How to get on Google Maps

Another question from the last Websites 101 class was, “How do you get your business on Google Places?” (By the way, “Google Places” is now called “Google My Business.”) This is what Victor found out:

To set up your Google business location information:

  1. Search for  your business on Google Maps.
    • If nothing appears (which is likely if you haven’t registered your business with the state), you’ll see a box that lets you add a place to the map. Fill in the information.
    • If Google has your business already, in the box with the name, address, Directions and Save buttons, etc., there is a grey line of italicized text that reads “Suggest an edit.”
  2. Click Suggest an edit to open the Report a data problem dialog box. Use this box to edit the business’s name, address, phone number, website, and so on.

Google cross references your edits with other known data and decides whether to make the changes or not. Google has purposely made it difficult to make changes to business data because there were many incidents of people sabotaging rival businesses by changing the opening times to indicate that the business was never open, changing a business’s name or location so that it could not be found, etc.

Google may or may not use follow your suggested edits. If Google refuses to use your edits, you can create a Google+ page for the business:

  1. Log onto Google through your Gmail account (you must have a Gmail account to use Google+) and go to the Google My Business page.
  2. Click Add a single location to open a new page in Google Maps.
  3. Enter your business’s name into the search bar. If your business shows up in the search results, click the correct listing and follow the instructions to claim it. If your business does not show up in the results, click None of these match and Add your business.
  4. Enter all of the information about your business and click Submit.
  5. Google creates a Google+ page for the business with the information you entered. If the information is incorrect you can change it in this window. If it is correct, click
  6. A dialog box opens indicating that Google needs to verify your business information and that you are the actual owner of the business. Fill out the information requested in the dialog box. Google sends a postcard to the address indicated with a PIN code and instructions for adding it to the Google+ page. The postcard appears in the mail within a week or two; you have thirty days to enter the PIN code on the Google+ page.

While you’re waiting for the postcard to arrive, you can enter other information about the business such as pictures, descriptions of services offered, logos, etc.

Note that Google will not allow post office boxes to be used as business addresses under any circumstances. You must have a real physical address for your business.

 

Accessibility and Weebly

Two items that make a site easier to use for people with various needs is

  • A “Skip to the main content” link (good for people using screen readers like JAWS and ZoomText)
  • Tab sequences on forms and chunks of text (good for use with screen readers and for people with mobility difficulties such as arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, or quadriplegia)

Unfortunately, we have to report that Weebly doesn’t offer either option. In fact, this is what the Support staff say about tabs on forms:

Currently the contact form [lets you]…tab up to down, left to right, there is not a way to change that at this time but we do appreciate feedback like this….

It is possible to add the “Skip to main content” link and tab sequences to a page if you’re comfortable going into the HTML. But the point of using Weebly is that you don’t have to get into the code.

Wix doesn’t seem to be any better, but Squarespace has a help topic on accessibility that includes information on structuring text to make it easier for screen readers to move through the sections on a page; ALT text for pictures; and transcripts for audio and captions for video.

 

Can You Explain What “Storenvy” Is and How it Works?

This must have been our night for storefronts. The final question came from one of the attendees who already has an eBay presence and is now looking for ways to expand.

Storenvy is, at first glance, just another application that lets you build a stand-alone online store to sell your stuff. It includes all the major shipping companies, payment options, blah blah blah.

However, unlike Etsy and Shopify and the others, Storenvy links together thousands of stores (from tiny little one-person shops to major retailers) and creates a virtual shopping mall on the Internet. Probably most important, you can set up a Storenvy presence on Facebook and your products and services will reach that many more eyeballs. And it’s free, for the most part. Some premium options come with a fee.

How to add attributions to photos in Weebly

If you use one of Weebly’s photos, the attribution is added automatically.

creativecommonstag

If you use your own or a friend’s photos and want to add an attribution, you should be able to do so by using the Caption option. This box appears when you click on a photo that you’ve added to the page already. To find the Caption option, you have to scroll down a bit.

captionoption

The Caption box appears. Type the caption and credit you want:

captionbox

When you move off the picture, your caption should appear below the picture.

captionfinished

However, if you want to use an ALT tag for the attribution (in other words, the attribution appears only if you hold your cursor over the image), you’re out of luck right now. There is an ALT option under Advanced in the same dialog box as shown above, but the ALT text doesn’t show up. Maybe Weebly will fix this eventually.

 

 

Are blog entries treated the same as Facebook posts from a legal standpoint?

If copyright is involved, the rules are the same for Facebook and blogs. In short, don’t infringe on someone else’s material; if someone infringes on yours, register a DMCA complaint.

Here’s some background information

Keep in mind that when you share something on Facebook (unless you copy it to your computer and re-paste it), you just have a “window” into the original picture or video on your timeline, not the actual picture or video. So copyright issues don’t really come up.

Ignore Letters from Domain Registry of America

One of our clients just received and responded to a letter from Domain Registry of America that said “your domain is about to expire, send money.”

If you get a letter like this, tear it up. Domain Registry of America and a few other firms try to get you to switch your domain name to them so that they can charge you a lot more than you’re paying right now.

Luckily, the organization that manages the universe of domain names, ICANN, set up a rule that, to switch domains from company A to company B, you have to get an authorization code from company A. Our client was asked for this code, asked us to find it, and we said, “Whoa! Are you sure this is what you want to do?” stopping the scam in its tracks.

Another form of protection is to “lock” your domain name. Unless you or your administrator/webmaster unlock the domain name, it ain’t going nowhere.

Here’s more information on the practice, which is called “domain slamming”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_scams