Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 10, 2016
I took last week off from writing a new blog post because I wanted to give my epic post on blogging mistakes a chance to gain some traction. I also figured it would be a good time to see how some of my efforts worked out as I worked on increasing my web presence after all that work I did on my mobile speed.
First, let’s talk about the goals I set out to accomplish when I announced at the beginning of September that I was going to write 12 posts in the month:
1. Kickstart the search engines
2. Show people that it can be done
3. Inform, educate, entertain
4. Show expertise
Let’s get #2 out of the way. I indeed wrote 12 posts for the month of September, which included that monster last post. Eight of the 12 were more than 1,000 words, with a total word count of 17,330 for the month. That’s about a 3rd of the way to having an entire book; I can live with that.
We can also get through #3 and #4 pretty quickly. I wrote what I consider one entertaining post which also was informative, and I think I wrote one educational post about images, with the rest being informational; at least that’s how I categorizing them. Some of those posts showed my expertise in blogging after so many years; I may not make a lot of money but I certainly know how to crank out some articles. 🙂
I know, it’s #1 that most people want to know about, since that was the biggest thing I was worried about when I started talking about the difference between being mobile friendly and mobile speed, and how all my rankings had suffered drastically this year. I also know I wasn’t alone on this one, but as always I’m willing to take on the challenge of doing the testing.
When I wrote about my test in writing a post every day in December on my business blog, I noted that it hadn’t worked and I had no real clue why. This time, I thought it might have to do more with the mobile speed, which was probably lacking back in December on all my blogs since I didn’t even know it was a thing to consider. If that were the case, then it’s no wonder that my content aims didn’t work.
I also did a bit of research in August & September and noticed that for all of my blogs almost none of my new content was being seen by at least Google, although Bing seemed to be finding me. I have to admit that was kind of scary, since I’d written a few things I really believed would have done really well with a lot of people. Even looking up some of my titles word for work on Google didn’t show any of my articles on the first page unless they showed up on someone else’s blog that I’d commented on. That’s when I knew I was in some serious trouble.
Thus, the 12 posts test. What’s happened has been kind of amazing; let me share some details:
1. On August 31st, my Alexa ranking was 859,918 and the blog was in free fall. On September 15th, the ranking was 934,330. As of yesterday, October 9th, my ranking was… 644,985! No matter what you might think about Alexa not being totally accurate, that’s still a pretty nice recovery if you ask me.
2. Because I took all of last week off, I went to look at my Google Analytics on Sunday to see what they might tell me. First, my overall traffic has doubled from the month before, as well as my pageviews; that’s not depressing at all. As a matter of fact, September was my highest month for both since last September; nice!
3. Something else Analytics showed me was that 7 of the articles I wrote this month were in my top 10 in the last 30 days… which is something that’s never happened before! My post from the 30th about blogging mistakes is at #5 with “30 mistakes you’re making blogging” and if I put the entire title in, without the quotation marks, it comes up #1… which is what it’s supposed to do. That means Google is indexing me again; yay!
That’s not bad, right? It gets even better for me across the board. I had 4 posts on my business blog in September and my Alexa ranking went from 1,114,055 to 881,170 in the same time period. In actuality, 4 of my 5 blogs increased their Alexa rankings in September, even with little content. The one that didn’t actually increased from the 1st to the 15th because I’d posted a pretty nice article in the first week of the month but it slowly fell after that; it really needs more content. 🙂
I’m feeling pretty good about things at this juncture. I think it shows that if you can achieve proper mobile speed numbers and have enough new content that your traffic numbers can improve. It’ll be interesting to see how well this blog does as I go back to a mainly once a week posting schedule, which hopefully will leave me more time to write for my other blogs as well.
Are you now encouraged to try to increase your mobile speed?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 30, 2016
This is the last new post of the month of September, and the only one I didn’t write within 3 days of making the decision that I was going to do it. I wanted the last post to be, well, kind of epic, which means it took some deep thought on what I wanted to write.
I’m thinking that 30 mistakes people are making with their blogs is a nice followup to a post I did back in March on 31 mistakes people make blogging and in social media. In that post, which ended up being 4,600+ words, I wrote 15 things about blogging, and I’m not guaranteeing that I won’t touch upon any of those recommendations on this one. I’m not even going to guarantee that this post won’t end up being that long… but I hope not. 🙂
These are in no particular order except for the last one. I tried keeping themes together as much as possible, but I’m not lying when I say that my eyes started to cross as I was putting the list together. By the way, when I talk about images below, you’ll understand why I’m using the images I’m using on this post. Doing the best I can; let’s get started.
