Category Archives: Blogging

Broken Link Checker – Gone!

Yeah, I hear you, two complaint posts in a row. Well, the first one I felt was appropriate in warning you against a company that’s so deficient that you’d be throwing your money away. This one is to help you protect your blog; rather, to access your blog.

Highway Insomnia
Brett Weinstein
via Compfight

As you know, I mentioned back in December how my traffic seemed to be going down, along with my Alexa rank, but that always happened in December. Since the new year began, my traffic has been going up but my Alexa ranking continues going down. I’m not going to argue the merits of Alexa here; just going on with the post.

Anyway, I decided to check with Google Analytics to see what could possibly be going down. Indeed, not only has my traffic been going up, but it’s already higher than it was in either November or December. As a matter of fact, it’s ended on par with last August; that’s an upswing in traffic. But there were some interesting numbers, which I want to share:

October to November traffic from Google – 40%
October to November traffic from direct source – 37%

November to December traffic from Google – 37%
November to December traffic from direct source – 45%

December to January traffic from Google – 34%
December to January traffic from direct source – 43%

You notice that I’m actually driving more traffic in some fashion to this blog that Google’s doing; no idea how I’m doing it unless it’s through commenting on other blogs, since all other sources are listed as well. You’ll also notice that the gap hags been growing; Google doesn’t like me anymore. lol

Google did have another one of their famous updates, and I started to wonder if it might be related to bad links. I kind of addressed it in the past when I was talking about broken links, and last week when I talked about editing comments. When I talked about it in the past, I mentioned a plugin I used called Broken Link Checker. I’d also written about previous problems I had with the plugin, but that was awhile ago.

The fact is that when the thing works, it works great. However, when it doesn’t… man, it’s the worst in the world. This is what I went through a few nights ago when I decided to check my links to see if I was having problems with any of them from other people. After all, when I last ran the thing in May it found 750 bad links; ouch! Well, I do get my share of comments, and the blog has been around a long time, so that’s to be expected.

When I went to check on it some time later, it showed that I had close to 400 bad links. I then started the process of trying to do maintenance, and the blog shut down. I mean, it just wouldn’t do anything. I closed it by going to another page, then tried to come back to it; now I was locked out. I thought that was strange so I opened a different browser. I was able to pull up the blog, sign in, but as soon as it was in admin it locked up again.

I tried one more browser and got the same problem, so me being me I decided to try it on the laptop. Same issue; signed in and blog froze. I then went into Firefox’s private browsing mode, unsure what to expect, got into the admin panel and once again into Broken Link Checker. However, as soon as I started trying to to maintenance, the blog locked up on me, and I couldn’t even view the home page again.

Frankly, that kind of behavior is unacceptable at this juncture, and I feel like I knew better, but with all the updates they’ve made that it would work better. I have this same problem on 4 of my blogs; the only one that doesn’t shut down is my local blog, probably because I have few links and fewer articles on it than all the others.

What to do? First, the next morning I was able to log into the blog and this time I went to the plugin page and deleted the plugin. I don’t even want to be tempted to use it again. But I needed something to help me get rid of some bad links. I decided to use a plugin called Automatic Link Checker, which goes through your blog and checks links against Google to see if they exist or not, or if they’ll come up. I changed the settings to say if a link hasn’t been live in 30 days to remove it from the blog; the default is 60 days but I’m not feeling that generous these days. I’ve been periodically checking it and it seems to be working great, without any input from me. And, because I set it at 30 days, if someone’s having a temporary server issue it won’t automatically delete your links; I think that’s pretty cool.

Broken links can mess up your ranking and visibility on Google; can’t have that type of thing going on, and it’s something we can actually do something about. If you’re having trouble with the other plugin or haven’t loaded anything to help you check for broken links, try this new one. Thus far, no complaints. And if traffic goes up even more, or Google referrals start increasing again, I’ll let you know.
 

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Comments: Edit, Delete, Leave Alone?

At some point all of us who write blogs and get comments sometimes get one that’s not quite the norm for one reason or another. Depending on your topic, demeanor, or just the people who happen to show up on a particular day, you never know what you’re going to get from day to day. As a blog owner, you have to deal with this issue, or at least should. The question is “what exactly do you do?

I tend to scribble a lot
Nic McPhee via Compfight

This was the topic we discussed in our Sunday Hot Blog Tips Live Google Hangout, and it was the topic I brought up. The issue came because in the last week I received two very long comments on two separate blogs. On one of them I knew the person. Both of them weren’t just long comments, but didn’t have any breaks, which means they were very long comments, no break for paragraphs, and not necessarily following what some might consider a proper story format, as in starting with an idea and following it in a logical sequence.

Both of these left me in a mental quandary. On their own they weren’t very easy to read. So when I did was edit one, on this blog, by breaking it into paragraph chunks. On the other blog I left it alone because it was just too hard to figure out how to break it up.

I didn’t really have many qualms about either one, but it got me to thinking about editing comments in general. It’s not something I’ve had to do all that often… well, that’s not quite true. Since I know almost no one reads the brief commenting policy above the comment box, some people put links into their comments that aren’t adding to the discussion. They end up in spam, and if I decide to okay them I then have to go in and remove those links before approving the comment. Those links that do add to the comment I don’t mind, but they’re still going to the spam filter.

