Let talk about social media

In today’s world, social media is important.  One of the many questions I am asked by clients is “How many social media account should I have?” This article will go over what I believe to be the best social media options for you.

Being Connected is Important

The day of phone calls and emails are quickly becoming a thing of the past.   If you want to reach new clientele whether you’re a business, church, or nonprofit social media is the fasted growing option available. For example, I had a friend who joined his wife real estate company and wondered why he wasn’t getting clients.  His wife told him that no one does email anymore most of the time you have to message them on Facebook. He joined the Facebook community just for his job.  Society loves feeling connected to each other and in today’s busy world social media provides the avenue to do so, though there is a dark side to it which I will explain a little later.

How many are there?

There are tons of social media outlets available and more being created each day. Here is the list of what I believe is the  most effective:

Facebook the most popular social media, Facebook is what most businesses and churches use to get their messages out using blog style posts, images and now it has introduced live streaming. If you have to choose only one presence Facebook would be it.

 

Twitter- A publishing platform. It thrives on live messages called “tweets” and has a max limit of 140 characters. Remember the use of hash tags are a must. Twitter is great for engaging with people.

 

Instagram- is a photography social media site in which you use on your phone only to take a picture of whatever you want the allowing you to save with followers or share to another outlet such as Facebook.   Whether a business meeting or a concert at your church, the uses are endless. I use it as a second gallery for all the things my church does.

 

Skype- is an application that provides video chat and voice call services;  Skype is often used for business meetings if someone is in another town or time zone.  There are varied opinions on the effectiveness of Skype. As with any platform, it depends on upon your target demographic.

 

LinkedIn- It’s great for if you are a business or a person looking for a job. You can showcase your professionalism with a nice picture and a history of your work, and qualifications.  Your profile acts similar to an online version of a resume.  It is a great way to network with businesses in your area.

 

There are many more outlets out there like Google +, Hangouts, Snapchat and others, but I find these to be the most popular.  You don’t need all of them and it is possible you may not use them daily or even weekly.  But I would suggest that you review them and pick which one you feel the best fits your needs.

Businessfacebookpage

The Danger of social media

As a business owner, you must be careful as the lines of personal and business may become blurred on social media outlets.   Typically, businesses tend to stay out of politics or very divisive issues.  If this is your choice, realize that even speaking from a “personal” page in the world of social media may reflect on your business.

Another issue with social media is that rather than pushing traffic to your website, it may take people away from your website.  The danger in this is that social media is about “immediate” information with limited content.  As someone who works in the website field I understand how much work it takes to make a quality website, it is troubling that people tend to use their Facebook page as a replacement for a website.  No social media outlet can provide the quality of content in which you find on an organizations or businesses website.

 

Final Thought

Social media is an important avenue and a great addition to a quality website, but keep in mind that the world of “quick information” is always changing, so keep up with the next social media trend and never use it as a replacement for a web presence such as a quality website.

 

Advertisements

3 plugins every civil organization should have

The Events Calendar

TECbanner

The event calendar is a great way for people to know what you are doing and when you are having it. When people are looking to join a civil organization one of the first things they look at is how busy you are and with the event calendar your event will look top notch.

Check out the live demo http://wpshindig.com/events/

 

 Give

Give

I cannot tell you how important it is to have a donation page on your website, the day of bake sales are over https://givewp.com/. Is a wonderfully WordPress plugin to support your cause from rising money for a new playground for the youth or building home for the veterans if you have a WordPress website Give is the perfect donation plugin.

How much does give coast?

Give is under the Freemium/Add-on model. Which mean they are a free plugin, They have a great support system that will help you figure out how to get it set up.

FooGallery

FooGallery

The Foogallery is great for you to show people images of what your civil organization is doing, it’s easy to use and really bring your website alive. It is a Responsive image gallery so no matter what device people are looking at your website from the images comes out great. There website is http://foo.gallery/

One of the best things about FooGallery is if you have images that have children in it the gallery can be password protected. Here how it is done

Is Your Website Accessible?

What does it mean to have an accessible website? Why is it important?  An accessible website is one that is user friendly for all types of people including those who are visually, reading, and hearing impaired.

Having an accessible website is important because it doesn’t exclude anything.  A common misconception is that having an impairment keeps someone from performing “normal” tasks like web surfing, music downloading, and video watching.  However, this is untrue.  Therefore, having a website that anyone can use is important to ensure your message has the ability to reach anyone.

Consider these ideas:

1 Make sure your Images have ALT text.

The Alt text is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) document to tell Web site viewers the nature or contents of an image. And since screen readers cannot “read” images they cannot see the image below.  In order for some visually impaired people to understand it you have to have a written descriptions in the Alt box. A common mistake is to typ0e “Image 003.” However, what you should put is “The American Flag waving in the wind

“The American Flag waving in the wind”

2. Organize the structure of your content.

Make sure your content has a header because that is what the screen reader notices first when reading content.  Make sure the header is in the order of your content if you have your content broken up (side note, if you are using WordPress the title of the post or page is already header 1)

  1. Links

When working on your Menu for your website remember to have a correct Navigation Label and a good Title Attribute. Just having a “click here” may not work with all screen readers.

Also, consider having a site map somewhere on your website that lists all your links.

