Tuesday, 30 October 2012

How to Set up a Blogger Blog on Custom Domain

As we all know, Google's Blogger (also called Blogspot) is an extremely easy to set up and easy to manage free blogging platform. After WordPress, Blogger is the most famous platform for blogging. A lot of new bloggers on their first try at blogging, create a free blogger blog.

There are many advantages as well as few disadvantages of using Blogger as a platform instead of WordPress. When you start a blog with Blogger, you get a free subdomain of blogspot.com along with free unlimited hosting (with an exception of 1GB limit of Picassa for storing images) and the URL of your blog looks like yourblog.blogspot.com

blogging keyboard
But after your blog starts receiving some good amount of readership and starts to grow to a full scale blog, it is not advisable to continue with the free subdomain. There are many disadvantages of subdomains and there are even more advantages of having your own top-level domain name. In my future posts, I am going to discuss those advantages and disadvantages in detail.

For now, I am sure you are reading this because you have already decided to buy a domain name and redirect your blog to it. So in this set of tutorials, I will explain the step by step procedure of setting up a Blogger blog on a custom domain.

Here is a brief summary on what is discussed in the tutorial:
  • Choosing the perfect domain name at the best price
  • Editing CNAME records according to latest update by Blogger.
  • Redirecting old blogspot URL to new domain.
  • Redirecting non-www (naked URL) to www URL.
  • Editing blogger template to replace occurrence of old URL with new URL.
  • Making necessary changes to Feedburner and other services to maintain old records.
I have divided the tutorial in 2 parts:

2. Redirecting your old yourblog.blogspot.com to new yourblog.com and making necessary changes to blog template, to maintain RSS subscribers and other services.

Click on the above links to get to the tutorials. Hope you find it helpful!

Image Credit: Renjith Krishnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 22 October 2012

How to Make Your Blog Look Professional

It is not only the domain name that will improve the look of your blog. Much credit can be allocated to the design of the blog when it comes to making it look professional. As you start your own blog, you may have decided to just go for a free or pre-made theme and just customizing it a little from here and there. After your blog starts to grow will you begin to realize that attention should be given towards the design it has.

Credit: Nutdanai/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A blog that looks professionally made is one of the easiest ways that you can show off to people how different you are from the new players within your niche. If you have a blog that has a design that is just the same like the rest, then it could be hard to start attracting real attention from the audiences. Below are some tips on how you can create a more professional-looking blog:

Consider Your Goals

For those that want to create a more unique blog, one of the first things that they should do is to start analyzing the goals that they need for it. Ask yourself personally what your goals are for your blogging purposes. This is because the image of your blog will go together with what you are planning to accomplish. If the goals that you have in mind are clear, then you will be in a better position to start designing your blog the way it should be.

Put Your Audience in Your Mind Including Your Niche

It is essential to take a look at your target audience and niche in your blog if you are planning to have your blog designed to look professional. The purpose of your blog will have its own designing requirements and you will have to modify it differently. 

Calculate the Amount You Are Willing to Invest

To get your blog design professionally and attractively, there are many ways to do so. It is possible for you to get it done in just as less as a few hundred bucks or up to more than a couple of thousand. This is where the importance of looking at your budget comes in. If you are already generating income from your blog, then you may want to decide on investing more for it. Spend less if you are otherwise. If you think that your blog already has a good potential in generating cash for you, then you may take the risk in deciding to stretch your budget. If you are able to invest wisely on your blog, this can pay in dividends later on.

Decide for the Best

For options that come at a low cost, going for a premium theme from a blogging platform and have it customized is a good idea. If you are able to spend a few thousand dollars, then you should just go for hiring a professional instead to make you a website from scratch. A professional designer can help you get the task done with ease. Start getting in touch with popular blog designers today.

About the Guest Author:
Kenneth Javellana is an internet consultant for Wireless broadband and has made life easier for so many. There are options that do not require contracts, such as prepaid wireless broadband. A company that help people find the best internet options for their homes and businesses.

This post has been written by one of our guest authors. If you would like to submit a guest post for our blog, you can contact us.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Top 5 Alternatives to Google Adsense And Why I Hate Them

Everybody knows how strict Google is and how flawlessly it bans many of it’s publishers. When one of my blogs was banned from Adsense, first of all I thought it was the end. But then came the magic word ‘Alternatives…’ and I went searching for the so called best alternatives to Adsense. I found many of them, signed them up and tried them one by one. I gave enough time for each of those alternatives to settle down. But none of them did…

Here I am going to share my experience with some of the best alternatives to Adsense and why they failed like anything for me. I know there are many people out there who earn good income from the networks listed below and I am not an anti-supporter of these networks. I know they are not ants in front of elephant but I am here to share my experience and I hope my experience will guide at least some people out there. 

1. Chitika

Well, what to say about this one! Even when my blog was earning through Adsense, the name of Chitika kept coming to my ears every now and then. It is a well known and well established CPC ad network and I have seen many top quality sites running their ads. There is only one problem with Chitika- You need US and Canada traffic. And I got some on my blog. I had 40% US visitors and they totaled up to 400 page-views daily. So I decided to sign-up with them. Even after running the ads for about a week, I didn’t get a single click. I got about 900 page-views daily as shown by Chitika but zero clicks! I don’t know what went wrong but after getting irritated, I quit. 

2. Infolinks

Before signing up with Infolinks, I said to myself- I don’t like links on the words I read. And so I was cautious while setting up Infolinks so that I do not spam my own blog with ads running here and there. But even when I set the maximum links to 6/page and set the links to appear only in the content paragraphs, I found a couple of links in my author bio as well as in my blogroll. As far as my earnings go, I made around $0.20 or something for the first few days but I felt that Infolinks was spamming my site too much. And $0.20 is not something I could get satisfied for all the spam. So I quit. 

3. Bidvertiser

Bidvertiser was very good indeed as it didn’t spam my blog, also I got some clicks and earned very low but at least something. But the thing was that Bidvertiser didn’t really show any good ads and the only ad block I installed remained half empty or showed a big image with the word ‘Download’ flashing all over. I realised that Bidvertiser is now no longer used by advertisers in a large scale. When I was tired of looking at the flashing ‘Download’ image ad, finally, I quit. 

4. DirectCPV

DirectCPV made me felt like- am I in outer space? I saw a DirectCPV affiliate banner on a well known blog, read few reviews about it and decided to try it out. When I signed up for an account, they said they would mail me in a few days once they review my account, just like Adsense does. I felt like something pro level like Adsense should come up. I got their approval mail after maybe a month… When I read the mail, for one second I thought- when did I sign-up?…Oh I remember. Having read their startup guide which said about sources, editing them, installing query code and this and that, I found it was way more difficult to understand than Adsense. When I was ready to generate an ad block code, I came up to a screen where you had to enter a maximum of 200 keywords related to your site content. After thinking and thinking, I quit. 

5. Clicksor

Clicksor was the network that made me say-I should stop blogging for money. Really, because I myself never thought that one day I would sign-up with Clicksor and join the ‘Click-me…Click here…The whole page is an ad, you have to click me…’ spamming group. Yes I call Cliksor publishers as spamming group and the reason is simple. If you have a well established blog with respectable visitors and if you have self respect then you would never go for a network that gives jumping ads that force you to mis-click on them. But well… I did. But just for 2 days. I kept minimum ads and not a single ad that occupied the whole page, tried to keep the jumping behaviour of clicksor to a minimum. I got the highest earnings above all the alternatives I tried-around $0.40 but when on the third day I visited my site, I saw that one of those ads was from a dating site. I felt burning inside and removed clicksor forever. Nobody would ever tolerate a dating site’s advertisement on a tech blog! So finally I followed my heart, and quit. 

Over to you

So this was my story. I the end, the conclusion from my heart is – I never blogged for money and money was never the reason for me to share my knowledge, follow my hobby and to blog. So after clicksor, I never went for any other network. I kept working on my two blogs, Blogging Panorama  is a newer one and I hope that one day it would show Adsense ads. For my older one, Adsense ads starting showing up again- thanks to Google.

But still, I want to know how these alternatives have proven themselves good enough in front of Adsense for all those people out there. If you get some passive income from any of these alternatives to Adsense, then why not share the secret with us! Do comment and share your views.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Google Launches Disavow Tool to Filter Unwanted Inbound Links

Google has finally released their disavow tool which was much anticipated ever since Bing's release. This new tool lets you disavow (filter or you can say remove) low quality incoming links to your site that have a negative impact on your SEO. Thus Google has launched a new gift for webmasters. So what actually it is and why should you use it?

Google Launches Disavow Tool
Credit: techwyse.com
SEO is an ever changing concept. The definitions and methods of SEO keep changing, improving and dying. Some SEO methods that we choose can prove beneficial while many can lead to a negative impact also. One of the most important factor that affects our positive SEO is the quality of inbound links ie. backlinks to your site. Whenever the term 'link building' is discussed, quality is given preference instead of quantity. If there are 100s of links to your site from a spam site, then it creates a negative impact on your site's SEO. But there are times when you can't control which sites link to you. And here is when Google's new disavow tool comes into play. With the disavow tool, you can submit the links of those web pages to Google which contain a link to your site that you do not want. After accessing your request, Google starts neglecting those links to your site while considering your backlinks. The disavow tool can be accessed here.

Here is the video by Matt Cutts which tells more about the disavow tool:

How to Disavow Links

First of all, keep in mind that the use of disavow tool can be very helpful as well as can be very devastating. An unknown mistake here can lead to a downfall of your SEO strategy. The disavow tool is not complicated for use but it's impact can be very complicated. So before using this tool, think about 10 times or even more. And use it at your own risk.

Disavow Tool

Visit the disavow tools page. Here you will find your sites that are listed in Google webmasters tools as shown above. Select you site and then proceed to the next page where you will be prompted to submit a list of links you want to disavow. You have to prepare a plain text file with all the links you want to disavow. An example is as follows:

How to Disavow Links

The lines starting with # are considered as comments and neglected by Google. It is not necessary to add comments. You have to write each link in a seperate line as shown above.

Now submit this file to the disavow tool and let Google access your request and crawl to the sites. It can take weeks to come in action and Google also has the right to reject your appeal if they do not trust your appeal.


The disavow tools tells Google to neglect specific backlinks to your site. This tool can be very helpful if you have a lot of unwanted inbound links to your site from spam and low quality sites. But general use of this tool is not recommended by me because this tool is newly released and may contain faults. A few number of low quality inbound sites do not have a major impact on your SEO and reputation.

So go for the disavow tool only if you are sure that a large number of low quality inbound links to your site is causing a major negative impact on your site's SEO and reputation. Or use it if you have been penalized due to low quality inbound links.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Is Reciprocal Link Exchange a Dying SEO Art?

Not so long ago, when many versatile and easy methods for SEO were being used, reciprocal link exchanges were very popular. You place a blogroll on your blog with a link to your friend's blog and they place a reciprocal link to your blog on their blogroll. Not only you get traffic, but also if you get a reciprocal link from a high PR site, then it increases your reputation in the minds of Google.

broken SEO link chain
Credit: 123rf.com
Easy, huh? But this was so easy that it caught attention of spammers and the method got downgraded. Spammers with a usual hundred sites exchanged links between all their sites to get the maximum of link juice. So this shortcut method for SEO got spammed. 

Now very few reputed blogs use blogroll. So, the question in mind, is it still advised to use a blogroll and exchange reciprocal links for SEO factor?

Or is the reciprocal link exchange just a dying SEO art?

