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I Wouldn’t Have Commented If…

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 26, 2015
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I love reading and commenting on other blogs. I know some people think it’s too time consuming to do, but I enjoy reading a lot of different types of things. I also love encouraging bloggers, as well as having an opinion on stuff; hey, look at how many articles I’ve written on all my blogs. :-)

(64/365) Really really really ow...
Creative Commons License Sarah via Compfight

However, I have some rules for blogs I won’t comment on. One, if it takes my having to create some kind of account or having to put in a password or register, I’m not commenting; sometimes I won’t even read those blogs. This means if your blog uses Disqus, Livefyre, or something like that, or if it’s on some website that requires people to join, I’m not going to bother. Yeah, it’s kind of a picky thing, but there’s so many other blogs out there that are enjoyable and easy enough to comment on without having to deal with it. After all, I don’t have unlimited time.

Ah yes, let’s look at this “unlimited time” thing. You know, visiting blogs and leaving comments does take time. When I’m in the mode though, I don’t mind that. However, there’s something I do mind, and a lot of y’all are now doing it.

I hate going to a blog, commenting, and then immediately receiving your stupid email asking me to confirm that I want to subscribe to blog comments. Come on; are you kidding me?

When’s the last time someone left a “real” comment on your blog and didn’t want you, the writer, to respond to it? I’m not talking about those lousy one line comments or those that tell you how great a writer you are but never address the content. I mean real comments, those you know aren’t bad, even if they’re not great.

I know when… never!

When’s the last time someone left a comment on your blog that was pretty good, only for you to discover that they put someone else’s email in it so that, when you responded, you got an angry email from someone saying “Hey, I didn’t comment on your blog”?

I know when… never!

So then… what’s the purpose of this double opt-in process other than to clog up my inbox? Actually, I know it’s a trick by some folks because when I read the email it actually talks about subscribing to receiving a newsletter whenever you post something new; I hate that kind of bait and switch.

For the rest of you though… come on, what’s the point of this? I’m serious; I just don’t get it.

I know what some folks are going to say; don’t click in the box. There’s another little bugaboo I’m going to gripe about.

For most blogs, if you don’t click that little box, you’re not going to be notified if the writer or anyone else responds to your comment. My blog is like that, as I had to add the plugin because my theme is older, and at the time no one was getting notified that I was responding to them.

There are a few blogs where, by clicking in that box, you end up getting that email with the subscription message, but if you don’t click on it you still get notified when someone replies to your comment. That’s not the norm though.

If people actually click on the box, they want to get comments; trust me on this one. If they don’t… well, we never know who clicks on it and who doesn’t (at least I don’t), but if the comment is good enough and you care about your blog and “all” of your readers, you’re going to respond to the comment anyway right? RIGHT?!?!? :-)

Please, for the love of chocolate, turn off that feature, whether you’re doing it for comments or trying to sneak through a subscription to a newsletter (if you are, you’re being kind of scummy). It’s unneeded… unless someone can give me a really good reason for doing it. Remember though, I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years, so it better be good!

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How To Write Review Posts

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 5, 2015
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If you ever run out of ideas of what to blog about, something you might consider doing is reviewing a top website that’s in your industry or on the fringe of an industry you’re a part of. I’ve just written and published a review on one of the top medical information websites in the United States on my Medical Billing Answers blog and I thought I’d share the process I used for writing the review without necessarily talking about the review. Of course, if you decide you want to read it & learn what I had to say… it’s all good. :-)

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First, you have to decide what your intention is in wanting to write a review, other than the fact that maybe you couldn’t think of anything else to write about. In my case, my website takes on not only medical billing issues but health topics as well. I was already pretty familiar with the site I decided to review and it seemed to be a perfect fit since I’ve visited it many times over the years. This way, I could see whether it fit my standards or not by looking at it deeper than I had previously.

Second, you have to set up your general criteria for what and how you’re going to review a site. In my case, what I decided to do was come up with 5 questions that I thought a lot of people might search for, but not necessarily the top questions that everyone would search for. For instance, there’s probably a lot of people who go looking for more information on how much water they should be drinking. Instead of going with the norm, I decided to look for information on how much water is too much water to drink daily.

I also decided for some of them to write them up as a question, the way many people do today when searching for information on the internet. I don’t know anyone who would put in “drinking water” expecting to find out how much water is too little or too much so it made sense to do it that way. However, a person who’s been given a new prescription might put in the name of the pharmaceutical and nothing else when wanting to get more information on it; I did that as well.

Third, if you really want to be fair you should look around a bit if you don’t find what you’re looking for immediately. I did that and, unfortunately for the site, a couple of times I couldn’t find the information I was looking for; quite disappointing. That’s the kind of gripe I used to have when I was trying to fix things on my blogs in the past and, when I’d find a site, be disappointed because the articles would leave out a lot of things in the middle, assuming we would already know all the other stuff.

In this case, when I didn’t find the answer on the site I went to the search engine and looked up the information to see if it was elsewhere… and it was. To me, that’s a major fail. However, the extra research helps make the review that much stronger.

Fourth, try not to go in with unfair expectations or personal feelings. Whereas I always thought this site was top quality (it was also one of the earliest sites on the internet covering this kind of information), it’s never been an exclusive site for me to go to. Therefore, though I knew of it, I had no real expectations one way or the other. I wasn’t harder or softer in reviewing it than I might have been if I knew any of the people who put the site up; it’s always good to be neutral before reviewing something.

Fifth, set up a way to grade the sites and then explain it. I decided on the American school grade system of A-F because I figured most people would be familiar with it, though I could have gone with the stars. I felt the letters gave me more flexibility because of the added “+” or “-“… one of which I used in my review.

Those are the steps I took, and I got a post of nearly 1,400 words out of it. I have to admit that I toyed with the idea of adding that sites logo to the post as my image but in the end decided to go with something totally different; that’s all I’m saying about it unless you decide to visit the post. lol

There you are; now, what will you review?

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9 Reasons You Need To Keep On Writing

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Sep 7, 2015
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This is the 1,649th post on this blog since the middle of December 2007. There are 14 articles here written by other people, which means I’ve written a ton. On my business blog I’ve written around 1,230 articles to this point in 10 1/2 years. I’ve written tons of articles on my other blogs, and for other people’s blogs.

Canon AE-1 (Silver) - Lisa
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Why am I telling you this? I run into people all the time who tell me they don’t know what to say or what to blog about? I run into tons more blogs where people either write articles infrequently or have decided to bail, leaving their blogs in the vapid miasma of blogging perfidy; go ahead, look that up. lol

I’m going to own up to something here, which isn’t much of an admission. Even with all these articles, I don’t consider myself a successful blogger. For all the articles I’ve written, I can’t say that I’ve had a successful blog yet. I’m certainly not on many lists (other than Troy Swezey’s 15 men who blog that you should be following post; thanks Troy!) but I’ve met some intriguing people, even some famous people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet people all over the world. And I’ve even made a little bit of money… though not from blogging.

I’ve made money from writing; that’s a different story. Here and there, you might be able to get people to pay you for your writing, if you have some skills. That’s not such a bad thing; there are a lot of bloggers who are viewed favorably who actually make money writing rather than blogging… no matter what they might try to convince you of. They even tell you that, but many people seem to miss it.

So, here are 9 reasons why you should keep writing your blog, or writing in general; you already know what #1 is going to be:

1. You might be asked to write some someone else and make money from it.

Think of your blog as a full body of work that’s indicative of your skill as a writer. If you view it that way, you’ll treat your blog with respect, no matter the niche. As I said earlier, I’ve not only written for myself, but I’ve written for others. I wrote the articles for a wedding blog for over 2 years. I wrote for a chiropractor, a travel website, a legal site and a debt consolidation site along with others. Some of the pay was better than the rest but it wasn’t bad; I was able to live off it between consulting gigs.

the pen is mightier than the keyboard
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2. You’ll always get better.

There’s no way one can write for years and not get better at it. I look back on most of my early blog posts on my business blog and sometimes cringe. I had a gem here and there but in general, it took me a few years to figure out my style, even though I’d been writing a newsletter before that.

3. You can gain publicity.

Even if your blog doesn’t get a lot of comments, you can bet there are people who know who you are. If you set up a way to track stats you’ll see them. If you set up a way for people to subscribe to your RSS feed or a mailing list, you’ll see them. If it’s just a few people but those few are enamored, they’ll share your stuff with their audience and it’ll help you grow yours.

