Now My Word Is Gold?

A funny thing has been happening over the last couple of weeks, and I’m not quite sure why.

I have people writing me and asking me to look at their blog posts, then either write about it on one of my blog or actually post the entire thing into my blogs as a guest post. These are people I don’t know and have never heard of, and frankly, coming out of the blue the way it did, initially kind of freaked me out.

Then I got a little upset because I didn’t know these people. I’m sure every once of us has written something and wanted to share it with our friends who don’t follow our blog, or our wives and other family members. But I can’t conceive of searching for someone and asking them to go through all those hoops without building some kind of relationship first. And the idea of reposting an article from someone else’s blog; can’t conceive of that either.

One guy even told me how to do the entire thing; how presumptuous. To his credit, I did decide to go check the post out, and man, you think I write long posts sometimes. It was nearly 4,000 words, with pictures and graphs; almost more of a white paper than a blog post. When I told him I wouldn’t know what to do with that, because it was overwhelming, he wrote back to tell me how I could do it. After I wrote him saying that I didn’t know him, he’d never written anything on my blog and never participated in a discussion, and wasn’t following any of my feeds. He did say that he went through Google Blogs looking for folks who write things on his particular topic and my blog came up, so he was just submitting to everyone.

By the way, it’s not for this blog, but it’s definitely been for my other two blogs. I hadn’t thought my opinion on health care had gotten all that much further than just my own business blog, but I guess the word is starting to spread a little bit more than I had anticipated. And my finance blog is hitting kind of a renaissance as well. That one, by the way, now has all sorts of people wanting to advertise on it; but that’s the next post.

What’s your thought on someone you don’t know reaching out to you, asking you to read their stuff, then write about it on your blog? Do you find it intrusive or flattering?

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10 Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You

In my own way, to show that I do things for my own reasons and not for other people’s reasons, I’m taking on what I call kind of a meme, which is based off this article on a blog called TwitterMoms titled Share 10 Little Things that Lead to a Happier, Healthier You. Actually, the title is much longer, because it’s actually part of some contest where you can win a gift card and some Tropicana juice stuff. Frankly, I don’t care about all of that, which is why I’m not doing all the other stuff they’re asking for. Instead, I thought it would be fun to do this particular thing.

Why am I doing this? A few reasons. One, because I want to show some of the things I write about on my business blog, which includes motivational stuff here and there; I sometimes do that here as well. Two, because I want to show that I do know some things that might make me healthier and happier, even if I don’t do all of them.

And three, because I love some memes. I hope you clicked on the link above if you don’t know what one is. However, you can check out the other 3 memes I’ve played with: Passion Quilt; Soundtrack of Your Life; and 7 Things You Don’t Know About Me.

Anyway, here’s my list of 10:

1. Hug the people you care about at least once a day. I hug my wife multiple times a day, and when I see friends, I try to get hugs in as well. Had to learn how to hug my guy friends, but that only happens if they can handle it as well.

2. Find something that will make you laugh at least 30 minutes a day. I don’t do this one every day, but I find when I do it that I feel really good.

3. Eat in some kind of moderation so you don’t feel sick to your stomach. When I plan my meals I do very well, but a night like Monday night, when I was at a meeting, convinced me that I could break from my pattern and eat a lot of pizza, which I don’t eat at home; ugh!

4. Have at least one small sweet treat a day. If I don’t have a sweet treat every day I tend to get into a mode where I want a lot of it, and of course that’s not good for me. So my wife doles it out to me a little bit at a time, and I appreciate that she does that for me, even if I can’t figure out where she’s hiding it.

5. Find a reason to get at least 30 minutes a day to yourself in some fashion. I’m bad at this one because even when I take a break, I do it at the computer. I need to convince myself to get away from it here and there.

6. Find a way to get at least a little bit of exercise every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes. Yeah, this one I’m really bad at. I do something maybe 3 or 4 days a week, but when I can get myself into a good mode, I’ll try to do something longer and at least twice a day. When it gets warmer, if I’m home this summer, I’ll be at the lake in the morning and the afternoon walking.

7. At least a few times a day, do a little bit of stretching. What I’m learning is that it’s not necessarily that my being out of shape is what injures me here and there, it’s that everything is so tight. I’ve taken to doing some stretching exercises daily, and a few times a day I’ll just stop and stretch in a few positions for about a minute or two. It all helps.

8. If you feel bad in any way for 7 days or more, see a doctor. I refer you to my story of how I discovered I was diabetic back in 1997 by paying attention to some signs that many people ignore.

9. Try not to take yourself too seriously. Sometimes I have problems with this, but I also laugh at myself many times a day. I tend to view almost every situation as some kind of story, which means I try to recall it so I can tell it later on. If it ends up being funny, even better.

10. Feel good about yourself. When I talked about the movie The Secret, I mentioned this thing about the laws of attraction. If you feel good about yourself and think positive things, positive things come into your life. A motivational speaker named Zig Ziglar says “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” I like to add “and you’ll feel pretty good as well.”

And there you go. Now, I always ask people to do their own meme based on my participating, and to date no one has ever followed me and given it a shot. For this one, I wonder who’ll step up to the plate and keep it going; maybe one of my Power 50 friends? 🙂

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SEO Doctor

From Kristi’s most recent Fetching Friday post came an article from Search Engine Journal on a Firefox plugin called SEO Doctor. In essence, it gives you a heck of a lot of information on how your SEO efforts are working on your website, and if you know how to dig deeper, might give you some indications of what you can do better.

After checkout out the article, I went to the page, downloaded the plugin, and of course added it to my browser, where it’s sitting at the lower left as I type. The biggies, as it pertains to what you want to know, are: the percentage, out of 100%, of effectiveness your page is in its SEO efforts; the number of external links and links overall on that page; and the number of visits that page has received.

When I go to my main business site, it’s ranked at 96% out of 100%; I like that. Some of my other pages on that site are perfect, and I like that even better. The worst page on that site comes in at 90%. It shows me I have 3 external links and 43 links overall; I had to go counting to find those links overall, but they’re there. It shows me… well, it shows me nothing as it pertains to visits. That’s because you have to belong to Compete, and you have to have an API key to pop in, and of course I’m not signing up for that. I wish I could change it to something else, but I’m stuck with that; oh well…

There are two other things on the toolbar as well. One is something called Flow, which measures the percentage of page rank you’re retaining on your site. Since y’all know I don’t particularly follow page rank all that much, I’m not worried about it, which is why it’s not in my top 3. However, on my business page it says I’m retaining 88% of my page rank. The last thing is this little green tab to the far right, which allows me to track nofollow links if I so choose; I don’t at this juncture, but it’s neat enough to take a quick look at.

Finally, you can right click on any of the information listed and get even more information, which you can download if you prefer in a .csv format. Of course, if you have nothing in Compete, that one won’t work.

Anyway, it’s a neat little tool you might want to check out, but of course you have to be on Firefox to use it.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Formspring.me

This is something different that I bet most of us wouldn’t really have the courage to use; at least I know I don’t.

It’s called Formspring.me. What it allows you to do is set up an account where people can anonymously ask you questions about pretty much anything, and you answer them. You have the opportunity to tell people the types of things you talk about so that maybe people will stay on topic, but they can deviate at any moment and ask you about pretty much anything.

How did I discover it? One of my Twitter friends, a local young lady, created an account that she’d heard of from someone else, and started promoting it there. She answers questions about sex, mainly about her own escapades, and no, I’m not going to link to it. Yeah, she’s pretty open about it on Twitter with people who follow her, and if she decides she wants to post something here about it then that’s on her.

