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YouTube vs Vimeo for embedding videos on your WordPress website

YOUTUBE

YouTube is the biggest place to promote your videos – so they get discovered when people are surfing around on Youtube watching related content. So it’s good to have a presence there and it’s easy to embed any Youtube video onto your website or other social media. There are some useful options when embedding a YouTube video but there will always be a link back to Youtube when so that’s not the cleanest experience.

The player will never be really clean and distraction-free. If your goal is to keep viewers on your site it’s not the best option.

  • YouTube embeds suffer from 2 main opportunities for viewers to be distracted or sent off-site 1) when pausing the video and 2) after the video has finished playing
    • The title of the video and the YouTube logo will also link over to the YouTube website
    • These user interface elements of the video player can not be turned off (there is no option to remove the title)
    • there used to be an option to remove “related videos” (URL parameter is set to “rel=0”) but Google stopped supporting it in 2020
    • This “rel=0” option will now show related videos from YOUR channel, instead of showing competitors.
    • So it’s still good to use this option but the related videos from your channel will open over on youtube.com when they are clicked.
    • there is no guarantee that YouTube will support this feature long term since it goes against their advertising-based business model

other notes:

  • YouTube videos can’t be used as a background video on a website
  • No limits on the number of uploads
  • Great for SEO and SEM
  • Great analytics
  • Auto-Embeds on WordPress – and works with any website CMS
  • There is no “pro” version of YouTube for creators. Don’t get confused by the YouTube “Premium” – that is only for users to avoid seeing ads and allows saving videos in the mobile player and other ways to use the app that make it feel more like NetFlix and similar streaming services.
    • So you might get ads showing sometimes on an embedded YouTube video.

VIMEO

A free Vimeo account let’s you embed a clean player and you can be sure there will never be any ads. But it still links back to Vimeo via their logo at bottom right. A big limitation of a free account is how much you can upload: the maximum is 500MB per week (5GB total account storage) and 10 files per day.


A paid account gives you more customization options: you can display your logo and colors on the video player  – or opt for no logo and much more minimalist player: starting at $7/mo

  • Vimeo offers more privacy options than YouTube
  • Paid users can restrict video embeds to their own websites—and even disallow videos to be viewed on Vimeo.com
  • Vimeo allows replacing a video with a newer version without having to change the video URL or stats—something that you cannot do on YouTube
  • YouTube offers more in-depth analytics — Vimeohas basic analytics — this is important to businesses who want to dive into what videos are working, how long people are viewing videos, and where traffic is coming from.

A Sampling of Embedding: YouTube vs Vimeo

Vimeo:

YouTube:

This sample includes the new “Enable privacy-enhanced mode.” option.

Other options

VIDEOPRESS

  • https://videopress.com/ 
  • $9 / month or $99 / year
  • VideoPress via Jetpack Premium is a WordPress-native video hosting solution with a clean interface
  • https://jetpack.com/support/video-hosting/

WISTIA

  • https://wistia.com/
  • Free account adds their logo
  • Paid account starts at $100/mo – Add your own branding to the video player
  • extensive analytics – visually see when audience members are leaving your video
  • A/B testing
  • integrate calls to action
  • Better security – harder to download videos
Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

Tips for Business Owners to Design a Logo


Have you ever come across an organization that has no logo? No? This is because there aren’t many companies that operate without a logo. A logo has a massive impact on customer’s perceptions of your brand. So, naturally, you would want your logo to stand out from the crowd. But the question here arises, how to get there in the first place?

Guidelines for Designing a Stunning Logo

Before you opt to have a logo made for yourself, you first need to understand the important basics of designing a logo. Logo designs are critical for forming customers’ perceptions of your brand and its products or services.

Understand why you need a Logo

Businesses are just like dating. You want to attract customers and make them fall in love with your brand. Therefore, you should think of your logo as your dating profile’s picture. This picture will make people take an interest in you and want to learn more about what you have to offer.

