Web Design Blog

TL;DR

  • On August 1st, 2018, Google released a broad core algorithm update that seems to have had an impact on both local and organic rankings.
  • One of the functions of the update has been to demote advice pages with questionable expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) in rankings.
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites and pages seem to have been a particular focus.

You’ll no doubt have noticed, whether from reading the news or experiencing its effects yourself, that on August 1st, Google released what it’s called a ‘broad core algorithm’ update. This is the same way it referred to the updates in March and April, perhaps in an effort to move away from the irregular, major updates like Possum, Pigeon, Panda, etc. which inevitably send shockwaves throughout the SEO and content industry.

[Full Article]

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.  

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 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).

Latest Comments

Nate Covington posted a comment in Download XMap for Joomla - All Versions Joomla
Hi, I stopped using Xmap years ago. Not sure about your particular error with Hikashop. I suggest ...
Jonathan Brain posted a comment in Download XMap for Joomla - All Versions Joomla
Got these errors with your copy of XMap for Joomla 3.0.x download when upgrading a Joomla / Hikashop...
@giucas - No, this is a "PayPal" thing. Most likely there IS a way for a user to pay with a guest a...
Joy Lewis posted a comment in Beware of Fraud: Web Design Scam
I had the same issue today, I'm glad I didn't respond it seemed really fishy. Thanks for getting i...
Thanks for this code! The paypal form doesn't allow guest payment (with credit card) but only via pa...

Focus Areas

360-Degree Campaigns
Affiliate Marketing
Analytics & Data Reporting
Automation
Blogging

Brand Development
Brand Identity & Standards
Brand Messaging
Brand Positioning
Brand Strategy
Content Development
Content Management
Copywriting
Corporate Communications
Creative Direction
Differentiation
Digital Marketing
Employee Engagement
Executive / Stakeholder Communications
Graphic Design
Key Messaging
Integrated Marketing
Internal Communications
Public Relations Management
Public Relations Strategy
Social Media Marketing
SEO & Optimization
Storytelling
Strategic Planning
Visual Communication
Web Design + Development
Web Maintenance & Updates

UI/UX
Workflow Process Engineering

Get a Quote

Web Design, Development, Consulting

We tend to ask the questions that need to be asked, and think of the details that nobody else does. We anticipate needs, find solutions to difficult problems, and bring order to complex situations.

Get a Quote

Security Updates & Patching

White glove monthly maintenance for your Wordpress, Drupal, or Joomla site.

Maintenance Plans & Pricing