Kikolani http://kikolani.com Blog Marketing - Blogging Tips for Personal and Professional Bloggers Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:18:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 LXRSEO Review – Getting an Edge on Competitors in Search http://kikolani.com/lxrseo-review-getting-edge-competitors-search.html http://kikolani.com/lxrseo-review-getting-edge-competitors-search.html#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:43:18 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=27312 You know it when you’ve seen it. It’s that competitor appearing on the first page of Google who changes you. You are so affected that you can’t help but take measures to rank higher than him. We’ve all experienced situations like this. But do we know a way around it? That’s the question. Because achieving […]

You're reading LXRSEO Review – Getting an Edge on Competitors in Search, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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You know it when you’ve seen it.

It’s that competitor appearing on the first page of Google who changes you.
You are so affected that you can’t help but take measures to rank higher than him.

We’ve all experienced situations like this. But do we know a way around it? That’s the question. Because achieving a good search engine rank is what it’s all about when it comes to online success.

You probably understand well the case for SEO (search engine optimization). But what many individuals and companies are less clear about is how to optimize their sites.

You can embark on a journey to boost search rankings via keyword optimization, backlink building, blogging, competitive research and more. But if these few activities leave your head spinning, ties up your resources, or cost you additional personnel, this is probably not the route you want to take on yourself.

A more happy medium between doing it yourself and bringing in SEO specialists or employees to handle your comprehensive needs is to use LXRSEO. LXRSEO is an SEO software product with the goal to provide SEO tools that are affordable and efficient, with one big advantage – they are easy enough for anyone to use.

This post will highlight how LXRSEO allows you to use its SEO tools to analyze your site and keyword performance, plan and execute tasks on a daily basis, and measure your progress against competitors.

How to use LXRSEO

After creating a new account and logging in, you enter the LXRSEO dashboard. Enter your site’s URL to get started.

SEO Performance

LXRSEO then analyzes your website and displays its current SEO performance in the form of SEO visits, conversions, SEO revenue, backlinks and site score. You can select a date range for all of the following metrics.

1

Keyword Ranking

The site check-up dashboard also shows you keyword rankings of your main keywords in Google and Bing. It shows the position of the selected keywords today and the previous day.

2

You can add up to 25 keywords in the free account, select a geographical location you want the tool to analyze the keywords for, select the language and add up to 10 competitor domains for keyword comparison and ranking analysis. You can also integrate site’s Google Analytics profile into the tool.

3

Task Management

There’s a task management tab within the tool that instructs you what you need to do to optimize your website. It is broken down into three types of tasks: website tasks, link building tasks and social bookmarking tasks. Each of these three sections contain about 10-15 tasks with a brief on how to perform each task. The task you complete can be ticked, after which it is listed under finished tasks.

4

Tools

The following are useful features within LXRSEO for on-site and off-site search engine optimization.

Meta Tag Generator – Search engines identify your site using meta-tags, so this tool allows you to generate them with ease. You can enter your website URL to import tags, edit the tags per your requirement and click meta-tags.

5

Inbound Link Checker – Lets you find out how many backlinks your website has and analyze their quality. You get to see the number of backlinks, referring domains, no follow links and indexed pages in Google. The results can be compared to competitors.

6

Competitor Research Tool – Lets you analyze your competitor’s website rankings, backlinks and assign a score.

7

Website Auditor – Checks the URL status and Meta Data from your web pages. Non-working links can be redirected to working webpages or deleted.

8

SEO Sitemap Builder – Lets you build a detailed sitemap for any website.

9

Site Grader – Shows your site’s preview, website score and the number of errors that are there to be fixed. You can download a free report of all the results and takes measures to improve your site score. The site score is categorized by website code makeup score, technical score, link score and social media score.

10

Conclusion

LXRSEO is a useful solution for analyzing, planning, executing and measuring your search engine optimization strategy. There’s a feedback tab at the right in the dashboard and all other pages that lets you contact the customer service team in case you run into issues and a user manual that guides you along the way. The pricing plans for LXRSEO are as follows.

11

Sign up for your free 15-day trial here.

You're reading LXRSEO Review – Getting an Edge on Competitors in Search, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Blinkist Makes Sure You Always Have Time To Read Non-Fiction http://kikolani.com/blinkist-makes-sure-always-time-read-non-fiction.html http://kikolani.com/blinkist-makes-sure-always-time-read-non-fiction.html#respond Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:35:19 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=27269 Does reading a non-fiction and learning a bunch from it sound good to you? What if you could read a non-fiction, wherever you are, in whatever time you have? And even better – what if you had a chance to cover a book’s key insights in 15 minutes? This doesn’t need to be a ‘what […]

You're reading Blinkist Makes Sure You Always Have Time To Read Non-Fiction, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Does reading a non-fiction and learning a bunch from it sound good to you? What if you could read a non-fiction, wherever you are, in whatever time you have? And even better – what if you had a chance to cover a book’s key insights in 15 minutes? This doesn’t need to be a ‘what if’ situation for you, because a Berlin-based startup wants you to have all this and more.

What is Blinkist?

Blinkist is a catalog of non-fiction books summarized down to ‘blinks’, or key chapters, accessible on your desktop browser or via mobile apps. There are synopses for several categories including business and career, popular science, productivity and self-help and health and happiness.

The name of the app comes from its ‘blinks’, or concise chapters. The idea is that a blink captures and presents a key concept from a non-fiction and makes it readable within two minutes. While it’s no replacement for the complete context, it does a great job of summing up important information in blinks.

