Category Archives: Content

Dead and Broken Links: Time for a Clean up!

I just finished running a broken link check on our BiggerPockets Blog and it seems that in the 6 months that have passed since the last check, we’ve accumulated almost 500 dead links.

The vast majority of the dead links were from:

  1. Links to news articles that no longer exist on major sites like CNN, Yahoo News, etc.
  2. Comment links from people whose websites no longer exist.
  3. Pings from blog articles that no longer exist.

Additionally, there are quite a few links to articles that have been moved because the website changed their link/directory structure.

SEO Tip: If you’re not using 301 redirects to send visitors to the new location of your content, you’re losing traffic, link juice, and potentially new links from the same sites that have to remove the dead links that you failed to upkeep.

The bottom line is, help keep the web clean by making sure your old, non-functional links point somewhere other than a 404 page. And if you don’t, at least make sure you’ve got a good 404 page that’s useful and memorable

In case you’re wondering how to find and fix those links, here’s a great writeup.

Technorati’s WTF Got Game(d)

Introducing Technorati’s WTF aka Where’s The Fire

I don’t think it has quite caught on yet, but Technorati has built it’s own answer to Digg, Reddit and the rest of the social news and bookmarking sites. It’s called Where’s The Fire or WTF and covers “What’s Hot, and Why.” Considering the popularity and resources of Technorati, it seems like this should be more popular than it already is . . .

WTF Manipulation

Unfortunately, it seems like people are already manipulating the system. I was just looking and there were 4 stories on the front page of the site all promoting some blog (that is a huge POS). Each story had 15 votes and they were all in different categories for added exposure. WTF’s competition already has methods for dealing with situations like these, and if Technorati doesn’t handle the problem FAST, then it is likely that this application will turn out to be a complete flop.

technorati WTF
User Manipulating Technorati’s WTF

If Technorati hopes to gain any ground on the competition for social bookmarking/social news, then they need to get a grip on this ASAP. In addition, publicity is going to be key . . . if no one knows about WTF, then it will never become popular (pretty obvious, I know).

Meanwhile, feel free to vote on and support some of the articles I’ve posted to WTF, or just submit some yourself!

What Happens When Your Posts Are Translated by Others? Los 77 errores que un blogger no debe cometer

I’m not sure whether to be annoyed or pleased . . . I’ll go with flattered, yet bothered.

Someone Plagerized and Translated My Post!

translate blog into spanishIt seems that someone has decided to plagerize my Top 77 Mistakes That New Bloggers Make Post. The catch is that they didn’t simply copy it, but translated the entire thing into Spanish.

Copying anyone’s content without their permission is simply violating their copyright. While it seems that taking a post and translating it would also constitute a copyright violation, I’m left thinking that this is somewhat of a grey area. Normally, when someone steals my content, I go after them with a vengeance, however I’m not exactly sure how to handle this situation. Had the author simply asked my permission to translate my post, I would have probably told him it was okay to do, but he should have asked me.

What Would You Do?
I feel very torn in this situation and would love your feedback here! For now, I’m not going to link back to his post, but I will send a trackback so he knows I’m aware that he took it. What are your feelings on the matter? Should I ask him to take the post down or just let it go? What do you think?

With that in mind, since he was so kind to do the translation, I think it is a must that I share the translated version of my post (which took many hours to write) with my fellow Spanish speaking bloggers.

Los 77 errores que un blogger no debe cometer

    Dominios y Alojamiento

  1. No tener tu blog alojado como Dios manda ( servidor propio o compartido, pero nada de free hostings)
  2. Registrar un dominio para tu blog que tiene copyright o riesgo de entrar en conflicto con marcas establecidas
  3. Registrar un dominio largo e imposible de recordar, y sobretodo de teclear.
  4. No tener un dominio propio para tu blog

    Estilo, Diseño y elementos basicos de un blog

  5. Mantener el diseño original que venia por defecto con el blog
  6. Usar un fondo negro, que brilla, tiene lucecitas, se mueve o molesta a la vista de alguna forma
  7. Usar musica de fondo
  8. No actualizar el blogroll que viene por defecto con el blog
  9. No usar correctamente los permalinks
  10. No protegerte del spam usando alguno de las decenas de plugins disponibles
  11. Desaprovechar el potencial de los plugins que tienes instalados
  12. No incluir informacion de contacto del blogger ( si te quiero hacer una donacion millonaria, ¿como te lo digo? )
  13. No incluir informacion basica sobre el autor ( a todos nos gusta ponerle un perfil a quien leemos )
  14. No crear el sitemap para buscadores ( la de visitas que te puedes perder por ello! :-))

    Comentarios del blog

  15. Mantener el primer comentario de prueba que viene con el blog (hay que ser cutre… )
  16. Forzar a tus lectores a que se registren de alguna forma para poder dejar comentarios
  17. Comentar en otros blogs diciendo solo “que guay!”, “me gusta lo que has escrito” u otras tonterias que no aportan nada
  18. Comentar en otros blogs generando spam y llenando el texto con las urls de tus paginas
  19. No molestarse en comentar en otros blogs lo suficiente
  20. No estar al tanto ni seguir que es lo que se comenta en otros sites o blogs
  21. No responder a los comentarios en tu blog
  22. Pedir directamente a otros bloggers por enlaces hacia tu blog en los comentarios
  23. Recoger direcciones de email a saco e introducirlas en una lista que usaras para spamear a todos (violacion de la privacidad)
  24. Usar enlaces de afiliados cuando comentas en otros blogs

    Enlaces

  25. Contactar a todo el mundo pidiendo intercambio de enlaces
  26. No enlazar hacia otros blogs /fuentes de informacion suficientemente
  27. Usar enlaces incorrectos o rotos ( que no llevan a ningun sitio)
  28. No usar los trackbacks para saber quien te enlaza y desde donde

    Contenido del Blog

  29. Crear SPLOGS ( spam!)
  30. Crear falsas expectativas respecto al contenido y calidad del blog y luego no llegar ni a la mitad de los esperado
  31. No aprender un poco de la cultura y el lenguaje de los blogs antes de lanzarse a la blogosfera
  32. No escoger un buen tema y audiencia antes de ponerse a escribir
  33. No mantener el blog enfocado en ese tema y desvariar
  34. Copiar el estilo y la filosofia de otro blog ( para eso me leo el otro blog )
  35. Bloggear sobre absolutamente nada interesante
  36. No revisar la ortografia de nuestras entradas
  37. No hacerse un hueco en la red y experimentar el “blogger burnout” ( toy quemao !)
  38. Robar contenido de otros blogs
  39. Bloggear sobre algo que no tenemos ni idea
  40. Copiar posts enteros de otros sitios y pensar que con un simple enlace de vuelta quedamos bien ( eso es robar! :-))
  41. No atribuir el credito necesario a las fuentes de donde sacamos nuestras ideas y contenidos
  42. Ocultar o modificar nuestra personalidad haciendonos pasar por quienes no somos en nuestro blog
  43. Escribir titulos que no tienen ningun interes
  44. Escribir interminables bloques de texto sin espacios, orden, negrita, etc.
  45. Escribir de forma demasiado irregular
  46. Olvidar que escribes para tus lectores, no para ti mismo
  47. Escribir cosas en el blog que pueden perjudicarte en el futuro (sobretodo si pones a parir a tu jefe :-))
  48. Ser poco profesional
  49. Atacar a otros bloggers a destajo solo para ganar atencion
  50. Compartir informacion confidencial o privada en tu blog
  51. Compartir EXCESIVA informacion personal ( puede ser peligroso)
  52. No tener propio criterio y propio lenguaje al escribir
  53. No motivar al lector a que participe en los comentarios
  54. Escribir mucho blablabla sin llegar a decir nada
  55. Escribir sobre lo que todo el mundo escribe ( a no ser que seas el primero en hacerlo :))
  56. Crear concursos con premios y no proporcionarlos

    Promocion de blogs y generar trafico

  57. Hacer publicidad del blog en cualquier sitio ( hay que saber escoger )
  58. Promover un blog que no llega a los 10 posts
  59. Usar aplicaciones de trafico (software) para incrementar tus rankings
  60. Usar otros metodos dudosos para incrementar tu trafico
  61. Enviar tu blog una y otra vez a sitios sociales ( tu blog hasta en la sopa vaya…)
  62. Enviar entradas pesimas a estos sitios sociales ( meneame, promoting blogs, etc….)
  63. No hacer publicidad de tus mejores posts
  64. No participar en Blog Carnivals para atraer mas trafico
  65. No incluir un enlace hacia tu blog en firmas de mails, forums, etc
  66. No responder a emails y comentarios de otros bloggers

    Generando ingresos con el blog

  67. Preocuparte de como generar ingresos antes de tener un contenido de calidad
  68. Poner tantos anuncios como se pueda de cualquier estilo, clase, red de anuncios, etc
  69. Hacer click en tus propios anuncios
  70. Permitir que cualquiera se anuncie en tu sitio ( un poco de criterio hombre! :-))
  71. Escribir entradas patrocinadas de cualquier forma ( esta genial sacar dinero escribiendo para ReviewMe o PPP o el que sea, pero hay que hacerlo bien! )

    Feeds

  72. Infra utilizar las posibilidades de tu feed
  73. No disponer de un link claro desde el cual subscribirse a tu feed en el blog
  74. No usar feedburner para optimizar y hacer publicidad de tu blog ( tiene cientos de posibilidades para ello)
  75. No uses el contador de lectores de Feedburner si no tienes al menos 50 lectores
  76. No sindicar el contenido total de tu blog en las feeds
  77. Saturar tu feed de anuncios

How to Write a Proper Website or Blog Review: What Elements to Include in a Paid or UnPaid Review

These days there are quite a few people out there writing reviews of other websites and blogs. Many people write these reviews primarily because they find a site that interests them. Others do so because they want to make some money and get paid; they use services like ReviewMe or PayPerPost to find sites looking for reviews. What I’ve noticed, however, is that many people are cheating their reviewees out of a proper website or blog review.

It seems that the only requirement that many of these review services have is that you meet a minimum number of words in your review. I can’t tell you how many bad reviews I’ve seen. Understand that a bad review in this context does not mean a review saying that a site isn’t very good, but one that doesn’t properly cover all the bases. For example, look at this bad review that I received recently through the ReviewMe Marketplace. The author says one good thing about my site BiggerPockets®, but the review is completely lacking. It is completely useless, and I’m actually shocked that it was approved by ReviewMe. Notice that they really don’t say anything at all about the site?

5/14/07 Update: ReviewMe refunded me for the cost of this review after I sent an email to them about the issue.

I’ve seen spectacular reviews of sites that are very harsh, but the reviews are good ones, as they help both the reader and the reviewee out. Lets look at some of the more important elements to cover when doing a review:

Elements to Cover When Writing a Paid or Unpaid Website / Blog Review

  • Design - The first thing that you see when looking at a website is its design. Is the design pleasing to the eye? Is the site cluttered or difficult to navigate? Are there any glaring design flaws or glitches, or is the site a work of art?
  • Focus – What is the focus of the site? If you can’t figure it out, then the author is doing something wrong. Focus should be apparent without hunting around too much. Typically by using design elements, or simple headlines or sub-headlines a site must convey its focus.
  • Content – The most obvious element to cover in your review is the site’s content. Does the content of the site match its focus? If not, there is a problem! Is the content easily readable? Does it make sense? What are some of the highlights? Is there a page, article or section of the site that really stands out as being fantastic?
  • Writing Style – Writing style is one element that many people often ignore. Does the author share his/her voice? Do you find yourself relating to what you read? Is the style professional or does the author blab on about their dying goldfish in every post?
  • Grammer and Punctuation – Does the site use proper grammatical elements? Are there spelling mistakes and punctuation errors all over the place?
  • Message Effectiveness – Overall, do you find that the site is effective in putting out its message?
  • Website Audience – Who is the intended audience for this site or blog? Are the intended and actual audiences different?
  • Info about the author – Is there anything interesting to note about the author? e.g. I was watching the news last night and they were talking about a blog written by a boy with cancer. Is the author an expert or do they have no idea what they are talking about? Do they have any qualifications to write what they are writing?
  • Anything else you think is important – Of course, there are other elements that you can discuss as well. Anything about the site that stands out, good or bad, should always be covered in a review.

Fear of Writing a Negative Review

Many people are afraid to write honest reviews of websites. They feel that they may hurt someone’s feelings or they may even feel guilty for writing a negative review that they are getting paid for. By not remaining completely honest when writing a review, you are cheating the reviewee! Whether or not the review is a paid one, you must always stick to your honest opinion.

Don’t go and hype a site just because everyone else is. Don’t say a site is good if it is not. Don’t ignore the problems out of fear. By doing any of these things, you deprive the author/publisher of the opportunity to learn how to improve . . . wouldn’t you want the honest truth?

Note:This post was inspired by a discussion I was reading (I’m the user bigp), and by a review I recieved from someone yesterday (mentioned earlier – worst review ever).

What Bothers You Online? (meme-worthy?)

Image Courtesy of drdriving.orgThis is where I jump out there and rant a bit about all the annoying crap going on today online! Care to join in?

On Making Money Online “Experts” . . .
I can’t believe all the “making money online” blogs out there. Most are from people who have never made any real money online. I think that anyone with a blog about making money online needs to prove their salt by showing everone how much they’ve actually made online. How are you going to give advice about making money online when you’ve never even made the bare minimum from any affiliate or ad program to get your first check?

On Website Copycats . . .
I can’t believe how many people think that by copying the strategies, design and content of other sites they will have instant success. People think that by simply stealing somone else’s ideas that they will somehow have a good site. It doesn’t work that way people! It is sad that we’ve become a world of drones, copying the few leaders out there who have the originality and imagination to actually do something individual and unique. Just because you see the top sites in your space doing something doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to see gains from doing it. Even the big boys do it . . . read my recent post on how MySpace has gone from the copied to the copycat with their MySpace News failure.

On Blogging Imitators . . .
I can’t believe the number of blogging imitators out there. It seems that John Chow is a favorite amongst the blogging bootleggers; John is an original, like him or not. It is unbelievable how many people have created blogs that simply copy what he does. I realize that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but re-read my first point on copycats.

On Every One Who Gives Online Advice About Something They Know Nothing About . . .
I was recently reading a blog where someone was trying to tell people how to run a successful forum. When pressed, they admitted that they were not currently and have not ever run any successful forums. How can you give advice on something you have no experience with?

The problem we all face now is that anyone can give advice. Before listening to anyone out there, find out a bit about them. Ask about their experience. Do they really know what the hell they are talking about?

The best is reading many of the websmaster forums out there where people are offering help to others when they are in no position to be doing so . . . e.g. I saw a thread where someone admitted getting only a handful of visitors per day, yet their signature said something like “get tons of website visitors” and their link went to a new, empty directory site.

On People With No Common Sense or Basic Netiquette . . .
This is my finaly rant of the day. I’m shocked that in this day and age people:

  • Still think it is okay to POST IN ALL CAPS IN FORUMS

  • Still post their link in blog comments
  • Still send business emails with no contact information or signature, just their name
  • Still think I’m going to do business with them after the send repeated, unsolicited, SPAM
  • Still think I’m going to link to their completely unrelated and haphazardly thrown together website
  • Still think I’ll do business or ever work with them after they insult me publicly (yes, I have only one person in mind here)
  • Still think it is okay to sell CDs or DVDs online and then charge $9.99 for S&H

Ok . . . I’m tired of ranting. I feel much better!

I guess this post is best summed up by the following:

Care to extend the rant? (Is this post meme-worthy?)

A Few Helpful Things Stuck on My Firefox Tabs; Time to give my computer a break!

I haven’t shut my computer down in 5 days now because I’ve got too many tabs open on Firefox. In an effort to give my iMac a break, I’m going to just post a few of the many interesting finds that made their way into the 27 tabs I had open across 5 browser windows. Tabs are great in theory, but this constantly happens to me . . . I am yet another victim of “Multi-Browser Tab Syndrome”. Maybe I should start a 5 step program for others like me.

How do you handle the tab obsession?

Here are a few of the useful things I had open: (ahhhh . . . it feels good to begin closing things down!)

Never Accuse Your Customer Without Having All the Facts! AND Don’t Steal People’s Content!

Last week, I wrote an article about good customer service and used the example of how EzineArticles.com failed to live up to their promise to contact me about a situation. I am happy to report that I have finally been contacted by the company. The interesting thing is that the company broke another cardinal rule, research first and accuse later.

Don’t Assume You’ve got All The Facts Until You Do!

Here is the content of the email I received:

Hi Joshua,

Your account is suspended because your article “Hiring the Right
Property Manager for Your Rental/Income Property” has content that is
exactly the same as this piece:

http://www.wcrt.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1526

…and is not attributed to you. We require that all submitted
articles be either original articles written by you or articles to
which you have an exclusive right to. Please keep in mind that to
have an exclusive right to an article, only your name may be
associated with it. If you purchased this article as part of a pack
or received it from a distributor/affiliate site, so have others so
you do not have an exclusive right to it.

Can you please explain the above? What is the source of your article?

Abby

http://EzineArticles.com/

A few things . . . first, wouldn’t it make more sense if they had contacted me last year when I submitted the article with their inquiry? Instead, I was flatly banned WITH NO EXPLANATION. They assumed I was the one who was not the original author instead of doing 1 of 2 things: 1) contacting me asking me to prove I am the author or 2) doing 1 minute of research to see if I was the author. A google search of the first line of the article in question reveals the truth:

A little article I wrote back in October of 2005 called: Things to Consider when Interviewing Property Management Companies comes up immediately. It would be very clear to see that the duplicated article that they were talking about was written January 30, 2006, 3 months later.

In addition, the email assumes that I was the one committing the copyright infringement, when in fact it was someone from another site doing it. I was guilty until proven innovent! This is certainly not the way to run a service.

What Can Be Learned Here?

  • Don’t assume that you have all the facts until you actually do.
  • Choose your words wisely. In tone and content, it apears as though the people at EZineArticles are accusing me of stealing someone else’s articles. Accusing someone is not the way to make them happy customers/users.
  • If you say you’re going to respond to someone in 24 hours, then do it.
  • Don’t get on my bad side! (just kidding . . . kind of . . . )

Further Implications of The Situation
I am somewhat thankful for the whole controversy for one reason: I was able to discover that one of the users of my company, BiggerPockets’s forums was stealing our materials and posting them as his own. As a result, I emailed him asking him to immediately remove the article from his site, and warned him that I would contact his host if he failed to comply. We shall see what happens . . . back to my 7 Steps on How to Protect Your Website’s Copyright When Someone Steals Your Content.

I’ll keep you posted of any further developments!

Use Forums to Find Material for Your Blog

Wondering how to find some new material for your blog? Create a companion forum site to go along with it. Last year, I decided to create a blog for our real estate investing site, BiggerPockets.com. After a few months, I realized that I had lost my motivation and had run out of material. Why? I didn’t know how to come up with ideas for new stories. I’ve since been able to build the real estate blog up into a credible site.

Blogging is not as easy as it seems. To run a successful blog, you need to have a constant stream of ideas. One of my greatest sources for material is our real estate forum.

Use your Forum to Get Ideas for your Blog

Once your forum becomes established (ours is currently ranked #1 for real estate investing forums and #2 for real estate forums), you will have plenty of people to supply you with material or ideas.

How to Use Forum Material on Your Blog

  • Directly quote messages from members in the blog.
  • Include a disclaimer on the forum sign-up and on all pages, and make it known to your membership that you do this.
  • When using something written by your membership, make sure you give credit to the author.
  • Link back to the discussion on your forum, as it will often help to continue the conversation.
  • Let your members know about the blog, and encourage them to submit ideas/material.

There are many other places you can go for ideas, but there is nothing like the ease of self-supplied blog material.