Great Website Hosting : InMotion Hosting

Great Website Hosting : InMotion Hosting

Choosing Your Website Host is Critical

There are so many pieces to a great WordPress website. The WP version, PHP, theme, plugins, images, content, videos… all contribute to the website’s performance.

But even if everything is optimized as much as possible, if your server isn’t performing, the site will still not serve as quickly as possible.

I’ve tried many server hosts in the last decade, and my favorite so far is undeniably  InMotion Hosting.

InMotion Hosting

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

A Little About InMotion Hosting

Joining me on the BeBizzy Break Podcast toay was Robert Hood, Assistant Product Line Manager for both WordPress and Dedicated Hosting.   

InMotion Hosting is a hosting company based in Virginia Beach, VA. They do have satellites in Los Angelas and Denver.

Support Is a Focus for InMotion

  • Agents are trained by agents who have been on the support floor for months, even years.
  • Agents are continuously trained to support new issues or to better handle customer requests.

Some technical info

  • All hard drives are Samsung SSDs
  • Intel-based CPUs
  • CentOS operating systems. No Windows support at this point. 
  • Redundant, secure server locations in Los Angelas and Virginia.
  • Caching – NGNIX
    • NGNIX is a proxy-cache, so the site is served from memory instead of the hard drive. 
    • NGNIX can be turned on or off.

What Are People Looking For In A Server Host

  • Price
  • Technology
  • Support – they are there 24×7, 365 days.
  • Uptime, as for most hosts is 99.9% uptime goal.
    • Dedicated staff of support people watching the server environment at all times controlling 

Hosting Types

Hosting is similar to where you live. 

  • Shared Hosting – Apartment. Communal system sharing resources like water, power, trash. You are dependent on everyone else on that server to be responsible for bandwidth and malware.
  • VPS Hosting – Townhome. Technically connected, but your own water, power, privacy, etc. Your site can still be dependent on others being responsible, but you are insulated a bit.
  • Dedicated Hosting – Private home. You have control over basically everything. You have your server resources, your bandwidth, etc.

Support Types

  • Basic Support
    • Available 24×7 – 265
    • Handles almost 95% of the issues you encouter
  • Advanced Product Support (Robert used to be the manager of this support team)
    • Junior system admins
    • Higher degree of training
    • Assigned to VPS-3000 customer or dedicated box
    • They have resources available to help, but generally an agent owns an issue from start to finish; no hand-offs.
  • Paid Support Teams
    • WTR Team – Website Transfer Team
      • Get some time with that when you spin up a new server
      • Available at later times for more transfers
  • Managed Hosting Team
    • For-hire system admins
    • Bye per-hour or subscription programs 
    • Help with setup, custom configuration, advanced issues.

My experience with InMotion Hosting has been incredible. They are competitively priced, have updated technology, and superior support. If you’re looking for a better host for your WordPress site, InMotion Hosting is my recommendation. 

Where are you hosting your website? Leave it @BeBizzy on Twitter!

InMotion Hosting

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

Speeding Up Your WordPress Site With WP-Rocket

What is WP Rocket?

WP Rocket is a caching and optimization plugin that takes the code, content, images, videos and other pieces of your website and finds a faster way to present them to your website visitors. That can be storing them on their computers or on a CDN (content data network). It can be combining or moving CSS and javascript files to minimize the time spend processing the code. It can be reducing the number of calls made off the server to Google or other sites.

WP Rocket does all of this, with about ten minutes of setup and a few bucks. Speaking of a few bucks… if you want to purchase WP Rocket, go to bebizzy.com/rocket and get started today!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How Can WP Rocket Speed Up My Website?

There’s only so much you can do technically to increase your website speed. Load times are based on server response times, bandwidth, hard drive speeds… and then it’s down to the software. 

