Creating an Avatar and Why You Need One

avatarsAn Avatar is a specifically sized image that is either your photo, logo or a graphic that you want to represent you. There is a website that I highly recommend, which will facilitate your Avatar following your email address on anything you post information to, such as comments on blogs, including your own.

The site is http://Gravatar.com.  Create an account, include your desired Avatar, profile pic, biographical or company information and the email address you use to make posts. Now, whenever you make a post, your Avatar will automatically follow your email address, where ever you post – and readers can click on your Avatar to get more information about you and learn where they can find you online. This is a must for driving traffic to your website as you work towards building relationships with other bloggers!

So, what size should an Avatar be and how do you formulate one? Where else can you use your Avatar? Here’s a great article post that will give you all the details … Go to:  How to Optimize Your Profile Photos Across Social Media

 

 

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Put Out The Firestorm Before It Starts!

Put out the firestorm before it starts! When do you need a website? How do you get started if your book hasn’t been published yet.

In this podcast with Judith Briles on the Your Guide to BOOK PUBLISHING we discuss a common occurrence with new authors who wait until their book is published before they start thinking about a website. Waiting too long … starts the firestorm and panic – stop it before it starts!

Make-overs, new websites, specialized websites, blogging and getting started on all of it. Your business begins well before you have everything in place. This is not putting the cart before the horse! It’s planning with intention and creates trust with your audience and builds your tribe – who in turn, become your greatest fans and the starting place for your best viral marketing.

Listen in …

On the Air

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What to Pay Attention To in Your Branding

To Do ListIt’s the subtle things that make up the background of your content that affect your reader and potential customers the most. If there’s a ton of text without much white space, readers move into a subconscious level of irritation or criticism which can backfire on you. Inserting a graph, an image or keeping your sentences short and breaking up your paragraphs, help to move the reader to a more relaxed state of mind to digest and comprehend your content. Bullet points are another way to get to the point quickly, and with a web-based platform, you can add more content and link it to the bullet so the reader has the option to read more, or just skim. color burstColors play another big role in whether or not trust or value is perceived in the correct way. If your site is about massage therapy and whole healing, the last thing you want to do is to create a red site. Red is an aggressive color and speaks of authority, not safety or calm as blue and green does. In a recent interview with Judith Briles for Author U (niversity) we discuss a few more areas for consideration.

Listen:     YourGuidetoBookPublishingLIVE_2013-06-13

By the way …

Branding is NOT about the appearance of your product, nor is it your logo. Branding is how people feel or think about your product or services. The appearance of your marketing material, products and other visual elements are what create that feeling or thought towards your business.

I felt that they were a trust worthy company and I loved your sense of humor and simplicity.

I think you know what you are doing. Everything was laid out well and was easy to find.

Both comments are from customers who have developed an opinion based upon how they felt when they were introduced to a company website. This is what they will tell others who want to know what it was like to work with that company.

And THAT … my friend … is branding.

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The Basics of Branding and Managing Expectations

Thinking about creating a new website?Are you considering creating a WordPress website and you need a little bit more information about what to focus on?

In this podcast with Judith Briles on the Your Guide to BOOK PUBLISHING we discuss the basics of what you need to know in building your WordPress site and how to identify your branding and manage expectations of visitors.

Do you know what branding really is? (it’s not your logo) How do you get visitors to linger on your website? What is the number one thing you need to know to avoid confusing your visitors?

Listen in …

On the Air

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How To Add Images

Blog posts can be easily misunderstood as incredibly boring if there are no visual clues as to what the post is about. Unless your writing is stellar and the first few words you write to capture the imagination of your reader, chances are, they will skim and pass your site by.

Breaking up the monotony of text with photos, clipart, videos or even something as simple as a line or white space will help the reader linger over your words.

This blog post is part of a tutorial on how to insert images into your text and I’ll even show you how to resize them from inside WordPress.

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Adding Images to Your Blog Post

Every blog post you write benefits greatly if you add an image, video, clipart or graph. Engaging your reader on more than one sensory level peeks their interest, understanding and assists in eye comfort while reading text online.

In this short video, I tell you how to upload an image, show you how to resize it and how to move it from side to side.

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Categories and Tags

Are you paying attention?One of the confusing issues that clients run into, is understanding categories and tags. It’s very easy to immediately get into too much detail trying to list topics when worrying about SEO (search engine optimization).

To get beyond the fear of not having enough words to trigger better SEO, think of your categories and tags in the same way you’d think of a good, clean, filing system. For instance, the word “State” could be a category, with a child categories of “California”, “Colorado”,  and “Texas”.

Your keywords, or tags, would be, “Denver”, “Los Angeles”, “Dallas”, “Fort Worth”, etc.  In addition to these tags, you would also list what topic was that you were discussing in regards to those categories and tags. If you were a mystery shopper, you’d mention specific malls, clothing items, restaurants, etc.

When the search engines index your website, having good categories and tags makes it clean and more efficient to list the content of your site in a more complete and in-depth manner.

When ever you post your blog,  select your category or categories, add your keywords, then save. When keywords are used often, they will automatically start showing as suggestions below the field that you’d enter a new keyword. Select those first, before you make up new keywords. Having more keywords is NOT the way to attract a search engine. More keywords without strong keywords (that appear consistently) start to look like spam and your site could suffer in its ranking because of this.

Believe it or not, you can lose your readers too, when there are too many keywords listed at the end of each of your blog posts. Your site starts to appear technical and more geared towards search engines than it does for the reader. Having clean, consistent categories and tags helps the reader to find what they need without leading to confusion. It also keeps the visual clutter down!

Here’s a great video I ran across on YouTube from Corey Dolbey on Categories and Tags. Enjoy …

 

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Your Keyboard is Snot What You Think!

Woman blowing her noseWith more and more powerful viruses hitting our lives in a day and age where people travel more, we hear in the news of constant warnings … to get flu shots, don’t sneeze in your hands (yeah right) and to stay home from work if you get sick (who will pay the bills?).

What we’ve not heard yet – or at least I haven’t heard, is whether or not you continue to re-infect yourself with your own computer keyboard or smart phone!

Successfully fighting three rolling bouts of sickness, I find yet another one threatening to deliver a blow (pun intended) to my sinuses and lungs.

This is quite frustrating as you well know, because I have better things to do than to blow my nose, cough and try to sound intelligent on the phone with clients. Even though I work at home, I think it’s possible to catch a bug over the phone in the same way that you can catch a yawn!

Could it be that I’m reinfecting myself by my daily use of my keyboard and just keep reapplying the virus that I’m trying to get rid of?

As part of regular computer maintenance in scanning for viruses, remember to clean your keyboard too! You never know what you might catch from such intimate contact!

I did a Google search on this subject and am sharing a couple of interesting blogs that address this issue …

How to Clean and Disinfect Your Keyboard and Computer Mouse (8/7/2011)

Which is cleaner, your keyboard or your toilet seat? Let’s hope your keyboard, but just in case, we’ll show you how to safely clean and disinfect your keyboard and mouse.

Woman sneezing

How long does a cold virus last on a keyboard?  (1/24/2000)

“… Most of these viruses are thought to be able to be transmitted from a surface, such as a doorknob or keyboard for about 3 to 6 hours.”

 

Rhinovirus (common cold) 

(12/29/2012) ” …The rhino-virus (rhino meaning “nose” in Latin) is one of the smallest of all viruses. it is responsible for over half of all cold symptoms. Rhino-viruses typically attack the sinus tract. Symptoms typically last about a week.

These viruses are often transferred from human to human via contact with the skin. Such contact may include kissing, handshakes, and other forms of non-intimate contact. These viruses can also be deposited on hard surfaces by one human, picked up or touched by another human, and then transferred to the nose or mouth. A rhino-virus can live undisturbed outside a host cell for up to a day.

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Where To Get Images for Your Blog Posts

To Do ListNot everyone has the ability to just draw their own clipart if they can’t find what they need quickly.

Even artists and photographers enjoy another person’s perspective and creativity.

It’s nice to see something from a different perspective and there are millions of ideas to choose from in the world of Internet images. To help you along, I’d like to suggest that besides the free clipart websites that you have already most likely searched through, and been disappointed in, that you can either ask for friends and family for certain photographs that they might have on hand. If you do that, be CERTAIN to get their permission to use their photo in writing, to avoid any problems later on.

Surprise!You can also take photographs of people places and things if you need the extra clipart image, however, as with the previous suggestion, be sure that you get a release from owners or the people that you photograph – especially children! Not everyone wants their face, or the face of their child spread over the Internet.

A treasure-trove of clipart can be found in one of many sites that offer free, public domain photos. One such site is Public Domain Images. There are a lot of ads on the site, however, so pay attention to any rabbit trails you may end up on if you go off-site. Advertisements are what pay the bills for sites such as this that offer anything free.

Magic wandIf you still can’t find what you need and would like a custom clipart cartoon, contact me for pricing, or to discuss other arrangements. Ask me too, about web site retainer packages that include free clipart each month in addition to updating and maintaining your website as well as optimizing your SEO (search engine optimization) marketing.

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How to Spot a Scam Email Link

WorriedMost people are good people and are very trusting. They wouldn’t dream of harming someone else on purpose and stealing from them – especially over the holidays, is the lowest of low.

However, every major holiday brings a massive push by the scumbags of the world to do just that – steal your money, your identity and your peace of mind.

This is a very easy, simple trick that you need to know about if you don’t already. Even if you get an email that looks like it came from a friend, DO THIS. Hold your mouse over the link to see what the REAL link actually is. It will pop up in a little comment window as your mouse is held over the link listed. EVEN IF the URL looks legitimate, that is only text. The actual link will be embedded inside that text.

(You might need to turn your sound down a little bit. The recording is louder than I intended it to be.)

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