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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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.)

Leverage Your Blog Content

If you’re blogging for business or blogging as a business the last thing you need is to work your fingers to the bone producing content only for it not to be seen or read by your target audience.

On a super crazy busy day (aren’t they all) you need options to seriously maximise the return on your blogging for little extra effort. Following are some tactics to achieve just that:

Read more

By Debbie Takara Shelor

Social Media Icons by mkhmarketing

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.


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Best Online Royalty Free Images Photos for Commercial Use

If you are like me, photo images have become a way of life. We now add them to blog posts, our Facebook pages and other social media posts, and of course Pinterest. It is always better to use a unique image rather than something everyone else is posting. It’s so easy to take an image, add a few words, save it with a unique name and voila, you have a unique image. The sites I tend to visit often are indicated with a (Takara) in their description.

But where to get the images online?

Obviously, for a blog post or Facebook update, we don’t want to pay for photos and images.  But we do want to make sure we are not breaking any copyright rules. Images that you use online for your business need to be free to use for commercial purposes. Otherwise, they are copyrighted and using them is actually breaking the law.

Over the years of hunting images, I’ve come up with several websites that I go to again and again. I’ve provided the list for you here. Before using an image, even if it is from one of these sites, be sure to read the fine print to make sure the image can be used for the purpose you are intending.

Also, many of these websites earn money by offering ads for paid images. So you have to pay attention to where on the site you are clicking. Otherwise you end up on iStockPhoto or another paid site. They have lovely images and I do use them on occasion. But that is more for advertising or book covers, not an image I use for an article or blog post.

Free Photos / Royalty Free Images

Most are free and OK to use for commercial use. Be sure to check the licensing agreement. A few have fees.

All Free Downloadshttp://all-free-download.com/ – free images, vectors, etc. – BE SURE IT IS FOR COMMERCIAL USE

Animotohttp://www.animoto.com – has some great photos free with your video

Best Photos.us – http://bestphotos.us/

The British Library – http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary – The British Library has made these images available for use by anyone. There are over a million images.

Creative Commons Search – http://search.creativecommons.org/ – searches lots of sites for commercial use images and photos – this is a great place to start your search

Dreamstime – http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos?utm_campaign=Listly&utm_medium=list&utm_source=listly – Dreamstime also has paid images

Every Stock Photohttp://www.everystockphoto.com/ – a search engine for stock images. Be sure to read the license for each image you find.

Flickr – Creative Commons –http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/? Be sure to click the down arrow and choose “Commercial use allowed.” (Takara)

How to do a commercial image use search on Flickr

Free Digital Photoshttp://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ – small images are free.

Free Foto – http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp – claims to be the largest quantity of free photos on the web

Free Images UK – http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

Free Media Goo – http://www.freemediagoo.com/

Free Nature Stock – http://freenaturestock.com/

Free Photos Bank http://www.freephotosbank.com/

Free Pix.eu – http://freepix.eu/

Free Pixelshttp://www.freepixels.com/  – http://www.freepixels.com/terms/ are the terms – very liberal and can be used commercially

Death to the Stock Photo – http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ 

Gaderinge – http://gaderinge.com/

Image Base – http://www.niblack.org/imagebase/

Image After – http://www.imageafter.com/

Lensicle – http://www.lensicle.com/public-domain/

LibreStock – http://librestock.com/ – a search engine for 40 free stock sites

Morgue File –  http://www.morguefile.com/ – another of my favorite resources (Takara)

Nanamee – https://www.nanamee.com/

OnePixel –

PD Photo.org – http://pdphoto.org/ – some things are copyrighted, so read the license for each.

PD Pics.com – http://www.pdpics.com/

Pexels – https://www.pexels.com/ 

Photos Public Domain – http://www.photos-public-domain.com/ – thousands of images

Pixabayhttp://pixabay.com/en/ – a great source with over 350,000 choices (The first place I visit when hunting images, Takara)

Pixel Perfect Digital http://pixelperfectdigital.com/

Pond5 The Public Domain Project- http://www.pond5.com/free – images, audio, video

Public Domain Archive – http://publicdomainarchive.com/

Public Domain Photos – http://publicphoto.org/


Stock Free Imageshttp://www.stockfreeimages.com/

Stock Snap – https://stocksnap.io/

Stock Up – http://www.sitebuilderreport.com/stock-up/

Stock.xchanghttp://www.sxc.hu – one of my favorite places to find images. Now called FreeImages. (Takara)

The Stocks – http://thestocks.im/ 


Unsplash – https://unsplash.com/

Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page (Takara)

Clip Art

Free Clip Art – http://www.clker.com/

Open Clip Art https://openclipart.org/

Vector Images (Drawings)

Free Illustrator Downloads – http://free4illustrator.com/

Free Vectors – http://www.freevectors.net/

Free Vectors Dailyhttp://www.freevectorsdaily.com/



Vector 4 Freehttp://vector4free.com/

Vector Art – http://vectorart.org/

Vector Characters: http://www.vectorcharacters.net

Vector Open Stock – https://www.vectoropenstock.com/

Vector Portal – http://www.vectorportal.com/

Vector Vacohttp://www.vectorvaco.com/

U.S. Government Public Domain

US Gov Royalty Free Photo Search Engine – http://www.dotgovwatch.com/?/archives/8-Best-Copyright-Free-Photo-Libraries.html

Air Forcehttp://www.af.mil/photos/

Department of Defensehttp://www.defense.gov/multimedia/

Earth From Spacehttp://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/efs/ –    http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/efs/guidelines.htm – use rules (very liberal)

Library of Congresshttp://www.loc.gov/pictures/

NASAhttp://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/index.htmlhttp://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/clickmap/ –   NASA – Do I need special permission to use astronaut photographs or to publish them? NASA asserts no copyright over these photographs, but requests that it be credited as the source of the information. We recommend that the caption for any photograph published include the unique photo number (Mission-Roll-Frame), so that others can locate or obtain copies when needed. (Example just showed under the photo a caption that said NASA photo with a number behind it.)

National Institute of Healthhttp://www.nih.gov/about/nihphotos.htm –  NIH National Institute of Health/Department of Health and Human services – NIH Copyright Notification. NIH images may not be used to state or imply the endorsement by NIH or by an NIH employee of a commercial product, service, or activity, or use in any other manner that might mislead. No fee is charged to using the images. However, credit MUST be given to the National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services unless otherwise instructed to give credit to the photographer or other source. NIH images are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted. Images may be used, linked, or reproduced without further permission from NIH.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationhttp://www.photolib.noaa.gov/index.html – NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce – Restrictions for Using NOAA Images. Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted. There is no fee for downloading any images on the NOAA Photo Library.  Educational use is encouraged as the primary goal of the NOAA Photo Library is to help all understand our oceans and atmosphere so as to be better stewards of our environment for future generations. A few photos in the NOAA Photo Library that are known to have copyright restrictions are so noted in the caption information associated with those images. Credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.  Where a photographer is noted, please credit the photographer and his/her affiliated organization as well. Downloading Images. If you wish to download an image, click below the image caption on High Resolution Photo. This will download a high resolution “jpg” image that can be saved by right clicking your mouse for printing or manipulation within a graphics software program.

National Park Servicehttp://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/imagebase.html – National Park Service. Releases. All photographs and images in this archive are “public domain” images. You are free to use these images without a release from the National Park Service. However, the photographs and images must not be used to imply National Park Service endorsement of a product, service, organization or individual. Photo Credits. Credit photographs to the National Park Service.

National Science Foundationhttp://nsf.gov/news/mmg/index.cfm?s=0 – National Science Foundation

Public Health Image Libraryhttp://phil.cec.gov/Phil/home.asp

United States Geological Surveyhttp://gallery.usgs.gov/ –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servicehttp://digitalmedia.fws.gov/ – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Government Photos and Imageshttp://www.usa.gov/Topics/Graphics.shtml – read licenses for these


White Househttp://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/photogallery/april-2012-photo-day

Additional choices I’ve heard about but not used:

Free Photos Bankhttp://www.freephotosbank.com/ – I can’t find restrictions anywhere on the site.

Bible Placeshttp://bibleplaces.com/  – You may not use more than 10 images, the size of the images must be not more than 400 pixels wide, and the images must include a credit link on each page they are used to BiblePlaces.com

Paid Photos / Images

Canva – https://www.canva.com/ – many images that cost much more on other sites only cost $1 on Canva … and you can design your graphics there as well.

Deposit Photos – http://depositphotos.com/home_buyer.php – I haven’t checked their prices recently. Discounts often available through their mailing list.

OnePixel – https://www.onepixel.com/ – The photos here are excellent and only cost $1.

iStockPhoto – where I typically purchase images for more important projects – http://www.istockphoto.com – their prices have changed.

I keep expanding this list – so come back to visit whenever you need images!



Your email program and your  autoresponder service require that you use a plain text editor for your email messages. Wordpad, free on your PC, is a great choice!

Most businesses online use an autoresponder service to keep in touch with their customers, clients, and subscribers.


An autoresponder email service is the best way for an online or off-line business to:

  • announce a new product launch,
  • offer special promotions,
  • give advice on how to better use a product or service,
  • send a weekly or monthly newsletter,
  • deliver an ecourse,
  • keep you and your business on top of your customer’s minds,
  • and more.

There are several great autoresponder programs available:

  • constant contact
  • aweber
  • icontact
  • infusionsoft

Personally I use Aweber.

My online newsletter, Here’s to Your Magnificence, is now 14 years old. When I started out and only had a few hundred subscribers, I sent the messages out manually. As more and more people began joining the list, it became overwhelming to try to keep up with messages that bounced, requests to change email addresses, and to manually add people to the list. So in 2004 I began using Aweber and I’ve been with them ever since. They took a huge time consuming burden off my shoulders.

Now I get to concentrate on doing what’s fun – writing helpful content. They do all the work behind the scenes, adding, changing email addresses, etc.  Whenever I call, they promptly answer my questions, and sometimes they even do things for me to clean up a problem on an email template. They also live chat for assistance. I find all of that invaluable in my business.

For editing purposes, most people prefer to write long messages in a word processing software of some kind before they cut and paste it into an email or autoresponder email service.

That is often a problem.

Ugly Coded Email

Most email programs and autoresponder services require plain text. If you cut and paste a Microsoft Word, Open Office,  or WordPerfect document into an email program, you often end up with weird symbols throughout the text.

The reason this happens is because Microsoft Word, Open Office, WordPerfect and others are word processing programs that allow you to  format  the document. Formatting adds code throughout the text. If you type a word like “don’t” into Microsoft Word and then paste it from Word into an email program, the apostrophe often shows up as a weird symbol.

Having symbols like that throughout your emails looks very unprofessional.

Here is the fix!

Type your documents into Wordpad and save them as text documents. If you are using a Microsoft operating system, chances are very good that Wordpad is already on your computer.

How to Access and Use Wordpad as a Plaint Text Editor for Your Autoresponder

Follow these instructions:

  • Click on the bottom left – round windows “Start” button on your computer. A box will pop up.
  • Click on “all programs” – just above the start button and the search box down on the left bottom of the page.
  • Scroll up and down the list and look for the “Accessories” folder
  • Click on it.
  • Another list will show up under the folder
  • Double Click on Wordpad. It should already be there.
  • Copy and paste or type your article into Wordpad.
  • Edit as needed. No need to format it, other than using a carrier return (the enter key) to separate paragraphs.
  • When you have finished editing, click on the word “file” at the top left of the window you are in.
  • Click on “save as” in the drop down menu. A box will pop up.
  • Give the file a name
  • In the “save as type” section, click the little “down arrow” to the far right on that line,
  • Click on “text document”
  • Then press the save button.

Your plain text document will now be on your computer wherever documents are normally saved.

Then, copy and paste the Wordpad document into your email or autoresponder program.

Voila! No more weird code.

Have a deLightful day,

SEO Web Design Marketing PR Local Search

Online Business Success SEO Web Design Marketing PR Local Search

The Good Old Days

In the not so distant past, online business success could happen with a nice sign out front, a small ad in the local paper or yellow pages, and maybe an actual mailed advertisement every now and then. Believe it or not, you could run your entire business without a computer.

Wow, how times have changed!

You Are Now Living in the Digital Information Age

People under 30 don’t subscribe to newspapers anymore. Why look something up in the yellow pages, when you can go online or search for something on your iPhone? Why listen to the radio and all their disruptive ads when you can get commercial free satellite radio listening to only the type of music you enjoy most?

A recent study indicates that 79% of English-speaking American adults use the internet. The iPad sold over 2 million units in its first 60 days. There are 6.7 billion people on the planet and 61% of them have a cell phone subscription.

106 million people have Twitter accounts. Every day another 300,000 people sign up for Twitter. 37% of Tweets (messages posted on Twitter) are sent from a cell phone.

Facebook has over 400 million active users. That’s active users. Over 50% of those active users log in on any given day.

With the addition of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn), the internet has changed dramatically.

A Website for Your Business Isn’t Enough

Even having a website isn’t enough to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace. With eBay and Amazon selling everything from used books to health food,  it takes more than putting up a nice website to keep your company competitive.

Having a Web site and Having Online Business Success is a Lot Like Writing a Book

An author takes about 6 months to 2 years to write a book. Then they spend the rest of their life promoting it. Having an online presence is a very similar endeavor. It’s not enough to have a great looking website. It takes smart and consistent work with a website or blog and multiple social media profiles to have people find your business among the 234 million websites out there.

Being on the First Page of Google Matters

When a person types in words in a search box to find your website or blog, it matters where you show up in the results.

I wish I could remember who said this in order to give due credit. But, I’ve been on-line for 10 years and I’ve read thousands of articles, books, and blogs on internet marketing. The best comment about where you want your internet business to be was this: Would you rather have your business out in a corn field or downtown Manhattan?

Just putting up a website and doing no promotion is like sticking it out in the middle of a corn field. No one is going to find you. You’ll be paying for hosting, a web designer,  a domain name, and a whole bunch of other services and it won’t get you even one web visitor.

Working with someone like myself, an online business success consultant who specializes in social media management and marketing, is what you need to get your business on the first page of Google and other search engines.  That’s the equivalent of putting your business downtown Manhattan. If you sell real estate in Birmingham, when someone is searching for Birmingham Real Estate, if you don’t show up on page 1 of Google results, no one is going to visit your website. You might as well not even have one.

You can use pay per click advertising and get listed above your competitors. But that can get very expensive very quickly.

Being on the Internet is a Bit Like Being on Mars

It’s a very different world than your brick and mortar business on main street. It has its own language.  It is continuously changing. And to win the internet game, you have to learn and master every aspect of it even as it’s changing.

Anyone can throw up a website or blog. To be successful on the web, you have to do significantly more, And every step and component counts.

Why Hire an Online Business Success Consultant?

An Online Business Success Consultant is a person that already knows the internet inside and out. They have ample experience with traditional websites, blogs, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), and much more. You can read about the important aspects of an internet business here.

They have already successfully put their own websites, and those of their clients, on the first page of Google and other search engines for the important terms being searched by their prospective clients and customers.

They look at your business and the on-line presence you are wanting to create, and they help you put together a winning game plan by:

  • doing advanced keyword research to find out what people are searching who might be looking for you and your products or services,
  • helping you choose the best domain name for your site or blog,
  • recommending web designers, web hosts, domain registrars, autoresponder services,  social media sites, and other services,
  • picking topics for articles, press releases, blog, and social media posts to rank well on search engines and get targetted visitors to your site,
  • helping you determine if you need to get into mobile websites and text message advertising,
  • ensuring that your site(s) and media profiles stay updated with fresh content,
  • analyzing every aspect of your on-line presence on an ongoing basis to determine what is working well and what needs to be changed,
  • making changes to the plan as the business and the internet changes, and
  • keeping you updated with trends and laws that can impact your online business success.

There’s more of course.

The bottom line is this . . . to be successful in business, you must have a web presence. The only web presence worth having is one in which you dominate your market.

An Online Business Success Consultant is your secret weapon for making that happen.

Learn more about what we offer to take the hassle out of your online business and help you beat your competition online!


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