Category Archives: Blogging

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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What’s Happened To Clocks?

As most of you know by now, I’ve been spending a lot of time in airports lately. I’ve noticed a bunch of things, which I mentioned in that last post, but one thing in particular brought something home to me.

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What’s happened to all the clocks? There isn’t a single airport I’ve been to over the last 3 years where there’s been a clock anywhere. The funny thing is that airports are big on time. They put up these boards that tell you whether your plane is on time or not. They expect you to start boarding the plane at least 25 minutes before they’re ready to take off, and they’re sticklers with time; you miss getting on before they close that door and you’re stuck.

And it’s not just airports. I’m working these days in an office park for my consulting assignment, and I’ve noticed that there’s not a single clock on any floor. Almost no one has a clock on their desk either. There’s a break room on every floor, and on the first floor there’s a cafeteria where people can get food and drink… and no clock.

When I decided to stop wearing a watch some years ago, I figured that I’d have it easy because I have my smartphone with me most of the time, and there were always clocks around. But I was mistaken on that second part. Above you see a clock on the outside of my favorite grocery store; there are no clocks inside however. I like to go to the casino; there’s certainly no clocks in there because darkness never comes in a casino. There’s no clocks in the library I go to, even though they have a specific closing time.

What the hey? We live in a fast paced life, and it’s true that most of the time we have other alternatives for finding out what time it is. But it’s not always convenience to try to grab at my smartphone, and thus I might be sitting in a restaurant eating my meal and, because there are no clocks, I have no idea if I’m missing out on something.

I was visiting a friend of mine this weekend and he had an old time grandfather clock in the living room along with a baby grand. And it not only couldn’t keep the right time anymore, but it rang on the half hour rather than the hour, which didn’t matter since the time wasn’t close to correct.

Where am I going with all of this? We’re expected to be on time for many things. We have appointments of all types; meetings, doctor, kids, on and on. Many people say that they don’t have enough time to keep up with blogging; how do they know if they can’t chart time? Sure, they might have watches, but in my opinion even a watch isn’t enough to help you keep control of time.

What about me? Sure, I don’t wear a watch. But I have a clock in my home office that I can see above my monitor. I have two clocks in the master bedroom. There’s a large clock in the living room, a clock in 2 of my 3 bathrooms, a clock in the dining room, a clock in the kitchen, three clocks in the guest bedroom, 2 clocks in my wife’s sewing room, and two clocks in her office and in her bathroom.

Not only that but everything else in my house that can keep time is set, although the time is different if I set it than if my wife sets it, as she has this thing about setting clocks at least 4 minutes ahead of the actual time; what is it with wives? lol

Still, we have a handle on time at home, whether we schedule anything or not. When I write my articles for the Hot Blog Tips Newsletter that goes out once a week, put out by Brian Hawkins, I’m looking at the clock before and after I write each article, as I write 4 or 5 of them at a time to take care of the entire month up front; I’m not quite sure what he thinks about that or even if he believes I’ve written something that fast.

If you say you don’t have time to blog, or that it takes a lot of time, are you looking at a clock, or a watch, or even the lower right side of your computer to see if that’s true? Are you off watching TV or playing pool or reading magazines or eating popcorn (okay, I’m with you on the popcorn) instead of putting a blog post together?

How are you controlling your time? Where have you noticed that there are no clocks around that shocks you? My belief is that you haven’t even thought about it until reading this; now that you’re aware, take a look and let me know what you see.
 

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5 Ways Blogging Is Like Traveling Through Airports

Yes, this is another one of my comparison posts on the overall subject of blogging, this time relating it to airports. I’m in my consulting mode these days which means I’m flying a lot, although most of the time when I’m consulting I drive. However, I’m 17 hours away by car, thus this didn’t seem to be the smart thing to do, as I kept hearing from my wife. Lol

Syracuse Airport

The thing is that there are some things about blogging that really can compare to being in airports. If you’ve only ever been in one or two you may not be able to relate to these, but if you’ve flown at least 3 or 4 times you’ll see that I’m right on this one, even if you never thought about it before. Let’s begin.

