All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

SEO Doctor

From Kristi’s most recent Fetching Friday post came an article from Search Engine Journal on a Firefox plugin called SEO Doctor. In essence, it gives you a heck of a lot of information on how your SEO efforts are working on your website, and if you know how to dig deeper, might give you some indications of what you can do better.

After checkout out the article, I went to the page, downloaded the plugin, and of course added it to my browser, where it’s sitting at the lower left as I type. The biggies, as it pertains to what you want to know, are: the percentage, out of 100%, of effectiveness your page is in its SEO efforts; the number of external links and links overall on that page; and the number of visits that page has received.

When I go to my main business site, it’s ranked at 96% out of 100%; I like that. Some of my other pages on that site are perfect, and I like that even better. The worst page on that site comes in at 90%. It shows me I have 3 external links and 43 links overall; I had to go counting to find those links overall, but they’re there. It shows me… well, it shows me nothing as it pertains to visits. That’s because you have to belong to Compete, and you have to have an API key to pop in, and of course I’m not signing up for that. I wish I could change it to something else, but I’m stuck with that; oh well…

There are two other things on the toolbar as well. One is something called Flow, which measures the percentage of page rank you’re retaining on your site. Since y’all know I don’t particularly follow page rank all that much, I’m not worried about it, which is why it’s not in my top 3. However, on my business page it says I’m retaining 88% of my page rank. The last thing is this little green tab to the far right, which allows me to track nofollow links if I so choose; I don’t at this juncture, but it’s neat enough to take a quick look at.

Finally, you can right click on any of the information listed and get even more information, which you can download if you prefer in a .csv format. Of course, if you have nothing in Compete, that one won’t work.

Anyway, it’s a neat little tool you might want to check out, but of course you have to be on Firefox to use it.

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Formspring.me

This is something different that I bet most of us wouldn’t really have the courage to use; at least I know I don’t.

It’s called Formspring.me. What it allows you to do is set up an account where people can anonymously ask you questions about pretty much anything, and you answer them. You have the opportunity to tell people the types of things you talk about so that maybe people will stay on topic, but they can deviate at any moment and ask you about pretty much anything.

How did I discover it? One of my Twitter friends, a local young lady, created an account that she’d heard of from someone else, and started promoting it there. She answers questions about sex, mainly about her own escapades, and no, I’m not going to link to it. Yeah, she’s pretty open about it on Twitter with people who follow her, and if she decides she wants to post something here about it then that’s on her.

Suffice it to say, she created the account, put it up on Twitter, and I tracked it there to see what it was all about. It’s eye opening stuff, and she’s really open about her thoughts and experiences. I didn’t know someone could experience so much before the age of 25; man, I’ve not lived at all!

Anyway, you’ll find it’s a pretty simple page. There’s no searching; you pretty much have to tell people you have an account once you create one, and you’ll probably have to keep telling them to keep them coming back. Actually, it might be a good thing for business sites; I might have to rethink this one for one of my sites. We’ll see.

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10 Tips To Become A Faster And More Efficient Reader – Guest Post

Some of you know that I can and often speed read. It’s hard for me to tell people how I do it, since I learned it so long ago. Tom reached out and asked if he could write a guest post for this blog, and it’s on a topic I know something about and think it will help some of you who might want some tips. Enjoy.

Becoming a faster reader can significantly improve the pace at which you work and learn. Many individuals find that they have a difficult time with reading at a fast pace. They may spend hours or even weeks reading assignments, work papers, or other important documents.

The following tips will help you learn to read at a faster pace. It will require a lot of practice, but the benefits of becoming a faster reader will improve your quality of life and increase your free time.

  1. Skim: One of the best ways to speed up reading is to learn how to properly skim. Skimming is the ability to read only the essential sentences and paragraphs of a piece of writing. You can effectively skim by skipping sentences or paragraphs that contain unimportant, summarized, or repeated information.
  2. Skip Words: The fastest readers are able to quickly read by skipping words that are not essential. By focusing on only the most important words in a sentence, you will be able to read sentences with significantly increased speed. In order to read faster, you should skip “the”, “a”, “this”, “that”, and other words that are simply placeholders.
  3. Don’t Move Your Lips: Moving your lips while reading can significantly slow down your reading pace. Your mind can comprehend words much faster than your lips can verbalize them. Reading out loud or moving your lips while you’re reading can significantly slow your reading pace.
  4. Improve Vocabulary: Reading takes a lot longer when you don’t understand what you’re reading. If you find that you are stumbling over words, it may help to read with a dictionary and look up troublesome words. This will require a lot of extra work initially, but eventually you will no longer stumble over unknown words.
  5. Read with Purpose: You should always know your intention before you begin to read a piece of writing. If you are looking for a specific fact, you may want to skim for key words or phrases. If you’re reading to understand the facts about a particular subject, you may want to skip filler words and sentences. Knowing your objective before you begin reading will help you determine the manner in which you should read the passage.
  6. Read Faster: Actively attempting to read faster can increase the speed of your reading. It is not advisable to practice speed reading on homework assignments or work documents, but it’s an excellent tool to use during leisure reading. Spend several minutes per day reading at a pace that is two or three times as fast as you normally read. Eventually your brain will learn to speed up important readings too.
  7. Read More: The more you read the better you will become at reading. An excellent way to improve the speed of your reading is to simply take time each day to sit down and read.
  8. Read in Groupings: Sounding out each individual word takes a lot of time. In order to increase the speed of your reading, you should read in groupings of words or even full sentences. Your brain is capable of comprehending words and sentences visually. You do not need to sound out the words to get the gist of what they mean.
  9. Skim Passages: To read faster while improving your reading comprehension, it may help to skim the entire passage either before or after reading it more thoroughly. This will help you pick out key words and concepts, which will seem more familiar to you during the second reading.
  10. Don’t Reread: Fully rereading passages that you have already read will disrupt the pace and flow of your reading. It’s important to move on, even if you’re not sure that you fully understood the passage.

