How quickly your web pages load matters. Here’s why.

Having a web presence is essential in today’s world. But it doesn’t stop there: People have to see your web site and interact with it if your is going to impact on new and returning clients. We’ve known for some years now that page load speed is a Google ranking factor. With the increasing use of mobile search (smart phones and tablets), it has become even more important, especially for small local businesses. If your pages don’t start and finish loading within a few seconds, several studies have shown that mobile visitors will simply click away to the next item in the search results. Web Hosting for Optimized Page Load Speed by Adam Thompson, Search Engine Journal December 10, 2015 [T]his study shows no correlation between page complete load times and Google rankings, but it did find a correlation for time to first byte. Another study also found no correlation between rankings and page load time. It seems likely that the impact of page load speed on rankings is very small, so as SEOs it’s important that we don’t present page load speed as a major factor in rankings. [On the other hand], the impact of page load speed on users is likely much greater than its impact on Google rankings. Multiple studies have consistently documented the impact of page load speed on user experience – slow load times lead to user abandonment and decreased conversion rates. Scale does matter when discussing this benefit, though. An incremental improvement in conversion rate (which is huge for large e-retailers) may translate to a very small monetary benefit for websites with small traffic numbers. Thompson goes on to discuss the specific ways in which your hosting service and/or plan contributes to load speed. Read more… There are several factors that affect your page

Security and Your Small Business Website

A recent article by Megan Totka talks about the increasing targeting of small businesses in cyberattacks. When we think of cyber attacks, our minds often jump to major corporations, millions of dollars, and large scale media scandals. However, experts are saying that small businesses are increasingly at risk for data breaches and other cyber threats. …. In 2012, a report from Symantic Security Response found that attacks on small businesses had risen 300 percent over the previous year. That number has been on the rise ever since. The reason cyber attackers target small businesses is simple: it’s easier. They’re often less secure, with a smaller security budget, and the mindset that they’re too insignificant to attract attention. Given that most attacks are fully automated, these attackers can make it through a small business’s defenses much faster than they can a larger corporation, allowing them to target more companies in a shorter period of time. Unfortunately, the negative impact on small businesses may also be disproportionately higher. They often face a loss of public trust as well as a significant financial loss, which can be crippling to many businesses of this size. That’s precisely why today it is so important to build your small business website with security in mind and to ensure that your website is kept up to date to plug any security vulnerabilities that may arise in the future. All of the website designed by Psychlinks include site security as a top priority. For a free quote on creating a secure website and/or maintaining an existing website, please contact us today!

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

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 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 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 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
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