Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 27, 2015
I don’t advertise this all that much but I do minor computer repairs, mainly for people I know, friends of people I know, and of course the neighborhood. It’s not the core of my business or even close, but the little chunk of change here and there doesn’t hurt.
For the most part I can drill down to 5 things that, if people took care of them, would solve 95% of any potential problems that might come their way. I think they’re fairly simple anyway, but if you don’t, it wouldn’t hurt you to have someone do some simple maintenance on your computer here and there to check some of these things for you.
1. Use an antivirus program and then update it from time to time. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone in this day and age how important it is to have an antivirus program, yet I still work on a lot of computers that are missing that essential piece of software; that and malware protection. There are free and paid versions, and depending on how little you know about surfing the web and what “not” to click on should determine what you get; some of these programs also offer malware and spyware protection.
Most antivirus programs have a choice for you to allow them to automatically update, which you probably should select, but first you have to look at the program and find it, which most people don’t do. Most people also don’t go in and set a time for the computer to automatically scan their computers; do that as well.
2. Use a firewall of some sort and update it from time to time. What firewalls do is hide your computer from those folks who might have somehow slipped a virus onto your computer and are now trying to activate it. I don’t want to get too technical, but in essence it cloaks the access you have to the internet and makes whatever the virus folks are sending out miss you.
Of course it protects you from other things as well, such as programs trying to load that you aren’t intentionally trying to load. Updating firewall programs takes just a little more work than updating antivirus, but if you’re on Windows you can think about using their firewall program, which will update itself with no problems.
3. Clean stuff out of your hard drive from time to time. Okay, this one’s going to take some instructions, and it’s geared towards computers using Windows, but Apple computers probably have some similar things.
The first thing you want to do is check your computer to get rid of things that are automatically loading every time you boot your computer that you don’t need booting up then. All that stuff slows down your boot speed and can use up resources on your computer that you could be using for other things.
What you do is click on the Windows button, and in the box that says “Search programs and files” type in “msconfig” without the quotation marks and hit enter. When it comes up click on it and a menu will open. Click on the tab that says Startup.
Everything that’s checked loads up when you boot up your computer. You need to keep things such as your antivirus and firewall programs, and at some point there might be a couple other programs you’d like loaded up when your computer starts. But uncheck everything else, which might be your iPod program, Quicktime, any instant messaging programs, any Adobe programs, and other stuff you might use every once in awhile but not every time you’re on your computer. Once you’re done hit the Okay button; it might ask you if you want to reboot your computer and you will, but not just yet; this is step one.
Step two is to get rid of a bunch of temporary files that you don’t need. Everyone ends up with temporary files on their computer. Almost every time you load a new program it leaves some temporary files. If you opened up something specific on the web and didn’t save it to a specific folder on your computer it’s possible that it’s been captured in your temporary folder.
What you do is right click on your Windows button and left click on Open Windows Explorer. Once that’s open, which will be a large menu, you’ll want to come down to where it says Users. Click the arrow to the left of Users and it’ll show you a bunch of other folders; the one you want will be the one that “doesn’t” say Administrator, All Users, Default, Default User or Public. Some of those you might not be able to open anyway. Whichever folder is left is the one you want; it could be named anything, which is why I told you which ones to ignore.
Click on the arrow to the left of that folder and you’ll see a bunch of other folders once again. Click on the arrow to the left of the one called App Data. Then click on the arrow to the left of the one called Local.
Again you’ll see a bunch of folders, but scroll down to the one called Temp. Click on that folder and you’ll see a bunch of files, possibly some folders in there. Click one file in that area to the right just once, then hold down on the Ctrl button at the bottom left of your keyboard and push the letter A. It will highlight everything in the right side area.
Make sure it’s everything in the “right” side and not the left side, otherwise you’ll be trying to delete everything on your hard drive. If everything you see to the right is highlighted, hit your delete button. It will get rid of everything that your computer isn’t presently using. It will be using a few files in there and it’ll ask you what to do; just click the little box that says “Do this for all current items” and push the Skip button.
Once you’ve done that close the Explorer window and go to your recycle bin. If you want you can look in there to see everything you’re getting rid of. Then empty your recycle bin, and once you’ve done that close it back up and now reboot your computer. It should be running much faster because it’s not loading up as much stuff, and if you’ve never cleared anything out of your temp folder you’ll have much more space, and if your computer is older you’ll probably notice a little more speed as well.
4. Vacuum any air spaces on your physical computer. If you’ve never done it you’ll notice all this dust and junk around the air holes on your computer. You don’t want any of that stuff getting into your computer and gumming up the works, and you also want to keep it clean so the fan in your computer can keep everything cool.
5. Listen. Every computer has its own sound, or lack thereof, and we all get used to it. If you hear anything out of the ordinary it possibly means you have a potential problem coming. It’s best to be proactive and take some maintenance steps so you don’t lose everything on your computer. You might have to call someone if you don’t have the knowledge of what to do, but get it taken care of as soon as possible. Just because the noise might stop doesn’t mean everything’s fine.
There you go; those 5 steps will help you a lot.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 24, 2015
There are a lot of great relationships that can be made via social media. I have met people from all over the world who I can talk to at any time and have great conversations with. It’s always possible that I could potentially do work with some of them, and I have hired people from other countries here and there to handle some of the small things with either a website or blog that I wasn’t in the mood to do or didn’t have the time for.
As with anything in this world, there’s a whole lot of mean people also. Sometimes, the mean people are actually pretty nice most of the time, and then suddenly out of nowhere they look like they’ve just lost their minds for one reason or another.
Unfortunately, you don’t always know what will trigger someone into being mean. Over the years, I’ve had people show their mean streak on things I’ve posted that should have had nothing to do with them. Other times they internalize something you’re written as though you’re talking personally about them. If you saw them every day and wrote something that might make sense. But I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve written commentary about parenting without knowing that they might be parents.
You know what? Sometimes the truth hurts, yet we all need to be ready to deal with the truth. A few weeks ago I posted something on Facebook that looked like a case of racism that occurred in Arizona. One person, who didn’t live in Arizona and had no reason to comment at all, decided it was racist of me to post such a thing without knowing all the details. The argument made no sense whatsoever because I hadn’t made any commentary on it, though I certainly could have, and whatever her trigger was prompted her to need to comment on it; no idea why.
Then there’s a guy I’m connected with on Facebook who’s kind of a passionate person. Every once in a while he gets something in his head that just consumes him and he starts writing in caps to make his point. That’s known as flaming in the online world, and it’s frowned upon almost everywhere you go. I finally asked him why he did that because it made him look like he’d lost control, wouldn’t ever make me see things his way because of the delivery, and that he needed to learn how to calm down because almost nothing in this world is that serious.
Why am I mentioning all of this? I always advocate that almost every business should have an online presence. I say that social media can bring both joy and business. I also have stated that one needs to be careful in how they say certain things if they decide to be controversial; if you dish it out you have to be ready to take it.
Yet, sometimes you can put up something relatively innocuous that gets negative attention by someone, even if it’s something positive. When that happens you have some choices to make, and some of those choices are better or worse than others.
You can decide you don’t want to be on social media anymore and go away; that’s never good.
You can decide to fight every single person who disagrees with a position of yours. Sometimes you have to do it, but other times you can ignore those people.
You can decide to make sure you never say anything to upset someone. The problems with that are one, you never know what will trigger someone, and two, if you go out of your way too much your online presence is going to be boring; no one will want to read anything you have to say.
You can decide to call this person out, bash them on your blog and throughout social media, post copies of everything you can find on them and try to ruin their lives. You might succeed but you’ll also fail because people will know if you can do that to one person you can do it to anyone, including them.
You can act like it never happened and continue doing what you’ve been doing. Sometimes this is the way to go, but as I said above, you might have to take some kind of stand or even think about deleting comments and such, and then deal with that as an issue.
Overall, there’s only one right answer, and it ties in to all of the above. You always should take some time to think about your response before making it. I’ll admit I’m not always good with this, but I’m good at least 95% of the time.
You shouldn’t make too fast of a decision unless you were prepared for someone to dislike what you had to say, but you also shouldn’t wait too long to respond. Whether you know it or not people are watching; if it can affect business in any way making the best choice possible needs thought behind it.
Are you scared? Don’t be. Sure, bad things can happen, but for the most part if your goals are pure, you’ll be just fine.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 22, 2015
I know some folks are going to be confused if they remember my post talking about my 7th anniversary of blogging on this blog. Well, that’s this blog… on my business blog, today is the 10th anniversary of blogging. If you look below you’ll see Mitch’s Blog and the link to today’s post highlighting it (click the picture lol). And, whereas it’s not always a good thing having a new post on a Sunday, this is the anniversary date; that’s that! lol
The interesting thing is that in the 7th anniversary post I gave 7 things about blogging after giving 15 and 55 previous to that. You’d think I wouldn’t have any more blogging lessons to give but I actually do, coming at it from a different point of view.
When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to do. I made tons of mistakes, had some comment that, by now, I’ve made private because it was pretty lame. As a practice I still believe it was best to have a blog; in reality, a lot of that early stuff was pedestrian. I’d cringe, but it was what it was, and truthfully, I had a gem or two here and there.
Still, I learned some lessons from that blog which helped me start this blog off just a little bit better than I might have; a little bit that is. It’s in that vein that I know I have 10 blogging lessons that are new and different from what I’ve said before. Let’s begin:
1. Putting any old thing up isn’t a blog post. Back then I had blog posts that might have been one paragraph. I had a few that were only one or two lines. I’d link to a story or a newsletter of mine and that would be that. In retrospect, I wish I’d talked just a bit more about the topic before doing that; I’m sure Google looked at those things and said “what the heck is this?”
2. Too many posts in a short time. I’ve talked about having to recover blog posts off Google after my original host crashed. What I did was recover about 155 articles, and instead of spreading them out I posted a lot of them all at once. Way too much content, and a waste of being able to reintroduce articles that were pre-written, thus saving myself having to work hard to come up with new content immediately.
3. Staying on message is a good thing. Even though I had a lot of short posts, I had some long ones also; like this blog. Thing is, some of the long posts back then, like some of my early newsletters, were all over the place. Back then I tried cramming everything I could think of into a post; now I know my topic, write only about that topic, and only toss something in every once in a while for perspective or to be funny. lol
4. Spacing of sentences. Or more specifically, not having paragraphs that were long enough to be chapters in a book. If you decide to read a book like Atlas Shrugged or anything Anne Rice writes, you’ll be convinced that long paragraphs make people happy; they don’t. At least not online. Whereas I hate seeing blog posts where every paragraph is only one line, I also hate seeing paragraphs that go into the next day.
5. Images; good! I wish I’d picked up on that one much earlier than I did. Every once in a while I’d put in an image but only if it was pertinent to the story. Images make blog posts so much better don’t they?
6. Standing up for a cause is also good. I’m a WWE fan, but back in 2005 they had a storyline that I had a major problem with. In essence they created an Arab-American character who spouted all this hateful stuff at the audiences. It was their attempt to capture the mood of the country at the time.
Unfortunately, it worked way too well. Not only was it racist, but some networks across the country refused to carry any show he was on. They removed the character pretty quickly, the guy was disillusioned (turns out he wasn’t Arabic) and he left the business.
I doubt I had anything to do with his removal (I know I didn’t) but the point is you must be willing to call out something that’s not right, even if it’s risky; just choose your words carefully.
7. Internal linking can be your best friend. I learned via that blog that linking back to content that’s either pertinent to what I’m writing about anew or certain words that I want to highlight within my content was smart.
8. Every niche can be expounded upon. I started out writing that blog only on the topic of leadership and diversity. I learned quickly that not only were there other business issues that interacted with those values but I also had my primary business that I could write on as well. When you’re trying to highlight yourself you should also be ready to highlight just how much you know… or at least think you know.
9. We all love stories. Who doesn’t like a good story? I found that the posts that worked best were those that told a story in which I was a part of. Not that people were necessarily all that interested in me but telling a story of something I dealt with or saw was much easier than telling a story in which I wasn’t involved. Not that I don’t do that even now but if you can touch people emotionally they’ll stick around longer and talk to you more often.
10. Do it or don’t. When I’d lost my blog (actually, I lost the entire website), I had a choice to make; quit or keep going. Once I decided I was going to keep going I have, obviously still writing 10 years later. During this time I also shut down a business and moved a lot of that content over here, which I introduce over time.
This is always a big decision by everyone at some point; to quit or go on. Some go on; some quit like my buddy Charles Gulotta did. Sure, there are times when it might make you look bad or might make you feel bad. Don’t worry much about that sort of thing; just do it or don’t, and let life go on.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 19, 2015
First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Second, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT! LOL
On the 5th of this month I put out this question: should you have a website. If you’re going to have a website, there are some things you want to consider when having one designed for you. These things not only have to do with how your site will work on the internet, but have to do with how you want yourself being represented for your business.
The first is a sense of symmetry. For your main page, you want things to be aligned in certain ways so that the site isn’t visually offensive to your visitors.
Having pictures scattered all over the site instead of placed in strategic places looks junky.
Having text show up in different areas on the page looks amateurish.
Having multiple fonts throughout your text, without a specific reason why, destroys ones credibility.
Having your content centered in some fashion is a must, whether you decide to have your page left justified or not. Your customers are going to question your judgment and competence because your site won’t look like it represents a professional, whether a professional created it or not.
Symmetry goes beyond the first page, though. If you have multiple pages on your site, trying to maintain some semblance of similarity for each page is preferable to having each page look totally different. Moving your menus around is a terrible idea, and not having each menu item work on each page is a mistake I’ve seen over and over.
There can be changes here and there, as long as the basic structure has been kept. For instance, on one of my client’s sites, there are two pictures of the client on the first page that slightly throw off one of the menus as far as alignment goes, but the menu is in the same spot on each subsequent page so that the visitor knows to expect that menu in that place.
Color is a part of symmetry, and changing colors and fonts for each page could be risky. If you have a specific reason for it, then that’s fine. For instance, for one of my client’s sites, the individual articles off the articles page have a totally different layout and color than the rest of the site, because the articles open up in a different window, as kind of a stand alone site. However, the rest of the pages, which are linked, have the same look and feel on each page.
The second thing to consider is making sure you have keywords and keyword phrases scattered throughout the pages that you actually expect people to search for on search engines, if you’re hoping to be found.
Anyone who’s used a search engine knows that if people go looking for shoes you’re going to end up with millions and millions of pages. So they start refining their search terms. Something like “shoe” will get millions of pages. “Blue shoes” will start to reduce the number a bit more. “Leather blue shoes” will reduce the number even further. “Handmade leather blue shoes” reduces the number even more.
Now that you’ve got one search term, you think of another that someone might put into a search engine to find your items. The trick is to find search terms that someone might legitimately put into a search engine that will help separate you from the pack; with the above example, even the last term I chose ends up being too broad. That’s why it’s best to find multiple search terms, even in businesses that don’t have as much competition as the word “shoes” might.
The final thing to consider is the amount of content you want to have on your site. For instance, going back to “shoes”, if you wanted to try to have one single page for all the shoes you sold, you’d be doing yourself a disservice and you’d make very few sales. That’s because there are many different varieties of shoes.
You probably want to think about dividing up your site into the different types of shoes you might market: sneakers, books, loafers, heels, etc. Each one of these types of shoes would have its own page, which now gives you more chances to optimize your site even further with keyword phrases. All of these pages help your site to be found by search engines, and it makes going through your site easier for your customers in general because they can go to the pages they want to specifically visit.
This works the same with a business website as opposed to a sales website. You always want to say more about your business than what you might mention on your main page, and if you have other pages to talk more about your services, your bio, your customers, whatever, it all helps in the overall optimization of your site. That, plus the more pages you have, the more your potential clients may see how valuable your services are. It may only be perception, but any benefit your site can give you in a positive.
Think about these things before you get too deep into creating your website; they could save you a lot of time and grief in the long run. It may not hurt to talk to an internet marketing consultant to help you sort these things out.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 16, 2015
We all know that social media is here to stay. What those of us who actually look at what’s being said and shared on social media see is a lot of people making mistakes that should be fairly easy to overcome. I use “fairly” because all of it takes some action, and some of that action takes longer than others, and some is more risky than others. And yet, if done correctly, or with the proper frame of mind, it all helps greatly.
my social media presence
With that said I’m giving 5 ways here, only because I’m hoping to keep it simple. It’s my intention in 2015 to talk more about social media theory, presence, networking and theory on this blog than anything else, and this is the first article of 2014, as I took a nice long break. So, here we go:
Gravatar – Gravatars have been out there for more than a decade now. Basically a gravatar is that little image that you see next to people’s blog comments; on other platforms it’s just called an image. Last April on a different blog I talked about 5 reasons you need a gravatar. The main reason is that your image helps people associate a face with the comment, and that identity is strong in making connections. People remember faces more than names, and images more than, well, nothing.
Promote others while promoting yourself – If I took the time to mention you while sharing something you did on this blog, would it make you feel pretty good? If so, think of how others might feel if you reference them here and there in your space, whether it’s on your blog or retweeting something they’ve shared on Twitter or just sharing something someone else has done on other social media platforms.
These don’t have to be famous people, and truthfully it’s probably better that it’s not them, at least most of the time. In that vein I’m going to promote a young man named William Haynes, who’s been putting together a wealth of topics on all sorts of both social media and being social in general that are pretty funny on his YouTube channel and deserves a bit more attention if you ask me. The kid makes me laugh.
Be present – If you want to be a presence via social media and be found by others who might need or enjoy what you have to share you actually have to be out there pressing the digital flesh.
I have 4 blogs (actually 5 again) and try to make sure I have at least one article on 3 of them weekly. I’m on social media every day, even on days I’m traveling, for at least an hour. I try to mix it up among all the social media sites I’m on and I try to be engaging with people; I may not be famous yet but I have people sometimes surprised to hear from me because they think I’m big; all that and a bag of chips gets me on almost no lists, ever. lol Still, there’s nothing else like that in the world.
Don’t look curmudgeonly -Trust me, I understand now that I’m in my mid 50’s. Society feels like it’s changed so drastically. People use a lot of foul language, don’t seem to know anything about history, and are always flitting around onto the “next big thing” (still have no idea what Tsu is; not interested) while the big thing is still pretty viable. If I wanted to I could spend entire weeks hating on every single blog post I come across; how well do you think that would work for me?
We all have to be ready to step back and see what others are doing, evaluate them for ourselves, and then decide what we want to do or say. Having an informed opinion on something you don’t like is way better than hating something just because it’s not what you used to like. Of course if you only spend time hating things you’ll look like a jaded old person, even if you’re young. So find good in things as well; trust me, there’s a lot more good than bad.
Be willing to be confronted, but not condemned – So many people play it safe; sigh… There’s nothing wrong with being cautious because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. I’m of the opinion that if you’ve given something a lot of thought and have something to say, even if you know there will be someone out there who won’t like it, say it anyway if it’s honest.
You might not like the concept of political correctness but it’ll help you get your message across way better when you’re not constantly defending yourself from negatives messages that you generated. People like knowing that others aren’t afraid to have an opinion that’s well reasoned, and that just might be your unique selling proposition that helps you get fans and customers.