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written by John Chow on October 25, 2014

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The weekly Dot Com Lunch meeetup is a fun gathering of like minded people. The meetup is held in the heart of Orange County in the safest city in America. However, we almost got ran over this week by old Toyota operated by a woman who was too busy with her makeup to noticed that she had her accelerator floored.

This is one of the very few times I wished I wasn’t using my Sennheiser mic. Because of the mic setting, it didn’t pick up the screaming coming from the Toyota’s engine. How the lady didn’t hear it is totally beyond me. Her car did had a handicap tag on it, and she was parked in a handicap spot, so maybe she was deaf.

Before she could cause any major damage, the family that her Toyota was going to run over went up to her and told her that she shouldn’t have her foot on the gas while her car is parked. Disaster averted, we went back to lunch.

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written by John Chow on October 24, 2014

$48,209.70 in 6 months. Learn How!

Welcome to the 10th episode of Eating with John Chow. On this edition, we headed to the Diamond Jamboree Plaza for lunch at the Urban Seoul. This is a one of the best damn fusion restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.

The brain child of OC Restaurateur Bronnie Lee and Chef Kacy Jun, Urban Seoul is a restaurant that celebrates passion for food and its remarkable ability to adapt. Born in Southern California’s culinary melting pot, Urban Seoul’s menu revolves around California and traditional bi bim bap complemented by an array of tapas or small plates. It’s really a fusion of hispanic and Korean food.

The menu is divided down two columns. The left side is Urban, and features hispanic dishes with a touch of Korea. The right side is Seoul, and features Korean dishes with a touch of hispanic. Put it all together, and you have one amazing dot com lunch. The chorizo kimchi fried rice was to die for. The pork belly used for the dish was the most amazing pork belly I’ve ever had. This is a must try dish.

Urban Seoul features daily custom Fanta drinks. It comes in a really big glass and at only $2.50, well worth it. Prices are amazingly reasonable. You won’t find any dishes costing more than $10. I hope they’re still making a profit at those low prices because I want them to stick around. This will be a regular dot com lunch hangout moving forward.

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written by John Rampton on October 24, 2014

Many people have a great many questions about how to get the guest blogging done, or if they should actually do it.  This obviously applies to the blogger and the guest as well.  Perhaps they want to know if they should stay on topic with other titles on the blog site, or if they want to do it on a weekly basis, monthly, or daily.  This should give you some good ideas for how to successfully incorporate guest blogging onto your site.  It is a valuable tool that you can use to build a ton of credibility to your blog, to enhance readership, and also market YOUR site and name on a completely new platform.

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The first thing to keep in mind when writing guest blogs is to make sure you are selective in choosing where to post!  For example, if you are a gun control advocate, it may not serve you well to do a guest post on a blog from an NRA commentator or a conservative blogger such as Matt Walsh.  Furthermore, you would not want to post on a site where you would not want their audience to become a part of your audience.

Do some research on where your blog post will end up.  Take a look at the blog site and look at the comments on the blogs that are already posted.  Are the blog posts well received? is there a lot of traffic on each of these blog posts?  If this is the case, you may want to pick a topic that is along the same line of thinking that is already up.  For example, if the last three blog articles are on news surrounding the new NFL season, it may not be prudent to write a blog on the world cup of soccer that ended two months ago.  People may simply skip your blog and not worry about it until you can write about something that they care about.

If your initial blog is received well, and the viewership/readership enjoys what you are posting, then do not shy away from returning to the same blog to do guest blogs more!  This will increase popularity and increase the traffic to your own blog.  As people get a taste for what you are writing about, if they like it, they will crave more, and will end up on your site looking for cool stories to post on their facebook page and argue about with all of their friends……driving…you guessed it….more traffic to your site!

There are tons of sites out there that would love to have guest bloggers.  Reach out to them and offer to write free blog posts to help their viewership, and you will find that it will be a win-win scenario as your popularity and your traffic increases on your own site.

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written by John Chow on October 23, 2014

“Learn To Live On Cash”

At first, this seems like good financial advice: pay cash for everything you buy, and you’ll never get into financial trouble.

A slew of TV shows, like Till Debt Do Us Part, Suze Orman, and Maxed Out, features people who got themselves into a financial mess because they let their credit card debt get out of control. One of the first things the hosts does to help these people is to put them on an all cash budget, no more credit cards.

That maybe good advice for the people on these shows, but is it good advice for the financially responsible person? The answer is a big fat no. I can’t remember the last time I paid for something with cash. Watch this episode of Talking with John Chow to find out why you should never live on cash.

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written by Michael Kwan on October 22, 2014

It’s undeniable how important social media has become, particularly when it comes to content-based businesses like this blog. You want your visitors to like, share, pin and +1 your blog posts as much as possible, because it means that your content is being distributed to an increasingly larger audience. And that’s good for business.

To this end, social sharing plugins for your WordPress-based blog are also incredibly important, because they help to facilitate that process. You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to share your content and you want to gently remind them to do so. One of the newest plugins to hit the block is Monarch from the people at Elegant Themes. Let’s review what it has to offer.

Socializing with Monarch

Elegant Themes formally unveiled its new Monarch plugin in a blog post, outlining some of the key features that it has to offer. In short, Monarch is designed to encourage increased sharing, provide better design, and offer more locations, all while maintaining lightning fast performance.

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Yes, there are other social sharing plugins that serve fundamentally the same purpose, but Monarch is said to be superior for a number of reasons. The design really is very elegant and the plugin provides a wealth of different options for how and where you want to display your social sharing buttons.

Watch the introductory video here for a closer look at Monarch.

Colorful Options for More Shares and Followers

Rather than just restricting you to just a couple of possible options, the Monarch plugin is remarkably robust. You can choose between square icons, square icons with rounded corners or circular icons, for example. And then you’ve got options for placement too.

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You can use a floating sidebar so the social buttons are always there for your readers to click, you can place wider buttons above or below your content, and most uniquely, you can even use automatic sharing pop-ups. This last feature is the most noteworthy, because the pop-ups oftentimes result in the greatest engagement.

The automatic pop-up can be activated by three different automatic triggers, like when a visitor scrolls down to the bottom of the page, when a visitor has been on the page for a certain period of time, or even when the visitor is about to leave your site. There are also six different intro animations for added elegance and these social icons can be overlaid on media items, like pictures, to encourage sharing on Pinterest, Tumblr and other visual-oriented networks.

The design is responsive, so it’ll adapt to the screen size and resolution, as well as the device that your visitor is using.

Easy Management in WordPress

If you’re already comfortable navigating through the regular WordPress control panel, then you’ll feel right at home managing Monarch through WordPress as well.

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Monarch comes with a custom designed interface that is built into the WordPress admin panel. The overall look and feel will be familiar as the core navigation is in the left sidebar, giving you access to all the features that you need. It’s through here that you set up your networks, choose your icon styles, and configure your other options. It’s clean, easy and straightforward.

How Much Does It Cost?

Interestingly, the Monarch plugin is not sold on its own. Instead, it falls into the usual set of pricing plans from Elegant Themes. You can choose the developer package for $89 per year, which includes access to all the themes and plugins, or you can gain lifetime access with no annual fees for a one-time payment of $249.

To date, there are 87 WordPress themes offered by Elegant Themes, in addition to the four other premium plugins: Handheld Mobile, Elegant Page Builder, Maintenance Mode and Elegant Shortcodes. When you consider it as a complete package, along with the Monarch plugin, that’s a pretty great value.

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