Social Media: How to manage your social media profiles

The social media can be a very productive platform when used well within a clearly laid out marketing strategy. Unfortunately, managing different social media platforms and profiles is always a challenge for a majority of business owners. It can be distracting, time wasting and a tad too much for anyone if one is not careful.

The question is; how can one have different social media profiles and keep up with all of them without getting distracted or side-tracked? Fortunately, the answer comes in the form of simple tools that help you manage your social media profiles with ease, even automating some of the tasks.

The best among these tools allow you to do more than just one aspect of your social media profile management. They help with consolidating your social media activities within one platform, while also allowing you to automate and auto-schedule posting on such platforms.

These tools allow you to monitor multiple social media profiles within one interface, view, post and reply to your newsfeed, posts and comments, and also help schedule future posts to your different social media platforms at set dates and times. They also help you monitor the multiple profiles on a variety of devices, from desktops to web-based apps and mobile devices. Below are some of these cool tools that you can start using today.

The 3 Top Tools You Can Use To manage Your Social Media Profiles

Sprout Social

This tool, found at sproutsocial.com, gives you the ability to monitor your Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. At the same time, it allows you to connect your Feedly account such that you have the capability of viewing and sharing articles directly from within it.

This tool, whose pricing starts at only $59/month, comes with a web-based app, a mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android, and a bookmarklet to help you share any web pages as you browse the web.

With Sprout Social, you will be able to see and reply to comments, read your news feeds, track keyword mentions, and even schedule posts, among other capabilities. It even allows you to assign tasks to your team members, with an easy to integrate process for both UserVoice and Zendesk.

 

HootSuite

Found at HootSuite.com, this tool allows you to manage and monitor your social media profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare and Google+, among many others. Starting a $0 for management of up to 3 accounts, and expandable to management of up to 50 social profiles for only $9/month, this tool is a must have for any business that wants to easy their social media management activities.

It gives you control over your social media accounts, allowing you to view newsfeeds, reply to comments and messages, track keyword mentions, and schedule posts.

And just like Sprout Social, HootSuite has a mobile app for Android, iPad and iPhone, plus browser extensions that allow you to share web pages while browsing the web using Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers.

TweetDeck

This free tool allows you to manage an unlimited number of twitter social media profiles. It allows you to schedule tweets, read your news feed, reply to comments and messages and more. You can get this tool as a web-based app, a downloadable desktop app, or a Google Chrome app.

Please be advised that these are just a few of the many awesome tools out there that can help you with the management of your social media profiles. They are among the best to use and are a guaranteed way of helping you become more creative and productive with your social media activities.

Besides the time saving aspect that these tools bring about, they also help reduce the human resource load, social media marketing costs and the omission errors that may arise when you have to regularly log in to different social media accounts to post and update them.

Remember, as much as you may use these tools, you need to also have a plan and social media strategy to allow you to harvest the maximum benefits from the use of these tools. Therefore, talk to a social media expert and work out a social media strategy that will improve your brand visibility and save you on time and money. This way, you will have an expert opinion and advice that will match your specific business needs, allowing you to come up with the best strategy for your social media marketing, while also allowing you to choose the most fitting social media profiles management tools.

WordPress Image Watermark Plugin Review

So I run a blog with many contributing authors, and rather than have each of my authors have to watermark product review pics before they upload to WordPress, I wanted to see if I can save some time and have my site do the watermarking automatically as images were uploaded.

Well, after testing a few plugins I found that Image Watermark which is free for WordPress gets the job done and is a fantastic plugin.

All you do is search for and install Image Watermark in the WordPress Plugin Gallery. https://wordpress.org/plugins/image-watermark/

After you activate the plugin, simply go into Settings > Watermark to start configuring it.

Once you are in the Image Watermark settings you configure the settings you want which include enabling auto watermarking, manual watermarking images in the media gallery, watermarking specific image sizes (but not thumbnails for example).

 

You can also enable front end image uploading as well as deactivate all database settings on plugin deactivation.  You choose where to place the watermark on your image.

Then you upload the image and choose the size, manual scaling, and transparency which you will have to play around with to get the right transparency you are looking for to where it is clearly visible but doesn’t distract or block too much of the image you are watermarking.  For me about 30% was right.

It also gives you the ability to protect your images by disabling right click and drag and drop functionality if you need it to as well.

Now when you write an article in WordPress and you use the WordPress Add Media button and manually select an image to upload, it will automatically apply the watermark immediately.

This does cause a delay when uploading images, it will take quite a bit longer while you wait for the image to upload and be able to insert into post, but you can see the watermarked image immediately.

