Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 19, 2011
I seem to be seeing two things occurring more often these days to try to get around spam; at least I assume it’s trying to get around spam. One is that more people are moderating their comments; the second is that more people are having you double opt-in to comments by sending you an email asking you to subscribe to comments.
Since I’ve talked often enough about why I don’t like comment moderation, I’ll move onto the second one, which I’ve mentioned here and there but I’m unsure if it’s something I’ve ever addressed on its own.
I hate the double opt-in system. I’m betting some of you are saying “it’s not double, since I’m only sending an email once.” That’s what double opt-in; remember the days when everyone that had a newsletter required you to confirm that it was actually you requesting it by sending you an email asking if it was you? Remember how, instead of consistently doing it, you just stopped subscribing to any newsletters because you didn’t want to be bothered, especially if there wasn’t any notification that you were going to have to do it?
I do. I have a newsletter, and I did the double opt-in thing for a couple of months many years ago after I got a rash of emails saying that they hadn’t subscribed to my newsletter, even though I had their email address. So I went to the double opt-in system, only to find that more than half the people who got it decided they didn’t want to play the game and never finished subscribing. I really wasn’t all that surprised since I had already started doing that myself. However, I had put it on my newsletter page that I was going to do it, which make me think that I at least had given some kind of warning about it so people should have been expecting it.
Frankly, I see it as another way the internet gets cluttered with lots of digital garbage that never quite goes away because it’s somewhat unnecessary. There aren’t all that many people that are sneakily subscribing someone to someone else’s newsletter, although there are definitely a lot of people who will add you to theirs without your asking, just because they met you somewhere. The same goes for spam. My blog does pretty well, and if I’m not all that bothered by the relatively low amount of spam I get because of the plugins I use, I can’t figure out why anyone else would be. Yeah, I know about the sneaky spam like the type I wrote about, but it’s like when you were in school and the teacher punished everyone in class because of that one kid that always acted stupid; remember how no one liked that?
I’m just saying that it’s not quite logical in today’s age to punish everyone for the sins of the few. At least I’m not doing it and you can bet I’m not playing either. There are always other ways folks, and they’re easier to deal with.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 17, 2011
I hope you checked out the first part of this mega-pillar post yesterday. If not, you can see the first half of Better Blogging here. It was a monster, but this one is even larger as I drive my points home.
It’s time to talk about actually writing blog posts. Every blog post is going to need a title, but there’s nothing saying you have to have a title first. Some blogging experts will tell you that you should create a title for maximum SEO (search engine optimization) benefits. Whereas I’m sure that can help, sometimes creating a title that will entice readers to come by works just as well. Would you rather read a post that has a title like “How To Regularly Acknowledge Your Direct Reports” or a title like “5 Ways To Make Employees Happy?” Also, try not to make your titles too long; it makes it harder for people who might want to give you acknowledgment for anarticle you’ve written on their blogs if you have a title that’s so long it’s unwieldy.
Next, let’s talk about actually writing posts. Do you remember writing stories back when you were in grade school? The teachers always talked about the concept of a story having a beginning, middle, and an end. Blog posting is kind of like that, even if you can bend the rules a little bit. It never hurts to establish near the beginning of the post what the post is going to be about, especially if it’s an educational post. If you’re telling a story, the beginning doesn’t necessarily have to flow as well, but it does need to have something to capture people’s attention so that they will stick around to read the rest of it. The ending of a blog post is important as well, mainly to help indicate to people that it’s officially over. I have read a lot of blog posts where you get to the end and you’re thinking there should be more to it. Leaving people hanging will irritate them and make them not want to come back. I’m going to come back to talk about the “middle” in a few minutes.
The length of blog posts is something that a lot of people like to talk about. From my perspective, in general a blog post is as long as or as short as it needs to be. That of course leaves a lot of leeway and doesn’t really answer the question as to whether it’s better to write long or short blog posts. The truth of the matter is that there’s no real answer for that because some readers don’t mind reading long blog posts, and actually prefer them because they know they’re going to get all the answers they want and need, whereas some others only want to be given the first two or three paragraphs as the entire blog post and then move on with their lives. We have made it through the MTV generation after all, where many people learned how to get everything they wanted in three or four minute chunks and didn’t have to concentrate on anything any longer. But that doesn’t mean you have to succumb to anyone else’s view of how long or how short you want your post to be.
Having said that, it’s more important looking at how short a blog post is than how long one is. Studies have shown that if the majority of your blog posts aren’t at least 250 words long you’re probably not going to get much benefit out of them. With Google’s new algorithms looking at content that actually offers something of value, it’s hard to justify in their minds that most people can gain value out of consistently short blog posts. This doesn’t mean that every once in a while you can’t get away with writing a short post; after all, if you’re trying to get the word out about some disaster that’s happening now, and you only have a short period of time or only know so much about it, you can’t always be expected to come up with 250 words at a clip. If you don’t care whether Google or any other search engine will help your post or blog to gain traction, then write what you want to. However, if you’re really looking to spread your influence and want the help of the search engines, you’ve got to work on helping to give them what they’re looking for.
Now we come back to talking about the “middle” and thoughts of when to ramble and when to get to the point. Let’s do this in concepts of educating somebody versus customer service.
If you’re trying to teach someone how to do something, it doesn’t always help to go off on tangents of things that have nothing to do with what you’re trying to teach. For instance, in my college astronomy class, the teacher was always talking about fishing and things like casting, rods, and all other sorts of stuff that I had actually no idea what any of it meant. He was of the impression that he could connect fishing information with astronomy to teach us how to do calculations. It didn’t work for me, and even though I knew a lot about astronomy, having read a lot about it through my childhood years, it became a difficult course to pass because of how confused this man made me.
Now let’s relate this to customer service. On occasion I’ve had to call my ISP (internet service provider) to ask questions about my service. What invariably happens is that I get someone on the phone who hears a portion of what I have to say and then immediately cuts me off and starts trying to solve what they think is my issue. The problem is that I’m often more technically savvy than the first person I talk to, and thus they’re trying to solve a problem that’s not my issue, that I know isn’t my issue, and that I know won’t be solved by any of the advice they’re starting to give me because they haven’t taken the time to fully listen to what I have to say.
Sometimes life and blogging are just like that; you need to have some filler, which some people might consider as rambling, in order to get the nuances of what you have to say better understood. This works especially well when you’re telling a story of some kind. If you leave a lot of detail out, the accuracy of your story will be lacking. People either have questions, or leave without understanding what the heck you’re talking about. Trying to get to the point without making sure everyone understands what it is you’re talking about just to try to keep a blog post short will surely kill your blog because people like knowing everything they need to know to get where you’re coming from.
So when not to ramble? If you make a point about something, there’s no need to make that point 3 or 4 times in the same post. That type of thing gets on people’s nerves. Also, making extraneous points that don’t help to clarify anything or add to the enjoyment of the story can be left out. If you happen to be talking about someone and you’re giving a description that they have blue curly hair that flows into a mullet that merges in with a Chicago Blackhawks sweatshirt they’re wearing, that’s a funny image. But if you’re talking about someone you happen to think is overweight and then go on a rant about overweight people in general before getting back to the rest to your story, that was probably not needed and you might have turned off a lot of people. Circumspection is always your best friend when trying to decide whether you’ve rambled too much or whether you’ve told enough to give the story or whatever it is you’re writing about enough substance.
So now you’ve written your blog article and you’ve posted it for all to see. Before you did that, did you think about whether you wanted to receive comments or not? The overwhelming majority of bloggers want to have comments on their blog posts. Blogging is part of social media after all, and being able to interact with others who respond to the things we write about is what makes blogging so special.
But there are people who either don’t want comments or want to restrict comments. Seth Godin is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t allow comments on his blog. He’s a big name person who’s written a lot of books, and not allowing comments has not stopped a lot of people from reading his blog or sharing his thoughts with other people. But not everyone can get away with that. Some people will write blog posts and every once in a while and then write one that they don’t want anyone commenting on. Many times it’s either a very personal post or rant that someone just has to get out, but would rather not deal with the controversy that allowing comments could create. Some people write blog posts and have a very short period of time that they leave comments open before they shut them down. I’m not going to say that any of these are good or bad; what I am going to say is that you as the blog writer has to make a choice of which direction you want to go and what you’re hoping to accomplish.
If you’re going to allow comments on your blog, I’m always of the opinion that it’s best to make it easy for people to comment. I’m someone who doesn’t moderate comments, set up exclusive blogging comment systems, or make people jump through hoops in order to leave a comment. The reason I don’t do that is because there have been a number of studies which have shown that a majority of people don’t like always having to sign up for the right to offer their opinion on something; I’m one of those people. For instance, if you’ve ever visited newspaper sites that allow comments, you’ll notice eventually that you’re seeing the same names over and over. It makes sense for a newspaper site to screen people because their expectation should be higher to protect both their readers and their advertisers. It doesn’t happen enough in my opinion, but for those that are doing it I applaud them for that effort.
For the rest of us, it doesn’t engender enough good feeling from those people who visit our blogs to put up roadblocks to the act of commenting. There have been a number of studies that have shown that having a system like Disqus or Intense Debate might raise the quality of comments that show up on a blog, but between 50% and 60% of people won’t sign up for those services and will either just read the content without ever wanting to comment or stop visiting those blogs altogether because of the frustration of not being able to comment however they want to.
The case for moderating comments is entirely different. People have different reasons for wanting to moderate comments, which can go from wanting to make sure certain information doesn’t show up on a blog post or making sure that no comment gets through that potentially has people saying something that the owner of the blog wishes not to allow. My gripe about visiting blogs that moderate comments is that you often find that later on at some point, when you’re least expecting it, you suddenly getting a whole lot of messages all at once both from people who comment on the blog and the blog owner’s response to those people. If that blog happens to be popular it can be overwhelming. It also gives the appearance of not trusting people who want to comment on your blog. Now, if you put your reasons up as to why you moderate comments, many people will accept that but at least they get to then make the decision as to whether they want to participate or not. I hate when I don’t know someone has a moderation policy and I do leave a post, only to realize that I have no idea when, or if, it will ever show. And I’ve had a lot of comments that have never shown up on someone’s blog.
Of course the big thing most of us worry about is spam. We all hate spam, but there’s nothing we can do to stop it totally. However, with most blog platforms there are these things that are known as plugins that can help slow it down drastically. They’re easy to set up and easy to use for both the blog owner and those who wish to make comments, and if you’re setting up different blog commenting ways to reduce spam, such as moderating or coming up with things like Captcha or math problems, it’s a better way to go.
We’re coming into the home stretch, and if you’ve lasted this long I thank you for it. These are some final thoughts towards the concept of better blogging.
I’m often asked where I get inspiration for ideas to write my blog posts. My goodness, every day of life is an inspiration to write a blog post, and for non-niche blogs it’s even easier. But since I do try to stay on certain topics more than other topics, I find that doing a lot of reading of other blogs really helps my mind figure out what I want to write on. For instance, if I happen to be reading someone’s post and they’re talking about 10 ways to do something, I could not only decide to write a commentary post on that article, it also gives me an opportunity to link back to that article. That way the original writer gets a boost from my article, and I have a new article as well. I honestly get ideas from my real life on a consistent basis, but I can get ideas by turning on the TV, following a thread on Twitter, or almost anywhere else. My problem is that I come up with so many ideas that I sometimes forget what they are when it’s time to write something. Lucky for me, I can always come up with something else fairly quickly to write on. Inspiration is everywhere; you only have to be alert and open to it.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there’s also the concept of “sharing the love”. People love knowing that you enjoyed their article enough to link to it, even if you disagree with their point of view. It never hurts to link to anybody, and that type of thing often encourages people to link to you as well. Something that works well with commenting, especially if you have a WordPress blog, is called CommentLuv. What that does is allows people to have a link back to their blog if they comment on yours showing the very last blog post they’ve written, and if they’ve registered with the site they get to choose from the last 10 blog posts they’ve written. I know that has gotten me a lot of visitors, and I also know that it’s provided me with enough blogs to be able to check out, see if I like them, and comment on.
Earlier I also talked about selling ad space on a blog, but that brings up your making the decision on whether you want to have advertising, marketing, or sell space on your blog or not. Google does have some rules for how you sell or market certain things on your blog (pertaining more to how you share certain types of links) to continue being listed on their search engine, but whether you care or not about that is irrelevant. If you’re using your blog to help you create influence or to get clients for projects or services, then marketing every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing for you to think about. If you’re trying to make money via affiliate marketing or MLM (multi-level marketing), that’s not such a bad thing either. If your blog happens to be popular enough and someone wants to pay for the space to add some kind of banner ad to it, that’s not so bad either. Each person has to make a decision on what they hope their blog will do or what they want to put on their blog. You just need to be aware of how these things might affect the people who visit your blog and determine how much or how little it might affect their enjoyment when they stop by. Also, you need to be aware that adding text ads that don’t ever have anything to do with what your content it about opens you up to someone reporting you and having your blog lose it’s Google PR (page rank). That’s what happened to my blog, although, as some of you know, I think PR is overrated anyway.
Something many bloggers forget to do is internally link to their own previous blog posts. With WordPress there are plugins that can handle some of this for you, and I know that with other blog platforms there are programs that can also do that. But any time you can link to your own content gives you the opportunity to keep people on your blog, get them interested in other things that they may be looking for, and helps to show your expertise while helping to spread your influence. It also helps with SEO, especially if you’re familiar with the concept of anchor links, which basically means using a link to highlight a certain word that is either also in the link or that will take you to a page that specifically talks about that word or topic.
Then there’s the concept of how frequent you want to put out blog posts, and what time you’re putting out blog posts. I happen to have four blogs, and my frequency schedule is different for all of them. For instance, on this blog I write 6 to 7 posts a week. On another blog I write for a five posts a week, but the posts are relegated to the business day. On the third blog the idea is to have 3 to 4 posts a week. And on my fourth blog I’m shooting for one post a week at this time, as it’s very new and it’s going to take a little bit of time for me to figure out everything I’m hoping that blog will end up being. I have a goal for that one, as I mentioned way back when that people should think about when they create a blog, but how to fully manifest it is something that one does not have to figure out before they start blogging. To me, it’s always important to just start something and get it going. As to what time of day… well, that one’s still under consideration, as I’ve yet to figure out whether it’s best to post in the morning or in the afternoon; posting in the evening means I risk a blog post not showing up in some areas until the following day, and that I don’t want to happen.
I know you’re starting to get tired, so the final thing to talk about is how to get the word out about your blog. You can’t just write a whole lot of posts and expect people to show up; blogging doesn’t work that way. You have many options available to you. One, you can send a link to your blog to everybody you know via email. Two, you can hook up on something like Twitter and make sure that every blog post also post itself to Twitter. Three, what you’ve done for Twitter you can also do for other social media outlets such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Four, you can make sure that every blog post automatically “pings” to what’s known as a blog pinging service such as Ping-o-Matic; this means it alerts blog directories that you’ve written a new post. Or five, you can learn how to work the blogging community and blog networking via the concept of commenting on a lot of other blogs. I’ve done all of these, and the one that I found most effective is commenting on other blogs. It just offers the most options across the board, especially if those blogs happen to have CommentLuv. It also takes the most time, but you can get the most enjoyment out of doing it.
And that’s the end of this killer pillar post on better blogging. I’ve covered a lot of ground here, and I make no promises that I didn’t leave anything out; after all, this is a huge subject. Any questions, just ask; I’m going to bed.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Mar 4, 2011
Tuesday night I found myself on a Twitter chat that I’d never participated in before. The hashtag for the chat is #SMmanners, and basically they talk about how people interact with each other through social media.
by Ron Magnes
One of the things we talked about was how people decide who to follow and if they participate in trying to be sociable with others. It seems I was a big hit when I stated that I only follow people who show that they will talk to others every once in awhile. I also stated that if you reach out to someone here and there and they don’t respond, not only are they missing a great opportunity to make a positive impact but I tend to drop those people after a couple of attempts and move on with life. I say I guess I made an impact because that one hour session ended up giving me 20 more people who decided to follow me regularly on Twitter.
Y’all have seen me talk about the need to talk to people on Twitter because true social media isn’t a one way street. There hasn’t been one person who’s commented on this blog and said they love following people who only post links, quotations, or retweets all the time. No one pays any attention to those people after awhile because they’re not really offering them anything new. No one pays any attention to someone whose only activity on Twitter is to post sales messages.
One of the reasons we have blogs is to get our points of view out. We hope that sometimes we’ll get people to comment on what we have to say, and if we’re smart we respond to people who stop by and take the time to comment. It’s known as courtesy, but it’s also the point of social media.
Of course, there’s the influence factor of it all as well. No matter what I write on a blog, if someone stops by and reads what I have to say, whether they agree or not, I’ve affected some kind of influence on the reader. If the person comments, it means my influence was stronger enough to elicit a response. If I comment back I have gained just a bit more influence, whether I’m in agreement with the commenter or not. Of course positive influence always works best long term, but many people who recommend that you be controversial in your posts have found that affecting people negatively can sometimes boost your ratings as well.
How does all of this affect your business? You want people to get to know you. If all you do is put out, put out, and put out, and you don’t respond to people who reach out to you, you’re not going to get any business if that’s your ultimate goal. There are multiple ways to reach people, but you have to be willing to give them something back if they respond. That’s the true essence of social media.
And that’s part of what I’ll be telling a group of people next Monday night at a presentation I’m doing for a local library on the business of social media. If you’re local, Syracuse NY area, and want to hear my thoughts in person, and why wouldn’t you ( :-)), check out this flyer and then call 315-446-3578 to RSVP. By the way, if you look at the flyer you’ll see I’m doing a second week as well, this time on business websites. Yup, I’m staying busy.
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 8, 2011
Last April I wrote a post to add to my Blogging Tips series titled How To Start Getting Visitors. It was a super basic tip on how to get some notice for one’s blog by contacting certain folks and letting them know you had a blog.
While that’s nice and all, one couldn’t quite call it a campaign towards increasing awareness. In essence, it was really like becoming an insurance salesperson and calling all your family members first, then all your friends, then your pseudo friends, and after that not knowing what to do with yourself.
I decided it was time to at least get more people going on this front. I do this because of two things. One, I had a meeting last week with a couple of ladies who wanted ideas on how they could create awareness of their new business through social media. I told them about blogging, based on what it is they do, and then told them the process they should go through to get going. Two, I made the same recommendation recently to someone who visits this blog, and though I’m not sure if he’s done the entire campaign I know that he was willing to listen and give it a try, so I have high hopes.
This is mainly for beginners, but it’s also for people who aren’t getting any real traffic to your site as well. This isn’t a talk about niche marketing; it’s a talk about working the process, meeting the blogging community, and getting known by others. And if you want some more starter information, check out my blogging tips.
Let me set the scenario for you; it’s possible you’ll have more or less time, but this is a great starter scenario. You’re someone who doesn’t have tons of time, but you want to get people to your blog. You write 3 posts a week, and often you have some time left over after you’re blogged, or some on days when you don’t blog. We’re going after the 30 minute process for you to undertake.
Your goal is to make comments on at least 5 blogs during that 30 minute time period. What you do is go to Google Blogs, which can actually be found by going to Google, clicking on “more”, then scrolling down a little bit. When the next page opens, you’ll see all sorts of blog posts on trending topics that look like news. But they’re all blogs, though some aren’t personal blogs. That’s really your goal, because you want the opportunity to stand out; that plus big time blogs like Huffington Post don’t have CommentLuv; this is a part of the strategy.
In the search box, put in a topic that you want to read on. It could be something in your niche, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Believe it or not that statement is controversial, because everyone else will tell you that you need to comment on blogs in your niche because you want targeted traffic. At this stage what you really need is traffic, and you also want the opportunity to not only show that you can talk to people and offer something good, but you still are hoping for the opportunity to stand out. So, you will be looking at blogs in your niche also, if that’s a part of your strategy, but that’s not what it’s all about. Networking; that’s what it’s all about.
For the first two weeks you need to be committed to commenting on at least 5 blogs a day. You can continue going to Google Blogs, but hopefully in your searches you have found a few blogs that you like well enough to return to. That’s important because something blog owners like are people who will come back more than once. You also want to look for a mix of blogs that have CommentLuv and those that don’t. You look for CommentLuv because it highlights previous blog posts of yours; you look for the others because you don’t want to look like one of those guys that “only” comments on CommentLuv blogs; it’s just a little smarmy.
In the next two weeks, you’re going to comment on blogs that you’ve found you like and now you’re going to make sure to look for blogs within your niche. The thought now is that you’ll have started establishing yourself with at least a couple of people, you’ll have left your links on their blogs, especially if they have CommentLuv, and now you’re going to go out on a campaign to see what others in your niche are saying and take the opportunity to make sure they know you’re around.
After four weeks, look at things this way. If you only had 3 days a week to do this process and only those 30 minutes, you’ve made at least 60 total connections, whether some of those folks received return visits or not. You’ve planted the seeds of knowledge that you’re out there. I would almost guarantee that you’ll have started seeing more visitors, especially if your titles have captured people’s imaginations and your content doesn’t stink.
Once you see the process starting to work, you’ll be hooked. I’ll throw this out there; how many of you who visit these days saw me as one of your initial commenters? How many of you picked up on that and decided you were going to start commenting on other blogs? How many of you found it contagious and uplifting when people finally started coming to your blog? You may not have followed it in the manner I’m recommending here, but you did this in some capacity, right?
Yes, blogging does take more work than just writing posts. But your rewards on the end could give you more than you can imagine; that sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Dec 21, 2010
It seems to me that there’s enough information online and people talking about this subject that other folks might start listening to it in some fashion. Alas, it’s not the case, so I’m here to be the guy to bring it up, popular or not. It’s probably going to come across as a harsh post, and that’s not its intention. Sometimes I just have to be real; this is one of those times.
I comment on a lot of blogs; I visit a heck of a lot more. It still surprises me that so many people have set things up that discourage many of us from commenting on your blog. I mean, it’s not hard; it’s not rocket science. All that’s needed is a thought about where your blog is, how your blog is set up, and what you’re hoping to get out of your blog. Making it easy for people to comment on your blog, no matter what; is that too much to hope for?
Okay, some of that might not be fair, but then I haven’t gotten into any details yet. I guess that’s where I should start, so we can get a discussion going.
1. If you’re moderating comments, you’re getting on my nerve. Moderated comments tells me that you care more about spam than about thanking people for wanting to comment on your blog. If it worries you so much, then put up a disclaimer up front that you’re moderating comments and I won’t waste my time. But then, if you did that I, and maybe a lot of people people, won’t comment on your blog. That’s somewhat disingenuous, isn’t it? The other thing about writing a comment on a blog that moderates comments is that suddenly you’re getting bombarded with a bunch of comments all at once in email, and if the owner of the blog isn’t putting any names in, you have no idea which response is to you, if there’s one to you at all. I hate that, but it leads to point #2.
2. If you’re not responding to my comments, you’re getting on my nerve. I didn’t just stop by and write “good post” and move on. It might not have been the theory of relativity but I at least gave you a response that showed you I read what you had to say. Now, do I expect a response all the time? Actually yes I do, but if you miss one or two I won’t mind. But if you seem to exhibit a pattern of not responding to my comments, I probably will stop coming, and I don’t want any complaints about it, whether you visit me or not. Goodness, I’m as busy as the next person, and if I’m responding to almost every comment I deserve knowing that you appreciated my taking the time out to respond back to you.
3. Are you still using Disqus, or one of those other services? Haven’t you realized yet that you’re losing comments? Obviously you didn’t see Sire’s poll, which is still ongoing by the way. I mean, 45% of people said they wouldn’t leave a comment on one of these blogs; are you really getting enough comments that losing 45% of potential visitors is okay for you? And, by the way, if you read the post, you’ll see that some of the people who said they’d still leave a comment overwhelmingly said they didn’t like it, and didn’t do it on all blogs that run this service, but most of them. So, add at least another 25% to the mix and then ask why you don’t have lots of comments. By the way, you’re a dying breed; so many people lately have jumped on the CommentLuv bandwagon and found other ways to block spam and they’re starting to thrive. One guy told me his comments jumped threefold; how’s about that!
4. Are you verifying that people are receiving your responses back to them? This one’s dicey because of you folks running free blogs on WordPress.com. It doesn’t give you the ability to set things up so you can make sure people are seeing that you’ve responded to them, and that’s a shame. Since I’m someone who won’t subscribe or login to receive comments when I get that email (after all, I already checked the box on your blog that asked if I wanted to subscribe to comments), I’ll only revisit blogs of those of you I happen to like; you know who you are if you’ve seen my comments on your blog. If you’re answering a lot of people and rarely hear back from them, this could be an issue for you. But I’m not the guy who can tell you to spend your money on self hosting and a domain name; spend your money your way. However, I am the guy to tell you that it’s the way to go if you get serious about blogging.
5. Some of you know I don’t like Blogger/Blogspot blogs. I don’t like them because you have to create a login name to comment so that you’ll get responses back. I have one for my business name, and I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, but not for any of my other blogs or websites, including this one. Some blogs I want to comment on aren’t appropriate for my business account, and thus I’ll either skip it or comment using the email for this blog, but of course Blogger won’t let you put in an email, and thus you never know if you got a response or not. This fact impeded a lot of blogs I wanted to check out when we had that network meme a week or so back. On this one, same answer I gave to the previous point; I can’t tell you what to do, but if you’re serious about blogging, think about it.
That’s it; that’s my rant. I’ve actually ranted on all these things in the past, as you can see from some of the links, but I guess it’s been awhile. People forget, and thus I figured I’d bring it up again. If you don’t really care, then that’s fine; if you do, well, at least think about it.