May 222015
 

In the last few months Google has started penalizing for website mobility issues which will affect your search engine rankings. If you have Webmaster Tools, you can view the errors by logging into your account. Depending on the type of website you have, the problems can range from being very easy to fix to being numerous and difficult. In this blog post, I will cover how to correct mobility issues with WordPress which fortunately is fairly easy.

Google Mobility Issues

Google Mobility Issues

The first thing you will want to do is make sure your WordPress version is updated along with your theme and plugins. As a side note you should be doing this anyway for security reasons. Many WordPress themes will be mobile friendly, but not all of them, so once you’ve updated your version, you’ll want to login to Webmaster Tools and check some specific pages.

Under Search Traffic click on Mobile Usability. Next click on one of the error(s) from the list, and then click on a specific url. On the popup click number 1 (Check live version). Hopefully you’ll receive the following message that your page is now mobile friendly.

Mobile Friendly Test

Mobile Friendly Test

If your page(s) is still having mobile issues, then the next step would be to add a mobile theme plugin like WP Touch or Jetpack. You’ll probably end up adding a mobile plugin anyway, but it’s good practice to go ahead and update everything anyway. Once you’ve added a mobile plugin theme, check in Webmaster Tools, and you’ll most likely find the page is now mobile friendly.

And that’s it. Follow these easy steps to fix any WordPress mobility issues so you don’t have to worry about search engine ranking penalties.

May 162014
 

Heartbleed

In addition to affecting websites, many mobile apps were also affected by the Heartbleed bug.  You can view an updated list of affected mobile apps here or download a Heartbleed Android mobile app scanner here.  As always make sure your mobile apps are updated regularly and change the password on a routine schedule.

IE Security Issues

There are vulnerabilities in certain versions of Internet Explorer that could allow remote code execution.  Visit the Microsoft website to get the update, and please note this update will also work for Windows XP users .

About the author

 Posted by at 10:42 am
Apr 112014
 

The Heartbleed Bug can exploit some websites running SSL encryption (Apache and Nginx), and it can expose private information such as passwords.  This means the bug could affect your website if you are running SSL, social media websites, financial institutions, email, and many more websites.  So here are some immediate steps you should take to protect your business.

  1. If your business has a website, intranet, and/or extranet running SSL, it could be vulnerable.  Check with your hosting company to see if they have patched their servers.  If you host your website, visit OpenSSL to find out how to install the patch.
  2. Your social media website passwords could be compromised.  Change your passwords and see here for a list of specific sites that should be addressed immediately and here for a larger list of websites.
  3. Limit your employees from accessing social media, e-commerce, financial institutions, and other websites with SSL in the short term.  It will take some time for every business to address the bug and install the patch.
  4. And when in doubt, change your password, and make sure it meets strong password requirements.

As always if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to list them below.

About the author

 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Jan 102014
 

It is now looking like 70 million Target customers had their personal information, including name, address, phone number, and email address, stolen during the holiday shopping hack.  Target has already experienced a loss of sales and earnings, stock price drop, and the cost of providing one year of fee credit monitoring to all the people who shopped in their stores over the time period.  In addition they will probably face a loss of customers as well as state and federal fines.  For Target this is going to hurt their business, but they will eventually recover.  But what if this happened to your small business?  Would you be able to recover?

In many cases a small or medium sized business may not be able to recover from this type of hack.  Although hacks to larger businesses make the news, you often do not hear about security breaches at small and medium sized businesses.  A 2013 US small business survey by the Ponemon Institute showed the following results.  “55 percent of those responding have had a data breach, almost all involving electronic records, and 53 percent had multiple breaches.  Only 33 percent notified the people affected, even though 46 states require that individuals be contacted when their private information is exposed.”  That is a huge number of small businesses, and on November 3, 2010, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse released a report that among other items showed that “80 percent of small businesses that experience a data breach either go bankrupt or have severe financial difficulties within two years.”

Small businesses still face the same potential loss of customers, sales, and fines as larger companies, but unfortunately they often do not have the money to recover.  And as the Ponemon Institute survey results show, small businesses are very easy targets.

The Target hacking is continuing to raise awareness of the huge potential of business hacking and loss of personal information. So your potential clients and customers are expecting to have their data protected.  If you have not read it already, please take a moment to read my 5 Step Data Security Plan for Small Businesses article.  And as always if you have any questions, please feel free to list them below in the comments section.

About the author

 Posted by at 4:45 pm
Jun 162011
 

There are several recently released data security articles that apply to small businesses, and I am linking to them in this blog post along with a brief overview of the topic. 

U.S. Small Businesses Recognize Risk of Security Breaches Within Organization – This small business survey by Shred-it shows that although small businesses are aware of security breaches, very few are reviewing their security processes, conducting audits, or training employees. The survey shows how far small businesses still need to go to protect their data and their client’s data.

Only 4 Percent of Mobile Devices Protected as Security Threats Rise – This is an alarming statistic especially considering the availability of virus protection for mobile devices. I have mentioned several virus applications for mobile devices in previous blog posts that are either free or very low cost.

Mack Urges War On Cyber Attacks With Proposed Legislation – Congress is currently debating The Secure and Fortify Data Act which would require companies to report security breaches within 48 hours. I have not seen any numbers on what size companies will fall under this legislation if it passes, but I assume it will apply to at least some small businesses.

Feb 032011
 

Disclaimer: I generally recommend a pretty simple social marketing strategy for small businesses. Pick 2 social media platforms, perfect your social media message, build up your social network, become an expert, and once you have perfected all of these areas, then expand your social media presence.

If your small business is at the point where you feel comfortable expanding your social media presence, then this blog post is for you.

The following 3 paid web based tools will help you manage your online social media programs/accounts, provide you with meaningful statistics to see if your social programs, allow you to expand social media program management within your company, monitor social media conversations about your brand, and much more.

HootSuite – is probably the most reasonably priced for small businesses. They have a Basic free account in addition to a reasonably priced Pro account and a much more expensive Enterprise account.

Radian6 – They offer variable pricing as well.

Meltwater Buzz – Contact them for pricing.

Jan 242011
 

In a previous post I talked about how references are the best way to grow your business.  My business is relatively new so I am working now to build trusted relationships with my clients so that they will refer me to their friends and colleagues.  In this post I would like to take just a few minutes to recommend several local Georgia small businesses I have worked with recently, and they provided me with great experiences. I would consider these companies trusted resources that I know will provide you with great services.

Collins Real Estate – If you are a looking for a local Middle GA real estate agent, then Leon and Connie Collins are the best.  They are located in Byron, GA.

Leslie Kuban – FranNet – If you are considering a franchise as your start-up business option, then talk to Leslie Kuban. Leslie is located in Atlanta.

Peak Executive – Peak is a company dedicated to chief executives who want to experience the thrill of reaching their PEAK potential personally AND professionally. Bill McIlwaine is the CEO of Peak, and he is located in Atlanta, GA.

The Rainey Accounting Firm, LLC – If you are looking for a Middle Georgia CPA, then talk to Jeb Rainey. His firm is located in Macon, GA.

Stephen N. Barnes, Jr., LLC – If you are looking for a lawyer in Middle GA, then talk to Stephen Barnes. He offers multiple services such as advisement on strategic acquisitions, venture capital financing, trademark and other intellectual property advice, confidentiality arrangements, independent contractor agreements, establishment of legal business entities, legacy planning, and much more. His firm is located in Macon, GA.

Jan 082011
 

In my last post I talked about internet marketing and how not to let your biases and feelings get in the way of what could be some very lucrative marketing opportunities for growing your business. Well I am going to talk a little more about marketing since I am right in that sweet-spot between small business start-up and actually getting out in front of clients. Let’s just call it the business set-up period. And this is not really a defined period, as it will vary for each small business start-up, but let’s just say a couple of months before establishing your business to a couple of months after you have setup the legal entity.

Actually this is one of the best times for you to get your small business marketing and promotion started before you are busy knocking on doors and handling day-to-day business responsibilities like servicing those paying customers. And once you get everything up and running (the hard part), you can spend less time in the future because you really just need to maintain it. The following is a good marketing foundation for a small business start-up.

  • Website – Get your website up and running. Register it for at least 3 years. Make sure it is well built and optimized for search engines. Start submitting it to free and paid directories. Strongly consider adding a blog so you can add fresh content to your site, and if you do link the blog in directories as well. Make sure you have Share links on your site so others can promote your work.
  • Social marketing – Focus on 1 or 2 social networks initially. If your target market is consumers, consider Facebook and some targeted forums. If your target market is businesses, consider LinkedIn and Twitter. There really is no magic answer, just pick one or two and begin to build your online social network.
  • Local networking groups – Start looking at local networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. Go to a few meetings and evaluate what they have to offer.
  • Telemarketing – Yeah it is a dying art form, but there still could be some small business local applications if you find the right person. Either find a local person who has good business contacts or contract out with a telemarketing firm. Pay them based on meetings set, not calls made, and your goal here is just to get in front of some customers initially and start generating some traction.
  • Friends and family network – You do not want to rely on friends and family too much initially so just look for enough to get a little momentum. Success is contagious so you are just looking for a few small wins to get you moving forward, and your friends and family network can generally send some leads your way.

Note: I kept the detail description for each listing pretty minimal because I discuss and evaluate each of these items in greater detail throughout my blog. The goal of this post is just to get you thinking on some key marketing items you can establish while setting up your business at the same time. Also I left out some of the more traditional types of marketing such as print advertising, yellow pages, direct mail, etc. Although I think most of these marketing mediums are dead and/or dying, the type of business you are starting may still allow you to put some of these mediums to good use. But these types of marketing mediums generally require more creative work and time so I recommend they are set aside until you get everything up and rolling.