Category Archives: Research

Another Blogging Research Survey; Following The Hashtag

Yesterday I wrote a post basically asking myself if I was using Twitter wrong. My thought was that I really wasn’t using it in a proper business way, and thus could be impeding my progress in getting more clients and business through there.


Emotional Chaos by Byron May

In particular, I decided that maybe something I should be doing was following the hashtag for “blogging” so I could see what people might be saying. It didn’t start off as a survey or research in any way, but I was kind of amazed at what I found, what happened and didn’t happen, and other types of stuff, and I figured that since I always say that if people paid attention to what’s going on around them that they’d always have blog posts, and I do, that it would be intriguing to share some of what I came across. If not, well, at least it’s a post. lol By the way, the stats aren’t absolutes, but pretty close to what I came across.

To start off with, I tracked the blogging hashtag over a 12-hour period. That’s a long time, and one would have thought there would be tons of blogs to see. There were a lot of blogs, but it seems that most of them were retweets of those blogs using that hashtag. Probably half of all the links I saw were retweets. And at least 35% of those were retweets for big name bloggers such as Darren Rowse or sites like Copyblogger. And one more amazing thing was that on Problogger, none of the posts that were retweeted were written by him; all were guest posts. Of course Copyblogger has multiple writers, so that makes sense.

Next, about 30 to 35% of the blogs that were being shown were Disqus, Intense Debate, or some other style of blog that required one sign in or create an account. As most of y’all know I don’t do Disqus blogs, so I didn’t even read any of those. Yeah, I know, I might have missed something good, but if I’m not commenting I’m not really sharing either; after all, that was a part of the adventures, commenting then sharing the post, which we talked about a few days ago.

Speaking of which, something else that was interesting is that around 80% of the blogs that were shown and then retweeted didn’t have a single comment on them, and the rest that did didn’t have a single comment from any of the people who had retweeted it; well, only one did, and of course it was our friend Pat who’d beaten me there. Isn’t that kind of bizarre overall though?

On the day I found 9 blogs that I felt I could comment on and then retweet. Out of those 9 blogs 5 of them moderated my comment; y’all know how I feel about moderated comments as well. I didn’t get a single response from any of the blogs I commented on… well, not totally true. From one blog I did eventually get an automated response thanking me for leaving a comment and saying that it would be reviewed and addressed later on. Frankly, I’m thinking that’s not friendly enough for me, so y’all know I won’t be subscribing or going back any time soon.

Finally, obviously I read some good stuff, and some stuff that bothered me slightly but it was still good. I wouldn’t have retweeted anything I absolutely hated. I did retweet a couple of things I just couldn’t leave a comment on because they left me with nothing I could add to the conversation, and I mentioned that in the retweet. There are some pretty talented people out there that we don’t know about, and it’s too bad. But we’re not all meant to agree with everything we see and everything we comment on; we’re meant to add to the discussion if possible.

In the end I’ve decided that’s not a great hashtag to follow. There was more blather there than anything else. I really wonder if those folks are reading any of what they’re sharing or not. At least I did some reading and some sharing, and if nothing else happens I think there will be a few more people who will at least know my face and name because of my commenting on their blogs.

Sometimes, that’s the best you’ve got coming to you.

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Google Alerts

After I wrote that last post, I went looking for a link talking about Google Alerts, only to find out that I’ve never talked about it on this blog. What the hey? How’d I miss this one, something I’ve been doing since before I started this blog? I’ve deprived you of one of the best tracking methods that any site has to offer, especially Google. Time to rectify that.

Google Alerts is a way for you to track whatever it is you want to track based on how people might be looking for whatever it is you want to know about. Okay, that sounds confusing, so let me give you a real example.

One of the alerts I track is “Mitch Mitchell”. What one does is goes into their Google account (yes, you have to have a Google account, which you already have if you use Gmail, Adsense, Adwords, etc), go to alerts (which you can access through the link above), type in the words or phrase you want Google to alert you on if it’s searched, tell it how often you want to receive email on it (mine is set to once a day” and which email address you want it sent to (mine is defaulted to the email address I have on my account but it seems you can change it, though I have no idea why you would). If you want the words or particular phrase in order, just put those words between quotation marks, as you’d do if you were searching for something on a search engine (I’m assuming you already knew that), and that’s all you’ll get.

Truthfully, you’re not going to want to use this if you’re only tracking one word because you’ll get really long email details, unless the word is out of the ordinary, which can happen I suppose. I track all versions of my name, all my websites, and a couple of specific keywords for my main business, which right now comes to 19 in all. I only get 4 or 5 a day most of the time, as not all the phrases I’m tracking come up; heck! But maybe now that I’ve made a few changes in my SEO tactics things will pick up a bit more for this blog; we’ll see.

That’s all there is to Google Alerts; and now you know the rest of the story (I miss Paul Harvey).

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Blog Abandonment Mini-Research

Something I’ve said to potentially new bloggers over and over is that if you don’t think you’ll be able to sustain a blog, don’t even start. Technorati estimates that only 5.5% of all blogs that have been created still have new content, that criteria being within 4 months of the current date for the last post. That’s a horrible statistic; then again, it is only an estimate, right?

Well, overall I’m not sure Technorati is the best arbiter of deciding what’s what; after all, their new algorithm makes absolutely no sense, and that thing about only counting the last 6 months of recommendations for them to rank you higher makes no sense either. I decided to do my own little survey, as I hadn’t had a research post in awhile.

Here’s what I did. I went through all the comments on this blog from 2008; yeah, I did that just for you. I eliminated people who I knew were still blogging because they still comment now. So, this little test only concerned those people I hadn’t heard from in a long time or whose names I didn’t recognize. If they had a blog or website I decided to take a look. The numbers might seem a bit low, but as I said, there were some people I eliminated, and of course I didn’t count anything I wrote. I counted any blog that hasn’t had a new post within a year as being dead. And there are some blogs that haven’t written a post in a long time, and I capture those as well. Here’s what I came up with:

Blogs no longer working – 43

Blogs still current – 29

Blogs that haven’t written in:

a month – 5

2 months – 2

3 months – 2

4 months – 1

8 months – 2

So, if I look at only the working and current, that comes to an abandonment rate of 60%. That’s obviously a much different figure than what Technorati gives, but it’s still a terrible number. Based on my figure and the estimated number of blogs coming in around 133 million (that’s the last figure I’ve seen) that’s almost 80 million blogs that have been abandoned; ugh!

Well, there’s nothing we can do about it except lament the fact and move on. I wonder how many of you are thinking about bailing out on your blog some time in the near future. I’m sticking around; yup, you’re stuck with me for awhile longer. 😉

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10 Hours A Day Experiment

Some of you know I write many of my blog posts in advance. This one is real time for a reason. I’ve been doing an experiment this week, one that either has changed my life or made me realize I need to figure out another way or one that reminds me why I’ve been doing things the way I’ve been doing them and I’m going back to it.

Following up on that work/life discussion from a couple of weeks ago, I made a decision that for this week I was going to limit myself to 10 hours a day on the computer, which obviously also means 10 hours a day online, or way less. See, other than brief moments away from the computer, I tend to spend upwards of 16 to 20 hours sitting here at my desk doing something; at least I thought I did. I acknowledge it’s not always productive, although I also do accomplish a lot of things. And some people have been shocked that I could spend that kind of time at the computer.

Most people don’t work that many hours on their job or in their work. Eight hours is the norm, sometimes a couple of hours here and there. Then they go home and have the evenings to do whatever they want, which might mean they sign onto the computer and do stuff. For me, there is no separation between my regular life and business life except when I go to the casino. After all, my business life is my computer, and by extension most of my social and fun life is on the computer as well. That’s kind of a shame, but many times I feel I need all that time. So, this was an experiment to see what I’d do with that time, and whether I really did need it or not.

I decided to start on a Sunday, which for me is either a day I rest a lot or a day where I work almost nonstop. This past Sunday I actually rested, and since it’s now the playoffs I had a rooting interest in a couple of games. So I napped and watched some football unencumbered by being at the computer. And I never made it to 10 hours of computer time; as a matter of fact, I didn’t even make 8 hours. The first day made me think that maybe this was going to be an experiment that was going to have a totally different outcome than I expected.

Monday came and, knowing I was on this timed program, I worked some, took it easy some, and basically had a pretty good day, which is rare for me on a Monday. I also had some business calls, which I didn’t count since I didn’t take them at the computer. Once again, I didn’t reach even 10 hours on the computer. I took a long nap, I watched some TV programs, and went to the gym for almost 90 minutes with my wife in the evening. But I did reach 9 hours; things were getting interesting.

Tuesday was an interesting one. I planned the day but I felt horrible all day physically. Seems I might have worked out too long Monday night. So I was sore and lethargic. But I had a full day of work planned on the computer, as well as a meeting in the afternoon which was going to take me away. I also took another nap before the meeting; I was starting to enjoy this experiment. However, Tuesday night at around 2AM I finally hit that 10 hours, when my alarm went off. I was feeling like I was in a great work rhythm, so I was irked, but I had my rules and thus I went to bed.

Wednesday was the day things started to change some. I woke early, like 7:15, which was disappointing because I didn’t turn the TV off until 3AM. I came straight to the computer for about 30 minutes, then went outside to shovel show; we’re in our “snowbelt” daily snow routine now, so while everyone else gets hit with storms coming up the coast, we’re getting 2 to 6 inches daily. Wednesday we got a little over six inches for the day officially. That meant I had to shovel in the morning and in the early evening. It also meant I didn’t go anywhere except a brief outing for lunch. I was on the computer for the rest of my time, including being on the computer during the Syracuse University basketball game (they won again; 17 straight wins). I looked at my time; at 9PM I only had 33 minutes left to go for my computer time. What the hey? What was I going to do for the rest of the evening?

I got off the computer at 9:30 with 3 minutes remaining. Now I was stuck. I usually don’t go to bed until between 2 and 3 in the morning; I had 4 to 5 hours to kill. I took a book into the other room, but ended up turning on the TV for awhile. Eventually I gravitated towards a DVD or two. And I stayed up until just past 2AM. So I wasted time instead of used the extra time for something else; then again, I had no idea what else I wanted to use it for, but my body, after shoveling twice, said “let’s do nothing”, and that’s what I did.

Thursday morning I was again up at 7:15 and this time decided to go to the health club for a short bit. I came back an hour later, got onto the computer, and went to work. I took time out to cook something for lunch, which took about 30 minutes, but I came back to the desk to eat at the computer and work some more. I was also very active on Twitter and the blog during the day; lost a lot of time doing that stuff. I had a networking meeting at 5:30, which means I pulled away to shower, get dressed, and head into the city. I barely stayed an hour; wasn’t feeling it and I didn’t know anyone. Came home, and got right on the computer again.

This time, the alarm went off right at 10:30; ugh! I knew it was coming, so I quickly tried to finish up a few things in that last half hour. I almost thought about getting off and saving some of that time for later on, but that didn’t seem to make much sense. I got off, and decided to watch a couple of DVDs before finally shutting everything down just past 12:15, since I had an early morning meeting anyway.

So the experiment is over, and it becomes evaluation time. And to me, what I learned is pretty simple.

One, if I decide I don’t want to deal with 16 hour days, I just won’t do it. That was proved by Sunday, though that type of thing will be rare.

Two, right now anyway, if I have more time all I want to do is, well, nothing. Watching TV and DVDs is classified as nothing to me. That and sleep; true, maybe I need more rest, but if it’s all I have to look forward to with my down time then I’d rather not. That is, unless I can get a lot of massages to help me rest; that might not be so depressing long term, eh? 😉

Three, it’s easy now to see how I can slip into being on the computer for so many hours. I mean, look at Wednesday; I could have easily been on the computer 5 more hours, because I remembered that on Wednesday I took myself out to lunch, which was about an hour away. Add to that a trip to the bank and the store, and there you go.

Four, I probably need more DVDs, because I watched DVDs that by now are probably starting to wonder if I like anything else. Hey, I only buy things I could watch over and over; nothing wrong with that.

And five; there’s absolutely nothing wrong if I decide to take time away to relax or do something else if I think about it. I got all my projects done by Thursday, and with a little concentration I could have finished them by Tuesday and had all the other time for other stuff. This might bode well as far as planning for future projects.

Of course it might all mean nothing in the long run as well; I’m not really sure. I’ll admit that it’s hard to evaluate myself on this one. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to try to change or even if I really need to. If I went on the “happiness” scale, I’d have to say that I ended the experiment no happier or sadder than when I went into it. I wasn’t happy with how Wednesday and Thursday night ended so early mentally, but physically my body was probably happier.

Another experiment is over; whew! And it’s Friday, which means all bets are off since I finished my paid work. Hmmm, what other trouble can I get into?

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My 2010 Goals – A Review

Let’s just get this out of the way; my 2010 goal process stunk. Well, that’s not quite accurate; I didn’t have a full process to reach my goals, so I stunk. As a matter of fact, I stunk so much that in August I even tried to change a couple of things. I think I trapped myself into a corner; what would Admiral Ackbar say? Well, no matter; let’s take a look back to see what I was hoping to accomplish this year.

Here were the goals:

1. Earn at least $15,000 online.

2. Reach those 500 subscribers.

3. Increase real visitors to this site to 3,000 a month on average.

4. Get even more publicity this year by guest posting.

5. Get my Alexa rank for two of my blogs into the top 100,000.

How’d I do?

1. Hah! Next!

2. I hit 175 one day.

3. Wait a minute; I hit this one. Google Analytics says I’m averaging 4,400 visitors a month, while Count Per Day says I’m averaging 17,000+. Hmmm… either way, I actually attained one of my goals.

4. I started the year strong with some guest posts, got a couple more in the middle of the year and that’s it. I think I wrote 6 guest posts this year, but wait… that was actually higher than last year. So I guess I hit this one as well.

5. Hmmm… I guess I broke this one as well, sitting in the 90,000’s as I write this.

That means I actually hit 3 of my 5 goals; I guess I didn’t fail so much after all, did I? And now that I think about it, I really can’t gripe all that much about #1 either. Sure, $15,000 was definitely audacious, but in the end I’m averaging nearly $200 a month with all the things I do, way higher than in 2009. So maybe I’m on the way up in some fashion.

So, I actually only failed on #2; I’m still wondering about that one, but you know, it increased for the year, actually doubling.

This is why one sets goals. Yeah, a couple of those were crazy, and yet in a way it pushed me to be better, and I was better even if I couldn’t hit the actual goal for 2 of them. Guess I should be proud of myself instead, right?

So, how did you do with your goals for the year? A few of you commented on this post about the last 3rd of the year, so it would be interesting to hear if you at least finished strong.

Maximum Achievement Goal Planner

Maximum Achievement Goal Planner






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