Category Archives: Blogging

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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To End Or Reduce Blogging – The Conversation

Just to get this out of the way, if you care about this blog don’t worry, this post isn’t about I’m Just Sharing. However, it was a point of consideration when I was initially giving this particular topic some thought.

Sophisticated Blogger
Mike Licht via Compfight

Lately I’ve been asking the question as to whether I’m doing too much blogging. I love blogging, so much so that I’ve spread it across 5 blogs. Each blog has its own purpose, which is a good thing because if all the blogs were on the same topic there would be too much redundancy.

Two of my blogs are for business. One of those I’ve been writing for 7 years now, Mitch’s Blog, and most of the articles there are on leadership. The other blog, SEOX Blog (gone as of 9/2014), is my social media/SEO blog, and I started it in August 2011.

The purpose of each of those blogs was to highlight expertise of a sort so I could generate business. Another purpose of course was in its SEO properties; the most new content one has on a site, the more search engines stop by and thus your sites will rank higher. That part is proven, so no debate there.

The question I’ve asked is if the effort I’ve given those blogs equates to how much business I get, or even traffic. Truth be told, not even close. I’ve never generated any business on SEOX Blog, and almost no comments. I’ve generated very little business on Mitch’s Blog when you consider that it’s 7 years old; a couple of speaking engagements, a podcast, and requests for reprints and for me to write guest articles elsewhere, non-paid of course. I don’t think I’ve ever even made a book sale, or a sale of any of my other products, from that site, and that’s a shame. No sales from either site; ugh.

At the same time, I have other sites, and one of them actually generates the bulk of my online money. That’s my medical billing site Medical Billing Answers. In December it generated $199.25, moving up, as I’ve started adding a little bit of new content to it. Frankly, one should spend more time on what makes money, don’t you think?

I’ve written often that the worst thing in the world is having a blog where you’ve stopped writing and it just sits there with nothing to show for it. Suddenly here I was, thinking about ending a blog or two, and that’s counter to everything I’ve ever thought. At the same time I think I’ve proven that I can still write tons of content, as I’ve already written tons of content. What to do, what to do…

Thus, I share the video below with you. It was my weekly Google Live Hangout with Brian D. Hawkins of Hot Blog Tips and Sheryl Loch of Fuzzy Wuzzy Anipals, and the topic of the video is “Should I Stop Blogging Or Slow Down?” They shared thoughts with me as I brought up the issue then got their positions on it, since both have had blogs and websites that they’ve either let sunset or killed.

Watch the video, and then give your opinion either on the video on YouTube or right here. As I said, no decision I make will impact this blog at all because I love this one, but others… well, we’ll see.
 


http://youtu.be/ur3MPLFrmNY

 

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12 Things “I’m Just Sharing” Addressed In 2012

A couple of weeks ago on 12/12/12 I wrote a post titled 12 Things For 12/12/12. That one was more a post about stuff I believed in, more of an opinion piece. This one is something quite different.

Grandfather and Me

I decided to do a post on things this blog addressed in 2012. This particular post is #199 on the year, and since we all know I’ll have at least 2 more posts, if not 3 more, by 12/31, it’s easy to say that I’ve written more than 200 posts this year, which is actually down for me and yet has made for a more comfortable blogging year, especially since I added 2 more blogs last year.

I talk about multiple topics in the video, and to get you to watch the video I’m not going to necessarily tell you what all those topics were. However, I did have these 12 titles and links that I briefly mentioned in some fashion, which is what the video was based on. So I’m going to give those links beneath the video. It’s about 20 minutes long; I was shooting for 10 minutes but there’s no timer! I did it using Google+ Live Hangout, which means anyone could have been watching, except I started it around 12:45 or so in the morning, so I doubt anyone saw it live, and that’s just fine. Hey, at least I know Brian will watch it, though I mentioned Sheryl, Ileane, and Holly. 🙂

 

 

And now, the links:
 
Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves

Post 1,300 And On Friday To Boot

Black Web Friday

5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

Social Media And Your Familial Obligations

11 Lessons Learned From 11 Years In Business

Blogging Tips – Will People Like Your Blog?

Dream It And It Will Come

100 Things About Me

Don’t Lie About Your Health

I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

Google Authorship – Pretty Cool
 

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5 More Examples of Legitimate Looking Spam

Last February I wrote a post titled Bad Coments/Spam The Same where I highlighted six different types of comments that show up and I felt were spam of some type. After that, Adrienne Smith and I had further conversations about what we felt was spam related, and at the time I thought her beliefs were a little tough. Upon reflection, I think she’s got it spot on.

Spam wall
freezelight via Compfight

Here’s the deal. Sure, all of us want visitors and we want people to comment on our blogs. But we have to be ready to face the fact that not everyone who’s commenting on our blogs cares anything about what we’ve just written about. As a matter of fact, I’ve been a bit tougher on some comments lately, and I’ve noticed that only one person has complained about their post not showing up, and it was easy to address.

I figured it was time to address this topic once more because, well, spam just doesn’t go away, and yet there are so many blogs I’m visiting where I know it’s spam, but the blog owner doesn’t. This could be you or someone you know; let’s find out with these 5 looks:

1. Does the comment actually address the post in question? I wrote a recent post comparing Google+ to Facebook and got a few comments that told me what either G+ or Facebook were. Frankly, I already knew what they were, everyone else already knew what they were, thus this was spam. I know, it was someone paid to leave a comment on blogs obviously, but that’s just human spam; gone!

