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Does Your Small Business Need a Website?

With the ever increasing use of mobile devices and local search to find products and services, it now has become almost essential that your small business have a properly optimized website. Chances are your competitors already have one. The good news is that today this doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Ed Lieber at SmallBizTrends.com recently cited a study by GoDaddy in the US: A majority of small businesses don’t have a website, according to a recent survey. Specifically, 55 percent of U.S.-based small businesses (59 percent, including all the various countries that participated in the research) don’t have a website, according to a GoDaddy-commissioned global survey. That percentage stands to shrink, however, as 55 percent of these small businesses voiced an intent to launch an online presence for their small business within two years. Of the small business owners that have a website up and running, 83 percent believe that they have a competitive advantage over those without an online presence. The major perceived obstacles for small business owners are cost and lack of technical knowledge. However, the cost today of establishing a website is considerably lower than most people would expect. Depending on your specifications, Psychlinks can create a simple website for as little as $200 – $500, which will provide a contact form so that customers can contact you, a list of your products and services, and easy options for updating your site with specials and promotions. You can even offer a newsletter subscription option so that your customers can be informed of specials and promotions via direct email. If you wish, you can include an online appointment booking system. And the good news is you don’t need any technical expertise to obtain and maintain a website. That’s where Psychlinks comes in. We will design the

Rebooting Solves Many Problems

  When in doubt, reboot! Not exactly an earth-shaking discovery, I know. Indeed, it’s something I regularly advise users who run into problems on their desktop or laptop computers to do. More recently, I have been offering the same advice for users of tablets and smart phones. I had another reminder of that today. For the past few days — or maybe a week or so; I have a terrible sense of time — my iPhone 5s has been refusing to play most videos on Facebook, or YouTube, or other sites. I put it down to atmospherics or perhaps a weak Wi-Fi signal but the problem seemed to getting worse, to the point where it was no longer playing ANY videos anywhere. My second mantra when it comes to puzzling technological issues is “When in doubt, Google it!” Today, I finally did that… The first item listed on Google was a thread at Apple’s support forums:5s won’t play videos with iOS 8 | Apple Support Communities. The response from Allen A. was: It may help to force close all open applications and reset your iPhone. iOS: Understanding multitasking iPhone, iPad, iPod touch: Turning off and on (restarting) and resetting A D’oh! moment to be sure. And it worked. Immediately. Perfectly. 😳

Scan for Malicious Code in WordPress Sites

How to Scan Your WordPress Site for Potentially Malicious Code WPBeginner.com August 11th, 2014 If you don’t like the video or need more instructions: Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC) Theme Authenticity Checker is a free plugin that scans all of your WordPress theme files for potentially malicious or unwanted code. Often hackers target themes to inject links, so this plugin is a good way of checking for that. Exploit Scanner Exploit Scanner is another free WordPress plugin that is much more robust than the Theme Authenticity Checker because it search all files and database of your WordPress install. It checks for signs that may indicate if your installation has fallen victim to malicious hackers. Note: this does return a lot of false positives, so you have to know what you are doing to see if the error is really malicious or if it is ok. Sucuri Sucuri is by far the BEST WordPress security scanner out there. They have a very basic free site scanner, which checks your site to see if your site is doing ok. But the real value is in their paid version. See our article: 5 reasons why we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security for detailed overview. In short, once you install Sucuri, it automatically monitors your website 24×7 against all threats. It audits all the activities that happen on your site to keep track of where things went wrong. If something looks fishy, Sucuri blocks the IP. They also send you alerts if they notice something going on with your site. Last but not least, they offer a malware cleanup service which is included in the price of their service (no matter how big or small your site is). WordFence Not mentioned in this article is WordFence, another free WordPress plugin which I personally

Customizing and Tweaking Windows 10

Windows 10 is proving to be a very nice update to Windows 7 or 8, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further.   I started with Start10, the first Windows 10 Start menu alternative. This recreates the Windows 7 type Start menu while still giving you links to Windows 10 features. The cost is $4.99 USD (or $3.99 USD if you previously purchased Start8 for Windows 8). Some other utilities, tweaks, and fixes: Ultimate Windows Tweaker (Windows 8) Freeware (works with Windows 10 Free Windows 10 Training Videos Enable Windows 10 Desktop Wallpaper Slideshow, Here’s How Hide Those Annoying Live Tiles From The Win10 Start Menu Three Windows 10 Start menu tweaks that subtly improve your experience | PCWorld Eight Lesser-Known Windows 10 Features and Settings Worth Exploring How to Fix: Windows 10 Antivirus Missing Fix iTunes On Windows 10 Not Detecting / Recognizing iPhone, Here’s How Set Windows 10 File Explorer To Open This PC Instead Of Quick Access, Here’s How | Redmond Pie Libraries – Move above This PC in Windows 8.1/Windows 10 And an invaluable aid to troubleshooting and customizing Windows 10: Windows 10 Forums Finally, some concerns about privacy issues with Windows 10 have been expressed in a number of places. See this for some clarification: Windows 10 Scan-and-Block Piracy Fears May Be Unfounded  

Windows 10 File History Problems

There are still a few bugs in Windows 10, as might be expected with a new operating system release. One of these bugs is in the File History utility – something that first appeared in Windows 8. The issue I encountered was that the option to exclude folders, although Windows 10 appears to accept the new configuration to exclude certain folders I specify, simply doesn’t work. File History continues to store those folders on the backup drive. In my case, there are some very large folders which I back up to a separate external drive (i.e., music/mp3 files and photos), which within a  couple of days completely fills up primary external backup drive. I haven’t yet found a workaround for this problem. A search at Microsoft reveals that this is not an isolated issue; indeed, there are other problems noted with File History suggesting that it is not yet a reliable backup strategy – see this answers.microsoft.com search. In particular, see this post, which to date has no replies. For now, my solution was to turn off File History entirely until either I can find a fix or workaround, or Microsoft fixes the problem.

Upgrading to Windows 10

I started off upgrading just one laptop this past weekend, figuring if I ran into problems it was not essential and any downtime would be inconvenient but not mission critical. However, the upgrade went so smoothly that I went back the next day and upgraded my desktop and my wife’s laptop. There were a few glitches… On the first laptop, Outlook stopped working with an error message to the effect that I didn’t have permission to access the Outlook mailstore. I fixed that (a permissions issue) fairly quickly. I think the cause was that for the first upgrade, my laptop, it was a password protected laptop and Windows 10 encouraged me to switch that login in to my Microsoft login. I didn’t have that problem on the desktop or the other laptop because they weren’t password protected to begin with and I ignored the Windows 10 recommendation to use my Microsoft login. On the desktop, Outlook has twice silently refused to open links in Firefox. That’s another quick fix too… apparently this is a glitch that plagued some Windows 8.x installations as well and there is a Microsoft Fix-It that will automatically fix the issue for you using some registry entry repairs. It does require a reboot and in the process sets the default browser back to Windows Edge but that too is easily fixed by loading Firefox and responding yes to the query to make it my default browser. Yesterday, there was an automatic update from Windows 10 fixing various bugs, although I don’t know specifically what they were. Overall, though, despite the little glitches, I have to say this was an easy upgrade. If you have already upgraded, what was your experience?

Plugins to Enhance WordPress Security

WordPress has become increasingly popular as a platform for creating highly customizable responsive websites. And of course this makes it increasingly attractive as a target for hackers and spammers. To help guard against this, here are a couple of plugins that help to at least minimize unknown vulnerabilities. Your first defence should be to ensure that you keep WordPress itself and all your plugins and themes up to date. WordPress and the WordPress community is very good at reacting to security threats and vulnerabilities as they are discovered and typically patched or updated versions are made available within a few days. But the patches won’t do you any good if they are not applied. Advanced Automatic Updates by pento adds extra options to WordPress’ built-in Automatic Updates feature. On top of security updates, it also optionally supports installing major releases, plugins, and themes. If you use this to keep your themes updated, please see Don’t let WordPress theme upgrades break your site to avoid losing your theme customizations. Plugin Vulnerabilities by White Fir Design alerts you when any of your installed plugins contain known security vulnerabilities, as well as warning you of vulnerabilities in other versions of those plugins. This will at least make you aware of an issue until the plugin updater can instgall a patched version. Finally, Wordfence Security by Wordfence is a must have plugin for any WordPress site. From the plugin description: Blocking Features Real-time blocking of known attackers. If another site using Wordfence is attacked and blocks the attacker, your site is automatically protected. Block entire malicious networks. Includes advanced IP and Domain WHOIS to report malicious IP’s or networks and block entire networks using the firewall. Report security threats to network owner. Rate limit or block security threats like aggressive crawlers, scrapers and bots

Don’t let WordPress theme updates break your site

You’ve put in a lot of effort to customize your site with added CSS and HTML. But will it survive an update to your WordPress theme? Here’s how to avoid that. First, there is a great little plugin called MP Customizer Backups by Mint Plugins (available from the WordPress.org Plugins repository) which allows you to back up or restore all customizations added via Customizer. This is a great time saver for developers allowing you to return to a previous working version if something goes wrong. And of course you can update the theme and use this plugin to reapply your customizations if required. The second plug-in is WP Add Custom CSS by Daniele De Santis. With this plugin, rather than editing the theme’s CSS file, you can simply add your changes or additions to this file so they are not overwritten when the theme updates. If you are familiar with vBulletin forum software, it works much like the additional.css template. 1 Finally, the third plugin is Insert Headers and Footers by WPBeginner. As the name implies, this allows you to add HTML or PHP to customize the header or footer for your theme and again avoid having your changes overwritten by a theme upgrade. Anything which makes your job as a WordPress site designer or developer a little easier is worth the few minutes it takes to install these plugins. Happy WordPressing! 🙂 1 Update: I’ve recently discovered an alternate plug-in named Simple Custom CSS by John Regan & Danny Van Kooten which you may prefer (as I do). This includes highlighting for syntax, etc., similar to NotePad++.

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