All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

SEO And Multiple Web Pages

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When I wrote my online goals for 2009 post, one of the things I had down as a goal was to come up with three more series of posts I could do for the year. I thought that I would write a series on SEO, or articles that are related to SEO in some fashion, although it’ll probably not start out as a series, but will end up being a series for the year. I also write articles for my other site, so I’ll want to balance which articles I’ll write for here, and which articles I’ll put on that site.

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There was a question that came up on Twitter earlier today that somewhat relates to SEO and marketing, and I thought this was the perfect place to address that question. It actually came from a marketing friend of mine who didn’t understand something. She found a website that supposedly was listing the 50 Top Websites Of 2008. It’s a nice article, but they only talk about one website per page, and she wondered why they would do that. I agreed it was irritating, but I knew the answer.

The basic idea of marketing online is, obviously, to make money. With a website, the more pages you have, the more opportunities you have to make money by advertising. It’s easier to get an advertiser to pay money if you can tell them you can put their ad on 100 pages as opposed to 10 pages. And, with each page that you can add to your website, you have the opportunity to optimize that website using traditional SEO (search engine marketing) principles, which also includes deep linking principles. More pages also helps build up your prominence online.

If you notice, the top 10 webpages on all the ranking companies have tons and tons of pages, probably in the tens of millions at this juncture, and always adding more. Even our local newspaper’s online site will do a trick where they have a limit on the length of an article that they’ll allow to be on one page, and often they’ll make you go through multiple pages just to read that one article.

However, they, like some other online newspapers, also always offer you the chance to click on a link that will give you the “printer version”, which means you can get the entire story on one page. And you don’t even have to print it; you just have to find the link, which isn’t always easy.

So, even though many of us would like to see all 50 of those websites listed on one page, or maybe even 10 or 5, the truth is that it behooves the site to have only one per page, and to write content on that particular site for that page that they can optimize. It’s a good rule of thumb to remember whenever you’re creating your own websites; more is better. However, if you’re writing short articles, breaking them up over multiple pages is just going to drive people nuts. So, do it judiciously.

Now, a question you could probably ask me, knowing this, is why, whenever I write really long blog posts, I don’t break them up into multiple pages. I’m thinking that to do that with a blog would have to get really irritating. If a long post, such as the one on the psychology of gambling, were broken out on a blog, would anyone really read both pages (for that matter, how many folks actually read that article in its entirety, and I mean those of you who didn’t comment on it?) if I put it on two pages, but posted both articles at the same time?

If it were really one complete article, and I posted the first part at one time and the second part at another time, wouldn’t that irritate you also? To me, I’d rather the one long article, which also allows it to be printed if some feel that’s necessary.

Anyway, the SEO part of this is easy. Each page gets to stand on its own because each page gets optimized, but each page is also linked internally to multiple other pages in some fashion. The reality of what a lot of people like to call “link love” is that a website can attain a page rank of 5 or higher without even being linked to other websites. What they need to figure out are better ways of linking internally to themselves and finding ways of making each of those links relevant to each other.

Don’t believe me? Look at this site. Notice that it’s got a page rank of 5. Except for listing a few events on its main page, it’s not linked to any other site throughout the rest of its pages. And there are over 550 pages on this site; I know this because I did an evaluation of this site. The topic also isn’t something that’s common; this company pretty much has an exclusive on what they do.

But here’s the other thing about this site. The main page has a page rank of 5, but most of the internal pages don’t have a page rank at all. And it’s got a terrible Alexa rank. However, the main page still gets a 5, and since it’s the main page that counts, this site is a great example of what can be achieved with great internal ranking. It could be better, but that’s a tale for another time.

And there you are. I hope it’s helped to enlighten a few people, and I also hope this is the start of a fun series that I can compile later on in the year.
 

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Barack Obama – Our Time For Change Has Come

No talk about the contest today; no talk about marketing today. At 11:30, the swearing in ceremony for the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, will take place. I will be glued to the television much earlier than that, and I’ll be taping this one for posterity. Y’all just can’t imagine what I’m going to be feeling at the moment when he says “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

You know, I never had anyone tell me I could be president of the United States when I grew up. Truthfully, I never thought I’d live long enough to see this day come. The day after President Obama was elected (yeah, I’m calling him that now), I posted some videos because I just didn’t have anything more to say here. I said it all on my business blog in a post called A Change Done Come, and just didn’t have anything else much to add. I must say this; I wish my dad was here to see this, so that we could cry together.

