Free WordPress: The Benefits

Guest Post

What’s so great about FREE WordPress?

Not until very recently did I discover WordPress. I am a new writer and I wanted to get my work out there to the world and fast. With this in mind I was ecstatic to learn that not only is WordPress a wonderful piece of software, but also you can obtain it for absolutely nothing!

However, there is so much more that meets the eye with this product and with this in mind I wanted to share the advantages of obtaining free WordPress for you and your business or blog.

You can use your own Domain Name

Unlike other publishing platforms where you can only use a sub-domain on their server, with WordPress you can use your own domain name as the software is hosted on your own server.

Widgets

By making use of these freely available widgets WordPress let users customise features of their site according to whatever need they have. This is a great feature of WordPress and one of the features I use frequently.

Themes

There are so many themes within WordPress, and most cost less than $50, however there are many that are free.  Themes make your presence known online and can create a look and feel for your site. You can even customise your theme in your own way. For me it’s choosing which one – now that’s the hard bit!

Ease of use

This for me is most important, it’s easy to use! For those who are a little technically challenged the WordPress integrated ‘dashboard’ allows you as the owner to add/edit/delete pages, add blog categories, add widgets and of course add posts! You can upload images, video’s the list goes on and it’s simple to use. I for one love it for that reason and that reason alone.

Social Networking

Using widgets you can connect your site to other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter without having to do a thing! You can add ‘like’ buttons on your posts too and easily feed your content into a variety of networking sites via RSS.

SEO Friendly

This is very important as it gets more people to your site. Search engines absolutely love WordPress as it comes with an automated ‘pinging’ feature. This will send a signal to various search engines every time your blog is updated. How cool is that?

Constant Development

WordPress is always under constant development too so you never have to worry about it getting stagnant or staying the same. It powers over 20% of the active websites on the web, new widgets are being released all the time, together with new themes and it will always continue to evolve. 

Just what you need I’d say!

I am still learning about how to use WordPress more effectively but with this information I feel I am armed with better knowledge and understanding on how it all works and all for FREE! 

For more information about the features of WordPress, the free option, check out this article The Features You’ll Love.

Author Bio:

I’m Paula and this is my dog Tommy. I run my own small business designing and making accessories from recycled materials, check out my blog PaulasWork here http://paulaswork.com/

You can also follow Paula on twitter @TDailyGrow.

Five Fantastic WordPress Plugins

It’s been a few months since I wrote an article on WordPress plugins. I know you are all as nosey as me and like to know what others are using and how they can improve your WordPress website. So here are five of my newest discoveries and the ones I am using on a regular basis across all my own websites and on some client sites.

Limit Login Attempts

I installed this plugin very recently due to the attacks on WordPress websites which are going on at the moment. As well as changing all my passwords, deleting the admin user on my website I installed this plugin. What it does is limit the number of times someone can try to login to your website. 

Limit the number of login attempts possible both through normal login as well as using auth cookies.

By default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords (or hashes) to be brute-force cracked with relative ease.

Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible.

Since I installed this a couple of weeks ago I have had an awful lot of activity showing within this plugin, bots are trying to login, usually using the username ‘admin’ or ‘username’. After they get the password wrong 3 times the plugin locks them out, you can customise the amount of time they are locked out for.

Here is a screenshot of the stats for this website:

I would highly recommend installing this plugin or something similar, especially because of the brute force attack on WordPress websites going on right now.

WangGuard

WangGuard I came across by mistake really, I’d never heard of it before. On one of my other websites I have a forum, and I was getting lots of spam registrations. I thought there must be a way to stop these, so I started the search. This plugin is great, and all spam registrations have now stopped completely! If you allow people to register on your WordPress website then this plugin is great. I have recently installed it on a client site and her spam registrations have vanished.

What is WangGuard?

WangGuard is a service born out of the need to control Sploggers or spam users.

What are Sploggers or spam users?

