Google will start punishing mobile sites that show intrusive popups

Mark the date people! Starting from January 10, 2017 Google will start punishing mobile sites that show intrusive popups. Google wants to improve mobile search experience that make finding content easier for users. This long awaited move was much required and now its here. We all hate popups, specially when it appears on mobile sites where the screen is small & some popups don’t even have the option to close.

Google

As per Google’s post: “Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

Which popups are bad?

Google 1

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Which popups are safe?

Google 2

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

If you are using popups on your mobile version of website/blog, don’t panic. You wont be affected now but if you don’t act before January 10, 2017 your website/blog wont be showing up in search results for better positions.

This is what you can do: 

  • Turn off the popups for mobile devices
  • Make use of Top Bar or Embedded option for mobile devices instead of popups

What do you think about this Google’s new step to target spammers?

Why Twitter chats are worth of your time

Which was the first Twitter chat you participated? I remember, the very first Twitter chat I had participated was #blogchat by Mack Collier which still happens on every Sunday 8PM Central Time. Later as months passed by, there came the trend of Twitter chats & many chats started to happen on a regular basis. And today, we all know the fact that Twitter chats happen frequently.

Why Twitterchats are worth of your time

These days I participate in #bufferchat every Wednesday 4PM AEST & 9AM PT & #cfchat every Thursday 12.30PM EDT mostly. These chats have helped me a lot in reaching out to many people. Also some of the Twitter chats managed by some good people I know are #SY5Chat on every Tuesday 9.30PM IST, #RubhuSocial on every Tuesday  3PM IST, #SEOTalk on every Monday 8.30PM IST, #blogchatter every Wednesday 8.30PM IST are worth participating. I know there are many Twitter chats happening these days and to keep a tab on all of them becomes difficult.

Even if I am unable to participate in the chats, I do keep a tab on the schedule & the hashtags with the help of these awesome sources:

But is it worth to participate in Twitter chats? Well, the answer is yes. It helps in many aspects.

  • Connecting with like-minded people
    Its very important to connect with people who share the same passion, profession like you. They are the ones you will feel connected to. Sounds cliche, isn’t it? But its true. As you become a frequent Twitter chats participant, you will end up having great amount of people interacting with you on a regular basis.
  • Increase your followers
    Once you start participating in Twitter chats frequently, you will be interacting with many people on regular basis. This way it will help you in building connection which ultimately will help in getting followers. But also make sure you take the first step of following the ones who you are interacting. That first step matters the most.
  • Your opinions, suggestions will be heard
    Twitter chats are not just a mode of receiving information. They are also a medium where you can share your opinions, suggestions, expertise with other people.

  • You will be building your own community 
    You will have a community of your own which will be growing day by day. And this community will be just one tweet away from you & will always be ready to guide, promote, share knowledge & even participate in your very own Twitter chat if you happen to be courageous to start your own in the future.

Do you participate in Twitter chats? If so then why? Which are your favorite Twitter chats? Do share. I would be keen to know your views too.

Twitter introduces night mode

Twitter is coming up with a lot of features lately to keep its users intrigued which in a way is good. We love changes. Right? It takes time for us to get adapted to the changes but we ultimately get used to it.

Twitter introduced night mode for Android users first & they started to roll out for its users. The night mode is nothing but a transformation from a white color scheme to the dark, so it wont strain the eyes while using the app during night.

To enable this feature, users will need to make sure that they are using the most recent version of Twitter app. In the top menu, you will see a navigation menu icon or your profile icon. Tap the icon you have & next to Night Mode, drag the slider to turn on or off. Twitter gave Android users an opportunity to party way before iOS users.

Few weeks later, Twitter announced that they are rolling out night mode for iOS users too. To enable this feature, users will need to make sure that they are using the latest version of the app.

If this feature is not showing up on your device, have patience. It will show up. Try to kill the Twitter app running from background & restart the device and check the app again. You might get lucky.

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IMG_6836

Tap the gear icon on your profile tab to activate & deactivate the night mode.

Personally I feel Twitter’s night mode is way better than the default day mode. It brings out the whole new experience. Do you remember TweetDeck’s mobile app? This night mode will actually let you remind about it. Now I really don’t miss TweetDeck for mobile, thanks to Twitter’s night mode.

I am actually thinking of keeping the night mode as default. What about you? Which mode you prefer? Let me know your views.

Best SEO plugins for WordPress you can consider

Every blogger wishes that the blog they own should get as much as organic search traffic along with social traffic so they can monetize it. And why not, the amount of time a blogger dedicates in the whole blogging process, it deserves gratification.

Best SEO plugins for WordPress

SEO plugins for WordPress

Google appreciates frequency of the content published & to be specific, unique content. But having an active publishing frequency is just not enough. One has to take SEO (Search Engine Optimization) into consideration & make every page/blog post on the blog search engine ready. If your blog is hosted on a self hosted WordPress platform then there are many SEO plugins available but I personally don’t like to install each & every plugin and hence the ones which I trust & have installed on my WordPress blog are as follows:

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Yoast improves your SEO on all needed aspects. While this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

All in One SEO Pack

All in one SEO Pack

All in One SEO Pack optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

  • XML Sitemap support – submit your sitemap to Google and Bing and improve your SEO
  • Google Analytics support
  • Support for SEO on Custom Post Types
  • Advanced Canonical URLs
  • Automatically notifies search engines like Google and Bing about changes to your site
  • Built-in API so other plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
  • ONLY free plugin to provide SEO Integration for e-Commerce sites, including WooCommerce
  • Nonce Security built into All in One SEO Pack
  • Support for CMS-style WordPress installations
  • Automatically optimizes your titles for Google and other search engines
  • Generates META tags automatically
  • Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs
  • For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.
  • For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything to optimize your SEO
  • You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.
  • Compatibility with many other plugins
  • Translated into 57 languages

Every WordPress blogger should install either of one. I personally have installed All in One SEO Pack & am happy with my decision.

Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker will monitor your blog for broken links and let you know if any are found.

  • Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional)
  • Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects
  • Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email
  • Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional)
  • Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional)
  • You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on
  • Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post
  • Highly configurable

SEO Friendly Images

SEO Friendly Images

SEO Friendly Images is a WordPress SEO plugin which automatically updates all images with proper ALT and TITLE attributes for SEO purposes. If your images do not have ALT and TITLE already set, SEO Friendly Images will add them according the options you set. Additionally this makes the post W3C/xHTML valid as well.

ALT attribute is important part of search engine optimization. It describes your images to search engine and when a user searches for a certain image this is a key determining factor for a match.

TITLE attribute play lesser role but is important for visitors as this text will automatically appear in the tool-tip when mouse is over the image.

As a blogger you invest your sweet time in narrowing down a topic, compose, format, publish & promote which is very important. But before hitting that publish button, do invest few mins of your time to thoroughly optimize your post. I know you won’t mind it 🙂

Reasons why you should start using GIFs

The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a bitmap image format that was introduced by CompuServe in 1987 to provide a color image format for their file downloading areas, replacing their earlier run-length encoding (RLE) format, which was black and white only. GIF became popular because it used LZW data compression, which was more efficient than the run-length encoding that formats such as PCX and MacPaint used, and fairly large images could therefore be downloaded in a reasonably short time, even with very slow modems.

These days we see a lot of people & brands making the most use of GIFs & why not, its a way of communicating with the audience which helps in catching attention. As an individual or as a brand, if you are one of those few who have not yet started to use GIFs in your social media communication then its time for you to give it a try & see the spike in your engagement.

Why use gifs

Why use GIFs?

  • Its the trend nowadays
  • Easy to share
  • Helps in getting attention
  • Its animated & not just boring static images
  • Gives funny treatment to your communication
  • Easily available & easy to create

wow

As per Twitter, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs in 2015.

Here are some of the websites where you can search for GIFs:

Are you adventurous & eager to create your own GIFs then here are some of the websites you can check:

Now that you have the sources, are you ready to bring life to your content on social media? If you happen to use any of these sources, do share your views with me.

3 best read it later apps for saving articles

We all have our busy lives & hectic schedules to follow on a regular basis. And am sure you also must be logging in to your social media profiles, news websites, apps & other sources to keep a tab on whats happening around the world or within your industry & interested topics. Many at times it happens that we are surfing online or scrolling our social media timelines & come across interesting articles. Immediately we start reading & in no time we get distracted or get busy with something else. This happens with me a lot. And we end up losing that important article.

Not anymore! Thanks to few read-it-later apps. Yes! There are apps available where in we can save the articles we come across online & save it so that we can read it later. Here are the best 3 read-it-later apps:

Pocket

Pocket (Read It Later, Inc) was founded in 2007 by Nate Weiner to help people save interesting articles, videos and more from the web for later enjoyment. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device — phone, tablet or computer.

