Category Archives: Blogging

Using CommentLuv Effectively

I don’t have to say this, but I will; I love CommentLuv, and I’m glad Andy created it. It was probably one of the first plugins I ever added to this blog, when I really had no idea what a plugin was, and it’s served my purposes well.

CommentLuv

The thing is, I’m betting that my reasons for using CommentLuv are somewhat different than yours. Not all of you, of course, but an overwhelming majority of you. If you’re not using this plugin to increase your visibility in the community then you don’t know anything about networking. If you are, you might still be going after low hanging fruit rather than getting into the meat of it all (now there’s an oxymoron, talking about the meat of fruit). Let’s find out, shall we.

First, having CommentLuv is a must if you can. I know some blog types can’t use this plugin, and that’s a shame. On the surface it encourages people to visit your blog and leave a comment, knowing they’re potentially going to get traffic back. This is the reason most people use it.

Second, looking at comments both on your own blog and other blogs you comment on is crucial to expanding your network. I’ll admit that I don’t always read all the comments on other blogs, but I do read the ones on mine. However, what I will do is scan through all the comments and look at the blog posts that people are highlighting at the end of their comments. This gives me a lot of blogs to check out based on being interested in a topic that they’re highlighting; I think that’s pretty neat.

Of course, if you sign up on their CommentLuv site, when you comment on someone else’s post you get to choose which of your last 10 posts you wish to highlight, which is a benefit to your commenting as well. If your last post was kind of a throwaway or one time post, you might not necessarily want or need to keep highlighting it, so having the ability to choose between multiple posts is definitely a good thing. It also helps if you happen to comment on a post more than once, as it allows you to select a different post each time.

Also, did you know that if you hover over the heart after someone’s CommentLuv link that it will give you a little bit of information about that person? Nothing intrusive, just whether that person is registered at the main site, how many times their link on that particular blog has been clicked on, other blog links this person has commented on, and at least a few other posts that someone has written on their own blog. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.

Of course, some of the bit time bloggers would say you’re encouraging people to leave your blog and thus messing up your effectiveness. After all, the links through CommentLuv don’t allow to add code to them so people won’t leave your site. But I think it’s a legitimate risk to take because it pays in spades in the long run (no, that’s another phrase I don’t really know, but I know how to use).

So, what’s stopping you from using it? Disqus? Intense Debate? Blogspot? Drop them; go this route! 😉

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5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker

It seems that every year around this time I write a post that talks about poker and blogging in some fashion. In January 2009 I wrote a post called the Psychology of Gambling. In January 2010 I wrote a post titled 5 Ways Poker Is Like Blogging. And in February 2010 I wrote a post titled Pot Odds In Internet Marketing.

Poker Chips, Poker ‘n Stuff

Why poker? Many of you know that I love playing poker. I fancy myself a pretty good player but not a great player. However, I’ve studied great players and I can see what I lack that they have. I don’t see me getting a lot of it at this juncture of my life, but one never knows, right?

Like almost anything else, one can learn some interesting ideas on how to do something from another place, or from something that has nothing to do with what you’re doing. In reality, most things are interconnected in some fashion, and if you have the time to consider it, you’ll see the connections, or the potential connections, and hopefully learn something from it.

In this case, I figure the lessons bloggers can learn from poker are something that leads us well into the next year, which begins tomorrow, and thus the timing of this article is pretty good. Of course, you could read this and think I’m just nuts; let’s find out.

1. Poker is about analyzing what’s going on at that moment. If I have an ace and a jack in my hand and the flop comes up king, jack and seven, and the other player bets ahead of me, I have to analyze a lot of things at once. Does he have an ace in his hand? How has he played previous hands? How have I played other hands in this situation? Is the amount he’s betting trying to scare me away, or is he trying to trap me? Can I get a tell from the expression on his face? Has he read my face and figured something out?

In blogging, we often start writing for ourselves, but once people start coming we need to be ready to analyze ourselves from time to time. What types of posts do people seem to like? Is my post too short or too long? Is my language easy to understand or am I talking above people’s heads? Are my visuals okay or am I off-putting some people? Just who is your blog for? The decisions can be just as immediate, and in some cases more valuable than a poker bet.

2. Poker is about paying attention to what’s going on around you in some fashion. Even those people who play wearing headphones and listening to music are paying attention to what’s going on around them. They know if one guy always raises when he’s in the big blind. They know if someone is actually thinking about whether their hand is good or whether they’re trying to trick you into doing something stupid. They watch your hands to see if you change up when you have good hands or bad. They look at your eyes, even if you’re wearing sunglasses, to see what they do. When I’m truly in the zone, I know how every player I can see plays the game, and thus I play really well when I’m paying attention.

With blogging, it’s almost the same type of thing. I notice that when I write a post that’s actually a training tip of some sort it gets a lot of attention from people who don’t normally come to this blog. I know who’s going to visit and comment when I write personal posts. I know that if I’m writing a post about a potential money making venture, whether I made money off it or not, that post is going to do well. And I know which posts probably aren’t going to do all that well either. I have to weigh all that, though, for my own personal balance. All of it helps me grow, and there ends up being something for everyone.

3. If you stay at a table long enough, suddenly there’s a great sense of camaraderie and sharing. It’s funny; you sit down at a table with 8 strangers almost every time you go. There’s a feeling out process and you get to feeling like you know people. They get to thinking they know you. Your guard gets let down, to a degree, and suddenly you find yourself sharing stories and telling jokes and finding out what other people do. You learn that some people have come a long way to play while others are there every day. And, if you’re lucky, every once in awhile you’ll go back to play and actually run into someone you played with before, and it’s kind of a welcoming feeling, which is always nice.

I often say on this blog that if you’re lucky you’ll end up being a part of a blogging community, where there are a group of people you’ll be able to count on for a comment or for support or to write something on their blog that you can participate on. The strange thing about a blogging community is that you have to also realize that very few people who are commenting on your blog now will be there 4 to 6 months later. And it may not have anything to do with you; it just is what it is. But for that moment, those people give you love, you give some back, and it all feels good.

4. Real poker players don’t view chips as money, which is a scary proposition because, unless it’s a tournament, it really is money. It’s that feeling, though, that lets them do things you and I would never consider. For instance, there’s the story of a poker pro named Daniel Negreanu, who won a poker tournament and $1.5 million one day, only to lose all the money the next day playing a cash game. Most of us would have lost our minds but he just saw it as a bad day, and went back the day after and won some of it back.

Many of us view our blogs as an opportunity to make money, which isn’t a bad thing, but blogs aren’t really money. We read this advice saying we must do this or that in order to make money blogging. It’s possible you can make money in those ways, but you might not. Niche blogging might or might not make more money than just writing in general, but if you’re writing for the money instead of for the love it’s not going to come across right to potential readers, and you’ll be wasting your time. Having mailing lists and setting up newsletters you don’t really want to write doesn’t benefit anyone and can be more work than it should be. If you view your blog as only a potential money maker, you’re going to fail; that’s just how it goes.

5. Poker playing, no matter what level you play at, means you have to be willing to risk something. When I play poker I head into it knowing that there’s a possibility I’m going to come home out between $200 and $300. Sometimes I come home way ahead, slightly ahead, or break even. What’s rare is sitting down at a table and winning the first hand, or first few hands. Most of the time you’re going to be down, even if it’s only 2 or 3 dollars, based on ante’s whether you play a hand or not. Like all games, there’s always the risk of losing.

With blogging, losing is kind of a strange way of looking at things. Instead, let’s say things might not go as planned all the time. If you write it people won’t necessarily come unless you work in getting them to come. If you don’t answer comments or make commenting hard people will be reluctant to come, and thus reluctant to read. If you’re writing a niche blog that you define too finitely you might run out of things to say. If you don’t write enough posts people might lose interest.

You have to be willing to take risks every once in awhile. You might have to court controversy to get an opinion out every once in awhile. You might have to rely on spell-check more often to help correct spelling. You might have to re-read your posts on occasion if you realize you make a lot of mistakes. You might have to deal with trolls or spam here and there or loss of a portion of your privacy. And you might have to actually attempt to show people you have some knowledge about something, or are funny, or are entertaining, and that scares a lot of people. You might even have to risk being wrong; gasp!

There was a story on a blog post I was reading a few days ago on Problogger where a guy had started blogging and, though becoming somewhat popular, figured out that he was doing things the wrong way. I’ll never say there’s a wrong way in blogging, but it always depends on what it is you really hope to do later on. What he was doing went against what he later determined was his ultimate goal, so he had to stop, then wait awhile and start over so he could hit his goals. My point is that he took a risk, got part of what he wanted and part of what he didn’t want, and he knew he could always start anew.

