All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

Black Web Friday – 5/4/12

Welcome to the 16th edition of Black Web Friday. On this day in history, in 1961, the famous Freedom Riders began their journey through the South to try to integrate bus stations and help bring an end to segregation. Those folks, 13 of them, both black and white, had to deal with a lot of violence against them, even by law enforcement, but by September segregation at bus stations had been outlawed. Based on what they went through it’s an honor to keep writing these posts and highlighting black people online for awhile longer. So let’s get right into it.

Black Web Friday

Are you looking for ways to save money? If so you might want to visit the blog called Frugalista written by Natalie P. McNeal. She’s a journalist who did an experiment, saw how great it worked out, and turned it into a quality blog of ideas that she shares with everyone. There are a lot of articles geared towards women but many that are open for everyone, so take a look to see if there’s anything there that might address an issue of yours. Standard blog commenting system.

Marcie Hill’s blog Marcie Writes might make you think it’s a new blog, but in actuality she moved to self hosting in January, leaving behind her WordPress.com blog; good for you! πŸ™‚ Her blog talks about writing, publishing and business, and she has a lot of interviews with other writers on her site. This is a very accomplished person and you could learn a lot by checking out what she has to say if this is an industry you’d like to break into. Standard blog commenting system.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox is known as The Money Coach, so of course her blog Ask The Money Coach.com talks about finance issues. Truthfully, her blog covers a lot of topics my finance blog covers, only she’s writing all the articles herself, and they’re really good; I’m jealous! Anyway, it’s geared towards American audiences, though there are some articles which are universal as it pertains to things like using credit cards. She also wrote a book called Perfect Credit: 7 Steps to a Great Credit Rating, which proves she knows her stuff. Standard blog commenting system.

Finally, we needed some male perspective here besides just mine, so I introduce you to Andre Blackman, who writes Pulse + Signal, which is about public health issues. I’ll admit that this one isn’t for everyone, though for someone like me who also works in health care it’s great seeing someone tackles these topics from a social perspective. And there are general articles such as when he wrote about Food Day 2012, which happens to be October 24th every year and highlights hunger and other food issues. And yes, you guessed it, standard blog commenting system once more.

That’s it; some good stuff here, and I hope you go take a look at all of them. Be sure to tell them that Mitch sent you. πŸ™‚
 

What Keywords Are You Being Found For?

You know, one of the strangest things about having a blog where you can write about anything is that you’re never sure how people find you. Whereas I specifically sculpt the types of search terms I want to be found for on my business blog and my finance blog, a blog of this type is really all over the place.


via Flickr

So imagine my surprise when I decided to take a look at the keywords that people have found this blog via search engines for over the last 4 months. This is freaky, but I’m going to share the numbers first. Let’s take a look:

January

Keyword Visits % Visits

1. (not provided) 735 21.81%
2. brendon burchard scam 607 18.01%
3. firefox vs chrome 187 5.55%
4. forcefield.exe 82 2.43%
5. sexting 45 1.34%
6. success 42 1.25%
7. girls sexting 32 0.95%
8. sexting girls 32 0.95%
9. sexting pics 20 0.59%
10. obsession with numbers 18 0.53%

February

Keyword Visits % Visits

1. (not provided) 453 17.60%
2. brendon burchard scam 137 5.32%
3. forcefield.exe 30 1.17%
4. girls sexting 27 1.05%
5. do they still make zima 24 0.93%
6. sexting girls 23 0.89%
7. firefox vs chrome 22 0.85%
8. image copyright laws 22 0.85%
9. sexting 20 0.78%
10. sexting pics 16 0.62%

March

Keyword Visits % Visits

1. (not provided) 588 24.13%
2. brendon burchard scam 188 7.71%
3. forcefield.exe 31 1.27%
4. sexting 23 0.94%
5. firefox vs chrome 20 0.82%
6. black social network 16 0.66%
7. image copyright laws 15 0.62%
8. sexting girls 15 0.62%
9. girls sexting 14 0.57%
10. do they still make zima 13 0.53%

April

Keyword Visits % Visits

1. (not provided) 510 29.01%
2. brendon burchard scam 59 3.36%
3. girls sexting 21 1.19%
4. sexting girls 21 1.19%
5. sexting 19 1.08%
6. “i’m just sharing” 16 0.91%
7. forcefield.exe 16 0.91%
8. image copyright laws 10 0.57%
9. how to write a rant 9 0.51%
10. favourite classical pieces 8 0.46%

Frankly, these are pretty shocking if you ask me. So you know, when it says “not provided” it means that the majority of terms searched didn’t make the top 10 otherwise.

So let’s take a look at the above. You see that #2 on every list is “brendon burchard scams”. I wrote an article last July titled Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back and I highlighted his book Millionaire Messenger in that post, and I mentioned the word “scam” referring to something else, not him. It’s strange how I wrote a positive post, never used what’s coming up as any type of keyword, yet it holds so much weight.

Next, let’s look at “forcefield.exe”. I wrote an article back in May 2010 titled Zone Alarm Issues You Should Know About and I mentioned that term only once in the article. I’m really stunned that it comes up so often in searches, as it was just something I mentioned in passing. I mean, if I was also being found for the term “zone alarm” I might think there was a valid relationship, but no. So strange…

Finally, all the terms about “sexting”; wow. I wrote another article in 2010 titled Should Sexting Be Illegal, nothing close to supporting what kids do so often, and that one article, the only one I’ve ever written on the subject, keeps people coming here on the search engines.

A couple of the search terms do make some sense though. I did write a post comparing Firefox vs Chrome, and my Black Web Friday series fits the black social network searches. I also had a guest post on image copyright rules and talked about the end of Zima (in 2008 no less), and wrote an article highlighting my favorite classical pieces (I didn’t know so many British folks were searching for it).

As I said, I have better control over my business account, and it shows as I mainly write about leadership there and the search terms overwhelming sending people there are related to that term, so I’m doing my job well. But here…

This is eye opening, but I’m not sure how much I can do. I do know this; I can hide that one post on sexting and within a few months that search term won’t be found anymore here. I know that because I removed my one post about cleavage and even though I’ve mentioned it a couple of times here and there, because it’s no longer a post (a post that was innocuous yet got Adsense banned on this site; talk about being duplicitous), I’m not found for that term anymore.

The lesson here is that you might need to check your analytics, see what terms your blog or website might be being found for, and determine if that’s the way you want to be found. Of course, if you have a niche blog you’re going to have a better chance of being found for your terms than I do. Yup, do as I say, not as I do! πŸ˜‰
 

Comparing Chess To Blogging In 5 Moves

I’ve been playing chess in some fashion since I was 12 years old. I’m not going to say I’m good, but I will say that there are good players I’ve beaten every once in awhile and bad players I’ve lost to every once in awhile but, like pool, I did win a chess tournament when I was a kid, though nothing sanctioned or anything like that.

I guess that qualifies me to write a post comparing some aspects of chess to some aspects of blogging. After all, I’ve compared blogging to poker, a toaster oven, and Harry Potter. So why not, right? That and Sire dared me to. πŸ™‚ Here goes:

1. A big part of chess and blogging is about consistency.

With chess, there are moves you develop as your beginning that you’ll almost always do unless you’re very proficient at the game. You do that because what happens if you don’t is you end up losing to someone who’s been hoping you’ll do something stupid early so they can crush you.

In blogging, consistency means you establish how often you’re going to write and then you try to stick to it as much as possible. If you decide to alter things, you do so with both a practiced hand and by running your own version of analytics to see how it’s going. If you change up either by suddenly writing drastically less or a heck of a lot more your audience might not know how to react to it and thus your game isn’t as tight as you’d like it to be.

2. Every once in awhile you have to shake things up.

Whereas consistency is a good thing for you, if you’re practiced shaking things up here and there could work to your benefit. Back when Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in 1972, one of the turning points early on was Fischer changing from what everyone knew was his opening move. Spassky was so thrown that he never made a move in the game and resigned.

In blogging, safe is nice and comfortable but people need to be inspired to want to come to see what you have to say next, and that doesn’t happen unless you shake things up from time to time. I wonder how many people thought I was going to write a 2,800 word post on being happy a few days ago, or knew I was going to tell a story about my battle with a wasp, which I won. πŸ™‚

3. Both chess and blogging are predicated on the concept of a good beginning, middle and end.

There are thousands of chess books dedicated only to opening moves; experts consider it that important. There are also thousands of books dedicated to what they call the “end game”. The middle offers millions of possible combinations, yet it’s those middles that result from the beginnings and lead to those ends.

In blogging, at least for me, the best posts are told like stories, and every good story has a great beginning, middle and end. The introduction usually tells people what’s coming, or in some fashion brings them into play. The middle is the really interesting part, the meat if you will, because hopefully the writer gets you engrossed in some fashion such that you can’t wait to get to the end. The end… well, often it’s kind of anticlimactic in blogging, but many will tell you that if you’re trying to make money then how you close is really important, the “call to action” if you will.

4. Going for the draw or storming the fortress.

Two months ago Mitch Allen and myself wrote a joint guest post on one of Vernessa Taylor’s properties titled This IS a Game. It’s Your Move, a look at small business from the perspective of chess, which is probably why I thought I’d already written a post here on chess. We were asked to talk about what we saw was our most important business lesson as related to chess. I stated that sometimes one has to go for the draw when one needs to find balance in what they’re doing if they’re not already on top of things. Mitch wrote that a player can’t go after their goal without some kind of plan as to how they’re going to win in attacking the fortress the other player sets up.

Blogging is kind of like that. Unless it’s a blog like this one that doesn’t have a niche, you almost can’t afford to blog without having some idea of what it is you’re planning. Now to be truthful, I have set myself up so I can write about anything I want to, but I do also have plans. For instance, you know about Black Web Friday; that is planned. You know I write mainly about blogging and social media; that’s planned. Almost every subject I write about on a consistent basis is part of a plan. I don’t deviate all that often from the plans for this blog. I expect that’s why people come back; even though they don’t know what I’m going to talk about next, they do know that there are places I’m not going to go; this is a safe zone, no matter what topic I address.

5. If you play enough chess or blog enough, you’ll get better and find your rhythm.

When I started playing chess against people who knew what they were doing, I was losing a lot of games in about 10 moves. That was embarrassing to say the least. These days I’m not so easy to beat, even if I still don’t win them all (or even most of them against Mitch; Sire and I are pretty much equal). Yet I’m not a pushover; I have my set number of moves I want to get to, and I usually get there if I play someone more than once.

With blogging, I don’t have a set number of words, but I do have a style I like to maintain. This blog is more than 4 years old now, and if you have the nerve to look at the early posts and compare them to the newer posts, you’ll see that I got better at it. The same goes for my business blog and my newsletter; time and practice makes you better at everything. And with both chess and blogging, you get to do it over and over, so you can’t help but get better.
 

WP Smush.It Issues With WordPress Version 3.3.2

This one will indeed be a very short post, so short I’m not even putting a picture in it.

If you’ve been having problems uploading images since the last WordPress update to 3.3.2 it’s most probably the WP Smush-It plugin, if you’re using it. It’s a great plugin for reducing the size of the images you upload but for some reason, it’s gone wonky with the latest update.

I did my research, of course, and the two recommendations were to delete your uploads file off your server and let it be created all over again and to inactivate all of your plugins and try to upload an image, and if it worked then you knew it was one of those. I actually did delete all my files first because I just can’t do the easy thing (I copied all images to my computer first) and the first image I loaded afterwards worked, but none of the others did.

I pretty much knew then that it was going to be one of two plugins on my computer, either the one dealing with caching or the one dealing directly with images. I chose that one and I’ve had nothing but success since.

Now, if you’re still having problems and don’t use that plugin at all, the other suggestion is still out there for you to try. And now I’m done… oh heck, okay, an image at the bottom. πŸ™‚

 

Web Traffic Stinks; What Gives?

It’s the last day of April and in a way I think that’s a good thing. I’m hoping for some better things to come, and for the record, I’m talking about online things.

What an interesting month this was. There were some things I did that in the past would have been amazing in raising traffic. Instead, I seem to have taken a hit in traffic across the board except for one of my sites, and that makes no sense.

I had heard that there was indeed another Panda update from Google. I’ve been touched before so I figured that maybe it was done messing with me. Nope, seems not to be the case. This blog dropped about 25% in traffic over the last month, even though I’ve kept up the same posting schedule. Actually, it dropped the previous month as well, but only about 5% so I hadn’t thought much about it, but when I looked at Analytics again I noticed that suddenly on one day it dropped noticeably, which means I was doing pretty well until that point. Heck, I was even listed on Technorati’s top 100 business blogs in 68th place; that’s gone now.

I tried an experiment on my business blog that has always worked in the past. I wrote 18 articles in 15 days, and posted 15 straight days. Over the years, previous tests have always shown that more content equals more traffic; instead, traffic dropped about 10% during the period and continues to slowly drop. Now, this blog not being niched maybe I could see it, though I still wouldn’t like it, but my business blog is fairly strongly niched; no reason it shouldn’t have gone up.

My finance blog stayed almost the same, and my SEO blog did go up, but that one’s still fairly new. The website that made a nice recovery in my mind is my medical billing site, where traffic jumped 25% after falling some months ago, but my Adsense money hasn’t gone up any and that’s slightly disturbing. I got a notice from the Adsense folks saying I should add one more ad unit to each page, but I’m thinking that would be overkill.

Is anyone else noticing traffic fluctuations on their blogs or websites that aren’t positive? I know I’m not the only one, as I was reading a few blogs over the weekend lamenting the same thing. These things are getting out of hand in my opinion.