A logo is an essential part of the business, and one wants to ensure it is done right. All your branding material, documents, website, and everything will have a logo on them. It will stare back at your customers, so make it count. A professional logo can communicate what your brand stands for and help you create a first great impression.

The Competition

Checking out the competition does not mean stealing their inventions. Instead, it means borrowing their ideas and reinventing in a way that speaks out your own vision. Check out what is already out in the market, what works well with customers, what mistakes you should avoid that others have already made.

While stalking those businesses, think about ways you can develop better ideas and how you can be different from them. Their color theme, design, and size all have to be studied.

Choose your design style

Choosing your design and style comes next. There are a lot of different elements attached to this area, like colors, shapes, graphics, and many more. When thinking about your company’s logo, you should pick a design that sets well with your brand. There is no one style that applies to everyone; it varies from company to company.

You can either go for a classic design on your logo that has a better-staying power. Or you may opt for trending looking logos that may work well in a given situation but quickly gets outdated. Modern and minimalist designs are a clean style that uses more whitespace and few details.

Find The Right Logo Maker

If you are not going to hire a professional logo designer like me, consider other options:

  • Inexpensive online forums for mostly-overseas designers like Fiverr
  • Pre-made logos (and other brand elements – some include the domain name also) brandbucket.com
  • Free online web-based tools like Small SEO Tools. This logo designer has organized its template collection into different categories.
  • Logo Maker Pro has advanced coloring tools that cannot be found in other programs. You just need to enter your business name, industry, logo style, color palette, and the tool will take care of the rest.    
  • Canva is a free logo maker tool, but some designs can only be accessed after you pay. The tool comes with a drag and drops design function, which works really well with online business owners. They can even create their social media posts using Canva.

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Can I pay for just 1 month of JetPack/Akismet for WordPress

that’s alot of pending comments — but I know almost all are spam

With 1,846 pending comments I decided to let JetPack check them all for spam – they no longer offer a free version but it’s only $3.50/month. Or so it seemed – as I was trying to sign up it seemed the only option was to subscribe yearly. I struggled to find a way to switch billing to monthly.

Solution was to click on the “trash” icon in the checkout:

…and that took me to this page that had an option to switch to monthly payments.

I still am having a hard time getting it to work so I may have updates to share on how to get an older Akismet API to process via the “Check for Spam” button in the Comments Admin. I am getting “Akismet Error Code: 10403”

other spam filtering plugins for WordPress do not check existing comments to see if they are Spam

update: I have an Akismet API that dates back perhaps 10 years. the API key used to be attached to many sites back when the free option was more available. So it took a lot of back and forth with support to finally get my API unblocked and sort all the spam. As usual, there were a few gems buried in the pile of spam, proving once again that Akismet works well.

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Privnote vs PrivnoteS and other site imitators or possible phishing

The 2 sites are very similar looking.
https://blog.privnote.com/post/187789832972/there-is-one-and-only-one-privnote

I noticed a client was using https://privnotes.com/ (note the plural “s” in there) and not https://privnote.com/. – I am not sure if this is actually a problem but I found a blog post that suggests being wary of imitations:


https://privnotes.com/ has empty links to social media in the footer so that is one clear indication that it’s not the “original” service.

Google is allowing ads for the imitation site but you can see the “natural” listing for the original site below:

What is PrivNote? It is a free website that allows you to send private/secret notes. It requires no password or user registration. Just write your note get a link, copy and paste that link into an email (or IM). When the recipient clicks the link for the first time, they will see the note in their browser and the note will automatically self-destruct; which means no one (even the original sender) can read the note again. The link won’t work anymore.

UPDATE: the PrivnoteS site was confirmed to be fake and has been removed: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2020/06/privnotes-com-is-phishing-bitcoin-from-users-of-private-messaging-service-privnote-com/

But that’s not the half of it. KrebsOnSecurity has learned that the phishing site Privnotes.com uses some kind of automated script that scours messages for bitcoin addresses, and replaces any bitcoin addresses found with its own bitcoin address. The script apparently only modifies messages if the note is opened from a different Internet address than the one that composed the address.

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

Transfer 7gig-10gig files online Free

I have been testing options for how to transfer large video files from one computer to another.

This is a simple option that needs no download or setup but the files time out after a few days: https://www.sendtransfer.com/

more options:

  • Google Drive is the winner – it offers 15GB of free space: But that 15GB limit includes not only your Google Drive, but also your Gmail account (includes all messages and attachments), Google Photos and more
  • Box.com – 10GB of free storage – the free version is a bit buried but you can sign up at:  https://www.box.com/personal
  • Dropbox only offers 2GB free. But it has a robust way of syncing between machines – it can push and not just pull files. It also allows sharing via an instantly-generated URL, you don’t have to share using their system but you can do that also.
  • OneDrive (by Microsoft) includes a free tier that offers 5GB of file storage
  • iCloud Files: 5GB free. add users to a file via their email, phone, etc. You can’t copy a URL and send like Dropbox (I usually prefer that method since you have easier control over revoking access by just moving the file around)
  • Firefox Send: up to 2.5gig free with end-to-end encryption and a link that automatically expires
  • SFTP is very cost-effective but requires some extra steps to set up.
  • NAS – also alot more setup but great flexibility and lots of storage for heavy users. (Synology DiskStation, QNAP TS-251B, Drobo, Etc.)

Other notes: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-send-large-files-for-free/

I like this detailed how-to on using Google Drive or OneDrive or Dropbox: https://m.wikihow.com/Send-Large-Files-to-Another-Computer-Using-the-Internet

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Braintree cancels $50,000 “Ignition” promotion

Braintree is no longer offering their fee-free $50,000 promotion. They called it “Ignition” and it let any new account process the first $50,000 without any fees — no 2.9%+$.30 standard transaction fees. Braintree is a full-stack payments platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your app or website.

Their blog post announcing the offer is still up and is very confusing. Their FAQ doesn’t mention the change.

I even see ads still being run by 3rd party vendors:

Here is the announcement mentioned the end of this offer to waive processing fees from Braintree via twitter:

and their original blog post from 2014 introducing this offer: https://www.braintreepayments.com/blog/ignition-first-50k-on-us/

Today we’re launching our Ignition program, waiving the fees on the first $50,000 in processing for any U.S.-based startup … you don’t have to sign any contracts or make any commitments.

Braintree offers a good product that is easy to integrate with Gravity Forms, WooCommerce and many other payment systems. But their communication on this issue is lacking.

Update: from the support team:

The stoppage of the promotion was not an issue / error. Braintree stopped offering the Ignition Promotion on November 2016 and the blog post you mentioned is from 2014….Braintree needs to cover costs associated with the service we provide – for this reason, we no longer offer the Ignition Promotion or any kind of free processing limit or free processing period….
Merchants that were onboarded on the Ignition promotion and haven’t reached the full promotional usage amount will still be credited back for the processing fees until they reach the promotional limit they were onboarded with.

Our standard pricing is 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction. For verified charitable 501(c)(3) organizations, pricing is 2.20% + $0.30 per transaction for Visa, Mastercard, Discover, JCB and Diners Clubs cards, as well as Venmo and digital wallets, and 3.25% + $0.30 per transaction for American Express cards.

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How to set up free domain redirect using HTTPS

Nowadays it’s common practice to add SSL to even the simplest site. Google.com and many browsers are prominently featuring “not secure” messages and hint that they will make these message more prominent over time.

It’s easy to redirect one domain to another but the tricky part is if you already are using HTTPS and you just want to stop using your domain and forward it to another domain — you can’t use the basic “domain redirect” services from common domain registrars like GoDaddy or Namecheap.

The domain forward will work for HTTP but not for HTTPS. You will either get an error message saying the site is not secure or your HTTPS domain won’t load at all.

The solution is to set up full hosting and add an SSL certificate and then set up the redirect. Got other solutions in mind? please leave a comment below.

Common Redirects:

  • 301, “Moved Permanently”—recommended for SEO
  • 302, “Found” or “Moved Temporarily”
  • Meta Refresh
redirect via Namecheap

redirect via GoDaddy
Privacy error

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

Web designers toolkit: server monitoring

MONITOR SERVER UPTIME/DOWNTIME

Downtime Monitoring by Jetpack
free, every five minutes

http://site24x7.com
I have been using this service for many years. Can pay for just a limited number of sms messages on an otherwise free account. Or pay for a full suite of other monitoring tools for apps. Their interface gets a bit confusing since they have added so many options over the years.

http://aremysitesup.com
They have an iPhone app with push notification that can alert you to your site’s status.

http://www.SiteUpAlert.com
Allows for searching for a particular string of text on a page. great for looking for updates.

http://www.VisiStat.com
server uptime is only one small feature of their analytics package.

http://UptimeRobot.com
good free option, 50 monitors, log for 2 months, 5 minute monitoring intervals

 

updated for 2018

Posted in Web Design | 1 Response

How to screenshot on Mac and iOS 11 – no software needed

How to take a MacOS screenshot
Two options:  capture entire screen or just a portion of it.

Where will the screenshot be?

Usually the screenshot is automatically saved to your desktop but if you installed Dropbox you may have a “Screenshots” folder in your Dropbox that files will appear in. Also, your screenshots may appear in your downloads folder.

How to take a screenshot of your entire screen

screenshot 3 full screen.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command (⌘) 3

How to take a screenshot of a selected portion of your screen

screenshot 4 all.JPG

  • Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair.
  • Move the crosshair to where you want to start the screenshot, then drag to select an area. (tip:  hold Option. Shift or Space to modify the way the selection moves.)
  • When you’ve selected the area you want, release your mouse or trackpad button. To cancel, press the Esc (Escape) key before you release the button.

crosshair: corsshairs.jpg

How to take a screenshot of a window

Press Shift-Command (⌘) 4 and note that your pointer changes to a crosshair. Press the Space bar and pointer changes to a camera. Move the cursoe over a window to highlight it. Click your mouse button to finish.

iOS 11 and screenshots

October 2017: taking a screenshot is just a bit different than in previous versions of iOS. Users initiate by pressing two buttons — they will still see the screen flash, but beyond that, you have many new editing options.

There is a new Screenshots album, and Screenshots floating interface.

Additionally, when you take a new screenshot (or series of screenshots in a short period of time), the snap minimizes itself in the bottom left corner of the screen. From here, you have four options:

  • swipe it off-screen to save it to your Photos
  • Leave it alone, and the thumbnail will simply be in Photos library after a few seconds
  • long-press on the thumbnail to send it as-is via the “Share Sheet”
  • tap on the thumbnail to enter Markup mode (edit mode)   — without saving it to your Photos library. (this is the most useful feature of the floating interface)

This video shows how to markup a screenshot:

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WordPress Popover options and ways to make them less annoying

I have many clients who find that their email list is their most important marketing tool. If someone allows you to message then in their email inbox you have a great opportunity to communicate your ongoing brand messages.

The most sophisticated solution requires a member log-in system so the website can know who has signed up already. That’s what NYTimes has, for example. Without a login, the system can’t check the Mailchimp (or whatever) list and see who subscribed because WordPress doesn’t know the email address of the person who is currently visiting the site.

WHO CLICKED A LINK IN NEWSLETTER?
A partial solution is to add a special link in your email newsletter so when someone clicks a link from the newsletter they don’t get the “email wall”.

The Dreaded Email Wall and How to Make it Less Annoying

Another popular solution is to set up a “wall” where users have to give their email to read your content. Sometimes this “wall” can be “leaky” in the sense that you are not strictly requiring signup so users can just “close” the request to sign up. The strongest from of a “wall” is a “popover” where the browser screen dims and a message and signup form appear in the middle of the screen. This completely interrupts the users flow of reading your content and many users hate that interruption. But it can be effective. The name differentiates it from a “popup” which refers to how a ling can open a whole separate browser window/tab.

There are many ways to improve the way an email wall gets the users attention. Of course you want the wall to remember the user’s action from page to page so they don’t get asked over and over again. But another option is simple to have the popover appear at the bottom of the page – not when the page  first loads. Here’s a setting option for the free (but outdated) ITRO Popup Plugin that shows a pixel offset – a user has to scroll that far down a page to see the popover:

itro-Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 5.30.41 PM

I also suggest if you use this option you set display mode to be once per 30 days   or something like that – so if someone “closes” it the popover won’t come back.

I recommend GetSiteControl: it offers many options for when to trigger the display of a popover :

  1. Based on rules and behavior triggers (location, language, scroll depth, time on page, exit intent, and other parameters.)
  2. Upon click on a page button, link, or image (on selected page elements.)
  3. Upon click on the popup button (based on the way visitors interact with your other popups)

I have also used this more sophisticated plugin: PIPPITY

To try it out is not free – it is @$50 (or google around for coupons) – but it offers some nice features. They do offer a demo mode on their site so you can test it to some degree before buying.


Not sure if you can make the text look like anything or just work within their templates.

pippity

Some features

  • popup trigger only at the end of an article, once the reader has read some content
  • popup appears after a certain number of pageviews
  • Have popup appear only on article pages (posts)
  • Create multiple popup profiles – view and manage them from an easy to use dashboard.
  • includes analytics for each popover
  • Settings require a few clicks in a kind of ‘wizard’ and would be simpler laid out in one form but overall I like this tool

See these hovers for an explanation of what it can do:

pippity-hovers

 

 

 

SCROLL TRIGGERED BOXES

There are other kinds of notifications – ones that appear at the end of a page and may slide in from the side. These are less intrusive than a “popover”. Also called “toasters” since they can pop up from the bottom of the screen.

this looks like a nice simple option: https://wordpress.org/plugins/scroll-triggered-boxes/screenshots/
UPDATE: Scroll Triggered Boxes is now Boxzilla

DEMO:
(their site is no longer working at http://wecandothatforyou.com/scroll/)

See more:

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BARS

Another way to be less intrusive is to use an announcement bar at the top of the page instead of a popover.

All-IN-ONE TOOLS

Popup_Popover,-Embedded,-Top-Bar,-Scroll-Box-mailchimp-options

  1. MailMunch offers all 4 types of signup forms (Popup/Popover, Embedded, Top Bar, Scroll Box) and includes free and paid version (plugin links). Free version available.
  2. Launch Effect is a WordPress landing page theme with built in MailChimp integration.
  3. AddThis (free) or GetSiteControl  (free trial or starts at $7/mo): I mention them above but it’s worth repeating since they really have a fully-featured set of tools.

OTHER PAYMENT-BASED OPTIONS

  1. There are some other interesting options at this link: https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/paywall
  2. But most of them are related to people paying $ for articles – not for requiring email signup. Like this one:
    https://wordpress.org/plugins/leaky-paywall-article-countdown-nag/
    A “leaky” pay wall is basically what NTtimes does.
  3. This gives other options for the paywall – https://wordpress.org/plugins/bitwall/
    1. Pay to access content.
    2. Tweet to unlock access.
    3. Opt in to view an ad before consuming content.
  4. This is similar: https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/pay-with-a-like/
  5. Another fully featured payment system: https://zeen101.com
  6. And another non-free, fully featured landing page and “LeadBox” creation tool: leadpages.net
Posted in Web Design, WordPress | Leave a comment
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