The Basic Concepts Of SEO Explained to Beginners

While SEO (search engine optimization) is not rocket science or brain surgery, it certainly isn’t the easiest paradigm to understand, especially to someone who doesn’t have a background in the internet or technology.

Whether it’s the way words sound (meta data optimization) or a particularly technical aspect of SEO (like schema markup), I tend to encounter confusion quite often with those customers who are new to the concepts of SEO.  In order to guard against a customer’s confusion or worse, feeling inferior, a successful sales rep has to create a bridge between the customer and SEO in order to grow a clear understanding of the practices of a successful SEO campaign.

This is vital to bringing the sales process to a successful close.  Having a customer leave a conversation confused in the least bit is often the death rattle of your sales cycle.  Never fear; analogies are here!  Just as the Internet is full of analogies (the web, crawling, server, etc…), SEO has some particularly helpful metaphors to improve anyone’s understanding of its basic (or even advanced) concepts.

Let’s look at three of these analogies in an attempt to acquire new tools to help others understand the basic concepts of SEO.

The Basic Concepts of SEO

Backlinks = Votes of Confidence

In attempting to explain the importance of acquiring relevant, authoritative backlinks into your website, I often hear silence or muttering at the other end of the phone. Who knew that simply placing the word ‘back” in front of a concept that is seemingly universally understood, ‘link’, would lead to so much misunderstanding?

I find that discussing backlinks in terms of their function is very helpful in establishing what they are in another’s mind.  This is where “votes of confidence” comes into play.  If one can understand that these websites linking to your site are vouching for your site to the search engines, one can begin to grasp the importance and role of backlinks in an SEO campaign.  This simple metaphor helps do the trick of engendering a growing understanding of a key concept.

Alternate Metaphor – Popularity Contest

Conversion Optimization = Billboard on the Side of the Highway

Any (extremely) lazy optimizer can drive more traffic to a website.  Heck, you can pay five bucks to boost your traffic overnight, and you don’t have to do any real SEO work.  The catch is that it is highly doubtful that this traffic will lead to a conversion on your website.  After all, the goal of a website is to guide a user to take some action, be it read an article, purchase a widget, vote on a picture, or fill out a contact form.

To get this idea across, a coworker of mine uses the billboard analogy regularly.  He says something like this: “Your website is like a billboard on the side of the road.  People can drive past it all day long, but, if they don’t pull over and write down your information, what is the point of having the billboard?” His point is that having all the traffic in the world matters little unless those users are converting.  I really like this analogy, and I have adopted it in my sales calls.

Alternate Metaphor – Restaurant menu

Schema Markup = Writing Your 11th Grade Term Paper

This is one of the more daunting challenges when it comes to SEO, and, to be honest, it took me several conversations with coworkers and family (Thanks, Mom) to come up with this one.  Just mentioning this word, much less explaining it, will cause eyes to glaze over and minds to be numbed.

So, and this is not a perfect analogy, think about when you had to write that high school term paper.

You likely had to use footnotes, MLA Format, and proper quotation practices or your teacher marked you off.  There were certain structures that you had to include in your paper to properly convey the meaning you wanted to convey to anyone reading it.  In the same way, schema markup is a way of coding a website so that the search engines better understand its content. Obviously, this explanation isn’t ground shaking in its intricacy, but this is the world of metaphor, so we are in the business of creating images, not math equations.

Alternate Metaphor – Please tell me if you know one

After writing my first two blog posts about SEO, much of the feedback that I have received from friends in family goes something like this: “I loved your post, and you write great, but I have no idea what you are talking about.”  I can’t help but think that if I am not going out of my way to help my client understand SEO, he or she is probably leaving our conversations with the same confusion.

It doesn’t have to be this way if we work hard to create analogies that explain our industry in terms of everyday things, they will go a long way to helping people understand the basic concepts of SEO.


