Category Archives: Blogging

Getting A Little Bit Of Love; Interviewed Again

What a strange week this seems to have been. It started out with my buying my first couple of pairs of shorts ever, with my wife’s help, and finding out that I can actually wear a waist size of 42; I haven’t worn a size 42 waist in 20 years! Working out seems to be doing at least part of the job; glucose isn’t down though.

Then a consulting gig I’m supposed to be working hasn’t started yet; I haven’t even heard from the client in about a week. That’s how it goes sometimes when you’re an independent consultant, which is why I was so key on my earlier post this week about getting some money upfront; it’s not always the fault of the people trying to do work for you.

And now this; I’ve been interviewed again, this time by Christian of Smart Boy Designs. I was kind of surprised because I actually did the interview back in April, then forgot about it until I was going through old emails yesterday and started to wonder about it. And then there it was this morning; nice timing, eh?

Of course, it was also fun being a part of Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips this week with my post on 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People. I really put out for that post because I always believe that you give as much to others as you’d give to yourself, and if you can you should give more since you’re reaching out to a new audience that you’re hoping you can drive to your site.

All that and tonight I’ll be staying in a hotel about 5 minutes from my house in a room with a jacuzzi… all by myself. My wife is holding a large garage sale with her friends and asked if I not be present; I can take a hint. 🙂 So I’ll be pampered tonight on my own, then heading to the casino in the morning. Yes, I do live a strange life; but it’s pretty fun as well. Is it any wonder why I smile so much?

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Talking Blog Content Strategies… Boring!

I really don’t mean to beat up on the post I’m about to link to. However, after reading this guest post on Marco Saric’s blog titled Why You Need A Content Strategy For Your Blog and having it be the 4th article I’d come upon on the night on the same topic, I decided I’d had enough and had to write something on it.


by Stefan Erschwendner
via Flickr

It’s not that the content I keep reading is bad. It’s that its, well, boring. Everyone pretty much keeps saying the same thing in the same way and the explanations seem to be the same and the output seems to be the same and there doesn’t seem to be any real passion or sense of any of it.

Yeah, I know, someone’s going to say “Hey, you wrote two posts on better blogging and probably touched upon the subject as well.” Okay, so I did; but there are some things I’m reading that I didn’t touch upon, or touched upon that I said in a much different way. Let’s look at some of these concepts.

1. The concept of blogging strategies; ugh! Every person who wrote about this said that you had to decide what your ultimate goal was for your blog and that you needed to think about it before you started.

I said think about what you want to write about before you start blogging because you want to make sure you’ll have a topic you can write on for a long time. In my mind, you’ve probable already thought about the reasons you want to have a blog; to show expertise, to make money, to communicate your thoughts, to rant, to pray, to be a jerk, etc.

Actually, I broke it into 3 concepts: what to write about; what’s your passion; niche or non-niche.

2. Publishing calendar; really? What is a publishing calendar anyway? It seems to depend on who you ask.

Some will say it’s a way of planning what types of posts you’re going to write and when you’re going to post them. Some will say that it’s a way of telling people what’s coming so they can look forward to the next post. Some people say it’s what’s necessary to make sure you keep writing and know what topic you want to address each time. They say you should have a schedule that goes out weekly, monthly, even yearly.

Posh! If you’re someone writing for yourself, I will say that I believe it’s important to be as consistent as you can with your posts so that if you find people that like to follow you, they get some kind of idea of what to expect from you. I’ve yet to meet the individual that can actually stick to some kind of schedule forever.

Heck, I’ve tried writing a post every single day and I find that every once in awhile I can’t do it; I might even be backing that up some. Yet I write about what I want to write about whenever I want to write about it.

I tend to believe it’s much more important to get content out on your topic, whatever it might be, than to have to back yourself into a publishing corner to try to force yourself to do something. You’ll get bored, your writing will be boring, and people reading will get bored and leave.


by FindYourSearch via Flickr

3. Write good content, be precise, and always have a call to action; duh! When I wrote a post on high quality content, I stated that one of the problems with phrases like that was that very few people ever stated what it was supposed to be. Well, the same about good content and calls to action. I tried to address it in that post and on one of my Better Blogging posts, and yet while I was doing it I was thinking “do I really have to tell people what good content is?”

Call to action is something totally different, though. I tend to believe that not every post written has to have a call to action. Some internet marketers have exactly that in every post; how many people will continue to read something that’s selling to them every day?

However, writing thought provoking posts, or asking questions, is its own form of “call to action” writing, although its purpose wouldn’t fit a marketer. I like to think of a blog writer like my friend Charles, who used to write very entertaining posts that made us smile and laugh, but what couldn’t necessarily be categorized as “call to action” posts.

Is there such a thing as a blog content strategy? Yes and no.

For my finance blog, even post must be about finances in some fashion, otherwise it doesn’t get on there. But there’s no particular style for it; other than finance there’s no particular niche either. I sometimes have a post a day, and sometimes a post a week. So, it’s got a strategy of sorts, yet not a strategy that’s so finite that I’m compelled to try to make it more than it is.

Same with this blog. My only strategy is to keep new content on it; yup, that’s it. To a lesser degree that’s my strategy with my local blog; it’s not much of a strategy.

My business blog… well, I’ve been thinking about that one a lot lately, and I’m starting to realize that maybe the categories I’ve been using for all these years don’t always fit what I’m writing about. All posts are somewhat related to my business, but I’ve been wondering if I’m stifling myself by trying to fit within the categories I’ve established. If that’s the case then the strategy needs to be changed, but even so, it’s a fairly loose strategy. It has a goal of course, but that goal is more broad than what most people might think it should be.

So be it; I’ve stated a lot of stuff here so now it’s your turn. Hot air, boring, on point, what the hey? Your thoughts please (see, that’s “call to action lol).
 

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Traffic’s Not Down, So Why Is My Alexa Rank Down?

I’m probably one of the few people that still touts Alexa as a valid informational tool in making at least a cursory determination on how well one’s website is doing online. Even if it’s not precise, as many lament, it’s a good indicator as to whether you’re traffic is doing pretty well when compared to everyone else.


by Chris Brown

So it’s with dismay that I look at my Alexa rank today and see it hovering around 114,000. Yeah, that’s not bad, but just four months ago it was around 75,000. I look at the numbers and for some reason see myself as a failure. And yet, I know I’m not a failure. After some research I’ve figured out what the deal was, and why it might take me a long time to get something like that back.

Some of you might remember that back in November I decided it was time to do a little bit of publicity as it pertains to products I’ve created, as well as talking about myself a little bit. I started on this blog, then did something similar on my business blog. However, instead of replacing the normal posts, I decided to write a second post for each blog to show up in the evenings. In other words, I was writing at least two posts a day for upwards of a week or more on both blogs.

What that resulted in was my normal traffic for the day posts, then some booster traffic on my evening posts. Those weren’t as well read as the other posts, since they were obviously of a sales nature. Yet, they still generated traffic, and that helped my Alexa status jump nicely for awhile. I went back to look at Analytics and around the same time this blog jumped, my business blog jumped as well, and at one point that site’s Alexa rank was under 200,000. Alas, it’s now around 329,000, and I hope it’s stabilized to some degree, but probably not.

What this proves is that even if traffic isn’t great, writing more posts a day can actually help your traffic grow. This isn’t really news, though, since many bloggers, especially group sites, end up with multiple posts a day, and that would explain how they rank so highly.

Of course the question is can most of us keep up with that kind of schedule and is there a downfall to it. On the first I’d probably say no. On the second, I’d want to say possibly; yeah, that’s definitive, isn’t it? lol Here’s my thinking. Over the past week, as my posts have been slightly erratic for me, some of the posts have gotten a lot more comments, even if it’s taken a couple of days for them to be found. Writing daily helps traffic stay up, but not writing as often helped comments grow. Writing two posts a day on a consistent basis, with no other reason than to drive traffic, just might be overwhelming for readers and people who might want to comment here and there.

It’s something to consider, I suppose. I’ve definitely considered it, and the way my thoughts are at the present time is that I only want to have multiple posts a day if I have something to say that I feel is significant. If it’s going to be a regular post, I’d rather space them out so that I can try to have continuous content instead.

Of course, this is just my thinking; what’s your take on it all?

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When Lack Of Time Gets In The Way

Some of you have probably noticed that I’ve been off my normal schedule the last couple of weeks. This is proof that even with one of the better imaginations and with having lots of things to write about at a moment’s notice that things aren’t always under your control.

I don’t offer these things as excuses, but I figure I might as well mention what’s been going on, some of which you may already know.

