5 things about online Rob

YC tagged me in a meme entitled 5 things about me online so here goes.

1. How long have you been blogging?
I’ve blogged here for 11 months now, but have also blogged in other places too.So overall I’d say Ive blogged for about 4 years.
2. What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
I am like most people who have something to say, I like to share my opinions and see what others think too. I’d posted in forums and other blogs here and there and thought that I might as well build something of my own on topics I had an interest in. Blogging helped me deal with my divorce for example, it was a way of getting out stuff that was quite frankly, killing me, in this regard blogging was cathartic.

I actually started this blog here after posting a humungous comment on Matt Cutts blog; he suggested I start my own blog, so here I am 11 months later 😀

In terms of mentors. I’ve learnt a lot from some quality bloggers out there, some of whom can be found in my blog roll and some whose egos are far too big for me to mention and inflate further 😉

3. Are you trying to make money online, or just doing it for fun?
I am most certainly trying to and succeeding in making money online, a small % of what I earn comes from blogging with the remainder coming from various niche sites as well as the odd client here and there.

It can be and most certainly is fun too, especially when you hit on a new idea or technique that works well or achieve an aim and get where you wanted to be, not to mention the various interactions with some smart and interesting people similarly interested in the areas in which I dabble.

4. Tell me 3 things you LOVE about being online

Hmmn, Love is a powerful word reserved for special friends and people dear to me, but I guess I can pretend, so I’d say in no particular order that

i. I get to rant regulary on topics I have a passion about!

ii. I get to play with all sorts of things and ideas that I have an interest in professionally and personally.

iii.I get to make a few quid from the above too, which is always a bonus.
5. Tell me 3 things you STRUGGLE with in the online world

I struggle with the actions of a minority who act in ways that negatively impact me, I can’t lie when I say that there’s a person or two out there that I’d take great delight in kicking rather firmly straight right up the khyber pass 😀

I struggle with this laptop and its broken spacebar, having to hit ctrl-v after every word with some clipboarded copied space! In fact I’m off to buy a new usb keyboard later as I’ve really had it with this now…aaaaargh!!

Thirdly, I guess that would be my intermittent wireles connection up here in the bedroom.It’s up and down like a whores knickers 😀

Thanks YC that was fun 🙂

I’ll tag just 3 people as this ctrl-v thing is getting to me 😉

Tinu at Free Traffic Tips

Maurice at his Cayman Islands Blog

and O

How to improve my blog for me me meme

I got a shout from Maurice over at his Cayman Islands blog on a a blog improvement meme started by Dane.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time. There is quite a bit on this blog that I think could do with a little attention, or at least make for a bit of a discussion.

General layout

For starters, I’d like to introduce a fluid theme (that’s one that stretches to a users screen size). My fixed theme is great, I love its look Ive used it for a while, its a great looking design and an impressive job. However, I’m losing out on a lot of screen real estate that could be used in better ways. I often feel like Im writing on paper and using huge margins left and right. I wonder if others feel similarly. Many of the good blogs I read these days use a layout that’s tailored towards the bigger screen resolutions.

Of course, my main reason for not doing so sooner is that I’ve made a hell of a lot of modifications to this existing theme which will be a bit of pain to add to any new layout.Add to that the need to upgrade to WP2.3 and I find myself losing the will to live.

Comment form usabilty

I’d also like to improve the usability of my comment form. Sebastian has some good reasons for doing so over at his SEO blog. I’m also going to take another look at my comment template and see if I can ajaxify some of the componants. I’d also like to alter the way I communicate my comment policy. As it stands, I link to some rant from within a big pile of words that are a bit of a mouthful – it isn’t an ideal solution. It might help to stick the words in a little pop up somewhere perhaps and drop the rant maybe.

Subscribe to comments

I’m not too happy with my subscribe to comments option either and find that my position has shifted somewhat from my original little rant. I thought about giving people a cookie option to choose. I thought about an onload event too whereby some div opened up asking 1st time visitors how they’d like to be treated, do they want follow up emails to their comments or do they not. I’m still undecided and kind of find myself thinking about going back to the default unchecked option. The problem always was that there are pros and cons on both sides and well, I sided with one that felt ok at the time.

Interacting with existing visitors

It could also be a good idea to give regular visitors some additional insights into say, how many people had read an article they’d commented on, what locations they’d came from, who was linking to the page that sort of thing. This could be a useful hook to grab a new subscriber or registration even. I can see the subtle attraction of an <? if(user_registered) { ?> show more stuff <? }?> option.

Writing better stuff that people will want to read

I’ve said it once I’ve said it twice I’m no Shakespeare . I do tend to waffle on and fly off on tangents that began in the recesses of my cannister and bounced off of the insides of my noddle a few times. I’d like to write a few more factual informative pieces, case studies things like that. Maybe make them available as a subscription or registered user option.

