Do you have a favicon.ico?

When I ask website owners, “Do you have a favicon.ico?” they often give me a blank stare or a shrug. This little icon is often overlooked, but is a great tip for helping you stand out, and improve your branding. What is favicon.ico? That is the tiny image file you see in your bookmarks/Favourites beside the name of the website. For example, if you’re using a tabbed browser right now, you probably see the 1 surrounded by green in the tab for this webpage, before the words One Day Website.

One Day Website icon
One Day Website icon

That is the favicon.ico for this website. If you have a WordPress website, the default favicon.ico is the infamous W with a circle around it:

Wordpress W Logo
WordPress W Logo

But why are you improving their branding, instead of working on your own?

So let’s create your favicon.ico! Intermediate skills are required to complete this process. To get started, you’ll need an image creating or editing program. My favourite free, open source option is The Gimp. Once you have one installed:

  • Create a new image that is 16 x 16 pixels or 32 x 32 pixels in size. (Note, most browsers support .png now, but stick with .ico to ensure compatibility with all browsers)
  • Save the file as favicon.ico
  • FTP this file to your WordPress directory
  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard -> Appearance -> Editor
  • Replace the line that looks like

    <link rel="shortcut icon" and ends with /favicon.ico" />

    with

    <link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”<?php bloginfo(‘stylesheet_directory’); ?>/favicon.ico” />

  • Once you save this, hold SHIFT while clicking the reload page of your website, and you should see the new icon appear!

Here are the official WordPress instructions. If you get stuck, let me know what I can do to help!

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10 websites for 10,000

March 1, 2013: Announcing our 10 websites for 10,000 campaign!

We have a goal to sell more than 10 website packages in March. Can you help us make this happen? All we ask is for you to share this news with your social network; in particular, if you know any small business owners who don’t yet have a website or those that want to bring their website to the modern age, please point them our way.  If we sell 10 packages in March, we commit to donating at least $10,000 in auction donations and sponsorships by the end of 2013! Seems like a fair trade, right?  For every 10 websites we sell in March, we’ll give back $10,000 back to the community! Now, it’s up to you!

 

10 for 10,000 campaign
10 for 10,000 campaign

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What is your Value Proposition?

The most important thing in business, when speaking with a (potential) customer, is understanding your value proposition. You’re obviously enthusiastic about your product or service, but what you’re actually offering to the client not be obvious to them. I’ll use One Day Website as an example.

Website design, and web site hosting are a tough, competitive market. I’m personally more interested in gaining the trust of and helping out non-techies and entrepreneurs than building websites. I can explain to you as a non-techy how I will do the domain registration and name server pointing, install and configure WordPress for you, host your website for a year, and tailor the look and feel based on a hundred themes, but if you’re my potential customer, most of that is likely Greek to you. As such, I think like you, the potential customer, when explaining my value proposition.

  • I do all of the techy stuff for you
  • We get your website up and running in one business day
  • You get full access to your Dashboard, meaning you or your staff can change the content, upload new pictures etc any time, for no extra cost; or you can hire us to do it if you have more money than time.
  • For the custom tailored package, which is under $500, you also get 2 hours professional graphic design (need a logo, or custom theming?) as well as 2 hours of professional copy writing or editing. None of my competition offer anything even close to this.

These are the points that matter to business owners. This makes me stand out above my competition, and why they’re often mimicking my campaigns now. The advantage is that I’m consistently first past the post, and have built the trust relationship with my customers before my competition. Once a customer, I provide private offerings, reinforcing the value, and retaining the business relationship.

So next time you’re speaking with a customer, think about your value proposition. Don’t pitch to them about your product or service. Tell them what business pain you will remove, or what business gain you will provide their business. The impact should be immediate, and you’ll both benefit.

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Looking for a cheap long distance provider?

If you have a traditional telephone line in your house and make long distance calls, consider using us as your new, cheap and more customer-service oriented long distance provider. Ready to call Telus or Bell and give them a piece of your mind? Stay calm and contact us first and let us take care of your service! You can keep your existing telephone number, and your telephone will ring as it always has. The only pre-requirement for this service is that you have a broadband internet connection with low latency. You can test this by going to SpeedTest.net and click “Begin test”. Under Ping it should be a number under 100ms, and under download it should be a number larger than 1Mbps. If you meet these criteria you’re ready to start the transition!

Once you’ve completed your payment, we’ll contact you to find out what prefix you want (you can choose any state in the US or any province in Canada)

We’ll mail you your new VoIP hardware, fully configured. Plug one end into your internet router, and the other into your telephone, and you’re done! You now have unlimited long distance in North America! If you regularly call other regions, please contact us for pricing.

For your first year, the cost is $25/month, and after that you’ll be charged $20/month, paid annually.

Voicemail is included. As a bonus, if you have a smart phone such as an iPhone or Android, you can download a SIP client to your phone, enter the account information we provide and you can now use your smart phone wherever there is wifi to make or receive calls anywhere in North America!

 

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Are you using responsive web design?

We're often asked by customers if we do websites for the ipad, iphone, tablet or mobiles phones. This is a great question, as the majority of website traffic over the last few years has rapidly shifted from desktop PCs to mobile clients. The challenge is that every week there is a new gadget that everyone gets, and you don't want to have to build a completely new website every time that happens. 

This is where responsive web design (RWD) comes in. Instead of building your website to look good only at specific dimensions, RWD will automatically resize all of your content and optimizing it for the display of the website visitor. Your website will be reformatted for each individual viewer! 

If you want to check out a few responsive web design options for your website, head to your WordPress Dashboard:

Dashboard -> Appearance -> Themes and then click the "Install Themes" tab at the top. Search for "responsive" in the search box, and you'll see a huge list of responsive themes to choose from. You can click "Preview" on any theme, to get a good idea of how your website will look before any customization.

A few of my current favourites, worth checking out are "Responsive", "Catch Box" and "Pagelines". 

If you find one you like, simply click "Install Now". It will download and install the theme for you. Once it's installed, you can click "Live Preview" to see how it will look with your content. If you like what you see, simply click "Activate"! That's it! If you're not happy, continue your search until you find one you like. 

Once you've found a theme you like, go back to the Dashboard: 

Dashbaord -> Appearance

and go through each of the items under Appearance, as these are all your custom settings for your new theme. Enjoy!

 

 

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Remove WordPress Version Numbers

Every time you login to your WordPress Dashboard, you should install any updates it says are available (Dashboard -> Updates). There are automated programs that look for older, exploitable versions of WordPress for them to hack, so you want to make discovering the version number of your WordPress as difficult to find as possible. When on your website, if you right click and choose "View Source" you'll notice some code that says:

<meta content="WordPress 3.4.2" name="generator" />

Go into Appearance -> Editor and look for functions.php. Add the following code before the ?> ending:

// remove version number from head & feed
function disable_version() {
    return '';
}
add_filter('the_generator', 'disable_version');
remove_action('wp_head', 'wp_generator');

now save changes, and reload the page. When you View Source now, it should now be gone.

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Change your WordPress table prefix

This post is a bit more advanced, but important. One of the most common ways an intruder gets into your system is through what is called an SQL injection. In order to combat this, the most effective initial step you can take is to rename your WordPress table prefix. There are two ways to do this; find a plugin that does it, or more advanced if you have database access, is to make the changes yourself.

If you're just installing WordPress, open the wp-config.php and change $table_prefix = 'wp_';

to $table_prefix = 'wp_hg143g7_';

Replacing hg143g7 with any combination of letters and numbers you wish. Now install WordPress, and all is well.

If you have WordPress already installed, backup your website and database before you follow the next steps. Expect a few minutes of downtime while you make these changes.

I've not tested this plugin, but there is a change table prefix plugin you can use. Run it once, then you can delete the plugin. done.

The more advanced manual option:

  • Change $table_prefix in wp-config.php as I suggested above.
  • Change the table names in phpMyAdmin, or using SQL:
RENAME table `wp_commentmeta` TO `wp_hg143g7_commentmeta`;
RENAME table `wp_comments` TO `wp_hg143g7_comments`;
RENAME table `wp_links` TO `wp_hg143g7_links`;
RENAME table `wp_options` TO `wp_hg143g7_options`;
RENAME table `wp_postmeta` TO `wp_hg143g7_postmeta`;
RENAME table `wp_posts` TO `wp_hg143g7_posts`;
RENAME table `wp_terms` TO `wp_hg143g7_terms`;
RENAME table `wp_term_relationships` TO `wp_hg143g7_term_relationships`;
RENAME table `wp_term_taxonomy` TO `wp_hg143g7_term_taxonomy`;
RENAME table `wp_usermeta` TO `wp_hg143g7_usermeta`;
RENAME table `wp_users` TO `wp_hg143g7_users`;

If there are other tables that start with wp_ from plugins etc, change them as well. Now search the options table:

SELECT * FROM `wp_hg143g7_options` WHERE `option_name` LIKE '%wp_%'

rename any results with wp_ to the new prefix. Now search usermeta for the same thing:

SELECT * FROM `wp_hg143g7_usermeta` WHERE `meta_key` LIKE '%wp_%'

At this point any tables starting with wp_ should have the new wp_hg143g7_ prefix.

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Modifying your WordPress screen options in the Dashboard

One of the options in WordPress you may not yet know about is your screen options. When in your Dashboard, look to the top right underneath your name, there should be two pull down menu options; Screen Options and Help. When you click on the Screen Options tab, you should see something like this:

 

Wordpress Screen Options WordPress screen options in the Dashboard

As you try the various options, you'll see them be added or removed in real time. You'll notice different options if you do this in the main Dashboard area, vs being "Add New" posts or "Add New" page, so try the screen options in each of these. Here is how it will look under "Add New" posts for example: 

Post screen options Post screen options

 

You can see the options are different, and as you click on add or delete, you should see the option be removed from your screen. If you don't see any windows being removed or added, you may have to scroll down if you have a lot going on — on your screen. For example, I'm using a plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast that is quite large. I don't see the Discussion widget get added or removed unless I scroll beneath the WordPress SEO window. 

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We now offer unlimited long distance phone service in North America

The only requirement to qualify for this service is that you have a broadband internet connection with low latency for our unlimited long distance phone service. You can test this by going to SpeedTest.net and click "Begin test". Under Ping you should see a number under 100ms, and under download it should be a number larger than 1Mbps. If you meet this criteria, you're ready to start the transition!

Most important to know is that we're using your internet for this connection, and as such 9-1-1 does not work with geo-location. You should use a cellular telephone in an emergency. 

We'll mail you your new VoIP hardware, fully configured for you. Plug one end into your internet router, and the other into your telephone, and you're done! You now have unlimited long distance in North America! If you regularly call other regions, please contact us for pricing. For your first year, the cost is $25/month, and after that you'll be charged $20/month, paid annually. Choose from any area code in Canada or the United States. 

If you'd like to keep your existing telephone number, no problem! It will take approximately one month to transfer your current telephone number to us, and this way your friends and family won't know anything changed.

You can sign up right now on our Other Services page!

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Change your admin username in WordPress

One of the first security tips I can provide is to change your admin username in WordPress. One of the ways people break into WordPress, is by a brute force attack. Once you know the username of the administrator, you take a large dictionary file of words, and try every possible combination as the password for that user until you get it right. You don't have to try this manually, there are programs that do automated, and very rapidly. On most computers and systems, the default administrator is either "admin" or "root", the case of WordPress, it is admin. I recommend you take a few minutes and go into your Dashboard -> Users -> Add New and create two new accounts. Make one an editor account, this is the only you'll typically use from now on. Also add a new account, but instead of giving it editor privileges, choose "Administrator" as the role. Once you verified you can login to both of them with the appropriate permissions, delete the "admin" account. (Bulk actions -> Delete -> Apply)

If your WordPress themes says which editor approved each post, you'll want to go into Posts -> All Posts and check any post that says admin. Then go to Bulk Action -> Edit and change the Author option to the new editor and choose update.

You'll also want to ask yourself, "How strong is my password?"

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