If you were in my shoes….

What would you do?

Ok community, I’m sitting on the plank in the dunk tank and if you have the arm and aim, here’s a chance to give me your best shot to send me tumbling down into that frigid tub of water.

If you peel the curtain back and take a closer look in here, you will see it’s mostly a facade. It would only take a little no-name storm to blow all this away. If I had to rely on anything other than my social abilities, there is a very good chance you would not be looking to me for help when the boat started to sink. I’m more likely to be the guy climbing on your back to keep my head above water…..every man for himself, right?

Does it even matter?

Outside looking in

Confession time; I know most spend a lot of effort tinkering with their sites and they look good, they really do. But at the end of the day it’s not your site that will bring me back, it’s you. Just don’t make me take a test or remember a password to leave comment and I’m good to go.

Trust me, I am a very low maintenance kind of guy.

For me, it’s just about the people; fancy shmancy is nice but after a few visits it just blends in with the scenery. But then again, I am probably not your target audience either. I will show up regardless; you made the mistake of feeding me the first time.

Having said all that and establishing I am pretty much clueless (by choice) as to the inner workings of what is supposed to work to maximize your presence, what do you see when you look in my door?

What would you do?

If I gave you the keys to my house and said you can do anything you want with the place, what would be the top 3 things you would take care of first?

Would it be Extreme Makeover or just a coat of paint?

I know some (or most) of the answers are predicated on what I am trying to accomplish, but what if all I want is to make it easier for people to find me and come back when they want to? My whole premise is people first anyway; get the people in the door and then let them decide if they want to stay and/or share if they like.

Website

Yes, it’s a free site and so I am limited with my options, but convince me why I need to go self-hosted.

SEO

Could I actually be doing SEO and not know it? I mean, I write just to write; if I sprinkled the right words in at the appropriate place, is that really going to make a significant difference?

Plug-ins

I have installed some plug-ins, but is there the mother of all plug-ins out there that is an absolute must I am missing out on?

Tags

Every time I hit publish from my WordPress account it gives me the option of attaching some tags to the post; how critical is this?

Links, back-links and linkbait

Back link to where? My post; other posts? What is the proper etiquette on linking anyway? I have about a 50% hit ratio when I link someone they will even acknowledge it. It makes me wonder if the person even knows they have been linked. If I pull the link from their site, should they know every time?

By not acknowledging, are they saying I’m not worth the effort or maybe just too busy?

Guest posts

Giving and receiving; I know this helps, but how often? Once a month; once a quarter; once a week? Should I strategically seek them out? What works for you?

Commenting

I pretty much have this down in spades. However, whereas I used to be prone to comment bombing, lately I am just in and out and pay little attention to some of the other comments. Should I cut down on the places I visit so I can spend more time strategically at select sites?

Topics

Is my generalist, no-nonsense nature appealing or is it holding me back in the grand scheme of things? This will probably sound self-serving, but I feel my niche is me; that is the one topic I know the best. I know stuff, I can weigh in on a lot of topics.

I would clear the room if I started writing about insurance.

Posting

How important is it to figure out the optimal day and time to publish? Am I just being lazy stubborn because I post on Monday and Wednesday mornings regardless?

Did I miss anything?

Is there any must-have thing of all things I haven’t touched on? I’m not talking the fancy ‘nice to have stuff;’ but the core ‘must-have’ items that really make a difference.

What was the one thing you did that shot you off like a rocket?

Does it even matter?

We all know the best promotion is a referral from friends. Should I really just concentrate on being the best I can be, taking care of the basics better than anyone else, and let the chips fall where they may? All this other stuff is nice, but is it really secondary in the grand scheme of things?

I can read you like a book

I see what you are doing Dorman, begging for all of this free advice you cheap piece of crap. Nice try pal…

Ok, I’ve been exposed. I will say this, I am comfortable with my efforts but would be grateful for your thoughts. I might not do anything differently but if you were in my shoes and this was your place, what would you change right away?

972 words….yikes, that might be the first thing you look at, huh?

That.is.all.

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83 thoughts on “If you were in my shoes….

  1. I’d buy insurance from you, Bill. Yes. Just because of your blog. Because you are you and I have seen who you really are over time. So….it won’t really matter if you change things because it won’t add or take away from who you are. It might just be fun for you and entertaining for everyone else. You let people talk here. That’s what matters.

    • Why thank you, I appreciate your words of support.

      I know most are in here to find some direction or associate w/ like minded people. I just don’t know how much gas a ‘general’ blog has. I guess as long as people are showing up, huh?

      Good to see you.

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of questions for a Monday Bill.

    Look at it as content versus mechanics. I will say this, I wouldn’t change topics, as it obviously suits you and keeps you motivated. Can you support your writing better through some focus on blog mechanics, probably. Since I might see you tonight, I’ll save all of my secrets for then… 😉

    • Hola sir; good to catch up w/ you and Dino. It was good to talk about ‘social’ direction and I think Dino had some good ideas for a ‘business’ book.

      I’m having fun with the writing so I’m not in a big hurry to make changes, but maybe a tweak or two just to jazz it up.

      Yes, maybe we can get the spouses to do the virtual shooting range as well. Probably later in Oct might be best; we’ll figure it out.

      Talk to you soon.

  3. I hear porn really pulls them in.

    Different strokes for current folks is one of my favourite cliches. I don’t know why you care or if you really do. It seems like you are just doing your thing. The thing I find is when I try too hard I never seem to get as far.

    Dishes and cutlery allow you to tuck into a great meal but will always only be the vehicles to a fantastic taste experience. 🙂

    • I tried following the porny Gravatars as I thought those girls really liked me………… they might not have been real………:).

      I only care because I feel I should be progressing in some direction. But in the big scheme, it really doesn’t matter.

      One thing I do have is time and ‘walk-away’ power if need be; that keeps it from having to try too hard and probably part of my success however tenuous it might be.

    • Actually Ralph social media has undertaken porn as the #1 activity on the Internet. Hard to believe. Bill, I would add the CommentLuv premium plugin. That’s my favourite one – as a commenter, it’s nice knowing that you get some link love every time to you stop by.

      Otherwise (and considering you don’t blog for business) I don’t think I would change a thing :-).

      • Well, CommentLuv seems to be the consensus and to get there it takes a self-hosted site so I need to figure out how to make that happen. Why don’t you have a contest to win one; I usually do pretty good with contests……..:).

        Good to see you Ruth, thanks for your thoughts.

  4. Hi Bill
    It all depends on your blogging goals. I suspect yours are for the most part just social (although we all want our blogs to increase in popularity) and I also suspect you are doing just fine. No recommendations from me. I like your blog just the way it is.
    Riley

    • Hey Riley, probably just because I feel I should be progressing in some direction I suppose; even though with this platform it really doesn’t matter much.

      I guess maybe looking for a bump to kick me up to the next level, whatever that might bring.

  5. I wouldn’t be in your shoes 😉 (not because I don’t like you or what you do, but because I am happy with my life :D).

    That’s the big difference, right? (That we can’t exchange our lives!)

    As with gaining presence or getting more people to stick to our site, I think that every single thing matters (yes, everything from those sharing buttons to header bars – all of them have their own power to influence or increase your presence). Some people think it’s just about content or marketing, I don’t agree (although I used to think that too). There is more to a blog than words. All those small things, matter.

    Take for instance: your blog. I first came to your blog when I was looking for blogs to read and comment on (I already have seen you in other blog, but never came to your site). What attracted me to your blog (Why I stayed and came back) is your style of writing – the conversational one (And the topics you wrote).

    Likewise, for every blog, the blog owner must try to provide something interesting to his/her readers. I think we can find that just by experimenting.

    Take for instance, when I did an experiment by removing sidebars entirely from post pages (Result, readers spending more time reading without those distractions – I have now added the sidebar back, with a few changes, seems to be working :D).

    • Because I have a somewhat ‘general’ blog, it makes it more readable I suppose. However, because of the general nature I’m guessing it doesn’t rank high in search engines. I just know early on a lot of my traffic was driven by me visiting other places and if I don’t do that as much, what is going to make someone new want to drop by?

      Questions, questions, huh? I’m, enjoying the writing part so I guess I need to continue to take care of that first. I wear a size 10 shoe if you want to wear them…:)

      • Lot of things I suppose 😉

        It does depend upon the readers themselves. But, we can increase the chances – by writing content, delivering them in a great way and giving attention to those small details that matter a lot 😉

        And of course, we can increase our chances by networking and marketing 😉

        😉

        Haha, I can’t certainly manage my own shoes, then how I going to wear yours? 😉

  6. 972 eh? that’s cool, Bill! Okay, so I am here for you – what you write – but I must admit I really loved your earlier blog design 😀 – it was great. This one’s fine too. I can’t answer any of your questions because I blog because I enjoy writing – and am grateful for my lovely community. I don’t have loads of followers, but the ones I have, are wonderful people. New people are always welcome, the pot of fresh coffee is ever ready.

    That said, no matter how you change your blog, seo it or whatever, whatever, please do continue to write. It is what touches the heart. You got style.

    Much love, Vidya

    • Thanks so much for your kind words; it’s money in the bank for me and what keeps me around. I would like to be more of a man on a mission, but I think it’s ok just to have fun while I’m figuring it out. It’s a good thing my day job takes care of me, huh?

      It might be time for a change-up on the theme………….hmmmmm……….

  7. I think the majority of your readers are going to agree Bill. It doesn’t matter what your site looks like, whether you interlink or not, whether you have fancy plug-ins or you decide to go self-hosted (which we know you won’t). We keep coming back because of you.

    I have enjoyed getting to know you over the course of us meeting each other through the blogging community and just like Betsy said, if I needed insurance you would be my guy. I know, like and trust you Bill and those are the key ingredients to success.

    We love you just the way you are! No joke! Just keep being you and sharing what you want and we’ll keep coming back for more. 🙂

    ~Adrienne

    • Well then, that’s a good thing because being ‘me’ is what I can do best. It might always be glamorous or pretty, but it is me………..:).

      It was interesting talking w/ Dino Dogan and Adam Toporek last night at a social event. I think it’s good to have open dialogue like that with like minded people; it can get you charged up again.

  8. Bill, did you know that guy in the dunk tank is wearing your shirt?

    Seriously, I think you are a rare breed, my friend. We’ll keep coming back for more because of you, your writing, your self-deprecating sense of humour and your friendship, not because of your site design or tags or plug-ins or ad infinitum.

    I don’t know how you can be so many places at once, commenting all over the blogosphere, but you do it well. I agree with Betsy. I’d buy insurance from you (but you have to come to Canada) BECAUSE I’ve gotten to know you through this blog and your online engagement (did someone say wedding bells? Cheesy reference to the comment you made on my post today:)

    Your questions are excellent. I will be back later to see (cough, steal) the answers:) Cheers! Snowshoes

    • That was my shirt; in fact I’m wearing it today……….sumbich……..stealing my clothes..

      My question would be is my ‘style’ sustainable? I guess the measuring stick is if people keep showing up I suppose.

      If you look below, the Dunn’s have covered me up with good advice; I’ll have to dig in there.

      I asked Dino why some tribes show and others don’t and some might be with people who changed from FeedBlitz to FeedBurner (or vice versa) because he said there were issues with one of those. The other thing is not making sure they have properly checked the right buttons to release their posts.

      So in other words, I don’t have a good answer for you………:(

      Oh well, I’m not sure how much traffic it drives anyway; it just gives you access to a bunch more people.

  9. I have blogged on Blogger, WordPress.com, and self-hosted. I would say the biggest advantages to a self-hosted WP blog all have to do with control. You can design your site more, you have more plug-in options stuff like that. Also, I noticed a marked increase in traffic when I moved from WordPress.com to my self-hosted site – I think perhaps because people felt like I was REALLY committing. However, you’re so successful as it is I’m not sure you should change anything – it’s ultimately about what you feel comfortable with.

    • One of the things I did do was get a domain name so it looked like I was somewhat committed. In my early days I thought people wouldn’t show up because they knew I had a free site. Little did I know the ‘serious’ bloggers didn’t have a lot of room to fit new people in, and if they did, it was probably in their niche.

      Dino had some good ideas and it was a pleasure to be able to ‘pick’ his brain….not in a zombie kind of way, but for ideas…………:).

      Hope you are getting your ‘ailments’ under control before you have to start drinking heavily.

  10. I can bet you big money, Mr. Kahuna, that what you posed above is what every one of us has asked ourselves but has been afraid to admit. It’s always trial by fire, for sure; you get it one day and in the beginning not so much. Mother lode of plug ins? Gimme some CommentLuv! But, then, you already know that about me.

    • Yep, CommentLuv seems to be the one…….BUT…….I have to be self-hosted to pull that off. Maybe that’s reason enough……….Adam and I talked about self-hosted and he said there are some really affordable sites to use. He used GoDaddy just because he can get someone on the phone to get things fixed……..

  11. My, you do ask a lot of questions! Like Jayme, I think they’re questions we’ve all asked. I know I ask them. I’m not sure I have answers to all the questions. I push self-hosting because you have more control, but not everybody needs or wants that much control. One of the things I like about you and your blog is that you keep things simple. You don’t get bogged down with all the blogging mumbo-jumbo.

    • On a previous post where I mentioned about not having to be perfect, depending on your platform and what you are trying to accomplish, this certainly can be so. Some want all the bells and whistles whereas maybe their time would be better spent on the relationship side first.

      I feel a lot of us learn by trial and error in here; I’m usually going on what I hear or see other people are doing and if I think it will benefit me enough to make it happen.

      Good to see you Ruth, I hope your Triberr experience has been good. I got to spend time w/ Dino Dogan last night, it was very enlightening and interesting.

  12. Hey Bill, couldn’t help but pop in on this one.. : ) And actually I have a nice blog critique package… oh, but I digress..

    Marjorie hit it on the head with the reasons to move to self-hosted. And I actually never refer any of my clients to WordPress.com. But also, you are comfortable here and it’s working for you…

    So I am taking the challenge!

    SEO – it’s overrated (watch the SEO gurus come in now and attack me). But honestly, Google does look at the content, and if you have good content, that’s the best start. Sure an SEO plugin will help on many points and I do recommend them…oh, but you are on WordPress.com and can’t add plugins…nevermind

    Plugins – well, until you move your butt to self-hosted, not much we can do here.

    Tags – they have their place. It’s more of a content issue and some themes and plugins (whoops there’s that word again) use them. But they are worthless for SEO.

    Links, etc – do what works for you. Or talk to an SEO guru about linkbacks : )

    Guest posts – good idea, as you have a lot of bright friends who visit your blog all the time. Sprinkle them in here and there, but don’t make your blog another guest posting round up.

    Commenting – you have that down

    Topics – Oh, man, I’ll let Judy talk to you about that.

    Posting – I see it all over the board, different days and different times. Consistency is the main word here.

    Does it even matter? – Hell yes, obviously you matter to your readers : )

    And yes, this is all free advice I’m happy to give you : ) But oh my, what else I could tell you about your blog… well, my friend, you can only wonder : )

    • Yes, you could tell me ‘what else’ but I would either have to pay you or you would have to kill me, right?

      I know you are the go-to source for this and I do appreciate your thoughts. First and foremost, self-hosted opens the door to most of the other options.

      I’m curious however, because I have seen people rave about WordPress, or are you just referring to the .com version?

      I suppose it’s hard to find a ‘general’ blog and basically I rely on my community and word of mouth. Keeping them here might be another challenge, but as long as people are showing up Billy boy will be having fun.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to break it down and giving me your thoughts; thank you very much.

      • Hey Bill, I really enjoyed the post so couldn’t help myself. And I do prefer money over murdering someone, at least most of the time : )

        I’m not sure if I understood your question. In a nutshell, self-hosted sites just have so much more flexibility than sites on WordPress.com. You can add plugins and widgets, and have more choices of themes. And there are other advantages as well, let me know if you are interested, I have a post on explaining the pros and cons.

        In any case, yes, people are showing up here and Billy is having a good time… that’s what really counts.

  13. “…but what if all I want is to make it easier for people to find me and come back when they want to?”

    The above is a weird proposition given that you’re not actually selling anything. And there’s nothing wrong with it at all, it’s just so different from what a lot of people are after.

    So SEO probably isn’t much of an issue. That is, what would people be searching for?

    If they’re searching for Bill Dorman, than you’re pretty well covered. You beat all other Bill Dormans on google searches.

    Some very smart people have told me that most people/businesses with websites have no idea why they have a website.

    So you say all you want is to make it easier for people to find you. Why?

    Do you want to build a community? Seems like you’re well on your way.

    I’m very impressed by the number of comments you’re able to generate on a regular basis. To that end, Jayme’s CommentLuv suggestion hits the mark. Or maybe even livefyre. You’d have to ask people who are using it how that’s working out for them.

    I think this is an ongoing conversation my friend. Not a witty in-and-out-of-here response. Because like Erin and other noted, you’re asking questions all of us are asking.

    • Au contraire, but I am selling something; me. Insurance is how I get paid, but there are so many things that can be done by developing relationships first. If I do that first; all the other stuff just seems to fall into place.

      I like the whole dynamics of people and relationships and how they interact together. If people are involved, then usually I’m interested. If they are actually engaging with me, then I’m in the bonus round.

      Yes, I would like to build a sustainable community. Seeing how people drop off the radar, I would like to have a platform where at least enough new people show up to keep it fresh. Once here, then they can decide if it’s worth hanging around or not.

      I got to spend some time with Dino Dogan last night, and he has ideas galore; very energetic and helpful.

      Good to see you sir.

    • Well, as we started to talk about on another famous blog… you might want to think of ways to take some of this off-line. You’ve developed a lot of trust online, the next step is building the relationships in other ways.

      You know, after you’ve talked to that certain girl in your Algebra and American History classes 20 times about if Jefferson could do binomial equations in his head, you might want to ask her out for a milkshake. And who knows what would happen after that.

      Do you have a lot of actual local folks and clients in this community? Do you ever get together with them in person based on love of blogging, social media, etc.? Is there something there?

  14. Hello, Bill. You raise some very good questions here. Off the top of my head, I am with the others on CommentLuv (selfishly wishing I had a link back to one of my posts when I leaver a comment). I should know the answer to this, living with @bobwp, but is CommentLuv not an option if you are on WordPress.com?

    On the topics, I know that you said before that you don’t have this blog to promote your insurance business, but I can just say that the times you have talked about your job, in the context of the fun, funny stories you tell, I will say that, well, I have enjoyed them. And it helped me see just how good you are at what you do. (Funny thing relating to promoting one’s services through a blog: I still get emails with requests from people who are looking for blog coaching/consulting, even though I took those services off my site in order to focus on finishing my book. So I know that using a blog to market a business is a successful strategy, at least it was for me.)

    • Thanks for your kind words and yes, @bobwp will set you straight about a free WP site will not allow CommentLuv. I did have a good conversation w/ @AdamToporek and @Dino_Dogan last night about some of these same topics and it has certainly given me something to think about.

      I do think I can ‘humanize’ insurance from the sales side; service side and customer side in my own homespun kind of way. Whether that’s sustainable or not, who knows. But I would like to be able to attract more young, smart, creative minds into the industry; it really can be a great career track.

      Good to see you, thanks for taking the time to weigh-in.

  15. Bill, at this point, it really doesnt matter; this blog is driven by relationships.

    If you want to accomplish something further with this blog, other than attract the very best talent on the social web, you need to figure out what your goals are you want to acheive, then start implementing a strategy that moves you towards your goals.

    You’re a beloved figure here with really smart people who would give you the shirt off their backs… Geesh, you gotta create something worthwhile and tell your community what you would like them to do for you.

    If nothing changed, you’ve got a great playgournd to learn, grow and discover life with, which is great, too!

    Would you get off the dang fence already and get busy with what you really want to accomplish with this blogging thing, or shut up and keep entertaining us!

    Your friend,
    Mark

    • First and foremost, I want to be like you when I grow up. If I can do that, then there will be nothing left to accomplish.

      For now, I guess I’m after a ‘sustainable’ platform that is conducive for people to find me. It’s up to me to provide something that will make them stay, come back, or talk about me to other people. What for? Pretty much nothing more than that.

      How the dynamics of those relationships work from that point is limitless as I don’t have one set strategy in mind; ie, sell more insurance, garner speaking engagements, book deals, etc.

      That’s my story and I’m sticking with it……..

  16. Hi Bill,

    Man you ask some questions!

    Extreme makeover?
    I rather like your current minimalist look, but I would push you to go to a self-hosted site simply because you have control and can be the master of your domain. (You want that, right?)

    It’s not that difficult, esp. if you go to something like Genesis and use a child theme. I was going to advise you to check out Bob Dunn’s site on this. I would consider him the go-to guy for this kind of stuff, but I see he’s already commented … 😉

    Plug-ins and all
    Then you can go hog-wild with share buttons, plug-ins, etc. Plus you get to use Comment Luv, which is great.

    SEO? I’m no expert, but have done a lot of research on this topic over the past year and with the new algorithm updates from Google there’s even more of a focus on unique, original content, social shares, etc. Heck if I’m creating a branding package for a small professional services firm, I tell them to focus on content, content, content!

    Commenting?
    Hey everyone, Bill Dorman wants advice on commenting 😉 I’d say you kinda have commenting nailed. It’s all about building community here.

    With all that being said …
    Mark Harai is right and I know you really hate to hear this, but yes, set short and long-term goals and make sure what you do here aligns with said goals.

    The conversational nature of your blog keeps people coming back but you’re right, insurance would clear the room. Well maybe not! Have you seen Ryan Hanley and what he’s done in that space? If I was only so motivated at his age 😉 Sheesh!

    But I defer to Mark and say entertain or get off the pot and plan.

    • I have checked out Ryan; he’s a man on a mission and if I were his age that could very well be my platform. He does a great job……

      My very simple goal right now is sustainability; is there enough here to truly keep people coming back? Or, as others fine tune their mission such as you, is it going to be harder and harder for you to still support me as you get more inline with your niche and your audience. And when and if you leave, who is taking your place.

      I’m all about relationships first; insurance pays me but relationships allow for many other things that I can do to help others or vice versa. I take care of that and then life is good.

      Self-hosted will be given stronger consideration. If I can tell my wife you will pay for the first year I might have a much better chance of pulling this off…………

  17. Hi Bill, Let me start by saying your writing is superb. I’m not kidding, you have a true talent for writing in a warm, engaging, conversational and humorous tone. I don’t know if you did much writing before this blog, but Wow. You can write.

    So what is your goal for this blog? I think you’re doing fine, but do you? Are you at a plateau now for growth and frustrated? Are you looking for more traffic than you have? I’m thinking you’re not looking for more comments, but perhaps an expanded readership.

    A paid blog would help you spread the word about your blog. I’m not sure SEO is your answer because you don’t really write articles that people would be searching for on Google. Instead, people read your articles and discover the gems that are hidden within.

    Tags and comments could help people find your articles internally. I recently tried to find a link you had to the first Bitch Slap article that I ever read. I thought I remembered you linking to it last year, but I couldn’t find it on your blog. Would tags and categories have helped me find that link? Probably not.

    Guest posts and topics go hand-in-hand. If your blog is about you, then having a guest author, other than an immediate family member, probably wouldn’t be very effective. But should you do guest posts at other blogs? Only if you are writing a guest post about your transition to a tech lover (hint, HINT).

    Your blog articles teach life lessons through your stories. You always inspire and make us think while they entertain. The charm is you.

    As far as plugins go, I have plenty that I love. CommentLuv is great to encourage commenters, discourage spammers and give you info on your commenters. Clean Archives Reloaded (recommended by Adrienne) will help your readers find old articles. You can also load your sidebar up with fun widgets that will help people connect with you.

    As far as commenting on other blogs, keep it real. Go to the blogs you enjoy and comment there. If it becomes a chore, you won’t stick around the blogosphere very long.

    Also do what works for you with your schedule. I humbly request that you post seven days a week, but that may not fit in your work/family/golf schedule. I was posting five days a week, then cut down to four and now I’m at three. I won’t go fewer than three though because I can’t get to all of the great tech I want to share with my readers as it is.

    To summarize, you write great, guest post on my blog, comment on my blog and do what works for you. How is that for helpful advice? 😉

    • Fantastic advice and for some reason you have always been a huge supporter….. must be the Florida connection, huh?

      Self-hosted might be my first step which will allow some of the other ‘neat’ things.

      Yes, yes, yes; I need to do a ‘tech’ article………I will give it some serious thought.

      As I stated before, I enjoy this so sustainability is my objective. And sustainability means having enough new visitors to replace the ones who will inevitably drop off at some time. The key is having enough horsepower to make that happen………

  18. Well, the most obvious reason why you should do something is that every single one of my comments makes the spam folder 🙂 It’s been hard for me to comment using different devices. I use iPhone and iPad as well, and on a wordpress.com site it’s a bit hard to comment using those devices, and even from my mac with a regular browser 🙂

    On the other hand, if you want to do SEO, I recommend Long Tail Pro ($97) and SEO Pressor (plugin for wordpress $47). This is more or less all you need to do professional SEO for your site.

    But making things easy for your readers, that’s more important.

    The first thing on my mind, when I read that I would get the keys to your house, was actually going out for pizza 🙂

    • Or, having the pizza come to you………:). I do want to keep it simple here but also make it attractive enough people will actually seek me out. Then it’s up to me to keep them engaged and let them decide if they want to stay or not.

      I think the consensus is go self-hosted first because none of the other recommendations can happen until I do so. It has given me something to think about.

      Thanks for your thoughts and weighing in as I know you have tried a lot of different things.

      • I would go self-hosted and switch to Synthesis, it’s been one of the best experiences I have had online. They are the real experts (owned by copyblogger). And once you go self-hosted you can do close to everything with your blog – it’s all up to you.

  19. Hey Bill,
    I am ready to give all answers but you already probably get quite a bit of traffic. So I don’t think you need to worry about it at all :D.
    Google is slowly killing those trad SEO stuff. The new SEO is all about making blog a happening place , which you already do. Why do you need to get a self hosted site? Well if you decide to brand Bill Inc. and make some money ( aka advertising) which many hosts like wordpress do not allow.
    Other than that, there is no need to tweak a successful product 😉

    • Money? Money is cool; let’s make some money. Hopefully I can make some by just showing up because my day job keeps me busy enough.

      I really like the interaction with my community; I want to be able to sustain that and in addition to my writing I feel there are certain things that need to be in place so new people can actually find me.

      Bill, Inc…………..I like that……….:).

  20. Hi Bill,

    I like your blog as it is – love your folksy style and the feeling that you and I are sitting in a little cafe, sipping on some hot chocolately beverage, and just catching up (with a few brilliant thoughts thrown in here and there).

    Personally, I wouldn’t want you to make any drastic changes because I appreciate the personableness and the openess I feel when reading your words.

    Those commenters who have given reasons for self-hosting have some good reasons for doing so – if you are just itching to move the furniture around, that might be the way to go. If you do, some color would be nice. 🙂

    • Wow, thanks so much for you kind words; I really appreciate the feedback and interaction. Simple is ok and I’m fine with that; I just want to make this place easy to find without changing who I am or how I communicate.

      Self-hosting will be given some serious consideration; thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts.

      • Just thought of a change – how about a little shot of good whiskey in those hot chocolately drinks we were sipping??? 🙂

        As for folks finding you on a simpler scale, it is sort of like “word of mouth, which I see Tim Bonner also mentioned.” I tend to find blogs I like that appear in my searches for specific topics. I imagine that is where those “tags” you asked about earlier come in handy — don’t they make items “tag along” with similar items in the search world? Bet some of your more experienced buds could help you with that.

  21. Hey Billy boy

    I’ve been contemplating your questions on and off all day.

    And actually, you’re spot on. The selling point of your blog is most definitely you.

    I love your blog. It’s a haven in a sometimes otherwise banal world of blogging.

    So, you could change many things on your blog if you really wanted to and people will still keep coming back.

    Sometimes it’s not all about SEO, backlinks etc. Word of mouth and relationship building can be equally important. People see you around, get to know you, like what they see and come and check out this place.

    I feel like I should be offering greater words of wisdom for each of your questions. Really all I can say is, I think from the answers above, you’ll see everyone is in full agreement that this is a great place to park your butt for a while and hang out.

    • Word of mouth, if you can achieve that just about trumps all other forms of promotion, huh? It’s also cool when someone has seen a comment of yours at another place and they feel you are worth checking out. That’s how I found a lot of my early people, but don’t do that as much these days…….

      Thanks for the kind words and support; always appreciated.

  22. Whiskey indeed; that will get the conversation flowing……..

    If you were searching, I’m not even sure what words would be common to identify my site; but if they are out there, I’m glad they are.

    Hanging out is not only allowed, but welcomed around here.

  23. This is an awesome post, love your style. So, I will drop my few bits of advice.

    SEO is far more than just keywords and I feel we focus on that too much. Googlebot is so smart now that most of the tricks no longer work. I think there is a bigger need for bloggers to focus on code and speed.

    Make your life easy and get Yoast SEO plugin. It does everything you need including adding the Google Author markup that will help you out in organic search. It adds your picture to the search results next to all your posts.

    Linking, I do not do this either. Yes, there are ways with linkbait and outreach methods. Lots of stuff you can do, but I decided long ago that I wanted to really earn them. Which means writing well enough that people want to share. The link backs are few, but I feel good that I have any at this point.

    As for guest posts, I try to have one go live every week. I find that most opportunities come to me from people you find me through search. I feel really lucky about that and they have been fun.

  24. Well, if it’s going to have my picture how can I go wrong with that……….:).

    Good to see you and thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. I’m certainly not trying to ‘game’ the system but just want to make sure my simple site doesn’t have roadblocks for ease of engagement.

    I need to be more pro-active with guest posting; giving and receiving and it was one of my goals for the year. Sometimes life/day job have a way of making your plans change, huh?

    I’ll make sure to stop by your place; I hope your journey has been a good one. Take care.

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