All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Tips For Guest Posting

One of my goals for this year was to write more guest posts for other blogs. To that end, I’ve written some for my friend DeAnna Troupe, two of which have been posted, and one other that we’re still waiting for.

Otacool Worldwide Cosplayers
Danny Choo via Compfight

It occurs to me that there are both people who’ve never written guest posts for anyone else, as well as a lot of posts I’ve seen talking about the benefits of writing guest posts. There are few articles that give tips to writing guest posts, though I’ve seen a few. Here are my tips, some which I’ve seen mentioned before, others that I’ve never seen.

1. Try to write your guest post based on the topic of the person’s blog you’re writing for. If you write about digging clams and someone asks you to write on their blog about dog grooming, it’s probably best to turn that down unless you know something about grooming dogs. Someone else might like your writing style, but neither of you are going to get any benefit out of it. Take some time looking at the blog you might be guest writing for to see the topics they write on, then write something on that topic. I did that when I wrote a post for Connie Baum in January on internet marketing scams on her Healthy and Wealthy You blog.

2. Make sure you revisit your post at least the first couple of days to respond to any comments your article might have received. This one varies only slightly depending on how active a particular blog you write for might be. For instance, if you get to guest post on a blog that usually has lots of comments, it’s best to get back early to see what might be there and then address those comments. The reason why addresses tip number three.

3. Whether a blog gets lots of visits or not, leave some kind of comment at least within a couple of days. If a blog doesn’t get a lot of comments, you might miss if someone eventually does comment on a blog, and thus waste an opportunity to engage with someone new. Leaving and subscribing to comments gives you that opportunity. I always make sure to leave a comment whether there’s been anything or not.

4. Make sure you link back to your guest posts on another blog in some fashion on your blog. A great way to do it is what I’m about to do now, which I did last time, by writing something about it on your blog. For DeAnna’s blog, called Learn Small Business, the two posts that are there so far are Is There A Good Way To Market Your Business and Why A Business Blog. Go check them out; I’m sure she’d love the love, and I’d love the commentary.

One of these days I’m going to be asked to write a guest post on one of those blogs that gets tons of visitors. I’m not going to know what to do with myself on that day, but at least I know I’ll be writing on the proper topic.
 

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Diabetic Depression

By now, everyone’s heard about diabetes. This is a tough disease to deal with sometimes. There are some folks who think this is pretty easy to do; just change how you eat. Well, it turns out it’s not quite that easy to do permanently, and when you change up, sometimes bad things happen.

migrant mother, Dorthea Lange, for TFIF contest
susan via Compfight

At least I know about it. I was reading a story a couple of days ago where a basketball player on the Georgetown team was just diagnosed with it. He was having stomach problems and finally went to the doctor about it, and there you go. Now they’re saying he might miss some games; how bad can it be if he has to miss some games?

This kid is in great physical condition and got it; how the heck is someone like me, out of shape and on insulin, supposed to control it all of the time?

Well, I could, and I do well from time to time. I’ve written about my eating plans and when I can stick to them they do work. When I don’t, though, things can start messing up in different ways.

One thing I go through here and there is something called diabetic depression. I seem to get it when my glucose levels are high for at least a couple of weeks. I don’t always know it immediately when it’s coming on, but probably should know that if my glucose level is high for at least a week it’s time to go back to the drastic eating plan.

What does high mean? Though there are mandated highs or standards by the government, each person has their range where they feel good or bad. The U.S. has a standard between 80 and 120; I feel good between 110 and 150. When I start getting under 110, I feel like I’m borderline dizzy, and when it gets below 100, I’m no good at all. Hitting 44 after a walk one day, when I couldn’t even drive home, was probably my scariest moment. By the way, as Sire once mentioned here, other countries have different numbers they use, and I guess if they stay under a 4 they’re considered as doing well; I don’t fully get it, but I just wanted to be somewhat clear.

This obviously means anything over 150 is high, no matter how you look at it. If I’m around 170 or so, I don’t panic at all. But when my readings get around 200 and stay there, or higher for awhile, there’s trouble a-brewin’.

In the last two weeks, since that’s the average a glucose monitor will give you, I’ve been averaging 219; no, that’s not good. Three days ago I awoke to a reading of 320, and that was after being awake 2 hours without eating anything.