Google Algorithm Updates - A Danger to Shortcut SEO

Google keeps updating its algorithms to improve site listings and search results. These constant updates are focused on removing spamming content and downgrading spam sites. The shortcut methods for SEO are most widely used by spammers and so Google constantly reduces the effect of these shortcut SEO by updating its algorithms. Keeping a link to a friend's site in a blogroll is now not that effective in terms of link juice as it was earlier. More emphasis is given on in-content links that refer to related contents on the same site or another site wherever the link follows to. The reason is simple. If you write a blog post about SEO techniques, and you link to a site where you can read more about a specific SEO technique, then the link would be more important for a visitor. And a link kept at the bottom or sidebar of the page which links to 10-20 sites seem to be of no importance. And Google constantly updates its algorithms to match visitor importance. More the importance, more valuable the link in terms of SEO.

Lot of Spam

As I said earlier, a lot of spammers use this shortcut SEO method by building excessive reciprocal links. So this linking method got spammed. And whatever SEO methods have got the 'spam' tag on them are finally downgraded by Google. A site with a large blogroll is also looked at as a spamming site. Too many links on your blogroll can make a site look spammy. And these links do not pay much unless you have PR1 and the reciprocal linker is PR6 or something. So the cost is not affordable. 

You won't like if your site has an impression of spam-site in the eyes of your visitor. Yes you can overcome this impression with your unique and good quality content. I have seen many sites with a blogroll of over 20 links but still I am subscribed to them because of their high quality content. But unless your site is well appreciated by your visitors, you shouldn't play a bet on reciprocal link exchange.

Bondage and Reputation Factor

Whenever you agree to exchange reciprocal links with some site, you have to follow the agreement even if you want to walk back with your decision unless you are ready to have your link removed from the other site. 
SEO link chain
Credit: realtruthmatters.com
This can be a problem sometimes. Suppose you are a new blogger and exchanged links with a new blogger like you and you progress in the next months to gain good traffic, Alexa rank and PR but the other blog lags behind. Now you know that linking to a site with lower quality than you can be ummm-not the best at least. So what would you do? Remove the link and wait for the other site to remove your link too? Not many would agree. If you feel a slight bondage with the other site, then you wouldn't like to remove the link and leave them behind. Also if you keep the link, your reputation can get downgraded. You are the owner of your blog but still you have to think before editing a link on your blog! This is the bondage that is created with reciprocal links.

Being Innocent and Trustworthy in the Eyes of Google

Linking to low quality sites decreases your reputation. Quality outbound links are the key to real, proper SEO. Links on the bottom of page in a box called 'blogroll' are given less importance. Moreover Google checks every outbound link from your site for spammy content. Linking to related sites have never been dangerous and would never be, but linking to low quality sites can be a danger. So you have to be careful while exchanging link with a partner site. Here is a video in which Matt Cutts answers to a common question regarding keeping a blogroll:

As stated in the video, linking to good quality and related sites can never be harmful but linking to spamming and low quality sites can be dangerous to your site's reputation and rankings. Whatever you do, just keep in mind that you don't lose the trust of your audience and Google.

Other Alternatives to Reciprocal Link Exchange

  • Do-follow blog commenting
  • Forum posting
  • Guest posting
According to me, these three are the best methods to get links from other sites without harming yourself. They are even much better than reciprocal link exchange in many ways. By guest posting, you provide good quality content to another site's audience, thus gaining reputation in minds of audience as well as getting a link from the site.

Placing your site's links in your signature at forums can bring good traffic to your site as well as get quality backlinks. By commenting on other blogs, you get a chance to place a valuable feedback as well as get a link to your site.

From my point of view, reciprocal link exchanges have always been a forced link gaining SEO method. And anything that is forced is never going to end well. The more links you get naturally, the beter it is. Though reciprocal links are still prominent in this SEO world and would not lose popularity so easily, we should look forward for better link building SEO methods.

