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PSPinc will help your business thrive by providing for all of your technology needs. We offer a wide array of products, including Web & Email Hosting, Website Development, Email Marketing and Data Storage Solutions. Visit pspinc.com to learn more.

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Why Free Software Isn’t Always the Best Deal

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With so much free software available to us these days (such as anti-virus software, discussed in our previous blog), what’s the point in buying something more? Well, you might not be as satisfied with the freebie. Let’s go over some benefits of using purchased software:

Quality of the Software

Unfortunately, some free programs may not meet your needs or your quality expectations. If the software doesn’t provide what you need, it’s not worth the struggle to make it work. There are “must-haves” and “convenient-to-haves” when it comes to features and functions. Make a list of everything the software program provides, then determine if those functions are a must-have for your business or just a cool additional feature (you probably don’t need). This is a good method for comparing software programs, free or not, and determining what’s best for you.

Upgrades and Updates

Not all software programs need to be upgraded, but some, like anti-virus software, must have regular updates and upgrades in order for it to work properly. In that case, you may be required to purchase the software anyway. Sometimes software vendors hook customers with their free program so they can up-sell the necessary premium option later on. Something to keep in mind when researching your options and evaluating your software needs.

Technical Support

One of the biggest factors in the free versus purchased software debate is the technical support. You might get free software, but does it come with technical support when something goes wrong? If it doesn’t come with support, can you afford the risk? No computer hardware nor software is perfect, and you should expect it may come with issues and challenges from time to time. A purchased program that provides technical support is a good insurance policy for your business – and might prove less costly in the end.

Time is Money

Finally, your time is also money. Don’t let the glimmering bright lights surrounding “FREE” deter you from what your business actually needs. If free software works, that’s great. But if it doesn’t offer everything you need, is it worth your time and energy to make up for that?
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B #Software #FreeSoftware #AntiVirus #Malware #AntiVirusSoftware

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To Buy or Not to Buy Anti-Virus Software

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It used to be standard practice to purchase and install anti-virus software programs to protect our computers from getting infected by malware. Hopefully you’ve figured this out by now, but nowadays Windows and Mac OS already come with anti-virus software included – so no need to go in search of extra protection.

If you are a Mac user, Mac has built-in anti-malware protection on its operating system. For example, before you can open a file, your Mac will check it against a list of malware. Windows users have more virus and malware concerns than Mac users, but Windows today also comes with its own system called Windows Defender.

You can download free and paid third-party software programs we talked about for that extra layer of protection, but you should know Mac and Windows protection software offer virtually the same protection.

When malware or a virus is found, the anti-virus software programs update accordingly to catch and block them from infecting your system. The challenge is how fast they can update their system to be effective and stay safe from the malware that’s been identified.

Some argue that Windows Defender is not the most popular software when it comes to protection, but compared to its formative years when the operating system didn’t come with any anti-virus protection, we are in a much better place.

The best thing you can do is make sure your default protection programs are turned on and updated regularly. And beyond that, you simply need to be aware that there are malicious practices online, and to not click or open files unless you are absolutely sure it’s from a trusted source. See our previous blog on how to identify phishing scams for more information.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #AntiVirus #Malware #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop

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When we see touched up photos or flawless models on magazine covers, we joke about them being “photoshopped.” Photoshopped became a buzz word in the tech world just like “Google it” became the buzz phrase for finding something on the internet. It’s part of our everyday language now, because Adobe Photoshop used to be the go-to source to clean up your images. But if you’ve ever tried to use Adobe Photoshop yourself, you know it will cost you.

Adobe is now moving towards an annual plan instead of making people buy the license, and depending on the version with the bells and whistles you want, it can cost you from $10 to around $80 per month. But, if you just want to touch up photos, add a filter or text, you might check out other options.

For example, if you are using your iPhone to take photos, it already comes with simple tools to adjust your photos. You can watch our Youtube Channel, WatchPSPinc, to learn how to use these tools: https://youtu.be/NTne3Pi2m5A.

If you’re looking for a bigger program comparable to Photoshop, there are several choices to consider, one of them being GIMP. GIMP is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives, and it’s free. It can add plug-ins to expand its offerings, and like Photoshop, you can work multiple layers and masks. The drawback is that the interface can be confusing to some, especially if you’re already accustomed to how things work in Photoshop.

You can find others like Photo Pos Pro and paint.NET. They both support layers, but our designers still recommend GIMP for its features and functions.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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The Alternatives to Microsoft Office

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I think most of us have some preconceived notions when it comes to buying a new computer. Unless you’re in a field of work that relies heavily on Mac, most people tend toward Microsoft Office compatible products. MS Office is a great choice, but it’s always good to know your options, and that’s just the kind of information we like to provide our clients.

In the coming articles, we’ll review some alternative business tools for you to consider – because it’s always good to have a choice, right?

If you are a Mac user, or considering a Mac, you have Apple’s iOffice, which is the equivalent to MS Office for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. iOffice programs are referred to as Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Let’s compare:

Pages
Pages is Apple’s equivalent of MS Word. Although the layout is different from Word, the basic features and functions are the same as Word. You can easily import from and export to a Word file format, so compatibility is not an issue. The biggest change is simply getting used to a new menu and buttons.

Numbers
Numbers is Apple’s equivalent of MS Excel. Although Numbers comes with a cleaner and simpler interface, the available functions and tools are much more limited. Excel is for power spreadsheet users who use more complex calculations, whereas Numbers provides simpler calculations and functions with a cleaner look.

Keynote
Keynote is Apple’s equivalent of MS PowerPoint. Although it’s nice to have all the preset templates from PowerPoint, Keynote does offer a very simple and easy interface to design presentations. You can embed and play timed animated slideshows like you can in PowerPoint. And like Pages and Numbers, Keynote has an import/export feature to and from PowerPoint.

- - -

There are other free office programs like Open Office – a discontinued open-source office suite, originally based on Sun Microsystems StarOffice. Your business may not need to make any changes, but if the time ever comes, it’s always good to consider your options.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Marketing #Apple #Microsoft #AppleiOffice #Macintosh #Mac #SmallBiz #B2B

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5 Fast And Easy SEO Tips To Boost Your Website

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1) Add Alt Text to Images

The alt text or “alternate text” is an attribute that is added to an image in case it doesn’t load. If an image doesn’t load or can’t be shown, the alt text will take its place. This is why it’s important to give your image a description as well as add relevant keywords in your alt text. When search engines crawl through your website, they will also crawl your alt text, which will make your images searchable and can help bring more traffic to your site.

2) Add Keywords in the URL

When creating a new page for your website it’s a good idea to put some extra thought into naming the URL. You want your URL to be short, memorable, and easy to spell, but you also want it to contain the most important keyword for that specific page. Consider the most important keyword relevant to the page content and try to insert it in the URL if possible. The rule is to keep it simple and make it count!

3) Utilize Anchor Text

What’s anchor text? Anchor text refers to any text, that when clicked, links you to another page on the same website or it can take you to a different website. It typically shows up with a blue underline beneath the text. You can utilize anchor text by adding links within paragraphs, headers, and more to direct visitors around your website.

4) Include Page Titles

All of the pages on your website should contain a title and a subtitle. Search engines crawl pages and organize their text by its importance to the page, almost like a text hierarchy. The structure of the page tells the search engine what the page is about and will help it rank your page correctly. Similar to the rules for URLs, try to include any relevant keywords in your titles without making them too complex.

5) Add Location Details

Is your company local? Do you serve certain parts of the city or state? Add location details on your website whenever necessary to benefit your local search results. When someone searches the web for something based on location, you’ll have a better chance of showing up on his or her radar.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #SEM #SearchEngineMarketing #SEO

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Long-tail Keywords: Why they Matter

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Marketers and web designers have been talking about keywords for years now and there’s no doubt you’ve heard about it if your business is online. Keywords help companies target specific audiences and reach people at different stages of their search.

