Tag Archives: blogs

Quick Hitters Two

Wow! Almost a year to the day I wrote a post called Some Quick Hitters For A Sunday. That was before I started my weekly Sunday Question series. In that post, which turned out to be more than 1,100 words and thus not very quick, I tackled Olympic hockey, Syracuse University Basketball, a Commission Junction affiliate that never paid me, people stealing my posts, and snow; it’s always about snow in central New York. This post will be on different topics as well, but I expect it to be much shorter than last year’s post. Then again, it should be, right?


No, not Jerry Mouse!

Let’s start by talking about your mouse. Yes, the mouse you use on your computer. Does it have a scroll button on it? If so, did you know that, while looking at your browser, if you hold down the Ctrl-key and scroll either up or down that you can increase or decrease the size of the window you’re looking at? up, works for both fonts and images. There are some things that won’t get larger, though, but 98% of everything you try it on it will work. And it doesn’t matter the browser, although someone who has a Mac will have to tell me if it works there.

Second, you notice how the code on this blog is set up to do what’s called “justifying”? That means that the right side is always even; the blog does it automatically. Thing is, this was the only one of my blogs that did it; none of the others did, and none of my websites did it either. I decided I needed to change that so I went into the Stylesheet CSS of each of my other blogs, looked for something that said .postContent, then added this line of code: text-align: justify;. That’s it; and yes, you have to add the semicolon as well. Saved it and everything worked like a charm. In general I’d want to slap myself for teaching those who aren’t all that familiar with coding something like this, but it’s simple and your blog will look fantastic. And yes, there might already be another “text-align” in there, but that’s okay.

And, just to mention this, you can use this same code, only in a slightly different way, to get your websites looking smooth as well. At the very beginning of your wording, add this tag, without the little stars: [div align=”justify”], but obviously instead of the brackets use < and >. I had to put the bracket in there to keep the post from making the code disappear. Then at the end of all your wording, add this: [/div], again using < and > instead.

One more justification tip, this time with Word or Publisher. You probably know already about left, center and right justify. If you’re like me, you’ve never clicked on the last one next to right justify. Well, click on that, and your entire paragraph will justify; freaky! I haven’t been able to find it in Excelyet, but I’m going to keep looking.

Next, have you ever wanted to add the year of copyright to your blog? My friend Keith wrote a post titled Dynamically Add A Copyright Year To A Website. Basically there’s this bit of code you add to your footer and viola, somehow it knows what year it is and it’ll add that code to every blog page. Neat, right?

Then I decided I wanted more. I wanted something like that for all my websites, because I always forget to update that and don’t want to always have to do it every year. I came upon this blog by a lady named Cathy Stucker, who wrote code on this post titled Update The Copyright Date On Your Blog Or Website. The code she has works great, and I’m now using it on all my websites, although I have so many pages that I haven’t added to all the pages yet. I did change one thing, though; instead of having the word ‘copyright’, I use this HTML code instead to give me this © symbol; remove the stars, and make sure to add the semi-colon: &*#*1*6*9*;

You probably think we’re done, but I have one last thing for you. If you’re like me, every once in awhile you copy something that you want to paste somewhere else. Sometimes it’s in all caps, and what that usually means is that you have to re-type it. Not anymore! Copy it and pop it into Word. Highlight it, then hit Shift – F3. That will change everything to small letters. Hit it again and it’ll capitalize only the first letter of each word. Hit it one more time to go back to all caps; course, why would you want to do that? Neat little trick, right?

And there you go; some quick hitters, this time something useful. And it is shorter than the last post, though not by much. 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

The Debates About SEO

Search engine optimization is an interesting concept, one that I’ve been dealing with for almost 4 years now. It’s interesting because you never really know where discussions on the topic are going to take you, and often people love to disagree on things concerning different aspects of it.


Debating Creationists
by the mad LOLscientist

I recently wrote a guest post about this subject on another blog. My general premise is that people shouldn’t be stressing themselves out about using all sorts of SEO tactics when it comes to blogging because it’s better to make your content look smooth and sound seamless than it is to worry about too much of the SEO involved in trying to get people to your blog. In my view, you don’t totally throw out SEO, but don’t overly worry about it because, for blogs, it’s not as important as the breadth of your content if you’re a niche blogger.

