Category Archives: Blogging

I Love Infographics But You Won’t See Any Here

As some of you may know, in recent months I’ve fussed about guest post requests and link removal requests that I’ve been getting a lot of email about lately. There’s one more email type that I’ve gotten a lot lately as well, although this isn’t quite as irksome.

Universe Zero
Kevin Dooley via Compfight

People send me email for 4 of my blogs (they never send anything for my local blog) sharing a link to an infographic they’ve got, wanting me to see it and then asking me to share it with my readers. In essence, what they’re trying to do is get me to write an article and link to their site without their having to pay for it, free promotion if you will.

As sneaky as that is, truth be told I love to look at infographics. I’m not artistic by any means, and that includes having the mindset to know how to put one of these things together so that they look visually stunning. Not that all of them do but many of them do, and when I have the time I like to go take a look. However, I also write every one of these people back and tell them the same thing; I don’t put infographics on my sites so I won’t be promoting them.

Truthfully, I may have promoted one or two in my past, but nothing lately. However, I can’t conceive of every putting an infographic on my site for one main reason.

They tend to take up a lot of valuable real estate that’s called my blog writing space and, well, let’s face this fact that almost no one wants to visit a blog post that not only has a long infographic that’s sometimes hard to see, but then have to consider going through a long blog post as well. So most of the time when you see big infographics there’s little content because no one wants to look redundant.

As I said, I’m not against infographics, and it’s possible that some people might benefit from them. And if you’re lucky to know someone who can create a cool app that makes those infographics a little less cumbersome while still being seen by everyone (such as the one on post by Marcus Sheridan), that becomes a game changer and, if that became available for everyone, I might even consider changing my own policy in the future.

But for now y’all are just going to have to make due with my miasmic rambling missives of fact and opinion; I hope we’re all up for it. 🙂
 

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Do You Know When To Ignore Or React?

This past week has been something else. As much as I’ve tried to stay out of the news arena it’s just hard not to see things that you don’t like, especially when it comes to politics. I then made a minor mistake by writing one line on Facebook, kind of an opinion thing where I also said that I didn’t want to talk about it, and that was my first mistake.

scream and shout
Mindaugas Danys via Compfight

This guy I was connected to (he left) came back in disagreement with me and posted a news link in my thread. He led with the line “how can you say that”. I wrote back that it was my profile and I could say whatever I wanted and left it at that. He countered with “I expected more than that from you”.

What the heck? Who did this guy think he was, saying he expected more from me on a topic I didn’t want to talk about? I got angry and responded, and man did I respond. I wrote the equivalent of 4 paragraphs in one (you know how Facebook is in its comments area) and told him if he really wanted to have this discussion I could come to his page and bury him in information (it’s an area in which I have lots of expertise). Seems he didn’t like that either and said some more thing, so I buried him in more, adding some facts and some passion (but never bad words; I never use bad words) and, well, never heard from him again.

The funny thing is that the next day another friend decided to pony in a comment that had nothing to do with the original comment, and I decided to ignore that. I found that intriguing in that I didn’t respond to her because one, I wasn’t mad anymore, and two, because it was off-topic and, well, she had a good point but it was one I really didn’t want to discuss either. lol

I’ve thought about this particular situation all week and I find that interesting in a way. Yes, I do think about things for a long time because I ask myself how I could have handled things better, even when I handle things in the correct way. The one question I ask myself is how I’d have responded to it if I’d made my original statement on the blog, followed up by a lot of information in its own right.

Well, I know one thing for sure. If someone responds and puts a link in the comment it automatically goes into the spam filter, so there wouldn’t be any worries there. That’s kind of a cop-out but it’s nice having legitimate reasons, so to speak, for not addressing certain things. I do the same with my comment policy, though I’ve noticed that no one who’s ever ended up in the spam filter because of a comment that’s somewhat dodgy has ever come back and mentioned it, and that would probably happen more often than not.

However, that doesn’t quite answer the question of if any of us knows when to ignore stuff we don’t like or when to respond to it does it? Do you have any criteria set for it? I actually do, and I’m going to share it, because it’s important for all bloggers to have some kind of standards to follow in their own space.

The first is if someone disagrees with you on your point of view but stays on topic. If you can’t back up your point of view on your own blog then you shouldn’t have said anything to begin with. Of course you have the right to expect a certain type of decorum when being responded to, but if someone gives you a cogent response I feel that you now have an obligation to respond.

The second is if someone else is being attacked in your space. I’ve done that often enough here over the years because this isn’t the place for personal attacks. I’m especially protective of my online and real life friends; heck, I go to bat for them on their blogs if someone behaves badly so you know I’m protecting them here as well.

Those are the only two times when you should feel obligated to say something to someone else. After that, if it continues just block them and move on with life; it’s not worth it anymore.

What if it’s a personal attack against you? Well, that’s somewhat different isn’t it? Truthfully, I’ve allowed it twice against me here, and the first time I battled with the person and she left, never coming back again, and the second time I never responded, left her comment there, and she came back some time later, apologized, and we moved on from there. In both of those posts the article was fairly broad and didn’t go after anyone specific, but for some reason it touched a nerve for each of them. However, the first person wanted to justify her bad behavior; nope, wasn’t having that.

Still, no one deserves to be bullied in their own space if they didn’t deserve it. If they did deserve it (and yes, sometimes people actually do deserve it), that’s another tale, but my warning to all bloggers is to never deserve it; you know better than that. 🙂

So I’ll ask this question: how do you decide when to ignore or react to negative feedback, and how do you do it? Let us know.
 

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Annoying Link Removal Requests

Curse you Panda, Pony, Red Fox, or whatever all those Google updates are called. You’ve caused a lot of trouble to many of us bloggers whether that was your intention or not. And to all of you phony SEO folks; fie on you as well (sorry for my language lol).

oXidation: Time goes by...
Alfonso via Compfight

What’s the deal? By now I’m betting that every legitimate blogger in the world has gotten at least one email from someone asking if you’ll remove a link from your blog because one of their SEO “experts” has determined that it’s hurting their website. You’re also probably correct, if you’ve thought far enough ahead, to know that probably 99.9999999% of those links are on your blog because of comments, not because you’ve linked to someone in your content.

Frankly, it’s irritating as sin, almost as much as those things on some blogs that are irking me to no end. In this case I didn’t do anything except write my blog posts and put them out for some people to hopefully enjoy. I didn’t ask anyone to comment, though I’m always hoping to touch someone in a positive way. I can block lots of spammers because they’re easy to spot. But I can’t blog legitimate comments, so to speak, from people who are paid to comment and wrote something that was actually pertinent to the post; at least I haven’t figure out how to do it.

What’s worse than these requests? Some punks have figured out how to take care of their competitors, whose commenters might have left pretty good comments, by writing you as representative of those competitors and asking you to remove those links because of what I mentioned earlier. What?!?!? Now we’re tasked with trying to protect others who did the sneaky thing and hired someone to comment on blogs for them as well?

What’s a brother to do? Well, in my case I’ve come up with some rules for how to handle this sort of thing. I did it mainly because most of the requests I get are directed at my finance blog, the one where I allow guest posts, and it’s those very same people who had representatives beg to have their posts included who are asking me to now remove their links, including comments with those links in them; the nerve!

You’re wondering what I’ve done? Notice that video below? Check that out and find out; yeah, I’m mean, but at least it’s not on my channel. 🙂
 


 

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Quick Ways To Identify Spam On Your Blog

I can’t believe it’s been more than 3 years since I wrote on the topic of how to identify spam. In that period of time a lot of things have stayed the same while there are some new players in the game that try to trick us all.

No Spam
Thomas Hawk via Compfight

This will probably be a short post from me, which is rare, but I’m hoping to make it easy for everyone instead of getting too deep into the issue. If there’s anything here you don’t understand, leave it in the comments and I’ll give it more time later. Here we go:

1. If a comment doesn’t use your name but calls you something, it’s probably spam. Admin, webmaster, buddy, etc.

2. One line comments are most probably spam unless you know the person.

3. If a comment looks familiar look through previous comments on that same post. Most of the time I recognize that someone has scraped a previous comment but not all the time, and I end up responding to both; ugh.

4. Totally off-topic or not on the topic at all.

5. The comment is way too long. I’ve known a few people who leave long comments but in general most really long comments are spammy sales messages or rants about something totally not based on what you’ve just written about.

6. Questions about your blog in general; not on topic, and please don’t even waste your time responding to this stuff.

7. Female picture with male name, male picture with female name… that should be pretty easy to spot.

8. The email address says “info” or “admin” in it. Not always spam but my policy is it all goes into the spam filter because, unless I know the person, it often means someone’s been paid to leave a lousy comment on your blog & they’re never coming back.

9. Keyword names or somewhat offensive names. I don’t allow either and will just delete the comments without reading them because most of the time they’re spam.