Suffice it to say, she created the account, put it up on Twitter, and I tracked it there to see what it was all about. It’s eye opening stuff, and she’s really open about her thoughts and experiences. I didn’t know someone could experience so much before the age of 25; man, I’ve not lived at all!

Anyway, you’ll find it’s a pretty simple page. There’s no searching; you pretty much have to tell people you have an account once you create one, and you’ll probably have to keep telling them to keep them coming back. Actually, it might be a good thing for business sites; I might have to rethink this one for one of my sites. We’ll see.

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10 Tips To Become A Faster And More Efficient Reader – Guest Post

Some of you know that I can and often speed read. It’s hard for me to tell people how I do it, since I learned it so long ago. Tom reached out and asked if he could write a guest post for this blog, and it’s on a topic I know something about and think it will help some of you who might want some tips. Enjoy.

Becoming a faster reader can significantly improve the pace at which you work and learn. Many individuals find that they have a difficult time with reading at a fast pace. They may spend hours or even weeks reading assignments, work papers, or other important documents.

The following tips will help you learn to read at a faster pace. It will require a lot of practice, but the benefits of becoming a faster reader will improve your quality of life and increase your free time.

  1. Skim: One of the best ways to speed up reading is to learn how to properly skim. Skimming is the ability to read only the essential sentences and paragraphs of a piece of writing. You can effectively skim by skipping sentences or paragraphs that contain unimportant, summarized, or repeated information.
  2. Skip Words: The fastest readers are able to quickly read by skipping words that are not essential. By focusing on only the most important words in a sentence, you will be able to read sentences with significantly increased speed. In order to read faster, you should skip “the”, “a”, “this”, “that”, and other words that are simply placeholders.
  3. Don’t Move Your Lips: Moving your lips while reading can significantly slow down your reading pace. Your mind can comprehend words much faster than your lips can verbalize them. Reading out loud or moving your lips while you’re reading can significantly slow your reading pace.
  4. Improve Vocabulary: Reading takes a lot longer when you don’t understand what you’re reading. If you find that you are stumbling over words, it may help to read with a dictionary and look up troublesome words. This will require a lot of extra work initially, but eventually you will no longer stumble over unknown words.
  5. Read with Purpose: You should always know your intention before you begin to read a piece of writing. If you are looking for a specific fact, you may want to skim for key words or phrases. If you’re reading to understand the facts about a particular subject, you may want to skip filler words and sentences. Knowing your objective before you begin reading will help you determine the manner in which you should read the passage.
  6. Read Faster: Actively attempting to read faster can increase the speed of your reading. It is not advisable to practice speed reading on homework assignments or work documents, but it’s an excellent tool to use during leisure reading. Spend several minutes per day reading at a pace that is two or three times as fast as you normally read. Eventually your brain will learn to speed up important readings too.
  7. Read More: The more you read the better you will become at reading. An excellent way to improve the speed of your reading is to simply take time each day to sit down and read.
  8. Read in Groupings: Sounding out each individual word takes a lot of time. In order to increase the speed of your reading, you should read in groupings of words or even full sentences. Your brain is capable of comprehending words and sentences visually. You do not need to sound out the words to get the gist of what they mean.
  9. Skim Passages: To read faster while improving your reading comprehension, it may help to skim the entire passage either before or after reading it more thoroughly. This will help you pick out key words and concepts, which will seem more familiar to you during the second reading.
  10. Don’t Reread: Fully rereading passages that you have already read will disrupt the pace and flow of your reading. It’s important to move on, even if you’re not sure that you fully understood the passage.

Increasing the speed of your reading can be a lot of work. The most important thing to remember is that every word in a piece of writing is not important. It’s okay to skip unnecessary words, sentences, and even paragraphs. With time and practice you will be able to increase the speed of your reading and the effort is well worth it.

Tom Walker is a writer and avid reader who works with a UK based online store specializing in print supplies such as HP 363 ink. He maintains their blog about design, art and advertising.