Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 27, 2015
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.
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.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 17, 2015
Something that’s rare for me is writer’s block. Whenever I’m ready to write something, most of the time I think of a theme, give it a little bit of thought, and start writing. I’ve got to tell you that feels pretty good.
However, I’m not a machine. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to write on a topic that’s popped into my mind. If I can’t flesh it out I don’t want to put out total garbage. And sometimes I just don’t have anything new; it happens to the best of us.
Every once in a while I just skip a post. Nothing wrong with that except I hate skipping posts on Monday; if I skip the second post of the week I’m okay with it but I hate missing the first one.
Therefore, when I need to find something to write about, I do a few different things. As I said it’s rare, but I have these things to fall back on that I’m going to share with you.
1. Visit some of your favorite blogs and write on something one of them touched upon.
I don’t want you to copy what someone else has said. Instead, either write a post agreeing or disagreeing with what someone else has written. Basically it’s a long form comment that you’re writing for your blog instead of leaving it on someone else’s blog. Just make sure you link back to the other blog; whether you’re yay or nay on what they wrote, they’ll appreciate the link.
2. Visit blogs you don’t normally visit and do the same thing.
In this case, you’re going to throw some love at someone who you might not know. What you can do is go to Google, search for your topic and add “blog” to your search term. There are tens of millions, if not hundreds of million blogs, so there’s probably not a topic you won’t find. As a courtesy here and on the first one, it wouldn’t hurt if you found a way to let them know via Twitter that you’ve talked about them & linked to them.
3. Scan the news for your topic.
If I want to write about blogging, I can bet there’s a news story every single day somewhere about the topic. Often there’s some kind of top 50 or 100 blogs in some category that’s fodder for commentary, especially if I’m not on it… did I just say that? lol Anyway, you can go to Google again, put in your search term, and once you’ve hit search you can choose the news link that’s normally on the same line that images is.
4. Write about a book related to your subject.
Book reviews are always pretty cool, especially if they touch upon one of your subjects. Sometimes they won’t, but I write book reviews here when people send me their books. If you’re also creative you can find a way to take a book and turn it into your niche topic.
5. Think about something in your day and relate it to your topic.
I once wrote an article comparing blogging to traveling through airports while I was sitting in an airport in Washington DC on a 3-hour layover. It just seemed to fit, though I’m betting a few people thought it might be a stretch.
6. Write about a favorite fictional or historical person and relate it to your topic.
A post of mine that four years later seems to be very popular is one I wrote on my leadership blog talking about the leadership qualities of Harry Potter; yeah, I’m a big fan of the series. lol Matter of fact, months after I wrote that post I was contacted by en entity in the Philippines and asked if they could use it as an educational article for one of their middle schools; that was pretty neat. I’ve written about a lot of fictional characters and leadership including Charlie Brown and Kermit the Frog; people like that because they can relate.
7. Think about an event that occurred in your life and write about that, relating it to your subject.
All of us have something that happens in our lives every day. Often it’s pretty mundane but sometimes there’s a bit of significance in it, along with a lesson. I wrote one of those types of posts in July when I talked about ethics in social media based on a conversation I had with this kid in Germany and his personal attack against Serena Williams that caused a bit of a scandal for a short time after she’d won Wimbledon.
8. Write a compilation post of some kind based on a seminal date or event.
This one should be easy because you might already have all the material you need on your blog. In case you need an example you can check out my post talking about 15 lessons from 1,500 blog posts or 55 tips about blogging which I wrote highlighting my 55th birthday last year.
9. Do an interview post.
By the way, have I mentioned that I’m looking for people to interview me, either on their blogs, podcasts or videos? Regardless of if I have or not, interviewing people who talk about your subject or pretty much anything else always ends up being a double benefit. When people like being interviewed they’ll help you promote your post and if you do it well, which means your questions aren’t boring, it can be pretty cool The thing about them is that the other person is doing all the work, so this one should be easy.
10. Whenever you have an idea, save it in your posts area.
I get ideas at the weirdest times. I get so many that I used to forget a lot of them. So, first I started carrying a 3×5 index card spiral bound notebook so I can write things down when I think of them. Then when I get home I’ll create a new post, pop the ideas in and then save it as a draft. That’s actually where I got the idea for last week’s post about marketing products you didn’t create, as it was on my mind earlier in the week while I was on the road. Ideas coalesce well with reminder words and phrases.
