Tag - Naperville

Urgent! Beware of Fake Copyright Emails

Urgent! Beware of Fake Copyright Emails

Recently I've had multiple clients report that they received emails (usually from website contact forms) notifying them of copyright images being used on their website. I knew it was a scam immediately because I only use licensed images or images taken by my clients when designing websites. There are occasions where a client will send me an image that does not belong to them, and I am extremely clear that if the image is used, you could get sued. It's not worth it.

Email scams usually have a few giveaways that help identify them. The first is the most common - improper English or misspellings. This email has both. Another VERY concerning part of this scam is the fact that they provide a link to "see an example" of the copyright materials. In this case, it's a Google Drive link. If you click on the link a file will be downloaded to your computer and your computer and network can be compromised immediately. Additionally, they're able to see your Gmail address if you're logged in when you click the link. With that, they can find out more information about you by using simple Google searches. They will use that information in future correspondence to intimidate you into complying with their demands. Most times they want Bitcoin because it's tough to trace.

Below are two examples of the emails. They are very similar:

Email 1

Hello,

This is Melina and I am a certified photographer.

I was surprised, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without my consent, you should know that you could be sued by the copyrigh owner.

It's unlawful to use stolen images and it's so mean!

Check out this document with the links to my images you used at [URL HERE] and my earlier publications to get evidence of my legal copyrights.

Download it right now and check this out for yourself:

THIS IS WHERE THE GOOGLE DRIVE LINK IS

If you don't delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next few days, I'll write a complaint on you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn't work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

Email 2

Hi there!

This is Melisha and I am a experienced illustrator.

I was baffled, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without my approval, you must be aware that you could be sued by the copyrigh owner.

It's against law to use stolen images and it's so filthy!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at [URL HERE] and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my copyrights.

Download it right now and check this out for yourself:

THIS IS WHERE THE GOOGLE DRIVE LINK IS

If you don't delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I'll write a complaint against you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn't work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

This email has misspellings, improper grammar, links and threats. That's pretty much standard for any scam email. If you get one of these emails DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK.

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Honoring Those Who Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice

Honoring Those Who Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice

Please take a moment to remember the brave men and women who have given their life so you can live yours. I have the utmost respect for all military personnel. Please pray for the families of these service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Fly your American flag proudly today but never forget many people have given their lives so you can have that honor. Respect the flag and always follow the United States Flag Code.

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BuiltWith Trends - Web and Internet Technology Usage Statistics

BuiltWith Trends – Web and Internet Technology Usage Statistics

BuiltWith is a tool that helps web developers "inspect" what technologies other websites are using (previously discussed in this post). Their simple interface allows you to enter a website URL and instantly reveal every piece of technology that's used to create the website. For example, if you ran a query for my website on BuiltWith you could see I use Wordpress as a CMS, host my website with InMotion Hosting and you could even see the individual Wordpress plugins I use.

BuiltWith Trends

BuiltWith Trends compiles information gathered on websites around the globe and provides some outstanding statistics on the most popular web and internet technology tools being utilized. Want to know what the most popular Content Management System is? That link will show you WordPress is by far the most used CMS on the internet. Want to know the most popular eCommerce platform? WooCommerce for the win with Shopify a close second. Personally I think WooCommerce is a far superior eCommerce platform, but I'm slowly learning Shopify since it's widely used. What's the most popular E-mail provider? You will see SPF (private hosting) is #1, but Google Apps for Business (GSuite) is the most popular privately hosted e-mail platform.

Make Informed Technology Decisions

This tool helps me make decisions on what technology to use and what technologies to recommend to my clients. It's no coincidence I recommend WordPress as a CMS, WooCommerce as an eCommerce platform and GSuite if you're looking for e-mail hosting (I also host mail on my server). While the "most popular" doesn't always mean "the best", it helps make informed decisions on technology usage. If you look at the most popular VPS Hosting Companies my preferred host, InMotion Hosting, comes in 6th place. For the price, speed, locations and support I believe InMotion is better than the 5 companies ahead of it.

Go check out your competitors' websites. Maybe you'll find a tool they're using that we can incorporate into your website. If you're looking for a new website, have an existing website, or just need some SEO improvement, please contact me today. I'd love the opportunity to help your business improve its web presence.

 

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Happy New Year - Website Tips For 2020

Happy New Year – Website Tips For 2020

I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. I'm so grateful for my loyal customers and look forward to continued growth in 2020. My clients vary tremendously by industry and location, but the basics of website design, advertising and SEO can be applied to any industry. A visually attractive, informative and SEO optimized website is the best investment you can make in your company.

Website Tips for 2020

Google has over 90% of the search market. The best thing you can do for your companies reputation on the web is to focus on what Google looks for in a company. Google is all about business reputation. First and foremost your business website should be optimized to target the keywords your customers are searching for. Once that is accomplished Google looks at many other factors. Your Google My Business profile should be fully optimized and reviewed on a regular basis. Also, make sure to optimize your Bing Places For Business profile.

Google loves fresh content on your website. The best way to accomplish this is with a consistently updated blog. Social Media interaction is also a huge ranking factor. You should have business profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. I typically connect my client's blogs with their social media profiles. Multi-platform posting tools like Buffer are essential. I also recommend following other companies in your industry for inspiration and additional followers.

Your business information should be in as many databases as possible. Google gives credit for backlinks, which are links to your website from credible sources. The best way to get your business information out there is to use a tool such as BrightLocal's Citation Builder. This ensures your business name, address, phone number, hours, website URL, description and images are consistent across the internet. I've seen clients rankings jump multiple positions after a BrightLocal campaign.

I can go on and on but the things I've listed above should a priority for your company in 2020. If you're looking for a new website, have an existing website, need some SEO improvement, graphic design, or advertising please contact me today. I'd love the opportunity to help your business improve its web presence.

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Brian Houdek Web Design Has Moved

Brian Houdek Web Design Has Moved

As a freelance website designer, graphic designer, and marketing professional I have the ability to work out of my home. I lived in Naperville for about 7 years but as my family grew I needed more space. I currently have 3 daughters (Bianca - 6, Natalie - 4, Evelyn - Almost 2) AND another baby on the way. We ended up buying a home in Batavia and we absolutely love everything about the town. My new address is:

1629 Derby Dr
Batavia, IL 60510

I have a lot of clients in the Naperville area, so, fortunately, I didn't move too far. I look forward to working with more clients throughout the Tri-Cities (Geneva, Batavia, Saint Charles) and beyond. I have clients throughout the United States from New York to California, so for those clients, nothing has changed.

One fun thing about moving your business is updating your business listings online. As I've posted previously, your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency on the internet is crucial. I have to make sure my address gets changed EVERYWHERE. Below are the important places I had to update my listings:

In addition to these, there are MANY other databases and websites with my company information. To update those I like to use a tool called Citation Builder by BrightLocal. BrightLocal is a service that goes out and corrects inaccurate information or adds your business information if it's missing, to many of the largest online databases. I plan on writing an article about them in the future, but in the meantime definitely check them out. If you need a reliable, trustworthy web or print guy, contact me today.

 

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BuiltWith - A Great Tool to Figure Out What Technology a Website Uses

BuiltWith – A Great Tool to Figure Out What Technology a Website Uses

Ever visit a website and think... that's pretty cool. It happens to me all the time and I always turn to the best tool out there to figure out what technology a website is using. BuiltWith is an unbelievable tool that can show you everything there is to know about a website. Not only can you figure out which CMS (Content Management System) they're using, but you can even figure out which plugins they're using (and the technology those plugins use sometimes). For example, if you look up my website you'll not only discover that I use WordPress as a CMS, but it also shows that I use the theme Porto. You can figure out every single plugin I have installed on my website very quickly.

I always tell clients if you've seen it on another website, you can have it on yours. BuiltWith is how I quickly determine what technology was used so I can recreate it and put my own twist on it. If you need a new website, need to improve your existing website or have a graphic design project, contact me today and I'd be happy to discuss how I can help.

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Uptime Robot - Know When Your Website Goes Down

Uptime Robot – Know When Your Website Goes Down

Web servers are not perfect and they crash. I use InMotion Hosting for my web servers and they guarantee a 99.9% uptime... it's not 100%. Yesterday InMotion was having some data center issues and I knew about it within a minute of the servers going down because of a great tool from Uptime Robot. Their free plan will ping your website every 5 minutes and you can add up to 50 websites. If you need more monitors or want them to ping your website more often, they offer very competitive pricing.

If you have a website you should use Uptime Robot. Knowing there's a problem is step one to fixing it. If you need website, graphic design or marketing services, please contact me today.

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How to Login to Gmail Using Your Domain Email Address

How to Login to Gmail Using Your Domain Email Address

I host email for the majority of my clients and forward their domain email (@yourdomain.com) to a Gmail address. The reason I do this is the convenience and functionality of Gmail. Also, most business clients have multiple email addresses and don't want to login multiple different places to check their email. Forwarding email to a Gmail address and using Gmail's 'Send Mail As' feature gives my clients the ability to send and receive their domain email from Gmail. I will write an article on that process in the future, but for now, see this article on how to do that.

Being able to sign into Gmail using your domain email address is another way to streamline the entire process. Follow these steps to allow that feature:

  1. Login to Gmail
  2. Click on your profile photo on the top right and select 'Google Account' below your name
  3. Click on the 'Personal Info' tab on the left
  4. Under 'Contact Info' click on 'Email'
  5. Click on the Advanced dropdown, then under 'Alternate Emails' select 'Add Alternate Email'
  6. Once you've added an 'Alternate Email' you will be able to sign into your Gmail account using the domain email address you entered in this field.

If you have the money to spend, another option is using GSuite, in which Google actually hosts your email and allows you to manage multiple users. GSuite costs $6/user/month for 30GB of Google Drive storage, or $12/user/month for unlimited storage. Many of my clients don't want to spend that money when they can forward their domain email to Gmail and use this login feature to get a very similar product for FREE. If you want to learn more about this topic contact me today and I'd be happy to walk you through everything.

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Signs Direct - Quality Signs at a Great Price

Signs Direct – Quality Signs at a Great Price

Today I want to share with you a great company that I use for all types of sign printing. Signs Direct is a company based in Bloomington, IL that offers yard signs, sidewalk signs, freestanding signs, lighted signs, sign hardware and much, much more. I do a lot of research before I work with a print company and I assure you that for the price you can't find a better deal. They even have stock signs for common things such as indoor and outdoor safety signs and road / parking signs.

The most common product I order from Signs Direct is their yard signs. Their production and shipping is always incredibly fast and I've always been happy with their quality. I am a bit partial because they're not only based in the US, but my home state of Illinois. If you don't live in Illinois they don't charge sales tax. If you live in Illinois... well you know.

If you need signs designed for printing through Signs Direct contact me today. I'd love to help you out.

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How to Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics and Schedule Emailed Reports

How to Create a Custom Report in Google Analytics and Schedule Emailed Reports

Google Analytics is the best way to see who is visiting your website, where they came from, what they did on your website and more details on their overall interactions with your website. I install Google Analytics on every website I build, but very few of my clients actually monitor the statistics it provides. While Google Analytics can seem overwhelming due to the wealth of information it provides, I'm going to show you how to create a custom report that will simplify these statistics. Even better, Google Analytics allows the ability to schedule this report to be emailed on a scheduled basis (once, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly).

To create a custom dashboard on Google Analytics first pull up your websites Google Analytics page and click on 'Customizations' beneath 'Home', then select 'Dashboard'. When you click the Create button you will be given the option to create a blank dashboard or use their starter dashboard, which has some of the most common widgets all ready to go. You can add up to 12 widgets. How you choose to set up your dashboard is entirely up to you. Widgets pull information stored in Google Analytics and display that information as a number, graph, map, table, pie chart or bar graph. Some common examples are Users (Total Visits), % New Sessions (New Visitors), Users By Source (If a user clicked a link to visit your website rather than typing in the URL, where did they click that link), Sessions by City (Where do your visitors live), Sessions by Keyword (What term did they search for to find your website) and the list goes on and on.

Lucky for you, I have created a pretty great custom dashboard that you can easily import into your Google Analytics account by simply clicking this link. The widgets I created give a pretty good overview of how many people visited your website over a 1 week period, new vs returning visitors, most popular days of the week, what they searched for, where they came from, how much time they spent on your website, what browser they were using and the type of traffic (paid/organic/direct/referral).

Who wants to login to Google Analytics every day and stare at numbers? I certainly don't, so I setup reports to be emailed out on a weekly basis in PDF format. All you have to do after you create your custom report is click on the email button above the report. You can choose who you want to send the report to (you can add multiple emails by separating them with a comma), write a subject, message and decide how often you want the report to go out (once, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly). After that sit back and let your reports come to you!

I highly recommend if you have a website with Google Analytics you click through all the different options you have. You can do a lot more than creating reports. If you want to learn more about the power of Google Analytics and how to use the information gathered to improve your business, please contact me today. I'd love to help you out.

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