Call Ozdachs at 415.347.6479|info_request@ozdachs.biz

About Ozdachs

San Francisco Internet Marketer and web designer gets you on the Internet in a cost-effective, responsible way.

Collaborating on a New Website

UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA home page
I was especially happy to do the website because the stories told are important to me. One of the four subjects of the film is a man I have been mentoring since he arrived at the San Francisco airport four years ago, and I make a few brief appearances in the film, mostly as comic relief playing the porter.

What made this website different from a development point of view is that the clients were filmmakers. They’re filmmakers with excellent design sense and ideas of how they wanted the site to look… pretty exact ideas of how they wanted the site to look, in fact!

In our first meeting they had a mock-up of the design they were looking for, a site structure, and ideas for the content on their pages. Most of my clients rely on me to suggest what pages they need and what should be on them. Not filmmakers Tom Shepard and Jen Gilomen.

So, instead of coming up with possible layouts and content for client approval, my task was simplified. I just had to find a way to get the Avada WordPress template I often use to accommodate the client’s desires.

This work reinforced my suspicion that Avada is very flexible. It allowed me to do the layout, color palate, and even the font selection that the filmmakers wanted.

I also learned that filmmakers are right up there with architects in their concern that the website be a spectacular representation of their aesthetics and commitment to quality. They wanted each website page to be as carefully framed as the scenes in their movie. Is the font size too large? Is the image too dark? too light? How far apart should the letters be spaced?

Fortunately, these are kind and calm filmmakers. They worried with good humor and kindness.

And, I didn’t sigh too loudly when they deleted any visibility (Search Engine Optimization) elements… like putting the film title in the page headlines or reiterating the subject of the documentary often enough to clue Google in on what a page was about.

UNSETTLED Subjects Profile Picture

Their site represents the look and feel wanted by the filmmakers. Their iterative updates all focused on getting the pages cleaner, leaner, and completely uncluttered.

From my point of view, this was an easy job. The clients didn’t hem and haw about the look they wanted. They’ve got The Eye. And, they communicated what they wanted clearly.

What do you think? Check out the site and let me know.

And, be sure to see if the film is playing near you. See it!

By |2019-06-22T14:04:40-08:00June 22nd, 2019|Web Design|1 Comment

So, You Want to “Do” Social Media!

I believe its a great idea for small businesses to participate in social media. Being on Facebook and a few other social media spots is expected by potential clients, and you can get more business by participating online.

Of course, “social media” is a broad category. When a potential clients asks me if I can help them, my first response is, “Yes!”  And, then my expectation setting and question asking begins.

Woman Looking at Social Media Icons

The major caution I have is that like most other things on the Internet, social media participation offers only incremental benefit to most businesses. It can help, a bit.

But, it’s unlikely that your killer Instagram photograph is going to go viral and prompt 100,000 people to call and want to buy your service.

It could happen, but it’s not likely that you’re going to be an international Internet meme. Rather, if you spend a fair amount of effort, you should expect that a few more people are going to feel like they know/trust/understand/want to engage with your business or buy its products.

Once we’ve discussed the most likely impact of social media, we need to talk about what type and how much social media the business wants to set up. These decisions themselves depend on why you decided to start a social media campaign.

A common basic motivation is business credibility. Clients expect you to be on Facebook and other platforms, and you do not want to disappoint and seem like an amateur outfit. Simply setting up accounts on a social media platform or two or three and populating them with basic information about your business could be enough. Maybe you’d even be content with claiming a stake on Facebook or another site without having a commitment to making regular (or any) updates.

More commonly, businesses want to build brand awareness. They want potential clients to discover them from their posts and because others have commented or mentioned the business in their posts. Brand awareness looks for spreading the business image by word of mouth in targeted online groups. For example, a local groomer might do a series of posts hoping that the local long hair dachshund owner’s group will mention the groomer’s services aimed at fluffier dogs.

The most intense purpose to be on social media is to obtain sales. Click here to buy/subscribe/join!

How Much Energy are You Willing to Spend?

Most businesses are focused on providing their services or products to customers. The owners didn’t going into business to do social media. So, one of the first things an owner has to do is to decide much of themselves are they willing to devote to social media/marketing.

  • What is your time commitment?
    How much time per day/week/month are you willing to give over to social media? How much of your staff’s time are you will to assign to social media?

Social Media Content Planning Chart
  • How long are you willing to sustain your initial social media push?
    Be realistic. Do you just want to get online to say you’re there, or will you commit to posting to your chosen platforms daily? weekly? monthly? how often?!

How Much Money are You Willing to Spend?

If you want more involvement on social media than you’re able or willing to do yourself, then what do you need help with and how much social media support is reasonable for you to pay for?

Be strategic… even cautious! 

The benefit from most marketing initiatives, including social media and search engine optimization for websites, provide incremental benefits. If you are a one-person or small-group organization whose product or service isn’t very social-media friendly (say manufacturing screws) and your average customer spends $50, then you may want only limited social media exposure. Keep the cost of acquiring new clients in proportion to the revenue each new client brings to your business.

Here are somethings to decide as you draw up your social media budget.

Where Do You Want Help?

Here are some questions to guide you on whether you, your regular staff, or consultants should take primary responsibility:

  • Are you managing your own posts?
    That is, are you scheduling the frequency of your posts and the topics in them?

  • Are you writing your own posts?

  • Are you taking your own photographs?
    Do you want a local consultant/photographer to take them?
    Do you want to use stock photographs?

  • Are you identifying which third-party blogs/posts/photos you want to share with your followers?

  • What social media management tools are you willing to buy?
    How about:

    • Hootsuite
    • Clearview

Where Do You Want to Be Social?

How many social media platforms do you want to participate in? Each takes some time to curate, and each has a different networking focus. Over time Ozdachs has participated in the ones below…

Here are spots I now suggest considering:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Linked-in

  • YouTube

  • Your Own Blog

  • Others
    Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, Snapchat, Yelp, etc., etc.!

There’s a final cautionary note for you when you consider a social media campaign. Of the dozen or so clients I have set up with social media accounts and started their campaigns, maybe one or two kept engaging for a year or more.

Even when the others acquired a reasonable number of followers and could point to clients who found them on social media, most all lost focus and stopped posting. The participation on social media stopped being fun for the owners and the incremental benefits just weren’t worth it.

Of course, even coming and going on social media does have some benefit.  Google and other search engines will continue to credit your business for what you did post. A few potential clients will stumble across your old posts online and contact you. And, for some businesses — especially those that typically make a significant amount of money from each like (like CPA’s, equipment sales people, etc.) — there is a more compelling reason to staying social.

Plus, the work you do to establish social media accounts is a one-time effort. Most social media platforms welcome you back whenever you decide you have more time to participate.

So, my bottom line suggestion is to take the plunge into social media. But, do it after you decide why you’re doing it and what resources you’re committing to the effort.

By |2019-05-10T11:51:10-08:00May 10th, 2019|Blogging, Social Media|0 Comments

The Cobbler’s Children Get New Shoes


Original Ozdachs WebsiteOur business website looked great when it went live in 2002. It was modern, clean, quick-to-load, and full-featured. We did updates and edits throughout the years, but the basic layout and functionality was rooted in standards and technology of the early new century.

The original home page is shown on the right (and click on the picture to go to the actual old site).

But, we’re not in 2002 anymore. It was way past time to create an updated Ozdachs.biz, and we were happy to go live with a new look in early July.

Here are 4 major changes we made… and ones you should consider doing, if your site is 16, 10, or even 6 years old!

Responsive Design

Responsive design means that your site responds (displays) differently depending upon the layout and size of the user’s screen. Graphics will change size and columns will break differently depending on what type of device your visitor is using. Your pages will look different on desktops, tablets, and cell phones.

For some industries, over half of all website visitors are using their cellphones, so making pages that look look and work well on small screens is important.

Responsive design lets your web pages display on the phone without making the user scroll or manually resize the screen. Users like responsive sites a lot. They don’t like to have to scroll left and right to see what’s there.

  • Moreover, Google ranks sites that are NOT responsive lower in search results. If you’re hoping that new visitors will discover your site when they look up your keywords on Google, you need to have a responsive site.

 

Mobile Test Results for Ozdachs.biz

Want to see if your current site is responsive? 

