How Popular Lifestyle Blog Suburban Men Built Its Mobile App

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We asked Greg Baugher to tell us about his experience launching and growing his popular lifestyle blog, Suburban Men, and launching the site’s own mobile apps with MobiLoud.

How did it all start?

I founded Suburban Men in 2011. The original intent of the site was to provide advice and interesting articles to men living in the suburbs, people like myself, with kids and a working wife. After several years and not much success, I took a step back from the site.

In December 2014, I relaunched Suburban Men as a photo gallery site for men with a focus on the positive aspects of being a man. There are many sites around for this audience, but in general, they are geared towards a younger, college-age audience.

We have experienced tremendous growth in 2015. We are now starting to engage with major brands.

What drove you to publish your own mobile apps?

There are two major reasons for pursuing a mobile app.

The first quite honestly was user demand. Being a photo-centric site, my users demanded a mobile app. Suburban Men is the perfect site to kill a little time on your phone or tablet.

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Does Your WordPress Website Really Need an App?

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If you’re a publisher and want to be relevant in today’s smartphone-driven world, then yes, you probably need an app. “But wait,” you might protest, “I already have a responsive website!” Great!

Responsive web design, which adapts your site to fit a range of devices, is critical to your site’s success (when done right). But mobile apps are growing at an astounding rate, and not having one is a surefire way to fall behind the competition.

Here are six compelling reasons to convince you to get on board with the trend.

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How to Setup WordPress to Use Google’s AMP and Make Your Mobile Pages Load Much Faster

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If like billions of us you’ve recently consumed web content on a mobile device, you noticed the experience could be improved. Reading news articles is often painfully slow, with pages taking a long time to load. Even after text loads on page, pages continue loading over many seconds, as ads, tracking javascript and images get downloaded.

Mobile apps have gotten us used to fast loading content, offline viewing and fast interfaces. But mobile sites often lag behind, literally. This is particularly true for news and blog sites, which make use of many widgets for ads, analytics, sharing and commenting. You can test this easily by installing a content blocker on an iOS device and noticing the speed increase.

Sure, you can use a responsive theme to alleviate some of the problems, but responsive design doesn’t deal with page load performance. Most times, responsive is at the root of the problem: we design websites able to fit on displays of many different resolutions and we fail to create an experience optimised for the smallest displays, lower CPU performance and the slowest connections. With responsive design, all desktop assets and functionality will still load when the page is rendered on mobile, often resulting in poor performance. According to Facebook, the average loading time of a news article on mobile is 8 seconds.

While some of us are lucky enough to have 3G or 4G network connections on our smartphones, you just need to get out of urban centers for network speeds to drop dramatically. And of course there’s the “next billion” people and devices connecting from developing countries where fast network connections are just not available yet.

Fortunately, things are moving in the right direction, with all of the big players working on ways to speed up content loading on mobile devices. Facebook launched Instant Articles, a solution for fast loading web content, though one limited to their walled garden. Apple has launched its own News app. Google launched AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an initiative with a similar purpose as Facebook’s but an open standard approach.

WordPress recently announced they added support for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to WordPress.com and to WordPress.org sites in the form of a free plugin.

So let’s see how you can add AMP to your WordPress.org blog or news site and benefit from the latest tech to speed up your website on mobile devices.

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The Best Ways to Protect Your Site against Google Penalties

The Best Ways to Protect Your Site against Google Penalties

Since Google and other search engines were born, a search has been underway to develop an algorithm that perfects the art of ranking the most relevant, user-friendly and useful content at the top of search engines.

It’s fair to say Google has probably come the closest, of all search engines, to mastering this algorithm, but the difficulty comes in the speed at which the Internet moves.

All of us who write, design or develop for the Internet have to constantly keep up to stay ‘current’ and to keep up with the pace of change, and that is no exception for Google. As new Web development technologies arise, as new ways of trying to draw in visitors and potentially find loopholes in search engine algorithms are born, so are updates to Google’s manual review processes and automated algorithms.

It is these updates that can penalise our websites with a drop in rankings or a removal from Google altogether. There are many case studies across the Web that discuss specific cases of large brands (and smaller brands too) receiving a Google penalty, but our core focus for this article is to protect your blog from receiving a Google penalty in the first instance, to avoid your blog becoming one of the many case studies available. Continue reading

The Definitive Guide to Finding Images for Your Blog

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a successful blog post? I can probably name a few: a great title, maybe a powerful first sentence, and valuable content. But is that it? Perhaps less obvious, successful publishers and bloggers will tell you that you that it is also important to have great images, yet this is often left as an afterthought.

An eye catching image can help pimp out your post in more ways than one:

  1. By attracting click throughs in the first instance (especially if you’re posting your article on social media).  Articles published with images receive on average 94% more clicks than those without.
  2. By engaging the reader once they have clicked through onto your page. Once you snag them on the hook all that’s left is to reel them in.

In this guide we aim to show you how to find quality images and create your own graphics.

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5 Tactics for Growing Your Email List

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Of the many different aspects of Internet marketing, list building has stood the test of time most resiliently.

With SEO practices constantly evolving with each and every algorithm change, having a healthy list of subscribers can offer you the stability of reliable traffic, without being at the mercy of the search engines — not to mention the potential to boost relationships with your audience.

The principles behind list building are remarkably simple: members of your audience will be willing to exchange their email addresses, but only in return for something valuable. The more valuable your proposition is, the more subscribers you’ll get.

However, for some bloggers, that lucrative list just won’t grow, no matter how hard you try — if you fall into this category, what type of incentive should you be using?

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5 WordPress themes to create your app’s landing page

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The easiest way to build a website for promoting your mobile app is using WordPress: install a good theme, play around with the settings and you can have a professional looking app landing page set up in no time at all.

Having a WordPress theme built from scratch can be expensive; thankfully marketplaces like ThemeForest exist, allowing you to pick up themes relatively inexpensively — around $30 to $50 for a typical WordPress theme.

To help you out, I’ve picked out five of my personal favourite themes for building an app landing page.

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Growing Our Blog: What We Learned from Social Triggers

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There is no one path to blogging success.

Even so, deconstructing what made well-known bloggers so successful is a great place to start. After all, they’ve been there, done that; they know what works and what doesn’t. By following their path, we can save ourselves a lot of time, effort and frustration.

This is the third post in this series, deconstructing successful blogs — we’ve already looked at Buffer and KISSmetrics.

Today we take a look at Derek Halpern’s Social Triggers. Launched in 2011, the blog experienced a meteoric rise, with over 150,000 views in the first year alone. Derek went from blogging nobody to superstar, practically overnight.

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3 Lessons from ProBlogger’s Success

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Looking to grow your blog? Then learn from the experts!

Today we take at the three of the most important tactics Darren Rowse used to grow ProBlogger from the ground up.

Formed in 2004, ProBlogger was one of the first blogging success stories, back in the days when blogging was just a fledgling industry, and before all the blogging advice we see today existed — much of this, Darren actually created!

Let’s follow Darren’s lead, and see if we can learn something that we can apply to our own blogs. Let’s go.

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How Trunkworthy Used MobiLoud to Build Mobile Apps for Their WordPress Music Site

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Only one year since launching their website, Trunkworthy’s founders realised they needed a mobile app to reach their audience and chose MobiLoud to quickly get their own apps to market.

The site, started by David Gorman and Gary Stewart, is built on the simple notion that not every track, song or movie gets the attention it deserves. Gary still stocks the trunk of his car with several copies of albums, movies and books he loves, just so he can give them away to people he feels need to experience them.

Similarly, the site now showcases music, movies, videos or even TV shows.

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