Category Archives: Webmaster Services

An Update on the EU’s GDPR for Privacy

An Update on the EU’s GDPR for Privacy
An Update on the EU’s GDPR for Privacy

Since I last wrote about the privacy updates that are mandated by the EU to cover website traffic on American websites by EU nationals, much has happened.

First, clients who thought that they did not want to update their privacy policy or implement cookie approval for website statistic tracking have changed their minds.

Our team has been very busy updating websites to beef up the transparency of the privacy policy, reveal clearly what is being tracked on websites, offering ways to opt out of tracking, and installing cookie approval scripts on websites.

Several clients have shared their thoughts with us on why the sudden change. Some are listed below.

“I do feel lucky about not getting caught, but also want to be safe.”

“I’ve just had a lawyer call me and I feel like I need immediate action on the privacy updates as I don’t want to end up in court on a new matter.”

“I think it is stupid to do, but I am getting inundated with privacy policy updates from everyone that I do business with, that maybe I do need to do something to my website.”

As for me, my perspective is that it is not expensive or hard to do the implementation to be in compliance with the GDPR. I am risk adverse and feel that eventually the US will institute some controls so we will be ahead of the game by changing our own websites now.

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An Update on the EU’s GDPR for Privacy

Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner

Since I last wrote about the privacy updates that are mandated by the EU to cover website traffic on American websites by EU nationals, much has happened.

First, clients who thought that they did not want to update their privacy policy or implement cookie approval for website statistic tracking have changed there minds.

Our team has been very busy updating websites to beef up the transparency of the privacy policy, reveal clearly what is being tracked on websites, offering ways to opt out of tracking, and installing cookie approval scripts on websites.

Several clients have shared their thoughts with us on why the sudden change. Some are listed below.

“I do feel lucky about not getting caught, but also want to be safe.”

“I’ve just had a lawyer call me and I feel like I need immediate action on the privacy updates as I don’t want to end up in court on a new matter.”

“I think it is stupid to do, but I am getting inundated with privacy policy updates from everyone that I do business with, that maybe I do need to do something to my website.”

As for me, my perspective is that it is not expensive or hard to do the implementation to be in compliance with the GDPR. I am risk adverse and feel that eventually the US will institute some controls so we will be ahead of the game by changing our own websites now.

 

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Your New Website: Vet Your WordPress Theme with These Tips

Nancy McCord a Google Partner and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord a Google Partner and Bing Partner

Many business owners of websites older than five years are thinking of updating their websites this year. A frequent question we get at McCord Web Services is “Is WordPress right for me?” For some businesses WordPress may be a good fit, but it is important to understand that you do have options to a WordPress website.

In this series on WordPress or PHP, we will be looking at the pros and cons as well as benefits and challenges.

If you are considering a WordPress website please review my checklist below before you make a final selection and get your site into production. I encourage you to have a frank talk with your potential website designer and nail down some of these issues before you go to contract or fund the project with a deposit.

WordPress Theme Vetting Checklist

  1. If you are using a custom created theme, ask to see links of similar projects. Input the URL in the Google Page Speed tool to understand clearly the page speed you may end up with in your custom project. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
  2. If you are going to use a pre-designed theme, all theme designers will have a “live preview”. Ask for that link and input the URL in Google’s page speed tester. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ Better yet, let your web designer know that you will not want to use any WordPress themes that do not score in the “green” zone on the Google Page Speed Tester.
  3. Assure that your site designer knows that you will want to use AMP plugins to render your WordPress website to be AMP friendly. If the designer has used that theme before, ask to see the AMP page of a site. The page you see in your browser and smartphone should not have navigation links and elements with the content pushed to the bottom. It should have a narrow banner and content. If you see a lot of navigation links, it means that the theme’s navigation is not compatible with the AMP plugins. If your site designer cannot provide a page for you to use, consider buying the theme in question, having them do the installation, install the AMP plugin for your evaluation before you go further. Do not do site build-out until you verify that this is not an issue with your theme. It is by far better to write off the cost of the theme (typically under $100) and choose a new theme to get the AMP compatibility you really need.
  4. Review with your web designer the type of theme they will be using. It is easy for another webmaster to come in and put in blog content. Will blog post pages have builder fields and have to be customized at installation or will the blog content entry fields be typical as in WordPress Twenty Seventeen or Twenty Eighteen. Does the blog require a featured image and what are the size dimensions of the featured image? For many sites using featured images an image of 1920 by 1080 is required. This requires the blog post installer to buy a special larger image and then resize it to fit. This is an added expense that you should know about before you purchase your theme or go into production as you will incur additional costs.
  5. Let the website designer know you are serious about security. All testing logins and user names and passwords at set up should be complicated and never use admin or default settings. After launch WordFence Premium can be added for additional security and firewall protection, but don’t allow your site to be hacked while in the design phase through lax security.

In our next blog post on Wednesday, we will discuss why there has to be such a focus on page speed for your new website.

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Google States Mobile Page Speed Will be a Ranking Indicator

We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing, Mobile, and Display.
We Are a Google Partner Specializing in Search Marketing,, Mobile, and Display.

Well that cat is finally out of the bag! Google has stated that in July they will now be using the mobile page speed of your website as a mobile index ranking indicator.

This is very important news. Google had already moved to using just the mobile index for determining the organic ranking for all platforms and no longer had a separately ranked desktop index. The announcement released on Wednesday January 17th goes even further.

Today we’re announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.

The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

The key takeaway on this announcement is that page speed is important to Google and should be an important factor in the selection of any new WordPress theme or website design or web design platform.

Page speed will not be going away and site owners need to really start a review and efforts to address their slow loading websites.

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Are You AMP’ed Up Yet?

Is Your Website Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Is Your Website Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Is your website AMP’ed? If it is you most certainly know that I am talking about Accelerated Mobile Pages, and Google loves them.

If you are not, it is relatively easy to create an AMP page template for your HTML website. Just follow some of these links to learn more and to see examples.

https://moz.com/blog/accelerated-mobile-pages-whiteboard-friday

https://www.ampproject.org/

If you have a WordPress website there are a number of great plugins you can use. I like the following:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/accelerated-mobile-pages/

https://wordpress.org/plugins/amp/

As AMP’ed websites are important from Google viewpoint and Google is actively showing AMP pages in the mobile index, it is important to know and understand why your website needs to embrace AMP now.

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Chat Apps for Your Website

Find out about website chat aps
Find out about website chat aps

Seems simple, just install code and you’ve got a chat app. But not so fast. I am finding out from personal experience that not all chat apps are alike.

I started out with Drift and still have that chat app on my blog (for now). What I found as I used the app was it slowed my website to a crawl for load time. I think much of this is the code is installed in the head tag as instructions state, but may be better installed before the </body>.

What is happening on my site is the page is taking so long to load and the navigation does not operate until the chat app function appears – I consider this very bad. Drift must have made a code change to the asynchronous code recently as the page load time was not an issue before but started about two weeks ago.  As a result I have been actively looking for a website chat app replacement.

I have tried three Tawk.to, MyLiveChat, and now Pure Chat. I am using Pure Chat on my website right now and so far I do like the free version. What I consider important for a website chat app are the following:

  1. Easy to install
  2. Able to configure colors
  3. Has a rock solid mobile app
  4. Does not impact page load speed

So far Tawk.To and My Live Chat  were too complicated for my needs and cumbersome to use.  Pure Chat has easy set up and I do like the mobile app which is simple to use.

I will be doing additional testing in the weeks ahead and when I settle on one, I’ll post it on my blog.

 

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