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5 Commenting Courtesies

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 23, 2014
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First, I want to thank everyone who’s ever left a comment here. Second, I want to congratulate anyone who’s ever left a comment on any blogs. Third, I want to say that I offer what’s following this paragraph with love… well, sort of… lol And fourth… except for those phonies who are leaving comments to get links that, later on, you ask me and others to remove because you got a “slap” letter from Google and you think it’s our problem to now remove your stupid links. Huff, huff… lol

Hef and the Icon Shot
Christina Saint Marche via Compfight

I’m big on courtesy; always have been. If two people are already talking I won’t interrupt unless it’s extremely important. If people are following me towards a door I’m compelled to hold it open. I was raised that way, and even though there are some people who don’t deserve it, I’ll often say hi or hello to people who seem to be looking my way, even if deep down I know they’re not going to respond… and most of the time they don’t; sigh…

It’s for that reason that I’m glad to have my own blog, where I can put out my missives on blogging and writing and Bigfoot and behavior and… commenting.

Yup, this is a post specifically on commenting. I thought “Hey, I’ve written lots of posts on commenting” and then I decided to take a look back through the archives to find out it’s not true. I’ve mentioned commenting lots of times but out of all my articles I’ve only addressed the specific acts of commenting 7 times, with the first article coming in November 2008 and the last coming in August 2013, and neither of those are on the specifics of commenting. As a matter of fact, it seems that I’ve never really addressed commenting and courtesy in any fashion; now that’s a shame.

I thought about turning this into another 10 point article but I decided to just hit the biggies quickly and get away; y’all have seen way too many words for me and maybe a shorter post will generate better conversations… or not. :-) Let’s find out with these 5:

1. Address the topic of the post. This is the number one courtesy and it’s the most vital because how one comments could decide whether the owner of the blog will accept the comment or not.

Sometimes people launch into something that might be pertinent and yet it looks like they have an agenda because they didn’t even mention anything within the post. Sometimes the comment may skirt what the article was about, indirectly touching on the topic, and might not be fully understood for relevance.

2. Get a gravatar. Or, if you prefer, avatar. I gave reasons last April on why people should have a gravatar and even included a link telling people how to get one. If you’re going to be a one and done visitor maybe you don’t need one but many people won’t accept comments from people who don’t have one.

Just like readers love knowing the people who are writing the content, blog owners like to see a picture of who’s leaving comments. It’s easy to do and, if you have a business or are looking to make money in some fashion it’s also smart.

Two hints; one, don’t use the image of someone of the opposite sex from the name and two, logos and cartoons aren’t always good unless it’s what you’re known for in many places already.

3. Fake or keyword names. Nicknames are one thing but stupid fake names like “jonny’s dog” are, well, stupid. And in these scary Google days (for most folks; I don’t really care as much…) keyword names are more dangerous than you can possibly imagine, and people like me won’t accept those comments anyway so you could be wasting your time. No one wants to respond to someone’s fake name and we also feel that either you’re spam or you’re a fly by commenter who’s never coming back.

4. Don’t leave one line comments. Unless you’re a regular and the writer understands your humor (the only time it’s acceptable to leave a one-line comment) it’ll be considered a throw away comment and most people will delete it. One line means you really didn’t have anything to say. I’ll admit that some articles don’t leave a lot to say but come on, you can’t think or more than one line? I’ll offer the caveat that if that one line happens to be a well thought out and long line that it might not be as bad, but it best not start with “It was a dark and stormy night” type of language. lol

5. Try using the writer’s name in the comment. By the way, this one goes for the blog owner as well. Not only is it courteous to name the person who wrote the article but it helps people figure out if you’re a real commenter or not. You get a break if you have to go searching for the writer’s name.

If you’re the blog owner, share your name somewhere to make it easy for people to use your name. Look at my blog; go ahead, look at the thing! My name is in my About area and on my About page. It’s on the top book and in the sales area for both books. It’s in the little thing advertising my YouTube channel. And it’s at the top of every article, just under the title. Why write if you’re not going to tell people who you are? lol

There you are, 5 tips for being a courteous commenter, and something for the writers as well. So, what do you have to say about these?
 

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Bigfoot Lives In My Backyard

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 20, 2014
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I think Bigfoot lives in my backyard. That may sound like the strangest thing you’ve ever heard, but if it’s not Bigfoot it’s something incredibly big, ugly, and dangerous that’s back there. It’s one of the reasons I hate the backyard.

i wish i had shot this
R Kurtz via Compfight

When my wife and I were looking at houses back in 2000, we saw a lot of houses that just didn’t quite work out for us. Some had one beautiful room and that would be it; others would have one floor that was immaculate but another floor that looked like squatters had taken over. We did see a couple houses that were pretty nice, but we just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Then one evening, after almost signing papers for a house that we really didn’t want, I decided to go online to see if I could find something I liked. In less than 15 minutes I actually did see something I liked. And one of the strangest things is that it happened to be on a street that I knew very well from my childhood; okay, from my teens, which wasn’t quite my childhood. The next day we called the realtor and asked her if she could set something up so that we could go and take a look at this house.

