Category Archives: Blogging

Things To Remember After You Change Your Theme

A couple of weeks ago, I decided the theme for my finance blog, Top Finance Blog, was kind of dark. That, plus the background for it was actually a template and not just a color, and I couldn’t come close to matching the template color when trying to set up my Adsense on it. So, I decided it had to be changed, and went with the one that’s there now.

I liked the theme because it was pretty clean, but things were off for some reason. I finally figured out that all the stuff I’d had on my previous theme, which had two right sidebars, was missing. I went into the Appearance areas, into the widgets, and saw that instead of just right and left, this new theme had an area that just said Sidebar, but it didn’t go anywhere. The theme I chose allows for different kinds of customization.

What I’d forgotten early on was that every time you change a theme, you need to go back to your old theme and copy any customization you made to it, and move it to the new theme. I did that, and everything looked good once more.

Then a few days ago I decided to check the stats on some of my websites, went to that one, and I didn’t have a single visitor. I knew that was wrong because I’d been getting comments. Then I remembered that I hadn’t transferred the Google Analytics code to the new theme either. That’s one of a couple of codes I have in my themes that I can’t just see by looking at my blog, which is why I’d totally missed it. Went back, copied that code, and all is right with the world once more.

It’s an important thing to remember to check all of your coding when you change your theme. You never know what important thing you might be missing until much later.

9 Posts You Should See – My Version Of Link Love

This isn’t usually my type of post, but I figured it’s time to change up some. Usually when I have a post with lots of links, they’re my own links. This time, I’m going to put up 9 links to other people’s content, as I finally had some time to get through the posts for people I follow in my Feedreader program. These links might feel like they’re all over the place, but hey, it’s me; you wouldn’t expect anything less.

First, if you use Firefox, you’re going to love this one. It’s called 10 Firefox Hacks In about:config, and it’s on a blog called Tech Republic. I used the ones to increase the speed of my blog and a couple others; good stuff.

Second, our friend Lynn Terry of Clicknewz wrote a great piece called The Squeeze Page Method, which fully explains what a squeeze page is, and why she doesn’t usually like going that route, which I fully agree with.

Third, a wonderful post from our friend Marelisa of Abundance blog titled 54 Tips For Writers, From Writers, where she posts tips given by famous writers. You’ll be able to tell that she really put a lot of work into this one.

Fourth, we all probably ask if Darren Rowse of Problogger really needs more publicity from anyone, but heck, you can’t stop progress. In this case, he wrote a post titled Warning: Do You Recognize These 21 Blogging Mistakes?, and I’m betting you’ll see many that you’re making on this list. I’ll own up to it, there’s many I’m doing that’s on this list.

Fifth, Ryan McLean, blog of the same name, wrote a post titled The Dark Side Of Starting An Internet Business, and though it’s pretty good, I’ll admit that its appeal to me has to do with its Star Wars references.

Sixth, I think Willie Crawford has probably written his best blog post here, titled A Beginner’s Guide To Making Money With Google AdSense. I’ve seen similar stuff, but this one, I believe, will help many of you who still don’t quite get the power of making money through Adsense.

Seventh, this is definitely something a little bit different. It’s on a blog called Leader Business, and the titled of the post is No Whiners!. However, the beauty of the post is the form; click on it for a larger version, then print a couple out; funny stuff.

Eighth, from a blog oddly called Blogging Without A Blog, we have this post titled The Secret Is Out – Our Blog Posts Are Not Being Read, and it’s pretty much self explanatory, though she also talks about people who only skim a post before responding, so they never quite get what the post is really about.

Ninth, once again something different, as it’s two short yet funny videos. The blog is called Power Maxx Blog, and the post is titled The Dark Knight Meets Superman, which begs the question “What if Superman was a jerk?” You’ll laugh at these,… I hope.

And there you are; I hope you enjoy them, and please, read them!
 

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Grabbing For More Twitter Followers?

As y’all know, I’m on Twitter, and if you didn’t know then you’ve probably wondered what that big blue bird on the right over there is all about.

I’ve written about Twitter more than I’d care to admit, yet there’s always something more to talk about. In this case, I’m going to talk about people who try to get as many Twitter people following them as they can.