You can see from this test below, I don’t have enough transparency set for this image, the watermark is too visible.

2015-07-08 16.18.23Tweaking it a little bit by making it more transparent and moving it to top right corner. You can see it is a little more transparent, but still a bit too visible.

2015-07-08 16.18.16

 

One more try this time changing the scale slider as well, and this is just about right, though I could even make it more transparent and smaller and move it somewhere else too.  The trick is to figure out what works best as default, since you don’t want to have to go into the setting each and everytime you upload an image.

2015-07-08 16.18.16

 

Image Watermark was not compatible with Onepress Image Elevator off-hand when copying/pasting images from the clipboard but it haven’t tried front end loading yet.  But by and far it is a fantastic plugin for automatically adding watermarks to images that you upload to your WordPress site and the flexibility with the watermark is incredible.  This is ideal for multi-author sites where you aren’t the one always responsible for uploading media and need to make sure all your images are watermarked.

How to Extend Open Arms to a Guest Blogger?

It almost seems ironical that I am writing an article on guest blogging. Being a guest blogger myself, you cannot even begin to imagine how close guest blogging is to my heart. I do it regularly, as it is my passion and has eventually become a way of life for me. I simply cannot keep off it. It simply keeps growing on me.

Many readers would probably know what “Guest blogging” is. But just for the sake of educating unaware readers I shall define it once again. Guest blogging or guest posting means writing and getting published an article on someone else’s website or blog. That site or blog publishes that article after approving it.

Many sites offer and welcome guest posts for their websites. For a writer it is a great way of connecting with newer audiences and making a name for him or herself. For websites or a blogs, guest posting is a nice way to get their hands on high quality write-ups on their chosen topics, without doing the effort of writing it themselves.

Even Google considers guest posting as a perfectly legitimate way of getting high quality BackLinks. So in short guest posting is a niche for all, the writer, publisher and also the readers who get access to high quality content. Who more than me, shall know how websites approach writers like me through emails and make requests for guest posts? I have written for many and refused to some as well.

A writer is a kind of person who has mood swings and can be unpredictable at times as well. A pleasing guest post request can impress a writer and an offending one can leave him or her bitter for a considerable amount of time. After all a writer is a person with his own sense and sensibilities. If you are a website or a blog owner and need guest posts for your site, here’s how you should ask a writer for them.

6 Things You Should Not Do In Blogging

  1. Be Gentle and Polite

A thought can be conveyed to a person in different ways and different tones. But surprisingly, the tone of a sentence makes all the difference. An email going towards a writer should be polite and gentle. You certainly don’t need to beg, but just have to make a polite request. Avoid an arrogant tone. Remember that you are inviting a writer, not commanding him. If you manage to please him, he is sure to return the favour by not only accepting your request but by providing you with a good article.

  1. Flatter, if you can

Flattery is a common age old tactic for wooing people. Your writer cannot be immune to it. A writer being a creative person needs encouragement and motivation. If you can tell him/her that he/she has done a good job in the past and has good writing skills, then nothing more like it. It will surely motivate him/her in doing something even better for you. You however need to be careful of not piling on too much praises that could make him/her high headed. Excess of everything is bad, praises included.

  1. Tell about the rewards at stake

Remember that it’s all about convincing. Explain in detail to him/her the benefits involved in writing for your blog. Tell him/her the facts like the amount of user traffic on your site, the potential audience he/she might get and also the quality of the backlinks you shall provide. A writer gets totally convinced when totally sure that he/she will get a decent amount of views, reviews, tweets and re-tweets for the write-up.

  1. Spare no effort to explain the Title of the Topic

A writer might be professional, but still cannot penetrate into your mind to know, what exactly you want from him. If you can explain the topic in detail to your writer with a few precise emails before he/she begins writing, then it will save a lot of time and energy. Tell your writer about the word limit you want and the idea behind the post you require. If fully aware about the topic, the writer would be able to write the article effortlessly.

  1. Provide a decent time limit

Writing involves gathering your thoughts and concentrating on something you are going to write about. It takes time to be able to do so. Having strict deadlines for writers is never advisable. Allow your writer with a decent time limit for completing the write-up. Good work always takes time. Many writers when confronted with strict deadlines falter with their article in terms of missing important points or making silly grammatical mistakes.

Conclusion

Guest posting benefits everyone involved. Be it the writer, the blog owner or the readers. So follow these simple rules and make life easier for your guest blogger and for yourself the most. After all making friendship with a good writer comes with lifetime benefits.

Author Bio:

If you need Guest Blogging tips then Anna Brown is the right person. She has created a niche for herself by blog marketing for websites. She has numerous articles and short stories to her credit. Reach out to her on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook API Updates No More Auto Posting to Groups with Hootsuite

I have seen a lot of complaints from the blogging community and content marketers about the new Facebook updates which now prohibit API from posting directly to Facebook groups that you are not an owner of.  This means for all of those bloggers and Internet marketers that use Hootsuite RSS Feed Publishing or Gremln or other applications to remote post to mass groups on Facebook this is no longer an option.

In Hootsuite you can’t even find and add groups to your stream unless they are ones you are owner of or admin of in your profile any longer for example, and this is a big blow to Internet marketers who relied on these auto feeds to help spread links to content published across dozens of Facebook groups.

I leveraged this feature primarily only to post some giveaways that I personally run into several giveaway groups, and my fall back is now to post them manually which isn’t nearly as impactful as it is for most content marketers.

There is desktop software which can still achieve this since it doesn’t use the API, but at this time I don’t recommend and haven’t tested any desktop software to remote post to Facebook groups online.  The odd thing is even manual posting to these groups isn’t possible in Hootsuite anymore, it isn’t just RSS feed updates, so it somewhat means I have to break out of Hootsuite to post manually on Facebook for some things that I want to share with groups that I am not the owner of.  You can still post to LinkedIn groups however if you leverage those.

So having questions to fellow bloggers and marketers out there, what alternative strategies or methods for targeting Facebook groups are you employing now and does Facebook group broadcasting still have a future in your marketing strategies?

Latest Tutorial Top 15 Influencial Bloggers in 2015

 

Of course we all have our lists of bloggers we follow so it’s no surprise that I recognized many of the bloggers listed in the top 15 Influencal Bloggers that was posted over at Latest Tutorial.

Influential BloggersCourtesy of: Latest Tutorial

Who are some of your favorite influential bloggers, and did they make the top 15 list on Latest Tutorial this year?

Compress WordPress Images Free with WordPress Image Shrinker

Lately with EWWW Image Optimizer and WP Smush.it becoming subscription services it is harder to find a plugin that can help you compress a relatively small amount of image files and not hit you with a charge every single month.  Well there is a plugin called WordPress Image Shrinker which is relatively small with less than 1,000 downloads that directly ties into the TinyJPG service that allows you to compress 500 images per month at no cost, if you need to compress more than that you would simply pay TinyJPG themselves for the additional images, it doesn’t cost anything for the plugin.

To get started you install the WordPress Image Shrinker by HETNetworks, then you would simply click on the Image Shinker icon in your left bar of the dashboard and enter your TinyJPG API Key.

The cool thing about TinyJPG is you can get an account and start your 500 image compression without needing to enter a credit card, you only need to enter a credit card if you exceed the 500 image compresses per month, then it would simply bill you for any overages.

Once you get your TinyJPG API key you enter it in the Image Shrinker settings

Then you simply save changes.

Then you have the option to shrink all previous media in your WordPress media archive.  If you have a large and old blog this could be a lot of files, so you can just let it shrink all new images if you think you will instantly hit the 500 image limit for the free service.

WordPress Plugin URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-image-shrinker/

 

Is VPS Hosting the Right Solution for Your Website?

Hosting on a virtual private server is an option to be considered when looking for a hosting service for your website. By taking a look at the benefits of VPS hosting, you will be able to see whether or not it’s the right solution for you and your business.

A virtual private server provides more than you can expect from shared hosting and, in fact, it acts more like a dedicated server. VPS hosting uses a number of separate virtual servers which provide each user with dedicated resources of a server for their own personal use.

There is no sharing of resources with VPS. You get complete root access and more power for your website than is available from shared hosting.

Like a dedicated server, VPS hosting provides the amount of power necessary for sites that can attract a large number of visitors. You get a specific amount of CPU’s, RAM, disk space and your bandwidth requirements are not affected by other users of the same server.

Cost

In comparison to paying for a dedicated server, the price for using VPS hosting is considerably lower and you are not responsible for your own maintenance costs. All the costs are shared between a large numbers of VPS customers, so you are not expected to pay more for resources that you do not use. This, in turn, allows many companies to offer cheap Linux VPS to businesses both large and small. You can create quite powerful, but not expensive web server with it.

Security

You get a lot more security by having your own space on a virtual server because your section of the server is closed off to other users. Your site is therefore not as vulnerable to potential hackers, virus attacks or breaches of security.

Operating system

A VPS is constructed by software that simulates the same experience you would get by having your own dedicated server.

You have the ability to restart your VPS without affecting any other sites on the same physical server and another VPS users cannot bring your site down if their server suddenly crashes. Each virtual server is run on its own operating system, not on a shared system installed on the physical server.