When we saw the house in person, we thought it was pretty neat. It’s a ranch style house, something I’d never thought about ever living in, but it had this look that we liked. It had been on the market for a long time, and the price had been reduced, and my wife and I being kind of green when it came to houses thought that we were getting a steal.

Truth be told, if I had listened to my Spidey senses the day before we signed the papers we might not have ever bought this house. Oh sure, every house has issues, and I can say this house has certainly has a bunch of them. One of the strangest issues this house has had has come from the critters.

Critters you say? You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. The day before we bought this house my parents came to town so they could see the house we were buying. My mother came out with a phrase I’d never heard before, but it was pure her: “Not bad for a used house”. lol

My dad and I took a walk around the house, and for the first time I saw the mosquitoes. There were a lot of them and they were large, to the extent that my dad commented on our Jurassic Park mosquitoes. He wasn’t kidding, and we’d see mosquitoes in the past. I started to wonder what we might be in for by buying this house, but we went through with it anyway.

Big Foot Crossing
frank thompson photos
via Compfight

It took us two months to move into this house because we still had two months remaining on the lease for our apartment. It also gave us time to move things over a little bit at a time and to take our time in painting the place.

During those two months I learned that I did not want to be outside at night when it was warm. I say that because I saw some of the largest and strangest bugs I had seen in probably more than 20 years of my life, and I saw those things briefly at the State Fair. I say briefly because I don’t like bugs; actually, I have a great fear of bugs of any size, so seeing large ones really didn’t enchant me all that much.

Still, the house was coming along fine and we were pleased as punch (whatever that phrase actually means) to finally move in. I was overjoyed because I never thought I would own a home. We moved in on a Saturday, and got acclimated to the house pretty quickly.

The first Friday evening in the house my wife happened to be working a second job, so she wasn’t coming home until really late. I was sitting at the desk of what became my office when I heard a noise in the backyard, as it happens to face the woods out back. Oh, I neglected to mention that we have woods behind the house. I would call it a forest but my wife would say my words were overkill. In the middle of the woods somewhere is a swamp and a stream of some kind; we’ll come back to that.

The noise. I swear to this day that it was some kind of loud, dangerously threatening growl. I don’t know what kind of growl, but I know it wasn’t a dog. I also know it was kind of loud, and it sounded like it was close to the house, and I didn’t like it.

I probably didn’t do what any other man would’ve done, based on the few scary movies I’ve seen, because my sense of self-preservation kicked in. I got up from my desk without looking out my window, walked across the way into the master bedroom, closed the door, and sat down on the bed. I took a quick look at my window in the bedroom to make sure the curtain was closed, which it was, and I just sat on the bed for a bit. I didn’t turn the TV on because I wanted to make sure I could hear the glass breaking if Bigfoot happened to come through the window.

I sat there for about an hour, and of course Bigfoot didn’t come through the window, but that doesn’t mean that Bigfoot might not be out there somewhere. I do know this; we have all sorts of other critters out there that have been quite interesting and at times scary, things I had never seen when I lived in this area many years ago. Trust me, when I was a teenager if I had seen even one of the things that I see now on a regular basis, or at least know is out there because I have seen it at one time or another, there is no way I would’ve ever bought a house in this neighborhood.

Mysterious and Strange Footprint: Bigfoot?
Heart Windows Art via Compfight

What have I seen? The two things I’ve seen most often are the deer and the rabbits. I can handle the rabbits and most of the time I can handle the deer, but I hate the deer when they decide to run across the street while I’m in the car, and that has happened a few times including right in front of the house.

I see the hawk that likes to circle the sky, although truthfully I can’t tell you if it’s the same hawk all the time. I saw my first chipmunk only a few years ago, and now we see those things all the time, as one of their favorite hiding spaces seems to be a little space underneath the siding in the front of the house. I’ve seen squirrels, snakes, frogs, foxes, coyotes (or coy dogs; I can’t tell the difference but I hear we have both and they both have big paws), turkeys, turkey vultures (some of the biggest and ugliest things you’ve ever seen), skunks, opossum, those big fat fuzzy things that run very fast that might be groundhogs, the largest crows I’ve ever seen, moles, mice, and of all things something called a star faced mole, which ended up in our basement. The exterminator we called to come verify it didn’t believe us until he got to the house and looked at it, then said not only are they very rare but that it’s extremely rare that they end up in a house because they can’t see, which was why he didn’t believe my wife when she told him she thought that’s what it was (the Internet can be a wonderful thing but when I saw a picture of this thing I wasn’t very pleased).

So I haven’t seen Bigfoot, and I haven’t seen a bear, which supposedly was running around this area a couple of summers ago, though slightly north of here. Based on some research, I don’t think there’s a bear in the swamp for two reasons: one, because bears don’t like swamps; two, because that sound I heard all those years ago didn’t sound like the kind of noise that bears in this area would make, or so I say. I know the noise didn’t come from a coyote because coyote sound like women screaming, and I know it wasn’t the fox because the foxes sound like little dogs.