The day I wrote my post on possibly giving up blogging, it was 244 after a couple of hours; nope, not good. I’ve had only two readings under 200 in the past two weeks, and both were afternoon readings, not morning readings. I’ve come close to 300 a few times; that’s not good either.

I tend to get depressed. When I get depressed, I want to quit some things and overdo others. I’m a dessert hound; I admit that.

But it’s not just desserts that drives up the numbers. Carbs is the monster. I’ve had pizza a few times. My wife made spaghetti on Sunday and I had some, then had some on both Monday and Tuesday. I’ve eaten a lot of McDonald’s fish sandwiches over the last week or so; yeah, that commercial got to me. I’ve had cake, cookies, and hot chocolate also, and I can’t say in moderation either. Once the numbers get high, you stop caring, and you go hog wild.

Luckily, my life has always been about coming to grips with something at a certain moment and deciding it’s time to get back on the straight and narrow. My wife is out of town this weekend, yet I’m working hard on being good. I can’t claim perfection, because I acknowledge that I do need her help, but I’ve gained a little bit of control, and hopefully by the middle of next week I’ll be back into the 150’s or lower.

I was talking to a friend of mine Wednesday night at a networking event. He was telling me his mother was diabetic, and he never realized how hard it was to plan meals and try to stick to an eating plan.

I’m not going to say this is harder than giving up cigarettes, but it’s different. You stop smoking, at least you have other things you can go to that you enjoy. Sure, you might overeat for awhile, but you’ll get used to that. With diabetes, supposedly you can never go back to eating what you like, or at least how you like, and there’s nothing to replace it. Well, there’s poker, but when I play poker I don’t tend to eat, and my wife wouldn’t like that any better than me playing poker every day. She’s like that. lol

Just thought I’d share that, so if every once in awhile you see an odd post or two, you might have an idea of where it might be coming from. Doesn’t mean I might not be thinking about something here and there, but at that moment the thought process might be influenced by something else. And, just for clarification, not everyone gets depressed. There are so many different symptoms people will exhibit. I’m lucky that my vision hasn’t been affected this time around.
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Thinking About Quitting Blogging; The Thought Process

That headline is no lie; I have really been thinking about giving up blogging over the past week or so.

I love blogging; at least I have. I have lots to talk about, so it’s definitely not that.

I like comments, and I’ve met a lot of people I’d have never met otherwise, so it’s not that.

I’ve been wondering whether I’m making a difference or not. I’ve been wondering if I’m channeling myself into efforts that not that many people really care about. A couple of comments on yesterday’s post about people not wanting to read long posts and therefore visiting less often is a part of that as well.

I’m not really into catering to anyone else’s beliefs or thoughts on what it is I do. However, the last thing I want to do is waste my time or anyone else’s time.

It looks and sounds like a pity party, but it’s not. Blogging isn’t the only thing I’ve been thinking about giving up lately. I write two newsletters, and I’ve been writing them for about 7 years now. I’ve never reached a mass audience; my main newsletter still has less than 200 subscribers after all these years. I’ve got enough material to write a couple of books if I want to take the time to edit them; I just might do that.

I’m tired. I’m tired physically, and I’m tired mentally. In just over 2 years I’ve written 653 posts on this blog, and, as you see the stats to the right, I have 131 subscribers; that’s depressing. True, it’s not always about how many subscribers, but I’m remembering a blog post I read the other day about continuing to do things that aren’t living up to expectations. I bet almost no one remembers that last January I made a serious push to increase the numbers of subscribers for this blog; colossal flop.

If I decide to stop blogging, I shut everything down. No sales, no just leaving it up. I’d kill this blog and the others and go about my business. I don’t think I’d be missed longer than a week or so, if that long. And maybe I’d get some other things done. After all, even if I quit my blogs and newsletters, I’m still writing them for other people right now, getting paid for it.

Maybe that’s it; maybe it’s the overkill of writing and coming up with ideas on topics I’ve had to learn to know fairly well that’s killing some enthusiasm for this; I’m not sure.

To keep this short for those who hate more than 500 words, I’ll end with this. I’ll continue writing for now until I come to a real decision, and when I do, I’ll bring this up again. For now, less than 470 words, I’m done with this post.

Commentary On A Comments Post

I was reading a guest post on Problogger titled 8 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Many Comments, and as I read it, I identified with a couple of them, and found that I kind of disagreed with the other points. I figured I’d comment here rather than there, mainly because there are already 111 comments on that post, and I applaud the writer of the post, Charlie Gilkey, on responding to comments on his post, something you don’t often see guest bloggers going back to do (y’all need to be cautious of that).

1. Your Posts Are Too Long

If we set the bar at 500 words for what’s long and what’s short, I’d have to say that, based on my own blog, it depends on what someone is talking about. For instance, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a few posts that were longer than that, and most of them got a pretty good response. I’ve also written a few short posts, and one of those only got a couple of comments.

I believe as long as you’re not droning over one thing without adding something new to it here and there, long posts are just fine. People tend to gravitate towards one or two lines they really like anyway if you haven’t bored them. And, the post Charlie wrote on this topic was pretty long, and it got 111 comments; case closed.

2. You Haven’t Asked Them to Comment

This one is interesting. If I asked at the end of every post “please comment”, I’d sound desperate. Actually, every once in awhile I do ask people what their opinion is, and I think that’s actually his point here. If you’re writing something pretty technical, you won’t get many comments, but if you offer an opinion, like I do here and there on this blog (kind of like this post), then asking people what they think makes sense.

3. They Don’t Know What To Say

This one seems obvious, and in this case there’s really not much to comment on because there’s nothing you can do to encourage those people to comment.

4. They’re Doing What You Told Them To Do

This is where we talk technical. One of my posts from awhile ago was talking about how to get Google Desktop to index Thunderbird. This is still one of my most popular posts, and it still gets comments. It never got the amount of comments close to how many people have read it, but it got some, and I know it helped a lot of people. I guess this is just something you have to deal with if you’re going to try to help people from time to time.

5. They’re Chasing Links On Your Blog

Here he’s talking about internal linking, saying that people will go off and follow your internal links to other posts without commenting on the original post. Do those people comment on the old posts if they follow it? I think this is an acceptable risk, because we all would like some of our older comment to be read, it’s great for SEO, and I think people who care will make sure to comment on one or both or multiples as they see fit.

6. They’re Following Your Social Media Trail

This is an intriguing idea, and I’m not quite sure I believe this one. I doubt there’s a single person who follows my blog and me on either Twitter or Facebook who doesn’t comment. What I have seen, though, are people who subscribe to the email not commenting, instead writing me directly. I’m not sure I believe this one at all.

7. It’s Hard For Them To Comment

Hello! He’s speaking to, and for, the choir, or at least me on this one. How many times have I written about making it easy to comment on your blog? How many times have I castigated Disqus and Intense Debate and the like for wanting me to subscribe so I can see responses to a comment I’ve written? Heck, sometimes it’s hard to find the link that allows you to comment. And there’s a new trend where a few bloggers have some posts they’ll allow you to comment on, and others where they turn it off because they don’t want to hear your opinion on their opinion. Not sure where I stand on that one in general, but I know those are usually the posts I want to comment on, so I just don’t subscribe to those blogs because it’s irritating to me.

8. You’re Posting At The Wrong Time

Once again, I have decided to take this one with a grain of salt. I have experimented this concept of posting at different times, and what I’ve realized is that it just doesn’t matter. It seems the email feed goes out late in the afternoon or evening anyway, and Twitter has folks on it 24/7, so there’s always an audience that’s seeing your post when you’re not around. Maybe 4 years ago time made a big difference, but not anymore.

And that’s that. Be sure to read Charlie’s post entirely, and of course I’d love to hear your thoughts on my commentary on that post. See, I’ve asked you to contribute! 🙂

Some Quick Hitters For A Sunday

In less than an hour, the United States hockey team will take on Canada for the gold medal, and yet I wanted to get a post out before then. So, this is one of those posts where I’m going to talk about a few things on my mind, without any consistent theme. Stay tuned.

Let’s talk about the hockey game first. I don’t normally watch hockey. If it’s the NHL professional league, I will watch it if I’m at someone’s house, or if it’s the finals and possibly the final game of the year. I don’t know almost any players anymore, especially since the New York Rangers started playing bad hockey after winning their last Stanley Cup. I used to be a Boston Bruins fan when I lived in Maine as a kid, but once you can’t watch your teams play anymore, you sometimes tend to move away from those teams. I’m glad I still get to see a lot of Boston Red Sox games; I hate the Yankees!

Anyway, whether you care about hockey or not, this is big. The United States versus Canada, the two best teams in the world, are vying for the gold medal. When the U.S. won last week, we had a mini Mardi Gras party in the states, and we’re hoping for more of that today, even though Canada is favored. Hockey is supposed to be their game, like curling, which Canada did finally win the gold medal for (men’s team at least; not sure how the women ended up). This is interesting in that it pits professional teammates against each other while they’re representing their countries. Should be a lot of fun as the Olympics is finally ending its two week run.

Locally, our big story was last night for the Syracuse Orange vs. the Villanova Wildcats NCAA basketball game. Syracuse ended up with the largest on-campus home crowd ever in the nation, 34,616 people, and they crushed Villanova 95-77. They could be the number one team in the country come Monday; that would be something, especially since this team was barely picked to finish in the top half of the Big East conference at the beginning of the season.

I’m glad I wasn’t at the game, because I wouldn’t have been able to see replay after replay of some marvelous basketball. That, plus knowing what the roads had to have been like after all the snow we’ve had lately and many road closings; nope, I enjoyed it right where I was, camped in front of the big screen in the bedroom. That picture is showing what more than 30,000 people looks like in the Dome; wild!

On another front, I can’t believe I never heard from 101Phones regarding the commission they didn’t pay me. I did hear from Commission Junction finally, and wasn’t really happy with their response, but what can you do? I have dropped these people from any advertising, and I went to the site and delisted myself from them as well. Stay away, folks; if this is how they treat affiliates, your business is worthless to them. Even their Twitter account was canceled, if it was them to begin with. Man, I hate being taken advantage of.

That was something else I had to deal with last week. Imagine waking up and seeing a lot of trackbacks to your blog, and figuring out that they’re all your own posts on someone else’s blog.

That’s what happened to me, as this blog based in Egypt had come in and stolen 7 of my posts, verbatim and image wise, without attribution. That was the second time this month I’d had my content stolen, although the first time, supposedly, it was from a site in the British Territories (whatever that is) that was supposed to be something like StumbleUpon, only they took the entire post and didn’t tell anyone who wrote it. Even the ISP wouldn’t intervene on that one, telling me my only recourse was to write the company and ask them to remove the post, which they didn’t.

Man, I wish I knew how to report the ISP to someone for not doing their duty; that’s the problem in trying to overcome foreign companies sometimes. Anyway, the guy in Egypt finally did remove all my posts, so I commend him on that and won’t out him, although I did out him on Twitter when it looked like he wasn’t going to do the right thing.

Man, am I going to have to start adding a disclaimer at the end of every post so people who visit these guys will know they stole content? I haven’t seen a lot of people doing that, but maybe it’s the way to go.

And finally, let’s talk snow. Some of you, like Sire, have no real clue as to the kind of mess too much snow can cause. Here in the Syracuse area, we’re usually well prepared for snow, but Thursday and Friday were something else. It was a heavy, wet snow, which adds a lot of weight to the effort of trying to remove it. This was one of those snows where small snowplows, those on trucks your neighbor might have, actually got stuck in some places; now that’s wild. Thursday I was able to get to the snow before it got too high. Friday, however, my back wasn’t having it, and even with my wife home, in 20 minutes we’d barely made a dent in the driveway, though I made it my mission to at least get a thin trail to the street, just in case there was some kind of emergency. Many people missed work because large plows couldn’t get into their neighborhoods, and even if they could there was no place to put the extra snow. The thing about snow is that people sometimes disregard it, saying it’s just snow, but when snow is heavy it takes out more people over a larger area than any other natural disaster can. This last storm took out the entire East Coast; not even a hurricane does that.

Finally, it’s the last day of February, and I said I wasn’t going to post financial numbers anymore until I made at least $500 in a month. Nope, nowhere close to that, but I still hate that I’m not getting credit for that one affiliate sale. I need some free time to do some extra stuff, but it’s fleeting. I’m expecting March to be a great financial month offline, as I landed a short contract that will pay a lot of money in a short time, so that might bode well for April; guess we’ll see.

I hope everyone else has a great Sunday and last day of February; go USA!
 

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