10 Essential WordPress Plugins

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

In my opinion, WordPress is the best blogging software that exists currently. This is because of the sheer number of Plugins that are available for it that help customize the software to each individual blogger’s exact needs. WordPress themselves have recognized the need for the functionality of many plugins and have added that funcionality into Jetpack. This includes old plugins such as “Stats,” “Shares,” and “Spelling and Grammar.”

But there is still a huge amount of critical functionality that any WordPress blogger should take advantage of.

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress SEO by Yoast


If you have to limit your self to only two plugins from this list, this one is the first one. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is how bloggers get traffic. By optimizing SEO for each of the three big search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo,) you can increase traffic to your site.

Yoast’s plugin is the king of SEO for WordPress. The biggest downside is that it does so much that it has a bit of a learning curve. The good news is that the developer has an extensive collection of blog articles aimed to get the most of out this plugin. But anyone who implements this plugin will find their website will increase in search rankings.

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

Akismet

Akismet is the second most important plugin any WordPress blog must have installed. It helps to block spam comments from software bots. Before implementing this I saw 100+ spam comments a day. After doing so I see one or two a week. It does require sign up on the Akismet Website to get an API key. After entering the key into the settings, this plugin automatically takes over.

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

Probably one of the single most useful plugins to help readers really explore blogs. Using an advanced algorithm that considers post content, tags, categories and post titles it displays a customizable number of “related” or similar posts to the currently displayed one. This gives readers a chance to see other posts that maybe interesting to them.

Adsense Optimizer

Despite not having been updated for over two years, Adsense Optimizer is one of the best plugins for integrating Google Adsense into a WordPress page that I have ever found. It has the ability to be used as a Widget, or fine grain control to load at the top of a post, in the middle of a post, at the bottom of the post, and even between posts on archive pages.

Quick Cache (Speed Without Compromise)

Until recently WP-Super Cache was “the” WordPress Caching software. Quick Cache blows it away. It is just as simple to setup initially and has the added feature of a “Clear Cache” button in the tool bar, allowing the author to quickly see updates to posts that have already been posted. The difference in speed between this Plugin and Super Cache is the same between Super Cache and the default WordPress Cache Plugin.

DB Cache Reloaded Fix

DB Cache Reloaded caches database queries. A major portion of WordPress’ slowness comes from repeated Database queries. By implementing this plugin these queries are cached, increasing speed of pages even more. It works seamlessly with Quick Cache above.

WordPress Hashcash Extended

WordPress Hashcash Extended works in conjunction with Akismet to stop robot generated spam comments on blogs. It works by causing visitors to “use obfuscated javascript to submit a proof-of-work that indicates they opened your website in a web browser.” While this sounds complicated – it is actually invisible to visitors and administrators. Comments caught for spam will have an admin visible “Hashcash not matched” message at the bottom. The downside to this is that it also sometimes catches ping backs, but most people at least glance at every spam comment to double check them anyways so this is not a huge problem.

Better WordPress reCAPTCHA

Just in case WordPress Hashcash and Akismet aren’t working, Better WordPress reCAPTCHA helps stop spam robots. it uses the famous anti-spam reCAPTCHA program that forces commenters to type in two separate words. Unlike earlier reCAPTCHA plugins, this one installs itself in the comments section exactly where it needs to. The configuration options are simple to understand, AND it works in conjuction with Akismet to be sure to capture even more comments. A big plug is that one of the configuration modes disables the reCAPTCHA for repeat commenters who have successfully commented before. With the implementation of all three anti-spam plugins listed above, I get maybe one spam comment a month now.

Udinra All Image Sitemap

Udinra automatically creates site maps of images. This is great for image heavy blogs that would otherwise have very little SEO on them due to a lack of content. The key is to make sure the Description and ALT tags on images are filled in, otherwise this plugin doesn’t have much to work with.

List category posts

This is another administrator useful plugin. By building upon WordPress’ built in Category shortcode functionality, admins have a powerful way to list all posts in a specific category. One of the best features is that the number of posts can be limited. Another very powerful feature is that posts from multiple categories can be included, or posts that meet two (or more) categories.

There are thousands of good, even great, WordPress Plugins. The above ten are the first ones I install on any WordPress website I create, but I am always looking for more and better functionality. What are some “must have” WordPress plugins you use? Please comment below!

How To: Remove Skype Spyware

How To: Remove Skype Spyware

 

These directions are for Windows 7 specifically but should work for XP and Vista also.

First, Open your task manager and delete any processes that have to do with Skype and Easybits. There should be at least three total, and they should be pretty obvious.

Go to the following directories:
C:/Users/NAME/AppData/Local/
C:/Users/NAME/AppData/Roaming/
C:/Program Files (x86)/ (And/or C:/ProgramFiles/ depending on your Win ver)
C:/ProgramData

Delete anything named ‘EasyBits’ or ‘go’ in these directories. Tip: Go to C:/ and put everything in ‘Date’ order. Now manually search through every folder that was last edited today. (Or the day you got the spyware if known)

Uninstall Skype using Revo Uninstaller and reinstall Skype when it’s been patched and fixed.

Then in Start search ‘regedit’ and allow it when it prompts you. Now under ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER’ find ‘Software’ and then EasyBits Go and delete it. Be careful in regedit though, delete EasyBits and quit it.

Now download ‘CCleaner‘ and run the cleaner. When the cleaner is finished, go to the Registry tab and click ‘Scan for issues’. When it’s finished scanning, click ‘Fix selected issues’. When it prompts you to create a backup of your registry, click No. When it’s finished fixing them all, scan for issues again and repeat this until no more issues show up.

How to report Internet Fraud

How to report Internet Fraud

Internet Fraud is on a rise. As more and more people get online around the world, more viruses are created to steal information, and more people see the anonymity of the Internet as a good way to steal, fraud rates will continue to rise.

Common fraudulent acts range from using stolen Paypal accounts to pay for eBay or Craigslist products. Sending people fake checks for significant amounts of money over the selling price and asking for the extra back, or the common “Nigerian 419 ¬†Scam,” where you’re contacted (usually via email) for help moving large amounts of money from another country. But they quickly ask you to send a couple of thousand dollars as a “transfer fee” and none of the money is ever seen again.

The first step in reporting fraud is to gather your evidence. Good portions of such reports go unanswered and forgotten because of the lack of evidence. Providing ample and accurate proof will greatly increase the chances of action being taken by Law Enforcement. When reporting fraud and scams, use this template to provide your evidence. Keep in mind that some online forms may not have room for all this info, but it’s good to compile it before submitting.

Name: Address:

Phone Number:

Email:

Other Contact info: (IM ID, Forum Name)

Scammer’s Name:

Address:

Phone Number:

Email:

Other Contact info: AIM or Yahoo IM ID, Forum Names, AKA names. Also include any other email addresses, phone numbers or physical addresses known. Essentially any way used to contact you should be cataloged here.

Nature of Fraud/Scam: ¬†Give a brief description, i.e. “Was contacted by person to…”

Estimated Value Lost: Use a range for actual goods, or the sell price of the goods. Otherwise use the actual cash value.

Timeline Description: This is the important section. Provide a day-by-day, hour-by-hour account of the transaction and what went wrong. Cut and Paste Chat Logs, Screenshots (if possible,) and all emails. Be sure to present everything in chronological order as it happened.

Links to evidence: Provide links to forum posts, screenshots of emails and IM logs, etc.

There are several places you can report fraud to depending on where in the world you are.

Online Fraud Complaint Forms:

In the United States:

The Internet Crime Complaint Center: <a href=”http://www.ic3.gov”>http://www.ic3.gov</a>

National Fraud Information Center <a href=”http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm”>http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm</a>

In Canada:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police:

<a href=”https://www.recol.ca/intro.aspx?lang=en”>https://www.recol.ca/intro.aspx?lang=en</a>

Other Countries: Please look in comments below, or post if you know your countries web page.

Once you’ve filled out the online forms, it’s a good idea to directly contact any of the below Law Enforcement Agencies. All of these agencies (except maybe City and County Police Departments) have an electronic crime agency who will take your information. In some cases you may be referred to another person, or group. Expect to get a bit of run around but do not take it personally. Remember to be polite and patient when explaining the nature of the fraud.

Local FBI Office: http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm

Local Attorney General: http://www.naag.org/

Local U.S. Secret Service Electronics Crime Division: https://www.treasury.gov/services/report-fwa/Pages/ReportFWA.aspx

Local State Police: http://www.statetroopersdirectory.com/

Local County Police Department: Varies, search Google for your County Name, Police Department and Electronic Crimes Division

Local City Police Department: Use the same search term above

If someone scammed you out side of your country, the Federal Trade Commission has a special site for these complaints. https://www.econsumer.gov/pls/econsumer/wimsnery2$com.main?p_lang_seq=1

A lot of scams involve Paypal due to the ease of setting up accounts or stealing the information from others. Their claims page is located at: https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_comres_flow&trans_id=

Phone: 1-888-221-1161×8232 ; or 402-935-2050

If a company or business scammed you there are a couple of good places to report them to.

Better Business Bureau

FTC Complaint Center

Also be sure to report them to your and their Attorney General’s Office.

The United Postal Service is especially tough on scammers and fraud via Mail. If you sent a Money Order via mail, or goods and didn’t get anything in return they want to hear from you. Their online form is located at: http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MailFraudComplaint.aspx

The Postal Service is very tough on fraud and scamming. To help them out it’s always a good idea to use Delivery Confirmation when sending large amounts of money, checks, or even expensive goods.

UPS has an online claim section too, https://www.ups.com/myups/login?returnto=https%3a//wwwapps.ups.com/webClaims/create%3floc%3den_US%26report_type%3d1&reasonCode=-1&appid=CLAIMS

Reporting fraud and scams is time consuming, but every bit helps. If you’re short on time at least submit reports to the first two links. Remember, the scammers aren’t going to stop if they get away with it. All it’s going to take is one or two to get caught as warnings to the rest.

Domain Name Appraisal Scams

Domain Name Appraisal Scams

Here’s a new one on me. The Domain Name Appraisal Scam. The email is simple, some emails you asking to buy your domain name for 65% of it’s appraised value. They include links to three different “appraisal services,” one of which is a scam site. The scam site is of course the cheapest of them all.

What is not quite clear in this scam is if they’re also stealing credit card info, or just trying to get people to pay for a bogus appraisal.

From: jeffmiller44@gmail.com

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are interested to buy your domain name BBXGAME.COM and offer to buy it from you for 65% of the appraised market value.

As of now we accept appraisals from either one of the following leading appraisal companies:

sedo.com
flyappraisals.com
accuratedomains.com

If you already have an appraisal please forward it to us.

As soon as we have received your appraisal we will send you our payment (we use Paypal for amounts less than $2,000 and escrow.com for amounts above $2,000) as well as further instructions on how to complete the transfer of the domain name.

We appreciate your business,

Yours truly,

Jeff Miller

In this case the fake Domain Name Appraisal company is flyappraisals.com. Others have reported the fake appraisal company being nameorange.com and namepros.com

On a side note and out of curiosity I did a Google Search for Free Domain Name Appraisals and came up with these:
Swiftappraisal.com
LeapFish.com
DNScoop.com

BBXGame.com appraises for $1600-$2400, $25, and $506 in that order. Which goes to show that the art of Domain Name Appraisals is black at best.