Failing to Test an Email Newsletter

Written: April 2, 2020

I’m an avid cyclist and belong to three clubs here in the Northwest. The Cascade Bicycle Club puts on the annual Seattle To Portland (STP) ride each year, an epic 205 mile endurance ride that I have signed up for in 2020. Today the club sent out an email newsletter, which is always a good way to communicate with the membership, and they asked me to take a survey, so I clicked the button to help provide feedback.

Clicking the link opened up a new tab in my web browser, so far, so good, but then I saw this warning:

So what happened?

Well, the person that designed the form forget to actually test out the email newsletter from a typical club member. The result will likely be that Zero people actually get to fill out the survey, which totally defeats the purpose.

Yes, your organization has to have in place a proper testing procedure to ensure that accidents like this don’t happen to an entire membership list. It’s quite likely that the club will respond to my email and fix the Google Form permission, opening up the survey to actual members, and that the club should re-send their email to:

I make mistakes almost every day, so when I learn from my mistake then progress is made.

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Keeping Your Website Updated

Written: March 26, 2020

In the early days of the web we hand-coded every site and there were lots of static HTML files, then we started to add styling in a separate CSS file, and finally we added interactivity with Javascript files. As Content Management Systems (CMS) appeared like WordPress, the idea was to re-use common sections of your website like the Header, Footer, Sidebar and Content areas, so using a programming language like PHP was used. The PHP language is constantly being improved, so that means that there are versions, and sometimes your website may be using an older version of the PHP language, so in WordPress you will see a warning dialog like this one:

 

The way to update the PHP version is to login at your web hosting vendor, and browse around the Control Panel to find out where they allow PHP versions to be changed. My favorite web hosting company is ionos.com and when I login the first click is on: Hosting

Next, I select which hosting package, because I’m a web developer I do hosting for several clients:

In the control panel I select: PHP

Finally, I select which domain should have a PHP version updated.

It’s a best practice to keep your PHP version updated to the latest supported version in order to get the best performance and security benefits. Older versions of PHP are being phased out, and a CMS like WordPress will simply alert you when your PHP version is too old.

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COVID-19 Statement

Written: March 19, 2020

I hope that you, your family and co-workers are staying healthy and free from COVID-19 as it disrupts our daily routines. At Tualatin Web we remain open for business and can help you with any web development questions and needs at this time, as long as email and the Internet continue working. Phone calls, email and Skype meetings will helps us communicate during this time.

You may want to add your won COVID-19 statement to inform your customers and prospects what to expect about your service, support and shipping plans.

I know that tech support at web hosting companies like GoDaddy are stretched thin right now, because to talk with a real human takes 60 minutes of waiting.

Follow the guidelines from your local, state and Federal agencies during this pandemic.

Living Savior – remodeled site launched

Written: March 18, 2020

I had the pleasure of helping a local church in Tualatin remodel their web site, with some important goals in mind:

Let’s take a quick look at the Home page, before and after:

Once a member logs in, then there are two new features available: Calendar, Directory. Their internal calendar system is provided by teamup, and we used an iframe to integrate that into this WordPress site:

Living Savior calendar
teamup calendar integration

Finally, the directory page allows members to view other church members:

Living savior directory

The WordPress system allows multiple church members to login and update content on the web site, and maintain pages for each of the several ministries.


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