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Undressed Website

No Open Graph Programming
No Open Graph Programming

     Today I was going through my Facebook feed and came across an advertisement for one of those DIY companies that lets you build a “Stunning” website for FREE. There were hundreds of comments. Some people complained about their search engine optimization being terrible, others complained about the shear complexity of the site builder, and still other people were just mad that they had to “upgrade” their service to get the functionality they wanted. On the other hand, some really liked the service and shared a link to their site, made with said company, and that’s where the company “exposed” itself! Have you ever seen a picture like the one to the left? Sure, we all have. Facebook offers an awesome feature that when a link to a website is shared in a comment, (in the area where the red arrow is), a neat little box (highlighted in red here) comes up and gives a preview and a description of the shared website. Now in this screen shot, the name of the site and the user that posted the link have been removed to protect their privacy, but other than that and the highlighting, the image is exactly as it appeared in my news feed. This particular link box shows a vague outline of the Twitter Bird shadow as the graphic and “Mysite” as the description. Now, unless this is a “personal” home page for the “Twitter Bird,” then not only is the information in this feature misleading potential visitors, but it makes the website at the supplied link look unfinished, not to mention that it is a huge missed opportunity. It makes the site at the shared link look “undressed.”

     Through what’s known as the “open-graph” protocol, developers can make that free area stand out and actually entice visitors to come to your site rather than mislead them or possibly leave them confused about what they are about to click on. That link box as we’ll call it, can feature any image you’d like, and a brief description of the image or what the visitor will find when they come to your site. At the top of the portion of the box just to the right of the image, the URL or site name (SITENAMEHERE.COM) is displayed by default. In other words, it’s the website’s name in all uppercase letters. Under that, developers can add two or maybe three lines of relevant text to make the site stand out. The link box shown is what we call a generic link box, and while that is much more effective than just a website link, and our developers can completely address what your site shares on social media within your link box, with the proper “open-graph” coding and image manipulation (both of which can be done by our web developers) you can have a “billboard type advertisement” every time someone shares a link to your website.

Billboard Type Share Ad

     The picture at the right is a “Billboard Type Ad” that we built for one of our clients using open-graph protocol and our image manipulation.

     There are best practices relating to images and image sizes for Facebook and other social networking sites. These image sizing guidelines determine how links and images are displayed across not only on each site, but across individual devices as well. Using the image guidelines, we created a canvas that fit Facebook’s news feed feature perfectly and then created an image using those sizing parameters. The result was, we didn’t get the generic link box as shown above but rather the billboard size ad that you see to the right. This size image will display properly on both desktops and laptops, and can be sized to fit smaller devices like iPad®, iPhone®, Android® and Windows® phones.

     Addressing this particular link sharing issue simply isn’t a priority for all of the “build it yourself websites.” They will leave your site undressed. To take full advantage of what tools exist across the web for sharing your website, you need a professional developer. The professional web developers at Creative Web Design Unlimited have the experience and expertise to make sure your website is “fully dressed” and ready for action when someone decides to share your site on the web. Call us today at (334) 233-4235 and let us make your business our next success story.

The “End of Days” for Google Plus

According to Google, it is doing away with its Google + platform. See the press release below.

Shutting down Google+ for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019
January 30, 2019

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events. See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you’re a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

If your business has built a Google + presence and you aren’t sure how to save your stuff before Google tosses it out, contact Creative Web Design Unlimited and we’ll get it done for you.

Why You Need A Webmaster

    While surfing the web today (which, as web developers, is kinda part of what we do), I happened upon a situation that could have been in the past (and will continue to be) counterproductive for the company involved until they get it fixed. In a nutshell, here’s what I saw. I went to a municipal chamber of commerce website. There was a link there that said “Click Here for our County Event Calendar.” When I clicked on the link, it took me to a “terrible-looking” website that obviously hadn’t been updated since 2011. Articles on that site were discussing this 2011 event and that 2011 event like they happened last week. The copyright date was 2010. The site was full of dead links. Those things are absolutely detrimental to a web presence. Not only are they annoying to visitors, your site automatically loses some credibility, as visitors think that you take care of business the same way you take care of your website. I called a phone number on the site and spoke with someone who told me that there was a “new site,” and gave me that address. He said there should be an “Under Construction” page there because they were working with new company that was “taking care of things.” When I got to the new site, it looked much better than the old site, but it was apparent it hadn’t been updated in quite a while to. The copyright notice was dated 2014.

    A webmaster can keep this kind of catastrophe to a minimum. Webmasters routinely check links among other things to make sure that everything is on your site is functioning properly. At Creative Web Design Unlimited, we have done extensive website “rehabs” and part of our process is to identify all links and domain names that were associated with old sites (or versions of sites), and redirect them to the proper place. That way the above situation can be eliminated.

    Does your website need a rehab? Are your visitors seeing an accurate up to date image of your business? If you need help with your website, please afford us the opportunity to make you website our next success story. Call us at (334) 233-4235 or email us at info@kyle-co.com.

Why “Here’s My Card” Could Be Costing You Business

     If you’ve been in business for more than 5 minutes, you most likely have business cards. They are a “Must Have” item, just like a business license and insurance. However, simply handing out your card in today’s digitally connected environment, may actually be costing you business. Lost or destroyed business cards equals lost contacts. When your business in online that is no longer an issue. Business cards definitely have their place, but business cards alone simply aren’t enough in this day and age. According to surveys, 69% of consumers use the internet to seek out advice and opinions on goods and services before they purchase. In fact, consumers now expect businesses to be online.

     What if there was a way to put a description of your business, your entire portfolio, and all of your contact information at the fingertips of potential clients on their computer, phone or internet connected device? What if you could expand the base of possible clients who see your business not just by hundreds but by possibly thousands or even tens of thousands? What if your business could be visible 24 hours a day, even while you are asleep? Putting your business online can make all of those things happen.

     That said, the questions then would immediately come to mind for most business owners, would be: So how do I make that happen? Won’t that take hours? Isn’t that going to be expensive? At Creative Web Design Unlimited, we have the answers to those questions. In a nutshell, we know how to make these things happen; yes, it can take a significant amount of time; and, no, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to be very expensive. We take all of the hassle out of promoting your business online and taking your business to the next level, all while letting you run your business. We can take care of your entire online business presence. We design, develop, construct and maintain professional quality websites. We make sure your business can be found. We can also create and manage social media profiles, like Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. If you need to put you business on the web, call Creative Web Design Unlimited today at (334) 233-4235 and let us make your business our next success story.

DIY & Save…NOT!

     Often times, “doing it yourself” (DIY) can save you a lot of time and money. For example, if you know how to change a tire, when you get a flat, you don’t have to call road service, wait for them to arrive and pay them an arm and leg for their services. You just jack up the car, change the tire and you’re on your way.

     Several companies have recently popped up enticing users to “build their own website for FREE.” Companies like Wix, Weebly and Go Daddy are some of the more popular ones. There are several issues with this scenario. While technically, inexperienced users can drag and drop a site together, the end result is usually a cookie-cutter site (with the name of the company that “let” you build it for free splashed all over it), and is most of the time is very limited in scope, look and functionality. You can “enhance or upgrade” these sites but that’s where the “got-cha” moment comes into play. There is usually a substantial fee to upgrade, and the upgrade offers very little in the way of how the site looks and performs. The main problem with “site builders” is that sites built with them are limited as to look and functionality by the parameters of the actual software. For example, if you wanted to add a particular element that isn’t supported by the software, you simply can’t add it. Also, some DIY page builders are so overly complicated that you need a degree in computer science to operate them. All of these factors together tend to build on one another usually leaving the business owner frustrated and with a less than ideal website.

     Websites are, in essence, a billboard for your business that is freely and instantly accessible with just a few keystrokes from any phone, computer or tablet that has an internet connection. A less than awesome website simply can not compete in today’s connected society. Even if you do what you do better than anyone else in your industry, a website that doesn’t showcase your business in the best possible light, is likely to do more harm than good. The idea is to not only have a website that is built to minimum standards, but one that stands out above the rest.

     At Creative Web Design Unlimited, we take the guess work and confusion out of the whole process of putting businesses on the web. We hold certifications in HTML, the computer language that websites are built in, and we use feature rich content management systems that enable us to create websites that are not only beautiful, but functional. If you need to put your business on the web, call us at (334)233-4235. Let us make your business our next success story.

Robo Calls & Search Engines

     If you’re in business, you’ve most likely gotten that automated phone call saying: “Hi, this is Sharron, your local Google specialist.” Those calls usually originate from companies that are trying to sell you their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services. If you do hang on through that annoying automated voice and wind up speaking with an actual human being, you’ll find that the person usually has a “guaranteed” way to put your business at the top of search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo!

     The fact is, contrary to popular belief, there is no way to “guarantee” placement on Google, Bing, Yahoo! or any other search engine, for that matter. Search engines use a set of closely guarded, proprietary algorithms that change on a regular basis. So, if someone or a company tells you that they have a way or a “special trick” that can put your website at the top of any search engine, DO NOT FALL FOR THAT.

     Although the search engines protect their indexing secrets, there are some things that can be done to insure that people that are looking for you can find you. These items (known as best practices) range from making sites “mobile friendly” to submitting site maps to the search engines.

     At Creative Web Design Unlimited, we stay up to date on these best practices, insuring that our clients’ sites appear as close to the top as possible in searches that pertain to them. If you’d like your business to appear near the top of your search without spending a small fortune, call us today at (334) 233-4235.

What you should know about “Site Squatting.”

    You’ve decided to have a website built for your company. That’s great. One of the most important decisions you can make as far as websites are concerned is the selection of the “domain name” or “web address.” A domain name is the actual text that is assigned to what is known as a “URL” (Universal Resource Locator) which is a long string of numbers that identifies where your site is on the web. Domain names are assigned to the number strings, via registrars, to make it easier on visitors to navigate the web. For example: MyNewSite.com is easier to remember than 123.456.789.1.

    Sometimes locating and procuring the perfect domain can be a tricky proposition. The actual process itself is pretty straightforward, however, developers on occasion run into “Site Squatters.” Site Squatters are individuals or companies that snap up domain names as they expire and hold them to either (a) block someone else from getting a particular domain or to (b) eventually make money by making the domain available for insanely high prices. Most domain names can be registered for less than $50.00. Site Squatters jack up those prices, depending on the “popularity” of the domain, pricing some domains upwards of $25,000.00.

    There are a couple of ways to deal with Site Squatters. You can either (a) pay the outlandish rate; (b) take the Site Squatter to court, there is a particular court proceeding that one must go through; or (c) just register a similar name or choose a different name all together.

    At Creative Web Design Unlimited, we help our client’s develop, procure and protect their domain names on a regular basis. So if you are having issues with a domain name, contact Creative Web Design Unlimited and we will analyze your situation, and help you develop a solution.