How to have a magnificent and thriving online presence with websites, blogs, social media, and more.

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Why WordPress Sometimes Kills My Creativity

Grrrr … WordPress is NOT my favorite program. Every other breath a plugin needs to be updated. It “breaks” on a regular basis and takes hours, if not days, to fix what seems like a simple problem.

The box to leave a comment stopped working on my primary website. I FINALLY figured out why. But it took two days to figure it out. It was a conflict of plugins. I had “Social” and it wasn’t letting any comment plugin operate. It wasn’t even letting the default WP comment system operate.

WordPress isn’t new to me. I’ve been using it since 2010. For me its like pulling teeth. Every time there is an update something seems to go wrong. There are so many bells and whistles that this thing doesn’t know what that thing is doing. I know there need to be updates, etc. But it bugs the crap out of me when it takes hours and hours to fix a problem that wasn’t a problem yesterday. Having to read through forums and try a million things is a waste of my time. And that is what I don’t like. I have tons to do. Spending hours fixing a WP problem seems to happen at least every 6 months or so. I rarely get bent out of shape over things, but WP … that one makes me want to shoot the computer sometimes.

And that’s why I say it kills my creativity. I’d rather be creating new things than trying to troubleshoot something that recently was working just fine.

I’ve been designing websites since 1996. Talk about old school. I’ve used lots of different software to do so. And then more recently, I’ve worked a lot with Blogger and various social media platforms. None of those things ever have these issues. Its sometimes a challenge to get one of these things to do what you want. But once you have it figured out, it tends to stay that way.

WP is just this goofy thing that works one way one time and then it doesn’t work like that any more. An update made this not work. Or a plugin is suddenly incompatible. You have to do something else entirely to get what you already had working. That’s why its my least favorite platform. Too often I have to spend hours fixing something that wasn’t broken yesterday.

How about you?

Do you love it or does it drive you batty too?

 

Have a great day,

Bestselling author Debbie Takara Shelor signature

 

 

 

 

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When WordPress and Other Blogs Load Too Slow or Not at All

Wordpress Site Loading Slow

I was recently visiting a friend’s blog and the page just wouldn’t load. It took FOREVER to show up on my screen after I entered the URL. I sent her a message letting her know about the problem and offered some advice on some things to look for in order to fix it.

People only spend seconds on a new website. If it doesn’t load fast enough, they are gone – typically forever.

I thought my readers might want to know things to check if their site isn’t loading properly or fast enough. These apply to WordPress specifically, but some are fairly Universal words of wisdom in web design and maintenance.

The main reason most websites don’t load quickly is the size of the images in the background, the header, the navigation or side bars, or in actual posts. Before uploading an image to WordPress, or any site online, it needs to be “compressed” for the web. Most photo or graphics design software has a built-in way to do this quite easily. You want the image to be less than 60k. Most of mine are. A few are more, but the lower the better. You can compress an image both in dimensions (which radically changes the size of the file) and the dpi.

Photoshop has a built-in method during export. You can “save for the web” and it gives you options. Pretty simple and fast once you’ve done it a few times. There are also many free sites online that you can upload your photo to and it will spit out a compressed image for you to use.

Another big loading issue is with 3rd party applications that pull from another site. Any widget you’ve added that you pasted in an html code, is subject to problems. Things like autoresponder forms, Adsense and other ads, online translators, etc. can have loading issues and cause the whole page to not load properly.

I’ve heard lots of people complaining about the latest WordPress update. I haven’t actually updated mine yet because of that. If you did do the new WordPress update, and if your site loads slow from multiple browsers and multiple people’s computers, you might want to go back to the previous version. Before doing something this drastic, I would have numerous friends check the site from their computer or phone – making sure that different parts of the country, or world, different browsers, and different internet providers are being used.

Sometimes hang ups like that are due to an incompatible plugin. Check your plugins to see if they need updating. If not, turn them off one by one to see if you can find the one that is causing things to load slowly. Or, alternately, turn them all off and turn them back on one by one, checking the site load time as you go.

Sometimes a plugin is incompatible with particular browser updates. Sometimes the plugin incompatibility isn’t with WordPress, but with the browser itself.

If you’ve discovered the plugin having problems using the turn them on or off one by one method above, or recently added a new plugin, google the name of it with the word “issue” or “problem” behind the name. You will often find forums where they are discussing compatibility issues and, if you are lucky, ways to solve the problem.

An even bigger issue can happen when a WordPress theme itself is no longer compatible with the latest version of a browser or the latest version of WordPress. We spend so much time choosing just the right theme, but when browsers or WordPress has an update, not all the bells and whistles on all the themes work any more.

I have four different browsers on my main computer and occasionally check my websites by browsing from each one. You would be amazed at how different your site looks browser to browser. It’s especially good to do this in the designing phases of web development.  The four browsers I use are: Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.  For normal browsing, I tend to prefer Firefox or Chrome. But for this check, since so many people also use the other two, I check them all.

Hopefully, if you are having trouble with your site not loading properly or not loading quickly enough, these insights will be of great benefit.

Have a great day,

Bestselling author Debbie Takara Shelor signature

 

 

 

 

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Image (c) Mike Schmid

Best Online Free Font Download Websites

Best Fonts Online Free Download

When I was having my first book cover designed, I was “enlightened” about fonts and copyrights. If you are doing something for commercial purposes – like an ad, you have to have rights to the font.

These are some of the places I get fonts: www.openfontlibrary.org The mission of the Open Font Library is to promote your freedoms as it relates to the use of type. All of the fonts that appear on this site come with the freedom to use, study, share and remix them.

http://www.dafont.com/ – free and public domain ~ and they indicate which. Free is typically free for personal use. Public domain can be used commercially.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/01/09/high-quality-free-fonts-2012/#more-120954 – free fonts clearly marked whether you can or can not use for commercial use.

http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ – GREAT SOURCE.

Fonts to me are a lot like images – I only purchase images for book covers, product logos, and things like that. For articles and social media posts, I use free fonts and images.

 

Clean Up That Email FAST by Asking How Urgent Is It?

Urgent

 

One of the biggest time sucks out there is how stuffed your email inbox can become. Too many emails to deal with leaves you with little time to focus on and manage the really important things that need to get done to earn more money and/or make a bigger difference.

A fast way to clear out some of the clutter is to search your inbox for the word “urgent” without the quotation marks. If something is marked urgent, it is typically a sales pitch where the product, program, or discount will soon end. It’s an often used tactic to get people to buy now. And it works like gangbusters.

When you type in “urgent” into your email search box, it will bring up every email that contains that word either in the title or in the text.

You can then check all with the click of one button. At least that is how it works in gmail. Don’t be so quick to hit delete though. You need to scroll down the list reviewing who sent the message and what the message is about. You can manually uncheck anything that you need to keep. Once you have gone through the list, then you can click delete.

If you accidentally deleted something that you should not have, you will be able to find it in your trash folder. So all is not lost should you get a little over zealous.

There are lots of words I use to clear out the clutter in my inbox. Urgent is just one of many. When you find yourself deleting everything that you get from a certain individual or mailing list, it’s probably time to unsubscribe from the list.

The best way to delete everything from a particular individual is to search for the email address they use to send messages.

Have a great day,

TakaraSignature2

 

 

 

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When You Are On Social Media, Be Social!

I don’t do business with people I don’t know and I don’t develop relationships with someone who starts the conversation with a sales pitch. Particularly when they send the same message more than once.

I had to send that to someone on Facebook this morning because they keep sending me a cut and paste message asking if I’m happy with my branding. I continued with the following.:

This is social media. So be social. If you want to be a friend, then send a friend request. If you are only trying to find random people to sell something to, then perhaps you are on the wrong social platform.

I consider my personal facebook page, my living room. Posts are like conversations at a party. Private messages are with people who I’ve had a few public conversations with by commenting on one another’s posts and enjoying the conversation.

I collaborate and do business all the time with people I met online. But none of those collaborations started out by them trying to sell me something through a private message.

You may or may not find this useful, but its how I do business.

 

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Color Makes a Difference!

ColorMattersSm

Thanks to Joel Comm for sharing this article about color: http://www.worldvillage.com/the-psychology-of-color/.

WAY back in the day, when I was working for ergonomics and human factor’s experts at Virginia Tech, they were doing a graduate study on color funded by the military. They were trying to find the “perfect” color to paint the inside of submarines so the crew would remain in “chill” mode vs. aggressive, etc. while submerged for long periods of time. Turned out to be a particular shade of mint green.

It was my first introduction to the importance of color and I’ve continued to study and apply the principles ever since.

Its one of the first factors we look at when considering a new website, blog, or product packaging design. The difference between high end cosmetics and low end isn’t in the ingredients – which are primarily the same everywhere – its in the packaging and presentation. A picture is not a picture without the frame. A website’s message doesn’t get seen if the canvas its on doesn’t work.

I find it so fascinating that over the years I was inspired to learn interior design, image consulting, and color application – which all apply when helping a client choose a great look and feel for their site/blog. Visit any of my sites and there is definitely a “feeling” to it. When it doesn’t feel quite right, I change it.

Color is only 1 of the many categories we look at with the Dancing Dolphin Way Self-Help Dowsing Companion Tool: Your Ultimate Guide to Wellbeing, which you get as a free bonus when you purchase my Dowsing for Divine Direction eCourse

 

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Blogging and Social Media – Where Should You Be Spending Your Time? by Takara

TakaraBookCoverCompressedSm

My background is engineering. I’ve worked on computers since 1985. I put up my first website in about 1995. I have several websites and blogs. I got heavily involved in social media about 4 years ago and spend entirely too much time on Facebook.

After messing around with all these platforms over this length of time, becoming a bestselling author entirely through online means, and having thousands of website and blog visitors daily as well as thousands of newsletter subscribers, I have a few things to say about websites, blogs, and social media

Takara’s Online Tips:

1) if you are going to blog, then do only one.

2) If you are a writer and have more than 1 book, then I say brand yourself and have the name of the blog be your name and just do all your writing there.

3) The social media that will work best for you depends a lot on your area / niche / what you write about.

  • LinkedIn is for professionals, so if you write about topics related to business, it is THE place to be.
  • Facebook used to be a wonderful platform, but with the new algorithm, I like it less and less every day. You work your butt off to get fans to your page, and then they don’t all get to see your posts unless you pay to promote the post or put up stupid pictures that are cute or funny that people will share and like – that have nothing to do with your business or page or anything. Trying to pick clever things that people will like, share, and comment on is, I feel, taking things in the wrong direction.
  • Google+ is also another choice that I am seriously considering treating as another blog and maybe the main blog.
  • Pinterest is fun and lots of people are having great results in driving traffic to their websites/blogs using it. I mess around with it sometimes, but have only about 400 followers for my boards.

LinkedIn is better at pointing to your blog posts than Facebook. Google likes both LinkedIn and Google+ a lot.

Every now and then I Google my name (being sure to click the button that says “hide private results.”) Below you will find the results I got today when I performed that exercise. I have added comments beside each of the results. How these are listed tell you a lot about what is happening with Google’s algorithm right now.
I trust that by looking at the information below, it will help you and your business.

Search Results

  1. Absolute Joy Now with Debbie Takara Shelor

    www.absolutejoynow.com/

    Jun 23, 2013 – Have a deLightful day, Takara http://www.absolutejoynow.com. Posted by Debbie Takara Shelor at 8:42 AM 0 comments 

    (This is a blogger blog that has the words Debbie Takara Shelor (keyword phrase) in the Blog Title. I host it on my own domain, but all the work is done inside the blogger platform online. Lots of people say you must be on WordPress and Blogger isn’t the best choice. But here is one of several of my Blogger blogs showing up number 1 in search results for my name. Google owns Blogger by the way, so I KNOW its a great platform to use and its freaking simple. I always recommend blogger as the place to start for those new to blogging. Its easy to get going and you don’t have to be a computer whiz to have a good blog. There are lots of widgets you can add, so I still prefer it over wordpress although wordpress is growing on me. I don’t even post on this blog very often. Conclusion: Having the keyword in the title is still very important. Google loves blogger blogs.)

  2. DebbieTakaraShelor Official Fanpage | Facebook

    https://www.facebook.com/DebbieTakaraShelor

    DebbieTakaraShelor Official Fanpage. 1375 likes · 104 talking about this.

    (This is one of my facebook fan pages. I’m actually surprised to see it this high in search results. However, the keyword is in the title and URL of this page too. Typically LinkedIn is higher on the list. But, as we hopefully all know by now, Google changes its algorithm all the time, so you have to pay attention.)

  3. Debbie Takara Shelor

    www.debbieshelor.com/

    6 days ago – Takara helps you achieve whole life mastery. She assists you in turning ordinary into extraordinary. Bestselling Author, Speaker, Engineer, 

    (This is a WordPress blog. The keyword is not in the title and URL since I went back to my given name for awhile and sadly it was when I was getting involved in social media. I go by Takara, but because my online presence was so successful with Debbie, I’m stuck with it.)

  4. Debbie Takara Shelor – YouTube

    www.youtube.com/user/DebbieShelor

    Takara is a bestselling author, award-winning speaker, engineer, and mystic. Her email newsletter, Here’s To Your Magnificence, is enjoyed by thousands of re…

    (My YouTube Channel – another online property owned by Google. I have very few videos. Again the full keyword is not in the URL. It is in the title though.)

  5. DebbieTakaraShelor | LinkedIn

    www.linkedin.com/in/debbieshelor

    Roanoke, Virginia Area – Bestselling Author of Books on Meditation, Spirituality, Energy Healing, & Enlightenment | Speaker | Engineer

    View DebbieTakaraShelor’s professional profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest business network, helping professionals like Debbie “Takara” 

    (Finally we see LinkedIn. Again the keyword is not in the URL, but it is in the title. Its a good platform and Google really gives it authority. I just don’t spend a lot of time there. I have things connected so that if I post on twitter, it automatically posts to LinkedIn. That is not hard to set up and makes things easy.)

  6. Debbie Takara Shelor (Debbie_Shelor) on Twitter

    https://twitter.com/TakaraShelor

    The latest from Debbie Takara Shelor (@Debbie_Shelor). Author, Engineer, & Mystic who loves wild dolphins, travel, and helping you become Magnificent!

    (Twitter comes up number 6 in the listing. You have to remember that where they rank probably has to do with how active you are, how many friends/fans/followers you have on the various platforms, etc. I rarely go to twitter. However, much of what I post automatically gets posted there from other platforms. I have a decent following. I hear from other authors that twitter is a great platform to be on for book sales. I intend to do a little more with it when I can.)

  7. Amazon.com: Debbie Takara Shelor: Books, Biography, Blog

    www.amazon.com/DebbieTakaraShelor/e/B008WEYNC2

    Debbie Takara Shelor is an author, award-winning speaker, engineer, and mystic. In her mid-30’s she left the comfort and security of a high-paying corporate 

    (I’m very happy to see my Amazon author page showing up on the first page results of Google. That is a very good thing as an author. If you don’t know what to put on your author page, just visit the big names in your niche and see what they are doing.)

  8. Who is DebbieTakara” – Dolphin Empowerment

    www.dolphinempowerment.com/dolphinzonebio.htm

    My name is DebbieTakaraShelor and I am the web designer and author for this site. I once lived a rather “normal” life – or at least tried to anyway. I was an 

    (Finally there is an actual website showing up in the listings. This site was put up in about 2004. I sometimes post new articles, but I tend to blog and its a lot easier than working in Dreamweaver to update things.)

  9. Dowsing With Debbie Takara Shelor

    dowsing-with-debbie.blogspot.com/

    Jan 10, 2012 – Help Make the World a Better Place ~ Debbie Takara Shelor. Make today a memorable day! Whose life can be made better by your presence?

    (This is a very old blog that I almost never post to. Somewhere in the description or meta tags it has the keyword. I actually have an older, larger, much more established site that I am surprised didn’t make the first page of Google results.)

  10. Images for debbie takara shelor

    – Report images

  11. Peering Through the Veil

    www.peeringthroughtheveil.com/

    Oct 15, 2012 – Share to TwitterShare to Facebook. Labels: amazon bestseller, Debbie Takara Shelor, high blood pressure, meditation, stress, Virginia Tech 

    You +1’d this

    (This site is another blogger blog that I set up specifically for my book launch for the book that became a bestseller last year. I haven’t posted since October of last year and it is still showing up on the first page of Google.)

Developing a Website and Blog for One of the Most Important Men In My Life – My Dad

Back in the car business!

I thought when I finished being the Internet Operations Manager for the Nissan dealership in Santa Fe, New Mexico that I was out of the car business for good.

But, alas, developing a website and blog for my dad involves getting back into cars.

Dad has been rebuilding, repairing, designing, racing, tinkering with, altering, and helping others with their cars since he was a small child. He’s now in his early 80’s. For that last 30 years or so he’s been buying and selling antique engine parts for Ford Motor Company vehicles – Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury.

Until now, it’s been mostly a hobby. Most of his sales happen through the Antique Automobile Club of America’s meets in Hershey, PA (probably the largest and best known), Charlotte, NC, and Maggie Valley, NC. He also is often referred by word of mouth.

Now we’re taking it global with an online presence.

As with any new online presence project, I start with research. What are people searching for online that he is offering? That means what keywords are people using to find the products he offers.

There are many free tools out there, but my “weapon” of choice is a paid software called Market Samurai: http://bit.ly/cqpUdh

With this business, there are many things people might type in to try and find auto parts for their antique car or truck.

Some options include antique car parts, classic car parts, old car parts, etc. After typing several choices into Market Samurai and letting it spit out the magic numbers telling me which one of the choices far outweigh the others, we started brainstorming domain names.

You see the domain name is crucial in your online plan for market domination. With Market Samurai’s help, I determined that Classic Car Parts was our best choice. Of course, that domain was already taken – as most obviously “good” domain names are. So are many other variations.

Sometimes you have to think outside the box. As an Industrial Engineer, that’s what I’m trained to do in order to solve a problem.

I remembered this website I used several years ago to get a replacement top for my Geo Tracker.

~~~~~ Side Story ~~~~

Several years ago I was working with a client who was struggling financially. She was great as an office manager/assistant, a service I needed. And I could help her heal the past and move forward in life. So, we made an agreement to trade my services for hers.

Suddenly she found herself moving to Florida. She had already done a couple of sessions with me but had not begun helping me in the office.

She needed to do something in exchange for my services and did not have time to do the office work we had agreed on. So she called me one day and said, “How would you like my car for $250?” Now even if the thing didn’t run, I could probably get $250 out of it. So I agreed.

For the ridiculously low price of $250, I got a great little Geo Tracker. It was perfect for bopping around Santa Fe.

It only had a couple of problems.  First, she was a smoker and the car wreaked of cigarettes. Second, the canvas roof needed to be replaced. So I got some great stuff from the auto parts store to clean the carpet and upholstery and eliminate the odor. And then I went online in search of a replacement top.

First I visited Geo. They wanted $1400 – $1500 for the canvas top. Yeah right! I paid $250 for the whole vehicle. I wasn’t about to spend that much on the roof.

Through google searching I found Tops4Less. I got the replacement canvas top for $250 and it was made of superior materials to Geo’s. I was oh so impressed with my manifesting ability. A great little vehicle for $500.

Funny thing is, I bought that top many years ago and I still remember the name of the site. Hmmm. Why? Because something about Tops4Less is seriously memorable. I think it’s the 4 in the middle. I don’t know for sure, but I know after all these years I have no trouble remembering that name.

~~~ End of Site Story ~~~

Remembering the site with the easy to remember name, I chose ClassicParts4Cars.com. It’s clever. It has the term classic car parts built right in. And it was available.

What you name your site makes a big difference in your search engine rankings.

If you type in Debbie Shelor, this blog comes up first. It’s not because it is my biggest website. Far from it. It’s not because it’s my oldest website. Not even close. It’s not because it is my website with the highest page rank (PR). Again, many of my other sites are significantly larger, older, and have higher page rank. All of those are things the search engines take into consideration when deciding which sites get listed first in their rankings when you do a search.

What this site has that the others don’t is the term “Debbie Shelor” in the domain name.

Keep that in mind before you put up your site or blog.

 

Why Tropical Beaches?

Why Does Debbie Takara Shelor Have So Many Beaches on Her Websites

I’m sure if you’ve visited any of my websites or social media profiles, you’ve noticed a great deal of imagery dealing with water and tropical beach scenes.

There is a reason.

And it’s not just that I love the ocean or tropical beaches. I do love those.

I love dolphins too! But that’s a story for another time.

There are numerous reasons for choosing tropical beach scenes to represent me and my business.

It has to do with stress relief!

I can’t think of anything more relaxing than:

  • beautiful turquoise seas,
  • white sandy beaches,
  • palm trees,
  • you and your friends kicking back sipping mai tai’s or some other exotic drink.

Life is good.

There is no stress.

Having me on board your personal yacht (business), making sure things are being taken care of properly, lets you relax and enjoy running the rest of your business as only you can. It’s like enjoying your relaxing time at the beach. You can be confident that your online presence is being handled.

Without me, the best case scenario has you spending countless hours and dollars lost in a little raft (your website) in the middle of the ocean (the internet) with no shore in sight. Worst case you are being eaten alive by sharks. That would be your competition that has a clue about internet marketing.

You can hang out at the beach letting me assist you in handling all the details of running a successful on-line business.

Or you can go it alone.

The choice is yours!

Have a fabulous day,

Bestselling author Debbie Takara Shelor signature

 

 

 

 

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