All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

What Is “High Quality Content?”

On the heels of my little rant on writing a few days ago, I find myself reading a blog post talking about ways to reduce your bounce rate and find myself getting irritated once more. It’s a guest post, which I figured it had to be because I’ve never seen the author, Karen, write anything this, well, I said I would be nice. So, let’s just jump to what’s irking me, as if you hadn’t already figured out by my title and by checking out that blog post.

The first recommendation is to write “Fresh, High-Quality Content”. Frankly, I see this particular phrase often, and at this point it makes almost no real sense. Well, not that it doesn’t make sense; it makes no sense that no one ever tries to explain what they mean by it.

Let me ask you this in two parts. One, how many times have you seen that phrase in some incarnation? Two, how many times have you actually seen anyone describe what they mean by it? I’m betting the answers are “a lot” and “none”.

To me, unless people start backing it up, it’s a useless statement. Here’s the reality; everyone thinks they’re writing high quality content. That is, if they’re actually writing the content at all. Scrapers aren’t writing anything so we know they don’t care. And the people who pay a dollar a post don’t care either.

But those of us who do care, me and all of you who visit this blog (and I thank you for it), believe that we’re writing high quality content. But are we? Well, for the first time someone’s going to break down what is considered “high quality content”. Yeah, it’s going to be me. Of course this is my opinion, and you can debate me on it later on. But I have a feeling you won’t, and either you’ll learn something new here, or be able to finally say “hey, that describes me” and know that you can pass right by any other posts that talk about “high quality” content as the way to get more visitors or subscribers or backlinks or reduce bounce rate or… well, anything that’s not actually new, tangible, or a case study.

1. If you’re writing about something that’s supposed to teach someone something new, did you explain it well enough? Did you write something like “take this code and paste it into this file, upload it and it’ll work”? Or did you write something like “if you’re trying to fix something add this code to this file in this place so that it will do this; then upload it and look to see if it worked? To me, if you take the time to explain in some fashion why you’re asking people to do something, or giving step-by-step instructions, you’ve just written high quality content.

2. If you’re trying to tell a story and you don’t skip on details, such that people are left wondering “what the heck was that about”, then you’re creating high quality content. No one wants to read War and Peace every day, but no one wants to read Dick and Jane anymore either. If you believe you can tell good stories and you can do it verbally, then you should be able to do it by writing it. Don’t try to finish your story too soon, and don’t try to be funny if you’re not funny. Tell it like it is, and if it’s a funny story and you tell everything that happened then it’s high quality content.

3. Are you writing something about a particular belief or thought? Have you taken the time to explain why believe as you do, or are you just saying something and moving on? Saying “I don’t believe in same sex marriages because the Bible says so” is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen or heard. Saying it and then getting into a rational reason (because there’s no place in the Bible that even talks about same sex marriages; people “infer” it from a few places, but it’s not there specifically), even if I or anyone else disagrees with you, ends up being high quality content. The same would hold true with “I think Lady Antebellum stinks” and not following it up with something that you really don’t like that makes sense. If you said “I don’t like the way they look”, that looks and sounds idiotic; if you have constructive criticism about it, or want to say that you like someone else better for whatever reason, that’s high quality content.

4. Are you being true to yourself? This is the real truth. If you’re writing because you want to get ratings and you’re trying to write what you think people want to hear, you’re fooling yourself. You can’t ever write high quality content if you don’t believe what you’re writing. Trust me, with all the blogs I’ve written for other people, there are times when I’ve looked at the content and said “man, this stuff is garbage”, and I knew it was. The people I sold it to thought it was great because that’s what they wanted, but it was garbage all the same. Some of what wrote for Demand Studios way back when was junk because that’s what they wanted; that’s why Google’s going after those article farms.

If you’re writing what you know, what you feel, to the best of your ability, you’re writing high quality content. And you know what? Unless you’ve cracked the top 100 blogger list you’re going to have lots of bounces. Unless you have a sales page that draws in a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking around you’re going to have a lot of bounces. And the best high quality content isn’t going to reduce it one bit.

Think of it this way. What we strive for is to get people to subscribe to our blogs in some fashion. We want them coming back. That’s our first goal. Our secondary goal is to try to encourage people to look at some of our other content in some fashion. I link within posts to previous posts on this blog. On another blog I use the recent posts widget. My two main blogs are both under 200,000 per Alexa, and both have bounce rates of more than 70%. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, you want to do the best you can. People love that, and they’ll love you and keep coming back for more. High quality content; you do that with every post you write. Keep that in mind; y’all are great! 🙂

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Despicable Me – Movie Review

By now, those of you who have read this blog understand that I love my animation. I love old Bugs Bunny cartoons the best, but I have to say that there are some modern cartoons, rather animation, that I’m just drawn to (hey, a pun!) for reasons I never really understand. But like most everyone else, if I see a preview that captures me, I already know I’m going to like the movie heading in; for the most part, that is, Skyline notwithstanding. lol

Despicable Me DVD (Widescreen)








The premise of this movie is simple. A career super criminal has the ultimate plan; to steal the moon. In order to do that, he needs to steal a shrink ray that a young and upcoming super villain stole from him after he stole it from someone else. He finds these 3 little girls that the other villain has ordered cookies from and decides to adopt them and use them to help steal the shrink gun. What he doesn’t expect is that he’ll fall in love with the girls as things move along, and thus we have our story, with me leaving out all the details and ruining it for you.

