All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Everything Isn’t For Every Blog Or Website

Most of you know I love the plugin called CommentLuv. I’ve been a fan of that plugin since 2008, so much so that I went ahead and paid for the premium version, which comes with a few more bells and whistles.

Sweet Sweet Sugar Candy!
Vinoth Chandar
via Compfight

Lat year, I noticed that it wasn’t working on this blog. That occurred after an update, which the premium version has at least once a month so it was easy to spot. That it only stopped working on here was odd, so I contacted customer service for help.

After going back and forth in a few emails, turns out the problem is that I removed the footer here years ago because it had this bit of code in it that was falsely indicating what the blog was about. Most websites don’t have this as a problem but most blog themes come with a footer where, if you want or its an option, you can add even more links to your site. I couldn’t add anything to it, and I had problems with any alterations, so I just removed it. The blog works perfectly without it, and I never looked back.

However, the upgraded premium plugin needs the footer to do its job. For me, it kind of stinks, as my theme is pretty old, but which I’ve modified over the years, and I’m not in the mood to get a new one. During testing I swapped to one of the current WordPress themes to see if it would work, and it didn’t. So, whether it’s the footer or not is still out there, but the reality is that I had to load a previous version to get it working again and I’ll just have to be happy with that for now.

What this points out is that the latest and greatest isn’t always so for everyone, and holding onto something old isn’t always the best way to go either. I’m sure there are still many XP users out there who think it’s the bees knees (does anyone say that anymore?) and swear they’re never going to switch up, but last year when Microsoft finally stopped supporting it. If anything goes wrong you’d best be ready to pony up some big bucks for someone to come fix it, as most have moved on to newer operating systems, or be ready to totally wipe your system and load the disk that came with it, without knowing if any of the updated files will still be available.

Back in the early 2000’s the big thing most people wanted was some kind of flash on their websites. It was pretty, bold, and, well flashy. It also didn’t look good for everyone because sometimes it didn’t match up with what their business said they did. I’ve seen a lot of those websites over the years, and most of them have no rankings whatsoever; so sad… As a matter of fact, I’ve removed Flash from my computers, which is problematic because I’m a major fan of Firefox and none of the Flash content on other sites will play on it. However, Chrome seems to be converting all Flash stuff to HTML5, so if I really want to see something I just paste it there.

This is why you need to take a look at your website and your blog every once in a while to make sure everything’s working the way you want it to, as well as to do an evaluation as to whether it’s really getting the message across that you’re hoping to get out to the world. Remember my post about another plugin that started giving me trouble?

It doesn’t mean everything has to change, but it does mean you need to know what’s going on so you can make the determination as to whether to keep on the straight and narrow or make some kind of modifications here and there.

Due diligence is always the best way to go.
 

Promoting Yourself In Social Media; My Personal Study

I began the year with a couple of goals that I thought I needed to work on to help increase both my business and my web presence.

OU Learn About Fayre 2014
Chris Valentine via Compfight

What I realized is that, even though I’ve been online for a whole lot of years, which includes hitting 10 years on my business blog and 7 years on this blog, overall I’m still an unknown entity. I’m not sure if it’s because my name, Mitch Mitchell, is the same as Jimi Hendrix’ drummer’s name, or whether my writing style isn’t enough to capture enough people’s attention, or maybe all those times that I’ve been out of town and haven’t commented on as many blogs as I used to in the past, has stripped me of any name recognition.

Either that or people just don’t like me anymore. 🙂

In any case, I knew that I had to find ways to get noticed a lot more than I’ve been noticed lately. So I decided to start what I felt like was a more aggressive online strategy of promotion. This post is going to talk about things I’ve done and how they’ve worked out.

Let’s start with Twitter. I’m pretty active on Twitter already, reading a lot of people’s links, commenting on those links, sharing those links, and often finding people to talk to, though pretty late at night. What I realized is that I didn’t share my own stuff enough. So what I started doing is posting links from this blog on Twitter at least five times a day. The way I was doing it initially was kind of problematic, because most of the links I posted were at night instead of during the daytime when there was a possibility that more people would see them.

I did that for about a month and took a look at my analytics and saw that Twitter was now the number two referrer to the blog. However, I didn’t really notice all that much of a difference in traffic to the blog. Still, I’ll take what I can get.

Then I watched a video by a young lady named Amy who has the channel she calls Savvy Sexy Social. She offers all types of marketing tips, especially online, and in this particular video ( I can’t remember which one now) she talked about scheduling tweets during the day. I had never thought about doing this before, but she mentioned that Tweetdeck allowed you to schedule tweets and showed how it works.

I thought that was pretty neat, so I decided to employ that as a strategy. Over the last 10 days I’ve been scheduling tweets to basically run throughout the day, in general covering the period between 9AM and midnight. I figured that anything else I post between the other period I would post live, since I tend to stay up late. I set up my tweets to go live between every 25 to 35 minutes throughout the day, with one exception I’ll mention later.

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Dave Thomas via Compfight

I also decided that I had to add some other things to the mix. So, I added links to my business blog, some links from a couple of other blogs, and actual quotations that I have made on my business blog over the years. It turns out that every one of us is actually quotable based on things we’ve written, and if we go back and look at that stuff we will find quotes that are pretty good.

I decided to start with my oldest blog posts and work forward, and at this point I’m through June 2008, so I have another 6 1/2 years worth of posts to look at. Whenever I post a quote I’ll pop it in within 13 to 17 minutes of the previous blog link, then I can post my next blog link a bit earlier, though sometimes I just start the period at another 30 minutes. Every once in a while I also add a video link.

In just 10 days the traffic to this blog has increased about 15%. I’m thinking that’s pretty good. My Alexa rank (which some people put down, but it’s not a bad thing to look at as a higher level thing) has gone from 378,000 to 308,000 in that period of time; nope, not mad at all. The traffic to my business blog has also increased, but that’s where things get slightly more complicated and I will tell you why.

Around the beginning of the month our buddy Beverly Mahone happened to mention to me that I should think about writing some articles on LinkedIn. At first I was hesitant but then decided what could it hurt. Instead of writing a brand new article, I took an article off my business blog that I had also used on my consultants group blog, made some modifications and put it up. I was amazed at the response it got. People I didn’t know saw it and liked it, a few people shared it to Twitter, some people commented on it, and some of those people started noticing that my business blog links showed up in my profile and they started reading them there and commenting there on them.

I figured that was pretty amazing, so I started writing more articles on that site. To date I’m up to 10 articles, including one I wrote last Friday. That has resulted in about 50 new people wanting to connect with me on LinkedIn, and I’ve had conversations with three people on the phone. It hasn’t generated any real business, but anytime you can make business connections on the phone and you didn’t have to reach out to someone first, it’s always a good thing. So I thank Bev for that recommendation, and I would recommend LinkedIn in a heartbeat.

The other couple of sites I’m on?

Facebook turns out to be a disaster. It seems that they have determined that fewer than 10 people should be allowed to see anything I put on my business page there, even though I have close to 360 people that have subscribed. A couple of times I resorted to putting my link in other groups and on my personal page, where I saw that it got a couple more views generally, but Facebook is a different animal because the way it counts views doesn’t necessarily mean that someone clicked on it. Thus, I have shown no increase in traffic from Facebook, and am very disappointed in it.

Google Plus? Before I came home I was spending a lot of time on Google Plus, mainly sharing things other people put up and occasionally posting something I did. Whenever I do a video it automatically pops up there, but that doesn’t mean it gets all that many views. Those also don’t drive traffic to any of my sites, but possibly to YouTube, and when I checked those analytics I’m not seeing all that much happening either.

So, it means I have to recommend that if you’re going to put out things that you want people to see you should probably be using either Twitter or LinkedIn. Oh yeah, I should quickly mention that I have stepped up my blog commenting again, and as you know I always say that tends to help drive more traffic to your blog or website.

As I wrote last year, if you’re willing to put in the work you can get more traffic and get more people to know you. I figure this is only the beginning for me in some ways, but I’m willing to put in the work.

What about you?

5 Things You Should Do To Protect Your Computer

I don’t advertise this all that much but I do minor computer repairs, mainly for people I know, friends of people I know, and of course the neighborhood. It’s not the core of my business or even close, but the little chunk of change here and there doesn’t hurt.

lungstruck via Compfight

For the most part I can drill down to 5 things that, if people took care of them, would solve 95% of any potential problems that might come their way. I think they’re fairly simple anyway, but if you don’t, it wouldn’t hurt you to have someone do some simple maintenance on your computer here and there to check some of these things for you.