I try and avoid too many topical issues. I try not to follow the crowd and parrot a different version of what someone else out there is saying already. I think that by staying individual and true to who I am then some people somewhere will carry on reading me and as more stumble across my stuff then that reader base should grow.

I had 180 subscribers earlier which is really cool and a small indicator that I’m doing something right somewhere. I never really thought about getting lots and lots of readers here, but must confess to feeling a tiny degree of satisfaction that people around the globe find some of what I say interesting enough to hit a little button somewhere.

Getting out and about more

You can improve your blogs visibilty by getting out and about and commenting on other peoples stuff. I really need to do this more and expand my little circle. I tend to read the same people daily and whilst this is a good thing (they write interesting stuff) I do find that I might be spending too much time reading them and not enough time reading others.

I try not to be one of these people who targets A-listers or people with big established subscriber bases but it does need to be said that this is a good tactic for getting yourself better known. If you bang on the right doors hard enough and in the right kind of ways then eventually they might just open and send you a boat load of traffic.

Alas, such an approach doesn’t really fit with who I am, I’m not too good at it, I’m just not one of lifes schmoozers.I did give it a conscious try some time back but found myself thinking, hang on, what am I doing, I’m only commenting because he has a lot of readers, and heck they didn’t even acknowledge what I said, what the hell am I doing, so well… end of. I’m sure it looked far too transparent, sheeat the manipulative SEO strikes again.

Henceforth, the modus operandi is, one of if I talk about someone or comment on their stuff I’ll do so because:

  • They are discussing something that I’m genuinely interested in that has relevance to what I’m discussing and my readership
  • I simply like them or respect what they stand for and what they do and how they do it
  • I disagree strongly with an opinon or policy and need to let them know why.

I’ll probably see my blog’s subscriber base grow more slowly as a result, but I don’t really care so much. I’d rather grow my base on the back of being true to who I am, than as a result of being some comment attention seeking brown nosing whore.

It really is possible to grow a successful blog without being so.

Anyhow I feel myself beginning to waffle so I’m going to tag….a few people I’ve seen around at Sphinn I think, and see what happens, thanks for listening.

Ben Shana Bob Marty and Tancy01

Learning from your blogging mistakes – 5 things to avoid when blogging

Some of your blogs will just suck bottom

About a week or so ago I decided to offer someone somewhere a free SEO review of a site they thought might need a little help.

It was a spectacular failure of a post! 😀 Not one person has played the game.

I thought it was a well balanced win win deal that would have stimulated a little activity and garnered some links in for me and a little stimulus for others, oh and of course a free SEO review for some random site somewhere.

The key factor  for those who wanted to blog on it was this

You can write about a site that you think is really cool, or a site that you use daily that isn’t mainstream and that people should know about. It could be one of your own sites, or it could be a site of a friend or a relative even. By writing about them you will be raising an awareness and giving them some all important link juice too.

With a payback for me being

If you’d like me to consider the site for a review then all you gotta do is link back to this post and hopefully I’ll pick it up and have a little look. In an ideal world you’d choose one of these sets of phraseology, “Rob is offering the chance for some Free SEO Advice ” or “Rob is offering a website review“, but I’m cool with a rob or a yackyack or a click here even!

So why did this bomb? Don’t people want Free SEO reviews or SEO advice? Sure they do, but not amongst my readership it seems.

Most of the people who read me, are after all pretty savvy guys and girls. Most are already busy building stuff for their clients or themselves; they know all about SEO and what is needed to rank well and get spidered.

It’s funny but I thought that some people might just want to take a slightly philanthropic view and just reach out somewhere and say hey this site here is the dogs bollocks but it doesn’t rank for shit, they could do with some help. Yet, nobody did, or at least no one has thus far.

Then of course I looked back at the post and thought actually Rob, that was a bit of a dumb arse post really. It has link back to Rob written all over it.

So much for my own philanthropy.

So in view of this, Ive changed the rules a little and dropped the need to link back. Just mail me or PM me or hey link back to me even 😉 Just to let me know.

A few other things occured to me to. I categorised them as blogging mistakes as we all make them on occassions, we are all guilty of losing the plot and forgetting about what we are trying to say and to whom, so without further ado, here are 5 things to avoid or resist the temptation on when blogging.

Maybe you can share yours in a little meme even, feck I’ll tag a few people too.

I’m sure John Chow has a few to share with us, I wonder if Darren Rowse can share a thing or two, and how about Meg and what about bloggers like Link baiter Lyndon or Super SEO Consultant Joe or ace Graphic Designer David.

5 things to avoid or resist the temptation on when blogging.

  • Don’t forget who you are writing to and from where they come from. Respect the intelligence of your readers and don’t try and slip them mickey finns
  • If you haven’t got anything new or original to say then don’t say it, don’t blog just for the sake of filling up some server space. Collect your thoughts and save them for another day.
  • Try not to ramble on too much and stick to the point of what your post is about. Esoteric meanderings are best left for those who like to read esoteric meanderings 😀
  • If you want to create something a little viral then make sure it’s something worth linking to. Don’t get too huffed up in your own sense of piss and importance. Ask a blog friend for an opinion or 2 before you go ahead with your kick ass idea.
  • Don’t sit there too long worrying about your crappy blog post that got no comments. Recognise that you aint shakespeare and that everynow and then you’ll write a stinker. Learn from it and move on.

8 random facts about me meme

Its Friday, a time to wind down and chill, so I’m gonna respond to this little meme.

I’ve been tagged by Robin over at Fortune Watch (check out his blog for some great finance tips and pointers)

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

I’m not one for adhering to rules so in this regard I’m gonna reshape it a little and make 2 lists.

Random Personal

  1. I am a big fan of Carry On films
  2. I once left an aeroplane in a wheelchair (was it a small plane or a big wheelchair, you decide..)
  3. I cycle between 50 and 80 miles per week
  4. My son is bigger than me already and that concerns me muchly
  5. I used to wonder why I was born on the same day as  the bombing of Hiroshima
  6. I once watched 5 series of the Soprano’s in less than 3 weeks.
  7. I learnt I needed glasses by accident, prior to this I just assumed that the world was a little murky
  8. I follow the fortunes of Arsenal Football Club and love Thierry Henry

 Random Tech

  1. I recently purchased an 80gb IPOD Video  from ebay and love it 😀
  2. My steps to learning  HTML began through viewing the source in web browsers, editing them and noting the effect. I subsequently decided to buy a book.
  3. I have 6 computers in the house 5 of them are deficient in a way or other, yet they all work.
  4. I spend in excess of 80 hours per week online
  5. My favourite search engine despite its many shortcomings is Google
  6. I once built a win a car website and thought the world and its wife would participate in my draw.
  7. 40% of my working week is spent at home
  8. In 1999 I built a  flash website that had a 3 minute pre loader. I gave up flash development shortly thereafter 😀

    Tagging Nellioness Mama Papa Hobo Tony Mark Steph and Paula

Blogging is dead, no more blogging, a last word

Of course, blogging isn’t dead, I’m still here i don’t plan to shuffle off and pop my clogs, unless fate decides otherwise perhaps. If I don’t come back, then lets just say that I’m privileged, lucky and happy to have lived a life full of ups and downs and highs and lows. Nothing worth having was ever easy guys, especially search engine rankings. 😉

Robyn tagged me on the theme of the blogosphere is ending what would be your last message. I love the way in which she answered the question. Its depth, its light, its overarching clear message – give love and be loved.

The blogosphere is ending. No more blogs. Blog apocalypse. The Internet is still working, the world is fine. But you can’t write anymore. Write your last post. Make it a good one. What is the reason you blog? What is the last gem of knowledge you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for? Who are you? What is the meaning of life? Haha…well not exactly but you get the point. Pour your heart into it.

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Magazine Meme – Which ones do I read

QSP (quick short post)

New York SEO – Joe Whyte tagged me earlier on a ‘what magazine do you read’ meme. So in a spirit of yeah why notiness, I thought I’d take the time out and share.

I read a whole lot more online stuff these days, so don’t read half as much paper stuff as I once did. The last mag I read was New Media Age which is pretty good for search and tech stuff.  I occasionly read New Scientist as it has some interesting pieces that have a habit of getting me thinking about all manner of weird and wonderful things. I bought a copy of Mens Health the other week, as I had this mad idea to regain my abs, but thus far haven’t gotten too far on it. I’ll secretly read my sons copies of some  xbox360 games mag, just to check out really cool games like Command and Conquer and Gears of War, but other than that I’m no longer a real paper media dude.

Tagging Jeff Robyn DS and James

Meme tagged – why do I blog

Me been tagged. Becky (one of my favouritie bloggers) tagged me on this meme stuff. Its a funny old word ‘meme’, try saying it with scrunched nostrils. According to the define:meme thingy over at google its a cultural viral thing.

Anyhow, why do I blog?

Great question. I think i like to occasionly help out and express a view or two. I blog in all manner of environs, its sure cheaper than seeing a therapist 😀 Ive used blogs to say all manner of things that Ive encountered in my life. Sometimes, well most of the time in fact! It’s great to receive feedback and perspective. Some people are marvellous in how they respond and I’ve made some truly great ‘virtual friends’ Blogging has that way of allowing you to really hear what a person is saying and where they are coming from, you get an excellent sense for their ‘voice’ and you learn a thing or 2 along the way, both about yourself and others in general.. I guess Im just an avid people watcher at heart, so blogging really helps massage that one particular muscle of my psyche.

I spose now ive got to do the meme thing and mention 5 people who I’d like to tag.

um…Lyndon, Andy Steph, Shane and Jill

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