Use Caution When Checking Your Email

Face it.  Sooner or later your email address is going to end up on someone’s list whether you want it to or not.  When it does, a variety of approaches are going to be used in setting up the subject line in an attempt to get you to open the email that you are sent.

Now we all expect to see email from those who have a list that we have already signed up for.  That’s fine, I have no issue with that.   Also, mail will show up from those people whose list you have not signed up for.  This is also fine.  But lately, I have been seeing a trend that has caught my attention.  What makes it disturbing is that the mail is set up to make it look like it is from someone that I already know.  An email will arrive where it says something like “Your friend (name) has ………. ” or the subject line is typed to make it look like a reply to an email that you have already sent.  Another interesting item I have seen is where you may get sent an automatic download or that there have been repeated attempts to get a hold of you so that your payment can be processed.  Speaking for myself, the only places where I expect to get payments from are Clickbank and Paypal.  Even then, you need to take a real close look at those two also to determine if the email appears legitimate. Some people are starting to use the terms “Paypal” and “Clickbank” in the name portions of their email addresses.  I can’t really think of any other reason why I should be getting a payment unless it’s from someone who has already purchased one of my products.

Fortunately, there are ways available to help you protect yourself with regard to suspicious emails.  If you are not sure where the email is from, you can always go ahead and delete it.  On some email programs, you can place your cursor on the subject line, right click and select properties.  This will reveal the email address of the originator.   Another thing you can do is send the email to your spam or junk email folder.  At one time when I thought my emails were being tampered with, I asked my hosting service at the time to run a diagnostic on the email account.  This revealed that my account had been spoofed and the problem was immediately fixed.

Granted, the suspect emails you receive may indeed by harmless but I recommend that when you see them you go with your gut instinct.  With the various means for people to create cyber-mischief, you should always take the safe-approach.  If a red flag goes up inside your head, chances are it’s for a reason.

Here’s to You!

 

 

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The Importance of Keeping Your Online Files Organized.

Earlier this year, I made the decision that I would switch hosting services.  After crunching some numbers and seeing what the options were, I decided that the new hosting service would be providing greater value overall and for no additional cost.  One feature that especially stuck out for me was that I would be able to get unlimited databases whereas my previous host provider would only allow me to have 25 SQL databases.  Since I had plans to set up additional sites using WordPress, making the switch to the new host provider was clearly a no-brainer.

It became quickly apparent that this would not be a quick endeavor.  Downloading files off of the server to my computer for subsequent transfer to the new server would be required.  To add to the fun, I would have to make backups of the database files as well as the blog files themselves for each blog.  I would need a copy of the database that was originally on the blog as well as a copy that would be edited in order to upload to the new server.  Being as how the former host provider did not provide cPanel with my hosting package, I need to learn how to edit the database files to the new server format.

In addition to the database and blog files, each blog had its own wp-config.php file that needed to be edited so that the blog would “connect” with the new database.  Again, I made backups of the “before edit” and “after edit” files.  So for each type of file, I made a separate folder for each separate blog and spent a great deal of time making sure it was all organized in a fashion that would make it easy to retrieve these files in the future.  As far as time goes,  lots of time was taken up by the downloading of the blogs to the computer using FileZilla.  Before I started downloading the blogs, I had no idea how many files can accumulate on blogs.  It’s a lot!

But the main things is, not only do you need to have backups of the necessary files to allow for blog restoration, you need to keep them very well-organized.  It reminds me of a former tech-school instructor who would say “Information belongs in files and files belong in folders.”  This is oh so true and depending upon how many websites you are running, this has the potential of building up into a collection of many, many folders.  So in the event that one of your blogs crashes or for whatever reason becomes inaccessible, having the proper backup files for your websites will save you much headache, anguish and despair.

As far as how I could describe the experience, right now I can only compare it in a strange way to a divorce.  Domain name servers get switched, files get downloaded and then subsequently deleted from the server of the previous host provider and a good deal of email messages on my account mysteriously disappeared.  Also, you get to tell the hosting company that you are not renewing your hosting plan with them.  But all in all, it was a good experience.  There is nothing quite like actual hands-on experience to indent the process of how to perform a certain task in your mind.  Not only that, you can now share your hard-earned expertise with others who are considering a similar intention.  I would not recommend making a frequent habit of transferring your blogs from one hosting company to another.  As mentioned earlier, there is a fair amount of time involved in migrating the files from one server to another and until the other blog shows up “live” with the new host, you are not quite 100% sure what the end result will be.   But if I decide to live dangerously and do this again sometime, I am confident that things will go smoother.

