When Do You Unsubscribe From Posts?

Before I begin talking about the subject, I thought I’d put this message out first to see if those folks I consider as comment spammers will actually read it. This blog has never accepted keyword names, but if a first name is present I’ve always left it alone. Other comments, if I thought they were good, I’d go in and edit the name so that only initials showed up. Thing is, not one of those people has ever come back to say anything about it or leave another comment. Therefore effective immediately, any comments with only keywords in it will be deleted; I’m not even going to take the time to read the comment. I need a name, something to call you besides “Vacations In Paris”, or whatever goofy thing someone wants to promote.

via Flickr

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Because I comment on a lot of blogs, I often subscribe to the post for a while to see if someone will respond to it. That is, when it’s an option; otherwise I’ve just figured I’m already subscribed and I’m good with that. I don’t mind seeing other comments… for a while at least.

We all know what happens most of the time. Blog posts aren’t known for their periods of longevity when it comes to getting comments. A post can get a comment many months later, but most of the activity happens very early. Just a few days ago I got notified of a comment on a blog post on someone else’s blog that was written more than two years ago; that’s actually pretty neat because it gives you an opportunity to go back to that blog post to see what it was all about and possibly read it again.

But what do you do if you’ve commented on a blog kind of early and then you’re starting to be bombarded with a lot of other comments? How do you personally handle that type of thing?

The way I handle it is to first wait to see if the blog owner starts responding to any of the comments. I’ll give that a few days or so, and if the blog owner hasn’t started responding to any comments by then I will usually bail. I know that people go on vacation and have other things to do sometimes, but in today’s world everybody has access to the internet within at least a couple of days.

Also, if I’ve written a comment and already gotten a response but there’s still tons of comments coming, I’ll take a look at the comments to see what types of things people are writing. If after a while I notice that almost every comment is kind of junkie, I’ll leave. After all, one always hopes that other people’s comments are going to add to the conversation, and if that’s not happening then why bother?

In being truthful, I have to admit this isn’t a problem I have to deal with all that often. There may be a few blogs that end up with tons of people who comment all the time that I have to deal with. I actually applaud those few blogs because the owners are also responding to the comments. But I like to think I know when it’s time to move on.

So I’m asking you, do you ever unsubscribe from comments at a certain point or do you stick with a blog post no matter how many comments and up showing up until they just finally stop?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

Being Good In Business

I’m not a great business person. True, I did celebrate the 10th anniversary of my business this summer, so I have found a way to stick around for a good long time. But I’m not a great business person; sometimes I’m not even sure I’m a good business person. Let me tell you why.

Two weeks ago I had to go to small claims court to get money that someone owed me for work I completed. The thing is I made one of those crucial mistakes that probably hits all business people at some point in their life. I did the work before I had the person signed the contract, and then he decided that there was something about the work he didn’t like and he didn’t pay me all he owed me. I did the work because this is someone I’d known for a while and thought I could trust; Judge Judy would have chewed me out for this mistake.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened to me since I’ve been in business. It is the first time I was owed enough money to sue for. Luckily I won; yay! Or did I? What I agreed to is half that day and half the following Friday, and to also help finish the project, which this guy hadn’t finished even though in court he tried to tell the judge that he’d gone to somebody else to help him with it. Of course I knew better because there are very few people that do this particular thing I do. I did my part, and today if he does his part I should have a check in the mail. The thing is it’s five days later than I should have had this money. That’s being a bad business person.

On another front, I’ve been waiting to be paid by a company I did work for back in April. In this case I did sign a contract which said that I would get paid when they got paid. This was with another guy I have known for some years who told me that their clients usually pay them within 30 days so that I should have my money relatively soon. This could have turned out to be a very big contract so I went with it.

Instead, new players got into the game, the contract got cut short, and I have been waiting for my payment ever since. I had actually been told that I would have this payment a month ago and I’ve been looking for it for a while. Then last Monday the same guy contacted me and tells me there had been an error in the office that was finally corrected and I should have my check this week. Of course nothing has shown up yet.

If you’ve read this blog or my business blog for a while, you know that I basically have three tenets that I base my perception of every person I meet on. Those tenets are honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness. Sometimes in business we tend to make allowances for things that we wouldn’t make allowances for in our personal lives. This sometimes impacts us negatively when it comes to business, whether we work for ourselves or for someone else. After 10 years I’m supposed to know better; I need to start proving it.

Here are five rules I’ve got to put into effect for myself if I’m going to stay in business. These wouldn’t hurt anyone else to follow if they needed business tips, whether your business is online or off-line, and in some cases whether you work for someone else or not. So here we go:

1. I will no longer do any business with anyone without at least getting a deposit up front. The amount of the deposit will vary based on how big the contract is, but it will be anywhere from 25% to 50%. Truth be told, on the first story I told you if I hadn’t got the amount of money I got up front I wouldn’t have been able to get the entire amount in small claims court, and I would have had to make a decision whether to take him to full court or not. That would’ve been really expensive based on the amount of money he owed me, and I could’ve lost out totally. So maybe I wasn’t such a bad business person at all.

