Category Archives: Blogging

8 Of The Top Black Individual Blogs

Last week our friend Kristi had a post on her blog titled 125 Fearless Female Bloggers. I thought it was a pretty neat list, and I decided I wanted to do something like that for black bloggers.

Of course, because I was doing it, the thing wasn’t going to be easy. I had to decide on my criteria. I came up with these rules for myself:

* had to be an individual blog

* had to be a self hosted blog

* couldn’t be an entertainment blog

* must have lots of newer content

* had to be ranked under 200,000 on Alexa

That last one almost proved to be my undoing. Turns out there aren’t a lot of black blogs out there under 200,000 that fit the criteria. Most of the blogs that do are entertainment blogs. I excluded them because most of the content on those blogs isn’t original content. That doesn’t make them bad, but it just didn’t work for what I wanted to do. And I will acknowledge that some blogs are high because they’re attached to a person’s website; that’s not a disqualifier in my book, just a smart business move.

I know most of the blogs I’m going to talk about, but I have to admit that I then had to go do some research. And I have to admit that I’m somewhat at a loss on how other folks ranked blogs when they did similar posts. One guy had to stop because he was going off Technorati for years, then they changed their algorithm. I’m not really trusting Technorati right now because this blog’s been growing in numbers in many ways, yet Technorati has dropped my rank to around 125 from 494 earlier in the year, and raised my business blog to around 425 with way fewer visitors.

Some other ranking blogs decided to rate people based on… well, there you go; I’m not quite sure. Maybe it was feeds, maybe it was how “black” they were on their blogs… I just have no clue. So I had to determine a standard, and there you go; no matter what people think about Alexa, it still is a more viable tool than many others I’ve found.

Why was I compelled to do something like this? Because when it comes to numbers, there really aren’t a lot of black bloggers comparatively. And there certainly aren’t a lot with clout. Sure, some have influence, but probably one of the famous names in the group is Marc Lamont Hill, who some people might know because he’s been on TV a lot, and his blog only comes in around 250,000; not bad, but outside my criteria.

And there’s the preamble; now on to the list, which is 8 only because I couldn’t find two more in about 2 hours worth of research; that’s a shame.

8. Attraction Marketing Online – 141,107 – Mavis Nong writes this blog, and it’s pretty much along the lines of the types of things I sometimes write about here. It’s mainly about marketing, but she also talks about plugins and blogging and the like.

7. How To Split An Atom – 123,399 – Steve Spalding is the creator of this blog, and he talks about all sorts of things like blogging, politics and social commentary.

6. Evelyn Parham – 113,692 – Evelyn talks about health issues, healthy living, natural products and vegan stuff; I like it, but I never going to be a vegan! 🙂

5. Afrobella – 112,099 – her real name is Patrice Yursik, and she talks about black hair care and beauty products for the most part. I doubt most of you would benefit from this, but a few of you might enjoy some of what she writes about.

4. Oliver Willis – 84,301 – Oliver’s blog is definitely political, and he has multiple posts a day on the topic. Some are very short, links to other posts, some are videos, and some is commentary; my man is definitely passionate!

3. Biz Chick Blogs – 79,341 – Tia Peterson’s blog is one of my new favorites because she covers mainly topics about blogging and writing. She’s also a go-getter, writing on a couple other networks.

2. Basic Blog Tips – 55,483 – I don’t know her last name, but I see Ileane everywhere. She’s well respected and well liked, and man does she offer lots of tips on blogging, which makes sense based on the name of the blog.

1. 2 Create A Website – 6,477 – I have to admit this is a new one for me. Lisa Irby is a webmaster for many sites who writes on blogging, websites, traffic… basically internet stuff and ideas. And even though most of the time I think it’s kind of a joke, hers is the only blog on this list with a PR of 5 (heck, Ms. Ileane’s blog is a PR 0 like mine; come on now!).

And there you have it. Please visit these blogs, and if you see something you like make a comment and let them know I sent you.
 

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Will Paying The Price Get It Done?

Last week I read an interesting post on a blog written by a lady named Jacqueline Gates titled The Price Is Right ~ But Will You Pay It? First, that’s the first time I’ve ever typed a squiggly line, and I didn’t even know I had that key until I went looking for it. Second, it’s an interesting article that also has an interesting, if long, video complimenting it.


by TheTruthAbout

If you don’t go check it out, the basic premise is that everything is attainable if you’re willing to pay the price for it. She talks about weight loss, being monetarily successful and something else that’s slipping my mind. In her view, we all have the capability to do and be these things if we’re willing to do what it takes to get there. The question now is twofold; one, do we believe it and is it really true?

Y’all know me; I’m of two minds. One, I believe that anyone can achieve anything if they can get beyond circumstances, whatever those circumstances are. Two, I believe there are some things that are unattainable, not because one doesn’t work hard enough for them but because, well, they’re just unattainable. In my comment on her post I mentioned that no matter how hard I work, even if I do the same thing 24/7, at this point in my life I won’t ever be the starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. But in my past… okay, let me have that pipe dream for a moment. 🙂

Based on my beliefs, question number one has limits to it. I used to be a pretty good piano player but I haven’t played in years now. If I started to practice every day for at least 20 hours, I might be able to get back to where I was. However, I couldn’t reach the level of Rubenstein even when I was playing between 6 – 8 hours a day in the past; would that really be attainable now, no matter how much I practiced? Sorry Charlie (who remembers old tuna commercials?), but it’s just not going to happen. But can I be pretty good, maybe even better than I was before? Sure.

So, not only are there limits, but there are modifications we might have to deal with. Can we all be rich? Absolutely. Can we all be Oprah rich; ain’t gonna happen. Do we need to be Oprah rich to be happy and content? Nope. Is it still a nice goal to shoot for, as long as we’re still realistic about our overall dreams? Yes.

Okay, on to question two, and I think I’ve already answered it. If it’s not always attainable, and thus not believable, then it’s obviously not true. At least not across the board. Let’s look at blogging, my favorite subject here, and talk about it a little bit.

Can any one of us be really successful at blogging? Since there’s lots of criteria, sure. But let’s look at two criteria in particular. One, can we all make money with our blogs; two, can we all get our blogs ranking high wherever we want them to rank high? Let’s take these in order.

We can all make money with our blogs. I’ve made money with this blog and my other two blogs as well. Have I made “big” money; that’s a much different question. I don’t think I’ve made $100 total with my blogs in the full existence I’ve had them, and one of my blogs is more than 5 years old. Actually, let me take that back; I haven’t made $200, since I did make some money when I accepted text ads early in 2009. I haven’t made any thing significant, though. Could I? Truthfully I don’t know. Since there are a few folks who’ve made it I could say “yes”, but since that number is less than the number of millionaires in the United States (which is actually a much higher number than you’d believe), I’d have to say probably not. Doesn’t mean I won’t try, but it’s highly unlikely.

So, number one says “no”. What about number two? This is one where I believe Ms. Gates rule on “price” is spot on. With this one I really do believe everyone can be really successful if they’re ready to pay the price. Ah, but what is that price?

Two weeks ago my blog finally cracked the magical 100,000 number on Alexa. I believe it cracked that figure because of the sweat equity I was putting into it. I’ve written a post a day for about a month; I even had two posts a day two weeks ago, though that second post was more about marketing. Tomorrow’s post will be my 900th post in just under 3 years. And I’ve visited lots of blogs and commented, shared, retweeted their posts and my posts, and really worked the community. In essence, I’ve been willing to pay the price to get to this number, and all without page rank (y’all don’t really want me to go there again, right?).

However, I know everyone can’t afford to do this. I work from home, so I have more freedom to diversify my work and my blogging. Not everyone can do this, so I have a small advantage. But this is where paying the price differs. I give up vacation time and time to just sit and watch a lot of TV or play video games for this. I might be missing something, but I don’t know. But y’all do, and if you enjoy doing what you do, then you’re not missing a thing. You’re paying the price in a different way; that’s okay.

In conclusion, we all pay the price for whatever we have. We can decide to pay the price for other things or continue paying the price and getting what we have. But paying the price for something else doesn’t necessarily equate into ultimate success. Yes, you’ll be more than you were, and that’s great. But trying to be more than what’s possible will leave you depressed. Do the best you can, achieve the best you can, and be happy with that. Now, get in there and blog!


Mailwasher Pro
Mailwasher Pro

 

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Do What You Do And What You Know No Matter What

Last week I was listening to an online review of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. There were 4 people talking about the movie. Three of the people absolutely loved it; one guy hated it. The guy who hated it owned up to the fact that he’d never read any of the books, nor had he seen the other movies. So, he was lost, looking for action, and hoping the movie would entertain him even if he didn’t know anything about the series.

I remember when the first X-Files movie came out there were a lot of people who were saying the same exact thing. No matter that the movie did have excitement (heck, it had explosions within the first 5 minutes) and even aliens (man, a movie with aliens that also makes sense is my kind of movie), but people were upset because they didn’t know the history behind the show or the characters, felt left out, and thus rated the movie lower than it deserved.

Sometimes I think people just don’t get it. Everything in the world isn’t for everyone; that’s just life. I remember a review of a John Denver concert years ago where the woman who did the review stated up front that she hated John Denver and left the concert feeling the same way. In my opinion, how could she even think of writing a fair review if she went in already knowing she didn’t like it? Was she expecting him to do something special so she’d say “wow, I was wrong all these years” if she hated it?

I’m bringing this up because of the subject of influence and being “liked”. In yesterday’s post on Twitter Chats, I talked about how some people didn’t like others using Twitter in that fashion and the resulting dustups that end up with some people losing followers and others gaining some. Just as the concept of Twitter chats isn’t for everyone, neither is every blog for every person.

Well, maybe that’s a bit much. I like to think this blog is for everyone, but I know that every post isn’t for everyone. If I write about sports and you don’t like sports, I don’t expect you to stick around long. I know I can write about cleavage (especially if I add an image) and Sire‘s going to be there, but if I write about string theory, chaos theory and the calculations of quantum physics that says they’re possible (ugly stuff to be sure, but kind of fun in a way) it might not grab his attention as much, but there might be someone out there intrigued enough to read it all.

I know there are times when I talk tech and some folks stay away in droves because they don’t get it. i also know I go to blogs that talk about cars or other things that my mind can’t always figure out either. I certainly don’t always understand “mom” blogs, being neither a mom or a parent.

When there are things that don’t appeal to my sensibilities, I don’t sit down and gripe about them at that moment; I leave. Whether or not I come back is irrelevant. It’s obvious at that moment that a particular thing wasn’t written for me or to me, and thus I don’t have to try to force it into what I want it to be. There are plenty of other outlets, plenty of other people who’d appreciate my time, and those people who are doing something I’m not interested in are going to appreciate that I didn’t stop by and rake them through the coals because they weren’t my cup of tea at that moment either.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re in a niche that not everyone can get behind. Those that do get behind it will be loyal to a fault, especially if you return that loyalty. And don’t beat yourself up if someone comes to your blog and leaves comments, yet you visit their blog and find yourself kind of lost. I think anyone who’s expecting me to stop by a punk rock blog just because they stopped by here and posted a comment is kidding themselves, just as I know I’d be kidding myself if I thought everyone should be watching and listening to every opera video I posted.

If you’re creating something, whether it’s a blog or website or book or music, create what you want, then find your particular audience, or they’ll find you. Don’t cater to someone who hasn’t invested time to learn what it is you have to offer. Sure, there are times when you might have to take a step back and give some background before moving forward. But like Harry Potter, X-Files and John Denver, if your stuff has been out there for awhile and a newcomer stops by and slams you for their ignorance, don’t bite; just go on with your bad selves. And if you’re wondering where that comes from, check out a clip from one of my favorites, the Muppets:

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas



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Simply Hide Pages Plugin

You see all those things along the top of this blog? All of those are pages that I’ve created to share stuff with y’all. Anyone with a WordPress blog at least has an About tab up there, though some have even more pages than what I’m showing above.


Hide and Seek
by Dar’ya Sipyeykina

Here’s the thing. Sometimes you want to be able to write a page, yet not have it cluttering your list at the top. Actually, you don’t want it showing at all because you have a different idea you want to use it for. Yet, you still have to have pages, and you’d like some flexibility in what you want to show or not show.

The Simply Hide Pages plugin is one way you can go. I’m part of a health care group that’s kind of a consortium of people with different skills that they can offer to providers. I’m pretty much the website guy, even though I have other skills as well. I created their website, and I created their blog. One thing they wanted the ability to do was get articles up on one of their pages. But they were going to be tasked with sending me the entire article and having me create a new page each time.

With the above plugin, I told each of them to go to the blog, paste their article into the box, and save it as a draft post. What I then do is go to the post, go down to the area below that says “custom fields”, type “hide” in the first box, then where it says “value” type the number “1”. That’s it. When you then publish the article it’s there, but it won’t show up above.

What that allows me to do is only have to add a link to the articles page instead of adding lots of individual pages. Now, there’s a benefit and a negative to that. For SEO purposes, one negative could be that a site could lose a bit of the benefit of having an extra page if the blog isn’t hosted on the same site, which in this case it is so they don’t lose anything.

A benefit is if you wanted to create a membership site, or at least a membership area of your site, because you can have pages with your content, make it hidden, and feel confident that it’s not at the top of your blog. Yeah, some people might think to use their posts area for that type of thing, but I’m someone who believes there’s a major difference between what I’d put up as a post and what I’d put up as an article.

Anyway, there’s the plugin, and if you want to use it for any other reason that I haven’t mentioned at least now you know it’s there.

Gifts Under the Tree Tie by The American Necktie Co -  Red Microfiber

Gifts Under the Tree Tie by The American Necktie Co – Red Microfiber







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Blogging Step Seven – Staying Motivated

Seems it’s been a little while since I wrote my last “blogging step”. Of course, if you want to see the other steps you can click on the blogging tips at the top of this blog, one of the special pages I created to highlight when I write about blogging specifically.

In this case, it’s the topic of staying motivated. The one thing I hate seeing is a blog that was going along fine and suddenly there’s no more posts, or else a post once a week, once a month, etc. Actually, I don’t have a problem with those folks who only post once a week, but anything less frequent almost begs the question why you’re bothering.

There are usually 3 main reasons why people stop writing a blog:

1), they can’t think of what to say

2), they’re not getting much feedback and thus are discouraged

3), they’re tired

Let’s take this last one first. There are some people who have written for years, and they’re just plum tuckered out. I have that feeling every once in awhile. Maybe this blog is only about to celebrate its 3rd anniversary, but my other blog is more than 5 years old. I still have plenty to say, but you know, there are times when my mind just feels really tired. Some big time bloggers quit in 2010, though I can’t recall any names as I’m writing this. They announced it, then moved on. There’s really nothing to do with those folks except thank them for their service and try to move into their slot.

The next two are workable, though. Let’s start with not being able to think of what to say. To me, every day there’s a new topic of something to talk about. But this isn’t a niche blog. I’ve often cautioned people not to make their niche so finite that they have nothing to talk about anymore. Dead blogs are embarrassing, and blogs that only have a post every 3 to 6 months aren’t worth anyone’s time.

Almost any topic lends itself to something else one can write about. Almost, that is. Early this year I was writing a blog for a chiropractor in another state. I knew that if we stuck with just that I’d be out of topics within a week. That’s a topic where it probably takes a chiropractor to find new things to talk about that keeps it fresh. However, what I was allowed to do was write about controversial medical subjects as well as maladies people suffer that could be addressed by a chiropractor. This opened the world to many possibilities and I wrote about things that I’d heard about but never had a reason to research before. It was pretty fun, and it’s too bad it only lasted 3 months.

Also, there are no real rules in length of posts, and nothing saying you can’t divide a long post into two posts and link them to each other, which I’ve done with other blogs on occasion. No one is going to beat you up for that; it’s all about figuring out ways to be creative, both for yourself and for others. If you feel something, you’ll be able to express it and show it, and your readers will feel it as well.

Now, this brings us to the last point, which is getting feedback. You folks who visit here hear this over and over; blogging is a community. This isn’t Field of Dreams; if you build it, they’re not just going to come. We all need to show others that we care about them as much as we hope they care about us. Yes, blogging takes time, but it doesn’t necessarily take work.

It’s not work if you’re visiting blogs that offer something you’re interested in. There are wonderful writers out there writing on your topic, as well as off topics you might not have considered before. If you need to find blogs on your topic, go to Google, click on “more”, go down to blogs, type in your topic and you’re good to go.

Or join a blogging community of some sort to find blogs to read. I belong to both BloggerLuv and P50 Allied Bloggers. Not that I needed to join a community but it was both a fun thing to do and a way to expose my blog to some people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

And, by the way, let me dispel this old saw you’ve probably heard. Just because a blog might not have any comments or no indication that it’s not well visited doesn’t mean it has no value to you. Every blog you want to comment on has value of some kind. One good comment can earn many more in return. You might even get someone to write a post thanking you for being one of their early commenters.

Remember, everything you see or do is a potential blog post, possibly on your main blog topic. Just be alert and willing to see things as a story unfolding before your eyes. And work on engaging with others; we all love that.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home






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