All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Disappointed By Your Videos Viewer Count?

Early this past year I did my first video and popped it up on YouTube, then onto this blog. It was very short and just an introduction, and I knew I had to get better at it. To date I think I’ve done 9 videos, and I think my last one wasn’t all that bad, even if it wasn’t totally for the masses.

However, I have to say that I was kind of shocked when I looked at the numbers of people YouTube said had seen it. Actually, for the longest while it showed only one person had seen it, and I was surprised by that because a number of people had told me they had looked at it. Today it’s up to 4 views, which is still way down. Then I looked at the numbers for my other videos and only one of them seems to have kind of popped. What’s strange is that another video of mine only shows 4 views, yet I know more people than that viewed it because I put it up on Facebook and it was probably one of the most commented on posts I’ve ever had, if not number one.

Then I started to realize something. If you post your video anywhere else YouTube can’t count it. I started doing some research about it and it seems to be true based on a number of people writing about it. Even Google, in its own subversive way, indicates that those numbers won’t show.

Well what the hey? How are we supposed to know how effective our videos are if we can’t get an accurate count? Are we supposed to drive everyone to YouTube instead of our own sites just so we can find out how many people are really viewing our submissions?

Although I’d already been thinking about this for a couple of weeks, it was a post on Adrienne Smith’s site titled How To Get More Views On Your YouTube Videos that got me to think about writing on the topic. I asked a question about the post, where she’s promoting a guy named Paul Wolfe that’s put together something telling us how to get more visitors to our YouTube site. Her response to me was that getting people to your YouTube page could help get more visitors to your blog or website.

Love Adrienne but frankly, seeing the numbers I do, I’m not sure that’s going to occur any time soon. To date I have 13 subscribers to my page, and to be truthful I didn’t learn until the beginning of November that one could subscribe to a YouTube page; shows how little I’ve paid attention to the video aspects of social media other than one’s webpage. I’m not sure how many of those people have turned around and visited any of my blogs, and to be truthful I’m not realizing that I’ve missed out because I’ve never given the URL on any of my videos to this point, and seeing I’ve done videos for 3 different sites that’s a major thing to overlook.

Now that makes 2 questions I have no answers to; how many people have visited my site(s) because they’ve seen a video and how many people are watching my videos when I post them elsewhere. Man, I hate not knowing stuff like this, but there seems to be no way around it.

Do I decide to stop doing videos then? No, that’s not the answer. Do I stop posting videos on my blogs? No, I don’t think that’s the answer either. I think if one wishes to get some kind of idea on how a video might have performed one has to look at other analytics. In this case I went to Google Analytics to take a look at this post on my business blog celebrating Post #900 there.

I only wrote 2 paragraphs on that post and then popped in the video. According to Analytics, people have spent an average of 4 minutes and 54 seconds on that page. I know almost no one needs that long to read 2 paragraphs, so this tells me that there had to be a good number of people watching the video, based on the number of people that actually visited based on those same analytics. The video is just over twice as long as the time on that post; no, I’m not about to dig deeper. lol

This is one of those times where the numbers one gets aren’t even close to accurate, but you have to be prepared to push past it. If I didn’t have other ways of checking my statistics, I’d think no one cares about my videos and would stop making them. Course, it’s not like I’m getting Bieber numbers, but maybe one day… 😎

And I wish I could figure out how to get YouTube to stop on a picture without my having that goofy expression on my face all the time!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Not Following Opposing Views; Good Or Bad?

I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately. I tend to have certain criteria that I employ when I’m deciding who I’m going to follow on Twitter or on Facebook. I wrote a little bit about it when I posted an article titled Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks some time ago. I didn’t address some other things, though I easily could, and I may mention them as I write this post.


by Ben Jordan via Flickr

See, what I recognize is that I refuse to follow anyone whose views I pretty much know I’m not going to support. So, being liberal, I don’t follow anyone I already know is conservative or Republican because they’ve put it in their profile. I also go back through a bunch of messages before I add anyone on both Twitter or Facebook, and if I see that they support a different political view than mine, I won’t even bother.

The same kind of thing goes for religion for the most part. If I see someone always quoting Bible verses or other religious quotes, or talking about their religion in some way all the time, I’m not following. I just don’t want to hear it. In this case I do have some friends who consider religion an important part of their lives, so that’s somewhat different. I can say that because I think I only have one friend that’s a Republican (I have 2 others who’s registered as Republicans, but they’re really not).

There’s always this 800-pound gorilla in the room that says if we can’t talk about our differences then we’ll never come together to get things done. I believe that can be true in many circumstances, but I think the past almost 3 years have proven that it’s not going to work anymore when it comes to politics. Let’s face it; the Republicans have shot down everything President Obama has put forward with the only intention to get him out of office in 2012. They would rather hurt everyone in America so they can call him a failed president; this isn’t just my opinion, as I could find quotes from some prominent Republican leaders to prove the point.

Government has always been about negotiation; almost no one got entirely what they wanted, but we got things passed without this much animosity. Now, with all the animosity, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are just some things people can’t talk about, and if that’s the case then I’m not the one who’s going to get into a shouting match with anyone. I’m the guy who wrote a post on de-stressing one’s life after all. There’s civil debate, and then there’s ranting and ignorance that I’m just not going to deal with. Yeah, I’m going to share some ignorance, stunned that this is in, of all places, Boston:

I’ve reached this point in my life where I believe in two separate things, and I’m not necessarily happy about it. Those two separate things, which actually blends into one, are that there are communications that are important enough to have, even if it breeds controversy, in a working environment, while in one’s personal life they should decide what level of peace they’d like in their life.

As someone who does leadership training I tend to believe that people need to learn how to communicate with each other at work, even having opposing views, because work is about the company and not individuals. That and I do have that book to the left side on leadership that I wrote after all.

But when it comes to your own time and your own peace of mind… well, let’s just say that I avoid people like in that video at all costs because there will never be a civil discussion with anyone who can’t accept any real facts. It’s kind of like the debate between favorite music, only much more vicious.

Still, I’m going to put it out here as a question or two. Do you find yourself hanging more with people you agree with? Do you try to bring peace into your life or find yourself always arguing with people because you enjoy it or feel it’s necessary? And are your criteria lax or tight when it comes to who you’ll follow in social media?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

Stuff We Forget To Do For Our Benefit

A couple of nights ago my wife asked me to help her move something. I went to help and realized it was something big and a little bit heavy. Not afraid of heavy things, I did my part in helping her move this thing. At some point, however, I smacked part of it into my foot and did that jumping around thing most of us do, trying to walk it off.


by Dave Matos via Flickr

My wife was now upset because not only had I hurt myself, but I wasn’t wearing shoes. Most of the time while in the house I don’t even think about it, wearing either socks or nothing. But I need to know better because, being diabetic, one is supposed to watch out for things that happen with feet, just in case. As it is I currently have a bruise on my big toe that’s been there for about 4 weeks now, not healing, and I just thought about calling the doctor’s office about it; two days and they haven’t called me back yet. The thing is that I have no idea when I hurt that foot, and I can only estimate how long I’ve had it because my wife noticed it first; actually, I’m not even really sure it’s a bruise.

I’m at an age now where there are simple things I just don’t think about beyond a couple of minutes. Putting on house shoes is one of those things; if I need to go to the kitchen and I don’t have shoes on while sitting at my desk, I don’t even think about it until I’m there. But dangers are everywhere; my wife sews and pins could be present in the carpet; I’ve stepped on them here and there but luckily to this point they’ve never been turned up. I also bump into a lot of things; how many of us don’t bump or kick something accidentally here and there, and some minutes later, for the most part, have forgotten we’ve done it?

I’m one of those people who’s a scheduler; turns out my mother is as well. I do that because I need reminders to do things, then to follow up on them. For instance, I always set timers to do laundry but always forget to set timers to put the laundry in the dryer, which means sometimes my laundry sits in the washer for a couple of days and I have to re-rinse everything. I have to schedule times to eat, otherwise I’ll go hours between eating, not good for my glucose levels. I schedule breaks, and sometimes I schedule projects and even email.

One thing I never have to schedule is my blogging. When I want to blog I just do it; luckily, depending on which blog I’m thinking about, I write enough to get by. Yet, what happens if one of these days I forget that? How will it impact some of the other things I believe are somewhat important in my life?

I mentioned eating; seems strange that one would forget to eat, doesn’t it? Especially someone like me, who’s not necessarily a small man. Even with my CPAP I’m tired a lot, and often I have to make the choice of whether to take a nap or eat. Most of the time I choose napping, feeling that I can always eat when I wake up.

According to a nutritionist that’s the wrong move. When we’re born the first instinct we know is how to eat; sleeping is something that we just do. Turns out that as we get older, we really do stop eating as often or as much, and food is what sustains us. Supposedly, by not eating something first, we sap our energy such that it makes it harder for us to wake up; that’s assuming we eat the right foods. When my grandmother’s mind stopped working properly she stopped eating; supposedly even when one’s mind doesn’t fully work, they can control eating or not eating, and without eating, she didn’t have a chance to survive. My nutritionist told me I don’t eat often enough; can you believe this? Well, I can after looking at myself more critically and realizing that often I only eat 2 meals a day, along with some snacking; nope, that just won’t do.

I lead in with all that stuff because I have a point; of course I have a point! lol When we don’t take care of the things we believe can help us in life or business we don’t survive, or rather all we’ll do is survive. People who create blogs with the intention of growing their business or selling their products and forget to blog are only hurting themselves. Folks who forget to send out invoices (yeah, I do that) or market themselves or use social media to help get the word out or, if necessary, spend a little bit of money to progress, only delay any benefits they might have coming their way.

What things are you forgetting to do that you might need to start scheduling for your life or business? What assistance are you searching for to help you progress? And what are you going to do about it?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Using WordPress To Create Websites

Over this past week I’ve been helping a local business colleague build a new website. Actually that’s kind of a misnomer, as it’s actually more of a sales page of sorts, only it looks a bit like a website. Don’t ask. 🙂 Anyway, she wanted to know if I could do it using WordPress software, something I’d never done before, and I decided to take up the challenge so I could see what it might all be about. It’s possible one of you that reads this will have done it and may have gone about it differently than I did; let’s find out.

The one thing I think I knew was that it wasn’t WordPress one modified so much as it was a blog theme. In this case there’s one theme in particular that I’ve used for multiple blogs that I decided to work with because I’m familiar with it. This theme has two sidebars already with content in the middle, like this blog only I didn’t use it for this blog; maybe one day I’ll update it (yeah, right! lol).

The first thing I did was to go into the Privacy area under settings and told it to not let search engines go through it. I knew that as soon as I loaded the WordPress software onto the site it would send a message to the world that a new site was being born, and I didn’t want that to happen before it was ready to go; actually it’s still not really ready to go as we’re now in tweak mode. After that I loaded the theme I mentioned about, and for all intents and purposes it looked like a blog.

I went under Reading in settings and changed the tab to Static Page; that’s what makes it look like a website with two sidebars instead of a blog. The difference now is that instead of going under posts to get content to the site, you go under Pages instead. You can add a blog page later on, but this isn’t her intention; at least right now it’s not.

You have to be ready to do one of two things. One, you have to be confident enough to go into the CSS settings and start altering things, because you know your client, or even you, aren’t going to want everything looking like it does as its blog theme. You’ll probably change fonts, width of columns, colors, etc. Some of it’s big, some of it’s minor, but I’ll say up front that if you have any skill with CSS it’s much easier already having it there for you.

Two, you have to be confident enough to go into the PHP files and remove things when necessary. This takes guts, but luckily, if you’re smart you’ll have two things. One, you’ll set up a file of some kind where you note everything you remove and where you took it from. I opened a Notepad file, named it after the client, and put everything in there. Two, you’ll have your original file to look at some of the things you might have removed if you can’t remember exactly in which spot something you took out was in. I had to do that when she wanted to see what the site looked like without sidebars, then decided she wanted them back in there and I knew which PHP file I took it out of but not exactly where it was. The thing is that it doesn’t have to be in the exact position all the time, but sometimes there’s a lot of “div” tags and you don’t want to get caught putting stuff between the wrong ones.

The wildest thing is that instead of writing a lot of code and then trying to figure out if you closed all your tags, this time you’re looking for things to see where they are, what they are, and how you can alter them. I found that because I use Firefox, I could open up the source code, do a search for what I was working on, and it would tell me which CSS container I needed to work on; that’s pretty neat.

In overall time I’ve spent less on it than if I’d had to write code. I can’t say everything’s easy, and I also can’t say that it handles everything the way I could get it to fit if I’d coded things. For instance, her initial drawing had different items on the sidebars on different pages, and as you know, when you go from page to page the sidebars are almost always the same. I had a plugin I tried to use, but it turned out it only worked on posts and not on pages. If I were coding each page separately I could have made the change, but she decided to deal with it.

It’s been an interesting process. The best part is that in this case I really don’t have to worry much about the content because she’s already used to using WordPress, as she has it for a different blog, so once we get the tweaks done I’m done, and she can go about her business. I’m in an odd place trying to figure out if it’s easier to do that code so I’ll say this. Since I’d normally have to create a frame before doing anything else, this was easier because the frame is already done. The CSS already being done works well also. However, I’m thinking if this had been a site with a lot of details and complications I’d have wanted to just write the code for it. I also don’t know if I’d have known how to add a fancy background image to it, or where I’d have put it. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with it.

How many of you have tried creating a website from WordPress from scratch, and what have you encountered?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Protect Your Computer From Malware

Some days ago one of my web clients calls and leaves and interesting message on my phone. He says that his hard drive has crashed and he’s lost everything that was on his C drive. The message asked me to call him as soon as possible.


by Tara Hunt via Flickr

Of course by the time I got that message it was late, and I knew he went to bed early. I called him the next morning and throughout the day, as it was Saturday, and never reached him. So I sent him an email, which I knew he’d get on his phone, and told him to reach me Sunday. He did, we talked, and he brought his computer over and left it with me.

The first thing I did was to hook his computer to my monitor and other stuff. Then I disconnected my wife’s computer from the network and booted his up because I wanted to see what it would do. It booted up just fine, and when it was loading suddenly I saw this message saying the C drive had been compromised, and that he could buy some product to help fix the problem.

I’m assuming most people reading this blog know this already, but he had malware on his computer. The reason I disconnected my wife’s computer from the network up front is because I was betting he had malware. There’s no such message ever telling anyone that their C drive has crashed; it just doesn’t work that way. If it had crashed the computer wouldn’t boot up, instead emitting these little beeps that drive someone like me crazy because of their pitch.

How did he get the malware? I have no clue, and neither did he, but often I see this type of thing when someone goes to a website that’s been compromised, they get an initial warning saying something might be wrong with their computer and to “click here” to check it out, and there you go. The uninitiated will fall for it almost every time, and my client would truly be considered one of the uninitiated.

The trick then is to get rid of the malware. His computer couldn’t access the internet, as figures, so I went to my laptop and downloaded a copy of ComboFix, which works wonders with XP computers; there’s no equivalent yet for Vista or Win 7so I’d have had to do a search on how to get rid of it for his particular issue, but for XP ComboFix is the way to go. I loaded it, then it went online to look for updates and it was ready to go.

What you’ll sometimes see is it saying you have some kind of scanner or virus program running. In this case it said he was running Microsoft Essentials, but I know I’d turned it off and I’d also disabled it under msconfig, and rebooted before running the program, so I knew it wasn’t running. ComboFix will still run, but it’ll tell you that it might not work as well; so be it. The program will create a restore point, then do its job, which could take awhile or it might work fairly fast. In this case it took about 25 minutes, but it killed the malware.

The next thing I did was install CCleaner, which a few people mentioned in my post on clearing out browser history, and ran it in both ways. By that I mean I first ran it to look through all the browsers on his computer to clean things out. Good thing I did because it discovered two dormant viruses that it took care of. Then I ran a registry check and it found over 1,300 bad entries, which I cleared up and then ran it again to fix whatever was left.

After that I added an antivirusand a firewall. Thing is I thought I’d added it to his computer last year when I repaired it, then remembered that this was actually a new computer of only a few months that I hadn’t seen before.

What are the lessons here? One, if you get a warning on your computer and it’s not from a program you know you’re running, don’t click on it. Two, if the message belies the action, such as a message telling you that your hard drive has crashed and yet you’re computer is still running, it’s malware. Three, at the very least disconnect your computer from the internet (if you’re running cable like I am) to help keep things under control. Four, make sure your computer has antivirus and firewall protection.

Oh yeah, a number five; if you go through something like this and have to ask someone else to fix it for you, ask them to clean things out while they’re in there and don’t gripe about the price, since you should have asked up front what it might cost. Even though I didn’t just sit there watching stuff running, it did end up taking me 3 1/2 hours to clean out all the junk on his computer, including all these programs that were automatically running because they’d inserted themselves into his start up files, large temp files from software loads, etc. When he got his computer back that sucker was once again humming like it was new.

You’ve got to protect your hardware; you probably need your computer more than you think you do.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell