Demo of a SlideShow on a Mobile Phone

If you had to demonstrate how a slideshow looks on a smartphone to someone who does not have a smartphone, how would you do it?
I’m sure I have another way to do this, but this is what came to mind first, so, here it is!

More Websites by Mousehelp at Rouzell

wildapricotAlmost all of my sites are on WordPress.
I probably have dozens that I’ve created and/or maintain on WP.
I suppose I should create a full list for your perusal….

This is my latest creation – http://dev.brianrouley.com/
This one has shouts out to a couple of business partners, Greg Kain and Noah Yaghoubian.

Also, I have a penchant for trying out other site builders.
So, I have sites on SquareSpace – http://www.rouleywrites.com/
Weebly – http://mousehelp.weebly.com/
Wix – http://rouzell.wix.com/home-shows-rouzell
WildApricot – http://rei39.wildapricot.org/
And, I manage a site using a very old version of GoDaddy’s Website builder – http://lincolnclubcv.com/
My original site, Rouzell.com is built with plain old HTML and CSS.
So, you can see I’ve been around a while and I can work with almost any platform.

Recently, I stumbled upon this: https://www.phpfox.com/

It’s pretty cool!

Two Ways to Start a Blog

create on wp

  1. Free and Easy!
  2. Inexpensive and not as easy.

There are good reasons for choosing either of these options.

  • With free and easy, you don’t host your content, so you don’t have complete control over its destiny.
  • With free and easy, you don’t pay for hosting and you don’t have as much to learn* about WordPress.
  • Inexpensive and not as easy means you pay a nominal cost to purchase a domain and host your blog – this gives you complete control over your content.
  • Inexpensive and not as easy means you have a few more things to learn about managing your blog.

*You’ll learn WordPress to some degree with either, or both options – it is an imperative.

We are going to explore the 1st option here.

First, let’s oversimplify things.

Here are three steps for starting a blog.
None of these is any easier than the others, and each step depends upon your approach, preconceived notions, and decision making skills.
Leaving creativity out of this process will make things go quickly and get us to our ultimate goal of having a fully functional blog where we can then feel free to express our creative skills.
So, we build the frame, then paint the picture! (Put down your paintbrush and think, “structure.”)

  1. Think of your topic, subject matter, what you plan to present; and name it. (Ex. mygrandkidsphotos or mynovelapproach or cookingwithkate, etc.)
  2. Using that name, create your blog on WordPress.com. (You must be able to log into email to get through this step!)
  3. Customize your blog and modify existing content, or create new content. You are now a blogger!

Seriously, that is all it takes to get started.
These three steps, with details, are shown below.

  1. Think of your topic, subject matter, what you plan to present, and name it.
    1. Realize your name must be unique (in the WordPress world.)
    2. Your name may be a combination of words, like: “mygreatgrandkids.”
    3. WordPress will help with suggestions, if your name is already taken.
  2. Using that name, create your blog on WordPress.com.
    1. Point your browser at: https://wordpress.com/ and click, “Start a Blog.”
    2. Use your email address, your name from step 1, and think of a password.
    3. Log into your email and click to confirm the message from WordPress.
    4. Really, you are done! Your blog is now ready for your content.
  3. Customize your blogsite and modify existing content, or create new content.
    1. Choose a theme.
    2. Edit the page and the post provided by WordPress.
    3. Or, create a new page, or post, or both.
    4. Here we begin to learn how to work with WordPress.
    5. Your blog – the creation of it, was finished at completion of Step 2.

Congratulations!

SumoMe Email List Building Tool

sumomeFinally, I’m on board with building a list. And, I have chosen SumoMe to help me do this. After years of hearing people say, “The money is in the list”, I’ve decided to go for it. For those of you who like to say, “It’s about time”, yes, I agree.

Go ahead and search: “How to Build an Email List” – with or without the quotes, you’ll have quite a bit to peruse. Heck, there’s even advice from Experian, and I quote:

One of a small business’s best marketing assets is a healthy email list. While proper management and use of your email file will drive revenue immensely, it is often a challenge to create the email list itself.

