How to Launch Your First Online Course!

Are you ready to create a course but don’t know where to start? Follow this simple process and you will get your course done in no time flat! 

Step 1: Define your Marketing Position 

Ever heard the story that if you have a day to cut down a tree you should spend 7 hours sharpening your ax and one hour cutting down the tree? That is exactly what this step is!

Before getting started creating 300+ power point slides and 20 fillable PDFs, make sure you identify WHO your course is for and what result (transformation) they are going to get or achieve after taking your course. Here are some questions you should be able to answer:

  • Who is our target audience?
  • Who is not our audience?
  • What are their hopes, desires, dreams?
  • What are their fears, frustrations, & pain points?
  • What results do they want? What transformation will your course give them?
  • Who are your competitors? 
  • What have they tried and why hasn’t it worked?
  • How can you solve the problem better?

Answer these questions in detail and everything else you do will be easier.

Step 2: Map Out Your Modules 

The biggest mistake in course creation is trying to teach too much.  You are an expert in your area and you have a burning desire to help people so naturally you want to give them all of the information they need to be successful. Unfortunately this is a losing proposition. If you give away too much information and create a 25 hour course, most people will never finish watching all of the videos, and even less will take action.

You can solve this by giving away just enough information to keep it high level, and use weekly live coaching calls to fill in the gaps. (Which can also be recorded, transcribed, and uploaded as bonus content to your members area!) 

A good structure I have found, is this: 

  • A course has 6 modules of about one hour each. 
  • Each module has 6 lessons of about 10 minutes each.

That means that a course will have about 6 hours total of content and it will be laid out in an easy to consume format! 

What I have found that is also very helpful, is to write out a bullet point for each lesson in a “sales language” format so that I can use those bullet points on the sales page. 

Step 3: Write Your Sales Page 

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the next step is not to record your course, but to write your sales page. This will help you to further narrow down what you are going to be teaching and make sure that the course you have in mind is actually an appealing offer. 

After writing your sales page you can add it to your site, let people know that it is currently closed but they can join the wait list, and start capturing leads. This is a great way to also gauge interest for a course before you go to all the work of building it!

Step 4: Record Your First Module or Pre-Training Material 

You don’t make money in draft mode! Get your first module done or pre-training material ready and then get ready to sell! If you are doing this for the first time and will be doing live coaching calls as you move through your course, you are going to be able to customize your training for your students. Each week let them know what you are going to be teaching the next week and ask them what their biggest questions are related to that topic. Guess what! You now have your lessons mapped out for you! Take their questions and incorporate them into your lessons and your content will create itself. 

Step 5: Time to Sell

Don’t let that course sit on your virtual shelf too long. Once you have done steps 1-4, get busy selling! 

What questions do you have about course creation? Let me know in the comments below!

How Do I Get Traffic for a New Blog?

online traffic

Probably the trickiest part for any online business owner is getting targeted traffic to their sites.  This is more science than art and has spawned an industry all of its own.  Search engine optimization or SEO as it’s more affectionately referred to, is a major player in how you get targeted traffic to your sites or in this case, your blogs.

There are other promotional and marketing strategies that you can employ to get traffic, but it all starts with optimizing your blogs for SEO.  If you want your blog to be found, you have to optimize it for the search engines.

How much optimization you can perform on your blog depends once again on whether you’re using a hosted blog platform like Blogger.com or a standalone like WordPress.org.

A standalone platform like WordPress.org is the best way to go for SEO purposes.  There are no limits as to how you can customize your WordPress.org blog.  But because most beginners tend to use the hosted option, we’ll explore SEO tactics that everyone can benefit from.

Guest Blog Posting: One of the most effective ways to increase your blog traffic is by posting original content for other blogs related to your niche topic. But, as Matt Cutts said about guest blogging, finding these opportunities should  not be annoying for the blog owners. If you stand out as a trustable source, then people will gladly accept your articles for publishing. Look for popular blogs and check is they have guest posting guidelines and submit your content. Also, start building relationships with other bloggers in your niche, so they are more likely publish your content. When you guest post, you get to promote your website in a byline, so people who love your content will be interested in coming to your site for more.

online-reputation

Use Offline Promotional Methods – Get your blog’s URL printed on your business brochures, flyers, business cards, letter heads, envelopes, ads or anywhere else you advertise offline.  This is a great potential stream of new targeted readers.  You may consider advertising online too.

