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Facebook Business Page and Interest Lists

So you've created your business Facebook Page and set up the custom URL. What next?

I use my Facebook business Page to "Like" my clients. This helps to separate my personal profile, which is strictly "non-work", from my business Page. It also means (hopefully) that the client will visit my Page, and reward it with a return "Like".

How to "Like" clients as your business, not you

To "Like" as your business Page, click on the Settings wheel and select Use Facebook as: and then your Page name. Then search for a client's business Page and click Like. The client's Page will receive a notification that WebSolutionZ has liked their Page.

fb bus1
To change back to your own profile, click Settings again and select your own name.

The downside of this is that I don't actually see any of my client's updates unless I either "Like" them via my personal profile as well, or regularly switch back to using Facebook as my business Page. But there is a way around this - Interest Lists. There are 2 steps to this - creating the Interest List (via your business Page), and then following it (via your personal profile).

Creating a business Interest List

  1. Click on Settings and Use Facebook as: your Page name (as above).
  2. Follow Facebook's instructions here to create an Interest List. Ensure that the List is set to Public.
  3. Click on Settings and change back to using Facebook as yourself.

Finding and adding the List

In theory, you should now be able to click on the on the Add Interests... link (currently found bottom-left on your Facebook News Feed page), and simply type in the name of the Interest List you just created. But this seems to be a mass of broken links that didn't work for me at all, so I gave up on that. Here's what I did instead:

1. Go to your business Page and scroll down until you see the Activity box. With any luck you'll see something like the image shown below. Click on the word list.

fb bus2

2. Click on the Follow button as shown.

fb bus3

3. Look for Interests via your News Feed and hover over it to display the More button. Click on this.

fb bus4

4. Click on the pencil icon next to your list name and select Add to favourites.

fb bus5

The List should now appear under the Favourites heading on your News Feed.

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Every time one of the Pages within that List posts an update, a number will be indicated next to the List. You can then choose to "Like" the item or not, as either yourself or by utilising Use Facebook as: to switch to your business Page.

If you need assistance with your web presence or website, please contact me.

The Bad News About Facebook's News Feed Changes

For the last couple of years, I've been encouraging small business owners to set up a Facebook Page, and to use it to funnel information through to their website, with varying degrees of success. In one project during 2013, we managed to get a brand-new community-based not-for-profit website from 0 to over 5000 unique visits in a single month, across a 4 month period, which was a great result for very little financial outlay.

Unfortunately, in December 2013 Facebook changed an algorithm and now the possibility of information posted by a Page being seen by followers has dropped dramatically. Some brand Pages are reporting that post reach has declined by up to 50%.

For further information, I suggest you read this article by Business Insider Australia.

So, what can you do?

Well, for now, I would still recommend establishing a Facebook Page. But as I've said previously, don't put all your eggs in one social media basket. Many organisations over the years have spent considerable time and effort building up a large following on a particular social network such as MySpace or Facebook, only to find that time and effort wasted when the network in question changes the way they do things.

Remember:

As social network users, we do not own our own content.

Set up your social media presence as part of an overall web presence, in conjunction with a personalised website, with links pointing back to that website. Imagine that the website is the centre of a spider web, and all other social media points back to it.

If you need assistance with your web presence or website, please contact me.

What is a Meta Description and why do you need one?

All websites should include at least one defined “meta description”. A meta description is a concise explanation of the contents of that page. It is sometimes used by search engines, and also social media sites such as Facebook. Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. It is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.

How to code a meta description:

Meta description code looks like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”WebSolutionZ is a Melbourne-based website developer. We provide high-quality, reliable efficient & flexible web solutions to small business & schools.“>

What does it look like in action?

Here is the WebsolutionZ.com.au website meta description in action via a Google search:

SEO websolutionz

And on Facebook:

SEO FB websolutionz

Consider the meta description to be like ad space for your website. What do you want to say that will convince others to click on your site instead of another?

What happens if you don't write one?

If you don't have a meta description defined, it may be defined for you. Sometimes a search engine will take the first paragraph within your website and truncate it to 150-160 characters. Sometimes nothing at all is displayed. While it's true that search engines don't use meta descriptions for SEO ranking, a good meta description can contribute to a higher click-through rate from search engine results. Why leave something like this to chance?

How do you write a meta description?

There are many ways to write a meta description, depending on what your site is trying to achieve. I generally try searching Google for the relevant business type first, to see what competitors are doing. Failing this, there are many pages detailing how to do this. A good article can be found here

Have you run a backup lately??

Last week we had to deal with a classic "no backup" horror story...

A client's hosting account was deleted by request, but 48 hours later they realised they hadn't gotten everything out. We lodged a request with the hosting provider to restore the account from backup.

At this stage a "perfect storm" became apparent.

Due to a combination of server upgrades and extremely bad timing, the hosting provider was unable to retrieve a backup of the account.

The host's stated policy on backups is:

We do take account backups for disaster recovery purposes. These backups are generally available in the unlikely event that you do require them, however, there is a small fee involved in their restoral.
It should be noted that these backups should not be relied upon, and you should be taking and storing your own backups on a remote host or locally on your computer.

As a website developer, WebSolutionZ run a project and deliver a result, and from that point on the website is the responsibility of the client. Backup options are provided, but we can't force anybody to use them!

Problems:
1. The client had never backed up their own website.
2. The hosting provider's backup process failed.
3. WebSolutionZ only had a backup of the site as it stood the day the project was delivered.

The solution, of course, is to take responsibility for your own website. No matter which hosting provider you use, and no matter how reliable they claim to be, when technology and people are involved, there's always a chance that something can go wrong, and it's up to you to try to minimise this as best you can.

There are 2 main ways to backup your Joomla! website:

1. Via the Joomla! backend, click on Components / Akeeba Backup and follow the prompts. This will backup the Joomla! website files and database.

2. Via your hosting account (usually CPanel or Plesk or similar), select the "Backup Wizard" and follow the prompts. This will backup the entire hosting account.

(If  you can't find option 1. in your WebSolutionZ-developed website, please contact us. If you can't find option 2, please contact your hosting provider.)

In both cases, you should immediately download the backup file and store it somewhere safe, either on an external hard drive or in a cloud option such as Dropbox or Google Drive. This way, if we ever need to restore your website, you have the backup file in a safe place that ISN'T your home computer, or within your hosting account.

Remember - two backups are better than none. Do both. And regular backups means less re-working, should you ever need to actually restore it.

If you require assistance with backing up your WebSolutionZ-developed website, please contact us

Responsive Design websites - how they look on different devices

This post is to demonstrate how a Joomla! website configured with a Responsive Design template changes appearance when viewed on different sized devices.

Here is a website I built in 2013 using RocketTheme's Chapelco Joomla! 2.5x template. The layout is configured to a 9:3 ratio (ie. the sidebar space is 25% and the image 75%).

This is displayed on a widescreen PC monitor (note the amount of space on each side):

website pc widescreen


This is on a normal monitor (no additional whitespace at sides):

website pc normalscreen


This is on a 10" Android tablet (note smaller menu font, menu options closer together - there would be no room for an additional menu option - smaller image block and stretching down of side text):

website tablet


And this is on my HTC Android smartphone (note change to touch-screen dropdown menu button and text below image block):

website smartphone


This demonstrates why configuration needs to be considered for all layouts, and changes need to be re-tested on all platforms to ensure ongoing usability.

Do you need a new or updated website for your small business or school? Contact WebSolutionZ today!  

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