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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.  

Articles:

Message from Nate:
I wasn't aware of Google's Grant program for nonprofits to advertise on the Google Adwords campaign - in general - until just recently.  So this is a two-part post, for my clients.  One is to announce that this program exists for nonprofits, and the second is to announce that Google recently made changes to the program.  


Google Ad Grants changes and your PPC strategy: Where to go from here

Is your nonprofit organization involved with the Google Ad Grants Program? Contributor Pauline Jakober shows how you can benefit from the recent ad changes with a few creative tips and workarounds.

This past December, Google communicated changes to its Google Ad Grants program. If you’re a nonprofit or an agency working on behalf of nonprofits, these changes may apply to you.

Some of the changes are good, but others may create new challenges for you. In this article, I’m going to briefly walk through some of the new rules and then detail a few strategies and creative workarounds you can use.

I want to take a quick moment to reiterate why I love Open Source software so much.  Not only is open source software free to use and customize to your liking, you can also run it on almost any hosting server.  You could even host it on a server in your basement if so desired.  

I recently noticed that the “Captcha” field on my website’s comment form was still showing the old “V1” anti-spam check:

old-recaptcha

(Yikes!)

Rather than the newer, friendlier format: 

new-recaptcha

The solution, which actually came as a surprise, was quite simple.  All I had to do was update the “K2 Component” in my site to the latest version and generate a new API key for the new “V2” Captcha.  And it just so happens that the developers behind K2 took the effort to make the latest version of K2 (released in 2017) compatible with Joomla 1.5, which dates back to 2010.   

Shareaholic 2017 Data Report
Notable findings include search volume outperforming social for the first time in 3 years. Facebook also had a 12% reduction in usage for 2nd half of 2017 compared to 2nd half of 2016.

New Google Search Console
Free tools to make sure that Google is properly indexing your site. If you're not using this along with Google Analytics, you're missing out!

Chrome will Mark Non-HTTPS as Not Secure in July 2018
This is a big deal because over half of internet users browse with Chrome.  If you don't have SSL enabled for your site yet, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today to get this resolved.    

A Thorough Migration Checklist
This is a great article to show all of the moving parts when changing domain names.

Keyword infringement: Edible Arrangements files $209M trademark suit against Google
Ouch!  Apparently, you can only BID on trademarked keywords using Google Adwords.  You can't use the trademarked keyword in your actual ad.  

1. MOBILE-READY DESIGN

From template or custom artwork

2. CUSTOMIZABLE URL’s

Custom landing pages allow for new content to easily be found

3. CLIENT CONTROL

Open source (no vendor lock-in), customizable, manage from any browser Compatible with almost any hosting service

4. NO CONTRACTS

Hourly pricing, 48-hour support ticket response

5. FIXED-COST PROJECTS

No billing surprises

 

I needed something that would allow a client to provide name, email, invoice number, and amount.  All of the solutions I could find were either for the older version of Webform, or they were too cumbersome... too many modules required... not enough simplicity and control.  Many of the solutions would only allow for "donations" of fixed amounts. 

My solution was to adapt the solution found here (which was written for a specific scenario, also using the older version of Webform), adapt it for my needs, and recode for Webform v4.  

Note that this solution requires that you enable the "PHP Filter" module, which is a potential security issue if configured incorrectly.  

I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, and have since been researching Lyme disease identification, treatment, diet, managing stress, and even treating canine Lyme disease with vitamins and supplements - humans, too!  

Here is a link to the guide that I posted on our local community website:
Pennsylvania Lyme Disease Treatment Guide

Please share!  

 

[Edit 12/15/17]
I've started blogging about my own experience with Lyme Disease on my personal site.  

I recently had to come up with a way to track a client's Drupal site, using the Webform module, from within Google Analytics.  Since the Webform module generates the "submit" button automatically, there is no easy way to include the "onClick" tracking code provided by Google into the form:

onClick="ga('send', 'event', { eventCategory: 'Legacy Event Signup', eventAction: 'Sign Up', eventLabel: 'Legacy Signups', eventValue: 1});"

My solution was to write a short "hook" script in the template.  To incorporate into your site, you need to modify this file:

/sites/all/themes/YOURTHEME/template.php

Web host agrees to pay $1m after it’s hit by Linux-targeting ransomware

What would you do if YOUR computer were hit by this type of ransomware?
What if your computer were stolen?
What if your building burns down?  

The advantage of using an SSL certificate with your website is the ‘green lock’ symbol that visitors get when browsing your site:

secure

Rather than this:

not-secure

For years now, Google has been encouraging all websites to switch from HTTP to secure HTTPS (SSL).

Editor's Note:
I'm posting this article because it goes into a fair amount of detail about how a web site's hosting account and how its various parts are configured play an important role in handling large spikes in traffic.  Most of my clients never encounter this type of a problem.  It's always good to be ready.  If you're not sure if your hosting account is set up to handle large bursts in traffic, let me know, and I'll put together some recommendations.  For most folks, enabling caching is going to be sufficient.  Others might appreciate the extra protection provided by a service like CloudFlare.

Millions relied on Space City Weather—here’s the configuration that weathered Hurricane Harvey.

HOUSTON—I had enough to worry about as Hurricane Harvey plowed into the Texas Gulf Coast on the night of August 25 and delivered a category 4 punch to the nearby city of Rockport. But I simultaneously faced a different kind of storm: an unexpected surge of traffic hitting the Space City Weather Web server. This was the first of what would turn into several very long and restless nights.

I recently switched a client's site from HTTP to HTTPS (SSL encryption) and needed to come up with a solution to their "social sharing counts" resetting to zero.  This is not a flaw or bug, it's working as it was intended.  

Here is how it works.  When you share a page via social media, it uses its URL:
http://www.yoursite.com/the-page-you-are-sharing

When you switch to SSL / HTTPS, your URL changes, similar to if your domain name changes altogether:
https://www.yoursite.com/the-page-you-are-sharing

With the new URL, you lose all of your social sharing counts, a source of major pride (and potential profits).  

My wife and I have been avid iPhone users for a decade.  We recently switched over to Android and I wanted to write up this post to share my thoughts and findings.  

First, Why?

We recently learned about these new Huawei phones and did some research on our own.  We wound up purchasing matching Huawei Honor 8's.  First, the specs are great.  They stand up spec-per-dollar wise when compared to iPhone 6s, which was going to be the iPhone that we went with if we stayed in Apple's ecosystem.  The iPhone 7 doesn't have a headphone jack and that was a deal breaker for us.  The Honor 8's have a 'full' 1080-resolution screen squeezed into 5.2 inches.  This basically means that the screen is a little larger than our old phones, but the clarity is amazing.  Huawei has openly stated that they intend to compete with Apple and Samsung, head on.  I personally believe they will be successful.  

The Joomla 3.7 release added new features AND 8 (eight) low-level security patches.

What they should have done, was to release 3.6.6 with all of the security patches as a ‘security’ release.   Then, after the dust settles, release v3.7.0 with the new functionality.  They combined both “security” and “new functionality” into the 3.7 release.  To me, it seems they should have pushed the security patches into 3.6.6 and then the new features into 3.7, rather than a combination. 

The result is a scramble in the Joomla community where everyone rushes to install version 3.7 because it contains security patches.  Then, another scramble to install 3.7.1 because 3.7.0 had a new security issue.  It seems like a racket, no?