All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

How To Know If Your SEO Is Working

Since this is about to be my third post, I guess I can officially call this a series on SEO, my first official series of 2009.

There are lots of people who write about SEO, search engine marketing for the uninitiated, and there are lots of tips given. Heck, I gave five tips myself, as well as talked about how multiple web pages can help your efforts on your regular website. So, in one way, I’m like a lot of other people.

But in another, I am my own man. In this case, I’m going to tell you something that I’m not sure anyone else will tell you, another tip if you will, that I know I’ve never read anywhere else, but it’s possibly out there.

One of the questions that may be out there for some folks who aren’t quite up to snuff on SEO is how one knows it’s working. For some, SEO is only working if their websites or webpages are in the top 10 on Google. Since there’s a big world of websites and blogs out there, making sure everything you do ends up in the top 10 is a daunting task. If that’s the only standard for everyone then there’s going to be a lot of people thinking they’re doing a bad job.

So, here’s an easier way, and all it takes is Google Adsense. Yup, that’s what I said, Adsense. Google has set Adsense up so that it’s supposed to bring up ads that are related to the content on your webpage. If you’re checking your main blog page, which will usually show multiple articles in some fashion, you may not be getting exactly what you’re hoping for, which will happen if you write on multiple areas of a topic. However, if you check individual posts, you should notice that the advertisements showing on Adsense are related to what your post is about. As a sidebar, you might have to sign out of your account to see the ads from the point of view of your visitors.

I decided to look back through my last 20 posts to see what came up on Adsense. I used IE, since it’s not my main browser, and therefore I’m not signed into it, to view them. Out of those 20 posts, 17 of them are optimized properly. Well, let’s define that; there were 3 posts on blogging, so my ads were about blogging, and I guess that’s standard. On my blog, whenever ads don’t quite match up to what I’m writing about, Adsense shows posts on either blogging or Adsense; I wonder how much Google pays itself when their own ads show. 🙂

Anyway, if I wanted to, I could go back and change the language of my posts somewhat, or maybe add something different into my All In One SEO Pack, to see if that might change some things up eventually. Or I could just move on, because, let’s face it, we all hopefully know that not every single one of our articles is going to knock the ball out of the proverbial SEO ballpark (that’s a baseball reference, for those who aren’t from the U.S. and may not understand the reference). Sometimes, it’s best to move on and work on the newer stuff, or maybe, if the article was a particularly close one to your heart, then do something with it.

Anyway, that’s a quick down and dirty way to check your SEO. Give it a shot and see if your SEO efforts are working; that is, if you’re giving it any effort. 😉


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Book Writing Series Part Seven – Contacting Publishers

As many of you know, I started a series of articles that I called the book writing series, for which I also have a link at the top. I went through some issues on planning, writing, then publishing. Well, some people still want to try to get a real publisher for their books, which is a laudable goal, but may not have any real idea of how to go about it. That’s what this article is about. Of course, I hope you go through the other issues first before you get to this one if you’re a new visitor, but you don’t have to.


the Pen

To begin with, if you’re going to try for publisher’s, a must have book is Writer’s Market, because that’s where you’re going to start looking for the names and addresses of publishers you’re hoping will accept your book. However, the book doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, so stay tuned.

To start off with, whether you submit your book by regular mail or email, you’ll need to supply an outline, or synopsis, of the book. My book was non fiction, so I supplied an outline of what each chapter’s topic was, along with its title, and an outline of what was covered in the chapter if I was touching upon more than one theme. Also, every publisher or agent either wants one of two things: a complete copy of the book, which, if you print it out, has to be on individual pages, double spaced (that’s kind of costly and wasteful, but if that’s what they want then you give it to them); most publishers only want a sample, maybe like the first 50 pages or so. If you’re sending something by email, you may need to contact the publisher first before sending an attached file. This is one place where having Writer’s Market helps, because it will tell you how the publisher wants you to contact them.