2. Is there any punctuation in the comment, or any real grammar. By this, I mean there’s no capitalization, no punctuation between obviously different sentences, and usually the comment is 2 or 3 sentences with no real start or end. Often this type of comment only addresses the first paragraph of a post so it looks legit, but it’s not because not all first paragraphs are what a post is about; you other writers know what I’m talking about.

3. Almost the exact same comment in the same style from different IP addresses, but the comments come in at the same time. Now, I’ve seen this type of thing often, and it’s problematic because every once in awhile the comments aren’t bad. But you have to call it out, as I did earlier this year when I wrote a guy who was doing that, linking to two different websites, but when I checked it out they were the same website with one being a redirect. He apologized for doing it and admitted he was paid to post comments on other blogs, but hadn’t paid much attention to where he was doing it obviously.

4. There is punctuation but no spacing. Come on, who really writes like that? What I did initially was visit the websites linking in to see if those websites were written in that style; they weren’t. That tells me that whomever is commenting could care less about what they’ve written on my blog because they didn’t give me the courtesy they probably expect in their own space. Once again, gone!

5. Too many people seem to keep missing this, which is right about the comment space:

“This blog doesn’t accept keyword names, and the comment will be deleted if a real first name isn’t put on first. Also, if your name has 3 words or more in it, the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; just so you know.”

Sometimes, if the comment isn’t all that strong, I just leave it in the spam filter and delete it. Now, some of you who keep ignoring it know who you are, and if you’ve seen your comments on the blog posts you know you’ve left something pretty good. Otherwise, the way I see it if the comment isn’t great, and the comment policy was ignored, then that was someone not even trying to add to the conversation so, sorry, it didn’t exist.

Okay, those are the 5 points I wanted to make. However, I mentioned something where I said one person complained. Actually, he wrote me because his comment didn’t show and he wondered what he might have been doing wrong. In a post I wrote in September talking about spam settings, I mentioned how if I got more than 3 spam comments from a particular IP address that I went into Settings/Discussion and reduced the filter to just the first 2 numbers rather than all 4. Well, my friend got caught up in that one, which told me his hosting company has a lot of spammers coming from there, but there’s nothing I can do about that. So I went in and altered that IP so that his comments would not be sent to spam any longer. First and only time that’s happened, but at least it worked.

There you go. How many of you will own up to seeing this on your blog and not thinking about it being spam? Will you remove it, or at least remove any further incidences of it, or do you see a comment as a comment?
 

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Business Takes More Than Blogging

Almost 2 1/2 years ago I had a series of posts on Sundays called the Sunday Question. In April 2010 one of the posts I wrote was titled Why Do You Blog. On that post, I described my reasons for blogging, and as I looked back on it I realized that my reasoning hasn’t really changed all that much since then; obviously, since I’ve added two more blogs. 🙂

Buy and Sell.
Syed Nabil Aljunid via Compfight

Yet, since last Sunday I’ve been thinking about something that one of my co-hosts on our Sunday’s Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew, Sheryl Loch, said during one of our topic discussions. She said that blogging, blogging rank, comments and the like don’t mean anything if your intention is to make money and you’re not making any. During the conversation I wanted to debate with her, but later on as I was thinking about it I knew that she was right in that regard.

I’ve never really ever said that my purpose in blogging was to make money. I have said that I hoped to spread my influence because that would give me a better opportunity to make money but that’s not quite the same thing. I have 5 blogs and I have one that makes money, and that’s really the only blog I have where I had hopes that the blog would make money. That it makes money in a way I never anticipated is a nice bonus, and yet I know it could be much better.

In November 2011 I wrote a post telling people the reality about making money by blogging. Almost no one really does it. Those that do look at it in two different ways. One, they see it as only a business and nothing else. Two, they don’t care how much traffic they get or whether they get comments; they care only about targeted traffic that wants what they have to sell.

I know this because over and over you see these posts by people you know are making money and then you look at their rankings and they’re often worse than yours or mine. In the other direction are people with great rankings and traffic that are making very little money, or at least aren’t making enough money to live on. A good example of that, and I appreciate her honesty, is Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Cafe; take a look at this link and see how much she made in October, then compare her traffic to yours.

So then, how are people making money if blogging won’t get it done? They’re finding ways of doing other things outside of blogging to help them along. I’ve always said that if you’re hoping to make money blogging that you have to look at it in a much different way. If you have a monetary consideration, blogs are there to highlight what you do, show your potential customers you know what you’re talking about, and responding to their queries and comments because that’s what customer service is all about. You can even advertise your wares.

After that, depending on what you do, you have to get out there and find your customers. You can use your blog to drive your customers if you’re going to promote yourself online. You can do traditional marketing but use your blog and blog posts to help you along the way. If you’re a writer you can use your blog to show off your skills. Of course blogging is great for SEO and that might help drive people to your website.

In other words, if you’re looking to make money and it includes blogging, think outside the box and figure out a symbiotic relationship between the two. Don’t be held back by convention, and don’t be scared to take chances. By the way, I’m going to be working on that myself with my main business blog. I figure after more than 7 years it’s probably time to push things a bit. What am I going to do? Not sure yet.

This blog’s focus probably won’t change much. After all, I still have too much I want to share. 😉
 

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