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Local Web Developer

The question often comes up, regarding where I’m located. As of the writing of this article, I’m living on the Oregon coast (Reedsport Oregon). I started my business and spent the first 7 years in Beaverton. A big percentage of my clientele is still in the Portland area, and I maintain my membership with the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce.

I’ve been fortunate enough, to find this vocation, and enough success, to allow me to be location independent. In other words, I can do my work from just about anywhere. So the question remains, “Am I a local web designer?”

The answer depends on how you look at it. If you are asking if we can sit down at a coffee house and have a meeting, the answer is no, unless your close by or willing to travel. That said, I’m a very good local web developer using a different definition.

My whole business has been optimized to serve small local businesses. Not only businesses that are local to me, but all the businesses that are serving a local community in America. If you have a little restaurant, or you’re a plumber, and you need help promoting your business locally, that’s where I can help. And, that’s true whether you’re in Key Largo, Flagstaff, or Beaverton.

So if you are looking for a rock solid business person, to be your webmaster over the long-haul, you can count on me. If you require proximity, I’m probably not your best choice.

Website Upgrades: Is my site secure?

Please take note of this warning advisory: Due to recent technical changes and increased hacker activity, your website may be at risk.

virtual computer lockWhile any aging website can be susceptible to hacking, this article is specifically intended for those running older versions of WordPress. WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for building websites. With the flexibility and functionality provided by WordPress, it’s not hard to understand why it’s a favorite tool. Of course, with the good, comes the not so good…

Over the past few months, it has become increasingly evident that it is crucial to keep your WordPress installation and its plugins up-to-date. Remember, WordPress is the engine that runs your website. Each year, in order to protect against increasingly sophisticated and determined hackers, WordPress makes three or four major revisions to its program and adds a dozen or so new security patches. In addition, each of its plugins — the small programs that run within WordPress for extra functionality — also gets updated.

In plain English: It is absolutely essential that WordPress updates be applied to your website on a regular, ongoing basis — for your security and convenience as well as that of visitors to your site.

If your site seems to be running smoothly, you may be asking, “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” So long as your site is working, is updating really necessary? The short answer is “yes.” A neglected website isn’t like a car in need of an oil change that gradually runs rougher and rougher, emitting black smoke and making weird noises, giving you plenty of warning before the engine is seriously damaged. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) your website will probably work just fine without the protection of updates — right up to the moment it crashes and/or is hacked. Once that happens, repairing it will be time-intensive and expensive.

While there are “upgrade buttons” available in WordPress, the process actually requires a high level of technical proficiency, so it’s not generally recommended as a DYI project. If you are considering tackling the upgrade of your site, please click here to read my article, “What you should know before upgrading WordPress yourself.

Help Computer SupportAlternatively, you may prefer to engage one of our professional maintenance/upgrade technicians to bring your site up-to-date and keep it that way. If you are interested in this option, you are welcome to simply shoot me an email or give me a call, and I’ll be glad to send you a cost estimate, based on the age and complexity of your particular site.

You may also want to take this opportunity to add new features to your site or even to do a full facelift. Just let me know what you are considering, and I’ll be happy to discuss the options with you.

Please feel free to call (503-828-1763) or email me with any questions.

Flagstaff AZ Web Design

Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona

We arrived in Flagstaff a few hours ago. As you may or may not know, we (my wife and I) are traveling across the country building websites and having fun.

We just spent 6 weeks in Vegas, and that was a blast, and now we are ready for the next stop on our adventure. That’s Arizona, and our first stop in Arizona is in Flagstaff. We are looking forward to seeing the Grand Canyon as well as several other wonders of nature that “live” in this little desert town.

Web Design in Flagstaff

I’ve spent a few minutes looking through the local ads, and see a stark lack of websites. I’m not sure if this points to a lack of interest in internet marketing, or a lack of education about the power of having a website. Either way, I’m looking forward to finding out.

Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce

On Monday or Tuesday I plan on contacting the chamber to see if I could put together a little seminar and help the locals learn more about internet marketing. These small businesses are my bread and butter and I know my web solutions can help them. The only tricky part will be figuring out the best way to spread the word.

Cheap Laptop or Best Laptop?

I’m trying to decide between getting an inexpensive laptop, or one of the new I7’s. Of course my geek side wants the best and I’m looking at using it to replace my desktop. Certainly this is the direction I’m leaning. I’m looking at the least expensive of the best laptops.

As far as the brand goes, I’m going to go with a Toshiba. I’ve had one of these for a while and I think it’s one of the best brands out there still. I used to be a fan of Dell, but I’ve had a couple of bad experiences with them and I’m not willing to go that route. I’ve checked out Office Depot, Best Buy, Amazon, and a few other places but it seems like the best place to buy one is at ToshibaDirect.com.

Please shoot me an email or give me a call if you have any relevant feedback as far as my decision goes.

Google… What do you want to know?

On the 4th of August, 2010. I will be holding a teleconference training about Search Engine Optimization. I won’t be charging for this training, however it’s my deepest hope that we can create something of great value. I will be approaching the call just as if I were charging each person to participate. Click here for more details.

Long Distance Charges May Apply

As I’m starting to offer conference calls as a training solution, I’d like to take a few moments to review long distance charges. As a long time Vonage customer, I forget that some people still pay for Long Distance. I’ve created this article to give some options for keeping your long distance charges down to the absolute minimum.

Quick Note: It’s Not Your Biggest Cost
Before I get into the techniques, I thought I’d share a concept. When you are considering a conference call style training session, long distance charges don’t represent most of your investment. It’s your very valuable time that you need to consider. Example: If you value your time at $20/hr (low I know), the potential long distance charges of 10 cents a minute ($6/hr), is really a drop in the bucket.

Cell Phone
Most cell phones include free long distance. You are being charged for your minutes. That said, if you are one of the many people who never reach the limit of their monthly pool of minutes, this may work well.

Magic Jack
Would you like to never pay for long distance again? You can invest $40 in a magic jack and that includes a year of phone service. Not only does this give you a way to call people without paying for long distance, you can also use this as a second line, maybe to give to telemarketers, or use for classified ads. After your first year it’s only $20/yr, or about $1.67/mo. If you currently have long distance charges of 10 cents a minute, you would need to use 400 minutes within the first year for this to be a break even prospect.

While I plan on getting a magic jack, I haven’t yet, so I can’t give you my personal experience with it. I do know someone who uses one all the time and she is happy with it.

Skype
While it Skype used to be free, and still is if you are calling another Skype number, it costs money otherwise. It is inexpensive and probably the best computer to phone voip (Voice Over IP) service available. They have a pay as you go plan for as little as 2.4 cents per minute within the US (except Alaska & Hawaii). They also have a $2.99/mo unlimited plan. This doesn’t give you a phone number that people can call you on, so I think Magic Jack is a better value, however the quality may be better on Skype. I have no experience with the quality on Magic Jack, but I’ve used Skype and the quality was very good.

Why Not Use a Toll Free Number
I’ve done a lot of research on this. While I can do a conference using a long distance number for free, the least expensive Toll Free service I’ve found is 3.9 cents per minute, per person. If I have a call with 25 people on it, the cost would be nearly $1/minute. I would be willing to pay this except the majority of people.

I hope this helps you save money if you don’t have free long distance. Feel free to contact me with any concerns.