Keywords are NOT some magical tool that will boost your website to the top of the search result pages. But, if used wisely, and implemented into your website where they make sense, keywords can drive more of the right customers to find you.

So what are long-tail keywords?

When we say “keywords” we are referring to any word that has to do with a topic. If you’re a flower shop you would consider “flower shop” a keyword on your website.

Let’s take it a step further.

A long-tail keyword is actually a phrase that includes 3 or more words. In the example of a flower shop a long-tail keyword would be “flower shops near Pike Place Market” or “free delivery flower shops near me.”

See the difference?

These keywords do multiple things: They allow you to target a more defined group of people, they’re less competitive than shorter keywords, and they have a higher conversion rate. If someone needs to find a wedding florist in Maui, they may type in "flower shop" or "florist," or they may get more specific and type in something like "wedding florist in Maui." If you are a florist in Maui, it makes sense for you to target those long-tail keywords to attract people more primed to purchase.

Again, keywords are not magic; they are tools you can use to target your audience more directly. By implementing long-tail keywords into your website content, your pay-per-click ads, and your social media, you can increase your chances of finding your next customer.

Let’s recap. Long-tail keywords are:

• Easier to rank for.
• Have higher conversions.
• Allow you to target customers at different stages in their search.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #SEM #SearchEngineMarketing

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Avoid Phishing Scams with these 4 tips

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Gone are the days of sketchy misspelled emails from distant places asking for money – those were truly simpler times. Now, phishing scams are increasingly more elaborate and require us to constantly pay attention to what we click on. So why are we still talking about email scams? It's because THEY WORK. As much as we’d like to think we're smarter than a scammer, and can easily spot a fraudulent email, many of us fall prey to advanced phishing techniques. Avoid phishing scams using these 4 tips.

1. Think Before Clicking Links
Even when emails contain your name or claim to know your passwords, take a moment to think before you click on any links. Phishing emails often contain exciting or upsetting news to invoke your emotions to take action quickly – and recklessly. Look first at the from email address. Does it match exactly with previous emails from your legitimate source? If not, it’s likely a scam. But it will likely look and feel exactly like it’s from a legitimate source because scammers are smart and think of every detail, even using logos from brands you trust. If you click on a link within the email, the website you go to will also look like the real thing, so beware! General rule is if the messaging is urgent, don’t click and don’t give out any information. Instead, go directly to the website you trust and use the contact info there to confirm the information and ask questions.

2. Look for Website Security
Tap into your suspicious side when browsing the internet or opening links in emails and always make sure a website is secure. Check to see if the website URL starts with HTTPS to confirm that it is secure before giving out any personal information. Web browsers will often warn you before you visit non-secure sites and NEVER download anything from suspicious emails or websites.

3. Protect Personal Information
Do not give out any personal information to websites that are not secure. If you buy products or fill out forms from suspicious websites, cybercriminals may get your credit card information. Be cautious when shopping or visiting sites, and always listen to your gut if something feels suspicious or sketchy.

4. Stay Informed
An easy way to remain on the offensive and protect yourself against phishing scams is to stay informed on new scams. Keep an eye out for news about potential scams online and do some research if you think you're being targeted. When you learn about scams early, you give yourself the best chance to avoid becoming a victim.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #PhishingScams #InternetScams #OnlineFraud #PhishingEmails

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Why you need a Security Certificate for your Website

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image source: pixabay.com image source: pixabay.com
Hopefully you’ve read our previous articles about SSL/TLS security certificates so you understand the technology and choices you have when it comes to your business website. Here's quick access to catch up, if needed:

https://en.bloguru.com/pspinc/329582/is-your-business-website-security

https://en.bloguru.com/pspinc/330165/encryption-technology-further-explained

https://en.bloguru.com/pspinc/330429/the-3-types-of-security-certificates-for

https://en.bloguru.com/pspinc/330431/in-a-world-of-fraud-legitimize-your

You may be wondering if all this information is really meant for you. After all, doesn’t this technology exist only for e-commerce sites?

The answer is NO.

Google has been outspoken about the importance of SSL/TLS secured websites, especially the need for EV certificates ( see previous blog). If you are a Chrome user, starting this summer the URL bar will indicate the different levels of SSL/TLS certificates. If it shows an EV for extended validation, it proves the domain has more than just a certificate – the validity of the organization has been verified as well.

Google’s whole mission is to show relevant search results to the end users. But being relevant today means listing domains that are legitimate with information that is helpful, not harmful. Domains with EV certification make it easy for Google to trust and display such sites for the people.

With so much fraud and malware around us, it’s not easy to know what websites are legitimate and trustworthy. As a business owner, you want to make sure your website is trusted by web browsers, search engines and people! The way to do that is to prove your business identity with an EV (or at least an OV) security certificate – authenticating your business online.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Websites #SocialMedia #WebMarketing #SSL #TLS #SecureSocketLayer #CyberSecurity #DataProtection #TransportLayerSecurity #EncryptionTechnology #Technology

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In a World of Fraud, Legitimize your Business Online

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SSL/TLS certificates come with different validation levels: domain validation (DV), organization validation (OV), and extended validation (EV). Depending on the validation type, the cost of the certificate varies.

Let’s review the differences:

Domain Validation:
This certificate level checks to see if the person or company that applied for the certificate is the owner of the domain. It’s an easy certificate to obtain.

Organization Validation:
This certificate requires an extra step to validate your ownership of the domain by checking some identification. Certificate authority may require you to show proof of a legal business license, your business’ article of incorporation, a bank statement, or other third-party proof of your existence.

Extended Validation:
Extended validation requires a much more stringent vetting process before a certificate is obtained. The domain owner must pass more extensive identity verification to prove exclusive rights to use the domain, and confirm its legal and legitimate existence. Because this certificate offers the highest level of trust and security, it can take several days before the validation process is complete and the certificate can be installed.

As you can see, SSL/TLS is no longer just an encryption method, but a way to legitimize business operations online.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Websites #SocialMedia #WebMarketing #SSL #TLS #SecureSocketLayer #CyberSecurity #DataProtection #TransportLayerSecurity #EncryptionTechnology #Technology

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The 3 Types of Security Certificates for your Website

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In order to install and implement SSL/TLS on your website, first you have to obtain a certificate. These certificates can be purchased online, but they come in different types, prices, and get issued from different authorities. In order to know what’s best for your business website, let’s discuss the certificate authority in more detail.

A certificate authority (CA) is an entity that issues SSL/TLS licenses. They have their own private key to sign the issued certificate, which is known as the root certificate. Websites with root certificates are considered “trusted sites” by commonly-used browsers. If a website has an SSL/TLS certificate that’s not issued by a root certificate authority, you will get a pop-up window warning you the security certificate isn’t from a trusted source.

The most well-known certificate authority is Verisign, but other popular ones include GeoTrust, Thawte, Symantec, and Comodo.

SSL/TLS certificates come in three different types: single-domain, multi-domain, or wildcard:

- A single-domain certificate can be used on one website, such as pspinc.com.

- A multi-domain certificate can be used on more than one website, such as pspinc.com, dreamersi.com, pspchildrensfoundation.org.

- A wildcard certificate can be used on one domain with an unlimited number of subdomains, such as pspinc.com, blog.pspinc.com, admin.pspinc.com, mailserver.pspinc.com.


It’s good to know this information in advance, so you aren’t completely in the dark when determining what kind of security certificate your website needs, and where to buy it. Next up, we’ll discuss how these certificates help validate the legitimacy of a website.
#ENnews #PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Websites #SocialMedia #WebMarketing #SSL #TLS #SecureSocketLayer #CyberSecurity #DataProtection #TransportLayerSecurity #EncryptionTechnology #Technology

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