Articles

Transferring a Domain Registration
Just the name, not the site

Why is transferring a domain name so complicated?

Every time I set out to do this, something seems to hiccup. So I thought I’d write out the process here.

First, a definition: Registrar

The Registrar is the company you pay money to to own the domain. It might or might not be your hosting company.

Registration should be around $15/year but some registrars (Network Solutions) charge much more  per year and some less. If you pay less, they may try to upsell you with private registration and a bunch of other stuff you may want, or maybe don’t. Dreamhost gives you free private registration so that your email address doesn’t show up for bad robots. (PS: That’s my affiliate account. I’ve been hosting with them since 1999. So I’m confident about their service.)

Second: The Process

So let’s say I own the domain (outgoing/losing registrar) and the Bob (incoming registrar) wants it.

Domain names are locked so that just any old person can’t steal it from you.

So I have to unlock the domain in the cPanel (or where ever this is managed by your registrar) so that someone else can acquire it.

Then I have to supply Bob with the pass code (sometimes called EPP).
That code might just show up in the cPanel, or you might have to request it from the registrar. I’ve seen it both ways.

Next the Bob goes to his registrar and sends a request to transfer the domain to him. Bob gives their registrar the EPP code and probably pays for a year of registration.

He gets an email to approve the incoming transfer. There’s a link in that email that says, essentially, “Click this if it’s ok.” If that link DOESN’T get clicked,  the transfer doesn’t go thru.

Then it’s up to the outgoing/losing registrar to release of the domain for transfer.

Depending on the registrar, this can take a couple hours or a couple days. But in any case, no human is involved in that part.

I recommend that both PEOPLE stay in contact while this is going on. So we know where we are in the process and to ensure that the domain is properly released.

If this process also includes changing hosts, then there is a DNS change and mail set up issue which can be easy or complicated.

That’s a post for a different day.

What goes in the footer of my WordPress sites

Regularly when setting up a new site, I change the footer information.  I have to look up in my files every time exactly what I like it to say and how it works.

I’m posting it here for myself and for any of you who also wonder about this.

I generally forget to go change the copyright dates on all my client sites, so including this little bit of php in the footer will keep all those dates accurate.

<p style="text-align:left">Copyright 2008 - <?php echo date('Y'); ?>, by whoever-this-should-be. All Rights Reserved.  <br />
Site designed and managed by <a href="http://www.yourwebsitehere.com">your-name-here</a></p>

I use my own name as the designer/manager because I find that people might not like the bottom of the page implying that they have or had a broken website.

Sometimes I also add a link to the site admin because it helps clients who can’t remember how to get into the admin panel.

I’ve found that adding the following right before the </p> tag, I get a nifty link to the site admin page.

<a href="<?php $url = admin_url();
echo admin_url(); ?>">Site Admin</a>

Taking feedback well

Sometimes things don’t go the way you think they should.

Bad customer service, a broken website, you gangry womanet the idea.

People complain. I’d personally like to think that everyone is kind in their complaints, but it’s almost never the case.

I love the answer that Sheryl Sandberg gave to a question about scaleablity of a company/person.

“… people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.”

I wrote about this before here.

If one person took the time to write or complain, you can bet they aren’t the only one who feels that way. I know it can be hard to get past someone flinging crap, but if you can, you can often learn something useful.

Don’t miss the message for the attitude.

Photography from Prawny via Morguefile.com

Search Engine Optimization Before Yoast

SEO plugins are a great help when you’re trying to compose new content for your website.

They let you know, among a lot of thing:

  • if there’s not enough content, or
  • if you didn’t use keywords in the right places, or
  • if your title is too long or too short, or
  • if the language is too complicated for most readers.

The problem is using them means you have to go back and correct stuff that might have been easier to have put in in the first place.

This presentation from WordCamp Rhode Island 2016 gives you tips for places to use your keywords before you check your work.

Here’s the link to WordPress.tv recording of my talk.

SEO for Small Business:
5 Reasons It’s Important

duhYour online presence impacts the success of your business.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a big part in the process. You can do a lot on your own to OPTIMIZE your site. Check out my slides from the talk at the Harrisburg WordPress MeetUp about SEO: SEO Past Yoast

Mickey Welser is my business partner and an SEO Wizzard!  Here’s what she has to say about SEO and what real professionals can do for you.

Why should a small business owner be concerned about search engine optimization (SEO)?

There are many reasons. Here are just two:

  1. Because you want to provide search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo critical information so they will place your site in a favorable place in their search results.
  2. Because you want to provide visitors to your website with a fantastic user experience. That means visitors can actually FIND what they are looking for and what you told search engines they could find.

But here are some reasons to you should consider an SEO expert to help you structure your online presence to reach its potential.

The job of a search engine is to take the information typed in by the user and locate the most relevant websites using those keywords. Simply put, if you are not engaging in SEO – the other guy is!

By investing in search engine marketing, you are staying competitive with those other guys while giving your brand name exposure 24 hours, 7 days a week – even while you sleep.

Let’s take a look at what a good SEO service can do for you while you take a snooze…

  1. Optimal User Experience

    SEO is ultimately about providing the user with the friendliest, fastest, best experience possible. A search engine wants to provide the user with what they are looking for, and when it can do that, both parties are happy. A happy visitor will become a returning visitor, or give you a better chance at converting the visitor to a buyer.

  2. Optimal Reach

    People unconsciously trust search engine results.

