Affordable websites shouldn't look cheap!

Websites

All of Our Organizations’ Websites have been Updated

All of the organizations that we work with are running the latest version of WordPress (5.0). Everything seems to be working properly. You may not see much difference since the Classic Editor is still set as your Default Editor. However, you may notice a slight speed increase.

As I said last week, there are some good introductory videos on the new editor, Gutenberg. I highly encourage you to watch a few of them to familiarize yourself. I will hold off until January before making Gutenberg available for you to use (unless you want to jump in now, in that case just let me know).

Videos:

  • WordPress for Non-Techies released this video six weeks ago using a pre-release version of Gutenberg on WordPress 4.98:
  • This short video was released earlier today with WordPress 5.0: 

New WordPress Update December 6, 2018

Gutenberg

This is a much-anticipated major update and it includes several enhancements, most notably a new visual editor called Gutenberg. The release date has been very fluid with the date pushed out a little more and a little more as developers worked to fix the reported software bugs. For instance, the update was supposed to be released the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but because of the holiday, it was pushed out further. Many people were expecting Automattic (the company that develops WordPress) to push the release date into January.

However, I was very surprised to read yesterday that WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg will be released tomorrow, perhaps in a lead up to this week’s keynote address at WordCamp US by WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

Because this is a major update and the perceived issues with client confusion regarding Gutenberg, many developers will postpone the update until the New Year. Others are allowing their clients’ websites to update tomorrow, but without the Gutenberg Editor enabled.

Rather than automatically rolling out all of my clients’ websites at once, I have backed up everything on your website and I will manually install the update on each website over the next few days, individually ensuring that the update runs smoothly.
For those of you who do not log into your website to update the content, all of this is just academic. But for those of you who do update your own content, Gutenberg will take some getting used to.

For this reason, I will install the WordPress update without initially enabling Gutenberg. Unless you advise me otherwise, I will plan to enable the new editor in January. But before that, I’ll email some links to some introductory videos so you’ll have an idea of what to expect.

Note: You do have the option to not install the Gutenberg Editor. I believe that Automattic is planning to continue to support the Classic Editor “for many years to come“. Please let me know if you do not want Gutenberg installed. However, I recommend that you try the new Editor at some point. After getting past the learning curve, I think you’ll find an easier editing experience.

I’m sorry to have taken so much of your time. I will keep you updated on the WordPress 5.0 rollout.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

In the meantime, here is a good preview of Gutenberg.


How Much is a Website?

A snicker crept across the auditorium as a room full of website developers awaited a panelist’s answer when asked this question last weekend at WordCampDFW.

Her response? “How much is a house in Dallas? That all depends on what size house you want and the neighborhood you want to live in!”

Website developers are often asked the question. And many of us hesitate to give a cut-and-dry answer. Because it depends.

Do you want a website that is basically a business card that includes your logo, color scheme, and a way to contact you?

Or do you want a website that helps you establish and maintain a connection between your organization and a website visitor? Do you want to include a slideshow of a recent event? Do you want your website visitors to complete a survey? Do you want to sell something on your website? Do you want to give something away? If you’re a church, do you want to provide audio or video your pastor’s recent sermons on your website?

The answer to how much a website costs has everything to do with what you want to accomplish with your website. That’s why it’s difficult to get a straight answer to a vague question — from a quality website developer.

That’s why we ask questions. We don’t want to merely sell you a website. We want to help you establish and maintain a connection with other people.

 

 

We Don’t Use Flash

I tried to attend a webinar a few minutes ago. Unfortunately, the webinar required Adobe Flash. My current computer has never had Flash installed on it. And I will not install it. Hence, I was unable to watch the webinar I was looking forward to.

Flash is old. Flash is not secure. Flash will be abandoned by Adobe soon in favor of current standards.

Now, if Adobe is abandoning its own product, why would any website developer still use it? I suspect it’s because either the developers don’t want to abandon a platform they know well; maybe they’re too lazy to learn newer things. Or perhaps the people who are paying them don’t know any better.

We know better. We care about security. And we care about the security of our clients and the people who visit their websites.

We don’t use Flash.

 

Is WordPress Secure and Capable?

Are you hesitating to build your organization’s website on WordPress because you don’t think it’s secure enough or it’s too lightweight?

Think again! Here are some heavy-hitters that are using WordPress for their organization’s websites.

Security? How about the US White House!

http://bit.ly/2IqTCgn

 

Give us a shout and let us design a custom WordPress solution for your organization!

 

“Safe” Websites for “Non-Techies”

You may have wondered why some website addresses start with “http” and some begin with “https”. The short answer is that websites that begin with https encrypt the information between the website visitor and the computer that’s hosting the website. Web browsers (Edge, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) are beginning to flag the http websites with “This website is not secure” warnings in either the address bar or in place of the web page.

Beginning this July, with the rollout of version 68 of Google’s Chrome Browser, Google will list *all* websites still using http as “Not Secure”. Websites that still use http will still be online, but visitors will have to acknowledge that the website they want to visit isn’t “safe” before they’re allowed to access the website. Nobody wants their website to not be “safe”, am I right?

Many web hosts charge from a few dollars to several hundreds of dollars a year for the security certificates (SSL/TLS) that make the encryption possible. Since many websites are not heavy e-commerce websites that processes thousands of dollars every month, not all websites need the guarantees offered by the more expensive certificates.

Note: Some of you are already configured with a security certificate. To find out if you’re affected, just go to your website and look at the address bar. If you have a Green Lock icon and/or https://, you already have https configured for your website.

Note: For more information about security certificates, please see https://security.googleblog.com/2018/02/a-secure-web-is-here-to-stay.html)

Note: This is another “service after the sale” that we will not bill for our current clients. However, if we incur additional costs for the certificates, I will have to pass those costs along to you.

 

Privacy is a Big Deal

I’m sure you’ve heard the latest news citing Facebook’s privacy policy problems. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before committees from both Houses of Congress. For two days, our elected representatives grilled the young CEO after it was revealed that Facebook data on 50 million users was provided to a political profiling company. Many Facebook users have since deleted their accounts, promising never to use that social network again.

In somewhat related news, on May 25, the European Union will begin enforcing the General Data Protocol Regulation (GDPR). The goal of the GDPR is to protect the privacy of residents of the European Union. That’s good, right? So what does that mean for a small organization operating in the United States… like yours?

According to the GDPR, any company (regardless of national origin) that processes data of EU residents must implement measures to protect privacy *by default*. As it applies to you and me, if your website requests any information from website visitors (including tracking analytics and Contact Forms), they must be alerted to how that information will be used and how long the data will be retained. Even if you don’t serve EU residents directly, if your website is visited by a European resident, you are affected by this new law.

I have been looking into the issue and will put measures in place before May 25 to make sure that we’re in compliance. Note: I am not charging my clients for this “service after the sale”.

Please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation or contact your attorney for more information about how the GDPR affects your organization.

 

WordPress at 30%

Happy 30% WordPress

Several sources reported yesterday that WordPress runs on a whopping 30% of the top 10 Million most popular websites on the entire Internet.  Also, WordPress currently powers 60.2% of those websites that run a Contact Management System (CMS). One of the sources notes that my alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill has recently moved its website to WordPress!

This means several things:

  • WordPress has a very high brand recognition.
  • WordPress is powerful enough to run some of the most popular websites.
  • WordPress is secure enough to run some of the most popular websites.
  • WordPress continues to grow in popularity.

This is great news! It’s also chilling news. Why?

Just as we have seen with Microsoft Windows over the years, being the “800lb gorilla” means that a lot of hackers are going to take aim at discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities. And just because WordPress is powerful and secure enough to run some of the most popular websites doesn’t mean that all of those WordPress installations are as secure as they can by, including running the most recent version. And there’s the rub.

Plugins and Themes are the most vulnerable vector for malware attacks. The WordPress Core is securevery secure… at least the most recent version is. And that is true with every new version of WordPress. Automattic, the company that writes and maintains the WordPress Core pushes out minor updates of the Core files very quickly whenever a new vulnerability is discovered in the WordPress Core. So long as the website administrator has enabled automatic updating, the website will be secured when the update rolls out. That was until the February 5, 2018 release of WordPress 4.93. The day after 4.93 was released, 4.94 was released that fixed a “serious bug” in 4.93 that disabled automatic updates.

But if your WordPress website administrator hasn’t run the 4.94 update, your website will never be automatically updated! Never.

Unfortunately, many people who have written Plugins and Themes are not as diligent with their updates as Automoattic is; some developers have completely abandoned their Plugins or Themes, either because they aren’t around anymore, they aren’t writing code anymore, or they don’t care anymore. If there is any exploitable code in the Plugin or Theme, all a hacker needs to do is find the website and load it with malware.

“But why would anyone want to hack my website?” I can tell you that many of my websites — even those that have very few visitors every month — are probed for vulnerabilities more often than they receive legitimate visitors! I have witnessed this nafarious probing increase a great deal in the past few weeks on all of the websites that I maintain.

Unless you have a static HTML “business card” webite that very rarely has changes, you need to step up to the WordPress platform! WordPress allows you to make your own content changes, letting you keep more of you money since you don’t have to call a “web guy” and pay him/her anytime you need to make content updates. Please contact me! Let me save you some serious money!

If your website is already running on WordPress and you don’t know if you’re running the most recent version of the WordPress Core, Plugins, or Themes, please contact me! Your WordPress website may already be infected with Malware!

Let me take a FREE quick look “under the hood”. If I find something, it may need a quick fix, and for a small fee ($30) for the small fix, you’ll be on your way (and I’ll even install some security measures to protect your website in the future!). If it’s more involved and needs a larger fix, we’ll need to talk for a few minutes about how much (or little!) I’ll need for the larger fix. I also offer WordPress Maintenance packages that keeps things updated for an entire year. Contact me if you’re interested!

WordPress is now powering 30% of the web. How high will it go?

 

Free Web Hosting is Bad for Your First Website

I came across this article that echos other insights I have posted in the past. Oftentimes, free and cheap isn’t  the most cost-effective way to do things.

Let that sink in.

Take a few minutes to read this article. Then give me a shout. Let’s talk about developing (or redeveloping) your personal blog or small organization website.

 

10 Ways That Free Web Hosting Is Bad for Your First Website