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WordPress Security Basics

May 28th, 2021
flat screen monitor

WordPress is one of the most widely used CMS’s available today and it is believed that 45% of the websites on the Internet are now, “proudly powered by WordPress“. We build LOTS of WordPress themes for all kinds of websites. It’s probably the most common type of project we work on. WordPress is very, very popular.

The downside of this popularity is that it becomes a massive target to hackers – and they regularly succeed because webmasters don’t always maintain good cyber security practises. In this article, I want to talk about how to keep your WordPress powered website secure.

Plugins You Need

One of the best things about WordPress is the plugin library that allows you to add additional functionality to the WordPress core. They have plugins for everything. And you should definitely use some of them to keep your WordPress website secure.

WordFence

WordFence is a very good security plugin. It will do things like check your install for injected code, compare plugins to the repository versions and much more to prevent any devious people trying to infiltrate your website. It’s well worth using.

Delete Unused Themes

Delete any themes you are not using. Even though this code is not in use by your website, theme code can still be used by hackers to get into your website.

Keep Your Username A Secret

This is not as easy as you think. Unfortunately, when you set up a WordPress blog, your author archive is located at a URL which contains your username. Because of this, even if you don’t go with the obvious ‘admin’ as your username, it’s pretty easy for anybody to see what your username is just by clicking the link to your author archive that usually hyperlinks from the by line of every blog article.

Make Your Display Name Different To Your Username

In the users tab, you can set your public display name. This is the name to whom blog articles will be credited in the by line. Make this different to your username. Never use admin.

Delete The Link To Your Author Archive

This is an option that makes sense if you are the only author on your blog. If you are the only person who writes articles on your blog, you don’t even need an author archive because it’s the same as the post loop. By deleting the link, it’s not so easy for people to find your username, which is half the battle when trying to hack you.

How To Sell (According To The Wolf of Wall Street)

April 9th, 2021
low-angle photography of man in the middle of buidligns

Lately, I’ve fallen in love with Audible. I have always enjoyed reading and really believe in the power of books. But in recent years, I often don’t have the time to dedicate an hour a day to reading a book. Audiobooks, on the other hand, are fantastic. I can listen while I drive or while I work.

I like to try and keep abreast of books in the business and marketing space and The Way of The Wolf, owing to the hit movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” has gotten a lot of attention.

In the book, Jordan Belfort explains his selling system. He calls it the straight line system. And it is the process of turning prospects into buyers.

I wanted to talk about one specific aspect of that system in this post. And it’s something Jordan calls The Three Tens.

There are three aspects of a sales situation that the prospect must rate as 10/10 if there is to be any hope of them buying from you.

The three aspects are:

  1. You (the sales person)
  2. The company
  3. The product

In face-to-face sales, the sales person needs to be trustworthy and genuine. They need to look smart. And they need to conduct themselves well.

The company needs to have a good reputation. The prospect needs to believe that the company is a reputable company to deal with.

The product needs to solve the customer’s problem. They need to believe that the product will make their life better.

Let’s translate this into the digital realm.

In online sales, your website represents two out of three of those aspects. The sales person is the sales page and the website design and branding represents the company itself.

This is exactly why going cheap on web design is false economy. Your website is literally everything (except your product). You need high quality web design. Everybody does. And the higher the price of your products, the higher quality web design you need.

Because web design is the key to having your prospects believe in you. Good graphic design equals trustworthy company. It may sound weird and unlikely when put like that, but essentially, that’s the situation.

At Smart & Slick, we can’t help with your product – unless it’s an app – but we can help with everything else. We can provide you with high quality web design and branding, and we can also provide you with sales copy that sells.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you sell more online, get in touch and we’d be happy to help.

Bye for now 🙂

Should You Hire A Marketing Agency?

April 3rd, 2021
marketing agency

There is a very prevalent school of thought within entrepreneurship and among small business owners that the lone wolf entrepreneur or small business owner should do everything themselves. From servicing customers to marketing to graphic design, building and managing the website, the lot! And, of course, it works for some people.

However, I’ve often found that when I get to know these people better, other parts of their life are struggling and it becomes clear what has happened.

At Smart & Slick, we follow a philosophy from the world of software development. It’s called…

The Single Responsibility Principle

The philosophy goes like this: each and every part of a program should have one job and only one job. This makes it easier to solve problems when there is a malfunction. It means that replacing that one part of the program will not affect anything else. So fixing one problem will not create another problem.

I’ve come to believe this is a very useful philosophy outside of software engineering. It applies to business too, but sounds like this…

You Cannot Do Everything Yourself…

And nor should you! Part of being a business owner and leader is knowing that you aren’t fantastic at everything. And to try to learn everything is going to spread you very thin. There are also going to be jobs you just don’t like doing and make you feel uneasy, a feeling you’ll take home with you and will play on your mind and seep into other parts of your life.

But there’s a solution…

…So Don’t Try!

Decide what your job within your business is. All other demands of the business should be delegated to other people and organisations. Get an accountant, hire a digital agency to take care of your digital infrastructure, hire a marketing agency to take care of your marketing. Empty your plate as much as possible.

This will have a number of effects: You’ll be much more focussed and high performing in the role you’ve given yourself. You’ll also be more relaxed generally and able to give some energy to other parts of your life.

Do I Need A Website In 2021?

March 30th, 2021
website

The advent of Web 2.0 gave publishing capabilities to those Internet users who could previously only consume. Because little or no coding or web design skills were required in order to actually put something on the Internet, putting things online was no longer just for nerds.

If you want to publish articles, sign up at Medium.com. If you want to sell, go to eBay or uDemy or Kajabi, or – I’m going to show my age – ClickBank.

So there seems to be a growing school of thought, particularly among under 25s, that having your own website is old-school and unnecessary.

I don’t think so. You may think that as a web designer, I would say that, but that’s not really true. I am a purveyor of tech solutions. And if it’s not websites it will be something else and I’d better start learning that. But the truth is, I don’t think the website will ever really stop being a useful thing.

When smartphones first became a thing, the App Store and Google Play were big for a while. And they still have their place. The tech media were asking the question of whether apps would replace websites. They didn’t.

Besides from which (nerdy insider information) a lot of apps just access the website that they are the app of via an API feed, so the app cannot exist without the original website anyway.

Apps have their place and there are equally very good reasons why many businesses might want apps. But think about it – when you want to find out about something, do you really want to go to the trouble of downloading an app in order just to learn about the thing? I’d rather not. What does everybody do? They Google it. And google search results are full of web pages.

So what then, about web 2.0 properties that you can publish on but don’t actually belong to you?

I’d say they’re a great starting point for the non-tech savvy, if they don’t want to spend money on a website. In the proof of concept stage of a venture, it makes sense to do everything as cheaply as possible.

But as you progress, there is major value in having the central HQ of your brand or business on a web property that you, as the entrepreneur, fully control. And having your own website is the only way you can guarantee that.

All of the Web 2.0 properties from social networks to blogging platforms to eCommerce platforms, have rules. There are things they allow their user bases to do and things those users have no control over. Additionally, changes and new rules come into force regularly.

I wouldn’t want my business to be completely at the mercy of a billion dollar company whose best interests will not always align with mine. Sure, there may be a period of time when I get more business from Instagram or Clubhouse than from my website for a while, but these relationships tend to last for as long as that’s the case. If it ever stops being the case, I’m going to want my website to still be there to fall back on.

Need a website?

Talk to us today.

Small Business Accounting Software

March 27th, 2021
accounting software

Accounting is a core part of running a small business. So naturally, small business accounting software is one of those things that every business needs. There are hundreds of accounting programs out there which will give you as a small business owner plenty of choice and opportunity to find a package you’re comfortable with.

Accounting Software For Startups

To be honest, in the very early stages of a company, Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice and GoogleDocs all provide the basic functionality required to keep a track of your spending and calculate profit and loss. They may not be the software products that come to mind when you think of accounting software, but they are a perfectly good solution to the problem because one of them you possibly already have (Excel), and the other two are freely available.

QuickBooks

Currently the favourite amongst accountants, QuickBooks has spent a huge amount of money on making itself known in recent years. It offers a much smoother user experience than the free solutions I’ve mentioned above. Using your smartphone, you can photograph a receipt or invoice and the software will enter the data into your accounts. This is just one of the possible advantages specialist accounting software can offer over programs designed for broader use. Of course, digital voodoo like that doesn’t come for free: Like most software nowadays, it runs a software-as-a-service business model, with a subscription starting at £6 a month.

Accountz

Accountz is a UK based software company specialising in accounting software for home and business. Because of the entry-level nature of some of their products, it’s ideal for entrepreneurs for whom maths and accounting isn’t exactly their strong point. Accountz has focused on making accounting accessible to those who don’t know the lingo.