General

How Independent Contractors can Help Your Small Business

An interesting article discussing some of the reasons small business are reluctant to hire independent contractors (freelancers) and debunking some of the myths that are barriers to hiring a freelancer. The Truth About Hiring and Managing Independent Contractors in Your Business by Rieva Lesonsky, AllBusiness.com Sept. 1, 2017 A recent poll of over 2,200 small businesses conducted by Manta finds that few small business owners are taking part in the “gig economy” trend. Instead, the majority would rather hire permanent, salaried employees… Here are some myths and realities about hiring independent contractors that you should understand. Myth: You can’t control independent contractors. Reality: You can’t micromanage independent contractors—that much is true… However, providing detailed explanations of what you want from the freelancer, combined with explicit contracts laying out your expectations, will help ensure you get the desired results from the independent contractor’s work. Myth: Managing independent contractors will take up too much of your time. Reality: Independent contractors skilled in their fields often have decades of experience, which means they can typically hit the ground running… you won’t have to train them from the ground up as you might with entry-level permanent employees. Myth: Independent contractors are too expensive. Reality: One of the biggest advantages of hiring independent contractors is that you can find them at a wide range of price levels. Of course, the adage that you get what you pay for is also true… However, because independent contractors can laser-focus on your project without the distractions of the typical workplace, they’re likely to get things done more efficiently and effectively than many employees. Myth: Your employees won’t like working with independent contractors. Reality: Incorporating independent contractors alongside employees is standard practice in many industries. In fact, your employees are likely to welcome freelancers who can take time-consuming tasks

Marketing Myths for Small Business Owners

Marketing Myths Small Business Owners Should Stop Believing by Meaghan McCarthy, Search Influence August 29, 2017 When you’re running a small business, it’s often up to you or a member of a very small team to research and make all decisions for the business. And when you’re trying to allocate a marketing budget, being well informed is essential to the future of the business’ success. If you’re considering investing in SEO for your company but aren’t sure if it is going to pay off in the end, get the real facts about common SEO misconceptions. Myth 1: Only businesses of a certain size, in particular industries, or with certain audience demographics need a website. Having a website in today’s world is essential for getting found by customers, and everyone can benefit from one. SEO will help you get found by the right audience, no matter how niche your market may be, from HVAC companies and mom-and-pop shops to CNC engineers and doctors. Myth 2: Keyword stuffing and duplicate content are good SEO practices. Myth 3: SEO is all about keyword rankings. There’s more to SEO than sprinkling some keywords into your content and calling it a day. Content creation, link building, local search optimization, and technical aspects of your website, like page speed, are all necessary components of a well-rounded and robust SEO campaign. Myth 4: Social media is just for sharing pictures of my kids at the beach. Social media helps you promote your content, share industry news with your followers, show off a bit of your personality and your brand’s tone, and engage directly with your customers. It’s the personal touch that matters in today’s business world. Plus, social media lets you find your customers where they spend the most time. Read more…

Chrome Extension Attacks Target Site Owners

PSA: 4.8 Million Affected by Chrome Extension Attacks Targeting Site Owners Wordfence.com August 17, 2017 In June, July and August, developers of the following Chrome extensions had their login credentials stolen through a phishing attack. The extensions affected are: Web Developer – Versions 0.4.9 affected Chrometana – Version 1.1.3 affected Infinity New Tab – Version 3.12.3 affected CopyFish – Version 2.8.5 affected Web Paint – Version 1.2.1 affected Social Fixer 20.1.1 affected TouchVPN appears to have been affected but the version is unclear Betternet VPN also appears to have been affected but no version was provided Based on total installs for these extensions, the attackers targeted a total of 4.8 million users. The developers of these Chrome extensions all had their account credentials compromised…. Once the attackers had access to modify the code in these Chrome extensions and release new code, they made a change that injected their own malicious Javascript into the extensions…. The code injects Javascript from the attacker’s own domain into the victim’s browser. The victim here is someone who is using the Chrome web browser and has one of these extensions installed. This allows an attacker to perform any action as the victim. This includes accessing any website the victim is signed into and modifying the content of any web page that the victim views. Once an attacker has control of one of your Chrome extensions, they own your web browser. Read more…

The Psychlinks Website Management Option

The latest statistics (July 2017) indicate that 59.2% of all websites using a known content management system (CMS) are based on the WordPress platform (28.4% of all websites on the internet). That is a significant market share that I believe has been well earned by the almost unlimited  customizability of WordPress, thanks to its large community of users and developers. However, building a WordPress site is just the beginning. Once you have your site online, you also need to maintain and update it. Among other things, this is absolutely critical to protect your site against security threats from hackers and hacker bots. Your WordPress site is a powerful system made of several parts. This includes your WordPress hosting, WordPress software itself, plugins, and themes. On top of that, you add your own content with text and images. Together, all of them make a website that is loved by your visitors and customers. However, this system needs to be looked after to ensure optimal performance. There are few simple maintenance tasks that you can perform on a regular basis to ensure that your website is working at its best. ~ WpBeginner A recent article at WpBeginner titled 13 Crucial WordPress Maintenance Tasks to Perform Regularly lists the important tasks that all websites based on the WordPress platform should be doing on a regular basis. All of the following are included as part of the Psychlinks website optimization and management service, whether you host your site with us or with someone else. Create a Complete Backup of Your Website, preferably daily. Check and Update All WordPress Files on an ongoing basis. Check and Delete Spam Comments if your site allows comments or reviews. Test All Your WordPress Forms to ensure that they are still working properly after updates: if your potential clients,

No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website

    From Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website: The average Canadian spends 45 hours online per month, more than any other nation and almost double the global average… Not only do we love shopping online, but many Canadians also rely on the web to research and to compare products and prices before purchasing… But what about Canadian businesses? It turns out… that over 40% of Canadian small businesses still did not have a website… This not only puts your brand and reputation at risk, but puts your business at a competitive disadvantage…. Why is it that in 2016, a year in which we all walk around with smartphones in our pockets, are constantly looking for a Wi-Fi network, and turn to Google with every question we have, does a business not have a website? Among the expected responses of “I don’t have the time”, “it’s too expensive”, and “it’s beyond my technical expertise” (all of which are common misconceptions), 35% of respondents reported that the reason that they didn’t have a website was that they were simply too small. Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website You can protect and build your brand online Your customers are online It gives your business a competitive advantage It doesn’t have to be expensive Read the full article at Why No Business Is Too Small to Have a Website. Contact us today for a quote on what we can do to help YOUR business.  

Customers avoid businesses with poor mobile websites

  From a recent post by LSA Insider, 57% Unlikely to Buy Online from Biz with Poor Mobile Experience: Studies continue to show that poor mobile experiences result in businesses and brands being overlooked by customers. According to a new study, 57% of consumers said they were not likely to buy online from a non-mobile friendly local business site. This applies equally to national brands as well. While the finding is logical as it relates to ecommerce, it’s a stand-in for a broader proposition: not delivering good digital/online experiences will result in a loss of good will and purchases of local consumers. For small business owners, this underscores the fact that you not only need to be online to be found by potential customers or clients, but that your website needs to be responsive, i.e., fully accessible and user-friendly when viewed with a tablet or smart phone. Indeed, with the increasing emphasis on mobile-friendly websites by Google and other search engines, customers trying to find products or services may not even see your business in search listings if it’s not responsive. Contact us today for a quote on an affordable website for YOUR small business.

How NOT to write headlines

Before I get into today’s annoyances rant, consider why we worry about writing headlines at all and what we hope they will accomplish. I think this comes down to two things: In a world where we are all inundated by more information than we can possibly process, we want the article or story we’re writing to stand out from the crowd, to make the reader stop scrolling down a list of a hundred other headlines and say, “Wait! What’s this?”. To provide the ultimate and most accurate mini-summary of what the article to follow has to say. Most headlines today do neither of these things. And yet we have article after article in the media and on the net telling us what this author and that marketer constitutes a “good” headline. And then what happens? The suggestions become a kind of “law of headline writing” which evidently everyone feels compelled to obey. I don’t want to single out any specific author because they are legion, but to use one recent article as an example, the author states that “While short, a headline has to stand out from the crowd of headlines running down a user’s screen.” and then offers these suggestions: “there are specific formulas that will attract more readers. For example, the ‘How to’ formula is popular, as it indicates the reader will learn something useful in an easy presentation. Also, ‘What You Need to Know’ is effective, as it creates a sense of urgency in the reader, especially when it hints that the reader may not know everything.” and “Numbers are effective for many reasons. They help construct articles, which provides organization. Not only does this help when you write the content, but it easier for the reader. When you use numbers in the articles, you create a

