Category Archives: Blogging

5 Reasons Blogging Helps Your Website’s SEO

One of the biggest recommendations many SEO specialists offer to their clients is to add a blog to their website. That’s because it offers great SEO benefits if done right, as well as helps your potential customers see you as an expert in your field. You might not always have someone tell you the reasons why it works, so here are 5 reasons that blogging helps your website’s SEO.

1. Search engines like new content.

blogging
Sean MacEntee via Compfight

Search engines send bots out through the internet looking to see if your website has made any changes in awhile. If there’s none for a long time, they stop sending the bots and your web presence declines. With some kind of consistent content, even if you only write once or twice a month, your website keeps some kind of relevance.

2. You get to reinforce your expertise in what you do.

No matter what your industry is or if you sell products, being able to write about either on a consistent basis helps the search engines definitely show everyone what you’re about. Sometimes all it takes is having more niched content than the next person to help you stand above the crowd.

3. You have multiple opportunities for internal linking.

Something you don’t hear a lot of SEO specialists talking about is linking to your own content, whether it’s other blog posts or pages on your website. One of the best optimized sites on the internet is the W3C Organization, which has almost no external links but internal links like you wouldn’t believe. Not only does it help your SEO but it encourages your visitors to check out other pages of your website.

4. It’s easier to gear your content towards multiple keyword phrases.

With just a website you can only cover so many keywords and keyword phrases unless you have hundreds of pages. By adding a blog you can write multiple posts with multiple keywords and phrases that helps you compete with all of your competitors.

5. If others like your content, they’ll share it.

They could share it on their own blogs or through social media, which not only drives more visitors to your site but ends up creating backlinks to your site without your having to do anything except have exceptional content on your blog. It’s always great with others promote you because they think you’re content is awesome.

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4 Ways To Reduce Spam On Your Blog

Most of the time I talk about spam it’s commentary more than anything else. In one post back in September, I told you how to identify spam on your blog.

SPAM!
Luc De Leeuw via Compfight

This time I’m going to give you some actionable steps to reducing spam, or at least have it going into the spam filter so it’s not showing up in your comments area.

Unfortunately, there’s little to be done to eliminate spam totally. You can moderate your blog, but anyone who reads this blog knows how much I hate that (and yet so many of you still do it purposely; oh well…). You also know that sometimes there’s false spam, such as when I talked about certain browsers sending comments into the spam filter for some goofy reason.

So, we’re going to take on the next big thing, which is reducing it. Based on settings, you can probably reduce it more than mine, or you might decide you don’t want to go as far as me. I give you the steps; the settings are all yours. Here we go.

1. If you’re using a WordPress blog, in your Admin area go to Settings, then down to Other Settings. The 3rd item down says “Automatically close comments on articles older than”, and there’s a box next to it. You can check the box on the left, then put a number of days in the box and at that point in history comments will turn off.

The beauty of this is the majority of spam that comes in goes after older posts that you’ve pretty much moved on from and this takes care of that issue. The negative of this is people might read some of your older posts, especially if you link to them like I did above, but they can’t comment on it. You get to decide which of these is more important to you but truthfully, you’re always going to have more activity on your newer posts unless you’ve posted something very constructive that people can use… like this post. 🙂

By the way, though I mentioned the biggie, there are plenty of other things here that you can alter that will help block some spam. I have anything that has links in a post go to the spam filter, and I also use the comment blacklist option to block certain words and sometimes certain IP addresses, which is shown to you next to all comments, blocked or not.

2. Turn off comments on select posts. Most people won’t like this for their WordPress blogs but sometimes you might have a post that’s more of an announcement or maybe a sales post or, I’ve noticed from some bloggers, a post that’s so personal you can’t bear someone intruding their own thoughts into it.

In this case, instead of limiting it for every post, when you’re writing your post there’s something at the very bottom of the page where you’re writing your post under Discussion that’s automatically checked saying Allow Comments. If you uncheck it then that post won’t get any comments at all.

This can also be used if you decide not to use what I gave you in #1 because you want some of your posts to always be live. This way, you can pick and choose; that’s pretty neat.

3. Add images to your blog a different way. I’ve also noticed that much of the spam that seems to make its way through does so through the image area, which is really weird. I mean, what program is it that’s addressing the image on a blog post instead of the post itself?

This can be defeated in two ways. One, you can decide to upload an image you want to use to your server, then when it’s time to add an image add it via a link instead of uploading it from your computer. I picked up on that trick on a fluke and it works pretty well. The downside to that might be if you don’t have unlimited storage or little storage via your hosting company. Overall that shouldn’t be an issue.

No SPAM
K. Latham via Compfight

Something else you can do is add a plugin that’s connected to a website that supplies images. I heard of one the other day called, I believe, Pix 500, but I use one called Compfight. It’s tied into Flickr’s Creative Commons images, which means it’s done the work to determine which images bloggers are allowed to use ahead of time, thus no copyright issues. It has its own settings that you can alter within the Admin panel so that if you like a certain size of images each time you can make it so. Ah, I love when my inner Captain Picard comes out. 🙂

4. Use the GASP plug-in. By now, if you haven’t heard of this plugin you’re years out of the loop. It not only helps reduce spam to the point that you can alter settings to block certain types of spam from ever getting to your blog in the first place, but you have multiple selections you can make such as determining whether someone has to stay on your post for a certain length, determine if they have to write so many words, or even verify trackback links to see if those sites are legitimate.

I’m not going to get too deep into the settings on this one because there’s a ton. Instead, I will say there are good and bad things about this one as well. The good is obviously eliminating as much spam as you want to from ever getting onto your blog, which means you don’t have to moderate anything… well, almost.

That’s part of the bad. Sometimes it’s so strong that it starts blocking people who’ve come to your blog for years, who you sometimes give a free pass to a short comment or maybe they’re responding to your response to their comment. Sometimes having these things go to your spam filter isn’t a bad thing at all. After all, blogs are supposed to be about engagement, so there should be some allowances here and there; don’t you agree?

I think this has gotten long enough so I’m going to stop there. These tips should drastically reduce your spam on their own, and if you tweak some of the other settings you can reduce it even further. Good luck with it all and let me know how it works for you.
 

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Why We Must Create Content

To some folks who visit this blog, it probably looks like I’ve slowed down in creating content. There’s both truth and non-truth to this statement.

Picture 26

While doing my consulting out of town, I find that I get back to the hotel and I’m just exhausted. I have two different biorhythm schedules, depending on where I am and “when” I am.

When I’m home, on Eastern time, I stay up until 2:30 or 3 in the morning and sleep usually until 9 or 9:30 and take naps whenever I feel the need. Because I keep irregular hours, I can work at any time of the day and also have lots of time to blog and all is good with the world.

When I’m on the road, on Central time, from Sunday night through Thursday night I “try” to get to bed by midnight because I have to be up at 6:30 to be at the office by 7:30. Of course there’s no naps coming, so I get really tired, have to find ways of staying awake in the afternoons, and often come back to the room and then take a nap, rush to dinner, and literally try to stay awake until later so I won’t wake up too early the next day.

On the weekends, I revert back to my “norm”, only an hour behind when I’m at home… sometimes. Sometimes I stay up later, knowing I probably wouldn’t stay up so late at home, sometimes I crash because I’m just exhausted.

Either way, it’s taken a toll on blogging, but that’s not the only thing going on.

I’ve finally started making a more concerted effort to edit my second book on leadership. I’m committing at least a little bit of time each night to it because I want to get it done some time within the next couple of months so I can get a couple of people to read it.

I’ve also committed myself to trying to do a video every day this month for my business channel on YouTube. This is new content and it’s me putting in time to build up the portfolio there. If you’d like an example, here’s last night’s video on communicating with irate people:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cNM1bg68WA&feature=share

 

I’ve also been creating videos on my other YouTube channel, though not as often; here’s the latest video from there, which prompted me to write on this topic:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lorAQJVxtLk&feature=share

 

Two other things. Today I was interviewed for a radio program that was turned into a podcast by a guy named Fasil Khan, who owns Khan Coaching, and the hour-long podcast is here: http://lawandorderoflifeddv.com/leadership-mitch-mitchell. And a few days ago a guest post I wrote for Jessica Peterson of Customer WOW Project went live, and since I don’t think it’s getting much love I’m going to link to it here, as it’s titled Business Tips From Mitch Mitchell, though I’d titled it 10 Things To Know If You Want To Go Into Business For Yourself.

I have still been writing here and on my other blogs as well, just not as often. So you see, I’ve still been following on my never ending quest to continue creating content, but I’ve been spreading myself around. Still, in my own way I keep trying to prove why we all must create content if we hope to keep our names out in front of others, even if it’s not always in our own space.

Why must we create content? Let me highlight the reasons…

* new content helps keep our websites or blogs fresh

* new content lets people know we have things to say and helps encourage them to keep coming back for more

* new content helps you build up a credible portfolio that you can always direct people to

* new content helps you to learn how to become more creative and to hone a style that works well for you

* new content could potentially help make you famous, ala getting a video to go viral

* new content can enhance your status as an expert/specialist/rock star; take your pick

For me, new content means someone’s always finding me for something, and I get interview opportunities. On my regular YouTube channel, I’ve had the opportunity to interview other people as well, and hopefully some of them have used their interviews to promote themselves, as I did with the interview above. Even if it’s not my content specifically it’s still me, and any chance I get to promote myself more, and it’s free… no brainer!
 

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5 Commenting Courtesies

First, I want to thank everyone who’s ever left a comment here. Second, I want to congratulate anyone who’s ever left a comment on any blogs. Third, I want to say that I offer what’s following this paragraph with love… well, sort of… lol And fourth… except for those phonies who are leaving comments to get links that, later on, you ask me and others to remove because you got a “slap” letter from Google and you think it’s our problem to now remove your stupid links. Huff, huff… lol

Hef and the Icon Shot
Christina Saint Marche
via Compfight

I’m big on courtesy; always have been. If two people are already talking I won’t interrupt unless it’s extremely important. If people are following me towards a door I’m compelled to hold it open. I was raised that way, and even though there are some people who don’t deserve it, I’ll often say hi or hello to people who seem to be looking my way, even if deep down I know they’re not going to respond… and most of the time they don’t; sigh…

It’s for that reason that I’m glad to have my own blog, where I can put out my missives on blogging and writing and Bigfoot and behavior and… commenting.

Yup, this is a post specifically on commenting. I thought “Hey, I’ve written lots of posts on commenting” and then I decided to take a look back through the archives to find out it’s not true. I’ve mentioned commenting lots of times but out of all my articles I’ve only addressed the specific acts of commenting 7 times, with the first article coming in November 2008 and the last coming in August 2013, and neither of those are on the specifics of commenting. As a matter of fact, it seems that I’ve never really addressed commenting and courtesy in any fashion; now that’s a shame.

I thought about turning this into another 10 point article but I decided to just hit the biggies quickly and get away; y’all have seen way too many words for me and maybe a shorter post will generate better conversations… or not. 🙂 Let’s find out with these 5:

1. Address the topic of the post. This is the number one courtesy and it’s the most vital because how one comments could decide whether the owner of the blog will accept the comment or not.

Sometimes people launch into something that might be pertinent and yet it looks like they have an agenda because they didn’t even mention anything within the post. Sometimes the comment may skirt what the article was about, indirectly touching on the topic, and might not be fully understood for relevance.

2. Get a gravatar. Or, if you prefer, avatar. I gave reasons last April on why people should have a gravatar and even included a link telling people how to get one. If you’re going to be a one and done visitor maybe you don’t need one but many people won’t accept comments from people who don’t have one.

Just like readers love knowing the people who are writing the content, blog owners like to see a picture of who’s leaving comments. It’s easy to do and, if you have a business or are looking to make money in some fashion it’s also smart.

Two hints; one, don’t use the image of someone of the opposite sex from the name and two, logos and cartoons aren’t always good unless it’s what you’re known for in many places already.

3. Fake or keyword names. Nicknames are one thing but stupid fake names like “jonny’s dog” are, well, stupid. And in these scary Google days (for most folks; I don’t really care as much…) keyword names are more dangerous than you can possibly imagine, and people like me won’t accept those comments anyway so you could be wasting your time. No one wants to respond to someone’s fake name and we also feel that either you’re spam or you’re a fly by commenter who’s never coming back.

