Category Archives: Blogging

Why I Don’t Want To Follow Some Twitter Folks

My goodness, another Twitter post!

Yes, another Twitter post, but at least each time I write about it, I’m writing something different. In this case, I want to talk about some of the more irritating things I see on Twitter. Overall Twitter is an interesting diversion, and it’s proven to be a news breaker. For instance, Twitter users spread the news about the Hudson River plane landing at least 15 minutes before the news organizations got the story. Twitter has allowed me to talk to people, albeit in short bursts, like Guy Kawasaki and Keith Ferrazzi.

But there are some habits from people that I don’t really like. I remember having a conversation with someone one night, though I can’t remember who, on the subject of some of these bad habits. Frankly, I chalked some of it up to ignorance; ignorance of proper decorum, ignorance of what irritates people, and ignorance of new technologies and how to really use them. However, we have a mixture of things to talk about, so let’s get started.

First, there’s this new trend of people who are creating new Twitter accounts for the purpose of selling something. I’m sure that’s nothing new, but in this case what they do is create the account, then try to start following as many people as they can. They usually pop a picture of a pretty young woman in there, and I wouldn’t doubt that most of the people they’re following are men. Sometimes the names make sense, sometimes they don’t. What I do is see the email come through telling me someone new is following me on Twitter, click on the link so I can take a look, and most of the time, now that I’ve seen it so often, I know it’s a fake account and won’t follow. Usually you see something like them following 1,600 people and maybe 30 people following them.

At the same time, there are some people who legitimately do the same thing. I have no idea how they find me or anyone else, but they do, and they just start following tons of people. I also won’t add most of those folks, but if they have a link to a blog or website I’ll at least check it out first to see what I think about it all. Sometimes the person does look pretty interesting, and I’ll follow; most of the time, though, I want to wait to see if that person draws interest.

Sometimes I take a look at how often someone is updating their own Twitter messages. If they’re not doing any talking, just following lots of people, I won’t follow them; I mean, that’s a waste of time. Obviously they don’t care to share, so I leave them alone. The people who bother me the most that do something like this, though, are the people who follow you, then when you check them out you see that they have their updates protected. Sure, you could ask them if you can follow them, but didn’t I get married so I wouldn’t have to deal with having to ask women I didn’t know if they’d like to go on a date with me? Unless it’s business, I don’t give people a chance to possibly reject me, so I don’t ask, and therefore I’m not following them.

Another thing I don’t like are those folks who have automatic messages when you decide to follow them. I’m sure they think they’re being helpful, but to me it feels more like they’re trying to be pushy. If the messages just said “Thanks for following me” or something like that I wouldn’t be bothered at all. However, what happens is that they either want to tell you about their website or their product, or they want you to download something. Of course, I’m not sure whether it’s a pure download, or an attempt to get me to put my name and email address on a list so they can start sending me all sorts of stuff, but I don’t care. I don’t like it, but I don’t immediately go and unfollow them, though I should. I just don’t pay much attention, don’t download anything, and go about my business.

I also don’t follow anyone who’s barely following others. There’s something narcissisticly wrong in following 10 people when there are 20,000 following you. If the ratio looks wrong, I’m not going to follow because I know that person isn’t going to follow me. Now, if that person follows me first, then I’ll follow them, but really, when is that ever going to happen?

One last thing I hate, but ignore most of the time, is someone who keeps writing post after post, not because they’re giving us a lot of stuff, but because they want to ignore the 140 character limit and actually have a full conversation, like chat rooms or IM’s or email. Having a conversation with someone is one thing; having a conversation with yourself is another. I’ve seen quite a lot of that. I have one friend who does that very thing; once she gets going, she just goes on and on. Sometimes I jump in and start talking to her; sometimes I just ignore it and move on. Since I’ve added TweetDeck to my system to use for my “twittering”, it’s made life so simple because I get to decide who I want to follow with a custom column, so it’s easy to ignore her when I wish. But I love her just the same. 🙂

Twitter can be a lot of fun, and informative also. Some folks just don’t get it; for the rest of us, though, let’s just keep enjoying it.

Bidwell Candies tru32 Truffles Chocolate Candy- 2 pounds

Bidwell Candies tru32 Truffles Chocolate Candy- 2 pounds






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What’s In A Name?

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From the title of this post, my friend Scott probably thinks I’m going to talk about his site called All In A Name, which you should visit because he’s got a lot of cool stuff which lets you create things based on your name and have them customized in many different formats for you. There’s my plug for the day.

No, what I’m going to talk about today is the names people use when they’re commenting on blogs such as this one. Our friend Sire wrote a post called Commenting 101 – important Rules For 2009. Point number six was this:

Name And Not Keyword! I know that everyone is trying to get maximum exposure for their keywords but I really think that blog hosts would like a name rather than a keyword such as ‘Ultimate Blogging Tips’ when people leave a comment.

I’ve been thinking about that lately as I see some of the names coming through from people where I know, and of course everyone else knows, it’s not their name. Not to call anyone out, but the last ten names that I’ve seen which aren’t really names are: Sire (that one’s a nickname, so it really doesn’t count); Trade Show Guru (although Steve always puts his name after his comment); School Proxys Blog; Boyz II Men; Offshore Software Development; iip; Busby SEO TEST; work at home blog (Peter also always puts his name after his comments); Market Secrets Blogger; and Make Money Online Tips. And, except for the two guys who wrote their names after their comments, and of course Sire, I chose one of the words for each person and used that as a name when I responded to them, to make sure that, when they got notification of a response, they knew it was for them.

There’s always some folks who question this thing as to whether they should be using their real name or using the name of their blogs or websites. Here’s the reality; you should use your name, or nickname, where it says name. Let me ask you this question; what’s more important to you, having people come to your blog via a link or having them see the name of your blog and hoping that they’ll come by?

Now, I actually understand where some of this comes from, and, yeah, I’m going to rant once again about hating Blogger blogs. If you comment on a Blogger blog, you pretty much only have two choices. One is that, if you have a Blogger account of some kind, you can leave your name, and a link to your blog will appear because you’ve created the account, but that’s it. Two, you can decide to leave your name and your URL, but, because it assumes you don’t have an account, you don’t get to leave an email address, and therefore you’ll never get email notification of any responses to your post, or after your comment has been posted. If you’ve chosen the second one, you might be inclined to put the name of your blog instead of your name to try to highlight your link, kind of an SEO trick that I talked about in my post on Five SEO Tips.

WordPress blogs work differently, because they’ll allow you to put in your name, your email address, and your link, which is great because you now know that you’ll have an opportunity to interact more often with a person whose blog you like. And that’s whether you have a blog on the WordPress.com site or your own hosting service. If you happen to visit a blog that uses CommentLuv, like this one, it’s even better because it’ll actually highlight posts for your blog, and if that’s the case, then there’s really no reason to put in your blog or site name because, hopefully, you’re topic will drive people to your site if it interests them, as names rarely do. And, when people respond to you, they don’t look silly or goofy referring to you with something that’s not close to a name.

So, think about it folks; how do you want people responding to your posts, by name or by the name of their blog or website? I guess it only matters if you’re interested in engaging your visitors in conversation, which I am.

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

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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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The Sense Or Nonsense Of Captcha

I’ve written a lot of posts about commenting on other blogs, so many that at times it seems that’s all I talk about. Luckily, with as many posts as I write, it’s not true, but I still write about it often. My very first post about it was more of a rant, as I asked the question is it easy to comment on your blog? I’ve addressed a good many areas of commenting, but I’ve just noticed that there’s one thing I really haven’t talked about, and I’m surprised by it because it’s one of my big time rants, obviously to myself.

Funny CAPTCHA
Luke Jones via Compfight

I hate dealing with most of the “captcha” that people have on their blogs. For the uninitiated, “captcha” is what it’s called when people set up these special conditions for being able to leave a comment on their blog. I don’t mean registering; I mean having to type in those goofy little characters, or do a math problem, or answer the question ‘what is your mother’s maiden name’ or ‘what are you wearing’.

Okay, I’ve only seen that last one once, and I never went back to that blog (don’t ask which one it was, because I really don’t remember). Heck, for that matter, I’m going to include those few blogs where you leave a comment, then you receive email saying you have to click on a link before your comment will show up; are you kidding me?

I understand why people have captcha. We’re all irritated any time we get spam, and, supposedly, by setting up these captchas, it helps to eliminate almost all of these spam messages from getting through to our comment sections. I’ll also admit they’re pretty effective, but not perfect.

Heck, I advocate Akismet all the time, and I find it to be the most effective spam blocker for WordPress blogs that there is, but it doesn’t get it all because, well, spam is always evolving, and it takes Akismet time to learn how to deal with some of it. Still, it’s pretty good, and I couldn’t, at this juncture, recommend anything better.

It’s strongest suit is that I don’t have to have any kind of captcha on my sites. I don’t have to set up the ones where you have to type in some goofy letters, especially those where letters are either hidden slightly with lines being drawn through them, or with a similar background color as the letters, only slightly lighter so you can supposedly see the darker letters.

You know what? I have difficulty seeing these letters, and, at a certain point, I’m not going to comment on anymore blogs that have these things on them. There was a wonderful blog I read last night and went to leave a comment, and it was red lettering against a bright pink background. I had to try three times before I got it right. I mentioned it to the writer of the blog, who said he’d try something else, and the next colors were green against green; that wasn’t much better. I saw later that he tried blue against blue; ugh!

The Hardest Captcha.
Britt Selvitelle via Compfight

Then there’s the captcha that has the letters with swirly lines between them, and if you can’t see the letters it offers you the opportunity to listen to the letters. I’ve never been able to decipher a single one of those things, so I usually end up hitting the button that will recycle the letters at least once, sometimes multiple times, until I get a letter combination that I can actually interpret. Talk about being comment unfriendly.

I don’t mind the math captcha as much because I can at least see that. And there are some captchas that are easy enough to read that I don’t mind, but others I hate. For instance, I hate when you’ve written your comment, hit “send”, then you get another window with a captcha in it that you now have to fill out before you’re done. Why not have it already there so we all know it’s there beforehand?

Yeah, it’s only another few seconds, but quite often I’ve hit “send” and moved on to the next thing, only to come back to that window later on and find that my comment hasn’t gone through because I hadn’t completed their captcha thing yet; ugh!

Folks, for as many posts as I write and as long as some of them are, I also consume a high number of blogs and blog posts from other people. This means that when I leave a comment, I’m ready to move on (btw, most of the time I’ve perused the other comments before I write mine, unless there’s a lot of them, just to see if I’m going to be in agreement with many of them or taking a different avenue).

We all talk about wanting more visitors and subscribers. But when you make it hard on your visitors in any way whatsoever to interact with you, you risk alienating a lot of people, almost as many as when you have those subscription popups (yeah, y’all know I find those things irritating also).

I do understand that some blogging platforms, like Blogger, don’t have access to something like Akismet to protect them. At least, for the most part, I can read the letters on the traditional Blogger captcha. For the rest of you, please, find an easier, more inviting way to protect yourselves, and encourage your visitors to participate in the process.
 

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How Do You Twitter?

What, another Twitter post from me? At this point I’ve written 32 posts that have mentioned or concerned Twitter. I talked about Twitter when I mentioned how, during the election, social media “outed” a few people as to how they really think and act. I talked about the types of things that make Twitter interesting. I ever shared a video with this very cute young lady talking about different applications as they apply to Twitter.

This time, it’s a much different conversation. Whereas there are some people who hardly write on Twitter at all, there are some people who lose their minds and have to tell everyone what’s going on every step of the way. Here’s an example of someone who might be like that:

Anyway, one of the people I follow on Twitter, Beverly Mahone, had an interview with Wendy Y. Bailey that I listened to on a podcast, and the conversation turned to how each of them wanted to use Twitter. Beverly stated that she enjoyed using Twitter to have conversations with people, as well as to learn something about others. Wendy stated that, for the most part, she used Twitter to promote her business and her interests, and didn’t spend as much time just socializing. There was also a conversation as to whether it’s “snobbish” or not to not add everyone who adds you as a friend.

It led me to think about how I use Twitter. I mean, when I first signed onto Twitter back in April, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to use it. I knew a couple of people who were on, so I looked them up, but after that I just wasn’t sure what to do. I then decided to check out who they were following, and added some of the same people. After that, a few people started following me, and things were on.

At that point, I still wasn’t sure what to do. So, I thought about it a little bit, then realized that I could share my blog posts with people following me, and they might visit my blogs. And some did, which was really cool and neat, and now I had another way to use Twitter.

However, I still wasn’t sure what to do outside of that. So, I started reading more of the posts, and I started responding to some of what people were talking about. And they started responding, which was neat. Twitter has people from all over the world, which of course means from all over the United States, and I was talking to some of them; neat!

I’ve talked to some famous people. I’ve talked to some top internet marketers. I’ve talked to some big time bloggers. And I’ve met more people who live in my own area of the country since May than I’ve talked to in probably the last 5 years, and I go out to networking events and belong to two Chambers of Commerce.

I realized that I do more socializing than marketing of my business. That actually suits me, because there is one top internet marketer who pretty much only markets on Twitter, which can be somewhat irritating until I realized that the reason I follow him is because I want to learn about internet marketing. I follow some people who talk about some of the goofiest stuff in the world because they make me laugh, and keep me entertained. I realized that Twitter is pretty much everything to everyone who decides to participate. The only rules are you can’t be too crude, and you can’t spam people, which is a good thing because I absolutely hate that.

As I mentioned in the post about my Big RSS Subscription Contest (you didn’t think I was going to forget mentioning it, did you?). I’m looking for more Twitter followers, but I’m not begging people to follow me, ala the video above. She’s cute, though, isn’t she? Let’s see some more:

Okay, she’s irritating at the same time; now, where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about how I use Twitter, and how I think Twitter can be of some benefit to a lot of other people. Of course, it’s not for everyone, but then nothing is. But, in the last few days since I’ve been back home, I’ve had 3 people ask me more about Twitter than I had expected at this point. I’ve helped this as much as I could, but I’m thinking it’s time for a bit more than what I’ve given. So, because I’m in video mode this evening, here’s one last video, not with the young lady this time, on how to use Twitter. Enjoy!

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