2. I will stop lowering my price for most services I provide for someone else. I mainly do this for people I know, but that turns out to be a bad thing when I’m doing something that’s very technical. One of those things you start to learn is that people don’t respect you as a professional, even if they know you, if your price is too low. I was trying to do the first guy a favor which I thought could result in a lot of business on the back end, and he used it to his advantage by delaying the payment I deserved. Sometimes we need to realize when we do specialized services that we need to stick to our guns and our price and dare people to find someone else who can do the work for them. And if they go searching and can’t find someone, if they come back to you raise the price for their wasting your time.

3. I will better define certain terms of my contract so that there is a definitive as to when a project is completed. In this case I did the work in the time I said I would do it, but I never really indicated when I expected to be paid. I did write that I expected to be paid within two weeks of the end of the project, but that left him to interpret that the project ended when he thought it was over. That left me without being paid for seven months. That’s a mistake that won’t happen again.

4. I will better define what will be delivered and what the client can expect. When it comes to SEO work, clients need to understand that the only guarantee they can really get is that their presence on search engines will improve, probably a lot if they have no ranking, but if they have a presence already results might not be as drastic.

When it comes to the specific healthcare work I do, realizing that everyone can’t do it and those other people that do this type of work, which are mainly the very large consulting companies that charge upwards of three times what I normally charge, are someone that I can beat with a better price and better customer service attention.

5. I will not only work to maintain my integrity and the standards and tenets I’ve set for myself and people in my personal life, but I will hold people in business, whether it’s their company or themselves, to the same standards if I’m the one who’s going to be working with them. This is a concept known as “finding the type of clients you want to work with”. I will not work with just anybody for the sake of getting money. I have found that to be mentally draining and not much fun. True, work isn’t always supposed to be fun, but if work is beating you down get away from it and go do something else.

And those are my five things. Is there anything you’d like to add?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

Guest Posts, Comments Or Interviews; Which Drives More Traffic To Your Site?

I don’t often talk about driving traffic to one’s blog unless it’s a little research project. That’s what this is, and since you see the title, you know what it’s about.

David Peralty is Huge on the Internets
John Federico via Compfight

In the last few months I’ve written one guest post that got a lot of attention, did an interview on another blog that did pretty well, and of course I’ve commented on lots of blogs as I often do. Last night I was sitting around thinking “I wonder which of these things drives more traffic to a blog.” Since this is the only one of my blogs that can address each of these criteria I have to use it for this test. The results are somewhat shocking, at least to me, and might be to you as well.

The study period is June 1st through August 31st. This actually works really well because I wrote the guest post on May 31st and the interview was posted on June 1st (this link now goes elsewhere; the link will explain why lol). Comments are of course an every day thing, and one might think this skews the results, which it would if I was taking all blogs as one. Instead I’m only taking one blog, that being Pete’s Wassup Blog. Why? You’ll see.

The source that brought me the most visitors in this time period was of course Pete’s blog, with 147 visitors coming from there. As a matter of fact, he’s #10 after all the search engines, where 5 different Google’s have sent the most traffic overall. I comment on Pete’s blog often, and we of course have banter here as well. I think that could have an effect since we’ve been doing it for years and I’m sure a lot of people have seen my name because his blog is popular.

Second is the guest blog post, which was on Ileane’s blog, with 89 visitors, and that link is sitting in 14th place. This obviously means the interview comes in third with 53 referrals and sits in 18th place. That all 3 made the top 20 is pretty amazing in and of itself. Just for historical perspective Twitter sits in 11th place, a site called Business2Community, where I was quoted by Ari Herzog and left only one comment, was 15th, and a site I’ve never heard of and have no idea what they do called Gaia Online was 17th; all other referrers were search engines.

Now, I’d be irresponsible if I said that my results will be the same for everyone, but I have to say that based on what I’m seeing it seems that commenting really does drive traffic more than anything else. Maybe it’s because it’s something you do more often and thus always stays fresh. Maybe it’s because people get intrigued with what you have to say, or see a link via CommentLuv and decide to follow it back. I’m not really sure.

However, I hear some people saying “hey, what about that first month, June, when everything took place? What did things look like then?” Glad you asked. For just June Ileane’s blog ended up in 10th, Pete’s blog was 11th, and the one where my interview was sits all the way down in 29th.

Yup, seems commenting is the best thing for me; what do your blog stats show?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

An Important Blog Page If You’re Looking To Do Business

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

A woman is down on her luck and has been for a long time. She’s very religious and has always gone to church every Sunday of her life. One day she decides that she’s never asked for anything, and decides to pray to God to ask for a favor.

“Please God, let me win the lottery so that my life will improve.”


not a service I’m providing

She makes this request every day for a week, a couple of times more than once. Finally, the following Sunday, she gets down to pray but says “Please God, why won’t you answer my prayers. I’ve always been a loyal follower, and now you’re my last hope. Won’t you allow me to win the lottery?”

Out of the blue comes a voice that says “Lady, you have to meet me halfway; go buy a ticket.”

Trust me, it’s funnier when said out loud. lol

Anyway, I lead with that joke because I was talking to someone about this blog. I’ve always said that I had never really expected to make money off this blog, but that it wouldn’t depress me. I said that I’d written more than 1,100 posts on many different topics, many addressing things I could do for others, but I’d gotten very few responses. I said I wasn’t sure what else there was I could do other than continue to write every once in awhile about things I could do for people.

My friend listened and then asked “Do you have a services page on your blog telling people what you do?”

Out of the mouth of the uninitiated, I realized it was something I’d never added to this page. Sure, I talked about my business to a degree, but I had never thought about creating a Services page to go at the top of this blog along with all those other pages.

Goodness folks, it has to be one of the goofiest things in the world to forget, but the easiest and one of the most important pages to create. I know I’ve been to other people’s blogs, and some of them have this page. Why I had a mental block about it is beyond me. Anyway, I now have one; it’s fairly simple right now, but as time goes on I’m sure I’ll flesh it out more. After all, it’s mainly to serve a function, not to be overly conversational.

Just something to think about if you’re ever hoping someone will like what you have to say on your blog and then start thinking about maybe hiring you for something.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

I’m Not Registering, And Other Missives

Y’all know I love social media. I love getting to meet people through all the different platforms. I use it for business as well, probably not as good as others but I get by. I’ve written a lot of posts about trying to find ways to encourage people to participate in the processes, retweeting, sharing your information with Facebook and LinkedIn, and commenting on blogs.


by Tom Magliery via Flickr

Well, it seems things are starting to move in a different direction, and I’m not all that crazy about it. Seems that there’s going to be less effort in trying to convince people that maybe you have something worth sharing and more coercion to get them to participate. And I’m not playing the game; nope, just not doing it.

I’m not going to blame this on Andy Bailey, who I think is brilliant. I love CommentLuv, and I’ve been one of its biggest supporters. I know he made no money off that plugin, and probably makes nothing to very little off the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin as well. I know he’s only delivering to the masses what they want. I’m just not going along with it.

Andy is about to release a new version of CommentLuv, a premium paid version that’s going to have a lot of features to it, as well as allow people to eliminate a bunch of plugins because it will contain what those plugins handle now. It’s purpose is to help those who buy it encourage others to share their information with other people to be allowed access to the best parts of CommentLuv on those particular blogs. I don’t have a problem with the first half of this; I do have a problem with the second part.

When the most drastic changes to CommentLuv came around, users had the ability to limit the number of previous posts someone had access to select from if they left comments on one’s blog. They could just up and select a number or do something like ask people to register so they had access to more posts to select from. I decided I was going to leave things alone; after all, I’ve always been open for access without people having to jump through hoops on this blog. I also remember back 4 years ago when it was recommended NOT to let people register on your blog because some of those people had the skills to actually break into your admin panel and cause you all kinds of grief. I guess that hole’s been plugged, though I’ve never heard a retraction of that statement.

Now those who buy the plugin will be able to hold you hostage (yeah, kind of strong) by making you share their content with one of the major social media sites. They can select one, or they can give you the option of selecting which site you want their post to go to. If you do that first, then you have access to your last 10 posts to choose from.

Trust me, I get it. All of us want our content out there as much as possible. All of us want our blogs and websites to grow. But I’m not one of those people that takes kindly to coercion. Y’all know I’m rebellious about participating on blogs that have Disqus, Livefyre, Intense Debate, or any of those other things. You know I’ve stopped participating with Typepad blogs. You know I’m not leaving comments if the comment system is Facebook only. In other words, if I have to go through an extra step just to leave a comment, I’m not doing it.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me with only having my last post as the selection, and frankly, that’s good enough for me. What you, the blog owner, will lose is the possibility that maybe I’ve written something in my last 10 posts that’s pertinent to your topic on the day I visit your post. You and your readers will just have to deal with whatever I decided to say on my most recent post; that might be good enough for you.

Oh yeah, in this instance I will still comment on your blogs. I’m not dropping anyone I already like. Goodness, I comment on lots of blogs that don’t have CommentLuv. I don’t comment for the link; I comment because I like commenting. You know, one of those guys who’ll share an opinion or statement if I’m encouraged to do so. If the commenting system is still the one I like, I’m sticking around.

But I’m not registering, I’m not retweeting through any of these means that’ll open up my last 10 posts, and I’m not playing the game. I might still retweet, but I’ll do it my way. Yeah, I know most people aren’t going to agree with me on this one. I know the explanations are coming as to why this is good rather than bad.

But, as Wanda Sykes says, “I’m a be me.”
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell