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WordPress is considered an easy to work with software. Yet, if you are a beginner you might need some help, or you might be looking for tweaks that do not come naturally even to more advanced users. SiteGround WordPress tutorial includes installation and theme change instructions, management of WordPress plugins, manual upgrade and backup creation, and more. If you are looking for a more rare setup or modification, you may visit SiteGround Knowledgebase.

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The Women of Social Media: Digital Influencer Study [Infographic]

By: Veronica Maria Jarski, Senior writer at MarketingProfs | April 20, 2013

According to recent data from Pew Research Center, online women use social networking sites in greater proportions than men do: 75% vs. 63%.

What are those women doing on their social networks? What are they discussing? How much influence do they wield? The answers to those questions can be found in the following infographic by global communications firm Weber Shandwick.

The firm partnered with KRC Research to conduct an online survey of 2,000 North American women. The resulting Digital Women Influencers intends to “to identify segments of women who are influential in social media and to provide new and unique insights about the female market as marketers and communicators evolve their strategies and plans in this new era of consumer engagement,” according to Weber Shandwick.

So, what did the study discover? Here are some highlights.

Some 86% of North American online women have a social media account/profile, with 2.2 accounts on average each. They favor Facebook: 81% of them are on Facebook.

And how much time are online women spending on social media? They spend an average of 12 hours per week using social media: nearly two hours a day!

Women of social media enjoy their online networks nearly as much as they enjoy live social activities, and they even enjoy it slightly more than dating or spending time with their significant other.

Moreover, 62% of women of social media like that social media lets them control who talks to them and who they talk to. And 24% of women in social media prefer to socialize through their social media networks more than they do in person.

Find out more survey results from the infographic:

Read more (Marketing Profs)

 

The Global 50: The World’s Largest Book Publishers

Pearson’s commitment to publishing allowed it to widen the company’s lead as the world’s largest book publisher in 2011. While Pearson, with holdings in both the trade and educational publishing segments, was able to increase its revenue last year, its closest rivals lost ground, according to Livres Hebdo/Publishers Weekly’s annual ranking of the world’s largest publishers. Second place Reed Elsevier, for example, saw its publishing sales fall as it had created a risk management division, which has no book-related sales.

Among other top 10 companies, Hachette Livre sales dipped due to spotty softness worldwide, including a small decline in the U.S. Grupo Planeta sales were also off in 2011, and with economic conditions worsening in Spain the publisher faces a difficult 2012. Softness in the school market resulted in a decline in sales at McGraw-Hill Education in 2011, but the company remained the largest U.S.-based book publisher.

Read More (Publishers Weekly)

 

10 Classic Books You Read in High School You Should Reread

By Kevin Smokler

It’s all too easy to look at the novels assigned to us as high school students as monuments or mist, to be worshiped or abandoned as we did our outfit to the junior prom. That either/or narrative matches both how we encounter these “great books” in education (as non-negotiable requirements) and an educator’s hope for our response (that their “greatness” changes our lives). That may be a whole lot no-shades-of-gray thinking on my part. As proof, I’ll accept a “meh” opinion on Moby-Dick or The Scarlet Letter from anyone assigned to write an essay on it as a teenager.

Is there a third way? Read More…

How much Should you Spend on SEO

seo-moneyBy Jayson DeMersMay 13th, 2013

Nearly every business today must decide how much to spend on search engine optimization (SEO). This isn’t an if question. Robust online marketing is imperative for survival in a web-driven world.

The question every business professional must ask is, “How much will we spend on SEO?” Keep reading for all the information you’ll need to make that decision, plus some helpful tips on how SEO agencies work so you can be successful as you forge a crucial partnership with an online marketing firm.

SEO Payment Models

To understand the dollars and cents discussed below, you must understand payment models used by agencies. SEO agencies typically offer four main forms of services and payment:

  • Monthly retainer: In this model, clients pay a set fee each month in exchange for an agreed-upon array of services. The monthly retainer is the most common payment model, because it provides the greatest ROI. Monthly retainer arrangements usually include regular analytics reports, on-site content improvements, press releases, link building, keyword research, and optimization.
  • Contract services at fixed prices: Nearly all SEO agencies sell contract services. Often, before a client is ready to engage a monthly retainer, they will select contract services that they want to have completed. The services that an SEO agency offers are often advertised on their site, along with a price. A typical example of this is an SEO website audit which can help determine existing strengths and weaknesses in the client’s online presence, competitive analysis, as well as keywords that have the highest potential to return positive ROI.
  • Project-based pricing: Project fees are similar to contract services with the exception that they are custom projects created specifically for a client. Pricing varies according to the project. For example, a local cupcake shop may ask an SEO agency to help them with their local online marketing. The client decides that they want the agency to establish their social media accounts. The cupcake business and the SEO agency will decide on the scope and cost of the project.
  • Hourly consulting: This familiar consulting model is an hourly fee in exchange for services or information.

Most SEO agencies use all of these payment models. Likewise, clients may work with an agency using more than one model. For example, a client may choose to enter into a monthly retainer, purchase a contract service, and engage in a special project with the agency, thus entering into three of the payment models.

Typical SEO Costs

So, what should you expect to pay? Here’s a survey of the range of the costs according to the payment models described above.

  • Monthly retainer: $750-5,000 per month. Within this range, the amount that a client pays depends on the size of their business and the extent of services provided by the agency. On the lower end of this spectrum are small SEO agencies that offer a limited range of services. On the upper range are businesses with greater needs working with full-service SEO agencies. Most businesses pay between $2,500 and $5,000 for a monthly retainer.
  • Contract services at fixed prices: price variable. Businesses that are just testing the waters in SEO usually choose a contract service as an entry point. Typical contract services include things like SEO copywriting ($0.15-$0.50/word), site content audit ($500-$7,500), link profile audit ($500-$7,500), and social media site setup ($500-$3,000).
  • Project-based pricing: price variable. Since there are a variety of projects, there is a wide range of prices. Most projects cost from $1,000 to $30,000.
  • Hourly consulting rate: $100-300/hr. SEO consultants, whether individuals or agencies, usually charge between $100 and $300 per hour.

(Some of these figures are taken from a 2011 SEOmoz survey of 500 consultants and agencies.)

Things You Should Be Suspicious of

Any discussion of SEO agencies and pricing isn’t complete without a few warnings. To help you guard against indiscriminate SEO agencies with unethical business practices, read and heed. Be suspicious of the following promises:

  • Guarantees. SEO firms generally can’t provide guarantees due to the constantly changing nature of the industry.
  • Instant results. True, some SEO tactics can get “instant results” by gaming the system. Be warned that these can hurt you in the long run. Instant results often involve SEO practices that are against webmaster guidelines put out by search engines. Invariably, Google seeks out these techniques and penalizes them, resulting in lost rankings that can take months to recover.
  • #1 spot on Google. If an agency promises you the number one spot on Google, it sounds great. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get it. However, it’s not something that a firm can promise to hand over to you.
  • Costs lower than $750/month. When it comes to SEO, you aren’t shopping for the lowest price; you’re seeking the best level of service. Be wary of rock bottom prices or “unbelievable deals.”
  • Shady link building services. Link building is a crucial part of SEO. You can’t have a highly-ranked site without inbound links. But there’s a dark side of link building. Link trust is gaining importance to appear high in the rankings. Before you enter into an arrangement with an SEO agency for link building services, ensure that their link building services are ethical, white label services. You may even wish to ask them where they may be able to gain links for a business in your industry.

Things to Keep in Mind

As you begin shopping for SEO agencies and making your decision, be mindful of the following points:

  • SEO takes time. A monthly retainer is best. Think of SEO as a long-term investment. Aggressive campaigns and major pushes may have their place, but the most enduring SEO results come from a long-term relationship. In SEW’s Mark Jackson wrote, “The real value of SEO efforts are, generally, not realized in the first month(s) of the effort.” It’s true. SEOs don’t wave a magic wand and get instant results. Instead, they perform extensive operations that will produce results months down the road.
  • SEO changes, and your rankings will change, too. The field is full of competitors, and rankings rise and fall with the changing of algorithms and the entrance of new competitors. One-and-done SEO tricks simply don’t work. It takes constant monitoring to keep your website ranking well and performing at top-notch levels.
  • Not all SEO services are created equal. Again, SEO isn’t about shopping around for the lowest prices. It’s about finding the finest agency you can. Look for an SEO agency that defines its scope of services, and takes the time to educate you.
  • SEO is important. Do it. The point of your website is to increase and/or improve your business. Unless people are finding your website, it’s not even worth having one. The smart thing is to pay what it takes to keep your site findable by the people who are looking.
  • Hiring an SEO agency is best. You may be thinking, “Can’t I just do this SEO thing on my own?” A tiny percentage of business owners or professionals have the skill and savvy to do their own SEO. Even so, comprehensive SEO takes way more time than most business owners can afford. Even an employee who “knows a lot about SEO,” will be hard-pressed to deliver the level of services and excellence found in a SEO agency. You’ll rarely come out on top if you try to go it alone, and you’ll never get the same level of ROI that you would with a competent SEO agency.

You Decide

For most businesses today, SEO is the highest ROI marketing effort. The benefits it provides exceed the value of other marketing approaches – direct mailing, broadcast advertising, online ads, etc.

No longer do businesses decide whether they need SEO services. Instead, they decide how much they’re going to spend. As long as they choose a quality SEO agency, their decision will lead to incredible amounts of revenue.

You can decide how much that’s worth to you.

Article taken from http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2267471/How-Much-Should-You-Spend-on-SEO-Services

Should you Smash Your Words?

By Aria Dunham

Writers every where are frustrated with the traditional publishing route and the ever-increasing gatekeepers to the almighty book in print. So, in desperation writers flooded e-publishing on Amazon, in hopes of having sales sky-rocket. The sad story for many indie e-published writers is that the stream of new books became a flood gate that burst open, and titles were covered by the wave faster than you can type tsunami.

Visit SmashwordsThe news on e-publishing and indie authors is that despite a dip in the number of self-published authors posted on Amazon, authors are not giving up the dream of seeing their words in print.  The latest increase in e-publications can be seen by Smashwords.

What is Smashwords anyway? Is it legitimate? Can it help new writers get the visibility that they long for?

According to a blog post dated Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 by the original Smashwords blog  Authors are being helped all around the world on the sale and publication of their books. You can review the details of their self-conducted study here.

To make the publishing process easier for writers, Smashwords has dedicated a few useful tools to their potential clients for free. One of which comes in a The Secrets to E-book Publishing Success.

Smashwords has also put together a small video for writers to help them understand how data drives sales. If you are interested in watching this video here’s the link.

Every coin has two sides. When I first heard of Smashwords, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical but mostly due to piracy issues related to content theft. But I had also heard some stories about the layout of books published on Smashwords.

Still…

Read More (Platform-Power.com)

 

Ian Punnett – How to Pray when You’re Pissed at God

By Aria Dunham

In April, I had the pleasure to interview Ian Punnett one day before the release of his book, “How to Pray when You’re Pissed at God”. 15799350

Of course, I had to ask him, “When was the last time he was [you were] pissed at God.”

“Fair question,” he replied, “considering that from an author’s standpoint, one would expect that they begin with themselves to write for others.”

I couldn’t agree more. It’s no small wonder that Ian’s book is rising to the top of Amazon’s reading list just 2 weeks after its release. Lots of people agree and as heads nod, pages are turning to figure out what to do about the growing anger that is infiltrating our society.

Just days before his book was placed on bookshelves every where, our nation experienced the Boston bombing, the Texas accidental explosion, and now the release of 3 women held captive in a home for over 10 years.  Discrimination against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and the break down of the American economy and family have lots of people pissed, at each other, at the world, and at God. In fact, what is starting to make more people angry is blame shifting to the general populace by claims that the judgment is from God due to loss of Christian principles and a Christian nation fallen asunder. Amidst the massive onslaught of crime and lack of fistshakingmorality rather than turn faces towards heaven in prayer, people like David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox Star Big Papi shake fists in the air threatening their own actions to protect peace and declare war against peace breakers. The face of heroism is that of Jason Collins and people who are not “religious” and lately the religious right is considered exceptionally wrong and books released placing God on trial -vs- humanity. 

Non Christians question Bible thumpers every where– “If God exists where is He?” and “If God is good, why does He allow so much evil? and “What about all that child abuse and divorce in your own Christian churches. Clean your own houses before telling me how God is going to protect people who don’t believe in Him on the street.”

Suddenly, Christians feel the heat and hostility rising as their right to religious freedom of expression made national headlines post Florida Atlantic University’s controversial suspension of a student –a Christian attending a secular institution refused to follow his professor’s lesson to step on a picture of Jesus. Now, Christians and people of faith are asking the same question, “Where is God?”

There is no stopping the unfortunate realities of tragedy in our world–the outcome is people feel angry, and not only do people feel angry…but they are pissed, and they are pissed at God.

For 10 years I’ve worked with Christian writers and pain is commonly used by Christian writers writing to connect with their audience. The belief is that pain brings  people TO God and by sharing painful experiences healing and hope are found. A wound that came from an experience can created a false belief, and eventually anger at God. Often the pain first lead to silence, and then the silence lead the person to words, and words became the place of expression to reach out and make connections to the world. Yet, what makes books of this nature difficult to sell is that they sound “preachy” and fail to connect on a deeper level. And in the words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for that!”  (Is it any wonder then that most new writers begin their first book as a self-published a memoir?)

“What can anyone do who is feeling pissed off during these times?” I asked him. The question has merit and now the hell’s heat is here without any grace for those who preach it in their churches.

The advice is applicable to any situation where powerful emotion is affecting your ability to be honest with yourself and honest with others.

Here is the advice Ian gave to our listeners.

prayerbible1. Prayer is not a force field around people. Bad things happen to all people and prayer doesn’t control the world.

2. Everyone struggles with anger but the answers must come from within. Pain is private and personal.

3. One of the biggest obstacles to that inner journey is honesty with self.

(Ian suggests that the first step any person who is angry to anyone is to decide whether or not there is a willingness to change. He shared that sometimes a person actually is comfortable with their anger because it promotes lack of forgiveness.)

4. Ian advices if you’re angry and pissed at God (or anyone else for that matter) then you might as well just say it because you are already thinking it, and He already knows it.

5. Anger dealt with leads to better health. Statistics show that people who pray live longer. Just get it out of  your system.

6. People of faith get angry just like people who don’t believe in God.

7. Most atheists are really protest atheists and will not pray at a God that they are angry with.

8. Prayer can work on all sorts of levels–privately and corporately. The type of prayer you begin with must start with you, but the point is to just start with honesty and admitting that you feel angry.

9.  The point isn’t whether or not your feelings are legitimate, the point is getting to a place of honesty with the Divine. God can handle anger, and can sort out what is the right thing to do. He doesn’t hold our anger against us, but instead the goal is authenticity in relationship with self and the Divine.

10. When things get weird we express the wrong things to the wrong person, and will also come out in our relationships with God.

11. It is scientifically true that any meditative state allows our body systems run better.

IanPunnettABOUT IAN PUNNETT is one of the hosts of Coast to Coast AM, a legendary radio show syndicated on almost 600 stations across North America and a deacon in The Episcopal Church who received his Masters of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When things really go wrong, what do you do with the feeling that God is to blame? A popular Coast to Coast radio host (and Episcopal clergy) provides some answers. In a first of its kind book, Ian Punnett provides a spiritual path for expressing your rawest emotions through prayer and how to rebuild a relationship with one’s higher power–or anybody else in your life.

In this important and practical book, Ian Punnett provides insight on   feeling anger and resentment toward God and offers advice on how to deal with the pain and blame that accompanies these emotions. In a book that is edgy, timely, funny and compassionate, Punnett presents real help in everyday language for transforming the negativity of anger into a positive and useful force that will ultimately help us pray more effectively, bring us closer to God, enhance our spiritual relationship, and change the way we live and love others.

After a divorce, a broken friendship, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or even the accumulation of all the tiny cracks in our spirit from life’s disappointments, it’s easy to feel pissed at God. When anger is left unchecked, it is harmful to  our minds, bodies and souls.

“How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God is not “the last word” on angry prayer,” Punnett writes, “but it might be the first words you have ever heard on the topic. By the end of the book, it is my hope that you’ll understand the role of anger in our lives, the benefit of honest prayer, and the need for honest, angry prayer in the lives of the faithful and faithless.”

Websites & Meta Tags

By Aria Dunham

Green Spider in Green Nature

Green Spider in Green Nature

You finally got that website up, and yet, like this young, green spider wait in the center of your cyber universe. Perhaps you need another line of information? Or another webpage? Or maybe it’s the graphics. Your web-world gets fancy, detailed, and in the light of day, the glory of your creation would look amazing to the viewer, if only someone would engage.