Sploggers or spam users are those individuals that through manual or automated means, register in all sorts of communities, blog networks, forums, etc… in an attempt to create links to their own sites and advertise their own products.

Here is a screenshot of the dashboard stats for one of my websites:

Jetpack for WordPress.com

It’s taken me a long time to install this plugin, the reason is I didn’t feel that it could improve what I already have on my website, supposedly giving you lots of features which blogs hosted on WordPress.com already have. Well how wrong was I? I think Jetpack is fab and still haven’t explored all the extra things I can now do on my websites/blogs. The main one I have been using is the stats, it’s very clear and I can easily see what pages/posts are being viewed most, and also what keywords people are using to get to my websites.

Jetpack isn’t just about stats though, look at all these features:

Acurax Social Media Widget

I found this recently when a client asked if I could create some fancy social media icons for her. There are many plugins around which let you add your social media networks as buttons on your website, usually in the sidebar.

With the free version you get 20 themes to choose from, plenty of choice if you ask me.

I am using this plugin on this website, I’ve not yet installed it on my other websites but plan to in the future because there is a good choice. There are plenty of extra features if you purchase the premium plugin for a one-off price of $24.49. 

Digg Digg

Digg Digg is now owned by the guys at Buffer, but this isn’t why I’ve installed it. I like the look of the sharing buttons down the side of the websites I have seen it on. It moves as you move down the page, which means it’s always there ready for someone to click on to share your article. It’s fully customisable, which means you can have a couple of buttons or as many as you like. I have chosen the social networks I use the most, but also did some research on what social networks were referring a lot of traffic to my website.

Digg Digg is free and offers much more sharing possibilities than some of the other sharing widgets I have used in the past.

So that’s my five fantastic WordPress plugins I am loving at the moment… Do you use any of these plugins, what do you think?

I offer a very reasonable WordPress website or blog design and set-up using the fab Genesis framework which has a huge choice of themes. For a free no obligation chat about what I can offer, please get in touch now!

Some of my recent work:
Karon Grieve
Lorraine Charcuterie Distribution
Lamsdorf Remembered

Audience & Traffic Generation for Bloggers: Blogs on Quora

GUEST BLOG

My best definition of ‘a pain in the neck’ is sitting down for hours to eventually craft great informative content, and ultimately get no one to read them. It sucks to see my ‘intellectual property’ go down the trenches of my blog without success – in terms of views and comments.

Anyone would readily agree that the most important thing to any expert is building an audience. Unfortunately, building an audience has also been identified as the major problem of ALL bloggers; even veterans still seek ways to get more traffic. I strongly believe that anyone that can come up with a solution to this general problem, even if only to an extent, will be worth the attention and respect.

The hairs behind my neck still rise when I remember the blogging.org infographic that says “An unbelievable upwards of 81% never makes $100 from blogging” out of “an estimated thirty-one million bloggers in the United States alone”. How much more third-world bloggers! The major reason for this failure is not far-fetched; they fail to get (and keep) sufficient traffic enough to be tagged ‘a successful blogger’.

Newbies in the blogosphere, like me, still see getting the deserved audience for our products as a myth, and a thing to yet be dreamt of. We try everything possible, from SEO to content marketing, and so on, still we seem not to get any traction in trying to push away from the ’81 percent’. If I get anyone to make the ‘traffic myth’ a reality for me, I’d take my hats off to such person – permanently.

Now let’s imagine the situations of internet marketers that have no blog to showcase their expertise or promote their products, or great writers that have no blog to exhibit their prolificacy or readers to enjoy and benefit from their resourcefulness.

The good news is that, with the advancement in internet technology and information distribution, all these problems are gradually coming to an end.

Introducing Blogs on Quora

Before going deep into ‘Blogs on Quora’, I think it would be a great idea to first do an introduction to Quora and dispel the feeling that almost anyone would know so much about Quora.

Quora is a questions and answers site (Q&A Site) – just as Yahoo! Answers – in which members can ask or answer any question which anyone visiting the site can also benefit from. The best answers get voted up or down as readers deem fit.

Quora can safely be regarded as the revolution of Q&A sites, as it makes things a lot easier for answer seekers and writers or professionals, who love to share their knowledge and show their expertise, alike.

Quora is being used by millions and has a reputation for ranking high on search engines for many keywords. Smart internet marketers take good advantage of this platform for exposure and traction-gaining purposes. A lot of traffic can be driven to a site through giving highly informative and resourceful answers on Quora, and it makes you easily perceived an expert in your niche. If you yet don’t have this great invention in your marketing arsenal, then you should consider it sooner.

Now let’s talk about blogging on Quora.

On 22nd January, in a good attempt to realize its mission of ….., Quora launched its latest invention; ‘Blogs on Quora‘, a platform on which Quora users can create as many blogs and posts, with rich text editors and images, either from the web or mobile.

This serves as a replacement for Quora boards on which non-Q&A posts were being posted.

Blogs on Quora serves to allow writers share their knowledge with the world where they do not have an established blog, and also great for bloggers who do not have an audience, or who have an audience but want to reach more people.

While, introducing Blogs on Quora, Kah Keng Tay writes that “Blogs on Quora are great for people who (1) don’t have a big, established online presence already and (2) don’t want to do the time-intensive, heavy lifting of marketing their blog and slowly building an audience. If you are a good writer but don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or a big audience for your blog, Quora is an ideal place to write. Your blog will be discovered quickly without you having to do any work besides writing. Writing one great post on Quora will attract a big audience, no matter how many people already know or follow you.

She goes further to state that…

Personally, I use my Quora blog as a replica of my original blog, and I repost my best posts and guest posts on the Quora blog. To know what a Quora blog looks like, you can check out mine; it is called LucrativeWriter.

Quora’s distribution method is a great advantage of Blogs on Quora; it expands your readership beyond those who follow you personally. The power of Quora distribution is driven by the relationship between topics and feed.

Just as in questions and answers, each blog post on Quora is categorized by relevant topics. These topics are in form of people’s interests, and each topic is followed by thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people. This ultimately means that anyone who shares your topic interest may see your post, whether they follow you personally or not.

This is the most interesting part of it all as Quora knows who wants to read what via the topics people follow, and this goes a long way to help in getting targeted traffic.

I re-published one of my guest posts titled ‘How to Best Use Writing to Boost Your Traffic and Sales’ on my Quora blog as a test-run of the features of the blog, choosing related interests, but without a picture and any serious optimization – even with an incomplete Quora profile, and the post got about 40 views in less than a day.

I later added to the selected interests of the post and the views increased to 40+ in few hours. The views further increased to 85+ in just few minutes after wasting all my credits in promoting the post to 100 people. The post was published 4:19 pm on Friday, 25th January, and on Monday, 28th January, it had 170 views. This is just a minuscule sample of what blogging on the Quora platform can do for a blogger. Just one up-vote indicates my subsequent posts must far exceed the present one in quality and resourcefulness. And this also indicates that even if you write trash, you will still get the audience, though this might destroy your reputation fast.

More so, Blogs on Quora gives the prolific writer the chance to target different markets on one blog. A freelance writer in the writing/blogging niche like me can post about travelling and have it read by travelling fans, or use my Quora blog as a collection of writing samples on various unrelated topics to show that I can perform well in any niche I get hired.

Another advantage is that unlike in traditional blogs or other social media platforms where an old post might be gone forever, old Quora Blog posts that get up-votes (just as in Q&As) can suddenly appear back in the feed making them “evergreen and re-discoverable” – TechCrunch.

Quora Blogs Optimization

Even when Quora claims that you need not do anything other than the writing to enjoy the benefits of the blog, it’s still important to look for ways to enhance the effectiveness of the features of Blogs on Quora.

Best optimizing your Quora blog is mostly within the ambit of the features available to users of this platform; very few things can be done from outside the blog.