4. Don’t leave one line comments. Unless you’re a regular and the writer understands your humor (the only time it’s acceptable to leave a one-line comment) it’ll be considered a throw away comment and most people will delete it. One line means you really didn’t have anything to say. I’ll admit that some articles don’t leave a lot to say but come on, you can’t think or more than one line? I’ll offer the caveat that if that one line happens to be a well thought out and long line that it might not be as bad, but it best not start with “It was a dark and stormy night” type of language. lol

5. Try using the writer’s name in the comment. By the way, this one goes for the blog owner as well. Not only is it courteous to name the person who wrote the article but it helps people figure out if you’re a real commenter or not. You get a break if you have to go searching for the writer’s name.

If you’re the blog owner, share your name somewhere to make it easy for people to use your name. Look at my blog; go ahead, look at the thing! My name is in my About area and on my About page. It’s on the top book and in the sales area for both books. It’s in the little thing advertising my YouTube channel. And it’s at the top of every article, just under the title. Why write if you’re not going to tell people who you are? lol

There you are, 5 tips for being a courteous commenter, and something for the writers as well. So, what do you have to say about these?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

Driving More Visitors To Your Blog; Are You Ready For The Work?

As with the post I wrote the other day about high quality content (did you watch the video?), it seems that something else I’m always reading about these days I had actually written on a couple of times, but a very long time ago.

Trocadéro scene # 10
Gregory Bastien via Compfight

Back then we talked about traffic, whereas these days we talk more about visitors. The way I see it, traffic was always about numbers, ala sales and marketing, where the more people you can get to come to you or see what you have to offer the better the opportunities for making sales. It sounded good but in today’s world we talk more about visitors, which is getting people to your space who are more targeted and more likely to consume what you have to offer. Indeed it seems people are scared of high numbers if they’re not getting anything out of it.

Yet, when I wrote that first post in October 2008 asking people what they’d do to get more traffic, it really wasn’t giving many ideas on how to get it, but asking how far folks might be willing to go to get that traffic. I had tested one of those traffic websites that under delivered and under performed years earlier on my business blog and talked about that and the disappointment that type of thing brings. Seems there are still companies selling traffic and people buying it; stop that because it doesn’t work.

The next time I wrote about it in March 2009, I came at the topic a different way in debating some of the tactics advocated on another blog post on driving massive traffic to one’s blog. I took on each point and broke it down, saying what worked, what didn’t, and giving opinions on the rest if I didn’t have experience with it. A lot of that stuff is still valid, so I hope you check it out.

It’s time for another one of these, but I’m offering an early caveat. A lot of this stuff I haven’t done. That’s because, as some of you know, I’m traveling these days for my consulting business, and I’m just tired in the evenings, and one the weekends is when I try to get in some writing as well as catch up on some rest.

However, some of these tactics I have done in the past. Some I’ve read about. And after so many years blogging I know how to do a lot of this stuff, but some I’ll never do.

Why? Some of it will take a lot of work, consistent work. Not everyone is cut out for it. There are some folks who are very good with it, following processes they’ve developed so they can earn their living online. But for most folks, trying to understand what working 12-16 hours a day for yourself is incomprehensible. You have to love it and you have to be willing to take some chances.

Nothing says you have to jump all in full speed immediately. Some of these things I’m going to offer you can ease into until you see how it works for you. I’m not here telling you how to make money though; I’ve done that in the past and, well, most folks weren’t ready for all of that either.

Jellyfish Invasion
Benson Kua
via Compfight

Still, I figure it’s as good a time as any to give you 10 ideas and then allow you to decide which of them you want to try. There won’t be tons of detail here; it’s my hope you’ll figure out what I mean by what I write. But if you have any questions, ask me in the comments. By the way, these aren’t in any particular order, and only four of these have anything specific to do with your blog. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Make your blog a dofollow blog. This blog is a dofollow blog, a decision I made back in 2008 because I was feeling magnanimous with the world. Fast forward to today and I might think about it a little more but I’d still do it. I find this strange, but people actually go out looking for dofollow blogs to comment on, and will skip those that don’t have it. Truthfully I’m of the feeling that people should comment wherever they want without worrying about it, but since there are still people looking for it your blog could stand out because of it.

