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30 days of…A Traffic Generating Experiment.

Last year, two High Desert food bloggers decided to participate in a traffic generating experiment.  They decided challenge themselves for a 29 day period and increased the frequency and consistency of their blog posts.  The purpose of this challenge, which was called Blog vs Blog, was to determine if consistent posts would significantly improve the number of visitors that was coming to their blogs.

The results were interesting.  Neither website saw a significant increase in traffic; however, they have learned that with food blogs, it’s not uncommon for traffic to drop off after the first of the year.

This year, the  two bloggers are trying it again.  Blogger friends, Angie and Patti, decided to challenge themselves for 30 days to see what would happen if they focused their blog posts for a 30 day period  on only one topic.  Part of the challenge is that they must  publish a new post daily.

The challenge began on April first.  Angie, at Kitchen Southern Hospitality, is focusing on meals for two for the month of April, while Patti, of Patty  Cake’s Pantry, is focusing on meals made from canned foods. It is anticipated daily blog posts should boost traffic to each website.  At the start of April, both blogs had similar Alexa ranks with Patty Cake’s Pantry ranking 14,579,812 and Kitchen Southern Hospitality rating 14,596.594.   Everyone is anticipating that daily blog posts will improve website traffic as well as Alexa Rank.  It is widely promoted that more frequent posting increases website visibility to search engines, too.

Both websites will continue to promote their posts on social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google plus, and Yummly, as these social networking sites help to direct new visitors to their blogs.

We can’t predict the final results of this challenge, but we know it will be interesting to see what sort of recipes they come up with for the challenge.  Visit their websites and see what they’re dong.  Check back here during the first week of May to see what effect, if any, daily blog posts have on improving traffic to a blog.

High Desert Bloggers Traffic-Generating Experiment Continued

Traffic-Generating Experiment

Last month bloggers from Pattycakespantry.com and KitchenHospitality.com joined in a traffic-generating experiment to see if they could increase their traffic. They agreed to a contest to see which blog would have the most traffic and which would increase the most in traffic.  You can see the comparison between the two food blogs below.

PattyCakesPantry.com:

  • December – 422 views
  • January – 584 views
  • February – 483 views

KitchenHospitality.com:

  • December – 142 views
  • January – 287 views
  • February – 251 views

You can see how the blogs had more traffic in February than they did in December yet had less in February than in January. The bloggers have decided to continue the traffic-generating experiment for the month of March, but the rules of the contest will change. Blog posts will be written on the most popular topics according to the blogs’ analytics.

Follow Patty Cakes Pantry and Kitchen Hospitality, two food blogs that include recipes that the bloggers create such as the salsa recipes below:

Sweet & Spicy SalsaSweet & Spicy Salsa at KitchenHospitality.com

The southern food bloggers of Patty Cakes Pantry and Kitchen Hospitality welcome your comments and will appreciate the traffic.

Thank You for Visiting High Desert Blogging!

The Traffic Generating Experiment–Blog vs Blog

pattycakespantry.com versus kitchenhospitality.com in a traffic generating contestAnyone who has ever started a blog knows that one of the biggest challenges is getting traffic to your blog, and traffic is essential if one hopes to monetize their blog.  There are various recommendations on the web regarding how best to draw traffic to a blog, and after reading through several of these, it’s easy for a new blogger to feel overwhelmed and confused by the conflicting information.

A few years ago, I listened to Bill Belew speak at the HDCWC meeting in Apple Valley.  At that time, he recommended multiple short posts (100-150 words long) per day to generate traffic.  He shares similar information regarding the success of mutiple short posts per day at Search Engine Journal.   Another site suggests longer posts (300-350 words) two or three times per week are best, and one claims that Google considers posts of less than 200 words to be “thin content”.  Another site recommends a combination of regularly scheduled  quality content on your own site paired with guest posts on a blog that has more traffic than your own. There are sites that list specifically how long a tweet, facebook comment, and a blog post should be in order to be most effective.  These list the best  content length for a blog post at 1600 words.  When you’re looking for a definitive answer, all of this seemingly conflicting information can be very confusing.

Even regarding the topic of page rank, there is disagreement.  There are those who say it’s vital to get traffic to your site, but is it really? READ MORE »

Simple Tools to Stay Calm After a Car Accident

Our Guard Goes Down When the Sun Comes Out

Although the worst of the heavy traffic during holiday shopping has simmered down, there still are days when traffic is heavier. Our weather patterns cause drivers to forget that rainy days need more driving care. Even dry days during winter can be more hazardous than you might think.

Two Drivers Two Cars

Minor Car Incident

It’s like our guard goes down when the sun comes out. But a defensive driver is keenly aware at all times. Watch for sporadic drivers cutting in and out of traffic, regular rise in traffic near schools, and intersections near shopping malls.

Tools to Use

Your handy camera in your cell phone is an easy tool to use if you do have an accident. Take a photo of each part of the car’s damage. Take several. Then be sure to take photos of the other driver’s car. Are there witnesses to the accident? Ask them to give you their information for the report. Keep a pencil and paper pad in your glove box at all times.

camera on your cell phone

Take a photo of the evidence

Exchange information with the other driver (when possible) during the time waiting for the police or deputy to arrive. Be sure to ask for name, address, phone, type of vehicle, model, license plate, and how many people are in the vehicle.

This sounds so simple but after an accident you may not feel like standing, talking or recollecting the situation. People react differently to stress and adrenaline bursts. Even a simple bumper mishap can cause drivers and passengers to freak out, hyperventilate, or feel very upset. Some riders may not even know they’re injured until after the burst of adrenaline has faded.

Stay Calm For Everyone

calm man

Staying Calm will help other stay calm too

Remembering to do these simple tasks can sometime escape your mind. Try to stay calm while others around you may be very upset, even yelling or crying. By keeping your own emotions in check you can maintain a more calming environment around you.

Emotions at an Accident

Emotions Run High

When the person of authority arrives — police, security, deputy, ambulance — be sure to get some form of ID from them. Often deputies will give a business card with contact numbers or even an incident report number for follow up with your insurance agent.

Summarize Your Day

When you get home and feel more at ease, it’s best to sit down in a quiet place and write out the complete incident as you recall it.

 

What time of day, the weather, how the accident happened, how you were involved, what you felt, what you did afterward, who you talked to, and if you feel confident remembering all these details a month later. shocked girl

By writing everything down early, you won’t be so worried about what you do remember when asked by your insurance agent. Our nation runs on vehicles so it’s just a matter of time before you are involved in an accident. I hope your experiences are minor and without injury, but if it happens just knowing these simple tips will make the experience easier to live with.

Rusty LaGrange

The Myth That Blogging is Dead, Again!

It’s like that mythic story that returns every 50, 100, 300 years. A legendary tale of caution and fearful warning. Why would someone today keep perpetuating the idea that blogging is dead? There it is again. And today, blogging is stronger, more businesses are employing the strategy, and the number of them in general has reached the billion mark. Yikes!

Solid Blog

Solid Blog

At least in this context, my Guest Blogger, Ruth Zive, has placed a spin on the myth and given some excellent examples worthy of bringing power back to the blog.

 

This post was shared back in 2013 when Ruth, a Canadian, was also punching holes in blog myths through the highly read and popular blog established through ProBlogger.com. It was and still is the go-to web site to learn the best habits as a neophyte blogger.

Blogging is Dead – For Any Company Making These Mistakes

By Ruth Zive and as Guest Blogger in 2012 with www.ProBlogger.net

I’ve put a lot of my professional eggs into this basket.

So have thousands of other folks blogging as a means to drive business.

And since I started blogging, almost every week I read another provocative story about the limitations of social media, the nonsensical and unsustainable nature of blogging, and the over-exaggerated accounts of business growth as a result of content marketing.

I say baloney. With mustard on top! As far as I’m concerned, when it’s used strategically, as part of a comprehensive content marketing initiative, blogging is a brilliant and affordable way for companies to:

  • enhance their brand
  • engage stakeholders
  • network with industry thought leaders
  • drive traffic to their website
  • solicit customer feedback
  • and create a strong following … and more

But the skepticism persists. The naysayers continue to herald the limitations of blogging. A colleague recently sent me an article proclaiming in the headline that “blogging is dead.”

I’ve read that headline before. It’s an attention-getter, that’s for sure (notice I’ve used the same headline ). But I read the article, start to finish, and followed up on the research that informed the headline in the first place. And you know what?

Blogging on a Schedule Helps Maintain a Regular Readership

Blogging on a Schedule Helps Maintain a Regular Readership

Blogging is not dead silly people! And if you read through to the comments of the aforementioned post, even the blogger acknowledges that blogging is actually a growing medium and the research that he references is wrong.

But indeed, some companies that have failed to develop a blogging and content marketing strategy that works have abandoned blogging. And that makes sense – why would someone continue to invest in a strategy that isn’t working?

But I contend that the failure of those companies in this regard has less to do with blogging as a platform and more to do with how they actually leverage that platform. Instead, companies should take time to understand how blogging works.

You can’t just create a blog ‘tab’ on your website, throw up some content, and expect the dollars to flow.

Businesses and small companies are arguably the worst culprits of blog misunderstanding, notoriously tooting their own horns, showcasing their success stories and re-purposing dry, technical content as blog posts. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

I share with you now the top mistakes made by companies that destine them to certain blogging failure. Take heed – for avoiding these mistakes will help ensure a long, healthy, and profitable blogging life.

1. Your posts are company-centric Blogs are meant to be interactive. The whole point of a blog is to engage your stakeholders, build their sense of investment and make them feel more connected to your brand. If every post is blah blah blah about your company, with no consideration of your customer’s needs and interests, your blog will surely fail.

Make your blog customer-centric. Ask questions, host contests, post polls, and questionnaires. Show you care. Answer back to those who took the time to contact you.

2. Your posts are difficult to share. So many companies go to the trouble of creating a blog and posting content – but there are no social sharing buttons anywhere to be found. Blogging works when ideas are channeled through different social media hubs and shared vigorously. And you need to make that as easy as possible for your readers.

Make Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ buttons easy to find and easy to use. Paste them in good locations on your web site so at anytime they can be accessed

3. You post every few weeks, or worse – every few months. Set an editorial calendar, plan to blog at least once every week, and stick to it. Establish a rhythm and an expectation so that your readers know when they return to your blog, there will be fresh content available.

If you find it difficult to generate a post every week, ask the help of other bloggers in your company, or hire a professional copywriter. Offer Guest Blogging to others in your industry.

Bottom line, if you are not blogging regularly, you might as well not have a blog. You are sending a message to your readers and potential customers that you don’t have anything important to say and that you don’t particularly care to engage them in discussion. They might even think you’re not at the cutting edge of your industry. Ouch!

Now It’s Your Turn

Blogging isn’t dead, at least not as far as we’re concerned. Blogging is a long-term marketing investment. It takes commitment and research to find content that keeps your readers returning It is not a quick fix.

Blogging at a Corporate Level

Blogging at a Corporate Level

It’s an important opportunity for companies, willing to take the time, to cultivate their blogging skills. Corporations have worked blogging into their marketing plans, but they have also looked to other strategies, other campaigns, and more exposure to gain higher ground. They don’t stop; they adjust to the market they serve. And so should you.

What do you think? Is blogging dead? How can you attract blog readers to join your tribe?

Those are great pointers for all of us. I wish to thank Ruth for sharing her insights with me at BizBloggerNation three years ago. The reason I brought an old story back for reviewing was to show that blogging is here to stay and you’ll find more blogging strategies as well as blogging interests right here at www.HighDesertBlogging.com

 

Rusty LaGrange

4 Thoughts Before You Select Your Blog Template

Sometimes we can just dive into a project then try to figure out how it might work. That’s true in the Blogosphere when new bloggers want to be seen and are eager to hit the water, like a guy with a new surfboard.

Getting the Courage to Ride a New Wave

Getting the Courage to Ride a New Wave

The platform of WordPress has always said that they want you to have fun and be a part of a community of bloggers. So some templates are free so that you can dive right in without any major costs. It’s better to practice for free and invest later.

Once you’ve tested your blogger abilities with free templates, maybe you’ll want to shop for a template that offers more than the standard styles. Having an adaptive, responsive template and one with more capabilities to cross-platform with other devises, makes you wonder what else is out there.

Gain confidence with your first template selection, and ride it out

Gain confidence with your first template selection, and ride it out

Before you rush into purchasing your first up-graded template, consider these four aspects of your template and its use:

1) Make a list of action items that you’ll want your visitors to do on your web site. Are they coming to read your journal, shop at your store, ask for help with a service you can provide, or looking for information? Be sure the template you choose gives you the flexibility to accomplish what you need to make your visitors happy so they’ll return.

2) Dig deeper into the theme of the template to see if visitors were happy with their visit at other sites that use the same template or template company. Find out if the sales of this template is high on the rankings and has no steady stream of complaints. You can usually find those facts on the template’s details page. Also see if their support staff for the template is a good match. You’ll have questions about a more robust experience. If you can ask questions directly, you’ll learn more quickly .

Don't get distracted with bright , colorful, shiny things... stay on course

Don’t get distracted with bright , colorful, shiny things… stay on course

3) Don’t get distracted by shiny things. For me, I’ll admit that I can shop through pages and pages of templates, almost as much as shopping for home décor or shoes online. Will the template adjust to your needs, have widgets and menus that you like, tutorials, offer better maintenance, and regular up-grades. These things can be important later on.

4) Allow yourself some shopping time to compare other web sites in your industry. Do you really want to look like every surf shop on the shore? Have the fun of blogging and sharing information is the art of standing out. Whether it’s your writing, layouts, services, or satisfying long-term clients, the choices you make prior to purchasing a themed template for your business will help you avoid some pitfalls later.

Branding your business often has to do with what potential customers perceive as your “look” — so the best and most targeted template is your prime choice. However, if the price of the template is based on what it can do for you, then buying a template at rock bottom prices may not be the way to go.

Do a search for template companies that support WordPress, and from there you can narrow done the search to your industry or even color choices. Flexibility is key.

 

A surfer dude. Ready to take the next step and purchase a template?

A surfer dude. Ready to take the next step and purchase a template?

Consider the advantages of selecting a template with growth potential, professional look, expandable services, and ways to test your business strategies. Then if you find one that suits you, jump on the wave and surf it right to the beach.

But just as you are ready to take the first wave, also consider if a free template is more practical for now. Many online entrepreneurs, including bloggers, never see the need for a purchased template. At least, not until their potential has out grown the basic free template features.

Rusty LaGrange

Seasonal Basket Give-Aways Winner Announced

High Desert vintage shoppers had nearly seven weeks to shop and sign -up for our Basket Give-Away! As it turned out Vintage Gypsies kept a basket on their counter the  longest and receiving quite a few sign-ins.

The basket drawing was held Saturday at Vintage Gypsies with Kevin Moody (pictured with vase full of entries) helping to draw the name. Owners Becky and Kathy stood by as the name was revealed.

Kevin Draws the Winning Name!

Kevin Draws the Winning Name!

Congratulations to new High Desert resident Roxy Cantes who visits the shop quite often. “It’s regular shoppers like Roxy who we love to see come into the store and find just those items that make her house feel like home,” said Becky.

Vintage Gypsies will be open the day before Christmas, Dec. 24th, from 10-4, closing on Christmas Day. Be sure to check their Facebook page for their hours during the holidays.

We left a message for Roxy hoping she will be able to drop by the shop before Christmas to receive her basket of goodies!

 

 

Happy Holidays!

From Angie & Rusty

Only 6 Days Left for Sugar Shack’s Basket Give-Away

With only 11 days before Christmas, shopping ideas might be just what you’re looking for. A gift of a bygone era — as in collectibles and small antiques —  can brighten anyone’s holiday. We have so many vintage and antiques in the High Desert to choose from.

 

Vintage, Antiques, and Candy

Sugar Shack

What if you are searching for a gift for children or teens and venturing into an electronics store is a bit overwhelming? Why not try candies and confections instead? I don’t know of anyone who would turn down candy!

Right now Sugar Shack, one of the newest candy shops  on Route 66 in Oro Grande, is stocking its shelves with the scent of peppermint and chocolate. There’s more, of course, but those are my favorite flavors. They offer sugar-free candies, too.

Even better is the Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away continuing with the latest entry basket at Sugar Shack. It’s crammed with everything: some candy, a number of collectibles, handmade and crafty items, and I think I saw an antique, too. Their basket drawing is set for Dec. 20th. Nothing to buy. No tickets. No charge at all. Just stop by and sign up. Winner will be notified by phone and email. Winner doesn’t need to be present. it’s High Desert Blogging’s way of thanking our High Desert community for supporting our efforts for the past 3 years.

Some of their regular shoppers at Sugar Shack come in just for their morning coffee and a pastry. The shop also offers a collection of antiques and handmade crafts, and collectibles — I saw “Betty Boop” collection looking at me from the shelf. As Sugar Shack grows, mother and daughter owners, Debbie Justice and Tonya Edwards, will expand their line of goodies. They currently house three vendors who offer the handmade goods.

Betty Boop is alive and well and living at Sugar Shack

Betty Boop is alive and well and living at Sugar Shack

Sugar Shack collectibles, candies, and antiques open early 6 am Monday through Friday and close by 5 pm. On weekends they open 10 am until 5 pm. Their new store number is (760) 646-0562.

You can find out more about them and some daily specials on Facebook. Go To: www.Facebook.com/sugarshackHD

Stop in and say “hi” to Debbie and Tonya, get a hot mug of coffee, and let your sweet tooth do the shopping.

 

Rusty LaGrange

 

Desert Cottage Joins Autumn Basket Give-Away

 

Grace and elegance are the best words to describe The Desert Cottage, a home repurposed into a fashion plate for vintage and antique pieces. It was such a pleasure walking slowly through what seemed like endless shops in one. Each room and cozy niche was tastefully decorated in vintage style with different themes. With 20 vendors, the mix is a true adventure.

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor

A little bit camera shy, Yvonne and Anna, share a silly moment while showing the holiday decor

 

Too many wonderful things… so little time. I think that’s my motto.

 

Anna at Desert Cottage

Anna at Desert Cottage

The Desert Cottage has also joined High Desert Blogging’s “Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away.” Their donor basket is filling fast with yummy foods, collectibles, and more, added daily. The drawing is scheduled for Saturday, December 6th at noon. A winner will be drawn from those who have signed in at the shop. Stop by and enter. There’s no charge, no tickets. It’s just the way that High Desert Blogging is giving back to High Desert  communities for their support these past three years.

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne

Flower Arrangements by Yvonne

 

For your visit there, be sure to talk to Anna, the owner and her long-time friend, Yvonne. They love to greet new visitors and cater to the many requests they receive from hunters looking for gifts and collections. Yvonne specializes in flower arrangements while Anna has a creative eye for vintage goodies. Her creations are placed throughout the main section. Christmas décor is beginning to fill in, so most vendors will have something for everybody.

 

The Desert Cottage can be found on Facebook and Instagram with latest sale items listed. Their hours are 10-5 daily with Sundays and Mondays closed, located at 15451 Bear Valley Rd near 11th Street, (760) 948-7225.

 

Basket Winners Announced for “Enchanted Treasures’ and “Salvaged & Tattered” Vintage Shops Held Nov 16

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

Surrounded by her Enchanted Treasures, Linda Marie gathered a basket full of goodies for the drawing.

 

It was a beautiful day in the High Desert for a Autumn Basket Give-Away. The first vintage shop Angie and I traveled to, out in Oro Grande on National Trails Highway, was Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures. Old Town Oro Grande has several old whitewashed brick buildings that are receiving facelifts and new tenants. But Linda Marie’s has been an anchor store for many years, and the first to sponsor a basket in her shop.

If you haven’t made the trek out there, it’s filled with outdoor imagination. Wander through little mazes of amazing stuff. Booth owners make changes often so the inventory moves. Here, patio furniture and almost anything get a new upcycled life. At the front is an antiques and collectibles shop housed in an old adobe turned showcase. “It’s a solid building,” says Linda, “even when the trains go by, the glass items may ring and jingle, but nothing falls.”

Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures is just down the street from these new shops. In fact, she opened a second shop, Salvaged & Tattered, with the assistance of vendor Virginia Martinez and others. This shop is flaunting a white and cream, lacy vintage theme. It makes you want to stop and gaze  around at the many designs and sparkly jewels, lamps, and bric-a-brac that make vintage shops so charming.

                                                                                               Owner of Linda Marie's Enchanted Treasures

                                                                                  Owner of Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures

The drawing for the winner of the basket sponsored by Enchanted Treasures was held at 11 am. And the winner is Ceily Highburger from Colorado, who happened to be on vacation out West! What a surprise.

 Sponsored Basket Winner Announced

Sponsored Basket Winner Announced at Salvaged & Tattered

We walked down the street to see how Salvaged & Tattered was doing. In only a month, since their doors opened, manager “Vee”  agreed that the traffic into the shop has been very steady. And that’s understandable with the lure of many shops in one convenient location.

Victorian Cream and Lace
Victorian Cream and Lace

 

Our Autumn Blog Basket Give-Away was also planned for this Saturday drawing, so with a faux drum roll please …

Ruth Guffey from the High Desert was drawn as the winner of a beautiful wire basket full of vintage goodies, some food items, and little secrets stuffed inside. Congratulations, ladies!

 Vee Martinez greets shoppers at new store

Vee Martinez greets shoppers at Linda Marie’s newest store

 

 

Another door down is Silver Trails specializing in native Indian jewelry and antiques. Engaged couple Patrick Morton and Maddie enjoy collectibles and hunting for antiques that shoppers will love. Just open 30 days ago, traffic and sales are encouraging. It’s early yet, so vintage shoppers can find some new goodies at Silver Trails. They also offer lay-away. They are another one of our newest basket sponsor for our Bloggers Basket Give-Away. You’ll find them at 19248 National Trails Hwy. Their number is (760) 484-6300.

Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
Young Couple, Maddie and Patrick, open Silver Trails antique shop
                 Shopping in Silver Trails  Shopping in Silver Trails

Besides the fact that Angie and I will be returning December 6th for our basket drawing at Silver Trails, another store opening in December promises to fill our sweet tooths. An old-fashioned candy store with sodas and other goodies is tempting us. Can’t wait to see what’s inside!

 Open! Open ! Open!

 Later, we’ll meet another newcomer to High Desert’s sudden bloom of vintage shops.

Rusty

 

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