Hubpages vs Squidoo – How to Make Money Blogging

Start Blogging, not Managing Websites

Quantcast - Squidoo vs Hubpages

When you start to learn how to make money blogging, one of the big challenges is the steep learning curve. There are many more issues, and we will touch them one by one, but the biggest problem for a beginner is the learning curve. You just don’t know what to do, how to manage your website, how to setup a website, and not even how to write. Don’t feel offended here, you are a good writer, otherwise you wouldn’t even think about this business, but writing online, especially writing to make money, is something you have to learn. Even the most talented writers need some training for writing online. More about this later. 

The most important thing for new bloggers is to focus on what matter most for them, writing. Too many bloggers start managing websites, and doing SEO, and learning things that they don't really need as writers, rather than focus on their main objective: write great content for their readers.

The Best Platform to Start a Blog

If your intention is just to start blogging, to get used to it, or because you just want to blog and a financial retribution is not your concern, then you have a few great options.

All the following options are great, but in my experience the best for getting visitors is blogger.com. Now read on to see how the other platforms fare, they are certainly not bad.

  • WordPress.com
    WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, and it is the choice of CMS, (content management system), for low budget websites. You can start blogging at WordPress.com for free, this will smooth out the learning curve. WordPress has a paid hosting option as well, you can stick with them when you go pro, however, there are many other option for paid hosting. 
  • Tumblr.com
    Tumblr is an extremely popular blog platform, where everybody can get a free account. Tumblr is the choice of many young people, and many bloggers are just doing it for fun. There is a lot of interaction between bloggers, they comment on each other's posts, and they reblog interesting posts, it is a very active community. There are many serious blogs as well, so this could be a great option for a start. Tumblr is a Yahoo company.
  • Blogger.com
    In my experience blogger.com, Google's blogging platform is the best to get traffic, if you have good content. Blogger.com has many tools to make your blog an authority, like integration with social media, and Google's authorship program. They even have an add-on to include adsense ads into your posts, so you can monetize. 
  • Livejournal.com
    Livejournal is a very popular blogging platform, and it is the choice of many bloggers. It is an intuitive platform, easy to use, and it has a lot of active communities. If you don't know what is good for a blogging community, it's great for interaction and for promoting your content. You posts will not get any attention without the support on an active community. That happens even if you are the most skilled writer... Livejournal also has advanced account as an option, in the case you get very serious with your blogging.

Overall, my personal favorite free blogging platform is blogger.com. The fact that I can monetize, and because it brings more traffic than other platforms makes it the most appealing for me.

Community Blogging Platforms – Great for Making Money Online

Squidoo Logo

Squidoo Logo by GreekGeek

I have my own opinion about what's the best way to start blogging for money, and that opinion is based on my experience. However, I was looking at what other people are saying on the subject, and I stumbled upon +Tipsandtricks-HQ's webpage about how to start a blog and make money online. The article is pure gold as a resource, no doubt about it. You just follow everything in that article, and the linked content, and you will make money, 100%. But let's face it, the amount of work looks overwhelming, even for experienced writers. 

Now back to my way of doing it; the best option for a beginner online writer is to write on a community blogging platform, such as Squidoo or Hubpages. And I resume my comparison to these two, because they are the two websites that can make you money. 

Hubpages LogoThere are many other community website platforms, and they have their advantages and disadvantages. We should probably mention at least Infobarrel, which is a decent platform. Some other popular platforms are also Bubblews, which I personally don't like, Helium, which doesn't compare to the first three, Triond, Xomba, and many others, that I won't bother to mention. I will mention though Yahoo Voices, which is a great option, especially if you create evergreen content, and if you write articles on their niche. They pay 1.50 per 1000 views, and if you have a great article, you can easily get 1000 views per day. Anyway, Yahoo Voices is not my choice of platform, and is not a community website platform, although is a great way to get some revenue from writing on WEB.

There are so many reasons these type of blogging platforms are better for non technical people, and for beginners, but I will try to list as many of these reasons as possible.

  • The platforms are old, the websites rank well on search engines, and good content is bound to get visitors.
  • The format of these websites is well thought, well tested, and it is optimized for reading, for SEO, and for monetization
  • The community is very active for both platforms, and if you ask for help you will find it.
  • The platforms have human editors, who will select the best pieces of content, and promote them. Once promoted content will get a lot of traffic.
  • They will stop you from doing bad things that will hurt the overall ranking of the website. 
  • Your article will rank very easy, compared to your own websites. This means traffic, traffic means money.

Now there are some downsides as well to using someone elses website, and you have to keep this in mind, and not hold all of your eggs in the same basket. As you expand your web writings portfolio, make sure you diversify the platforms you are writing on. Some of the things that I don't like about writing for a community blogging website are:

  • You do not control your content, although you are the owner of the content you publish, the website's owner can take down your content, if they wish to. If they decide they don't like your content, they won't publish it. 
  • Antispam control can be very tight at times, and prevent you from publishing great articles. 
  • Spammers target these type of sites, because promoting on Squidoo and Hubpages can improve their website rankings. Search engines penalized a few times social blogging platforms for allowing these type of content. Even though they implemented greater control over published content, that doesn't mean spammers will stop.
  • A penalty of your blogging platform can bring your revenue down consistently.
  • The worst thing about them is that you don't have control over the platform, so whatever the platform's owners decide, you have to accept. Now if you are a beginner to blogging, it is in fact an advantage, because they know better than you what needs to be done.
  • That includes subjects that are prone to spam. You might have a useful, great article, if the editorial team feels like it's bordering the spam area, they won't approve it for publishing.
  • These platforms are the target of spammers, and they will steal your articles and publish them as theirs.

Although these type platforms are not perfect, they are the best start point for someone who wants to make some money while learning and experimenting with blogging for money. Start with the two I mentioned, Squidoo or Hubpages, I think they are the best ones, and the community is great. As you gain experience, you can start your own blog. By then you will understand the niche concepts, you will have developed a solid understanding of writing on WEB, and promoting your content using social media.   

If your portfolio with the two blogging platforms is big enough, and you would like to put your eggs in more baskets, you can also look at Zujava, and Wizzley. Many people love these two platforms, and they have a lot of articles there. I had only bad experiences with them, I have never been able to publish an article. Zujava seems like a one man show, and this impacts the ability to effectively bring in new writers. Wizzley is overly cautious about web spam, which is not a bad thing, but they refuse publishing articles, and they don't offer any useful explanations about it. Just generic. Make sure you participate in their forums, and ask for help and feedback, before giving up, like I did. I suspect these sites will do well in the future, at least Wizzley, if not both.

Best Blogging Platforms to Monetize – HubPages vs Squidoo

Hubpages vs Squidoo - the Best Blogging Platform

Seth Godin

Seth Godin - Photo by Joi Ito

Both Squidoo and HubPages are user generated content website, with a revenue sharing format. There are many similarities, but many differences as well, between the two sites. Some of the facts I present here are measurable, some are a bit speculative, you are invited to discuss them in the comment section. 

Squidoo launched in 2005, and was founded by Seth Godin, Megan Casey, Gil Hildebrand, and Corey Brown. This makes Squidoo almost 9 years old at the time of writing this. 

HubPages launched in 2006, founded by Paul Edmonson, Paul Deeds, and Jay Reitz, former Microsoft employees. This makes the site only one year younger than Squidoo. 

Hubpages generates more traffic than Squidoo, according to Quantcast, so you have a slightly better chance for more visitors with them. The additional traffic is maybe a result of HP investing more time and human resources to review content. In turn, search engines rewarded them with better ranking. Although Squidoo was slower to implement the same measures, they recently focused on cleaning up spam, and rewarding great content. 

A Bit About The Content Structure

The major difference is that HubPages give every user a subdomain, and the user is responsible for that subdomain. This bears the greatest advantage, that at anytime the user is somewhat isolated into the subdomain, and if a search engine will penalize that subdomain, this will be easy to be contained. It is also a great way to stimulate self promotion, because it's easier to promote your own subdomain. Squidoo has also made some tests with subdomains, but in the end they decided to interrupt the migration of all the accounts to this model. 
A new initiative of Squidoo was to promote hand-picked content on thematic subdomains. This is actually one of the best changes in the latest years, with great results. Each of the approaches has its own advantages, but the theme subdomains seem more powerful because of the size of such a subdomain. 

HubPages name their content units hubs, Squidoo name theirs lenses. I am not particularly fond of this naming convention, but I got used to it eventually. The naming convention seems to have caught up in general, because other shared revenue websites copied the idea. Zujava, for instance, names their content units leaves.

The Monetization

MoneySince you are doing the blogging thing for money, it makes sense to have a good idea on how the two platforms compare. Both of the two use Adsense, eBay, Amazon, and other advertising networks for monetization. 

In my experience, HubPages works better with articles that don't necessarily promote goods. Affiliate type of content works better on Squidoo, because the conversion rates are better. There is something magical about Squidoo's layout that makes the visitor click on Amazon links. 
On the other hand, if you have articles that don't necessarily sell a product, but can generate traffic, HubPages is better. This doesn't mean you can't have successful content articles on Squidoo, and successful sales articles on HubPages. As a matter of fact, there are many examples that contradict me, it's almost unfair to make such a classification, but that's my perception, and it is subjective.

Amazon sales sharing model is now the same for both. Not long ago, HP used to share the displays of Amazon products, this was good for the site, but not as good for the writer. Now both Squidoo and HubPages use the same model. They display their own Amazon ID everytime, and split the revenue with you. This helps the writer to get better tier revenue. 

Advertising revenue looks a bit better on HubPages, and this is for two reasons:

  • HP splits the Adsense views with you, so whatever is generated during "your advertising time" is yours. On the other hand, Squidoo has a general advertising program, which favours the best ranking lenses, (articles), which are not necessarily the ones that perform best on Adsense. 
  • Both platforms have other advertising deals, besides Adsense, but Hubpages bring more revenue from these. And again, their revenue sharing method is based on number of views.

HubPages is more fair with all of its writers, whereas Squidoo favors the content that ranks better in all areas. I heard rumors that Squidoo plans to change this, and I think it would be beneficial overall, although I personally might lose a bit of revenue, if that happens.  
This approach has the disadvantage that encourages people to generate fake traffic, however, both platforms clean up accounts that are suspected to use fake traffic. So never attempt. 

Internet TrafficTraffic - Squidoo vs HubPages 

If you look at the graphic from Quantcast, you will see how they perform. HP seems the winner, at least at the moment, but this could change anytime. One remarkable thing about HP, in contrast with its competitor, is that they have built a mechanism to generate internal traffic. This is very helpful to generate buzz around new and updated articles, and many times this is critical to push that article in SERP. Just a bit of social media love, and search engines will pick up the users' vibe. On Squidoo you as an author, need to know how to promote your work, otherwise, you are relying solely on search engines. 

If you look at the graph from Quantcast, you will note that HubPages has a bit more traffic. This obviously, helps you get more traffic on your articles, and helps your articles make you money. However, a significant portion of the HubPages' traffic comes from internal links, compared to Squidoo which gets most of its traffic from search. This is an advantage for Squidoo, because the stats are not polluted with internal traffic, which brings in some money, but not too much. 

The objective is to build a passive income, so think wisely about your approach. While HP may seem a bit more attractive, because every time you update an article it directs users to your updated comment, you still have to work and update that piece of content to get those visitors. In other words you have to work. The initial traffic flury from updates and new published articles lasts for two or three days, so it's not going to bring you tons of traffic, but as I said before, it will give your content a kickstart. 

 For more insights about how the two platforms compare, check GreekGeek's article about Hubpages and Squidoo.

My personal preference is Squidoo, but if you have a great subject, and you are not selling, articles can easily get viral at Hubpages.

What  is your experience with shared revenue websites? Which one you prefer? I'd like to hear your opinions.

Circloscope – An Effective Way to Manage Google Plus Circles

Circloscope is an unique tool, very effective, to manage Google Plus circles. Like any tool, it is dependant on the quality of data input, and the quality of the operator, but overall it saves days of work by automating hours of manual work.

Circloscope has three versions, Cricloscop Free, Circloscope Pro, and Circloscope Premium.

Circloscope Free, is a fully functional version, with the ability to mass follow, and unfollow inactive.

Circloscope Pro is the most advanced version with one google plus personal profile, and up to 15 business pages. This is ideal for Large companies, and agencies.

Circloscope Premium is the middle range premium Circloscope version, which allows you to manage one personal profile, and up to three busines pages.

Content Marketing and Social Media

Social Media

By Sofiaperesoa via Wikimedia Commons

Content marketing and social media are the best way to market your brand or product on Internet. Not an easy task, if you ask marketing specialists, but very rewarding, if it’s done properly.

Do you write great content and have difficulty propelling it on top of the search results? Do you think your articles are better than other pages listed on Google’s first page? Or maybe you write content in a unique way that would appeal to a certain people segment, but your pages never had the chance to be read. You are not alone, there are many writers, and content marketers with great websites that just don’t have enough readers. There are a few things you can do to push your content on first pages of the search engines, where they belong. One of these things is using social media as a traffic source, and also use the new trends in the search engines world, social signals, as a quality signal.

What Are the Social Signals and Why Search Engines Care about them?

social media

Photo by Paola Peralta via Wikimedia Commons

Social signals are metrics that tell search engines when a subject is hot. In other words, if a particular content piece gets reshared, and gets liked a lot on multiple social media platforms, search engines will interpret that as a positive signal.

A new concept, introduced by Google with its Google+ as a social engine, is to match social groups to provide them with similar search results, in order to deliver the most relevant results.

Why Are Likes Important and which Social Media Platform is Better?

For instance the number of likes on a page means to a search engine that people like that page, and they consider the likes as votes. The number of votes on a page is a sign of quality and it is rewarded by search engines by moving it up in the search results. Any kind of social media “votes” on a page, can move that page up in search engine rankings. But for this specific signal to validate, it needs other social signals as well. Social signals are Facebook likes, the Google+ shares, and plus ones, reshares on Twitter, Stumbleupon votes, etc…

Interestingly, Google has stated that social signals have to validate in time as well, in order to be taken in consideration. Some SEO specialists think that social signals will start to validate in the third year of social networking activity. If the social signals drop after the first year, all the signals are lost. For a search engine this means that either the subject lost public interest, or the social signals were unnatural.

To sum up this, all social media signals are important, and all platform votes say something about your content to the search engines.

Relevance Is the Key

Let’s take the example of an article that talks about computers. All my Facebook friends know that I am an IT Systems Engineer and if I share a link to a post, I vouch for the reliability of the source. They are more likely to share that with their friends, than repost a link, posted by me, about cars. They know I don’t know anything about cars. The same goes with Google+ and Twitter.

Stick with subject that you are familiar with, you can have an objective opinion on, and your friends will identify you with.
If I post a link to an article about wedding dresses, all my friends will first think that I must have been drunk when I did it, or someone blackmailed me. On the other hand, if my daughter shares the link it is natural. Of course Google has a way to figure that out, or if it doesn’t have it yet, it will have it soon. Remember the Penguin update? Don’t spam your friends!

Think of this as a recommendation in your social network. When someone asks me to recommend them a new laptop to buy, they know they will get the best information, because It’s my job and I know what I am talking about. But if I approach my friends and start talking about the gorgeous wedding dress I just saw in a friend’s store, I would just look weird.

Content Marketing and Social Media

Content marketing is a term relatively new to coin the act of creating content to improve sells. There are many writers on Internet that can be placed under the same umbrella, and not only businesses that sell products. The Internet marketers, the writers on social writing platforms, such as Hubpages and Squidoo, many bloggers, etc… use content to attract readers. If the content is interesting it will be rewarded with traffic, hence bring money to the writer, most often from ads.

Content marketing is probably the best type of marketing on the Internet, and in theory it is very easy to target your market using it. In practice, there is a lot of competition, and even if you have the best content on web, your articles might not be getting any traffic. If your content is great, social media will reward you with visitors, but you have to be active on social media. Some social media campaigns have gone viral, and they surpassed even the most optimistic predictions. Social media has the advantage that it doesn’t follow any algorithms to rank content, the numbers of shares and likes is the ultimate ranking algorithm. If people like your post, they’ll share it with others, if not they won’t share it, this means that only content that appeal to public will be rewarded. For this reason, social media is a great signal for search engines, if it gets shared and liked, it is because people like it.

What Can I Do to Improve My Social Signals

Facebook iconMake it easy for people to like your content by adding all the social media share buttons pertinent to your website. At a minimum, you should have Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. People will not make the effort to copy paste your URL into a new window, just to share it. If you make it easy for them, they will like and share your page.

Be Part of the Community, and Build a Community

Social network platforms don’t mean anything if you don’t socialize. These platforms are not your just so that spam them, people will just kick you out of their community immediately. Be part of the community, and interact with it, and not just post there.

While you are there take your time to acknowledge other’s posts and work, they will return the favor. If you post every time but never take the time to like other’s people content, they’ll end up by ignoring you, and that’s not good for you.

Reward great content regardless of relationship with the author, that makes you look good, as a finder of that post or infographic, and get your profile more authority.

Google+ LogoContent Marketing Power Tip: The more people in your niche vote for your content, the more relevant your content is in the eyes of search engines. Google+ is the most powerful social network engine for building relevancy. Google+ can determine if a person is an authority on a subject matter or niche. If your video or article gets many reshares and “plus ones” from authorities in the subject matter, the video, or article, will get ranked. Make sure you setup authorship and publisher tags on your website.
This, combined with other quality signals will make up the ranking for that specific term. Other page quality signals are: average time spent on a page, bounce backs, click outs, etc…

Don’t look at social media for content marketing as to a competition, if you have more likes and pluses, you will outrank other webmasters. Think of it as a team work, to improve everyone’s rankings. If you look at the big players on the social media, and bloggers, you will see that there are repeated interactions from bloggers in the same niche. These guys know that working together will help everybody’s content in rankings.

Other Things To Do

  • Make sure you complete your blog profile. Fill in as much as possible, don’t forget the picture, the “About Me” section, and the social media section.
  • If you haven’t done so, create a Facebook account and start making online friends.
  • Create a Twitter account and follow people with the same interests as yours.
  • Create a Google+ profile and fill in all the information on the profile. Start making friends on Google+. Here is a Google Plus for businesses tutorial, start with that. Do not overlook Google Plus, and read this if you want to know why you need Google Plus for your business.
  • Link your Google+ account to your webmaster profile, and viceversa, to give your articles authority and a name. This is what people call Google+ Authorship. Depending on your blog platform authorship might be setup differently.
  • Create a pinterest account. Normally you need an invitation from a member, but you can also use your Facebook or Twitter account to create the account. Update: you can create now an account without any of the above.
  • Use Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon and Reddit to propel your content.
  • Use the Facebook Fan Box to showcase your page.
  • Use social media hangouts to connect with other webmasters and share your pages with them.
  • I don’t recommend buying social interaction, but instead build a community with people with same interests.
  • Befriend webmasters on Facebook, connect on Google+, follow on Pinterest and on Twitter, don’t be shy, most of the webmasters will love to connect with their peers.

Snagless RJ45 connectors – How To Make Network Cables Snagless

Patch Panel

Snagless RJ45 Connectors – the Odd Request

Snagless RJ45 connectors are that odd request that my department makes from time to time. Why do you need RJ45 connectors anyway, it’s the invariable answer from supervisors, and the typical reminder: “You have all sorts of patchcords, all dimensions…” Well, first of all, we sysadmins never have all the patchcords dimensions available. The IT racks should be something that should be kept as tidy as possible, and one way is to have custom length of the patchcords.

Depending on your infrastructure, you might want or might not want to use handmade patchcords in your racks; however, in many cases this is totally acceptable. You can probably make a Cat 5 patchcord, but you won’t be able to make a Cat 6 one. In other words your hand made patchcords will be able to run at Gigabit speeds, but not at 10 Gigabit speeds, even with the proper connectors and cables. Having said that, most of the equipment in a business server room is connected into a Gigabit switch or at lower speeds, so this would not be a problem.

Custom Patchcords – Always Broken Lokcing Tabs

The major problem with all the handmade Ethernet patchcords and cables is that the locking tab is breaking. I probably don’t have to explain why broken tabs are bad; they will not be secured into the equipment’s jack, resulting in intermittent data loss, or even disconnection.

There are two reasons for the locking tabs breaking so often. Firstly, the little locking tab is very fragile, and we can’t change that, it is fragile to keep the costs down. The other reason is the design, the locking tab sticks out, and it is very easy to get snagged and broken off. All store-bought cables come with a snagless boot; it’s the standard these days. All the cables with broken locking tabs don’t have the boots, because they are terminated in place, by either a datacom tech, or an admin.

These plugs from Panduit are the best snagless RJ45 connectors.

The connectors are meant for patch cords, and they are rated as providing Category 5e performance.

The patented tangle-free plug latch prevents snags, hence breaking.

They are easy release, unlike some snagless boots, and they save time on frequent moves, adds, and changes.

The design facilitates easy insertion and termination of wires

What Is the Solution for Broken RJ45 Connectors

One of the solutions to fix the snagging network cables is to install a "snagless" boot over the cable, before crimping the connector. After crimping, just push the boot over the connector and the boot will protect the little tab.

My preferred way to fix this is to use snagless RJ45 connectors, and a boot. This ensures the plug will not break ever, unless you purposely do it. You can also use just the snagless connectors, they are very good, and I do it very often, but if I have both the snagless connectors and the snagless boots, I will use both for optimization. The snagless plugs are slightly more expensive than the regular ones, but when you draw the line, and consider the troubleshooting needed on the long term, and the fact that sooner or later those RJ45 connectors will break and will need to be replaced, the additional cost is worth paying.

Like I already mentioned before, with the low prices for commercial made patchcords, and the quality ensured by a machine made ethernet cable, there is no need to make your own, it's just not practical.

This cables are made in a commercial facility, they are tested, and they come in a variety of lengths, just choose the one that is right for you. You can even get  to choose the color, so you can color code your patch panel connections, so everything looks tidy, and easy to follow.

How to Copy Large Files over VPN or Other Unreliable Network Connections

Network Error While Copying

Large file transfer over VPN is a problem for many companies for a few reasons, transfer is unreliable, VPN traffic kills the Internet connection, and it is unproductive. This article will show you how to copy large files over VPN or other unreliable network connections, and some of the best software to deal with this, and best practices to deal with large file transfer, and how to ensure file integrity. These are, in my experience, the best way to do it. You have to evaluate yourself, if they work in your environment, and test a lot.

When copying files over VPN, there are a few problems that need to be addressed:

  • file transfer can be easily interrupted,
  • over saturating the VPN connection,
  • redirecting all the available traffic to the VPN connection
  • ensuring the transferred file is undamaged

Let’s talk a bit about all of these, why they are important, and how they affect the success of your file copy. This will give you, hopefully, a clearer image of the process.

Network Interruption – File Transfer Failed

When we talk about large file transfers, an interruption after a few hours of transfer is not a good thing, and if you take in consideration the time spent, and to only realize you have to do it again because the transfer failed. There are many reasons for the network to interrupt, and even a second is enough to corrupt your file. VPN is prone to network interruptions with large files, because it saturates the Internet bandwidth, and when other VPN clients try to use the VPN tunnel, the file transfer will be interrupted.
The fix for this is some kind of transfer resuming at both the server level and the client level. A few client-server protocols that support file resuming are: SMB, FTP, HTTP, rsync.

The easiest way to implement file transfer resuming in a corporate environment is through SMB and robocopy. Robocopy has a feature to copy in restartable network mode, so if the network goes down, it will automatically resume the transfer from where it left. The robocopy option to copy in restartable mode is /z as with the regular copy command.

robocopy /mir /z  X:\source-folder\ \\RemoteServer\RemoteFolder

Rsync has also a resume option, and it works great, but you have to make sure you use the network filesystem and not a locally mounted network directory. The command to transfer will be like this:

rsync -aP juser@server:/RemoteServer/Directory /Home/Local-Directory

Filezilla has an option to resume files after interruption, but there is a timeout setup by default. Make sure you set the timeout to 0, so that you can recover even after a few hours with no connection between server and client. Note, that this is not a good option if you have many clients, since it will keep open connections indefinitely.

Time Out Config for Resuming

Apache has also an option to allow file resuming, which is enabled by default. The disadvantage with Apache is that, by default it doesn’t support file upload. If you are determined to use Apache for this though, there are some ways to do it, you can start your research here: File Upload plugin for Apache

Over Saturation of the VPN Connection

The VPN connection is there for many users, don’t think that your file is the most important think in the world. If you take all of the bandwidth for your file transfer, other users might not perform daily important tasks.

The over saturation of the VPN connection can be avoided by implementing bandwidth limiting at the software level.

You can do that with SMB by using robocopy, at the client level. The command will look like this:

robocopy /mir /IPG:250  X:\source-folder\ \\RemoteServer\RemoteFolder

The IPG parameter is the one that controls the bandwidth; it’s the acronym for Inter Packet Gap, and with an IPG of 250, the transfer rate on a 100 MBps network is around 12.7 MBps. The lower the IPG, the higher the bandwidth saturation. The transfer rate will be different for different network speeds.

With FTP is going to be at the server level, it’s very simple if you use Filezilla FTP server. Just restrict the bandwidth to a safe limit, (note that there is no restriction in the picture).

FileZilla configuration

Apache uses mod_ratelimit to control the bandwidth of its clients. For more information about that take a look at this page:
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/trunk/mod/mod_ratelimit.html

Rsync can also limit the bandwidth at the client level, and the option will be “–bwlimit”. A command to synchronize two folders with rsync, throttling the bandwidth, would look like this:

rsync –bwlimit=3000 /local/folder user@RemoteHost:/remote/backup/folder/

The 3000 means 3000 kbps. IMPORTANT, if you use

Control VPN Traffic

It looks like a simple decision to allow all the traffic possible through the VPN, most companies will determine that VPN traffic has the highest priority. However, in real life there are many non VPN applications that are run from the Internet, and are critical for a business. Booking a flight ticket, using a hosted web application, getting your emails from a hosted email server, etc… So it might make sense to control the maximum bandwidth used by the VPN, and this is especially needed in environments where large file transfers over VPN are very common. The best way to control this is through firewall policies to limit the bandwidth for the VPN destination. On some devices, like the Fortigate firewalls I am using, this is called traffic shaping.  On other devices might be named differently.

File Integrity Verification

There is a mechanism for checking the file integrity with robocopy and rsync.

The perfect tool to make sure your file is identical with the remote one is to check with md5. On Linux this is a package that comes by default in many distributions, on Windows you can use WinMD5, that you can download it here: WinMD5

MD5 checksum

How To Effectively Manage Google Plus Circles

For businesses present on Google+, or for authors, or for anyone who has many followers on Google Plus, managing their circles can get very complicated, and after a certain number of people in their circles, can even get unmanageable without a software tool. This page will guide you through many of the tasks needed to s
uccessfully manage your circles, will give you some tips and tricks, and present you advanced tools, to take this even further.

Simple Guidelines To Manage Google Plus Circles


Google-Plus-CirclesWhy Do We Need to Manage Google+ Circles?

Here are some basic rules to manage Google Plus circles, and these can be easily performed without any software tool.

Manage Effectively How You Share Content

Google+ circles are just a way to organize the people you want to connect to. It allows you to place these people in circles, based on relationship, (family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc…), based on interests, (web writers, pet lovers, art lovers, music fans, etc…), or any other criteria that makes sense to you. Think about circles as a way to place your social contacts into relevant containers. The concept behind circles is to easily choose what to share, with whom, and in what way. You can share content with certain circles only, or with the public. When you share pictures with the public, they can be seen by everyone, and reshared. When you share pictures with circles they will only be shared with that specific circle, and even better, they can’t be reshared with the public. That allows a bit more control of who sees private pictures, that you don’t  necessarily want to be spread over the Internet, but they are fun to share with your close friends.

In a similar way, a marketer can post a great promotion, and share it with a specific circle of people who expressed their wish to receive such promotions. This would not be pushed into everybody’s stream, so it’s not spammy at all. This technique is used more and more by marketers on Google Plus.

Blocking Spammers and Other People

One of the problems on social networks are the spammers. Some people don’t want to be added into circles, because they are more exposed to spamming and unwanted content. They are somewhat right, but not entirely. Some “ingenious marketers“, (read spammers), realized that sharing to circles ensures 100% distribution, whereas sharing to “Public”, doesn’t guarantee any distribution at all. This was exploited to ensure a higher rate of distribution. Well that’s fine, if someone will add you to their circles just to spam you, you can block them, and report them. Google will eventually remove the account if many reports are received for the account. Here is how you block them: Click on the link to their profile, this will bring to to their Google Plus profile page. On the upper left side, under the profile picture, there is a little arrow sign, click on that, and this will give you two options: block and report, or mute. Choose accordingly. I personally report people very rarely, the antispam functions very well on Google+. But I have muted, and blocked maybe 10 people until now. Take a look at the picture below, it’s just a dummy account, that I am using to demonstrate circle management.

Block or Mute A Google Plus Profile

In conclusion, there is no reason to be reluctant to get followed by unknown people, unless you want to duplicate the Facebook on Google+, which is totally doable, but with some extra features.

Why do you need to manage your circles?

Manage Circles To Keep Engaging People Only

The short answer is that you have a limit of people you can follow, and that limit is 5000 people. If you rely on the people you follow to make some noise, and spread your message across, you need engaging, active people. You need to understand who are your engaging followers, which are the inactive people in your circles, and based on that , remove some of the people you follow. Abit more about Circloscope’s features later on the page. For instance, if out of the 5000 people you follow, you get only 2 or three plus ones, or comments, maybe that says something about their engagement with your content. You also have to take in consideration your contribution to their posts. If you never engage in their posts, don’t expect a different treatment from them, but that’s another story, about engaging with your audience.

Manage Follow-Backs

One aspect of of marketing on Google Plus is followers base growth. In other words, the more followers you have the better exposure your content, your posts, and your company will have. Usually, when you follow someone they will follow you back, so potentially, every one of the persons you follow can be a follower. From this perspective you would like to know exactly who followed you back, and who didn’t, and with that knowledge, decide who to keep in your circle and who not, to make place for people who are interested about you or your business. This is a task that you can’t perform without Circloscope.

Circles Relevance

Your circles need to be managed for relevance as well. People you follow need to be in your niche, this is because that gives more relevance to your content, and because they are more likely to engage with content they know about. Don’t think about it as competing with webmasters in your niche, think about it as collaborating to increase the relevancy of everyone. Let’s say your niche is massage therapy, if you get engagement from massage therapists on a post, Google will immediately detect the authority of those engagers, and rank that post, and the linked content, and yourself as an author, or publisher better. So, following the right people is an important aspect of your marketing strategy on Google+. Obviously, this is a tedious task if you do it manually, but with a software tool such as Circloscope, it is so much easier.

 Circloscope – Circle Management Software

Circloscope is a Chrome extension, for Managing Google Plus Circles.

There aren’t many such tools on the market, in fact, I think this is the only tool that allows you to manage Google Plus circles. Circloscope can help you with these tasks and many more:

  • circle growth
  • connect with the right people, (find engagers, and influencers)
  • find event engagers, (targeted audience)
  • clean up circles, (easily find people who didn’t follow you, and find inactive people)
  • many, many more features in a dedicated article.

To get started with Circloscope go to circloscope.com to try their free gversion. For the full version follow this link: Circloscope Premium.

Google Plus for Business – A Must for Any Company on the Web

google+circlesGoogle Plus for Business Beyond Social a Must for Any Business

When Google has launched its new social media platform, everybody thought that this was going to be just another attempt to battle with Facebook and Twitter. Now after a few years since the launch in 2011, every business realizes that Google+ is not just another Facebook, it is way more than that, and not being on Google+ means self sabotage.

Google+ as A Content and Author Confidence Rating Platform

There is a lot happening behind the scenes, that Google won’t disclose, but SEO experts have analyzed all of the patents submitted by Google, and found a lot about their long term plans. They are planning to use their social networking platform not only for content rating, and for getting trust signals, they are also getting indicators of the authority of a web writer or a business. Google+ is a way to identify authors on the WEB, to rate and rank them, and a way to enhance the other online properties with this social layer. In fact, a Google+ profile and business page is a way to increase your website’s ranking, your website’s credibility, and a way to interlink various of your web properties, such as YouTube, website, a business page on Google, etc…

Google+ as A Content Rating and Ranking Platform

Google Plus is also a content rating platform, and this works like any other social media signals. The more vote for a content piece, the better the rankings in SERP. This is a very simplistic way to explain it, but in reality things are more complex. The number of plus ones will give a certain signal to Google, but as Matt Cutts explained, it is just a little piece of the puzzle, and social signals need to confirm every year to be taken in consideration.

Matt Cutts explained that Google’s attempts to use Twitter and Facebook signals were blocked, so they eventually stopped using these signals. However, plus ones will never be blocked, so it will always be a measurable parameter in rankings.

Furthermore, the resharing is probably the most rewarding outcome on Google Plus. A reshare is equivalent with a link to the content shared. Very simple to measure. More reshares, more backlinks.

What is very interesting, is that content liked and reshared will be pushed up in SERP for anyone in the circles involved. So Google+ authority extends onto Google’s search engine. If you get a plus one, or even better a reshare from an authority, someone with one million followers, your content will be displayed higher in SERP for that million followers. From that million followers, all the people who engaged with your post will push further your content to their followers. This is probably one of the best ways to market your content.

Google Plus Authorship and Publisher Tags

Google apparently already started to use its social media platform to get important signals about web content. Obviously, this is still a work in progress, and not all content can be rated on Google +, but most content can be rated. Besides the content quality rating role, Google + also serves as a confidence rating platform. Google authorship, implemented through rel=”author, is one of the ways Google gets its trust signals. The publisher tag is another important trust signal, and ownership verification, and this is specifically meant for businesses. It can complement the authorship tag, and it is regarded as ownership of the web content. If the publisher tag is present, it is assumed that the content belongs to a commercial entity, a business, and the author wrote that piece for the company.

Social Ads – The New Way to Advertise

Maybe it’s worth mentioning here that the advertising giant plans to implement a new way to advertise, and we can call this social advertising. No, don’t even try to compare to what Facebook does with their advertising. In fact Facebook’s advertising is far from what Google plans to do. The way this will work is by pushing ads through social authorities. Social authorities can push ads to their followers, or just ignore them. A poorly conceived advertising will not be pushed by anyone who respects their followers, so there will be a natural selection. If you look at the way Facebook advertises now, it’s just the opposite; they push any ad that brings some money. On the other hand, on Google+ good ads will look like regular content, and users will not be able to distinguish between regular posts and paid ones. Although this looks like something big businesses with serious PR budgets will benefit from, it is also a big opportunity for small businesses.

In conclusion, if you are not already on Google+ you have to be, the game is changing, and the sooner you get your Google+ business page setup, the better for your website.
For a technical person, with some social media experience, this page is a quick start to set up your Google Plus for a Business.

Google Plus for Business Setup

Google+ logoGoogle Plus, the new and upcoming social media platform, aims to be a bit more than that. Google disguises a complex social rating machinery, into its social media platform. Any serious business that is present on the WEB should setup a Google plus page, and be active on the platform. Google+ is still a young platform, but it is constantly growing, and the potential is huge.

Create or Update Your Google+ User Profile

To set up Google + for a business, you need to have a Google account.  If you use Gmail, that account can be used to set up your Google+ user profile. IMPORTANT: use real data for your Google account, it is very important to be trusted. If you have an Adwords account it means you have done business with Google before, and they know you are a real person. Either way go to plus.google.com and login, or create an account. Fill in all of the profile’s fields, trying to be as meaningful as possible, and to create a great image. This profile will help you later get more followers for both your personal profile, and your business’s page. SOme of the settings can be hidden, if you have any concerns, but I think that the more transparent you are, the better for your business. The more information you enter, the easier will be for Google to connect you with the right people. For more information on how to setup a profile check this page: How To Set Up a Google Plus Profile

Google Plus For Business Setup – Step By Step

Story Google+

Once you have your user profile properly set up, you can proceed to your page creation.  The page is your way to make your business known, stand out from the crowd, and to let people know what is your business about. Even if your business is well known, you have the opportunity to promote aspects of your business that do not fit on your web page.

Make sure you fill in all the fields possible on your page, you upload a nice, original image for the cover. This should be an image that represents your business, and the recommended size is 1080 x 608.

The tagline and the introduction are your opportunity to reinforce your business values, or to stand out.

On the links section enter your website’s address, this is particularly important for verifying your affiliation with the website. Also add any other pages, or websites that are pertinent, secondary business websites, Facebook, or Twitter profiles, Google communities, forums, etc… These pages and sites make up your business online portfolio, and listing them on your page increases their authority, and allows Google to better understand your business.

When you list your website, you will also be asked to verify your website, this means you have to add on your website, a link to your page. The link is specially crafted to include the rel=”publisher” tag. This tag should actually be present on all of your pages, this associates your business, with your web content, and your Google+ page.
On the contact field put your business’s contact information such as phone number, and a contact page. You might want to avoid listing an email address, because this could be spammed, but you can list one if you are willing to change that often.

Profile-Photo

change the profile picture

Lastly, you need to change your profile picture, if you haven’t already done so as part of the setup wizard. The picture could be your business logo, a picture of your product, an image showing the owner, or anything that is not generic, and can be easily identifiable with your business. Do not forget to add this image to your page as this is how Google+ users will see your profile when you post on behalf of the page.

Now that you have a page on Google+ you can start posting interesting things, and get new followers. A quick start is my page about How To Get Followers on Google+

 

 

How To Get Followers on Google+

Google+ Power Tip – How To Get Engaging Followers

Like any social network, Google+ works better to promote your content, if you have more followers. How to get followers on Google+ though, it looks like nobody wants to connect with your personal profile, or your page? Well, you have to take action yourself if you want more attention. It’s like socializing in real life, if you open the discussion, you can get anyone to talk to you, but most people are shy, and won’t There are two approaches to getting followers, very targeted, only add people who you know are in the same niche with you, or people who expressed interest in subjects in your niche, or add people who engage, regardless of the topics they are interested in.

Google+ is not like Facebook, where you only add people if you know them. You can add people even if you don’t know them at all, the platform is meant for that, and it is created to connect people with the same interests. You will get from time to time a message like: “I don’t know you, why did you add me?”. Just remove them from circles, and let them know you did, (always politely). But if you are a Facebook power user, with a lot of followers, you already know how that works. People follow your page, or even your personal profile, if your page seems interesting, and if you have many followers. It’s the authority that creates even more authority.

*These are my two methods of growing my circle with engaging people.*
I discovered these two methods, and I believe they are the best methods.

How do I find engaging people?

How do I find engaging people on Google+ is the next logical question. Search for hot posts with many pluses and many comments, ideally in your niche, and start adding people from that post. It is that simple. They usually add you back. Trust me this is very effective. The easiest way to add people from posts is with Circloscope.

How do I find people in my niche?

This is my newest idea on how to get more targeted circles. The idea is to filter a bit the people you add in circles, and to add only people who are sharing the same interests with you.
Go to Google, the search engine, and search for a keyword in your niche. In the search results, look for the rich snippets, where it shows an author. Simply click on the author’s picture and this will bring you to the Google+ profile. Add the author in your special/niche circle.
These will be the people you want to engage on your posts. They will bring the most authority to your author rankings for that specific niche. Don’t think of them as competitors, engage in their posts, help each other establish authority. Look at it as a synergy, and as a community work. You help each-other increase your authority. It is a social network, at the end of the day…

Why Not Just Add A Lot of People?

Well, you have a limit of 5000 people per account, in other words, you cannot add more than 5000 people in your circles. That sucks, isn’t it? No, not really. You don’t need to have in your circles more than 5000 people, normally, you can’t efficiently communicate with more than a few hundred people, unless you are a genius. So if you have 100.000 followers, is totally fine, but you can’t have more than 5000 in your circles. That means you need to be a little selective.

I have heard people who added indiscriminately people in circles, so that they could be added back. Then, once they were added, they removed everyone from their circles. This way they increased their followers number. I strongly advise you against this, if you ever thought about doing it. Even if you don’t care about ethics, you will be penalized by Google, and your following might end up useless. So, don’t.

Circle Sharing for More Followers

Circle sharing is very used by many authorities on the Internet. However, I believe that there is a lot to improve on the way it is presently used. The shared circles I’ve seen lately, are just a bunch of people who are considered engagers or authorities. There are a few ways to use shared circles to get circled more:

  • You add yourself to the circle, and share it on a new post. This ensures you are in the next circle re-share/re-post, but it doesn’t ensure any re-shares, re-posts.
  • You find a circle that has less than 500 people, and ask the poster to add you on the next shared circle version. Usually, you have to demonstrate you are an engager, so you will have to repost, comment, plus one, the respective circle. This ensures you are in a circulated circle.
  • The best way, and this is almost not used on Google+, is to create and share interests circles, and share them on communities. Let’s say you are an Internet marketer, you create a circle with all of your Internet marketer contacts on G+, ask them, (using a private message), if they want to be included in a public circle, and then name the circle “The Greatest Internet Marketers”, and share it on an IM Google+ community.

 

 

Pinterest Rss Feeds

Pinterest LogoIf you ever wanted to repost your Pinterest pictures, or to reuse the pics on another blog you own, you probably wondered, “What’s the RSS feed address of my Pinterest pages? Other reasons would be to promote your pins outside of Pinterest, so they get a bit more exposure.

Here are the Pinterest RSS feeds: The feed for your entire Pinterest account is: http://pinterest.com/user/feed.rss
You should replace the user with your username.

Here is an interesting Pinterest feed: http://pinterest.com/learnmassage/feed.rss

The RSS Feed of your Pinboards

The rss feed of your Pinterest boards is obtained by removing the trailing / at the end of the URL, and adding .rss to the end of your board’s URL. For instance an interesting board such as http://www.pinterest.com/learnmassage/coffee-lovers/ will have the rss feed:  http://www.pinterest.com/learnmassage/coffee-lovers.rss

That’s all that is.

And make sure you check my article about how to find your unfollowers on Pinterest.