All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Number 301, A Year To Remember

When I hit milestone number 201, I said that my goal was to get to number 300 before I’d had this blog a year. This is post number 301, and I wrote post number 300 two days ago, on the 11th, and I started this blog on December 12th, so I hit my goal; how about that!

As I did with my recap of my first 100 posts and my second 100 posts, I’m going to offer a recap of how the last 100 posts went, obviously my biggest output of posts in such a short time (less than 60 days), and compare it to at least the last 100 posts in some fashion.

Interestingly enough, four of my top five categories are still here, with the order changed, but there is one new entry, that being writing, as I had my book writing series, which can now be accessed all together by clicking on this link, or on Book Writing at the top, just as I did with my blogging tips series. Overall I wrote 8 posts on writing, which places it in 4th place. The other topics were:


Blogging – 26

Marketing – 23

Internet – 10

Computing – 7

Next, a quick look at comments. The first 100 posts had around 100 comments, and I was very happy to report last time that the second 100 had 486 posts. The third 100 posts have had,… 1,344 posts! Okay, some of those are my responses back, but so were the others, which means the figure is legitimate by comparison. And I also acknowledge that it’s not only the 100 posts within this period that got responses, but that’s not important either. I think the activity has been amazing, and I appreciate every one of you who have gifted me with your comments, and I hope you continue gifting me with even more comments as we move forward. The top five (actually six, since I have a tie, two ties to be more accurate) posts that received the most number of comments were:

A Point About Commenting On Blogs – 45

Dofollow Page Rank Discussion – 37

I Want More RSS Subscribers – 33

My Gripe With Blogger Blogs – 33

How To Be A Prolific Writer

Broken Link Checker – 29

Oddly enough, the post that got the most visits in this time period wasn’t one I wrote, but one that a guest writer, Jerry Low, wrote, called 9 Instant Tips On How To Leverage The Power Of Squidoo, so congratulations to Jerry on that one, a post I couldn’t have written because, until I read it, I didn’t know anything about Squidoo. My most visited post was the one on Dofollow Page Rank Discussion that I mentioned earlier, but a strange number three in the list was the viral post of the Dance Off between Barack Obama and John McCain; I knew folks loved to be entertained from time to time. 🙂

I doubt that over the next few months I’ll be able to write with the speed and consistency that I’ve written this past 100 posts, mainly because, as you know, I’m in Reno on a consulting assignment, and I’ve just started a new blog called Top Finance Blog that I went through a lot of trouble in getting it going, and I hope y’all find it in your busy schedules to visit and offer your opinions on what I post over there.

In my mind, as we count down the days to the end of 2008, I view this as a very successful and fun year. I treasure the friends I’ve met here, and I’ve read some wonderful entries on all of your blogs also. So, everybody, get up and dance for a few seconds, as we’re joined by the Peanuts crew; see you on the flip side!


Link to main Workout Programs page

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Two Software Issues

Back in September, I wrote a post called Upgrading Technology, talking about problems I perceived I was having with my blog, and it turned out to actually be the browser instead, most specifically, IE6. The site just won’t render properly in IE6 for whatever reason, but once I upgraded to IE7, it worked just fine.

Well, I just decided to check my site in the place where I’m consulting, and it wasn’t formatted properly. I remembered what had happened before, so I checked the browser, and indeed, it’s still IE6. Ugh! Well, this isn’t my computer, per se, so I can’t do much about it. However, I’d really like to encourage people to upgrade to at least IE7, even though IE8 may be on the horizon, because without your doing it, many sites aren’t going to look like they’re supposed to. I have no idea why Microsoft did such a thing with their previous browser versions, and I’m glad they’re not doing it anymore, but they could have done something with an update to IE6 so that it could see newer sites better, I’m thinking.

Anyway, that’s software issue number one. Software issue number two pertains to WordPress blogs specifically. As many of you remember, we talked about problems with our blogs in relation to javascript issues a couple of weeks ago. Well, that worked fairly well in changing the access to my site for everyone else, and of course I’m all about the visitors to my site. 🙂 However, when it came to my Admin, things were much slower and bogged down.