I always imagined learning new things through bite-sized chunks of information, but never really looked around for something that lets me devour multiple books and gain insightful information within just a few minutes. Blinkist has been a great experience for me in terms of capturing key information from a book and making it readable within a few minutes.

How to Use Blinkist

To get a feel of Blinkist, you can sign up for a free trial that comes with no strings attached or automatic subscriptions afterwards. Once you log in, you’re going to see some insightful information from significant non-fiction words such-as Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start and Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing.

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Each book is broken down into the most interesting parts and the description for each book displays the length of time it will take to read, the author bio, who might be interested in reading the book, and a link to download a full copy of the non-fiction. The 12-15 minute summaries of a book has the potential to make readers want to read more its context.

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There is one tab to the left of the interface and four on the right. The left tab lets you browse different categories while the tabs at the right lets you search for a book title or author, go to the library of the content you’re currently reading (selected books are added to this section), see the highlights by date or book, and upgrade your account, add to your wishlist, or invite friends.

You can adjust the font size of a book on both the web and mobile platforms. The passages of the books can be highlighted as well as shared on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

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Most chapters I read were approximately 250-300 words, with blinks having about eight to ten chapters on average. This may seem like too much to complete in 15 minutes, but it really isn’t. If you’re reading at 200 words per minute, that is 1.5 minutes per chapter. So eight to ten chapters will require 15 minutes or less.

The settings section of Blinkist lets you change your account’s password, manage notifications for your reading progress, invite friends, switch between English and German, and upgrade your account.

For people on the go, you can also read anywhere, anytime with Blinkist mobile apps.

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Conclusion

If you need to read a non-fiction piece for work or school purposes, reading blinks might not be your best solution. However, if you enjoy learning new things through reading but don’t have time to read entire books, Blinkist may provide you with a lot of knowledge. The company says more than 20 new books are added each month.

Blinkist is a subscription-based service. Registered users get a tree trail period, and subscription costs $7.99 per month, or $49.99 annually. You can sign up for a free 3 day trial of Blinkist using your Facebook, Xing, or email address. You can also download Blinkist for iOS or Blinkist for Android – both apps provide the same free trial option and subscription rates.
Be sure to use code kikolani for a 30% discount!

You're reading Blinkist Makes Sure You Always Have Time To Read Non-Fiction, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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7 Awesome eCommerce Platforms For Small Businesses http://kikolani.com/7-awesome-ecommerce-platforms-small-businesses.html http://kikolani.com/7-awesome-ecommerce-platforms-small-businesses.html#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:30:32 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=27259 The ‘click and order’ trend is undergoing a major shift. As consumers increasingly turn to their PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. to make buying decisions, small businesses are starting to realize the need to keep up with online operations to cope with the plunges and peaks of consumer demand. The solution? An online store. Take a […]

You're reading 7 Awesome eCommerce Platforms For Small Businesses, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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The ‘click and order’ trend is undergoing a major shift.

As consumers increasingly turn to their PCs, smartphones, tablets, etc. to make buying decisions, small businesses are starting to realize the need to keep up with online operations to cope with the plunges and peaks of consumer demand. The solution?

An online store.

Take a minute to think about it now. Where would your customers shop after closing hours? What’s the one thing you could do to please customers? What’s the one step that you think would change everything?

Most successful businesses today sell products and services on the Internet. So you need to stop and consider all the possibilities before competitors take the lead.

Like any business model there are challenges to opening an online store, with the prime one being selecting the right eCommerce platform to launch your business.

Although the promise of saving money and time by hiring a developer to build an eCommerce site from scratch can be tempting, the reality is that they could end wasting a ton of both.

Luckily, there are powerful eCommerce platforms specifically designed to meet your needs – allowing you to increase sales and attract more customers. Whatever you sell, if you are running on a well-equipped eCommerce platform odds are there will be other businesses having the same needs, so new features and tools will be developed and available to you in a reasonable amount of time.

While there is no perfect platform and there will be tradeoff in picking one over another, I find the following seven provide more flexibility and a low barrier to entry to build an eCommerce store:

1. PrestaShop

prestashop

PrestaShop is a popular shopping cart software with great potential. It is designed to help businesses build a functioning web store and despite it boasting advanced features such as web 2.0 innovations, the platform is speedy, lightweight and easy to get acquainted with.

Some out-of-the box features offered by PrestaShop include catalog management, search engine optimization, responsive themes, promotional tools, multilingual shopping cart, recently viewed products option, payment extensions and international shipping. There’s also an official marketplace for additional add-ons to connect your online store to other platforms you use.

The best part of all this is that PrestaShop is free to use with no monthly or transaction fees. This makes it perfect for those who are just starting their online store and need to keep costs as low as possible until profits start rolling in.

2. BigCommerce

bigcommerce

BigCommerce assists small businesses in creating professional online stores so they can increase revenue. The all-in-one eCommece solution includes a secure shopping cart, website, marketing tools, and mobile themes. You also get advanced features such as product reviews, ‘you may also like’ suggestion, zoom, etc.

The design is 100 percent customizable, so a business can easily use its custom design without the BigCommerce branding/logo. BigCommerce’s customer service philosophy makes it easy for the user to get started: there’s a fold on the homepage reading ‘how can we help you.’ But you get all this in $24.95 a month.

3. Shopify

shopify

Shopify lets you choose from more than 100 designs to create your online store and add products. Websites are customizable and include a shopping cart compatible with American Express, VISA and MasterCard. A modern admin interface, build-in blog interface, and apps available for almost any advanced functionality, make Shopify a viable option.

Shopify merchants can also sell their products anywhere with Shopify Mobile (includes a build-in mobile credit card reader) and Shopify point-of-sale (works on the iPad). Pricing starts at $14 a month, but merchants have to pay transaction fees for hosting and other services.

4. Magento Community Edition

magento

Magento Community Edition allows small businesses to sell in online markets with no hassle on fulfillment, translations or pricing. A huge benefit of using Magento is that it can be easily integrated with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, enabling users to easily manage their business from the back end.

The highlight of the Community version is that it’s extensible: it can be used to do almost anything you want in an online shop. While everything isn’t bundled in the default version, it’s either there in the extensions, or in the skills of the Magento contractors that can be hired at affordable rates.

5. WooCommerce

woothemes

WooCommerce is built on the back of WordPress blogging platform. It is fast and easy to manage, with great support and documentation. Small businesses using WordPress can easily install WooCommerce to get started. Because of this tight integration, it is recommended for businesses that envision content marketing to drive sales of their products and services.
It lets you set up a shop with lots of options including flat rate shipping, bundled PayPal and card payment options, physical product inventory, coupon campaigns and tax settings. There are no price tags associated with WooCommerce.

6. SpreeCommerce

spreecommerce

SpreeCommerce offers a full set of features and is built on common standards, so small business owners using this platform don’t have to forego speed to market, innovation or efficiency. The modular solution allows you to easily configure or replace any store functionality, so that you can build a storefront exactly to your specifications.

SpreeCommerce customers also get to use Wombat, the new automatic integration platform that connects a storefront to its backend operations. It intelligently routes product orders and data to ensure the right information is at the right place at the right time. It’s free to get started with SpreeCommerce.

7. Selz

selz

Selz offers simple ways to boost sales with an eCommerce store that offers a beautiful buying experience. You can start selling products quality without the need of all the bells and whistles of a full-blown eCommerce application.

The quick and easy eCommerce platform allows you to add products within minutes, and businesses don’t even require to have a website; you can get a web store with a custom domain, share the link and start selling. You can also use Selz widgets on your pre-existing blog or website as opposed to having a complete store. Selz also includes handy features such as shopping cart integration and responsive themes. Users can sign up for free, and only pay a fee of 5% + 25c when you make a sale.

Conclusion

To find the best platform for your needs, you need to look at what is best for your customer experience… and your budget! If you’ve tried any of these solutions, or have another favorite, please share in the comments!

You're reading 7 Awesome eCommerce Platforms For Small Businesses, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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SendinBlue Review – Small Business Pricing with Enterprise Features http://kikolani.com/sendinblue-review-small-business-pricing-enterprise-features.html http://kikolani.com/sendinblue-review-small-business-pricing-enterprise-features.html#respond Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:20:03 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=27243 Just recently, I saw a long conversation on Facebook where someone asked if there were any good email marketing platforms outside of the top two or three that everyone seems to be using. This person was looking for a platform that had not been pummelled by hackers lately, keeping well-known email marketers down for days […]

You're reading SendinBlue Review – Small Business Pricing with Enterprise Features, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Just recently, I saw a long conversation on Facebook where someone asked if there were any good email marketing platforms outside of the top two or three that everyone seems to be using. This person was looking for a platform that had not been pummelled by hackers lately, keeping well-known email marketers down for days at a time. Around the same time, I was contacted about a sponsored post from an interesting email marketing platform. If you’re that person, then here is an email marketing platform that you might not have heard of yet, but should definitely consider.

SendinBlue

SendinBlue is a marketing platform for beginners and advanced users that automates the entire marketing process, from email marketing and beyond. It was released publicly back in 2012 to give users their own attention-generating engine that powers marketing campaigns.

sendinblue-review-1

Some of SendinBlue’s prime features include:

  • Email marketing
  • SMS marketing
  • Simple newsletter creation
  • Campaign scheduling
  • Segmentation of contacts
  • Real time reports & statistics
  • Spam checking
  • Trigger marketing
  • Dedicated IP address

How to Use SendinBlue

You can start by signing up for a free account to get a feel of things. After logging in, you can import email subscribers (if you have any) from another email marketing service into SendinBlue via a CSV file. When all contacts have been imported, you can create a new email campaign. Clicking on ‘create a campaign’ in SendinBlue will let you configure the default campaign settings, such as the name, subject, the sender’s name and email.

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After you define the campaign’s name and purpose, you click the ‘create your email’ button (the next step) to bring up 4 different editors to create a mailing list campaign.

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Among these 4, the ‘Drag and Drop Newsletter builder’ is the easiest to get used to. What did I love about this option? It literally took me a few minutes to create a perfectly fine newsletter with all the widgets. It also lets you upload and add images as well as set background text and colour.

Here’s what the default format looks like.

sendinblue-review-4

I love that SendinBlue lets users drag and drop widgets wherever they want to. For instance, the social media buttons can be included in the newsletter to refer subscribers to your social profiles. This is a great option considering that emails including social sharing buttons have a 158 percent higher click through rate. While you have the option to add many different social networks (as shown below), you may just want to choose just the one or two networks that drive the most traffic to your website.

sendinblue-review-5

After finishing the newsletter, you can send yourself or anyone else as many test emails as you want to see the outlook of the newsletter. Once you are satisfied with the look, it is easy to copy and use newsletters for the future as long as you stick to the same format.

SendinBlue also gives you preview options for many different browsers and email clients, including those on smartphones and tablets.

Here’s how an email will appear on an iPhone.

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The next step is to select the subscriber (recipient) list and enter a schedule date for the campaign. There is also an option ‘or send your campaign now’ to send the campaign instantly.

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With 60% of marketers believing that email marketing produces a positive return on investment, SendinBlue’s quick campaign creation makes it a viable option for anyone considering an email marketing tool for lead generation.

How SendinBlue compares to MailChimp

I’ve mentioned MailChimp on several occasions, and it’s really a great tool for email marketers. But SendinBlue gives it a run for its money by offering email marketing packages at a MUCH lower price.

SendinBlue’s free package lets you send 9,000 emails per month to unlimited subscribers. Its lowest priced package, costing $7.47 per month, lets you send 40,000 emails per month. This can be broken down as 1 email to 40,000 subscribers per month, or 2 emails to 20,000 subscribers per month.

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MailChimp on the other hand lets you send 2,000 emails to 12,000 subscribers for free, while the package for unlimited emails starts at $10 for 500 subscribers. Sending emails to 40,000 subscribers in MailChimp would cost above $200.

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That’s a significant cost difference!

SendinBlue also has many extra features that are missing from MailChimp and other popular platforms, including ecommerce tracking, transactional emails, SMS, and the ability to whitelabel your messages.

Conclusion

SendinBlue’s plethora of features and, more importantly, its pricing will give you second thoughts if you’re currently using MailChimp, Aweber or another email marketing service.

It has all the features found in a top-tier email marketing service and SendinBlue’s awesome support center makes it a treat to set up and get started. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking to save money.

Try it for free – no credit card required. It could be the a-ha moment for your email campaigns… and your marketing budget.

You're reading SendinBlue Review – Small Business Pricing with Enterprise Features, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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How to Choose (and Use) the Best Tools for Your Business http://kikolani.com/choosing-best-tools-for-business.html http://kikolani.com/choosing-best-tools-for-business.html#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:00:36 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=26748 I must confess – I am a tool junkie. Apps, services, platforms – I like them all. I love trying out various analytics tools, SEO tools, social media tools, and so forth. Tools have the power to either make your life simpler, or more complicated, depending on what you choose. That is why making the […]

You're reading How to Choose (and Use) the Best Tools for Your Business, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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I must confess – I am a tool junkie. Apps, services, platforms – I like them all. I love trying out various analytics tools, SEO tools, social media tools, and so forth. Tools have the power to either make your life simpler, or more complicated, depending on what you choose. That is why making the right choice is important. Here are my top tips on finding what tools are right for your blog or business.

Start by defining your needs.

Most people look at price or features, and just assume if the price is low and the features are numerous, they will be set. But that’s not always the case. A tool could have 1,000+ features, which is pretty awesome. But if you are only going to need three of those features, then there’s no sense in A) paying for things you don’t need or B) not choosing a tool that is awesome at the three features you need and instead choosing one that is so-so at a 1,000+ features.

Let’s say that you’re evaluating email marketing software. Your requirements are that it integrates well with other tools that you use, it offers a wide variety of templates that are mobile friendly, it allows you to preview emails before you send them, and it helps you create great forms and squeeze pages. While there are tons of platforms to choose from, you’ll likely go with GetResponse because of their 100+ integrations, responsive email design, inbox preview tool, web form builder, and squeeze page generator.

Once you have defined your requirements, making a choice about what tool to go with will be much simpler.

Compare your top choice with some alternatives.

Just because you only found one tool that fits your needs, doesn’t mean it’s the only tool out there. There are great sites like TopAlternatives that can help you find the top tools for specific needs. For example, in their SEO category, they break down tools with specific functions.

choosing-the-right-tool-for-business-top-alternatives

This can help you discover a few great alternatives so that you can jump into the next step. They offer alternative tools for building a website, customer satisfaction, design, ecommerce, email marketing, mobile, optimization, SEO, social media, time management, usability, video marketing, and WordPress (courses, themes, plugins, etc.).

Try before you buy.

Whether you end up trying to decide between multiple tools with the features you want, or just one that seems to be perfect, be sure to try it before you buy it. Most tools will offer some form of free trial, usually ranging from seven to thirty days. Here are my recommended free trial tips.

  • Don’t sign up for a free trial until you are ready to actually use it.
  • Set a reminder in your calendar to visit the tool each day until the trial ends.
  • Take into consideration the ease of use of the tool you are trying. If it’s difficult, you won’t want to use it on a regular basis, which will lower its value for your business.
  • Know how long you have and when/where to cancel if you decide against a particular tool (include a reminder in your calendar for the last day to cancel).
  • Plan to evaluate the results of using a particular tool the day before you need to decide to commit to it.

Remind yourself to regularly use your tools.

Once you have made the commitment to the right tools for your blog or business, don’t let them sit stagnant while they auto-debit your credit card. Set them up so you can easily remember to use them on a daily basis. If they are web applications, for example, create a folder on your bookmarks bar for your tools and put your username next to each so you can easily get to the login pages and remember how to login. Below is my list of top tools…

choosing-the-right-tool-for-business-bookmarks

If there’s certain times you want to check a particular tool, such as taking a daily look at all of your dashboards in Cyfe to review your analytics, then you’ll want to set a calendar reminder to do so. What I like to do is grab a link to the first dashboard I want to view (like my ultimate social media dashboard)…

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…and add it to a daily task in Remember the Milk.

