Month: May 2017

3 Ways Bloggers Can Eliminate Distractions and Kick Productivity Into High Gear

Nothing is more frustrating for a blogger than to be held captive by distractions. Unfortunately, the nature of the industry and the flexibility that comes with working remotely is often highly conducive to distractions. Figuring out how to deal with them can make a huge difference.

3 Ways to Beat Common Distractions

As humans, one of our innate weaknesses is our inability to focus on one single task for a long period of time. Evolutionarily speaking, things have gotten worse. You’ve probably heard the statistic that humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish. Yikes!

The good news is that you’ve also been blessed with a brain that can make choices and implement strategies for self-improvement. If you want to kick productivity into high gear and become a more efficient blogger, you must develop a plan for beating the common distractions that plague you on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions:

1. Ditch Your Smartphone

Your smartphone is a magnet for distraction. As soon as you see it light up or hear it buzz, you’re immediately drawn to it. Sometimes you just pick up your phone to see if a notification has appeared, even if you don’t see or hear any signs of an incoming message.

As a blogger who depends on long, uninterrupted periods of focus, the smartphone can be a death sentence. So here’s a contrarian idea: get rid of it. Nobody is suggesting that you go off the grid, but you could certainly benefit from replacing your smartphone with a more traditional flip phone.

Flip phones – such as the new Samsung Rugby 4 – don’t pose nearly the same level of distraction that today’s iPhones and Androids do with apps, social media, and the like. By using a flip phone during the workday, you can avoid unnecessary distractions. Give it a try and see what you think.

2. Find a Private Place to Work

It may be trendy to bring your laptop to the local coffee shop and spend your day pecking away at your keyboard while a barista brings you a never ending supply of caramel lattes, but public spaces aren’t ideal places to work on a regular basis.

Coffee shops, malls, and even public libraries can be very distracting. They’re great for an occasional change of scenery, but you need a private place to work. Your house or apartment is a good start, but distractions can be present here, too. What you really require is a dedicated room in your home where you can shut the door and be alone.

3. Log Out of Your Email Account

Just like your smartphone, email can be a big distraction. Every time you see an email notification pop up on your desktop, you click it and see what’s going on. Without realizing it in the moment, you’re killing your train of thought.

In order to combat the constant ringing and dinging of your email inbox, go ahead and log out. Instead of being constantly logged in, schedule time in your daily planner to check and respond to email. This might be a 20-minute block in the morning and afternoon. Outside of these blocks, you stay logged out. As a result, you don’t have to deal with going back and forth from writing to checking emails (the vast majority of which aren’t time sensitive).

Don’t Let Distractions Rule Your Day

Distractions can derail you as a blogger – if you let them. Talk to the most successful bloggers in your industry and you’ll discover that they’re masters at time management. They know how to set themselves up for success and rarely fall victim to costly distractions. If you can learn how to do the same, success will become much more attainable.

Original post: 3 Ways Bloggers Can Eliminate Distractions and Kick Productivity Into High Gear

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The Best CMS Brands For Small Businesses

Every small business owner trying to establish his or her business online will require the use of a CMS program, regardless of whether it is open source or not. CMS (content management system) will allow you to have full control of your website. The ideal CMS should be easy to use, should have the features you need to add images, video, social media integration and so on. Below you will find 5 heavy contenders in this category. The selection is based on the List of Best CMS Platforms in 2017 post:

#1: WordPress

This is probably the most popular CMS for small businesses. Marketing seems to be the main strength of WordPress. It is a self-hosted open source CMS that you can install on your own host without any issues. WordPress started as an ordinary blogging platform, but provides hundreds of free and premium plugins today that can perform virtually anything. You don’t need any HTML programming language with WordPress and it works with any browser. WordPress is completely free, except for premium themes and plugins that require some little investment.

#2: Concrete 5

Concrete 5 is another CMS for small businesses, known for its ability to provide easy content editing. If your small business has heavy contents or numerous pages with lots of static information, Concrete 5 may be the ideal CMS for you because it provides an easy platform for frequent changes or additions. This is a completely free open source CMS that comes with a tweak of design for easy content management.

