Category Archives: Blogging

Getting People To “Like”, “Retweet”, or +1 Your Blog; The Truth

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts being written that purport to tell us how to get people to “like” our page to Facebook, encourage them to retweet our content to Twitter, or the new thing, to +1 our sites or blog posts for Google. All well and all except for one thing; once again it’s garbage.


via Flickr

Okay, that’s not quite fair, so let me say it another way. It’s repetitive, boring, and kind of untrue. If you look at it like I do, what you’re getting from people is the same thing you got from them when they said they were going to tell you how to get more comments on your blog posts, or how they were going to teach you how to drive more visitors to your blog.

What are the ideas? In a nutshell: write great content, write posts that ask questions people can respond to, make sure your style is conversational, write about things you know something about, check your spelling and grammar, on and on and on.

In a way it’s probably not fair to bust on people writing this stuff but someone has to call it for what it is; a major waste of time. I ask you, if you’re checking these posts out like I’ve been doing, are you seeing anything new? Truthfully, is there anything new to offer?

Actually, there is, although most of us hesitate to do it. That one thing, which I’ve done every once in awhile, is to just come out and ask someone to “like” or “retweet” or “+1” your blog post. Why would you do this, and how should you do it?

You do it because most of us are blind to these things. Just like most of us become blind to Adsense after awhile, and more and more of us start becoming blind to ads on someone’s blogs, we tend to become blind to the buttons that allow us to highlight posts we might like. Some of the buttons people have near their posts are small and easy to overlook after awhile. For my blog, just recently have I started getting more of my posts retweeted by through that bit Topsy button you see at the top right of my posts; that’s not a bad feeling.

That’s why you would do it. But it doesn’t do you much good if you start adding it to the end of every post either. At a certain point your regular visitors will become blind to that as well, and then it becomes a worthless phrase for you. This means that if you’re going to do it, at least from my perspective, you should do it on posts you absolutely know are premium posts. How will you know? If you don’t know when you’ve written a premium post then no one else will either.

Of course, to some of us it seems kind of self serving to ask people to do these things for us, which probably explains why I’ve rarely done it. If I was going to do it I can easily point to the few posts that I believe deserve being better known. And it’s that reason, that I know it’s “few” as opposed to “all”, that I believe it’s feasible to ask for it for certain posts that you really feel are special.

Let me ask you; have you seen many people advocating what I’ve just mentioned? Is it something unique to some of you? That’s all I’m saying; some of these folks need to try to give us something new every once in awhile, step up their game. What say you?

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Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back?

A few days ago I introduced a guy to you named Brendon Burchard, who wrote a book I recommended called the Millionaire Messenger.

Over the course of signing up for some of his free videos, I have had a chance to check out some of the comments after the videos. Most have thanked him for the information he’s given and have written that they felt inspired to look at things in a different way. But what has surprised me is how many people are put off because he talks about how much money he’s made in such a short period of time, saying it’s distasteful.

I often wonder if some of us are kept from success because of our beliefs about money. In another book I’ve talked about here, T. Harv Eker’s Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, he talks about how he would make a million, then lose a million, and how this pattern was perpetuated a few times before he realized that, because of how he was brought up, he was equating wealth with being evil, and since no one wants to be seen as evil he’d then lose it all each time. Once he came to grips with the inaccuracy of the belief he started holding onto his money and life improved dramatically.

Let’s get this one out of the way; there is no such phrase in anyone’s Bible that says “Money is the root of all evil.” No matter which Bible you believe (if you do), every time the statement is used in 1st Timothy, it begins “The love of money…”, and then goes on to explain what it means. Basically, it’s not the idea of having money or being wealthy it believes is evil, it’s how one gets that wealth that might be evil.

I don’t think anyone can gripe with that one. We’re allowed to applaud titans of industry who saw a lack of something, created what was missing, and made millions of dollars. Anyone who faults these people for filling a void, no matter what it is, and making lots of money from it is a hypocrite because all of us probably wish we could do the same thing. How many of us see something and say “man, I had that as a thought years ago; I wish I’d followed through on it”? I certainly do, and often; ugh.