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You don’t have to do these specific things, but you should make it a point to regularly use your tools.

Review, and review often.

If you find you’re not regularly using a particular tool based on difficulty or lack of usefulness, then it might be a sign you need to choose something new. Or, at the very least, time to cancel your account and save some money until you find something new. For this, you might want to set a monthly or quarterly reminder to review all of the tools in your toolbox to see if you are still using them and still getting what you need out of them. If not, go back to the beginning of this post and start the selection process over again. This will ensure that you are always getting value from the tools you choose for your business.

How do you find great tools for your blog or business and then ensure you are always using them?

You're reading How to Choose (and Use) the Best Tools for Your Business, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Creating Online Courses with Kunerango http://kikolani.com/creating-online-courses-kunerango.html http://kikolani.com/creating-online-courses-kunerango.html#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=26670 Are you ready to start teaching online courses, but not ready to setup a membership site on your own website or share 50% of your profits to another company? If so, then Kunerango is the platform for you. Kunerango – the Shopify of online courses – allows you to create your own online school for […]

You're reading Creating Online Courses with Kunerango, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Are you ready to start teaching online courses, but not ready to setup a membership site on your own website or share 50% of your profits to another company? If so, then Kunerango is the platform for you. Kunerango – the Shopify of online courses – allows you to create your own online school for free with no contracts, and only charges you 10% when you make a sale on your course. No hidden fees, credit card required, or startup / hosting costs. Best of all, setting up your own online school is as simple as following these steps.

Step 1: Sign up for Kunerango

kunerango-review-sign-up

While you can change your school’s name (mine is Kikolani in this example), you will have to contact Kunerango to change the URL that is formed from the school name you choose, so keep that in mind.

Step 2: Create an admin user

kunerango-review-create-admin-user

Step 3: Follow the wizard

Once your admin user is created, you will get a quick tour of the platform. First, it will show you where you can edit your logo and color scheme.

kunerango-review-customize

Next, it will show you your course listing.

kunerango-review-your-courses

And finally, it will show you where you can manage your school’s settings.

kunerango-review-managing-your-school

In the school’s settings, you will find the following.

  • Dashboard – This is where you can see a quick summary of the number of teachers (course creators) in your school, the number of courses you have published, and the number of students taking your courses. You also get quick links to manage your school’s preferences, modify your school’s look and feel, manage courses, and manage teachers.
  • Courses – This is where you will manage and add new courses to your school.
  • Sales – This is where you will find your sales analytics and earnings reports.
  • Billing – This is where you will enter your Paypal information for course payments and deduction of Kunerango’s 10% per course sale fee.
  • Teachers – This is where you will manage the teachers (course creators) within your school.
  • Learners – This is where you can see information about students signed up for your courses.
  • Themes – This is where you can edit your school’s look and feel, including theme colors, logo, and browser icon.
  • Preferences – This is where you can change your school’s name, edit your preferred currency, open / close your school to the public, and contact Kunerango if you want to change your school’s domain name.

Be sure to set up the billing section before continuing, as it will ask you to do so when you start creating paid courses.

Step 4: Start creating your courses

Last, but not least, you will want to start creating courses. Creating courses is as simple as entering basic details for your course.

kunerango-review-course-setup-1

Choosing whether your course will be free or paid.

kunerango-review-course-setup-2

And adding a cover photo and promo video for your course.

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After the basics are entered, you will start adding your course materials. You can organize your course into different levels, each containing lectures with video, documents, or text-based content.

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You can also create quizzes for each lecture consisting of questions with multiple choice answers. These can be great to reinforce the content you have just taught within the lecture.

kunerango-review-course-setup-6

Once you’re finished creating your first course, you will want to go back to your school’s preferences in the settings area to open your school. This will allow you to start selling your course.

The Key to Success

So what will determine the success of your school on Kunerango? Promotion of course. You will want to promote your courses every chance you get – consider using organic and promoted posts on social media, an announcement to your mailing list, email signatures, a badge on your blog, a blog post, and any other avenue you can think of to get the word out. The more people that know about your course, the more people that can become your students!

Advantages of Using Kunerango

Aside from not having to create and manage a membership site on your own, there are several other advantages to using the Kunerango platform. These include the following.

  • Setting up your school and courses is easy – you create the course content, fill out a few basic pieces of information, and you’re ready to go.
  • You only pay Kunerango when you make a sale, and even then, it’s only 10% of your course price.
  • You are not competing with other similar courses in a large marketplace.
  • You are not subjected to selling your course for less because the marketplace is having a sale.

To Learn More

Want to learn more about Kunerango? Here’s a short introductory video to their platform.

You can also check out their review on Techcrunch.

If you’re ready to give them a try, sign up for a free account (no credit card required) at Kunerango.com.

You're reading Creating Online Courses with Kunerango, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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5 Reasons I Still Use CommentLuv http://kikolani.com/5-reasons-still-use-commentluv.html http://kikolani.com/5-reasons-still-use-commentluv.html#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 13:00:30 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=24414 One of the questions I’m often asked about this blog is why I still use the base WordPress comment system as opposed to Disqus, Livefyre, Facebook, or Google+. My answer is always CommentLuv. People have their issues with the CommentLuv plugin. I will admit that yes, it does invite spammers who just want to drop […]

You're reading 5 Reasons I Still Use CommentLuv, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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One of the questions I’m often asked about this blog is why I still use the base WordPress comment system as opposed to Disqus, Livefyre, Facebook, or Google+. My answer is always CommentLuv.

