What Municipalities Need to Know About Upcoming ADA Compliance

ADA Compliance on WebsitesMarketing scare tactics are often used to get people to buy something, and what makes them even more effective is when they have some truth woven into their message.

A current website sales tactic targets entities in the public sector, like school districts and municipalities, and promotes compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Their sale pitch hinges on the premise that ADA compliance is inevitable and gives the impression you are already late.

The fear is that ADA compliance may become unreasonably expensive, technically difficult, and a real pain!

The scary truth is that accessibility to online content presented by public entities is in the process of being treated like accessibility to buildings. See https://www.ada.gov/websites2.htm

Here’s some background. ADA Title II requires that the programs, services and activities of public entities be accessible to people with disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing Title II and is also responsible for clarifying the rules surrounding accessible websites.

We believe that accessibility is important, and we predict that ADA compliance will become a mandate as time goes on. When this occurs, the requirements for handicapped accessible websites will be more strictly enforced.

The good news is this: An existing website, similar to an existing building, will be given more leeway in getting its accessibility up-to-date. One proposal granted municipalities two years in which to comply with the accessibility requirements.

More good news is that accessible design does not necessarily mean a lot of additional cost for the website owner. It’s possible that only small changes in color contrast or behind-the-scenes coding will be necessary to bring a website into compliance.

The third piece of good news is that the accessibility rules have not been formally adopted, so immediate compliance is unnecessary. Public entities have the opportunity to monitor the rule-making process of the USDOJ, watch for any new requirements and the exemptions that go with them, and note any deadlines set for ADA compliance.

A big challenge will be to find a website developer that you can get to know and trust. You will need someone to do the work with competence and timeliness, without a big price tag.

Packerland Websites is that developer. We have built websites for the local school district and for a number of municipalities. You can bet we’ll keep our eye on these compliance rulings and will be a trusted source for ADA compliance for your website, should the need arise.

In the meantime, don’t be swept away by the scare tactics of our competitors. It’s not worth it!

Robo-Call You have not updated your free Google listing

Robotic telemarketer calling about Google listingI received a call from (608) 719-4895 in Stoughton WI. It was not a number I recognized, but I answered the call. A recorded message stated:
“You have not updated your free Google listing. Please press 1 if you are interested in doing so.” I was interested in doing so for a couple reasons. I provide search engine optimization (SEO) services, including directory listing management, not only for Google, but also for an additional 60 other directories. All of the listings are claimed and verified. The data is up-to-date, identical across all directories and creates an incoming link back to them.

Even if I am only building a website for a client and not providing SEO services, I will create or claim the Google pages for my customers. By creating or claiming a Google listing, I help customers rank higher on listings, and I help them avoid calls like these.

I decided to play along

So, in the interest of hearing what the caller had to say, I played along. I pressed 1 to speak to a representative.

The person answered and asked:
Is your business Packerland Websites?
That is correct
Are you located in Green Bay?
Yes, I am
Are you at Zip Code 54303?
Yes, I am
– Long Pause
Your listing is up to date- Hung up on me

I guess they didn’t like my answers

Obviously, the robot call did not check to see if I was up-to-date before dialing my phone number.

Often, these callers may claim to be from Google. If they do this, ask them directly if they work for Google. They will most likely give you the run-around.

Unfortunately, they prey on business owners that are great with their business, but maybe not as tech savvy as they could be. That is why many are using my services.

I get regular emails from customers double checking if the calls and emails they receive are legitimately something to be concerned about. That is OK. Most of the time I confirm that customers are being spammed and/or solicited, and it’s not legit.

We’ve got answers to your questions

Do yourself a favor and have a good relationship with your website developer. We work with this stuff all the time. Make sure your Google listing is up-to-date, and you can confidently hang up on these solicitors and delete these types of suspicious emails. Contact Packerland Websites today for help with your business’ directory listings.

Want to know how your business appears on the Internet? Scan your business for free!