    If Google places 123 Awnings in the top spot of a search, then it must have earned that place and it must be good. User then tells all his or her friends on Facebook that they are going to see the awnings that will reduce the UV rays. That user tells friends how awnings help prevent skin cancer, leaving the link for them to click as well.

    The laws of multiplication can work pretty fast, and before you know it, a group of people with sensitive skin are showing up at 123’s showroom or calling. Why? Because the search engine matched everything perfectly, and it all pointed to 123Awning’s site.

  3. Optimal Potential for Conversion

    Internet marketing, including SEO, attracts people who are already looking for your product or service.

    You don’t have to scream, dance, or wear cool clothes to gain an audience; they are already convinced of their need which is why they went searching in the first place. They were looking for you and you showed up right on time!

    You still have to convince them that you are the better company to purchase from, but half the battle is over.

    Once they come to your website, if you have invested the same tedious work to optimize the user’s experience with you by providing the content they seek, then you are well on your way to gaining a new customer.

  4. Optimal Exposure for Brand Awareness

    We said before: people unconsciously trust search engine results. The viewer may not call or run to your showroom right away. But they do use bookmarks, Pinterest, and Evernote. They go clicking around the world numerous times before making a final decision.

    If your website is employing SEO services, you increase the number of times your company name pops up during their search? What if your company came up 3 of the 5 times they searched for that desired product? Next thing you know, they have clicked through to your website.

  5. Optimal Insight into Your Customers

    If your website is properly optimized, it will increase your search engine visibility, usability, and credibility, all of which increase traffic to your site. Your SEO professional will be using Google Analytics to can track valuable information about your visitors.

    Find out what browser they use, what key words (this information is not as readily available due to privacy policies),  the technology they use, their geographical location, the days and times they are most active, how much time they spent on a page…on and on.

    This information will help to discover your target market, hone your advertising, and determine strategies based on facts rather than just educated guesses. The better you know your customers, the better product or service you can provide, the higher the ROI.

Search engine optimization is no longer an option for businesses that want to be competitive and grow. But it is only one piece of the puzzle.

If your website does not contain viable content, then no matter how much money or time you spend on SEO, it is wasted.

Content will always be king. But when used in conjunction with other important marketing tools, SEO will provide visibility, traffic, credibility, branding and help you gain valuable insight into customer behavior.

WordCamp Lancaster 2016

Such a lot to learn at this great event!

If you’ve  never been, start looking for a WordCamp near you now.
Here are the slides from my jam packed session for new WordPress users in Lancaster, March 6

We covered:

  1. How to Evaluate Plugins and Themes
  2. A Little About SEO
  3. How To Manage All Kinds of Media: Audio and Image Galleries
  4. Getting help

Ransomeware TeslaCrypt Virus: Don’t get it in the first place

TeslaCrypt Ransomeware malware bug makes you PAY— actual dollars!

“WHAT?!” you say.

“Yep,” I say.

Baddies get into your computer, lock everything up and demand actual CASH to let you get it back! 

Scuttlebutt is that most will unlock your content. The fee seems to be around $500. But I sure don’t want to test them. And no matter what, it’s a dirty dirty trick.

The bug seems to have cropped up February, 2015 and was passed by gamers who were forced to compromised websites.

At that time, Internet Explorer and Opera browsers were targeted.

[ed note: Make sure your browsers automatically update.

In IE, go to the gear for Settings. Choose “About Internet Explorer” and then click the box for automatic updates.

For Opera: On the menu line,  go to Settings > Preferences > Advanced > Security. In the “Auto-update” section at the bottom, from the drop-down list, click Automatically install updates. Then “OK”]

Also make sure your Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader and Microsoft Silverlight browser plugins are up-to-date, or disable them entirely.

Further explanation at ThreatPost.com describes the TeslaCrypt as

a potent collection of exploits for vulnerable Adobe products (Flash, Reader, Acrobat), Internet Explorer and Microsoft Silverlight, that has in the past … been dropping ransomware on infected computers
 …researchers said the attackers behind the current WordPress compromises—numbering in the hundreds—were exploiting an unidentified vulnerability with obfuscated JavaScript. The malicious code redirects traffic to a domain … where the users are presented an online ad that forces traffic to the site hosting [the actual virus.]

But further, Tom’s Guide says you can get this bug  from emails.
Advice  for avoiding it in the first place is basically the same as always:

Do not open unexpected email attachments
… even from friends!

Make your passwords strong

  • Eileen123 is NOT a strong password.
  • bigfatscissorsh0use! might be

See that? big fat scissors house!  (with a zero for an O)

Four random words — that you can actually spell without looking them up — makes for a very secure password.

Keep your website secure

You could be keeping your website up to date yourself.

  1. Make backups on a schedule that matches the regularity of your additions. If you post once a week, there is no reason to back your site up hourly!
  2. Update WordPress plugins and core when they’re available. Upgrade WordPress to the latest version, 4.4.2, in order to resolve a handful of bugs and vulnerabilities in the content management system.
    Wordfence plugin will alert you when changes are made or updates are available

If you’re not paying attention to these things, get help!

Contact me to talk about a website maintenance program .

PS:  Here’s a link to how some people have removed the problem.  I HAVE NOT TESTED THIS. SO I MAKE NO GUARANTEES ABOUT ITS VALUE OR DISVALUE (if that’s even a word)