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Thinking Outside of The Box!”

 

Changing Webhosts for Your Blogs

Being as how I always like trying new things, especially online, I decided to see what was involved in switching the hosting services of one of my blogs.  I quickly learned that there would be many separate steps involved and that this would not be some “presto-chango” procedure.

What spawned my interest in this?  Well I am sure that we all share the same philosophy of wanting to get the best deal.  Another hosting company was offering some extra-features that I knew I would need and it would not cost anything extra.  So, I thought I would give the process of migrating some blogs from one hosting company to another a try.

The first thing I had to do was to change the domain-name servers which in itself is no big deal.  Also, I made a backup of the blog database which would be needed at a later time. The fun stuff was to follow.  Next on the list was logging onto the server via an FTP transfer program (Viva Filezilla!) to move the blog files and folders onto my computer.  After you have worked on a blog for awhile, you will be amazed at how many files build up! Once you have learned the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) settings for the destination web-host, you then upload your blog to the destination root directory on the server for the new hosting service (in my case, HostGator).

In order for the new blog to “come-alive” once the file migration from host A –> computer–> host B had been completed, the wp-config.php file in the blog would have to be edited to the settings of the new host.  By this I mean the new database name, database user, password and host name would have to be incorporated.  The database for the old host would either have to be deleted or modified so that if someone tried to access the site, it would not register for the original host.  In effect, you would be “turning-off” your site so you could prepare to turn it “back on” with the new hosting service.  So, this is where the real drama begins.

Prior to importing the database into your website once the blog files have been loaded on the new server, make sure you thoroughly understand the instructions involved in this procedure.  Each web-host service may have it’s own peculiarities to make sure that the database is compatible with their service.  If you don’t understand the instructions, contact technical support (HostGator is great with blog support, I did not find the same with GoDaddy) prior to proceeding.   Once the files have been uploaded and the database is imported, everything should be okay.  Ensure that you load the files into the correct directory on the new server so that when the blog URL is typed, the prospective visitor will not get a “this page is not found” message (or something like that).  But with available file manager utilities, moving files and folders as needed is quite easy.

Now being as how this can be a time consuming affair (I have already consumed much!), you may want to consider paying someone to do this for you.  I currently have no idea what potential costs would be for the website transfers but you may be the type that does not want to mess around with this sort of thing and would prefer forking over the green-stuff.

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Thinking Outside of The Box!”

When You Need To Consider Outsourcing

Time is money.  Face it, if you are not using your time wisely it could very easily result in you losing money.

Let me share a recent experience of mine that illustrates the concept.  Last week one of my computers began to malfunction and then finally it just stopped working altogether.  Since this particular computer was faster than the one I am using while I write this post, I was very much interested in getting it promptly repaired.  The person whom I normally go to for matters such as this said she would not be available for a few days so I decided I would try to make the repairs myself.  Based upon a previous experience with fixing the computer I immediately assumed the power supply needed to be replaced.  After taking the time to get a new one as well as installing it, several hours had elapsed.

I then determined that the power supply was not the problem so then I had to remove it from the PC so I could return it for a refund (hence more time spent).  Later on I made several trips to the local electronics store to get some replacement components (the time is adding up!) and still no luck.  After swapping out several different components I decided to throw in the towel and drop the PC off at my “go-to” person’s house once she was back in town and wait to see what she had to say (she has MUCH more experience in this than I do).

The main point of this is that instead of spending the numerous hours on attempted computer repairs, I could have been using the time to focus on business matters.  Renowned Internet entrepreneur Jonathan Budd uses the term “profit potential” to help people prioritize the actions that they take.  If the intended action does not yield much chance of resulting in profit for you, perhaps something else should be considered.  It also boils down to leverage.  I am blessed with being able to have a gardener tend to yard work needs at my home as well as having a pool man come by once a week to check on things.  Because of their time being leveraged for my advantage, this results in freeing up more time to allow me to do other things such as focus on business.  I also take advantage of the services that ghost writers provide and this in turn yields more time for me.  Whenever possible, instead of doing certain things I try to have someone else do them.  The intended outcome would be having the ability to focus more on business matters with the hope of seeing greater profits ensue.