1. Not writing enough content
Very rarely is a paragraph a blog post. Neither are two or three. The only time that seems to work out is if you’re breaking news that no one else has and you get that post out quickly. That happened for me back in ’08 or ’09 and it took off… then six months later I had to make it private because it had no meaning at that point.
Even though there are a lot of big time bloggers saying that posts should be around 3K words these days, I’m going to call that a bunch of rubbish. While a lot of those posts do very well, blogging is about message more than length.
In other words, if you believe you can explain a concept you’re writing about in 200 words or less, go ahead and do it; just don’t do it often if you want the search engines to take you seriously. If you don’t care… you do you Boo!
2. Not writing regularly
I know a few people who write every single day. I know some people who write one post every 3 months. I also know some people who only write when they feel the urge to write… even if that’s less than once a year.
Understanding that it’s your blog and that you can do anything you want with it is one thing; trying to figure out why you have a blog that you don’t feel like contributing to is another.
No one builds up an audience if writing is sporadic and sparse. Someone who visited your blog 3 months ago is probably going to write you off if you don’t have something at least once a month… and that post better be epic.
3. Not enough white space
Writing online is much different than writing in books. The biggest complaint I’ve seen from people who read blogs is that there’s too much text in a paragraph for their tastes way too often.
At first I didn’t get that because when I went to school, I was taught that your paragraph should contain everything your first line states it should be, no matter how long it is. Then I started visiting a lot of blogs and I got it.
For whatever reason too much text in a small space, especially on mobile, is hard to process. Thus, it’s better if you can make your paragraphs shorter and make your thoughts a bit more concise.
4. Every paragraph is one line
There are times when having a one-line paragraph makes sense. If you have a long sentence then it looks good having it be the only line in a paragraph. If you’re setting something up, a one-line paragraph is a nice way to do it.
From my perspective however, having every single thing on your site being one line is irritating. It makes me think that the writer couldn’t keep a cohesive thought together for longer than a sentence, especially when those sentences are short.
If you have sentences that seem to go 3 lines, go for it. If you have one line 10 times in a row… please, please, don’t do it!
5. Not putting your social media information in your share buttons
This is mainly a Twitter gripe for me, but if it’s happening for Twitter then it’s probably happening with the rest of your share buttons.
I share a lot of content, and at least half of what I’m sharing comes from blogs. It’s amazing how many share buttons I click on where there’s no Twitter handle attached to it.
If I’m on a blog where I know the person, it’s not that big a deal. However, a lot of articles I share either came from seeing a post on Twitter that someone else has shared or finding it on Flipboard. This means that, if I want to give attribution to the person whose blog it is, I have to go searching for it.
The other reason you want to have your Twitter handle on there is so you can see who’s sharing your content. When people share, they usually post your title, the link and your Twitter handle. If it’s there, you get a notification telling you it was shared; that’s pretty cool. Without it, you have no idea how well your articles are doing or who’s possibly sharing your stuff. You miss out on a lot of engagement possibilities by not having your handle in there.
6. Not having your social media accounts listed on your blog
You know what else I see? People have these share buttons with every single social media possibility showing… but don’t have accounts on those sites.
At the same time, I notice that a lot of people don’t have a way for others to subscribe or at least go look at what they might be putting on their other social media accounts (since I consider blogging part of social media).
Look over to the right of this blog. You see my Instagram link, my YouTube, my Flipboard and my Facebook business accounts. I want people to check those things out and possibly subscribe. I have my Google Plus link on my left sidebar; I need to think about moving that. If you’re trying to grow an audience, you need to share the places you can be found with those folks who visit your blog.
7. Not responding to comments… even if you respond on day one
I’ve gotten into the habit of not leaving comments on blogs where the owners don’t respond to comments. A lot of those blogs I refuse to even read anymore, even if I think they’re pretty good, because it feels like they’re taking visitors for granted.
Something else I’ve seen are blog owners who only respond to those comments that show up on day one. I’m sure they feel confident in saying “hey, I responded to some comments”, but in my eyes it shows that the writer wrote something and has already moved on to the next thing. If you’re writing a story blog then cool. If you’re writing content with the intention that it’s going to be evergreen, you need to treat your visitors better.
8. Moderating comments for too long a period
I hate comment moderation. On my blogs, if your comment is being moderated it’s either because my GASP plugin thinks your comment is spam, or because you’re commenting from Chrome (I still haven’t figured that one out; it’s bugging me lol). This means that the majority of comments flow through properly, so I don’t have to do anything with them.
People who moderate comments on purpose are either worried about spam (number one reason) or the type of content someone’s comment might contain that they’re worried about. I get it; if that’s your comfort level then go for it, but I can tell you that unless you’re really big on social media and getting hundreds of comments you’re putting too much work into it.
How do I know this? Because it seems like there’s way too many blogs that moderate comments where the owner takes close to a week or even longer to make those comments live. Wow, that a great way of making people feel a part of your community… NOT!
There’s so many more ways of protecting your site from spam or the types of comments you don’t want to see, either using a plugin or going into your Admin panel (if you’re using WordPress software) and changing a few settings. You should probably be using a lot of those things for security anyway. In any case, it’ll take a load off you and be more friendly for your visitors.
9. Too much profanity
As someone who’s never uttered a profane word in his life (lots of witnesses to that lol), I can say this isn’t a problem I have. I recognize that for some people there’s a time for using profanity to express themselves and I don’t have a problem with that. Heck, it’s in too many movies I like for me to be prudish about it. 🙂
Yet… when I see it written on a blog, where it sometimes feels like every paragraph is littered with it… I often leave without continuing to read it. I always think subject matter should be the determiner for language.
For instance, I was reading a Cracked article about Dolemite (aka, Rudy Ray Moore, for those of you who don’t know who he is) and his first movie. The movie… well, back in the 70’s it was considered an X-rated movie (not like today’s XXX movies, just to be clear). This means it had a lot of sex and violence… and every other word was foul.
Reading an article with a lot of cursing in it fit because it took on the tone of the movie it was reviewing (trust me, worst movie ever lol). However, if the article was on puppies and kittens and babies not getting along… come on, who wouldn’t agree with me that it would feel out of place?
10. Not moderating for bad language, attacks, trolls etc
When I talk about the need to moderate comments, I mean you should be looking at the comments that show up on your blog to see if they’re addressing the content. If they’re not, it’s probably spam and you should remove it. If there’s a lot of bad language and your audience isn’t meant to be quite that adult, you should remove it. If you see one person personally attacking someone else on your blog, you should remove it.
Why? Unless you’re an online newspaper (y’all know those comments are the worst thing right?), I’m assuming your intention is to draw the audience you want to interact with and have your blog be a safe harbor for anyone who wants to talk to you. Debating the merits of the last presidential debate (don’t even!) while staying civil, if that’s the topic you wrote on, is one thing; having it devolve into petty arguments with no substance and someone being potentially threatened… no one wants to deal with that. If you don’t moderate it your visitors will… by leaving and never coming back.
I’ve always made a clarification that my biggest gripe is having those suckers show up before I’ve even had a chance to see if your content is worth my time. Nowadays some of you are using the trick of dropping your site down almost to what’s known as the “above the fold content” to make us scroll down to see your content. Frankly, I don’t think anyone’s worth that much time and effort to see if you have anything worthwhile to say.
If everyone’s popup was nearer the bottom of a post, I could get behind that. Since that’s not the majority, not even close… well, you know what’s coming…
13. Too much selling/ads
I’m not against people trying to make money by any means. I do think that some people will go to the extreme in trying to sell products though.
Look at my left sidebar for a minute. Yes, there’s a lot of stuff over there. Three of those things are books I’ve written; one is a webinar I created. One of those things is actually a free download. The only “real” product that doesn’t belong to me is the Mailwasher thing. On the right side, the only product thing I have is a link to take you to a Fitbit page on one of my other websites.
Some people sell, sell, and sell some more within every post. I think it’s a put-off because it becomes more of a commercial than an actual blog. Then again, it might explain why some of those folks make more money online than I do; personal preference (like popups). I’ll just ask you to think about it from the perspective of a reader/visitor, even yourself, to see if that’s the kind of content you want to be constantly absorbing.
14. Having more guest posts than your own content
Having guest posts on your blog is an intriguing strategy. When I was taking them on my finance blog it was one of the highest ranked online. That’s because I was able to consistently have at least 2 articles a week on it, sometimes 3, and it allowed me to only have to write once every couple of weeks.
The problem? Well, it wasn’t a blog like this. Many of the articles I accepted on that site I knew nothing about… I even got paid for some of them. However, I got very few comments, very few returning visitors, thus little engagement.
In essence, what I eventually felt one of the problems was (there were many problems) that there wasn’t anyone coming to the blog to see what I had to say. Why would they; I mean, no one really knew when I was going to write any of the articles there. If anyone was coming to see what I had to say or wondered what Mitchell was going to write about next… I didn’t have a clue about it.
I’m seeing more blogs lately, blogs I used to visit a lot, where there’s almost never an article from the person who owns the blog. Frankly, I’ve stopped visiting almost all of those blogs because you never know who’s writing the content. There are a couple I still visit because it turns out that sometimes I know the person who’s writing the guest post; I’m nothing if not loyal. If I visit and don’t know the person… I’m outta there!
I think if people like having guest posts it will definitely help get their sites ranked better; it might even help them make more money. What gets lost is the personal touch. On my finance blog, I was initially making sure the ratio was 50-50; a guest post, one from me, a guest post, one from me… that faltered when I started traveling a lot for business; instead of writing, now I was editing all the time… and the thrill was gone.
If you’re going to accept guest posts, you also need to remember why people started coming to your blog in the first place. As I said, I’m loyal… but only to people I know. I bet I’m not the only one who feels this way.
15. Making it too hard to comment on your blog
I hate funky blog commenting systems (Disqus, Livefyre, etc…). I hate captcha. I hate having to create an account or log in to leave a comment on a blog. So I won’t do it; never have, never will.
I have a setting on my blog that makes you write at least 10 words to leave a comment. I ask you to use your name, first and/or last if you wish, but a third name will reject you. You’re also going to get a notification if you don’t have an avatar, but your comment will still go through.
You need to have some standards on your blog, and a commenting policy should be a part of it (look above the comment window & you’ll see mine). If you ask me, those are pretty simple rules to follow; the only one that trips some people up is the one about the avatar, but I tell people all the time how easy it is to get one and why it’s important.
Making people prove who they are in other ways, having funky commenting systems… way harder than my way. Still, once again it’s a personal choice.
16. Not verifying that people know you’ve responded to their comments
This post is being written on Tuesday. In the last 3 days I’ve left comments on 11 blogs. To date, I’ve only received notice from one of those blogs that I got a response back (thanks Rummuser). On two of the blogs I know I got a response because I remembered I’d left a comment and went back to look. The other 8… no idea. That means I have no idea whether my comment will be responded to or not; isn’t that a shame?
This one is a relatively easy fix, which I wrote about in an article asking people if they knew if their visitors were getting responses back showing you responded to them. I’m not going to go through the process again but you should check out the article, and then check out your blog.
17. Not fully answering questions/fleshing out your meaning you or others posed as your topic
First, let me thank all those people who try to help others; you’re fully appreciated. One of the things I also do is try to help people when I can.
With that said, one of my biggest gripes on many of the sites that do offer tips is that their information is incomplete. I’ve been having major frustrations trying to find the answers to a lot of questions I have regarding some of the recommendations to increase the mobile speed of my websites. The problem I have is that no one gives you complete information, so I keep having to bounce around from site to site, picking up something here and there; that’s quite irksome.
Is it possible those posts will be a bit long? Absolutely! Can they also be short? Yup, that works also. Still, it’s always better to tell everything about a process you’re sharing, whether it’s a tutorial or you telling someone how you do things, like I did when I was talking about how I schedule posts to show up on Twitter last year, even though I now use Tweeten, which follows the same exact process. You become a more valuable resource when your visitors know you’re not leaving out potentially valuable information they may need.
18. Not linking to other articles you’ve written on your blog
Something I covered in my article giving 55 blogging tips and ideas was this concept of internal linking. That’s what I just did; I linked to another article I wrote on this blog that I believe will be helpful to you readers and helps the search engines know what I believe is related content; they like that. 🙂
Thus, its beneficial to at least 3 sources; you, your visitors and search engines. This is a SEO practice many people forget to employ. Some people use a related posts plugin that lists some articles at the end of the article. That’s nice… I guess. lol You’ll get more benefit if you take a little bit of time to go through your archives and post something you know is pertinent instead of trusting it to something else.
19. Not giving attribution or linking to other articles when you bust on their topic
A good recommendation for finding things to talk about is to visit other blogs and websites. If you find inspiration, not only is it good to write about it but it helps your cause and theirs if you’ll link back to them… and if it’s a blog let them know you’ve done it.
You may have read about the topic of “influencer marketing”. I’m not a big proponent of that, but I am a proponent of sharing and giving attribution to people who help me in some way, whether they know it or not. It’s about networking, courtesy and fairness… along with being smart. 🙂
20. Not editing your articles
I’m the last person to be one of the grammar police because I know I learned some lessons that others learned differently when it comes to grammar. Regardless of that fact, there are some universal rules that all of us should think about following for readability.
The same goes for misspellings, incorrect usage of words, typos, etc. Look, all of us make mistakes and all of us miss things; that’s human nature. But if you wrote 400 words and 50 of them don’t make any sense, or are misspelled… credibility goes out the window.
I believe all browsers now have some sort of spell checker that highlights words in red that shows you when you’re spelled something wrong; or at least it thinks you have. Isn’t it worth the effort to verify that? For most of us all it takes is a right-click on the word and the proper spelling will come up. If it doesn’t, it either means that’s not a word or it’s not so common a word that you’ll want to add it to the dictionary, or tell your program to allow it for the day… or just ignore the red line entirely. At least you’ll have done something.
21. Stupid commenting systems
22. Making people subscribe to comments when they already have
I’ve complained about this one often enough. If I’ve already clicked the button after leaving my comment telling you I want to see responses to my comment, please, PLEASE, turn off the autoresponder that sends me a stupid email asking me to confirm it. Really? REALLY?!?!? Y’all know I’m not going to do it, and if I’m not, I know I’m not the only one. It’s so irritating…
23. Not checking to see if everything’s working from time to time
Some of you know about my three weeks of a mobile speed quest for all my blogs and websites. I did a lot of testing on all my sites, trying to make sure everything I did still left the blogs working properly.
I ended up removing some plugins I’d had for a long time because, for one reason or another, they no longer worked. Even with that, just last week I learned that another tweak I’d made left 3 of my blogs without the ability to comment. I didn’t know it until Arlee Bird send me an email informing me of the problem. It was related to an older plugin that I’d meant to remove and had forgotten about. Once it was removed, everything was back to normal.
One of the things we don’t do often enough is keep up with our plugins. This is an older blog, and it turns out there were a lot of old plugins I was still using here that I’d also added to some of my other blogs that had never been updated for one reason or another. Some of those conflicted with mobile speed; some of them conflicted with a couple newer plugins I wanted to use to increase mobile speed.
One in particular, Akismet, turned out to not be working for, what, years, because they had gone to a paid model and I never knew it because WordPress had added it years ago, it kept updating, but I’d never seen anything come through saying they’d changed things on me. I’m throwing this out there because I’m betting most of you who might think you’re using it might not be.
24. Not checking dead links on your blog
You know what? It turns out that search engines will penalize your site if you have too many dead links on them. They don’t have to be links that you’ve shut down on your own; often it’s links that you’re included in your content or, believe it or not, dead links from people who’ve commented on your blog.
I go back and forth on this one but at this juncture I’m back in its corner… with some reservations. There’s a plugin called Broken Link Checker that can help you find all the broken links on your blog… even if some of them turn out not to actually be broken. What you need to do is activate it every once in a while, let it do its thing, eliminate or fix those links, then deactivate it. Otherwise, it’ll slow down your blog and potentially cause some issues with your other plugins, which was an issue I was having a few years ago.
If you’re running CommentLuv Premium, there’s also a CommentLuv Link Checker you should think about running every so often, since Broken Link Checker won’t remove those particular links.
By the way, a sidebar; Andy Bailey, the guy who developed CommentLuv Premium and the original, is physically unable to update the plugin any longer. If you have a problem and write a ticket, you’ll get an email telling you that and giving you some tips on what might be wrong. That’s the best you’re going to get from now on, but those tips turn out to be pretty good. I have a belief that this plugin won’t ever be updated again; that’s not as important as wishing the best for Andy, who’s a great guy.
25. Not promoting your blog in other places
This is the only issue I’m talking about that takes you directly off your blog. It’s also something I had to learn that I’ve now gotten way better about.
Your blog isn’t Field Of Dreams. Just because you write it doesn’t mean they’ll come, whoever “they’ll” is supposed to be. You need to market it, share it, publicize it… that’s pretty much it. Share buttons are nice, but if no one’s coming to your blog then no one’s going to be sharing any of it.
There’s all types of social media sites to share your content on. There’s all types of ways to get it done. You can automate or you can share when you’re ready. It doesn’t matter how you do it (well, it does, but it’s not as important as making sure you share), just figure it out and start doing it.
26. Not having images in your content
If you haven’t gotten the message that having an image within your blog post is a good idea you’re either new to the game or just don’t care. lol I don’t know the science behind it but visitors are drawn to images, and if it’s in your content they’ll give it a look. The new question is what to do if you can’t find images that match what you’re writing about; I addressed it by saying it’s more important to have an image than what it actually is, and I gave some examples of why I believe it.
27. Not checking your mobile speed
I just learned in August that when Google was talking about mobile friendly sites they were actually talking about mobile speed friendly sites. I went on a quest, which I wrote about in 3 posts in August, to correct that issue with my blogs and websites.
28. Not being original
You know what? Being original doesn’t only mean you have to write about something that no one else has ever written about. What it means is being creative enough so that if you end up writing about something someone else has already touched upon, or something you’ve mentioned previously, you’re able to write about it in a different way so that it comes across as being unique.
I bashed someone on a post about writing something different because all she did was copy what others had written about and wrote almost word for word what I’d seen lots of time before. I was so aggravated that I refused to even link to the blog. lol
If you want to write like everyone else be unique… like everyone else! 🙂
29. Sharing too much of your private business
As much as I work on convincing people that I’m an open book I’m really not. There’s lots of things you don’t know about me because, frankly, it’s none of your business. 🙂 Something else I’ve done is protect the privacy of my wife as much as possible. Out of over 1,700 posts, I’ve mentioned her name 10 times over the years; that’s it.
When you bring people into your private circle like that, it should be a privilege for just a few people. Telling too much allows people to use it against you when they’re angry, make you feel bad for something you were hoping would show how honest you are, and once it’s out there you not only can’t control it but it never goes away… people like me will always know how to find that information if you try to take it down.
Be honest and upfront with your readers… but always hold back the most intimate stuff, especially where it concerns your family.
30. Not being yourself
Whew, it’s taken a while to get here hasn’t it? I hope it’s been worth the journey; at over 5,000 words if you’ve made it this far I want to thank you and commend you on your stamina.
This is my last and final point, and I’m not going to beat it into the ground. People hate phonies. If you’re phony you might think you’re getting away with something but you’re not. Unfortunately, it’s hard for most people to be something they’re not.
If you’re not rich, don’t write as if you are because people will see through it. Don’t give out false information to make yourself look more impressive; don’t tell lies about others. If you’re actually a jerk… well, try to learn not to be a jerk because people don’t like jerks any better than phonies. lol
I own up to a lot of things on this blog and my other blogs. I’m not rich. I sometimes have anger issues. I’m diabetic. I’m starting to feel really old, even though I walk almost 20K steps a day and my wife says I still act like a 12-year old (what is it wives have against 12-year olds anyway?).
I will always be authentic and talk in my own voice. I’ve been doing it too long to change now. I’ll also always be honest and open… but you’re not going to know everything about it… ever!
If you can live with that, then I can live with it from you. If I can live with it, others can live with it. Be yourself; it’s so much easier than being anyone else.
That’s it; that’s all I’ve got. I hope you liked this, I hope you’ve learned some things, I hope you comment whether you liked what I had to say or not. Please share this post; I don’t ask that often enough. I love you all (okay, no I don’t, but that’s what entertainers are supposed to say lol)! 😉
(PS – This post turns out to be just under 5,800 words; sorry for that lol)
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 24, 2016
By now, anyone who’s visited any of my blogs knows that I love the concept of blogging. Just as I was telling a group of life and business coaches a couple of weeks ago, when I gave an online seminar about business blogging, there are a lot of benefits to the process, some of which people just don’t think about. I figured that this would be a nice change to some of the articles I’ve written this month; we all can use a little motivation and consulting.
1. You get to show your expertise.
I made this!
This is always my number one statement whenever I talk about business blogging. No one knows your business or what you can do better than you. The hope is that you’re not a one trick pony who only knows one aspect of what your business all about. Blogging on a consistent basis helps to show people that you’re someone who can definitely help them.
2. You control your message.
One of the major gripes of people who get interviewed by the media is that they spend upwards of an hour or two talking to someone, only to have someone take a few soundbites of something they said and twist it around so that they feel like total idiots having to defend a statement that’s been quoted out of context.
With a business or personal blog, you get to control your message. Not only that, but if someone misinterprets something you wrote, you’re the one who gets to go back in and make it better. This is one of the few times where, unless you’re a big time celebrity, you get to change what’s on the internet to a degree. Even if the Database Archive happened to pick up what you said the first time around, it’s unlikely to ever rear its ugly head if you keep adding more content to your blog.
3. You can get things off your mind.
Writing is cathartic; I didn’t make that up. I find that when my mind feels cluttered and I’m not sure what else to do, writing helps me get back into the groove of things.
This isn’t the only reason one might have to get things off their minds. For instance, an issue might come up (Trump) that irks you so much (Trump) that you feel the need to say something about it (Trump) because it keeps making you mad whenever the topic comes up (Trump). Every once in a while on this blog I’ve talked about racism, freedom of speech, inequality, bullies, and health care (which I would since I’m a health care consultant, all topics that aren’t the norm on this blog… or my other blogs.
At least I’ve never talked about politics (Trump); we all have to have standards, right?
4. You can show your creativity.
How many people remember when the term “think outside of the box” was prevalent, so much so that we got tired of it so some guy we all want to slap changed it to “change the paradigm”?
Truth be told, knowing how to help people with their problems isn’t always as straight forward as it might seem to be. For all the years of knowledge I like to think I have in health care, every once in a while I get thrown for a loop when someone mentions a certain problem that have that, upon reflection, doesn’t quite fit the parameters of your knowledge. I’ve had to come up with some truly creative ways to figure out what the actual problems are and then get more creative to apply a fix.
The same goes for blogging. When you can show people you have he mind to be creative when it comes to subjects you write and talk about, it helps intrigue people who might be interested in your services.
5. The longer you do it, the more social cache you build up.
Most of you won’t know what this is, but for my main career I’m a charge master consultant. I just looked up the term “charge master consulting” on both Google and Bing; you know what I found? On Google I’m in the top 3 spots; on Bing I’m at #1 and #5. Yes, I have content on my main website that talks up this type of consulting, but what’s helped me stay at least in the top 5 over all these years (that site was built in 2003) is that I’ve also written about it multiple times on my blog (which I started in 2005). Having 11 years worth of posts talking about something specific and technical like that has helped my site stay prominent, and it can do the same thing for you.
6. Did I mention SEO yet?
Indirectly I did with #5, but let me go a bit further with it. You know how I said that Google has me in the first 3 spots? It also shows my site in 4th, 6th and 9th being mentioned by other sites who’ve linked to me. I’m actually pretty prominent in the top 20; that’s the power of SEO and the right keywords for whatever industry you’re a part of.
7. Give people something to share with others.
One of the best things about social media is that people love to share the content of others. Not only can you market yourself on social media but if people like you or what you write they’ll help you do it at no cost to you. Every day someone new becomes an underground superstar and it’s probably based on either a blog post or a video, maybe even a blog post you’ve put a video on.
8. Personality; believe it or not you have one.
Almost every study that’s been done says that people want to work with someone they feel comfortable with. When you write a lot, you’ll find that you’ll find your writing “voice”, which tends to allow people to see what your personality is like. If you’re engaging then people will want to read your posts to not only learn about your topic but about you as well. The thing about blogging is that it’s not a one-and-done proposition. Regular content is necessary to make it work for you, and the more you write, the most benefit you get out of it.
9. Blogging is the least expensive way to market.
If you hadn’t figured this one out yet, I’m here to tell you that the only real costs to blogging, if you don’t want to pay for it, is time. Although I’d recommend that you pay for hosting or add it as a subdomain to your current website, there are lots of free blogging platforms that will let you get your mind into the of blogging to see if you can actually do it. It’s content that can live forever, you can modify it whenever you want, you can interlink old articles or some of your webpages to current blog posts (which I’ve done prominently here so you can see how it works) and it’s totally in your control.
My final words… start blogging! 🙂
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 14, 2016
I’ve been blogging for a very long time, and I’ve read thousands of blog posts, probably tens of thousands, over the years. Because of that, I know all the rules that we bloggers are supposed to follow so that our blogs will be successful.
Me being me though, I tend not to always follow the rules. Sure, there are some things I do that are considered standard writing, but I tend to deviate from a lot of the rules as they pertain to blogging because I am an individual. I figure these are my blogs, and I’m going to do things my way while working hard to make sure I get my point across.
Let’s talk about the anatomy of a blog and how I break The rules. I’m not saying you should be doing what I’m doing; what I’m showing is that no matter what anyone says, including me, that there are always other ways of doing things for whatever your reasons might be… and hopefully those reasons aren’t stupid. lol
Every person who tells you how to write a blog post will say that you should begin with a strong title. About half the time I don’t have a title when I start writing, so it’s hard to start with a strong title. Often I need to find out where the post is going as I write, just like fiction writers do, and every once in awhile I have no idea what to title the post until I finish writing it.
