Portland WordPress Meetup: Streamlining the Custom WordPress Design Process

Written: May 21, 2019

WordPress users in the Portland area are fortunate to have a vibrant and relevant Meetup group, because you can learn so much from the experts and then go apply it to your own web site. Coming up on June 3rd from 6PM – 8PM is a presentation called: Streamlining the Custom WordPress Design Process.

Visit that link to register for the free event, and be prepared to come away better equipped to make design updates to your WordPress site. Here’s the agenda for the night:

 

In this meetup, Doug Yuen will give an overview of the key tools and techniques he uses to quickly build custom designed WordPress websites.

We’ll demo the Dynamik theme (a Genesis child theme), plugins (such as Beaver Builder, Gravity Forms, and Yoast SEO), and some helpful software programs.

This talk will also cover some best practices for saving time and reducing the chance of errors when building and maintaining WordPress websites.

Schedule:

6:00 – 6:15: Introductions. What you do, are you looking to hire, are you looking for work?
6:15 – 6:45: Speaker and topic.
6:45 – 7:00: Questions and answers on the topic.
7:00 – 8:00: Get help with WordPress. Bring your laptop for this part. There’s a wide range of experience levels, and we’re all here to help each other.
8:00: Soft close. You may hang out a bit longer to talk or finish up a project, but the official Meetup will end.
8:30: Socialize at Bailey’s Taproom (213 SW Broadway). Let us know if you’re interested in joining!

Thanks to Digital Trends for providing the venue!

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1&1 IONOS, Phishing Scam

Written: March 27, 2019

My web site is hosted at 1&1, recently renamed to IONOS after a merger, so I pay attention to email that comes from that trusted vendor in case there’s an issue with web hosting services. Today in my Junk mail folder there was a message that had the proper blue logo colors from IONOS:

fake IONOS enail
Email in Junk Folder

Apple mail is pretty good when it comes to filtering out unwanted email, but maybe 1 in 100 Junk messages are actually real messages that I need to pay attention to. The first two words of the email message are “Dear Customer“, however I know from experience that IONOS does know my first and last name, plus they know my account number, so a legitimate email message would have those listed to verify authenticity.

The first paragraph starts out with the word “we”, which is supposed to be capitalized, so I’m already 100% certain that this is a phishing email designed to trick me into clicking a link, then stealing my login identity. As I continue to read the message their are typos and misspellings, so yeah, this is not a very bright phishing scheme.

Finally, the link that the malicious schemers want me to click is revealed to be bogus as I hover my cursor over it, revealing the true destination:

fake IONOS link
False Link Address

So, I wasn’t fooled by this phishing email and hopefully you too can become more vigilant when looking at email messages that arrive either in your Inbox or Junk mail folders. The bad guys are getting more sophisticated in impersonating legitimate vendors by copying their colors, logo and fonts.

A real vendor always identifies your account number, first and last name, plus their links are at a trusted site that you already have used before.

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Aspen Dental Web Woes

Written: March 26, 2019

In my house I get the job of paying bills, so when Aspen Dental sent me a bill I opted to pay online at their web site www.aspendental.com where I already had created an account. Oddly enough the paper bill that arrived in the mail had one amount due, but online it was a different amount due.

Aspen Dental
Online Dental Account

I typed in my Visa card credentials and waited for the transaction to be approved.

Credit Card payment
Broken Payment Page

The orange animated icon on the bottom spun in circles and I waited, however it never completed. Hmmm. Next I looked at my web browser for a special setting, Developer Tools, and it showed me that this payment page had 5 fatal Javascript errors. Not a good sign to be in business but have a broken payment page.

Javascript errors
5 Fatal Errors

Not a problem, I thought I will just report the bug on their web site. So where is the Contact Us form? This site has no method to send feedback or contact the owners, another major misstep.

OK, let’s give them a phone call and explain that their payment page is broken. First attempt I was put on hold, then disconnected. Second attempt I was disconnected. After lunch I tried a third time and finally got ahold of a live person, and I begged them not to disconnect me. They confirmed that the paper account balance was incorrect and took my credit card info over the phone.

I pointed out the fact that their web site has no way to contact the company with a Contact form or email address. I also request that they report their broken payment page to the web developer, but I didn’t get the idea that the person I was talking to had the intention to follow through.

Make sure that your business is on the web and has a way for clients to contact you by filling out a form, sending a text, tweeting or phoning. Then when a client does contact you, please follow through.

In the meantime, which dental group do you recommend, because I’m in the market for a new dentist.

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Keeping Your Web Hosting Plan Updated

Written: March 12, 2019

My website runs on the popular WordPress platform and is hosted at www.ionos.com, formerly called www.1and1.com. All is well, at least until it’s time to upgrade your web server language settings. For WordPress users that web language is called PHP, and WordPress will alert you if the version of PHP used on your web server is too old, leaving you open to security issues and support issues.

When I logged into a client site today in WordPress that alert appeared about my PHP version being too old, so here’s what I did in their GoDaddy account:

  1. My Products – the starting place.
  2. Web Hosting – click on the button: Manage
  3. Click on the button: cPanel Admin
  4. Scroll to Software, click: Select PHP Version
  5. Choose a PHP Version: 7.1

Hopefully that didn’t get too Geeky for you, but if this sounds too complex, then just give me a phone call or email, and I’ll click through all of these steps and verify that PHP is updated and that your WordPress site is running securely, so that you can concentrate on running and growing your business.

PHP Version

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