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Free blogging platforms

Review Of Top 5 Free Blog Platforms

15 Dec , 2015,
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Are you new to blogosphere? A free blogging platform is a great way to launch your blog. This is because it provides you with a ready-to-use platform and you don’t have to worry about various technical aspects such domains, web hosting and software for powering your blog such as content management systems (CMS).

That said, blogging is effective way generating new leads for both small and large businesses and convert them into customers. And, the beauty is anyone can have a blog site for free. There are a number of free blogging platforms, but all of them are not created equal. In this post, the top 5 free blog platforms that offer better opportunities for exposure, growth and monetization have been reviewed so as to help you make an informed decision.

BloggerBlogger

Blogger, formerly BlogSpot, is the first blogging platform and is owned by Google. It is more popular among casual bloggers who are interested in writing or sharing information online for fun. It can be set up quickly and is an extremely user friendly system.

Blogger, preferred by new and experienced bloggers, is also powered with other services of Google such as Google AdSense, native Android app and Google+. If you are person who loves Google and its services, you will definitely feel at home in Blogger.

WordPresswordpress logo

Worldwide, one in six websites run on WordPress. This makes it the most popular platform as far as blogging is concerned. It is a free publishing tool and a search-engine friendly (CMS). It works well for everyone from beginners in blogging to large businesses because it offers a wide array of custom themes as well as plugins, making it flexible, scalable, search engine optimized and user friendly. If you are looking to start blogging with a professional design, then WordPress is the best option as it offers a combination of tools, themes and customization plugins to help you achieve your goal.

MediumMedium

The blogging platform Medium was started by the co-founders of Twitter Evan Williams and Biz Stone in 2012. It does not offer a great deal of customization options as it is also a social media platform. Medium makes available the WYSIWYG text editor for you to write and post content online. Additionally, posts can be Favorited or up-votes as in the case of Digg and Reddit. The most appreciated features of Medium are cleanliness and minimalism as blogs are becoming more clutter free and readable so as to attract the attention of the readers. Individual bloggers wanting their content to be read by many people would find this platform extremely useful.

Tumblrtumblr

Tumblr is also a mix of blogging and social networking platforms. The informal micro-blogging platform is owned by Yahoo, which boasts of hosting over 221 million blogs. Tumblr’s popularity can be attributed to ease of use, multiple media and text format (photos, videos, music, GIFs, etc.) that it supports and its compatibility with native apps on Andorid, iOS and Windows phones. If you are planning to blog mostly using your smartphone, then you must consider Tumblr.

QuoraQuora

Quora, a question and answer website, is popular among experienced and knowledgeable industry professionals. It started a blogging platform in January 2012. This network may be best suited for professionals from various industries, but an average Quora writer witnesses more than 30,000 views in a month. The blogging platform offered by Quora does not allow a great deal of customization, but you can use your authority and expertise to establish an online audience.

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Make money blogging

How To Make Money Directly From Your Blog

Dec , 2015,
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Whereas blogging is just a hobby for most of the people, there is every reason to argue that it is the most lifestyle-friendly business model that ever is. You can work from home, be creative, be your own boss, and make tons of money. With regards to making money through blogging, the answers to these two questions are different: is the money to be made from a blog, or is the money to be made because of a blog. Whereas in the latter, the money is made indirectly, in the former the money earned is direct. The blogger is free to combine both the methods if he/she chooses to do so. Read on to find out some direct methods of making money through a blog.

Blogging

Advertising

There exist different advertising options that bloggers can use to make money. The commonly used methods include contextual advertising through programs such as AdSense and YPN. They work to scan the content of the blog and pull in ads that are relevant to the matter written out in the blog. The blog needs to accommodate some basic code blocks that will help to display the relevant ads. Payment is made to you when a visitor clicks on the ad.

Ad systems which pay on a per-impression basis are also available. However, these ads are not contextual in nature. Impression based ads pay an amount for every person that views the ad. These ads can bring in a lot of revenue if the traffic to the blog is high (Fast Click, Tribal Fusion).

BlogAds can find their way into your blogs at a predetermined rate set by you. AdBrite is a type of textad that works like blog ads. Advertisers sell their wares through ads that look like text links. They occupy minimum screen space and you can decide the price. Some ad providers also place ads through RSS feeds.

Sponsorship

You can search for advertisers having products that are closely related to the niche of your blog and get them to advertise in your blog. You can offer them a variety of options including banner and text ads, newsletter mentions, buttons, etc. When the blog grows in traffic the bigger players in your niche will be attracted to display their wares through your blog.

Affiliate Selling Programs

These programs pay you a commission when the person reading your blog clicks on the affiliate link and purchases a product or service from company to which he/she gets directed. Affiliate programs that represent different companies include ClickBank, Commission Junction, etc. They can help you to make money if you can match the right program with the appropriate blog. You can also link to product giants like Amazon and become their affiliate seller.

Selling Blogs

Top-rated and high-quality blogs can generate a lot of revenue when they are sold. This is the dream that most bloggers have. A notable sale was that of Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $25 million. Blogs may be sold through private deals or through sites such as eBay, etc.

Donations

If your blog site enjoys huge readership, then you can make money by asking for donations.

Merchandise

You can sell t-shirts, pens, mugs and other merchandise with your blog’s logo printed on them. However, this works only when your blog has a fanatical following.

Subscriptions

Money can also be made through blogging by charging readers for accessing the content. This will work positively only when the content is exclusive or you are an expert in your niche.

Wrapping up, using these methods diligently can help both current and prospective bloggers to make money directly through their blogs either on a part-time or full-time basis.

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A2 hosting review

A2 Hosting Review

11 Dec , 2015,
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A2 Hosting – Great for WordPress Blogs

Bryan Muthig founded the web hosting service, a startup business, Iniquinet in 2001. As the business grew, he renamed it as A2 Hosting (in respect of his hometown Ann Arbor, Michigan) in 2003. The full service web hosting service provider that hosts nearly 58,000 websites worldwide high power hosting solutions irrespective of whether you have a low-traffic website, a business site with heavy traffic, a brand new blogging site, never had a website before or are an independent professional developer.

Key Features of A2 Hosting

  • High Speed solid state drives (SSDs) for Free
  • Guaranteed Uptime 99.9%
  • Turbo Option Up to 20 Times Faster
  • Risk Free Guarantee
  • 24/7/365 GuruCrew Help/Technical Support
  • 350+ Instant Apps
  • WordPress integration
  • Anytime 30-day Money-back Guarantee
  • One-click Software Installations
  • Operations from Asian, European and US locations
  • A2 Optimized Site Boost Option
  • Unlimited Storage and Transfer

Recommended services

A2 Hosting Plans

#1: Shared Hosting

A2’s high power and easy-to-use shared hosting service is ideal for running various sites, including those developed using WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Shared hosting is for those with modest hosting needs such as hobbyists and businesses with smaller websites, forums or blobs. For new comers, it offers a good learning environment.

Lite

Regular price: $7.99/month
Offer price: $3.92/month (51% discount)

Swift

Regular price: $9.99/month
Offer price: $4.90/month (51% discount)

Turbo

Regular price: $18.99/month
Offer price: $9.31/month (51% discount)

#2: VPS Hosting

VPS Hosting provides the best balance between affordability of shared hosting and the security, privacy and performance that dedicated hosting offers. You can choose the dynamic VPS package that is developer friendly or the easy-to-use Managed VPS package. VPS Hosting is ideal for medium-sized sites and businesses and sites that receive a decent amount of traffic on a regular basis.

A2 Hosting offers 2 different high performance products for meeting your specific needs. These are as follows:

Dynamic VPS is for you, if you are a system administrator or developer and are looking for a bare metal installation that is fully customizable. Plan charges start from $9.89/month.

Features of Managed VPS include user-friendly platform and high power. Plan charges start from $32.99/month.

A2 Hosting currently offers 34% discount on the first invoice for both the plans.

#3: Dedicated Hosting

There are two management levels as far as the Dedicated Hosting service of A2 Hosting is concerned. However, the server offered is ultra-reliable irrespective of the solution you have chosen. Both the options, hosted on their high-performance SwiftServer platform, are activated instantly. This means that they are set up, tested and ready to go.

Flex Dedicated Server: This solution will suit you best if you are a system administrator with a lot of experience or you are a developer. You can go for this server in case you are comfortable with command line development.

Managed Flex Dedicated Server: This is for users who are looking for fully managed and worry-free server solutions.

#4: Reseller Hosting

You can setup your own infrastructure for a low monthly payment. The fully white-labeled service features the WHM control panel. This enables you to set up separate hosting accounts with ease. Reseller Hosting offers large resources so that they can be easily divided into smaller hosting accounts.

Produce

Regular price: $19.99/month
Current offer price: $13.19/month (34% discount)

Progress

Regular price: $29.99/month
Current offer price: $19.79/month (34% discount)

Prosper

Regular price: $54.99/month
Current offer price: $36.29/month

A2 Hosting Pros

  • Optimized for reliability and speed
  • Varied options in terms of technology and customization
  • Servers in Asia, the USA and Europe
  • Managed/unmanaged hosting plans
  • SSDs are offered free of charge
  • Excellent customer support through phone, email and live chat

A2 Hosting Cons

  • Only Linux hosting plans
  • No Windows hosting
  • Pricing is on the higher side

Bottom Line

A2 Hosting offers web hosting plans that are suitable for meeting a wide variety of requirements. Additionally, they also offer unmanaged plans for experienced users such as web designers and developers. Their plan charges may be a little on the higher side, but you get value for the money you pay. Overall, A2 Hosting is a reliable web hosting choice.

10 ways to make your blog successfull

10 Ways To Make Your Blog More Successful

Dec , 2015,
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How to make your blog more successful

Starting a blog and running a successful blog are two different things altogether. The mechanics for starting a blog are simple: the first step is to choose a suitable platform, domain and hosting option. Assigning a simple design for your blog and tweaking it so as to get the desired feel is the next step. Add plugins that you think are necessary and top it off by writing content that adds value to the readers’ knowledge.

To make a blog successful is every blogger’s dream. At the very outset, it should be kept in mind that it cannot be done instantly. However, if you are ready to do consistent hard work and learn and follow the advice of those who have made it, success is close enough. Given below are 10 ways to make your blog more successful:

Tip #1: Spot Your Niche

If your blog topic is too general, you are competing with the best in the industry to get the same readers. Now, do not go for a topic that is so rare that you do not have much to write about either. The easiest way would be to choose a topic that reflects your hobby, what you like to talk or research about. Start by writing out 52 posts (one per week) on the topic.

Build Audience

Tip #2: Build Readership

The next step is to build readership. Writing compelling content is what will bring in the readers. Another essential thing is maintaining a blog free of spam content by adding the right plugins. This stops the shady Internet marketers from promoting their wares by using spam comments in your blog.

Tip #3: Build Relationships with Fellow Bloggers

Your online success depends on whether you receive support from other online bloggers or not. Be supportive to other bloggers in the same niche. Give thoughtful comments about their posts. Ultimately, this will lead to them to re-tweeting, linking or sharing your posts and giving you advice when you are stuck.

Tip #4: Engage with Your Readers

Asking an open-ended question at the end of a blog always prompts the reader of your blog to post in an answer and this gives way for active discussions and conversations with and between the readers.

Tip #5: Ensure that Your Readers Receive Your Posts

Many a time the reader of your blog would like to receive your latest posts via email. Using FeedBurner will help you accomplish this. It is also recommended to send in a newsletter once a month or autoresponder mails at regular intervals to further engage your reader.

SEO

Tip #6: Optimize for Keywords

Use keywords that are searched for often in your headings, subheadings and content. Ensure that they are well blended contextually.

Tip #7: Incorporate Links for SEO

You can get links from other sites by requesting successful bloggers courteously. However, ensure that your content is worthy of the link. You can write good quality content for popular blogs and get links in return. Your readers will be prompted to link to your content if you consistently present good quality.

Tip #8: Format Content Attractively

Format the content in your blog in such a way that readers are able to scan through and grasp the contents quickly and effectively. Provide subheadings/signposts so that readers can jump to the most relevant part of the post. Use bullet points and highlight important sentences/words/quotes. Make it visually attractive by adding pictures, videos, and space for avatar images by the side of comments.

Tip #9: Make Your Blog Mobile Friendly

With more people accessing the Internet while on the move, it is important that you make your blog mobile friendly. Use appropriate plugins to translate your content to a suitable quick-display mobile theme while keeping your website theme undisturbed.

Tip #10: Assess Performance Metrics

Regularly assessing how your blog is on the basis of the number of comments, number of tweets (for which post), maximum number of likes (which post), new conversions that you have been able to make in a specific period, bounce rates (for which post), etc., can help you to zero in on what works and what does not.

At the end of it all, have your own unique perspective and allow your personality to show through so that you can connect right through to your readers.

Siteground

SiteGround Hosting Review

Dec , 2015,
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Is Siteground the hosting company for you?

SiteGround, a web hosting company, was founded by some university friends in 2004. Currently run by SiteGround’s mastermind Tenko Nikolov, it offers shared and cloud services, reseller hosting program and dedicated servers. The web hosting services provider with data centers in Europe, Singapore and the US currently employs more than 280 people and services as many as 450,000 domains around the world. SiteGround follows the “Philosophy of Handcraft” to ensure high quality and customized services to their clients.

All of SiteGround’s web hosting plans have been created incorporating standard features such as free domain names, 99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 technical support. Further, custom-made solutions added in order to make websites safer and faster.

