Blog, News, Tips & Tricks

Blog categories:
  • CMS (2)
  • E-Commerce (1)
  • General (4)
  • Security (3)
  • SEO (3)
  • Tips & Tricks (6)
  • Web Hosting (1)
  • WordPress (9)
  • Google Terminating Free Edition Of G Suite / Google Apps

    This situation affects some of my older clients who’s email was set up prior to 2012 using what was then known as Google Apps (it was renamed G Suite in 2016 and they transitioned G Suite to Google Workspace in 2020). The Google Apps service was available for free since it was launched in 2006 but in 2012 Google discontinued offering the free version. But existing Google Apps free accounts remained free – until now.

    In January 2022, Google announced that they are ending the free version which they call ‘G Suite Legacy Free’. Action is required before 1st June to maintain email services.

    In a nutshell, the options are:

    1. Transition to the Google Workspace paid service (cost is NZ$9/mth per user account [a user account is a separate inbox, one user account can have multiple email addresses, i.e. aliases]) – this requires entering your billing details in the Google Workspace Admin Console before 1st August.
    2. Sign up for Google’s no cost option before 1st June – this allows you to retain your account but your email address would become [email protected] since the no cost version does not include custom email address using your own domain name. Currently this ‘no cost option’ is not yet available so Google have a waiting list for it and if you are on waiting list, you continue on legacy free version until it becomes available – essentially it buys you more time. Mail forwarding could be used in conjunction with the no cost option so you would continue to get email sent to your existing email addresses. However when you send emails they would be sent with an [email protected] email address. (as of 27/04/22 the wait list is not live yet. According to Google, ‘You’ll see a message about the waiting list in your Google Admin console in the coming weeks.‘)
    3. Switch to a different email service provider. There are cheaper providers available, such as Zoho. However there is the cost, effort and inconvenience of switching to take into consideration.

    Some more background on this change here:

    SEO resources for our clients

    Here I include some hand picked online resources intended for our clients to educate themselves on SEO. These are resources that which we feel are suited to small New Zealand businesses.

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    What is Website Hosting?

    In a nutshell, website hosting (or web hosting) is a service that stores a website (which is made up of computer files and sometimes databases) on a special purpose computer and delivers it to anyone who requests some information from your website.

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    Simple fix for WordPress “The response is not a valid JSON response” error

    On a new WordPress site that I was working on I got an error message “The response is not a valid JSON response.” when I attempted to upload an image to a page via Gutenberg block editor.

    After Googling it, I found a myriad of different solutions and troubleshooting steps to take but in the back of my mind I remembered encountering this before and remembered that it was a simple fix. One solution suggested using the Media Library upload button instead of the direct Upload button. This did actually did allow me to upload the image but when I went to save the page I got the error “Updating failed. Error message: The response is not a valid JSON response.”

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    Why WordPress Page Builders Suck

    In the context of WordPress, page builders are add-ons that provide an alternative interface for creating and laying out web pages. I have concluded that page builders are not a good solution for me or my clients. Here I discuss why.

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    My Top 8 WordPress Advances in the last 12 years

    I started building websites with WordPress in 2007. Since then WordPress has been my content management system of choice. Over the years I’ve witnessed a lot of great advances in WordPress. But even back 12 years ago WordPress was a great platform for building websites. I found that I was always able to customise or hack it to achieve what I wanted. For example, WordPress didn’t have navigation menu management features built in. But I was able to write a simple plugin that converted the Blogroll Links Manager feature into a navigation menu manager.

    In the last 12 years I’ve witnessed the evolution of WordPress from a blogging-centric system that could be adapted to work as a basic CMS into a full-blown CMS and even a web application framework. Here are some of my favourite WordPress advances:

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    E-commerce credit card payment options for New Zealand online businesses

    (updated Aug 2019)

    If you are setting up an e-commerce web site (shopping cart, online store, online shop), one of the decisions you will have to make is what system you are going to use for collecting payment. Payment can be handled off-line (by bank deposit, cheque, etc.) or automatically at the time of purchase by real-time credit card processing. In the case of off-line payment, the customer is provided with instructions for making a bank deposit or posting a cheque and the order is processed after payment is received. It is the simplest and least expensive system to set up but may present a barrier to some customers who are looking for the instant transaction that can be had using a credit card.

    We should also mention POLi at this point. POLi allows instantaneous transfers from the buyer’s bank account to the merchant’s bank account. It can allow an instant transaction to take place with out as much cost as a credit card transaction. It requires a little more effort than a credit card purchase in that the customer has to log in to their bank account to complete the transaction but it’s much cheaper than a credit card transaction (at least 40% and more than that for larger transactions as fees are capped at $3).

    When it comes to collecting credit card payments online in real time, there are two main types of systems:

    1. Third party (all in one) payment solutions
    2. Payment gateway linked to your own business merchant account
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    How to adjust zoom on embedded Google Maps

    Update January 2022: This solution still works in 2022!

    I was embedding some Google maps and was having trouble setting the initial zoom level. But after playing around with it for awhile, I figured out the simple trick for how to do it. I thought I would share it here in case it helps someone.

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    Is WordPress any good?

    Ok, first things, first, who am I to write a review of WordPress? Well, I’m an independent web designer/developer who lives in the small city (pop 50,000ish) of Nelson in New Zealand. I mostly build websites for small local businesses in the Nelson region, sometimes for businesses in other parts of New Zealand and occasionally for clients in Australia, USA and Europe. I’ve been working in this area (small business websites), since 2007 – about a dozen years. I’ve worked with a handful of popular content management systems over the years – Drupal, Joomla, Silverstripe, a funky Apple OS X based one called Manila, some e-commerce specific systems – Magento and Prestashop. I’ve also encountered and worked on a few websites (just a few!) built outside of content management systems – static HTML/CSS, ASP (the old pre-dot Net Active Server Pages), JSP, PHP and, God forbid, even Dreamweaver! But WordPress has been may mainstay since I researched and trialed content management systems back in 2007 and picked WordPress as the CMS that I would focus on.

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