Have I missed something? Do share your views with me and everyone by placing a valuable comment.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The 8 Challenges Of Freelance Online Workers

Working from home can be a rewarding experience. Flexibility of hours and the workplace are just two of its advantages. Despite these perks, working as an online freelancer proves to be challenging in some aspects. These challenges make it difficult to last long in this career and prevent many others from becoming one.


1. Killing the competition 

Getting hired online can be as tough as getting a job on the streets. Don’t get me wrong; there are thousands of jobs offered online. But there are also thousands of freelance workers looking for a job. In turn, this makes competition tight during hiring. Of course, you can’t literally kill your competition since that would be murder. But you need to have an edge so that you get hired over someone else. 

2. Finding a trusted employer 

Not everyone looking for online workers can be trusted. I’ve heard several stories from colleagues about bad employers. These “bad apples” fail to comply with agreements made with contractors. Usually, it has something to do with payment terms with some of them not paying at all. With others, it has something to do with salary increase and employment status. 

3. Finding a dependable internet provider 

Employers want online freelancers with fast and reliable internet. It’s necessary for collaboration and communication of team members. Since that depends on the provider, stay-at-home workers often struggle to find one that can give them a good connection. A slow and choppy connection affects productivity and performance of the worker which is a great NO-NO to employers. 

challenges ahead warning sign 4. Staying motivated to work 

The lack of personal interaction and routine-like nature of working from home will eventually drag down a person’s motivation to work. Lack of motivation can affect an online worker’s commitment, performance, and productivity. 

5. Keeping distractions away 

Online workers tend to have more difficulty focusing on their work compared to office employees. That’s because they can’t be fully monitored and usually, there are no rules regarding matters like internet use or breaks. Monitoring is limited to the computer tracking software. Distractions at home include household conflicts, playing children, errands, and emergencies. Freelance workers may also be distracted by games and social networking sites through computers and personal gadgets. 

6. Getting a good computer 

Online freelancers aren’t always required to get a good computer but having one definitely helps. Your computer can affect your efficiency at performing tasks and finishing projects. A desktop is most ideal but you can also get a laptop for flexibility. Just make sure it’s compatible with your wireless router if you’re using one. Also, it’s recommended that you get a laptop with good reviews on their cooling systems. With a desktop, you can install fans to prevent the overheating of hardware. 

7. Job stability 

One moment you’re hired and the next day you suddenly find yourself unemployed. An employer can fire you just as quickly as he hired you for a job. Contractual or project-based jobs only offer short-term employment and this further aggravates the instability of online work. 

8. Inconsistent salary 

The pay depends on the job, hours, and tasks required of you. Different employers also have different salary schemes. Some pay higher and others lower for the same tasks. This inconsistency in salary can be discouraging for online workers.

Have I left something uncovered in this article? Comment and let me know your views.

About the Guest Author:
Rich Martinez is a home-based employee who likes to write articles related to her job and interests such as photography, health, and lifestyle. She currently works at Broadband Expert, a consultation company that helps home owners and businesses find high speed internet in their communities.

This post has been written by one of our guest authors. If you would like to submit a guest post for our blog, you can contact us.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Alexa Rank #1 Goes to Google..Facebook..Google

Everyday thousands of searches are carried out on Google, everyday thousands of people update their status on Facebook. Facebook connects lives of people and Google connects the world. I wonder if they both link up together then how they could completely change the internet. Our lives are incomplete without both of these sites. I don't want you to imagine a life without Google search and status 'likes', so don't. Both these sites are completely different from each other if you think about their content and motives, but for an international site rankings, like Alexa, they compete on the same ground.

The long race for #1 spot in Alexa
Image courtesy of Rosen Georgiev/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
From last many years Google has been on top of the Alexa rankings. The reason is obvious- largest traffic. Alexa rank depends on traffic and backlinks. Google got both of them more than any other site. It just became a natural phenomenon like 'Sun rises in the east' and 'Google is world's top site'.

Just a few days back, Facebook with its increasing number of users overtook Google to take the #1 spot in Alexa rankings. Then came the first Facebook commercial when it reached a milestone of billion monthly users.

But well, it didn't last very long. After a few days, Google is now back to #1 rankings in Alexa. But this quick action and reaction changes suggest that in terms of traffic, Google and Facebook are the largest and top notch competitors of each other. The race for the top spot would continue and maybe in future, Facebook can get another chance to get on top. As for now... Alexa Rank #1 goes to Google again.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Disqus vs Intense Debate

Disqus and Intense Debate are two of the most well known comment systems based on javascript. Both of them are easy and free to install to any blog or static website. Most of the blogs that do not use the original comment systems of their platforms like WordPress or Blogger, use any one of these. But which one of these stands ahead of the other? Let's see.
blog commenting
Let's disqus this debate, anyone?


Intense Debate leads here because with Intense Debate, if you have knowledge about CSS, then you can customize the layout of your comment form to change it's appearance, remove useless buttons and much more. Original comment box by Intense Debate is a bit more clumsy and full of 'buttons and other confusion' such as login buttons for Intense Debate, WordPress, twitter, etc. The more the number of buttons, more confusion for new visitors and so less the number of comments. So customization is indeed recommended if you use Intense Debate. With Disqus, you have no options to customise the look of your comment form. But Disqus already comes with a clean and less clumsy interface so there would not arise much need of customization.

In short, Intense Debate wins ( If you know CSS...:) )


I have tried both these comment systems on my blog and I can say that both of them qualify for speed. Earlier Disqus comments loaded a bit slower than required, but with the updated Disqus 2012 features, the speed is highly improved. Disqus now runs a bit more faster than Intense Debate. But if the Intense Debate comment form is customized (Using CSS) to bring its 'buttons and other confusion' to a minimum level, then Intense Debate surpasses Disqus in matter of speed.

In short, Disqus is faster than Intense Debate unless it is customized so.

Rewards with CommentLuv:

One sentence judgement- Intense Debate wins. There is no commentluv feature with Disqus whereas with Intense Debate, you can install commentluv plugin to your comment box.

Other Features

Intense Debate supports Gravatar.
Disqus allows importing comments from Blogger's default comment system. This feature is absent in Intense Debate.

My recommendation

If you own a new blog and are looking forward to choosing one from Disqus and Intense Debate, then choose Disqus. Because it is simple, fast to load and easy to comment on.

For old and well established blogs, try Intense Debate, because you can customise it, allow quality comments through commentluv and also Intense Debate supports Gravatar.

The default comment system for WordPress is itself a very good and clean one. So most probably you won't need to go for an alternative. But with Blogger, the default comment system is a bit unacceptable. Both of these comment systems have pros and cons so I recommend what I did - Try both and look out for better results. And do comment and let me know which one works the best for you and if you have any suggestion about these comment systems.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Download Wikipedia For Offline Use

Wikipedia BookI guess no-one has read the complete Wikipedia encyclopedia because anyone can say that it is impossible. Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia of the world. It even goes ahead of Britannica. This online encyclopedia has made many students' lives easier. Packing such a large encyclopedia in a travel bag is next to impossible but you can download the entire encyclopedia in your own PC.

First, you must download a Wikipedia dump file which can be found on dumps.wikimedia.org. The latest dumps can be found here:
The total size of all the files should be around 6 GB or something (so be patient) and would be in .xml.bz2 format.

Second, you will need a program to run your downloaded .xml.bz2 Wikipedia dumps. For that, you can use WikiTaxi. It is free to download and easy to use. Another program that can work here is Kiwix. Try the one that suits you.

Using WikiTaxi or Kiwix you can read the .xml.bz2 Wikipedia dumps. These dumps do not contain images (to reduce file size) and contains only text and are regularly updated. So if you can afford to download around 6 GB of data, then you can have an offline version of Wikipedia with yourself!