#3: Joomla

Joomla is best known for its content customization capabilities. Different users can customize their Joomla platform, and it can be difficult to establish if two users are working on Joomla when they are actually using Joomla – customization transform small business platforms for a unique experience. If your website has lots of contents with numerous YouTube videos, Joomla may be the best option for you because of its settings and tweaking capabilities.

#4: Drupal

Drupal is best known for its excellent security features, hence small business owners who need more than a platform to blog, can rely on Drupal for ultimate protection against hacks, malware and some other security threats. Drupal is similar to Joomla in so many ways, but it is more flexible and secured. Most of its plugins and customizable themes are also free, like many other open source. Drupal also comes with numerous paid plugins that provide even richer user experience.

#5: Textpattern

Textpattern is best known for its simplicity and lots of flexibilities. This CMS can be described as a hybrid between Drupal and Concrete 5 because it shares so many features with them. This CMS is very easy to install, however, it requires that you deploy numerous tools for tweaking and customization. You may want to start by creating your own design, before you add your content but that is if you understand codes and programming. If you want to save yourself time and energy, you may want to use the pre- design templates from Textpattern because they come with embedded codes that will simplify your job.

You need to understand your needs first before you go for an ideal open source CMS , and if you can invest a little extra in those close source CMS , you will definitely keep the reward of having more plugins, templates, and themes to use for your small business.

Original post: The Best CMS Brands For Small Businesses

4 Reasons People Don’t Want to Read Your Blog

You can spend hours writing new posts for your blog every single day, but that time doesn’t always translate into readers. If nobody is reading your blog, it’s time to be honest with yourself and get to the heart of the issue. Why is nobody reading your blog, and what can you do to change this?

4 Reasons People Don’t Read Your Blog

If you planted a garden and nothing grew, you’d do a little research to find out why. You’d test the soil, talk with other local gardeners, and look for practical ways you could improve your results during the next planting season.

If you had a retail store and the daily number of customers averaged just 25, compared to 100 the year before, you’d dig to find out what happened. You’d look at both internal and external factors in an attempt to understand and fix the underlying problems.

So if your blog isn’t attracting any readers, it stands to reason that you should find out why. In almost every case, you’ll discover that one or more of the following factors are involved.

1. Lack of Interest

It doesn’t matter if it’s a convenience store or a blog, you can’t be successful if customers aren’t interested in what you’re offering. This is something millionaire entrepreneur Sam Ovens learned early on in his career after multiple failed businesses.

“The big lesson is that you have to sell something that the market actually wants,” Ovens says. “It was painful. But I am glad that it did happen because it really laid the foundation for my success today.”

Are people interested in the topics you’re writing about? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” then something probably needs to change. Do your research and find out exactly what it is that your audience wants to engage with.

2. No SEO Optimization

The search engines must be able to find you in order to present your URLs in their search results. But once again, this is an area where you have to be proactive. While the old days of keyword stuffing are gone, SEO is still very much alive. Today, the best SEO strategies involve publishing relevant content and building links to your pages on high authority websites.

3. Very Little Promotion

More than 2 million blog posts are written and published every day. That means, over the course of a calendar year, roughly 730 million new pieces of content are introduced to internet users. If you’re publishing blog posts without any promotion, the chances of your blog posts being found amid a sea of other posts are slim to none.

Blog promotion plays a major role in getting people to read your blog. You need to be pushing blog posts via social media, building your brand, and connecting with others in your niche. Guest blogging can go a long way towards getting your name (and therefore your blog) in front of people.

4. Poor Writing

No blogger wants to think about this, but is it possible that you simply aren’t a good writer? There’s more to developing a quality blog post than grabbing your keyboard and rambling on until you reach a certain number of words. By improving your writing skills or hiring talented bloggers to develop content, you may see a drastic improvement.

Give Your Blog a Facelift

Do any of the problems outlined in this article sound familiar? While it’s tough to admit that nobody is reading your blog, it’s time to be honest with yourself. By recognizing the underlying issues and making a commitment to overcome them, you should see a noticeable improvement right away.