1. There are some processes that never change. In airports, you always have to first get past the person who checks your ticket against your ID. Then you have to pull all your electronics out and put them in a tray, take everything out of your pockets and put them into a tray, take off your shoes and belt and put them in a tray, walk through the scanner and hope you’ve passed, and then put all that stuff back into where you took it from. Then you wait at your gate, walk forward when it’s your turn, put your stuff in the overhead, sit down, put on your seatbelt & fly to your destination. No matter what else happens, no matter the deviations, you always do these things.

When it comes to blogging, you probably always do these same things. You think about what your topic is going to be that you’re writing on, you verify your facts or your opinion, you open with your premise and then you write your post. Afterwards you check it for spelling (please do this lol), verify your keywords, then publish your post so others can read it and bask in your brilliance. Your process almost never changes once you get it down; if it does, you’re probably not writing all that often.

2. Often things are out of your control, no matter what you do. I’ve had a couple of flights canceled or altered because of the weather. I’ve had seats where I’ve paid for an upgrade taken from me for whatever reason. I’ve been pulled out of line and I’ve been selected to have a bag or two go under extra scrutiny. These are irritations but we get through them and move on with life.

With blogging, you can write what you feel is the best thing you’ve ever written and have no one read it or comment on it. You can set up all sorts of protections on your blog and still get hacked. You can have your hosting company suddenly go buggy and no one, including you, can get to your site. Some of these things are more critical than the others but you need to know that you can always overcome anything. Waste just a little bit of time worrying about it, then either get back to what you know or move on.

3. You can never find enough charging stations. At least there are places where we can charge up our phones, laptops and electronic readers these days. But there are never enough of them, and they get scarfed up pretty quickly. Every once in awhile there might be one last remaining spot but there are no seats close by, so you have to make a quick decision as to whether you trust the people who stand around the station or not.

For many bloggers, there are those days when you think and think and think and just can’t figure out what you want to say. Maybe you have a germ of an idea but you just can’t put it together. One of the realities of blogging is that you write an article, put it out, and at some point you have to write another post. It seems like there aren’t enough ideas or enough ways to come at your topic. But there are; look at what I’m comparing blogging to in this post. : – )

4. If you travel a lot you get to a point where you see the same thing over and over and some of it loses its excitement. When that starts to threaten to happen, you have to try to find new things to concentrate your mind on because, in reality, there’s always something different. For me, I’ve started people watching, and it’s the most amazing thing. As I write this there’s a kid who’s climbed up on one of those arrivals boards, a really attractive woman in very high heels and the tightest pants standing at the charging station in front of me typing away on her phone as if there’s nothing else in life to do, a Hasidic father and son, both with high black hats, looking for their gate and next flight, a young mother playing with her cute baby, and some people just chilling, watching TV or talking on their phones because they have a long wait for their next flight.

In blogging, sometimes it seems like you’re seeing the same thing over and over, whether it’s your blog or someone else’s blog. I lament often that I see multiple blogs writing the same thing all the time, as if they’re copying each other. The thing is that you should be able to have 30 people write about the same thing and end up with 30 totally different perspectives and taken on that subject. If you’re seeing the same thing over and over you need to broaden your perspective and look for other bloggers who can offer something different. If it’s your writing, work on your creativity and stop being so pedantic in using the same language and terminology.

5. Even in airports it can be all about networking and relationships. This is the 4th month of traveling for me and what I never really thought much about until it started is how often I see the same people. What’s also stunned me is that with so many people passing through airports every day that some of those people will remember my face. Though I don’t remember their names I’m familiar with certain flight attendants, the guys who load and drive the bus from one terminal to the next, some of the people working in certain restaurants, and some of the security people who check to make sure I’m not trying to sneak anything onto the plane. There’s a comfort in the familiarity and it helps in knowing that those times when they have to pull me out for a random heck there’s nothing personal about it.

