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GMB has a handful of new features and some best-practice confusion. Contributor Sherry Bonelli clears things up and answers five frequently asked questions on fake reviews, random people changing your listing and more.

Not only does your Google My Business listing increase your chances of showing up in the Google Local 3-pack, but when your business is searched for by name, Google often shows a Knowledge Panel that displays detailed information about your company.

These details are pulled directly from your GMB listing, as well as from information Google finds from other online sources and user-generated content (like third-party reviews, Q&As, user-suggested information and so on).

When it comes to building a website, the biggest problem that people generally face with software like Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla is there is so many different ways of building a particular ‘section’ of a site.  

You could build your “Meet the Staff” page using one “Article” in the CMS and list out all of the staff member’s head shots, names, titles, and descriptions in one big long page… or, you could create a custom content form for staff members that allows you to enter each bio as a separate article with fields for their image and each piece of information about them.  This type of decision makes a huge difference once you add a few dozen bio’s into the site and then decide to change something.  It’s not fun going back through them all, one by one.  

I just switched from the regular Apple Mail app, which I had been using daily since 2008, to Thunderbird.  I had been having problems with Apple Mail's program's "message tagging" feature, which I used for marking which emails I had to respond to.  This feature became a daily nuisance, and after repeatedly calling Apple's tech support and jumping through all sorts of hoops, I finally decided to try Thunderbird.  What a breath of fresh air!  And yes, Thunderbird is Open Source software.

I've got the following Thunderbird plugins / extensions installed:

  • ImportExportTools (for importing messages from Mail.app)
  • Send Later
  • Manually sort folders

I also disabled the "Lightning" plugin because I don't want to use Thunderbird for managing my calendar.  For this, I'll continue using Google Calendar (via Apple's Calendar.app).  

Historically, I've recommended GoDaddy for domain registration services to my clients because they were the cheapest. However, GoDaddy's hosting plans were a general pain to work with: they provided limited resources like CPU and memory, the database servers were isolated and slow, and they didn't include my preferred hosting account control panel software, cPanel.  This is now included with GoDaddy's economy hosting plans, which is the main reason that I decided to give them another look.  I actually intended on making this switch - I had GoDaddy provision 3 separate hosting plans at a rate of 3 years for $89.64...

I recently started receiving these email notifications from Google about certain sites becoming indexed as "mobile first" - and wanted to write a quick post for those who are curious and want more information.

Basically, this is a non-issue and something you can essentially ignore if your site is built using latest, common practices.  This mainly becomes an issue only for sites that are not mobile friendly (e.g. desktop only) - or, for sites that have both a desktop and a mobile site.  For my clients, I've never built a "mobile only" site - I always build proper, responsive websites that are inherently mobile friendly.  For some of my older clients, this may be the push that finally drives you into a modern, responsive (mobile friendly) website.

I have been accepting payment via PayPal for over 5 years through my website.  I recently decided to start offering “real” credit card processing options and want to share my findings.

I recently found a nice, unobtrusive, free “Live Chat” widget that can be installed on almost any site.  It’s called Tawk.to and you can see an example on my site.  You can use it to monitor website visitors in real time, optionally initiate a chat with them, monitor your support staff chats, and more.  I’m using the free version, but you can also upgrade to remove the branding.

Learn more:  www.tawk.to 

Another free service that I found recently is Uptime Robot.  You can use it to monitor your website’s uptime and receive alerts if it finds a problem.  The free version monitors up to 50 sites and checks them every 5 minutes.   

Learn more:  www.uptimerobot.com

Squarespace Review: 
You may have noticed Squarespace ran a few ads in this year’s Super Bowl.  It was quite a surprise to me.  In the last month, I’ve had one client switch their site over to Squarespace (they’ll be back), and a new lead come to me, flat-out asking me to ‘rescue’ them from the Squarespace platform. For these reasons, I decided to share a few of my thoughts.

Warning: This is another article in my “Why I Love Open Source Software” series.  

What is your preference?  And if you’re a client and are now realizing that your website was built with two spaces and you’d prefer a single space between sentences, or vice-versa, please just send us an email so that we can make the necessary adjustments.  

Personally, I’m not sure which is better, I just enjoy watching people argue about it.  From my angle, this is a generational thing.  I attended grade school in the 90's and early 2000's and two spaces after a sentence was standard at the time.  

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