Announcing BlackMonk Version 4.0 - There's something in it for everyone

Better writability for the publisher, and better readability for the audience. What could be more virtuous about a CMS? We would like to introduce BlackMonk 4.0. This could easily be our biggest release yet, because we have redefined multiple modules of BlackMonk, thereby enhancing a range of operations. Articles, Gallery, Community, Design, Performance… You name it; we’ve improved it.

Publishing Articles:

Authors get their own vanity profile page with links to their posts, that they can show off. We also figured that if the editor likes them, then everybody likes them. That’s why we introduce the Editor’s Pick page, where admins can display a select few featured posts.

 

 

“Breaking news” for all those instant timely updates and “Top ten stories” should let you create a sense of urgency and take advantage of your readers’ attention span.

Rich media like videos and photos spice up stories like none other. But uploading the same media in two locations is inefficient. That’s why we’ve come up with embedding media. Videos, audio clips, tweets, Instagram photos, Vine videos and more.

 

That way, you can also make it easier for your readers to interact with those media, right from your web portal. For instance, readers can like, favorite and retweet media instantly.


On the reading front too, we have news. Readers can now mark articles as favorite so that they can read it later. They can also subscribe to the articles of their choice.

 

Gallery and stock images:

Getty Images and Shutterstock are now integrated with BlackMonk, letting you browse through  thousands of stock images for your articles and gallery.

 

 

 

Just configure your API key of Shutterstock, Getty Images and Flickr in our settings, and you are good to use millions of great images on your web portal.

 

For the Community:

Q&A is now more social. And precise. We have enabled sharing of Q&A’s on social media, which will amplify the reach of the questions. In addition, admins can prune out those answers and questions which just don’t cut it.

 

Design:

We have always believed it is more about how you say it than what you say. Justifying that claim, you can now configure custom themes with the choicest fonts and colors.

 

 

Or you can get started right away with the predefined themes that we offer.

 

 

 

And it is also possible to dynamically change the labels on the home page from your website. You can name and rename every section on your portal. That’s an opportunity to get creative. Banner zones has also been under the microscope to deliver better impressions of those ads.

In addition to all the above, there are enhancements that are invisible to the eye, but ensure smoother and consistent loading of content. Auto-loading events when searching, and upgraded universal analytics code are a few to note. Visible or invisible, they all have one common objective; better write-ability for the publisher, and better readability for the audience. Try BlackMonk 4.0 for your web portal today.

 

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Where2Go 411 out with new look and features

Where2Go 411

Founded by award winning journalist Kathy Times and author James Covington, Where2Go  411 is a national platform which aids in economic empowerment of African-American owned businesses, and also serves as a community connection for promoting Black culture. Launched over a year ago, the website has already succeeded in creating more than $3 billion worth of economic opportunities for Black Businesses.


Last week, Where2Go411 was relaunched with an all new look and range of features aimed at maximizing the outreach of registered businesses. Where2Go 411 now provides localized content through dedicated city websites. Where users can look-up Black Businesses, find hot deals and browse content (articles, photos and videos) posted by local contributors.


Where2Go 411 has also introduced an affiliate program aimed at attracting traffic from popular local/national websites. The affiliate program provides incentives to publishers for placing Where2Go 411 widget on their website.


The  upgrade of Where2Go 411 website coincides with round 2 of Mega League All Star Entrepreneurs event, which is a unique community empowerment initiative led by Where2Go 411 team. Mega League All Stars entrepreneurs event is a conference where prominent entrepreneurs share their expertise and insights on various aspects of business including customer service, product management, crowd funding etc.

Click here for more information on Where2Go411.


8 Practical Ways to draw an audience to your web portal!

With such a low barrier of entry, nearly everyone can set up a blog in 10 minutes and start publishing. A tonne of content is published on the internet every day. As a result, a lot of online publishers find it difficult to draw the attention of their audience to their web portals. They struggle with the same old question: How to build an audience for their web portals?

This question has been asked millions of times and has been answered quite ambiguously. Let us take a simple approach to it and find out exactly how to do it.

To build an audience, you have to place yourself in the shoes of your customer and be everywhere they go. Online users behave similarly as they do offline. They like to connect and interact. For that you have to reach out to your audience and be open to interaction.

Everyone knows about SEO, ad campaigns and social media profiles. The key is to use them effectively to be visible to your audience.

Let's see how we can do that.

1. Be searchable

Although, SEO is very well known, it still remains the number one point on the list. With the way that the Internet has evolved, search engines have indeed captured the central position in the online world today.

Locate the keywords that your target users use on search engines to find what you can offer and focus your SEO activities around them.

You can find out the keywords and know the frequency with which they are used by using Search engines’ free keyword tools.

Be aware that many CMS’s are not very SEO friendly. Look for a CMS that can help you with SEO. Eg. BlackMonk is a CMS that is made specifically for publishers and allows them to take care of SEO with almost no coding required.

Besides SEO, launching ad campaigns from time to time can hasten the process.

2. Give them what they want.

Now that you are searchable and also know what your audience searches for, address the pain points and provide them what they look for. Tailor your content to match the needs of your audience.

Look for the topics where your expertise can help users find solutions to their problems.

Make a content marketing strategy by deciding upon the topics and writing on them with a good frequency. This process requires patience, but is a sure shot way to build a loyal audience.

This is exactly why many business owners today have begun making their own blogs rather than relying on big publications only, for their content promotion activities.

3. Jack of all trades, master of one.

You already know that social media profiles are necessary. They are the platforms where your target audience already frequents.

Although, it can be quite daunting to take care of so many social media profiles. The good news is, you do not need to be very active on all of them.

Have your presence on all the social media platforms, but focus on the one that you find is the best to convey the message about your web portal and interact with your audience.

I personally prefer Facebook. Make a page and update it frequently with posts that either help your audience or have some entertainment value.

The fact is that once your profile starts getting traction on any one of the platforms, your profiles on other platforms would get audience with little effort.

You do not need to update others as frequently.


4. Strike when the iron is hot.

Many people would agree, a quick way to get heads to turn is by being controversial.

Stay tuned to the news and happenings around the world that your target audience takes an interest in and publish content at appropriate times.

Content delivered at the right time, at the right place, can get the number of your daily visitors to shoot overnight.

Let us take an example. A week ago, the whole world was down with the FIFA World Cup fever. Many noteworthy happenings were witnessed from Suarez biting on the field to Neymar Jr. getting hurt.

All those posts written about them on all platforms got great views and a lot of interaction.

It’s all about connecting with your audience. Use this weapon smartly for your web portal.

5. Guest blogging and PR.

This is the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Although it’s not easy to get published in well known web portals, you can definitely start with your own, move towards higher blogs and work your way up to your target web portals.

It requires both patience and smart work. Make a list of the portals you want to target first and find the areas where they lack in. It’s easier to approach them if you already have some reference articles published on your blog.

Write to them directly, with a good cover letter and sample articles and some of them would definitely get back to you.

These blogs may even offer to review and write about your portal for some cash. This is one way to break the ice.

It’s always great to have a third person or blog talking about your product or portal.

6. Go an extra mile to support your audience.

If your users can create something on your web portal, they’re bound to share it with their friends and family. Let your audience market your web portal. They would return the favor if you help them promote their businesses, events etc.

Reach out to local businesses, event managers etc and invite them to post on your web portal. Make the posts shareable and see users flock to you.
You may not want to charge money initially to post, consider this an investment.

7. Focus on key people.

This can be done by introducing your portal to some of the trendsetters of your industry and get your name out in front of the people that matter.

It is just like LinkedIn did it. They approached the top players in various industries and honored them by making them the influencers on their network. This helped them in attracting their respective followers easily.

This also makes your platform much more credible in the eyes of both your audience and PR industry.

8. The Viral Effect


 

Lastly, let’s discuss how you can get your posts to go viral on the internet.
I had a word with Gauri Lokare, Video Editor for oncars.com and with her experience in the publishing industry, she told me that for anything to go viral on the internet, it has to be ethical, logical and emotional.

It’s all about connecting with your audience. If your post can spur emotions in a reader, he’s likely to share it.

These emotions can both be negative and positive. Emotions like hope, happiness, anger and excitement go a long way.

It's all about intensity. If your post can do that, it’s bound to become viral.

Eg. LOLcats included pictures of cute cats with grammatically incorrect headlines like “Can I has a Cheeseburger?” went all over the internet.

 

Lastly, the best way to keep your web portal thriving is by caring about your audience and giving them quality content.


LGBT community portal Gay Desert Guide on KESQ news

Gay Desert Guide – an online guide for the Palm Springs area (California) was featured on KESQ news last week. In an interview with KESQ news reporter Bianca Rae – Gay Desert Guide founder Brad Fuhr unveiled the Gay Desert phone app to the locals and visitors of Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is home to the largest LGBT community, and its LGBT friendly hotels, night clubs and resorts attract visitors from neighboring cities. The Gay Desert Guide helps visitors plan their trip to Palm Springs and acquire information about hot & happening LGBT events and attractions.

Through Gay Desert Guide website and phone app – locals/visitors can book tramway tickets, desert tour and use the happy hour finder to be at happening places at happening times. The guide also includes a directory of LGBT friendly businesses, local news, photo gallery and more.

We are proud that a BlackMonk powered portal is playing a pivotal role in keeping the LGBT community connected. And, we wish success to Brad Fuhr and his Gay Desert Guide team.


TNTFinder re-launched with new design and loads of features

We are happy to announce the re-launch of the upgraded TNTFinder.com – a unique web portal serving news and information to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. TNTFinder was launched in 2012 with the intention of providing locals and tourists with the latest on news, restaurants, businesses, events, and everything in between. Following the huge success of the website among 1.5 million residents of Trinidad and Tobago, TNTFinder was re-launched today with a new clean and modern design.

The new version of TNTFinder offers an enhanced magazine experience, with content distributed across well defined channels including politics, sports, business, entertainment and lifestyle. The website has been made interactive, so readers can share their views and opinions on hot button news topics.

With the re-launch, TNTFinder has emerged as a one point source for any/all information on Trinidad and Tobago. The website now features a comprehensive guide on local attractions and things to do – providing in-depth scoop on all the local parks, beaches, entertainment centres, seasonal fun, and more. The comprehensive restaurant and nightlife guide is an incredible resource for locals and outsiders looking for food and fun, while the events section provides a full round-up of local happenings.

TNTFinder also introduces a comprehensive business directory, real-estate zone and classifieds. These additions provide a rich online space for businesses, property owners, vendors and service providers to market themselves.

The new version of TNTFinder is powered by BlackMonk CMS and implements responsive web design to deliver content across all devices.