The best blogs will have a consistent group of people who stop by to read and comment, and if you’re a smart blogger you’ll not only welcome them by responding to their comments, but when you can you’ll visit their blogs and try to find something to comment on. When all is said and done true blogging is about relationships and networking, whether you’re trying to make money or not. I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say that you’re building friendships as if those people lived in town all the time, but you’re building friendly interactions and trust, and some of those people will help to promote you when they like you without your asking. There’s never anything wrong with that.
 

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Where Do You Stand On Same Or Similarly Named Blogs?

Almost 4 years ago I approached the subject of looking up your own name on search engines to see how you rank, if you come up, and to see what people might be saying about you. Probably every six months or so I hit Google and look up my name, in quotation marks, to see where I come up and with whom I’m competing against. I’m being killed by Jimi Hendrix’s former drummer, but otherwise I do pretty well with my name.

NYCC
Anna Fischer via Compfight

Last night I decided to try something different. I decided to see what I came across if I looked up the name of one of my blogs to see what else was out there. Luckily, there doesn’t seem to be any other blogs that I could find with the name I’m Just Sharing, so instead I decided to look up my eponymously named blog, Mitch’s Blog, my business blog on leadership & other business topics. I knew there would be some out there by that name, so it was a nice test.

The best thing is that my blog comes in #2; the worst thing is that my blog comes in #2. Come on now, #2? With over 1,100 posts and for it being live 8 years, and attached to my business website that I’ve had for 11 years, it only comes in at #2?!?!? And the other guy’s link doesn’t even have the name “Mitchell” in it? And he doesn’t write nearly as often as I do? And finally, it’s ranked lower than my site on both Alexa and Google’s page rank?

Well, I’ll let that go for the moment… I’ll try at least. lol There are lots of blogs called Mitch’s Blog it seems, so I took a look at 9 others so I could have a great round number of 10 to view. What I saw wasn’t great overall yet it’s still interesting.

Two of the blogs have a line or two, then links to either videos or sounds; that’s it. A couple other blogs are associated with universities, and don’t have a lot of posts on them. Many of them don’t have a new post for the last 3 months or more; sigh… One guy has his blog as part of an acne forum; I kid you not. One was on Tumblr; that doesn’t count, but he sketches and they weren’t bad, but he hasn’t put anything up in way over a year.

I did find one that I thought was intriguing enough to link back to. The guy’s name is Mitch Matthews, and I guess he’s a professional motivational speaker with a weekly radio show. It looks like he only writes once a month in his blog, his Alexa rank is over 13 million, and it’s attached to his business site. I actually hope you drop by and take a look and maybe find something to comment on because he seems like the kind of guy many of us might like to know.

As for this other guy… hmmm… No, I’m not going to share a link because I don’t want to help give him a bounce of any kind. Me being me, I went into his source code to check things out. What did I discover? Nothing! He has no keywords, doesn’t seem to have a specific topic he likes to stick to when he’s writing, he has few comments… In other words, he’s defying everything that convention says about SEO and writing on certain themes and having a domain name that relates to something you do… and he’s got my blog’s name and comes up higher on a Google search than me. And there’s no reason why… hmmm…

Is there a lesson here? Yes, there are a few lessons. One, if you don’t know where you stand then you can’t do anything about it so go check yourself out, even possibly just your name, and see where you stand. Two, Even if you’re not at the very top it doesn’t mean you’re not successful in some fashion. Three, you just might find something you like. And four… following conventional ideas just might not be enough to get you to #1. Now, how am I going to reconcile that one? How would you?
 

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Are You Offending People Away From Your Blogs Or Websites?

There’s a young lady from Australia whose Instagram page I used to follow named Sheridyn Fisher; that’s her picture to the right. I think she’s very attractive and for awhile I enjoyed pictures of her and her adventures, as well as her pets. She was once either a Playboy model or almost a Playboy model; I’m not quite sure how that all worked out but it proves that I’m not the only one who thought she was attractive.

SFisher012

She’s also an entrepreneur of sorts. She has a line of swimwear, which figures, and along with modeling some of the images herself, she has other models who will show off some of her wares. That’s nothing to be mad at either I must admit. However, one of the models on one of the Instagram posts decided to share a feeling of hers that, in retrospect, was one of the most idiotic things anyone has ever said while pursuing a career. She said it made her sick to her stomach knowing some men over the age of 40 were looking at pictures of her and felt they were all dirty old men.

Dirty old men? For looking at some pictures that she willingly took to show off her body wearing swimwear? Dirty old men? You mean the early part of the major demographic of 35-54 year olds that most advertisers want to reach because they’re the ones that have the most money per capita to be able to afford to buy, well, maybe not women’s swimwear but calendars, magazines, or whatever else pretty women might be a part of?

Yeah, I was offended. Sheridyn didn’t say it but if she didn’t remove the comment before I saw it and she didn’t say anything in response to it either. Truthfully, I doubt she’s ever looked at her Instagram account because if she was anything like me and what I talked about earlier this year lamenting the lack of moderating comments on sites like YouTube and Instagram, allowing trolls and such to ruin the overall experience for everyone else. Sure, I do understand that if you get 5,000 comments it might be hard to get rid of some of them but something has to occur here and there, or so I feel.

I thought about this as it relates to blogging in general. Sometimes we take controversial opinions on something and that’s fine if we’re ready to deal with people not liking it. I do that from time to time when I’m in a state where I just have to express an opinion; nothing wrong with that and I think more people should think about doing something like that from time to time. Remember the saying “if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything”.

However, being controversial is something most people will do on purpose. What about doing things that might be subconsciously turning people away, things you really haven’t thought much about and one day wake up to the reality that you might be offending a part of your audience in some way that you’ve never thought about?

WYL_MudFlapSm2
Michael Porter via Compfight

A few nights ago I was checking out the videos of someone I’d just discovered on YouTube. I thought she was a breath of fresh air and decided to check out some of her older videos. I came across one called Apology and was drawn to watch it. In it, she apologized for some things she said regarding people on welfare because she didn’t think before she said it.

She was upset because a lot of people dumped on her after the presidential election because she decided to support the loser of the election (no, I ain’t saying his name lol) and, being one of those people who shoots from the hip, went over to the dark side because a lot of people on Twitter baited her for her open support there.

She ended up taking a major hit in subscribers and her popularity for awhile. It seems that even if you came from nothing and have made something of yourself that people don’t think that gives you credibility to start castigating everyone else because they need assistance from the government. I didn’t watch the video that offended so many people, but I did see that it got nearly 15,000 dislikes and only 1,100 likes and, being someone whose income comes only from YouTube, it seems that she got the message that she’d been insensitive; thus the apology.

Some people forgave her after a bit while others moved on, and she’s now back up around 300,000 subscribers or so and has moved on with life. But she’s kind of a celebrity and kind of ditzy cute; do you think your own business, website or blog could survive such a faux pas? Think about it; how often have you said something that came across as mean and been called on it? How many times have you written or posted something that someone else might see as sexist or racist when it wasn’t your intention to do so?

If you’re in the United States, all I have to say is Paula Deen for you to understand what I’m saying here. So many people were shocked by her admission, even though I’m not one of them. That she might have thoughts like she did & said the types of things she’s said didn’t surprise me in the least. But her public persona was something else, and it all came crashing down when this came out about her. And, if you watch the link above, which goes to a YouTube video I created about the situation, what you’ll see is that I believe her biggest mistake was waiting until someone else broke the news instead of being proactive.

Still, the point of this particular article is to ask you if you’re taking care to not be potentially controversial when you’re not trying to be, or not potentially being inflammatory and insensitive when you are trying to be. I left a lot of people in my dust during the 2008 presidential election, and a lot of people who lost their minds on Twitter before and after that election lost a lot of business and a lot of money as well.

There are many stories where a slip of the lip at the wrong time has cost someone their livelihood. How careful are you being in trying to make sure that person isn’t you?
 

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