Within the Blog;

  • When opening your Blogs on Quora account, make sure you are conscious of the details you enter, having your keywords in mind. Your brand name should be your URL followed by your target keyword or brand tag (65 characters max) – mistakenly engaged my original brand name, LucrativePen, in another way. Can’t even say how.
  • Your ‘About’ message should be very compelling and keyword-rich.
  • When selecting your topics of interest, do not forget your market targets. These are the people that ordinarily get to see your posts. Don’t worry; the interests of your individual posts can differ from that of the blog. One other good thing is that you can edit your posts and edit your interests long after publishing.
  • Always write quality posts with on-page optimization in mind. Your keyword should be used as title (can be changed after publishing, but your permalink will remain the same), and your first 160 characters should contain your target keyword. Maintain a decent Keyword density throughout your post though.

Your description on search engines will be pulled from your latest post as Quora doesn’t use Meta description tag.

  • Change your image name to your keyword before uploading it.
  • Always share your posts to your social networks.
  • Improve the authority of your blog by linking out to authority sites.
  • You can invite people to follow your blog and you can also promote your blog to people with your Quora credits. When you promote your blog, it gets more attention, and possibly more followership or up-votes. *In a bid to understand how Quora credits work, I wasted my default 500 credits which I would have loved to keep for better purposes. Don’t waste yours!

Outside the Blog;

  • Backlink to your Quora blog from an active blog, either through posts or commenting on do-follow blogs with your Quora blog URL;
  • Get your Quora blog indexed on Google. Ping it with Ping-O-Matic or any other tools.

As earlier said, much optimization can only be done within the blog. The most important factor is writing great content; that’s what gets you the views and the follows – and upvotes.

Blogs on Quora is a relatively new concept, but a lot of people are already reaping the benefits, in form of audience and traffic. It’s the next big thing in the blogosphere. You should get on board now and improve your online presence via Quora blogs; you don’t wanna lose that URL you love.

Author Bio:

Yomi-Alliyu Oludami is a professional freelance writer and the founder of www.lucrativepen.com, a blog that teaches how to write for money and traffic. You can visit his website to learn more or hire him for your writing projects.

You can also follow him on twitter @oludami_LP.

20 Blogs I Recommend!

Are you looking for some new blogs to follow? I’ve decided to let you in on all the blogs I follow where I get all the content I share on my social media networks. If I like a number of articles form one blog I tend to subscribe to their feed.

These are not in any particular order… why not have a click through these links and see if any look useful for you!

Micro Business Hub

ProBlogger

Becky Robinson Weaving Influence

Copyblogger

Daily Blog Tips

Dumb Little Man

HubSpot

Jeffbullas’s Blog

Juggle It All

Pushing Social

Smashwords

Social Media Examiner

Buffer

Ask Aaron Lee

Author Media Blog

Cygnis Media Blog

Impactiv8

Simply Social with Sara

Top Dog Social Media

eBook Formatting Blog

If you have any blogs that you think I might like to follow, comment below… it’s about time I had some new ones!

How to Best Use Writing to Boost Your Traffic and Sales

Writing is still the most powerful marketing tool you can think of when promoting your business. You can keep reaping the benefits of your writing, in terms of traffic and sales – over and over again – for years, as long as it remains relevant to your market over time. It can also be used in maintaining your relationship with your clients or customers, and most importantly, it can be used to boost your reputation as an expert.

Writing online can be very easy, even though one can also easily get it all wrong. As an online marketer or business person, one should learn how to best utilize and seriously take advantage of this skill.

You can use writing as an effective tool for marketing your business by running a blog –and I really recommend that every business should have a blog, at least – or a website, on your social media and micro-blogging sites, on other sites – maybe in form of guest posts or comments, in your auto responder campaign, and also by writing promotional contents like web copies or sales letters – and email newsletters too. A lot can be done with this skill.