Our super villain, named Gru, has helpers along with way. There’s Dr. Nefario, his elderly main scientist who sometimes hears the request for a specific item incorrectly, and there’s the Minions, these little yellow weeble looking creatures, some with one eye, some with hair, many that look exactly alike, that are the workers and friends of Gru; he knows them all by name and can tell them apart, even if we can’t. They’re the great innocents in this movie; they do whatever’s asked of them, and when they’re not asked to do anything they just, well, do something; funny as sin.

Of course, it’s the relationship Gru ends up having with the 3 sisters, Margo, Edith, and the youngest Agnes, with the big brown eyes and, if you’ve ever seen any of the commercials, the one who utters “It’s so fluffy!” He’s really frustrated early because he’s never been around kids and could care less about being around them now, but as time goes on and he starts having fun with them that he never had in his life before, he starts to realize the value in sharing one’s love with others.

This is the cutest movie and very funny as well. The music was done by Pharrell Williams, which gives it a much different quality than any other movie, as it was his first time working on a movie. As you can tell, I’m recommending this movie, and I’m sharing this little clip, doctored and chopped up, as a mini-teaser. Buy this movie; I’ve seen it more than 40 times by now.

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Trouble With WP Images? You May Be Stuck With Some Of It

Every once in awhile I have problems uploading images to my blogs. I wasn’t sure what the deal was, but I finally decided it was time to go after the problem, as y’all know I will almost always do eventually. If you’re having problems uploading images, your reason could be in here.

Frankly I had multiple issues. One, I might try to upload an image and get this weird error message about my homespages and running out of space. Two, the image might upload to my computer, but wouldn’t give me the option of adding it to my post. That obviously does me no good whatsoever. And a couple of times it would just quit in the middle, and that would be that. I could just upload the image to my server and then pull it in, but that negates the WP Smush-it plugin I use to try to reduce the size of some of my images.

So I went online looking for my solutions. The most common solutions I came across were to increase the size of the memory of your site via adding code to a file called php.ini. Not everyone has that file, but it’s easy to create and add, and it actually has solved a problem for me in the past when I had problems after upgrading to WordPress 2.8. But across the board, it doesn’t always work.

I went looking to find out why all the recommendations weren’t working and I came across something interesting and, of course, it makes sense. I have what’s called “shared hosting” via 1&1. The main packages of all the large hosting companies are shared hosting, which keeps the prices down. It’s a great deal, and you pretty much get a lot of space.

Pretty much, that is. It turns out that not all hosts will allocate you all the space you think for everything you do. One of the things about 1&1 is that they restrict the total size of images you can upload in a month. I never knew that until I started doing some reading. However, it doesn’t only depend on the images, strangely enough. It seems that one of the things taken into consideration is the space your plugins take up as well. So, for most of us, we get between 30 and 40 MB of space.

Since I knew I couldn’t do anything about the images, I decided to look at my plugins, which I’ve never really thought much about before. By totally getting rid of 5 plugins, it seems I cleaned up lots of space, and if I make sure not to upload a lot of large images, I shouldn’t have that problem anymore.

Ah, but my problem wasn’t completely over. At this point all that had improved is that images were uploading; I still couldn’t seem to access them. That meant it was time for more research, and after a long while I came upon something that I’d never considered. It seems that, depending on which browser you use, you could have problems uploading images after a certain point. I use Firefox, and I have always used the browser upload for my images. The recommendation I came across was to first clear the cache on my browser, close it, open it back up, then switch to the flash uploader instead.

Hey, I’m game for anything, even if it seems kind of petty. Lo and behold, it worked. It seems using flash overrides whatever blog you were having, and though it seems to take a little longer to process your images, at least it processes them. I did a test on an older post where I had uploaded a very large file, and it handled it with no problems. That turned out to be great because they WP Smush-it had the opportunity to make it a much smaller file, which would help that particular post load much faster.

There you go. If you find yourself having any problems with your images, it could be any of the reasons I mention above. The fixes are relatively simple, and it’s probably best to at least give them a try to see if they resolve your issue before going any further with all the files and such. One other recommendation was to call your hosting company to see if they would increase your file storage size, but everyone said it was doubtful that would actually work.

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Writing – A Rant

Lo and behold, today I’ve got a video for you, and I’m ranting about writing. I’ve had something on my mind for a couple of weeks and I’m trying to get it out of there so I can move forward. Sometimes you just have to take an action to get bad stuff out of your mind. In my case, it’s this video. More after the jump (I wonder why they call it “the jump):

If you’re wondering, yes, I did feel a little bit better after getting that off my chest. Of course, I’d look a lot better if I’d remembered NOT to record in Hi-Def. lol I’d really like your opinion on the topic, if you watched it. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for blogging tips or book writing tips, which are in actually just more writing tips, look at the page tabs above and click on one, then check out any of the articles on there. I actually have to update those, and by the time you see this post I hope to have done that. After all, writing and blogging are subjects I’ve talked about often enough here.

So, is this considered a short post or not? Eh; doesn’t matter. 🙂

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How Ready Are You To Be Interviewed?

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Carolee Sperry’s Blog Talk Radio show called Blogging Biz Mom. She does this show every Wednesday at 6:30, and I was honored to be the guest this time around. The show only lasts 30 minutes, and though I can’t say I’ve caught close to all of them, I have listened to a couple here and there when I’ve had the chance. If you’d like to listen to the interview we did, you can download it here; it’s an MP3, and I’m sure Carolee doesn’t mind. It’s publicity after all.

I love being interviewed. I want more of it, I must admit. Doesn’t matter if it’s print or radio or internet radio, I’m ready. I’m not sure the world is ready for me on TV or with a live audience, but maybe one day we’ll find out. I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m always ready to be interviewed. Beverly Mahone has these tips on preparing for a successful interview, and though they’re great tips, I have to own up to the fact that I have rarely done any of those things.

The couple of times I did do it was when Beverly invited me to help her host a couple of shows on older music. In that case I really did do some research and gather some facts on the acts we were going to talk about because, though I knew much of the music and the names, I didn’t know much detail about those songs or the artists; I was kind of young at the time after all.

I want to go in a different direction in talking about being interviewed. I think there’s a mental preparation one has to go through to make sure you’re ready. After all, this isn’t like a speech, where you get to write the entire thing down, memorize it, practice it, then repeat it perfectly to an awaiting audience. This is live, and you have to be calm, collected, funny, engaging, and above all else not come across as nervous.

This last one is a key if you’re being interviewed about something you’re promoting, whether it’s you or something else. If you don’t sound confident, then people are going to think you’re unsure about your business. That’s obviously not true, but if that’s the perception you put out then they’ll feel it and you might as well find a new career.

So here goes, tips for getting ready for an interview:

1. Grab something, act like it’s a microphone, and practice talking. As silly as you might think this is I don’t know a single person who had access to a pen or pencil as a kid that didn’t at least once act like they were doing a radio or TV show. What you want to practice is your “live” voice. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you want to make sure that you speak clearly, speak loud enough without shouting, and not speak so fast that no one knows what you’re saying. You might feel a little silly initially, but you’ll feel natural in no time at all. If you have to practice singing; the right voice will eventually come to you.

2. Sit in a chair while you rehearse. Most interviews you’ll be a part of will have you sitting down. Your diaphragm, where your air comes from when you’re speaking, is a bit more compressed than when you’re standing up. Strange as it seems, you’ll run out of air quicker speaking while sitting than standing if you’re in a stressful situation. Interviews aren’t supposed to be stressful, but you might find it that way. If so, make sure you do this step.

3. Think of at least 5 possible questions you might be asked. This should be really easy because you’re being interviewed about something you do that the person on the other side wants to learn something about. It’s rare that you’ll be interviewed by someone who’s an expert at what you do, but even if they are who says all experts agree with each other? Unless you’ve done something wrong or the person interviewing you is mad at you, there won’t be many “gotcha” moments. In some circumstances interviewers will ask you to give them questions you wish to be asked; that’s makes things really simple.

4. Think of terms you can use to help you buy time in case you can’t come up with a quick answer. I actually did an interview of someone last year for my business blog and I wrote 13 questions up front that I didn’t have the chance to share with her before we began. For more than half of them she thought about it for a few seconds, then led with “Wow, that’s a great question.” It bought her time to formulate what she wanted to say.

5. Be calm. Remember that someone came to you and asked you do to the interview. This means they really want you to do well, and they really believe their audience will like you. No matter what the topic is, at that moment you’re the expert, the star, the one everyone came to hear. This wasn’t an assignment you had to do; this is fun. See it that way and you’ll do just fine.

And there you go. And if you listen to the interview above and want more, you can check out these other interviews I’ve done.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell