Powered by Blogger.
Posted in ,

Content Creation Tools to Develop Powerful Content

By now, it is no secret at all that content is king, and that emphasis is only poised to grow throughout 2015. In fact, a few years ago Google published a study which proved that the annual growth rate of content to be approximately 200% per year. With the astonishing growth in content that is produced, organizations scramble to generate unique, useful, and quality content at a rate that has never been seen before.
For many writers, it may be difficult to produce such vast amounts of content in a relatively short time span because writing requires much focus, talent, and discipline. On occasion, these reserves may begin to run dry for writers when pushed harder than what is considered average. It is not uncommon for writers and marketers to lack inspiration, ideas, and clarity around generating wow-worthy content. Thankfully, technology has provided creators a bevy of solutions to help us craft valuable and informative content across all mediums.
Here are several of today’s most powerful content creation tools to give your articles and videos some splash and spark even if your tank is running on empty.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generation Tool

For many writers and bloggers alike, topic development can be one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome when a piece is generated. Banish writer’s block from your vocabulary entirely with Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator Tool. This incredibly useful and easy to use engine provides users with a near endless supply of inspirations to choose from and topic ideas galore.
Simply plug in 3 nouns associated with the content desired to the topic generator and within seconds Hubspot will supply multiple topics for blog entries or article titles to expand upon. Understandably, this may not feel authentic to some writers to simply rip a headline to use from Hubspot’s Topic Generator, but this does provide for a substantial foundation for a brainstorming and idea generation session to take place. Play around with different combinations of words to see what various options Hubspot may produce.

The Hemingway Application

Now available in a desktop version, the Hemingway Editor App allows users to take writing techniques and the message conveyed to an entirely new level. Harness the style and simplicity of one of history’s greatest penmen with the implementation of this exquisite application.
The Hemingway Editor App works off of a streamlined grading system. Simply enter an article into the app and the Hemingway Editor will provide users with a grade to understand the level of readability for the written piece. In this process, paragraphs and sentences will be reviewed, analyzed and highlighted. If sections of the material are deemed too hard to read, worded in a passive voice, or too complex the app will highlight these portions which allows the writer to revise the work to flow in a manner that is more understandable and palatable to readers. This engine provides pay-to-use and free services for both mobile devices and desktops so your writing mentor is never inaccessible.


For many writers, it is nearly impossible to turn off the “internal editor”. As a rough draft is devised it is not uncommon for constant edits, adjustments, copying, and pasting to be a significant part of the process. Unfortunately, this typically makes for super slow production of a first rough draft. Many tend to forget that this initial draft is just that; rough. It is not supposed to be a refined and polished piece, just a means to quickly put down the ideas and words that are desired for the final product.
Enter the Ilys style of writing. Simply tell Ilys the minimum number of words that is to be produced for the piece and get to work. During the writing process users will not be able to edit, delete, or even see what is put down on the page until the word limit is reached. This may seem strange to some, but it is undoubtedly an extremely effective writing tool. By blocking out the “internal editor” a state of flow is achieved that allows writing freedom and unbounded expression. Truly unleash your creative juices and allow them to flow freely with this creative and effective writing platform.
These digital innovations have provided writers with various solutions to overcome any scenario or roadblock that would typically cause hours (if not days) of frustration and self-criticism. Stop banging your head against the keyboard out of anger from writer’s block and implement these fabulously useful and effective tools. There is no reason for the content you produce to not always be top notch. Do yourself a favor and check out these wonderful offerings to take your writing to the next level.
What writing tools have you utilized to boost your writing prowess? How has the implementation of these tools affected your writing either positively or negatively?
Posted in

5 SEO Tactics You Can Stop Using

Are you still using outdated, ineffective SEO strategies? I’m not talking about black hat SEO strategies that will destroy your site; I hope by this point most business owners have left those behind. I’m talking about strategies that used to be effective, and that many webmasters still do out of habit – but that don’t actually do anything to improve our rankings.

Stop wasting your time on strategies that are ineffective (at best) and harmful (at worst). This article will examine five strategies you can stop using immediately.