That’s 10 ideas; do you have any others? I hope this helps some of you on your way to continuous blogging.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 27, 2015
Although there’s always a little bit of deviation here and there, it’s my goal to write two posts a week on this blog and on my business blog. For all my other blogs, my goal is to write at least one post a week. I try to space them out so that they’re not competing against each other when they go live, as they all initially go onto Twitter.
Lately I’ve been going after some of the latest recommendations that I see online, both by folks with sites ranked high and sites ranked low. One of the latest recommendations is that, instead of writing more articles, all of us should concentrate on writing one “epic” post a week, something along the lines of 5,000 to 10,000 words. Supposedly, Google likes those posts better, ranks you better, more people will see and share your stuff and you’ll be the latest golden goose to strike it rich.
Okay, I just added that last part. In any case, I’m here to debunk, or discuss, that and other things as they concern writing one’s blog because that’s what I do.
First, writing ultra long posts. I touched upon this one in my post on 6 Answers To Questions From New Bloggers where I wrote:
The people who write one really long post a week (sometimes one every 2 weeks) put a lot of time and research into it. Some folks burn out having to write what’s essentially a term paper every 2 weeks. If I had to do that I probably wouldn’t still be blogging after 10 years, which I’m up to right now.
How well did you do in school when you were told to write a 10-page report on… whatever? As much as I like to write, there were times when, because of the subject, I found it really difficult to do. Back in the day, we had to go to the library, look for a lot of books, bring them home and try to put things together. I had lots of encyclopedias that, it turns out, were pretty old, but they were references for some of what I wrote. And I didn’t understand a lot of it.
For most people, even if they know the material, trying to write even 1,000 words on a topic is going to cause a lot of consternation. My last post, on marketing was 2,122 words.
Luckily that was something I know a little bit about but you want to know something? That post, which was released last Thursday, is 9th on my list for the last 30 days at 67 views, which is pretty cool. However, the average length of time anyone has stayed on it… 43 seconds. How many of you can read 2,000 words in 43 seconds? It also only has 2 comments.
So… do long posts really work well? Will they work for everyone? Can everyone do it? I’ll let you answer that one.
Second, writing multiple posts a week. In that same article I referenced earlier, the 6 answers, I said this:
A reality is the more you write, the higher your blog will rank. The problem is that high rankings don’t always equate to lots of traffic nor targeted traffic, which you care about if you’re hoping to do any type of business with others.
Trust me, the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher you’ll rank… but it might not bring you what you want. For those of you who know Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, that’s how he got started about a decade ago. He started out writing upwards of 10 posts a day; yup, sure did.
I know because when I was getting going on this blog I went to check out his beginning to see what he did that what’s what I saw; wow! That was astounding; as prolific as I like to consider myself, there was no way I could do that on one blog though, a few years ago, I found there were times when I could write 10 articles in a day when I was getting paid for it, sometimes more.
These days, the only blogs that will survive putting out that kind of content are blogs with multiple writers like Huffington Post, which to many isn’t quite a blog but that’s what it officially is. They can get away with writing that much because they not only have multiple categories, but some big name folks writing for them.
For the rest of us… I’ve found that writing two posts a week on this blog, which is just a blog, has helped its ranking stay pretty consistent over the years, a Google animal notwithstanding. The same goes for my business blog now, because while I was traveling my goal was to only have one article a week and the rankings suffered a little bit.
At the same time, my other 3 blogs have responded well to having at least one article a week because for a long time I wasn’t putting much of anything on any of those sites. That’s where trying to have something once a week can be a major benefit. Depending on what you’re looking for on your blog, you can determine how much you should probably write to either grow or maintain traffic and rankings.
Third, let’s look at the main question: can you write too much? Without thinking, the easy answer is “no”. However, with thinking and contemplation, the answer changes, though maybe not for the reason you think it will.
As I stated above, the more you write the more traffic you’ll get and the higher your site will be ranked. Search engines love content, lots of content and ever changing content; that’s not new.
What also isn’t new is that, overwhelmingly, no one is mentally ready to keep up with it all. You might have all the ideas in the world to write on multiple topics and be able to come up with something new 5 times a day. Heck, to tell you the truth, one of those things I used to do is sit down on a Sunday and write 8 to 10 posts in a day so that, if I wasn’t in the mood to write something specific on a certain day I didn’t have to.