And then see if the small formats are user-friendly: Use Google’s free testing tool.

Larger and More Complex Graphics

Fifteen years ago web designers had to worry about the size of photographs and functional code on their site because download speeds were low. Remember the hot technology of DSL? The top DSL speed  was 128 kilobits per second to 3 Megabits per second (Mbps). Big pictures, maybe 8 Megabits in size, could make your website take forever to display.

Most people now get 10, 20, 100, or even 1000 Mbs from their Internet Servic Provider!

Users and search engines still care about speed, and Google boosts your site in search results if it loads in a reasonable amount of time.  But, with speeds 100 faster than they were a few years ago, images can be larger and you can do some fancy displays with pictures and text.

You want larger photos and more interesting graphics — properly focused, they grab the attention of your visitors.

WordPress for Code Management

Initially all of Ozdachs’ sites were simple HTML sites with maybe some JavaScript written for navigation or simple image swapping. To publish a site or to make changes, you had to have a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG)  HTML authoring tool like FrontPage or Dreamweaver on your computer. You’d make your changes locally and then upload the HTML code to your hosting service.

Now, up to 30% of website are developed using the open source code management system WordPress. WordPress is constantly being updated and improved. Third parties are writing tons of plug-in applications to increase the functionality of WordPress sites. In addition, scads of developers have created templates that sit on top of WordPress and let you apply and extensively customize prefabricated websites and web pages.

WordPress sites live on the hosting service, not on any one person’s computer. With proper security, your developer or you can update your site content from anywhere with an Internet connection. You do your edits using a web browser. You go to your site, enter in your authoring credentials, and make your changes. There is no special software required on your computer.

WordPress originally was known for supporting blogs like this one. But, now entire sites are built on WordPress.

Ozdachs uses WordPress —and currently the Avada template — for most of its clients. The choices of looks and features which can be selected is rich. Our web design home page shows a selection of client sites, and all but one of them are WordPress sites using Avada.

Frankly, we couldn’t offer the range of looks and functions to our clients without relying on whiz-bang products from third parties. Developers and companies are producing more reasonably-priced tools for the WordPress platform than for any other offering. So, we are WordPress fans.

HTTPS Protocol

When your old site was created, chances are your hosting service only delivered pages to visitors using Hypertext Transport Protocol, and the site’s address in web browsers showed up as “http://www.yoursite.com”.

The standard now for websites is now Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure or HTTPS.  This means that your website’s connections with your visitors are encrypted and that your site has been verified as real by a third-party issuer of security certificates. Check out this discussion of what HTTPS is and why you want it.

Most of Ozdachs clients collect no sensitive data from their visitors. Getting a security certificate and delivering content by HTTPS might seem like overkill.

However, Google threatens to penalize all sites that are not HTTPS by displaying them lower in search engine results. And, also, some of your users will be reassured by seeing the padlock icon and a “Secure” indication in the browser’s address field when they use your site.

We decided to pay for a upgraded SSL certificate for our business site so visitors know we know the technology and understand that we can be trusted.

Check Out Our New Shoes

That’s it! Our four big changes:

    1. Responsive Design
    2. Larger and Complex Graphics
    3. WordPress Base
    4. HTTPS protocol

The leap from a 2002 look and a 2018 website is a big one.

We like the fancy look look of our new shoes.

Check out Ozdachs’ Internet Consulting business site, and let us know what you think and if you have any questions on what we’ve done.

Internet Consulting and Web Design New Site

By |2018-07-24T11:01:31-08:00July 15th, 2018|Tips and Resources, Web Design|0 Comments

WiFi Mesh “Systems” for 2018’s WiFi Networks

Streaming television services, connected lights, iPads and Chromebooks, and smart devices are becoming common, even in non-techy homes and businesses. Their growing use has made WiFi coverage throughout your home or office a necessity.

When we first installed WiFi, we had one router that reached in the back part of our building where the computers, iPhones, and the Netflix box were usually located. WiFi was weak in our front rooms and garage, but we were rarely in those locations looking for the Internet..

But then iPhone apps and Amazon Echos changed our needs. Our response was to get a WiFi extender, but to be honest, that solution was not great. We had to teach every device the main WiFi name, “REDDOG”, and its password.  We had to teach every device about the extended network names, “REDDOG-EXT1”, and passwords.

As we carried our phones and other WiFi devices from room to room, they had to switch from network to network, and the hand-offs were often flawed.

Linksys Velop Mesh System

Linksys Velop Mesh System

About a year ago we switched technologies to a Mesh System. With a mesh system you connect your first unit to the ethernet from your ISP’s modem and configure the connection using a phone or tablet app. Then you plug in additional units around your home/property and quickly tell them via the app to join the WiFi network they are extending. These extenders use the same network ID, “REDDOG”, and password as the original unit.

This means that your phones, tablets, and other devices don’t have to learn many different network names, and they don’t have to switch networks as you move them around.

In our experience, the mesh network has been noticeably more reliable and easier to set up and maintain. In addition, the mesh network is faster and has tri-band capability, which has allowed us to stream video and audio to different devices simultaneously.

These systems are a bit more expensive, $300 for two units, instead of maybe $150 for a base router and $100 for a WiFi extension.  But, as you discover more WiFi devices you “need” to use in the corners of your home or property, the mesh network solution is clearer superior to other options..

We bought a Linksys Velop two-unit system from Amazon a year ago, and it’s been reliable and trouble free. When we disrupted the network by making bad decisions on some setting changes, Linksys’s free support quickly helped us get back up.

So, we recommend the Velop. It looks like the Linksys is also first choice of PC Magazine.

PC Magazine Mesh Network ratings

PC Mag has more information on mesh networking — good geeky reads And, the best prices for Velop Systems still seem to be at Amazon.

We are telling our friends and clients to go mesh!

By |2018-04-24T11:12:35-08:00April 24th, 2018|Computers and Hardware|1 Comment

Facebook is Sharing Data? Shocking!

The main question I have about Facebook allowing apps to collect (and keep) user data is, “Who didn’t know this was going on?”

Seriously? You play the FB games to learn which celebrity you’re most like or what your “real” age is or what your personality IQ is, and you don’t think that someone, somewhere devised the quiz for a commercial purpose? You get asked questions about your habits, likes, and dislikes, and you don’t suspect that the software is collecting data about you for some reason?

When you click to play/answer a quiz you’re told that the app is going to have access to all sorts of your personal information, often including your contacts. You have to say, “Okay”!

Hootsuite Login ScreenPerhaps the most obvious collectors/sharers of data with Facebook  are the other websites and services that allow you sign into them using your Facebook (or Twitter or ….) accounts.

You have to agree to let them see and use at least some of your Facebook information as part of the login process. Did you think that these other sites and applications were not getting information about you and your habits from Facebook at the same time they were telling Facebook what they knew about you? Again, seriously?

Facebook — and many other social sites, games, and apps, are free. They sell ads like the free old-time television. But, they know more about you than the broadcasters who sent the same commercial to everyone in America. Apparently people didn’t expect that Facebook would use the knowledge they have to sell more ads and make more money.

Facebook has made mistakes. It said that it didn’t share information when it had, and it didn’t get back information from places like Cambridge Analytica it said it would. And, Mark Zuckerberg and others have dissembled on the topics of privacy and data sharing.

But, I worry about the uproar focusing on Facebook and the follow-on idea that you can pass data storage laws that are going to keep your information safe on the Internet. Laws and a contrite Facebook are not going to keep your views, demographics, and interests private if you publish them online. And, if you take a poll/survey/test for the fun of it, you have to expect that the hosting site is doing something with your information.

We are each responsible for determining what we want the world to know about us and we should expect others to react positively, negatively, or commercially to what we share. Frankly, I thought this was understood by all of us Internet-savvy folks including Facebook users, bloggers, and Pornhub contributors.

The New York Times published a handy list of commonsense steps you can take give yourself marginal protection on Facebook, and most of their advice applies for other sites and apps.  Read it and take their suggestions.

But, really. The outrage over Facebook’s “data breech” sounds a little like the indignation and surprise of the bordello piano player. I don’t need Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress to know what’s being going on upstairs in the rooms.

 

By |2018-03-27T08:39:34-08:00March 26th, 2018|Facebook, Social Media|1 Comment