I’ll stop at 9 because that’s one of my favorite numbers and it’s the 9th month. Anyone have any other quick ways to identify spam?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Your Blog Is Irking Me; Check These Gripes Out

These days I’m doing a lot of business travel and this puts me way behind in my blog commenting. Some people may not understand this but trust me, a hotel internet connection that’s only getting 2 MBPS as opposed to the 30 MBPS I get at home is restricting to a power user type like me.

Leave The Kids At Home And Turn Off The Damn Phone!
Bart via Compfight

This week I’m home, and so I decided it was time to try to catch up on a lot of blogs that I’d saved up in Evernote to comment on. And once I started… man, I started seeing all sorts of stuff that’s just irking me to no end. My take on this is that if it’s irking me, then it has to be irking others, even if they decide not to say anything about it.

How many ways have I been irked? Let’s find out:

1. Your share buttons are bleeding into the reading/comment area. Thanks for putting up buttons so we can share your content. For some of you who put it on the side, that bad boy following me up and down the blog as I read is distracting, but I’ll get over that because I know you’re trying to help me help you (sarcasm). But some of you have it so big that I have to keep scrolling more often than normal if I want to read the article in full because it’s blocking the content. I can shrink the page, but at some point I can’t read it, or I’m struggling to read it, and that’s just not going to work for me. So I just go away; don’t leave a comment, don’t pass GO, don’t get my $200. And I might not come back if I can remember who’s blog I was on.

2. Your “next” article pop-ins. Look, I get it; you don’t think I’m going to look at anything else you write if you don’t specifically tell me to do it. So at some point you’ve set your blog up to throw in one of those boxes that pops in at the bottom right to tell me something. Most of the time it’s another article, but sometimes it’s an advertisement or something else you want to share with me.

Even though I don’t like that, at least most of you wait until we get to the bottom of the article before it pops up. I even understand having it pop up before it gets to the commenting area because not everyone is going to comment. But having that bad boy pop up after I hit the scroll area the very first time… stop that! Once again, it bleeds into the content and gets in the way, and some of you nefariously have omitted the X allowing us to close the box, which once again means we have to shrink content drastically if we want to read stuff, being followed by your face and that ever present box. No thanks; killed that article as well.

3. Newsletter pop-ups. Now look, I’ve talked often about how much I hate these things and most of you are still using them because some “guru” said that as much as people complain about them they actually work in getting subscribers. So on this one I’m probably just a hater missing the point. Except… now many of you are popping those boxes up while I’m either in the middle of trying to read your article or starting to leave a comment. Really? Do you hate your own content or the readers so much that you don’t want them to finish reading your articles? No? Then why did I just up and leave because that thing ruined my reading experience?

4. What’s that noise? Did you just have a video start playing advertising something that I wasn’t expecting? Do you have your blog set up to start playing a brief podcast or some kind of music? Didn’t we talk about this a long time ago when I used to tell people how much I hated MySpace (and look what happened to that…)?

Okay, which guru told you to assault the senses of your latest visitors with this nonsense? Did you subscribe to their newsletter that teaches you how to irritate people while taking your money to the bank? I get it; there seems to be a lot of blindness when it comes to blogs and it’s harder to get people to even look at our stuff, let alone click on it. Let me tell you something; the best way to market to people is to hopefully get them to keep coming back for more. If you drive away 99% of your audience the first time, how much do you think you’re going to get from that 1% that forgives you & comes back?

5. What did you say? I don’t want to be the grammar police but I have a few things to say here, and I’ll highlight them:

* The word is “commenters”, not “commentators”; a commentator is a reporter.

* There’s no such phrase as “these ones”; you mean “these” and that word is enough.

* A space between your paragraphs is much appreciated. Heck, paragraphs instead of one long paragraph that goes on forever is nice as well.

* Exclamation points are to be used when you want to show an emotion. Using one in every sentence of every paragraph is a bit too much; if you’re that emotional you’re scaring me. For that matter, even one per paragraph is probably too much.

* Your, you’re, there, their, they’re, our, are, hour, principle, principal, pitcher, picture… do I really have to explain this point?

Time to stop before I get really weird. Truthfully, the grammar part is lower on the totem pole than all the other stuff I mentioned, but since I was on my “irked” rant, I thought I’d pony up a few more things. Are you doing these things? I know you’re not going to fess up so I’ll just say if you are, think about it a bit and then, please, change. If not, is there something else irking you that you’d like to bring up?
 

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