So whenever possible, see if you can outsource various tasks to others.  This in turn would allow you more time to focus on things that you want to get done yourself.  Take gardening for example.  Chances are that by devoting more time to tend to the garden, you will see a more abundant crop whether it be fruits, vegetables or even flowers.  You can think of your business the same way.  If you put more time and effort into it, there is a good chance that you will see greater profits come forth.

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Making It Happen!”

 

 

 

How to Simplify Navigation in Your Blog

As your blog continues to grown over the course of time, it may become more difficult for your readers to find blog posts that contain information that is of interest to them.  That’s why it is necessary to help your readers get the information they seek in the easiest manner possible.   At some point you can think of your blog as an “info-city” that has places your readers will want to find.

In order to make getting around your “info-city” more reader friendly, you want to provide them with a sitemap that will list the places that are available for them to go to.  By this,  I mean that if you provide them with a sitemap on one of your blog pages, they will have a well organized and easy to understand list of all the blog posts that are listed in each of the subcategories in your blog.  The sitemap that I am referring to is not to be confused with a Google XML sitemap.   Adding a sitemap page also gives your blog a more professional look and feel that will certainly be appreciated by your visitors.

The method that I have been using to install a sitemap is by installing the Sitemap Generator Wordpress Plugin from DagonDesign.   To learn more about how to access and install this plugin, go to www.dagondesign.com for instructions.   Once the plugin is installed and you have placed the necessary code on your sitemap page, you will have a well organized list of your blog posts that are divided by the categories you have developed for your blog.  If you feel that having this plugin is useful, by all means please consider a donation to the developers of this plugin as a sign of appreciation for their hard work.

I certainly have been pleased with the extra functionality that this plugin has added to my blogs and I am certain that you will be too!

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Making It Happen!”

 

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Teach Yourself PHP

One of the many aspects involved with setting up a website or amending a website is dealing with files that have the .php extension.  The term “php” stands for  PHP: hypertext preprocessor.  I have found that more and more files that I deal with are php files and that HTML (hypertext markup language) files are not the dominant type of file format as they one were.  PHP and HTML are both programming languages that use there own programming formats.  Over the course of time and depending upon your website development desires, it may become necessary to familiarize yourself with how to develop and write files in one or both languages.  For the purpose of this post, I will be dealing with how to teach yourself PHP.

The PHP logo displaying the Handel Gothic font.

Image via Wikipedia

Now what is the purpose of PHP?  PHP is a scripting language that assists in the development of websites and it can be incorporated into HTML.  Outside of that, I will have to admit that I don’t know much about it.  Click on the following link to get a more in-depth explanation from Wikipedia that describes PHP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PHP

What got me to write this post was that I was recently involved with some editing to some .php files on one of my WordPress blogs.  I ended up basically having to compare an initial php file with an identical file that I wanted to edit (I wanted to omit the author name and dates from the blog posts) and basically change various sections of the file on a hit and miss basis.  Now granted there were plenty of “tips” available on how to do this but I found that various WordPress themes had different formats for the variables that I was interested in changing.

So this whole experiment that consisted of “try-this” then “try-that” got me to think more about learning about the PHP language.  I consider myself a bit dangerous with HTML so I thought “why not teach yourself php” as well?  Now with my current schedule, I don’t have any time to take night classes and I am not in the mindset right now to buy a software program that is loaded with tutorials on how to learn php.

So lo and behold I perused through the pages on a membership site that I belong to and came across an ebook titled “PHP for Beginners.”  I thought “great!,” I can start learning more about PHP and I decided that I would offer it to my readers as well.  Not only that, I am going to offer it Gratis and it will come with sales pages and Master Resell Rights.  That way I will not only provide you with a gift, you can turn around and promote this yourself if you are so inclined.

So in closing, if you are in the newbie stage when it comes to php, I highly encourage you to download this eBook and check it out.  Add your knowledge of this scripting language to your entrepeurial repertoire.  Take advantage of this opportunity to teach yourself php and embrace what it has to offer.  Who knows, what you learn may be just what it takes for you to surpass any online competition.  To download your copy of PHP for Beginners, click on the following link:  Teach Yourself PHP.  Note: This is a large file and may take a while to load based upon your Internet connection.  After you have had a chance to go through this eBook, please come back and leave a comment.  I would very much appreciate knowing how this works out for you.

