Realbasics.com https://www.realbasics.com/ Update • Secure • Support Fri, 11 Nov 2022 18:52:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 From the horse’s mouth – what content does Google look for? https://www.realbasics.com/from-the-horses-mouth-what-content-does-google-look-for/ Fri, 11 Nov 2022 18:45:43 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4792 Summary: Cool set of questions that Google looks for when ranking website content. You’ll often hear people say the best way to boost your ranking with Google is to have great, useful, relevant content. Which to be honest ought to be pretty obvious… but isn’t, given the zillions of ways people come up with to…

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Screenshot of Google's Documentation page

Summary: Cool set of questions that Google looks for when ranking website content.

You’ll often hear people say the best way to boost your ranking with Google is to have great, useful, relevant content. Which to be honest ought to be pretty obvious… but isn’t, given the zillions of ways people come up with to try and game the SEO system.

So… what exactly does Google mean when they say it? I stumbled across an extremely helpful explanation from Google itself: Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content

Google’s automated ranking systems are designed to present helpful, reliable information that’s primarily created to benefit people, not to gain search engine rankings, in the top Search results. This page is designed to help creators evaluate if they’re producing such content.

From SEO Fundamentals, Google.com

The whole article is worth reading. Even better, the questions they ask are aimed at non-technical website owners.

Here are a couple of questions they recommend looking into when it comes to your content on your website or social media posts (sample questions are copied directly from the Google article)

Content and quality questions:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
  • Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Expertise questions

  • If someone researched the site producing the content, would they come away with the impression that it is well-trusted or widely recognized as an authority on its topic?

Presentation and production questions

  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
  • Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?

That’s still just a sample of the questions, so definitely go read the original. But the summary is the same as what I and most other internet old-timers are going to tell you: write for people first, avoid SEO “tactics” like stuffing keywords to try to make search-engine algorithms think your content is more interesting to people than it really is.

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ACS’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry – major site rebuild, ongoing support https://www.realbasics.com/acss-division-of-inorganic-chemistry-major-site-rebuild-ongoing-support/ Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:57:00 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4680 The American Chemical Society’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry elects new executive committees every year. Mostly already very-busy professors, department heads, and professionals. After hiring RealBasics.com to rebuild their website in 2019, they also hired us to provide training, support, and continuity as well as ongoing website maintenance services.

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New liver, same eagles
Screenshot of the ACSDIC homepage

The American Chemical Society’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry elects new executive committees every year. Mostly already very-busy professors, department heads, and professionals. After hiring RealBasics.com to rebuild their website in 2019, they also hired us to provide training, support, and continuity as well as ongoing website maintenance services.

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New site for Snoqualmie Valley Visitors https://www.realbasics.com/new-site-for-snoqualmie-valley-visitors/ Sun, 18 Sep 2022 02:44:14 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4671 The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce needed a website that helps people plan visits to the six cities in the valley. We worked with the video branding wizards at Adavanza Media Partners to build a visually rich introduction and invitation.

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Screenshot of the VisitSnoValley website
Screenshot of the VisitSnoValley website

The Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce needed a website that helps people plan visits to the six cities in the valley. We worked with the video branding wizards at Adavanza Media Partners to build a visually rich introduction and invitation.

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Supporting Water1st https://www.realbasics.com/supporting-water1st/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 03:01:00 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4644 Water1st is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring everyone in the world has the same access to piped water that people in the United States have come to expect. They got in touch with us when their website began to buckle under the pressure of a critical fundraising campaign. We helped them move their website to…

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Screenshot of the Water1st homepage
Screenshot of the Water1st Homepage

Water1st is a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring everyone in the world has the same access to piped water that people in the United States have come to expect. They got in touch with us when their website began to buckle under the pressure of a critical fundraising campaign.

We helped them move their website to a newer, more powerful hosting solution, debugged their donation system which had gotten bogged down, optimized their images, and fine-tuned their caching. And we provide ongoing maintenance, troubleshooting, and support to better keep their site running.

It’s a good organization and we’re proud to support them.

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New version of the SeattleUnity website https://www.realbasics.com/new-version-of-the-seattleunity-website/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 03:27:37 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4641 We helped to extensively revise an “interim” website for the Seattle Unity community back in 2020, both to put a solid foundation under their old website and to keep their congregation up to date on progress on their new building on the edge of Denny Park near South Lake Union. Two years later their facility…

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We helped to extensively revise an “interim” website for the Seattle Unity community back in 2020, both to put a solid foundation under their old website and to keep their congregation up to date on progress on their new building on the edge of Denny Park near South Lake Union. Two years later their facility is complete and so is their completely rebuilt website. We worked with the designers and project managers at WhyForGood.org to create a site that reflects their values, community, and location as well as keep their calendar of services and events up to date. We also built an extensive archive of videos and audios of past services going back more than five years.

