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Don’t fall for it – it’s spam!

spam emails

Spam, hacks, spoofing, phishing its all a bit of a mind field really!

We have a lot of software now to protect us from email spam, viruses and the like but often it comes down to the user – how do YOU know what is what .. some of these emails can look very very correct and official

One has just popped into my account that I KNOW someone fell for – don’t be like them! Even after clearing out the emails it probably took a week before everything went back to normal.. yeah fun .. not!

So take a look at the attached and if you see ANYTHING at all like that then DELETE IT, BIN IT, IGNORE IT

Spam don't fall for it

And if you DO click on anything stop – run a virus scanner and call your IT person that looks after your emails

A very good rule of thumb though is..

  • Make sure you have anti virus and email scanner installed
  • Make sure that software is up to date
  • If you are not sure – don’t click on anything and forward or contact your IT person
  • Never open ANY attachment within email – always always download it to your PC first
  • If you do fall for a spam email – then don’t try to resolve it yourself online – that can often make things worse!
  • Be vigilant and be sensible – check for poor spelling and grammar
  • Check the sender email address – if you don’t know it – bin it!
  • Oh and if it’s too good to be true- it usually is!
  • And if someone is asking for money in an email and you don’t know them – do not pay it!

Here’s to happy emails and getting rid of spam!

WordPress 5.5 due out 11 August – a key change – automatic updates

wordpress

The latest release of WordPress 5.5 is due out on 11 August 2020 – and there is a big key change that you need to be aware of.

Automatic update of plugins and themes

Yes that is correct you can now set any or all of your plugins and themes to automatically update when new versions are published…

good or bad … ?

The reasoning

So there is a good reason behind this latest change – security is a really big deal when it comes to WordPress website, the security of the actual WordPress code is usually pretty good – but in recent times there are more and more plugins or even themes that are not being updated and thus are security holes waiting to be found! When a vulnerability is found in a WordPress version – people go off and search for sites that are using that version – whether its 5 years out of date or just a few months – the danger is there.

That danger can effect the reputation of WordPress – and that is what needs to be protected.

WordPress has for a while now – self updated itself for minor versions, bug releases extra – but asks for permission to update a major release. So we are used to the idea of automatic updates. Wordfence a good security plugin as had an auto updated feature for a while too.

To auto update or not..

So the question is should you ….?

I think you should consider your website first – and then each plugin / theme second.

A small brochure style essentially static website that uses minimal plugins – no page builders etc – I would see no issue with having auto update switched on
An ecommerce website however .. that one I would maybe set auto update on some of the more minor plugins – but I would still manually test and update WooCommerce and any payment plugins

Somewhere in-between those two then I would still aim for caution

These changes have been more about getting the sites that are not updated regularly to get updated and to stay updated.. however a flaw – if they have not been updated in years why would they suddenly update to this latest version … which would enable auto update… ah well you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink!

If you are unsure – ask me I can make a good suggestion for you. Some plugins I know and use frequently and would be more confident in their stable and reliable releases. Having said that a plugin that I would have said was stable had a wobble not that long ago!

For now I think I will be sticking with my usually update routine

BACKUP
Check reviews
Check for date
Wait until some time has passed
BACKUP again
then update
Check site!!

Thank you and until next time
Sarah

Unstable times – I am here

covid-19

An email that I sent to my clients earlier today –

I wanted to reach out and let you know that I am around, I am working and I will continue to carry on working throughout this current unstable and unsure time.

As business owners things are very much up in the air however that doesn’t mean that business needs to stop. We have a number of ways that we can reach our audiences – face to face might not be possible but online courses, online videos, facebook live, emails, phone calls, online group meetings any and all of these things are very popular. So don’t just hunker down and wait for it to blow over take some time to determine whether you can carry on working and serving your customers just by changing how you do things slightly. If you need help with any of these things give me a call I might just be able to help or suggest who can.

Facebook is full of people doing just that already – restaurants offering takeway menus, pubs also offering takeout alcohol. Uni students offering to help pick up and delivery shopping to neighbours. Butchers highlighting the food and supplies that they have – ensuring people know that they are there and they are around. The supermarkets my be struggling to keep the shelves full but there are lots of other choices too. For those with young children home from school there are lots of groups offering teaching help, supplies for arts and crafts too, as well as the all important exercise groups that are switching to bring you your gym online!

If you do happen to have more time on yours hands than usual maybe take this time to do those jobs you love but never quite get around too. If its in the garden or around the house, writing a book or a story, taking photos of the spring scenery, writing letters and catching up (via phone, email or facetime, skype!) with old friends. Of course if that also happens to be a new venture that needs my services – then of course I am yours!

Anyway this email was just to let you know that I am here, if you need me email me or call me – even if its just to touch base with someone.

Stay safe and stay well

Sarah

Let’s Encrypt CAA security error – does your SSL need renewing?

Let’s Encrypt has recently found a bug in their code for checking and allowing security certificates (SSL) for websites.

Originally they were just going to withdraw the 3 million SSL’s effected! Which would have meant potentially 3 million websites would have failed SSL checks and would have been flagged as “this site is unsecure”, luckily however they realised that this was probably not the wisest decision and have decided to allow those to stand until renewal is due – Lets Encrypt renews every 90 days.

Handily they have supplied us with a tool to check which sites are effected – so if you have a website – click onto checkhost.unboundtest.com and type in your domain name (don’t include the https) part – you will either get a message that says

The certificate currently available on your-domain.co.uk is OK. It is not one of the certificates affected by the Let's Encrypt CAA rechecking problem. Its serial number is 123456789123456789123456789123456789

Meaning you don’t have to do anything – or you will see

The certificate currently available on your-domain.com needs renewal because it is affected by the Let's Encrypt CAA rechecking problem. Its serial number is 123456789123456789123456789123456789. See your ACME client documentation for instructions on how to renew a certificate.

If you get the second message then speak to your hosting provider as soon as you can and ask them to reissue the SSL. If you have a problem with that – or are not sure who to call – drop me an email and I will see what I can do to help!

Spam emails! Sometimes they are SO bad they are funny – almost!!

So I always always tell my clients that if they get an email that they are unsure about – to send it to me – whether they think its spam or hackers or domain renewals – they can forward it to me knowing that I will check it out for them.

So I have just had in one such email – pure and utter spam!!

So this email is basically from a company called webmarketingenquiry.com – which is not actually a company at all – just a holding page – and it saying that someone from brandenic.com has looked at the website and wants to tell them (out of the kindest of their heart of course!) that the website is

  • not mobile ready,
  • not responsive (kind of the same thing),
  • not easy to read
  • and in fact looks old and out dated!

And that for a small sum they could fix this for them..

Not exactly what they want to hear about a site I have just redesigned and built for them!!!

So having a look around I can see that it’s sent from one company with a reply-to address of another – always a good indication they are up to no good! On checking out the website I can again see that the first address redirects straight to the second address.

On hitting that website – the chat box pops up and lol and behold – hilariously – I think someone has just called me stupid!

Oh bless it really does pay to check out your own website before calling someone stupid!

No point emailing them – US based so no GDPR and – here was me thinking that all emails should have an unsubscribe link.. no way to unsubscribe without emailing them back (which just tells them someone is listening! and gets you more spam!)

So when I say that you can trust me – I mean it – I don’t resort to cheap marketing gimmicks to generate business – feel free to tell me your ridiculous email / web stories!

Who owns or has access to your domain name?

Do you know?

Do you understand quite how vitally important your domain name is? Your domain name is ;

  • Your website
  • Your email address
  • Your intellectual property!

And if you don’t have access to it – then someone else has the ability to;

  • Change / remove / delete your website
  • Change / remove / delete / add email addresses

You might not think that is such a big deal but what if someone inserted a rude website in place of yours, or used your email address to spam people … the consequences can be huge!!

It used to be quite simple to find out who owned domain names – you would do a WHOIS ie a look up – and it would tell you ;

  • The domain name
  • The registrant information
  • Where its being stored
  • and potentially who the admin contact was

Now however – since the introduction of GDPR some of that information is hidden – which makes it much harder to work out who owns it and where its kept.

It is still possible but adds an extra layer of complexity.

Why does it really matter though.. yes indeed quite often a friend or neighbour or web designer, graphic designer someone you came across purchased that domain name for you – quite often some of these people not really understanding the whole idea might have purchased that domain name – IN THEIR NAME.. which means they own it!! you don’t – seriously the registrant contact details of any domain name is the person that owns that domain name. And if that is not you … So maybe you and they part company or you forget who it was – you now need to get that domain name back. Often its as simple as asking them – but sometimes its not that simple and you have to go down the route of proving that that domain name is yours, and if your name is not the registrant then that gets a little bit harder, and if you don’t have invoices to prove you have paid for that domain name well life can get very sticky indeed! How about a rename rebrand?!

So what should you do

  • firstly find out who has access to your domain name,
  • then find out who the registrant is
  • if its NOT you – ask for that to be changed asap!
  • if it is you and you are happy you know who has it – you are good
  • if not – give me a call and I can help get your domain name back for you and into an account with someone you can trust!

Don’t ignore it and leave it until its too late!!

January 14th 2020 – Windows 7 is no more

One of my favourite Windows’ operating system – Windows 7 – will no longer be supported, will no longer have security updates, in fact it’ll be the end of Windows 7 as we know it.

January 14th, 2020 – an important date!

Why is this important?

We saw it with Vista and XP, as soon as Microsoft stopped supporting them and stopped creating security updates – it was open season for the hackers!

So please don’t leave yourself open to losing everything! Upgrade to Window’s 10 asap

And if you are not comfortable doing that – I can help – well actually Ann can! Ann and I have worked together for years, we support each other and so if you personal or business need a hand upgrading your systems to Windows 10 – give Ann a shout at YourITWorkplace.

Is your website slow… ?

In this day and age people always want things now, immediatly – we don’t like to wait. We are busy busy busy and need things now now now – mobile phones, tablets, ipads all of this technology means that so much is right at our fingers tips when we are out and about. Which is great – it means that your website has the ability to reach people wherever they are and whenever they want

BUT

If your website is slow to load – user be gone!

Yes we are still so very fickle – and impatient!

So how does YOUR website stand up to the speed test? Have YOU tried your website whilst out and about? How does it compare?

We have a number of tools available to us to test this “speed”, gtmetrix.com and tools.pingdom.com to name two. If you use either of them you will see heaps of information on the speed, with suggestions to make it faster. GREAT – well kind of…!

These tools are great – if you know how to read them – which isn’t always that simple – and sometimes we can spend £££ getting A ratings and making sure every line is crossed and i dotted – and still that often just isn’t enough! Don’t forget that the user end plays a bit part too – the broadband, wifi or phone signal people are using will also play a big part – but the user won’t think that – they won’t blame themselves – the’ll be off looking for a website that is faster than yours (if yours is too slow)

So what else can you do? Well check your web host

Yep sometimes you can do everything possible to make your website faster and it just doesn’t quite get there, its slow to work on.. its slow to load – everything you can do you have done – anything else you need to change your own website – so do you remove things from your site that might be helpful to your customers to satisfy the speed??

No you change your host (of course speaking to them first usually helps but in some hosting companies they are just not geared up for maximum speed).

So here are a couple of web hosts that I use that I have found to be great on speed:

  • Kualo – green web hosting – but also surprisingly spritely and great pricing too
  • Kinsta – this however is my go to web host for large sites that need speed! These guys do not do email – but boy do they do speed!

So if you have a website that you think is slow or could be faster, give me a call / email and lets have a chat and see if we can make it move up a gear!

Google reviews …. the link

It has been something that has bugged me for a while – why doesn’t Google make it simple for you to ask your customer for a Google review?

We all know that the more Google Reviews the better we are seen in Google – not sure why they make it difficult.. but anyway I finally had chance and a thought to see what I could find out.

Here is the answer

don’t forget this only will work if you have a Google place account for your business

1. First you need to find your place ID, go here Google Maps API – just click the link

2. Once there type in the search box for your company name.. in the map below you will see your name and your place ID

3. Copy that place ID ie ChIJ52jZaZCodkgRUglEXziSpzk

4. Then insert that ID into this link https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=

So I would get https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJ52jZaZCodkgRUglEXziSpzk

That’s it! Send that link to your customers and ask them kindly for a review

Updating facebook page map!

Sometimes the simplest things are not quite so simple!

For anyone else that is trying to work out how edit a page settings in facebook to change the map location, is not that simple!!

So I finally worked out how to sort it

Open Facebook and your business page
Go to Settings
The Page Info
Scroll to the location area
The insert the new address and postcode – this doens’t change the map though!! (obviously we are not on Google!)
Now on the map itself you need to drag the PIN and reposition it to the right location – don’t just drag the map or just change the address neither of those will work!
Its simpler to make the map zoom less so you can move the PIN further
Once done you are done

Only took me 3 goes to figure it out!! Move the pin not just the map itself!

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Testimonials

As a serial entrepreneur it is wonderful to have people in your team that you can rely on to get new ventures off the ground. Sarah’s ability to interpret my (often ill defined) ideas and design websites and other collateral is invaluable. I shall continue to work with her, and appreciate her feedback, for some time to come.

Caroline Billington – carolinebillington.co.uk