All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool

Back in April, I launched my latest ebook, a short little thing called Using Your Website As A Marketing Tool. The target audience for the book is mainly people who have their own business websites but have no idea how to use them to help market their businesses. It’s not a deep book, but it’s not supposed to be. Most people don’t need deep; they just need a little bit of information.

Friday night, my wife and I went to Barnes & Noble after dinner, and going in, I ran into one of the few people who actually bought the book on launch day. Scott, of Agile’ Marketing Services, helps businesses with all of their marketing issues, including helping them come up with creative names for their advertising purposes. So I asked him what he thought of the book, and he said that he thought it was written well and was perfect for the target audience I was shooting for. I thanked him for that, because one doesn’t always get feedback from things they create, let alone actually get to talk to someone in person.

Anyway, I could talk more about the book, but why not just click on the link above to read more about it, or click on the book itself and just buy it; I won’t be mad. 🙂

Using Your Website
As A Marketing Tool

by Mitch Mitchell

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“Compete” Rank; I’m Not Impressed

I was going about my business, checking my business site, and decided I wanted to compare it to some other sites that do some of the same types of functions I do in my main business. Google Rankings is my preferred tool because I can compare search terms against each other to see where we all rank for those terms.

After doing that for a few sites, I realized that, on my main site, something had caught my eye. So I went back to my site, and at the bottom I noticed something called “Compete” that I really hadn’t paid much attention to before, even though it shows up right next to this tracking for Alexa. No, I don’t have the Alexa toolbar; I use a Firefox plugin called SearchStatus, which tells me my Google page rank, my Alexa rank, and this Compete Rank.

The thing is, on my business site, which is ranked nicely, it said I didn’t have any Compete rank at all; that didn’t sound quite right, but at the same time, I didn’t know what it was. So I went to the site, and I see it’s a lot like Alexa. I decided to do a comparison of my site with a couple other sites that are in the same industry as mine. What it came up with was disturbing. It showed that, in the year between last July and this July, I only had 714 visitors. Since I know that’s not accurate, nowhere close to accurate, I’m pretty much discounting it. However, it also said people find my site through the search term “backing an animal into a corner“; what the heck is that? It did say that it didn’t have much information on any of the sites, and recommended that I load its toolbar; that’s the same thing Alexa asks for.

Most SEO people discount Alexa because it’s rankings seem to be skewed towards people who download and use their toolbar. It would seem to be the same thing for Compete. But I at least have an Alexa ranking; one would hope so, after 6 years on the web and all the optimizing I’ve done on the site. To not even be included in Compete rank, well, that’s almost insulting. I did learn, through research, that it only compares U.S. companies against each other; that makes me feel even worse.

No, I’m not going to be loading toolbars just to get rankings. I loaded Google Toolbar because I use Google, but I also know it had no effect on my page rank. I will continue to use SearchStatus, mainly because it doesn’t hurt to see figures of any kind, but I won’t be thinking much about Compete any time soon. By the way, this blog even has a rank, and I only started it in December; sheesh! Compete seems more incomplete to me.

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It Was The Firewall After All

Two weeks ago, while sitting in a hotel room, I was having problems getting onto the internet from my laptop. It was irritating me because I’d had no problems getting on the day before. Nothing was working, and I was already irritated because the internet connection in the hotel is much slower than what I’m used to.

I was talking with the customer service people over the course of a couple of hours, when one of them suddenly asked me if I had a firewall program. I don’t know why I thought that was an odd question, but I said yes, and he asked me to turn it off. I thought it was a stupid request, but I did so, and lo and behold, I was online again.

I was stunned, because I’d always run the same firewall program, Zone Alarm. Now I didn’t know what to do, because I wanted that extra level of protection. I decided to load the firewall to the same program I’m using for my antivirus, CA Security Suite, which comes free with my Road Runner subscription. So I did, it worked, and I figured that was that. At the same time, my wife called me and said she was having problems getting online, and I figured she was having the same problem I was having, but since she’s not technically savvy, I told her I’d have to take care of her computer when I got home, and I did.

However, that wasn’t the end of it. Over the next couple of weeks, things started happening that didn’t make sense. I couldn’t sign into sites with my passwords anymore, as everything kept telling me I’d turned off cookies, but I knew I hadn’t. Then I started having problems with my music files, which wouldn’t play through Media Player anymore, even after upgrading to version 11 (which I hate); that just didn’t make sense.

A friend recommended I run CCleaner, which helped some, along with my Error Doctor program. It brought back my music files, but I still couldn’t sign onto any sites. The odd thing about all of this is that my main computer at home was fine, for once; not a single issue.

Now, during this time I had learned that Microsoft had sent out a patch on the same day I started having problems that, in effect, killed Zone Alarm for everyone who was using it, and put through a fix a couple of days later. I had already switched to the different firewall program before that happened, so it missed me completely. I just figured to stick with what I was running and that all would be just fine.

Finally, Saturday morning, back on my own turf, I decided I was going to get to the bottom of all these problems. And I finally did, after lots of research. Turns out that the CA Firewall program is automatically set on the highest level, which blocks all cookies; what the heck is that? And, at least on the laptop, even when I figured out how to lower it, things didn’t work. So I removed it from the laptop completely, and everything finally came back. And, since Zone Alarm and CA Security Suite don’t like each other (in more ways that one, but I’m not getting into it), I had to uninstall the antivirus program, load Zone Alarm again, then reload the antivirus program, and all is right with the world once more.