Screenshot of the new SeattleUnity.org website

RealBasics is also proud to provide ongoing website maintenance and support to the Seattle Unity staff.

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Plum Seattle – Complete Redesign/Rebuild https://www.realbasics.com/plum-seattle-complete-redesign-rebuild/ Thu, 15 Sep 2022 02:55:56 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4637 We were really happy to work with the great designers at Chalkbox Creative on a full redesign of Lora Poeppings’ PlumSeattle.com website. Lora and her staff at Plum are awesome HR and career-coaching professionals. We appreciate Lora’s kind words on LinkedIn too. We think it’s a big deal… After more than 11 years in business, Plum…

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We were really happy to work with the great designers at Chalkbox Creative on a full redesign of Lora Poeppings’ PlumSeattle.com website. Lora and her staff at Plum are awesome HR and career-coaching professionals.

The 2022 revision of Plum’s website

We appreciate Lora’s kind words on LinkedIn too.

We think it’s a big deal…

After more than 11 years in business, Plum Coaching & HR Consulting has a new website AND logos that reflects our personality, our energy, and showcases our amazing team.

Please check us out!
https://plumseattle.com/

Thanks to Chalkbox CreativeJosh Huisenga, and David Innes for their patience, creativity, technical know-how, and support as Plum continues it’s journey.

Thanks to all of our current and former clients, as well as business partners. You make this possible.

Proud to be a woman-founded and owned business.

LinkedIn page for Plum Coaching & HR Consulting

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New website for One Step Further Flooring https://www.realbasics.com/new-website-for-one-step-further-flooring/ Thu, 01 Sep 2022 03:39:00 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4648 JD Jarmer does meticulous flooring work, specializing in natural, LEED-certified floor coverings. My contractor friends appreciate his expertise and his clients applaud his ability to create large, precision-cut patterns in Marmoleum-brand linoleum. One of his unsung keys to success is waterproofing and leveling surfaces before laying down his flooring.

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JD Jarmer does meticulous flooring work, specializing in natural, LEED-certified floor coverings. My contractor friends appreciate his expertise and his clients applaud his ability to create large, precision-cut patterns in Marmoleum-brand linoleum. One of his unsung keys to success is waterproofing and leveling surfaces before laying down his flooring.

Portfolio OneStepFurther - 2022
Screenshot of the OneStepFurther.com homepage

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Bogus DMCA infringement notices may be the product of “black hat” PR agencies. https://www.realbasics.com/beware-of-scam-dmca-infringement-notices/ Thu, 21 Jul 2022 01:22:07 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4528 Have you received an email claiming you’ve infringed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) recently? For people with screen readers here’s the relevant text from the screenshot Cloudflare received a DMCA copyright infringement complaint regarding: realbasics.com The information we received was the following: … Work: I, XXXXXXXXXXX, would like to draw your attention towards https://www.realbasics.com/…

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Have you received an email claiming you’ve infringed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) recently?

Screenshot of Cloudflare infringement complaint

For people with screen readers here’s the relevant text from the screenshot

Cloudflare received a DMCA copyright infringement complaint regarding: realbasics.com
The information we received was the following:

Work: I, XXXXXXXXXXX, would like to draw your attention towards https://www.realbasics.com/ this website owner who copied the content from our website !! I did not authorize or approve this website owner to post them here. …… Kindly act expeditiously to remove this infringing or unauthorized content post from this website ASAP.


Comments:
We have forwarded this complaint to your hosting provider.
Thanks,
The Cloudflare Team

I got one of those and turns out quite a few others have received similar notifications. I called the attorney listed on the complaint and they adamantly denied any involvement. (No surprise: the address used in the complaint is a vacant lot!). It looks like the lawyer may also be a victim of identity theft!

After reviewing the takedown request the lawyer informally (not legal advice!) told me that since he didn’t make the complaint the infringement notice is not actionable.

So what’s going on?

First of all, what they’re doing

It looks like the actors behind this behavior do this one neat trick

  • Identifies a “controversial” or negative post about one of their clients
  • Copies the contents and posts it on their own website…
  • …using the names of attorneys (at least one) as the authors
  • Manipulates the publication date to one day before the original’s published date
  • Uses “no-index” methods to prevent search engines from indexing their bogus post
  • Submits an infringement notification with the alleged lawyer’s name and a phony Gmail address
  • Make money

They’ve got a lot of !%# gall, right?

In my case I’ve got an iron-clad “alibi.” The original post they copied and complained is actually a follow-up to a previous post. The first sentence has a link back to that post.

Both posts have very similar contents and very similar images (since I created them myself using the same tools and formats.)

The back-dated copy doesn’t link back to anything — no surprise since they’ve just copied and pasted my content.

Second of all, a strong guess about why they’re doing it

I’ve been in contact with several other people who’s posts have been similarly copied, back-dated, and then hit with infringement notices.

