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CitrusKiwi's Web Design, Internet & Marketing blog

Get hints and tips about web design, SEO, and things internet. We also discuss online security issues, showcase new client websites and offer hints on marketing and networking.

Credit card processing woes

When we began CitrusKiwi 9 years ago, no merchant processor would touch us. No surprise really. Brand new company, owner brand new to the USA, no credit history. We had a lot going against us. So we w...
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Desktops/laptops/brick and mortar still popular shopping

If you're like me, you'll have heard that around 90% of all buying decisions start with an online search. And about 60% of those searches are done on mobile devices. A recent survey of 1000 people has...
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  1290 Hits

Google ordered... and complies

It's a truly wonderful thing to see giant, Google, lose one (or 2 in this case). From a designer's and SEO's point of view, Google is like living in olden days when one felt the need to "please the gods". With over 60-70% of search traffic, getting it wrong with Google is bad for business. Because of their economic situation, they have huge power to do pretty much whatever they feel like - even if it's wrong, who can afford to sue them? However, 2 recent court cases have brought at least the glimmer of a smile to the "Google haters". First in Europe, and now Japan. Courts from both areas have ordered Google to "forget" individuals pasts - including debts, convictions and other "embarrassing" data under Europe's and Japan's tough anti-defamation legislation. This all seems wondeful, and, for the individuals concerned, it probably is. However, when we view the stats...
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Lessons from a Lovebird

"Out of the mouths of babes, oft time come gems." This well-known saying, probably derived from Psalms in the Bible, should remind us to always be on the lookout to learn a life lesson in the most obscure of places. Today, I have 2 posts, as I felt compelled to write this second one, not about how to exponentially multiply your traffic, guarantee 100% click through, or how to have the best website in the world, but rather to share a few "gems". When you're down, sing louder! Life is full of ups and downs, good and bad, want and plenty. How we react during these times determines who we are. When Kenya, our Lovebird, was getting low on water or food he'd sing and chat to us even more than normal. Without being a whinger, when life is tough, gather your friends around you and ask for support. A trouble...
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21 tips to stay healthy at your desk

With the world becoming more and more based around computers, here's a list of ideas to keep healthy even if you're stuck at a desk or computer every day. Take a break at least once an hour. Every hour (set a timer on your computer if you need to), get up & take a quick walk somewhere (workmate’s desk, farthest restroom, photocopier, water cooler). Just get moving. Stretch and move where you sit. Can't go anywhere? Bend and touch your toes, walk or march on the spot a few minutes, rev it up with jumping jacks (who cares what the office thinks!). Mobile meetings. If you have a brainstorm session or meeting scheduled, do it on the move! Walk & win! It's not only good for fitness & health, but can help reduce stress & increases creativity! Elevators, escalators and moving walkways - Public Enemy #1! Maybe you work on the...
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Internet costs & speed - are we being ripped off?

We switch on our computers and expect the internet to flood into our room. And, usually, that happens. But are we getting the speeds we deserve, or even, that we are paying for? By the end of this year (2014), Americans will have paid about $400 billion (yes, with a "B") by major players, AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink to "future-proof" our network with fiber optic cabling. Cabling that NEVER materialized! Though varying between states, once all the fees, taxes and surcharges are taken into account, every household would have been fleeced about $4-5,000 from 1992-2014. Back in 1992, state laws mandated that broadband speeds should be 45mbps in both directions. My current Cox connection (in Phoenix) gives me about 65Mbps download, and around 11-12Mbps upload - a far cry from 45 each way. It might be comforting, at least, to know that, poor speed aside, we in America at least enjoy...
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How to get a "free lunch" on the internet

"There's no such thing as a free lunch". It's a well known saying, but do you know just how it applies to the internet? What IS a "free lunch" on the internet? "Free" download Yes, there are many great genuinely free programs and content you can download. I run a number of free alternatives to paid programs. Though I actually own a legit copy of Photoshop CS3, I have never invested the time needed to learn it, so I use a reasonable alternative called Inkscape - free download. However, a quick Google search will also give you dozens, if not hundreds, or links to sites offering full copies of Photoshop for free. So why not? Well, because it's illegal (plenty of reason on its own), but also because the download has a high probability of containing one or more viruses. What you don't know about website add-ons/extensions So you don't download...
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The pot and the kettle

I'm sure most people know the old saying, "The pot's calling the kettle black!" and what it means . Recently, search giant Google has been drawing a lot of attention in Europe for "antitrust" matters and is poised to come to a settlement with the EU. However, there has been some very vocal outrage at this settlement from the likes of Microsoft (read Bing). Just recently, Yelp, who has been critical of Google and its practices in the past, has added its voice to the verbal barrage. Yelp's CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, wrote to European Commission chief José Manuel Barroso recently to add its disapproval. Part of his letter says... Upon reflecting on our discussion about the European Digital Agenda, and my company’s historic role as a concerned observer of Google’s anticompetitive actions, I realized Yelp’s current status as a mere witness within the DG-COMP deliberations was inadequate; in order to truly advocate...
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Dashed and/or underscores in URLS

This is one question I'm asked from time to time, and it's a great question. Is phoenixwebsitedesign.com the same as phoenix-website-design.com or phoenix_website_design.com? To figure this out, let's look at how search engines interpret these 3 URLs. Dashes, underscores or nothing? Simply put, according to Google, they look at dashes as a space between 2 or more words, whereas they view underscores as joining 2 or more words. So, for Google, phoenixwebsitedesign.com and phoenix_website_design.com are the same. Bing is slightly different. They look at dashes and underscores exactly the same - a space between 2 words. So, to get the same result from both search engines, you'd be better to use dashes, But does it matter? Aren't search engines getting smart enough nowadays to figure it out? Why it matters- the ongoing debate The SEO community has debated for years, and continues to do so, over this topic. In Google's case,...
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Slack blogging and fast computers

Considering how I encourage all my clients to blog, it was with dismay that I looked at my December 2013 last post date! Ouch! I'd plead the 5th, but I'm not sure that covers this. I do have some sort of excuse... really! At the beginning of January 2014 we moved down to Phoenix, AZ, so most of December was spent packing up, and most of January unpackign what we'd just packed. Except for all the stuff that got stolen... thanks for that whoever you are, I hope my clothes fit...or not! So we're now settling into a slower paced life in Phoenix than it was in Sacramento. Everyone keeps asking if we like the heat and "You just wait till summer!" We'll see, as we both love the heat. So that's my excuse for being slack at getting to this. My other part of this little post is something I...
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2013 Best of award scam

CitrusKiwi Web Solutions LLC has won the "Best of Citrus Heights for Web development 2013"! Wow!  What an exciting email to receive! Of course, it lost its luster somewhat as I'd had 2 identical emails over the last 3-4 weeks for Web marketing and for Search Engine Optimization. So what's this "best of <city name> for <your industry>" scam all about?  Money!  Isn't it always?  And this is how it works... You'll get an email out of the blue stating that you've won. Here's the exact text from the opening line of the one I just received. CitrusKiwi Web Solutions LLC has been selected for the 2013 Best of Citrus Heights Awards for Web Site Design & Development. The email goes on to say that I can get "...details and more information..." by viewing their website and giving a link.  So, curious me follows the link and, yowza!, there's my award....
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The internet in 2016

Back in the 80s I had computer problems and had to buy a new hard drive and some more memory.  The memory stick was a wopping 1Mb and cost $100!  I don't remember the cost of the equally wopping 80Mb HD (can't even get Windows on that now!), but I remember thinking to myself, "How will I ever fill up that much disk space?"  How times, and technology, has changed.  And changed our lives. Remember these?  Yes, that's aging me to say I do, in fact, I had a couple of them.  And that was only a decade before my 80Mb HD. In the day when I carried my bank book to the bank with my 50c to deposit (and that was a bunch of money back then), desktop computers were few and far between, and the closest we got to smartphones or tablets was watching Star Trek... "Beam me up...
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When did you last update your website?

If the answer is more than a month ago, that's too long. And if you have an e-commerce site, updating doesn't just mean adding a few products or changing their descriptions.  Nor does editing a page a bit count.  Updating means substantial additions or editing. What's the big deal? Updating your site is important for 2 entities - your human visitors and your robot visitors.  Humans like fresh stuff to read or look at and keeps them returning - that's why blogs are great additions.  It may also get them to bookmark you or, even better, refer you to friends and collegues.  Robot visitors - those are the electronic spiders which search engines send out - also like fresh content, but for a different reason.  Fresh content indicates that the site owner cares about their site, and is putting effort into making it better = authoritive. What should I do then?...
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RIP Internet Explorer - about time!

Did I give away my feelings? My wife's always says I wear my heart on my sleeve! :-) Yeah, well IE is dead... yet... but I'm looking forward to the day when surfers wake up to the fact that they very likely aren't seeing the site that the web designer intended they see. Remember seeing this ridiculous image plastered around the web? It's sad to realize that some designers went out of their way to coddle Microsoft and it's disastrous set of web standards. Becuase of IE we have tags like <strong> whereas everyone else was using <b> to get text into bold. Why? Probably because they (Microsoft) could, they didn't care, and a huge number of end users didn't know. But, for the design world, it just created unnecessary work. So, seeing as I've upgraded to Windows 7, and it doesn't run IE 6, 7, or 8, I was faced...
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5 reasons Google Apps is a must for business growth

Google first launched its Apps program back in 2007 as an alternative for businesses to the traditional Office suite of tools.  Whilst most businesses will be more than catered for with the free version, there is a Premier version that gives tech support and more email storage for a paltry $50 per year per user.  Plus, in April this year, Google added the ability for businesses to pay just $5 per app per user per month. Who's using Google Apps? According to Google, 3 million plus businesses and 30 million plus private persons are signed up for it.  That's a powerful user base to allow Google to go even further, because you know many of those will be paying customers = more revenue!  Their impact on small and medium-sized businesses has caused Microsoft to release its Office 365 recently in the hope it will offset the inroads GA has been making...
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5 critical e-Commerce trends to be aware of

Maybe you, like me, remember the "good old days" of marketing on the Internet.  The late 80's and early 90's were very much the wild, wild west of having an online presence.  Clunky websites with little pizzazz, zero visitor interactivity, and the same information you'd find on the company's brochures.  In short, their website was just a brochure - and usually done with way less class than the original! In a report from earlier this year, Forrester Research Inc from Cambridge, MA, USA, identified 5 critical trends for 2011 and forward in e-Commerce. 1. The growth of multi-channel monster. An increasing number of retailers are now multi-channelling their marketing efforts and seeing more of their sales through their web divisions than previously. This tendency for the web channel to outstrip the physical retail store has been going on for years.  But much of this growth is coming at really critical times,...
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