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  • How To Use Guest Posting To Increase Your Traffic And Rankings

    Thursday, November 5, 2015 by
    How To Use Guest Posting To Increase Your Traffic and Rankings
    Guest posting is an incredibly powerful tool to generate traffic and subscribers. In fact, guest blogging is one of the most effective free traffic strategies. However, a lot of people approach the guest blogging process in the wrong way. In order to get the most out of guest blogging you need to be posting on websites that have overlap with your ideal audience. Below you’ll find an exact strategy you can utilize time and time again to send new traffic and leads to your website.  

    What Is Guest Blogging?

    Guest blogging is the process of writing for high profile blogs and websites in your niche. Most often you guest blog for free. But, in return you can associate yourself with a high authority website to borrow authority, and can illustrate your value to your market. Guest blogging is an incredible way to build your authority and send qualified traffic your way through dropping backlinks throughout your post, or within your author byline.  

    What Are Your Guest Blogging Goals

    Before you start actively guest posting it’s important to define your goals. The last thing you want is to start guest posting on a regular basis only to see no result for your business. Are you looking to generate more traffic for your website? Are you trying to build authority and a name for yourself in your niche? Or, are you trying to build high-quality backlinks to grow your search engine rankings? Define what results you want to achieve for your business, and track every post you write, so you can refine your strategy over time.  

    Developing A Guest Blogging Strategy

    Your guest blogging efforts won’t succeed unless you have an actionable and trackable plan to follow. Below you’ll find a five--step process you can implement time and time again. 1. Build Up Your Online Persona or Platform Before you start guest blogging it’s important you take the time to build a solid online presence. You’ll need a solid foundation in the online space that you’re going to be sending qualified traffic to. 2. Identify Guest Blogging Opportunities When you’re identifying blogs to contribute to make sure they have a sizable audience and have at least some overlap with your niche. Obviously, the blogs you end up choosing will depend your niche and goals. The two processes below will help you build a targeted list of blogs to contribute to.
    • Search Google for “[your niche] + guest blogging”, or “[your niche] write for us”
    • Visit Alltop and select your niche for a list of high-quality blogs.
    These will help you build a solid list you can pitch over time. 3. Start The Outreach Process Every blog you contribute to will have different writing guidelines. Some blogs will require you to submit a full post, while others will prefer you pitching a group of ideas. Your pitches will be rejected every time if you don’t adhere to the writer’s guidelines. When finding the right person to email always try to email the editor or the content manager if it’s a larger website, as they’re in charge of the content for the site. If it’s a single author blog then reach out to the blogger directly. When pitching the blog make sure to build rapport with the author or editor first, as this will increase your chances of your post being accepted. 4. Create Epic Blog Posts When writing in front of another audience you want to bring your best writing to the table. Don’t hold back, and don’t send off your secondary content. You want to make a good impression on these websites, and build a connection with their audiences. By providing extreme value you’ll have readers flocking to your website to learn more about what you have to offer. 5. Continue The Process Luckily, there are so many blogs and websites looking for high-quality content that you can replicate this process time and time again. Over time, after you’ve exhausted all of the blogs in your niche you can move on to related blogs and websites. Guest blogging is an incredible strategy that doesn’t require any upfront investment besides your time. The steps above will help you build a strategy that works for you and your business for the long-term.
  • 3 Security Plugins for WordPress to Keep Your Blog Safe

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by
    3 Security Plugins for WordPress to Keep Your Blog Safe WordPress is home to hundreds of millions of bloggers, the idea that it wouldn't be a huge target for hackers is nothing short of ignorant. WordPress is constantly being targeted by both low-profile and high-profile security pentesters who may want to exploit the platform for either personal benefit, or for getting an official reward, though the latter is rarely the case. Security can be seen in many different ways, but the type you will usually experience when dealing with WordPress is called web security. Web security possesses the ability to put your whole web file system at risk by having vulnerabilities that haven't been properly understood and prevented. However, preventing attacks from previously unknown vulnerabilities is next to impossible, which is why we need to look elsewhere. Some of the best security protection for WordPress comes from using professional security plugins. A security plugin can help to prevent unauthorized access, as well as log threatening events, it can even completely disable access to your sensitive parts of your website, and you can be the only person in charge of enabling them back. Lets take a look at the top three WordPress security plugins on the market.

    1. Sucuri Security

    Sucuri is a well-known and established name in the world of WordPress (and general web) security. The Sucuri Security plugin has been built to reflect the latest developments in web security, so as to ensure that all WordPress bloggers have their blogs safe and secure. Sucuri plugin will help you to monitor the activity of your logs and outline potential security risks, the plugin comes equipped with a versatile malware scanner that will remove any malware on daily basis, on top of that it will integrate a number of security practices that will make it next to impossible for hackers to break into your blog. Click here to download Sucuri.

    2. BulletProof Security

    BulletProof is very likely to be the most sophsisticated WordPress security plugin, with an amount of features that no other plugin has been able to match, and most likely never will. Is this a good thing? Well, it depends. The BulletProof Security plugin does a lot of things besides securing your WordPress blog, it will help you optimize your sites performance, and you will be able to take advantage of features such as .htaccess security, database backup security, and security precautions for all logged-in users. (Cookie based.) It's highly recommended that you spend some time reading the full list of features on the official plugin page, and decide for yourself whether this plugin is something you'd like to work with. Click here to download BulletProof.

    3. Wordfence Security

    The first thing Wordfence will do after you install the plugin, is to instantly check your site against possible malware threats. The way Wordfence does it, is that it takes the official WordPress source-code and checks it against your own current version on the server, including for themes and plugins. The output is a list of potential threats which you can then terminate, so you don't have to worry about custom plugin and theme changes being classified as threats. This security plugin will not only make your site significantly faster, you will also be pleased to know that the plugin is open-source and anyone can contribute to its success. Click here to download Wordfence.
  • 5 Tips for Optimizing Your Landing Pages

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by
    5 Tips for Optimizing Your Landing Pages Your homepage is a landing page, your product features page is a landing page, even the pricing page is a landing page. Any page that features call-to-action buttons to signup as a customer can be considered a landing page, but certainly others are more concise and specific than the rest. Typically it is the product's main feature page that gets the most optimization care, because that's the page that drives the most sales, based on the fact that it has an actionable intention. Landing page optimization is all about User Experience and User Interface, although our product can be amazing and solve a lot of problems for our customers, a poorly executed landing page will not drive the same amount of leads that a fully optimized landing page would. And what is the criteria for a good landing page anyway?

    1. Setup an analytics platform

    Google Analytics is a good start, it will give you all the necessary insight about your visitors and some of their demographic information, but for more concise analytics it's best to look into specifically built marketing solutions that can analyze data such as user live interaction, their browsing history on your landing pages, as well as their potential previous interactions with your landing page. All of which will give you a much more broad and clear understanding of how your landing page is being used.

    2. Optimize for sales

    There's little to no value in optimizing a landing page for search engines, if the landing page doesn't perform well in front of live visitors. Search optimization is only a means of acquiring new and organic visitors, what happens next is their live experience with the landing page that you're offering. If the experience is poor, so will be the number of sales. The best way to go about optimizing for sales is to understand basic principles of UX and UI, GoodUI is one such resource that offers several dozens of concise User Experience and User Interface tips that will let you optimize your landing pages for maximum conversion potential.

    3. Remember the basics

    "What problem are you trying to solve with your service and whose problem is that exactly? The answers to these questions will help you identify who your target audience is. And once you’ve found that out, you then need to spend every waking moment researching on what exactly your audience wants." - Fahad Muhammad Your first landing page will be bad, there's no other way to go about it. Mistakes will be made, and changes will need to be done on almost daily basis, until some time a solid landing page forms and you can begin to start testing its performance. However, we have to emphasize the fact that all landing pages share common traits, components that make a landing page what it is, and without these components, the customer can easily get lost:
    • Headline, and sub-headline (optional).
    • Description that explains the value behind the offer.
    • A self-explanatory image to reflect the product.
    • A number of elements that portray quotes and/or testimonials.
    • A form that can be used to gather visitors details. (pre-sales)
    Any other components are completely up to you and your own personal preference and/or experience, since there's no shortage of landing page examples on the web, inspiration can be gained everywhere.

    4. Limit the navigation options

    The job of a landing page is to keep the visitors attention focused on the copy of the landing page and what it is trying to offer, having a full-blown navigation menu available at the top of the page might be used as a means of exiting the page and thus eliminating any possibility of a sale to happen. This can also be seen as distraction. If you're serious about making sales and increasing conversion rates with your landing page, get rid of the menu and see what happens!

