Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

4
Feb

WordPress Attack Alert

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon

Danger SignATTENTION WORDPRESS USERS – There is a brute force attack happening right now aimed at WordPress sites.  If you have a WordPress site, you need to make sure your site is secure and able to withstand an attack.

The goal of a brute  force attack is to find a vulnerability that can be exploited to use a website to send spam, host malicious content, steal your website data, spamvertise or use your website to attack other web sites.   If your site falls victim to one of these attacks it can cause your site run slower, be placed on spam lists that will affect the delivery of email from you or even have your site crash or be shut down by your server.  While no site is totally safe, there are some things you should do to make your site as secure as possible.

First, use strong passwords for your WordPress login.  That is the easiest way for someone to gain access to your site.  Make sure you use something other than Admin for your user name.  That’s been the default user name so changing it makes the login process more difficult.  A strong password should be a combination of upper and lower case letters plus numbers and symbols.  The longer the password string, the longer is it takes hacking software to run all the possible combinations against your login.

Secondly, make sure WordPress, your themes and plugins are up to date.  Because of the immense  popularity of WordPress, it’s become a favorite target for hackers.  Much like your anti-virus program on your computer is continually updating, so too is WordPress.  Some WordPress installations will automatically update when new versions are available, many don’t.  If you’re is one that doesn’t, you will need to manually update your WordPress version.  When you login to your WordPress dashboard, it will show you the version you are running as well as the current version available.  As of the time of this article, the current version is 4.2.2.

Before pushing the Update To Current Version button, READ ON!  As a general rule, updating to the latest version is as simple as pushing the button.  BUT, if you haven’t updated in a while, the automatic update can cause your site to crash.  While it can be recovered, it’s not something most people are comfortable doing.  The first thing you need to do is backup your site.  There are several WordPress plugins that will backup your site. Next, check your current version.  If you are running a version lower than 4.0, you may need to install older versions step by step.  Prior to 4.0,  Wordpress did not like skipping major versions (i.e version 3.3 could not be updated to 3.6 without installing the major releases in between).

Plugins on your site will also need to be updated.  On the Updates page in your WordPress dashboard, it will show the plugins that have a newer version available.  In the more recent WordPress release, the update list will show whether the plugin is compatible with the newest version or not.  If it show it is, install the plugin update.  If it doesn’t show that, you need to decide if it’s worth the risk to update.  Worst case scenario – installing an incompatible plugin can cause your site to not work properly.  I’ve seen blank pages, forms that didn’t send emails like before and even the site come up blank.  To be safe, install the plugins one by one, checking your site in between each update.

Updating your theme is another issue.  If your theme was not modified beyond the dashboard customizations, then it’s probably safe to update.  If you made changes directly to the code, you definitely DON’T want to update.  Updating will overwrite the existing code and lose any changes you had made.

Finally, install a security program to add another layer of protection to your site.  The plugin I prefer is Wordfence.  It allows you to throttle back page or login attempts when the happen.  I set the page views per minute to 10 or less.  I also limit the login attempts to 5 or less, locking out any attempts over that for a period of time.  Wordfence also sends warning notifications.  If you find an IP that has been temporarily lock, you can add that IP to your permanent block list which will prevent it from repeated attempts.  This is only a minor fix, since sophisticated hackers can use multiple IP addresses.

WordPress is a powerful web platform, with it’s versatility and ease of use, but with that comes the security risk.  Gone are the days of build you site and let the server security take care of the risks.  Today, you must take an active role in protecting your site.  Be vigil, you never know when someone is probing your site for an opening.

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24
Dec

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from 800biz

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year.  During this holiday season, I hope you take time to enjoy family and friends and also to reflect on the things we have to be thankful for.  Putting 2010 in the rear view mirror, we can look forward to a bright 2011.  May all your plans come to fruition and all your goals for the new year be exceeded.

Gary Wagnon
800biz.com

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17
May

Its Not About You

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon

One of the biggest challenge is I face when creating a website is the copy, what the website says. It’s almost funny but also tragic to see that most businesses don’t know how to explain what they do.

I think the issue is that we’re taught to be modest, not to brag or boast. But that is precisely what we need to do when we talk about our website. If you don’t tell the browser why you are special, where your strengths lie, how do you expect them to know? And when they go to your competitor, and they do, guess who’s getting the business? Not you!

But the secret lies a little deeper than just telling people what you do. The key is to tell the browser, your potential customer or client, why what you do best is exactly what they want. Where so many businesses fail in their copy is in the “We” syndrome. We offer the best widget. Our service is second to none. Our attention to detail,  we treat customers like family. Blah blah blah.

Guess what? Your customer doesn’t care! Plus, your competitor says the same thing. All your customer wants to know is what’s in it for them. How does your widget make their life easier? What is your extraordinary service going to do for them?

Use action words. Paint your customer a picture of your business your product or your service. If they can see their self in the words you say, your chances of success just improved greatly.

Let me give you an example. I recently redesigned the site for visualimagesproduction.com.  My goal here is was not only increasing search engine ranking but also generating a greater call to action and ultimately more sales. Below is an excerpt from the homepage.

“When you choose Visual Images Productions, you can be assured your video will take you back to the momentous occasion for years to come. Relive the emotions. Every time you watch your Visual Images Production video, you are magically transported back to celebrate all over again. “

The image here is reliving the special occasion over and over again, because isn’t that what a video is for.

Whether your writing a description for your website, a direct mail piece, a newsletter or any other communication with customers, make sure you speak to them.

When you’re in a conversation with someone, do you find them more interesting if they talk about themselves incessantly? Or do you find them more interesting because they listen with interest and questioning about you? I’m reminded of the story of a man on a first date with a young lady and after several minutes of talking about himself he stopped and said to his date, “Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What you think about me?”

The bottom line is this. Tell people how your business can make their life easier, how your product can save them time, money, stress or whatever it might be. When you do you set yourself apart from the masses, because it’s not about you.

Gary Wagnon and 800biz.com have over 10 years experience in website design, search engine optimization and social media marketing. With over 30 years in business and consulting, we understand your business needs and partner with you to grow your business.

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14
Aug

Branding Can Be Painless

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon

Branding – no I’m not talking about using a red hot iron. The kind of branding I’m talking about large companies have been doing for years. But now small businesses are beginning to understand the value.

Branding Your Business

Branding Your Business

Your brand is your business identity. Done properly, consumers don’t even need to see your business name to recognize your business. I’m going to date myself and for some of you youngsters, you may not recognize these. For the rest of you, see how many of these you can guess.

Stronger Than Dirt

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

A little dab will do ya.

Where’s the beef?

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking

Every things better with ____________ on it

Okay youngsters – here are a couple for you.

Just Do It

_____ gives you wings

Your in good hands with _____

Many of these slogans are decades old but you can instantly recall the company it represents. That’s Branding!

You are probably saying, “My business doesn’t have a huge advertising budget nor a Madison Avenue Ad agency to create catchy slogans.” That’s correct but for a local business, a catchy slogan isn’t the only way to create branding. Diversity and consistency are.

Consistency means using the same company identity in everything you do. Your website should have the same look as your business cards which should match your company vehicles, which should match your brochures and print advertising. The goal of consistency is to have instant recognition of your business without having to see the name.

I will cover diversity in the next post so stay tuned.

800biz.com is a website design company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and online marketing.  For more information visit our website at www.800biz.com.  To findo our how to reach local customers in the zip codes you want to target,  visit www.localadlink101.com

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31
Mar

Get Out Your Referral Nets

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon Tags: ,

You’re going to need one to catch all the business that will come your way. Chose referral marketing as your primary advertising, and watch your business grow into the whale you know it will be.

Referral marketing is about getting great recommendations from those you who know you. Let them make the introductions, and then make these people happy, too. Create relationships. Offer help. Be sincere.

Once you have a strong foundation, keep in touch. Regularly let them know they can ask for help anytime. Remind them of this in a meaningful way, and you’ll stay on their minds, bringing you even more business.

See how this works? Before you know it, you’ll have a huge group of business prospects who will take your calls.

These people are priceless.

Do you have a system for staying on their minds? Regular contact creates trusting relationships. Relationships are what bring business your way.

OK. Now you’re on board with the necessity, how can you make this happen?

The Mechanics of Keeping in Touch

Be honest. How many relationships can you pay attention to at any one time? Count them up. Short of giving up sleep, I’ll bet no more than 30 or 40 quality and interactive relationships are all you can manage.

Need to find the time to do this? How about substituting endless phone calls and lunches with personal cards sent through the mail?

Studies show that greeting cards are the best way to keep in touch and show sincere interest in people.  Who in the business world does THAT? Not many.

Ever get a card from a dentist thanking you for letting them clean your teeth? You mean money to them, and should show appreciation for your business. I’ll bet you’d be a loyal patient and refer them to all your friends.

How do you feel when you get an unexpected card in the mail? It puts that person in your thoughts. When it happens on a regular basis, and they’ll be on your mind when other’s need what they have.
See where this is going? See why card sending is such an integral piece of a strong but simple marketing program?

Painlessly and Inexpensively Make This Happen

Here’s a story from the owner of one of the biggest law firms in Chicago. David employs a full-time assistant whose sole job is to send 6,000 cards per month to clients. Can you imagine how much work that took?

That poor assistant had to:

  1. Keep a schedule of who to send cards to and when
  2. Manage an inventory of note cards
  3. Hand write individual messages
  4. Get the boss’ signature on each one
  5. Stuff envelopes
  6. Buy and apply stamps
  7. Get cards to the post office

A chunk of this had to happen every day. It did not come cheap. Between supplies, stamps and his assistant’s salary, David was spending about $10,000 a month on cards.

Why do you think David wanted to send all those cards in the first place? They built his multi-million dollar legal business! He kept in touch with clients who loved his services and sent referrals to him.

How’d you like an enormous business like that built on a “house of cards”??

You Don’t Have to Have a Personal
Assistant to Send Out Your Cards

Here’s YOUR process. Run to the store, find a card, pay up to $5 for it, write a message, search for their address, put the card in an envelope, find a stamp and run it to the post office. Whew! No wonder most of us don’t send cards!

How about if we streamline the process? Here you go!

Online greeting cards!

  • Send real cards, in your own handwriting from your computer, click your mouse and let a card company print it, stamp it (with a real stamp), and take it to the post office for you.
  • Better yet, what if you could send a series of personalized, heartfelt cards over a period of time, with one click of a mouse?
  • You can even do this over and over with the same card and the same basic message, but your recipient only sees that it was written just for them.

You just created personal greeting cards in a matter of minutes.

Imagine the number of people that you could be able to stay in touch with, not to mention the number of referrals that would flood your way because of all this contact!

Some of you may have heard there is a recession going on (it’s been in all the papers!)  But since November, my business has skyrocketed!  This little card service increased my business by 200% during a time when everyone is pinching pennies. I share it with all my clients and it’s working its magic for them too.

See for yourself. Go to:
www.unlimited-referrals.com

Try it out. Give me a call at 520-861-4821. I’ll answer questions or walk you through the process if needed.

I’ll warn you now, the biggest problem for system users is picking out the card you want to send. You’ve got 14,000 cards in the company’s inventory AND an unlimited number you can create with your own pictures. Making up your mind is the tough part!

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Walter Hailey was a mediocre life insurance salesman until he developed a system to generate more referrals.  His simple system generated more the a billion dollars in sales in 8 years.  So what was this business changing system — he went to people he paid money to and asked them for referrals to their other clients and customers.

Think about it.  If you approached your accountant or insurance agent and asked for referrals do you think they would say “No”?  You pay money to them to provide you with products and/or services and they feel an obligation to help you.  Do you think these would be good quality referrals?  Of course they would.

This might be awkward to do in person, so here’s an easy system to help speed the process along.  Use a greeting card.  Make up a card with your picture and ask for referrals in a professional and  dignified way.  Send one to every person you spend money with.

SendOutCards is the perfect tool to help you automate this system, as well as other traffic generating ideas.  For a free test drive, visit my web site at www.unlimited-referrals.com.  The information you fill in is kept strictly private and only I see it.  Send a couple of free cards on me.  Or give me a call and I will walk you through the process, answer any questions and help you get started.

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We send and receive emails by the dozens in a day.  Text messages fly through the airwaves with the greatest of ease.  It takes only a few minutes to send a email or text message.  So we think we are doing so well when we communicate with our customers that way.  Or even better, we let our customers know how much we appreciate them with an email or fax.  Now that’s personal!

But when it comes to appreciation and building solid relationships, progress is not always a good thing.  How many emails did you delete today?  How many voice mails did you erase?  If you want to truly be remembered for your thoughtfulness, mail a personalized greeting card.  Statistics from the US Postal Service says that less than 30% of the people expect to get anything personal in their mail.  So imagine how impressive it will be when they receive a greeting card from you.  And if the card has their picture on it, that card is never going to get thrown out.  It will stay on their refrigerator or desk, reminding them of you every time they look at it.

If you would like the ability to create personal greeting cards using your own photos, handwriting and signature, contact me for a free test drive.

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13
Jan

The Power of the Unexpected Act of Appreciation

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon

Have you ever had someone give you a gift or do something nice for you?  What was your reaction?  It’s human nature to want to do something in nice in return.  If it’s in the context of business, we want to do something for that business.  Businesses often send a “Thank You” letter or card after a sale.  But how many send a card of appreciation 6 months or a year later?  Oh, we are good about saying we appreciate your business and we have a special sale right now so give us some more of your business.  Those are the cards and letters that get tossed in file 13 as just another piece of junk mail.  What I’m talking about is sending a card or note to say “I appreciate you and am honored you choose to do business with me.”  This unexpected act of appreciation is a powerful tool.  Will you get a response every time you send one?  Of course not, but the effect is long term and long lasting.  Human nature kicks in and they want to return the gesture.  That may mean actively referring you to friends or co-workers, or maybe making that purchase now instead of in the future.

So why don’t more of businesses do this?  The answer is time.  It’s a time consuming process.  It’s hard to track and manage.  So while everyone agrees it’s a good idea, most businesses never do it.  But there is a service that is quick and easily manageable.  If you would like to see  just how easily you can start putting appreciation to work for you, give me a call or email.  I will arrange a 10 minute demonstration for you.

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Given the choice, which is more valuable to have — a prospect from an ad or a referral from a satisfied client or customer?  In my case, I will take the referral every time.  My credibility is much higher and the chances of closing a sales is far greater.  In today’s economy, the new business is much harder to come by so you need every edge you can gain.   Referrals give you the edge over the competition.

I recently read an incredible book titled, “The Referral of a Lifetime” by Tim Templeton.  It teaches a system to develop your relationships and cultivate a limitless source of referrals.  One key component is the “Keeping in Touch” phase.  “Business happens on a personal level after a professional impression has been made.”  When was the last time you read a newsletter from your CPA or someone else you do business with.  But if they remembered your birthday by sending a card, that makes an impression.  What if they sent you a card thanking you for your business through the years?  You are much more likely to refer them to your friends and/or customers.

The second phase is the “Web of Appreciation”.  If someone that you sent gave a referral to sent you not only a card of thanks but a gift, you would be impressed, appreciative and, more likely than not, you would  send more referrals their way.

The key to creating a system like this is it must be automated.  Most business people are already pressed for time and can’t find the time to manage a cumbersome system, so it won’t happen.

SendOutCards is the perfect answer.  You can automate your cards, even scheduling a series of cards to send at regular intervals.  SendOutCards has an assortment of gifts and gift cards you can include with your card, in any price range, from a $5 Starbucks or BlockBuster Gift card to gift baskets and gourmet foods.  All from your computer and sent in less the 2 minutes.  Test drive the service by sending a couple of free cards on me by going to www.sendoutcards.com/800biz.

If you would like to download a recap of this book, click here.

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Do you dread the task of sending holiday cards?  How would you like to send out all your cards in five minutes?  With SendOutCards, you can do just that.  Put all your addresses in a spreadsheet format and upload them to your SendOutCards account.  Create your holiday card with your own photo and  personal message in your own handwriting and signature.  Select everyone that you want to send a card to and click send.  Your cards will be printed, stuffed, stamped and mailed for you.

If you would like to try SendOutCards, give me a call and I will set up a free test account for you.  Or you can visit my web site www.sendoutcards.com/800biz and click the big Send A Free Card button.

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