CDNs and optimized code definitely help but eventually you’re down to leaning on more involved 

Features

  • Basic setup was done in about 10 minutes.  Advanced setup, configuration and testing can take additional time, but all options are pretty much toggled on/off.
  • Page caching
    Really decreases page load time by serving up indexed and cached items.
  • Preloading
    Because the crawler simulates a visit to preload the cache, the indexing of your website by search engines is instantly improved.
  • Sitemap loading
  • GZIP Compression
    WP Rocket compresses HTML, CSS, javascript and other code to optimize it by decreasing the size.
  • Browser Caching
    Modern browsers can look for the same photo, video, HTML code and other pieces of a website faster locally that it can sending requests to a website. WP Rocket helps optimize that.
  • Database optimization
    WP Rocket helps clean up databases and make them run more efficiently.
  • Google fonts
    Decreases the requests for unused fonts by only grabbing what is needed to properly display on the site.
  • Remove query strings from Static Resources
    Improves load time and testing scores by removing query strings from CSS and JS files.
  • Lazyload images and videos
    Images and other content doesn’t load until it becomes evident the visitor wants or needs them.
  • Defer Javascript
    Load JS files at the bottom of the page unless necessary elsewhere. This speeds up the page by not loading code before visible items.
  • CDN
    I have mine connected to my Stackpath CDNs, but Cloudflare and other URLS are easily inserted in the settings.
  • Works with eCommerce

Pricing 

All pricing for WP Rocket is on an annual basis to keep updates and support access. You could allow the plugin to lapse, but as WordPress, PHP versions, your themes, your other plugins and more advance the plugin may not work as intended and also become a security issue.

  • $49 for one site
  • $99 for three sites (annual)
  • $249 for unlimited websites

Some other features

  • Works for multi-lingual sites
  • Works in multisite environments
  • You can turn on and off features to connected users with a simple toggle button
  • All features of the plugin can work on mobile without additional programming or configuration.

Support is email support. Only sent one ticket but got a response in about two hours, which is decent.

If you’re looking to speed up your WordPress site, I can’t recommend WP Rocket enough! Head over to https://bebizzy.com/rocket and get signed up.

Do you use WP Rocket or another caching pluging? Leave me comments @BeBizzy on Twitter!

WP Rocket

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Elegant Theme’s DIVI WordPress Theme – with Keegan Lanier

Elegant Theme’s DIVI WordPress Theme – with Keegan Lanier

Why is the Divi WordPress Theme so good?

Divi WordPress ThemeThere are thousands and thousands of WordPress themes available to you as a company or developer. But Elegant Themes has done a great job developing a very versatile theme called Divi which allows dynamic content creation and manipulation of images and other content.

Keegan Lanier of Keegan Lanier Media joins me to discuss WordPress, the history of Divi, and what’s on the horizon for our favorite way to build a website. 

Interested in trying Divi? Head over to the Elegant Themes site

Discussing Divi with Keegan Lanier

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

What is Divi?


Divi WordPress Theme

WordPress themes are an easy way to change the look and function of a website. Laying new themes and layouts over the top of existing content can drastically improve how a site looks and feels, reacts to mobile devices and works on certain servers.

The Divi theme has been available for about five years now, and we are right on the verge of version 4.0 being released on October 17th. Over the last few years it has made great strides in how site content is created, edited and displayed with it’s classic back end builder and now the visual builder, which essentially lets the user drag and drop content where it needs to be seen.

The Visual Builder

At the core of Divi 3.0 is the visual builder. It’s a way to build and edit the website “live,” as you see it in the browser. Images can be resized, text can be edited/added, column sizes can be increased and decreased with changes in padding. Just about anything you would like to do to a website can be done visually.

What’s Coming In 4.0?

  • Better header/footer creation
  • Woocommerce and other major plugin layouts and implementation across the platform
  • Theme Builder, which in addition to the Woocommerce info above, can be used across the site to quickly change how multiple pages look and work, making redesigns much easier and faster.
  • Global defaults to change how a button and other modules look on many, or even EVERY page.
  • Dynamic content. Have great content and data in a database or another site? Put it in your Divi site with just a few clicks. This has been available for nearly a year, but 4.0 will make it extremely useful. 

Both Keegan and I, along with thousands of other Divi fans, are patiently awaiting the new Divi launch. Keep in touch by listening to the BeBizzy Break Podcast, and also the Divi Addicts podcast hosted by Keegan. I’m sure we will post the good, and probably a little bad, when it launches and as it progresses. 

Have any questions or suggestions on using the Divi WordPress theme? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Discussing Divi with Keegan Lanier

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

Squirrly – SEO WordPress Plugin

Squirrly – SEO WordPress Plugin

Squirrly Uses Intelligence To Assist Your Content Creation

Anyone who creates content for websites knows writing for the computer and for your visitors can be a tough challenge. The information must be easily indexed by Google, and easy to consume by readers, and sometimes that is difficult. 

SEO WordPress plugins can help with that challenge, and Squirrly promises to provide the assistance in easy to consume, easy to use information. 

Managing Your SEO with Squirrly

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

What is Squirrly?

Florin Mureasan, CEO of Squirrly, joined me on the BeBizzy Break podcast to discuss his program.

Squirrly is a fairly new WordPress seo plugin which was initially designed to be a different SEO plugin. 

Built in it has features like :

  • Live Assistant to check your content live while you enter it
  • Keyword Research which suggests different keywords and keyword combinations
  • SEO Auditing to analyze the page and suggest edits
  • SERP checker similar to SEMRush, Moz and other tools

Squirrly is intended building SEO strategy instead of just some basic SEO data.

How does it compare to large tools like SEMRush or MOZ?

Tools like SEMRush does everything, including multiple domains, competitive research, and more. But Squirrly uses SEMRush as some keyword data points. 

One of the things that makes this tool different is the ability to suggest long-tail keywords. SEMRush cannot do that, especially live.

How is the changing SEO algorythm 

How does the stricter Google algorythm change how data is 

When Google became more complicated, it helped Squirrly in that deep-diving tools were needed to suggest content and meta data edits. And Google search console has some great data, and some of it is used inside Squirrly to provide tips on how to massage the content. 

Seo CroppedCompared to Yoast – the SEO plugin big dog

Here’s what you can’t do in Yoast but can do in Squirrly

  • Build keyword portfolio
  • Check rankings
  • Manage and suggest keywords
  • Audit the website
  • Find keywords
  • See trends in keyword searches

Squirrly looks at all the ranking factors and can do it virtually in real time

What are Focus Pages?

Focus pages are website pages you can mark as important. Up to seven page per site initially can be designated as “focus” pages. This portion of the tool takes a very deep dive into the technical aspects of the page, meta data, images and content and provides a very detailed list of edits to make to make it more easily consumed by Google and other search engines.

The way this work is to find the most important, get them ranked, and then move on to the next group.

How can I migrate from another WordPress SEO Plugin?

This was extremely easy. When you install the plugin and start the wizard, it asks to import data from Yoast, All In On SEO, or my SEO plugin, SEO Framework (see our review of all of these tools at Episode 89). It works in conjunction with these other tools to make sure everything is set up correctly and to offer some assistance when it isn’t. 

If set up properly, the plugin will not interfere what is already there unless you choose to do so.

Anything else?

  • Keyword Research – This was a focus since day 1. Suggesting long tail keywords, or even better short keywords, the keyword research tool can provide better ways to feature your content.
  • Keyword Briefcase – Store great keywords you find during research for later use.

How much is it?

There are three pricing levels of Squirrly?

The start with a free version, which allows one focus page some keyword searches and more. If additional websites and focus pages will be needed, there are Pro and Business account levels available. 

I’m hooked… how can I sign up?

Check out Squirrly by going to the website (https://plugin.squirrly.co). Pricing is available at https://plugin.squirrly.co/squirrly-seo-pricing/.

And you can always reach out via Twitter @SquirrlyHG.

