Category Archives: Blogging

Why I Tried To Delete My Technorati Account

There are a lot of articles out there where someone’s always telling you that the way to increase your blog presence is through one of these social bookmarking sites. Technorati is always one of those sites listed, and it was one of the few I ever joined. The other two went away on me, and I haven’t looked back on either of them; not that I had much choice anyway.

For me, Technorati is no more now, and I’m going to tell you why.


via Geek Revealed

First, I have never really trusted their ranking system to begin with. Back in the day when you saw certain numbers, they were easier to track because they were closely associated with traffic numbers. You knew better where you stood with those numbers.

Then they changed things up, and suddenly you had no idea what any of those numbers meant. I had only listed 3 blogs there, and only one of them was ranked higher than 120, that being this blog, which was ranked 418. I had no idea what that meant, nor how to affect it so that the ranking could go up.

Second, supposedly they ranked you only off your last six months. This means that having a blog for years meant nothing to them. If you decided to slow down for a short period of time, they didn’t take the blog as a whole; that’s tough to deal with, but so be it.

What finally got me to decide to just kill the entire account happened in the last couple of days. Actually, I tried to delete my account and I can’t figure out how to do it. Instead, I deleted all my blogs. Why?

I use this plugin on Firefox that allows all my bookmarks toolbar items to show. Technorati was one of them, and on a fluke a few days ago I clicked on it and it took me to the site. I saw how my blogs were ranked, lousy of course, and decide to look at the account setup.

What I noticed is that for all of the blogs they were using the RSS feed that came with them and not the RSS feeds I created through Feedburner, which is what I use to have people subscribe to. I decided to change the feed on all the blogs to see if maybe that would affect how they’re ranking.

I did the first one and it said it had to send me an email with a code in it. Turns out what you have to do with the code is create a post, pop this code in, then make it live, which is irritating because it even if you tell your blog not to send it to Twitter, some people have automated software that retweets your post, and I noticed that blog posts popped up on Twitter; ugh.

Once Technorati finds the post with the code in it, the process of which you start by telling it to check your blog for the code, it tells you if it’s found the code or not, and if it has then it tells you that it’s evaluating your blog, whatever that means. There’s also nothing saying how long you’re supposed to leave the code there, or if you’re supposed to leave the code there. I left the code on all 3 blogs for about 3 or 4 hours, then removed those posts.

Late yesterday afternoon I decided to see if Technorati had approved my blogs. What I got on all 3 was this message:

May 18, 2012. This site does not appear to be a blog or news site. Technorati does not support claiming of forums, product catalogs, and the like. You can review our site quality guidelines at http://technorati.com/blog-quality-guidelines-faq/

What the heck was that? This blog doesn’t appear to be a blog? The other two blogs don’t appear to be blogs? Y’all tell me; when you look at this site, is it a blog?

Obviously its automated process is incorrect. I decided to try to contact support. Guess what; they don’t really have a support to contact. There’s nothing that addresses your issue; instead, they have this thing you can sign up for that you have to pay for so you can contact them; what the hey?

At that point I decided I was done with them, so I went in and deleted all my blogs, which were still listed and still ranked. If they thought all my sites were news sources, then why were my blogs still sitting there being ranked as blogs? While I was there I deleted any other information I had on my profile; I wanted to be gone for good.

That brought me to my next problem; no idea how to delete my account. There’s nothing on the Technorati site that I could find to delete it. I went to Google, and even there I couldn’t find a way to delete it. Supposedly you could send them an email, but when you go to the support page there’s no option for that; actually, no option for anything where they might actually contact you back.

Enough said. The only thing I have there now is my username, password, and email address, which it wouldn’t let me delete, and that’s all. I’m done; not going back. I’ve removed the bookmark from my toolbar, and that’s that. I sent them a tweet telling them I was done with them, and I don’t expect a response, but at least it’s out there, as this post will be as well. Horrible system, and now I’m put off all social bookmarking sites. Figures, I kind of signed up for a different type of one a few days ago that’s already irritating me as well, but I’ll give it a few more tries before I decide what to do about it.

I guess it’s back to just trying to write compelling content and doing it on my own, with some help from those of you who decide any of it is good enough to share; sigh…
 

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Is Grammar Powerful Enough To Ruin Your Blog Rankings?

I can’t believe how many blog posts I’ve read in the last week on reasons that many of us bloggers, and a heck of a lot of websites, lost ranking over the last month due to Google’s Penguin update, and then the Panda 3.5 update as well. Most people didn’t know there were two updates; well, there were, and they were within days of each other.


