. If you are a professional blog writer, then you must know how hard it is to write a quality blog with valuable insights at a given time.

Do you want to write better and faster?

There’s a number of free blogging tools that will not only make your writing easier but also help with your time management problem. Check out the time tracking tools listed below which can help you write faster.

20. Egg Timer

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Egg-Timer-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

egg-timer-for-free-blogging-toolsEgg Timer is a simple countdown timer, where you can enter the time that you want to work.

As a writer, you must know how easily time goes by once you start writing. You have no idea how much time you are giving to researching your work, editing or writing. With this free time tracking tool, you can find out how productive you are and manage time for each individual task.

To start, set the time for your task, hit the “Go” button to start time tracking. When the time’s up, you will see a pop-up appearing on the screen with the timer sound.

21. Toggle

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Toggle-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

toggle-for-free-blogging-toolsToggle is a fun time tracking tool which can help boost your productivity.

This one-click time tracking tool allows you to add tasks, and after completing your work, check the dashboard to know how long you spent on each task.

If you are a writer who spends a lot of your time on research and writing, and are looking for a tool that can help you manage your time, Toogle is definitely worth a try.

Track visitors on your site

A thing that separates a good blogger from others is the way he or she keeps monitoring and tracking the web traffic they receive.

Yes, it is true that anyone can write, but not everyone is capable of writing a high quality user engaging blog. The problem seen in most startup bloggers is that they just keep writing blindly. They have no idea whether their blog is getting exposure or not.

To be a good blogger and improve your writing, you should know what is working, and what isn’t, so that you can make improvements.

With so many web traffic analyzer tools available online, you can easily track visitors and traffic to your blog.

Here’s my favorite 2 blog tracking tools:

22. Google Analytics

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Google-Analytics-for-free-blogging-tools.png.png

google-analytics-for-free-blogging-toolsGoogle Analytics (GA) is the most popular and most used visitor tracking tool. And yes, it is totally free of cost.

This amazing tool not only gives accurate statistics on traffic, but it also tracks almost everything a cookie can store on each unique visitor. You can also see the live traffic status of your blog through GA.

It provides a variety of features like monitoring visitor’s behavior, source of incoming traffic, social media buttons, number of visitors each day, unique visitors, returning visitors, most visited pages, and much more.

23. Sitemeter

Sitemeter is another great analytics program which I use after Google Analytics. It comes in two versions: Free and Paid. You can simply use the free version as it offers almost all the tools a webmaster needs.

You can keep track of your visitors’ referral information and at the same time also find how many people are online on your blog.

Sitemeter allows you to see some of the most important information regarding your latest referring URLs, live visitors, and visitors from the last 1 hr, day and a week.

Wrapping up

Content creation should be the top priority of any blogger. I wish I could tell you that tools alone will make you a better writer, but that’s not true at all.

In fact, there are other key elements and methodologies that you need to implement to produce quality content. However, tools offer additional support and help you get things done more efficiently.

I hope these 23 free blogging tools can help you get through some tough times like they did for me.

**  This article first appeared on Business 2 Community on December 12, 2016.  Written by Nirmal Gynawali

 

 

5 Tools That Will Make You A Better Writer

4-tools-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer

I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape…

I love writing. To me, there is nothing more cathartic or soothing than turning off the rest of the world and putting my thoughts to paper. This passion has made it easy for me to create content for Duct Tape Marketing. I don’t see it as a chore, I see it as an opportunity to relax. And once the blog post is written, I can look back upon it and smile with a sense of accomplishment.

But I do understand that many business owners don’t feel the same way about writing, or marketing in general. For some of you, writing content is a bore at best, an extreme source of anxiety at worst. I get it, the first few times I wrote something, I was nervous to share it with the world. Putting your content out on the Internet can make you feel vulnerable, particularly when the stereotype of Internet commenters is that they are demeaning and combative.

The truth is, the community on the Internet isn’t nearly what you think it is. In my experience, you all have been supportive and even empowering. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to put your best foot forward when producing content.

That’s why I’ve collected these 4 handy tools that will help you become a better writer of great content. Of course, nothing replaces practice, but these tools will make it easier to recognize your writing style, polish your finished product, and even help you focus.

GRAMMARLY

The English language is one of the most complex languages in the world. There are thousands of rules to remember, most of which people ignore on a daily basis in conversation. It’s easy enough to forget obscure grammar rules from back in high school, let alone specific writing conventions you may just be learning. Grammarly will make your writing better by helping you catch all of the errors you don’t even know you’re making.

