Category Archives: Blogging

People Aren’t Getting Your Response To Their Comments – A Redux

Wow, how time flies. It was just over two years ago that I wrote a post asking people to check their blog commenting systems because many times when I comment on their blogs I’m not receiving anything telling me my comments have been responded to. That post was well received, and got a nice number of responses.

Thomas Leuthard via Compfight

You know what? It seems that it’s time to bring this subject up again, and in a weird way it ponies on a topic Brian, Sheryl and I were talking about once in a video. I was lamenting how it seems that so many times I visit blogs that have titles making me think I’m going to see something new, only to see the same, tired thing I’ve seen previously. And Brian said that even if something is old to us because we’ve been around a long time, it’s a new concept to someone.

That being the case, I’m bringing this up because I figure that many of you aren’t intentionally ignoring me and my comments. The thing is I visit so many blogs and many new ones that I don’t often remember where I’ve been. If I’ve been to your blog often I’ll at least remember to check back on that one but many others… nope, no clue. Thus, I might be thinking you’re a blankety-blank when in reality your commenting system isn’t letting people know you’ve responded to them. By the way, I always check the boxes asking to be informed of responses, though not all of you have that on your blogs.

What should you do to check things out? As I said two years ago (just so everyone knows I’m being consistent lol), go to your blog post (you might have to sign out or use a different browser), sign in as if you’re leaving a comment but use a different email address, write yourself a comment (make it short), and after you get your notification of your comment go into your blog, respond to yourself, and see if your other email address gets it.

You can do this on an existing post (if you do, I’d recommend being the first commenter so you’re the only one who’ll see it & you can delete both before anyone else sees it) or create a test post and go through the motions, then delete everything.

If you get it, then others should get it. If not… well, now it’s time to see what’s wrong. You might have your setting wrong or you might need a separate plugin to get it taken care of. At least you’ll know to take care of the issue.

My final words… this is happening on some of the blogs of those of you who comment here, whose blogs I may have written a comment on. I’m not calling out any names; if you check, you’ll know who you are. lol
 

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Business Blogs For Women, Minorities, Etc… A Lament

I recently read an article on a blog called Under 30 CEO titled 8 Ways to Be Remarkable that I thought was pretty good. And yet, in my own way I felt I was intruding when, after the first post this was the first sentence: “You are a Wonder Woman!

Graduation Day at Nanjing University
Kevin Dooley via Compfight

I saw the post via a retweet by another lady named Susan Clark, and it’s her that I responded to by saying “Not bad but only women? I don’t want to be Wonder Woman 🙂” I said that because, well, I don’t want to be Wonder Woman. I’m not even sure I want to be Superman (okay, I do want to be Superman lol), but that’s not the point.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how there are so many blogs and organizations these days that are geared towards specific groups that, for all intents and purposes, could be geared towards everyone. The “women’s club” blogs and groups are the fastest growing and probably the strongest groups out there, and many of them are set up to help women feel empowered.

Frankly, I don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t have a problem with minority or other select groups that want to do the same. Association within a group that people feel comfortable with can be quite beneficial at times, although that’s never worked well for me.

In my past, I’ve belonged to only one “black” group. We met the first Friday of every month for a year, and it’s initial goal was to find ways to help black businesses connect and help to raise awareness in black children that they could be something other than, well, folks who ended up doing bad things in black neighborhoods. It was a nice goal, but within 5 months that goal was gone and, with nothing left to really focus on except becoming another group where it seemed like everyone wanted connections to generate business rather than try to help others, it just kind of faded away; sad…

My real lament with many of the blogs, clubs, and presentations geared towards women is that many of them present great information that men could learn something from as well. There’s someone I know locally who puts on a lot of presentations geared towards women, and she was always inviting me to them. I told her one day that I appreciated the invitation, but everything in her marketing was geared towards women specifically and I’d feel like I was intruding because when it says “women”, it should only be women, even if the message was for everyone.

She said that learning was learning and that if I thought I could benefit that I should show up. That didn’t work for me, as it reminded me of when I first got to college and someone mentioned something about a fraternity and that even though they didn’t have any minority members I could come anyway and maybe they’d invite me to participate. That wasn’t happening because I hated the concept of fraternities, but I’d also already had experiences that told me not to foist myself into places where I didn’t think (okay, I knew) I wouldn’t have been invited to begin with; why cause discomfort on someone else right?

