More New Content!

You would think that with every artist and writer locked up at home, alone, that there would have been some really cool masterpieces created. Right? New award winning grammy songs, new plays, and of course, new books from your favorite authors. Don’t look at me, I update the blog WEEKLY. Some writers haven’t written a tweet, let alone an actual blog. Although, I think that more celebrities and authors SHOULD write more. I think reading the thoughts, hopes and dreams of some well known stars would be fun. If you can talk, you can write. While some authors may not be the best at writing, at least they were trying. Some people write differently than how they talk. As I have instructed many aspiring writers, … are you “telling” me what happened, or am I experiencing it using all my senses? Do I “feel” what you feel? Can you smell the fresh baked bread in gramma’s kitchen as the amber sunlight slowly creeps in her flower box window? So I am taking a short break from the job search blogs, today. Yes I know they are entertaining and informative, but they are actually really boring for me. My days were filled with looking at bad resumes from students for years. I could quickly scan a resume and find at least one error … every time. But it takes a trained eye. Some HR recruiters might not even notice some errors. I think I covered most of the bases. Y’all should be able to get a job on your own now.

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So let’s flip over to talking about social media training. I know there are thousands of readers that would love to have a huge social media following. First ask yourself, why do you want that following? Maybe it is so you can build a platform so you can get publishers to notice you and print/publish your book? Your ability to prove to a publisher that you will sell future books is monumental. They claim it costs a lot to print books. Wrong. It costs a lot to print unsellable books. Just think how many stores Barnes & Nobles has, and how many books have to stock each store. Some readers want a following so they can monetize their content. Right. So if you get enough views on YouTube, then advertisers will pay money to put their stupid ad on your video. But you get paid. You might have a big “voice” that other people want to hear. Maybe you have a different take or perspective on a particular issue, and your platform shares those concerns? If you are in the spotlight, your personal lifestyle choices might be “reviewed” and if not deemed appropriate, YouTube can/will demonetize your channel and you get paid nothing. I can think of a certain individual who not only got banned but also lost monetary abilities.

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So if you own a website it may or may not have a blog incorporated into it. Believe it or not, that is something that is extra. If it is a WordPress website it is super simple to use the blog feature. If you didn’t know, WordPress allows additional software, called plugins to be installed to enhance your website. I think this is what has made their platform so successful. One thing that I would encourage website owners (you) to do, is use the Jetpack plugin which has all kind of cool features. If you have subscribed to the site, then you know you don’t have to visit it daily to check if a new blog has been posted. Super convenient for you, and also gives the site a rest from getting too many hits. That is a Jetpack feature. I don’t own my server, so if it gets overloaded, it causes it to stall or get a 503 error. You refresh and it is fixed. But imagine if you were say, Lady Gaga, who has millions of fans. Everyone’s website is different and has different reasons/usage. Some sites actually sell products, and when they launch a new product, … it crashes.

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So if you are a normal person, you probably won’t get millions of hits. But when you do, you can upgrade your site with your hosting server. Just so you know, there will be fans that love you so much they will actually set your website as one of their start up tabs. From the back-end you will know this happens as the same IP address is registering daily in your logs. Everyone has some interesting “hobby” that they are sort of an expert. You can write about it, or YouTube about it, and someone will like it and be a new fan. If you create interesting, new, fun content then you will start your social media following. What are you known for? Then brand yourself that way. Or what do you WANT to be known for? If you knew you were going to die next year, what do you want your legacy to be known for? Or do you have a secret recipe that you really should share with the world? Pin it. Instagram it. Write about it. Do all of the above.

 

Maybe you don’t want a huge social media fan base, but you can still start a free blog and document/write your thoughts that you want shared to your family and friends one day. I know you’re just bored, so do it out of sheer boredom. Writing out your thoughts can really help your mental health.

June. Teenth. What a stupid name for a federal holiday. Wow congress really has their priorities don’t they? May 4th should be a federal star wars holiday. I am sure there are lot of other “groups” that say “Where’s my fucking holiday?” Just saying, since no one else will. Evil is now streaming on the Paramount app instead of CBS. It is like $5 a month. So $1.25 an episode as they launch now every Sunday. I saw it, and it’s worth it. You do get a free trial.

 

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Resume Achievements

So now that I can quickly disqualify you because you are not a right fit, based on your overview, OR I like what I read and I want to know more.  Such as, what are the “things” that you can do that you are most proud? Some people are highly decorated and there are many things that are super impressive about them. But what about you? What have you done in your professional life as well as your personal life that you can share with an employer? Are you on any committees? Part of any other organizations? Do you hold any titles or certifications? Your goal today is to start writing down as many things about your skills that you want to advertise. Software, hardware, communication skills. I’m a publisher, editor (sometimes) writer/author (all the time), and reader. Not everyone has ALL of those skills. Some people literally can’t read. As an older person, I am starting to be one of them. Small text on my phone, beauty products, manuals are sometimes more than challenging. Probably the number one reason I compose in a huge font. I actually use Header4, which makes it this size. Some people, like Trump, don’t know how  to click a drop down box and compose in a larger font. Yeah, I know, crazy. If people can’t read it due to size, they won’t even try.

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So you really need a section in your resume that highlights your achievements, or your resume bragging/talking points. Remember, you can direct how your interview is going to transpire based upon the things you tell them in your action statements. So, for instance, one of the things that I am proud of, that is not on social media, is the fact that I raised over a thousand dollars in fundraising for the suicide prevention organization and I had to walk 20 miles overnight for their walkathon. Of course this is interesting and something that someone who is reading will want to know more. So your statements need to highlight what you are capable of doing. Human resources will respond to the correct verbiage on your resume. So understand and know your metrics. For some that might be reaching or overachieving your monthly sales goal. Awards from your employer are also key in getting noticed, remembered, and called for an interview. Do not make the mistake of thinking your resume will get you the job. It “might” get you a telephone interview. If you are the ideal/dream candidate, it will get you an in person interview along with a job offer. If you JUST graduated high school then you have all kinds of things to talk about that make you the best candidate. When I reviewed resume for students I would look at it for things that are talking points, things that are impressive and that that are just wasting space on valuable real estate. Use your network and ask people what are your strengths. Ask yourself, what makes you better than 100 other candidates? Keep in mind, the resume is designed to get you the interview. If you already know someone who can get you an introduction then you don’t need a resume. I have been hired in coffee shops talking with my clients about WordPress, and consultants overhear me and inquire wanting to know more. Sometimes just proving you can do the job, like showing your portfolio or websites, can get you hired. No interview required. Artists are hired all the time to paint/create a piece without ever knowing what the final piece will look like. If I said I would work for you for ONE day, what would you have me do? Create a marketing plan? Website? Review your resume and cover letter? Train you to interview? Teach you how to hire and screen the right candidates? Read financial statements? Teach you how to make money with our own set of skills? Review your manuscript? Create a logo? Photograph you for portrait studio pics? There are tons of “things” that can translate into valuable action statements/skills. Remember, your personality is a sellable skill, as are your looks. Television news anchors are hired because of their personality, not how smart they are. They just sit there, look pretty and talk. Wow, what a perfect job, until your looks fade and you are cancelled.

Shout out to Dollar General for a whole bunch of inexpensive fairy garden decorations. I found a bunch of fun stuff for mine. For those who created their own gardens, the fairies are ever so grateful. Cheers! It’s Friday, and those who are vaccinated no longer have to wear masks, according to the CDC. I hate masks. They tickle my goatee and make it annoying.

If you are working on your resume/action statements, do not do it as a resume format. Do it on a blank piece of paper. The formatting part will come later. Start by listing what you do now, what you did in past jobs, and what you can do in the future. This is really important. Think outside the box. Think like a HR screener.

 

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Sales 102

Have you had any formal sales training? Like, you actually sat in a classroom with other students, an instructor (preferably a seasoned salesperson), did role playing and actually closed some sales? No? Okay, well, today in your training you are going to learn a few things in life that might actually help you … in your job, your finances, your relationships. I, on the other hand, have had years of training and mentored with some of the best sales guys I have ever met. In fact, when I was a sales supervisor at Best Buy I was in charge of the orientation/on-boarding/sales training for all new recruits. It actually was really cool as I did the screening, interviewing as well, so spending all that time with new hires helped to retain them. One of the first rules at Best Buy (for me) was if you don’t shop here, you can’t work here. What? Why? You need to already know the products, the industry, the store. You know, basic expectations out of a candidate. So I am going to start with some basics, BEFORE you meet your contact, you have to prospect to get them. I do not mean posting something on your social media that you are now selling the latest, coolest, best _____ product on the market and you need to be one of the first with your foot in the door. Unless you have some geeky kid next door in his garage starting some cool idea company, I would be very, VERY apprehensive in whatever they are selling. Chances are it is a multi-level marketing company, and let’s be honest, you are never going to make real money selling for an upline. I personally know of dozens of good people who fell prey to the “what if it’s you?” bait/marketing scheme.

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I wrote a kids book and most of my friends have kids. Guess what? A tiny fraction of those friends bought or even asked for an autographed copy of my book. Why? I never asked, and actually didn’t care. I have hundreds of thousands of fans/readers all over the world who don’t know me who DID read it. Trying to convince your friends and family to buy your product or service is hard. It is like trying to convince a muggle that you have magic powers or you are psychic. Read my mind. Not all psychics’ powers work like that. So how do you get new customers if your own circle won’t buy? You pay for them. It is called advertising. You see it everywhere. You also get someone to endorse your product … like an influencer or someone who has a lot of people who look up to him/her. What it all comes down to is … word of mouth/ willing to recommend. Sometimes it is simply exposure and marketing your product. A book, like any product needs a marketing plan, a launch date, and many different vehicles to let everyone know. I used Facebook business advertising and exposed my book all around the world until I found my sweet spots. Who knew Algeria and Egypt would be big on my book? As I instructed my clients, we need a minimum of six months exposure before you launch. Get people excited about it before it launches.  The artist I hired for the cover granted me unlimited licensing of my characters so I made bookmarks with their faces. Everyone loves free bookmarks. I actually designed the bookmark, but if you hire a graphic artist, they can easily do one of you and your product (a book). It was also clever as it had the launch date on the bookmark so for a lot of people they saw the book daily before it launched. I know this was key in the marketing efforts. If you want one, Venmo a dollar for postage and envelope (USA only). Put your address in the notes.

 

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When I was in sales at AT&T, the “willing to recommend” was HUGE and I had to drill it into every single one of my customers. It was even on the survey. Are you willing to tell a couple of trusted friends to have the same 5 star experience? Yes? Awesome, here are two cards, write your name on it and when they come in I will give you 2000 roll over minutes for free. Wow. I know right? Now that wouldn’t work. While your own circle of influence may not buy your _____ (for me it was book/websites), they might actually give you customers. Weird I know. As a website guy I also would go to networking groups and I was always hitting up new business owners who didn’t have a website on their business card. I didn’t always get paid actual money, but I did manage to get some awesome trades in return. Keep in mind that not every prospect/contact is going to be a mutual beneficial arrangement. I can think of many, many times I built a website for someone and never got paid. I know, it sucks. When I first started I had a client who tricked me into thinking I was going to get all this new business from her. After a year of no clients from her she moved her website back to WordPress.org and put it on a shitty blog template. She didn’t deserve me. I also volunteered on a church business networking group on the committee/board. I did the website and got “free” advertising and membership. Yeah, that didn’t quite work out as well as I had wanted, as I was donating my websites for charitable causes all the time. Now when people want me to do a “pro bono” website I send them to Wix.com. If you haven’t used/seen it, they actually host a ton of professionals websites. Those who are too cheap to invest have their branding all over it. Although it is somewhat easy to use, it is slow, clunky, can’t be customized how I build websites. I had a client who thought she could do it better and later confessed she had no idea what she was doing. Again, a website for “trade”, I got to read all her training manuals on her specific trade, as long as I promised never to compete against her. I was like, okay, I do websites, you do emotional healing. You’re safe. While I don’t advocate spamming your newsfeed with your product/service I do promote listing it so people can find more about it. You can list your Facebook business page on your personal page, and then when people click it, they can see your posts and website address.

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If are you NOT selling a product or service and you are simply looking for work, let me visit your employment profile for a moment. If you are unemployed then you definitely need to let all your contacts know you are looking for work. Text, email, post an update, snap it, meet friends for drinks and find out more about their companies. If I had to go look for a corporate job, I would hit up my network of colleagues to see what they had open and would recommend. There are lots of jobs out there if you look. Keep in mind that many companies will not post jobs on outside websites so you might have to do more work to find those jobs. Getting an employee referral is your ideal situation. When you do meet up, be ready to spit out all kinds of tactical experiences that you can easily transfer to another company. I’m a sales/marketing/HR kind of guy, so a job traveling for trade shows selling HR ____ would be my target job. Could I sell to HR colleagues? Easily. If I didn’t have any networking friends, I would use LinkedIn, theladders.com and I would target companies that I felt were desirable to work at, like, you know, Google, apple, Disney. What software are you an expert? Can you really use Photoshop or are you just using a fancy paid app like Khloe Kardashian? How fast do you type? As silly as that sounds, there are still millions who can’t type. I hate typing on a phone, so I use voice to text. But I am long winded so you might think I type really really fast. It is crazy when I go somewhere and I see the employee looking at the keyboard for the right letters. Crazy right? How are your organizational skills? What do you use to keep you on time, at the right place, and not forgetting shit? What apps do you use? As weird as it sounds, in this day and age, you really have to know how to use apps to work. Like, Slack for instance. It isn’t industry specific, but it is an app that I had to learn to use.

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I haven’t updated/visited my resume in a decade, and I bet there are a lot of other people who can say the same. So why don’t we start together and create something new, current and ready for today and tomorrows job market? The first part of the sales process is going to be selling YOU, your skills, experience (or lack thereof), your personality and what you can do for a company. Start by identifying WHO you are, and how you are going to market that. For example, am I a writer? HR guy? website guy? sales? trainer? You might have several resumes based on your skills, or you may just have one that you customize with each job/employer. Think about the “things” you can do now, and for your next job. Everyone has something that will make them unique, and highly desirable as a candidate. Having lots and lots of skills that multiple departments can benefit from will quickly advance a candidate. When I said I could train the staff on some different sales and closing techniques that would increase revenue and new business development, I was a “sure thing”. When I was asked if I knew the 4 “C’s”, I replied, “Cash, check, charge, credit.”

 

For your resume, start with your objective and/or your professional profile (or highlights). This will be the first section of your resume. I also like to call this the formal 30 second commercial. If someone only had a few seconds to scan through your resume, what are the things you want them to see immediately?

Share the wealth and forward/share this valuable information with someone you know needs it. If this was forwarded to you, hit up the website and subscribe to get your own blog updates.

 

 

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Trump’s New Blog (desk)

Twice impeached former US President Donald J. Trump has “launched” his blog. He calls it a new social media platform. Uh huh. I’m a webmaster and I read code. I can see right through it. And technically it is no different than my own blog. Instead of calling it blog he simply renamed the location as “desk”.  Unlike my own meandering thoughts and far fetched ideas, displayed in a huge font for us visually challenged folks, his “tweets” or posts I should say, need improvement. They are too small to read and due to his highly formal background in the English language, are nothing compared to our former President Obama, a former attorney and politician. I didn’t subscribe to his website and I did not donate either. He’s a “billionaire” and he is asking for money. I actually have been saying all along he should just use his own domain and website to post his thoughts, … just like Ben Shapiro and myself. You have a target audience that actually wants to hear what you have to say, and like my site, he does not allow you to comment on the site. You can actually comment on mine, I just don’t publish them on the site. Whomever is doing his site really should do some upgrades. Trump is still technically banned on all social media, including Facebook and Twitter, so I am not sure they will allow users to post his “tweets”/posts to their own newsfeed/timeline. When Ivanka did an interview with daddy and put it on Instagram it was immediately removed from her page and every user that shared it. It is no big surprise Trump is still obsessed with spouting lies. I will agree, the election WAS stolen, when he got elected the first time. When you know, the Russians hacked our system and forced the US to have paper ballots as backup/proof. Hillary did not once pull a temper tantrum like Donald. She didn’t tell hundreds of democrats to storm the capital. I think he still thinks he is innocent and the fact that lives were lost due to his immaturity is not his fault. I’m still waiting for New York to find him guilty of all kinds of shit. Tax evasion, racketeering, and not to mention the egregious abuse of power. He made millions charging guests (secret service) at his hotels. And let’s not forget every one of those damn hotels charge … you got it, a resort fee. Which we know is a bullshit fee since we all have internet on our phones.  Ironic how those hotels are remaining unoccupied, mostly due to COVID, which he said would magically go away the day after elections.

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And in other news, I read that the Biden Administration is looking to increase the number of years that a public student would need to graduate, to an additional 4 years. So if you can’t make college free for everyone, then simply change the rules for public education and give them the 4 years for free. I see this could be a good thing, or a bad thing. What if the kids say “F” this and they all start dropping out after the 12 years are up? I don’t know about you, but I was ready for college. High school was … confining. I don’t personally agree with all the things they make kids do to graduate. If I was in charge of education, I would make some serious curriculum changes. How to change a tire, jump start a car, cooking for dummies … you know, real life skills. As a member of the InstantPot group on Facebook, I have come to the conclusion that millions of people do not know how to cook, and they think their new magic InstApot is a replacement microwave. Every day, every minute, somewhere, someone is making a 3000 calorie cheesecake and dumping another 2000 calories in chocolate and toppings. I drink my calories, in those delicious Arby’s orange creamsicle shakes. If you haven’t had one you really should try one as they are for a limited time only. A large is a whopping 950 calories. Yep, that was my lunch and dinner that day.

Did you get your mom a gift yet? Time is running out.

