Author Archives: Daniel Williams

Start Up A New Website

It is so easy to start up your own website these days.  Whether you want to start a site as a small business or you just want to create a personal blog, there has never been more easy options to get started – especially if you’re not the most technical person around.  There are a number of ways you can go about creating your website as well as a few things to think about when it comes time to plan out what you will do with your site.

The first step is to identify what you’re looking to do with your site.  If you own a business, will you be looking for clients?  Will you want to run an ecommerce store?  Will you want to show up for local search results?  These are all important considerations to think about before you start on your site.  If your site is personal, will you be looking to monetize it in any way?  Or will it be strictly for your eyes only?

I recommend taking some time to brainstorm your ideas and what you want out of your site.  Then do a bit of looking around at sites that you like that you want to emulate.  What do they do that you like?  What would you do differently?

After that it’s important to decide if you want an all inclusive and simple site builder, or if you want to go the more customized and flexible way?  If you go with something like Wix, then everything is included and you can choose from many templates.  All you have to do is write your content.  However with Wix it is hard to customize certain things and you’ll always be locked into their platform and hosting.

I like going with something like a WordPress blog hosted on Bluehost, which is extremely user friendly.  If you want a guide on how to start a website with bluehost then I highly recommend that you take a quick look at this article where they give you a complete walkthrough of setting up your website and getting hosting.

Learning WordPress is a bit of a curve but it’s not bad.  If you can use WordPress or another word processing software program you’ll likely have a lot of fun using WordPress.  Plus, there are a TON of WordPress tutorials, themes, and plugins that you have access to.  It’s just much more open ended than something like Wix or Squarespace.

Personally I would definitely go with a WordPress site on Bluehost.  That way you’ll always own your website and you can move it to faster or more dedicated hosting in the future if your site grows beyond a basic hosting package.

Have you started a website by yourself before?  How did you do it and what services did you use to set it up?  I’d really love to get a discussion going in the comments below!  Or, if you have any questions on how to start a website please do chime in in the comments below.

Protecting Your Personal Information

Blogging-Security-MistakesIt’s not just the X Files.  There are very real dangers around the internet these days and it’s not just contained to big businesses and countries at war with each other.  It’s also a huge risk to people who do daily business online eery day.  There are a few ways that you can ensure that you are safe, however, and that you wont’ be at risk to hackers, data thieves, and more.

First of all, I highly recommend that you educate yourself on all the dangers that are out there.  Bookmarking and tracking a tech blog such as ARS Technica is a great way to stay up to date on the latest in terms of the internet and hacking threats.  Knowledge is most definitely power in this kind of a situation, and we want to stress that the more you know about certain situations the better.  There are always new things popping up all over the place – new threats and new ways of hacking.  The old “just don’t open email attachments” is just not true anymore.  Well, it is, but there are more and more things to be aware of every day.

I strongly recommend that you also employ the use of software defense mechanisms.  These include antivirus software such as Norton 360, antimalware software such as the safe and very useful Spyhunter 4, and enabling the automatic updates of all software on your computer such as browsers, Flash, and the operating system itself.  Many people are annoyed by automatic updates but it’s really the best and most foolproof way to ensure that you are getting all the security updates that you need as patches are rolled out.  If you forget to update your software manually it leaves you vulnerable to attack.

Another great habit is to not browse internet bad neighborhoods.  This roughly means that you should stick to main websites and not trickle off into genres of sites that are well known to be risky in terms of malware attacks.  These include download sites, torrent sites, adult sites, and gambling sites.  These types of websites seem to attract the most amount of hacking and malware intrusions.  Simply visiting an infected websites is often enough to have your computer succumb to a “drive by” installation of malware.  This is a huge risk and another reason why we highly recommend that you use your automatic update feature.

You might want to scan your computer every week for suspicious malware using the software that we mentioned above.  There are always threats out there.  We also want you to be aware of the the phishing schemes that have been going around and preying upon the elderly.  This is why we deem it very important to follow security blogs so that you can be aware of these schemes.  Eventually you will learn a certain “pattern” of behavior to be aware of so that you can be more vigilant about protecting yourself from newer attacks.  For example, you will be more aware of “red flags” that can tip you off that something just isn’t right with an email or phone call.

If you have any other tips, please leave a comment below!

Security Updates

hackplaneLately the hot topic of the last year has been computer and internet security.  This is a relatively new thing, although hacking has been around since computers were first invented.  The thing is, computers are used for so much more these days, and people use them every single day for important tasks such as shopping, banking, and more.  Also, much of government and business is done over the internet and on computers.  Hackers have much higher incentives and targets to go after.  This makes computer security one of the most important things to be aware of in 2016, especially if you are using computers to do those everyday activities.

The best thing that you can do to stay aware of everything that is going on is to follow a few security blogs, such as CNet Security or the ARS Technica Risk Assessment blog.  They are informative as well as fun to read in the way a James Bond movie is fun to watch.  Also, you can stay up to date on the latest in threats as well as new strategies to keep your data safe, such as enabling two factor authentication.  Ah, bet you didn’t know what two factor authentication was did you ?  That is one of the things that you can learn if you keep yourself up to date.

Recently it was discovered that a large-scale power outage in the Ukraine was caused by hackers.  This is the first time that hackers have taken out public utilities that affected the general public.  Clearly we are in a new age where cyber-terrorism is the new front.

While we don’t mean to alarm you we certainly want you to know what’s going on.  My friend just got done creating her emergency preparedness kit in which she has put enough supplies to last at least three days and possibly longer.  She did this in light of recent news of terrorists and other natural disasters.  Should terrorists, hackers, or a natural disaster disable the power grid or something else, it would be highly beneficial to have a kit of food, water, and basic supplies.  It’s certainly not a bad idea, and it’s not so doomsday as a bomb shelter.

Your friends might give you some light humor about it, but let me tell you they’ll be the first in line if something DOES happen and you’re the last person in the area with toilet paper and matches.

Either way, it’s definitely a good idea to stay on top of current events in the tech world.