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Plugins and Widgets: They put the Whiz Bang in your Website!

So what are plugins and widgets and how do I use them in my website?

Plugins

A plugin is a program (a collection of files) that is completely separate from your website. All plugins perform a specific activity or offer a specific feature.

When you need a certain feature on your website, and you find a plugin that provides that feature, you install it into WordPress and connect it to your website – like plugging it into a socket on your website.

In WordPress, this is super simple. You can add plugins to your website in your admin dashboard. Just go to the Plugins menu and select “Add New.”

There are over 50,000 plugins that can add all kinds of functionality: anything from providing security to adding an image slider to adding a contact form.

If you think of something you need, there is probably already a plugin for it!

Almost all the plugins in the WordPress Plugin Repository come free, but usually offer a “pro” upgrade for more functionality. However, every plugin I use is FREE!

Here’s an illustration of how you can visualize plugins and widgets connecting to your website.

Plugins and Widgets

Widgets

A widget, simply put, connects to your website the same way as a plugin. You find widgets through the same “Plugins” menu (confusing, right?). Well, widgets provide features too, however, they are much more simplistic in their purpose.

Though widgets can be added to different locations of your website, depending on the theme, you most likely see them in sidebars. Just about everything that appears in a website sidebar is a widget.

Widgets are little code blocks that you can drag and drop into your sidebar. You would do this by going to the Appearance menu and selecting “Widgets.” There you can see widgets that are already installed and available to use, and which ones are currently active. A widget can be used over and over again.

Where do I get these Widgies and Plugits?

Okay, first of all it’s widgets and plugins.

There are many places you can get plugins and widgets, but your safest bet is to get them from the WordPress Repository. In other words, when you go to the Plugins menu and “Add New,” it’s a pretty safe bet that anything you find there will be decently programmed and not created to hack your website.

Sometimes free themes and plugins from other sources are created for the sole purpose of hacking your site! I know, right?! Use your powers for good, people!

For premium plugins and widgets, there is a website called codecanyon.net which is reputable and has tons of premium plugins. But we’re talking prices of $10-$50. So it’s not expensive if the feature it adds is important.

Code Canyon for Plugins

We have compiled a list of the 5 Most Popular, 5-Star WordPress plugins to help you get started. These are must-haves for every website. We use them in ALL our websites!

Leave a comment below if you would like to hear more how to download plugins and widgets. Also name a plugin you would like to learn more about!


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ALERT: New Phishing Attack on the Rise

Wordfence Security just issued an alert Friday, April 14, 2017 regarding an insidious phishing attack that uses the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

This does not affect Internet Explorer or Safari at this time.

Evil-doers have figured out how to register a website domain name using special code that makes their web address look exactly like that of an existing legitimate business. But behind its facade, the fake address is actually something like this:
https://xn--e1awd7f.com/

Confused?

First, let’s define phishing. Everyone that has an email account has at some point received a phishing email.

PHISHING: (sounds like ‘fishing’). Sending out emails containing links to apparently legitimate websites, but when clicked, the resulting web page and address are something else.

If you receive an email that looks legitimate (but is not) and it asks you to click on a link that looks legitimate (but is not), this is called phishing. Clicking that link will lead you to a website that will either:

  1. appear like the real website to get you to submit personal information, or
  2. it will be something completely different than what you expected, and probably put a virus or malware on your computer.

Either way, when you go to that website you will see that the web address is completely different than what you were lead to believe.

So what’s with the ALERT?

With this new trend, everything is the same as I’ve just described, except when you go to the bogus website, it looks like you are at a legitimate website and so does the web address.

These miscreants create a specially coded URL (domain) made up of odd letters and characters that generates the appearance of a real domain. Then they create a mirror website that looks exactly like the real one.

The phishing email is sent out and it may ask you to click a link to update your information or something like that. Once you enter that information on their site, they have captured whatever it was and can now do any number of things with it.

So how can you tell if the website is legit?  Here’s what Wordfence suggests:

“If you are unsure [whether] you are on a real site and are about to enter sensitive information, you can copy the URL in the location bar and paste it into Notepad on PC or TextEdit on Mac. [If it is a fake domain, it should appear as the https://xn--…..] Otherwise it will appear as the real domain… if it is the real thing.”

What should you do?

I am always suspicious of emails that request me to click their link to do something. They could very well be legitimate, and they usually are, but sometimes they are not. So what I do is type the web address in the browser myself and navigate to whatever was mentioned in the email. That way I know I’m going to the real business website. I suggest you do the same.

Clicking a link in email is risky business. But I do click links if it’s in an email I am expecting, or there is something about the email that makes me confident that it is legitimate. Just keep your guard up, especially if it is for your bank, insurance, or anything super important.

Also, remember that these sneaky web addresses only work in Firefox and Chrome. Internet Explorer and Safari will recognize the discrepancy and give you a warning before loading the page. So setting one of those browsers as your default will cause the link to open in them and alert you.

Be safe out there! It’s still the wild, wild web and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

To learn more, go to https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2017/04/chrome-firefox-unicode-phishing/

 

 

 


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ATTENTION VO Atlanta Voiceover Conference 2017 Attendees!

Win a WordPress website for your voice over business!

The contest is closed. Winners will be announced soon!

Voice Over Web Design is holding a contest for VO Atlanta Voiceover Conference 2017 attendees.

Two lucky voice over professionals will win a website designed and developed just for them!

All you have to do to enter is be registered for the VO Atlanta Voiceover Conference 2017 and complete a brief application. But don’t wait! All applications must be submitted by Monday, January 16, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. pacific time!

Click here for details and to enter!


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5 Signs of Misleading Website Billing

Normally when we think of web scams, we think of the junk we receive in our emails, or those Facebook messages where a “friend” is in England and needs you to wire cash to them. But website deceit can show up in your regular mail box too. And there are similarities that seem to run through them all.


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Update Your WordPress Version!

There was a vulnerability found in the WordPress core files.

The security hole is specifically about posts that are set to “Private” status. Anyone subscribed to your website could gain access to the private information. The fix for this was just released today in WordPress version 4.5.3.


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Why Are You Being So Difficult?

Asked the hacker to Suzy the website owner, and Erin the consumer, and regular Joe who’s just trying to make a life for himself and doesn’t want someone else stealing it.

Suzy, Erin and Joe have something in common. They’ve made all their passwords very difficult to hack.


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Stealth is Wealth for Hackers: Take these steps for your safety!

There is a relatively new stealth method hackers can use to corrupt, not only your WordPress website, but entire computers! 

The type of program is called RANSOMWARE.

This is a horrifying method of messing up WordPress websites and corrupting computers. It literally holds an entire computer ransom until actual cash is paid to remove the corruption.


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2016 Business Goals: Life Zigs, You Zag

As I write this post from my mother’s home in Connecticut, listening to Bing Crosby singing Joy to the World, I am reminded of holiday traditions – the warm glow of colonial taper candles in the window,  the sweet smell of cookies in the oven, and snow.

Wait! Cue the snow. Hello snow?


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6 FAST Steps to Create Your Own Website!
steps 5&6

Okay so I had wanted to put this final post out very quickly after the other two, but I ran up against a wall. I was a sponsor at the That’s Voiceover Career Expo in LA and with so many things to prepare, I simply ran out of time. My apologies if I left you hanging. But let’s go ahead and finish this puppy!


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