My new website design

At long last I have updated the layout of my website design! I am always so busy working for clients that I never had time to do my own. I was actually embarrassed to share my website with anyone because it looked so outdated.

Anyway, very pleased to finally have it done!

I tried to include many new features websites are using: Parallax images (sliding behind other content), pricing tables, icons, a custom header and footer. Please browse through my website to learn more about what I do, and what I can do for you!

Coles Notes version of Boosting SEO

Search engine optimization collingwood

Today I had someone email me how to help them achieve online presence with Google. After typing my answer I realized it was a great post that I could share with others!
Here was my response:

  1. Have descriptive page titles. When designing a site and setting up SEO I always ask my clients “how would people search you?” for instance if you wanted a chiropractor in Collingwood then that is what you would type in google “chiropractor collingwood”. So if this is how people will find you, then you need to make sure all the page titles have this included in the title.
  2. Narrow your selection. Don’t try to be the best across the province, narrow your location to a main town and surrounding area.
  3. The more pages you have with excellent titles, the better you rank.
  4. The page content has to match the titles… so if your page is about cutting wood… somewhere on the page you should mention that you cut wood.
  5. Each page url needs to be descriptive: here is the url for one of my pages : https://wannawebdesign.com/services/modify-websites-collingwood-barrie/ see how the url is set up?
  6. You need lots and lots of content. Good content.
  7. Your content should be typed on the page… not in a jpg or pdf. Google can’t read jpgs.
  8. Google does not use keywords anymore.
  9. Add a Google presence: Google Business, add your address to Google Maps
  10. Single page websites are not great for SEO. You only have 1 shot at google finding you, across the whole entire internet. You are competing with companies with multiple pages and very specific locations. Websites with structured SEO.
  11. Google likes Blogs. So create a blog with posts that are relevant to your theme. If you play music weekly have weekly posts with where you are playing: “Live Jazz music this Friday night at XYZ Bar & Eaterie”. Update it regularly. Google likes current blogs.
  12. Name your photos… don’t upload 1234.jpg. Change the name to reflect what you are promoting.

So this is the Cole’s Notes version of SEO. But if you follow these practices, you should be able to rank higher.

If this seems overwhelming, contact me!

Cindy

An automated WordPress update has failed to complete!

Many of my client’s websites have been showing an error in the admin dashboard stating “An automated WordPress update has failed to complete! Please notify the site administrator.”

I have done some research and it seems that this error is appearing after you have run the WordPress updates (any updates) and there is a new version of WordPress.  I believe this error is being generated on any Godaddy WordPress hosting sites because Godaddy will automatically update the WordPress core files yet WordPress is trying to update itself.

Just be patient…. it takes a few days for Godaddy to process the updates across the WordPress Hosting servers. Once WordPress is updated the error will disappear.

Spam emails through your website

Okay, I get it. People want your business so they target your website on the internet, send an email in the hopes that they can drum up some new business…. but seriously when you read their email to you offering their ‘service’ sometimes it’s almost laughable.  They either didn’t even bother to look at your website or they used a robot to search for forms on websites and generate it automatically.

Look at the nice email I just received through my website contact form:

Subject: Web Design For Business

Message Body:
I’m sending a quick note regarding your website. I can make changes (aesthetically / design) so your site will convert more visitors into revenue by allowing your website to be mobile friendly for phones and tablets including more focus on your “call to action” areas.

I would just need to know if you’re open to checking out information about a website re-design. Would you be open to seeing more info and a quote for what I would like to accomplish?

Thanks and let me know

Shelby   🙂


This mail is sent via contact form on Wanna Web Design 

Maybe, just maybe Shelby should have taken a look at my website and see what I do … LOL 🙂

Beware of Domain Name Expiration Notices

I received in the mail a notification of one of my domains expiring. The title said ‘Domain Name Expiration Notice’. Now you might think that this is normal getting a domain renewal form in the mail. But what you don’t know is it isn’t from the company I host with! The title is deceiving, in this fast paced world people see the title, see the form and think they have to provide their credit card to renew their domain. But if you don’t take the time to read the letter, you will miss the line:

“As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification of the domain name registration that is due to expire in the next few months. When you SWITCH TODAY (there it is) to xxxxxxxxx, you can take advantage of our best savings.”

Further down in the letter it does state in bold “This notice is not a bill, it is rather an easy means of payment should you decide to switch your domain name registration…”.  This company is a little more straightforward with what their intention is… to take your domain name from your current host. Some letters sound much more vague so you aren’t quite sure if it is a real renewal form or not.

I have received many calls and emails from clients of mine who tell me they have received such a letter and I just tell them to ignore it.

So if you don’t recognize the name of the company sending you a Domain Name Expiration Notice, then it probably isn’t yours. Call your web developer first and check with them. Chances are it isn’t your hosting provider.

* Your provider will most likely send you emails a month in advance reminding you to renew.

fake-domain-renewals

9 Ways to Secure your WordPress Website

There is no quick way to secure your website from hackers. You need to be vigilant and use as many defences as you can. The following is a list of 9 ways to secure your website.

Use Latest Version of WordPress, Themes and Plugins

Regularly go into your WordPress dashboard and install the newest versions of all your plugins. It’s easy to do: just look at the top left corner, if you see a number with a semi-circle swirl it means there are that many number of updates available for your website. Click on this link and update each of the plugins, themes and WordPress to install the newest version.

WordpressSecurity-WannaWebDesign

Only install good WordPress Themes or Plugins

There are so many free WordPress themes and plugins out there but you have to be careful which ones you install on your website. Choose themes from a reputable theme developer or theme sales website.  One that I use regularly is Theme Forest.  Pick from the most popular theme or plugins to ensure they will be kept up to date. Also always check the date of the latest update.  If it’s over 6 months old, I tend to avoid it.  Look at the history as well, check how long it takes for problems to be corrected or questions to be answered. This will tell you if there is a team keeping up with the software.

Guard your Logins

Use strong usernames and passwords. Avoid usernames like ‘user’, ‘admin’, ‘root’ choose one that would be difficult to guess.  Passwords should be at least 8 – 10 characters long, should include upper and lower case letters, numeric and special characters.  Avoid using the user name in the password and avoid using the obvious like your name.  Also try to create different username/password combinations across the internet to avoid hackers finding out the one and using it across many accounts to hack all your information.

Use a reputable web service provider

Use a well established company with a strong reputation and good track record for security.  Providers that ensure a high rate of “uptime” and 24/7 support service are important.

Two Factor Authentication

For added security you can install a plugin that uses 2 factors for login rather than just the username and password. This would make it much more difficult for hackers to guess the login and for the spambots (programs that search the web to try and sign in to websites repeatedly) to test your site. Here is a free plugin from the WordPress.

Purchase an SSL Certificate

SSL stand for Secure Socket Layer. This is added security for any customer or client that might type in personal information on your site. It adds encrypted information that hackers can’t “watch” while people enter information on your site. An SSL Certificate is relatively affordable (less than $100 for the year) and well worth it for the added security and peace of mind.

Use SFTP instead of FTP to access the server

This is for the developers who need access to the backend files of your website. Using SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) adds extra security rather than signing in directly through FTP.  Again it adds encrypted data to the uploads/downloads to protect your website from hackers “watching” your site.

Security Plugins

Install a security plugin on your website. iThemes Security plugin is a free security plugin. It has over 700,000 downloads, has been updated recently (3 weeks as of this writing) and as always is easily installed through the dashboard.  Another plugin I have been using over the past few years is Wordfence Security.  With over 1,000,000 installs this is a well-established security plugin.  It monitors who visits your site, you can set it to block IP addresses. The paid version allows you to block countries.  It also does scans of your website for any code that has been inserted in your files and sends out emails when new versions of plugins or themes are available.

Backup!

Make sure you take regular backups of your website. There are many free plugins that you can take daily/weekly or monthly backups of your website. Some are easier to install the backup if something does go wrong. Just a shout out to Godaddy: they offer WordPress Hosting packages that include daily backups of your entire website and keeps these backups for 30 days. With a simple click of a button, the website is restored to any of the past 30 days that you choose.

 

 

Security Advisory: XSS Vulnerability Affecting Multiple WordPress Plugins

Multiple WordPress Plugins are vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS) due to the misuse of the add_query_arg() and remove_query_arg() functions. These are popular functions used by developers to modify and add query strings to URLs within WordPress.

The official WordPress Official Documentation (Codex) for these functions was not very clear and misled many plugin developers to use them in an insecure way. The developers assumed that these functions would escape the user input for them, when it does not. This simple detail, caused many of the most popular plugins to be vulnerable to XSS.

To date, this is the list of affected plugins:

There are probably a few more that we have not listed. If you use WordPress, we highly recommend that you go to your wp-admin dashboard and update any out of date plugins now.

For more information please go to Sucuri.net

Testimonial from VR Plumbing Inc.

I would like to thank Cindy from Wanna Web Design for creating our great website. We are very happy with the end result and could have not chosen a better person to create our website. Cindy was very patient with us and took time to explain the process step by step.
Stephanie Rodrigues – VR Plumbing Inc.