Traveling Your Way to a Better Blog

Chances are, you enjoy blogging. At least you did at the start. While some people blog as a profession, most of us start them out of passion. Why is it, then, that blogging often turns into a chore? After a while, at least for some bloggers, it feels like something we have to do, rather than something we want to do.

Has the passion really dissipated?

Better BlogNo, in all likelihood there are a number of factors that go into blog dissatisfaction that have nothing to do with passion…

It might be the staleness of comments discussion, or even a traffic plateau. Most commonly, though, we grow bored with our blogs because it feels as though we’re spinning our wheels.

Nothing feels fresh any more. Thankfully there are ways to combat that feeling.

A change of scenery

I’ve found that some of my freshest content ideas come immediately following a vacation or business trip. That is, those are times when the juices flow.

I can usually bank a few weeks’ worth of content on all of my blogs. The ideas sometimes come while I’m on the trip, sometimes while I’m on the airplane, and sometimes immediately afterwards. But whenever they came, they coincided with times that I’d been on the road.

Changing the scenery, apparently, did change my mind. Being away from familiar dwellings inspired something in me. That is, it seems as though my blogs had grown stale, because my environment had grown stale.

After talking to many more people, particularly work-from-home types, I found many similar stories. Getting out of our comfort zones apparently gets the creative juices flowing after they’ve gotten stagnant.

The great news is that traveling doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. Simple trips can suffice. You can also find useful purposes for travel, so you can combine your best interests. Here are the two ways I’ve traveled, much to my benefit.

To the surprise of some, none of them involve a tropical beach…

Traveling to get away

A vacation? Perish the thought. There’s too much work to be done. While many of my office dwelling friends get three, four, or even five weeks of vacation per year, I’m lucky to get but one. It’s one of the few drawbacks to working for a start-up, and working from home. With constant pressure to grow our sites, it’s tough to get away even for a week. Yet, as outlined above, getting away is still important. The best way I’ve found to reconcile these issues is to take frequent mini vacations.

The key here is to completely change your surroundings. I live in a mostly urban area, so these mini trips are to the land of small towns and trees. Lots and lots of trees.

Friends of mine who live in small towns like to take their trips to New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., or other fast-paced, populated areas.

The overall point, though, is to find stimulus that you simply cannot find at home. That will get the creative juices flowing again.

Of course, over the years it has become more difficult to create an all new environment. After a while, vacationing in small towns gets stale, too. Still, there are all sorts of adaptations of this. For instance, I’ve taken to seeking out a car rental as far in advance as possible (as to keep the cost as low as possible — you don’t want to book a rental car just a few days before you need it). You can also choose an uncommon destination. Have you ever been to a beach town in the winter?

It’s surprisingly relaxing.

Again, the overall idea is to take a day or two off work, overlap with a weekend, and completely change the scenery. The new stimulus will inspire you and get you back on track.

Traveling with a purpose

While traveling with the sole purpose of changing the scenery can be helpful, it’s even better to combine this with a professional purpose. As I noted above, it didn’t matter whether I was vacationing or traveling for business. Either way, the ideas would start flowing. So why not take the opportunity to grow professionally?

For anyone who works on the Internet, there are dozens of helpful conferences every year. Affiliate marketers have a number of conferences that have long track records and are run by successful people. There are general blogging conferences, and there are niche blogging conferences. There are also industry conferences – tech bloggers will find plenty to their liking here.

Conferences give us a chance to expand our social networks. Surrounded by people with similar interests, it’s hard to walk away without a ton of new address book entries.

Conferences also provide a great opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with people we’ve met online. Twitter can be great for conversations, but there’s so much more to a physical connection.

Additionally, conferences provide many educational opportunities. Panels and keynotes feature material from some of the most successful people in any given field. These speeches and panels can give us ideas that we can apply to our own sites. That is, conferences provide a veritable treasure trove of ideas. Those ideas spur the mind, which helps us keep things fresh.

Time was, traveling was an expensive, time-consuming process. But now, with the Internet and travel agencies, it’s quite simple. We can use cheap travel for many purposes. While going to a conference or other industry even helps reconcile our professional and personal needs, a simple trip away from home can do the same. There are plenty of opportunities to do so. When things are feeling stale and you need new stimulus, a short weekend trip can provide weeks, even months, worth of solutions.

Joe Pawlikowski edits several blogs across the web, including his latest project, A New Level, which addresses issues for at-home workers (and whatever else he’s thinking about).

Top List of Ping Sites for WordPress and Ping Plugin for Easy Management

When using WordPress for building a website or a blog, the unavoidable thing you need to have is a WordPress ping list. You need this list if you want to receive the best exposure for the website or blog because through this list you can notify many services that you have published a new post.

List of Ping SitesIts importance doubles when you are in the habit of publishing quality posts daily and even more when you have just started with WordPress. You need all the exposure you can manage.

By default, WordPress does have a limited set of ping options. Currently, rpc.pingomatic.com is set as the default option. What you need to do is add the list of ping sites mentioned below to your WordPress ping list.

Where to add the list?

  1. Login to WordPress
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Writings tab
  4. Scroll down and you will see space for adding ping list.
  5. Copy paste the list below
  6. Click Save

List of Ping Sites

http://1470.net/api/ping
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/ping
http://api.moreover.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.co.jp/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://audiorpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://bblog.com/ping.php
http://bitacoras.net/ping
http://blog.goo.ne.jp/XMLRPC
http://blog.with2.net/ping.php
http://blog.youdao.com/ping/RPC2
http://blogdb.jp/xmlrpc
http://blogmatcher.com/u.php
http://blogsearch.google.at/ping/RPC2
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://blogsearch.google.de/ping/RPC2
http://bulkfeeds.net/rpc
http://coreblog.org/ping/
http://godesigngroup.com/blog/feed
http://google.com/ping/RPC2
http://mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatt
http://ping.amagle.com/
http://ping.bitacoras.com
http://ping.blo.gs/
http://ping.bloggers.jp/rpc/
http://ping.blogmura.jp/rpc/
http://ping.blogs.yandex.ru/RPC2
http://ping.cocolog-nifty.com/xmlrpc
http://ping.exblog.jp/xmlrpc
http://ping.fc2.com
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://ping.kutsulog.net
http://ping.myblog.jp
http://ping.namaan.net/rpc
http://ping.pubsub.com/ping
http://ping.rootblog.com/rpc.php
http://ping.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://ping.weblogalot.com/rpc.php
http://ping.weblogs.se/
http://ping.wordblog.de/
http://ping.yandex.ru/RPC2
http://pingoat.com/goat/RPC2
http://rcs.datashed.net/RPC2/
http://rpc.aitellu.com
http://rpc.blogbuzzmachine.com/RPC2
http://rpc.bloggerei.de/ping/
http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
http://rpc.icerocket.com:10080/
http://rpc.newsgator.com/
http://rpc.pingomatic.com/
http://rpc.reader.livedoor.com/ping
http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://rpc.twingly.com
http://rpc.twingly.com/
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://services.newsgator.com/ngws/xmlrpcping.aspx
http://sindice.com/xmlrpc/api
http://topicexchange.com/RPC2
http://trackback.bakeinu.jp/bakeping.php
http://www.a2b.cc/setloc/bp.a2b
http://www.bitacoles.net/ping.php
http://www.blo.gs/ping.php
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://www.bloglines.com/ping
http://www.blogoole.com/ping/
http://www.blogoon.net/ping/
http://www.blogpeople.net/ping
http://www.blogpeople.net/servlet/weblogUpdates
http://www.blogroots.com/tb_populi.blog?id=1
http://www.blogsearch.google.ae/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.at/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.be/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.bg/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.ca/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.ch/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.cl/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.cr/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.hu/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.id/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.il/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.in/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.jp/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.ma/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.nz/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.th/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.uk/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.ve/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.co.za/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.ar/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.au/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.br/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.co/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.do/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.mx/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.my/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.pe/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.sa/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.sg/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.tr/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.tw/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.ua/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.uy/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com.vn/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.de/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.es/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.fi/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.fr/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.gr/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.hr/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.ie/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.it/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.jp/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.lt/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.nl/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.pl/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.pt/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.ro/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.ru/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.se/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.sk/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogsearch.google.us/ping/RPC2
http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php
http://www.blogsnow.com/ping
http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi
http://www.lasermemory.com/lsrpc/
http://www.mod-pubsub.org/kn_apps/blogchatter/ping.php
http://www.newsisfree.com/RPCCloud
http://www.newsisfree.com/xmlrpctest.php
http://www.ping.blo.gs
http://www.ping.wordblog.de
http://www.popdex.com/addsite.php
http://www.serenebach.net/rep.cgi
http://www.snipsnap.org/RPC2
http://www.syndic8.com/xmlrpc.php
http://www.weblogues.com/RPC/
http://www.zhuaxia.com/rpc/server.php
http://xmlrpc.blogg.de
http://xmlrpc.bloggernetz.de/RPC2
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
http://youdao.com/ping/RPC2
http://zhuaxia.com/rpc/server.php

What happens when you ping?

When the ping services updates the readers of a new post, various background processes take place instantly which are instrumental in getting the blog indexed quickly and obviously, responsible for bringing a huge amount of traffic. Therefore, whenever a ping is sent;

1) The websites receiving the pings adds the blog on their directory, giving you one-way links.

2) Some websites will feature your blog in the updated blog list.

3) Search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing will start to crawl your blog faster and index web pages.

4) Faster indexing means faster traffic.

5) WordPress and blogrolling.com check update services to know whether you have updated anything on the blog and if you have, the blogrolling.com scripts move the blog to the top of the list or they place a link indicating new content.

6) Getting listed on Technorati.com is no less than a dream come true. With thousands of unique visits received by Technorati, you cannot imagine the possibility of receiving an insane amount of traffic from them.

Pinging – A Major Flaw

Until now, pinging has been very goody goody, right? But stop right there! Because there is a major drawback of pinging, that is, whenever you make edits to your published blogs, the edited or revised blog keeps getting pinged too.

So suppose you make 15 edits to one blog in a span of 30 minutes, then the blog will get pinged 15 times. Repeated pinging will get the WordPress sites banned from ping services.

Use pinging with caution. Either you have to be very sure about the blog content before publishing to avoid edits or use this WordPress plugin.

Ping Plugin

During my research and experience, I have come to realize the Max Blog Press Ping Optimizer plugin is one of the best you need to have to get rid of the flaw.

It is a free plugin (requires one-time registration) and has the following features:

  1. It will not send unnecessary pings while you are updating an existing post.
  2. It will send only one ping about the published post. Future edits are not repeatedly pinged.
  3. Previously, the default WordPress pinging use to send pings even while you were scheduling the blog posts. However, with this plugin, you can schedule without this headache and the posts will be pinged only once, after they are live.

Conclusion

Pinging is no doubt a powerful tool to get your WordPress blog more traffic and fast indexing. Take note of the above flaw and use the plugin to avoid it.

PS: if you come across any ping sites that require manual submission, please do not ping a post more than once within 24 hours.

Top 20 WordPress Plugins to Build Your RSS Feeds

WordPress RSS PluginsRSS (Real Simple Syndication) enables you to syndicate the blog content in a digestible format for the readers. Assuming that most of you are using the WordPress format, we give you a list of top 20 WordPress Plugins to build your RSS feeds.

Use only those Plugins that will help in improving the blog’s performance and user’s readability.

Best WordPress RSS Plugins

To Manage RSS Feeds:

1. RSSless – If images and videos in your content feed do not format properly, you can use this plugin to weed them out with the help of short codes.

2. Feed Key – This plugin is useful when it comes to restricting feed visibility. In other words, if you want the RSS feeds to be visible only for registered users, use this plugin.

3. FD Feedburner Plugin – This plugin uses Feedburner to redirect the comments and main feed without the need to modify the RSS templates.

To Create RSS Feed Content:

4. Simple Feed Copyright – I think this is necessary for every blog feed. This plugin attaches a copyright note at the end of each RSS feed entry and protects it from copyright infringement.

5. RSS Includes Pages – This is another innovative plugin like the previous one. With this, you not only can include posts in RSS feeds but also include pages to customize the Feed.

6. RSS Footer – Through this plugin you can include copyright information in the RSS feed, along with a link back to the original posting on the main blog.

7. RSS Supplement – Like the name says, you get to add supplementary features with the RSS feed like bookmarking links, comments and others.

8. Better Feed – This is an all-in-one RSS feed plugin which allows you to add everything that you ever want like copyright information, links, advertisement, comments and others.

9. RSS Atom Avatar – If you want to personalize the RSS Feed by adding an avatar or the site’s favicon to the feed, use this plugin.

10. Feed Comments Number – If you want to track the number of comments the RSS feed is getting, use this plugin. It will add a small image on all the posts selected for the feed. This image will automatically update itself after every comment submission. If there are no comments, it will display “Add a Comment.”

To Manage RSS Feed Statistics:

11. Feedburner Widget – If you have a Google Feedburner account, use this widget to connect it with your blog. It will directly retrieve Feedburner data and display it on the blog admin area.

12. Feed Stats – With this plugin, you can track feed usage directly from the dashboard. It will also let you fix the number of days you want to track and what all things you want to track like IP, comments, users data, number of views, number of hits and others.

13. Feed Subscriber Stats – With this plugin, you neither have to login into the blog nor see the home page to see the number of subscribers. You can login to the Feedburner account and see the updated stats.

14, Feed Tracker – This plugin serves a dual purpose. First, you can apply buttons on the site for people to subscribe through the link. Second, whenever your RSS feed is updated, it will be notified and then it will also track the total subscriber count for your blog.

15. RSS Link Tagger for Google Analytics – This is again something every blog owner with a monetized blog needs; this plugin will add a special code into the RSS feeds which will then help Google Analytics to track how many readers come to your blog through the RSS feeds.

16. Disable RSS – As the name implies, this plugin will kill or deactivate all RSS content feeds because you do not need them when you use WordPress as a CMS platform.

17. Private RSS – This plugin will help you to create two RSS feeds: the first one will contain summaries of content which will be visible to everyone; the second one will contain full blog posts and can be optimized for specific subscribers. For instance, you may create a list of subscribers called ‘Client’ and then create a specific RSS feed to send to this list ONLY.

18. SOJ Tag Feed – This plugin will help you to create RSS feed for every tag stored in your blog Dashboard. For instance, if someone wants to know only about “internet marketing” from your blog, the plugin will specifically list those blogs tagged with “internet marketing” and will send it to the subscriber. It also includes copyright notices to help fight off feed scrapers.

19. Special Feed Items – If you want the RSS readers to particularly read one or more blog posts, how do you draw their attention? The Special Feed Items installs a small “heart” sign before the specific post title, which makes readers most likely to notice it.

20. Old Post Promoter – If your permalink structure includes dates, then this is not for you. In case it doesn’t include dates, you can use Old Post Promoter to randomly select blogs from the published database and make them appear on the front page of the RSS feed.

Creating RSS feed is important for a blog, especially when the blog has started to receive a good number of viewers.

Read this small guide on how to syndicate your blog with RSS feeds.

Share with us your comments below.

Top 7 WordPress Plugins to Monitor Comments

Few days back, I read about a product on the popular Warrior Forum where you can use the spam comments that we bloggers so generously receive into a money making venture. I don’t know whether that product actually works or not but I thought why not prepare a list of WordPress plugins that will help us in differentiating spam comments from the authentic ones.

WordPress Plugins to Monitor CommentsThis list will be useful for those who want to get rid of spam comments and for those as well who have the knack to make money online from spam comments.

The 7 plugins are the ones I could see were popular, most downloaded and relevant ones. There were others too but not with much of a success rate.

WordPress Plugins to Monitor Comments

We have prepared a list of the top 7 WordPress Plugins to Monitor Comments

Note: Those who are using free WordPress hosting cannot install Plugins. Only paid WordPress sites or your own blogs can install unlimited Plugins.

1. Extra Admin for Comments [Download]

AuthorGraeme Boy
LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – This is a new plug-in that helps you add extra admin people on the WordPress blog. On installation, it will produce a list of the top 10 commentators on various blog posts and show the number of comments each blog has received in the last 7 days, 15 days or the past month. It creates a separate list of comments that haven’t been replied by the admin. You can create multiple logins with this plug-in.


2. After the Deadline [Download]

AuthorOtto 42
LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – This is another new and popular plug-in which is actually a language checker for comments. Many times we receive comments that even though are not spam, end up getting trashed because of grammatical and syntactical errors. You can use this plug-in to proofread comments through their artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology.

Moreover, you can download the software and use it on your browser, on your blog, on your site and with Open Office Writer. The software is available for both personal and commercial use.


3. Verification Code for Comments [Download]

AuthorWang
LinksInstallation

Features – If you want to avoid users from using robots and filling up your comment section with spam comments, use this plug-in to activate an image verification code or a math equation for users. You just need to install this plug-in. You don’t have to edit WP source code.


4. Send Love – Social People Rating Plugin for Bloggers and Publishers [Download]

AuthorSend Love
LinksInstallation

Features – The Send Love is a unique plugin that scans the blog and identifies famous people from its database containing 2 million names. If your blog is about people who are constantly in the news and gossip columns, use this plugin at all costs. The plugin helps in creating meaningful as well as controversial conversations on the blog. According to the owner of this plugin, users have reported a significant increase in traffic, page views and return visitors with Send Love.

Some of its other significant features are – display of public figure bios, opinions feed, quick polls, social authentication, easy customization, real time analytics, mobile compatibility and can be used with Facebook comments, WordPress, Intense Debate, Echo, Disqus and others.


5. Custom Avatar for Comments [Download]

AuthorN. Kuttler
LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – Through this plug-in you can create and upload custom avatars on the blog. These images will be visible to your visitors who can then choose from among these avatars and use them while commenting on your blog. The same visitor can choose different avatars while commenting. This plugin adds a personal touch to an otherwise boring commenting section.


6. Text Math Anti-Spam for Comment [Download]

AuthorPtiPti
LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – Similar to the plugin number 3 above, this one only shows mathematical verification. For instance, the comment user will be asked “how much is nine minus four?” or “how much is ten multiplied by six?’…You can even create images through sentence conversion and customize the color pattern. The code is less than 199 lines long and there is no need to configure anything. However, it will not display complex images. This plugin assures that the commentator on your blog is a human being.


7. oEmbed for Comments [Download]

AuthorRay
LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – This plugin is great for very hungry users of social media. This plugin will embed your blog content with other social networking sites. What are all the sites it covers? YouTube, Blip.tv, Hulu, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Flickr, Qik, Viddler, Revision3, Scribd, Photobucket and WordPress.tv. Now you can comment and embed any link from the above sites. Once the comment is published, the link is converted into the embedded content.

Even though paid WordPress blogs have a default ‘Comments’ section, we cannot tell a spam from an authentic comment. Given the fact that Akismet is also a paid service now, you can make use of the above plugins and optimize your WordPress blog.

If you come across any other plugins that is fit to feature in this list, please let us know. We will update our list.

7 Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins for ‘Contact’ Page

If you leave aside Home pages and website content or posts, what is the other important thing Best WordPress Contact Form Pluginsnecessary for a website or blog? It is the ‘Contact Us’ page. As we had previously told you in 6 tips to create an impressive contact us page, it is an often avoided page and some even splash one up just for the sake of it.

However, if used wisely, the Contact Us page becomes the first point of connection between a business and a prospective client.

Best WordPress Contact Form Plugins

We have prepared a list of the top 7 WordPress Plugins for Contact pages.

Note: Those who are using free WordPress hosting cannot install Plugins. Only paid WordPress sites can install unlimited Plugins.

