Charity Web Site Fail

Written: March 24, 2017

There are a handful of charities that I support and The Salvation Army is on that short list, so when I received their phone call for support I replied yes, and they mailed out a contribution letter. In that letter I saw that I could donate online so I browsed the site provided, www.tsacascade.org which oddly enough redirected me instead to cascade.salvationarmy.org.

Salvation Army home page

Home page

Next, I clicked on the Donate button which then sent me to a third web site at give.salvationarmyusa.org. Filling out the form I expected it to say Thank You, instead it did nothing, so I took a look and discovered that this secure form was throwing two errors and wouldn’t submit, so I was totally stuck:

Salvation Army, failed donation

Failed donation

At the bottom of the page there was a phone number of 800-725-2769 so I called and talked to a live operator and it went something like this:

Operator, “Welcome to the Salvation Army, how may I help you?”

Me, “My name is Daniel and I just tried to donated online, but your form is broken and throwing errors.”

“Uh, what page is that?”

“It was https://give.salvationarmyusa.org/. Can you tell me if the donation went through OK?”

“Wait just one moment. Please call us back in 48 hours to see if your donation was accepted.”

“Would I receive an email confirmation if the donation worked OK?”

“Wait just one moment. Please call us back in 48 hours.”

“Is there a procedure to report your broken donation page?”

“Yes. Please call back in 48 hours to see if we have fixed the page.”

So what did I learn?

  1. The Salvation Army has a hodge-podge of three confusing web domain names. Instead, they should use one name to earn my trust.
  2. Web sites with secure donation pages need to be tested for proper operation and fixed before the public wakes up, or else confidence and trust decreases.
  3. Telephone operators aren’t trained to help donors when the web site breaks.

So, do I still trust the Salvation Army? Yes, although their web developer needs to quickly fix this donation bug to restore my confidence.

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Before and After Photos

Written: March 21, 2017

In many service businesses there are before and after photos, showing visual proof of the value for the service. One of my clients has a gum company and they came up with the clever idea of letting customers upload their own photos to be used on the cover of the gum packaging. It all started with a Baseball theme, but has since morphed into all sports and just for fun.

Here are several examples of their before and after photos to give you an idea:

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so if your business produces something that is visual, then go ahead and show it off with a photo on your web site.

Client: MyBigLeagueChew.com

2016 Business R&D and Innovation Survey

Written: March 19, 2017

This weekend I opened my mail and found something that quickly struck my curiosity because it was from the US Government. As I opened the official envelope I discovered that it was the 2016 Business R&D and Innovation Survey, sent out by the US Census Bureau. At first I was going to just dismiss the whole issue, because it was the weekend and I really didn’t want to be bothered by yet another survey, then I saw it in big, bold letters: Your Response Is Required by Law

Your Response is Required by Law

Your Response is Required by Law

Ugh, my Federal Government demanded that I fill out the survey, or else. Hmm, not exactly a friendly way to get business owners to fill out a survey. Oh well, I didn’t want to have a Federal Employee knocking on my door, so I went ahead and filled out the information online. Of course, the printed explanation was a little sketchy in directing me to the online process, so I soon learned that I had to:

Once I finished all of the preliminaries, I answered lots of questions about my business, innovation, and R&D habits.

Census Questions

Census Questions

In total I spent maybe 20 minutes on this census exercise. Thank God that I won’t be breaking the law, and who knows, maybe our Federal Government has some need to know about what Tualatin Web is doing, besides paying my taxes and helping clients with their web sites. If you get the same mandatory survey, don’t fret, it will soon be over, and yes, you will lose some of your business work day to comply with the US Census Bureau.

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Learning About WordPress Themes

Written: March 18, 2017

There are dozens of ways to create your own web site, however WordPress has some 100,000,000 users around the world, making it the number one Content Management System (CMS) where you use a web browser to edit your site. So, how do you go about learning how to use WordPress? Great question. There’s a Portland Meetup group that offers free training on how to use WordPress and their next meeting is on April 3rd. Here’s what you’ll learn at this free Meetup:

Topic: Child Theme Basics & Twenty Seventeen Theme Demo

Time: Monday, April 3, 2017 from 6PM to 8PM

Location: U.S. Bancorp Tower, Conference Rooms, 111 SW 5th Avenue

Description:

Have you ever upgraded your theme and had your customizations wiped out? In this presentation, we’ll talk about what a child theme is, why you should use one, how to set one up, and possible alternatives. We’ll use the Twenty Seventeen theme (the default theme that comes with a fresh WordPress install) as an example. We’ll also go through a quick demo of its features. The agenda:

6:00 – 6:15: Introductions. What you do, are you looking to hire, are you looking for work?
6:15 – 6:45: Speaker and topic.
6:45 – 7:00: Questions and answers on the topic.
7:00 – 8:00: Get help with WordPress. Bring your laptop for this part. There’s a wide range of experience levels, and we’re all here to help each other.
8:00: Soft Close. You may hang out a bit longer to talk or finish up a project, but the official Meetup will end.

To find us: The room is on the ground floor. To the right of the elevators, go through the glass doors where it says Conference Center. Then go down the hall to the room labeled Training Room.

Meetup

Visit the Meetup site to see all of their WordPress events.

Portland WordPress Meetup

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