ChatGPT: The end of blogging as we know it

ChatGPT has been in the news a lot lately. Everyone is at least vaguely aware that it’s some sort of artificially intelligent chat bot. But I didn’t fully grasp the ramifications until I took the time to play with the tool myself. You can check it out too at https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt/.

You will need to create a user account, but that is free. And then you can see some examples of prompts that it can respond to. Have a conversation and marvel at the fluidity. Ask it questions and get answers back promptly and completely.

The major criticism (and rightfully so) is that it is so fast and authoritative on subjects that people tend to believe it – even when it’s wrong. It’s also using information scrapped from the internet to build its knowledge. There was a time that Google Translate was a free online tool that could be used to translate websites in real time. Until they realized that most of the translated content out there was translated by them, and a feedback look occurred resulting in poorer quality. They eventually put a very small fee to use the API and knocked most users off as a result to try to preserve the bank of human generated content to pull from. What happens to ChatGPT when the internet it pulls from was also written by AI?

Want to know why I think it will have a big impact? Because, secretly, I didn’t write my last blog: Registering your nonprofit with PayPal. Instead, I went to ChatGPT and said, “Write me a blog about registering a nonprofit with PayPal” and the body of that blog was its immediately response. Nobody noticed. And I really had no notes of how to improve it after the fact.

Now that’s scary.

Registering your nonprofit with PayPal

Paypal is a popular online payment platform that allows individuals and organizations to send and receive money electronically. Nonprofits, in particular, can benefit from using Paypal as it allows them to accept donations from a wide range of donors. In this blog post, we will explain the steps to take to register your nonprofit on Paypal.

Step 1: Create a Paypal account

The first step in registering your nonprofit on Paypal is to create a Paypal account. You can do this by going to the Paypal website and clicking on the “Sign Up” button. You will need to provide some personal information, including your name, email address, and a password.

Step 2: Apply for nonprofit status

Once you have created a Paypal account, you will need to apply for nonprofit status. To do this, go to the Paypal website and click on the “Donations” button. Then, click on the “Nonprofits” link and follow the prompts to apply for nonprofit status. You will need to provide some basic information about your organization, including its name, mission, and EIN (Employer Identification Number).

Step 3: Verify your nonprofit status

Once you have applied for nonprofit status, Paypal will review your application and verify your nonprofit status. This process can take several days, so be patient. Once your nonprofit status has been verified, you will be able to accept donations through your Paypal account.

Step 4: Set up donation buttons

Now that your nonprofit status has been verified, you can set up donation buttons on your website or social media pages. To do this, go to the Paypal website and click on the “Donations” button. Then, click on the “Create a Donation Button” link. You will be prompted to enter some basic information about your organization and the donation button, such as the donation amount and the currency. Once you have completed this step, you can copy and paste the code for the donation button onto your website or social media page.

Step 5: Start accepting donations

Once you have set up donation buttons, you can start accepting donations through Paypal. You will receive email notifications every time a donation is made, and the funds will be transferred to your Paypal account. You can use the funds in your Paypal account to pay for expenses related to your nonprofit, such as rent, salaries, or program costs.

In conclusion, Paypal is a great platform for nonprofits to accept donations. It is relatively easy to register, and the process is straightforward. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, your nonprofit can start accepting donations through Paypal in no time.

Using GSuite in compliance with HIPAA

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In short, it requires any organization that handles protected health information (PHI) to act as trustworthy and cyber-secure stewards of that data. Most often people associate this with doctors’ offices. You wouldn’t want your personal health records to be publicly available. Nor would you want your data sold to advertisers to monetize your most private data, likely without your knowledge.

Any organization that will collect or store PHI must be aware of the laws regarding HIPAA and ensure those systems for collection and storage are also HIPAA compliant. Enter GSuite, or Google Workplace, as it is most recently branded. It is fully capable of protecting data within its ecosystem, but your organization must first opt in for this type of protection.

This Google Help Article: HIPAA Compliance with Google Workspace and Cloud Identity has the most up to date information on how to enable these features in your instance. Essentially, you just need to check a box and and answer a couple of simple yes/no questions. Inside the Admin Console, navigate to Account > Account Settings > Legal and Compliance. There you will find Security and Privacy Additional Terms for Cloud Data Processing Addendum to Google Workspace or Cloud Identity Agreement. Review the appropriate clauses and if your organization fits and requires this additional layer of security, click Review and Accept.

