Category Archives: Oracast News

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Google Is Turning Up The Pressure.

smartphoneNews feeds are buzzing with the latest Google update slotted to take effect April 21st. With mobile searches tipping the scales, exceeding desktop searches, the new update will affect websites that do not meet mobile-friendly guidelines. To provide a better mobile experience Google will be “expanding [its] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.”

 

Google makes several hundred minor changes every year to the criteria on which websites are ranked. Major updates, like the one soon to take place however, is big news as search engine optimization methods must change to meet new guidelines, something that hasn’t happened on this scale in years. If your website isn’t prepared your search engine ranking on mobile devices may take a dive. Desktop rankings will not be immediately affected, though webmasters predict further changes in the near future may impact all searches.

 

With this latest algorithm update, Google has also made it clear that there will be no middle ground in terms of website mobile friendliness – your site is either friendly or it’s not. Responsive websites also help to future-proof your site against ever changing browsers and devices.

 

If you’ve clung to the same retro website for decades, Google will continue to create compelling reasons to move on. It is time. Google has officially given webmasters a reason to provide a better online experience for the large percentage of mobile search traffic. So, what should you do?

 

Here are a few practical steps:

  1. Check your website on Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Here. It only takes a second.
  2. See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page.
  3. For more information on the update, check out Google’s blog post.

If the results of your Mobile-Friendly Test was positive, awesome! You’re set. If it came out negative, don’t panic. Our team at Oracast has years of experience building responsive mobile-friendly websites and we’d love to hear from you. We’re here to keep your organization competitive on all fronts. If you have any questions give us a call at 888.210.9805 or email sales@oracast.com.

Google Ranking by Mobile Friendly – Are you Ready?

Maybe recently you received an email from Google Webmaster Tools that goes something like this:

Fix mobile usability issues found on [example.com]

Google systems have tested 100 pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 100 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

Over the last month, Google has been sending out emails like this to warn webmasters about the upcoming change in how Google ranks websites. On April 21, 2015, Google will use this “Mobile Friendly” factor when users search from mobile devices, and if you’re not ready, your site could get dropped out of the search results.

 

The problems that your website might have might seem pretty technical, with the most common being “Viewport not configured”. This means that your site doesn’t have the header telling it to change the display of the site according to the size of the display. At the very least your page headers should have this line:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

For most websites, this means you need to change your current website or template to a Responsive web design. If you are a using a CMS like WordPress, this is intended to be a simple process. If you want to get into the technical details, you can learn more at Google’s Responsive Web Design Basics.

 

If you want to test if your site is Mobile Friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool

 

Of course if you need help making your website mobile friendly, or just don’t have the time to get it done before April 21, contact us here, and we will be glad to help!

WordPress MainWP Child Plugin Security Issue

There is a serious privilege escalation vulnerability in the MainWP Child WordPress plugin. This plugin has over 90,000 active installs. The vulnerability allows an attacker to log into a vulnerable website bypassing the password authentication mechanism that WordPress provides.

 

What to do: Upgrade immediately to version 2.0.9.2 which was released last Friday and fixes this specific issue.

 

WordPress.org estimates 90,000 active installs are out there, so please help spread the word to the rest of the WordPress community about this issue.

Shaw experiencing routing issues across Canada

If you have been experiencing any issues accessing email or websites hosted by us please note that Shaw Communications is having routing issues across Canada. This means that if you’re using Shaw as your internet provider, your internet experience might be slow and websites/email may be inaccessible.

 

There is a great resource here http://canadianoutages.com/status/shaw/map/ that shows a heat map of the affected areas. If you scroll down you’ll see the most recent Shaw postings from their twitter account. As always if you require assistance please don’t hesitate to call our support line at 1-888-210-9805 extension 3.

The Rules of Usability

website rules of usabilityWhen developing a new website, our managers, developers and creative team often meet to check-off our list of website quality checkpoints.

Here are 5 rules for website usability:

 

5 Second Rule

When a fresh new design is created for our clients, we step back and take note of what stands out first on the page. Where does your eye land first? Where does your eye go next? Is it conveying the message our client would like to communicate? Does the page flow, is it clear, and does it lead to the desired call to action? There is some debate on exactly how much time you have to capture your website visitors, but the initial impression is made within seconds.