Banana Spider Hunting

Banana Spider Hunting

Suddenly a hit arrives and a comment!  You’ve been seen! You need this reader to survive and to help you let the world know you’re alive. They must know! In haste, you comment back, send a “Thank you for visiting my website” Offer to add them to the permanent reader roll and engage the life blood out of your reader and then when you post and post again, wonder what happened?– not realizing that all the attention made them feel like web-lunch.

What makes connection in social engagement is value and meaning, driven by the audience and reader, but compelled by the author of the content. You’ll know if the reader is engaged because they will share your post with others. These things happen when large numbers of readers visit your site, not just one, two or 30 readers.

How do you connect your web-world to that of readers that are interested in your content…and how to you lure them to your corner of the web when they just haven’t found you yet?

Social media is a numbers game and today’s web viewer has little time to expend on search engines. In fact, statistically, most searches are performed on Google and the most hits are made off of the first page and stop by page 3. The key to connectivity in social media is proper usage of “tags” and “meta-tags”. ID-cyberweb

This is a skill that is not easy to create without experience in the industry, but it can be done with intention.  The YouTube video “How to use Meta Tags to Rank Your Site to Page 1 of Search Engines” explains how to use meta-tags and they work to increase your website’s visibility.

If you’re not comfortable tackling meta-tags yourself and would like to receive a free consultation on how to increase traffic to your website, Aria Dunham Team can help you, contact Aria@AriaDunham.com or fill out this form to get more information.

Social Media Surf’s Up!

By Aria Dunham

Avoid social media’s undertow with our 3 Ride the Web Tips for writers. Because on the World-Wide-Web, it’s always summer.

Ride the Wave – #1

Build a strong online presence and use it to launch your publicity campaign.

Got Facebook? Are you tweeting on Twitter? Better be blogging! Pinning pics on PinTerest? Is your Author Web Page launched yet? Believe it or not, there are still authors who don’t even have an email address.

If you are reading this article, chances are you have started to establish your online activity. But to really pack the power into your platform, you need to get social on social media! Don’t have time to be social? Read The Death of Time and the Birth of Social Media article for helpful suggestions. Today’s author cant’ avoid being online any longer. In fact, it’s a big risk that can cost a writer that big book deal, and wipe out any publishing dreams.

With technology’s latest advances, there are lots of ways to integrate social media into daily living so that you can ease your presence into the web without losing all ID-kidboogyboardyour writing time.  Think of this as writer’s body surfing before you take on the big publishing wave. You’re touching water, but not diving in. Remember, both the big wave surfer and the writer with their foot in the water are getting their feet into the internet stream.

Create a list of what things you will do first and organize the list. Once you’ve completed a task, check it off and move on the next one. If you aren’t sure what is important to your social media, visit the website to one of your favorite authors to see what they are doing to build their platform. If you like what you see, then pay a compliment and follow the published leader. Success is always the best indicator of what works well in writing. My personal favorite webpage is James Patterson’s Official Author Page. At the bottom of his website he has a “Community” menu where readers can connect with his activities  on social media. The key to engagement on social media is making life easy for your audience. Be easy to socialize with and you’re social network will grow. The top social media sites that every author who’s serious about their platform is Facebook and Twitter.

Ride the Wave – #2

ID-wet feetOnce you’ve got your feet wet, you’re surf side ready. Hang 10 with the big dogs on the world-wide web with engagement. There are different ways to get your potential audience involved both online and on ground. The key is follow-up and follow through. If you meet someone face-to-face, follow-up with that person online. Remember that social media is about relationships and most people like to promote who they know personally.

On-line, it’s always good to get involved in GoodReads and pitch for online reviews, write blog posts, and share your latest highlights. But what’s socializing without a little give and take action? The law of “Ask and you will receive” works on the flip side, too.  Ask other writers and readers to let you do a GoodReads review on a book they’ve written; offer to write your reactions to blog posts that interest you and help a blogger build their presence into yours by doing so. Share a web page or two  and watch how much fun social media can be.

Off-line, if you’ve already self-published and have books to share and sell, do a book signing at a local coffee shop, or offer to share your personal story of how you came to be a writer with a reading club. Afterwards, follow-up with an email and invitation to subscribe to your blog, Facebook page, and share how the reading club can help you with a GoodReads Review. This is a great way to cross-network with small businesses in your community that will get the word out that you have a message to share.

Ride the Wave – #3

Use social media management tools to help control the amount of time you dedicate towards self-promotion. More important than the time saved is how some help measure the audience engagement. If a writer is online and no one knows, are they really online?

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