The fact is that most of us don’t have a love affair with money; we can’t because we never seem to have enough of it If we did most people wouldn’t fall for the scams I talked about. We’d already have the money we needed and wouldn’t give these things a second look.

Think about it another way; why are there so many “make money now” blogs? Or so many posts, including many of my earlier ones, about making money in some fashion? Because we don’t have enough, and we want more.

Some of you have seen my buddy Sire and I debate the merits of those people who promote themselves and talk about themselves because they’ve made money, and they want you to know it. He sees it as bragging; I see it as telling it like it is. If I’ve succeeded I want to tell you I’ve succeeded and I want to tell you how I did it. Who wants to follow someone that hasn’t succeeded if the intention is to make money? And if we have the big name bloggers that we know have done it and achieved financial success, what’s so wrong with them letting us know about that success?

I say all of this as I celebrate my first $600 month blogging income. It may be a fluke but it was the next step up after mentioning my first $500 month some time ago. No, it’s not enough to live off just yet, but at least it’s moving forward. Of course I’m looking for other ways to make money because I have things I want to do, things I need to do. All of it takes money.

And if I have to find and listen to the guys who can tell me how much money they’ve made, I’ll do that.
 

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A Decluttering Update & Problems With Some Comments

Back in January I wrote a post titled Decluttering My Online Life (Kim, now you don’t have to search for the link lol). In it I made some declarations as to what I wasn’t going to do to anymore as it pertained to helping to speed up my life online.


via Flickr

I’m one of those people who visits a lot of blogs. If I were a spammer, someone who writes horrible comments, that probably means nothing to anyone. But in general I tend to write comments that show I actually read the article, and sometimes mention some of the other comments as well. They’re not all super long, thank goodness, but there’s no impression left that I didn’t really read the post and that I didn’t attempt to offer some value. That is, unless it’s a funny post that I only have a one liner for; that’s rare, though, and most of the people know me already so they’re cool with it.

I’ve noticed that there seems to be even more people moderating comments than I would have ever imagined. Many of these people seem to be accomplished bloggers who you think would know better; obviously not. Some of them are people that were listed in my post last Friday on 21 of the Top Black Social Media Influencers.

That’s disappointing because I want to be supportive to this group and I want to help promote this group, but some of them have set their blogs up to be, I have to say, irritating. That just won’t do for long term comfort, at least for me. So, I didn’t subscribe to some of those blogs and probably won’t be going back either; it seems duplicitous but my reasons for highlighting someone and for then not going back are different; my conscience is clear.

One thing that helps decluttering is to have a plan and your own rules of engagement. This is the same in your offline life. I have certain rules for how I live my life, and I stick by those rules wholeheartedly. On my business blog the other day I wrote a post on race where I basically indicated that if there’s a racial issue that needs addressing, I’m going to do it. You don’t get away with racial slurs, or slurs about any other group, without my saying something to you about it, even in public. I just can’t let stuff like that go.

My decluttering has helped me to stay true to myself. I could still be following around 250 blogs if I hadn’t given myself some criteria. True, a few people get to slip under the radar because I know them and knew them before my declaration, but anyone new, nope, not doing it. So much simpler life.

When one thing gets simple, something else gets harder. In my case, it’s some of the comments I get on this blog. I have a comment policy that I thought would be sufficient enough but it seems it’s not. Oh sure, it’s made some things much simpler because I can exclude a few comments and not worry all that much about it. But then there are a lot of comments that are borderline passing; those are giving me consternation.

What’s the issue? I know these are people who have actually stopped by the blog. I know they know what the topic is because they address it in the comment. But the comment doesn’t really say anything. Something like “I have that and it happened to me as well” isn’t quite a developed comment is it? Writing a comment without separating the 2 or 3 shot sentences doesn’t give one pause that it’s overly legit either; even people who learn English as a second language are taught to put a space after the period.