Now, if you’re me, you only put up with stuff for so long before you finally decide to take some action. The first thing I did was disable WP Super Cache, since it was the last thing I’d loaded. Admin seemed to run fine for a little while, but the next time I signed on, it was bogged down again. I went into Google to look for a problem, and someone recommended actually deleting WP Super Cache to see if that would fix things. So I did that, and it seemed things were working well once more. However, the next time I signed on, more problems. Man, was I frustrated.

Most of the articles I came to said that one should go about disabling each plugin one by one until you found the problem, as it was probably related to one of them. Well, with the high number of plugins I have, I really didn’t want to go through that mess, so I pushed on with the research. And I finally came across something that seemed to make some sense. What it said is that some plugins are tied in to the original websites where one gets the plugins still being active. Once a site shuts down, it will mess something else up.

I thought about that, and remembered that there were a few days when another one of my plugins, Tweet My Blog, went screwy when their site went down for a few days. I hadn’t thought back on that, because most of our plugins we think of as just adding to our site and that’s that, but many of them, like CommentLuv, are definitely tied in to the original website, and many of you remember that Andy was having some problems here and there over the summer as he was working on that one.

So, I decided it was much easier to click on each plugin’s homepage link under the Plugins section to see just who might be down. There was a couple I knew I didn’t have to check, thank goodness. Anyway, the next to the bottom plugin turned out to be the culprit. It seems that the site for the WWordPress Database Backup plugin is gone. I have no idea how long it’s been down, but it’s gone. So I disabled it, and things have started working as they used to, nice and fast. I took the test one step further and rebooted the laptop, then signed back in, just to make sure it was doing what it was supposed to do, and man, it’s a go!

So, if any of you are experiencing this same issue, and I know at least one person is because I remember a comment on it, though I can’t remember who made it. This might work wonders for you also; at least it’s worth a shot, and much less time consuming that deleting all those plugins you probably also have.

Internet Marketing and Home Business – Guest Post

The following is another guest post. It’s an article written by Diego Norte, who writes about internet marketing, along with other aspects of doing business online.

Depending on whom you ask, the term Internet marketing can mean a variety of things. At one time, Internet marketing consisted mostly of having a website or placing banner ads on other websites. On the other end of the spectrum, there are loads of companies telling you that you can make a fortune overnight on the Internet and who try to sell you some form of “Internet marketing program“.

Today, Internet marketing is evolving into a broader mix of components a company can use as a means of increasing sales – even if your business is done completely online, partly online, or completely offline. The decision to use Internet marketing as part of a company’s overall marketing strategy is strictly up to the company of course, but as a rule, Internet marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of nearly every company’s marketing mix. For some online businesses, it is the only form of marketing being practiced.

Internet marketing is using the Internet to do one or more of the following:

1. Communicate a company’s message about itself, its products, or its services.

2. Conduct research as to the nature of existing and potential customers.

3. Sell goods, services, or advertising space over the Internet.

Components of Internet marketing may include:

1. A website, consisting of text, images and possibly audio and video elements used to convey the company’s message, to inform existing and potential customers of the features and benefits of the company’s products and/or services.

2. Email marketing, which is a method of distributing information about a product or service or for soliciting feedback from customers about a product or service through Email. Email addresses of customers and prospective customers may be collected or purchased.

3. Banner advertising, which is the placement of ads on a website for a fee. Offline this would be similar to traditional advertising in newspapers or magazines.

Of all of the components of Internet marketing, prospective customers and clients expect a business to have a website. In fact, not having one could raise a red flag to a prospect. Online usage has become so pervasive today, many prospects might easily choose to do business with a company that they can get up-to-date information on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Even a business that only has very local customers, such as a single location restaurant or shoe store can benefit from having a Web site. And, those businesses whose customers are not restricted to a geographical area might have a difficult time finding an alternate method of attracting customers that offers the reasonably low expense and worldwide reach of a Web presence.

Because of the “virtual” nature of most home businesses, websites, if not an absolute necessity, can certainly provide benefits to a home business operator. Since most home-based businesses don’t have a physical location, a website provides an inexpensive means for prospects to get to know what you do or what you sell and can even be a “storefront” for selling goods and services directly.

