Plug-in Mania — Control Your Urge to Binge

Okay, so you’re reading the latest news on the plug-ins that will change your blogging experience for the best. You’ve made a good choice. You’ve searched the plug-ins by reputation or by title, thinking that they will be just what you want. At least that’s what the little blurb says. But what does that little piece of info really mean that is attached to your plug-in of choice? If you go to the web site link that is promoting the plug-in you might get lost in a chasm of propaganda. You know, publicity sales-y talk. Once you arrive at the web site, takes notes. Like cookie crumbs on a trail, you’ll need to read and move cautiously deeper into the explanations of what the plug-in actually does. And be able to find your way out of the forest of information.

She works hard for her plug-ins
She works hard for her plug-ins

A well-written plug-in has been crafted by a software person who also knows how to write and communicate well to laymen. Beware, not all plug-ins are created by people who can explain what the plug-in does. Take time and read through the descriptions, and take more notes.

Based on the type of plug-in you are exploring, find out if the creator or editor can be reached if you have a question. Find out how often they do updates, and if they will be automatically listed on the plug-ins menu for WordPress. Also check out the ratings that other users have given the plug-in. Five stars will define a good rating but will it actually mean that a layman can use it. Also find out if there is a cost to keep using after your first download.

Many plug-ins are useful for day-to-day behind the scenes situations. They just work for you. Other plug-ins are high-breds that do a specific thing to help with a certain problem, work-around, or enhance a feature.

Avoid having the binge to grab every plug-in that looks enticing. You can sample one-by-one and learn if they will actually help your web site. If not, back away. Plug-in mania will take over. It’s not a candy store, but you can become addicted if you don’t watch out.

Let me know what your favorite or best enhancement plug-in is for your blog, and maybe I’ll share some other plug-in “all stars” next time.

Rusty LaGrange

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What Type of Creative Eye Will See Things Your Way?

Creativity is an elusive thing. It can help you visualize a concept for…let’s say… your business branding “look”, and can convey the type of style you embrace. Style, logos and sales materials, color concepts, tone, consistency and ethical business practices are all part of your branding. Not just one of these will brand your business.

Artwork with 3.5-inch floppy disks and paint. I like creative uses of old tech. 1.44 mb of storage space just doesn't go that far anymore (unless painted)

The word “branding” can be just as elusive for new businesses trying to compete with established companies as older companies with track records. But if you have an idea that will tie all your marketing plans and branding styles into one cohesive package, then you are on the way to a successful launch.

Learning the Ropes

Creativity takes center stage when conceptualizing these specific parts. If you don’t have a solid idea or don’t work with a creative person who can understand your ideas, how successful will you be? It takes a bit of time to find a creative writer and designer who sees your vision for your business. Most copywriters have those qualities — some better than others, some as green as a young sapling, but — willing to work with you to learn the ropes.

The toughest part of establishing a working partnership with a creative designer, copywriter, graphic artist, or marketing planner is the ability for you to get him or her to “see” your vision. That takes your ability to a new level: sharing your passion for your idea to make it into the complete package that will elevate your product or company to the heights you envision.

Sound lofty?

Not so much. A good working relationship with a creative designer/writer can eliminate those ackward moments when you know he can’t “see” what you’re trying to “say.” It may take some searching to find a person of that caliber who can quickly assess your needs, swing right into the fray, and basically clone your ideas into a working concept you will both enjoy creating.

The working relationship is prime to the equation. You need to explain your detailed dreams in a manner that helps the designer/writer conceptualize it. In turn, he needs to share the ideas he believes are what you are looking for, and be willing to be wrong. Being wrong allows him to backstep and take another approach. If after the dance of two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back is finished, you can both move ahead to the framework of your designs. Being wrong can sometimes derail the whole relationship. To get on track the idea he envisons must be viewed from several different angles before you can both agree.

Concept vs. Reality

The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?: design by Alison Forner

Is the concept workable? Does the idea represent what the company is? Do outside influences mask the branding idea you envisioned? How about the cost? Too much for a start-up idea? Does your designer/writer see other elements you may have missed? Can you streamline your ideas and add more later? Are both of your egos to big to play together? It happens.

At the crossroads of your creative vision, check off the different elements as you discuss the problems that are popping up. Can you see a compromise? Is the compromise going to undermine everything so for? If not, then you are on to a rich and satisfiying journey of discovery with your partner and mentor in your branding development. And that’s what it is: branding development. It will emerge and change and eventually become that elusive thing you wanted.

Rusty LaGrange


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My New Look for A Flair For Words

It’s been awhile since I had an opportunity to give a well-defined facelift to my business web site. I at first suffered from the “old software isn’t supported anymore” syndrome. But on my way to learning how to convert my old pages to WordPress, I found the learning curve to be filled with landmines.

I’m now making some substantial headway and as you may notice, I have some new pages and a newer theme to work in.