Tag: wordpress

Facebook Outage

When Social Media Goes Down, The top 2 things you can do to ensure business as usual

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date. WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected. … read more

Facebook Outage

Widespread news of social media outages are affecting many small shop owners not just in the US but around the world today. USA Today Tech is reporting that this situation is the longest unresolved issue for Facebook to date.
WhatsApp, Instagram, Etsy, Messenger, USPS and Other Internet based sites are reported to also be affected.

Checking DownDetector, we can confirm Instagram seems to be hugely affected…

Instagram outage

And Facebook’s issues loomed even larger with a total black out of 32% among reported problems

Facebook Outage


Roland Dobbins, an engineer with network performance firm Netscout said the outage was due to an accidental traffic jam issue with a European internet company that collided with Facebook and other websites.

“While not malicious in nature, such events can prove disruptive on a widespread basis,” he said.

Some users of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp reported having issues sending photos on the popular messaging app. As with nearly every Facebook outage, users headed to Twitter with the hashtag #facebookdown quickly becoming the top trending topic in the United States.

Down Detector showed MANY large websites were having issues:

Etsy outage Etsy outage

However, there is a rumor spreading that it is is denial of service (DoS)  malicious attack from an unknown source since so many platforms including youtube, Etsy and the USPS are even affected...this rumor has been denied by facebook and instagram and others.

What is a small shop to do if they sell on a platform that goes down, such as Etsy, or Facebook? Larger platforms such as these would logically seem to be safer because of the funds available to diagnose and prevent these problems, but in the case of the unsubstantiated DoS attack rumor, it may seem the bigger the platform, the bigger the target for those types of attacks. Sometimes bigger is not always better yo! I ALWAYS say never to put all your selling eggs in one proverbial basket. If Etsy suddenly decides to censor you and take out half your products because of your beliefs about vaccination, and that’s your only platform, then what will you do? If a DoS attack takes our your whole Facebook store… then what will you do? It is WISE TO DIVERSIFY… sell on multiple platforms, never sell on only one platform. (Learn more about selling your handmade products on Gypsy Spoonful HERE)

Sooo… What can we, as small shop owners, learn from a situation like this ? So many influencers, marketing and advertising people as well as  small shop owners depend on social media to get the word out about their events, sales, products and other news. I happen to have the blessing of having been in business for 15 years BDSM… that means Before the Dawn of Social Media (get your minds out of the GUTTER , y’all! lol) so what did we do in the days before social media was so prevalent

1. Build an email list… Seriously, I could tell all the small business owners I know 24/7, 365 and some still do NOT have an email list!  The best return on investment is building an email list of contacts, customers, prospects and fans. Sign up for a mailing list on MailChimp Today, don’t wait, do it NOW. Get a free Mail Chimp Account HERE. Email is a measurable business marketing practice that you can’t afford to be without. Marketing and Advertising folks KNOW that if it’s NOT measurable, it’s of no use.

Top reasons to have an email list:

For some business owners, email marketing may seem archaic. With the prevalence of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and thoroughly understood “modern” forms of communication. That’s why just about every social media platform requires you to have an email. (and in the cases of social media going down and being virtually useless to your business as it did today, you can’t afford NOT to focus part of your energy on email!)

For small shop owners, email lists can yield dramatic rewards. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US. Can you say that about your social media marketing campaign?

Why Email Marketing Is Still Effective

“Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”

David Newman

Email marketing has distinct advantages over other modern media.

  • First, it’s direct, meaning that every person on your list receives an email the same way that they’d receive a piece of mail. It’s much different than finding a piece of content in a newsfeed, even if it’s personalized.
  • Second, email is necessary. You can go for a few days without checking social media or video chatting with your friends and family, but most people check their email several times a day.
  • Third, it’s highly customizable. You can create an email campaign on any subject, and add any bells and whistles that you need to get the job done. It’s also incredibly inexpensive and well documented by email marketing experts.

Sign up for the Gypsy Spoonful mailing list HERE so you don’t miss out on any news about handmade or small shop management.

2. Work on your SEO! Being found in search engine searches is not hampered when a denial of service attack happens, or some other random technical glitch that makes your entire message go down in flames.

Search engine optimization nowadays is way more important than ever and it is necessary for every small shop owner to understand the true meaning of SEO as well as the potential it creates for every business, no matter which platform they sell upon. SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site. Users trust search engines and having a presence in the top positions for the keywords the user is searching, increases the web site’s trust.

The Top 5 reasons why your small shop needs SEO

(written by Sam Hollingsworth of the Search Engine Journal, see the full article HERE)

Many brands and businesses know (or think they know) that they need SEO for their digital properties, and the benefits they will get from that SEO work being implemented on their behalf.

SEO will certainly improve a small shops’s overall searchability and visibility, but what other real value does it offer? Why is SEO so important?

These top 5 reasons should offer some clarity, regardless of the industry or business size, as to why businesses need SEO to take their brand to the next level.

1. Organic Search Is Most Often the Primary Source of Website Traffic

Organic search is a huge part of most business’s website performance, as well as a critical component of the buyer funnel and ultimately getting users to complete a conversion or engagement.

As marketers know, Google owns a significantly larger portion of the search market than competitors like Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and the many, many others.

That’s not to say that all search engines don’t contribute to a brand’s visibility — they do — it’s just that Google owns about 75 percent of the overall search market. It’s the clear-cut leader and thus its guidelines are important to follow.

But the remaining 25 percent of the market owned by other engines is obviously valuable to brands, too.

Google, being the most visited website in the world (as well as specifically in the United States), also happens to be the most popular email provider in the world (with more than 1 billion users). Not to mention YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

We know that a clear majority of the world that has access to the internet is visiting Google at least once a day to get information.

Being highly visible as a trusted resource by Google and other search engines is always going to work in a brand’s favor. Quality SEO and a high-quality website takes brands there.

2. SEO Builds Trust & Credibility

The goal of any experienced SEO is to establish a strong foundation for a beautiful website with a clean, effective user experience that is easily discoverable in search with thanks to the trust and credibility of the brand and its digital properties.

Many elements go into establishing authority regarding search engines like Google. In addition to the factors mentioned above, authority is accrued over time as a result of elements like:

But establishing that authority will do more for a brand than most, if not all, other digital optimizations. Problem is, it’s impossible to build trust and credibility overnight — just like real life. Credibility and Trust is earned and built over time.

Establishing a brand as an authority takes patience, effort, and commitment, but also relies on offering a valuable, quality product or service that allows customers to trust a brand. We, at Gypsy Spoonful have been effectively establishing trust and credibility since 2016.

3. Good SEO Also Means a Better User Experience

Everyone wants better organic rankings and maximum visibility. Few realize that optimal user experience is a big part of getting there.

Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and a positive user experience has become a pivotal element to a website’s success. (Learn what a bounce rate is, the GS site has a 23% bounce rate, anything under 70% is considered very good) .

Customers know what they want. If they can’t find it, there’s going to be a problem. And performance will suffer.

A clear example of building a strong user experience is how Google has become more and more of an answer engine offering the sought-after data directly on the SERPs (search engine results pages) for users.

The intention of that is offering users the information they are looking for in fewer clicks, quickly and easily.

Quality SEO incorporates a positive user experience, leveraging it to work in a brand’s favor.

4. Local SEO Means Increased Engagement, Traffic & Conversions

With the rise and growing domination of mobile traffic, local search has become a fundamental part of small- and medium-sized businesses’ success.

Local SEO aims at optimizing your digital properties for a specific vicinity, so people can find you quickly and easily, putting them one step closer to a transaction. (Goosie’s suggestion:  If you want to emphasize that customers can #shoplocal, work on local optimizations!

Local optimizations focus on specific towns, cities, regions, and even states, to establish a viable medium for a brand’s messaging on a local level.

SEO pros do this by optimizing the brand’s website and its content, including local citations and backlinks, as well as local listings relevant to the location and business sector a brand belongs to.

To promote engagement on the local level, SEO pros should optimize a brand’s Knowledge Graph panel, its Google My Business listing, and its social media profiles as a start. (If you haven’t created a business profile on the Google site, –buy an inexpensive domain at idotz, forward it to your small shop and get on it loves!) 

There should also be a strong emphasis on user reviews on Google, as well as other reviews sites like Yelp, Home Advisor, and Angie’s List (among others), depending on the industry.

5. SEO Impacts the Buying Cycle

Customers do their research. That’s one of the biggest advantages of the internet from a buyer perspective.

Using SEO tactics to relay your messaging for good deals, groundbreaking products and/or services, and the importance and dependability of what you offer customers will be a game changer.

It will also undoubtedly impact the buying cycle in a positive way when done right.

Brands must be visible in the places people need them for a worthy connection to be made. Local SEO enhances that visibility and lets potential customers find the answers, and the businesses providing those answer.



This guy has worked for FREE for 13 years! Who is he and Why Did Time Magazine Name Him One of The Most Influential People of 2018?

Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. It’s earned him not only accolades but almost legendary status on the internet. The online encyclopedia now boasts more than 5.7 million articles in English and millions more translated into other languages – all written by online volunteers. Pruitt was … read more

Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles. It’s earned him not only accolades but almost legendary status on the internet.

The online encyclopedia now boasts more than 5.7 million articles in English and millions more translated into other languages – all written by online volunteers. Pruitt was named one of the most influential people on the internet by Time magazine in part because one-third of all English language articles on Wikipedia have been edited by Steven. An incredible feat, ignited by a fascination with his own history.

Pruitt is deeply obsessed with history, and his love of opera inspired his Wikipedia username: Ser Amantio Di Nicolao, his favorite opera character.

“My first article was about Peter Francisco, who was my great great great great great great grandfather … and if we had an hour I could probably go into the full story,” Pruitt said. “He was a sergeant in arms in the Virginia Senate and there’s kidnapping, potential piracy. If you read the story you would not believe any of it happened.”

Still living with his parents in the home he grew up in, Pruitt has always remained true to his interests.

“I think for a long time there was an attitude of, ‘That’s nice, dear. The boy’s crazy. I don’t know why he wastes his time, the boy’s crazy,’ Pruitt said of what his parents think of his volunteer gig.

That may have changed when Time magazine named him one of the top 25 most influential people on the internet, alongside President Trump, J.K. Rowling and Kim Kardashian West.

This guy has worked for FREE for 13 years! Who is he and Why ?
Steven Pruitt CBS News

How much money does he make from his work? None.

“The idea of making it all free fascinates me. My mother grew up in the Soviet Union … So I’m very conscious of what, what it can mean to make knowledge free, to make information free,” he said.

Pulling from books, academic journals and other sources, he spends more than three hours a day researching, editing and writing.

Even his day job is research, working in records and information at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He joked that his colleagues probably think he’s nuts.

“Because I edit Wikipedia all the damn time, I think that one sort of goes without saying,” Pruitt said.

Wikipedia’s Kui Kinyanjui said the site would not exist without the dedication of its volunteers. It is now one of the top five most visited in the world, among Google, YouTube and Facebook.

“People like Steven are incredibly important to platforms like Wikipedia, simply because they are the ones that are the lifeblood,” said Kui Kinyanjui, WikiMedia’s vice president of communications.

Six-thousand people visit the site every second, bringing a responsibility for the editors to present a diverse and fair platform.

“We know there’s a lot more to be done. That’s why we’re very excited about projects like Women in Red, which seeks to identify and place more content on women on our platform … Steven has been a large contributor to that project,” Kinyanjui said.

“The last statistic I saw was that 17.6 percent of the biographical articles on Wikipedia area about women, on the English Wikipedia I should say,” Pruitt said. “It was under 15 percent a couple of years ago which shows you how much we have been able to move the needle.”

How does he celebrate that victory? “Write another article, make another edit.”

To put in to perspective what it took for Pruitt to become the top editor, he’s been dedicating his free time to the site for 13 years. The second-place editor is roughly 900,000 edits behind him, so his first place status seems safe, for now.

Speaking of Most Influential People:

Some of the shops at GypsySpoonful are  seeking brand reps/influencers to join our rep team.

Please join our facebook group and we’ll connect you with them.

Wiki Wiki Wiki ( I couldn’t resist, lol)

Outside the Blue Diamond

It Takes A Village: A Homeless Blogger in Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Meet Will from OutsideTheBlueDiamond

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do … read more

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do as I say and don’t do as I do things? What are you doing to participate in YOUR village? Whether you’re reading this in my hometown of Chicago, or you’re my friend Moumita across the world in Kolkata, India, I truly want to know what you are doing to make your village a better place… comments PLEASE!! Outside The Blue Diamond : It Takes A Village</font color>

One morning, while sitting in my comfortable suburban kitchen painted fun purples and lime green~sipping coffee and eating fruit salad for breakfast; I felt the goosebumps rise up on my arms as I held the newsprint in my hands.  My green eyes followed the words on the page, and a tears began to cloud my vision as I read about 49 year old Will in the lifestyle section. He’s a blogger just like me. He has used a wordpress venue to tell his story, to communicate his inner most thoughts, feelings and ideas to the world. Why is this an emotional thing for me, you may wonder? Lots of people use blogs as online journals or diaries about their lives, that’s nothing new!

Well, Will is a man who lives on the streets of Chicago- more specifically, he “lives” on the streets in the neighborhood surrounding the Chicago Cubs ball park, “Wrigleyville”.   He is homeless and has been for the last 7 1/2 years since the love of his life died of cancer. She passed away and he didn’t have the heart to go back to their apartment, and face his overwhelming grief, so as of that day, he became a resident of the streets.

He is not all that much older than me, and most nights, he sleeps on the bench outside the 19th district Police headquarters.  The streets are his home, the concrete sidewalks are his hallways, alleys are his creepy dark basement that you tend to avoid unless you *have* to go down there. The metra bus exhaust is his “scentsy” aroma of the day in his home.  He has decided the street is a better alternative than taking up residency in a homeless shelter.  Yep, there are a lot of  social services available to people like Will… but he’d rather not. He’s not mentally ill, he’s not a vagrant, a panhandler, he’s not an alcoholic or an addict~he’s just an “outside guy” so he says. He spends most of his days in front of the parking garage on Addison near Halsted. We live very different lives, yet I am drawn to him and his story.

Wrigleyville is a trendy urban neighborhood filled with restaurants and bars. Typical Chicago taverns dot the streets and public transit is the mode of transportation for most residents of Wrigleyville. As Will became a staple of the décor of the neighborhood~ soon the hipsters, students, and commuters began noticing Will in his familiar places, first they’d politely nod and he’d nod back. They’d smile and he’d smile back. It wasn’t long before they began talking to him and engaging him in conversation. He became a part of the neighborhood… a part of the village.

Just like most folks in the area, he’s a die-hard Cubs fan and says he “bleeds Cubby Blue” . He says he’s not a talker but since he’s been in Wrigleyville people seek him out and strike up a conversation. As residents began to engage him more often in conversation, they discovered for 49,  he’s lived a full life, loved and lost and he had a lot of things to say.

As the sun began to rise on a chilly morning in April, next to his belongings leaning against a chain link fence, a little cardboard sign appeared, “OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com ” it read.

How does a homeless man, living in the streets begin a blog? well, remember that VILLAGE thing I was talking about earlier? a 20 year old exchange student from Italy, working on her thesis at Northwestern University handed him a notebook and pencil a week after chatting with him, “You should write your story down”.  . . she encouraged him.

As he began to write and to become more comfortable in talking to more people his words began to flow…

“I realize the more people engage me in conversation, I talk more freely, my words come out better, and all this has been really therapeutic for me”

-Will Howard

The exchange student, and Will exchanged phone numbers and she then sent him some tutorials on how to set up a WordPress blog. She helped him to get it all set up, added a banner, a picture and helped with some formatting. Another Wrigleyville acquaintance designed a logo for the blog. Someone else designed a business card for Will’s handyman skills – all that he could upload onto the blog site. Will uses the free computer hours at a community center “The Center on Halsted” to type the blog posts~ of which sometimes, he follows a written rough draft from his original notebook. He explained hitting the “publish” button has become part of his inner healing.

Outside the blue diamond logo

It was in reading how the COMMUNITY… the VILLAGE… the individual people of Wrigleyville came together to help Will start his blog and in turn begin his healing process from the loss of his partner of 14 years that really touched me. It is not easy for people who live comfortable lives, in trendy working class neighborhoods to reach out and embrace a homeless man. There are so many stigmas attached to the persona of a street life.

He writes tales of love, life, thoughts about current events and a lot about his observances of common, everyday life from his very uncommon vantage point.  He says his blog is dedicated to his love, Helen.

As a blogger, I totally understand how writing and blogging can be therapeutic. Sharing ourselves and our ideas can be scary, but if you have the courage to be authentic, a little piece of you goes out into the world with each story. As I sit here and type this blog in my air conditioned living room, sipping a cold diet coke, I think about Will out there in the middle of Wrigleyville scribbling in his notebook~that someone bought for him with their own money, because they cared. I think of him walking down the street going to The Center to type it out, and maybe handing out one of his gifted business cards to a passerby. I will think of him tonight when I lay my head down on my soft pillowcase, and he kicks back on an iron bench outside the P.D. in the humidity and heat.

Outside the Blue Diamond

It truly DOES take a village, I believe in community. I believe in helping other people. This is one of the reasons I’ve set up Gypsy Spoonful the way it has been set up, with community at it’s center. Encouraging, supporting and helping each other in business~ but also in life… and although Will and I lead very different lives, I believe we’ve both been blessed and reaped the rewards of what it means to be a part of a wonderful community.

We need some painting done, I might just give him a call… or drive down to the parking garage at Addison and Halsted and hire him in person.

Outside the blue diamond

To read more about Will and to get to know him better through his writings, go to :OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com

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