And then there are those commenters that have missed the part of the policy that says I don’t allow fake commenter names unless I have a real name as well. Now, in my policy I state that I’ll change the name to only initials but I think I’m going to modify that to state that I will be deleting those comments from this point on. After all, I’ve noticed that no one ever comes back to check on a comment I’ve written back to them. Then again, most of the people doing that aren’t writing great comments anyway my responses back aren’t all that enthralling either.

What to do, what to do… I’ll put it out to some of you. What would you do if you were in this position? This one should be interesting for more than one reason. Those who actually read the post will probably give me something good. Those that are the types of commenters I’ve talked about either won’t comment here or will comment only on the declutter part because it’s easy. Let’s see what happens. 🙂

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5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People; Part Two

On the last day of May I wrote a long guest post for Ileane of Basic Blog Tips called 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. For whatever reason it turned out to be pretty popular, probably because Ileane has a larger audience than myself. The funny thing is that almost everyone focused only on one thing I mentioned on that blog, that being popups that we seem to encounter more and more each day. Hopefully some of the folks that have popups read that and will eliminate them, although I noticed no one supported popups, which means those people that didn’t comment were probably the ones with popups. lol

Near the end of that article I said that I had more things to address, but decided to stop because that article was getting way too long. I’m going to add 5 more things here, but I hope not to make it as long as the guest post. By the way, that guest post was proof of what people say in that if you’re going to write a guest post, you need to give it as much attention as you would a post of your own. And here we go.

1. Test your comment system. You know, I visit lots of blogs, and I leave a lot of comments. I don’t receive close to as many comments on my comment. Most of the time I had figured that the writers just aren’t interested in replying to whatever I’ve had to say, but then I noticed on some return trips that indeed they had responded, but I never received any notification.

That’s just irksome. With each new blog I’ve created the first thing I did after writing my first post was to pull up another browser and do a test comment to see if I received notification of it. Then I’d comment on the comment to see if the commenter was going to receive a notice from me. Obviously many people aren’t doing that because they don’t know people aren’t receiving their comments. I hate to say it but some of you that comment here often don’t have your answers to comments showing up via email. I’m not going to call anyone out here, but I will encourage you to test your system. You could ask people, but if they’re not getting your email responses then it’s a useless effort.

2. Pick a comment system then leave it alone. Some folks are consistently changing their comment systems. I understand doing a quick test of a system, but I don’t think you’re actually testing it but adding it then leaving it alone for awhile to see what happens.

Here’s the thing. Y’all know I’ve mentioned that there are some blog types I’m just not subscribing to, and it’s because of the commenting system employed. A few I’ll just grin and bear it, but if I don’t already know you well trust me, I’m not subscribing because I’m probably not commenting.

Thing is, every once in awhile I get roped in because the commenting system is one way, and suddenly it’s changed to something I don’t like such as Disqus or Intense Debate or something else of that ilk. If I unsubscribe because I don’t like those and then you realize you don’t like it after awhile and change it back, I’m probably never going to notice and neither are other people that don’t like it. Of course some of you don’t have to worry about me unsubscribing if I already like you, but I may not comment all that often. 😉

As Sire discovered in his post asking people about Disqus, nearly 50% of responders said they wouldn’t comment on a blog with it, but around 50% of those who said they would indicated they’d do it only if they knew and liked the person that wrote the blog. I’m just sharing…

3. Don’t have stuff start playing when I arrive at your blog. Man, I hate when I visit blogs or websites and suddenly I hear music or some video starts or some person walks into the picture and starts talking to me or the main blog page is flash instead of the article I came to see. When people click on your link, they have an expectation of what they’re going to see. If you shock people with something else, most of the time they’re not going to like it. Think about why MySpace is failing; we hate the anarchy. Of course this could go back to popups again, but we’ve already talked about those on Ileane’s blog.

