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Piwik Analytics Mobile App

CourseVector uses Piwik software to power its analytics dashboard. Each of our SEO clients is given access to their dashboard so that they may track their SEO progress in real-time whenever they want.

Piwik was designed for desktop or laptop computers only. It may not display all data properly on a mobile device. In order to ensure full functionality of the program, install the Piwik App, available through Google Play and iTunes.

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/piwik-mobile-2/id737216887?mt=8

Android:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.piwik.mobile2

Once you login it will ask if you want to use https, select “use https”

You will then see a list of your sites and you will be able to view all of the data properly formatted for your phone.

Please visit CourseVector’s Demo Analytics page to see the wealth of information provided to each of our SEO customers.

Remote Desktop Setup in Windows

Logging On:
Open Remote Desktop Connection by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Remote Desktop Connection, and then, in the list of results, click Remote Desktop Connection.

In the Computer box, type the name of the computer that you want to connect to, the user name, password, and then click Connect.

Disconnecting:
Please note you must log off of a terminal server correctly.
Click Start
Log Off
Disconnect

Cached Websites

I Can’t See My Website Changes

Perhaps you or your web design firm have made changes to your website. Delighted that the changes are completed, you rush off to see how it looks, but you don’t see anything different. In fact, everything looks exactly the way you left it. What happened?

What happened is that you’re looking at a version of a cached website. Or more simply, you’re looking at a saved copy of a web page. Caching helps the computer show you websites faster by keeping a copy on your computer (or server) that it can access quickly. There are two types of caching you may run across often.

Web Browser Caching

The first type of caching is web browser caching. Browsers cache a copy of a website or webpage you visit so the site or page can load from your computer instead of downloading the webpage each time you visit. This makes the website load instantly. This works fantastic until you are expecting a change in the website. To fix this issue all you have to do is clear the web browser cache. A common shortcut is to press the F5 key on your keyboard. This will load any new changes that the browser detects.

Keyboard F5

You can also press Ctrl & F5 at the same time to bypass the browser cache and download the entire web page again.

If you have an Apple computer or happen to run Linux, the keyboard commands are similar:

  • Windows: Ctrl + F5
  • Mac/Apple: ? + R
  • Linux: F5

Since there are lots and lots of different browsers, here is a great article that illustrates all the different methods to clear your browser cache.

Server Caching

The second cache you will often encounter is a server cache. A browser cache lives on your computer, while a server cache lives on the computer that contains your website. There are many plugins for WordPress that provide this caching feature. And just like your browser, it will generate a copy of your webpage and save it. This copy will run faster than loading the webpage normally. But if a page changes (or widget content), these caches don’t always get updated.

Just like a browser cache, the solution is to clear the server cache. To do this you will need to log into your WordPress website.

WordPress Login

Once you have successfully logged in, you will see a button in the top toolbar labelled ‘Delete Cache’. Pressing this button will delete all copies of the cache saved on the server and will generate new ones as people visit the website.

WordPress Delete Cache

Just like browsers, there are many caching plugins for WordPress. This article just illustrates one plugin. While plugins may be similar, if you don’t see the ‘Delete Cache’ button at the top of your WordPress dashboard, consult the plugin’s website for instructions.

Now that you’ve successfully cleared your cache, when you go to visit your web page you should now see all the changes you were expecting!

Please note that caching your website is not necessary. If you’d prefer, we can disable the caching plugin. The site might slow down a bit, but it will not be unreasonable. For SEO, however, we strong recommend using the caching plugin.

Gabriel Mariani

About Author
CourseVector.com

RSS Feeds and How To Use Them

What is RSS?
rss25RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a feed which one subscribes to. RSS feeds are frequently updated and distributed in the XML format. RSS fees are usually indicated by orange icons on websites. These icons link to that website’s feed. RSS feeds often include the title of the article and a small excerpt or even the whole article. Viewing a feed is referred to as aggregation which displays latest entries.

Using RSS can save time on a daily basis. Suppose 5 tech news websites are accessed every day. In a browser, the sites are visited one at a time and usually require additional browsing to find the most recent articles and changes. With RSS and a RSS feed reader, or RSS aggregator, new articles and changes to articles are indicated almost in real time.

FireFox and Safari
Apple’s Safari browser or Mozilla’s Firefox can automatically determine if a website has an accessible feed. In Safari a blue RSS icon appears to the right of the URL in the address bar and in Firefox an orange icon appears in the same location.

Clicking on the RSS icon in Safari will load a simple feed reader, where a Bookmark can be added on the right pane. The feed will now be viewable in the Safari bookmarks manager under All RSS Feeds.

In Firefox clicking the orange icon ask to save the feed. Firefox deals with feeds as live bookmarks. Going to the place where the “bookmark” was saved will show a folder with an expand arrow. Clicking on the arrow will show the latest entries on that particular website, with the most recent on the top.

Chrome
Chrome requires a free extension in order to use RSS feeds. Additional information is available from the RSS Feed Extension page.

Internet Explorer
When you first view a website, Internet Explorer will search for feeds. If feeds are available, the Feeds button will be displayed. Click the Feeds button, and then tap or click the feed you want to see. To get content automatically, you should subscribe to a feed:

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • Go to the website that has the feed you want to subscribe to.
  • Tap or click the Feeds button to discover feeds on the page.
  • Tap or click a feed (if more than one is available). If only one feed is available, you will go directly to that page.
  • Tap or click Subscribe to this feed.
  • Type a name for the feed and select the folder to create the feed in.
  • Tap or click Subscribe.
  • You view feeds on the Feeds tab in the Favorites Center. To view your feeds, tap or click the Favorites button, and then tap or click Feeds.

    Outlook
    To manually enter an RSS Feed subscription, you are required to enter the Web address.

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.
  • On the RSS Feeds tab, click New.
  • In the New RSS Feed dialog box, type the URL of the RSS Feed. For example, http://www.example.com/feed/main.xml. In most Web browsers, on a Web page, you can right-click the Button image RSS icon, and then copy the shortcut to the Clipboard. Press CTRL+V to paste the information from the Clipboard into the RSS Feed location box.
  • Click Add.
  • Click OK.
  • Creating and Emailing A Screenshot

    The following instructions should work for all Windows installations and any email client.

    Open the window/display to be captured
    Hold down shift and press the Print Screen key
    Go to an email program
    Position the cursor in the body of the email
    hold down the Crtl key and press the v key

    The screen shot should show up in the email body.

    Address Bar Versus Search Field

    Where is my Website?

    Use the Address Bar to See Your New Website Online

    Often, creating a new website with a design firm is a labor of love. It can take months of collaboration before you see your vision become a functioning website. However, many website users make the mistake of confusing the address bar with the search field when trying to view the new site. With the latest version of Internet Explorer, the address bar has been removed by default causing confusion for a lot of users.

    In general, any bar with the spy glass a search bar and not an address bar. A search bar will not display a new or highly secure website. Many secure websites prevent search engine indexing.

    Address Bar Versus Search Field1

    Here is why this is a problem. Typing a URL into a search field will yield search results instead of a website, which may or may not contain the requested website:

    Google Search Results

    Whether a site is redesigned or if it’s a complete new site, it can take a little while for a search engine like Google to index. If your site is not indexed, it will not show up in a search. This doesn’t mean that the site doesn’t exist. It just means the search engines don’t see it yet.

    To see your new website, type your URL into the Address bar. This will take you straight to your website rather than going through a search engine. In Internet Explorer, you can use the search bar if you precede the web address with either http:// or https://. In the case of Internet Explorer, typing boroughs.org in the address bar with bring up search results. Typing http://boroughs.org will go directly to the website.

    If you are having trouble viewing a website, always precede the address with http:// or https:// as required.

    Mobile App To Detect Data Leaks

    viaProtect from viaForensics.

    ViaProtect monitors all apps for mobile risks. For instance, viaProtect can detect if an app handles your personal data insecurely by transmitting it unencrypted or to servers located overseas. viaForensics estimates that as many as 75 percent of apps are “leaky”, or insecure.

    ViaProtect gathers mobile forensic, system, network, security and sensor data from devices, then utilizes statistical analysis and risk indicators to detect suspicious events or behavior. This means that an app can be monitored in real-time to predict potential risks or problems– rather than just checking for known malicious apps. viaProtect uses real time analytics to detect behavior that is suspicious or potentially risky.

    The app allows the user to:

    • Get a device risk rating – a simple score that lets them know if their data is safe
    • Learn how phones and tablets are sending data – including what data is sent insecurely
    • Discover exactly where their data is being sent
    • Be informed of risky device modifications including root detection
    • Be alerted about leaky and insecure apps

    Backups

    Courtesy Backups

    Most ISP’s provide what is called a “courtesy backup.” These backups contain everything on the individual cPanel server. An analogy for this backup type would be a complete backup of a computer; programs, data and everything on the computer. There are no guarantees as to the fitness for use or even that the backups will or have been executed. They are not to be relied upon as a backup for your website, email, etc. A courtesy backup takes time to restore and restores all information on your cPanel server as of the time of the backup. Therefore, if you are using email on your server, but corrupt your website, a courtesy backup will overwrite all email, email settings, website files and changes since the time of the backup. Courtesy backups could be days, weeks or months old and may not even be available for restoration. This is standard practice and wording for all ISPs.

    The client is ALWAYS responsible for all backups of data, websites, emails, etc., and the ISP, in this case PA State Association of Boroughs and/or CourseVector LLC, assumes no liability whatsoever for any data loss corruption, fitness for use, etc.

    Courtesy backups are “attempted” for all hosting packages. Again, the fine print for andy and all hosting companies state the above in one form or another.

    Full cPanel Backups

    A full cPanel backup makes a copy of all of your files, email, databases, etc. It is basically the same as the Courtesy Backup, except the client creates and downloads the file for safe keeping. Once initiated, enough time must be allowed for the backup to complete. The server can send you an email to an address you specify once the backup is ready to download. The steps for generating, downloading and restoring a full backup are explained in detail below.

    To generate a full backup in cPanel:

  • Log into cPanel.
  • In the Files section, click on the Backups icon.
  • Under Full Backup, click Generate/ Download a Full Website Backup.
  • On the next page, select the Home Directory option from the Backup Destination drop-down menu.
  • For Email Address, select whether or not you wish to receive an email notification once the backup is complete. (You may also change the notification email address in the provided field if you wish.)
  • Click Generate Backup.
  • This will generate the back up for you and place the tar.gz file inside of your home directory. You can then download the backup via cPanel, FTP or SSH.

    To download the backup from cPanel:

  • Log into cPanel.
  • In the Files section, click on the Backups icon.
  • Under Full Backup, click Generate/ Download a Full Website Backup.
  • Under Backups Available for Download, click the link for the backup file you wish to download.
  • Select a destination on your PC where you would like to save the backup.
  • How to Restore a Full Backup:
    A full backup must be restored by the root user for the server. We will restore your full backups for you as long as you can provide a valid, usable file.

    WordPress Backups

    Fortunately, there is a way to back up WordPress separate from email and system settings on the server. Because WordPress uses PHP, HTML and SQL, there are only a few ways to create a complete backup.

    Both PA State Association of Boroughs and CourseVector have a corporate license for a program called WPTwin that allows our clients to backup WordPress files. We can only provide this backup solution if we are managing your domain name(s), and if a restore is needed, the client must provide the created backup file to us for restoration. Clients who manage their own domain name are free to purchase and install whatever backup solution they feel comfortable with.

    We do not take any responsibility for this backup solution, the fitness of the program to perform backups, the validity of said backups, or any content or information that may be lost in use of the backup software. Backups, in all cases, are the responsibility of the client and not the the ISP, designer, etc. If you are not comfortable with our solution, you are free to purchase and install any of the publically available backup programs.

    If you have email on your web server, WPTwin does NOT backup your email. WPTwin will only backup your WordPress web site. An analogy for this backup would be like backing up a single directory on a desktop computer.

    Following are the instructions for our WPTwin backup solution:
    WPTwin Instructions
    Please note that you must deactivate all plugins prior to making your backup. Once the backup is complete, reactivate all plugins.

    Clients are free to use whatever WordPress backup software determined to meet their needs. Following is a list of several WordPress backup solutions, in no particular order. We do not endorse or recommend any of these solutions, and, in fact, have never used them:
    Vault Press
    BackupBuddy
    BackWPup
    BackUpWordPress
    Duplicator
    WP-DB-Backup

    Automatic WordPress Backups:
    In addition to the above solution, we can provide a WordPress backup system that is completely automatic and allows for the client to restore up to 5 archived backups. This solution is available with some of our advanced hosting packages. If you are interested in this solution, please feel free to contact us for more information.

    PayPal Information

    What are the fees for PayPal accounts?

    (All fees are as of the time of this writing. Please check PayPal for their current fee structure)

    PayPal doesn’t charge a fee to open a PayPal account.

    Sending money – Personal payments:
    It’s free within the U.S. to send money to family and friends when you use only your PayPal balance or bank account, or a combination of their PayPal balance and bank account.

    There is a fee to send money as a personal payment using a debit card or credit card. The fee is arond 2.9% plus $0.30 USD of the amount you send. For example, if you send $100.00 USD by credit card, the fee would be $3.20 USD ($2.90 + $0.30). For personal payments, the sender can pay the fee or pass it on to the recipient. If the recipient doesn’t want to pay the fee, they can choose not to accept the payment.

    Receiving money – Personal payments:
    It’s free to receive money from friends or family in the U.S. when they send the money from the PayPal website using only their PayPal balance or their bank account, or a combination of their PayPal balance and bank account.

    If you receive a personal payment made from a debit card or credit card, the sender has the option to pay the fee or pass it on to you. If you don’t want to pay the fee, you can choose not to accept the payment.

    If the fee is passed to you, it is 2.9% plus $0.30 USD of the amount you receive. For example, if you are sent $100.00 USD by credit card, the fee would be $3.20 USD ($2.90 + $0.30).

    This fee also applies if you click Request Money on the PayPal website and request money from friends and family. The fee applies if your friend or family member pays you using only their PayPal balance or their bank account, or a combination of their PayPal balance and bank account.

    Goods and services – Purchase payments:
    There’s no fee to use PayPal to purchase goods or services. However, if you receive money for goods or services (such as from selling an item on eBay), the fee for each transaction is about 2.9% plus $0.30 USD of the amount you receive.

    International payments:
    There is a fee when you send a payment to someone in another country or if you receive a payment from someone in another country. Please note that exchange rate fees also apply if there is a currency conversion. The Fees section of the PayPal User Agreement has specific information. You can find the User Agreement by clicking Legal Agreements at the bottom of any PayPal page.

    Withdrawing money:
    You can withdraw money from your PayPal account to your bank account at no cost. If you prefer to receive a check, there is a $1.50 fee.


    Can a customer use a credit card instead of a PayPal account?

    Yes. You can use Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express with PayPal.  Plus, when you pay with PayPal, you don’t expose your credit card number to merchants.


    Which type of PayPal account do I need for a small e-commerce site?

    PayPal Standard:
    This is the account we recommend when starting your on-line store. It has no monthly fees attached and provides all the features you will need to get started including free integration with WooCommerce for WordPress. The account can be easily upgraded if additional features are necessary.

    PayPal Standard takes the customer to PayPal’s site AFTER the ENTIRE checkout in order to make payment. Your site does not collect or process any customer or credit card information, although WordPress plugin’s provide ways to collect non-secured customer information on your website to get around this limitation. The customer can pay without having a PayPal account (depending on what country YOU are in. PayPal limits that feature for some countries). Once the payment is completed, your store is notified of the completed payment, after which time the order is stored in your database.

    This option is available in all countries, is a free plugin for WordPress, and does NOT require an SSL certificate as all PCI information is collected and stored on PayPal.

    Website Payments Pro:
    This type of account allows the customer to enter their information on your website. They have no idea that in the background you’re processing their card via PayPal. They have to make an account on your site, and supply the address details, but once they confirm the order, the payment is collected immediately and the order saved. PayPal sees Website Payments Pro as a payment gateway for handling credit cards. That’s exactly what it is. Coupled with Express Checkout, it gives your customers the maximum amount of choice about how to pay: either by credit card directly on your site, or by using their PayPal account to submit payment.

    This option is available in limited countries, requires additional paid plug-ins for WordPress, and requires an SSL certificate.

    PayFlow:
    This account is essentially a merchant account. Transactions conducted via Payflow Pro (for US Merchants) do not appear in your PayPal account. Instead, they are forwarded directly to your merchant bank account. Basically, Payflow Pro is just like any other traditional payment gateway (akin to Authorize.net etc).

    This option is available in limited countries, requires additional paid plug-ins for WordPress, and requires an SSL certificate.

    Changing Your Computer Preferred DNS

    In most cases, the following instructions will speed up your Internet access. In addition, using these DNS entries gives you access to additional services and filtering for your Internet connection. You can find out more at Open DNS.

    • Right click on the My Network Places icon on the desktop and select Properties. (If the icon is not available, go to Start menu | My Computer | My Network Places | View Network Connections.)

    • Locate the network connection that is associated with your Internet connection. This may be labeled something like “Local Area Connection.” If you have more than one connection to choose from, be sure you determine the right one before proceeding.

    • Right click on the appropriate connection and select Properties.

    • In the list that appears under the General tab, double click on Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).

    • In the window that appears, you want to select the option to Use the following DNS server addresses…

    • At this point you will want to enter your personal preferred DNS servers of 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

    • Press Ok out of all windows until you are back to the Network Connections window. You can now open your web browser and browse to a website to see if it connects faster.

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