Small Business in Canada: Why You Need A Website

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has just released a report on the state of ecommerce and online business presence in Canada. This study investigates the growing importance of e-commerce to Canadian retailers. CIRA’s research looked at online purchasing behaviours of both Internet users and small business owners. An earlier report by CIRA in 2015 had found that Canadian small businesses have remained reluctant to embrace the web. Just 42.3 per cent of small businesses in Canada currently have a website, compared with 91.4 per cent of large companies. The lack of an online presence for small businesses may have an impact both online and offline. The 2016 report notes that One thing is certain: electronic commerce is here to stay and small businesses need to adapt quickly to ensure they get their fair share of this rapidly growing opportunity. Forester research has predicted that Canadians will spend $39 billion online by 2019, representing 9.5 percent of all retail purchases in Canada. Statistics Canada’s data (in their most recent data on the topic) reports that Canadian companies sold more than $136 billion in goods and services online in 2013, up from $122 billion a year earlier. The 2015 CIRA Internet Factbook reported that Canadian small businesses were still lagging in their adoption of Internet technology and that over 40 percent of Canadian small businesses still did not have a website. CIRA’s Internet tracking research has found that there could be serious business implications to this lack of a digital presence. In a competitive market, a website is an important asset in helping customers learn about a company and build trust. More specifically, the CIRA study found that 63% of respondents felt that “having a website makes a business look more credible“, while 26% said that “I don’t trust businesses that

Uptime Robot: Free Website Monitoring Service

Uptime Robot Disclaimer: I have no connection with this service. I am not an affiliate, or an investor, nor am I acquainted in any way with the company or any of its officers or employees. From their website: Everyone with a website knows that, things can sometimes go wrong. Sometimes it is with the code, the server or the network…. Uptime Robot is all about helping you to keep your websites up. It monitors your websites every 5 minutes and alerts you if your sites are down (actually, it is smarter, details below). How It Works? The Details Here are the step-by-step actions of Uptime Robot to understand it better: it asks for your websites headers and gets status codes like “200-ok”, “404-not found”, etc. every 5 minutes (or more depending on the monitor’s settings), if the status code doesn’t indicate a problem, we are good if the status code is~400+ and 500+, then the site is not loading in order to make sure the site is down, Uptime Robot makes several more checks in the next 30 seconds, if the site is still down, it sends an alert. Why Free? Ok, we know it is hard to offer something for free. And, to be honest, we can not foresee the expenses it will have. As 2 designers/developers (Umut Muhaddisoglu, Daniel Rimille) behind this service who have been into many different projects, we simply want to experience. This is exactly why we created Uptime Robot (in Jan 2010). We know that nobody likes a free service going paid. If we ever need to charge users to guarantee the future of Uptime Robot, we’ll try our best to keep what is already free as free. Update Jan 13 2015: We have introduced a Pro Plan today. And, the Free Plan is

Fixed: iTunes won’t recognize your iPhone

  I recently discovered that iTunes would not recognize my iPhone 5s after upgrading to Windows 10 and/or upgrading to the latest version of iTunes. Of course, I did what most people would do and Googled it. Apparently, this is a pretty common problem with both Windows 10 and iTunes… The problem is there are pages and pages of advice… and for most of a full work day none of them made any difference for me. Installing, rebooting, uninstalling, rebooting, deleting, rebooting, reinstalling, rebooting. Nothing worked. Finally, I came across this Redmond Pie article from August 2015 by Taimur Asad. The first part of the article was, for me, a repeat of advice I’d already seen and tried. But near the bottom of the page was this gem – and this one worked perfectly for me: Apple Mobile Device Support, Service and USB Driver Check to see if Apple Mobile Device Support is installed from Control Panel > Uninstall a program. If it is not installed, you need to reinstall iTunes. Restart Apple Mobile Device Service: Type services.msc in Run (WinKey+R) and hit enter. Locate Apple Mobile Device or Apple Mobile Device Service and then right click > Properties. Then click on Stop to stop the service. Click Start to run the service again. Reboot your computer. Check Apple Mobile Device USB Driver: Type devmgmt.msc in Run (WinKey+R) and hit enter. Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers entry and see if Apple Mobile Device USB Driver is listed. (Note: In my case, it was initially listed under Portable Devices originally, not USB Serial Bus Controllers! After the repair below, it moved to it’s correct location.) If it is not listed, you need to reinstall iTunes and then connect your iOS device to your PC and wait for Windows to automatically install the driver. But if it is listed and has a “!” or “?” on it, you need to reinstall
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