Top Five Advisor Main Blog Page - Page 3 of 8 - Top Five Advisor

Using Google Apps with Easy WP SMTP and Contact Form 7 From Field

We faced a problem last night that took us a couple hours to diagnose and repair on our Top Five Advisor email forms. When someone would fill out a contact form and submit it to us, the FROM field would show our administrator’s email address and not the email address of the user who submitted the request.

As it turns out, the way Contact Form 7 and all other email plugins work is they “spoof” or fake the actual from field when in actuality, the email is FROM your website and FROM your website’s main email address.

Most email systems allow this and there’s no issue, but for those of us that made the switch to WP Engine and realized that they do not allow email to be sent through their system, you probably made the switch to Google Apps because they are the best premium email provider and offer the best spam tools to block the junk.

Unfortunately, Google Apps and Gmail is one of those providers that do not allow spoofing. Therefore, the emails generated from our websites will use the admin email address in the FROM field which makes it a giant pain to reply to emails because you will have to copy and paste their email address to the “To:” line in reply or else you are sending the email to yourself. No good.

How We Fixed the Problem in Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 FixAfter researching the issue and discovering why this was happening, we searched out a solution from Contact Form 7 and found this article that helped us resolve the problem.

In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Contact” then hover your mouse over one of your contact forms and click the edit link.

From there, look for the section we show you on the left. The To should be your admin email address, the from area can be left as default, the subject line, you can customize like we do or just leave [your-subject] and finally, you’ll see the additional headers section which is where we will fix the problem.

Add the following code into this Additional headers box:

Sender: youremail@youremailaddresshere.com
Reply-To: [your-name] <[your-email]>

Then save the form.

Time to Test It!

Head over to your contact form and submit it using a fake email address in the “To:” field.

When you receive the email, you’ll notice that the FROM field still shows your website’s admin email, however, when you reply, your email program will use the “Reply-To” header and place the fake email address in the To box like you’d expect.

Now you or your staff will not accidentally send emails to themselves.

Now that you know about this Additional headers area, you can also add things like Cc: <youremail> Bcc: <manageremail> if you’d like to send the emails received to more than one staff member for archive and tracking purposes.

5 Social Media Widgets to Enhance Your WordPress Sidebar

One of the best ways to enhance your website to attract return visitors is to add social media integration into your website. Besides integrating your social media with WordPress SEO, you can also add some really nice eye-catching widgets to your WordPress sidebar that will help you increase follows, likes and social commenting.

Heres’s our choice of 5 social media widgets that you can implement on your website. Keep in mind, the more you add, the longer your website will take to load, so pick and choose your favorites but mind your visitor, don’t use them all, that’d be overkill. Instead, choose one or two and then add some social media icons or links to your other social media pages you’d like people to visit.

1) Facebook Page Plugin

Facebook Page PluginThis plugin is brand new at the time of this writing and replaces the now deprecated Facebook Like Box. You can use the code they provide as a “Text” widget on your sidebar to display your Facebook page to all of your visitors.

What’s nice about this is there’s a “Like” button and a “Share” button that will encourage people to like and share your page to others.

Visit the Facebook Page Plugin site, enter your page’s URL and then begin customizing how your widget will look on your website. You can customize:

– Width: 280x to 500px
– Height: 130px or higher
– Hide or show the cover photo (screenshot shows it)
– Hide or show friend faces (screenshot shows it)
– Show page posts (screenshot shows it)

Once you customize the plugin, then click the Get Code option and you’ll get the code you need to get this to show up on your website.

Facebook Code

Enter the first code into your customized theme or child theme header.php file or look for a theme options on your dashboard since some themes come with a way to enter code into the header. An example of this is Thrive Themes which allows you to go to Thrive Themes > Thrive Options > Analytics / Scripts > Header Script box.

Once you have that added, you’d then add the second code as a text widget. Go to Appearance > Widgets. Look for a sidebar section then drag and drop the “Text” widget to that area. From there, you’ll get a box to enter the code in.

