Google Alerts

After I wrote that last post, I went looking for a link talking about Google Alerts, only to find out that I’ve never talked about it on this blog. What the hey? How’d I miss this one, something I’ve been doing since before I started this blog? I’ve deprived you of one of the best tracking methods that any site has to offer, especially Google. Time to rectify that.

Google Alerts is a way for you to track whatever it is you want to track based on how people might be looking for whatever it is you want to know about. Okay, that sounds confusing, so let me give you a real example.

One of the alerts I track is “Mitch Mitchell”. What one does is goes into their Google account (yes, you have to have a Google account, which you already have if you use Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, etc), go to alerts (which you can access through the link above), type in the words or phrase you want Google to alert you on if it’s searched, tell it how often you want to receive email on it (mine is set to once a day” and which email address you want it sent to (mine is defaulted to the email address I have on my account but it seems you can change it, though I have no idea why you would). If you want the words or particular phrase in order, just put those words between quotation marks, as you’d do if you were searching for something on a search engine (I’m assuming you already knew that), and that’s all you’ll get.

Truthfully, you’re not going to want to use this if you’re only tracking one word because you’ll get really long email details, unless the word is out of the ordinary, which can happen I suppose. I track all versions of my name, all my websites, and a couple of specific keywords for my main business, which right now comes to 19 in all. I only get 4 or 5 a day most of the time, as not all the phrases I’m tracking come up; heck! But maybe now that I’ve made a few changes in my SEO tactics things will pick up a bit more for this blog; we’ll see.

That’s all there is to Google Alerts; and now you know the rest of the story (I miss Paul Harvey).

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Be Sure You Know Your Audience Before You State Your Case

You know, since September, I’ve decided to be a bit more personal in how and what I write about on this blog. I feel it’s served me well, and since my subscribers went up, I guess y’all feel okay about it. I sometimes take on controversial subjects, as I’m wont to do because I don’t shy away from stuff that’s getting on my nerves. I’m ready to put myself out there and state my opinion, and not worry all that much whether someone agrees with me or not.

Nos Alive Festival
Emiliano via Compfight

However, I do have a limit. For instance, if I believed dogs and cats should marry and move in with each other, I might not write on it because I’d know from the get-go that it would be a controversial thing to say (or funny, but go with me for a minute here). Or, if I decided to get on my high horse and spout something about that I thought I’d find a lot of agreement on without thinking about it first, such as if I said that I believe Tiger Woods didn’t have sex with nearly enough women (oh man, there goes my Tiger-free zone cred), while I knew the world was pretty much thinking that he’s a horn dog who doesn’t appreciate the hot wife he already has (that, plus his choice of women after that certainly shows a lack of taste and discretion), and expected everyone to agree with me just because I said it, I’d be living a delusion that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Such is the case for an internet marketer named David Risley, who I guess is also a professional blogger. I have to admit that I’d never heard of this guy until yesterday, but supposedly he’s a big time blogger. Our friend Sire wrote what I thought was a great post called Why I No Longer Link To The Likes Of Problogger And John Chow, where he basically said that these guys are so big that he doesn’t need to go out of his way to support them any longer, since it seems they don’t appreciate their readers enough to ever comment back to any of them. Now, he is going a step further than I am in not even reading their blogs anymore, but I agree with the sentiment that it’s nice for even the top guys to respond to their commenters every once in awhile, especially since they hope these commenters are also buyers of their products from time to time.

Anyway, someone mentioned David’s name, and I guess he’s got something set up where whenever his name is mentioned, he gets notified through Backtype, something else I’d never heard of, but after looking at it actually looks pretty cool overall. I’m not going that route, because I get way too much email already, but I also use Google Alerts to tell me whenever my name is mentioned somewhere; well, my websites and blogs anyway, because whenever it finds Mitch Mitchell it’s that other guy, and people are still talking about him way more than me. 🙂

Anyway, someone mentioned his name and he popped over to Sire’s blog and left a comment basically defending these guys, and himself, for having the right not to respond to comments because they see their blogs more as a business than as a “fun” or less serious blog. Of course, I got into it myself, being nice in my way, and we bantered back and forth, as he wanted me to quote where he’d said something and I wanted him to quote where Sire had said something; stalemate. My main point overall was that both of the guys Sire mentioned have written in the past on their blogs that responding to comments is the way to build up your community, and both seem to have forgotten that.

A quick disclaimer here. I have noticed that every once in awhile Problogger will respond to a quick comment early on in a post. He actually responded to something I wrote once when I was one of the top 3 responders because I kind of, in my own nice way of course, went after him for saying something in his blog post that, in my mind, seemed to run counter to what he was doing on his own blog. Sometimes one just has to call a… no, I’d best not go there. lol

Today, David went the next step. He decided to kind of write a blog post about it, and he put up a video explaining his position. Then he asked the people what they thought about what he had to say. Lo and behold, at least at the time I looked, being alerted through Twitter about it, only one person supported his position. Even in his response back to these folks, it just seems that he’s somewhat missing the overall point, that being people want to feel like they’re part of a community, no matter who it is.

Now, to his credit, he did respond back to people, though I don’t know if that’s a regular thing because, at least for now, I don’t see myself subscribing to a blog where I know someone feels they have a right not to respond to anyone, whether they do or not, as long as he’s making money, which is also why I’m not giving a link to his blog through here, but you never know long term. You can find it on Sire’s blog, I believe, or he’ll tell you if you ask him where it is so you can see it for yourself.

Now, I respond to almost every comment I get here. Every once in awhile, I’m not sure what to say back to someone, so I’ll just let it hang, especially if it’s a one line comment that I don’t believe is spam. And, after engaging someone, I’ve learned that I don’t have to always have the last word on this blog, so I’ll let some of those go also. I think that’s only fair.

But it’s funny how folks can forget some of those simple lessons in life. One, don’t forget where you came from and how you started. Two, don’t ask people to support your position without really knowing that people will support it; if you care, that is. Be controversial, yes, at times, because controversy can be fun. But try not to be “right”, only to find yourself being very wrong in the court of public opinion unless you’re wearing your position on your sleeve.

Now here I go; right or wrong?