An odd mixture of developer notes, project writings, and general observations
July 9, 2019
Is your website ready for summer?

It's HOT outside!

Summer has landed across the US. As heat indexes rise, consumers take refuge in air-conditioned spaces like malls, restaurants, and movie theaters. 

sales tax
February 13, 2019
Here's What You Need to Know ​ Until recently, collecting and remitting sales tax was at least comparatively simple. Retailers collected tax for in-state sales, and online sellers were usually exempt. But sales tax requirements have undergone huge changes. Businesses now face the confusing and time-consuming task of determining sales tax requirements for goods and services in each state. And those requirements differ radically from one state to another and even within states. In fact, the United States has over 12,000 sales tax jurisdictions! 
Man with Money
October 29, 2018
Is your website successful? ​ Before your website can be successful, customers have to find it.  Your site has to show up in potential customers' SERPs (Search Engine Page Results). As we explained in a previous blog, Google now processes 86.39% of searches on all devices and 93.86% of mobile searches. So if you want a successful website, start with Google. Google says CONTENT is one of the most important factors affecting search rank.
August 1, 2018
You've heard it said . . .      If you want to play, you have to play by my rules. Google doesn't actually say that. But with nearly total dominance over search, Google could say it, and it would be true. Over 90% of search queries worldwide are now handled through Google. In the US, Google processes 86.39% of searches on all devices and a whopping 93.86% of mobile searches. And Google's algorithms decide which websites rank in those searches. Over 200 factors are used to determine search rank. What some of those factors are and how they work together make up those algorithms Google guards with almost legendary secrecy. So when Google comes right out and announces updates that affect search rank, it's a good idea to pay attention.
Cookie and Coffee
July 2, 2018
Pass the Cookies—or Give the Cookies a Pass? GDPR is overwhelming. The headlines have faded, and the panic has dulled. But GDPR's requirements remain very real and challenging to understand and implement. If you're still struggling, you're not alone. Estimates have varied widely—from as few as 7% to about 60%—of US companies who expected to achieve compliance by the May 25th deadline. Even the most optimistic estimate leaves 40% failing to meet the compliance deadline. And even some large businesses just gave up, at least for awhile. The LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Tronc Inc. (which owns the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, the Orlando Sentinel, and the San Diego Union-Tribune) blocked all European access to their websites. Europeans are greeted with an image like this one, posted by the LA Times.
May 4, 2018
Does GDPR Affect You? ​ Probably, yes. We'll get into the details shortly, but let's start with the most important question: Do you need to care about GDPR? If you have customers or clients in the EU, yes. You are required to comply with GDPR. Even if you don't do business in the EU, you may still be legally obligated to comply with GDPR requirements. If your business has a website, it could (at least potentially) reach people in Europe. If your site uses cookies, it may be collecting IP addresses, browsing history, or other information from site visitors. If your site includes webforms or allows comments, it probably collects names or usernames and email addresses.
March 26, 2018
We Want to Build You a Great Website! And you can help make it happen! The web offers over 1.8 billion sites. Some are good; few could really be called great. Why so few? Because too many websites miss the point. They fill pages with unfocused content that fails to serve an audience-focused purpose. At Covenant, our goal is to develop a great website for you, one that stands out above the crowd. To do that, we'll ask you a lot of questions about your company, of course, because you provide the information that goes into your website. You can help us develop the best website possible if you understand what makes a great website.
SSL Certificate lock symbol
February 27, 2018
Where does your website rank in search results? Achieving top search rank has never been easy. In 2018, it's tougher than ever. Google controls nearly 70% of the search market, so if you want any kind of online success, you have to play by Google's rules. Those rules have changed—a lot. And if your site hasn't adapted, it may get buried so far back in the SERPs (Search Engine Page Results) that you're losing business. One of the most significant changes is that Google's whole approach to search results has shifted from an objective set of results to a much more personalized approach.
Keeping computers secure
January 25, 2018
Meltdown and Spectre January had barely appeared when headlines blared about two newly-discovered computer security flaws: Meltdown and Spectre. Computer processor manufacturers and IT security folks have been scrambling ever since—and will be for awhile. But in the wake of seemingly endless updates (especially for Windows machines) and the profusion of hacker stories, end users may be getting jaded. That's dangerous. It's dangerous because Meltdown and Spectre are dangerous. They affect computers, tablets and smartphones—Windows, Mac, iOS, Android—and even cloud computing. Basically, they affect nearly all computers built in the last 20 years. These flaws are built-in to the design of nearly all Intel, AMD, and ARM processor chips. They could allow a hacker to access the kernel, the deepest core where the computer stores its most secret documents, passwords, and encrypted keys. We've pulled together the most important information about these monsters so we can tell you just what you need to know and what you need to do.
December 31, 2017
A new look at New Year's resolutions—​


People are funny. All of us.

That may be more obvious at New Year's than at any other time of year. New Year's Eve and New Year's Day tip between the old and the new like the Grinch's sleigh atop Mount Crumpet. One side is reflection; the other is opportunity.

So naturally, we indulge our worst behaviors while planning to change them, right?