Converting your expertise into content

Struggling to find time to write content Business owners sometimes struggle to find the time to write content for their business website. Although they are experts in their field, they’re not necessarily experts at writing. And even if they are skillful writers and great storytellers, their time may be better spent on other facets of their business, including the tasks they alone can handle.

Writer to the Rescue, the content writing division of Packerland Websites, can help. By working with Joan Koehne, the Wonder Writer, businesses save time and energy and come away with effective content written specifically to meet their business objectives.

The process starts by having clients review a questionnaire, http://writertotherescue.com/website-content/questionnaire-for-website-content/, which is a good starting point for Joan to learn about their business and formulate website content that’s well-written and meaningful to the target audience.

Compelling content has many advantages:

• Reduces bounce rates

• Keeps visitors engaged longer

• Makes audience more likely to act in the way you envision to meet your business objectives

• Helps you build your authority in the field

• Grows your reputation as an industry leader

• Customizes your brand image

• Presents a tone and voice that reflect your vision and mission

• Helps your website rank higher on search engine result pages.

Whether you’re creating a new website or rebuilding a current one, Joan can work with you to create original content that accurately and professionally tells your story. Trust the Wonder Writer to convert your expertise into effective content. Contact her today at 920-639-1865 or Joan@WriterToTheRescue.com.

Packerland Websites is growing

Packerland Websites Moving day
Moving to 2140 Velp Avenue Green Bay, Wisconsin

When I first opened Packerland Websites, I took pride in telling people I was a full-time web developer, unlike so many other developers who built websites on the side. Fast forward to today, and I have an even more exciting story to tell. Packerland Websites has grown from a business managed by a single owner/operator to a team of four full-time web professionals, each with our own strengths.

Our two full-time website designers are competent in all aspects of web design. They love to tackle projects of any size or complexity. They thrive on the challenge of staying current with the ever-evolving world of website design, and most importantly, they know that satisfying clients is their No. 1 goal.

Diane Markovich has been designing websites since 2006 and earned an Associate degree in web design in 2017. She previously earned certificates in applied graphics for model design and small business bookkeeping. A small business owner herself, Diane knows the importance of building websites that meet your business objectives.

Jessica Pitttman earned a college degree in animal science and then decided to pursue a career in photography. From there, she branched into website design and has been working professionally since 2013. A self-taught designer, she’s eager to learn more about how to build websites that get noticed.

My wife, Joan Koehne, a seasoned journalist, anchors the content writing division of Packerland Websites. She enjoys using her interviewing and writing skills to develop original website content that entertains, informs and prompts people to act. She’s an active blogger and a content marketing specialist. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and an Associate degree in social media marketing.

In addition to this impressive team, Packerland Websites is supported by a talented and experienced group of contributors. Our graphic designers, social media marketing specialists, and search engine optimization professionals give you the breadth of services necessary to build and maintain a vibrant online presence for your business or organization.

I believe we stand out in the crowd of website developers because of our strong team. Packerland Websites is small enough to offer the personalized service you deserve and large enough to successfully complete projects of all varieties. At Packerland Websites, we take a business/marketing approach to website building. A solid return on investment and successful web results are our goals.

My Website Got Hacked! Who Is Responsible?

Hacked word imageThe words “My website got hacked!” send shivers down people’s spines, even more so, web developers’. Why? Because the question often comes down to who is responsible. Simply put, the hacker is responsible. No one asked for this.

The real question is this: Who is responsible for cleaning things up? It is a good question. Much of the answer depends upon how your website is built. If it is an all HTML site, this is going to place a greater burden upon the developer. If this a CMS, content managed system site, such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, then the answer is: It depends.

WordPress is free, open source software, and its terms of service states that the software is licensed under the GNU General Public License. The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely used, free software license which guarantees end users the freedom to run, study, share and modify the software. There is no guarantee for performance or anything else. Unfortunately, it is also the system hackers like to target because the software is free for them to view as well.

Over 74,000,000 or 25% of the web is powered by WordPress. This makes WordPress a popular target for hackers to look at as well, because a single virus has many places to check out. Good website developers do their best to have a website built properly to make it more difficult to have hackers break in.
However, that still does not answer the question of who’s responsible for fixing the website once it’s hacked.

Here are a few items to consider.

• Whose website is it?- Do you own your website?- Do you lease your website (essentially renting a website versus purchasing)?
• How did the hack occur?- Was it password compromised? If so, through whose password?- Was the virus or hack accidentally or uploaded and by whom?- Was it a vulnerability that snuck in between updates? (If you ever wonder why there are so many updates, it is usually because of added features or fixed bugs including those that hackers have exploited.)
• Is there a security agreement in place?- Security is different than hosting, different than maintenance and different than management- Are there disclaimers or limits within the security agreement?

Essentially, without some type of security agreement in place, the burden of fixing the website will land on the owner of the website, unless the owner can show negligence by the hosting service or developer.

A hacked website is similar to a flat tire on a car. Without some type of roadside warranty on your tire, you need to show negligence in order to prove someone else is at fault. Otherwise, the owner of the car is stuck taking care of a flat tire, even if it is a brand new set of tires.

We certainly would not want to leave this on such a dismal note, so here are some suggestions to consider.

• Have a regular maintenance schedule- Although this is no guarantee against hacking, it offers a huge layer of protection. Many updates are put in place AFTER hacks and vulnerabilities are discovered.- Auto updates are a tool to consider as well
• Secure passwords- This is one of your No. 1 defenses and helps to ensure your site is protected.
• Limited access to users- Editor hacks would be less severe than an admin hack
• Good hosting, which allows for regular backups- If the hack is discovered early enough, sometimes it can be fixed simply by rolling the site back to some point in the last thirty days. Note, a review of all systems, plugins, software and theme updates should be done as part of the rollback process.
• Monitor plugins
• Site-wide backup of source files
• SSL Certificate, which are files that allow secure connections between a web server and browser
• Consider third party solutions when collecting sensitive information like credit card data or personal information.
• Site Lock Plans- Daily malware scanning and removal (manual removal may cost extra)
• Have a security agreement in place- This does not guarantee your website won’t be hacked. It is more like insurance. If your site is hacked, you have insurance to help take care of the problem.

Even with all the above efforts, hackers are still trying to get in. If Target and Home Depot websites can get hacked with the security these corporations have in place, there is no 100% guarantee you can prevent it from happening to you. Unfortunately, there is not one perfect cure-all.

How does a security agreement work? Essentially, the people supplying the plan are most likely taking many, if not all, of the suggestions above and putting them into use. On top of that, they are factoring in time to take care of the hacks that still get through, because they know that a percentage of websites, even with protections, still have the possibility of issues.

Unless the hackers themselves are nabbed, the question is not so much who is responsible, but what allowed the hack to occur and how is it going to be fixed? Hopefully, if you do not have a security agreement, you were fortunate to choose a web developer willing to work with you to remedy the problem.

Website Colors

Color line
Choosing colors for web sites can sometimes be a daunting task. A web designer can spend hours in getting the right look to a banner and the basic colors.

Some helpful hints are to look at past advertisements that you may have run. Do you like the look and color layout? What are the colors in your logo?

Another great idea is to take a photograph or image that represents what you want. Individual colors can be drawn from that image. These can be used in background, text color and more.

When communicating with someone, especially a website designer about color choices, a challenge arises. There are so many variants of colors that green is not simply just green anymore. Having to adjust colors takes time and can be a drawn out process.

The three primary colors are red, blue and yellow. Secondary colors are purple, green and orange. From there it keeps breaking down into many more combinations.

Color choice can affect someone’s thoughts and moods. They may also be a determining factor on how longs someone remains on your site.

Men and women typically have a different color preference Men lean towards blue and orange to red and yellow, while women prefer red to blue and yellow to orange. Women can perceive considerably more colors than men can. In other words, while men may find peach, teal or peacock as mere notions, women associate these things with colors.

Culture can have an effect also. White represents a color of purity in western cultures but may be bad luck in eastern cultures.

Color choice may depend on if you want to be soothing, dramatic, exciting or informational. Red is dramatic and exciting, while blue may be soothing and relaxing. Red may be better for food and blue for business.

