Category Archives: Blogging

When Blogging Advice Is A Waste Of Your Time

Y’all know that I look at a lot of blogs. I’m always checking out new ones and I have bunch that I like visiting over and over. Something I’ve railed about is seeing a topic that looks pretty good, only to start reading the post and find that it’s a bunch of garbage for one reason or another. I’m going to talk about one of those reasons while pointing out why it’s garbage.

via Flickr

I’m not going to link to the post because, frankly, I don’t think the post deserves it. It’s a guest post on a blog that I like, and I’m glad that the owner didn’t write it, though I’m sad that she posted it. I’m not even giving the exact title, but it gave 7 ways people could fix their blogs so that they’d work better for them.

Why is it useless? It’s useless for two reasons. One, you’ve seen it before, over and over, on other blogs. It has to be close to 100 times that I’ve seen the same advice. Two, because there’s nothing here that will improve your opportunities for more traffic. I’m not even worried that I’m listing the 7 tips because I know you’ve seen them before. You want some useless information? Here we go:

1. Integrate Your Blog into Your Website. This is great advice if the topic was how to raise the ranking of your website but it does nothing for one’s blog unless the website’s getting a lot more traffic. Also, if you move your blog people will need to be redirected to your new location, which means your blog will suffer for awhile, but it won’t ever really improve just because it’s attached to your website.

2. Write Relevant Blog Post Titles. I see this one all the time, and it’s partially garbage. You do want people to know what you’re writing about, but relevancy doesn’t always get the job done. I’ve seen people advocate writing snazzy or tricky titles to lure people in that have nothing to do with relevancy. I don’t support that type of thing, preferring relevant titles when I can. But it does nothing new in bringing you more traffic unless it ties in to things you’ve already been writing about (unless it’s about cleavage; that will always bring more traffic. If some of you don’t know what I’m talking about it’s in a previous post).

3. Integrate Keywords Into Your Blog Posts. Duh! Let me ask all of you a question. If you’re writing a blog post and you have a particular topic you’re writing about, is that a keyword? And if you’re writing about a particular topic, are you probably destined to mention that word, or phrase, more than once in your post? Isn’t this particular point a major waste of your time to read?

4. Improve the Quality of Your Backlinks. Yeah, this will work; if you have an inordinate amount of time to work on backlinks. You do a lot of this type of thing for websites, not blogs. If you want to improve your blog with links, link to previous blog posts where you can, and if your blog is with your business website make sure to link the to each other every once in awhile.

5. Plan for Social Media Sharing. This one’s not total garbage, but we’ve seen it before; heck, I’ve written about it. Most people are already sending out automatic blog links whenever they have a post go live, and if you’re not, you should be. For some sites, you’ll actually have to post the links, but that’s not such a bad thing either if you have enough people following you in those places.

6. Tell Better Stories at Your Blog. Once again a garbage point because without an indication of what a better story is the write has no real idea what it means. What it’s supposed to mean is to be real, put your own natural rhythm into what and how you write, and if it’s compelling people will like it. But will you immediately get more traffic from it?

7. Find Readers for Your Blog. This is garbage mainly because of how it’s stated. Basically, blogging works best if you’re part of a community. You don’t just up and join a community per se. You work the system, such as commenting on other blogs, writing guest posts or asking others to write one for you, sending your blog links to other social media sites, sending some posts to your friends, etc. You don’t write your blog and just expect people to show up; this isn’t Field of Dreams (one day I’m going to watch that movie).

Out of all the points above, the last 3 are probably the only ones that can help. However, I have to say that if you saw the original article (nope, I’m not sharing it), you’d have thought “hey, this doesn’t really say anything”, and it didn’t.

I do have a point here; actually, two points. One, this is an example of using what someone else has written and making it your own. The only thing I’ve borrowed from the other post are the tips, and I didn’t use anything else from the post. When people say to me that they can’t think of anything to write about, I’ll tell them to read something then write their opinion on the topic they just read. Two, originality always wins out. What this guy wrote in his post was a lot of what others have said before. The only originality in his post were a few links to something that others had said. Everything else I’d seen before, which was probably why I was irked. My hope is that everyone reading this could take the 7 tips above and write a completely different post, even if the tips were the same.

That’s it; rant over. Am I being hard or do you agree?

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Bad Comments/Spam The Same?