I also have never seen the bats that I know have to be out there, but they don’t roar. We’ve never seen the mosquitoes as thick as they were the year we moved here (probably because we cleaned up the area and hired a guy to maintain it), but I’ve seen some very weird and ugly creepy crawlies that just make my skin crawl. And what’s the deal with the ladybugs?

My wife said she’s seen a quail, and of all things, we also think there might be some storks or cranes or whatever those things with the really long legs are from time to time, which we see at the lake. Strange, but for all the seagulls in the area, we’ve never seen one setting down in the neighborhood. But none of these things growl, so I know it’s none of them anyway.

The reason I keep thinking it’s Bigfoot is because I remember a movie from 1973 called the Legend of Boggy Creek that scared me so much I was afraid to walk home, and I would swear the noise I heard sounded just like the noise that Bigfoot made in the movie. I remember that night because I swore I heard Bigfoot following me, even though I lived on an air force base, and I ended up running home, which was the first of two times I ran home (I also ran home when I left the movie Night of the Lepus early; I can handle aliens but these things?).

I’ve told a few people about Bigfoot being in the swamps out back, and all they do is laugh. I know one thing; I’m not going out there to track him., but I did eventually end up in the woods one night as the sun had gone down and it was kind of cool outside. Bigfoot doesn’t like the cold, and though we get lots of snow, we don’t get enough for a yeti to be out there. And I filmed it; check out the video below:
 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muoVSdCTxqs

 

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Titles; The Importance, The Sublime, And The So What…

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 17, 2014
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Well, I think I’ve milked enough out of writing my 1,500th post, thus it’s time to get back to ordinary business. In this case, the topic is based off a comment that post received that, initially I wasn’t necessarily happy with, but in retrospect I realized that it’s a word I’ve mentioned in 859 articles but a topic I’ve never written on; see, there’s always something new to address. And this is that post.


fliegender via Compfight

You’d think this would be a simple thing to come to an agreement with; write a compelling title and all is right with the world. Truthfully, that’s not always the case.

Some of the most compelling titles in history have led to some of the biggest arguments. If you want to see compelling titles, check out news stories on the internet and in newspapers. Something not often known is that writers almost never put titles on their articles. So, they might write a piece on one thing only to have an editor decide it needs a punchy title to drive people to it, even if the title has nothing to do with the article, or has something to do with the article that’s on the fringe.

At the other end, sometimes the titles make no sense, or are so ethereal that you’re left pondering their meaning or relationship to the story. For instance, a book I enjoyed called Torpedo Juiceicon had only one reference in the book to the title, that being a drink that this one particular bar made. It had nothing to do with the story but I spent a lot of the book making sure I hadn’t missed the reference. And you can think of a book like To Kill A Mockingbirdicon and possibly miss the reference in that story, yet overall it has nothing to do with what’s going on.

Still, titles can be very important. When I wrote my first book on leadership I initially titled it The Mitchell Principles Of Management because I’m horrible on titles in general, was worse back then, and I thought that a business book needed a business title. Even though it’s self published, one publisher did write me and tell me that it needed a better title, one that might get someone to actually pick it up since they didn’t know me, thus Embrace The Lead was born, even though it took probably 3 months to come up with a title. Man, that’s a lot of work!

This brings us back to the main question, which is just how important are titles anyway? My response… depends…

First, here are some major points to consider:

* Are you writing a story or an article, such as a blog post? If you’re writing a “how-to” then the title is important to let people know what you’re teaching them. If you’re writing a story about an encounter with aliens from another planet the skies the limit.

* Are you looking to be honest or just get people to come? Back in the day people who gave advice on writing titles for blogs said to put in words like “the secret to” or “the real story behind” and junk like that because humans love scandal, and of course that’s really true. But if the post doesn’t live up to the title, aren’t you the reader dismayed? Then we have titles of 3 of my latest posts, which I’m not linking to but you know where to find them: 5 More Android Apps I Recommend, 10 Social Media/Networking Don’ts In 2 Minutes, and Driving More Visitors To Your Blog; Are You Ready For The Work? True, honest titles but are they compelling?

* What are you hoping others will do if they read your article or post? If you’re hoping to drive visitors to consume and comment on your missives, that’s pretty cool. If you’re hoping they’ll share with others, compelling is nice but what’s more important is just how long is your title? Some titles are so long that trying to share them on social media platforms can be troublesome. For that matter, your putting them on social media is troublesome. Then again, it would certainly make you different and possibly stand out.

Lisa Lee Marie @ Formula D Irwindale Round 7 "Title Fight"
Charles Siritho via Compfight
here’s the “so what” of the post lol

Seems like I’m all over the place doesn’t it? Just had to get all that stuff out of the way first. So, onto titles and recommendations. As I said earlier, I think I’m the worst at titles, but that’s because I don’t sit around spending time trying to think of something outrageous to title anything I write. But if I did, these would be some recommendations:

1. If you write a how-to, it must be in the title.

2. If you’re writing a review type scenario, that needs to be in the title.

3. If there’s an overall theme that keeps popping up throughout your tale, that should go in the title.

4. Don’t play with the audience’s emotions. You can misdirect like this article written by Cairn Rodrigues titled Granny Panties, which isn’t about what you think it is and yet it’s in the article, or you can be satirical like Charles Gulotta’s tale titled A Well Grounded Childhood, or walk into a trap like I did on Mitchell Allen’s “story” titled Did Eve Acclaim Odd Medical Advice?, but write something that purports to “out” something in some fashion and then not do it… you’ll be hated.

That’s all I’ve got. If you have any further ideas on your beliefs about titles, go for it. Onward and upward!
 

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15 Lessons From 1,500 Blog Posts

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 11, 2014
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This is post #1,500 for I’m Just Sharing and it’s been quite an interesting ride. I started this blog in December 2007 with an idea that maybe I could make some money blogging. My other intention was to be able to write whatever I wanted to write, and to that end I was in immediate conflict.

1500

You see, though I didn’t necessarily see it as blogging, I started chronicling parts of my life and thoughts back in 1995 on a site called My Dear Diary. It allowed you to be anonymous and, well, it was a diary. It was a diary that could be read by others if they so chose, and of course you could read other people’s diaries as well. It allowed for a stream of consciousness that I had started back in college when I used to buy all these spiral notebooks to chronicle what was going on in my life; strange stuff…

What is it with some people that they like to write down what they’re thinking and what’s going on? For me, I saw it as a sense of history, people I wanted to remember, events that were special or maybe not so special that I’d like to look back on one day and say “wow, I didn’t remember that”. That I chose to do it online was interesting because I was using a program back in the day called IBM Assistant on Windows 3.1, where I could save everything on my computer but only in small chunks; I’m betting some folks remember those days.

When I got my first Windows 95 computer it was for work, so someone else paid for it. I learned at that time that all my old programs no longer worked, which is why I found My Dear Diary. Then at some point it was giving up the ghost, so I downloaded all those files and moved onto something called Writing Up, where I first met my buddy Mitchell Allen. But that crashed and I moved onto another site whose name I can’t remember, and met some folks I’m actually connected to on Facebook now. Then that crashed and we moved to something called Blogger Party. We were still anonymous, but those days were ending.

It was at that point that I decided to get this blog. I had a business blog, but it had a specific purpose. This one would be different; and it was and is, but I had to resolve some things.

For one, I realized at some point that I had to decide whether I was going to try to remain anonymous or try to make some money. Money won out; doesn’t it always? Lol That meant that I was going to have to figure out how to drive traffic to the blog, and figure out what to sell. I learned one but not the other.

I learned how to drive traffic to the blog. I did two things back then.

One, I wrote a post almost every day, sometimes two posts a day. For the first 3 years of this blog I averaged more than 300 posts a year; yes, the more you write, the more traffic you get.

Two, I learned about commenting on other blogs. In a previous post I detailed ways that you can drive traffic to your blog and this is at the top of my list It differs from writing lots of posts in that when you visit other people’s blogs enough they feel compelled to come check you out eventually. However, when you write lots of posts, you get lots of people but not as many return visitors because they can’t keep up with all that’s being written. If this was a niche blog maybe, but it wasn’t, and still isn’t.

How's My Blogging?
Scott Beale via Compfight

What’s different now? Well, here’s what I’m going to do. Instead of what I usually do whenever I reach a milestone (like I did when I reached 1,400 just over a year ago), I’m going to talk about 15 lessons I’ve learned over the course of 1500 posts, some that I’ve taken and run with, some that have come to me that I haven’t done as often but need to. I’ve already given two lessons above but I’m not going to count those. I’m also giving you one more lesson, that being that list posts always do well, especially when people know they’re list posts because you put a number in the title.

So, you’ve got 15 more coming; let’s see what I have to say.

1. I learned that you make your blog more valuable if you can stick with either just a certain number of categories or tags. I didn’t do that with this blog early on so I have lots of categories, although I did merge a few and I have tags infinitum; maybe ad nauseum. If you’re looking to do real business via your blog you need to make it easily searchable; oh well…

2. Depending on what you’re writing, you often need time to market or advertise your posts in some way. When I was writing early on Twitter was a new thing, and I hadn’t thought about always posting links of all my blog posts, though I certainly could have. I don’t do that now all that often, but I certainly have enough so that I could get away with it. Still, I find that though I don’t get the type of traffic I used to get, I get more return visitors who write better comments; yay!

3. Spammers gonna spam. I know some folks who have shut down their blogs because of it; not me. What I did do was limit the amount of time folks get to comment on my blog posts. On this blog it’s 125 days, and I hate that spammers made me set that up. I’ve also learned that if you don’t set up your protections that spam is even worse than can be imagined. Two weeks ago I turned something off and went from 10 spam messages a day to 50 every hour; not again!

4. What I’ve also realized is that there’s some fairly evergreen content on this blog, and I think everyone probably has some evergreen content somewhere in their writings. Something I’m planning on doing is going back and looking at old posts in chunks, revisiting some of those topics and turning them into new articles. I’m going to do that because people can’t comment on old stuff and I know that if I can’t comment on something I’m less likely to consume it. I’ll also end up with lots of articles written ahead of time so that I can do some other things; neat!

This is also a great idea for those of you who have at least 100 posts on your blog to think about doing. You can do a recap of your first 100 articles in one post, kind of like what I normally do, but you can also see what you’ve written previously that maybe you can find another way to write about. Not only is it new content but it helps solidify what your blog is about; SEO!

5. When you write articles way in advance, it doesn’t mean that if you want to write something current that you can’t do so. All you have to do is change the dates of some other articles and you can always be timely. I usually recommend that people try to write 2 or 3 articles at one time to help alleviate time crunches, but it also helps in occasions like this.

Bloggable Gillian @ Northern Voice 2005
Creative Commons License kris krüg via Compfight

6. Internal linking is a big deal. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s hard remembering if I wrote on a topic 6 years ago but often I remember that I’ve written on something up to 2 years ago. Search engines love internal linking, and any way you can help your blog is a good thing. Of course, I also advocate linking to outside sources, although in this day and age you need to be secure in doing it because of those weasels who might show up and ask you to remove their links; sigh…

7. I’ve learned that for some reason putting an image in a post helps keep people interested in it, even if it’s only one image. I used to have some images that were ads back in the early days but rarely real images or pictures. Once I started adding them it seems that the blog gained some energy with others and I have never looked back. It really works well with very long posts like this bad boy; that leads us to…

8. Length means nada to the majority of people. It’s like going to a movie that’s captivated you and being mad when it’s over because you want more. Some posts I read are way too short, while some are too long because they keep hammering on a point over and over. If I write as much or as little as needed to say what I have to say then that’s the perfect length of a post, and if it’s engaging enough people will read it; works for me.

9. You really can write on one topic in many different ways. Out of all the topics, or categories on this blog, the one I’ve written about more often than not is blogging. Almost 800 of the articles here are on blogging; how about that? And I’ve written some posts that I thought were interesting, connecting blogging with poker, airports, chess and a host of other things. If I can come up with so much to say on this topic, think about what you can do with yours.

10. At some point most of your audience is going to change for one reason or another. Think about your own forays online. Are there blogs you no longer visit that you used to stop by all the time? Life gets in the way, ideas change, tastes change… that’s just how it goes. Sometimes you as the writer has to change, while other times you just keep going your way and you find that there’s always someone who wants to consume your words, even if they just want to fuss at you for them.

11. Blogging takes courage and dedication. There are a lot of dead blogs out there. At the same time there are a lot of blogs where the writer refuses to take a side or offer an opinion because they’re afraid someone won’t agree with them. Like almost anything else, it takes a love of blogging to really do it justice. There are people who have blogged way longer than me, and even a few who have written more articles than me.

Actually, that last sentence I’m going to slightly dispute. I’ve taken a look at some stats of mine and, well, I’m impressed if you’re not. Lol For one, based on the numbers I’ve averaged 20 blog posts a month on this blog, and that includes the last couple of years where I’ve tried putting out 2 a week. Even though this is #1500 here, I write 5 blogs in all, and in actuality this is blog post #3,491 across the board.

I'm not a player, I just blog a lot
Creative Commons License J. Money via Compfight

That’s only for my blogs. I presently write articles for 2 other blogs that I don’t get paid for and with those I can add another 150 posts or so. Then there are articles I’ve written for my other websites, for other people’s websites and blogs, for places like EzineArticles and Demand Studios and other sources… it’s closer to 4,800 articles overall. There’s a wedding blog and a real estate blog out there that has around 500-600 articles among them, and lots of other topics that I’d care not to remember at the moment. Man, that’s a lot of writing isn’t it? At least for some of those I did get paid.

Courage and dedication; remember those two words, live those two words, blogging and outside of blogging. No one ever becomes rich and famous by sitting on the sidelines waiting for someone else to give them anything.

12. Blogs don’t only have to be words. I remember a blog years ago called I’m Just Joe where every post was actually a video. These days that’s a more common thing and it’s smart because you can have a blog on YouTube and on a blog and have totally different audiences. There are also blogs that only have podcasts and blogs that mainly have pictures. All of them are compelling to someone, and if you can mix some of these things up you make your blog more compelling.

13. Blogging can be fun if you want it to be. I’ve covered a lot of interesting topics over the years; at least I found them interesting. Some of those that I enjoyed greatly took me the most time to put together. These were posts that, if anyone cared, people could learn a lot of things about me, my tastes, my background, etc.

I’m kind of a history person. One of my majors in college was American History with a concentration in African-American Studies. I love reading biographies because you not only learn how people overcame some very interesting backgrounds, but you also learn what to do and not do as it pertains to your life. History does always repeat itself, and if we pay attention hopefully we’ll learn lessons so we have a better chance to get things right.

But it’s not about that either. If I may, here are 15 posts that I believe probably tells you more about me than you’d care to want to know. I do this in the spirit of a guy named Carmine Gallo, who was interviewed by Chris Brogan, who wrote a book teaching speakers how to break their presentations up as if they were giving a TED talk. One of the premises is that no matter what you’re talking about, every once in a while you have to stop and give people a sense of yourself with a story or video or something that shows why you care, why you do what you do. Well, here’s some of mine:

50 Questions To Free My Mind

Hazel Beverly: 3-23-21 Through 8-25-11

An Epic Battle; There Will Be Songs…

Meatloaf

The Keys

I Used To Be A Songwriter, Part Three

100 Things About Me

World Diabetes Day 2014

I’m Black…

I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

My Top 20 Sports Movies Of All Time

My Top 10 Disco Favorites Plus One

My Top 10 Fictional Characters

34 Questions

Dream It And It Will Come

14. There’s always the debate amongst bloggers as to who you should be writing for. I tend to believe you write for yourself first and then others because if you don’t like what you’re writing why should anyone else. The other side believes that everything you do should be for the readers and that if you write with them in mind you’ll be able to reach them better and they’ll be more open to allowing you to communicate with them.

No matter who’s correct on this particular debate, one thing is clear. Either you write or you don’t; plain and simple. Actually, if I get to use my inner Dumbledore I’d like to rephrase this to say that either you produce content or you don’t, since there are many people who are using guest posts to move things along, and there’s always a place for that.

One way of looking at blogging, if you call it that in this case, is that the most successful blogs over time use multiple writers to produce content for them. Huffington Post, Copyblogger, Basic Blog Tips, Problogger… There’s a question as to whether the first two are really blogs but most people call them blogs so I’m not going to argue the point.

There’s really the proof that the more content one can produce, the more traffic they’ll get and the more opportunities to make money. For most of us that’s hard to do on a consistent basis over time. That’s why I’m kind of proud of my 1,500 posts on this blog and my overall total. I can’t touch the really big blogs but I’ll put my output online against anyone else’s. And along the way I hope I’ve helped, entertained, informed, stuck to my principles, and offered in some way hope that blogging can be a “thing”, no matter how it manifests itself with you.

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15. Thanking people is never bad to do. This is the final list point and I’m going to take the time to thank some people who have been here with me for years and people who’ve been with this blog a lot who are still here now. If I miss anyone I’m sorry, but I’m setting my criteria such that if the person hasn’t commented on the blog at all in the last year I’m not including them. That may or may not seem right but I know there have been a lot of people over the years who commented a lot and then disappeared.

I will mention two guys in particular. Dennis Edell commented a lot over the first 3 years or so but passed away at some point. John Dilbeck not only commented often but wrote very long, detailed comments that I just loved, and he was one of the nicest and most positive guys I’ve ever known. I’m not a religious man so I’ll just say that I miss both of you guys and hope you’re in another dimension kicking down doors and having a lot of fun.

One of the biggest fears I have is that one day I’ll just disappear and my wife won’t mention it anywhere because she doesn’t know anything about blogging and no one else will either. Stupid to worry about I suppose but I know this; the people I thank now won’t be forgotten because, well, if you read #10 from this post last week you’ll understand.

Here are the people,15 in fact, with links to their blogs:

Sire (Peter Pellica); Kelvin Ringold; Ajith Edassery; Beverly Mahone; Mitchell Allen; Adrienne Smith; Arlee Bird; Carl (Kaloyan Banev); Holly Jahangiri; Charles Gulotta; Ileane Smith; Brian Hawkins; Marelisa Fabrega; Scott Thomas; and John Garrett.

I think I’ve said enough except to close with this. I thank those of you who have been consistent readers of this blog at one time or another. I also always put out that if you have questions or topics you’d like me to address on this blog or any of my other blogs to look at my contact information and send me an email. Hey, even though the next 1,500 posts can be all about my thoughts, it’s much more fun if others participate. Thank you, and… whew, this is long! ;-)
 

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Driving More Visitors To Your Blog; Are You Ready For The Work?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 27, 2014
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As with the post I wrote the other day about high quality content (did you watch the video?), it seems that something else I’m always reading about these days I had actually written on a couple of times, but a very long time ago.

Trocadéro scene # 10
Gregory Bastien via Compfight

Back then we talked about traffic, whereas these days we talk more about visitors. The way I see it, traffic was always about numbers, ala sales and marketing, where the more people you can get to come to you or see what you have to offer the better the opportunities for making sales. It sounded good but in today’s world we talk more about visitors, which is getting people to your space who are more targeted and more likely to consume what you have to offer. Indeed it seems people are scared of high numbers if they’re not getting anything out of it.

Yet, when I wrote that first post in October 2008 asking people what they’d do to get more traffic, it really wasn’t giving many ideas on how to get it, but asking how far folks might be willing to go to get that traffic. I had tested one of those traffic websites that under delivered and under performed years earlier on my business blog and talked about that and the disappointment that type of thing brings. Seems there are still companies selling traffic and people buying it; stop that because it doesn’t work.

The next time I wrote about it in March 2009, I came at the topic a different way in debating some of the tactics advocated on another blog post on driving massive traffic to one’s blog. I took on each point and broke it down, saying what worked, what didn’t, and giving opinions on the rest if I didn’t have experience with it. A lot of that stuff is still valid, so I hope you check it out.

It’s time for another one of these, but I’m offering an early caveat. A lot of this stuff I haven’t done. That’s because, as some of you know, I’m traveling these days for my consulting business, and I’m just tired in the evenings, and one the weekends is when I try to get in some writing as well as catch up on some rest.

However, some of these tactics I have done in the past. Some I’ve read about. And after so many years blogging I know how to do a lot of this stuff, but some I’ll never do.

Why? Some of it will take a lot of work, consistent work. Not everyone is cut out for it. There are some folks who are very good with it, following processes they’ve developed so they can earn their living online. But for most folks, trying to understand what working 12-16 hours a day for yourself is incomprehensible. You have to love it and you have to be willing to take some chances.

Nothing says you have to jump all in full speed immediately. Some of these things I’m going to offer you can ease into until you see how it works for you. I’m not here telling you how to make money though; I’ve done that in the past and, well, most folks weren’t ready for all of that either.

Jellyfish Invasion
Creative Commons License Benson Kua via Compfight

Still, I figure it’s as good a time as any to give you 10 ideas and then allow you to decide which of them you want to try. There won’t be tons of detail here; it’s my hope you’ll figure out what I mean by what I write. But if you have any questions, ask me in the comments. By the way, these aren’t in any particular order, and only four of these have anything specific to do with your blog. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Make your blog a dofollow blog. This blog is a dofollow blog, a decision I made back in 2008 because I was feeling magnanimous with the world. Fast forward to today and I might think about it a little more but I’d still do it. I find this strange, but people actually go out looking for dofollow blogs to comment on, and will skip those that don’t have it. Truthfully I’m of the feeling that people should comment wherever they want without worrying about it, but since there are still people looking for it your blog could stand out because of it.

2. Accept guest posts. I hear some regular readers of this blog saying “Hey, I thought you hated guest posters”. I wouldn’t go that far with it, even if I did write about problems I’ve had with guest posting requests for my finance blog, the only blog I ever really accepted them from. Still, if you’re looking to increase traffic to your blog (I have to go there first so I can come back to visitors), one of the best ways to do it is to have a lot of consistent content. And if other people are willing to write that content for you so you only have to do it here and there, it’s something to think about.

Personally I found it to be a lot more trouble that it was worth after a while, but my finance blog did jump pretty high and for a while I was earning some nice cash from folks wanting to advertise on the site.

3. Add CommentLuv to your blog. This is the last point that’s specific to your blog, and I’ll give you two reasons why. The first is that people love commenting on blogs that have it if they have the ability to select which of their blog posts they want to highlight. It gives commenters a second link back to their site by them commenting also; they love that.

The second reason is more for you though. It’s going to be followed up more in point #5, but for the moment I’ll just say that when you use CommentLuv, you’ll often see articles that interest you that you may want to go check out.

4. Find 10 bloggers who you either respect, who are in your niche, or whose blogs are ranked high and comment on their blogs consistently. Here’s where the first real bit of work is going to start coming in, and it’s only part one.

There are many top bloggers in the “make money” realm who will tell you that to become influential you have to know influential people. What makes a blogger prominent? Truthfully, it’s the amount of visitors they get, and often it’s manifested in the number of comments they get on almost every single post they write. Some of them accept guest posts (see #2) and maybe if you hang around enough they’ll accept a guest post from you, which may or may not help your visibility.

I wrote “comment consistently”; what I meant to say was comment on every single post that shows up on their blogs. This means even on those guest posts that might not interest you. It also works best if you can be an early commenter. Often on popular blogs that get a lot of comments, the owners will respond to early comments, but then then get back to work and may not ever come back to view any other comments on published posts. You obviously want to be seen by others, but you want your name seen by these folks also. Even if they never respond, if your name gets into their field of vision often enough, it’ll at least seem familiar to them as time goes on.

Grupal 21ª KDD (EXPLORED)
Creative Commons License Salvador Moreira via Compfight

5. Find anywhere from 1 to 9 other people whose blogs you like, whether they’re in your niche or not, but make sure they’re popular. Why are you doing this? Because not all of the first group are going to write something every day.

Wait, didn’t I mention that part? You want visitors? You willing to work? Part of this means that you have to comment on at least 10 blogs a day. You start with your #4 group first, and if they don’t have anything new then you move to this group. Now, it’s possible that none of the first 10 will have a post on a single day, but pretty improbable. However, if it happens then I’m giving you a break by only having to comment on 9 of them; aren’t I nice? :-)

6. Post at least 3 of your blog posts 5 times a day on Twitter and Google Plus, and connect at least one of your blogs to LinkedIn. I’ll give you an opportunity to diversify a little bit here if you have more than one blog and you have articles coming from more than one of them on the same day.

Why are you doing this? Both of them move really fast. On Twitter, if you’re connected to someone who’s following 10,000 people (heck, even 1,000 people), there’s a major probability that they won’t ever see anything you put up. For that matter, if you’re connected to a more than 100 people who are connected to more than 100 people, and you only post a blog link once a day, you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of anyone ever seeing it.

Doing what I’m telling you to do brings your odds of your content being seen up to 1.5 per thousand. Those still aren’t great odds but 5 times a day means you’re posting something either approximately every 4 hours and 45 minutes or every 1 hour and 36 minutes. That’s just the math; the reality is that there are specific times when there are spikes in the number of people who are online, and if you research you’ll find out when you should be trying to make your posts visible.

Still, you want to spread them out. Yes, you’d have a greater chance of being seen by people if you posted all 15 of your links in the same hour, but some folks will keep seeing those links, get irritated by you, and leave.

Google Plus is close to the same thing, only your audience is much bigger. You could decide to send your links only to people you’re connected to, but they won’t like that very much. Instead, you’re posting to Public, but it still works out in your favor. Those people following you are more likely to see your stuff than on Twitter; that’s just how it goes. And if you have enough content, you can get away with sharing some of it more times than not as long as you space it out a few days or so. And if people comment on it, then people they’re connected to sees it; talk about opportunities to go viral!

Oh yeah, LinkedIn. I have my business blog linked there, and what happens is that every post I write there goes directly to LinkedIn. I find myself getting comments on my blog posts there, and other people see those comments who are connected to me on LinkedIn. So they may never make it to my blog but they’ll see my stuff.

However, don’t do on LinkedIn what I mentioned doing on Twitter and Google Plus; they won’t like it. Instead, if you join some groups and your content is pertinent to the people in that group, try to start a discussion using your blog link at least twice a week. But always write up a one paragraph description of what your post is about; they hate links without them.

7. Share posts from others you’re connected with and be sure to add their Twitter handle or Google Plus name to the post. You getting tired yet? Here’s the thing; even though it’s all about you, it shouldn’t look like it’s all about you. Sharing is a good way to give your audience more things you care about, but sharing people’s names means they know you did it. They’ll either thank you or not, but they’ll see your name because they’ll get notified of the mention, and if you do it enough for certain people they’ll definitely get to know you and want to know more about you. And if you happen to go to their blogs and comment… :-)

Planet Orange
Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

8. Ask if you can write a guest post. I hate this by the way, and I’ve never asked anyone if I could write a guest post for them. However, I’ve had 14 guest posts over all the years on this blog from people I knew beforehand and I didn’t mind sharing them at the time.

Here’s two realities of this however. One, you might not get any traffic from writing those guest posts. I’ve almost never gotten any visits from blogs where I’ve written a guest post (I’ve always been asked). However, the owners of those blogs remembered that I did it and you’ll always be in their minds, and if they’re popular that’s a good thing.

Oh yeah; make sure that guest post is as good as, if not better, than anything you’ll ever put on your blog. As an example, look at this epic post on social networking that I wrote for Adrienne Smith’s blog. Heck, this particular post is getting close to that one, which was more than 2,800 words. I didn’t get any visitors from that blog post, but Adrienne gives me mad respect and, well, look at how highly her blog is ranked and look at how many comments that post got.

9. Find a community on Google Plus that’s all about your topic or create your own. Is your energy level still up there? If so, this is a place where you can actually post all your stuff, your thoughts and beliefs, hold contests, whatever. It’s also the one and only time, if you create your own community, where you can invite (only do it once though) everyone you’re following. Some people will join just because they like you but that’s okay. You’re also inviting the public, and there will be some of those folks you’re not connected to that will probably join.

The thing about having your own community is that it’s hard to keep it going with a lot of content if you’re handling it all on your own, or, like me, traveling so much that you don’t have the time to put into it properly. Thus, you can do two things.

One, you can name some other people moderators if they’ll take it on, and they’ll help you with content.

Or two, you can invite anyone in the community to post their own links for discussion topics as long as they’re on the same topic as your community.

If you can get and keep people engaged they’ll all remember your name because you started it, and of course those folks will want to visit your blogs to read what you’ve written, since you’re only giving them the links.

10. Make sure what you’re writing on your blog is share worthy. If you build it they will come. If it’s lousy they’ll leave and never come back. I’m not getting into the number of words or colors or fonts or having contests or any of that type of thing. I am saying that you might want to review what I wrote in my last post, the first link on this post, as an introductory guide to trying to make your blog a place where people will be informed, educated or entertained. See the symmetry of this post now? ;-)

There you are, tips on what to do to get massive visitors to your blog. As I said, if you try to do all of these immediately it’s a lot of work, you’ll burn out and quit probably. Instead, look at these tips, see what you can do with some of them, and take some baby steps, then teenage steps and see if any of it works for you.

By the way, #6 and #8 are the only two I’ve never done at all… well, I’ve written guest posts, but I’ve never asked if I could write one so I can stick with that. Remember, Matt Cutts said if you’re looking to write guest posts for SEO reasons don’t do it, but if you’re looking to do it to increase your visibility, you’re good to go.

Whew, I’m tired, but I hope I’ve given you your money’s worth. By the time you’re reading this I’ll probably be on an airplane heading home for a long weekend, but if you leave comments you know I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
 

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