Add Your Blog’s URL To Outgoing Email – An often overlooked strategy but very effective. You never know, your recipient might be a potential customer.

Other Online Methods – Participate in social networking sites, online groups and forums to let them know about your business blog.  Because they share the same interest, they are bound to pay your blog a visit. Make use of marketing communities to spread the word about your blog. One of them is Social Buzz Club.

Branding the Blog: How to Choose THE Name for Your Blog

blog2

If you already own a website, you understand the significance of choosing a good domain name.  A good domain name not only enhances the branding of your business and makes it easy for your readers to share with others.

If your blog is going to play a significant role in your business, then spend some time choosing the right domain name for it.  People tend to remember memorable domain names that end with a dot com to spread it around easier.  You may consider using a free tool such as, DomainsBot.com to help in registering a good name.

check domain name

Try to keep it short and memorable. If the domain name is taken, then you can invent something catchy. Here are some examples of popular blogs with unique names:

Then choose a standalone blog platform like WordPress.org to stand a better chance of attracting heavy traffic to your blog on a regular basis.

How to Join the Brand Boosting Blogging Challenge

blogging challenge

Blogs create a face to your business that your customers can identify with and participate along.  It has become a valuable part of today’s consumer-generated media, giving consumers a platform to engage actively and participate in dialogs with key personnel within a company.

brand

Companies like General Motors, IBM, Boeing, and Microsoft have set up blogs to market their services or products because it is such a cost-effective way of communicating quickly with their prospects and customers.  By providing a blog for their customers to talk about their product, a company can easily find out what their customers really want and tailor their products accordingly.  The open-dialog between company and customer has dramatically cut costs and boosted revenue because companies are getting first-hand research information for next-to-nothing! It is the perfect instant feedback mechanism.

The ease in publishing a blog makes it a perfect marketing vehicle for any type of business.  Whether you work from home or are the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, blogs will make an ideal addition to your marketing strategy.

blog

Setting up a blog can take as little as five minutes (and that’s if you’re unsure of what you’re doing) and you are ready to publish your content.  It is that easy.  If you can send an e-mail, you are more than ready to start blogging. The real beauty of blogs lies in its simplicity.  It negates the tedious process of learning HTML, Web design or coding, otherwise needed to operate a functional website.   You can update a blog via any Internet connection, even updating it using a cell phone.

blog

Use the blog to:

  Provide value-added content

  Build a relationship with your readers

  Establish trust with your customers while gaining credibility

  Create awareness about your product offerings

 → Test ideas and research your market by getting your readers and customers to participate in discussions

If you discover that you enjoy blogging, then take the next step and try the 30-Day Blogging Challenge.

Who Uses Google+?

7-communityThe easy answer is that anyone who has a Gmail account is now automatically signed up for Google Plus. But, the truth is, it’s not that easy. Many people who have Google Plus accounts don’t use it, at least yet. There are 425 million Gmail users but only 343 million active Google Plus users. So, even though Google forces you to have a G+ account it doesn’t mean it’s being used.

So probably a better question is: Who Should Use Google+.

And the answer is: Anyone who wants to continue to return a high page rank on Google Search needs to be active with Google +.

In fact, some experts argue that getting in now while it’s not the most popular network is the best way to get started. You’ll have time to learn how to use Google Plus to get the best results before it’s as popular as Facebook. Because, frankly, Google Plus is harder to learn than Facebook. But, it’s only harder to learn because it has so many features and works so well with the multitude of other Google product offerings.

It’s actually set up better than Facebook, especially in terms of use for business owners, because while Facebook is a great social networking tool, it’s not created by and used by Google to help determine search results like Google Plus is. Yes, having a Facebook page helps with search results, but Google naturally places a higher importance on their own products. Anyway, Facebook is just now starting to get into the business aspects of social networking. While Google Plus seems to be a marketer’s dream come true.