When thinking of accessibility consider whether or not your website is easy to navigate using a keyboard.  Not all users use a mouse to navigate.

Check out this Table for some examples of the MANY interaction-keystroke actions

Interaction Keystrokes
Navigate the website Tab +Shift
Link Enter
(dropdown) menu Up and Down right and left Arrow then enter

 

4 Video

Having a video on your website is great and adds a lot to your site, just make sure it accessible.

  1. Consider whether or not you should allow Auto-play. Your viewer may need to adjust settings before they are able to see and appreciate your video.  It can be frustrating to have videos play automatically.
  2. Use Captions- little piece of text that appears on the video that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing users to understand the dialogue (they are different from subtitles).
  3. Audio descriptions- this is when audio is spoken along with the video giving every detail (you see this a lot in music videos on YouTube)
  4. Audio–When having audio on your website make sure to have effective text descriptions

https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-contrast.html

https://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast-without-color.html

Finally, make sure to do consider these ideas:

background music

flashing text or images

keyboard maneuverability

 

Working together we can make your website accessible to everyone

Check out this video of how a screen reader works

Backing up your website

Backing up your website

Back when I use to do my website in HTML and CSS I would have to create many copies of my folders and put them in my extra hard drive, USB and even on CDs in case my laptop crashed or website went down.  WordPress has made backing up your website so much better.

First I am sure you are asking yourself – “Why should I back up my website?  Doesn’t it stay safe on the internet?”  The truth is… No.   If you don’t have good security for your website then any hacker can gain access and crash your website.   Other ways your website can go down is a bad update or something as simple as uploading a file to your website.

This is why backing up your website is important and should be one of your concerns when picking a hosting company.  I use WordPress which offers many backup options.

Here is a list:

WordPress Backup to Dropbox- In order to use these plugin you must have a dropbox account, this is the one I use the most

VaultPress- is one that you must pay to use VaultPress offers automated real-time cloud backup solution starting at $5 / month.

BackupBuddy- It allows you to schedule daily, weekly, or monthly backups and store them in whatever cloud storage you want

I would also suggest checking with your hosting company to see what they have to offer as far as backing up your website.

Hawk searching for birds

Need An Image For Your Website? SOME DO’S AND DON’TS

Some online images are free to use and some are not.  Look at the Google Image below.

Be Careful Using Google Images

When you Google search an image, it is showing you images from other websites.  Some of these images are copyrighted, and cannot be used without consent.  Holy “Happy Birthday” song!   Here is an example:

Google search results of StraburgUMC church

This is a protected image and cannot be used without permission.

This is a protected image and cannot be used without permission

LOOK for a public domain or a CC0 license.

The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it.

CC0 license- allows the owner of the image to released their work without any issue

Multiple choice – many websites offer consumers a choice of free or purchased images.  Here is one called Creation Swap.

Creation SwapCreation Swap

I like this site for a quick and easy download of suitable images for worship service and church websites.

500px

 500px

500px has an endless source of images that you can either use for free or buy for a small price

Freely Photo

Freely Photo

All of Freely photos are published under the ‘CC0 license’ . and many photographer glad give them photo for people to use for blogs or website.

http://freelyphotos.com/

Pexels

 

Pexels is an  another wonderful image search website for you to use

https://www.pexels.com/

I  now offer photography services so that you can have your own photos with no fear of copyright infringement and to give your website a more personal feel

Things to be thankful for

Things to be thankful for

 

This blog post is inspired by Judy Lee Dunn “CAN YOU NAME 99 THINGS YOU LOVE IN 10 MINUTES?”
Thanksgiving is Thursday so I figure I would do a holiday theme blog post of things to be thankfully for.
1 Being alive (all thanks to the lord)
2 my educations
3 my own business
4 The Community Thanksgiving dinner that the Strasburg United Methodist Church will be putting on
5 Morten Rand-Hendriksen and everyone who is helping me on my WordPress journey
6 Local businesses that help other local business
7 Being a Photography
8 Have the ability to enjoy sports without fear
9 Having more than one talent and using them to help people
10 My town and its people
11 My church family
12 My Health
13 Having a home
14 The weather
`15 all sort of law enforcement who keep us safe
16 The smell of homemade cookies
17 Christian Music
18 Writing
19 My friends
20. My Dog Mo
21. Having my grandmother living with me
22. Coffee Hot and Cold

23. Food
24. Taking a walk on the Strasburg Riverwalk
25. Making my mom laugh
26. Making my whole family laugh
27. Having a sister who loves to do things with me
28 Having a brother that put up with me
29 The smell of meat all meat
30. Criminal Case a game I play to relax
31. The Internet so I can watch my show online
32. Cooking
33. Snow
34. Fort Valley in the fall
35. The Strasburg Express
36. All Valley League Baseball
37. Bob Dun from bobWP
38. The Mountains
39 NCIS
40 Criminal Minds
41. Facebook
42. Twitter
43. Instagram
44. Old cartoons
45. Christian Music
46. Staying up till midnight talking to friends
47. Running into old coworkers
48. Visiting small towns
49. Visiting family’s in another part of the country
50. Chocolates
51. Rams
52. Reading comics online
53. being happy with my life
I challenge you to create your own list. Better yet, create it and share it in the comments.