6 Essential WordPress Plugins for 2021

6 Essential WordPress Plugins for 2021

We use WordPress because it’s a perfect blank canvas for any website. But out of the box it’s fairly basic.

We start each new site by adding a set of plugins that have proven to work for many of our customers. Without further ado…

1. SMTP Mailer (aka Postman)

By default, WordPress uses our hosting server to send mail. That is find in many cases, but for professional use it’s ideal to use your own mail server, which means for our clients, their Microsoft Exchange account. It’s not a big deal unless your website is generating and sending emails to clients, as an ecommerce site will do. Postman configures WordPress to send all mail from your own account via the SMTP protocol.

2. Yoast SEO

There are only really two main SEO plugins that have stood the test of time and we choose Yoast because it provides the most insight, and guidance, into a site’s SEO performance. We can see at a glance when our pages and posts aren’t setup the way they should be for maximum exposure to search engines. This allows people who are not the web designer to add content with confidence.

3. LiteSpeed Cache

There are a few good cache plugins freely available for WordPress and LS Cache is the one that works best with our hosting environment. You can try that one for yourselves, or give W3 Total Cache.

4. Really Simple SSL

Having a valid security certificate setup on your website is really important these days. Not only is it a non-optional for ecommerce, it lends trust to your content-only site as well. While many web-hosts give SSLs to their customers automatically, WordPress does not automatically use a SSL address. Really Simple SSL ensures that not only your site’s URL, but all locally linked content such as images, resolves to a secure URL. It won’t give you a SSL certificate, but it will make sure your site is setup to work with the one you already have.

5. Wordfence

While seeing overactive due to the amount it is doing for your website, Wordfence is last but not least. It prevents almost all predictable malicious activity on your site. While the free tier is generously capable, we suggest businesses invest in the premium tier for the most up to date protection.

6. Limit Login Attempts Reloaded

Limit Login Attempts Reloaded will lockout users who use incorrect credentials more than a certain number of times.

Bonus WordPress tips!

  • turn of comments in settings if you don’t really want them, you’ll avoid some spam
  • Use a username other than “admin” for greater security.
  • activate the pre-installed Akismet with a wordpress.com license – it’s an easy process.
Does your business really need branding?

Does your business really need branding?

In this business world we’re often told we need this and that, but let’s face it, you’re already putting in too many hours each day. The last thing you need is another item in your todo list. 

Branding is one of those things that truly, not every business needs. You might already have a great, clear brand that you and your customers agree on.  

Branding, you see, is not your logo or brand colours 

What’s in a Brand? 

A brand is what people think about your business. Branding, as a verb, is your effort to influence this. Everything affects your brand, for example, the tone of your voice in your communications, the look of your site and materialsright down to the font and amount of whitespace – things like that.  

To get that right, you need to know and understand your customer. It’s easy to feel that focusing on one type of customer is limiting. Limiting your market is the last thing you want to do, right?  

But narrowing down a little makes it easy to be consistent and target the people who will be most receptive to your message. And having an angle also only makes you more attractive to people who not only have the problem you want to solve, but also think the way you do.  

As an example, here at KeyTech, we know we’re just one of a few managed IT and communications service providers in town. We think we’re the best, but being the best isn’t really the only thing we value ourselves on. We know it’s listening to our customers, and our dedication to solving their real problems that brings in (and keeps) customers. But not just any customers: customers who value good service and understand that it will save them time and money. Now that’s not every business. But by not being for everyone, we can be a better partner for you 

Our brand is when you know that’s what we’re about. If you don’t’ know it, then we need more ‘branding.’  

Why would anyone need branding? 

The truth is that every business has a brand. Think about in terms of people: whether we like it or not, people’s actions and words paint a picture of that person. That’s this person’s brand. Everyone you interact with is forming an impression of you that could change how they interact with you in the future 

So in terms of your business, there is a huge of opportunity to project a memorable and unique version of your business, even if it’s something you aspire to rather than something you are. And ideally, again, there is an opportunity to craft a brand your customers can relate to (it’s no surprise that any branding process starts with your customers).  

If you don’t think you have a brand, there’s a good chance that your brand is not the best it could be in terms of consistency and impact. 

Who needs branding? 

Branding happens every time a customer interacts with your business, whether you know it or not. If you haven’t got a welldefined brand, the way you present yourself might not be very consistent, and people might be getting mixed messages about your business.  

Now that we know a little about what branding is and how it works, take a look at these questions for yourself: 

  • Do you know what people think about your business? 
  • Does your business have a personality? 
  • If your business had a voice, what would it sound like? 
  • Do your website, printed material and other touchpoints look the same? 
  • Do you have a mission, and have you told your market what it is?

If you struggled with one or two of those, you probably need to put a little effort on your branding.  

Who doesn’t need branding? 

But there are some businesses who really don’t need branding. You might be in this category. These fall into two types: 

The first is a very small business where the brand reflects the strong personality of the founder 

For example, a fellow named Quentin makes coffee up in Paddington, serving throngs of customers all on his own. He’s often scrambling to keep up, but always makes a great cup and asks about your life as much as he can between taking orders. I’ve been there often, but I couldn’t really tell you the name of his business, because to me it’s all about Quentin.  

The second would be any business, but usually a larger one, that has developed a brand and consistently applies it whenever they interact with customers, and ideally, always. The reason these are usually larger businesses is it takes a switched-on marketing department to create a good, lasting brand. Otherwise, it takes enough of a marketing budget to engage branding professionals.   

New Features in Microsoft Teams

New Features in Microsoft Teams

With the massive growth in video conferencing in 2020, Microsoft have added some useful features to Teams, with the promise of more to come. Let’s take a look at some of the new functionality.

Together Mode

Instead of seeing all the users in a square or rectangular grid separately, you can see all of them together in a virtual space. This feature is the new “Together Mode” which is designed to build a virtual live avatar of all members of the team and negate their backgrounds.

Raise Your Hand

During a Microsoft Teams meeting, a participant can use the Raise Your Hand option to get the speaker’s and moderator’s attention.

Thanks to this feature, participants can signal that they want to talk without disrupting the meeting, and the moderator or speaker can see if anyone in the meeting wants to talk.

Raise Your Hand makes meetings more inclusive by encouraging participation from participants, and provides a simple, quick way to take a poll of participants.

Third Party Meeting Join for Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR)

Microsoft Teams Rooms devices support a one-touch experience for joining third-party online meetings. When enabled, you can use a Teams Rooms device to join meetings hosted on Cisco WebEx and Zoom just as easily as you can join meetings hosted in Microsoft Teams.

Before you can join third-party meetings from a Teams Rooms device, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Configure the Teams Rooms device’s Exchange Online room mailbox to process invites for third-party meetings
  • Make sure your organization doesn’t have any policies that would prevent you from connecting to third-party meeting services
  • Configure your Teams Rooms devices to allow third-party meetings

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting.

Custom layouts (coming soon)
Coming later this year or early 2021, custom layouts allow for a more dynamic content viewing experience and enable presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. For example, when a presenter is showing a PowerPoint slide, participants will be able to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the slide they’re showing.

Teams is rapidly adding useful functionality to maintain its place as one of the leading videoconferencing solutions, while maintaining interoperability with other platforms. If your business is looking for such a solution, now might be a good time to hop on the Teams train.

PSA: Christmas Break

PSA: Christmas Break

Merry Christmas from Keycomm

There are a few things you should know:

Merry Woofmas from Keycomm

Keycomm will have minimal staff onboard from the 20th of December to the 6th of January next year.

Over the Christmas period (from the 20th of December to the 6th of January next year) Keycomm will be operational but with fewer staff on onboard. Because of this, you should expect that our services may be somewhat slower. However if you need to, you will still be able to contact-us.

We appreciate your understanding and wish you a Merry Christmas!

Spike in NBN Scams: Tips and Tricks

Spike in NBN Scams: Tips and Tricks

IT News: Tips to not Fall Victim to NBN Scams!

IT Support: NBN scam alert

A significant increase in suspected internet connection scams has occurred as of late, with NBN Co. receiving over 100 calls a day from members of the public about such scams. NBN Co. is currently in the process of rolling out the $50 billion network.

For a reliable supplier of NBN compatible phone systems and more, click here!

Calls to NBN’s contact centre have reached 9500 over the last three months, representing a significant increase from 6700 between October 2018 and March 2019. This comes as a sizable portion of the network is being completed ahead of the 2020 ETA. Driving awareness to combat these attacks, NBN Co’s chief security officer addressed the cause for concern by having this to say: “As we close in on the end of the network build, scammers are increasing their efforts to take advantage of the NBN brand as a way to steal people’s personal or financial details and using increasingly sophisticated ways to convince people of their legitimacy”.

What You Need to Know

NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls to seek access to your computer, threaten disconnection, or request personal details

This public awareness campaign will involve NBN Co’s community engagement team, hosting a series of information sessions to help Australians discern, avoid and report scammers. The ACCC has previously warned of social engineering attacks where scammers impersonate NBN Co in calls offering to connect them to the NBN for a low price. In some of these cases, impersonators have tricked users into giving remote access to their computers so that they could steal personal information, install malware and demand payment to fix alleged problems. If you run into someone calling you about the NBN remember this: “As NBN Co is a wholesaler, we will never contact residents or businesses to sell phone or internet services”.

Moreover, NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls or door knock for the purposes of seeking access to a person’s computer, threaten them with disconnection, or request personal details. Despite increasing public awareness, Australians are expected to lose a record amount to scams this year, with the ACCC estimating that projected losses for 2019 will surpass $500 million (an unprecedented figure).”Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” the ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard states. “People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable.”

The Damage

The ACCC reports that investment scams were among the most sophisticated and convincing, with nearly half of the reported cases this year resulting in financial loss. Particularly, cryptocurrency investment scams are a serious cause for concern, with net losses reaching almost $15 million between January and July this year. This represents a significant increase from $6.1 million lost to the same type of scams last year.

You can report any suspected scams you come across here.

Need help managing your IT?

Why and How to Sort Out Your Business Website

Why and How to Sort Out Your Business Website

SEO Tips and Tricks

Key Communications Brisbane SEO

If your website isn’t correctly optimised, you’re missing out on new business. About 60% of searches now take place on mobile devices, and Google ranks mobile websites higher in search engine results, so make sure your site is mobile friendly or at least responsive. Other factors such as keyword placement, meta information and backlinks can affect your site as well. So, if your site isn’t optimised properly, you’re likely to be losing leads and potential customers to your competitors.

The speed of your site is important, too. If a page isn’t fully loaded in less than five seconds, the probability of people leaving roughly doubles (from two seconds’ load time) according to US research. Check out how fast yours is at Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This factor is all the more important given that mobile browsers have lower bandwidth meaning pages load slower and large pages can use a significant portion of a phone user’s data.

Using a secure connection is not only smart marketing, it’s only fair to your customers.

A secure site (https rather than http) is also a must-have. Customers are less likely to fill in personal information if the site isn’t secure. In fact, if your site users are doing this, they’re at risk of personal information being stolen from them, especially on public Wi-Fi networks. Because of this, search engines are starting to dish out penalties for insecure sites, so this is thing to do sooner rather than later. Hence, using a secure connection is not only smart marketing, it’s only fair to your customers.

Keycomm Local Brisbane SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a big deal and one that needs to be monitored continuously. To help your business show up in local searches and listings, you’ll need local SEO – that means optimising your site for local searches and keywords. Here at Keycomm we have local Brisbane SEO experts and digital marketers to optimise your site, find keywords that matter to you and create quality content. We can also help customers business’s name, address and phone number, and keep you up to speed with social media.

Feel free to ask Key Communications for help.