Category Archives: Reviews

XenForo Review: A lot of Hype About Nothing

I just want to say this before hand: this is solely based on my experience for the most part (though some of the things listed below have also been echoed by other forum admins who have used, or still use XenForo as well). I know some XenForo fans get defensive and aren’t open to criticism of the software :)

Background: We’ve given XenForo 3 chances. Once in 2013, Once In 2014 and Once in 2015. So we have more than enough experience with it. Continue reading

My Top 3 Free Forum Hosting Sites

Today in this article, I will be discussing my pick of the Top Three Free Forum Hosting websites that you can use to host your forum. I have used my time to try out and test the services the following has to offer. I do have my favorites and I will explain why in this article. Continue reading

Postloop Review

Postloop

Review written by Joshua Farrell

For those who generally need a little extra kick in their overall forum post and topic totals, one would tend to try to utilize post exchanges of any sort that they can go after. So what would this article be on? A posting exchange service that is one of the few that actually launched plenty of forums into activity. The service? Postloop.

What is Postloop?

Postloop is a website where you can actually do a number of things. First, you can exchange posts or comments with fellow forum and blog administrators. Second, you can earn money from posting on forums or blogs. Third, you can pay people to post on your forum or blog. That is the basics of Postloop.

Postloop was established in 2010.

So, now on to the review.

First Impressions

When I load Postloop, I notice a number of things as it loads. First, I see that they have a relatively uncluttered and “quick to inform you” type of menu. It has a home link, a “How it Works” link that leads you to the page that describes a little more of what the website is about, a register link, links for the type of websites that you can post on, which are forums and blogs, a link to their support board, and a login link.

Below, in the main area of their home page, you see two things, a description of what you can do if you are there to earn money, and a video. The video is informative, and it covers everything that one can do. The description on the other hand, only covers those who want to earn money, and you don’t find anything about exchanging posts, or anything for forum or blog owners. This can be improved if the owner wants less confusion when someone lands on the page, considering that first impressions are everything, and the site is supposed to be catering to everyone, not just those who want to earn from posting. Infact, how many people will watch an introductory video, if they are assuming that a website is about one thing, when it shows that it is dedicated around something else?

Under the above mentioned section, you then find under the video, the current posts exchanged through Postloop, which at the moment, is at an amazing 2,785,000 posts exchanged or earned! That is allot that had been posted! And that is allot of posts exchanged on generally any site in general! BUT, one would have expected more, even though they had only been running for 4 years so far. Still, that is pretty amazing to see that forum and blog owners were able to get that many posted for them, in the course of the site’s current age.

Now at the bottom, but not in the footer, you will find three boxed off areas. The first is for forum and blog owners, telling them what they can do at the website to get activity. That is great, but this could have been mentioned in the introductory area above this, next to the video! The second box shows a few reviews that were given of the site, but is mislabeled for what it is about. The third box shows news of the website, but doesn’t make mention of the 2.5 million posts that was earned through them.

Inside Pages

The How It Works page, tells you a little bit more on what can be done there, but entirely misses the third point of the site, which is the pure exchange aspect of it, which is I post on your site, you post on mine part of it.

At the bottom of that page, you will find links to more parts of the website, like a link to the FAQ.

Generally speaking, the menu system for everything isn’t exactly user friendly. I can see why people find it slightly difficult to work with, to figure out answers to stuff, without posting on their support board.

Their support board appears to be semi active, but could be more active, based on the number of users that are just registered on the support board.  It also appears as if the staff are not doing as much replying to various support related topics. I have been observing topics made, and not many of the questions have been answered by staff for some time. So this may be a worry, if the item is not deemed urgent by them.

Logged In Pages

For the most part, everything that is in the “My Dashboard” area is pretty good on what needs to be shown. It shows your average point per post, your overall rating, and some other important information.

When you go through the dashboard, it has a area that lists all of the forums or blogs that you have submitted to get posts on. Then you have the subscriptions page, which shows you which forums you have subscribed to, and the posts you did, along with the points. Next you have the messages page, where it shows you the conversations you had with fellow Postloop users. Then you have the ratings selections, which you can see the ratings you received, or had given out to others.

The deposits and withdrawals page allows you to either add points to your account via real money (if you are paying for posts), and it also allows you to withdraw points into real money too, via Paypal.

The referrals page, allows you to see all the users you had referred, and how much points you earned from them. For future note, they currently give you a 20% rate on the points your referrals earn or buy. They also have promotional graphics and such that has your referral link in it.

All of the stuff relating to this, is nicely organized; which I like to see. 🙂

Subscribing to Forums/Websites

The one thing I dislike about the forum and blog listing pages, is the fact that the list that is provided, is a long list. They don’t start the second page, till 100 forums/blogs are listed! Which makes the page seem even longer, due to the amount of information that is provided on the page! I believe these pages should be worked on just a little, to make the list seem shorter, yet still have the same number of listings on it.

Final Comments

Though I like the concept of the site, some of the things on it needs to either be changed, or more clear.  I think it is a great idea to allow people to use a service that basically lets you get members and posts, without spending a lot of time promoting! I also think it is a great idea for those who also want to earn money, by spending a little bit of time each day to post!

Though the biggest concern I had with the whole thing, is how the service appears from the beginning, and how some of the site is not user friendly.

I think that the website has even more potential, considering how few and far in-between websites like these are found on the internet! It is just, that if the owner wants to be able to provide a service that can provide a even better job at providing an exchange medium, he needs to make some changes that will let people find things much easier!

And that wraps up my review! I hope you enjoyed reading it!


Joshua Farrell is an Administrator of Forum Promotion, and a member of the Editorial Team that runs this blog. He can be reached on the forum of this website, via PM if you would like to suggest things to be added to the blog, or if you have any questions or comments in general in relation to the blog itself. He can also be reached by commenting on the articles he writes. Feel free to comment on any of his, or anyone elses’ articles.

Wysija: Making Newsletters Easier

It took me forever before I decided to create a newsletter, mainly because I didn’t know which company I should go with to manage it. After months of contemplation and reading, I decided I would go with Wysija.

I never ran a Newsletter before, and while I heard great things about Mailchimp I wanted something that would be incredibly easy to use. I didn’t want to fuss with a bunch of options, and just needed something to get the job done. And guess what? Wysija does just that, but it also does a lot more!

So, what can you find in Wysija?

Wysija Drag DropDrag & Drop Visual Editor

Appearance is everything. I didn’t want to be that one guy sending out an ugly newsletter, and thanks to Wysija… I’m not.

In almost no time, I’m able to select a theme, change a few styling options, import some posts, and make everything look nice. It’s so easy, I bet you could probably do it blindfolded if you were forced to.

Thanks to their drag & drop visual editor I’m able to create a newsletter that not only looks nice, but is also able to get through Andraž Rihtar’s harsh inspection.


 

Statistics for Each Newsletter

I won’t deny it. I’m addicted to statistics, and I must know how people respond to things. So, I’m very happy to say that Wysija tracks the amount of opened, unopened, clicks, and unsubscribes that a newsletter gets. Also, If you get the premium version, then you can also see what gets clicked.

But yeah, if you’re like me and must know what people do when they get your newsletter then don’t worry… Wysija has your back!


 

Widgets and Shortcodes to Add Forms Anywhere!

Wysija comes packed with some shortcodes, and widgets that allows you to pretty much place your Wysija subscription forms anywhere. While I’m sure any other service offers this, I think it’s something to mention for those who are worried about messing with code.


 

Control

If you need to have control over your lists, and how they are sent then Wysija is perfect for you. With Wysija you can easily import, and export any list of subscribers. You’re also able to control whether you want your newsletter sent by your own website, gmail, or even a third party SMTP provider. So really you can always switch away from Wysija if you’re not happy with their plugin/service.


 

And You Get Much More!

Here’s a complete list of Wysija Features (Free version):

  • Send posts automatically, like Subscribe2 or MailChimp’s RSS-to-Email.
  • Schedule your newsletter to be sent in the future.
  • Autoresponders.
  • Possibility to add first name, last name.
  • Edit the HTML of your text blocks.
  • Over 30 free themes (templates) with Photoshop files.
  • Subscribe when submitting a comment in a post.
  • Let users choose their own lists when they subscribe.
  • Import subscribers from MailChimp, Aweber, etc.
  • 1 click import from Tribulant, MailPress, Subscribe2, etc.
  • Export your subscribers in CSV.
  • Sync with WordPress users. On Multisite, you can sync with all users.
  • Single or double opt-in (with or without activation email).

More Reviewing

As mentioned above, this is the first newsletter plugin that I have used so I have no experiences to compare it to. Still, I can confidently say that Wysija is probably one of the top WordPress newsletter plugins. Almost everything about Wysija is perfect:

Installing Wysija is dead easy, because it’s done like any other plugin.
After installing, setting up everything can be done in a matter of minutes.
Making a newsletter only requires a few drags and clicks.

It’s easy to notice that Wysija has undoubtedly made making a newsletter easy for anyone who can use a mouse and breathe and that’s what I love about it. Wysija lets me run the newsletter people want without taking extra time out of my day.

Complaints and Suggestions

Still, while I praise Wysija as if it were a God I still have a couple complaints and suggestions.

My main complaint is about pricing. I’m currently using the free version, but I have been wanting to upgrade for quite some time now. The problem is, I’m not the type of individual to throw a yearly lump sum at a company, and I much prefer paying monthly. Nine dollars USD would not only be affordable, but would beat Mailchimps monthly plan as well. I really don’t get why Wysija doesn’t offer a monthly plan, because most other companies do. Still, if they were to add a monthly plan then I’d be quite the happy camper…

Another complaint is how they don’t have an affiliate system. I have already recommended Wysija to people because it’s a great plugin, but it certainly would be nice if there was a convenient way to track how many people I’ve sent their way… and to earn a couple pennies doing it. Every other online company that is selling a product has an affiliate system so it’s kind of strange to see that Wysija doesn’t have one.

LiteCam HD Review

We all know that recording and uploading videos to Youtube, and other video sites is a great way to promote your website. While a lot of us would love to create videos and provide our readers with more content; buying professional screen capturing software can definitely be a budget breaker. But what if I told you it didn’t have to be?

I recently came across a program called LiteCam HD. It’s not only affordable, but also pretty easy to use. Below you can find my review/thoughts on LiteCam HD!


 

What is LiteCam HD?

liteCam HD logo_387x69

LiteCam HD is a simple screen capturing program that allows you to easily record 1080p videos. It not only allows you to do basic screen recording, but you can also record games or just plain audio. So, whether you’re looking to record a tutorial for your blog or record a play-through for your personal channel you’re good to go! You can even display your webcam while you’re recording videos for an even more professional effect thanks to LiteCam HD’s “Picture in Picture” feature.


 

What are my thoughts?

I’m pretty happy that I came across LiteCam HD, because Camtasia is too expensive and CamStudio just looks terrible to me.

When I first started using LiteCam I was extremely impressed by how good it looked. They seem to be going with a very minimal design which looks great, and doesn’t have that “bloaty” feeling that other programs do. While I’m not looking at the GUI often, I think its important for it to look good when I am!

Besides their design, you get a great piece of software for a great price. LiteCam HD pretty much does everything you need to do to make great little videos on youtube. This software even includes a little trimmer to edit out the sections you’ve made mistakes on. For only $29 you get a featured packed program that can actually hold up against high end software like Camtasia.

LiteCam HD offers all the things I need to make HD videos for my subscribers!


 

Favorite Features

There’s a couple of features in LiteCam HD that can be used to spice up your video. While my video style is pretty boring and bland, I thought it was pretty neat that Litecam HD offered a little drawing tool for when you’re recording videos. So, now if you ever need to explain something really quick or need to point out something really quick then you can just use the drawing tool. Or you can just use it to doodle.

One of my other favorite features is the option to put your logo in videos. This allows me to have a more professional feeling video while also giving it a watermark of sorts so other people can’t use it.


 

Complaints

While most of the stuff in LiteCam HD is awesome, there is one thing that I absolutely hate. When you’re recording a video in LiteCam HD a handy yet very distracting black bar gets placed on the right hand side which covers the clock and gets recorded into the video. Now, I can understand its purpose while you’re making a video, but there is no reason for it to be recorded into the rendered video.

If there was one thing that I could change about LiteCam HD, then it would be to remove this bar.


 

What to Expect?

I’m not an expert Youtuber, and I’ve only recently began to make Youtube videos. Still, LiteCam HD makes it easy for a beginner to start making videos.

Screenshot2

When you first start up LiteCam HD, you are presented with a drag and drop type interface that you can move around, and use to select the area you would like to capture. At the top of this interface you will see the normal Maximize/Unmaximize icons on the right, and you will see a menu and settings icon on the left. In this small menu you can change the recording mode, size of the recording box, Frames per second options, audio device options, mouse options and PIP options.

Pretty much all of the necessary settings people would need to access before recording a video is presented on startup. So, there’s no need to jump through a large settings menus.

Screenshot1

But if you ever need to jump into the settings menu, then you’re presented with one that is well formatted and pretty self explanatory. Besides normal video settings you will also find the option to add a logo at certain positions in your video, add a title to your video, or add some credits to your video.

If you ever feel lost and you’re not sure what you should be looking for, then hover any icon in the settings menu for a description.

Screenshot3

After you’ve got everything set up how you want it, recording the video is pretty easy. All you have to do to start recording is press the big old record button, and when you want to stop you just have to press F10. Pretty simple.


 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a simple screen capturing program that doesn’t break the bank, then LiteCam HD is the way to go. For only thirty dollars you get a pretty handy program that can be used for a lot of things! Screencasts, tutorials, video games, and whatever else you can think of!

If you’re interested in learning more about LiteCam then check out their website!