Palenqueras al natural
Luz Adriana Villa via Compfight

Then again, I know someone else who was a member of my consulting group who was also a strong supporter of local women’s groups. She came to our group because she said she felt that women couldn’t really compete in business without learning some of the same things men learned. Unfortunately she spent a lot of time when she would offer her opinions in our meetings trying to get us to act more like how she felt women’s groups worked; that was a recipe for failure, and it led to her being dropped as a member later on.

Maybe I’m seeing things wrong, which is why I’m putting my thoughts out here. I don’t have a problem with “mommy blogs” talking about motherhood to other mothers. I don’t have a problem with female lead blogs trying to empower women to greater things. It’s not even necessarily a problem for me that what seems like a true business blog that could be for all then decides that it’s only for women, or at least caters to only women.

The problem is that I feel excluded, like I shouldn’t be there at all, and maybe it fosters old memories of going with a friend to an event like the Irish Fest and having everyone looking and wondering why I was there, kind of pushing themselves away from me or, every once in a while having someone come up and say “What part of Ireland are you from?” and laughing hysterically, as if they were the only one to come up with that joke. Maybe it’s why someone like Brian Gardner would write something like An Open Letter to Every Man Who Reads a Woman’s Blog, which I also found interesting when I first read it a couple of months ago.

Am I being sensitive because of parts of my past? Am I justified? For that matter am I alone? What do you ladies think? Have I ever made anyone feel uncomfortable in commenting on any article on that blog because of their gender, or not written global content where almost anyone can like or dislike it without that being a consideration? Or do some people see it like my short lived Black Web Friday series, where I tried to help some black blogs and websites get some recognition from the public because it seemed no one knew black people existed on the web?

I just ask the questions; I’d really like to know your thoughts.
 

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Fourteen 2013 Posts Leading Us Into 2014

Every year at this time I try to come up with a different way to address what came during the past year. Last year I did a post titled 12 Things “I’m Just Sharing” Addressed In 2012 and it didn’t get viewed all that well, most probably because it went live on Christmas Eve instead of at the end of the year, or some time between Christmas and the end of the year. The post I wrote for the last day of the year was actually one of my most popular posts of 2012, although most people probably read it in 2013, that being The Last Post Of 2012 Is About…, where I talked about marketing and promoting on social media. That post actually led me to create a video that was one of my most watched of the year, and instead of putting it at the end like I usually do I’m posting it now:
 


 

Anyway, I wanted a different way to present my favorite and top posts of 2013, and I had some problems whittling down my list this year because even though I wrote fewer posts, I feel like I put more effort into more posts. Thus, I couldn’t figure out which of the remaining posts I should get rid of and just decided to go with 14, which is rare for me because I don’t normally like even numbers; yeah, it’s a superstition of mine. But I’ve made it work.

Someone might ask “why highlight posts written earlier in the year, especially if I can’t comment on them”? One, because blog visitors who might come often now probably weren’t readers earlier in the year and thus didn’t see these posts. Two, it’s great SEO. And three, topics don’t become invalid just because one can’t comment on them. You never know if something written earlier will still be helpful now. On Twitter people always post links to posts that are older, and most of the time those posts offer something important. That’s what I’m trying to do here, and it’s something most of you who write a lot of posts in a year should consider as well.

Let’s get to it:

Girl 8
Rolands Lakis
via Compfight

What’s Wrong With Being Nice? – Too many people mistake kindness for weakness and I think it’s made this a much meaner world than it should be.

How Do You Accept Criticism? – We all hate criticism but many of us like advice and just don’t know how to ask for it properly.

We’re All Right And We’re All Wrong About Blogging – There’s a lot of us writing about blogging and some of us disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we might not all be correct; now there’s a scary concept.

5 Ways Blogging Is Like Visiting A New Store – All blogs aren’t supposed to be exactly the same, and sometimes visiting a new blog is just like going into a new store selling something you might like for the first time.

You Can’t Please Everyone So Start With Pleasing Yourself – A lot of bloggers feel that you should write all your content with other people in mind first, whereas I tend to believe that writers should write for themselves first and try to make it a pleasant experience for others if they wish to be read.