4. You can make connections.

This blog has helped me make some interesting connections over the years. Not only have a few well known internet folks stopped by, but blogging helped me get the chance to help a bit time author edit his book, which ended up having my name in the book and me getting an autographed copy. It even helped me get my business blog added to a section of his very popular website; sweet!

5. You get to show your expertise in many areas.

You not only get to show your writing skill but you get to show people what you know or at least how you think, which sometimes is the same thing. The reason I have 5 blogs is because I have a good number of interests but they don’t all fit on one blog. I could do that but search engines would freak out trying to figure out what I do.

6. Writing a lot shows how prolific you can be.

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I have nearly 5,000 articles online and lots in magazines. I’ve been able to write two books, one of them a compilation of articles from newsletters and my business blog, an ebook, and I’ve created some other informational products. I’ve been included in a few books here and there also; if I hadn’t been writing so much none of these things would have happened.

7. Writing is cathartic.

I’ve had some of my best rants come alive because I’ve been allowed to write. The thing is, if you’re really angry and write about it, you’ll start to feel better. If you’re depressed and write about it you’ll start to feel better. If you have an idea that needs fleshing out and you write about it you’ll feel better. The only people who usually feel bad about writing are students; think about that. :-)

8. You never know whether your next article, blog post or book could be the one to make you a superstar.

One thing all the big time writers tell you is that they felt compelled to write, no matter what else they were doing, no matter their circumstances, and no matter how many times they got beaten down by someone trying to tell them they weren’t any good. J K Rowling, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Tom Clancy, John Grisham… the list goes on and on. You never know if you’ll end up on someone’s radar for something you’ve written; how cool would that be?

9. Oh yeah; you just might make some money off it all.

I already mentioned getting writing offers because of writing on my blogs. I got a couple of speaking engagements as well, one a big time keynote presentation in Arlington, VA some years ago. I’ve sold a few things off this blog, and my finance blog has had advertising on it in the past. I’m not close to being the paragon of making money by blogging but there are a lot of folks who have figured it out; you know who they are so I don’t need to mention any names.

The thing is, most of those folks made their real money outside of the blog; I mentioned Chris Brogan a couple of weeks ago who, though he’s also a blogger, has been able to write a few blogs, been asked to speak at conferences, and has even been highlighted as an expert in many other places, some of which have paid him pretty well.

Will this happen to you? Who knows. What I do know is that if you don’t write, it certainly won’t happen for you. Go on, give it a shot! :-)

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What’s Your Story?

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 31, 2015
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A bit over 4 years ago I wrote an article titled The Art Of Storytelling, where I talked about some of the stories I’ve written on this blog as it related to the topic of writing. A few days ago I came across another article where the author was purporting to talk about why storytelling wasn’t good for business but in actually he was rebutting something he’d read where the author said storytelling was bad for business. What a twist eh?

Earth Day
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This article isn’t about writing; it’s about you, your person, your life, and what you’re ready to tell the world so that you can get what you want from it and from others. That sounds a big daunting and a little bit narcissistic, doesn’t it? It’s not; let’s talk about it.

There’s a guy named Ryan Biddulph who writes a little blog called Blogging From Paradise; some of you might know him. Basically, he blogs about his travels throughout Southeast Asia and how he gets to live a pretty good life, along with his wife, because of the success his blogging has led him to have. I learned about him through my buddy Adrienne, and checked out his blog and read some of his life story before deciding to buy his book, Blogging From Paradiseicon (well played Ryan lol).

It’s a pretty good book but truthfully, the reason I bought it is because he told a good story and I thought that the book might either be uplifting enough for me to figure out my own thing or that I might pick up a few things from it. The story he told, and continues to tell, is his own, and he’s pretty open about it (the story about giant roaches crawling on his face… okay, that one I didn’t need…).

The reality is that most of us who buy things online often buy them from people we trust and have gotten to know. A website with hundreds of thousands of visitors every day probably sells less product than someone who has 500 visitors a day who comes because they like the person whose blog or website they’re visiting. I like to talk about the “100 True Fans” concept I got from Chris Pirillo many years ago (I’m dropping a lot of names in this post aren’t i?) where he said if you could get just 100 true fans you’d probably get rich because they’d do all the marketing for you without having to be asked based on their enthusiasm, and it could carry you to ultimate success.