The ultimate JavaScript plugin cheat sheet


JavaScript is a powerful and dynamic language, but not everyone can remember everything all the time. Even the best need to check their references every once in a while. In this article, Sohel Ather goes back to the basics for a JavaScript cheat sheet that’s useful for beginners as well as experts. Plus, some of the best JavaScript plugins from 2017!

JavaScript is one the most powerful and dynamic interpreted language that has been standardized in the ECMAScript language specification. It is considered as one of the three core technologies of Internet content production along with HTML and CSS.

Today, the majority of websites employ JavaScript and all the modern web browsers support it without the need of any plugins. Moreover, this high-end language is prototype-based with top class functions that make JavaScript a multi-program language, supporting object-oriented, imperative and functional programming styles. JavaScript supports multiple styles of programming like object-oriented, imperative and functional.

What are regular expressions?

Regular expressions are patterns that are mainly used to match character combinations in strings. While in JavaScript, they are also objects that used with the exec and test methods of RegExp and with the match, replace, search and split methods of String.

JavaScript regular expressions (suffixes)

  • g              global
  • i              case-insensitive
  •              single line
  •            multi-lines

Regular expressions (masks)

  • ^             start of string
  • $             end of string
  • (…)        grouping
  • !()          but this group
  • .               any character
  • (x|y)      either x or y
  • [xyz]     among x y or z
  • [^xyz]  any but x y or z
  • a?           holds a once
  • a+          at least a once
  • a*zero  or several times a
  • a{5}       five times a
  • a{5,}     at least five times a
  • a{1, 4}  a between 1 and 4 times

Regular expressions (Quantifiers)

  • n+         Matches any string that contains at least one n
  • n*          Matches any string that contains zero or more occurrences of n
  • n?         Matches any string which comes zero or one occurrence of n
  • n{X}     Matches any string, containing a sequence of X n’s
  • n{X,Y}  Matches any string that contains a sequence of X to Y n’s
  • n{X,}    Matches any string that contains a sequence of at least X n’s
  • n$          Matches any string with n at the end of it
  • ^n          Matches any string with n at the beginning of it
  • ?=n        Matches any string that is followed by a specific string n
  • ?!n         Matches any string that is not followed by a specific string n

SEE MORE: Codota: Using AI to make our code better

2017’s top JavaScript plugins

Cheat sheets are all very well and good, but sometimes you just need a plugin or two to make your JavaScript experience better. 2017 is nearly half gone; let’s take a look at some of the top plugins that have hit the ecosystem thus far.


The Lory is one of the top plugins that is a touch-enabled photo slider. Unlike others plugins that are available, it doesn’t use the lightbox effect. Rather, this plugin enables you to embed slideshows with number of slides, fixed or variable widths and fix them into any container element.

Using this tool is extremely easy, so you can customize the swipe options with JavaScript. Moreover, the plugin’s GitHub page has enormous source code samples and live demos you can try to see if this could fit into your next project.


Today, modal windows are all the fury from email captures to interface notifications. Tingle is a widely-used plugin that takes modal windows to the next level with the basic CSS transitions and a completely clean JS options API for customization.

SEE MORE: Mesh – the JavaScript IDE that feels like a spreadsheet

You can check out a live demo on their site with different features, including buttons and embedded videos. Moreover, you can apply custom CSS classes, attach internal content and even develop callback functions with JavaScript options. It will also help you to develop callback functions after the modal opens and closes.


A lot of developers know how to code hyperlinks, which help users to jump across the page. However, how many devs want to write their own smooth scrolling library? The answer of this question is none. Jump.js is a valuable plugin.

To use this plugin, you just need to drop it and add the function call to whatever links require smooth scrolling. Within minutes, you will be up and running in no time with essentially no maintenance whatever.


Usually, I do not recommend using external video players; however, Plyr is one of the phenomenal plugins. This default player feels like a premium interface with closed captions, the space key shortcut to play/pause media and fullscreen mode.

Moreover, you can embed native HTML5 videos or external videos from YouTube/Vimeo. It also comes with a custom audio player for a similar visual without the video pane. No doubt, it is a wonderful and widely used video/audio media player running on HTML5 and vanilla JS. It is completely free and easy to customize with least efforts.


DropZone is a totally free drag-and-drop JavaScript library that can be used to upload anything on the web. Generally, drag-and-drop is the common behavior in upload forms, whereas it is a highly popular feature and hard to develop from scratch.

SEE MORE: How well do you know your JavaScript trivia?

But Dropzone is one such plugin is full of documentation. You can find much more information and a live demo on the official Dropzone website. It is popular for working right out of the box with very little customization required. You are allowed to expand this library with your own JS code that makes this plugin more than just a plugin.


baguetteBox.js is the most advanced plugin, which can be used to develop reusable lightbox effects with an unlimited number of pictures. The plugin supports all the touch/swipe gestures for mobile users and it is completely responsive.

It even supports some of the extra features, including CSS3 transition effects, image captions and more. Moreover, this plugin is the dependency-free and open source, so it is completely recommended to go with it.


With Headroom plugin, you can target your website’s navbar and auto-hides past some of the points. The plugin will also make the navbar re-appear whenever the user scrolls back up the page.

It is popular for its lightweight, high-performance JS widget, which enables you to react to the user’s scroll. What’s more, the header on this website is a live example as it slides out of view at the time of scrolling down and slides back.

SEE MORE: Bad maintenance means your favorite JavaScript libraries might be vulnerable


One of the best things about JavaScript is the community. These cheat sheets and plugins would not have been possible without the help and knowledge of developers all around the world. JavaScript’s community makes it possible to create and build together, whether you’ve just started or have been in the business for years.

Thanks to these cheat sheets and plugins, the hassle of work can be made easy and effortless to save time and money. In any case, there’s always going to professionals for help if the problem proves too insurmountable. Either way, good luck and good coding!


Meet the German pilot, blogger, and globetrotter who has become an Instagram star

instagram pilot

There’s no shortage of lifestyle bloggers travelling the world, sharing their wanderlust-inducing pictures on Instagram to hoards of followers.

But few of them have the knowledge of the globe that a pilot does — and a view from the cockpit.

Known [email protected] Instagram, Madeleine Schneider-Weiffenbach calls herself a “blogger & globetrotter” — and she also happens to be a trained pilot on the hunt for a job.

Until the perfect role crops up, her 760,000 followers watch as she travels the world — usually with her boyfriend, who also has a big following — sharing stunning snaps of destinations like Santorini and the Taj Mahal.

Meanwhile, she also writes a lifestyle blog where she shares her tips on travel, fitness, fashion, recipes, and even has an online shop where she sells her own book about “clean and creative cooking.”

Scroll down to meet the German pilot who has become an Instagram sensation.


RPT-GRAPHIC-Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead

Image result for RPT-GRAPHIC-Take Five: World markets themes for the week ahead

(Repeats Friday item without changes)

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.


With the Dow Jones Industrial Average touching 22,000 in the past week, some investors and traders are bracing for a rocky second half of 2017. The August through October time frame is the only three-month period to have a negative average return going back to 1928, according to Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. Some U.S. stock market internal measures are showing signs of rally fatigue, as the number of new stocks striking 52-week lows on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq has risen for seven straight days while the number marking fresh highs has declined in five of the past seven sessions. While new highs still outnumber new lows, they do so by the slimmest margin in about a month and stand at roughly a quarter of the 200-day moving average difference between the two. A similar dynamic is evident in the recent shift in the number of stocks advancing versus those declining on a daily basis. After a long period when gainers broadly outnumbered decliners, the table has turned in the last two weeks. On average over the past 10 days, the number of stocks falling has outnumbered those rising by the widest margin in four months.