However, here’s the big part that no one ever tells you. Unless you’re already famous, you have to put in your greeting letter, and you must ALWAYS have a greeting letter, not only what the book is about and the characters and synopsis, but how YOU would sell and market the book if it were totally up to you. You have to tell them who the target audience is, and why that’s the target audience. And it needs to be a big audience, one that has the possibility of selling at least 100,000 books. That was one of my problems; my non fiction book might have had a big market, but books on management and leadership rarely sell that many books unless you’re a big name. The One Minute Millionaire really was a fluke (I met Ken Blanchard, by the way, and he actually read a copy of my book). Anyway, the marketing aspect has to include things like book signings, certain types of radio shows you’d try to get on, television interviews, how much travel you’d be willing to do, etc. The problem with that is that a lot of that stuff would come out of your own pocket; they’ll pay you something up front, but you then have to figure out how to fit everything else into place with that money.

The best thing to do then, obviously, is to try to get an agent, but they’re tough to get through to also. They don’t like signing what they consider as a “one trick pony”; in other words, they usually want to know that you’ve written more than one book, no matter how good they are, because they want to pitch the writer as being somewhat prolific so they can get multi-book deals. So, unless your first missive is just so fantastic that the agent knows you’re the next coming of J.K. Rowlings, it’s a difficult sell. She’s actually someone who’s a great example of how to do it. She got an agent not because of the first book, but because she had a full outline for the entire series of books, and the agent just loved that, even though she’d only written the first book at the time. Even then, he had a tough time getting it to someone initially, but that was then his concern, not hers, since agents still work on commission. I don’t think any of them are unhappy at this juncture.

If you’re looking for an agent, you pretty much have to go through the same process you do for a publisher. There are only so many agents, and because most of them are one person operations, they only have so much time to read only so many books. The reason you might shoot for an agent, though, is because some publishers will only work with agents, not directly with writers, and agents have access to many more publishers than you might on your own.

Now a little bit more on figuring out the categories for your book. Though I love the idea of a book falling into multiple categories, publishers won’t. In the Writer’s Market book, many publishers only market a few types of genres, so they’d need something specific. These days, more publishers are starting to get scared of “true story” books because of the ones that have been outed as fake recently, so if you reference anyone specific in the book they’re going to want to know who those people are, and of course want to obtain releases from those people, or most of those people, and that gets expensive. If it’s me, I’d probably want to market it as fiction based on your own experiences. In any case, deciding upon your genre will help you decide how to help market your book.

It can be a tough environment, but if you’re committed to trying, I hope those steps above help.

Samsill Sterling Writing Pad

Samsill Sterling Writing Pad

Price – $15.00


  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

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At Least Be Professional In Your Writing

I understand that we’re living in different times. The need for some to communicate their thoughts faster, and sometimes in fewer words or characters, is more common now than ever before. Schools seem to be more interested in grading students on the content of what they’re written, rather than the words and sentence structure used to create those words. I asked this one awhile ago, and I’ll ask it again; does anyone except me still use semicolons?

What am I commenting on now? This is an email I received yesterday:

Hi,

I visited ur site n am interested in doin Link Exchange wid ur site, if u
r also interested thn pls get back 2 us on the above email.

i too got few automotive sites and blogs with good visitors on it ….
would u like to link exchange for betterment of both our sites ?

let me know if interested 😉

Link Exchange wid Blogroll

What the heck is that? Did a 10 year old just send me a marketing email? Oddly enough, I was insulted, and I’m still not sure why. Just an hour later I received another one, though longer, on my TFB blog, which I just sent to spam and deleted, written the same way. Not to mention that it had nothing to do with the topic at hand, just a stupid generic sales letter. Here’s a portion of that letter, and remember, that particular blog of mine is on financial issues:

I am a webmaster maintaining some finance related sites & blogs with good pr & good traffic. I have just seen ur sites, it is really very informative & related to my topic also. If u don’t mind I want u as my link partner.
I think this is the only way to get high traffic & pr soon, in other side this is very safe way in front of the search engine. I do interested abt healthy content or banner link exchange with my top quality finance sites & blogs. If it is needed I will go for article or useful finance widget link exchange.
If u agree with my proposal plz feel free to reply me with ur good finance sites & blogs urls. I will also do the same with a revert mail.

That’s exactly how it came. No spacing for paragraphs; lots of truncated words; nothing about my topic at all. Is this serious business? Would anyone in their right minds consider this as appropriate business conversation?

We talk often about writing new, good, and original content for our visitors on our blogs. One shouldn’t suppose, however, that blog writing is more important than business writing. When I was a director, I used to edit every letter that anyone on my staff wrote that they were planning on sending out to our clients, if you will, not because I wanted them to write as I write, but because I would see examples of their writing and formatting “skills” and decided that wasn’t the image I wanted to convey to our clientele. At some point I created templates for them to use, where they could just fill in the blanks for those issues that were common. Unfortunately, that type of thing doesn’t work across the board, and sometimes you do have to craft original letters.

I don’t begrudge anyone an occasional typo, but those two letters above were written that way on purpose. Frankly, the only reason I kept a copy of each of them was so I could write this post; I’m not responding to either one of them. If that’s how someone wants to write on their blog, or if that’s how someone wishes to comment on another person’s blog, that’s just fine for them. But when it comes to business communications,… well, if they start wondering why they’re not getting much of a return on their marketing, I bet we could tell them why.

Or am I talking like an old person? Someone let me know.

Shih Tzu 2010 Pocket Planner

Price – $5.99






PC Magazine’s Gone Digital

Have you received your latest edition of PC Magazine? No? That’s because they went digital, supposedly as of February 2009. However, the last edition I got from them was in November, their December edition.

I had wondered why I hadn’t received anything, even though I had been privy to this notice, on a fluke though, from PC Magazine Editor-In_Chief Lance Ulanoff:

An Open letter to PC Magazine (Print) Readers,

The January 2009 issue (Volume 28, Issue 1) of PC Magazine will mark a monumental transition for the publication. It is the last printed edition of this venerable publication. Of course, as with any technology-related enterprise, this is not the end, but the beginning of something exciting and new.

Starting in February 2009, PC Magazine will become a 100-percent digital publication. So, in addition to our popular network of Websites, which includes our centerpiece, PCMag.com, as well as ExtremeTech, blogs like Gearlog and AppScout, and audio and video content that includes PCMag Radio, Cranky Geeks and DL.TV, we’ll offer PC Magazine Digital Edition to all of our print subscribers. The PC Magazine Digital Edition has actually been available since 2002. So for thousands of you, the benefits of this unique medium are already clear. And those benefits will continue to multiply in the coming months, as we work hard to enhance your digital experience. If you’d like to read the rest of the letter, you can check it out here.

Now, I understand the economy and how advertising is taking a heat across the board. What I don’t understand is why I had to read it online like this. In other words, where was the same customer service you used in sending me requests to subscribe twice a month, even after I was already a subscriber, in some kind of letter or notification that you were ending my mailed magazine subscription? And, by the way, where was my offer of refunding the balance of my payment, since you weren’t sending me something monthly anymore, or telling me that my subscription would roll over to the online service, which is now charging 62 cents an issue? Okay, that’s cheaper, but what about what I’ve already paid?

I also want my information coming in a magazine form. Not that I don’t look for news sometimes online, but let’s face this fact. PC Magazine, along with PC World, were two of my favorite magazines. I could take them anywhere and read them anywhere; car, plane, bathroom (yeah, like I’m the only one reading in the bathroom), bedroom, doctor’s offices, etc. I always have a copy of one of three magazines with me as just in case reading (the other magazine is Discover). You can’t take in all of the information from any of these magazines in a normal sitting, so having it available to carry around with you is a good deal. With PC Magazine being online now, there are a lot of things I’m just going to miss, and I don’t like that all that much.

Still, my main gripe isn’t about whether or not they should be an online periodical. My gripe is that they didn’t inform me, or the rest of society that’s subscribing to it, by regular mail in some fashion. I’m thinking they owe me some money for at least 5 or six months, but I’m not overly worried about that, as my rate was under $15 a year. There is a lot of information on their site; I just wish someone had said something. What do you think?


Shop Dog.com

Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks

My goodness, another Twitter post!

Yes, another Twitter post, but at least each time I write about it, I’m writing something different. In this case, I want to talk about some of the more irritating things I see on Twitter. Overall Twitter is an interesting diversion, and it’s proven to be a news breaker. For instance, Twitter users spread the news about the Hudson River plane landing at least 15 minutes before the news organizations got the story. Twitter has allowed me to talk to people, albeit in short bursts, like Guy Kawasaki and Keith Ferrazzi.

But there are some habits from people that I don’t really like. I remember having a conversation with someone one night, though I can’t remember who, on the subject of some of these bad habits. Frankly, I chalked some of it up to ignorance; ignorance of proper decorum, ignorance of what irritates people, and ignorance of new technologies and how to really use them. However, we have a mixture of things to talk about, so let’s get started.

First, there’s this new trend of people who are creating new Twitter accounts for the purpose of selling something. I’m sure that’s nothing new, but in this case what they do is create the account, then try to start following as many people as they can. They usually pop a picture of a pretty young woman in there, and I wouldn’t doubt that most of the people they’re following are men. Sometimes the names make sense, sometimes they don’t. What I do is see the email come through telling me someone new is following me on Twitter, click on the link so I can take a look, and most of the time, now that I’ve seen it so often, I know it’s a fake account and won’t follow. Usually you see something like them following 1,600 people and maybe 30 people following them.

At the same time, there are some people who legitimately do the same thing. I have no idea how they find me or anyone else, but they do, and they just start following tons of people. I also won’t add most of those folks, but if they have a link to a blog or website I’ll at least check it out first to see what I think about it all. Sometimes the person does look pretty interesting, and I’ll follow; most of the time, though, I want to wait to see if that person draws interest.

Sometimes I take a look at how often someone is updating their own Twitter messages. If they’re not doing any talking, just following lots of people, I won’t follow them; I mean, that’s a waste of time. Obviously they don’t care to share, so I leave them alone. The people who bother me the most that do something like this, though, are the people who follow you, then when you check them out you see that they have their updates protected. Sure, you could ask them if you can follow them, but didn’t I get married so I wouldn’t have to deal with having to ask women I didn’t know if they’d like to go on a date with me? Unless it’s business, I don’t give people a chance to possibly reject me, so I don’t ask, and therefore I’m not following them.

Another thing I don’t like are those folks who have automatic messages when you decide to follow them. I’m sure they think they’re being helpful, but to me it feels more like they’re trying to be pushy. If the messages just said “Thanks for following me” or something like that I wouldn’t be bothered at all. However, what happens is that they either want to tell you about their website or their product, or they want you to download something. Of course, I’m not sure whether it’s a pure download, or an attempt to get me to put my name and email address on a list so they can start sending me all sorts of stuff, but I don’t care. I don’t like it, but I don’t immediately go and unfollow them, though I should. I just don’t pay much attention, don’t download anything, and go about my business.

I also don’t follow anyone who’s barely following others. There’s something narcissisticly wrong in following 10 people when there are 20,000 following you. If the ratio looks wrong, I’m not going to follow because I know that person isn’t going to follow me. Now, if that person follows me first, then I’ll follow them, but really, when is that ever going to happen?

One last thing I hate, but ignore most of the time, is someone who keeps writing post after post, not because they’re giving us a lot of stuff, but because they want to ignore the 140 character limit and actually have a full conversation, like chat rooms or IM’s or email. Having a conversation with someone is one thing; having a conversation with yourself is another. I’ve seen quite a lot of that. I have one friend who does that very thing; once she gets going, she just goes on and on. Sometimes I jump in and start talking to her; sometimes I just ignore it and move on. Since I’ve added TweetDeck to my system to use for my “twittering”, it’s made life so simple because I get to decide who I want to follow with a custom column, so it’s easy to ignore her when I wish. But I love her just the same. 🙂

Twitter can be a lot of fun, and informative also. Some folks just don’t get it; for the rest of us, though, let’s just keep enjoying it.

Bidwell Candies tru32 Truffles Chocolate Candy- 2 pounds

Bidwell Candies tru32 Truffles Chocolate Candy- 2 pounds






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