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WordPress Security – SSL – Tax Deductions

Two Factor Authentication

You may have noticed some websites now make you verify it is actually you by sending you a text message to your cellphone. For your website, you should implement this type of security. I have it on this site, and when I attempt to login, it will require me to use the Microsoft Authenticator app before granting access.  This will prevent any hackers from getting unauthorized access to your files. If you use Wordfence, like I do, then it is already in your arsenal of weapons against hackers. Activate it and use your favorite app to verify you. It is pretty easy. Once activated there is a QR code you scan and it then puts everything  into motion.

Jetpack

This is an awesome plugin that I install on every website I build. It has a plethora of utilities that make your life as a webmaster easier. It has had a boatload of updates over the years, and actually is the tool that I used to notify users of a new posting. Personally I think that it is the coolest feature of all. Almost everyone has their email attached to their smartphone. So it is cool that I know thousands of people are casually sipping their coffee and reading their Aaron update. Today, which actually happens to contain some useful information that may save your site one day.

Another cool feature is the “prevent brute attacks” which blocks out thousands of hacker using software – that are trying to log into your site as “admin”. As a rule of thumb, I tell clients to just delete that login and then set Wordfence to automatically ban that IP from the site, if someone tries to login as “admin”, which of course, doesn’t even exist. Also, NEVER use admin as the login and password. Speaking of passwords, a cool trick I learned as a freshman in college — from a buddy who I met online, is to always start and end your password with a space character.  You know the long button that you use in between words. Why? Because it is a non-printing invisible to the eye character that a hacker would not be able to distinguish, if he was using like, a keystroke device to capture all your passwords. AH! Another trick, is to use the number 1, and the letter l, “L”, lowercase, as they look the same when printed, and you can also use that weird | symbol. lll|||lll||| is kind of goofy but it is something no one is every going to guess.

SSL certificate

The next layer of protection I advise all website owners is to install the security certificate. For one, you will need it when you are selling products or services directly from your site. Even if you use Paypal as your checkout gateway, you still want to assure your customers/clients that it is safe to enter in a credit card number from you site.  Paypal is super easy to use, install, and bill your clients. In fact, I send all my invoices to clients through a template invoice, and they can pay with their credit card or bank account immediately. Contact your website  host about installing this security certificate. You are less likely to be hacked if you have this simple, cost effective gatekeeper. My hosting package actually included it for free. Otherwise I think it is as low as $20 a year.

Tax Deductions for Website Owners

If you file your taxes as self-employed or owner of a business, then you already know that your website expenses and all hosting associated with it are deducted from the gross income, hence lowering your tax liability. So there really is NO reason at all that you don’t have some of these extras. Dropbox, you need it. It’s deductible. Graphics, (from Photodune) are cheap, and grant you copyright. You need it. Deductible. The web designer who is able to direct your potential customers to a sale and creates a new revenue stream for your business … you need it. People can’t buy what they can’t see. I can’t tell you how many times I see a site and I am left wondering, “What is it you are selling, because I can’t figure it out from your site.” No call to action is very common, and ultimately it is abandoned by possible new readers/subscribers. This site sells things. It sells books, and has a menu directing people to the rest. Mostly it sells ideas. People don’t come to this website to “buy” something. Usually they come to learn something. Probably 80% of new visitors come from Google, Bing and MSN. Most of my long time readers just subscribe to get the blogs and know they really don’t have to go to the main site unless they want to read older blogs.

If everything I just wrote means nothing to you, then you must not be a website owner. So, on a side note, Disney+ just released the movie Mulan, for $29.99, and unlike Trolls that only allowed 48 hour playback, you can play it as long as you are a Disney+ subscriber. So Disney actually listened to feedback from Trolls and grants you forever access without buying it again when it comes out next year on digital and disc for the rest of the world. HOWEVER, if you cancel Disney+, then you lost it.

Also, for American Express platinum cardmembers, they receive up to $20 a month on streaming services. So my Netflix, and Disney+ are free for me, and then I also get $20 a month credit on cell phone services. So for cardmembers it would work out to like, $21 to get the new Mulan. I’m actually watching it right now in the background and it is surprisingly pretty good. I haven’t written an actual movie review in years, but who knows? It could happen.

If you like my posts, please like my Facebook page. You can click like at the footer of any page on the site, or subscribe, also in the footer, and get my posts by email. I strive to post on a regular basis. Especially now that everyone is in lockdown.

 

In the United States, it is Friday, the beginning of the Labor Day weekend! I am guessing there will be millions of backyard bbq’s. Have a fun and safe weekend friends!

 

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WordPress Site Hacked?

As much as I hate it, websites get hacked. They are actually more vulnerable as WordPress allows more and more plug-ins that have weak security which in turn can infiltrate your site.

 

I have several sites that have been hacked and I have spent many countless hours sorting through evil lines of code, deleting scripts and files. It’s not a lot of fun, but it needs to be done. If you are not a code geek, then I wouldn’t recommend doing this. Hire a professional.

 

If your site goes down, pray that you have a WordPress xml backup file somewhere. It is really easy to do. Go into your WordPress dashboard, if you can, and go to tools, export, all content. Save it to your cloud or Dropbox.com account. This is all your precious hard work you have created.

 

If you can’t get into the dashboard, then you might be able to salvage it if you can get cPanel access to the file manager. If you can, then zip up your WordPress core files, mostly the wp-content folder. Save it to your hard drive. Hopefully you don’t have to use this and you have the XML file.

 

So, how do you know if your site has been hacked? For starters, it might not load at all. It could still load, but in the background secretly have malicious malware or spam files hiding in deep folders. Ultimately what is going to happen, is your web host server is going to shut down your account and delete the site all together to prevent any infection of other sites. Chances are, your site is on a shared host with other websites. Your site could have been infected simply by being on a server that was attacked.
GoDaddy, Bluehost, and a few others are targets and have had sites go down due to hackers.

 

After much technical research, hours of reading other people’s issues, I finally came up with my own solution. Delete the infected site. Start over. This sucks, but it has to be done. Don’t try and edit files that that were binary code. Every answer you search for online gives you very technical, difficult, time consuming possibilities. None that are easy.
  1. Contact your host and change your server password, and your cPanel password. They should be impossible to ever crack.
  2. Log into cPanel, go to Legacy File Manager. Find the infected site. Delete it and all the files under it. You are starting over. Everything in that website directory will be removed.
  3. Open Sofaculous, and if the site is in the “overview”, then you will need to remove it. If it is not listed, but still an active domain, then you will need to install a new copy. Install “limit login attempts” during installation.
  4. Log into the WordPress dashboard, go to plug ins and install Wordfence and Jetpack.
  5. Activate both plug ins and set the security level in Wordfence to “Attack Imminent”.  Activate Jetpack jump start and also limit logins. This will help protect your site.
  6. Go into Wordfence and whitelist your ip address. Ban all I.P. addresses who try to use “admin” as a user, and who access the wp-admin folder. This will help keep your site safe from hackers. Make it impossible to get into your site.
  7. Delete any plugins that you don’t use. Delete “Hello Dolly”. Delete all the themes except the default theme.
  8. Install your desired theme, and import your WordPress XML file. Proceed to set up your site as normal.
  9. Delete all themes that you are not using.
If you don’t have the XML file, go into cPanel file manager and upload the wp-content file you saved to your hard drive. Hopefully, it will load the content.
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Confused with hastags? #hashtags

Welcome to the 21st century

 

Where the little tic tac toe, from your old dial tone phone is now called something else. It’s called a hash tag.

#

I know, it sounds like the stupidest thing to rename something that we all call a pound symbol. Either way it doesn’t really matter what you call it, it matters what you do with it, what you label, and how you retrieve it. It is also very important when it comes to gaining new readers.

Chances are you might know what these little doo hickeys are, but if you don’t then you are in good hands. No one actually taught me about them but I figured them out and have been making them work for me quite well for some time.

Basically because Twitter only gives you 140 characters, you had to somehow “code” your tweets so you could find them again, and other people could find them. It is a code that starts with a # and is followed by a word. They need to be connected #twitter, and they are not case-sensitive. You can use capitals but it won’t matter.

 

Twitter started the hashtags, but its popularity quickly jumped to other mainstream social media, including Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and many more. Many companies and products have created their own hashtags to brand themselves.

I have used my own #QuotesByAaronMstephens when I write something and think I may want to read it again. It also is helpful for people to find your updates. So if people know this is MY hashtag, then they can easily pull it up without having to go through so many thousands of tweets or posts.

Once I started using hashtags that were more common for people to think of, I started gaining more followers. Now I use them for SEO and search engine relevance. When you are in WordPress composing a new post, there are tags you can use which are in your article/blog.

These are actually just like hashtags, but for search engines. If you are just randomly throwing in illogical words, it is going to have a negative effect on your rankings.  I would say that only 10% of bloggers who understand SEO actually use these hashtags, tags and categories correctly.

 

I have experimented using different hashtags, using ones that are trending, and also posting things without hashtags. It is safe to say that you should ALWAYS use at least one hashtag. I am a writer, so I use a lot of writing reference hashtags.

I have a lot of readers who are authors, aspiring and published, and they look to me for education. “If it is working for Aaron, then it can work for me.”  Some easy to remember hashtags can be #blog #write #writer #author #indie . There are millions of people who love to read blogs. You might be one of them. Make things easy for your reader. If they know they can find you or your blog by a clever or common hashtag, you will gain more followers/readers.

Be a messenger and share your new found knowledge with a friend.

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Facebook Business Likes Decreasing

If you weren’t aware, Facebook has made a decision to clean house. Businesses that have fake “likes” from LIKE farms are in trouble. Facebook has decided to remove dead, inactive accounts. It has not been confirmed, but I am sure they have some sort of advanced software working in the background.

If you don’t know what a LIKE farm is, it is a company that hires thousands of people to just “like” pages if customers pay them. On the surface you can’t tell that a business has fake likes. Meaning they paid an outside company to just like their page and they really don’t. Personally I don’t think that is right. It’s cheating. Facebook thinks so too. They are also attempting to determine the number of fake accounts and duplicates. I only have one Facebook account, but there are tons of people who have more than one, and that is against their terms of service. If they find out, they could ban both accounts. So be careful folks.

Facebook also decided that deceased accounts should also not count. In all fairness, the person who liked that page can no longer interact, like or share postings. The biggest problem companies had with using a like farm is that when they would go to post something on Facebook, there would be zero engagement or likes. So I am sure you have seen pages that post something and there is hardly any like or zero likes. For a lot of people they think that those likes are fake, and purchased from a like farm.

If you don’t own a Facebook business page, then this might be educational for you. I am going to assume you know what a page is, and you just don’t have one of your own. If you do, then you already know that it is not easy to get people to like your page. You might be one of them. You’ve spammed all your friends through the Facebook invite option and only a handful of people liked your page. Why? You have over a thousand, surely everyone is going to like your page, right? Wrong.

First of all, your friends don’t know anything about your new page, and second of all, they don’t know if you own it. It might not be clear. I get invites all the time for people who want me to like their page. Here is my rule, if you didn’t ask me personally, or I can’t tell that it is your page, I won’t like it. Third, I need to see what you have been posting the past month or so, how often you post, and if I find it interesting, educational or entertaining. If it doesn’t meet that criteria, I may not want you showing up in my newsfeed. Sometimes, over-posting can prevent someone from liking your page.

Your business page should have at least an hour’s worth of good reading, just like your website. Many people make the mistake of announcing their premature business page and the only people who like it are the best friends, family and maybe some clients. If you are someone who just reposts other people’s material, ultimately you will just end up sending your potential readers to someone else’s page.

When you do finally decide on your topic for your blog, be sure you write something ample. Use big fonts. If you are using WordPress then you should be using those “H” tags. In the formatting, there is Heading 1, 2, 3, …6, and paragraph and there are some other formats you can use. Those are key in your SEO. I have never mentioned using these in my blogs in the past, but I always, ALWAYS, use them. For one, it makes it easier for you the reader to read. Two, it does some special SEO tricks that help search engines find me. Three, it just looks nicer.

Did you know that your blog/website only has 8 seconds before your reader will make a decision? Think about it. How much time and patience do YOU have? If a page doesn’t load fast then your reader will close out. If your page does load and it is too busy, your reader will close out. If your page loads and the font is too small and a TON of text, your reader may close out. Remember, most people have failing eyesight or are reading from a mobile device. As a blogger you are also a designer now. Layout and design make a huge impact and impression on your reader.

So if you haven’t checked me out on Facebook, I have a few business pages. The main one is my public figure page and the other is my children’s book page. I was asked by a client who has an author page if she should also have a book page. Personally I don’t think it would hurt, and it certainly can help. My marketing of the book was monumental on introducing people to the idea of my book, months before it actually launched. After it launched the likes continued to grow. I have noticed that on both of those pages my likes have decreased like everyone else out there. Fortunately for me it was minimal. I lost like 2 thousand on the angel page and maybe 1 thousand on my public figure page.

I am sure it was due to duplicate or inactive accounts. I know some people are thinking, “Wow, you lost 3 thousand fans? That’s more than I have all together. I’d be freaking out.” I would be except that I have over 200 hundred thousand fans on Facebook, not counting my other social media platforms. I would probably imagine that this website has a pretty large following. There are so many marketing vehicles out there that point people to this website. Lately I have been getting random visitors from StumbleUpon.com. That is another cool website, but I will write a blog on that website another day.

Although, in all fairness, before Facebook was doing their deletion of likes, I would lose likes on a regular basis. Sometimes none, sometimes as many as 30 a day. For whatever reason, someone decided they didn’t want to see me in their newsfeed. I try not to overanalyze and instead focus on the positive.

Thousands of God’s children ARE listening to me, hearing his message. There are also thousands of followers who like reading something spiritual and inspirational. I get messages daily, many of them young boys who look up to me as a role model. It’s a really cool feeling when a total stranger tells you that he wants to be just like you. I also spent a pretty penny (from heaven) on advertising and marketing the book around the globe for almost 10 months. Millions have been exposed to the book, Facebook pages, or websites.

I have some stealth website tricks that I use. On the angel academy website and this one, I have a “like” box that shows up in the right hand corner of the website when you hit page 3 scrolling. If you like the site it asks you to like the Facebook page. The cool thing with this is you don’t have to leave the website to actually go look at the Facebook page. So I got thousands of people to like my page without ever going to see it. It doesn’t activate on the blog posts, but if you click on the header it will take you to the home page.

Once you have your Facebook business page established you should advertise it everywhere you can for free. Your email signature, your personal Facebook cover page and description, your Google+ page, your About.Me page, Twitter profile, any promotions, and anything printed, including your business card. I am not sure how many likes I got from LinkedIn, but that is also another rich platform you can market yourself.

Regardless of profession you are in, if you are seeking clients or customers, you need to be visible. You need your website to come up first if someone types it in Google, Bing, MSN or Yahoo. You never know where your readers are coming from, but you can always direct them to your personal professional website. You are always in control of your website. Facebook won’t be going away due to it’s egregious wealth and power. However there were other social media sites that came and went; Friendster, MySpace are just a couple off the top of my head. If you are blogging on Blogger or WordPress.com, there is nothing from them saying they are going to start charging you or hold your website hostage.

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How To Launch a Blog in less than 90 days

This morning I woke up and a friend of mine had posted there is a new book coming out, “How to write a blog.” I kid you not. I checked it out, and since there are so many new bloggers who visit my site I felt I should share it with you. Here.

The book does not say who even writes it. They are currently doing a pre-launch campaign to get people interested. I can tell you that there is tons of free stuff on the internet, like this blog for instance, that are totally free.

Here is what say they might teach you.
1. Discover your blog idea. 2. Blog set up easy. 3. Develop your content and editorial calendar. 4. How to grow & engage your audience with social media. 5. Search Engine Optimization. 6. Additional Traffic Methods. 7. Creating your press kit. 8. Creating your newsletter. 9. Monetize your blog. 10. Tracking your stats. 11. Blueprint and calendar.

 

You can pre-order it for $67. WHAT?! Yep, you heard me right/write. Again, no credible author, no tangible proof of prior results. Just the hope and promise that you “might” learn those things. Would you pay $67 for that book? I think I know the answer to that one. First of all, that book is totally way priced out of any book in the market. You will only get that money if you can break into the college textbook market and only if you can get a university or college to endorse your book. That means you will need some credentials.

Here is the other thing. They are not even using a traditional publisher and it is not a paper version, it is ONLY an eBook.  Yep, you heard me right. The most anyone ever pays for an eBook is $9.99, and that is because of the royalty/commission structure that is set in place, specifically at Amazon.com.

I have a pretty good idea that not many people can even afford a book that expensive, but maybe they would like that information. How about I write that book with my content, do it as an eBook also, give it a better name, or even the same name, and sell it for $9.99?

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Ready To Start Your Blog?

Did you know that there are actually lots of different choices and alternatives for blogging. Personally I think anyone who has a thought to share should have a blog. The world needs more writers.

I get a lot of questions from readers who want to start a blog or a website. These probably are not potential clients for me as I usually build websites for clients who have a steady stream of income. Most “blogs” are more informative and usually don’t sell a lot of products or services. I would say that blogs are a collection of ideas, and are composed as a “post”, whereas your website is made of “pages”. All WordPress blogs have to include 2 pages in order to make the site work. The first page is the home page and the second is the blog page.  If you do not have these two pages configured correctly then your site will not appear correctly.

Now you don’t have to use WordPress, you can use something else. One of my prior blogs lived on Blogger.com. It is also a free blogging system, has lots of customization, and like WordPress.com, you can use your custom domain name, but you have to pay additional for it of course. If all you want to do is record your thoughts and ideas, then using a free blogging system will do the job.

Your website doesn’t need to be super fancy. Look at this one. It’s pretty plain and simple. It is the layout and the size of the font that makes it easy to read. It is the content that keeps readers coming back for more.

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