Is “Free” Really Worth It?

Screenshot_DNP_on_SmartPhoneThis weekend, I’m going to craft an email message to send to my desert networking professionals. With that message, I am going to offer some of my time, “for free” – not that I have free time…. What I would like to do is interview anyone who is interested and write an article that I will post on my blog. This article (if I do it right) will have plenty of opportunities for links back to the affected business website.

I’m not clear on the benefit to me for providing this service, but I’m hoping to understand that at some point. Clearly, the original goal here is to see if anyone will actually accept this offer of free service. Perhaps something that is offered at no cost is also perceived to be of no value.

I’ll keep you posted on the results of this experiment. You will, of course, have to come back to my blog, my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter, or any of the other places I’ll post about this, to keep up with progress. Maybe that is one of the few benefits I will receive by doing this here.

Finding Rouzell – directions to the office

Currently, my office is at NYPC_Repair in Palm Desert.

We are a couple of doors west of the Red Barn,
through the gates and upstairs in suite 207.


What’s Your Problem?

DNP Brochure

Click the image to see who we are!

Better yet, how do you go about finding solutions? Yes, I avoided saying, “search” there, because that is one way. Search for local help and as a consumer, you are now making the “cold call.” That’s a sales term for not being, or not having, a warm lead. Most people would rather work with someone who comes with a recommendation, right?

But, what if you were handed a bunch of solutions for problems you don’t yet have? That’s what it’s like to get a DNP (Desert Networking Professionals) brochure. If we (DNP members) are doing this right, our clients will get a copy of this well-crafted colorful collateral that details each of the service providers in our tight-knit group.

We have a group of service providers for so many things and you may need none of them at present. However, we still find some way to connect needs we find with people from our group who can fill them. That is the essence of referrals and it is what drives the networking aspect of this group of professionals.

This is a “pay it forward” proposition. Your role in this group is to find business for the other members, with no expectations attached to your kindness. On the flip side, you have to believe that if people have the need your particular service fills, then naturally some new business should come to you as a result. The goal of each member is to provide that exposure by handing a brochure to his or her client, or to show them the website and perhaps even help them bookmark it for future reference.

So, every Wednesday morning, I get up and go to the meeting. It’s always a better meeting when I can think of someone who needs something from one of our members. Writing that referral to one of my fellow members is what makes attendance pay off, for me.

Your Sig File Says So Much

You’ve read the title to this blog post and now you are thinking:

  • My sig file is perfect – it says just what it should say about me.

  • My sig file is just fine – it says all my company will let me say.

  • My sig file is OK – it has all of the info I think you need.

  • Sig file? We don’t need no stinkin’ sig files!

  • Sig file? What the heck are you smoking?

  • Sig file? I should have a sig file?

OK, let me spell it out for you. “Sig file” is an old, old term, from way back when we used a separate file for this purpose. Today, it’s just called a signature – simple stuff, right? If you want to know how to create a signature for your email, click this link to my YouTube channel, where you’ll find videos demonstrating this feature on a few email platforms.

This article is in response to a message I received from my Jean’s Growth Gems Memo email subscription. In her message, she laments the fact that a colleague she hadn’t spoken to for some time did not include his phone number at the end of his message. Don’t let this happen to your email recipients!

Do you like being contacted by others? Do you make it easy or hard for people to get in touch with you? For example, do you have a signature line on your emails that provides your name, phone number, email, etc., or do you just have your name? It seems obvious, but a lot of people do not have their contact information on their emails. I wanted to connect with a colleague that I haven’t spoken to in over 6 months. I couldn’t find his phone number. I went to his email and you know what there was…his name. No way to reach him by phone. How I wished that he had included his phone number in his email signature line.
– Jean Oursler of

Your sig file, or your “Signature,” as it’s called in Gmail and elsewhere these days, is whatever you’ve decided to include at the end of your email messages. This is often a personal choice, or it may be something that is mandated and tightly controlled by your company’s policies. If you do have the luxury of a choice about this valuable bit of information, I have some suggestions for you.

  • First suggestion: Don’t go without one!
  • Second suggestion: Provide, at a minimum, your name and phone number. We already have your email address, although, it would be nice if you put it here for easy copy and paste access.
  • Third: If you have a website and like the idea that someone might land on your site, by all means, include a URL. If you want to get fancy about this and add an image or a hyper-linked image, oh, please, please do! Fancy is better.
  • Fourth: If you choose to provide no information in your signature block, I may still call, but it will be after cursing a bit about having to go look up your contact information (if I have it.)

Here are some signature samples:

One is from my Outlook email client, one from my Google email, and one from one of my business associates:

I’ve left this at full size, so you can really see what it says.
Since I’m the webmaster for ACT I and for DNP, they are prominently featured in my email messages, in the sig file.MySigFile625

Here’s how it looks in Gmail:


And, here is one from Dominique Fruchtman, of Desert Cow Computers. She uses a cool tool to provide the presentation of the framing and the button links in her signature file. To learn more about this, you can go to for more information,
or contact Dom directly, for her help.


Not Waiting

Balboa Park Clock borderHow much time do you allow to pass, before you click off whatever it was you were waiting for and move on to something more responsive?
Having not timed this for myself, it seems my threshold of tolerance is maybe around 10-15 seconds, depending on the computer I’m using.
For the next few days, I’m going to pay attention to this and see what happens.

This is probably one of my least informative posts. In fact, instead of giving you something of value, I’m asking you for something.

If you have the answer, or find the answer to the question in line one, please send email.

Thank you. – Brian Rouley

How do I get to number one on Google?

Ask the Best SEO in Palm Desert.

Compassion – Care – People – Computers

This is the order of things in my tagline:
Compassionate Care for People with Computers”

So, let’s pick this apart according to Copyblogger’s article on
How to Create a Rock-Solid Tagline That Truly Works”,
which I found on Twitter this morning.howtorocksolid

Step One – Your True Mission

Yes, my mission is to be compassionate and care for people.
“Computers” comes last in my tagline, because, although they are the object of my expertise, no computer has ever expressed gratitude for my kind and caring nature.

Step Two – So What?

Yes, I think I have this! So, you probably need help. You, not a machine, you, a person, as in, personally.
Your computer may be failing, but your problem is a failing computer. So, I come to provide care for you – call it “pain relief” – which is what I like to use to emphasize the point that I’m making people feel better, by reducing stress levels, removing the headache of technical issues, call it what you like.

Step Three – A Little Pizzaz

Uh, oh, there’s no pizzaz in my tagline. There’s leftover pizzaz in my fridge, though. I’m really not sure what I could do with my tagline to “juice it up”, or if I really want to make changes. Because it took some time and critical thinking to answer the question: “What makes your service different and better than anybody else who provides the same service?” Thanks to the good people at the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center, I was asked this question while writing my business plan.

Maybe you can help me with some feedback here. Mousehelp at Rouzell is my email address.
Or, you can search for – “Compassionate Care for People with Computers and find me at the top – SEO skills and all!




Computer Viruses – How to Get One


Image source:

Here is an article I wrote back in April of 2010 – edited for brevity.

Computer Viruses – How to Get One

(Nastiness Delivered Via Internet and Email)

Here are the steps to making sure you have a virus:

  • You click a link to some unknown website.
  • Your computer reports some sort of “malware”.
  • You panic and click the “Please Save Me” button on the page.
  • After all, they did offer to disinfect your computer.
  • Now you have the virus for sure – ouch!
  • Did you just give them your credit card number?
  • Panic has now become extreme panic.

You should call your bank to alert them that someone in the wild world of cyberspace now has your credit card information (if you did fall for that trick). Chances are; your bank won’t ask you if you would like a new card. They will simply tell you; “We are cancelling your credit card and we will be sending a new one to you.” Of course, they’ll put you through the usual drill to ascertain your identity.

That is just one of many scenarios illustrating how easy it is to contract a computer virus. Clicking on “some unknown website” is something many people do quite often through normal searching activity. Another way you can get one is by opening email from an unknown sender. Expanding on that topic could fill an entire page of instructions on how to manage email, so we’ll simply discuss a few senders to avoid.

You will not receive email from the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, or any other package carrier. They just don’t send email to customers out of the blue. So, please do not open email from any sender that says your package was not delivered. It simply is not true. There was no package, the delivery service did not send the email. You should delete it, or add the sender to your blocked senders, or do both. If you do open one of these messages, you are inviting a virus into your computer. Dire consequences include a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, anger, and anguish brought on by knowing you just did something you should not have done.

Likewise, unless you have subscribed to online notification from your financial institution, you will not receive email from your bank. The bad guys have become quite skilled at representing well known banks in a way that looks very official. The email looks like it came from a bank, and usually the message says something to raise concern, like your account status is in question. But don’t be fooled. Do not open that email. If you are truly concerned, you can pull out a bank statement, find the customer service number and call your bank directly to discuss the issue. Or, you can simply delete the email, or add the sender to your blocked senders or do both.

To review:

  • If you get to a website that reports your computer has a virus, close that web page.
  • If you get an email from some delivery service reporting non-delivery, do not open that email.
  • Email messages from financial services providers should only be opened if you have subscribed to their notification service.

Your security software cannot prevent you from going to a website that may download malware to your computer.
It cannot prevent you from opening an email message that contains a virus payload.

This is your responsibility. This is the portent of this article. You must arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to prevent you from inadvertently introducing the nasty stuff to your computer in the first place.

Do you think you have a virus? Do you need help with malware removal?
Contact me at and I’ll be there to help you.


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