5 Things I’d Do Differently If I Was Starting Blogging Today

Guess what; I’m part of another blogging roundup. This time, I got to be one of 37 people who was asked what our biggest blogging mistakes were. Check that out because there’s some pretty big names on that list; that I got to be a part of it is pretty cool.

Picture 35

Actually, my little contribution led me to looking at some of the things other people had written on that post. It got me thinking more about what I would have done differently if I were starting a new blog today and had someone like those folks, or myself, to give some guidance on the process that would help me to get off to a good start.

Today y’all are lucky because you not only have that link to go to but you have me writing this particular post; you can thank me after you’ve looked at it… and I hope I don’t scare anyone off. Here are 5 things I’d do differently, or at least recommend to anyone thinking about starting a new blog.

1. Write 10 articles

It seems I mentioned this on my post giving 55 tips on blogging but not with much context to it. There’s more than one reason to do this.

First, most people forget that they hated writing in high school and college. If they couldn’t write 500 word papers then, why should they think it’s easy to do now? That’s why they should sit down and try to write 10 articles on their topic.

It might take a week; it might take 3 months. It’s a great learning curve to see if you have what it takes to not only write articles, but you can evaluate yourself to see if you want to continue writing.

Second, this is a great way to have ready made content when you’re ready to launch your blog. You end up having one article you can post immediately and 9 articles you can schedule over time. This gives you more time to write more articles or you can wait until those articles are live before writing some more.

2. Find your writing voice

When I started my first blog I’d already been writing two newsletters for 2 years. When I went back to work on my 2nd book on leadership, which is a compilation of newsletters and blog posts I’d written up to the end of 2008, I realized how rough it was to read those early articles. I was all over the place, trying to stuff as much stuff into an article as I could without any direction.

At some point I seemed to have found my writing voice. If you read my posts over the last 7 or 8 years you’ll see that my style has been pretty consistent. That helps your visitors get used to how you write and what your words will sound like in their ears. Everyone might not like it but if you’re authentic you’ll reach the people you want to reach.

3. Set something up for email subscribers

@-Symbol in Glass Light Orange
Creative Commons License www.elbpresse.de via Compfight

I hate popups with a passion; everyone knows that by now. I’ve never signed up for any type of autoresponder. In retrospect I probably should have thought about it, which I’m still thinking about now, because there’s more than one way to get it done.

I still use Feedburner for my RSS feed, and I always thought that would be enough. Yet, when I launched my last book, it wouldn’t have hurt to have a real mailing list to send notice to the readers of my business blog.

4. Copyright protection

If you look at the bottom of this article you’ll notice a copyright notification. That helps to protect me from content thieves, which unfortunately can be fairly comprehensive from time to time. There was a time period when a lot of my content was being scraped.

I made it hard on myself to find it, and though I found them all, one was hard to get rid of because it was located on some offshore island whose ISP I couldn’t reach. That’s when I decided to start using the plugin called Digiprove, also known as Coyright Proof. It makes it easier to prove that you own the content, because in the day you had to fill out all this paperwork to get your stuff removed and then they took time to verify it before they’d do something about it. Check that site out; it might be valuable long term.

5. Figuring out how to use more of my own images

For some reason it helps to have at least one image in a blog post, no matter how short or long that post is. Turns out we’re all pretty visual people. The hard part is trying to find images that fit every topic, or a topic you happen to be writing on at the time.

For instance, blogging; what do you put up for blogging? There are some images I’m able to get from Compfight, which searches for Creative Commons images you can use via Flickr, that work nicely. But sometimes you just can’t find the right image for everything.

I have at least a few thousand images of things I’ve taken on my own. True, many of them might not fit a specific topic, and “experts” say that one should try to fit images to whatever you’re writing about. But as I read tons of blogs and news stories and I see images that skim the edges of a topic at best (let’s face it, when all else fails a lot of these websites with articles just throw up pictures of beautiful women) I’m thinking that there might be a place for more of my own shots.

This is one reason I’ve been putting up more of my own images on my posts this year. I figure putting a picture of myself, either alone or with someone else, works well since I’m the writer. If I had the talent I could caption many of the images I have to make them fit; that’s something some of you could learn. There are few images from the early years of this blog or my business blog, and I think I could make those articles more appealing with an image or two.

There you go; 5 things I wish I’d started doing when I started my blog, that I’d do if starting a new blog. What do you think?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Mitch Mitchell

The Quest For Legitimate Images

You know, there are times when you battle with ethical issues, and you’re either ready to give up on them or just move on. I don’t struggle with that issue often, but once I think about something that involves an ethical decision, I just have to work my way through it.


photo by ryancr

This time, the ethical thing concerns images that I’ve been putting into this blog. Truth be told, for me there were two issues out there. One, those images that you knew belonged to someone else, and two, those that you couldn’t confirm.

Of course, there’s been the debates and the discussions I’ve seen online. My friend Scott, who has a photography blog, got me into a discussion one day on the topic. My point to him is that I have papers filed with the government proving my copyright, that I can put a symbol on any of my work (I’ve got music and my first book copywritten), and that by adding that copyright symbol at the end of my stuff (and, these days, that copyright thing you see at the end of most of my posts), show that I own the copyright. However, with images, if there’s no watermark, or no copyright symbol on a website, or no attribution anywhere, that it becomes very difficult to figure out whether an image has a copyright or not. His belief is that one can always find it; mine is that at times it’s literally impossible.

Regardless, the issue is still out there. Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to do this for every image, because I sometimes get an image from Imagekind, which I’m an affiliate for, and of course there are times when you know someone put together a mashup of sorts that, if there’s a copyright that’s been violated, so be it, but there is a way to help get around this type of thing.

If you notice, today’s image and yesterday’s image has attribution. It turns out that you can get images from Flickr, a site I’d never gone to unless someone sent me a picture they wanted me to send and it was there, and find images you can use. Seems there’s this search function you can select that will find photos based on a description you put in and, most of the time, they allow you to use the image if you give them attribution and link back to their Flickr page with the image.

I’m not going to portray myself as any kind of genius for figuring this out, however. I got the information from Hubspot’s story titled How To Use Creative Commons To Add Images To Your Blog. There’s a video there, and I’m really glad because I wouldn’t have figured it out without that. And there’s one other thing. Something they tell you that you can do in the video is actually something you can only do if you have a Flickr account, which I won’t because I don’t have any photos that I’m ever going to pop up on any site like that. So, I have to do it the long way, write my code and add the image in a much different way. But no matter; at least I’ve found a place where, if I use those images, I know I’m in the clear.

Powers Collectibles Willie Mays and Willie McCovey Autographed NL Baseball

Powers Collectibles Willie Mays and Willie McCovey Autographed NL Baseball






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Two New WordPress Plugins

If you haven’t noticed, there are two new things on my blog that I have yet to talk about, and I owe both of them to two guys and two WordPress plugins.

The first was recommended by our friend Sire who wrote a post titled Wassupblogs Posts Are Copyright Protected With Digiprove. Yeah, long title, but he did bring to my attention this plugin from a company called Digiprove. What it does is adds a copyright to the bottom of each post that proves it’s from you originally. That way, if you have to fuss at someone because they’ve stolen your content, which happens often, and you need backup proof that it’s yours, the digital sign is there.

I’ve noticed most people who steal my content also steal other things of mine that sometimes don’t work for them, such as my ReadSpeaker plugin. This means that my copyright thing will be at the bottom of whatever they steal. Well, at least it’s supposed to be. One, it won’t go back and update it on previous posts, although I’ve found that if you go in and make an update to any older posts that it will add the proof. Two, every once in awhile it will skip an article if you’ve post-dated it, which is irritating but easily correctable. You have to sign up for the service, though it’s free for most of us, and then you’re good to go.

The second plugin was recommended by our friend Dennis while we were talking via instant messaging. He kept asking me why I didn’t have a retweet button on this blog, which I used to have, but the plugin I was using (the name of which escapes me now) kept locking up this blog. I asked him what he was using and he said Topsy. Now you’ll notice that at the top of each post, to the right, is this little box that you’ve probably seen on a host of other blogs. It makes retweeting easier if you choose to share this article. It also makes my friend Scott happy since he’d been copying my full blog links, which didn’t give him any room to add a comment, as this plugin also creates one of those tiny urls that are prevalent all over Twitter.

Anyway, if you’ve been looking for something that can handle this issue for you, there you go; enjoy.

Travelpro Deluxe Tote 8601 in Black

Price – $51.90






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2012 Mitch Mitchell