You want to avoid having too many colors. It will create eye fatigue and eventually make your website look jumbled and confusing. Typically, three colors are suggested. A couple more complimenting may not hurt, but it is a judgment call.

color wheelPrimary Colors are the root colors Red, Blue and Yellow. From the primary colors other colors can be developed.

Secondary Colors come from the midpoints of combining any two adjacent primary colors which are Violet, Green and Orange.

Tertiary Colors are a third generation color that come between the secondary colors: yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green.

Complementary Colors are colors that are opposite of each other as shown on the wheel. Some complementing colors are red and green, blue and orange, yellow and purple.

Analogous Colors provides a harmony and blending of the colors. They would be three adjacent colors such as blue, green and yellow. They give a comfortable feeling as found in nature.

Color spectrumThe RGB color model shows colors in which red, green and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad array of color The name of the model comes from the initials of the three colors, red, green, and blue.

The values vary from 0 to 255.

(0, 0, 0) is Black
(255, 255, 255) is White
(255, 0, 0) is Red
(0, 255, 0) is Green
(0, 0, 255) is Blue
(255, 255, 0) is Yellow
(0, 255, 255) is Cyan
(255, 0, 255) is Magenta

color vendiagram

When selecting colors with your website designer, a great resource is Wikipedia, which gives many colors and their RGB color codes. Use the following links to make sure you and your designer are on the same page.

For more ideas on colors, you can also read about color strategies.

WikiupediaWikipedia gives a good review of web colors

Wikipedia gives a list of colors to choose from

Color Strategies

colorsColor Strategies

color vendiagramWhen selecting colors with your website designer, a great resource is Wikipedia which gives many colors and their RGB color codes.

Colors affect our primary sense of vision and therefore can stir different feelings within a visitor. The culture in which someone lives in and their personal experiences will impact how they may mentally interpret a particular color.

An absolute statement on what impression a particular color makes is impossible. However, if understand some of the concepts of our western culture it will help us to see how varying a color and combining with others will create different moods and impacts.

Here is a chart that shows different connotations often associated with different colors.

Clean, innocent, pure
Strong, brave, passionate
Happy, friendly, optimistic
Warm, earthy, mature
Natural, tranquil, relaxing
Strong, trustworthy
Cold, empty, sterile
Dangerous, aggressive
Cowardly, annoying, brash
Dirty, sad, cheap
Jealous, inexperienced
Cold, depressing, gloomy

These are not absolutes. Check out sites similar to the one you want to have built and see which color gives you a feeling that you would like to instill in visitors to your site. Although your site will be unique in its own way, it will help to give you some ideas.

These are not absolutes. Check out sites similar to the one you want to have built and see which color gives you a feeling that you would like to instill in visitors to your site. Although your site will be unique in its own way, it will help to give you some ideas.

Color Example colors
Color Example


When selecting colors with your website designer. A great resource is Wikipedia which gives many colors and their RGB color codes. Use the following links to make sure you and your designer are on the same page.

WikiupediaWikipedia gives a good review of web colors

Wikipedia gives a list of colors to choose from

SEO Reality

SEO RealitySEO reality sometimes gets lost when it is coming from telemarketers and fast talking salespeople. Add on top the lack of knowledge and confusion and finding a good SEO person feels like a gamble.

With people not really knowing what they are buying many people can set their own price. Some places charge up to $300 just to tell you what is broke. I like to use actions instead of words. I rather go into a meeting with a written analysis of on-site SEO as well as off-site SEO and why I believe the strategy will have an impact.

Real SEO efforts are like grains of sand on a scale adding weight. Because search engines guard exactly how they rank it can be difficult knowing exactly how much effort or time it will take. The moment someone guarantees page 1 rankings without paid advertising, a red flag should immediately jump out. Just ask Google.

Confusion is sometimes created with acronyms used by Internet techys, especially when terms are similar.  For example; SEO, search engine optimization means to rank organically (laymen’s terms for natural or unpaid ranking obtained through strategy). SEM, search engine marketing means buying adds to advertise on Internet pages.

Although I do both, the long term SEO strategy and goal is to make it easier for someone to find you versus you searching and paying for them (as in one click at a time).

Not everyone may find this stuff as super cool and interesting as maybe I do. It is like a gaming strategy creating the most opportune chance to be successful along with the reward of watching a site rise higher in standings which will result in greater success.

At the end of an SEO meeting, there are a number of options:

• Do nothing (yes deciding to do nothing is still a decision)
• Do it yourself
• Use someone else
• Hire me

It is really that simple. What does it cost you to look?


Frequently Asked QuestionsFAQ’s Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need in order to set up a website?
The primary elements are a domain name (YourChosenName.com). Good content and a server where your site can be uploaded; and webhosting, which is basically a computer called a server that your html website sits on. Thus, when someone calls on your name, they will find the hosting computer which will send them your website information. (We help you get all of this.)

Do I need SEO, Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization is not really an option to skip, unless you are purposely trying to keep your website hidden from public. There is both on and off page optimization that should be considered. This is necessary to help obtain organic (free) traffic and make it easier for your visitors to find you.

How long does it take to build a website?
The average amount of time is 3-6 weeks and depends upon the requirements of the site. Much depends upon how fast you get all your information to us. In extreme circumstances it can be done faster depending upon schedule.

How much does a domain name cost?
A domain name is your piece of Internet real estate. You will pay an annual fee of about $15-$20 per year. You can register for multiple years. Choosing a good name makes a big difference in how people will see you. We will be happy to assist you in making a good choice.

How much does hosting cost?
Hosting will vary depending upon the package you choose. It can range from $25 to $35 per month. Our most common package is $25.00 a month, which includes minor maintenance to your website.  Other items may include SSL certificates and ecommerce solutions. We will help choose the best package to meet your needs.

What if I already have my domain name and/or hosting?
We certainly can work with your domain name and hosting. We are more proficient at working with name and hosting which we provide, since that is a service we offer. We do not charge anything additional if you already have your domain name; however, you become more responsible for having the proper settings in place with your provider. For about $15 you can transfer your name to Packerland Websites and at the same time get an additional year added to your domain name for doing the transfer.

How much information do I need to supply?
It depends. You website project will be more affordable if you provide permission ready text and images that we can use to build your site. We do offer photography as well as writing and editing services for a fee. We can give you tips on the easiest way to submit your information for use on your website. Let us help create a road map for you to make the process more easy.

What is website maintenance?
Website Maintenance is taking vare of the servers where your site is hosted and software updates. We also offer some minor content management, but have systems that are free to use after your site is built.

What payment options are available?
Typically we require 25% down to get going. Most people prefer checks. We also can receive payments through most major credit cards through PayPal. Websites can be either a one time purchase or a monthly lease if it helps to fit your budget.

Spam Season is Here

spam and spammers signs Summer is wrapping up and spammers are at it with messages like:

I am experiencing issues loading your site on my mobile device. This is a fairly common issue, especially since this April, when Google started heavily rewarding sites with a speedy mobile user experience, and punishing those with bulky, lagging designs that aren’t suited to small, vertical screens. With over 50 percent of people browsing the internet with their phones, that’s a fair share of the market to consider.

Here are some of the messages I’ve seen: My team has over ten years of experience developing elastic designs that can be viewed on any device. We’re also Google Partners and have received accolades from Inc. Magazine and the LA Business Journal. We would be happy to jump on a call with you to review these problems and more to help your brand get the best online visibility possible. What day this week works best for a call?
Your website is not being seen by major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Your domain name expires now.

I am deaf and hearing impaired and……

Things to look for:
• Did they list a website of theirs?
•Did they give a phone number in which a real person answers (if you want to risk calling it?)
•Is the return email address Gmail or another generic mail service?
•Are there misspellings?
•Does it just smell wrong?

If in doubt, check with your web developer. There is a good chance they are starting to put together a form note since it is now happening so much. Some, like me, may be tired of it and actually make a blog post.

These are scammers and spammers, so be careful.