Four Things I’ve Noticed Lately

I love visiting a lot of blogs and leaving comments where I can. Because I’m all over the place, I tend to start noticing some things that maybe others hadn’t noticed. There are 4 things in particular I’m going to mention today.


by Steven Bridger

The first is that I’ve noticed on many blogs this thing at the bottom of the comment area asking me to click the box to prove I’m not a spammer. I thought that was a little odd until it hit me that it’s come about because of a new plugin called the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin, created by Gail Gardner and Andy Bailey. This is in response to problems they and others have had with Akismet, something I don’t have a problem with but I understand the issue. Many people have said they haven’t had a single bit of spam since adding it; a couple of people said they’re still getting some. Still, it might be a nice addition for some of you to check out.

The second is that I’ve noticed that WordPress.com blogs aren’t sending me email asking me to subscribe to comments anymore. Man, that was greatly irritating to me, as you know if you’ve read this blog, because that’s the reason I was hesitant to leave comments on those blogs, just as I still am with Disqus blogs. I also noticed that I haven’t gotten that message from the last two Intense Debate blogs I wrote a comment on as well. Now, here’s the other side of that. To date, I’ve only gotten two notifications from blogs I’ve left a comment on as it pertains to any of these, and both were WordPress blogs. This tells me that either the owners of the blogs have to go in and select to send notifications to people they respond to or it just doesn’t work for everyone for some reason. I’ve tested this by going back to see if people have responded to a comment of mine, and if they have then I know I never got the notification. I’ll just ask those of you who have WordPress blogs on their site to check out your settings.

The third thing I’ve noticed seems to be happening only to me, unless other Firefox users have seen it but haven’t said anything. This is in relation to the CommentLuv plugin, which I absolutely love. Lately it seems I visit some blogs, write a comment, and the CommentLuv thing doesn’t see my blog. I thought that was wonky and decided to write the folks about it. However, I closed my blog once, popped it back up, went to the same site and put my information in and suddenly it was working again. This tells me the problem is with Firefox and not CommentLuv. I have absolutely no idea what that’s about or how to fix it. I do know that I went through the last update for Firefox and maybe it’s related to that somehow. But I haven’t been able to find on the search engines where anyone else has complained about this.

The fourth thing is that it seems that Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) isn’t fully working properly. In this case, if I write a post in advance, when it posts Twitter Tools doesn’t show it. It probably took me a couple of weeks to notice this, and it seems to be holding true for all 3 of my blogs. If I post immediately, it goes there, but otherwise, it’s a no-show. This is problematic because I write most of my posts beforehand and schedule them, and if I have to go back and post the link manually it defeats the purpose of having the plugin to begin with. On this one I’ve seen other people complain, but to date there’s been no real fix for the issue, though many think it’s related to the Twitter oAuth thing we all had to do back in August.

That’s all I have. If you’ve noticed anything odd, or wish to comment on any of the above, please share.


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Can You Change Writing Styles?

Last week I was reading a guest blog post on another blog when the writer wrote one specific line: “Get to the point as quickly as possible, say it in as few words as possible, and you’re done.”


by Markus Rodder

And he was. For a guest post I was thinking how relatively short the piece was. Frankly, it didn’t have a lot of personality in it, but I overlooked that so I could think about it some over the weekend. I don’t remember the blog, but I’ve heard and read that statement many times before, and thought it deserved to be addressed.

I tend to believe that we all need to learn how to write for the moment and purpose. As you may know, I do a lot of writing, not only for myself but for others. When I write on this blog, you’re “hearing” my voice, the way I normally speak. When I write on my business blog, sometimes you don’t hear the same type of conversational voice, sometimes you do. It depends on the topic. Actually, even on this blog you’ll see that when I’m talking about something technical, or a step-by-step process, it’s pretty straight forward.

I write for a couple of different industry blogs. One is real estate, and for the most part it’s fairly flat writing because, well, there’s really nothing about real estate that allows for much conversation and deviation except for the news about the industry. Where I differ there is that I don’t just write about the news; I kind of give an opinion about that particular bit of news and then hopefully end on a happy note to encourage people to continue looking to buy. Overall though, it’s pretty straight forward; nothing extraneous.

That differs with a wedding blog I write. I have a lot of fun with that one. It’s a mix of news, recommendations, and opinions. I’ve gotten really good with that topic, and thus I have a lot of fun with it and I put a lot of personality into the writing. Yet it still remains upbeat at all times, as well as instructional. If you saw any of the posts on that blog (sorry, can’t share the link), you probably wouldn’t know it was me if you compared it to this blog because I use a different “voice” for it.

Same thing with writing papers for others, whether it’s white papers or term papers, so to speak. In those instances those papers are very straight forward, no personality whatsoever, because they’re purpose is to explain, not entertain. Also, I know that the person with a term paper is going to have to change up some of the language so it looks like they wrote it; it has to sound like them, and I don’t know those people to try to sound like them.

I think what makes a person’s blog different is how they decide to use their language to enthrall our mental ear so that we see them as unique, entertaining, and worth giving time to. On this blog, I often try to use a storytelling technique when I’m talking about things because I’ve found with my newsletter that people really started sharing it with others, and thus it started growing, when I went to that format. I think we all like stories; who here can honestly say they didn’t enjoy having their parents read stories to them as a child?

Of course, there are times when getting to the point is imperative. If you’re asked a certain question or want a certain answer, you don’t want someone to pontificate for 45 minutes then tell you what you want to know; you want your answer now. That’s one of my gripes with how many people conduct webinars and podcasts, and why the hairs on my neck go up with many of the free presentations that say they’re going to tell you how to do something, then spend hours telling you everything except that to get you to buy something from them. Promising something and not delivering; I hate that.

Just something to consider when you’re writing your blog. To me, this is imminently more important than sitting around thinking about SEO when writing your post. Boring keeps people away; entertain them, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Kind of like adding a video as an entertaining touch:

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Thanking Some Early Commenters

I’m not quite there yet, but I’m closing in on 3 full years of writing this blog. Like most blogs, this one took awhile to start picking up any steam whatsoever. I got my first comment 3 days after I started this blog from a friend of mine, and another friend followed up a couple of days after that. I got my first comment from someone I didn’t know almost 2 weeks after I started writing this blog.


by Woodley Wonderworks

Since those early days I’ve made a few changes. The first significant change was adding CommentLuv to this blog in May of 2008. That really signified the turning of the corner, and though I’m not going to say I was an overnight success, things did start improving some. The second significant change was having my posts go directly to Twitter, though I had started posting the links to articles I was writing in April 2008.

Anyway, since the first comment I’ve received 11,587 total comments on this blog, and I appreciate all of them. But I wanted to give some love to my early commenters if possible, and that’s what this post is about. Some of those early folks are gone or never had blogs to begin with. Some never came back again, but that’s okay. We all need a bit of encouragement when we start, and I’m happy that these folks played with me. A name or two might pop up here and there that you’re familiar with; let’s see what we find. By the way, I was kind of inspired to do this post because of Tia Peterson, who writes Biz Chicks Blogs and wrote a post where she highlighted what she considered as the best comments her blog got that week.

My friend Sue is a life coach, and she was one of the early posters here and has started posting comments again recently. Her business is called Dreamscape International, and she’s pretty good, concentrating on relationships and the like. No, I’ve never had to use her for that. lol

Our friend Sire was one of the early commenters here as well. Back then he was commenting from a different blog that I refer to as his BS blog, but y’all know I have those staid American sensibilities, so I’m going to pop up his Wassup Blog instead. He’s still a regular contributor, and I appreciate it greatly.

A guy named Jonathan showed up when I had a post in a financial topic. His blog is called Master Your Card and it’s on finances, especially credit cards.

Another friend of mine, Kelvin, was an early commenter; he’s pretty much disappeared since then, but we still talk all the time on Twitter and get to breakfast here and there. He has many sites and things he’s doing, but when he commented he was promoting his Ringold.net site, so that’s the one I’m sharing with you. At some point I think he’ll end up setting it up as a portal site to direct you to all the other stuff he does; at least that’s what I’d do.

Heidi was a Ryze friend who was also one of my early Facebook and Twitter friends. Her blog is called Connect Simply, and she’s a business motivational coach.

Larry’s blog has really taken off, and I think we pretty much started near the same time. He calls it Online Social Networking and he talks about social media, business networking and of course the internet in general.

Dave was also a one time visitor, whose blog is called Dave ‘n Judy. Looks like he hasn’t written anything new in awhile since he wrote a book that he talked about, but he used to write on computers and things like that.

Josh is another one of my good friends, the one who was with me when I wrote my story about the key. His blog is his name, Josh Shear, and he pretty much writes about anything like me.

This guy Tim busted on me for talking about Joel Comm messing up. He kind of missed the point, but that’s okay because it was a comment. He doesn’t have a blog, but linked to his website on massage products.

And finally, this lady commented twice in those early days, and I haven’t seen her again since. Her blog is called Style Frizz and her name is kpriss; that’s it, and I did try to find a real name. It’s on fashion, and it’s actually pretty neat; I’m just not a fashion guy, but it’s for women anyway.

And there you go. I think those folks, some of whom are still around, for helping me bring this blog into some kind of prominence. One of these days, I might do the same for my business blog; I doubt it, though. 🙂

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Folks Writing About Making Money Online – The Reality

You know, I’ve written often about my travails in trying to make money online. Do you know what the number one niche for blogging is in the world? Making money online! Do you know how many people are actually making money online, and by that I mean money enough to live off? Less than .3%.


by Florian

Finally last week a big time blogger, John Chow, wrote a post telling people to stop stop blogging about making money online if you’ve never made any money online. I thought it was about time one of them wrote it, and I liked it so much that I actually commented on the post, which I rarely do with the big names, as I’ve talked about in the past.

Whenever I’ve talked about it on this blog, I’ve either given a monthly report or talked about something I’ve tried and how it performed. I certainly have made little money off this blog, and I get all sorts of things from people such as “if you talked about only one thing”, if you “niched”, if you collected email addresses, on and on and on. Please folks; it works for some and doesn’t work for others.

Why is that? I think it really comes down to a few things. You need a true support system. You need some loyal visitors and you need a lot of them. You need a few folks who have high ranking blogs that get a lot of visitors to help give you a push. And you need to write that one post that really gets you a lot of attention in your niche, or for a product. In other words, you need a break, and a major one.

How many of us really get that? I actually can’t totally gripe about mine all that much except it’s not really on a topic that’s helped me any. When I wrote that one post on cleavage it was kind of a lark. Yet it overwhelms every other post I’ve ever written by an almost 10 – 1 margin. It averages 1 minute and 26 seconds as far as how long people stay on the post. and it has a bounce rate of 70%. That means a couple of things. One, it probably takes folks that long to look at the pictures, since it doesn’t get a lot of real comments. And two, people were looking for specifically that topic, came to the blog, noticed nothing else was like it and left. It’s helped some with traffic but none with sales or money making. Instead, it got this blog banned from Adsense; of all things!

The overall thing is that people should write about a few types of things. One, what you know. Two, what you like. Three, what you maybe don’t like (or what makes you mad; politics, religion, racism, ice cream, etc) that you can write a lot about. That’s about it; everything else doesn’t really matter. With these three things, you can show passion in your writing, communicate with people well, and possibly have the opportunity to make money. At the very least, you’ll sound original; everyone likes that.

Just be yourself and write that way; who doesn’t love that?

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SEO Is A “Practice” Like Medicine, Not A Science

Every Wednesday on Twitter there’s something that goes on that originated here in the Syracuse area. It’s called Community Manager Chat, and it’s actually geared towards people who handle the social media processes at their particular companies, or for someone else. I get to be a part of it because social media is my thing, or at least a big part of my thing. If you ever decide to participate it’s at 2PM Eastern time, and you use the hashtag #cmgrchat to follow along.


Searching by Josh Heilaman

Last Wednesday the topic of discussion was blogging, which y’all know I thrive on. It was actually the second week on the topic because it seemed like it was very popular and there were so many questions being asked. I answered a bunch of questions, and on that day and the day after I got a bunch of new followers; I could see that a lot of people were interested in what I had to share.

Anyway, what happens is that one of the moderators throws out a question every 15 minutes or so, then the responses fly out. One of the questions asked what people did for SEO on their blogs. I stated that my SEO strategies are to write as much content as I can and to, for the most part, write about certain types of topics more often than going off the grid. I actually do that if you check my centennial stat posts from time to time.

As normal, there were a few people who went into the direction of having to not only write niche blogs, but to make sure to stuff your posts with keywords and keyword phrases so they could be found easier on the search engines. I read that stuff all the time and for the most part I think it’s garbage. After all, if I write 100 posts on roses and suddenly decide to stuff a post with the phrase “brown picture frames”, it’s not really going to mean anything to anyone, including the search engines. Those 100 posts on roses are going to fare way better.

After seeing some of those posts, I wrote the line that this post is based on: SEO is a “practice” like medicine, not a science. It got retweeted a bunch of times; I think people liked that phrase a lot.

And of course I believe it’s true. There are a lot of great SEO practices, which I’ve even talked about on this blog, but the truth is that not every website is going to end up on the first page of Google or any other search engine just because one’s site is optimized well. If you decided today that your goal was to be in the top 10 for the term “shoes” you probably won’t have a chance unless you can produce close to 900 pages of blog posts in a year or so. That’s because there are so many people already writing on that same topic that have beaten you to the punch. You can get creative to find your little niche in that group and that might put you on the first page; otherwise, you just need to be the best you can be and hope to compete in another way.

SEO is like medicine because it’s really a guessing game after a certain point. Doctors guess all the time as to what’s wrong with us. I bet every person who reads this post knows someone who had a doctor tell them “I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” or something to that effect. I’ve heard it myself. And these people go to school for 8 years, then do 2 or 4 years of clinical before they’re allowed to be out on their own; I don’t know anyone who’s truly been doing SEO for more than 7 years or so.

Does this mean one shouldn’t try to be as effective as possible in trying to get their blogs to perform well on the search engines? Absolutely not. What it does mean is that one shouldn’t kill themselves trying to write the perfectly optimized post every time out. To me, based on history, one gets way more juice by trying to put out as much good content as they can. That’s always my goal when I decide to write a post, no matter what the topic is on.

Trust me, there’s really nothing wrong with practicing; you might not end up being a concert pianist like Andre Watts, but you could be Liberace, and he made a lot of money in his lifetime.

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