All posts by Gretchen Van Benthuysen

When I was 11, I knew I wanted to be a journalist and I grew up to become the Entertainment Editor of the Asbury Park Press when I was 25. Fifteen years later I finally was able to write about theater in NJ and in NYC full-time for another 10 years, plus contribute articles and reviews to Variety, Back Stage and The Drama League. Now I run this website for fun. Before I left The Press I was the Web Producer for the Friday and Sunday Entertainment sections of The Press, Home News Tribune, Daily Record and Courier News. I learned a lot about Search Engine Optimization, key words and phrases and other ways to attract Google’s attention. If you have a business — or show business — these days you need a website that shows up on the first page of Google that your customers — or audience — check often to see what’s new on your blog, in your photo galleries, on your video accounts, etc. You want them to be a part of your community, your family, so when it’s time for your service — or opening night — they are there to support you.

NBC’s “Hairspray Live’ includes Facebook Live, backstage features

The cast of 'Hairspray Live!" NBC will air the event beginning at 7:30 with a "pre-game" show hosted by Darren Criss followed by the musical at 8 p.m. (PHOTO: NBC)
The cast of ‘Hairspray Live!” NBC will air the event beginning at 7:30 with a “pre-game” show hosted by Darren Criss followed by the musical at 8-11 p.m. (PHOTO: NBC)

Among the people I’m inviting to watch @HairsprayLive! on Wednesday (8-11 p.m. Dec. 7 on NBC) are three Millennials who are attached to their phones 24/7.  Two are regular theatergoers and the third saw her first Broadway musical last summer.

What I really want to see is how they react to the extras: the “pre-game” show, the Facebook Live aspect, video of “Hairspray” parties around the country for both this website for use as SEO and, the fun blog of my life.

How will the Millennials, generally those born between 1976-1996, and the “oldsters,” those born before there was an internet,  react to seeing Darren Criss’ multi-platform involvement. If you want to get the attention of young social-media savvy kids as well as people over 40 to buy your services/products, etc., you will have a front row seat for a nationwide event and learn tips to reach local, regional, or nationwide buyers yourself.

Continue reading NBC’s “Hairspray Live’ includes Facebook Live, backstage features

Courts say the Internet is a utility, not a luxury

Will Facebook have to pay a toll to get on the internet in the future?
Will Facebook have to pay a toll to get on the internet in the future?

Do you consider the internet a luxury? Well, neither does the F.C.C. and better yet, neither does the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which today said high-speed internet service is a utility and should be equally accessible to all Americans.

In other words, it upheld what  is commonly referred to as net neutrality, which prohibits broadband companies from blocking or slowing the delivery of internet content to consumers.

And why would they slow things down? Why else? Money. Continue reading Courts say the Internet is a utility, not a luxury

Helping third-party companies gather your personal info?

Image of Facebook logo
Secure your Facebook presence against hackers.

Ever use Facebook to sign into an App? Did you agree for that App to gather info on your friends and family? (I, for one, don’t thank you for that.) But there is a solution for both me and you to keep our info as private as possible in this day and age because nobody wants to be hacked.

Social media guru (and Jersey Girl) Kim Komando recently posted an article about how Facebook not only tracks our every keystroke (no surprise there) but share info third-party companies when we use FB to play a game or “Log in with Facebook.”

When you do that, Komando says, you’ve given them permission to access all kinds of information about you and all of your “friends.” If you don’t want that — and who really does –Komando explains how to opt out of sharing.

Continue reading Helping third-party companies gather your personal info?

Facebook essential to growing your business

Image of Mark Zuckerberg with the Facebook logo.Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg takes two months off to spend time with his newborn daughter and on his return announces his company  surpassed Wall Street’s fourth-quarter expectations of $1.2 billion in profit on $5.37 billion in revenue.

How FB got there was via something I’ve been harping about for more than three years — advertising on mobile devices. If you website isn’t responsive — meaning looks good and user-friendly on a smart phone as well as a laptop — then fire whoever runs your website ’cause they probably think advertising in newspapers is still good marketing.

Continue reading Facebook essential to growing your business

Does anyone agree on what Twitter really is?

New York Times columnist Nick Bilton says he has written almost a quarter-billion words about Twitter and still can’t tell you what the social media site really is. He notes in today’s Disruptions article Twitter’s three former CEO’s can’ agree either.

Image of Twitter logo
Why can’t Twitter increase its membership?

Jack Dorey, the first CEO says Twitter is for sharing your status. The second, Evan Williams, says it’s about news and media. The third is Dick Costolo, who left 9 days ago believes Twitter is a “global water cooler” where strangers talk.

Continue reading Does anyone agree on what Twitter really is?

Time spent waiting for page loading decreases

How long do you watch the spinning wheel before you move on? (CA Technologies)
How long do you watch the spinning wheel before you move on? (CA Technologies)

How long is someone willing to wait for an application to load on their device before getting out of Dodge?

Me, depending on the importance of what I am searching for, I may last for 8-10 seconds before I hit the back button. Maybe.

But if I am on the web for fun, I’m outta there in less than 5.

According to CA Technologies◊, this is how long most people wait:

— 7 percent of people will be gone in under 1 second

— 30 percent are gone in 1-3 seconds

— 31 percent are gone in 4-6 seconds

— 20 percent in 7-10 seconds

— 8 percent in 10 seconds or more

— 4 percent are unsure

Which mean, if your website takes more than 6 seconds, you’re possibly losing 68 percent of customers, viewers, buyers, sales, whatever it is you want people to do when they come to your site.

Performance matters to users

Site speed directly affects conversion rates, revenue, user satisfaction, SEO, page ranking,  site popularity and mostly every other business metric worth tracking. Users leave slow sites. Don’t you? Many won’t come back.

What to do?

Talk to your web master. Nothing on the web stays the same forever so you need periodic updates to maximize your site’s potential.

For instance, loading a video directly to you site rather than linking it to YouTube, will slow down your site. But make sure YouTube opens in a new window, so viewers don’t leave your site.

Go Daddy suggests you look for patterns, including:

  • Is your site slow only during certain hours of the day?
  • Is your site slow only from certain geographic locations?
  • Are only certain pages of your site slow?
  • Do you host multiple alias domains on your account? If so, are they all slow, or just one?
  • Do you run multiple Web applications on your account? If so, are they all slow, or just one?
  • Do you run multiple plugins, modules, or themes for your Web application? If you disable them, does your site speed up?
  • Is your connection to other websites slow?

To check our more advice from Go Daddy,  click here.


◊ CA Technologies is one of the largest independent software corporations in the world. An American, multinational, publicly held company based in NYC, it creates systems software that runs in mainframe, distributed computing, virtual machine and cloud environments.


Mobile-friendly devices go to top of class with Google’s new algorithm

Image of two phones showing which one Google will like better so its mobile search algorithm will rank it higher than a site it doesn't like as much.
Google has changed its mobile search algorithm to give priority to websites that it classifies as mobile-friendly. Image on right is what you now want. (Google)

Does your mobile website look the same on your cell phone as it does on your desktop — except smaller and impossible to read and navigate? If so, you could be in trouble. Really big trouble.