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>Our top free Twitter resources (Part 1)

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Twitter in itself can be very overwhelming, and that?€™s without worrying what tools and resources you need to manage your account properly. So we?€™ve done the hard work for you and compiled a list of our favourites.

Twitter for Beginners

We?€™ve divided our list into two parts; this one for fledgling tweeters and one for fully-fledged users (keep an eagle eye out for more advanced tools in Part 2, coming soon), but it?€™s worth checking them both to make sure there?€™s nothing you miss.

1. Twitter?€™s Help Guide
If you?€™re just getting started, Twitter?€™s help guide is a great, if obvious, place to start. It?€™s clearly laid out and organised, so you can find the information you need quickly.

2. Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners
PC Mag?€™s succinct Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners also provides useful tips including how to shorten your URL , share pictures and tweet from your phone.

3. Twitter Glossary
Once you?€™ve set up your account, sent a few tweets and got some followers, it?€™s worth browsing the Twitter Glossary, or simply bookmarking it for when you come across unfamiliar terms. The Twitter Glossary also contains some interesting links to explain how certain features operate, so even seasoned tweeters can learn something new by going back to basics.

4. Twitter Backgrounds
Personalising your profile generates more interest, so don?€™t stick to the defaults. Google throws up a range of Twitter background websites for you to choose from, but we?€™ve picked out Twitr Backgrounds because there are lots of high-quality, free backgrounds to choose from and it?€™s easy to use. Simply select the background you like and enter your Twitter account details to set it automatically. Or, if you have time, it?€™s easy enough to create your own background and set it in your account.

5. Add Twitter to your website or Facebook account
Just follow the simple instructions here to display your tweets and help your website?€™s visitors find you quickly and easily. A word of warning: don?€™t display your Twitter feed on your website if you might go long periods without tweeting because it doesn?€™t give visitors a good impression.

6. Find your friends
It?€™s more than likely your friends have Twitter accounts. Using Facebook’s Twitter application, you can also find and manage your Facebook friends using Twitter.

7. Find other people to follow
Browse your favourite websites and keep a look out for their Twitter accounts, or have a quick search if you know the company or website name. You can also search for people via the We Follow directory, and add your own account so people can find you.

8. Keep track with Tweetdeck
Once you start to develop your follower base, it?€™s difficult to keep track of what?€™s going on with your Twitter timeline alone. Tweetdeck is a free desktop client with hundreds of of useful features, including support for Twitter lists, scheduled tweets, a spam button and support for Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google Buzz and Foursquare…to name just a few. But don?€™t worry about getting to grips with it all ?€“ the learning curve is small as Tweetdeck is based around a clear, easy-to-use interface.

What now?

Now you?€™ve got all the basics down, you?€™re probably still asking some questions. How do I get more followers on Twitter? What advanced Twitter tools are available? How can I use Twitter to promote my website? Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts covering all this and more…

Our top free Twitter resources (Part 1)

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>Understanding and Exploring the Social Media Jungle: Best Practices

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With more and more social media sites popping up everywhere, the craze to have the next Facebook or Twitter continues to be relentless. Wikipedia lists ?€?some notable, well-known?€™ active social media sites  – ?€?some?€™ being 190 – and even has a separate page for defunct websites, showing that this competitive trend shows no mercy.

So with almost two hundred ?€?notable?€™ options out there, how do you know which to use for your site and how? Facebook and Twitter are the most obvious choices, but it?€™s essential to take time to create a strategy and see what works best for your particular needs.

Take time to find the sites relevant to you
Don?€™t just jump on the bandwagon. Investigate what?€™s out there, and make two lists of potentials ?€“ one for pages that require very little maintenance (e.g. a StumbleUpon link), and one for sites that require frequent updates and monitoring (e.g. Facebook).

When choosing sites, make sure they have an active following
Having active members is usually more important than having a large number of members, particularly as small sites give you the opportunity to gain prominence, enjoy less competition and let you take advantage of a more targeted audience.

Check the terms and conditions of each site carefully
If you have a design or photography site (for example) and you want to upload images to a networking site for exposure, clarify the copyright and ownership policies of the site first to avoid upsetting clients or losing ownership of your work.

Don?€™t be afraid of trial and error
When it comes to choosing the right social media sites don?€™t be afraid to have a go, but if something?€™s not working despite your best efforts then it?€™s time to move on. Make sure you don?€™t leave any blank pages behind you ?€“ ?€?saving the name?€™ can be useful but at least include a link and a logo so people can identify you. This is something to watch out for especially when you?€™re signing up with multiple usernames that may become useful in future. Try to provide a redirect link to your main account or user page where possible to help people get to the right place.

Make sure you decide and allocate resource effectively
Spreading your time too thinly means that profiles will get neglected, so do a test over a set period and cut out the less successful ones. An abandoned page gives the impression that you don?€™t care or even that you?€™ve gone out of business, and spam and inappropriate discussions can run riot. Having a bad presence can easily be worse than none at all, so opt for consistency, and don?€™t promise scheduled content you can?€™t deliver on.

Keep up to date
Sign up for newsletters and regularly read the official blogs of the social networking sites you?€™ve joined. That way you can keep on top of any new features and implement them before your competitors, and also be aware of upcoming changes which may affect the way you operate.

Think about the purpose of your social media
Are you developing your brand, using it as a direct sales tool, improving traffic or communicating with customers? This handy infographic from cmo.com explores the strengths and weaknesses of ten common social networking sites.

The most effective campaigns are original
If you have an idea that?€™s different to everyone else?€™s, don?€™t be scared to try it out; it could lead to a publicity explosion. If it doesn?€™t work, then take the time to analyse it and figure out why it wasn?€™t successful or come up with potential improvements. If you?€™re using social media to host contests, try getting some feedback from participants about what they enjoyed and what problems they faced (if any)  to gain more insight into user experience.

Understanding and Exploring the Social Media Jungle: Best Practices

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>Meet the team

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If you want to put a face to the people behind Heart Internet, we have recently added a brand new ?€?Meet the team?€™ page to the site. As well as our pictures you can also have a read of the management team?€™s biographies and background in the web hosting industry (we have four members of the team with over 10 year?€™s web hosting experience each. The industry has only really existed as a consumer service for 15 years!)

The photo shoot was done a couple of weeks ago in a studio near our offices, and once the initial embarrassment of having to pose in front of the camera faded we all started to get in to it, sometimes a bit too much!

Click here to meet the Heart Internet team

Meet the team

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>65 Mind Blowing Photo Manipulations Art

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Throughout history, great designers always found new ways to show their creativity to express themselves and create new trends and techniques to remark their work apart from the rest of the crowd. Photo manipulation is an art in itself, that requires a skill and precision as we know, it is one of the most creative artforms to come out of the digital age.

This presentation shows an amazing collection of photo manipulation art related to nature, photography, objects, illustrations, HDR as well as some abstract and fantasy-related concepts. Hopefully, everybody will find something interesting to ignite their creativity.

You may be interested in the following related articles as well.

Please feel free to join us and you are always welcome to share your thoughts even if you have more reference links related to other photo manipulation art that our readers may like.

Don?€™t forget to Subscribe to our RSS-feed subscribe to our RSS-feed and Follow us on Twitter follow us on Twitter — for recent updates.

Mind Blowing Examples of Photo Manipulations Art

Photo manipulation can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. Infect, we, designers, can derive inspiration from almost everything around, and this collection can fulfills your design inspiration related needs as we can promise you that when you start browsing them further in details it will surely refresh your memory.

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More Resources

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Find Something Missing?

While compiling this list, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great artwork. Feel free to share it with us.

65 Mind Blowing Photo Manipulations Art

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>Share Posts from the Blogger NavBar

>

Yet more treats for Blogger’s 10th birthday celebrations were released for us today!

An additional button in the Blogger Navbar now enables us to share our posts via Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader and by email:

When a reader clicks the “Share” link on your blog’s home page, they can opt to share the URL of your blog by Twitter, Facebook or Google Reader. On item pages, the pop-up box includes the additional option to share by email:

When readers share your blog and posts, additional parameters are added to the URL which helps you track the syndication of these posts using Google Analytics in the format “?spref=nn” where the nn part is changed to fb for Facebook, tw for Twitter or gr for Google Reader.

For example:

You can then search for URLs ending with these parameters when using Google Analytics to view details of how your posts have been shared.

Of course, this new feature is only available to those who have not chosen to hide the Blogger Navbar!

If your Blogger template does not display the Blogger Navbar and you would like to make it reappear in order to use this new feature, here is what you should do:

1. Go to Layout>Edit HTML in your Blogger dashboard.

2. Using your browser’s search function, locate the following section of code:

#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none;
}

This should be located within the or section of your template.

Delete this section of code, then preview your template. If all is well, the Blogger Navbar will be visible again, enabling your readers to syndicate your posts with ease. Instructions to hide the Blogger Navbar can be found here.

What do you think of the new Navbar “Share” feature?

I admire the determination of the Blogger team to roll out so many new features for this platform in just a few short weeks! The addition of this sharing feature will be useful for many bloggers, though those of us who choose to hide the navbar for aesthetic purposes will need to adopt other methods of sharing our posts.

What do you think of this latest birthday gift? Will you find this useful? Is this enough to persuade you to display the navbar again (if you have currently chosen to hide it)?

Please feel free to leave your comments and opinions below.

Download your copy of The Blogger Template Book

Your complete guide to choosing, installing and optimizing Blogger templates (PDF 114 pages)

Share Posts from the Blogger NavBar

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>5 Blogger gurus you should know, and why you should follow them

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Since I started dealing with blogger (about 5 months ago), I was able to experience a lot of good stuff, learn and share knowledge with many great people from this networl/niche. Everyday I surf around the web looking for inspiration and also new stuff that come up for blogging. Blogger is a pretty old (10 years old) tool, so since its creation people were able to make guides, tutorials, templates, etc, and that makes internet full of all kinds of things blogger related.


The problem is that when you get too much stuff, you can’t really tell whether all of them are trustable or not. You got to have good eyes to see if a template, tweak or tutorial is really worth to implement on your blog, because if not, you can simply ruin months/years of work.

So thinking of that, I made a little list of people I call “Blogger Gurus” and want to share with you. Those are the Blogger people I follow daily and trust every thing that comes from them. I don’t mean that they are the best people around, neither that they are the ONLY “Blogger Gurus”. Please understand that this is a personal list and you may agree or not with it. If you don’t please don’t hesitate to leave a comment, so we can let the conversation begin.

Amanda Fazani

This girl is fantastic, I learned almost everything I know reading her blog, It has a very useful list of essential blogger tutorials for beginners. Everything that comes from her is professional, including her templates. That makes her one of the best template author when it comes to selling blogger templates on ThemeForest marketplace.
Follow Amanda on twitter.

Klodian

He is my best friend on Blogger niche. Klodian has a great mind when it comes to good taste and choosing the best templates to convert. He is also very clever and a real good internet strategist. I trust him to death and his advices are the way to go.
Follow Klodian on twitter.

Claudia Contreras

Co-hoster of BTemplates.com, She does a great work designing templates, giving support, writing about bloggersphere. For me what she does best is to classify template submission in order to keep a great list of templates over at BTemplates (the best template collection in my opinion).
Follow Claudia on twitter.

Francisco Oliveros

BTemplates founder, He is a great blogger and lover of webdesign. Pioner developer of blogger templates, He also writes on his personal site about blogging and web development.
Follow Francisco on twitter.

Vin

He is one of the pioneers in blogger learning. Vin is very succesful on Google Blogger Help Group, he also maintains a kind of old blog with so many content, and so many people have been helped by him, that he must surely be considered a Blogger guru.
Follow Vin on twitter.

No, the list is not complete, I will wait for your feedback in order to make it bigger. Please help me building this article, Send me your opinion, tell me what you think, who you think should be included on the list? Who do you consider a “Blogger Guru” and why? Let’s start the conversation!

5 Blogger gurus you should know, and why you should follow them

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>Question: How Freelance Designers Get More Referrals?

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Recently I meet friends which most of them are freelance web and graphic designers. Whether they are beginner or savvy designers, one of the hot topics that they discuss is “how freelance designers get more referrals?”. Referrals means more orders. It is reasonable for them to always try to think innovate ways to get more clients.

I am preparing a post (probably a series of posts) about this topic. I have been doing a research but I would like to know what do you think a freelance designer should to to get more referrals? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget to write your name, location and website (why don’t you put a link to your design portfolio). I may include your details in my post soon.

How Freelance Designer Get More Referrals?

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Question: How Freelance Designers Get More Referrals?

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>Android Gains Market Share On All Other Smartphone Platforms [REPORT]

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According to comScore’s latest analysis of the U.S. mobile market, Android has grown significantly in the period from February to May 2010, while all other major operating systems experienced a drop in their market share.

In this period, RIM was still the leading mobile smartphone platform, dropping from 42.1% to 41.7% market share. It was followed by Apple which somewhat surprisingly dropped from 25.4% to 24.4% and Microsoft which dropped from 15.1% to 13.2%. Android was fourth on the list, but it rose from 9% to 13% market share in this same period. It was followed by Palm which dropped from 5.4% to 4.8% market share.

One has to take into account that these numbers are relative; most smartphone platforms actually gained subscribers as the smartphone market overall grew 8.1%, with 49.1 million people in the U.S. owning smartphones during this period. Still, Android is growing faster – much faster – than its competitors at this point.

As far as top mobile manufacturers go, Samsung grabbed the first place, growing from 21.4% to 22.4% market share. It was followed by LG, RIM, Motorola and Nokia, all of which lost a small chunk of their share, with the exception of RIM which grew from 8.2% to 8.7%.

See comScore’s report here.


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>Anonymous Blogging 101: a Quick and Dirty Primer

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A Guest post by Treacle from The Lingerie Addict.

When the internet first became popular, many people loved the idea of creating a new identity online. Name, gender, age, hobbies ?€?anything and everything could be fabricated. But in the era of Web 2.0, people have a new fixation–authenticity. Nowadays, your readers want to know that you are who you say you are, and for a lot of bloggers that includes using your real name.

But some folks, for one reason or another, just aren?€™t comfortable attaching their given name to a blog. Perhaps they?€™re blogging about sex or eating disorders or unfair corporate policies, but whatever the subject, the one thing they all have in common is a behind-the-scenes writer who wants to blog freely but not have to worry about some of the potentially negative consequences of blogging.

As one of those anonymous bloggers, I want to share with you the reasons why some people choose to blog this way, a few different methods to hide your identity, and a couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to go the anonymous route. Because this article is just a basic primer, we won?€™t talk about proxy servers, re-routing, and all the other technologically elite methods of making your online trail invisible. As the title says, this is simply a ?€?quick and dirty?€? guide for people who want to know how to get started.

Why Blog Anonymously?

  1. Privacy & Safety?€”An anonymous blog allows for the most complete separation between your blogging life and your personal/professional life. For example, the once anonymous author Belle De Jour completed her PhD and began her career as a scientific researcher while blogging about her other job as a sex worker. Being public with her identity from the get-go would almost certainly have limited her career options. As another aside (and this is especially true for bloggers who write about sensitive subjects like sex, sex work, and pornography) blogging anonymously helps to control the risk of stalkers?€”those people who are determined to pay you unwanted and uninvited attention. Finally, anonymous blogging makes it clear that you?€™re only writing for yourself; your place of employment needn?€™t worry about people thinking you?€™re a ?€?representative?€? of them.
  2. Honesty?€”Anonymous blogging allows some people to be more than honest than they might be if their real name was attached. For example, if you?€™re writing a blog about relationships, you may not want your name attached to that essay about your terrible date over the weekend. A blog identity that?€™s separate from your personal identity gives you a bit of breathing space that lets you write more openly and honestly.
  3. Personality & Character?€”Writing under a different name allows you to express different aspects of your personality, including parts that may not be appropriate to show at other times. In the same way that Superman was a cooler version of Clark Kent, your blog identity can be a cooler version of you. For example, my alter-ego Treacle is mellower, sexier, and more outgoing than the chick who shows up at my dayjob. Writing an anonymous blog gives me permission to play because I?€™m not dealing with the constraints of my already established ?€?mundane?€? personality.

Ways to Blog Anonymously

  1. Full-on anonymity?€”This style of anonymous blogging uses an obviously fake name (think John Doe), no photographs, no birthdate, no city, no hobbies, nothing identifying whatsoever. This is actually how I started blogging, and I don?€™t recommend it. Unless you are really, really, really good?€?it?€™s hard for people to feel attachment to a question mark.
  2. Semi-anonymity?€”In this type, you use a false name but share some identifying details. This is how I blog right now. Treacle isn?€™t my given name, but the photos of me are real. So are other details like my hobbies, interests, relationship status, and so on. You might call this ?€?everything but anonymity,?€? as in I share everything but the name on my driver?€™s license.
  3. ?€?Secret identity?€? anonymity?€”I know of quite a few anonymous bloggers who do this. In this style, you choose an authentic sounding first and last name, complete with its own Twitter, Facebook, mailing address, activities, and so on. A side effect of creating a new and fully-formed identity is that people believe they?€™re already interacting with the real you, and so don?€™t go looking for it. But the downside is that if it ever comes out you created a fictitious personality and put it out there as your own, your readers can feel massively betrayed. You also have to start doing this from the very beginning of your blog for it to work effectively.

How to Blog Anonymously?

First of all, you want to set up a separate e-mail address just for your blog, register your blog?€™s domain name anonymously (I think most folks do this anyway), and consider using software like Tor to make your IP address untraceable. Some bloggers refuse to blog from their personal or home computers; they?€™ll only use the libraries computer, for example. Other bloggers write while offline, and then copy and paste the entire post into the blog while Tor is turned on. You should also consider setting up separate Twitter, Facebook, and Paypal accounts and perhaps even buying a P.O. Box if you?€™ll need to send or receive goods later on.

Second, spend some time thinking about your pseudonym. Whatever you pick, that will be the identity always associated with your blog. In the same vein, spend some time thinking about your boundaries. What are you okay with sharing? What is absolutely off limits? What are you unsure about right now but will revisit a month or two down the road? For example, I never share the names or any identifying details of friends, family, and intimate partners on my blog. I don?€™t even make up pseudonyms; I just call them by nouns like ?€?The Boyfriend,?€? ?€?The Best Friend,?€? or ?€?The Cousin.?€? You want to work out the answers to these questions before you start posting.

Third and finally, just keep your mouth shut. If you don?€™t want anyone to know who you are, don?€™t tell anyone. Plain and simple.

What are Some Other Things to Consider?

  1. The only foolproof way to keep from being found out is to never blog at all. Therefore, you should start blogging under the assumption that you?€™ll be discovered one day. It?€™s depressing, I know, but it?€™s important to think about. One day, someone will recognize you and very possibly expose you. So, before blogging about anything, think about the potential consequences of that exposure. Whether it?€™s losing your jobs, losing your kids, or losing your freedom be prepared for the worst possible outcome.
  2. Anonymous blogging is not a free pass to be an asshole. Aside from the possibility that you?€™ll eventually be found out (see above), you are what you blog. Nice, nasty, or in between the people you attract are going to reflect what you write.
  3. It?€™s easier to start out with a lot of anonymity and open up over time than to do the reverse. If you?€™re not sure exactly how much you want to share just yet, start out by sharing a little less. You can always give more, but you can?€™t take anything back once it?€™s out there.

I hope this article helps you understand a little bit more about why some people prefer the anonymous approach, and, if you?€™re thinking about blogging anonymously, I hope it gives you a solid place to start. If you have any questions (about lingerie or anonymous blogging!), feel free to write me at thelingerieaddict@gmail.com.

anonymous-blogging-101.jpgAbout the Author: Treacle is a 25 year old knickers junkie who started blogging because her friends threatened to tape her mouth shut if she didn?€™t stop talking about her underwear. She welcomes lingerie lovers of every nation and persuasion to her blog, The Lingerie Addict.

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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>How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010

>

It’s that time of month again where I talk a little about the split of my own income streams in the previous month. We’re looking at June here and I’m excited to share this month’s charts because it illustrates something that I’ve been saying for the last couple of months really well – things DO vary from month to month.

In April and May we’ve seen the charts look much the same from month to month with AdSense being the #1 earner, followed by Affiliate earnings, eBook sales and Continuity programs. This month we’ve seen AdSense toppled as the #1 earner.

blogging-income-june-2010.png

eBook sales dwarfed all other income streams in June – mainly because I released a Travel Photography eBook. I should note that the figures I used to calculate this graph are not total income from eBooks but just my share of them (I do a revenue share with the author of this eBook).

Continuity programs also earned just a few dollars more than AdSense this month so it was pushed down into #3 position.

Interestingly the earnings in all areas except eBook sales, continuity programs and the Job board were down on May figures. I do tend to find this happens most years in the middle of the year – probably due to a bit of a downswing in the number of people in the northern hemisphere who are getting out and enjoying good weather in comparison to the number of people inside during winter months in that part of the world.

I thought it might also be interesting to share the different income streams over the last 3 months so you can see how they each do go up and down a little from month to month.

blogging-income-quarter.png

Last month a couple of readers pointed out that the charts are a little meaningless without actual dollar figures and people were confused about whether we were talking about the different areas being in the tens, hundreds, thousands or more. I’m not going to get into specifics on this except to say that June was comfortably in the six figure zone for a month after expenses.

July will probably return to a more ‘normal’ looking month – although I do hope to launch another small eBook here on ProBlogger in the coming weeks which could lead to that segment being a little higher than in April/May (although I doubt as high as June).

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

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How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010

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How I Make Money Blogging: Income Split for June 2010