Grammarly is extremely effective at catching small errors like correctly spelled, but misused words that spell check doesn’t, and even identifies advanced grammar errors. Grammarly also analyzes your writing patterns and helps you improve by identifying things like use of passive voice and overused words.

You can download Grammarly for your browser and even download it for your word processing program. Of course, you can also upgrade to the paid version and get even more advanced insights to your writing style.

SCRIVENER

If you’re just creating one or two pieces of content a month, Scrivener may not be for you, but it is without a doubt my favorite word processing program. Scrivener allows you to collect research, notes and your writing all in one file.

Do you like to use physical notes to collect your thoughts before writing? Scrivener allows you to outline your project with notecards and outlines. For instance, I used it to create digital notecards for each tool I was considering in this post and arranged them to turn them into a full outline. By the time I actually sit down to write, the words flow quickly from my keyboard.

Again, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re serious about writing you may want to give it a try. 

HEMMINGWAY

Earnest Hemmingway was well known for his short, easy to read sentences. It made his works surprisingly easy to read despite the thematic complexity. The appropriately named Hemmingway tool analyzes your writing and helps identify ways to shorten your sentences and make it easier to read.

It is important to make your web content as easy to read as possible. Breaking up your text into sections with sub headlines is a great way to make your content skimmable, but the body of your text will keep them. If your readers lose your train of thought because your sentences are too complex, they won’t stick around for you to make your point.

Grammarly will help you polish your writing and make it better. Hemmingway will make it easier to read.

FOCUS 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing, I like to tune out the rest of the world. When you can just focus on the task at hand, it makes it much easier to complete it. That’s why I use Focus while I write.

Focus allows you to temporarily block time-wasting websites while you work. We all get writer’s block or are forced to take a moment to think about what we’re going to say next. At least for me, it’s pretty easy to take a break, go to Facebook, then suddenly lose some time looking at pictures of my friends’ pets. With Focus, you can prevent this, so the time you spend thinking about your content is actually spent thinking about your content.

If writing the draft takes less time to complete, you’ll have more time to edit and redraft. You spend less time making the content and more time making the content better.

This goes beyond writing content too. You can use it to block websites as you reach an important deadline or as you approach a new project. Focus is a great all-around tool for the easily distracted entrepreneur, as many of us tend to be.

What tools do you use to write? Do you have any secret weapons that help you create better content? Let me know in the comments below.

Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC

 

*This post first appeared on Duct Tape Marketing on Tuesday 17th May 2016

Top 15 Websites to Find Free Images | Strong Social

Finding an online library stocked with pictures that are of high quality and available to use for free can be a daunting task. All the effort you are putting in selecting your search words to seem to only yield images that either vaguely agrees with your needs or are completely irrelevant. This can waste a lot of your time and get you really worked up.

If your job involves finding free images online on a regular basis, then having a free image directory would be a smart move. A free image directory allows you to easily and quickly access pictures that are not just relevant and top quality but add more meaning, taste, and eloquence to your message. And saves you hours.

Let me get you started on creating your own free image library. Below is a fairly exhaustive list of the best websites to find free images online:

1.  PICJUMBO.COM

First, there are no restrictions – you do not need to credit the author when using images from this website. New photos are uploaded every day and organized accordingly. They have amazing pictures with a wide range e.g. roads, food, fashion, wedding, technology, business etc.

 

 

2.  PEXELS.COM

This is one of the largest free image directories. It has collated photos from many other free image sites and put them under one roof. So if you are in a rush, then this will work very well with you.

 

 

3. UNSPLASH.COM

A small one-column site that was built on Tumblr. They post 10 fantastic images every ten days. No need to be registered. You can subscribe to receive photos directly into your inbox.

 

 

4. FLICKR.COM

Besides the large collection of high-quality photos, Flickr gives you the option of sharing and saving your photos. With it, you can organize all of your pictures and not worry about losing them. You can also edit your pictures. One thing that is encouraged when using someone else’s photo is to ensure that you link your picture to them. You will need to register as a member to be able to gain access to the variety of options offer by Flickr.

 

 

5. FREEPHOTOSBANK.COM

Easy to download photos. They focus more on abstract shots, architecture, landscape, nature, backgrounds, and patterns etc. You do not any to create an account.