Pricing: Free & Premium ($4.99 monthly / $44.99 yearly)
Availability: Web, iOS/Android, Bookmarklets & also can be integrated via third party apps

Instapaper

Instapaper is a tool for saving web pages to read later on one’s Android or iOS device, computer, ereader, or smartphone. The service was founded in 2008 by Marco Arment and had about 2 million users as of late 2011. In 2013, Arment sold a majority stake in Instapaper to Betaworks, where it is now operated.

Pricing: Free & Premium ($2.99 monthly / $29.99 yearly)
Availability: Web, iOS/Android, Bookmarklets & also can be integrated via third party apps

Readability

Readability is a free reading platform that aims to deliver a great reading experience wherever you are, and to provide a system to connect readers to the writers they enjoy.

Pricing: Free
Availability: Web, iOS/Android, Bookmarklets & also can be integrated via third party apps

Out of these three my personal favorite is Instapaper. What’s your favorite?

Twitter bio generators that might inspire you

Its time for you to change your Twitter bio but you are unable to think of any catchy composition? These Twitter bio generators which generates random Twitter bios in just one click might be of some help.

Twitter Bio Generator 1

Twitter Bio Generator 2

Twitter Bio Generator 3

So how about sporting a new Twitter bio? If you happen to change your bio, don’t forget to tell the whole world about it 😀

Basic Twitter tips for beginners

More and more people (including brands) are getting on social media these days and to add, Twitter is one of the platform which is widely being explored. Twitter is considered to be the most interactive, fast paced & effective medium when it comes to connecting with the audience & promoting services.

Basic Twitter Tips

Twitter tips for beginners

Here I am putting down a list of basic Twitter tips for beginners which can be useful in accelerating Twitter activity.

  • Add a profile photo
    Personal profile: Add your photo (Yes, your own photo & not somebody’s or any illustration or cartoon character).
    Brand profile: Add your brand’s logo as a profile photo. Avoid being an egg-head.
  • Complete your bio
    Be it your own personal profile or your brand’s profile, make sure you tell others more about you. What value you can bring to their network. Optimize your Twitter bio for the right keywords to be found on Twitter. For example, if you are blogger, make sure you add “blogger” keyword depending upon your forte. Because when someone searches via Twitter search feature, your profile will be in the search results for that specific keyword.
  • Follow to get followed 
    Unless you are a well known face (celebrity), don’t expect that people will start following you immediately. So make a habit of following people first.
  • Identify your audience
    Its very important to identify your audience so that you can initiate interaction (a follow, interact & build a rapport) with them. So decide on your audience & start acting. The audience can identified with the help of Twitter search or Followerwonk. Try to connect with people within your niche, profession, city, country.
  • Identify influencers
    If you are keen on getting noticed & letting others know about your presence then start identifying influencers who have good amount of followers & make a habit of interacting with them. Engage with them by retweeting, liking their tweets, tagging them in relevant tweets. This will register your presence on their radar & it will help in building a good rapport with them & you might end up getting a follow back too.
  • Don’t forget to interact
    Make a habit of interacting with other users, retweeting & liking their tweets. By interacting with other people on Twitter, you will indirectly let others know about you being an active Twitter user.
  • Share relevant content
    If you are having plans to stay on Twitter for longer period of time & build your own network then do not hesitate to share relevant content. By this it will portray you as a contributor & you are the one who is keen to bring value to the community. Checkout tools like Feedly (you can integrate all rss feeds in one hub), Hootsuite Suggestions app, Twitterfeed, Buffer, dlvr.it, IFTTT which will ease your content sharing efforts.

  • Use Twitter applications
    Its easy to access Twitter via desktop/laptop/mobile or a tablet. Make use of Twitter applications which are convenient & user-friendly. Twitter official app, TweetDeck, & several third party apps are easily available to download.
  • Make use of hashtags
    Hashtags are discoverable on Twitter. They help in connecting with the target audience & also help in reaching out to them.
  • Don’t forget to create Twitter lists
    Twitter lists will help you to stay in touch with the select people you wish to interact. There are many ways to tweak your Twitter experience with the help of Twitter lists. I personally rely on it. Checkout my previous post “How to make the most out of Twitter lists” to know more.
  • Use images & gifts
    Content with relevant images & gifs get more engagement in terms of clicks, retweets & likes. Make a habit of using images & gifs in the tweets to make your timeline look creative, interesting & not boring.
  • Be regular
    Don’t abandon your profile. Be regular in posting tweets, interacting with people. Your followers might unfollow you if they see no activity on your Twitter profile after a certain span of time. So stay active.
  • Have patience
    Most importantly, be patient. Twitter is a great medium to build connections. It takes time to build a rapport with the audience but its worth every effort.

Orkut is back & he says hello

Remember Orkut? Many must be remembering Orkut as a social network which Google decided to shut it down. But some of you would not know that the social network “Orkut” was started in 2004 & was named after its creator (Engineer at Google), Orkut Buyukkokten. Well, Orkut is back!

Say hello to hello!

Orkut is back with hello

Orkut Buyukkokten has posted a message on Orkut.com which says:

“Thank you for making orkut such a loving community. I’m so blessed to share this world with you. As a token of gratitude, I am making a new social network just for you. I’m not so good at goodbyes, so I’m calling it hello. hello is the next generation of orkut.

What is hello?
hello is the first social network built on loves, not likes. I designed hello to help you connect with people who share your passions. hello connects us all. Think about it: you can say “hello” in any language and people will understand. “Hello” is probably the most widely spoken word in the world after “Okay.” Aló, halo, ʾāllo, alô, hallo, alló, hello. Fear and hatred have no place when you make such a simple and friendly gesture to someone else. So come join me, and make some new friends. Say hello, and love your world.” 
Click here to read full message.

Yes, Orkut is the new hello!
Hello Network, Inc. is founded by well-known social pioneer Orkut Buyukkokten (creator of orkut.com) and a small group of ex-Google engineers.

hello is the first social network built on loves, not likes. hello makes it easy for you to connect with people who share your passions. I want hello to be a community where everyone feels welcomed and included and no one feels judged. I want you to make new friends on hello who you genuinely care about in the real world. On hello, I want you to just be you! On hello, I want you to always love yourself. When we express our authentic selves, our genuine passions, interests and feelings, we begin to head down the road to self-love, which is the most important thing you can have in this world…says Orkut.

Key features:

  • personas: A persona is a community focused on a particular passion. Choose 5 out of 100+ personas you most identify with.
  • folio: Your folio is a personalized feed of content relevant to your chosen personas.
  • potentials: Potentials are people we’d like to introduce you to, based on your personas, location and personality.
  • connections: Create more meaningful connections with our direct messaging feature, including photos, gifts and unique expressions.
  • leaderboards: The more interactions your contributions generate, the more likely you will become a persona leader.
  • milestones & rewards: Reach milestones, unlock rewards, and add layers of fun to your social connections as you venture through hello.

hello is available in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, France & Brazil as an iOS & Android app but not available in India yet. Curious to explore? You can signup for an invite & the makers will inform you as soon as the app launches in your country.

There are so many social networks out there & only time will decide the fate of hello. Will this be a unique experience? What do you think?

Instagram introduces “Stories”

Everything was going as usual on the social media radar until came an update from Instagram on Aug 2, 2016 about their latest “Stories” feature. Yes, you heard it right. Stories, another way of sharing your social media updates in the form of stories on Instagram is here. Oh wait! We already we were doing something similar on Snapchat right?

Instagram Stories

As per the blog post by Instagram, it says:

Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.

With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed. Instagram Stories will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks on iOS and Android. read more.

The whole Twitter community seems to be reacting to it after people came to know about Instagram Stories. Some of those were like:


Check #InstagramStories on Twitter for some really hilarious reactions.

And today morning I received the Instagram update in which the “Stories” feature was active. Tried my hands on posting few stories & it was quick.

Whats similarities you will notice?

  • The stories stay for 24 hrs
  • Length: 10 secs max
  • Tap to view stories & keep tapping to move it forward
  • You can add text, emojis, swipe filters
  • Saving option is available
  • One can reply to the stories via DM
  • You can see who viewed your stories

What is different?

  • The stories doesn’t have a dedicated tab just like Snapchat.
  • Latest stories will appear at the top in the row
  • You can choose to hide stories from certain people if you want
  • Set message replies criteria from the options like: Everyone, People you follow or you can turn it off
  • You can press & hold to pause the stories
  • The location filters, lens filters, stickers are not available
  • You can save your individual story but not a complete slideshow of your stories

Its all about time. Lets wait & watch what Instagram is upto & where does it takes their Stories feature. What are your views about Instagram Stories? If you have any views, feel free to share it with me.