Hacker banner

Website Hacking — Strong case for Shared Managed Hosting

WordPress self-hosted websites can be very sophisticated. So therefore also are the range of hacker vulnerabilities.

How do you secure your site? Have you been hacked, need help?

hackerThis is normal. Because under-managed websites are normal. It used to be that you put up a page and things were “static.” Not so nowadays.  Any Web Presence needs persistent care and feeding.  Most especially where Security is concerned.  New exploits emerge almost daily. Keeping up with patches and upgrades? Critical.

There are no technical suggestions here. Just ones for managers who wear all the hats at once. (As does Yours Truly.)

We’re devoted to demystifying this stuff for the small, independent operator. We don’t actually think you should afford people with IT certifications on the payroll.

So, one best practice (and certainly a minimum for anyone who isn’t a developer or doesn’t have the vast quantities of spare time to invest learning — and then keeping up with — the ever changing security ecology of websites) — is to contract for your coverage.

A great free tool to catch almost anything — as a surety against gaps in your perimeter defenses — is to add your site to Google Webmaster tools.

At the end of the day, by moving to a shared hosting scenario, you’ll deliver better results not only in the security spectrum but performance. Shared hosting is inevitably a cloud of servers and these automatically scale to accommodate loads.

Get faster, get shared. Get secure, get managed.

If you don’t require customizations that can’t be delivered with a site on WordPress.com, don’t let anyone talk you into Self-Hosted.

The driver is: What am I doing that I can’t accomplish except by going self-hosted. Can I dump that? (Critical decision making flowchart involving this issue and the one of choosing consultants at that Link. Enjoy.)

And if you can’t dump that unique widget, think (very seriously) about outsourcing that function to a third party.

Radio Shack TRS-80Call or email me with questions.

Or, dump the new science and go back to smoke signals, sneaker net and snail mail.

By the way, we just recently used a resource (not listed above) to salvage a hacked site. He deserves mention.

Andrew at http://FixWordpressSite.com

His specialty is responsiveness … but be patient, he bounces from issue to issue helping others simultaneously. If your site was hacked you’re not alone and you’ll appreciate Andrew.

Poll: Flattening Salaries — A Great Idea?

Paraphrasing the NY Times article by Pat Cohen:

… (Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price) surprised his 120-person staff today by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary of even the lowest-paid clerk, customer service representative and salesman to a minimum of $70,000.

The happiness research behind Mr. Price’s announcement on Monday came from Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist. They found that what they called emotional well-being — defined as “the emotional quality of an individual’s everyday experience, the frequency and intensity of experiences of joy, stress, sadness, anger, and affection that make one’s life pleasant or unpleasant” — rises with income, but only to a point. And that point turns out to be about $75,000 a year.

googlebbs_

World War “IT” — Are Linux Duffers the “National Guard” of Tech?

BBS MenuOne of the conversations I’m having more often (say in the past 20 months) is “continuity” planning — in the event that “World War IT” breaks out — how are businesses going to continue?

  • If communication utilities are hacked? How will we rebuild B-B and B-C networks if the internet is shaky — fall backs like a BBS might serve as an order processing platform.
  • How to operate in isolation for a while? If we’re not connected to a WAN. Inventory — where is that box?

These dialogues are more often “beer” fueled … and not really actionable but they have a strategic vein. Few I know are actually going to the time/expense to build systems, collecting old bones into unpowered piles that can be used as “bricks” — rebuilding networks that have been damaged. There are some, though…

The challenge we’re facing is sort of on the DHS front and there is a certain symmetry to it.

Think of it like this: Linux IT Duffers are the National Guard of IT.

There is a widening dialogue (Link) within Microsoft and Windows circles particularly – about alternatives that are quick, inexpensive and secure. An essential element is modest hardware requirements. Linux shines on all of those aspects.

If you’re hoarding and/or building systems and storing “IT Bricks” in your closet, let me know.  I’d like to take this temperature — fill in the Poll below?

Poll: WW-IT Preparedness with Linux?

Wood Sabold Photography

Out with the old… 2015 Year of SM Integration

In much of the consulting we enjoyed with Small Businesses and other clients in 2014 the conversation revolved around developing an updated understanding of how internet marketing and essentially — communication — works nowadays.

Shoreline Community Church integrates their Web Presence to Podcasts at the Apple iTunes Store, Sermon Videos at Utube.com, Twitter and plans to take their "Photography" ministry online at Pinterest.

Shoreline Community Church integrates their Web Presence to Facebook, Podcasts at the Apple iTunes Store, Sermon Videos at Utube.com, Twitter and plans to take their “Photography” ministry online at Pinterest.

Gone, long gone is the age of Email and the Static Website.  These have their place, however, but only as anchoring facets among a symphony of other features.

What do I mean by anchors?

Well, for messaging – a website that is connected to social media channels.  This is where one begins.  Wood Sabold Photography has embarked on this path. (..It’s his image in the header for this post.)

Following on, however are updating aspects of Direct Mail.  If you’re emailing lists of followers or clients from your personal account?  You need to adopt a more mature posture.  We recommend you investigate MailChimp.com.  Start for free, move onto the platform and enjoy the benefits!

The issue isn’t so much one of being able to “program” your web presence as being of a mind to first interconnect to the services your viewers / followers are most likely to use.  Making your content available to them in the channel they most prefer means that you’ll be on their radar with better regularity.  If I see Twitter 20 times per day and Facebook twice? I’d more likely notice your stuff in my Twitter feed.

But don’t fall into the amateur trap of inconsistent branding across SM Channels.  Use the same messages and images / colors to help folks recognize you.  None of this is expensive.  It just takes an awareness at a high level.  On must see the chess board from a high elevation.

An affordable and powerful Web Presence is the best resolution we can offer. Get one!

Deal-A-Story cards by Sue Vidders.  Offered for sale online at RDRPublishers.com new web presence.

Deal-A-Story cards by Sue Vidders. Offered for sale online at RDRPublishers.com new web presence.

 

And one final truth.

As much as one client invested preparing to advertise online (and this is a very worthwhile endeavor) a single properly placed dialogue in social media resulted in 10X sales over a short period of time for a particular offering.

Doubt the power of Social Media to advance your business at your own Risk.

Happy New Year!

 

Ad Injection Malware Removal — Mac

It's not often, but you sometimes see "Warnings" like this.  Once installed into your computer, these software agents can be very, very dangerous.  BEWARE!

It’s not often, but you sometimes see “Warnings” like this. Once installed into your computer, these software agents can be very, very dangerous.
BEWARE!

This has come up several times recently — complaints like:  “I get so many ‘Popup Ads’ I can’t use my computer anymore..”

Visit this link: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT6506

Ad-injection software is advertising-supported software that can come from third-party download sites. Software you download from such sites may have been customized to install both the software you want and the ad-injection software. If your Mac has ad-injection software installed, you might see pop-up windows, ads, and graphics while surfing the web, even if “Block pop-up windows” is selected in Safari preferences. Ad-injection software might also change your homepage and preferred search engine.

Have you downloaded software from third-party providers lately?

Be careful out there!  If you have questions, it’s always best to phone or email us first.  Our policy is to answer basic questions for free. “Snappy answers to silly questions” (remember the MAD Comic?) are our specialty, and there is no charge.  Why not ask first instead of suffering the consequences later?

URL Redirects – Important links during Web Presence migrations

New versions of Web Presence engines focus on content management -- and are improving the means of adding, adapting and publishing meaningful information to your viewers.

New versions of Web Presence engines focus on content management — and are improving the means of adding, adapting and publishing meaningful information to your viewers.

We are in a season of Web Presence upgrades.  For those operating self-hosted sites with WordPress.org, you should be aware of the recent release of the WordPress 4.0 site engine / CSS.

Matt Mullenweg <m@wordpress.org> circulated the following announcement the other day…

Just a few days ago, we released WordPress 4.0 “Benny” which has already been downloaded almost three-and-a-half million times! This release includes major improvements to the plugin directory, a much more pleasant environment to write in, with better embed support and an auto-expanding editor, and finally media has been made more functional and beautiful.

http://wordpress.org/news/2014/09/benny/

The reasons to upgrade are compelling … see those at the link above.

Anyway — if your upgrade means a complete web migration — you’re replacing a legacy site altogether — you’ll have issues with URL’s.  Here are some things to note.

If you have analytics data you should use it to design page titles in your new site.   If you don’t there are some other tools you can use that will help you anticipate the best keywords. (Ask us?)

Designing the page titles is important, but not critical — just realize that you can re-word these things as time passes.

But what about all of the existing SEO results that point to your old pages?  In your new site you should be able to install what are known as URL redirects.  These accept traffic from the old URL and “land” those visitors on the new page.

Be sure you have analytics operating in the new site.  You’ll be able to see which URL’s are being visited, but importantly — you ‘ll also be able to identify old URL’s that you need to provide redirects for.