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Manage Your Multi-Author Blog with Oasis Workflow

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Running a personal blog on your own can be a relatively simple affair. There’s just you, so you’re the one who “pitches” the ideas, you’re the one who writes the posts, you’re the one who edits them, and you’re the one who hits the “publish” button. Suddenly, the situation can become far more complex when you introduce multiple authors and multiple editors.

When you have several post drafts sitting in your WordPress back-end with several more “pending review,” it can become unclear who is responsible for what and when these posts need to be published. You need to better organize your workflow and that’s where the Oasis Workflow plugin for WordPress can completely streamline your editorial process.

A Better Workflow for Blogging Teams

Helping to automate the WordPress publication process, Oasis Workflow allows administrators and editors to create a visualized workflow through a simple drag-and-drop interface. At each step along the way, contributors and editors can “sign off” on their work before passing it off to a colleague for the next step in the workflow.

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The WordPress plugin is flexible and scalable enough to suit teams of just about any size. If you have a smaller site with about a half dozen writers, it can become much clearer to editors when a post is ready to be edited and published. Editors can also reject a submission, marking it as a “failure” and sending it back to the original contributor, complete with comments on what needs to be changed.

And just as WordPress has a built-in revision history for individual blog posts, allowing you to revert back to previous versions or look at what changes have been made, Oasis Workflow also comes with a process history for each post. This way, you’ll know exactly who has done what with a post (and when) as it makes its way through a workflow process.

A System That Works for You

Every site is different and every team is different, so the exact parameters of the best workflow for that team on that site will vary. It wouldn’t make much sense if Oasis Workflow forced your team into a configuration that doesn’t work for you.

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Creating your own custom workflows through the Oasis Workflow system is really easy to understand. After the plugin has been installed and activated, you access everything you need through your own WordPress dashboard. There’s a section in there for all your Oasis settings.

New workflows are created through a simple drag-and-drop interface. The different nodes can be created for each step of your workflow, like idea submission, drafting, editing, and publication. You then connect these nodes by clicking and dragging on the squares within each node. Blue arrows designate a “success” path, whereas red arrows designate a “failure” path, allowing you to move a post in either direction as needed.

In effect, nodes can be broken down into one of three types: assignment, review, and publish. However, you can have multiple nodes of each type depending on the workflow that you need. The example above is one of the simplest, but Oasis supports more complex workflows too.

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With this example, you have multiple levels of review that involve proofreading and a project manager, as well as database and cataloging, before finally getting to final approval and publication. There are other commonly used workflows that might involve a two-level review process or steps that involve a graphics team, a fact verification team and more. It’s entirely up to you.

Assignments, Responsibilities and Due Dates

The actual day-to-day use of Oasis Workflow is similarly easy to understand and easy to scale to suit your team’s needs. A team member drafts up a blog post as normal, but instead of hitting the “save draft” or “publish” button like how she would normally in WordPress, she can click the new “Submit to Workflow” button instead.

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This prompts a new pop-up window where the specifics of this post, as it pertains to the workflow, can be defined. Oasis Workflow supports multiple workflows — since you may have a different process for different types of content — so the first step is to choose which workflow is applicable to this post.

After that, you indicate the current step and assign the next step to another team member. It’s clear here which team members are available for assignment. This allows for clear accountability as to who should be picking up the torch next. The window also allows for due dates, future publish dates, and any comments the contributor may have.

One other feature that is positively invaluable with Oasis Workflow is the inbox. Once a new task has been assigned to a team member, that task will show up in that member’s inbox after he or she logs into WordPress. The inbox has the hybrid appearance of a list of WordPress drafts and an email inbox. Users can then make their way through their inbox, signing off on tasks as they complete them. This is far more efficient and effective than fishing through an exhausting list of all the current posts saved in WordPress.

Revise Your Published Posts Too

Going through one of your custom workflows makes perfect sense when you have brand new content to be published on your site, but what if you have existing content that needs to be revised or updated? Oasis Workflow works there too.

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Rather than having to pull your existing content offline so that it can be edited and revised, Oasis can create a copy of the article that can then be put through your workflow. It can proceed through the steps as if it were a new post, going through the success and failure paths as needed.

When the post is once again ready for publication, the revised copy can replace the existing version on the site in a completely seamless fashion. This way, your older content doesn’t have to disappear from your site while you make changes.

How Much Does Oasis Cost?

If your needs are on the more basic end of the scale, Oasis Workflow can be downloaded and used for free from the WordPress Plugin Directory. However, you will need to upgrade to one of the paid licenses in order to unlock all of the features.

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The free, basic license limits you to just one workflow, for example. It also does not have the auto submit to workflow feature, downloadable history reports, advanced reporting, the ability to copy steps or workflows, and so on. The $49 Pro license provides two licenses and allows for unlimited workflows. The Developer and Corporate licenses are virtually identical, except they allow for a greater number of licenses.

If you’re looking for a way to automate the editorial workflow on your WordPress site and you’re tired of sifting through too many drafts to figure out what needs to be done next, Oasis Workflow could be for you. The full integration with WordPress makes it so easy to use.

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A professional freelance writer based out of Vancouver, Michael Kwan focuses mostly on the worlds of technology, gadgets, and the Internet. You can find him blogging at Beyond the Rhetoric, among several other websites around the web.

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Acquire Empowers Customer Conversations With Technology

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The way that the world of business works today is that you need to be able to have those targeted conversations with the right customers at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way. Online users in particular demand a certain level of instant connection. If they don’t get the answers they want right away, they are apt to move on to the next viable alternative.

Facilitating your ability to have personalized and targeted conversations with customers is Acquire, a complete multi-channel messenger packed with invaluable features.

Sparking a Conversation

Utilized by such notable businesses as Samsung, Audi and Penske, as well as the UK government, Acquire is positioned as a customer communication platform.

The objective here is to provide you with a messaging platform where you customers can connect with your sales and support teams in a quick, efficient, and user-friendly manner. But really what is key here is that the communication through Acquire extends beyond what your sales and support teams are able to deliver.

And a big part of this has to do with the remarkable artificial intelligence (AI) that Acquire employs for its chatbots. This can automate much of the process to deliver faster, more personalized support in a way that is utterly seamless, working right alongside your human team to provide the best customer experience possible.

Live Chat and Chatbots

You may have noticed that an increasing number of websites on the Internet provide some sort of “live chat” functionality, all without having to go to an actual “live chat” page or to initiate a session directly. This is powered through a little “chat” icon that is omnipresent across all pages.

With Acquire live chat, your agents are able to talk to customers both on your website and through your mobile app. This can include regular text-based chat sessions with support for links, thumbnails and images, but also live video chat for the fastest and most efficient customer support. This is terrific for sales too, because it means you’re able to reach the right customers at the perfect time.

But what if you don’t have human agents available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Or what if there are certain routine questions and queries that are not the best use of human resources? That’s where the modern, AI-based chatbot from Acquire can step in. All you have to do is import your existing FAQs, chat history and knowledge base. Your bot can then use this to build its foundation for interacting with customers.

The chatbot is constantly learning based on its interactions with customers, so it only gets smarter and better over time. Common customer questions can be answered quickly and efficiently. This includes sales inquiries for improved conversions and support questions for intelligent suggestions. You can review the questions your bot has been answering and refine as needed for future inquiries.

When more complex issues arise, a human agent can be assigned to pick up where the chatbot left off. Indeed, the chatbot recognizes how to best route a customer query to the best possible human representative. And even where a human team member wasn’t called in to intervene, it’s easy enough to review the bot conversations and pass along the key customer details to a human team member for follow-up. Remember that the goal is an exceptional customer experience.

The Advantage of Co-browsing

Another major component to the Acquire platform is a feature they call co-browsing. This allows your agents to interact with a customer’s web screen in real time.