Need help with your WordPress SEO strategy? Contact BeBizzy Consulting today and let’s get you found!

Have any questions or suggestions on Squirrly or WordPress SEO plugins in general? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Managing Your SEO with Squirrly

by BeBizzy Consulting | BeBizzy Break Podcast

How To Choose and Use WordPress Plugins

How To Choose and Use WordPress Plugins

WordPress Plugins

One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress to build and manage your website is plugins. These small pieces of code can greatly increase the functions and benefits of your WordPress site, but it’s not without some risk. 

John Overall of WP Plugins from A-Z joins me on the BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode #85 to discuss WordPress plugins and a few other subjects. 

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Some Basic Info on WordPress Plugins

Plugins are really just compiled code that can easily be installed and used on your website. Most are very small and only get loaded when they are used on a page. However, some, like Woocommerce and some contact form plugins are very large and often load on all pages whether they get used or not, so be careful on how many you install and run.

Currently there are nearly 55,000 plugins available in the WordPress repository in just about any function you can imagine.

The repository contains links and information to free plugins, with paid plugins available directly from the developer, CodeCanyon, and a variety of other places. 

How to Select a Plugin

Searching for a plugin can yield hundreds of potential suitors for the job. Some detective work and maybe even some “live” testing may be required to find the right plugin. 

John has set up some “sandbox” websites that only serve as test beds for plugins and themes. This is a great suggestion, or you can use a development area for the actual site if you have that available to you. 

It’s not recommended that you test a plugin on a live site unless absolutely necessary. It can cause the site to not display correctly, or be totally down. 

And also be advised there are three different types of plugins in regards to cost, free, premium, and freemium. Free is free. No cost, just download and use. Premium will cost you up front before you install. Large, often popular plugins like Gravity Forms are included in this model. The third is “freemium” where you will be given the plugin for free for a short time, then you have to pay to use it after the trial period. 

Potential Issues Installing Plugins on Your Site

Before we go too far, this is a great time for me to snap in my weekly plug for backups. Back up your site BEFORE you install any plugins or themes just in case.

Like anything you install on a website, plugin code can cause some undesired results on the website. Collisions with other code can affect CSS, some themes, the working of other plugins, and even the dreaded “white screen of death” on your WordPress site. 

Also, free can come with some security issues. While the WordPress repository does a great job of monitoring and screening plugins before they get into the wild, sometimes malware finds a way into a plugin. This also can occur on paid plugins, but it’s less of a chance. 

Really what is comes down to is a couple of things.

  • When was the plugin last updated.
  • What versions of PHP or WordPress has it been tested with.
  • Read the reviews to see if the plugin was well-received by other users.
  • John suggested typing the plugin name into Google followed by the word “sucks”.

Keep in mind, WordPress is a free CRM. Out of the box it is very secure, but as you add themes, private code, or plugins you can open it up to potentially being exploited.

When asked if there is a number of plugins that is too many, John responded with “No.” It comes down to if all of the plugins can run well with each other, causes the page to load slowly, and can harm the user experience.

Go-To Plugins That We Use on Every Site

I use several plugins on nearly every website I develop. John also has a list of about ten or so plugins that go on his sites.  

  • Wordfence : security plugin that has a free or premium service. Even the free version does a great job of locking down the site
  • UpdraftPlus : A GREAT backup system that allows you to back up to the WordPress install, a Dropbox folder, an FTP location, and several other options. 
  • Gravity Forms : Versatile form builder
  • A CDN plugin – I use a CDN to make the website load faster for the visitor.
  • MainWP : I manage dozens of websites, so MainWP is very useful to track updates to all of the plugins.
  • WPMU Smush Pro : great image optimization plugin

Some Final Thoughts on WordPress Plugins

  • Don’t be afraid to use them.
  • The will save tons of time.
  • Don’t be stuck on the free version.
  • Don’t get married to a plugin. Sometimes you have to move to a new, better plugin.
  • Don’t be afraid of the research to find and implement the right plugin.
  • Listen to shows like the BeBizzy Break Podcast and WP Plugins from A-Z to learn about good, and bad, plugins.