2. Accept guest posts. I hear some regular readers of this blog saying “Hey, I thought you hated guest posters”. I wouldn’t go that far with it, even if I did write about problems I’ve had with guest posting requests for my finance blog, the only blog I ever really accepted them from. Still, if you’re looking to increase traffic to your blog (I have to go there first so I can come back to visitors), one of the best ways to do it is to have a lot of consistent content. And if other people are willing to write that content for you so you only have to do it here and there, it’s something to think about.

Personally I found it to be a lot more trouble that it was worth after a while, but my finance blog did jump pretty high and for a while I was earning some nice cash from folks wanting to advertise on the site.

3. Add CommentLuv to your blog. This is the last point that’s specific to your blog, and I’ll give you two reasons why. The first is that people love commenting on blogs that have it if they have the ability to select which of their blog posts they want to highlight. It gives commenters a second link back to their site by them commenting also; they love that.

The second reason is more for you though. It’s going to be followed up more in point #5, but for the moment I’ll just say that when you use CommentLuv, you’ll often see articles that interest you that you may want to go check out.

4. Find 10 bloggers who you either respect, who are in your niche, or whose blogs are ranked high and comment on their blogs consistently. Here’s where the first real bit of work is going to start coming in, and it’s only part one.

There are many top bloggers in the “make money” realm who will tell you that to become influential you have to know influential people. What makes a blogger prominent? Truthfully, it’s the amount of visitors they get, and often it’s manifested in the number of comments they get on almost every single post they write. Some of them accept guest posts (see #2) and maybe if you hang around enough they’ll accept a guest post from you, which may or may not help your visibility.

I wrote “comment consistently”; what I meant to say was comment on every single post that shows up on their blogs. This means even on those guest posts that might not interest you. It also works best if you can be an early commenter. Often on popular blogs that get a lot of comments, the owners will respond to early comments, but then then get back to work and may not ever come back to view any other comments on published posts. You obviously want to be seen by others, but you want your name seen by these folks also. Even if they never respond, if your name gets into their field of vision often enough, it’ll at least seem familiar to them as time goes on.

Grupal 21ª KDD (EXPLORED)
Salvador Moreira via Compfight

5. Find anywhere from 1 to 9 other people whose blogs you like, whether they’re in your niche or not, but make sure they’re popular. Why are you doing this? Because not all of the first group are going to write something every day.

Wait, didn’t I mention that part? You want visitors? You willing to work? Part of this means that you have to comment on at least 10 blogs a day. You start with your #4 group first, and if they don’t have anything new then you move to this group. Now, it’s possible that none of the first 10 will have a post on a single day, but pretty improbable. However, if it happens then I’m giving you a break by only having to comment on 9 of them; aren’t I nice? 🙂

6. Post at least 3 of your blog posts 5 times a day on Twitter and Google Plus, and connect at least one of your blogs to LinkedIn. I’ll give you an opportunity to diversify a little bit here if you have more than one blog and you have articles coming from more than one of them on the same day.

Why are you doing this? Both of them move really fast. On Twitter, if you’re connected to someone who’s following 10,000 people (heck, even 1,000 people), there’s a major probability that they won’t ever see anything you put up. For that matter, if you’re connected to a more than 100 people who are connected to more than 100 people, and you only post a blog link once a day, you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of anyone ever seeing it.

Doing what I’m telling you to do brings your odds of your content being seen up to 1.5 per thousand. Those still aren’t great odds but 5 times a day means you’re posting something either approximately every 4 hours and 45 minutes or every 1 hour and 36 minutes. That’s just the math; the reality is that there are specific times when there are spikes in the number of people who are online, and if you research you’ll find out when you should be trying to make your posts visible.

Still, you want to spread them out. Yes, you’d have a greater chance of being seen by people if you posted all 15 of your links in the same hour, but some folks will keep seeing those links, get irritated by you, and leave.

Google Plus is close to the same thing, only your audience is much bigger. You could decide to send your links only to people you’re connected to, but they won’t like that very much. Instead, you’re posting to Public, but it still works out in your favor. Those people following you are more likely to see your stuff than on Twitter; that’s just how it goes. And if you have enough content, you can get away with sharing some of it more times than not as long as you space it out a few days or so. And if people comment on it, then people they’re connected to sees it; talk about opportunities to go viral!

