Category Archives: Blogging

Repurposing Your Own Blog Content; Good Thing Or Bad?

I’ve been thinking about repurposing some of my previous content. Repurposing is an interesting concept; using articles you’ve written before on your intended subject, maybe editing it a bit, and putting it out as brand new blog content. It can work well for those people that have written a lot of stuff, as I have, when they don’t have lots of time to write new things, or have a new audience to see some of what they’re written in the past.

by Cheryl via Twitter

Something I’ve wondered about lately is what the rules are, if there are rules, for repurposing your own content. What if you wrote something years ago that’s still pertinent and would benefit from being talked about again, especially since after a few years most of us will have content that the search engines have forgotten about?
Continue reading Repurposing Your Own Blog Content; Good Thing Or Bad?

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Take Control Of Your Blog Web Space

I have never made it a secret that I’m not a big fan of the free blog sites like Blogger and WordPress.com. My main gripe has been how comments are handled; less freedom for those of us who want to comment on those platforms, which I really hate. WordPress.com fools you into thinking you have freedom, but if you ever want to see a response to your comment you either have to subscribe to the blog (each one individually, not to wordpress.com one time) or keep visiting the post to see if someone responded to you or not.


via Flickr

There’s also another reason I’ve never been a fan of sites like that. At a moment’s notice they can decide to censor you, freeze or delete your blog, and there you are, lost, without any real access to your content. I put it that way because you can always get your content by going to a search engine and looking up each individual post (I had to do that back in 2006 for one of my blogs, which I lost for a different reason, so I know it can be done).

Often you won’t know what it is you did that made them take away your blog or censor it. In this particular instance, Google is now telling people up front that for certain countries they will censor your blog if those countries have laws that restrict what people are allowed to say. This follows two previous changes, those being one, to start censoring search results in countries that have censorship laws, and two, the new Google Search+ Your World thing.

Now, there’s nothing you can do about the one in the middle, and the last one is interesting as to whether most people will fight it or not, but that first one is intriguing. Think of it this way; if you’re in a country that restricts freedom of speech and you have a blog in that country, do you really think you’re going to keep your blog if the powers that be decide you’re to be censored? If you’re outside that country and writing bad things about that country continually, do you really believe Google (oh yeah, Google owns Blogpost, or Blogger, whichever you prefer) won’t eventually just shut down that blog for being a nuisance?

That’s always been a problem with free blogs, although it’s not just restricted to them. Many of these blog promotion services that I also don’t trust all that much get people to help them out by saying that sharing their content through those sites helps you more than it helps them, but in a moment’s notice they can drop you like a bad habit and not ever tell you why. That recently happened to David Leonhardt, a commenter on this blog, and one of the reasons I never signed up with Digg was because I remembered the story of them dropping a very popular blogger, who had promoted them a lot, for whatever reason without giving him at least a warning that maybe something else he was doing violated their terms of service.

This is why I try to promote the concept that people pay the little bit of money and get their own blog space. Think about it; for possibly less than $50 a year (for hosting) you can add as many blogs and websites as you probably want (unless you’re a power creator; then it’ll cost you a little bit more) with little restriction, because of course there’s going to be some restriction. With shared hosting there might be issues of bandwidth (but if that happens it means you have so many visitors that if you haven’t figured out monetization at that point you need to go to internet school) and certain types of scripts (no hosting company wants someone popping malware and scripts within their servers, like it seems these people are doing. But censor what you have to say… none of them do, because online, if you pay for it, you can say it, no matter if it’s stupid or brilliant.

Just something to think about on a Monday morning in February.
 

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Post #1,200; Wild And Wooly Times

Goodness, we just keep plowing along in this little space, don’t we? The title says it all; this is post #1,200 on this blog, and like Post #1,100, it’s taken me 5 months. It would have been exactly 5 months if I’d gone ahead and written the two posts I thought about writing but I wanted yesterday to be about the King Holiday, which I wrote about on my business blog.

1200

So, how well did I stick with the mission of this blog, if I can call it that? I stated that I’d probably mainly talk about blogging and social media. I ended up with 24 posts on blogging and 15 on social media; that’s pretty true to form. I wrote a 6-part series on affiliate programs I’m active with, which was something different. And what was pretty amazing, at least to me, is that I actually touched on 25 different categories, the most ever in one month.

I got personal these last 5 months as well, as I had to deal with my grandmother passing away and some other personal stuff as well. I talked about the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers tragedy from September 11th, 2001. I talked about my first (and maybe last) colonoscopy. And I talked about my feelings as an older black man lost in a mission that sometimes feels like I’m the only one out there, as old radical if you will.

It’s that last one that I’m going to expand a bit more on over the next bunch of months, which I’m actually hoping to extend for the rest of the year. But I want to tell you why I’m going to do it.

Last year I ended up highlighting 58 black people in social media. That came about because I kept seeing lists of bloggers and social media “celebrities” and not seeing any black people on the list. The campaign did what it was supposed to do in a way, but in a way it failed as well.

Why do I say it failed? Last week there was a post by our buddy Marcus Sheridan where he talked about making someone’s top blogger list and how there wasn’t any real significance to it. Of course I’ve written here why there really is some significance to it, so I commented on his post.

The creator of the list wrote me there and it turns out she’d also written the list the previous year which got me going. We had a brief conversation in the comments where she owned up to the fact that she doesn’t know any black bloggers; heck, what was I? lol Anyway, she said that maybe it was something she should look at since her list only ended up having one person of color as well.

Then someone else piped in, saying I was looking for a quota (folks, if there’s not even one, talking quota makes you look stupid) and how it had nothing to do with race because there were a lot of people of color blogging. She then proceeded to name 2, and followed that up with “I’m sure there’s others”. Wow, if you can only name 2 you haven’t done your homework; did I happen to mention that I came up with 58 here last year?

So, my plan is to have what I’m going to call “Black Web Friday”, so that I don’t pigeon hole myself. The idea is that I’m going to highlight anywhere from one to 3 websites either written by, about, or for black audiences. This allows me to be as broad as I want to be because with the series last year, the major criteria was that each person I highlighted had to have a blog. My concentration will be bloggers, individuals, but it’s not all I’m going to share. You know that thing about niche and not limiting oneself? That’s the plan.

And it’s going to be a test as well because truthfully I’m not expecting those posts to get many visitors; heck, I don’t expect this one to get all that many either. But that’s not always the point is it? I was talking to our buddy Mitch Allen about it and he said if I felt strongly enough about it that I should do something, no matter what anyone thought, including the people I may write about.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. Now, I might mention some of the people I mentioned before, though that’s not the major plan, because last year I just listed people; this time around I plan on writing more than just a one line introduction. I want to bring these sites and folks to you in the hope that maybe some of the topics or conversations might interest you enough to go take a look. That’s the goal; let’s see how it goes.

One final thing. The post before #1,100 talked about not responding to all comments anymore because some comments just weren’t all that good. Then two weeks ago I was having a conversation with our buddy Adrienne Smith on her blog about the subject and she said that she responds to all comments because those comments from new people that she thinks are bad, suspect, or don’t bring anything to the conversation she just deletes. I had already been deleting any comments that didn’t follow the comment policy but she makes an interesting point. If a comment isn’t worth responding to, is it worth keeping, especially from someone you don’t know who may never come back? I’m going to be thinking about that one over the next couple of weeks but as a test to see how many people actually read this entire thing what’s your thought on this last point?

Enough; I love these milestone posts because they make me look back through my blog, and then share some other posts that I hope are somewhat intriguing to you, the readers. Let’s see what the next 4 or 5 months brings.
 

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Sidebar Toolbars; The Next Scourge Of Blogs And Websites

For those of you who are relatively new to this blog, let me tell you something I hate: toolbars. That is, I hate them on websites and on blogs; I don’t mind if you want to have a toolbar on your browser because that’s not getting in my way, although I keep fighting the Google sidebar (a toolbar in its own fashion).

Of course I just led into my newest gripe; sidebar toolbars. In a rant I wrote last June on things that irritated me about blogs, I commented on these toolbars getting in the way of trying to read a post for a couple of reasons.

One, I like reading things a little larger than the norm. When I increase the size of the font, these toolbars increase as well, and suddenly they’re blocking all the content, making me bring everything down to size again. That’s irritating.

Two, you have your sidebar following me down the side as I try to get into some of your content. Now it’s not only big, but I can’t outrun it; that’s irritating as well.

You know, I get it. You read somewhere that you need to make sure people know how to share your stuff on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc. You’ve tried other things and you’re not sure if people are actually seeing these things because you have no idea if your traffic is going up or not. So you’ve figured “hey, if this thing is always in their line of sight, there’s no way they can miss it.

You got that right; what you don’t have right is that now people can’t read your content, and if they’re like me they’ll just leave and, well, so much for anyone sharing anything. And if I don’t like you I’m never coming back; so much for traffic as well. See the image above? That’s what I’m seeing with my text enlarged. Not only did it cover text, but as you can see the bottom part is cut off anyway, so if I’d wanted to share it via the final 3 options it gives me I’d have to reduce my text just to see it.

The funny thing is that what finally prompted this post is that someone I like recently wrote a post talking about how her traffic has dropped, and I can’t read it unless I make everything smaller because there’s this large sidebar toolbar blocking everything on the left side, and no matter where I go it’s there. I’m thinking that can’t help. And no, I’m not naming names; I’ll say something if she sees this post.

Of course, though I’ve been busting on sidebar toolbars, I can’t resist busting on those other little toolbars that follow you as you’re scrolling down a post as well. They’re sometimes on the bottom and sometimes on the top, and the purpose is the same as those moving sidebar toolbars; irritating as sin because it distracts you from reading. At least it distracts me.

I’m seeing these things starting to pop up on news sites as well, and it’s driving me nuts. I know I talked about our reluctance to market ourselves but this isn’t the way to overcome that if you ask me.

Folks, how many times does one have to state the fact that if you have things on your blog that irritates people and it’s not the content that you’re going to drive people away? Toolbars, popups, music playing when you get there, too much flash, people walking out from the side and talking to you (that always freaks me out)… stop it! lol

I know I can’t be alone on this one; speak y’all!
 

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Five Things To Stop Doing – My Take

A recommendation I’ve made on this blog when it comes to finding things to write about from time to time is to write about an article you read somewhere else and give your take on it. In this case it works well for me because the blog in question has a comment system I don’t feel like dealing with and yet I have something to say.


Gonna be on fire in 2012!

The article is written by Dorie Clark on the Harvard Business Review site and it’s titled Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012. I loved the article for the most part, and because I think you should check it out I’m not going to repost everything she wrote. But I am going to post the specific topics and address them in my own words. Remember, these are things to stop doing:

  1. Responding Like a Trained Monkey. I’d have to say that this is the hardest thing for me. I trained myself years ago to stop answering the phone if I didn’t know who was calling, even for business calls, and that’s eased my mind a lot. However, I still find that I have certain online habits that I wish I could break, and other habits I need to create to make a healthier me, such as eating better, resting more, and coming to grips with the reality that I don’t have to try to produce something new every few minutes, or respond to chess moves or any of the few other games I play online, just because someone has made a move. Ridiculous thing to be addicted to; I need to go back to counting things. lol
  2. Mindless Traditions. I’ve been cutting back on Christmas and holiday cards over the years because I can connect with so many of my friends online these days. In the past it was a necessary evil because I might only talk to these folks once a year, that being during the Christmas holiday. As it pertains to traditions in general I’ve given some up that impede what I want to do with my life, while sticking to others because, well, I just have to do it. lol But I don’t find myself stressing over any of them, and that’s the major point here. My mother used to get sick at every holiday when I was a kid; her life is so much healthier now that she’s given that kind of thing up.
  3. Reading Annoying Things. In September 2010 I wrote a post talking about de-stressing my life by not commenting on some blogs and also not reading some things that I knew would irritate me and rile me up. Sometimes you just can’t help reading certain things because they draw you in like quicksand, but for the most part, I’ve been able to stop myself from reading things I knew would either depress or anger me. I don’t like to get into arguments just for the sake of it, but I also know I won’t back down and will offer my opinion when I feel strong enough about the topic. But I also know I don’t know how to let go, so it’s best most of the time to not even go there.
  4. Work That’s Not Worth It. Ten years ago I went into business for myself and celebrated my 10th anniversary in June. I’m not gonig to lie and say that everything has been easy. I will say that working for myself has been pretty satisfying in that I don’t have that daily pressure to perform so someone else can reap all the benefits. I don’t have anyone hanging the risk of being unemployed over my head. I don’t have to deal with making sure I get along with all the other people working at my company. I get to work with whoever I want to, turn down things as I see fit, and all the other benefits that are associated with being independent. Of course I also have to scramble for clients here and there but overall, it’s worth it to me because I get to do what I like.
  5. Making Things More Complicated Than They Should Be. Talk about timing being everything. I had just written an article on my business blog yesterday titled Simple Solutions where I talked about how we tend to look at problems as these major things and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fix things when sometimes simple solutions are sitting right in front of us. This is one of those things I talk about all the time as it pertains to blogging. Sure, if you have a niche blog maybe things are slightly complicated, but look at how I just got an entire blog post from an idea someone else started. How hard was this?

Wow, that was interesting for me; what do you think? How would you respond to each of these? Hey, why not make this kind of a meme; give your answers on your own blog and invite people to check it out. Or just respond here; I’d love to know how you feel about it.
 

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