Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 24, 2014
Back in July I wrote a post titled Are You Spreading Yourself Too Thin. In that post, I talked about how sometimes we all try to do too much and how I had way too many things going on, especially with all the travel I was doing at the time.
I listed some things to think about, but point #4 was especially telling, though most people seemed to have missed it:
Don’t be afraid to let go of certain things, but make sure you look at it from all sides first before doing it.
For those who don’t know me, I have a main business. With that main business, which is incorporated (which means, by law, that officially I’m both the president and CEO of my organization), I had basically 3 business divisions, two of which I market off one website.
First off, I’m a health care finance consultant. In essence, I help hospitals generate more revenue and bring in more cash while making sure they stay compliant, which means aren’t doing things that are illegal. I’m very good at that, with my biggest success being that I helped one hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year; not many people can say that.
Second, I write about and talk about leadership issues, which includes diversity, communications, and all things that involve employees and, well, people in general. With that part I’ve spoken in 9 states and given presentations, and over there on the left, under the Twitter bird, you see the first book I wrote on leadership (I have people reading what will be the second book, coming out sometime early in 2015).
Third… I have a business called SEO Xcellence. The purpose of that business was building websites, doing SEO work and writing. Because of that business I presented in public 4 or 5 times locally and, well, y’all know that I have written for lots of folks other than myself, and still do on occasion.
Let’s talk about this last one.
This business started kind of on a whim. I gave a presentation to a consulting group I belong to as a last minute replacement because our scheduled speaker notified us she couldn’t make it. In one day I put together a presentation on social media marketing, and I gave that presentation the day after. It was such a hit that within a week 3 of the people in that room were clients of mine.
That was quite a rush! Over the course of the next few years I’d build some websites for people and organizations, optimize them, and write some of their content. It was a nice way to make some extra money when I wasn’t traveling as much, which came as we changed presidents and the economy was in the tank. Hospitals weren’t hiring consultants, companies weren’t doing any leadership training, organizations weren’t hiring speakers outside of their area to save on costs… but writing gigs were everywhere.
Over time, it got tiring building websites, and it also wasn’t overly economical anymore. I’m not a designer; I build basic websites that tell the story of a business; in other words, SEO friendly sites. These days, websites are either templates or monsters, both extremes from what I do, and I just don’t have the time to keep up with the technology.
I still know SEO, but marketing it to people who have no idea what it is and learn that it doesn’t necessarily conform to ROI (return on investment) like other businesses do was very difficult. Frankly, it’s hard enough marketing my health care talents without trying to figure out how to market for something that, based on a person’s business, might not work for them.
So, I stopped marketing overall, but I kept up with blogging. Not as much as with this blog, but I was still putting out the articles on some kind of schedule.
Then I got my last gig in Memphis, and I was gone for basically 18 months. Some of my blogs started to suffer.
apple in central New York
My local central New York blog probably suffered the most, but that was okay because it’s a personal blog. My finance blog started to suffer as the quality of guest posts seemed to get worse, and I didn’t have the time to read and fix all that stuff and still, hopefully, write my own articles here and there.
The blog on SEO Xcellence? Truthfully, many of the articles I wrote there work just as well on this blog. The differences were twofold, but neither major. One, the audience for that blog was, hopefully, business people who might be looking to hire someone to do the services that I was writing about. Two, most of those articles were much shorter than things I’d put on this blog. I’ve mentioned on this blog in the past about how what you write changes depending on who you’re writing for.
Anyway, during my week at home over Labor Day week I came to a decision that it was time to shut down SEO Xcellence for good. As an act of serendipity, while thinking about it that week I got the notice from GoDaddy telling me that the domain would expire in the middle of December.
That’s pretty perfect timing if you ask me. What I did next was go to the blog and highlight articles I thought I could use on this blog. Then slowly, over time, I moved all those posts over to this blog and saved them as drafts. I also went and looked at any articles I thought I could use here and saved them as well.
Whenever I did that I immediately made those posts private on the SEO blog. I did that because I knew that after some time they’d drop off the search engine’s record, meaning that when I re-posted them over here I’d be good, and there wouldn’t be any question of duplicate content. Actually, since all my sites are on the same server and under the same account I might not have taken a hit anyway, but why take chances right?
How many articles did I move? Well, let me just say that many articles you’ve seen over the last few months started over there, and if I decided just to pop what I brought over here up twice a week until they were gone, I wouldn’t have to write another post until the first week of May. Now that’s valuable stuff!
Not only that, but with some help from Mitchell Allen I’ve marked many articles on that site to be used to help create an ebook about blogging. Yeah, I know, there are lots of them out there, and our buddy Adrienne Smith just created her new course on building a blogging community (by the way, that’s not an affiliate link for me; anything you buy goes totally to her) but at least it would be another product for me; gotta keep making stuff. Anyway, more proof that there is always a use for old content.
In about 40 minutes or so, the very last blog post on that site will appear. It’s very short, telling anyone who’s ever read it (very few people I might add) that it’s all going away, and to come here to look at why. Truthfully, I probably should have consolidated these two sites a long time ago. It’s so much easier having all my similar content in one place, don’t you think? Also, I’m not linking to it because, since the link would go bad in less than a month anyway, I’d have to remember to come back here to remove it.
Shutting down the other site and the other business takes a great load off my mind. I will never build another website unless it’s for myself or a friend. If I get writing gigs, I’ll get them because of this blog. If I get asked to speak at another conference, it’ll be because of this blog.
I’m not the first person to shut down a blog, but I’ve seen many people do it, go on to something else, and not think about the content they have on that site. I’m also not the first person to shut down a business, as my buddy Peter and his brother shut down a business a couple of years ago. It’s not an easy thing to do but sometimes it’s necessary.
By the way, this actually aligns with some of the goals I set for 2014, and I actually mentioned that other business. Nice to see I will accomplish at least one of the goals I set for myself.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’ll be thinking about more things as time moves on also. Focus needs to be my goal because my eventually wished-for outcome is to have $10 million in the bank in 10 years. Yeah, it’s pretty audacious; but remember, every rich person who made it on their own started with a dream.
And I can resume trying to build the audience up for this blog again; yay!
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 20, 2014
Blogging isn’t all about you. Yeah, I know, most of it is, but the truth is that blogging is really about community. And if you know how to use the community, it can bring great benefits. What do I mean?
It’s rare that I don’t have anything to write about. My imagination is pretty good. But it does happen here and there. What I do when that happens is I go and check out other blogs. I’m one of those people that actually enjoys commenting on other people’s blogs, but in this case it’s not all I’m doing.
Something people don’t think to take advantage of is writing a long piece on their own blog based on inspiration from someone else’s blog. I do that often, and it works really well, even if I comment on someone else’s blog. But the extra step I take is that I’ll link to the article that I’m commenting on.
What that does is brings to my readers attention another blog and gives them a boost, whether they’re ranked higher than I am or not. It gives them a one way link which of course benefits their blog, and it gives me a topic to write on. We both benefit, and I show that it’s not all about me.
And here’s the thing. You don’t have to agree with whatever you’re writing that’s addressing the other person’s blog. I go both ways equally and both serves the same purpose, which is giving me something to write about and the other person a free link, even if they might not see the benefits of my disagreeing with them. It’s a win-win; search engines will love it.
This is a little tip but an important one for many reasons. Give it a try; it’s probably one of the easiest things you could ever do to give your blog more character.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 17, 2014
Can you change your habits? All experts believe you can if you want to change them. I’m one of those people; I hate calling myself an expert most of the time but hey, if I don’t every once in awhile then why would anyone want to work with me?
There’s a phrase where the number changes all the time saying that it takes “this many” times to consciously do something to change a habit. I’ve tested that one multiple times and have learned that it’s not always true. When it comes to working out, eating better, or generally enjoying yourself, it’s hard to sustain those habits; trust me on this one, unless your life is in danger, it’s not easy to do.
Having said that, you’re probably wondering what I’m leading to. I’m talking about blogging and coming up with content for your blog. I’ve seen a lot of bad habits, some that border on being unethical, some that border on lazy. What are they? In a nutshell, let’s look at these three.
The first, stealing content from other people. What happens is that a person sees an article someone else wrote, copies it, changing a word or two here and there, and sends it out as their own. Sometimes they don’t even go that far; they just copy and paste it, put their names on it, and go about their business.
Bad idea folks. One, it’s smarmy. Two, it could be illegal. Three, it’s definitely unethical. Look at my posts, near the bottom of each one. You see that copyright logo? That means it’s my work; don’t steal my work. And don’t steal anyone else’s work.
There is one time when this might not be so bad, and that’s if you’re stealing from yourself. In that actuality, you’re not stealing, just sharing with a different audience. Online newspapers do that all the time; you’ll notice that they write their own local stories, but other stories are written by national and international outlets. If you wrote something for someone else, ask them if they’d mind if you put it in your own space some months later. They probably wouldn’t care, but only do it if you’re not a prolific writer.
The second, writing sloppily. No one is perfect, but consistently misspelling words you should know how to spell that spell check is telling you is wrong each and every time, not using punctuation properly, and generally writing content that makes no sense… very bad idea.
Finally, the third, which is not being consistent in any way with your content. I hate visiting blogs where I see a post every 4 to 6 months; ouch! I’m not following any blog like that, and I’m not even going to waste my time leaving a comment on it, even if it’s written well. If you don’t care enough about your audience to even try to be regular, why should I? Maybe you’re not prolific enough to write a post daily, but writing at least one post of at least 300 words.. that’s too much of an effort?
That’s all I have for now. I could write a lot more but this one’s already over 500 words. See how easy this can be? If you’re doing any of those 3 things I mentioned above, break those bad habits. Trust me, your business will thank you for it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 13, 2014
Twitter is my favorite social media platform after blogging. Believe it or not, I actually try to talk to every one of the 3,000 plus people following me every once in a while, though not as many talk back. I also just passed 1,000 people I’m following for the first time since I joined Twitter in 2008; that’s pretty amazing. And with just over 87,000 tweets, I like to think I know a thing or two about Twitter.
However, there are people who don’t quite get the nuances of Twitter. There are a lot of people following way more people than I am and have a lot more people following them. But are they effective? Are the communicating or just putting out a lot of noise? Some are, some aren’t, and some are just irritating. Let’s look at 5 mistakes people make on Twitter… in my opinion of course…
1. They either only post links or chatter all day long.
If someone keeps up a diatribe all day long of what they’re doing or just posts links, it often means they’re not trying to communicate with anyone. Unless you’re someone I need to follow because you’re giving me exactly what I need to succeed (which means almost no one), I’m not following anyone that selfish, and not too many other people will either.
If they do, you can bet they’re either bots or people who aren’t reading what’s being put out, and are only in it for the numbers. Do the numbers really mean anything is no one is actually reading?
2. They never respond when someone writes them directly.
Twitter sends you a notification whenever someone writes you directly. If you don’t respond it means you’re not paying attention, or you’ve possibly turned it off, in which case you’re showing you don’t care. Someone like me will unfollow you pretty quickly if I notice it; then again, someone like me checks to see if you ever talk to anyone before I even think about following you.
3. You never put out anything original.
Many people find that they can get a lot of followers by retweeting the content of others. Retweeting basically means sharing what someone else has already posted with the people that follow them. It’s not a bad strategy unless you never put out anything original, which means someone you write, or ever offer an opinion about anything you share. That often means what you’re doing is automated, and even though some people appreciate it no matter what, others know they’re missing the chance to engage you personally.
I’ll grant you that sometimes a tweet is so long that there’s little room left to add a comment. As much as I can I’ll not only alter comments so I can add something, but I also try to do what I can to include the Twitter handle of the person I’m seeing the tweet from, especially if they’re retweeting something. Don’t ever be afraid to manipulate something to make it fit, other than the link, as long as you try to keep the basic message intact.
4. When you do engage people, or share your thoughts, your language is that of someone who doesn’t know any better.
I hate cussing; have never uttered a single word. I’ve gotten used to seeing it here and there online, but some people use bad language as a badge of honor. It’s not, and it makes you look ignorant, even if a few people laugh.
If you’re on Twitter for any business purposes you’ll want to restrict that kind of language. Remember, everything you say on Twitter stays on the internet forever, and now is being recorded by the Library of Congress; how’s that for forever? Remember, people and businesses have lost clients for less.
5. You haven’t set up your bio properly.
When you set up a Twitter account you get to create a very short bio. If you’re there for even a little bit of business you need to remember to put a link to your website or blog, and not a shortened or hidden link because that looks suspicious. Some people don’t put a bio at all; that won’t do.
Some people try to get cute; if it’s for personal use then by all means have fun, but for business tell people what you do, even though you don’t have a lot of characters to get too deep into it. On my Twitter bio I have a link to one of my blogs as well as my main business site. Also, put up a picture or an avatar of some kind; no one likes to follow the little egg they give you when you sign up.
Are you failing in any of these areas? Got anything you’d like to add? By the way, if you want to follow me on Twitter look at that big blue bird on the left and click on it.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 10, 2014
A couple of years ago on a different blog I wrote an article talking about re-purposing blog posts. That post was more about internal linking by making sure to take old blog posts and add those links to newer posts to help enhance the SEO benefits of new content.
In this instance the concept of re-purposing content is more than talking about blogging. Most people have something that they’ve written previously somewhere on their computers. What they forget is that much of what was already written would make great blog posts or articles to put on their websites. If you’re looking for a lot of content and don’t have the time to write something new, going back through old files could provide you with what you need.
Some of it might need to be updated or edited but that’s no big deal. Writing for people in your office or your clients is a bit different than writing for publicity or advertising purposes. Your other content might be written more directly or contain information that’s probably proprietary in some fashion; no sense taking any chances that you’ll put something out there that wasn’t totally meant for the general public. I often find outlines on Excel spreadsheets that I can turn into blog posts or articles.
Unless you’re a financial advisor, you probably have a lot of files that don’t have time limits on what’s going on. Tax information and investing changes don’t fare well over time. Talking about products or processes can be timeless.
Even if some of your previous content is already online in other places, you can get some benefit out of it by linking to it and then writing about it, talking about what was on your mind when you wrote it, what changes there might be to it now, or anything else you can think of. After all, it was original when you wrote it, and it still represents you in a positive light. I do that all the time since I have multiple blogs; I think it’s interesting using your own stuff for ideas, and the links could get people to visit your other spaces.
Take some time to go through some of your old files for new web content; you might be amazed at what you’ll find.