By getting active now on Google Plus you’ll have a big opportunity to become a major influencer and force within the Google+ community. You’ll discover that unlike Facebook, you can actually communicate better with customers as your brand. Facebook actually makes it rather difficult to have two way interactions with your customers as your brand, putting a lot of limits on your activity as a business. Google Plus encourages interaction as a brand and as an individual.

 

Getting Started With Google Plus

8-plusIf you use Gmail or any Google products you’re basically already using Google+, but you may not realize it and you may not be using it to its full potential. Sign in to your Gmail account, and look at the black bar above the Google logo, search window, and your name. It has your name in the upper left with the + symbol beside it. Click it. This is your Google + page.

You can now highlight the little house on the left to activate a menu where you can see and edit your profile. You can also click the little down arrow beside your photo if one is showing, (if not, near where your photo will be when you upload one) to bring up a window that allows you to click Account so that you can edit your profile. It’s important that you do edit your profile, filling it out as completely as possible. Also upload a picture of yourself.

You can also add in other email addresses that you want associated with your Google+ account such as your business email address. You can also create links back to your business website, blog and other online real estate that you wish to highlight. Remember, as you create your profile to be aware of keywords, keyword phrases, and to ensure that you are found check your privacy settings. This is also where you will connect any devices, or other products and apps that you use to your Google+ account as well.

 

Managing and Adding People to Circles

Now that you have your account set up the way you want it, with a profile picture, cover page, and your profile filled out as completely as possible, be sure to verify all the email addresses you want associated with the account. Click Home. This is where your stream of content will live as well as where you can add people to your circles and share updates with your circles or the public.

9-add-circlesIf you click on People, you may be surprised to discover that several people may have already added you. You might have a message above some pictures that say “People to add back” this means they’ve added you to their circles and you can choose to add them or not add them. If you hover over Add, you’ll see a few circles that have already been created and a choice to create a new circle. You can add as many circles as you want. Think of circles as a way to segment your audience. You can have as many circles as you want so you can hyper segment your audience.

Go ahead and scroll through the people who have already added you and determine if you want to add them back or not and put them in the appropriate circles. Then look through the suggestions they have provided you. The suggestions are based on your interests as well as with whom you’ve already connected. You can also click on Find coworkers, Find classmates or use one of the Connect services which will enable you to add more people to more circles. You can also type a person’s name in the search window.

 

Participating Effectively

10-participateIt will take time for you to build up your circles but a really important part of building your reputation in any type of social media is to participate effectively. You want to create targeted content that is unique and not the same thing you’re putting everywhere else. Take advantage of the different products that Google offers, such as Google Hangouts and Google Communities.

Don’t just clone what you put on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.com to Google+. Be different and engaging. Keep in mind your circles and how you have segmented them. You don’t want to share all your content with everyone; pick and choose with whom to share information and knowledge based on whether or not you feel they would be interested.

Managing your circles and participating is a good way to get started. You don’t want to put off participating until you have a huge audience, you want to get in the habit of participating now, while your circles are small. Spend some time each day building your audience.

 

Growing Your Contacts

Potential clients and customers will be able to find you better if you are active on Google+. There are many ways to be active with Google+. Even the simple act of writing a blog post and then sharing it with your circles and the public can help you grow your contacts.

11-shareIn fact, anything you do on Google+ and all the related apps can bring your business attention. Watch an enlightening YouTube.com video? +1 it. Read someone else’s instructive blog post? +1 it. The trick is to optimize and enhance all your activity so that your customers can locate you.

 

Here are a few more ways to grow your contacts:

 

  • Interact With Others — Use the features on Google Plus to interact with others. Use Google Hangout, Google Events, Google Communities and other interactive features to communicate directly with others. Via communities you can have discussions with and get feedback from your customers.

 

  • Share Other People’s Content — It’s nice to +1 other people’s content, sharing it with various circles whom you believe will be interested in the content. They’ll do the same for you. People like to feel as if they’re dealing with real people and not robots.

 

  • Give Away Knowledge — Don’t be shy about your expertise. Freely help others when questions come up. You never know when you will help someone who wants to hire your or buy your products. If you establish yourself as an expert they will come to you.

 

  • Promote Your Content — Naturally, you should also promote your own content, but be careful. You don’t want to treat Google+ as another Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.com. You want to change up the content and make it super focused depending on which circles you plan to share it with.

 

  • Create a Business Profile — The first impression of your business on Google+ is your profile. You have a opportunity to create an awesome, optimized and complete profile that will promote your brand through text, images and links back to your site.

 

  • Personalize Your URL — A great way to personalize your Google+ URL is to go to http://gplus.to to create a shorter unique link that you can share with others. Add this link to your Google account profile links by clicking account / edit profile. Use the link elsewhere to get people to connect with you on Google+.

 

  • Mix Up The Content — Use a variety of different types o content on Google+. Try video, blog posts, direct posts, discussions and more. Try adding video to your profile to really up the ante. If you’ve given a presentation, that would be the perfect video to put on your profile.

 

  • Build Your Authority — Use Author Rank and Google Authorship to boost your authority. If you write for more than one blog or website it’s easy to get credit for it. Simply go to plus.google.com/authorship and get your author email addresses verified, then use, make sure you add the sites you contribute to on your Google+ profile and put the proper code into your website or blog as required. If you use WordPress there are a variety of plugins that you can get that will help you with this process.

 

  • Cross Link From Your Google+ Page to All Your Websites and Blogs Every site you have should be linked to and from your Google + 12-linkAccount. In other words, create a link from your Google+ profile to your website, and vice versa.

 

  • Create a Link from Your Sites to Your Google Profile Page — This will enable people to find you on Google Plus and follow you if they want to. They can also add you to their circles and then you will be able to add them to yours.

 

  • Don’t Forget Local Search –– Google is very locally focused due to how they return personalized results based on many factors such as your location and your friends. So, if it’s important to you create a Google Business Page in addition to your Google+ profile and get verified by Google.

 

Building your following on Google+ is a lot like building your following on other social media sites, however, nothing will have more impact on your search engine results page as your combined activities on Google+ and all of Google’s related products.

 

Add The +1 Button To Your Website

13-plus-oneWhether you like it or not, Google Search is still the most used search engine. Over 80 percent of people who search for anything on the web use Google Search. Therefore, if Google creates something that promotes your content, you better use it. Stop what you’re doing right now and add the +1 Buttons to all your websites and blogs.

When your visitors +1’s you, your search engine results page ranking immediately goes up to every one of their friends and their friends. It’s just a fact. Since Google adds people to Google+ the minute they sign up for an email account, that’s a lot of people that could potentially see your online real estate.

Even if they’re only Gmail users, they will still be more likely to return your page in a search. In addition, since that person +1’d you once, it’s likely they’ll like what you have to say later, and Google Search recognizes that, and will return more of your content to the searcher. The +1 button affects SEO dramatically, so you need to include it and use it. If you do nothing else, add the +1 button to your blogs today.

In addition to the tips above it’s important to us all of Google Webmaster Tools to their fullest advantage since everything that Google does is linked together and ultimately a big part of the Google Search results that help people searching for your products and services find you. The more ways you can engage with Google, the more opportunities you’ll have to engage with the people who use Google.

 

While Google + is not the largest social media network, it is growing, and remember — it’s so much more than a social media network. It’s an interconnected network of features that work together in conjunction with social capabilities to help create a coherent overall Internet experience that is personalized for each individual.

Your experience with Google+ plus will be successful and fruitful if you remember that any type of online marketing, or social media marketing is a long-term marketing plan. You will not usually get results over night. But, the work you are doing today will pay off tomorrow and it will pay off in a year or two years, and even longer down the line. The work you do is cumulative. Leveraging Google+ to expand your reach will be so much more powerful in terms of the results you will see than any other online marketing you will do, due to the fact that with Google, it’s all tied together. The more you interact with all of Google’s products the more likely you are to rank higher on search engine results pages.

Make Money Blogging: How to Use Chitika

ads

Chitika is a contextual advertising network. It allows publishers to place ad units on their websites, where both image and text ads will be shown, sometimes at the same time.

Because Chitika often uses images next to text ads on the same page, click through rates and therefore earnings can sometimes be even higher than Google AdSense earnings.

Here’s how to sign up for and use a Chitika account.

 

Step 1: Click Publisher, Apply Now

Click on Publisher along the top. A drop down menu will appear. Click on “Apply now” to begin the application process.

 1-Click-Publisher

Step 2: Complete the Application

Complete the application, which is really just a simple log in form with your email address.

 2-Send-in-Application2

Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll need to confirm your email. Shortly thereafter you’ll receive an email telling you that your account has been approved.

Log in to your Chitika account with your new account to proceed.

 

Step 3: Click Ad Setup

Click ad setup to create your first ad.

 3-Ad-Setup

Step 4: Click Get Code

A preview of what a display unit looks like will appear. Click on Get Code to continue.

 4-Click-Get-Code

Step 5: Customize Your Ad Options

A number of options will appear on the left hand side of your screen, along with a preview on the right hand side of your screen.

5-Customize-Ad-Options

Your channel is an important setting to pay attention to. It’s basically a description. You can sort your channels later by channels, which will allow you to get more advanced reporting from the Chitika system.

Basically, the channel should be a factor you’re trying to test out. For example, “Left Sidebar” channel might be applied to all the ads you put in the left sidebar. Later, you can sort by the “Left Sidebar” channel to see how all the left sidebar ads did as a group.

The format determines the size and display method of the ad. Type rotates between the different types of ads, including mobile ads.

Fallback options are basically what the ad will do in the event that there is no advertiser for the traffic you’re getting. For example, if you’re getting traffic from Zimbabwe and nobody’s bidding on traffic from Zimbabwe, Fallback options will tell the system what to do.

The colors set the color scheme.

 

Step 6: Copy Code and Upload

The code will update in real time as you make changes to the options box. Copy and paste the code into your HTML editor and upload it to have the ad go live.

 6-Copy-and-Paste-Code

Your first ad is up and running! If you want to put more ads up, just repeat this simple process.

 

Step 6: Basic Reporting

Basic reporting is shown in the dashboard of the Reports tab.

7-Basic-Reporting

You’ll see your earnings and traffic stats all in one glance.

 

Step 7: Advanced Reporting

Click on Advanced Reports to access the advanced reporting options.

 8-Click-Advanced-Reports

In this screen, you’ll be able to sort your ads according to the channels that you assigned to them when you setup your ads.

You can also sort by date range and choose to view ads from specific days or time ranges, or even data all the way from the beginning of your account.

 9-Advanced-Reports

Once you’ve selected all your options, hit submit to view your custom report.

There you have it! That’s how to sign up for a Chitika account, setup a Chitika ad, view your statistics in a glance and get more advanced stats.

50 Tips for Marketing Your Website

marketing2 

As amazing as your website may be, it’s not going to market itself. If you want people to come to your website, you have to get the word out there. Once a few thousand people see your website, it can start to pick up steam and spread through reputation. In the beginning however, you have to do the ground work.

Here are 50 tips for marketing your website.

marketing-strategy

1. Add a ton of original content. There is no better way to market your website than having content that people love to spread. This method doesn’t work overnight, but in time is extremely powerful.

2. Pick keywords and put them in your title tag. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find good keywords and put the in your title tag. Note: use only several relevant keywords.

meta-data3. Write a good META description tag. Your META description tag goes under your title tag in the search engines. It helps convince people to click on your ad.

4. Look at your analytics logs and see who’s sending you traffic. Use these traffic sources more readily.

 comments5. Contact people who comment on your blog. See if you can get them to link to you or talk about you in a blog post.

6. Start a YouTube channel. Upload videos that people in your industry would love and want to pass on to their friends.

7. Submit your site to directories. Use DMOZ and Yahoo! Directory for high powered backlinks and smaller industry specific directories for targeted traffic.

 news8. Write for offline newspapers and magazines. Reach out to editors and let them know that you’re an expert on a subject and would like to do an editorial or opinion piece.

 pressrelease9. Write a press release and submit it to online press release services like PR Web. Bloggers and editors will receive this release and potentially write about your company.

10. Get in contact with traditional press editors. Pitch them a story about why your company is unique, or find a way to help them in a story they’re already working on.

11. Submit a high quality piece of content to Reddit. Make sure you submit it to the right sub-reddit to get as many interested people as possible.

12. Submit your content to StumbleUpon. If your content is good, this can send tens of thousands of visitors your way very quickly.

 Facebook

13. Create a Facebook page. Use your website to promote your page. Your page will allow you to stay in touch with your fans, as well as launch new viral campaigns.

14. Use Twitter regularly. Befriend other Twitter influencers and ask them to retweet things when you’re doing a promotion. Likewise, do whatever you can to help others succeed, as eventually they’ll want to reciprocate.

15. Search for people to reply to on Twitter. Search for common questions people in your industry might ask and @reply them directly.

16. Join internet forums and contribute. Find relevant forums in your industry and post high quality content replies.

17. Put your site in your email signature. Anyone who interacts with you should see your content website in your email.

 email mkt118. Create an email newsletter. Use it to follow up with your guests, to build a long term connection and to make regular sales over the guest’s lifetime.

19. Do an online contest. Give away amazing prizes that people would want to fight for. If your prizes are really top notch, people are going to talk about the contest and pass it along to other people.

20. Advertise in other people’s emails. Advertising opportunities start as low as $25.

 affiliate_marketing21. Launch your own affiliate program. Get other people to promote your products for you.

 PPC22. Buy pay-per-click advertising. Buy relevant keywords for products that you’re selling and get traffic from Google and Bing.

 local_business

23. Contact local businesses about joint marketing opportunities. Look into advertising together, doing products together, doing local promotions, etc.

Nicole Munoz Speaking24. Speak at events related to your topic. Ask the event organizer to link back to you. Mention your site when you’re speaking to bring in more traffic.

25. Use Pinterest. It’s one of the hottest social networking sites at the moment. It’s great for attracting a female crowd.

26. Add your business to Google Maps. If you run a local business, it’s essential that you have a well setup Google Places page.

27. Post on newsgroups, Google Groups or Yahoo Groups. Don’t spam, instead look for ways to add value by giving advice and answering questions. Have a small link to your site at the bottom of your messages.

blog28. Comment on other people’s blog posts. Make well thought out, intelligent comments that add to the discussion and get people curious about you and your site.

29. Interview a well known person. Make the interview available for free.

30. Have great guest blog posts. Often times your guests will link to their own article, driving a lot of quality traffic.

RSS feed31. Create an RSS feed. This makes it easy for people with RSS readers to follow your blog.

32. Advertise on Craigslist. If you run a local business, this could bring a lot of targeted traffic.

33. Use My Blog Guest to find opportunities to write for other websites. Write for those sites and include a link back to your site.

review34. Review products and books. Especially try to review products and books while they’re hot.

35. Answer questions on Quora. Not only can you get good traffic from Quora, but you also position yourself in front of a very high powered crowd.

36. Cover a live event. Update frequently, once every hour or so. People who can’t make it to the event can still feel like they’re there by reading your coverage.

37. Post on portfolio sites. Look for places where you can showcase your work or your ideas. If you get good reviews, a lot of people will come to look at your site.

 Podcasting38. Start a podcast. Publish once a week to start. Build a list of fans who listen to you every week.

 website redesign39. Get a custom designed header. It can really make a big difference on how people see your website.

40. Comment on current events. If a major shift is happening in your industry, talk about it and give your opinion. If you have a unique take, it could gain a lot of traction.

41. Give something away for free. Give away a free eBook, a free audio MP3, a free DVD, a free software package, etc. Free stuff always gets a lot of attention, especially if there’s a high perceived value.

42. Break a record. Pick a record in your industry and try to break it. If you do, you’ll get a ton of press and blog coverage, which will all translate into website traffic.

43. Ask your customers what they want. Then give it to them. When you do this, customers will often be so surprised and thrilled that their request was heard that they’ll tell a lot of their friends about you.

44. Do a weekly roundup of your industry. At the end of each week, go through and pick out the best posts in your industry and link to them. You can write a small summary as well. Make your blog a resource for people to go to for good content in your industry, even if you don’t write the content yourself.

questions45. Answer questions on HARO. Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a great place to find reporters who need to interview people for their stories.

46. Organize a local meetup. This will bring you a small amount of connections, but get you a ton of valuable connections.

47. Do a free live chat Q&A. Doing these live Q&As regularly will help you build your connection with your audience as well as get a lot of people linking to you.

 content funnels48. Spend as much time growing interest in your content as you do on writing. After all, what good is content if you nobody sees them? Split your time in half: Half on marketing, half on content.

49. Promote your content on Social Buzz Club and Triberr. Submit your blog posts or videos to these two sites to have the chance to be promoted by leaders in your industry.

50. Create infographics. Gather relevant data, create a scenario and ask a graphic designer to give life to the data you have collected. Promote the infographic on all available channels: infographic sharing websites, Pinterest, social media sites, bookmarking sites.

Images and Copyright – How and What is Safe to Publish on Your Blog?

website redesign

Creative Commons License is a group of copyright licenses that allow the use of and alteration of documents in other works, including websites and blogs. These licenses can be used in different combinations, making it possible to different uses for a variety of works.

These licenses were released by Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) in 1992 and make it easier for you to find free images that you can use on your website or blog.

 

Types of Licenses

When searching for images, you will see combinations of the following four core licenses. They are also often abbreviated and you can see the abbreviation for each license in brackets below.

  • Attribution (by): You can use image, as long as attribution for the work is provided. 
  • Non-commercial (nc): You can use the image for non-commercial purposes only. 
  • No Derivative Works (nd): You cannot create derivative works only. You cannot edit the work. 
  • Share-Alike (sa): You can make derivative works and modify the work, only if you distribute the work under the same license as the original work.

 

Possible License Combinations

There are 6 possible combinations of these licenses:

  1.  Attribution (by): It can be used for commercial purposes, derivative works can be created, but only if proper attribution is provided.
  2.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial (by + nc):  It cannot be used for commercial purposes, but derivative works can be created and proper attribution must be provided.
  3. Attribution AND No Derivatives (by + nd): It can be used for commercial purposes, but derivative works cannot be created and proper attribution must be provided.
  4.  Attribution AND Share Alike (by + sa): It can be used for commercial purposes, derivative works can be created, but only if the derivative work is released under the same license. Attribution must be provided.
  5.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial AND No Derivatives (by + nc + nd): It cannot be used for commercial purposes and no derivatives can be created. Attribution must be provided.
  6.  Attribution AND Non-Commercial AND Share-Alike (by + nc + sa): It cannot be used for commercial purposes and derivatives can be created, as long the derivative work is released under the same license. Attribution must be provided.

Understanding these licenses will make it easier for you to find the images that suit your needs.

 

Graphical Representation of Licenses

While some sites may use different images to indicate certain licenses, you will likely see the images used by the Creative Commons.

You will often see a CC, which stands for Creative Commons and indicates a Creative Commons license:

1-cc

Then the following images, show the 4 possible licenses that can be used in the variety of combinations mentioned earlier.

2-cc-images 

1-     Attribution (by)

2-     Non-Commercial (nc)

3-     Share-Alike (sa)

4-     No Derivatives (nd)

 

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

Top 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Bloggers

One of the best things about WordPress is its nearly limitless ability to expand. Whether you’re looking to add images, security, RSS feeds, social media integration or any number of other features, you can do so through plugins.

Installing a plugin takes less than 2 minutes and is completely reversible. That allows you to easily play around with all the different things your website can do while being able to undo any changes you don’t like with the click of a button.

If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll need to have a serious arsenal of plugins. These plugins will allow you to do all the things you need to do to create a truly spectacular browsing experience on your site. It’ll allow you to save time through automation and make your website shine.

Here are ten of the must have plugins that every serious blogger should have.

 

Plugin #1: Askimet

1-Askimet

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/

Though Askimet comes pre-installed with every WordPress configuration, newbies often make the mistake of not activating it.

Askimet is the #1 anti-spam tool on WordPress. Activating it is pretty simple; all you need to do is register on their site to get your own API key. Enter the key into the plugin on your site and you’re good to go. Askimet will filter out 99% of the spam your blog will receive, drastically cutting down the time needed to review comments.

Plugin #2: All in One Favicon

2-Favicon

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-favicon/

One thing new bloggers often neglect is adding a favicon. The favicon is the little icon in the browser bar, next to the title tag. Having your own favicon adds just that little flare that makes your blog look more professional, more stellar.