1. Use an antivirus program and then update it from time to time. I shouldn’t have to tell anyone in this day and age how important it is to have an antivirus program, yet I still work on a lot of computers that are missing that essential piece of software; that and malware protection. There are free and paid versions, and depending on how little you know about surfing the web and what “not” to click on should determine what you get; some of these programs also offer malware and spyware protection.

Most antivirus programs have a choice for you to allow them to automatically update, which you probably should select, but first you have to look at the program and find it, which most people don’t do. Most people also don’t go in and set a time for the computer to automatically scan their computers; do that as well.

2. Use a firewall of some sort and update it from time to time. What firewalls do is hide your computer from those folks who might have somehow slipped a virus onto your computer and are now trying to activate it. I don’t want to get too technical, but in essence it cloaks the access you have to the internet and makes whatever the virus folks are sending out miss you.

Of course it protects you from other things as well, such as programs trying to load that you aren’t intentionally trying to load. Updating firewall programs takes just a little more work than updating antivirus, but if you’re on Windows you can think about using their firewall program, which will update itself with no problems.

3. Clean stuff out of your hard drive from time to time. Okay, this one’s going to take some instructions, and it’s geared towards computers using Windows, but Apple computers probably have some similar things.

The first thing you want to do is check your computer to get rid of things that are automatically loading every time you boot your computer that you don’t need booting up then. All that stuff slows down your boot speed and can use up resources on your computer that you could be using for other things.

msconfig

What you do is click on the Windows button, and in the box that says “Search programs and files” type in “msconfig” without the quotation marks and hit enter. When it comes up click on it and a menu will open. Click on the tab that says Startup.

Everything that’s checked loads up when you boot up your computer. You need to keep things such as your antivirus and firewall programs, and at some point there might be a couple other programs you’d like loaded up when your computer starts. But uncheck everything else, which might be your iPod program, Quicktime, any instant messaging programs, any Adobe programs, and other stuff you might use every once in awhile but not every time you’re on your computer. Once you’re done hit the Okay button; it might ask you if you want to reboot your computer and you will, but not just yet; this is step one.

Step two is to get rid of a bunch of temporary files that you don’t need. Everyone ends up with temporary files on their computer. Almost every time you load a new program it leaves some temporary files. If you opened up something specific on the web and didn’t save it to a specific folder on your computer it’s possible that it’s been captured in your temporary folder.

What you do is right click on your Windows button and left click on Open Windows Explorer. Once that’s open, which will be a large menu, you’ll want to come down to where it says Users. Click the arrow to the left of Users and it’ll show you a bunch of other folders; the one you want will be the one that “doesn’t” say Administrator, All Users, Default, Default User or Public. Some of those you might not be able to open anyway. Whichever folder is left is the one you want; it could be named anything, which is why I told you which ones to ignore.

Click on the arrow to the left of that folder and you’ll see a bunch of other folders once again. Click on the arrow to the left of the one called App Data. Then click on the arrow to the left of the one called Local.

Again you’ll see a bunch of folders, but scroll down to the one called Temp. Click on that folder and you’ll see a bunch of files, possibly some folders in there. Click one file in that area to the right just once, then hold down on the Ctrl button at the bottom left of your keyboard and push the letter A. It will highlight everything in the right side area.

Make sure it’s everything in the “right” side and not the left side, otherwise you’ll be trying to delete everything on your hard drive. If everything you see to the right is highlighted, hit your delete button. It will get rid of everything that your computer isn’t presently using. It will be using a few files in there and it’ll ask you what to do; just click the little box that says “Do this for all current items” and push the Skip button.

Once you’ve done that close the Explorer window and go to your recycle bin. If you want you can look in there to see everything you’re getting rid of. Then empty your recycle bin, and once you’ve done that close it back up and now reboot your computer. It should be running much faster because it’s not loading up as much stuff, and if you’ve never cleared anything out of your temp folder you’ll have much more space, and if your computer is older you’ll probably notice a little more speed as well.

4. Vacuum any air spaces on your physical computer. If you’ve never done it you’ll notice all this dust and junk around the air holes on your computer. You don’t want any of that stuff getting into your computer and gumming up the works, and you also want to keep it clean so the fan in your computer can keep everything cool.

5. Listen. Every computer has its own sound, or lack thereof, and we all get used to it. If you hear anything out of the ordinary it possibly means you have a potential problem coming. It’s best to be proactive and take some maintenance steps so you don’t lose everything on your computer. You might have to call someone if you don’t have the knowledge of what to do, but get it taken care of as soon as possible. Just because the noise might stop doesn’t mean everything’s fine.

There you go; those 5 steps will help you a lot.
 

10 Blogging Lessons From 10 Years Of Blogging On A Different Blog

I know some folks are going to be confused if they remember my post talking about my 7th anniversary of blogging on this blog. Well, that’s this blog… on my business blog, today is the 10th anniversary of blogging. If you look below you’ll see Mitch’s Blog and the link to today’s post highlighting it (click the picture lol). And, whereas it’s not always a good thing having a new post on a Sunday, this is the anniversary date; that’s that! lol

mitchs blog

The interesting thing is that in the 7th anniversary post I gave 7 things about blogging after giving 15 (I actually did 15 twice) and 55 previous to that. You’d think I wouldn’t have any more blogging lessons to give but I actually do, coming at it from a different point of view.

When I first started blogging, I had no idea what to do. I made tons of mistakes, had some comment that, by now, I’ve made private because it was pretty lame. As a practice I still believe it was best to have a blog; in reality, a lot of that early stuff was pedestrian. I’d cringe, but it was what it was, and truthfully, I had a gem or two here and there.

Still, I learned some lessons from that blog which helped me start this blog off just a little bit better than I might have; a little bit that is. It’s in that vein that I know I have 10 blogging lessons that are new and different from what I’ve said before. Let’s begin:

1. Putting any old thing up isn’t a blog post. Back then I had blog posts that might have been one paragraph. I had a few that were only one or two lines. I’d link to a story or a newsletter of mine and that would be that. In retrospect, I wish I’d talked just a bit more about the topic before doing that; I’m sure Google looked at those things and said “what the heck is this?”

2. Too many posts in a short time. I’ve talked about having to recover blog posts off Google after my original host crashed. What I did was recover about 155 articles, and instead of spreading them out I posted a lot of them all at once. Way too much content, and a waste of being able to reintroduce articles that were pre-written, thus saving myself having to work hard to come up with new content immediately.

3. Staying on message is a good thing. Even though I had a lot of short posts, I had some long ones also; like this blog. Thing is, some of the long posts back then, like some of my early newsletters, were all over the place. Back then I tried cramming everything I could think of into a post; now I know my topic, write only about that topic, and only toss something in every once in a while for perspective or to be funny. lol

4. Spacing of sentences. Or more specifically, not having paragraphs that were long enough to be chapters in a book. If you decide to read a book like Atlas Shrugged or anything Anne Rice writes, you’ll be convinced that long paragraphs make people happy; they don’t. At least not online. Whereas I hate seeing blog posts where every paragraph is only one line, I also hate seeing paragraphs that go into the next day.

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I really did look like this lol

5. Images; good! I wish I’d picked up on that one much earlier than I did. Every once in a while I’d put in an image but only if it was pertinent to the story. Images make blog posts so much better don’t they?

6. Standing up for a cause is also good. I’m a WWE fan, but back in 2005 they had a storyline that I had a major problem with. In essence they created an Arab-American character who spouted all this hateful stuff at the audiences. It was their attempt to capture the mood of the country at the time.

Unfortunately, it worked way too well. Not only was it racist, but some networks across the country refused to carry any show he was on. They removed the character pretty quickly, the guy was disillusioned (turns out he wasn’t Arabic) and he left the business.

I doubt I had anything to do with his removal (I know I didn’t) but the point is you must be willing to call out something that’s not right, even if it’s risky; just choose your words carefully.

7. Internal linking can be your best friend. I learned via that blog that linking back to previous content that’s either pertinent to what I’m writing about anew or certain words that I want to highlight within my content was smart. Sometimes people will check out posts you link to; the longer you can keep people on your site because they like what you have to say, the better.

8. Every niche can be expounded upon. I started out writing that blog only on the topic of leadership and diversity. I learned quickly that not only were there other business issues that interacted with those values but I also had my primary business that I could write on as well. When you’re trying to highlight yourself you should also be ready to highlight just how much you know… or at least think you know.

9. We all love stories. Who doesn’t like a good story? I found that the posts that worked best were those that told a story in which I was a part of. Not that people were necessarily all that interested in me but telling a story of something I dealt with or saw was much easier than telling a story in which I wasn’t involved. Not that I don’t do that even now but if you can touch people emotionally they’ll stick around longer and talk to you more often.

10. Do it or don’t. When I’d lost my blog (actually, I lost the entire website), I had a choice to make; quit or keep going. Once I decided I was going to keep going I have, obviously still writing 10 years later. During this time I also shut down a business and moved a lot of that content over here, which I introduce over time.

This is always a big decision by everyone at some point; to quit or go on. Some go on; some quit like my buddy Charles Gulotta did. Sure, there are times when it might make you look bad or might make you feel bad. Don’t worry much about that sort of thing; just do it or don’t, and let life go on. 🙂
 

Three Crucial Items Before Creating Your Website

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Second, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT! LOL

On the 5th of this month I put out this question: should you have a website. If you’re going to have a website, there are some things you want to consider when having one designed for you. These things not only have to do with how your site will work on the internet, but have to do with how you want yourself being represented for your business.

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Alex Avriette via Compfight

The first is a sense of symmetry. For your main page, you want things to be aligned in certain ways so that the site isn’t visually offensive to your visitors.

Having pictures scattered all over the site instead of placed in strategic places looks junky.

Having text show up in different areas on the page looks amateurish.

Having multiple fonts throughout your text, without a specific reason why, destroys ones credibility.

Having your content centered in some fashion is a must, whether you decide to have your page left justified or not. Your customers are going to question your judgment and competence because your site won’t look like it represents a professional, whether a professional created it or not.

Symmetry goes beyond the first page, though. If you have multiple pages on your site, trying to maintain some semblance of similarity for each page is preferable to having each page look totally different. Moving your menus around is a terrible idea, and not having each menu item work on each page is a mistake I’ve seen over and over.

There can be changes here and there, as long as the basic structure has been kept. For instance, on one of my client’s sites, there are two pictures of the client on the first page that slightly throw off one of the menus as far as alignment goes, but the menu is in the same spot on each subsequent page so that the visitor knows to expect that menu in that place.

Color is a part of symmetry, and changing colors and fonts for each page could be risky. If you have a specific reason for it, then that’s fine. For instance, for one of my client’s sites, the individual articles off the articles page have a totally different layout and color than the rest of the site, because the articles open up in a different window, as kind of a stand alone site. However, the rest of the pages, which are linked, have the same look and feel on each page.

The second thing to consider is making sure you have keywords and keyword phrases scattered throughout the pages that you actually expect people to search for on search engines, if you’re hoping to be found.

wedding shoes47

Anyone who’s used a search engine knows that if people go looking for shoes you’re going to end up with millions and millions of pages. So they start refining their search terms. Something like “shoe” will get millions of pages. “Blue shoes” will start to reduce the number a bit more. “Leather blue shoes” will reduce the number even further. “Handmade leather blue shoes” reduces the number even more.

Now that you’ve got one search term, you think of another that someone might put into a search engine to find your items. The trick is to find search terms that someone might legitimately put into a search engine that will help separate you from the pack; with the above example, even the last term I chose ends up being too broad. That’s why it’s best to find multiple search terms, even in businesses that don’t have as much competition as the word “shoes” might.

The final thing to consider is the amount of content you want to have on your site. For instance, going back to “shoes”, if you wanted to try to have one single page for all the shoes you sold, you’d be doing yourself a disservice and you’d make very few sales. That’s because there are many different varieties of shoes.

You probably want to think about dividing up your site into the different types of shoes you might market: sneakers, books, loafers, heels, etc. Each one of these types of shoes would have its own page, which now gives you more chances to optimize your site even further with keyword phrases. All of these pages help your site to be found by search engines, and it makes going through your site easier for your customers in general because they can go to the pages they want to specifically visit.

This works the same with a business website as opposed to a sales website. You always want to say more about your business than what you might mention on your main page, and if you have other pages to talk more about your services, your bio, your customers, whatever, it all helps in the overall optimization of your site. That, plus the more pages you have, the more your potential clients may see how valuable your services are. It may only be perception, but any benefit your site can give you in a positive.

Think about these things before you get too deep into creating your website; they could save you a lot of time and grief in the long run. It may not hurt to talk to an internet marketing consultant to help you sort these things out.