Of course I encountered disagreements on the post, which I kind of expected, because there are many others who would say I was stark raving mad for saying that. However, I stood my ground. Based on research and real evidence, if you have at least 100 blog posts on a subject all the SEO sculpting in the world isn’t going to make a blog post stand out from any other in the search engines. Having a consistently good pattern of writing on your niche will work wonders, though.

An interesting way to show this is to look at this blog’s top 10 keywords from January of this year through August 31st for how people found this blog on search engines and see if the posts they might match up to were all that optimized. Here we go:

1. Cleavage – well, that’s still my most popular post for some reason, but in a post that was almost 1,350 words I used that one word less than .7%, even if it’s in the title.

2. Ultra Diamonds complaints – I wrote one post about this back in 2008 and I mentioned it twice, and not even in a row.

3. sensors quality management scam – I’ve never written a single post on this topic, and I have no idea what it even means. I wrote a post on secret shopper scams, and someone wrote that line in a comment.

4. forcefield.exe – mentioned once in a post I wrote about Zone Alarm.

5. do they still make zima – I wrote that comment once in a post on, well, Zima.

6. pdf my url – I wrote a post on this software, but I used the term “pdf” twice and “url” three times.

7. favorite classical pieces – I wrote a post on my favorite classical pieces, but I only used the phrase once, not including the title.

8. obsession with numbers – This is the first post where, as I look at it now, one could say I optimized it, although it certainly wasn’t intentional.

9. google desktop thunderbird – This one is also inadvertently optimized, and when I look at it, probably very well indeed.

10. mystery shoppers corp scam – once again this phrase doesn’t show up anywhere in the post I wrote on secret shoppers, and I have no idea where the word ‘corp’ comes from.

What’s my point? Out of my top 10 keywords, only two posts are actually optimized, and that occurred because of natural writing rather than any attempt to provide proper SEO to the posts. And the two posts that are optimized are #8 and #9 on my list; how do we explain the top 7?

As I said and will reiterate, I’m not saying that if you wish to take the time to do it that going through the process of optimizing your content might not be a worthy goal? What I’m saying is that, at least in my opinion, writing your content so that it makes sense to your readers, and eventually search engines, seems to work just as effectively if your topic in some way matches up to what people are looking for. At least for blogs; we can talk about websites another time, unless you read the article I just linked to. lol

Or I could be wrong… nah! 🙂

WWE Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80’s








Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

An Interview With Marelisa Fàbrega

To say that I admire Marelisa Fàbrega’s blog and her writing style would be an underestimation of the esteem I hold for her. I don’t know when I discovered her blog Daring To Live Fully, which she started in April 2008, but I know I love the way she blogs and share her posts whenever I can. If you’re not reading this blog regularly, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, especially if you want to learn how to be positive. I’m so proud that she has accepted my request for an interview, and, if you’ve seen other interviews on this blog, you’ll notice that she has totally different questions to answer. She’s unique; we deserved to learn something different.

1. What was it that led you into blogging?

About five years ago I worked as a labor attorney for the agency that runs the Panama Canal. One day I was talking to one of the canal pilots, and he mentioned that he was reading a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. The book sounded really interesting, so I ordered a copy through Amazon. I read the book, and I really liked Kiyosaki’s definition of wealth, which is being able to pay all of your expenses from passive sources of income.

At the time, all of my income came from the salary I was making as an attorney. I started thinking of different ways in which I could earn passive income, and I decided to start a web site. On the web site I offered several personal development products for which I’m an affiliate (products which I use and love). I started the blog as a way to draw traffic to my web site. As I wrote more and more blog posts, and started getting good amounts of traffic and comments from readers, I really started to enjoy blogging. Now I blog for several different reasons: because it’s a source of passive income; because it’s a creative outlet for me (I love writing); because I learn and grow with each post that I write; and because I feel that I’m helping others to get more out of life.

2. You have an interesting background, especially the law degree. But you seem to do many other things. Tell us about yourself and what led you in another direction?

I’m from the Republic of Panama, which is where I currently live, and I’ve also lived in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the US, Egypt, England, and Italy. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., as well as a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

I think that you need to be constantly looking out for any opportunities lying on the horizon, and then choose among those opportunities based on what you think you’ll most enjoy doing, and what will give you the most satisfaction. The Internet is a fantastic opportunity: you can be a one-man or a one-woman operation anywhere on earth, and you can have access to the world and make yourself look huge. I’m still doing some law work, but I’m looking for ways to spend more time and energy building a strong online presence.

3. Your posts are quite deep and thought-provoking; how long does it take you to research your posts before you start writing?

When I start reading about a topic which I find interesting, I always want to know more. I do research until I feel like I have a good grasp of the subject matter, and that I have two or three very useful “takeaways” for my readers. That is, I’m not looking to just add to my readers’ knowledge-base. Instead, I want to offer them concrete action-steps that they can take to improve their lives. Sometimes I get there after an hour of research. Other times I do research for three or four hours. As an attorney, doing research is second nature to me.

4. You’ve gone against the grain in writing long, yet beautiful posts. What led you to write in that manner, and how would you compare it to the so-called experts who say posts shouldn’t be more than 400 words?

I’ve read in several different places that you should write one or two short posts a day. However, I tend to write two or three long posts a week. I think that the key to blogging well, and the key to life in general, is to be yourself and to do what feels right for you. One of the things that differentiates my blog is precisely that I try to cover topics in depth.

In addition, I pay a lot of attention to the quality of my writing, even though I’ve read that people just skim blogs looking for ideas and don’t pay much attention to the writing. I want to give my readers a rich, positive, quality experience each time that they read one of my blog posts. I guess, in a way, I want “Abundance Blog” to be to blogs, what Rolex is to watches (without the hefty price tag).

5. Do you generate any significant income through your blog and other websites, or is most of your income generated offline?

There’s a steep learning curve to making money online; it’s certainly not easy. One of the objectives for my blog and my other online activities is to earn passive income, as I said earlier in this interview. I’m already doing that. Now I just plan to gradually keep setting higher goals for myself in terms of how much passive income I make online. In the meantime, I do generate income offline.

6. I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you pretty much write from anywhere; is my perception correct?

I write mainly from my home office. I also write from a club I belong to that has a pool overlooking the ocean. I can sit there all day and write. Then, when I want to take a break, I can watch the fishermen in their tiny boats, and the cruise ships and container ships waiting in line to transit through the Panama Canal.

7. How many books have you written, and where do you find the time to write so much?

I’ve written one eBook so far, How to Be More Creative, A Handbook for Alchemists. It’s a guide to living a more creative life, and I’m happy to say that it’s gotten a lot of very positive reviews. I’m also in the process of writing another eBook which should be ready soon: “How to Live Your Best Life –The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List.” The second eBook is going to help people create a bucket list—a list of all the things they want to do before they die–, as well as give them tips, tools, and resources so that they can get out there and achieve their life goals.

How do I find the time to write so much? One of the topics I write about on my blog is productivity, and I try to follow my own advice. 🙂

8. You use Disqus on your blog, and as you know, I’m an opponent of that and other services like it. How do you find it works for you overall?

I like Disqus because I feel that it makes my blog more interactive. For example, people can share their comments on Twitter and other social networking sites. In addition, once you create a Disqus account it’s really easy to leave a comment on any other blog that uses Disqus.

9. Your blog is well respected in the blogging community; you’re always showing up on some list I come across, and I even included your blog on one of my top lists. How do you feel about the accolades?

I love it when my blog is mentioned by others, whether it’s by linking to one of my posts or by including me in a list of “top” blogs. I get people leaving comments on my blog all the time letting me know that they just recommended “Abundance Blog” to their readers, or that they linked to something I wrote, and I just get a huge smile on my face every time I read that. It makes me feel like people enjoy and appreciate what I write, and that’s a great feeling.

10. What three short recommendations could you give to people who feel like they’re struggling with both their blogs and their life?

I would tell people to make happiness their number one goal in life, and that happiness is a choice. In addition, happiness is a state of mind, so it’s something that you can have access to at any moment, regardless of what might be going on around you at any given moment. Also, you need to persevere. The people who get what they want in life are those who know what they want, who keep their eye on the ball, and who keep taking the necessary steps to get there, no matter what.

Once again, I thank Marelisa for this interview, which I hope all of you read, then follow back to her blog. You’ll be a better person for it.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

How To Subscribe To RSS Feeds

You know, it’s possible that this is one of those posts I really don’t have to do, but something is telling me that I need to make sure. What’s prompting it is that lately more than half of the spam I get asks the question “how do I subscribe to your feed.” As simple as it seems, after a meeting I had last Friday I realized that many people really aren’t all that internet savvy, and they might not even know what a feed is to know how to subscribe to it, or even where. Hence, this post. For the rest of you who already know this… y’all don’t have to read this, unless you want to see if I miss something.

You see that symbol to the right? Any time you see that symbol it means that particular website or post has what’s known as RSS, or Really Simple Syndication (sometimes known as Rich Site Summary) feed. In essence, it means you can follow certain websites or blogs that have new content with some kind of regularity in a place other than having to visit that website. You can subscribe to the feed by clicking on that orange button whenever you see it and read it whenever you want to somewhere else. I use a program called Feedreader, which is independent of a browser, and a lot of people use Google Reader, which uses the browser, but groups all the feeds in one place. There are plenty of other options as well.

On websites, you might see that orange symbol in many different places, and sometimes it depends on the browser you’re using. On Firefox, you’ll see that little symbol to the far right of the address bar. On IE 8, you’ll see that symbol on the right next to the home button on the toolbar. On some sites you’ll see that symbol elsewhere, and it might not be the orange symbol. Seems that some sites will change the color of the symbol. If you look on my blog, you see that symbol in the far right column, and underneath that you can decide to subscribe by email, which other sites also. This means you’ll get any blog posts from me through email instead of a reader; many people like that instead. Other sites will do this as well.

That’s pretty much all it takes for RSS subscriptions. And those of us who blog love when people subscribe, as we want more people to read what we have to say. I subscribe to many blogs and news sites, more than 200, although I think it might be time to pare down my list some. We’ll see if I get to that. Any questions?


Hating Spam

I’m starting to feel like a success with this blog. It’s not the subscribers, although I want to thank all of you. It’s not the money that’s rolling in (said tongue in cheek). It’s not how I’m moving up on Technorati or Alexa.

Spam ... it's what's for dinner!
Wandering Magpie
via Compfight

It’s the spam count. I’ve always felt that the amount of spam one receives is directly related to how much activity and prominence your blog must be gaining. I’m not sure if that’s totally true or not, but I can honestly say that I’ve never had more spam than I’m having lately. And it’s a great test of the Akismet plugin, which has been fantastic.

True, it wasn’t all that good on the Russian spam, but I don’t think that any of the spam filters could have caught that stuff initially. And yesterday, myself and a lot of people throughout the blogosphere started receiving some interesting spam that was making it through. However, what I did was start flagging it as spam, rather than just deleting it, and within a couple of hours Akismet had figured it out and no more of those messages got through to my posts. I’m very impressed by that, I must say.

Now, someone needs to explain some of this spam to me. I actually understand the advertisement spam; those folks are hoping that we’ll stupidly buy their spam program, which actually sends your messages and therefore recreates the spam we’re all trying to hide from. I weirdly understand the spam that comes through with multiple links to pharmaceuticals, porn, etc, because those folks also are hoping that enough of their ads will stay on some of those blogs that are defunct, to help them with perceived link juice; suckers.

But the one line Russian spam, along with the one line “I am happily agree with your post; I will come again” posts, or the posts without any real words,… do people really believe all that nonsensical stuff really gets them links on the back end, or that anyone will possibly click on their ads?

I found it really ironic in the wake of yesterday’s new about the shutdown of an internet hosting site known for sending out tons of spam, and how we should have seen it decrease, when exactly the opposite happened. And, it seems there’s really a big economic impact of spam, and not the way we usually think of it. Bruce Schneier wrote in his blog about the economics of spam, where a study was done that determined that, based on volume, even at 0.00001% a spammer could be making at least between $7,500 and $9,000 a day, because it seems there’s always someone who clicks on, then buys, one of these products; wow!

Well, I refuse to be pushed around by any amount of spam that comes this way. Akismet has been my blogging hero for a long time, and I’ll trust it to continue working on my behalf. For those of you who still don’t see spam as being as big an issue as it is (yeah, like there’s anyone out there who doesn’t get it), here’s a little video for your enjoyment:
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell