Category Archives: Blogging

EzineArticles Plugin Is No More

Back in August I wrote about the EzineArticles WordPress Plugin and how easy it was to send some of your blog posts to that particular website. Well, let me be the one to let you know that it no longer works.

Why? Well, remember when I wrote about 3 weeks ago on the issue of article farms? What’s happened is the changes that have been made by Google have started taking their toll on the site. Rosalind Gardner covered it in her blog post titled Death of Bum Marketing when she quoted Chris Knight of EzineArticles in saying that their traffic has started to drop. She also mentioned that one thing he’s decided to do was stop allowing the WP EzineArticles Plugin to submit articles anymore because there was a lot of spam being sent to the site.

So, that’s it for the plugin, if any of you were actually using it. I got to submit maybe 6 articles from my business blog, but then I kind of lost interest so I won’t be missing it all that much.

However, I found it interesting that in Rosalind’s article she advocates something I’ve been saying for years, that being it’s better if, instead of sending articles you write elsewhere, you create a blog and put those articles there instead and enjoy the benefits all on your own. For me, most of the articles I have on the other site I’ve either had on my blog or I’d used as a newsletter and decided to spread it a bit further. However, none of those articles has given me the bounce I thought they would, and as I think about it I’m not necessarily all that crazy that those articles can then be put on other people’s sites without my knowing it, even though they’re supposed to link back to me.

Back to doing things the “hard way” it seems. For me, though, I think I’ll stick with my own thing.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Are You Ready For “Controversial”?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post based off a blog post I read where the person was talking about the concept of “high quality content” without actually explaining what it was, a pet peeve of mine. Well, this one isn’t quite a pet peeve, but it’s something that, once again, I see recommended often, and I think it’s a horrible recommendation.


by Enokson

That recommendation, as you have already guessed by the title, is to write controversial posts. Though I hate that as a recommendation, the truth is that I’ve written a couple of those in my day on this blog. I wrote a random thoughts post where I touched upon crime, hate, physical abuse and President Obama, among other things. I wrote a post where I said President Obama called Rush Limbaugh a racist (he didn’t, as I explained in the post). I’ve gone after writing groups like Helium, busted on a guy because he saw himself as better than everyone else and got called on it, and I’ve tackled the subject of health care a couple of times.

Still, it’s not always the best way for everyone to go. Controversy doesn’t always get the desired effect you think it might, and sometimes you just might be unleashing the demons from Pandora’s Box and not have the ability to get them back under control again. That plus you risk being labeled if you don’t get your message right the first time out and could end up with a mess like our friend Rummuser ran into, for which he wrote apology for after the fact, but possibly still lost a reader in the process.

Controversy obviously sells; look at what it’s done for Charlie Sheen and all the Twitter followers, over a million in 24 hours. But it can also take away. For instance, there’s a guy whose name I forget that used to be big on the blogosphere and even stopped by here to comment every once in awhile. His blog was very controversial, highlighted by his video posts going after this person and that person, using lots of colorful language. It was all fun and games until he suddenly started losing contracts because some of his clients discovered his blog, didn’t quite like his style, and decided to stop doing business with him. We’re talking six figure contracts suddenly drying up, and he immediately stopped blogging and removed every single video he’d produced.

Then there was a guy who supposedly built his blog on the backs of top bloggers by bashing every single one of them as harshly as he could. His blog grew greatly, and Darren Rowse, one of the people he attacked, grudgingly admitted it was an interesting strategy of success. Then one day the guy stopped, and when Darren was able to reach him to find out why, the guy said that he had hoped to get business from his blog by being seen as an expert in a particular area, yet all anyone could see was him as the angry blogger and no one wanted to work with him. So again, he shut down his blog in hopes of reinventing himself once time passed.

Even I had a brief encounter via a post on my business blog where someone thought I was writing directly about her, complained to her manager, who contacted someone I was contracted with to do work, who then called me and asked me if I’d change it. I said absolutely not, then asked him if he’d read it, to which he replied no. Then I read him the first two paragraphs and he said it wasn’t bad, and was actually true and positive, yet still asked me if I could be more circumspect when I wrote blog posts while we were actively working with a client. I told him that if it ever happened again he needed to go read the post before calling me about it because many of my posts I write in advance, and it’s not my problem if one person thinks it’s about them in that regard.

I’ve always been ready to back up my position on something I have to say. I also say my piece in non-threatening ways; I choose my words carefully, even when I’m mad. I’ve had people take something I said in the wrong way, and I’m ready to defend that as well. I don’t head lightly into controversy, and it’s not the thrust of this blog. I’d never want to make it the thrust of this blog. But I won’t step away from something if it irks me.

Still, I’d never recommend that someone be controversial just for the sake of being that way. If you have something to say, something that’s really bothering you, then by all means share it, get it off your chest like I did with my writing post and video, and move on. Otherwise, don’t make controversy your norm; you might not like how it all turns out.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Blog Abandonment Mini-Research

Something I’ve said to potentially new bloggers over and over is that if you don’t think you’ll be able to sustain a blog, don’t even start. Technorati estimates that only 5.5% of all blogs that have been created still have new content, that criteria being within 4 months of the current date for the last post. That’s a horrible statistic; then again, it is only an estimate, right?

Well, overall I’m not sure Technorati is the best arbiter of deciding what’s what; after all, their new algorithm makes absolutely no sense, and that thing about only counting the last 6 months of recommendations for them to rank you higher makes no sense either. I decided to do my own little survey, as I hadn’t had a research post in awhile.

Here’s what I did. I went through all the comments on this blog from 2008; yeah, I did that just for you. I eliminated people who I knew were still blogging because they still comment now. So, this little test only concerned those people I hadn’t heard from in a long time or whose names I didn’t recognize. If they had a blog or website I decided to take a look. The numbers might seem a bit low, but as I said, there were some people I eliminated, and of course I didn’t count anything I wrote. I counted any blog that hasn’t had a new post within a year as being dead. And there are some blogs that haven’t written a post in a long time, and I capture those as well. Here’s what I came up with:

Blogs no longer working – 43

Blogs still current – 29

Blogs that haven’t written in:

a month – 5

2 months – 2

3 months – 2

4 months – 1

8 months – 2

So, if I look at only the working and current, that comes to an abandonment rate of 60%. That’s obviously a much different figure than what Technorati gives, but it’s still a terrible number. Based on my figure and the estimated number of blogs coming in around 133 million (that’s the last figure I’ve seen) that’s almost 80 million blogs that have been abandoned; ugh!

Well, there’s nothing we can do about it except lament the fact and move on. I wonder how many of you are thinking about bailing out on your blog some time in the near future. I’m sticking around; yup, you’re stuck with me for awhile longer. 😉

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

What Is “High Quality Content?”

On the heels of my little rant on writing a few days ago, I find myself reading a blog post talking about ways to reduce your bounce rate and find myself getting irritated once more. It’s a guest post, which I figured it had to be because I’ve never seen the author, Karen, write anything this, well, I said I would be nice. So, let’s just jump to what’s irking me, as if you hadn’t already figured out by my title and by checking out that blog post.

The first recommendation is to write “Fresh, High-Quality Content”. Frankly, I see this particular phrase often, and at this point it makes almost no real sense. Well, not that it doesn’t make sense; it makes no sense that no one ever tries to explain what they mean by it.

Let me ask you this in two parts. One, how many times have you seen that phrase in some incarnation? Two, how many times have you actually seen anyone describe what they mean by it? I’m betting the answers are “a lot” and “none”.

To me, unless people start backing it up, it’s a useless statement. Here’s the reality; everyone thinks they’re writing high quality content. That is, if they’re actually writing the content at all. Scrapers aren’t writing anything so we know they don’t care. And the people who pay a dollar a post don’t care either.

But those of us who do care, me and all of you who visit this blog (and I thank you for it), believe that we’re writing high quality content. But are we? Well, for the first time someone’s going to break down what is considered “high quality content”. Yeah, it’s going to be me. Of course this is my opinion, and you can debate me on it later on. But I have a feeling you won’t, and either you’ll learn something new here, or be able to finally say “hey, that describes me” and know that you can pass right by any other posts that talk about “high quality” content as the way to get more visitors or subscribers or backlinks or reduce bounce rate or… well, anything that’s not actually new, tangible, or a case study.

1. If you’re writing about something that’s supposed to teach someone something new, did you explain it well enough? Did you write something like “take this code and paste it into this file, upload it and it’ll work”? Or did you write something like “if you’re trying to fix something add this code to this file in this place so that it will do this; then upload it and look to see if it worked? To me, if you take the time to explain in some fashion why you’re asking people to do something, or giving step-by-step instructions, you’ve just written high quality content.

2. If you’re trying to tell a story and you don’t skip on details, such that people are left wondering “what the heck was that about”, then you’re creating high quality content. No one wants to read War and Peace every day, but no one wants to read Dick and Jane anymore either. If you believe you can tell good stories and you can do it verbally, then you should be able to do it by writing it. Don’t try to finish your story too soon, and don’t try to be funny if you’re not funny. Tell it like it is, and if it’s a funny story and you tell everything that happened then it’s high quality content.

3. Are you writing something about a particular belief or thought? Have you taken the time to explain why believe as you do, or are you just saying something and moving on? Saying “I don’t believe in same sex marriages because the Bible says so” is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen or heard. Saying it and then getting into a rational reason (because there’s no place in the Bible that even talks about same sex marriages; people “infer” it from a few places, but it’s not there specifically), even if I or anyone else disagrees with you, ends up being high quality content. The same would hold true with “I think Lady Antebellum stinks” and not following it up with something that you really don’t like that makes sense. If you said “I don’t like the way they look”, that looks and sounds idiotic; if you have constructive criticism about it, or want to say that you like someone else better for whatever reason, that’s high quality content.

4. Are you being true to yourself? This is the real truth. If you’re writing because you want to get ratings and you’re trying to write what you think people want to hear, you’re fooling yourself. You can’t ever write high quality content if you don’t believe what you’re writing. Trust me, with all the blogs I’ve written for other people, there are times when I’ve looked at the content and said “man, this stuff is garbage”, and I knew it was. The people I sold it to thought it was great because that’s what they wanted, but it was garbage all the same. Some of what wrote for Demand Studios way back when was junk because that’s what they wanted; that’s why Google’s going after those article farms.

If you’re writing what you know, what you feel, to the best of your ability, you’re writing high quality content. And you know what? Unless you’ve cracked the top 100 blogger list you’re going to have lots of bounces. Unless you have a sales page that draws in a lot of people who spend a lot of time looking around you’re going to have a lot of bounces. And the best high quality content isn’t going to reduce it one bit.

Think of it this way. What we strive for is to get people to subscribe to our blogs in some fashion. We want them coming back. That’s our first goal. Our secondary goal is to try to encourage people to look at some of our other content in some fashion. I link within posts to previous posts on this blog. On another blog I use the recent posts widget. My two main blogs are both under 200,000 per Alexa, and both have bounce rates of more than 70%. That’s just how it goes.

Overall, you want to do the best you can. People love that, and they’ll love you and keep coming back for more. High quality content; you do that with every post you write. Keep that in mind; y’all are great! 🙂

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Trouble With WP Images? You May Be Stuck With Some Of It

Every once in awhile I have problems uploading images to my blogs. I wasn’t sure what the deal was, but I finally decided it was time to go after the problem, as y’all know I will almost always do eventually. If you’re having problems uploading images, your reason could be in here.

Frankly I had multiple issues. One, I might try to upload an image and get this weird error message about my homespages and running out of space. Two, the image might upload to my computer, but wouldn’t give me the option of adding it to my post. That obviously does me no good whatsoever. And a couple of times it would just quit in the middle, and that would be that. I could just upload the image to my server and then pull it in, but that negates the WP Smush-it plugin I use to try to reduce the size of some of my images.

So I went online looking for my solutions. The most common solutions I came across were to increase the size of the memory of your site via adding code to a file called php.ini. Not everyone has that file, but it’s easy to create and add, and it actually has solved a problem for me in the past when I had problems after upgrading to WordPress 2.8. But across the board, it doesn’t always work.

I went looking to find out why all the recommendations weren’t working and I came across something interesting and, of course, it makes sense. I have what’s called “shared hosting” via 1&1. The main packages of all the large hosting companies are shared hosting, which keeps the prices down. It’s a great deal, and you pretty much get a lot of space.

Pretty much, that is. It turns out that not all hosts will allocate you all the space you think for everything you do. One of the things about 1&1 is that they restrict the total size of images you can upload in a month. I never knew that until I started doing some reading. However, it doesn’t only depend on the images, strangely enough. It seems that one of the things taken into consideration is the space your plugins take up as well. So, for most of us, we get between 30 and 40 MB of space.

Since I knew I couldn’t do anything about the images, I decided to look at my plugins, which I’ve never really thought much about before. By totally getting rid of 5 plugins, it seems I cleaned up lots of space, and if I make sure not to upload a lot of large images, I shouldn’t have that problem anymore.

Ah, but my problem wasn’t completely over. At this point all that had improved is that images were uploading; I still couldn’t seem to access them. That meant it was time for more research, and after a long while I came upon something that I’d never considered. It seems that, depending on which browser you use, you could have problems uploading images after a certain point. I use Firefox, and I have always used the browser upload for my images. The recommendation I came across was to first clear the cache on my browser, close it, open it back up, then switch to the flash uploader instead.

Hey, I’m game for anything, even if it seems kind of petty. Lo and behold, it worked. It seems using flash overrides whatever blog you were having, and though it seems to take a little longer to process your images, at least it processes them. I did a test on an older post where I had uploaded a very large file, and it handled it with no problems. That turned out to be great because they WP Smush-it had the opportunity to make it a much smaller file, which would help that particular post load much faster.

There you go. If you find yourself having any problems with your images, it could be any of the reasons I mention above. The fixes are relatively simple, and it’s probably best to at least give them a try to see if they resolve your issue before going any further with all the files and such. One other recommendation was to call your hosting company to see if they would increase your file storage size, but everyone said it was doubtful that would actually work.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell