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how to get rid of malware

How to Get Rid of Malware on Your WordPress Website

A website can make or break people’s perspective of whether or not you’re credible. When someone is legit, not only do they have a website but it’s one that is functional and findable. When you have that going for you, you can win their attention.

But what do you do if Google isn’t playing nice? What if you think you have Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools working for you but in reality, they’re not?

In today’s post, I’m going to not only share with you how I was able to fix my standing with Google search results, but also help you hopefully prevent future hacks.

 

My Introduction to Malware (the Hard Way)

So, here’s the deal. The New Inceptions site has been around since 2010. And for a long time, while I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the people I was learning from, for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to fully commit.

I’d write a post here or there – but never really had the time to actually put time into it.

And many times, what isn’t a habit, simply gets ignored.

Well, that’s what happened to the site. I wasn’t using it and because I wasn’t, the WordPress install files (including themes and plugins) all fell behind in updates.

The problem is that many of these updates are for security. And, truth is, if you fall behind, you’re leaving yourself prone to attack.

I didn’t know that at the time – and that’s when someone decided to upload malware on my site.

The way I found out was that I simply tried to hop on one time and I was given this warning instead of my site:

how to get rid of malware

Needless to say, I started to panic a bit.

Well after a few days of trying to figure the thing out, I basically decided that I was going to have to dump my site and start over.


And so I did.

 

But apparently, even after doing that, I hadn’t gotten rid of the problem.

 

I’d find out shortly after I relaunched New Inceptions in 2015, that I still hadn’t figured it out. But my solution at the time seemed to fix the problem…

 

2016 – A Chance of Intermittent Head Scratchers

So, there I am, moving along in 2016 with the AoL podcast and my regular scheduled blog posts.

 

I was about a year in and I was realizing I still hadn’t really gained much new traffic. Part of that, I figured, was simply because I didn’t know what I was doing with SEO. So I started following some advice that I was picking up from Bryan Harris and Brian Dean about how to structure posts so that they attract more people AND start ranking for SEO organically.

 

In the end, none of it seemed to work. I was still getting all this traffic from Indonesia and other asian countries – but not much from the US.

 

So weird. But my host couldn’t tell me why, nor could anyone in Google.

 

So I kept plugging away believing that like anything in life, success comes with time.

2017 – A New Host

Skip ahead to a few weeks ago – Houston got hit by Hurricane Harvey. As a result, Hostgator had all kinds of issues. From what I can gather, their primary server farm for the US is/was based there as well as their North American support staff.

 

Well, New Inceptions, along with my clients websites, were having all kinds of reliability problems.

 

So I decided that we’d have to move to another host. And luckily, Jake at America Multi-Sport had already tested another host for our Viking Trail Run series.

 

He was having good success with it (wasn’t slow, didn’t limit bandwidth, etc.) and I soon realized that I was going to move my account as well as client accounts over to the new host.

 

It was around this time that I had chosen to simply google NI and the result that I got simply blew me away:

how to get rid of malware

What in the world?!?

 

So I had the folks who were migrating NI to the new host could check for malware.

Unfortunately – they didn’t find any.

For about 3 weeks, I was left in this state as I couldn’t get ahold of anyone at Google that could help.

And during this time Google thinks my site is Japanese.

Wonderful.

 

The “Current” Solution

So, recently, I’ve been networking with different leaders of various groups using Arne’s FB Growth Course, I ran across one group called Blogging for Entrepreneurs hosted by Tori Reid.

Well, I posted the above image and asked if anyone might have ideas in how to fix it.

The response that got me going in the right direction: “Check your plugins to see if any of them haven’t been updated in awhile.”

That made me go back into my WordPress Dashboard and check out what hasn’t been updated for 6 months or more. I got rid of all of those that fit the criteria.

That didn’t do it.

But as soon as I did trash my last plugin, I get a notice from Wordfence saying that I might have some bad files in my installation of WordPress.

So I get over to see what it’s talking about…

AND THERE WAS STILL MALWARE!

Not only was this malware red flagged but it apparently it was installed from 2010 and 2011 – exactly when I first started having problems!

I couldn’t press the delete button quick enough! Lol.

After which, I update my Yoast SEO sitemap (an XML file you upload) on Google Webmaster Tools – and later that day, my the result looked like this:

how to get rid of malware

Hey, it’s not Japanese anymore!!

 

Final Result

As time has gone on since implementing this fix, my results have started to look better and better.

 

Today, I ended up with this as my results for NI:

how to get rid of malware

I think it might be finally fixed!

 

Action Steps

Alright – so guys, I hope you learned a couple of things in this one. First, don’t give up on problems you might not have the solution for right now. Just know that eventually it’ll work itself out.

Secondly, if you have WordPress installed – GET WORDFENCE for your site. Not only did it see these malware files, but it’s also limited tons of people from getting in and causing more mischief – including banning their IPs!!

Have any recent successes yourself with something you’ve been struggling with for awhile? Let me know. I’d love to hear about your win!!

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Jobs Without Borders: How TravelGig.co is Making it Easier to Work and Travel with John Asbury (AoL 097)

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free phone apps

Freebies to Use for Your Business: Free Phone Apps For You and Your Biz

In the blog this month, we’ve been looking at freebies (or very inexpensive items) which will help you build your business. They are all things that I’ve used myself and will continue to use in the development of my content and in the content itself.

Again, this all came about when I posted a piece about working with others through the cloud – efficiently and for FREE. It primarily discussed cloud storage apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and one I use that not many Americans know about: MEGAupload.

In this post, the freebies we’re looking at are apps. Phone apps and web apps. 

Like most apps, most of these will have a free version and premium version. However, just like the cloud storage apps, you can get by with just the basic version.

 

Applications – Not Just on Your Computer Anymore:

Applications are not all on your computer these days. The days where you’d buy a CD or DVD and install your new program on your hard drive for it to completely work on your computer are, for the most part, long gone. In fact, when I don’t have an internet connection, it’s almost a chore for me to remember which applications I can actually use during that down time.

These days, most apps have an online portion – especially if they have a free tier. How else can they collect your data and emails? That’s essentially what you’re paying when things are “free”. But hey, that’s a pretty small price to pay to get all of this good stuff to help you out, right? 🙂

Anyhow – here’s a list of business apps that you can use mobile and on your pc or Mac.

 

Business Apps:

IFTTT:

If there’s one app that I want you all to know about that I believe will save you a ton of time it’s IFTTT. IFTTT (pronounced like “gift” without the “i”) stands for “if this then that” — is a service that lets you create different recipes for streamlining your online activities. For example, you can create a recipe that saves all the tweets of a particular person and saves them on your Google drive in one spreadsheet. Or, if you want to transition your pics from Instagram to Twitter, you can do that too. Ta-da! Countless squinty-eyed hours saved scouring the Internet.

 

Social Jukebox:

Social media can be a pain in the rear – especially if you’re busy making things! Let Social Jukebox help you out. Just like a music jukebox holds and plays music randomly, it holds a bank of messages you can send out via social media. Its free plan will post to your Twitter up to 4 times a day. And if you subscribe to the premium membership, you’ll get to post to Facebook and LinkedIn as well.

 

Doodle.com:

Scheduling 1 on 1 calls and/or meetings is pretty straight forward with something like calendly.com. But what if you have multiple people you’re looking to get together for a meeting? You can’t use calendly for that (at least I don’t think you can). So what can you do? You could start an email thread and waste half a day tracking replies, or you could use Doodle. Doodle helps you effortlessly set up polls for scheduling. And one big awesome thing to me is that respondents don’t even have to join to answer a poll. Doodle cuts down on needless email and streamlines scheduling big time.

 

Slack & Ryver:

Here’s a couple more tools you can use to remove a ton of the emails that you regularly have to make if you’re part of a team. I’ve used both of these in the past on various projects and I’d say they’re about the same in what they do. And what they do, they do well. If you’re familiar with the old chat rooms that were made popular by AoL, Yahoo, and numerous other sites up until social media came around, then you’ll understand how these tools use channels to contain certain conversations between your team’s members.

 

Personal Development Apps:

Not all apps are geared towards making a business in itself. Sometimes they’re geared in developing you.

I mean, a mechanic can only upgrade his tools so much to do a certain job – because eventually, those tools might go outside of his current ability. In that case, the mechanic needs to get better to keep up with the tools themselves.

There are plenty of apps out there which will help you become a better version of yourself. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

Habitica:

There’s so many habits that we want to develop to make ourselves better in our craft. But the catch is that you have to put in the work to get it done. That’s where Habitica comes into play. It’s a habit building and productivity app that treats your real life like a game. With in-game rewards and punishments to motivate you and a strong social network to inspire you, Habitica can help you achieve your goals to become healthy, hard-working, and happy.

 

Headspace:

If you’re looking to learn how to meditate and the price tag on the Muse is a little out of your reach, then I’d say Headspace might be your next bet. It’s first level is entirely free and includes 10-minute sessions for each day that will help you get into the habit of meditating regularly. There are reminders, and you can choose to focus on aspects like foundation, health, and performance. If you want to go deeper, you can with the premium service.

 

Happier:

In AoL session 79 with Barbara Ireland, we talked about how important it was to get rid of your negative thoughts. Part of doing that is to start developing an attitude of gratitude – focusing on what’s good in your life. With the happier app, you can start collecting happy moments throughout the day to add to your mental journal. (I use this because the 5 Minute Journal still hasn’t come to Android yet. If you’re a iPhone user – pick that up here.)

 

Headout:

A lot of us who are in the the creative space work from home. So sometimes we don’t get out and about our own cities like we should. I mean, all work and no play doesn’t make anyone any better, right?

What’s cool about this app is that it features “incredible experiences on demand,” which is a trendy way of saying it has “the best activities, events and tours happening in town.” You can find and book last-minute deals if you’re feeling spontaneous. Paired along with Field Trip, you should always have new things to discover.

 

Reddit Is Fun:

Ok, so this one is kind of a cop out, because it’s a reddit browser. Reddit is the front page of the internet – so that means that pretty much everything that you can find online is on there. However, that said, there are subreddits that you can use to make your life better. Download the app and then check out these subs to get an idea of what I’m talking about: r/stopgaming, r/selfimprovement, , r/entrepreneur, r/getmotivated, r/iwanttolearn, r/lifeprotips, r/productivity, r/zenhabits and r/selfhelp.

 

Action Steps:

Ok, so there you go, guys. Ten apps that I use on a regular basis for my business and to improve it. I recommend checking them all out and seeing which ones fit you. There’s a few other ones that I could have added, but these are the ones that I’ve used the most. 

If I’m missing any that you think should have been on this list because YOU use them all the time, I’d love to hear about it. Drop the name of it below and I’ll check it out!

Freebies to Use For Your Business: Non Copyright Music Sources

Last week we saw how relatively easy it is to get stock images for free. I mean, with the abundance of resources that are out there, why pay for one again? Unless you’re very specific in your search, I really can’t think of a good reason.

In this week’s post, I’ll share with you the places I’ve found free stock music. If you’re wondering what stock music is useful for, then my quickest response is “what medium isn’t it useful for?”.

To this day, even on national TV, I see commercials that are using stock music.

Whether it’s in the background of a short clip of a speech, to being used in a podcast, to even being used behind GTA and Halo montages on YouTube, stock music can be useful in adding a bit more flare to the medium you’re using to convey your message.

 

What is Stock Music (aka Non Copyright Music)?

Like I did in last week’s post, I want give a short description of stock music is and isn’t.

Stock music, known by many names including non copyright music or production music, is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in TV, video (movies or online), radio and other media. Traditionally, the music is produced and owned by production music libraries.

If it is owned by a music library, then the user will have to pay a license fee to use that music with their media.

However, with the advent of the internet, stock music artists, like independent artists, can create and release their own music.

This was the main reason that SoundCloud became so popular and why MySpace is even still around. Both of these mediums have been used significantly to get music out into the world.

So that’s what it is.

However, the difference of the two is that stock music is specifically released to be the background of media, whereas other music, while it might be used as background music, is designed to stand alone. Many times, you’ll hear traditional music altered to be background music – especially in commercials with a lot of production value on TV.

Stock Music Examples

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about if you’re still a little fuzzy.

Here’s a few examples of stock music in a YouTube video:

Here’s something you might hear on the radio – but you won’t because it’s copyright free:

And here’s a sample of stock music that’s not only used for a commercial for Plus Benefits, but it’s also used at the beginning of Ryan Moran’s podcast:

Plus Benefit’s Commercial:

Freedom Fast Lane Podcast w/ Ryan Daniel Moran:

If you ever find the name of this piece, I’d love to know what it’s called!

Using Stock Music

Ok, so like last week with the images, it’s relatively easy to tell if something is stock music. In fact, many pieces of stock music that you can sample will have the name of the library that you’re sampling it from right in the middle of the sample. Obviously, like watermarking images, it’s there to detour you from using it.

In the following piece you’ll hear a slight whisper of “Audio Jungle” repeated over and over. That’s what I call an audio watermark.

 

Just like I said about images…

DON’T USE ‘WATERMARKED’ MUSIC!

For one, it’ll make whatever you’re doing sound ridiculous, and two, you’ll probably get a cease and desist letter if not a potential lawsuit.

Another way to realize if you need to pay a license to use music is whether or not it can easily be downloaded. If you have to pay something to download it, then it probably has specific details in when it can be used as well.

If you want to read more about the different types of licensing and usage methods – here you go.

It’s not really relative to the next part though! 🙂

 

Where to Find Free Stock Music

So here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. Where can you find free stock music to use with your media? Well, my top 3 places are…

  1. FreeMusicArchive.org
  2. YouTube
  3. Reddit

The Free Music Archive has just about anything you want. So that’s generally where I get most of my stock music. Like images, you want to make sure that you give credit when it’s asked for and when it’s due. I make it common to acknowledge the artist in all of my work.

If for some reason, you can’t find what you’re looking for in the Archive, then YouTube has a decent source. The Verge did a decent review about what you can expect in there when their library was launched in 2013.

Finally, the third option I find as a potential place to find pieces, but I haven’t quite used anything from here yet, is Soundcloud. As mentioned, this type of work is what helped its popularity. If you want to see what’s available on Soundcloud (or other places around the web), there’s a great resource via reddit that might be able to help you find good stuff: No Copyright Music Subreddit.

 

Like last time with the images, if you want even more free music, I have a couple of links for you:

20+ Websites to Download Creative Commons Music For Free

And it’s sequel:

20 (More) Websites To Download Creative Commons Music For Free

 

Action Steps:

So there you go. Plenty of sources to get free music to ramp up your videos or podcast sessions with. Now you have no excuse to not add a bit of atmosphere to your next project.

If you find anything great via these resources, let me know below! I’d love to hear about your discoveries and even a little show and tell about what adding this music has done for your work!

best free stock photo sites

Freebies to Use For Your Business: Best Free Stock Photo Sites

Last month, I wrote a piece on free cloud services that we can use to host our files. I mentioned that I used three different services because I use them for different tasks.

That triggered a number of questions from various folks asking if I knew of other free services that new online creatives could use while they were growing their business.

Here were the 4 main requests:

  • Free stock images
  • Free music
  • Best free business advice (if they couldn’t afford Fizzle at $35/mo)
  • Free apps I use to make my life easier and more productive.

This week, I’m going to start with discussing free stock images.

I’ll be visiting three vital things to know when you’re dealing with free stock images:

  1. What they actually are.
  2. How to know if you can use them in your project.
  3. And, where you can find them.

 

What Are Stock Images

Stock images are one of those necessary evils that many of us will have to use for our projects one time or another.

Stock images are images that are created by a photographer or illustrators in order for them to be used in commercial content.

Most of the time, they’re available in a huge libraries such as Shutterstock, 123RF, and iStockPhoto.

However, not all images that are used with commercial content are stock. Stock simply means the image is generic and people can use it for pretty much anything.

For example, Pat Flynn opts to use images that are illustrations of the topic, whereas I personally tend to use stills from real life.

types of stock images

Different types of Stock Images used in Blogging and Posts Today

 

In fact, most of the time I’m using images of people doing something. In my mind it makes it more relatable.

Again, don’t confuse images that were created generically with images that were made specifically for a certain purpose.

For example, even though they might look like they’re stock shots, the cover images of the Unmistakable Creative look like generic outlines, but in reality, they play a vital part to their marketing and brand.

How to Know if You Can Use a Stock Image In Your Project

There’s two things you want to consider before using an image for your next project.

  • What kind of license does it have?
  • Does it have a watermark on it?

Licensing:

Licenses for stock images are generally divided into two types:

  • Royalty free
  • Rights-managed

Royalty free means that once someone has purchased a license to an image, they can use the image multiple times without having to pay again to do so. If the image is free (like we’re talking about in this post), then that means that you’ll be able to use it as many times as you’d like.

Rights-managed images are generally restricted in terms of usage – limitations may include industry, geographic location or the duration for which the image can be used.

If you’re going to be paying for a license (which I’m not sure why you’d do that after today’s post) and/or you’re unsure what type of license you’ll need to purchase for a particular image, be sure to contact the company who owns it and ensure you’ll be covered.

 

Watermarks:

The easiest way to identify a stock image is to look for a watermark on the image itself. This watermark will often indicate the source of the image.

Here’s a ridiculous example of watermarking vs what you’ll normally see:

Examples of Watermarks that you might see on the web today.

Neither one you’d want to use in your work. Let me repeat that…

NEVER USE WATERMARKED IMAGES IN YOUR WORK.

It doesn’t matter how small the watermark is. If it’s showing that’s a huge no-no.

That said, it can be difficult to determine if images are stock. One way to check is to use reverse image search platforms like Google Images or TinEye.com. On their native sites, they  allow you to upload the image and search it against billions of others. (If you use Chrome like me, though, there’s a plugin you can use that will allow you to check with a single click.)

If the image doesn’t turn up, chances are it’s original.

Alternatively, if it’s used everywhere, there’s a good chance that it’s royalty-free. It’s up to you to find the source of the image though.

This may sound like a lot of work, but in reality, it all boils down to just a few extra minutes of your time. And with all of the effort you put day in and day out into making your business a success, it’s certainly worth it to ensure you’ll be able to use your new design, hassle-free, for years to come.

 

Where Can You Find Free Stock Images

Ok, now that I got that legalese part out of the way, here’s the meat of this post.

What sites do I use to find my royalty free images?

Here are the top 3 that I use:

Pexels tends to have some of the coolest shots I’ve seen, but have somewhat of a limited selection. If I can find an image there, I’ll often use it.

If I can’t find something at Pexels, I’ll use the other two to find what I’m looking for.

And if that’s not enough sources for you, then here’s a good list provided by Entrepreneur.com:

14 Amazingly Free Stock Photo Websites

One by Bryan Inness over at Who Is Hosting This

Free Stock Photos: 100+ Free (& Nearly Free) Libraries

And another one of “Non-Stock” Photo Sources:

The Free High Quality Non-Stock Photo Sources You’ve Always Wanted

Make sure you give credit if it’s required!

Action Steps:

Ok guys. So there you go. If you’re ever in need of an image again for your content and don’t want to or can’t take a good image yourself, there’s really no reason why you should have to pay for a good one.

In fact, there’s a site that’s all about killing stock photos altogether: Death to the Stock Photo (they’re not exactly 100% free, so I didn’t use them in the list above).

However, if you do find yourself paying for image that you simply must have for your work, then make sure you abide by the rules of the license. You could be slapped with a huge fine if you don’t.

Also, just for bonus – here are some good do’s and don’ts when it comes to finding good images for your next project:

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Using Stock Photos in Your Marketing

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Claude Errera on Halo.Bungie.Org: Build The Games You Want to Play (AoL 072)

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successful site

Getting Started on the Web (Part 3): 6 Characteristics of a Successful Site

Back in early summer, I wrote a couple of introductory pieces discussing the process of getting a website up.

In part 1, we looked at some of the different types of ways that you could easily get something up. We also discussed that it’s going to take some time to get your website up and a little bit of ingenuity and technical prowess.

In part 2, we dug a bit deeper into the process. We looked at hosting types as well as a free way to get a professional website up once you had your domain paid for. We also dug a bit deeper into discovering what WordPress is and more of its in’s and out’s.

 

What’s Vital to Your Site’s Success:

In this third part of the series, we’ll be looking more into the vital functions that your site has to provide people who access it if you’re looking to do business through it. This information holds true whether your site reflects simply you as an expert or thought leader all the way up to a new tech startup.

One thing to note about this list: start with the top and work your way down. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it will pay off to eventually have all 6 components in your site.

Let’s get started.

 

Provides Valuable Content

In a world where there’s so much information on the web, you have to let people know what you’re about. Having free content through the form of a blog, through a podcast series, or through videos are the three main ways people deliver that content.

A huge benefit to you for providing free regular content is recognition by Google. It will rank you higher than a site that is static and isn’t adding material.

 

Blogging:

The blog is the easiest of the three to provide. For one, it’s built into your site if you’re using WordPress. Secondly, you really don’t have to do much to get it going other than knowing how to write. Preferably,  in a way that reaches your audience on a base level – much I do here with you.

If it’s the first time you’ve ever written in length on a regular basis and you’re simply not used to it, try and copy the writing style of your favorite blogs.

For example, if you have very detailed writing and want to use a lot of step by step instructions in your writing, then check out videofruit.com and emulate how Bryan Harris writes his posts.

If you’re more casual than that, then another one of favorites, of course, was and continues to be the SPI Blog.

 

Podcasting and Videos:

Getting a podcasting or video feed started on your site is similar to getting a blog started. However, unlike the blog, you’re going to have to create your content through other means than simply typing it up and posting it.

If you want to know how to get a podcast going, I’ve posted a basic tutorial of how to do that starting here.

Unfortunately, I haven’t started in the video world yet – so I can’t help you on the basis of that yet!

Looks Great on Mobile:

Half of all traffic on the web today is done through mobile devices – if not more. That means, if you’re site looks like junk on a phone or tablet, then those users aren’t going to be too thrilled about coming back.

Also, make your content easy to get to. If you’re using awkward dropdown navbars or other outdated means of getting to content quickly in just a couple of clicks or presses, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.

 

Simple for You to Manage:

Back in part one of this series I mentioned that you’ll need to have some sort of technical know how to have a website and post to it regularly. When using WordPress, especially, you’ll need to know when it’s time to update plugins, how to write a new post, and upload pictures and other media to those posts.

Learning how to do this takes a bit of time. But if you’re one of the types of people who forgets technical details as soon as you learn them, you might need another option. Perhaps using Squarespace or Kajabi would be more your style.

Remember you normally have to pay for simplicity though!

 

Allows for People to Subscribe to a Newsletter or other Notification System:

People like being reminded about things, because let’s face it, we all get busy. Newsletters are beneficial to all of us. It’s really how I keep track of what people are doing.

That said, you’ll be doing the same thing. You’re going to need some sort of freemium (or opt-in) that will allow people to submit their email (or phone number) to you. In return, you’ll get some sort of product or service that gives an example of how you can help them.

 

Easy for People to Share and Follow:

Social media is what people are focused on these days for their news around the world. Like you and me, they probably want to share what they find online in a given day.

Your site needs to make that process easy-peasy. Make sure that you have social media buttons scattered throughout your site. This will allow people to share content with a few clicks.

If you use a sidebar on your site, have one of your social media feeds in it. It can be a feed of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – you name it! Just have it over there for social proof.

 

Accept Online Payments:

If you have products for sale, you’ll want to be able to sell them through your site. Being able to accept online payments is important in having a successful site to most online entrepreneurs.

However, you might notice that some sites don’t have have options to pay online. More than likely they’re utilizing a process called affiliate marketing where the transaction happens behind the scenes.

Most podcast centric sites work through this process – unless there’s a membership involved with the site like Fizzle.

 

Action Steps:

If you’ve started a website using the previous two segments of this series, great job! You’ve taken important steps to get recognized as the creator you are.

Your next step, is to implement these 6 characteristics into your site. It’s a new year, so there’s really no better time! Get it done as soon as possible.

Again, don’t think you have to do it all at once. If you haven’t started adding content regularly to your site, start doing that first. Then work your way down to the bottom.