 

 

6. FREEMEDIAGOO.COM

You can credit them if you want to but you don’t need to. They upload high-quality illustrations of backgrounds and many other photos. They have plenty of visual mediums you can choose from. Images have no restrictions.

 

 

7. CREATIVE COMMONS SEARCH

is an online tool that allows you to find resources you can share, use, modify of the remix. You can use find things to use for commercial purposes as well. No registration required. It is a convenient search engine. However, you need to find out about the copyright terms of the image before using it.

 

 

8. PICSEARCH.COM

It is great it doesn’t offer a clear division for royalty-free CC images. It is a useful search engine especially for those who don’t know exactly what they are looking for. Picsearch will help your search by indexing pages for you.

 

 

9. PIXABAY

Here, photos are uploaded by users as in Creative Commons. You can search and sort your pictures. There are no image restrictions. It offers a range of high-quality photos and thought to be one of the best internal search engine sites.

 

 

10. BLOGPHOTO.TV

Plenty of free images. The disadvantage is the loose image restriction that comes with it. In Blog photo, there is more than just getting you the photo you need. They offer resources such as templates, articles planners etc. to help you grow your digital footprint. In addition to that, there are articles published weekly as well as live interactive shows with media mogul to make you outstanding at whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

 

 

11. GRATISOGRAPHY.COM

For high-quality photos with no image restrictions whatsoever, then this is the resource for you. These are high-resolution pictures taken by Ryan McGuire . You can find them on one page, not a group. Just scroll down as the page loads and pick the one want. You are not required to credit the owner.

 

 

12. SXC.HU

There is a variety of image restrictions. However, they offer a massive selection of images covering a wide spectrum including abstract, events, architecture etc. You can share photos whenever and however you want. Sorting can sometimes be a little difficult. The good news is that the search tool is straightforward and getting what you need is simple and fast.

 

 

13. DEVIANTART

With over thirty million registered users, Deviant Art is the leading community in free image online communities. The work of photographers is under Creative Commons. You can use their images as long as you give them credit. There are wealth of high-resolution photos.

 

 

14. PHOTODUNE

They offer the best picture at reasonably low price. They have a collection of over four million.  If you want your website to stand out then use Photodune.

 

 

15. GETTYIMAGES

This is probably the largest place to find free images online. In one month they upload up to thirty-five million photos. They have a wonderful collection of people and capture different activities so perfectly. If you want to get the picture, click on the icon on it and then paste the code onto your target page.

 

Source: Top 15 Websites to Find Free Images | Strong Social

Transcription – Is It a Necessity For Your Business?

Freelance transcriber for business transcription

Do you need transcription for your business?

Yes, you do! Transcription services, freelance or provided by specialist businesses, transcription is growing in demand each and every day.

Advancements in technology mean quicker and faster, more capabilities and devices and so on, digital technology grows in cyberspace. This provides more opportunities for the transcriptionist to provide digital transcription services remotely at competitive cheaper costs. 

Transcribing is a niche skill-set that is not really spoken about but such a vital expertise that requires a lot of training, fast typing, and typing experience. Digital technology advancements are now enabling virtually anything to be recorded and if narration or natural occurring speech is within that recording then it should be transcribed.

Entrepreneurs, Business Coaches, Bloggers, Marketing Experts and much more are all utilising transcription services for the benefit of their businesses.  They record podcasts, videos, webinars and video blogs for clients and readers.  They hold teleconferences, teleseminars and business meetings for accuracy and productivity.  Eighty-eight percent of businesses say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy; all should be accompanied by a transcript. 

Here are the top 7 advantages of a transcript:

  1. It gives you a permanent hard copy of what was spoken. What if the audio recording got damaged, lost or recorded over by mistake?
  2. Instant accessibility for the hearing impaired to partake and absorb the valuable information.
  3. Using a Search Engine on the Internet can only search in a text it cannot search audio at this moment in time. (I’m sure it will come as image search is already available!) Adding an accurate transcript increases your chances of your audio, video, podcast, webinar being discovered because of the extra information held within that additional transcript rather than just the title and sub-title text for details about what it is about.
  4. Having a transcript gives you a document to refer to, scribble on, copy, make notes etcetera. Instead of searching through the audio for a certain point that caught your attention you can quickly scan through the transcript instead.
  5. Provides a great resource for repurposing content to create Tweets, blog post ideas, e-books, creating online courses or writing white papers.
  6. For marketers offering online e-learning courses, a transcript can be a tremendous incentive to encourage enrollment onto your program.
  7. For a Business meeting, it clarifies actions points for the participants and employees and also gives an accurate account of who said what during the session.
  8. Hopefully, these top seven advantages of hiring a transcription service for you to add a transcript to your audio or video has convinced you of the benefits to justify the initial cost of getting your recorded audio, video or other formats transcribed.