WP Plugins from A-Z and Other John Overall Projects

If you are managing a WordPress website for you or for clients I would encourage you to add John Overall’s WP Plugins from A-Z to your rotation. He reviews five or so plugins on every episode and gives some real-world ratings on whether that plugin will be useful. 

At JohnOverall.com he also serves his development, hosting and recovery clients.

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

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

It’s a scam!

itsascamI received an email through my contact form today from “Carl” or “Amos.”

Hello, how are you doing today? My name is Carl Amos, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.Thanks Amos

Sounds good if you’re a web designer, right? Here’s a tip… it’s a scam.

Just Like Superman 3

Back a few years ago in December 2016 I received a similar email message, except the website product was gacillia nuts.  They wanted a website, provided very few details at first, and wanted to know if I accepted credit cards.

When you respond that you do indeed accept credit cards, you get some more information. Here’s the email I received:

Thank you for your quick response. I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in IN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible.DEMO_WEBSITE_URL_REMOVED... I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.
1. I want 10pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as DOMAIN_NAME_REMOVED
4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of 2 to 3months.
7. My budget is $6,000 to $12,000
8. Give me your personal cell phone number
9. Are you the Owner

office-space-printer-scene-amazonHere’s the flags:

  • Usually an “importer” of products, either hairdryers or gacillia nuts.
  • The scam almost always seems to be 10 pages.
  • Only English language.
  • The sample domain name they send always gets an error that it cannot find the server, even though they say in the email they would like a domain “like XXXXXX.com.”
  • Hint in one of the first emails that they already have a graphic designer or project manager that will need to be paid.

Here’s where it gets weird.

I sent a response back to CarlAmos, asking if I should build a site like this? THIS being a link to a website documenting this exact scam. CarlAmos responded with “Yes, that’s it!” and asked for an estimate. 

If you pursue this little game a little further, the actual scam comes to light. The scammer, CarlAmos in this movie, has an associate who is a project manager, graphic designer, or content developer. CarlAmos will pay you whatever your estimate is, plus a little bit more via the credit card. In turn, you have to write a check to the PM/GD/CD that works for them. They won’t sign a contract, won’t fill out a 1099 as an independent contractor, nothing. Just cut them a check and keep the rest. 

What happens next is how they make their money. You wrote a check to pay their contractor. That check is cashed for real money, not deposited. They will then do a chargeback on the credit card transaction, which withdraws the money from your account, you pay a chargeback fee/fine, and when you try to stop payment on the check (which has a fee associated with it), the check’s already been cashed so they have their money. You’re out the initial payment, the money in the check and the chargeback fee. That might leave a mark…

Luckily I’ve seen this movie before, might have been Superman 3, and knew it was rotten. I’m most likely going to just let this go, and then maybe send CarlAmos this link so they know I’m on to them and they can remove me from the list. 

In the past when I’ve pushed them to get on a call to discuss I’ve gotten a response that they have a hearing impairment and rather than going through a relay service, it’s best to communicate via email or text. That’s B.S., they just don’t want to talk face to face and have the curtain pulled back when you can hide behind email. 

too-good-to-be-trueBut here’s the reason I posted this today… if something seems a little to good to be true, it probably is. I’m a small web design firm in North Dakota. Sure, I’ve done work for companies in New York, San Diego, LA, Boston, Austin and more, but to get a guy from IN (India?) wanting a website built for him, an importer, just triggered a few warning bells.

Take a few moments to qualify your potential client. Get the company name, look everything up, including the content of the email, and see if anything weird pulls up. Sometimes it hurts to walk away from potential business, but in cases like this it’s a good decision.

UPDATE 7/2/2019 – I got a NEW variant of this scam.

Hello Sir/Madam ,

This David Serrano from Kirkland Shipping,We looking for laptop computers to purchase for our new business branch and want to know if you have them available in stock or can either custom order them for us.We also do have specifications we would like the computers to come with and also if you can tell us how much a laptop with these specifications is going to cost for plus tax…Here are the specifications below

    • An i7 Core Processor
    • 16gb of Memory
    • 1tb of Hard drive or 512 SSD
    • Screen Size can either be 13′ , 14′ or 15.6′
    • Must come with a Touch Screen and a backlit Keyboard
    • Either a windows 10 Home premium or Professional
    • Brands can either be Dell ,Apple,Hp or Lenovo

NB : Also advise me if you do take credit card payment , Thank You

UPDATE 7/23/2019 – This weekend I received a message from another WordPress developer who thanked me for posting this information, and relayed his story, which was very similar to the gacillia nuts request I received months ago.

I need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible.https://attra.ncat.org….The site would only be informational,so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out,the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant,he has the text content and the logos for the site.
FMT3.

1. I want the same number of pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language.u
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as farmsproducts.co.
4. you will be updating the site for me.
5. i will be proving the images, logos and content for thesite.
6. i want the site up and running before my return

The developer got a little nervous and did some Google searches, stumbling on my podcast and blog post. Luckily he realized it was a scam and he pulled the plug. A win for the good guys!

Have you been sent this scam or something similar? Let me know @BeBizzy on Twitter!

How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

What Are WordPress Plugins?

Plugins are a powerful way to add functionality and uniqueness to your website. They range from Free, to free with premium (Freemium), or a paid model.

Most plugins are created by solo plugin developers, but a few are created by large theme and plugin houses. Because of this, expect a wide variety of support models

Some common front-end uses for plugins include calendars, contact forms, social media displays, content display like videos, image galleries and sound, sliders, and much more

But did you know there were quite a few administrative plugins for things like user management, security, SSL migration, analytics, database management, caching and a ton more.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

What are the benefits?

  • Plugins are easy to install – Search the WordPress plugin repository, or just click “Add New” in the plugins menu, install, activate and configure. The entire process can take as little as two minutes.
  • Big cost savings on custom development or programming – With just a few clicks something that can take days, or even weeks to develop can be added to a site.
  • Plugins are powerful – CDN plugins can add speed to a website. Contact forms can add lead generation to a site. Calendars can increase engagement and make it easy to distribute events. Social media plugins can bring in posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms, and can make it easy to share on these networks. All of this functionality would take a much greater amount of time to develop by hand instead of using WordPress plugins.
  • WordPress security – WordPress by itself is fairly secure. If you use a good password, have it installed on a decent host with a good username/password there, and take a few other precautions your site will be protected. However, if you really want to lock down admin access, make secure & frequent backups, or really shore up your security, plugins are a great way to do so.
    • Good backups and great passwords are still the best thing you can do, in my opinion.

But what are the possible issues with WordPress plugins?

  • Malware – There are some plugins that have been developed by some programmers with less-than-positive intentions. Backdooors and even malware programmed right into the software do happen.
  • Must be maintained – As you add plugins to the website it’s important to know maintenance becomes more important. Keeping the plugins, the theme and the WordPress core is valuable to keeping the site secure and running as it should. However, sometimes and update to one plugins and conflict with others, so running backups is very important.
  • Can be exploited – If a plugin is “abandoned,” meaning no longer updated, or even if a plugin is poorly programmed it can open a hole to bad actors. Keep you plugins updated to make sure you are as protected as possible and if a plugin has been abandoned for a significant amount of time, try to find a similar solution, or even  try to find a developer to fix or edit the current plugin.
  • Unused or Deactivated Plugins are Still Vulnerable – Just because you’re not using a plugin, or even if you deactivated it, the code is still vulnerable and could be exploited. Once you stop using a plugin, deactivate it in your Plugin directory, then delete it from the server to avoid potential issues.

Tips on selecting good plugins

  • Research the best plugin options – Google has tons of articles on the “Best WordPress Plugins for …” often with the most current year attached. You don’t want a list from 2012, as things have changed quite a bit in the last six or seven years. See what everyone else is using and what the pros and cons are of using each plugin.
  • Review WordPress Plugin repository Information – Each plugin has a page in the repository.  They will have a 1-5 star rating, when it was last updates, how many times it’s been installed, what version of WordPress it’s been test on, reviews, how to install, and links to support. If any of this information causes concern proceed with caution or find a different solution.
  • Be Prepared to Retreat – Sometimes installing a new plugin causes unforeseen issues with your theme or other installed plugins on the website, so be prepared to deactivate the plugins, or in the event of a catastrophic issue, restore a backup. It’s recommended to install in test environments if possible, or on the live site when the site it’s being used at its peak.
  • Try several plugins – Since most plugins are free, it’s ok to try several until you find one that meets your needs. Just remember to deactivate and delete the ones you aren’t using to keep the site safe.

Plugins are a great way to make WordPress a powerful, secure environment. With just a little bit of care, and some selective processes in finding the best plugin you can make your WordPress as good as it can possibly be.

Have any questions or comments on WordPress plugins? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Mind Maps Make Meetings Better (and more productive)

Every have to take meeting notes?

How about use the meeting as problem solving method? And everyone sits in a room to defend their business silo, but no one wants to talk about the primary issue that needs to be addressed?

Well using mind maps might be the way to draw out the best solutions from the group.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

What is Mind Mapping

  • Way of visually getting ideas you don’t know are in your head or trapped in a team and representing them in an easy to use format of subjects, ideas and sub-ideas.
  • Essientially here’s how it works
    • Start with a main topic or issue, the Subject. Say, SEO for Website
    • Start populating the second level, or Ideas, with possible issues or groupings of drill-down items. In this case. Internal teams, External Resources, Training, Measurement Criteria, Other Items, etc.
    • Then, inside each of these ideas, there are sub-ideas, resource details, questions to ask, action items, etc.
      • All of these can usually be signified in the software with either custom icons like a checkbox, question mark, etc, or with different text colors.
    • Each of the Ideas start a branch of “bubbles” on the mind map, which then branch out again, and even again if necessary. All of this forms an easy to use diagram, which in many cases can be converted to a more traditional outline format if needed. 

Why is Mind Mapping Better Than Plain Old Words?

  • Ever try to add an item in a traditionally list on paper or a white board? Your options are to erase and move items, add it to the bottom and signify it needs to be somewhere else, or draw an impromptu mind map with lines, bubbles and some text anyway.
  • Humans consume visual data quicker and better than plain text. Ever wonder why TV and magazines and of course, the web, have ousted newspapers? Highly visual and easily consumed ideas instead of long, wordy sentences. 
  • Mind Mapping encourages grouping of ideas and expanding on those ideas, whereas simple text can be limited by the format.

How to Mind Map?

  • Start with an idea or subject that is easy to solve. If the subject is too complex, break it down and then build mind maps for an easy to consume part of the mind map, therefore solving the bigger issue by conquering the smaller ones.
  • Use images, hyperlinks, contact information and more to make the document more useful or easy to follow. 
  • Also use different colors for the different Idea branches to make it easy to navigate inside each topic and subtopic.
  • Use short phrases to capture ideas, especially in the brainstorming portion of mind mapping. You can always go back and expand on issues, but capture what you need, and only what you need initially.

Any Pitfalls to Avoid When Mind Mapping?

  • Concentrating on one item too long. Dump ideas and move on, you can sort everything out later.
  • Not having someone leading the mind mapping that knows how to ask for expansion or more creativity. 
  • Capturing vague ideas and not documenting or expanding them.

What Software Can I Use to do Mind Mapping?

