Category Archives: Blogging

Why Do You Blog?

Why do you blog? You know, I’ve kind of broached this subject in the past but I came at it from different directions. First, in 2008 I asked the question Why Do You Write Your Blog, which was based on a couple of articles I’d read on the subject of using one’s blog to make money. The second, in 2010, was part of my Sunday Question blog series asking specifically Why Do You Blog, and in this case I was asking people what they were hoping to get out of their blogs, whether it was business or pleasure.

06-08-10 And With Heart Shaped Bruises And Late Night Kisses
ฮ’ethan via Compfight

Goodness, it’s been 4 years since I talked about this subject? Time to broach it again, but I’ll tell you why I’m doing it this time. If you’ve noticed, over the past couple of weeks I’ve put up some posts here that relate to business blogging. Although I talk about blogging often, specifically talking about blogging for business isn’t something I’ve spent lots of time on. Sure, I’ve talked on the subject of trying to make money blogging and why it’s more difficult than people think but that’s not quite the same topic.

In this vein, it’s talking about having some kind of business and using blogging to either help promote the business in some fashion, show expertise or actually using the blog as the business, not specifically a make money blog but making connections so you can sell product or services.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I use my main business blog as a way to show my expertise on certain subjects and, hopefully, to get clients of some kind from it. I haven’t talked as much about this blog and how I work on using it for business but truthfully, one speaking engagement I got locally came mainly because of this blog. Nah, I didn’t get paid, and I didn’t even get a nibble for business, but it was still fun being seen in a professional light by some folks in my area, since more often than not I work out of town or my clients are out of town.

Over the next few months, I expect to have more articles on this blog about business blogging in the vein I was talking about above. However, I know that there are a lot of people who don’t see that type of thing as the reason for why they write their blogs. So, I’m throwing the question out there, asking what I asked in 2010 and seeing if some of the responses are different.

See, I think it’s an important question more for you than for me. The one thing I get asked over and over is how do I come up with so many ideas to write about, especially after I passed 1,500 posts back in March. One reason is because I have a passion for the topics I write about. The other reason is because I do market some of my writing services, I charge a pretty nice dollar, and I like to be able to show someone just how proficient I’ve been in my own space, and then possibly point them to other spaces. In the end, even though this is my “fun” blog, it’s also my portfolio of diverse topics; wouldn’t you agree?

This should be fun; let’s see what you have for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
 

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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.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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?
 

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