A couple of weeks ago I had to do something I hadn’t thought about doing in a long while. I had to turn on the Akismet spam plugin once again after a major increase in the number of spam messages I was starting to get. I had hoped that the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin would have taken care of all of that, but it seems people have found their way around it.

I’m eating a cupcake;
don’t ask lol

Even with both programs running, spam is at an all time high for me. It’s not unexpected as the ranking of this blog moves higher, and I don’t think it’s gotten to the level where it’s driving me as crazy as it does some of my friends, who often go to extreme measures trying to kill it, even turning off comments sometimes, which I don’t like as you know.

Part of the problem, of course, are what are considered “bad comments”. On my 1,200th post back in January I mentioned a conversation I had with Adrienne Smith and her contention that some comments aren’t worth keeping on your blog and that she just gets rid of them so that she can respond to everyone else and show a 100% response rate on her blog. What we both believe is that there are a number of people paid to post comments and have links going back to other sites, and most of these people are paid so little that it’s all in the numbers for them, not the quality of the comment.

This begs the question as to whether bad comments and spam are the same thing. It can be a volatile question to respond to because the kneejerk response is “yes”. And yet, I haven’t quite gotten to that point yet where I consider the two as symbiotic 100% of the time.

I’ve read some bad comments with a lot of grammatical errors and thought that it might be spam, but the comment was touching upon the subject matter so I follow the CommentLuv link back to its source and see the same type of writing on the blog. Suddenly that’s not a bad comment, just someone with lousy writing skills.

Is a bad comment a one-liner? Well, that’s up for grabs because I’ve been told by some people that on some of my posts I really don’t leave much for anyone to say if they agree with me on the topic. Frankly I buy that argument only half the time because I’ve always been able to comment on a blog with more than a one liner and make sure the author knows I read the post. But not everyone can do that so how does one judge that? I do judge those posts, and I eliminate a lot of them, just so you know, but not all of them.

What makes a bad comment is almost the same thing as what makes spam. Ergo, some highlights:

* Repeating the title of the post in the comment

* Repeating specific phrases from the content without adding anything new to it

* Writing something so generic that it applies to everything and nothing at the same time

* Writing a lot of nonsense and then popping my name in somehow; that’s pretty sneaky

* Trying to slip a link in that has nothing to do with the topic but everything to do with linking back to your site; isn’t CommentLuv enough for you?

* Writing one comment that looks passable, immediately followed by another comment that’s from the same IP address on the same post; what could you be thinking?

I think that’s enough to think about. Here’s the big question up for debate; do you think bad comments and spam are the same thing? The secondary question is what do you do about it?

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3 More Things To Know About In Your WordPress Admin Area

For some of you I hear the question now: “Why only 3 more things?” Because if you’ve followed this blog for awhile, or not, you’ll remember that I had my first post in September 2010 on 5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area, followed a month later with 5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area and finally 4 Things You Can Do With Your WordPress Blog You Might Not Know Already. Frankly, I think I’ve shared more about the admin area than almost anyone else except WordPress.

So today I have 3 more things I’ve discovered that you might not know about or haven’t paid any attention to. I have to make sure I’m not copying myself either; let’s see what happens.

1. Did you know that when you’re addressing comments if you hover over a person’s link under their name on the left side that WordPress will bring you an image of their website or blog? That’s pretty neat and it might help you decide if you want to keep the comment or not, deciding that a site might not be one you want to help promote via CommentLuv or through the link to the side if it’s just a website.

2. Did you know that, if you’re running CommentLuv, you can remove the “luv”, if you will, while keeping the comment? I don’t do this often but there are times when I look at the link and decide “no, this thing looks dangerous”, especially in combination with the first tip I just gave you. Of course if you’re like me most of the time you might have decided the comment isn’t worth keeping either in which case just delete it all, but this is another option if the comment seems legit.

3. Did you know that you can install plugins directly from your WordPress menu instead of downloading and then uploading them? All you do is go to Plugins over there and slide down to Add New. Once there, you can type in the entire name of the plugin you want, or if you’re unsure just type in a few words and do a search, and most probably lots of choices will come up with a ranking system from 1 to 5 stars. Much easier and saves time as well.

That’s it. What, you wanted more? Maybe next time! lol

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What Could You Do In 36 Hours?