The problem? If some people can burn out after writing 3 or 4 blogs posts in a lifetime, imagine what happens to those of us who are writing so much that it feels like it’s consuming our life.
Over my 10 years of blogging I’ve contemplated quitting a few times. Luckily it’s probably less that 5, but I’ve thought about it. It can get really tiring, especially if you’re not making a lot of money (or any at all), or don’t have tons of traffic or comments, and you’re not generating any business from all the work you’re doing.
Burnout is tough to deal with. Burnout is why I don’t have a newsletter right now. I wrote one for 9 years, the other for 10 years, and I just couldn’t take it any longer. The thing about the newsletters is that I almost never got any feedback. If I wasn’t getting any feedback on my blogs… well, at least on 3 of them, I might give up the ghost, say it wasn’t worth it, and move on with life.
This one is as much a life lesson as it is a writing lesson. We all have to determine what we’re getting out of writing our blogs, or anything else we write. If we’re doing it for our livelihood and it’s not too oppressive, then it’s all good. If writing is a chore and you’re making money, well, it might not be the best job but you’re working for yourself and that’s never bad.
What’s your goal? Truthfully, that’s a question I have to answer at least once a month with my blogs. What am I trying to achieve? How close am I to achieving it? Should I change something, and if so what and how?
If I just wanted traffic and nothing else, I can do that; I’ve done it so I know what’s needed. Targeted traffic… that’s a little harder.
I’m not going to get any deeper on this one because it’s getting close to 1,500 words. Instead, I’ll leave you to consider the questions I’ve asked above, the other information I wrote before that, and ask you to share what you’re hoping to do with your blog and your writing and whether it’s giving you want you need for now.
Hey, homework! At least I’m not asking for a 10-page paper, which is about 2,500 words; ugh! 😉
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 20, 2015
I don’t talk all that often about ethics on this blog. I’ve talked about being socially responsible here and there, especially when it involves your family. I’ve addressed the topic of being ethical when writing articles, or when borrowing from someone else and representing it as your own. I also covered the topic when asking how far someone would go to recommend a product they knew nothing about just to make money.
I’ve covered the topic often on my business blog, but mostly in the realm of leadership. Years ago I even asked people directly what their ethics were. I would say oddly enough that post didn’t get much traction; it seems people are scared to discuss ethics. Well, I’m certainly not, that’s for sure.
This tale actually begins last weekend with Serena Williams winning Wimbledon. Some “kid” in Germany wrote on his Twitter profile that the only reason she keeps winning is because she’s “manly” and the other ladies on the tour can’t handle her power.
He was profiled in many sports stories, and there was a lot of conversation. I thought I could let it go until I read this Sports Illustrated story on Saturday talking about the reaction to the New York Times story the previous weekend, which I also found insulting to Serena, and this guy’s Twitter link was there.
I decided to check it out and was first stunned that he still had it live (since a lot of these people who say stupid things usually delete their accounts; he must think he’s Donald Trump) and that not only was he still backing up his words but he had some supporters.
Frankly, that didn’t sit well with me; nope, not at all. I thought about it for maybe half an hour, then decided to engage him. However, I didn’t want to be another person calling him an idiot; after all, when you start with name calling there’s nowhere else to go but down. Instead, I decided to call him out on his ethics; thus, I started with this Twitter post:
“It seems xxxxxx doesn’t understand why his words are hateful against Serena. Privilege and youth does that to people; so sad…”
In case you’re wondering why I’m not putting his Twitter handle here, I’ve decided he’s gotten enough publicity from other corners. However, if you want to find him just check the SI story above. And, if you care, you can follow the conversation we had there for almost an hour.
It took about 10 minutes but he responded to the message. He asked me whether I wanted to discuss it on the basis or race or sports… I responded “Ethics. Care to discuss it?”
To his credit he accepted the challenge and rarely backed down. To his detriment he wasn’t prepared to discuss the ethics of his tweet, couldn’t handle other statistics I threw at him (he’d either say he couldn’t discuss other sports, anything about men, or that tennis today is different than tennis in the past, even less than 10 years ago), and his logic wasn’t close to being sound. Often he said “my point was…”, to which I replied “You never made a point; you said what you said without offering anything else”, which is true. I know this because I went back through his stream and he never said it until he was talking to me.
The only time he almost got angry is when I asked him if, because he had his picture with a young lady who’s standing next to him, if she was fair game since he’d now become famous and she’s in the picture with him. He said he thought I was better than that. I responded that I wasn’t going to say anything about her, just asked the question. He then responded that if someone wanted to say something about her it was their opinion. I asked if someone had things to say about his mother, or one day if he had a daughter if it would be okay for people to say things about them and his response was that everyone had a right to their opinion. I asked if that meant that people can pretty much get away with saying anything they want to, no matter how hateful it was… he didn’t answer that one.
I’m leaving out a lot of specifics but I think you get the picture. A couple of things I did ask were:
* what kind of positive response did you expect to get by saying something hurtful like that;
* are you saying that women can only win because they’re more “manly” than other women, rather than because they have more talent, drive and intellect;
* if her apparent manliness is why she wins, then what causes her to lose;
* if you played her in tennis and she beat you, would it be because she was more manly than you or had more talent?
The first question he didn’t answer. On the second question he said it was “implied” that she had talent, to which I said one can’t imply anything without saying it because we’re not mind readers. The third question he didn’t answer; same for the last.
After an hour I knew he wasn’t going to figure it out and I was getting hungry, as I realized I hadn’t eaten in over 10 hours at that point, so I left with two things:
* “I think you’re going to look back on this incident in 5-10 years and hate what you said last week”;
* “In any case we’ve been at this an hour and now it’s 6PM and I need to be going. I think you’re wrong but wish you the best.”
I gave all that backstory, not to make myself look good but to give me a platform to talk about this concept of ethics as it applies to social media, as well as life.
Ethics isn’t important because it changes everything about how you speak. Ethics is around because he changes your behavior towards more positive action. Ethics is what keeps us from robbing and beating people. It’s what keeps up from thinking the world revolves around us, our thoughts and our wishes. It’s what keeps us from intentionally hurting people’s feelings and, many times, from saying something absurdly stupid in public.
Ethics is what makes you decide to verify negative information before repeating it to others. It’s what helps to keep you from being intentionally mean and hateful on social media just because you have an agenda to push. It’s what helps you not ruin your reputation, especially if you have people you hope to work with who might see what you’ve said to someone. It’s what helps you realize that freedom of speech comes with consequences and isn’t a right to say whatever stupid thing pops in your head “just because”.
You know what? I think a lot of stuff, and not all of it is good or nice. I either keep it to myself or find a way to say what I have to say without being hateful… that is unless someone else said something hateful first (did I already mention Trump?). True, not every bit of discourse with others has to have a positive reason behind it. However, if one’s only purpose for spouting off at the mouth is to hurt someone else, or make themselves feel better by trying to put someone else down, especially someone who doesn’t deserve it, not only does that person’s ethics come into play but their self esteem is probably lacking as well (or they’re a total narcissist or psychopath; just sayin’…).
You know where my ethics are showing in the above situation? I thought about posting the conversation here or on another blog, word for word… but figured that wasn’t necessary. His supporters stayed away from the conversation and mine (which turned out to be no one I already knew; that was interesting…) stayed out of the conversation until it was over and then had their say.
At that point I was done with it. On my business blog I wrote a post titled Sometimes people don’t want to be motivated. Turns out that something not only don’t people want to be ethical, they don’t even know what it means.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 13, 2015
If you’ve seen anything I write on blogging you already know that I’m big on commenting on blogs as a strategy for driving traffic back to your blog. I’m also a fan of commenting on blogs just for the sake of doing it; it’s probably my biggest pastime in life (so I have no other life; don’t judge me lol).
There are lots of bloggers out there who will tell you that if you want to grow your blog or get noticed that you should concentrate on commenting on blogs within your niche. There are also a lot of bloggers who will tell you to never leave comments on blogs outside of your niche, and to remove all links someone leaves on your blog that don’t have to do with your niche.
My word on that… bunk! Sure, there are some websites you might not want to be associated with that promote things you disagree with. That’s fair, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about someone who might want to know what your topic is but maybe works in an industry like windows and doors or life insurance. Those folks are interested in lots of different things, and maybe you have something to offer that they like.
At the same time, I doubt there’s anyone I know who’s only interested in one thing. Even people writing all the time about making money online have to have other interests; if not, then why do they need the money in the first place?
Want to know something else? Commenting only on blogs in your niche doesn’t always work. Truthfully, it rarely works for most niches. How do I know?
First, the disclaimer; I can’t find the blog post where I did a test and talked about it. So you’ll just have to take my word on this one.
About 3 years or so I wanted to see what would happen if I commented on 10 blogs about leadership. That’s what my business blog is mainly about, and I’m listed on the Alltop leadership page also. I’m putting that out in case you didn’t know that or haven’t seen any of my recent posts about my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.
Anyway, what I did was comment on 10 blogs listed on that page that had what I call traditional WordPress comment areas. Since it’s a topic I know pretty well I thought it would be interesting to see what happened.
Out of the 10 blogs I commented on, only one responded. Not only that but half of them put my comment into moderation and never released it. Overall 8 blogs put my comment into moderation but at least the other 3 posted it… eventually.
That’s not a good rate at all is it?
Still, 3 years later all the other blog authorities are telling bloggers this bit of information and I have a feeling their only test for it happens to be in their niche. Heck, if I didn’t have other niches I might think the same thing. After all, writing about blogging and social media gets lots of traffic and comments because we understand we’re a community.
But in niches that aren’t traditional blogging circles… what would most bloggers know about that?
That’s where I come in. Since that other test was about 3 years ago, I decided to run another leadership blog test a couple of weeks ago. This time I decided to comment on 20 blogs, but I didn’t limit it to WordPress.org blogs. I added WordPress.com and Blogspot blogs to the mix. I still don’t like any of those other commenting systems so I wasn’t going out of my way to play with those folks.
My working theory was that nothing was going to have changed from the previous time I tried it. Was I wrong or right? Let’s look at this in the context of 5 reasons niche commenting might not work:
1. Out of the 20 blogs I commented on, I got a response on only one. That one comment… “Thank you Mitch.” Does that really count as a response? Come on bloggers, y’all know that if that was a comment on your blog you’d probably delete it unless you knew the person.
2. If I include the blog above, my comment showed up officially on 4 blogs. All the others are still showing me that they’re in moderation, which means I might not know if they ever get approved or not because I’m not going to continue chasing them down.
One of the gripes I always have about bloggers who moderate comments is that sometimes they take a long time before going back and even looking at comments, let alone approving them. Trust me, it’s worse in niches that aren’t what I’d call “blogger friendly”.
3. Out of all the blogs I commented on, only 2 of them had the writer of the blog respond to any comments at all. On one of the blogs there were 7 comments before mine but the owner only responded to one comment… and it wasn’t the first one, in case that came to your mind. Why that one comment? No idea, but I thought I’d point it out. Truthfully, most of the blogs had no comments on them before mine… if mine ever shows… unless we’re all in moderation.
People who really aren’t skilled on the concept of blogging don’t know that they should be responding to all comments, especially comments where the person put some thought behind it. That’s why I write about it all the time.
4. Only one of the blogs I commented on was ranked higher than my business blog. That’s saying something because my business blog isn’t ranked as high as it used to be. Where I think these folks are failing is that they haven’t done anything to try to drive traffic to their sites.
This means no articles anywhere else, no guest posting, no commenting on other blogs… just content that’s sitting there waiting for someone to come by. Actually, I wondered how these other folks ended up on Alltop to begin with. I know how I got there; I asked Guy Kawasaki directly and he did it (well, I AM listed in one of his books for helping to edit it after all lol).
5. Here’s the crux of the matter. If all but one of the blogs I commented on, in my niche, were ranked lower than my blog… then what benefit was I going to get by commenting only on blogs in my niche? I mean, they possibly benefit from my leaving a comment because I’m the higher ranked site, which means I’m lending them some authority points.
Bets are easy that none of those folks are ever going to follow me back to my business blog. Not only that but I didn’t mention that not one of those blogs had CommentLuv on them, so they probably wouldn’t even know that I’d left my blog link, rather than a business website link, in the first place.
Did I make my point? I’m not trying to talk anyone out of taking a shot at commenting on blogs within their niche. What I’m saying is that sometimes (more often than not) it’s a losing proposition because the assumption is those folks, just because they have a blog, have some kind of idea what they’re doing in the first place.
Maybe by leaving a comment on certain blogs you’ll get noticed by the blog owner, and if it’s an influential person that can’t hurt. However, if you ask me, you have a better shot at talking to a supermodel on Twitter (which I have lol).