There you are; 5 things you can learn from poker as you continue blogging into the next year. All I’m going to ask you to do is be safe tonight as you celebrate heading into the new year, and then head into the new years with guts and glory and success on your mind. Happy New Year y’all!

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Five Top 10’s For 2010

The year 2010 was an interesting year for me. I had some successes and some down times, but mainly it was a good year. As I look back on the year I had some things occur that have never happened before, and in some ways I grew a lot.

As I head into the fourth year of writing this blog, I thought it would be interesting to document some things in a top 10 fashion. I’m going to highlight some posts and some people that I felt either made an impact or was something I liked for whatever reason. This isn’t anything overly new. I’ve done something similar to this in the past, and of course every news outlet in the country is doing the same thing. I figure it’s my turn; there will be some surprises and some happy people; let’s see where this takes us. By the way, this one’s going to be long; you’ve been warned.

First, I’m going to start by thanking 10 people who made a big impact on my life in some fashion this year. Some of them have websites, and I’ll link to them if they do. Others don’t, and, well, obviously I won’t be linking to them. Most probably most of these people will never know I thanked them; nothing I can do about that. My top 10 people to thank, in mo particular order, are:

1. My wife, who helped me in more way than anyone could possibly imagine. I guess that makes sense, being married to me. lol And she does have a website, which I wrote about some weeks ago, called Li’l Specs.

2. Mom, who also has helped me out in more ways than I can name this past year. I’m really glad she stayed healthy all year long, and I hope she stays this way for a long time.

3. Beverly Mahone. I don’t even know how many times I was on her Blog Talk Radio program this year, and I was also on her regular radio program as well. Last December her organization named me as one of the Top Baby Boomer Men of 2010, and I got included in her most recent book, Don’t Ask, and I Won’t Have To Lie.

4. Scott Thomas. One of my best friends, definitely my longest. We shared dinner and pizza, movies, and of course you saw that lava lamp a couple of days ago. He comments on this blog as well, and has supported me for years, as I try to support him. He’s got a few websites as well, but I’m going to highlight his photography blog, Views Infinitum.

5. Peter Pellica, aka Sire of Wassup Blog and many other blogs as well. Sire’s been the longest blog friend I’ve had, and we play a lot of chess also. We support each other online, and that’s a great thing indeed.

6. Renée Scherer. Her site is called Presentations Plus, and many of you know that we put on some presentations together this year. She also worked on getting me to networking events, and I probably went to more of them than I might have otherwise.

7. Keith Siddel. Keith was responsible for the majority of my income this past year, and for that I definitely owe him thanks. His company website is HRM, and if you decide to check it out and go to his partners page you’ll see my business listed on it.

8. Jayson Gibson. I did more writing for Jayson this year than for anyone else, and it’s been a pleasure doing it. I can’t link to where I write for him, but maybe he’ll stop by on one of his trips and see it.

9. John… I don’t know his last name, which is a shame because he’s my next door neighbor. What did he do? Earlier this year we awoke to more than 11 inches of snow in the driveway, and it was wet and heavy. My back couldn’t handle it, and my wife couldn’t handle it either. We barely made a dent in it over the course of 30 minutes. He saw our distress and came over with his snow blower and took care of it for us. Then two weeks ago, after going out to shovel, what, 6 days in a row, I awoke to another day of at least 4 or 5 inches in the driveway, and once again my back had started giving up on me. I decided to wait an hour, and in that hour he actually came over and did it again, without my asking. You just don’t always get neighbors like that.

10. Josh Shear, with his blog of the same name. What’s his contribution? Without him I’d have never gone to a tweetup, and not met many of the people that are joining my local sphere of influence.

Next, I’m going to tackle the top 10 posts as far as visitors that were written in 2010. This one took awhile to research because many of my most visited posts are older, but the one at the top, which overwhelmingly blasted all the rest, is quite familiar to all of you at this juncture:

Cleavage – Yes, I’m Going There – 10,247

Webshots – 663

Should Sexting Be Illegal – 541

My Top 19 Favorite Classical Pieces – 365

Are You Obsessed With Numbers? – 242

Images Used By Permission – Copyright Laws – 225

My Hot Tub Adventures – 204

PDF My URL – 204

My Top 10 Fictional Characters – 171

Setting Up Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) -155

Next, another switch. Time to thank my top 10 commenters of the year. Some of you will be surprised by the figures, but this is how it’s played out for the entire year, and I thank y’all for visiting:

1. Sire (368)
2. Dennis Edell (154)
3. Carl (multiple websites) (123)
4. Carolee (120)
5. Patricia (109)
6. Val (109)
7. Charles Gulotta (105)
8. Rummuser (67)
9. Kissie (56)
10. John Dilbeck (55)

Next, something slightly different. There’s a plugin you can use that will tell you which of your posts were most popular via social media. It’s called PostRank, and it gives each of your posts a rank based on a number of criteria such as how many times it was retweeted, how many times it was posted on one of the other outlets such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, et al, how many times it was commented upon, and some other factors. The higher the ranking, which is based on a 10 point system, the more buzz that post generated. It doesn’t count page views, so for once the Cleavage post and some others won’t be on this list. Here’s that top ten, with rank:

First Page SEO Basics – 8.6

Would You Be Missed? – 7.8

Sunday Question – What Happened To Modesty? – 7.7

Sunday Question – What Do You Hope To Accomplish In The Last 3rd Of The Year? – 7.6

Twitter Plugin Changes Coming – 7.5

Why I May Not Comment On Your Blog – 7.4

Sunday Question – What Do You Really Think About Blogging? – 7.3

A Networking Meme – 7.1

Don’t “Stink”; Not Quite A Rebuttal – 6.9

And finally, something for myself. I took a look at more than 300 posts of mine and selected what I considered were my top 10 posts of the year, whether they got much attention or not. Here are those posts:

The Ethics of Your Writing

Are You A Lurker Or Participant in Life?

It Takes Guts To Have An Opinion

Expert, Specialist, Professional or Hack?

10 Things That Lead To A Happier, Healthier You

The Business of Blogging

The Myth of Link Building

Does Your Content Stink – Kind of a Rebuttal

Using Social Media To Grow Your Influence (with a picture of me as a kid lol)

SEO Is A Practice Like Medicine, Not A Science

That’s it; yeah, many of you might not care, but hey, it never hurts to take a look back at the past to see what one has done before, and then formulate where we’re going towards the future.

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What Do You Want For Your Blog?

Last week I was reading a post on Mike’s Life blog titled Why Businesses Should Blog Outside The Box. It was written well, and it made an interesting point in saying that once he was able to convince a friend of his to find a way to convince people who didn’t know they needed him and his business that his friend’s business skyrocketed once he figured out how to reach that particular market.


Dream On
by Gisela Giardino

It was interesting to think about because I believe most of us really are searching for those people who we believe need us or want what we have to offer in some fashion, and we don’t really think as much about reaching out to those people who may not know they need us. Of course, that really would be thinking outside the box, and I’m unsure how we’d get it done.

Actually, that’s not true at all; at least for me. I find myself always trying to convince people I meet to stop by my blogs. Most of them aren’t really interested in many of the things I talk about… at least that’s often my first thought. Then I start thinking that there are people who visit this blog because one never knows what the heck I might be talking about, and I invite people to stop by once I’ve had a chance to talk to them. I often find that I’m talking to someone that mentions something I’ve written about on this blog, and I’ll say to them “hey, I wrote about that; you should check out my blog.”

Of course, just because I get people here doesn’t mean I know what I want for this blog. It’s something I’ve been thinking about as we get towards the end of the year, and as I start the creep towards post #1,000. Some think I should talk more about myself; some think the path I’ve undertaken in the previous posts over all these years is sufficient. Frankly, I haven’t fully come to grips with what I want for this blog.

So I dream and think, and in sharing it maybe you’ll dream and share. I’m not about to lay out my goals for 2011 on this post; that’s later. But here are things I’m thinking about. Do I want to make money on this blog? Do I want to increase my overall influence through this blog? Do I want to keep increasing all my measurable numbers, as in more subscribers and a lower Alexa ranking? Do I want to talk more tech or talk more blogging and writing or share more stories or add more motivational stuff? Do I want to add more video (can’t just yet) or audio? Do I want to use this blog to get more business overall?

What do I want for this blog? I’ll be thinking about that over the next few days. What do you want for your blog? Have you thought about it, and if not, will you?
 

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Why I May Not Comment On Your Blog

It seems to me that there’s enough information online and people talking about this subject that other folks might start listening to it in some fashion. Alas, it’s not the case, so I’m here to be the guy to bring it up, popular or not. It’s probably going to come across as a harsh post, and that’s not its intention. Sometimes I just have to be real; this is one of those times.


Comments by Boltron

I comment on a lot of blogs; I visit a heck of a lot more. It still surprises me that so many people have set things up that discourage many of us from commenting on your blog. I mean, it’s not hard; it’s not rocket science. All that’s needed is a thought about where your blog is, how your blog is set up, and what you’re hoping to get out of your blog. Making it easy for people to comment on your blog, no matter what; is that too much to hope for?

Okay, some of that might not be fair, but then I haven’t gotten into any details yet. I guess that’s where I should start, so we can get a discussion going.

1. If you’re moderating comments, you’re getting on my nerve. Moderated comments tells me that you care more about spam than about thanking people for wanting to comment on your blog. If it worries you so much, then put up a disclaimer up front that you’re moderating comments and I won’t waste my time. But then, if you did that I, and maybe a lot of people people, won’t comment on your blog. That’s somewhat disingenuous, isn’t it? The other thing about writing a comment on a blog that moderates comments is that suddenly you’re getting bombarded with a bunch of comments all at once in email, and if the owner of the blog isn’t putting any names in, you have no idea which response is to you, if there’s one to you at all. I hate that, but it leads to point #2.

2. If you’re not responding to my comments, you’re getting on my nerve. I didn’t just stop by and write “good post” and move on. It might not have been the theory of relativity but I at least gave you a response that showed you I read what you had to say. Now, do I expect a response all the time? Actually yes I do, but if you miss one or two I won’t mind. But if you seem to exhibit a pattern of not responding to my comments, I probably will stop coming, and I don’t want any complaints about it, whether you visit me or not. Goodness, I’m as busy as the next person, and if I’m responding to almost every comment I deserve knowing that you appreciated my taking the time out to respond back to you.

3. Are you still using Disqus, or one of those other services? Haven’t you realized yet that you’re losing comments? Obviously you didn’t see Sire’s poll, which is still ongoing by the way. I mean, 45% of people said they wouldn’t leave a comment on one of these blogs; are you really getting enough comments that losing 45% of potential visitors is okay for you? And, by the way, if you read the post, you’ll see that some of the people who said they’d still leave a comment overwhelmingly said they didn’t like it, and didn’t do it on all blogs that run this service, but most of them. So, add at least another 25% to the mix and then ask why you don’t have lots of comments. By the way, you’re a dying breed; so many people lately have jumped on the CommentLuv bandwagon and found other ways to block spam and they’re starting to thrive. One guy told me his comments jumped threefold; how’s about that!

4. Are you verifying that people are receiving your responses back to them? This one’s dicey because of you folks running free blogs on WordPress.com. It doesn’t give you the ability to set things up so you can make sure people are seeing that you’ve responded to them, and that’s a shame. Since I’m someone who won’t subscribe or login to receive comments when I get that email (after all, I already checked the box on your blog that asked if I wanted to subscribe to comments), I’ll only revisit blogs of those of you I happen to like; you know who you are if you’ve seen my comments on your blog. If you’re answering a lot of people and rarely hear back from them, this could be an issue for you. But I’m not the guy who can tell you to spend your money on self hosting and a domain name; spend your money your way. However, I am the guy to tell you that it’s the way to go if you get serious about blogging.

5. Some of you know I don’t like Blogger/Blogspot blogs. I don’t like them because you have to create a login name to comment so that you’ll get responses back. I have one for my business name, and I’m still trying to figure out how that happened, but not for any of my other blogs or websites, including this one. Some blogs I want to comment on aren’t appropriate for my business account, and thus I’ll either skip it or comment using the email for this blog, but of course Blogger won’t let you put in an email, and thus you never know if you got a response or not. This fact impeded a lot of blogs I wanted to check out when we had that network meme a week or so back. On this one, same answer I gave to the previous point; I can’t tell you what to do, but if you’re serious about blogging, think about it.

That’s it; that’s my rant. I’ve actually ranted on all these things in the past, as you can see from some of the links, but I guess it’s been awhile. People forget, and thus I figured I’d bring it up again. If you don’t really care, then that’s fine; if you do, well, at least think about it.

Buffalo Bills Red-Navy Blue Pleather Varsity Team Tall Sizes Full Zip Jacket

Buffalo Bills Red-Navy Blue Pleather Varsity Team Tall Sizes Full Zip Jacket






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