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January 2017 Maintenance and Security updates you need to know

As expected, WordPress 4.7.1 was released in January. Specifically on January 11. It fixed eight security issues that affected WordPress 4.7 and below. Then on January 26, version 4.7.2 was released to fix three additional security issues. All of those fixes were applied as appropriate to 4.6.1.

Normally we wait a month to update our WordPress sites to major versions (like 4.6 to 4.7) because of potential incompatibilities between the WordPress version and plugins and themes, as well as for bugs to be fixed. WordPress is at such a stable point in terms of features that most things are just nice enhancements, and waiting is fine.

However, for security updates for WordPress, as well as the themes and plugins we use, we update those on all our client sites as fast as is possible; in fact, for the security updates for WordPress, like going from 4.7.0 to 4.7.1, we allow those to be updated automatically since there are ALWAYS security updates.

W3Techs has ranked WordPress as the fastest growing CMS. More people using it leads to two things:

  1. More plugins, themes, and options when you choose to upgrade your site
  2. More people trying to hack into your site

A great tool that we use for some things, which we recommend to our clients to use, is Trello. It allows you to create a “flow” to any major activity, such as keeping track of tasks, a sales pipeline, a bug list, etc. It’s free for most things you’d want to do.

A highly effective Gmail Phishing technique has been going on. They basically trick you into signing into a google look-alike page, and the URL in the address bar looks authentic! A lot of technically savvy people have gotten stung by this. Please be careful and keep your antenna up for these types of things.

Passwords remain terrible in the world wide web. Keeper Security analyzed 10 million passwords that became public via data breaches in 2016 and found that nearly 17 percent of users are protecting their accounts with “123456,” which Keeper ranked as the most common password of 2016! Can you believe that??? We can’t over-emphasize that you don’t have repeated and simple passwords.

Social Media for Business

Social Media Options

You’d have to have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Social Networking via Social Media.  In fact, you’ve probably heard that you should be using it to grow your business.  So what is it really and what is the point?

What Social Media is to me

I imagine Social Media to be a channel (like Facebook) on a global TV (the Internet) where each of us has our own show.  We are the newscasters, comedians, family programs, commercials, editorials and movies of our own lives.  We can reach as many or as few people as we choose based upon our privacy settings.  We can sell things, advocate things, lecture people, entertain them or just complain if we want to.

For business, this is a whole new frontier.  It is a form of advertising that is more cost efficient than ever before.  If you put in a lot of time, creativity and effort, you can grow a community of customers that turn to you for expertise and products.

Knowing your customers

Feedback mechanisms available on Social Media are like the Nielsen ratings for TV.  You get immediate feedback based upon people’s comments and reviews.  Never before have you been able to truly know your customers as you can with Social Media.  Social Media is a two way street.  It’s about engaging people so that they get to know you and you get to know them.

Engaging your customers

And if you don’t get enough data from the feedback you read, then you can ASK them directly or in a public manner.  You can ask them what they like, don’t like and wish for.  You can ask them where they spend their time, what’s important to them and how you can help them.

Growing your customers

While the data to measure business growth from using Social Media is still somewhat ambiguous, the fact remains that you can’t afford to ignore it.  Your customers are looking for YOU on their favorite Social Media venues.  They want the information at their fingertips, on their phones, tablets and laptops.  It’s like having additional websites for them to find you and allows them to champion you.

The Cost of Social Media

To get on Social Media, it’s free and anyone can join.  You can start your own personal profile and/or business profiles any time you wish.  If you don’t have time or the technical savvy to do it yourself, you can hire someone to set it up and manage it for you.  You can pay for ads on Social Media.  You can pay a Social Media Writer to create content for you.  There are options for every budget level.

The bottom line is that Social Media is a terrific way to gain exposure for your business and grow your customers.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get started today!