So, with phrases like, “best marketing assets” and “will drive revenue immensely”, you may have to agree, this is something worth doing. If you agree this may be a challenge for you, call or write!

So, how do we get started? Well, that’s where the big question lies. It depends on what you do, how you do it, and what you plan to share with your subscribers. Yes, it is also driven by which service you use to manage all of this electronic communications traffic.

You may already know some of the big names, like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Aweber, or maybe even Infusionsoft. They all want to be your provider for email marketing. Each has its features, levels of complexity, and price. How to make that choice is beyond the scope of this article.

I’ve used three of the four (excluding Infusionsoft) in the past and in the present. Currently, I’m focused on MailChimp, for simplicity’s sake.

When I found SumoMe (by way of a successful Real Estate flipping website in San Antonio, where I did some SEO work), it was a pretty easy sale. Instructions on their website are very straightforward (if you know how to manage your website’s content) and it took about five minutes to install and configure the app. Of course, for me, that’s five minutes times a handful of sites, so I spent the first 20 minutes just dropping code into place. Today, I finally delved into some of the advanced features and other cool things you can do with this tool. It all comes down to one goal, which is to get somebody to give up an email address, so you can send them your stuff. For me, that’s going to be a newsletter, with snippets from my blog articles.

In the interest of brevity, I’m going to wrap this up here. But, you know you can always get in touch with me, if you need more help with email campaigns, newsletters, or a cool tool like SumoMe, to help you get more subscribers and build that list!

 

Being Mobile Friendly Pays Off

“Being friendly pays off”, is the last phrase in this article. It’s always interesting to read well-written articles by astute consultants who work in the field of search marketing. This guy hits it out of the park with his penultimate and final paragraphs. You have to write for people, give them the information they seek, and make it available to them on their mobile devices.

From the moment I heard the term, responsive, mobile-friendly sites became a new paradigm for me. Fortunate we are that there are so many ways to achieve this simple goal. WordPress themes make it easy. Bootstrap makes it easy. Need I go on?

Google makes changes. Some people cringe. People who still practice “the dead art of” SEO shudder. Not me – I’ve been mobile-friendly for some time now. And, I do spend some time checking in with Google’s webmaster tools, to make sure my sites conform with Google’s guidelines for what serves their search engines well. That’s right, I often do take a look at what’s new with Google and I follow some key people who will tell me exactly what I need to know to keep up with those changes. This is as easy as following instructions.

It may be too late to say, “before I sound like I am pontificating here…” but, seriously, if I want people to believe in my skills as a provider of SEO, then I had better rank pretty well in search results for terms like: “Palm Desert SEO Expert” or “Coachella Valley SEO Expert” – go ahead, click the links. I could have had you land on my page, but I linked to the results, instead. As long as I dominate search results for those terms, I can confidently say, I’m your local SEO expert.
MouseHelpSEO_Banner

Assumptions Made About Computer Skills

babyusingcomputerThe best part of the personal service I provide is learning how to convey the idea of efficiency to a computer user, by demonstrating keyboard shortcuts. Some time ago, I wrote an article about this for a magazine. My blog post (a modified version of that magazine article) is called; “Left Handed Computing.” Well, maybe not….

I just did a search and found this PDF file hanging around out there. But, I’ll have to reproduce that on my blog for reference. There’s also a PDF file I created (long before windows 7) that includes many key-combinations you can use to get things done without mousing all over the place.

Here’s something I found while doing research for this article: 
Don’t make assumptions about your users’ existing skills!
Posted on May 27, 2012 by Kevin Matz

This guy wrote the book (literally) on usability – known as UX – short for user experience; and he knows exactly what I’m talking about here.

Here’s a quote from that page:

If you work with a computer all day, it’s easy to assume that, since virtually everybody owns a computer and a smartphone nowadays, everybody has a basic level of computer literacy. But this can be dangerous. The rudimentary skills and knowledge that you may hold as self-evident aren’t necessarily widespread in all user communities. Posted on May 27, 2012 by Kevin Matz

From Facebook to Your Website

facebook social pluginsYour challenge of using Social Media to promote business can be solved by a simple process. Here we will show one three-part solution to attracting more visitors to your website. Some assumptions are made about your computer skills and the form and content of your website and blog, and we’ll explain those along the way.

For now, consider these as being the first three requirements:

  • You have a website.
  • You have a blog.
  • You are a Facebook user (perhaps with a business page.)

Your website: Here we assume that when people land on your website, it’s obvious to them what you want them to do there. If the only thing on the homepage is this phrase: “Call now to learn more – (760) 555-5555” – your visitor knows what to do. So, keep it simple. Of course, most people want to know a bit more about you and your services or products, so you’ll want to feature the best of what you have to offer, in a clean and clear format. Groups of three make sense and for many people, it’s a small number of things to consider, and enough to tell most of the story about what you are selling. Give them easy to follow navigation, so they can dig deeper if they need more information, but keep the opportunity to contact you in front of them at all times. Your phone number and links to your email, or a contact page should be right there, so when they are ready to make the purchase, they can easily take that important step of connecting with you; and your website has done its job!

Your blog: This is where you have the opportunity to focus on any number of topics. You can post about any aspect of your business; the value you bring, what makes you or yours the best, the level of dedication or experience you bring, or you can go completely off topic and post about some event or some personal experience you have that allows your readers to know you as more than a salesperson; to know you are a REAL person. It may seem counterintuitive to not be always driving toward closing a sale, but people do business with people. So, if they get to know you, they make like you and trust you, and that may be why they call you in the end.

Your blog may be the best connector between Facebook and your website. It can serve as the intermediate step, by providing the content you will share on Facebook, with links back to specific pages on your website. There are a number of examples of that feature in this post. Every place in the text that contains a keyword or key phrase provides an opportunity for you to create a link to an appropriate page on your website. This is the essence of SEO, where search engines pick up links they provide to people who search. A link back to this article will be posted on Facebook as soon as it is on my blog. Be sure to include an image with your blog posts, so Facebook will have something to show your Fb friends and followers.

Your Facebook (business page): You can use a personal page on Facebook, if that’s where you get more attention from people who do business with you. The difference between a business and personal page on Facebook is outside the scope of this article, but you can click that link for more information. (Just be sure to come back here to finish this exercise!)

Use Facebook as a place to say; “Hey, look at this!” Knowing that Facebook changes all the time, you have the opportunity to post there as often as you like, and you can re-post the same links back to your blog or website as often as makes sense, to keep your blog content and business website in front of people on a regular basis. This is the “good news, bad news” feature of Facebook – the impression you make there is fleeting. That is the very reason you need a blog and a website – you need to provide a stable place where your prospects can go to get the information they need about your business to make buying decisions. Posting links to blog articles (with graphics, don’t forget) is the easy way to feed fresh new material to your friends and followers, so it won’t seem like you are posting the same old thing over and over. I’ll touch on this again in the summary.

Summary:

The three components of this article were provided in that order for a purpose. Your website is the ultimate destination, your blog is the connector, and Facebook is the “in your face” place where you can keep on saying, “look at me!” and people might do just that.

Without a website, you have no place to provide the static information people need when making buying decisions. For about twenty years now, we’ve been saying; “If you don’t have a website, you’re not REALLY in business.” That may sound heavy-handed, but hey, we are website developers and we want you to do business with us.

Blogging may be new to many people, as a way to drive business, but there are many businesses now whose entire business is based on their blog. For you, a blog is a place where you can continue to provide fresh new content (what Google loves…), so you can drive traffic to your website and give your Facebook fans something to consider on a daily (or more often than that, if you are so inclined) basis. With a few lines on Facebook and a link back to your blog, along with an eye-catching image, your blog give prospects a place to learn more about you and your business, before they click into your website for the full story.

Looking back at the title of this post, you might think it odd that Facebook came last in the order of things. However, your website and your blog have to be there, for this whole thing to make sense! Look again through this article, click some of the links, and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll see the image and the link to this article there.

For more information on Mousehelp and Rouzell, click either of those links to land on my pages. Now, go write your next blog post, with links to your website, and post up on Facebook.  I’ll be looking for you there.

Wait Time

online stopwatch screen captureThis information was created to discuss the answer to the question: “How long will you wait?” I’ve done a bit of research – trying to find the fastest host for websites. This is somewhat self-serving, as I am frustrated by having to wait for my page to update when I am creating content for a website, or for my own blogs (like this one, hosted on Bluehost).

There, I just clicked the, “Publish” button and waited 7 seconds for the page to come back to allow edits. Multiply that by a couple of hundred or thousand updates and eventually, you are wasting hours. There, I just clicked, “Update” and waited 10 seconds to get back to editing. Sickening, it can be, if you do this and allow it to get to you!

So, I don’t have the answer.
And, I’m just wondering what yours is.

That’s all I’m going to say.

 

Content Creation Tools

This article details the virtues of a few tools I often use and the content I create with these tools.  **Now that I’ve written this very long post, I realize I’ve left out WordPress – the ultimate tool for content creation! **

Each image below links to something useful – so click away and enjoy!

Here, in no particular order, are the tools:

IrfanView main website

IrfanView – A Basic Image Editor

IrfanView is a very useful image editing tool. If you don’t have the time or patience to learn something more powerful, like Adobe Photoshop, this might be your best alternative. I’ve recorded a video on how to use this tool. I’m going to record a new version and record another video to show you where to go to get this great piece of software. Hint: Ninite is the ultimate collection of free stuff and it is the one resource I use for such things.

Mousehelp At Rouzell on YouTube

My Channel on YouTube

OK, you probably don’t need me to tell you how great YouTube, or any other Google service is, so I won’t do that here. For me, it is still a new frontier, as I still like writing and don’t record new videos as often as I should. Maybe I need to add this to my calendar as a recurring task – yeah, I’ll do that next! Watch my channel for updates, please. Thanks, again to Laura Roeder, for telling me how to record to YouTube, using my Webcam and Google plus.

HTML-Kit Tools

The full version of HTML-Kit Tools is $59.00.

There must be hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ways to edit websites. I’ve settled on this one. Again, a comparison to an Adobe product – DreamWeaver – is appropriate here. If you need a lightweight, easy to understand, Internet connected website editing tool, this might be the one for you, too. You can use their free version, or purchase the full version for fifty-nine bucks. You can get a reduced price, if you cannot afford the cost. Their support site is kind of quirky (matches my needs) and I’ve just found their blog while creating this post! You are welcome to spout off with what you think is the best HTML editing software.

Mousehelp at Rouzell YouTube Video on Snipping Tool

Click to watch my YouTube Video on Snipping Tool

Here we go…. Everyone (well, many people, at least) who uses snipping tool learns to love it. There are other utilities you can get that have more features – SnagIt comes to mind – but for something that is free and has been built into Windows since Vista, this little tool is hard to beat. If you used it for nothing other than capturing images, it would be useful. But, it offers some features that make it much more than basic. You can highlight, annotate, and play with colors, framing, etc. The did leave out something simple, though. It would have been nice to have a typewriter tool, with font styling, so you could write directly on the images, but alas, it is not so. Free, it is, however!

Latest Update to WordPress

wp3-9-180x180[1]This looks pretty good to me. There are so many cool new features, I’m sure I could not make sense of them in a list.

The folks at WPBeginner do a very good job with their post.

Here is the official video from WordPress.tv, where you can see the details.

One of the first things I’m going to try is dragging some images directly to this post from my computer. Then, I’m going to edit, crop, and arrange them here on this page!

Angel270X270 Rocky270X270 Randy270X270