FAQ & Help Guides

Got questions? Start here first.


We’ve broken the Help section out into two types…FAQs, for the most basic and quick answer stuff and Help Guides, for the more complex and involved questions.

We’ve broken out FAQs out into various sections below. Please note that your specific question may fall under a different section.

If after looking over the FAQs you don’t find an answer to your question, then please contact us so that we can resolve your issue.

General Member Guides

The following guides contain more detailed information to help you (General & Business Members), especially with more specific aspects of using McHenry Life.

All: Membership, Joining, & Account FAQs

Do I have to register for an account or join?

You do not have to register to access the McHenry Life information, but you will need to register to be able to share your experiences, leave comments, “favorite” listings, etc. Registering is quick and easy, and best of all, it is free. This membership is also needed for anyone wishing to claim or list their business or event.

It should go without saying, but any account created to spam the site, either through comments or creating listings that don’t meet McHenry Life requirements (see below), will simply be removed. You probably have better things to do with your time.

Are there different membership levels?

No. We only have one membership level. But with that, you get the ability to share your experiences, leave comments on articles or other’s shared experiences, as well as submit a listing for a business, organization, or event.

I’ve forgotten my password, what do I do?

Just go to the Forgot Password page and enter your email you used to register your account.

How do I change my password?

Go to the Change Password page in the Members section.

All: Costs, Fees, & Pricing FAQs

What does it cost to join McHenry Life?

Membership is free, for both individuals and businesses (including organizations and non-profits).

Business: Costs, Fees, & Pricing FAQs

What does it cost to add a listing to McHenry Life?

All sections (Business Directory, Events Calendar, and Real Estate listings) include a free Basic listing option.

Beyond that, we also offer various paid listing subscriptions that provide additional features to help you market your business, event, or property. As these may change, please see the respective section for a current and detailed explanation of the pricing structure as well as the features related to each section and each pricing level.

What payment options are available and what forms of payment are accepted?

We wanted to make McHenry Life as simple and easy as possible, for you and, honestly, for us too. That’s why we have adopted a subscription model that utilizes quarterly (every 13 weeks) automatic recurring payments. And we felt the best way to implement that was through automatic credit or debit card billing. This way you don’t have to worry about making manual payments, or missing a payment because the check got lost or delayed in the mail.

This is especially important since your listing cost is based on the pricing and any promotional discount offered at the time you purchased a subscription. That “cost” actually stays with your listing, regardless of any pricing changes we make… as long as your subscription remains active and uninterrupted.

This approach also minimizes the work and billing costs on our end, which enables us to offer you the best pricing we can. We could bill weekly, but of course, we’d incur greater processing fees and it would require considerably more management on our end… we’d rather offer you better pricing and focus our attention on more interesting things than accounting (no offense to the accountants out there).

We have partnered with Stripe (just like other small businesses you might be familiar with like… Amazon, Spotify, Microsoft, Zillow, Salesforce, Instacart, Shopify, Booking.com, Expedia, Slack, Google, Uber, Lyft, Zoom, and many more) so that we can offer an extremely secure and robust payment processing experience.

This also means that we can offer a wide array of payment options for you:

Are my financial / payment details safe on McHenry Life?

We don’t want your credit card numbers!

No, really, we don’t.

That’s a huge responsibility, and frankly, if we’re honest, we’re just marketers.

And that’s why we’ve turned payment processing over to the professionals. We rely on Stripe to provide a payment processing infrastructure that is PCI-compliant, secure, robust, flexible, and easy for you and us.

Haven’t heard of Stripe?

It’s okay. For the most part, they operate in the background, doing what they do best, for us, for you, and for a lot of businesses that rely on the best in online payment processing, like Amazon, Spotify, Microsoft, Zillow, Salesforce, Instacart, Shopify, Booking.com, Expedia, Slack, Google, Uber, Lyft, Zoom, and many more. We may not be worthy of being on that list… yet… but we feel pretty good about the company we keep.

Stripe also means that we can offer you the absolute best online payment experience:

  • you don’t leave our site to complete your transaction (convenience)
  • but we also don’t store your card details (security)
  • you can easily manage your listing subscription on our site (convenience)
  • and you get a lot of payment options (flexibility):
How do I cancel / manage our listing subscription?

You can cancel your subscription by navigating to your Lifer profile when you are logged in.

Click “Members > Your Lifer Profile” from the top navigation menu.

Click on the “Subscriptions” link on your profile page.

From there you will be presented with a list of subscriptions. If you only have one subscription, then the only or most recent one will be on top. If you have multiple listing subscriptions, you will need to identify which is the current one you are looking for.

Click on the “Manage Subscription” link where you can then “Cancel Subscription.”

Keep in mind that this does not affect your current listing status, but stops the recurring billing. Your current listing will continue with all of the benefits and features of your current listing status until the expiration date. Once the listing expires, it will then be downgraded to the Basic level subscription. You may want to make sure that the photo and Story for your listing is what you want when it downgrades.

Can we get the lower pricing or larger discount currently being offered on our existing subscription?

Subscriptions are prepaid for the subscription period and are not prorated or refundable when you cancel your current subscription. Subscription periods are based on when they are purchased.

If any savings outweigh the cost and you still wish to re-subscribe now, you may do so, but a new expiration date based on the new subscription will be created and any remaining amount of the previous subscription will be forfeited.

This should be a very rare occurrence, if ever. However, if you find yourself in this situation, please feel free to let us know and we’ll see if we can work something out.

All: Comments, Shared Experiences, Reviews, Ratings FAQs

Why should I share my experiences with businesses on McHenry Life instead of other, popular sites?

McHenry Life is a local site, created locally by a company located here, for people who share a passion for this community. We wanted to create something that captures that feeling and provides a voice and connecting point for the people, businesses, and organizations of McHenry County. But don’t feel that you have to make a choice. There’s no reason why you can’t leave a review about your favorite places on other sites you like.

Business: Comments, Shared Experiences, Reviews, Ratings FAQs

Can we ask customers to share their experiences on McHenry Life?

Please do! We all know word-of-mouth promotion is one of the strongest, most powerful ways to market a business and we hope McHenry Life becomes a powerful way for you to get the most out of all of your marketing efforts. To tell you that you “can’t refer your customers to McHenry Life” is just — well, you know. That said, please read through some of the other questions and answers below regarding experiences.

Can we incentivize members to share positive experiences?

No. Nope. Nada. No, really, please don’t. This isn’t just our rule or opinion, but more importantly, understand that you may be treading in deep legal waters that could carry far worse actions than anything we could dish out. Besides, doing so will actually discredit the great things people say about you as everyone will just assume the good comments were all “bought.”

As a business, can we share our own experiences?

As a business or someone who also represents a business, you can certainly share your experiences interacting with other businesses.

However, please do not add experiences to your own listing. You can certainly ask your customers to share their experiences (though not incentivized). This isn’t just our rule or opinion, but more importantly, understand that you may be treading in deep legal waters.

You are also more than welcome to engage and reply to members who have shared their experiences.

Can we reply to members who share experiences on our listing?

Absolutely. In fact, we encourage regular members and business owners alike to interact with members who have shared experiences. This provides an opportunity for questions or clarifications, an opportunity to thank someone for their kind words, or open a channel to address problems.

How can we remove a negative member experience/comment from our listing?

You can’t. Not every customer experience will be positive, that’s just how it is. If we allowed the removal of experiences, then the value of all shared experiences becomes questionable. All shared experiences are an opportunity to learn and improve your business, and potentially address and fix issues. Frankly, a few negative or less than perfect experiences among an array of glowing praise actually increases the credibility and authenticity of those experiences. What’s worse than a negative shared experience is the negative experiences that you never even hear about.

All: Information & Content FAQs

If I join, are you going to sell my information to anyone?

No. Nope. Nada. Your information isn’t ours to sell. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.

I’ve found something on the site that I think is inappropriate…what should I do?

We’re sorry. If it’s on a Listing’s page (e.g., Directory or Events), please use the “Listing Issues” form toward the bottom of the specific listing page.

If it is on a different page that doesn’t have the form, please copy the URL from your browser’s address bar, go to our contact page to let us know. Please include the URL and a note about what you felt was inappropriate. We’ll review and take whatever action we feel is necessary.

All: Listing FAQs

Why isn’t my favorite business listed?

There are many, many businesses in McHenry County, and many new ones starting all the time. While we hope to have all listed, it simply takes time. Please let the business know that you’d like to see them listed on McHenry Life, which is free.

Or, if you want to take the time and have key business details like their name, address, and phone number, you can also make a submission on their behalf and they can always claim their listing at a later time.

Why is a business listed that isn’t in McHenry County?

Some cities and towns within McHenry County also reside within other counties. Our purpose is to promote exploration and experience within the greater community, so we allow these businesses to also be listed.

What makes a business “locally owned business?”

We consider a business (or organization) to be a “locally owned business” a couple different ways.

The first and most obvious is exactly as it sounds, it is a business that is 100% locally owned.

The second though covers a little broader view. The simplest way to explain this is by looking at franchise businesses, which may operate regionally, nationally, or even internationally. But at the local level, they are a company that exists and is managed by a local franchisee.

The franchisee, like any business owner, has invested their own money to start their business. They may have a single location or multiple locations. The franchisee operates their own business, has their own employees, but may have to meet certain requirements and pay a franchise fee, in exchange for other benefits. While the franchisor may be headquartered somewhere else, the local franchise is owned and operates locally, in every other way, the same first example of a locally owned business.

Many times, you may not even know that a store, restaurant, or service provider is a franchise.

As franchises operate in many different ways, we leave it up to the business owner to access their specific situation in determining whether they view their operation as a locally owned business or not.

Business: Listing FAQs

What are the requirements for submitting a listing?

We review all submissions. We have very few and very simple listing requirements:

  • Physically located within McHenry County, Illinois (or within a city that is partially within McHenry County).
  • Physical address – all listings are tied to a physical address. Even if you have a home-based business that does not receive customers or clients, your listing requires an address. You may provide information that informs how you service clients (i.e., online, at client location, etc.).

Please, if you don’t meet these requirements, don’t waste your time trying to submit your listing. Your city, state, and/or country won’t even be selectable, and we review all submissions before they are approved and posted.

Simply put…your listing will not automatically appear and it will not be approved if it doesn’t meet our simple requirements.

Why should we list on McHenry Life instead of other, big-name sites?

We may be biased, but honestly, we can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t since it is free. Every listing on sites where your potential customers increase your chances of connecting with those potential customers.

But why limit yourself? If Yelp, Airbnb, Tripadvisor, or other local/regional sites are relevant to your business, you should probably look at being listed there as well. We don’t know all of their listing models or your marketing needs or budget, so you may need to factor that in, but most sites probably offer at least some level of free listing.

How long before our listing is published?

To help ensure quality and the best user experience for everyone who uses McHenry Life, we review all submissions. So that can really vary depending on how many submissions we have at the time, how easy it is to verify your ownership (providing us your official email that matches your domain name or is used on your website really helps here), and other factors. Our goal though is to get your listing up as soon as we possibly can. Ideally, we hope to get listings approved and published within 24 hours if at all possible, and hopefully sooner. We do appreciate your patience though if it takes a little longer sometimes.

How do we make changes to our listing?

We give you the ability to add, edit, and remove information from your listing directly. You don’t need to send anything to us or request us to make any changes to your listing for you.

You can access the listing form two ways:

  1. Navigate to your listing page and you will see an “Edit” button. Clicking on that will take you directly to the listing form to make changes.
  2. From your Lifer Profile page, which you get to from the top navigation bar, select the “Listings” subnav, find the listing you wish to change, click on the “three dots” in the bottom of the listing card, and then select “Edit” to get to the listing form to make changes.
How often can we edit our listing?

As often as you would like or need to. We want listings to be as up-to-date and as accurate as possible. That’s why we let you have full access to edit and update your listing at any time.

Our website screenshot is broken / doesn’t appear / is blank.

A screenshot of your website may appear on your listing card if you have no other images uploaded, or on your listing page next to the map. If you’ve uploaded your logo, it will appear below your logo.

If your screenshot doesn’t appear, you see a blank image, or you see an image with words like “denied,” “don’t have permission,” “401,” or similar, then we were unable to grab a screenshot of your website. Some web hosting services or your IT may have configured your server to block these kinds of requests.

We’ve worked out a couple of solutions to help with this, either completely disabling the screenshot or uploading a static screenshot image that you have created. Be sure to check out our detailed guide Add or Disable Your Website Screenshot for help with this.

Our listing shows that it is an “Owner Verified Listing,” except we haven’t claimed or verified it?

First, please check with any other business partners if you have them, managers, and employees, as someone may have claimed the listing without your specific knowledge. If that isn’t the case, then please use the contact form to reach out to us about this so that we can research things on our end and help establish rightful ownership.

What if there isn’t a category for our business?

While we’ve tried to include a broad range of business categories that should cover most businesses out there, we recognize that we might have missed a few. Or perhaps your business truly is in a category all its own! Most listing categories or subcategories also include an “Other” subcategory. Go ahead and list it there and then please feel free to use the contact form to tell us a little bit about your business and what category you feel it should be listed in. We’ll then be able to determine whether we need to add that category or where else it may fit best.

Will my listing get more exposure if it is placed in a top-level category?

Actually, just the opposite. Most Directory sections feature parent Categories that have various Subcategories within them. All listings will be shown at the parent category level, regardless of which subcategory they are placed within. But any listings placed in parent Categories will not be visible within any of the Subcategories. It is always in your best interest to place your listing in the deepest, most relevant Subcategory that you can.

What if we have multiple locations?

Each individual location can be listed. All listings are based on physical addresses. The address is also used for mapping and sorting listings by proximity when searchers include location information in their searches.

Do we have to Like McHenry Life on Facebook/Twitter/Etc?

You can, and we hope you’ll want to, but in no way will that ever be a requirement for being listed at McHenry Life.

Do we have to link back to McHenry Life?

Not at all. You are more than welcome if you want to, but in no way will that ever be a requirement for being listed at McHenry Life.

What are “Deals & Special Offers?”

Deals & Special Offers are a feature of our Premier paid listings. Deals & Special Offers provide a way for you to offer deals like:

  • buy one, get one free
  • 30% Off
  • Get a Free Appetizer
  • or just about anything you can think of on your listing page.
Demo listing card showing Deals banner along with Deals & Special Offers Available icon and hover tooltip.
Example of Special Offers added to listing.

Your listing card will feature a “Deals & Special Offers” icon and your offering will appear on your detailed listing page under your story in a “Deals & Special Offers” section. Best of all, your listing on category pages will have a “Deals” banner whenever you have any offering, and visitors to McHenry Life can also filter their searches for businesses that have Deals & Special Offers.

The best part for you is that you can change your deals and special offers as often as you like and there is no additional fee for running them. We have more information and some tips on how to really get the most out of Deals & Special Offers that you’ll want to check out.

See our special guide on how to Using Deals & Special Offers to Drive Business for more details.

What should we put in our listing for “Tags?”

What is your business known for? Or what is your main areas of focus, beyond the listing category itself? What’s important to you and your customers. For example, if you are a restaurant, you might want to list the ethnic or descriptive terms that describe your restaurant and offerings, call out some dishes you are famous for, your killer cheesecake, or maybe there are some other important characteristics you want to highlight.

Do we have to have a website to be listed on McHenry Life?

Not at all. You just have to have a “McHenry County address,” which we include as cities that are partially within McHenry County. So even if your location isn’t technically in McHenry, but your city spans the county border into McHenry, you can be listed. In fact, not having a website only makes your listing on McHenry Life even more important, providing you with an additional web presence and chance to be found.

What should we write for our Story?

Every business is unique and this is your area to shine. First off, we really encourage you to focus your effort on the first paragraph. This is a great opportunity to write something that is truly unique, interesting, and compelling about your business. Please note that the amount of text you can include is dependent on the listing package tier you have, but we’ve tried to be generous in making sure that there is more than enough text for everyone to share a little something about their business.

Beyond that, you might want to think about the following:

  • providing a brief introduction to your business
  • list the products or services you offer
  • what makes you special
  • perhaps highlighting your award-winning chef
  • the special dishes you have
  • the great amenities of your hotel
  • the winning track record of your law firm
  • etc.

Looking for more, see our guide on Writing Your Business Story.

Can we advertise on McHenry Life?

We feature select advertising opportunities on McHenry Life. To learn more about these, please visit our Ad Center.

All: General FAQs

If this is McHenry Life, who is Identity Developments, LLC?

McHenry Life isn’t a company itself, it is just a website and services. Identity Developments, LLC, is actually our company, which has created and maintains the McHenry Life website. Identity Developments, LLC, is a web marketing firm that provides various online marketing services.