Virtuadmin offers a professional and secure quality low-cost transcription service; it is my passion to provide you with the most accurate transcript possible.  With over 20 years experience audio typing, transcribing and video captioning Virtuadmin are flexible and would love to work with you, either for either a one-off transcription or on a long-term collaboration.

If you would like to make an inquiry or get a free quote, there is a contact form in the ‘Contact Me’ section of my website and would be pleased to assist you.  All audios and videos are secure with Virtuadmin with the latest firewall protection systems for enhanced security.  Why not let me give you a quote? 

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

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.

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

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

Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress

WordPress Links on Virtuadmin.uk
Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress
Last updated on January 8th, 2016 by Editorial Staff

Do you want to add a hyperlink in WordPress? Recently, one of our users asked us how to add a link in WordPress. In this beginner’s guide, we will show you how to add a link in WordPress posts, pages, text widgets, navigation menus, and more.

Since this is a very long and detailed tutorial, please use the navigation below to get to the appropriate section:

How to Add Links in WordPress Posts and Pages

WordPress comes with a user friendly post editor called the Visual Editor.

You can see the visual editor by going to Posts » Add New or by editing an existing post or page.

To create a link, you need to click on the Link button in the visual editor.

Insert link button in WordPress visual editor

When you click on the insert link button, it will bring up a popup window. In the URL field, you will enter the actual hyperlink, and in the link text field you will add the text that will be linked.

Default insert link popup in WordPress post editor

You also have the option to check the box next to ‘Open link in a new tab’ option. This will open the link in a new browser tab. It’s recommended that you use this option if you are linking to an external site.

WordPress also allows you to quickly link to posts and pages that you have published on your own website by using the content search feature.

Simply click on ‘Or link to existing content’ option and WordPress will show you recent content and a search field.

You can search for a post or scroll down to find it from the list. You need to click on the post title to select it and then click on Add or Update Link button.

Link to your existing posts and pages in WordPress

Take a look at our 14 tips for mastering the WordPress visual editor to learn more.

How to Add Links in WordPress Text Widgets

WordPress allows you to add Widgets to your site’s sidebar or other widget ready areas.

Most of these widgets are automated and do not have many options. For example, the recent posts widget will automatically show links to your recent posts.

If you want to add some custom text with links in your sidebar, then you can use the Text Widget.

Text widget allows you to add text and basic HTML inside it.

There are two ways you can add a link into a text widget. First method requires you to write some very basic HTML.

Method 1: Adding a Link in HTML

Creating a link in HTML is very simple. Take a look at the following example.

<a href="http://www.wpbeginner.com">WPBeginner</a>

It will now show WPBeginner linked to wpbeginner.com.

The href tag is where you add the URL. Make sure to add http:// before the domain.

In between the anchor tags, you can add any text that you want to link, in our example WPBeginner.

Here is a screenshot of a text widget with an HTML link inside it.

A text widget in WordPress with an HTML link

Method 2: Using a Plugin

If you don’t want to write HTML, then you can enable visual editor for your text widgets.

You would need to install and activate the Black Studio TinyMCE Widget plugin. If you need help installing a WordPress plugin, then follow our step by step guide to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, simply go to Appearance » Widgets page. You will notice a new widget titled ‘Visual Editor’ under available widgets.

Drag and drop this widget to a sidebar where you want to add your custom text and links. The widget will expand to show a text area with the same Visual Editor as your WordPress posts and pages.

Adding a visual editor widget in WordPress

You can now add links and format your text just like you would do in the post editor.

How to Add Links in WordPress Navigation Menus

Do you want to add links in your site’s navigation menu? WordPress comes with an intuitive menu editor which allows you to create and manage navigation menus on your WordPress site.

Simply go to Appearance » Menus page. If you don’t have a navigation menu setup, then you can create one by entering a menu name.

Creating navigation menus in WordPress

If you already have navigation menus set up, then you can add, edit, or delete links from it.

Take a look at our beginner’s guide on how to add navigation menus in WordPress.

How to Add Title and Nofollow in WordPress Links

Many experts recommend adding a nofollow tag with links pointing to external websites. It improves your SEO score and protects your site’s link juice.

Here is how you can add title and nofollow options to insert link popup in WordPress.

Simply install and activate the Title and Nofollow for Links plugin. Upon activation, the plugin will add title and nofollow options to insert link popup.

Next time you add a link, you will see an insert link popup like this:

Title and nofollow options in insert link popup

Take a look at our guide on how to add title and nofollow to insert link popup in WordPress for more information.

How to Add Link Buttons in WordPress

Want to add a button to your WordPress posts or pages? There are many ways you can do this. You can write your own HTML and CSS for your buttons, or you can try a plugin.

The problem with most plugins is that they want you to use shortcodes to add buttons and links. Adding different parameters to a shortcode is very much like writing HTML.

We have a better solution.

Simply install and activate Forget About Shortcode Buttons plugin. Upon activation, create a new post or edit an existing one.

You will notice a new button in the visual editor menu to insert buttons into your post or page.

Menu button to insert a button into your post

Clicking on the button will bring up a popup where you can customize your button, choose colors, borders, add text, and links while seeing a live preview.

Design your button

For more information and details take a look at our guide on how to add buttons in WordPress without using shortcodes.

How to Add Link Content Cards in WordPress

Have you noticed how Twitter and Facebook automatically display thumbnail images for the links you share? You can make your WordPress site do the same.

WordPress can automatically embed links as content cards for other WordPress powered sites. This functionality was added in WordPress 4.4.

Simply paste a link in the post editor and if the URL is from a WordPress site, then WordPress will automatically embed it.

WordPress Embeds

But if you don’t like WordPress’s implementation of content cards, then you can try Content Cards plugin.

It allows you to whitelist this feature for select few sites, and it uses the Facebook open graph meta data, so it will work on non-WordPress sites as well. See our tutorial on how to add links as content cards in WordPress for details.

How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress

Do you want to increase your site’s revenue by using affiliate links? Affiliate marketing provides a steady income to many blogs and websites.

All you need to do is add your referral links to products and services that you recommend, and when your visitors purchase these products, you get a commission.

The problem that most beginners face is that each product or website they want to recommend has a different URL. Keeping track of all these URLs is not possible specially if you are recommending multiple products.

The best way to add and manage affiliate links is by using an affiliate management plugin.

Simply install and activate ThirstyAffiliates plugin. Upon activation the plugin will add a new menu item labeled Affiliate Links in your WordPress admin menu.

Click on it to add your affiliate links.

Add and manage affiliate links in WordPress

Once you are done, you will be able to easily insert affiliate links into your posts and pages by clicking on the add affiliate link button.

Insert affiliate link in WordPress posts and pages

For detailed instructions take a look at our guide on how to add affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates.

You may also want to read this article about: Top affiliate marketing mistake you need to avoid.

How to Add an External Link Icon in WordPress

Many sites like Wikipedia, adds an icon next to links for external websites. The purpose of this icon is to tell users that clicking on the link will take them to a third-party website.

Here is how you can do an external link icon on your WordPress site.

First, install and activate the External Links plugin. Upon activation, simply go to Settings » External Links page to configure plugin settings.

add icon to indicate external links in WordPress

You need to check the box next to ‘Mark outbound links with an icon’ and save your settings. You can now visit your website, and you will see an icon next to all external links on your website.

Icon indicating external links

For detailed instructions, take a look at our guide on how to add an external link icon on your WordPress site.

That’s all, we hope this article helped you learn how to add a link in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to fix most common image issues in WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Source: Beginner’s Guide on How to Add a Link in WordPress

7 Smart Tips to Drive More Traffic to Your Website

Read These 7 Great Tips To Get More Website Traffic
Read These 7 Great Tips To Get More Website Traffic

Ask an entrepreneur or a marketer what they’d like most in the world, and they’ll likely say “more customers.” What usually comes after customers on a business wish list? “More traffic” to their site. Getting traffic is among the most crucial of any task. Getting traffic is an ongoing process and must be continuously done to keep the flow of traffic coming to your site.If you are a digital marketer or internet entrepreneur, more visitors to your site is something to be always thankful for. Higher traffic rates translates into more chances to make sales. If you are searching for ways to drive more traffic to your site, we’ve got some smart thoughts to help you begin. Here are 7 marketing tips to help you get more site hits.

1. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines:

Search engines have consistently been a remarkable way to get traffic for free. That is the reason you have to get your work done and optimize your site so it positions well for the keywords you target. SEO is still the most powerful approach to get free traffic. All you need is to follow latest search engine guidelines and modern SEO principles. It is essential that you invest some time and effort in the optimization of your site. Your site’s design, content architecture, and tags are the three most important things to begin with.

2. Write Rich Content:

Quality articles will show a better ranking in search results. Confirm that your articles address what your readers need and that they can see all of the information they want in one spot. This is the best way for attracting traffic to a site; offering people something that they can’t get anywhere else, or possibly, not the level of quality that you are offering. In a previous post, we’ve explained 10 rules for successful content marketing in 2015, you should follow them for greater return on investment.

3. Utilize Your Social Profiles:

Social media sites are also among the best approaches to get traffic free of charge. If you look at the latest digital marketing statistics, you’ll come to know that Facebook is 2nd most populous place on the planet, after China. This makes it vital for businesses to ensure stronger presence there. So, if you are famous on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks; the traffic you get from that can easily surpass the traffic search engines. Undoubtedly, building a vast system of targeted followers on Twitter and fans on Facebook takes a lot of time and effort but normally the result is well worth it. In addition, you must explore social bookmarking sites, networking groups, and blogs to share the great pieces of content your team has produced.

4. Get Links with Other Sites In Your Niche:

One more approach to getting free traffic is from different sites in your niche market. Getting links with different sites in your niche is also useful for SEO, particularly if you figure out how to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. However, despite the possibility that the links are nofollow (i.e., they are pointless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you figure out how to put your links in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get a large number of hits from this link alone.

5. Pay Attention to Mobile Factor:

With more than 92% of Americans now using smartphones and almost 60% of all online activity now originating from smartphones, we have staggered into another age in technology with new marketing trends and challenges. So looking at the implication of mobile factor on marketing, design a strategy that helps you make the best out of the available opportunities.

6. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Got your high commercial intent keyword bases secured? If yes, now is the ideal time to target long-tail keywords as well. Since long-tail keywords represent a dominant part of web searches, if you’re not focusing on them as a major aspect of your paid search or SEO efforts, you’re missing a great opportunity.

7. Invite Others to Guest Blog on Your Site:

Guest blogging is a two-way street. Along with posting content on different sites, invite other people as well in your niche to blog on your own website. They’re likely to share and link to their guest article, which could bring new readers to your site. Simply ensure that you just post amazing, unique content without spam links, as Google is cracking down on low-quality visitor blogging.

This article was written by Tahir Akbar and first appear on Business 2 Community on 7th August  2015. 

 

16 Social Media Management Tools You Would be Foolish Not to Try

Mark Ford, red-website-design.co.uk

We’re pretty confident when we say it’s impossible to do social media to maximum effect without the help of a tool or two along the way. But with so many available that offer so many different things how do you know which are worth trying?Take a l…

16 Social Media Management Tools You’d be Foolish Not to Try #socialmedia

What is Audio Transcription?

Transcribing is the art of listening to audio and converting the spoken word into a written, readable form.  Sounds easy right?

Just listen and type.  Not true.  

One who transcribes has worked hard to gain the skills and experience necessary to perform this task.  An audio file (MP3, WAV, DSS etcetera), which let’s say is 15 minutes in length, can easily take an hour or more to transcribe.  

The transcriptionist doesn’t necessarily have to be fast at typing (it helps, though!) but must have expert listening, spelling, and grammatical skills.

Listening skills mean you understand:

• More than one speaker
• Heavy accents
• Coughs, stutters, uhs,uhms (known as verbatim)
• What the speaker is saying (accurately typing technical terms)

Grammatical skills you have:

• Excellent spelling
• Can differentiate between English and American English spelling
• Excellent grammar
• Know how to paragraph the content

As well as the above, if your client doesn't provide you with a template to transcribe directly into, then you need to know how to set-up your Word (or the format you are using) document page correctly.

To help you understand and remember what audio transcription is, I have designed an Infographic.  It was created and designed by me, the writer, 3 years ago.  It has now had a revamp in style to be 'up-to-date' but the content is the same.

 

Transcription acronym by Virtuadmin