Tag Archives: Tips

Not All Errors Are Real Errors

What to Know About Site Errors
What to Know About Site Errors

Errors, they may your heart beat faster and stomach clench especially when they impact your website. But, not all errors that are reported in plugins such as Yoast or even WordFence are real errors.

For example, today the Yoast SEO plugin flagged my site as not having a home page that was visible to search engines. But on additional testing and review of files; both the robots.txt and .htaccess file there was not issue. Additionally, on testing in the Google fetch feature in the Google Search Console – no errors were triggered. The Google bot was fully allowed even though Yoast said it was not.

Sometimes errors you see are false positives. But, that does not mean you can simply mark them as ignored or disregard them all together.

All website errors should be reviewed and corrected if found to be true. Don’t guess make sure that you do not have a problem each time one is brought to your attention.

 

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Hackers: How Do They Get In?

Hackers How Do They Get In?
Hackers How Do They Get In?

Hackers, how do they get in to  your website and hosting account? In today’s wild web, it just seems like sometimes you can’t keep hackers out!

Here’s what happened recently to me. I set up a new hosting account at a quality hosting service (not GoDaddy). The same day I loaded the site files, the site was hacked. Files were loaded and links to malware installed in newly created pages that mirrored my own site pages but with a .shtml instead of .html.

The host told me that all was secure and although the site was in a shared hosting environment that their network was not where the hack came in.

The only thing that I can possibly think of that caused the problem for this non-WordPress site is I emailed the passwords to the client. What the client did with the logins, I do not know. I am not sure if he even tried to login, but doubt it.

The host said that possibly a hacker got into the site via a field in the contact form, but there is a Captcha and tests for validity of information and on top of that no database connection for the form. I am mystified!

What I do know is that sometimes you just do not know how hackers get in, could they tunnel in from the host? Could they intercept logins by email? Could they be trawling the web for new hosting set ups and attack them? Your guess is as good as mine.

One thing I do know is that there is a new hack for WordPress websites that targets new hosting accounts where WordPress installation has not been completed. There are bots that are scanning the web for these new sites and coming in via WordPress setup files and taking control of hosting. Could this type of attack possibly be what I experienced? It is possible.

What I do know if that prompt action to clean up, wipe the server, and change all passwords for hosting and FTP and also no longer emailing logins is our newest protocol.

 

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Free Apps in the Microsoft Store

Gotta Love the Microsoft Store
Gotta Love the Microsoft Store

The Microsoft App Store, what’s not to love? I love apps and I love free things – that really work. If you have not checked out the Microsoft Store attached to your Windows 10 desktop product, I encourage you to take a look.

Here are several that I use nearly daily – that really work and are really free.

9Zip
Need a free zip utility, tired of buying a zip tool when you really feel that there should be a free one out there that’s easy to use? Get 9Zip from the Microsoft Store. It is easy to use and I am using my version replacing my paid version of WinZip.

HP Scan and Capture
Now this is one super handy app. I use it more than the software that came with my HP printer. The super easy to use interface talks right to your printer and scanner and you are up and running in a snap!

Free Games
Need a solitaire break? Love interactive puzzles? The Microsoft Store has you covered, and many for free. I don’t have any games installed yet as I just upgraded my drives and need to reinstall programs and apps, but my first pick will be the Microsoft App Store.

(P.S. I am not being paid by Microsoft for this review, I just love the Microsoft Store and wanted to share the things I liked best with you.)

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Amazon Echo – I Love You Alexa

Gotta Love the Amazon Echo
Gotta Love that Amazon Echo

I got an Amazon Echo a week ago and I want to say that I love you Alexa!

Not only am I a huge fan of Amazon and an Amazon Prime Member, but I love technology and the Amazon Echo embraces all of these items very nicely. Plus it has made my life easier.

Here’s what I like best about Amazon Echo

Shopping Lists
No one in my family has an excuse any more for not putting something on our shopping list. Just say “Alexa, add provolone cheese to the shopping list.” The item appear instantly in my smartphone Alexa app and I can tick off items as I buy them. Even things added at home by my kids appear while I am at the grocery store. This solves the problem of my kids forgetting to put milk or toilet paper on the list!

Music and Sounds
I have a stressful day and so I love to start my day out with bird sounds. I don’t need to think about getting a bird anymore, just apply the skill for Ambient Noise Bird Sounds and then say “Alexa, play bird sounds.” My kids even tell me that they like waking up to the sounds in the morning.

Prime Music
Not sure you want to buy a track or CD? Just play free Prime Music through Alexa and you can be jamming out! Love the track, buy it right then with Alexa.

I have to say, that getting the Amazon Echo was one of the coolest things that I have done recently that has improved my life. Got to Love Technology! Thanks Amazon.

P.S. I was not paid by Amazon for this blog post. I bought the Echo and loved it and wanted to share why with you.

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GoDaddy Takes Another Hit with Network Protect

GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?
GoDaddy Network Protect Got You Offline?

GoDaddy Network Protect? What’s that? That’s what GoDaddy calls it when they take your site offline due to a high number of hack attacks on your shared server. Our client has now been down two days. GoDaddy says it will allow the website to be seen when the hack attacks stop and they can turn off the GoDaddy Network Protect.

Wow, that is bad. Could your business afford to be offline two+ days with no end in site? I just have to challenge the type of network protection that GoDaddy has in place if they are constant targets of hackers. Either they are not policing their customers or not properly securing their shared hosting environments. You would think that they would have security in place to protect their business.

If you are hosted at GoDaddy, you can remediate this issue when your website is blocked due to a Network Protect action by buying a dedicated IP address. I just did that for our client who was under a Network Protect and could see his site online in about two hours.

I do have to say that after one of my domains was blacklisted due to a hacked site on my GoDaddy shared hosting environment server and now this situation with a customer, I will only recommend using GoDaddy as your host if you do not want to move or if you get a dedicated IP address for about $75 a year on top of your hosting.

Better yet, consider a different web host who takes security more seriously than GoDaddy.

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Site Chat = Leads + Sales

Online Site Chat Let's You Connect Immediately.
Online Site Chat Let’s You Connect Immediately.

Site chat apps do generate leads which do turn into sales.  I am a living testimony to that. Since I have installed the Drift app, which is an online chat app, I have had about 5 chats, some just about questions but two about services. One moved into contract and has spent about $4,000 for my services.

I’d say that having the chat function on my website has been good for business. What’s even better is that I am always on, but do not always enter a response immediately to a chat. Even with a live chat function, you can have weekends and a real life. Your business does not need to own you.

I do feel that my prospects do like the friendliness and immediacy of  live chat. The paid version of Drift, which I am using as a free version, does has an automated bot that fills in the gaps with responses which is nice and I may upgrade to it if I get more big sales.

I find that the really serious clients start out on the chat app but then move readily to email and then to phone calls. The client that found me via my online site chat closed in less than one week.

So, if you are looking for more sales, I do recommend installing on your website an online chat function. Drift is just one of them to consider, but there are others.

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