I’ve never been one who’s thought about how many people are following me. Some folks get really obsessed about it, then turn around and say they want to start unsubscribing from people who aren’t following them back, who aren’t saying anything, and many other reasons. I know there were certain people I wanted to follow specifically, mostly friends, and a couple of relatively famous people, but otherwise, I’ve just kind of let it grow as it grows. I’ve never really even thought about trying to get it to grow, and couldn’t think of a reason why I might want to.

Then I read this post by Scott Allen titled 5 Reasons Why You Need Lots Of Twitter Followers Now And How To Get Them, and I started thinking about it some more. In general, Scott’s main premise is that having lots of people following you helps you get your message across and helps you gain in popularity, which could be a big deal if you’re hoping to get known by lots of people for the ultimate success of your business or career. He makes some really good arguments, and I hope you go over and read the article, just to see how someone else thinks about it if nothing else.

So, I started thinking about this premise from a different direction. One of my long term goals is to be a professional speaker and presenter, and to get that done one has to be somewhat known. Well, if you’re better known, you’ll make more money per presentation. But is Twitter really the way I want to get there?

Scott shared this site called Twitterholic, which tracks the top 100 Twitter people as it pertains to followers, and I have to admit that I was stunned by some of the numbers. I can understand CNN news alerts being at the top of the list, but Ashton Kutcher being number two with over 730,000 followers, which is a phenomenal number. How many people is Ashton following; 60, that’s it. The person with the lowest number of followers on the list has almost 164,000 of them; that person is only following 34 people back.

In the end, that’s one reason why I think I’m going to stick with doing it my way. I’m not following as many people that are following me, but I’m right on the verge of 1,000 people. I actually talk to some of the people I follow, and they talk to me. I’ve always thought about the internet as an interactive agent, a chance for me to learn things by research, but also a chance for me to learn about people, and about myself, by having the opportunity to meet some of them.

Numbers for numbers sake, other than money, means nothing to me. If I get 200,000 people following me by means that aren’t necessarily natural, then did any of those people take the time to figure out who I am, decide that they actually like some of what I have to say, enjoyed talking to me, and, ultimately, retweets and shares some of what I have to say to them? And if they’re not sharing anything I offer on Twitter, then is it really helping me to have more numbers just because, as is said in every other venture, the more numbers one has, the more opportunities there are that someone will discover you and share information about you?

Possibly, but it’s not for me. I had my own little bit of notoriety a few days ago when someone wrote a Twitter post about how restaurants in the NYC area don’t always treat minorities properly, and I shared my own experience with a restaurant in Westchester County that irritated me to no end. Within the next two hours, my post was retweeted 9 times; I found that phenomenal, but also illuminating.

When people are touched in some way with what you have to say, they’ll share it with others. I get many requests from followers every day, so I figure I’m doing well doing things my way. Of course, though I still don’t know why so many people are following me, I still have my list of people who I don’t want to follow on Twitter, and it still seems to be appropriate.

But, for those of you who Twitter, you may have your own thoughts on all of this. Feel free to share.


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Massive Traffic To Your Website/Blog?

During my surfing party this week, I came across another article on how to drive massive traffic to your website. I don’t know why I keep reading these things because they all tend to say the same thing. However, this one just made me stop and decide that I wanted to comment on all of its points.

Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together
<Kevin Dooley via Compfight

The article is titled 20 Simple Ways to get Massive Traffic to your Web Site (at least it was; seems the title has been changed) by Penny C. Sansevieri, and it’s not that it’s a bad article, just that, in my opinion, at this time and place it’s somewhat misleading. It’s no more misleading than all the other articles I’ve read that say the same exact thing, but she’s listed her points, and I’m going to address each point individually. I do hope you go and read her article, though, which I’m not going to quote here, only her 20 points, with my commentary on each.

Before I begin, I want to make sure I get my point across. There are many things we can do to try to increase traffic to our sites. I’ve mentioned in the past how Twitter helped me increase traffic, and how commenting on other blogs helped also.

For my main business site, I haven’t talked much about how I got that one going, but I did some of the things mentioned in this article. The thing is, I did increase in traffic, but massive traffic? I don’t know that if I go from 5 to 25 visits a day that I consider that massive traffic. Massive traffic to me is 1,000 visits a day, and I don’t mean unique visits, which I get, but real live visitors that Google Analytics tells me about, or more. Still, let’s look at this list of 20 to see what I’ve done, or my opinions on them:

1) Write articles: believe it or not this is an incredible tool for driving traffic.

I have 10 articles on Ezine Articles and Evan Carmichael, and, according to Analytics, I’ve never gotten a single person to any of my sites because of them. They’ve been used elsewhere, though, so I’ve gotten links, but traffic,… nope.

2) Social bookmark *everything* – and I do mean everything

This one can take awhile, but I’ve done two things. One, I add the majority of articles I write on my three blogs to Delicious, and I also have every new blog post I write on all of my blogs showing up on my profile on Facebook. I know that at least two people have visited this blog because of a Delicious posting, but I only know of one person who’s even seen my blog listings on Facebook, and Analytics has never shown anyone coming to my blogs from there.

3) List yourself in the best directories

In this post, she was talking about paid directories, but I’m leery of many of these really big directories to begin with. As opposed to what I tried to do with my Services & Stuff site, you could end up in a category on a directory that has nothing to do with what you really do, or want to be known for, but you’re also then competing, at times, with hundreds of other people who do the same thing. I don’t know that I’d pay for it, let alone overly worry about the non-paid ones.

My main business site is listed in over 300 directories (I checked), and I certainly didn’t ask to be listed on that many directories, and I’m listed for diversity training on almost all of them. Thing is, I tried to go in and change some of them to something else, but you can’t, and they’ll only list you under one category for the most part. Hey, I’ll take the one way link, but traffic,… nope.

4) Get yourself listed at: DMOZ.org

At this point, DMOZ is kind of a joke. It’s so big, and they don’t have enough people working on it, that if you decide to try it might take 3 or 4 years before someone got around to adding you, if they decide to add you at all. My main business site is there, though I can’t remember how to find it, but none of my other sites are there because I didn’t even try to put them there. I’m lost in the shuffle, and, of course, almost no traffic has ever come from there.

5) Review: if you can review hot new products or books within your market, head on over to Amazon.com and start positioning yourself as an expert.

I can’t say I’ve done a lot of this, but I am listed as a reviewer on Amazon, and I’ve reviewed a few things. However, no one has ever followed any of my reviews back to any of my sites.

6) Offer a freebie on Craig’s List: you’ll be amazed at how much traffic you get from a single Craig’s List ad.

This one I’ve never tried. I have listed services I offer on Craigslist, and have received very miniscule traffic to one of my sites, but otherwise I’ve been pretty much ignored.

7) Create a “recommended by” list on your Del.icio.us page

As I mentioned, I submit my articles to Delicious, but I’ll admit I haven’t done any kind of list except for my own stuff. Still, if no one is even looking at what I post there, why would I expect anyone would care about a list I create?

8) And speaking of your email signature line…do you have one? If you don’t, create one.

This is an absolute for publicity, but the truth is that most people tend to miss it when they decide they want something. I can’t believe how many people will ask me for a link to my website, or when I send business email out, a phone number, and it’s right there in the signature line. People ask me for an address from my business site, and I have my address on every single page! This is important to do, but it’s never driven “massive” traffic to me.

The Lights of Japan
Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

9) Lend a helping hand: you can be an answer person at Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/)

I’ve set up to do this, and I did it fairly faithfully for a week. Number of visitors to my blog; zero. Now, maybe it takes more time than that, but, oddly enough, you find that there really aren’t as many questions you can answer as you might think there are, and sometimes, when you do find one, many other people have already answered it.

10) Set up a social networking site using Facebook.com, Linkedin.com, or Squidoo.

I’ve already mentioned Facebook, but I’m also on LinkedIn, Ryze, Izania, and about 4 or 5 others, and I’ve gotten little traffic from any of them. Ryze has probably been the most productive, but I’ve invested a lot of time there, and for what I got back, “massive” wouldn’t come close to describing.

11) Make sure your blog has an RSS feed

Heck, y’all know I have a RSS feed because of that RSS contest I tried to run at the beginning of January. I have that feed on all of my blogs, though I haven’t put it on all of my sites; might have to think about that one some more. Still, I haven’t gotten massive subscribers, and I’m doubting massive would describe traffic generated from those feeds either.

12) Join relevant groups at Yahoo groups (http://groups.yahoo.com/).

This I did, and then got out of. I think Yahoo Groups had its day, but it’s on the decline now, as there’s more spam related postings than anything else. As for traffic,…

13) Podcasting is another great way to drive traffic.

This one I’ve never done; the closest is adding the Odiogo widget to my blogs. I haven’t erased podcasting off my list of things I might want to do later, including video of some sort, so I’ll have to say I’m not sure how well this one would work, and I have no real history with it.

14) Start a blog and then once you do, start commenting on other people’s blogs, linking to them from your site or adding them to your blogroll.

Goodness, isn’t this what we always talk about around here, and amongst ourselves? This is the one thing I know has created more traffic to my blogs. Massive? Well, I still wouldn’t go quite that far, but interest and visitors, definitely.

15) Inbound links: don’t squander your time (or a perfectly good link) on smaller low-traffic sites. Instead spend your time going after high traffic, high quality sites.

Nice idea, but in general how would you know? I think we’ve debated whether it’s worth commenting on a big time blog with hundreds of other comments that don’t give a dofollow link versus commenting on a blog that might not have any other comments, but is a dofollow blog. We’ve even debated whether relevance in topics has to be there or not (I tend to believe it doesn’t matter as much as dofollow).

16) Start an email newsletter

I write two newsletters for my business, along with many other newsletters, but don’t have newsletters for my blogs. Man, that would be a lot more to deal with, wouldn’t it? However, there’s always been the question of whether newsletters drive traffic or sales. I think traffic would be stretching it because, with a newsletter, a reader doesn’t really have to visit your site unless you make it a condition of reading an entire article, which I consider as being somewhat smarmy. Now, you could send out a weekly “newsletter” telling people what articles were written on your blog or site for the week, with links to all the articles, and I guess that would be okay, but is that driving massive traffic to your site or just bringing back people who are looking to read what you’ve written back for another look? And, in this day and age, aren’t more of those people probably subscribing to your RSS feed, as it pertains to your blog?

17) And speaking of offline efforts: if you’re ever quoted in a magazine or other publication, make sure and mention your URL as its appropriate to the topic.

This I’ve done, but it’s never brought massive traffic. Like when I posted on my business blog the last interview I did (which can be found by going here, or downloaded and listened to as a MP3 file here). It got a lot of hits, but mainly because I sent it to all the people in my address book and they popped over to either listen or download. That was a one and done, and all those people knew me already. Anyone who didn’t know me,… nothing massive there. Still, it’s pretty good publicity that will always be there for me.

18) If you have products to sell why not get a store on eBay?

This might be a good idea, but more for making money than driving traffic to one’s site, unless you own a commerce site. It certainly wouldn’t drive massive traffic to your blog.

19) Load a video on YouTube and 57 other video sites.

Once again, something I can’t comment on since I’ve never done it. Of course, I do put up a post that’s mainly videos here and there, but without posting something I’ve created on my own and uploaded somewhere, I don’t know how well this works or not. I think every person has the opportunity to go viral, though.

20) If you’re going to go through all the trouble of getting traffic to your site, make sure your site is converting this traffic into something. Get folks to sign up for something, your newsletter, the RSS feed on your blog.

This one’s already been addressed in other comments above, so it’s more of a wrap up of other points than something new.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on these 20 points. I’m not saying they’re not good to do anyway, because publicity is publicity, and one or more of these might do wonders for you. And if one of you gets massive traffic because of it, then you’re just magnificent. But for the rest of us, the regular folks, unless we already have a big time following this isn’t what’s going to get it done.

What will get it done? Not that I really know, since I’m not there, but the two things I’ve found that seem to work the best are, of course, commenting on other blogs, and writing posts on a consistent basis, so people know you’re not a “hit and run” poster, someone who’s not going to write much of anything with any consistency. Those two things have helped me the most, and though I don’t consider myself as having massive traffic, I do have growing traffic, last week Feedburner actually told me I had 84 subscribers (though today it’s back down into the low 70’s; I wonder what drives that).

Okay, your turn; what do you think about these 20 points, and please, go read the other article for comparison?
 

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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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