Minterest » Internet http://www.minterest.org tech. marketing. mashups. Sun, 21 Sep 2014 16:14:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega [Comparison] http://www.minterest.org/onedrive-vs-dropbox-vs-google-drive/ http://www.minterest.org/onedrive-vs-dropbox-vs-google-drive/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:30:00 +0000 http://www.minterest.org/?p=7736 If you’re an active internet user then it’s more likely that you’re using a cloud storage service (or an online backup service). If you’re not using that then you’re going to need it. A cloud storage service can be useful to you in several ways. For instance, it can save the disk space on your [...]

Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega [Comparison] is a post by Minterest

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OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega

If you’re an active internet user then it’s more likely that you’re using a cloud storage service (or an online backup service). If you’re not using that then you’re going to need it. A cloud storage service can be useful to you in several ways. For instance, it can save the disk space on your PC if you store your photos and videos online. Also, it can be used as a backup service so that your files are all safe in the cloud even if your computer hard drive crashes. And yeah, today cloud storage service has become increasingly popular because of their cross-platform support. It means that you can upload your documents from your PC to the cloud and can instantly access it via your mobile.

Comparison: Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega

I have already compared the best cloud storage services back in 2012 but things changed a lot ever since. So I’m going to compare the top cloud storage services once again to reflect the new changes. The last time I compared only Microsoft SkyDrive (now rebranded as OneDrive), Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive. So today I have included Box (formerly Box.net) and Kim Dotcom’s Mega as well.

1. Microsoft OneDrive (formerly Microsoft SkyDrive)

Microsoft OneDriveI really love OneDrive apps (yes, it’s my preferred cloud storage service) and its interface. But what I really don’t like about OneDrive is their URL structure. It’s simply not user friendly and not uniform at all. Also, sharing files with friends is not as simple as in Dropbox or Google Drive. OneDrive supports remote access to your PC. You can access all the files on your PC from another computer using OneDrive website.

In other words, if you have installed OneDrive desktop on your PC then you can use fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer even if it’s not there in your OneDrive folder. Also, you can access the network locations as well if they’re included in your PC’s libraries or if they’re mapped as drives. Since OneDrive is integrated to Microsoft Office Online (and now with Windows 8 as well) you can view your documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) online without downloading them to your PC.

Free Storage: 15 GB (+ 3 GB extra storage when you activate camera roll backup)

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows (Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1), Mac OS X

Pricing For Additional Storage: $25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB $1.99/month for 100 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB (if you own an Office 365 subscription then you get additional 20 GB 1 TB OneDrive storage for free — like this).

File Size Limit: 2 GB (via OneDrive apps); 300 MB (via OneDrive website)

You can refer your friends to OneDrive and you will get additional 500 MB/referral (refer up to 10 friends for a maximum of 5 GB additional free storage).

» Visit Microsoft OneDrive

2. Dropbox

DropboxDropbox is perhaps web’s favorite cloud storage service with over 200 million users. I’m not actually a fan of Dropbox but it’s really a cool service as it’s intuitive and very powerful. Dropbox offers a clean interface and unlike OneDrive it’s super easy to share files and you can view all your shared files in one-click. Dropbox is secure too as it supports two-step verification and you can even lock your Dropbox mobile app using a passcode.

Free Storage: 2 GB (+ up to 1.5 GB extra storage as bonus)

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux

Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99/year for 100 GB; $19.99/mo. or $199/year for 200 GB; $49.99/mo. or $499/year for 500 GB

File Size Limit: No File Size Limit (via Dropbox desktop or mobile apps); 10 GB (via Dropbox website)

You can easily get bonus storage by connecting your Facebook account (+125 MB), Twitter account (+125 MB), following Dropbox on Twitter (+125 GB), giving feedback about Dropbox (+ 125 MB), and also by connecting your Mailbox for iOS app to Dropbox (+ 1 GB). Or you can refer your friends to Dropbox and get up to 16 GB as bonus space. Dropbox offers 500 MB/referral  so you can refer up to 32 friends for a maximum of 16 GB additional storage space).

» Visit Dropbox

3. Google Drive

Google DriveIf I like Google Drive then it’s probably because of the following reasons: First, it’s deeply integrated to Gmail so you can save all your Google Mail attachments directly to your Google Drive account (Tip: Use the “Save to Drive” option in Gmail). Second, it’s integrated to Google Docs so you can create a doc and share with your friends instantly (and can even collaborate with each other in real-time). Third, it’s very easy to share files and set its permissions.

Free Storage: 15 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS

Pricing For Additional Storage: $1.99/mo. for 100 GB, $9.99/mo. for 1 TB, $99.99/mo. for 10 TB, $199.99/mo. for 20 TB, $299.99/mo. for 30 TB

File Size Limit: Up to 1 TB (depends upon the file type)

Unlike other services the storage space offered by Google Drive is shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. So if your Gmail is using over 10 GB space then you’ve got less than 5 GB free storage in Google Drive. So if the storage is not enough then the only option is to buy one of their paid plan since there is no referral program.

» Visit Google Drive

The Next 3 Lesser Known Cloud Storage Services

Since I don’t personally use any of the following cloud services I’m highlighting only their basic features. You can select one based on your personal preference.

4. Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive

Free Storage: 5 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Kindle
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac

Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/year for 20 GB, $25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB, $250/year for 500 GB, $500/year for 1 TB

File Size Limit: 2 GB

» Visit Amazon Cloud Drive

5. Box

Box

Free Storage: 10 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac

Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/mo. for 100 GB

File Size Limit: 250 MB (5 GB for $10/mo. plan)

» Visit Box

6. Mega

MegaFree Storage: 50 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, compatible with iPad), Android, BlackBerry
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows

Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99.99/year for 500 GB, $19.99/mo. or $199.99/year for 2 TB, $29.99/mo. or $299.99/year for 4 TB

File Size Limit: No File Size Limit

» Visit Mega

So which is your favorite cloud storage service and why? ;)

First Published: March 2014; Last Updated: August, 2014

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Over 30 "Cherry-picked" Web 2.0 Sites To Drive Traffic To Your Blog http://www.minterest.org/drive-social-media-traffic-to-your-blog/ http://www.minterest.org/drive-social-media-traffic-to-your-blog/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 15:20:00 +0000 http://www.minterest.com/?p=5449 Social Media websites can drive insanely great traffic to your blog if you have a good social media marketing strategy. But it can drive fair amount of traffic if you just submit blog posts regularly to your social media profiles. Social media traffic is as important as organic traffic from search engines as we can’t [...]

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Social Media websites can drive insanely great traffic to your blog if you have a good social media marketing strategy. But it can drive fair amount of traffic if you just submit blog posts regularly to your social media profiles.

Like

Social media traffic is as important as organic traffic from search engines as we can’t rely on Google alone. They continue to push algorithmic updates like Panda, Penguin and who knows the next could be Giraffe.

It means that we must diversify the way we get traffic. I’m going to list the top social media and other websites that you shouldn’t ignore or must use as part of your social media marketing strategy. I’m NOT going to list all the stupid social media or the so called web 2.0 sites out there as I’m going to focus only on sites that can drive traffic to our websites in one way or the other and not for building backlinks.

Read: What’s The Best Time To Share Your Content On Social Media?

Though the traffic quality of social media can’t be matched with that of organic traffic, it is still important. It helps us to keep the bounce rate low which is assumed to be one of the many ranking signals used by Google.

Top 30 Social Networking (& Web 2.0) Sites To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

1. Facebook

Facebook

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 2

Facebook has not only transformed the way people the world over connect, communicate and share ideas, pictures, videos and news, it’s made it possible for businesses to get their products across to a mass audience in a sensational win-win manner.

With over a billion active users it’s the largest social networking website. Leverage your Facebook friends and share your blog posts regularly with your Facebook friends and fan base.

2. Twitter

Twitter

Google PageRank: 10 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 11

Twitter is the second most popular social network (microblogging platform to be more specific). If our content is viral in nature then it can bring instant massive traffic to our blog/website in no time.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 12

LinkedIn is web’s favorite professional networking website with over 100 million active users. LinkedIn’s traffic quality is better than that of Facebook and Twitter as it is mostly used by professionals who are looking for job or business opportunities.

4. Pinterest

Pinterest

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 28

Pinterest is the biggest thing that happened to social media after Twitter. According to a TechCrunch article Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. If your blog posts have quality images then you shouldn’t ignore Pinterest. Just pin those images to Pinterest under the right category and it can send quality traffic to you as Pinterest users are known to spend more money than Facebook or Twitter.

5. Google+

Google+

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 1

Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook. Though they call it a social network I wouldn’t call it a social networking website. But that said, it is important to share your blog posts on Google+ as social signals are now used to rank web pages. And that’s not all! As you probably know Google now gives importance to authors (dubbed as AuthorRank). For that they use data from your Google+ profiles. It means that if you’re popular on Google+ then your blog posts are more likely to be on top.

6. Reddit

Reddit

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 73

Reddit succeeded where Digg failed. It’s not the Facebook or a Twitter that killed Digg, Reddit killed Digg. If you write content that’s viral in nature then Reddit can send you instant massive traffic. Just make sure that you use social media timing signals to share the right content at the right time.

7. StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 157

StumbleUpon is more or less a social bookmarking platform. It used to send good traffic during my initial days of blogging. I’m not sure about how many active users are there on StumbleUpon but according to Wikipedia they have over 20 million users. It won’t take more than 5 minutes to share your web page on StumbleUpon and hence it is worth the try. You definitely don’t want to miss even a single opportunity that can send traffic.

8. MySpace

MySpace

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 836

MySpace. I’m not sure why this site still exists but I decided to include the same in this list as it was once the most popular social networking site in the world. It even surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States in 2006.

9. Inbound.org

Inbound.org

Google PageRank: 5 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 8,584

Inbound.org is not a social networking website but it can send high quality traffic to your website if you got interesting blog posts that are original. Inbound.org is a great community of bloggers, marketers and other professionals who love to read and share interesting content.

10. Scoop.it

Scoop.it

Google PageRank: 7 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 624

Scoop.it is one of the most popular content curation tools. It helps you discover new content based on your interest and you’ll also be able to create your own Scoop.it boards to add content from your own blog. The Scoop.it community will be able to follow your boards and you’ll be able to follow boards by others.

11. Delicious

Delicious

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 1,068

Delicious is the top social bookmarking website and has around 10 million active users. Though it rarely sends traffic, you can still tag your articles there as the submission is super quick and easy. Delicious.com allows its users to group link with the identical topics that can be gathered from the “stack”.

12. Squidoo

Squidoo

Google PageRank: 6 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 686

Squidoo is a community website that allows users to create content (called lenses) for subjects of interest. You can write and submit interesting content to Squidoo with backlinks to your blog or website.

13. HubPages

HubPages

Google PageRank: 6 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 534

HubPages is yet another user generated content, and revenue-sharing website where you can share  your advice, reviews, useful tips, opinions and insights with hundreds of other authors. Quality HubPages articles are ranked high on Google so it can send you traffic if you write and submit good articles to HubPages with links to your website.

14. YouTube

YouTube

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 3

YouTube is the web’s largest and most favorite video sharing website. You can share your videos with over 800 million YouTube users a month. You can host your how-to videos on YouTube with a backlink to your website so that people would visit your website for additional insights whenever they watch your video.

15. Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 6

Who doesn’t know about Wikipedia? A platform that shares over 24 million articles, Wikipedia is by now the largest place from where you can get references. Wikipedia can drive quality referral traffic to your website. Just sign up as a contributor at Wikipedia and improve the current Wiki pages by editing the existing pages with reference to your website. Just make sure that your web page is absolutely relevant to the topic or it will be marked as spam by the moderators at Wikipedia.

16. Yahoo! Answers

Yahoo! Answers

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 4

Yahoo! Answers is one of the most popular Q&A site on the web. Thanks to the millions of loyal Yahoo! users. There is a category for each subject on Yahoo! Answers. Just write blog posts on common issues and answer the questions asked by users with a reference to your website. It will send you good referral traffic.

17. Flickr

Flickr

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 74

Flickr is the largest photo sharing website on the Internet. You can leverage Flickr by uploading interesting photos or videos with a Creative Commons Attribution License. So that people will link to your Flickr profile and may click on your links. Don’t want to upload photos? Then why not use those awesome photos on your blog and still get referral traffic. Just use the photos or videos with a Creative Commons Attribution License in your next blog post with proper credits to the original author. Then go to their Flickr profile and comment that you have used the same on your blog post and include the link to the blog post.

18. Technorati

Technorati

Google PageRank: 7 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 1,866

Technorati is a search engine for blogs. It looks at tags that authors have placed on their blog posts and it helps to categorize the search results, with recent results on top. You can check the Technorati Tag Index to get the most popular tags used on Technorati over the past one month and can use those tags while writing the next blog post. Make sure that your blog is claimed at Technorati and you use the relevant tags.

You can also write for Technorati as they publish user submitted content on a variety of topics after manual review by their editorial team.

19. Blog Engage

Blog Engage

Google PageRank: 4 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 8,205

Blog Engage is another community of bloggers where you can submit your blog posts for better exposure, traffic and of course for backlinks. All the articles that you submit goes to their upcoming page and it will be featured on the homepage when it receives enough votes from its users.

It costs a one-time £19 fee to sign up but you can get a free account by writing about them on your blog. They also have some subscription plans that offer premium features like Content Syndication, JustRetweet Bonus, YouTube Video Syndication, etc.

20. Alltop

Alltop

Google PageRank: 6 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 4,288

Alltop features top stories from a variety of sources. So you can find the top stories from Alltop home, or from Most Popular page, or from sub-categories based on your interests. You can suggest your blog after picking a relevant topic so that they will add your blog to Alltop if it’s approved. Your RSS feed must be active and there should be enough original content.

21. Triberr

Triberr

Google PageRank: 5 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 3,478

Triberr is a community of bloggers and influencers where they come together to read and share great content. Triberr is completely free to use but they do have a premium membership plan that costs $10/month or you can promote your posts for only $5 so that your content will stick to the top of your tribemates’ Tribal streams. You can sign in with your Twitter/Facbook account to connect your blog with Triberr account and it will pull your latest posts automatically. Done!

22. SlideShare

SlideShare

Google PageRank: 8 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 123

SlideShare, as you probably know, is the world’s largest community for sharing and discovering slideshows/presentations. You can upload your presentations with clickable links and can even embed them on blogs or websites. Apart from slideshows, you can also share documents, infographics, PDFs, videos, and webinars.

23. List.ly

List.ly

Google PageRank: 5 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 6,923

With List.ly, you can create lists on almost anything that you like. Create a list post on your blog and then use the same data to create a list on List.ly with a backlink to your blog.  The community members will vote, share, and may even embed your list on their blog.

24. Visual.ly

Visual.ly

Google PageRank: 7 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 2,529

Visual.ly is a marketplace for infographics and data visualizations. So if you have created some interesting infographics then you can submit there or if you have the budget then you can hire their professionals to create an infographic for you.

25. Quora

Quora

Google PageRank: 7 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 432

Quora is a Q&A network but it can drive targeted traffic to your website if you help others to solve their problems. Unlike Yahoo Answers, Quora is a quality network and is used by many influencers so it’s simply not easy to get a backlink like we get from Yahoo Answers.

Also, make sure that you added a photo, bio and a link to your blog/website so that people can trust you. And always check unanswered questions so that if you’re the first to answer a question then you get better exposure.

26. Instagram

Instagram

Google PageRank: 9 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 41

Instagram is not only the hottest photo sharing website but it’s good to promote your brand as well. Sign up for an account, add your link in bio, post pictures & videos, and start following people. But make sure that you’re posting only relevant pictures and videos. Get more tips here and here.

27. BizSugar

BizSugar

Google PageRank: 5 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 5,335

BizSugar is a small business community for solopreneurs or entrepreneurs where you can share your articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc. You must make sure that your content is related to small business or entrepreneurship with a catchy title and a relevant description. When you submit the content it’s added to Recent articles and when it gets enough votes, it is added to the Popular articles section.

28. JustRetweet

JustRetweet

Google PageRank: 3 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 13,182

JustRetweet is not a social network but it’s a social sharing platform to help you to get more Retweets, Facebook Likes, Google +1s for your blog posts. When you sign up at JustRetweet you get 100 credits and you can use that to buy retweets, likes, or +1s.

29. Viral Content Buzz

Google PageRank: 4 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 28,805

Viral Content Buzz is another social sharing platform that helps you to get more Facebook Likes, Retweets from influencers. It gives your content more social love and is search engine friendly. If your content is epic then it may even go viral.

30. Slashdot

Slashdot

Google PageRank: 7 | Alexa Traffic Rank: 1,630

Slashdot is the “news for nerds” website that beeps us about all technology news. It includes all user-submitted news and current affairs about tech and science. So if you’re tech-savvy then you shouldn’t be missing out this site.

31. Yahoo Voices

Yahoo Voices

Yahoo Voices is a platform to share your knowledge and passion with millions of Yahoo users. You’re allowed to link to external webpages (to your own websites as well) but just make sure that you’ve read their Submission Guidelines.

It’s particularly effective if you’re a freelance writer because Yahoo even pays you for your exceptional content. But you must be a legal citizen or resident of the United States to make money. However others can join and contribute content without getting paid. Even I have contributed content written by my sister here to see how it works.

32. GrowthHackers

image

GrowthHackers focuses on high quality growth hacking resources and ethical marketing tips to help you with your marketing efforts. So if you have got some good marketing content then you can submit there and it may attract massive traffic.

33. LinkedIn Publishing Platform

LinkedIn Publishing Platform is now one of the hottest publishing platform as it leverages LinkedIn’s massive audience. Earlier, only influencers were able to publish to their platform but today, all LinkedIn members are able to publish their content on LinkedIn. So it’s a powerful new way to build your professional brand.

Read: Over 60 Web 2.0 Sites To Get Instant Backlinks To Your Blog

Have I missed your favorite social media or a community website that can drive traffic to our blog? If so, feel free to mention the same as a comment below!

P.S. Google PageRank and the Alexa Traffic Rank of the above listed websites are not updated but I’ll be doing that on the next update of this blog post.

First Published: January, 2013; Last Updated: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Over 30 "Cherry-picked" Web 2.0 Sites To Drive Traffic To Your Blog is a post by Minterest

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Need A Free Google Apps Alternative? Use Gmail As Your Email Hub! http://www.minterest.org/google-apps-alternative/ http://www.minterest.org/google-apps-alternative/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 14:48:00 +0000 http://www.minterest.org/?p=8323 If you’re a blogger, freelancer or an Internet entrepreneur then you need your own custom email address, right? Because sooner or later you’ll feel embarrassed to show your @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @aol.com email address to the public. So the usual option is to sign up for a domain name and a web hosting plan [...]

Need A Free Google Apps Alternative? Use Gmail As Your Email Hub! is a post by Minterest

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Google Apps

If you’re a blogger, freelancer or an Internet entrepreneur then you need your own custom email address, right? Because sooner or later you’ll feel embarrassed to show your @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com, or @aol.com email address to the public. So the usual option is to sign up for a domain name and a web hosting plan and then use an email client like Outlook Express to access email. But that sucks!

And then Microsoft introduced Windows Live Custom Domains back in 2005 and later in 2006 Google introduced Gmail For Your Domain (now known as Google Apps). A free Google Apps account was the perfect solution since we got a Gmail like experience for our custom email accounts. And I was super excited when I was able to host my email in the Google cloud.

Read: Gmail vs. Outlook.com vs. Yahoo! Mail: An Ultimate Comparison

Unfortunately, Google discontinued the free edition of Google Apps back in 2012. They almost indirectly announced on their Official Enterprise Blog that individuals have to use a personal Google Mail account and businesses have to purchase Google Apps for Business to manage their email accounts. Yes, Google Apps for Business is $50 per user per year.

So it means that even if you need just one mailbox you still have to pay $50 a year. And yeah, there was a way to get its free edition by using a hack but that no longer works now.

Luckily there was a Microsoft alternative at that time, called the Windows Live Admin Center (previously Windows Live Custom Domains). It was the perfect alternative to Google Apps as we could create up to 500 accounts on Outlook.com (previously Hotmail.com) and experience its fresh, clean, and an intuitive interface.

But back in April 2014, Microsoft announced on their Windows Live Admin Center website that:

Outlook.com no longer offers support for new custom domain sign ups. New customers looking to manage custom domains are encouraged to use Office 365, Microsoft’s premium online service, which also includes enterprise-class mail, collaboration and communication tools.

However they also mentioned that existing users can continue to use the service but earlier this month Microsoft sent an email to all Windows Live Admin Center customers and informed that they will continue to support existing Custom Domains but users won’t be able to add or remove email accounts. In other words, R.I.P. Windows Live Admin Center.

We want to inform you of some important changes to the Windows Live Admin Center: As of April 10th 2014, Outlook.com no longer supports new custom domain sign ups. We appreciate that you have used this service and we regret to inform you of this change. This email will explain the upcoming changes and your options as a valued customer.

As a current customer, we will continue to support the ability to log in to Outlook.com with your existing custom domain email address, but as of July 31st 2014, you will no longer be able to add or remove accounts in your domain.

Of course, this move was expected because we know the “Windows Live” brand is dead but they never rebranded Windows Live Admin Center.

Now, what are the Google Apps alternatives?

  • Google Apps for Business – If you want to enjoy Google cloud; Costs $50 per user per year.
  • Office 365 Small Business – If you want to enjoy Microsoft cloud; Costs $60 per user per year.
  • Zoho Mail – If you’re looking for a free alternative; Free & ad-free for up to 10 users.
  • Atmail Cloud – $79 per month for 50 users.
  • FastMail – $40 per year for one account; $15 per year per account.
  • Hushmail – $5.24 per user per month.
  • Pobox – $50 per year for one account (10 – 20% discount for additional accounts).
  • Rackspace Email Hosting – $2 per user per month (Rackspace Email); $10 per user per month (Hosted Exchange).

These are the paid alternatives to Google Apps and hence may not be the perfect choice (especially if you need less than 5 accounts). But wait, there’s another workaround and I believe that’s the perfect alternative to Google Apps. It’s by using Gmail itself but after customizing it the way we want so that it becomes a mail hub. And yeah, it’s free and it works!

The Best Google Apps Alternative: Use Gmail As Your Mail Hub

I’m going to show you how to use your personal Gmail account as your email server – that’s to create a custom email address like you@example.com. You will need a free Gmail account (create a new account or you can use your existing Gmail account) assuming that you already have a domain name and a web hosting plan (I prefer a cPanel Hosting as it’s simple and easy to manage).

All my domain names are hosted by HostGator.com and InMotionHosting.com and both are cPanel Hosting. So I’m going to use HostGator for this tutorial. But please note that the steps may differ when you try this on another web hosting account that’s not using cPanel control panel.

Phase 1: Create An Email Account On Your Server

Open the control panel of your web hosting (cPanel in this case) and navigate to “Mail” section.

cPanel: Email Accounts

Now create a new email account – you@example.com.

cPanel: Create Email Accounts

You will see the newly created email account listed there and now you have to retrieve its server settings. So click “More” and then click “Configure Email Client”.

cPanel: Configure Email Client

You will get both “Auto Configuration Scripts” and “Manual Settings”. You can ignore the “Auto Configuration Scripts” and note down the recommended “Secure SSL/TLS Settings” as you will need this information.

cPanel: Secure Email Settings

Phase 2: Add As A POP3 Email Account In Gmail (To Fetch Mails)

Go to Gmail > Settings > Accounts & Import.

Gmail Settings: Accounts & Import

Here you can add another email account that you own so that you will be able to access the same from within Gmail. Click “Add a POP3 mail account you own” and enter your newly created email address. Click “Next Step”.

Gmail: Add A Mail Account You Own

Enter the details of your new account on the next page (that is the “Secure SSL/TLS Settings” of your new email account).

Add A New Email Account To Gmail

If Google is able to verify your login credentials then it will show a message that “Your mail account has been added.” and will ask whether you would like to send mail from your new email account. So you have to select “Yes” and click “Next Step”.

Gmail: Add Another Email Address

Phase 3: Add As SMTP Account In Gmail (To Send Mails)

You can enter a custom name to show to your email recipients if you want or Google will use your default Gmail name. Click “Next Step”.

Gmail: Add Another Email Address

Now Google will ask whether you would like to send emails though your Server (i.e. your cPanel hosting server in this case) or Gmail server. You MUST select the “Send through example.com SMTP servers” option or else your recipient will see your @gmail.com email address.

Gmail SMTP Settings

Now click “Add Account” and Gmail will once again verify your credentials and will ask you to confirm your email address by entering the confirmation code sent to your new email address (you@example.com).

Gmail Verification

Since you have already added your new email account in Gmail (using POP3) you can go to your Gmail Inbox and click “Refresh”. You will get a “Gmail Confirmation” mail and you can complete the verification process by clicking on the given link or by manually entering the “Confirmation code” that you have received in your confirmation mail.

Gmail Confirmation

Now go back to Gmail > Settings > Accounts & Import and see if your new email account is added under “Send mail as” and “Check mail from other accounts (using POP3)” option.

Gmail SMTP & POP Settings

Voila! You’re done. :)

Read: 10 Gmail Tips You Probably Don’t Know

BONUS: Hate Gmail? Try Outlook.com!

Outlook.com Email Accounts

Yes, Microsoft has shutdown Windows Live Custom Domains but you can still use Outlook.com as your mail server in a similar way. Because Outlook.com also allows us to to send email using an SMTP server so that the recipient will not see our @outlook.com address. You can go to Outlook.com Inbox > Options > Your email accounts > Add a send-and-receive account.

Read: 13 Outlook.com Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

Conclusion: When is it perfect?

The above solution is perfect if you need just one email account or when you need multiple email accounts but only one person will need its access. If you want to create email accounts for a group then you either have to use multiple Gmail accounts or have to go for one of the above Google Apps alternative.

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My Favorite Internet Tools, Software & Apps http://www.minterest.org/my-favorite-internet-tools/ http://www.minterest.org/my-favorite-internet-tools/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 13:07:36 +0000 http://www.minterest.org/?p=8235 Image Credit: Flickr – @maheshone Here is a list of all my favorite Internet Tools, Software and and Applications. I’ve featured only my personal favorites but you can check out my Web Directory for a more comprehensive list. I’ll make sure that the following list is always up-to-date. Web Browser Google Chrome – It’s my [...]

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Windows 8.1

Image Credit: Flickr – @maheshone

Here is a list of all my favorite Internet Tools, Software and and Applications. I’ve featured only my personal favorites but you can check out my Web Directory for a more comprehensive list. I’ll make sure that the following list is always up-to-date.

Web Browser

  • Google Chrome – It’s my preferred browser because of its intuitive design, password manager, cross-platform syncing, auto-fill forms, apps and extensions.
  • Google Chrome Extensions – List of my favorite Google Chrome extensions.

Chrome: Productivity ExtensionsSEO ExtensionsNew Tab Extensions

E-mail

  • Google Mail – Gmail is my preferred email service due to its powerful features like labels, filters, search, e-mail forwarding, plus addressing, multiple accounts, etc.
  • Outlook.com – I love Outlook.com for its unique design and features like email alias, Skype integration, and social media connections.
  • Mailbox – Mailbox app is the best thing that happened to email after Gmail and it’s my preferred email app for mobile.
  • Outlook – It’s my preferred desktop email client – thanks to its iCloud integration.
  • Google Apps – To manage custom email addresses.
  • Windows Live Admin Center – To manage custom email addresses (but no longer supported by Microsoft – so no new sign ups).

Instant Messaging

  • Skype – For free VoIP calls and cheap phone calls.
  • Google Hangouts – Since it’s integrated with Gmail.
  • WhatsApp – As an alternative to text messaging – thanks to its read receipts feature.

Cloud Storage

  • Microsoft OneDrive – I love OneDrive because of its rich interface, awesome apps, and tight integration with Windows 8.
  • Picasa Web – To archive photos as it’s got a lot of storage.
  • Dropbox – I love Dropbox for its simplicity, cross-platform support, and its one-click sharing feature.

Read: OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega

Productivity

  • iCloud – I love iCloud for its Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminder.
  • OneNote – It’s my preferred planner app – to stay organized.
  • Evernote – It’s my favorite note-taker app (read 30+ Evernote Tips).
  • Pocket – It’s my preferred read later app.
  • Todoist – It’s my favorite to-do app (read Todoist Review) and is the best Google Tasks alternative.

Suites

  • Office 365 (Premium) – My favorite office suite.
  • Office Online – Office.com is the online version of Microsoft Office suite (yup, it’s free!).
  • Google Drive – I like Google Drive for its sharing and collaborative feature.
  • iWork – Sometimes – on mobile – it’s more useful than Microsoft Office.

Read: My Favorite iOS (iPhone & iPad) Apps

Web 2.0

My favorite social networks – to connect, to collaborate, to showcase, to discover, to question, to answer, and to share.

Read: Over 60 Web 2.0 Sites To Get Instant Backlinks To Your Blog

Social Media Tools

  • IFTTT – To connect different apps.
  • Buffer – It’s the easiest way to share to all our social networks in one-click.
  • TweetDeck – My favorite Twitter client.

News

Read: 25 Content Discovery Tools To Find Great Social Media Content

Photo Sharing

  • Flickr – My favorite photo sharing service.
  • Imgur – It’s the best place to find Internet memes.
  • Photosynth – It’s an awesome app by Microsoft that creates 3D images from 2D photos.
  • Photobucket – I use Photobucket primarily when I want to embed images in a forum.

Photo Editing

  • Adobe Photoshop – My preferred photo editing application.
  • Google+ Photo Editor – I like Google+ Photo Editor for its auto enhancement feature.
  • Awesome Screenshot – It’s the best screen capture extension for Google Chrome.
  • PicMonkey – It’s a free online photo editing that’s perfect for quick touch ups.

Word Processing

  • Word – My preferred word processor application.
  • Google Docs – I like Docs because of its real-time collaboration and editing feature.
  • Pages for iCloud – It’s my favorite word processor app on mobile as it shows word count.

Music / Movies

  • iTunes – I love iTunes because it acts as a hub between a PC and the iOS ecosystem.
  • VLC Player – I like VLC player because it plays almost everything. Otherwise, my favorite media player is Windows Media Player.

Money

Utilities / Other Tools

  • InstaCalc – It’s a real-time shareable online calculator.
  • Excel – My favorite spreadsheet application.
  • Pastebin – To anonymously share text online.
  • Hide My Ass – A free proxy server to surf the web anonymously.
  • Down For Everyone Or Just Me – To check if the website is down or not.
  • Screenr – A web-based screen recorder.
  • Screenfly – To test websites at different screen resolutions.
  • FileZilla – It’s my favorite FTP client.
  • uTorrent – My favorite BitTorrent client.
  • TeamViewer – It’s my preferred remote control/remote access software.
  • eFax – For free internet fax.
  • Bitly – It’s my favorite URL shortening service.
  • LastPass – A free password manager.
  • Google Forms – An easy to use tool to create web forms, surveys, quiz, plan events, etc.
  • Google Bookmarks – A free online bookmarking service by Google.

Read: Over 101 Google Products You Probably Don’t Know

Domain Names

Web Hosting

  • Eleven 2 – For shared web hosting ($59.40/year).
  • HostGator – For reseller web hosting ($299.40/year).
  • Digital Ocean – For VPS web hosting ($5/month).

CDN

  • Google PageSpeed Service – Google PageSpeed Service fetches content from our servers and delivers pages to the users from the Google cloud after optimization.
  • Photon by WordPress – It’s a free image acceleration service by WordPress.com.

Read: Web Hosting Comparison – Top 25 Web Hosting Companies

Blogging

  • WordPress – My preferred Content Management System (CMS) as it can be customized the way we want.
  • Disqus – To manage the comments.

WordPress Plugins

Read: Over 30 Awesome WordPress Plugins To Supercharge Your Blog

WordPress Themes

  • StudioPress (Premium) – Genesis by StudioPress is my preferred WordPress framework and I also love their professionally designed WordPress skins.
  • Themeforest (Premium) – It’s perhaps the largest marketplace for premium website templates (HTML5, WordPress, PSD, Tumblr, etc.).
  • WordPress (Free) – It’s the largest directory of free WordPress themes.

Read: Top 15 “Cherry Picked” Premium WordPress Theme Marketplaces

Webmaster

Publishing

Website Performance

My favorite tools to analyze the performance of a webpage. They also suggests ways to make the pages faster.

Read: 7 Tools To Check The Performance Of A Web Page

Internet Marketing

My favorite Internet marketing tools – for web analytics, competitor analysis, keyword research.

Read: Top 30 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Advertising

  • Bing Ads – To buy pay-per-click ads on the Yahoo Bing Network.
  • BuySellAds – To buy banner ads on other websites and blogs.
  • DoubleClick – To manage website ad inventory.
  • Facebook Ads – To buy Facebook ad inventory.
  • Google AdWords – To buy pay-per-click ads on Google and their display network.

Read: Over 30 Advertising Programs To Make Money Blogging

E-mail Marketing

Read: 101 Websites For Anyone And Everyone To Make Money Online

Outsourcing

  • Elance – To outsource almost anything.
  • Fiverr – To outsource micro-jobs.
  • 99designs – To outsource design stuff.

Read: Web Directory – Blogging, Digital Marketing, and Webmaster Resources

*Still thinking about what’s left here*

First Published: May 12, 2014; Last Updated: Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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How To Recover Your Hacked Google/Gmail Account & Password In 5 Steps http://www.minterest.org/how-to-recover-your-hacked-gmail-account/ http://www.minterest.org/how-to-recover-your-hacked-gmail-account/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:15:49 +0000 http://www.minterest.com/?p=1560 First Published: 2012; Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 I’ve already discussed about how to secure your Gmail account from hacking. It’s all about keeping your account safe by using a strong password (use a combination of alphabets, numbers, symbols) and by enabling 2-Step verification. But what to do when your Gmail account is hacked [...]

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Gmail

First Published: 2012; Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014

I’ve already discussed about how to secure your Gmail account from hacking. It’s all about keeping your account safe by using a strong password (use a combination of alphabets, numbers, symbols) and by enabling 2-Step verification. But what to do when your Gmail account is hacked or compromised? Since the hacker may have already changed your password, security question & answer, recovery email address, mobile number associated with the account you can’t recover your Gmail using the basic account recovery methods.

If the basic account recovery options like recovery email address and mobile phone number is not changed then you can instantly recover the account by requesting a verification code to your mobile phone or by confirming access to your recovery e-mail.

What If Your Google Account Is Hacked?

If you don’t have access to any of those recovery options then the only option is to verify your identity by answering a set of questions related to the hacked Google account. Your answers will help them ensure that you’re the actual account holder and only you get access to your account.

In General You’ll Need The Following Information To Quickly Reset Password

  • What was the last password that you remember (must have)?
  • When was the last time (month, date, and year) you were able to sign in to your Gmail account (must have)?
  • When did you (month and year) create your Gmail account (must have)?
  • What was the answer to your security question?
  • E-mail addresses of up to 5 frequently emailed contacts.
  • Name of up to 4 labels.
  • What was the first account recovery e-mail address that you remember?
  • Name up to 4 other Google products that you were using with your Gmail account and also the approximate date (month and year) you started using them.
  • Phone numbers that you may have associated with your Google account.
  • Information about how you lost access to your Google/Gmail account.

Since they ask you to verify your identity by asking multiple questions about your account you’ll need as much accurate information as possible. The questions that they ask may vary according to your usage. For example, I tried different accounts to test Gmail password reset option and the questions were all different but the whole process remains the same.

Here’s What To Do When Your Gmail Account Is Hacked

Step 1: Go to Google account login page and click on “Need help?” link.

Google Password Help

Step 2: It redirects you to  the Google Account Recovery page. Select the “I don’t know my password” option on that page and enter your Google/Gmail ID and click “Continue”.

Google Login Trouble

Step 3: Now you may see a Captcha form, so fill it out and click “Continue”. On the next page you can enter your last password that you remember and click “Continue” or simply choose the “I don’t know” option.

Google Password Reset

Step 4: Now Google will offer the basic password reset option. It will work when you forgot your Google account password but not when it’s hacked. It’s because the hacker may have already changed all those details so you won’t be able to recover using any of those options. Now the only way to recover the password is to use the “Verify your identity” option.

Verify Your Google Identity

Step 5: “Verify your identity” page takes you to an account verification process. So you have to verify your identity by answering multiple questions about your account.

Google Account Recovery Process

Google suggests you to answer the questions as accurately as possible (because the strength of your answers will determine if they can return your account or not) and if you’re not sure about something then you can provide your best guess.

Google Account Recovery Process

Though you’re allowed to skip these questions it’s very important.

Google Account Recovery Process

If you’re not sure about the date you started using Google services then you can even get help from your friends. For example, I can check the verification text messages sent by various mobile messenger apps to find the date I started using an app. Or I can find the date I started using an e-mail account by asking my friends to check the incoming messages from that e-mail account.

Google Account Recovery Process

If the information that you’ve provided matches with the information on the Google account then you will be able to reset the password. Otherwise Google will instantly notify you that the information you’ve provided does not match the information on the account. But you’re allowed to submit the form once again with more accurate information.

Let me know if you have a query regarding Gmail account recovery and I’ll do my best to assist you. :)

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How To Secure Your Google/Gmail Account From Hacking http://www.minterest.org/how-to-secure-your-gmail-account-from-hacking/ http://www.minterest.org/how-to-secure-your-gmail-account-from-hacking/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://www.minterest.com/how-to-secure-your-gmail-account-from-hacking/ First Published: 2011; Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 Google knows what we’re searching for, what we read online, what we have signed up for, who we often contact, with whom we’re connected, what we watch, where we are, what we sound like, what our friends do, our meetings, our interests, where we go, etc. [...]

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Google Mail

First Published: 2011; Last Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014

Google knows what we’re searching for, what we read online, what we have signed up for, who we often contact, with whom we’re connected, what we watch, where we are, what we sound like, what our friends do, our meetings, our interests, where we go, etc. (see full list here). And hence, it’s very important that we secure our Google (and Gmail) account  to prevent any unauthorized access.

Here’s How To Secure Your Google Account

1. Choose A Strong & Unique Password

Use a strong password for your Gmail account that you do not use on any other site. You can change your Google account password here.

2. Enable 2-Step Verification

Two step verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account by requiring you to have access to your phone – as well as your username and password – when you sign in. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential hijacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone.


3. Add Alternate E-mail Address & Mobile Phone Number

Add a mobile phone number and a recovery e-mail address to your Google account so that you can easily reset your password in case you forget your password or to recover your Google account in case it’s hacked.

4. Secure Your Computer

Check for viruses and malware.

Make sure your operating system is up to date.

Make sure to perform regular software updates.

Make sure your browser is up to date (Tip: Use whatbrowser.org to check).

Check your browser for plug-ins, extensions, and third-party programs/tools that require access to your Google Account credentials.

5. Check Your Gmail Account Activity

Gmail Account Activity

If you get notifications about unusual activity alerts in your Gmail account then you can review the Recent activity of your Google account. Or click the Details link at the bottom right corner of your Gmail window to see the time, date, IP address, location and the access type of your recent account activity.

6. Review Gmail Settings

In Gmail there are several ways to forward your Gmail to another account. So check if your Gmail messages are being forwarded to another account without your permission and see if there are any Gmail filters created to forward your e-mails to another account. Also check your POP/IMAP settings and disable them if you don’t access your e-mail using POP/IMAP. Finally, check whether your Gmail account is giving access to someone else. Because Google allows us to delegate access to our Gmail account to up to 10 users.

7. Protect Your Gmail account

As you may know, if your Google/Gmail account is hacked then the only way to regain access to your account is by verifying your identity.

They say…

Since Google doesn’t collect a lot of information about you when you sign up for an account, we’ll ask you questions like when you created your account, what Google services you use, and who you email frequently (if you use Gmail).

So it’s important to note down the following information about your Google account preferably in your personal diary so that in case your account is hacked you can easily recover it by verifying your identity.

  1. What was the last password that you remember (must have)?
  2. When was the last time (month, date, and year) you were able to sign in to your Gmail account (must have)?
  3. When did you (month and year) create your Gmail account (must have)?
  4. What was the answer to your security question?
  5. E-mail addresses of up to 5 frequently emailed contacts.
  6. Name of up to 4 labels.
  7. What was the first account recovery e-mail address that you remember?
  8. Name up to 4 other Google products that you were using with your Gmail account and also the approximate date (month and year) you started using them.
  9. Phone numbers that you may have associated with your Google account.
  10. Information about how you lost access to your Google/Gmail account.

Tip: How To Find Your Google Account Creation Date

To find your Gmail account creation date, simply go here and it will redirect to a page that shows your oldest messages. Or you can go to your Gmail inbox > All Mail folder and click on “Oldest” navigation button.

image

But if you’ve deleted messages from your Gmail then that date is not reliable. So you can check whether the first Gmail welcome mail is there in your inbox or not. If it’s missing then the best way to find the exact date of your Google account creation is by using the Google Takeout Tool. Go to Google Takeout Tool and click “Transfer your Google+ connections to another account” and enter your password. {Thanks: Google System}

image

And it will show the basic account information like your Google account type, date of creation, and the last sign-in date.

8. Setup Inactive Account Manager

Do you know that you can control your Google account even when you stopped using your account? Google launched Inactive Account Manager last year and it allows you to define when to treat your Google account as inactive and you can then give instructions about what to do with your data when the account is inactive.

You can set a combination of: timeout period (you can define a timeout period after which your account becomes inactive), alerts (get text alerts when your timeout period is approaching), notify contacts (you can add trusted contacts so that they will be notified when you’re no longer using your account), share data (you can share your data with your trusted contacts if you wish), delete account (Google will automatically delete your account on your behalf) when you account is inactive.

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12 Content Curation Tools That You Never Thought You’d Need http://www.minterest.org/content-curation-tools-curated/ http://www.minterest.org/content-curation-tools-curated/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 15:43:00 +0000 http://www.minterest.org/?p=7435 If content marketing is all about creating and sharing your own content then content curation is all about finding, organizing, and sharing great content. Content curators aggregate interesting content from across the web about topics that they’re passionate about. Today, Content Curation is as important as content marketing as it’s a great way to improve [...]

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Mac

If content marketing is all about creating and sharing your own content then content curation is all about finding, organizing, and sharing great content. Content curators aggregate interesting content from across the web about topics that they’re passionate about. Today, Content Curation is as important as content marketing as it’s a great way to improve the user experience of your website and/or brand. Moreover, content marketing is not easy as creating high quality content is expensive and takes a lot of effort and time.

Read: Forget Content Marketing, Let’s Focus On Content Curation

Why Content Curation Matters?

Content Curation is not something that can be automated because no computer algorithm can find exactly what your users want. So it’s your job to find interesting content what you think will be of interest to your readers.

There’s a Matt Cutts video in which he answered the question:

Many sites have a press release section, or a news section that re-posts relevant articles. Since it’s all duplicate content, they be better off removing these sections (even with plenty of other unique content)?

Is it useful to have a section of my site that re-posts articles from other sites?

And Matt’s short answer was “Yes”.

Content Curation

In other words, when you re-post relevant articles or when you create mashups it’s important to think about how it adds value to users. Matt explains that by comparing an auto-generated section of a website with New York Times and John Gruber. New York Times creates their own original content and John Gruber highlights things that are of interest to him with his own editorial philosophy.

You know that there are tons of tech blogs out there and most of them produce awesome content but it’s impossible to track all those blogs, right? For example, if you’re subscribed to both TechCrunch.com and Mashable.com then you know that their topics are more or less the same. That’s why there’s Techmeme, a technology news aggregator. You can check Techmeme.com and it shows how content curation should be done.

Curation: Techmeme accomplishes this the only way possible: by linking to stories from all around the web. Spotlighting the writings of reporters, commentators, and industry players from across the media and industry landscape provides the only effective means of offering a comprehensive view. And by doing this well, we spare readers the impossible task of monitoring an abundance of news sites, tweets, and status updates.

Read: 25 “Cherry-picked” Tools To Find Great Social Media Content

Content Curation Tools. Curated.

I’m going to feature some of the best tools that help you curate content on the web. Of course, there are tons of other tools but I decided to feature only the quality ones that I liked the most. And if you want to find great social content to share on your social media or website then I have already featured 25 Content Discovery Tools. Hence I’m not including the tools that I’ve already featured there unless they can also be used as a platform to share content.

1. Paper.li

Paper.liPaper.li is one of the most popular content curation tool that allows you to publish your own online newspapers in minutes. It’s a great tool for those who don’t want to curate stuff manually because Paper.li automatically processes over 250 million social media posts a day (including your own social media channels and RSS feeds) and then allows you to publish and promote interesting content (articles, photos, and videos). You can add filters so that you control the content appearing on your online newspaper.

2. Scoop.it

Scoop.it

Scoop.it is an online magazine creator that allows you to create and share your own social magazines easily. It offers more powerful features than Paper.li and has a professional look. You can add content to Scoop in 4 different ways: you can Re-Scoop content shared by other members, publish suggested content by Scoop.it, add a custom post by sharing a URL of your choice, or by accepting content suggested by another Scoop.it user.

3. Storify

Storify

Storify allows you to aggregate content from across the web and then you will be able to publish on Storify or can even embed on your website. With Storify, you can collect social media posts like photos, videos, tweets, etc. by other people and can then turn it into compelling stories. You can check their homepage to find the best stories made from images, videos, links, tweets, etc. by other Storify users and you can even re-use them to create your own story.

4. Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest is, as you probably know image sharing on steroids. It’s an amazing tool to curate images and no wonder it’s one of the top traffic referral. In 2013, Pinterest was driving more traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit combined. Simply “Pin” interesting images, that you come across while browsing the web, and organize your pinned images by creating Pinterest Boards. You can even invite your friends so that they’ll be able to add new Pins to your board.

5. RebelMouse

RebelMouse

RebelMouse allows you to curate your social feeds by connecting your own social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. It turns your social media news feed into a dynamic page that updates automatically as you update your social networks.

6. Themeefy

Themeefy

Themeefy is an amazing tool that helps you to create original learning content in few minutes. You can organize various resources as a theme and it’s easy to arrange the resources or to add your own insight so that you can share it with others. It’s different from other content curation tools that I’ve featured here as with Themeefy we are able to organize and present our content in a unique way.

7. Bundlr

Bundlr

Bundlr is a freemium tool to organize your favorite web content. With Bundlr, you can bookmark content by creating bundles that includes photos, videos, tweets and documents and can share them with everyone. You can even embed your bundles on your blog.

8. List.ly

List.ly

List.ly allows you to create lists on almost anything – images, videos or even texts. Makes lists and invites other community members to vote up and down for it. You can even embed your lists on your website by adding their codes or by using their official WordPress Plugin. List.ly can not only be used as a content curation tool but can be used to get content ideas.

9. Pearltrees

PearltreesPearltrees allows you to cultivate your interests. You can collect, organize and share web pages, files, photos, notes, and everything you like on the web for free. You can also discover interesting content based on your interest to enrich your account. And you’ll be able to create an unlimited number of folders and subfolders so that it’s fun and easy to manage your pearls and pearltrees.

10. Flipboard Magazines

Flipboard Magazines

Flipboard Magazines was a social magazine app at first and later they reimagined the app so that users are now able to organize articles, photos, video, and audio as magazines. Users can either make their magazines private or can share with the public so that every Flipboard user can now become an editor.

11. Diigo

Diigo

Diigo is basically a social bookmarking network but it’s also an amazing curation tool. With Diigo, you can bookmark, organize, and discover interesting links on the web and can then organize them using tags, lists, and groups. If all you want to share is links then I guess Diigo is the best tool for you. Because it’s super easy to add links as you browse the web and is very simple to share and organize the links that you have collected.

12. Twitter Custom Timelines (via TweetDeck)

TweetDeck

Twitter Custom Timelines enables users to gather tweets and organize them as a list. Now it’s my preferred way to curate and share social content on my own blog (See the preview here). Of course most of the above tools allow you to embed the curated content on your blog or website but I believe that Twitter Custom Timeline is simple and much more flexible. Because you don’t have to sign up anywhere else (but you need TweetDeck to add tweets to your custom timelines).

Conclusion

You can choose any of the above tools to start curation but I would recommend you select the tool that enables you to embed the curated content on your own blog. Why? Because your blog is your personal brand.

Have I missed your favorite content curation tool? Let me know as a comment below!

Image Credit: Beth Kanter, DeclanTM

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Over 30 Awesome WordPress Plugins To Supercharge Your Blog http://www.minterest.org/best-wordpress-plugins-2014/ http://www.minterest.org/best-wordpress-plugins-2014/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.minterest.org/?p=7369 If you have just started a new WordPress blog (you should start one if you haven’t) then it’s extremely difficult to find the best WordPress plugins as there are over 29,000 plugins available in the WordPress Plugins Directory. I’ve already featured the Top 25 WordPress Plugins, of 2012 and 2013, here and here respectively. So [...]

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WordPress 2014

If you have just started a new WordPress blog (you should start one if you haven’t) then it’s extremely difficult to find the best WordPress plugins as there are over 29,000 plugins available in the WordPress Plugins Directory. I’ve already featured the Top 25 WordPress Plugins, of 2012 and 2013, here and here respectively.

So this is my 2014 list and today, I’m going to feature over 30 plugins and these are my personal favorites. That said, I’m not currently using all of them as I try to keep the number of active plugins less than 20. Why? Because using too many plugins affects the performance of your blog. Also, a single plugin that’s flawed can degrade your blog’s overall performance and it may even impact your search engine ranking as Page Loading Speed is now one of the ranking signals used by search engines.

So make sure that you’re installing only the plugins that you really need. One easy way to check the credibility of a plugin is by checking its Ratings, Downloads, and Last Updated stats on WordPress.org and that’s why this time I’ve included these three stats of each plugin at the time of writing here.

I have tried my best to avoid listing two plugins that do the same job but I’ve mentioned the duplicates as “Alternative(s)” so that you can try them if you don’t like the one that I have featured here. Also, I’ve included some plugins as “Add-ons”, they’re not duplicates and they can be used along with the other plugins listed here.

Most Essential WordPress Plugin

I’m categorizing Jetpack as the most essential plugin as there’s no replacement for them. All the other plugins that are listed here have an alternative but there’s no alternative plugin for Jetpack as it features over 25 modules to manage almost all aspects of your blog.

Read: Turbocharge Your Blog With WordPress Jetpack Plugin

1. Jetpack by WordPress.com

Jetpack is a super-plugin that brings the power of WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. You need a WordPress.com account to enjoy all the features of this plugin. It’s a must-have with over 25 unique features to turbocharge your blog like Free Content Delivery Network (CDN), Analytics, Social Comment System, Contact Form, Mobile Theme, and a ton of other features.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.9
  • Downloads: 8,306,050
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

It enables you to connect your self-hosted blog to your WordPress.com account so that you can enjoy almost all the power features normally available to WordPress.com users. Jetpack is a must have plugin for all WordPress blogs and that’s exactly the reason why it’s featured as one of the best plugins of all time. Some of the features of Jetpack include quick stats of your blog, notifications, social sharing, social comment system, comment subscriptions, proof reading, contact form, etc.

Comments

Try a new Comment System or improve the performance of the default WordPress Comment System.

2. Disqus Comment System

Disqus Comment System replaces the default WordPress comment system with a hosted system powered by Disqus.com. It’s the hottest comment system in the blogosphere as it increases the readership of blogs. The problem with WordPress comment system is spam. Period. But Disqus is a hosted platform that features full spam filtering, blacklists and whitelists. Moreover, the commenters are required to login before commenting. So, if you’re using Disqus Comment System then you don’t need any other WordPress comment plugins. That’s why more and more blogs are replacing the WordPress comment system with Disqus.

3. Akismet

Akismet is an essential plugin for any WordPress blog that uses the default comment system by WordPress.org. It checks all the comments and trackbacks using their web service for spam and moves them to your blog’s “Spam” folder. And hey, if your comments are always marked as spam by Akismet when you leave comments on other blogs, then you can use the tip mentioned in this article so that you’ll never miss a backlink.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.1
  • Downloads: 18,115,714
  • Last Updated: August, 2013

Add-ons

Apart from Akismet, you can also install SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam or Captcha or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam plugin adds a CAPTCHA to your WordPress forms, Captcha protects your blog from spammers by using math logic and the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin adds a checkbox below your comment forms so that your users will be able to post the comment only if it’s checked.

Alternative(s): Antispam Bee

4. CommentLuv

CommentLuv rewards your readers by placing a link to their latest blog post automatically at the end of their comment. It’s a good way to encourage your readers to leave regular comments and discover new content. It also helps to reduce the bounce rate of your blog as your readers come back to leave another comment.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 781,212
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Web Analytics

See where your visitors are coming from and what they’re doing….

5. Google Analyticator

Google Analyticator adds the required JavaScript code to enable Google Analytics on your blog so you don’t have to edit the template files. It also includes several widgets for showing Google Analytics data on your blog or in your WordPress dashboard. Apart from that, Google Analyticator has the following additional features: Link Tracking, Event Tracking, Site Speed Tracking, Disable Admin Page Visits, etc.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.7
  • Downloads: January, 2014
  • Last Updated: 3,024,225

WordPress Optimization

And it’s time to optimize your WordPress blog for a great User Experience.

6. WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO by Yoast is perhaps the only SEO plugin that you’ll ever need. It’s the ultimate plugin for WordPress that allows us to optimize almost all the SEO aspects of our blog.

If you have enabled this plugin then you can eliminate several other plugins like – Google XML Sitemaps, Page Links To, Robots Meta, RSS Footer, Breadcrumbs, and your other Social meta-tag generators and SEO plugins.

Some of the features offered by WordPress SEO plugin are:

  • It checks whether a page is search engine optimized or not.
  • It enables XML Sitemaps, Breadcrumbs, RSS Optimization.
  • It lets you edit your .htaccess and robots.txt file from within WordPress dashboard.
  • It allows you to no-follow or no-index pages.
  • It allows you to define a canonical URL.
  • It allows you to redirect a page to any other page.
  • It offers Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ integration.
  • It’s multi-site compatible.

…and many other features.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.7
  • Downloads: 8,013,131
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Alternative(s): All In One SEO Pack

You can try All In One SEO Pack if you don’t want all the advanced features offered by the WordPress SEO plugin. I guess most people prefer this plugin over WordPress SEO and that could be the reason why this plugin has over 17 million downloads.

7. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is the best WordPress plugin to increase the performance of your WordPress blog. It’s designed to increase the page speed of your blog thereby improving the user experience. You can use a tool like YSlow or PageSpeed Insights to compare the performance of your pages before and after installing this plugin.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.5
  • Downloads: 3,019,383
  • Last Updated: November, 2013

Alternative(s): WP Super Cache

8. WP-Optimize

WP-Optimize allows you to optimize and clean up your WordPress database without phpMyAdmin.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.6
  • Downloads: 752,579
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

9. WP Smush.it

WP Smush.it reduces image file sizes and improves the performance your pages by using the Yahoo! Smush.it API within WordPress. It follows the best practices by Yahoo for speeding up your blog.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.2
  • Downloads: 757,388
  • Last Updated: October, 2013

10. PuSHPress

PuSHPress adds PubSubHubbub support to your WordPress site, with a built in hub. So it will send the updates to your PuSH subscribers directly from WordPress. PubSubHubbub is the new standard by Google to let people and search engines know in real-time when your blog is updated and is a must have plugin to fight content scrapers. You can learn more about PubSubHubbub here.

  • Rating: 4.6
  • Downloads: 73,468
  • Last Updated: April, 2013

Alternative(s): PubSubHubbub

11. WPtouch

WPtouch is a mobile plugin that automatically enables a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors of your blog. It allows you to customize the appearance of your mobile theme without modifying the original code. And yeah, the visitors can always switch to the desktop version in one-click.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.9
  • Downloads: 4,811,070
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

12. WordPress Related Posts

WordPress Related Posts by Zemanta generates and shows a list of related posts with optional thumbnails and different styles to your readers. It also shows real-time page views, clicks, and the click-through ratio (CTR) in your WordPress dashboard. You can even customize the related posts that will be shown so as to improve the SEO and user experience.

  • Rating: 4
  • Downloads: 974,660
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Add-ons

You can also try Outbrain, a hosted Related Posts plugin, that automatically shows your best content with thumbnails at the end of the pages to send your readers to other interesting content on your blog. As you can see, I’m using both WordPress Related Posts & Outbrain on my blog. Outbrain shows recommended posts at the end of each blog post while Zemanta shows related posts on the sidebar.

Alternative(s): Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP), nrelate Related Content

13. Popular Widget

Popular Widget shows the most commented or most viewed posts with thumbnails in a tabbed widget.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 60,891
  • Last Updated: November, 2013

Alternative(s): WordPress Popular Posts, Most And Least Read Posts Widget

Security

Secure your WordPress blog, now!

14. Better WP Security

Better WP Security is one of the most popular WordPress security plugin with over 1.5 million downloads. You can improve the security of your blog in one-click as it will turn on all the basic features of the plugin automatically without activating any features that may interfere with your other plugins or themes or content. What’s more? It also takes regular backup of your database (if it’s enabled by you).

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.8
  • Downloads: 1,513,150
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Alternative(s): Wordfence Security

15. Limit Login Attempts

Limit Login Attempts limits the rate of login attempts for each IP address and it’s fully customizable.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.8
  • Downloads: 465,314
  • Last Updated: June, 2012

Add-ons

You can also try Google Authenticator, an advanced plugin that enables two-factor authentication using the Google Authenticator app for Android/iPhone/Blackberry. If there’s any problem, you can disable the two-step authentication by simply deleting the plugin directory using FTP.

Backup

They say “The most expensive backup is the one you never did!” and it says everything.

16. BackWPup

BackWPup is one of the most popular backup plugin for WordPress with over 1 million downloads. It allows you to backup your complete WordPress installation to an external service like Dropbox, FTP, Amazon S3, Windows Azure, SugarSync, etc. Additional features include: Database Backup, WordPress XML Export, Database Optimization, Database Repair, File Backup, etc.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 1,094,620
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

Alternative(s): WP-DBManager, WordPress Backup To Dropbox

Monetize

17. Ad Injection

Ad Injection allows you to add any ads into the WordPress posts, pages, or sidebar. You can add the ad codes directly, set the types of pages where you want ads to appear and it will inject ads to those pages. The plugin settings also allow you to set ad placement options like: you can show ads only to search engine visitors, block IP addresses, maximum ads per page, etc.

Add-ons

You can also try the new Google Publisher Plugin which is the first official plugin by Google for WordPress. With Google Publisher Plugin, it’s super easy to add AdSense codes anywhere on your blog without adding any codes or modifying the template files. What’s more? You can also verify your blog with Google Webmaster Tools with just one-click.

Alternative(s): AdRotate, AdSense Manager

Social Media

Let your readers follow you or spread the word…

18. Shareaholic

Shareaholic is one of the most popular social sharing plugin for WordPress with over 2 million downloads. You can add attractive social sharing buttons and related posts widget to your posts, pages, or index. You can show the social buttons as a top bar or as classic buttons aligned horizontally. Wait, it also shows social analytics so that you can track the most popular pages, referral information, etc.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.5
  • Downloads: 2,078,292
  • Last Updated: August, 2013

Alternative(s): Sociable

19. Digg Digg

Digg Digg is a floating share bar by Buffer that adds all the popular social sharing buttons (Twitter, Facebook, Buffer, Google+, Pinterest, Pocket, etc.)  to your blog.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.5
  • Downloads: 808,476
  • Last Updated: July, 2013

Alternative(s): Slick Social Share Buttons, Sharebar, Scrolling Social Sharebar

20. Simple Social Icons

Simple Social Icons is an awesome plugin to show your social media icons that links to your various social media profiles. You can select the profile, customize icon colors, and can even adjust alignment.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.6
  • Downloads: 170,550
  • Last Updated: November, 2013

21. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images

Pinterest Pin It Button For Images adds a “Pin It” button over the images so that your users can pin your images to Pinterest in one-click. It’s an essential plugin if your blog has a lot of interesting images. For example, Recipe blogs, Travel blogs, etc.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.4
  • Downloads: 58,627
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Newsletters / Lead Generation

Start sending newsletters, show your Call To Action banner, or let your visitors e-mail you…

22. MailPoet Newsletters

MailPoet Newsletters allows you to create newsletters, post notifications, auto-responders and helps you manage all your subscribers. You can easily drop your posts, images, social icons in your newsletters and can even customize fonts and colors.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.9
  • Downloads: 805,615
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

23. WP Hello Bar

WP Hello Bar adds a horizontal toolbar at the top of your blog. You can show a custom message and a call to action button to your visitors so as to get their immediate attention. Go create your Hello Bar here.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.7
  • Downloads: 6,413
  • Last Updated: December, 2012

24. Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 is the best contact form plugin with over 14 million downloads. It can manage multiple contact forms and you can customize the form the way you want. Contact Form 7 supports AJAX powered submission and you can install this plugin to enable CAPTCHA or can depend upon its in-built spam filtering powered by Akismet.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.4
  • Downloads: 14,901,663
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

Create Tables

Want to create a beautiful pricing table or a comparison table in your blog? Try…

25. Pricing Table Ready

Pricing Table Ready allows you to create CSS pricing tables or comparison tables in an easy way. You can create and manage the pricing tables from your WordPress dashboard and can show on any page/post. It comes with 5 different styles to choose from.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.4
  • Downloads: 67,459
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

Alternative(s): Price Table | Pricing Table

26. TablePress

TablePress allows you to create and manage custom tables. It’s different from the pricing tables as it adds valuable functions for your visitors – like sorting column entries, search function, etc. and absolutely no coding skills are required.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 5
  • Downloads: 305,131
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

Miscellaneous / Random

These are not must-have plugins but you may need them at times. Hence you can definitely give them a try if it sounds interesting.

27. SEO Friendly Images

SEO Friendly Images automatically adds the “ALT” and “TITLE” attributes to your images so that your images will be SEOed and will get more traffic from image search engines.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4
  • Downloads: 1,153,614
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

28. NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery is the most popular WordPress gallery plugin with over 9 million downloads. It allows you to upload and manage image galleries with powerful features like batch upload, albums, thumbnail creation, sorting, etc.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.9
  • Downloads: 9,163,570
  • Last Updated: November, 2013

29. Lightbox Plus ColorBox

Lightbox Plus ColorBox allows users to view larger versions of your images, simple slide shows, videos and content – all in an overlay.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 978,926
  • Last Updated: February, 2013

30. Simple URLs

Simple URLs is a complete URL management plugin that allows you create, manage, and even track external links on your blog. It uses custom post types and permanent 301 redirects to avoid performance issues.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.6
  • Downloads: 34,982
  • Last Updated: January, 2013

31. Redirection

Redirection helps you to manage 301 redirections and track 404 errors. It’s quite useful if you’re changing the directory of your WordPress installation or if you’re migrating to another domain name.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 3.9
  • Downloads: 1,553,469
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

32. Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker checks your blog (posts, pages, comments) for broken links and missing images and notifies you via email or on the dashboard if any are found.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.1
  • Downloads: 2,303,207
  • Last Updated: December, 2013

33. WP Google Fonts

WP Google Fonts plugin allows you to add fonts from the Google Font Directory to your WordPress theme. Google Fonts is a free font directory by Google.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.4
  • Downloads: 571,527
  • Last Updated: November, 2013

34. WP-PageNavi

WP-PageNavi adds a better and more advanced paging navigation to your blog.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.1
  • Downloads: 4,058,869
  • Last Updated: January, 2014

35. Liveblog

Liveblog enables live blogging on your existing WordPress theme. It’s an awesome plugin if you want to update your blog as quickly as possible – let’s say when you want to live blog an event – right from the front-end of your blog.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 12,128
  • Last Updated: January, 2013

36. Infinite-Scroll

Infinite-Scroll enables infinite scrolling on your blog so that when a user scrolls to the bottom it automatically appends the next page of posts via AJAX.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.4
  • Downloads: 166,568
  • Last Updated: January, 2013

37. Widget Logic

Widget Logic allows you control on which pages, a widget appears, using WordPress’ conditional tags.

Plugin Stats

  • Rating: 4.3
  • Downloads: 708,330
  • Last Updated: December, 2013
Conclusion

I may have missed your favorite WordPress plugin out there, if so, mention them as a comment below and I’ll feature it here if it meets my selection criteria. Also, please help me curate this list by reporting the duplicates (if any) so as to improve the user experience.

Happy Blogging! :)

Over 30 Awesome WordPress Plugins To Supercharge Your Blog is a post by Minterest

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