OMG –or The Cobbler’s Children’s Shoes

Well, if you’ve looked at this blog in the last year or so you can tell it’s been a busy year (or year and a half almost).
I was updating some clients’ WordPress sites–which you should do diligently once a month to be sure you have the latest WordPress version, your database is backed up and all your plug-ins are up to date–when what should I discover but my header and menu were missing from my own blog!

It’s a good thing my clients don’t read this.  They probably wouldn’t be my clients anymore.  Am I right?

So, lesson for today:
1.  Back up your database monthly, whether you’ve posted anything or not.
2.  Update WordPress to the latest version (your site will show you if there’s a new version).
3.  Check  your plug-ins to see if there are newer versions.  And keep an eye on plug-ins that haven’t been updated in years.  Sometimes a plug-in developer will quit updating a plug-in, even if it’s a great plug-in.  It’s usually because not enough folks use it, rave about it, rate it, and donate to the developer.  At some point, you may need to replace the plug-in with one that is more up-to-date and compatible with your version of WordPress.   Anyway, update any plug-ins that have compatible updates available.

That’s all for today.

I’m hungry.

p.s. If you aren’t familiar with the “cobbler’s children’s shoes” reference, it basically means that the cobbler (a shoemaker) makes his and his family’s shoes last because he’s so busy making shoes for other people.  That’s me.  Only I don’t make shoes; I make websites.

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Social Media Tips

For those of you who have Facebook Pages (not personal accounts, but a business page).  These (some of which I knew) came from a social media expert I heard speak earlier this month.
1.  80/20 rule   Your posts should be 80% fun or interesting information and only 20% sales pitch/products/services promotion.
2.  Try to start every post with an image (not stolen from someone else’s site, preferably) and then have text.
3.  Reply to everyone who comments on your posts or, at least, “like” their comment.  If no one is commenting, see #1 above.

She also had some sterling advice about Twitter, i.e. if you aren’t going to tweet 4 or 5 times a day, don’t have a Twitter account.

Use social media wisely.  If you only have time to do one medium, choose the one where most of your audience is.  The following is simply a guide to where you might focus your attention:  Facebook mostly for adults, Pinterestmostly for younger adults, Tumbler mostly for teens & younger adults, Instagram mostly for teens.

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Adwords Updates First Quarter 2015

1.  Hotel related Ads introduced, specifically geared to users wanting to book online and, in particular, via their phone.

2.  Call-only ad campaigns for mobile devices since, according to Google,  70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.

3.  Adwords for Androids app so you can manage your campaigns from your phone or tablet.

4.  Ability to add tracking info (to determine ad effectiveness, source, etc.) without having to lose previous statistics as is currently the case if you change what page an ad takes the customer to.  (Note:  this new feature is rather complicated to implement and may require third-party software to create the tracking code and analyze it.  I haven’t tried it yet).

5. Added 3 new requirements for the Google Shopping Product Feeds if you use carrier-calculated rates:  shipping_height, shipping_length, shipping width.

6.  Google Trusted Store certification, a free program that  provides additional assurance for your buyers.  Google estimates it takes 30 minutes to apply, “a few days” to implement the code and then 30 to 90 days for them approve you.

For more info on all of these, visit:

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Avoid Being Spoofed

Personally, I’ve never used my “real” email address in any correspondence. By “real” I mean the one that Roadrunner gave me (or before that, the one that earthlink gave me).

I always send emailthat looks like it came from my website.  There are numerous reasons why I do that, but a big one is that people are careless with other people’s email addresses and that’s how an email address can fall into a spammer’s hand.

When that happens, you start getting tons of spam or the emails you send go straight into a spam filter trash bin because someone has spoofed your email address.

There are 2 main ways spammers can get your email address:
1. You show your email address on your website.  Bad idea.  Use a contact form instead.  Yes, you may lose a client or two, but over the life of your website, which is better: possibly lose a potential client or delete hundreds of emails a day just so you can find the legitimate emails?     And even if you don’t show your email address, be sure that your email address isn’t easily accessible by the “view source code” option in every browser.  If it can be see in the source code, then spambots can retrieve it and use it.
2. You get a virus that sends out thousands of spam emails to every email address in your computer. That virus will then send out even more spam that appears to be from each person in your email address book.
But I use Norton (or McAfee or AVG or whatever) and I keep my virus definitions up to date and scan my computer nightly for viruses, so how could I get a virus?

Well, maybe you don’t get the virus but you send an email to me and 10 other people, but instead of sending the email to yourself and putting all our email addresses in the bcc field, you just enter our emails in the to: field.  So, everyone can see everyone else’s email address and if that gets forwarded enough times without any of the forwarders taking the time to delete all those email addresses, sooner or later it’s going to end up in a pc that’s infected with a spammer’s virus.

So (if you’ve made it this far), be polite.  If you want to share something with me and 50 other people, please don’t show my email address to people I don’t know.

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Tips – Deja Vu All Over Again

I cannot believe it’s been 7 or 8 months since I last posted anything.  But, as some of my clients know, personal life sometimes gets in the way of business.

Speaking of which. . . oh my gosh, I continue to be amazed by a number of things including:

1. Why doesn’t everyone have their email set to view as text rather than HTML?  It would save so many people from having their computers infected because they click on a link that looks legit, but really takes them to a malware site.

2.  How many times do I have to tell clients to run nightly backups and, if nothing else, save their entire c: drive to a 16 gig flash drive (or whatever size is necessary) at least once a month and give it to a trusted relative on the off chance your house burns down.

3.  My own sister has been running a malware program instead of a respected antivirus program.  Buy Norton Internet Security or McAfee or AVG and set it up  to do a full scan nightly and to automatically check for updates and install them.  You get what you pay for.

4.  People fail to install all the updates to various software programs from Windows to their shopping carts and WordPress sites.  Updates are important.  They are most often “fixes” that relate to security or bugs.  Not installing them is akin to getting a recall notice on your car for a safety issue that needs fixing immediately and then ignoring it.  Not very bright.

5.  People will click on almost anything without a second thought, whether it’s in an email or search results.   Many of those links will take you to bad sites and I don’t mean bad as in not very meaningful.  I mean “bad” as in malicious.  In IE and Chrome (and probably Firefox and Safari), one can mouse-over a link and look down the bottom left of the browser window and see where the link will actually take you.  The same is true of Outlook.

6.  Don’t embed images or movies, etc. in emails.  Send your friends/relatives/business associates a link to the website or image and/or a description of it.  Give enough information that they know the email is really from you and that some evil person hasn’t phished your email address.

Oh, my, the list goes on. . . but I’ll stop here for now.   Except for one last thing:  listen to advice.  You aren’t a 13 yr. old who thinks they know more than their parents.  Unless you actually spend your day managing other people’s websites and making them rank well, don’t think you know more than the person who has.

In that case, that would be me.  If all my clients really followed my advice and suggestions, they would be much happier.  Of course, I wouldn’t make as much money, but, then, it’s never been about the money for me.  I made money in my old job.  I started this business to help people be successful on the internet.  It’s frustrating (as you can tell, after reading this) to make recommendations, have them ignored and then 2 years later have the same client come back and say, “Hey, why don’t we do this?  So-and-so said it was a good idea.”   I fear I may not present myself as authoritative as I am.

Such is life.

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