Increasing the speed of your reading can be a lot of work. The most important thing to remember is that every word in a piece of writing is not important. It’s okay to skip unnecessary words, sentences, and even paragraphs. With time and practice you will be able to increase the speed of your reading and the effort is well worth it.

Tom Walker is a writer and avid reader who works with a UK based online store specializing in print supplies such as HP 363 ink. He maintains their blog about design, art and advertising.

Sunday Question – Why Do You Blog?

Before I get into the meat of this question, I want to share two things that are somewhat related. Last week I did another online interview with my friend Beverly Mahone, and I’ll be doing my second and last interview with her on this show tonight. She’s moving on to a real radio show, and hopefully I’ll be able to get on there some day, even if it’ll only be geared towards a North Carolina audience. You can check out the show, which starts at 7PM tonight, by clicking here. Also, you can download last week’s show here, and of course I’ll be sharing this weekend’s show probably some time next week.

The question of the day is why do you blog? It should be an easy question to answer for some of you, a much harder question for the rest of you. It could be easy because you might have planned what you were hoping to do and gotten out there and did it, and you’re still doing it. It could be hard because your original motivation might have been one thing and it changed, or you thought it would be one thing and it morphed into something entirely different.

For me, I started blogging years ago because I was trying to figure out a way to get the word out about my business. So I asked a friend of mine to create a subdomain for me (I know how to do it now) so I could add my blog to my business website, and Mitch’s Blog was born.

Then I wanted a blog where I could write on whatever I wanted to write on, as well as have the opportunity to make some money, and this blog was born. Finally, I saw on the Warrior Forum one day that someone was selling a couple of blogs, and I decided I wanted to buy the one on finance because I knew I wanted to know more about it, and how better to learn about it than have to research and write on it. Thus, Top Finance Blog was born.

Anyway, those are the reasons why I started blogging. Why do I continue blogging? One, for my business, two because I actually like communicating, three because I’m hoping to spread my brand, which is me, and four, because I’ve met so many nice people and want to meet more of you.

And there you go; pretty easy for me to respond. Then again, I knew how I’d answer, since I came up with the question. What about you? Oh yeah, remember, Mother’s Day is coming up!
 

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Do You Protect Others Better Than You Protect Yourself?

Last night my wife and I were having a conversation about things that had surprised us about each other. One thing that came up was how, when the need arises, we tend to change our demeanor up in protecting each other, as opposed to when we’re protecting or supporting ourselves.


Safety and Protection

I’m not one who raises my voice in anger. When I raise my voice, I’m usually happy in some regard. And I’m generally a very easy going guy. However, I’ve noticed what when someone or something is not treating my wife well, I don’t yell, but I do go on the attack. And I don’t play nice, something that surprised my wife because she’s noticed I usually give people a lot of leeway when it comes to messing with me, although I do try to cerebrally castigate them if I have to.

My wife has done the same for me. We’ve been in restaurants where she’s made demands on stuff that I might not like. Not that I won’t say something many times, but how I address things and how she addresses them is much different.

I noticed earlier today that our friend Sire had a comment on his blog where the guy pretty much called him an idiot. Sire responded in his normally gracious way, and the guy didn’t quite apologize, saying he likes to speak directly with people, but was glad Sire took it in the matter in which he meant it. I didn’t; I thought it was grossly inappropriate, and I decided to take up the spear and thrust it back in my own way. You’ll remember that I wrote an article on web courtesy; you come into my house, I don’t mind that you disagree with me, but you’re going to respect me. And you’re going to respect my friends in their house, unless you want to pay the bills.

Am I sensitive? Sometimes I’ll admit that. I tend to believe you teach people how to treat you, and you also treat people as you wish to be treated. I’m so thankful that everyone who has participated on this blog has shown great deportment over the years, and trust me I appreciate it. I hope I treat everyone with the utmost respect because I hope to get that back. We can disagree; I’m certainly not perfect. But there are ways we can all support our beliefs without being rude.

Kind of like customer service, eh? 🙂

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