The best free blogging site 2017

Free blogging sites have come a long way in recent years, and it’s now easier than ever to create a professional-looking blog to share a hobby with likeminded people, express your opinions, and establish an online presence.

These free blogging sites are aimed at hobbyist bloggers – blogs are created and managed online, and hosted on the blogging platform’s own servers. If you want to create a self-hosted blog, the downloadable version of WordPress is an excellent option, with total flexibility, support for third-party plugins, and as much storage as your hosting plan allows.

If you’re interested in making a static website rather than an online journal, take a look at our guide to the best free website builders.

1. WordPress

With advanced features, plugins and a generous storage allowance, WordPress is the best free platform for starting your first blog

Powerful and highly customizable, WordPress is a brilliant platform for blogs of any size, and bloggers of any level of experience.

Creating your first blog is very straightforward, with a simple wizard that guides you through the process of choosing a name and suitable theme. You can leave it there and begin writing posts immediately, but the real fun lies in the more advanced editor, which lets you customize virtually every aspect of your blog’s appearance.

Unlike some blogging sites, WordPress isn’t a drag-and-drop affair, and you’ll have to familiarize yourself with its system of menus. It’s well worth the effort, though, and enables you to create something truly personal. The editor also lets you create static pages – like a writer’s biography, for example.

The post-writing interface is much like an ordinary desktop word processor (though some options are presented in a toolbar at the top, while others are in a menu at the side, which can be a little confusing at first). Again, time spent getting to know the interface is rewarded with advanced features like customizable social media sharing buttons, geotagging, and the ability to pick a custom style for individual posts. Sometimes you might want to create a photo gallery, for example, and other times a more text-focused style would be more appropriate. You can also view and edit the HTML source.

As your blog grows, WordPress lets you track its stats, including page views, visitors, likes and comments over time. You can also see how readers reach your site, which content they viewed, and where are were in the world, so you can tailor your content accordingly.

Your site is hosted on WordPress’s servers, with an address in the format yoursite.wordpress.com. Users of the free service don’t get email or live chart support, but the WordPress community forums are very active and questions are usually answered within a few minutes.

WordPress displays ads on free blogs, but provided you can live with that, it’s undoubtedly the best free blogging site around.

Try it online: WordPress

2. Blogger

A free web platform with mobile-friendly features and Google app integration

Blogger is another superb blogging platform. It’s not quite as powerful as WordPress, but more accessible for new users, which comes as no surprise when you learn that it’s owned by Google.

Blogger offers an excellent selection of templates, all of which include mobile versions optimized for smaller screens – a very sensible addition with so many people accessing online content through smartphones.

Blogger’s post-editing tool is much like WordPress’s, but offers fewer options. As a result, its toolbars are less confusing – a trade-off between power and usability.

One of Blogger’s best features is its integration with other Google apps and services. For example, it uses your Google Drive account to store images and other files for your blog. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space free, so Blogger is a good choice if you’re planning to share a lot of high-res photos.

Spam comments are a big problem on blogs, so Blogger’s automatic spam filter can help save your sanity. You can monitor comments via Blogger’s dashboard, which also lets you see visitor stats. There are some handy visualizations here, including a world map to show the global distribution of your readers.

Your blog will have an address in the format yoursite.blogger.com, and, like all Google services, will include ads. Support is available through the Blogger user forum, which is very active but has a strange layout that can be a little off-putting.

In all other respects, Blogger is brilliant – one of the best free blogging sites if you prioritize ease of use over flexibility and are a fan of the Google ecosystem.

Try it online: Blogger

3. Wix

A great free blogging site for completely new users, with two quick and convenient editors, plus free stock photos to get you started

Wix is our favorite general-purpose free website builder, and is great for creating stylish blogs too. Its chief drawback is storage – you have just 500MB for your files and data traffic is restricted to 500MB per month, so you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan if your blog really takes off.

Once you’ve created an account, select ‘blog’ from the list of categories, then choose either Wix Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI) or Wix Editor. Wix ADI asks a series of very simple questions, then builds a site around your answers – ideal if you’ve never created a site before and find the idea intimidating. Wix Editor is very straightforward too (simpler than Blogger or WordPress), but is much more flexible than ADI and will be a better choice for most users.

One of Wix’s best features is its choice of image sources, including your hard drive, social media, free images from Wix itself, and pictures from its partner stock photography site Bigstock. If your blog posts are text-heavy, these free images are a great way to make it look more appealing.

On the downside, your custom wix.com URL will include a string of not-too-snappy letters and numbers that might make it hard to memorize.

That aside, its resources and friendly approach mean Wix just pips Weebly to third place. Free Wix sites include a tiny ad for the company in the top right and another at the bottom, but these won’t spoil the look for your blog.

Try it online: Wix

4. Weebly

Weebly’s flexible editor lets you drag and drop your way to a smart looking blog

Weebly takes a modular approach to blog-building, with a drag-and-drop editor that lets you choose which elements to add to your site, and where.

Pick a basic template, then plonk various types of content onto the page, including social media links, text, images, maps, and sections of code. It’s a refreshingly simple way to build a blog that feels unique to you, but doesn’t require any messing about with menus. It’s worth noting, however, that certain content blocks can only be positioned in certain areas; it isn’t a total free-for-all. This makes sense – forcing you to stick within the confines of your chosen template stops the page looking messy – but you might find it limiting.

Blog posts are made in the same way – drag text boxes, picture frames, buttons and page breaks into position, then click to edit them. One particularly nice feature is the ‘secret draft link’, which lets you preview your unpublished post, and even share it with others via email before releasing it into the wild.

Weebly has some other interesting tricks up its sleeve too, including an area for pasting in Google Analytics tracking code (though it doesn’t offer analytics itself).

As with Wix, you’re only given 500MB for uploaded content, so photographers might want to look elsewhere. Weebly puts an ad in your site’s footer, but it doesn’t obscure any of your content.

Try it online: Weebly

5. Penzu

Keep it secret, keep it safe with a secure journal for your private thoughts

Whereas the other free blogging sites are designed to get as many eyeballs on your posts as possible, Penzu is the equivalent of a locked diary stashed in a safe.

Penzu is a journal platform that makes your posts private by default and locks them down with at least one password (even after you’re logged in, you need a second one to read or edit your posts). That’s because it’s designed for private thoughts and personal reflection. There are free apps for iOS and Android that enable you to update your Penzu diary anywhere, but the contents are for your eyes only.

Penzu isn’t a tool for self-promotion, so although it’s far from ugly, it understandably focuses on function rather than looks. Custom colors and backgrounds come at a price – currently US$10 (about £8, AU$13) per year.

It’s a shame that 128-bit AES encryption is also limited to the paid-for version, and there’s a fair amount of pressure to upgrade. Extra options are often dangled under your nose then yanked away, but the core offering is a good one and if you simply want a place to record your thoughts and practise writing, Penzu could be just what you need.

[“Source-techradar”]

7 of the best new free VST/AU plugin synths to download in 2017

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Free and easy

Buccaneers Unveil 2017 Game Themes

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today the themes for each of their 10 home dates during the 2017 season, highlighted by two primetime Ring of Honor Games. Late owner Malcolm Glazer will be honored at halftime of Tampa Bay’s Thursday Night Football game against the New England Patriots, while Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden will be inducted at halftime of the team’s Monday Night Football contest against the Atlanta Falcons on December 18.

The Buccaneers open their preseason home slate against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday, August 26. Halftime entertainment will be provided by the team’s Junior Cheer program. The Buccaneers are celebrating their 20th season of the Junior Cheerleaders, which is a program designed to promote self-esteem, commitment and discipline for girls ages six to 14 years old.

Tampa Bay will conclude its preseason schedule by hosting the Washington Redskins on Thursday, August 31. The team will celebrate the NFL’s Youth Football initiative, which is focused on providing youth football participants with safe and accessible places to play, as well as programs and initiatives that address the importance of proper coaching, health, safety and wellness, academic and life skills development, and character education programs.
On September 17, the Buccaneers will play the Chicago Bears in their regular season home opener with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff. The game will also mark the regular season debut of a host of new Raymond James Stadium renovations such as the completely redesigned West Stadium Club, a new team retail store and an expansion of the Hall of Fame Club.

LEARN MORE: West Stadium Club

Two weeks later, on October 1, Tampa Bay will play host to the New York Giants at 4:05 p.m.. The Buccaneers will join in supporting the league’s Play 60 campaign, which is designed to tackle childhood obesity by encouraging young fans to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

The Buccaneers will host the first of their two primetime Ring of Honor games just four days later, on October 5, when they face off against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football. The team will be honoring late owner Malcolm Glazer, who bought the team in 1995 and oversaw one of the most impressive organizational transformations in sports. In addition to Glazer’s induction, the Buccaneers and the Patriots will each wear their Color Rush uniforms.

After two road games, the Buccaneers return to Tampa to host the Carolina Panthers on October 29. The team will take part in the league-wide “A Crucial Catch” campaign, with uniforms and the stadium featuring pink accents to show support for breast cancer awareness. In addition to the game, the team will be raising funds for the cause with their fifth annual Treasure Chests “Finish at the 50”: 5K, 10K, Fun Run & Corporate Challenge Powered by Jabil, a certified road race held in the shadows of Raymond James Stadium. The race will be held on Saturday, October 7 and the first 500 participants to sign up will be a part of the halftime performance on October 29.

When the team takes on the New York Jets on November 12, the Buccaneers will honor the country’s military with the annual Salute to Service game. While the organization honors the men and women who served or continue to serve our country year-round, this day will showcase the Buccaneers’ appreciation efforts for our military with specialized tributes throughout the gameday experience, highlighted by a halftime induction ceremony for new service members.

The Detroit Lions will visit the Buccaneers on December 10, in a game that will recognize Tampa Bay’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year program recognizes players league-wide for their excellence on and off the field, culminating in the announcement of the award winner during the NFL Honors award show, the night prior to the Super Bowl.

The second of Tampa Bay’s two primetime Ring of Honor games comes on December 18, when the Buccaneers will face off with the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons. The game will see Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden – who is part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team – inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime. Gruden, whose 57 wins are the most in franchise history, guided the team to a 12-4 record in his first season, en route to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory.

The Buccaneers conclude the regular season with a showdown against the New Orleans Saints on New Year’s Eve, when the team will celebrate with a “Thank You Fans,” fan appreciation day.

The Buccaneers continue to offer season pass memberships at a wide variety of price points. Memberships start as low as $45 per game for adults and $22.50 per game for youth. For more information or to speak with a Buccaneers account representative, please contact 866-582-BUCS (2827) or visit Buccaneers.com.

[“Source-buccaneers”]

4 SEO Trends to Look for in 2017

4 SEO Trends for 2017

It’s hard to believe that it’s time to start looking towards 2017, but this year is almost over. Now is the time to see what is going to be big in the search marketing industry in the coming months. We saw some big changes in 2016, and they are likely to carry over into 2017. We’ve compiled our top 4 SEO trends that we think will dominate the industry in the new year.

This isn’t to say that these are all new – you’ve probably already about most of these and even started working on optimizing for them. But whether or not these trends are new or not is beside the point, these are the trends that you need to keep your eye out for and get ready for in 2017.

SEO Trends for 2017

Mobile First Index

Mobile has already taken over the search marketing world. In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time ever. With this, Google said that mobile and desktop were equal. However, that’s not true anymore.

Google has since stated that it wants a mobile experience across all types of devices. Google recently announced it’s mobile first index. This is huge for the industry because now Google will crawl the mobile version of your site or responsive mobile version first, before the desktop version, and use that content to place you in the search results.

This shouldn’t be a problem if you use a mobile responsive version of your website. Also, there’s no need to start panicking right away – Gary Illyes, a Google engineer, has confirmed this update is still a few months away. However, this is something that everyone needs to be aware of and prepare for. For the entire guide on Google’s mobile first index, you can click here.

Video Content

Video content has been on the rise for a little while now, and it’s not going anywhere in the near future. In fact, a high power at Facebook even stated that video will become the main type of content by 2020. We aren’t sure about all that – as for right now, written content is still the norm, but that doesn’t mean that it will always be. It also doesn’t mean that you should have variety in your content either.

However, as new technologies keep developing, Snapchat, Vine, Periscope, and even Instagram, video is not going anywhere in 2017. Even Google is experimenting with video ads in the search results. There are multiple types of video content that you can implement into your search marketing strategy – webinars, step-by-step tutorials, Q&As, etc.

Try out a few videos in your content, maybe as an addition to one piece you already have and see how it does. If it performs well, which I think it will, you know maybe you should be placing more importance in video.

Voice Search

For a while, voice search was something that was floating around out there but wasn’t really playing a huge part in the search marketing industry. However, as mobile continues to increase and technology advances, voice search is gaining momentum. Today, 55% of teens say that they use voice search on a daily basis – with 56% of adults saying that they enjoy using voice search.

This trend is just going to continue to grow as we get into 2017. Why is this? As we stated earlier, with technology advancing, voice search is just another way that technology can make our lives simpler. Isn’t just talking to your phone a lot easier than typing, especially when you are on the go or trying to multi-task?

What makes this something to look for and optimize for is that voice searchers are not going to be entering the same phrases or keywords as someone who is typing on a computer or smartphone. Since voice searches are more like spoken word, you want to make sure you understand the searchers intent and market to that. Use question words like who, what, where, when, why, you need to optimize differently for voice search. Try reformatting your headlines into questions that include these question words.

Structured Data and Schema

Structured data really hasn’t been talked about as much as I thought it would be lately, but it is a very important in the SEO world. According to Search Engine Watch, structured data is information formatted in a way that can be universally understood. Through this structured data, search engines are able to understand a website easier and therefore gives them better SERP rankings.

Schema.org is structured data that was developed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Yandex, and it is a code that you can add to your website that allows all search engines to define it. While webmasters have been using this for a while, it’s been recently that Google has started to really use it to help crawl sites. Since it is making their jobs easier and helps them to display rich snippets in the search results, structured data and schema are going to continue to gain importance in the SEO world.

Look for structured data and schema to start playing an even bigger part in websites in 2017 and beyond. Search engines want to be able to crawl your website faster and easier, and with the advancements in this technology, they should start to implement it more.

Conclusion

Being mindful of these four trends will help you be more successful in your SEO efforts in the upcoming year. Make sure you optimize your search marketing strategies to account for these changes. Oh, and Happy New Year!

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

Five Potential Cap Casualties For The Dallas Cowboys In 2017

Our sister site Pride of Detroit, the SB Nation community for fans of the Detroit Lions, had an interesting piece earlier this week on Detroit’s potential cap casualties.

As teams around the league get ready for free agency, many have started cutting players to create some additional cap space. The New York Giants for example released Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings on Monday, freeing up $10 million in cap space. The Dolphins on Thursday released defensive linemen Mario Williams and Earl Mitchell to free up $12.5 million in cap space, and offensive tackle Branden Albert will likely follow either via cut or trade, clearing an additional $7.2 million in cap space.

For the Cowboys, Tony Romo is the most obvious candidate to be cut or traded, but he’s not the only one.

1. Tony Romo

Cap Saved: $5.1 million/Cash Saved: $14 million

The Cowboys can clear $5.1 million of cap space by trading or releasing Romo now, and could clear even more space by making Romo a June 1 cut, which would free up $14.0 million in cap space. However, as a June 1 cut, Romo would remain on the Cowboys’ books in 2018 with $8.9 worth of dead money counting against the cap.

Romo will not play for Dallas in 2017, and his impact on the 2017 salary cap will depend on whether the Cowboys find a trade partner for Romo or release him outright

2. Alfred Morris

Cap Saved: $1.6 million/Cash Saved: $1.6 million

Morris arrived in Dallas as a two-time Pro Bowler and a three-time 1,000+ yard rusher and was expected to share carries with Darren McFadden. That all changed when the Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott and McFadden was injured, but in the end, he totaled just 69 carries for a career-low 3.5 yards per attempt, and was inactive when McFadden was back in the lineup over the final two regular season games and in the playoffs .

The Cowboys will restructure some big contracts to get under the cap by March 9, and may not need the $1.6 million cap savings from Morris, but they are likely to move on from him at some point, as they can get that type of production for a lot less.

3. Cedric Thornton

Cap Saved: $0.5 million/Cash Saved: $0 million

Cedric Thornton signed a 4-year, $17.0 million contract last year, including $9.0 million guaranteed, which means his entire $3.0 million base salary this year is fully guaranteed. The Cowboys can’t save any real money by cutting him, and the $0.5 million in cap savings isn’t going to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Thornton didn’t start a single game last year, and only played 262 defensive snaps, but he was fairly productive in the process, recording 18 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, and 9 QB pressures, along with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Cowboys will almost certainly stick with Thornton for now, but if they find an upgrade in free agency or the draft, that could change. If the Cowboys make him a June 1 cut, they could create $3 million in cap space for 2017 (though they’d be left with $3 million of dead money in 2018).

4. Joe Looney

Cap Saved: $0.8 million/Cash Saved: $0.8 million

On paper this looks like a substantial potential saving for a backup interior lineman who played just 156 snaps on offense, but those are “fake” savings as the Cowboys would have to find a replacement for Looney, and it’s not clear that that replacement would be any cheaper.

5. James Hanna

Cap Saved: $1.5 million/Cash Saved: $2.3 million

Hanna may come as a bit of a surprise on this list, and it’s unlikely that he would be a cap casualty. But there is a chance Hanna could get released with an injury settlement.

Hanna had developed into a solid No. 2 tight end behind Jason Witten, and the Cowboys signed him to a 3-year, $8.25 million contract extension in March 2016. But then Hanna entered training camp complaining about knee soreness and was subsequently placed on the PUP list with what was initially described as a “bone bruise.”

For Cowboys fans, “bone bruise” set off all kinds of alarms because that was the same description the Cowboys used to describe an injury that effectively ended the career of Anthony Spencer. In Spencer’s case the term was used as a euphemism for potential microfracture injuries, and those almost never resolve well.

In mid-August, Hanna and the Cowboys opted for knee surgery to address his knee issue, but that apparently didn’t result in a significant improvement, so Hanna underwent a second knee surgery in November.

The Cowboys are not going to cut Hanna now as they are going to wait and see how his recovery progresses. But if he is unable to play by training camp, the Cowboys could cut him, thereby creating $2.3 million cap space in 2017.

[Source:-Blogging The Bpys]

Lott Entertainment Presents’ 2017 Spring Lineup Explores Themes of Race, Sexuality and a Journey through Music

Lott Entertainment Presents’ spring lineup will take fans on an epic journey through Cherokee country, into a world of whimsical sexual exploration-one that is taking Off Broadway by storm-and, finally, into a multi-genre glimpse into the lives of six different musicians, all portrayed by one man. All performances will take place at Lott Entertainment Presents’ new home in the Neuhaus Theatre at the Alley Theatre.

“Each show is sensational and vital in its own way,” artistic director Kathryn Lott says of the remaining shows. “The timeliness of all three of these works is truly extraordinary, and a testament to these artists and their work that we are bringing to Houston. I think our audiences are going to be on the edge of their seats for all of the performances.” “Every show is so different from the next,” adds executive director Allison Lott, “And yet each one presents a new, poignant message…sometimes that message is told in a lighthearted, hilarious tone and other times the message will pull at the heartstrings.”

Lott Entertainment Presents’ unique partnership with Joe’s Pub at the Public in New York has added to the buzz around the young performing arts organization on a national level, with their Joe’s Pub series being used as the model to expand into other markets. “Seattle has already taken up the torch and is in the midst of their first Joe’s Pub season,” says Kathryn Lott, who first presented the idea to Joe’s Pub. “And now this famed New York institution is in talks with other markets around the country to create a touring network for their artists.”

April 21 & 22, 2017 – Martha Redbone: Bone Hill – The Concert (Joe’s Pub Series)

Folk, funk, soul and blues artist Martha Redbone is one of the most vital voices in American Roots music and will perform her original work, Bone Hill – The Concert in Houston as part of the Joe’s Pub Series. Presented as a dramatic musical work with Redbone and her all-star band, Bone Hill – The Concert is a devised, interdisciplinary work inspired by her family lineage in the Appalachian Mountains. It’s an epic story of one woman’s return to her homeland on Black Mountain and the coalmines of Harlan County, KY where her family have dwelled for centuries.

Spanning the lives and stories of four generations of women in a Cherokee family, Redbone travels back in time to her own childhood and beyond into the memories and tales of her ancestors-both those who were born to the land and those who traveled the globe to end up on Black Mountain, whether by choice or by force. Audiences will join Redbone on her journey to the past to hear the tale of what it looks like to be an American in our country today. The music is radically wide-ranging, from traditional Cherokee chants and lullabies to bluegrass and blues, country, gospel, jazz, Rock & Roll, Rhythm n Blues and funk. Dark and violent at times, Bone Hill – The Concert is uncompromising in its desire to be honest about difficult subjects, especially race in America.

In addition to the two public performances at the Alley Theatre, Martha Redbone will participate in three residency activities including a workshop at Texas Southern University.

Bone Hill was written by Martha Redbone, Aaron Whitby and Roberta Uno, with original compositions by Redbone and Whitby, and was commissioned by the Joe’s Pub New York Voices initiative.

May 4-7, 2017: Sex Tips for a Straight Woman from a Gay Man

This Off Broadway smash hit romantic comedy takes the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly ‘Meet the Authors’ event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event, and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar. Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving heavy scenery? Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event…that is for Dan to know, and you to find out!

May 12-13, 2017: 6 Guitars

Award-winning writer/performer Chase Padgett will premiere his original work, 6 Guitars, for Houston audiences May 12-17, 2017. 6 Guitars is a pitch-perfect blend of music, comedy and characters. Chase Padgett delivers a virtuosic performance as he becomes six different guitar players-each with their own distinct voice, views and musical style (Blues, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Folk and Country). During this 85-minute show, each of the characters, ranging from a 19-year-old rock prodigy to an 87-year-old blues man, share their journey with music from discovery to mastery through songs and stories that leaves every audience laughing, crying and falling in love with music all over again. Co-written and directed by Jay Hopkins, 6 Guitars has won numerous Fringe Awards and has critics raving.

SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT JUST ADDED

June 7, 2017 at Jones Hall: Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After the Curtain

Through his Emmy Award winning work on “So You Think You Can Dance”, Travis Wall has established himself as one of America’s favorite choreographers. His artistic direction of SHAPING SOUND has already produced one spell-binding show in Dance Reimagined, which has captivated audiences all across North America. Now, Travis and SHAPING SOUND are back with their brand new show, After the Curtain. These visual musicians continue to dazzle audiences as they tell the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love. Heart-wrenching, breath-taking and ultimately uplifting, this is one dance show that audiences will remember forever.

About Lott Entertainment Presents

Entertainment Presents’ mission is to fill the void in the Houston performing arts scene by bringing shows from outside our city that push the boundaries of traditional theatre. With provocative, immersive and deliberately different works, we will provide Houstonians with a wide range of new experiences. Lott Entertainment Presents will bring shows from outside Houston that would not otherwise be seen in this city. Lott Entertainment Presents will utilize its traveling artists to enrich the lives of local artists by providing valuable educational programs such as audition workshops, singer/songwriter workshops and artist conversations. For more information, please visit http://www.lottentertainmentpresents.com.

About Joe’s Pub at the Public

Named for The Public Theater’s visionary founder Joe Papp, Joe’s Pub at The Public opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, committed to diversity, production values, superior acoustics community and artistic freedom. The venue also offers unique opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that has fostered new work by Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Bridget Everett, Allen Toussaint, Justin VivIan Bond & Kenny Mellman and more. Joe’s Pub presents talent from all over the world, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.

The Public Theater, which houses five theaters at its Astor Place home, in addition to Joe’s and Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. For more than 60 years, The Public, under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, has continued the work of Papp by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, leading the dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. The Public’s programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company’s commitment to making theater accessible to all; Public Works, a national initiative that is designed to cultivate new models of engagement with artists, audiences and community; and Mobile Unit, which tours productions to underserved audiences. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 168 Obies, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 OCC Awards, 13 NY Drama Critics Awards, and five Pulitzer Prizes, most recently for the musical Hamilton. For more information, please visit www.joespub.org.

[Source:-Broadway ]

Uttar Pardesh elections 2017: On campaign trail, Rajnath Singh’s themes; Pakistan, national pride

uttar pradesh elections, up polls, up elections 2017, rajnath singh, rajnath singh campaign, up campaign, national pride, pakistan, terrorism, imran masood, indian express news, india news, elections updates

“BHARAT KISI ko chedta nahin. Koi Bharat ko chede toh Bharat use chodta nahin ( India doesn’t provoke anyone. But if someone provokes India, then India doesn’t forgive),” said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Gangoh, a town in western UP’s Saharanpur.

On the campaign trail, addressing audiences mostly comprising unemployed youth, the poor and farmers, Rajnath has unfailingly been evoking two key themes: “rashtriya swabhiman (national pride)” and Pakistan. And in the process, this former chief minister of UP also ensures that his voters know how he has handled the Home Ministry in New Delhi with an iron hand.

On February 11, addressing voters in an area from where a video clipping had emerged in 2014 of Congress leader Imran Masood boasting of “chopping Narendra Modi”, Rajnath said: “Hamara padosi apni harkaton se baaz nahi aata (Our neighbour has not refrained from committing mischievous acts).”

In Gangoh, said to be a communally sensitive constituency, Masood’s brother Noman is pitted against BJP’s Pradeep Chowdhary in the second phase of polls on February 15.

To instill “nationalism” in this remote corner, Rajnath also narrated details about his visit to Pakistan for the SAARC summit last August. “I was not keen to go to Pakistan. The SAARC summit was attended by representatives of many countries. I told my Minister of State to go. But, two days before the event, my officials told me, ‘Sir, there are rallies against you and Prime Minister Modi on the streets of Pakistan, which are led by chiefs of a terrorist organisation and they are saying that they won’t allow the Home Minister of India to enter borders of Pakistan’. I decided then that I will certainly visit the land of Pakistan and not our MoS.”

With the audience cheering in response, Rajnath said, “When I reached Islamabad airport, there were officers from the government and military to receive me. I was scheduled to go to the hotel by road but they told me that ‘sadak per haalat theek nahi hai’ (the situation is not conducive on the road)’. They told me that I will be taken by a helicopter. I was a guest in that country so I thought it’s better to follow the arrangements they have decided for me. I landed half-a-kilometre away from the hotel. In that short journey, I saw crowds all over. Huge processions were chanting ‘Rajnath Singh wapas jao (Rajnath Singh go back). Jitne naare lagte jaate the, Rajnath Singh ka honsala utna buland ho raha tha (As the slogan-chanting increased, Rajnath Singh’s spirit was getting stronger).”

With that claim met with another round of applause, Rajnath continued: “That night, I decided that in this circumstance in which I have come to Pakistan…mein Pakistan ki dharti ki chaati per khade hokar Pakistan ko benaqab karke hi wapas jaaonga (Now, standing on its soil, I will leave only after exposing Pakistan). I don’t want to tell lies. In the presence of representatives of many countries, I said, ‘Bharat ko thodne ki koshish bandh karo (Stop trying to break India). Put efforts to control terrorists. You want one more war with India. This can’t go on’. The people of Pakistan got furious (Pakistan ke log tamtama gaye).”

Rajnath also claimed that he refused to drink one drop of water in Pakistan. Speaking in Gangoh and the neighbouring Behat constituency, Rajnath said, “Pakistan, the host country, left the venue. All representatives went to the luncheon hall…. I am a proud citizen of India. I asked where is the Home Minister of Pakistan. They informed me that he had got furious and left in a huff. I said he didn’t leave in a huff, he left cautiously. Then, I told my secretary that I won’t eat here, call my aircraft, I will go back to India).”

Sensing the positive response in an area, where neither demonetisation nor any state/national concern has emerged as a weighty election issue, Rajnath concluded, “I am talking of Pakistan because self-respect and pride are the strongest emotions of the human heart. You can compromise with anything but not your self-respect.”

What was evident from his rallies here was that the second-most powerful man in the government, known for his control over language, Rajnath does not really enjoy the politics on the fast lanes of social media. His government may talk of Digital India but Rajnath doesn’t keep his cellphone, laptop or Ipad by the side.

But the man who successfully fought his first election in 1977 to become MLA knows his saffron politics — hence, the Pakistan jibe in an area known for its communally polarised nature of voting, and the reference to his “rashtriya swabhiman ki bhavna (the feeling of national pride)” when he takes decisions.

“In September, I was watching TV at home. I saw the news that Pakistan had killed five Indians, including one woman and an innocent child. I immediately called DGMO (Director General of Military Operation) and asked: ‘…what is this I am watching on TV?’ He informed me that it was correct. I asked him, ‘what is the response of our Army?’ He said that our army waved white flags 16 times. ‘what does it mean?’ I asked. I was told this is a long tradition. When we show white flags, we convey that we don’t want to fight with Pakistan. We want to talk.”

And then, Rajnath said, “At that moment, I told him, ‘from today, it’s my standing order. Pehli goli Bharat ki taraf se nahin chalni chahiye, agar ek bhi goli Pakistan ki taraf se chalti hai to Bharat ki goli ko gina nahin jana chahiye (India should not fire first. But if Pakistan fires a bullet then we should retaliate without counting our bullets).”

It was not all about Pakistan, though. The Home Minister also promised that if BJP came to power, the government would “buy grains at higher prices directly from farmers.” “Ek kalam ki nok se aur ek boond syahi se aapka karza maaf karenge (The BJP will forgo farmers’ debts as soon as it comes to power).”

Another peculiar feature of his rallies here is that Rajnath invites the candidates on stage and promises voters that after the election, their local MLA and MP will surely invite him to the same venues as he loves to meet people.

While this has prompted some BJP leaders to wonder if the Home Minister would become the Chief Minister if BJP wins this election, the man himself plays down the idea, saying, “I am Home Minister of India. What’s wrong?”

[Source:-The Indian express]

Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search

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If you’ve followed SEO strategies for any length of time, you know one thing: SEO changes all the time. When it comes to local SEO, it’s more important than ever that you optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business. Local competition is heating up, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.

Here are five solid local SEO tactics you can use this year to help your business rank higher for local search terms.

1. Title and meta description tags still matter

Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect the content of your web page. The text of your title and description tags is displayed in search results. Think of this text as a “mini-ad” that you need to carefully craft.

Last year, Google increased the width of the main search results area to 600px. In light of this, the generally acceptable length for title tags is approximately 50 to 60 characters, and description tags can be approximately 160 to 200 characters. Take advantage of this space and use it wisely — and make sure you double-check that your titles and descriptions aren’t getting cut off in search results.

If you’re not sure how your title and meta description tags will look or how many characters you can get away with, try using an emulator like the one from SEOmofo or Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress:

SEOmofo Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool

Writing titles and descriptions is considered an art in the SEO world. In a sea of competing search results, if this text isn’t unique, compelling and descriptive, then your click-through rate will suffer. Additionally, one extra word or character could cut off your text with the dreaded ellipses (…). This may not be a true tragedy, but it does look unprofessional, especially when it shows up in the middle of a sentence, making your title or description less impactful.

The lesson? This space is precious, and every character counts. Here are some tips:

  • Never waste space on page names that don’t provide helpful information.
  • Wasted Title Space
    • If you want to reach local customers, include the name of the city your business is in and/or the area your business serves (e.g., “Serving the Corridor of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids”).
    • Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of the tag as you can.

    Remember, if your business shows up in the search results, you have one shot to get that person to click on your link. Don’t blow it by wasting characters that won’t help convince a searcher you’re worth looking at.

    2. Online directories and citations

    According to Google, roughly four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. Yet many small businesses have not claimed even a single a local business listing online, which is a huge missed opportunity.

    It’s important that you get your business listed correctly and consistently on top online business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and others. You will also want to seek out respectable local directories to get your business listed on. Check with your local newspaper’s website and your Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed on. You can also do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local citation sites or directories.

    It’s also important to get your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) on the major citation data aggregators like Infogroup, Neustar (aka Localeze), Acxiom and Factual. Always make sure that your company’s NAP is consistent on as many of these directories and citation sites as possible. Discrepancies like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number and wrong phone number can create havoc when Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct. If Google’s not sure, they may display incorrect information — or not show your business at all in search results.

    3. Google My Business: Claim and optimize

    Google My Business (GMB) is considered a directory, but it’s a biggie, so it deserves its own section. It’s very important for local businesses to claim their Google My Business (and Bing Places for Business) page. It’s free and can get you incredible exposure if you’re optimized enough to show up in Google’s local three-pack:

    Google My BusinessTo claim your Google My Business page, visit google.com/business. There’s a verification process you’ll need to go through where Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your business’s physical location. (No P.O. boxes allowed.) Then you’ll simply log in and enter the PIN to verify your business.

    This verification process is necessary because Google wants to confirm that your business is legitimate, and that you are actually the business owner. Please note that according to Google’s terms of service, only the business owner can claim a GMB page. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency on your SEO efforts, you can then grant them permission to be a manager of your page — that way, you remain in control of your listing if you terminate your relationship with the agency.

    The next step is to optimize your GMB listing with a solid description, categories, business hours, types of payments accepted and so on. You also want to make sure to upload your logo and photos of your business, products or services. (It’s generally recommended that you upload at least three photos.)

    Fully populate each and every relevant section so that your listing is complete. If you’re a service business and don’t have a location customers or clients can visit, don’t worry; you can choose to hide your physical address as you’re setting up your Google My Business listing.

    As mentioned above, Bing also has a comparable page for local businesses called Bing Places for Business. The process is very similar to GMB, and you should definitely have your business present on Bing’s local directory, too.

    4. Online reviews matter

    Businesses are finally starting to realize the importance of online reviews from their customers. According to a recent survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and seven out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if asked by the business.

    There are several reputation marketing software and tool options you can use to track, manage and proactively try to get reviews. Here are some to check out:

    • Reputation Loop
    • Get Five Stars
    • Trust Pilot
    • Vendasta

    Additionally, many social media platforms, like Hootsuite and Tiny Torch, allow you to monitor and get alerts any time your brand is mentioned. Whenever a review is left about your business, positive or negative, be sure to respond to it. That shows other people reading the reviews that you, the business owner, care what your customers think.

    Two places where you should focus on getting reviews are your business’s Facebook page and Google My Business page. These are big ones. Many people turn to social media to see what their friends and family think about a business, so having good reviews on your business’s Facebook page can help to draw in prospective customers. Getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page is crucial because these reviews show up on Google when someone searches for your business.

    Google also notes that “[h]igh-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility,” which implies that reviews might factor into rankings on the local pack.

    5. Use local structured data markup

    Structured data markup — often referred to as “schema markup” or “schema.org markup” — can be added to your website’s code to provide search engines with more information about your business, like the products you sell, reviews you’ve collected, services you offer and so on.

    Only 31.3 percent of websites are using this markup — and most are only using the basics. You can make your local business stand out (and possibly rank higher than your competitors) if you add structured data markup to your site where appropriate.

    Google wants you to use structured data markup because it helps their spiders better determine what your site content is about. Google even offers a Structured Data Testing Tool so you can check to see if your markup is properly implemented.

    Google Structured Data Test TooIf the thought of coding freaks you out, you can also use Google’s Data Highlighter to mark up content with your mouse. (Note that your website will need to be set up with Google Search Console in order for this to work.)

    This is just of the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local SEO. Implementing the five local search tactics above will give you a head start on your competition. Get started today!

  • [Source:-Search engine LAnd]

Samsung Galaxy A3 2017 – Widgets löschen und deaktivieren

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Samsung* Galaxy A3 2017 – Widgets löschen und deaktivieren – Das A3 2017 ist die Weiterentwicklung des A3 aus den vergangenen Jahren und stellt bei Samsung* die Mittelklasse bei den Smartphones* dar. Man bekommt die Geräte daher deutlich billiger als die aktuelle Topmodelle, muss dafür aber auch auf einige Funktionen verzichten. Im Vergleich zu 2016 hat Samsung* das A3 in vielen Bereichen weiter entwickelt:

  • USB Type-C Anschluss
  • Fingerabdruck-Scanner – die Vorgänger-Modelle hatten dieses Feature noch nicht, in 2017 setzt Samsung auch bei den A-Modelle auf einen Sensor im Home-Button, der die Fingerabdrücke scannt um die Geräte damit zu entsperren
  • IP 68 Zertifizierung – der Schutz vor Wasser und Staub ist ein Feature, das 2016 bei immer mehr Modelle zu sehen war. Nun bringt Samsung diesen Schutz auch in die Mittelklasse und setzt damit durchaus Maßstäbe für die Geräte der Konkurrenz.

Bei der Bedienung gibt es dagegen wenig Neues. Nach wie vor setzen die Geräte auf Android*, lediglich die Version wurde erneuert. Nun kommt Android* 6 zu Einsatz. Beim Löschen von Widgets bedeutet dies auch, dass es kaum Unterschiede zum Vorgänger gibt. Wir haben den Prozess an dieser Stelle trotzdem nochmal beschrieben.

SAMSUNG GALAXY A3 2017 – WIDGETS LÖSCHEN UND DEAKTIVIEREN

Um Widgets vom Homescreen zu entfernen muss man kein Teilchen-Physiker sein. Eine Entfernung ist meist ohne weiteres möglich.

  1. Zuerst wählt man den Home Screen an und drückt mit dem Figner auf das Widget das entfernt werden soll.
  2. Man hält den Finger so lange drauf, bis sich das Widget abhebt und schiebt es mit dem Finger zum „Kreuz“-Symbol
  3. Ist man mit dem Widget am Symbol angelangt kann man es mit dem Figner loslassen und es so löschen.

Mit dieser Vorgehensweise löscht man das Widget nur vom Homescreen des Smartpones. Will man das Widget komplett vom Smartphone* entfernen ist dazu der Anwendungsmanager nötig.

[Source:-Appaedited]

These 5 investment themes will dominate 2017

1. Emphasis on US stocks over international stocks

While not abandoning international equities altogether (see Theme 3 below), I believe that it is worthy to consider overweighting US equities to start 2017 given heightened optimism for US economic growth plus accompanying US stock market growth in the new year as a result of the election of Donald Trump as the new US president, who is backed by a Republican-controlled Congress.

According to TheWeek.com, this is only the second time since 1929, the Republican Party will control the House, Senate, White House, most governorships and state houses, and decide a Supreme Court pick. One party having so much control may provide some tailwinds to stock market investors in 2017.

To this end, based on a MFS research report, it appears from the chart below that although the combination of a Democrat president and a Republican Congress has produced the best historical returns from 1961-2010, on average, for the stock market (which is defined in this case by the S&P 500 index (^GSPC), the stock market still experienced an average return of 12.1% when the White House and Congress were controlled by the same party.

View photos

S&P 500 returns based on political control
Source: Hennion & Walsh Asset Management

Please note: The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) measures the US stock market. Figures referenced are price change only and do not include the impact of reinvested dividends. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500) measures the broad US stock market. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

As a result, the psychological achievement of Dow (^DJI) 20,000 may serve as more of a springboard for the next leg of this secular bull market as opposed to being a market top for this bull market rally that some are suggesting.

2. Consider different market capitalizations to help deal with strong US dollar

Rising interest rates in the US, coupled with declining or stagnant interest rates across the rest of the globe, could result in a stronger US Dollar, despite the stated reservations of this happening by Trump. This could, in turn, put pressure on multinational US companies that derive a significant portion of their revenue overseas.

As a result of the expected US dollar strengthening, certain mid-cap and small-cap US companies, which generally have less of an overseas focus when compared to their large-cap US counterparts, may be worthy of consideration to help minimize some of the strengthening US dollar risk while still allowing for allocations to US equities in general. Certain currency investment strategies may be worthy of consideration to assist in this regard as well.

3. Don’t discount the benefits of a globally diversified portfolio

International equities, through stock allocations in international developed markets and some international emerging market, should still be a part of most globally diversified portfolios in 2017 as a result of the anticipated stimulation measures on the part of central banks across the globe in the new year needed to spur additional economic growth.

4. Understand the role of bonds in income and growth-oriented portfolios

For income-oriented investors, bonds can provide for a dependable and consistent stream of income, and principal protection when held to maturity. Bonds, whether they are municipal, government or corporate bonds, can also provide for compounded growth opportunities when the income received from the bonds is reinvested.

Additionally, for growth-oriented investors, fixed income securities can provide investors with downside protection and diversification within a growth portfolio, especially in a highly volatile market where additional, measured, short-term flights to quality are likely.

In our view at Hennion & Walsh, investors should be careful not to miss out on the income and diversification opportunities offered by bonds by trying to time potential changes in interest rates. History has shown us that trying to time the market, or time interest rate increases or decreases, can be very difficult. With this said, it is important to understand that when interest rates do increase, bond prices may fall and yields may rise. However, rising interest rates should not impact the interest that bond holders receive on their bond holdings nor should they change the ability of these investors to receive par value on their bond holdings at maturity. Bond fund investors, on the other hand, may see the interest they receive on their fund holdings change in a rising rate environment and will not receive par value at maturity as there generally is no set maturity on bond funds.

[Source:-Yahoo]