 

Easy Navigation – 3 Click Rule

We clearly define our clients objectives from the get-go. We then ensure that the website is easy to navigate by applying the 3 click rule. This rule says that visitors can find what they are looking for in 3 clicks from any page of the site. Easy navigation is extremely important as website visitors are usually in a hurry and click onto another site within seconds if they do not see what they are looking for.

 

Copy Writing

We encourage our clients to keep content bite sized. Use bullet points and images wherever possible to keep interest levels up. Avoid long paragraphs, especially on the homepage. Need we say more?

 

Font Size / Spacing

While there are differing opinions on the ideal font size, we like to lean towards too big rather than too small. It’s important that all text is easy to read, with proper spacing and continuity of fonts and sizes.

 

Critical Content is Above the Fold

The “fold” is the imaginary line where the bottom of your screen would cut off without scrolling down. 80-90% of website visitors don’t scroll down so it’s important to have your most critical content “above the fold”. This should include your “call to action” and contact info.

 

While this list is not complete, these rules are a good start on which to critic the usability of a website. Need help with your website? Contact us today!

When, Where and How – Social Media Strategies Every Marketer Should Know

We recently came across an insightful report on www.trackmaven.com that analyzed 1.2 million blogs which resulted in two billion social shares. Social media is constantly evolving and approaching it with a solid marketing strategy produces the highest engagement and best results.

Here are the most interesting facts and tips for building a successful marketing strategy based on the latest research.

When To Post

Weekdays are the most popular days to post on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Tuesdays and Wednesdays have long been thought to engage the highest viewership. Surprisingly however, Saturdays and Sundays actually produce higher engagement and more shares. If you’re looking for more interaction from your posts, try experimenting with weekends. If you see a higher level of engagement, then work that into your marketing plan.

 

facebook-post-day-of-week-trackmaven

The best time of day to post is in the evenings when people spend time surfing the web and sharing posts that interest them.

TIP

Always schedule your posts in advance. I love this “hard to find” feature on Facebook that allows you to schedule posts.

facebook-scheduler

 

Where Should You Post?

The largest social networks of course are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has 1.23 billion active users, so that is an obvious social media platform for most marketers. There are however, countless smaller networks that may be relevant to your brand as well. While it would be a waste of time and impossible to post on all of them (without a small army) it’s important to understand where your target audience hangs out.

Linkedin is the best network for B2B. Google+ is important for SEO. Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool across many creative business sectors. Spend time researching your target audience to find out where they are most likely to hang out.

 

How To Post – Interesting Punctuation Facts

Do question marks matter?
According to the research done by TrackMaven, when posts are framed as a question, the social media shares double. How many question marks should you add to your post???? Just one! Engagement dramatically declined when more than one question mark was used.

Exclamation Points!
While multiple question marks decreased social shares, multiple exclamation points had the opposite effect. Social shares actually increased when the posts had four exclamation points as opposed to just one to two. What? What!!!!

Length
Keep your titles short and to the point. Anything over 60 characters resulted in a steep decline of interest.

 

If you need help with your social media tactical plan, Oracast is here for you!!!!

What You need to Know: Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

On July 1, 2014, Canada introduces new rules under Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) for businesses and their employees when it comes to sending electronic messages.

Does it really matter? Well the fines can go up to $1 Million for an individual or $10 Million for a corporation, yikes!

The new rules set three requirements for sending out commercial electronic message (CEM), to an electronic address.

  1. Obtain Consent
  2. Provide Identification information
  3. Allow the recipient the ability to ‘Unsubscribe’

Consent

Consent is the only tricky one, as there are two types of consent: expressed and implied. Note that a form with a pre-checked check box cannot be used as it assumes consent. For expressed consent you need the customer to opt-in and take positive action to indicate their consent. For implied consent you must already have an existing relationship to the user.

The one thing here to remember is that the onus is one the CEM sender to prove they have consent.

Identification

You need to provide an active mailing address that you can be contacted at.

Unsubscribe

Make it really easy to unsubscribe and you’re safe.

Is this only for companies inside Canada?

No, these anti-spam rules also protect Canadians from spam coming from companies and individuals outside of Canada as well.

For more details, check out the government site