Creating a favicon in Photoshop, GIMP or any other image editing program is relatively simple. However, WordPress doesn’t inherently have the ability to add your favicon. So, you’ll need a plugin like All in One Favicon to do the job.

Plugin #3: All in One SEO

3-All-in-One-SEO

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

WordPress out of the box is actually quite poorly configured for SEO. The page title comes after the site name, which is terrible for keywords. Archive and category pages contain a lot of duplicate content. Some links aren’t formatted the same way (some have www, some have http://, others don’t.) Configuring all of WordPress to be SEO-friendly requires doing quite a few different things. Fortunately, plugins like All in One SEO will do most of the work for you. You’ll still have to do a few things, like internal linking, yourself. That said however, you can eliminate the vast majority of the on-page SEO work by getting a good SEO plugin.

Plugin #4: FeedBurner FeedSmith

4-Feedburner-FeedSmith

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/feedburner-setting/

By default, WordPress does have an RSS feed feature, but it may not be properly configured. Also, you won’t be able to track any statistics on your feeds. If you want to create an RSS feed that can be tracked, you’ll probably want to use Feedburner. Installing a Feedburner feed is simple with WordPress: Just signup for Feedburner, then install the plugin on your blog.

Plugin #5: Google Analytics

5-Google-Analytics

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-google-analytics/

In order for Google Analytics to work, you need to have the Google Analytics code on every page and every post on your website. By default, WordPress doesn’t have this option. You can’t just add a snippet of code to every page on your site. You could do it by editing your templates, but that’s time consuming, difficult to change and even potentially dangerous. Instead, you can simply install a plugin like “Simple Google Analytics.” Just plugin your Google Analytics ID and you’re done.

Plugin #6: PhotoDropper

6-PhotoDropper

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/photo-dropper/

If you like to add photos to your posts, you’ll love PhotoDropper. PhotoDropper allows you to browse a database of Creative Commons photographs and easily add them to your site, along with attributions, all in one click. Gone are the days when you have to browse stock photo sites or scour the internet for free license images. Now you can just pick the images you want from one easy to use gallery and it’ll automatically be dropped into your post.

Plugin #7: WP Super Cache

7-WP-Super-Cache

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/

WP Super Cache is a plugin that can drastically speed up the load time of your WordPress site. Did you know that every time you load a page from a WordPress site, the server has to generate that site from scratch? Unlike a static HTML site, WordPress pages have to be dynamically generated from scratch every time. That takes a lot of processing power and can take a lot of time. What WP Super Cache does is “cache” certain bits of information on the user site, so it doesn’t have to be loaded again with every page load. It can also do other minor things, like combine your CSS and JavaScript files so that your site loads faster. All around, if you want to speed up your site, there’s no better plugin than WP Super Cache.

Plugin #8: Add Link to Facebook

8-Add-Link-to-Facebook

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/

Add Link to Facebook is an easy to use plugin that allows you to integrate Facebook with your WordPress site. Don’t let the name fool you. It does a whole lot more than just let you add links. You can add like button, share buttons, comments and a whole lot more. With today’s massive social media trend, if you’re not on Facebook, you’re seriously missing out.

Plugin #9: Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

9-YARPP

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/yet-another-related-posts-plugin/

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is ironically named, as the plugin is actually the highest rated related post plugin on WordPress. If you’re looking for a plugin that’ll allow you to cross-link your site quickly and in a visually pleasing manner, look no further. This plugin is simple to install and simple to use, but adds a ton of functionality and creates a link box that looks great.

Plugin #10: Better WP Security

10-Better-WP-Security

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/better-wp-security/

WordPress security is something that isn’t discussed often enough. It’s extremely common for WordPress sites to get hacked. It’s not that WordPress isn’t secure, it’s just that WordPress depends on so many outside factors – Plugins, themes, servers, databases – That securing the whole package is extremely difficult. Better WP Security can handle a lot of this for you. It’ll help you secure your database, your PHP files, your .htaccess files and more. It’s not a bulletproof security package, but if you don’t have any security installed this package will be a vast improvement.

 

There you have it. If you’re serious about blogging, you absolutely must have these ten plugins. You’ll rank better, your content will go more viral, your site will be more secure and your blog will look better.