    5. Social proof

    One of the best ways to optimize a landing page is by enabling social proof. This can come in forms of testimonials, quotes and case studies that come from your existing customers. You might be wondering, how do I gain access to these? The best way is to reach out to your existing customers and ask them kindly to do some reviews for you so that you can use them on your landing page. This has been a proven technique for increasing sales through your landing page by the means of establishing credibility.
  • Top Tips For Spotting Comment Spammers

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by
    Top Tips for Spotting Comment Spammers
    User generated comments and reviews are a good indicator of the quality of any blog or site. Engaged users creates a more dynamic website which is both more inviting and valuable. Yet, not all comments are genuine. Link builders and competitors often use comment spamming as a tool for link building and reputation management. So how can you tell if a comment is genuine or if your blog is being used for someone else’s marketing efforts? Be aware that deleting every negative review or comment you don’t like could result in a page that is too polished and users will mistrust. Only delete as a final resort when you are sure it is fake. Here are some top tips for spotting fake reviews and comments.  

    Look At The Text

    Before anything else, read the comment; you will already have a feeling if something is off. Link commenting is oftentimes outsourced to countries where English is not the primary language. If the comment has broken English to the point that you cannot make head or tails of it but it has a link, it is most probably the work of a link builder. These you should delete as it lowers the quality of the page. You should also select the text of the comment and do a search of it, oftentimes link builders reuse the same text across multiple sites for both comments and reviews. Keep an eye out for links to unrelated sites or download pages. Merchants and their competitors will oftentimes comment spam as a strategy for reputation management or to tarnish the competition. You can easily spot this by looking out for blatant ‘Marketing Speak.’ Merchants will include their brand name in addition to the product name several times across the review, no organic user would do this. They will also do a shoebox broadcasting of features rather than discussing the product. A review like this is a clear red flag: “I was a loyal (insert ‘name of competitor’) user for years, a friend made me try (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) and I was totally blown away. I especially loved feature ‘X’, (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) is the only one for me. I am never going back to (insert ‘name of competitor’).” Merchants will also often go for the oversell so keep a wary eye for overly impassioned users. You should look primarily at 5 star and 1 star ratings as well as any reviews that are written in ALL CAPS. So reviews that read, “THIS IS TERRIBLE IT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!” Or, “These headphones are NOT as advertised! It said it would last 2 years guaranteed. Well I have been using it for 4!!” Also be suspicious of a vague review that is not specific to the product, but rather a push for the company.  

    Look At The User

    One of the advantages of managing reviews and comments through WordPress and similar platforms is the ability to easily eyeball who is commenting. You can easily see if different reviews are from the same IP or email address. Keep a wary eye out for obviously fake email addresses and usernames with 3+ numbers in them, these are oftentimes computer generated bots and pretty easy to spot. The comments or reviews would be generic and of no value with something like, “This is great, thanks!” Or, “really interesting read.” For these bots the comment would sometimes contain excerpted text from the article the comment is on, or sentences that drop off in the middle. If you are unsure of the user, do a quick search for other comments or reviews they have written. Link builders will have used the same username across multiple sites. Not only will you be able to spot carbon copy reviews across sites but the same will show obvious inconsistencies such as the recommendation to try product X came from interchanging genders, ‘when my husband recommended’ then, ‘when my wife recommended’. All in all just trust your instincts, you will be able to smell a fishy comment a mile off. Deleting comments should never be a first choice, but if they are of no value than you are better off without them.  
    Author Bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
    Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhoyer/4068770993/in/photolist-7cxvS2-7MiMys-e2VdRY-7EgfX1-gU8VKd-f9cTEV-vNMUL-9Gdjj5-6je5ZS-2SgvEj-7XPs25-8yQxug-7j9Md5-hd2aeT-awvM9C-pke8X-9gfNiF-2g4jpR-2VTXqC-di4stG-auw7hY-8RMVu3-5JZD6x-9VDGEN-bmFfGb-9QWLT4-nwghkJ-awvMof-awvKSb-8HSpRD-6oh2X2-5jE1Jq-5BWNDz-bUgBy5-PyTv5-9w7da5-9U5kcg-C969c-8BVwhT-5dxRx-8CutQH-fwa4fR-4R8X44-8XxFns-9h5GU6-2K4rm-ebPHcv-2TvqGd-ahmJzB-ebVnU9