Siteground hosting

#1: Shared Hosting Packages

StartUp

Regular price: $9.95/month
Current offer price: $3.95 /month (60% discount)

This plan comes with features that meet the needs of a website which has just been started, an existing average-sized blog or personal, small online shops with a few products, and personal or business websites. As and when the number of unique visits to your site exceeds 10,000 per month on a regular basis, you will have to upgrade your plan.

Key Features of StartUp Plan

  • Free Setup and Transfer
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Free Daily Backup
  • Unlimited Traffic, DBs and Emails
  • Free CloudFlare CDN

GrowBig

Regular price: $14.95/month
Current offer price: $7.95/month (45% discount)

This plan accommodates websites with heavy traffic or multiple average-sized websites and is best suited for those who want to host all of their sites under one account.

Key Features of GrowBig Plan

  • Priority for tickets
  • SuperCacher for making your website faster
  • 30 backup copies of websites
  • Unlimited Websites
  • Free SSL certificate for one year
  • Joomla and WordPress

GoGeek

Regular price: $29.95/month
Current offer price: $14.95/month (50% discount)

GoGeek plan is for websites that experience really heavy traffic or are resources intensive. This plan offers geeky server infrastructure and powerful machines.

Key Features of GoGeek Plan

  • Special server setup
  • Fewer users ensures more power and speed
  • PCI compliance for your e-shop
  • One-Click WordPress staging, Joomla and pre-installed Git

Siteground Cloud Hosting

#2: Cloud Hosting Packages

Entry: $60/month (CPU – 1 × 3.0GHz, Disk Space – 20GB, RAM – 2GB DDR3, Bandwidth – 5TB)
Business: $80/month (CPU – 2 × 3.0GHz, Disk Space – 40GB, RAM – 2GB DDR3, Bandwidth – 5TB)
Business Plus: $100/month (CPU – 2 × 3.0GHz, Disk Space – 60GB, RAM – 3GB DDR3, Bandwidth – 5TB)
Enterprise: $140/month (CPU – 4 × 3.0GHz, Disk Space – 80GB, RAM – 4GB DDR3, Bandwidth – 5TB)

Siteground Reseller Hosting

#3: Reseller Hosting Program

The reseller hosting program is for web developers and designers who want to maintain customers’ websites for a longer period. This program enables them to include reliable web hosting service as part of their offerings. To join this program, they need to order 5 reseller credits (1 credit is equal to 1 year hosting).

Siteground Dedicated Server

#4: Dedicated Servers

Entry Server: $229/month (CPU – Intel Xeon E3-1230, 3.20GHz; RAM – 4GB DDR3; HDD – 500GB SATA II; 5TB Bandwidth)
Power Server: $329/month (CPU – Intel Xeon E3-1270, 3.50GHz; RAM – 16GB DDR3; HDD – 1TB SATA II; 5TB Bandwidth)
Enterprise Server: $429/month (CPU – 2 × Intel Xeon E5-2620, 2GHz; RAM – 16GB DDR3; HDD – 4 × 500GB SATA III; 5TB Bandwidth)

SiteGround Pros

  • Integrates with Cloud
  • Performance and security
  • Automatic backups
  • Choice of server locations
  • Great support material
  • Excellent customer service

SiteGround Cons

  • Does not offer a great deal of storage or bandwidth
  • Month-to-month shared hosting plans not available
  • No Windows server

Final Thoughts

SiteGround offers great value for the money you pay. You can start with the basic package and experience their service. If you are not happy, you can exercise the 30-day money back option. They provide excellent customer services, solid security and tutorials to educate customers, making it the best option for new webmasters and small businesses.

 

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Acada Wordpress theme

Avada WordPress Theme Review

6 Nov , 2015,
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The most popular WordPress theme

Avada is by far the most popular WordPress theme after it was released in 2012. With sales of more than 175,000 licenses, it has quickly become an all-time hit. Actually, Avada cannot be classified as just a theme because it is a powerful design tool as well because you can build almost anything all by yourself without the help of a developer. Further, you are not required to have any coding skills to build sites. Avada’s multi-purpose feature helps you to create page templates and layouts that are unique and integrate them with third-party plugins.

Avada features

Key Features of Avada Theme

Fusion Page Builder

It helps you to build a page. You just have to drag and drop elements into the content area.

Fully Responsive

Avada is a very responsive theme. It adjusts to all sizes of screens. Irrespective of the number of containers or elements incorporated into the content space, the layout remains responsive.

Control Panel

You can customize a great deal of aspects using Avada control panel. The wide ranging options including general, background, typography, header, footer, styling, shortcodes styling, portfolio, blog, social share box and sharing links, slideshows, elastic slider, themefusion slider, contact, lightbox, sidebar, WooCommerce and custom CSS, backup and page options, among others.

Retina Ready

On Avada, images look great because of high-resolution, retina displays.

Shortcode Generator

You can generate shortcodes for anything using the Fusion shortcode generator.

Content Importer

This feature enables you to import content from various locations such as demo pages, posts, widgets, sliders and theme options.

WooCommerce and bbPress Compatible

Avada can be fully integrated with WooCommerce and bbPress.

E-commerce Compatible

This feature enables integration with WP Easy Cart and Easy Digital Downloads.

Unlimited Colors and Skins

It allows you to choose a dark or light skin and a range of colors when you design your website.

Slider Integration

Avada does not only come with the revolution slider, but also 2D/3D slider. In addition, it comes with a sleep slider. This enables your website to slide images along with captions.

Vector Font Icons

The theme icons such as social, slider and menu are all created using vector graphics so that they have a crispy appearance and load faster on devices.

Form Plugins

The theme comes with built-in contact form and supports premium Gravity Form and Contact Form 7.

Translation Ready

The built-in PO file enables Avada to be translated into a language of your choice. It is also compatible with qtranslate and WPML and supports RTL.

Pros Cons

Avada Pros

Fully customizable
Easy to use as you need to just drag and drop elements
Avada comes with a demo module
One-click installation
Comes with Slider Revolution and Layer Slider plugins
Powerful options
User friendly admin area
Video tutorials and large documentation
Excellent support

Avada Cons

The time required for the initial installation is higher
When installing a specific demo, dummy pictures and content also get added, which will have to be then removed manually

Final Thoughts

Overall, Avada is a value-for-money buy. The combination of simplicity and great functionalities accounts for its versatility. With the help of the documentation and video training material even beginners can create websites themselves. On the other hand, people with some amount of experience and serious website developers will greatly benefit from it.

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chrome_vs_firefox

Chrome Vs. Firefox – Best Web Browser

5 Nov , 2015,
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The battle between Chrome and Firefox

To the question, which is the better browser, Chrome or Firefox, many aspects such as design, browser speed, performance, interface, and several other factors have to be looked into. Whereas Chrome is a closed-source browser built on the base of Chromium, Firefox is open-source browser software built by the Mozilla Foundation. Read on to find out the basic characteristics of both the browsers that have a bearing on their performances.

Memory Usage

For fresh starts, the chrome browser uses more memory than Firefox. This is because it has a separate process for implementing each tab. However, when the tabs are closed, Firefox takes longer to release memory than Chrome. The Firefox 3 version has improved memory release techniques.

Whereas Mozilla uses 37 MB of hard disk space, Chrome uses about 120 MB of hard drive space (it supports HTML 5).

Installation and Set Up

Installing either of the browsers is a simple job. Chrome can be installed when online with a single click. It requires that the user be connected to the Internet. Firefox can be installed offline. The file size at installation for Chrome is about 13 MB and for Firefox it is about 15 MB.

Start-up Time

As far as start-up time is concerned, Firefox starts quicker than Chrome. Both the browsers become slower when additional extensions are installed. This is because these extensions perform many jobs simultaneously.

Interface Design

The Firefox interface appears thus: It has a title bar, a navigation bar, tab bar, address box and tab box. In the case of Chrome, it has a tab bar, a navigator bar complete with navigation options, a title bar that is not visible in full-screen mode, settings button and an address bar. Whereas a user can fully customize elements’ appearance while using Firefox, Chrome does not have any such features for customization.

Security

Chrome employs many advanced features that contribute to its improved security. On Linux systems, Chrome organizes itself in a more secure manner than Firefox. On the Windows OS, Chrome does not have the capacity to save passwords in an encrypted form. Chrome has more sandboxing options than Firefox. Sandboxing refers to the ability of the browser to be able to build and maintain a contained environment to prevent malware and threats from infecting the computer on which they are running. Sandboxing helps to separate running programs effectively. Firefox is statistically seen to be more hacker-prone than Chrome. Firefox extensions have a larger number of security add-ons than Chrome.

Privacy Options

The biggest privacy concern when Chrome is used is whether Google collects data for target marketing purposes. Chrome has fewer options for privacy when compared to Firefox. Both Firefox and Chrome offer a private browsing method (incognito mode) whereby the history of the sites visited is not available to another individual that will use the same computer. This mode, however, does not offer increased privacy from other websites.

Wrapping up, users find Chrome to be more suited to applications that require interactive application websites. However, when it comes to adapting to graphics, users prefer other browsers. Firefox is an all-time favorite with users when it comes to customization and configuration of browser toolbars.

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