  • Mind Meister : Free for up to 3 maps, $5 for personal, $8 for a Pro account and $12.50 for enterprice (all per user, per month)
  • Coggle : Little more bare bones, not the catalog of templates or “flair” but cost : Personal – free, 3 private diagrams, Awesome is $5/month for most of what you will need, and $8 for an “organization” account if more customization needed for teams.
  • Mind Manager : really a virtual whiteboard but it’s by the company I was first exposed to in Mind Mapping, Mindjet. It’s #349 for Windows, $179 for Mac. All have 30-day trials. Full-featured and wonderful software. 

Have any questions or suggestions on going mind mapping? 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.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

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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BBP: Episode 22 – I (almost) Got My Gacillia Nuts Scammed

BBP: Episode 22 – I (almost) Got My Gacillia Nuts Scammed

More information on this scam on another episode of the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Oh sure, first another blizzard, and now I almost get sucked into a nut website scam?

Set BS detectors to stun!

EP22 – The Gacillia Nut Website Scam

I almost got taken by a scammer this week. I was approached, through text (?) by a gentleman who wanted a website built for his company based in Washington DC. I do some work with a company out of Boston, and also have had past clients out east, so this wasn’t totally out of left field. But something just didnt sound right. Below is the text sent to me…

“I have small scale business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in and the company is based on importing and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible .http://www.agroamerica.com.… the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate based on the site i gave you to check out, the estimate should include hosting and i want the same page as the site i gave you to check out and i have a private project consultant, he has the text content and the logos for the site.”

James claimed to be hearing impared, so no phone conversation could be used. Now I know why. An internet search for Gacilla Nut revealed this scam IMMEDIATELY, right down to the exact copy of the contact email/text. Apparantly the next step will be to say the credit card won’t go through, and to provide him with a checking account number so he can transfer money. I think we all know what happens next.

So, I’ve deleted the invoice, and will kill the contract with James. If anything else happens, I’ll report back to you here.

UPDATE : I received the “can you do me a favor” email last night. See below:

“The favor is that I will send you my credit card to charge for the sum of $5,700.00 plus 3% Cc company charges, You will deduct $2,000.00 as deposit for the design of the website plus extra $200.00 as a tip for handling perfect work for me and you will send the remaining $3,500.00 to the project consultant that has the text content and the logo for my website so once he receive the $3,500.00 and you will have the money cash deposit to their account…. He would send the text content and logo needed for my website to you so work can start asap, Sending of funds would be after money clears into your account and you will be charging my card for remaining balance upon completion of work, Kindly get back to me so we can proceed with payment asap”

So the scam is apparently to get paid a large sum, pay his contracted graphic design guy most of it, then I’m guessing a chargeback for the initial payment to me, leaving me out the $3500 to his “project consultant.” Brilliant.

I reported this to the North Dakota Attorney General’s office and was basically told to cut off contact with “James.” Since it’s most likely international and been going on for several years, the likelihood of stopping this from happening again is slim. There is a website run by the federal government to report items like this, so I was given IC3.GOV to file a report.

UPDATE 7/2/2019 – I got a NEW variant of this scam.

Hello Sir/Madam ,

This David Serrano from Kirkland Shipping,We looking for laptop computers to purchase for our new business branch and want to know if you have them available in stock or can either custom order them for us.We also do have specifications we would like the computers to come with and also if you can tell us how much a laptop with these specifications is going to cost for plus tax…Here are the specifications below

    • An i7 Core Processor
    • 16gb of Memory
    • 1tb of Hard drive or 512 SSD
    • Screen Size can either be 13′ , 14′ or 15.6′
    • Must come with a Touch Screen and a backlit Keyboard
    • Either a windows 10 Home premium or Professional
    • Brands can either be Dell ,Apple,Hp or Lenovo

NB : Also advise me if you do take credit card payment , Thank You

In other news:

  • Fitbit bought Pebble watches. I’ve also heard that Pebble is now dead… I hope this isn’t true. My first smartwatch was a Pebble and I loved it.
  • I updated three sites to WordPress 4.7, which came out yesterday, with no issues. Hopefully this trend continues!

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!