Released: Android App for BlackMonk

BlackMonk Android app

We are pleased to announce the release of the Android App for BlackMonk CMS. The all new Android app allows publishers to deliver a fabulous user experience on ALL Android-powered mobile phones; users can now look-up information on the go! The current version of BlackMonk Android app  includes articles/news section, business finder, event calendar and classifieds.

Here’s a quick look at the key features:

Delightful content presentation

The Android app makes reading articles and news stories a delightful experience. Users can quickly flip through news stories, browse through categories and view images in slide show mode. The app also enables users to keep tabs on upcoming events, as well as bookmark events/news stories for future reference.

Map based search & geolocation features

The app provides a convenient way for users to look-up nearby supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants or any other local business. Users can either run a text search or use the map to find nearby businesses. Once user has selected a business, the app launches GPS enabled navigation for turn-by-turn driving instructions. The map based search and GPS enabled navigation features are also available in event calendar and classifieds section of the app.

Powerful user engagement

User engagement on BlackMonk powered portals gets even better, as the app provides a convenient way for users to comment on articles and review business listings/events.

Download the official BlackMonk Android app for a hands-on experience:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=blackmonk.mobile.activities&hl=en


BlackMonk v3.7 with built-in promo pages for marketing and more

BlackMonk v3.7

BlackMonk v3.7 gives publishers the essential marketing toolkit to help them attract new advertisers & cross-sell to existing advertisers. The new releases also introduces enhancements in deals and contest apps as well as many other features which enhance the overall user experience.

'Done for you’ marketing

BlackMonk has always been at the forefront of innovation with respect to monetization. And, each successive version of BlackMonk has introduced new features which’ve helped publishers create a lucrative online promotional space. However, even a promotional platform needs to be marketed, so we’ve created promo pages which can be used by publishers as marketing collateral.

Built-in marketing pages for publishers

Featuring impactful graphics, crisp copy and pleasing design, the new promo pages create a lasting impression on potential advertisers. Promo pages make it easier for publishers to market their website as a lucrative destination for online advertising and promotions.

Newsletter promotion for deals

The previous version of BlackMonk (BlackMonk v3.6) gave publishers the ultimate edge over established deal sites, by creating a system where merchants can enjoy greater control over their deal campaign. BlackMonk v3.7 introduces newsletter promotion for deals. The new feature makes it easy for publishers to send out newsletters to subscribers - informing them about newly added deals. Publishers also have the option to build subscriber base by importing contacts through a CSV file.

Automated and manual winner selection for contests/sweepstakes

Manual winner selection for contests

BlackMonk allows publishers to run timed contests/sweepstakes, which helps drive engagement and attracts referral traffic. BlackMonk v3.7 introduces new enhancements to the contest app, which gives publishers more control over winner selection. Publishers now have the option to automate winner selection as well as select winners manually from a list of qualified entries.


Rich Snippets - What it is & Why it's important

rich snippets

While SEO is all about making your website rank high in search results, rich snippet is a relatively less known concept which focuses on making search listings more meaningful for users. The concept of rich snippets is best understood through an example.

Conventional Search Listing

blackmonk blog rich snippet without markup

Search listing with rich snippets

blackmonk blog rich snippe markup image

Rich snippets were first introduced by Google in May 2009, and later other search engines followed suite. Rich snippets help in increasing click-through rate by making your search listing more prominent and meaningful in comparison to conventional search listings.

How to optimize your website for rich snippets?

In order to optimize your website for rich snippets, you need to include a set of HTML markups in each page of your website. The HTML markups tell search engines what the page is all about, so the search listing corresponding to the page can be presented in an appropriate format.

Most search engines provide rich snippet support for many types of content including: events, products, reviews, software application etc. In order implement rich snippets for your website, you’ll have to build HTML markups for each page depending on the content of the page.

Schema.org provides full documentation on creating HTML markups for different types of content. The website is a joint venture of major search engines, and provides instructions for building HTML markups based on Micro-data.

blackmonk blog schema.org markup

Rich snippets can be implemented using 3 forms of HTML markups:

  1. Micro-data (Schema.org)
  2. Micro-formats
  3. RDFa

Google recommends webmasters to implement rich snippets through Micro-data.

Schema markups are extensively used by search engines to improve user experience and provide quality data in organic search result. Online publishers also have the option of using CMS solutions which provide ‘out of the box support’ for SEO and rich snippets.


Attention Publishers! Google to penalize non-mobile friendly websites

April 21 is the D -day for updating to a responsive website

As part of its initiative to provide better search experience to users, Google will soon down-rank websites that are not optimized for viewing on mobile devices. The upcoming update to Google’s search algorithm which takes effect on April 21, will adversely impact online publishers who have not made their websites mobile-friendly.

Google’s earlier Panda & Penguin updates were focused on improving the relevancy of search results by down-ranking websites with low quality content. However, its upcoming update is focused on providing great search experience on mobile devices, which means websites that have great content but are not mobile friendly will be penalized by Google.

Up until now, upgrading to a mobile friendly website was a matter of choice for website owners. But now, responsive websites are a must have. With its upcoming update, Google is making mobile responsive a de-facto standard for websites, when earlier website owners had the option to create separate websites for mobile and computer users.

Once Google’s updated algorithm kicks in, it will not only penalize traditional fixed width websites, but also web pages containing photo galleries, videos and other elements which are not supported on mobile. The algorithm will also down rank websites which redirect mobile users to a different URL (mobile site). Full details of how the April 21 update will affect search results were announced by Google on Webmaster Central Blog.

Quick ‘go responsive’ strategy for online publishers

Google’s new search algorithm is a cause of concern for publishers of media websites, as it has the potential to throttle their traffic. However, publishers can save the day by migrating their website to a mobile ready publishing platform.

BlackMonk is a web publishing framework which provides ‘out of the box’ responsive templates for a great user experience across computers and mobile devices. Migrating content to BlackMonk is a breeze thanks to the CSV upload feature, which makes it possible to port thousands of content pages with unimaginable ease.

BlackMonk also provides multi-format publishing capabilities, widest range of monetization options and path-breaking social/community features to help publishers take their website to the next level.


BlackMonk v3.6 with new revenue model for coupon marketing & sweepstakes

BlackMonk v3.6 is all about giving publishers the competitive edge. The new release allows publishers to offer unbeatable promotional opportunities to local & niche businesses. Plus, publishers now have the ability to run contest and sweepstakes programs aimed at driving engagement on social networks.

Lead the game in coupon sales

While deal campaigns are a sure-shot way to boost sales, businesses interested in coupon marketing are often thwarted by the rigid terms of deal websites. Most deal websites offer very little flexibility to businesses with respect to payments terms and redemption rules. As a result businesses see less profits despite increase in sales volume.

Self-service system for adding and managing deals

With BlackMonk v3.6 publishers can offer businesses a lucrative space for coupon marketing. The enhanced deals app enables business to run deals campaign with full control over voucher inventory, redemption rules etc. The new interface makes it easy for businesses to manage deal campaigns and keep tabs on voucher sales.

BlackMonk v3.6 makes coupon marketing a win-win proposition for publishers and businesses by eliminating the issue of financial liabilities. Businesses can create deals without making any upfront payment to publishers. And, when customers buy coupons/vouchers they pay a fractional amount which is retained by the publisher, while the rest is paid directly to the business at the time of redemption. This unique model of conducting deal campaigns gives publishers an edge over competing deal websites.

Drive engagement trough contests and sweepstakes

BlackMonk v3.6 allows publishers to run contests

BlackMonk v3.6 introduces contest app which allows publishers to create contests (featuring multiple choice questions), or run exciting giveaway campaigns. The contest app provides a convenient way to create timed contests/sweepstakes with the option to automate entry screening and winner selection - based on predefined parameters. Contests and sweepstakes are strategic tools through which publishers can drive sign-ups, build subscriber-base for newsletter campaigns as well as get facebook likes and twitter follows.

In addition to above features, BlackMonk v3.6 introduces numerous workflow optimizations and feature enhancements aimed at delivering an exceptional web portal experience.