Original post: 4 Reasons People Don’t Want to Read Your Blog

5 Ways to Make Your Website More Professional

Getting started online is pretty easy. All it takes is a domain name (which costs $10), web hosting (which costs $5 monthly or so) and a content management system like WordPress (which is free). That is why we have million of websites today.

What if you want to grow the audience of your site, transform it into a business, or use it to promote your exiting projects? In this case you will probably need to up your game and make your website look and feel more professional. Below you will find 5 tips for that purpose.

1. Get Fast Web Hosting

While shared web hosting is totally fine for getting started, as soon as you have larger goals for you site, you should consider getting an upgrade. With a shared hosting plan your site will probably be a bit slow, and it might go down occasionally, when other users on your shared server to something wrong. Both of these facts will negatively affect your Google rankings.

The first upgrade you should consider is getting a VPS, which is faster and more stable, and won’t cost a fortune. It is possible to get decent VPS plans for $30 per month or so.

2. Get a Professional Web Design

Getting a professional website design is paramount. Visitors will usually take only a couple of seconds to decide whether or not they want to stay on your site after visiting it for the first time, and the design and layout will directly impact that decision.

It is important to develop a brand, so pay attention to your logo design, colors, typography and so on.

3. Hire A Professional Writer/Editor

Your content is just as important. Even if people like your design, they will just leave your website if the content is boring, not useful or full of grammatical mistakes.

Hiring professional writers and editors is very easy these days, and it can also be affordable if you look in the right places. Sites like Freelancer.com and Upwork.com, for instance, allow you to post a job and get quotes from hundreds of writers from around the world.

4. Optimize for Mobile Devices

The world is mobile today. The vast majority of sites already get more visitors from mobile devices than from desktop ones. This means that your site needs to be optimized for smartphones and tables.

Google offers a very useful tool you can use to test how mobile friendly your website is. After running the tool, identify the key problems you have and make sure to fix them!

5. List Your Contact Information

Have you noticed how shady and amateur websites almost never have contact information available? On the other hand, have you noticed how business and established sites have a lot of contact information (e.g., phone numbers, address, email, social media accounts, etc)?

Guess what, providing contact information is one of the easiest methods you have to make your website look more professional, so why not do it?

Original post: 5 Ways to Make Your Website More Professional

5 Sites Rocking a .ART Domain

As you probably know, a couple of years ago sponsored top level domains became available. Companies and institutions around the world could purchase and run a top level extension like .google, .club, .pizza and so on. Today we have more than 800 top level domains available, with 2000 or so in the waiting list. Some of these extensions represent a very good opportunity for site owners who can’t find a good .com domain available. We will start running a column featuring the best sponsored top level domains, and examples of successful sites using them.

The first extension we will be covering is the .ART, which is an excellent option for any art related website. Here are the websites:

1. lovewatts.art

Jordan ‘Watts’ Watson, a prominent and controversial urban art authority with over 1,3 million followers on Instagram has never previously owned a website. He chose http://www.lovewatts.art as his official web address, where he showcases his collaborations, sells products and refers other artists.

2. ShantellMartin.art

Shantell Martin is a young British visual artist, whose work explores new models and technologies that are transforming the way art is made and consumed. Her characteristic black and white compositions were reflcted in the design of the webpage.

3. shenwei.art

Hailed as “one of the great artists of our time” (The Washington Times), choreographer, painter, and director Shen Wei is internationally renowned for the breadth and scope of his artistic vision. His website has a concise and clean layout, where the visitor is not distracted from the greatness of the visuals themselves.

4. mai.art

The Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) explores, supports, and presents performance. MAI encourages collaboration between the arts, science, and the humanities. The website is a sort of vessel, holding the legacy of Marina Abramovic online. The website if full of never-ending videos and photographs, which dominate visual space in accordance with its creator’s aim of having a significant and dedicated online presence.

5. fitzandco.art

FITZ & CO is the leading global strategy firm in communications, integrated marketing, social media, audience engagement and events in the art world. Adopting a .ART domain name represents the company’s forward-looking entrepreneurial attitude and openness to innovation.

Original post: 5 Sites Rocking a .ART Domain