Company Blog

4 Steps to Automate Twitter Relationship Building in 15 Minutes

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:47:50 by Blog

This is a guest post by Jon Cooper from Point Blank SEO.

Building relationships is at the heart of link building, because people are the ones giving links, not websites. The newest and hottest way to build relationships in your niche is to engage with them on social media, but we all know how time consuming this can be. Take, for example, twitter. Although an awesome tool to use to talk to influential people in your niche, the hours you spend each day pile up over time.

I recently just started doing SEO for a client who didn’t have a company twitter account, so I had to start from scratch. I didn’t want to spend much time on twitter, but at the same time I wanted to yield it for all it’s worth. Here’s a simple 4-step guide to automating your twitter account to tweet about the things you want, and the best part about it is that it won’t take you more than 15 minutes! Over time, the people/companies in your niche will take notice of your tweets, and this can be the first step to connecting personally with each of them.

1) Identify influential bloggers – they don’t necessarily have to be the cream of the crop in your niche, but rather just the ones you want to start building relationships with. Once you identify them, make a list of all of their RSS feeds in a simple text document.

2) Use Google Alerts – if you’ve never used Google Alerts before, it’s a tool to help you monitor the Web for any keyword or phrase of your choosing. For example, if I wanted to know whenever the phrase “link building contest” was mentioned, I could sign up for a daily Google Alert & get it sent to my email or by RSS feed. In this case, set up a couple alerts and have them be created as RSS feeds. Make sure you add these RSS feeds to your text document list.

3) Combine the feeds – By using RSS Mix, you’re able to combine any number of RSS feeds into just one. This will bypass some of the fees you would have had to pay in the next step.

4) Use Hootsuite to tweet the RSS – Hootsuite is an awesome tool to stay on top of twitter, and luckily for us it’s free to use. Sign up for an account, sync your twitter account, and then add an RSS feed to your account. The RSS feed you’re adding is the combined one we created in step 3. Set it up so each new item is tweeted via your twitter account.

The reason we combined the feeds in step 3 is because Hootsuite’s free plan allows only 2 RSS feeds, so if you wanted to use all of the ones individually through it, you would have to pay $6/month.

I don’t recommend this as a full time option for your twitter account, but rather as a great way to get started. By tweeting about the most relevant content in your niche, you have a great chance as being one of the twitter authorities. Also, make sure you’re tweeting about your own content too, whether it’s adding your feed to the mega feed we created in Step 3 or if you’re doing it manually.

If you’d like to keep up to date with the latest news & content on link building and relationship building, add Point Blank SEO to your circles, or follow me on twitter.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to leave any feedback below; I’m dying to hear what you have to say!

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Corel Motion Studio 3D Review

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:46:07 by Blog

It seems that more and more often, we hear of someone wanting to get into the graphics field and they are “self-learners” or “self-starters” and they ask us, “What software is good enough for someone to learn and become pro with, but is simple enough for a total novice?” Many times, we would be stumped to hear it; all the software out there had a large learning curve.

Until now.

With the advent of Corel Motion Studio 3D, a new artist can learn 3D modeling as well as animation in a software suite that is competitively priced as well as being well suited to those who are just beginning to learn as well as those who have been at this for quite some time. We hope that the following review of this software will assist you in making a decision about your software.

Software even the novice will enjoy

The newest addition to the world of 3D editing software is indeed making waves all across the world! Corel’s inaugural 3D product, Motion Studio 3D is a program that will suit beginners and old hands alike. With a wide selection of tools made available that commonly found in more expensive programs, as well as real time preview of your work with next to no rendering time necessary, this program soars about its competitors in the novice market. A list of some of its best features would be:

  •     Seamless handling of particle effects
  •     Import and Export capabilities
  •     One Click options for the newcomers
  •     A very affordable price ($99)

Motion Studio’s interface is simple to use as well as being very intuitive, allowing newcomers to 3D rendering feel much more at ease. It also offers real time previews so that as you work you can tweak and edit as you go without waiting for lengthy rendering times to complete. The time-line of your project goes across the bottom of the interface, making a nice home for key frames of your animation giving you a visual cue to where things are and where they will be going along with offering an easy menu to make changes and enhancements to your work.

What is now called the “Easy palette” offers a wide array of preset options and effects that can be supplemented by add-on options from their gallery (which is online and entirely free), giving you far more functionality than is available in other programs of a similar caliber. This is where you will find your 3D models, text objects, lathe objects and more, with fully customizable menus for each option. The program also includes many one click effects that will help those just getting started to add that extra bit of “wow” to their presentation or project.

Professional Quality Project Handling

We know that those who have a much higher caliber of talent and experience are saying to us now, “What about us? Is this program going to be useful for professionals as well?” The answer is: Absolutely! From particle effects and vector graphics to smoke screens and 3D titles, you will be able to make productions that make your audience be amazed by your talent and expertise.

This software also allows for import and export from other programs, so that using this in conjunction with paint-shop, dream-weaver or any other product that you may have an interest in graphics-wise, you will have no problems transferring your work. This benefit perhaps more than any other will prove priceless in your journey to the top of the 3D animation world.

For those “prosumers” out there, there are also useful import and export features allowing you to either view your 3D work with glasses or to export them to a format that will allow for viewing on a 3D television. Options like these are few and far between even in the more expensive “professional” software suites. On top of the options and benefits listed before, you also have a wide array of still motion options such as workability with .Gif files as well as flash so that you can make animations specifically for websites that you may own or be consulting on as well.

When it comes down to pounds and pence, Corel Motion Studio 3D offers you the most bang for your buck when it comes to software suites for the beginner that will grow with them as well as continue to challenge them. With a very competitive price tag, this program will not only fit the budget of the student, it is powerful enough to be considered for any small (or may be not so small) studio as a new tool. Corel Motion Studio 3D will have things for all levels of user, and makes entry into the world of 3D animation less intimidating for the hobbyist.

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Top 10 Android Apps for College Students

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:43:52 by Blog

Do you have everything you need to finish out the semester?  Notebooks, pencils, pens, that messenger bag you saw that looked like it could hold half your textbooks and your laptop and not drag you down.  But what about all those other things designed to make your life much easier that weren’t around when your parents were going through their own college experience?  Anymore, the smart phone is as much an academic tool as it is a functional device to call home to the parents suffering from an empty nest.  There are apps for everything from document sharing to voice recording, and a lot of these can be put to good use in the classroom.  We’ve gathered together the ten apps most likely to make getting through your studies easier and definitely without breaking the bank.

1.  Amazon Kindle/Barnes & Noble (B&N) Nook

The primary tool of any successful college student is having the right books.  Both Amazon Kindle for Android and B&N Nook for Android apps allow you to download your existing e-book library for fast and easy reference.  Most Android-based phones come with the Kindle app already installed, but both apps are free, user-friendly, and grant access to thousands upon thousands of books and textbooks and often at a significantly lower cost than buying the same texts from the campus bookstore.  Features include bookmarking, highlighting, an in-house dictionary, and word/phrase search function.  If you are serious about having e-book copies of all your text books, equipping yourself with both apps is highly recommended.  Neither retailer has the e-book rights to everything, but between both, most bases can be covered.

2. Gdocs for Android

Google Docs has taken their revolutionary web-based word processing software and made it applicable to the smart phone.  Access existing files, create new ones, generate .pdfs, import and export documents, and share your files with others with this free app—just as if you were sitting right at your computer.  The best part?  You can print straight from your phone via Google Cloud to any printer connected to the internet via a computer or Wi-Fi.

3.  Study Droid

Use flashcards to study?  Don’t bother getting pack upon pack of 3-by-5 cards anymore.  Study Droid is an independently designed free application that works on both your computer and smart phone to create, organize, and study with flashcards.  There is even an extensive database of cards made by other users (the site claims over 10 million) to add to your own collection.

4. WikiDroid

The full power of Wikipedia comes to your fingertips with this free WikiDroid app by Sirius Applications Ltd.  Search articles, find sources, or delve deeper into a subject to get you started on that research assignment.  We just recommend keeping your phone put away when exam time comes around.

5.  Evernote

This goes out and beyond the default daily diary pre-installed on Android operating systems.  A New York Times “Top 10 Must-Have App,” Evernote lets you keep track of things as they happen: something your professor mentioned in passing during office hours, a debate you had with a friend where neither of you had a pen and paper, even keeping track of that perfect study nook you found at a coffee shop a short walk off campus.  It operates off your Google account and lets you keep notes via text, voice, or photo.  It even tracks your location for each note so that you can look it up on a map later if necessary.  This is incredibly useful even outside of an academic setting, and the clean design makes it fast and easy to use.  What makes it even better?  It syncs to every electronic device you have that can have the app installed.  Access the notes on your phone from your computer or tablet and vice versa.  Information you need when and where you need it.

6.  Droidscan

No more fighting for the scanners or Xerox machines in the computer lab and campus library.  Droidscan is a free app that acts as a full or partial document scanner just by using the built-in point-and-shoot camera your smart phone comes equipped with.  Images are converted into .jpeg or .pdf format and saved at a high and readable resolution.  The Pro (paid) version of this app allows for a few more high-tech features such as incorporating multiple images into one file, upload with Gdocs, and easy sharing of multi-page .pdfs.

7. CoursePro

Track your homework assignments and grades with this simple and free CorsePro app.  It is only in the demo stages, currently, which limits the number of courses trackable with it.  However, if you are the sort of student that likes to keep organized and keep a close eye on your personal progress at the same time, this app is a promising must-have.

8. Voice Recorder

This is another free app off the Android Market that syncs with your Google account, allowing you to not only record audio of anything from simple notes-to-self to lectures but to email the file to wherever it might need to go quickly and easily.  Files are also searchable by title and date, and a bonus is that these same files (where appropriate) can be turned into ringtones.

9. Mint

Here is an app truly invaluable to the average, starving college student.  Track your finances, your tuition payments, your text book expenditures, your meal allowances, all through the clean design of this free app from Intuit Inc.  Spending too much at Starbucks?  Mint will tell you exactly how much.  Sign up with your email, create a password, connect your bank account and credit cards, and start tracking.  The app is secure, so losing your phone won’t mean that someone has direct access to your accounts and savings without knowing your specific log-in information and password.  The only noticeable drawback could arise depending on what phone you use.  The site claims: “We currently don’t support Android phones with a QVGA display, such as the Motorola Charm or the Samsung Moment.”

10. SnapTell

Book shopping or getting stuff for the dorm?  Grocery shopping and really wanting something other than ramen that’s just as cheap?  SnapTell is a free application for both Android and iPhone that lets you take a picture of a product’s barcode and compare it to other retailers on the fly.  The Android app, particularly, has a function that allows for image recognition as well as barcode identification, making it indispensable to the frugal shopper.

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Bit-Defender Internet Security Review

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:42:22 by Blog

It’s that time of year again, all of the various security suites are coming out with their 2012 versions and redoing interfaces and making it all bigger, stronger and faster. Of course, Bit-Defender is no exception to this rule. As we begin to evaluate our internet security options for this year, we can certainly see that this program, while a bit on the touchy side, may possibly be a way to turn.

Changes, Changes

The interface will be one of the places where you begin to see the wide host of differences that have been made with this year’s edition of Bit-Defender. Now showing a dark minimal interface that lacks the options of the past for their intermediate and advanced options panels, they have cut down on clutter and chaos by deciding for you which options you need available right at hand. You can, of course, change this in the options panel and make sure that you have your advanced tools there as well, but starting out, this is it. However, finding the menu to do so if you choose to change these options might prove a bit tedious and confusing.

While definitely lower priced than its competitors, the thing that their competitor has that this program lacks is the ability to install alongside or with other security programs also installed. Bit-Defender is so anti-social that it will refuse to install when there are even any remnants of other security sources installed. So it is recommended that you use an uninstall sweeper program to make sure that every last bit of your old security and anti-virus programs are gone first or install only on a fresh computer, otherwise it simply will not install.

Some of the new tools that have been added include:

  •     Chat scanners
  •     Phishing protection
  •     Firewall
  •     Parental Controls
  •     File encryptions
  •     System optimizer
  •     Online backup

It is safe to say that while other programs offer these kinds of tools, they do so at a much higher price and a much longer installation time. With install time (and this includes registration) clocked at just under 2 minutes, Bit-Defender definitely has the market cornered on efficiency.

Interestingly enough, Bit-Defender now has an application that is also free for all FaceBook users: Having tried this little application, we definitely would have to say that it is non-invasive and trustworthy having caught and filtered out the infamous “Facebook Pornography Spam Attack” of last week. That little catch in and of itself was quite impressive!

Does not play well with others

Once installed, Bit-Defender does a preliminary scan and makes certain that it is not being put on an already infected machine (sorry, you folks who bought this as the answer to your virus problem, no go, here). Then, you can go into choosing one of many levels of scans available for your needs from the basic levels to the highly paranoid. Best to make sure you read the help files about the one you chose though. If you do not currently have time for a forced boot time scan, you need to choose full, not complete, or you will wind up having to do this tedious bit of work.

Once uninstalled, you’d think that a program so anti-social would make sure to clean up after itself, but unfortunately this is not the case with Bit-Defender and is perhaps our biggest issue with it. When the program is uninstalled it leaves behind traces in your registry that will need to be fixed in order to ensure proper running of your machine or of any other security program that you might choose to install. Once you uninstall the program, you should, to be safe, make sure that you use a registry fixing tool in order to ensure the health of your machine and its proper running.

All in all, if you can put up with the quirks of this program or you are installing it on a brand new, just built system, then you will be in heaven with this program and it’s relatively small cost. The tools that it offers are indeed extensive and will protect your computer from even the harshest of viruses and malware.7. However, if you are looking for help for an already infected machine, best to look elsewhere for the program that will best suit your needs.

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How to Boost Your Wireless Router Signal for Free

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:41:01 by Blog

There are few things more frustrating than installing a wireless network in your home and finding out that, no matter what you seem to do, you get a spotty or dropped connection, unreliable bandwidth, or—worse—no connection at all.  Nothing is wrong with your internet service itself, so what do you do?  Before you dash out to buy new equipment and end up wasting your money, try these simple fixes that are fast and free. The best part is that you don’t need to be an IT specialist to pull them off!

1.                  Move the Router

This can often be an immediate fix especially if your house or apartment is older, full of other electronics, or both.  Older buildings very often still have lead paint in the walls, the metallic traces blocking signal.  Other electronics, such as cordless telephones, can generate signals of their own that interfere with wireless internet—even if on separate frequencies.  For both situations, the solution is the same: Make sure to find a place to house your wireless router that is more open, has fewer walls between the device and your computer, and a distance of six feet or more from any other signal-generating electronics.  This is also a good fix if your wireless signal simply isn’t strong enough, even if you don’t have to worry about conflicting electronics or lead paint.  Metal objects can also easily interfere, so make sure the router is away from such objects as filing cabinets or shelving as well. If this doesn’t solve your problem, try solution #2:

2.      Update the Router’s Firmware

Wireless routers need software to run just like other electronics.  And just like a computer or smart phone, the router needs to have its software updated periodically, too.  To do this, all you have to do is log into your router per its instructions which is usually no more difficult than clicking on the icon in your computer’s taskbar. Then, select the option for a firmware upgrade.  If there is one, the router will be able to download and install what it needs.  Older routers don’t automatically check for updates like some newer ones, so it is generally a good idea to check now and again.  Updates are typically accompanied by release notes that tell you exactly what was updated, which will let you know one way or another what all changed that contributed to fixing the connection issue.  This is a good thing to keep in mind just in case the problem occurs again.

3.       Update Wireless Drivers

Another factor that can affect how your computer sees the wireless router is whether or not the network adapter software of the computer itself is up to date.  This is handled the same way you would update any other drivers and is generally self-governed by whatever operating system you use so it doesn’t matter whether the OS is Microsoft, Mac, or Linux

4.      Change the Channel

Just like a television or a radio, wireless routers operate on different channel frequencies to function.  By default, they are supposed to select the channel with the lowest amount of traffic, but, in reality, this isn’t always the case.  At the same time, multiple routers from the same company (especially if your internet provider sells or rents their own wireless routers) are predisposed to select the exact same frequency.  If most of the people nearby or even in your same apartment building all use the same routers, you will need to select your own frequency, if for nothing else than to avoid this issue to begin with!  A free downloadable software that is excellent to help with this is inSSIDer.  The only column that you really need to pay attention to is the one labeled “Channel”. This column will show you whatever channels are handling the most traffic and the least.  Go ahead and select a low-traffic channel to see if that fixes the connectivity issues. Hopefully, it will!

5.        DD-WRT

This is an open-source software program that can be installed to the router much like any other driver.  This is really only a recommendation for the adventurous or those with a stronger level of technical experience.  The program does not work with all routers, though the list of compatible hardware is growing, and you always run the risk of negatively affecting the router.  Installation also very possibly violates most warranties, so it is not recommended if your router is still under the manufacturer’s warranty or you’re part of a business network.  If the software does work for you, however, it improves router performance overall and adds a feature set beyond the router’s default software. That’s quite neat, isn’t it?

6.          Aluminum Foil (no, really!)

This fix isn’t a guarantee, but it definitely sounds like something MacGyver would do. (You bet!)  A number of people have had success with it to varying degrees.  The website lifehacker features a video showing how to increase wireless router signal simply by covering the antenna or antennas in parabolas of aluminum foil that probably already exists in your kitchen.  It has worked in the past for antenna-televisions and older mobile phones…why not routers, right? Right!

7.          Make Sure the Hardware is Compatible

This is the only option on the entire list that costs money, but it is something to definitely consider before you get a router in the first place so that any fixes in the future (if any) will be as free as possible.  Making sure that everything is compatible ensures smoother operation overall.  Know what type of wireless card your computer operates with first and choose the router accordingly.  If your computer is wireless-G, make sure the router you choose is designed to work with wireless-G.  At the same time, try to keep the router the same brand as the network adapter, guaranteeing compatibility.

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