Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Does your business have a shared inbox?

Most small, and nearly ALL large businesses have generic email inboxes that are logged into by two or more staff members. Sometimes it can get messy when everyone, or in some cases no one, log into the box to handle customer requests, questions, or just to clean it out.

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Why would you need a shared inbox?

Current and potential clients like to have generic email inboxes they can use to contact your company. Addresses like “info@”, “support@”, and “customerservice@” help them reach the right person. But sometimes it’s never just ONE person, but a group that keeps that inbox monitored. And this can sometimes cause collisions of two people working the same issue, or worse, ZERO people working the same issue because they thought it was being handled by someone else.

Ways to set up a shared inbox

  • Manual – An email gets sent to “info@” and several people all see it in their inbox. Someone has to accept that email, read it, respond back to the sender, then file that email in a different folder or use whatever process is mandated by the business to mark it as complete.The problem arises when the inbox is set up incorrectly and not everyone sees it being read so multiple people start working the issue, or everyone sees it and assumes it will be handled by someone else so no one helps the customer.In this case, there needs to be a documented process of who handles it and when. If rep A is gone, rep B works it. If it sits for more than “x” hours then the manager or someone else is specified to handle it. If there are no documented processes you will have breakdowns or cause extra work on certain issues.
  • Forms on the Website – Putting a form on the website does a couple of things. First, you don’t give out actual email addresses but you can still direct subjects selected by the client to a particular email address. This means all “info@,” “questions@,” or whatever goes to an actual person, not a group of people, but the client doesn’t see who gets it. This also allows some flexibility when someone leaves the company, is on vacation, or is just too busy to handle these types of requests.A second benefit of forms is they allow you to format the information being gathered instead of just letting the sender put whatever information they wish into the form. So you can ask for and even require names, email addresses, phone numbers, subjects, and just about anything else you want or need.Finally, many of these forms can be saved to a database AND sent to a person or persons, so in the event email goes down, a person’s address is terminated for whatever reason, or something just isn’t handled right away, you can look at the data and recover this request and fix the issue.The one drawback is this format requires the user to actually go to the website to submit the form instead of just firing off an email from their phone or email application.
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management platforms are the next step beyond email forms. They are databases or applications that use form or email information to create tickets that can be handled by one or more people. Some potential CRM platforms in a wide variety of functions and price are Hubspot, Zoho and Freshdesk (what I use at BeBizzy).There are so many benefits to this type of system including:
    • Saved threads of communication with the client
    • Formatted questions that require the sender to provide necessary information to solve the issue like invoice numbers, usernames, phone numbers and more.
    • Many have the ability to add an FAQ, support forum, or other intermediary step where the sender can often solve their own problems or the group can solve it before you can.
    • Most CRM platforms are located off the website network, so it doesn’t affect the traffic or performance of the website
    • It provides an auditable trail to see how long it took to respond, how many interactions did it take before resolution, who handles how many tickets, and more.

Bottom Line

Shared inboxes are a great way to handle client request or questions. They allow your company to respond as a group instead of relying on just one person. But it more control is needed, the first step would be to create some forms on the website that send to specific people and save to a database. If the budget exists, or the need is great enough, a CRM is a great way to handle support tickets, general inquiries or other client requests. If the cost looks too big, weigh the option of what does it cost to lose a current or potential customer because something wasn’t handled right away.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

Landing Pages

You’ve probably heard of landing pages. You may even HAVE a landing page. But you also might not know why you have it, what it’s doing, or even how to fix it if you’re not seeing results.

On today’s Episode 70 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk with the Landing Page School Podcast host Nicholas Scalice and find out what you might, and might not, know about landing pages.

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First, some tech news

First, two big updates in the last week or so.

WordPress 4.9.8 was launched.  We are getting very close to 5.0, which will include the Gutenberg update to WordPress. Very anticipated version which will bring on a visual editor and promises to change the WP landscape for the better. That remains to be seen with older websites, themes, etc. But the 4.9.8 update does have the “Try Gutenberg” callout. It’s an opportunity to try the Gutenberg editor before it is released in 5.0. I have not doesn’t it yet, but will test shortly.

Also has 18 privacy fixes and a few other improvements. I’ve updated all my sites with not issues, but make sure you back up before you do anything.

Also, Android released it’s Android P (Pie) update for the Google Pixel phones. I updated my Pixel 2 XL on Monday. Small changes in the notifications and menus, but for the most part it was a pretty seamless update. I’m sure there will be more as I use it, including the Adaptive Battery feature, which promises to turn down battery usage on apps that are not in use at the time, but still running.

Finally, Samsung will be announcing the Note 9 tomorrow (Aug 9). Lots of huge improvements for this devices anticipated including a bigger battery, better screen and camera, and the Adaptive Battery. Can’t wait for that announcement. FYI, you can sign up to watch the announcement live at this Samsung website.

Now on to today’s main topic… landing pages. Most of you have heard the term, and maybe even use them on your websites. But I have a couple of sites that are going to be implementing them, and decided now would be a great time to bring in an expert, which is why I called on Nicholas Scalice, the host of the Landing Page School Podcast.  So this is me, and Nicolas Scalice… enjoy.

What are Landing Pages

Landing pages are a page on your website that has a very specific purpose, audience, and/or message. It should be developed to get the visitor to perform one action… purchase something, sign up, request info, download a PDF, contact you… one specific action.

The difference between a home page, or even an interior page and a landing page is on these pages, you are directing visitors to other pages in the website to get more information, and on a landing page, again, you are getting visitors to do that one specific action.

How to Get Traffic To A Landing Page

Most traffic is directed to landing pages through paid marketing efforts. Things like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow you to be very specific to the audience and who you would drive to see the main message on that landing page. It also works if you drive landing pages through traditional means like billboards, radio, tv, print, etc because you are serving a very specific message on both the ad and the landing page. The trick is NOT to drive all of this traffic to the home page, as that has a very open message instead of the message match between the ad copy and the page.

What Should You Have On A Landing Page?

Nicholas gave us six items to have on a landing page which answer certain questions :

  1. What Is It? What is the offer? What is the landing page about?
  2. Can It Help Me? Is it something that can make my life or business better or easier?
  3. Do I Like It? Is the visual design of the page good and trushworthy?
  4. Do Others Like It? Is there social proof that says other visitors and clients like it?
  5. Trust. Is there something on the landing page that says this site and/or product is trustworthy?
  6. How Do I Get It? What’s the call to action? How do I order, sign up, or purchase?

In regards to length of the page, there is not measurement. In fact, it’s good practice to NOT index the page so SEO rules don’t apply. Concentrate on conversion optimization, not SEO optimization. Also keep in mind, where your customers will be viewing the page. If it’s mobile, small images, less text and other mobile tricks should be implemented to work on phones and tablets. Responsive or mobile themes are necessary in today’s business climate!

What Are Mistakes Made on Landing Pages?

The number one mistake made on landing pages is not having a great offer. The site might be awesome, and the ad-spend might be well thought out, but the offer might not be well thought of. Some poorly designed pages do very well, while a well designed site might not convert because the offer is bad.

It’s also a mistake to have incorrect “micro-copy,” the text on your buttons, subheadings, etc that are action focused. If you can build the “value” into the button or other text it will convert better. Try completing the phrase “I want to…” with the button or link text. I want to contact you, I want to download the free e-book, I want to purchase your widget all work great.

A/B Testing

You’re probably never going to develop the perfect landing page on run #1. A/B testing only works if you have enough traffic, and you have a plan on what to test, how long, what are we testing for, etc.

Nicholas suggests testing “bigger things” like the offer instead of button color or text.

How Do I Build A Landing Page

Unbounce : drag and drop builder for

WordPress : Page Builder called Elementor, and other themes make it easy to build quickly and efficiently.

LeadPages : Landing page creator that also interfaces with WordPress and other platforms.

How Can I Contact Nicholas Scalice?

Have any questions or suggestions landing pages or any other technology affecting your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 61

Performing a Social Media Audit

Audits. When one thinks of that word it brings to mind some guy sitting in your office sifting through receipts, bookkeeping notes and interviewing your employees on processes. But what if you could use an audit form something good, like increasing your marketing efficiency? That’s why you would perform a social media audit on the various platforms you are using to market your business.

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Donna Amos of Solopreneur Solutions

Joining me today on the BeBizzy Break Podast is Donna Amos, Inspiror of Possibilities for Solopreneur Solutions, a boutique digital agency based in Cincinnati, OH. They provide web design, social media management, email marketing and more and she published a great article recently on “How To Do a Social Media Audit.” 

This article was a great starting point to the next few weeks when we will talk about optimizing profiles and pages for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

How To Get Started Performing a Social Media Audit

This is the perfect time of year to do a social media audit to prepare for next year.

  • Create a spreadsheet with the social media platform, the URL, and name on profile and the description
  • Also include number of fans/followers, and the date of the last activity
  • Make sure everything is consistent (name, images, colors, etc)
  • Start auditing individual social platforms for traffic

Where is Your Traffic Coming From?

Now that you’ve audited the general items of the individual to make sure everything looks and feels the same, it’s time to start looking at Google Analytics for indicators that visitors to the website are coming from the various social platforms.  You can also get some valuable information from the social media platform data.

In addition to using the social media analytics to perform a social media audit, you can also use third party tools like Hootsuite and SEMRush to analyze data from social media websites.

Act on the Social Media Audit

There are some actionable items that may show up in your social media audit that can

  • Repurpose old content in another form like video, slideshows or podcats
  • Set up goals and metrics to measure
    • The point of doing social media is to create awareness, gain followers to frequency, and that activity drives traffic to the site to sign up for email newsletters and subscriptions, then convert those subscribers.
    • Determine what “success looks like” for your business and see what sites are meeting that success model.
  • Sometimes it’s better to abandon/close a social media platform if you are unable to manage that platform or your audience just isn’t there.
  • Set up a schedule to perform this social media audit quarterly or at least regularly to look for trends on what is working.

Other Tips

  • Video is going to be the dominant form of media in social media in the coming years.
  • Video doesn’t have to be polished to be effective. Just needs good camera placement, decent content and great sound.
  • Create a list of FAQ’s, answer them, and make 1-2 minute videos answering those questions and share in your social sites.
  • Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Then consumption of social and website content is the goa.
  • If you want to create awareness, strive for reach… how many people can you reach with each post..
  • Shares, likes and retweets are to be used if the goal is to reach more with word of mouth.
  • There is a documented trail of each post to see how many people see it, share it, like it, click on it, and even purchase because of it.
  • Don’t expect immediate results! Sometimes you are talking to no one until your acquire a following.
  • But there is a benefit to talking to no one in social and blogs because the post lives on and can be found by people searching for the content keywords.
  • Googe+ is great for SEO benefits, even if your customers aren’t there.

Performing a social media audit can take a bit of time, but if you do it once you will produce a baseline that will enable your business to compare to when making future decisions on digital marketing. Both Donna and I encourage you to take the time between now and the end of the year to audit your social media properties.

Don’t forget to check out Donna Amos’ article on “How to Perform a Social Media Audit” at her website, and follow her on Twitter to stay informed.

Have you done a social media audit? What were your experiences and what actions did you do after the audit? Let me know at BeBizzy.com or @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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!

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Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Your Tech Is Good Enough – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 59

Host : Marv DornerBeBizzy Consulting

On Episode 59 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast, we talk about the passing of another geriatric internet property, Compuserve, a renewal of the browser wars with Firefox Quantum, and why your technology is good enough.

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Tech News

  • Compuserve Forums
    • Joins Microsoft Paint and AIM as old tech services being shut down in 2017.
    • Compuserve was the first major online service provider before AOL took over
    • The Forums were the last service of the once-proud ISP to remain functional
    • The service will be terminated on December 15, 2017 and odds are if no one would have said anything, you never would have known.
  •  Firefox Quantum
    • New browser from Mozilla that promises to be faster, and use less memory.
    • Some extensions may not work, so beware

Your current tech is good enough

  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
  • There’s always a faster, shinier, and more “feature rich” device
  • And while there’s something to be gained with tech that works better and faster, your current technology might be already good enough, or could be made so with a few minor tweaks or upgrades.

Smartphones

There’s really no big leaps forward in phone features

  • Sure there’s cosmetic upgrades like smaller bezels, larger and brighter screens, somewhat better battery
  • Most smartphone issues can be solved by doing a few easy things
    • Replacing the battery, if possible, or carry an external battery or recharging device.
    • Clear up memory by deleting apps, using streaming audio and video services, and uploading photos to free cloud services like Google Photos, them deleting the local files.
    • Run Updates – Make sure you’re running the most recent operating system and app updates. Having everything updated makes it easier to troubleshoot and work together.
    • Factory Reset – Things still running slow? Sometimes it’s just best to flush the system and start over with a new operating system install. Keep in mind you will lost all of your data on the phone, so back up and connect to cloud services.

Computers

Talk about no huge leaps forward, computers have remained pretty constant for many years

  • Improvements like the Microsoft Surface, Chromebooks and even iPad Pros are blurring the lines between computers and mobile, but even they “promise” to be able to do what you can already do with a computer, just smaller and lighter.
  • Both “major” operating systems, Windows and iOS have promised no major upgrades anymore, just incremental updates.
  • Hard Drives have become so large it’s hard for a vast majority of users to come close to filling it up.
  • You can increase the life of your computer by doing some very easy, cost effective things like :
    • Add RAM – Memory is cheap, and of all the things to replace requires the least amount of technical know-how and time. RAM is easily accessible in desktops by removing the case, and most laptops have a cover to remove to get at the RAM and maybe the HDD. Major products like Crucial have scanners and selectors to make sure you’re getting the right memory to upgrade your device.
    • HDD – Have an old or small hard drive? There’s a real good chance that your HDD is a spinning disc, and believe it or not, it’s WHEN it will fail, not IF. Check out Seagate or Western Digital to find a suitable replacement. You can also migrate less often or large files to an external drive for a small price and they easily connect to your current computer via USB.
    • To the Cloud! – Get your photos and other important files uploaded to a cloud service like Dropbox to ensure ease of access & transfer, and also security in the event of a hardware failure or catastrophic office event.

Websites

I know, it seems weird that a web development company would tell you that your website is good enough. There ARE times when it’s best to update the website like when you need :

  • Responsive Design – Have a site that is old and doesn’t work on a smartphone or smaller screen? Might be time to update to a responsive website.
  • CMS like WordPress – Maybe it’s time to take over the management of your own website. WordPress allows you to post your own pages, a blog, and more.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Maybe you’re site is all set up an running as you need, but you’re just not getting found on the internet. By optimizing your SEO and your Local Business Listing you increase the chances of being found by potential customers.
  • Social Media Marketing & Training  – Like SEO, your website might not be the problem, maybe it’s just getting the word out. Social Media offers an easy way to engage your fans and followers and market to new clients.

Other Items

We are constantly hit with marketing messages on stuff you “NEED” to ensure you have the most current technology or your life will be horrible. Vehicle enhancements like rear hatches that open with your foot, lane change chimes, and others are safety features, but really just being a better driver will fix that. 4K and 3D TV’s are wonderful, but there is little programming that takes advantage of the technology. VR goggles are fun toys, but again, there’s very little cool, productive programming for them. And voice controlled devices like Google Home or Alexa are neat, and have a utility to them, but often you have a device in your hands or pocket that can do the same thing.

I LOVE technology, and our economy relies on constant updating of computers, furniture, cars, homes and just about everything else. But sometimes saving that money for something else is your best bet.

Have any questions or suggestions on using current technology instead of buying new gear? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

Overcoming WordPress Objections – BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 58

In this episode we talk about how overcoming WordPress objections, the iPhone X, Skype and an update on my Pixel 2 XL phone.

BBP : Episode 58 – Overcoming WordPress Objections

Happy Birthday to us! Today is BeBizzy Consulting’s 9th anniversary. Happy to be around and serving our clients in website design, hosting, marketing and search engine optimization for many years and looking foward to the future!

Have you already overcame WordPress objections in your organization? Contact BeBizzy Consulting today and let’s get you on the web!

Tech News

  • The iPhone X, 10, whatever hits the streets on November 3rd, so buckle up!
    • 10th anniversary iPhone
    • Face ID unlocking feature
    • Near bezel-less design – OLED
    • No home button – swipe up/down to move through screens
    • New anemoji’s… yay…
    • 12MP rear camera. Image stabilization
    • Listening to a review from TechRadar the reviewer claimed he had “cinematic” sound from the dual speakers. I’m gonna call B.S. on that one. Tinny smartphone speakers will never sound cinematic.
  • Week 2 with my Google Pixel 2 XL
    • Not seeing any performance issues, screen burn-in, or anything else.
    • This phone is FAST, has a great signal, good (not cinematic) sound, and Android Oreo is stable and easy to use.
  • Another update on my office…
    • Been using Skype as my primary office phone for several weeks, and I couldn’t be happier. I have an external microphone and use my computer speakers as the “phone.”
    • I don’t think this will work in a typical office setting, but in an enclosed office or home office it works great.

Main Topic – Overcoming WordPress Objections

  • How this topic emerged was I was listening to podcasts, as I usually do while I work, and was listening to “Adam Ruins Everything,” a podcast that accompanies a TV show of the same name on TruTV. It’s hosted by Adam Conover and in the podcast they conduct more in depth interviews on a particular topic than the TV show allows.
    • In this episode, Adam spoke with Professor Stephan Lewandowsky about once a person gets entrenched in a belief and assembles with those who also believe the same thing, it can be impossible to move them off that belief even when presented with overwhelming evidence. This is called the “Backfire Effect”
  • One of the tech “Backfire Effects” is WordPress is simply an insecure blogging platform.
  • While at an advertising agency, I was brought in to argue “against” WordPress because we sold a custom-made CRM. It was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, and is frankly one of the reasons I chose not to work for that company any longer.
  • Here are some of the usual arguments against WordPresss
    • Security – There’s a ton of holes and it’s a highly visible platform that many people have found ways in.
    • SPAM – WordPress is a blogging platform so spam-bots target the code to run mailing systems
    • Plugins – These are not vetted so you could be installing complete garbage code on the site with tons of security holes
    • Limitations – Every WordPress site looks the same.
    • Buggy Code – The code is managed by the community, so who knows if it’s well written or efficient.
    • Search Engines – SEO is impossible on the WordPress platform. Out of the box it doesn’t allow you to format the code and meta information in such a way that Google and other search engines and index the site properly.
    • Hosting – Most of the hosts that allow WordPress are old, Linux-Apache based systems that run slow and
    • You get what you pay for ( in the case of the ad agency… 10’s of thousands compared to thousands )
  • Let’s address these one at a time…
    • Security – I’ve addressed this on several podcasts and blog posts, but here it is… nothing is safe
    • SPAM – Keep your code updated and use good plugins
    • Plugins – Use quality, high-ranked plugins that have been updated and work with your version of WordPress.
    • Limitations – Probably the biggest challenges to overcoming WordPress objections are themes. There are tons of customizable themes to use to give your WordPress site a unique look.
    • Buggy Code – There are millions of users looking for and submitting bug fixes, so normally they are found and repaired before penetrating the real world if the code is properly updated.
    • Search Engines – Yoast and other SEO plugins are much more efficient in formatting and presenting content for the search engines. So overcoming this WordPress objections is reallly easy.
    • Hosting – There are now dedicated hosts for WordPress sites which allow one-click installs, install updates, speed enhancements, and more.
    • You CAN get what you pay for, but you can also be paying for that fancy office, over-hyped software and computers, desks, food, etc. Sometimes you’re just paying more because they’re charging more.

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 : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

In this episode we talk about managing your passwords and updating technology to stay secure.

BBP : Episode 55 – Have You Updated Today?

Tech News

Yahoo Email Hack – Now up to 3 Billion accounts, apparently every yahoo account. – announced by the new owner, Verizon

  • No credit card information in the breach, but
  • Suspect part is that the new intelligence was just recently obtained AFTER the deal closed to buy Yahoo.

Equifax update – there’s a good chance the company will have to pay penalties to affected consumers going north of $1B.

  • For the record, $1B comes to just over $7 per possible affected user.

Cortana is now rollout out into Skype. You should start seeing it appear in private and group chats to offer assistance for scheduling and other items.

  • Will also appear in the Android and iOS versions soon.
  • Still not sold on voice systems like Google, Amazon or Siri, but I hope to become more reliant on it when the new Pixel 2 phone arrives
  • Microsoft claims 141 million “monthly” users of Cortana. I use it only when I accidentally click the button on my desktop toolbar, so that probably counts at least once a month.
  • Siri – 41.4 monthly, 19% daily.
  • Google claims 20% of mobile searches are voice searches – couldn’t find a published #
  • Becoming more popular
  • Would love to discuss voice searches and voice control on a future episode, so if you’re an “expert” please contact me.

Today’s topic – You are Responsible for Updating Your Technology

  • In the last month, I’ve had to do the following:
    • Rescued three websites from obvious hacking
      • Two were hijacked by an out-of-date WordPress plugin and dozens of fake blog posts linking to a casino were placed on the sites.
      • One was using a password created several years ago and the FTP was compromised, with THOUSANDS (over 50k) web pages were created, uploaded and indexed by google.
        • The new index.php page and all the rest were the only ones showing up in Google searches because of the dominance.
    • About six months ago I got a call that a WordPress site built over five years ago had NEVER been updated, and now stopped working.
      • That required updating WP, finding out what, if any of the existing plugins would still work with the new WP, and we had to find alternate solutions for outdated, un-updatable, or costly upgrades to certain plugins.
    • Two months ago I worked on a computer that was full of malware. The client was still running Windows XP and didn’t want to update. Windows XP was abandoned by Microsoft in April 2014, meaning there was no further development on the operating system and it would be exposed as insecure.
    • In all cases, there was a massive cleanup, one new install of WP, and a complete forced re-indexing of the website by Google and other search engines.

ALL of these could have been avoided if the core functions would have been maintained. By following just a few steps, your computer, phones and other devices can stay up to date and minimize the danger of being compromised.

Remember, criminals will most always take the low-hanging fruit, like the computer not updated in over 5 years, the WordPress site with outdated plugins, or the FTP password that hasn’t changed in half a decade.

A word of warning… updates can sometimes fail, and even cause larger issues. BACK UP YOUR DATA before running updates, or just in general. However, the risk of something bad happening during an update is nothing compared to the possible issues that can happen by running an out-of-date system.

  • WordPress and Other Websites
  1. Back up everything on a regular basis – Always have a way to reset if something bad happens, even if you lose some data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates for plugins and incremental WordPress updates.
  3. Use a service to update multiple sites if needed.
  4. Turn on notifications for major WordPress or theme releases, and run them after you back up, update plugins and prepare for possible downtime.
  5. Also change your FTP and Cpanel passwords on a regular basis, or when someone leaves the organization.
  • Windows Computers
  1. Back up on a regular basis. Services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and others offer cheap, or even free secure cloud services that will back up your data.
  2. Turn on automatic updates in the control panel. This will run in the background, and prompt to reboot when larger updates appear.
  3. If you can update your operating system to at least Windows 8.2 you will at least be receiving regular security updates. There was a time you could have updated to Windows 10 for free, but you most likely missed that if you’re still running an older version.
  4. Keep your software like browsers, office software and other major applications like Photoshop and others up to date by regularly checking, or selecting auto-updates if prompted.
  • Mobile Devices
  1. Back up on a regular basis (notice a theme here?). Most carriers have this available, but you can keep your music in the cloud, photos backed up to Google Photos for free, contacts saved to Gmail or Gsuite, again for free, and other data can use Dropbox, Carbonite and other services.
  2. Go into the Play Store or Updates on your mobile device and click Update All on a regular basis.
  3. Always accept operating system updates when prompted, your device is properly charged or connected to a power source, and you have the necessary allotted time to accomplish the update. Do a full reboot once in a while to clear the device and also to re-engage auto-updates when the phone reaches back out to the carrier or app store.

Updates are an easy way to keep your site and devices secure. Criminals are looking for the easy targets when you’re dealing with electronic crime, so stay on top of your systems and update regularly.

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!

Planning & Budgeting Your New Website – BBP EP 53

Planning & Budgeting Your New Website – BBP EP 53

In this episode we talk with Scott Wild from NISC about the budget and organizational steps in planning and developing a new website, the upcoming iPhone, and Twitter Night Mode

BBP : Episode 53 – Scott Wild Talks About Planning a New Website

Scott Wild, the Onboarding & Employee Engagment specialist at NISC and owner of the Wild Trivia Tour, joins the podcast to talk about planning and budgeting for a new website. Scott and I have done several podcasts and other projects together in the past, including working for the same advertising agency in the same role a few years apart, so there’s no one I trust more when it comes to planning and pulling out the steps for a new site.

Let’s Start with the Basics

Websites are now the storefront of most businesses. It used to be billboards, newspapers and then television ads, but now many consumers find you online. So it’s important to have a user-friendly site that funnels potential clients through the buying experience. It’s not unlike how grocery and department stores are set up in that you walk through the store to get essentials, then back through everything again before being shown the “add-ons” at the checkout. You should find  out what your visitors want, get them there quickly, then take them through the desired path while still serving their needs.

  • Planning Meetings : planning up front will decrease development time (and therefore cost) and get you the site you want.
    • Who is the audience(s)?
    • For each audience, “where do they itch?” Or what do they want/need to find on your site?
    • What do you want them to do right now? What’s the call to action?
  • Development
    • What CRM? WordPress? Drupal? A specialized CRM that’s built for your industry? Custom build? What’s the best fit for your business or organization?
  • Hosting
    • There are many criteria for hosts including cost, operating systems, server specs, bandwidth speed and limitations, and many, many more.
    • Choosing a good host can be a determining factor when Google and other search engines rank your site.
  • Domains
    • Pick a domain that matches your business name for the primary domain, then you can select “vanity” domains for landing pages
      • For example, my DJ business is BeLoudEntertainment.com, but I also own BismarckWeddingDJ.com.
    • OWN YOUR DOMAIN! This can be important when you want to move the website, or just to make sure the domain is handled correctly for updating.
    • Your domain name is just like your business name. Keep it safe!
  • SSL’s

Some Advanced Planning Tips

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
    • Can be expensive
    • Can take a fair amount of time
    • Can be very punitive if “black hat” methods are employed, even to the effect of getting the domain shot WAY down the list
    • Is affected by proper titles, descriptions, keywords, page content, page layout, links (inbound, outbound and internal), page load speed, server response speed, and more.
  • Digital Marketing
    • Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are critical in sending good traffic back into your website. Use them correctly and often.
    • PPC – We didn’t really talk about this on the podcast, but a good Google AdWords or LinkedIn campaign can be a great way to generate leads
    • If you really want to make a splash, there are large volume marketing pieces like Spotify or other campaigns that can be fired up, but most have a minimum spend.
  • Security
    • Make sure the site is backed up and has some security apps or plugins monitoring the site. This is critical when, not if, something bad happens.

There were so many other items to discuss on this podcast, but in many cases it’s better to discuss in person or over the phone. If you have questions on developing a new website, or would like to discuss in more detail, please call 701-214-6271 or contact BeBizzy Consulting and let’s find out how we can drive more customers to your website.

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!

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 52 – Insecure Website Warnings & Dropbox Paper Updates

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 52 – Insecure Website Warnings & Dropbox Paper Updates

In this episode we talk about upcoming Google Chrome warnings that will be displayed for website forms not protected by SSLs and a little about Dropbox Paper.

  • Dropbox Paper has released some updates
    • Users can now preview Dropbox Paper docuemnts before opening them. Very helpful for admins or project managers.
    • Usera can also now create folders on mobile devives and move Paper documents to them. Great for those of us who work on phones or tablets a good portion of the time.
    • And finally, users can now delete files on their mobile devices. A little less useful for many of us IT guys and creatives who NEVER delete anything, just archive it.
  • Google Chrome will now start displaying a “Not Secure” warning on webpages not protected by an SSL and including a form asking for passwords or credit card information.
    • This means that if your site requires or requests any of this, the warnings will be shown to potential clients and other visitors.
    • I believe this is an incremental step towards Chrome requiring all sites to have SSLs in the very near future, with the next step probably being that ANY form will need to be protected by an SSL.
  • This is a great time for you to get ahead of the inbound wave by activating an SSL on your site as soon as possible to take advantage of the extra search weight assigned by Google for sites with SSLs.
  • It’s also a great chance to take a look at current forms on your website and maybe change them to ask additional questions you may have ommitted due to not having and SSL in the past.
  • Keep in mind there are some obstacles beyond cost to purchasing and installing an SSL. More to come on that in a future episode.

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!

WEBSITE LAUNCH – North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association

WEBSITE LAUNCH – North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association

BeBizzy Consulting is proud to announce the launch of our latest website, NDRPA.com!

The North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association supports park and rec organizations in communities across North Dakota by providing education opportunities, resource material and recognition.

Visit the site at http://ndrpa.com.

Ready to redesign and launch a website for your business or organiztion?

Contact BeBizzy Consulting to talk about how a responsive WordPress site hosted and backed up in our server environment can help you get noticed by your customers. 

Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

EPISODE 50!! AND, it’s our one year anniversary. So all around a big day for the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

In this episode we talk about what NIST has recommended for a new password strategy.

BBP : Episode 50 – Change Your Passwords… Again

First of all, congratulations to Dana and her team at the North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association on their new website. We launched http://NDRPA.com earlier this week. It’s a WordPress site with a calendar, subpage navigation and more. Check it out!

Also, I rescued two websites earlier this week from hacking. I’ll use this as my weekly reminder for all of your to back everything up. Websites, databases, financial information, personal photos… everything. Better to put a little bit of prevention and spend a little bit of money now than pay a bunch of money to possibly recover (or worse, possibly NOT recover) lost data.

Passwords

Back in 2003, Bill Burr (not the comedian) was a mid-level manager at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They recommend standards on all sorts of things like official weight calibration, timing, and even technology guidelines like passwords. In 2003, Burr published NIST Special Publication 800-63 Appendix A, which spelled out the proper guidelines for creating and managing secure passwords on websites and networks. Those guidelines are still followed today.

The standards included a long password (8-12 characters), upper and lower case alphabet charcters, numbers, special characters and random. Sounds like every website you sign up for, doesn’t it?

But now, Mr. Burr has stated that in regards to this document and policy, “Much of what I did I now regret.” That’s an unfair statement by Bill. Back in 2003, we didn’t have much history of what computer network security was, and we definately didn’t have the case studies of how criminals and mischief-makers would do to gain access to computer networks. All of his recommendations sounded solid, and while possibly flawed, are still in use today.

What NIST and computer analysts are finding though is humans always find an easy way to get around something tough, and frankly secure. The requirements would allow a user to create a seemingly random password like “Pa5sW0rD”. You and I both know that says “PaSsWOrD”, but the computer sees it matches Burr’s recommendations.

So, when it comes time to update the password becasue of time requirements placed by the system adminstrators, or a data break. instead of creating a new, secure passwords, often we add something simple to it. “Pa5sW0rD” becomes “Pa5sW0rD1”, the “5” and “s” switch places, or something simple like that to remember but still meeting Burr’s recommendations.

Well the computer hackers have also figured out our shortcuts and have added some smarts into their password cracking to test out some of these easy switches. And it’s working.

In June 2017, NIST has published a new version of NIST Publication 800-63, which outlines a very different recommended password architecture. What started out as a project to simply review and slightly revise Burr’s policy recommendations became an eye-opening look into how users and criminals were using passwords. And results came back with a HUGE change in password policy.

Instead of a hard-to-remember, cryptic password, it was instead recommending four or five easy to remember words all pressed together. This is easy for the user to remember, change and use, and tough for the computer hackers to crack due to the length and randomness of the password.

A cartoon on XKCD.com drawn by Randall Munroe estimated that a password created using Burr’s methods, “Tr0ub4dor&3” would take only three days to crack using current methods. A password of four words all mixed together would take 550 years. That password was “correcthorsebatterystaple.” Which one do you think is easier to remember, and change? And if you DO need to change the password, which is now only recommended in the event of a data breach or similar event, you can swap out an entire word instead of just adding a “1” or “!” to the password.

It will be interesting to see how this is adapted and implemented across websites and networks. Most rules won’t allow passwords regardless of length, to not contain numbers, special charactes and upper/lower case, so there’s a lot of things that have to change for these guidelines to become common, but it makes sense.

Do you have thoughts on this or anything else technology related? Let me know on Twitter or at 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!