There’s a show that comes on the Food Network that has captured my attention and, strangely enough, motivated me to a point where my production overall has increased in the two weeks since I discovered it.

The show is called Restaurant Impossible, and what happens is this guy named Robert Irvine, a master chef, goes into a restaurant with a $10,000 budget and 36 hours and transforms restaurants so that they look good, the food tastes better, and hopefully the restaurant will start to turn a profit. He has help in re-designing the restaurant but everything else is on him, including changing the perceptions of the people who work in the restaurant, including the owners, which sometimes means bringing family members together to get things done and move forward in a positive direction.

As I said, it all has to be done in 36 hours, which includes teaching the cooks how to prepare both new meals and improve on what they’re already creating, training the waitstaff on new menus and proper customer service, teaching owners how to assess their expenses and revenue, and many other things. It’s never easy but always amazing, and Irvine has such great energy that it makes you feel like you’ve been slacking your entire life.

Something I come across often is hearing people tell me they don’t have any time to blog, or to write, or to market, or to do… well, you name it. True, all of us have to give something up every once in awhile because we only have so many hours in the day and we need to eat and sleep. But what do we do with our time when we’re awake and ready to go?

I’ve been pretty productive over the last couple of weeks. I’ve written tons of articles, and I’ve been working on editing my second book and moving along nicely, though part of me thinks I should be moving faster. The thing is that I have produced more in the time I have, and that’s important to me. I’m not someone that believes necessarily in having a blogging schedule, but I do believe that having a schedule helps us all get things done, and that I’ve also been doing. It’s my bet that Irvine follows a set schedule for how he turns around these restaurants.

How productive can you be in the next 36 hours? How about the next 100 hours? What does the little clip below do for you?


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Participating In Social Media Takes Courage

A few days ago, I had a post that also had a video where I ranted about MLM schemes. I can’t remember if I mentioned in the video that what prompted the rant was something that happened on LinkedIn or not, but that was the genesis for everything.

by Scott Feldstein via Flickr

One of the strangest things that came out of all of that mess, which continued until late yesterday afternoon when I finally decided my participation in the “conversation” had to end, is that the overwhelming majority of people who agreed with me wrote me privately rather than put their disgust out in the public like I did. As Sheriff Bart said in Blazing Saddles, “I’m quickly becoming an underground success in this town”. I got as many supporting messages in private as the guy who started the post got on the post itself; it did and didn’t help me, as you can imagine.

I’ve stated on this blog before that one of the gutsiest things a person can do online is court controversy, whether you started it or got yourself in the middle of it. Social media can be dangerous as much as it can be fun. This weekend another friend of mine posted something on his Facebook page that I kind of took exception to, so I commented on it. He said he had a right to express his beliefs, and I agreed with that while also saying if you have the guts to put out a belief like that in public you have to have the guts to take criticism for it from people who don’t agree with your position. I never heard back on that one.

How many reminders do people need before they realize that free speech really isn’t free? If people want to rant about things without giving others the opportunity to comment, set up a blog, don’t accept comments, and get on with your bad selves. 🙂

Unless you’re a big name once people realize they can’t leave comments they probably won’t come back, but you probably don’t care at that point. As Seth Godin seems to feel, sometimes getting your point out is more important to you than getting feedback. I find that sort of thing incredibly useless and selfish (I refuse to visit his blog or read links people share on Twitter), but to each his own.

Here’s my overall point. If you’re always afraid you’re going to create controversy, you’ll never be a good blogger. Controversy can pop up in the strangest places on the strangest topics. There is no safe topic, from babies to puppies to chocolate cake to the Muppets to weather. There’s always the possibility someone might not like what you said or how you said it. I once wrote a positive post where I mentioned my dad’s history and suddenly I was being attacked for talking about my dad being in the military. Didn’t see it coming, but I didn’t back down either, though eventually I had to block the guy because he became a major league troll; strange indeed.

Blogging isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re skittish your blog will be unreadable. Being flexible enough to see someone else’s point of view, even to the point where you sometimes might change your mind, doesn’t mean you don’t get to express yourself in your own way. Deciding not to change your mind and sticking up for your point of view, while trying to do it in a nice way, doesn’t mean you’re not flexible. Sometimes you have to adopt the position that my wife learned from Jack Canfieldone night: “What other people think of you is their problem.”

So, who’s ready to start blogging?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell