Category Archives: Blogging

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.

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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. 😉

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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.

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How Do You Review?

A couple of nights ago I watched a documentary called Heckler, which was put together by Jamie Kennedy of The Kennedy Experiment fame. It was all about criticism and heckling of entertainers and how they deal with it mentally, physically, and emotionally.


Jamie Kennedy

Yeah, I know, you’re thinking mentally and emotionally are the same thing but they’re not in my context. Mentally is when you’re thinking about it later on and how it affects you in the long run. Emotionally is how you deal with it then and there, in the heat of the moment. Michael Richards is a perfect example of a guy who one bad night let his emotions get to him in a bad way, and look at how he’s had to deal with it mentally ever since.

There were some interesting things he did with this documentary. He talked to a lot of entertainers, mainly comedians, on the subject of heckling. He had lots of clips showing how some of these people reacted in public. Only one guy hit someone, but one guy got pelted with lots of garbage and another guy told the story of being cold cocked by a guy who heckled him and got insulted from the stage right back. Barbra Streisand’s in it yelling something back at a heckler, and some movie director named Uwe Boll actually dared some critics to fight him in a boxing match; he beat every single one of them up, one guy so bad he was vomiting for a long time afterwards. I don’t know why, but I actually enjoyed that.

But the most interesting thing he did was take many of the bad reviews he received for the movie Son of Mask (didn’t see it) to the people who wrote them, read the reviews in front of them, and asked them why they were so cruel.

His point was that as critics, none of them offered anything constructive, and in almost every case they made personal statements about him in general. A few backed down, a couple said it wasn’t personal (please) and a few were actually happy they’d gotten a rise out of him. One guy in particular said it was his goal to get known by any means possible, and the ruder he could be to someone the better he liked it. Yeah, I thought that guy was a punk.

It make me go back through some of my review posts on this blog to see just how bad I might have been here and there. I noticed that for the most part I’ve been really easy on things I didn’t like. Lucky for me, I like a lot more things than I don’t like; that’s a pretty nice life to have, right?


The only times when I’ve been a bit more brusque than other times is when it was personal. For instance, my last review of Demand Studios wasn’t one of the nicest things I’ve ever said here, yet in comparison to reviews by other people it was fairly sedate. I also believe my responses to the couple of people who wrote in support of them was fair and measured as well.

When I wrote my review of the movie Skyline, a movie that greatly disappointed me, I didn’t go after any of the actors in the movie, but rather the breakdown on the script of the movie itself. There wasn’t anything I thought was overly mean or malicious, just truthful.

I think the only time I got really mean was when I was having a fight with the people from some place that I’m not going to name, but it was all about Akismet and involved some other folks as well. To date it’s the only post of mine where I actually deleted comments because some were threatening, and I did a test and found that the email addresses used were all fake; wasn’t having that either.

Goodness, I was even relatively nice (relatively that is) when I wrote a post supporting our friend Sire when he was having a debate with someone over something that, in the long run, was not only stupid, but proved to be accurate regarding commenting. It was a little bit snarky at the time, but even the guy I wrote about stopped by and understood my point, which shows it couldn’t have been all that bad.

Here’s the thing. There are people we don’t like for whatever reason, but there’s no reason to be over the top or mean about it. For instance, there’s a lot of hate I see being directed at this kid Justin Bieber. The thing is he’s only 16 years old; any adult saying nasty things about a 16 year old should be ashamed of themselves. Saying you don’t get his music is one thing; after all, we’re older and it’s not for us. Saying things about his appearance or anything else should be off limit.

I hated when professionals were piling on this young lady below, Janet Evancho, when she was doing opera on one of those TV talent shows. They were saying she didn’t have the chops and wasn’t fully trained as an opera singer. Folks, she’s 10 Years Old! I thought she was fabulous, and in this day and age when many types of classical music aren’t as popular as they once were because more kids want to listen to newer music, one would think these folks would be encouraging her instead of bashing her. So she has an album and you don’t tough!

I guess here’s my main point. Saying “you stink” doesn’t help anyone. Saying “I didn’t like it and here’s why”, then actually telling why, does help to a degree. I’ve had my critics. I wrote in my business newsletter days ago a story on when I wrote my first newsletter I sent it out to a lot of people to get their opinion on it, and anyone who actually made a comment commented on the look and format of the newsletter and not one person commented at all on what I’d written. In that instance I wasn’t helped at all since that’s what I was interested in hearing about.

I’m not saying don’t criticize things when you get irked. I certainly did when I had issues with a plugin that it seems a lot of people liked. But if you’re going to write some type of criticism, either temper yourself a little bit of make sure you do something like this. Now there’s a review! 😉

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