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Tag: InboundMarketing

How to Create SEO Friendly URLs

How to Create SEO Friendly URLs

URLs. They’re one of the most basic elements of SEO. Yet they’re vitally important.

In fact, Backlinko reports that URLs are a significant ranking factor.

More specifically:

  • URL length is listed as #46 in Google’s top 200 ranking factors
  • URL path is listed as #47
  • Keyword in the URL is #51
  • URL string is #52

So when you put it all together, URL optimization is kind of a big deal. And it seems simple enough. Enter a few words into the URL slug, throw in a keyword or two and you’re good. Right? If only it were that easy. In reality, there’s an entire science behind proper URL optimization. But after tons of research and a lot of trial and error on my end, I’ve come up with what I think is a rock solid formula. It covers all of the bases and aims to satisfy both search engine bots and of course human users. In this post, I’m going to explain the science behind creating URLs for maximum SEO as well as the logic behind each tactic. So let’s get to it.

Choose a top level domain

Let’s start from the beginning. There’s an infographic from Search Engine Land that covers the ins and outs of friendly URL  structure. One thing they point out is that using a top level domain (TLD) is usually your best bet. This simply means that it’s ideal to use a “.com” domain rather than “.biz,” “.pro,” “.tel,” etc. Now I’m not saying that you’re doomed if you use anything other than “.com” for your domain. In fact, TLD doesn’t directly impact rankings. But what it does tend to do is increase trust for human users.

And this is huge. When people trust your domain, it’s going to trickle down and have a positive impact on your overall SEO. I realize that making this point doesn’t do you a lot of good if you already have a domain other than “.com.” I also realize that it’s simply not realistic to be able to land your brand name with a “.com” domain (there were over 124 million “.com” domains of 2016), but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re choosing a domain in the future. This post offers some insight on what you can do if the domain name you want is already taken.

HTTPS is ideal

Online security is a huge issue these days. With cyber crime and identity theft on the rise, Internet users want to know that they’re using a secure connection. Just look at how the monetary damage reported by cyber crime has increased from 2001 to 2015.

It’s dramatic.

As a result, I really recommend using HTTPS rather than HTTP. If you’re unfamiliar with the difference, HTTPS stands for “HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure,” which is the secure version of HTTP. This simply means that information on a website is encrypted, which heightens security significantly. Here’s an illustration of the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

Not only does this keep your visitors at ease, it has actually become a ranking signal. According to Searchmetrics, “HTTPS is becoming more relevant and even a ranking signal for Google. Encryption is primarily important for sites with purchasing processes or sensitive client information to increase trust and conversion rates.” And in my opinion, this is likely to become an even bigger ranking signal in the future.

If your site hasn’t yet received an SSL certificate, I suggest taking care of this ASAP. This is especially true if you actually process customer orders and capture sensitive financial information online. You can learn about the details of this process here. There are several companies you can choose from to buy an SSL certificate. One of the top providers is Namecheap. First, you choose a plan to buy. Then choose the number of years you want your SSL certificate to last.

Then confirm your order.

 

Once it’s activated, you’ll need to install your SSL certificate and update your site to use HTTPS. This is fairly technical, but you can find pretty much everything you need from this resource. It will walk you through step by step.

Length

Now that we’ve gotten the more technical aspects of URL optimization out of the way, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts.The element I’d like to address first is length, and it’s a biggie.But when you really break it all down, deciding on the length of a URL is quite simple.The shorter the better.According to Backlinko, “Shorter URLs tend to rank better than long URLs.”To prove this, they performed some extensive testing on one million Google search results.Here’s a graph that shows how Google rankings decline as URL length gets longer.

It’s pretty cut and dry.

Notice how the number one position has URLs with roughly 50 characters. But once you move down to the number 10 spot, the average URL has 62 characters. So somewhere around 50 — 60 characters is a pretty good number to shoot for. If you go way beyond (say 80+ characters), this is likely to have a negative impact on your ranking.

How many words should you use?

I personally try to shoot for around three to five words per URL because it’s simple and gives users a pretty clear idea of what a particular piece of content is all about. Here are a couple of examples from NeilPatel.com

See what I mean?

I keep the number of words in these URLs to a minimum, but you can still get a sense of what you can expect to find by clicking on those links. According to an interview with Matt Cutts, this is a pretty good formula to stick with. Here’s a snippet from the interview. The bottom line is that you want to condense the essence of your content into roughly three to five words and try to use a max of 60 characters. If you consistently implement this formula, you should be good to go.

Readability

Like I said earlier, there’s a correlation between user-friendliness and overall SEO.They’re forever intertwined. And this is most definitely true when it comes to URL optimization.Or as Moz puts it, “A well-crafted URL provides both humans and search engines with an easy-to-understand indication of what the destination page will be about.”This brings me to my next point.You should strive to structure your URLs for maximum readability.While I realize that this is an inherently subjective term, I think that this “scale of readability” illustration explains it quite well.

Notice how the first example is short, to the point, and easy to understand? Without even clicking on the link, it’s clear that it contains images of adorable puppies that are confused by a rainbow. So it probably contains something like this.

But notice how the examples get increasingly more confusing. The third example gives you absolutely no idea of what you’ll get by clicking on the link. In fact, it could quite possibly be a nefarious link that will infect your computer with a terrible virus. But let me elaborate just a bit more on the importance of readability. Say that someone links to one of your posts.

While they may initially replace the naked URL with their own anchor text like “cute puppies confused by a rainbow,” there’s a good chance that the URL will be copied into other sources somewhere down the line.At some point, it will probably be ppostedas the original naked URL.If it’s easily readable with http://mydomain.com/puppies-adorably-confused-by-rainbow, it will still be easy to understand regardless.

But if it’s ugly and long winded like http://cdn07.mydomain.cc/9rf7e2/i?HXID+iaj34089jgt30hgqa3&qry=f#loaddelay, no one is going to have a friggin clue what it’s about. I dare you to click on that link. So the point here is that simplicity and clarity are what you want to aim for when creating URLs. If it can be easily understood with a quick glance, you should be good to go. Fortunately, you’re a human, so it shouldn’t be all that difficult to structure your URLs for other humans.

Use hyphens, not underscores

When it comes to putting spaces between words, you have two main choices. You can use either hyphens or underscores. So what’s the best choice? That’s a no-brainer. Always use hyphens. Here’s advice straight from the horse’s mouth. If this is what Google prefers, you can rest assured that it’s the best option.

Use lowercase letters

Okay, this is probably obvious to at least 90 percent of you. But I thought that I should mention it just to be clear. Always stick with lowercase letters. Why? Using uppercase letters can potentially lead to redirects or 404 errors on certain servers. So just don’t do it.

Stop words

Here’s a topic that’s received a substantial amount of debate. To use stop words or not use stop words? That is the question. First of all, what exactly are stop words? They’re words like:

  • a, an, or, but

These are basically “filler” words that connect the essential words that are the backbone of your URL. For a long time, stop words were viewed by many SEOs as an unforgivable sin that simply could not be forgiven. But you know what? It’s really not that big of a deal. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be penalized for using them. However, they’re not going to do you any favors either. Stop words are basically ignored by search engines and don’t carry any real weight as a ranking factor. So here’s what I recommend when approaching stop words.

Don’t use them if you can help it.

If your URL structure still makes sense and is readable, including stop words is only going to make your URL longer and more complicated. But if you feel like you need to include a stop word for your URL to make sense and more readable then go ahead and include it. The key word here is “readable.” If it makes it easier for people to read, then that’s usually your best option. Just use your best judgment when deciding which route to go.

Use “safe” characters

And here’s another point I need to make. It has to do with using “safe” characters in your URL rather than “unsafe” characters. The easiest way for me to explain the difference between the two is to simply show you a graph from Perishable Press. It’s pretty simple. You’re totally fine using safe characters in your URL. But you definitely want to stay away from unsafe characters. The reason is because they can create issues for browsers, which creates usability issues. Not good.

Use a max of two folders per URL

If you’re unsure of what I mean by “folders,” they’re simply the slashes you see between text in a URL. Like most other aspects of URL optimization, it’s best to keep it simple with the number of folders you use in your URLs.

In other words, less is best.

According to Moz, “It’s not that the slashes (aka folders) will necessarily harm performance, but it can create a perception of site depth for both engines and users, as well as making edits to the URL string considerably more complex (at least, in most CMS’ protocols). Users can still tell what the content is about with the second, restructured URL, but it contains fewer folders. And if you really want to get specific in terms of the number of folders to use, stick with one or two. This makes your URL way more eye appealing, and it’s easier for search engines to decipher the meaning.

Target 1-2 keywords

Ah…keywords. You should have known that this topic would surface at some point in this post. So what’s the best way to handle keywords when creating URLs? Should you still include them? If so, how many can you include before it’s seen as spam and you get penalized?

Well here’s my take on things.

First of all, you should definitely still include keywords in your URL. Although this practice is unlikely to skyrocket you to the number one spot, it should give your ranking a slight boost. And from a user standpoint, including keywords serves a very important purpose. It enables the URL to serve as the anchor text when your content is copied without including anchor text to clarify. This way people can instantly tell what your content is about at a quick glance regardless of where they find the link. Even without anchor text, it’s good to go. This takes the guesswork out of it and will encourage more people to inevitably click on your content.

But here’s the deal.

You by no means want to shamelessly stuff keywords into your URL. This should go without saying. That would be a recipe for disaster. But exactly how many keywords should you target? Is there a specific number? According to Brian Dean of Backlinko and John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, you should aim for one or two keywords per. Adding more and “Google will not give you as much credit.” And let’s be honest. Keyword stuffing in any way is never a good thing. You wouldn’t use keyword stuffing in your content, so why would you use it in your URL? In terms of positioning, it’s generally regarded as best practices to include your target keywords located toward the beginning of your URL.

Avoid keyword repetition

Here’s one last little detail. Never repeat your keywords (or any words for that matter) in a URL.

Here’s why.

Repetition is pointless because Google will in no way reward you for using a keyword that appears more than once (what is it 2005?). In fact, this could potentially be seen as a form of manipulation, which obviously isn’t good. Moving beyond that, it’s probably going to make your content look spammy, or at the very least, diminish your credibility in the eyes of search engine users. It just looks ridiculous to have the keywords “canoe puppies” listed back to back between two folders. So stay away from this tactic at all costs.

Conclusion

While it may seem easy enough on paper, the URL optimization process can be quite tricky. There are several variables that must be addressed when structuring URLs to appease both search engines and human users. It starts with the more technical aspects like choosing a top level domain and getting an SSL certificate so users know that your site is safe. You should then work your way down to finding the optimal number of characters and words to ensure that your URL has “human-readability.” There’s also the issue of proper formatting so to not cause problems for browsers.

And of course, you want to make sure that you’re correctly targeting your keywords without teetering on the edge of anything black hat. So yeah, it’s a little complicated. But when you break things down step by step, URL optimization becomes much more manageable. And when you really analyze it, the process largely boils down to a lot of common sense principles that can be encapsulated into three main words. Short, simple, and readable. If you create URLs with these objectives in mind, you should be golden. Can you think of any other URL optimization strategies?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Business Should Use

Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Business Should Use

All types of businesses, but especially startups and smaller businesses, can benefit from these inbound marketing techniques, says contributor Neil Patel.

  

Every business needs to do some kind of marketing.

But what kind of marketing is the most effective? Most of the conventional marketing approaches are too expensive or unwieldy for smaller businesses and startups to successfully employ. That’s why inbound marketing, and its various techniques, make sense for any business — but especially for startups and smaller businesses.

Inbound marketing is more of an approach than it is a list of tactics. Inbound marketing, at its core, is about attracting prospects to your business rather than going out to find those prospects. Traditional marketing relied on email lists, cold-calling, billboard advertisements, and direct mail. Modern inbound marketing uses organic search traffic, opt-in email forms, and content publication to attract customers. Inbound marketing is the best approach for today’s businesses, whether B2B, B2C, e-commerce, SaaS, tech, non-tech, brick-and-mortar or otherwise. Here are the six inbound marketing techniques that I’ve used with amazing success in my startups, and that you can use to grow your business.

Give Away A Free Guide That Is Directly Related To Your Business

If you’ve ever seen any of the resources like these I’ve created, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in creating advanced guides.Each of my guides is thousands of words long, making them a huge source of organic traffic. I didn’t publish them simply to get words out. I published them to provide marketers with rock-solid information. Many marketers I know use this technique to build their email lists, like AudienceBloom, which published The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.

One of the best publishers of free guides and resources is HubSpot, the grandfather of inbound marketing. HubSpot’s collection of resources deserves to be called a “library” simply due to the sheer volume of resources. If you’re looking for a good model of a company that creates free guides, HubSpot is the exemplary. Make sure that the guide is relevant to your business. HubSpot can afford to publish a huge variety of guides because they are a big business that plays in a lot of sandboxes. Keep your guide as specific as possible, because you are using it to gain a certain type of visitor — ideally one who will convert to become a customer.

Pick One Or Two Keywords, And Optimize The Heck Out Of Them

Inbound marketing is nearly synonymous with “SEO.” So, how do you “do SEO?” There’s a lot to know. One of the most important features of SEO, however, is the power of keywords.  In order to successfully gain traffic for relevant keywords, you have to use those keywords on your site. Though some may argue that keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, you still need to be aware of — and use the words — that people might enter into a search engine when they’re looking for content like yours. Many marketers I know try to gain traffic for tons of different keywords. Instead of focusing on a few relevant terms and variants that mean the same thing, they try to do this:

  • Gain first-position result for head terms — the most commonly searched terms. But, try as you might, you’re not going to gain the first position on Google for “iPhone” or “computer.”
  • Simply improve their keyword rank. However, there’s more to SEO than keyword rank. Moving the needle on keyword position is nice, but that’s not going to create better traffic.
  • Trying to gain position for a huge variety of keywords. Although, it’s good to have a comprehensive list of keywords that you’re tracking and targeting, it’s a waste of time to try to win all of these keywords at once.

The solution is to focus on a few keywords that are valuable and create specific pages on your website that are for those keywords specifically. A good example of this is Practical ECommerce, which targeted the keyword “A/B testing tools for small business.” When you eliminate ad results, they rank number one:  The company chose a long-tail (less-searched) keyword that was relevant to its business, optimized for that word, and came out on top.

Build Your Personal Brand

In order to be a truly successful marketer, you’ll need to build your personal brand. I recommend the personal brand approach for anyone who’s involved in marketing, but especially for startups. Today’s startup culture is dominated by personalities who can successfully advertise themselves as leaders, as much as they advertise their companies as innovators.

Entrepreneurs like Jayson DeMers, Joel Gascoigne, and Hiten Shah are examples of people building businesses by means of building their personal brand. If you start a business, it’s virtually impossible to separate yourself from that business. It only makes sense to use your personal brand to build that business. Many brands such as Tim Ferriss’s and Ramit Sethi’s depend almost exclusively on the power of their personal brand. Some entrepreneurs build businesses that are founded upon their personality and their advice. You may choose a different approach. Instead of building the brand upon your personality (like Sethi and Ferriss), you can build your brand then use your personal brand to promote it.

Ask And Answer Questions On Social Media

Social media turned inbound marketing into a viral interactive experience. Now, instead of just hearing about companies and going to them, potential customers found companies, followed those companies, and interacted with those companies. In study after study, social media has a very low track record of bringing in conversions. Email and organic search are by far the best sources for conversions. Don’t depend upon social for your conversions. But you should engage socially as a powerful method of inbound marketing. It may not bring conversions, but it does other things that enhance your brand.

It’s not enough to merely have a presence on the social media platforms. Instead, you need to engage these platforms. Social media is social. That means that there are real people behind every like and follower. In order to connect with those people, you need to ask questions, answer questions, respond to tweets, recognize +1s, and be a presence. In the case of HubSpot, it is vigilantly monitoring its brand, and scouring the social sphere for mentions. People might hashtag it, tweet at the company or talk about it. Each of these social mentions provides an opportunity for HubSpot to interact with the mention, thereby increasing its brand image and its reach into other social networks.

Create An Email Popup

Popups are controversial. Even though some people hate them, they’ve proven to be successful. In every business I’ve built, I’ve used some form of email opt-in to build my email list. An email list is one of the single most important factors in building a business. I’ve been able to leverage the power of my email list to create compelling subject lines and grow my businesses even more.  If you really want to grow your email list, use a popup opt-in form. You’ll be blown away by the results. ShopifyNation is a great example of using a successful popup opt-in.

Guest Blog

Guest blogging is an ideal form of marketing for so many reasons.

  • Powerful linkbacks
  • Bigger audience
  • Personal brand building

One great reason that guest blogging is such an awesome form of marketing is that it gives you the right to do the list of publishing brands on the landing pages lends a sense of prestige and cachet. As the reasoning goes, if you’re mentioned on Marketing Land, New York Times, Huffington Post, etc., you’re probably pretty important. This is just one of the reasons that guest blogging is such an effective inbound strategy.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of ways to use inbound marketing to grow your business. These six are just the start, but I think that they are the best way to start. I wouldn’t suggest them if I haven’t used them myself. They truly work, and I can prove it. The best way to prove it to yourself is to try it yourself. If you aren’t using any of these inbound techniques, pick one, try it for six months, and see what an impact it makes for your business. What has inbound marketing technique you found to be the most successful?

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

China’s Movie Ticket King on What Studios Can Learn About Digital Marketing

China's Movie Ticket King on What Studios Can Learn About Digital Marketing

  

Beijing Weying Technology exec Luke Xiang opens up

about why China is vastly more advanced than North America at mobile ticketing, the "disappointing" performance of 'Ghost in the Shell' and box-office fraud at Chinese cinemas. Nonexistent just five years ago, China's emergent mobile-ticketing platforms have been embraced by the country's digitally driven youth, drastically remaking the way movies are marketed and consumed in the world's second-largest entertainment market. Luke Xiang, 49, is the vp and international face of Weying, whose Wepiao ticketing service ranks among China's top three — along with Maoyan and Alibaba's Tao Piao Piao — accounting for an estimated 20 percent to 35 percent of all movie, sports and live entertainment tickets sold in the country.

Founded in 2014 by former Groupon executive and tech entrepreneur David Lim, Weying has experienced explosive growth. Valued at $2 billion last year, the service has more than 100 million users, selling an average of 1 million tickets every day. The company's vast data mining also has played a key role in helping the government combat fraud in the exhibition sector — an ongoing problem in which local theater owners artificially inflate or under-report admission figures. THR visited the multilingual Xiang (in addition to Mandarin and English, he's fluent in German and speaks some French) at Weying's Beijing headquarters to discuss his company's recently launched Los Angeles office, its plan to invest in U.S. studio tentpoles and what Hollywood can learn from China's more advanced movie ticketing and marketing landscape.

How does Weying ticketing work?

Our service is embedded within China's largest social networks — WeChat and QQ — which are both from Tencent, our partner and one of our investors. Each of these services has more than 800 million users. As the audience uses the ticketing service to engage with movie-related content, check show times and buy tickets, they generate data, which becomes the moviegoing DNA of each individual audience member. We know their moviegoing history in every detail: what kind of movies they like; what time they go to the movies — are they there on opening weekend or do they go later in the release?; whether they buy tickets at regular pricing or only with discounts; if they go to the cinema by themselves or on dates or with friends; if they are a passive viewer or an active reviewer and influencer on social media; and so on. As we capture this very detailed data from the audience and cinemas, we are able to do big data mining and analysis that informs and facilitates digital marketing and distribution in a very targeted way — and in real time.

Can you offer an example?

Say you are a young guy in one of China's tier-three cities. If you show up within two or three [miles] of a cinema, and we know that you've been a fan of action movies in the past, we push a notice to you with some exciting content about what's going on at a cinema very nearby — do you want to see the latest film from Vin Diesel, one of your favorite action stars? So within 10 seconds, you can reserve and pay for a seat at the next showing. After the movie, the relationship continues when we ask you if you want to review the film and share something about it on social media. We can also push you an offer for some licensed merchandise related to the film and based on your interests, which you can buy instantly on our platform. All of these interactions generate more data.

In China, roughly 80 percent of all movie tickets are bought online, but in North America it's only about 25 percent. Why do you think we are so far behind in mobile ticketing and marketing?

It varies a lot by title in North America. If it's a Star Wars movie, more people book in advance online; but on an average film, it's usually even lower, around 15 percent. There are many people in parts of China who had a smartphone before they ever saw a movie in the cinema. So we had a unique opportunity to leapfrog legacy practices of other more developed markets. We didn't have a lot of baggage, and the whole industry was new and being built on the internet, for a very young audience. So there is a lot of innovation. In this sense, I certainly think it would be smart for U.S. compa­nies to look carefully at what's happening in China.

How Hollywood Plans to Extract More Money From China

How much money is the U.S. film industry leaving on the table by lacking high-tech mobile ticketing platforms like China's?

That's really hard to estimate, but I would agree that there is a very large amount of value to be unlocked when the North American market can become more sophisticated with mobile ticketing and marketing. Some U.S. films are achieving greater results in China than North America now, and they are usually the ones that have worked deeply with online platforms here on marketing and promotion.

China's internet landscape — dominated by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — is somewhat more consolidated than North America's. Eventually, this would seem to allow for powerful efficiencies, as these internet giants get better and better at sharing and exploiting data across their vast webs of services.

Yes, in the U.S., you can't expect Amazon's video viewership data to be given to AMC and Facebook. But here, that's basically what we see happening — it's all integrated. If you think of the whole industry as an organism with artificial intelligence, the data is the blood. China's blood is flowing. As we learn to circulate it in more extensive and sophisticated ways, the whole machine will become more intelligent and efficient — improving the consumer experience and releasing more value for the whole industry.

How big of an issue is box-office fraud at Chinese cinemas?

Clearly, it was a serious problem because the Film Bureau issued a new law to punish this behavior. One of the reasons box-office cheaters have been getting caught is because platforms like ours and others have been making data available; we do this to make the industry more transparent.

Some believe ticketing services have created price distortions in the market that have hurt growth. Is that a fair argument?

Yes. Because the competing online platforms were trying to acquire users to establish this kind of online prebooking habit, they relied too heavily on subsidized pricing. Of all of the promotional tools, low pricing is the easiest to execute. The next step is using your data to really understand your users' needs. We've come to this second phase in the industry.

So the worst of the correction is over?

This year there are fewer and fewer platforms trying to acquire users with pricing and more using data to fine tune their marketing and messaging tools. Pricing is getting involved, but now you are able to direct your offers in a more targeted way to the users who are most susceptible to price, rather than just spreading discounts across the whole market like peanut butter.

It's an evolving process. There will be more upswings and more corrections, more experimentation and an ebb and flow. But that's normal for a developing market. Overall, I think we are moving in the right direction. On the data and technology side, we are evolving quickly and becoming more sophisticated with incredible speed. And with more Hollywood studios working with the Chinese industry on the content side, our production capabilities and storytelling will continue to professionalize and improve. The broad, long trends are all healthy.

Weying made its first equity investment in a U.S. studio film this year, buying a piece of Paramount's Ghost in the Shell. How would you say that went?

Well, it was a little disappointing, but that was true globally for this title. The investment was an indication of how we want to get more involved in content. When we make an equity investment, we get more access to the creative process and can exercise more control over the marketing campaign's development and the distribution plans in China. This enables us to leverage our data and resources much earlier in the process, instead of just acting as a service provider at the final step.

Do you plan to make more investments of this kind?

We've set up an office in Los Angeles, in Century City, to acquire content for China as well as to build strong, direct relationships with the studios. In the year ahead, we will make several more investments in U.S. studio films, European independents and Japanese titles. We will be diversified because that's what the Chinese marketplace has an appetite for.

Chuck Reynolds

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How To Secure Your Funds In Periods of Prosperity of the Cryptocurrency Economy?

How To Secure Your Funds In Periods of Prosperity of the Cryptocurrency Economy?

How To Secure Your Funds In Periods of Prosperity of the Cryptocurrency Economy?

2017 is definitely the year of crypto, as the past 4 months have witnessed the unprecedented growth of multiple coins’ markets. Bitcoin has recorded more than 70% price gains so far this year. Yet more, the altcoin market capital has exceeded $50 billion for the first time ever in 2017. This prosperity in the crypto economy acts as a magnet that attracts hackers who would try to steal some coins using one of the tricks in crypto’s black book. So, throughout this article, I will highlight some basic instructions to help you secure your coins.

Avoid online wallets whenever possible:

It goes without saying that if you don’t own the private keys of your coins, then you don’t control your coins. That being said, I can never emphasize how secure it is to keep your coins on a desktop wallet on your machine. For bitcoin, the most secure way to save your coins is to download and install Bitcoin Core; download the full blockchain; encrypt your wallet and send your coins to one of the addresses of your wallet. No matter how secure Blockchain.info’s wallet might seem, it can be no more secure than your own desktop bitcoin core wallet. Note that blockchain.info doesn’t control your coins’ private keys.

You should do the same for altcoins too, keep your coins in a wallet on your machine to have control over your private keys. If you have to use online wallets, never rely on passwords alone; use two-factor authentication as an added security measure. Also, use a randomly generated password and avoid meaningful words, as they can easily be cracked via dictionary attacks. Passwordsgenerator.net can help you generate random passwords with the length you choose; use at least 16 characters for your password.

Don’t leave your coins in an exchange’s wallet:

Many would use their exchange’s trading accounts as wallets for their altcoins. I don’t advise you to do this, as you won’t have control over your coins’ private keys this way and also, pay attention that periods of crypto economy prosperity is when most exchanges are attacked by hackers, so you don’t want your coins to be confiscated in case the exchange is hacked.

Use cold storage whenever possible:

Cold storage refers to the process of storage of bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, offline. By far, cold storage is unarguably the most secure way to store cryptocurrencies. If you want use cold storage to store your bitcoins, you have to download and install bitcoin core’s wallet on your machine, download the full blockchain, encrypt your wallet and then import your .dat wallet file, or your coins’ private keys, and use them for cold storage via USB drives, hardware wallets, paper wallets, physical coins….etc.

Keep the email you used for your cryptocurrency accounts safe:

For maximum security, don’t share the email you used to create your blockchain.info’s wallet, or your cryptocurrency exchanges’ accounts, with anyone and don’t use them for creating accounts on any other websites. If a hacker knows the email you used to create you accounts, this would markedly make it easier for him/her to hack your accounts.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

More Billionaires Are Buying Cryptocurrencies

“It is the best investment of my life,"

said billionaire Mike Novogratz at an April 19 Harvard Business School Club of NY event, where he announced that he holds ten percent of his net worth in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Mike Novogratz was the Chief Investment Officer of the Fortress Macro Fund, and principal and a member of the board of directors of Fortress Investment Group LLC. Novogratz joined Fortress after a decade-long tenure at Goldman Sachs. He featured on the Forbes billionaire list in 2008. While clearer revelations on his investment in cryptocurrencies have come out now, his interest in cryptocurrencies isn’t new. He has been advocating for Bitcoin as a good investment since 2013.

Bitcoin’s journey has been incredible. It started trading at around $0.0007 per bitcoin in the beginning of 2009 and about two years later, it hit parity with the dollar. While the year 2013 saw Bitcoin's potential, it displayed its massive volatility. Even 2014 remained volatile but it was milder. In 2015, there was recovery and gradual uptrend which continued through 2016. The year 2017 has been exceptionally good for Bitcoin which crossed the $1,300 mark for the first time. Mike Novogratz now predicts it to go past $2,000. Mike Novogratz has invested in Ethereum (ETH) as well. He made his investment when it was trading at $1. Today, it's trading around $69 and is the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. (Related reading, see: The 6 Most Important Cryptocurrencies Other Than Bitcoin)

Mike Novogratz isn’t the only billionaire supporter of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. Patrick M. Byrne can be called a bitcoin enthusiast. Back in 2014, when no major revenue generators were accepting bitcoin as payment, he decided that Overstock.com, with $1.3 billion in revenue then, would accept bitcoins. Overstock became the first large retailer to accept Bitcoin, going live in January of 2014. Then we have Tim Draper, founder of Draper Associates — a seed-stage venture capital firm — has been investing in Bitcoins (ad now Ether) too. He ranked #98 on the 2014 Worth Magazine 100 Most Powerful People in Finance. (Related reading, see: Overstock.com Announces Rights Offering on Blockchain Platform)

The rising awareness, acceptance by governments and rising adoption are supporting Bitcoin’s price movement which is motivating people to invest. Bitcoin is emerging as a new asset class and given its low correlation with traditional asset classes, it’s being dubbed as a perfect diversifier for an investor’s portfolio. However, like any investment, there are risks involved and investors must factor them in being leaping into the world of cryptocurrencies.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

MCAP: The New Buzz in the Cryptocurrency World

MCAP:
The New Buzz in the Cryptocurrency World

   MCAP is a mining

and ICO token launched by BitcoinGrowthFund (BGF) which is a Blockchain based Venture Capital Fund. BGF is a kick-starter where customers can own equity in the form of tokens in various investment opportunities.

$4 million raised so far!

BGF launched the sale of MCAP tokens on the 27th of April and took the Blockchain world by surprise by raising over $4 million in 10 days. The sale of MCAP tokens will end when we reach the sale cap or when the number of tokens released is exhausted. MCAP will be available to the public for trading on various platforms in the coming month.

Quick facts about MCAP:

  • Through MCAP tokens, clients can invest in mining and potential ICO’s.
  • The dedicated team of analysts at Bitcoin Growth Fund continuously analysis the various ICOs based on more than thirty parameters such as the background of the team, the viability and scope of the product idea so that our investors never need to worry about their investments.
  • An algorithm to calculate which AltCoin would be most profitable to mine at any given moment based on its difficulty level, trading volume and the profit it would generate.
  • The large pool of investors depicts the confidence of the public in MCAP tokens.

The Blockchain community is showing a keen interest in our token sale and many members have been kind enough to offer their support and invest in our MCAP tokens.

Skyrocketing prices of cryptocurrencies boost MCAP

As the public is slowly becoming more aware of the cryptocurrencies circulating in the market, more people have started investing in coins such as Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin etc.

In the recent months, the price of Bitcoin has gone from $954 to a little over $1500 and predictions are that by the end of 2017, Bitcoin will see an increase of nearly 150% of its price in March ’17. Similarly, other cryptocurrencies such as Ether, Litecoin, Zcash etc. have also witnessed an exponential increase in their price. We at Bitcoin Growth Fund have realized the potential profits which can be generated from mining and have developed an algorithm to calculate which cryptocurrency would be most profitable to mine at any given moment based on various parameters.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is the latest development in the market to raise funds for projects where companies raise money through tokens to invest in other avenues. According to the recent article published in Forbes by Roger Aitken, the boom in cryptocurrencies by the end of 2017 will outpace bitcoin by a wide margin and their mining will yield substantial returns. With MCAP tokens, our aim is to enable the average user to be able to earn huge returns in the long run by investing in one single coin rather than investing in multiple cryptocurrencies and hoping for their price to increase.

With the money raised through the sale of our MCAP tokens, BGF will invest in the mining of Bitcoin & other alt-coins along with investing in other ICOs. With the growing market cap and gradually increasing trading volumes of cryptocurrencies, our development team at BGF has developed algorithms to help us decide which alt-coin to mine at any time to get maximum profits.

A ‘Token’ of advice

Once released onto several trading platforms, supply and demand will be the only factors affecting the price of MCAP tokens. Our token is the best possible long term investment for customers as the MCAP tokens will surely yield huge returns and we hope to see the price of each of our tokens increase to $70 once the users start buying and selling MCAP tokens. BGF is offering lucrative discounts to the early buyers of MCAP tokens. Kindly refer to the website link for more details.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency could spur significant developments in NZ property law

Cryptocurrency could spur significant developments in NZ property law

  

Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies may be the catalyst for significant developments in New Zealand law.

The treatment of 'intangible property' is an area ripe for clarification, and cryptocurrency may well give rise to the case to test the boundaries. A Russell McVeagh publication explores the question of what legal remedies are available if bitcoins (or any valuable property rights stored on the blockchain) are stolen from the rightful owner and reviews the treatment of intangible property in various Commonwealth jurisdictions. Banking and Finance Partner Tom Hunt says, "Cutting-edge innovations in cryptocurrencies, as well as blockchain technologies, smart contracts and Robo-advice are shifting the landscape of financial services and the companies that make use of them.”

“While each promises a wealth of opportunities, these technologies also bring about new challenges in regulation and enforcement to be considered." The more obvious claims available to target a third party recipient would not work if the third party received them innocently (the so-called 'bona fide purchaser' defense). A claim in knowing receipt, a proprietary restitution claim or a claim for unjust enrichment, would probably be defeated by this defense.

One answer might be a claim in conversion.

Conversion is a tort of strict liability and may operate in circumstances where the bona fide purchaser defence does not apply. It would, therefore, be a significant expansion of the rights of recourse if the New Zealand courts extended the tort to apply to intangible property such as cryptocurrency. Litigation partner Chris Curran adds, "As the Blockchain is increasingly used to store things of value, this legal area seems likely to be tested at some point.” “We will watch with interest to see where New Zealand lands regarding the protection of property rights in this emerging and disruptive FinTech field."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Price Calm Before the Storm?

Bitcoin Price Calm Before the Storm?

Bitcoin Storm

After a 2 month rally leading to all time high prices, Bitcoin has finally reached an equilibrium. The price has been bouncing between $1500 and $1600 since Friday, and as Monday came along it seems that the market is still unsure of its next move. Some of the pullbacks may be attributed to Ripple’s exceptional rise in the past couple days as its market cap reached $8.3 billion — almost as big as its closest competitor Ethereum. No one is sure why Ripple’s price has more than tripled in the past week rising from a price of $0.05 to more than $0.22. Kiritoflash 

Reddit claimed:

Well, over $4,000,000,000 (Four-Billion Dollars) was put into Ripple in the past week [] That is a lot of money to invest.

Furthermore, there are rumors on bitcoin talk speculating that the Ripple team is looking to lock down a huge amount of coins for as much as a decade:

“Rumors are dense about Ripple releasing an extensive lock-up agreement spanning a whole decade and more”

 

Supposedly, the team will reveal more info at the upcoming Consensus event hosted by Coindesk. The combination of this gossip along with an HODL mentality from the Ripple investors is more than likely the reason behind its astronomical rise.

How does Ripple’s rise affect Bitcoin?

While there is no direct correlation between Ripple and Bitcoin, the fact that the number three crypto more than doubled its market cap and became one-third that of Bitcoin may have made some Bitcoin investors uneasy. However, it is still impressive how resilient Bitcoin’s price has been even after the massive bull run. The current political turmoil surrounding Brexit, and the tensions between the US and North Korea has created a market for smart money looking to hedge on these events. As a result, it looks like crypto as a whole is experiencing a second wave of investments flowing into the ecosystem. We can see evidence of that if we take a look at cornmarket cap's chart of overall market capitalization:

  

We can clearly see in this chart

exponential growth in an overall market cap for all cryptocurrencies. To support that rise, we are also seeing the significant increase in trading volume to a level never seen before. Keep in mind that anybody who bought and held bitcoins in the past eight years is seeing the significant return on investment, so if you are looking to buy into crypto right now you may want to tread lightly.

What does the Future hold for Bitcoin’s price?

As discussed in our previous article, since current Bitcoin price is outside of any previous price levels it is hard to analyze the market. Users have been resorting to using Fib Retracements to predict future market action. Using the $1623 high and the $1426 low, the Fib Retracement predicts a next resistance level of $1700. According to the charts, there is also strong support at $1500 that has already been tested multiple times over the weekend. As the week progresses we will see if Bitcoin will be able to break past $1600 and test the higher resistance levels, otherwise, expect the price to stay in the $1500 until the next wave of volume comes along.

Since the amount of volume is similar from the time Bitcoin’s price rose from $1300 to $1600 to the past few days where the price has been bouncing between support and resistance, suggests that the bear and the bulls reach a stalemate and are violently trading back and forth trying to decide who will win. The price can keep on climbing astronomically or crash if the bears take the lead. The sideways trading over the past three days and the relatively high volume may be a sign that some major price action is incoming. Right now would be a good time to remind investors to never trade with more than you can afford to loose, as the consequences of a bad trade can catch up with you rather quickly.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin Market Cap Nears $30 Billion

Bitcoin Market Cap Nears $30 Billion

Bitcoin’s market cap has increased 5x in just one year, from around $6 billion during summer 2016 to now $30 billion, following its price rise from around $450 to now trade at around $1,760 on Coinbase.

  

The latest rise began on April 25th, exactly two weeks ago, increasing from $1,257 to $1,765. What caused this sudden $500 appreciation is not very clear, but its price increase appears to be inversely correlated with a price decrease of other digital currencies. Almost all of them are down today, while bitcoin is up, suggesting traders and investors who have seen some amazing gains and all-time highs in other digital currencies might be diversifying some of their profits to bitcoin.

The market cap of all digital currencies has seemingly not increased since yesterday, even though bitcoin’s market cap has. Suggesting its price increase might be merely reshuffling. On the other hand, when other digital currencies increase, the market cap also increases. That might mean new investors are entering the space through other digital currencies and then find out about bitcoin and diversify, a potential reversal of the usual entry point being bitcoin.

That might be because, with the exception of ethereum, it is very difficult to fiat buy other digital currencies. Outside investors, therefore, interested in say ripple, will have to buy bitcoin first. Thus if they want to sell ripple because they think it is too high, they would probably be buying bitcoin at the same time. So the boom in other digital currencies appears to be lifting up bitcoin too, a currency which, although increasing in value, has done so at a far slower rate than others, such as ethereum or litecoin. That’s because bitcoin has run out of capacity. It cannot welcome new users without a corresponding increase in fees which leads to other users being priced out and thus start using other digital currencies.

Solutions have been proposed years ago, but none have been adopted so far, continuing a loss of network effects as bitcoin’s market share was nearing less than 50% yesterday, slightly recovering today due to the reshuffling. Nonetheless, overall, everything is up. The combined market cap is now $52 billion. Many digital currencies have made some stupendous gains, up 10x, 20x, often in weeks, or in the case of ripple yesterday in just one day.

Interest in this space is clearly significantly growing, with ethereum leading as far as new projects and news are concerned due to its smart contracts capabilities, its many ICOs and its testing or experimentation by many household brands. Bitcoin too is growing, perhaps due to finding a space as a stop-gap and an entry way for other digital currencies, but it’s not clear for how long that will continue considering 40,000 transactions are currently stuck in a backlog, waiting to move.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bitcoin spikes to fresh record after Fed’s Kashkari speaks about blockchain ‘potential’

Bitcoin spikes to fresh record after Fed's Kashkari speaks about blockchain 'potential'

  • Bitcoin rose more than 6 percent to hit an all-time high of $1,747.06, according to CoinDesk.
  • Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said the blockchain technology behind bitcoin probably "has more potential" than the currency has by itself.
  • Other digital currencies supported by blockchain have recently gained investor interest.

  

A man using a Bitcoin machine.

Bitcoin jumped Tuesday to a fresh record above $1,700 after a Federal Reserve official talked up the potential of the blockchain technology that supports the digital currency. Bitcoin rose more than 6 percent to hit an all-time high of $1,747.06, according to CoinDesk. Prices then gave up some gains to trade near $1,707 as of 1:11 p.m., ET. "I would say I think conventional wisdom now is that blockchain and the underlying technology is probably more interesting and has more potential than maybe bitcoin does by itself," Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said in a Reuters report. He was speaking at a technology conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Bitcoin (2013 — 2017)

Blockchain is a record of transactions and historical value

categorized into blocks by a network of computers. The technology has spurred the recent creation of other digital currencies. "I think sentiment has shifted in the markets, in the Fed," Kashkari also said in the report. He was the assistant Treasury secretary overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program during the financial crisis. Bitcoin has surged in the last several weeks on speculation of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund in the U.S., increased Japanese investor interest due to new regulations and overall greater interest in digital currencies.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member