People have their issues with the CommentLuv plugin. I will admit that yes, it does invite spammers who just want to drop a link, so if you don’t moderate your comments carefully, you’ll be giving out lots of bad links. And yes, it does mean that over time, you’ll end up with a lot of broken outgoing links because bloggers close down their blogs.

Why I Still Use CommentLuv

For me, the pros of CommentLuv outweigh the cons. Here’s my top five reasons for using CommentLuv.

1. It allows me to identify spammers quickly. Generally, they’ll have some pretty bad posts / pages linked with their comment.

2. It allows me to quickly get to know my commenters. Looking at post titles, I can easily see if I have a lot of self improvement people, tech people, SEO people, photographers, etc. If I had an SEO site that was regularly frequented by a lot of photographers, for example, I could really give more to my audience by adding more photography-related examples to my posts.

3. It helps the community get to know each other. Other commenters can browse posts and find other blogs in their niche pretty quickly.

4. Commenter’s posts can add to the conversation. Like if I write about a SEO plugin for WordPress, maybe they have a post about another good plugin that both I and the audience can learn from to get some additional options.

5. It’s a way for me to say thanks. If people read the posts and leave a really good comment, I don’t mind them getting the chance to promote a good blog post that they have written. I built my blog up by promoting my content on relevant CommentLuv enabled blogs, and I wouldn’t think it’s fair for me not to offer the same in return for others.

CommentLuv Premium vs. the Free Version

Although you can use the free version of CommentLuv, I use and am an affiliate of the premium version of the CommentLuv plugin. I purchased the premium version because it comes bundled up with some additional plugins that I also like using including the following.

  • Twitterlink – This allows commenters to leave their Twitter username with their comment. Since I know a lot of people by their Twitter handle, this helps me identify them when they come to my blog as well as connect with new people.
  • ReplyMe – This allows commenters to receive an email notification that their comment has just received a reply as opposed to an email notification when anyone comments on the post. You can get this for free, but the free version hasn’t been updated in years.
  • GASP – This allows me to add a simple captcha in the form of a checkbox on the WordPress comment form to reduce automated spamming without driving commenters nuts with a hard to read alphanumeric captcha.

Plus, you get additional functionality with the premium plugin for CommentLuv and the add-ons that you won’t find in the free versions.

Find More CommentLuv Blogs

One resource that students of my Blog Post Promotion Course have been enjoying is Find the Luv. You can use this site to find the latest posts from over 700 CommentLuv enabled blogs on specific topics including blogging, business, family, food, health, personal development, photography, SEO, and technology.

Your Turn

Do you use the CommentLuv plugin on your blog, or comment on CommentLuv enabled blogs? What has been your experience? Please share in the comments!

You're reading 5 Reasons I Still Use CommentLuv, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Split Testing Made Easy with the ConverThis WordPress Plugin http://kikolani.com/converthis-wordpress-plugin-review.html http://kikolani.com/converthis-wordpress-plugin-review.html#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:00:31 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=24231 If you have a sales page on your website for products or services, chances are you want to do everything possible to ensure that it leads to more sales. And if you have a squeeze page to grow your mailing list, you want to do everything possible to ensure that it leads to more opt-ins. […]

You're reading Split Testing Made Easy with the ConverThis WordPress Plugin, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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If you have a sales page on your website for products or services, chances are you want to do everything possible to ensure that it leads to more sales. And if you have a squeeze page to grow your mailing list, you want to do everything possible to ensure that it leads to more opt-ins. The questions is, how do you do this without having to dive too deeply into website development and expensive tools?

Split Testing

The answer: split testing. Split testing is simply putting two or more variates against each other to see which one performs the best. For example, you might want to test two sales pages, each with a different headline, to see which one leads to more sales. Or you might want to test two opt-in pages, each with a different video, to see which one leads to more opt-ins.

The benefit of split testing is, of course, an increase in conversions. And who wouldn’t want their sales page to convert more visitors into customers or their squeeze page to convert more visitors into subscribers.

Now if you’re like me, split testing sounds like a pretty complicated process that requires expensive tools and loads of analysis. But thanks to ConverThis, it no longer has to be expensive or time-consuming.

ConverThis is a WordPress plugin that makes A/B testing simple. How simple? Let’s find out.

Setting Up a Campaign

To get started, you will need to have at least two versions of the page you want to test with different variations of text, media, pricing, etc. The Lite Version of the plugin (one-time fee of $29.95) allows you to test up to three pages at a time, and the The Premium Version of the plugin (one-time fee of $49.95) allows you to test up to six pages at a time.

Once you have your pages and variations ready, you can start by setting up a New Campaign with ConverThis.

converthis-wordpress-plugin-review-1

Next, you will select the pages you want to test, assigning them names, descriptions, colors (for Premium Version users), and traffic split percentage. For example, if you’re testing two pages, you’ll want to split the traffic 50/50 so that half the visitors will receive one page, and half will receive the other.

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Once you have entered the pages you want to test, you will click the Publish button to complete the campaign.

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Then you will grab the campaign URL. This is the URL you need to give visitors in order to start testing your two pages.

converthis-wordpress-plugin-review-4

That’s it! Once you start receiving visitors using your campaign URL, you will start gathering data for your split test.