1. Custom Contact Forms [Download]

Author – Taylor Lovett

LinksFAQ & Installation

Features – The author claims that this form will surpass the popularity of Contact Form 7. Some of its features are:

  • New dashboard to display the recent for submissions.
  • New re-designed and file upload fields, with the option to include CSS and JQuery.
  • Instant translation to various languages.
  • Unlimited forms and fields creation.
  • Each form can be optimized with different email addresses.
  • Develop error pages for display when the form is filled incorrectly.
  • Non-English characters can be easily used with UTF8.

Best Use – Business websites and landing pages. Businesses that receive lots of queries daily should use this plug-in.

2. Contact Us Plus [Download]

Author – Abenari

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – This contact plug-in is displayed on the top right side of the WordPress site. It is in the form of a button, which when clicked will display the form. After you install it, you have to visit ContactUsPlus.com website, create an account and adjust the setting, and you will get access to all the users whoever fills out the forms on the website. Some of its prominent features are:

  • There is no need for captcha because the plug-in is spam free.
  • When any person submits the form, a direct email is sent as a notification.
  • Since the form is in the form of a pop-up, there is no need to leave the existing page.
  • You can add innumerable number of fields and text boxes.
  • The form is supported by foreign language and a list of visitors is available to the website administrator.

Best Use – Bloggers and small scale businesses.

3. Contact Form 7 [Download]

Author – Takayukister

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – The Contact Form 7 is currently the most downloaded contact form ever. Here you can create multiple contact forms and customize them accordingly. The form has CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and Ajax-powered submitting. Other features are:

  • It’s supported by more than 35 languages. Visit the download link and you can see the list of languages in which the form can be used. If your language is not mentioned and you have a language pack, please contact the owner to bundle the pack into the Form.
  • It’s fully secured, that is, it prevents spam mail.

Please read the full FAQ manual for detailed information.

Best Use – Any kind of blogs and businesses.

4. Slick Contact Forms [Download]

Author – Remix 4

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – This contact form plug-in works as a widget after installation. You can use the widget to add contact information on every web page or even multiple forms on a particular page. You can use the widget control panel to set the various input labels and validation texts. Some of its features are:

  • The form can be either set as a drop-down button, floating, sliding tab.
  • You can include short codes to add text links in the content to open or close the form.
  • If a specific email address is not set, all the form submissions will go on the default WordPress id.
  • You can optimize the method, text, width, location, offset, floating speed, animation speed, and the skin of the forms easily on the widget section.

Best Use – Both blogs and businesses.

5. SEO Contact Page [Download]

Author – Expert Business Search

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – Businesses that need to spread their contact details all over the website without manually placing every link should use the Local SEO Contact Page plug-in. When you install it, you will be asked to adjust the settings, which will include contact numbers, social media images, social links, payment methods, hCard format, vCard format, business name address, Google map, QR direction code and lots of other details. These details are then populated automatically on the entry contact page. Some of its features are:

  • Setting up payment and hours of operation options.
  • Ability to embed Google maps and directions.
  • Ability to associate email, fax and phone numbers easily..
  • There is a single short code contact page.
  • The admin settings are very convenient to use.
  • You can add all you social media network accounts easily.

Best Use – Professional self-employed sites and major business websites.

6. WP Highrise Contact Form [Download]

Author – Marcan

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – It is a very simple form which you can use to install on any page or blog. All you have to do is sign up with highrisehq.com and the form submissions data will be sent on the preset email Id and stored on the Highrise account. Its features are:

  • You can add various text box options like company name, email, phone, fax, and others.
  • Every form submission will be notified via email.
  • You can set calendar tasks and the form will send you reminders to complete the tasks.

Best Use – Suitable for bloggers.

7. Simple Contact Form [Download]

Author – Gopi R

Links – FAQ & Installation

Features – This is an AJAX based WordPress form which is installed on the sidebar. The plug-in is integrated into the Email Newsletter plug-in provided by the same author, in which the admin of the WP site can send newsletters and mails to those email ids received through form submissions. Its best features are:

  • Integration with Email Newsletter plug-in; you don’t have to create a separate contact list of people.
  • There is CAPTCHA to avoid spam and installation is easy.
  • There is no need to refresh pages as it uses AJAX.
  • You can choose the email id where the form submissions will be sent.
  • It is in the form of a widget on the dashboard so you can add any amount of text.

Best Use – More suitable for bloggers.

These are the best wordpress contact form available today. If you come across other contact form plug-ins, do let us know!

Top 5 Examples of Potential Business Blogs of 2012

Top Business BlogsBlogs have come a long way since their origins as online shared diaries in the 1990s. Their evolution gained momentum in 1999 with Peter Merholz, breaking the term “Weblog”, coined by Jorn Barger in 1997, into “We blog.”  A significant mutation took place when Evan Williams of Pyra Labs started popularizing the use of the term “blog” both as a noun and verb.

Blogs grew by leaps and bounds over the last decade. As of now, there are roughly over 150 million public blogs.

This article studies 5 promising blogs with a view to evaluating the current state of blogging and predicting its course during the coming year.

These blogs fall into five categories, each numerically symbolic of their market potential in 2012.

  1. Social media marketing
  2. Internet marketing, especially eBooks
  3. Self-Employment Community
  4. Career Coaching
  5. Skill-Based Freelancing

These blogs are already popular in their own way. Bookmark these and follow them over the coming year.

Top Business Blogs of 2012

1. The Proactive Report [proactivereport.com]:

Year: 2003
Owner: Sally Falkow

This blog is for anybody who uses or runs social media marketing businesses, or is in any way connected with them.

Some of the strong points of this blog are its good use of text and media objects such as graphs and charts, photographs, and illustrations. Besides, this is an interactive blog that requests the visitors to leave comments and contact details such as name, e-mail ID, and Web site URL.

How she makes money?

It offers 9 products that every social media entrepreneur will need at one point or the other. These are:

  1. Social Media Roadmap
  2. Twitter PR
  3. New Media Press Releases
  4. Online Reputation Management
  5. Search: A Modern PR Skill
  6. PR Strategies for Entrepreneurs
  7. Web Sense: Effective Web Marketing Strategies
  8. Media Relations in The Internet Age
  9. The Power of Good Content Writing

All these products are priced at $27, $37, $47, and $79.

This one is full of potential. It can become the hub of social media business generation strategies.

2. Ewen Chia [ewenchia.com]:

Year: 2000s
Owner: Ewen Chia

Now more and more people are choosing Internet marketing and are earning a huge sum of money through selling online products and services. There are various types of online marketing like Search Engine Optimization (SEO), advertising on websites, and pay per click, email marketing, and Web 2.0.

Ewen Chia’s blog teaches us how to make money fast through online marketing. He has written an eBook with exclusive information about Internet marketing. If you are interested in this product, you can read the review from this blog and get to know more about making money on the Internet.

How he makes money?

Even though he is a relatively new entrant in the online marketing world, he quickly became a bestseller with his eBook – Fast Track Cash. If he can do this one eBook, he definitely has lots of potential to maintain this brand name in 2012.

He enters this list as a person who has learned the trick to make money from eBooks, which a lot of us still wonder about.

He is one of the pioneers of the online marketing world, which is reason enough to follow him in 2012.

3. Freelance Folder [freelancefolder.com]:

Year: 2007
Owner: Mason Hipp

Freelance Folder is an active community of freelancers, small business owners, web workers and entrepreneurs. This blogs gives us high quality and credible information about the freelancing world.

This is one example of a blog that makes money from quality advertisements. You won’t ever see spurious links or blatant affiliate marketing promotions. It has their own forum for writers and users. There is a separate Job Board for freelancers to find work and make money online.

How it makes money?

Apart from paid advertisements, there are three eBooks on sale. These are:

  1. The Unlimited Freelancer – $29
  2. How to Start a Freelance Design Business? – $12
  3. How to Start a Freelance Writing Business? – $12

They are currently running a New Years sale so the prices above are discounted. Please check the site before buying them.

As an information portal in a high active but volatile freelance market, this blog has potential in 2012.

4. Work Happy Now! [workhappynow.com]:

Year: 2008
Owner: Karl Staib

Know your strengths and superpower to keep you succeeding in your career and professional life. This is what is taught in this blog by its author through his experiences. This blog shows what a person can feel when not happy at his career or job and provides a solution to get out of this situation.

There are some useful article links that one can read and understand how to be successful. You can contact the owner of this blog if you have any questions and need help battling the blues.

How he makes money?

Karl Staib is a Super Biz Coach. He makes money online through 3 products and services. These are:

  1. Superpower Coaching – $395 & $695; 100% refundable for dissatisfaction.
  2. Fear to Fuel – Get over procrastination; $95
  3. Work Happiness 101 – $27

As a coach and mentor person helping people to overcome stumbling blocks that prevent them from being successful in life, this entrepreneurship has lots of potential.

5. Just Creative Design [justcreativedesign.com]

Year: 2007
Owner: Jacob Cass

Just Creative Design is an example of the power of specialized service in this online industry. The owner is a self-employed graphics designer and provides amazing resources on print design, web design, logo design, advertising, typography and media branding.

If you count RSS reader subscription as a business analytic tool, his blog has 29,318 readers – an awesome number for a self-employed person. His website is not flashy but it is extremely well developed. I was floored seeing his portfolio, which I think is a major contributing factor towards his success.

For all those freelancers reading this piece, never forget to create a mind blowing portfolio. It is what impresses recruiters most where hiring freelancers are concerned.

How he makes money?

He offers web design, logo design, and print designing services to a large client base. Just don’t forget to check out his portfolio.

Conclusion

An analysis of our sample survey of 5 blogs reveals that blogging is definitely thriving. The blogs currently in vogue can be grouped into several different categories, depending on the differentiators used – types of bloggers (individual and organizational), genre (small business, Internet marketing, and education), and media type (micro-blogs such as those on Twitter – video blogs – link logs – photo blogs and others).

Blogs that are likely to make a mark in 2012 should have the following characteristics: accuracy; judicious use of text, images, and links, interactivity, and continuous update, dynamism and most importantly, they should be highly uniquely service-oriented or product-oriented.

I admit there could be thousands of blogs with potential, so if you come across one, please don’t forget to mention it below.

PS: We don’t want to beat our own drums, so if you think Income Insiders also has the potential to be one of the best blogs in 2012, please feel free to say so in the comment section below.

Top 10 Blog Directories of 2011 and 2012

Top 10 Blog DirectoriesDo you have an interesting blog of your own? Well, now it’s time to think where to place your blog where it will be easily visible to all the Internet users and therefore, getting your blog ranked high in the search engines.

Every blogger wants his or her blog to be one of the top listed blogs in the search engines. For that, you will have to index your blogs with a good and well-known blog directory.

Top 10 Blog Directories

Given below is the list of top blog directories of 2011 and 2012.

1. Technorati

Technorati was created by Dave Sifry and launched on November 2002. This top active blog search engine and blog directory has been indexing more than a million blogs by 2008.

Technorati tracks the tags included by the bloggers. These tags are beneficial in categorizing the search results in this blog directory bringing the current ones first. This leading blog directory also provides rating to each blog’s authority.

Technorati.com has bagged the SXSW 2006 awards for its Best Technical Achievement and Best of Show. It was also termed as one of the “2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies” by Lead411 that was founded in 2001.

As of November 2011, the Alexa ranking of Technorati is 1,076.

2. BlogCatalog:

It is very easy to get your blogs indexed with this directory without any great effort. The blogs and sites are categorized based on what your blog is about. There are several bloggers who are active users and happy with this blog directory.

BlogCatalog can bring more traffic to your blogs and help to rank your website in a good position. All the bloggers who have their blogs posted on BlogCatalog recommends others to use this blog directory which has an excellent and attractive website design.

All you need to do is to login and submit your URL to Blogcatalog.com.

3. BlogGlue:

There are millions of blogs indexed here helping to achieve a huge amount of traffic to your blogs. BlogGlue not only works as a Search Engine Optimization tool but also as a social networking platform, helping millions of users to share their ideas and promote their companies to the present and new audiences.

BlogGlue.com connects the bloggers with the new audiences who have blogs that share similar things with the other’s blogs. It specializes in attracting traffic to your blog through social networking. Here the bloggers help each other by promoting their sites.

4. Blogarama:

If you want to attract more traffic to your blog and develop its popularity, you should consider Blogarama to index your blogs. This blog directory is one of the top listed blog directories chosen by several bloggers.

If you are interested in indexing your blogs with Blogarama you should go to their website and create an account by filling out a small form and hit submit. You will very soon see a good response from the audience. Visit Blogarama.com for more information.

5. BlogHints:

This is a big blog directory that approves only blogs and not websites. When you are submitting your blogs, you can choose the category that matches with your blogs and get them indexed on BlogHints.com. There are free listings such as Featured listings, Regular listings, and Reciprocal listings. But for this, you are required to have a Reciprocal link.

When you are submitting the URL of your blog, you will have to provide the title, URL, and a short description about it and provide META keywords and META description of your blog. The BlogHints staff reviews the submissions made by the bloggers before approving them.

6. Bloggernity:

This blog directory has several thousands of blogs indexed and many more are getting indexed every day. This site is becoming much popular than it was before with more number of new bloggers submitting their blogs on Bloggernity. Unlike BlogHints, Bloggernity does not require reciprocal links for free listings.

You can go to their website Bloggernity.com and look for their recent news, entertainment and other issues related to their website. You can also take a look at the new bloggers who have indexed their new blogs to become familiar with this website.

7. Bloggapedia:

This is not only a blog directory and search engine but also a social networking site for the bloggers that allows users to connect with others and share ideas and views.

Bloggapedia has special categories that provide good searching results with the keywords that you have entered with the search engine. It gives easy searching for all the users.

You can go to their website Bloggapedia.com and create an account and sign up to submit the URL of your blog and get it indexed quickly.

8. Blogadr:

Blogadr is one of the good blog directories chosen by bloggers to post successfully and drive more traffic to their blogs. You can add your blog to Blogadr.com by providing some information required by this website and choose a category that is relevant to your blog.

Once you have filled out their form and submitted, the reviewers of their website will get your blogs listed if all the information is correct and does not contain any spam. You can index your blogs on this well-used blog directory for free.

9. GetBlogs:

This blog directory has more than 25,000 blogs indexed with them. This directory is reviewed and edited by their group of people. There are around 16 main categories and over 167 sub categories. You should choose the appropriate one that is relevant to the content of your blog.

Take a look at GetBlogs.com to view different blogs that have been indexed categorically which is easy to search for a specific blog. You can submit your blog in this directory for free and get more traffic to your blogs.

10. Ontoplist:

Ontoplist is one of the popular directories that approve blogs as well as websites. There are extra features available for free for all the bloggers who submit their blogs and websites here.

One good feature is the analytical tools that help in checking the progress of your blogs which will be helpful for the bloggers to improve their blogs to attract more traffic. You can also submit your new posts on your blogs and mention about it on Facebook and Twitter by using the ‘Auto-Feed Blog’ feature.

If you are a writer and interested to post your articles, you can promote your writings on this website. You can also share your interests and views with the like-minded bloggers that you will find on Ontoplist.com.

Conclusion:

There are several more popular blog directories that are useful in creating huge traffic to your blogs within a few days.

For best results, you can submit your URL to as many blog directories as possible to drive as much traffic as possible to your blog. All you have to do is to choose the best ones for your blog to become popular.

Which blog directories are your favorites?

Top 15 Bloggers in the World

Calling ourselves the best bloggers of the world is not enough. Although, being awarded as the top blogger of the world is what most of the bloggers’ wish, but being a top blogger means taking on a lot of responsibilities.

Top BloggersIt includes providing relevant and informative blog content, holding your readers loyalty for a long time, getting excellent feedback from readers, building a huge visitor network and adopting the most powerful blog marketing strategies. Consequently, the majority of bloggers could not become the top bloggers of the world.

Generally, blogging is a great hobby for those people who love to explore their thoughts, ideas, information and experience and share it with the world. And when the blogs are visited by millions of readers and achieve top ranking in the search engine results, they provide huge earnings for respective bloggers and some of the blogs are sold for millions.

After collecting some useful information regarding ‘how to become a successful blogger?’ and various aspects which bloggers need to consider, I believe that successful blogging depends on the following contributions:

1. Blog Setup (20%) – It includes blog formatting, maintenance and updates

2. Blog Content (30%) – It refers to the researched content and relevancy of information

3. Blog Promotion (50%) – Applying suitable blog marketing and social promotional strategies

All these aspects are good enough to become a successful blogger.

Following are the list of people who have properly made use of many successful blogging strategies and acquired the topmost place in the list of best bloggers of the world:

Top Bloggers in the World

1. Michael Arrington

Arrington began his success story by working as an associate lawyer of O’Melveny. Afterwards, working in the technology field, he enforced his experience and hobby of writing on the Internet.

He is the publisher of the famous blog ‘Tech Crunch’. According to Wikipedia, Tech Crunch is worth millions of dollars if Arrington chooses to sell it and Alexa Ranks his ‘Tech Crunch’ at 355. Initially Arrington was obsessed by ‘silicon valley startups.’ He used various advertising processes to provide good ranking to his blog. With banner ads and text advertising, Tech Crunch has become the top earning blog of the world. Nowadays, he has a team of 45 bloggers, exploring and publishing huge information about technology.

2. Pete Cashmore

Pete Cashmore in 2005 introduced the blog named ‘Mashable.’ Today, this author empowers a team of 30 members. His blog is read by more than 10 million readers every month and considered as the most profitable blog on the Internet. Mashable is a well-known example of potential earnings via blogging. Today, this blog is followed by 2.4 million fans on Twitter and 249,000 fans from Facebook.

His blog covers all social media happenings. After 6 years of launching Mashable, its Alexa rank is 278.  The blog is well centered on the social media and Cashmore is known as the biggest geek of the world.

3. Mario Lavandeira

Mario Lavandeira’s first blog was ‘Perez Hilton’ which was introduced just after Cashmore’s blog ‘Mashable’ in 2005. Today, the blog catches 1.2 Million visitors every month across the globe and earn approx $20,000 per month, according to Wikipedia. Perez Hilton is a collection of Celebrity Gossip and enhances its earning by juicy gossips amongst celebrities.

Mario believes that writing blogs is quite easy as compared to his past dream of becoming a Hollywood actor. He, therefore, founded his new talent of riling up gossips and various controversies in Hollywood and publishing them on his blog. Today, he counts in the top bloggers of the world. Every day he posts around 25 to 30 blogs and gets various featured events and talk shows.

4. Timothy Sykes

Earlier, Sykes had to suffer huge losses in his businesses and these happenings frustrated him a lot. But, today, he is a financial writer in AQL Finance which got him featured on various business News channels. Also, he starred in popular TV show, “Wall Street Warriors”.

What were these sudden changes? How he achieved huge success after his unexpected business losses? All these queries can be solved with single name, ‘Blogging’. Yes it is!

Blogging is the most efficient way of earning for most of people. Sykes entered into blogging and wrote his first blog ‘Timothy Sykes’, which was based on his business failure and the lessons he learned from his business losses.

With the successful response of his blogging efforts, Sykes earns most of his revenues through small advertisement investments. Tim Sykes has written more than 2300 blogs till date and provided various stock tips for generating money from stock exchange.

5. Collis Taeed

Collis Taeed’s first blog was launched in 2006 with the name ‘Freelance Switch’; today he is the owner of Tuts Plus Corporation. His blogs cover tutorials and tools on designing. He was a German web designer and turned to blogging to teach people about web designing online.

His web tutorials are globally appreciated. Collis is one of the top earners via blogging; his blog covers huge traffic. His team undertakes various national and international projects related to web designing and tutorials.

6. Jake Dobkin

Calculating the monthly revenue earned from blogging, Jack Doblin, with the monthly compensation of $110,000 is at 6th position in the list of top earners and bloggers of the world. His blogs covers 4 million page views per month. He mostly covers NY life and events in his writing at Gothamist. That’s why more than 80% of visitors belong to New York. This integration provides a great enhancement in his earnings.

7. Matt Marshall

He is the owner of Venture Beat and earns thousands of dollars per month from blogging. Marshal started his blogging career in 2005 by highlighting facts and information about Venture Capital and startups.

Marshal was a journalist before he started blogging. Later on, he tried his luck in online journalism and successfully achieved a place in the list of top bloggers of the world.

8. Gina Trapani

No doubt, Gina Trapani earns more than Matt Marshal, but Marshal has more visitors on his blogs as compared to Gina’s blog ‘Life Hacker’. This blog is all about software tips and downloads. The main source of earning for Gina is through blogging and is known as the best tech writer on the web.

9. Tucker Max

Tucker Max blog is the result of quite interesting incident. His blog is related to his drunken exploits, which is beautifully described via blogging. Consequently, the blog is attracting millions of internet users every day who are interested in reading some unique incidents and interesting exploits. Also people love his writing style.

It is just because of Tuckers blog that the author published his first “highly entertaining and thoroughly reprehensible” book with The New York Times.  Due to this, the blogger has earned millions of dollars and was acclaimed as the best seller for weeks. Nowadays, he is busy in writing his upcoming book, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”.

10. Gary Vaynerchuk

He was the co-owner of a wine shop in New Jersey. Gary Vaynerchuk started to post some video blogs related to wines and started an online wine resource. Today, he has converted his efforts into a million dollar business and also established a personal brand.

11. Josh Marshall

Marshall started blogging via ‘Talking Points Memo’ blog in 2000 at the time of Florida election recount. He was a politics lover and started sharing his thoughts and experiences on the web. He was quite inspired by Mickey Kaus, who was also a political blogger at that time.

Josh Marshal also played an important role in exposing the scandal on dismissal of the US Attorney who was politically motivated by administration of George Bush.  Thus, the blog ‘Talking Points Memo’ covered huge traffic and even today, it has millions of visitors and fans. Nowadays, Josh has become a popular columnist in ‘The Hill’, a Washington DC newspaper.

12. Darren Rowse

As a hobby, Darren Rowse started writing blogs online. After one year, he tried his efforts in affiliate and advertising programs on myblogs.com and earned huge money quickly. Afterwards, he started professional blogging on ‘Making money from blogging’ in his blogs.

All these efforts provided him huge success and fame. He was also awarded ‘the Best Web Development Weblog blog award in 2006’ for ProBlogger. Today, Darren is the co-author of ‘ProBlogger’ and he also founded a blog ‘TwiTip.com’ based on Twitter Tips.

13. Jeremy Schoemaker

Shoemoney was the first blog of Jeremy Schoemaker when he was not financially strong to establish any business setup. He began blogging on some e-commerce sites to earn some money; later on, he started AuctionAds.com and sold it for millions of dollars.

Fortunately, he was considered as the most impressive blogger of online advertising ever. Today, he continues to launch his adventures on his blog site, which provides him huge fame, handsome earning and a successful placement in the list of top bloggers of the world.

14. Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is the author of famous blog ‘4 Hour Work Week’. He is a neuroscience graduate who provided innovative options and effective advice on how to approach situations in many ways. He is a blogger who gets huge traffic on his Web Pages and is a well-known personality in the blogging world.

15. Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin always tries to provide some new and conservative viewpoints in her blogs. She is not only a commentator on FOX News Channel, but also a regular guest host of O’Reilly Factor, which itself is a most popular IT books publisher in the world. Malkin earned huge income from her blogging and provided various blogs on public speaking.

To conclude, blogging has been a great platform to earn huge money by sitting at one place. Blogging has also become the door to success for various bloggers. Today, blogging is not just a money making machine, most of the people try to attain fame as well as success in the writing industry via blogs and articles. All these top blogs and bloggers are not only the top earners via blogging; they are also achieving lot of fame and success in writing industry.

While collecting resources for the ‘top bloggers list of the world’, one more interesting fact is noticed. You will surely be amazed to know that most of the bloggers from this list are not only top earners, they are also entrepreneurs. This helped them in getting exactly what fame and success they expected from their blogging.

What other blogger would you add to the list?

Top 15 FREE Blogging Platforms

Out of all the launches on the Internet in past years, blogging is the most interesting one. Blogging is not only a medium for people to write their personal viewpoints but also an engaging media to channelize current news and information.

Blogging PlatformsWith the introduction of the dot-com era, most of the organizations have established their private websites where they post blogs related to their business products and services for active business relationships with their customers. This strategy is known as professional blogging.

Blogging can be personal too, where bloggers can create accounts for free, publish their own blogs and create a small community of active readers.

Various online service providers are making free blogging platforms available, which allows a blogger to post blogs on these blogging websites without any charge.

Moreover, these free blogging platforms also allow a user to make money online through online marketing.

The Top 15 list of FREE blogging platforms

All of them have similar features. Choose the one which suits you best.

1. BlogSpot or Blogger (blogger.com)

Blogger offers free blog posting feasibility to share your thoughts online. Blogger.com was started by Pyre Labs and when the service became a huge success, Google acquired it and gave it an .blogspot.com extension. Today, Google’s blogger.com is a widely used free blogging platform in the blogosphere.

Every newbie blogger is advised to use blogger.com as a way to explore and know how to create a blog. It provides various tools and control interfaces to help new bloggers in posting on blogger.com. This free blogging website offers various widgets, templates and money making opportunities via Google AdSense. The new blogger.com Beta version makes ceating a blog much easier.

2. WordPress (wordpress.com)

WordPress.com is another hugely popular free blogging platform where people can run their blogs via the WordPress blogging software. This software is also supported by various other hosting websites. That’s why WordPress blogs can be easily transferred to any other hosting website, if needed.

WordPress platform is mostly used by professional bloggers like Income Insiders. People should also be aware about the rules and regulations of free WordPress, which strictly prohibits that the users cannot place any ads and affiliates programs within blogs. In other words, you cannot syndicate Google AdSense with free WordPress. Keeping this consideration in mind, you can post numerous blogs on this free blogging website.

3. Tumblr (tumblr.com)

Tumblr is the next top ranked free blogging website which provides a micro-blogging service. Micro-blogging is actually an act of posting short messages on the web which is just like the ‘tweeting’ feature on twitter.com.

Tumblr is very easy and a user friendly website, but it doesn’t provide some advanced features like knowing visitor statics which the other free blogging platforms provide. Blogging content on this website is limited to 140 words, however, a user can also insert videos and images related to the blog.

4. Life Type (lifetype.net)

This free blogging website is based on the integrated media management system.  It supports plug-ins, provides well-designed templates and auto spam filter facilities. It enables XMLRPC interface to remote designing and editing blogs. It is an open source blogging platform which allows a user to create and update the blog without paying any charges.

5. Posterous (Posterous.com)

Posterous or Posterous Space is an improved blogging platform which also supports social networking tools and services. It is a well-known blogging platform developed by Posterous, Inc. It provides various innovative services like email by post and free webhost extension. It allows blogs to use its posterous.com domain.

6. Live Journal (livejournal.com)

It offers both free and paid blog hosting services and is the well-known platform for blogs and journal postings. It offers various beneficial services for its users around the globe. For example:-

  • It releases notes and provides compensation for the site downtime.
  • You can express yourself to the world by uploading your profile pictures on the website.
  • It provides style updates of your journal with various stylish themes.

Within a few years, it has established a huge user loyalty on the web. Today, LiveJournal.com has more than 19 million blogs and journals on the web.

7. Movable Type (movabletype.com)

Movable Type is the next source of free blogging. It was introduced by ‘Six Apart,’ which is a well-known software company known for creating Movable Type blogware. Movable Type, just like WordPress, offers self-hosted packages without any cost.

On this free blogging platform, people can post numerous blogs and can also publish their content pages just like they publish on WordPress. The most beneficial service of Movable Type is that the user can create multiple accounts on the website without any restriction. Besides this, this website also supports syndication with other hosting platforms like The Huffington Post, Boing Boing and The Line Blog.

8. Bravenet (bravenet.com)

Bravenet.com is not only a free blogging platform, but is also a free hosting provider as well. One of the interesting features of this free blogging website is that it provides 1.5 GB monthly bandwidth for every user and along with this, users can enjoy 50 MB storage on the website absolutely free.

To acquire Bravenet.com services, a user has to create an account with Bravenet.com and install its blogging software. The website platform also provides various free website components and tools on the web. Just dragging these tools on your site, you can enjoy these amazing services without any need to pay even a single cent.

9. Terapad (terapad.com)

Along with free blogging, Terapad.com provides various beneficial services. These include:

  • Latest Web 2.0 features
  • Customized domain name
  • Internationalization and Accessibility
  • E-commerce and Shopping cart
  • Control on website design
  • Inbuilt website optimization services

Besides these, it also supports CMS features in the blogs. The only disadvantage of this free blogging platform is that it allows various unwanted free ads on either side of the blogs. If a user wants to restrict these free ads from the webpage, the user has to buy a paid package of $14.15 per month.

10. Xanga (Xanga.com)

Xanga was initially a fun hosting website where people shared books, images and music with the world. Today, it is a platform that supports free blogging. Although it is free, its premium and plus version allow various publishing features, huge bandwidth, free blog storage space and numerous design options. The website provides its private domain for its users.

Xanga domain is secured with WHOIS protection in which users cannot access contact details of others. However, this beneficial service can be available to users only after paying $10 per year.  Xanga provides a user friendly environment on the website and provides various free tools to customize and post blogs on the website.

11. Weebly (Weebly.com)

Weebly.com is a very popular free website platform among those people who want to create their free website on the web and want to share their blogs with the world. Weebly allows you to make free webpage and blogs with just a few simple steps.

Along with this, users are gifted with various stylish themes and free widgets to decorate their blogs and websites. The best feature of Weebly is that it doesn’t restrict users with bandwidth usage and lets them create their customized domain name with .weebly.com extension. Most of the bloggers prefer weebly.com these days.

12. Tripod (tripod.lycos.com)

Tripod was launched by Lycos search engine. It is a free web hosting website which provides free blogging facility with appropriate content management system. Tools and software under Tripod are stream-lined but are not available for open source. They are easy to use and helpful in generating some fabulous templates for the website.

As compared to other free blogging platforms, Tripod provides huge storage space nearly around 20 GB. However, with the monthly permissible bandwidth of 1 GB, users have to adjust their blogs covered with various free ads, until they purchase the pro version of their account.

The best part of Tripod, which I admire most, is that the website allows great add-ons to use on free websites and blogs. These add-ons allow users to add various featured categories on the website. Out of all add-ons, most preferred add-ons are:

Columns: It allows users to define the structure of their blog content and helps users to locate their content on the webpage with ease.
Table Tool: It adds tables with contents on the webpage and customizes webpage in an easy-to-read format.
Besides these, you can also add some widgets like Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Twitter to provide featured facilities for the viewers.

13. Squarespace (Squarespace.com)

Squarespace is a free blogging website which supports closed-source CMS. The website allows some great features like:

  • IPhone app on the website
  • Social media integration
  • Professionally designed templates
  • Tool transfer facility between free hosting platforms

Squarespace allows various other great facilities with huge bandwidth space. Users can enjoy these services by opening a 14 day free trial account on the website. If the user wants to upgrade these beneficial services, the user can purchase them for an affordable $8 per month.

14. Text Pattern (Textpattern.com)

Textpattern.com has been built on PHP and MySQL platforms. Like WordPress, it also allows CMS features in blogs and provides multiple languages browser-based interface. It allows:

  • Direct follow interface – “just write”
  • Fast, intuitive content editing
  • Fastest conversion of text to XHTML
  • Easy uploading and editing of images on the web

Textpattern.com has varieties of plug-ins and designed templates in its open source community. It avails “human Web text generator” for text formatting of normal texts into web content. The website is well-designed for those people who are not properly schooled on Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML).

15. Drupal (Drupal.com)

Drupal.com focuses on webpage content management system and allows free blogging on its platform. CMS of Drupal is free but users need to host their blogs on their own websites. Drupal provides a large template library for web pages and easy installation facility.

The website is very easy to use; people can upload or download its core files on their hosting accounts and can create MYSQL database. Drupal provides huge categories of modules and plug-ins which allow users to add and update various functionalities on their sites, for example, image gallery, private messaging and others.

Before choosing one or more of these free blogging platforms, users should not forget to consider its pros and cons. Each one of the above service providers has their advantages and disadvantages.

Out of these 15 blogging platforms, most of them allow manual and free blogging facilities for the users. Keeping apart the cons of these websites like free services for a limited time period, trial bandwidth package and limited free storage space, these websites provide a way to create web identity for the users and allows them to share their blogs with the world.

These free hosting platforms are available with various widgets and add-ons to connect user blogs with the social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.  Considering all such aspects, it is worthwhile to claim that free blogging platforms are good enough to generate a user web identity of useful content and information.

Which free blogging platform do you prefer?