I’ve only once in 5 years, which is very good, had to edit a comment because of a bad word. Nope, not allowing it here since I don’t curse (or cuss; folks not familiar with Southern dialects hate “cuss”), and if there was more than one word I just might have to delete the entire thing. I like to think that’s people treating me well in my own space; I appreciate that.

Some comments have no spaces or punctuation between the sentences. I’m always ambivalent about that, so I’ll admit that if those comments end up in the spam filter, I go ahead and delete them. If they make it through, I almost always leave them, but I’m starting to reconsider that policy because I’ve never once returned a visit to a blog and saw that they write that way on their own blog. If you don’t do it in your own space what makes it right in my space? Could be a paid writer who could care less, right?

Then there’s some links that are, well, suspect. I don’t mean suspected of having malware, although that’s a consideration. I mean a relatively short, borderline comment with a link going back to dental implants or garlic supplements or junk like that. In the video below you’ll hear the others saying they’ll either delete the links or the entire comment; I’m going to have to think about that one a bit more, though I will admit that there are times when I do delete links, but it’s mainly when I start getting a lot of bounced email based on what the commenter put in, which of course means it’s either fake or was typed in wrong. If you can’t get your own email correct you don’t deserve the link.

There are so many possibilities in having to edit that it warranted the video, and now it’s warranted the conversation. I put it out to y’all then. I hope you watch the video, but I doubt almost anyone will because that’s just how most people are, even if it’s my own video (folks, we see the view numbers, so 25 people certainly didn’t watch my last video if I see only 10 views on the site). However, I’ve written enough here to give you an opportunity to comment on the topic; let’s see what you believe.

Now, the video:


 

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Do You Need A Certificate To Prove Your Blogging Worthiness?

Last week was the final meeting I had with University Hospital here in Syracuse. I was part of a diabetes study, the results of which I’ll hear about sometime in 2014. It was in its own way a 12-week study that lasted 12 months; figure that one out. lol

At the end of the meeting, the lady handed me an envelope, which contained the certificate you see to the right. She congratulated me for not only getting through the entire study but showing an improvement, and then maintaining most of the improvement. Everything stayed the same except my glucose readings; I have to work on bringing that down again unfortunately.

In my last post I talked about dealing with our irrelevance and how we’re not all that irrelevant when we think about it. And yet, sometimes we still feel that way in our lives, in our blogging, in our careers. Sometimes we feel that need for validation of some type from someone else; it doesn’t always feel like it’s enough when we validate ourselves.

What am I getting at? I’m going to ask 5 questions. If you can truthfully say that you are or have done these things, then I award you the certificate at the end of this post. All you have to do is print it out, put your name on the line, and put it… somewhere, anywhere. You can scan it and put it on your blog. You can put it on your wall or on your computer. You can copy it and just leave it on your computer; whatever you want to do. Or you can ignore it if you don’t feel you need it. Still, the questions, which are thus:

1. Do you see yourself as trying to contribute to the overall community in some fashion with your blog? In other words, are you writing your blog because you feel you have something to share, as opposed to only trying to make money from it? Nothing wrong with making money, but if those are your only motives then your reason isn’t pure; my rules today.

2. Do you get comments on your blog that you respond to? Even if you’ve written 100 posts and only have one comment, did you respond to that comment if you determined it wasn’t spam? Spam comments I understand; delete those things and move on. But if you got at least one good comment, did you respond? Do you try to respond to as many comments as possible, especially if the comment was a good one (heck, sometimes if you get a one line comment there’s nothing to respond to; I’ll give you that one).

3. Do you ever comment on other blogs? You might not understand what that really has to do with your own blog but you’re not really part of the community of bloggers if you’re willing to entertain guests who come to your blog without checking out what others have to say. Did you know that I did a little research project and proved that commenting on other blogs drives more traffic to your blog than anything else?

4. Do you promote your blog in other spaces? Blog commenting is only one way to promote your blog. You ever heard of social media? Have you heard of newsletters? Have you heard of linking to your blog via your email signature line? Often people say they don’t get many visitors on their blog, to which the question “what are you doing to promote your blog” always comes out.

5. Do you write your own content without plagiarizing, come up with topics that no one else may have written on, stay true to yourself no matter what you write about, give the best effort you can every time out (no one hits a home run every time), not fear controversy when it’s needed, and don’t believe the hype when someone tells you that you’re not good enough?

If so, then you deserve to be rewarded. I’m not giving you money (You buy my book? Of course you didn’t, so I don’t have money to throw around like that lol), but I will share the certificate you see below. As I said, it’s yours if you want it, but don’t lie to use it. Congratulations; you deserve it. 🙂


 

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Innovation And Blogging

Why yes, we have video and I’ve still got something to say.

You hear it said all the time; everyone’s blogging about the same thing over and over. That may be true; after all, how many posts do I have on this blog about blogging?