Oh yeah, LinkedIn. I have my business blog linked there, and what happens is that every post I write there goes directly to LinkedIn. I find myself getting comments on my blog posts there, and other people see those comments who are connected to me on LinkedIn. So they may never make it to my blog but they’ll see my stuff.

However, don’t do on LinkedIn what I mentioned doing on Twitter and Google Plus; they won’t like it. Instead, if you join some groups and your content is pertinent to the people in that group, try to start a discussion using your blog link at least twice a week. But always write up a one paragraph description of what your post is about; they hate links without them.

7. Share posts from others you’re connected with and be sure to add their Twitter handle or Google Plus name to the post. You getting tired yet? Here’s the thing; even though it’s all about you, it shouldn’t look like it’s all about you. Sharing is a good way to give your audience more things you care about, but sharing people’s names means they know you did it. They’ll either thank you or not, but they’ll see your name because they’ll get notified of the mention, and if you do it enough for certain people they’ll definitely get to know you and want to know more about you. And if you happen to go to their blogs and comment… 🙂

Planet Orange
Kevin Dooley via Compfight

8. Ask if you can write a guest post. I hate this by the way, and I’ve never asked anyone if I could write a guest post for them. However, I’ve had 14 guest posts over all the years on this blog from people I knew beforehand and I didn’t mind sharing them at the time.

Here’s two realities of this however. One, you might not get any traffic from writing those guest posts. I’ve almost never gotten any visits from blogs where I’ve written a guest post (I’ve always been asked). However, the owners of those blogs remembered that I did it and you’ll always be in their minds, and if they’re popular that’s a good thing.

Oh yeah; make sure that guest post is as good as, if not better, than anything you’ll ever put on your blog. As an example, look at this epic post on social networking that I wrote for Adrienne Smith’s blog. Heck, this particular post is getting close to that one, which was more than 2,800 words. I didn’t get any visitors from that blog post, but Adrienne gives me mad respect and, well, look at how highly her blog is ranked and look at how many comments that post got.

9. Find a community on Google Plus that’s all about your topic or create your own. Is your energy level still up there? If so, this is a place where you can actually post all your stuff, your thoughts and beliefs, hold contests, whatever. It’s also the one and only time, if you create your own community, where you can invite (only do it once though) everyone you’re following. Some people will join just because they like you but that’s okay. You’re also inviting the public, and there will be some of those folks you’re not connected to that will probably join.

The thing about having your own community is that it’s hard to keep it going with a lot of content if you’re handling it all on your own, or, like me, traveling so much that you don’t have the time to put into it properly. Thus, you can do two things.

One, you can name some other people moderators if they’ll take it on, and they’ll help you with content.

Or two, you can invite anyone in the community to post their own links for discussion topics as long as they’re on the same topic as your community.

If you can get and keep people engaged they’ll all remember your name because you started it, and of course those folks will want to visit your blogs to read what you’ve written, since you’re only giving them the links.

10. Make sure what you’re writing on your blog is share worthy. If you build it they will come. If it’s lousy they’ll leave and never come back. I’m not getting into the number of words or colors or fonts or having contests or any of that type of thing. I am saying that you might want to review what I wrote in my last post, the first link on this post, as an introductory guide to trying to make your blog a place where people will be informed, educated or entertained. See the symmetry of this post now? 😉

There you are, tips on what to do to get massive visitors to your blog. As I said, if you try to do all of these immediately it’s a lot of work, you’ll burn out and quit probably. Instead, look at these tips, see what you can do with some of them, and take some baby steps, then teenage steps and see if any of it works for you.

By the way, #6 and #8 are the only two I’ve never done at all… well, I’ve written guest posts, but I’ve never asked if I could write one so I can stick with that. Remember, Matt Cutts said if you’re looking to write guest posts for SEO reasons don’t do it, but if you’re looking to do it to increase your visibility, you’re good to go.

Whew, I’m tired, but I hope I’ve given you your money’s worth. By the time you’re reading this I’ll probably be on an airplane heading home for a long weekend, but if you leave comments you know I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell