Website Launch – Path To Pono

Website Launch – Path To Pono

Path to Pono is a business coaching and mentoring business located in Bismarck, ND, and specializing in Family Recovery Coaching, Recruitment, Leadership Development and much more.

The website was built on the WordPress format and has an SSL to increase the Google search score and encrypt contact forms and browsing content.

If you have questions on how you can put your and your business on the Path To Pono, contact Sandy Thompson at 701-400-7190, or use their Contact Form on the website.

Check out some other BeBizzy websites, including a recently launched Leingang Homes website by visiting our Web Portfolio, then contact us to see how BeBizzy Consulting can get your found on the internet!

BBP : EP0030 – Niche Websites

BBP : EP0030 – Niche Websites

Host : Marv Dorner, BeBizzy Consulting

Today on the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk about why you would want to have a landing page or niche website for your product or services instead of just putting them as an additional page on your current website.

Some of the things to consider are :

  • Really sit down and brainstorm if your product is a niche, or a broader product.
  • What keywords should you be targeting with your website and marketing
  • Find an appropriate domain name, and this doesn’t always have to be your main corporate name, it can be specialized or customized to make it more noticeable.
  • Same goes with your logo, if you can customize your current logo to handle this specialized part of your business, do so. Or create a new one. Or just use your main logo.
  • Develop your strategies for marketing using both traditional and digital marketing. Does the imagery and content match the domain name? Is it attracting the proper demographic? Is it targeted?
  • Think about if this is a long term or short run.

If you have more questions about niche websites, landing pages, or a full website, I would be happy to sit down and discuss with you! Contact BeBizzy Consulting at 701.214.6271, on Twitter @BeBizzy, or our website, BeBizzy.com.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : EP0029 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

BBP : EP0029 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

Are you a member of a local chamber of commerce or other business organization? What are some of the benefits, and challenges, you face by being a member, or NOT being a member?

Episode 29 – Why Should You Join Your Local Chamber?

Today we talk about those challenges and opportunities with Chelse Simon, Amanda Schwieters, and David Leingang of the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce. They touched on some of the networking, leadership, volunteering and other opportunities that Chamber members and non-members can take advantage of within the Chamber.

We also talked about why or why not your chamber could be active within the political arena and how chamber members can either get educated or share their experince with other business professionals.

Take advantage of your local chamber by contacting their leadership either through the web, on the phone or just go there in person, and see how joining can benefit your small or solo business.

We did talk about some tech issues before the interview, mostly concerning Verizon’ Unlimted plan. While it’s not a good fit for me, I would encourage you to call their sales professionals and review your current account settings and whether or not the unlimited plan, or one of their other plans is a good account for you.

We also talked about Google Home and Amazon Echo possibly making phone calls by the end of the year, finally overcoming some regulatory and technical issues. I’m excited for this and will be keeping a close eye on this one.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : EP0028 – Using Live Video For Your Business

BBP : EP0028 – Using Live Video For Your Business

Want to see what the BeBizzy Bunker looks like? Check it out at https://www.facebook.com/bebizzyconsulting/ !

So why would you want to be using live video to promote your business?

Using Live Video For Your Business

There are many ways to use live video to keep your business in front of your current and potential clients.

  • Live Events
    • Bar showing performers live
    • Conference or seminar walking around showing displays and vendors
    • Sales tour
    • Restaurant
  • Behind the Scenes
    • TV news team
    • Radiio studio
    • Back room getting product ready for sale
    • This podcast!
  • Interviews
  • Training
  • Q/A Sessions

Keep in mind there may be interruptions, you can’t use copywritten material, and everything else that can happen live.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : EP 0027 – Is It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

BBP : EP 0027 – Is It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

New year, new tools!

Since I host my own email and use Office significantly less than I used to, it’s time to finally get rid of paying $10/month for Microsoft Office and find a more cost-effective solution. So the question to you is :

WPS OfficeIs It Time To Dump Microsoft Office?

Short answer? Yes!

I’ve decided it’s time to dump paying monthly for Microsoft Office and pay a one-time fee for WPS Office of $79. This provides a great office solution completely compatible with MS Office files for up to three years for 25% of the price!

So, if you don’t use Office very often and are looking for a great way to still conduct business with people who do use it, WPS Office has a great FREE version, or a paid version (pay monthly, quarterly, or annually).

I’ve been using it for a few months and recommend making the switch today.

By the way, if you’re using Microsoft Outlook for your Gmail or G Suite emails, Mailbird is a great product I’ve been using for that as well.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

BBP : EP 26 – Make WordPress Go Faster

BBP : EP 26 – Make WordPress Go Faster

There are two complaints when a client is discussing the option of moving to WordPress.

  1. WordPress isn’t secure. Something I discussed in a previous blog post – Is WordPress Safe?
  2. How can I make my slow WordPress site faster? And besides being a recent blog post, we discuss that on this week’s BeBizzy Break Podcast.

Make WordPress Faster

Of all the things that will make customers leave your site before they consume any of your information, images, videos or any other sort of content, a slow loading site is #1 on the list.

Many things cause slow sites, and on today’s episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we will talk a bit about them.

  1. Making your server run better and serve up the pages quicker.
  2. Installing and turning on page caching to make sure returning visitors see pages faster
  3. Compressing and resizing images to decrease the file size being sent to the brower.
  4. Turning off and removing unused plugins and themes on the page to reduce the number of calls and possible security holes.
  5. “Minifying” CSS, javascript and HTML to decrease the number of files that have to be loaded to make the hidden portion of the website work. This is the most technical fix of the five, so make sure you are backing up the files AND database prior to messing around with this process.

Speeding up WordPress is something that can be achieved if done correctly, so either get dirty and clean up your website, or contact BeBizzy Consulting today and we will take a look and see how we can decrease your page load times.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

One of the major perceived issues of WordPress sites is speed. Many WordPress sites are hosted on bargain hosting services not configured with speed (or in some cases reliability) in mind, are loaded with unnecessary plugins, and the free themes can sometimes cause a long load time.

But with a few steps your WordPress load many times faster than it currently does. So below are some ways to:

Speed Up WordPress With These Five Easy Steps

Hosting

Let’s start with the hosting. If you look at how a page loads you will most likely see the main response time is due to the host. Discount hosts are usually in a totally shared environment so there’s some extra equipment and scripts to run through to identify your site’s location and then direct the visitor there. Using dedicated hosting or even a VPS (Virtual Private Server) can really help this step. Some hosts will allow the addition of extra processing power, more memory and different hard drive space and types to boost your site’s response time.

Caching

Do you have content that remains fairly static on your website’s main pages? By implementing some caching plugins or scripts you can set the expiration time for images, content, and even some programming so as long as it still resides in the browser history of a user it can pull from the computer’s memory instead of downloading it again from your server. Of course they still have to pull from your server for the first visit, so implementing the other steps in this list will help as well. And if you’re on a server that limits or charges you more for bandwidth, caching can reduce cost by not repeatedly serving the same content, scripts and images over and over.

Images

Have you changed the size of your images for the web? How many times have you seen an image slowly loading into place on a page? Image resizing and compression is a great way to speed up your page and allow you to put more imagery on the site. Besides changing the physical and file sizes images on your site with Photoshop or other tools, there are many plugins and online resources that can reduce the size of your images.

Plugins

How many inactive plugins are on your site? How many plugins are running that SHOULD be inactive on your site due to WordPress and your theme revisions? Getting rid of unused plugins is a great way to speed up, and secure, your WordPress sites so review your installed list and take out the ones you haven’t, or no longer need.

Minify

This process is probably the most technical of the five, but it really speed up your site if done right. The minify process can reduce the number and size of your CSS files, javascript resources and even your theme’s HTML files to speed up how quickly they load and run. Some possible issues you can encounter are a total site crash, removal of some functionality or possibly some font changes and other small site variations, so make sure you do a complete site review as you go through the code minification process. Most plugins that do this offer a way to back out if the process causes an issue, but not all, so MAKE SURE YOU ARE BACKING UP THE SITE.

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WordPress can be a very secure, quick website CMS (content management system) that allows users to be on the web in a much shorter time that custom programming. It’s easily customizable system allows users to make thousands of changes to the programming and functionality of the website, including site speed. If you run your own site, check out some above the suggestions on the list above.

But if you want to either build a new site, or have your current site revised and sped up, give BeBizzy Consulting a call,

And leave the technical stuff to us.

BBP : EP 25 – Sara Hawkins’ Top 10 Things to Do For 2017

BBP : EP 25 – Sara Hawkins’ Top 10 Things to Do For 2017

Welcome to episode 25 of the BeBizzy Break!

Today we’re going to bring back Sara Hawkins to talk about some basic business, website and tech planning for 2017.

As always, please consult your lawyers, accounts and other professionals before acting on some of these topics. We discuss them in general and your situation may be vastly different that what was implied.

Top 10 Things To Do In 2017

1. Consider incorporating if you have not already

2. Get an EIN if you are a sole proprietor

3. Consider what big expenses you may need, plan for them

4. Create an expense tracking system

5. Create, Review, or Update Website Policies

6. Create or Update contracts you use

7. Do a year-end analysis of what you did well and what could have been better

8. Plan out when your legal filings are due and put them on your calendar for the year

9. Review the images on your website; get a subscription to stock photo site or use quality free sites like unsplash, new old stock, death to the stock photo, good free photos (owner of site shares pix), stocksnap.io, gratisography (Ryan McGuire of Bells Design), Life of Pix (LEEROY creative agency)

10. Create Guest Blogger guidelines or agreements

The interview ran about an hour, but there was just too much great stuff we didn’t want to stop!

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Is WordPress Safe?

Is WordPress Safe?

It’s a widely sites fact that WordPress powers 25% of the internet’s webpages. Think about that, 25%! And nearly 60% of the sites that use a CMS (content management system).

That is the main reason it is also a target. Like the popular Microsoft Windows or Android OS, WordPress powers so many sites that if you can find a way to compromise even a small percentage of websites using the system, you can gain access to literally millions of sites.

Because of this, one of the first questions I get when I suggest using WordPress is about security. But as I stated before, criminals and people looking to do general mischief as looking for the low-hanging fruit, the easy to hit sites. So with some basic precautions, your website can be even more secure than custom HTML sites.

Making WordPress Safe

There are a few basic steps that  web developer or your company IT guy can take to secure your new or existing WordPress site. Below is a list of plugins, best practices and other items used by BeBizzy Consulting and many others to make your site as secure as possible.

Backups

Let’s start off with the most important part of the security system. If you don’t have a good backup of the site, it doesn’t matter how you set the rest up. Something WILL cause your website to fail; the webhost could suffer an attack or hardware failure, you could alter some code and break the site, or a security breach could happen directly to your site. With no backup, there’s no easy way to return to “normal,” so at minimal do a complete backup of the site files, and don’t forget to back up the database. There are automated methods as well for this process which are highly recommended.

WordPress Updates

The easiest way to gain access to a WordPress is through an out-of-date WordPress system. I’ve recovered sites running on 2.x (current is 4.7), and that’s a scary endeavor. WordPress puts out major releases a couple of times per year, and security patches about once a month or so to stay ahead of the pinholes that are found in WordPress. The best part is there are thousands of people who are looking at WordPress, for good and for bad, that identify issues and get them repaired. Keep you site updated and make sure PHP version can handle the update. If not, time to move!

I also suggest turning on automatic core updates. You should be able to toggle a switch that will update WordPress automatically for “X.x.x” updates, keeping your site secure without you even trying. Just make sure you test the site when notified of an update to make sure everything is running as it should.

Plugin Updates

The next best way to gain access to WordPress is through outdated, or poorly programmed plugins. Last summer I worked on recovering a WP site that had a plugin that had not been touched by the developer in over five years. When I updated the site to a new WP version, the plugin crashed and I had to find an alternative, more updated plugin that worked close to the same. But it’s not just keep the plugins updated, it’s keeping an eye open for poorly secured plugins as well. Do some research on a plugin before installing. Has anyone ever suffered a breach or WordPress crash after installing? What is the support like? How often do they update?

One thing that is often overlooked is deleting themes that are not being used, or are even active on the site. This is extra code that has been abandoned for one reason or another, and leaving it on your website can open a hole you don’t even know is there.

A final note on plugins, themes and other items is to NOT use pirated versions of software. Most plugins are fairly inexpensive and the alternative to paying $10 for a plugin is often spending hours, or even paying hundreds of dollars to have malicious code removed from a site. Pay the $10.

Themes

Next on the list of vulnerabilities is your theme. Every WordPress site is working on a theme, whether it’s the 2016 theme that came installed or one you paid for or got for free. Again, do a little research to make sure the theme you are planning to use isn’t a know security issue, does not get updated or supported, or is poorly written before you install it on your site. Then, update it as soon as you get a notification it has been revised.

More Security Steps

Below are a few other steps that are taken by BeBizzy Consulting, and should be considered by your team, host, or developer to make your site as secure as possible.

Change Username

Like on a computer or virtually every other system, do not use “Admin” as your administrator username. Pick something a bit more robust and always use a secure password. Changing the password often also makes it more difficult to keep access once it is achieved.

Move The WP-Login.php Page

There are several plugins that allow you to choose a different admin login page for your site. Install one of them and rename your login to something less known can eliminate some from even trying to access your admin simply because it doesn’t exist at the usual spot.

Install a Security Plugin

Many sites have Sucuri or Wordfence installed to protect the admin and other parts of the site. Even the free versions will notify you when the admin is accessed, limit login attempts at wp-login.php and the premium versions can lock down the admin to specific locations or IP address, security scans for malicious code, and much more.

Keep Your Site Safe

There are definitely more ways to secure your WordPress site. Editing the .htaccess file, hiding WordPress from source viewers, hiding site author names, picking a good (reputable) host, automating security audits, removing plugin and theme editors and others will help keep your site safe, but do require some knowledge and planning by someone that knows their way around WordPress.

Adding an SSL to your site and hosting is also a good idea not only for encrypting data being shared back and forth with users, but also to the search engines which are starting to use it in their algorithms.

I still feel that having a good backup is THE step you have to take. If you have a restore point on which you can rely, you can move, restore or save your website pretty easily. But if you are starting from a dirty site and have to clean it, be prepared to spend either a lot of time, or a fair amount of money, to have it back up. And frankly, some times it’s even more cost effective to build over than to attempt the save.

Have questions about securing your WordPress site, or considering a new website? Contact BeBizzy Consulting today, and leave the technical stuff to us!

Protect Yourself from Ransomware

Protect Yourself from Ransomware

One of the biggest threats on the internet to companies, big and small, is ransomware. I’ve been around several companies that had laptops, and even servers, fall victim to these attacks.

Essentially ransomware is when a program is installed unknowingly on a computer or network and that program renames, encrypts, or even copies and deletes files. The program then displays a notice to the computer owner that if a ransom is paid the files will be unlocked or restored.

If you think there’s no way YOUR computer or organization will be hit, I got contacted just a few weeks ago by a contractor that is by no means a large company. His computer was held ransom, making it impossible to recover years of bids and accounting information. That information was held for a couple thousand dollars. And Carbonite, a leader in cloud backup, states they get contacted by companies over 5,000 times annually about ransomware attacks!

POST UPDATE (1/10/17) – I just saw an article on a new ransomware package called Koolova that encrypts your data, then decrypts it for free once you read a couple of articles on how to protect yourself from ransomware. Sounds like this is still illegal in many parts of the world, including California, but at least you can get away mostly unscathed.

Recover Your Data

The short answer on how to recover from ransomware… is you probably can’t. There is a very real possibility that your data that is going to be lost forever even if you pay the ransom. And by paying the ransom you are only providing positive reinforcement to the criminals that this is a valid method to extort money from honest, hard working users.

If for some reason you HAVE to pay the ransom, immediately clean and back up your data by hiring someone specializing in that sort of thing, and reinstall your operating system on the infected machine. Training to your employees or family members on proper email handling or internet browsing habits can minimize the possibility of further infections.

But as the video above states, prevention is better than the cure.

Protect Your Data

Of course, the best total protection from data theft or ransomware is the not be on the internet. That’s unrealistic and won’t help you if your computer or storage device malfunctions (for what it’s worth, there’s NOTHING more sad in computing than getting a hard drive failure message from your computer).

If you have data that is very important to you, whether it’s work spreadsheets, photos, tax information, school document or anything else that would be impossible to replace, back it up today… right NOW… take some simple, and compared to paying a ransom, cheap steps to protect your data from ransomware or device failure.

Back Up Your Data

Simply getting your data to a USB drive, external hard drive, or server can save you hours of heartache. In my example above of the small company, the only computer hit was an owner’s machine that was NEVER backed up! Every other computer in the organization was backed up to a server weekly. So the one with all of the critical business information was never saved anywhere but on the local hard drive.

If you have something critical get it backed up right now. You never know when that hard drive will stop spinning.

For what it’s worth, the prevailing wisdom on backups is the 3-2-1 rule… have at least three copies of your data, on two different types of media (USB, external drive, server, cloud, another computer), with one copy offsite.

Use A Cloud Service

Cloud backup and sharing services are everywhere now and in many cases are free or cheap to use. The value of these services can be achieved in several ways including:

  • Having a backup of your files in case of hard drive failure, unwanted deletion, or ransomware.
  • Sharing files with multiple computers or even co-workers, clients or family. You can even share files to your Android or iOS device.
  • Immediate backup of files if saved to a specific folder on your device.

A few of the most popular cloud services are listed below. Most have a free version with more space available for a fee. These solutions fall into two different versions, cloud storage and cloud backup. The storage solutions, like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive, allow sharing with multiple devices and people, some with and some without encryption. Carbonite is a cloud backup solution, meaning it will back up virtually an entire computer, not just a specific directory, and encrypt that data.

  • Dropbox – Dropbox is a great, free service for up to 2GB of storage. For less than $10/month you can get up to 1TB of storage, with more
  • OneDrive – Another free service is Microsoft OneDrive.
  • Google Drive – If you have a Gmail account, and almost all of us do, did you know you have up to 15GB of storage free at Google Drive?
  • Carbonite – Probably the most trusted version of cloud backup. Cost starts at $60/year for just one computer, with more available for multiple computers and networks.

Have You Backed Up Yet?

I’ve said this before, but what are you waiting for? Ransomware, malware, viruses and simple hardware failure is a totally real, and inevitable situation. You might even just be considering moving to a new computer or other device. Backing up and protecting your data will ensure the safety and easy recovery of files in case of emergency or simple migration if you buy a shiny new laptop.

Get started with a backup solution today. If you need some help or guidance on the road to protecting your data, contact BeBizzy Consulting and let’s get started.

Then, leave the technical stuff to us.