Back in March I wrote a post about someone who had what I considered to be a misleading title and had the temerity to beat up the original post and show people other ways of finding ways to create new content; I’m nice like that. My gripe about many titles is that they’re not only misleading but border on slander, like calling something a scam in the title to get people to come, only to tell them it’s not a scam.
I’m not saying titles aren’t important; I’m saying there’s no pure rules to creating them that anyone needs to follow… except to have one.
The second thing the experts will tell you is that you should mention in the very first paragraph what you’re going to be writing about so that everybody, including the search engines, knows what’s coming. I tend to violate that rule about 95% of the time because I like to have my own exposition and set things up the way I want to do it, once again pretty much like fiction writers. Think of a title like To Kill A Mockingbird; do you know how far into the book that sucker was?
I like leading into topics my own way, just like you see above, and often I’ll put some kind of link in the first paragraph going to either a previous blog post or some other article elsewhere, which is definitely something I don’t see a lot of other people doing. I’ll lead into my articles my way, and hope to keep people’s attention until we get to the second paragraph.
The third thing a lot of experts recommend is that you separate a lot of your content with headers; some of them even recommend you add an < h2 > tag to it. What they’re saying is that you should have a bolded header, write a paragraph about it, and then rinse and repeat multiple times in every article you write.
From my standpoint a lot of that has more to do with the kind of papers we wrote in high school and college than with actual writing. I know that newspapers and magazines do this type of thing. There are times that I do it, but usually I’m numbering things because I know that people who read blood love number post. Overall, I like to write and do things my way and hope that whatever audience I have comes along with me.
Number four, even though I talked about images a couple of posts ago, something a lot of experts will recommend if you write on a topic where you can’t find proper images is to grab a nice picture and then type your subject over the picture so that people will know what it is you’re going to be talking about.
I don’t do that because I figure the title of the post is going to give some kind of idea of what I’m talking about, even if it takes until the second paragraph for me to get to it. I would rather have other kinds of images to put in as eye candy for my post. Of course, the other reason is that I haven’t quite figured out how to make images with messages going across them look any good. LOL
The final thing experts will tell you is to make sure to have a strong close to your article. Truthfully, I always hope that I will have a strong close, but most of the time I figure that I’m either going to have a funny close or I’m going to ask a question. I have to admit that closing strong isn’t one of my strengths, probably because most of my early writing when I was younger were song lyrics, and there’s no such thing as strong closing song lyrics since most of the time you’re just repeating the chorus over and over; you know it’s true. lol I guess I probably should have spent more time in English class figuring that one out.
That’s the basic anatomy of conventional blog posts that I pretty much give up on. It’s my belief that if you as the writer can be engaging and still get your point across that it doesn’t matter what the anatomy of your post is. Always remember my three main things about a blog post; inform, educate, or entertain.
I probably should add don’t be boring, but you probably know that one already. 😀
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 12, 2016
When I wrote my post about blocking newsletter popups, I was feeling pretty smug because I was finally getting back at all those sites that throw popups at you before you even get to see the content. In the month since, I’ve noticed some things that I thought I’d talk about as a follow up to that original post.
First, I’m still a very happy guy. Those of you who visit here know that is my ultimate pet peeve when it comes to visiting blogs. Turns out it blocks a lot of other nasty bits from other types of sites beyond just blogs; I’m not mad in the least!
Second, let me mention some folks whose blogs I know for sure don’t bombard you with popup requests; it’s a short list:
That’s it so far. It’s harder now to tell who’s doing what since I can’t see anymore who’s got it or not. Still, based on what I remember, this is a pretty small list, which I probably won’t be updating any time soon; I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Fifth, it also affects the ability to leave comments on blogs with CommentLuv, which I actually like a lot; that’s problematic. In those instances where I really want to leave a comment I’ll temporarily allow access to the site so I can have my say… even though 95% of the time it turns out the site throws a popup at me… sigh…
When all is said and done, I can honestly say that it’s not the popups themselves that has irked me as much as when those suckers come up. If I’m not allowed to read all of your content, let alone even begin to see it, then I’d rather block it and move on. As it is, I’m probably sharing more content from creators these days whose articles I get to read without knowing whether or not they have popups, so a lot of you should be thanking me for that. For the rest of you… well, it is what it is, and now you’re going to be forced into it or risk losing your traffic… which I understand well.
That’s one for my side; now if Twitter will only do something like that for those Auto DM’s! 🙂