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Wishing peace and goodwill this Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

community-photo-209712
However you define your community, it’s essential that real people are playing an active part and moving things forward.

Meeting people face-to-face remains a core activity in maintaining a sustainable community.  Shaking someone’s hand and giving them a card or leaflet yields results in terms of getting them to come along to your next event or meeting.  Nowadays, ‘face-to-face’ is no longer restricted to the physical realm. Social media platforms enable person-to-person and person-to-people video interaction to become part of your toolbox. It’s a highly competitive space with regular new innovations designed to entice users.

This presents community organisers with opportunities to easily tap in to the social media users on each platform, making them aware of your own niche community group.  From the comfort of your own home, you can siphon off new members from social media platforms.

Third Sector focus

This post concentrates on voluntary groups and charitable organisations sometimes referred to as the Third Sector. These organisations often face significant challenges in achieving their aims. Resources, in terms of skilled and committed personnel as well as funding are not always available.  The importance of fostering an active community can not be understated. Success in this area impacts directly on the level of activity the organisation can perform and contributes to the ability to attract grants and other support.  Third sector organisations often have a crucial role to play in the provision of vital services so efficiently establishing and maintaining a membership is a key task.

I don’t want to give the impression that you can build a thriving community group overnight.  It takes hard work in both the real and virtual world.  It’s useful, however, to remember that you are not competing with the social media giants. What you are providing is niche with added value for your community.

Building your list

Consider the social media giants as a sports stadium filled to the rafters, busy with frenetic activity and thousands of people speaking at the same time in dozens of different languages.  Some are selling, some are spouting off on random issues, some are playing loud music, etc. Your offering is completely different.  A small quiet room where like-minded people gather and focus on a specific topic of interest to all it’s members.

Building your community means accumulating names and addresses; people filling in paper or website forms.  Being clear about the community’s area of interest and what it means for people who come on board, encourages positive responses to your invitation to join.

Growing your own engaged communitySocial media platforms are useful for driving interested people towards your website.  Your website should seek to cover all a visitor needs to know about the area of interest and will naturally form the backbone of an ongoing campaign.  A formal presence on social media platforms for the purpose of promotion and gaining the attention of prospective community members is required.

Aim to maintain a steady flow of engaging, clickable material going out from your website to your chosen social media platform(s).  Include shared blog-type posts that feature media (images or video), directly uploaded media and occasional related content from other sources.  Keep it as visual as possible.  Make sure you present site visitors with a clear call to action for them to join / sign up / subscribe to your community.

Encouraging participation

Are your members referred to as subscribers, are they a league of friends, members or affiliates?  Whatever they’re called, look after them.  They are each worth 8 social network followers*. These are special people.  You know them.  You can contact them directly.

It is quite an achievement to have enticed a user to your website and converted them into a member of your community.  A round of applause for that.  Your task now is not only to keep them but to give them every opportunity to become an active participant.

Depending on whether your community is a local political party, chess club or business network, participation will mean different things. So, to illustrate what can be achieved, let’s look at a project I have been working on as an example.

Third Sector Example

The Gower Heritage & Enterprise FoundationThe Gower Heritage & Enterprise Foundation is a registered charity based in Telford, Shropshire, UK.  It’s goal is to bring the Gower Old School House back into use after many years being left to decay.  The website provides formal, organisational information as well as details of ongoing activities in support of their overall goal.

Site Content

  • History – A comprehensive document as well as individuals memories
  • News – Reports of happenings, forthcoming events and articles in the media
  • Gallery – Events and activities recorded in pictures
  • Friends – The community. People who support the aims of Gower Heritage & Enterprise Foundation can sign up to become a Friend of The Gower.
  • Opportunities – Fund raising events, hands-on help and volunteering
  • Calendar – Dates for the diary

Engaging posts start with a picture

Engaging posts start with a pictureIn our example, there is an abundance of content to allow for a rich campaign of ongoing promotion but even the most modest sites can find effective ways to attract visitors.

The first rule is to always include an eye catching image to accompany a succinct explanatory headline and 100 characters or so of enticing description. Again, enticements will vary and relate to what it means to convert a user into a community member.

How frequently you share content from your website will vary but certain principles should apply in all cases.  In many ways, it can be considered a ‘numbers game’.  The more links to your website exist, the more likely users will click and land on your site.  Greater success is achieved through regular and ongoing activity. For some, regular will mean daily for others weekly.  Search engines favour sites that are kept up-to-date with new content.  Content should be tailored and targeted at the most appropriate platforms for your particular community.

Keep an eye on the competition

For the uninitiated, it might seem somewhat daunting to decide where to concentrate your efforts.  It is always a useful exercise to ‘spy’ on your competitors or other organisations in your space.  In a short time you can gather which platforms will work best for you and what type of content gains the most engagement.  A blend of different types of content works well, upload images directly, share pages from your website as well as link to information or other content that is useful for your community. I am quite prepared to give specific advice on these matters to help you get results quickly.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

Tommorow is promised to no one - What happens with your Digital Legacy?

Tomorrow is promised to no one

Who knows what will happen tomorrow and what if it were the worst? If you’re reading this you’ll probably have at least one e-mail account and probably a social media account or few.  The need to plan for when you are no longer around becomes more and more of an issue with each of our online accounts.

Think about it.  What do you want to happen if you pass away?  Should your online contacts to made aware? What about the money on your PayPal account?  Do you want your Facebook to remain open?  What about the pictures?  Videos? And the ones on your phone? etc.  You know I could go on.

Still reading? Right. It makes sense to give a little thought to this in advance of your passing.  We need to consider each of our accounts – the login credentials and what action should be performed. i.e. what to do with the content, whether or not it should be closed and, importantly, who we trust to do the necessary on our behalf. Yes. We need to let someone know about all this.

Personal Assets Log

We should consider our individual accounts as ‘assets’. Digital Assets. Each with some value whether monetary, sentimental or both. A simple list is a good starting point. Don’t expect to complete it in one sitting.  The list can be built up over time as we remember or are reminded about them and then combined with our traditional Personal Assets Log that we might included in our Last Will and Testament.

Our list should cover three broad headings:

Digital Assets

  1. Hardware / devices
    • Mobile phone
    • Tablet
    • Computer / Laptop
  2. Social media
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Instagram
    • Linkedin
    • Google
  3. Other online accounts
    • Website & Blog
    • Online bank accounts & subscriptions

Notes on Social Media platforms

Many of the social media  platforms are giving consideration to the issues that arise when account holders die. Each platform adopts their own approach so there is little consistency between them.  For Facebook, content becomes part of an account holder’s ‘digital legacy’. There is now a facility whereby users can assign a ‘legacy contact’. This ultimately provides another chosen Facebook user with access to photos and videos once an account holder has died.

On Twitter, their inactive account policy means accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity. So if you would like your Tweets to remain available for friends, family and future generations to view you would need to make arrangements in advance.

At the time of writing, Instagram’s policy is to remove the account of a deceased person.  It is therefore important to backup your Instagram photos & videos while you are alive.

Approximately one-third of LinkedIn users pay a fee for a premium account and unless it is actively changed to a free account or closed, payments will continue to be collected after the death of an account holder.

If you have any of the following accounts: Gmail (Googlemail) Google+, Youtube, or Picasa you can assign a digital executor to have access to some or all of the content saved on these services.

With each digital asset there will be an associated password or PIN.  Some may also have a username and / or e-mail address.  It would make sense to compile a table with columns for:

  • the URL to the digital asset
  • account username / e-mail address
  • account password
  • the identity of whom should execute your wishes
  • details of your wishes

Social Media Will

Effectively, what we are creating here is much like a traditional ‘Last Will and Testament’ but for your digital and social media assets.  It is sometimes referred to as a Social Media Will.  It is right to grant this exercise the same level of importance as is given to our traditional will.  The finished documents and arrangements for our Social Media Will should be referred to and aligned with our traditional Will.  Yes, that means engaging our legal representative to ensure our wishes are carried out.

Pass on your passwords

Now, it may be tricky keeping our list of digital assets up-to-date.  Passwords may change, new accounts created, etc. It can become a significant ongoing task to manage our list.  I would recommend you consider utilising a password manager to help with this.  The one I use cleverly remembers all the passwords for my online accounts across all my devices so that I need only remember one master password.  In addition to the obvious convenience of ensuring credentials for each asset are up-to-date, this approach makes it easy to record your wishes and provide access to an executor.

Which ever method you use, be it bits of paper, an Excel spreadsheet or the master password to a password manager, simply giving some thought and taking some action, you are likely to avoid:

a) a great deal of trouble for those left to manage your affairs, and

b) the loss of valuable assets that would otherwise die with you.

Key steps

My aim here has been to make a case for us all to give consideration to our digital afterlife. Hopefully, you will have realised you need to take action to ensure that your loved ones enjoy the benefits of your digital assets alongside more traditional personal assets.  If you’d like support and guidance at any stage of the process, contact me.  In summary, here are the key steps you need to take:

  1. Start a conversation with your family or the person you trust to administrate on your behalf. Someone needs to know of your digital assets.
  2. Express your wishes. Be clear what you want to happen to your accounts and your content.
  3. Maintain a complete list of your digital assets.  Consider using a password manager.
  4. Set up legacy contacts
  5. Incorporate your Social Media Will into your traditional Last Will and Testament.  See that your digital assets are dealt with along with traditional assets.
Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

Dont-Panic-1As with all good things, the internet has a down side. Along with the convenience of access to information, shopping from your armchair, entertainment on demand, etc., there are horror stories going around about identity theft, data breaches, hacking and the rest. Internet users are, understandably, wary.

Google, the world’s preferred search engine, has brought matters to a head when it comes to website security.  In a push to force website owners to reassure users that the information they enter when logging in or when making purchases can not be intercepted, Google has used all it’s might to ‘flag’ insecure sites.  The impact has been significant for both internet users and website owners.

Visitors – Don’t panic!

Despite the somewhat dramatic notice that may be displayed, there is no need for concern while visiting insecure sites until you enter sensitive information.  That is, passwords, usernames, personally identifying or payment information.  If you are intend to log in or purchase, be sure to check the page is secure before proceeding.

Site owners – Don’t panic

It has been some months since Google rolled out the update to the Chrome browser that made plain whether the page you view has a secure connection or not. Other browsers have followed suit to a degree.  As I mention above, as long as the content is freely available, i.e. the user is not required to log in to access it, visitors should not be alarmed.

That said, and in the context of alarming security-related news stories, many users will be spooked into seeking to access the product, service or information from another source.  A source that displays the reassuring padlock in the address bar.  This is indeed advisable if they are passing sensitive information to the web page.

If you’re site requires users to register, log in or make purchase, you will probably have noticed a worrying dip in activity.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

Here’s the thing. Google has driven us into a new era. Now, all sites (should) be built with basic security as standard. Regardless of whether ‘sensitive’ information is passed to any of it’s pages.  So, get with the programme.

Most of you will have your website ‘hosted’ through GoDaddy or whatever.  Your provider will now be offering hosting packages which include SSL. Secure Sockets Layer is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between their web server and a visitor’s browser.  Great if you’re starting up now but if your already up and running, you have to add it to your existing package. The process differs from provider to provider and can be completed in under 48 hours in some cases.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

TUZONGO Web Design is the proud sponsor of the Telford Group.  Open to all who wish to share our aim to celebrate all that is good about Telford and support positive initiatives.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

TREND ACADEMY Colour_Itinerary.pub
Free workshop to be held on 17 and 18 July at the Parkside Building, Birmingham City University.  This is the first workshop for the newly established Trend Academy: the theme is colour.

Understanding and using colour effectively a vital element of many market sectors. Whether it is developing your brand online, attracting customers to your products in a store, promoting a sense of well-being in an interior scheme or providing visual pleasure to your clients, colour is a major ingredient in the mix.

The workshop covers colour basics, spotting and using trends, a business case study and an opportunity to experience using colour hands-on. It is delivered by both academic and industry experts.

To register your interest, please email now. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

This offer is through the Innovative Product Support Service part-funded by European funding (ERDF). As such, it is subject to some restrictions relating to your postcode and company size. Email now to find out if you qualify.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

If there’s one thing you must do as a local business when your shiny new website goes live, it’s to Google your business with Google My Business.

web design telford-2On it’s own, this free tool won’t make your website suddenly top the search engine results but for local searches, your site could be one of three that Google highlights for the searcher.

That makes the few minutes spent setting your business up on Google My Business well worth the investment.  When describing the importance, I would consider using terms such as “critical”, “essential” and “incredibly important”.

The key aspect here is ‘local’.  Google spends a lot of effort providing relevant, useful and local results when folk use their search engine. It’s vital that you’re present when your name (or keyword) is called.  Local businesses that have spotted this can gain an advantage over their competitors and, on the face of it, it might be considered that Google’s emphasis on all things local, actually favours small businesses nearby over bigger companies further afield.

Getting Started

Sam Dey’s excellent recent video explains why and how to get registered on Google My Business.  It’s not Rocket Science.  After all, if you’ve gone to the trouble of starting a business and getting a website, your business should be something you know a lot about.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .
CloverZone - Hand Made Pewter PostThis eCommerce site provides handmade lead-free pewter jewellery and curios to customers all over the world!

These exclusive products are also available from a number of regular markets throughout Shropshire as well as one-off events!

Special prices are given to wholesalers who can register and make contact through the site.


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Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

Bootstrap Tour with “Not Now - Later” option for userI’m using the excellent Bootstrap Tour on a web application.  Whilst not overly complex, I was mindful that some of those who would be using the application I was developing were not as internet savvy as others.  So the Bootstrap Tour seemed the ideal tool to use.  It allows me to give users the option to take the tour to discover features of the application.  It is pretty straight forward to implement straight out-of-the-box and the application programming interface (API) details a host of options and methods to customise its use.

I intended to present options to user who land on the main page of the application.  Those who needed a little hand-holding could take the tour while those more able users, could choose not to bother with the tour at all.

The Problem

The standard implementation of the displays a popover at the start of the tour that invites user to move to the next step or to end the tour.  If the user chose to proceed they would continue, step-by-step.  For users that decide to end the tour, that decision would be ‘remembered’ by their browser.  The API provides different ways of storing information about progress through the tour including not to store any information at all.  In this case, the tour would be offered on each visit.

I wanted to avoid annoying users by repeatedly inviting them to take the tour so the default option to use of the Local Storage of their browser seemed a good idea.  I also wanted to offer users the option to take the tour later which doesn’t happen if they simply choose to end the tour.  While it is possible to set up a link for users to click that initiates the tour,  I wanted it to automatically start upon their next visit.

The Solution

The solution I found to work involves a javascript function that deletes data stored in the browser local storage and using the template option on the first step of the tour.

The template option allows for customisation of the popover.  By default, the first step includes a ‘Next’ button, an ‘End’ button and a greyed out (disabled) ‘Prev’ button. My custom popover replaces the ‘Prev’ button with a button labeled ‘Later’.

<div class='popover tour'>
  <div class='arrow'></div>
  <h3 class='popover-title tour-start'></h3>
  <div class='popover-content'></div>
  <div class='popover-navigation'>
    <button id='Later' class='btn btn-default'>Later</button>
    <span data-role='separator'>&nbsp;</span>
    <button class='btn btn-default' data-role='next'>Start »</button>
    <button class='btn btn-default' data-role='end'>No thanks</button>
  </div>
</div>

I’ve given the ‘Later’ button a unique identifier id='Later' that I use in the javascript function below.

jQuery('#Later').click(function(){
  tour.end();
  window.localStorage.removeItem("tour_end");
});

When the button is clicked, the end() method stops the tour.  This normally results in data being stored so that the tour is not invoked on later visits.  By deleting that data with window.localStorage.removeItem("tour_end"), the tour is invoked when the user re-visits the page.

You can see this solution in action here.

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .

Thousands of Facebook page administrators have been repeatedly presented with the following notice each time they try to verify their pages.Broken Facebook Page Verification

Facebook claim that “Verified Pages appear higher in search results.” So it would seem an important thing for page administrators to do but the system of verification is broken.

What do they mean by ‘publicly listed’?

I have embarked on the process on behalf of one of my clients.  After clicking the ‘Verify this Page’ link, I was offered two options.  Either to ‘Send Documents’ or to ‘Verify this Page with a phone number instead’.  I opted for the latter.  I was initially curious about what Facebook meant when they indicated that I enter ‘a publicly listed phone number for your business or organization’.  Like many I’m sure, I assumed that it simply meant the number should not be ex-directory.  So I went ahead and made three separate attempts at verification with three different publicly listed phone numbers.  On each occasion, an automated call to the numbers were placed by Facebook and Irish accented voice issued three different verification codes.

For anyone not knowing what to expect, it is not easy to understand what is being said by an automaton with a strange accent and as it is fully automatic, there is no opportunity to say, “Pardon?  Sorry.  I didn’t quite catch that.”  So on at least one of my attempts, I guessed and probably entered the wrong code in the page settings.

I have since discovered, after seeking the help of the Google search engine, that what Facebook means by publicly listed is: associated with an organisation listed in a business directory.  So, my wrongly guessed verification code entry would not have made no difference anyway as the organisation was not listed in a business directory at that time.

If, at first, you don’t succeed, . . .

I then set about rectifying this and successfully got the organisation into Yell.com the UK’s leading online business directory.  Before returning to the task of Facebook page verification, I checked that the organisation indeed could be found in a search at Yell.com.  It was all good.

Each subsequent attempt to use the telephone verification system at Facebook, with increasing lengths of time between attempts and increasingly frustrated, have failed.

Back to Google.  It turns out that I am by no means the only one facing this same difficulty according to this page within Facebook’s Help Community section.  A growing list of users have fallen foul of the Facebook Page verification system over recent months.  Some have resorted to sending documentation and after weeks and months of waiting and retrying, have all been subjected to either the same annoying on-screen message, “Too many phone calls scheduled by this account. Please wait and try again later” or simply a wall of silence.

In response to this question, a representative of the Facebook Help Team by the name of Ripley, shared a link to some information that indicates that the organisation I sought to have verified is now blocked for “using a feature in a way that could be considered abusive!”

So, here we remain with an un-verified Facebook page.  After utilising a facility presented to us by Facebook, having done as requested by that facility to “try again later”, branded as an abusive user and frustrated by a system that is not working!

Sid Edwards

Sid Edwards Web Designer

Sid is Proprietor of tuzongo.com with an interest in helping small and medium-sized enterprises compete with large companies. He has many years experience using coding skills with standard frameworks to create unique award winning websites. You can follow Sid on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, Like on Facebook or circle on .
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Phone: Telford 615787
Website: tuzongo.com
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