* Dow pole vaults 22,000 but beware the landing

* BREAKINGVIEWS-Earnings power gives U.S. market rally new impulse


Not so long ago, some investors were worried that a strengthening dollar, as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates, would drive the long rally in global stocks into the sand. In fact an 8-percent fall since May in the greenback against a basket of other currencies has coincided with ever more record highs in MSCI’s All-Country World stocks index. While the fall in the dollar index also happened alongside a reduction in expectations of more Fed rate hikes, many analysts say the dollar weakness does not reflect concerns over the U.S. economy or over the uncertainty emanating from President Donald Trump’s White House. Instead, it reflects the relatively loose monetary conditions and confidence to invest in higher-yielding assets that could see the “risk-on” stocks rally maintained for a while yet.

* INVESTMENT FOCUS-Weak dollar a green light for the global stocks rally

* COLUMN-Raise rates? Inflation shows central banks should be keeping it easy


Even as Asian main stock markets bask in the glow of improving earnings estimates and scale new peaks, the region’s small-cap markets have been sold off in quick succession. This week, it was Japan’s Mothers start-up market sinking to fresh lows and marking a loss of almost 10 percent from a one-year peak hit in June. Hong Kong’s small-cap Growth Enterprise Market has been under pressure for weeks and China’s tech-heavy start-up board index ChiNext has likewise been sliding on worries about growth prospects and valuations of technology firms. The broader stock markets have so far not seen a spillover, and MSCI’s Asia index has been on a sustained uptrend. These markets have been fairly correlated with Nasdaq in the past. If global stock markets succumb, earnings growth and rising currencies may not insulate Asian stock markets. Researchers at MSCI point out that the first signs of stress in U.S. mortgage markets in 2007 triggered liquidity needs in multi-strategy funds which then were forced to unwind equity positions. The first to feel the hit were small-caps.

* Japan’s start-up stock market plunge could pressure small-caps —

* Small cap plunge drags China stocks lower despite strong GDP growth —


Inflows this year into tech stocks globally are running second only to the rush into EM debt, according to data from EPFR and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Surprisingly strong quarterly results from Apple and hopes of a blockbuster launch of the 10th anniversary iteration of the game-changing iPhone lifted its shares to a record high. The tech behemoth is now worth more than $800 billion and potentially on its way to becoming the world’s first $1 trillion company. In Asia, the tech sector, led by Samsung Electronics, is at the forefront of earnings upgrades. That, along with the sweet spot that tech is in as a beneficiary of low rates, global growth and disruption underway across industries from retail to banking, has ensured that tech stocks are the best performers by some distance across each of the world’s major market regions and the gap with sectors such as energy is particularly wide. Slowing inflows into the sector over the past week, as BofA-ML points out, could be the first signs that investors are keen on banking some profits.

* Apple shares sail to record high on healthy iPhone sales

* Investors dump healthcare stocks, appetite for tech fades


With South African President Jacob Zuma facing the ninth no-confidence motion of his career on Aug. 8, the rand and other markets are remarkably resilient, with the currency near three-week highs against the dollar and local rand-denominated stocks at record highs. Five-year CDS near 2-1/2-year lows, according to IHS Markit. If passed, the motion would require the cabinet to step down along with Zuma. While Zuma is unpopular with investors and citizens alike, it would add political turmoil to the mix for South Africa, which is in recession and has suffered a ratings downgrade to junk and seen joblessness soar to 14-year highs. One reason for market calm is that the dollar is at 16-month lows – a plus for the deficit-ridden South African economy – and second, the scandal-prone leader is likely to survive the vote as usual. There is potential for a surprise with the parliament speaker allowed to decide if the motion can be held under a secret ballot. The motion needs a simple majority to pass but this would still be unlikely, given it would need a fifth of the ruling ANC Party’s MPs to vote against Zuma, said John Ashbourne of Capital Economics.

* ANC MPs would have to be “bewitched” to vote out Zuma – chief whip

* GRAPHIC-Fragile no more: emerging market funding gaps shrink from 2013


Who’s on The One Show tonight? The Script appear at the Heart of the Glens Food Festival as The Big Causeway Crawl continues

THE One Show is back on the box tonight for its second episode in Northern Ireland on The Big Causeway Crawl.

It’s coming straight to viewers from a village food festival, but what else do we know? Here’s the low-down…

 Matt Baker and Alex Jones are back on the sofa tonight

Matt Baker and Alex Jones are back on the sofa tonight

Who’s on The One Show tonight?

Irish rockers The Script will be on The One Show this evening, and will perform.

Viewers may know Dublin-born lead singer Danny O’Donoghue from his time judging The Voice UK during its first two series on the BBC.

Their fifth album Freedom Child is coming out on September 1 so it’s likely they’ll be discussing that.

The band formed in the early noughties and released their first EP in 2005, before their debut album came out in 2008.

Their best-known tracks include The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, Hall Of Fame, If You Could See Me Now and Superheroes.

Earlier this year they were criticised for an awkward interview about the One Love Manchester concert, in which Danny said: “That’s the first show of support that musicians got behind. Where the hell is Bono? Where’s Jay-Z? Where’s Beyoncé?”

 The Script are featuring on the programme tonight

The Script are featuring on the programme tonight

Who is presenting The One Show tonight and where is it being filmed?

Show regulars Matt Baker and Alex Jones will front tonight’s episode of The One Showfollowing its break.

Matt made his name on Blue Peter before fronting Countryfile and The One Show, while Alex started out as a TV researcher before bagging the prestigious BBC gig.

The show this evening is coming from Northern Irish village Cushendall, in Country Antrim, as it’s the second date in their Big Causeway Crawl which will see them end up at The Giant’s Causeway on Friday.

The annual Heart of the Glens Food Festival is currently happening in Cushendall so it’s likely Alex and Matt will be stuffing their faces with some local grub.

 The Heart of the Glens Food Festival provides the setting for tonight's show

The Heart of the Glens Food Festival provides the setting for tonight’s show

Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie confirms on the One Show the band will go on a global tour in 2018


Yorkshire couple find blogging fame after quitting teaching to travel the world

Liam and Philippa Doherty on the Great Wall of China

Liam and Philippa Doherty on the Great Wall of China

Liam and Philippa Doherty are not your average newly married couple.

Soon after tying the knot, the couple, who are 30 and 25, quit their teaching jobs in Bradford to embark on the ultimate footloose adventure.

The pair, who first met at Leeds Festival, gave up their mortgage and careers to travel the world, and have spent the past year backpacking around nine Asian countries.

Under the moniker Hitched Hikers, the newlyweds have gained a huge global following through their blogging site and Instagram page – which has over 3,000 fans.

Liam was working as a lecturer at Bradford College and Philippa as a teaching assistant when they made their life-changing decision, having already bought a house together in Thornton.

“We were following the routine progression into adult life. Before long we were married on Lake Como in Italy. However, after returning from our wedding the standard route into marital life deviated massively from the so called ‘norm’. We immediately sold our car and most of our belongings, let our house and moved in with my parents. We saved rigorously for the remainder of the summer, with Philippa working three jobs for a time,” said Liam.

“On the final day of August 2016 we waved our jobs, family and friends goodbye as we boarded a one way flight to New Delhi, India and have since been travelling around the world with nothing but our backpacks.

“We’d done some short-term travelling before and as time passed, it just became automatically assumed by both of us that we would set out on a long term adventure together; so right after our wedding seemed like perfect timing. What is better than a never-ending honeymoon!?”

Since then, they have toured India, Hong Kong, China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia, and are next planning to head to Japan.

“Leaving teaching was not a decision made because of a loss of love for the profession, although in recent years the job role and responsibilities had intensified. The motivation for doing so was through a love of travel and a realisation that we might not always have the opportunity to pack up our lives at the drop of a hat and see the world,” added Liam.

Follow their adventures at


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 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, 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 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.



Image result for SCORE BIG ON PLUGINS FROM SOUNDTOYS - THE SUMMER SALE IS ON!It’s that time of year again, the end of summer and the back to school blues. It’s not all bad though because that means it’s time to score some plugins for your studio from Soundtoys.

Save up to 75% on selected plugins from one of our favorite music software brands. This sale only happens a couple of times a year, so why wait until the holidays, you need these plugins now.

The killer deal – Soundtoys 5 bundle for only $399 – That’s everything!

Hurry, sale ends on August 15th.

Score on some of Soundtoy's most popular plugins. Shop HERE


With ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘It’ in theaters, Stephen King’s family themes hit mainstream America

Ilze Kitshoff, Sony Pictures

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Idris Elba, left, and Matthew McConaughey in the Columbia Pictures film, The Dark Tower.” (Ilze Kitshoff/Columbia Pictures/Sony via AP)

Stephen King is a writer who opens doors to a number of worlds. And this fall, he’s inviting moviegoers nationwide inside some of his most famous works.

On Friday, one of King’s earliest works, “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger” will be adapted for film as “The Dark Tower” and in September moviegoers will get a new — and if the trailers are to be believed — terrifying version of his 1986 novel “It”.

Based on the first book in The Dark Tower series, the film “The Dark Tower” will tell the story of Roland (Idris Elba), a gunslinger who lives in a fantastical world that runs parallel to our own. As a peacekeeper of that world, Roland’s only goal is to protect the dark tower — a literal tower that keeps all worlds, including our own, alive and well — from falling due to the hands of the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).

Actors Idris Elba, left, and Matthew McConaughey participate in “The Dark Tower” cast photo call at The Whitby Hotel on Sunday, July 30, 2017, in New York | Evan Agostini, Invision, Associated Press

Aiding Roland in his quest is a young boy named Jake (Tom Taylor), who hails from our world (New York City, specifically). Roland and Jake develop a bond that lingers close to the line of father and son.

In King’s Dark Tower series, which includes seven books and one novella, Jake and Roland’s relationship grows into a father-son relationship, with the boy going as far as to call Roland his father toward the end of the saga.

This short thread of a story reveals something consistent throughout King’s tales. No matter how dark, twisted or malevolent, at their core, his stories are often family, even love, centered. Take any King tale written or adapted for television, movie or miniseries, and viewers will see familial themes shining throughout.

While it’s true that King’s tales often contain overly sexual content with plenty of irreverence and violence, they still highlight the idea that family can help people through anything.

Take a look King’s famous story “It,” which opens in theaters Sept. 8. Most people know the general idea of this tale: a demon clown terrorizing a group of youngsters who are working their way through adolescence.

The book’s characters go through a number of experiences that define modern boyhood — winning the heart of the prettiest girl in school, facing the bully and his cronies and seeking out mystery on a boring summer evening. And while King knew childhood from his growing up years, he was a father by the time he wrote “It,” and the book is peppered with parental guidance.

One prime example comes from Edward “Eddie” Kaspbrak, a boy with asthma problems and a loving — perhaps too loving — mother. As the story progresses, readers learn that her love has led her to do dark things, but while her actions are extreme, it is clear that she is a parent trying her best to protect her son.

Horror author Stephen King sits atop the television set in his Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel room, July 26, 1986. Not content with producing one chilling hit novel after another, King has directed his first movie, “Maximum Overdrive.” | Michael Tweed, Associated Press

Love — in all its forms — is a theme that crops up again and again in King’s novels. In “Christine,” the story of a demonized 1958 Plymouth, nerd Arnie Cunningham grew more handsome the more times he spent with the possessed car. His best friend tried to save Arnie as did his parents, who constantly argued with their teenage boy over his obsession with the car. Arnie saw his parents as overbearing, but it was their love that kept them working to save their increasingly disturbed son.

These themes of love and family appear in King’s shorter works as well. His novella “The Mist,” which was previously adapted for film but more recently became a TV show for Spike TV, tells of a father, David, who got caught inside a grocery store with his son, Billy, as a supernatural mist overtook their town. It becomes up to the father and son to work together to save themselves and their neighbors. The movie’s dark ending forces readers to look at what sacrifices they would make for love, family and survival, highlighting once more King’s fascination with family.

From his newer work to the older pieces, King’s reliance on family continues to present itself. Not all tales are focused on family, but many have familial themes sprinkled throughout and many touch on the idea of what it means to be a family.

To understand why these themes are important to the author, it may be helpful to look at King himself. The New York Times profiled the best-selling author back in 2013, highlighting what they called King’s “family business.”

King, a modest man with his mind stuck on Halloween, has a family full of writers. His son Joe, who changed his name to Joe Hill, and Owen, who stuck with Owen King, both write successfully. His wife Tabitha is also a writer. His daughter, Naomi, is a minister, but she too has writing experience.

In fact, King often had his family help him with his writing and reading, teaching them storytelling in multiple ways.

Author Stephen King hugs his son, Owen, at Book Expo America, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in New York. The pair have co-written a novel, Sleeping Beauties, to be published in September. | Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

“If reading was a common escape in the King household, it was nonetheless deeply social,” The New York Times reported. “They read on tape, but they also took turns reading aloud after dinner, passing around ‘The Hobbit’ or the Narnia chronicles. It followed that writing came to feel like something they all could share as well. Stephen and Tabitha did not take themselves off to quiet sheds or off-site offices to write; they wrote in their home, upstairs, as their kids, below, wondered what words were being put on the page and played elaborate role-playing games of their own.”

That long-standing tradition morphed into something greater. Hill and Owen King often write books alongside their more famous father. Interested readers can find all of their books at Barnes and Noble or on any best-seller list.

In fact, King and Owen are releasing a new book this fall called “Sleeping Beauties.” That book, which will be released Sept. 26, takes place in small town in West Virginia where all women across the world fall asleep, leaving men to fend for themselves.

King said the experience of writing with his son was “a blessing” and a “thrill,” according to USA Today.

He even posted a Father’s Day video of him and Owen in preparation for the novel.

Family too isn’t just a theme in King’s stories — sometimes, the people themselves inspire his tales. The idea for “Sleeping Beauties” came from something his mother used to say.

“The first thing that came into my mind was something my mother used to say,” he said at a Book and Author Breakfast at the BookExpo America in June. “She raised my brother and me alone. We were latchkey kids before there were latchkey kids, back in the ‘50s. She used to say that if you go into a house and you use the bathroom and there is no ring around the toilet, there’s a woman around somewhere because men don’t do that.”

Once again, even with his latest work, like “Sleeping Beauties,” King presents the connection to family, one that weaves its way inside and outside of his stories. There’s some core element of family buried deep inside each tale. It may not always be positive, but it is there, waiting to be explored.

Moviegoers may see it this weekend with “The Dark Tower,” as Roland and his compadre, a young boy who is more or less a son, work to save this world and all worlds together.

A father and son traveling to save worlds sounds like a family story to the last.


James Gunn To Publish Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Script

Breaking news from the ever-beloved Twitter: Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn will be publishing the script for recent Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

This news came about when a Twitter user contacted Gunn over the service to ask if Marvel Studios will continue to publish screenplays for their films, like they did for Captain America: The First Avenger. Gunn didn’t confirm whether or not it will be a studio-wide thing, but he did confirm that he himself will be doing it for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

This is a pretty cool move on Gunn’s part. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a smash hit at the box office, and the Guardians of the Galaxy series has been one of the more widely beloved Marvel Studios series. The movie made over $500 million at the box office — an impressive feat even for a Marvel Studios film, which can’t seem to stop themselves from producing money in huge waves.

He didn’t say when the release will be, but, as you can see above, he does say that he is currently working on it. Hopefully it will be pretty soon for all you Guardians of the Galaxy fans out there who want to take a look at the bones of this film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russel, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, and Bradley Cooper, is set to come out on DVD and Blu-ray on August 22nd. For those who want it sooner and/or in digital, it is set to come to Amazon Digital and iTunes on August 8th. If you’re like me, Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) by Looking Glass hasn’t left your head since you were at the theater.