1. Targeting single keywords

It’s long past time to stop chasing after highly-competitive, highly-generalized keywords. The mindset used to be that more search traffic was always better – even if that traffic was largely irrelevant to your business or website. For instance, ranking for a keyword like ‘dogs’ would send you hundreds of thousands of visitors, but if your goal was to sell your dog training services, most visitors would be unlikely to convert.
Today, we’re much more concerned with driving highly-relevant, highly-targeted traffic. Visitors who are actually looking for what we offer and who are likely to buy what we’re selling. This is why it’s so important to focus on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail phrases are less popular and thus easier to rank for; and the best part is that they more closely match the intent of the user. For instance, using the example above, it would be far more lucrative to rank highly for ‘dog training Seattle’ than ‘dogs’, even though ranking for ‘dogs’ would send much more traffic. In 2015, it’s better to focus on the quality of the search traffic you’ll receive rather than the quantity.

2. Using keyword-rich anchor text

Using diverse yet descriptive anchor text is good; using the same anchor text again and again isn’t. Google needs to see a natural link profile, not one that’s been carefully planned and built solely as a means of ranking for certain keywords.
There are many legitimate online marketing activities that offer the opportunity to build links to your own site. Guest blogging (and any references you cite on your website) and author bios for guest-contributed content allow you to reference your business. Old, outdated wisdom says that you should use these opportunities to use keyword-rich anchor text to link back to your website to maximize search engine rankings.
In actuality, that tactic can backfire and earn you a Penguin algorithm penalty in Google. Instead, when building links to your site (whether internal or external), make sure to use natural, helpful anchor text that’s designed to maximize user experience; not search rankings. Use phrases that make sense to your readers and that give them a good idea of what they’ll find when they click on the link. I covered the different types of anchor text in my article, “How to Properly Include Links and Penguin-Safe Anchor Text in Your Guest Blogs.
There’s no magic formula for determining the best anchor text, but a good rule of thumb is to use whatever text would make most sense to your readers. Don’t choose anchor text based solely on which keywords you want to rank for; use descriptive text that conveys the subject of the target page.

3. Using press releases to improve your rankings

I’ve never been a fan of using press releases as a way to improve rankings, though I have explored the effectiveness of this tactic. The idea is to write a newsworthy press release and include links back to your site using keyword-rich anchor text. By submitting these PRs to various publications, you could build many links to your site, thereby increasing your search rankings.
While there are still valuable benefits to using press releases, Google has stated that press release links don’t have a positive impact on rankings.  And in my opinion, there are better ways to get real PR that not only help build links, but that also drive referral traffic and help build credibility for your brand. Responding to media queries using a site like HARO can get you mentioned in leading news outlets and websites, and net you real traffic and leads at the same time.

4. Guest blogging on irrelevant sites

Guest blogging solely as a way to build links is a thing of the past. Submitting guest posts to random sites – regardless of whether those sites are relevant to your audience – is not only a waste of time, it can be harmful to your site and brand as a whole; recall the cautionary tale of one site that allowed a single irrelevant guest post and got a sitewide penalty.
Guest blogging is still alive and well, but you must make sure the sites you choose to contribute to are high quality, and relevant to your business. Be careful not to over-optimize your anchor text (either in your post or your author bio), and include links to a variety of authoritative sources. For more guest blogging tips, see my article, How to Run a Successful Blogging Campaign After Penguin 2.0.

5. Submitting your site to Google for indexing

I’m always surprised when I hear SEOs or marketers still recommending that website owners submit their site to Google for indexing. While Google still has a site submission tool, it’s really not necessary to submit new sites; Google does a great job of finding new content all on its own, as long as it has inbound links from other sites.
If it’s been more than a week and your site still isn’t being indexed, you likely have bigger problems that need to be addressed. Make sure you’ve set up a Google Webmaster account, and that it’s connected to your site. Once logged in, go to ‘Google Index’ and ‘Index Status’ to see whether your site has been indexed. If it hasn’t, check your GWT inbox to see if there are any warnings that may tell you why.
Rather than wasting your time submitting your site to the search engines, create an XML sitemap to help Google crawl your site more efficiently. If you’re using WordPress, a free plugin like Google XML Sitemaps can help.
With limited time and resources, it’s important to focus on strategies that actually work. Instead of wasting time using old-fashioned, outdated SEO strategies, put extra effort into creating amazing content and engaging with your audience on social media. These are the strategies that will get you ahead in 2015.
Which outdated SEO strategies would you add to this list? Share below!
Posted in

9 Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Be Using

Are you looking for blogging tools that can enhance your blog, help with your marketing and help you focus?
We asked top bloggers to share their favorite tools.
In this article you’ll find 9 blogging tools to check out.

1: BuzzSumo

Search for a [domain.com] then sort the results by any of the provided social media network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus or total) to find your most popular blog posts.Use BuzzSumo for content brainstorming or to plan blogger email outreach and social media marketing campaigns. Here’s how you can search it and make the most of those searches!
buzzsumo app
Search [author:Author Name] to see what articles a particular author wrote recently and / or which of them did particularly well on social media. This comes in handy for doing an author audit. Or, if you’re looking to build some influence seeing what other prominent writers do can inspire you.
buzzsumo app
Search [shared:@user1,@user2] to see which links any Twitter account is sharing. If you use Twitter as your main trend-monitoring medium, this option allows you to monitor my favorite Twitter account with less clutter.
buzzsumo app
BuzzSumo also has some GREAT features to play with:
  • Create email alerts for any of your searches to help with reputation management and trend tracking.
  • Export results in an Excel file.
  • Limit results by recency. For example, find only recent results containing your brand name.
  • Filter results by type; interviews, articles, infographics, giveaways, videos.
BuzzSumo has lots of potential. Check it out.

2: Stay Focusd

The free StayFocusd app (available on Chrome only) is a must-have for any online blogger or marketer.
Stay Focusd lets you block out websites of your choice. You set how long you can spend on your blocked sites, and once you’ve used up that time, they’re inaccessible for the rest of the day.
stay focusd app
I personally use the ‘Blocked Sites’ option for Twitter and LinkedIn when I’m crunched for a deadline. You might choose to manage your viewing of Facebook, Pinterest or any other sites that tend to consume your day as a professional blogger.
You can also schedule your blocked and allowed sites by day. So, if you tend to blog on Mondays and Wednesdays, for example, you can program the app to block out your email as well as stop you from posting on Facebook, checking Twitter trends, reading Feedly, checking Disqus, even buying that gorgeous pair of shoes you just saw on Pinterest.
If you’re really struggling to finish your writing on time, and you’ve done all your online research, the app has a ‘Nuclear Option’ that treats your computer like a typewriter. It blocks out all websites except for those on your ‘allowed’ list; if you’re a blogger who uses Google Docs, this feature is helpful.

3: Add From Server

Do you often have to upload large audio files and video files via FTP (because they exceed the limit for uploading through the WordPress dashboard)?
This doesn’t normally create many headaches, but occasionally, it’s simply not possible to use a file without it being included in the Media Library. For instance, when you add a playlist to a post, there’s no option to insert a URL – only to use files in the Media Library.
create an audio playlist in wordpress
Enter Add From Server, which lets you simply import any files you’ve uploaded into the WordPress media library. It’s simple and intuitive to use, and definitely saved me some time and headaches when adding audio clips to client’s sites.
Once installed and activated, the plugin creates a new option under Settings, and one in the media upload window (when you’re adding a post / page) so you can easily get your files into WordPress.
audio playlists on add from server
The plugin has a 4.8 average star rating, and regularly receives 150 – 200 downloads per day. It solves a very specific problem and does it well. If you do a lot of large file uploading, you’re sure to find it helpful.

4: Easy Tweet Embed

Would you like to make it easier for readers to share your posts on Twitter?
With Easy Tweet Embed, you can easily create multiple pre-populated tweets in your blog post.
The pre-populated tweets make it easier for readers to retweet the posts.
example of prepopulated tweet
We take it up a notch by adding one point after another in our posts and have noticed readers tweet the same link multiple times using different points.
You can also use Easy Tweet Embed to reach and get the attention of influential users. On occasion, tag people and companies in your pre-populated tweets. When a reader tweets a point through Easy Tweet Embed, those people and companies will receive an @ mention.
Since installing Easy Tweet Embed on our blog at Post Planner, we’ve seen anincrease in traffic, retweets, engagement and followers.

5: Easy Pricing Tables

Easy Pricing Tables is an incredibly simple and effective solution if you want to sell memberships for premium content on your blog,
While the free version of Easy Pricing Tables lets you present different pricing options , the premium tables make it amazingly easy to customize column number, color and CSS.
The tables move when a user hovers over them and you can choose a “featured” level that will stand out, like Gold level in the image below.
easy pricing table on the nonprofit academy
The highlighted level is a different color and when you hover over its circle, a star pops up along with a description of the level’s benefits. You can watch them work here.
Apart from their ease of use, these dynamic tables are responsive enough to work on phone or mobile platforms. Give them a try!

6: Internet Archive

The site lets you store audio files at no charge. The upload process is easy to learn and navigate.Are you audio blogging or podcasting? If the sizes of your audio files exceed what you can store on Podomatic or Soundcloudwithout paying an additional monthly fee, I recommend Internet Archive.
uploading an audio file to internet archiveOnce the file is uploaded, you can easily embed the MP3 in a player on your blog.
embed code for an audio file on internet archive
Here’s an example:
If you’re looking for a cost-effective storage solution for your own blog’s audio files, give Internet Archive a try.

7: Namechk

Whether you (or your clients) opt to start your blog using your name, business name or an off-shoot of it is up to you. Well, to an extent. Before you launch any online presence for your business, make sure all social media accounts related to your name are available. That’s where Namechk.com comes in.
Namechk is the one-stop shop to check the availability of desired url names on all social media platforms at once. The site allows you to search 157 social media platforms, from which you can sort alphabetically or by popularity.
Namechk even lets you know if the domain name is available. If not, it’ll give you some similar domain options.
Type your website name in the search bar and Namechk will mark which social platforms have your name available and which are unavailable. It’s also a nice way to explore and discover some new platforms while you’re at it.
This tool is a major time-saver. If your blog name isn’t available, test out similar options related to the business, until you find one that suits your blog and your brand.
There’s also an iPad and iPhone app that’s easy to use.
Namechk is an easy search to help you come up with a name for your blog and social sites that will complement the existing brand.

8: Easelly

One of the new tools I use to make visual content for my blog is easel.ly.
Easel.ly has a lot of templates you can start with and each one is simple to modify. Just drag and drop the elements, add your text, and change the colors.
In today’s visual-focused world, the easier graphics are to make, the better and Easelly makes it easy!

9: Markdown Quicktags

Do you write blog posts outside of WordPress?
Maybe you compose your posts in Word, Pages or software such as Scrivener.
To move your posts into WordPress with automatic formatting, learn how to write posts using multi-markdown symbols and install the Markdown Quicktags plugin.
multimarkdown symbols in text
Just copy your text from your draft document, paste it into the ‘Text’ view of WordPress then click ‘Render’.
text view of wordpress article
The plugin converts your content to beautifully formatted copy in seconds.
text view of wordpress article
Writing posts in this way takes very little extra time and will saves your a ton of time when it comes to formatting posts in WordPress.
What do you think? Will any of these tools help make your blogging more effective? What tools can you recommend? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.
Posted in

12 Most Useful WordPress Custom Post Types Tutorials

Custom Post Types
WordPress allows you to create your own custom content types. These content types are called custom post types. You can use them to add custom content like products, reviews, recipes, etc. In this article, we will share the 12 most useful WordPress custom post types tutorials.

1. When Do You Need A Custom Post Type

Before you start creating custom post types or taxonomies on your WordPress site, it’s important to evaluate your needs. A lot of times you can achieve the same results with the default WordPress posts and pages.
With the help of built-in categories and tags, you can sort your content in many different ways. With pages you can set up a hierarchical layout of content with parent-child relationship.

2. Adding Icon for Custom Post Types

When you create a custom post type, WordPress uses the default post icon if no icon is provided. You can add your own icons to custom post types. These icons are displayed in your WordPress admin bar.
WordPress uses font icons in the admin area to ensure they look beautiful on all devices and screen sizes. The easiest way to add a font icon to your custom post type is by using the CPT Custom Icon plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and visit the plugin’s settings page to add an icon.
Adding a custom post type icon
Another method is to add the icon while you are creating your Custom Post Type with CPT UI plugin.

3. Creating a Custom Post Types Archive Page

Adding custom post types in WordPress has become very easy thanks to the CPT UI plugin. However, many beginners have trouble displaying their custom post types on their websites.
To add custom post type archive page, first you need to make sure that archives are enabled for your custom post type. In most cases, they are but if not then you will need to enable them. CPT UI plugin has a checkbox under advanced options to enable archives.
Enable Archive for CPT
Now if you are using pretty permalinks, then you can access custom post type archives page by visiting a URL like this:
Replace example.com with your own domain name and products with your custom post type name. If you cannot see your custom post type, then visit Settings » Permalinks and click on the save changes button. This will update your permalink structure, and you should now be able to see your custom post type archive page.
Adding custom post type archive page to navigation menu in WordPressYou can also add a menu item to your custom post type in navigation menus. Simply go to Appearance » Menus and click on the ‘Custom Link’ tab. Next, add your custom post type name and URL.

4. RSS Feeds for Custom Post Types

WordPress comes with a built-in RSS generator for all content types, taxonomies, authors, and date based archives. It uses a proper URL structure that queries the database and generates the RSS feed you want to see.
For example, to see the RSS feed of your custom post type ‘movies’ you will add this URL:

5. Adding Custom Post Types to Your Main RSS Feed

By default, WordPress only includes your blog posts in your site’s main RSS feed. This means that your custom post type content is not visible to your main RSS feed subscribers.
You can easily include your custom post types into your main RSS feed by adding the following code to your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific WordPress plugin.
1function myfeed_request($qv) {
2    if (isset($qv['feed']) && !isset($qv['post_type']))
3        $qv['post_type'] = array('post''books''movies');
4    return $qv;
Replace books and movies with your own custom post types.

6. Search Form for Custom Post Types

Advanced Search Form
The default WordPress search feature is very limited. Specially if you are using custom post types on your WordPress site. You can add a custom Google Search form to your WordPress site, but even that form doesn’t allow users to select search parameters.
Another solution is to use a plugin like SearchWP which allows you to create advanced search forms and is capable of searching through all custom post types, taxonomies, and custom fields.
If you would rather prefer to build your own custom search form, then here is what you need to do. First add your custom post types hidden fields in the search form by adding this code in searchform.php file of your child theme.
1<input type="hidden" name="post_type[]" value="articles" />
2<input type="hidden" name="post_type[]" value="post" />
3<input type="hidden" name="post_type[]" value="videos" />
4<input type="hidden" name="post_type[]" value="books" /> 
This code simply adds hidden fields for your custom post types, replace value with your own custom post types. The next step is to tell WordPress what to do with these fields. Add this code before the loop in your theme’s search.php file:
01<form role="search" method="get" id="searchform" action="<?php echo home_url( '/' ); ?>">
02<input type="text" name="s" id="s" <?php if(is_search()) { ?>value="<?php the_search_query(); ?>" <?php } else { ?>value="Enter keywords &hellip;"onfocus="if(this.value==this.defaultValue)this.value='';"onblur="if(this.value=='')this.value=this.defaultValue;"<?php } ?> /><br />
04<?php $query_types = get_query_var('post_type'); ?>
06<input type="checkbox" name="post_type[]" value="articles" <?php if (in_array('articles'$query_types)) { echo'checked="checked"'; } ?> /><label>Articles</label>
07<input type="checkbox" name="post_type[]" value="post" <?php if(in_array('post'$query_types)) { echo 'checked="checked"'; } ?> /><label>Blog</label>
08<input type="checkbox" name="post_type[]" value="books" <?phpif (in_array('books'$query_types)) { echo'checked="checked"'; } ?> /><label>Books</label>
09<input type="checkbox" name="post_type[]" value="videos" <?phpif (in_array('videos'$query_types)) { echo'checked="checked"'; } ?> /><label>Videos</label>
11<input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" />

7. Adding Sticky Posts for Custom Post Types

Sticky posts is a feature in WordPress which allows you to add featured posts. By default it only works for blog posts.
You can enable it for your custom post types as well by installing and activating theSticky Custom Post Types plugin. Upon activation, go to Settings » Reading and scroll down to the section Sticky Custom Post Types.
Next, you need to choose the custom post types where you want Stick This option to be enabled.

8. Disable Disqus on Custom Post Types

If you are using Disqus commenting system in WordPress, then you will notice that your Disqus comment box will start appearing on all your custom post types. If you do not want users to comment on these custom post types, then you will need to manually disable Disqus for selective post types. Simply add this code snippet into your theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific plugin.
1add_filter( 'comments_template' 'wpb_block_disqus', 1 );
2function wpb_block_disqus($file) {
3if 'custom_post_type_name' == get_post_type() )
5return $file;
Don’t forget to replace custom_post_type_name with your own custom post type name. 

9. Adding User Submitted Content in Custom Post Types

Sometimes you may want to allow users to submit content for custom post types on your site. For example, movie reviews, recipes, etc.
One way to do this is by giving users access to your WordPress admin area and assigning them author user role. But if you don’t want that, then there is another way.
You will need Gravity Forms plugin for that. It enables you to add a public content submission form that your website visitors can use.
After installing Gravity Forms, you will need to install and activate Gravity Forms + Custom Post Types plugin as well.
Now create a new form, and you will notice that there will be an option to map each field to your custom post types. 

10. Switch or Convert Custom Post Types

You may come across situations where you will have to merge or convert custom post types. You may also want to move items from one post type to another.
Simply install and activate the Post Type Switcher plugin. Upon activation, go toPosts » All Posts. If it is a custom post type, then go to the screen that shows all items in that post type.
Select the items or posts that you want to move, then click on quick edit link. You will notice a new drop down menu allowing you to change post type for that item.
Post Type Switcher

11. Using Custom Post Types as Taxonomies

Yes, you read that correctly, and you are probably thinking why use CPTs as taxonomies? Why not just create custom taxonomies? Let’s say that you have a custom post type for books and another custom post type for authors. Now you may want to associate authors with the books they have written. You can create a custom taxonomy for authors, but then you will have an authors taxonomy and a post type which only adds to the confusion.
Simply install and activate the CPT-onomies plugin. It allows you to build relationships between post types by using custom post types as taxonomy.
Using this plugin, the next time you add a book you can select the author as CPT-onomy and show all the books written by that author.

12. Custom Meta Boxes for Post Types

Custom meta boxes allow you to add custom fields into WordPress post editor screen. This way you can create additional input fields for your post types. The easiest way to create custom meta fields in WordPress is by using the Advanced Custom Fields plugin.
After installing the plugin, simply click on Custom Fields in WordPress admin bar and then click on Add New. Follow on screen instructions to create a group of custom fields you want to add to your custom post type.
Creating custom fields for post types
This is how the custom fields panel will appear on the post edit screen for your post type:
custom fields as displayed on a custom post type edit screen
You can display data entered into your custom fields by modifying your theme templates. For example, we would use <?php the_field('imdb_url'); ?>template tag to display IMDB URL custom field.
You can also use shortcode like [acf field="{$imdb_url}"] in your post types to display custom field data.
That’s all we hope this article helped you learn some cool tricks for custom post types in WordPress.