1. My grandmother is still in the hospital. There’s the possibility that she’s going to be moved to a nursing home tomorrow, but I’m holding my breath on this one. That’s because we’ve already had two false alarms, which has distressed my mother and which caused me to, in my own way, castigate the social worker who allowed it to occur, in my opinion. There have also been many other issues that have shown me how the medical field is either really lacking or that they just treated my grandmother with less than proper care; believe it or not I don’t see them as just picking on her, which means things are worse than I can imagine.

2. I’ve been on the road. I’ve got a consulting gig, which has had me out of town here and there, including the last couple of days; actually, I was out of town today as well, but I just got home about an hour ago and wanted to get something out. Most of the project I’ll be working on will be at home, which means I should be able to keep to my normal schedule most of the time. I had expected that I’d be able to write from Connecticut, where I was, but it seems that the higher you are in a hotel, the worse the internet connection is. I was on the 16th floor, which offered a great view but my connection was so slow, whether I was wireless or not, but I lost interest in being on the computer at all. How funny things are; less than 20 years ago I’d have killed for the speed I was getting in the hotel, but these days with 15 MBPS as my standard, a slow connection is irritating as sin.

3. Because of this consulting gig, I’ve been inundated with paper. You wouldn’t believe how much paper, or electronic file information, I’ve been receiving. All of this is just prep work, believe it or not. I have tons more coming, which could be somewhat overwhelming. And yet, I believe the information I’ll be getting will be much easier to digest than all the information I’ve been getting. Because I’ve been traveling for work and traveling for my grandmother I’ve had to try to catch up with all that reading when I got home; that’s been tough. And that’s not all.

4. Because of the other two things, I’d fallen way behind on my other work. I do have some regular clients, and normally I get all my work done for the month within the first week of each month, so I can concentrate on other things. This time around, it just didn’t happen. So, I’ve been filling some of my other time with work, time I normally put to blogging.

All that and I get home to learn that there’s a bear running around town that no one seems to know how to find, but someone got a picture of it; sheesh! lol Anyway, I hope that I’ll be able to get back on a normal schedule tomorrow; man, so I have a lot to say!

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Subscribing To Comments… Not Me!

I seem to be seeing two things occurring more often these days to try to get around spam; at least I assume it’s trying to get around spam. One is that more people are moderating their comments; the second is that more people are having you double opt-in to comments by sending you an email asking you to subscribe to comments.

Since I’ve talked often enough about why I don’t like comment moderation, I’ll move onto the second one, which I’ve mentioned here and there but I’m unsure if it’s something I’ve ever addressed on its own.

I hate the double opt-in system. I’m betting some of you are saying “it’s not double, since I’m only sending an email once.” That’s what double opt-in; remember the days when everyone that had a newsletter required you to confirm that it was actually you requesting it by sending you an email asking if it was you? Remember how, instead of consistently doing it, you just stopped subscribing to any newsletters because you didn’t want to be bothered, especially if there wasn’t any notification that you were going to have to do it?

I do. I had a newsletter, and I did the double opt-in thing for a couple of months many years ago after I got a rash of emails saying that they hadn’t subscribed to my newsletter, even though I had their email address. So I went to the double opt-in system, only to find that more than half the people who got it decided they didn’t want to play the game and never finished subscribing.

I really wasn’t all that surprised since I had already started doing that myself. However, I had put it on my newsletter page that I was going to do it, which make me think that I at least had given some kind of warning about it so people should have been expecting it.

Frankly, I see it as another way the internet gets cluttered with lots of digital garbage that never quite goes away because it’s somewhat unnecessary. There aren’t all that many people that are sneakily subscribing someone to someone else’s newsletter, although there are definitely a lot of people who will add you to theirs without your asking, just because they met you somewhere. The same goes for spam.

My blog does pretty well, and if I’m not all that bothered by the relatively low amount of spam I get because of the plugins I use, I can’t figure out why anyone else would be. Yeah, I know about the sneaky spam like the type I wrote about, but it’s like when you were in school and the teacher punished everyone in class because of that one kid that always acted stupid; remember how no one liked that?

I’m just saying that it’s not quite logical in today’s age to punish everyone for the sins of the few. At least I’m not doing it and you can bet I’m not playing either. There are always other ways folks, and they’re easier to deal with.

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