Well, here’s a news flash; everyone has shoes as well, but not everyone has the same shoes. Even if the color and style is the same the size probably isn’t, and they were probably made by different designers.

The truth in life isn’t that maybe there are no totally new ideas of things no one else has seen (there are, but go with me here), but that even if that’s true there are always different ways of presenting something.

For instance, let’s take blogging. We can write; we can have pictures; we can have infographics; we can have audio or podcasts; we can have video. Even if the same message is delivered it can come at you in different ways. Both Marcie Hill & Brian Hawkins like the little thing above that says “read” so you can listen to what I’ve written if your eyes are too tired to read, especially if I’ve written a long post.

In any case, I’d love you to watch the video, which is just over 2 minutes; come on, you can’t give me 2 minutes of video love? 🙂 After watching it, let me know your thoughts on innovation, blogging or otherwise. What ideas can you come up with to separate yourself from the rest?


 

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Why Breaking Through Locally Can Be Hard To Do

Last November I addressed the issue of how lackluster most of our blogs are when it comes to getting local people to view them. I put up some stats, and I linked to some other articles in that post that I’m not going to link to again; check that one out because it’s different than this one, even though it touches upon the same theme.

Theodore Scott via Compfight

Last time I pretty much lamented the situation of breaking through locally. This time I’m going to talk about why it’s harder to do than we think it is. I’m going to do it as kind of a list post, which means my explanations will probably be sort of long. But I’ll try not to make them too long; maybe if I get to 5 I’ll stop. 🙂

1. Too little local competition. This one seems strange, but go with me for a moment. If you live in a small community people already probably know who you are. If you’re putting up information on a blog but you’re the only game in town, most people are either going to just drop in or call you on the phone. It’s only when there might be more options when someone actually goes online to find information or businesses.

2. Too much outside competition. Once again, this one might seem strange until you think about what it is you do and if there are lots of other people doing it.

On my SEOX Blog I talked about one of my clients, an accountant, whose site is the highest ranked accounting site locally. While that sounds great, if you look for the major search terms that I’ve worked on for her the site only cracks the top 100 on Google for one of those terms. She beats every other business in town, but all the other businesses that show up aren’t local. They’re national, which means they have the dollars to dominate the local markets in most communities throughout the country, potentially the world. That hardly seems fair but what to do about it?

3. No one really needs what you do locally. That one’s hard to deal with so let’s explore it. Let’s talk about my SEO/social media site and business. I battle national companies for a lot of services and lose pretty badly. But I’m ranked in the top 5 for some things, even at #1. Those things are:

central new york article writing services – Google, Bing & Yahoo #1
central new york blog writing services – Google #2; Bing & Yahoo #1
syracuse article writing services – Google, Bing #4
syracuse blog writing services – Google, Bing #1
syracuse search engine optimization consulting – Bing #5
syracuse search engine optimization consultant – Bing #2
using your website as a marketing tool – Google #2, Bing #1

I’m not even sure where Yahoo’s mind is if Google & Bing have me ranked but it doesn’t really matter. I worked hard on making sure my site was ranked well locally, and for those terms above, out of the 36 I track, I’ve succeeded. Yet, I don’t get any calls or email from anyone. I think there’s only 2 local people who have ever visited it, even after I gave a big presentation locally that garnered a lot of interest… at least on that day.

What this says is that no one locally needs or wants these types of services. The site and the blog get very little traffic in total, even with the blog (averaging 3 1/2 visitors a day) and in the last month there were 10 visits from all of New York state, 6 local visits; that’s kind of pathetic isn’t it? So, sometimes if you can’t break through in the big picture, you can’t break through locally either; that’s kind of depressing, isn’t it?

I’m going to stop at those 3 because I need to ask this question openly; should we care? That one depends on what you do and what your hopes are. I talked to my accounting client to determine if she still wanted me to write content for her this coming year. She said yes because she actually got a couple of clients this year because of both the website (which I created for her last February) and the blog, which, as I said, makes her the highest ranking accounting firm online in this area. People are always looking for accountants, and if they want someone local, they’ll dig deeper to find that person. I’m happy for her because it’ll cost me nothing to do my taxes. 🙂

For me, it’s a more difficult question. I’m not going to advertise SEO or social media services anymore because there’s no market for it, and I can use my time otherwise. I’m cutting back on what I write on that blog so the wealth of articles that are there will have to carry the day more than new stuff. I’m also not going to advertise writing services anymore, at least not through that site or blog, since that doesn’t seem to be how people are finding me anyway. And, if I’m not getting national or international business from that site, and it’s getting few visits anyway, why bother with trying to do local business, or at least advertising for it?

This article makes it seem like it’s all about me but it’s not supposed to be. I ask you to put yourself in my place when evaluating what you’ve been doing online and try to make the determination as to whether it’s working for you if you’re local. Having a presence is one thing; that’s always important. But at some point if the benefit isn’t equating to the business, you might have to make some evaluations of it all.

If you’re not trying to get local business then this entire post might not mean much to you unless you extrapolate it into just who you’re hoping to do business with, and how you’re doing with that. It’s not always about business for everyone, but if it is what do you see when you look at what’s happening for you?
 

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