Category Archives: Blogging

Spam Is Getting Sneakier And Sneakier

Lately I’ve been getting a different kind of spam, and I know I’m not the only one. Y’all know how much I hate spam, but this spam is sneaky. It’s a kinder, gentler spam, messages that seem like they could possibly be legitimate, and they give you pause for a short time because you just don’t know.

I’ve seen these same types of comments on other blogs, and every once in awhile you’re just not sure. What we have to do is figure out just how close the message seems to come to what our topic was about, but even then, it’s hard to tell sometimes. For instance, I received a message saying how much the reader loved my blog, and how he was concerned about diabetes also. Well, of course I’ve written about diabetes, so my first inclination was it could be legitimate. However, it was on a post about CommentLuv, and not the post about the plugin, but the post about the CommentLuv Contest, which made no sense. That’s when I decided it probably had to be spam; when I get a second comment from the same name ten minutes later on the original CommentLuv post, it was confirmed in my mind that it was spam.

And that seems to be the main trick about it all; the email doesn’t only go to one post, but it goes to multiple posts. For instance, I had a post show up on the topic of SEO, which I’ve started writing on here and there, and the writer was for a SEO company; I know because I checked it out. If it had remained only on the one post, I might have left it alone. However, it showed up on a second post about 25 minutes later that had nothing to do with SEO, and once again, confirmation that it was spam.

These guys are really getting good at writing their generic message, such that we believe it’s the real thing. It’s probably why Dennis and Sire decided to write comment policies, even though I’m still fighting the urge to write one. My only gripe, as you know, is people not using their real names at least once, so I know who I’m writing back. What some folks may not have noticed, those I figure are “drive-by” posters, is that I’ve gone in and reduced their fake names to initials, so that I can respond to something that at least makes some kind of sense to me. I haven’t had one of those folks ask me why their names were changed, which is why I figure they probably won’t ever be coming back. For tht matter, I don’t know if they ever check the box to receive comments back; it’s easy to do, something that Blogger doesn’t allow you to do if you don’t have a Blogger account (did I go there again?).

I hope y’all are at least trying to be vigilant when looking at these relatively short, yet courteous messages, and trying to verify whether or not they’re legitimate comments or not. If you don’t believe they are, don’t just delete them; if you have the choice, mark it as spam, and let Akismet, if you’re using it, learn the pattern. Man, I hate spam!
 

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Don’t Do (Insert Here); It’ll Mess Up Your Blog

Check out my Big RSS Subscriber Contest after reading this article.

Time for a rant of sorts. Once again today, on another blog, I came across a statement that just made the hairs on the back of my neck rise up. Okay, it was on Dennis’ blog, a comment someone wrote on one of his topics, to whit:

remember to put nofollow in them though, keywordrank might suffer otherwize.”

Spelling errors notwithstanding, I am so tired of reading things like this in general, talk about worrying about losing keyword rank, page rank, ‘link juice’, etc. I’m not tired of hearing about it because I see it everywhere; I’m tired of reading about it because none of it is true. Rather, let’s not go out on a limb and say it’s not true; it’s not legitimate enough stuff for anyone to worry about. Yes, I like that better. But I can’t make a statement like that without following it up, so let’s take a good look at it all.

First, let’s look at that particular comment above. Keyword rank is an invalid term; I think what the writer was trying to say is that if you use keyword links and don’t make the “nofollow” that those keyword links will suffer. It’s not true. No one suffers anything from using links within their content, especially if those links help validate the keyword phrases one is hoping to use in their article. As a matter of fact, links highlighting keyword phrases are strong, even if they’re not internal links.

Second, it was a misstatement because that wasn’t the topic of Dennis’ article to begin with. I’ll just say that it was related to looking at what kind of ads might be more recommended, banner ads or text link ads within content. Since Dennis didn’t mention it, I didn’t take his question to mean paid for text links; I took it to mean having affiliate programs that might work as links within the content, such as a link to hard drives if he was talking about hard drives. He might have even been talking about some of the affiliate programs such as Kontera that add links to one’s site.

On the first point, if you add your own links to your content to take someone to a product, that won’t get you into any trouble on your blog. That’s not considered a paid link, per se; I got that from Matt Cutts blog, though I can’t tell you right now which post, as he has so many. Now, if your entire article was filled with these links every step of the way, Google might not appreciate that, but even so, that won’t get you into trouble either. They do know, however, which sites might be paying for links, and if they find those, you might get into some trouble. Or you might not; Google goes looking for overt sales links. They’re not looking for everyone, and certainly not looking at every blog in the world; there’s over 90 million blogs at this juncture. What you don’t do is flaunt paid links in their faces, and of course you don’t irritate someone to the point that they turn into the “link police” and out you.

On the second point, companies like Kontera use javascript in the ads that they add onto your site, and since Google doesn’t track javascript there’s no worry there at all. Heck, you don’t even have any control over where those ads go, so how would you even try to add a nofollow attribute to it?

Moving on, this term “link juice”. How many folks remember my post on January 1st where I did my study of page rank and SEO? I’m thinking that, based on my own study, this thing about losing page rank because of too many links has been outed as invalid. As a matter of fact, SEO practices in general believe that the more related links, the better your website will perform, especially if you can figure out internal linking better. So, having 5 or 500 comments on your blog, dofollow comments at that, don’t hurt you at all.

Now, let’s talk about page rank; what, again? I talked about it when I wrote about “dofollow” blogs, and of course I’ve mentioned it often in passing on other posts. I did another little study, because, after all, I’m the researcher. I went to the all-knowing Google and put in “losing page rank”. You want to know what I found? Out of the top 300 links on Google, only 33 articles on the actual topic were written in 2008. The majority of the articles written on the subject were in 2005; isn’t that fascinating?

It says one of two things to me. One, not as many people really care as much about page rank anymore because, overall, it’s a dying topic. You know where the benefit of a high page rank is? It’s in advertisers who think that actually means something, and therefore want to pay you to place their ads on your site. It’s not in visitors; you don’t get more visitors from having a high page rank. If you get a lot of visitors you’ll have the possibility of obtaining a high page rank, but not the other way around. So, it’s more important, for a blog at least, to write good content, write posts that people want to read on topics they care about, and have a few SEO techniques such as good titles and description tags to help people know what you’re writing about.

Two, overall concern about page rank is dying, mainly because those in the know realize just what I said; page rank and visitors aren’t necessarily tied in with each other. Our friend Sire, who lost his page rank because he writes paid reviews (yes, that will lose you page rank, because it’s easy to track), certainly hasn’t lost visitors to his blog because of it. Last I saw, he had one post that had almost 80 comments, I believe. Our friend Dennis, whom I mentioned above, has a page rank of 3 on that particular blog, but one of his posts, which has received 123 comments, still doesn’t have a page rank associated with it. I’m betting Dennis isn’t crying over that page not being ranked; are you, Dennis?

Anyway, it’s time to bring this rant to a close. Here’s the thing, folks. It’s not about page rank or losing “link juice” or dofollow or nofollow. It’s about finding ways of writing content, or doing some other things that will bring people to your blogs, some of which I talked about when I gave my December statistics, or finding ways of using SEO to bring people to your websites. Worrying about dofollow, link juice, page rank or most of the other ranks means nothing. The one that means the most, at least to me, is how many visitors are you getting, and how many people are subscribed to your feed in some fashion. Everything else; you’re wasting your time worrying about a lot of nothing.

Thanks Dennis, for letting me use you like this; take it out of some of that Scratch Bank love I gave you. 🙂

Palm Tungsten(tm) E2 handheld


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Blogging Step Five: How Often To Post

It’s been almost 3 months since the last post of the blogging series, so, before I go further, let’s list the other four:

Step One: What To Write About

Step Two: Where To Create Your Blog

Step Three: How To Create Your Blog

Step Four: What And How To Write

So, if you want to start at the beginning, and if you want to think about it some more by reading this post, we’re ready to move onto the next part.

A question that’s often asked is how often someone should write. Kelly McCausey, substituting for Alice Seba as she has a baby, wrote on Alice’s blog that she recommends to her coaching clients that they write at least 2,000 words a week, and finds that clients seem to not only appreciate the advice, but end up writing more often.

I subscribe to a lot of blogs, and I find that there are some people who will post 3-7 times a day, some who try to write one post a day, and some who try to write 2-3 times a week. Occasionally there’s one who writes once a week, and if they write less than once every couple of weeks, unless they’re friends of mine, mine, I don’t stay subscribed for long. When I’m home, I write one post a day on this blog. Actually, let me clarify that; I make at least one post a day. Sometimes I’ll only post something, like a video of something that’s caught my fancy, even if it’s something old and odd:

Okay, I watched that when I was a kid; I admit it. 🙂 Anyway, you may not know this from reading this particular blog, but in my real life I’m an independent consultant, so there are times when I’m out of town a lot, like right now. I stay in hotels, and not all of them have the best internet service, so posting something daily becomes problematic. So, right now, I post more on the weekends, yet still try to get at least one post in during the week. If you’re hoping to attract visitors, and keep those visitors, then you need to post new content on some kind of regular basis to encourage people to keep coming back. If you write once a month, no one’s going to remember to come back, but if you write regularly, and you’re entertaining or informative, then people hopefully will come, and keep coming.

Then, if your purpose is to show you have some kind of knowledge that will help you get contracts or work later on, or your purpose is to make money with your blog, you’ll have better chances to do both. And, let’s face this fact; why have a blog in the first place if you’re not going to write anything to begin with?

Oh yeah, let me be clear about my terms. What’s in this particular post, for the most part, is writing; the video is just a red herring. Some people post only pictures; some videos, and some others post sound files. In a way it doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent, but in another way it does matter. If you’re posting videos, one has to hope you also have something to say, and that every once in awhile it’s you in the videos saying something because you hate typing. Videos can be nice, but if that’s all you post, people won’t like it too much because watching videos takes time. The same can be said for audio; great stuff every once in awhile, but they take time to listen to. Posting pictures goes the other way; if that’s all you do, it gets boring after awhile because you’re not really giving something of yourself. So, there has to be a mix of media if you’re going to do it at all.

And there you go. I hope some of you have read the series and taken to blogging on your own. I’d love to know how it’s working out for you thus far. And I’d like to highlight someone else who writes a great blog on blogging ideas, and that would be Barbara Ling. She offers a lot of great stuff.

Happy blogging!

Harlem Globetrotters-Team That Changed the World

Price – $13.99


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Why Do You Write Your Blog?

Why do I write this blog, or any other blog? Why do you write a blog? What are you hoping to achieve? Are you trying to inform? Are you trying to make money? Do you have something you need to get off your chest?

fountain pen
Phil Hilfiker via Compfight

I ask this question after reading what can best be called a couple of rants by different guys. One guy, Merlin Mann, wrote a piece called Blog Pimping, and actually used a lot of the original rant, written by a guy named Jack Shedd, called Tacky. Both posts are pretty much against what they consider as the blatant marketing of blogs to make money by the professional bloggers, and what they perceive as what’s been created because of them, the professional commenters, whose only purpose is to try to hopefully drive traffic to their sites by commenting on these big time blogs.

Of course, one of these guys is marketing things in his own right off his blog, whereas the other guy, Jack, doesn’t seem to be marketing anything, so we can take each for what it’s worth. It still begs the question for most of us as to what our purposes are for writing our blogs, and whether we end up staying true to our souls more than our goals.

I don’t think I’ve hidden my goals for this blog; I want it to make money. So I write about topics that interest me, hoping they interest others enough to want to come back often to see what I might have to say. I like to think I’m not a one trick pony, though, as I slide from topic to topic and, occasionally, post something to entertain myself more than I’m probably entertaining someone else (remember the Yoda video?). This is a blog to make money, but it’s also a blog to have some fun with. I don’t see myself as one of those guys who’s ever going to make blogging a 24/7 job; could happen, but I doubt it. I have way too many interests for that sort of thing.

And of course there’s my other blog, the professional one, Mitch’s Blog, whose purpose isn’t necessarily to make money (though I do have Adsense on it; I’m not a fool after all), but to inform and show people that I have some competence with my main career as a consultant. Maybe indirectly it’ll convince someone to request my services, and I may make money that way, but it’s intention isn’t to do it straight out.

Still, a good question to ask is why it seems to matter so much to someone else why a person is writing whatever it is they feel like writing, and why it’s disturbing them so much. Truthfully, I read a lot of blogs, but there’s many more that I’ve taken a look at and decided I don’t want to read for one reason or another. It’s just like television; if you don’t like the program, turn the channel and watch something else. Not that I don’t find a blog post every once in awhile that gets on my nerve, but to rant against someone because they happen to be successful sounds like the people who gripe against musicians who allow their music to be used in commercials; life was never that pure to begin with, and it’s certainly not going to be that pure now.

For the moment, I have another career, so I’m sorry if I can’t put together 1,500 word tomes on my blog just to pad the stats. But I’m near 600 words; that has to count for something. And people, if you want to comment on my blog to try to drive traffic to yours,… by all means!
 

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Is It Easy To Comment On Your Blog?

I just left a post on another blog. The blog required me to register first, then it sent me a password so I could fully register and add any pertinent information I wished to. It’s a WordPress blog, so I’m familiar with it.

Thing is, the blog has been in existence for almost 18 months, and there’s never been a comment. I would pretty much figure it’s because the blog owner makes one have to register first. I usually don’t register for blogs, but in this case I made an exception. I don’t usually like doing it for three reasons. One, it takes time away from my commenting; when I want to comment, I want to comment now, while I’m thinking about it. Two, it gives the blog owner a feeling that they can start sending me all sorts of email that I don’t want or need; I’ll visit the blog and possibly read or buy stuff when I want to. And three, you can’t unregister; I tried on this one blog and finally just fudged an email address, because the writer was inundating me needlessly with updates, then updates on the updates; enough already.

There are other blogs I’ve left messages on, only to receive an email asking me to click on it to prove that it’s me. It’s easy enough to do, but it leaves me wondering if I want to continue dealing with it long term; I’d rather you just read the comment and determine if you want it on your site or not. A couple of times my entry has never shown up on one of those sites anyway, which left me feeling like I wasted my time. And, if I feel like I’m wasting my time, you’re probably not going to get any love back in the form of links or even being added to the blogroll some day.

I never had it set up that people needed to register for my site (though some do anyway), but I realized fairly early on that I was going to have to add something to stop as much spam as was coming through. I first loaded Botcheck, which took care of a lot of stuff but not nearly enough. I then loaded Bad Behavior, but the same was occurring. Finally I added Akismet, which is supreme, and it catches virtually everything. On my business blog, I added a plugin that makes people put in a randomly generated number. I haven’t had to go that far with this one, as Askimet seems to be doing a great job on its own.

The main idea of your blog is to encourage others to comment; at least that’s usually the intention. You share your ideas, and you hope others will either validate your thoughts or offer something new. If you’re just writing for yourself, then that’s something entirely different; enjoy that. Some folks don’t have comments open at all; their choice. But if you’re going to do it, make it easy.

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