4. Toolbars; slow down already! I hate toolbars with a passion.

Having said that, let’s talk about why I don’t like them. I don’t like them because they get in the way. I have my print enlarged on my computer so I can read things easier; I can read smaller print but I have this big ol’ widescreen 22″ monitor so why would I make myself struggle?

The thing is that the larger I make my screen to read, the larger the toolbars get, and suddenly they’re blocking stuff and irritating me to no end. Whether they’re at the top or the bottom I don’t like them. I especially don’t like the ones on the side because as I enlarge the screen, suddenly the printed article is covered up, and for me to read things I have to shrink the screen.

I get it; you read an article saying that adding toolbars helps people promote you better. Personally, I much rather the advertising, which in general I don’t have a problem with to tell you the truth because at least it stays in its place. If I have interruptions in reading your content then I’m not going to read it and I’m not going to comment on it.

Now, even if I don’t like it I might still comment on it, but I’m going to ask you folks that have stuff like toolbars or other things popping in from time to time to test your blog by enlarging everything (Ctrl-scroll your middle mouse button to shrink or enlarge) to see if those things start blocking your content. If they do, decide if you really want to keep messing with your visitors like that just to encourage one or two of them to retweet your stuff.

5. Believe in yourself. Okay, this last one is more of an opinion than something that irks me, but I figured I’d comment on it anyway; those other 4 plus 5 are enough for ranting. I was reading a post on Brankica’s blog earlier today (she’s changed her commenting system so I won’t be writing a comment there, but here will suffice) asking if bloggers are self centered. She was ranting because some guy on Facebook wrote something where he said that he could write anything better than any of the guest posters he’s ever had on his blog. She didn’t like it one bit.

I’m going the other way, but only slightly. If I didn’t believe I could write my blog better than anyone else I wouldn’t write it. I expect everyone that writes their blog believes they can write their blog better than anyone else; I certainly hope so. At a certain point I’d hope that I not only knew myself well enough but started to learn the style that suits both myself and visitors.

A guest blogger won’t have that kind of knowledge. They’re not emotionally invested in my blog as much, so they shouldn’t be. That doesn’t mean that what they write isn’t good; many guest posts are excellent. What it means is that its excellence can’t top anything you write on your own blog, just as any guest post you write for someone else’s blog will never top their excellence on that blog.

People really need to believe in themselves and what they stand for and what they represent. They need to be able to put it out there with all the confidence and boldness they have. They can be funny, serious, educational, ranting, whatever… they just have to be sure of themselves, say what they want to say, and they’ll have an audience that will love them… okay, will like them a lot. lol

And that’s that; I’m done. This isn’t as long as the post on Ileane’s blog, and I’m betting y’all are happy about that. Still, I’m sure you’ll have something to comment on as well, so let’s get to it, being assured that when I respond to your comment, you’ll know it. 😉
 

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Weird Or Unique Habits?

Is there anything that’s known as “normal” anymore? I tend to believe that the answer to that is “no”. Having said that, I’m sure that all of us see habits and things that others do that make us question their sanity. Our friend Charles of Mostly Bright Ideas comes up with a lot of stuff that makes many of us think that maybe his parents were saying about him as a child “that boy ain’t right”, but I’m thinking that we’re probably not all that much different.

I figured that after my last video and rank that I’d lighten things up a bit and fess up to a few things. I laugh at myself often but I don’t often do it in public. Still, I’ll admit that I have some quirks that maybe others do or don’t; let me share some of mine.

I can’t go to sleep unless I’m covered by some kind of blanket. Luckily, I have the blanket my wife made for me that fits the bill. I also run the fan every night, mainly for sound. When it’s cold I run the heat and the fan, which seems odd but I need the noise. When it’s hot I aim the fan at me, but I don’t like air blowing on me so I cover up with the blanket, which gets a slight bit of air to my body, but it’s more my face I’m concerned with. I also have a second fan that just blows on my face, but it’s small so it does the job without getting on my nerves. But if I don’t use the blanket, and the equivalent of 5 pillows (in a hotel it’s 5 pillows; at home it’s a body length pillow, an extra “hugging” pillow, one for my head and a booster that goes against the headboard to help the first pillow sit in the proper place.

When I eat cake with frosting, which is most of the time, the frosting must be on the left side. That’s because I’m right handed, and I always want to finish with the best part of the cake, which is the frosting. I also have to eat it in a pattern, to make sure the cake stays even all around until I reach the ultimate frosting and slight bit of cake finish.

Whenever I eat food that has to be cut, I cut it all up before I start eating. I cut everything in precise patterns so that almost all pieces of meat or whatever else I’m eating are the same size. And when I eat more than one thing at a time, such as meat, potatoes and nasty vegetables (I hate vegetables), I eat everything such that my last bite will have one of each in it. My meal has to end that way, otherwise I’ve jinxed myself.

I also have periods where I won’t touch food. I don’t mean I won’t eat; I mean I’m just not touching it, whether raw or cooked. It limits where I’ll go out to eat because if I’m not touching food, I’m not eating sandwiches or many other things. Funny, but that never seems to prevent me from touching cookies. lol

Anything that needs butter on it I need to see the butter, otherwise I’m putting more on. The same goes for salad; if I can’t see it, it’s not there.

Toilet paper must go over the top instead of underneath. I don’t know a single male that does it underneath, though I’m betting there’s one out there. I think my wife does it the other way sometimes to mess with my head.

When I encounter stairs, whether I’m going up or down, I count them ahead if possible so that I always end on my right foot. If there are a lot of them and I miscounted by my quick review, I will stop 3 steps before the end and alter my steps to make sure I end on my right foot.

I count letters and words in sentences. It’s probably why I’m good at spelling and math. I don’t count every sentence, but I count a lot of them. I see how many letters there are and then divide everything by 3, which is my lucky number. If it ends up divisible by 3 I move on; if not, I have to create alternate ways of saying the phrase and recount until it divides by 3. I’ve been doing this since I was 8 years old; no idea why.

When I eat ice cream with chocolate sauce, I always eat the first half or quarter the regular way, then I have to mix everything together to finish. After everything is mixed, I eat using the back of the spoon instead of the regular way.

Finally, if I eat a sandwich and it’s meat, it must have mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on it. If there’s cheese on the sandwich, which is rare, it can only be Miracle Whip, not even mayonnaise. If I eat hotdogs at home, I start with Miracle Whip on the bread, then a thin stream of mustard and then ketchup. The only deviations are if I decide to add barbecue sauce, in which case I don’t use mustard or ketchup, or chili, in which case I don’t add ketchup.

Why am I talking about weird things I do? First, trust me, I only scratched the surface, though I’m saying now that if my friend Scott stops here and says anything, he’s lying! lol Second, I mention these things because I just want to show that overall I’m a regular guy with some habits that others might think are a bit different, but that everyone has differences and things we do that might or might not be embarrassing. Trust me, I’m not embarrassed by any of the things I’ve shared because they’re my hard rules; anyone who’s ever eaten out with me can attest to this. My wife will attest to the rest of it.

See, when I talk about blogging I talk both about their being rules and no rules. For instance, the main non-rule is that people should just write and worry about other things after they’ve figured out if they can write things on a consistent basis. Until you find your voice, it doesn’t matter whether you follow any certain patterns or not.

The main rule after that is to be yourself and not to be afraid to show people who or what you really might be. I tend to believe that people love to read whatever you’re writing about if they can relate to the writer in some fashion. Giving one’s writing personality is a big deal; revealing something about yourself that others can read, take in and even potentially laugh at is cathartic, but it’s also a way of making yourself more real to your readers.

So this is me; well, a small part of me. I’m not even going to tell you about Rice Krispies treats.
 

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