In each case the subjects of the target posts call companies or individuals into question. It’s not unreasonable to assume that some people might like to see negative information about their enterprises scrubbed from the internet. And some of those people might hire an “aggressive” reputation management company to try and deal with it. And some of those companies might not be above pulling “black hat PR” moves… like hacking the DMCA infringement regulations by back-dating other people’s posts and claiming the original posters needed to be shut down.

One of the other victims of this exploit contacted me and told me they’ve spoken with at least eight other site owners who’ve had the same experience. Two of them (including the one who contacted me) had not just the “offending” post but their entire websites taken offline as a result!

I’m not going to say any more about this at the moment, because other parties and possibly their lawyers seem to be getting involved.

Instead I’m just going to say if you get one of these takedown notices and you haven’t actually plagiarized someone else’s content it might be a good idea to do a little due diligence.

  • Definitely push back.
  • Get on a search engine to find the real lawyers who’s identities are being misrepresented in the infringement notices and get clarification that they’re not involved.
  • And let your hosting company know, in no uncertain terms, that the notices are invalid.

Chances are very good that neither the black-hat PR companies nor the people who hire them are up to any good.

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Fix missing Ninja Forms on your WordPress website https://www.realbasics.com/fix-missing-ninja-forms-on-your-wordpress-website/ Fri, 24 Jun 2022 01:27:46 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4464 So, about the WordPress Ninja Forms plugin and missing forms. If you use NinjaForms and got that forced security update in mid June, 2022, your forms may have disappeared from your Contact page or other places on your site. Chances are the site isn’t really broken. Instead the plugin may have disabled the forms by…

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So, about the WordPress Ninja Forms plugin and missing forms.

If you use NinjaForms and got that forced security update in mid June, 2022, your forms may have disappeared from your Contact page or other places on your site. Chances are the site isn’t really broken. Instead the plugin may have disabled the forms by putting itself into “maintenance mode.”

Here’s how to fix it:

Screen shot of the Ninja Forms settings page with arrows showing how to fix disabled forms.  The steps are repeated in text, below.
Steps to fix disabled Ninja Forms forms on your WordPress website

Follow these simple steps

  • log in to your site’s dashboard
  • visit NinjaForms -> Settings
  • manually click the “Remove Mantenance Mode” button near the bottom of the settings page.
  • don’t forget to clear any caches too

While this post is specifically about the forced update in June, 2022, you may also run into disappearing NinjaForms forms other times as well, especially after migrating a site to a new server, and possibly when an update requires changes to the database.

I found missing forms on around half the sites I manage that use NinjaForms! To be safe I went ahead and applied the fix on every site that uses NinjaForms. The steps, above, are very simple but when you’re talking about dozens of sites it… takes a while. (I’m posting this while taking a break from the chore!)

This seems like a really awful “feature.” I understand their reasoning, but contact forms and other forms are often the life’s blood of a working website. If those forms disappear it’s bad for your visitors and bad for the site’s owners as well!

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Read the “fine print” before sending money to Domain Authority https://www.realbasics.com/read-the-fine-print-before-sending-money-to-domain-authority/ Thu, 31 Mar 2022 16:18:50 +0000 https://www.realbasics.com/?p=4295 I’ve discussed this issue before but a lot of my clients get this “Renewal Notice” from a company called Domain Authority. Looks like they’ve updated their stationery but they’ve been sending these things out for years. Almost everything about the letter implies it’s an invoice to renew your domain name until you get to the…

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I’ve discussed this issue before but a lot of my clients get this “Renewal Notice” from a company called Domain Authority. Looks like they’ve updated their stationery but they’ve been sending these things out for years.

Screen shot of Domain Authority "invoice" calling out the fine print.
Note: They don’t disclose that Domain Authority is not a domain registrar till the second page

Almost everything about the letter implies it’s an invoice to renew your domain name until you get to the “fine print” on the second page where they admit it’s just a solicitation to have your site listed in their “yellow pages” style directory.

As I mentioned in that previous post what they’re doing seems to be technically legal so I probably can’t legally say it’s a “scam.” But I can say without qualification that everyone should think twice ten times 100 times before you send 289 hard-earned dollars to some random directory listing in Hendersonville, North Carolina (the address on their solicitations) or possibly Sante Fe, New Mexico (the address on their website.)

If you go to their website you’ll see an even more clear disclaimer at the bottom of their home page:

Domain Networks is an online directory listings top websites from local businesses from around the world. We do not provide domain registration or domain renewal services.

https://domainnetworks.com/

Disclaimers in their FAQ are even more direct

Q: I received a mailer that looks like a bill.
A: What you received in the mail is not a bill. This is an advertisement for our domain listing services.

https://domainnetworks.com/faq

I’ll repeat: paying these guys will not renew your domain! You do that through your actual domain registrar.

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