Sort of. There’s a couple of things about CA Security Suite. One, it seems to be hinky. Every time I start any of the computers anew, some of the programs has decided it’s inactivated itself and I have to start from scratch again; not sure I like that much. Every once in awhile it’s the antivirus; that’s irritating also. I have had that problem with McAfee, which I actually used to love, and may go back to. Two, I learned that CA can’t be loaded onto a computer or laptop running at 64-bit. I learned that yesterday after trying to install it into my wife’s niece’s laptop 5 times, then finally decided to do more research on it. By the way, Zone Alarm can’t be loaded onto a 64-bit laptop either, and they’ve said they have no plans on making it available for it either, even though they did do a trial run of it about a year ago.

And there you are. I need to learn, from now on, to start off with the firewall and work backwards, instead of starting off by running my antivirus and working from that angle. I could have saved myself a lot of time; hopefully, I’m going to save someone else some time also.

Dimensions Rug

Blogging Step Five: How Often To Post

It’s been almost 3 months since the last post of the blogging series, so, before I go further, let’s list the other four:

Step One: What To Write About

Step Two: Where To Create Your Blog

Step Three: How To Create Your Blog

Step Four: What And How To Write

So, if you want to start at the beginning, and if you want to think about it some more by reading this post, we’re ready to move onto the next part.

A question that’s often asked is how often someone should write. Kelly McCausey, substituting for Alice Seba as she has a baby, wrote on Alice’s blog that she recommends to her coaching clients that they write at least 2,000 words a week, and finds that clients seem to not only appreciate the advice, but end up writing more often.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs, and I find that there are some people who will post 3-7 times a day, some who try to write one post a day, and some who try to write 2-3 times a week. Occasionally there’s one who writes once a week, and if they write less than once every couple of weeks, unless they’re friends of mine, mine, I don’t stay subscribed for long. When I’m home, I write one post a day on this blog. Actually, let me clarify that; I make at least one post a day. Sometimes I’ll only post something, like a video of something that’s caught my fancy, even if it’s something old and odd:

Okay, I watched that when I was a kid; I admit it. 🙂 Anyway, you may not know this from reading this particular blog, but in my real life I’m an independent consultant, so there are times when I’m out of town a lot, like right now. I stay in hotels, and not all of them have the best internet service, so posting something daily becomes problematic. So, right now, I post more on the weekends, yet still try to get at least one post in during the week. If you’re hoping to attract visitors, and keep those visitors, then you need to post new content on some kind of regular basis to encourage people to keep coming back. If you write once a month, no one’s going to remember to come back, but if you write regularly, and you’re entertaining or informative, then people hopefully will come, and keep coming.

Then, if your purpose is to show you have some kind of knowledge that will help you get contracts or work later on, or your purpose is to make money with your blog, you’ll have better chances to do both. And, let’s face this fact; why have a blog in the first place if you’re not going to write anything to begin with?

Oh yeah, let me be clear about my terms. What’s in this particular post, for the most part, is writing; the video is just a red herring. Some people post only pictures; some videos, and some others post sound files. In a way it doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent, but in another way it does matter. If you’re posting videos, one has to hope you also have something to say, and that every once in awhile it’s you in the videos saying something because you hate typing. Videos can be nice, but if that’s all you post, people won’t like it too much because watching videos takes time. The same can be said for audio; great stuff every once in awhile, but they take time to listen to. Posting pictures goes the other way; if that’s all you do, it gets boring after awhile because you’re not really giving something of yourself. So, there has to be a mix of media if you’re going to do it at all.

And there you go. I hope some of you have read the series and taken to blogging on your own. I’d love to know how it’s working out for you thus far. And I’d like to highlight someone else who writes a great blog on blogging ideas, and that would be Barbara Ling. She offers a lot of great stuff.

Happy blogging!

Harlem Globetrotters-Team That Changed the World

Price – $13.99

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I Hate Logging In To Comment

So there I was, reading another blog post and thinking I had something I wanted to share. So I go to the comments and get hit with it once again: “You must log in to comment on this post.”

And so it goes. I hate logging onto blogs to make posts, so I do it rarely. I know why people are doing it. They’re trying to keep comment spam out of their midsts, and think it’s the safest way to go. Instead, I’m betting they get very few comments on their blog and wonder why.

Those of us who blog like the idea of people commenting on our blogs; that is, unless you’re Seth Godin. Therefore, it’s imperative that we don’t make it hard for people to be able to comment on our blogs. At the same time, we have to protect ourselves from the spam, which can be voluminous. What I did was sign up for Akismet on this blog, which seems to protect me a great deal. Also, asking people for their name and email address when they sign in isn’t a bad thing, even though that’s more of a WordPress thing that something for me. By adding the CommentLuv thing, it also gives people a chance to comment and highlight their own blog by showing their previous posts; that’s a good thing also. And I also give them link power by setting up my blog to be a Do Follow blog.

On my business blog, I added Bot Check, which makes people put in the number they see in a little box first before their post will show, along with another protection program called Bad Behavior, which helps protect against spam.

In essence, I have so many other ways to protect myself that the last thing I need anyone to do is actually have to log in. Now, they can still log in, but by not having it as a requirement for participation, I think it makes it easy for people to play along. I only wish everyone else who wants you to log in had it that easy. Oh well,…

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