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The amount of blogs online grows by thousands every day.

There is no way we can read, or even find them all, but we try.

Over the past year, I’ve read hundreds of blog posts (possibly thousands).

There’s some good stuff out there.

In the beginning, I remember reading posts written by seasoned bloggers. I was often in awe. Their posts were so eloquently written. Some intimidated me.

I would ask myself, “Can I ever be that good?”

I marveled at the dozens of comments they had, the massive amount of RSS feed readers, their high page rank, low Alexa rating (lower is better with Alexa), and their archives which were filled with hundreds of blog posts.

In someways I felt pretty “small”. I had zero comments, zero feed readers/subscribers, a 0/10 Google page rank, an Alexa rating that topped 2 million, and my archives were looking pretty pathetic.

My enthusiasm and motivation were quickly becoming depleted.

Finally I realized what was happening.

I had been comparing myself/my blog to longtime bloggers.

To set myself straight, I figuratively slapped myself upside the head.

I stopped visiting so many blogs, and concentrated on my own. I wrote from my heart and quit comparing my blog/myself to others.

It was then that I found my voice.

Lesson 11: We will always find blogs that are better than ours (in one way or the other). If we continually compare our blog/ourself to others, we will never be satisfied. We will always want more, even if we don’t know what more is. In the process of striving for perfection or trying to be like the “big boys/girls”, we often lose our voice.

Sometimes it’s better to stick close to home and play in our own sandbox.

Today’s Assignment

Do you look at other blogs and think, “the grass is greener on the other side”?

Do other blogs intimidate you and make you feel “less than:?

Do you want to be like the big boys/girls? Be popular?

Or have you already learned this lesson and and write from your heart?

Photo Credit: BlazerMan’s photostream

Photo Credit junkmonkey’s photos

Several comments to my last post, “Comment Luv – Linky Love – NoNoFollow” inspired me to dig deeper into the subject of blog spam (also referred to as comment spam). I wanted to know why blogs get spammed, and what we can do to prevent it.

Today’s Lesson

Wikipedia, states spammers are on a mission to elevate their websites in the search engine rankings. By linking to blogs they obtain more links pointing to their sites. Apparently this method is working. Spammers are gaining sales/income via clicks from visitors. Spammers hit the “jackpot” with the creation of blogs.

According to Wikipedia,

In 2003, spammers began to take advantage of the open nature of comments in the blogging software like Movable Type by repeatedly placing comments to various blog posts that provided nothing more than a link to the spammer’s commercial web site

Several of the solutions listed by Wikipedia to block comment spam, include

1) Keyword blocking – blocking words such as viagra (spammers know of this practice and will intentionally misspell words)
2) Using the “rel=”nofollow” code. Wikipedia states the argument against this is:

Some weblog authors object to the use of rel=”nofollow”, arguing, for example, that

* Link spammers will continue to spam everyone to reach the sites that do not use rel=”nofollow”
* Link spammers will continue to place links for clicking (by surfers), even if those links are ignored by search engines.
* Google is advocating the use of rel=”nofollow” in order to reduce the effect of heavy inter-blog linking on page ranking.
* Google is advocating the use of rel=”nofollow” only to minimize its own filtering efforts, and to deflect that this actually had better been called rel=”nopagerank”.
* Nofollow may reduce the value of legitimate comments

3) Validation, or the use of a potential commenter to provide an “answer’, such as “is fire hot or cold”, “2+2” or to retype a series of numbers and letters (CAPTCHA)
4) Disallowing links in post comments
5) Using a spam blocker such as Akismet
6) Turning comments off.

Short of turning comments off, it appears blog spam (comment spam) is here to stay.

Today’s Assignment

How do you deal with blog spam?

Do you use a spam blocker or hand moderate each comment?

Do you have any other ideas of how spam can be eliminated?

Photo Credit nukeit1’s photos
229766355_4ecd88e7de.jpgWords gets a lot of politicians in trouble, with some believing politicians are just blowing smoke.

Words are easy to say or write. The question becomes, do you stand behind your words? Do you walk your talk?

Whether you are in business or blogging, your words are a reflection of you.

Today’s Lesson

In the course of learning how to, and actually blogging, I have done tons of research, and read hundreds of thousands of words.

Search for one topic and you’ll get millions of hits.

Start reading the results, and you’ll get dozens of “opinions”.

My problem, with blogging, still remains, what can you believe?

For example:

Some big name bloggers will say, don’t monetize. Visit their blog, and it’s filled with ads

Some say, answer your comments. Read their comments, and the author rarely appears

Some say, write great content, Read their blogs, and some of their content is not so great.

Some say, get quality inbound links. Ask a big name blogger for one, but don’t hold your breath.

Some say, “sign up for my RSS feed”, but do you think they are signing up for yours? Probably not.

Some say, don’t worry about page rank. But when theirs takes a nose dive, hear them cry.

This is just a small sampling of what I’ve found.

So, what do you do?

Do what feels right for you. Stay true to yourself and to your readers.

It’s your blog, your home in cyberspace.

Just remember, the words you write should be words you stand behind. If not, you’ll soon be categorized as a blogger who’s just blowing smoke.

Today’s Assignment

Is what you write credible?

Do you tell your readers to do one thing, but your actions say the opposite?

Have you read blogs that “blog smoke”

Care to share?

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