Nifty Trick to Get Lost Web Copy

A home inspection company recently engaged my services to rebuild a website that had been lost because the hosting company’s server crashed and there was no off-site backup. The president of the company lamented about the total loss of files and therefore all the web copy.

Within three hours I had a demo site up WITH the original logo and much of the web copy.

How was this possible if the company had no backup and I never had the files?

If you know the answer, good for you.

If you don’t know the answer, here it is: archive.org.

Keep this tidbit in the back of your mind. You never know when it might become useful.

— Bruce

Let’s Encrypt on Dreamhost

There’s an increasing push to have all websites use https instead of http. Htttps creates a secure connection between the browser and the web server.

A new initiative called Let’s Encrypt (letsencrypt.org) is providing free https certificates.

Dreamhost has jumped on the bandwagon and made it very easy to add a certificate from Let’s Encrypt. Through the domain’s control panel there is a special feature and form that takes mere minutes to complete and from there everything is automatic. Very slick, very cool.

If running a WordPress site, beware that you might have to make a few changes in the WordPress settings section for the site’s URL.

Additionally, it might be necessary to add a line or two to the .htaccess file in the website’s root directory. This is not a huge ordeal, but you need to know what to add and where and how to get to the .htaccess file to edit.

Nevertheless, if your site is on Dreamhost, check into this fantastic free feature from Dreamhost and Let’s Encrypt.

— Bruce

Digital Marketing in Reverse

The importance of mobile-friendly websites is forever increasing. Statistics are showing up everywhere confirming the increasing use of mobile devices for web browsing. It really does not take sophisticated studies to figure this out. All you need to do is take a look around any kind of waiting room, restaurant, bus, and train. These casual observations don’t differentiate between apps and browsers. However, it is fair to assume that casual observation would suggest increased web browsing on mobile devices.

Here are few links that discuss the mobile trend and the importance of creating mobile-friendly websites.

Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation

7 stats that show Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ label matters

25 Mobile Marketing Statistics to Help You Plan for 2016

The latter link includes these notes:

21. 91% of mobile users say that access to content is very important. (Wolfgang Jaegel, 2015) The people have spoken. Your mobile site should make it as easy as possible for your persona to access your content.

23. 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. (CMS Report, 2015) Web design is no longer just about looks — it’s all about the experience. Now, more than ever, great UX has a higher ROI.

Going with the trend, the American Society of Journalists and Authors developed a mobile-friendly website for its annual writers conference. The site was developed in-house by a freelance graphic web designer and a back-end PHP/MySQL programmer on staff.

For the 2016 conference the association management company contracted by ASJA changed the look and platform of the conference site.

Let’s take a look at the differences.

The screen shot below is of the home page on a smartphone before the platform change.

1

The screen shot below is of the home page on a smartphone after the platform change.

new-page

The screen shot below is of the menu on a smartphone before the platform change.

old-menu

The screen shot below is of the menu (indicated by a red arrow) on a smartphone after the platform change.

new-menu

The screen shot below shows how sessions are listed before the platform change.

5

The two screen shots below shows how sessions are listed after the platform change. The first is a list of session times and names. The second is the full schedule page.

6  new-full-schedule

Notable differences include:

  • the new format did not pass the Google mobile-friendly test (the previous format did pass the test).
    • Among the Google mobile-friendly test results:
    • Text too small to read
    • Content wider than screen
    • Mobile viewport not set
    • Links too close together
  • the menu in the new format is readable and usable only upon zooming in
  • the Schedule at a Glance page (showing panel times and names) in the new format is unreadable because the print is so small
  • the full schedule page in the new format does not contain any data, instead providing a link to long PDF file.

Given the trend toward more mobile viewing, it would be wise for organizations to incorporate mobile friendly in web design. This may mean a redesign. And if moving to a different software platform it is important to keep in mind the capabilities of that platform for delivering a mobile-friendly site.

Below are screen casts of each site to show actual usage on a 3g cellular connection.

This Lamp Speaks to Me

lamp-small-cap

It’s really cool I can sit on this couch, pick up the tablet on the end table to peruse websites, and have this lamp speak to me. Sometimes the talk is consoling. Sometimes educational. Sometimes amusing.
Lest you think I have voices in my head, I don’t.
What I have is a very neat light bulb inside this lamp.
The bulb also has a bluetooth speaker built in, which becomes the audio outlet for whatever I want to listen to from the tablet while browsing the web. Very handy. I get light for seeing and better audio for listening. It’s a great combination.
This affordable bulb is from http://www.fluxsmartlighting.com/. About $26. This is about 1/3 of the cost of similar bulbs I’ve seen in stores.
I’ve used the Flux Smart bulb not only with tablet, but also with smart phone and laptop computer that has horrible audio.

— Bruce Miller