Make Your Phone # Clickable

Sometimes I get an e-mail and need to call someone back. Image that – an actual phone conversation.  And, I don’t have their phone number in my address book. If I am on my phone, I want to click their phone number to call or I have to try to memorize it to put it into my phone to call. Yes, I could ask Siri or Google Assistant to call but they don’t come with a southern accent if you know what I mean.

Regardless, you need to make your phone number in your email signature clickable. In MS Outlook, it is easy to do.  In Options, Mail, Signatures,  you can type in your phone number as usual.  Click the link icon, and in the blank box beside Address, type tel:1-xxx-xxx-xxx, then click the OK buttons as you close the windows. 

For gmail or G Suite, you can go to your settings, general, scroll to signature to do this. Make sure you save your new settings.

For outlook.com, click on settings, more Outlook settings, mail, Compose and Reply.

If you have another email system, ask your provider or search online for how to add or edit your signature.

Here’s to quickly calling you back!

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PayPal Automatic Payments

Earlier this year I had an automatic payment on my business PayPal account that a client was supposed to login to the vendor and input their own payment info, which they failed to do. I did get reimbursed by the client but there is recourse to remove any authorizations for future payments from your PayPal account.

This was a good lesson for me to make to make the time to review my list of authorizations on PayPal. I would suggest you login and view who you have authorized to draw money from your PayPal account.  Since most PayPal accounts are directly connected to your checking account, and with the daily news about security breaches, login to see who has authorization:

  1. Log into your PayPal account
  2. Click on Profile
  3. Click on Profile and Settings
  4. On the left, click on My money
  5. Scroll down and click on “Set Automatic Payments”
  6. All your authorized payers will be listed.
  7. Click on any that you want to cancel as being authorized.
  8. Beside the Status, you can click on “Cancel”
  9. Click Yes to Confirm

Be sure to use the “Active” filter as there may be several pages of active authorizations that you would want to cancel. Even if you are unsure whether to cancel anyone on your list, you should always be able to use your PayPal account again at the same vendor without any problem.

You should also check this on your personal PayPal account too. The steps are a bit different:

  1. Click on the settings icon
  2. click on the payments link
  3. click on Manage automatic payments
  4. You will see a list of who is authorized to automatically withdraw from your account in the future.
  5. Click on any you want to cancel.

You may also want to click on Security and double-check your permissions.

 

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Fine Reclamation Works – A Timeless Classic

About eight years ago (2010) one of our current clients wanted a website to sell extra inventory – really more of a catalog than e-commerce.  We helped design the logo and launched a splash page while he cataloged his inventory. We then decided to create the site using WordPress ver. 3.2.1. At the time, the best option for a catalog feature was Marketpress Lite, Version: 2.4.2, which to date has had at least 46 updates.  We took the sample Twenty Eleven theme, released in July 2011, customized our own css, and created what has become one of my favorite WordPress websites.  Even today, the look and feel of it gives a great, warm feeling.  Since that initial launch, WordPress has had over 130 updates and the other few plugins we use way too many times to count. The website has crashed on some updates, only to be able to be fixed by just changing one little piece of php in the functions file.

As time changes quickly in the technology realm, we really didn’t need to change much from the initial coding until  “google mobile friendly” hit the scene.  So, we jumped right in and refreshed some of the css to handle the hamburger menu icon on mobile, as well as the rest of the mobile display and a year or so ago added SSL to the site.

And the client is still adding inventory every so often, for that unassuming person who might need an extra door, lighting fixture or whatever treasure has been found.

Posted in Coding, Custom WordPress, Recent 'Sightings' (Website Portfolio) | Leave a comment

WP Google Maps

We have several clients that are in need of a store/dealer locator map. For a few years, we used the free version of WP Google Maps as we didn’t really need any of the pro functionality. It works great when you are manually inputting locations and the search feature works well.  But if you need to import thousands of locations, then things get to be a bit complicated.

We purchased the developer version of the plugin to take advantage of the extra support forum and  the addons for the plugin that we anticipated needing in the future. (The support is great though it would be most awesome if the plugin worked effortlessly 100% out-of-the box.)

The first stumbling block was that the sample csv file download does not have all the fields needed for import. Hence, we created a test import and it failed miserably until we dug around a bit more and found what all the fields were supposed to be.  We tested on several servers with various settings, and regardless of the amount of php allowed memory, we could not import the entire 4,000 entries at once without the map program crashing. The issue, whether you need it to add the geotag latitude and longitude or not, is there are more limitations in place regarding php, mysql, server uploads, the order in which the plugins are loaded, and the Google API. Suffice it to say, the imports need to be broken down into chunks of around 200 to 500 to import, and not all locations actually import so you then have to go back and “eyeball” your csv file to check which ones didn’t make the cut.  Again, this appears to be more a  limitation regarding the Google API than the program itself but it would warrant more investigation to actually pinpoint the problem.

We also ran into a timeout error with the Google API by reaching our daily quota. We had to shut down work on the map for the day and start back up the next day. Now, this should not have happened with only importing 5,000+ locations, with about 1,000 of them we already had the geotag information and didn’t use the Google API for those. We cannot imagine how we used 25,000 API queries up already.

The latest set of locations we attempted to import continually came up with a -no, etc. error. The advice from support was to resave the csv file in UT-8 format, which resulted in the same error. We then decided ourselves to just save the file in csv MS DOS format, and the import then worked.  At this point, we then sliced and diced all the 5,000+ locations into smaller bites, and resaved them all in this format. Some of the csv files imported with nothing more than the “Your CSV file has been successfully imported” message.  Others we got the below screen. It appears the file imported correctly but I would rather it told me how many rows in my csv file imported so I knew it was 100% successful.

FYI – only use the Map Data if you want to totally replace all the locations you have already uploaded. However, unless you already have the geo coordinates in your csv file, you will not activate the Google API.  Speaking of the Google API, there are directions to secure your Google API key for just your domain, but when we tried that, we were denied access to it, so we had to disable it. After all the imports are completed, we will log back into Google to restrict it to our domain and cross our fingers we don’t get any errors when visitors to the site are searching.

If you are adding a map and want to save a previously created map, export all your listings before you do anything. In the process of creating our new map, our existing, live map of locations was totally deleted, as well as all the special settings we had created. It makes absolutely no sense that adding a new map and not touching one of the others affected the other map, but it did. Luckily, the map we were adding was destined to replace the live one anyway.

And, if you get the below screen, apparently, never fear, as the import was mostly successful. And this is on a Managed WordPress server with all the settings at the maximum level. Just hit the back button on your browser and check to see if the locations were imported.

Every time we click on the map in the backend to check it or adjust settings, it takes several  seconds or so for the map dashboard to rearrange itself so we can actually do anything. Just be patient, and the dashboard will appear and you can get on with it.

You might be wondering why we were creating a new map to replace the one that was already on the site? Because the Select All and Bulk Delete buttons do not work in the plugin, so the only way to successfully delete a location is one-by-excruciatingly-one. And, to replace an entire set of locations at once with a new set is a fairly common request as stores and dealers are opening and closing all the time, and periodically the wholesaler will update the list at once and send it to you so you have no idea who is gone or who to add so you must just import the entire list (and it does not have the ability to search and replace, it just adds the location twice in the database).

All this being said, once all the locations are imported, and the ones that were missed are manually entered after several hours of eyeballing the csv files, the map program works great.  Just be ready for some bumps along the way.

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Snapchat Filters

Snapchat Community GeoFilterAfter the first of this year, I decided to try to make a Snapchat Geofilter.  To create a filter, you have to visit the Snapchat website via your desktop and click the Create link at the top of the page.  Snapchat has three choices:

Community Filters
Filters
Lenses

The Geofilter option is listed under Community Filters. The Geofilter’s minimum area has to be 50,000 sf in size in order to qualify. It has to be original artwork as I learned when I added the National Register of Historic Places plaque on my filter. It was rejected within a few days. Snapchat gives you an easy template you can use online, or to download for Photoshop or Illustrator to make it easy.

On Feb. 2nd, 2018, I resubmitted my Geofilter for the Hampton-Pinckney Historic District.  Three months later, it was approved.  I don’t know if it takes this long for a moments filter or others to be approved, but you may want to plan way ahead if you need the filter by a certain event.

This is a free filter so you if you need one fairly quickly, you can pay for an OnDemand filter.

If you are interested in a filter for Snapchat and need help, contact me on my website for more information!

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Genesis Search Pop Up

Here’s how to make the Genesis child theme search into a pop up instead of embedding on your page.  Backup your child theme functions.php file – I usually just open Appearance->Editor->functions.php then copy and paste the entire functions.php file into Notepad, or I ftp into the site and download it.

  1. Create an icon, or add text for your search action.  The search icon below is just a graphic in a header widget.
  2. Enable WordPress to allow shortcodes in widgets by adding the below to your child theme’s function.php:
    // Enable shortcodes in widgets
    add_filter( 'widget_text', 'shortcode_unautop' );
    add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');
    add_action( 'init', 'gw_register_shortcode' );
    
    
  3. Create the Genesis Search shortcode
    function gw_register_shortcode() {
     add_shortcode( '404-search', 'gw_search_shortcode' );
    }
    
    /**
    * Search Shortcode Excerpt
    */
    function gw_search_shortcode() {
     return '<div class="404-search">' . get_search_form( false ) . '</div>';
    }
  4. Edit your child theme CSS and add:
    .search-form {
    	position: relative;
    }
    
    .search-form > input {
        padding-left: 50px;
        padding-top: 0px;
        padding-bottom: 0px;
    }
    
    .search-form input[type="submit"] {
        background: none !important;
        position: absolute;
       }
    
  5. To enable the popup function, install the Easy FancyBox plugin which is a lightweight plugin that includes all the jquery you need. At some point, I hope to update this post with the jquery to add directly to your site but this should work fine for now. Once installed, add the following code surrounding your search icon shown in #1 above:
    <a class="fancybox" href="#search-pop"><img src="url to image icon" /></a>
    
    <div class="fancybox-hidden" style="display: none;">
    
    <div id="search-pop">[404-search]</div>
    
    </div>

…When you click on the search icon, here is what it looks like:

Note – if you do not have dashicons enabled, you will need to add the following to your functions.php:

//* Enqueue Dashicons
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'gw_enqueue_dashicons' );
function gw_enqueue_dashicons() { 
 wp_enqueue_style( 'dashicons' ); 
}
add_filter( 'genesis_search_button_text', 'gw_search_button_dashicon' );
function gw_search_button_dashicon( $text ) { 
return esc_attr( '&#xf179;' ); 
}

and use the below for you CSS instead:

.search-form {
	position: relative;
}

.search-form > input {
    padding-left: 50px;
    padding-top: 0px;
    padding-bottom: 0px;
}

.search-form input[type="submit"] {
    background: none !important;
    border: none;
    clip: inherit;
    color: #4a545a;
    display: inline-block;
    font: 28px/1 'dashicons';
    height: 38px;
    padding: 0 10px 0px 12px;
    position: absolute;
    left: 2px;
    top: -10px;
    vertical-align: top;
    width: 38px;
}
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Advanced Water Engineering

AWE New Custom WordPress website.

The owner of Advanced Water Engineering created and updated the site for years on his own.  Finally, after several years of badgering, he relented and let Giraffe Web update the site. Being an engineer, the linking made sense to him, but it was a bit disorganized and only the home page had the total navigation menu.  We moved the site to WordPress, and slowly converted all the old html pages, organizing all the links into a logical format.  Only one old section remains, the for sale equipment, which we are planning to push into a Woocommerce catalog for him.  However, the bulk of the website has been completed and we cannot wait to share it! http://www.advancedwater.com

AWE Old site.

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After Five Years – Haynsworth Private School Gets Another Fresh Look!

New site, circa 2017

Our post back in 2012 that shows a fresh new look for Haynsworth Private School, now shows an old, dated look. So, we updated the website, converting it to WordPress, added more definitive copy written by Valerie Bickley of Bickley Creative,  new photography and more intensive SEO.  After the website launch, the school experienced the highest pre-enrollment for camps and the Fall 2017 school year.

The Haynsworth School, Greenville SC

The Haynsworth School, Greenville SC circa 2012 update

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Educational Directions

I’ve known Bill Dingledine for several years, first meeting him when I became a committee member on the Greenville County College Fair.  Bill’s breadth of knowledge regarding all the latest information about preparing your teens for college is surpassed by no one!  Bill is quite tech-savvy, but as any business owner knows, “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes!” so Bill contracted with Giraffe Web to help him redesign his website and place it into WordPress to make it easier for him to update the site.  We love his new website, and we think you will too! http://www.educdir.com

 

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Happy Anniversary from the City of Greenville

Back in June of 1998, I starting working on my first website. However, the birth of Giraffe Web (the name) began in 1999. It wasn’t until 2002 that I formally created the LLC that would become Giraffe Web Design Services, LLC.  Frankly, my logo was a clip art giraffe, as I had the Macromedia design suite that included Photoshop, but had no idea how to use it.

Around this time period, LLCs were still a relatively new concept. Another friend of mine suggested I look into setting up an LLC so I called the IRS and acquired a tax ID and filled out the paperwork that I sent to the South Carolina Secretary of State, and Giraffe Web Design Services became Giraffe Web Design Services, LLC.  I had already obtained a business license from the City of Greenville, but today I opened up the mail and 17 years later (not 15, but who’s counting?) I received the below. I am very grateful for the acknowledgement from the City (and the rebate check)!

Happy Anniversary to Giraffe Web from the City of Greenville

Several years later, I asked my friend, Ted Durham, who at the time had his own graphic design firm, to design a giraffe that resembled my personality.  So, my new giraffe logo was born!

And, here we are today, actually 19 years after I worked on my first website! I am grateful to all the people – locally and online, who have helped to grow Giraffe Web and for pushing me personally to keep up with the times.  Every day is a learning experience in this business.

 

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