Monthly Archives: February 2017

February 2017

We Can Be Vigilant Without Being Vigilantes

Our online activity feeds the algorithms of web browsers, websites, and social media sites so that they can serve us content we want to see. If I like cat videos, I’m fed more cat videos—and cat food ads.  If I frequent environmental advocacy websites search results and ads may feature sustainable products and news feeds will cover #starvingrock and #epa.

If I have shown disdain toward environmental causes, I will be fed entirely different content. In this case, I can be thankful that my browser has determined I am about living on earth — not destroying it! Yet, can I have a strong voice if I am unaware of what the opposing views are?

I hope that you will view this note as a reminder that we are seldom making our own decisions online. And yes, marketers are to blame. Your online actions inform us about your interests and habits and making it much easier to sell you stuff.

Explore with an open mind

I encourage you to visit websites with altering viewpoints, surf in an incognito window when you are getting prices for hotel stays, shoes, or small business supplies. Reach out to the friend or coworker who opposes a cause you love. Be open to other views and see what happens!

8 ways to determine if an article is fake news

On the blog this morning we discuss fake news and ways we can stop spreading it. The sooner we address these practices the sooner we can get back to finding more pretty fonts or stalking our teens on snapchat… there’s a month of daily newsletters right there.

Please stay connected!

[Tip] How To Stop Fake News Posts

Stop making fake news real!

From ‘Reality TV’ to ‘Alternative Facts’, it is hard to determine fact from fiction today. If you have family or friends who are professional journalists, you know citing sources and reporting facts is a sacred creed not to be broken. Legitimate news sources may not share news we all like to hear, they may inflate circumstances, they may be guilty of focusing on ratings. Yet, making up stories to intentionally deceive is not a laudable option to this group.

It is primarily the internet, blogs, and social media sites that have proliferated this unnerving practice of fictitious or fake news. Because of the viral nature of the digital and mobile platform, fake news stories are posted and shared many times over, without question of the source.

8 ways to determine if an article is fake news:

  1. Domain Name: Examine the domain name of the site that posted the news. Scams often use a similar name to reputable media. For instance abcnews.com.co is a known fake news site attempting to trick people to thinking they are abcnews.com
  2. Fact-Checking: Run the story through known fact-checking websites. Try the search engine Hoaxy currently in Beta. Or try recently acquired by Facebook, Snopes.
  3. Read quotes: Does the author use  “sources say…” instead of citing true numbers, studies, officials or industry professionals?
  4. Who is the author: Research the author of the story. Fake news writers won’t have other information in browser search engines. Real media reporters and writers have online brands and recognition. Even interns will have the beginnings of a personal online brand.
  5. Who runs the website: Check if there are links that will lead you back to who actually runs the website where the article was posted. Is there an About Us page, or references? Reputable news sites will always include contact and marketing information.
  6. Photos and graphics: Do the graphics and photos look accurate? Could Photoshop tricks be at play? Have stock photos been used? Do they lead you somewhere else off the story?
  7. Videos: If there are videos embedded, check their original source and date. Look for any splicing, videos can be manipulated as easily as graphics.
  8. Posted elsewhere: If you don’t find the video or the actual news story in question anywhere else online that is a strong clue it is fake. News media spread stories far and wide, not just on their own sites. Fake news stories rely on others to share it.
  9. Self-Hosted: Check if the website is a self-hosted Weebly design or WordPress site. Not that all WordPress sites are cause for concern, but WordPress is an inexpensive simple option to post quickly and take down down.
  10. Grammar and Spelling: Real news stories go through many steps of editing and seldom contain errors, especially blatant ones.

Is it Fake? Stop it from spreading!

Once you discover it is most definitely a Fake News story or a fake photo, flag it. Slate has created a Chrome extension, called This is Fake, that you can click if you discover a fabricated news story. The tool allows you to identify a fake story and then report it to your friends.

This is our chance to take back the internet and return some integrity to the real news media. When you connect “This is Fake” to your Facebook account you can flag the fake stories to the Slate “This is Fake” moderators.

Be a good citizen – stop making fake stuff famous!

Learn more about “This is Fake” here.

Tips source Lifewire.

#tuesdaytip

Small Business Responsive Website Design is Easy

 

Free website design Michigan

We all see the ads in our feeds and on tv,  commercials from GoDaddy and WIX and others, with claims to build a small business responsive website design… in a day… for free. We get the business calls and emails daily from companies that say can build custom websites for less than if we shop local.

Thus far this year, 83% of new small business responsive website design orders have been from entrepreneurs who tried building their websites internally.  Some customers have bought into monthly payment plans with a local media outlet promising do-it-yourself training, regular updates and local SEO.  Six months later, the local business owners website is out of date, they can’t  fix it, and they don’t even own the website they paid thousands of dollars for! A quick glance at reviews could have saved them money and time.

Small business responsive website design , tired of pushy sales people? Check online reviews ...When small businesses know it’s time for a professional website design:

  • Website is out of date and there is no time to make updates.
  • Business has grown but the professionalism of the online presence has not.
  • When their “free” website gets hacked and they can’t access it anymore
  • When their customers experience confusion or frustration when visiting the site
  • They have spent more of their time attempting to build a functioning site instead of building their business.
  • Junior or Intern or ____ gets a life and can’t be bothered to keep it current.

There is no easy button to create a fully functional, attractive, and responsive website design. It takes an understanding of graphic design, color, website navigation, user interface, marketing and coding — yes, knowing a bit of code is a lifesaver!

All content management systems (CMS) are not equal.

Some CMS, like WIX, are proprietary and can’t grow with you, or  take them with you if you go. There are some online registrars with CMS responsive website builders that limit features depending on your monthly budget. You can’t make custom changes or additions. And just try and get them on the phone.

Our customers have come from these examples and more. Our own research  landed us on WordPress as the most comprehensive website CMS choice for us and many of our customers.

Why is WordPress a good choice for responsive website design?

  • Wordpress logo Plethora of plug-ins available to customize and automate features
  • 1,000s of responsive website design  themes
  • Features targeted to e-commerce and events
  • Features connecting social activity and news
  • Attractive user interface (UI)
  • Popular format for developers
  • Ease of updating
  • Hours of YouTube WordPress How-To videosLastly, the ease of training customers for DIY edits is invaluable to those who invest time in keeping content current. For those who choose monthly website maintenance, WordPress administration is fairly standard and  experienced staff can quickly implement most changes and updates.

What are the drawbacks to choosing WordPress for a small business responsive website design?

With all of the capabilities and features offered for small business responsive website design today, the more you add on a limited budget some

  • Software needs to be updated
  • Can be susceptible to hacking if software is not maintained and updated when required
  • Plug ins don’t always play well together
  • Custom plug ins can add one -time or monthly fees
  • Pre-purchased themes do not include support or troubleshooting
  • Can load slow on shared servers

If you’d like a professional website design, shoot us an email or call today.  Let’s connect, you won’t be overwhelmed by the process.