All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

What Do You Want For Your Blog?

Last week I was reading a post on Mike’s Life blog titled Why Businesses Should Blog Outside The Box. It was written well, and it made an interesting point in saying that once he was able to convince a friend of his to find a way to convince people who didn’t know they needed him and his business that his friend’s business skyrocketed once he figured out how to reach that particular market.


Dream On
by Gisela Giardino

It was interesting to think about because I believe most of us really are searching for those people who we believe need us or want what we have to offer in some fashion, and we don’t really think as much about reaching out to those people who may not know they need us. Of course, that really would be thinking outside the box, and I’m unsure how we’d get it done.

Actually, that’s not true at all; at least for me. I find myself always trying to convince people I meet to stop by my blogs. Most of them aren’t really interested in many of the things I talk about… at least that’s often my first thought. Then I start thinking that there are people who visit this blog because one never knows what the heck I might be talking about, and I invite people to stop by once I’ve had a chance to talk to them. I often find that I’m talking to someone that mentions something I’ve written about on this blog, and I’ll say to them “hey, I wrote about that; you should check out my blog.”

Of course, just because I get people here doesn’t mean I know what I want for this blog. It’s something I’ve been thinking about as we get towards the end of the year, and as I start the creep towards post #1,000. Some think I should talk more about myself; some think the path I’ve undertaken in the previous posts over all these years is sufficient. Frankly, I haven’t fully come to grips with what I want for this blog.

So I dream and think, and in sharing it maybe you’ll dream and share. I’m not about to lay out my goals for 2011 on this post; that’s later. But here are things I’m thinking about. Do I want to make money on this blog? Do I want to increase my overall influence through this blog? Do I want to keep increasing all my measurable numbers, as in more subscribers and a lower Alexa ranking? Do I want to talk more tech or talk more blogging and writing or share more stories or add more motivational stuff? Do I want to add more video (can’t just yet) or audio? Do I want to use this blog to get more business overall?

What do I want for this blog? I’ll be thinking about that over the next few days. What do you want for your blog? Have you thought about it, and if not, will you?
 

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Why I May Not Comment On Your Blog

It seems to me that there’s enough information online and people talking about this subject that other folks might start listening to it in some fashion. Alas, it’s not the case, so I’m here to be the guy to bring it up, popular or not. It’s probably going to come across as a harsh post, and that’s not its intention. Sometimes I just have to be real; this is one of those times.


Comments by Boltron

I comment on a lot of blogs; I visit a heck of a lot more. It still surprises me that so many people have set things up that discourage many of us from commenting on your blog. I mean, it’s not hard; it’s not rocket science. All that’s needed is a thought about where your blog is, how your blog is set up, and what you’re hoping to get out of your blog. Making it easy for people to comment on your blog, no matter what; is that too much to hope for?

Okay, some of that might not be fair, but then I haven’t gotten into any details yet. I guess that’s where I should start, so we can get a discussion going.

1. If you’re moderating comments, you’re getting on my nerve. Moderated comments tells me that you care more about spam than about thanking people for wanting to comment on your blog. If it worries you so much, then put up a disclaimer up front that you’re moderating comments and I won’t waste my time. But then, if you did that I, and maybe a lot of people people, won’t comment on your blog. That’s somewhat disingenuous, isn’t it? The other thing about writing a comment on a blog that moderates comments is that suddenly you’re getting bombarded with a bunch of comments all at once in email, and if the owner of the blog isn’t putting any names in, you have no idea which response is to you, if there’s one to you at all. I hate that, but it leads to point #2.

2. If you’re not responding to my comments, you’re getting on my nerve. I didn’t just stop by and write “good post” and move on. It might not have been the theory of relativity but I at least gave you a response that showed you I read what you had to say. Now, do I expect a response all the time? Actually yes I do, but if you miss one or two I won’t mind. But if you seem to exhibit a pattern of not responding to my comments, I probably will stop coming, and I don’t want any complaints about it, whether you visit me or not. Goodness, I’m as busy as the next person, and if I’m responding to almost every comment I deserve knowing that you appreciated my taking the time out to respond back to you.

3. Are you still using Disqus, or one of those other services? Haven’t you realized yet that you’re losing comments? Obviously you didn’t see Sire’s poll, which is still ongoing by the way. I mean, 45% of people said they wouldn’t leave a comment on one of these blogs; are you really getting enough comments that losing 45% of potential visitors is okay for you? And, by the way, if you read the post, you’ll see that some of the people who said they’d still leave a comment overwhelmingly said they didn’t like it, and didn’t do it on all blogs that run this service, but most of them. So, add at least another 25% to the mix and then ask why you don’t have lots of comments. By the way, you’re a dying breed; so many people lately have jumped on the CommentLuv bandwagon and found other ways to block spam and they’re starting to thrive. One guy told me his comments jumped threefold; how’s about that!