I will hereby do a quick review of the best ways you can use writing to boost your traffic and income, or leads and sales. I will be classifying them into ‘within your blog’ and ‘outside your blog’, and at the end, we’ll see how you can get the writing done.

Within Your Blog

Useful and informative posts: You should regularly update your blog with fresh and informative posts. Always make in-depth research when writing your posts and give out only the best. Make sure you provide real solutions often.

Let your blog earn the reputation of always giving quality, and it will never be ditched by your audience. Your readers will become your evangelists, and with time your blog will become the best option for search engines for your keywords.

Great copy/sales letter on website: Writing copy entails using the power of words to persuade readers to become buyers. A sales letter has the same purpose, but it is always more advanced and lengthier than a web copy. Your home page and/or ‘about me’ page(s) should practically be great copies or sales letters for your business. You can hire a copywriter to review these pages and edit or tweak to perfection.

You can easily learn copy writing freely with good research, or with little payment online and practice till you can produce compelling-enough copies. It will pay off in the end.

Freebies or paid products: This can be in form of eBooks and/or eCourses. Write an eBook you know everyone in your niche would love to have and let it be of high quality, or create an eCourse that would actually add quality to the life of anyone that subscribes to the course.

You do not need to be an expert to write an eBook or create an eCourse. Simple research skills are enough to make your products great. Writing in your area of expertise is a great plus though.

Market your freebies so much, as if you will make money on them, and support your marketing with a great copy too. Market your paid products more.

Encourage guest posts: You should encourage people to submit fresh and quality content to your blog. It helps to build relationships with other bloggers and marketers in your niche. On your own side, you gain more traffic as the writers share their contents posted on your site with their audience and social networks.

You should be careful of the posts you accept though; read through them and confirm they are 100% fresh and original. Articles must pass CopyScape. Write out your terms and conditions and make it obvious to anyone interested in submitting guest posts.

Outside your blog

Article marketing; this is the act of creating well-written quality articles that talk about your niche in a way that subtly promotes your company or brand, or products and services, and disseminating them throughout the web.

These articles serve to draw the attention of the readers to the company or brand, and make them want to know more, thereby, leading them to visiting your website.

The essence of these articles, though, is to create credibility and good image for the brand, and not to serve as advertisement or invoke sales directly.

Articles of this sort should be between 300 and 600 words (standard) – with smaller paragraphs, and should be posted majorly to as many article directories as possible. You should focus greatly on your headline and resource box, while still giving great content.

This is the most viral form of marketing ever and the best way to reach a target audience. One advantage of article marketing is that the same article can be used or published on several platforms as long as the authorship doesn’t change.

Guest blogging: this involves writing for other blogs with the aim of getting more exposure, traffic, and getting quality back links too.

This entails finding blogs in your niche that allow guests to submit articles and take full credit for it. This way, you take advantage of the host blog’s established online presence and you convert audience and subscribers to yours. You should therefore target big blogs in your niche – or other niches in some cases.

You can find the top blogs in any niche to post your articles to by using search engines, or by checking blog directories like Technoratti and AllTop. Just make sure your content is of great quality and highly informative, to enable acceptance and publishing of your post. It is reasonable to write 1,000 words and above, without sacrificing quality, when submitting to top blogs.

Finally before sending any blog a guest post, make sure you read through the blog. Read the terms and conditions to know what is expected, and read few posts to know the kind of writing accepted, and the way they are written. These will serve as a guide for formatting your post.

Press release:A press release is pseudo-news story, written in third person, that seeks to demonstrate to an editor or reporter the newsworthiness of a particular person, event, service or product.” – @PublicityGuru on Twitter

A press release is really just another term for (hopefully intriguing) content, and as a small business communicator, it’s your job to make every word count.” – PR News

I got the above definitions from PRWeb(.com), and I believe they are explanatory enough.

I’ll just add that writing and publishing a press release about your business is a proven traffic generator.

No matter how technical it might sound, writing and publishing a PR is actually easy to do but I can’t start a lesson on that here. Here are the fundamentals though;

– Focus on good and clean writing

– Headlines and subheads matter most

– A well optimized release will hyperlink keywords.

Apart from all these, when writing a PR, you just have to stick to the facts, economize your words and make sure every word counts. Limit jargon too.

Then the big deal; distribute to Press release sites – preferably the top and paid ones. PRWeb is great. You can simply get other PR sites through search.

BIG TIP: You can get all the press release training you want for free on PRWeb.com…or you can hire an expert instead.

Getting the job done!

1. Personally: A lot of experts believe that content is king, and I think I support that notion too.

When you are writing your own posts or guest posts, it must be of the highest quality possible. Always give your writings your best shot; you cannot tell how far they would go. You should be concerned about your research, your headline – which must be very catchy, the body – considering your grammar, paragraphing, points, etc – and your ‘call to action’ where necessary.

Then you must be careful when distributing your writing to directories or PR sites. While trying to meet their terms and conditions is necessary, your copyright must not be compromised too.

2. Use article-posting software/freelancers: For your article marketing, or distribution to article directories or e-zines, you can easily find software to do the job, or articles directories freelancers through search. You can also visit freelance or micro-gigs sites to find these freelancers and get article-posting software on WarriorForum. You must only be cautious when using software, and be aware that most of the top article repositories block software from posting.

3. PR writers and distributors: You can easily find Press Release writers and distributors on freelancing sites like fiverr.com, guru.com, freelancers.com, etc, or through search engines. Just look for those freelancers with good reputation and maybe high ranks.

Your Press Release will be written and sent to you for preview, then distributed to PR sites on your approval. The links to your press releases would then be sent to you for confirmation. Most of the sites used by professional PR freelancers are paid sites.

4. PLR (Private Label Rights): This involves obtaining full rights on articles written by someone else and using it in anyway you like. These rights may include rights to publish, copy, edit, re-brand and claim authorship.

Personally, I am not a fan of Private Label Rights articles, but the truth remains that resorting to PLR has a good and right way of going about it.

The reservation I have on PLR is that most PLR providers make available rehashed content to numerous users at the same time. This leads to many others using the same content you are giving out to your audience, while branding it with their different names as ‘original author’ – just as you.

The best use of PLR, I believe, comes from buying PLR articles from the best PLR sites. You should avoid free PLR articles by all means. If you have to use PLR, then pay for quality.

5. Hire a freelance writer: whenever you feel you cannot do your writing yourself, or when you are too busy to write, you can outsource your writing to freelancers. But you must be careful when employing freelance writers for your writing projects as quality must always be maintained. Your freelancer must have the ability to do quality research and produce fresh, quality content. Rehashed or stolen content must never find its way into your business.

You can always go to freelance sites like freelancer.com, Odesk, Guru, etc, to get your job done. But when making use of sites like these, you have to be very careful as it might be very hard to find quality where services are so cheap.

You can preferably list your writing needs and requirements on freelance writing job boards such as ProBlogger Job Boards, etc. You can try LinkedIn’s job listing too or simply search for ‘freelance writing job boards’ on any search engine.

More preferably, to cut your long search short, you can hire me for your writing projects.

I believe planning and channeling your writing towards the methods outlined above will ensure a successful marketing campaign for your business online, as far as writing is concerned. Other minor writings, like blog comments, social media interaction, forum posting, etc, that are not covered here should not be neglected or underestimated though.

Improving your writing skills and applying it for, and to, the right marketing strategy will definitely boost your leads and sales.

P.S: Kindly tell us how you use writing to boost your traffic and income, and kindly show your support or disagreements with what I’ve written, in the comments section. And don’t forget to share with your networks.

Author Bio:

Yomi-Alliyu Oludami is a professional freelance writer and the founder of www.lucrativepen.com, a blog that teaches how to write for money and traffic. You can visit his website to learn more or hire him for your writing projects.

You can also follow him on twitter @oludami_LP.