Word Reason Plan

Pissed.    If am limited to one word in describing my mood today it would be pissed.   (If I can have two words,  I’ll go for pissed off.)   For the past few days it appears that WordPress.com is inserting context link ads  in my blog posts.   The word gift and the words premium steak in different posts,  which I did not link to anything,  appeared with links to ads.    This is not good.

When I first started blogging back on Blogspot  I investigated and tried all sorts of blog advertising programs.    And one I ditched very quickly were the text link ads.    You never know what words they will choose to link nor where those links will direct your visitors.    If you try to be careful or creative in where you link to,   letting some widget add links to your post is so not a good idea.

For awhile WordPress.com  seemed like a great idea.   I was able to import my books blog,  which I had been publishing for about three years before I moved it to WP.com.    (I have to confess that I was so naive back when I started the books blog,  that I actually thought I would make lots of money from publishing it.   It didn’t actually take me all three years to learn about niche and to realize that book reviewing is a complete non-starter for a money making blog. I had reached a point where I felt it was no longer reasonable to pay hosting fees to publish my book review site,  and was thrilled that I could keep all of my years of published posts up and had only to pay a nominal fee to use the domain name I already owned.         When I decided to focus my blogging efforts on this personal blog,  WP.com seemed such an obvious choice,  and given Empire Avenue’s monitoring and scoring for WP.com  I have until now been mostly pleased with it.

Part of me thinks these horrid ads they are inserting into my posts are more than a sufficient reason to move my blog away from WP.com.      And yet I don’t much want to spend money for hosting,  nor do I want to lose the WP.com community features and Empire Avenue integration.     So I am not, at least so far contemplating a return to self-hosted.    But I’m really pissed and not all happy.

Finally Figured It Out

I very damned near out-smarted myself.    If you were among those who read my rather frantic post yesterday on a temporary blog I set up while I was locked out of this WordPress.com account,  you will recall that yesterday I was heartsick at the thought that I had lost access to my blogs.    I never did figure out how the password got changed.   But I did finally figure out why I wasn’t getting the password re-set e-mails.

I really don’t use e-mail much at all anymore.   And one of the biggest things that contributed to my e-mail being so full of junk messages that it simply wasn’t worth it to try to spot the occasional message that actually required attention was the huge number of automated messages I receive from WordPress.com  blogs.   The trouble is they get sent out with all kinds of different return e-mail addresses that it proved very difficult to set up filters to manage the flow.   And it turns out I had set a filter that caused all messages from  donotreply@wordpress.com  to “skip inbox”.     Which is to say that I never saw the messages that were automatically deleted before being delivered.    I deleted that filter rule,  then went back to the login screen and sent myself a password re-set e-mail.    It arrived instantly and ten minutes later I am typing this post.   I will probably delete or hide the temporary blog I set up.

I can’t tell you how pleased and happy I am to be once again commanding my own blog ship.   I am frankly a little embarrassed to have mis-configured my e-mail filters such that I could not receive the one message I really needed to receive.      But I am thankful that I finally figured out what the problem was.    And I promise that tomorrow I will be back with another Just Three Words post.   My sincerest thanks to everyone who made a comment or suggestion.    I really, really appreciate you all.

Content Is King, Comments Are Queens In The Blogosphere

One of the really nice things about being an eclectic personal blogger is that with no real restrictions on what you can write about,  you have the ability to extend conversations with your readers across blogs and across posts.    The title of this post, for instance,  is taken from a discussion I had somewhere  (I’ve spent hours going through conversations on different posts without coming across it).   Some friend remarked  “Content is king,  comments are queen.”   And successful bloggers do know that having a conversation with their readers can be a huge part of blogging success.   (Although as with everything else,  it all depends upon your goals;  sometimes it seems to me that I make this disclaimer in every post.   Yet without it,  few statements about blogging or social media would ever be accurate.)

The funny thing is,  Mr. Everything might almost agree with this statement,  if you changed it to “content is king, comments are queen in social media”.    Mr. E loves to post in Facebook threads and definitely has some real skill at getting conversations going.    Were he a bit more experienced,  or had he done better research he surely would see that it is actually better to attract the long conversations to your own blog.   (He did hear the bit about the reasons it is better to be on self-hosted WordPress– though he fails to appreciate the benefits that derive from the WP.com community.   He is troubled,  I suspect,  by that fact that WP.com  enables even those who can afford to pay no hosting fees at all–  let alone the $125/year  premium plans that I sell,  can create and maintain a successful blog without spending a penny on it.)   And it really is true that  (again with the ‘depending on your goals’ caveat) some of the most successful blogs,  including some published by huge media companies choose to go with WP.com for its community advantages,  despite the restrictions you have to operate under.

Experienced bloggers know that content is king and comments are queen.   Successful entrepreneurs know that choosing right tool  is critical to the success of any project.   And savvy authors and entrepreneurs are never quick to dismiss a free tool when it actually works as well or better for their particular purposes.   I’m not doing this blog on WP.com because I don’t understand the many real benefits of self-hosting.    I’m doing this particular blog on WP.com  because it is the best platform for my particular purposes at this time.     My #blogging advice today is to invest plenty of time in to thinking very carefully about what you want to accomplish before you create your blog.

1) Don’t make projections of big advertising revenue until you have a thorough understanding of your niche, keywords and SEO basics for your keywords.

2) Don’t mis-apply general advice that isn’t applicable to your particular goals and needs.

3) Do consider consulting with someone experienced whom you have come to trust.    If I had been able to consult with the professional I am now for an hour before I started my first blog,  it could have saved me years of mis-steps and flattened a huge learning curve.

Alan Jobe is the author of Walking Down The Avenue.   He consults with #indie authors and entrepreneurs about social networking and self-publishing.

Wha ‘sup?

One

‘sup.    My wonderful friend Tom Cooley showed me how to make a superscript number in WordPress.  I actually do understand how tags work in HTML and have been known to occasionally venture away from the visual editor and actually edit just a bit of HTML to accomplish some thing or other that I couldn’t quite manage in the visual editor.     And it turns out that the tag  “sup”  (don’t try to display braces in a blog post– it can be done but it’s a huge pita) is the key to creating superscript numbers.2

I have been trying to learn more about WordPress.com.    In many ways it is the same as the self-hosted WordPress I’ve been using for years now,  although there are some differences.  There are also a number of community aspects that are unique to WP.com which simply don’t apply to self-hosted blogs.   I have figured out how to specify the blog you use the most as your “primary” blog,  which I believe (though do not know for a fact) matters a great deal to how Empire Avenue computes your WordPress.com score.

I have one Empire Avenue acquaintance whose WP.com  icon on his EAv profile connects to a WP error page that says  “This blog has been suspended to a violation of our Terms Of Service”.    His EAv WP score is 5.   My own WP icon on EAv remains connected to my  book review blog,  even though I changed my primary blog to this one.  (Click here for instructions  if you want to try that.)  And while both my primary and secondary blogs have hundreds of posts and hundreds of comments  AND thanks to Empire Avenue missions  I have been getting lots of traffic,  lots of shares and a pretty high number of comments on this blog,  my WP.com score remains….2.3

Clearly,  I don’t yet understand how Empire Avenue is scoring the WordPress.com  connections.   And somehow I don’t think it would improve Walking Down The Avenue a great deal to add a new section that says  “after careful observation,  in as much as I can tell,   the scores seem to be assigned pretty much at random”.    Part of me is really enjoying this new personal blog,  and the freedom to write every day about pretty much whatever the heck I darned well feel like.    But the part of me that really wants to get the book updated and a new release published…kind of just wants to scream.

1–this first foot note is purely decorative, and has no function whatsoever.

2–this second foot note is also purely decorative,  though it was thrilling to me to be putting in a second superscript number,  no sweat.

3–this final foot note is a bitter dose of irony

Update:  It occurred to me to disconnect my WP.com from Empire Avenue and reconnect it.  And choose the correct blog on reconnecting.   We’ll see how that works out.

Hello World (The Worst of WP.com on Empire Avenue)

You may recall that I have been really focusing my blogging activity on WordPress.com.   I now have two WP.com blogs hooked up to Empire Avenue.  One of these has more than 500 hundred posts and over a thousand comments,  the other over three hundred posts and I don’t know how many comments.   (Lovely thing that WP.com let’s you simply Import all of the posts and comments from any previous blog you’ve published–  my libdronemuses.com site has only been on WordPress.com for a week or two,  but I have posts here dating back to 2007.

While there was much to like in the theme I defaulted to,  I selected this one which I think much better sets apart this personal blog from my book review site, which is a white theme with moderately colorful accents.   The black on purple background appeals to me,  while my 47 year old eyes appreciate the white background for the main text.    I have spent several hours going through my portfolio recently,   and while I didn’t not get all the way through  (my favorite EAv portfolio management tool, Set Social shows that I still have Pages and Pages to go through).   Every account that has a WP.com badge,  I click through to the blog and Follow it here on WP.com.  But in way, way way too many cases the blog I followed had only one post  (“Hello World!”) and the inimitable tagline “Just Another WordPress Blog”.

It is honestly amazing to me that people who know enough about social media and online presence to have very high Empire Avenue scores in multiple networks would have such a WordPress.com linked to their Empire Avenue account.    Honestly,  if you can’t do it at least decently well,  far better not to be on yet another network.    Although my good friend Michael Q. Todd  disagrees  (Michael insists that you should “claim your name”  on any and all social networks you encounter,  even if only to be able to leave your image and a link to wherever you Most want to direct traffic to.)   Over the going on twenty years that I’ve been online I have seen so many different web sites pop up and then disappear.   Even sites that seemed then as ubiquitous and mandatory as Facebook does now have come and gone.   I know that web communities are fragile.   And that people can and do suddenly simply decide to go offline one day and don’t come back.   Sometimes just for a while.   Sometimes ever.

I believe that anyone who is trying to get serious about social networking actually has to be very selective about where and how they spend their time.   And I believe most clients are best served by trying to focus on a handful of the places where most of their audience is most engaged.   (It’s also important to understand the difference between the people one talks to on Twitter– you won’t get very far if you’re only broadcasting– and Facebook in terms of the different audiences you may reach on each of these must have social networks.)   I honestly don’t believe anyone,  even if they can devote a 40 hour week to their blogging/social networking/activism/etc pursuits could possibly keep up with all of the social media sites that are out htere.    So I decided to offer Michael a bet.   Will he try out Every social network I can throw at him?