2) Twitter Widget

Log in to the Twitter account you want to setup a widget on then go to the Twitter Widgets page then click the “Create new” button. From there, you’ll see this configuration screen to begin setting up your new site widget:

Twitter Widget

From here, notice all of the options available starting with the tab area. They are as follows:

  • User Timeline: You can create a traditional “User timeline” widget that will show your users your latest tweets along with customization options including the ability to exclude replies, enable auto-expanded photos, customize the higher from 250px or bigger, choose a color theme and link color.
  • Favorites: This will show off your most recent tweets that you have favorited. Options include auto-expanded photos, height, theme and link color.
  • List: Show off tweets from a list of users using the Twitter list feature. The best use of this would be to create an employee list of accounts from your website’s staff and instruct your staff members to make sure they only tweet stuff related to your website or website’s interests. Options include auto-expanded photos, height, theme and link color.
  • Search: Show off a specific search query on your website. You could specify a hashtag or any query but you won’t have control of what appears since anyone tweet with any hashtag or search query. Options include only showing top tweets, safe search mode, auto-expand photos, height, theme and link color.
  • Collection: If you have created a collection on your Twitter account, you can display that collection of tweets in a widget. Options include auto-expand photos, height, theme and link color.

Once you make your decision and customize the settings, click the blue “Create widget” button which will cause a message Your widget has been created along with a small code to copy and paste into a text widget as explained in the Facebook Page Plugin instructions above. You won’t need to add a special code to the header section of your website with this code.

3) Google+ Badge

Google+ BadgeAnother great social media widget integration is the Google+ Badge. This badge is similar to the Facebook Page Plugin except it doesn’t allow you to display your most recent posts. It allows people to add your Google+ page to circles and also to +1 the page. This feature was also mentioned in our Google+ Beginner’s Guide and makes yet another appearance here.

Head on over to the Google+ Badge page and wait a few seconds for the page to fully load. You’ll miss the badge creation page if you impatiently scroll down the page, give it a few seconds and the badge creation options will appear right on the top of the page.

Here’s the features you can choose from and an explanation:

  • Google+ User: Select either your main profile or your Google+ page.
  • Features: Choose Badge or Icon. Most use badge here.
  • Layout: Portrait or Landscape. Use portrait to get the screenshot we show here or use landscape for a much smaller height profile.
  • Width: Portraight, 180px – 450px. Landscape, 273px – 450px.
  • Color theme: Light or dark.
  • Cover photo:  For portrait mode only, allows you to disable the cover photo.
  • Tagline: For portrait mode only, allows you to disable the tagline.

Under advanced options, we recommend enabling “Dynamic” because this will enable the dynamic load feature which will improve your initial page loading time.

Once you are done, you will notice below the badge is a snippet of code that has been automatically generated for you. There’s two parts of this code just like Facebook’s code. Place the first part in your theme’s header.php or custom header script box (if available) and place the second part in a text widget.

4) YouTube Subscribe Button

YouTube SubscribeIf you create video and upload them to YouTube, a great way to raise awareness and subscribers is to use the YouTube subscribe button. Head on over to the subscribe button page and scroll down until you see “Configure a button.”

For the channel name or ID, you will want to enter in your custom channel name or use your full channel ID name. We had a little difficulty getting our Top Five Advisor channel to work, but figured it out. So if you have a channel that was created from a Google+ page or from another source, go to your channel’s main page and click on your channel name. From there you can get the real channel ID from the URL as shown:

YouTube Channel ID

Anyway, once you configure the YouTube button with Layout setting, Theme setting and whether or not it shows Subscriber count, you’ll see the code that you can enter into a text widget. For this code, you can either enter the entire code into the widget or place the javascript part of the code in your theme’s header area which is shown below.

<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js"></script>

5) SnapWidget for Instagram

Instagram WidgetIf you run a photography driven website or offer promotions and various related content, you may want to add Instagram as a sidebar widget (or take advantage of other widget areas on your theme).

Since Instagram doesn’t offer a direct widget solution, we’ve chosen SnapWidget as your Instagram solution. Head on over there then click the blue “Get Your Free Widget Button.” From there, you’ll get a large amount of configuration settings that you can use to make best use of this widget on your website.

Enter your username or favorite hashtag and then select the widget type that you’d prefer. We recommend selecting one style then click the Preview button at the bottom to see how it looks. The most popular style is the “Grid” layout because it shows just the photo and offers excellent options that will help you get it looking exactly the way you want.

For the sidebar widget area, we recommend the 125px thumbnail size and a 2×2 layout. Another option is to go with a larger thumbnail size like 250px and choose 1×2 or 1×4 so that your Instagram images are stacked vertically.

Other options include the background color, photo padding (space between images), hover effect, social sharing buttons that appear at the bottom of each image, and the ability to enable “responsive” if you have a responsive WordPress theme.


That’s it for our recommendations. Is there a widget that you use on your website that failed to make our list? Comment below and let our readers know!

How to Limit Tags in Tag Cloud Widget in WordPress

Have you ever tried to use the Tag Cloud widget in your WordPress but it appeared way too messy to use? Here at Top Five Advisor, we have over 100 tags that we have setup and we’re just getting started. Unfortunately, the default display of the tag cloud widget is to show all of your tags and increase in size depending on the tag use on your content.

WordPress Tag Cloud WidgetYou may notice that we have the following screenshot on the left displaying on the bottom of our website and you may be wondering how we did it.

Thankfully, all you need to do is make a quick edit in your functions.php file and you’ll be able to customize how many tags will appear in your widget area.

Simply change the number 5 on the “$args[‘number’] = 5;” line and the number you set will be the total tags allowed to be shown in that widget area, whether it is in your sidebar or footer areas.

Here’s the code snippet that you need to add to your functions.php:

// Limit Tags in Tag Cloud Widget
add_filter('widget_tag_cloud_args', 'tag_widget_limit');
function tag_widget_limit($args){
 if(isset($args['taxonomy']) && $args['taxonomy'] == 'post_tag'){
  $args['number'] = 5; // <-- Tags Limit
 }

 return $args;
}

What this will do is show your most popular tags in the tag cloud depending on the number you set. In our case, the screenshot in this post represents the 5 most popular tags as of the time of this posting.

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How to Remove the URL Field in WordPress Comments

One of the greatest ways we’ve found to discourage spammers on our site is to remove the URL field in your WordPress comment section. Thankfully, this is a rather painless process that requires a small plugin or functions.php edit.

Option 1 – Functions.php Edit

Here’s the functions.php code snippet:

// Remove URL Field
add_filter('comment_form_default_fields', 't5a_remove_url');
function t5a_remove_url($fields) {
	if(isset($fields['url']))
	unset($fields['url']);
	return $fields;
}

Once you’ve added the following filter to your functions.php, you should notice that the URL field permanently disappears from your commenting area of all posts and pages that allow WordPress comments. This one is really awesome because your website will not even print the URL field in your posts and pages, blocking spambots from even attempting to submit comment spam.

Option 2 – WordPress Plugin

Although we attempt to limit our plugins whenever possible, we do realize that not everyone is comfortable with editing their functions.php or the child themes setup requires should you decide to update your theme to the latest version.

Install the Hide-n-Disable-comment-url-field plugin and you are off to the races.

In your dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New. In the search box, enter Hide-n-Disable-comment-url-field as your search query, then click search. From there, this plugin should be the first plugin in the list.

Install the plugin as usual, activate and you are done.

Time to Verify

To verify the changes are working, visit your WordPress website from a different web browser that is not currently logged in. Navigate to a post that is currently accepting comments and see if you have the website field.

Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal Tribute to Ryan McHenry

If you haven’t heard about the Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal series created by Ryan McHenry, you may have been living under a rock. Back in 2013, Ryan created this series and it became an instant hit on Vine and spread through social media like wildfire. All Ryan did was show many of Ryan Gosling’s dramatic movies and showed a spoonful of cereal with Gosling “rejecting it.”

It was one of those times when you laugh but wonder why you did.

The Videos

Here’s a compilation of many of these Vines combined into a single YouTube video done by Ryan McHenry himself.

Here’s some awesome reactions by YouTube celebrities, start at 2M 22S

Ryan Gosling Reacts

Ryan McHenry tweeted to @RyanGosling and asked

@RyanGosling @iTunesMovies AHAHAHAHA! I’m so sorry for making that meme. Will you forgive me? #AskRyan #LostRiver

Of course, a single word response from Gosling was absolutely hilarious:

Ryan McHenry Sadly Passes Away

Over this past weekend, it has been reported that Ryan McHenry passed away after losing a two-year battle with bone cancer as was first reported by McHenry in a tweet.

News of his passing spread quickly with Vine’s official Twitter account tweeting this special tribute to McHenry showing him looking out of a window while riding a train. It was a nice touch.

https://twitter.com/vine/status/594916906890465280

Which finally triggered this awesome response from Ryan Gosling himself.

Ryan Gosling Finally Eats His Cereal and Responds

 

An awesome tweet to accompany his tribute above. Amazing.

3

Top Five SEO Tools for Your WordPress Website

Now that you’ve been using your WordPress website, you are probably looking for ways to extend your website to add additional functionality and features. One of the first steps you should make is adding an SEO plugin and to take advantage of SEO resources that will potentially increase your website traffic.

One of the biggest sources of traffic to your WordPress website will likely be search engines. Unfortunately, the default WordPress configuration will not allow you to maximize your chances of ranking better in their search index.

Below, you will find the top five resources that we recommend you to use and implement as part of your overall SEO strategy.

What is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is generally the best practices that can be followed to help achieve a better ranking in search engine result listings.

Best WordPress SEO Tool – WordPress SEO

WordPress SEO

Plugin PageJoost de Valk WordPress SEO Page

WordPress SEO Diamond Award by Top Five
Without a doubt, the best and most popular SEO plugin for WordPress is WordPress SEO. This solution is comprehensive, has the most features, optimized for easy usability and it just… works.

The primary goal of most SEO plugins is to do one thing, to allow you to optimize your content title tag and meta description so that search engine spiders will have a greater understanding of what your content is about.

WordPress SEO goes way above and beyond that by allowing you to optimize your tag, category, custom post type, archives and pages as well. The thing is, this plugin does so much more, things you may not be expecting, that will help you drive more traffic to your website. For instance:

WordPress SEO Social Optimization

How about a full social media enhancement that allows you to inform search engines about your social media pages and profiles? Facebook Open Graph is support, Twitter cards are supported and specific Google+ meta data is also supported. If you’ve seen our Twitter account, we don’t even need to explain how awesome these enhancements are:

Other features include XML Sitemap generation (easy spider food for engines), RSS optimizations, breadcrumbs, import and export functionality to convert to or from another SEO plugin and lastly, the awesome page analysis feature that occurs on any page or post. The analysis will let you know how your SEO for your target keyword is, will show you how many characters left in your meta description and will even warn you if your title/description text is too long. All of it, great stuff and we use it every day.

Price: Free.
You may upgrade to WordPress SEO Premium for $89/year to add a redirect manager, tutorial videos, Google Webmaster Tools integration and premium customer support. Of course, this is optional but does help support Joost and his team.

Best Keyword Research Tool – Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword PlannerGoogle Keyword Planner Page

One of the most important things you can do for your niche and website is to do your research into your market. The Google keyword research tool is awesome for Google AdWords users (paid traffic) but it can also be awesome for people not planning to advertise.

With this free tool, you can search our your niche and get keyword ideas based on search volume, number of results and it will even show you the competitive scope of the keyword. Dig around in there, find some low hanging fruit and make content around it.

We strongly recommend incorporating the Google Keyword Planner in your content marketing SEO strategy.

Price: Free.

Best Link Checker Tool – Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Screaming Frog SEO SpiderScreaming Frog SEO Spider Page

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is an awesome spider and website crawler tool that you run as software on your PC, Mac, or Ubuntu. The software will crawl your entire website and generate a list/report that you can use to find broken links, 301 redirects and other problem areas on your website.

This tool is especially useful if you’ve changed your permalink structure and need to quickly find posts that reference old URLs that need updating. Although this can be a tedious manual process, there is a quicker way with PHPMyAdmin export, find/replace and upload which you could certainly outsource to someone who can do this for you.

We found this tool to be invaluable when we converted our Top Five Advisor website to WordPress and needed a full site structure spreadsheet that we could use to redirect old links. After that was completed, we decided to switch our URL structure again to take advantage of the WordPress tagging system which required another round of link fixing.

Price: Free for 500 URLs.
£99/year for the full version that removes the 500 URL limit.

Alternative: Broken Link Checker Plugin. This plugin will scan your website for broken links on your website that is totally free, however, this plugin is known to be extremely resource intensive on your web host which can lead to performance issues or a message from your web host to discontinue use. A popular WordPress web host WP Engine has outright banned its use.

Best Competitive Analysis Tool – SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush Website

Once you start adding a ton of content to your website, you might be wondering what your competitors are doing to give themselves an edge on your website and the rest of their competition as well.

With SEMRush, you can research any website, get analytics and insights, discover competitors’ best organic keywords to target, discover backlink resources including referring domains, types and geolocation, find Google AdWords ad copy and budget, find search volume, discover additional competitors that are in your niche(s) and so much more!

Price: Free with limitations.

  • Pro Plan – $69.95/mo, includes 10k keywords per report with 3k reports per day.
  • Guru Plan – $149.95/mo, includes 30k keywords per report with 5k reports per day.
  • Business Plan – $549.95/mo, includes 50k keywords per report with 1k reports per day.

Definitely give their free search from their main page a try. You’ll instantly learn things about your competitors with a few strokes on your keyboard and mouse clicks. Of course, when you start doing a ton of searches, you’ll eventually hit their free threshold that will prevent further searching until the next day.

On Site Knowledge and Analysis – Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster ToolsWrapping up the top five best SEO tools to use on your WordPress website is the Google Webmaster Tools service. Using WordPress SEO, which was recommended above, you can easily integrate Google Webmaster Tools into your website which will begin tracking your visitors, your page views, your popular pages and much much more.

From your WordPress dashboard, go to SEO > General then click the “Webmaster Tools” where you can enter the code provided to you by Google’s Webmaster Tools. Once you complete this step, return to Webmaster Tools and verify that the code has been integrated properly.

From there, give Google a few days to collect data on your website and then return to see all of the awesome metrics and stats they provide you with.

Price: Free.

Important Information – Optimizing Your Website

It has been known for quite some time now that Google loves websites that are optimized for fast page load times and for mobile users, they recently launched a new algorithm that looks for websites that are mobile response and mobile friendly.

Regarding page load times, a lot of that comes down to the amount of plugins that add javascript and heavy code to your web pages, whether you use a content delivery network and about your web host as well. The last thing you want to do is load hundreds of WordPress plugins that make visual changes to your front-end because if you look at the source code, you are going to see a massive TON of javascript files that will end up making your site load slow and degrade the user experience. Remove plugins you do not use and remember, less is more.

Make use of resources like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed to check your website and see how it scores. Consider making changes to your website that will improve your scores.

Sometimes your web host will be a determining factor on how fast your pages will load. If you are on a discounted web host, consider investing in your business with a premium WordPress web host. WP Engine includes access to a content delivery network, object caching and other tools that will make your website load faster, perform better for your users and, therefore, boost your chances at SEO success.

TinyPNG LogoLastly, mind your images. Did you know that we optimize every image before we upload them to our articles? There are premium WordPress image optimization tools and services available, however, we primarily use the PNG image format for our uploads and optimize them with TinyPNG, a free web-based service that is quick and painless.

Top Five Google+ Tools

Since we’ve released the Google+ Beginner’s Guide and since updated it with the latest features, we thought we’d share what we think are the top five Google+ tools that you should use to get the most out of the network.

Use these tools to discover new Google+ members to follow, to manage your circles and much more. Business users would also benefit from utilizing these tools to help their brand awareness, engagement and to find conversations they should be a part of.

CircleCount – Diamond Award Winner!

CircleCount for Scott Buehler

CircleCount Highlights

CircleCount Google+ Tools Diamond Medal Award Winner by Top Five Advisor
One of our favorite tools for Google+ that we use, at minimum, weekly, to find popular users, popular content, awesome circle shares and more.

Head over to Popular > Engagement and select Profiles, Pages, or Communities and find people, pages or communities worth following. If you really want to dive in, check out the Specials menu. It will show you all sorts of hot posts, profiles and so much more.

Of course, as shown on the right, the “You!” section has all sorts of tools and resources you can use. Click “Your Profile” to see statistics on your Google+ content, see what people love the most, see how many people are circling you each day, see what posts are getting the most comments, +1s and reshares.

Price: Free.

Visit CircleCount, sign in with your profile and away you go!

Circloscope – Circles Management

Circloscope Tool

For anyone that has used Google+ for longer than a month, you know that managing your circles can be a laborious task. Enter Circloscope to the rescue! Above, we created a quick animated gif from within the browser plugin that shows you all of the features available. When you click any of the items from the dashboard menu, you’ll be presented with additional options and customizations.

With Circloscope, the 5,000 circles limit that Google+ imposes will no longer be a problem. Filter out the inactive people, place highly relevant people in special circle groups, filter and sort with many options to choose from, export your circles and you can even undo accidental uncircles. Here’s a quick tutorial by Christine DeGraff that explains and shows Circloscope uses.

Price: Free to add to Google Chrome and try but it won’t perform any tasks like removing circles without payment.
$47/year covers your main profile and 3 pages.
$178/year covers your main profile and 15 business pages.
Compatible with Google Chrome only.

Download Circloscope from the Chrome Web Store.

Friends+Me – Automated Social Sharing

Friends+Me

If you happen to enjoy Google+ so much that you use them as your primary social media network, then you’ll really love Friends+Me. This tool will allow you to share your Google+ profile and page content to your other popular social media accounts, automatically. In addition to this primary feature, you can also take advantage of their scheduling features to share your content on other social networks at optimal times.

Currently, Friends+Me supports: Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, App.Net and Tumblr.

Without a doubt, Friends+Me is the best sharing tool that you can use if you use Google+ as your primary social network. There’s nothing more powerful than sharing posts and content on your Google+ profile or page and knowing that this service will share it across other major platforms for you.

Friends+Me also provides a Google Chrome extension. With this on your browser, you can take advantage of added enhancements to make sharing to your other social media as easy as possible. The extension is not required to use this service (for those that enjoy a clutter-free browsing experience).

Price: Free to connect your Google+ profile and 3 social media accounts (1 account per social network supported)
$9/mo for 10 accounts.
$29/mo for 20 accounts.
$59/mo for 60 accounts.

Visit Their Website and Sign Up Today

All My + Statistics

All My Plus StatisticsHere’s another fun tool to play around with if you’ve ever used Google+ before. As the name suggests, this tool will show you stats all about your profile and it includes the ability to see an overview (see Scott Buehler’s stats to the left), locations, charts, popular posts, people, photos and more.

One of our favorite features of this particular tool is the “People” section because it shows you all of your biggest fans that have reshared your content. It helped identify people that we weren’t aware of who constantly shared our content.

Price: FREE
Visit their website and connect your Google+ profile.

Buffer – Queue Content for Google+

Buffer LogoAnother fantastic tool for business users, fun G+ topical pages and many niches in-between, is Buffer, which allows you to schedule posts not only to your Gooogle+ pages but to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and App.net.

Once you set up your Buffer with times to share content and connect all of your social media, you can then browse the Internet as your normally would but now, when you see something amazing that would be a perfect fir for your page(s), you can now click the buffer button and schedule / queue that content along with your description.

Of course, to enable these quick-sharing features with Buffer, you will need a browser add on. Unlike the other tools we mentioned here, Buffer offers apps with all of the major browsers. Just visit this page and Buffer will detect your browser and offer you a blue button to install the browser add-on. From there, you’ll be off to the races and sharing content in no time.

Remember – Google+ is one of the most popular visual social networks out there. If you find awesome infographics, photos, graphics and other visual content, after installing the buffer app, right click an image and “Buffer This Timage” to queue/share it on your Google+ page(s).

You can also use Google+ posting enhancements to bold and italics you content, see our Google+ Beginner’s Guide (under Google Plus Formatting Options) for how to do that.

Price: Free.
$10/mo for the “Awesome Plan” that will allow you to connect RSS feeds, queue up to 200 posts and tweets, connect 12 social profiles and more.

Click Here to Visit Buffer

We’re curious to hear what your favorite Google+ tools are. Leave a comment below and let us know!

Top 5 Social Media Networks You Should Use Now

For those curious, we put together this list of the top 5 social media networks as of May, 2015. Most people know that Facebook is the top social media network in existence, however, what about the remaining list?

Top Five Social Media Networks

Thanks to the Statista website, we were able to put together this list of the top five social media networks based on the total share of visitors from the United States.

Facebook

Facebook Logo

Facebook Diamond Medal Award Winner by Top Five Advisor
Facebook is a social media beast with over 53% social media visits visiting their network. From their Facebook Messenger app to the news feed, people are hooked. Here’s the stats and rankings according to popular traffic tracking websites:

Alexa: 2; Quantcast: 3; Compete Rank: 3

For those that have a business, it is strongly suggested that you create a Facebook business page. Although Facebook continues to change their algorithms to show less and less of your content to the people who “Like” your page, you can enhance your traffic and conversions by taking advantage of their Facebook Ads platform. With some optimization, you can drive cheap likes and website traffic to your website with various targeting options available at your fingertips.

Besides business usage, we find Facebook to be king for networking with others. Whether you are looking for like-minded people or those that love a particular niche, Facebook will have more of the users registered, all available with a quick private message.

YouTube

YouTube LogoYouTube commands a massive lead in video viewing and they attract over 17% of all social media traffic to the videos published there. YouTube is great for finding guides, training, how to help, entertainment and so much more. If you have an interest, YouTube will have thousands of videos available to view and enjoy. Here’s their current stats:

Alexa: 3; Quantcast: 2; Compete Rank: 2

For business users, you can publish videos about your website, business topics and much more. Additionally, you can take advantage of their free video hosting and embed your uploaded videos directly on your website. For those wanting to advertise, you can take advantage of Google AdWords to promote your videos within the network or via the Google search and partner networks.

For personal users, YouTube can be a massive time trap. Chances are, you’ll find YouTube videos on a topic you are searching for on Google and you’ll be suckered in to watching many more videos. With the related videos feature, it’s very easy to go down the rabbit hole and come out hours later wondering where all the time went.

Google+

Google+ Logo

Google+ is a social media network most similar to Facebook in that you can “circle” people of interest. Although similar, you’ll find many of their popular members fall into the anti-Facebook crowd. Google+ features a customizable stream that you can sort by your circle groups. Therefore, when starting out, it is in your best interest to create circle groups that make sense for your needs. That way, you can sort the stream circles to find the exact content you are looking for at any given moment.

Be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Google+ to learn the complete ins and outs of this social network.

We highly recommend creating a Google+ page for topics that interest you and also for any website that you own or manage. Since Google search will occasionally display content from the Google+ network, it’s a network that you simply cannot ignore.

Twitter

Twitter LogoTwitter is a network for people that love to communicate in short messages. Your “tweets” are limited to 140 characters but you can take advantage of hashtags and website links to expand the conversation. Twitter allows mobile and desktop users to upload images to extend the conversation as well.

Alexa: 9; Quantcast: 9; Compete Rank: 8

For business users, you can create Twitter profiles on every website you own and you can take advantage of several Twitter services that allow you to schedule tweets such as Buffer or HootSuite. Additionally, it’s a great place to share when you add new content to your website or when something important like a major milestone is reached.

Reddit

Reddit LogoWhat? Reddit? Surprised us too! Reddit commands 1.81% of social media traffic with LinkedIn only 0.03% behind it. Reddit is an entertainment and news-based social networking website where their users can submit links and text-based content to topical “subreddits.” The users can then vote up or down the content which will determine placement in the subreddit’s “Top” page for the day.

Alexa: 25; Quantcast: 129; Compete Rank: 61

Reddit has an ever-growing list of subreddits that you can browse, interact and use for finding up-to-the-minute news and trends in any niche/topic that you can think of. We currently use Reddit to find trends or to research what is being talked about in niches that interest us.

What is Your Top Five Social Media Networks?

What social media networks do you consider your top five? How many of you use Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or SnapChat? Leave a comment below and join us in the conversation!

Official Logos Used – The logos used in this review are the official logos downloaded from official sources. You may download and use these logos and remain complaint with each social media network’s guidelines of logo usage.

Top Five Photos of Beautiful Lovable Babies in 2015

Baby photography is always amazing, always wonderful look at and definitely a topic we’ve never covered before. Of course, baby photos are always popular, people love looking at them and with the right lighting, perspective, angle and editing, sometimes the results are absolutely breathtaking.

I spent the day browsing tons of baby photos that were taken or published in or close to 2015 (as best as I could tell, anyways). Here’s my favorite baby photographs I found in my search. Enjoy!

A Sleepy Baby Smile

Shannon Leigh Studios

Portrait by Shannon Leigh Studios with props by A Sweet Sweet Boutique

Seriously now. If this photograph doesn’t make you melt, nothing will!

Lincoln is a Natural!

Captured by Clay

Photo by Captured by Clay Photography

That tongue. Those eyes. That smile. What’s not to love about this photo?!?

Meet Mia

Lorena Jean Photography

Photo by Lorena Jean Photography

This awesome photo was when Mia was 6 months old as well. Quite an amazing photo and composition!

Sophia Cake Smash

Jennica Christine Photography

Photo by Jennica Christine Photography

Wow, the beautiful blue eyes, the awesome headband, pink beads and what looks like a multi-colored tutu, this photo of Sophia is stunning.

Lila Turns ONE!

A.Tonagel Photography

Photo by A.Tonagel Photography

This photo of Lila caught my eye because of the hair imperfection and adorable smile.