Websites

Tech Thursday: Why You Should Have an Online Donation Form

Some statistics:

In 2013, 33.6% of all donations to charities occurred in the last 3 months of the year. In 2012, $24 billion in donations happened online.

Does your business have an online donation form? With the season of giving just around the corner, make it easier for your donors to give back. More people (especially millennials) are likely to give back online, plus, having this form directly on your website makes it more likely that they will follow through (rather than get annoyed by PayPal).

If you don’t already have an online donation form, but want to get one set up on your website, we can help! Start getting your donations here.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Oyster: Netflix for Books

When I was younger, I used to burn through books like it was my job. Although Mom was ultimately thrilled that one of her kids enjoyed reading, the amount of books that were needed to keep me busy cost a lot of money and took up a lot of space in the house. Once my own bookshelves were filled, I started having stray stacks in my room, then gradually throughout the house. I haven’t entirely relinquished my affinity for print, but getting a Kindle at least made saving space possible.

Recently, my reading experience (and maybe yours, too) just improved tenfold. I learned about a little thing called Oyster (named after one of Shakespeare’s famous lines- “the world is mine oyster”), an app that allows you to stream an unlimited amount of books each month for $9.95. Last week, I signed up for a free, 14 day trial. Minus the little glitch with the recent power outage, using Oyster has been not only fun, but easy.

Oyster

Books as far as the eye can see.

When I try to conceptualize how many titles Oyster offers, I picture the library in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. There are books everywhere, as far as the eye can see, and they’re all yours if you want them. It’s exciting stuff. The first book I downloaded was Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules by David Sedaris. Then I went a little download-happy, and have a ton of books to look forward to in the next 9-ish days.

How does it work? Just like Netflix, you stream the material online through the app. So, you can’t download it and keep it forever, but as long as the app is on your device and you’re a paying customer, you can access the book if you need/want. Also much like Netflix, Oyster updates it’s content frequently enough that it doesn’t get stale.

My fun reading for the week

My fun reading for the week

It’s easy to access.

The website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, so you can feel comfortable recommending it to your great-aunt who accidentally posts status updates instead of sending private messages on Facebook. Plus, it’s not exclusive to any one device. You can access it on your computer, on your Apple products, Android devices, or Google Play. Just remember your username and password, and login from wherever!

Encourages diversity in reading.

There are many topics that I’m curious about, and my first instinct is to do some reading and learn more about them. However, when I want to get a book on Amazon about, say, political influence on the arts, 9 times out of 10 I promptly lose interest in the pursuit of knowledge when I see the price tag. With something like Oyster, I can get all kinds of new information for about $10 a month, which for me is more appealing than binge-watching Arrested Development on Netflix (mainly because I’m all caught up).

With the vast spectrum of genres and authors, there’s a potential to explore not only what you enjoy reading, but subjects you are vaguely intrigued by or passionately curious about. Oyster also has children’s books, so you can share the love with the kiddos.

You can give it as a gift.

If you know someone who would love to try something like Oyster out, you can buy them a subscription. All you need is their e-mail and some cash. There are different options, if you want to just give them one month versus one year. My Christmas shopping just became remarkably simple. Another incentive for gift giving: for every gift subscription purchased, 10% of the proceeds go to a literacy-based charity.

Share_Oyster

You can share with friends.

I haven’t explored this option yet, but when you sign in to Oyster, you automatically have a profile. It displays your reading list, and you can add a picture and mini-biography if so inclined. If you have friends using it, you can all share what you’re reading. Reading, while a fun solo adventure, is also a fun when it’s social. That’s why book clubs exist.

Oyster is fun.

In addition to what’s listed above, the founders of Oyster have created a website with a bit of fun pizzazz. At the bottom of the About page, there is an animated text area that says “You might enjoy Oyster if…” followed by a changing list of answers (including “you have dated or dumped someone because of their taste in books”).

In the list of Genres, there is a section called Famous Reading Lists. This showcases what books certain famous people have read, such as Steve Jobs,J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Junot Diaz, Margot Tenenbaum, and Lisa Simpson. These folks have a sense of humor, and that’s the sort of crew I feel good about giving my money.

Oyster is cool, but don’t take my word for it. Check out the 14 day trial- it’s free, and you just might get hooked.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: How to Track Traffic to a Page on Your Website

…Now say that five times fast.

Every website has certain goals, whether it’s getting someone to buy a product, subscribe to a newsletter, or make a donation. There’s a page on your website where al this action occurs. How do you know whether people are getting to this particular page?

This is where tracking comes in. Using tracking tools, you can figure out how many people are getting to your website, how many are getting to that desired page on your site, and where they’re coming from (social media, Google searches, blog posts, etc.). What are some different tools you can use for tracking? We talk a bit about Bitly, analytics offered by your Web Host, and Google Analytics (keep in mind, these are by no means the only tools available- just the ones we use most).

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: An Introduction to SSL

Online security is a pretty important issue, especially if your website accepts any sort of information from customers. If you have an online store that accepts payment information, or even if you just have a contact form with names and addresses, you want to keep that locked down.

Having SSL on your website is a great way to protect your website AND your customers. Your site has an extra layer of protection, and people will trust you with their information. Win/win, right?

But what is SSL? SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer (and doesn’t sound super exciting, but we did try to make this fun!). Google has prioritized security in its rankings, and let’s face it- if Google thinks it’s important, then the rest of us probably should, too.

Let us know if you have any other Tech Thursday questions!

 

 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: Slideshows Part II

As promised, this week we’re delivering part two of the slideshow discussion.

So, you’ve decided that you want a slideshow for your website. There are hundreds of options out there, how do you even begin to choose? One way to narrow down the search is to determine what you want the slideshow to do (should it link to other pages, showcase pages from your blog, or be image-based?). You also want to have an idea about where it will be located on your website (will it drive the homepage, or be an item in a sidebar?).

Do some research before choosing a slideshow, so you aren’t heartbroken later on!

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: Slideshows (Part I)

In your internet travels, have you seen a website go by with a slideshow that kind of blew your mind? Or, maybe your own website has a slideshow.

In this week (and next week’s) Tech Thursday, we’re going to talk a bit about slideshows on websites. For now, we’re going to focus on the “Why Should Websites Use Slideshows?” First, slideshows can give little content blasts on your homepage (think of it as a trailer for your website). Second, along those lines, a slideshow can help people navigate to specific pages on your website (i.e. a store that’s having a sale). And, third, slideshows keep your homepage looking fresh. The last thing you want is a stale, hum-drum homepage!

Enjoy, feel free to give us feedback, and stay tuned for Part II next week!

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22