The Internet has greatly enabled home businesses to prosper because of the reasonably low cost to start and maintain a web presence. Therefore, Internet marketing should be part of your business plan and your marketing strategy.

I thank Diego for this article. I hope you enjoy it, and please visit his blog here.


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My First Week In Reno

Officially I’ve been in Reno over 168 hours, so that counts as a week. I thought I’d get some impressions down while they’re still in my mind. This is an “I’m Just Sharing” post, and not an internet marketing post, so if you’re not up to being entertained by a story, stop reading here and come back tomorrow morning, when another post is already scheduled to appear, and a guest post at that.

I talked already about the time issues I’ve been dealing with. Those remain, but I’m starting to get more acclimated to it; not really. I’ve just figured out how to do it my way; but I’m jumping ahead of the story.

When I arrived in Reno, I found the same thing I found in Las Vegas many years ago; there are slot machines in the airport. All over the place, mind you, though I didn’t use the bathroom so I can’t confirm or deny that one. I guess they want to put it in your mind that this is the thing to do; it’s probably the reason most people come to Reno. I got a great rental vehicle, a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe, red mind you, and it’s been great.

The first thing that strikes you about Reno is the same first impression you get of Las Vegas; it’s really brown. That’s what life is like being in the desert. However, Reno is surrounded by more mountains than Las Vegas, the Sierra Nevada Mountains to be more exact. There are actually residences on the mountains; that just freaks me out. Everywhere you go, you can see the mountains. A few of them have snow on them, not because it snows all that much here, but because it’s so cold up there that when they get their little bits of snow, it sticks around. Reno has a total of 26 mountain summits and peaks; that’s something else. The picture above is what I see out of the window of my hotel every day; neat, eh?

There are also a goodly number of casinos here. I’ve counted 10 thus far, and if there are more I won’t be finding them, or looking for them. If I get on the main highway to where I work I pass 2 casinos, and there’s one that’s one block away from where I’m working, and it’s connected to two other casinos. I learned that they’re now all owned by the same corporation, which explains the arrangement. If I go a different way, the back way so to speak, I pass three other casinos, though it takes a little bit longer to get to where I work. But not much; I’m in a pretty good way with where I work and where I’m staying.

I’ve mentioned brown, and I’ve mentioned casinos; at that point is where the similarities between Las Vegas and Reno end. The image of Reno is much different from the reality of Reno.

In the other post, I showed you the famous Reno sign. What I didn’t mention is that, because of the economy, the area where that sign resides isn’t as active as it used to be, even on the weekends. During the week, the casinos are fairly dead.

Where I’m working is downtown Reno, as are the casinos, and one day last week I walked over to one of the casinos to eat lunch at one of the buffets. I was amazed at how easily I could walk to the casino, as there wasn’t a car moving on what’s supposed to be the second busiest street in town, and very few moving on the busiest street. There weren’t many people in the casino, and I walked right up, paid my money, and was immediately seated at a buffet; that just doesn’t happen in Vegas.

It doesn’t often happen at the casino where I live during lunch time or dinner time. The place where I’ve played poker has only 9 tables in the poker room, and the three times I’ve been has never had that room full; that’s shocking to me. Even today, a Saturday, four of the tables weren’t in use most of the day, and by the time I left, they’d closed another table. That’s shocking to me, but I guess the people who live in a casino town aren’t the ones who’d be going all that often. So, parts of Reno are suffering because the economy is killing the number of visitors.

Reno is also set up for lots of shopping. There are all sorts of malls around the city, though nothing downtown, which seems to fit a pattern I’ve seen in many other travels of mine. I’m within range of a bunch of them, though thus far I’ve only gone in one direction, which leads me to the places I want to go. The cost of groceries is higher than where I live also, but I’m not sure if that’s a thing out this way or if it’s specific to the town.

My hotel is great, but I’ve had a problem here and there. I finally had to turn on the heat on Wednesday, and the smell was horrible. Like most smells, you get used to it when you’re in it, but the minute you get out of it and come back, it’s horrible once again. The water in the bathroom area was also messed up. I was brushing my teeth and went to rinse, and I noticed the water was hot. So I turned it further to what I thought was the cold water and it got hotter. I turned it all the way to the other side and it was also very hot. I’d never heard of a water problem where there was no cold water, which was the reverse problem I had in my hotel room in Chicago back in October. Because of those two issues, Friday night I was moved to a different room, now on the 4th floor by request, where the view of the mountains is better and the problems that existed are gone.

There is one more problem I’m having, though I’m not quite sure which problem it is. I’ve developed itching all over my body, and it’s either attributed to the sheets on my bed, or the very dry air here. You don’t tend to think about dry air when it’s cooler, but they haven’t had any precipitation in this area in a very long time, and none is predicted at least for another week, and I’m just not used to that.

Sounds like an odd thing to complain about, but my skin is also drying out, and when a black man’s skin dries out, this thing called “ash” makes us look,… well, we don’t look good. I tried putting the hotel’s lotion on parts of my body, and other than my hands, the rest of my body seems to be saying “are you kidding; that stuff isn’t going to work on me”. It absorbs into my body and nothing changes; the oddest thing I’ve ever seen.

I’ve noticed that I’m drinking lots of bottles of water at work, though I didn’t think about it until today, and in the hotel I’m always drinking something, but then I did that at home so I hadn’t really noticed the change there. The women down at the front desk said they’d ask someone to put older sheets on my bed, but that was before I changed rooms, plus the hotel’s only been open, as of today, seven weeks; just how old could the sheets be? After talking to my wife earlier in the day, I’ve bought something called Eucerin, which is supposed to both moisturize my skin and help stop the itching; we’ll see how well it works, as it’s a very uncomfortable feeling.

The diabetes news is that, for the most part, it’s holding its own. I had one really bad day where I just lost my mind and ate lots of stuff that just isn’t good for me, and it jumped drastically high. I have to be more careful about that, but I’m not used to the availability of some things I really love where I’m working, some of it things I haven’t seen in years where I live.

That’s not even counting the groceries I bought Wednesday night, as I’m staying in a Homewood Suites, which means I have a kitchen where I can prepare some of my own meals. If my wife was with me, we all know I’d have purchased much different stuff, but it still might have come to more than $100. The price of food here is more expensive than at home, as I mentioned before; lucky for me, I had it, but we’ll get back to that part later on. Today, being Saturday, I prepared my own brunch, and right now I’m cooking something to eat for a very late dinner, as I forgot to eat earlier; oops.

To get this out of the way, this is a pretty good consulting assignment. Everyone has been extremely nice, and the first week I’ve even made my own impact on things, as I’ve been able to get some folks to do some things they’ve never thought of doing before. Once again, I’m the only American black person in a position of leadership, but Reno’s demographics at least make sense with that one.

he time thing I talked about I’ve solved by doing something that would be considered as unconventional by most people, but hey, this is me. I’ve started staying up until at least 1AM, which would be 4AM at home, and since I usually sleep 5-6 hours, I’ve been able to stay in bed until at least 7AM. I don’t think I can continue in that vein for long, though, because if I have problems sleeping, like I did Thursday night, it makes for a miserable tiring day, and I was quite miserable Friday, and having a high glucose number in the morning didn’t help matters much. It came way down by the evening, as I took care of how and what I ate during the day, but the headache started around 10AM and didn’t go away until very late Friday night, just before I decided to go to the casino.

The final piece I’m going to talk about is the poker playing at the casino. This is for Khaled, who’d asked me to give an update from time to time on my poker games, though I may not be talking about it all that often.

I went Monday night, which was unexpected, and I ended up coming back to the hotel up over $650. Friday night, when my headache finally went away after changing rooms and eating something, I decided to go again. When I finally left that night, I had added another $305 to my winnings. Then today, I went again, after working on another business project for almost 5 hours that I had thought would only take 2 hours, and I didn’t play as well. I lost about $400 of the money I’d won, but that means I’m still up over $500 since I’ve been here. I’ve had to eat, and I bought those groceries, but my money is holding up really well otherwise, and I get paid after this week, so life is looking pretty good.

Except for the meal I just made, which tastes terrible. It was a can of Chunky Soup, a brand we have at home but not this particular kind, and I don’t like it; oh well, I’ll just eat something else, since I have the food here. Anyway, that’s the story of Reno from my eyes, and I’m going to be here a long time, except for the two weeks during the holidays. My wife is having fun at home without me; guess I haven’t made myself indispensable yet. I’m going to have to work on that.

Global Warming: The Signs and the Science DVD

Global Warming: The Signs and the Science DVD






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Is Social Media Hurting Your Online Business?

As all of you know by now, we had a presidential election this year. It was a major event that, for the first time that I can remember, got more social media attention than at any other time in history, mainly because of sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Talk Nerdy To Me #2
Constantine Belias via Compfight

Because I’m an independent consultant, I knew that I wanted to protect my overall business by not going too far in saying things one way or the other. And I did just that sort of thing until, near the day of the election, I came across this racist video of a small town in Ohio that literally set me off. Even then, I kept my anger in check by only discussing the issue that the video has brought up and nothing else; I couldn’t be faulted for confronting racism when I see it.

During the last few weeks leading up to the election, I saw some things on Twitter that really blew my mind. There were many hateful things said about both candidates, and as long as things stayed on political topics, I didn’t mind. However, when it got personal and racist and downright insulting, that’s where I drew the line. Instead of participating in the hate, for the most part, I just stopped following certain people. The thing is, some of those people were pretty big names, people whose blogs I read and who’s sites I’d visited; one of them I’d even bought a product from. But it was over; I’d lost respect, and it wasn’t coming back.

Facebook is a different animal from Twitter, and yet it’s still social media. There are people who will “friend” you, and sometimes you decide to go ahead and allow it to happen, even if you’re not sure. Most of the time it turns out to be fine, but sometimes, you see people exhibiting behavior that just drives you nuts. People put pictures of themselves on Facebook, which can be fun, but there’s certain behavior that will get people thinking of you in negative ways. I’ve heard the arguments that people should be able to do whatever they want on their own time, and that those “few” acts of indiscretion shouldn’t count against you.

Well, trust me, they do. I remember years ago going to a local networking event and meeting a woman who obviously had too much to drink, and continued drinking, even after her husband showed up. Her spitting in my face and constant touching me certainly didn’t make me a fan of her or her organization, which is one of the largest local bank chains in my area, and I knew that I would never go into her branch again; truthfully, I’ve never ended up going to any of the branches of her chain except one, and that’s only because a friend of mine works there, and I sometimes meet her for lunch.

On Facebook, it might not only be pictures. People will badger you with stupid stuff over and over, and to get away from it you finally just drop them and move on. Luckily, Facebook allows you to drop people without notifying them. Twitter is the same way, although some people have gotten around that by signing up for something, the name of which I can’t remember, but it tells people who’ve stopped following them. Why anyone would want to know when people drop them is beyond me, since there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.

It prompts me to wonder whether many people are cognizant of things they may be doing that may be hurting their business in some way. For instance, going back to Twitter, there was one lady who probably wrote at least 200 posts on Twitter a day, many times one after the other, and I finally had to drop her because it was taking away my enjoyment of the site. She’s actually quite popular, but knowing the type of person she really is has made me decide not to deal with her in any form anymore. There was someone else whose blog I used to enjoy reading, but then he decided to go after someone on Twitter over the course of a few days, and that turned me off and made me go in another direction.

As you look at your websites, and your blogs, do you think there are things there that might be turning off the wrong people? I know a few people have complained about the advertising on my blog, for instance, but this is an internet marketing blog, my intentions have always been well known as far as my intention on trying to make money with this blog, and I talk about all the things that one eventually sees on this blog, so it’s also a testing site. Yet, the majority of my visitors know what I’m doing, are interested in the same types of things, and y’all keep coming back for more (and don’t think I don’t appreciate it either; thanks folks).

But the one thing no one can say about me is that they saw me say anything inappropriate, or show or do anything inappropriate, on a social media site. I tend to be very cognizant of my image; not everyone is. Ask yourself this question today; are you hurting yourself publicly in ways you’re not intending to?


Super Bowl

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