Hints and Tips
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Recently this story appeared in the courier mail, focused on the woman how lost a weeks wages to online thieves.
Before I tell you how you should be setting your passwords, I’d draw attention to this quote from the victim;
“It was definitely a shock – the fact that someone was pretending to be me and could log into something that’s supposed to be secure.”
What needs to be clearly understood, is that services like Internet banking and paypal are only as secure at the person who’s using them. You need to use these services properly to avoid this happening to you,
Here are the key tips for staying secure online;
Use a different password for each website or service you sign up for
Make your passwords at least 8 characters long, 12 for banking and finance sites
Include letters, numbers and symbols in your passwords
Make sure your password is totally random gibberish
Where available, get a security token for your account
Ensure you have good quality and updated anti virus software on your computer
Follow these simple tips and your money should stay safe.
I had a great lesson reinforced for me today by one of our suppliers. Central to the theme is how you present the work you propose to your customers, and how easily it can go wrong.
Put simply, you should give your customer a detailed proposal, which explains the work you intend to do for them, and the total cost of that work. I won’t go into detail here, as this isn’t really a business blog, but I’m sure you get the idea.
If you are going to offer your customer options that vary in price, it should be a simple matter to spell each option out, and show the price of each.
Most importantly, the details of what you will provide, how long it will take to complete the work, and what the work will cost, should all be presented to your customer in a SINGLE DOCUMENT.
This is where one of our suppliers fell short this week;
- They listed the price for only one of two options
- The price was not on the same document as the options
- They didn’t clearly explain it would take some days after our order before the work could be done
- They didn’t clearly explain we needed to sign off on the work on their official form.
Most or all of this information WAS provided, but because it was provided in a haphazard way, some in email, some in a document, some by phone, the message was lost in the hustle and bustle of running a business.
The moral of the story; make it easy to do business with you, and you will win more business.
Recently we had a case where a client phoned us in a panic, as all of their important documents had simply vanished. They had stored all their data within Dropbox, so that they could sync the documents between their home and work computers.
Lots of people take advantage of Dropbox for this reason, it’s a great way to keep your stuff on multiple computers. There are dangers though, and you should be aware of them;
The main danger is putting your own dropbox onto a computer you do not have complete control over, such as a computer where you work. If you don’t completely control that computer, with a password only YOU know, then someone else has the opportunity to delete files from your dropbox. If they do, dropbox will dutifully DELETE THEM FROM YOUR OTHER COMPUTERS, and they are gone.
The second issue, is that if you use the same dropbox account on all your computers, the computers you don’t have control of will include a copy of everything. So if you have a work folder, and a personal folder, for example, then your personal stuff will be on your work computer.
If you don’t want your boss to be able to find your application letters for a new job, for example, the solution is to setup more than one dropbox account. Just setup a dummy account for the work computer, and share your work dropbox folder with that account, but not the rest of them. That way, work is work, and they can’t mess with your personal stuff.
Make sure, whatever you do, that you have a real backup solution as well. Dropbox is NOT a backup, and should never be used as such. Because it will mirror deletions across all your machines, it doesn’t provide protection against accidental deletion. A good backup solution DOES do this, and a whole lot more.
Another mistake is to put files such as your MYOB file into your dropbox. This seems like great idea, but the problem is that each time you use MYOB, you are making small changes in the file, that Dropbox will then have to update. If you are a regular user of MYOB, this will generate a lot of traffic, and many people have very low bandwidth caps on their internet plan, and this could put you over.
We’d love to hear your comments about your experiences with Dropbox. Let us know in the comments!
Today I tweeted in frustration the MYOB Team (@myobteam) that I am still, after a number of years of complaining, finding that MYOB cannot produce a proper PDF copy of Invoice and Statement forms. I was fed up, having complained about this any number of times, and never had any resolution from MYOB.
I have had several clients complain of the same thing. We have a lot of small business clients using MYOB, and so are quick to hear when things aren’t right. This problem has plagued both our own business, and many of our clients, over many versions of MYOB.
Today, my prayers were answered. MYOB were quick to get back to me, and for the first time that I have complained of this issue, they actually offered solutions. To ice the cake, their advice actually worked!
Where you find that your logo or other graphics you’ve included on the form do not come out on the PDF, you need to install Apple Quicktime [Download] (yeah, that baffles me too, but there you go). I tested it, and sure enough, our logo started appearing on the PDF versions of our documents.
We have also seen issues where specific fields on forms simply don’t appear on the PDF version, but do on the print version. The MYOB team responded that this is usually caused by the text in the field being slightly too big, so you have to make sure your number fields are both wide enough for the biggest number you might see and also tall enough, which turned out the be the problem in our case.
Now that we know what the problem is, at least we can deliver the fix, so if you can’t get your forms to email correctly from MYOB, give us a call!
Are you considering having a website created from scratch but don’t have any idea on how to make one? Why not install WordPress on your web hosting server, instead? WordPress is an open source blogging platform which can also be converted into a website for free. Multiple business owners and bloggers alike are already using WordPress because of its exceptional flexibility and functionality.
Compared to the traditional web site creation, WordPress has big advantage because of its numerous plugins and themes. With the plugins and themes, your website can be customized according to your needs. All plugins are designed with specific purpose. One of the most popular plugin is called Akismet, which purpose is to protect your site against spammers. Some of these plugins are available free of charge but you can also hire a developer to create unique plugin that is customized according to the functionalities that you need.
There are also numerous themes which you can use to make the website’s appearance more appealing to its visitors. Same with the plugins, themes are also available either for free or for a minimal cost, but you can also ask a web designer to tweak the existing theme according to your specifications. However, there’s more to WordPress than just website customization. Below are some of the advantages of using WordPress as a Content Management System tool.
Ease of Use
WordPress is very easy to setup especially if Fantastico is present in the cPanel of your hosting account. If Fantastico is not available, you can still install WordPress into your web hosting account manually by uploading the core files via FTP.
Updates and upgrades can be easily done by clicking a link. Everytime a new update is available, a message on the administration panel will appear to inform the site’s administrator about its existence.
Anyone who has experience in PHP language can work within the codex to modify certain operations and functions. A developer can visit wordpress.org to view the CMS documentation to help him go through the codex, themes and plugins modifications with minimal effort.
Virtual Assistant Friendly
Updating the website’s content can easily be done through outsourcing. You can give a VA his own username and password to input the necessary file to update content to the site without worrying that he might mess up the entire site.
Learning to build a website using WordPress is a bit challenging and fun at the same time especially for the newbies. And today is the best time to start learning the skill.
We can help!
The hard part of building a website is, well, building it! Once you have a great wordpress website design implemented, all you need to worry about it adding the content, and thats super easy! Give us a call and find out how we can do all the hard work for you, and get your business humming with a new wordpress website today!
We are getting a lot of calls this morning about malware infections on peoples computers; So far they are all different infections, but it’s rather strange to get such a spate of them all at once, leading us to believe a new exploit has been found and is being actively exploited ahead of Microsoft fixing it.
All the clients we have seen infected this morning have been using Internet Explorer, so we strongly recommend everyone go to getfirefox.com and switch to Firefox, so as to help avoid these kinds of expensive problems.
Getting backlinks to your site is one of the most powerful ways to build your online presence and improve sales. The problem most people face is just not knowing where to start to get more of this online marketing gold. Here’s one great idea;
Writing an article for another website is a great way to get an instant high quality backlink to your website. There are plenty of sites that publish stories regularly, and plenty more blogs run by individuals who would be happy for some extra fresh and original content they can use on their site.
Look for sites that do not compete with yours, but where your product or service overlaps with the topic of the site; For example, a lot of products and services would not compete with a builder, but would be of interest to the builders client base, and have some relevance for people building a new home.
Once you’ve found a prospective site, decide on what sort of article you could write for them. Make sure you are an authority on the subject, because they aren’t going to want a poorly written article for their site. You don’t even need to write it yet, but you could write a few of these, and then offer them to sites. I tend to look for the site opportunity first, though.
Then, contact the site owner and make the offer. Be to the point, don’t try to make out you are offering free content because you are a great person, tell them you thought you could offer content their visitors would appreciate, and you are looking to gain a link back to your site from theirs. At this point, consider if they could offer YOU some content too; There are many products and services that overlap in both directions, and doing an article swap is even better!
Once you have agreement, try and incorporate one or two links in the article itself, using anchor text that describes your product or service. This is the best kind of backlink you can get, one that tells Google not only that your site is worth a visit, but exactly what your site is about.
One important point; You are going to need to write a fresh article for every site that takes you up on your offer. Giving multiple sites the same copy will result in those sites being penalised by Google, and most likely, they’ll take your content down.
Let us know how you go in the comments!
I just read an interesting post by John Jonas about how he lost all his google stuff recently. He describes how one evening he found that his entire Google account had disspeared; When you tried the usual password recovery, Google told him there was no account matching his email address! As John uses Google for just about everything, he was pretty worried, seeing as every email, every document, his whole business, had just dissapeared!
John goes on to describe a whole bunch of steps that Google users should take to safeguard against such a time, but really, is there a case for risking your business like this? Google have, as John puts it, a ZERO policy, meaning you get zero communication from them. They can delete your account on a whim, and there is nothing you can do about it.
Personally, I would never trust any part of my business to a company for which there is zero support. A business needs someone on the other end of the phone, so when things inevitably go wrong, they can be fixed quickly and without fuss. Even better, when i can actually meet a representative of the business in person, then I know what kind of attitude they have, and can make a judgment on using their services or not.
My advice; Don’t use Google for your email and documents. There are many better solutions that don’t see all your important data locked up in a black box you can’t always get access to.
Bringing traffic to a website is the most important goal of every internet marketer. In order to realise this goal, it is essential that the website should be placed on the first page of each search results in every major search engine such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to fully maximise the site’s earning potential. Setting your site on the first page of search engine results can be made possible through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques. SEO consists of different strategies that, if followed consistently, will bring the site to the top of search engine results. If you have a WordPress website that is not showing good performance in search engine results, then perhaps the following techniques below can help you.
1. Create A Great Content. Nobody wants to visit a site with nonsense articles. Well-crafted contents will surely increase your site’s visitors and will keep them coming back for more. Because of your good content and good volume of visitors, asking for a link from a successful webmaster to his site would not be difficult.
2. Create Backlinks For Your Site. Visit forums and other blogs which are related to your niche and post helpful opinions or ideas and don’t forget to include a link to your site in your profile or signature. You can also ask other webmasters if they allow guest posting on their website. Guest posting is also a way of getting backlinks for your site.
3. Be Mindful of Your Keyword Density. Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase appears, in proportion with other words used in an article. Keywords should be used for a few times within the article; otherwise, search engines will likely give you a red flag for keyword stuffing.
4. Place the Keywords In the Title. Use the keywords in the article title if possible; but don’t force it. It would be confusing to your readers to have a title with incorrect grammar structure. Properly place the keywords throughout the article. Well-placed keywords will surely drive traffic to your website.
5. Enable Pretty Permalinks. The WordPress default permalink format is short, ugly and it’s meaningless to anybody and even to search engine.
(Default permalink format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/?p=507 )
“Pretty permalinks” are more user-friendly and search engine friendly because they provide more information about the page to the search engine.
(Pretty permalink format: http://www.yourwebsite.com/title_of_your_article)
Your internet marketing success depends on how persistent you perform your search engine optimization tasks. These tasks may be small but doing them correctly will help your business to stay on top of the competition.
Whether you’ve been in business for a while, are just starting out, or planning on moving your business, you should take a good look at your internet service provider (ISP), and see if you are getting the most from your provider. Most businesses choose an ISP based on one of two things; Either they go with Bigpond because it seems easier, or they shop on price. More considering needs to be given to both the choice of ISP, and the choice of plan;
Support IS important
There will come a day when you need to call your ISP for help figuring out why your connection has stopped working. You need to consider how good the call centre is for a given ISP. Believe it or not, it’s possible to get your internet connection from a company with a local australian call centre staffed with trained engineers. We can tell you from a load of experience that his makes a big difference to how fast problems get resolved.
You should also think about the quality of the ISP’s network. Some ISP’s have very basic networks, and many many customers, and that means each of their customers gets a substandard connection. What they don’t tell you, is that the data YOU want to get at has to come down the same wires that every other customer of that ISP uses, so if they don’t have very many connections to the rest of the internet, and if their connections are small, it doesn’t matter what speed your local connection is, you will be shackled by the poor quality network further up the chain.
Email is critical
Nobody does, but you should read the acceptable use policy of your chosen ISP. There are often serious gotcha’s in these conditions, than can impact your business. A good example is Optus, who have this as part of their acceptable use policy;
7. (a) You must not use the service to spam, send bulk and/or unsolicited messages. This includes, but is not limited to commercial advertising, informational announcements, charity requests, petitions for signatures, chain letters and political or religious messages. You must only send such a message to those individuals who have explicitly requested it.
Clauses like these are a red flag, because once they publish it, they have to find some way to enforce it. In the case of Optus, they simply monitor your email volume, and if you send too many emails, they cut off email service, and more recently, cut off the internet connection completely.
As business owners will always need to communicate with their clients, ISP’s who are not email friendly like Optus must be avoided.
Uploads should be free
Many ISP’s now charge for both data you recieve, and data you SEND. This never used to be the case, but many ISP’s see this as an easy way to improve their bottom line. You should make sure your ISP, and the plan you choose, does NOT penalise you for the data you send.
The price should be fixed
The other trick some ISP’s use is to give you a cheap monthly rate, and charge you a very high rate for usage. Make sure your chosen plan is a flat rate plan, with no extra charges for data. These plans might seem more expensive, but are not, because the rate for excess usage is extremely high and will be many times more than the monthly fee.
Contracts should be avoided
Most ISP’s will lock you into a 2 year contract, but if you can find one you are happy with that give you the option of month to month, you should take it. Being locked into a contract for any communications product means you will likely be stuck paying too much later on, and you lose a lot of flexibility.
The hardware matters
As part of the 2 year contract, most ISP’s will give you the router you need to get online. You should consider getting your router from your IT Support provider, because you will almost always get a better unit with more features, and you will also benefit from the support of your IT provider, which is almost always going to be better than the ISP, even great ISP’s like Internode.