I’m sure this guy’s
suffering greatly

There’s one thing that’s come up time and time again, and I feel that someone has to actually write about it to dispel it as a reason, so it might as well be me. That one thing is that grammar can be used as a reason why many people took a hit.

Come on folks, really? Actually, let’s break this down because when most people are thinking “grammar”, they’re not really thinking grammar at all. Per my Webster’s New World College Dictionary, grammar means:

that part of the study of language which deals with the forms and structure of words, with their customary arrangement in phrases and sentences

Is that what most of you using the word have been thinking? Nope. You’ve been thinking about misspellings, capitalization, and typos for the most part. That’s a part of grammar but it’s not grammar. But we’ll let that one go for now.

Grammar is terrible these days. Forget that people can’t figure out which “your” or “their” they should be using. There are phrases like “these ones”, which grates my nerves, and things like “I ‘heart’ you”, which I just learned what it means (yeah, I’m slow sometimes) that people use, to the point that some kids actually write these things in papers in school, and teachers are allowing it; I’m shocked! Okay, no I’m not, but I am greatly disappointed.

Still, let’s be reasonable here. If Google was going to penalize people for grammar, just whose grammar would they be penalizing people with? Folks in the south use a different grammar than folks up north, and I’m betting out west people say some things differently than we do. What about people in other countries that know English as a second language? Wouldn’t an overwhelming majority of their sites be penalized drastically?

Let’s go back to misspellings, capitalization, and typos. There’s so much of all of these, even on prominent news sites like CNN and MSNBC, definitely on my local newspaper, that one would expect these site would take a much bigger hit than those of us writing our little personal blogs because it’s much more pervasive there, yet they’re not suffering at all.

Does this mean one shouldn’t try to work on those things so they minimize errors? Absolutely not. Does it mean that one’s traffic might not drop if there’s so many errors people can’t understand the content? Nope; it most certainly will drop. But it’s not because of any updates by Google, or any other search engine.

So allay your fears; you will not be tested any time soon on your grammar, spelling, or anything else. That is, unless you’re still in school, in which case study! 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Back Up Your Blog; Another Lesson

Sometimes I think my reason for being on this earth is to mess things up so I can warn you not to do it. In this case it’s specific to blogs, at least WordPress self hosted blogs, although I think it’s a general lesson for everyone.

Yesterday I was checking in on this blog I write for an accounting firm. I went into the Admin panel and went to posts, where I discovered that two posts didn’t publish when they were supposed to. That was bothersome because, as I do with my own blogs, I tend to write posts ahead of time and if I wasn’t going to be able to do that there it was going to really complicate things.

The first thing I did was publish both posts. I actually had to “fake” change the date by changing the time a few minutes, then the Publish button came up and I was able to publish them for the dates they were supposed to show up.

Then I went online to do some research into the issue; y’all know how I like to research. I came across something that recommended adding something to the WP-Config.php file, as it stated that some themes were missing this particular code. I added the code, then went back to write a new post.

Only when I clicked on the link to the blog, it had reset itself back to the beginning. I was horrified; I hoped that maybe when I typed in the username and password and went back to the theme I had selected for the blog that everything would be as it was; nope. Oh the horror (some of you know that line)!

Now I was stuck. The lucky thing is that this is still a relatively new blog; the unlucky thing is that I’d never gotten around to backing it up. What to do, what to do, what to do?

I went to Google to pull up the cache of older blog posts. Only Google doesn’t seem to have that link anymore that gives you the cache of old posts or pages; what the hey? I looked everywhere, even did some research on that, but nothing worked. I then tried Bing, and they didn’t have anything either.

Yahoo did the trick. I put the blog’d address link into the search and it pulled up the one entry, but it also had “cache”. Through that link I was able to recover all the older posts, but not the two posts I’d done earlier in the day. Hey, I took what I could get, and that was a lot. I was able to post all those articles back for the same date that they originally were posted, then three posts, one to replace a post that was supposed to be for next month, then two more that are supposed to go this month.

I’ve scheduled one to go live today, but it’ll be after this post so I don’t know yet if it’s working or not. Either way, it’s reminded me of the importance of backing things up before making radical changes, even though I hadn’t thought that was a radical change. I’m just glad that I can write fairly fast; I’d have hated to spend a long time having to rewrite those articles.

Yes, please learn from my mistakes; don’t do them. 😉
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

My Irritation With WordPress.com And What I Recently Learned

Yeah, I know, there’s a bunch of you using WordPress.com as your platform for free blogging. Whereas I always preferred it over Blogger if someone had to have a free blog, now I’m not so sure anymore.


via Flickr

The comment system used to look exactly like the one we employ, for the most part, on WordPress software oriented blogs. The issue was that we had to subscribe to comments by responding to that immediate email we received after each and every post if we wanted to know that someone had gotten back to us. Since I’m not a subscribing kind of guy, especially not every single time, I wasn’t doing it.

Then within the last few months, WordPress.com changed up some things. One, they changed the look, which wasn’t so bad since it kept everything we were used to. But two, they also changed the ability to just leave a comment and go on with your life.

I just had it happen to me again; tried to leave a comment on a WordPress.com blog only to run into this:

Please log in to post your comment.

mitch@ttmitchellconsulting.com belongs to an account you are not currently logged into.

WordPress.com or Gravatar.com credentials work.

For the first time last week, I noticed the Gravatar connection and wondered about it. So I did some checking and realized that WordPress.com had purchased Gravatar back in 2008; nope, never knew that before. They had never connected the two services, and other than a press release there was no notification on the Gravatar site, so it wasn’t something commonly known to a lot of people, since I’d never seen anyone else write about it.

So I decided to try a different email address; nope, not happening. It seems that if I have a Gravatar account hooked up I’m not going to be able to leave any messages on any WordPress.com sites without signing in. Frankly, I know it’s a minor thing to a lot of people, but I’ve kind of stuck by this mantra since the beginning of blog commenting way back when and I’m not suddenly changing over now.

Just to verify this by the way, I finally left a comment with an email address that doesn’t have a Gravatar, and it accepted the comment just fine. I did get the standard email saying I had to subscribe to receive comments, but that’s okay because at least I got my comment through.

This is irritating, and I don’t know if WordPress.com users can change that setting, even if they know it’s happening. Overall, it looks like it’s another blog platform that I probably won’t be commenting on all that often, and that’s unfortunate. Why are these things so keen on restricting the ability to comment? Yeah, I know, worried about spam; bah!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Blog Maintenance – Broken Links

The last couple of days have been interesting with this blog. Some of you might notice I’ve created a new header. Yeah, not fancy, but I like it. It’s an expansion of the one I created for my Facebook page. Nothing fancy, but I think it’s me, and I hope you like it at least a little bit.


by Gord Webster
via Flickr

The other thing I’ve been doing is fixing broken links. Well, that’s not quite accurate. What I’ve been doing most of the time is killing links and every once in awhile fixing a link. I have the plugin Broken Link Checker, but I had turned it off some time ago because it can slow your blog down if you’re doing things in it and that was irritating me. I also really hadn’t paid all that much attention to broken links, figuring it was all stuff in the past; seems that’s not quite true.

As I was griping last week about the loss of traffic I started looking around for answers. Two were actually provided by a comment on that post by Lisa, who mentioned two things. One was the sitemaps thing, another plugin that I’d deleted from this blog, and the idea of broken links. Although I didn’t see a lot out on the search engines talking about sitemaps and traffic, I did find a lot of people have written about broken links and traffic, especially search engine traffic.

I decided that I did want to clean up the blog, so I turned on the plugin and let it do its thing. I was hoping it wouldn’t do what going online and doing a search did for someone else, which was to alert him to over 18,000 broken links on his blog; ouch! I got lucky; I came up with just over 750, and I didn’t think it was that bad.

What was surprising is just how many of those links actually came from people who had left comments on the blog, and now those blogs or websites don’t exist anymore. Initially I was looking at a bunch of them, and that was time consuming and frustrating so I decided I wasn’t going to waste that much time.

However, there were still some I did decide to look at, and those are the ones I’m going to talk about more because I still talk to some of you. What I found is that you either changed your permalink structure or the location of where you put your blog or blog posts, or you’ve changed websites or blog locations and either didn’t remember or decided against bringing some of your old content with you. In one case one of you has started a new blog space and left more than 3 years of content elsewhere that can’t be accessed anymore; that’s a shame because it was great stuff.

Any time you change how your information has been put out there, if anyone has linked to you it suddenly becomes a bad link. If you’re keeping your content, at the very least you need to make sure there’s a way for people to find the new link if they care to try. For my purposes if a few people were using the Archives widget I could have easily found what I was looking for. However, so many people decide to use either that one or Categories and not both, as I do, and thus I had no chance to find the posts I wanted and just gave up.

In any case, it points out the importance of doing maintenance every once in awhile and in making sure people can find your content in whatever way they deem easiest. And look, my traffic has gone up; whoopee!!!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell