Category Archives: Blogging

Are You An Original?

I’m not always up to date on everything, and I’m betting I’m not the only one. I read and listen to a lot of interviews with people on various subjects, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get to it. A couple of days ago I finally got to a recorded interview Willie Crawford did with a guy named Paul Evans, who runs a website called Nicheology. It helps people learn how to make money through internet marketing, but this guy’s got a real world pedigree of creating and still owning regular businesses as well. He actually had a lot of good things to say during this interview, which took place in November 2008, but I came away with one thing in particular.

Willie asked him what were 3 reasons he believed most people fail at internet marketing. His first answer was the biggie for me: “being a complete copycat.” That’s it, short, sweet and simple. He goes on to say that many people buy a lot of products seeing how someone else did it, or goes to see what someone else did as far as creating their website or marketing their product online and tries to copy it, and then it doesn’t work and they blame whatever it was they read or just find that it’s not working as well for them. He believes that we learn from others by taking things they’ve done and finding new ways of applying them to whatever it is we do or want to do, because even within the same niche nothing is ever the same from person to person or business to business.

I found that an incredible statement and true as well. My wife and I were in the car a few nights ago and she was saying how many of the songs today sound the exact same. I thought back on disco and how, after awhile, you could tell the junk from the good stuff because the junk sounded exactly like something else you’d already heard. And let’s not even get into that European electronic music of the late 80’s and early 80’s; you could have put a monkey in front of the mike and not known who was singing a particular song.

Are you an original? I like to think I am, but at the same time, I acknowledge that I probably could have made things a lot easier if I hadn’t gone into so many things with so much skepticism. I mention Willie because he’s the guy who put together that book I market to the right about 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day, one of the few books that I’ve actually ever gotten something out of, which is why I’ve listened to some of the interviews he’s done and given over the years. True, he’s always marketing, yet there’s something about him that just comes across as original and authentic.

I think that for the most part most of you who visit this blog are extremely original, and I love that. I still feel somewhat cheated when I go to see a blog post and I see the same exact things spouted about how to be successful in internet marketing or blogging that I’ve seen time and time again. I mean, some concepts are what they are; commenting on other blogs will help your blog to grow and there’s no debate about that. But telling people that it’s a new concept is not only a lie, but it’s not original.

Originality is a great thing to strive for; being contrary isn’t. Contrarianism for argument’s sake gets you nothing except a little bit of attention. Taking the opposite side of something you don’t believe in just wastes people’s time. Sometimes it’s way too transparent as well; if I started saying I support efforts of… no, I don’t want to give anything I hate negative attention so I’ll let it go there. lol

Back to the original question; are you original? And are you happy with it? I hope so; that’s when you’re the most interesting.

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Why You Need A Comment Policy

You know, ever since I added the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin a few weeks ago, the amount of spam this blog was getting dropped a lot. However, it hasn’t killed spam entirely. What seems to be coming now is a lot of one line messages that read like spam, and thus I treat them like spam. I figure that some of it are people who are thinking that they can just write any ol’ thing and I’ll let it pass; nope. However, I’m thinking some of it is automated to some degree; I just don’t know how they’re doing it.

I said I treated one line messages like spam; that’s from people who haven’t shown that they’re legitimate commenters on the blog yet. I have that in my comment policy, which is not only at the very top of this blog but listed right above the comment box on every single post. People who comment on blogs a lot and are going to write authentic comments definitely don’t have to worry about it, but for the others, I have no idea if they’re ever really coming back, so I don’t feel the same kind of loyalty to them.

I think it’s important to have a comment policy so people who come to your blog know what you expect. For instance, I really only have a couple of things in my comment policy. The first is that I need a legitimate name to call you. If you write a post and your name is a keyword phrase, but it’s not a bad comment, I reduce it all to the initials on the post. It looks ridiculous, but so be it. And I’ll refer to you either by those initials or by the first name in the email address if one is there. I stated the reason a long time ago in my post against fake commenter names. I don’t mind nicknames because it’s still something you may be known as.

The second is of course the one-line rule. I think that’s fair. After all, leaving a comment that says “nice post; I learned a lot” and nothing else could apply to almost anything. It doesn’t further the discussion and, well, just looks spammy, which it probably is. The big boys, who don’t moderate their comments, can play with that one; since I give dofollow links, I’ll handle it another way.

Anyway, if you expect certain things from people, you should let them know up front so there’s no surprise if you do something with their comment later on. Now that I think about it, I need to modify mine just a little bit more.

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Do You Want Accountability Or Activity?

You know, there are times when you know you’re right and you just want to be proven right, and when it’s eventually proven that you’re right you’re not really sure what to do with it. Well, I had that happen this week, and what I decided to do was write about it here.


by Michael Tracey

On my newest blog, I wrote a post titled I Hate Syracuse.com. Basically it was a minor rant against news sites that allow comments without attribution, which pretty much means people don’t have to stay on topic or add to the conversation, but can be downright piggish and mean. I hate that and I decided to write about it on that blog because this was my local newspaper and online site, although I did mention other news sites in the article as well.

This past Monday I had an opportunity to talk with a representative of the site about the comments section. He wasn’t necessarily happy that I’d written what I did and thought it was unfair. Time after time I said I hated the comments and why didn’t they just require people to use their real name. In my opinion, if people weren’t hiding behind fake names they’d behave better.

I knew all the time what the reason was, and after nearly 30 minutes he finally stated it; because they worried that not as many people would leave comments and the site would look empty. It was almost too easy, yet, as I said, I knew that was the real answer, and the reason why all the other news sites do it.

I was kind but insistent. I said that we run our blogs with the intention of making sure that discourse stayed civil, and that at a moment’s notice we would eliminate any response that didn’t fit our sense of decorum. I’ve always said that I don’t mind if people don’t agree with me, but if there’s bad language or threatening language that comment is gone, and fast. After all, I pay for this space, so in essence it’s my online home, and no one messes up my home. He didn’t quite see it the same way, although he did say that they did work hard to keep things at a reasonable level.

Whether that’s what I see or not isn’t necessarily the point. The point is that we all get to choose whether we’re going to hold ourselves and those we interact with in our space accountable for their actions or not. Many folks who write about how to drive comments on blogs say to write about a controversial subject. While that might work, often you might find yourself suddenly dealing with someone who not only disagrees with you, but goes overboard and forces you to decide whether to go with the flow and be happy for the activity or censor in some fashion because you want to keep the discussion going in a different manner.

With censorship you risk people deciding that maybe your blog or space isn’t as open as they’d like and they could possibly leave and never come back. That’s kind of possible, but I say “so what”. If you’re going to change your ethics because you’re worried about reactions, then are your ethics really worth having? Or are they ethics at all?

And really, is it censorship if you ask people to behave, and if they don’t you kill their message? I tend to think not. After all, for all the people who use a lot of bad language, I’ve found that when put into certain situations they all know how not to say certain stuff. I have friends who will curse up a storm, yet they know they can’t use that same language at work, so I ask them not to use it in front of me. If you can actually control a behavior here and there then you’ve shown you know better.

You know my point of view; how do you see this particular subject? Would you be happy with 200 comments a day if most of them were hateful or would you rather have fewer comments but know that your family could read them without worry, if they ever read your blog?

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Starting Your Blog Social Media Campaign Via Commenting

Last April I wrote a post to add to my Blogging Tips series titled How To Start Getting Visitors. It was a super basic tip on how to get some notice for one’s blog by contacting certain folks and letting them know you had a blog.

While that’s nice and all, one couldn’t quite call it a campaign towards increasing awareness. In essence, it was really like becoming an insurance salesperson and calling all your family members first, then all your friends, then your pseudo friends, and after that not knowing what to do with yourself.

I decided it was time to at least get more people going on this front. I do this because of two things. One, I had a meeting last week with a couple of ladies who wanted ideas on how they could create awareness of their new business through social media. I told them about blogging, based on what it is they do, and then told them the process they should go through to get going. Two, I made the same recommendation recently to someone who visits this blog, and though I’m not sure if he’s done the entire campaign I know that he was willing to listen and give it a try, so I have high hopes.

This is mainly for beginners, but it’s also for people who aren’t getting any real traffic to your site as well. This isn’t a talk about niche marketing; it’s a talk about working the process, meeting the blogging community, and getting known by others. And if you want some more starter information, check out my blogging tips.

Let me set the scenario for you; it’s possible you’ll have more or less time, but this is a great starter scenario. You’re someone who doesn’t have tons of time, but you want to get people to your blog. You write 3 posts a week, and often you have some time left over after you’re blogged, or some on days when you don’t blog. We’re going after the 30 minute process for you to undertake.

Your goal is to make comments on at least 5 blogs during that 30 minute time period. What you do is go to Google Blogs, which can actually be found by going to Google, clicking on “more”, then scrolling down a little bit. When the next page opens, you’ll see all sorts of blog posts on trending topics that look like news. But they’re all blogs, though some aren’t personal blogs. That’s really your goal, because you want the opportunity to stand out; that plus big time blogs like Huffington Post don’t have CommentLuv; this is a part of the strategy.

In the search box, put in a topic that you want to read on. It could be something in your niche, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Believe it or not that statement is controversial, because everyone else will tell you that you need to comment on blogs in your niche because you want targeted traffic. At this stage what you really need is traffic, and you also want the opportunity to not only show that you can talk to people and offer something good, but you still are hoping for the opportunity to stand out. So, you will be looking at blogs in your niche also, if that’s a part of your strategy, but that’s not what it’s all about. Networking; that’s what it’s all about.

For the first two weeks you need to be committed to commenting on at least 5 blogs a day. You can continue going to Google Blogs, but hopefully in your searches you have found a few blogs that you like well enough to return to. That’s important because something blog owners like are people who will come back more than once. You also want to look for a mix of blogs that have CommentLuv and those that don’t. You look for CommentLuv because it highlights previous blog posts of yours; you look for the others because you don’t want to look like one of those guys that “only” comments on CommentLuv blogs; it’s just a little smarmy.


by Petras Kudaras

In the next two weeks, you’re going to comment on blogs that you’ve found you like and now you’re going to make sure to look for blogs within your niche. The thought now is that you’ll have started establishing yourself with at least a couple of people, you’ll have left your links on their blogs, especially if they have CommentLuv, and now you’re going to go out on a campaign to see what others in your niche are saying and take the opportunity to make sure they know you’re around.

After four weeks, look at things this way. If you only had 3 days a week to do this process and only those 30 minutes, you’ve made at least 60 total connections, whether some of those folks received return visits or not. You’ve planted the seeds of knowledge that you’re out there. I would almost guarantee that you’ll have started seeing more visitors, especially if your titles have captured people’s imaginations and your content doesn’t stink.

Once you see the process starting to work, you’ll be hooked. I’ll throw this out there; how many of you who visit these days saw me as one of your initial commenters? How many of you picked up on that and decided you were going to start commenting on other blogs? How many of you found it contagious and uplifting when people finally started coming to your blog? You may not have followed it in the manner I’m recommending here, but you did this in some capacity, right?

Yes, blogging does take more work than just writing posts. But your rewards on the end could give you more than you can imagine; that sounds nice, doesn’t it?

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Some Blogs To Share

Some of you know that I write blogs for other people. Well, this is something a little different. I want to share some new blogs, and I guess I write them. However, there’s a little story with each of these, of course, and I’m going to indicate that while offering them up for new visitors… maybe. 🙂

The first one is my new blog called Syracuse Wiki. In the very first post I talk about how it came into being so I’m not going to rehash that. I will say that it’s a blog about things I see in my home area, opinion, fact, and what I might experience. Man, I really need to learn how to create logos!

Next we have PCA Blog. I’m part of an organization called the Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m on the board; I write the newsletter; and I’m the webmaster. I didn’t create this site, but I totally changed it around as it used to be all frames. I decided that we needed a blog because it would help with web rankings and it would give us as an organization another way to show what consulting is all about. And of course I’m the writer. On this one, most of the articles are already written, as far out as the end of April. That’s because almost all the early articles come from the newsletters I put together, and all the articles are articles I wrote for the newsletter. Just to mention this, just adding the blog increased its Alexa rating 50% in less than 2 weeks.

Then we have The Food Doctor, the blog I created for one of my web clients. In November 2009 I introduced a page for his site called Nutritional Answers on this blog, and it got some publicity. The problem is that it was still a static page, which worked okay but wasn’t really going to get things done. So I took that page, created a blog, and put the articles on the blog instead. Because his answers are relatively short the posts are short, usually around 100 words, but as he gets into it I’m sure he’ll be expanding on his answers just a little bit. I will not be writing this blog, just posting whatever he gives me. But he’ll answer questions on nutrition if you have any.

Next there’s Kate’s Colorful World, another blog I created for another client. Her thing is basically talking about “color energy”, which to some might seem like a far out concept until you think about it a little bit. We all have our favorite color, we have heard of power colors, we won’t eat foods of certain colors, etc. She’s also going to be writing this one, so posts might be a bit sporadic initially, but I know she’ll be picking it up.

Then we have Debt Consolidation, which I’m one of the writers for. Actually, it turns out some other articles on this site are ones I wrote a long time ago when I didn’t know where they were going. I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s going to be writing it from this point on or whether I’ll be working with someone else, but I’m kind of managing it, the maintenance and such, so it’s fair for me to introduce it.

I think that’s enough. I’m sure some of you are saying “man, you’re really spreading yourself thin”. Not at all. Some I get paid for; some are fun; some were a one time thing. I’m keeping my hands in the pie, staying busy, having fun and making some money as well. All that and working on keeping up with all the other blogs as well. What a life, eh? Anyway, check out what you wish, and maybe leave a comment here and there; I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

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