Decorum And Censorship – Why do some people think that brutal honesty deserves to be said and expected to remain in other people’s spaces when it’s not called for and isn’t helpful?

What Does It Take To Be An Expert? – This one got a lot of attention because some people think experts have to know it all and I disagreed with that concept.

Patience
AuthenticAng11 via Compfight

5 Ways To Deal With Problems Positively – We all encounter problems in our lives, but for the most part our demeanor in addressing them can make many of those problems seem petty.

Blogging For The Right Reasons – The idea for this one actually came from a Google Hangout where we were discussing whether or not blogging is hard.

Your Blog Is Irking Me; Check These Gripes Out – Another popular blog post as I talked about things that, well, irk me when I visit other blogs, and it seems I got a lot of agreement on it.

A Fine Line Between Courage And Irritating – Sales people believe that just because someone says no once or even 50 times that one day you’ll be able to get them to buy something from you. Do you see that as courageous or irritating?

Hot To Write A Guest Post – As much as I was irritated by guest posting request and what I had to read and edit this year, I still wrote a couple of guest posts for others and decided it was time to teach others how to properly write guest posts.

7 Ways To Know You’re Getting Bad SEO Linking Advice – I’m always seeing all these gloom and doom posts about SEO, getting penalized and de-listed, and generally bad advice from people you think should know what they’re talking about. Thus, it was time to jump into the fray.

More Concepts on Writing – I love writing and I love reading what other people write. But there are so many more people who think it’s hard and, sometimes when I read certain things, it seems to be for them.

By the way, when it came to true engagement, not all of the articles above ended up in the top 5 as far as comments go. I have to say that the top 5 includes 7 posts because 3 ended up tied for 5th place. The one article not linked to is linked to above. Here’s the top 5:

20131128_142806
Happy heading into
the New Year

Interview With Brian D. Hawkins Of Hot Blog Tips65

How Do You Accept Criticism? 57

Don’t Be Bullied About Your Blog Or Web Space50

To End Or Reduce Blogging – The Conversation49

Is Social Media Giving You Everything You Need42

5 Reasons You Need To Have A Gravatar42

Are You Offending People Away From Your Blogs Or Websites?42

I think that’s enough of that. I want to thank all of you who visited I’m Just Sharing in 2013 and after this post I’m 20 away from 1,500; based on my current pace I should hit that sometime in February. Have fun, be safe, and I’ll see you again in 2014.
 

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Spam I Don’t Understand

I’ve written about spam around 125 times out of the almost 1,500 posts on the blog. I’ve talked about how much I hate it, ways to identify it, why it’s important to keep it off your blog and how to move more of it to go directly to your spam filter so that you don’t necessarily have to rush to your blog to remove it from going live as often as you might without putting certain things in place.

And yet, like the reason I have to wear this mask on my present consulting assignment right now (that’s another story) I don’t always understand the purpose of some of the spam. Back in the day most spam looked to be trying to sell something. Nowadays a lot of it is so nonsensical that the only thing you can believe they’re hoping to achieve is to get a link placed on your blog so that it goes back to their page. Obviously some of those folks got bad SEO advice of a different sort than the bad advice I mentioned in that post I just linked to.

What am I seeing? Let’s chronicle some of it:

1. The long, rambling post about nothing. I got a spam comment from someone calling himself “best gym supplements for muscle growth“, and other than occasionally trying to pop a link into it the spam comment was almost 100 lines of nothingness. Someone must have been told that writing a long spam comment gives it a better chance to be thought of as being legitimate; please!

2. The comment with lots of characters in it. What the heck is this type about? I got this mess: “ѕuρp&X6c;eme&X6E;ts mаy also re&X6e;еw the respira&X74;ory”. The thing is I get lots of these and I’m betting you do as well. It’s not even close to readable so why even bother? I’m of the opinion someone’s technology has gone haywire; I wonder if spammers can get their money back.

3. The short, incomplete and nonsensical spam comment. I can’t believe anyone even took the time to actually write this, so it must be some kind of randomizer: “Just file manufacture clear subject matter. What did you say? precisely I needed! I have been before browsing search engines like google the complete day for some correct clause such as this” That was it; didn’t even finish the sentence. Intelligence obviously belongs to other family members.

4. Spam that attaches itself to an image. This one is totally incomprehensible. It shows up at the blog with nowhere to go except spam because it thinks the image is the blog post. I hope the spammers didn’t spend too much money on this program because it’s a total loser, like the spammer.

5. The “good post” spam. That one’s been around forever, as well as calling you “webmaster” and asking you if you’re using a free theme. I’m always amazed when I visit a blog and I see the owner actually responding to those comments; well, at least they’re trying to be a good host. 🙂

6. Spam that shows up without any links whatsoever. Why did the owner even bother sending that one out? By now most blogs probably won’t accept posts without a link because those are usually trolls and what benefit is a spammer hoping to get from something like that?

7. Copying a previous comment as one’s new comment. I have to admit this one’s creative, and it can be easily missed. I’ve missed it a couple of times, even though the Spidey senses went off thinking it looked familiar. This one was actually a legitimate comment… the first time around anyway.

The first link I put up on this post links you to many posts where I’ve talked about ways to protect your blog from some of the spam. I hope you’re using the GASP plugin and, if it’s really bad, go ahead and use Akismet, even though some people run from it like it’s a bull chasing them. We own these blog spaces, not them; don’t let them get you down or chase you away.

That’s all I have. LOL
 

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How To Write A Guest Post

What a last few days I’ve had! Social media is fun and interactive and, well, sometimes it can be good for your ego. Of course, you can’t take anything for granted, which means that I did end up putting a lot of work into the fun. This post is going to cover a number of things, but overall it’s going to contain some lessons in how to write a guest post.

Play hide and seek
Andrea Costa via Compfight

True, I’ve fussed a lot about guest post requests, but this is something different. I was asked by my buddy Adrienne Smith to write a guest post for her eponymously named blog and it went live on Monday. I actually wrote it 3 weeks ago, and I titled it 11 Essentials of Social Networking. It’s an epic post if I say so myself because it was more than 3,000 words on, well, social networking, things to do and not to do to make better connections online. And it seems to have been well received, with at least 130 or more comments so far; that’s after 2 days.

But that was only the last thing that happened. Things actually got started last Wednesday when I had the opportunity to interview a lady named Meloney Hall of Big Uptick Social Marketing, who actually interviewed me and had me give some blogging tips to her readers via a YouTube video. She gave many tips on how to set yourself up for success in social media marketing, including supporting one of my major views that if you’re any kind of business or professional that you should be on LinkedIn. You can view that interview below:
 


 

Now, for most people that would be a steal and a nice grab for getting some success tips to help you and your business. But that’s not how I roll. I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I had a second treat for people. That treat was Ileane Smith of Basic Blog Tips, one of the top blogging sites on the internet and she’s one of the fastest rising internet stars we have. I’ve known Ileane for years and even wrote a guest post for her back in 2011 titled 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. That post actually had around 150 comments on it at one time, but Ileane’s been getting tons of spam on her old posts and she’s shut off comments, and for some reason it also had hidden all the comments that post had. Still, it was another pretty good post, coming in around 1,800 words or so.

In the interview I did with her I got the lowdown on how she got into blogging, why it will always be her first love but her second job, and her ideas for how to grow your blog and get people to help promote your posts without you even having to ask anymore. We also touched upon a subject that’s been on my mind for years, but you’ll have to watch the video to pick up any of that knowledge and let me just say that it’s the fastest viewed video I’ve ever had:
 


 

At this point, if you know any of the folks above, you’re probably saying “wow, that’s pretty good.” You probably also think it’s over already; nope. On Sunday I led the discussion for my Hot Blog Tips crew as I had the opportunity to interview one of the most prolific bloggers and writers on the internet, Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com, Search Engine Land, Mashable… you name it, she’s probably written for it. Once again, she has one of the highest ranked blogs online, and I knew that having her as our Sunday guest would be amazing, and it was. If you want to learn how she pulls everything together, as well as learn more about her new course on how to market and network yourself online (are you sensing a pattern here?), check out the video below:
 


 

See there? I didn’t hit the trifecta, I hit the… well, since I don’t watch horse racing, I have no idea what it’s called if you win 4 times in a row, but with the finale, for now, being the guest post on Adrienne’s blog, I’m thinking that’s some pretty stellar work in one week’s time. It also means that it was time to come back to my blog and put out something strong as well because I’ve played in everyone else’s spaces (well, two of those videos are on my YouTube channel but you know what I mean) and it’s time to come back home for a bit.

Guest posting; I’ve mainly talked about it in terms of having people coming to me or going to others asking if they can write a guest post for their blogs, and how the process often fails miserably, even though some guest posts do make it through. I can honestly say that every guest post I’ve ever written I was asked to write, and in doing so I’ve always followed guest posting tips that I wrote back in 2010 to a large degree. I’m glad I went back to share this post because it reminded me that I had written another guest post I’d forgotten about for my buddy Connie Baum of The Healthy And Wealthy You titled Internet Marketing Scams. I can’t say that one was epic, mainly because her audience was different than some of the audiences I’ve written for lately, and yet I did follow the commandments I wrote about back then.

This is now though, so it’s time to make the list of how to write guest posts just a bit more thorough. This is both for when you’re asked to write a post or when you want to write something for some else:

Bla bla bla
Pablo Fernández via Compfight

1. Know the blog you’re going to write for. For the one blog I get a lot of requests for, people write and tell me how much they enjoyed a post on the blog, yet it’s almost always the most recent post on the blog. Man, can we spot a fake request a mile away or what? You can never know what a blog is truly about unless you take a look at 5 or more posts. If you’ve been a long time commenter on a blog then you probably have a good idea of what might work but if not, do your research. After all, it should really benefit the blog owner as much as you hope it’ll benefit you.

2. Know your subject well. I have to admit that many guest posts I get for my finance blog are fairly basic on their topics. Yet I allow them because I’m figuring that many of the readers might not know what all that stuff is, since there are a lot of financial items where I know the terms but don’t fully understand. However, it’s always easy to tell by the writing style whether the person actually knows what they’re talking about or whether they’ve done some research and have basically put together a mini term paper. If you want to stand out and be able to give your post a personal feel, know what you’re talking about.

3. Do an outline; do it! I just can’t believe how many people are scared of writing outlines for what they’re going to write about. I don’t do it for most of my own posts but if I’m putting together something for another person, it’s critical to do. You want to know what you’re going to address and have the opportunity to put it into the proper order; sometimes you want everything to flow in a specific pattern while other times you want to make sure you start strong and end strong.

Hand Writing
Dave King via Compfight

4. Unless it won’t fit with previous blog content, always try to write more than what you normally might. On my own blogs, I pretty much write like Mozart. That is to say that I write as many words as what my thoughts lead me to write and then I stop; no more, no less. But when I’m putting something together for someone else, I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out, and that every thought I have is thoroughly covered for each point; hence the outline. You can write more and if it’s consistent the blog owner will probably love to print the entire thing. If you’re asked to trim it down some it’s always easier than it is to try to add more.

5. Always give examples for the points you’re trying to make. In the post I wrote for Adrienne, I talked about how some people on Twitter are always posting links to their blogs or sales pages and it’s almost like they’re online 24/7, which means you know they’re automating everything. Yet if it was a TV show would you want to watch 5 minutes of a show and be marketed to 55 minutes to complete the hour? Things like that help to make your points memorable and people can relate to them.

6. Don’t write anything you don’t believe in with your whole soul. If you’re writing something you think people want to hear so you can appease them, you’ve already failed. Don’t ever be fake because everyone will know. If you hate chocolate, say you hate chocolate (and be prepared for me to come to your house to protest lol). If you like puppies proclaim your love for them and tell people why you love them (I love them because they’re just so innocent and cute and want to play). If you’re going to teach someone something teach it all to them, every single step, and don’t leave anything out. Don’t assume what people know; as Ileane said in the interview, everyone’s level of knowledge is different and you never want to leave anyone out.

I’m going to stop there before I make this one too long. Here are 5 tips, there were 4 on my other post, so I’m thinking you now have 9 total points from me and still have Kristi’s video and Ileane’s video to get more, since both of them have written guest posts. I mean, what more could you want? Well, I want you to read this, watch the videos, share all of it wherever you are on social media, comment here and on every video you watch, and above all send me chocolate chip cookies… wait, how’d that get in here? Please, let me know what you think below or somewhere; don’t make me hold my breath! 😉
 

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