Category Archives: Blogging

Yes We Can Be A-List Success Stories

The other day, I read a post on a blog called WordPress Theme Customizations written by a guy named Costa on the topic Are You Still Dreaming To Be Famous Blogger. His point is that people will read what these A-list bloggers have to say, buy what they put out, and often you’re not only left with a product that didn’t really tell you anything you could use to try to get where they are, and not only are they not really even blogging anymore as much as managing, but you will never reach the level these guys got to, and that maybe it’s time for you to just be who you are.

He makes some interesting points, and I hope you click over and read what he had to say. I, being me, do take some exception to some of what he had to say, but not because of the reasons he chose. Here’s my take on it all.

Any one of us can be an A-list blogger. What that means, however, is that at some point you’re going to need one of two things. One, you’re going to need a major break of some kind. Two, you’ve got to be set up to capitalize on that big break when it comes.

This post isn’t about any of that, however. What it is about is not giving up on a dream, no matter how big, no matter how small (yup, now I’m channeling Horton the elephant). Anthony Robbins once said “if you have nothing to live for, you die.” If you’re not trying to accomplish something with your blog, why bother with it at all? If you’re willing to be less than your potential, why bother?

True, based on reality, everyone can’t be an A-list blogger. Does that mean you can’t be? Not at all. You could be a famous blogger without being an A-list blogger. You could make a lot of money without being an A-list blogger. You are whatever you are, and you can potentially be whatever you strive to be. Even if you never made it to the A-list, you will always feel secure that you have gone all out to be the best, and you can never take anything but pride in that. And there’s a lot to blogging; just check out these stats from The Future Buzz.

I do agree with Costa on one point that says a lot of what you purchase doesn’t end up giving you exactly what you want. For instance, that Beyond Blogging book on the side there isn’t a book that’s going to give you step by step instructions on being a better blogger. It’s tales of how some bloggers who have made a lot of money did it. It’s motivational; nothing wrong with that.

It’s like networking, for those of you who work for yourself; it is what you make of it, and if you leave a networking event without meeting at least one person, most of the time it’s your fault. Some people join organizations thinking those organizations are going to help them make business contacts that are going to bring money into their pocket. But that’s not what most groups are about, so it’s their fault for thinking that.

Now, if you want some free ebooks that may or may not help you, you can check out this post of mine offering some ebooks on affiliate marketing, and then this other post with more ebooks on affiliate marketing. These are free; go for it.

Back to my premise. I’m shooting for great success in 2010. After all, I’ve just been named one of the Top Baby Boomer Men of 2010, thank you very much. 🙂 After that other post of mine on publicity, this is a nice start to the new year. But I don’t have to be the only one shooting for the stars. The world is big enough for all of us to try to be as big as we want to be, whether it’s A-list blogger, famous movie star, or just rich person without any notoriety whatsoever.

Just don’t give up on your dreams because it seems like a hopeless cause. Now let’s get out there and conquer the world!
 

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Clearing Away Irritations In 2010

Back in September on my business blog, titled Mitch’s Blog, I wrote a second post on the topic of tolerations. The original post on that topic was only about a paragraph long, so I wanted to boost it up some more. On that post there’s a link to a pdf file called 1001 Tolerations, which pretty much means things we put up with instead of getting them out of our lives and making us feel better about things.

Well, this is a new year, and I think it’s time for me to clear some things out of my life that have been irritating me in some fashion. Actually, most of us should think about doing that from time to time because we all tend to allow certain things to drag us down, even if it’s only occasionally. For instance, you have someone who you call a friend, yet you avoid them because they bring you down whenever you talk to them. All they talk about is themselves and their problems; they never ask you how you feel or even listen when you try to talk; it’s all about them.

I don’t have anything like that in my life, but I do have some things that I will be eliminating. One is going through my email address books and eliminating anyone who hasn’t responded to anything I’ve sent in at least a year. I think that’s not a bad place to start, but I might even go back further than that; I’m not sure yet. I go through my email all the time, and I see these email addresses of people I send stuff to that never write back. I tolerate that, but no more; they’re gone. Well, kind of gone; I’ll save the email addresses in a file, but at least I won’t be seeing them anymore.

Two, remember my post against Disqus? Well, I’m now resolving that any blogs I’m following that has Disqus on them, or any other blogs I go to that send me a message saying I have to subscribe to find out if someone has commented back to something I’ve commented on, I’m deleting from my blog reader and moving on. Any new blogs I come to that has Disqus I’m not even reading. Now, I know some of you have it on your blogs, and if I like you, I may not delete the blog, like our friend Peter; we go back a long way after all. But Peter, sorry, I’m not commenting anymore because I hate getting that email every time asking me to subscribe.

Three, I’m going through all the blogs in my reader and I’m going to make sure I’m following people who are talking about stuff I really care about. Also, I’m going to drop anyone who hasn’t written a post in 3 months. And, while I’m doing that, I’m going to find the time to get to Twitter and release people who I started following a long time ago, who either aren’t talking anymore or aren’t talking about anything I care about. I follow nearly 1,400 people, and I’m not going to say that’s too many, but I am going to say that I do listen to a lot of folks, rather follow a lot of folks, who aren’t really talking to anyone, but instead are always selling. Twitter isn’t supposed to be a one way conversation, just like blogging isn’t supposed to be a one way conversation either.

You know what? At a certain point, we all deserve to have more positivity in our lives. And sometimes, heck, all the time, it’s up to us to make our own happiness and get rid of those things that help to make us unhappy. It’s time for me to do that; what about you?

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My 10 Favorite Blog Posts Of 2009

We’re winding down the year, and since I’ve already posted my goals for 2010, I thought I’d take a look back to see what I really liked that I posted in 2009. That’s not necessarily an easy task, as I had well over 200 posts, but I do what I do for my readers, and also for myself I suppose, as I get to see where my mind was at certain times throughout the year.

The posts below weren’t necessarily the most commented posts of the years, although, as it turns out, one of them actually was. These are posts I liked for some reason, and that means it’s a selfish reason. Maybe later on, at some point, I’ll actually post something about the most popular posts for the year; we’ll see. In the interim, I hope you enjoy some of these posts that you might have missed throughout the year, and heck, you might think about doing something like this on your blog.

1. Barack Obama – Our Time Has Come – There shouldn’t be any question why this post is here, even though it may not have been one of my better written posts. You just can’t imagine how proud I was on this day, and man, I wasn’t hearing any mess from anyone about “well, he’s not all black”. If he were walking down the street no one would be saying “Hey, there goes half-white Barack.” So, my wife and I were proud, my mother was proud, my grandmother was proud, my dad would have been proud, and it was a great day.

2. Seven Things You Don’t Know About Me – This one was part of a meme that someone else started, and I decided I’d go this route rather than the 25 questions meme that was going around.

3. Massive Traffic To Your Website/Blog – This post was a rant against all those other posts you’ve all seen where someone is talking about how to drive massive traffic to your blog, but it’s the same thing you read over and over, without any proof that any of what they’re talking about works. You know me; I hate when people copy from each other without offering anything new.

4. Six Things I’ve Learned About Affiliate Marketing – This post turned out to be the most commented on post of the year for me, and Sire, it topped out at 88, so no, I still don’t have a post that’s reached 100 comments. These were pretty good lessons; if I’d only listen to myself every once in awhile.

5. Dad, Mom And Computer – My story about how I used to talk with my dad on the computer and how it meant so much to him, then my mother later on, and of course me.

6. The Keys – Talk about having faith. This was my sharing the story of how I lost my keys on the day of a Syracuse University basketball game, how I knew I’d find them, and how it all came true.

7. Five Personal Lessons On Health Care – This one told the story of what I went through when my mother fell ill in September, and is probably the first time I gave advice to people with my background as a health care consultant that everyone needs to know.

8. No, Reading And Creativity Are Obsolete – Someone else wrote on the topic “is writing obsolete”, and I decided to counter her argument, so to speak, with what I thought was really the problem.

9. My 13 Favorite Singers – I loved putting this one together, and I felt I needed to go there because one of my most popular posts, Top 100 Singers Of All Time, was based on a list that Rolling Stone did and I just commented on it, but a lot of people thought those were my choices.

10. World Diabetes Day – 2009 – They do this type of thing yearly, and being diabetic, I always have some kind of story to share on the subject. This bad boy is growing fast, and I’m sorry but I just don’t believe that all the people gaining too much weight is actually all their fault. So, this is my tale for this year.

And there you go; if that’s not enough to read back through, I don’t know what is. I hope you enjoy going back through a portion of my year with me.

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My MySQL Upgrade Battle; The Short Version

Goodness, what I’ve been going through with my business blog!

It all started when I tried to upgrade it to 2.9. My business blog is my oldest blog, which I began in March 2005. It was created in MySQL 4.0. To use WP 2.9, you have to be on MySQL 5.0. This meant I had to upgrade my blog to the new database.

The first thing I did was to export a file of all my posts. I did it straight up instead of as a zip file; do both, which I eventually did, just to cover yourself. Then I went to my host, 1&1, and I exported my current database to my computer, then created the new database. All good thus far.

They I tried to import the new database, but there was a problem; my file was too big. You can only upload a maximum of 2 MB on most hosts, and my file was 3.5MB; lots of data over 4 1/2 years.

So I had to contact my host to ask them to do it. They were hesitant, and instead walked me through a process of uploading it myself through a special SSH program. That process didn’t work, though they didn’t know why and I did. I had to use the unzipped file to upload and it only allowed a maximum size of 16MB, but my file was 29MB; you’d think they would have known that.

The next step was on their end. They ended up finding a way to get my old database files into the new database, though it took them half a day to get it done. I went in, changed the WP-Config.PHP file to the new database settings, and all was a go.

Nope, not quite; nothing works that easily. All my posts suddenly didn’t work anymore, and that was problematic obviously. Nothing was coming up, but the strange thing is that I could get into my dashboard without any problems, and I could get into the editing area of each post. This was freaking me out.

My blog was down for two days, as tech support looked at it and determined they didn’t know what to do. They told me they had gone as far as they were allowed, and that maybe I should hire someone to fix my database. Hey, this is me!

The first thing I did was go online to see if anyone else had my problem. I couldn’t find that specifically, but I did come across this video called How To Fix WordPress MySQL Crashed Tables, on a blog called WonderHowTo. I thought that might be the issue, so I logged back into my host control panel and went through that process. One of my tables, WP-Options, had a lot of stuff that I had to run the “fix tables” process on, but it worked almost immediately. I went back to the blog; nothing.

I decided to see if upgrading to 2.9 would work. I tried the automatic upgrade, which has never worked before, and viola, it worked! Well, the upgrade worked; now I have at least one blog where that works. I still didn’t have any of my posts, though, and that stunk.

Still thinking, I decided to try deactivating all my plugins to see what happened. Nothing. However, something stuck out in my mind that I had seen while going through my searches. There was a lot of conversation about permalinks and checking the structure of those things. I went there and didn’t see anything out of place, but then remembered that, on that blog, I had a unique plugin called Dean’s Permalink Migration. I had added it to that blog to remove all the dates from my posts, which get in the way of SEO efforts.

I reactivated that plugin and went to check its settings. Then I hit update options, and all my posts were back; whew!

Then I went back to the plugins page and added the most important ones first and tested; all worked perfectly with the dashboard. Then I added the other plugins one at a time; all worked perfectly once more. Then I thought I’d try something and I added the WP Database Backup plugin, which used to shut all my blogs down; works perfectly.

I decided to go one step further. I went and found All In One SEO to see what would happen. And, of course, it loaded, my dashboard works perfectly, and all is right with the world.

At least on that blog. It seems that by upgrading the database that blog works the way it’s supposed to. As for my other two blogs, I’m still confused because they’re already on 5.0, so I shouldn’t be having any problems with anything. For now, I’m not going to worry about it.

What are the important lessons here? First, always make sure you back everything up, just in case. Export whatever you can to your computer for your protection. Second, if you have to, contact customer service and let them handle some stuff, even if they seem somewhat irritating. I’ll be writing a post about that on my business blog. Third, don’t panic if things don’t go correctly. Fourth, verify to see if you have your blog database first. If you can actually access your information in some way, you’re still running good. Five, test and question everything you have, and you’ll probably figure it out.

And if none of that works, go through forums, or, of all things, mention it on Twitter, and you might get a response or an offer of help. I’ve licked this one; whew! Since I probably won’t be posting on Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday!

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What’s The Deal With Disqus?

You know, sometimes it seems like some of us repeat ourselves because we just have to. The lessons that we feel we learn by our own experience are put into what we write on our blogs, people see them and comment and seem to agree, then they go back and do exactly what they wanted to do in the first place.

I have spent time on this blog talking about the benefits of commenting on other blogs, which I truly believe helps people get noticed in the blogosphere, at least initially. And you know by now that I believe there’s a fine line between success and failure and a lot of that could be because of many people not feeling that commenting will do them a world of good.

At the same time, I’ve lamented at how many people seem to set up roadblocks to commenting on their blogs. I wrote a post asking if it was easy to comment on your blog. I wrote one saying why I hate logging in to comment on blogs. And there was quite the discussion when I talked about why I dislike Blogger blogs.

Lately, I’m turning my attention to these blogs that make you double opt-in to comments. They haven’t made it hard for you to leave a comment, but they do make it generate a lot of stupid extra email to make you do something extra just to see if you really want someone to notify you when or if someone has responded to your comment or not. I hate that also, obviously; if I left a comment of course I’m hoping to know that someone commented back on it. If I didn’t, why would I leave a comment in the first place? Yeah, I know, some people only want link bait, but those folks know the consequences of leaving comments to begin with.

Now there’s this thing with this plugin some folks have called “Disqus.” The basic principle behind it is to create kind of a discussion community that potentially has the ability to spread beyond just the one blog you’re commenting on. This link potentially can help spread your reputation far and wide, and the only thing it requires is for you to create an account and make sure you sign in.

Uhhh, just asking, but did anyone notice I posted a link above about not liking to log in to things to comment? So, I’m not doing that. Disqus doesn’t make you do that. What it does do, however, is ask you if you want to log in or post as a guest, which is irritating, and then you get an email asking you to respond to the link if you want to receive comments to your comment or any comments after yours. Hmmm, I think I addressed that above also.

Sometimes we get enamored with the next great thing. We like to find these things that we think are cool and use them for our benefit. That’s all well and good. But if we’re blogging with the intention of having other people participate, the idea is to make it easy for them to do so. Irritating people isn’t a good way to encourage them to keep coming back. Sure, there are certain people within the community who will love coming back and playing the game, but the overwhelming majority are going to move on.

I find that I rarely comment on Blogger blogs these days, because I don’t always want to comment and have it directed to my business blog. And I’m not setting up another account; to be truthful, I never remembered setting up the one I have. I’ll probably find myself not leaving comments on more blogs that have this Disqus feature, and there’s another one I’ve seen often enough that I can’t remember right now that does somewhat the same thing.

I’m taking my own stand; any more blogs where I comment and receive email asking me if I want responses to the comments, I’m removing from my blog reader and never commenting on again. I may miss out on a lot of stuff, but I guess I’m ready to take that chance. As for some of you who I already follow, well, I probably won’t remove your accounts immediately, but if you hear less from me you’ll know why.

Freedom, justice, and the right to comment without restrictions; viva la commenting!

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