This is hugely advantageous over conventional sales and support chats, where needed, because it means that a customer doesn’t have to capture a screenshot, find somewhere to save it, and then figure out how to get that screenshot to an agent. To provide the best user experience, co-browsing allows customers to show agents where they’re having difficulty, while also allowing agents to show customers how to best resolve their issue.

The cobrowse feature isn’t just simple screen sharing either. For example, it’s possible for agents to interact with what is shown on the customer’s screen using drawing and highlighting tools. They can point out that they should fill out “this” field or that they need to click “that” button or that “this” section is used for whatever purpose.

Agents can also navigate customers through your website on their behalf to help them get to where they need to go. What’s more, co-browsing with Acquire works not only on your own company website, but also on other sites. All you have to do is put the URL in a co-browse box on the dashboard and your agents and customers can share in the experience in real-time.

No third-party downloads are necessary, and you can mask out private data and fields (like credit card information) so your agents can’t see or interact with them. Security is certainly a priority. Co-browsing works in parallel with live chat or video chat, as well as with phone representatives working at call centers too.

What Else Can It Do?

The goal with Acquire as a platform is to provide the tools you need to “encourage customer engagement and success across the board.”

The advanced AI sales and support chatbot can automate much of your customer interactions, freeing up time and resources for your human team. This can boost productivity, because the chatbot can handle more routine inquiries on their behalf. Co-browsing adds great value to the customer experience too, as does the integrated video and voice chat.

Beyond that, you’ll find the ability to create campaigns to segment customers based on behavior, manage customer profiles so you can best target them with the relevant promotions and campaigns, and dive into the deep analytics with plentiful data to boost sales, identify successes, and improve support.

How Much Does It Cost?

Acquire is offered in three main pricing tiers to suit a range of businesses.

The basic tier is free and includes one agent. The scope here is modest, allowing for 250 customer profiles, one campaign, and the basic chat messenger. The $25 (per agent) premium tier adds co-browsing and screensharing, video and voice chat, complete integrations, and unlimited campaigns and customer profiles. The $200 team plan is the most popular with 5 agents ($40/month more for additional agents), the AI chatbot, mobile SDK, video and voice call recording, and team analytics.

Take Acquire out for a free test drive for 14 days. Set-up is easy and no credit card is required.

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Managed WordPress Hosting From 1&1 Makes Websites Easy

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We’ve come a very long way since the early days of the Internet. Way back then, you had to dig right into the raw code if you wanted to create your own website. The technical aspect was overwhelmingly complex and intimidating for the vast majority of people. Thankfully, building a website is much easier than ever before and it’s a lot more affordable to boot. The key is finding the right platform and the right providers to fuel your online journey and 1&1 Internet wants to be on your team.

A Full-Featured Web Hosting Provider

It may surprise many of you to learn that 1&1 was actually founded way back in 1988, back when the public Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the company has proudly served up some 15 million customer contracts around the world, employing more than 7,000 people around the globe. A fly-by-night operation they most certainly are not.

What you can expect from 1&1 is a full suite of product and service offerings so you and your website can be successful online. This starts with domain registration with your standard .com and .org TLDs, as well as more unique TLDs like .online and .club if that is what you are after. When you “claim your perfect domain” with 1&1, you also get a free email address and unlimited subdomains.

As you make your way around the 1&1 website, you’ll find an impressive array of services, including multiple web hosting options, cloud server services, business email solutions, online accounting software, several options for building and running an eCommerce website, local and online marketing tools, and web security. This is just about everything you’d need.

The 1&1 Website Builder

For people who aren’t at all interested in getting themselves elbow-deep into the complexities of a custom web design, the 1&1 MyWebsite website builder is ideal. The goal here is to provide an all-inclusive package for not only building and designing a great looking website, but also supporting whatever it is that you wish to accomplish with the website. This includes marketing tools like a newsletter to keep your customers informed of what’s going with your business.

The process starts with choosing one of the numerous customizable design templates for your website. These templates cover a broad range of industries and usage cases, including real estate, arts and leisure, professional services, restaurants and tourism, health and beauty, and even just personal pages. There are literally thousands of these templates to choose from, each of which can be customized to align with your brand.

What’s great is that you are also offered access to a high-quality image archive with over 20 million images to give your website the visual appeal you desire. As you work through your website project, you will be offered image and text suggestions to make the process even easier. It really is approachable by just about anyone, even if you’re not technically inclined. There’s even an integrated Google translator to serve international audiences as well as a built-in online photo editor to edit those images on the fly.

WordPress Web Hosting

You can certainly choose to pick up a standard web hosting plan from 1&1 and install WordPress yourself. All you’d have to do is log into your 1&1 control panel and then search for WordPress through the provided app center to start your website project. However, for people who are less technically inclined or who don’t want to deal with the finer details of administration, the Managed WordPress packages from 1&1 could be much more appropriate.

The monthly price for the Managed WordPress plans with 1&1 cover the same range as the regular web hosting plans, but these are targeted specifically at users who plan on using WordPress and would like to take advantage of the easier installation, plus automatic security updates, pre-installed plugins, WP Expert support, and more. This will help you hit the ground running.

You see, while you could take the standard hosting plan and go through to complete the regular security updates on your own, this managed hosting plan puts your mind at ease, because you’ll know you’ll always have the newest updates installed and running properly. And since the most popular plug-ins come pre-installed, you don’t have to spend time doing that either.

The monthly plans are based mostly on the number of WordPress projects you wish to have. The basic plan is just $0.99/month for the first year ($7.99/month after that) and it supports one project with 50 GB of SSD storage and unlimited visitors, plus a free domain for 12 months. Most users will likely step up to the second tier with the plus plan for $4.99/month for the first year ($9.99/month after that) for five WordPress projects and 250 GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited visitors and the one-year free domain.

The other big difference when you upgrade from a basic plan to the plus plan, even if you don’t have much interest in running more than one WordPress site, is that you gain access to the 1&1 CDN (content delivery network). This ensures the best possible experience and the fastest loading times for your site visitors. You also get up to 2 GB of RAM guaranteed and the SSD web space means faster performance too. They say you get up to 50% more speed compared to traditional hard drives!

Your Home on the Web

Should you ever get to the point where you’d rather administer your WordPress site yourself entirely, you can always move away from a managed WordPress experience to one that is self-guided. The reverse isn’t true, so most WordPress users should at least start with the managed packages first. And realistically, if you plan on powering your sites with WordPress, there’s no reason not to get the managed plans. Just the automatic updates alone make it an excellent choice.

Creating, designing, launching and running a successful website doesn’t need to be hard. When you opt for a hosting plan with 1&1, you gain access to a wealth of terrific features at an affordable price. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and have proudly served millions of satisfied customers around the globe.

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Megapu.sh Push Notifications Ad Network Really Clicks

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The world of online advertising has changed significantly since the early days of the Internet. Publishers want to maximize their earnings while advertisers want to maximize their return on investment. Part of the challenge stems from the ongoing battle to get a user’s attention and one of the fastest growing trends to address this conundrum is the push notification. And Megapu.sh is “the first advertising push notifications network.”

The Network of Push

The earliest memory you may have of a push notification may have been when you received an email message on your BlackBerry. Push notifications have evolved tremendously since that time and they’ve been pushed onto desktops as well. This represents a huge opportunity for publishers and advertisers alike.

With Megapu.sh, you gain the opportunity to deliver your visual ad creative to users by push notification directly onto their device. This includes both mobile devices and desktop. Push notifications offer several key advantages over other types of online advertising. Rather than putting out an ad and hoping that the user goes to the right website and then hoping that the user notices the ad, the push notification puts your message front and center.

As an advertiser, you want to attract the attention of the right user at the right time at the right place. Push notifications allow for that, especially if you tap into advanced functionality like geo-activated notifications. You can target based on device, OS, browser, country, ISP and more. And you only pay for the clicks you receive (CPC) to maximize your potential ROI.

Usage Cases and Scenarios

Megapu.sh lists several potential usage cases where a push notification ad campaign can be very successful and profitable for the advertiser. Push notifications are a great way to inform customers about special offers and promotions, for instance, as well as a way to attract new subscribers for your email marketing list.

You can just as easily utilize a push notification to inform users about news and content as you can if you want to tell them about free games, free downloads and more. It really is as versatile as you want it to be. The push notification itself takes on a standard form where you upload an image (2:1 aspect ratio), along with title text and a short description. Whatever you want to promote, you can do it with a push notification.

Among existing advertisers on the Megapu.sh platform, you’ll find a fairly even split between such verticals as sweeps, dating, products, news, binary options, bookmakers and gambling. As long as you follow the rules — adult content is prohibited, for example — you can advertise almost anything you’d like. You do need to pre-fund your account before launching a campaign; the minimum deposit is $100.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do when you log into your account for the first time is to review the Megapu.sh rules. There’s no button for “I Accept,” but it is in your best interest to read through these rules carefully to ensure you comply with the network’s guidelines. After that, simply click on the “My account” button in the top-right corner to access your dashboard.

This is all pretty straightforward and easy to understand. If you click on your name in the top-right corner, you can select to edit your profile from the resulting pull-down menu. There’s not too much on this page aside from your name, Skype contact, Telegram, and phone number, as well as the option to change your password. Next to your name is the option to switch between English and Russian as your language of choice.

On the dashboard, you’ll be shown the number of clicks you’ve received across all campaigns today, as well as your total ad spend for the day. Below that is a chart for the same information over a period of time, and below that you’ll see some information about your top campaigns, as well as the geolocations with top campaigns across the network.

The main navigation is along the left sidebar where you’ll also see your support contact information, plus where you can create a new campaign, access existing campaigns, add funds to your account, check the total volume across the network by country, look into your referral program stats (7%), and look into the rules, news, API and FAQ.

Create a Campaign

The process for setting up a new campaign in Megapu.sh consists of just a single page. Just click on “new campaign” in the left sidebar.

On this page, you’ll be asked to provide all the pertinent details for your campaign. This includes a campaign name, which is mainly only for your own reference. Beyond that, you’ll need to provide a target URL for the link, a title (maximum 30 characters) to appear in the push notification ad and a message (maximum 45 characters) to appear in the push notification. For the latter two, there is a “smiley face” button there if you’d like to insert an emoji.

After that, you’ll need to upload the primary image (492 x 328 pixels) and the icon (192 x 192 pixels) for your campaign. There don’t appear to be any specific guidelines for file format here. I used PNG and JPG files and had no problem. You will need to resize them to the right dimensions though. Below that you’ll find all your targeting options, like country and browser, as well as your CPC bid in cents. In other words, a bid of 0.1 is equal to $0.001 or 1/10th of a penny per click.

When you select a country, you will be shown the minimum price and the average price for that geolocation. Understandably, some countries are more expensive than others. The average bid in Canada was about 5 cents, whereas the average price for Albania is just 0.3 cents. Your mileage may vary. Below this is an option to select a start and end time, define an IP range, and choose between five networks: MegaPush, AdMaven, AdSterra, PropellerAds and Advexxx.

Click on the red “preview” button and you’ll be shown what your push notification ad will look like when deployed. Click on the blue “create” button and your campaign will be submitted for moderation. And that’s it. Once your ad is approved, you can check up on its stats, group it with other campaigns, top up your budget, and so on.

The Future Is Push

Generating over 12 million clicks every day from countries all around the world, Megapu.sh is a demonstrated leader in the arena of push notification advertising. Minimum prices are as low as $0.001 per click and you get a full tracker with no need for third-party trackers. Some of the top geos include India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Thailand, but you can just as easily target just about anyone from anywhere. Sign up today and unleash your potential.

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