Bitnami bncert-tool manual update to pull new certificates

Using free SSL certificates from LetsEncrypt is a great way to keep your site and your users secure. The only downside is that each certificate is only good for 90 days. Either you need to remember to renew your certificates every 90 days or you need to set up auto-renewal on your hosted server. If you’re using Bitnami packaged app for WordPress, then it’s easy! The bncert-tool will automatically check to see if your certificates are nearing expiration and automatically update them without needing anything from you.

… Until it does. This week I got notified by two different sites that their certificates were nearing the expiration date. That normally doesn’t happen because they’ll get renewed automatically well in advance. When I logged in to investigate, I saw that even manual attempts to renew the certificate were failing. The issue ended up being that I needed to upgrade my bncert-tool.

Bitnami bncert-tool References

Learn About The Bitnami HTTPS Configuration Tool is a great resource with everything you need to know about setting up bncert-tool. The command to upgrade is simple and takes only a few minutes to run and then you will be able to renew your SSL certificates.

sudo /opt/bitnami/bncert-tool

If your tool is out of date, this command will inform you of that fact and ask if you would like to upgrade. Just hit ‘Y’ and Enter and the update will happen in the background in a matter of seconds. Once it is complete, you can run the same command a second time. This time it will walk you through the process to update your certificates.

I upgrade mine and my clients’ servers once per year. This is to get the latest Bitnami stack as well as the upgraded security features for each new revision of PHP. So this should be a rarity that an update of the tool is required in between annual server migrations. But just in case you’ve run for a long time without checking, be on the lookout for expiration notices and take action!

Confirm Nonprofit Status on PayPal

PayPal can be an easy and low cost way to power donations on your nonprofit’s website. Their layouts contain specific options for donation buttons. You can define set donation amounts, optionally include a custom amount, and have a checkbox for recurring monthly donations. They take care of the transaction, the cybersecurity (which is the biggest deal), and connect to your bank account, all for 2.9%+$0.30 per transaction.

But wait … you can get all of those same great features but at a reduced rate of 2.2%+$0.30 if you confirm your nonprofit status with PayPal.

Steps to confirm nonprofit status

  1. First, make sure you have an active PayPal account. It will need to be a business account set up as a Charity.
  2. Visit https://www.paypal.com/charities
  3. Click on “Get Started”
  4. Log in to your nonprofit’s PayPal account
  5. You’ll be asked to provide identifying information like your charity’s EIN number, a recent bank statement, and account holder identity.

Once you are confirmed, you’ll enjoy lower fees on every transaction allowing each donation to have an even greater impact.

What is Cross Browser Testing?

Cross Browser Testing is a way of making sure your website is going to look great for all of your users. Just because everything is aligned and beautiful on your development PC, doesn’t guarantee that anyone who visits your website will see the same thing. Users will be on:

  • Different Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari
  • Different OS like Windows, Android or iOS
  • Different versions of each browser (some really old)
  • Different devices like PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile phones

If you neglect to test your website on any of those platforms, you run the risk of a sub-par experience for an entire subset of users. It can be a lot of extra work, especially when you find unsupported functions in a particular environment. But it is the hallmark of a well designed and robust website.

Several testing tools exist. My favorite one recently changed from a free tool to a paid subscription. So you may not get out of it for free. But you can definitely at least have a few different browsers installed on your personal PC and do some high level compatibility checks before deploying to production.

Or you could always go the lazy route and put a banner at the top that says, “This website is best experienced in Google Chrome.” (Don’t do that.)

Integrating Google Forms into your website

If you’ve ever tried to create your own web forms for data collection, you know that it can sometimes be a little arduous. Not only do you need to create the form, but you’ll also need an SMTP email server to relay the information from your site to your inbox. And once you’ve gotten the data, you need some way to transfer it to a database to make good use! That can be a tall order for a web newbie!

That’s where Google Forms can be a great solution to do the heavy lifting for you. Google Forms are easy to build, easy to edit, easy to integrate, and easy to collect and review data.

  • To start, just head to https://docs.google.com/forms/ and log in using the account that will own the form.
  • You can choose from some pre-built templates or start from scratch to build your own.
  • Use the artists palette icon at the top to set some theme items – a logo of your organization at the top and your branded colors hex codes for the background and colors.
  • Populate your questions. Be conscious of the fact that every piece of data you request is adding a little bit of friction to the users completing the form. Be thorough but not exhausting. If you’ve asked for data of birth, for example, there’s no need to ask for age also. Consider whether the questions should be multiple choice or multi-select and always consider adding an “Other” option.
  • Preview and test the form yourself a few times to be sure the sequence and wording of the questions makes sense.
  • Click the “Send” button at the top and choose the Embed option. Copy and paste the iframe code into your website’s HTML code.
Google Forms embed code
  • Lastly, head to the “Responses” tab, click the three dots in the upper right and click on “Get email notifications for new responses” to be notified any time someone fills out your form.

By letting Google Forms do all the work, you can focus on using the data instead of spending too much time figuring out how to collect it.

URL Shorteners and a free alternative

URL shorteners like Bitly are useful for a couple of reasons. The first is the most obvious. You can take a very long URL, and replace it with a much shorter one. You might need to do this in order to fit better into something like a tweet.

Another good thing about shortened URLs is that you can embed your tracking in a “wrapped” URL that might otherwise look ugly, but is hidden within the shortened URL right along with the destination URL. This can help you track which of your links or social networks are driving the most traffic to your site, and ultimately the most conversions to see which tactics are working the best.

If you swing for a custom URL shortener, then you don’t sacrifice being able to brand your shortened URLS. The downside is that those cost money. If you don’t have a branded shortener, you could also create your own shorter URLs using 301 redirects on your side. This allows you to have attractive, easy-to-remember URLs that are good for print ads or posters for people to remember later. Think something like


that redirects the user to


SEO trend in 2022

Happy New Year! And welcome to the year 2022! As usual, a new year brings up question – what’s the latest trend in SEO this year? And as with most years, I balk at the use of the word “trend” as SEO isn’t trendy. It’s the long game. A set of tried and true principles that while they do change, should be more building upon the knowledge of the past, not swinging between the latest hip recommendation.

Google has a great way of summing up their foundational approach to search rankings: EAT. EAT is an acronym that stands for:

  • Expertise – Write about what you know. Be the expert such that people would likely want to hear what you have to say on your chose topic.
  • Authority – This is the traditional off-page SEO practice of building up your website reputation in the way of backlinks from other reputable sites related to your target keywords.
  • Trustworthiness – Any accolades you’ve received from third party organizations help with trustworthiness, although just being transparent with who the author is and what credentials they have can be a great starting point.

Looking at these three pillars of ranking credentials you can see how they needn’t change from year to year based on the latest technology or evolving ranking patterns. They remain true from year to year and any minor nuanced change to your technical implementation of your site is really aside from trying to make sure you tick these three boxes.

Sorry to disappoint, but my top SEO trend for 2022 is the same as every year prior – there are no trends. Keep creating great content people want to read and the rest are just details!

When to use a QR code

QR codes (or quick response codes) are similar to bar codes, but arranged in a square pattern. They are faster for readers to process and can hold much more information in a much smaller footprint. While they’re not new, they have ebbed and flowed in terms of popularity throughout the years. There is temptation sometimes to slap a QR code on everything, but when is it really best to employ a QR code?

To encode LOTS of data

QR Code

My biggest aversion to QR codes is that humans can’t read them. And while most of us carry around a smartphone that doubles as a QR code scanner, not everybody does. If I purchased a billboard advertisement for Dijon Marketing, I would just put “dijonmarketing.com” at the bottom. That way everyone could read it, remember it, and Google it. I always argue against QR codes for encoding simple, short, memorable data.

If, however, I wanted to send you directly to a targeted advertising landing page, that might have a very long and confusing address. Or if I’m really doing things right, I have probably wrapped that complex URL with even more complex tracking codes. And maybe I then used a URL shortener in addition, making it even less human-friendly. In that case, I might employ a QR code that users could scan, but still put my domain along the bottom for those that don’t want to.

To link to a static location

I would also caution against creating QR codes that link directly to a very specific location. Think about the life of a QR code on a sticker somewhere. It may long outlast our current URL structure. If things change, it’s best to have your QR codes all pointing to easy to maintain addresses. You could employ 301 redirects to jump users from a generic QR landing page directly to the long/complex address you want them to find. If you plan to have lots of different QR codes then having an organizational structure around their destinations will make your life much easier in a few years when you need to make major changes to either your website or your messaging.

To be a little playful

One of the great things about QR codes is that aside from a few key requirements, they can be largely customized. Colors can be adjusted. Logos can be embedded. And if you don’t mind alienating a small subset of people who aren’t carrying a phone, it can be enticing to want to scan the code to see what lies behind. Maybe it’s a menu, maybe it’s a 50% off coupon. Maybe it’s on the side of a building 20 blocks away but I can still scan it with my phone. In that case they are a cool, techy marketing tool to drive a little bit of interest with the little bit of inherent mystery that comes with them.

Now that you’ve got some boundaries about when to use a QR code, try some of these free online generators: