All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Topic Related Spam

Have you noticed that there’s a new and more sophisticated spam that’s out lately? It’s interesting because it’s actually related to the topic in some fashion, to the degree in which you just might leave it alone because it looks like the real thing.

Only it’s not the real thing. You know it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s mostly a one line item, although I did get one that actually had 3 lines strung together. Second, there’s the little squiggly at the end of the message, which I just figured out where it is. Here’s an example:

my grandfather is also a baby boomer and he is also a war veteran~`”

Here’s another one that was actually on a post of mine on writing articles:

sometimes article writing too much time and effort, specially when you are writing lots of stuff~–

Anyway, all of this stuff is spam, and you need to be leery of it. Sometimes it comes with a link in the message, though neither of these did. They do come with some interesting links as the home domain name, though. The first message came from a site that I assume sells USB related items. The second came from something related to male reproductive systems; hey, that’s actually what it said! lol

I’m also starting to see this on a lot of other blogs, and people are responding to this stuff. Yes, it’s tricky. Sometimes it even comes with an image. But let’s be realistic folks If the picture is of a pretty girl but the name says “David”, it’s fake. Also, if the email address and the domain name don’t quite match up, there’s the strong possibility that it’s fake as well. The first one above for the USB stuff was sent from an email address with “brownies” as the domain name. The reproductive system one was sent from something called “kimber.”

I put it out there in case y’all have been receiving the same sort of stuff and either letting it pass or wondering about it just a bit. It’s spam; kill it.



Champion Men’s Mesh Shorts;
click on image

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Does Your Content Stink? Kind Of A Rebuttal

A couple of days ago I came across a post that kind of intrigued me and kind of bothered me at the same time. Actually, my mind said it was fulfilling one of the points of the author, and in that case it probably worked as he expected. In another, however, I’m in almost full rebuttal mode, hence I’m writing about it on my site instead of his.

Abandoned Kits
vladeb via Compfight

The post was titled 10 Signs That Says Your Content Sucks (updated 6/2015; the blog is gone now). Actually, though it said 10 signs, only 9 of them actually ask you a question for you to determine if your content stinks.

I have to say that I disagree that if these points apply in some fashion that it means your content stinks. I want you to read his post so I’m not going into full details with it, but I will at least mention what I’m countering. This means I won’t hit all his points; no need.

First point, journal entries. In essence, he says no one is interested in our lives. Actually, since I decided to be more personal on this blog, I’ve had way more traffic and received a heck of a lot more comments. Beforehand, I think many folks had no clue who I was or what I was about. You can play it too close to the vest in not divulging any personality sometimes. Remember what my most visited post is all about; it was personal and social commentary, and I doubt anyone learned much from it.

Second point, number of comments. The reality is that some of the best stuff written on the internet is not only never seen, but never commented on. Blogging turns out to be a community, and if you don’t give yourself to trying to reach out to others, unless you’re famous for some other reason, you’re going to get neither visitors or comments. Judging your content based on only comments is useless.

Third point, if time were the great predictor of how many comments people were going to get we’d all take a week putting together our posts. Every post isn’t a home run, just like every song on an album (or CD; I still like to refer to them as albums) isn’t a top 10 hit. If you’re looking for that kind of perfection you’re never going to attain it, and you risk alienating your audience because they have no idea when something new is coming.

Fourth point, fan mail. Yes, I get some fan mail. But I receive a heck of a lot more comments than fan mail. Truthfully, I didn’t start getting fan mail until probably the middle of last year; it threw me off initially. I tend to view it as some people wishing to express a point of view, but not wanting to be “outed” on the blog itself. On my business blog, I get a lot of email responses whenever I write on topics of racism and diversity instead of comments on the blog. Are those posts better, or are they scary enough for some folks to not want to put their name on it in the blogosphere?

Fifth point, hate mail. Why would I intentionally want to put out a post to receive hate mail? Who am I supposed to be, Rush Limbaugh? I don’t ever want hate mail; I’d rather be ignored if someone didn’t have the guts to post their rebuttal on my blog. However, I have received a version of hate mail twice ever; didn’t like it one bit, especially since one was on a tribute to my dad, thus it was way out of place.

Beautiful woman with grimace beacuse of bad smell. Isolated on white.
Aqua Mechanical via Compfight

Sixth point, is it my responsibility to educate or expect someone to learn something from every post? It’s an interesting point, and one that I believe is what finally makes some people give up blogging. If you don’t diversify, you’re going to stagnate and want to go away.

Did anyone learn anything from my cleavage post (which I had to take down because Google hated it & took my page rank away for a year…), easily the most popular post ever on this blog? What about my story about losing and finding my keys? Were people entertained? Yup! Is there anything wrong with entertaining? Nope. Charles Barkley once said “I am not a role model”; well, he got that one wrong, but what’s not wrong is that “I am not everyone’s educator”. I’ll educate when I want to, but otherwise, as Wanda Sykes like to say, “I’m a be me.”

I think that’s enough. Chris actually made me think, which is good, even if I disagree with his premise. Darren Rowse’s blog gets plenty of comments, but at least half of his posts these days are written by someone else. Are those posts all great content, or are those people who visit because he’s the Problogger? Sometimes, lousy content gets lots of comments, even more than good content; I see it all the time. It’s about connections and community as much as the content. Without content, nothing moves. With good content, you’re afforded one type of opportunity; with bad content, you’re actually afforded another type of opportunity.

But does your content stink based on the number of comments you get? There’s no real way to affirm that. What say you?
 

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SMM Strategy, Phase II

Last Monday I posted about my first social media marketing goal. I had said that I was going to have a sticky post for 10 days before the event. Well, give me a few days before that, as in 6 more days. It just didn’t make sense not to advertise this as soon as possible. So, starting tomorrow, there will be a sticky post through the first workshop date, then I’ll slightly modify it and leave it up through the second one. The first date is July 22nd, the second August 19th.

What’s been the next stage of marketing this event? First, I finally created my version of the advertising & registration page and put it on my other site. In the last post I was sending you to Renée’s calendar page, and I decided that I wanted to create a marketing and sales page that looked more like our flyer and finally put a biography of sorts online so people who didn’t know who I really was could learn something about me, and of course Renée as well. Oh yeah, the image you see here is on the flyer, as the title of the presentation is “Make A Splash With Social Media Marketing”. 🙂

Second, Renée has sent out the first notifications to her email list. I’m waiting until later tonight to send out my first blast, but this time I’m going to be a bit more circumspect in who I send the notices to. I’ve decided that it’s not worth it to me to send the notice out to people who I don’t know, even if I have their email addresses. My thought is that if I send it to people who don’t know me that well that they not only won’t necessarily be happy, but they won’t forward it to others who might find the topic interesting. I could be wrong on that front, but so be it. If I didn’t learn anything from the last workshop I tried to market, then I need to get out of the game.

Third, you know the Twitter “blast” is coming. Actually, it’s not going to be all that much of a blast, but this week will have 3 different posts, of a sort. Yesterday I put out the new link to register for the event. Today is this post, which also has the link to the post. Tomorrow is the sticky post; 3 notifications in a row with a slightly different message talking about the same thing.

Fourth, I’ve put it out on Facebook. I first put it into my FB business page as a link. Then I added an event mentioning the workshop, but only for July 22nd. I’ll create a new one for the August presentation; I actually think I could create it now for August, but I think it’s way too early to do. I already have one person saying she’s coming to the event, and 3 saying they won’t be able to make it. Hey, it’s on a Thursday, and it’s not right in the city, which means participants living in Syracuse will have to drive at least 40 minutes. Still, and not because I’m putting it on, but I think this event is so worth it, which is why I’m taking part in it.

Fifth, I’ll start mentioning it more often on LinkedIn. I don’t have a place to advertise it a lot, but it will get mentioned enough times to that the message will get out, such that no one should have the opportunity to say “I didn’t know you were doing that.” Nope, not buying it.

That’s where things are going at the present time. I don’t know if there will be another update on this bad boy or not, at least until it’s over. Then again, I probably need to have at least one more beforehand, the last push for success. So, I make no promises either way. By the way, if you see my wife today, wish her a happy birthday; just don’t tell her I told you.
 

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My Blogs Are Finally PHP 5.2!

The struggle is over, and I have conquered the beast known as PHP 5.0. Actually, the beast seems to be my host, 1&1, though it’s probably not all their fault, and they’re definitely not alone.

Some of you may remember the battle I had in trying to upgrade my business blog to PHP 5.0 back in December. In that case, I knew that blog was on 4.0 because I had created it many years earlier, before PHP 5.0 came about. The same couldn’t be said for this blog and my finance blog however. According to my MySQL admin area, both were already on 5.0. However, I knew they couldn’t be running that way because I couldn’t automatically update anything, and I was having all sorts of problems with my dashboard and plugins.

It was time to do some research, and I have to say it took awhile for me to figure things out, mainly because I had to go to multiple places to get a full understanding of what the issue might be. See, everything I needed, it turns out, was at the codex area for WordPress.org, but it wasn’t making any sense to me. I eventually found a blog called Gabediaz that gave me everything I needed. Now I’m going to share it here, since the information is in many places, just not easily described everywhere.

The first thing I had to do was create a file and name it “phpinfo.php”. I used Notepad and I had to pop this code into it:

(<)?php (add this part without the parenthesis; seems if I remove them it starts coding in this post and you can’t see the first line at all)
phpinfo();
?>

You upload that file to your server. Now, if you have multiple accounts on your server, you upload it into the one where your blog is. Then you type in your domain name and add “/phpinfo.php”. That will tell you the actual version of PHP your site is running on. In my case, it said I was running 4.4.9, which isn’t what it was saying in MySQL.

Then there’s the fix for it, and this is dicey stuff because you don’t want to make a mistake, just in case. First download your .htaccess file to your computer, and make sure you know where it is. Then using Notepad, open that bad boy up. Once you’ve done that, immediately save it using Save As, make sure you’re not saving it as a .txt file, and name it something like .htaccess_original. That will leave you two of those files wherever you saved it. Open the original file you downloaded, go to the top, hit Enter once to bring everything else down, then add this:

AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler x-mapp-php5 .php

Save that file as is, then upload it back to your server, overwriting what you already have there. Then run that domain name thing again, and if you’re lucky you’ll be running something better than 5.0; in my case, I’m running 5.2.13.

I then went to take a look at my dashboard, and everything is there, all notes and the like. I went to my plugins area and added a couple of plugins that I had disabled, just to see what would happen to my dashboard; absolutely nothing. I then took the chance and automatically upgraded to WordPress 3.0; viola! That bad boy worked, my blog is now 3.0, I don’t have to manually upgrade any longer, my dashboard works fine, I can get into all posts and comments fine, and life is great once more.

By the way, the best test to do after upgrading is to see if you can get into your posts. Y’all know I write blog posts for others, and I also manage the blogs. All except one of the blogs upgraded just fine, and the one that didn’t wouldn’t let me into any of the posts. With the manual upgrade it all came back, thank goodness.

Now, I’m not guaranteeing this will work for everyone, but I think I can safely guarantee that if you’re on 1&1 that it will work. And if you’re having problems, heck, it can’t hurt to give it a shot, as long as you remember to save your original .htaccess file somewhere so you can upload it back if necessary. Good luck.

New Wave Rug: NW37 Multi






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The Need To Reduce Information Overload

I’m someone who loves getting as much information as possible. Y’all know how I’ve touted that I subscribe to more than 200 blogs, and that, because I speed read, I can get through a heck of a lot of information.


Information Overload

However, I can’t get through it all, and I admit that there are times when I fall behind that I pop open the reader and see well over 500 titles in a category and think “there’s just no way I’m getting through all of that.” Y’all know that’s a bunch of RSS feeds!

What I do then is look for titles that seem intriguing, take a quick look, see what’s compelling, and if nothing is then I move onto the next one. I have no real idea what I might be missing, and my mind doesn’t care. As a matter of fact, sometimes I actually look at a high number of posts and feel like I can’t breathe.

Last night I was going through a large number once again, and came across this one titled Are You Becoming A Fat, Lazy Blogger written by Tom Sinfield of Standout Blogger. As I read the post, I saw myself in it, someone being overwhelmed by information to the point of being paralyzed sometimes. The paralysis for me is deciding I’m not reading at that moment, yet unsure just what I should do next. And that’s not a good way to go.

So, I’ve made an interesting decision. I’ve decided that I’m going to trim my list down to around 100, and that will be that. Now, some of this is pretty easy. I know I’ll be keeping almost every blog that’s in my category of “friends”, and I’ll be keeping almost every blog in the category of “folks I know”; how’s that for category titles? Those will be the first two I’ll go through because some of those folks aren’t blogging anymore, and I’ll know who they are pretty quickly.

The thing is, right now those account for about 55 blogs. I know for sure that 10 will be gone pretty quickly, but I’m hoping to eliminate at least 20 from this group. That will allow me to easier go through the rest to figure out what I want to keep. I know I’m keeping my news feeds, which don’t actually count as blogs, but I’m counting them towards my 100.

What’s my ultimate goal, other than the number? I subscribe to a ton of internet marketing blogs. The thing is, not only are there a lot of those folks, but many of them aren’t offering me anything new or substantial. I almost hate to go there, but few of them are teaching me anything new on how to make money. And, since that’s the focus of those blogs, supposedly, I need to weed through them to get to what I need.

I also subscribe to a lot of SEO blogs, because it’s something I do, but truth be told, these days it’s more about theory than anything ground breaking, and I find myself disagreeing with what I read more often than finding anything new I can use. I think those blogs are great for someone who’s new to it, but I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years now; I’m past a lot of it.

And there are other types of blogs that wouldn’t interest anyone else but me; well, I’ll add “probably”, and leave it at that. In any case, it’s time to reduce and refine.

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed? As Tom said, it might be time for an information diet; who’s with us? By the way, Tom’s wife is close to having a baby, so pop over there and give him some love.


Create your free baby web page today!

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