My wife always asks me why I talk about so many things that happen in my life through my blogs. Truth be told, I hold a lot of things back; there are stories you’re never going to read on any of my blogs because they’re none of your business (of course, if you want to learn a lot of personal stuff about me you can check out my 100 Thing About Me post); how’s that to get some of your interest? :-)

Yet I do share a lot of stories, true things that happen in my life. I’ve had a lot of adventures that I can relate into talking about blogging, writing, leadership, diabetes… you name it, I’ve got a story for it. I tell the truths that some others might not tell; I don’t always end up looking good, though I like to say that as long as the story ends up being good, it’s all good. lol

Why do I tell these stories? One, because they have a point. Two, because sometimes they’re funny. But three, because I hope it shows that I’m a pretty real person, such that if you or anyone else decides you want to look at something I’m marketing (like my latest book, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, or links to other books I recommend) because of the stories I tell, who knows, you might buy something that not only would put a smile on my face but a small chunk of change in my pocket. That would encourage me to write more often; who wouldn’t love that? 😉

There’s definitely a place for content that only covers “how to” topics; heck, I write some of those. But there’s also a place for writing content that passes a message along that came about because of something that happened in your life. If you can tell that story well enough to intrigue people, and you have other stories you can tell to try to get them coming back often… who knows, you might end up rich beyond your dreams.

Or at least making a living doing something you love… whatever it may be. Think about it. While you’re at it, here’s a story I told about trying to get Verizon FiOS in my house back in April. I share this because, strangely enough, it’s become the 2nd most watched video on this particular video channel; who knew?


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Because I Wasn’t In The Mood… Skipping Blog Posting Dates

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 27, 2015
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Did you like the post I wrote on Monday? I’m thinking you probably didn’t, since I didn’t have a post go live on Monday.

Minh Vu
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Usually on this blog I post on Mondays and Thursdays. I did that the two weeks before this one. The week before those two I had a post every day, as I was doing a survey and wanted to try to maximize the coverage as much as I possibly could.

There’s this thing about trying to keep on a consistent schedule so that your visitors will always know when to expect content from you. I’m not going to disagree with that because I can’t say for sure whether or not it’s true. I tend to believe that what’s more likely is people who like your content and visit your blog are more apt to be looking for new content whenever they visit, unless they’re stopping by daily. I know almost no one who’s doing that these days.

I do know a few people who are sticking with a schedule, but it’s a once a week thing these days. My buddy Adrienne has a new post every Monday, but once a month she releases a guest post. My buddy Peter writes a post every Friday, though these days it’s known as the Friday Funnies. So, I know when to check those folks out, and that is the part about understanding when people are releasing content you want to check on.

But what about… well, pretty much everyone else? Is anyone really paying attention to my Mondays and Thursdays? For that matter is anyone really paying attention to my Tuesdays and Fridays when it comes to my business blog?

No, I don’t think so. These days I notice that I get fewer consistent visitors to the blog. If there are more, they’re not commenting so I don’t know about it if they are coming more consistently than I know.

Actually, that’s not quite true. If I believe my Google Analytics then I know that the percentage of new visitors is 58% and returning visitors is 42%. That’s actually pretty good when compared to my business blog, where the percentage of new visitors is 78% compared to 22% for returning visitors.

Based on the comparison of the two, does anyone really think the difference is based on schedule?

I had a post ready to go on Monday… then decided I just wasn’t in the mood to release it. I wanted to make an educational point by not posting it, and then decided to let it sit until next Monday so I could comment on it today.

There’s always a lot of advice regarding posting frequencies, and of course having a set schedule so your audience knows when you’ve got something new coming out. I tend to believe in two things regarding this.

One, unless you’re going to write a lot, it’s better to write as many posts as you can but stagger their release so that you have consistent content going out, rather than having a day where you put out 3 posts and then don’t release anything again for a month.

Two, if you’re not someone who writes posts in advance and you’re feeling pressured to meet a deadline… unless someone’s paying you for it don’t worry about deadlines when it comes to your own blog. I think some kind of consistency is definitely needed if you’re serious about blogging. However, if you want to write a post a day or a post every couple of weeks, or if you usually have a post go live every Monday and Thursday but one of those days you’re just not feeling it… it’s fine. You’re okay; everyone does it.

So, there will be a post on Monday. I’m not guaranteeing a post next Thursday though. Why? I just might not be in the mood. :-)

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