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

Posts tagged High Desert Entrepreneurs

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.

 BLOG-letters-in-lead

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

5 Reasons Every Business Blog Needs a Professional Blogger

Hiring a Blogger MConnors at morgueFile

Now that you’ve read the 10 Reasons to Maintain a Business Blog, it’s time to discuss whether or not you need to hire a professional blogger. Certainly, you can write your own blogs or even assign the task to someone else in your organization. Before you decide to do either, however, consider these 5 very important benefits of hiring a pro blogger.

1. A Professional Blogger Has the Writing Talent You Desire

In general, if you can speak you can write. With that said, not everyone has a flair for blogging. In some cases, this goes beyond simply lacking the mechanics of good writing, but also encompasses writer’s block or a genuine fear of writing. A professional blogger has a way with words and knows how to effectively overcome common writing challenges in order to produce the top-quality content your business blog needs.

2. A Professional Blogger Can Dedicate Adequate Time to Your Business Blog

One of the greatest concerns a lot of business owners have about starting a business blog is having the time it takes to regularly maintain such a space. In cases like these, outsourcing makes perfect sense. You simply tell a professional blogger how many posts you’d like to publish per week and that person schedules the time to get it done while you are free to apply your time toward other important business matters.

3. A Professional Blogger Gives Your Content the Right Amount of Focus

Often, entrepreneurs will start a business blog with the intention of its maintenance being a top priority. What often happens, however, is that other tasks vie for an owners time and the blogging priority begins to lose steam. Before long, a blog is abandoned and the content that remains becomes outdated and stale. By hiring a professional blogger business owners can avoid a diminishing focus on their blog as a pro blogger keeps the task of posting fresh content at the top of her editorial schedule.

4. A Professional Blogger Has Experience That Can Benefit Your Business

Beyond stringing words together, there’s a method to professional business blogging. This involves staying abreast of the latest SEO strategies, understanding what attracts audiences and knowing how to market a business blog in the right venues. A professional blogger has experience in these realms, which can save considerable time and be of immense benefit to a business.

5. A Professional Blogger Knows How to Share

Speaking of marketing, a great deal of it involves online sharing. Of course, most people think of major social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but there are literally hundreds of other networking venues where bloggers regularly engage. Remember, bloggers are online an awful lot and we love to share our work with others. Your business benefits by being introduced to audiences that you don’t typically have contact with and which may be of even greater benefit to your bottom line.

We’re Here For You…Especially This Weekend!

If you’d like to learn more about hiring a professional blogger, be sure to stop by the RelyLocal table located right at the Fair’s main entrance this weekend. Several High Desert Bloggers will be in attendance as we help raise awareness about the shop local movement and about blogging in the High Desert. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have about blogging when you stop by to say hello.

Your Comments Are Appreciated

Do you currently have a business blog? Do you maintain it yourself or have you already begun to outsource that task? Tell us all about your business and your blog in the comments section below.

 

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10 Reasons To Maintain a Business Blog

Rainbow ricreis morgueFileIn today’s business landscape, having a website is almost as important as having a telephone. People of all ages are online looking for information, ideas to share and businesses to patronize. So while every business clearly needs a website, is it really necessary for every business to have a  blog? Yes! And here’s why:

The Top 10 Reasons To Maintain a Business Blog

1. A Business Blog Provides Another Avenue to Connect With Customers

Beyond your website, radio and offline advertisements– or even your email address and direct phone contact, a blog is another medium through which your customers may explore your company. It is an indirect way for your customers to connect with you and you with them. Can any business ever have too many customer connections?

2. A Business Blog Helps Build an Audience

A blog offers a voice and the right voice attracts listeners. Done correctly, a blog can help a business attract new audience members and strengthen the bonds with an audience already in place.

3. A Business Blog Helps Draw Internet Traffic To a Website

Whether you sell your goods online or simply use your website to advertise, one of your primary goals is to draw as many eyes to a site as possible. A blog helps business owners accomplish this and then some. While websites can be somewhat static, a business blog offers visitors a far more dynamic experience. Regular updates and fresh, unique content give visitors a reason to return again and again and again!

4. A Business Blog Helps Provide Individual Businesses With a Stronger Web Presence

The Internet offers everyone a pretty leveled playing field and a blog helps increase your presence on that field. With that said, it also provides a deeply competitive landscape where only the strongest, most persistent and most reliable content rises to the top. A mere website just won’t do when competitors are regularly churning out new content, which leads us to #5…

5. A Business Blog Can Help a Business Compete With Others Within a Niche

A business blog helps to enhance a business’ web presence and, thus, provides a vehicle through which an organization may compete more effectively. New products can be spotlighted, industry accomplishments can be immediately publicized, special sales can be announced and the list goes on.

6. A Business Blog Can Help Owners and Employees Provide Better Customer Service

By providing a space for customers to share comments and suggestions in real time, information gathered from a business blog can help an organization provide a better quality of customer service. Many companies even appoint one or more staff members to respond to blog comments, which helps to create a closer bond with customers and provide them with optimal service.

7. A Business Blog Can Help Improve Search Engine Rankings

New, original and trustworthy content is crucial if a business is aiming for top-billing among search engines. Providing all of this on a regular basis is even better. Instead of merely providing information one time on a website, business blogging can help tremendously with SEO since search engine algorithms are more inclined to reward higher rankings to those that provide quality content on a regular basis.

8. A Business Blog Allows Owners To Immediately Disseminate Urgent Information

Experiencing a shipping snafu or an organizational upset? Need to squash a harmful rumor? A business blog provides immediate media coverage which YOU control. Information shared on a business blog is often cited by trade publications and traditional news outlets, so while press releases are still valuable, there’s no need to wait to publish whatever it is that you want the public to know about your business right away.

9. A Business Blog Helps In Adding a Personal Touch To a Website Or a Business

Your website is probably ultra-professional and very structured…as it should be. While a business blog should also maintain an air of professionalism, it is perfectly acceptable for a blog to be more conversational in tone. Further, it allows personal interaction with a readership and helps in humanizing an organization.

10. A Business Blog Helps a Business Establish Trust With Consumers

Above all else, customers value companies that they can trust. Business blogging helps supply consumers with expert information on a regular basis and helps a company engage with customers around important concerns or issues. Done well, a business blog can be used as part of a trust-building foundation leading to long-term consumer relationships.

Want to Learn More About Business Blogging?

If you’re operating a business and you don’t have a blog…or if you have a business blog, but you want to learn how to kick it into overdrive come meet the High Desert Bloggers this weekend at the San Bernardino County Fair. And if you don’t fancy yourself much of a writer, but realize the importance of maintaining a blog, don’t be shy about asking one of our bloggers to blog for your business. We’ll be at the RelyLocal table, so while you’re there you can also learn about the powerful shop local movement taking place here in the High Desert.

Tell Us All About It

Have a question or comment and can’t wait to visit us at the fair? Well, sound off below and get a feel for how fast and effective this business blogging concept really is!

 

Business Blog by MConnors at morgueFile

High Traffic Linking Exposes Your Web Site to More Visitors — Strategy #7

One of the ways to generate new links to your web site, your blog, or your service, is to think about sites that would benefit from linking to you but don’t. Why not? Because they may not know you exist.

This might seem like you’re doing the other person’s work here, and you are, but it will benefit you in the long run.

For example, if your site is about traveling in the High Desert, and you come across other sites that offer, let’s say, camping ideas, one-day excursions, how to save money while adventuring in the High Desert, and let’s add, desert survival tactics. In each of these diverse possible web sites lay the potential to develop a venture partnership.

 

STRATEGY #7 — Go after higher traffic sites that will enhance both your’s and their’s

Venture partnerships don’t need to include money or investment, just the mutual assistance of each other’s storefronts. You won’t be shackled to them forever, just enhancing the mutual sharing of interests. First off, send them a polite and business-toned, simple email and see what they say about it. If they aren’t sure, ask them if you could make a guest post on their site to “test the waters.” Linking is enhanced networking that stays on the page, giving longevity to the link.

While some web creators overload their pages with links. You know one when you see one. A good link strategy is less overwhelming and specific to your theme or business. Less is more. Quality over quantity.

After this first contact, go visit their site and make helpful comments to their readers to show that you do care and read the other site. This basic and friendly gesture is usually met with a friendly gesture in turn. After awhile, test to see if your mutual linking is benefitting both of you. If not, kindly say that the linking is not broadening your viewership. Ask for any new links that they may share and be sure to reciprocate the offer.

Even after that, linking partnerships may dissolve, be friendly and move on to other potential ventures.

It’s wise to keep a folder of the contacts you’ve made, the business person who gave you the links, how well it did, and the email response they first gave you. The next time you look for a good link, you’ll already have half the work complete — a great intro email letter.

 Rusty LaGrange

 

If you like what you see here, please visit my other sites
at: www.aflairfortheoldwest.blogspot.com
and www.myrustybucketranch.blogspot.com
and www.aflairforbooks.blogspot.com
and my newest site www.oldweststagecoach.com

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: bing.com 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: ausecoart.com.au 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
at: www.aflairfortheoldwest.blogspot.com
and www.myrustybucketranch.blogspot.com
and www.aflairforbooks.blogspot.com
and my newest site www.oldweststagecoach.com

A High Desert Entrepreneur’s New Meaning to Mailbox Marketing

This guest post is by Cindy Poore

 

Mailbox Marketing

Marketing your business is one of the biggest challenges that most
entrepreneurs encounter. Usually, the business owner is really great at their craft or skill and enjoys it so much they decide to do it full time and suddenly they are “open for business.” Some thought goes into how they can make money at what they love, how to make and deliver it. Sometimes they even think about the financing, accounting, and job costing aspects of the
business, usually collaring a relative to work for peanuts to keep them on the up and up.

Rarely, do they think about marketing their service or product in advance of opening their business. I mean, you build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door, right? They rent a little shop, put up
curtains and a sign, sweep the floor, lay in the stock, buy some business
cards and put a little ad in the paper and wait. And wait.

When the customers don’t come often enough or not enough of them come and
the rent comes due at the end of the month, you get a little desperate and
start grabbing at straws. You throw time, effort and money on more of the
same ads and business cards, (doing the same things that weren’t working
before). And you look for ways to get the word out about your business. In
the example shown here, a local business person wanted to reach a lot of
people in a cheap way.

A business card was placed at each mailbox and as each person retrieved his
mail, the business card fluttered to the dirt. I counted and there were as
many cards as there were mail boxes. So obviously, no one was interested in
his service.

A neighbor showed up while I was taking this picture and was furious about
the cards. She said ” I may live on a dirt road, but I don’t have to live in
trash!” She had complained to the business that left the cards who were
actually quite rude to her. She had brought a trash bag, gloves and a rake
so she could pick up the mess.

Oftentimes, the thought of something is better than nothing. I think not in
this case. If you are a business person, you need to plan your marketing
strategy so your message goes to people who actually are interested in the
service you are offering. It will be more cost effective and will bring good
will and actual business. Don’t do what this guy did and create a situation
where people can’t wait to spread the word on you. What’s the word? “Don’t
hire them!

Perfection Landscape
P.O. Box 292390
Phelan, CA 92329
(760) 868-6104
“Building the scenery of your life”

John Margotta Ferrara ROCKS!!

John Margotta Ferrara's Photography

Welcome High Desert enthusiast! What a wonderful treat to have such a great talented professional photographer in our High Desert midst, John Margotta Ferrara. Photographer for 60 years is displaying some of his works at the Eclipse Art Gallery. I call it his photo art because it reminds me of the art work of the great artist Salvador Dali. Mr. Dali’s art style became known as surrealism but based on dreams. Dali drew everyday items but changed them in odd ways. So the same is said about John Ferrara photo art. He would take a simple pickup truck and place it in the middle of a lake. And to think Mr. Ferrara was doing this type of work way before digital cameras were developed.

I own a Nikon Coolpix 5200 point-and-shoot camera, paid 500 bucks for it before I went to Iraq for a year and a half. My pocket-size camera does it all, landscape, sports, night portrait, and so on – you get the picture. Whatever I can’t do I have Photoshop which can do anything and everything, yet John Ferrara was doing the same things but only using 35 mm film and a dark room. He also photographed portraits, landscapes, and big 18-wheelers.

Tomorrow, January 21, 6 pm to 8 pm, John Ferrara is scheduled to be at the Eclipse Art Gallery, 18361 Bear Valley Rd., Apple Valley, right across the road from Victor Valley College to have a “conversation with the artist” time. All you High Desert folks, after you chase coyotes away from your pets, go clean up some and spend some time with a great professional photographer, John Margotta Ferrara.

Blogging Goals

Today the High Desert Bl0ggers Meetup  group met at McDonald’s, the one near Home Depot in Apple Valley. This McDonald’s is set up with a separate enclosed meeting area for groups to meet. A group can contact McDonald’s to schedule a two-hour meeting there. This was our first time to utilize the meeting room, a nice and spacious area and Wi-Fi access to boot.

An inspiring High Desert entrepreneur and member of High Desert Bloggers, Cindy, shares an excerpt from her blog about this High Desert group:

Today was Blogger Meetup day!  I always love to meet with my new blogging friends.  Just getting together and sharing ideas and knowledge is so motivating.  It reminds me how great the group process is, I love it.  Today we discussed each of our individual blogging goals.  Since I have been working on my “Right Brain Business Plan”, I was prepared and shared it with them.  It was my commitment to this group two weeks ago that motivated me to get it done. The feedback was great.  They loved the idea of a visual map for the vision I have for my business.  It is pretty cool.  I will share it with you soon.

When I envision my goals, about blogging, my business, or about my life, it’s what’s inside me that I bring to the table.  A spirit and an energy that is mine, unique to me.  Today I am celebrating that!  Also am filled with gratitude for Angie (on my right) for starting this Meetup.  It has added a wonderful new dimension to my life.

In case you’re interested, the next High Desert Blogger Meetup is Saturday, December 17th, 9:00 am at the new Starbucks at Hwy 18 and Dale Evans Pkwy.

In the spirit of community building,
Cindy

High Desert Bloggers (from left to right): Angie, Cindy, Rusty - at McDonald's in Apple Valley Dec. 3rd

Thanksgiving Day in the High Desert

Have you ever traveled to the High Desert on the 15 on Thanksgiving Day? I’ll never forget the first time I did. The traffic was at a standstill, and it took hours to get up the hill. Today my husband and I went down the hill for Thanksgiving dinner. The southbound traffic on the 15 was light enough, but the northbound traffic reminded me of my first Thanksgiving journey to the High Desert. Today’s turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie, however, made it all worthwhile.

Did you blog on this holiday? Or, did you take a holiday from blogging? Me? You can see that blogging is the last part of my Thanksgiving-to-do list, but now I can check off that task. A task, really? No, I love to blog, really. That’s why I teach wannabe and newbie bloggers how to set up a blog and tips on blogging. It’s also why I teach one-on-one workshops and group workshops (incidentally, a group workshop is coming to the Inland Empire in the near future).

I blog about the High Desert; people who live in the High Desert; High Desert artists, writers, and bloggers; High Desert entrepreneurs; High Desert attractions and interesting sites. High Desert Blogging is a network that can benefit individuals in these categories. Want to write for High Desert Blogging and drive traffic to your own website? Ask me how.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

Blog Networking

Are you a business owner? A writer? A blogger? All of these can benefit from social blog networking. I love it when those I’ve met through High Desert Blogging meet and exchange their business products or expertise. One such meeting happened this weekend when I introduced two friends at the Carriage House Antiques anniversary sale. One is a fabulous artist and vintage clothing/accessory expert, Twania, who sells her vintage items on Etsy. The other friend, Rusty, with A Flair For Words, is a fellow writer from the High Desert Branch of California Writers Club and exceptional in the advertising writing arena. During the introduction, they each gave their elevator pitch and the conversation took off. I excused myself for a few moments to walk over to the Bodacious Bundts table and chose a delightful slice of cake. You must go by Bodacious Bundts to order one of their delicious bundt cakes or pastries. De-licious! High Desert Bloggers meet there monthly and exchange blogging tips as we enjoy tasty pastries.

High Desert Blogging offers a network to individuals like my two friends that just met. This blog network is currently open to individuals and entrepreneurs in the High Desert who are interested in joining a blog network and in driving traffic to their websites. Entrepreneurs can hire writers or bloggers through this network. We are currently planning a blogging workshop/ conference in the Inland Empire. Newbie bloggers who are wanting to learn how to drive traffic to their blog won’t want to miss this special event with professional blogger, Bill Belew.

 

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