Analyzing the Results

To check your campaign’s progress, you will go to the All Campaigns portion of ConverThis.

converthis-wordpress-plugin-review-6

Here, you’ll find a listing of all of your campaigns.

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When you click on your campaign, you can scroll down past the campaign settings to see a graph of the results, along with the campaign statistics.

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At this point, you should know whether you have a clear winner between your variations, or if the variations have an equal conversion rate. When you have a clear winner, you’ll know which one to keep as your final sales or squeeze page.

In Conclusion

ConverThis is a great plugin for WordPress that can help you do some simple split testing. It’s easy to set up and offers easy to understand results that can help you increase conversions on your sales and squeeze pages.

You're reading Split Testing Made Easy with the ConverThis WordPress Plugin, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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How to Create a Latest Posts Portfolio Page with WP RSS Aggregator http://kikolani.com/create-latest-posts-portfolio-page-wp-rss-aggregator.html http://kikolani.com/create-latest-posts-portfolio-page-wp-rss-aggregator.html#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 22:00:59 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=22897 If you write for a lot of different websites like I do, whether it is as a guest blogger or freelance writer, then you have probably struggled with finding a way to share your latest posts from all of those sites with your audience. Fortunately, there is an easy – and free – solution for […]

You're reading How to Create a Latest Posts Portfolio Page with WP RSS Aggregator, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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If you write for a lot of different websites like I do, whether it is as a guest blogger or freelance writer, then you have probably struggled with finding a way to share your latest posts from all of those sites with your audience. Fortunately, there is an easy – and free – solution for anyone who uses WordPress on a self-hosted domain (sorry WordPress.com users).

The Plugin

The plugin you will need is WP RSS Aggregator. This plugin allows you to combine multiple RSS feeds and publish them on one single page using a piece of shortcode.

It’s simple to use – once you’ve installed it on your website, you can find the settings for it in your admin menu.

wp-rss-aggregator-1

To set up your latest posts portfolio page, you will use Add New Feed Source to add each of your author-specific RSS feeds from each site you contribute to.

wp-rss-aggregator-2

Once you have added all of your feeds, you will create a new page on your WordPress website and add in the WP RSS Aggregator shortcode where you want your latest posts to be displayed.

latest-posts-portfolio-page

The result is will be a page like my portfolio page here.

You can use the settings option for WP RSS Aggregator to configure features such as limit the number of posts shown on each page, limit the number of feed items stored from each feed source, make the links nofollow, and whether you would like the new links to open in a new page.

If you want more advanced features, such as thumbnails, categories, and keyword filtering, you can purchase add-ons for the plugin on the main WP RSS Aggregator site.

How to Get Your Author RSS Links

Not sure how to get your author-specific RSS link from the sites you contribute to? Here are some steps to try.

1. Start by going to your author pages.

On most sites, you can get to your author page by going to one of your posts and clicking on the link to your name. Usually you will find this under the title of the post or at the end of the post where they list the categories, tags, etc. When you get to your author page, look for an RSS feed link. Some sites, like Search Engine Watch and Business 2 Community place your author-specific RSS link on your page using the standard RSS icon.

2. Add “feed” to your author page URL.

If a site you contribute to uses WordPress, all you have to do is add the word “feed” to your author page URL. So let’s say you have an author page URL that looks like this.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/author/khines/

To get your RSS feed, you would change it to this.

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/author/khines/feed/

When you go to that link, if you see only your posts in the feed preview, then you have your author-specific RSS feed.

If the site you contribute to doesn’t easily allow you find your author page URL, you might have to do some guessing. The URL is based off of your username, so if you login to their WordPress admin panel with the username khines, then you can try the following URL combinations to find your author page.

http://domain.com/author/khines/ or http://blog.domain.com/author/khines/

http://domain.com/blog/author/khines/

If you don’t login to WordPress, but you see that your posts are attributed to you with an author box, you will have to guess what your username is. Most sites use combinations like the following.

khines (first initial, last name)
kristih (first name, last initial)
kristihines (first name, last name)
kristi-hines) first name, last name with a space between)

Test these in the URL examples mentioned previous, and once you find your author page, add feed to the end of the URL to get the RSS feed.

3. Use the RSS Subscription Extension on Google Chrome.

This extension allows you to easily find any embedded RSS links on a page you are viewing. So if you are on your author page, you might be able to get your author RSS link by clicking on the RSS icon in your address bar.

rss-subscription-chrome-extension

A final note on author RSS feeds.

Some sites use redirects to turn any RSS feed link from their site back to the main RSS feed link, so be sure to test yours before putting it in WP RSS Aggregator. Otherwise, you’ll be feeding in everyone’s posts.

Ways to Use Your Latest Posts Portfolio Page

Creating a page like can be useful for many reasons. Here are my favorite three.

  1. Anytime you need to share your latest writing credits to get a guest posting or freelance opportunity, you can send people to this page or quickly grab links off of this page to put in an email or contact form.
  2. It helps you drive traffic to the content you create offsite.
  3. It helps you keep track of all of the content you create, so the next time someone asks, “Hey, do you have a post on ___?” you can go through your latest posts portfolio page to find it.

If you are a guest blogger or freelance writer, I hope you give this plugin a try to create an automated latest posts portfolio page. Boost your chances of conversion by adding a form at the end to encourage people to contact you about new guest blogging and freelance writing opportunities or to subscribe to your mailing list!

You're reading How to Create a Latest Posts Portfolio Page with WP RSS Aggregator, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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50+ Filters to Keep Your Gmail Inbox Squeaky Clean http://kikolani.com/50-filters-to-keep-your-inbox-squeaky-clean.html http://kikolani.com/50-filters-to-keep-your-inbox-squeaky-clean.html#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:34 +0000 http://kikolani.com/?p=21641 Have you always wanted to maintain Inbox Zero, but found yourself falling short as email upon email piled up in your inbox? Are you not a fan of Gmail’s new tab system? If so, then filters may be the solution to your problem. Filters allow you to tell your email service exactly where you want […]

You're reading 50+ Filters to Keep Your Gmail Inbox Squeaky Clean, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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Have you always wanted to maintain Inbox Zero, but found yourself falling short as email upon email piled up in your inbox? Are you not a fan of Gmail’s new tab system? If so, then filters may be the solution to your problem. Filters allow you to tell your email service exactly where you want specific emails to go.

The emails that clutter your inbox the most are the ones that are from automated sources – newsletters, notifications, press releases, social media updates, and so forth. They are (for the most part), all emails that do not need your immediate attention.

There are services, such as Unroll.me, that can help you unsubscribe from email subscriptions you are no longer interested. Their service doesn’t catch all of the automated emails out there, and they can’t catch all of the emails from those people who conveniently add you to their list without permission.

This is where the following filters can help. They can catch most emails from automated sources. I have these set in Gmail to skip the inbox and go to a specific label called Automated. To do this, you start by using the search box in Gmail to search for the phrase, then click on the dropdown arrow next to the blue search button to show search options. At the bottom, you’ll see the link to create filter with this search. Then you will set up the filter like this, or with your own specifications.

(I’ll also how how to do this in other email programs too further down in the post.)

gmail-automated-email-filters

Without further ado, here are the filters I find most useful to catch emails sent through automated means.

"to view this email as a web page, go here."
"having trouble reading this email"
"having trouble viewing this email"
"email not displaying correctly"
"unsubscribe | change subscriber options"
"unsubscribe from this list"
"unsubscribe instantly"
"please unsubscribe"
"update subscription preferences"
"email preferences"
"follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out"
"if you would rather not receive future communications from"
"if you would like to unsubscribe"
"to ensure that you continue receiving our emails, please add us to your address book or safe list."
"safeunsubscribe"
"to unsubscribe"
"unsubscribe from these emails"
"unsubscribe from our emails"
"unsubscribe please click"
"unsubscribe from future"
"you can unsubscribe here"
"to unsubscribe or change subscriber options"
"this message was sent to leilaniana@gmail.com" (replace with your email address)
"this email has been sent to you by"
"to opt out"
"opt out using TrueRemove"
"one-click unsubscribe"
"do not reply to this email"
"view this email in a browser"
"please do not reply to this message."
"if you no longer wish to receive our emails"
"if you do not wish to receive email from"
"no longer receive this newsletter"
"do not want to receive any newsletters"
"to remove this e-mail address from"
"removed from this mailing list"
"manage your email settings"
"edit your subscription"
"you may unsubscribe"
"you can unsubscribe"
"powered by YMLP"
"update your contact information"
"update your contact details"
"change your subscription settings"
"manage your subscription"
"manage your subscriptions"
"update Email Address or Unsubscribe"
"this email was sent by"
"this email was intended for"
"you received this email because"
"you received this e-mail because"
"you are receiving this message"
"prefer not to receive invites from"

If you are looking to filter out all of the social media network updates from your inbox, use the following for the top social networks. If you belong to other social networks, look at the from email address to determine what @network.com to use in your filter.

from:(noreply@)
from:(@twitter.com)
from:(@plus.google.com)
from:(@facebookmail.com)
from:(@facebook.com)
from:(@pinterest.com)
from:(@instagram.com)
from:(@linkedin.com)

Last, but not least, if you want to filter out some of those impersonalized messages, you can add these phrases to your filter list.

"hello sir"
"hello webmaster"
"hello admin"
"dear sir"
"dear webmaster"
"dear admin"

These will filter some advertising requests too – be warned! But they will also filter out those “guest bloggers” who know nothing about your site.

Be sure to review the search results for each phrase prior to setting up the filter. You may find that automated updates and notifications from your favorite shopping sites, social media tools, analytics platforms, and other services end up in the mix. Some of these will also catch new newsletters you sign up for, so if you don’t see your free ebook link in your inbox, it might be filtered by one of the phrases above. You also might want to create a special filter from specific sources and add them to a particular label or star them to make sure you don’t miss their emails.

gmail-automated-email-filters-2

Since I’m a Gmail user, I wanted to show how these work in Gmail. But these filters are not limited to Gmail – look at your email provider to see what kind of filtering options you can use. Yahoo, for example, allows you to search for phrases within your emails using the search box and set up filters similarly under the settings.

yahoo-automated-email-filters

Outlook also allows you to search for emails with specific text under the Advanced Search and set up filters, also known as rules, under your preferences.

outlook-automated-email-filters

What filters do you use to ensure you have the most manageable inbox possible? Please share your favorites in the comments!

You're reading 50+ Filters to Keep Your Gmail Inbox Squeaky Clean, originally posted on Kikolani and copyrighted by Kristi Hines, freelance writer and professional blogger. Be sure to stop by and grab a copy of my free 8,000+ word guide to guest blogging and become a fan on Facebook.

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