Setup and upgrades

Setup is also easier with VPS than it is with a dedicated server. All you need to do to get started is to install some compatible software. There is nothing more to be assembled or any parts to be built.

When you need more space or want to use more resources for your site, an upgrade can be done easily and quickly. With VPS hosting you never have to wait for hardware to become available as you would with shared hosting or a dedicated server.

Tech support

With VPS you have access to customer support from your web hosting provider. If a problem arises or you have a tech question, you will usualy receive the support you need. This means that there is no need for you to employ or hire IT experts to maintain your site.

The right hosting solution

VPS hosting is designed as a solution for sites that are not big enough to require a dedicated server and are not suitable for shared hosting.

VPS hosting offers you more resources than you would get from a shared server and is a low cost alternative to having your own dedicated server.

Migrated WPCypher to InMotion Hosting

In testing out a new hosting provider for the first time in years, WPCypher.com has migrated to InMotion Hosting and I wanted to see how the SSD drives that come standard with hosting plans would do for performance.  I can tell you I decided to try the InMotion Web Hosting Web Site Transfer offer where you basically let the InMotion Hosting team move and migrate your website for you.  They do all the work of migrating all your files, database, plugins, themes…etc so that your site is cloned from your old hosting provider to your new hosting provider and they did this in less than 24 hours for my WPCypher.com site.

They do say it has a 2-4 day turnaround in normal but I was surprised at how fast the service was and it was flawless with all files/images, themes, plugins and everything completely intact and fully functional.  It saved me hours of work to just have InMotion migrate and transfer my site for me and I really think they did a fine job.  The only work you have to do is repoint the DNS for your old hosting so that it references InMotion Hosting for the hosting provider, then unassign the domain at your old web host.

The InMotion team sends you several emails including when they will start and not to make any changes, when they are finished and how you can test by modifying your hosts file to make sure all looks good before you cut your DNS over.

So far so good, and I have been very pleased with my first 24 hours of working with InMotion Hosting. The blog site seems more responsive when navigating in the menus though Google Insights score is about the same.  Pingdom tests showed minor improvement from former web host but it was about 1 second faster, though it is 5 seconds faster than it was in November.

Will continue with my review of InMotion Web Hosting and let readers know after several weeks and I finish transitioning my other smaller blogs to InMotion Hosting.

Change WordPress PHP version in .htaccess

Say your WordPress isn’t running the right version of PHP despite having it set in your PHP Config in CPanel. You can easily override the PHP version that is being used with an update to .htaccess and all you have to do is edit the .htacccess file for the root of your WordPress install.

Near the top of the file, next to other AddHandler statements if there are any, just add:

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php54 .php

If you want to force WordPress to use PHP 5.4, note if you see any similar lines that refererence PHP 5.2 you can simply change those, or sometimes commenting them out will force the WP install to use the one set in PHP Config in Cpanel.

If you see this one:

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5s .php

Replace with AddHandler application/x-httpd-php54 .php for example.

 


	

WordPress Plugin: Display PHP Version

Sometimes your PHP version for your WordPress site may not be what you think it should be and this is despite the PHP version you have selected in your PHP Config in your Cpanel of your web hosting provider.  I ran into this just this past week, where I was testing the new version of the EasyAzon plugin and it didn’t work for 1 of my WordPress blogs.  This was despite it working fine on 4 other blogs on the same shared hosting plan.  So 4 of the blogs worked fine, and looking at PHP Config you saw that PHP 5.4 (Single php.ini) was used which means every site should be sharing the same php.ini file that is in the public directory of the web host.

Well, the developers said it must be a PHP version issue, and I decided to test out the Display PHP Version plugin for WordPress which is free and recommended.  This plugin simply modifies your WordPress dashboard so you see the PHP version under your normal status area.

It is easy to install, just click on Plugins -> Add New and search for Display PHP Version, the plugin is made by David Gwyer and is current version 1.2 as of this writing.

After it is installed and activated, simply look at your WordPress dashboard and you will see Running PHP Version underneath your WordPress version and other stats.

4 of my sites showed the correct PHP version 5.4.34 was running, but on my one site that had trouble with EasyAzon it was stuck with PHP version 5.2 and I could not find the source of this anomaly.

There were no PHP overrides or statements in any config files or cron, that I could find so I ended up opening a support ticket.  This was a lesson though, if you are on a shared hosting provider solution and any hosting, there is a chance the PHP that the WordPress site is configured to is not the one that you have selected in PHP Config, so having a plugin like this that quickly just shows you PHP version can be handy and help with debugging problems or simply answering if you need to check plugin compatibility.