Well, on my business blog, there will be a post just after 11AM, before the inauguration, with the subtitle U Will Know; I hope you check that out. Meanwhile, here, I want to share this really creative video, because, The Time For Change Has Come:

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Let’s Learn Affiliate Marketing Together

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As many of you know, our buddy Yan wrote a post early in the new year called 2009 Is The Year Of Internet Marketing. As I read that article, I was thinking how, for me, last year was supposed to be my year of internet marketing, and I can’t say it turned out all that well. Sure, I made some money, probably my best year ever, and yet, when it’s all said and done, I don’t really think I learned much this year to push me to the next level.

And I’m not alone. Let’s face this fact; there’s a lot of us out here who are trying to learn this internet marketing thing better. We buy the books and manuals and CDs and videos, and, well, we probably don’t get to most of it. I know I got to just under half of it, and, oddly enough, the one thing I really worked at, that I read deeply, was Joel Comm’s Adsense Secrets, and my income did drastically increase from it, though not on the blog, but from my other sites.

This proves that sometimes this literature and stuff we decide to invest in does work. And yet, it doesn’t take care of everything, does it? Let’s take a look at this affiliate marketing thing. Last year, when I started this blog, I decided to add some affiliate banners and products to my blog. I put either a link or product at the end of every post; I didn’t make a single sale from any of that in 2008, so obviously it takes more than that. Well, I did more than that a few times; I actually wrote entire posts about some of the items I was advertising because they were things I was using and I liked, and the only one I know about that a few people actually clicked on and signed up for was Tweet My Blog, and yet I never earned a dime from them (maybe I don’t understand how they’re supposed to pay, but I know at least 3 people went ahead and downloaded the product based on my recommendation) through Clickbank; sigh,…

Enough of that. Time to stop whining, and time to start learning. Obviously I don’t know it all, but I’ve learned a bunch of things, and y’all have learned a bunch of things, but we’re still missing it. So, here’s the challenge. Let’s put together our list of questions, things we want to learn as it pertains to this thing called affiliate, or internet, marketing. I have met some big time internet gurus in the last year, and if we can put together a package of questions, I will contact one of them and ask them if they can answer our specific questions. How does that sound?

I’ll start with mine:

1. Is the list really the most important thing to making consistent sales, or any real sales?

2. With Clickbank, do we write our own squeeze page to then send someone to the squeeze page of the product, or is there a way to work around that?

3. What is the best way to sell our own products?

4. Going back to the list, is it really ethical to always gather email addresses when giving out free items, then bombarding people with sales offers?

5. How does one really go about asking for the sale, especially on a blog?

And there you go; my questions. What are yours? Or, if you can answer those above, what are those answers? Let’s all learn and grow together.


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Google Analytics Goes Wonky

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Talk about your oddities. Deciding to do a regular check of statistics on Google Analytics for this blog, I came across some of the oddest figures I’ve seen in a very long time. I don’t believe them and I’m not trusting them; let me tell you why.

According to Analytics, this blog was visited 661 times yesterday. Remember, that’s not unique views, but supposedly actual visitors. That’s just phenomenal; it blew my scale away. Except I don’t believe it; couldn’t happen.

Why? Because none of the other numbers make any sense. Supposedly, it wasn’t one article that attracted someone’s attention. Every article on the site was visited at least once. The average time per page view was only six seconds. Now, pageviews could be accurate, but it doesn’t correlate with the number of visits.

Out of those 661 visits, 652 of them came from the United States. No, that’s not necessarily uncommon. I thought that maybe it was me, sitting on one of my pages all day, but I didn’t; matter of fact, I actually shut the computer down for a couple of hours yesterday. And, when we look further, 639 of those visits came from California; I live in New York. And even more, 637 of those 639 came from the California city of,… Montara. Where the heck is Montara? My wife said “it’s probably that big dot there”; she’s a poor man’s Bugs Bunny.

So, someone from Montara could have decided to look at every page on my blog, as that’s possible, but that wouldn’t account for 637 visits, would it? I mean, can anyone see one person coming to my blog, looking up a page, then leaving and coming back? And, that person didn’t come back through the main page if they did do it, because the main page doesn’t even show 20 people coming through that way.

Part of me wondered whether it was some sort of botnet attack, but, since I don’t know much about those, it would make me wonder why none of my other sites were “blessed” with such traffic at the same time, since they’re all on the same server. I just don’t get it; strangest thing I’ve yet to see.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this? Obviously there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit here being freaked out and a little bit stunned. I guess I’ll have to keep an eye on things to see if it goes back to normal by tomorrow, but still,… Weird.

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The Psychology Of Gambling

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This might seem like an odd post for this blog, but stick with me for a bit. Over the last couple of days, I’ve read some stories about people in positions of some type of authority that have been caught stealing money from their organizations and using that money to support their gambling habits. Locally, there is the story of a man who was just sent to prison for stealing $272,000 or so and spending it all on gambling. Then there’s another story of a former local school superintendent who embezzled at least $176,000 from his present school district, and has our local folks wondering if he did the same thing here. And I wrote in a newsletter how another person, this time at a hospital system in California, was able to embezzle over $750,000 over a two year period, and spent most of that on supporting her gambling habit.

I can tell you honestly that I can see the appeal to gambling, and I can also understand how it can consume you. I’m a poker player, and I have those periods of time when I want to retreat into myself and just go play poker. It’s a good thing I’ve become pretty good at it, so that, if I play long term, I will usually come out at least even, if not slightly ahead (I ended up coming back from Reno after all those weeks ahead by around $350), and that’s its appeal Everyone sees that big time score around the corner, that chance at the big, instant money, and the glory that comes with it. And glory does come with it, along with envy, because when you win, everyone else thinks they can win big also.

Anyway, I have felt that tug many times. I didn’t feel it in Reno, but I felt it when I was at a conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I felt it when I was at a conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Gambling is a solitary and social event all at the same time. If you play slot machines, you can sit at a machine for hours, but you’re out in public with a lot of other people doing the same thing, and you also have someone coming by you every twenty minutes or so to see if you want something to eat or drink. If you play poker, you sit at a table with a lot of other people. Sometimes it’s relatively quite, but other times it’s quite a social event, and man, I love hearing older people tell stories, whether they’re old poker stories or other types of stories. Yeah, I’m a sucker for a good story.

When I go to the casino, I have one of two mindsets. There’s the mindset that I’m there to have fun. If that’s the case, then my intention is to be able to stick around for a very long time, sometimes as long as 14 hours, but I’m having fun, I’ve decided how much money I’m willing to lose for it all, and I don’t often come home a winner. Then there’s the mindset that I’m there to win. In this case, I know I’m going to stay for a relatively short period of time, maybe 2-3 hours, the amount I’m willing to lose is minimal, but I now start applying more of those poker skills that I’ve learned over the years, not taking any unnecessary chances, watching every player so I can figure out how they play, and I’m willing to sit for hours and just keep tossing my cards into the muck and wait for only those hands that I know will win, pretty much for sure. Because, in poker, there’s rarely a sure thing (four aces and royal flushes are extremely rare), so you have to be astute and keep your eye on everything, and then hope for the best, based on your calculations.

So, inherently, there is a psychology of gambling. Of course, this isn’t only an article about gambling at a casino. Every day there’s someone who’s ready to take another gamble at something. And, in this day and age, many people are gambling on some sort of business that they can run on their own. If I can, let me tell you about my entry into the consulting world.

I was working at a hospital system, and I started to notice that some thing were occurring that just didn’t make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the status of the organization. I like to think that, with enough information, I can read both people and situations, and I had a feeling something was about to occur. One day I was home on vacation and had what I call a Spidey sense moment. Something told me to go online and read the Rochester newspaper; just out of the blue, just like that.

I went to that site, and the big headline was something like “Hospital system closes hospital.” I knew that was coming in my heart of hearts, and had predicted it almost 3 months earlier. Sure, the proclamations had come down saying they’d never close that hospital because there wouldn’t be enough beds in the city to support it, but I had my information, and I knew it wasn’t true. I just didn’t know when; yeah, maybe I have my own ESP sense of things from time to time. From that point on, I knew I wouldn’t be working at this hospital system within 9 months.

Three months earlier, I had started thinking about my own exit strategy. I was 41 years old, and I knew that was a major defining moment in the life of a man, as to whether a man decides to stay with the status quo, or take a chance to do something else, whether extreme or just something they’ve never done before. I already had it in my mind that, though I might interview for another position, I really wanted to work for myself. I started doing some research, and I also put a little bit of money away, because I knew I wouldn’t jump right in and start earning the kind of money I was earning already, but had a shot at it eventually.

Less than two months after the one hospital had closed, I got word that my department, and two other departments in my own hospital, were being moved to another city. And, because they already had all the directors they needed, they’d create a supervisor position for me, but I’d have to take a 25% pay cut. Well, not only was the other city now another 30 minutes away from where I lived, and I was already driving 70 minutes to work each day, but a pay cut and a loss of freedom that I was used to in my present position, as the guy I’d be reporting to, well, I thought was kind of a jerk. So I said I wouldn’t go, accepted my severance and the offer of going on unemployment, and registered my business name two weeks after my last day on the job.

Talk about your major gamble! When one works in healthcare, they don’t really think of themselves as working in a business. In New York, all hospitals are not for profit, and the rules are different than for profit hospitals. Normally, if there’s only the one hospital in a community, you don’t have to worry as much about advertising because you’re the only close choice and everyone knows you’re there. So, I came into working for myself without some basic marketing or sales skills; I had no real clue.

That first year working on my own, which started in the middle of the year, I earned a little bit of money, nothing great, but fiscally the year ended pretty good. The next year was murder, though. In my first full year of working for myself, my profit was only $7,600; my second year profit was only around $17,000. Good thing I had a lot of credit, and good credit, but, as you know, one can’t live off that, even with my wife working a full time job. But everyone already in business said that if I could last to the third year, things would start to turn around. I wasn’t sure how, since I couldn’t really figure out what would magically change in my life to help it turn around. I had learned a little bit more about marketing, and had talked to a lot of people across the country, but I just wasn’t sure about it all.

On the verge of thinking about declaring bankruptcy, because I just wasn’t sure about it all, my mother called and wanted me to watch some program on TV. I did, and the speaker was giving some motivational words about never giving up, and always keeping a positive spirit and thought alive. Around that same time, I had started listening to motivational tapes and watched the movie The Secret, and started feeling pretty good. I got a paid request to repair someone’s computer, which I can do small repairs, and that paid something, not lots, but it was the start, as it was the first money I’d made that year. Then, only four working days later, I got the call I’d been waiting for, and my consulting business started to take off, and I’ve never looked back. Sure, there are ups and downs, but overall, my income had that opportunity at times to skyrocket, and I like that. Sure, there are those times when I’ll feel as though any control I have is a facade, but in general I have enough control to make sure that my yearly income is fairly steady.

But am I done? Well, obviously not. I actually have two dreams, rather goals, that, long term, I want to get to, and of course they’re going to involve a gamble of sorts. One, I want to be an almost full time professional speaker and seminars. I’ve actually already done a good number of each of these, but not enough so that I could consider them as second nature. I couldn’t live off the number I do now, but I’m working towards that. The other is to learn now to be an internet marketer, such that I wouldn’t have to worry about the long term consulting assignments again because I’d have a consistent income every month coming into the house from the internet. I think this second one is one that a lot of you have also.

But both are gambles. For instance, the time it takes right now to get one big time speaking engagement a year is phenomenal. There’s a lot of research that has to be done, then back and forth negotiations on the fee, then the outline and practice time and the rest of it. Frankly, while working for oneself, it’s hard to do and keep up with everything else. A part of me says that I might have to take a gamble and be ready to give up working on finding consulting assignments to try to get more speaking engagements. That’s not going to happen right now, but it’s something I have to think about. Internet marketing is another story. I don’t have to give up consulting to probably do it right, but I would have to give something up so that I could have more time to learn more things so that I could have the possibility of earning more money online.

It’s a gamble because sometimes it costs us to learn how to do it. In 2008 I spent around $125 to learn how to make more money online, and I did start making more money, oddly enough. The money that I’ll probably consistently make now will pay for the training material I’ve paid for and all of my online time. So that’s a good thing, right? Well, it’s a good start, because I have way more material, ebooks, reports and sound files, that I need the time to get through, that I need to make notes on that I can implement. All of you already know this; internet marketing isn’t as easy as those bad television commercials make it out to be. How many of you are making enough money with your blogs to support you for the rest of your life?

So, there’s really the thing about the psychology of gambling. It has to be recognized that everyone does it in some fashion, and that everyone needs to be able to find a way to control that gamble, or overcome the occasional bad gamble. Would you quit a job that was paying you $75,000 a year to buy your own rig and become a truck driver? I know someone who did, started slowly, then started making a lot of money, and now is back at a tough place because of the economy. However, had he stayed where he was, he’d have lost his job 2 years ago and had to figure out where to go next.

Life is a gamble, no matter what you do. If you think of it that way, you realize that sometimes the gamble is worth it, sometimes it’s not, but with enough information and study you have a better chance to succeed.

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