4. Are you verifying that people are receiving your responses back to them? This one’s dicey because of you folks running free blogs on WordPress.com. It doesn’t give you the ability to set things up so you can make sure people are seeing that you’ve responded to them, and that’s a shame. Since I’m someone who won’t subscribe or login to receive comments when I get that email (after all, I already checked the box on your blog that asked if I wanted to subscribe to comments), I’ll only revisit blogs of those of you I happen to like; you know who you are if you’ve seen my comments on your blog. If you’re answering a lot of people and rarely hear back from them, this could be an issue for you. But I’m not the guy who can tell you to spend your money on self hosting and a domain name; spend your money your way. However, I am the guy to tell you that it’s the way to go if you get serious about blogging.

5. Some of you know I don’t like Blogger/Blogspot blogs. I don’t like them because you have to create a login name to comment so that you’ll get responses back. I have one for my business name, and I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, but not for any of my other blogs or websites, including this one. Some blogs I want to comment on aren’t appropriate for my business account, and thus I’ll either skip it or comment using the email for this blog, but of course Blogger won’t let you put in an email, and thus you never know if you got a response or not. This fact impeded a lot of blogs I wanted to check out when we had that network meme a week or so back. On this one, same answer I gave to the previous point; I can’t tell you what to do, but if you’re serious about blogging, think about it.

That’s it; that’s my rant. I’ve actually ranted on all these things in the past, as you can see from some of the links, but I guess it’s been awhile. People forget, and thus I figured I’d bring it up again. If you don’t really care, then that’s fine; if you do, well, at least think about it.

Buffalo Bills Red-Navy Blue Pleather Varsity Team Tall Sizes Full Zip Jacket

Buffalo Bills Red-Navy Blue Pleather Varsity Team Tall Sizes Full Zip Jacket






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Social Media Marketing Tip For A Small Business

Some of you may remember that this summer I held some live presentations on social media marketing locally. I’ve been to a lot of presentations, and I’ve conducted a lot of presentations, and I want to talk about this for a quick minute.

One thing I have against some presentations is that when they’re over you’re sitting there wondering if you actually learned something you can use. This seems to happen often, unfortunately. I remember going to a sales presentation in the spring where I knew the guy who was giving the presentation. I had heard him present for 30 minutes one time and I loved hearing him talk. So I had high hopes, since this presentation was going to be for about 4 hours or so, including breaks.

What a major disappointment. The headlines said we were going to learn sales techniques we could use in our business; as a matter of fact, 5 of them. Instead, it was a presentation on sales motivation and 5 reasons why we needed to get over our reticence to sell. Now, if that had been the topic, or what the description of the program was, then I wouldn’t have minded so much. But that’s not what I was expecting, nor was anyone else. So, it fell flat, even though I still enjoyed hearing the guy talk at times.

Forward to me. When I gave my social media presentation this summer, I gave tips on how small businesses could actually use some of the social media things I was talking about. Sure, I spent some time on building up what social media was, and talking about success stories. I had to do that because I knew some people had no real clue what social media was all about and were hoping to learn something about it. So, I had the presentation scripted, and you can see my description of the outline of my presentation if you’re up for it.

Anyway, forward to the main topic of this post. This is a legitimate tip that a small business can use as it applies to social media. Here’s the caveat; it’s mainly for brick and mortar businesses. For instance, if you owned a pizza or coffee shop, this is a great tip. However, there might be some online businesses who can think of a way to use this tip to their advantage also.

Whether you’re a new or existing business, you can start generating some business by starting with two things; creating an account on Twitter and creating an account on Four Square. For those who don’t know, Four Square is a location-based site where people get to tell their friends where they are via an online service. It’s where Facebook and Twitter got the idea from. The people who created Four Square actually studied locally at Syracuse University, so it’s very popular here, and it’s actually a test market for lots of things.

Back to the tip. You register your business on Four Square because it gives you the opportunity to set up specials through the site so that if people come to your location and go online to indicate to others they’re at your location, they can earn prizes or specials that you’re going to offer them. You can have small prizes for first time visitors, such as 50% off a drink, and bigger prizes for people who become “mayors” of your location, which means you’re a frequent flyer. The thing is, people would only earn these things if they went onto Four Square and mentioned you, and they’d see the offers through the site.

Now, you have a Twitter account for many reasons. One, as a business you can mention that you’re registered on Four Square and offer special deals for visitors. If you get followers, you might have your messages retweeted multiple times, which is a great way to gain both customers and publicity. And young people especially are drawn to businesses that show they’re somewhat tech savvy.

This works very well, by the way. It was actually proven by a local small vegan restaurant/coffee shop. They did exactly these steps, and within 3 weeks or so they started seeing a higher influx of customers than most new businesses would. I mean, a vegan restaurant yet; not my cup or tea. Yet they do a thriving business, and their name is always being tweeted and retweeted locally. One thing they do that’s slightly different now is they give a discount to everyone who mentions them on Four Square while at the restaurant and proves it. They have enough business to cover that discount whenever they get it.

And there you go; a legitimate tip on how to get new customers to your business and keep them coming. Can you figure out a way to use this tip for your business if it’s not a brick and mortar? Maybe; if you do, please feel free to share with us. And don’t say I never tried to teach you anything! 😉


Kodak DC3200 Digital Camera
 

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Sunday Question – How Are You Handling The Holidays?

December might as well be nicknamed “holiday month” because most religions have something going on during this time. Not to just single out Christmas, but we have Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Al Hijra, Ashura, Boxing Day, Gita Jayanti, and Día de los Muertos. I’m sure there are others, but we’ll go with these for now.

Holidays bring both joy and stress. Truthfully, most of the time the Christmas season stresses me out because, as an independent businessman, I know that my normal businesses are going to dry up during this time, and the slow down of course takes money out of my pocket.

The lucky thing for my wife and I is that we don’t buy many Christmas presents. We don’t often buy anything for each other; instead, we’ll usually plan something special for after the holidays. A couple of years ago we went for an overnight in a hotel with a Jacuzzi in the room and watched comedy DVD’s; that was really nice. There are a few people we get something for, but we don’t spend a lot of money.

How do most of you feel about the holidays in general? How are you handling the crowds, the over-commercialization of it all? Is your religion primary during this time of year or are you just enjoying the general holiday feel? I hope this is an easy question for you, but of course one never knows.

3 Glass Blown Hanukkah Chanukah Menorah, Dreidel & Star of David Ornaments






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Google Chrome Revisited

In September 2008, I wrote a review on this blog concerning Google Chrome. It wasn’t the most positive review, but it was brand new and I said I’d check it out again at some point. That point is now.

First, let me tell you why I’m doing it. I’m a Firefox guy, but as you may remember, I wrote in August about some of the problems I’d been having with it. The sucker was constantly freezing up on my computer and I couldn’t shut it down via the Task Manager, so I’d have to reboot to use it. Also, this problem started with CommentLuv in the past month where I’m visiting blogs and having to refresh a few times to leave a comment so the program will pull up any of my posts. My hope and test was that Chrome would alleviate those issues.

Installation is still goofier than anything else I’ve seen. You still get this super long EULA before you can download it, and I decided to read the entire thing to see if there were any traps in it. If there were I missed it, but I made sure not to allow it to add anything else to it when I downloaded the loaded it up.

It says it installs fast; trust me, Firefox loads at least 10 times faster. And when the browser finally showed up I have to admit that it looked a lot more like Opera than what I was expecting. There were two tabs at the top, with a plus sign where I could add more tabs, and a menu bar; that’s pretty much it. I pulled up the Help link so I could figure out how to use a few more things, such as wondering where toolbars were. Seems they don’t use toolbars because they say it slows things down; I’d never heard that before, but I did some reading and they’re not the only ones saying it, so I’ll leave that for now.

To set things up, everything starts by clicking on this little wrench at the top right. I did change a few settings, nothing overly brash, but one thing I set that didn’t seem to change anything was making the default fonts bigger. When I closed and reopened the browser, that setting didn’t take hold, so I found myself having to enlarge every page I went to later on.

I’ll say this; pages do load pretty fast. I turned off pre-fetching, which can slow things down, and I’m sure that helped. I also changed the theme, which is under one of the default tabs when the browser opens for the first time, so that was pretty cool. I learned how to import bookmarks from Firefox, and one of those was my bookmarks toolbar, so that’s one toolbar I got back, and all the other bookmarks are aligned under this button to the far right that says “other bookmarks”; that makes sense.

As for plugins or extensions, there seems to be a lot of them but not the one I’m looking to use, unfortunately. I like being able to see PR or Alexa rank when I visit new sites, and the closest I could find that works with Chrome was SEO Quake, and I don’t like running that all the time. But that’s a personal preference thing; I’m sure you could find something to use.

The important stuff now. I can’t tell you if the browser will lock up and shut down like Firefox had been doing, but I have to admit that Firefox hasn’t messed up in this way for me in the last month or so. There’s no way to test for that, I’m afraid, except to leave it open for a month or so; that’s probably not going to happen. I did check resources and it’s using about 2/3rds less than what Firefox consumes, so that’s a benefit.

But when it came to CommentLuv, it seems I have the same problems with what’s going on with them on Chrome as I have on Firefox. So, at least this tells me it’s not a browser issue; heck!

So, once again, I don’t think it’s bad, but it doesn’t fix the main issues I have with Firefox and thus don’t warrant my changing just yet. But it will be another browser I’ll use to look at new webpages as I create them.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home






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