Category Archives: Blogging

10 Things Not To Do On Twitter

Twitter is the fastest growing social networking site in the world today. As with most new technologies, rules for proper use are written on the fly, and Twitter rules are no different, except, in this case, the rules aren’t quite written, and it’s the users that make the rules.

There are ten things that many Twitter people do that are generally considered as bad manners. Some of those things are:

* Not having an image of some sort with your profile. Unless people know who you are, they’re reluctant to follow anyone without some kind of image to give people an idea of who they might be.

* Using a tiny.url as the link to your website. Hiding a link to your website makes people suspect that you have an ulterior motive in putting it there, and if people don’t trust you from the start, they won’t follow you.

* Writing about every single step of your day. No one is interested in following every second of anyone else’s life, yet that’s how some people participate on Twitter. If that person isn’t your friend, you’ll probably drop them because they’re taking up too much of your time and space when you have other people to follow.

* Only posting links or quotes and not talking to anyone. People love information, but we hate being ignored when we want to talk to someone. If a person has 30,000 people following them, or if they’re a celebrity, they might get a break, but for everyone else, if you don’t ever engage anyone openly, people will unfollow you pretty quickly.

* Posting the same links over and over. Many people are on Twitter only to market themselves. If someone is following you and sees that you only post the same content all the time, you can bet they’re going to drop you as soon as possible.

* Using a lot of bad language. This is the bane of modern existence, people forgetting how to be courteous in public, but being consistently bad mouthed will get people to drop you like a bad habit, even if they use bad language in their real lives.

* Following a lot of people but only having a few follow you. This is a big red flag for most Twitter users, because it’s the tactic employed by spammers. Though there are often these big pushes towards increasing one’s followers, it’s better to increase both in a more organic fashion.

* Not having any posts. If you never write anything, or almost never write anything, why would you expect people to follow you? Twitter is all about people interacting with each other, and if you’re not interacting, or you have one or two posts and they’re both talking about the latest product you’re marketing, you’ll never get any followers.

* Getting into an argument with another person. It can invariably happen to anyone, but it’s considered bad practice because the participants never know what they’re going to say, and at some point they might say something that offends a big number of people. It’s usually best to try to let it go as soon as possible.

* Saying something in the open that you’d never say in person. Last year, a reporter for the Chicago Sun Times wrote a negative post about too many fat people on the train he was on. Within an hour, he had been vilified worldwide, and many people had already sent letters to the newspaper demanding that he be fired. Back in January, another person lost a job he’d just been offered because he made a derogatory comment about taking the job without realizing that the person who offered him the job was following him on Twitter.

These are just some things that people need to think about when they’re going to participate on Twitter. Avoiding these ten things can make your Twitter experience a pleasant one.
 

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Twitter Tips

Not like I haven’t written about Twitter often enough, but I thought it was time to write a short post on how to use Twitter to enjoy it the best if you’re inclined to use the service, as I am. The truth is that there’s no one way to use it, but there are things that you might want to consider doing and other things you shouldn’t even think about doing.

Twitter can be a lot of fun. But it can also get in the way of your regular life, and the life of others. Some Twitter users find themselves glued to their computer or cell phones literally hours a day, waiting for the next bit of information. Some users rarely show up, only remembering when it happens to come to their mind. Here are some tips for how to use Twitter effectively.

One way to use Twitter is to set defined times for when you want to pop on to see what’s going on. Doing that means you won’t be wasting time that’s needed to do other things by checking on Twitter.

Use a program such as Tweetdeck or Twhirl and set it up so that those specific people whose messages you really want to follow will be there when you do decide to sign on. The general Twitter stream moves so fast that there’s literally no way to keep up with it all unless you are on it 24/7. By using programs such as the ones above, you can be pretty sure that their messages will still be around whenever you do decide to check in.

If you have a blog, find a way to use a plugin of some sort to automatically send those messages to Twitter whenever you do an update. Of course, you can also set up your blog to see what the people you follow have to say, as well as to show what you’re saying on Twitter. I’ll admit that’s kind of irritating to me.

Try to sign into Twitter at least once every couple of days. Just like blogs, people like to see some sort of consistent participation from those folks they’re following. If you pop in and out with no regularity, people will unfollow you.

Every once in awhile, post something that has nothing to do with you. If you see an interesting article, video, or image, post that link onto Twitter. If you read something on Twitter that appeals to you, retweet it for others to see, since everyone following you may not be following someone else. And sometimes, just talk to someone you’re following; you never know what may come of it.

Don’t overdo anything. Don’t try to talk to everyone all the time. Don’t retweet too often. Don’t post too many links. Don’t post too many quotes. Don’t ramble; always try to have something to say.

If you’re using Twitter to only promote your business, try to find ways to interact with people so that it doesn’t look like it’s the only thing you’re doing. Respond to people who try to reach out to you from time to time; it enhances your presence, and people like to see that you’re accessible.

These are only a few tips to help you get the most out of Twitter. There really are no right or wrong ways to use it, but some ways will be more effective for you that others.

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Problogger

You know, I’ve mentioned the name many times, and it hit me that many people might not have any idea who or what I’m talking about. So, here we go, me talking about a blogging superstar.

rowse04

Darren Rowse runs a blog and website called Problogger, and he’s one of the very few people who gets to get away with telling the rest of us how to do it and not say he’s full of stuff because he’s one of the first million dollar a year bloggers in the world. He’s a guy who offers so much information that I believe everyone can benefit from visiting his site.

Let’s take this step by step. Rowse was a former seminary student who decided on a career change and wanted to explore the world of blogging. He started writing his blog in September 2004, and like most of the rest of us, most of his early posts were good but had no real readers; at least had no commenters. It would be a good thing for people to think about looking through some of his early posts, which are also educational as it regards better blogging, as well as to see that everyone has a humble beginning.

At some point Rowse figured out that making money by blogging really is about two things. One, you have to start driving a lot of traffic to your site. Two, you have to be ready to accept paid advertising.

He did both, first finding his way to driving great traffic to his site by keeping his content at a very high quality level, sometimes writing 3 or 4 posts a day. Then he set up a rate for advertisers to put ads on his site, and he was off to the races. He even experimented briefly with Text Link Ads, making some money but getting out before he lost all of his page rank (I wasn’t as smart; lost mine for about a year…), yet they remain one of his sponsors, which he likes to call them instead of advertisers. I know because I asked him about this, and he actually responded to my query. That doesn’t happen often with people who get lots of comments.

To be totally fair to everyone else, he didn’t just sit on one blog to make all this money. He set up a consortium of bloggers called B5 Media (which was sold in 2012). If you check out his full website rather than just his blog you’ll see he takes on more than just blogging. He also has other blogs that he writes, including a popular one on photography.

He added video a few years ago and people seem to like listening to what he has to say, based on the number of comments he has on almost every single post. And he now has a series of writers who write some of his content; in essence, it’s now more of a full time business than just a guy sitting at his desk writing blog posts.

Problogger is one of the most genuine sites about blogging and almost exclusively blogging. Darren Rowse proved that you can make money blogging. He also showed that it takes more than just writing posts to make that money, which many people don’t realize. It’s about more than just writing quality posts and writing comments on other people’s blogs to drive traffic your way. You have to think of it as a business and do business types of things to make money at it.

Now you know why I mention him and his site so often. It’s good stuff; check it out.
 

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Fake Commenter Names

I’ve been thinking about the use of fake blog commenter names a lot lately. Actually, I’ve thought about it before, and probably for a long time. I really started thinking about it a lot more after I wrote my post on the person who was hiding behind a fake name and defaming the model; she got hers in the end. Earlier in the summer I also wrote on the anonymity of bloggers and how I will agree that, sometimes, a blogger has to keep their name secret to protect themselves, but how generally I don’t believe that’s the way to go.

I’ve also written many times on leaving valuable comments instead of throwaway comments. One such post was about commenting and not wasting people’s time with a terrible comment. Another post was a little rant about why it behooves you to comment on other blogs. People appreciate when you comment on their blogs, and if they like it you might get some love back; who doesn’t like that?

Anyway, back to this name thing. I’m someone who likes to respond back to people who leave pretty good comments on my blog. I don’t expect perfection, but I expect realism. I know to delete all those posts that ask me where I got my theme, especially when I haven’t ever written a post about blog themes here (well, that’s not quite true; I did write one that was more about gravatars than themes but mentioned it, and another one reminding people to move things after changing their theme, but that’s it).

When I don’t have a name to respond to, I feel a little bit silly if I want to comment and I have to use the fake name, which I know some people like to refer to as a keyword name. I will often look at the email address to see if there’s a name there, and if so I’ll respond to that email name and leave the keyword name. If not, then I change the keyword name to only initials, then I’ll comment on it. But that takes time that I shouldn’t have to deal with.

I’m easily not alone on this one. There are posts galore from people about hating keyword names, such as this one from Neil Shearing, this one from Success Creations, and this one from Blogging Startup. There was even a post from Remarkablogger on writing keywords in comment posts that I thought was very good. Even my friend Sire addresses this in his comment policy.

I’ve always deleted links in comments that have nothing to do with the topic I wrote on. They’re not needed; this always tells me that some folks have no idea what CommentLuv is all about, which they see at the bottom of every post. If you’re writing from a blog, CommentLuv will go and find your last blog post and add it automatically. If you go to the CommentLuv site and sign up for an account, it will find your last 10 and you get to select which one you want to highlight. I mean, that’s just a great thing.

If you’re not writing from a blog, then just post the link you want in where it asks for your domain address, and you’re good to go. I don’t have a real problem with that, unless it’s a TinyURL or to a site that’s easy to discern as bad; I will delete those, and have. I hate hidden links as a general rule, and it’s one of the things about Twitter that makes me wary at times.

Why do people use keywords as their comment name anyway? It seems that many years ago some people were writing and saying that it would help them with their SEO efforts to do it. Gang, that’s just not true. It only helps if you’re doing it on your own blog or website. By putting it on mine, all you’re doing it either helping or hurting me if your name does or does not equate to the topic I’ve just written about. And it generates a lot of spam; many other folks seem to say that they get way more blog commenting spam when they’ve been allowing fake names, and I do get quite a bit.

I’ve given people who comment on my blog a lot of benefits. I’ve added CommentLuv. I’ve made this a dofollow blog, which means you’ll get your little bit of juice by commenting. And I don’t turn comments off after a certain point in time either. I even respond to almost every comment (I mean, there’s a point at which I might have to determine who gets the last word, and it’s not always going to be me). All I ask is for a little bit of decorum coming back.

So, from today on, I ask everyone to at least give me a real name that I can respond to before you write your keyword name, if you really feel that you have to do it. Either that or put your real name at the end of your comment, which our friend Steve of Trade Show Guru fame does. It helps us develop a relationship, and keeps me from having to go in and edit names. And, if you can, use CommentLuv or the domain name area for your links, unless you’re adding a link in your comment to add to the discussion at hand.

From today on, I will be reducing those keyword names without a real name preceding it to one letter; if I’m going to work, I’m going to make it easy on myself. And we’ll proceed from there. I think it’s fair, and so would our friend Dennis, who also wrote a fairly good comment policy, which at the time I thought was pretty tough.

And there we go. Something for a Sunday morning before football starts, where I’m hoping my Cowboys will remember why they’re known as America’s team and actually starts playing some better football.


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The Secret Is There’s No Secrets

Back in March, I wrote kind of a rant post on people who keep writing these posts about driving massive traffic to one’s blog. In it, I griped that these people keep writing the same thing, almost to the point where I wondered if people are just copying what someone else says without putting any real thought into it.

Six months later, I’m still seeing the same kind of thing, only these days people are couching it within the phrase “The Secrets To…” or something like that.

I read a couple earlier today, knowing what I was going to see and was still irked by it. One talked about how to get more visitors to your blog. The other was about how to get free advertising to one’s blog. Both are the same exact things I’ve seen before; nothing new, and not even written all that originally. Like I said, it’s as if people are just copying it from someone else’s site.

Now, I’ll be a little bit fair. Maybe, to someone, this is all new information. It’s just hard to believe, after I’ve been doing this for so many years, that this is new stuff for all that many people, especially the people who are writing it. And, to be fair again, I guess the other problem is that there’s not really much new that anyone can really offer on most of these subjects.

I mean, really, what’s new that someone can come along with to help drive traffic to their blogs anyway? The only things I really haven’t seen much of is sending email to everyone in your email address book asking them to visit your blog, leave a comment, and invite others to stop by. That’s something I’ve done, but only when I feel I’ve written a post that deserves a bit of attention. I’ve never asked anyone to Digg or Delicious or anything else to my posts other than sharing them. I do have that little thing above the comments box where people can do it if they so choose, and I do appreciate it when it happens (though I’m not on Digg or Stumble Upon, so I always wonder how I get traffic from those two places).

The other thing is to try to do offline marketing to see if you can drive people to your blog. I’ve seen postcards sent out to get people to visit websites, but never a blog. I’m thinking the costs of doing it would be prohibitive; after all, those costs are prohibitive when you’re using that kind of marketing for other reasons to begin with.

So, like the myth of “You Can Make 100,000 A Day If You Buy This Program,” the myth of “The Secret Of” is just that; a myth. Now, this isn’t to be confused with something I talk about all the time, that being the movie The Secret, something I’ve mentioned often but never really written about; I’m going to have to get that done soon, probably on my other blog, as it talks about the Laws of Attraction, and I need to have it bringing more people to me than sending people elsewhere.

So, we’re agreed? No more belief in “secrets of” other than what I’ve put below?

The Secret



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