Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts tagged Blog Beginners

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

Share Your Event with our Blogging Network

Like a Pebble Dropped in a Pond

Like a Pebble Dropped in a Pond

Does your business have a new event to share or mile marker in its history? A celebration? An anniversary? Get the word out to hundreds of blog readers who follow on High Desert then tell them about your shop.

How long have you been in business? What is your specialty? Are you only online or do you have a storefront as well? What’s your address? Do you sell to a certain age group or specific interest? Do you have an active web site? Please share with us.

What days are you open?

What hours are you open?

Do you have sales days or use coupons?

Can shoppers use credit cards, debit cards, or gift cards?

What’s your shop’s telephone number, fax number, and do you have a toll-free number?

These are the basic questions that readers ask us.

Don’t forget to list all of your supported social media connections. Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. The list goes on …

In every case, you’ll find a new shopper, a new friend, and a new connection. That’s what blogging and networking is all about? Like dropping a pebble in a pond.

If you feel that networking and blogging are taking too much of your time, you can hire someone to do that task for you. Virtual Assistants and  business bloggers are all around. Let us know if you need some help.

Rusty LaGrange

Allow Thoughts to Percolate, Then Write

 As soon as the weather cooled and thoughts of seasonal foods popped up in the blogs, I began thinking of the cozy places I like to be on an Autumn day. Do you find that a place near a sunny window with a steamy cup of tea or coffee is just the right way to start the day?

But who wants to limit the morning to just coffee and steamy tea? Often I will sit and write a poem just because that cozy spot near the window helps my thoughts to flow. I may enjoy the coffee more than the raw verses I’m working on, but eventually the poem takes shape and I read it through one more time to be satisfied.

The question of “what do I write?” and “how can I be inspired to wri

A writer needs the time to think before writing

A writer needs the time to think before writing

te something?” can cause a new blogger to grow self-doubt. It’s better to be ready to write than to sit at a blank screen and struggle to produce something. Your mind can be tricked into working for you.

While you are busy doing other things your mind can be prompted to think of good topics for your blog. Let’s look at a few tactics that can help:

a) If you have a themed blog where you discuss and share ideas about a certain topic, then paying for a subscription to a magazine in that topic or field will be a handy tool to rely on.

b) When you are reading the newspaper or scanning through an online web paper, jot down short notes about topics that may be related to your theme. Always watch for the odd stories that can prompt your Muse in a heartbeat.

c) If you come across an email or a newsletter in your surface mail that may relate to your blog, write it down.

d) Once you have collected several of these leads, you’ll need to research them all a bit to produce a good starting idea.

e) Keeping a camera with you at all times, will make you rely on using it more often. So, if your blog is general news or trends, you’ll have a simple way to snap a photo and write about it. At many of our guest bloggers come across new ideas without trying. Some of them go to public events, walk and talk to the people who are enjoying the event then ask for a photo and their name. In just a few minutes, you have a strong story idea, pictures to go with it, and sudden enthusiasm to get home and write.

f) Sometimes, no matter what you try, the words won’t come to you. It’s best to get up and walk away. Take a short walk outside for some fresh air, do a small chore that will take your mind off of the blog for a few minutes. But, never let yourself fall into the trap of procrastination for the blog’s sake. No, no.

All writers need time to allow their thoughts to percolate. They need the uncluttered space to let ideas swirl and combine until a creative action arrives. Relaying on a few researching tools had already prompted your mind to work on those topics. It primed the mind to focus, and while you were busy with other ideas, it focused more intently on your selected subject. Moments later the thought will arrive and your readers will be enriched by it.

And you know all of those ideas that you didn’t choose today, they can each be prompts for upcoming blogs. So you are that much ahead!


Rusty LaGrange

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Good News — Blogging And Business Trends

 During the rise of blogs, (can you believe it’s been nearly ten years) they were largely a personal medium for idealistic stream-of-consciousness communications made by young writers, moms at home filling time, and a few entrepreneurs who saw the potential connectedness … accessible worldwide via the web.

Today, blogs have morphed into a legitimate business-to-business (B2B) marketing tool rich in content. It took awhile before corporate blogs rose through the clutter to become online powerhouses in their own right. Most are often ghostwritten by paid freelance or staff writers under the direction of the blog owner, usually a company executive. And most savvy business owners, who once posted a large business card as their website, are now seeing the benefits of interactive blogs and posts, chatroom and newsletter engagement, and sending instant sales and coupons without the large print expenses.

Crafters Sales from a Home Business

 The thing about blogs is that everyone is on equal ground when it comes to using the tools and following the trends of blogging. A new business owner, looking for exposure, and an inexpensive way to gain a following, can start a blog from home or office. A blogger can choose how much to write, the topics, and the quantity of posts. He can use it to keep in touch with old clients and entice new customers. She can post a catalogue of items, whether handmade or purchased, and be in complete control. They can run a business from home while nurturing  young, active family.



Here’s the Good News

A study of 2,531 small and medium-sized businesses found
that those that blog have 55% more web site visitors – and 92%
of companies that blogged multiple times a day acquired a
customer through their blog.

That’s encouraging to know. If you continue blogging, keep your content interesting and fresh, entice your followers with sales, contests, or freebies, your growth potential can only go up.

Those with blogs who drop out, lose interest, or never saw the benefits in the first place, will resume their positions in the largest, undisturbed, muddy, web puddle on the Internet.tadpole

Even tadpoles know when to climb out.


Rusty LaGrange

Evolution: What Is Blogging?


Early Man's Need for Blogging

Early Man’s Need for Blogging

Early writers on the Internet wanted to share their views and be seen. Many were already writing in their journals or conversing with others on the first bulletin boards. But something was missing.

As the computer industry began to upgrade its software and develop its early social connections, those who loved journaling indicated that there might be a better networking option. Remember, too, that back then no one was allowed to sell or promote on a social web site. They were allowed only to log their experiences or share ideas.

web + log =blog

Logging and web creations morphed into what we all know today as blogging. The word itself was considered low class due to the insignificance of compressed words, like web + log =blog. It was the early 90s before anyone would truly admit to being a blogger. Blogging was still relatively new. So even the terminology was developing.

Then as the marketing clout of large corporate web sites began to blur with smaller independent marketers who were learning how to establish a presence, advertising restrictions for bloggers began to lift.

tricky business

Now that another 15 years have raced by, bloggers are on equal terms with content marketers, authors, International businesses, major catalog stores, and non-selling journals. Email marketing took a large hit a few years ago when consumers began drowning in advertising blasts. Marketing for consumers was a tricky business.

Even new or established businesses that didn’t have a web site could see the writing on the wall.


Blogging for business rose in popularity only because it was easy, quick, direct from the company owner, and unregulated as far as the frequency of posting a blog entry. Consumers could decide to subscribe to particular blogs that they had a strong interest in. Much less invasive. That made consumers feel like they were in control again.

Next up, “Why Blog? Blogging as a Business.” Please leave your comments here, and if you are living in the High Desert, join us today and Monday at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds in Victorville from 2-10 pm at the large RelyLocal Business Expo near the Main gates.

Rusty LaGrange

New High Desert Bloggers May Earn as They Blog

About the Blogger “Earnings” tab

If you use Blogger. com as your blog platform, you will be able to host ads on the sidebar organically.

That means that Google’s AdSense program will automatically check your blog, sense the amount of traffic, and assign an appropriate ad to run on the sidebar.

The Earnings tab in Blogger makes it easy to enable AdSense ads on your blog. Once your account has been approved, Blogger retrieves your earnings data so you don’t need to visit the AdSense dashboard to access basic earnings information.

Just visit your AdSense dashboard to access basic earnings information.Blogger Earnings tab for new interface

Click on Earnings.

AdSense Report

Once you start generating AdSense impressions, you’ll begin earning money when people click on ads that appear on your blog. The earnings report (visible when you click the Earnings tab) includes a drop-down bar with Today, Yesterday, Last 7 Days, This Month, and All time.

Selecting an option will retrieve the relevant report directly from AdSense.

All time

If you’re an existing AdSense user, you’ll notice that Blogger created a new channel (with the URL of your blog) in your account. If you have had AdSense ads on your blog before using Blogger’s AdSense integration to insert ads into your blog, note that All time will retrieve data only from the time you connected Blogger to your AdSense account.

Try it and let us know when the first of your free posted ads show up.

Rusty LaGrange

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Copy and Pasting Photos from Pinterest to Your Blog Entry

bokeh photo: bokeh b5.jpg

Fancy Sandal, Fancy Pasting

New Bloggers have asked how to gather photos and place them into their blogs. I started with because it was, and is, one of the easiest sources to work from.

There are as many photo sources as there are eggs in your Easter Basket. Many photo sources post restrictions and charge for one time use. So please check the web site’s Terms of Use before you decide. For Pinterest, the basic photo collection is scrolling in front of you.  Your eyes lock on to a terrific photo for your blog topic. Great! Now to capture it to add to your WordPress blog post follow these basic steps and you’ll be blogging and pasting with the pros.


To begin, you will have a window open for Pinterest and a different window open for your Dashboard blog page.

In your blog page, where the photo will appear, you will leave your cursor at that point, then go up to the upper edge of your content window and select html (two tabs to choose from: “visual” or “Html” that will change the mode of your photo elements)



You must also be aware that once you learn how easy it is to paste photos, you’ll spend exorbidant amounts of time persusing through pages of photos. Next thing you know, the day has past you by… and you still haven’t chosen your photo!!

Source: via Holly on Pinterest


Leave your blog and locate the photo you wish to use on Pinterest. “Click” on the photo with the left mouse button (not the right or you will get into a different mode)
A new window opens of the photo with a right column.
Click on “Embed” and a new window opens. The html code is what you want. Just place your cursor in front of the coded paragraph and it becomes blue highlighted. Copy it.
Now you have captured the photo.

Return to your blog pane and paste it in. You will see machine coded html stuff. Ignore that.
Switch to the Visual Tab and the blog pane should show your words and a magical new photo with its credit line below it.

After you practice a few times, it becomes easier.

Once you place the photo, you can right click on it to change the size, ratio, add description, tag, caption, and all of those elements that help your photo, blog, and links work together.

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here, visit me at:




Do It Yourself Blogging

You can start a blog and learn how to do it yourself. If you can afford to hire a coach to set up your blog for you and to train you how to blog, do it. Plenty of bloggers have set up their own blogs learning the hard way, not much money to begin with and by trial and error. A determined individual who sees the importance of blogging will let nothing get in the way from starting and learning to blog.

Who starts a new project doing it with perfection? Learn by practice. Practice by blogging. You improve every time you blog, baby step by baby step.


Eventually, you’ll become a blog expert. Blogging does take time and patience; but if I learned how to do it, then you can, too.

You’ll notice that many bloggers have blog buttons or badges that say “Grab My Button” or such catchy phrases. When I learned how to put a button on one of my blogs, I thought I would never get it right. I kept trying, kept searching on the Internet for the simplest way to figure it out. Finally, I did it. However, that was a long time ago, and didn’t have a blog button. I confess that I’m quite rusty at getting the bloggy buttons just right after not doing them for so long. That’s why I chose to go the easy route – find someone to do it for  me. I found a great website to go to for creating blog buttons. It’s “Grab My Button Code Generator” and exactly what I needed. Don’t have a blog button yet? Go there, and you’ll be saved much time on trying to figure out how to generate your own blog button.

According to an article by Michelle Trudeau’s on, the aging brain is less quick but more shrewd. But less quick doesn’t mean we can’t keep learning. People can learn new things as long as they live – even with a less-quick brain. Do not fear if it seems like it’s taking you a long time to learn the blogging phenomenon. Just as it took you awhile to graduate from baby steps to junior steps to teenage steps to adult steps, it will take awhile to get from being a beginner blogger to a blogging expert. Keep blogging, and don’t stop.

Be On The Lookout For Higher Traffic Sites

Sitting idly on the bank of a quiet stream and fishing, is not the best way to catch fish. Sure, it works but you need to spend longer hours waiting for a nibble. The same is true when trying to attract traffic to your website. You can sit and dangle small enticements, hoping to catch a few visitors… but ultimately the amount of traffic coming to you will be miniscule.

Source: via ≪≫≪ L I A N N A on Pinterest

Source: via Deniece on Pinterest



Wouldn’t it be better to grab traffic from a  wild stream… er…active websites that offer more activity and the better links?

Be on the lookout for sites that generate higher traffic to their sites. Are they compatible with yours? Will their traffic enhance your ranking? Ask them to link and be sure to ask for them to link to you. The additional traffic that they receive should help generate more traffic to you. You should be able to see the change in a few days.


In this case, you’re tossing in your fishing line, guaranteeing some activity, and then “the fish” is tossing his hook at you… well, sort of.

Rusty LaGrange


If you like what you see here, please visit my other sites
and my newest site

Strategy #5: Good Sites Draw More Interest for New Visitors

It may seem obvious that what you enjoy reading and commenting on may not be the same web site your friends will like. It’s the diversification of interests that make us unique. The same is true for the differences you see from one web site to another. What draws so many readers/visitors to a site that you may not like?

What makes a good web site?


It usually has a topic you are searching for. It might be a series of web sites that offer, let’s say, military history. If you’re an avid military history buff, the more expert sites will be the ones that attract you. When you see something on the site that doesn’t ring true or seems less authoritative, then you may not return.

Sometimes it may not be the content but the look. If it glares, pops, and spins to catch your attention, you’re visiting time may be very short. The web master has scared you away. He just tried too hard.

Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

Other times it may be the typeface, graphic elements that first attract you and the content that keeps you, while the familiar bond with the topic keeps your coming back for more.

So as you find the sites that are closer to the quality and interest your prefer, holds your interest, and doesn’t scare you away, then you have identified the features that will work on your own website.

Source: via FormFire on Pinterest

Another point to consider is its activity on social media. Do they use Facebook, Twitter, and other prime social communities to gather readership and visitors? Are their links active? Then they might be a good web site to link to. On the other hand, if the site is chock full of ads and links with very little content, then they may not be the best site to link to.

It’s up to you to become an expert at recognizing good sites. That’s the best way to develop better links, better overall traffic lines, and stay in the upper rankings based on the good quality sites yours are partnered with. Quality does count.


 Rusty LaGrange


If you like what you see here, please visit my other sites
and my newest site

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