Freelance Web Designer Blog

The Top 5 Hosting Company Irritations

I love hosting companies because they do what the small business shouldn’t do … host a website. It takes up-to-date hardware, on-site technical talent, and a safe, clean environment to operate a server. HOWEVER, there are several things that hosting companies do that are annoyances.

Bad Answers. There’s nothing more annoying than calling customer service and getting a “bad” answer to a technical question. Bad answers force additional phone calls to get “good” answers. I spent two weeks going back and forth with one hosting company when email wouldn’t send through an on-site form. I could get the same form to work on another site and a different hosting account (with the same company) which means it worked on a different server. They told me it was a configuration error. When I finally got hold of an interested rep who escalated the problem the found that there was a server problem on their end that had been causing the problem all along. It shouldn’t take ten phone calls to work through a question.

The 72 Hour Wait. This really is a bad answer but it deserves a category of it’s own. Remember when you were told by a hosting company to sit back and wait 24 hours for something to propagate? Then it went to 36 hours and now it’s 72 hours!

Server Installed Plugins. For WordPress users this can be a nightmare. I’ve had hosting companies who install plugins and the site will only work with them and if a client inadvertently deletes the plugin the hosting company has no means of re-installing the plugin. The latest issue is a plugin installed by a large hosting company on their WordPress hosting that requires the client to “flush the cache” every time they post to their blog. If they don’t, then the post isn’t seen on all devices.

“Due to High Call Volume…” This message every time you call a hosting company should be a red flag. If call volume is that high all the time… then hire more people!

Old PHP. The script and plugins that run WordPress require up-to-date PHP. Why would a hosting company offer a product specifically called WordPress hosting that doesn’t have options to update to the latest version of PHP? I’ve seen hosting companies charge client to move their entire site to a new server with up-to-date PHP rather than update their current server. Other hosting companies offer no option at all to upgrade or move to a current version of PHP.

I remain an independent consultant. I’m not an affiliate nor have I ever been one for any hosting company. If you need help getting your WordPress site launched and you want to start off with the right hosting. Give me a call and let’s work through your options.

The 3 Things I Won’t Do On Facebook

Many of my friends and clients know I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Remember when the “not-to-do” list was simply not posting personal information or posting when you were away from home? The Congressional hearings with Mark Zuckerberg last year lifted the veil on some reasons you may want to rethink what you do on Facebook.

  1. Download the Facebook App. I know how much we our phones and how convenient is to have Facebook on your phone or tablet, but until Facebook can give me an absolute answer to how the app handles security, I defer from having it on my devices. Even with “location” turned off in the settings I’ve been delivered ad for stores I’m standing in!

2. Search the Web. If you go up to the search bar in Facebook and enter a name or anything else it will not only show people and pages on Facebook, but give you links to articles on the web. You don’t think Facebook is noting these searches? Was this part of the data sold to Cambridge Analytica? Who else gets this data and what do they do with it? Does it really enhance my web experience by sharing this info with Facebook?

3. Go to Another Website. One question that Zuckerberg hedged in the D.C. hearings last year was whether Facebook tracked user’s activity when they moved to another website from Facebook. Not sure it they’re tracking you, then close out your Facebook tab before moving on to another website.

Maybe Facebook gathering data is no big deal, however being aware of where your data my be going is always a big deal. Surf wisely.

Hasta La Vista Google+

In December 2018 Google announced that they were shutting down their social media platform Google+. Their official explanation cites “low usage” as a key factor in pulling the plug. So heads up… if you’ve been using Google+ and link to it on your website it’s time to remove any buttons or links. Google is removing all content so those buttons will shortly be only going to error screens!

4 Web Marketing Tips: LinkedIn for Writers

LinkedIn is an easy and effective way for Writers to stay connected with their associates in the industry.  Writing is both a service (ghost writer, journalist, etc.) and a product (published articles, new book, etc.). While LinkedIn won’t put a download a book, it’s an important tool for Writers to build a network of colleagues and open the door to new opportunities for publication Continue reading “4 Web Marketing Tips: LinkedIn for Writers”