As always………..

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Making It Happen!”


 

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Traffic Generation for Your Website

When we are just starting out, coming up with ways to get some traffic (meaning visitors) to your site can be seen as a challenge.  If you don’t generate traffic to your website, no one will be seeing what it is that you have to offer and as a result, no sales will be made for your business.

So how then, does one go about the process of drawing visitors to his or her website?  With the tremendous amount of competitors that one may be potentially facing, it is essential to learn some basics on how to go about this process.  Now there are many products out there that claim to help you draw traffic to your site like a big vacuum cleaner but you need to be careful.  Many of these that I have tried myself have turned out to be nothing more than glorified social bookmarking programs that submit your website URL’s to various directories who quality is questionable at best.  One program I tried out only submitted URL’s to a whopping four (yes, 4) directories and there was no means available to increase this number.

Now a quick and easy way to get your site indexed so that search engines will start picking up your site is to submit a “ping” to pingler.com.  This will send your URL to a wide variety (usuall 82-83 with this site).  Once search engine spiders start to crawl your site, a ranking for your site will be established and traffic would start coming to your page (no amount guaranteed here).

Another method you should consider for traffic generation is by submitting articles having content relevant to your website to article directories.  This would allow you to also include a link to your site so that when people are finished reading your article, they can click the link on your website to find out more information.  To see one of the articles that I have written that contains a link to one of my websites, click here.  My two favorite article directories are ezinearticles.com and goarticles.com.

Another method you can look into is by signing up to join forums.  Forums are groups of people sharing an interest in a common topic.  Depending on the conditions for use set by the forum’s organizer, you may be able to post links to your site so that those who read your post can find out more information.

With all the methods available for generating traffic to your website, it is impractical to list them in one post.  But one thing everyone needs to be familiar with in order to have a hope for being effective in traffic generating efforts is keyword research.  Keywords are words that people who are searching for information on a topic of interest type into search engines in order to yield a list of websites containing the desired information.  You always want to use keywords that are relevant to the topic of concern on your website.  For example, if you have a website that talks about yoga techniques,  you don’t want to use a irrelevant keyword such as cleaning products for your website.  You want to use keywords that have high search volumes and low competition levels.  To get a good explanation at what this means, I recommend you view the excellent tutorial videos dealing with keyword research that are provided by Market Samurai.  A free trial version of Market Samurai is available for download.  If you wish to use the advanced features of this program after the trial period, you need to go ahead and purchase the product.  Another good paid keyword research tool is Keyword Elite.  This advanced keyword research tool has many similar features to Market Samurai but in a different layout.  I myself use both Market Samurai and Keyword Elite but if you decide that free is best, by all means check out the Google Keyword tool which is also an excellent program.

Give yourself the time to research and review the various methods of traffic generation and keyword research.  If you have not done so already, be sure to look into social bookmarking as well.  The OnlyWire plugin for WordPress blogs helps with this and it is a personal favorite of mine!!   Over the course of time you will be able to determine which methods work best for you.  As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect” and in this case there is always room for improvement.

Here are a couple of extra links that you might also like to check out:

TrafficSwarm.com

AdlandPro.com

Best Wishes and here’s to you “Making It Happen!”


 

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Security for Your WordPress Blog

One of the top concerns for all aspects of computer usage involving the Internet is that of security.  It seems that new threats pop up quicker than the stuff that grows in a petri dish.  In addition to having adequate firewall protection installed on your computer, you should also consider installing it on your blog as well.

An easy way for you to do this if you have not done so already is to install the WordPress Firewall 2 plugin that is available free of charge.  Just go to the plugins page on your blog and select the “add new” option.  From there, type in the word Firewall in the search bar and from there the plugin will appear on the next page.  Select the appropriate links for plugin installation and activation.

Last week I started getting alert messages saying that saying that WordPress had detected and blocked a potential attack.  Further review of the message showed that it may have been what is called a directory traversal attack.  To learn more about this type of attack, please refer to the below link:

Wikipedia article on directory traversal

To get more great info on how to incorporate security into your WordPress blog (it will help your business as well!), take a look at the article below written by the awesome John Chow!  Enjoy and be careful out there in the blogosphere.

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