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September 2014
September 2014
shellshock-bug
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For those that pay attention to security issues, we were alerted to the "Shellshock" vulnerability on thursday (9/25/14) and we applied the security update to our server as soon as it became available. So our servers are secure from this vulnerability.

This is a huge security event. The bug allows anyone to issue any commands as the Apache web server user (with their permissions). Within a couple hours of the announcement, commercial servers and personal computers around the world were already being scanned for this vulnerability and infected with malware to scan for other computers and do who knows what else. The good news is that with Open Source software there is a huge community of geeks that find these vulnerabilities and report them so the development teams can issue patches. So if server administrators respond quickly it is easy to fix.

[UPDATE: 09/29/14]

We applied new security patches that were released for related vulnerabilities.


September 2014
September 2014
Stripe_Pricing
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We've just completed a fantastic new upgrade to our online store, which allows you to setup an ecommerce store and instantly accept credit cards without any additional monthly credit card processing fees. This is facilitated through Stripe, a refreshing new service that acts as the merchant account and payment gateway, all in one, which accepts payments from all the major credit cards with no additional hassle. You can create a new account instantly and have your store up and running in minutes.

Traditionally you would have to establish a relationship with a bank merchant service, and then setup a third party payment gateway at Authorize.net. Each of these costed hundreds of dollars in application and setup fees, and $35+ per month in service fees, statement fees, etc. This made setting up a store or accepting donations not cost effective unless you were doing large volumes of sales.

But now, with Stripe, setup is instant and free, and there are no monthly costs. The processing rate is a flat 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, which happens to also be cheaper than most traditional bank merchant accounts. It's a win win for everyone.

Stripe also has web and mobile payment options for accepting credit cards as a mobile point of sale tool, and can power marketplaces to facilitate payment between buyers and sellers.

So if you want to sell your products, or accept donations for your non-profit, wait no longer. If you have a Gutensite Pro account, the store is already included for free, or you can add on the store to your existing site. Then create an account at Stripe, and copy/paste your secret key into your new store (we'll help) and that's it. Call or email us with any questions.


September 2014
September 2014
 
 
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We have updated our multimedia players to rely solely on the browser's built in HTML5 player. This ensures greater compatibility across all browsers and devices, desktop or mobile, and less glitches.

Long Time Coming

This is a move we initiated several years ago, but at the time we were unable to fully transition to an HTML5 only-player because not all browsers support the HTML5 audio and video tags. What also complicated the transition is that not all browsers support the same media formats. For example, Firefox still doesn't support the most common video format MP4 (H.268), due to license restrictions.

Video Player

Since there is no single video format supported by all browsers, a couple of years ago we changed the video feature of our CMS to require an embed code from Youtube, Vimeo or any other online video service. This allowed you to upload the video file to one of those services, and then those services kindly create multiple versions of the file for every different format and different playback qualities that will work on every device. They also have multi-million dollar product development budgets that allow them to create sophisticated video players that can detect your browser's capabilities and serve the best video. And you don't have to pay for the bandwidth! Since video is their entire business, they do it much better than we ever could, and overall this was a much better solution.

In order to ensure support for older clients who previously used FLV video (the previous standard flash player format), we do still provide the old Flash player to ensure these videos still play on browsers that support Flash. But it's highly recommended to upgrade these videos to Youtube embed code, so they are viewable on all devices.

WARNING!

There is a possibility that you may have uploaded MP4 videos before we made the transition to video embed codes. The problem with this, as mentioned above, is that Firefox does not support MP4. That is why we require you to use embed code for video in the first place, because the old Flash player is not compatible with mobile devices. So in order for your videos to be viewed on all browsers, you need to use embed video from a service like Youtube.

So you should check the videos on your website, and make sure they are using a third party player embed code like Youtube or Vimeo. If they aren't, you will want to upload those videos to Youtube and get the embed code, then update the multimedia record on Gutensite. Otherwise, the videos will not play on Firefox browsers. If you don't have the original video, you should be able to download the video from the Gutensite CMS Multimedia List page, and then upload that file to Youtube. And then copy the embed code from there.

Audio Player

Audio files are much easier since MP3 is supported across all browsers, and all HTML5 compatible browsers can play MP3s in their native browser.

Let Us Know

We are sorry that this is complicated and inconvenient for some, but it is just the reality of contantly changing and incompatible standards that make up the internet. We do our best to provide you with the best solutions that will work for the maximum amount of visitors. And that will inevitably meant that older formats that worked a few years ago, may no longer work.

If you notice problems, other than the Firefox MP4 video issue, please let us know ASAP.


September 2014
September 2014
MLS-Mobile-Example
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Great news, we've updated the MLS pages to be more beautiful and optimized for viewing on mobile browsers!

We are excited to announce that we have redesigned all the MLS pages so that they have a fresh look that is beautiful and also optimized to look and work great on Mobile devices. There are still the same options to display the properties in a grid, list or map view, and all display beautifully on Mobile devices. And we have added larger photos for MLSs that have HD images, a much nicer slideshow, and many other great enhancements.

Samples

To see a live example of the new designs, visit an MLS list page on the new Alain Pinel Investment Group website in San Francisco or a property details page on the Gullixons website in Menlo Park.

When Will These Updates Happen?

Because we believe this is an improvement for all Realtors, we will automatically upgrade the default MLS pages to this new design in two weeks, on October 2.

But you can opt out if you don't want your MLS pages to be responsive on mobile devices. Just let us know ASAP.

Will My Website Be Effected?

The MLS pages on your website will only change to the new mobile responsive versions if you have a mobile responsive website design (e.g. one of our new free designs or a newer custom design that was created within the last year). If your website is not yet responsive for mobile devices (test it on your phone if you aren't sure), you can convert to use one of our free templates or request that we redesign or reinstall your current design so that it is responsive.

The MLS pages on your website will not change if you have customized your MLS pages in the past. After the switch, if you aren't seeing the new Mobile Responsive designs and you want them, you will need to request that we switch you back to our core files instead of your custom files. Then you will get the new designs. If you need more customizations at that point, we can do anything you need.

If you already have a responsive design, but you do not want the new MLS design, you must notify us in the next 2 weeks and we can create custom files for you, using the old design. But you should be aware that any pages that aren't responsive, will look bad on mobile devices. So we highly recommend you accept this beneficial upgrade.

If you have any questions, please call or email and we would love to help.


August 2014
August 2014
Automated Website Duplication
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One of our new agency partners is working in a very specific niche to provide fitness clubs with a bundled package which includes a Gutensite website that is carefully integrated with another common third party industry platform. This integration requires a lot of expertise and work to setup on a case by case basis, so he turned to Gutensite to help him automate the process of setting up new websites in an efficient and scalable way so he can serve hundreds and even thousands of clients.

Fortunately we already have a great automated setup process. When someone creates a new website, they select an "emphasis" (e.g. business, church, realtor, health & fitness, etc) and we are able to prepopulate their new website with default menu structure and content that makes sense for that type of website. This is really helpful so that new users aren't overwhelmed and forced to start from scratch. It's easier to edit an existing structure than to try to figure out where to even begin.

We're happy to announce that now our design and agency partners can also create their own master websites and custom niche emphasis. These will show up on their custom sign up page, and when new sites are created for their custom emphasis, the website will be duplicated from the partner's custom master website template.

Along with the existing ability to create custom design templates for their clients, Gutensite really helps save our partners a lot of work setting up new websites. Our goal is to streamline the workflow so our partners can serve more clients and be more profitable.


August 2014
August 2014
Calendar_Event_Map
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We've released a great new feature for the calendar which lets you turn on a map that sits above the calendar or event list. The map shows the location of each event. The markers are clickable and will either open up the event details in a popup window or go directly to the event details page. This is particularly useful if you have several events spread across the community and you want to help people find the gather that is closest to them (e.g. community groups).

This feature is activated by turning on the "Display Map" option on the calendar category, and then simply entering an address for each event. Any events that do not have an address will obviously not appear on the page.


June 2014
June 2014
Gutensite-Etch-a-Sketch
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Businesses need to make sure they have taken every step to be found online. This means having a beautiful, SEO optimized website, having a presence on the social media platforms where your customers frequent, and also being listed in appropriate business directories such as Google maps.

The problem is, as the online gatekeepers evolve, their recommendations for businesses change. All the time. Recently, I discovered Google had lovingly converted Gutensite's Google Places profile (the old business listing recommendation) into a lonely, empty, shell Google Plus profile, with no followers, not posts, etc. So we suddenly had two Google plus social pages for our business: our regular Gutensite page and another empty page that was the "verified" business listing, which is what shows up on Google Maps, and as the local business information in the right sidebar if someone searches for Gutensite.

This is confusing for visitors, and becomes redundant, splitting our followers across two profiles, each functioning as half of a total solution. Surely there must be some way of merging these accounts.

I spent hours over several weeks, looking for answers. But all I ever found were a lot of complaints and images of people banging their head against their keyboard. I was finally able to get in touch with a Google support person, who initially appeared as confused as the rest of us. He didn't seem to understand why it was problem, and he didn't know of anyway to "merge" the two accounts.

But I am happy to share that after a lengthy phone call, and several emails back and forth, he located a fantastic support document that explains how to merge your business' Google Plus Social profile with the Google Plus Local profile. The title of this document, "Connect a Page to Google Maps" is not ever going to help people solve the problem because it's not intuitive how that relates (but it does).

So if you haven't checked recently, you log into Google Plus, and look at "all pages" see if Google has created a second profile for your business as well (they supposedly converted everyone automatically). If it hasn't, you'll probably need to first convert your Google Places profile to a Google Local profile (good luck), and you'll want to "verifiy" your address (they send you a code in the mail). After that, the instructions for merging the accounts should help.


June 2014
June 2014
alloro_design
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We have released several new designs in the last few months and we haven't had time to brag about it! Today we are launching Alloro. The visual equivalent of afternoon champage, this design is timeless, traditional, luxurious and makes all the content it touches turn to gold.


April 2014
April 2014
church_relevance_logos_post
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We're excited to share that Church Relevance included 2 logos designed by Gutensite in their best church logo designs for 2013. The logo we created for  City Church San Francisco made their best of for 2012 so it's our second year in a row! They included our branding for the Resurrection Brooklyn Church Network and Imago Dei Church in their list of "Distinctive. Memorable. Timeless" and "aesthetically pleasing" logo designs.

See their full list of Great Church Logos


April 2014
April 2014
Inc-Problems-with-Small-Business-Websites-Infographic
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Inc. recently ran an article and infographic about the biggest challenges small businesses have with their websites. We've been saying this stuff for years, so we thought we would share.

The main problems small businesses have with their website include:

  1. No Clear Call to Action
  2. Poor Design that Doesn't Impress and Engage
  3. Difficulty Updating Content
  4. No Way to Measure Success
  5. Poor SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  6. Not Optimized for Mobile
  7. No Designated IT person

Our CMS makes it easy to update your website, our support team helps every step of the way, our sites are Mobile/Responsive on every sized device, and we  function as the webmaster and technical team for our small business clients. Furthermore, when we build websites for our clients, we make sure clients figure out what their conversion goals are, so we can help them design a website that funnels traffic to those conversion goals and measure the results. This means every page includes a call to action, e.g. you view a profile and see a button to "Contact Jane", you read a blog and are encouraged to sign up for the newsleter, you view the prices and then take the next step to "Sign Up". Your website needs to be a funnel.

SEO is an important ongoing process that helps increase your free "organic" traffic. But once people are at your website you need to make sure it's "Human Optimized" as well. That is where good design, by experts who understand UI and visitor behavior, makes all the difference. If your website isn't optimized in these ways, you are missing out on the benefit that it could be providing for you. Your website should not just be another expense, it should be a vital part of your business strategy, paying for itself and in fact driving much of your revenue stream. If it isn't doing that, you are missing a great opportunity.